Wednesday, December 29, 2010

NYT Thursday 12/30/10 Joe Krozel - Joined-Up Thinking

I'd been warned about the existence of a PDF for this Thursday New York Times crossword, so tried that rather than the usual Across Lite version tonight. I'm in fact so used to dealing with missing clue puzzles in Across Lite, that I don't think it would have made much difference either way.

I noticed early on that certain across rows were only given one clue for all the entries and wondered just what the blocks between entries would represent in the answers. In fact the thematic treatment inverts the usual approach and has the blocks represent absolutely nothing in the clued answer, and certainly never a word break in it. But each entry resulting from the split up answer is a regular crossword answer in itself. Very neat idea.

It took a long time before that dawned on me and it didn't help that the first long answer I was able to work out was plant manager at 20-Across (18-Across in the PDF, and print version I assume). Because that results in the entry TMAN, which looks rather unlike a word, I missed what was going on until I'd got another long answer ... only then did I realize that TMAN was to be interpreted as our old friend the T-man.

All this made for a rather slow solve, and the clues to the long answers continued to be the hardest ones to get; Earth Angel at 43-Across (38-Across in the PDF/print version) was the toughest, as I didn't remember the song from Back to the Future (or indeed anywhere else). To compensate, the cluing elsewhere is reasonably tame for a Thursday, as evidenced by the relatively short The Doctor is IN section today.

Solving time: 16 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 23a Stevie {Wonder of note}

Joe Krozel
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


Alternate rows of the grid are clued as the entries joined together, the joins always occurring within a word of the resulting phrase.
12a charter member {One in on the founding of a company} entered char/term/ember
20a plant manager {Production site chief} entered plan/T-man/ager
27a wine taster {One getting a bouquet?} entered win/etas/ter
37a operating room {Workplace where there are many openings} entered opera/tin/groom
43a Earth Angel {Song played at the school dance in "Back to the Future"} entered ear/than/gel
50a for the record {Officially} entered fort/here/cord
59a NO TRESPASSING {Warning to intruders} entered notre/spas/sing
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersJoe Krozel / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 48 (21.3%) black squares
Answers80 (average length 4.42)
Theme squares83 (46.9%)
Scrabble points277 (average 1.56)
Video of the Day

57a Emma {1996 Gwyneth Paltrow title role}. Emma is a 1996 period film based on the novel of the same name by Jane Austen. Directed by Douglas McGrath, it stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeremy Northam, Toni Collette, and Ewan McGregor.

Gwyneth Paltrow won critical acclaim for her role as Emma, particularly her ability to deliver an impeccable English accent, disguising her normal American accent. The characters of Mrs. Bates and Miss Bates were played by real-life mother and daughter Phyllida Law and Sophie Thompson, the real life mother and sister of Oscar winning actress Emma Thompson, who later wrote and starred in Sense and Sensibility. Scottish actor Alan Cumming and classical actress Juliet Stevenson stole most of the comic moments as Mr. and Mrs Elton.

The Doctor is IN

41a O-tay! {"Our Gang" approval}. "O-tay!" was Eugene Gordon Lee's catchphrase as Porky in the Our Gang (Little Rascals) comedies.

58a Kwai {River in a 1957 hit film}. A reference to The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957).

10d Ne'er {Thomas Moore's "___ Ask the Hour"}. Here's Ne'er Ask the Hour by Thomas Moore (1779–1852).
Ne'er ask the hour — what is it to us
  How Time deals out his treasures?
The golden moments lent us thus
  Are not his coin, but Pleasure's.
If counting them o'er could add to their blisses,
  I'd number each glorious second:
But moments of joy are, like Lesbia's kisses,
  Too quick and sweet to be reckon'd.
Then fill the cup — what is it to us
  How time his circle measures?
The fairy hours we call up thus
  Obey no wand but Pleasure's.

