Saturday, May 16, 2009

NYT Sunday 5/17/09 - Job Lot

It took us quite a while before we could make sense of the theme of this Sunday New York Times crossword. Magdalen and I solved this puzzle together, and I have to report that she sussed the theme out before I did. Unusually, instead of the answers being puns, the clue contains the pun.

The puns are convincing for the most part, with just 71-across giving me some doubts as to whether Darren is meant to sound like derrin' or darin' - I've assumed the latter (not that it really matters).

Our relatively short solving time suggests this was an easier than average puzzle, although we solved it without the handicap of trying to eat at the same time. So perhaps it's just we're normally a bit slower when puzzling over dinner.
Solving time: 35 mins (no cheating, collaborative effort)
Theme

The sound of certain forenames suggests jobs they might do:
23a housekeeper {Perfect job for Dustin?} (dusting)
25a mercenary {Perfect job for Warren?} (warring)
44a Olympic canoer {Perfect job for Rowan?} (rowing)
65a master thief {Perfect job for Robin?} (robbing)
71a stunt double {Perfect job for Darren?} (daring)
93a airplane pilot {Perfect job for Landon?} (landing)
118a cow herder {Perfect job for Brandon?} (branding)
121a poker player {Perfect job for Holden?} (holding)
Solution

Oliver Hill
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics
CompilersOliver Hill / Will Shortz
Grid21x21 with 76 (17.2%) black squares
Answers140 (average length 5.21)
Theme squares86 (23.6%)
Scrabble points556 (average 1.52)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

Bobby Jones1a USGA {Bob Jones Award org.}. My first thought was a golfing award, but why Bob Jones and not Bobby Jones? I've not been able to answer that, but can tell you the United States Golf Association gives the award annually in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf. The 2008 recipient was George H. W. Bush.

free-soilers85a free-soiler {Pre-Civil War abolitionist}. A slightly odd term, sounding more like a description of a dog. It means a member of the Free Soil Party, a "third party" briefly active in the 1848 and 1852 presidential elections. Its main purpose was opposing the expansion of slavery into the western territories. Former president Martin Van Buren was a prominent free-soiler and their presidential nominee in 1848.

David Robinson104a Admiral {Nickname of the N.B.A.'s David Robinson, with "the"}. David Robinson is a retired hoopster who played center for the San Antonio Spurs his entire career. His previous service as an officer in the US Navy led to him being nicknamed The Admiral.

Oldsmobile 98128a sedan {98, e.g.}; 129a Olds {98, e.g.}. I had to ask Magdalen why "98". It's nothing to do with the year of the car - the Oldsmobile 98 was the flagship GM model from 1941 until 1996.

40d PBS News {Jim Lehrer presentation}. Jim Lehrer seems to be the equivalent of a newsreader on BBC News. His show is called The NewsHour. Here he is cracking jokes for a promo.



111d Loni {Actress Anderson}. Loni Anderson is best known for portraying Jennifer Marlowe, the receptionist in the sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati.



119d emo {Genre of Fall Out Boy}. Never heard of Fall Out Boy, but guessed emo from just the middle letter. Here's their first top 10 single, Sugar, We're Goin Down.



Noteworthy

torii57a torii {Japanese gateway}. I've seen this answer several times in cryptic crosswords but only know it from a dictionary definition. Now I'm writing this blog, I'm more curious about seeing what such answer words look like. A torii is a tall structure at the entrance to a Shinto shrine: at its simplest, just a horizontal rail atop two columns, but usually more elaborate.

The Rest

5a Islam {"The straight path"}; 10a ion {___ cloud}; 13a nerve {Audacity}; 18a stops {Stations}; 20a Leila {Girl's name meaning "night" in Arabic}; 21a braindead {Completely unthinking}; 26a enrich {Better}; 27a dived {Went scubaing}; 29a lye {NaOH}; 30a Amys {Carter and Grant}; 31a red star {Symbol of Communism}; 33a denims {Kick-around pants}; 35a has {Is bound (to)}; 37a KIA {Sportage, for one}; 39a glue-pot {Woodworker's double boiler}; 41a If I {Dr. Seuss' "___ Ran the Zoo"}; 51a blows it {Errs badly}; 53a cooer {Dove, for one}; 54a keno {Lotto variation}; 55a mass emails {Spam, say}; 58a gremlin {Mischievous one}; 60a St. Lo {Manche department capital}; 61a merengue {Relative of the cha-cha-cha}; 68a Sons {Steinway & ___}; 69a abs {Target of core workouts}; 70a owie {Child's cry of pain}; 76a in spades {Excessively}; 80a oops {"My bad"}; 81a mall rat {One hanging out around shoppers}; 83a regal {Stately}; 88a mayo {Deli spread}; 91a usage {Dictionary info}; 92a tin-cans {"Just married" car decoration}; 96a yod {Letter after teth}; 97a deterge {Clean}; 99a yen {Appetite}; 100a R.E.M. {Band with the #1 album "Monster"}; 101a ash-can {Refuse container}; 110a sloe {Gin flavoring}; 113a Ont. {CN Tower's home: Abbr.}; 115a Titus {Emperor son of Vespasian}; 117a ultimo {Last, in León}; 123a Anne Meara {Half of a longtime comedy duo}; 124a Enero {New Year's month, overseas}; 125a eland {Beast with twisted horns}; 126a gismo {Whatchamacallit: Var.}; 127a Kyd {Early English playwright Thomas}.

