Saturday Mystery – This is Ryan McCarty’s Saturday 20 build for The Times. As always, it’s smooth and full of skillful deception and interesting trivia. I had the biggest problem with the eastern third of the net, where every entry on the right of the 22-Down was fiercely belligerent and awkward at first. More than one entry took a little more thought even after filling in each letter, and a three-letter entry took a Google search – but it turned out to be something interesting, so no hard feelings.
9a. This is bad evidence, disguised as kindness! “A good word to give?” refers to what you might say to indicate “I give up!” – as I did in this corner of the puzzle. The word is UNCLE.
19a. This is the kind of reality I find most satisfying – proof that is impossible to believe until you solve it. “More than 95% of its population lives near a riverbank” got me thinking of a city at first — maybe Paris? – But the evidence points out A large and populous nation Egypt where Almost everyone It is located near the Nile.
42a. The “leading center” resolves to the VAN in this conundrum, and I couldn’t quite put “vanguard” in my mind for the life of me. I had to search for that definition, and sure enough, it is Totally acceptable. The first time VAN appeared in the Times Crossword, in 1943, its guide was the “leading unit in battle” – although clues such as the “Covered wagon” and “Truck” soon followed. (As explained in this puzzle, VAN as a diluted “vanguard” is rooted in the French “avant-garde.” When VAN is Short for “caravan” It derives from the Persian “karwan,” a group of travellers, or perhaps the Sanskrit word for camel, “karabhah.”)
51a. This first term for “bad business for college applicants” certainly predates online learning, but ESSAY MILL has become an international industry in recent years.
5 d. I’ve mentioned this game before (and definitely learned about it from someone in crossworld, maybe even a Wordplay reader), but I sure worlddel That is why I knew, without a second thought or letter of passage, that Guinea-Bissau, who had taken root for the first time, was Senegal’s “neighbor”.
9 d. “Was, at one point” threw me for a loop; “At one time” made me think an archaic term might be needed. These and 9 A’s were the last entries I filled in: It used to be pretty obvious – but it still made me cry a lot uncle.
11 d. I loved this book and movie and I’m sure I knew what this was, but I needed crosses to figure out the “detachable device that appears in ‘The Da Vinci Code.'”‘cipher’ plus ‘script’). I’ve noticed how this entry plays into the mirror at 35D, “kind of preserving deep freeze,” or CRYONIC — a nice touch.
34 d. We need to analyze the data on this obscure clue, “Hot ________”, to determine if the speed of its resolution has anything to do with the halal proximity of Katz’s delicacy. I’m seven miles away, as the crow flies, and it takes me about a second to think about pastrami.
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