Wednesday, March 4, 2009

NYT Thursday 3/5/09 - Nice Dogs Finish Last

In theory I should have known all about the Iditarod, as Magdalen and I visited their HQ last summer, with Hub 1.0. This was the last stop on an Alaskan land excursion before a cruise down the coast to Vancouver.

Shamefully, it took a ridiculous 12 minutes for me even to recognize what the theme was. Magdalen, who Remembers Everything We Ever Did Together (not always a good thing) reached the target of a completed puzzle in 20 minutes, while I was still plodding along to that far distant place.

Mimi and snowmanSo two doggy themes in a row. We thought our dog Mimi would make a good sled dog, but when I tried to get her to pull me along our icy road, she just stood there, even when I shouted "mush". She seems to prefer playing with snowmen.
Solving time: 26 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 49a pedigree [It may be revealed by a tree]
Theme

Answers associated with the Iditarod:
33a/16d Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race [Annual March event]
4d Alaskan Interior [Setting for much of the 33-Across/16-Down]
9d far distant place [What the Athabaskan word for the beginning of 33-Across means]
Solution

David J. Kahn
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics
CompilersDavid J. Kahn / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers70 (average length 5.34)
Theme squares54 (28.9%)
Scrabble points266 (average 1.42)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

Atlas32a Atlas [Rocket first tested in 1957]. A little before my time. Atlas rockets were first used for military missiles then for orbital launch vehicles. The first US astronaut to orbit the earth, John Glenn, was launched by an Atlas booster.

36a Irene [Title woman in a Jim Carrey movie]. Not the 1940 musical Irene, but Me, Myself & Irene with Renée Zellweger as the title woman.



Jim Palmer56a Orioles [Jim Palmer and teammates]. I now know the Baltimore Orioles, but couldn't have told you that Jim Palmer was on the team, or that his number was 22, or that he was nicknamed "Cakes".

5d Daria ["Beavis and Butt-head" spinoff]. Daria Morgendorffer was a recurring character in Beavis and Butt-Head who merited her own show. She is number 41 on TV Guide's Top 50 cartoon characters.



7d Danner [Tony- and Emmy-winning actress Blythe]. Blythe Danner won the Tony for her role in Butterflies Are Free and two consecutive Emmys for Huff.



24d Molière ["The School for Wives" playwright]. To clue this as L'école des femmes would have been so much more helpful here ... narrow down the field a little! Here's a scene as interpreted in Tim Mooney's one-man show, wittily named Molière than thou:



28d Uta [Actress Hagen]. Thinking this could only be Uma or Una held me up quite a bit. Uta Hagen was a German-born American stage actress, who was also a famous acting teacher. This clip is interesting as at least one of Magdalen's aunts went on as an extra at the New York Met in the Rudolf Bing era:



48d Nora [Bayes who sang and co-wrote "Shine On, Harvest Moon"]. Coincidentally, Nora Bayes was the singer on the sheet music I showed for Over There on Monday. Here is Laurel and Hardy's interpretation of Shine On, Harvest Moon in The Flying Deuces:



50d ere ["___ I let fall the windows of mine eyes": Shak.]. The lines are from Richmond's prayer on the eve of battle in Richard III:
O Thou, whose captain I account myself,
Look on my forces with a gracious eye;
Put in their hands Thy bruising irons of wrath,
That they may crush down with a heavy fall
The usurping helmets of our adversaries!
Make us Thy ministers of chastisement,
That we may praise Thee in the victory!
To Thee I do commend my watchful soul
Ere I let fall the windows of mine eyes.
Sleeping and waking, O, defend me still!
from Richard III by William Shakespeare

Geo Metro55d Geo [___ Metro (bygone car)]. I thought all old cars were called REO? No, there is also the Suzuki Cultus in disguise.

Noteworthy

1a Canada [Great Bear Lake locale]. I'd heard of the Great Bear Lake, but I couldn't have told you it was the largest entirely within Canada, or that it was on the Arctic Circle, without help from Wikipedia.

14a Radames [Lover of Aida]. A real gimme for Verdi lovers like me. I've just seen that the New York Met will finally be including their stunning Aida production in the 2009/10 season Live in HD. October 24, 2009 - mark the date!

potent pitcherful15a beware [Word of warning]; 16a sangrias [Potent pitcherfuls]. How appropriate that this row reads beware sangrias. I guess the potency depends on how much spirit is added.

27a idea [Coconut yield?]. Who got milk? I did for a long time, which didn't help with 4-down ... until it occurred to me "coconut" is slang for head. Use your coconut Ross!

42a trey [Certain domino number]. trey is an old name for the three spot.

11d mea [Start of an apology]. I had gee here for quite a while, as in "Gee, I'm sorry!". No, it's the start of mea culpa.

41d Ertés [Some lithographs]. Those friendly letters mean we see an Erté at least once a month. Like Hergé, it's a pseudonym deriving from the French pronunciation of the artist's initials.

The Rest

7a defame [Blacken]; 13a one lap [Basic pool exercise]; 17a sidelined [Out of action]; 19a parka [Cold weather wear]; 22a lese [___-majesté]; 23a IMAX [3-D camera maker]; 28a udder [Suckling site]; 29a sore [Sensitive]; 30a emanated [Put out]; 37a goodness [Gracious introduction?]; 39a cart [Schlep]; 40a serge [Ridged material]; 43a else ["What ___?"]; 44a cram [Learn a lot quickly]; 45a spear [Fishing tool]; 46a root canal [Big job for a driller]; 49a pedigree [It may be revealed by a tree]; 52a on a jag [Bingeing]; 57a recede [Fall away]; 58a peered [Squinted (at)]; 59a are too [Childish answer].

1d cob [Ear part]; 2d -ane [Hydrocarbon suffix]; 3d new [Unheard of]; 6d aped [Made like]; 8d edge [Beat by a point or two]; 10d ami [Friend of 24-Down]; 12d -ess [Cousin of -enne]; 14d raise [Cultivate]; 18d elder [Like some statesmen]; 19d pie [Representation of a budget, often]; 20d admiral [Fleet person]; 21d readers [Circulation concern]; 25d Aral Sea [Part of the Uzbekistan border]; 26d Xes [Choice marks?]; 31d ate [Got down]; 32d -ard [Dull finish?]; 34d dogma [Sermon subject]; 35d toe [It may provide one's sole support]; 36d ice [Knock off]; 38d Syr. [Six-Day War participant: Abbr.]; 40d scored [Picked up a point or two]; 45d saner [More moderate]; 47d ogle [Eye]; 49d pop [Jump off the page]; 51d die [Bite the dust]; 53d Jet [A.F.C. East player]; 54d ado [Bother].

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