Friday, May 28, 2010

NYT Saturday 5/29/10 - Eek-A-Crossword

Although this Saturday New York Times crossword ended up taking about the same time as yesterday's (aren't Saturday puzzles supposed to be a lot harder!?), my experience was somewhat different, in that I didn't get off to a solid start and wasn't filling confidently until over half the solving time had elapsed.

Part of the problem was scattered red herring answers, which blocked progress in a lot of areas. Maybe this is a counter-productive tactic, but I tend to pencil in a lot of guesses at the start - on a bad day many turn out to be wrong. Perhaps I shouldn't do this, but I feel that without the guesses, I wouldn't be entering in anything at all and I don't like staring at a blank grid waiting for divine intervention!

Anyway, today's plausible, but wrong, answers were: hours for 30a {9 to 5, e.g.} (I did better with the other answer to the same clue at 54d); dead march for 3d {Passing burden?} (particularly problematic because it was so long); and pause for 34d {Let up}.

When I did get a proper start on filling, it was in the SE - everything below and to the right of the diagonal from square 56 to square 33 had gone in with 14 minutes on the clock. I then got to grips with the NW corner, being surprised to ultimately recognize Moe Szyslak.

From there I completed what was still unfilled in the middle and dealt with the SW ... the Minnie Miñoso reference at 52-Across was a slight worry, particularly the crossing with jives at 47-Down, but I was comforted by a feeling that I'd come across the left fielder before (indeed, twice last year).

All but the NE had been done after 24 minutes and I had some trepidation about dealing with what was presumably the toughest area. In fact it was finished very quickly, the only doubtful answer being exes at 16-Across, which I'm more used to seeing as Xes. But there seemed to be no doubt about any of the down answers crossing it, so I didn't take too long to consider the puzzle done and dusted and felt confident in a correct grid again.
Solving time: 25 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz:  17a aftertaste {It might be evaluated along with the nose}

Caleb Madison
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersCaleb Madison / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 32 (14.2%) black squares
Answers72 (average length 5.36)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points336 (average 1.74)
Video of the Day

36a I Wanna Be Sedated {Classic 1978 punk song}. I Wanna Be Sedated is one of the best known songs by the punk rock group the Ramones. It was originally released on their fourth album, Road to Ruin, in September 1978 and was the b-side of the "She's the One" single released on January 10, 1979. I Wanna Be Sedated was written by Joey Ramone. In an interview about the song, Joey explains the chorus:
"It's a road song. I wrote it in 1977, through the 78. Well, Danny Fields was our first manager and he would work us to death. We would be on the road 360 days a year, and we went over to England, and we were there at Christmastime, and in Christmas time, London shuts down. There's nothing to do, nowhere to go. Here we were in London for the first time in our lives, and me and Dee Dee Ramone were sharing a room in the hotel, and we were watching The Guns of Navarone. So there was nothing to do, I mean, here we are in London finally, and this is what we are doing, watching American movies in the hotel room."

The Doctor is IN

1a Moe Szyslak {Surly TV bartender}. Moe Szyslak of The Simpsons voiced by Hank Azaria.

16a exed {Stricken}. Another rendering of the more common Xed = crossed (out).

46a Pisa {Camposanto Monumentale locale}. Camposanto Monumentale ("monumental cemetery") is at the northern edge of the Cathedral Square in Pisa.

49a MIT {Alma mater for Buzz Aldrin and Kofi Annan: Abbr.}. MIT is in The Crucy League.

52a Miñoso {1950s-'60s left fielder selected for nine All-Star Games}. Minnie Miñoso, nicknamed "The Cuban Comet" as well as "Mr. White Sox".

55a Aviv {Hebrew for "spring"}. As in Tel Aviv, literally "Spring Mound".

2d oaf {Yo-yo}. A yo-yo is "a stupid or foolish person"(MWCD11).

5d zeros {"2001" characters}. Forget the ape-men, "2001" has two zeros in it.

9d AST {Bermuda hrs.}. Bermuda uses the Atlantic Time Zone (UTC-4).

21d de nada {"Don't mention it"}. "don't mention it" = de nada has just been added to Español para los crucigramistas.

