Wednesday, December 22, 2010

NYT Thursday 12/23/10 Oliver Hill and Eliza Bagg - Bad Spelling

I felt lucky to have come across the theme of this Thursday New York Times crossword before: I feel the fish/ghoti equivalence is an odd enough concept that the clue to 30-Down won't necessarily explain things adequately. Readers still in the dark may want to check out the ghoti page for an explanation.

I fell hook, line and sinker for the trap at 1-Down, putting in canals ... in common with many solvers I imagine. That blocked progress in the NW for a long while, but I did OK at the top middle and top right and the moment I looked at 17-Across, I knew what was up.

ShawWith canals still in place at 1-Down, it took a while to complete that first long entry, but once I did, I knew the pattern would repeat in parts 2 and 3 of the quote. I just couldn't remember what words George Bernard Shaw (if it was Shaw) had used for the pronunciations, so there was still some thematic work to be done.

The toughest area for me was around the end of 36-Across: 39d WIFE, 41a Trish, 35d Amherst, 34a Kauai, 26d Sean all required some amount of guesswork ... Kauai being the riskiest, though I'm guessing this isn't the first time I've seen it in an NYT puzzle (correct - I blogged it on September 17, 2009).
Solving time: 11 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 13d ash {Memento from an old flame?}

Oliver Hill and Eliza Bagg
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


ghoti, a respelling of the word fish designed to illustrate the irregularities in English spelling, as indicated by 30d ghoti {"Fish"}.
17a the gh from enough {What to use to spell 30-Down, according to George Bernard Shaw, reputedly, Part 1}
36a the o from women {Part 2}
57a the ti from nation {Part 3}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersOliver Hill and Eliza Bagg / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers74 (average length 5.05)
Theme squares47 (25.1%)
Scrabble points304 (average 1.63)
Video of the Day

41a Trish {Object of Andy's affection in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin"}. The 40-Year-Old Virgin is a 2005 American screwball comedy film about an involuntarily celibate man's journey to finally obtain romance and sexual intercourse. It was written and directed by Judd Apatow and co-written by the film's lead star, Steve Carell, though the film itself features a great deal of improvised dialogue. Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell) is the eponymous 40-year-old virgin, who eventually forms a relationship with Trish Piedmont (Catherine Keener).

The Doctor is IN

4a Homer {Originator of the phrase "rosy-fingered dawn"}. See Eos in Greek literature.

14a set {Lay}. As in "set/lay down".

52a Detroit {Lion's home}. Reference to the Detroit Lions football team.

12d Reg. {Like some gas: Abbr.}. Reg. = Regular gasoline.

34d KOs {Ring results, for short}. KOs = knockouts.

35d Amherst {One of the Five Colleges}. The Five Colleges are a geographically close group in Massachusetts.

39d WIFE {Good radio station for a bride?}. WIFE-FM  (94.3 FM) is licensed to Rushville, Indiana,

Image of the Day

The Tower

65a tarot {The Tower, e.g.}. The Tower (XVI) (most common modern name) is the sixteenth trump or Major Arcana card in most cartomancy Tarot decks. It is not used as part of any game. This card follows immediately after The Devil in all Tarots that contain it, and is considered an ill omen. Some early painted decks such as the Visconti-Sforza tarot do not contain it. Also, some Tarot variants used for game playing omit it.

Early printed decks that preserve all their cards do feature The Tower. In these decks the card bears a number of different names and designs. In the Minchiate deck, the image usually shown is of two nude or scantily clad people fleeing the open door of what appears to be a burning building. In some Belgian tarots and the seventeenth century tarot of Jacques Vieville, the card is called La Foudre or La Fouldre, ("The Lightning") and depicts a tree being struck by lightning. In the Tarot of Paris (17th century), the image shown is of the Devil, beating his drums, before what appears to be the mouth of Hell; the card still is called La Fouldre. The Tarot of Marseilles merges these two concepts, and depicts a burning tower being struck by lightning or fire from the sky, its top section dislodged and crumbling. Two men are depicted in mid-fall, against a field of multicolored balls. A. E. Waite's version is based on the Marseilles image, with bits of fire in the shape of Hebrew yod letters replacing the balls.

A variety of explanations for the images depicted on the card have been attempted. For example, it may be a reference to the biblical story of the Tower of Babel, where God destroys a tower built by mankind to reach Heaven. Alternatively, the Harrowing of Hell was a frequent subject in late medieval liturgical drama, and Hell could be depicted as a great gate knocked asunder by Jesus Christ, with accompanying pyrotechnics. The Minchiate version of the deck may represent Adam and Eve's expulsion from the Garden of Eden.

Other Clues

1a it's {"___ time"}; 9a zebra {Last picture in an alphabet book}; 15a of age {Adult}; 16a oboes {Ducks, in "Peter and the Wolf" productions}; 20a hello {Shout into a canyon}; 21a silent {Still}; 22a Melissa {Notorious 1999 computer virus}; 25a Toryism {Conservative philosophy in Britain}; 28a Idas {Actress Lupino and others}; 29a eggs {They're usually white or brown}; 31a Q.E.D. {Letters from a mathematician}; 32a Torah {Books often read on Saturday}; 34a Kauai {One of the five counties of Hawaii}; 40a see no {Beginning of a saying about evil}; 42a arr. {Flight board abbr.}; 43a fief {Workplace for a 23-Down}; 44a ends {Goals}; 48a prelude {Intro}; 54a watery {Like some eyes and soup}; 56a osteo- {Prefix with -pathy}; 61a bagel {Zero, in slang}; 62a edges {Lips}; 63a cue {Nod, perhaps}; 64a snore {Noisome noise}; 66a ETD {Flight board abbr.}.

1d isthmi {Panama and Suez}; 2d te-heed {Snickered}; 3d Stella {Designer McCartney}; 4d Ho Hos {Alternative to Ring Dings}; 5d off {A little peculiar}; 6d mar {Spoil}; 7d egos {They may be deal breakers}; 8d remits {Opposite of invoices}; 9d zoner {One fighting urban sprawl, say}; 10d ebony {Black}; 11d boutique {Shop}; 13d ash {Memento from an old flame?}; 18d glisten {Shine}; 19d ELO {Grp. with the platinum album "Out of the Blue"}; 23d serf {Worker on a 43-Across}; 24d agar {Lab gel}; 26d Sean {Reggae/dancehall artist ___ Paul}; 27d MDI {Century-starting year}; 33d OOO {Tic-tac-toe win}; 36d Terr. {Abbr. on an old map of the West}; 37d here we go! {Shout at the top of a roller coaster}; 38d Mr Ed {Who'll "talk 'til his voice is hoarse," in a 1960s sitcom}; 40d sap {Simpleton}; 43d ferret {Find (out)}; 45d notice {Spot}; 46d die out {Fade}; 47d stoned {High}; 49d later {"Peace out"}; 50d utile {Of service}; 51d def {High-___}; 53d toast {A goner}; 55d Yoda {Jedi with a big forehead}; 57d TBS {Big inits. on cable}; 58d Han {Old Chinese dynasty}; 59d mgr. {Boss: Abbr.}; 60d neo- {Prefix with conservative}.


grae said...

One Englishman to another, nice blog, thanks.

Crossword Man said...

You're welcome ... from a soon-to-be-ex-Englishman!