Saturday, May 9, 2009

NYT Sunday 5/10/09 - For Woods

The timing of this golf-themed puzzle seems fortuitous, as Magdalen (Tiger's greatest fan) has been glued to the coverage of The Players Championship this week. (Actually scarcely a week seems to go by without some kind of televised golf tournament, so maybe there was no particular intention behind the scheduling of this crossword.)

We really enjoyed the puns on offer, especially submarine sand wedges and wet tee shot contests. The only one we thought a bit of a stretch was a lowdown birdie shame (which we assume derives from a lowdown dirty shame).

Crossword Puzzle ChallengesPatrick Berry - the compiler of this puzzle - is the author of Crossword Puzzle Challenges for Dummies. It's the book of crosswords I'm currently working through (as if solving the regular New York Times puzzles daily weren't enough). I'm currently on puzzle 42 of the 70 puzzles, which are ordered in increasing difficulty. Those in the 40s are taking me around 20 minutes, so are about equivalent to a Thursday NYT.
Solving time: 45 mins (no cheating, collaborative effort)
Clue of the puzz: 20a halo {Cause of lightheadedness?}

Puns with a golfing theme:
22a caddie corner {Where golf bag handlers congregate inside the clubhouse?}
26a submarine sand wedges {Golf clubs tossed into the drink at Pebble Beach?}
40a the putter fly effect {Tendency to throw one's club after sinking a short stroke?}
63a no holes barred {Like golf courses that let you play the full 18?}
83a wet tee shot contests {Competitions to see who can drive a ball farthest in the rain?}
101a a lowdown birdie shame {Thoroughly undeserved under-par result?}
109a fast four wood {Fairway club swung quickly?}

Patrick Berry
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

CompilersPatrick Berry / Will Shortz
Grid21x21 with 76 (17.2%) black squares
Answers136 (average length 5.37)
Theme squares111 (30.4%)
Scrabble points589 (average 1.61)
New To Me

6a blat {Unappealing trumpet sound}. This onomatopoeic word seemed familiar, but not in the context of trumpets. Dictionaries to hand suggest a blat is the bleating sound from sheep, car horns or the like (which I guess may cover trumpets).

61a Lilo {Disney character from Hawaii}. Somehow I have escaped seeing Lilo & Stitch since they first appeared in the 2002 movie, so wasn't aware Lilo was from anywhere special. Lilo Pelekai is the little Hawaiian girl who adopts Stitch (the product of genetic experimentation by aliens) as her "dog".

swine flu68a NEA {Org. funding many PBS programs}. Just when I'd learned that NEA is the largest labor union in the US, this clue comes along to disturb my confidence. The second most common way of cluing NEA is as the National Endowment for the Arts.

46d CDC {Org. that combats epidemics}. A timely clue, with swine flu being so much in the news at the mo. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were established in 1946 to provide information to enhance health decisions and promote the health of the US people.

59d Joon {"Benny & ___" (1993 film)}. Magdalen reminds me that Benny & Joon is one of the movies we can get for free if we send off enough coupons from our cereal packets. We have quite a stack of these free movies waiting to be watched, so I've put the brakes on getting more for the noo. This one is a 1993 rom-com starring Johnny Depp, with Aidan Quinn and Mary Stuart Masterson as siblings Benny & Joon.

65d bucko {Londonderry lad}. I never heard this used when living much closer to Northern Ireland than I am now, so the answer didn't ring true to me; but checking my dictionary, I stand corrected.
bucko n (pl buckoes) a swaggerer, a domineering bully (orig naut sl); a young lad, chap (chiefly Irish).
From The Chambers Dictionary
Old Miss76d Ole {___ Miss}. Magdalen breezed past this clue which I needed to research. I see Ole Miss is the University of Mississippi, a nickname it acquired in a contest in 1897. A good thing for the sake of academic dignity that the Colbert Nation wasn't around in those days to bias the contest.

Edsel98d Edsel {Car with a horse collar grille}. News of the heroic failure of the Edsel in the late 1950s reached even England, though I didn't have a clear image of the car in my mind and mention of horse collar grilles piques my interest. The accompanying picture says it all. Incidentally, the car is named for Henry Ford's son Edsel (1893–1943).


The Last Supper20a halo {Cause of lightheadedness?}. I like this clue which reminds me so much of how halos are depicted in art.

ref96a ref {One who works while others play?}. Our heads were still full of the New York Met's La Cenerentola relay when we solved the puzzle, so our first thought was conductors. But since a three-letter word was called for, it has to be ref.

