Tuesday, March 3, 2009

NYT Wednesday 3/4/09 - Mimi is In

I think this is the first puzzle of the year in the "rebus" style, in which multiple letters are squeezed into a single cell for various purposes. We'd recently solved one with ON/OFF alternatives, but it still took a while to get what was going on here. Once you see the pattern, the puzzle then becomes a whole lot easier - a characteristic of the many similar ideas that feature in the Listener Crossword.

Our dog Mimi hasn't been out much in recent months, but is happier than we expected being in most of the day lounging in front of the wood stove. She doesn't like getting into water and is not much of a fan of the frozen variety.

This crossword finally gave me a reason to create something I've thought about over the last few months: animated grid images - enjoy!
Solving time: 15 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 9d wagons [They may be covered and circled]
Theme

39a in or out [Choice for a dog, as well as a hint to this puzzle's theme]. There are alternatives for eight pairs of answers, depending on whether in or out is chosen at the square they have in common:
1a (in/out)come [Revenue / Result]
1d (in/out)let [Fjord / Bargain locale]

6a (in/out)law [Many a holiday visitor / Bandit]
6d (in/out)step [Foot part / Go beyond]

10a ask(in/out) [Welcome, as a visitor / Try to make a date with]
13d (in/out)set [Map feature / Start]

26a (in/out)class [At a lecture, say / Surpass in quality]
26d (in/out)last [Arriving at the tail end / Survive]

48a stand(in/out) [Sub / Excel]
33d sent(in/out) [Submitted, as an entry / Emitted]

67a (in/out)for [Soon to get / Trying to get]
52d sit(in/out) ['60s protest / Skip, as a dance]

68a led(in/out) [Ushered / Showed the door]
51d beat(in/out) [Hit so as to make collapse / Win over]

69a draw(in/out) [Attract / Protract]
60d all(in/out) [Tired / Total]
Solution

C. W. Stewart
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics
CompilersC. W. Stewart / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.79)
Theme squares66 (35.3%)
Scrabble points256 (average 1.37)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

14a Lopez [Comedian George]. A Mexican American stand-up comedian who starred in his own sitcom, modestly entitled George Lopez.



15a Sara [1980s Geena Davis sitcom]. I know the actress through movies such as Tootsie and Thelma and Louise but this short-lived TV series never made it to British screens. This clip was of particular interest as it features our local land baron, Bronson Pinchot:



17a Eleni [1985 Kate Nelligan title role]. A movie about a journalist's investigation of his mother's death during the Greek Civil War.

29a basinets [Steel helmets with visors]. I knew a bassinet was a baby transporter, but the one-S basinet was unfamiliar:

basinetbassinet
basinet
bassinet

65a I Met [The Box Tops' "___ Her in Church"]. This song seems fitting in view of all the biblical references:



29d Berts [Some Muppet dolls]. Berts have unibrows and a loose nose:



54d Nero [Peter at the ivories]. Magdalen says he's Liberace without the gay. From this clip, his virtuosity is on a par with my hero Oscar Peterson.



Noteworthy

34a Leah [Daughter of 28-Down], 35a Abel [Genesis victim], 28d Laban [Brother of Rebecca, in the Bible], 59d slew [What Cain did to 35-Across]. You can practically construct a family tree from all these Biblical references. I guess if so many Bible names end up in the fill, you might as well make a feature of it.

51a Baal [False god]. In the context of the Bible, Baal refers to any local spirit-deity whose worship as a cult image was regarded as heathenism by Hosea and other prophets. Scripture knowledge turned out to be particularly useful today.

11d Sabe [Kemo ___]. I was delighted to discover recently that tonto means "fool" in Spanish, though it seems this is just a coincidence: to avoid confusion, Tonto was called Toro in some Spanish versions of The Lone Ranger. Magdalen had always assumed that Kemo Sabe was something equally insulting in Tonto's language, but it turns out to mean "trusty scout" or "faithful friend" in Potawatomi.

covered wagons9d wagons [They may be covered and circled]. A nice misleading definition.

The Rest

16a dais [Locale for a seat of honor]; 18a twig [Chickadee's perch]; 19a able [Up to the job]; 20a talon [Condor's claw]; 21a endowment [College asset]; 23a reap [Glean]; 25a NRA [Oldest U.S. civil liberties org.]; 37a stare [Gawk]; 38a alb [Priest's garb]; 41a ten [Half a score]; 42a slays [Has rolling in the aisles]; 44a -ster [Trick ending?]; 45a meat [Gist]; 46a toneless [Lacking inflection]; 50a sen. [D.C. bigwig]; 52a sandstone [Grand Canyon material]; 57a salsa [Doritos dip]; 61a I see ["Uh-huh"]; 62a area [What a surveyor surveys]; 63a T-bill [Govt. security]; 64a Tora [___ Bora, wild part of Afghanistan]; 66a easel [Painter's prop].

2d cola [Mixer]; 3d Opel [Autobahn auto]; 4d menorah [Holiday display]; 5d e-zines [Periodicals not brought by a postal carrier]; 7d lawn [White House adjunct]; 8d arid [Parched]; 10d adamant [Unwavering]; 12d kiln [Brick baker]; 22d wrist [Watch location]; 24d as an [___ example]; 27d cello [It has four strings]; 30d aloe [Burn balm]; 31d eaten [Consumed]; 32d tread [Tire feature]; 36d boss [Honcho]; 39d isles [Antilles, e.g.]; 40d Ursa [___ Major]; 43d yes, dear [Spouse's response]; 45d Malabar [India's ___ Coast]; 47d entail [Necessitate]; 49d tasted [Tried]; 53d as of [From]; 55d or me ["It's either you ___"]; 56d need [Poverty]; 58d Lisa [Marge's TV daughter].

3 comments:

jon88 said...

Surprised we didn't see Like some skates / Report structure.

xwd_fiend said...

Passed by hoping for that ACPT report ...

In the UK I don't think they'd have been able to resist including "___________, shake it all about", even if it does break the rule about lengths of "partial" answers.

Crossword Man said...

Yes, (in/out)line would have been better at 26d.

If a UK compiler latched onto the Hokey Cokey, they probably couldn't resist jumbling either!