Thursday, September 23, 2010

NYT Friday 9/24/10 Mark Diehl - Reduced Speed

I had a lucky break at the start of this Friday New York Times crossword puzzle, as Wide Sargasso Sea (an imagined prequel to Jane Eyre) at 14-Across was a gimme. With a 15-letter answer right off the bat, I thought a fast time might be in order, but the rest of the puzzle didn't come so easily.

The problems were all due to 5-Down thru 7-Down, none of which I could solve despite having the first three letters of each (not having the first word of 17-Across). So after getting all the "arch" of squares at the top of the grid, I decided to restart elsewhere after around 10 minutes.

Getting another foothold was tough, but I eventually found the SE corner yielded and I was glad to remember Dick Enberg from a puzzle last year - since I made a mistake as a result of his oddly spelled (to my mind) name, I haven't forgotten Enberg.

at the dog parkStill I couldn't work back from there to the long 15s going down and after pottering about in the middle for a bit went back to 17-Across, which I should perhaps have focused on much earlier. With more concentrated effort, I got {Affix securely} as paste down and with that extra help, had all but the SW done with 22 minutes on the clock.

That corner had looked ominous from the start with its brace of actors, plus a sports reference and a bygone TV show. Unfortunately, I didn't have much to go on along the bottom, since I couldn't see any of the first halves of the long acrosses except test at 53-Across (and I wasn't 100% sure of that).

The key move was abandoning woofs at 44-Down, which allowed an unbiased reconsideration of 43-Across and 47-Across. Soon I had both and was on my way to finishing the grid, highly confident of a correct result despite the usual quota of guesses hither and yon.
Solving time: 26 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 35d website {Free cookie distributor}

Mark Diehl
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersMark Diehl / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 35 (15.6%) black squares
Answers62 (average length 6.13)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points289 (average 1.52)
Video of the Day

40d Margie {"My little" girl of early TV}. My Little Margie is an American situation comedy that alternated between CBS and NBC from 1952 to 1955. The series was created by Frank Fox and produced in Los Angeles, California at Hal Roach Studios by Hal Roach, Jr. and Roland D. Reed. Set in New York City, the series stars Gale Storm as 21-year-old Margie Albright and former silent film star Charles Farrell as her widowed father, 50-year-old Vern Albright.

The Doctor is IN

21a vets {Ones doing lab exams?}. Lab = dog is in Pavlov's Guide to Crosswords.

22a aren't {Ain't right?}. aren't is a more correct form of ain't.

31a CDC {Atlanta-based org.}. CDC = Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is in Alphabet Soup.

10d Exodus {Escapist reading?}. The Book of Exodus describes the escape of the Hebrews from Egypt.

13d Sewell {"Black Beauty" author}. I.e. Anna Sewell.

27d Det. {Cannon, e.g.: Abbr.}. Reference to the title detective of the Cannon TV show.

31d Craig {First blond Bond}. I.e. Daniel Craig of Casino Royale etc.

48d Celt {Invader of Rome in 390 B.C.}. Reference to the sacking of Rome by the Gauls (a Celtic people) following the Battle of the Allia.

49d MCML {Credits date for "Cinderella" or "All About Eve"}. MCML = 1950, the release date of the two movies.

Image of the Day

The Solo Cup building in Augusta, Georgia. Formerly the Dixie Cup building.

24a Solo {Dixie rival}. Dixie Cup is the brand name for a line of disposable paper cups that were first developed in the United States in the early 20th century. While they were undoubtedly novel and profitable, they were also marketed as a way to improve public hygiene. They were introduced in 1907 by Lawrence Luellen, a lawyer in Boston, Massachusetts, who was concerned about germs being spread by people sharing glasses or dippers at public supplies of drinking water. Luellen developed an ice-cooled water-vending machine with disposable cups, and with another Bostonian, Hugh Moore, embarked on a campaign to educate the public and to market his machine, principally to railroad companies. A study by Lafayette College biology professor Alvin Davison was instrumental in abolishing the public glass and opening the door for the paper cup. Soon, the devices, which would dispense cool water for a cent, became standard equipment on trains.

