Friday, March 27, 2009

NYT Friday 3/27/09 - Spoilt for Choice

YorkThe Friday of our UK trip was the time for relaxing and recovering from the trials of the previous day's traveling. I solved the New York Times puzzle in the morning and we then went into the center of York for some shopping and sightseeing. As you may guess from this well-populated signpost, there is much to see.

BettysWe browsed the shops in "The Shambles" and admired the outside of the cathedral before succumbing to the attractions of the famous Bettys tea room, where their afternoon tea choices are not to be missed.

Unfortunately, the choices I made in the crossword weren't very smart: if I'd thought about 26-down a little longer, I might have surmised what "honey-do" lists are. I suspect that Magdalen has a mental honey-do list for me, but doesn't present it in written form - I have to keep lists of her requests myself or they too easily evaporate from my brain.
Solving time: 45 mins (no cheating, three wrong answers)
Clue of the puzz: 46a scarf [Quaint aviation accessory]

Paula Gamache
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

CompilersPaula Gamache / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 28 (12.4%) black squares
Answers70 (average length 5.63)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points334 (average 1.70)
New To Me

Ivo Andrić19a Ivo [Literature Nobelist Andric]. Ivo Andrić was a Bosnian Yugoslav novelist - he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1961. His novels depict life in Bosnia under the Ottoman Empire.

University College, Oxford34a bimbo eruption [Certain sex scandal, in slang]. The puzzle looks to have been built around this answer, but I hadn't heard of the expression and neither had Magdalen. It's difficult to find references to it outside of other blogs. I have something in common with Bill Clinton and now Chelsea Clinton: we are all alumni of University College, Oxford.

Essex, CT38a Essex [Connecticut town attacked by the British in the War of 1812]. Although I negotiated many of the pitfalls in this fine puzzle, I failed here, with Esset instead of Essex. It's one of the few American towns to be attacked by a foreign power: my country destroyed 28 vessels at anchor and under construction, in what was the "Pearl Harbor" of that war.

45a Lucy [Sitcom character discussed in the 2003 biography "Ball of Fire"]. I've heard of the character, but the reference didn't mean anything to me: Ball of Fire is Stefan Kanfer's biography of Lucille Ball.

Tino Martinez48a Tino [Former Yankee Martinez]. I had Nino here: retired first baseman Tino Martinez is not someone I've come across in my limited study of baseball.

8d Gobots [Transforming Tonka toys]. Gobots are similar to Hasbro's Transformers and were produced by Tonka from 1983 to 1987.

Rilke9d Rilke ["The Book of Hours" poet]. Rilke wrote The Book of Hours: Love Poems to God from 1899 to 1903 following a visit to a Russian monastery.

Honey-do26d Mr Fix It [Recipient of a honey-do list]. This was the first I'd heard of "honey-do lists": on a more relaxed day, I might have figured out the context, but thinking the clue might relate to a TV character, I guessed Mr Fit-in.


25a Klute [1971 title role for Donald Sutherland]. I must have seen this not longer after it was first released. Klute also starred Jane Fonda, who won a Best Actress Oscar for playing the call-girl.

26a mini [Height of fashion?]. A neat clue. It reminded me of a funny cryptic clue inspired by the absence of miniskirt in The Chambers Dictionary at the time:
It must not be looked up in Chambers!
Cryptic clue to miniskirt
Snoopy46a scarf [Quaint aviation accessory]. I love this clue. I quite made up my mind the answer was part of a plane, so it was a pleasant surprise to get the answer and be reminded of Snoopy and the many movies based on early pilots.

The Rest

1a swung by [Detoured to pay a visit along the way]; 8a grab-bag [Gallimaufry]; 15a Capella [One of the 10 brightest stars]; 16a oil tube [Engine line]; 17a ritzier [Having superior amenities]; 18a blows on [Cools, in a way]; 20a bad joke [It may fall flat]; 22a tut [Critical cluck]; 23a be in [Hippie happening]; 27a estos [These, overseas]; 29a iss. [Periodical output: Abbr.]; 30a PRNDL [Shifting sequence]; 31a taint [Sully]; 33a leftie [Liberal, informally]; 37a cacaos [Their beans were used as currency by the Aztecs]; 39a agent [Instrument]; 40a ale [Wassailing choice]; 41a riced [Not quite mashed]; 49a mea ["Magnificat anima ___ Dominum"]; 50a faux fur [It's not really mink, for example]; 52a cay [Bit of the Bahamas]; 53a et voilà [Chef's cry]; 55a edamame [Finger food at a Japanese restaurant]; 57a step cut [Diamond-shaping choice]; 58a egged on [Prodded]; 59a testate [One way to die]; 60a sea wars [Fleet activities].

1d scribe [Worker who sets things down]; 2d waives [Doesn't take advantage of]; 3d up to it [Game]; 4d nez [Arôme detector]; 5d glib [Smooth to a fault]; 6d bleak [Discouraging]; 7d yardline [Grid marking]; 10d aloe [Natural treatment]; 11d BTW [Start of a text-message afterthought]; 12d bust into [Enter like a storm trooper]; 13d abound in [Crawl with]; 14d gentile [Guest at a synagogue]; 21d just relax ["Cool your jets!"]; 24d not many [One or two]; 28d sabot [Cousin of a clog]; 30d peter [Fizzle (out)]; 32d Ios [Island SSW of Naxos]; 33d LP's [Old track holders]; 34d baguette [Diamond-shaping choice]; 35d ice caves [Some permafrost features]; 36d user fees [Tolls, essentially]; 37d calmest [Still the most]; 40d acuate [Needle-shaped]; 42d cicada [Shrill flier]; 43d enamor [Bewitch]; 44d doyens [Ones with seniority]; 46d salut [Gallic greeting]; 47d fudge ["Oh, phooey!"]; 50d FICA [W-2 inclusion]; 51d raga [Music that influenced the Beatles' "Norwegian Wood"]; 54d opt [Elect]; 56d mew [Cry from a litter].

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