Tuesday, October 12, 2010

NYT Wednesday 10/13/10 Alan Arbesfeld - On The Offensive

With this Wednesday New York Times crossword, I again proved how blind I can be to themes. This time I have more of an excuse, in that American football lingo is still rather unfamiliar. Perhaps attending the Penn Quakers Homecoming Game at the end of the month will help with that?

I'd worked all the way through the grid happily completing theme answers before finally arriving at the bottom few rows and 57-Across. That took some piecing together and I couldn't really sort out what the key theme word was until seeing Wichita, which needed the final few answers in the difficult SW corner. So I got lineman simultaneously with completing the grid.

Nice that the sense of lineman needed for the theme is quite different to that used in the Wichita Lineman song. Let's hear a version of it now ... it may as well be the cited Glen Campbell:

Today was definitely a day for problems with wrong answers, though otherwise the cluing seemed about the same difficulty level as yesterday: I thought {Disgusting-tasting} at 5-Across must be icky; then {Like some dirty windshields} made me think of smeared at 11-Down; with a few letters towards 55-Down I decided Denny must be {Where hash is "slung"} rather than the generic diner, but I belatedly recognize that the clue as it stands could only result in Denny's with an apostrophe-s.
Solving time: 9 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 7d lung {One getting an inspiration?}

Alan Arbesfeld
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


The top four theme answers end with a type of lineman in the American football sense, this being indicated by 57a Wichita Lineman {Glen Campbell hit, the last word of which is this puzzle's theme}.
20a shopping center {Place with a "You Are Here" map}
30a cat tackle {Anchor-hoisting equipment}
37a bitter end {Longtime Greenwich Village music venue, with "the"}
48a shinguard {Protection for Pelé}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersAlan Arbesfeld / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 32 (14.2%) black squares
Answers74 (average length 5.22)
Theme squares55 (28.5%)
Scrabble points302 (average 1.56)
Video of the Day

35a Moe {Howard who parodied Adolf}. Moses Harry Horwitz (1897–1975), known professionally as Moe Howard, was an American actor and comedian best known as the leader of The Three Stooges, the farce comedy team who starred in motion pictures and television for four decades. His distinctive hairstyle came about when he was a boy and cut off his curls with a pair of scissors, producing a ragged shape approximating a helmet or bowl.

In the 1940s, the Three Stooges became topical, making several anti-Nazi movies including You Nazty Spy! (Moe's favorite Three Stooges film), I'll Never Heil Again, and They Stooge to Conga. Moe's impersonation of Adolf Hitler highlighted these shorts, the first of which preceded Charlie Chaplin's controversial film satire, The Great Dictator, by months.

The Doctor is IN

17a Asta {Dog in whodunits}. Asta is a Cruciverbal Canine.

24a epi- {Dermal opening?}. Referencing epi- as a prefix in "epidermal".

61a cinco {Half of diez}. five = cinco and ten = diez are in Español para los crucigramistas.

68a -ster {Poll closing?}. Referencing -ster as a suffix in "pollster".

12d chortle {"Through the Looking-Glass" laugh}. chortle - a portmanteau of chuckle and snort - worked its way into the English language purely as a result of its coinage in Jabberwocky.

13d ASL {Hand communication: Abbr.}. ASL = American Sign Language.

21d Petri {Lab dish inventor}. Reference to Julius Richard Petri (1852–1921).

61d CLE {A.L. Central city}. CLE is short for Cleveland, Ohio, home of the Cleveland Indians.

Image of the Day


1d sea-star {Five-pointed creature}. Starfish or sea stars are echinoderms belonging to the class Asteroidea. However, common usage frequently finds "starfish" and "sea star" also applied to ophiuroids which are correctly referred to as "brittle stars" or "basket stars".

There are 2,000 living species of starfish that occur in all the world's oceans, including the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian as well as in the Arctic and the Southern Ocean (i.e., Antarctic) regions. Starfish occur across a broad depth range from the intertidal to abyssal depths (>6000 m).

Starfish are among the most familiar of marine animals and possess a number of widely known traits, such as regeneration and feeding on mussels. Starfish possess a wide diversity of body forms and feeding methods. The extent that Asteroidea can regenerate varies with individual species. Broadly speaking, starfish are opportunistic feeders, with several species having specialized feeding behavior, including suspension feeding and specialized predation on specific prey.

Other Clues

1a Sion {"The Da Vinci Code" priory}; 5a vile {Disgusting-tasting}; 9a Casca {The first to stab Caesar}; 14a -enne {Feminine suffix}; 15a crux {Key point}; 16a Ruths {Gordon and Ginsburg}; 18a hone {Fine-tune}; 19a enrol {Register}; 23a tap {Brew source}; 25a USN {Fleet letters}; 26a ate {Packed away}; 28a aport {Left at sea}; 33a reform {Go straight}; 36a ayes {Affirmative actions?}; 40a Asti {Source of bubbly}; 43a foe {The other army}; 44a myriad {Innumerable}; 51a lento {Slowly, to Solti}; 52a hoe {Ground breaker}; 53a OJs {Breakfast orders at a 55-Down, briefly}; 54a I do {Altar agreement}; 56a Ali {Muslim convert in 1964 news}; 62a élan {Verve}; 63a gong {Instrument played with a mallet}; 64a let 'em {"I don't care if they do"}; 65a rote {Learning by flash cards, e.g.}; 66a go to {Seek out}; 67a erode {Decrease, as support}; 69a S Dak {Badlands locale: Abbr.}.

2d in shape {Like most gym rats}; 3d on top of {Keeping up with}; 4d neap {Tide type}; 5d V-chip {TV blocking device}; 6d ironic {Having a twist}; 7d lung {One getting an inspiration?}; 8d executor {Will figure}; 9d Crenna {Actor Richard of "Rambo" films}; 10d aunt {Unpaid sitter, perhaps}; 11d streaky {Like some dirty windshields}; 22d esteem {Hold in regard}; 27d EEs {Some R.P.I. grads}; 29d Robin {Batpole user}; 31d ameer {Mideast leader: Var.}; 32d cadre {Core group}; 34d Mt Fuji {Japan's highest point: Abbr.}; 38d toasters {Wedding reception participants, often}; 39d nylon {Hose material}; 40d ash {Smokestack emission}; 41d showier {More ostentatious}; 42d tie into {Connect with}; 45d in a mood {Sulky}; 46d Atlanta {Emory University's home}; 47d doing OK {Hanging in there}; 49d go home! {"Beat it, kid!"}; 50d dilate {Get wider}; 55d diner {Where hash is "slung"}; 58d CC'ed {E-mailed a dupe to}; 59d a lot {Jillions}; 60d eggs {Orders at a 55-Down}.


Anonymous said...

I didn't really care for "One getting an inspiration?" because I thought "inspiration" was just a poor hint to "respiration." But I looked up the word "inspiration," and sure enough, an included definition is "the act of drawing in, specifically, the drawing of air into the lungs." But if this is a valid definition, it seems no question mark is needed, because the clue immediately becomes literal!

Crossword Man said...

My impression is that a question mark is used when there is significant misdirection: even if the definition in the correct reading is valid, 90% of the time your first reading of a ? clue will be wrong and the ? tells you to think again.