Thursday, July 9, 2009

NYT Friday 7/10/09 - Heart Trouble

I loved this Friday New York Times crossword: it was certainly a real pain to solve, with the NW corner proving the most trouble-some, but I didn't suffer from heart failure and ended up far from broken-hearted.

I credit the constructor with Creve Coeur as a thematic answer, but the more I look at the long answers, the more they seem to be tied in with the theme (particularly True Confessions and maybe cruel and unusual). The grid doesn't seem to have been constructed around them as a tight set, but the theme may have inspired their selection over random alternatives.
Solving time: 41 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 7d cabals {Intriguing bands}

The grid represents a broken heart, which ties in with 7a Creve, 9a Coeur {Missouri city whose name means "broken heart"}.


Joe Krozel
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

CompilersJoe Krozel / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers64 (average length 5.84)
Theme squares10 (5.3%)
Scrabble points255 (average 1.36)
New To Me

13a Dolores {1941 #1 hit for Tommy Dorsey}. The song debuted in the now little-remembered movie Las Vegas Nights.

17a GTO {The Monkeemobile, e.g.}. I know I saw the Monkees on British TV as a kid, but ... it's been a while. The Monkeemobile is indeed a modified Pontiac GTO. Two were made for the filming, one of which sold for $360,000 in January 2008:

50a Swenson {Housekeeper player on "Benson"}. Inga Swenson starred in Benson (as a German cook) ... it has a certain poetry to it.

19d Haiti {It has departments named Nord, Sud and Ouest}. Tried Paris here, but wasn't too surprised to have to change it. Haiti was of course a French colony until 1804 and is still French-speaking.

45d one-, 41d -a-cat {With 41-Down, quaint sandlot game}. I gather one-a-cat is another name for tip-cat, which involves flipping a piece of wood in the air with a bat and then hitting it as far as you can ... well they didn't have television in the old days.


20a slathers {Puts (on) thickly}. This clue presented just one of several traps I fell into: anyone else have plasters to start with? That cost me a few minutes.

snoods23a snood {W.W. II factory wear}. I'd heard hairnets called snoods before, but thought they went out in the Victorian era. No, that term was still used for the hairnets worn by women factory workers in World War II - presumably vital in an era when hair was worn long.

36a Imus {Radio figure who co-wrote "Two Guys Four Corners"}. If I hadn't come across Don Imus before in a puzzle last month, I'd have been in real trouble in the SW corner. Two Guys Four Corners is a book of photographs of the American Southwest, that Don compiled with his brother Fred Imus.

True Confessions44a True Confessions {Story-filled magazine since 1922}. A magazine I've heard of, but never read. That's because its stories are aimed at young women - its circulation peaked at two million in the 1930s. Since the stories in True Confessions must often concern broken hearts, this almost qualifies as a thematic answer.

1d cruel and unusual {Torturous, perhaps}. If you think you've heard this idiom before, then you'd be right. The words originate in English law, and later appear in the Eight Amendment to the United States Constitution; this implies that inhuman or degrading punishments should not be inflicted, however severe a crime may be.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Amendment VIII to the United States Constitution
3d overshoe {Rubber}. I know to be careful over using the word rubber in this country. But rubbers have an innocent enough meaning as a name for galoshes.

4d mols. {Compound fractions: Abbr.}. Moles (abbr. mols. - why bother?) became intensely familiar at the time Chemistry was the center of my life. But since university, I've found that you can get by without knowing that a solution has a certain number of moles in it and I'm glad for that. If you want to know what moles are, check the Wikipedia article on the subj.

REO School Bus5d REO {Old bus maker}. Chances are any reference to old automobiles is going to be to REO. So I guessed the answer right, without being sure about the buses (in any event, "bus" was an old slang word for car, in the UK at least). However, it seems REO did make buses, such as the one in the picture.

7d cabals {Intriguing bands}. An awesome clue that deceived me for a loooooong time: these bands aren't so much fascinating as conniving, secretive, scheming and plotting.

13d doe {Fawning type}. I had dog here to start with, as they tend to be pretty fawning. However, only a doe can produce a fawn: we were lucky to see a newly-born fawn the other day, still wobbly on its legs as it tried to keep up with the fawner.

31d Antonio {The merchant of Venice}. This was mean: how can you not put in Shylock here? I suppose that lower case M might have been a hint, if I'd thought about it.

43d esse {Forum infinitive}. The Latin for "to be", dressed up for an end-of-week puzzle.

46d sow {Broadcast}. Anyone else have air to start with? Broadcasting literally means sending out, scattering ... and in earlier times, applied to seeds, not sound and pictures.

The Rest

1a CFO {Fiscal exec}; 4a Mrs {Form check box option}; 11a laurels {Composition of some old crowns}; 15a aberrations {They're irregular}; 18a Palestine {Former British mandate}; 19a heil {Greeting with a salute}; 21a staple {Mainstay}; 24a rehire {Bring back on board}; 25a due {Bill word}; 26a prone to {Frequently exhibiting, by nature}; 28a shut {Block}; 30a premarital {Like some relations}; 33a pun {It may not have been intended}; 34a relate {Connect}; 35a -ene {Chemical ending}; 38a ovine {Like bellwethers}; 39a acta {Records}; 40a Tosca {Floria ___, Puccini title role}; 42a EEC {Intl. trade letters}; 43a estop {Bar}; 47a emanant {Flowing forth}; 48a Rosario {Argentine port on the Paraná}; 49a deletes {Strikes}.

2d ferret out {Dig up}; 6d surge protectors {They may avert computer damage}; 8d elated {High}; 9d con {Side opposite 30-Down}; 10d retile {Fix, as a shower stall}; 11d laps {Pool regimen}; 12d stir {Kindle}; 14d sole {Print maker}; 16d ins {Connections}; 21d senate {A house divided?}; 22d there! {"All done!"}; 24d romancers {Beaus}; 26d prevents {Checks}; 27d relief {What some maps show}; 28d spitted {Stuck at a roast}; 29d humor me {"C'mon, at least consider it!"}; 30d pro {Side opposite 9-Down}; 32d leaps on {Seizes, as an opportunity}; 37d scene {Happening spot}; 39d Asian {___ Games (quadrennial event)}.

1 comment:

Daniel Myers said...

Yes, why bother indeed? Since when does an abbreviation consist of dropping the mute "e"? Mol. could stand for molecule, of course. It's a better abbreviation, but a poorer answer. What a small fraction that would be!