Friday, July 30, 2010

NYT Saturday 7/31/10 Barry C. Silk - A Name to Remember

I found this Saturday New York Times crossword reasonably challenging: it was mostly notable for areas where I had to take pot luck, which - despite one crazy-looking answer - worked out OK for me.

As yesterday, I got a firm grip on the puzzle at the top left, though not at quite such a breakneck pace: zed at 4-Down was a gimme and I guessed an in a start to 2-Down and an -ier ending to 3-Down. Such partial answers are often critical to getting a start on puzzles as difficult as this. Soon I had anaerobe at 15-Across and the whole NW corner was done with four minutes on the clock.

The NE corner was much more of a struggle, not helped by two baseball players crossing (i.e. Tim Raines and Darrin Fletcher). This strikes me as rather inelegant and lacking knowledge of both, I had to just keep my fingers crossed that they intersected at an R ... nothing else gave a plausible forename for the down and surname for the across. There was no point in over-analyzing this situation - if I made a mistake the constructor was in for it anyway - there was no way it would be my fault!

Up to this point, I'd hardly bothered with the bottom half, but now had to get to grips with it. Turning to the right seemed the least painful route and I had the SE corner done after 18 minutes. This area had a nice mixture of obscure answers I did know (e.g. étagère, oyer, épéeist) to get me started, with ones I had to struggle for, given the way they were clued (e.g. Dr. Seuss, Sedona, map).

Tuzigoot National Monument
Tuzigoot National Monument
So I just had the SW corner to go and that was really all about Tuzigoot - once seen, never forgotten! But until that first sight of it, you wouldn't think it a real word would you? I struggled hard to make it something I could recognize, but the more I looked at it, the more it had to be Tuzigoot. The main worry was the crossing with raze, conceivably spelled rase (which alternate spelling is actually referenced in the clue). I ultimately went with the Z spelling, as I thought that the more common one in the across answer; also I had a gut feeling Tuzigoot was more likely than Tusigoot for a place name in the Southwest. Tuzigoot is going to be hard to forget now!
Solving time: 22 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 44a map {Legend locale}

Barry C. Silk
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersBarry C. Silk / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 29 (12.9%) black squares
Answers72 (average length 5.44)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points316 (average 1.61)
Video of the Day

36d Amarillo {City mentioned in "Route 66"}. (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66, often rendered simply as Route 66, is a popular song and rhythm and blues standard, composed in 1946 by American songwriter Bobby Troup. It was first recorded in the same year by Nat King Cole, and was subsequently covered by many artists including Chuck Berry in 1961, The Rolling Stones in 1964, and Depeche Mode in 1987. The song's lyrics follow the path of the U.S. Route 66 highway, which used to run a long distance across the U.S., going from Chicago to Los Angeles. The title was suggested to Troup by his first wife, Cynthia.

The Doctor is IN

9a doo-wop {It was sung in Rocky Balboa's neighborhood}. Doo-wop features in several movies in the Rocky series, e.g. as sung by Frank Stallone, Sylvester's brother.

19a epi- {Center opening?}. Reference to epi- as a prefix in  epicenter.

22a DST {Forward-moving occasion?: Abbr.}. DST = Daylight saving time, when clocks go forward.

25a Esai {Tony's portrayer on "NYPD Blue"}. Esai Morales plays Tony Rodriguez on NYPD Blue.

26a C cup {Measure of support?}; 27a straps {26-Across attachments}. Brassiere references.

43a raze {Word whose antonym is its own homophone}. "raise" (the antonym) sounds like "rase" (variant spelling of raze).

45a get set {Ready}. (to) ready is equivalent to (to) get set.

4d zed {London Zoo opening?}. The first letter of "Zoo" is spelt zed in Britain.

29d SST {Retired runway model}. SST = supersonic transport, none now being in commercial service.

34d Jane {Doe being defended}. Reference to a Jane Doe.

47d Eroica {Musical work whose name means "valiant"}. Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 is so named.

54d dele {Word often written in red}. dele is a proofreader's direction and therefore liable to be in red ink.

55d Sela {Ward with awards}. Reference to actress Sela Ward.

