Saturday, May 29, 2010

NYT Sunday 5/30/10 - Double Trouble

This Sunday New York Times crossword defied our thematic expectations and we liked the concept and implementation of the idea very much.

We've seen several themes involving word chains in the answers and half-expected today's puzzle to be another of those, based on "Full Circle" as the title. So having got roast turkey for 22-Across, we looked for 24-Across to start turkey. Not at all! ... the chain is in the clues, with each doing "double duty" for two answers. Very neat!

The strongest theme clues seem to be at the top, where they are reasonably helpful, despite having to serve for two answers. At the bottom we groaned a little over {Two things that are red} - which does cover a lot of ground - but that was just one clue among ten and we admire the skill involved in bringing this idea off so well.

Aside from the theme, we had very few difficulties today and turned in a reasonably good solving time for a Sunday. We got a kick out of 80d talc {Rash soother} followed by 81d aloe {Rash soother}. Seeing the clue first for 80-Down, I was adamant the answer could only be aloe ... which of course didn't fit there, but next door!
Solving time: 30 mins (with Magdalen, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 75d acorns {They're nuts}

Eric Berlin
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


"Full Circle". Each theme clue does "double duty" indicating its answer and also the next theme answer; cyclically, so the last theme clue also indicates the first theme answer.
22a roast turkey 24a scarecrow {Two things that are stuffed}
24a scarecrow 36a haystack {Two things on a farm}
36a haystack 38a record-player {Two things associated with needles}
38a record-player 55a Ferris wheel {Two things that spin}
55a Ferris wheel 82a cotton candy {Two things at an amusement park}
82a cotton candy 95a rubber cement {Two things that are sticky}
95a rubber cement 99a muralist {Two things with brushes}
99a muralist 115a fire truck {Two things with ladders}
115a fire truck 117a cranberries {Two things that are red}
117a cranberries 22a roast turkey {Two things associated with Thanksgiving}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersEric Berlin / Will Shortz
Grid21x21 with 71 (16.1%) black squares
Answers140 (average length 5.29)
Theme squares124 (33.5%)
Scrabble points546 (average 1.48)
Video of the Day

65d Ella {"Enchanted" girl of children's lit}.  Ella Enchanted is a Newbery Honor book written by Gail Carson Levine and published in 1997. It is also the title of the American movie based on the novel and released in 2004; it was directed by Tommy O'Haver and stars Anne Hathaway and Hugh Dancy. The story is a retelling of Cinderella featuring various mythical creatures including fairies, elves, ogres, gnomes, and giants.

The Doctor is IN

10a Boone {Cumberland Gap explorer}. Daniel Boone led the team of loggers that make the Cumberland Gap accessible to pioneers.

27a APs {Tests for college credit, briefly}. AP = Advanced Placement - I relied on Magdalen for that one.

68a et tu {Accusatory words}. As in et tu Brute?, the "famous last words" of Julius Caesar.

76a Cleon {Opponent of Pericles}. Cleon (d. 422 BC) was an Athenian statesman and a Strategos during the Peloponnesian War.

79a état {___ de malaise}. Seems to translate literally as "state of malaise"... I have yet to detect an idiomatic meaning or allusion to help explain its appearance in the clue. Readers?

87a soda {Egg cream component}. An egg cream contains neither eggs nor cream.

92a Liotta {"No Escape" star, 1994}. Ray Liotta plays Robbins in the action/science film No Escape.

106a Bohr {1922 Physics Nobelist}. Danish physicist Niels Bohr (1885–1962).

113a teenie {Adjective for a bikini, in a 1960 song}. Reference to the novelty song Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.

77d Nye {Scientist with multiple Emmys}. Bill Nye the Science Guy, my nemesis in ACPT 2009.

117d CCC {XXX x X}. 30 times 10 in Roman numerals.

118d BCE {Letters in an old date}. BCE = Before the Common Era, equivalent to BC.

Image of the Day

55a Ferris wheel {Thing that spins/thing at an amusement park}. Magdalen specially requested a Ferris wheel as the IOTD, so here goes. A Ferris wheel (also known as an observation wheel or big wheel) consists of a rotating upright wheel with passenger cars (sometimes referred to as gondolas or capsules) attached to the rim. The original Ferris Wheel was designed and constructed by George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. as a landmark for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The term Ferris wheel later came to be used generically for all such structures. Since the original Ferris Wheel of 1893, there have been eight subsequent world's tallest-ever Ferris wheels. The current record holder is the 165-metre (541 ft) Singapore Flyer, which opened to the public in March 2008. The 208 m (682 ft) Beijing Great Wheel, under construction since 2007 and originally planned to open in 2008, has been delayed until 2010.

For the illustrative picture, I selected the Wiener Riesenrad, an example of a nineteenth century Ferris wheel, and still in operation today. Erected in 1897 in the Prater park in Vienna, it has a height of 64.75 metres (212 ft) and originally had 30 passenger cars. A demolition permit for the Riesenrad was issued in 1916, but due a lack to funds with which to carry out the destruction, it survived. The Riesenrad famously appeared in the post-war film noir The Third Man.