1d usher {Concert hall employee}; 2d stone {Backgammon playing piece}; 3d gourd {Common dried decoration}; 4d apsis {Orbital point}; 5d Île {Québec's ___ de Montréal}; 6d seed {Symbol of regeneration}; 7d lipid {Fat}; 8d Aleve {Naproxen, commercially}; 9d Marengo {Italian town where Napoleon won a historic 1800 battle}; 10d IBM {Big Blue}; 11d or else {Ultimatum closer}; 12d nary {Not}; 13d NNE {Little Rock-to-St. Louis dir.}; 14d Ednas {Author Ferber and others}; 15d ream {Stationery order}; 16d vary {Diversify}; 17d Edy's {"Slow Churned" brand}; 19d sect {Shia, e.g.}; 22d ice hole {Opening for winter fishing}; 24d khaki {Dull yellowish brown}; 28d dilemmas {Moral posers}; 32d Rick {"Casablanca" bistro owner}; 34d murals {Some Egyptian pyramid art}; 36d atom {Quantum mechanics model}; 38d ace {Whiz-bang}; 41d is it I? {Judas's question}; 42d Fille {"La ___ du Régiment" (Donizetti opera)}; 43d it's of {"___ no importance"}; 44d Oct. {Birth month for most Libras: Abbr.}; 45d loom {Be on the horizon}; 46d yore {The olden days}; 47d Meir {Predecessor of Rabin}; 48d priest {Confession receiver}; 49d ange {Religious figure, to Pierre}; 50d nor {Here-there connector}; 52d wash {Scrub}; 56d sit on {Squash}; 59d ember {Particle of a dwindling campfire}; 62d nod {Assent}; 63d gnomist {Writer of aphorisms}; 64d usual {Typical}; 66d rip {Shred}; 67d tear up {Shred}; 69d all right {"Oh, yeah!"}; 71d softy {Sentimentalist}; 72d To Rio {"Road ___" (Hope/Crosby film)}; 73d upend {Topple}; 74d nsec {Instant: Abbr.}; 75d blears {Dims}; 76d ital. {Typesetter's choice: Abbr.}; 77d Desi {Arnaz of 1950s TV}; 78d egal {The same to vous?}; 79d sago {Steamed pudding ingredient}; 82d amp {One could go up to 11 in "This Is Spinal Tap"}; 84d let {Tennis call}; 86d Sade {Nigerian-born singing star}; 87d one more {Plea to a performer}; 89d yay {"Wahoo!"}; 90d One A {___ Day}; 94d recipes {They're sometimes secret}; 95d end up {Result}; 98d eatery {Bistro}; 100d rehem {Fix, as a skirt}; 102d atone {In concord (with)}; 103d nuked {Prepared, as frozen foods, maybe}; 105d Mlle. {Lille girl: Abbr.}; 106d Italo {___-Turkish War, in which the first aerial bombs were used}; 107d riyal {Saudi Arabian currency}; 108d amend {Fix}; 109d lords {Royal court members}; 110d scag {Heroin, slangily}; 112d owns {Controls completely}; 114d N.Dak. {Home of Theo. Roosevelt Natl. Park}; 116d sera {Hospital fluids}; 120d rad {Supercool}; 122d Ron {Harry Potter pal}.

3 comments:

Melody said...

OK, you figured that out...did you by any chance look at the LA Times crossword on 5/20? Completely easy puzzle, but the theme is driving me mad. I have the answers and I can't see how they relate.

Crossword Man said...

Hi Melody. Sorry, I don't do the LAT yet - I hope to add it to my daily solvefest when I get a bit faster at the NYT. But you should find what you want at L.A.
Crossword Confidential
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Melody said...

Thank you! I feel dense, now that I've seen it, but I'm glad to get it out of my head!