SATURDAY PUZZLE — It is fitting that we’ve experienced some scorching Saturday grids this scorching July today’s is no exception. I felt optimistic at the commence immediately after discovering quite a few inroads, but I received hopelessly caught in a central spot. The conclusion outcome was a slow remedy time that was as sluggish as it is when I get a pair of bits of limited fill and then stare blankly for a while at a puzzle.
John Lieb has been generating puzzles for The Occasions for close to a ten years, but it has been about a calendar year due to the fact his past one particular (yet another challenging Saturday, in collaboration with Brad Wilber). Today’s grid has a pretty reduced word depend and is extensive open, meaning there are substantial swaths of sound white squares that make points challenging for constructor and solver alike. There is also just one entry that I really do not think I’ve at any time seen right before, which doesn’t transpire pretty typically to this outdated hand.
15A. It’s beautiful how this entry, clued “Monodon monoceros, additional familiarly,” crosses 5D, “Animal whose identify implies, pretty much, ‘nose.’” We know that a nose work is a rhinoplasty, and we know that RHINO (5D) is shorter for “rhinoceros.” So “monoceros” is, er, “one ceros” (“one horn”). “Unicorn” matches at 15A interestingly, but the entry listed here is NARWHAL, that Arctic whale with the extravagant tusk.
31A. This aviator, the “First man or woman to fly solo all over the earth (1933),” has popped up in Times puzzles above the many years, but only partly, by his initial title. WILEY Post is a debut. An additional factoid about Mr. Write-up is his popular demise: In 1935, he crashed a airplane in Alaska that was also carrying the actor Will Rogers, killing them the two.
37A. I identified this clue, “Circuit constructing block,” as computational, but I arrived up with “logic card,” which is shut but not pretty right. The proper respond to is a debut and refers to a single of the a lot of switches in a electronic circuit that handle many inputs, a LOGIC GATE.
13D. This is a nice twist! I received the entry for “Opposite of cut” on crosses and was mystified: Show up at. “Cut,” in this scenario, refers to skipping out on university, say, to capture a Cubs sport.
22D. There will be solvers in the audience who pounce on this clue, “Method of songs instruction.” I should have slice that class. I figured I would deduce it ultimately, which did not come about, or get it on crosses, which did — whilst I did have to seem on the internet to check my perform and discover the origin of SOLFÈGE, which knocked me for a loop.
I seen the phonetic aspects “sol” and “fè,” which could be “fa” as in “do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do,” but I considered practically nothing of it simply because the sequence was reversed (“sol fa” as an alternative of “fa sol”). It turns out that SOLFÈGE, or “solfeggio,” is a sort of solmization, or assigning a particular syllable to a corresponding musical notice. This practice goes back at least a thousand yrs, to an Italian monk who chose syllables that manufactured a mnemonic for a hymn (that did not involve a deer, a female deer, a long, lengthy way to operate or a needle pulling thread).
Around the previous various several years, I’ve admired and liked themeless puzzles with vast-open middle sections — especially from Ryan McCarty (he has various eye-popping grids!) — and I preferred to choose a shot at producing one myself. In addition, finding a themeless puzzle approved these days — with so many constructors creating these kinds of fantastic puzzles — has been challenging, so I figured I would attempt some thing that I had not done before. (My rejection pile is nicely populated with 70-term themeless puzzles. …)
Making the grid took significantly lengthier than regular, but I lucked out by owning adaptability in the NW and SE corners by acquiring the letter styles ????SCIENCE and ALPINE????? to function with. As a longtime instructor of AP Stats, I was content that one particular of those people slots turned Facts SCIENCE. Also, for a very long time, the entry WHO IS THAT was WHO IS THIS, and, happily, the former led to a great deal cleaner and extra fascinating fill. I hope this offers a entertaining Saturday challenge for solvers!
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