Sunday, February 1, 2009

New York Times, Sun, Feb 01, 2009 GRID-IRONY Victor Fleming and Matt Ginsberg / Will Shortz

As usual, I solved the Sunday crossword over breakfast with my American wife Magdalen. We were already alert to the Superbowl XLIII from the NPR Sunday Puzzle so it wasn't too difficult to figure out the theme here.

We think it took around an hour to complete the grid - probably slightly harder to solve than the average Sunday New York Times crossword.


81a Superbowl Sunday [Setting for the answers to the 10 starred clues]. The 10 starred clues punningly allude to terms in American football:
33a ball carrier [Airline for Lucille?]
40a hash marks [Corned beef stains?]
62a two-minute warning [Caution when boiling a 60-Down?]
100a pass interference [Chaperon's job?]
118a tight ends [Tersely edited epilogues?]
130a neutral zone [Where everyone wears beige?]
3d illegal motion [Rolling past a stop sign?]
16d extra point [Added comment?]
77d offensive line ["That dress makes you look fat," e.g.?]
91d false start [Onset of a lie?]

I hope to learn what some of these mean when we watch the match tonight, armed with my copy of Football for Dummies.

The normal clues that we noted as particularly fine were:

111a at. no. [5 for B or 6 for C] - neat use of the chemical symbols. If you ever get to clue iodine, it's just too tempting to define it as "I" which solvers invariably read as the pronoun.

8d saliva [Mouth watering?] - just a nice cryptic definition.

37d skier [Mogul negotiator] - another beauty - that initial capital makes it tough to think of the ski slopes.

78d franc [F, monetarily] and 79d forte [F, musically] - a great opportunity presented itself, which the compilers took advantage of.


Grid art by Sympathy

Grid23x23 with 88 (16.7%) black squares
Answers168 (average length 5.25)
Scrabble points676 (average 1.53)
Quicky Clues

1a stir [To-do]; 5a hums [Symptoms for a car mechanic]; 9a a bit of [Some]; 15a belts [Big shots?]; 20a tiled [Decorated in ceramic, say]; 22a Asia [1980s hit-makers with a geographical name]; 23a Rosita [Hispanic "Sesame Street" character]; 24a ox-eye [Cousin of an aster]; 25a Allie [Holden's little brother in "The Catcher in the Rye"]; 26a zeal [Fire]; 27a molten [Liquefied]; 28a at one [Agreeing (with)]; 29a plenary [Fully constituted, as a session of Congress]; 31a hip [Cool]; 35a legate [Envoy]; 36a caves [Locales for some paintings]; 38a Melinda [Name repeated in Woody Allen's "___ and ___"]; 39a era [Epoch]; 43a OED [Competitor of Chambers, for short]; 44a Polk ["54-40 or fight" candidate]; 48a DSL [Alternative to cable]; 49a Guam [Home of the War in the Pacific National Historic Park]; 50a ipse [___ dixit]; 53a rip open [Unwrap impatiently]; 55a morals [Subject for Hume]; 58a theatres [The Globe and others]; 61a liege [Feudal superior]; 65a run low [Dwindle]; 66a rated [Like movies and hotels]; 67a Ivan [___ the Great, leader of 1462-1505]; 68a neglect [Inattention]; 70a an in [Have ___ with]; 71a dose [Two tablets, say]; 73a sock [Punch]; 76a ick ["Bleah!"]; 77a off [Not quite right]; 80a I do [Swear words?]; 85a 'fro [Natural do]; 86a tan [Go for the bronze?]; 87a tee [Tick (off)]; 88a omni- [Present opener?]; 89a rasp [Godfather's voice, maybe]; 90a afar [Come from ___]; 91a fat cats [Tycoons, slangily]; 94a engr. [Mech. ___]; 96a agent [Hollywood figure]; 97a pro-ams [Some golf fund-raisers]; 105a ovule [Proto-seed]; 106a strength [Might]; 107a airers [They put on shows]; 108a let's not ["I think we should say no"]; 110a ad in [Score before winning a game, maybe]; 112a IRA [Something to contribute to, for short]; 115a Erse [European tongue]; 116a keg [It may be tapped]; 122a vis [Roman power]; 123a streams [Avon and others]; 127a soils [Agronomists' samples]; 128a easels [Museum supporters]; 134a DNA [Kind of sequencing]; 135a Estella ["Great Expectations" girl]; 136a ix nay ["No go"]; 137a tenors [Some of the knights in Wagner's "Tannhäuser"]; 139a trod [___ the boards (acted)]; 141a adieu [Word sung twice before "to you and you and you"]; 142a Petri [Dish name]; 143a Iberia [It borders France]; 144a egad ["Holy cow!"]; 145a Yentl [1983 Streisand role]; 146a Scott ["Kenilworth" author]; 147a potent [Packing a punch]; 148a defy [Flout]; 149a rest [Pause].

