Wednesday, February 11, 2009

NYT Thursday 2/12/09 - The Fabulous Bicentenary Boys

Happy 200th birthday Abe. It shows how out of touch I am with matters British that I knew of this, but hadn't heard of Darwin200. It's also the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species.

Now we see why the NAACP puzzle was scheduled a week in advance of the obvious date. I'm hoping to see a little of the NAACP Image Awards tonight, though I'm told a three-way clash with Grey's Anatomy and CSI means we can't record it all.
Solving time: 22 mins (no cheating)

The two birthday boys and their associated answers:
17a Origin of Species [Influential work by 28-Across, familiarly]
28a Charles R Darwin [Notable born 2/12/1809]
47a Abraham Lincoln [Notable born 2/12/1809]
61a Republican Party [47-Across led it]

Grid art by Sympathy

Compilers Gary & Stephen Kennedy / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.97)
Theme squares58 (30.7%)
Scrabble points303 (average 1.60)
New To Me

1a Agra ["Slumdog Millionaire" locale]. So this is the British movie that's tipped for success at the Oscars. The production was refused access to the Taj Mahal and had to recreate it on a set.

16a hotel [The Four Seasons, e.g.]. No real excuse for ignorance here - it's an international chain. However, Vivaldi was all I could think of.

35a Beame [1970s Big Apple mayor]. Here the puzzle is being NY-centric and I'm justifiably ignorant. Abe Beame was New York City's first jewish mayor.

36a Aiwa [Sony brand]. Some Aiwa kit I bought in around 1980 is still going strong, so I've no complaints about them. I didn't realize till this puzzle that Sony had taken over Aiwa in 2002.

51a Nero [Role played by 52-Across in "The Story of Mankind"] and 52a Lorre [See 51-Across]. Also notable as the last movie to feature the three Marx brothers. Abraham Lincoln is another historical figure portrayed in the film.

56a Aare [Lake Thun's river]. A river in Switzerland that flows into the Rhine. Have to remember Thun, as I suppose it is liable to be clued "River Aare's lake".

65a bronc [What almost always goes for a buck?]. Lots of doubt over this one: bronco would have been fine, but I'm unfamiliar with this colloquial short form.

67a tole [Tinware art]. Painted, enameled or lacquered tinplate used to make decorative domestic objects. Also known as toleware. 5 cent stamps currently feature a tole coffee pot.

70a Enos [Genesis grandson]. Specifically, Adam's grandson.

2d Gere ["Runaway Bride" co-star, 1999]. Don't know that movie, but Richard Tiffany Gere is descended from natives of our county and Tiffanys and Geres/Geers abound in our area.

5d CNN [Atlanta's ___ Center]. Had to guess this one. It's the world headquarters of the Cable News Network.

6d Rio ["A Rainy Night in ___" (1946 hit)]. The Arthur Schwartz song famously performed by Bugs Bunny:

11d Otis [Bluesman Rush]. A lefty who plays a right-handed guitar upside-down.

13d Elsa [Old-time gossip queen Maxwell]. The hostess with the mostest.

25d Kern ["Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" composer]. A number from Showboat.

29d Stahl ["60 Minutes" correspondent starting in 1991]. Lesley Stahl.

37d Alan [Singer Jackson with more than 20 #1 country hits]. Here's my favourite of the "Country Boy" competition winners:

54d Keri [R&B singer Hilson]. A singer-songwriter whose debut album - an infant of long gestation - is due sometime this year.

59d St Lô [1944 battle site]. One of the tricky clues that made the SE corner tough. The town was almost completely destroyed in the Battle of Normandy.

62d Une ["___ Saison en Enfer"]. Easy enough to guess this answer. The title is a Rimbaud poem meaning A Season in Hell.


9a choke [Old auto control]. I must be getting old as the first few cars I drove had manual chokes.

34a tart [Part of a knave's loot, in a rhyme].
The Queen of Hearts,
She made some Tarts,
All on a Summer's Day:

The Knave of Hearts,
He stole those Tarts,
And took them right away.
66a Troy [2004 Brad Pitt film]. One of the most expensive films ever made, it didn't do well in the US, but broke even thanks to international success.

1d AWOL [Object of a hunt, maybe]. Ie a missing soldier - AWOL can be a noun as well as an adjective.

39d coil [Stamp purchase]. I wasn't too sure of this until I remembered we occasionally buy postage stamps in a roll.

The Rest

5a crab [Find fault]; 14a wean [Move to solid food]; 15a Nile [Scene of classic flooding]; 20a Lenin [Bygone leader with a goatee]; 21a atom [Bit]; 22a spa [Health ___]; 23a sneak [Dastard]; 26a in LA [Where to see 20th Century Fox studios]; 33a PLO [Grp. founded in Jerusalem]; 38a snack [Cheese and crackers, maybe]; 41a a few [Some]; 42a smelt [Great Lakes fish]; 44a hoes [Tills, in a way]; 46a fat [Excess]; 53a OKs [Signs off on]; 58a anise [Absinthe flavor]; 68a sites [Tour stops]; 69a Zulu [End of a phonetic alphabet];

3d rain shower [Drought easer]; 4d angina [Chest pain]; 7d alfa [European sports car, informally]; 8d bestir [Rouse]; 9d chem. lab. [Beaker site, for short]; 10d hoc [Ad ___]; 12d keep [Not go bad]; 18d inert [Like neon]; 19d pond [Place for a lily]; 24d alas ["___ the day!" (Shakespearean exclamation)]; 27d area [Quarter]; 28d climb [Scale]; 30d waffle-iron [Kitchen appliance]; 31d I mean ["Er ... uh ..."]; 32d newt [Slender amphibian]; 33d Pasa ["Qué ___?"]; 40d keno [Numbers game]; 43d The ABCs [Kindergarten learning]; 45d scrap [Go at it]; 48d Aral [Salty inland ___ Sea]; 49d Moritz [St. ___, Switzerland]; 50d ornate [Flowery]; 53d orbs [Christmas tree ornaments, typically]; 55d spot [Descry]; 57d ecru [Literally, "raw"]; 60d eyes [Checks out]; 63d AOL [Comcast alternative]; 64d NYU [Home of the Stern School of Business: Abbr.].


Bill Butler said...

If yoiu get a chance to see it, Runaway Bride is one of the better films in the "romantic comedy" genre ... oh, and don't forget Valentine's Day :o)

Great write up .. it's the best of the bunch, without a doubt.

fmcgmccllc said...

Well I thought I was a genius until I found 66a was Troy not Tron, thought NNU was some obscure eastern college. 16a could have been a movie with Alan Alda and that caused me some trouble in that area. Thought maybe stick for choke.

59d I have never seen it written that way, thank you. Always learn something new.

Crossword Man said...

Many thanks for the encouraging comments. I don't think we own Runaway Bride, but we do have some other romantic stuff to try - Love Actually is a fav, a must for us at Xmas.
I think we may have got Troy free with an HD DVD player (boy, was that a mistake) - I knew that movies about the approximate era had been back in vogue recently, most of them missable!