Monday, March 9, 2009

NYT Tuesday 3/10/09 - Seeing Eye to Eye

I really enjoyed this puzzle by a compiler I haven't come across before. We appear to see eye to eye, as I "got" more of the cultural references than normal.

Even so, it seemed fairly difficult for a Tuesday New York Times puzzle. The SE corner was hard because of my comparative ignorance of root beer brands and Japanese cinema, and the NE corner just because of some slightly tougher cluing.
Solving time: 15 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 9a arson [Cause of something going up?]
Theme

37d eye can follow each half of the four long thematic entries:
20a Black Hawk [Attack helicopter]
60a buck naked [In the altogether]
11d seeing red [Really steamed]
36d glass wall [See-through partition]
Solution

Thomas Takaro
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics
CompilersThomas Takaro / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.79)
Theme squares39 (20.9%)
Scrabble points305 (average 1.63)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

Chaplin with Oona15a Oona [The last Mrs. Charlie Chaplin]. Oona, the daughter of playwright Eugene O'Neill, was married to Chaplin for 35 years.

66a Arlen ["Over the Rainbow" composer Harold]. I knew the song of course, but had to guess the composer. I think Eva Cassidy's is the best of the many versions I've heard over the years:



Dad's71a Dad's [Root beer brand]. Had to guess between Dod's and Dad's here, as I couldn't remember if Kurosawa's first name was Akiro or Akira. Luckily, I guessed right.

10d Russo [Costner's "Tin Cup" co-star]. Kevin Costner plays golf pro Roy "Tin Cup" McAvoy and Rene Russo his psychologist, Dr. Molly Griswold:



Our Town12d Our [Wilder's "___ Town"]. I'm a big fan of Billy Wilder movies, so wondered if this was one I hadn't seen. No, it's a play by Thornton Wilder.

Wii Fit13d NES [Classic game console letters]. The Nintendo Entertainment System was the best-selling game console of all time, but is very old hat now. We love our Wii Fit.

55d Akira [Director Kurosawa]. I know Kurosawa as the most famous Japanese film director, just couldn't be sure of his first name.



Kurt Warner61d Kurt [Quarterback Warner]. In a puzzle in which movie and music references predominate, I guess there has to be one sports clue I can't hope to answer. Kurt Warner plays for the Arizona Cardinals.

Noteworthy

9a arson [Cause of something going up?]. Inflation, rain? Nothing like that - neat clue!

London Underground16a queue [London line]. Another lovely clue, which had me wondering which London Underground line has five letters. A good excuse to show those knickers again - this time one for the ladies.

22a As I ["___ Lay Dying"]. The title rang a bell with me, more likely because of the novel by William Faulkner than the metalcore band.

34a Gigolo ["Just a ___" (1931 hit)]. This was originally an Austrian song portraying the social collapse after World War I, but was adapted to great success by Irving Caesar. Louis Prima's version is perhaps the best known:



37a Elia [Director Kazan]. A directorial name I know well, mostly from On the Waterfront which has a great performance by Marlon Brando and soundtrack by Leonard Bernstein.



40a lawyers [Often-joked-about professionals]. As a lawyer, Magdalen has become an expert on jurisprudential humor. Her fav is:
The trouble with the legal profession is that 98% of its members give the rest a bad name.
43a to a [Ellington's "Prelude ___ Kiss"]. Another jazz standard familiar to me - I don't usually recognize so many of the fill-in-the-blank song titles in a puzzle. This version is from Alicia Keys' latest album:



Simon Boccanegra4d Plácido [Tenor Domingo]. At 68, Plácido Domingo is still going strong and due to appear in Simon Boccanegra at the New York Met next season.

21d Keillor [Radio host Garrison]. A national treasure, whom I knew of many years ago: his Lake Wobegon stories were very popular when broadcast on Radio 4 in the UK (one of the few things I miss about the home country). I long to go to Minnesota in search of the Statue of the Unknown Norwegian, Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility and all the other landmarks of the town.



49d Jacobi [Derek of "I, Claudius"]. I, Claudius was quite an eye-opener for me when I first saw it at the age of 16. I don't think historical drama has been done better than this, even though the story is not always historically accurate.

59d Jane [Girl with the dog Spot]. Dick and Jane wasn't big in the UK, but their influence is such that I'd at least heard of them and their catchphrase "See Spot Run", which inspired a movie comedy:



The Rest

1a AARP [Org. for boomers, now]; 5a glib [Smooth-talking]; 14a rial [Iranian money]; 17a USDA [Food-stamping org.]; 18a scan [Do a cashier's job]; 19a users [Tech callers]; 23a aerie [Raptor's roost]; 24a Leah [Sister of Rachel]; 26a ones [Snack machine inserts]; 29a digs [Abode, informally]; 31a bag [Do a cashier's job]; 33a Glo [Day-___ colors]; 38a rib [Pick on, in a way]; 39a URL [WWW bookmark]; 42a été [Summer on the Seine]; 44a o'-the [Will-___-wisp]; 45a dodder [Walk unsteadily]; 47a ens. [U.S.N.A. grad]; 48a rei [Portuguese king]; 49a Jove [Zeus, to the Romans]; 50a NYSE [The Big Board, for short]; 52a Ezra [Cornell or Pound]; 54a elate [Make rhapsodic]; 58a WSJ [Where to read about the 50-Across: Abbr.]; 62a riata [Gaucho's rope]; 64a Alou [Baseball's Moises]; 65a yipe ["Holy cow!"]; 67a Nebr. [Lincoln's state: Abbr.]; 68a Erin [Sons of ___ (group promoting Irish heritage)]; 69a false [Far from faithful]; 70a grit [Determination].

1d Aruba [Tourist mecca off Venezuela]; 2d aisle [Seating option]; 3d radar [Weather forecaster's tool]; 5d gosh ["Holy cow!"]; 6d locals [Many subway trains]; 7d in awe [Blown away]; 8d bankable [Sure to bring in money]; 9d aqua [Pastel hue]; 25d hairdo [Buzz, bob or bangs]; 27d elite [Select few]; 28d sober [Unloaded?]; 30d goatee [Colonel Sanders facial feature]; 32d gas oven [Appliance with a pilot]; 34d guten [Word before "Morgen" or "Tag"]; 35d irony [O. Henry literary device]; 41d whizbang [Super-duper]; 46d delayed [Stuck in traffic, say]; 51d Estes [___ Park, Colo.]; 53d ruler [Kaiser or czar]; 56d tepid [Not so hot]; 57d Edens [Idyllic spots]; 62d RAF [Luftwaffe foe: Abbr.]; 63d IRA [Portfolio part, for short].

1 comment:

Magdalen said...

Early in my career as a lawyer, I switched from commercial litigation to bankruptcy litigation, figuring that with a limited amount of money to fight over (i.e., no punitive damages), lawyers would behave more rationally.

No such luck. I had a case where the trustee's lawyer was a complete cowboy, convinced he had a smoking gun. He was wrong, but as he wouldn't tell me what he thought he had, we'd racked up lawyer's bills on both sides well over $20,000 before I could show him how his smoking gun was really a cigarette lighter. I had to get my client to call the trustee personally to say, "Your lawyer isn't saving you money here," and let them settle it sensibly.

I told that particular lawyer the joke Ross is referring to: "The trouble with the legal profession is that 98% of lawyers give the rest of us a bad name." He laughed because he figures he's in the two percent.

I retired as a lawyer not long after that.