Monday, June 29, 2009

NYT Tuesday 6/30/09 - You Too Should Moo

I found this New York Times crossword on the difficult side for a Tuesday. It didn't help that I'd solved most of the theme answers before realizing what was going on, so my only benefit from the theme was a confirmation of Cow Palace (for which I was grateful ... the name seemed unlikely as a venue for concerts).

How now brown cow"How now brown cow" is such a familiar phrase that I'd like to give a tip of the hat to the inventor. Unfortunately, I can't pin down its origins, although it seems likely an elocution teacher came up with the phrase and it somehow caught on with the public.

This is in contrast to that other elocution phrase, "The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain", which originated in the 1938 movie adaptation of Pygmalion, those particular words being introduced by producer Gabriel Pascal.
Solving time: 9 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 9a banks {Places of interest?}
Theme

"How now brown cow", a phrase used in teaching elocution, as indicated by 40a elocution phrase {Exercise in pronunciation ... like the first words of the answers to the starred clues}.
17a how goes it {Informal greeting}
30a now and again {At times}
47a brown bagger {One not using the company cafeteria, maybe}
64a Cow Palace {Bay Area concert venue}
Solution

Steve Dobis
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics
CompilersSteve Dobis / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 40 (17.8%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.74)
Theme squares55 (29.7%)
Scrabble points343 (average 1.85)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
FeaturePangrammatic
New To Me

Senate pages1a aide {Senate page, e.g.}. I was going to pass this clue by until I realized I had no idea what pages do in the United States Senate. I gather they act as dogsbodies to the Senators, delivering correspondence, preparing the chamber etc. To apply, you must be a high school junior over the age of 16, and be nominated by a Senator.

46a Bret {One of TV's Mavericks}. You need a better memory for TV trivia than mine to get this one - all I could think of was John McCain. Maverick was a comedy western from 1957 to 1962, about a family of traveling poker-players: Bret, Bart, Beau, & Brent Maverick were played by James Garner, Jack Kelly, Roger Moore, and Robert Colbert respectively.



IRS6d IRS {Org. with a code}. This would make sense when applied to the UK tax authority as you get a tax code like 522L that tells an employer how much tax to deduct at source. The IRS doesn't seem to work that way: instead the Internal Revenue Code is the collective name for all the tax laws.

Sam Nunn11d Nunn {Former Georgia senator Sam}. Learning all the former pols is going to be tough, but let's start with Sam Nunn, who was a Democratic senator from 1972 to 1997. He's currently the CEO of Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) - a charitable organization working to reduce the global threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons - and has received multiple nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.

55d Jeri {Ryan of "Boston Public"}. The first I'd heard of both Jeri Ryan and Boston Public, which I gather was a drama about a Beantown high school that ran from 2000 to 2004. Jeri played Ronnie Cooke, a successful corporate lawyer who unnaccountably decided her vocation was to be a teacher.



Noteworthy

10d aquí {Here, in Honduras}. It's been a while since I last added a word to Español para los crucigramistas. aquí seems to come up only once every three years, proving helpful when compilers are trying to make a pangrammatic grid, as here.

Colt revolver set24d Colt {Revolver inventor}. I knew Samuel Colt manufactured revolvers, but wasn't clear to what extent he invented them. Revolver mechanisms had been around since around 1718, but Colt made key technical innovations that were patented in 1836 and, perhaps more importantly, pioneered the use of interchangeable parts, assembly lines, etc ... most of all, he was a brilliant salesman.

25d Kwai {"The Bridge on the River ___"}. One of my fav David Lean movies: it says a lot about the British character ... good and bad!



garbage scow37d scow {Garbage hauler}. Well, I've heard of scows, but have never before associated them with this specific definition. Scows are flat-bottomed boats used in dredging and other harbor services, which I guess covers garbage removal. The association of scows with garbage seems to be fixed in the imagination, as in science fiction, "garbage scows" are spaceships carrying waste of various unpleasant kinds.

60d Bach {"Goldberg Variations" composer}. I can't help associating the Goldberg Variations with the eccentric, but extraordinary performances of Glenn Gould (1932-1982).



63d Wiz {1978 Diana Ross musical, with "The"}. Somehow I remembered The Wiz, an African American musical version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Diana Ross was cast as Dorothy in the film version, in which the late Michael Jackson played the Scarecrow.



The Rest

5a Fiji {Island neighbor of Tonga and Tuvalu}; 9a banks {Places of interest?}; 14a grog {Sea dog's libation}; 15a Oran {North African port}; 16a I quit! {"Take this job and shove it!"}; 19a runny {Like undercooked eggs}; 20a annex {New wing}; 21a lending {Credit union's activity}; 23a deck {It may be stacked or cut}; 26a rob {Knock over, so to speak}; 27a aha! {"Eureka!"}; 36a cams {PC video gear, for short}; 39a tawny {Lion-colored}; 38a lam {Take it on the ___}; 44a recon {Scout's mission, for short}; 45a nor {Hide-hair link}; 51a ETs {U.F.O. crew}; 52a ebb {Fall back}; 53a opal {Stone for many Libras}; 55a jeers at {Mocks}; 59a jibed {Were in accord}; 63a WebTV {PC-less Internet hookup, once}; 67a irate {More than sore}; 68a unit {Newton or ohm}; 69a ache {Liniment target}; 70a zines {Fan mags}; 71a Sega {Sonic the Hedgehog's company}; 72a chop {Black belt's blow}.

1d agha {Ottoman Empire V.I.P.}; 2d iron {Hotel room amenity}; 3d down {Elevator direction half the time}; 4d egged {Prodded, with "on"}; 5d foe {"Friend or ___?"}; 7d jail {One corner of a Monopoly board}; 8d intern {Worker for free, often}; 9d birdbath {Small pool site in a yard}; 12d king {Piece moved in castling}; 13d sty {Pig's home}; 18d oxen {Plow team}; 22d nod {Affirmative action}; 27d acerb {Sharp-tongued}; 28d haler {More vigorous}; 29d Amoco {BP gas brand}; 31d among {In the midst of}; 32d garb {Clothing}; 33d aware {Clued in}; 34d inset {Boxed-off map section}; 35d nyets {Kremlin denials}; 41d unnerves {Rattles}; 42d no-go {Scrapped, as a mission}; 43d prep {Get ready for an exam}; 48d BBs {Small ammo}; 49d abacus {Device you can count on}; 50d raja {Big Indian}; 54d lilac {Pale shade of violet}; 56d Eban {Israel's Abba}; 57d -ette {Suffix with kitchen or room}; 58d tone {TV color adjustment}; 61d echo {Tunnel effect}; 62d deep {Hard to fathom}; 65d wig {Halloween wear}; 66d PTA {Education-conscious org.}.

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