Friday, March 20, 2009

NYT Saturday 3/21/09 - Gum Boots

I've never been more pleased to complete a puzzle correctly that this one: at various times I seemed to be getting stuck, but I always just managed to degum myself and make one more step towards completion - not unlike trying to slog through the mud around our property at this time of year.

It looks like my increased experience with solving New York Times puzzles is beginning to pay off: not just because some of the cultural references are starting to stick in my head - I'm become more familiar with the ways prefixes/suffixes (eg "Opening for milk?" for lact-) and components of idioms (eg "Kind of defense" for one-on-one) get clued.
Solving time: 65 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 45d CD case [Record keeper]
Solution

Robert H. Wolfe
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics
CompilersRobert H. Wolfe / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 32 (14.2%) black squares
Answers70 (average length 5.51)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points279 (average 1.45)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

20a trio [The Brady boys or girls]. Not being familiar with The Brady Bunch, I had some anxieties over this because I had to guess 8d Atri. The opening 3x3 grid of faces makes it easy to remember that there were three girls and three boys in the blended family.



34a Haim [Feldman's co-star on "The Two Coreys"]. Not Marty, but Corey Feldman who starred with namesake Corey Haim in movies and more recently a TV reality show.



Vailima42a RLS ["A Footnote to History" author's inits.]. While familiar with Robert Louis Stevenson, this book about local politics in Samoa is not one of his best known!

Eagles48a Randall [Quarterback Cunningham]. Randall Cunningham played for the Philadelphia Eagles at the start of his professional career.

57a Hough [Two-time "Dancing With the Stars" co-winner Julianne]. Julianne Hough does a mean Rumba with Olympic gold medal-winning speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno.



2d Nadine [Chuck Berry title girl who's repeatedly asked "Is that you?"]. Nadine was a hit for Chuck Berry in 1964.



5d oft ["So ___ have I invoked thee ...": Shak.]. This fill-in-the-blank was harder than usual - I needed at least one crossing letter to get it. The words open a sonnet:
So oft have I invoked thee for my Muse,
And found such fair assistance in my verse
As every alien pen hath got my use
And under thee their poesy disperse.
Thine eyes, that taught the dumb on high to sing
And heavy ignorance aloft to fly,
Have added feathers to the learned's wing
And given grace a double majesty.
Yet be most proud of that which I compile,
Whose influence is thine, and born of thee:
In others' works thou dost but mend the style,
And arts with thy sweet graces graced be;
But thou art all my art, and dost advance
As high as learning, my rude ignorance.
from Sonnet LXXVIII by William Shakespeare
Atri8d Atri [Bell town in a Longfellow poem]. The Bell of Atri is an old legend about a mistreated horse that Longfellow retold in his poem.

24d Lys [City in Arthur C. Clarke's "The City and the Stars"]. Was the compiler seriously expecting solvers to know this? The City and the Stars was a rewrite of Clarke's first novel.

28d Shari Lewis [Kids' entertainer who won 12 Emmys]. I knew about Lamb Chop, but not the voice behind her.



Chateaubriand53d René [François-___ de Chateaubriand]. Chateaubriand, for short, was a French politician and the founder of Romanticism in French literature. Romantics always seem to be portrayed with disheveled hair.

54d Ilka [Chase in films]. Ilka Chase played Charlotte's sister-in-law Lisa in Now, Voyager.



Noteworthy

dollar bill1a ONE DOLLAR [Washington is just above it]. A note-worthy clue to start the puzzle off - Washington indeed appears on the dollar bill.

minotaur25a maidens [The Minotaur was fed seven of these annually]. Maidens always get the raw end of the deal in mythology.

Eric52a Eric [Red man?]. The allusion seems to be to Erik the Red, who founded the first Nordic settlement in Greenland.

45d CD case [Record keeper]. This clue stood out for me - a lovely misleading definition.

The Rest

10a as for [About]; 15a have faith [Believe]; 16a stone [What things might be written in]; 17a I don't care ["Whatever"]; 18a hares [Some bucks and does]; 19a oil [Garage stock]; 21a bigot [One opinionated to a fault]; 22a anvil [Ear piece]; 27a needy [High-maintenance]; 28a stern [Firm]; 30a tot [Relatively recent arrival?]; 31a esthetes [They appreciate 59-Down]; 33a Ino [She gave Odysseus a magic veil]; 37a waxen [Impressionable]; 38a step [Minimal progress]; 39a ult. [Maximum: Abbr.]; 40a air train [Glider-towing plane]; 43a bliss [State in Elysium]; 44a sucre [Ingredient in chocolat]; 50a Ogden [Home of Weber State University]; 51a aloes [Some lilies]; 56a cat [Hipster]; 58a well aware [Fully posted?]; 61a ensue [Succeed]; 62a ink-eraser [Adjunct to some pens]; 63a deems [Believes]; 64a sea otters [North Pacific carnivores].

1d Ohioan [William Howard Taft, by birth]; 3d evolve [Come about]; 4d den [Plotters' place]; 6d lact- [Opening for milk?]; 7d liar [One who's not straight]; 9d rheometers [Blood flow measurers]; 10d ash-bins [Garbage collectors]; 11d staid [Settled]; 12d forget it! ["Don't even bother!"]; 13d one-on-one [Kind of defense]; 14d rest stop [It's found between exits]; 23d idem [Latin word in a quotation book]; 26d arena [Squaring-off site]; 29d texts [College expenses]; 32d twill [Herringbone, e.g.]; 34d hurrahed [Cheered]; 35d all alone [Forsaken]; 36d it's no use! ["Don't even bother!"]; 38d snug [Far from baggy]; 40d abashes [Turns red, maybe]; 41d iso- [Prefix with lateral]; 46d rearer [Parent]; 47d enters [Inscribes, e.g.]; 49d degum [Free of sticky stuff]; 55d Cleo [Last ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty, informally]; 59d art [It's appreciated by 31-Across]; 60d wat [Buddhist monastery].

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