Wednesday, February 18, 2009

NYT Thursday 2/19/09 - Oh Boy!

I got back into bad habits today: I couldn't see beyond oh boy! as the answer to 9a and accepted that there could be a president called "Bed" Bartlet (historically most unlikely?) to make 11d fit.

If I'd stopped to look at all 26 possibilities for ?ed I might have eventually worked out Jed and then realized how much better oh joy! fits 9a. I've been reading Crossworld in preparation for the ACPT and this reminds me how essential a correct solution is in the tournament's scoring system: mistakes carry such a big penalty that it is worth taking a considerable time at the end to double-check every answer.

The grid fill is worth mentioning: it's pangrammatic (uses every letter of the alphabet at least once) with a big use of the "low frequency" letters that have high point values in Scrabble. In fact the average of the Scrabble point values for all the letters is precisely 2, making it look like the compiler wouldn't accept a 1.xx average. If I'd noticed all this when solving, I might have searched for one more J in the NE corner!
Solving time: 20 mins (no cheating, but two wrong answers)
Clue of the puzz: 68a slap [Unfortunate date ending]

57a Extra! Extra! [Old street cry, or what's in 18-, 23-, 34-, 42- and 51-Across?]. The extra "extra" is added in front of five other thematic answers, in sequence down the grid - very clever:
18a Ebay window [What might have the heading "Collectibles" or "Toys & Hobbies"?]
23a Xray of hope [Optimistic scan at the dentist's?]
34a Turban legend [Story of Ali Baba?]
42a Radios amigos [Transmits a message to Pancho and pals?]
51a AWes Craven [Amazes a horror film director?]

Grid art by Sympathy

CompilersKevin G. Der / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.79)
Theme squares64 (34.2%)
Scrabble points374 (average 2.00)
New To Me

5a Emil [Disney's "___ and the Detectives"]. One of several movies made of an Erich Kästner novel. Disney's was produced in 1964.

9a oh, joy! ["That's great ... not!"]. In defense of my error, I have to claim ignorance here. I've never heard this used, but I can see how its sarcastic tone reflects the clue wording. My oh boy! doesn't cut it.

14a Jeri [Ryan of "Star Trek: Voyager"]. She plays the ex-Borg Seven of Nine (8:53 to her friends).

15a Yoda [Film character who says "Named must your fear be before banish it you can"]. More Sci-Fi - I recognized this as a Yodaism more from parodies than the original. This clip traces Yoda's idioms back to the Samurai movies that influenced George Lucas:

AME Church47a AME [Letters on some churches]. Not knowing this caused great anxiety when trying to decide on the spelling of 47d. In the end I just guessed that the letters stood for American Something and hoped for the best. Magdalen had to explain about the African Methodist Episcopal Church founded by Rev. Richard Allen.

11d Jed [President Bartlet on "The West Wing"]. Bill was recommending I watch this show after the Lucky in Love post. It would have paid to take his advice - in my ignorance I accepted that there was a president Bed Bartlet.

37d Cruz ["Volver" actress, 2006]. Not at all familiar with the movie, but Penélope Cruz emerged from cross-checking:

44d GNC [Health supplement store]. Another troublesome clue, since I wasn't entirely confident I'd remembered Wes Craven. GNC stands for General Nutrition Centers - there are supposedly over 6000 stores in the US, but I don't remember seeing one.


1a T-man [One of the Untouchables]. Slang terms for U.S. Treasury agent(s).

16a bueno [It's good for Juan]. I could guess this, but have added it to Español para los crucigramistas anyway. But it's Buena Vista - oh the joy of masculine and feminine endings!

30a X-er [Boomer's kid]. I was born right at the end of 1959, so I have a bit of an identity crisis: should I reject traditional values or be disaffected and directionless?

Drax55a Drax [Bond villain in "Moonraker"]. Brits associate the answer more with a huge power station than Hugo Drax.

67a Ozawa [Conductor noted for wearing turtlenecks]. As far as I can tell, usually plain white or plain black ones.

69a Seth [Dickens's Mr. Pecksniff]. One of my favorite Dickens villains, though you don't often see him called Seth in the book. The character was brilliantly portrayed by Tom Wilkinson in the latest BBC adaptation.

4d Nimoy ["I Am Spock" autobiographer]. The follow-up to I Am Not Spock - covers all the bases.

City of Rocks7d Idaho [Home of the City of Rocks National Reserve]. It's been a bit of a fly-over state for me. This city-like rockscape shows me what I've been missing.

obi9d obis [They have bows]. Not Obi-Wan Kenobi, but the sash worn in traditional Japanese clothing. Women typically tie the sash into an outsize bow at the center of the back.

35d aim [Second part of a three-part command]. As in "ready, aim, fire".

47d avulse [Tear off forcefully]. Couldn't remember the precise meanings of avulse and evulse, essential given I didn't know about the AME church. They both come from the Latin vulsum ("to pluck"):
avulse vt to pluck or tear away by force.
evulse vt to pluck out.
from The Chambers Dictionary
62d asp ["Poor venomous fool," to Shakespeare]. Some of Cleopatra's "famous last words" addressed to her ophidian despatcher:
With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicate
Of life at once untie: poor venomous fool,
Be angry and despatch. O couldst thou speak,
That I might hear thee call great Caesar ass
from Antony and Cleopatra
The Rest

17a marm [School ___]; 20a age of [Words with innocence or consent]; 22a huhs [Confused responses]; 26a live [Not recorded]; 31a CIA [Org. in the Bourne series]; 32a evoked [Conjured up]; 37a CBers [Many truckers]; 40a lie [One may be caught in it]; 41a toady [Sycophant]; 45a urgent [Pressing]; 46a NNE [Naut. heading]; 50a zees [Scrabble 10-pointers]; 56a squad [Starters and more]; 63a ulna [Bone meaning "elbow" in Latin]; 64a my bad ["Sorry, I did it"]; 65a eons [A seeming eternity]; 66a as is [Sale caveat].

1d TJ Maxx [Marshalls competitor]; 2d meagre [Thin, overseas]; 3d arrear [Amount of debt, old-style]; 5d eye [Socket filler]; 6d mob [Kind of scene]; 8d lay-up [Easy two points]; 10d Hun [Ancient pillager]; 12d Ono ["Wedding Album" recording artist]; 13d yow ["That hurt!"]; 19d wheel [Prop on "The Price Is Right"]; 21d focus on [Pay strict attention to]; 24d fir [Center of holiday decorations]; 25d habla [Speak in Spanish]; 26d logos [Racecar adornments]; 27d Ikea [Furniture chain]; 28d vend [Deal in]; 29d eddy [Swirl]; 33d vetoers [Nay sayers]; 34d tries [Essays]. 36d neins [Dortmund denials]; 38d bare [Not decent]; 39d edge [Advantage]; 43d stare [Unsettling look]; 48d mean it [Be serious]; 49d en dash [Long hyphen]; 52d waxes [Becomes fuller]; 53d extol [Honor]; 54d aquas [Water colors]; 55d Dada [Precursor to Surrealism]; 57d Emo [Rock genre]; 58d XYZ [Series finale]; 59d TBA [?, on a sched.]; 60d raw [Not even rare]; 61d RNA [Code carrier].

1 comment:

Magdalen said...

Love the placeholder post! Love even more that we can go to bed before 11 p.m.!!!!