Tuesday, September 14, 2010

NYT Wednesday 9/15/10 Zoe Wheeler, Brown University '12 - Buzz Off (The Bees Are Silent)

They're doing construction work at Brown University, and apparently felt the need to give this guidance to the workersBROWN 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 New York Times crossword seemed fairly easy for a Wednesday, taking a little less time than yesterday's. But then I did anticipate variations from the normal difficulty range, given the smaller selection of puzzles available for this special week.

Today's was one of those puzzles where the theme hits you in the face immediately and you hardly need an explanatory clue, although in this case it is done rather elegantly at 52-Across. Working along the top, I made marginally better progress at the top right, getting the delightful Sam iamb as the first theme answer. Actually, I realized from this that a B was being inserted; but not at this stage, always a silent one - that aspect took longer to sink in.

plumb treeHaving got the idea, plumb tree came very easily at 17a and I then coasted down the grid, having no great difficulties up to the crossing of 69a Katy (Perry) and 58d I'm it. I suppose I should know the singer of California Gurls, but I didn't; so I wrestled with the choice of I'm in vs I'm it ... the latter seemed right for the playground context and Kany didn't appeal much, although Perry could have been a forename for all I knew.

Whereas the first two Brunonians (why not Brownies?) had their debut this week, today's constructor Zoe Wheeler is an experienced hand, having had one puzzle published before in the New York Times, on Tuesday January 19 this year.
Solving time: 6 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 20a to term {How babies may be carried}
Solution

Zoe Wheeler
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

A B is inserted into a phrase, in which it is not pronounced, making a pun; this being indicated 52a be quiet {"Shut up!" ... or a phonetic hint to this puzzle's theme}.
17a plumb tree {Where lead weights grow?} cf plum tree
21a Sam iamb {Bit of a Coleridge poetry line?} cf Sam-I-Am
39a dumb dumb bullets {Ammo for idiots?} cf dumdum bullets
61a paper jamb {Toy house door support?} cf paper jam
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersZoe Wheeler, Brown University '12 / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.97)
Theme squares47 (24.9%)
Scrabble points305 (average 1.61)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



69a Katy {Singer Perry with the 2010 #1 hit "California Gurls"}. California Gurls is an electropop song by American singer-songwriter Katy Perry. It serves as the lead single of her third studio album, Teenage Dream. The song features rapper Snoop Dogg, and was produced by Dr. Luke, Max Martin, and Benny Blanco. According to Perry, the song is an answer song to "Empire State of Mind". The song was originally intended to be sent to mainstream and rhythmic airplay on May 25, 2010. However, after clips from Perry's new album were leaked online, her label released the song to radio on to May 7, 2010, and also began to stream it on her website. The song peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for six consecutive weeks, giving Perry her second US number-one single and Snoop Dogg his third. The song reached number one in over 10 countries, including United States, UK, Canada, Australia, Scotland, Ireland, and New Zealand.

The Doctor is IN

64a Eri tu {Verdi aria}. Eri tu ("it was you") is the famous baritone aria from Un ballo in maschera.

28d Laura {Object of Petrarch's passion}. See Petrarch: Laura and poetry.

31d Ewbank {Only coach to win both N.F.L. and A.F.L. championships}. I.e. Weeb Ewbank (1907–1998).

54d QE II {Helen Mirren's crowning role, informally?}. Helen Mirren portrayed Her Majesty in The Queen (2006).

Image of the Day

Crossword Linus
49d Linus {"Peanuts" boy with a blanket}. Linus van Pelt is a character in Charles M. Schulz's comic strip Peanuts. The best friend of Charlie Brown, Linus is also the younger brother of Lucy van Pelt and older brother of Rerun van Pelt. He first appeared on September 19, 1952; however, he was not mentioned by name until three days later. He was first referenced two months earlier, on July 14. Linus spoke his first words in 1954, the same year he was shown with his security blanket.

