Friday, September 24, 2010

NYT Saturday 9/25/10 Patrick Berry - Watch Out!

This Saturday New York Times crossword seemed fairly straightforward, but one particular crossing spelled T-R-O-U-B-L-E for me and put an end to a longish run of correct solutions. Boo.

I had some trouble getting a start in the top few rows and was beginning to feel we were in for a tough time when I had a run of success with 22a Deere, 23a Pete, 25a genre. With two of those answers together in the middle, I built from there with 20d tends etc, eventually working my way up into the NW corner, which no longer looked so challenging when approached from below.

With seven minutes gone, I started working down into the SW, finding things surprisingly easy and getting that corner done with 11 minutes on the clock. I was beginning to get cold feet about 45a though and as I completed the SE corner, still had RANCH??UCA?ONGA and left it like that till the end.

The NE corner again fell out in a pleasing way once approached from beneath and with 17 minutes gone, I just had the problem of 45a again. I decided fairly quickly that {Sentimentalize} at 47d must be moon, even though the clue seems a little removed from the straight dictionary meaning; I had the same sort of concerns over at 43d {Seems to indicate}, but could that really be anything other than bodes?

So it just came down to the crossing of 39d Secada and 45a Rancho Cucamonga. Not knowing either, I reckoned there were any number of candidate letters at the crossing and my usual instinct on these matters failed me. I wondered if the (Spanish?) etymology of the place name might be relevant and helpful, but couldn't make any sense of ?UCA as a Spanish word.

I soon realized spending more time on the decision wasn't going to improve my chances, so I just opted for a J at the crossing, reasoning it was possible, and that such a letter would be an attractive reason for including the answer (of course I didn't realize why there was the Jack Benny association until doing the researches for this post). I know these puzzles are carefully edited and that it may just be my bad that I knew neither of these two proper names, so it will be interesting to hear about others' experiences of this one.
Solving time: 20 mins (solo, no solving aids, two wrong answers)
Clue of the puzz: 17a talons {They might grab something to eat}

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

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersPatrick Berry / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 25 (11.1%) black squares
Answers64 (average length 6.25)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points296 (average 1.48)
Video of the Day

39d Secada {Two-time Grammy winner Jon}. Jon Secada (born Juan Secada) is a Cuban-American singer and songwriter. Secada was born in Havana, Cuba, and raised in Hialeah, Florida. He has won two Grammy Awards and sold 20 million albums since his English-language debut album Jon Secada (1992, from which the above song comes). His music fuses funk, soul, pop and Latin percussion. Secada also has worked as a songwriter for Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, Mandy Moore and other performers.

The Doctor is IN

7a watch out! {"Duck" call?}. You might say watch out! when someone needs to duck to avoid being hit.

22a Deere {Big name in agribusiness}. I.e. Deere & Company, usually known by the brand name John Deere.

26a Ruger {Maker of rifles and revolvers}. I.e. Sturm, Ruger, better known by the shortened name Ruger.

9d trike {Short ride?}. trike, short for tricycle.

47d moon {Sentimentalize}. Presumably moon in the sense of "act in a dreamily infatuated manner".

Image of the Day

Statue of Jack Benny at the main entrance to The Epicenter.

45a Rancho Cucamonga {California city with a statue of Jack Benny}. Rancho Cucamonga is a city in San Bernardino County, California, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 127,743, but a 2009 estimate by the state of California put the city's population at 177,736 people.

In popular media, Cucamonga has been recognized as a funny-sounding place name. One of the catch-phrases of the radio show "The Jack Benny Program" involved a train announcer (Mel Blanc) who said over the loudspeaker, "Train now leaving on track five for Anaheim, Azusa, and Cuc... amonga," taking progressively longer pauses between "Cuc" and "amonga." Part of the joke, for the Los Angeles audience, was that no such train route existed, although all three cities (or at the time, towns) do exist. As a tribute to this 'publicity', the city of Rancho Cucamonga built its minor-league baseball stadium on a street they named Jack Benny Way, and erected a bronze statue of the TV host outside of the building's entrance. The Jack Benny statue has since moved to the Victoria Gardens Cultural Center. (Coincidentally, Jack Benny Way intersects with Rochester Avenue, which is not named for the character portrayed by Eddie Anderson on "The Jack Benny Program", but was named in 1889 after the hometown of three investors, all of whom were brothers from Rochester, New York). In one of his many popular media crossovers, Blanc used that same catch phrase in Daffy Duck's voice in the 1948 Merrie Melodies cartoon "Daffy Duck Slept Here" and later in Bugs Bunny's voice in a 1960s Looney Tunes cartoon.

