Thursday, December 30, 2010

NYT Friday 12/31/10 Caleb Madison - The Times They Are A-Changing

This Friday New York Times crossword is a great finale to the solving year. It was a bit of a struggle to start with, but I surprised myself with a reasonably good solving time for a themeless: once corners started to gel, they collapsed rather easily.

One notable feature of the puzzle is the number of excellent misleading clues, mostly signaled with a question mark at the end. It helped that I saw through many of these right away, though there was a double-bluff at 33-Across where {Lit} doesn't require the drunk meaning, just afloat. Overthinking that one held me up a little.

Father TimeAlthough that clue clearly makes no reference to the end of year revels, I did wonder halfway through solving whether the central down time after time was a thematic reference to the year's end, it being traditionally associated with Father Time. I couldn't, however, find any reference to the Baby New Year ... maybe that'll be in tomorrow's puzzle?

Solving started for me in the SE, the first corner I really got going strongly on. Alouette at 38-Down there was instrumental in getting the start. Then I cracked the NE, where the wire at 7-Across was solved early, giving a lot of initial letters for further progress.

Although I began to fill the center around this time, I always had a bit of a hole at the mid right, around 29-Down I'm hip, which I struggled to decipher in the absence of 64-Across. Once I'd got the SW corner, I returned to fill in that hole, and then focused effort on the NW, which yielded surprisingly easily at the end.
Solving time: 18 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 50d sauce {It may stick to your ribs}
Solution

Caleb Madison
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersCaleb Madison / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 34 (15.1%) black squares
Answers70 (average length 5.46)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points307 (average 1.61)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



14a Jeanie {Foster girl}. Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair is an 1854 song by the American songwriter Stephen Foster. It was written with his wife, Jane McDowell, in mind.

The song was a notorious beneficiary of the ASCAP strike of 1941. During this period, most modern music could not be played by the major radio broadcasters due to a dispute over licensing fees. The broadcasters used public-domain songs during this period, and according to Time magazine, "So often had BMI's Jeannie [sic] With the Light Brown Hair been played that she was widely reported to have turned grey."

The Doctor is IN

18a Bol. {Big tin exporter: Abbr.}. Bolivia is very wealthy in minerals, especially tin.

26a AAA {Org. with towers}. AAA = American Automobile Association ("towers" = things that tow).

27a isla {Luzón, e.g.}. island = isla is in Español para los crucigramistas.

52a Orrs {Ice legend's family}. Reference to the former professional ice hockey player, Bobby Orr.

54a aitch {Head start?}. The word "Head" starts with an H (aitch).

29d I'm hip {64-Across, to a cat}. "cat" in the sense of jazz devotee.

36d ipsa {Self, in a Latin phrase}. As in res ipsa loquitur (Latin for "the thing speaks for itself").

38d Alouette {"Gentille" one of song}. See Alouette.

58d RAs {Coll. peer leaders}. RAs = resident assistants.

Image of the Day

Niš

25a Niš {Serbian city where Constantine the Great was born}. Niš (Serbian Cyrillic: Ниш) is the largest city in southern Serbia and the third-largest city in the country (after Belgrade and Novi Sad). According to the data from May 2009, Niš has 253,077 inhabitants. The city covers an area of about 597 square kilometres, including the urban area, the Niška Banja spa and 68 suburbs. Niš is the administrative center of the Nišava District.

It is one of the oldest cities in the Balkans, and has from ancient times been considered a gateway between the East and the West. The Paleo-Balkan Thracians were formed in the Iron Age, of which the Triballians dwelled in this region with a Celtic invasion in 279 BC that resulted in the forming of the Scordisci tribe. Naissus was among the cities taken in the Roman conquest in 75 BC. The Romans built the Via Militaris in the 1st century, with Naissus being one of the key towns. Niš is also notable as the birthplace of Constantine the Great, the first Christian Roman Emperor and the founder of Constantinople, as well as two other Roman emperors, Constantius III and Justin I. It is home to one of Serbia's oldest Christian churches dating to the 4th century in the suburb of Mediana.

There are about 30,000 university students at the University of Niš, which comprises 13 faculties. Niš is also one of the most important industrial centres in Serbia, a center of electronics industry (see Elektronska Industrija Niš), industry of mechanical engineering, textile industry and tobacco industry. Niš Constantine the Great Airport is its international airport. In 2013 the city will host the Ecumenical Assembly of Christian Churches, in honor to 1700 years of Constantine´s Edict of Milan.

Other Clues

1a jalopy {One likely to die on the road?}; 7a the wire {What something may go down to}; 15a teen idol {Poster girl}; 16a arisen {Debunked?}; 17a I'm so glad {Response to great news}; 19a stomp {Beat badly}; 21a side {Battle joiner's choice}; 22a RNA {Kind of replication}; 23a abets {Sticks up for, maybe?}; 28a widget {Thingamajig}; 31a Mulan {Film in which Eddie Murphy voices the dragon Mushu}; 33a aflame {Lit}; 35a stick it to the man {Be revolting}; 40a tepees {Homes within nations}; 41a Italo {San Francisco's Museo ___ Americano}; 42a S stars {Red giants in the night sky}; 45a reap {Procure}; 47a pow {Big hit}; 48a tau {Cross character}; 49a astir {Not dormant}; 51a qua {As}; 56a uey {It's often hung illegally}; 57a P. T. Barnum {"The Humbugs of the World" author, 1865}; 60a have to {Be coerced}; 62a bromance {Relationship in the 2009 film "I Love You, Man"}; 63a Eres Tu {1974 hit with Spanish lyrics}; 64a yes, I see {"Got it"}; 65a sextet {The Allman Brothers Band, e.g.}.

1d J. J. Abrams {Creator of TV's "Alias"}; 2d aeronaut {Blimp navigator}; 3d Laila Ali {Boxer who wrote "Reach!"}; 4d ons {Switch sides?}; 5d pies {Some county fair contest entries}; 6d yentas {Folks getting into dirt}; 7d tempt {Bait}; 8d hes {Bucks, e.g.}; 9d Eno {Rock's Brian}; 10d wigs {Freaks (out)}; 11d idling {Not going anywhere}; 12d roadie {Carrier of drum cases, maybe}; 13d eldest {First in line, say}; 15d time after time {Over and over}; 20d oblate {Like M&M's}; 24d swat {Sacrifice fly?}; 27d inker {Cartoonist, at times}; 30d deet {Debugger?}; 32d acta {Court proceedings}; 34d lose it {Freak}; 37d MapQuest {Many users follow its directions}; 39d no way out {Problem for one who's trapped}; 42d stop by {Visit}; 43d Sartre {"The Transcendence of the Ego" writer}; 44d turbos {Some muscle cars}; 46d Arches {___ National Park}; 50d sauce {It may stick to your ribs}; 53d Sami {Language related to Finnish}; 55d hare {Dummy on a greyhound track}; 59d NNE {Uptown's dir. in N.Y.C.}; 61d vex {Really try}.

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