Thursday, April 2, 2009

NYT Friday 4/3/09 - A Tad Mad

Drat! Foiled again. Another case where ignorance of crossing answers left me guessing at a letter: you'd think I was mad to have spit make, but that seemed more likely during solving. Now I know better.

Otherwise, this was a very nice puzzle, with a lovely selection of longer answers such as fauxhawk, I'll get it and soup du jour. I just wish I was having better luck with my guesses this week!
Solving time: 55 mins (no cheating, two wrong answers)
Clue of the puzz: 17a artier [Affected to a greater degree]

John Farmer
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

CompilersJohn Farmer / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 32 (14.2%) black squares
Answers70 (average length 5.51)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points304 (average 1.58)
New To Me

fauxhawk16a fauxhawk [Hairstyle popularized by David Beckham]. I recalled what Becks' hair looked like, but didn't realize it had a special name. A fauxhawk is an imitation of a true mohawk without having to commit to removing most of one's hair. What an awesome answer to get into a puzzle!

Hot Cha Cha Cha20a cha [Syllable repeated after "hot"]. Justifying this is taking a while and I'm not sure I've got to the bottom of it. Presumably the reference is to the Latin American dance, but you get a lot more hits for a Gary Baseman-designed toy called Hot Cha Cha Cha.

48a Tad ["Win a Date With ___ Hamilton!" (2004 film)]. I contemplated Bad and Dad before eventually guessing Mad here. If I'd considered Tad at all, I don't think I'd have thought it likely. Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! is a romcom directed by Robert Luketic.

60a sleepers [Some yo-yo tricks]. This gave problems, as I wasn't sure about 55-down and 56-down. But sleeper seemed a plausible term for a yo-yo trick and I was glad I went with that - keeping a yo-yo spinning at the end of its string is aptly called sleeping.

28d Dru ["She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" co-star, 1949]. Three-letter actresses are a bit thin on the ground. Joanne Dru often appeared in westerns and played Olivia Dandridge in the referenced movie.

34d spit-take [Surprise shower?]. Not knowing Tad Hamilton, I wrongly guessed spit-make here. It seems to be the technique in movies where a drink is spat out in surprise. Here's much more than you could possibly want to know about the subj:

42d Lhasa [Setting for Martin Scorsese's "Kundun"]. This would be obvious if you only knew the movie was based on the life and writings of the Dalai Lama.

50d Pete [Jim's partner on "Adam 12"]. Adam-12 (Adam designating a two-man patrol, 12 their patrol area) was a realistic cop show in the late 60s centered on LAPD officers Pete Malloy (Martin Milner) and Jim Reed (Kent McCord).

CIS55d CIS [Post-cold war inits.]. CIS is short for the Commonwealth of Independent States, the grouping of 12 former Soviet Republics.

56d rep [Stock company, for short]. This gave trouble as "stock" in this sense is a specifically American term.


17a artier [Affected to a greater degree]. There were so many great misleading clues in this crossword that it was hard to choose between them - I think this one just wins out.

Religious Liberty2d B'nai [Sons of, in Hebrew]. I'm supposed to know Hebrew now? No, I knew this would be part of a term I was familiar with, in this case the Jewish Service Organization B'nai B'rith, which means "Sons of the covenant". The organization commissioned the Religious Liberty sculpture in Philly.

Joe Torre13d Torre [1971 N.L. M.V.P. who was later twice A.L. Manager of the Year]. I was so glad I learned Joe Torre earlier in the week - it was a great help in the NE corner of the puzzle.

The Rest

1a obstacle [Something to be negotiated]; 9a Blest ["___ Be the Tie That Binds" (Christian hymn)]; 14a on patrol [Looking for trouble?]; 15a sail to [Visit on an ocean cruise, say]; 18a sin [With 4-Down, smoker's fee]; 19a eve [Walpurgis Night vis-à-vis May Day]; 21a War [___ Emblem (2002 Kentucky Derby winner)]; 22a bear the blame [Own responsibility]; 25a smelt [Refine]; 27a oil belt [It has energy in reserve]; 28a door [It may be cracked open]; 29a Sela [Emmy award-winning Ward]; 31a atlas [World view?]; 33a runts [Little ones]; 35a yen [Aching]; 36a stabs [Lances]; 37a up top [Having a good vantage point]; 38a edge [Vantage]; 40a UCLA [Peace Nobelist Ralph Bunche's alma mater]; 41a DeLillo ["Falling Man" novelist Don]; 43a niche [Métier]; 45a just this once ["I won't ask again"]; 47a OJs [Harvey Wallbanger mixers, briefly]; 49a foe [Moriarty, to Holmes]; 50a psi [Scuba tank meas.]; 53a soon as [When, colloquially]; 55a cabarets [Subjects of some Toulouse-Lautrec paintings]; 57a Eureka [Electrolux brand]; 58a I'll get it [Ringing response?]; 59a Frite [Pomme ___].

1d oofs [Comic book exclamations]; 3d spun [Like yarn]; 4d tax [See 18-Across]; 5d at heel [Close behind]; 6d cravats [Attire worn with frock coats]; 7d lower [Dim]; 8d Elk [Black ___ (Lakota visionary)]; 9d Barabbas [1961 Anthony Quinn title role]; 10d lit [Stewed]; 11d Eli Wallach [Hollywood star whose memoir was titled "The Good, the Bad, and Me"]; 12d steam table [Caterer's setup for a hot buffet]; 15d Sahel [Savanna region stretching from Senegal to Chad]; 20d Chiang [Leader with Roosevelt and Churchill at the Cairo Conference, 1943]; 22d Bertolt [Dramatist Brecht]; 23d Toledos [Old Spanish swords]; 24d lettuce [Head on a plate?]; 25d soup du jour [Restaurant special]; 26d Montessori [Education pioneer Maria]; 30d eyelid [Something most fish lack]; 32d SSA [Org. that's got your number?]; 39d ennoble [Honor]; 44d ice age [Wintry stretch]; 45d Josef [___ K., Kafka's protagonist in "The Trial"]; 46d of all [Without exception]; 51d stir [Ferment]; 52d -ists [Cult followers?]; 54d net [Have left when all is said and done]; .

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