Tuesday, March 31, 2009

NYT Wednesday 4/1/09 - You Could Have Fooled Me

I've been tipped off that tonight's Jeopardy! will have a category "New York Times Crossword Puzzle" with video clues presented by Will Shortz. I gather these clues are from tomorrow's Brendan Emmett Quigley puzzle. Given today's date, I wonder whether this is a leg-pull, but we're going to record the program and see.

Word Play companion bookToday's puzzle seems to be fairly light as April First puzzles go. I'm still working my way through the Wordplay Official Companion Book and that features a Byron Walden puzzle from April 1, 2004 where all the theme answers are upside down. Today's compilers managed to fit in an impressive number of misnomers: clues with apparently straightforward answers, but you'd be a fool to think so today!
Solving time: 24 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 55a tilde [Part of São Paulo]
Theme

12 misnomers for April Fool's Day:
18a Breed's Hill [Where was the Battle of Bunker Hill fought?]
29a steer [What animal does a bulldogger throw?]
37a Ecuador [In what country are Panama hats made?]
41a Mary Ann [What is George Eliot's given name?]
47a sheep [From what animals do we get catgut?]
59a New Zealand [In what country are Chinese gooseberries produced?]
3d orange [What color is the black box in a commercial jet?]
7d Stewart [What is actor Stewart Granger's family name?]
31d Utah [The California gull is the state bird of which state?]
34d dogs [For what animals are the Canary Islands named?]
43d avocado [What kind of fruit is an alligator pear?]
49d eleven [How many colleges are in the Big Ten?]
Solution

Ed Stein and Paula Gamache
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics
CompilersEd Stein and Paula Gamache / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 37 (16.4%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.82)
Theme squares78 (41.5%)
Scrabble points287 (average 1.53)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

gas log42a gas log [It'll keep the home fires burning]. This was the last answer I filled in. I felt very uncomfortable making a guess here, as 39-down could have been anything; considering all the letters, gas log seemed most likely and it seems this is a term for the gas fireplaces that have fake logs.

Arthur Ashe Stadium43a Ashe [Queens's ___ Stadium]. Something Every American Knows, I suspect, but I have to learn these things. Arthur Ashe Stadium is the equivalent of Wimbledon's Centre Court.

12d Cal ["Silent" prez]. Coolidge was known as "Silent Cal" because of his taciturnity in private life. Dorothy Parker, seated next to the future prez at a dinner, said to him, "Mr. Coolidge, I've made a bet against a fellow who said it was impossible to get more than two words out of you." His reply: "You lose." This clip shows he was only fooling:



36d Eres Tú [1974 Mocedades hit]. An inspired guess on my part: Eres Tú is "you are" in Spanish and was Spain's entry in the 1973 Eurovision Song Contest.



USIA39d USIA [Former Voice of America org.]. I was confident of all but the second letter here and felt reassured when gas log resulted in an answer starting US. The United States Information Agency oversaw Voice of America from 1953 to 1999, but its broadcasting functions have now been taken over by the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

Noteworthy

Ship of Fools5a Bosch ["Ship of Fools" painter]. An appropriate reference given the date of publication: the painting shows prodigal humans wasting their lives by playing cards, drinking, flirting, solving crosswords etc. instead of spending it in "useful" ways.

maple sap24a sap [Drain]. I had tap here at first and it took a while to see that sap and drain are equivalent in the verb sense of "to remove sap/energy from". Lots of folks round here make maple syrup at this time of year: it takes 10 gallons of sap to make a quart of syrup.

52a least [Smallest]. I confidently wrote weest in here, proud of knowing how to spell that surprising superlative.

tilde55a tilde [Part of São Paulo]. A neat clue which I saw through easily enough; but Magdalen was less lucky and didn't realize the "part" was the accent.

Bobby Orr6d Orr [Bruins' retired "4"]. One of the 100 Essential Words in Cruciverbalism - thank you Stanley Newman! Bobby Orr is one of the greatest (ice) hockey players of all time.

46d Emilio [Actor Estevez]. I know Emilio Estevez as one of the Brat Pack. More recently he has played Jed Bartlett as a young man. This clip seems particularly appropriate today:



48d Hi-de-Hi! [Cab Calloway phrase]. I know Minnie the Moocher mainly through Wodehouse:



Panther Crossing57d Nash [He wrote "If called by a panther, / Don't anther"]. Could anyone other than Ogden Nash have written those lines? Here is the complete poem:
The panther is like a leopard,
Except it hasn't been peppered.
Should you behold a panther crouch,
Prepare to say Ouch.
Better yet, if called by a panther,
Don't anther.
The Panther by Ogden Nash
The Rest

1a biol. [Frog-dissecting class: Abbr.]; 10a mace [Riot queller]; 14a rare [Pink, maybe]; 15a Ortho [Lawn care brand]; 16a alas ["Such a pity"]; 17a e-mag [Slate, e.g.]; 20a annuls [Makes invalid]; 22a Washo [California Indian tribe: Var.]; 23a dogma [Seminary teaching]; 25a agate [Cousin of a cat's-eye]; 30a trou [Drop ___ (moon)]; 32a Alma [Soprano Gluck]; 33a edit [Get copy right]; 35a tender [Money]; 44a aril [Seed cover]; 45a Seve [Golfer Ballesteros]; 54a moc [Soft shoe, briefly]; 56a ionic [Column style]; 58a rudest [Putting up the greatest affront]; 63a eves [Times to call, in some want ads]; 64a free [Unoccupied]; 65a side A [Deejay's interest, typically]; 66a heli- [Port opener?]; 67a labs [Family dogs, for short]; 68a hoots [Very funny happenings]; 69a inst. [The "I" in M.I.T.: Abbr.].

1d breads [Challah and baguettes]; 2d I am not! ["You are so!" preceder]; 4d legume [Pea, for one]; 5d bobs [Short cuts]; 8d cheapo [For next to nothing, in slang]; 9d hods [Brick carriers]; 10d mahogany [Reddish brown]; 11d Ali [Clay, today]; 13d ESL [Adult ed. class, often]; 19d sha [___ Na Na]; 21d Laredo [Rio Grande port]; 24d stir [Recipe verb]; 26d Alda ["M*A*S*H" star]; 27d T-men [Eliot Ness and others]; 28d earn [Bring home]; 37d egal [Not différent]; 38d care [___ package]; 40d all sizes [Nobody too big or too small, on a sign]; 41d msec [Fraction of a tick: Abbr.]; 50d Edsels [Ford failures]; 51d pet-sit [Take care of a neighbor's dog, say]; 53d toe [Piggy]; 58d RDAs [Nutritional amts.]; 59d NFL [Cowboys' org.]; 60d era [Cold war ___]; 61d web [Site for a site]; 62d net [Site for a site].

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