Cross of mysteries / SAT 1-30-10 / Giocondo Angelico / Alternative to Beauvais / Late entertainer who was known for his laugh
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Kurt Gödel (April 28, 1906, Brno, Moravia – January 14, 1978, Princeton, New Jersey, USA) was an Austrian-American logician, mathematician and philosopher. One of the most significant logicians of all time, Gödel made an immense impact upon scientific and philosophical thinking in the 20th century, a time when many, such as Bertrand Russell, A. N. Whitehead and David Hilbert, were pioneering the use of logic and set theory to understand the foundations of mathematics. (wikipedia)
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My time was slightly higher than my Saturday norm of late, even though this one didn't feel especially brutal. Tough, for sure, but very doable, as Saturdays go. I had this rated "Medium," but then decided to let the stopwatch do the rating and bumped it up a notch. Strangely, my last three Saturdays have all been within 1 minute 18 seconds of each other, with this one he highest by a good minute (at 13:15). I was slowed down today primarily by second-guessing myself. Wanted STRAP ON A FEEDBAG very early (8D: Get ready for chow), but a. in my head the phrase has a THE, not an A, and b. I thought 23A: Indian barter item (pelt) was probably BEAD, and since (at that point) the "T" in STRAP was not a given (what the $#%& is an ONION SET!?), I wouldn't commit. Played it safe and just hacked my way into the middle of the puzzle — which proved pretty tractable. Long Acrosses can be brutal when they're stacked, but if you can manage to get a few crosses, they can also open the puzzle right up. Despite wanting SERIAL ASSAULT for 33A: Shock-and-awe strategy (aerial assault) and not knowing the phrase DIAMOND FIELDS, those long Acrosses went down pretty easily. I've heard of DIAMOND mines and killing FIELDS, but not DIAMOND FIELDS (34A: Sources of Zimbabwean exports).
Bad start at 1D: Small stand (copse), where I had ETAGE — I think I was thinking ETAGERE ... but no matter. Despite being wrong, ETAGE managed to get me EARL (22A: Robin Hood, the ___ of Huntington) and I was off. As I exclaimed, above, ONION SET (had to check to see that it was indeed two words) was a mystery to me. The "S" in that word took many seconds of dumb staring — had to run the alphabet to get the damned "game" "I SPY" (6D: Game with a spotter). Same was true of ANITA (2D: One of the Pointer Sisters), though I *knew* it. It's the first thing I wanted to put in, but at the same time I was thinking "I have no idea." Weird. Big mystery word of the day was LASSEN (24D: California peak), a mountain I've never Ever heard of (this despite having grown up in and gone to college in California). I'd also never heard of this GÖDEL guy, though he's undoubtedly famous. Math famous, anyway. Had DODDIER for a bit at 34D: Relatively hard to pin down (dodgier), for reasons I don't quite understand. Had TRAGIC before IRONIC at 49A: Like Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard," didn't know if RETSYN was with an "I" or a "Y" (54A: Certs ingredient), and took a while to see SLIMY (38D: Vile) because I figured the "balmy" in 38A: Hardly balmy referred to the weather (the only way I've heard "balmy" used outside crosswords). So I had DANK instead of SANE, effectively hiding SLIMY from view.
[52A: Head-scratcher (enigma)]
Finished up in the SE, where once again (as with STRAP ON A FEEDBAG, and WARM ONE'S HEART — 30A: Make a person feel good) I considered a right answer (ED MCMAHON) right away but was put off entering it because of crosses that looked dodgy. Dodgiest of them all down here, for me, was 42D: First sign, which I was certain was ARIES. This made me balk at ED MCMAHON (45A: Late entertainer who was known for his laugh) *and* PASO (39A: Part of una salsa), which I had entered right away. Entered A HERO right away because I knew it (40D: Thackeray's "Vanity Fair: A Novel Without ___"), and MOCS right away on a strong hunch (48D: Comfy wear). Hesitated at 46D: M.'s counterpart (Mlle) because I figured the "counterpart" would be MME, which didn't fit. Last letter down there was the "P" in BLOOPERS / PAPAL, which I initially made an "M," figuring 51A: Overthrows, e.g. were some kind of undergarment (?). But PAMAL States just seemed ridiculous, so I yanked the "M" and then "P" became obvious.
- 19A: Group whose 1972 debut album "Can't Buy a Thrill" went platinum (Steely Dan) ... Green Day ... Green something
- 26A: Toyota pickup named for a U.S. city (Tacoma) — eeeeeasy, and good thing — I needed every cross in LASSEN.
- 29A: Giocondo and Angelico (fras) — an answer in a puzzle I did earlier in the day. Put it in with no crosses. Wasn't certain, but it felt good.
- 35A: Alternative to Beauvais (Orly) — thought it might be some kind of wine, until I got to -RLY.
- 27D: Cross of mysteries (Amanda) — never read her, but she's a very familiar name — the pen name, actually, of feminist literary scholar Carolyn Heilbrun.
- 28D: Pub pull (cold one) — was looking for a specific type of beer (stout, pilsener, etc.)
- 30D: Blame-diffusing words (we all do it) — uh ... blame for what, I wonder.
- 47D: Judging point at a dog show (coat) — "point?" A COAT is a "point?" It's a *trait* that the judge considers ... maybe "POINT" is a technical term. Time for a clip from "Best in Show":
[Apologies for the idiotic, 10-second intro, unrelated to the movie]
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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