Friday, January 30, 2009

New York Times, Sat, Jan 31, 2009 Ken Bessette / Will Shortz

Probably the toughest puzzle of the year so far in the New York Times. After a little over an hour I had two-thirds done, but the top left and bottom right sections were largely unfilled.

For the top left, I got help from Magdalen: she'd given up a lot sooner, but at least had pass the hat and on the stage correct. Neither of us could do the bottom right, but TEA came up with some critical answers like adaptation and Fodor.
Solving time: 90 mins (no mistakes, but lots of cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 29d Honest Abe [Copper head?]

Grid art by Sympathy

Grid15x15 with 29 (13.1%) black squares
Answers70 (average length 5.60)
Scrabble points291 (average 1.48)
Wiki Clues

17a Kool-Aid Man [Ad pitcher who's really a pitcher] - I was totally out of my depth with this clue, but I see now that the Kool-Aid Man is something of a cultural icon.

19a Eureka [College of the Redwoods locale] - not Eureka College in Illinois, but a community college in Eureka, CA.

25a MLS [Chicago Fire's sports org.] - for once football is the kind I recognize. Chicago Fire is a Major League Soccer team.

26a Apu [Satyajit Ray's "The ___ Trilogy"] - so you can clue Apu without reference to The Simpsons.

37a Andress [Player of the first Bond girl] - memorable for her Venus-like emergence from the sea in Doctor No.

51d -A-Mole [Whac-___ (carnival game)] - this looks like fun!

Dici Clues

1a pass the hat [Seek change?] - nicely cryptic with a nod to an Obama slogan - a shame I didn't see this as it would have broken open the top left nicely.

57a asci [Fungal spore cases] - had an advantage with this one, as I've seen it innumerable times in cryptic crosswords.

62a ears [They're near temples] - very cute clue.

63a erector set [Toy with blueprints] - I had the right idea with this one, but put in Meccano Set, the British equivalent. This gave me writer's block big time.

1d pokes [Dawdling sorts] - I'd come across slowpoke, but this shortening is new to me.

33d snees [Bygone stickers] - I've found it hard to justify this - snee is a verb meaning to cut, but it's not in any of my dictionaries as a noun.

41d the wave [Stand-up routine?] - we use mexican wave in Britain, since the phenomenon first gained worldwide notice in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

43d Madame [One of a couple at a French restaurant] - ie how the Mrs would be addressed (Magdalen had to explain that one to me).

Quicky Clues

11a brer [Southern appellation]; 15a on the stage [Between wings]; 16a lamé [Showy wear]; 18a tias [Some familia members]; 20a Iva [___ Archer, with whom Sam Spade had an affair]; 21a snit [Red state?]; 22a steps [They have their ups and downs]; 23a stens [Weapons once produced extensively by the Royal Small Arms Factory]; 27a tamale [Dish with cornhusks]; 29a hardships [Trials]; 35a Nokia [Big name in cells]; 36a one unit [Blood drive quantity]; 39a Nance [Actor Jack]; 40a stag party [No place for a lady]; 42a esteem [Hold up]; 44a HBO ["Thrilla in Manila" airer]; 45a sta. [Timetable listing: Abbr.]; 46a safes [Combinations' locations]; 48a nag at [Badger]; 53a talk [Yak]; 55a DOW [It has its ups and downs, with "the"]; 56a sesame [Kind of beef or chicken]; 58a adaptation [Evolutionary process]; 60a bias [Diagonal]; 61a movie title [Marquee name].

2d an out [Have ___ (not be trapped)]; 3d store [Link in a chain?]; 4d shlep [Cart]; 5d teaks [Trees of the verbena family]; 6d Hsia [Early Chinese dynasty]; 7d ETD [Capt.'s announcement]; 8d ham it up [Hot-dog]; 9d agave [Pita source]; 10d tenant [Kind of farmer]; 11d BLTs [Short orders?]; 12d rainmaker [Indian tribe V.I.P.]; 13d email list [Spammer's resource]; 14d rests easy [Stops stewing]; 23d spits [Hot rods?]; 24d S and P [Market yardstick, for short]; 26d ahi [Yellowfin, on Hawaiian menus]; 28d Mora [Last name of father-and-son N.F.L. coaches]; 29d Honest Abe [Copper head?]; 30d Anastasia [Bergman title role]; 31d rental car [Terminal offering]; 32d duce [Italian leader]; 34d Saabs [Automotive debuts of 1949]; 38d Ngo [___ Dinh Diem (first president of South Vietnam)]; 47d Fodor [Travel writer Eugene]; 48d neato [Swell]; 49d astir [Still no longer]; 50d gaits [They're shown at horse shows]; 52d tenet [Something a believer believes]; 54d kiss [It's often planted]; 56d stet [Keep in]; 59d pic [Shot].

1 comment:


For some reason first post failed, thanks for saying it was hard.