Friday, October 1, 2010

NYT Saturday 10/2/10 Barry C. Silk - Made It Work

Well this week has certainly done wonders for my self-esteem, time-wise. This Saturday New York Times crossword took me just over 15 minutes - perhaps a record time again for me?

It all started brilliantly at the top left with SSTs to go with sprig, plus my guess of Sean O'Casey working out. Only the multitude of possible endings at 14-Across (peek/peer/peep) held me up but I still had that first corner done in around two minutes.

Tim GunnThe rest of the grid was more of a struggle, but still easy by Saturday standards. I made inroads into all three corners, but found it difficult to finish any off. The SE finally yielded with 11 minutes on the clock. One lucky break here was that Magdalen was viewing the latest Project Runway in the basement and I could hear the dulcet tones of Tim Gunn (cf 36-Across) wafting up from time to time.

Then I got back to the SW corner, where thinking of the critical hail, Caesar! for {Senate cry} at 56-Across was the key. At the top right, the problem was a wrong answer: I was quite aware that 6-Down allowed of two answers (elude and evade) but somehow convinced myself that only evade was possible. This mental block held me from getting the fairly easy California {Orange's place} at 15-Across - typical of an answer that can break open a corner for you.
Solving time: 16 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 28d Tums {Product of some relief pitches?}

Barry C. Silk
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersBarry C. Silk / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 34 (15.1%) black squares
Answers68 (average length 5.62)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points287 (average 1.50)
Video of the Day

13d Tay {It flows from a loch to a firth}. The River Tay originates in the Highlands and flows down through Strathtay (see Strath), in the centre of Scotland, through Perth and into the Firth of Tay, south of Dundee. It is the longest river in Scotland and the seventh-longest in the United Kingdom.

The Tay Bridge disaster occurred on 28 December 1879, when the first Tay Rail Bridge, which crossed the Firth of Tay between Dundee and Wormit in Scotland, collapsed during a violent storm while a train was passing over it. The above poem to commemorate the event was written by the Scottish poet William McGonagall, widely acclaimed as the worst poet in British history.

The Doctor is IN

1a SSTs {Onetime J.F.K. visitors}. SSTs = supersonic transports, one of those bygone terms that it falls to  crosswords to keep alive.

15a California {Orange's place}. Reference to Orange County, California.

30a Maria {She's a problem that needs to be solved, in song}. I.e. the subject of Maria, sometimes known as How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, from The Sound of Music.

3d ten dollars {Value of a U.S. coronet head coin, minted from 1838 to 1907}. See List of Designs for the Eagle coin. 

7d mil {Cool number?}. Reference to the expression "a cool mil". 

9d No Such Agency {Organization nickname that plays off the group's secrecy}. No Such Agency is a facetious expansion of NSA. Sh! ... they have this highly secret website here.

11d anni {Millennio divisions}. "Years" and "millennium" in Italian.

27d Maid Marian {Legendary outlaw's companion}. Maid Marian is the female companion to the legendary English outlaw Robin Hood.

Image of the Day


50a capybara {Rodent that may weigh over 100 pounds}. The capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris), is the largest living rodent in the world. Its closest relatives are agouti, chinchillas, coyphillas, and guinea pigs. Capybaras have heavy, barrel-shaped bodies and short heads with reddish-brown fur on the upper part of their body that turns yellowish-brown underneath. Adult capybaras may grow to 130 centimetres (4.3 ft) in length, and weigh up to 65 kg (140 lb). The top recorded weight is 105.4 kg (232 lbs). Capybaras have slightly webbed feet, no tail, and 20 teeth. Their back legs are slightly longer than their front legs and their muzzles are blunt with eyes, nostrils, and ears on top of their head. I'm reliably informed that the above example is/was kept as a pet in Buda, TX and was photographed sporting a Halloween costume.

Other Clues

5a lemon tart {Tangy treat}; 14a peep {Furtive look}; 16a rani {Eastern dignitary}; 17a adults-only {Blue, say}; 18a indebted {Not settled up}; 20a util. {Monthly expense: Abbr.}; 21a Google search {Producer of hits}; 24a clear {Like good explanations}; 25a rah! {Squad booster}; 26a GMT {Prime meridian hrs.}; 29a balls {Lottery mix-up?}; 32a eau {Need for des poissons}; 33a USA {Its members are represented by stars}; 34a trading {Activity for folks in the pits?}; 36a Tim {Style guru Gunn}; 37a Der {With 4-Down, German equivalent of Time}; 38a foxed {Tricked cunningly}; 39a egads {Cry of consternation}; 41a Sys. {Part of Awacs: Abbr.}; 42a uni- {Cellular opening?}; 43a an arm {"Hast thou ___ like God?": Job 40:9}; 44a primal scream {Supposed aid in curing neurosis}; 48a warn {Show a yellow card, e.g.}; 51a threadbare {Worn}; 54a adit {Shaft entrance}; 55a hail Caesar! {Senate cry}; 56a goat {Chimera, in part}; 57a omelettes {Fare often folded in half}; 58a -enne {-trix kin}.

1d sprig {Garnish amount}; 2d Sean O'Casey {Irish playwright who wrote "Cock-a-Doodle Dandy"}; 4d Spiegel {See 37-Across}; 5d lades {Takes on cargo}; 6d elude {Get around}; 8d oft {With regularity, to Whitman}; 10d troth {Loyalty}; 12d rill {Streamlet}; 15d cater {Provide courses for}; 19d blast furnace {Coke product maker}; 22d Arrid {"Get a little closer" brand}; 23d rain {Picnic problem}; 26d get a read on {Sense}; 28d Tums {Product of some relief pitches?}; 29d buds {Ones to hang with}; 30d maxim {Words to live by}; 31d -ade {Commercial ending with Power}; 35d -roni {Commercial ending with Pasta}; 40d garbage {What's at your disposal?}; 43d as per {In line with}; 44d Prell {Alberto VO5 rival}; 45d a case {Make ___ for}; 46d Laras {Newswoman Logan and others}; 47d matte {Certain finish}; 48d wham {Big blow}; 49d Arie {R&B singer India.___}; 51d tho {While, for short}; 52d dat {Not dis}; 53d bet {Play favorites?}.


Daniel Myers said...

LOL-From where on earth did you dig up that terrible poem, Ross?!? The Job quote was very familiar to me is it serves as one of two epigraphs to the masterful poem "The Firebombing" by James Dickey (whom I knew slightly before his death). The poem also appears in a recently published book you might like, Bomber County, focusing mainly on British airmen in WWII. Here's the Telegraph's take on it:

Fun puzzle!

Crossword Man said...

Have you not heard of McGonagall before? He's famously bad - if you're going to write bad poetry, be the worst there is and then you'll be remembered for it.

I hadn't come across the Job quote, which ought to be what England cricket managers ask prospective players :-) Thanks for the pointer re "Bomber County".