Thursday, February 18, 2010

NYT Friday 2/19/10 - Oh Baby!

Ross Beresford aka Crossword Man
This is going to have to be a short commentary today as we are setting off tomorrow for the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. So as to maximize the opportunities for mingling during the event, I'll also be writing shortish posts for the Saturday and Sunday puzzles. I hope to meet lots more people in my second year and maybe even one or two who have seen this blog - so there's absolutely no chance of you missing me, here I am in typical ACPT attire.

This Friday New York Times crossword did not fill me with confidence going into the tournament. Verily, it kicked my ass. Let's start with the easier parts: I cracked the SE corner first in around 13 minutes and then the NE in a further 13 minutes. So far, so good. But over half an hour later, I was still grappling with the other two corners and had to call in Magdalen so we could finish off the grid as a joint effort.

The NW corner was a total nightmare. Although I had office boy and the downs from 6- thru 9-Down, I just could not complete the rest. I vaguely remembered Hart Crane, but didn't have the confidence to ink him in when nothing else seemed to work. I even had farmer and frowns at various times and CCNY. I think what did for me was a fixation on it'd be for 4-Down {"___ my pleasure"}, where I couldn't see anything else fitting. Incidentally, the 1951 hit Beautiful Brown Eyes was a number from singing cowboy Jimmy Wakely (1914–1982).

I got slightly closer in the SW, completely filling from rinsing downwards and also having judicial and open late. But I'd never heard of the watusi, Edessa or Ashland ... hence the problems. I should have remembered RuPaul as I know (s)he has come up before somewhere. The watusi was one of the answers Magdalen knew right off ... I gather it was all the rage in the 1960s, being almost as popular as the twist - here's Wednesday from The Addams Family doing it.

Oh baby! If the ACPT puzzles are anything like this, I'm going to be in big trouble.
Solving time: 68 mins (with Magdalen, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 46d fists {Sock deliverers}

Victor Fleming
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

CompilersVictor Fleming / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 32 (14.2%) black squares
Answers68 (average length 5.68)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points308 (average 1.60)
The Clues

1a office-boy {Male gopher}; 10a T-bars {People travel only one way on them}; 15a Hart Crane {"The Broken Tower" poet}; 16a Eliel {The senior Saarinen}; 17a Brown Eyes {"Beautiful" things in a 1951 hit song}; 18a cargo {See 7-Down}; 19a Amway {Orlando's ___ Arena}; 20a San'a {Capital largely surrounded by high clay walls}; 22a Cris {Sportscaster Collinsworth}; 23a Ben's {Uncle ___}; 24a Oshkosh {City at the mouth of the Fox River}; 26a yrs. {They make cents.}; 27a wags {Cards}; 31a salute {Homage}; 32a baste {Dress down}; 33a agates {Cat's-eye relatives}; 34a Joe the Plumber {Metaphor for a middle-class American}; 37a RuPaul {Host of a self-titled 1990s talk show}; 38a Islas {Las ___ Filipinas}; 39a Edessa {Ancient Macedonian capital}; 40a attn. {Abbr. at the top of a memo}; 41a HMS {Abbr. for the Prince of Wales}; 44a rinsing {Hair salon activity}; 46a foal {New range rover?}; 47a ACLU {Freedom fighter, for short?}; 48a dice {Their faces have spots}; 51a Hilda {Secretary on "Hogan's Heroes"}; 52a tiara {Weapon for Wonder Woman}; 54a Ladies' Day {When women may get in for less}; 56a eaten {Put through the system?}; 57a drive time {Rush hour, to radio programmers}; 58a sleds {Some flying saucers}; 59a speedster {Fleet type}.

1d Oh baby! {"Man alive!"}; 2d farmer {One with growing concerns}; 3d frowns {Displays displeasure}; 4d it was {"___ my pleasure"}; 5d CCNY {Big Apple sch.}; 6d ere {Ahead of, in verse}; 7d bays {Parts of planes in which to put 18-Across}; 8d one-A {First to be called up}; 9d yes-no {Answerable with a nod or a shake}; 10d 'tec {Sherlock}; 11d black labs {They have chocolate relatives}; 12d air route {Overhead corridor}; 13d register {Need for checking people out}; 14d sloshes {Applies carelessly}; 21d assault {Blitzkrieg}; 25d Hagman {Ewing player}; 27d watusi {Twist alternative}; 28d Ashland {Oregon Shakespeare Festival locale}; 29d GTE {Former AT&T rival}; 30d sepia {Crayola color in a 64-crayon box}; 32d be assured {Encouraging statement start}; 34d judicial {Kind of appointment}; 35d open late {Like most bars}; 36d LST {U.S.N. craft}; 37d rerates {Downgrades, e.g.}; 41d hold it! {"Whoa!"}; 42d Madame {"___ Sans-Gêne" (Sardou play)}; 43d slayer {Offer?}; 45d gilds {Brightens}; 46d fists {Sock deliverers}; 49d carp {Complaint}; 50d Edie {Lou Grant's ex on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"}; 51d heed {Not brush off}; 53d ans. {FAQ part: Abbr.}; 55d -ive {It may be added to excess}.


