Saturday, March 21, 2009

NYT Sunday 3/22/09 - Hunt with a Pack

We enjoyed solving this jumbo puzzle after a hard afternoon watching opera at the movie theatre. Today's fare was La Sonnambula, which had us sleeping a lot of the time, but thankfully not sleepwalking. Although some people think the bel canto style is to die for, we're not in that camp (to judge by our reactions).

Of the nine card games in the puzzle, Bridge is the one I'm most familiar with, as I had a lot of fun learning bidding and play of the hand over the last couple of years. Magdalen and I did OK at the duplicate tournaments we went to, but still haven't risen to the exalted-sounding (but lowly) ACBL rank of Junior Master.
Solving time: about 40 mins
Clue of the puzz: 74d magnetized [Made more attractive?]
Theme

Nine phrases ending in card games:
25a red-hot poker [Painful prod]
27a diamond solitaire [Engagement gift]
50a Yom Kippur War [Conflict of 1973]
57a dinette set [Showcase Showdown prize, perhaps]
67a artichoke hearts [Fancy salad ingredients]
92a London Bridge [Subject of a nursery rhyme that has only eight different words]
83a bathtub gin [Speakeasy supply]
109a Century Twenty-One [Big name in real estate]
119a Pizzeria Uno [Classic name in chain restaurants]
Solution

Joon Pahk and Matt Matera
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics
CompilersJoon Pahk and Matt Matera / Will Shortz
Grid21x21 with 74 (16.8%) black squares
Answers140 (average length 5.24)
Theme squares113 (30.8%)
Scrabble points619 (average 1.69)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

Pye95a Pye [English poet laureate Henry]. Yes, I'm English, but didn't remember this Poet Laureate. Some were downright bad and best forgotten. The salary for the job varies, but traditionally includes some wine to aid inspiration - a cask of Canary wine per year is a popular option.

Lion Issuant98a issuant [Having only the forepart visible, as a beast in heraldry]. The clue pretty much says it all, but I wanted to see an example of it: the coat of arms of Frenelle-la-Grande has a lion issuant.

63d Ike [Alibi ___ (Ring Lardner character)]. Alibi Ike first appeared in short stories - he was a baseball player forever making excuses for things going wrong, hence the name. The character also inspired a movie, which is said to be one of the better baseball comedies.

Noteworthy

zoot suit52a zoot suits [Bygone party attire]. Although the suits ending looked like this answer might be thematic, I don't think it is - the symmetrical counterpart clearly doesn't have a card game at the end.

59a sort [Stripe]. "stripe" can mean a type or category, as in "politicians of all stripes are rallying to the cause".

60a blue [Down]. Nicely misleading, as both these words for "melancholic" have a myriad other meanings - to clue down with [Blue] would be equally effective.

Reese's cups76a Reese [Man with cups and pieces]. Let's hear it for Mr Reese! I became familiar with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups even before moving to the US, as Magdalen thought them suitable gifts on her trips to see visit me in Britain.

81a kudo [Singular praise?]. Ugh! kudos isn't a plural form and even the question mark at the end of the clue cannot excuse this answer. I'm really surprised it was considered acceptable in a New York Times puzzle.

49d kts. [24 of them = 100%: Abbr.]. Thinking these must be knots caused some headscratching. They're of course karats, each karat being 1/24th purity by mass - so a 24 karat item is pure gold.

112d Tutu [Peace Nobelist from South Africa]. Desmond Tutu inspired the slang term for a 2:2 (lower second class) degree in the UK - a "Desmond".

The Rest

1a stye [Eye affliction]; 5a prim [Wearing a long dress and a collar buttoned to the top, maybe]; 9a lived [Was]; 14a act up [Raise hell]; 19a eaux [Évian and others]; 20a rode [Harried]; 21a obeli [Manuscript marks noting possible errors]; 22a prate [Go on and on]; 23a ex-Marines [Corps veterans]; 29a wept [Turned on the waterworks]; 30a Mt Etna [In Sicily it's about 10,920 ft. high]; 31a mobs [After-Christmas sale shoppers, e.g.]; 33a mache [Papier-___]; 37a screens [Shows in a theater]; 43a Paavo [___ Nurmi, the Flying Finn]; 46a alla [Penne ___ vodka]; 47a JFK [Traveler's alternative to 90-Down]; 55a species [Part of a family]; 56a ald. [Munic. official]; 61a ask me [Help desk sign]; 62a this [See 84-Down]; 65a Lee Aaker [Star of 1950s TV's "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin"]; 72a dominate [Easily beat all the competition]; 75a mere [Petty]; 80a Ural [River separating continents]; 87a Eng. [H.S. class]; 88a Mirabel [Montréal-___ International Airport]; 91a tow-headed [Fair-haired]; 96a lone [Singular]; 97a steam [Energy source]; 100a ulnar [___ nerve (funny bone tingler)]; 101a T-man [Untouchable, say]; 103a violin ["A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a ___; what else does a man need to be happy?": Albert Einstein]; 107a Clio [Historian's Muse]; 121a analogous [Like, with "to"]; 122a areel [Spinning]; 123a not it [Untagged, in tag]; 124a nude [Michelangelo's David, e.g.]; 125a Ozma [Princess of literature]; 126a sadly ["Alas ..."]; 127a Shute ["On the Beach" author]; 128a spat [Showed disdain, in a way]; 129a rebs [Gray side].

