Wednesday, April 29, 2009

NYT Thursday 4/30/09 - To Cap It All

This wonderful puzzle rounds off a theme of punning capitals with the punning "capital offenses" - great fun! What might they have left out? Bangkok {Shoot the rooster?}, Jakarta {How did ya get 'er 'ome?}, Mogadishu {Cat sneeze?}.

I seemed to really breeze through this Thursday crossword: I got the basic idea after seeing Dublin/doublin' within 5 minutes - homing in on all the other capitals helped break into every corner of the grid.
Solving time: 13 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 7d thumb {Big print maker}
Theme

Puns on capital cities, this being punningly indicated by 36a capital offenses {Pun-crimes committed by the answers to the six starred clues?}:
15a Khartoum {Final resting place for old autos?} car tomb
24a Baghdad {Father of the Ziploc?} bag dad
49a Tripoli {Wide shoe specification?} triple E
63a New Delhi {Recently opened sandwich shop?} new deli
2d Dublin {Multiplyin' by 2?} doublin'
48d Beirut {Base of a fragrant tree?} bay root
Solution

Greg Kaiser and Steven Ginzburg
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics
CompilersGreg Kaiser and Steven Ginzburg / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers74 (average length 5.05)
Theme squares57 (30.5%)
Scrabble points303 (average 1.62)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

Oriana Fallaci33a Oriana {Author Fallaci}. Oriana Fallaci (1929-2006) was an Italian journalist and author. In her final years, she aroused controversy with her critical stance on Islam.

Tom Ridge16d Ridge {First secretary of homeland security}. Tom Ridge was head of the Homeland Security from 2003 to 2005. The department was created under George W. Bush in response to the 9/11 attacks.

Sawtooth Range50d Idaho {Home of the Sawtooth Range}. The Sawtooth Range is part of the Rockies close to Stanley, ID.

Noteworthy

6a OTs {Reasons some games run long: Abbr.}; 9a mtge. {You can get one on the house: Abbr.}; 12d EMT {R.N.'s colleague}. This corner is unfortunately rather overloaded with abbrs., which get progressively less interesting for me as they become second nature. Ones in the plural like OTs seem particularly undesirable.

space-bar57a space-bar {Long key}; 7d thumb {Big print maker}. A couple of wonderful misleading definitions - funny how the latter depresses the former (thumb: I just love to dance; space-bar: I'm feeling so depressed).

okra6d okra {Food whose name comes from a language of West Africa}. Specifically from the Nigerian language Igbo. It's also known as gumbo (a Bantu word) and lady's fingers. okra pods look really beautiful in cross-section.

darts23d dart {It has feathers and flies}. I thought the flies were going to be of the buzzing variety, as in Q: what has four wheels and flies? A: a garbage truck!. Darts used in the pub game don't tend to be fletched with real feathers these days.

28d duds {Bombs}. Not the exploding bombs, but the miserable failures at the box office. The biggest ever bomb in terms of dollars spent on production and not recouped was Alexander, which lost $120m.



The Rest

1a addle {Discombobulate}; 13a queues {Lines}; 17a Ubangi {Congo tributary}; 18a ruminant {Cow or goat}; 19a alfa {Preceder of bravo in a radio alphabet}; 20a beamed {Showed joy, in a way}; 22a sit {Canine command}; 23a Dem. {Person on the left?: Abbr.}; 29a no carbs {Extreme Atkins diet credo}; 32a see you {"Ta-ta!"}; 35a fend {Repel, with "off"}; 41a open {Like some primaries}; 42a morale {Team esteem}; 43a sarong {Island attire}; 46a Pan-Arab {Like Gamal Abdel Nasser's movement}; 51a man {Work, as a battle station}; 52a Sep. {Wm. H. Taft was the only U.S. president born in this month}; 54a fidget {Show unease, maybe}; 56a Asia {___-Pacific}; 61a inborn {Natural}; 64a cirrus {It's white and fleecy}; 65a laws {Parts of codes}; 66a yon {Thataway}; 67a batty {Crackers}.

1d aquas {Pool shades}; 3d deaf to {Not heeding}; 4d luna {___ moth}; 5d EEG {REM researcher's tool}; 8d same as {Interchangeable with, with "the"}; 9d mtn. {Atlas abbr.}; 10d to a {___ degree}; 11d gun {Rev}; 14d Siberia {Home of the 2,700-mile-long Lena River}; 21d embalm {Mummify}; 25d Hefner {Original "Playboy"}; 26d dyes {Reddens, maybe}; 27d a one {Tiptop}; 30d coin-op {Pinball machine, e.g.}; 31d snoop {Listen in (on)}; 34d A-frame {Simple building}; 36d cost {Outlay}; 37d a par {On ___ with}; 38d Peri {Actress Gilpin of "Frasier"}; 39d fanatic {Extremist}; 40d élan {Personal flair}; 44d no fee {Like many checking accounts}; 45d glibly {With a silver tongue}; 47d assort {Categorize}; 53d pansy {Violet variety}; 55d grin {Sign of sheepishness}; 56d abra {Start of a magic incantation}; 57d SNL {___ Digital Short}; 58d pea {Bit of a stew}; 59d aww! {"How cute!"}; 60d CDs {Bank offerings, in brief}; 62d nib {Penpoint}.

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