Monday, May 25, 2009

NYT Tuesday 5/26/09 - Share and Share Alike?

Hub 1.0 (aka Henry - we don't seem to have standardized on a name) is back in Philadelphia, so we've reverted to my normal routine of solo solving: this Tuesday New York Times crossword was about average difficulty, throwing up the usual set of trivia that were new to me.

With many thematic NYT puzzles, I sense the compiler had a title in mind, but there's no accommodation for one (with the exception of Sunday puzzles). Here the compiler has used the neat trick of putting the title in the first and last across answers.
Solving time: 10 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 55d Acts {Romans preceder}

Phrases starting with synonyms for "swap", suggested by 1a swap, 67a meet {An appropriate title for this puzzle?}.
17a trade school {Where to learn a vocation}
28a barter system {Basis for a moneyless economy}
44a exchange rate {Two dollars per pound, say}
58a switch plate {"On/off" surrounder}

Mike Nothnagel
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

CompilersMike Nothnagel / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.79)
Theme squares54 (28.9%)
Scrabble points329 (average 1.76)
New To Me

26a Danza {"Who's the Boss?" co-star}. Who's the Boss? was an American TV series from 1984 to 1992 and I'm fairly sure it didn't make it to UK screens. It's a role-reversal comedy in which Tony Danza's character is forced to work as a housekeeper/nanny/handyman etc in the household of an advertising exec played by Judith Light.

47a Yorke {Radiohead singer Thom}. Thom Yorke is the lead singer and main songwriter for the English alt-rock group. Here's their innovative video for House of Cards, made with LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology.

64a Samms {Emma of "Dynasty"}. Emma Samms is the British actress who played Fallon Carrington Colby in Dynasty when the role was recast in 1985. She subsequently starred in the spin-off series The Colbys. Both the shows had wonderful iconic opening sequences.

34d K-PAX {Title planet in a 2001 Kevin Spacey movie}. K-PAX is a series of novels by Gene Brewer, named after the planet from which the principal character "prot" has come (or thinks he has come). The movie was based on the first book in the series.

35d Nancy Drew {Character who first appeared in "The Secret of the Old Clock"}. Nancy Drew seems to be hugely popular in America and yet I didn't hear of her until I started collecting books in adulthood (and even then wouldn't have been able to name her first book). I guess that's because we had the equivalent in The Famous Five (which I read avidly ... but at what age? it must have been before the Sherlock Holmes craze, so probably when I was 10 or so). A film, loosely based on the Nancy Drew series, was released in 2007.


22a Loman {Fictional salesman Willy}. The eponymous salesman in Death of a Salesman seems to come up quite regularly. For a change here's a British actor in the role: Warren Mitchell, best known for playing the British equivalent of Archie Bunker, won an Olivier award for his performances as Loman.

24a Steele {"Remington ___" of 1980s TV}. This was what Pierce Brosnan was famous for before he became the fifth James Bond. Co-star Zimbalist would be another great answer to get into a grid!

36a wrote {Put pen to paper}. That little word "put" can be deadly in clues, as it says little about the tense you want: I confidently put in write, making it tough to work out 26-Down until I realized wrote was called for.

Manse42a manse {Stately home}. This didn't really chime with me, since I normally think of a manse as the residence of a church minister ... and therefore modestly proportioned. But The New Oxford American Dictionary does list "large stately home" as a definition of manse, so it seems to have acquired this extra meaning in the US, synonymous with mansion.

2d worst {Beat in a match}. Odd that worst and best can mean the same thing (in the sense used in the clue), while being opposites in the normal sense.

9d Bill Nye {TV's Science Guy}. This brought back horrible memories of this year's American Crossword Puzzle Tournament when I had (Bill) Nie/Elaine (Boosler) instead of (Bill) Nye/Elayne (Boosler) in puzzle 7. Well at least those are two names I'll have no difficulty remembering any more.

55d Acts {Romans preceder}. A neat clue, making you wonder who came before the Romans. But you act-ually need to think of books of the New Testament of course.

The Rest

5a Part B {Second of two sections}; 10a dam {Beaver's project}; 13a rowed {Competed in a regatta}; 15a it is I {Formal answer to "Who's at the door?"}; 16a ore {Vein contents}; 19a tea {Earl Grey, for one}; 20a ask {Set as a price}; 21a cuss {Ornery sort}; 33a I know {When repeated, exuberant student's cry}; 37a RDA {Vitamin bottle info, for short}; 38a span {Go across}; 39a Diana {Artemis' Roman counterpart}; 40a vidi {"Veni, ___, vici"}; 41a LAN {Intraoffice PC hookup}; 43a six am {When some morning news programs begin}; 48a New Age {Yanni's music genre}; 52a did OK {Got a C, say}; 54a sake {Drink with sushi}; 56a nog {Drink with Christmas cookies}; 57a d'Or {Palme ___ (Cannes prize)}; 62a awe {Completely impress}; 63a U-boat {Torpedo launcher}; 65a yaw {Go off course}; 66a pangs {Guilty feelings, e.g.}.

1d Srtas. {Spanish counterparts of mlles.}; 3d awake {Open-eyed}; 4d ped {___ Xing}; 5d pics {Snaps}; 6d aths. {Sports players: Abbr.}; 7d Rio {Carnaval city}; 8d Tso {General on a Chinese menu}; 10d dot matrix {Early printer type}; 11d area {Realm}; 12d mean {Intend}; 14d declaw {Remove the nails from, as a cat}; 18d suer {Plaintiff}; 23d ozs. {Parts of lbs.}; 25d ebon {Black, in verse}; 26d droner {One who goes on and on}; 27d Asta {Nick and Nora's pooch}; 29d twinge {Sudden, sharp pain}; 30d erase {Render blank, as a floppy disk}; 31d Edda {Old Norse work}; 32d maim {Incapacitate}; 33d isle {Tropical vacation spot}; 39d dank {Like dungeons, typically}; 40d view {Feature of a house in the hills}; 42d marks up {Annotates, as a manuscript}; 43d steeps {Soaks in hot water, as 19-Across}; 45d hoo {"Yoo-___!"}; 46d ankh {Egyptian cross}; 49d a name {"What's in ___?"}; 50d got me {"Dunno"}; 51d egest {Discharge}; 52d D-day {"It's now or never" time}; 53d Iowa {Home of the Hawkeyes of the Big Ten}; 54d stag {How some people go to a party}; 59d WBA {Org. for heavyweights}; 60d ion {Chloride, for one}; 61d lam {On the ___ (fleeing)}.

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