Thursday, September 2, 2010

NYT Friday 9/3/10 John Farmer - New Gold

This Friday New York Times crossword seemed more difficult than usual; but since I'd just spent a day on the road, I may have been jaded and not quite up to the task of filling a themeless.

After getting nowhere in the top third of the puzzle, I found a start at the mid-right, guessing a sequence of downs (28d Edams, 29d RCMP, 30d batik) correctly. From there I built downwards and had the whole SE corner done with 9 minutes on the clock.

Guessing Ono for 48a then really helped break into the SW quadrant, as that suggested Lennon for 62a and I eventually recalled Sean at 53d. I had the SW finished in a further 3 minutes.

It wasn't so easy from that point. 27a sinkerball was a problem for me, as I haven't yet mastered the entire baseball lexicon. It took about 15 minutes to crack the relatively isolated NE corner, where the problem wasn't so much red herrings as a failure to think up any plausible answers.

DanelawThe NW took around the same time. I did have a few ideas about answers in this area (e.g. where am I? is perfect for 1a) but they usually turned out to be wrong. You might think Danelaw was a gimme for me, but it's been about 40 years since I covered it in History lessons and I now get Danelaw and Danegeld muddled in my mind, forgetting that Danelaw is the unlikely name of the Viking-held territory in England.

I'll be resuming abbreviated posts for a few days as we're about to go on a road trip with Hub 1.0 ... our first destination being one of the most important cities in the Crossworld, Erie, PA.
Solving time: 44 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 30d batik {Dyeing art}

John Farmer
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersJohn Farmer / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 33 (14.7%) black squares
Answers68 (average length 5.65)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points285 (average 1.48)
Video of the Day

13d Old Gold {Cigarette brand that once used the slogan "Not a cough in a carload"}. There's a wealth of Old Gold commercials on YouTube, but I couldn't find one with the claimed slogan. Instead, there's a neat one above featuring Red Barber aka "The Ol' Redhead" at a Cubs-Giants game (lots of baseball in today's commentary). Old Gold is a brand of Lorillard Tobacco Company, the 18th oldest company in the United States and the nation's oldest tobacco company. It is the third largest American tobacco company, also marketing cigarettes under the brand names Newport (the number one selling menthol cigarette in the U.S.), Maverick, Kent, True, Satin, and Max. As of 2001, Newport was the number 2 selling cigarette brand in the United States, with a market share of 7.8%.

The Doctor is IN

22a Nas {"Hip Hop Is Dead" rapper}. Nas, born Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones.

27a sinkerball {It drops on the way home}. In baseball, a sinker is a type of fastball pitch which has significant downward and horizontal movement.

46a Kant {"Perpetual Peace" thinker}. I.e. Immanuel Kant (1724–1804).

48a Ono {Co-producer of "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)"}; 62a Lennon {See 53-Down}; 53d Sean {With 62-Across, subject of "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)"}. Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) is a John Lennon song written for his son Sean, his only child with Yoko Ono.

49a I to {"... but no more like my father / Than ___ Hercules": Hamlet}. Lines from Hamlet's Act I Scene 2 soliloquy starting "O, that this too too solid flesh would melt".

58a Nicole {Paris's partner on "The Simple Life"}. I.e. Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton.

60a Azaria {Voice of Moe and Apu on "The Simpsons"}. Hank Azaria.

10d Polk {Annual journalism award, informally}. The George Polk Awards in full.

26d tag up {Touch base}. In baseball, to tag up is to retouch or remain on the runner's time-of-pitch base until (after) the ball is first touched by a fielder.

39d Eno {1970s Bowie collaborator}. David Bowie and Brian Eno co-wrote e.g. Heroes in 1977.

41d Rainier {Volcano in a national park}. Mount Rainier is an active stratovolcano.

Image of the Day


29d RCMP {Its uniform includes a red serge tunic and a Stetson: Abbr.}. It's hard to separate Mounties and Monty Python in my imagination, but I managed to resist The Lumberjack Song today. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) (French: Gendarmerie royale du Canada (GRC), literally ‘Royal Gendarmerie of Canada’; colloquially known as Mounties, and internally as ‘The Force’) is the national police force of Canada, and one of the most recognized of its kind in the world. It is unique in the world as a national, federal, provincial and municipal policing body. The RCMP provides federal policing service to all of Canada and policing services under contract to the three territories, eight provinces (the RCMP does not serve as provincial or municipal police in Ontario and Quebec), more than 190 municipalities, 184 Aboriginal communities and three international airports.

Other Clues

1a I did what? {Question the morning after}; 9a spigot {What can be a turnoff?}; 15a same here {"That makes two of us"}; 16a oo-la-la! {"So chic!"}; 17a on a leash {Under control}; 18a blinds {Aids to privacy}; 19a begetter {Sire}; 20a Skaggs {Ricky ___, frontman for bluegrass's Kentucky Thunder}; 21a Ali {Fassbinder film "___: Fear Eats the Soul"}; 24a woe {What any of the Four Horsemen symbolizes}; 25a rant {Jeremiad}; 31a swear to {Avow}; 33a ID cards {They may have your number}; 34a Geo {Auto marque of the 1980s-'90s}; 35a amt. {Total: Abbr.}; 36a so sue me! {"See if I care!"}; 40a umpires {Fault finders?}; 44a exoplanets {Far-off discoveries in astronomy}; 47a mid- {Prefix with air or field}; 50a Idahos {Russets, often}; 54a optioned {Secured the rights to}; 59a Riesling {Fragrant white wine}; 61a Manolete {Legendary Spanish bullfighter}; 63a ensnares {Ropes in}.

1d isobars {High and low indicators}; 2d Danelaw {Part of England in the time of Alfred the Great}; 3d imagine {"___ that!"}; 4d dele {Cut}; 5d whet {Pique}; 6d heat {Fervor}; 7d Arsenio {Hall with a posse}; 8d Tehran {Capital that was the scene of 2009 mass demonstrations}; 9d sobs {Breaks down}; 11d Ilia {Mother of Romulus and Remus}; 12d gang war {More than a turf battle}; 14d tassels {Part of some strippers' attire}; 23d ski {Kind of boot}; 27d stoma {Tiny opening in a leaf}; 28d Edams {Some cheeses}; 30d batik {Dyeing art}; 32d reel {Spinner}; 36d seminal {Formative}; 37d oxidize {Get rusty}; 38d soda can {Pop-top spot}; 40d utopian {Idealist}; 42d entente {Understanding}; 43d stodges {Fuddy-duddies}; 45d énorme {It's big in Bordeaux}; 51d horn {Crescent moon feature}; 52d olio {Scramble}; 55d tens {Till compartment}; 56d is on {"The race ___!"}; 57d olla {Bit of pottery}.

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