Friday, February 26, 2010

NYT Saturday 2/27/10 - Mad Props

I had a lot of fun with this Saturday New York Times crossword, which was just about the perfect level of difficulty for me. Didn't outstay its welcome, but kept me entertained for a nice long time. If Patrick John Duggan is new at this game (and I don't see him on the list of constructors right now), then kudos to him, not to mention éclat and mad props!

I made a good start in both the NW and SW, but ran out of steam quickly there. In fact, the SE corner was the first to be completely filled, after just under half an hour. I then moved back to the SW corner, completing what was still blank there fairly quickly.

Hence to the NW corner where some of the delightfully misleading clues like {What sticks to your ribs?} finally gelled. I wonder sometimes whether, if I stared at these clues longer at the beginning, they'd reveal their secrets right away? Or if all I can do is plant a seed early on that must then be harvested as an answer some thirty minutes later?

Finally only the NE corner was left to be done and I eventually got that by working out 30-, 34- and 40-Across, then getting the eight-letter answers from their ends and so to the six-letter acrosses from their ends. So much easier to work from the heads of answers, but I just couldn't figure it out that way.

Some things I liked about the solving experience:
  • steady progress throughout ... never stuck for long
  • lots of good "penny dropping" moments when misleading clues were understood
  • no doubts I'd got the grid right when I was done
Solving time: 46 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 42d ketchup {Dog's coat?}

Patrick John Duggan
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersPatrick John Duggan / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 29 (12.9%) black squares
Answers72 (average length 5.44)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points298 (average 1.52)
Video of the Day

29a duo {Grammy-winning Gnarls Barkley, e.g.}. Gnarls Barkley is an American musical group collaboration between multi-instrumentalist and producer Danger Mouse (Brian Burton) from New York, and rapper/vocalist Cee-Lo Green (Thomas Callaway), from Atlanta. Their first album, St. Elsewhere, was released in 2006; it and their first hit, "Crazy", were major commercial successes, and were noted for their large sales by download. The above song Transformer is from that first album. The duo released their second album, The Odd Couple, in March 2008.

The Doctor is IN

19a Ali {Subject of the biography "King of the World"}. David Remnick's book on Muhammad Ali.

26a MIA {Honoree on the third Friday of Sept.}. National POW/MIA Recognition Day.

30a T-Ball {Bats are smaller than normal in it}. T-Ball is baseball for kids.

45a Les {College football coach Miles}. Les Miles, head coach of the Louisiana State University football team.

52a paten {It's under the Host}. Host and paten feature in the Christian ritual of the Eucharist.

55a Tso {Eponymous general}. As in General Tso's chicken.

58a Rec {Mute neighbor, maybe: Abbr.}. Rec and Mute are buttons on a remote control.

2d Avalon {"Operation Bikini" co-star, 1963}. Frankie Avalon starred in Operation Bikini.

9d polos {Tops of golf courses?}. Polo shirts.

11d TSA {It goes through lots of luggage: Abbr.}. Transportation Security Administration.

13d Nautilus {Captain Nemo's final resting place}. Captain Nemo dies on the Nautilus and is entombed in it.

33d aka {Street name lead-in}. aka is used before the street names of police suspects.

35d poi {One side of Hawaii}. side = side dish. poi is a Hawaiian staple.

42d ketchup {Dog's coat?}. dog = frankfurter.

49d Siegel {Film critic Joel}. Joel Siegel appeared on Good Morning America.

56d Edna {"Laverne & Shirley" landlady}. Betty Garrett played Edna Babish DeFazio on Laverne & Shirley.

Image of the Day

Mr. Peanut
34a Mr. Peanut {Mascot that's a shell of a man?}. Mr. Peanut is the advertising logo and mascot of Planters, an American snack-food company and division of Kraft Foods. He consists of a drawing of an anthropomorphic peanut in its shell dressed in the formal clothing of an old-fashioned gentleman: a top hat, a monocle, white gloves, spats, and a cane.