Leo Hulseman, a former employee of the Dixie Co. in the 1930s, created the "Solo Cup," a paper cone he made at his home and sold to bottled-water companies. He founded the Solo Cup Company in 1936, and came up with other products like wax-coated cups and the plastic Cozy Cup. Solo Cup customers include Starbucks, Dairy Queen, Così, Wal-Mart and Whole Foods, as well as many universities. These cups are notably used in American college and university games such as beer pong and flip cup.

Other Clues

1a REDUCE SPEED {Construction zone sign}; 12a baritone saxes {Band pieces}; 14a Wide Sargasso Sea {Jean Rhys opus}; 16a Erich {Psychoanalyst Fromm}; 17a paste down {Affix securely}; 18a Anat. {Coroner's subj.}; 19a to go {Deli option}; 20a luted {Performed as a minstrel, maybe}; 25a eye {Ball in a socket}; 26a grasped {Saw}; 28a SLR {Big inits. in photography}; 29a EMT {Possible IV pusher}; 30a Rae {1971 Tony-winning actress ___ Allen}; 34a Mae West {She quipped "I've been in more laps than a napkin"}; 36a Wed. {Night that "Dynasty" aired for most of its run: Abbr.}; 39a ream {Curse out}; 41a Creme {___ de Noyaux (almond-flavored liqueur)}; 42a bane {Anathema}; 43a array {Line up}; 45a a bit {Slightly}; 46a Elba {Island off the coast of Tuscany}; 47a imprecise {Vague}; 49a Maker {God, with "the"}; 50a Google Directory {Aid to researching 35-Downs by topic}; 52a triple teaming {Ganging up on, in basketball}; 53a test results {What patients may need patience to get}.

1d radiate {Throw off}; 2d erects {Puts up}; 3d dish {Knockout}; 4d Uta {Hagen of stage and screen}; 5d corporate raider {Carl Icahn or T. Boone Pickens}; 6d engages {Attracts}; 7d season premieres {September happenings, often}; 8d psst! {Tip preceder, maybe}; 9d easel {Oil support}; 11d DeSotos {Firedome and Fireflite}; 12d Birney {David of "St. Elsewhere"}; 14d weave {Hair extension}; 15d and/or {Some choice words}; 19d tarmac {Touchdown locale}; 23d tea-set {Sideboard collection}; 26d gem {Peach}; 32d Dermot {Actor Mulroney of "The Wedding Date"}; 33d carport {End of many a driveway}; 35d website {Free cookie distributor}; 36d walk-ons {They sometimes create a scene}; 37d Enberg {Sportscaster Dick}; 38d deary {"My pet"}; 42d beat it {Get lost}; 44d yelps {Dog park noises}; 51d eau {___ de parfum}.


Magdalen said...

Hah! I did it. I cheated -- bizarrely, when you see what I cheated on -- but I did manage it.

I was able to get the SE corner first, well, first after getting CORPORATE RAIDER, which was pretty helpful. (Now what does it say about me, a self-acknowledged TV addict, that I could think of a term for Carl Icahn WAY quicker than I could think of SEASON PREMIERES, even though I adore the new shows on TV?)

I knew it was Dermot Mulroney *but* had to shift up from DOUBLE TEAMING to TRIPLE TEAMING to get the SW corner to build.

And now for the confession. I had --ECTS for 2D and could I think of any of the alternatives? No, I could not. In my defense -- and lord knows I need one -- I was doing this at 7 a.m. on not-enough-sleep. I know, I know, me & about a zillion people. But (wait for it) I hadn't had my coffee yet. There; told you I had a defense.

Once I cheated on that and verified RAE Allen (whom I had not heard of before), I was able to stumble my way through the rest.

Sweetheart, I gotta come home. I can't take much more crossword solving!

Crossword Man said...

Good going sweetheart. Do you want to take over the crossword commentaries now?

Magdalen said...


Very funny. Do you want to write the blog posts about romance novels? We could swap jobs for a week; that would fun for everyone. On the surface it would be less work for you (I only post two or three times a week) but you *would* have to read several novels that week.

I'm thinking the answer to that will be no. But you let me know.

Donna Cummings said...

Oooh, looks like we've got a blog smackdown brewing here! LOL I'd love to see the blog swap -- sounds like fun. :)


Magdalen said...

Hey, look Ross -- one of my favorite tweeps came to visit us. (I tweeted about this comment thread, hence the crossover...)

Hi, Donna!