Saturday, January 17, 2009

New York Times, Sat, Jan 17, 2009 Brad Wilber / Will Shortz

Another crisp start to the day with overnight temperatures of -9°F. This is clearly the time to stay put and solve crosswords.

This Saturday puzzle was tough going, but I managed to finish it in a little over an hour.
Solving time: 80 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 41d ski pass [What to flash when you need a lift?]

My Solution

Grid15x15 with 29 (13.1%) black squares
Answers70 (average length 5.60)
Scrabble points294 (average 1.50)

16a Elton [His tribute to Marilyn was remade for Diana] made for a very easy start, so I persevered with the right hand side: 21a oocyte [Future egg] - immature egg cell in an ovary; 30d elect [Governor or mayor follower]; 36a set [64 crayons, e.g.]; 41a sectors [Military districts]; 21d oppose [Try to block]; 31d hot tip [Buzz generator on Wall Street] - I had gutter to start with - the expression "mutter from the gutter" may be peculiarly British; 55a iPod [Player in a docking station] - we love our Bose SoundDock; 56d dare [Show pluck]. 35a Sir [What 16-Across has been called since 1998] was also easy once I noticed it.

34a bolo tie [Range accessory] - deriving from the Spanish word for ninepin. Here's a guy that handcarves the fastenings out of wood:

10a pasta [It's sometimes ribbon-shaped] - could be fettuccine or tagliatelle, for example; 12d stay put [Go nowhere]; 18a yearn [Pant] - in the sense of "long for"; 11d Alec ["The Black Stallion" lad] - Alec Ramsey is the child hero of the movie that seems to be someone's favorite (we had it just two days ago); 10d Peyo [One-named Belgian cartoonist who created the Smurfs]:

13d tortoni [Dessert garnished with crumbled macaroons] - Italian ice cream made with eggs and cream; 26a pot [Cardsharp's goal]; 14d Annette [Only Mouseketeer personally chosen by Walt Disney] - I'm expected to know this? Here's Annette Funicello recalling her role:

63a Snape [Head of Hogwarts School's Slytherin House] - Severus Snape played by Alan Rickman in the movies; 23d Passat [Volkswagen model] - Hub 1.0 has one with the Pennsylvania plate 1N HRMNY - give him a wave if you see it; 53d lamp [Miner's aid]; 58a coral [Lipstick shade]; 38d Rip Torn [Player of Richard Nixon in "Blind Ambition"] - I'm expected to know a 1970s TV series also? 61a Kreme [Word after Vanilla or Chocolate, at Dunkin' Donuts]; 52a Attlee [Landslide election winner of 1945] - Churchill was soundly defeated, despite his leadership role in the war - the electorate had a strong desire for change, particularly social reform, in times of peace; 54d E. Lee [Part of a noted reb's signature] - a confederate general even I've heard of.

37d CD racks [Music store array]; 39d Eritrea [Its flag features an olive branch inside a wreath]; 48a RPI [N.C.A.A. rival of Vassar] - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - college names and abbreviations seem to be essential knowledge for this crossword; 45a dirty look [Glare]; 37a creaked [Gave away an intruder, maybe] - imaginative clue; 33d or else [Words often accompanied by a 45-Across].

24a crisp [Bracing]; 8d reel in [Try to land] - nicely misleading; 6d basic [Not advanced]; 20a riel [100 sen] - currency in Cambodia; 5d knar [Trunk protuberance] - knot on a tree trunk; 17a unleashes [Vents] - in the sense of "gives expression to ones emotions"; 15a filenames [They have extensions] - nothing to do with hair this time; 1a snack bars [Stadium stands] - my first idea was bleachers, but I suspect they are a bit insubstantial for stadia; 9d SSS [Certain card issuer: Abbr.] - Selective Service System - I think we're talking draft cards, not Social Security cards.

29a snipe hunt [Futile search] - alternative to a wild goose chase; 7d Amherst [Where Hampshire College is] - why, there's another college name! 25d sib [Kindred]; 4d cee [Communist leader?] - spelling of the first letter; 1d sfumato [Artist's tone-blending technique, used in the "Mona Lisa"] - literally "shaded off" in Italian - a lovely word to get into the grid; 32a one spot [Ace] - reading contract bridge books introduced me to this terminology.

40d DOA [1950 film that opens with a man reporting his own murder] - the clue provides good confirmation of the answer, even if you don't know the movie; 49a satin [Like some weaves] - in a satin weave, either the warp or weft predominates at the surface, giving a silky appearance; 46d otiose [Idle]; 41d ski pass [What to flash when you need a lift?]; 59d jaw [Yak] - unhelpful clue as there are lots of three-letter alternatives (gas, gab, etc); 64a Westerner [34-Across sporter]; 50d nonet [Certain jazz combo] - I can't think of any jazz groups of nine, but they may exist. 62a assertive [Forward]; 60d LTR [Photocopier abbr.] - letter, as opposed to legal, paper size; 59a Joan Allen [Player of Pat Nixon in "Nixon"] - there's quite a Nixon theme going here.

57a rig [Gerrymander]; 51a Pelé [Legendary athlete on the 6/23/75 cover of Sports Illustrated]; 47a Tibet [Whence some spaniels and terriers] - Tibetan spaniels and Tibetan terriers; 44d Stegner [Wallace ___, Pulitzer winner for "Angle of Repose"] - The Dean of Western Writers was just a guess in my case; 43d relieve [Spell] - "spell" can mean "give a rest to"; 42d Oberlin [First U.S. coed college] - whoa! - yet another college; 3d all gone [Spent]; 8d spiky [Sharply irritating]; 22a a pop [Pricing words]; 27a Tinas [Brown and others] - another Brit who took US citizenship (won't be long before I have to make that decision); 2d ninepin [Part of some splits] - an ice cream lover, I thought of bananas first; 19a Meg [2004 U.S. Women's Open winner Mallon] - a golfer.

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