- the first Tyler Hinman puzzle I've solved
- the first nonsymmetrical New York Times puzzle (that I remember)
- the first puzzle with a lot of sports clues...all of which I nailed
I don't quite know how to describe the theme...answers that end in some variation of GALL?
20A: With 22-Across, actor with a black belt in aikido (Steven/Seagal). I didn't know this but was able to guess it from the S and N in Steven.
36A: President with a bridge in Montreal named after him (Charles DeGaulle). This is the second time I've tried to put in the name of an American president. Hello! Other countries have presidents!
53A: He said "Great art picks up where nature ends" (Marc Chagall). I didn't know he said that, but it was pretty easy to figure out the answer.
It's pretty obvious that Tyler's big into sports, but I didn't get tripped up by them this time around. That's not to say that I understood all of them. Sports clues/answers include:
1A: Moon and Starr, for short (QBs).
11A: The Jaguars, on scoreboards (JAX).
19A: The Engineers of coll. athletics (RPI). Don't get this one.
58A: Be disqualified, in the 8-Down (foul out). I struggled a bit with this one, since I was looking for a word that began with D...the result of having Dec for 58D: Winter mo. instead of the correct Feb. That error also made it difficult to guess 65A: "Who Let the Dogs Out" group (Baha Men). Have never heard of them or the song. Here's a link to their official website. While it's still under construction, you can at least see what they look like.
3D: Star near Venus? (Serena). The best clue of the puzzle.
8D: Rockets' and Suns' org. (NBA).
45D: Washington and Oregon are in it (Pac-Ten). More here for those who are interested.
Well, it sure seemed like a lot more than seven. Still, I thought it was a bit much (38D, clued as Too-too).
Unless I'm missing something, Tyler missed having a pangram by one letter. Everything's there except Y.
I have to say I'm not crazy about the looks of a nonsymmetrical puzzle. You know, the old dog new trick thing. I'm sure I'll eventually get used to seeing them, but it just felt wrong to me. A little unsettling.
That said, there was plenty of fill to love in this one.
15A: Tinseltown doings (showbiz). I had an S at the end until I got to 10D: Tenochtitlán dweller (Aztec). I'm sure I wasn't alone.
28A: "I'll Have to Say I Love You in a Song" singer, 1974 (Croce). That was one of his posthumous hits, along with "I Got a Name" and "Workin' at the Carwash Blues." Great talent...gone much too soon.
33A: Item sought in the spring (Easter egg). Without that last G in place, I would never have guessed 23D: Salad bar offering (arugula).
48A: Don't do it (taboo).
1D: Knights' journeys (quests).
40D: Rock singer Russell (Leon). Every summer we have a series of free concerts nearby, along the Colorado River. Leon Russell was one of the performers three or four years ago. His voice was a little crackly...his bones much more so, he said...but it was pure Leon. He played for two hours, including "A Song for You," "Tightrope," and...my personal favorite..."Lady Blue."
47D: Beer, often (chaser). I have never had a beer as a chaser...can't even imagine that.
50D: Italian apologies (scuse). That's not a word I recall hearing in the house when I was growing up. Maybe we never apologized?
54D: __ breve (musical direction) (alla). This was in a recent puzzle, without the musical hint. At the time, I thought it had something to do with a coffee drink. Got it this time, though.
It's late and time to wrap this up. Here's the grid...