Friday, April 23, 2010

NYT Saturday 4/24/10 - Raising the Bar

This Saturday themeless New York Times crossword again went well for me ... although the time for yesterday's raised the bar considerably, so maybe not? Based on my medium-term solving times, this one was about average difficulty for the end of the week.

I got off to a very slow start, filling in only six or so answers in a first pass through the downs. The acrosses didn't yield much more, so I scrabbled around for sections that would gel for several minutes. The first corner to fall was the NE, which I had done after around 12 minutes.

From there it was over to the NW, where I got in the hard way by experimenting with possibilities for 9-Down, having been fairly sure of manhood at 8-Down from early on. intact looked a good bet, but didn't work out and I did better with extant; I could then see it's a shame and that corner was done after 18 minutes.

The SW was the next to be finished - again a case of working up from the ends of the long answers. Finally I could complete the remaining holes in the SE.

There were quite a few unfamiliar terms, titles and people in the grid - mostly not a problem thanks to the cross-checking, but I had concerns over the intersection of 23-Across and 21-Down ... here I just had to rely on the only sane-looking option of Stoney and Wes being the right one.

It's a shame to see the return of SST {One with delta wings, briefly} at 40-Across, which right-minded people believe to be mistaken ... Concorde and the like needing just one delta wing to keep them aloft (see commentary on the March 13 puzzle). The flight of that SST was a familiar event when I lived near Reading in England - close enough to Heathrow for the plane's exceptionally throaty roar to be loud enough to drown out conversation.

Aside from that, there's nothing too controversial in the cluing (to my mind) and lots to admire.
Solving time: 23 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 38a mimes {Quietly tells a tale}

Thomas Heilman
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersThomas Heilman / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 29 (12.9%) black squares
Answers72 (average length 5.44)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points352 (average 1.80)
Video of the Day

38a mimes {Quietly tells a tale}. A great clue. The above example from the versatile Rowan Atkinson shows that a mime performance need not be quiet, although the performer is expected to be.

The Doctor is IN

16a Alana {One of Ariel's sisters in "The Little Mermaid"}. In The Little Mermaid (1989), Princess Ariel has sisters Aquata, Andrina, Arista, Attina, Adella, and Alana.

19a Zelig {Title role in a 1983 black-and-white film}. Woody Allen's mockumentary Zelig.

23a Stoney {"___ End" (1971 Barbra Streisand hit)}. Stoney End is the title track from Barbra Streisand's twelfth studio album.

25a BBB {Org. with the motto "Start With Trust"}. The Better Business Bureau fosters a fair and effective marketplace, so that buyers and sellers can trust each other.

47a Olen {Author Robert ___ Butler}. Robert Olen Butler won a Pulitzer for his first story collection, A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain.

54a kibei {U.S.-born Japanese educated in Japan}. Kibei literally means "go home to America".

3d skald {Viking poet}. A skald is a Scandinavian bard, particularly associated with the Viking age.

21d Wes {Wide receiver Welker}. Wes Welker plays for the New England Patriots.

24d Tony {What "1776" got in 1969}. 1776 won three Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

36d sect {Friends, e.g.}. "Friends" as in the Quakers.

37d Elio {Chacon of the 1962 Mets}. Elio Chacón (1936–1992) was a second baseman and shortstop.

53d USMA {Black Knights' home: Abbr.}. The Army Black Knights is the nickname of the sporting teams of the United States Military Academy.

Image of the Day

Crab Legs, Claws and Cracks

51a crabmeat {Target of some leg-pulling}. Crabs are prepared and eaten as a dish in several different ways all over the world. Some species are eaten whole, including the shell, such as soft-shell crab; with other species just the claws and/or legs are eaten. The latter is particularly common for larger crabs, such as the snow crab. In some regions spices improve the culinary experience. In Asia, masala crab and chilli crab are examples of heavily spiced dishes. In Maryland, blue crab is often eaten with Old Bay Seasoning. For the British dish Cromer crab, the crab meat is extracted and placed inside the hard shell. One American way to prepare crab meat is by extracting it and adding a flour mix, creating a crab cake. Crabs are also used in bisque, a global dish of French origin.

Other Clues

1a it's a shame {"Alas"}; 10a talks {Is successfully interrogated}; 15a bikini wax {Summer salon service, for some}; 17a in a moment {Directly}; 18a cozen {Swindle}; 20a hawk-eyed {Keenly observant}; 22a addn. {Annex: Abbr.}; 26a galoots {Lugs}; 28a Joel {Biblical preceder of 27-Down}; 29a jug {One with an ear and a small mouth}; 32a mind {What an idea comes to}; 33a Gonna {Broadway's "Never ___ Dance"}; 34a Anatomy {Makeup lessons?}; 36a seabeds {Wet bottoms}; 39a hell {Misery}; 40a SST {One with delta wings, briefly}; 41a pter- {Wing: Prefix}; 42a asocial {Not mixing well}; 45a apt {Well-said}; 46a opts to {Decides one will}; 53a utero {In ___ diagnosis}; 55a fire-storm {Violent outburst}; 58a éclat {Brilliant effect}; 59a flummoxed {At a loss}; 60a deems {Thinks}; 61a sets aside {Saves}.

1d Ibiza {One of the Pine Islands}; 2d tined {Like some harrows}; 4d aiming {Rifle range activity}; 5d snog {Make out, to Harry Potter}; 6d him! {Exclamation at a lineup}; 7d awe {Something to gaze in}; 8d manhood {Virility}; 9d extant {Not lost}; 10d tacky {In poor shape}; 11d aloe {Hydrocortisone additive}; 12d lazy-bones {Person prone to proneness?}; 13d knee bends {Ups and downs of exercise?}; 14d sandblast {Remove graffiti from, in a way}; 23d slim {Fat, as a chance}; 27d Amos {Biblical follower of 28-Across}; 28d job {Something to land}; 29d jam-packed {Very full}; 30d unit price {Sales statistic}; 31d game table {Play furniture?}; 33d gala {Festive}; 35d ter {Thrice, to a pharmacist}; 39d hostile {Inimical}; 42d ape {Mad about, with "over"}; 43d staffs {Gets help for}; 44d lottos {Means of quick wealth}; 46d omits {Passes by}; 48d Leo XI {Leader who died 27 days after his election}; 49d erred {Was faulty?}; 50d nom de {___ guerre}; 52d beam {Appear elated}; 56d rut {Progress preventer}; 57d EMS {Rescue inits.}.


Daniel Myers said...

Odd-Much easier puzzle than yesterday. But, yes, thanks for raising the point about the "SST" again. I was going to do so if you didn't. The wikipedia entry for the Concorde has changed since this matter last arose to now make even less sense. It is now described as having "double-delta" ogival wings. Sorry, but those would be double right triangle wings.

If you look up "Delta wing" in wikipedia, and scroll down to "Delta-wing variations", the correct terminology is used:

"The ogee delta used on the Anglo-French Concorde Mach 2 airliner is similar [to a "compound Delta", supra], but with a smooth curve joining the two parts rather than an angle."

So, there we are. The aeronautic "makeup lesson" - on what should be absurdly obvious - for the day.

Crossword Man said...

The New Oxford American Dictionary puts it well: delta wing n. the single triangular swept-back wing on some aircraft, typically on military aircraft.

Daniel Myers said...

Indeed it does!