Elephantine walker in Empire Strikes Back / SUN 10-21-12 / Fictional Miss Jane / Warner who played Charlie Chan / Bambi villain / University in Center Valley Pa / Cash back from online purchase / Persuasive Dr Seuss character / Port from which Amelia Earhart left on her last flight
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Constructor: Caleb Rasmussen
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: Bypassing Security — puzzle note:
This puzzle's grid represents a sealed vault and its well-guarded surroundings. After completing the crossword, start in the upper-left corner and find a safe path to an important item. Then determine where to use this item to access the vault and its contents.
To enter the contest, identify the following 10 things: a) the name of the "important item," b) where to use it, c) seven hazards to avoid, and d) the contents of the vault. Each of these things is named by a single word.
When you have found the 10 words, send them in an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twenty-five correct solvers, chosen at random, whose entries are received by 6 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, Oct. 23, will receive copies of "The New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzles 2013 Weekly Planner Calendar" (Andrews McMeel). Only one entry per person, please. The answer grid will appear next week. The winners' names will appear in the issue of Nov. 4.
Word of the Day: W. AVERELL Harriman (11D: Diplomat W. ___ Harriman) —
William Averell Harriman (November 15, 1891 – July 26, 1986) was an AmericanDemocratic Party politician, businessman, and diplomat. He was the son of railroad baronE. H. Harriman. He served as Secretary of Commerce under President Harry S. Trumanand later as the 48th Governor of New York. He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1952, and again in 1956 when he was endorsed by President Truman but lost to Adlai Stevenson both times. Harriman served President Franklin D. Roosevelt as special envoy to Europe and served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union and U.S. Ambassador to Britain. He served in numerous U.S. diplomatic assignments in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. He was a core member of the group of foreign policy elders known as "The Wise Men." (wikipedia)
• • •So, a contest.
Will requested that I not give away any contest-related information about the puzzle, which essentially means not showing the grid or talking about the theme ... so ... how 'bout them Tigers?!
I will publish the completed grid on the website's Facebook page on Tuesday after 6pm—good for the nearly 2000 of you who have LIKED that page (19A: Gave props on Facebook). Also, I will probably go back in and add the completed grid to this write-up, I guess.
Here's what I can say:
TAL / AVERELL (10A: Chess champion Mikhail / 11D: Diplomat W. ___ Harriman) and [that European capital] and AT-AT (100A: Elephantine walker in "The Empire Strikes Back"). Plus, the segment just south of the the NW, with its multiple ... tricky spots ... was virtually impossible for me to get. I had to wait on about four different squares in there for a good long time. Stumped on:
- 4D: Concludes
- 35A: Soft scent
- 35D: Crop holder
- 51A: BlackBerry features
Also, I misspelled AVON LEA (88D: Setting of "Anne of Green Gables") as AVON LEE and was stuck wondering how HES could be the answer to [Boasts]. No idea how I remembered OLAND, but I did (39A: Warner who played Charlie Chan). Well, sort of. Needed a few crosses to jog my memory.
Never heard of ANEROID (75A: Kind of barometer) or the answer to 121A: Predatory insect, but that may be the only complete stumper of the day. The other stuff that "stumped" me, I at least recognized once I got it. Yes, even LAE (60D: Port from which Amelia left on her last flight). Even, very vaguely, ESSIE (38A: Actress Davis of "The Matrix Reloaded").
Overall, I thought the puzzle ... interesting. Clever. Mildly tough / annoying to solve, but conceptually bold. Seems like a very tough puzzle to construct (surely someone will call it "a tour de force!"). As stunt puzzles go, it's alright. Aiight. This is essentially how I felt about this constructor's last puzzle (also a stunt puzzle), and how I will likely feel about his next puzzle (also a stunt puzzle), which comes out Thursday, which I know only because its theme was (stupidly) leaked and published on a website last week. It's a theme that a friend of mine claims to have done already, but I've never seen it done, so it'll be new to me, which is (mostly) all that matters.
I can't give you the correct answers to the contest, but I assume I can give you the wrong answers. So here's one: SLOT. Seems a very, very good answer to me, but I'm 99.99999% sure it is Not Correct.
- 13A: Highland fling participants (LASSES) — I assumed this had something to do with stump-throwing or whatever happens at the Highland Games. Caber-toss? Yep, that's what I was thinking of:
- 53A: Secretary of labor who became a Supreme Court Justice — Oh, didn't know this one either. Infer infer infer.
- 74A: Gabrielle of volleyball and modeling (REECE) — if I hadn't known her, center would've been Way harder than it already was.
- 102A: Historical figure in Isabel Allende's novel "Inés of My Soul" (PIZARRO) — at one point I had EL ZORRO. True story.
- 116A: Persuasive Dr. Seuss character (SAM I AM) — nice clue.
- 107A: Like a winning X Games trick, maybe (INSANEST) — here's the results of a losing X Games trick. Actually, it's just my nephew's mouth after a nasty skatepark accident.
- 44D: New World monkey (MARMOSET) — the hippest, most modern of monkeys.
- 55D: Cash back from an online purchase (E-BATE) — Hey, look, another E-word to E-hate.
- 89D: University in Center Valley, Pa. (DESALES) — uh ... really? Wow. Seems obscure. I can name hundreds of universities. This is not one of them. And I live next door to Pa.
- 80D: Fictional Miss Jane — wanted EYRE or MARPLE or, less explicably, BRODIE.
- 114D: "Bambi" villain (ENA) — that's right, turns out Bambi's aunt was the killer all along. Also, Bruce Willis is dead and Soylent Green is people.
Happy ... navigation.
If you don't want any spoilers ... well, then, really, why are you here? I was gonna say "don't read the Comments section," but anyone who goes that deep has no business complaining about spoilage. Would be sporting of you to keep solution to yourself, but I'm not the boss of you, sadly, so ... do what you will.