Thursday, September 9, 2010

NYT Friday 9/10/10 Peter Wentz - Notionally

We're back from our road trip now, but Henry aka Hub 1.0 is still around and solved this Friday New York Times crossword in parallel with me. We both found the SE corner to be the crux of the puzzle, with 49d Yakima causing the most trouble; but I had the advantage of having encountered Salma Hayek before and so finished earlier, and with reasonable confidence of a correct grid.

I found it tough to get started in the top half, but hit gold with (Derek) Jacobi at 35-Across. With those initial letters, particularly the J of jazzed up - which gave a whole lot of other initial letters - I got off to a proper start in the SW, finishing that corner after 7 minutes.

It was then possible to build upwards from there, working around the corner via check and had on to get the six-letter downs in the NW corner, which prompted the eight-letter acrosses. I next worked on the SE corner, as the top right had resisted several onslaughts and looked well-nigh impossible. I gradually made inroads through answers like obsequy, whose letters were then extremely helpful. I did duck the crossing of 49d Yakima and 58d kit, as I couldn't immediately see what {One with notions} was getting at.

notionsI suspected all along that 10d was just MEX, but with crest for 9d, didn't believe it could be so for a very long time. When I finally saw that 9a could indeed start with CM, being C Major, that opened the floodgates for a lot more answers and the NE corner was done after 29 minutes.

That just left the tricky crossing in the SE corner and I soon realized that it wouldn't help to consider the possibilities for 49d. Running through the alphabet for 58a, it took a couple of attempts before I looked at kit carefully enough to see how the sewing sense of notions would justify it, and hence Yakima, as the correct answers.
Solving time: 30 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 7d flopped {Was a turkey}

Peter Wentz
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersPeter Wentz / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 31 (13.8%) black squares
Answers72 (average length 5.39)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points415 (average 2.14)
Video of the Day

35a Jacobi {Derek who played Claudius in "I, Claudius"}. Ah yes, a great favorite of mine back in the day, making this my way in to the puzzle. I, Claudius is a 1976 BBC Television adaptation of Robert Graves's I, Claudius and Claudius the God. Written by Jack Pulman, it proved one of the corporation's most successful drama serials of all time. It starred Derek Jacobi as Claudius, with Siân Phillips, Brian Blessed, John Hurt, and Patrick Stewart. Can't pass up this Sesame Street parody, while we're here:

The Doctor is IN

9a C major {It's all ivory and no ebony}. C major has neither sharps nor flats, therefore using no black keys on the piano.

15a capital Q {NyQuil ingredient?}. "NyQuil" literally contains a capital Q as its third letter.

27a Cate {Leonardo's "The Aviator" co-star}. I.e. Cate Blanchett, who plays Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator.

58a kit {One with notions}. Notions are accessories in sewing and haberdashery, such as might be found in a (sewing) kit.

4d wit {Swift gift}. Reference to the satirist Jonathan Swift (1667–1745).

5d OTs {Decisive periods, briefly}. OTs = overtimes.

10d MEX {Code for Latin America's busiest airport}. MEX is Mexico City International Airport.

33d dap {Fist bump}. dap as a verb can mean to bounce, rebound.

46d Teenie {Very small, as a bikini in a 1960 hit}. The hit being Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.

53d bossa {Nova lead-in}. Reference to bossa nova.

62d Ace {Buddy}. Synonyms as a term of address.

Image of the Day

Leaving Brooklyn: Oy Vey!

56a oy vey {"Leaving Brooklyn: ___!" (Williamsburg Bridge sign)}. Oy vey (Yiddish: אױ װײ), or just oy, is an exclamation of dismay or exasperation meaning "oh woe." Its sound is very similar to Ach weh, and Au weh (with which it is a cognate), a common expression used in Bavaria and Austria in similar situations, combining the German exclamation Au! meaning "Ouch/Oh" and the German word Weh meaning pain. It is however also theorized that the first part of it (oy) is originally from Biblical Hebrew, with cognates in other Semitic languages. Vey and the similar contemporary German Weh are derived from Middle High German, and are cognate with the English "woe." The term in its present form is borrowed from Yiddish, "Au Gewalt" (Yiddish: אױ גװאַלד oy gvald) – which can have a similar meaning, or also express shock or amazement. Gevald! is often just used by itself to express this feeling. In New York City, there is a sign on the Williamsburg Bridge which reads "Leaving Brooklyn: Oy vey!", due to the borough's large Jewish population.

Other Clues

1a show-offs {Hot dogs}; 16a rezone {Change the boundaries of}; 17a oh it's you! {"Speak of the devil!"}; 18a extend {Opposite of abridge}; 19a ran {Racked (up)}; 20a epics {Some westerns}; 22a Econ. {Class with graphs, for short}; 23a check {Danger for a king}; 26a PSAT {Its max. score is 240}; 28a had on {Sported}; 29a ehs {Crotchety cries}; 30a osmic {___ acid (microscopic staining compound)}; 31a how-d'ye-do {Hayseed's greeting}; 34a Eck {Luther opponent Johann}; 38a ambles {Walks in the park}; 40a ¡alo! {Havana greeting}; 41a Big Poppa {1995 platinum rap hit that starts "To all the ladies in the place with style and grace"}; 45a zloty {Polish capital}; 47a deb {Formal girl}; 48a Hayek {Salma of the screen}; 52a Zale {Big name in retail jewelry}; 53a bars {Structures near cell walls}; 54a slams {Trash-talks}; 55a Elke {Golden Globe winner Sommer}; 59a doings {What's going on}; 61a Aquafina {Fiji rival}; 64a undies {Briefs, e.g.}; 65a dulcimer {Literally, "sweet song"}; 66a peseta {Bygone currency}; 67a eye exams {Visual aids?}.

1d scorch {Really let have it}; 2d ha-ha-ha {Response to sarcasm}; 3d opined {Theorized}; 6d Faye {Tammy ___ of 1970s-'80s TV}; 7d flopped {Was a turkey}; 8d squishy {Like a wet Nerf ball}; 9d crest {Roadrunner feature}; 11d Aztecs {San Diego State team}; 12d Joe Camel {Much-maligned mascot}; 13d on notice {Warned}; 14d rednecks {Hillbillies' cousins}; 21d case {What a sleuth tries to close}; 24d coho {Alaskan salmon}; 25d knobby {Tuberous}; 30d oomphs {Punches}; 32d Wii {Boom Blox console}; 35d jazzed up {With added spice}; 36d all alone {Without any help}; 37d cool kids {Nerd-rejecting high-school group}; 39d Baal {Ancient fertility god}; 42d g'day {Victorian's greeting}; 43d pervade {Be everywhere in}; 44d obsequy {Burial rite}; 49d Yakima {Washington city or county}; 50d Eminem {2009 Grammy winner for "Relapse"}; 51d K stars {Orange dwarfs}; 57d yule {Time to visit a lot of trees}; 60d get {Confound}; 63d fix {Pickle}.

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