Friday, July 9, 2010

NYT Friday 7/9/10 Patrick Berry - Five Star Puzzle

RuddigoreMy commentary on this Friday New York Times crossword is delayed a little, as we went to a performance of Ruddigore last night. Despite my background, I saw very little G&S in England and it's been interesting catching up on this thanks to the Summer Savoyards, celebrating their 50th anniversary this year.

So I was a little dozy sitting down to solve this puzzle past midnight, and apprehensive about what Patrick Berry might inflict. Actually, this themeless seemed to be one of the easier ones, although (as often) I got off to a slow start: another five star puzzle that provided about the right mix of challenge and entertainment.

The right hand side seemed the easier of the two and I got going fairly well in the SE corner after about 5 minutes. The NE corner also yielded early on and suggested my first 15-letter answer - sedimentary rock {Where natural gas accumulates} at 31-Across - a hot topic locally, as we live on the Marcellus Shale formation which can now be successfully drilled by gas companies, as reported in the recent documentary Gasland.

That led very quickly to five star general at 7-Down and man-eating sharks at 35-Across. I had the whole right hand side done now, my only concern being the unlikely-looking Efrem (Zimbalist, Jr.) at 51-Across, but I couldn't see how any of the crossing downs could be different.

The SW corner yielded once full attention was focused on it: here 41-Across Ida. {Where I-15 meets I-86: Abbr.} caused the most trouble, as I was convinced the answer would be a city not a state; I didn't realize Ida. = Idaho until analyzing the answers after finishing the puzzle. Finally I got to the NW area and here the pair of answers identified as palindromes came into play and made the corner fall out very easily once I'd got it started.
Solving time: 21 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 15d streak {Run out of clothes?}

Patrick Berry
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersPatrick Berry / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 28 (12.4%) black squares
Answers66 (average length 5.97)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points297 (average 1.51)
Video of the Day

26a noir {Genre of "The Set-Up," 1949}. The Set-Up (1949) is an American film noir boxing drama directed by Robert Wise and featuring Robert Ryan and Audrey Totter. The screenplay was adapted by Art Cohn from a 1928 poem written by Joseph Moncure March. The film is about the boxing underworld.

The Doctor is IN

13a Pauline {Princess who was a sister of Napoleon Bonaparte}. I.e. Pauline Bonaparte (1780–1825).

Lucy van Pelt17a van Pelt {"Peanuts" surname}. As in Lucy van Pelt, whose psychiatric booth inspired the naming of this section.

18a Seles {Sports champion with a palindromic name}. Tennis player Monica Seles.

22a Ada {Literary title character with a palindromic name}. Reference to the 1969 novel Ada by Vladimir Nabokov.

30a Nia {Long seen on TV}. Nia Long, one of The Three Nias along with Vardalos and Peeples.

41a Ida. {Where I-15 meets I-86: Abbr.}. I.e. Idaho: the western section of Interstate 86 meets Interstate 15 at Pocatello.

43a Nell {Dickens heroine ___ Trent}. Little Nell from The Old Curiosity Shop.

48a Pei {Big name in Modernism}. One of the biggest names in crosswords too: architect I.M. (Ieoh Ming) Pei.

51a Efrem {Roger's "77 Sunset Strip" co-star}. 77 Sunset Strip starred Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Roger Smith, and Edd Byrnes.

60a Lastex {Yarn with a rubber core}. Dunlop's Lastex revolutionized corsetry when it was introduced in the 1930s.

9d Ann {"Roman Holiday" princess}. Ann is Audrey Hepburn's character in Roman Holiday (1953).

11d Trevino {Golfer nicknamed "Supermex"}. I.e. Mexican American Lee Trevino, aka "The Merry Mex".

25d Blyth {English city that's home to the Spartans football club}. The Blyth Spartans is a non-League soccer club.

33d Ryan {Hero of many Clancy novels}. Jack Ryan (full name John Patrick Ryan, Sr., Ph.D., CPA, KCVO).

Image of the Day

French twist

23a updos {French twists, e.g.}. A French twist is a common "updo" hair styling technique. It is created by gathering hair in a low ponytail (not secured) and twisting the ponytail upwards until it turns in on itself against the head. It is then secured with pins, clips, sticks or a comb. French twists are usually worn to proms and weddings when they are in a tight fashion; however, one could wear a messier, looser look to the office or out on the town. Hair clips are also commonly used with French twists.

Other Clues

1a jogger {Park ranger?}; 7a feasts {Several "Beowulf" scenes}; 14a ignores {Fails to factor in}; 16a intends {Aims}; 19a iced {With 21-Across, like many rivers in winter}; 21a over {See 19-Across}; 25a brine {Feta maker's need}; 28a rental {Picked-up pickup, perhaps}; 31a sedimentary rock {Where natural gas accumulates}; 34a posterity {"Few can be induced to labor exclusively for ___": Abraham Lincoln}; 35a man-eating sharks {Popular sea menaces of film}; 42a to a tee {Flawlessly}; 44a cribs {Banned aids?}; 46a Lenny {1974 Best Picture nominee directed by Bob Fosse}; 49a mere {Nothing but}; 50a Jade {___ Emperor (Taoism figure)}; 53a Another {"___ Country" (James Baldwin novel)}; 55a ratline {Rope-ladder rung on a ship}; 57a caboose {It's also called a "way car"}; 58a aliases {Forwarding e-mail addresses}; 59a lingua {Latin tongue}.

1d Jane Doe {She's tried often}; 2d outlaid {Spent}; 3d glee {High spirits}; 4d Ginsu {Pitched blade?}; 5d End {"The ___," next-to-last song on "Abbey Road," ironically}; 6d residential area {Place with higher speeding fines, often}; 7d five-star general {Army post unused since the 1950s}; 8d egad {Minced oath}; 10d sopor {Lethargy}; 12d selenic {Containing element #34}; 13d Pisans {Losers of the Battle of Meloria, 1284}; 15d streak {Run out of clothes?}; 20d contented {Like Arcadia's inhabitants}; 24d presto {Magic word}; 27d ripe {Ready enough}; 29d arisen {Appeared}; 32d moats {Tokyo Imperial Palace features}; 35d Micmac {Nova Scotia's Lake ___, named for an Indian tribe}; 36d adrenal {Near the kidneys}; 37d Nairobi {Uhuru Park locale}; 38d reprise {Second appearance on a soundtrack}; 39d Kleenex {It may be offered with a blessing}; 40d slimes {Besmears}; 45d bet on {Back}; 47d yetis {Cryptozoological creatures}; 50d Jesu {"___, meine Freude" (Bach motet)}; 52d flat {One way to be turned down}; 54d hog {Appropriate in an inappropriate way}; 56d à la {Imitating}.


Miles said...

I enjoyed this puzzle but couldn't believe the Blyth reference, a little obscure even for an Englishman like me! I can't imagine many Americans getting this without most of the crossing answers.

Crossword Man said...

Yes, words failed me with respect to the Blyth reference. I was going to say it is similar to cluing a place in the US via its Class A baseball team ... say {Georgia city that's home to the Braves baseball team} for Rome. But that isn't an unreasonable approach for a US place and team ... it does seem a bit ridic for the English equivalent.