Thursday, March 26, 2009

NYT Thursday 3/26/09 - Spring in the UK

This was the first of the New York Times puzzles I solved on our trip to the UK. I thought there might be time to write some commentaries while traveling, but ended up just doing the Under Construction posts - I've now returned to the USA and have some catching up to do.

We flew into Manchester Airport in the northwest of England early on Thursday morning - of course it seemed like the middle of the night to us. We set off towards Oxford to see my mother and came across a service area (the British term for a rest area) with free Wi-Fi - it was great to relax for an hour or so and get the Thursday puzzle done and posted. After lunch with my mother we drove up to Naburn, York to stay with my brother Michael, of which more in the next post.

spring in the UKThe puzzle theme seemed appropriate, as spring was much more advanced than in Pennsylvania. This must have been the result of some really warm weather earlier in the month, as it was pretty cold during our visit, though thankfully dry.
Solving time: 30 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 10d entendre [Double ___]
Theme

An Emily Dickinson poem:
20a A little Madness
33a in the Spring
40a Is wholesome
52a even for the King
[Start of a poem by Emily Dickinson that continues "But God be with the Clown, / Who ponders this tremendous scene"]
Solution

Edward Safran
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics
CompilersEdward Safran / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers74 (average length 5.05)
Theme squares50 (26.7%)
Scrabble points290 (average 1.55)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

golem5a golem [Dimwit, in Yiddish slang]. I thought I knew what a golem was: a Frankenstein-like creation from Jewish folklore. It seems that in modern Hebrew golem now means "fool" or "stupid".

24a Len [Barker of the Cleveland Indians who pitched a perfect game in 1981]. I wondered what might constitute a "perfect game" in this context, not that it made any difference to my ability (or lack of it) to solve the clue. I gather it's one where the winning side's pitcher is on for at least nine innings and no opposing player reaches base.

James Exon39a Exon [Former Nebraska senator James]. James Exon (1921-2005) was a Democratic governor and senator who never lost an election.

4d Knotts [Funnyman Don]. Don Knotts (1924-2006) played Barney Fife in The Andy Griffith Show. Here he needs a little help to recall the opening words of the US Constitution.



31d Agnes [1985 Meg Tilly title role]. Meg Tilly played Sister Agnes in the John Pielmeier play and movie and got an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.



Noteworthy

18a Lloyd [David ___ George, British P.M., 1916-22]. David Lloyd George is a real gimme for a Brit of my generation. There's an old music hall song that goes "Lloyd George Knew My Father, My Father Knew Lloyd George": we now know that "Lloyd George Was My Father" is more appropriate - "the old goat" was a notorious womanizer.

1d Coma [1977 best seller set at Boston Memorial Hospital]. I remember seeing the chilling movie based on this book by Robin Cook, in which patients undergoing routine surgery go into comas due to problems with the anesthesia.



10d entendre [Double ___]. Fill-in-the-blank clues aren't usually that notable, but the compiler found a great opportunity here: it's hard to see the clue and think of the French double.

Lucky Jim12d Amis ["Lucky Jim" novelist, 1954]. Another gimme, as I read this comic novel about British university life in the 1950s around the time I went to university in the late 1970s. A film was made starring Ian Carmichael.

56d None ["___ But the Brave" (1965 Sinatra film)]. This movie about the war in the pacific is the only one directed by Frank Sinatra.



The Rest

1a cork [What you might push a pushpin in]; 10a El Al [International company with the slogan "Home away from home"]; 14a Oran [North African city captured by the Allies in 1942]; 15a as one [In unison]; 16a Nome [1899 gold rush locale]; 17a mano [A la ___ (nearby: Sp.)]; 19a twig [New growth]; 23a tiers [Levels]; 25a adds to [Increases]; 28a Dead Sea [Refuge for David, in the Bible]; 32a Nor. [Eur. monarchy]; 36a Twas [Christmas verse starter]; 38a ham [Radio geek]; 45a ere ["... ___ he drove out of sight"]; 46a celadon [Chinese porcelain with a pale green glaze]; 47a alarms [Sleep disturbers]; 49a Kia [Sedona maker]; 50a tucks [Puts in a snug spot]; 58a Avis [Warren who founded a rental car company]; 59a emote [Chew the scenery]; 60a odor [Spray target]; 61a menu [Pull-down list]; 62a rivet [Fix]; 63a ulna [It runs parallel to the radius]; 64a prep [Teacher's before-class work]; 65a stere [Volume unit]; 66a teem [Overbrim (with)].

2d oral [___ contraceptive]; 3d rani [Queen of Bollywood]; 5d galleon [Shipping mainstay of the 1600s]; 6d Osler [Physician William]; 7d looms [Appears imminent]; 8d Enya [Singer with the 2008 gold record "And Winter Came ..."]; 9d meddles [Acts the yenta]; 10d entendre [Double ___]; 11d lows [The worst of times]; 13d leg [Relay division]; 21d titi [South American monkey]; 22d neap [___ tide]; 25d antic [Monkeyshine]; 26d dowse [Divine water]; 27d drawl [Say with two syllables where one would do, say]; 28d demo [Promotional item]; 29d Sixer [Philly hoopster]; 30d enorm [Extremely large, old-style]; 34d then [In the past]; 35d has [Is afflicted by]; 37d shakes up [Reorganizes drastically]; 41d Odin [Figure in the Edda]; 42d loafers [They have no ties]; 43d machete [Rain forest implement]; 44d Elke [Sommer of Hollywood]; 48d ask out [Try to see]; 50d trove [Antique dealer's happy discovery]; 51d utter [Articulate]; 52d ever [Anytime]; 53d vine [Melon's site]; 54d omit [Drop]; 55d idle [Fallow]; 57d Gram [Elderly relative, informally]; 58d amp [Crank (up)].

1 comment:

Magdalen said...

Ah, darling -- you are so British sometimes. We (Americans) don't use the French pronunciation of double ("DOO-bluh") when followed by entendre. We just say double ("DUH-bull") the normal way. Which makes your Clue of the Puzz just okay. Personally, I like loafers for "they have no ties," which seems a much more misleading clue.