Image of the Day

Eero Aarnio's Ball Chair
Eero Aarnio's Ball Chair
52a Eero {Interior designer Aarnio}. Aargh, the Eeros are back! Eero Aarnio is a Finnish interior designer, well known for his innovative furniture designs in the 1960s, notably his plastic and fibreglass chairs. Our Eero studied at the Institute of Industrial Arts in Helsinki, and started his own office in 1962. The following year he introduced his Ball Chair, a hollow sphere on a stand, open on one side to allow a person to sit within. The similar Bubble Chair was clear and suspended from above. Other innovative designs included his floating Pastil Chair (similar to a solid inner tube), and Tomato Chair (more stable with a seat between three spheres). His Screw Table, as the name suggests, had the appearance of a flat head screw driven into the ground. He was awarded the American Industrial Design award in 1968.

Aarnio's designs were an important aspect of 1960s popular culture, and could often be seen as part of sets in period science-fiction films. Because his designs used very simple geometric forms, they were ideal for such productions. Aarnio's later work replaced the use of fibreglass (material that can be dangerous especially for those who are directly involved in its manufacturing) with safer types of plastic. He continues to create new designs, including toys and furniture for children.

Other Clues

1a pizza box {It may measure 16" x 16" x 2"}; 15a anaerobe {Septic tank resident}; 16a albino {Accidentally uninked embossed stamp}; 17a Panderer {"___ to Power" (Frederick J. Sheehan's exposé of Alan Greenspan)}; 18a Raines {1987 All-Star Game M.V.P. Tim}; 20a so sorry! {"My bad!"}; 23a reel {Suffer the effects of a haymaker}; 30a inn {Traditional gathering place in old Europe}; 31a Iago {Literary character whose first word is "'Sblood"}; 32a basest {Least dignified}; 34a Javan {Like the rarest rhino}; 35a patents {Preventers of many thefts}; 38a étagère {Holder of ornaments}; 40a a mule {"And Absalom rode upon ___": II Samuel 18:9}; 41a Sedona {New Age mecca in the Southwest}; 44a map {Legend locale}; 49a arid {Like arroyo areas}; 50a oyer {Legal hearing}; 53a fig {Whit}; 54a Dr. Seuss {One of his aliases was Theo. LeSieg}; 57a pop {Frequent sound at a wine tasting}; 58a flower {Bed riser?}; 60a I meant it {"My comment was serious"}; 62a Iloilo {Philippine port}; 63a solstice {Occurrence after the fall}; 64a not new {Used}; 65a trash-can {Pitching target}.

1d papers {Researchers' output}; 2d in a pet {Miffed}; 3d zanier {Comparatively clownish}; 5d Ares {His chariot was drawn by fire-emitting horses}; 6d Boro {___ Park (B'klyn neighborhood)}; 7d obese {Extremely upscale?}; 8d xerosis {Possible result of vitamin A deficiency}; 9d Darrin {Catcher Fletcher of the 1990s Expos}; 10d Olay {Big name in anti-aging products}; 11d obi {One getting waisted in Tokyo?}; 12d Wind Cave {National park in South Dakota}; 13d one sugar {Coffee specification}; 14d postpone {Shelve}; 21d ranted {Didn't just opine}; 24d labeled {Pigeonholed}; 26d CIA-gate {The Plame affair, informally}; 28d pane {Window shopper's selection}; 33d essays {Some nonfiction}; 35d paraffin {Coating of cheese}; 37d Tuzigoot {National monument near Flagstaff}; 39d tog {Deck (out)}; 42d épéeist {Jabber in a mask}; 44d morrow {"Good ___" (quaint greeting)}; 46d septic {Infected}; 48d Top Ten {Billboard's best}; 51d rumor {One may circulate quickly}; 56d sass {Reason to scold a kid}; 59d win {Have the best time, say}; 61d nth {Last in a series}.


Daniel Myers said...

This is picky, I know: But can "DST" accurately be called an "occasion."?

Crossword Man said...

I did wonder about that, but felt there are senses of "occasion" that imply continuity - e.g. MWCD11's "an occurrence or condition that brings something about". Not sure whether the clue is compatible with that sense, but was prepared to give the constructor the benefit of the doubt.