Sunday, June 21, 2009

NYT Monday 6/22/09 - Four See

This was a very gentle introduction to the week, and I came close to breaking the 5 minute barrier. If I could just train myself to write as fast as I think ...

My first thought on seeing SISIS at the start of 17-Across was that we might have a 12121 alternation of letters at the start of phrases as the theme. 26-Across scotched that idea and showed we had a normal soundalike theme to contend with.

I had a quick look with TEA for other phrases like si, si Señor and I'm not encouraged to think you could find sufficient long entries with the 12121* pattern: go-go girls is a great nine-letter entry, but I can't get excited about the limited other options such as ororotund and papaphobist.
Solving time: 6 mins (solo, no solving aids)

Phrases that start with a see sound:
17a si, si Señor {Emphatic south-of-the-border assent}
26a C major scale {Beginning piano student's exercise}
45a see you later {Parting words}
62a sea-breeze {Wind that cools a beach}

Fred Piscop
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

CompilersFred Piscop / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 40 (17.8%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.74)
Theme squares40 (21.6%)
Scrabble points291 (average 1.57)
New To Me

68a Allen {Woody or Gracie}. Woody I know well, but Gracie I've only heard of and never seen in action. Time to check out Burns and Allen, who started off in vaudeville, moving to films, radio and TV.

27d At All {The Beatles' "Any Time ___"}. Any Time At All is from the A Hard Day's Night album, released in 1964.

Enos Slaughter32d Enos {Outfielder Slaughter in the Baseball Hall of Fame}. Any surname that can be confused with a dictionary word is really worth remembering, so I'd better try my hardest with Enos Slaughter (1916-2002). Enos, nicknamed "Country", was number 9 for the St. Louis Cardinals, a number they retired in his honor in 1996. Country brings us neatly to ...

33d She's {Kenny Rogers's "___ a Mystery"}. I tried It is to start with ... the blank was certainly a mystery to me. She's a Mystery is from the 1979 album Kenny by the country music star. Can't find that song, so here's a different one from the same album, You Decorated My Life.

Hatfield-McCoy Feud40d feud {Hatfield/McCoy affair}. The rivalry between the Hatfield and McCoy families from 1878 to 1891 may be ingrained in American culture, but this was the first I'd heard of it. The two clans were among the pioneer settlers in the valley of the Tug Fork River and came to blows after fighting on opposite sides in the American Civil War. A section of the floodwall along the river depicts the feuding families.


nettle49a nettle {Prickly plant}. I wondered about the definition, because the nettles I'm used to aren't prickly as such - they just have stinging hairs. Some of my dictionaries widen the definition to include spiny plants, but they're not what I think of as nettles.

Winnie Mae64a Wiley {Aviator ___ Post}. I remembered the name of Wiley Post (1898–1935), who was referenced in a puzzle earlier this month. He was the first pilot to fly solo around the world, which he did in 1933 with the help of an early autopilot device - the feat took nearly eight days. His plane, the Winnie Mae, can be seen at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

end result of an ice dam5d ice jam {Winter river obstruction}. Without 21-Across, the answer could equally well be ice dam. This is also the term used for ice build-up on a roof, sufficient to cause meltwater to back up inside the house; we knew we had one last winter when mysterious new stains appeared in the ceiling - something we need to get resolved before the snows start up again.

11d Evan {"___ Almighty" (2007 movie)}. Remembering this was a flood story, I had Noah as the answer to begin with. Evan Almighty was originally written as a vehicle for Jim Carrey, being a sequel to Bruce Almighty (2003) - Steve Carell got the role when Jim turned it down.

28d Julia {Roberts of "Erin Brockovich"}. I recall seeing Erin Brockovich back in the UK, and it must have made an impression on me, because I can still visualize Julia Roberts in the role for which she won her Oscar (not to mention Albert Finney doing a credible American accent).

The Rest

1a ape {King Kong, e.g.}; 4a hitch {Trailer's connection to a car}; 9a adept {Highly skilled}; 14a ERs {Where IVs may be administered}; 15a Acura {Japanese automaker}; 16a revue {Theatrical medley}; 19a abate {Lessen}; 20a omen {Comet, say, to the impressionable}; 21a jape {Mocking remark}; 22a mints {After-dinner candies}; 23a Panama {Central American canal locale}; 25a fit {In great shape}; 33a slops {Feeds, as pigs}; 37a tune {Thing to hum or whistle}; 38a axon {Neural transmitter}; 39a hobo {Vagrant}; 40a false {Test answer you have a 50/50 chance of guessing right}; 41a Reno {Nevada gambling mecca}; 42a evil {Demon's doing}; 43a Elie {Nobelist Wiesel}; 44a idles {Just sits around}; 48a end {Finish}; 54a passé {No longer fashionable}; 57a orca {Killer whale}; 60a Arab {United ___ Emirates}; 61a elite {A-list}; 65a hello {Word said upon answering a phone}; 66a e'er {Suffix with rocket or racket}; 67a store {Shop}; 69a DDT {Banned bug spray}.

1d Aesop {See 8-Down}; 2d prima {___ donna (vain sort)}; 3d Essen {Ruhr Valley city}; 4d has {Contains}; 6d tuna {Bluefin, for one}; 7d crop {Wheat or soybeans}; 8d hare {Loser to a tortoise, in a fable by 1-Down}; 9d Aramis {Fragrance named for a Musketeer}; 10d debit card {Quick, cashless way to pay for things}; 12d putt {Miniature golf shot}; 13d tees {Gadgets not needed in miniature golf}; 18d in a {"___ pig's eye!"}; 24d MCs {Roast hosts, for short}; 25d free {Costing nothing}; 29d onset {Beginning}; 30d axel {Rink leap}; 31d Lone {The ___ Ranger}; 34d love {Zero, in tennis}; 35d Obie {Village Voice award}; 36d polyester {Leisure suit fabric}; 44d ire {Ill temper}; 46d one eye {Cyclops feature}; 47d enable {Give power to}; 50d tae {___ kwon do}; 51d treed {Cornered}; 52d lazed {Vegged out}; 53d Ebert {Roger with a thumbs-up or thumbs-down}; 54d pews {Sunday seats}; 55d alit {Touched down}; 56d silo {Storage for forage}; 57d OSHA {Workplace watchdog org.}; 58d reel {Irish dance}; 59d call {Do some telemarketing}; 63d Ron {"Apollo 13" director Howard}.

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