23d Ozawa {1976 Emmy winner for "Evening at Symphony"}. Evening at Symphony was a PBS television series featuring the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Seiji Ozawa .

25d Ures {Actress Mary and musician Midge}. Mary Ure and Midge Ure.

39d Arp {Creator of the bronze "En Songe"}. En Songe ("in a dream") by Jean/Hans Arp.

53d roar {Sound heard before some films start}. Presumably the roar of the projector starting up? Postscript: no, a reference to the roar of the MGM Lion!

59d RRs {Yards are part of them: Abbr.}. RRs = railroads, which have railroad yards.

Image of the Day

Martin B-10

38d B-ten {Old Martin bomber}. The Martin B-10 was the first all-metal monoplane bomber to go into regular use by the United States Army Air Corps, entering service in June 1934. It was also the first mass-produced bomber whose performance was superior to that of the Army's pursuit aircraft of the time. The B-10 served as the airframe for the B-12, B-13, B-14, A-15 and O-45 designations. The B-10 included several revolutionary features, and won the Collier Trophy in 1932 for the Martin Company, recognizing its landmark design. The Martin Model 139 (pictured above) was the export version of the Martin B-10.

Other Clues

11a rove {Cover lots of ground}; 15a basket case {Nervous wreck}; 17a aftertaste {It might be evaluated along with the nose}; 18a wild {Like some pitches}; 19a adorns {Decks}; 20a P. Diddy {"Bad Boy for Life" performer at the 2004 Super Bowl}; 22a pot {It grows during game play}; 24a sit {Interviewer's invitation}; 25a Usenet {Web forums' ancestor}; 26a Ezek. {Dan. preceder}; 28a Ayn Rand {Author who wrote "Anyone who fights for the future, lives in it today"}; 30a ratio {9 to 5, e.g.}; 32a Eek-A- {Reggae artist ___-Mouse}; 33a sci. {It may be applied: Abbr.}; 40a lax {Hardly firm}; 41a estd. {Abbr. sometimes before a date}; 42a arras {Alcove-hiding hanging}; 43a bug-eyed {Agog}; 47a jump on {Eagerly criticize}; 51a key {Organ piece}; 53a reshoe {Fix à la a farrier}; 56a door-to-door {How some selling is done}; 60a yeti {Asian of legendary status?}; 61a Ava Gardner {"The Snows of Kilimanjaro" co-star}; 62a I see {Explanation follower}; 63a sore losers {They're often ticked after being licked}.

1d MBA {Many a mgr. holds one}; 3d estate tax {Passing burden?}; 4d sked {Slot holder, for short}; 6d yttria {Powder used in lasers}; 7d scanty {Like thongs}; 8d Lass {Burns's "The Lovely ___ o' Inverness"}; 10d keepsake {Lock of hair, maybe}; 11d rewind {Go back to the start, in a way}; 12d oxide {6-Down, for one}; 13d veldt {Outback relative}; 14d eddy {Dust devil, e.g.}; 22d peril {Daredevils are often in it}; 27d kin {Branches of some trees}; 29d needy {Broke}; 31d one-ups {Tops}; 33d strike one {First of three to be put out}; 34d cease {Let up}; 35d I'd say {"If you ask me ..."}; 37d as good as {Virtually}; 43d B movie {People may act terribly in it}; 44d emerge {Surface}; 45d distal {Situated away from the point of origin}; 47d jives {Kids}; 48d unite {Ally}; 50d thoro' {Utter, briefly}; 52d may I {Start of a request}; 54d odds {9 to 5, e.g.}; 57d ovo- {Egg opener?}; 58d o'er {"___ the towering steep" (anthem lyric)}.


syndy said...

MGM lion ROARS at the start of their pictures! hey i,m not old i had GONG first

Crossword Man said...

Thanks syndy, I should have thought of that! Postscript now added.

Crossword Man said...

Oh, I just remembered apropos of the Rank Gongman ... at school circa 1975 we were given a talk by the percussionist who actually made the sound of that gong - Jimmy Blades - the Gongman's outsized gong was a prop of course.