Friday, November 12, 2010

NYT Saturday 11/13/10 Mark Diehl - A Fair Fight

There was a time when I never solved a themeless puzzle within half an hour. Now I'm disappointed when it doesn't happen and I experienced that a little of that with this Saturday New York Times crossword, although it was a fair fight and I only went six minutes over ... so I wasn't too upset.

As with yesterday's puzzle, part of the difficulty was finding wrong alternative answers, particularly in the SE where I naturally thought of rods for {Some fishing gear} at 46-Across. I could make that intersect with Rabin at 46-Down (yes an Israeli P.M., but not the one before Sharon).

StonehengeSolving had actually got off to a very solid start in the NW corner, including all of 1- and 15-Across and the start of 17-Across. With the latter, finding the entry too long for Stonehenge, I continued thinking about specific sites, taking ages to come up with the generic stone circle. All this got done in the first five minutes.

Unfortunately, I just couldn't extend out from there right away and struggled for a long time to get momentum anywhere else. Correcting another red herring in skipping at 32-Across {Play at recess} was key to cracking the NE corner. I'd thought of in a row for 21-Down, but skip rope is not a term I'm familiar with, relative to the straightforward skipping. Finishing this area after 26 minutes was the next milestone reached.

After this I finally managed to get the starts of the trio of downs 28-Down thru 30-Down, the river of river raft being vital because it finally gave me the hint I needed for overtone at 37-Across. From here, I could finally work into the lower middle, then down to the trio of 11-letter acrosses and hence the finishing line.
Solving time: 36 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 52a carol {Air traveling over snow?}

Mark Diehl
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersMark Diehl / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 25 (11.1%) black squares
Answers66 (average length 6.06)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points322 (average 1.61)
Video of the Day

40a nerd {Many a character on "The Big Bang Theory"}. A favorite show of ours ... and yet, I needed virtually all the crossings to get nerd; I guess I just don't see the characters as nerdy any more. The Big Bang Theory is an American sitcom created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, both of whom serve as executive producers on the show. It premiered on CBS on September 24, 2007.

Set in Pasadena, California, the show is centered around five characters: two roommate Caltech geniuses, experimental physicist Leonard Hofstadter and theoretical physicist Sheldon Cooper, their neighbor across the hall Penny, an attractive blonde waitress and aspiring actress, and Leonard's and Sheldon's friends Howard Wolowitz, an Aerospace engineer and a non-PhD from JPL, and Rajesh Koothrappali, a particle astrophysicist postdoc also working at Caltech, their equally geeky and socially awkward co-workers and friends. The geekiness and intellect of the four guys are contrasted for comic effect with Penny's social skills and common sense. Three other supporting characters have also been promoted to main cast status for a few episodes: Leslie Winkle, a Caltech colleague of Leonard, Sheldon, and Raj; Bernadette (Melissa Rauch), a microbiology student who works with Penny part time as a waitress; and Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik), a female duplicate of Sheldon.

The Doctor is IN

27a appl. {G.E. unit: Abbr.}. appl. = appliance, as made by General Electric?

56a CFC {Freon initials}. CFC = chlorofluorocarbon, branded Freon by DuPont.

1d cosmo {Red cocktail, for short}. I.e. a cosmopolitan.

6d UPC {Supermarket lines, for short}. UPC = Universal Product Code, a barcode symbology.

46d Barak {P.M. before Sharon}. Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon.

48d bogey {Menace in the air, maybe}. A bogey is a radar or visual air contact whose identity is unknown in brevity code.

51d lipo {Middle management?}. lipo, short for liposuction.

55d Too {Word accompanying "Much," "Little" and "Late" in a 1978 #1 hit}. See Too Much, Too Little, Too Late.

Image of the Day

sock monkeys

59a sock monkeys {Kitschy stuffed toys}. A sock monkey is a toy made from socks fashioned in the likeness of a monkey. These stuffed animals are a mixture of folk art and kitsch in the culture of the United States and the culture of Canada.

Other Clues

1a clap push-ups {Calisthenics for show-offs}; 12a wah! {Plaintive cry}; 15a outer planet {Saturn, for one}; 16a -ito {Diminutive Spanish name suffix}; 17a stone circle {European neolithic monument}; 18a res {Lawyer's thing}; 19a mends {Doctors}; 20a paltriest {Least}; 22a Odes {Pablo Neruda's "___ to Common Things"}; 23a bolo {___ tie}; 24a ensue {Go after}; 25a sandal {Bit of centurion gear}; 28a prayer {Something a father may hear}; 32a skip rope {Play at recess}; 34a hibachi {Coal holder}; 36a snooker {British form of 33-Down}; 37a overtone {Hint}; 39a dowers {Widows' allowances}; 41a PayPal {Web site with the subheading "Merchant Services"}; 43a erred {Overthrew, e.g.}; 45a peas {Samosa ingredients}; 46a bobs {Some fishing gear}; 50a trade laws {Import/export business concern}; 52a carol {Air traveling over snow?}; 53a Ian {Actor Somerhalder of "Lost"}; 54a mini storage {Rental for many an apartment dweller}; 57a opinionated {Like critics}; 58a sty {"Animal Farm" locale}.

2d luted {Played some dulcet tones}; 3d atone {Square things}; 4d pends {Isn't settled}; 5d Pres. {U. V.I.P.}; 7d slip-on {Loafer, e.g.}; 8d Haralds {Five Norwegian kings}; 9d uncloaks {Exposes}; 10d pelt {Trophy, of sorts}; 11d stere {Firewood measure}; 12d wire-spoke {Kind of wheel}; 13d ate supper {Took something in at night?}; 14d hostelers {They may take you in at night}; 21d in a row {Back to back}; 23d barhop {Engage in a bachelor party activity}; 25d sect {Zen Buddhists, e.g.}; 26d Lindas {Hamilton and Hunt}; 28d phonetics {Study making sound judgments?}; 29d river raft {Rapid transit?}; 30d aberrancy {It's just not normal}; 31d yarded {Penned in}; 33d pool {See 36-Across}; 35d in a panic {Frenzied}; 38d eye-wink {Sign meaning "Let this be our little secret"}; 42d passim {Footnote word in Latin}; 44d demos {Shows at an expo}; 47d orate {Stand and deliver?}; 49d sleds {Moves along tirelessly?}; 52d Conn {Didi of "Grease" and "Grease 2"}.


Magdalen said...

Hey, Crossword Man! Two bones to pick with you.

First, fix the link for the sock monkeys, willya? I had to go fishing to find them on sale at Etsy, they're that pretty. Here's Sunsetgirl's Etsy page.

Second, you and I both watch The Big Bang Theory and love it, so how in the name of all that is quantum & mechanical can you mention Leslie Winkle (so last season) and not mention Amy Farrah Fowler, played by the fabulous Mayim Bialik, who has a Ph.D. in neuroscience in real life?

Crossword Man said...

Both issues now fixed!