1965 Physics Nobelist Richard / WED 11-20-13 / Harry Potter's owl / Third-largest city in Italia / Celebrity groom in 68 headlines / Johnny Winter's musician brother / Omertà group
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Constructor: Peter A. Collins
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "RUNNING / ON EMPTY" (55A: With 57-Across, 1977 Jackson Browne album … or a hint to what's depicted in this puzzle's grid) — Grid uses circles to depict an ARROW pointing at an (unchecked) "E," which sits directly opposite an (unchecked) "F"; remaining circles describe a roughly semicircular shape that spells out GAS GAUGE
Word of the Day: Richard FEYNMAN (48D: 1965 Physics Nobelist Richard) —
Richard Phillips Feynman (//; May 11, 1918 – February 15, 1988) was an American theoretical physicist known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory ofquantum electrodynamics, and the physics of thesuperfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as inparticle physics (he proposed the parton model). For his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman, jointly with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga, received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965. He developed a widely used pictorial representation scheme for the mathematical expressions governing the behavior of subatomic particles, which later became known as Feynman diagrams. During his lifetime, Feynman became one of the best-known scientists in the world. In a 1999 poll of 130 leading physicists worldwide by the British journal Physics World he was ranked as one of the ten greatest physicists of all time. (wikipedia)
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SLOW ON THE UPTAKE (11D: A bit dense), which is just a great 15. Felt pretty thorny, but I was done in 4:11, so it couldn't have been that bad. Fill is much better in the long stuff than the small stuff, but the small stuff is largely inoffensive, so that's just fine. I got a bit worried about that unchecked "F" at first because my first reaction to seeing a physics Nobelist clue is "how the hell should I know?" But then I realized that it was one of the most popular physicists around—a guy whose mug I have seen many times in bookstores. FEYNMAN was a great popularizer of physics. Anyway, even if you didn't know FEYNMAN, the theme allows you to infer the "F"—the "Full" symbol on our imaginary gas gauge.
Didn't have any pronounced trouble, though the center was mildly rough, as I couldn't remember Harry Potter's owl and couldn't figure out what "dep." was supposed to mean in 33D: Opposite of dep. (ARR.). Had PESTS for NESTS, as I'm sure many people did before figuring out the Jackson Browne song (56D: Exterminators' targets). Didn't know HABANERA was a [Cuban dance], though I'm almost certain I've seen it before. I'm more familiar with the HABAÑERO pepper. Not much else to say. The bar is low, but this is certainly the best puzzle of the week (so far).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld