Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New York Times, Wed, Jan 28, 2009 Michael Langwald / Will Shortz

Well this puzzle had a certain enigmatic quality, particularly on the middle right, where several tough answers hung out to ambush me. But I managed to circumvent what Trapps there were and was heartened by another oked puzzle.
Solving time: 20 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzze: 37a lei [Ring around the collar?];

Four theme answers, the first words of which are a pun on "Made in Taiwan", a mark commonly found on the fifth thematic answer, 60a child's toys:
17a Maid Marian [Robin Hood's love]
24a innkeeper [One at the front desk, perhaps]
38a tie game [Nail-biter, perhaps]
49a Juan Peron [Leader deposed in 1955]

Grid art by Sympathy

Grid15x15 with 36 (16.2%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.97)
Scrabble points290 (average 1.53)
Wiki Clues

13a Ernő [Puzzlemaker Rubik] - his cubes were big in my early 20s - being a puzzle genius, I was supposed to be able to solve this, but I found the best technique was to get close and then swap the sticky squares over as necessary.

14a Hanes [Big name in briefs] - not so big in our household where Tommy Hilfinger is the brand of choice.

23a Mel [Blanc who voiced Porky Pig] and 999 other cartoon characters - he's The Man of a Thousand Voices.

40a I Go [Billy Joel's "___ to Extremes"] - a track from the 1989 album Storm Front. Although I didn't know the song, the answer was very guessable.

44a Taos [Pueblo dweller] - a North American people native to New Mexico. I could only get this answer from cross-checking - Native American tribes are another area to study for the championship.

54a Ino [Rescuer of Odysseus] - Ino of the slim ankles helps Odysseus with his difficulties with Neptune:
"My poor good man," said Ino, "why is Neptune so furiously angry
with you? He is giving you a great deal of trouble, but for all
his bluster he will not kill you. You seem to be a sensible
person, do then as I bid you; strip, leave your raft to drive
before the wind, and swim to the Phaeacian coast where better
luck awaits you. And here, take my veil and put it round your
chest; it is enchanted, and you can come to no harm so long as
you wear it. As soon as you touch land take it off, throw it
back as far as you can into the sea, and then go away again."
from Homer's Odyssey
55a Emma Peel [1960s role for Diana Rigg] - the name is a pun on the phrase "M(an) Appeal", what the producers of The Avengers sought for in the character.

59a Liam [Writer O'Flaherty] - an Irish novelist.

4d Rodgers ["Blue Moon" composer] - what's the weirdest interpretation of this standard I can find? Perhaps the Trinity College Cambridge choir adrift on the treacherous waters of the Cam - will someone please rescue them:

8d LeAnn [Rimes of country music] - all I can think of when I hear the name is "but LeAnn doesn't rhyme with anything - why wasn't she christened June or something" (at least it helps me remember it). But Magdalen put in a request for How Do I Live (Without You) in memory of her mother Jo :

11d Renee [Zellweger of "Nurse Betty"] - to me, she's always Bridget Jones.

38d Trapp ["The Sound of Music" family name] - in a recent New England tour, it surprised me that the von Trapp's had settled in Vermont. They have a lodge where you can stay.

44d Tiny Tim [Dickens lad] - pediatric neurologist Donald Lewis concludes that Tim suffered from distal renal tubular acidosis and recommends a course of antacids.

48d Nils [Rock's Lofgren] - our friend Coffee Jones is Nils' Greatest Fan, so this one's for her (do you want to add guitar lessons to all the other things you're doing Ms Jones?):

56d Edna [Novelist Ferber] - her novel Show Boat was the basis for the musical.

Dici Clues

1a tier [Level] - typical later-in-the-week clue, with the definition capable of many interpretations, all of which could lead to four-letter answers no doubt.

16a used [Played for a cat's-paw] - ie got someone else to do the dirty work - its origin is the fable of the monkey who wanted roast chestnuts from the fire and used the paw of his sleeping friend the cat to get them - ouch!

28a enc. [Business letter abbr.], 29a alts. [Relief map figs.], 30a PTAs [Some fund-raising orgs.] and 33a St Pat. [Parade honoree, familiarly] - abbreviations for enclosure, altitude, Parent-Teacher Association and Saint Patrick. To have four consecutive abbreviations seems a little clumsy.

37a lei [Ring around the collar?] - a nicely misleading clue - I could only think of dirty shirts.

2d irae ["Dies ___"] - the liveliest part of any Requiem. Verdi's is hard to beat, though I also love Britten's setting, The War Requiem.

5d shad [Roe source] - I'm told cod's roe was my fav food as a baby - I don't think I've ever tried shad's roe.

15d snake [Plumber's tool] - a long flexible wire used to clear obstacles in piping - yuk! Also known as a "toilet jack" or "electric eel".

52d rehab [Dry out, in a way] - yes rehab can be a verb too.

Quicky Clues

5a soul [Record store section]; 9a sure! ["Natch!"]; 19a sung [Like some telegrams]; 20a pegged [Identified]; 21a on a spree [Frolicking]; 25a hearten [Cheer up]; 41a occur [Come to mind]; 43a lore [It's handed down]; 45a nab [Catch in the act]; 47a awnings [Storefront shaders]; 55a Emma Peel [1960s role for Diana Rigg]; 56a Élysée [___ Palace (French president's home)]; 62a laze [Kick back]; 63a haven [Safe place]; 64a îles [Specks in the Seine]; 65a oked [Gave the nod]; 66a beta [Test version]; 67a More [Thomas who wrote "Utopia"].

1d temp [Fill-in]; 3d enigmatic [Tough to figure out]; 6d oar [Galley need]; 7d union [Men in blue]; 9d suspect [Any character in Clue]; 10d usurp [Take forcibly]; 12d edger [Neatening tool]; 18d melt [Cheesy entree]; 22d sense [Pick up on]; 24d Intel [Major chipmaker]; 25d halo [Symbol of goodness]; 26d elec. [It may be D.C.]; 27d epi- [Prefix with center]; 31d ago [Way back when]; 32d Saran [Wrap in a roll]; 34d piano solo ["Layla" has one]; 35d agog [Totally wowed]; 36d toss [Deep-six]; 39d mew [Copy cats?]; 42d unnamed [Like a ghostwriter]; 46d beech [Nut producer]; 49d jello [Molded fare]; 50d umiak [Eskimo boat]; 51d amaze [Totally wow]; 53d olive [Place for pimiento]; 57d eyer [One who's "just looking"]; 58d esse [Latin 101 verb]; 61d let [Rent out].



On the song How Do I Live, find the Trisha Yearwood version, fabulous. Did you know both versions came out the same year, Trisha was picked for the movie version, can't remember which movie, and Leann had to sit in the audience at the awards watching Trisha sing. And of course, every camera was on her. Leann was very young at the time and the producers didn't feel she had the depth or emotions to carry it off for the movie.

Magdalen said...

I don't know the Trisha Yearwood version of "How Do I Live Without You" -- or at least I don't know that I know it. (I'm bad at song titles and performers, particularly stuff I hear on the radio.) But when my mother was in the hospital in 1997, the LeAnn Rimes version was in pretty heavy rotation on whatever station I was listening to at the time, and that song helped me through that time.