Physics Nobelist Victor who discovered cosmic radiation / WED 2-16-11 / Anoint with sacred oil old-style / Georgia's capital in slang
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Constructor: Michael Barnhart
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: 21 — five theme answers have "21" (or "twenty-one") somewhere in their clues...
Word of the Day: Victor HESS (10A: Physics Nobelist Victor who discovered cosmic radiation) —
Victor Francis Hess (24 June 1883 – 17 December 1964) was an Austrian-American physicist, and Nobel laureate in physics, who discovered cosmic rays. [...] Between 1911 and 1913, Hess undertook the work that won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1936. For many years, scientists had been puzzled by the levels of ionizing radiation measured in the atmosphere. The assumption at the time was that the radiation would decrease as the distance from the earth, the source of the radiation, increased. The electroscopes previously used gave an approximate measurement of the radiation, but indicated that higher in the atmosphere the level of radiation may actually be more than that on the ground. Hess approached this mystery first by greatly increasing the precision of the measuring equipment, and then by personally taking the equipment aloft in a balloon. He systematically measured the radiation at altitudes up to 5.3 km during 1911-12. The daring flights were made both at day and during the night, at significant risk to himself. // The result of Hess's meticulous work was published in the Proceedings of the Viennese Academy of Sciences, and showed the level of radiation decreased up to an altitude of about 1 km, but above that the level increased considerably, with the radiation detected at 5 km about twice that at sea level. His conclusion was that there was radiation penetrating the atmosphere from outer space, and his discovery was confirmed by Robert Andrews Millikan in 1925, who gave the radiation the name "cosmic rays". Hess's discovery opened the door to many new discoveries in nuclear physics.
- 17A: "Twenty-One" (TV GAME SHOW)
- 24A: 2100 (NINE O'CLOCK)
- 35A: 21 (DRINKING AGE)
- 51A: "21 ___" ("JUMP STREET")
- 59A: Twenty-ones (BLACKJACKS)
- 20A: First American magazine to excerpt "Moby-Dick" (HARPER'S) — I didn't know this, though was able to guess it off the "H." "Moby-Dick" is next on my reading list; I'll get to it whenever I finally finish the 1000+-page tome that is "The Count of Monte Cristo" (so good I don't want it to end).
- 30A: In no other place (HERE) — this seems all kinds of wrong. First, there's no reason this clue couldn't fit THERE. Second, something could be HERE *and* in other places at the same time. Oxygen, for instance. Or maybe I want a fence post placed HERE ... and there and there and there and there etc.
- 50A: Georgia's capital, in slang (A-TOWN) — hurray for inventive cluing. So much better than a ["Coming to ___ near you!"] or the like. Just glad I didn't have to see AHOLE two days in a row.
- 55A: 1950s tennis champion Gibson (ALTHEA) — a gimme for me, but I was surprised last time she showed up how many people hadn't heard of her, so maybe I'm just a bigger tennis fan than I thought.
- 7D: Parliament residue (ASH) — Parliament being a brand of cigarette. Nice misdirection. Ooh, I just noticed the other parliament clue, 15A: Where the Stoerting parliament sits (OSLO).
- 36D: Steve ___, 1990s teammate of Michael Jordan (KERR) — must have been at least somewhat tough for the sports-challenged among you, esp. considering KERR crosses another sports answer at the "E": LEN Dawson (40A: Hall-of-Fame QB Dawson). Ooh, just noticed the other Michael Jordan clue, 38D: Product pitched by Michael Jordan (GATORADE).
- 44D: Watchmaker with the first U.S. TV commercial, 1941 (BULOVA) — trivia! Interesting. But who had TVs in 1941?!
- 49D: The Stylistics' "___ By Golly, Wow" (BETCHA) — cute, but really Really would've preferred a Palin quote here.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]