1d stapled [Bound, in a way]; 2d tillers [Boat steerers]; 4d reina [Spain's Isabel I, e.g.]; 5d hazy [Vague, as a recollection]; 6d use [Milk]; 7d Mia Hamm [Hall-of-Fame forward]; 9d arm [Branch]; 10d boob [Half-wit]; 11d Islam [What a crescent symbolizes]; 12d title [Lord, e.g.]; 13d Otello [Verdi masterpiece]; 14d fanciers [Lovers]; 15d board [Daily meals]; 17d Leo I [First pope called "the Great"]; 18d Tyne [___ and Wear (English county)]; 19d seer [Sibyl]; 21d death [Its stroke is "as a lover's pinch, which hurts, and is desired," per Cleopatra]; 30d Reagan ["An American Life" autobiographer]; 32d per [___ se]; 34d and I ["You ___" (1982 Eddie Rabbitt hit)]; 36d chastise [Castigate]; 41d Sulu [Takei's "Star Trek" role]; 42d span [Month or year]; 45d Opel [European car]; 46d Lego [Kind of block]; 47d knew [Had down pat]; 51d stinks [Ruckuses]; 52d erne [White-tailed bird]; 54d plucky [Having gumption]; 56d omen [Shooting star, maybe]; 57d rid [Relieved (of)]; 58d TWA [Old "Up, up and away" sloganeer]; 59d hansom [Cab's ancestor]; 60d egg [See 62-Across]; 62d trait [Quality]; 63d Wanda [Country singer Jackson]; 64d ever ["Did I ___!"]; 65d recap [Sum up]; 69d lids [They close at night]; 71d Duets [1993 triple-platinum Frank Sinatra album]; 72d OPEC [The U.A.E. is in it]; 74d own [Totally dominate]; 75d client [Lawyer's need]; 81d stamen [Anther's place]; 82d bossed [Pushed (around)]; 83d urge [Spur]; 84d narrates [Talks through a film]; 90d ager [Golden ___]; 92d apt [Just right]; 93d Tara [Scarlett's true love]; 95d nth [Ultimate]; 96d are [It may come after you]; 97d pole [Barber's emblem]; 98d RVer [KOA campground user]; 99d outs [Loopholes]; 101d snit [Pique]; 102d ignis [Flavius's fire]; 103d Finn [Eero Saarinen, by birth]; 104d erodes [Diminishes bit by bit]; 106d steel tip [Boot option]; 109d okra [Member of the mallow family]; 111d at large [How U.S. senators are elected]; 113d rillets [Small creeks]; 114d assault [Onslaught]; 117d gazebo [Site of many an outdoor wedding]; 119d god ["My ___!"]; 120d hinted [Suggested]; 121d satay [Asian appetizer]; 124d try it ["Have some!"]; 125d Monet [London Parliament series painter]; 126d snore [Noise at night]; 129d seder [Meal in Nisan]; 130d nips [Barely defeats]; 131d exec [Board member]; 132d unto [A law ___ itself]; 133d Erin [Moran of "Happy Days"]; 135d eddy [Mini-whirlpool]; 138d SAT [Pre-coll. exam]; 140d oaf [Blockhead].

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