Thursday, November 11, 2010

NYT Friday 11/12/10 Barry C. Silk - My Pleasure

This Friday New York Times crossword was one of those I solved later than usual, after a day trip to Philadelphia. Taking that into account, I was pleased with my solving time and happy that I had no doubts over the completed grid.

Surfer GirlIt was slow to get a proper start, although I did find something to latch onto everywhere in the grid. Momentum started building towards the end of the first 10 minutes and I found I'd completed a swathe from the SW corner to halfway up the right hand side with 11 minutes gone.

This cut off the top half from the SE corner and I decided to focus on the latter first, as it was smaller. This section became tractable once I'd sorted out the rather neat 33d catacombs {Maze full of dead ends?} and so got the starts of the 10-letter answers. One trap I'd fallen into in this area was ump rather than ref for {Expert on plays} at 55-Across ... a great clue which I happily saw through right away, but opted for the wrong 50/50 shot. This area only took a couple of minutes when my efforts were finally focused on it.

A similar story at the top of the grid, although being a bigger area, it took about five minutes to unravel. My error here was Surfer Dude rather than Surfer Girl at 1-Across. The top right was also tricky, with Julia Ward Howe at 16-Across unfamiliar and both 18- and 22-Across trickily clued. Luckily {Fall times: Abbr.} at 11-Across allowed only a few possibilities and I happened to alight on Octs. as my first guess.
Solving time: 18 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 51d amens {Periods of prayer?}

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

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersBarry C. Silk / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 29 (12.9%) black squares
Answers72 (average length 5.44)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points308 (average 1.57)
Video of the Day

8d Ikettes {1960s R&B backup group, with "the"}. The Ikettes were a trio (sometimes quartet) of female backing vocalists for the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, a prominent American rhythm and blues group from the 1960s. Above they perform Peaches and Cream on the music variety television show Shindig!.

The Doctor is IN

16a Howe {"The Battle Hymn of the Republic" lyricist}. I.e. Julia Ward Howe (1819–1910), a prominent American abolitionist, social activist, and poet.

18a Main {It might cross 1st, 2nd and 3rd}. As in Main Street, which typically crosses numbered streets.

19a alt. {What's gained after taking off: Abbr.}. alt. = altitude (when flying).

22a TNT {Letters of discharge?}. TNT and "discharge" in the explosive sense.

38a ice {Put away}. Equivalents in the sense of "kill".

39a gin {It's often in a sling}. "sling" in the cocktail sense.

63a hora {División del día}. "hour" and "day" in Spanish.

65a Enid {"Idylls of the King" figure}. Enid, beloved of Geraint.

1d Sosa {1997-99 N.L. strikeout leader}. I.e. Sammy Sosa.

6d Royce {Early car company co-founder}. Henry Royce (1863–1933) co-founder of the Rolls-Royce company.

51d amens {Periods of prayer?}. "Periods" in the "conclusions" sense.

56d Erle {Contemporary of Ngaio}. Erle Stanley Gardner and Ngaio Marsh.

Image of the Day

Myra Bradwell

54d Myra {Pioneering woman lawyer Bradwell}. Myra Bradwell (1831–1894) was a publisher and political activist. She was the first woman to be admitted to the Illinois bar to become the first female lawyer in Illinois in 1892.

After passing the Illinois bar exam but being denied admission to the Illinois Bar, Myra Bradwell filed suit, reaching the United States Supreme Court, claiming that refusing to admit her to the bar because she was female violated her 14th Amendment rights. The Supreme Court held that the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment did not include the right to practice a profession. Justice Joseph Bradley wrote: “The natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of civil life...[T]he paramount destiny and mission of woman are to fulfill the noble and benign offices of wife and mother. This is the law of the Creator." Bradwell v. State, 83 U.S. (16 Wall.) 130 (1873).

The court's reasoning was fourfold: One, women would not be allowed to practice the law. Two, this would open the flood gates and many more women would want to follow in Bradwell’s foot steps. Three, brutal cases would not be appropriate for a woman to handle. Finally, the state was worried about the effect women would have on the administration office. Bradwell felt that she was being treated unfairly. She decided to take her concerns to the United States Supreme Court. But in 1873 the Supreme Court also denied her to the bar because of her gender. In 1872, the Illinois legislature passed a law stating that “No person shall be precluded or debarred from any occupation, profession, or employment (except the military) on account of gender." Bradwell continued to work on the Chicago Legal News where she was the journals publisher, business manager, and editor in chief. In 1890, she was admitted to the Illinois Bar and in 1892 she had received her license to practice before the United States Supreme Court.

Other Clues

1a Surfer Girl {One "standing by the ocean's roar," in a 1963 song}; 11a Octs. {Fall times: Abbr.}; 15a Oreo cookie {Newton alternative}; 17a safety-belt {Traveler's check}; 20a cutest {Most fetching}; 23a crest {Trough's opposite}; 25a dasher {No slowpoke}; 27a slash {Division indicator}; 30a Texarkana {Ross Perot's birthplace}; 32a Toltec {Ancient resident of Mexico's Cholula}; 34a singing {Choir practice?}; 35a eve {Chronological threshold}; 36a oar {Backwash creator}; 41a existed {Was present}; 44a ethene {Fruit-ripening gas}; 46a Spartacus {Crassus defeated him}; 48a eared {Like jugs}; 49a Contac {TheraFlu alternative}; 50a Stadt {Nürnberg or Neu-Ulm}; 52a YTD {Stock page abbr.}; 53a tomtom {Monotonous beating sound}; 55a ref {Expert on plays}; 58a tier {Piece of cake?}; 60a my pleasure {"Don't mention it"}; 64a brainchild {Birth of a notion?}; 66a sandstones {Quartzite and such}.

2d Ural {Russia's ___ Airlines}; 3d reft {Robbed, old-style}; 4d foe {Scarecrow, to Batman}; 5d ect- {External: Prefix}; 7d go bust {Lose one's shirt}; 9d rile {Chafe}; 10d Let's Dance {1983 #1 hit for David Bowie}; 11d ohm {Omega, to a physicist}; 12d coat hanger {Aid for not losing one's shirt}; 13d twin-engine {Like some fighters}; 14d Sentra {Civic rival}; 21d targeted {Not scattershot}; 23d CST {Midwest setting: Abbr.}; 24d rheostat {Slot car controller}; 26d ski {With 45-Down, unisex topper}; 27d Ste. {Abbr. in many Québec addresses}; 28d love potion {Preparation that makes folks hot?}; 29d Alexander I {Grandson of Catherine the Great}; 31d XII {Top of many a timepiece}; 33d catacombs {Maze full of dead ends?}; 37d rec. {Sport, for short}; 40d Ned {Jarrett of Nascar}; 42d IRT {Old N.Y.C. elevated operator}; 43d dust-pan {Bunny collector?}; 45d hat {See 26-Down}; 46d scythe {Means of splitting stalks?}; 47d stolid {Hard to stir}; 55d ruin {Make unusable}; 57d Feds {Some badge flashers}; 59d rad! {"Outstanding, man!"}; 61d act {Put-on}; 62d SHO {"The Big C" airer, briefly}.

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