Monday, March 30, 2009

NYT Tuesday 3/31/09 - Brae-marred

The choice for theme letters in Tuesday's New York Times puzzle didn't look promising, but the compiler surprised me by producing a Biblical forename (Reba) and a vegetable I didn't recognize (rabe). Despite these curveballs, I managed a respectable solving time and made no mistakes.
Solving time: 11 mins (no cheating)
Theme

Phrases containing words that are anagrams of BRAE:
20a broccoli rabe [Bitter-tasting vegetable]
32a Running Bear ["Young Indian brave" in a 1960 Johnny Preston #1 hit]
41a bare minimum [Least acceptable amount]
54a Reba McEntire [Country singer with a hit sitcom]
Solution

Allan E. Parrish
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics
CompilersAllan E. Parrish / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.92)
Theme squares46 (24.6%)
Scrabble points304 (average 1.63)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

Torre16a Torre ["The Yankee Years" co-writer]. A new way to clue the manager of the New York Yankees from 1996 to 2007. Joe Torre's co-writer was the sportswriter Tom Verducci - you're not expected to know him.

40a Kix ["Kid-tested, mother-approved" cereal]. I just love cereal commercials.



William Saroyan5d Saroyan ["The Human Comedy" novelist William]. I'd heard of William Saroyan, but didn't know the work. It's an uplifting book about a 14 year-old boy growing up fatherless in World War II.

7d Lori [Actress Loughlin of "90210"]. From the title, I thought 90210 must be a sci-fi show. No, it's a teen drama named for the Beverly Hills zip code. Lori Loughlin plays the mom who works as a fashion photographer.



Shriner13d fez [Shriner's topper]. After reading the Wikipedia article on Shriners, I'm not really much the wiser. I could say the same about Freemasonry as a whole.

Noteworthy

3d trios [The Dixie Chicks and the Dixie Cups]. I knew the answer from the Dixie Chicks, which Magdalen and I are both fans of. The Dixie Cups were a trio of songstresses from an earlier era.



10d Corea [Jazzman Chick]. Chick Corea is a jazz pianist who came to prominence after joining Miles Davis's early jazz fusion bands in the 1960s. He formed his own group in that vein called Return to Forever.



25d Tatum [10-year-old Oscar winner O'Neal]. I saw Paper Moon as a kid and was charmed. Tatum O'Neal is still the youngest actor to win an Oscar.



34d Nixon ["Frost/___," 2008 nominee for Best Picture]. The versatile Michael Sheen, who plays David Frost in the movie, is also well-known for playing Tony Blair and Kenneth Williams.



The Rest

1a HTTP [Internet address starter]; 5a sole [Shoe part]; 9a scuff [Shoe mark]; 14a Eire [Where Donegal Bay is]; 15a avow [Declare frankly]; 17a rain [Word after "ppd." on a sports page]; 18a rare [Like a 1943 copper penny]; 19a Arnaz [Desilu co-founder]; 23a sashays [Steps nonchalantly]; 24a plates [Common commemorative items]; 28a Ala. [Mobile's state: Abbr.]; 29a Odie [Garfield's foil]; 31a alp [The Eiger, for one]; 36a tie [Even up]; 37a at it [Arguing loudly]; 38a EOE [Abbr. in a help wanted ad]; 39a Ruhr [Essen's region]; 45a eco- [Prefix with tourism]; 46a ohms [Resistance units]; 47a meg. [Unit of RAM, for short]; 48a Sandra [Actress Bullock]; 50a opiates [Morphine and codeine, for two]; 57a lived [Dwelt]; 60a Moet [___ & Chandon Champagne]; 61a Obie [Village Voice award]; 62a amigo [Baja buddy]; 63a frau [Munich Mrs.]; 64a neck [Make out]; 65a spasm [More than a twitch]; 66a Men's [Macy's department]; 67a IRAs [S&L offerings].

1d herbs [Rosemary and thyme]; 2d tiara [Princess' topper]; 4d penchant [Strong liking]; 6d ovals [Cameo shapes]; 8d ewer [Vessel by a basin]; 9d stabler [Less likely to collapse]; 11d urn [Subject of a Keats ode]; 12d fra [Monk's title]; 21d Cali [Colombian city]; 22d Apia [Samoan port]; 26d Elihu [Peace Nobelist Root]; 27d sperm [___ whale]; 29d oboes [Slender woodwinds]; 30d deem [Consider]; 32d rakes [Landscapers' tools]; 33d Utica [City in New York's Mohawk Valley]; 35d germ [Listerine target]; 39d rigatoni [Tubular pasta]; 41d boredom [Yawn inducer]; 42d Ahab [Melville's obsessed whaler]; 43d impetus [Driving force]; 44d nein [Deutschland denial]; 49d dregs [Bottom-of-the-barrel stuff]; 50d ocean [Great blue expanse]; 51d Tiber [River of Rome]; 52d Erica [Author Jong]; 53d seeks [Is in the market for]; 55d AM-FM [Like most car radios]; 56d more [Oliver Twist's request]; 57d Las [___ Cruces, N.M.]; 58d imp [Handful for a baby sitter]; 59d via [Itinerary word].

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