1d seed [Origin]; 2d taxi [Get ready to take off]; 3d Yuma [Desert in the Southwest]; 4d exam [This is a test]; 5d print [It may be fine or fine art]; 6d Ronde [Typeface imitative of handwriting]; 7d id est [Words of explanation]; 8d mesons [Quark/antiquark pairs]; 9d Lori ["Full House" actress Loughlin]; 10d I bet ["Su-u-ure"]; 11d Veda [Sacred Hindu text]; 12d elhi [K-12]; 13d Dior [Christian of the cloth?]; 14d app [Killer ___]; 15d crow-bar [One with prier engagements?]; 16d takes a walk [Leaves]; 17d UTEP [Sch. near the Rio Grande]; 18d pert [Cheeky]; 24d Rome [Where 51-Down was martyred]; 26d tem [Pro ___]; 28d lacy [Like some petticoats]; 32d opus [Symphony, e.g.]; 33d Mazda ["Zoom-zoom" sloganeer]; 34d Alois [Eponymous Dr. Alzheimer]; 35d clonk [Dull, hollow sound]; 36d hate mail [Often-anonymous intimidation technique]; 38d Ros [Author Asquith of children's books]; 39d emp. [Hirohito's title: Abbr.]; 40d ekes [Scratches (out)]; 41d Nicole [Designer Miller]; 42d spirea [Flowering shrub]; 44d value ["x" in an equation]; 45d order ["At-ten-SHUN!," e.g.]; 47d jut [Protrude]; 48d fie! ["Bah!"]; 51d Peter ["Quo vadis?" speaker]; 53d stern [Rear of a galley]; 54d Seth [Rogen of "Knocked Up"]; 58d Thom [___ Yorke, lead singer of Radiohead]; 60d baseball [Brave activity]; 64d Serb [Balkan native]; 66d a true [Based on ___ story]; 68d Takin' ["___ Care of Business" (1974 hit)]; 69d Iturbi [Pianist José]; 70d Cedars [Los Angeles's ___-Sinai Medical Center]; 71d heat [Basic cooking instruction]; 72d duels [They're often scheduled at noon]; 73d or not ["... then again, I could be wrong"]; 77d Egdon [Thomas Hardy's ___ Heath]; 78d Siena [Home of St. Catherine]; 79d ender [Rear-___]; 82d obis [Sometimes-satin items of apparel]; 84d top [With 62-Across, comic's challenge]; 85d hwy. [Certain m.p.g. rating: Abbr.]; 86d thé [French beverage]; 88d MoMA [Home of Mondrian's "Broadway Boogie Woogie"]; 89d .edu [Part of an academic address]; 90d LGA [Traveler's alternative to 47-Across]; 93d damozel [Young woman, old-style]; 94d envy [Green-eyed monster]; 99d titans [Nashville 11]; 100d Unto ["___ the Sons" (Gay Talese best seller)]; 102d NCR [Big A.T.M. maker]; 104d own up [Accept responsibility]; 105d lead a [___ double life]; 106d inlet [Fjord, for example]; 107d CPAs [Ones working on columns, for short]; 108d lira [Old Italian bread]; 110d eins [Fünf minus vier]; 111d NaOH [Sodium hydroxide, chemically]; 113d unit [Second, e.g.]; 114d rote [Mechanical]; 115d Ygor ["Son of Frankenstein" role]; 116d ooze [Squishy stuff]; 117d numb [Feeling no pain]; 118d esas [Juan's "those"]; 120d Ely [Ron of "Tarzan"].

2 comments:

miniredtri said...

Wow, who are you people? (just rhetorical). Thank you.

Crossword Man said...

You're welcome. If the question wasn't just rhetorical, you could find out more from the top two Crucial Posts in the side bar. They're biographical in a bloggy way.