Friday, February 20, 2009

NYT Friday 2/20/09 - No One Expects Ro One

Another puzzle where I have to admit a failure, though to my mind a lesser one than yesterday's. If I'd had an infinite time to finish the puzzle, I'd have gotten it right ... rather in the way that an infinite number of monkeys could bash out a script for Hamlet.

As it was, Magdalen was getting tired and put the guillotine to my work after a little over an hour, telling me that the memoir at 37a was Roone - I assumed it could only be No One. This elusive answer was partly responsible for a stubbornly empty patch towards the SE corner.
Solving time: 78 mins (1 answer googled)
Clue of the puzz: 43a cortex [Center of learning]

Grid art by Sympathy

CompilersPaula Gamache / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 26 (11.6%) black squares
Answers70 (average length 5.69)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points329 (average 1.65)
New To Me

19a Tey ["The Daughter of Time" novelist]. I knew of Josephine Tey through the The Franchise Affair but this book is New To Me. Tey comes up so frequently that it is worth reviewing all of her books that get used in clues:
A Shilling for Candles [made into the movie Young and Innocent]
Miss Pym Disposes
Brat Farrar
The Daughter of Time
20a Ives [Big Daddy player on 1950s Broadway]. Heard the name, but didn't know the career very well: his most notable Broadway performance was as Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, later adapted into a movie:

31a ELO ["Livin' Thing" group, in brief]. Again, a group I could guess without remembering the song title (Magdalen says she used to have all their albums):

Telemachus34a CDIV [Year of the last known Roman gladiator competition]. January 1, 404 in Rome to be precise. This is given as the date of The Martyrdom of Saint Telemachus, a monk who got stabbed when trying to put a stop to a contest.

37a Roone [2003 memoir of a TV executive]. Magdalen "kindly" googled this one for me to save a further 20 minutes of agony as I struggled with the SE corner. Roone Arledge was the man responsible for Wide World of Sports:

49a kiss my grits [1970s-'80s sitcom put-down/catchphrase]. Used by the character Flo in the movie Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, and the Alice and Flo TV series.

L-Seven6d L-seven [Square, in 1950s slang, indicated visually by a two-hand gesture]. Couldn't find an image on the web, so tried to recreate the L7 sign myself. Did I get it right daddy-o?

40d Shayne [Private detective Mike of Brett Halliday novels]. Not a detective I'd come across before - there sometimes seem to be more fictional detectives than real ones. Brett Halliday was a pseudonym of David Dresser.


1a weasel words [Aids in artful deception]. Why weasel words? The expression derives from the egg-eating habits of weasels: an egg that a weasel has sucked will look intact at first glance, while actually being empty. The term was popularized by Theodore Roosevelt, eg in this speech criticizing President Wilson:
You can have universal training, or you can have voluntary training, but when you use the word 'voluntary' to qualify the word 'universal,' you are using a 'weasel word'; it has sucked all the meaning out of 'universal.' The two words flatly contradict one another.
16a CIA [Org. in the 1982 film "Enigma"]. I had doubts over this one, as the movie I'd seen called Enigma was the later British-made one centered on Bletchley Park. The clued movie also involves the Enigma code, but is set in Berlin.

21a klatch [Gabfest]. From the German Klatsch ("gossip").

23a iced [Hit]. In the sense of "given a gangland killing".

Peep Show36a raree [Street show]. I actually knew of this through my travels in Chambers-land:
raree-show n a show carried about in a box, a peepshow; a spectacle. [Appar representing a foreign pronunciation of rare show]
from The Chambers Dictionary
38a rear exit [Back out?], 43a cortex [Center of learning], 11d spelunk [Cave]. Three examples of the wonderful misleading definitions in this puzzle.

44a beat [Switch]. Presumably in the sense of "lash":
switch vt to strike with a switch; to drive with, or as if with, a switch; to whisk, jerk, lash;
The Chambers Dictionary
45a PSs [Followers of closings: Abbr.]. Ie postscripts to a letter.

13d Circle Line [Big Apple excursion operation]. I was very glad that the rom-com we chose to watch in honor of Valentine's Day was One Fine Day, as it introduced me to a different Circle Line to the one I'm familiar with.

24d shale [Slate, originally]. Slate is shale that's been subjected to heat and pressure.

25d Apgar score [Measure of a newborn's health, named for its developer]. The developer's name also acts as a handy mnemonic to the five criteria used to make up the Apgar score (doctors just love their mnemonics):
Appearance (skin color)
Pulse (pulse rate)
Grimace (reflex irritability)
Activity (muscle tone)
Respiration (breathing)
juniper cone34d cone [Juniper product]. The juniper berries with which we flavor gin are actually cones with fused scales.

The Rest

12a sch. [Knowledge base?: Abbr.]; 15a right-side-up [Correctly positioned]; 17a incoherence [Babble]; 18a ORs [Where people wear gowns, for short]; 24a scuttle [Sink]; 25a as a man [How Viola is disguised in "Twelfth Night"]; 28a shanties [Crude dwellings]; 29a Phial [___ of Galadriel (gift to Frodo Baggins)]; 30a a walk [Go for ___]; 32a gory [Like some details]; 33a T-cell [Antigen attacker]; 35a arc [Plot line]; 40a singer [One may be backed up]; 41a scribed [Wrote]; 42a shoe [Something fit to be tied?]; 48a ovi- [Duct opening?]; 52a Ree [Loch ___, on the River Shannon]; 53a aluminum can [Recyclable]; 54a err [Not be on target]; 55a heat sensors [Components of some alarms].

1d writ [Bailiff's concern]; 2d Eine [Strauss's "___ Nacht in Venedig"]; 3d agcy. [Part of 16-Across: Abbr.]; 4d SHO ["The Tudors" airer, briefly]; 5d ethical [Like straight shooters]; 7d wired [High on amphetamines]; 8d odes [Dedicated compositions]; 9d Ren [TV pooch]; 10d duck call [Decoy accompanier]; 12d Scottie dog [Pet with short legs and a hard coat, informally]; 14d hashes over [Reviews repeatedly]; 22d att. [Court figure: Abbr.]; 23d I may [Words after "if" or before "as well"]; 25d Apgar score [Measure of a newborn's health, named for its developer]; 26d shore cover [Extension of the terms of a marine insurance policy]; 27d air carrier [American, for one]; 28d sweet! ["Nice!"]; 30d acrid [Bitter]; 33d tax exile [Wealthy Cayman Islands resident, maybe]; 36d Rebekah [One of Judaism's four matriarchs]; 37d riot gun [It can be a stunner]; 39d rit. [Slowing, in mus.]; 42d semis [Round of four]; 44d bsmt. [Real-estate ad abbr.]; 45d Pico [___ Rivera, Calif.]; 46d star [Lead]; 47d SSNs [Hyphenated IDs]; 50d sua [___ sponte (of its own accord, at law)]; 51d rms. [Real-estate ad abbr.].

1 comment:

Magdalen said...

Suck it up, big boy. It was nearly 11:30, I'd given up on my grid (barely half filled, but I'd hit the Bo-o-oring Mark, so I'd packed it in), and you were NOT making progress. So I gave you one measly letter.

And I would guess "daddio" is a better 1950s slang for "The Man" than "pops."