I pulled out 13D _ vide (culinary technique): SOUS because Calah put together dinner tonight, and the entree is chicken that she’s cooking sous vide. We have an Anova pro cooker and a Coleman cooler whose top I had cut a hole in to fit the immersion cooker. Actually we have two Coleman coolers. Sometimes we’re cooking a lot, so we need the big one, and sometimes we cook a little, so we don’t need so much volume of water to warm up and keep at temperature.
I pulled out 34A N.B.A. legend nicknamed “Black Mamba”: KOBE because it reminds me of when I found out that Kobe died. It was bizarre. Calah and I were at my dining room table. Her phone chimed. A message from her brother read something to the effect of “Kobe just died in a helicopter crash.” It sounded absurd. Frist of all, Kobe doesn’t die. Second, in a helicopter crash? Third, how can her brother know before we do when he lives in Israel? Of course, it turned out to be true, but it made no sense. Also it’s interesting that this is 34, the number of his rival on the team, Shaquille O”Neal.
17A Genre for Agatha Christie or Arthur Conan Doyle: CROWCROWCROWMYSTERY -> [CROW][CROW][CROW]MYSTERY -> MURDER MYSTERY. 22A June: LIONLIONLIONMONTH ->[LION][LION][LION]MONTH -> PRIDE MONTH. 51A Early 19th-century Australia, for one: PENALANTANTANT -> PENAL[ANT][ANT][ANT] -> PENAL COLONY.
60A Intellectual conformity … or a hint to interpreting 17-, 22- and 51-Across: GROUPTHINK. It’s too bad they didn’t do another crossover with the Spelling Bee and have HIVEMIND. But Wordle has replaced the Spelling Bee as all the rage.
I pulled out 6D Bond is a special one: AGENT because Calah and I have been going through the series, and we’re now on Casino Royale from 2006. We started at the beginning and have watched them in the order of release, including the original Casino Royale and Never Say Never Again. Calah’s assessment of Pierce Brosnan as James Bond: “He has no chill.” It’s true! He’s too easily rattled.
19A Start of an optimistic quote by 57-Across: YOUCANTTHINK. 29A Part 2 of the quote: OFYOURTROUBLES. 35A Part 3 of the quote: WHILESOLVING. 54A End of the quote: ACROSSWORD.
57A First puzzle editor of The New York Times: MARGARETFARRAR.
As someone who has a solve streak now of 98 days and has solved 867 puzzles, I can attest without reservation that this is just straight bullshit. And can we not be stressed out about things while also thinking about answers to things? Aren’t we so capable? If this is what Will Shortz’s predecessor said, it makes sense how he acts like he’s a gift to the world if this is his role model.
I pulled out 9D Hose holder, or a kind of snake: GARTER because I absolutely thought that a garden snake was a thing. I didn’t know there was a garter snake. And I guess there still is. I didn’t even realize until writing this that the hose in question was for the legs and not for the plants.
61A Intuition without logical explanation, or a hint to this puzzle’s circled letters: GUTFEELING. DREAD, RAGE, LOVE, PITY. But the real crime is that the theme clues all ended in 7 except for the fourth one. Kind of annoyed at that.
I pulled out 41D Wood in some incense: CEDAR because I’m in the process of making a cedar planter for Calah. She has been talking about a planter for a while because her succulents are individually potted, and planters are better. I picked up some cedar from House of Hardwood the other day, along with a bunch of other wood for projects. Some say that cedar planters need a liner. Others say cedar planters do not need a liner. If it needs a liner, I have to buy more wood. If it doesn’t, I can finish it tomorrow.
The title of this puzzle is Color Mixing. It’s an anagrams theme.
I pulled out 32A Line just before a comma: ZXCVBNM because I didn’t understand what the hell this meant. Then I figured it out. As I was typing it. Because it’s the bottom row of the keyboard. So dumb. I feel like it’s so bad that I should like it, but the thing that bothers me with the clue is it’s a comma, not just comma. I don’t know how else I’d phrase it, but I definitely hate it more than I love it.
Also 45A Coin featuring Lady Liberty and a bald eagle: PEACEDOLLAR. But that’s soooooooooooooo many US coins. No big deal or anything, but I’m a life member of the American Numismatic Association (hooray for never getting a renewal notice!), and I worked in rare coins for a bit. Yeah, the Peace Dollar is a pretty coin, but it replaced the Morgan Dollar, which has Liberty on the obverse and an eagle on the reverse. What I’m saying is that Will Shortz is an idiot. What a reminder to have a the beginning of a new year.
I pulled out 45A One of the Coen brothers: JOEL because I have friends who are brothers whose names are Joe and Avi Cohen. The Coen Brothers are Joel and Ethan. Different names. I know. Joel and Joe are close, though, and recently I learned that Abraham and Ethan are the same. Not like how Theodore and Nathaniel mean the same thing but in different languages. Rather, Biblical Abraham was also known as Ethan. So there you have it.
No theme for this Friday puzzle.
And quick update from yesterday: The rainfall total at LAX yesterday was 3.12″, which is more than the 3.09 listed partway through the day. Dry on New Year’s Eve, though.
I pulled out 55A “Man, that’s something!”: OHWOW because check out what has happened here in Los Angeles over the past couple days:
Total rainfall yesterday was 1.2″ as measured at LAX.
But partway through today we were at 3.09″ at LAX, which is more than double the now-second-rainiest December 30 on record.
Final numbers will be greater. OH WOW, indeed.
18A They stay and bite: ADULTTEETH. 27A Emmy-winning comedy series of 2007, 2008 and 2009: THIRTYROCK. 46A Gains favor using abject flattery, informally: KISSESBUTT. 58A Souse: BOOZEHOUND.
38A Symbol for the starts of 18-, 27-, 46- and 58-Across: XXX.
18A: Does XXX symbolize teeth? Or is 30 adulthood? 27A: XXX in Roman Numerals is 30. 46A: XXX means kisses. 58A: A bottle with XXX on it means it’s alcohol. And according to reddit, each X means a time distilled. Triple distilled means much higher alcohol concentration.
And on the topic of distillation, here’s a photo I took at Laphroaig pre-COVID:
I pulled out 27A It’s a little longer than a foot: SHOE because I was going back and forth in my mind between SOCK and SHOE. I put SHOE in and never had to change, but SOCK could work. And now that you bring up socks, I bought some more smartwool socks today. They’ll arrive in the new year. But smartwool socks are amazing. Highly recommend for the cold months. And with the rain in Los Angeles right now being measured in the INCHES plural, it’s a crazy, crazy world. Be safe out there!
17A Lettered awards show host?: EMMYEMCEE. M-E-M-C 30A Lettered adversary in a battle of wits?: CAGEYENEMY. K-G-N-M-E 49A Lettered home on the range when no one’s home?: EMPTYTEPEE. M-T-T-P 65A Lettered school paper that’s a snap to write?: EASYESSAY. E-Z-S-A
Figuring that out before finishing it helped me solve other clues.