Friday, June 25, 2010

NYT Saturday 6/26/10 - Climb Elk-y Mountain

This Saturday New York Times crossword was fairly straightforward, though every section of the grid seemed to have something a little challenging; so I needed to take two (or more) bites of the cherry in a lot of spots.

It's nice to get a reasonable start at the top and I found gimmes with ovo- (or was it ovi-) at 2-Down, yenta at 8-Down, adit at 11-Down, fiancé at 9-Across. I fairly soon had the start of the topmost 15-letter answer as something ..., but couldn't finish it due to mistakes at 10-Down (invest) and 14-Down (eco-).

learn how to pan for goldSo I moved down to the middle stratum (the grid does rather split into three layers) and got going really well there. Again, it was a challenge to finish the 15-letter answer off, as the right hand side was a thicket of obscure references, among which Whitehorse and Neri at 41-Across and 39-Down.

A revisit to the NW corner with the advantage of knowing the end of 3-Down allowed me to complete that area, but the NE looked stubborn enough that I left it to the end. The bottom layer now got all the attention and I think that turned out the easiest of three. It helped that I knew every answer, even Elk (Mountain) as it's our local ski resort, our neighbors work there etc.

After 18 minutes, I had done everything except the gnarly NE corner, but concentrated attention soon led me to look at 10-Down again and I changed invest to infest. When solving I hoped invest met {Take over}, but it doesn't really, as it means "to surround with troops or ships so as to prevent escape or entry". It was now easy to finish off 17-Across and get all the downs via 16-Across ... Fiske and Cohn being unknown to me ... I also couldn't see how nose satisfied the enigmatic {A hook might give it a hook}. See below for my explanations of all these.

I enjoyed this puzzle a lot, but thought it a little heavy on the prefixes and suffixes. I count four, all in the down clues and wondered why 55-Down wasn't clued as a regular word. Clues like {Egg head?} and {What may start climactically?} are best in moderation ... too many of that type (and I think one per puzzle is about the max) and they lose any potential to deceive and surprise.
Solving time: 19 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 23a wades {Doesn't go swimmingly?}

Robert H. Wolfe
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersRobert H. Wolfe / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers70 (average length 5.34)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points290 (average 1.55)
Video of the Day

34d Eat It {1984 hit with the lyric "Have a banana, have a whole bunch"}. Eat It is a hit single by parody artist "Weird Al" Yankovic. It is a parody of the song "Beat It" by Michael Jackson. Eat It earned Yankovic a 1984 Grammy Award in the Best Comedy Recording category. According to Yankovic, when he presented his lyrics to Jackson for permission for the parody, he didn't know what kind of reaction he'd get. Jackson allegedly thought it was amusing, and agreed to allow the parody.

The above clip has Yankovic's version for the soundtrack and the two videos on the bottom. The video on top is Jackson's video for Beat It reedited to match Eat It scene for scene. Pay close attention, as references to this song are not uncommon.

The Doctor is IN

19a peal {Roll}. As in a peal/roll of thunder.

28a ta ta {Heathrow takeoff sound?}. ta ta is British for "goodbye", often heard at Heathrow Airport.

36a Ren {Neurotic toon}. Ren (a Cruciverbal Canine) in The Ren and Stimpy Show.

40a NCO {Elvis Presley was one: Abbr.}. Elvis rose to the rank of sergeant in the U.S. Army before being honorably discharged in 1960.

41a Whitehorse {Trading center during the Klondike gold rush}. Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon.

9d Fiske {Big name in college guides}. As in the Fiske Guide to Colleges.

12d nose {A hook might give it a hook}. We think a reference to boxing, in which a hook (the punch) might break a nose, giving it a hook.

13d Cohn {Columbia Pictures co-founder}. Harry Cohn (1891–1958) founded Columbia Pictures with his brother Jack, and Joe Brandt.

26d lad {Bar mitzvah, e.g.}. A Bar Mitzvah (or Bat Mitzvah) is the term for a boy (or girl) who's reached the age of responsibility, as well as the name for the ceremony itself.

33d Chi {Loop setting, briefly}. Loop = Chicago neighborhood is in Pavlov's Guide to Crosswords.

