Monday, April 13, 2009

NYT Tuesday 4/14/09 - Stone Circles

I really like the style of theme in this Tuesday New York Times puzzle, which I don't recall seeing before: solving started with a frantic search for the clue that explained what all the circles were for. After JADE emerged from Jagged Edge, predicting the gem helped with answers like toll plaza and pony express.

Solving this puzzle makes me realize that a few more "crucial posts" are called for: first a list of common Italian words to help with the likes of sette. Then a selection of those short answers which crop up again and again, but which I struggle to remember accurately: here we had Enid {Oklahoma City} and GRE {Test for Ph.D. wannabes}.
Solving time: 10 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 12d A-test {Mushroom producer, for short}

59a hidden gems {What the long Across answers with circles have}. The other five long across answers contain gemstones in sequence, as marked by the circles:
17a Jagged Edge {1985 Glenn Close/Jeff Bridges thriller}
21a pony express {Mail service made obsolete by the transcontinental telegraph}
32a dog paddle {Simple swimming stroke}
40a toll plaza {Widening in a highway, maybe}
53a Marcus Welby {1970s Robert Young TV role}

Barry Boone
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

CompilersBarry Boone / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.92)
Theme squares60 (32.1%)
Scrabble points306 (average 1.64)
New To Me

37a Lola {In a Kinks hit s/he "walked like a woman and talked like a man"}. Lola details a romantic encounter between young man and a transvestite - number 422 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

What Is To Be Done?42a Is To {Lenin's "What ___ Be Done?"}. There seem to be a lot of fill-in-the-blanks in this puzzle - mostly easy to guess. Lenin wrote the political pamphlet What Is To Be Done in 1901-2. It advocated a professional core of party activists to spearhead the revolution, and led to the split between the majority Bolshevik and minority Menshevik wings of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party.

Evil Ernie63a Ernie {"Evil ___" (comics series)}. Evil Ernie is an undead psychotic killer, in a series published by Chaos! Comics and Devil's Due Publishing - Bert's roommate can be evil, but nothing like this.

1d Sajak {Pat of "Wheel of Fortune"}. A great name to get into a crossword grid: Pat Sajak and Vanna White have hosted Wheel of Fortune since 1983 - it's the longest-running syndicated game show in American television history.

24d Total {General Mills brand}. I'm still learning the breakfast cereals like Total. Its ad campaigns seem to depend on dissing rival brands.

54d shag {Catch and throw back, as fly balls}. Oo er missus. Shagging means something quite different back in dear old Blighty, which Mike Myers made much of in Austin Powers 2.


23a kettles {Fish stew containers}. I'm guessing this is a reference the phrases "a different kettle of fish" and "a fine kettle of fish". These probably originate in traditional riverside picnics in the Scottish borders, on which you'd catch and eat salmon boiled in a cooking pot.
"At one, afternoon," replied the Captain deliberately, "Sir Bingo will attend you--the place may be the Buck-stane; for as the whole company go to the water-side to-day to eat a kettle of fish, there will be no risk of interruption.--And who shall I speak to, my good friend, on your side of the quarrel?"
From St Ronan's Well by Sir Walter Scott
A-test12d A-test {Mushroom producer, for short}. A neat clue, although I think I've seen it before with similar wordings.

The Rest

1a speed {Go 50 in a 30-m.p.h. zone, e.g.}; 6a lilt {Joyful tune}; 10a zeal {Enthusiasm}; 14a alike {Similar}; 15a in or {"Are you ___ out?"}; 16a Alta {Utah ski resort}; 19a Iles {Saint Barthélemy et d'autres}; 20a ach {German's "Dear me!"}; 25a lento {Slowly, in music}; 26a boys {Most Little Leaguers}; 27a bale {Hay unit}; 30a brat {Hardly a little angel}; 38a menus {Waiters' handouts}; 39a riot {Mob scene}; 43a Ebro {River of Spain}; 44a Ikes {Eisenhower and Turner}; 46a A Star {"When You Wish Upon ___"}; 50a ate dirt {Groveled}; 57a Deo {"Gloria in excelsis ___"}; 58a oxen {Farm team}; 61a rove {Go here and there}; 62a Anne {Actress Hathaway}; 64a Enid {Oklahoma city}; 65a gear {Bat, ball, glove, etc.}; 66a sette {Number of hills in Roma}.

2d place {Come in second}; 3d eight ball {It's last to be sunk}; 4d EKG {Heart test readout: Abbr.}; 5d deeply {Very much}; 6d liens {Property claims}; 7d Indy {Four-time Harrison Ford film role}; 8d loge {Second-level seating}; 9d T Rex {Fearsome display at a natural history museum}; 10d Zaire {Congo's name before 1997}; 11d Ellen {TV's DeGeneres}; 13d lasso {Rodeo rope}; 18d does {Bucks' partners}; 22d plea {Appeal}; 27d Bonzo {"Bedtime for ___" (Reagan film)}; 28d agua {Contents of the Spanish Main}; 29d LPs {8-track alternatives}; 30d BLT {Deli sandwich, for short}; 31d roo {Kanga's baby}; 32d dear {Honeybunch}; 33d dried {Like raisins vis-à-vis grapes}; 34d dissident {Andrei Sakharov in the Soviet era, e.g.}; 35d lot {Film studio locale}; 36d ETO {W.W. II command}; 38d MLB {World Series org.}; 41d Peru {Where Simón Bolívar was once president}; 44d It Be {The Beatles' "Let ___"}; 45d Keynes {Economist John Maynard ___}; 46d amore {Love, Italian-style}; 47d Saxon {The "S" in WASP}; 48d Trevi {Rome's ___ Fountain}; 49d acned {Pimply}; 50d alder {Tree with catkins}; 51d remit {Send, as payment}; 52d to see {"We're off ___ the Wizard ..."}; 55d wine {Burgundy or Bordeaux}; 56d Edna {"The Simpsons" teacher who was called Mrs. K}; 60d GRE {Test for Ph.D. wannabes}.


Tiffany said...

well I just happen to be doing this crossword today and I was stuck on a couple of the clues, so I decided to try to look them up and stumbled across this link...totally helped!!! thanks

Crossword Man said...

Hi Tiffany. Glad you found the blog AND found it helpful - many thanks for the feedback.