Wednesday, March 18, 2009

NYT Thursday 3/19/09 - Altered States

I found this Thursday New York Times puzzle comparatively easy. It helped that once I got the first thematic answer (17-across), I could easily guess the others: the clues gave away the state and once you have that, the rest is straightforward. Being able to get these long answers compensated for some quite difficult cluing elsewhere and a lot of references that I'd not seen before.

Pennsylvanians will regret "PA Jesu" not making the list. I'm doing this post late Wednesday night, as I'm off to Philadelphia, PA for the day tomorrow: among other things, I'm getting some teeth filled at Ike's (a dentist, not a general store, you'll be glad to hear).
Solving time: 20 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 47d nagger [Unpleasant reminder?]
Theme

Phrases where a word sounds like a state abbreviation:
17a green with NV [Eco-friendly in Las Vegas?]
26a NE port in a storm [Omaha's waterfront during downpours?]
44a ME award winners [First-place finishers in Bangor?]
59a running on MT [Jogging atop Great Falls?]
Solution

Laura Sternberg
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics
CompilersLaura Sternberg / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 37 (16.4%) black squares
Answers74 (average length 5.08)
Theme squares50 (26.6%)
Scrabble points274 (average 1.46)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

15a Katie [Holmes of "Batman Begins"]. I must have come across Katie Holmes, not least because of her well-publicized marriage to Tom Cruise. But when actually solving, it was easier to work around to Katie through crossing answers and be satisfied that the complete name rang a bell.



37a Alyssas [Actress Milano and namesakes]. Alyssa Milano had her first major role at the age of 11 in Who's the Boss?



Aggies53a Aggies [Team in College Station, Tex.]. I think Magdalen explained this to me, but I didn't remember: the A&M in Texas A&M University stands for "Agricultural and Mechanical" - hence Aggies as the team nickname.

Thorpedo58a Ian [___ Thorpe, 2000 and 2004 Olympic swimming sensation]. Surely not as sensational as Michael Phelps? Ian Thorpe, nicknamed the Thorpedo only won 5 Olympic golds.

Ernie Banks63a Ernie [Banks in Chicago]. An effective misleading definition - too much so in my case, as I didn't get the reference. Ernie Banks, known as Mr. Cub, played for the Chicago Cubs his entire career.

Moen3d Moen [Plumbing fixture manufacturer]. Plumbing manufacturers have catchy names for crosswords: Zurn, Grohe, Moen.

4d Ike's [General store on "The Waltons"]. Ike and Cora Beth Godsey run the general store and post office in The Waltons.



37d a two [Part of Lawrence Welk's intro]. Lawrence Welk was famous for famous for counting off "a one and a two ..." at the start of musical numbers. His license plate was A1ANA2 in honor of this.



38d She ["___ Hates Me," 2002 hit by Puddle of Mudd]. As usual, a fill-in-the-blank clue was among the easiest, even though I hadn't heard of the wittily named group before.



SOS pad40d SOS [Pad name]. Huh? It seems S.O.S is a brand of soap pads, an abbreviation for "Save our Saucepans".

52d Luci [___ Baines Johnson (presidential daughter)]. Both her parents had the initials LBJ, so wanted the same for their daughter. It has the advantage that monogrammed clothing and linen is interchangeable, I suppose!

Noteworthy

11a INT [1099-___ (tax form sent by a bank)]. Time recently spent doing tax records wasn't wasted after all!

enoki14a enoki [Japanese mushroom]. Enoki mushrooms are rather beautiful and used in oriental cuisine.

20a sensei [Tai chi instructor]. Lots of Japanese words in the NW corner. sensei is a title for respect for teachers and professionals; it's also used by martial arts instructors.

music66a rests [They're found on staffs]. It took a while to work out the context here, which is musical.

8d Ithaca [Home of Odysseus]. There was quite a fashion to give places in upstate New York portentous names like Ithaca, Rome, Marathon, Homer.

Suleiman30d Suleiman [Ottoman sultan known as "the Magnificent"]. Suleiman the Magnificent was sultan from 1520 to 1566. He won several biggest turban contests.

47d nagger [Unpleasant reminder?]. Neat wording - a nagger is someone, not something, that reminds.

60d -ine [Suffix with glass]. Glassine is a glossy transparent paper used in bookbinding and to store stamps.

The Rest

1a limit [Two drinks, for some]; 6a shier [Reserved to a greater degree]; 16a nor [Conjunction that usually has a partner]; 19a Dre [Rapping "Dr."]; 21a pass-book [Kind of account not used much anymore]; 23a aspic [Food glaze]; 25a roos [Down Under springers]; 32a swap [Tax-free transaction, usually]; 33a ens. [Position on the Enterprise: Abbr.]; 34a urn [Reception vessel]; 35a célèbre [Cause ___]; 41a roi [Charles I, II, III ... or X]; 42a ate [Had something]; 43a Ohio [The Bobcats of the Mid-American Conference]; 48a sown [Planted]; 49a aroma [Feature of an essential oil]; 50a white lie ["Oh yes, I love that dress," maybe]; 61a pig [Neatnik's opposite]; 62a ocean [Environs for Galatea, in myth]; 64a ERs [Places with defibrillators, for short]; 65a sidle [Move along a buffet line, perhaps].

1d legs [Stamina]; 2d in re [Preceder of a case name]; 5d tin ear [Musician's weakness]; 6d ski [Biathlon need]; 7d hatpins [Milliners' securers]; 9d eins [___, zwei, drei]; 10d revs [Guns]; 11d indoor [Like fireworks, infrequently]; 12d no room ["We can't squeeze any more in"]; 13d treks [Some migrations]; 18d wisteria [Woody vine with violet blossoms]; 22d Bronson [Charles of "Death Wish"]; 24d pine [Yearn (for)]; 26d NSC [Foreign policy advisory grp.]; 27d ewe [___-necked]; 28d pal [Shadow, so to speak]; 29d operant [Having an effect]; 31d try [Taste]; 36d bow [Gift-wrapping aid]; 39d air [Melody]; 42d adrenal [Kind of gland]; 44d mohair [High-luster fabric]; 45d Ewings ["Dallas" kinfolk]; 46d rained [Sprinkled]; 48d swipe [Credit card action]; 51d Eros [Asteroid on which a NASA probe landed in 2001]; 54d gore ["Friday the 13th" staple]; 55d inns [Places to sleep]; 56d emit [Issue]; 57d stes. [Some Fr. honorees].

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