Other Clues

1a ashlar {Masonry that requires little mortar}; 15a the one {Mr. or Mrs. Right}; 16a Adrienne {___ Shelly, writer/director/co-star of "Waitress," 2007}; 17a talons {They might grab something to eat}; 18a imitates {Draws inspiration from, maybe}; 19a I Like It Like That {1965 top 10 hit for the Dave Clark Five}; 21a caps {Mushroom parts}; 23a Pete {British actor Postlethwaite}; 24a Ala. {Hank Williams's home state: Abbr.}; 25a genre {Heavy metal, e.g.}; 27a addends {Total producers}; 29a demons {Personal problems}; 30a rocs {Birds said to feed their young with elephants}; 31a harp {Instrument capable of glissandi}; 32a secede {Withdraw}; 35a data set {Table of values}; 38a purse {Compact container?}; 39a seven {Common number of spots on a ladybug}; 40a Val {Crime novelist McDermid}; 42a iris {Shade akin to lavender}; 43a bebop {Specialty of Charlie Parker}; 44a gene {There might be one for depression}; 48a as good as {Practically}; 49a loused {Made a hash of, with "up"}; 50a lie-abeds {Reluctant risers}; 51a module {Computer program subsection}; 52a sad to say {"Unfortunately ..."}; 53a snap-on {Attachable by pressing}.

1d Attica {Ancient land on the Aegean}; 2d Sha-La-La {1974 top 10 Al Green hit subtitled "Make Me Happy"}; 3d helipad {Takeoff spot for many a traffic reporter}; 4d looks {Attractiveness}; 5d Anne {James I's queen consort}; 6d residence {Requirement for running for political office}; 7d Wailers {1960s-'70s group originally known as the Teenagers, with "the"}; 8d admire {Prize}; 10d cite {Make an example of}; 11d heat pumps {Alternatives to furnaces}; 12d on the go {Active}; 13d uneaten {Left over, possibly}; 14d testers {Tough questions}; 20d tends {Cares for}; 25d geode {Sparkly rock}; 26d reran {Showed, as a classic}; 28d dress-coat {Tails}; 29d date palms {Oasis sights}; 31d havoc {Devastation}; 32d spirals {Increases alarmingly}; 33d Eurasia {The majority of people live here}; 34d cringed {Drew back}; 35d Debussy {"L'Enfant Prodigue" composer}; 36d evens up {Balances}; 37d tangelo {Juicy fruit}; 41d leaden {Sluggish}; 43d bodes {Seems to indicate}; 44d Gouda {It may be smoked in a supermarket}; 46d hobo {Depression-era traveler}.


Anonymous said...

Rancho whaaaat?

Anonymous said...

I am so sick of multi-word answers ..... 35 min here, no aids, didn't like it much.

Crossword Man said...

Anon 1: my thoughts entirely.

Anon 2: since multi-word answers are highly prized by constructors and editors I see no respite for you.

Daniel Myers said...

"RANCHO CUCAMONGA" somehow, from somewhere had a familiar ring for me. Jon SECADA meant absolutely nothing to me and rang nada. This was my only true guess in the puzzle too - RUGER I got from the crossings - and it just happened that I was right this time.

But, SAD TO SAY, I didn't enjoy this puzzle, Mr. Berry. It has nothing to do with the multi-word answers, which I rather fancy - contra Ross and Anon. It just fell flat for me somehow as a Saturday puzzle.

Crossword Man said...

To clarify, I also like multi-word answers ... I just don't hold out much hope for Anon 2, as that's the way of things now.

Daniel Myers said...

Ah, my apologies for the misinterpretation Ross. So many anonymice scurrying around today made it hard to differentiate.