Monday, June 1, 2009

NYT Tuesday 6/2/09 - Scarlet Letters

I enjoyed sketch comedy back in the UK, particularly shows like Not the Nine O'Clock News, which featured Rowan Atkinson at his best. So I've tried hard to get into Saturday Night Live, but many of the references still pass me by - not unlike what happens with American crosswords.

This didn't stop me making quick work with this Tuesday New York Times puzzle, which only used SNL as a hook for a theme-phrases-with-a-pattern idea. A good excuse to use those Scarlet Letters again.
Solving time: 8 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 37a tab {Office setting?}

68a SNL {TV staple for over 30 years (and a hint to 17-, 21-, 32-, 41-, 54- and 61-Across)}. Six answers start with S 'n' L:
17a ski lodge {Mountain shelter}
21a shore leave {Time off, to a sailor}
32a snow leopard {Endangered feline}
41a Sophia Loren {"Arabesque" actress, 1966}
54a speed limit {Highway posting}
61a Sri Lanka {Where rupees are spent}

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

CompilersPatrick Blindauer / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 40 (17.8%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.87)
Theme squares61 (33.0%)
Scrabble points282 (average 1.52)
New To Me

Joe CamelJoe Cool36a Joe {Name before Cool or Camel}. I knew Joe Cool from Snoopy cartoons, but not his namesake "Joe Camel". Joe Camel is the camel caricature used as the cigarette brand's mascot. It seems "Joe Cool" is also one of Joe Montana's nicknames.

50a agents {99 and 86, on "Get Smart"}. Get Smart was a secret agent spoof series created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry. Hey, something by Mel Brooks I didn't even know existed ... maybe we should get it on DVD? Agent 86 was Maxwell Smart (played by Don Adams). Agent 99's real name was too secret to ever be revealed - she was played by Barbara Feldon.

59a roan {Like Hotspur's horse in "King Henry IV, Part I"}. How do we know Hotspur's horse is a roan? Because he says as much and seems particularly tickled that it rhymes with throne.
Hot. What, ho! Is Gilliams with the packet gone?
Serv. He is, my lord, an hour ago.
Hot. Hath Butler brought those horses from the sheriff?
Serv. One horse, my lord, he brought even now.
Hot. What horse? A roan, a crop-ear, is it not?
Serv. It is, my lord.
Hot. That roan shall be my throne.
From Henry IV Part 1

64a Gale {Dorothy ___ of "The Wizard of Oz"}. I was a bit slow on the uptake here, not twigging that Gale is Dorothy's surname - I quite expected this to refer to one of the actresses.

1d Miss M {"Divine" showbiz nickname}. The Divine Miss M is Bette Midler's nickname, also the name of her first album from 1973. One of life's mysteries: how do women manage to dance in heels like these:

Ingemar Johansson8d Ingemar {Former heavyweight champion Johansson}. Ingemar Johansson (1932–2009), nicknamed The Hammer of Thor, was the Swedish boxer who defeated Floyd Patterson to become heavyweight champion in 1959. Here's his obit from the New York Times.

12d Liev {Schreiber of the "Scream" films}. This meant nothing to me: I've never been a fan of the horror genre. Liev Schreiber plays Cotton Weary, the man framed for the murders in the film series which revitalized slasher movies in the 1990s.

22d Romania {Birthplace of Elie Wiesel}. Elie Wiesel is a Holocaust survivor who has written over 50 books and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 for his message "of peace, atonement and human dignity" to humanity.

Elie Wiesel


tab37a tab {Office setting?}. A nicely misleading one, but the reference is less meaningful in the computer age: I really associate it with typewriters, which had "tab set" and "tab clear" keys, allowing you to define one (or more) tab stops to make uniform indentation in text.

blogging assistant41d shedder {Cat or dog, especially in the spring}. Our cats are shedders, particularly Polly who has created enough fluff to make a whole new cat. I can't say I've noticed them being any worse in the spring - they're year-round shedders. When we got a dog, we made sure it was short-haired ...

The Rest

1a mic {Recorder input: Abbr.}; 4a Toni {"Beloved" author Morrison}; 8a impale {Run through}; 14a in a {All ___ day's work}; 15a I Did {"What ___ for Love" ("A Chorus Line" song)}; 16a Narnia {Setting for C. S. Lewis's "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe"}; 19a glides {Travels like a flying squirrel}; 20a sere {Parched}; 23a myopia {Optometrist's concern}; 25a Omar {Poet Khayyám}; 26a Earp {Lawman Wyatt}; 28a mar {Disfigure}; 29a arf {Sound from a terrier}; 38a man! {"Holy Toledo!"}; 39a Apr. {Spring time: Abbr.}; 40a ate {Supped}; 46a boy {Lad}; 47a hue {Rainbow component}; 48a atop {Surmounting}; 49a yeti {Elusive Himalayan creature}; 60a Canada {Where Hudson Bay is}; 63a Andrew {The Carnegie of Carnegie Mellon University}; 65a o'er {Apostrophized preposition}; 66a Messrs. {Abbr. preceding multiple surnames}; 67a sets {Places for play things?}.

2d in key {One way to sing}; 3d Cairo {Egypt's capital}; 4d Tio {Spanish uncle}; 5d odds are {"Most likely ..."}; 6d nigh {Near}; 7d ideo- {Prefix with logical}; 9d mallard {Duck type}; 10d prier {Snoop}; 11d and a {Shave ___ haircut}; 13d ease {Leisure}; 18d Le Pew {Cartoon skunk Pepé ___}; 24d -ial {Suffix with different}; 27d Pompeii {Italian archaeological locale}; 29d ajar {Cracked open}; 30d rope {Lariat}; 31d fern {Bit of green in a floral display}; 32d stab {Try}; 33d Nato {Alliance since '49}; 34d obey {Do as told}; 35d pah! {Cry of disbelief}; 42d outlaws {Jesse James and gang}; 43d at a tilt {Cocked}; 44d log {What an andiron holds}; 45d opera {Wagner composition}; 49d years {Sentence units}; 51d no-nos {They're verboten}; 52d taken {Spoken for}; 53d snarl {Complicated situation}; 54d scam {Hustle}; 55d pane {Glazier's sheet}; 56d ends {Extremities}; 57d MSGs {In-box fill: Abbr.}; 58d irae {"Dies ___" (hymn)}; 62d Les {"___ Liaisons Dangereuses"}.

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