Friday, November 5, 2010

NYT Saturday 11/6/10 Brad Wilber - Doing a Jig

I'm used to Saturday puzzles being a bit easier than Friday ones, but that wasn't the case this week. Perhaps the cluing in yesterday's crossword was kept deliberately easy because of the special contest - the clues in today's New York Times crossword were far from easy and had me going down several blind alleys.

I got a reasonable start in the NW: with just Maj. at 4-Down, I somehow guessed Big Mac at 1-Across and then got much of the corner, though I wasn't ready to do a jig {Physically show elation} at that early stage. In fact progress soon petered out south of 19-Across, but I did better above the diagonal line of blocks, finding ten to and Seths at 20- and 25-Across helpful for maintaining momentum downwards. As the NE corner was now isolated, I endeavored to polish that off, but abandoned the idea fairly soon, making better progress towards the SE, which I had done with 9 minutes on the clock.

From here, I worked away at the SW corner, getting my start with ORs (or was it ERs?) at 46-Across, happily remembering OnStar from previous puzzles after a short delay ... an answer critical to dealing with the area. Now I could attack the problematic NW corner again from another direction, but still found it troublesome, particularly around that trio of eight-letter entries 1- thru 3-Down. With 1-Down, I tried first body suit, then body coat before finally twigging to body cast ... only realizing when doing this write-up that the "spill" is not in the liquid sense.

Hansel and GretelWith everything else done, I had no option but to get back to the NE corner. My original thought about 13-Down was that the woodcutter must be Paul Bunyan; I knew him to have had a daughter (in the Britten operetta at least) but this turned out to be a wild goose chase. When I thought of Hansel and Gretel I did much better, though I made a subsequent misstep in having outa here (not out there) at 16-Across. Life would have been so much simpler if I had just remembered Ft. Sumter {U.S. Civil War starting point} at 18-Across, but my US history knowledge is still not all it could or should be.

I can't let a Brad Wilber puzzle pass without mentioning his self-published crosswords at the A Bit B. E. Wilbered blog. There are now two of his themeless puzzles available, each with smooth (easier) and crunchy (harder) clues - you get to choose how difficult you want to make them.
Solving time: 24 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 54a napes {Buns may cover them}

Brad Wilber
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersBrad Wilber / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 27 (12.0%) black squares
Answers72 (average length 5.50)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points319 (average 1.61)
Video of the Day

2d I Go To Rio {Signature song of Peter Allen}. Peter Allen (1944–1992) was an Australian songwriter and entertainer. His songs were made popular by many recording artists, including Melissa Manchester and Olivia Newton-John, Elkie Brooks, and one, Arthur's Theme, won the Academy Award. In addition to recording many albums, he enjoyed a cabaret and concert career, including appearing at Radio City Music Hall riding a camel. His marriage to Liza Minnelli ended in divorce and his most significant relationship was with Gregory Connell which lasted 15 years.

I Go To Rio was written by Peter Allen and Adrienne Anderson. It became a signature song of Allen, as well as being covered by Peggy Lee and Pablo Cruise, among others, in addition to being subject to multiple soundtrack inclusions.

The Doctor is IN

1a Big Mac {Baseball All-Star's nickname ... or a popular food product}. Big Mac is the nickname of Mark McGwire.

22a Nitti {Old Chicago Outfit frontman}. I.e. Frank Nitti (1881–1943), one of the top henchmen of Al Capone.

52a Natl. {NOW head?: Abbr.}. NOW = National Organization for Women, an American feminist organization.

59a bidet {John's neighbor}. John = toilet should perhaps be in Pavlov's Guide to Crosswords.

1d body cast {Wear after a serious spill}. See body cast (spill in the sense of "a fall from a horse or vehicle or an erect position").

13d Gretel {Fictional woodcutter's daughter}. A reference to the Brothers Grimm story Hansel and Gretel.

21d nel {"Regnava ___ silenzio" (Donizetti aria)}. Regnava nel Silenzio is one of Lucia's arias in Lucia di Lammermoor (1835).

24d tails {Flip response?}. Reference to Heads or Tails.

