Thursday, March 4, 2010

NYT Friday 3/5/10 - It's Done!

My time for this Friday New York Times crossword has to be my best ever at 19 minutes. It augured well that I was able to make a start right away in the NW corner, filling that within a couple of minutes.

Things slowed down a little as I approached the central cross of long answers. Eventually I broke into the middle via 30a Neil Amstrong, having got enough of the downs towards the end of his answer to guess the full name (yes "figure" had misled me into thinking of the Man in the Moon). The other two long acrosses then fell very quickly.

In the down direction, I was lucky to see 14d Don't Tread on Me reasonably soon - I'd learned a lot about the history of the US flag through a book on my namesake Betsy Ross and remembered the vital phrase. 15d was much tougher, as I was completely taken in by the clue and assumed, based on "West Jordan", that I was looking for somewhere in the Middle East.

After 12 minutes, I just had the SE and SW corners to deal with. The bottom right was the easier of the two and I was held up for some minutes by having rat-a-tat for 35d. I lost confidence in that as I became more convinced of sidearm at 50a; from there I got 38d triste and then 38a thunk (neat answer!) and hence nailed the corner.

Finally, I just had 47a to deal with: I thought this was going to be a technical term for a worker in papier-mâché, or the like, but fortunately considered a (4,3) interpretation and remembered Hans Arp, who is a something of a crossword cliché thanks to his three-letter surname.

I had a lot of fun solving this puzzle, which was a great confidence-booster. But I'm not kidding myself that I've suddenly got a whole lot better at Friday/Saturday crosswords in the New York Times. Everyone else found this easy too, right?
Solving time: 19 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 25a rents {People may be put out if they're not put up}

Louis Hildebrand
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersLouis Hildebrand / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 34 (15.1%) black squares
Answers66 (average length 5.79)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points274 (average 1.43)
Video of the Day

34d The Firm {Cruise vehicle}. The Firm (1993) is a legal thriller based on the 1991 novel The Firm by John Grisham. Tom Cruise stars as a young attorney (Mitch McDeere) recruited by a seductive Memphis law firm that seems to have many secrets. When he discovers they are representing organized crime, and the price that has been paid by others who have discovered this, he risks his life to escape.

The Doctor is IN

28a tat {Part of an exchange}. As in tit for tat.

38a thunk {Conceived in a nonstandard way}. Dialect/facetious past tense of "think". Who'd a thunk it?

39a det. {Badge holder: Abbr.}. Abbreviation for "detective".

40a Sasha {White House girl}. Sasha Obama is the first White House resident born in the 21st century.

45a rad {X-ray spec?}. X-ray dosage was measured in rads.

47a Hans Arp {Worker in the medium of torn and pasted paper}. The abstract artist Hans Arp was known as "Jean" in the French-speaking world.

49a are {Will be present?}. "will be" becomes are in the present tense.

52a kissers {Yaps}. Slang words for mouth(s).

56a emboss {Give some relief}. Embossing raises an image in relief from a surface.

12d Sterne {"Journal to Eliza" author, 1767}. Laurence Sterne's Journal to Eliza wasn't published until 1904.

15d Great Salt Lake {West Jordan is near it}. West Jordan, UT is a suburb of Salt Lake City.

24d short A {Second of January}. Phonetic sound of the second letter in "January".

26d Titans {They were brought down by Olympians}. The Titans were overthrown in the Titanomachy.

41d Adeste {Carol's first word}. Adeste Fideles again.

47d hats {Roles, figuratively}. As in "he wore several different hats in his career".

53d sur- {Charge lead-in}. Reference to the prefix in "surcharge".

Image of the Day

Gadsden flag

14d Don't Tread on Me {Early flag warning}. Don't Tread on Me appears on some early flags of the United States, notably the Gadsden flag, designed by and named after American general and statesman Christopher Gadsden. The use of the timber rattlesnake as a symbol of the American colonies can be traced back to the publications of Benjamin Franklin. In 1751, he made the first reference to the rattlesnake in a satirical commentary published in his Pennsylvania Gazette. It had been the policy of Britain to send convicted criminals to America, so Franklin suggested that they thank the British by sending rattlesnakes to England.

