Tuesday, October 26, 2010

NYT Wednesday 10/27/10 Jay Kaskel - Fangs for the Memory

I just about feel up to resuming commentaries with this Wednesday New York Times crossword, although (having not quite adjusted back to EDT) I solved the puzzle in a very bleary-eyed state and I suspect I'm not on top form right now.

bat mobileThe topical theme of the puzzle remained mysterious as I progressed down the grid, it being somewhat difficult to complete any of the long answers ... either from their clues, or cross-checking. In fact, I twigged to the theme from the many vampire references elsewhere in the cluing and hence was primed to fill 52-Across as Count Dracula, once I got down that far.

That made it much easier to complete the top four long answers: my favorite of these is the bat mobile {Crib plaything for a young 52-Across?} at 43-Across, because the punning sense in the clue is so removed from the Batmobile we know and love.

Some tough cluing here and there still made it challenging to finish off the grid: I had particular trouble with 59a ad in {Deuce follower}, for which I wanted trey originally, and 42a plant {Mole, e.g.}, which I only understood after some consideration while doing this write-up.
Solving time: 9 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 59a ad in {Deuce follower}
Solution

Jay Kaskel
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

In the run-up to Halloween, some puns relating to 52a Count Dracula {See 20-, 28-, 35- and 43-Across}.
20a reality bites {Comment on life by 52-Across?} cf  Reality Bites
28a blood bank {Deposit and withdrwal site for 52-Across?}
35a pain in the neck {Result of an encounter with 52-Across?}
43a bat mobile {Crib plaything for a young 52-Across?} cf Batmobile
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersJay Kaskel / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 40 (17.8%) black squares
Answers74 (average length 5.00)
Theme squares55 (29.7%)
Scrabble points285 (average 1.54)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



9d Poseidon {Ill-fated ship of film}. The Poseidon is a fictional cruise ship that first appeared in the 1969 novel The Poseidon Adventure by Paul Gallico and later in four films based on the novel. In the novel, the steamdriven cruise ship is traveling across the Atlantic on a month long tour of African and South American ports, after being converted from an ocean liner into a cruise ship. On December 26, the ship capsizes when a landslide on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge produces a huge rogue wave. The description of the ship is little, but we know it is a quadruple screw ocean liner of 81,000 tons, is long as four city blocks and is as high as an apartment building. It says it also has 3 "massive" funnels.

In the first film version, from 1972, The Poseidon Adventure (see trailer above), the ship is in the Mediterranean on its final voyage, which will take it to the breaker's yards in Greece, when an undersea earthquake produces the rogue wave that capsizes the ship just after midnight on New Year's Eve. The film uses the RMS Queen Mary as a stand-in for the Poseidon, using both model shots and stock footage of the actual liner. Subsequent films are Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (1979), The Poseidon Adventure (2005) and Poseidon (2006).

The Doctor is IN

14a toe {Little dipper?}. Reference to the toes as a means of testing water temperature.

17a HDL {Cholesterol abbr.}. HDL = high-density lipoprotein, so-called "good cholesterol".

41a R. U. R. {Capek play}. R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) premiered in 1921, introducing the term "robot".

42a plant {Mole, e.g.}. Equivalents in the spy/informer sense.

60a Eis {Frozen water, to Wilhelm}. Eis is the German for "ice".

59a ad in {Deuce follower}. ad in = advantage to the serving player in tennis.

53d Taft {1920s chief justice}. I.e. William Howard Taft (1857–1930).

Image of the Day

Aon Center

30d Aon {___ Center (Chicago skyscraper)}. It seems there's an Aon Center in Chicago and an Aon Center in Los Angeles. The Chicago one (200 East Randolph Street, formerly the Amoco Building) is a modern skyscraper in the Chicago Loop designed by architect firms Edward Durell Stone and The Perkins and Will partnership, and completed in 1973 as the Standard Oil Building. With 83 floors and a height of 1,136 feet (346 m), it is the third tallest building in Chicago, surpassed in height by the Willis Tower and the Trump International Hotel and Tower.

It is the headquarters of the Aon Corporation, formerly the headquarters of Amoco. In recent years, the top floors of the building have been lit at night with colors to reflect a particular season or holiday. Orange is used for Thanksgiving, green or red for Christmas, and pink during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The lighting commonly matches the nighttime lighting on the antenna of Willis Tower, the John Hancock Center and the upper floors of the Merchandise Mart.

Other Clues

1a Ang {Director Lee}; 4a Izod {Big name in sport shirts}; 8a oppose {Dispute}; 15a noir {Film style}; 16a does OK {Makes less than a killing}; 18a kola {Nut with caffeine}; 19a estate {Grand grounds}; 23a oaten {Like some straw}; 24a loiters {Hangs around}; 32a dopey {Lamebrained}; 33a Lou {Musical Reed}; 34a gorier {Displaying more violence}; 40a kidnap {Seize for ransom}; 49a heroine {Buffy the Vampire Slayer, e.g.}; 51a rigor {Stiffness}; 56a legend {Vampire story, e.g.}; 61a Adonai {Hebrew name for God}; 62a fang {Part of a vampire}; 63a Ste {___-Foy, Que.}; 64a tootle {Pied Piper's sound}; 65a tyke {Nipper}; 66a sad {Down}.

1d athrob {Like the heart during a horror movie}; 2d no deal {"Sorry, Charlie"}; 3d gelato {Frozen treat}; 4d in kind {Way to pay someone back}; 5d zoot {___-suiter}; 6d oily {Like mechanics' hands}; 7d drab {Void of any va-va-voom}; 8d Ode to {Poem title start}; 10d pet store {Spot to pick up Spot}; 11d osa {Spanish she-bear}; 12d sot {Bar fixture, maybe}; 13d eke {Squeeze (out)}; 21d Leo {Fierce sort, astrologically}; 22d ilk {Sort}; 25d epic {Awesome, in slang}; 26d reek {Stink}; 27d Syr. {Neighbor of Turk.}; 29d blip {Tiny bump on a graph}; 31d Nutra- {Commercial lead-in to Sweet}; 34d germ {"Cootie"}; 35d pile {Carpet feature}; 36d Adar {Month before Nisan}; 37d innocent {Having clean hands}; 38d national {Like some parks}; 39d hut {QB's utterance}; 40d kph {Speed meas. in Europe}; 43d Ben {Big ___}; 44d orange {Popsicle choice}; 45d Bic {Pen with a cap}; 46d I guess {"Um ... O.K."}; 47d Lolita {1955 novel that was made into 1962 and 1997 films}; 48d erased {Obliterated}; 50d nudie {Racy film}; 54d D-day {Subject of the book "Six Armies in Normandy"}; 55d rink {N.H.L. venue}; 56d lat. {No. on a map}; 57d Edo {Tokyo, once}; 58d goo {Melted chocolate, e.g.}.

2 comments:

Daniel Myers said...

Bloody great write-up! Smashing to have you back FROM Dear Old Blighty.

Crossword Man said...

Thanks DM. It's good to be back home again - DOB seemed very chilly last week.