Sunday, May 3, 2009

NYT Monday 5/4/09 - Nerves of Stihl

Game of Logging trainingAfter spending all day in the Arnot Forest, NY being instructed in chainsaw maintenance and reminded of the nuances of the Game of Logging's method of tree felling, I was glad to put my feet up and have a straightforward puzzle to solve without any major complications to discuss.

This Monday New York Times crossword fit the bill, though I wonder what beginner solvers would make of iters - a word unlikely to appear in any desktop dictionaries?

The theme made me think of the anxieties I'd had during the day: it's hard to do a perfect job of cutting down a tree under the watchful eyes of an instructor and your fellow trainees. I'm glad to say I didn't lose my nerve and the only time I got cold feet was when crossing a stream with ankle-deep water.
Solving time: 7 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 35a toes {Low digits}

Losing confidence in one's ability three different ways (but all clued the same):
17a getting cold feet {Succumbing to second thoughts}
36a chickening out {Succumbing to second thoughts}
59a losing one's nerve {Succumbing to second thoughts}

Mark Milhet
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

CompilersMark Milhet / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 34 (15.1%) black squares
Answers74 (average length 5.16)
Theme squares43 (22.5%)
Scrabble points282 (average 1.48)
New To Me

4d Astin {Actor/brother Sean or Mackenzie}. Half-brothers Sean Astin and Mackenzie Astin are both American film actors, sons of actress Patty Duke. Sean was a memorable Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings trilogy (which I have seen - I just didn't register the name).

Jan Steen self-portrait5d Jan {Dutch painter Steen}. Jan Steen (c. 1626–1679) is best known for his genre paintings of social and domestic scenes, often humorous in nature.


35a toes {Low digits}. Such deceptive definitions are thin on the ground for a Monday puzzle. It's nice to see them, as it gives novice solvers a taste of what's in store for them in end-of-week puzzles if they persevere.

41a Nation {Colbert ___ (Comedy Central show audience)}. For once I know an American TV show, The Colbert Report being one of our favorite comedies. Stephen Colbert's intensely loyal fans, the Colbert Nation, recently made sure his name topped Nasa's Help Name Node 3 poll.

45a ISBN {978-0060935443, for Roget's Thesaurus}. Hmm ... Roget is out of copyright and many different publisher's have used his good name to sell different thesauri. The Chosen One is Collins's Roget's International Thesaurus, 6th Edition.

58a iters {Anatomical passages}. This came up earlier this year in a Sunday puzzle, but it is surprising to see this really uncommon word in a Monday crossword. An iter is exactly what the clue suggests, the best known one being the aqueduct of silvius connecting the third and fourth ventricles in the brain. Blockage in the duct is a cause of hydrocephalus.

cornbread36d corn-pone {Dixie bread}. You don't come across pone much in England. Luckily I remembered it from reading The Grapes of Wrath many years ago. Magdalen makes a great cornbread, most recently as an accompaniment to black bean soup.

ferrule40d ferules {Old schoolmasters' sticks}. Change the r to rr and you get a word with a totally different meaning and etymology: a ferule is a cane or rod for beating; a ferrule is a metal band around the end of a stick for reinforcing it.

The Rest

1a La-la {In ___ land (daydreaming)}; 5a jets {Boeing products}; 9a orbit {Path around the earth}; 14a etas {Greek vowels}; 15a Aron {Elvis Presley's middle name}; 16a Delco {Battery brand}; 20a I'm hip! {Beatnik's "Got it!"}; 21a skoal! {"Salut!," in Scandinavia}; 22a SST {Concorde, in brief}; 23a opened {Performed prior to the main act}; 25a two {What it takes to tango}; 26a she {"That's all ___ wrote"}; 27a nor {Neither's partner}; 28a cues {Billiard sticks}; 31a stayer {One still in the game, in poker}; 33a hand in {Submit, as homework}; 40a foal {Mare's newborn}; 42a errors {Blunders}; 46a EMI {U.K. record label}; 49a RNA {Genetic material}; 50a A-OK {Hunky-dory}; 52a seaman {Sailor}; 54a ups {___ and downs}; 55a in red {How Santa dresses, mostly}; 62a Enero {Start of the Spanish calendar}; 63a Noah {Biblical captain for 40 days and 40 nights}; 64a ager {Golden ___ (senior citizen)}; 65a sedan {Two-door or four-door car}; 66a ally {Friend in war}; 67a melt {Unfreeze}.

1d legion {Veterans' group, informally}; 2d a tempo {Returning to the previous speed, in music}; 3d lather {Agitated state}; 6d ergs {Energy units}; 7d tock {Tick-___}; 8d snoot {High-hatter}; 9d odd lot {Fewer than 100 shares}; 10d ref {Fight adjudicator, for short}; 11d bless you {"Gesundheit!"}; 12d ice sheet {Arctic covering}; 13d totters {Walks unsteadily}; 18d ipecac {Drug used to treat poisoning}; 19d laws {Statutes}; 24d dunk {Easy two-pointer in basketball}; 29d Eden {Genesis garden}; 30d Sinai {Mount ___, where the Commandments were given to Moses}; 32d a ton {Loads}; 33d Hilo {Largest city on the island of Hawaii}; 34d nits {Tiny criticisms}; 37d harassed {Pestered}; 38d nibs {Writing points}; 39d gone in {Entered}; 43d rain on {Ruin, as one's parade}; 44d song {Any one of the Top 40}; 46d emerge {Come out}; 47d Marvel {___ Comics, home of Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four}; 48d insert {Add with a caret, e.g.}; 51d króna {Swedish coin}; 53d A-team {Starting group of athletes}; 56d enol {Certain alkene}; 57d deal {Order to the person holding the deck of cards}; 60d Ira {Author Levin}; 61d shy {Not camera-ready?}.


Souksavath said...

thanks for the crossword answers! i had a few

Crossword Man said...

Glad to help out ... keep your nerve and it should get easier with time!