Thursday, January 10, 2008

Friday, January 11 - Mike Nothnagel

A few weeks ago Mike Nothnagel said in a comment that he had a Friday puzzle coming up. Since then, I've expected it every Friday...and now it's finally here.

This one had something to love for everyone, and plenty for me to love. With just a few exceptions, I was totally on Mike's wavelength.

I immediately nailed the northeast corner, moving to the southwest and finishing up that quadrant. But I had a few too many blanks in the southeast...and a whole lot of nothing up in the northwest. I loved "Mad About You" (I love anything with Helen Hunt, especially "Castaway," which I watched again a few weeks ago), but I couldn't remember a ditsy waitress...and I needed 3D to open up that area. Once I got the answer from Dogpile (Lisa Kudrow), one answer followed another ...and that corner finally fell.

Don't know why I immediately got 6A: Fed up with (tired of), but I did. I then worked the downs in that corner, easily getting the supremely-clued 6D: Exchange of thoughts? (telepathy), 7D: Burn up (ire), 8D: Name of 11 ancient kings (Ramses), 9D: Some collars (Etons), 11D: Recovered from (over) and 12D: Believed (felt). I didn't know 10D: "White Flag" singer, 2003, but since I had just about every letter, it was easy to get 14A: Key (operative) and 17A: GQ figure (male model). I was then able to get Dido, although I've never heard of her or the song.

The fill was just so outstanding that it's difficult to pick favorites. I'll start with the remaining multiword answers.

16A: How some ashes are scattered (at sea).

33A: What you take when you do the right thing (moral high ground). Three words...almost more than I can take.

37A: Start of the Boy Scout Oath (on my). I knew more than that and was prepared to write in several lines.

42A: Decision time (zero hour). I love the expression, love that it has a Z, and love that it's in Elton John's "Rocket Man."

46A: "Bummer" (aw, gee) and 55A: "Outta sight!" (oh, wow)...not the best, but they're still multiword answers, so they get points in my book.

51A: "Win some, lose some" (that's life).

54A: Concerning (related to).

2D: Free (on the loose).

4D: Rough estimate (a few).

15D: Transition to a heliocentric model of the universe, e.g. (paradigm shift)...the very best clue and answer in the grid. Love that silent G.

27D: Negative sign (thumbs down). I was trying to think of something having to do with math.

28D: Requirement (sine qua non)..."without which it could not be." I'll bet I'm not the only one who immediately put an E after the Q.

31D: Sunburn preventer (zinc oxide). Both a Z and an X in one answer. It doesn't get any better than that. And I love their crosses...31A: Pasta choice (ziti) and 49A: Shortened word on a yellow street sign (Xing).

40D: Minds (sees to).

Clues I loved include 1A: Kind of year (solar), 13A: It can be scary to go under this (knife), 40A: Natural fluid containers (sacs), 1D: Pass superficially (over) (skate), 22A: They act on impulses (synapses)...also love the answer, 25D: Nut cracker, perhaps (beak), 29D: They make connections (ands), 34D: Winter coat? (hoar), 42D: Some sisters (Zetas) and 45A: Practices zymurgy (brews)...I can never remember that one.

Favorite answers...aside from those already mentioned:

20A: Sound of contempt (snort). That's not a sound that I make to show's usually when I'm laughing over something that's really funny. That usually causes the other person to laugh more...which makes me laugh (and snort) even more.

36A: Co-worker of Dilbert (Asok)...the only one I can remember by name, other than Alice.

There were a few unfamiliar answers, but they were all easy enough to get from crosses.

30A: Mathematician famous for his incompleteness theorems (Godel).

38A: Innovative chair designer Eames).

50A: It follows Shevat (Adar).

53A: Historic capital of Scotland (Scone). I only know the word as something I like to eat with coffee.

19D: Late rocker Barrett (Syd).

As is always the case, this puzzle was worth waiting for...but I hope we don't have to wait as long for the next one.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G


wendy said...

Linda, just like you, I've been waiting for this puzzle since Mike teased us with its imminent appearance. And it didn't disappoint; my delight with MN as a constructor knows no bounds. About the only thing that would have made me happier is having the 11 Kings answer be Xerxes instead of RAMSES. Don't know if that's ever appeared in a puzzle before, but if anyone can make it happen, he can. (Can't you, Mike?)

Got PARADIGM SHIFT and MORAL HIGH GROUND on my own, but they didn't open up a lot of other answers at first, which is always a deflating experience.

One of my favorite sections is ZITI, ZINC OXIDE and XING. AWESOME! OH WOW!

FWIW, my favorite Dilbert character is Catbert, the evil HR director ;)

What's a ONE O Cat, again? That thing always brings me to my knees.

Anyway, I'm a happy camper.

Linda G said...

Wendy, I knew you'd be delighted to see this one.

One o' cat is some sort of game that I only know from crossword puzzles...maybe someone can tell us what kind of game.

Anonymous said...

Good Morning Wendy and Linda...first of all let me compliment both of you on the fact that you found this puzzle easy for a Friday...without Google I would still be trying to solve this puzzle...I feel that 28D should have been clued as a Latin phrase as 5 D was...can either of you explain Zetas as some sisters?
ONE-O-CAT is a baseball game played where there are not enough players to have a regular game...the batter remains at bat until he makes an out....when he does he goes to the fiels until it is his turn to bat again...played this a lot growing up
Have a nice day

Anonymous said...

Yeah, one o' cat is old crosswordese, not seen much today. But me and my friends used to play it. Here's the dictionary def:

one old cat
noun Games. a form of baseball in which there is a home plate and one other base, and in which a player remains at bat and scores runs by hitting the ball and running to the base and back without being put out.

Also, one o' cat, one-a-cat.

[Origin: 1840–50, Americanism]

Really enjoyed this puzzle.

wendy said...

Bob, I didn't say this was easy! ;) I managed to get the whole NW on my own, and got various other toeholds, but I was googlin' with the best of them. It is a very rare day that I can finish any late-week puzzle entirely on my own.

Assumed ZETA is part of some sorority name ...

Anonymous said...

This was a great Friday puzzle. My favorite puzzles are the ones where I go through the first time and only get a few answers but manage to grind them out.
2D free got me stuck for a while because I had "on the house".
My favorite was 19D "Late rocker Barrett" because my little white dog's name is Syd.

MBG said...

I agree with jimd, I love it when I have a hard time getting a foothold. I didn't get much first time through on this one, but then moral high ground popped into my head and that got me going. The cross of xing and zinc oxide was great. Lots of lovely z's and w's in this one. Paradigm shift is awesome. A couple of answers almost sank me - Dido, who I've never heard of, and Lisa Kudrow, whose name I've heard, but I've never seen any of her shows. We watch sports, movies, Keith Olberman, and The Mythbusters, which leaves me quite pop culture handicapped. Loved seeing synapses in the puzzle. Also loved awesome and aw gee connected by the w's in whew. Fun puzzle!

Anonymous said...

Hey folks.

Sorry to string you out so long! I knew that I had a handful of acceptances, so I was waiting along with you for the next one to show up. :)

And Wendy, I'll get right on that grid with XERXES. In fact, I'll put it in there two or three times, just for you. :)


Anonymous said...

Linda - just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your blog! ET

Linda G said...

ET, I just sat down to blog the Saturday puzzle...and there was your nice comment. My day started with a smile...thanks!