I hadn't expected a crossword connection: the above sculpture, called Crossword Linus, is located in the garden of the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center. It was designed by Ann E. Judkins for St. Paul, Minnesota's Linus Blankets in 2003.

Other Clues

1a ROTC {Org. known for drilling?}; 5a knot {Masseur's target}; 9a sagas {Soap operas, essentially}; 14a asea {Offshore}; 15a acne {What adolescents may fight}; 16a plate {Bit of dental work}; 19a Alger {Horatio who wrote about down-and-out boys}; 20a to term {How babies may be carried}; 23a loafs {Takes it easy}; 26a SSN {Nine-digit ID}; 27a LLD {Harvard degree earned by J.F.K. in 1956}; 30a C-Notes {10 of them make a thou}; 32a Abba {"Take a Chance on Me" group}; 36a AAA {Little battery}; 37a a draw {"Let's call it ___" ("We're even")}; 38a pleas {S O S's, essentially}; 42a Ernie {Bert's "Sesame Street" buddy}; 43a Alana {Actress Stewart}; 44a pia {___ mater (brain cover)}; 45a sass {Cheeky chatter}; 46a stents {Surgical inserts}; 47a sky {What's up?}; 48a Clu {Gulager of "The Virginian"}; 50a skits {"Saturday Night Live" segments}; 56a meanie {No-good sort}; 60a lie in {___ wait}; 65a Kiel {German port}; 66a Asia {___ Minor}; 67a Weiss {"Marat/Sade" playwright Peter}; 68a edgy {Pushing the envelope}.

1d rapt {Enthralled}; 2d Oslo {Munch Museum's locale}; 3d Teut. {German: Abbr.}; 4d Camel {Certain cigarette}; 5d Katmandu {Capital of Nepal}; 6d NCR {Big name in A.T.M.'s}; 7d one {Single}; 8d tees {Ball supporters}; 9d spams {Sends cyberjunk}; 10d all in all {Everything considered}; 11d Gaga {Lady ___}; 12d at 'em {"Lemme ___!"}; 13d Serb {Balkan native}; 18d brocade {Wedding gown fabric}; 22d ass {Long-eared farm animal}; 24d format {Layout}; 25d stables {Equine areas}; 27d lades {Works as a stevedore}; 29d damns {Curses}; 33d beeps {Prompts on answering machines}; 34d batik {Hand-dyed fabric}; 35d assay {Analyze}; 38d plaster {Bandage, across the pond}; 40d biscuits {Dog treats}; 41d untimely {Not expected}; 46d sue {Take to court}; 51d Sajak {Pat of "Wheel of Fortune"}; 52d blew {Muffed}; 53d Eire {Homeland of Joyce and Yeats}; 55d tpke. {It takes a toll: Abbr.}; 57d NASA {Astronaut's letters}; 58d I'm it {Cry during a recess game}; 59d eBay {Web site with a "Buy It Now" option}; 62d aid {Help}; 63d peg {Accurate throw}.

6 comments:

Daniel Myers said...

Perhaps it is I who need correction - or instruction - here, but why is there an apostrophe in the clue for 38A?

Crossword Man said...

My take ... people often pluralize single letters with an apostrophe, presumably for clarity; dictionaries typically show the plural of X as X's or Xs, for example. So by extension the plural of S O S can be S O S's. See also Abbreviations/Plural forms. I'm not privy to the The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage, but I'm guessing that calls for the apostrophe.

Daniel Myers said...

Many thanks, Ross. It still seems a bit off to me. But it seems I'm still learning my ABC's.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe 27A is correct. JFK was an undergraduate at Harvard, and LLD (Doctor of Literary Law, now a Juris Doctor, or JD) is a graduate degree from Harvard Law School. JFK did briefly attend graduate school, biz school at Stanford, but received no degree. I think his degree was either B.A. or A.B.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I see he got an honorary degree, LLD, from HLS in 1956. Earned? Awarded? Presented with? Hmmm.

Crossword Man said...

Yes, Anon, the American in the family didn't quite believe this clue/answer when she first saw it ... but it seems to check out.