Thursday, August 5, 2010

NYT Friday 8/6/10 Patrick Berry - Rest Easy

This Friday New York Times crossword was another nice smooth solving experience for me - there were no awkward spots where I had doubts as to correctness at the end.

I found a reasonable number of gimmes throughout the grid today, and tried hard to fill the NW corner right off the bat; but I soon got stuck there and dreaded having to tackle it later, as I couldn't see any way to open it up ... note also how the block structure makes it relatively isolated (only two answers span from the corner block to the center).

Omar Epps
Omar Epps
Instead I dealt with the NE corner, where I surprised myself by remembering Omar Epps: he gave me a very solid start to the area, which I finally considered rather easy, as was the SE corner. If the whole grid had been as straightforward as the right hand side, I might have chalked up another record time, but it was not to be.

I ignored the dreaded NW corner as long as I could, finishing the SW with a little difficulty. Here the delightful 29d flop sweat {It sometimes covers first-time performers} was amongst the last answers to be revealed - an easier clue to that one long answer would have made a lot of difference.

So back to the crux of the puzzle, where I started out: this time I had finds fault at 5-Down and that made a difference. Also, I finally thought of Frau at 4-Down, when previously I imagined the clue called for a forename. I'm not sure we ever do know Frau Blücher's forename in Young Frankenstein ... maybe it's in fact Frau!

As often with Patrick Berry puzzles, it was really tough to choose a favorite clue: runners up were 20a Wenceslas {Carol king} and 29d flop sweat {It sometimes covers first-time performers}.
Solving time: 19 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 36d thirsty {Seeking relief from a pitcher?}

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

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersPatrick Berry / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 25 (11.1%) black squares
Answers66 (average length 6.06)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points289 (average 1.45)
Video of the Day

4d Frau {___ Blücher (forbidding "Young Frankenstein" character)}. I've probably featured Young Frankenstein before ... but hey! it's one of my favorites, so why not again? Young Frankenstein is a 1974 American comedy film directed and written by Mel Brooks, starring Gene Wilder as the title character. Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars, and Gene Hackman also star. The screenplay was written by Brooks and Wilder. The film is an affectionate parody of the classical horror film genre, in particular the various film adaptations of Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein produced by Universal in the 1930s. Most of the pieces of lab equipment used as props are the same ones created by Kenneth Strickfaden for the 1931 film Frankenstein. To further reflect the atmosphere of the earlier films, Brooks shot the picture entirely in black-and-white, a rare choice at the time, and employed 1930s-style opening credits and period scene transitions such as iris outs, wipes, and fades to black. The film also features a notable period score by Brooks' longtime composer John Morris. Cloris Leachman plays Frau Blücher, whose name elicits the sound of whinnying horses every time it is uttered.

The Doctor is IN

15a Henrik {Husband of Denmark's Queen Margrethe}. I.e. Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark né Henri Marie Jean André de Laborde de Monpezat.

27a Perón {Justicialist Party founder}. The Justicialist Party in Argentina was founded in 1947 by Juan and Evita Perón.

28a dry farms {Arid area agriculture}. dry farming n. farming on nonirrigated land with little rainfall that relies on moisture-conserving tillage and drought-resistant crops (MWCD11); hence dry farms.

40a adept {Crack}. Equivalent as adjectives in the sense of "expert".

43a sets {Pushes (off)}. Equivalents in the sense of "departs".

45a LSU {The Fighting Tigers, for short}. LSU = Louisiana State University is #1 in The Crucy League.

48a Raitt {She won three Grammys for her 1989 album "Nick of Time"}. I.e. Bonnie Raitt.

51a do-re-mi {Green stuff}. Two slang terms for money.

9d place {Follow the leader?}. To place is to come second in horse racing.

13d Español {Catalán relative}. "Catalán" rather than "Catalan" calls for "Spanish" in Spanish.

37d Salieri {Composer who tutored Mozart's son}. Antonio Salieri (1750–1825) features in the play and film Amadeus.

38d Eastman {Roll film inventor}. George Eastman (1854–1932) founder of the Eastman Kodak Company.

49d arte {Michelangelo work}. I.e. "art" in Michelangelo's language, Italian.

