It merged with Tanganyika 1964 / FRI 1-29-10 / Old Indian infantryman / Ubermensch originator / Noted Volstead Act enforcer
Friday, January 29, 2010
John Venn FRS (4 August 1834 – 4 April 1923), was a British logician and philosopher. He is famous for introducing the Venn diagram, which is used in many fields, including set theory, probability, logic, statistics, and computer science. // John Venn was brought up strictly. It was expected that he would follow the family tradition into the Christian ministry. After Highgate School, he entered Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, in 1853. He was graduated in 1857 and shortly afterward was elected a fellow of the college. He was ordained as a deacon at Ely in 1858 and became a priest in 1859. In 1862 he returned to Cambridge as a lecturer in moral sciences. // Venn also had a rare skill in building machines. He used his skill to build a machine for bowling cricket balls, which was so good that when the Austrailian Cricket team visited Cambridge in 1909, Venn's machine clean bowled one of it top stars 4 times. // Venn's main area of interest was logic and he published three texts on the subject. He wrote The Logic of Chance which introduced the frequency interpretation or frequency theory of probability in 1866, Symbolic Logic which introduced the Venn diagrams in 1881, and The Principles of Empirical Logic in 1889.[Jessica Hagy @ thisisindexed.com]
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This was a struggle, but one that seemed just right for a Friday. Might skew toward the "Challenging" side (esp. if some of the times posted at the NYT site are correct — some v. good solvers got wiped *out*), but I came in under 10 ... maybe that's "Medium-Challenging" for a Friday. Anyway, there were likely thorny patches for everyone, but (if you're like me ... which you probably aren't, but still...) you enjoyed the challenge, mostly. Doug Peterson is one of the few people who knows how to write those damned "?" clues in a way that walks that fine line between clever and annoying. I find them frustrating, but worth my time. [Metric system output?] (POEMS) and [25D: Electronic gag reflex?] (LOL) are particularly nice. My main hold-up in the puzzle, though, was brought on not by the puzzle's inherent toughness, but my stupid Failure of a memory. We have had SEPOY at least once in recent months, possibly more (16A: Old Indian infantryman), but the only word that would come up to the surface was SEPAL — and let me tell you, when the answer is SEPOY and your brain wants SEPAL, that SEPAL sticks really, really hard. Kept getting more letters, but with no more help "S... E? Oh man ... P!? ... come on!" Wasn't til I got the "O" that the "Y" became "obvious."
Got a nice jump on the puzzle by putting IDA LUPINO into the grid first thing (15A: "The Hitch-Hiker" director, 1953). First thing! "Wait ... is this right? ... IDA LUPINO ... if fits .... NPR confirms the "P," woo hoo!" (6D: "Science Friday" airer). Had ZILCH for ZIPPO at first (1D: Diddly), and thought the clues on both IDIOM (2D: Hit the ceiling, say) and NANAS (3D: Spoilers, often) were pretty tough, but with IDA's help, the NW wasn't too bad. First real hang-up was on the descent into the middle and west — had no idea what the cocktail could be, even with the KA- starter at 23D: Vodka cocktail (Kamikaze). I've been drinking whiskey cocktails exclusively lately, and somehow I don't associate Vodka with Japan. Needed the "M" to get KAMIKAZE, but that wouldn't come because 29A: Star followers had to end in an "S," right? Like a good plural? But no — an "M"!? Pretty rare to see a plural clue yield an "M"-ending answer, but there it is: FANDOM.
Studying / teaching older literature helped a bit today, as KAY (41A: Sir ___, foster brother of King Arthur) and SAMSON (42A: Hero described as "Eyeless in Gaza"). Huxley wrote the novel "Eyeless in Gaza," but the hero referred to here is SAMSON, and the descriptive phrase comes from Milton's "Samson Agonistes":
O wherefore was my birth from Heaven foretoldELIOT NESS is the SE what IDA LUPINO was to the NW — a fat gimme that opened up the whole quadrant (62A: Noted Volstead Act enforcer). I did have some trouble down there, actually, as BUTYL was unknown to me (48D: Tear-resistant synthetic rubber), as was the location / importance of "Campania" in 46D: Campania's capital, in Campania (Napoli). But I worked it out. From there, I tore up the east coast, ending in the NE with the aforementioned last stand at SEPOY.
Twice by an Angel, who at last in sight
Of both my Parents all in flames ascended [ 25 ]
From off the Altar, where an Off'ring burn'd,
As in a fiery column charioting
His Godlike presence, and from some great act
Or benefit reveal'd to Abraham's race?
Why was my breeding order'd and prescrib'd [ 30 ]
As of a person separate to God,
Design'd for great exploits; if I must dye
Betray'd, Captiv'd, and both my Eyes put out,
Made of my Enemies the scorn and gaze;
To grind in Brazen Fetters under task [ 35 ]
With this Heav'n-gifted strength? O glorious strength
Put to the labour of a Beast, debas't
Lower then bondslave! Promise was that I
Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver;
Ask for this great Deliverer now, and find him [ 40 ]
Eyeless in Gaza at the Mill with slaves,
Himself in bonds under Philistian yoke (23-42)
- 24A: It's grounded on the Sabbath (El Al) — always on the lookout for interesting clues for old answers.
- 47A: It merged with Tanganyika in 1964 (Zanzibar) — had a "Z" or two before I ever saw the clue, so it was easy. This merger formed TANZANIA (a portmanteau!), which was the country on which I did my final report in 7th grade Geography. Thanks, Mrs. Stevens!
- 56A: It has 95 printable characters (ASCII) — The American Standard Code for Information Interchange.
- 59A: Tubular snacks (Ho-Hos) — got it, but then got thrown by the resulting cross: USOC!? (54D: Org. with a SportsMan of the Year award) What the hell is that? Oh ... the U.S. Olympic Committee. Yeah, that makes sense.
- 60A: What might come as a relief at night? (Tylenol PM) — great answer.
- 4D: Like a strawberry roan's coat (flecked) — "uh ... PINK?" Needless to say, I needed crosses here.
- 7D: Motor ship driver (diesel) — Is there something called a "motor ship" or a "ship driver"? I'm not sure I quite understand the clue. Clearly a DIESEL engine is involved in the propulsion of some kind of ship, but the phrasing doesn't mean much to me here.
- 14D: Four for for, for one (typo) — great clue, but I don't believe it. That is, I don't believe you would intend "FOR" and write "FOUR." Vice versa, sure.
- 31D: "Übermensch" originator (Nietzsche) — embarrassed I needed any crosses to get this, as in retrospect it seems obvious. Since it's Friday, I'm sure I just figured it was "some obscure foreign stuff I don't know" and set to working crosses.
- 37D: Chicken tikka go-with (nan) — "go-with" is a ridiculous little word. Oh, and I definitely prefer the two-A NAAN. Much tastier.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]
P.S. Happy birthday, Caleb Madison, who turns the big 17 (!?) today.