Monday, April 27, 2009

NYT Tuesday 4/28/09 - As You Like It

The compiler managed to get close to half of the letters in this grid involved in the theme (closer still if you count on a par as thematic). This is quite an achievement, even though the set of thematic answers is more open-ended than usual. It was good to see that there were no fill-in-the-blank clues outside of the thematic ones.

Despite being able to guess most of the similes without any help from cross-checking, there were enough "New to Me" answers that I ended up with a fairly slow time for a Tuesday New York Times puzzle.

A quick update on the Wired puzzles: I've solved Digidoku (fun, not too difficult) and Pick Nine (easy). Thanks for the Memories is a beautiful idea, but I'm not sure it will be that much fun to solve, so I've skipped it for the mo.
Solving time: 12 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 26d saws {Fellers in the woods?}

51a similes. The answer immediately beneath - 55a on a par {Like, with "with"} - could also be regarded as thematic.
10a deaf {___ as a post}
20a straight {___ as an arrow}
24a neat {___ as a pin}
25a cunning {___ as a fox}
26a strong {___ as an ox}
37a wise {___ as an owl}
41a sick {___ as a dog}
56a slippery {___ as an eel}
66a sober {___ as a judge}
67a dead {___ as a doornail}
68a hard {___ as a diamond}
6d tight {___ as a drum}
25d clean {___ as a whistle}
27d thin {___ as a rail}
29d clear {___ as a bell}
34d high {___ as a kite}
51d solid {___ as a rock}
54d blind {___ as a bat}

Matt Ginsberg
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

CompilersMatt Ginsberg / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.85)
Theme squares88 (46.6%)
Scrabble points290 (average 1.53)
New To Me

19a Lori {Actress Singer of "Footloose"}. Lori Singer played the role of Ariel Moore opposite Kevin Bacon in Footloose. The compiler could have been a little more cryptic by deleting "Actress" ... but perhaps not for a Tuesday puzzle.

Black Panther Party31a Seale {Newton's Black Panther Party co-founder}. If, like me, you didn't know this, you had to be on your toes with 5-down to get the first letter right. Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party with Huey P. Newton in 1966. It was a militant organization for the promotion of black rights, which had little influence after the 1970s.

54a Bana {Eric who played 2003's Hulk}. Likewise, you were in trouble if you didn't know this and had to guess 40-down. Eric Bana is an Australian actor who began his career as a comedian. In Hulk, he plays the eponymous superhero.

57d Erbe {Kathryn of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent"}. Kathryn Erbe plays Det. Alexandra Eames in the series.


Grant's Tomb6a tomb {Grant's is in New York}. Probably a gimme to Americans, but I had to consider Park and Club as possible answers before Grant's Tomb rang vague bells with me.

29a Clyde {Outlaw Barrow}. Another clue where I turned out to know the answer (if not the surname used in the clue) through the movie Bonnie and Clyde. For future reference, her full name was Bonnie Parker.

Romano cheese4d Romano {Italian cheese}. I once made the mistake of buying Romano (literally "from Rome") instead of Parmesan cheese. They look similar and both tend to be grated, but Magdalen will accept no substitutes.

Homo sapiens5d sapiens {Latin for 37-Across}. The Latin for "wise"? Not as difficult as it looks, once you remember what species you belong to.

Hank Aaron12d Aaron {Baseball All-Star every year from 1955 to 1975}. Hey, I remembered Hank Aaron - some of this baseball lore is sticking.

26d saws {Fellers in the woods?}. I was wondering if this would be a reference to the Ax Men themselves, rather than their tools. I cut down 20 or so trees a year, so have an interest in this stuff, but Magdalen has surprised me by watching some episodes on her own - the producers have a very nice line in animated accidents, there being insufficient gore in what they actually get to film?

Kenai Peninsula40d Kenai {Alaskan peninsula where Seward is located}. And I must have had a keen ear the day we came through it, as I remembered the name. I also remember the town of Moose Pass, where there is no gas station - the name Moose Pass Gas somehow didn't appeal, according to our bus driver. The Kenai Peninsula was essential knowledge if you were sadly ignorant of Eric Bana.

The Rest

1a icers {They put the frosting on the cake}; 14a Samoa {Pacific archipelago nation}; 15a Inga {"Young Frankenstein" role}; 16a UCAL {Golden State sch.}; 17a primp {Fix the hair just so, say}; 18a gird {Bind with a band}; 22a gallon {Jug capacity}; 30a aha! {"Bingo!"}; 33a ashes {Barbecue remnants}; 39a speak {Command to a dog}; 42a snack {Some chips, maybe}; 44a saner {Less loony}; 46a GHI {4 on a telephone}; 47a loser {Bottom dog}; 49a nachos {Some chips}; 60a lugs {Chowderheads}; 61a Asti {Sparkling wine locale}; 63a atria {Indoor trees may grow in them}; 64a is me {Words after "woe"}; 65a peen {One end of a hammer}; 69a trend {The way things are going}.

1d ISPs {AOL and others}; 2d cart {Auto denter in a supermarket parking lot}; 3d emir {Leader in a robe}; 7d on it {Doing the job}; 8d mgr. {Apartment bldg. V.I.P.}; 9d bad guy {The Joker in Batman movies, e.g.}; 10d dullness {Tedium}; 11d E. coli {Gastroenteritis cause, maybe}; 13d fling {Impulsive indulgence}; 21d gages {Light green plums}; 23d and a {Lawrence Welk's "one"/"two" connector}; 28d rasa {Literally, "scraped"}; 32d apses {Cathedral recesses}; 35d echo {Repetitive reply}; 36d skis {Nordic runners}; 38d eclipsed {Overshadowed}; 43d kola {Nut for caffeine?}; 45d ran past {Told to in order to get an opinion}; 48d seraph {Angelic figure}; 50d captor {Prisoner's opposite}; 52d in use {Busy}; 53d magma {Volcanic buildup}; 56d -ster {Suffix with pun}; 58d rien {It means nothing to Sarkozy}; 59d yard {Area within a picket fence, say}; 62d sea {Pirate's realm}.

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