Monday, March 16, 2009

NYT Tuesday 3/17/09 - Going Green

Top of the morning to you! As predicted, we have a special puzzle for St Patrick's Day. Although this doesn't merit a national holiday in the USA, it's clearly a popular day for celebration. Public places like our local hospital and Mexican restaurant are decked out with shamrocks, four-leaf clover, leprechauns and the like.

You don't get this in England: although there is a sizable Irish community, public celebration of the patron saint of Ireland is unusual, but you can be sure Irish pubs will have a busy night! Magdalen and I really enjoyed this puzzle, which seemed very straightforward - in fact, there was very little I didn't know, outside of the theme answers (which were easily guessed).
Solving time: 9 mins (no cheating)

57d Erin [Land that's saluted in this puzzle]. As we're "going Irish for a day", there are five titles associated with Irish names:
20a Duffy's Tavern [1940s hit radio show featuring the bartender Archie]
28a Finnegans Wake [1939 James Joyce novel]
36a Gilligan's Island [1960s sitcom about a group of castaways]
44a McNamara's Band [1946 Bing Crosby hit]
51a Hogan's Heroes [1960s sitcom set in a P.O.W. camp]
Finnegans Wake is the odd one out, since Joyce omitted an apostrophe in the novel title. To reference the ballad Finnegan's Wake would have made for consistency, but given a lot less help to solvers!

Here are the clips:


Richard Chisholm
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

CompilersRichard Chisholm / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 46 (20.4%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.71)
Theme squares65 (36.3%)
Scrabble points278 (average 1.55)
New To Me

USO41a USO [G.I. entertainers]. The United Service Organizations provides morale and recreational services to the US military. Something like the British ENSA then, which was popularly expanded as "Every Night Something Awful".


The First State33a Del. [Second-smallest state: Abbr.]. Delaware is the second smallest geographically, but has the 6th highest population density. One of the first things I tried to learn about America was the state nicknames, Delaware's being one of the easiest to remember.

4d self ["To thine own ___ be true"]. Advice from Polonius:
This above all, -- to thine own self be true;
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
from Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Villa d'Este9d Este [Ferrara ruling family]. Somewhat obscure, but you've got to know it for crosswords. The House of Este is sometimes clued with reference to the Villa d'Este in Tivoli.

Big Brown22d roses [Kentucky Derby prize]. The Kentucky Derby is called "The Run for the Roses" because of the blanket of roses draped over the winner. Big Brown got the rosy prize in 2008.

30d Gonna ["___ Fly Now" ("Rocky" theme)]. The film was shot in several locations in Philadelphia, where Magdalen lived for many years. The Art Museum famously didn't allow the Rocky statue to be at the top of the Rocky Steps, where it logically belongs - instead it's tucked away alongside the bottom of the steps.

36d Gump [Forrest ___, 1994 Oscar-winning role]. Tom Hanks won back-to-back Best Actor awards in 1993 for Philadelphia and 1994 for this movie:

The Rest

1a grasp [Comprehend]; 6a base [Contemptible]; 10a aqua [Shade of many a swimming pool basin]; 14a laser [Surgeon's tool]; 15a URLs [Web addresses]; 16a cups [Parts of a tea set]; 17a agile [Sprightly]; 18a seat [Politician's goal]; 19a toss [Give the heave-ho]; 23a oil [Salad additive]; 24a oohed [Marveled audibly (at)]; 34a oboe [Instrument held with two hands]; 35a Zia [Pakistani leader, 1977-88]; 42a as in [X ___ xylophone]; 43a erg [Work unit]; 49a posts [Blog messages]; 50a oar [Sculler's item]; 59a asea [On the briny]; 62a I too ["Am ___ late?"]; 63a terra [___ cotta]; 64a lawn [Wimbledon surface]; 65a go to [Head for]; 66a Hasid [Jew traditionally dressed in a black coat and hat]; 67a axed [Canned]; 68a span [Period of time]; 69a alone [Solo].

1d glad [Delighted]; 2d Ragu [Prego competitor]; 3d as if ["Yeah, right!"]; 5d prey on [Victimize]; 6d bustle [Ado]; 7d area [Geographical datum]; 8d Slav [Czech, e.g., but not a Hungarian]; 10d act now [Ad exhortation]; 11d quo [Status ___]; 12d ups [Good times]; 13d ass [Numbskull]; 21d sin [Transgress]; 25d hazard [Sand trap, e.g.]; 26d eking [Barely making, with "out"]; 27d dead [Defunct]; 28d felons [Prison population]; 29d ill [Needing a doctor's attention]; 31d abs [Tummy muscles]; 32d no I ["___ won't!"]; 33d disco [Establishment with a revolving mirrored ball]; 37d I am so [Schoolyard retort]; 38d GSA [Fed. property overseer]; 39d air [Publicize]; 40d Len [Novelist Deighton]; 45d at hand [Available]; 46d so soon? ["Already?"]; 47d bah! ["Rubbish!"]; 48d Aretha [First name in soul]; 52d gigs [Play dates?]; 53d atop [Surmounting]; 54d nota [___ bene]; 55d real [Down-to-earth]; 56d or so [Roughly]; 58d Sade [Marquis de ___]; 59d a la [Menu phrase]; 60d sax [Instrument famously played by Bill Clinton on "The Arsenio Hall Show"]; 61d ewe [One catching a ram's eye].

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