Young Joy ne'er thought of counting hours,
  Till Care, one summer's morning,
Set up, among his smiling flowers,
  A dial, by way of warning.
But Joy loved better to gaze on the sun,
  As long as its light was glowing,
Than to watch with old Care how the shadow stole on,
  And how fast that light was going.
So fill the cup — what is it to us
  How time his circle measures?
The fairy hours we call up thus
  Obey no wand but Pleasure's.
Image of the Day

oolong tea

47a oolong {Chinese for "black dragon"}. Oolong (simplified Chinese: 乌龙; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: wūlóng) is a traditional Chinese tea (Camellia sinensis) produced through a unique process including withering under the strong sun and fermentation before curling and twisting. Most oolong productions, especially fine quality ones, involved unique tea plant cultivars that are exclusively used for particular varieties. In terms of degree of fermentation, it can range from 8% , depending on the variety and production style. The popularity of this tea category is closely tied to tea connoisseurs of south China and Chinese expatriates in Southeast Asia, and the tea preparation process that originated from this area: gongfu tea-making, or the gongfu tea infusion approach.

In Chinese tea culture, semi-oxidised oolong teas are collectively grouped as qīngchá (Chinese: ; literally "blue-green tea"). The taste of oolong ranges hugely amongst various sub-varieties. It can be sweet and fruity with honey aromas, or woody and thick with roasted aromas, or green and fresh with bouquet aromas, all depending on the horticulture and style of production. Several subvarieties of oolong, including those produced in the Wuyi Mountains of northern Fujian and in the central mountains of Taiwan, are among the most famous Chinese teas.

Different varieties of oolong are processed differently, but the leaves are formed into two distinct styles. Some are rolled into long curly leaves, while the others are 'wrap-curled' into small beads each with a tail. The former style is the more traditional of the two.

The name oolong tea comes into the English language from the Chinese name (Chinese: 烏龍茶), which is pronounced as O·-liông tê in the Min Nan spoken variant. The Chinese name means "black dragon tea".

Other Clues

1a ash {Dull shade}; 4a SLO {Road caution}; 7a piano {Place for a hammer}; 17a Ouse {River of York}; 18a Atco {Record label of the Beatles' "Ain't She Sweet"}; 19a Caleb {Spy sent by Moses into Canaan}; 23a Stevie {Wonder of note}; 25a or no {Yes ___}; 32a japes {Makes fun of}; 35a avow {Profess}; 36a Arno {It flows near the Piazzale Michelangelo}; 40a Kias {Sorento and Sedona}; 42a ample {Plentiful}; 46a fisc. {Kind of year: Abbr.}; 56a nonet {Schubert's "Eine kleine Trauermusik," e.g.}; 62a elver {Young fish that has migrated from the Sargasso Sea}; 63a TNT {Rubble maker, for short}; 64a NTs {Some Windows systems}.

1d -A-Cop {Rent-___}; 2d shuls {Synagogues}; 3d has at {Attacks}; 4d statin {Cholesterol medication}; 5d let me {Helper's offer}; 6d orca {Sea menace}; 7d pecans {Certain pie toppers}; 8d imago {Big bug}; 9d able {Fit}; 11d orb {Eye, to poets}; 13d renewers {Some passport applicants}; 15d monotony {It's all the same}; 24d visa {Something that's stamped}; 26d raw {Green}; 28d Evian {Town on Lake Geneva opposite Lausanne, Switzerland}; 29d trop {Too: Fr.}; 30d enol {Hydroxyl compound}; 31d Rome {Setting for "Coriolanus"}; 32d joke {One may be running over time}; 33d Apia {Headquarters for Polynesian Airlines}; 34d pear {Schnapps flavor}; 35d attachés {Legal cases?}; 36d armlocks {Judo maneuvers}; 39d Gael {Highlander}; 41d ohs {Song words accompanying "Sherrie" and "Susanna"}; 44d titter {Nervous laugh}; 45d go east {Enter an Ivy League school, maybe}; 46d frère {Many a French business partner}; 47d Orman {"The Suze ___ Show"}; 48d no-win {Kind of situation}; 49d grant {Award}; 50d fool {Half-wit}; 51d on TV {Airing}; 53d empt {Pre-___ (take the place of)}; 55d digs {Pad}; 56d NNE {Ft. Myers-to-Orlando dir.}.


Anonymous said...

I truly have not enjoyed this puzzle.

Anonymous said...

However, I have enjoyed your "Image of the Day" and accompanying discussion. Thank you.

Crossword Man said...

Thanks for commenting Anon. Yes, it was the sort of puzzle to divide opinion. Welcome to Thursday in the NYT (or syndicating paper)!