Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Thursday, September 27 - Peter Wentz

Good Thursday morning! Evad back for another stint as your guide among the acrosses and downs of today's New York Times crossword puzzle. This may be a debut for constructor Peter Wentz; if so, would love to see more from him!

Today's theme was right in my sweet spot--THE SHIFT KEY (61A).
It had on its surface a mathematical theme with numerical clues (I see Howard B. smiling now), and then a typewriteresque finish, where the theme entries spelled out the symbols above these keys ("shifted") on a computer's keyboard. And, as a final shout out to the computer geeks among us, we find ONE GIG (12D), clued as "Capacity of many a flash drive, informally." (Who among you remember the day we were walking around with "double density" 5-1/4" floppy disks that held around 360 kilobytes, or about 3000 times less capacity than these "memory sticks"?)

And now, drumroll please, your other theme entries:

- "90" PARENTHESES (17A) - nice that the constructor threw in a two-digit number to spice things up a bit.

- "3" POUND SIGN (32A) - this has some other interesting names, among them the "hash sign" or, even stranger, the octothorpe (try dropping that in casual conversation today!)

- "1" EXCLAMATION MARK (38A) - I call this an "exclamation point," and Google agrees with me as the point beats mark about 2:1. But, alas, the point version is 16 letters and wouldn't fit.

- "7" AMPERSAND (45A)

The only area I went a bit astray was ACHY for ROPY "Like some muscles" (41D). (Maybe I was thinking of Billy Ray Cyrus's "Achy Breaky Heart"?)
I've been to ASSISI, so "Franciscan locale" (45D) was a gimme for me. Haven't been to DENALI (11D), which I see which means "the high one" in the Athabaskan language. MOCKED for "Unpopular, in a way" (46D) seemed a little odd at first, but grew on me as I thought about it. And how many knew that MOLIERE was the nom-de-plume of Jean Baptiste Poquelin (30D)?

DOTEDU (1A) was an interesting way to start off the puzzle ("End of many college addresses," such as my alma mater, Bit of a throwback to the STARR Report of the Clinton years--I remember Ken Starr and how the nation was so captivated by that scandal... Another possible political reference to with 13D clued much less sensationally as "Not dawdle." Finally, the "show me" state of MISSOURI (8D) and ANATHEMA (39D) make for nice down entries to complete the fill.

And I'm done. See you folks next Thursday for my last guest spot.


Howard B said...

Octothorp is a favorite word of mine. Does it not sound like a B-movie creature?
Wouldn't you stay up to watch "Octothorp vs. Ellipses" if it were the late-night movie?
# ...
(Our shields are useless! We must flee! Aarrggh!)
Er, on second thought, maybe not.

I was smiling at the puzzle, but made a bunch of mistakes and typos in the fill. Did it seem a bit tricky to others? ANATHEMA took me forever to dig out of my mind - another great word.

Great job, Evad, good to hear from you again.

Anonymous said...

I found the theme excellent but otherwise a number of poor answers...Walletful...ID's and local of Italian not believe there is a region in Sicily by this name...Ropy muscle..not good at all
just my opinion

QP said...

I had all theme answers except for the clue (61A). Had all the wrong answers in the SE... had LEA instead of KEA, ASTI for ETNA... CHEW ??? (56D)... kept thinking "video games" in 70A, so didn't get AWAY

other than that, I really liked this puzzle

Orange said...

Good lord, man! Can you remove that Billy Ray Cyrus photo? It's quite jarring. Give us Brenda STARR instead.

Howard, I have seen that movie. The best part is when the elllipses gang up and use a typographical dagger (†) to pierce the octothorp's heart square.

Bob, Etna is Mount Etna, the volcano. The slopes of the mountain are home to vineyards.

Beata, the two Mauna answers are KEA and LOA—LEA is usually clued as a pasture or as someone's first name.

Anonymous said...

Dave: I always enjoy your commentary. Thanks so much! Also, loved the pic of cat sleeping on keyboard. Hmmmmm. Actually, my cat prefers to sleep on my lap when I'm using the computer. Annoying but at least I can type.

Thought the puzzle was pretty good today. Have the same quibble as others about "exclamation mark/point". I got 61A before the other theme answers so that helped....pound sign next etc.

Anonymous said...

Orange...thanks for the response...I knew Etna was the volcano...I did not think that vinyards would grow on lava covered land!!...

cornbread hell said...

great post.

but...i'm gonna have to agree with the schoolmarm on this one, evad. spare us the billy ray mug shots in the future. ok?

irreverent rick

Anonymous said...

Got to visit Mt Denali (Mt McKinley) last October on a cloudless day . . . what a sight!!! And quite an interesting story behind the name change . . .