Thursday, July 29, 2010

NYT Friday 7/30/10 Kevin G. Der - Real Stunner

Hey! A new record solving time for a Friday puzzle. But I get the distinct sense that this New York Times crossword will have been easy for everybody else too.

I got off to a great start in at the top left, guessing an up ending to 1-Down, then une at 25-Across, Sras. at 18-Across; with that the downs started to fall like dominoes and I consequently had all three 15-letter answers at the top inside two minutes. Phew!

It wasn't all that easy and working downwards got progressively more challenging: the 15-letter answers at the bottom were hard to pin down, even with around two-thirds of the crossings. It didn't help that I had one plausible-but-wrong answer with dined rather than dug in at 45-Down.

Interesting to see a chemical formula again, at 42-Down, and I now know that these appear correctly with subscripts in the printed version of the crossword (limitations in Across Lite meant I saw C4H8, not C4H8). Despite that, my rusty chemical knowledge told me that the answer would be an unsaturated hydrocarbon (twice as many hydrogen atoms as carbon atoms) and the four carbon atoms pointed to butene (the alkene series going ethene, propene, butene, pentene etc). My chemistry degree was not wasted after all!
Solving time: 12 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 34a spears {Potential game stoppers}

Kevin G. Der
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersKevin G. Der / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 20 (8.9%) black squares
Answers64 (average length 6.41)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points316 (average 1.54)
Video of the Day

42a Bizet {See 36-Down}; 36d enfants {"Jeux d'___" (42-Across keyboard work)}. Jeux d'enfants ("Children's Games") Op. 22, is a set of twelve miniatures composed by Georges Bizet for piano duet in 1871. Five of the most popular numbers from this set (Nos. 6, 3, 2, 11, 12) were later orchestrated as the Petite Suite.

The Doctor is IN

18a Sras. {Femmes mariées, across the Pyrenees: Abbr.}. I.e. married women across the Pyrenees from France = Señoras.

23a oner {Knockout}. Equivalents in the sense of "remarkable person/thing".

34a spears {Potential game stoppers}. spears might bring down game in the sense of hunted animal(s).

14d eleison {"Have mercy," in a Mass}. As in Kyrie, eleison ("Lord, have mercy").

30d thane {Ross, Lennox or Angus, in Shakespeare}. Ross, Lennox and Angus are sundry thanes in The Scottish Play.

35d pianino {Undersize keyboard}. A pianino is a small upright piano.

47d Mehta {Masur's New York Philharmonic predecessor}. Zubin Mehta and Kurt Masur.

49d caro {Italian sweet?}. caro (fem. cara) is a term of endearment in Italian, roughly equivalent to "my dear".

50d Yoda {Sage exiled on the planet Dagobah}. Reference to Yoda in the Star Wars universe.

Image of the Day

6d Inca {User of a record-keeping device called a quipu}. Quipus or khipus (sometimes called talking knots) were recording devices used in the Inca Empire and its predecessor societies in the Andean region. A quipu usually consisted of colored spun and plied thread or strings from llama or alpaca hair. It could also be made of cotton cords. The cords contained numeric and other values encoded by knots in a base ten positional system. Quipus might have just a few or up to 2,000 cords. Some of the knots, as well as other features such as color, are thought to represent non-numeric information, which has not been deciphered.

Other Clues

1a stocking stuffer {Christmas trifle}; 16a machine readable {Like bar codes}; 17a auto accessories {Cup holders and such}; 19a arêtes {Glaciation products}; 20a fit {Tailor's concern}; 21a hived {Joined the swarm}; 24a Lisa {Actress Edelstein of TV's "House"}; 25a Une {"___ Femme Mariée" (Jean-Luc Godard film)}; 26a resat {Convened anew}; 28a color {Walnut, e.g.}; 29a pesterer {Nag}; 31a potent {90 proof, say}; 32a hard clams {Quahogs}; 37a have a cow {Wig out}; 41a hinny {Rare equine hybrid}; 43a arr. {Flight ticket abbr.}; 44a Rafe {___ McCawley, Ben Affleck's role in "Pearl Harbor"}; 45a duty {Airport patrons often avoid it}; 46a omega {Series finale}; 48a in a {___ heap}; 49a cutesy {"Aww"-inspiring}; 51a élan {Bounce}; 52a vintage clothing {It was put on decades ago}; 55a enter into detail {Elaborate}; 56a lose one's balance {Tip over, say}.

1d smash-up {Bad traffic accident}; 2d taurine {Bullish}; 3d octaves {Musical series}; 4d chose {Drew a lot, say}; 5d Kia {Amanti maker}; 7d necrosed {Dead, as tissue}; 8d green architects {Ones concerned with sustainable design}; 9d sestet {Quatrain's longer relative}; 10d Taser {Real stunner}; 11d udos {Japanese salad plants}; 12d far {"___ out!"}; 13d FBI file {Dangerous thing to leak}; 15d restart {Result of jumping the gun}; 22d dreary {Overcast}; 24d lotsa {Mucho}; 27d errs {Goes off}; 28d come to {Total}; 31d pave {Smooth over}; 33d lazy slob {Epithet for an annoying roommate}; 34d shrivel {Decrease in vitality}; 38d Caelian {One of the seven hills of Rome}; 39d organic {Free of hormones, say}; 40d wrangle {Have words}; 42d butene {C4H8}; 45d dug in {Started on a course}; 53d tee {Sports supporter}; 54d tel. {Abbr. that might appear above "e-mail"}.


Daniel Myers said...

I'm not sure what you mean by the "printed" version. When I printed today's puzzle out - as is my wont - I got C4H8, sans subscripts, for 42D. No doubt the "dead-tree" printed version of the paper's puzzle has the subscripts. In any event, I was unduly held up by this clue, assuming it was "butane" and having never encountered "butene". Thus, it wasn't until I got the first letter "V" in 52 across that I realised that something must be amiss. So many minutes wasted wondering what type of -AGA clothing people might once have worn. Your Chemistry degree certainly did serve you well today!

Crossword Man said...

Yup, I meant the dead-tree printed edition. Today's chemistry lesson: saturated hydrocarbons (alkanes) have the formula C[N]H[2N+2] and the -ane suffix; unsaturated hydrocarbons (alkenes) have the formula C[N]H[2N] and the -ene suffix; the prefixes go meth-, eth-, prop-, but-, pent-, hex- etc. Easy huh?

Daniel Myers said...

Assuming Colonel Blimp intonation: "Oh, quite. Piece of cake, old boy. Piece of cake."

Tony Lampkin said...

Slight error in your published Sunday, August 1 solution. Should be "fancyfray" not "fancyfrae", "nobly", not "noble", better luck next time.

Tony Lampkin.
An Englishman in Vietnam

Crossword Man said...

Thanks for pointing that out Tony. The Sunday post has now been updated with a correction and postscript.