Bacteriologist Paul who coined word Chemotherapy / THU 2-7-13 / Regular in Judd Apatow comedies / Flanders Kelly / Tinseltown terrier / William Steig book on which hit 2001 film was based
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Constructor: David Levinson Wilk
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: H & R BLOCK (67A: Subject of the Final Jeopardy! question that knocked out Ken Jennings after a record 74 wins ... or a hint to this puzzle's theme) — an "HR" rebus, with six "HR" squares (and an ampersand [!] for good measure)
Word of the Day: Paul E[HR]LICH (64A: Bacteriologist Paul who coined the word "chemotherapy") —
Paul Ehrlich (help·info) (born 14 March 1854 in Strehlen near Breslau – died 20 August 1915 in Bad Homburg vor der Höhe) was a German physician and scientist who worked in the fields of hematology, immunology, and chemotherapy. He invented the precursor technique to Gram staining bacteria, and the methods he developed for staining tissue made it possible to distinguish between different type of blood cells, which led to the capability to diagnose numerous blood diseases. His laboratory discoveredArsphenamine (Salvarsan), the first effective medicinal treatment for syphilis, thereby initiating and also naming the concept of chemotherapy. Ehrlich popularized the concept of a “magic bullet”. He also made a decisive contribution to the development of an antiserum to combat diphtheria and conceived a methodology for standardizing therapeuticserums. In 1908 he received a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his contributions to immunology.(wikipedia)
• • •From now until May, Thursday write-ups will tend to be fairly brief, as I have a very early morning and thus need to get to bed reasonably early quickly if I'm going to both get up on time and be useful to anyone. I rather liked this puzzle. The "&" acted (oddly) like an exclamation point, punctuating an already unusual puzzle with the unusual inclusion of a non-letter square. You almost never see such a thing. In fact, I can remember only one time where "&" was in a puzzle, and it was in a tournament context, not in the NYT proper. I'm sure it's been done before in the NYT, but ... I can't recall when. Anyway, nice touch. I really really don't like the clue on H&R BLOCK at all. There's something winky and insidery and elitist-seeming about it. Who follows Ken Jennings (a smart, funny guy, from what I can tell from Twitter and other venues) so slavishly that they know this absurd bit of trivia? Don't answer, as maybe it's you, but ... this is not a thing one should be expected to know. It's absurd. On the other hand, by the time I got to the clue, I knew the theme, and so when HUMAN RESOURCES didn't fit, H&R BLOCK was the next logical choice, so belonging to the KJ fan club ended up not being necessary to solve this baby. Now, if you had No idea there was a rebus involved, then it *might* have been nice to have the revealer be a little more ... gettable by the average human being. My time was pretty normal for a Thursday rebus puzzle, which is to say somewhat above average, but not inordinately so.
As is typical for me with rebuses, I had a slow start. Just a couple of answers in the NW and little else. Ironically, SETH ROGEN was the first face that popped into my mind at 17A: Regular in Judd Apatow comedies, but he didn't fit, so I ditched it. Had TEENAGER in there at one point (thinking of the legendary "Freaks & Geeks" rather than any of Apatow's movies). Anyway, even after I got the theme, I was a little worried I wouldn't be able to get into that corner. How am I supposed to know the [State that is home to the Natl. Teachers Hall of Fame]?! (it's KAN). But ASHRAM saved me—and got me to see SETH ROGEN. First picked up the theme at SLEIGH RIDE. After that, none of the "HR" squares presented much trouble. GEHRIG and SHREK (58D: William Steig book on which a hit 2001 film was based) and NEPHROLOGIST and NEHRU (11D: Prime minister who gave his name to an article of clothing) were all gimmes.
- 34A: Tinseltown terrier (ASTA) — sightings of this dog have declined quite a bit—or so it seems—since I started blogging (over six years ago). This is a good thing.
- 41A: Home of the Azadi Tower (TEHRAN) — Just a note to say: AZADI! That's some nice Fri/Sat fill.
- 60A: "Little" name in 1960s pop (EVA) — I think I learned about her name from crosswords, though I certainly knew her music well before that.
- 5D: Props used in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (NOOSES) — answers here seemed theoretically infinite. First thought: SERAPES (PONCHOS?).
- 57D: Flanders and Kelly (NEDS) — an ultra-religious toon and an Australian outlaw. Nice pairing.