Friday, October 29, 2010

NYT Saturday 10/30/10 Barry C. Silk - Side-Tracked

This Saturday New York Times crossword seems to me very close in difficulty to yesterday's and I'm pleased to have completed both this week's themeless puzzles in a reasonable time and with no doubts as to correctness.

I got my start today at the top right, having drawn the proverbial blank trying to deal with the top left. Guessing abra- at 10-Down, then palate and orates to cross it, I had that whole corner done after 3 minutes and was able to push into the center, but not unfortunately into any of the other corners directly from there.

So, as yesterday, there followed a long pause as I dotted around the grid looking for a fresh start elsewhere. This eventually came in the SW after 16 minutes, and I then moved around to the right via silvers and Aesop at 41- and 52-Down.

With all those starting letters to the eight-letter acrosses, I soon had spielers and Rod Laver and - boom - all but the top left corner was done with 18 minutes on the clock.

puppy loveAs so often happens, when all my solving energies got focused back on the one spot that seemed to be causing most trouble, new ideas for possible answers emerged: I originally had young love at 4-Down, but why not puppy love?

Then I managed to guess Chippewa despite having no idea what the Treaty of Fort McIntosh was about. That opened the floodgates for more answers and I finished the grid in a flurry of activity. {Local listings} for stops at 19-Across remained mysterious until Magdalen gave me the train explanation - I'd definitely got side-tracked by the TV schedule meaning of "local listings".
Solving time: 21 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 24a scam {Contrivance for taking people for a ride}
Solution

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

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersBarry C. Silk / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 25 (11.1%) black squares
Answers68 (average length 5.88)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points307 (average 1.53)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



34d B. J. Thomas {Singer with the 1966 hit "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry"}. I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry is a song written and recorded by American country music singer-songwriter Hank Williams in 1949. The song about loneliness was largely inspired by his troubled relationship with wife Audrey Sheppard. With evocative lyrics, such as the opening lines "Hear that lonesome whip-poor-will/He sounds too blue to fly," the song has been covered by a wide range of musicians, including B. J. Thomas, the American popular singer known for his chart-topping hits in the 1960s and 1970s - his album featuring I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.

The Doctor is IN

19a stops {Local listings}. Local in the sense of "local train".

22a Coty {De Gaulle's predecessor}. References to René Coty and Charles de Gaulle.

27a atts. {They often want to settle: Abbr.}. atts. = attorneys.

29a lib {Ad conclusion?}. Reference to lib as part of ad lib.

30a O'Toole {"What's New, Pussycat?" co-star, 1965}. Peter O'Toole plays Michael James in What's New Pussycat?.

37a Strasse {Automobil site}. "Road" and "automobile" in German.

40a T-Strap {Pump alternative}. "T-Strap" and "pump" are types of shoe.

42a TSA {Subway inspection org.}. TSA = Transportation Security Administration really belongs in Alphabet Soup.

43a Troi {Empathic counselor of sci-fi}. Reference to Deanna Troi in the Star Trek universe.

2d Heston {El Cid player}. Charlton Heston (1923–2008) played the title role in El Cid (1961).

6d Ero {Leandro's partner}. Reference to e.g. George Frideric Handel's Italian-language cantata Ero e Leandro.

10d abra- {Magician's opening}. As in abracadabra.

12d articles {They're in rags}. "rags" in the sense of newspapers.

56d bale {"Oklahoma!" set piece}. I.e. a bale could be seen on the set of Oklahoma!.

Image of the Day

Oberon

16a Oberon {William Herschel discovery of 1787}. Oberon also designated Uranus IV, is the outermost major moon of the planet Uranus. It is the second largest and second most massive of the Uranian moons, and the ninth most massive moon in the Solar System. Discovered by William Herschel in 1787, Oberon is named after the mythical king of the fairies who appears as a character in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Its orbit lies partially outside Uranus's magnetosphere.

It is likely that Oberon formed from the accretion disk that surrounded Uranus just after the planet's formation. The moon consists of approximately equal amounts of ice and rock, and is probably differentiated into a rocky core and an icy mantle. A layer of liquid water may be present at the boundary between the mantle and the core. The surface of Oberon, which is dark and slightly red in color, appears to have been primarily shaped by asteroid and comet impacts. It is covered by numerous impact craters reaching 210 km in diameter. Oberon possesses a system of chasmata (graben or scarps) formed during crustal extension as a result of the expansion of its interior during its early evolution.

The Uranian system has been studied up close only once: the spacecraft Voyager 2 took several images of Oberon in January 1986, allowing 40% of the moon's surface to be mapped.


Other Clues

1a Chippewa {Treaty of Fort McIntosh signer, 1785}; 9a palate {Taste test need}; 15a requires {Can't do without}; 17a I suppose {Comment while hemming}; 18a orates {Has an impressive address}; 20a extra-fine {Coin collector's classification}; 23a Aruba {Part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands}; 24a scam {Contrivance for taking people for a ride}; 25a one lap {440 yards, for many runners}; 32a T-cell {Antigen attacker}; 34a bravest {Least likely to turn tail}; 39a Judea {Bethlehem's region}; 45a owes to {Has a loan from}; 49a HTML {What a webmaster may master}; 51a Eilat {Gulf of Aqaba city}; 53a chow {Eats}; 54a obsessive {Monomaniacal}; 56a boron {Group 13 member, in chemistry}; 57a mean to {Mistreating}; 58a escarole {Common salad ingredient}; 60a allied {Confederate}; 61a Rod Laver {Eponym of an Australian Open arena}; 62a stents {Surgeons' insertions}; 63a spielers {Deliverers of product lines?}.

1d Crisco {Big name in oil}; 3d I quote {Lead-in to someone else's words, after "and"}; 4d puppy love {What a crush might be}; 5d pips {Marks in a casino}; 7d Weser {River to the North Sea}; 8d asexual {Kind of reproduction}; 9d poor at {Not skilled in}; 11d leafs {Browses (through)}; 13d toe-nails {They may be treated in a spa}; 14d ensemble {Pieces together?}; 21d TB test {American Lung Assn. recommendation}; 23d A pos. {Blood drive spec.}; 26d ate at {Distressed}; 28d straw {One stuck in a float}; 31d Otto II {Holy Roman emperor, 973-83}; 33d Cape Coral {Florida city on the Caloosahatchee}; 35d rust belt {Area with aging factories}; 36d Adam's ale {Water}; 38d trot {Compete in the Breeders Crown}; 41d silvers {Some Olympians get them}; 44d resods {Covers over, in a way}; 46d shrove {Freed from guilt}; 47d tooler {Stonemason's chisel}; 48d owners {They have rights}; 50d Lenin {Comintern creator}; 52d Aesop {"The Frogs Who Desired a King" author}; 55d stet {Editorial reconsideration}; 59d CDI {Year the Visigoths invaded Italy}.

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