Image of the Day

Simnel cake
Simnel cake
A Simnel cake is a light fruit cake, similar to a Christmas cake, covered in marzipan, then toasted, and eaten during the Easter period in Great Britain, Ireland and some other countries. A layer of marzipan or almond paste is also baked into the middle of the cake. On the top of the cake, around the edge, are eleven marzipan balls to represent the true disciples of Jesus; Judas is omitted. In some variations Christ is also represented, by a ball placed at the centre. Simnel cakes have been known since medieval times, and were originally a Mothering Sunday tradition, when young girls in service would make one to be taken home to their mothers on their day off.

The word simnel probably derived from the Latin word simila, meaning fine, wheaten flour with which the cakes were made. A popular legend attributes the invention of the Simnel cake to Lambert Simnel, but this is clearly false since the Simnel cake appears in English literature prior to Lambert's escapades.

Other Clues

1a stuffs {Prepares for the trophy room, say}; 7a asphodel {"That greeny flower" in a William Carlos Williams poem}; 16a Milanese {Italian cooking style}; 17a Armani {Maker of Emporio White perfume}; 18a Omar Epps {Dr. Eric Foreman's portrayer on "House"}; 19a fraud {Con artist's crime}; 20a Wenceslas {Carol king}; 21a tin {Cheap roofing material}; 22a Seabee {Wartime bridge builder}; 24a tone {Prevailing character}; 25a eel {Sargasso Sea spawner}; 26a feral {Undomesticated}; 30a lapels {A belligerent arguer may grab them}; 31a Luis {"Los Olvidados" director Buñuel}; 32a Peru {El Misti's location}; 33a parole {Limited release}; 36a traipses {Walks aimlessly}; 41a shins {Tibiae}; 42a aah! {Delighted expression}; 44a client {Ambulance chaser's prize}; 46a snowboard {Item first marketed under the name Snurfer}; 50a fire ants {What phorid flies are imported to prey on}; 52a on target {Accurate}; 53a outran {Got ahead of}; 54a rest easy {Not worry}; 55a steins {Oktoberfest souvenirs}.

1d shafted {Given a raw deal, slangily}; 2d terrier {Popular rat-baiting dog in Victorian England}; 3d unmanly {Weak and craven}; 5d finds fault {Is critical}; 6d ski {Word with pole or jump}; 7d amoebas {They reproduce via mitosis}; 8d Simnel {___ cake (marzipan-covered dessert)}; 10d hare {A leveret is a young one}; 11d One Step Up {Bruce Springsteen ballad}; 12d deplore {Censure}; 14d lessens {Moderates}; 20d warms {Goes up a degree or two}; 23d eerie {Like freakish coincidences}; 27d Paris Trout {Pete Dexter novel whose title character is an unrepentant murderer}; 29d flop sweat {It sometimes covers first-time performers}; 30d LeAnn {Singer Rimes}; 32d pried {Dug for gossip}; 33d pass for {Appear to be, to most eyes}; 34d adenine {Base found in DNA and RNA}; 35d retorts {"So's your old man!" and others}; 36d thirsty {Seeking relief from a pitcher?}; 39d shut-ins {They're home 24/7}; 41d slates {Schoolhouse needs of yore}; 44d conga {Kind of line}; 47d bare {Display}; 51d dos {Salon selections}.


Anonymous said...

As a former resident of the UK, I'm amused at the number of people over at the other blogs crying "foul" over SIMNEL (to be fair though, it was crossed with a tough word). I left the UK decades ago, and I can still remember simnel cakes. It's amazing how much fairly common stuff doesn't seem to make it over to the other side of the "pond". The way some solvers are wailing, you'd think SIMNEL was some kind of ultra obscure food eaten by the ancient Icini tribe ;)


Crossword Man said...

Yes, I'm also surprised that area was the crux of the puzzle for some. asphodel is comfortably in my vocabulary and Simnel cakes I knew about, even though I haven't ever eaten one (those marzipan balls are really quaint). Just goes to show how much harder I'll have to work to create an appropriate fill, when I start to construct US puzzles in earnest.

Anonymous said...

I think do-re-mi is not two, but just one slang term for money, which I'm familiar with via Woody Guthrie's folk song "Do Re Mi" in which California is a "Garden of Eden" for Dust Bowl migrants only if they have the "do re mi"
- Aaron

Crossword Man said...

Thanks for pointing out the Woody Guthrie connection, Aaron - will have to feature that song as the Video of the Day some time. Sorry about the confusion: I meant that "do-re-mi" and "green stuff" are two slang terms for money.