Other Clues

1a Agra {City SE of New Delhi}; 5a skoal! {"To your health!"}; 15a Vol. {iPod control: Abbr.}; 18a felon {Supermax resident}; 19a Vanya {Chekhov's "Uncle ___"}; 20a arrow {Instructional tool}; 21a ETO {W.W. II command}; 26a oldish {Getting up there in years}; 28a realm {Domain}; 29a riot {Laugh ___}; 30a tile {Word game component, sometimes}; 31a eso {Tijuana "that"}; 33a ired {Seeing red}; 35a fella {Guy}; 42a tarred {Like some roofs and roads}; 44a gondolas {Balloonists' baskets}; 45a Ont. {Que. neighbor}; 48a PTA {Fund-raising grp.}; 49a Ivan {Scientist Pavlov}; 51a anapests {Some poetic feet}; 58a ists {Believers}; 59a Air {"Hair" song with the lyric "Hello, carbon monoxide"}; 60a tween {Many a Miley Cyrus fan}; 61a lectern {Speaker's spot}; 63a Mt Etna {Sicilian tourist attraction}; 66a lest {Out of concern that}; 67a spat {Little argument}; 71a Oleg {___ Kalugin, former K.G.B. general with the 1994 book "Spymaster"}; 72a pistol {Vivacious person}; 74a seasons {Annual foursome}; 78a Ana {Santa ___}; 84a reproval {Admonishment}; 88a tía {Argentine aunt}; 89a SSE {Edinburgh-to-London dir.}; 90a I'm a Loser {Second track on "Beatles '65"}; 103a union {Bargaining group}; 104a apse {Church recess}; 105a era {Noted period}; 107a ergs {Physics units}; 108a iMacs {Certain Apples}; 111a RCA {HDTV brand}; 119a UPI {Wire service inits.}; 120a Roche {Drug company behind Valium}; 121a comic {"Pearls Before Swine," e.g.}; 122a itals. {What some titles are written in, briefly}; 123a leg {Standing need}; 124a inked {Signed}; 125a Crete {"Zorba the Greek" setting}; 126a sand {Smooth}.

1d Aeolia {Region in ancient Asia Minor}; 2d gladly {With a smile}; 3d rosiest {Most promising}; 4d ants {Certain soldiers}; 5d SVU {"Law & Order" spinoff, for short}; 6d karaoke {Draw of some bars}; 7d on KP {Being punished, military-style}; 8d aye sir! {"O.K., captain!"}; 9d lay {Not ecclesiastical}; 10d based on {Inspired by}; 11d orca {Deep-sea predator}; 12d oral {Spoken}; 13d norm {Usual}; 14d ewe {Woolly one}; 15d verily {In truth, in Shakespeare}; 16d O'Toole {Peter with four Golden Globes}; 17d low-tar {Claim in a cigarette ad}; 18d froth {Latte topper}; 23d the Arts {Juilliard's focus}; 25d crease {Hockey goalie's area}; 28d recon {Scout's job, briefly}; 32d scrawls {Hasty signatures}; 34d regale {Entertain}; 35d flap {To-do}; 37d tap into {Use as a resource}; 39d RDAs {Nutritional stds.}; 40d don't {Word of warning}; 41d -plasm {Ending with proto-}; 43d die-cast {Like some metal toys}; 45d oft {Many times, in verse}; 46d New Line {Studio that produced the Austin Powers movies}; 47d tree sap {Source of some resins}; 50d Vette {American sports car, for short}; 52d sateens {Shiny fabrics}; 53d tin gods {Small-time tyrants}; 54d Sra. {Mexican Mrs.}; 56d rest {Others}; 57d hep {In the know, in old slang}; 58d in total {Counting everything}; 62d resod {Put new turf on}; 64d toccata {Improvisatory piece of classical music}; 69d TNT {"Southland" airer}; 70d USO tour {Shows near the front?}; 72d par {Target for certain athletes}; 73d LeVar {Actor Burton}; 75d acorns {They're nuts}; 80d talc {Rash soother}; 81d aloe {Rash soother}; 83d nitrate {Fertilizer ingredient}; 85d ribose {Biochemical sugar}; 86d omen {Sign}; 87d seeps {Gets through slowly}; 91d smacked {Kissed noisily}; 93d I mean it! {"Honest!"}; 94d Alberta {Neighbor of Montana}; 95d rueful {Very sorry}; 96d unripe {Green, say}; 97d big rig {18-wheeler}; 98d terror {Real brat}; 100d Ionian {Sea between Italy and Greece}; 101d shield {Protect}; 102d tress {Long lock}; 108d iron {Monopoly token}; 109d muck {Gooey dirt}; 110d ache {Workout aftereffect}; 112d came {Arrived}; 114d Eris {She threw the apple of discord}; 116d tri- {Not quite quadri-}.


Anonymous said...

Oh, did I ruin my solving time by insisting on "balm" for 80-Down! How much difference two letters can make...

Anonymous said...

I'm not aware of an idiomatic meaning for "état de malaise". One uses the term when saying that they're not feeling well, to my knowledge.

Perhaps the time has come for français pour les mots croisés?

Crossword Man said...

Thanks Anon(s). So glad we didn't think of balm ... that would have driven us crazy, not been very soothing! Français pour les mots croisés may get done at some point, but I think Italian will have priority - cue the arias.