Friday, December 17, 2010

NYT Saturday 12/18/10 Brad Wilber - No Picnic

This Saturday New York Times crossword ended quickly, but badly for me. However, it's one of those cases when I'm going to be lenient on myself and argue that I couldn't realistically have done better given the state of my knowledge of US drama and TV shows.

man bites dogI got off to a fairly quick start in the northwest by guessing Man Bites Dog (yes, there have been real examples, but they postdate the phrase) at 17-Across. It was fairly easy to build enough of the downs crossing that to complete the whole corner after around nine minutes.

The northeast corner was done in similar short order once manatee had been guessed for 25-Across (Magdalen recently played manatees in a Lexulous game to great effect), followed by bride-to-be at 13-Down. This area was done in a further two minutes.

With this start, I was able to maintain flow downwards in two independent ways, completing the southeast corner with 16 minutes on the clock. Here I was aware of a danger at the crossing of 43a bettor and 44d Oliva. I knew better to be a viable alternative, but I thought it less probable and didn't like Eliva as a surname (Tony Oliva may also have rung vague bells with me).

I wasn't wise to another danger at the crossing of 28a Madge and 30d Date My Mom. This corner was always going to be the crux for me anyway, and when I guessed Marge for the character in Picnic, I was happy that Rate My Mom looked a viable title for a TV show and didn't even consider that D might be a better option at the crossing. Had I done, would I have made the right choice anyway?

When I confessed the problem to Magdalen, she was less inclined to excuse the mistake, pointing out that rating moms would be much too quick an activity to be the basis for a reality show. I still wonder if there is a better-known Madge: for me it would be Madge Allsop, friend to Dame Edna Everage, but I'm guessing that wouldn't fly with the vast majority of solvers.
Solving time: 19 mins (solo, no solving aids, two wrong answers)
Clue of the puzz: 13d bride-to-be {Engagement party?}

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

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersBrad Wilber / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 28 (12.4%) black squares
Answers70 (average length 5.63)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points326 (average 1.65)
Video of the Day

39a The Texan {Old Rory Calhoun TV western}. The Texan is a Western television series starring popular B movie star Rory Calhoun (1922-1999). It aired on the CBS television network from 1958-1960.

In The Texan, Calhoun played Bill Longley, an American Civil War veteran from Texas who roams the American West to help people in need. Often the plot would center around Longley helping an old friend or a relative of an old friend. He was known by reputation as a fearsome gunfighter, which saved him time and caused him trouble.

The Doctor is IN

12a PBJ {One might use Peter Pan, in brief}. PBJ = peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Peter Pan being a peanut butter brand.

18a Lin {Designer of Alabama's Civil Rights Memorial}. I.e. Maya Lin.

19a EKG {It displays an array of spikes: Abbr.}. EKG = elektrokardiogramm.

31a Rahal {1986 Indy 500 winner}. I.e. Bobby Rahal.

35a Sabu {Actor awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross in W.W. II}. Film actor Sabu Dastagir (1924–1963) normally credited only by his first name.

41a Doc {Disney character prone to spoonerisms}. Doc from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs says e.g. "dapple lumplings" for "apple dumplings".

48a LEM {Spider, Snoopy or Intrepid: Abbr.}. LEM = "Lunar Excursion Module", an early name of the Apollo Lunar Module.

56a Sem. {Father's alma mater: Abbr.}. Sem. = Seminary.

8d NTSB {Wreck checker: Abbr.}. NTSB = National Transportation Safety Board is in Alphabet Soup.

25d Mehta {Israel Philharmonic maestro}. I.e. Zubin Mehta.

44d Oliva {Rival of Yastrzemski for 1960s A.L. batting titles}. I.e. Tony Oliva.

53d mol. {CO, e.g.: Abbr.}. mol. = molecule, which carbon monoxide (CO) exemplifies.

Image of the Day

16a ORU {Sch. with a 60-foot "Praying Hands" sculpture}. Oral Roberts University (ORU), based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the United States, is a private, Charismatic Christian, comprehensive university with an enrollment of about 3,790 students from 49 U.S. states along with a significant number of international students from 70 countries. Founded in 1963, the university is named for its late founder, evangelist Oral Roberts, and is the largest Charismatic Christian university in the world.

A 60 ft (18.2 m), 30 ton bronze sculpture Praying Hands, by sculptor Leonard McMurray (cast in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico in 1980) and originally in front of the CityPlex towers, was moved to the ORU campus entrance in the summer of 1991.

Other Clues

1a echo sounder {Aid in deep diving}; 15a Sharon Stone {"Casino" Golden Globe winner}; 17a Man Bites Dog {Proverbially newsworthy item}; 20a limb {Trunk attachment}; 21a libido {Basic drive}; 23a assume {Take on}; 25a manatee {Marine muncher on mangrove leaves}; 26a ire {Explosion producer}; 27a megahits {Smashes}; 28a Madge {Heroine of Inge's "Picnic"}; 32a coq {Poule's counterpart}; 33a élan {Sparkle}; 34a natty {Opposite of frumpish}; 36a apt {On-target}; 37a tibia {Deltoid ligament attachment point}; 38a gelée {French frost}; 42a Camelot {Period about a decade before the 34-Down}; 43a bettor {Person in a pool}; 46a Amy Tan {"Saving Fish From Drowning" novelist}; 47a yeah! {Fist pumper's cry}; 50a Sam {Football Hall-of-Famer Huff}; 51a Venus de Milo {Artwork depicted in Dalí's "The Hallucinogenic Toreador"}; 54a ELO {"Last Train to London" grp.}; 55a IRA rollover {Financial option upon leaving a job}; 57a vanity plate {Tag with a message, often}.

1d Esme {Woman in all four "Twilight" novels}; 2d Chaka {R&B's ___ Khan}; 3d hangs {Pays dearly for one's crimes}; 4d orb {Astronomical discovery}; 5d soilure {Stain}; 6d on time {Good way to arrive}; 7d Use Me {1972 Bill Withers hit}; 9d DoD {U.S.N. and U.S.A.F. div.}; 10d Enola Gay {Ship with devastating cargo}; 11d reginal {Queenly}; 12d political {Like some platforms}; 13d bride-to-be {Engagement party?}; 14d Junoesque {Queenly}; 22d bah! {"Ridiculous!"}; 24d sign {Plus or minus, say}; 27d matin {Après-midi follows it}; 28d meat cases {Places to display cuts}; 29d alpha male {First mate?}; 30d Date My Mom {Intergenerational MTV reality show}; 31d Rabat {Home to Mohammed V University}; 34d Nixon Era {When William Safire worked at the White House}; 35d sect {One may be Protestant}; 37d Tel Aviv {Shalom Meir Tower locale}; 38d got help {Entered rehab, e.g.}; 40d Tet {Three-day holiday}; 41d deadly {Not just dangerous}; 43d besot {Inebriate}; 45d relet {Filled anew, as a flat}; 47d Yuri {Chess master Averbakh}; 49d more {Hog's desire}; 52d Nan {Book editor Talese}.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for "53d mol. {CO, e.g.: Abbr.}. mol. = molecule, which carbon monoxide (CO) exemplifies."

I figured out the gas, but "MOL" eluded me, even after I filled it in.

I had to look up "soilure" after solving the clue. The dictionary said "archaic."

Hal Davis

Domenic said...

37 across clue - The deltoid muscle attaches to the humerus! The TIBIA is in the lower leg!

Crossword Man said...

You're welcome Hal. Yup, I don't think I've ever seen or heard soilure used.

Domenic: yes, the deltoid muscle indeed connects to the humerus, but the deltoid ligament connects to the tibia.