Daniel Myers said...

Bon chance, as Proust might say, at the ACPT Ross. Luckily, for me today, both Proust and Hart Crane are in my literary pantheon.

americanfolk said...

c'mon. "ladiesday"? there is no such thing. "ladiesnite" is what it is called. "ladiesday" is so very weak.

Daniel Myers said...

Actually there is, just google "ladies' day" (note the apostrophe), and you'll find the following definition:

1.a special day set aside, either occasionally or regularly, on which women are encouraged to attend or participate in a certain activity at a reduced fee or at no cost: "Friday was Ladies' Day at the ball park."

2.a special day on which women are invited or allowed to attend a club meeting or other activity usually restricted to males.

All it takes is a little research to learn these things with which you aren't familiar, which is much more fun, to my mind, than grousing about things you don't know.

americanfolk said...

Well, I apologize. I guess I should also have asked my grandfather what ladies day at the ballpark was like since it doesn't exist anymore. Although, by the goodle search I found that they do have ladies day at the Royal Ascot. However, not only do the women pay, but it is also the most expensive day. If you are wondering, I believe it is 66 euro. That is without the ostentatious hat, of course. I assume yours would be topped with beautiful grouse.

americanfolk said...

*google (I apologize once again)

Daniel Myers said...

No, not a grouse I think. Perhaps you have a suggestion that would accompany the boy scout uniform that Madeleine has leant me. Don't you just adore how these things so quickly slide into ad hominem and ad mulierem snipes? Hm, a snipe, do you think?

Crossword Man said...

Hi all. Sorry for the absence over the last few days. I have to say I didn't raise an eyebrow over the Ladies' Day answer (and one or other eyebrow is easily elevated by that kind of thing). Yes, they have a Ladies' Day at Ascot (I even went once on an office outing with lots of ladies). But I think it's also a common marketing ploy to lure in the fair sex with special deals.

americanfolk said...

Tu quoque! ...Ah, golly, I've gone and done it again. well, I would suppose the number of times businesses have been handed lawsuits in return for their promotion is why it is no longer a such a common ploy. Major League Baseball stopped, I believe, before I was born. By the bye, it won't be long before a large group of people have no experience with a phone having the letters D,E and F on the number 3. Anywho, a snipe would go well with that uniform that Madeleine has leant... wait that reminds me. I have to visit my Aunt Leonie in Combray.

Crossword Man said...

You've lost me on the phone thing ... do iPhones and the like no longer have the letters on the numbers thing? Signed A Luddite

americanfolk said...

Most phones now have "full qwerty" boards. Meaning the phone has a keyboard not unlike a computers with the numbers taking the background role. Some have the 3 on the R. Mine the T. I believe, but do not know, that the iphone has a graphic of a keypad without any numbers in superscript.

Crossword Man said...

Funny how these things come and go. DEF and the like as answers will surely die back then, but I reckon constructors backed into a corner would still prefer {3, on old phones} to the dire {Alphabet trio}.

Daniel Myers said...

Bon voyage a Combray. Do bequeathe my wistful greetings to the "little band" on the beach. The snipe does seem to go splendidly with the uniform. Many thanks. I'm now assured of making a splash at the Royal Ascot in June, Ladies' Day or no. - Btw, my mobile has NO numbers with the letters whatsoever on the actual QWERTY keypad or the virtual one that pops up on the touch screen. How deliciously au courant am I! (To be read to the tune of "Alouette".)

Crossword Man said...

I can see I'll soon need a new Crucial Post explaining to you young technophiles what a real mobile phone looks like. We have four in the household: two British and two American and they all have DEF on the 3 :-)

Anonymous said...

Great blog! I enjoy reviewing here the 2 or 3 puzzles I do each week.

As for today's edition ... Wow. So my confusion was not just a function of my own ignorance ... Strangely, though, I solved the NW corner, but made an absolute hash job of the SW, to the point of being unable to complete it.

I also work alone with no solving aids, though I usually take much longer than you to finish. And, to be clear, I receive the NYT crosswords on the 5 week delay. .. and yes, that means I started this puzzle one week ago ... :(

En passant, if I may risk some gentle pedantry, a quick shout out to Daniel Myers re the first comment above: Proust is most unlikely to ever have said "Bon chance", as "chance" is feminine and thus would properly take "bonne" ... as in "Bonne Chance".

Now I await the direct quote proving me wrong ... ;)

Crossword Man said...

This takes me back, Anon! The Friday puzzle of the ACPT weekend was probably the hardest of the year so far - you'll be glad to know that things get a bit easier for the next few weeks.

I'll have to alert Daniel Myers to your Proustian comment, as he probably won't discover it otherwise!

Daniel Myers said...

Quite right, Anonymous. Bonne Chance is correct. Point. It rather reminds me of Proust's faltering attempts to translate Ruskin. He retorted to criticisms thus:

"I may not know my English, but I know my Ruskin!":-)