Nuclear agency established by H.S.T. / MON 1-14-13 / Feng New Age concern / Singer with 7x platinum single Rolling in Deep / Yellowish brown as lion's coat
Monday, January 14, 2013
Constructor: Steve Salmon
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: THE END IS NEAR (56A: Apocalyptic warning ... or a hint to 20-, 33- and 42-Across) — theme answers end in -NEAR
Word of the Day: Feng SHUI (4D: Feng ___ (New Age concern)) —
Feng shui [...] is a Chinese system of geomancy believed to use the laws of both Heaven (Chinese astronomy) and Earth to help one improve life by receiving positive qi. The original designation for the discipline is Kan Yu(simplified Chinese: 堪舆; traditional Chinese: 堪輿; pinyin: kānyú; literally: Tao of heaven and earth).The term feng shui literally translates as "wind-water" in English. This is a cultural shorthand taken from the passage of the now-lost Classic of Burialrecorded in Guo Pu's commentary:Qi rides the wind and scatters, but is retained when encountering water.Historically, feng shui was widely used to orient buildings—often spiritually significant structures such as tombs, but also dwellings and other structures—in an auspicious manner. Depending on the particular style of feng shui being used, an auspicious site could be determined by reference to local features such as bodies of water, stars, or a compass. Feng shui was suppressed in China during the cultural revolution in the 1960s, but since then has increased in popularity. (wikipedia)
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It's hard to know on a day like today whether my time (average) was a result of the puzzle's being of average difficulty or a result of my typing being horrendous. I felt like half my time was spent typing and retyping entries into the grid because of both typos and my slight unfamiliarity with how the cursor will react in the NYT applet (normally I solve on my desktop, where typos are still a problem, but the cursor's behavior, e.g. whether it will move to the next square or the next *unfilled* square, is more of a known quantity). I don't normally solve against the clock at the NYT site, but I thought I'd try it today. This has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of this puzzle, which seems quite average. Cute concept, somewhat boring results. GREG KINNEAR probably took me the longest, because at that point I hadn't seen the revealer yet, and I think virtually everyone in "As Good As It Gets" was Oscar-nominated, so ... I drew a blank. A few crosses later, and I was back in business. Took me a few stabs to finally come up with AT TIMES for some reason (44D: Occasionally), and more seconds than I'd like to admit to come up with DA VINCI (30A: "Mona Lisa" painter), but otherwise not much trouble. Oh, INCENSE (43D: Infuriate) and NO DICE (22D: "Not gonna happen") weren't absolute gimmes. Needed help via crosses with those. Else, very easy. Pretty typical Monday.
- 20A: Listening (LENDING AN EAR)
- 33A: Like the street grid of midtown Manhattan (RECTILINEAR)
- 42A: Oscar nominee for "As Good As It Gets" (GREG KINNEAR)
- 40A: Nuclear agency established by H.S.T. (AEC) — Atomic Energy Commission, an agency I'd know nothing about were it not for crosswords.
- 41A: Yellowish brown, as a lion's coat (TAWNY) — I really like this word ... except as a woman's name. I don't really like it as a woman's name.
- 59A: What speeding cars do around turns (CAREEN) — another word for which I have affection. Unlike TAWNY, this word does not double as a woman's name. I don't think. Not with this spelling anyway.
- 13D: Suffix with shepherd (-ESS) — I love the randomness (and ancientness, and pastoralness) of this clue.
- 54D: Singer with the 7x platinum single "Rolling in the Deep" (ADELE) — she will be crossword royalty for years to come.