Saturday, February 7, 2009

NYT Saturday 2/7/09 - As Easy As Uno-Due-Tre?

This puzzle seemed easier than yesterday's and it isn't supposed to be that way. I was a bit too complacent, however, because I had two wrong answers.

It's not been a great week for me and I really have to get it together for the ACPT at the end of the month. I should by now have learned to take the time to rationalize every clue and only make guesses when I'm missing factual knowledge.
Solving time: 41 mins (no cheating, but two wrong answers)
Clue of the puzz: 22a brevity [Rambler's lack]

Grid art by Sympathy

Compilers Pete Muller / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 28 (12.4%) black squares
Answers72 (average length 5.47)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points313 (average 1.59)
New To Me

26a Jacobs ["Grease" co-writer Jim] - he collaborated with Warren Casey on one of Broadway's longest-running shows, which resulted in a rather successful movie:

27a Fifi [Maggie's dog in "Bringing Up Father"] - a dog in a once-famous comic strip that inspired a movie of the same name.

40a Sno [___ Balls (snack brand)] - cream-filled chocolate cakes.

49a TSR [Original Dungeons & Dragons co.] - TSR, Inc., which originally stood for Tactical Studies Rules.

4d Ena [Disney doe] - Bambi's aunt Ena.

12d USNA [John McCain's alma mater: Abbr.] - just when I thought I'd wrapped up the whole Crucy League thing, this clue comes along. Should naval academies be included? I guess so, especially as John McCain could make this a more popular answer for a while.

13d Geer [Emmy winner Will] - he won the Emmy for playing Grandpa on The Waltons:

43d sneak [Choice for third and short] - is that something to do with baseball? No, it's football this time: the quarterback dives forward to try to make up the minimal required yardage.

46d Rico [First baseman Brogna] - that's baseball for sure! Rico Brogna is now retired and scouts for the Arizona Diamondbacks.


15a ebon [Raven] - both words meaning black.

17a Xena [Lawless vehicle] - another outing for the warrior princess. I can see how veteran solvers get tired of her.

19a ort [Meal bit] - and a useful fill crossword bits - it's the same with cryptics, where orts abound.

22a brevity [Rambler's lack] - a super clue, bringing to mind missing walking sticks etc.

24a mugs [Acts clownishly] - to "mug" in this sense is to make faces or grimace, usually in front of an audience or a camera.

32a lemon soda [Drink with a bite] - why "with a bite"? Perhaps to indicate the citrussy tang?

35a raves [Sounds unsound] - another great clue, which made me think of faulty machinery to start with.

55a roil [Muddy] - not understanding what 53d was about, I had soil here.

7d Antz [Animated film featuring the voices of Gene Hackman and Sylvester Stallone] - I knew of the movie, although I couldn't have told you who did the voices.

10d doing in [Icing] - nothing to do with cakes or the wintry outdoors - much more sinister.

14d SSRs [Bygone Black Sea borderers: Abbr.] - Soviet Socialist Republics again.

24d mimes [Those whose actions speak louder than words?] - great clue, enhanced by the pairing with 38d talking [Activity avoided by 24-Down].

27d fever [Pyrexia] - "pyrexia" is what the docs call fever.

32d L.A. Law [Hit NBC series succeeded in its time slot by "ER"] - a legal drama that was broadcast in the UK - I remember watching it in the 1980s and thinking how exciting a lawyer's life was. Now I am married to a lawyer and know the truth.

48d card [Jester] - in the sense of card as an odd or amusing person I think - or can jester be an alternative name for the joker card?

53d tre [Amount past due?] - I had 55a as soil and struggled in vain to justify tse for this clue. I doubt I'd have figured this one out, however long I'd thought about it. Either you see it or you don't and when it's explained to you it makes perfect sense: due is two in Italian, so the amount (just) past it is tre. This just goes to show that Italian words aren't always clued with reference to opera.

The Rest

1a Same [Unoriginal order, with "the"]; 5a smart drugs [Enhancers of cognitive abilities]; 16a penthouses [Places to live the high life?]; 18a late dinner [Follower of an extra-long workday]; 20a ritz [Extravagant display]; 21a nears [Comes up to]; 28a fib [Trumped-up bit]; 31a États [The Louvre's Salles des ___]; 34a ciré [Glazed, waxy fabric finish]; 36a cuer [Move caller for a round dance]; 37a told tales [Produced 28-Acrosses]; 39a lunar [Kind of cycle]; 41a ajar [Somewhat open]; 42a riddle [It doesn't have an obvious answer]; 43a slaw [Uncooked side]; 44a set sail [Headed out for the drink]; 45a frank [Open]; 48a cede [Give up]; 50a live-in maid [Upper-class luxury]; 53a Tito [W.W. II partisan leader]; 54a ocean-borne [Like bottles with S O S messages, typically]; 56a rock garden [Spot to show off alpine plants]; 57a encl. [Letter abbr.].

1d sex objects [Idols, often]; 2d aberration [Anomaly]; 3d Monte Carlo [Solitaire game of matching pairs of cards]; 5d splits [Cheerleaders' display]; 6d meaty [Substantial]; 8d rte. [G.P.S. request]; 9d ThD [Seminary deg.]; 11d runes [Old character set]; 20d ribs [Rack parts]; 23d voted [Supported a runner]; 25d UFOs [Potential hoax subjects]; 28d foundation [Something to build on]; 29d idealistic [Not real-world]; 30d barrel roll [Aerobatic maneuver]; 33d Scuds [Gulf war weaponry]; 35d raja [Asian royal]; 39d Lite [Miller option]; 42d redden [Betray shame]; 44d Seine [It's under the Pont Neuf]; 45d flor [Rosa or violeta, por ejemplo]; 47d avec [Matisse's "Jeune fille ___ tiare"]; 51d NBA [Org. with guards]; 52d Mor. [Neighbor of Alg.].

1 comment:

Bill Butler said...

I agree ... yesterday's crossword was actually a lot harder than this one. And, I made the same mistake as you with a tentative "soil" instead of "roil", until the Italian side of my brain finally kicked in with the una, due, tre.

Thx for the Will Geer vid. I didn't recognize his name.

G'night, John-boy ...