Sunday, March 15, 2009

NYT Monday 3/16/09 - Say Aye

Today's theme was the ways the I sound can be spelled at the end of a word, and I wondered why eye was omitted. Then I noticed that it would need to be preceded by a consonant in the second word - only long and obscure compounds would be consistent with the theme, such as blue walleye, and the compiler reasonably left eye out.

The nature of the theme seemed to result in a slightly longer solve than usual for a Monday, though not outrageously so. A couple of Irish references crept in, which makes me wonder if there will be an all-out St Patrick's Day puzzle next, or if that's all we're getting this year!
Solving time: 9 mins (no cheating)
Theme

Eight different ways an I sound can be spelled at the end of a word:
17a Sigma Chi [Fraternity with a sweetheart of a song]
18a Mai Tai [Drink that often comes with an umbrella]
24a knee-high [Like some socks]
37a wise guy [Smart aleck]
39a hair dye [Salon supply in a bottle]
48a clear sky [Good picnic forecast]
58a mud pie [Chocolaty ice cream dessert]
60a Evan Bayh [Second-generation senator from Indiana]
I doubted the existence of Evan Bayh until I was sure the crossing answers couldn't be anything else. I also hadn't come across the fraternity song Sweetheart of Sigma Chi before today - crosswords can be so illuminating (and not just by tearing them up in disgust and lighting a fire with them).



Solution

Lynn Lempel
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics
CompilersLynn Lempel / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 37 (16.4%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.82)
Theme squares58 (30.9%)
Scrabble points295 (average 1.57)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

32a alumna [Bryn Mawr graduate]. I thought the singular of alumni was alumnus. Ok, it seems Bryn Mawr is no accident, since it is a women-only at the undergraduate level. The clue is calling for the feminine form.
alumnus n (pl alumni) a former pupil or student.
alumna n (pl alumnae) a female alumnus.
from The Chambers Dictionary
46a Papa ["___ Was a Rollin' Stone"]. A Motown song that was written for The Undisputed Truth, but didn't become a big hit until The Temptations recorded it.



53d Ethel [Jazzy Waters]. Thought of Muddy, but he's more of a bluesman. Here is Ethel Waters singing Miss Otis Regrets:



Noteworthy

Madame de Pompadour26a moi ["Après ___ le déluge"]. The expression goes back to Madame de Pompadour, one of Louis XV's mistresses: she supposedly said "au reste, après nous, le Déluge" after the Battle of Rossbach.

Erin go Bragh41a Erin ["___ go bragh!"] and 10d Irish [Like many St. Patrick's Day celebrants]. A reminder that Tuesday is St Patrick's Day.

4d Ava [___ Gardner, Mrs. Sinatra #2] and 58d Mia [___ Farrow, Mrs. Sinatra #3]. Completing the set with Nancy [#1] and Barbara [#4] would have been a tough assignment for the compiler!

O Gauge Hornby9d O gauge [Track choice for Lionel trains]. The first train set I ever played with was an O Gauge clockwork set - presumably made by Hornby, Britain's equivalent of Lionel. I had something like the train in the picture, but much more beaten up!

model plane29d model plane [Small replica of the Spirit of St. Louis, e.g.]. I made model planes too: balsa gliders and plastic warplanes built from Airfix kits - nothing like Charles Lindbergh's monoplane.

30d Day O [Harry Belafonte catchword]. We had Harry Belafonte on the The Muppet Show last time, but this is too much fun not to show again:



40d illy [Badly]. It seems a little clumsy to clue one -ly word with another, but maybe that's the only option for a Monday puzzle.

The Rest

1a Mao [China's ___ Zedong]; 4a arts [___ and sciences]; 8a joints [Wrist, elbow and ankle]; 14a arrive at [Reach]; 16a agreed [Shook hands (on)]; 19a teas [Afternoon socials]; 20a oops! ["My bad!"]; 22a USSR [Cold war foe, for short]; 23a SSN [Info on a W-2 form: Abbr.]; 28a nude [Ready for skinny-dipping]; 29a MDs [Rx signers]; 35a DST [Cause of a clock change twice a yr.]; 36a coat [Paint layer]; 42a raw [Cold and blustery]; 44a glue on [Attach with Elmer's]; 45a sac [Cul-de-___]; 47a LDL ["Bad" cholesterol, for short]; 51a pre [Opposite of post-]; 54a Lisa ["The Simpsons" girl]; 56a Theo [Lt. Kojak]; 57a a lot [Plenty]; 62a inland [Away from the coast]; 63a reliance [Faith]; 64a agents [Insurance sellers]; 65a oral [Exam given face-to-face]; 66a eel [Snaky swimmer].

1d masts [Sail holders]; 2d Aries [First sign of the zodiac]; 3d organ music [Hymn accompaniment]; 5d recon [Military info-gathering]; 6d Tahoe [Sierra Nevada resort lake]; 7d stipend [Grad student's income, often]; 8d jam [Smucker's product]; 11d nets [Meshes]; 12d tear [Rip]; 13d SDI [U.S. Star Wars program]; 15d IMS [AOL chitchat]; 21d shush ["Be quiet!"]; 24d king [Queen's mate]; 25d ID tag [Dangler on a dog collar]; 27d omen [Broken mirror, to some]; 31d Sten [Brit's W.W. II gun]; 32d awes [Fills with wonder]; 33d lira [Franc : France :: ___ : Italy]; 34d aurae [Saintly glows]; 36d crud [Gunk]; 38d yap at [Talk to persistently and with a big mouth]; 43d war hero [Purple Heart recipient]; 46d plaint [Lament]; 48d C-SPAN [Network showing Capitol Hill proceedings]; 49d sever [Cut off]; 50d koala [Australian eucalyptus eater]; 52d Royce [Rolls-___ (car)]; 54d lung [Where inhaled air goes]; 55d idle [No longer working]; 57d ABA [Lawyers' org.]; 59d Eds [Bradley and Begley]; 61d nil [Zilch].

4 comments:

mcfreeman said...

Thanks "a bunch" for the Harry Belafonte Muppet Show video. It started my day off with a nostalgic smile.

Crossword Man said...

You're welcome. The Muppets brighten my day too, and I try to show them at every opportunity!

quba said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Patricia

http://lioneltrains.info

Crossword Man said...

Welcome Patricia - so glad you find the blog enjoyable.