Friday, January 23, 2009

New York Times, Sat, Jan 24, 2009 Mark Diehl / Will Shortz

Another record (for me) with Saturday's New York Times crossword. Am I starting to get the hang of this, or was it just an easier than average puzzle? I'll have to check what other bloggers have to report.
Solving time: 30 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 37d ears [Hammer holders]

Grid art by Sympathy

Grid15x15 with 28 (12.7%) black squares
Answers70 (average length 5.63)
Scrabble points302 (average 1.53)
Wiki Clues

1a Jiffy Pop [Brand for preparation on a stovetop] - I had an advantage with this popcorn product as Magdalen brought some over to England for me to try back in 2006. I was curious about it after seeing it featured in Scary Movie.

18a de Sade ["The Crimes of Love" author] - the Marquis de Sade published this in 1800, shortly before being arrested by the Little Corporal.

22a SSR [Old atlas inits.] - Soviet Socialist Republic, making up a component of the Soviet Union until its collapse in 1991.

32a Nepal [Land where the air is thin] - the percentage of oxygen in air doesn't change with altitude, but the lower air pressure means there's up to 33% less oxygen available to your lungs.

46a Odie [Funny papers pooch] - he's in the Garfield strip.

47a Nyes [Longtime North Dakota senator Gerald and others] - Gerald Nye was a prominent anti-war activist and was quoted as saying "this was just what Britain had planned for us" immediately after Pearl Harbor. (He did subsequently join the unanimous senate vote declaring war.)

57a Bret [Pitcher Saberhagen] - baseball player nicknamed Sabes.

58a Rotary [Civic club] - Rotary International.

1d Java man [Early hominid] - Pithecanthropus erectus. I love that J in the top left corner - it's very beautiful to see two longish answers crossing at a low frequency letter. Java man was around between 600,000 years and 1 million years ago, well before the ...

2d Iron age [Early period] - the stage of development starting in the 12th century BC.

5d Yma [Peruvian Sumac] - I fell into the compiler's trap here, assuming the answer was a tree. It's a Peruvian singer famous for her extreme vocal range. How about this:

10d Adela [Writer ___ Rogers St. Johns] - an American journalist, novelist and screenwriter, noted for her groundbreaking exploits as a "girl reporter" during the 1920s and 1930s.

14d Tierney ["Laura" star, 1944] - Gene Tierney.

24d Pelé [Sports star with an accent in his name] - the challenge is trying to come up with a different way of cluing him.

26d Frisco ['67 Summer of Love locale] - only tourists call it that. Locals prefer The City of the Bay.

28d Lassen [___ Volcanic National Park] - where you can see Lassen Peak, the largest plug dome volcano in the world.

36d Ann Blyth [Nominee for Best Supporting Actress in "Mildred Pierce," 1945] - here she is in The Student Prince:

38d Howards ["___ End"] - a gimme for me, as I know the book and movie very well. There's no apostrophe in the title - a good thing that's not important for crosswords, as it would catch a lot of folks out.

39d Idahoan [Sarah Palin, by birth] - yes, she was born in Sandpoint, Idaho and moved to Alaska as an infant.

40d Sinatra [Sands part-owner, once] - Sands being a Vegas hotel.

44d Estella [She was a pip to Pip in "Great Expectations"] - a gimme for me, as I'm a Dickens fan and collector.

45d stately [Like elm trees] - presumably a reference to Fredericton, The City of Stately Elms.

61d Rae [English singer Corinne Bailey ___] - an up-and-coming English singer-songwriter:

Dici Clues

19a ante [Buy in] - in the sense of "put up a stake".

23a mat [Where pins are made] - refers to the mat in wrestling in which pinning is a popular maneuver.

29a O.W.L.'s [Fifth-year exams at Hogwarts] - Ordinary Wizarding Level examinations. N.E.W.T.'s are the next level - try to remember this as O.W.L.'s sets a precedent.

38a hiss [Moccasin sound] - a moccasin is also a kind of venomous snake found in the Eastern US (but not as far north as us in Pennsylvania).

48a roast [Certain charity event]. roast doesn't have this meaning in British English - my American English dictionary defines it as "a banquet to honor a person at which the honoree is subject to good-natured ridicule".

53a it a [Give-to-go filler] - ie it a can fill the gap, making "give it a go".

37d ears [Hammer holders] - very nice misleading clue.

56d tats [Needlework, for short?] - tattooing, not cross-stitch.

Quicky Clues

9a racist [Like some misguided remarks]; 15a area maps [Tourist booth handouts]; 16a Adonai [Hebrew title for God]; 17a voltages [Appliance numbers]; 20a entail [Call for]; 24a pry [Use leverage on]; 25a loaf pan [Bakery container]; 27a agile [Not stiff at all]; 31a rice [Jambalaya need]; 33a urge [Press]; 34a inky [Black as night]; 35a sea routes [Lines for liners]; 41a nets [Brings in]; 42a aches [Workout reminders]; 49a wannabe [Hanger-on]; 51a IDs [C.S.I. tasks]; 54a aha! ["I knew it!"]; 55a ulster [Loose overcoat]; 60a adorable [Just too cute]; 62a darn it! ["Aaargh!"]; 63a tuna roll [Sushi bar order]; 64a snatch [Weightlifting move]; 65a speedway [Indy, for one].

3d felt-tip [Kind of pen]; 4d fate [Them's the breaks]; 6d pager [Cell alternative]; 7d open your eyes! ["Look, bonehead!"]; 8d psst [Discreet call]; 9d radio set [Ham's rig]; 11d Cos [Amex listings: Abbr.]; 12d in a spin [Twirling]; 13d sad sack [Born loser]; 21d all gussied up [Dressed to the nines]; 30d wrote [Set down]; 43d hair bow [Girlish accessory]; 50d auric [Golden]; 52d drone [Go on and on]; 57d bard [Minstrel]; 59d ant [Colony member].



I finished in 42 minutes and I rarely finish a Saturday puzzle. Very easy. 56D tats, I figured making lace called tatting. To me it was an old fashioned theme mixed with old moview stars, sayings, and products. I didn't know they still make Jiffypop but I remember it as a Friday night treat to keep the kids quiet while the adults played cards.


Please forgive the spelling, forgot to preview.

Magdalen said...

The husband didn't ask me about "tats" despite the fact that I AM the resident expert on needlework. No tattoos, though -- and I'm afraid that is what the clue refers to. Two reasons: tatting does not use a needle at all (!) -- it uses a shuttle, and also the clue includes those all important words "for short" so tats as slang for tattoos is more consistent with the clue. For what it's worth, I never could master tatting, and I've never met anyone who had, either. I did recently meet someone who'd had the same experience as I had: figured she could teach herself how to tat from a book, but discovered that knowing all the steps is NOT the same as being able to do them fast enough.

Crossword Man said...

Thanks for the comment FMCGMCCLLC. This confirms my fears that I'm not getting any better at this - the puzzle is getting easier! Good luck with this week's solving.