In 1754, during the French and Indian War, Franklin published his famous woodcut of a snake cut into eight sections. In fall 1775, the United States Navy was established to intercept incoming British ships carrying war supplies to the British troops in the colonies. To aid in this, the Second Continental Congress authorized the mustering of five companies of Marines to accompany the Navy on their first mission. The first Marines that enlisted were from Philadelphia and they carried drums painted yellow, depicting a coiled rattlesnake with thirteen rattles, and the motto "Don't Tread On Me." This is the first recorded mention of the future Gadsden flag's symbolism.

Other Clues

1a builds {Crescendos}; 7a alarms {Eye-opening things}; 13a entered {In the database, say}; 15a glare at {Not look upon favorably}; 16a Gestapo {Brutal force}; 17a red tape {Nice thing to cut through}; 18a fad {It's not hot for long}; 19a winters {They're not hot}; 21a CPR {Lifesaver, briefly}; 22a Oto {Plains folk}; 23a ate at {Rankled}; 24a shin {Goalkeeper's guarded area}; 25a rents {People may be put out if they're not put up}; 29a whine {Engine sound}; 30a Neil Armstrong {Figure seen on the lunar surface}; 33a timesaver {Multitasking, e.g.}; 34a transatlantic {Like some cruises}; 42a Rebs {Revolting bunch}; 43a world {Setting for everything}; 46a if a {"... ___ woodchuck could chuck wood?"}; 50a sidearm {Sword or dagger}; 54a trustee {Part of a board}; 55a epaulet {Safari jacket feature}; 57a stride {Marathoner's concern}.

1d beg for {Not just request}; 2d uneaten {Left on a plate}; 3d it's done {"There!"}; 4d let {It gets replayed}; 5d draw {Gunslinger's cry}; 6d sepia {Quaint photo}; 7d alert {Caffeinated?}; 8d lads {Tom and Huck, e.g.}; 9d art {"A lie that makes us realize truth," per Picasso}; 10d reach in {Try to steal a basketball from another player, e.g.}; 11d mapping {Cartography}; 20d teamsters {Semi professionals?}; 27d slink {Move furtively}; 29d wrens {Members of the genus Troglodytes}; 31d ams {Times for wake-up calls, briefly}; 32d TVA {Longtime power provider: Abbr.}; 35d rub-a-dub {Drumming sound}; 36d Israeli {Arab-___}; 37d charred {Like some steaks}; 38d triste {Sorrowful}; 43d wares {Stock to hawk}; 44d drips {Jobs for plumbers}; 48d PSAT {It has two critical reading sects.}; 51d eso {That Mexican?}.


Kenny Dorham said...

Did this one in 25 min. Usually Friday takes 40-45 min. At 43A I had Earth instead of WORLD for too long. SW slowed me down. (Drumming sound) doesn't work for me. RUB A DUB needs 3 men and/or a tub!

Crossword Man said...

Hi Kenny. Yes, it was rather cheeky not to clue rub-a-dub with reference to the nursery rhyme ... welcome to Friday in the NYT (Webster's NI3 justifies the clue, for what it's worth)! :-)

Talking of tubs, I came across the word Usu yesterday. Now that is scary - "timing is critical to the safe operation of the usu" ... they're not kidding!

Daniel Myers said...

Yes, I found this Friday's puzzle easy as well, stuck for the final minute in the SW - Yea, w/ "rub-a-dub and "emboss." But, then, I also found last Friday's puzzle unusually easy too, whilst you found it more than a bit of a slog.

Oh, I've been intending to mention this site to you Ross, if you don't already know of it:

It starts out with deceptively simple words, but just try getting to a score of 60!

WARNING: Very addictive to logophiles, but all for a good cause.

Crossword Man said...

Hi Daniel. Thanks for the link ... lots of fun. The best I did before I got bored of it was 53. Lots of old friends from The Chambers Dictionary among the words ...

Daniel Myers said...

Glad to hear you enjoyed it. Good show with 53! I think my highest score is 56, certainly 55. But I've been visiting the site off and on for years now. One wonders about these people who score 60 - They do exist, according to the site - Perhaps they're editors of said dictionary, or simply have a photographic memory. Perhaps - unbeknownst to you - you met a couple at the ACPT.:-)

Crossword Man said...

Photographic memory ... it seems to me the same words keep coming round. How many different words would you say there are to learn in the game?