Friday, September 17, 2010

NYT Saturday 9/18/10 Natan Last, Brown University '12 - Last of the Browns

Halloween at Brown UniversityBROWN CROSSWORD WEEK. Every crossword this week, from Monday to Saturday, has been created by a member of the Puzzling Association of Brown University. Founded in 2008, the student club has about 30 members, who meet weekly during the school year to solve and discuss puzzles. Each spring it organizes a campuswide crossword tournament. Other schools with crossword clubs include Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Texas Christian. Brown’s club, though, has the most members with published puzzles.
This Saturday New York Times crossword was the first of Brown week to really make me feel my age. Flavor Flav at 5-Across was new to me and that final letter was a worry, despite the formation being akin to Snoop Doggy Dogg. Another unfamiliar long answer was Bad Romance at 63-Across, although at least that was formed of recognizable words.

It's clues/answers like these that tend to drive a wedge between generations and I get a sense of why there must have been such a marked transition when Will Shortz took over from Eugene Maleska as NYT crossword editor. Within an editorship, the idioms of the new generation of constructors can be introduced gradually and with minimal shock to the old-timers, but a change of editorship can be abrupt, particularly if the previous incumbent was set in his/her ways.

However, my relative lack of rapport with this crossword may be subjective and I had certainly heard of I Am America, and of course the Spice Girls, and those helped me to a reasonable start in the NE corner. As with the previous crossword, I flipped over to the opposite corner and had that done too with 12 minutes on the clock. Those long answers really help nail a corner once you recognize them (which is why a curveball like Flavor Flav can be such a hold-up).

Lady Liberty wears a stolaI then turned my attention to the right side of the puzzle, managing to fill in the SE corner, but ducking the area around 31-Down stola till later. The NW had looked troublesome until I saw through the deception at 3-Down to come up with slow motion. The center section was also clouded by wrong answers: Queeg at 38-Across and lap dancer at 6-Down.

This just left the middle right section, which was all about three clues: 45a PTL {Defunct ministry initials}, 48a St Teresa {"Relaciones Espirituales" writer} and 31d stola {Lady Liberty garb}. It took maybe 10 minutes to figure these out: I couldn't get past imagining {Defunct ministry initials} referred to a former federal agency in Alphabet Soup; and I kept thinking of Mother Teresa, although she's not a saint (yet); with the down clue, I just couldn't conceive of anything fitting the possible letters, although I should have remember stola from March 3, 2009 at least.
Solving time: 28 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 61a soap {Wet bar, maybe}

Natan Last
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersNatan Last, Brown University '12 / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 30 (13.3%) black squares
Answers70 (average length 5.57)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points285 (average 1.46)
Video of the Day

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Stephen Colbert Interview
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

16a I Am America {2007 satirical best seller subtitled "And So Can You!"}. I Am America (And So Can You!) is a 2007 satirical bestseller book by American comedian Stephen Colbert and the writers of The Colbert Report. It was released on October 9, 2007, with the audiobook edition released several days earlier. The book is loosely structured around the fictional life story of Stephen Colbert as he appears on The Colbert Report. As of the April 6, 2008 publishing, the book had been on the New York Times Bestseller List in the Hardcover Nonfiction category for twenty-four weeks, ranking number one for fourteen of them. Above, Stephen Colbert interviews Stephen Colbert about the book.

The Doctor is IN

38a Peleg {Literary captain who says "It's better to sail with a moody good captain than a laughing bad one"}. Captain Peleg is part-owner of the Pequod in Moby-Dick.

45a PTL {Defunct ministry initials}. The PTL evangelical Christian Television network collapsed following the scandals of the mid 1980s.

48a St Teresa {"Relaciones Espirituales" writer}. I.e. St Teresa of Ávila (1515–1582).

52a Ionia {Site of a noted ancient league}. See the Ionian League.

1d def {"Fo' sho"}. Slang forms of "definite(ly)" and "for sure".

7d amie {Date in France?}. amie is French for "girlfriend".

8d vacas {Spanish cows}. cow = vaca is in Español para los crucigramistas.

24d ars {"___ sine scientia nihil est" (Latin motto)}. Translates as "art without knowledge is nothing", attributed to Jean Mignot, a French architect active circa 1400.

