NYT Crossword 12-1-20 Complete

I went straight to the Congratulations! screen with this Tuesday puzzle. I took it slow and steady, since I did it right while I was waking up. It’s fun to complete something so early in the morning.

I highlighted 32A Sweet’s counterpart: SOUR because it raises a question that I’ve discussed every so often. If you have an opinion on the topic or a reaction, please comment on this post.

What is the opposite of sweet? Is it sour? Is it salty? Is it savory? Is it foul? Is it bitter?

I don’t think the opposite of sweet is sour. While they are nice to contrast in areas like sweet and sour meatballs, sweet and sour chicken, and Mega Warheads candy, my feeling is that they are individually fun tastes. I set the child standard here. If I liked this as a child, they’re not opposites.

So, too, with salty. I like salty potato chips. I like mixed nuts. And as for things that are sweet and salty? Salted caramel. Kettle corn. Not opposites.

I disagree that it’s savory because the definition is that it is more than one kind of taste. It does not qualify on that count. Also from lexico, the definition is” “(of food) belonging to the category that is salty or spicy rather than sweet.” Sweet is omitted and used as a contrast. Also salty is part of savory, and I’ve established that salty isn’t the opposite, so savory fails there.

As for foul, my feeling is that it’s the opposite of flavorful. Foul is bad overall. My point is opposite of sweet specifically.

That leaves us with bitter. You know, because the list I put together is all encompassing.

I posit that bitter is the opposite of sweet. As a child, I did not like bitter flavors. In the Passover seder, bitter herbs are incorporated because they’re unpleasant. But Passover aside, how many people like IPAs? I do, but I didn’t like IPAs as a child. And I probably would not have liked them if I had had access to them as a child.

A huffpo thing I found interesting to read is Hate IPAs? It’s Because Your Genetics Programmed You To Dislike Bitter Beers. Hipster Courtney Iseman writes that while the human brain has a long history of using the bitter flavor to indicate that a thing should not be eaten (and cites another huffpo piece), we can train ourselves to like bitter stuff.

I can’t vouch for the research up until the training yourself to like bitter things part. I now enjoy IPAs.

I didn’t have to train myself to like the other types of flavor.

In an unusual move for this puzzle’s, I got the answer to the theme clue and used that to help me get theme answers.

17A *Many a Silicon Valley business: SOFTWARECOMPANY
Note: I have started picking up on learning Python again, and I may start a weekly progress blog about Python. I’m thinking Thursdays for that, but we’ll see.
39A *Devastating event in a real estate bust: HOMEFORECLOSURE
61A *Question suggesting “That just about sums things up”: WHATMORECANISAY
7D *Highly stressful situations, metaphorically: PRESSURECOOKER
10A *Like a guesstimate, by nature: IMPRECISE

33D Community sports facility … or a hint to the answers to the five starred clues: RECCENTER.

You know, because REC is in the center for the answers.

Finished this one in 7:40. Very flawed NYT Crossword statistics page has my average Tuesday at 13:56. My Tuesday record is from August of this year at 5:52.

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