Sunday, February 8, 2009

NYT Monday 2/9/09 - London Buses

A Monday puzzle and I'm a solving genius again - yay!

People trying to catch a London bus famously find two arrive together after a very long wait. Just yesterday, I was commenting that a format beloved of the NPR Sunday Puzzle had made its first arrival in the New York Times crossword this year and here it is again the next day. First the PJs, now the TVs - perhaps Will is aiming to get through the whole alphabet by the end of the month?
Solving time: 9 mins (no cheating)
Theme

41a TV set [Boob tube] hints at the other four thematic answers - phrases with the initials TV:
17a Two Virgins [1968 album by John Lennon and Yoko Ono]
65a Trader Vic's [Polynesian-themed restaurant chain]
11d trial venue [Courtroom]
30d travel visa [Document checked at the border]
I didn't know the first two thematics: Two Virgins is the album known more for its cover art than musical content and Trader Vic's looks fun, but doesn't have a branch closer than Chicago, over 700 miles away.

Oh and tube would also be understood to mean TV set in the UK, but not boob tube. I learn that boob in this context means idiot, not what you can unexpectedly see on the Two Virgins cover.

Solution


Grid art by Sympathy

Crucimetrics
Compilers Randall J. Hartman / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.85)
Theme squares45 (23.8%)
Scrabble points268 (average 1.42)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

21a GTO [Classic muscle car] - an abbreviation of the unwieldy term Gran Turismo Omologato - applied to a race car that has been homologated or made street legal.

28a batter up [Umpire's call at the start of an inning] - in the one baseball match I've seen, we were as close to the ump as you can get, but I don't remember hearing this call. But could it be anything else in a Monday puzzle?

71a Lear [Norman who created "All in the Family"] - didn't know the answer, but had of course heard of the arch-bigot Archie Bunker. Everything begins to make sense now I see that the US sitcom was based on Till Death Us Do Part. Here is bigotry US and UK style:





73a Agee ["A Death in the Family" author James] - the Pulitzer-winning novel of a famed film critic.

Noteworthy

19a Eire [Land of the so-called "Troubles"]. I was sceptical about this clue, because the focus of The Troubles has always been Northern Ireland, the British part. So it depends on Eire meaning the whole of the island (as well as the Irish Republic), which I see it does (so all is well).

51a Steelers [2009 Super Bowl champs] shows how up-to-the minute New York Times crosswords can be. Congratulations Steelers.

2d mewl [Whimper] - I don't hear this word often, but know it because I was made to learn the Seven Ages of Man speech by heart as a school-boy ... and It Stuck:
At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms;
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school.
from As You Like It
5d tar [Contents of a La Brea pit] - famous enough that I'd heard of the tar pits back in England.

6d egg [Silly Putty holder] - I think this was marketed as "Potty Putty" in the UK. 20,000 eggs are still produced every day. Here's a fan:



54d Sarge ["Beetle Bailey" boss] - there's that comic strip again!

59d Tara ["Gone With the Wind" plantation]. We just saw Moonlight and Magnolias at the Cider Mill Playhouse - it's a play about the creation of the movie's script: apparently Ben Hecht rewrote the entire screenplay within 5 days, living on a diet of peanuts and bananas.

The Rest

1a amis [French friends]; 5a tetra- [Four: Prefix]; 10a it'll ["___ be a cold day in hell ..."]; 14a re-do [Make over]; 15a agree [Shake hands (on)]; 16a dray [Heavy cart]; 20a Ellis [Fashion designer Perry]; 22a cads [Men whom women can't trust]; 23a elec. [It's measured in amperes: Abbr.]; 26a spell [What a wizard casts]; 32a staves [Averts, with "off"]; 35a Air [Word before Jordan or Canada]; 36a Saran [Kitchen wrap brand]; 38a credo [Words to live by]; 39a tsar [Shah : Iran :: ___ : Russia]; 43a engr. [Bridge or tunnel designer: Abbr.]; 44a elves [Santa's helpers]; 46a e-tail [Cybercommerce]; 48a UAE [Dubai and Abu Dhabi are part of it: Abbr.]; 49a seeped [Oozed]; 53a Lexus [Luxury Toyota make]; 55a OSHA [Construction site watchdog, for short]; 56a java [Coffee, slangily]; 58a sat [Succeeded at musical chairs]; 60a at sea [Bewildered]; 64a obit [News item that often has a person's age in the headline]; 68a else ["If all ___ fails ..."]; 69a egret [White-feathered wader]; 70a inch [2.54 centimeters]; 72a deans [University officials].

1d arte [Commedia dell'___]; 3d Idol [Fox's "American ___"]; 4d soviet [Communist council]; 7d trig. [Calc. prerequisite]; 8d rents [Landlords' due]; 9d Aesop's ["___ Fables"]; 10d I declare! ["Goodness gracious!"]; 12d lard [Cooking grease]; 13d lyes [Caustic compounds]; 18d isles [The British ___]; 24d erat [The "E" of Q.E.D.]; 25d curve [Sneaky pitch]; 27d etc [And so on: Abbr.]; 28d Bates [___ Motel ("Psycho" setting)]; 29d aisle [Airplane seating request]; 31d pasts [They might be checkered]; 33d Edgar [___ Allan Poe]; 34d sores [Sensitive spots]; 37d neato! ["Keen!"]; 40d repeater [Fast-firing firearm]; 42d ties [Scores like 1-1 and 2-2]; 45d sex [Reason for an R rating]; 47d Lehar ["The Merry Widow" composer]; 50d dusted [Checked for fingerprints]; 52d Latvia [Riga's land]; 56d Joel ["Piano Man" performer Billy]; 57d able [Up to the task]; 61d sing [Do lullabies, e.g.]; 62d ecce [Behold, to Brutus]; 63d Ashe [Former Davis Cup captain Arthur]; 66d den [Cozy room]; 67d ETs [Visitors from Venus, say].

1 comment:

Bill Butler said...

Great write up, Ross. Archie Bunker and Alf Garnett side-by-side. Priceless :-)