Saturday, July 6, 2013

Saturday, July 6, 2013, Martin Ashwood-Smith


Tough puzzle. Not even the presence of both my Dad (see yesterday) and one of my brothers could help today. My brother is a chemist, and I thought that he might be able to help with 21A: Neighbor of Telescopium (ARA). He did help, I guess, by telling us that Telescopium is not an element. Turns out it's a "minor southern constellation created in the 18th century by Nicolas Louis de Lacaille, a French astronomer and student of the southern skies. Its name is a Latinized form of the Greek word for telescope. It was created in honor of the telescope's invention." You wanna know what I find most interesting about that? "It was created..." Because, really, that's all they are - just creations. Utterly meaningless creations. And this one (they've got a map on Wikipedia, whence I drew that quote) looks nothing like a telescope. If you were going to go so far as to create a constellation in honor of the telescope's invention, wouldn't you pick stars that kind of made a long rectangle?

OK. Sorry. I just had to get that out of my system. ARA, by the way, is one of the constellations described by Ptolemy, so it, at least, has some street cred.

Tried freeMARKET first for OPENMARKET (15A: Its prices are determined by competition), which slowed us down a bit, but BENJI (7D: Dog star) still fit, and I put it right in. After nothing else came to us in the whole NE, I took both answers out, and we started over completely from scratch in that area.

EDDIEMONEY (60A: "Two Tickets to Paradise" singer) was, sadly, one of the first certain gimmies. I would have been happier to come up with the 38A: 1978 Punk classic (IWANNABESEDATED) first, but I was stuck running through the entire catalogs of The Sex Pistols, The Clash, and even Elvis Costello. Finally, once "I Wanna B..." appeared, Frannie and I said the title in unison. All we can say in our defense is that "DDT did a job" on us...

PERMANENTRECORD (39A: Transcript, e.g.) could have been clued with something like "I hope you know that this will go down on your ____," and we could have had a real nice Punk theme going.

I thought 61A: Domino getting played (FATS), was a bit of a stretch, but I loved the next musical clue 62A: They take up some measures (RESTS).

It was a tough, slow, slog, but in the end, it was satisfying to finish, even though it took a couple of tries, because the string of letters ATOMEGOYAN (35D: "Chloe" director, 2009) is a complete mystery to me. I don't know if it's one name or two, and if it's two, I have no idea where to split it up. We got hung up on the OBE (56A: Honor for Harry Potter's creator: Abbr.) cross, first trying "D" and then "K," because, well, why not? Call it a DNF if you want, it's all the same to us.

- Horace


  1. Sorry that you didn't finish. Not that it helps much now, but
    the director Atom Egoyan has been referenced
    before in the NYT... as recently as a month ago.

    Incidentally, all of his films are worth seeking out. His
    most famous probably being "Exotica" ... which
    is also no stranger to crosswords, owing to its
    useful vowel/consonant combo.


    Martin Ashwood-Smith

  2. Thanks for checking in, Mr. Ashwood-Smith, and thanks, too, for the info on Atom Egoyan. Surely this is the first time that his entire name has been included in the grid - I would like to think that I'd remember it if I had seen it all before. But then, as my great aunt used to say, "I have a good memory, but it's short." In any event, we'll put "Exotica" on the Netflix queue.

    As for not finishing, well, sometimes it happens, and that's ok. We now recognize your name and know that when we see it (and it's only been on Saturdays so far) that we will be in a good fight for much of the morning. We really should have been able to come up with "Order of the British Empire" without so much guesswork, but I guess maybe we were a bit exhausted, and it's so easy to click "check puzzle" on the iPad app. When we start entering tournaments, we'll have to be more careful.

    Thanks again for the comment, it's great to hear from constructors!

  3. Anytime you suspect a word is not the name of a chemical element, feel free to call me for verification.

  4. OK, thanks. You'll be the second one I call.
    It's just that you never can be sure what they're doing with the names once you get up in to the 100s...

  5. DNF
    But I got pretty close (within ten boxes) after around three or so hours of work. The only thing that I'll mention about this puzzle, because it's all been said now, is that I knew that Telescopium was a southern constellation, but had no idea whatsoever of its neighbor. I'd just read (a few months back) a six-or-so page biographical excerpt on Nicolas Louis de Lacaille. I'll have to look that up and re-read it now.