Tuesday, April 21, 2009

NYT Wednesday 4/22/09 - Draftsman Ship

The unusual requirements of this Wednesday New York Times crossword seemed to stretch the technical capabilities of the online versions to breaking point: when I came to view the puzzle file on Tuesday night in Across Lite, it wouldn't load, but I managed to convert the file to Sympathy format to solve. However, I didn't find out where the circles were supposed to be until the online Java version was fixed just before midnight. Happily things seem to be back to normal this morning and the Across Lite version is showing the circles and notedpad correctly.

All this detracted from a delightful puzzle which yields a simple drawing of a sailing boat if you follow the instruction in the notepad. This final step is reminiscent of a number of crosswords involving drawing in the cryptic series I used to edit. The catalog of objects I remember being represented include: the constellation Orion, an outline map of Britain; and a picture of a cat (which being from Cheshire, had to be removed, leaving the GRIN).
Solving time: 19 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 19d knitter {One who may put you in stitches?}
Theme

A simple drawing of a sailing boat made by connecting letters A-I, as indicated. The same letters are used to clue five parts of the boat:
17a main; 59a sail {A-B-C-A in the illustration}
25a keel {F-G}
30a mast {C-D}
43a boom {A-B}
49a hull {E-F-G-H-E}
Two famous sailing ships also feature as long answers:
18a Black Pearl {Ship in "Pirates of the Caribbean"}
55a Santa Maria {Ship to the New World}
Solution

Daniel A. Finan
Grid art by Sympathy

Crucimetrics
CompilersDaniel A. Finan / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 37 (16.4%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.82)
Theme squares44 (23.4%)
Scrabble points280 (average 1.49)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

41a NORAD {Santa-tracking org.}. Even the North American Aerospace Defense Command has a sense of humor: they track Santa's journey around the world as he delivers toys. We're told the tradition started when a Sears store in Colorado misprinted NORAD's number as the number for kids to call to talk to Santa.



reading Rita Mae Brown30d Mae {Writer Rita ___ Brown}. Rita Mae Brown is best known for her first novel Rubyfruit Jungle which was remarkable at the time of publication (1973) for its explicit treatment of lesbianism. To add to novel-writing, she has also coauthored a number of mysteries with her cat Sneaky Pie Brown.

46d Masala {"Mississippi ___" (1992 film)}. Mississippi Masala explores interracial romance between African-Americans and Indian-Americans in Mississippi.



Noteworthy

29a event {Ship's christening, e.g.}. The compiler referred to the nautical theme of the puzzle at every opportunity. This one seemed more strained than most.

safe63a yeggs {Stethoscope users, at times}. A yegg or yeggman is a burglar, especially from safes. I knew these obscure terms (origin unknown) from the British English dictionary Chambers and wondered if they were more commonly understood in the US, but Magdalen hadn't heard of them.

socks19d knitter {One who may put you in stitches?}. A neat clue, which I thought must refer to the medical profession. Magdalen has started knitting regularly again, as well as quilting. She's made me some lovely colorful socks - to find out more, see her Knitting in Harmony blog.

The Rest

1a dits {A Morse "I" consists of two}; 5a ever {Penultimate fairy tale word}; 9a cobra {Deadly snake}; 14a Ev'ry {"Climb ___ Mountain"}; 15a maxi {Long skirt}; 16a ad out {Break point}; 20a on a {Stop ___ dime}; 21a descent {Half of a mountaineering expedition}; 22a togaed {Dressed like a certain keg party attendee}; 24a tri- {Prefix with lateral}; 31a I'm no {"___ expert, but ..."}; 32a Napas {Certain California wines}; 34a taking {Pirating}; 36a Astaire {"Top Hat" dancer}; 39a rewires {Does some electrical work on}; 40a Diablo {Counterpart of un ángel}; 42a a tie {End in ___}; 45a remit {Send, as payment}; 50a Los {Part of U.C.L.A.}; 51a ideate {Brainstorm}; 52a pelters {People in fierce snowball fights}; 54a Srs. {Yearbook sect.}; 60a odeon {Ancient theater}; 61a lint {Makeup of some little balls}; 62a plea {Response to a charge}; 64a alee {Away from the wind}; 65a fads {Lava lamps and pet rocks, once}.

1d demote {Bump down but keep on}; 2d Ivanov {Chekhov play or its antihero}; 3d triage {"M*A*S*H" procedure}; 4d syn. {Lexicographical abbr.}; 5d embed {Incorporate, as a YouTube video into a Web site}; 6d Vals {Actor Kilmer and others}; 7d exactas {Horse-race bets on win and place}; 8d ricers {Kitchen gadgets}; 9d Capt. {Hook or Cook: Abbr.}; 10d ode {Tribute with feet}; 11d boa {Deadly snake}; 12d R. U. R. {1921 play that introduced the word "robot"}; 13d Atl. {One of the oceans: Abbr.}; 21d detail {Part of a larger picture}; 23d Annabel {Poe's "___ Lee"}; 25d Kiki Dee {"Don't Go Breaking My Heart" duettist, 1976}; 26d emir {Mideast V.I.P.}; 27d -enne {Cousin of -trix}; 28d logs {Old shipbuilding needs}; 33d problem {Leak on a ship, e.g.}; 35d awards {Tournament wrap-up}; 36d Adah {Wife of Esau}; 37d situ {In ___ (as found)}; 38d tail {Following detective}; 39d ROM {CD-___}; 41d nostril {It may be flared}; 44d oo-la-la {"Yowie, zowie!"}; 47d I tried {Words of resignation}; 48d teslas {Magnetic induction units}; 51d irate {Livid}; 52d pans {D– reviews}; 53d eine {Aachen article}; 55d soy {___ sauce}; 56d -ade {Suffix with many fruit names}; 57d neg. {Minus: Abbr.}; 58d tog {Dress (up)}; 59d SPF {Number on a bottle at the beach}.

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