Thursday, May 13, 2010

NYT Friday 5/14/10 - Liberal Types

I ended up happy with the result on this Friday New York Times crossword: it started off badly, and based on the time it took for the first corner to be completed, I projected finishing at over 30 minutes. But things sped up towards the end, and I was done in under the half hour, confident of having a correct solution.

A first pass through the clues didn't strongly point to any area to work on, but as I went though a second time, answers started to gel in the NE and that was the first corner to be completed, at the 10 minute point. I got into this corner the hard way via the three letter answers ... somehow I remembered that the verb set has the longest entry in OED2 and then guessed écu based on it being one of the two obsolete French coins I know (the other being the sou, for what it's worth).

Then it was over to the NW, where one night at 15-Across was the nearest thing to a gimme in this puzzle and I eventually got its six-letter crossings unshod and behave. Oh yes, I'd also had Rhys at 7-Down from the first pass through, the quoted novel Wide Sargasso Sea being memorable as a prequel to Jane Eyre. There were now 18 minutes on the clock.

The little central section, the nexus of many long words, fell comparatively easily ... once I abandoned naan, the more usual {Indian bread} (not currency today), in favor of roti.

The SW looked the easier of what was left: I had scree at 39-Across, but unfortunately told you! rather than so there! for {Cry when rubbing it in} at 48-Across. It didn't take too long to abandon the wrong option based on 25-Down needing to make sense as a song title and I soon had this penultimate corner done at 23 minutes.

The SE wasn't too bad in the end: the main complication was having academia for {Learning environments} at 54-Across. I wasn't happy with the correct answer academes, as I see academe as being a mass noun and therefore not used in the plural ... but I've learned that constructors are  liberal types regarding this subj and I am trying to be accommodating!

It was hard to pick a clue of the puzz today: in addition to the quoted one, I really liked {Singing group} for stoolies, and {Follower of one's convictions} for sentence.
Solving time: 28 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 9d abbot {One giving prior consent?}

Barry C. Silk
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersBarry C. Silk / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 28 (12.4%) black squares
Answers64 (average length 6.16)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points298 (average 1.51)
Video of the Day

25d Touch Me {1969 hit for the Doors}. Touch Me is a song by The Doors from their album The Soft Parade. Written by Robby Krieger, its riff was influenced by The Four Seasons' "C'mon Marianne". It is notable for its extensive usage of brass and string instruments to accent Jim Morrison's vocals, including the measures of crooning, (including a powerful solo by featured saxophonist Curtis Amy), and was one of the most popular Doors singles. One of the most famous television appearances of The Doors is of the group performing Touch Me on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (above) along with the single's B-side, "Wild Child". During the performance, Jim Morrison missed his cue for the lines "C'mon, c'mon" and Robby Krieger could be seen with a black eye.

The Doctor is IN

16a Beaver {Title boy in an old sitcom}. Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver in Leave It to Beaver.

26a amino {Acid head?}. Reference to the answer preceding "acid" in amino acid.

27a stoolies {Singing group}. A stoolie (=stool pigeon) sings in the sense of being an informer.

1d coast {Washing-up place}. Flotsam washes up on the coast.

7d Rhys {"Wide Sargasso Sea" novelist, 1966}. Dominican novelist Jean Rhys (1890–1979).

8d mts. {Range parts: Abbr.}. mts. = mountains in a range.

37d Osmonds {Family often seen on "The Andy Williams Show"}. The Osmond Brothers were regulars on The Andy Williams Show from 1962–1969.

43d teener {Bubblegummer}. teener and "bubblegummer" are both 1960s slang and equivalents of teenybopper.

50d rial {Yemeni capital}. capital = currency is in Pavlov's Guide to Crosswords.

52d mah {Start of a Chinese game}. Reference to Mah-Jongg.

Image of the Day

1a cube farm {Its workers aren't behind closed doors}. A cube farm (also sea of cubicles or cubicle farm) is a derisive vernacular term for featureless, modern open office designs which consist of seemingly endless rows of identical office cubicles. The exact origin of the term has been lost. However, modern experiments in open office design date to the 1950s when the Quickborner team (Germany) developed office landscape. It was quickly replaced by systems furniture (a.k.a. cubicles). Robert Propst of the Herman Miller company is usually credited (or discredited) as the inventor of the modern systems furniture cubicle. However, in fairness to Propst, his original concepts were far removed from the sea of cubicles. In fact, early designs using systems furniture often reflected the irregular geometry and organic circulation patterns of office landscape. Many of the Dilbert strips make fun of the standard cubicle desk and the environment it creates.

Other Clues

9a aghast {Thunderstruck}; 15a one night {Length of many stands?}; 17a ash-trays {Places for some flicks}; 18a bikini {Wear for some contests}; 19a sharers {Liberal types}; 20a roseate {Overly optimistic}; 21a Tovah {Feldshuh of "Yentl"}; 22a fathered {Brought forth}; 23a departed {Gone}; 29a écu {It was worth three livres}; 30a cog {Machine part}; 33a tutor {Means of catching up with the rest of the class}; 34a set {It occupies 25 pages in the Oxford English Dictionary}; 35a Any {"Knock on ___ Door" (Bogart film)}; 36a dictator {Caesar}; 39a scree {Mountainside debris}; 41a hides out {Lies low}; 44a heat lamp {Common hotel bathroom feature}; 46a moped {Fuel-efficient transportation}; 48a so there! {Cry when rubbing it in}; 49a trotter {Hippodrome competitor}; 51a aviate {Play an ace?}; 52a main line {It's not the road less traveled}; 53a leones {Currency that replaced pounds in 1964}; 54a academes {Learning environments}; 55a Ernest {___ Evans, a k a Chubby Checker}; 56a holsters {Places to store barrels?}.

2d unshod {Like wild horses}; 3d behave! {Nanny's cry}; 4d entraps {Catches}; 5d fire hat {Often red item of apparel}; 6d agar {Clarifying agent in brewing}; 9d abbot {One giving prior consent?}; 10d geishas {Mama-san's charges}; 11d Hakeem {Olajuwon of the N.B.A.}; 12d aviaries {Zoo sections}; 13d sentence {Follower of one's convictions}; 14d tried out {Experimented with}; 20d radio ad {Good spot for a jingle}; 22d felt tip {Kind of marker}; 24d roti {Indian bread}; 28d Erte {"Feather Gown" sculptor}; 30d cash sale {Something you don't get credit for}; 31d once-over {Cursory cleaning, say}; 32d gyration {Belly dancer's move}; 36d deletes {Kills}; 38d rootlet {Underground branch}; 40d ethane {Crude component}; 42d uptime {Hours of operation?}; 45d a rest {Take ___ (break)}; 47d dress {Word with shoe or shop}; 49d taco {Its shell may be soft}.


Hema said...

For a Friday puzzle, not bad, I'd say. Most of the clues kind of flowed into each other. For example, once I got Beaver, and then tried out aghast, the words simply fell into place.

I was stuck on teener - never heard of the term. Nor did Trotter make any sense and since I filled it in as academia, no answer was forthcoming since I looked in here. Thanks!

Crossword Man said...

Yep that was a tough corner. The original meaning of "hippodrome" (hippos = horse in Greek) was a racecourse for horses. One of the things I've wanted to do since arriving in the US is see a trotting race live - I only know them from movies as that type of racing isn't common in the UK.