Tuesday, February 3, 2009

NYT Wednesday 2/4/09 - The Hair Bear Bunch

Sad to say, I got this one wrong - the compiler didn't show compassion enough in cluing the two answers concerned (21a and 10d). And I felt so good about the solving time too!

Luckily the theme was really entertaining and I have co-fav clues today:
Solving time: 13 mins (two answers wrong, no cheating)
Clue of the puzz 1: 29d sherpa [Guide for Hillary]
Clue of the puzz 2: 36d isn't [Ain't as it should be?]

Puns on fair, hair, wear and bear - 32a and 59a made me LOL:
17a Renaissance fare [16th-century Florentine food?]
32a bad hare day [Reason the tortoise won the race?]
46a sportsware [Baseballs, footballs and basketballs?]
59a right to bare arms [Freedom from the requirement of having long sleeves?]
Renaissance fairs seem to be a peculiarly American tradition, not that I had any difficulty with that answer.


Grid art by Sympathy

CompilersPaula Gamache / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.2%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.97)
Scrabble points307 (average 1.62)
New To Me

21a Ione [Nereid sister of Galatea] - I'm supposed to know this? There are at least fifty of these maidens and Ione isn't exactly in the top rank of nereidity. I wrongly guessed Iona here.

25a IGA [Supermarket chain] - I also didn't know the Independent Grocers Alliance. But that mattered not one whit, because the crossing answers were unambiguous.

10d jefe [Baja boss] - unfortunately, this wasn't in Español para los crucigramistas as it hasn't been seen in the New York Times of late. I guessed jefa and guessed wrong this time - too sad!

24d Odessan [Comedian Yakov Smirnoff, by birth]. Is this guy for real, or is he an invention like Borat? Here's a clip from his one-man show:

43d T-slot [Groove for a letter-shaped bolt] - seen this sort of thing, but didn't know what it was called before.


5a HDTV [Digital signal receiver] - we've had an HD set for a couple of years, but some of the programs we love have only switched to high def format. How I Met Your Mother is now awesomer than ever.

14a alow [Down from the deck] and 2d alee [Salt's direction] - crossing these seems slightly unfortunate - having done it, could more have been made of the connection in the cluing?

15a aria [16-Across's "La donna è mobile," e.g.] and 16a Verdi [See 15-Across] - good to see aria clued with reference to a great favorite Rigoletto. We've seen it in London and Philadelphia recently and listened to the New York Met opera matinee on a shopping trip last Saturday - I had to sit in the car to hear the end while Magdalen got the groceries.

22a kibosh [Stopper of things] - as in to "put the kibosh on" something. A neat answer, brilliantly clued.

50a linked [Like some sausages and Web sites] - I love such juxtapositions of seemingly unrelated things.

4d Kwai [River in a Best Picture title] - the reference is to Bridge on the River Kwai, one of David Lean's masterpieces.

29d sherpa [Guide for Hillary]. A really neat clue. I couldn't stop thinking of Hillary Clinton - the reference is to Sir Edmund Hillary natch. It takes some sort of genius to see an answer like sherpa and realize there is this opportunity to mislead.

36d isn't [Ain't as it should be?] - another beauty!

40d park [Part of PRNDL] - I assumed this was just another US organization I hadn't heard of - perhaps the Park Rangers' Newt Dangling League. After finishing the puzzle, I finally see it's the gear shift sequence in an automatic car.

47d wig out [Freak] - in the sense of "go completely wild".

52d shag [Farrah Fawcett's signature do] - referring to her hairstyle, notably seen in Charlie's Angels. Another clue I twigged to really late.

The Rest

1a gawk [Rubberneck]; 9a eject [Bailout button]; 20a be kind [Show compassion]; 28a asst. [Support staffer: Abbr.]; 35a the aisle [A ring bearer may go down it]; 37a Belize [Commonwealth country in Central America]; 38a cents [Pennies]; 39a ESP [Clairvoyant's claim]; 41a Side A [Half of a 45 with more airplay]; 42a orient [Turn toward the east]; 44a sad to say! ["Alas"]; 48a tote [Shopping bag]; 49a tar [Blacken]; 52a smog [Air condition]; 54a pot pie [Entree from the frozen food department]; 64a Asian [Thai or Chinese]; 65a urge [Craving]; 66a toot [Spree]; 67a tongs [Ice bucket accessory]; 68a toad [Disgusting one]; 69a asks [Queries].

1d garb [Shirts and skirts]; 3d wonk [Policy ___]; 5d has dibs [Lays a claim (on)]; 6d DRs [Patient observers: Abbr.]; 7d tia [Padre's sister]; 8d vanish [Dematerialize]; 9d even [Drawn]; 11d era [Time to remember]; 12d Cdr. [Mil. leader]; 13d tie [Draw]; 18d ink [Press coverage]; 19d cohab [Housemate, informally]; 23d bale [Bundle in a barn]; 25d I did so [Emphatic confirmation of action]; 26d gaze at [Eye intently]; 27d aye, aye [Naval affirmative]; 28d at cost [Without profit]; 30d senior [___ moment]; 31d tater [Spud]; 33d rest [Put one's feet up]; 34d Eliot [Poet who wrote "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats"]; 45d deep red [Ruby]; 51d Doe [Anonymous John]; 53d Mtns. [Rockies, e.g.: Abbr.]; 55d tata ["Ciao!"]; 56d pros [Old hands]; 57d I'm OK ["Don't worry about me"]; 58d ests. [Figs. like "a million or so"]; 59d rat [Fink]; 60d iso- [Equal: Prefix]; 61d gin [___ and tonic]; 62d bro ["Yo" man?]; 63d aga [Ottoman V.I.P.].


Magdalen said...

I had real trouble with this one, particularly ALOW and ALEE. I mean, c'mon, SALT for sailor? That's a bit rough for a Wednesday. Of course, it's all immaterial in my case -- not guessing the L in those two was the least of my troubles, as I had TENOR instead of VERDI at 16A, so the whole upper right was off.

But I did want to correct one of my delightful husband's assumptions. How I Met Your Mother has been in High Def for awhile; our CBS affiliate only recently started to provide a HD feed to our satellite provider. We've had the ABC affiliate in HD for a couple months, but NBC and CBS are recent, and the FOX affiliate is still decidedly low-def! What can I say? We live in the boonies...


You are funny.

IGA and PRNDL-stores that few shop in unless forced and automatic transmissions but no comment on 19D cohab. I found that one very strange.

As I keep saying Farrah did not have a shag, Carol Brady had the shag.

Bill Butler said...

I'm glad I am not the only one who spaced out on 40D, the PRNDL clue. I don't drive an automatic often enough, I guess. I had to look up the acronym after finishing the crossword, and then had one of those "duh" moments.

@FMCGMCCLLC ... you'd need to careful about sayings things like "Farrah did not have a shag" around Englishmen lol

Crossword Man said...

Yes, it's tough for a Brit to see the word shag and think of hairdos. I guess that's why Austin Powers uses it so much in his movies (and movie titles).

Magdalen said...

I'm with FMC (um, do you go by a shorter name, by any chance? I'm cool with it if you don't -- I don't and some people get frustrated when they aren't allowed to call me "Mag" for example) on the Farrah Fawcett hairdo. I knew that was what they wanted, but that's not what she had! Or, at the very least, hers was a very specific and non-standard sort of shag. Oh, dear, there's that double-entendre again!