Sunday, February 15, 2009

NYT Monday 2/16/09 - Unpresidential

We still have a houseful of guests, so it was good to see a crossword I could finish in under 10 minutes. Magdalen and Dino_Burger also had a go, taking around the same time.

I'm a little surprised that the opportunity for a Presidents Day theme was passed up. My impression is that the New York Times aims for less expected tie-ins, and a mere Valentine's Day or Presidents Day puzzle would be too obvious. Or it could just be that tie-in puzzles aren't submitted in the quantity required.
Solving time: 9 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 40a pride [Joy's partner]
Theme

Rice Krispies and three phrases beginning with the associated cartoon characters:
20a snap decision [What a person in an emergency might have to make]
33a crackleware [Some glazed pottery]
43a pop musician [Any of the Jonas Brothers, e.g.]
55a Rice Krispies [Breakfast brand since 1928 that hints at the starts of 20-, 33- and 43-Across]
Snap, Crackle and Pop made their debut in print ads in 1933, and have since been used in many ad campaigns:



I got thoroughly confused between crackleware and craquelure:
crackleware n a kind of porcelain with the glaze purposely cracked in the kiln as a form of decoration
craquelure n the fine cracking that occurs in the varnish or pigment of old paintings
from The Chambers Dictionary

Solution


Grid art by Sympathy

Crucimetrics
CompilersDavid Kwong / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.92)
Theme squares48 (25.7%)
Scrabble points291 (average 1.56)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

39a Roth [Philip who wrote "Goodbye, Columbus"]. Philip Roth's first book, a collection of short stories.

64a Esai [Morales of "NYPD Blue"]. He played the head of the 15th precinct detective squad.

29d Alpo [Dog food brand] and 44d Iams [Dog food brand]. Our dog Mimi gets Iams, so that answer to the identical clues was easy. Alpo only came from crossing answers. It's not that Mimi favors the flavor of Iams - I think she'd eat anything that was on offer.

36d a due [Together, to Toscanini]. Musical Italian calling for two instruments (or voices) to join together in playing the same line.

43d Peri [Gilpin of "Frasier"]. The actress who plays Roz Doyle.



Noteworthy

23a Macao [Portuguese colony until 1999]. Like Hong Kong, Macao was transferred to Chinese control in the late 1990s. They are to be treated as Special Administrative Regions, with a high level of autonomy until 50 years after the transfer.

40a pride [Joy's partner]. As in "the car was his pride and joy" - lovely clue.

42a Emo [Funnyman Philips]. A comedian I once saw on British TV and didn't begin to understand.



66a Eton [School where Aldous Huxley taught George Orwell]. Huxley taught French for a year at the school where Eric Blair (George Orwell's real name) was a pupil. I knew of this strange coincidence through the memoirs of fellow-Etonian Anthony Powell, a British author I enjoy rather more than Orwell.

2d Lorna [___ Doone cookies]. Lorna Doone cookies are a Nabisco brand with no specific connection to the R. D. Blackmore character - they're just called that to make them sound fancy.

7d Geri [Ex-Spice Girl Halliwell]. Geri Halliwell was Ginger Spice, the one who wore that Union Jack dress.

8d agasp [Showing shock]. An obsolete spelling agast also fits ... until you try to solve 24a. The real answer is a plausible formation, but you have to go to dictionaries the size of the Oxford English Dictionary to find it.

22d on me ["This round's ___"]. The best four words in the English language.

41d octuplet [Rare birth occurrence]. Not as rare as of yore, and fertility clinics are being criticized for implanting too many embryos.

56d king [Double-decker checker]. A neat clue. Dino_Burger had to help me out with this one, as we call the game "draughts" and the pieces "draughts".

60d Tso [General on a Chinese menu]. I now know the story on this one - crosswords are so educational.

The Rest

1a plié [Ballet bend]; 5a cigar [Stogie]; 10a blam! ["Kapow!"]; 14a rosy [Optimistic]; 15a omega [Zee : English :: ___ : Greek]; 16a repo [Seized vehicle]; 17a irae ["Dies ___" (Latin hymn)]; 18a karat [One of 24 for pure gold]; 19a oxen [Animals that might hear "gee" and "haw"]; 24a pontiff [Benedict XVI, e.g.]; 28a traps [Snares]; 32a meter [Poetic da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM, e.g.]; 38a Île [___ de France]; 41a Oslo [Capital NNW of Copenhagen]; 45a Dante ["Divine Comedy" writer]; 47a set at [Attacked]; 48a on earth [Lord's Prayer phrase before "as it is in heaven"]; 51a multi [Prefix with national or grain]; 59a Q-Tip [Unilever swab]; 62a Eliot [Poet T. S. ___]; 63a Leno [Funnyman Jay]; 65a Linda [The former Mrs. McCartney]; 67a don't! ["Stop it!"]; 68a loges [Pricey seating areas]; 69a tore [Ripped].

1d prism [Light refractor]; 3d Isaac [Sci-fi writer Asimov]; 4d eyepatch [Pirate costume feature]; 5d Coke [Pepsi alternative]; 6d iMac [Apple computer]; 9d ratio [3:1 or 7:2, e.g.]; 10d Bronte [Novelist Emily or Charlotte]; 11d Lex [___ Luthor of "Superman"]; 12d ape [Mimic]; 13d Mon. [Tue. preceder]; 21d dork [Uncool sort]; 25d it is I [Formal response to "Who's there?"]; 26d fella [Guy]; 27d freon [Air-conditioning gas]; 30d perp. [Crook, in cop lingo]; 31d swims [Does the sidestroke or butterfly]; 33d credo [Doctrine]; 34d Roman [Like Jupiter, but not Zeus]; 35d atone [Do penance]; 37d rest [Take five]; 46d tar pit [La Brea attraction]; 49d T-cell [Immune system agent]; 50d helio- [Sun: Prefix]; 52d lie to [Deceive]; 53d tenor [Voice below alto]; 54d is one ["Saying ___ thing, doing ..."]; 57d rode [Went on horseback]; 58d it as ["Take ___ a sign"]; 59d Q.E.D. [Abbr. at the end of a proof]; 61d Ian [Writer Fleming].

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