Friday, March 19, 2010

NYT Friday 3/19/10 - My Eero

This New York Times crossword ought to have been finished really quickly: most of the cluing was straightforward (for a Friday puzzle) ... unfortunately a couple of areas held me up for several minutes at the end.

My normal practice with end-of-week puzzles is to make a complete pass through all the clues, putting in the answers to all the gimmes, before homing in on the areas where I seem to have got the best start. Today, this yielded a lot of areas to work on, but I decided to focus on the NE corner first where assessee came easily given all the answers that seemed to be plurals.

I couldn't develop much beyond the three eight-letter downs, so switched to the SW corner and then worked up from there to complete the NW, just leaving an unfilled patch around 20-Across, 21-Down and 34-Across.

I then had enough ways in to tackle the SE corner and from there worked backwards through the middle. Here lay a significant trouble spot for me: being unfamiliar with Stroh's and the term for female octopuses, I had to mull over options for the 31-Across/32-Down intersection for a few minutes before concluding an H was much the likeliest option.

This just left Kersee, Eero and Ossie to deal with and I must have spent at least five minutes considering the choices. 34-Across almost certainly put an O at the end of 21-Down, but I couldn't rule out E or I. If it was O, then Nero seemed to yield a sane possibility for 20-Across. But I didn't recognize Nero as a designer's first name and I felt I should work the whole way through the alphabet until I got a first name with the right associations.

So it was that I eventually landed up with our old friend and crossword hero Eero Saarinen and was reasonably confident it was right, even though I couldn't quite see the connection between Kersee and "Joyner". An explanation of that had to wait till I'd put down my pencil and started checking the grid for mistakes.
Solving time: 33 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 48d orated {Gave out one's address?}

Trip Payne
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersTrip Payne / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 28 (12.4%) black squares
Answers70 (average length 5.63)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points299 (average 1.52)
Video of the Day

15a hula dancer {Person with a shaky story?}. Hula is a dance form accompanied by chant or song. It was developed in the Hawaiian Islands by the Polynesians who originally settled there. The chant or song is called a mele. The hula dramatizes or comments on the mele. There are many styles of hula. They are commonly divided into two broad categories: Ancient hula, as performed before Western encounters with Hawaiʻi, is called kahiko. It is accompanied by chant and traditional instruments. Hula as it evolved under Western influence, in the 19th and 20th centuries, is called ʻauana. It is accompanied by song and Western-influenced musical instruments such as the guitar, the ʻukulele, and the double bass.

The Doctor is IN

20a Kersee {Joyner joiner?}. A reference to American athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

23a Segel {Jason of "I Love You, Man"}. Jason Segel plays Sydney Fife in I Love You, Man.

34a Ossie {Davis of "Evening Shade"}. Ossie Davis provides the closing narration for Evening Shade.

35a that {Fancy follower}. As in "fancy that!".

47a Idahoan {Person from Moscow}. There's a Moscow in Northern Idaho.

54a Fermi {Physicist with a unit of distance named after him}. A fermi is equivalent to a femtometre.

8d ACORN {Voter registration grp. founded in 1970}. Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

9d verso {Left to the editor?}. The verso is the left-hand page of a book written in English.

10d Ernest {Companion of Algernon in an Oscar Wilde play}. Characters in The Importance of Being Earnest.

21d Eero {First name in design}. Eero Saarinen (1910–1961), the Finnish American architect and product designer.

 24d LST {Allied transport, for short}. Landing Ship, Tank.

28d Oro {Plata's partner}. As in Oro y Plata ("Gold and Silver"), Montana's state motto.

32d hen {Female octopus}. A female octopus is called a hen.

Image of the Day


31a Stroh's {Schaefer alternative}. Stroh's and Schaefer are both beer brands. The Stroh Brewery Company was a beer brewery located in Detroit. In addition to their own Stroh's brand, they produced or bought the rights to several other brands including Schaefer, Schlitz, Augsburger, Erlanger (beer), Lone Star, Old Milwaukee, Red River, and Signature, as well as manufacturing Stroh's Ice Cream. The company was taken over and broken up in 2000 but some of its brands continued to be made by the new owners.

Other Clues

1a shore-leave {Land grant, of a sort}; 11a Elia {"The Praise of Chimney-Sweepers" writer}; 16a rads {Dosage units}; 17a Indian corn {Thanksgiving symbol}; 18a NCOs {Drill instructors, e.g.: Abbr.}; 19a etas {Viscosity symbols}; 22a rue {Bitter herb}; 25a nose jobs {They change people's profiles}; 27a treason {Subject of Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution}; 30a trusts {They may be charitable}; 38a one-up {Top}; 40a tête {Coup de ___ (sudden impulse: Fr.)}; 41a helix {Spiral staircase, essentially}; 43a on foot {One way to travel}; 45a Eminem {"The Way I Am" autobiographer, 2008}; 51a pack rats {They hold on to things}; 55a at a {___ stretch}; 56a skated {Went around in circles, perhaps}; 59a saps {Weakens}; 60a piny {Like potpourri, sometimes}; 62a enumerates {Counts}; 64a Etta {Bluesy James}; 65a minicamera {Spy's device}; 66a reek {Be a stinker}; 67a East of Eden {1952 best seller set in California}.

1d shiest {Least likely to take command}; 2d hunter {Hide seeker?}; 3d old age {What the fortunate reach}; 4d raise a stink {Complain loudly}; 5d Eda {Author LeShan}; 6d lank {Thin}; 7d -ence {Ending with prefer}; 11d -ern {South end?}; 12d lacrosse {It was last an official Olympic event in 1908}; 13d I doubt it {Skeptical response}; 14d assessee {Person who's been charged}; 26d just the same {Despite everything}; 29d no-no {It just isn't done}; 33d Sufi {Religious mystic}; 35d The Paper {1994 Michael Keaton film in which real journalists have cameo roles}; 36d hematite {Main ore of iron}; 37d Alicante {Spanish seaport}; 39d pod {Sheller's discard}; 42d Xers {Gen ___ (demographic group)}; 44d oaf {Bozo}; 46d make me {"You and whose army?!"}; 48d orated {Gave out one's address?}; 49d ampere {A in physics?}; 50d Nissan {Pathfinder producer}; 52d Tania {Patty Hearst alias}; 53d stuns {Blows the mind of}; 57d emit {Broadcast}; 58d deco {Roaring Twenties look}; 61d yak {Tibetan wolf's prey}; 63d RAF {"Battle of Britain" grp.}.

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