Monday, April 6, 2009

NYT Tuesday 4/7/09 - Trick of the Trade

My new strategy for solving the easier puzzles - focusing on clues were I don't have any crossing letters - really seems to be paying off: another puzzle solved in under 6 minutes. This won't last, because with the more difficult cluing later in the week, I really need letters from crossings to solve clues at all.

This was a nice straightforward puzzle from a compiler whose last Friday puzzle defeated me with Toots Shor. You might say this sort of theme is a tried and trusted trick of the trade, but no harm in that!
Solving time: 6 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 53d read [Go over Time?]
Theme

Phrases where both parts start tr:
20a treasure troves [Valuable discoveries]
25a trick or treat [Cry while holding a bag]
42a tried and true [Proven to work]
48a tractor-trailer [Semi]
Solution

Joon Pahk
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics
CompilersJoon Pahk / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers74 (average length 5.05)
Theme squares52 (27.8%)
Scrabble points299 (average 1.60)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

6a Zack [Lead character on "Saved by the Bell"]. I was "saved by the bell" many times in school and this teen sitcom is indeed set in a high school. Zack Morris was the charming schemer played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar.



Bobby Doerr17a Doerr [Red Sox Hall-of-Famer Bobby]. Second baseman Bobby Doerr played for the Boston Red Sox for his entire career from 1937 to 1951. A name like Doerr is a gift to cryptic clue writers because of the helpful way it splits into two common verbs (do and err).

38a Joel [Billy who sang "We Didn't Start the Fire"]. I'd heard of the singer, not the song. In fact, I probably couldn't have named any of his songs - Magdalen is more of a fan than I am. We Didn't Start the Fire, speaking for the boomer generation, disclaims complete responsibility for the state of the world in 1989. This remarkably hypnotic video clip shows every news item featured in the song:



Currier and Ives27d Ives [Currier and ___]. I'd heard the names together, but couldn't quite remember what they'd done. Currier and Ives was a printmaking firm which made over a million hand-colored lithographs (German immigrant girls providing most of the labor). Their prints depicted a variety of images of American life: winter scenes; horse-racing images; portraits of people; pictures of ships, sporting events, and ferocious battles of the American Civil War.

Noteworthy

Wiccan altar14a Wicca [Neopagan belief]. Wicca was founded in England in the mid 20th century, but claims its origins in pre-Christian pagan religions. Retired civil servant Gerald Gardner was instrumental in bringing Wicca to popular attention through his1954 book, Witchcraft Today.

18a Levi [___ Strauss jeans]. I've always wondered if Claude Lévi-Strauss the anthropologist, and Levi Strauss the first manufacturer of blue jeans were related. I've now had a chance to find out the answer and it's ... drumroll ... no.

Lévi-StraussLevi Strauss

6d Zulu [Last letter of a pilot's alphabet]. The Nato Phonetic Alphabet was developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization and first implemented in 1951; refinements were made and the final implementation in 1956 has stuck and been adopted by many organizations. The devisers seem to have had fun picking out pairs: Romeo and Juliet, Foxtrot and Tango, Quebec and Lima. Zulu was the movie that brought Michael Caine to public attention.




53d read [Go over Time?]. Good use of a magazine title to misdirect. It works better if the title is the first word (as in "O, say" for mag, which we had the other day), but that's probably too devious for a Tuesday puzzle.

football diagram57d RTs [Football blockers: Abbr.]. RT is short for Right Tackle. On running plays, the RT usually pushes defenders away to clear a path for the RB (running back); on passing plays, they prevent onrushing defenders from reaching the QB (quarterback).

The Rest

1a frisk [Pat down]; 10a a-sea [On a cruise]; 15a upon [Second word of many fairy tales]; 16a cult [Extremist sect]; 19a cave [Spelunker's hangout]; 23a won [Prevailed]; 24a wisest [Most enlightened]; 31a novae [Exploding stars]; 32a ha-has [Loud chuckles]; 33a Mme. [Married mlle.]; 36a UTEP [Sch. on the bank of the Rio Grande]; 37a Timor [East ___ (nation since 2002)]; 39a tos [Lean-___]; 40a waned [Ebbed]; 41a aeons [The time it takes mountains to rise]; 44a Soleil [Cirque du ___]; 47a emb. [Diplomat's bldg.]; 54a rash [Impulsive]; 55a Roma [Home of Città del Vaticano]; 56a rarer [Less common]; 58a attn. [Letter-routing abbr.]; 59a Ewan [Actor McGregor]; 60a éclat [Brilliant display]; 61a peso [South-of-the-border currency]; 62a dang ["Well, gosh darn!"]; 63a skeds [Timetables, informally].

1d Fwd [Subject line starter on many an e-mail joke]; 2d riot [Hilarious act]; 3d icer [Cake decorator]; 4d screw cap [Twist-off bottle top]; 5d karaoke [Word derived from Japanese for "empty orchestra"]; 7d aper [Imitator]; 8d cove [Sheltered inlet]; 9d knitwear [Sweaters and such]; 10d accost [Approach aggressively]; 11d suave [Debonair]; 12d elves [Dwellers in Middle-earth]; 13d a test ["This is only ___"]; 21d Sno [___-cone]; 22d rias [Narrow inlets]; 25d T nut [Letter-shaped fastener]; 26d Roto [___-Rooter]; 28d Rhine [Riesling wines are produced in its valley]; 29d tamed [Having dams at various locations, as a river]; 30d Rhoda [Spinoff of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"]; 33d moor [What boats may do in an inlet]; 34d menu [File, Edit or Help]; 35d else ["That's something ___"]; 37d tailored [Made to order, as a suit]; 38d jet-black [Not just dark]; 40d writ [Habeas corpus, for one]; 41d admires [Looks up to]; 42d techno [Electronic dance genre]; 43d NEA [Teacher's union: Abbr.]; 44d strap [Amusement park ride feature]; 45d orate [Hold forth]; 46d lasts [Endures]; 49d Row A [Prime seating spot]; 50d T-man [Untouchable, e.g.]; 51d rang ["You ___?"]; 52d Erle [Writer ___ Stanley Gardner].

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