Thursday, April 9, 2009

NYT Friday 4/10/09 - One Day It'll All Make Sense

The clue to 13-down seems to express what every solver must hope - that there will be a time when every clue can be understood without having to look things up. There was some evidence that I came closer to the ideal today: not knowing the restaurateur Toots Shor resulted in a mistake in a puzzle last month; having learned the name, I could solve 27-down in this puzzle right away.

Manny Nosowsky is the most prolific constructor in the New York Times (famous enough to have his own Wikipedia article) and I've solved a number of his crosswords in compilations. So it's great to run across his byline on a current puzzle and be able to comment on his work.
Solving time: 27 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 12d a-sea [Where gobs go]

Manny Nosowsky
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Compilers Manny Nosowsky / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 30 (13.3%) black squares
Answers66 (average length 5.91)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points306 (average 1.57)
New To Me

two-pair8a two-pair [So-so poker holding]. This might have been a helpful clue to a poker player, but I had to work around it. A two-pair is a hand with a pair of cards of one rank, another pair of a different rank and an unmatched card.

1d Cate [Wife in "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter"]. 8 Simple Rules (in short) was an American sitcom that ran from 2002 to 2005, loosely based on W. Bruce Cameron book. Katey Sagal plays the wife and mother in the show. This clip also shows Kaley Cuoco, who we love as Penny in Big Bang Theory.

6d all female [Like the pop group the Pussycat Dolls]. The compiler was generous in choosing a helpfully-named group (and not The Runaways, for example). Here's their cover of Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire.

armillary sphere9d wrist [Where to wear an armilla]. armilla means armlet in Latin and was a gold armband awarded to Roman soldiers; now it is used mostly as an archeological term for a bracelet. From it we get the name of a model of the celestial globe which looks like a bunch of bracelets: the armillary sphere.

23d Ingas ["Young Frankenstein" woman and others]. I didn't remember Inga right away, but Teri Garr's character came back to me with a few crossing letters. I don't much like the "... and others" clues to plurals of forenames, and it looks like the ration may be one per puzzle, or we might have had another at 52-down.

Ramos gin fizz42d Ramos [___ gin fizz]. I had my doubts over 41-across and 56-across, so having to guess this answer caused some anxiety. I gather that Ramos Gin Fizz was invented by Henry C. Ramos at a New Orleans restaurant and is now one of the most famous cocktails from that city. It's made of gin, lemon juice, lime juice, egg white, sugar, cream, orange flower water, and soda water - which comes out looking deceptively like milk shake!

Oder-Neiße Radweg51d Oder [___-Neisse Line]. The Oder-Neisse line became the border between Germany and Poland after the end of World War II - it's named for the two rivers that mark the majority of the boundary. There is now a 630km bike path along the line.


shish kebabs27a shish [Spit for a kebab]. Crosswords are so instructive: with this clue, I finally find out that the "shish" (şiş in Turkish) in a shish kebab means "skewer".

39a wans [Grows pale]. Sometimes it seems that compilers claim the right to add an S to any word to prize it into a grid. In this case, there's some excuse, as wan can be a verb as well as an adjective.
wan(1) adj lacking colour; pale and sickly; faint; dark, gloomy (obs).
n (rare) wanness.
vt and vi to make or to become wan.
From The Chambers Dictionary
court jester41a centers [Court figures] and 58a jesters [Court figures]. It's nice when you can make clues do double-duty like this (performing this trick with cryptic clues is a lot harder!). jesters was a lot easier to get than centers, which I assume feature in a basketball court.

56a bronzed [Nicely tan]. I had a tough time justifying this clue and it still seems a bit of a stretch to me. Ok, "tan" superficially looks like the infinitive of the verb, but obviously the adjective is what you need for the clue to make sense. However, you don't typically say "that's a nicely tan body", you say "that's a nicely tanned body".

12d a-sea [Where gobs go]. It must be a struggle to come up with new clues for a-sea. Here the compiler does a great job, referencing a "gob", the slang term for a sailor in the US Navy.

27d Shor [Subject of "Toots" by Bob Considine, 1969]. My ill-fated introduction to Toots Shor last month is now starting to pay off, as I can't seem to get the name out of my head now.

tedding52d teds [Dries, as hay]. This definition is horribly familiar from cryptic crosswords, where you couldn't get away with a definition like "Turner and others". I'm guessing that the way Ingas was clued at 23-down pretty much forced this more obscure agricultural reference.

The Rest

1a comical [Laugh-a-minute]; 15a apishly [In an unoriginal way]; 16a artiste [Circus performer, e.g.]; 17a tensile [Kind of strength]; 18a Lionels [Toy trains]; 19a engulf [Swallow]; 20a less salt [Food label for the health-conscious]; 21a element [Electric device with terminals]; 23a IPO [News on the bus. page]; 26a mint [Ingredient in many toothpastes]; 32a not stand a chance [Be doomed]; 36a get mileage out of [Obtain service from]; 37a ate one's heart out [Felt bitter anguish]; 38a Serge [Maestro Koussevitzky]; 40a wry [Twisted]; 44a compared [Like rivals, often]; 49a fat lot [Not much, with "a"]; 53a area map [Tourist guide]; 54a limeade [Vitamin C source]; 55a reglaze [Make like new, as a bathtub]; 57a toaster [Kitchen device first patented in 1921].

2d open [Ready to do business]; 3d Ming [Chinese dynasty during which trade with Portugal began]; 4d issue [Give out]; 5d chill [Flu symptom]; 7d lye [Burning substance]; 8d talent agent [Representative of Hollywood]; 10d Otos [Platte River tribe]; 11d pins [Immobilizes]; 13d it'll ["One day ___ all make sense"]; 14d rest [Doctor's prescription]; 20d lend a hand [Be of assistance]; 22d Minesweeper [Popular computer logic/guessing game]; 24d poete [French versifier]; 25d otter [Burrow : rabbit :: holt : ___]; 28d haut [High in the French Alps]; 29d in tow [Following obediently]; 30d scour [Scrub]; 31d hefty [Substantial]; 33d smog [Gray blanket]; 34d tine [Pitchfork part]; 35d cease-fire [Occasion to drop one's arms]; 41d craze [Slinkys or Magic 8 Balls, once]; 43d stent [Surgical tube]; 44d cart [Trolley]; 45d Oreo [Round sandwich]; 46d mega [Prefix with dose]; 47d pals [Buds]; 48d amat [Part of a Latin 101 conjugation]; 50d laze [Not do one darn thing]; 54d LBJ [___ Ranch (former Western White House)].

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