29d Mrs. Peacock {Board game grande dame}. Mrs. Peacock is the blue piece in Clue (Cluedo outside North America).

31d stola {Lady Liberty garb}. The stola (as seen on the Statue of Liberty) was the traditional garment of Roman women, corresponding to the toga that was worn by men.

47d salami {Makings of a hero?}. Hero = submarine sandwich is in Pavlov's Guide to Crosswords.

51d Halas {Papa Bear of Chicago football}. I.e. George Halas (1895–1983).

54d Anat. {Gut course?: Abbr.}. Anat. = Anatomy.

58d ha-ha! {Nelson's catchphrase on "The Simpsons"}. See Nelson Muntz.

Image of the Day
For Better or For Worse
For Better or For Worse - August 19, 2010
20d Elly {"For Better or for Worse" matriarch}. For Better or For Worse (official website is a comic strip by Lynn Johnston that began in September 1979, and ended the main story on August 30, 2008, with a postscript epilogue the following day. Starting on September 1, 2008, the strip began re-telling its original story by means of a combination of newly drawn strips and reruns. The strip is set in the fictitious Toronto-area suburban town of Milborough, Ontario; it chronicles the lives of a Canadian family, The Pattersons, and their friends. The protagonist is Elly Patterson (above), a married wife and mother of two.

Other Clues

1a disc {45, e.g.}; 5a Flavor Flav {Founding member of Public Enemy known for wearing large clocks around his neck}; 15a Ella {"___ at Duke's Place" (1965 jazz album)}; 17a Flor {___ de Caña (Nicaraguan rum)}; 18a Spice Girls {First British group since the Beatles to have two albums in the U.S. top 10 at the same time}; 19a sweet deal! {"That's a great price!"}; 21a taut {Strained}; 22a Melba {___ sauce (sugary purée)}; 23a seat {Run for it}; 25a iron lung {Bygone medical ventilator}; 28a tramps {Hikes}; 32a pat {Perfectly}; 33a YMCAs {Bldgs. with community courts}; 35a strut {Building support}; 36a Asia {Area worth the most bonus troops in the game Risk}; 40a as to {About}; 41a stout {Solid}; 43a saner {More solid}; 46a Santas {Hatted bell ringers}; 50a opah {Fish also called a Jerusalem haddock}; 53a NaOH {Caustic soda, symbolically}; 56a late lunch {One may cause your dinner to be spoiled}; 59a in la-la land {Out of it}; 61a soap {Wet bar, maybe}; 63a Bad Romance {2009 Lady Gaga hit}; 64a Echo {Oread in love with her own voice}; 65a stepsister {One of an evil fairy tale duo}; 66a skat {Three-player game}.

2d ills {Distresses}; 3d slow motion {What some plays are shown in}; 4d careen {List quickly?}; 5d fist bump {Alternative to a shake}; 6d lap dances {Bachelor party entertainment}; 9d omelet {Breakfast dish}; 10d reg. {Pump abbr.}; 11d frittata {9-Down variety}; 12d lira {Money in the banca, once}; 13d ACLU {Org. since 1920 with many staff lawyers}; 14d vast {Sweeping}; 25d I pass {"Not for me"}; 26d Rasta {Certain Afrocentrist}; 27d galas {Bashes}; 30d putts {Attempts to sink}; 34d sentience {Topic in artificial intelligence}; 37d autoharp {Variety of zither}; 39d get older {Age}; 42d tap {Minor hit}; 44d ReNu {Brand in contact lens care}; 49d rinses {Some salon jobs}; 53d nibs {Bills}; 55d olde {Adjective for a coach house inn, maybe}; 57d tant {"___ pis!" ("Too bad!," in France)}; 60d Los {___ Banos, Calif.}; 62d pot {Where the chips fall where they may?}.


Daniel Myers said...

What with "captain" in a clue so near to the answer "Mrs. Peacock" I couldn't help but be reminded of "Are You Being Served?"--A personal quirk, as I don't think that, ahem, The Young Ones constructing this week would have much familiarity with either.

Crossword Man said...

Yes 29d had me thinking of Are You Being Served? (a great favorite of mine) too, but I didn't mention it ... which of my readers (apart from you) would have the faintest idea what I was talking about?