Monday, March 2, 2009

NYT Tuesday 3/3/09 - Crossword Cells

Crosswords always have a lot of cells: those little squares you write the letters in. The compiler added a whole layer of new ones to this New York Times puzzle - fanciful prisons for five professions.

Although there seemed to be a lot of clues where I was lacking necessary knowledge, I still finished the puzzle off in a reasonably short time - is this going to be a good week for me?
Solving time: 11 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 22d rodeo [Its competitors may be thrown]
Theme

Terms ending with a slang words for prison:
17a fountain-pen [Prison for soda jerks?]
24a miter joint [Prison for bishops?]
39a champagne cooler [Prison for vintners?]
49a hokey-pokey [Prison for corny humorists?]
62a watering-can [Prison for gardeners?]
Solution

Jeffrey Wechsler
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics
CompilersJeffrey Wechsler / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.85)
Theme squares57 (30.2%)
Scrabble points297 (average 1.57)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

14a Elaine ["Seinfeld" woman]. No real excuses for not knowing this: even if I don't watch the show I should have a passing knowledge of characters like Elaine Benes. Magdalen has prescribed a course of Entertainment Weekly as the remedy.



23a Gaye ["What's Going On" singer Marvin]. What's going on here? One of the highlights of Marvin Gaye's career, rated the fourth best song of all time by Rolling Stone. Gaye is also my sister's middle name - what were my parents thinking?



43a Ennis [Bandleader Skinnay ___]. Whoa! Isn't that a bit obscure for a Tuesday? Magdalen hadn't heard of Skinnay Ennis either. Here he is singing with the Hal Kemp orchestra:



2d Ilona [Massey of old films]. Any relation to siblings Daniel and Anna? Apparently not, as she was born Ilona Hajmássy and presumably renamed on arrival in the US. Here she is as Baroness Frankenstein:



24d Mama [Singer Michelle or Cass]. I had to look this up to discover another reference to The Mamas and the Papas:



30d Sha [Doo-wop group ___ Na Na]. A group that "revives" (ie sends up) the classic fifties rock'n'roll culture. Avert your eyes now if you're a big fan of the real thing:



Macramé31d half-knots [Macramé ties]. I definitely got the wrong end of the string here: half-knots aren't (neck)ties made out of macramé, they're examples of the types of knots used in macramé.

57d nenes [Spanish babies]. ¡Oops! Another one for Español para los crucigramistas.

55d Ricci [Christina of "Monster"]. Here's Christina Ricci talking about her role in the movie:



56d Amahl [Menotti title role]. The opera Menotti composed specifically for television, which became something of a Christmas tradition on NBC:



Noteworthy

45a frau [Lady of the Haus]; 5d ante [It may be upped]; 22d rodeo [Its competitors may be thrown]. These are a few of my favorite clues from the puzzle.

Spirited Away60a anime [Cartoon art genre]. We're not huge fans of the genre, but have enjoyed Hayao Miyazaki's films such as Spirited Away.

REO61a Leo [A fire sign]. Had REO here for a bit ... seeing a REO fire truck could be the sign of a fire, right?

64a ENT [Doc with a tongue depressor, maybe]. ENT is the specialism Ear, Nose and Throat, but would you also call the doc an ENT?

67a SSS [Draft org.]. Have just about learned the Selective Service System - it comes up a lot!

53d ear [The "E" in 64-Across]. I unaccountably had 64a as ont, so this clue helpfully put me back on the right track.

The Rest

1a dismay [Loss of heart]; 7a mask [Mardi Gras wear]; 11a try [Go for it]; 15a omni- [Prefix with potent]; 16a hie [Go fast]; 19a as a [Simile center]; 20a on cue [When prompted]; 21a dele [Proofer's mark]; 22a rtes. [MapQuest suggestions: Abbr.]; 26a tra- [La-la lead-in]; 28a sods [Patches, as a fairway]; 29a ash [Sweep's heap]; 32a email [Modern means of relaying jokes]; 36a cease [Shut down]; 42a halal [Islamic equivalent of kosher]; 44a leg [Part of a journey]; 47a tel. [10-digit no.]; 54a Iran [Ayatollah's land]; 58a owns [Has]; 59a tuna [Melt ingredient]; 65a okra [Creole cooking pod]; 66a touché ["Good comeback!"]; 68a need [Call for]; 69a snails [Slow movers].

1d defog [Clear up, as a windshield]; 3d saucy [Smart-mouthed]; 4d minuet [Stately dance in 3/4 time]; 6d yea [Roll-call call]; 7d Monet ["Haystacks" artist Claude]; 8d ample [More than enough]; 9d sneers [Shows derision]; 10d kin [Thanksgiving guests, often]; 11d that is all ["Over and out"]; 12d risen [Affected by 13-Down]; 13d yeast [Bakery supply]; 18d Idi [Infamous Amin]; 25d jocose [Full of merriment]; 27d replay [Slo-mo footage, perhaps]; 29d ach! [Oktoberfest "Oh!"]; 33d age [Census datum]; 34d inn [Travel guide listing]; 35d Len [Spy novelist Deighton]; 37d see ["Didn't I tell you?"]; 38d erg [Fraction of a joule]; 40d mares [Horses that produce milk]; 41d city [Nancy in France, e.g.]; 46d uptake [Slow on the ___]; 48d lingua [___ franca]; 49d holes [They may be punched]; 50d Owens [1936 Olympics star Jesse]; 51d outré [Bizarre]; 52d knead [Work, as dough]; 60d anon [Like most bathroom graffiti: Abbr.]; 62d won [Took the cake]; 63d it's ["___ been real!"].

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