Planters Peanuts started in 1906 in Wilkes-Barre, PA. In 1916 the company held a contest to create a company logo. A fourteen year-old schoolboy won the contest with his drawing of a Peanut Man and an artist later added spats, a top hat, a monocle, and a cane to the drawing, and Mr. Peanut was born. In 2006, Planters conducted an online poll to determine whether to add a bow tie, cufflinks, or a pocketwatch to Mr. Peanut. The public voted for no change.

Other Clues

1a mad props {Big-time kudos}; 9a patina {Film about the Statue of Liberty?}; 15a I've had it {Exasperated cry}; 16a oh, snap! {Response to a good dig}; 17a land mine {Hidden danger}; 18a lead-up {Preparatory stage}; 20a sunroom {Bright spot in architecture?}; 22a été {Saison de septembre, mostly}; 23a noes {Deal killers}; 25a mends {Sets right}; 27a on DVD {Like many old series, now}; 32a era {Disco or swing follower}; 36a cat-like {Slinky and stealthy}; 40a so-and-so {What's-his-face}; 41a bratpack {Demi Moore was in it}; 43a ick {___ factor}; 44a Aries {Springtime arrival}; 47a Hesse {Wiesbaden's state}; 51a tel. {Application datum: Abbr.}; 54a ruin {Torpedo}; 56a eat crow {Be cut down to size}; 59a E*Trade {Dot-com with an asterisk in its name}; 61a here we go {Words at the outset}; 63a retina {Picture receiver}; 64a unseated {Moved out?}; 65a yeoman {Official's helper}; 66a peep-hole {Opening used before opening a door}.

1d Milano {Lombardia's capital}; 3d denied {Robbed of}; 4d Ph.D. {Goal of some candidates}; 5d rams {Means of forced entry}; 6d odium {Bad blood}; 7d pinned {Immobilized, in a way}; 8d sternum {What sticks to your ribs?}; 10d ahem {Subtle warning sound}; 12d in demand {Hot}; 14d appeal to {Beseech}; 21d odors {Things that disappear in the shower?}; 24d svelte {Modelesque}; 28d drips {Namby-pambies}; 30d teach {Do school work}; 31d banker {One concerned with checks and balances}; 36d C battery {Common toy go-with}; 37d arrestee {One being printed at a station}; 38d tailor to {Customize for}; 39d éclat {Kudos}; 46d serene {Still}; 48d sure to {Definitely gonna}; 50d encode {Protect, in a way}; 52d paean {Triumphant song}; 53d Norse {Like some mythology}; 57d weep {Emulate Niobe}; 60d aim {"Ready" follower}; 62d wah {Crib note?}.


Elaine said...

At one time, in Atlanta outside of the Planters Peanuts offices, one could receive a free hand-out of roasted peanuts; people were in the habit of walking past and automatically holding out their hands. One fraternity prank had rushees plopping a spoonful of peanut-butter into the hands of the unwary. (They nearly got beaten up before the Planters folks caught on and ran them off.)

That's all the local color for today...

Love your blog; surprised there are not more comments! I rated a Fail on this one for googling (when in fact I had noted the answer but didn't trust it for some reason.) ARGH.

Crossword Man said...

Why thanks Elaine! Glad to hear a story with rushee in it - that's a term you don't hear in the UK, and the only rushees I've encountered so far have been in crosswords. Maybe it should stay that way!

Daniel Myers said...

Elaine: Isn't the more usual term "pledges."? My only knowledge of US fraternities and sororities comes from the film "Animal House." So, I may be completely wrong.

Ross: I'm pretty sure you beat me timewise. A bit of a workout, this one.

In any event - from the film - "Knowledge Is Good." - Motto of that illustrious institution, Faber College.

Anonymous said...

50 years ago, my friends and I attended Wyoming Seminary Day School and drove past a strip mall in Forty-fort where Mr. Peanut strolled back and forth in tophat and cane. What a treat to see him and smell the peanuts! Littlekitty2

Crossword Man said...

A great story Littlekitty2. Peanuts ... mmm ... I'll have to buy some when I go shopping tomorrow!