Wednesday, March 11, 2009

NYT Thursday 3/12/09 - Quadruped

After spending half an hour on yesterday's puzzle and getting it wrong, it was good to have confidence restored. Here was a Thursday New York Times puzzle I could get right and finish in under 20 minutes.

I liked the theme of this rebus puzzle. It starts with the glorious seven-letter answer PED XING, with its unexpected DXI sequence. That spawned an idea for a rebus puzzle which the compiler managed to implement without obvious strain on the diagram.
Solving time: 18 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 24a QBs [Ones making snap decisions?]
Theme

39a PED XING [Street sign ... or a hint to this puzzle's theme] - PED must be crammed rebus-style into four squares to make pairs of crossing answers fit:
17a Coupe de Villes [Classic Cadillacs]
4d expedites [Hastens]

25a sped by [Passed quickly]
11d sharp-edged [Like a saber]

44a bipedal [Like humans and ostriches]
38d tape delays [Features of many Olympic broadcasts]

60a caped crusader [Batman, with "The"]
53d typed up [Prepared, as a report]
Solution

David Chapus
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics
CompilersDavid Chapus / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.85)
Theme squares62 (32.8%)
Scrabble points312 (average 1.65)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

30a Magoo? ["Mr." whose first name is Quincy]. First I'd heard of this - I'm not on first name terms with Mr. Magoo.



41a Una ["Por ___ Cabeza" (tango song)]. The song title literally means "by a head", referring to horse-racing. This number is called into action any time a movie needs a tango scene - here for example is the tango in Scent of a Woman:



22d is a [1992 top 10 hit "Life ___ Highway"]. Easily guessed fill-in-the-blank - a hit for rocker Tom Cochrane:



50d Norris [Frank who wrote "The Pit," 1903]. The Pit centers on wheat speculation and trading at the Chicago Board of Trade Building.

Noteworthy

5a cancel [X]. Competitor for shortest clue of all time. The only shorter one I can think of right now would be a blank clue ... to clueless!

24a QBs [Ones making snap decisions?]. A neat clue - I know enough about American football now to get the joke!

28a ASU [The Sun Devils, for short]. Nice to see The Crucy League put into action again. After I compiled it there was a dearth of college team references for a while.

64a Desi [Big name in '50s TV]. Presumably Desi Arnaz, famous for starring in and producing I Love Lucy:



Mad Magazine18d eds. [Mad workers, for short]. The initial capital cleverly conceals a reference to Mad Magazine. Magdalen says they were Jon Stewart before we had Jon Stewart.

28d ALer [Tiger or Twin, briefly]. Clues like this still cause me to stall and work around to the answer via crossing ones. I see now this is a reference to baseball's American League and two of its teams: the Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins.

34d Enid [British author Bagnold]. Enid Bagnold is best known for writing National Velvet, the story made into a movie starring the adolescent Elizabeth Taylor:



Tornado fighter43d Tornado [British fighter plane]. The Tornado was actually jointly developed with West Germany and Italy and is used by other air forces than Britain's.

48d deader [More like a doornail?], 49d iciest [Superlatively slippery] and 67a orts [Scraps]. Not a great corner this: comparatives and superlatives are ugly to clue and orts is rather obscure. One wonders if a bit of rework could have improved things.

The Rest

1a acne [Result of some oil deposits]; 11a sap [Drain]; 14a coax [Certain cable, informally]; 15a Oviedo [Provincial capital in NW Spain]; 16a HST [Pres. initials]; 19a aha [Cry when seeing something for the first time]; 20a upsides [Positive aspects]; 21a entire [Total]; 23a suets [Hard fats]; 27a épée [Item of sports equipment approximately 43" long]; 31a saltines [Chili accompaniment, often]; 35a err [Slip]; 36a SST [Bygone flier, for short]; 40a doe [___-eyed]; 42a arsonist [Incendiary]; 46a Ted [Ohio governor Strickland]; 47a Odin [One-eyed god of myth]; 51a stem [Fruit waste]; 52a Ste. [Paris's Rue ___ Croix de la Bretonnerie: Abbr.]; 54a Greco [___-Roman]; 55a clammy [Cold and damp]; 57a thin air [Mountain climbing hazard]; 59a sha [Doo-wop syllable]; 62a key [Essential]; 63a cruses [Earthen pots for liquids]; 65a IDs [Fingers]; 66a impish [Naughty].

1d accuse [Point a finger at, say]; 2d coop up [Confine]; 3d Nausée [Sartre novel, with "La"]; 5d cove [Quiet fishing spot]; 6d Avis [Company started in 1946 at the Detroit and Miami airports]; 7d nil [Scratch]; 8d celeb [Red carpet walker]; 9d Edens [Shangri-las]; 10d lost [Out the window]; 12d Asheboro [North Carolina county seat]; 13d PTA [Educ. group]; 24d Quixote [Companion of Panza]; 26d yore [Knight time?]; 29d stds. [Censors have them: Abbr.]; 30d msgs. [E-mails: Abbr.]; 32d a pal ["Be ___!"]; 33d nine [Last digit in a price, often]; 36d subs [Benchwarmers]; 37d snitched [Sang]; 45d AMA [G.P.'s grp.]; 52d smarm [Ingratiating behavior]; 54d GIs [Dogfaces]; 56d MCCI [Turn-of-the-century year in King John's reign]; 57d très [___ chic]; 58d hush ["That's enough out of you!"]; 59d ski [What people who head for the hills do?]; 61d CSI [Popular TV drama set in Las Vegas].

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