Thursday, February 26, 2009

NYT Friday 2/27/09 - Crossword Stars and Brooklyn Bars

This was a great Friday puzzle, with just about the right level of difficulty for me: it looked impossible to start with, but the clues offered just enough handholds to climb what was a Bear of a Mountain. The sheer number of really great clues made it hard to pick just one out as a "clue of the puzz".

I'm off to the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in Brooklyn very shortly and looking forward to a great weekend meeting the stars of the cruciverse (US style) and maybe solving a few puzzles in the remaining time. This means less opportunities for blogging, so I may leave the UNDER CONSTRUCTION posts up for longer than usual in the next few days.
Solving time: 50 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 27d bored [Yet to be engaged?]

Joe DiPietro
Grid art by Sympathy

CompilersJoe DiPietro / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 26 (11.6%) black squares
Answers70 (average length 5.69)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points313 (average 1.57)
New To Me

18a Mtn. [New York's Bear ___: Abbr.]. Which one? I'm reliably informed that there are 11 peaks in NY named Bear Mountain - maybe one for each bear?

20a Peter [Name repeated in a nursery rhyme]. I couldn't recall the rhyme, probably because it has American origins (not so many pumpkins in England):
Peter Peter pumpkin eater,
Had a wife but couldn't keep her.
He put her in a pumpkin shell,
And there he kept her very well.

Mots d'Heures: Gousses, RamesOne of Magdalen's birthday presents this year was the great Mots D'Heures: Gousses, Rames, which claims a French origin for the verse:
Pis-terre, pis-terre
Pomme qui n'y terre
Ah! de ouilles fenil coup ne qu'y perd
Il peut terrine et pomme qu'y n'échelle
Iéna équipe soeur verrou elle.
40a Raitt ["Something to Talk About" singer, 1991]. Bonnie Raitt has appeared on my radar, but I don't remember hearing this song:

48a Debi [Actress Mazar]. I'm told Debi Mazar portrays "Jersey Girl" roles. I sense this is something of a derogatory term, like Essex Girl in Britain.

24d raps [Emulates Eve]. Eve is the stage name of rapper Eve Jihan Jeffers. One of the possibilities for the palindromic girl's name in 51d - would the compiler have linked the clues if 51d had been Eve?

29d Capek ["The Insect Play" playwright]. Tentatively wrote Kafka in here, thinking of The Metamorphosis. Turns out the reference is to an obscure work of a writer most folk only know as the coiner of the word "robot".

39d G.I. Jane [1997 Demi Moore flick]. It took a while to parse GIJANE into something that made sense as a movie title.


Stars and Bars1a the Stars and Bars [Bygone flag]. Luckily I'd come across this nickname from a collection of short stories by one of my favorite British authors.

28a at. nos. [B and O figures: Abbr.]. Symbols for the elements are great misleaders. Here's an example from a cryptic crossword:
He and I represent a couple of these (8)
44a LEM [1960s-'70s touchdown maker]. This is just one of many great misleading definitions. I was terrified this would be some footballer I didn't know, until I thought of the Apollo Lunar Module.

47a Seiji [First name in conducting]. How nice that Seiji Ozawa came up just over a week ago, so that his was the first name I thought of.

La Boheme12d Bohème ["Scènes de la Vie de ___" (novel on which a Puccini opera is based)]. This clue was Too Much Information for me. Could it be anything but La Bohème?

14d Ronee [Actress Blakley]. I know the name, so must have seen Ronee Blakley, but whether as singer or actress, I don't remember:

34d wyes [Things that open and close yearly?]. A really awesome bit of misdirection: "yearly" starts and ends with a Y.

The Rest

16a have an opinion on [Think a certain way about]; 17a use the telephone [Make a call]; 19a iMac [Ballyhooed new product of 1998]; 21a pom [Short dog, for short]; 22a nil [It's nothing]; 23a premeet [Before the races]; 25a sonic [Kind of depth finder]; 27a blare [Bit of noise pollution]; 29a coups [Brilliant moves]; 30a wad [Roll]; 33a Moet [Bubbly name]; 34a warms [Loosens (up)]; 35a Peru [Big copper exporter]; 36a spy [Cover girl, e.g.?]; 37a type B [Laid-back]; 38a nonce [Time being]; 39a greed [Mammonism]; 41a all I ask [Words starting a simple request]; 45a aim [Mission statement part]; 49a sci. [Lab subj.]; 50a banana republics [Much of Central America, once]; 54a I've never tried it ["This would be a first for me"]; 55a general managers [Trading posts?].

1d thump [Beat but good]; 2d has to stop [Can't continue]; 3d even money [A tossup]; 4d set [Not hurting for cash]; 5d tahinis [Pastes in Mideastern cooking]; 6d anemic [Hardly hearty]; 7d rotal [Relating to wheels]; 8d spec [You might not get paid while working on it]; 9d ail [Hurt]; 10d NNE [Dayton-to-Toledo dir.]; 11d dippers [Ladles]; 13d a note [Make ___ of it]; 15d Snert [Comics dog]; 23d plumb [Downright]; 26d not [With 41-Down, shrunken]; 27d bored [Yet to be engaged?]; 28d AMs [Early times, for short]; 30d went aside [Withdrew quietly]; 31d Arctic Cir. [It's a little over 65 degrees: Abbr.]; 32d due [Deserved]; 35d poi [Maui mouthful]; 37d trainer [Coach]; 38d Namibia [Home of Walvis Bay]; 40d reburn [Co-firing technique used to reduce pollution from electrical power plants]; 41d as big [See 26-Down]; 42d leave [Furlough]; 43d linen [Chambermaid's charge]; 44d lepta [Pennies : dollar :: ___ : drachma]; 46d mists [Producers of sunbows]; 48d derm [Skin: Suffix]; 51d Ava [Palindromic girl's name]; 52d rel. [Bill of Rights subj.]; 53d leg [Kicker].

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