Saturday, April 3, 2010

NYT Saturday 4/3/10 - Lost in the White Space

This Saturday New York Times crossword turned out to be another game of two halves: I had the right side done in a little over ten minutes, but I got well and truly lost in the white space on the left side - both top and bottom - and I ended up posting another time over the half hour.

Things seemed to start off really well in the NW corner with my guess for 1d storage turning out right and crossing with the very helpful long answer 15a tabula rasa. Unfortunately, the only other thing I could do in that area was guess day at the end of 17d (I went further with the day-appropriate On Saturday, but soon lost faith in it).

That at least let me develop downwards via 10d day tripping and hence to the NE corner, which seemed comparatively easy, despite my blanking on Dian Parkinson (think there's any chance I'd know her?!) and Elaine's.

After that it was down to the SE corner, which also wasn't too bad; in doing so, much of the middle got filled. From then on things got more challenging.

In the SW corner, the problem was definitely the predominance of proper names, not usually my strong point. Remembering the details of the Entebbe Raid, I unfortunately started with Israeli for 41d and that blocked me for quite a bit until I had the sense to abandon it and wait for crossings to suggest what the true answer might be.

One stumbling block in the NW corner was having embues for 32a, which I see now isn't a real word; I hoped when solving that it was a variant of imbues and hence answered the clue. The other critical entry proved to be 17a One Fine Day, which I didn't pin too much hope on initially, since I associate it only with Madama Butterfly.

To sum up, this was another enjoyable struggle: the puzzle was no pushover, and it felt great to produce a correct grid in nearer to the half hour than the hour. I see the constructors managed to box the cruciverbal compass by producing a pangrammatic grid (every letter of the alphabet appears at least once).
Solving time: 34 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 66a dent {What's often pounded out}

Peter A. Collins and Joe Krozel
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersPeter A. Collins and Joe Krozel / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 27 (12.0%) black squares
Answers70 (average length 5.66)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points318 (average 1.61)
Video of the Day

36a Tati {"Mr. Hulot's Holiday" Oscar nominee}. The French filmmaker Jacque Tati (1907–1982) was a master of physical comedy. In all but his very last film, Tati plays the lead character, who - with the exception of his first and last films - is the gauche and socially inept Monsieur Hulot. With his trademark raincoat, umbrella and pipe, Hulot is among the most memorable comic characters in cinema. Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot (Mr. Hulot's Holiday), was released in 1953 and earned Tati an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay which was shared with Henri Marquet.

The Doctor is IN

17a One Fine Day {When "you're gonna want me for your girl," in a 1963 hit}. One Fine Day was a hit for girl group the Chiffons.

19a Rolfe {Chief Powhatan's son-in-law}. English settler John Rolfe married Pocahontas.

21a edit {Clean rags?}. Rags = newspapers.

27a girl {Bat mitzvah, e.g.}. Bat Mitzvah = Jewish girl reaching the age of 12 (as well as the associated ceremony).

48a end run {Attempt to bypass opposition}. end run = an evasive trick or maneuver <made an end run around the regulations>.

55a WBA {Org. in which people get belted}. World Boxing Association awards championship belts.

59a Lewis {Christian apologist who wrote "The Four Loves"}. C. S. Lewis wrote The Four Loves.

56a shah {Any member of the Safavid dynasty}. Safavid dynasty.

61a Hamm {Last name of twin gymnasts in the 2004 Olympics}. Morgan Hamm and Paul Hamm.

4d cuff {Copper bracelet?}. Copper = police officer.

5d Klieg {Star light?}. Reference to the Klieg lights of early film-making.

6d Jan {Half of a popular 1960s singing duo}. Jan and Dean of surf music.

13d Elaine's {Bistro seen in "Manhattan"}. Elaine's, 1703 2ND Ave, New York, NY 10128 - an Italian restaurant too exclusive to have its own web site?

14d dentine {It's under a canine's coat}. Canine = tooth.

24d Lost in Space {Show featuring the scheming Dr. Zachary Smith}. Doctor Zachary Smith played by Jonathan Harris.

60d Elon {Piedmont university}. Elon is in The Crucy League.

Image of the Day


29a Osiris {Nut's offspring}. Osiris was an Egyptian god, usually called the god of the Afterlife, underworld or dead. His green skin symbolizes re-birth. Osiris was at times considered the oldest son of the Earth god Geb, and the sky goddess, Nut as well as being brother and husband of Isis, with Horus being considered his posthumously begotten son.

Other Clues

1a slack-jawed {Apparently floored}; 11a coed {Like some fraternities nowadays}; 15a tabula rasa {Baby's mind, e.g.}; 16a axle {It spins its wheels}; 18a Dian {Longtime "The Price Is Right" model Parkinson}; 20a neut. {Like some Ger. nouns}; 22a à la {Much like}; 23a glad {Pleased}; 25a rotini {Ziti alternative}; 31a zen {Kind of state in the East}; 32a endues {Transfuses}; 34a Nepalese {Neighbors of Indians}; 38a tpke. {Plaza-to-plaza stretch: Abbr.}; 39a quieting {Putting to rest}; 43a I am now {Response to "Are you awake?"}; 47a und {Freud's "Totem ___ Tabu"}; 50a sere {Sun-baked}; 51a Asians {Many 31-Across practitioners}; 53a alga {Bit of rootless flora}; 57a pent {Shut up}; 62a annihilate {Crush}; 64a Edie {1957 Tony winner Adams}; 65a crime novel {It might have red herrings}; 66a dent {What's often pounded out}; 67a eye-openers {Pieces of surprising news}.

1d storage {An unused item may be placed in it}; 2d lanolin {Ointment base}; 3d Abelard {"Sic et Non" theologian}; 7d arenas {Places where stands have been made}; 8d waded in {Attacked energetically}; 9d Esau {The Bible's "cunning hunter"}; 10d day tripping {Vacationing very briefly}; 11d cadet {General starting point?}; 12d oxidize {Go from aluminum to alumina, say}; 26d Osaka {Japanese for "large hill"}; 28d lute {One with a long neck and a rounded body}; 30d ret. {Out of practice?: Abbr.}; 33d eaten {Like items that have been put away}; 35d LEMs {NASA's Falcon and Intrepid}; 37d Ind. {Poll abbr.}; 39d quashed {Put to rest}; 40d unshade {Expose to light}; 41d Idi Amin {"Raid on Entebbe" role}; 42d grannie {Family member}; 44d New Wave {Avant-garde}; 45d orbiter {NASA vehicle}; 46d weasels {Sly sorts}; 49d ultimo {Last, to Luigi}; 52d Ahmet {Record producer Ertegun in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame}; 54d A-line {Coat cut}; 58d 'Enry {Eliza's mentor, to Eliza}; 63d hep {Tuned in}.


Daniel Myers said...

Anent "Embue" - The unabridged OED lists it as an obsolete form of Imbue. But, unhelpfully, offers no citations. Although, etymologically, the word comes from the past participle of the Old French "Emboir" - to wit, "Embu." In any event, it is actually a more accurate answer than the "correct" one here: Endue, which is related to Endow. One has only to look up the definitions.

Sorry, caught the philological bug today. Wodehouse over Hardy? Come now, you can't be serious? Well, neither can Wodehouse - like them both actually.:-)

Crossword Man said...

Thanks Daniel re embue ... that makes me feel a lot better, although the blogger spell checker is never going to buy it.