Sunday, January 11, 2009

New York Times, Mon, Jan 12, 2009 Lynn Lempel / Will Shortz

I was a little over-confident with this Monday puzzle and entered at least three wrong answers in pen, which may have cost me a few minutes. Otherwise, this crossword with a "things you need to cut out" theme seemed relatively straightforward.
Solving time: 23 mins (no cheating)
The northeastern corner was my starting point, with 8a Ansel [Photography icon Adams] - we saw an exhibition of his photography in the Bellagio casino, of all places; 8d asp [Deadly cobra] - did for Cleopatra, we're told; 11d emcee [Toastmaster]; 12d Loewe [Lerner's "Camelot" partner] - musical writing seems to be a partnership business and Lerner and Loewe exemplify this; 23a slew [Whole bunch]; 16a schmo [Any old jerk].

Down the right hand side via 10d shelf-life [Determinant of a "best if used by" date]; 28a fee [Service charge]; 39d sty [Hog's place]; 37a trims [Quick barber jobs], corrected from clips; 38d mix [Mingle]; 46a sexy [Risqué] - the clue I solved ended with a Z-hacek - huh? 27d et tu ["___, Brute?"] - a cryptic crossword once clued et tu Brute? as "Famous last words"; 30a total [All-out]; 19d typo [Printing goof]; 22a sly [Cunning].

The middle then looked tempting with 35a ask [Query]; 36d KLM [Airline whose name is consecutive letters of the alphabet]; 45a map [Atlas page]; 26d so-so [Mediocre].

I attempted an ascent of the west slope with 2d piano [Steinway, e.g.] and 1a CPA [Book balancer, briefly] - Certified Public Accountant, but had to return to lower altitudes with 21d wig [Top part of a disguise]; 29a Eggo [Frozen waffle brand] - seen these in crosswords only; 25d egad! ["Holy cow!"].

40a paper doll outfit [Clothing with tabs] - my first thematic entry - What Is Going On? 42d Lake [___ Michigan]; 43d OPEC [Grp. with clout at the gas pump]; 50a kept [Held on to]; 31d art studio [Place to make a scene?]; 70a Odin [Chief Norse god]; 56d ponds [Locales for ducks]; 57d oldie [Hit from Grandpa's day]; 73a sec [Jiffy], as in "wait a sec"? 67a Indy [___ 500]; 62a idols [Pop heroes] - American Idol is required watching in our household; 58d 'N Sync [Boy band that sang "Girlfriend"] - met this earlier in the year as "Justin Timberlake's former band" and remembered it - awesome!; 51d poi [Taro dish] - Hawaiian food.

It could only be 48d Etna [Sicily's erupter], so I made a start on the bottom middle. 49d coated [Having an outer layer, as M&M's]; 54a store coupon [Retailer's enticement]; 55d Rhoda ["The Mary Tyler Moore Show" spinoff] - heard of both shows as they were shown in the UK in their day; 61a nah ["Uh-uh"]; 72a Dahl [Roald who created Willy Wonka] - I only recently learnt of Roald Dahl's role in British espionage in Washington; 69a edge [Brink]; 65d ugh ["Yuck!"]; 66d Tel [___ Aviv].

63a cut that out ["Stop!" ... or what you do to 18-, 24-, 40- and 54-Across] provided an explanation for the theme; 60d Otto [Filmmaker Preminger]; 68a Crete [Home of the Minotaur's labyrinth]; 64d hep [Cool, in the '40s]; 71a Aesop ["The Lion and the Mouse" storyteller]; 52d Mecca [Muhammad's birthplace]; 59a Ezio [Met singer Pinza] - here he is in Some Enchanted Evening from South Pacific:

53d azure [Sky-blue]; 52a MAs [Some degs. after bachelor's]; 34d opposites [Night and day, say]; 44a tepee [Dwelling with a smoke hole]; 32d apt [Likely]; 7d yell at [Scold]; 4a play [Be in the game or in the band]; 6d Amish [Travelers in horse buggies] - I don't think I've come across these peeps yet, although there is a group quite near us in Lancaster County, PA; 4d pdq [Pronto] - Pretty Damned Quick. Magdalen says there's no such thing as a 18a quilt piece [Cloth square for a bedcover] and she should know; perhaps the compiler just meant a (cut out) piece ready to be sewn into a quilt?

9d NCIS [Spinoff of CBS's "JAG"] - glad to get this one from cross-checking, as haven't seen the series and barely remember it from listings; 15a dome [Taj Mahal feature]; 5d Lou [Singer Rawls or Reed]; 13a oils [Lubricates]; 3d Alito [Justice Samuel] was a name I remembered from last Wednesday - blogging really helps to cement these facts into my mind; 24a cookie shape [Figure fashioned from dough] - we have quite a collection of cookie cutters.

Now I finished off the top left in a final push: 17a maim [Injure severely]; 1d comic [Chris Rock or Ellen DeGeneres]; 20a in tow [Following behind, as a broken-down car] - I had on tow which is the British idiom; 14d smoked eel [Russian fish delicacy]; 32a Arod [Yankee nickname starting in 2004] - even I have heard of Alex Rodriguez; 33d Rae ["The Facts of Life" actress Charlotte]. Finally 41d rems [Radiation units] and 47a Olmec [Early Mexican], for which I originally had Aztec - silly me!

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