39d Neri {St. Philip of Rome}. I.e. Philip Neri (1515–1595) aka Apostle of Rome.

46d hauls {Does semi-related work?}. Semi = truck is also in Pavlov's Guide to Crosswords.

57d día {Semana segment}. day = día and week = semana are in Español para los crucigramistas.

Image of the Day

47d Elk {Pennsylvania's ___ Mountain (skiing area)}. I could hardly believe this: a clue in the New York Times crossword references something within 20 miles of where we live!! That's a first since I've been solving. I thought it so unlikely that I opted first for Snö Mountain (sic: the umlaut is as silly as the one in Spıal Tap), which Magdalen remarked was stupid, as it was only renamed that two years ago.

Anyway, Elk Mountain is the largest ski area in the Endless Mountain region (our neck of the woods) of Pennsylvania. The ski area was opened in 1959. It is the highest ski area in eastern Pennsylvania. Located about 30 miles north of Scranton, Pennsylvania, it has a 1,000 feet vertical drop. It has 27 trails including 6 greens, 10 blues and 11 diamonds. It also has a new terrain park located on the east side of the mountain off of the Delaware Trail. Many trails are serviced by snow-making facilities. The above picture shows the mountain with the colors typical of a fall round here.

Other Clues

1a not today {Procrastinator's reply}; 9a fiancé {Engagement party?}; 15a overcame {Beat}; 16a indoor {Enclosed}; 17a something's fishy {Rat smeller's words}; 20a take ten {Break}; 21a as a {___ bonus}; 23a wades {Doesn't go swimmingly?}; 24a regular {Alternative to premium}; 32a ice palaces {Winter sports arenas}; 37a don't do that again {Warning to a pest}; 42a dyne {Unit in an erg's definition}; 44a in anger {Way to look back?}; 45a chest {Jewel holder}; 49a as I {"___ said ..."}; 50a asphalt {Court cover-up?}; 53a eras {They're often associated with world leaders}; 56a are you kidding me? {"Seriously?"}; 60a barrel {Crude container}; 61a ligature {Artery binder}; 62a abbess {"Climb Ev'ry Mountain" singer in "The Sound of Music"}; 63a lays into {Rails at}.

1d nos {They're not positive}; 2d ovo- {Egg head?}; 3d temp agency {Placement aid}; 4d tree {Pistachio or almond}; 5d octa- {Prefix with -valent}; 6d Dahl {Gary who invented the Pet Rock}; 7d Ami {1960s-'70s Citroën}; 8d yenta {Grapevine cultivator?}; 10d infest {Take over}; 11d adit {Colliery access}; 14d -ery {Green attachment?}; 18d gad {Knock (about)}; 21d arid {Anhydrous}; 22d second {It goes by quickly}; 23d wrath {Face reddener}; 25d Upton {Baltimore neighborhood that includes Marble Hill}; 27d alow {On a deck beneath}; 29d argon {Composition of some plasmas}; 30d tear-gas gun {Folks may cry after it's shot}; 31d anises {Members of the carrot family}; 35d Sten {9-mm. weapon}; 38d aha {Brainstorm outburst}; 43d echoes {Hollow replies}; 48d still {Allay}; 50d Arab {Many a dinar spender}; 51d Serb {Dinar spender}; 52d pyre {Phoenix construction}; 53d edgy {Envelope-pushing}; 54d rias {Cousins of fjords}; 55d anti- {What may start climactically?}; 56d ABA {Grp. concerned with precedents}; 58d Mr. T {Chain-sporting star}; 59d EEO {Job ad abbr.}.


Daniel Myers said...

As an example of how my limey upbringing can still throw me on US puzzles, my one miscue today was "Take Tea" for 20A and "Coha" sounded as good as "Cohn" to me for 13D. It's rather droll in retrospect, but I was more than a bit miffed at myself when I read your write-up!

Crossword Man said...

take tea for {Break} is a great answer - glad I didn't think of it! I had read somewhere that many of the Hollywood pioneers were recent Jewish immigrants and that made me comfortable with Cohn for the Columbia co-founder (although it turns out he was US-born).