Nirvana achievers / SUN 8-26-12 / Banned book of 1928 / 1962 John Wayne film / English author Elinor / Kite Runner protagonist / Onetime Ethiopia colonizers / 1955 Grant/Kelly thriller
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Constructor: Amanda Yesnowitz and Doug Peterson
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: "Put a Lid in It" — a "HAT" rebus (with six "HAT" squares, one in each long Across answer)
Word of the Day: TACHYON (75D: Speedy subatomic particle) —
A tachyon [...] or tachyonic particle is a hypothetical particle that always moves faster than light. The word comes from the Greek: ταχύς or tachys, meaning "swift, quick, fast, rapid", and was coined by Gerald Feinberg in a 1967 paper. Feinberg proposed that tachyonic particles could be quanta of aquantum field with negative squared mass. However, it was soon realized that excitations of suchimaginary mass fields do not in fact propagate faster than light, but instead represent an instability known as tachyon condensation. Nevertheless, they are still commonly known as "tachyons", and have come to play an important role in modern physics.Most physicists think that faster-than-light particles cannot exist because they are not consistent with the known laws of physics. If such particles did exist, they could be used to build a tachyonic antitelephone and send signals faster than light, which (according to special relativity) would lead to violations of causality. Potentially consistent theories that allow faster-than-light particles include those that break Lorentz invariance, the symmetry underlying special relativity, so that the speed of light is not a barrier.Despite theoretical arguments against the existence of faster-than-light particles, experiments have been conducted to search for them. No compelling evidence for their existence had been found. (wikipedia)
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LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER" and then looking at the puzzle title: "Oh: lid = HAT ... gotcha." Thought there might be other types of "lids," but no. Sort of surprised there's just six rebus squares in a grid this size. Also surprised at how easy they were to find (*only* in theme answers), and how easy the theme answers were to get—I rarely needed more than a few letters to get them, except with "HORTON HATCHES THE EGG," which I have never heard of (I didn't know Horton did anything but hear a who). Rebuses usually slow things down quite a bit, but not today. Sped things up, if anything. But there's just one problem: I had an error. And not a lazy, forgot-to-double-check-the-grid error. A real, thought-it-was-right-but-it-wasn't error. Namely, I had TACHRON / STAR. Now that I see TACHYON, I'm sure I've seen/heard it before, but I confess to not being completely up to date on my theoretical particles, and, well, TACHRON sounded plausible and STAR definitely works for 97A: Judge's issuance ("I give it ... three stars!"). So, yeah: failure. But a very easy failure.
HATBOX ... that's cleverish. Anyway, I enjoyed it well enough. Lots of good longer fill like WILLIES (93D: Acute uneasiness, with "the") and CHATTYCATHY (53D: Talking doll that debuted in 1960) and ACT ONE'S AGE (11D: Behave). I also love the word ROTTER (119A: No-goodnik), even though it's not that impressive from a Scrabble-score standpoint. The theme answers are all proper nouns (names, titles), which is ... a kind of unity. No rationale for it, but I appreciate the stab at consistency of some sort. Four of the clues have years in them ... so that's ... nothing. Nevermind.
- 25A: Banned book of 1928 ("LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER")
- 43A: Source material for Broadway's "Seussical" ("HORTON HATCHES THE EGG")
- 59A: Time's 1930 Man of the Year (MAHATMA GANDHI)
- 74A: 1955 Grant/Kelly thriller ("TO CATCH A THIEF")
- 88A: World's first certified gold record, 1942 ("CHATTANOOGA CHOO-CHOO")
- 107A: Source of the line "They say miracles are past" ("ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL")
- 110D: Storage item ... or one of six in this puzzle? (HAT BOX)
- 23A: Storied C.S.A. commander (R.E. LEE) — pretty easy, even though the "CSA" I'm most familiar with provides fresh, local, organic produce to members (Community Supported Agriculture).
- 24A: Onetime Ethiopia colonizers (ITALIANS) — gimme. Is this common knowledge or just knowledge I happen to have because I'm beset on all sides by historians?
- 72A: English author Elinor (GLYN) — No idea, but I'm guessing she's been the clue for ELINOR a few times too. Slightly unusual, non-Rooseveltian spelling of that name.
- 13D: "The Kite Runner" protagonist (AMIR) — Wow. Cool. Way to rescue AMIR from the horrible Land of Var.
- 18D: Nirvana achievers (ARHATS) — one of my least favorite crosswordy words, but kind of a shoo-in (hat-in?) for this particular puzzle, so: pass.
- 45D: 1962 John Wayne film (HATARI) — a gripping tale about African video games.
- 70D: "Solid Gold" host Marilyn (MCCOO) — I just like her name. It's just so ... round.
- 71D: Mock response to a friend who pulls a practical joke ("I HATE YOU") — struggled here because I totally forgot about the rebus; I'd simply entered "H" where HAT was supposed to go and so nothing was making sense: "I, HE, YOU? What kind of cryptic slang is that?"
Fun, breezy, smooth, simple ... not a bad Sunday.