NYT Crossword 12-20-20 Complete

Finally a puzzle that took me more than an hour. I got tripped up a bunch on this one, and some of my errors were goofy.

I pulled out 54D “That was Zen, this is ___” (philosophy pun): TAO because of a domain name I purchased a while ago: ThatWasThemThisIsNow.com. It’s exactly that complicated and interesting.

46A Mild, light-colored cigar: CLARO led to a recurring confusion as I solved other clues. I had initially put in CLARA. That made 40D Open hostilities: HATWAR. I didn’t know what a hat war is, but I figured it was like the Buckets against the Beanies or the Fedoras against the Fezzes or the Deerstalkers against the Derbies or the Pillboxes against the Panamas or the Cowboys against the Cloches.

So I made that contest, and through best-of-three coin tosses, the tournament played out like this:

Buckets ultimately prevailed in a nail-biter.

I decided do a random assignment of the hats and flip the coins again.

Fedoras won?! And undefeated?!

So there you have it. Hat war. But Randolph Ross’s answer was HOTWAR. Go figure.

Today’s title was Toy Story. Everything has to do with toys and board games. Do board games qualify as toys? I say they do not. Will Shortz apparently says they do. But they’re in the Toys & Games category on amazon and elsewhere. Games are separate from toys.

22A She debuted on March 9, 1959, in a black-and-white striped swimsuit: BARBIEDOLL. Toy.
24A Virtual pet simulation game that won an Ig Nobel prize for its Japanese creators: TAMAGOTCHI. I had this correct initially. Then I changed it to TAMAGOTSHI because I thought 14D Curve: ARC was ESS. When I realized that was way off, I went back to the original spelling. Toy.
39A Toy that was originally called “L’Écran Magique” (“The Magic Screen”): ETCHASKETCH. There’s no winning. Toy.
57A Game that got a big boost when Johnny Carson demonstrated it with Eva Gabor on “The Tonight Show”: TWISTER. Why am I not surprised that that increased sales? Everybody wins. Game.
65A Day to play with new toys: CHRISTMAS. It’s so topical!
78A Toy that was derived from a wallpaper cleaner: PLAYDOH. Everyone knows that! Toy.
95A Toy with 18 spoken phrases, including “I love you” and “May I have a cookie?”: CHATTYCATHY. Until this puzzle, I had no awareness of this as a real toy. It just seemed to me like alliteration when describing someone. Toy.

103A Politician parodied by Dana Carvey on 1990s “S.N.L.”: ROSSPEROT. While not classified at the store as a toy, at 5’5″ in shoes, he fits on the shelf.
111A Puzzle toy solved in a record 3.47 seconds in 2018: RUBIKSCUBE. Toy.
114A Toy that astronauts brought to space to secure tools in zero gravity: SILLYPUTTY. Of course those eggheads at NASA would use this. Toy.
46D Its box once read “A sweet little game for sweet little folks”: CANDYLAND. Game.
48D Toy that sold more cars in America in 1991 than the Honda Accord or Ford Taurus: COZYCOUPE. Toy.


Finished this one in 1:09:04.

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