The Rest

1a kempt {Neat}; 10a tbsp. {Medicinal amt.}; 14a bio. {Science class, briefly}; 17a friars {Minorites, e.g.}; 19a Mayle {"A Year in Provence" author}; 21a end {Close}; 24a in a sense {If you look at it the right way}; 28a aria {Classical singer's selection}; 30a pace {Work off nervous energy, in a way}; 31a elk {Big game}; 32a gats {Hit makers?}; 33a paz {Guerra's opposite}; 34a toil {Struggle}; 36a boas {Fluffy scarves}; 39a Elsa {Fashion designer Schiaparelli}; 47a Oreo {Cookie sold in a blue package}; 48a erode {Eat away at}; 49a fedoras {Fops' tops}; 53a Slidell {Louisiana city on Lake Pontchartrain}; 56a pecs {Bench presser's pride}; 57a Harcourt {Publishing firm bought by Houghton Mifflin}; 58a tassel {Set of threads?}; 59a jerk {Ding-a-ling}; 60a Pei {Bank of China Tower architect}; 62a RCA {___ Dome (former Colts stadium)}; 69a Otis {Former Magic player Smith}; 71a Eos {Dawn goddess}; 72a muse {Cogitate}; 73a lucent {Clear}; 75a Piano Man {Billy Joel's first Top 40 hit}; 78a tics {Quirks}; 79a invades {Makes a strong entrance?}; 80a scholar {The American ___ (Phi Beta Kappa publication)}; 81a Ditka {N.F.L. Coach of the Year in 1985 and 1988}; 82a hies {Spurs (on)}; 89a bray {Barnyard call}; 92a than {Comparative follower}; 93a CPOs {Some ship personnel, briefly}; 94a oui {"Parlez-vous français?" answer}; 95a Li Po {Tang dynasty poet}; 98a Erle {___ Stanley Gardner}; 100a Amex {Visa alternative, for short}; 108a negligee {Nightwear}; 112a cue {Shark's stick}; 113a orbs {Some Christmas ornaments}; 114a trees {Golf course obstacles}; 115a beaned {Knocked dizzy}; 116a ape {Long-armed animal}; 117a nest {Digs in the forest}; 118a Hals {Dutch Golden Age painter}; 119a Ayers {___ Rock (Aussie landmark)}.

1d KFC {Restaurant chain headquartered in Louisville}; 2d era {Part of B.C.E.}; 3d midsize {Category of sedan}; 4d Padua {"The Taming of the Shrew" setting}; 5d Trib {"Lou Grant" paper, for short}; 6d baric {Containing element #56}; 7d Lynne {Jeff of the Traveling Wilburys}; 8d alee {Out of the wind}; 9d terse {Not at all garrulous}; 10d think of {Come up with}; 11d band {Unadorned ring}; 12d slaw {Cabbage dish}; 13d pose {Sit (for)}; 14d Bengal {Bay of ___ (terminus of the Ganges)}; 15d insets {Alaska and Hawaii on U.S. maps, often}; 16d Odessa {Stalin named it a "hero city" after W.W. II}; 18d Sem. {Relig. school}; 19d morale {U.S.O. shows boost it}; 23d Capitol {National Mall sight}; 25d edge tool {One applied to a grindstone}; 27d Albee {"Tiny Alice" playwright}; 28d apt {Germane}; 29d rah {Crowd cheer}; 34d tureen {Buffet table dish}; 35d Otello {Verdi opera}; 37d affair {Public scandal}; 38d seer {Crystal gazer}; 41d pods {Cacao holders}; 42d repels {Drives back}; 43d frère {"___ Jacques"}; 44d locksmith {Key employee?}; 45d yds. {1,760 make a mi.}; 50d ruined {Bankrupt}; 51d Arlene {"What's My Line?" panelist Francis}; 52d stoats {Brown furs}; 53d strops {Sharpens, as a razor}; 54d lactic {___ acid (sour cream component)}; 55d Isaiah {First of the Major Prophets}; 57d here {"You can have this"}; 60d Passat {Volkswagen sedan}; 64d hearth {Brick construction}; 66d El Niño {Weather changer}; 67d duvets {Down-filled quilts}; 70d snowy owl {Quebec's official bird}; 74d case {Medical patient}; 77d Matt {Olympic swimmer Biondi}; 78d 'tis {"___ the season!"}; 79d I hope so {Unconvincing "yes"}; 81d Deneb {Brightest star in Cygnus}; 84d earnest {Like true believers}; 85d C clefs {Symbols seen on viola music}; 86d Someone {"If I Needed ___" (Harrison-penned Beatles song)}; 87d Tue. {Day of the wk.}; 88d six {Early wake-up time}; 89d Blanca {Bahía ___, Argentina}; 90d rile up {Agitate}; 91d apogee {Highest point}; 97d fifth {Liquor bottle}; 99d rites {Observances}; 100d Amway {Direct-sales giant}; 102d Dion {"Ruby Baby" singer, 1963}; 103d ogre {Man-eating giant}; 104d webs {Attic fillers}; 105d rara {___ avis}; 106d hub {Indirect flight stop-off}; 107d area {Vicinity}; 110d o'er {National anthem contraction}; 111d DDS {Tooth-care deg.}.

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