Mathematical physicist Peter who pioneered in knot theory / WED 8-28-13 / Man whose 1930 salary was $75000 / Chestnut colored flying mammal / Rathskeller order / Vicina della Francia
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Constructor: Erik Agard
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: 60A: Quote from BABE / RUTH (aka THE SULTAN OF SWAT) on why he outearned PRESIDENT HOOVER: "I HAD A BETTER YEAR"
Word of the Day: Peter TAIT (58D: Mathematical physicist Peter who pioneered in knot theory) —
Peter Guthrie Tait FRSE (28 April 1831 – 4 July 1901) was a Scottish mathematical physicist, best known for the seminal energy physics textbook Treatise on Natural Philosophy, which he co-wrote with Kelvin, and his early investigations into knot theory, which contributed to the eventual formation of topology as a mathematical discipline. His name is known in graph theory mainly for Tait's conjecture. (wikipedia)
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BABE / RUTH. Very nice. The fill, I'm less thrilled with. It's OK, but both dull and rough in places. Kind of unadventurous, a little over-reliant on the boring. There's no good fill outside the theme. It's adequate at best. But it's not a disaster, by any means, and the theme is pure Win, so I'm happy. Mainly, I was happy just to get the puzzle, because while the NYT website appears to be back up now after yesterday's "malicious external attack," it is not up for *my* browser so I had to find a generous friend to shoot me the puzzle (thx, PuzzleGirl). I am not a Yankees fan, but it was cool to see a Yankees-oriented puzzle just two weeks after seeing a Yankees game at the new Yankee Stadium with Erik Agard himself. In fact, here we are (w/ friends) at BABE / RUTH Plaza (we're in the back, I'm making some kind of rabbit-ears gesture behind his head ... good times).
BABE, for instance, then both RUTH and SULTAN OF SWAT went in instantly. And I motored through short crosses in several places. But in other places I got strangely held up. Worst pitfall was having -OL- at 16A: One's part? and writing in ROLE. This made ISSUE (10D: Time piece?) look ridiculous. Just botched that corner. Also could Not see PUNTED for the longest time (23D: Gave up by giving up control), even though the clue seems perfectly apt. Same with A-TEAMS (28D: Units of brilliance?). I'm noticing that I'm mainly being done in by "?" clues. I guess I don't mind tricky clues as a way of amping up difficulty on a Wednesday. Makes the puzzle a bit more fun when I have to struggle at least a little. TAIT is an absurdity in this grid. Total outlier. That's a pretty obscure proper noun, and (more importantly) way way way more obscure than anything else in the puzzle. TAIT's neighbor ORCH is no prize pig either. Oh well, that's a pretty theme-dense little section. No harm done.