38d Papa Bear {One with a notably hard bed}. A reference to Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

44d capisce? {"Got it?"}. capisce? ("do you understand?" in Italian) has become a slang expression in English.

50d zed {Part of an English wizard's spell?}. The Z of "wizard" is rendered zed in British English.

60d toro {Zodiaco animal}. Spanish for "bull" and "zodiac".

65d ton {Host}. Equivalent in the sense of "large amount".

Image of the Day

Crazy Horse Memorial

15a Oglala {Crazy Horse, e.g.}. I'm envious of Magdalen and Hub 1.0 for having seen the Crazy Horse Memorial - they have always sung its praises and it sounds awesome. Crazy Horse, literally "His-Horse-Is-Crazy" or "His-Horse-Is-Spirited" (ca. 1840–1877), was a Native American war leader of the Oglala Lakota. He took up arms against the U.S. Federal government to fight against encroachments on the territories and way of life of the Lakota people, including leading a war party at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in June 1876. After surrendering to U.S. troops under General Crook in 1877, Crazy Horse was fatally wounded by a military guard while allegedly resisting imprisonment at Camp Robinson in present-day Nebraska. Crazy Horse is commemorated by the incomplete Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota — a monument carved into a mountain, in the tradition of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial (on which Korczak Ziółkowski had worked with Gutzon Borglum). The sculpture was begun by Ziółkowski in 1948. When completed, it will be 641 ft (195 m) wide and 563 ft (172 m) high. It is still incomplete because of funding constraints.

Other Clues

7a sad songs {Music that may make you get down}; 16a out there {Kooky}; 17a do a jig {Physically show elation}; 18a Ft. Sumter {U.S. Civil War starting point}; 19a YTD {Financial report abbr.}; 20a ten to {Coming up on the hour}; 23a cost {Go for}; 25a Seths {Actor Rogen and others}; 27a clef {Register indicator}; 28a aroar {Like monster trucks or their spectators}; 30a loath {Hardly inclined}; 32a els {Commuting options}; 33a simian {Macaque or marmoset}; 35a pro-am {Many a benefit tourney}; 37a toe-loop {Axel alternative}; 39a polemic {Argumentative}; 43a sumac {Cause of a rash reaction?}; 45a do-si-do {Reel revolution}; 46a ORs {Settings for much stitching, briefly}; 49a La Paz {Capital near Lake Titicaca}; 51a Salem {Capital near Green Peter Lake}; 54a napes {Buns may cover them}; 56a slab {Cheese portion}; 57a scram {Bolt}; 61a PLO {Oslo Accords grp.}; 62a tea-cakes {Treats served toasted and buttered}; 64a Toto IV {Triple-platinum 1982 album with the #1 hit "Africa"}; 66a amnesiac {One drawing many blanks}; 67a bronze {Rodin worked in it}; 68a red scare {Past paranoia producer}; 69a yonder {At that place}.

3d gladsome {Delightful}; 4d Maj. {Lt. col.'s inferior}; 5d alit {Put down}; 6d cages {Aviary supply}; 7d soft top {Feature of many a Jeep}; 8d autoharp {Producer of simple chords}; 9d DTs {Woe while getting clean}; 10d stun {Floor}; 11d ohmic {Like some resistance}; 12d nettle {Vex}; 14d serifs {Character traits?}; 26d stood {Bore}; 29d Raoul {Dadaist Hausmann}; 31d halos {They may appear over icons}; 34d No Man {"___ of Her Own" (Clark Gable film)}; 36d mesas {Western scenery}; 40d millpond {Wheel-powering reservoir}; 41d idealize {Put on a pedestal}; 42d combover {Cover-up unlikely to fool anyone}; 46d OnStar {G.M. system with a "Virtual Advisor"}; 47d raceme {Poinciana feature}; 48d strand {42-Down unit}; 53d laces {Doctors with spirits}; 55d set by {Reserve for future use}; 58d masc. {Like 60-Down: Abbr.}; 63d Kia {Rondo producer}.


Anonymous said...

Re: 54a - I would think that a bun hairstyle would leave the nape of the neck UNcovered.

Crossword Man said...

That may be true more often than not, but the clue hedges with "may" ... according to Magdalen, some bun styles do cover the nape of the neck.