Sunday, July 12, 2009

NYT Monday 7/13/09 - That's About All

We normally try to solve the Monday New York Times crosswords shortly after 6pm on a Sunday evening, but the AcrossLite version seemed to be beset by technical problems this week and appeared about three hours late.

The puzzle turned out to be worth waiting for, with a delightful theme of answers with embedded ALLs. All the ALLs were split in the same way and I just had to use TEA to see if there were any *a ll* phrases: yes, there's a place in Spain called La Llagosta but you can forgive the constructor for not trying to go in that direction.
Solving time: 6 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 11a dat {Opposite of dis}

Phrases with an embedded all, indicated by 59a all tucked in {Comfily ready to sleep ... or a hint to 17-, 24-, 37- and 47-Across}.
17a manual labor {Ditch digging, e.g.}
24a personal loan {Money borrowed from a friend, e.g.}
37a spiritual leader {The Dalai Lama, e.g.}
47a diagonal line {Slash symbol, e.g.}

C. W. Stewart
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

CompilersC. W. Stewart / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.79)
Theme squares61 (32.6%)
Scrabble points267 (average 1.43)
New To Me

Adler Planetarium1a Adler {Chicago's ___Planetarium}. The Adler Planetarium's claim to fame is that it was the first to be built in the Americas. It is named for the man who built it in 1930, the philanthropist Max Adler who married into the wealthy family that controlled Sears Roebuck & Co..

6a Garth {Country singer Brooks}. The name rang a bell, but I suspect because I was thinking of the one-letter-different soccer player Garth Crooks. Garth Brooks released his first album in 1989 and his style of country music has proved popular with the mainstream pop audience. Here's The Thunder Rolls from his 1990 album No Fences.

63a Naomi {One of the Judds}. I had absolutely no idea who the Judds are (or were) and deducing the answer as Naomi didn't enlighten me further. I see now that Naomi Judd and her daughter Wynonna Judd are a country music duo, aptly titled The Judds (there can't be that many mother and daughter acts in popular music). Their joint career was disrupted in 1991 when Naomi was diagnosed with Hep C, but they have toured since.

64a Irene {Ryan of "The Beverly Hillbillies"}. Irene Ryan (1902–1973) played Daisy May "Granny" Moses on the famous sitcom.


31a spoof {"Airplane!" or "Spaceballs"}. Happy to say I've seen both of these and am much better for it. Airplane! (1980) was a disaster movie spoof, while Spaceballs (1987) was a spoof of sci-fi movies, particularly Star Wars.

Leona Helmsley54a Leona {Hotelier Helmsley}. I first encountered Leona "The Queen of Mean" Helmsley (1920-2007) in this March puzzle. She famously said "We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes ...", which came back to haunt her: she was convicted of income tax evasion in 1989.

62a mas {Moms}; 32d pas {Dads}. If you get two "related" words like this in a grid, you may as well make a feature of it with twinned clues.

European robin8d robin {Harbinger of spring}. Magdalen keeps saying "things are bigger and better in America". That's no more true than of the robins. European robins are the cute little birds that commonly appear on Christmas cards. American robins are supersized creatures, like the British blackbird, but red-breasted; they're apparently considered a symbol of spring and sing all night long during that season.

24d Parr {Last name of Henry VIII's last}; 40d Anne {First name of Henry VIII's second}. Another pair of answers that the constructor chose to connect. One of the few things I remember from History lessons at school is the ditty that helps you remember the fates of the six wives (but nothing that would have helped here, like their names):
Divorced, ... [Catherine of Aragon]
Beheaded, ... [Anne Boleyn]
Died. ... [Jane Seymour]
Divorced, ... [Anne of Cleves]
Beheaded, ... [Catherine Howard]
Survived. ... [Catherine Parr]
28d Muir {John who founded the Sierra Club}. It looks like there's a shortage of famous Muirs, as John Muir is the only one who seems to get referenced in American clues. In the UK, you might consider Frank Muir the comic writer and media personality, though there's a generation growing up who won't have heard of him.

46d Anakin {___ Skywalker of "Star Wars"}. Anakin Skywalker completely foxed me when I first encountered him a puzzle, as I've only seen the original Star Wars movie, and that a long time ago.

The Rest

11a dat {Opposite of dis}; 14a crude {Like oil directly from a well}; 15a aloha {Hilo hello}; 16a roo {Aussie hopper}; 19a Ark. {Little Rock's home: Abbr.}; 20a egg {Yolk's site}; 21a Miami {City name before Heat or Vice}; 22a Dante {"Inferno" writer}; 26a armada {Fleet}; 29a wig {Bald person's purchase}; 30a pour {Serve, as tea}; 34a ebb {Flow back}; 41a e'er {At any time, to a poet}; 42a geese {Six ___ a-laying (gift in a Christmas song)}; 43a Nita {Silent screen star Naldi}; 44a ene {Reverse of WSW}; 45a Zantac {Acid blocker sold over the counter}; 53a rotor {Helicopter part}; 55a APO {Address for an overseas G.I.}; 58a awe {Wonderment}; 65a ant {Tidbit for an aardvark}; 66a totes {Lugs}; 67a nests {Homes for 65-Acrosses}.

1d acme {Pinnacle}; 2d drag {Wet blanket}; 3d lung {Aqua-___}; 4d edu {Univ. e-mail ending}; 5d reamed {Cleaned out, as with a pipe cleaner}; 6d galas {Black-tie affairs}; 7d Alamo {"Remember the ___!" (rallying cry of 1836)}; 9d tho {Even if, informally}; 10d hard life {What a serf led}; 11d Drano {Clog-busting brand}; 12d aorta {Main artery}; 13d token {Thimble or shoe, in Monopoly}; 18d lira {Franc : France :: ___ : Italy}; 23d alg. {2x + 5 = 15 subj.}; 25d AWOL {M.P.'s quarry}; 26d apse {Cathedral recess}; 27d rope {Hillbilly's belt}; 31d sue {Take to court}; 33d olé {Shout after a bull charges}; 34d edit {Blue-pencil}; 35d beta {Gamma preceder}; 36d brac {Bric-a-___}; 38d ignorant {Unaware}; 39d teen {Many a driver's ed student}; 44d ego {Self-esteem}; 45d zinc {Next-to-last element alphabetically}; 47d drama {Comedy's counterpart}; 48d Iowan {Cedar Rapids native}; 49d A-test {Event that could be seen as far away as Las Vegas in the '50s}; 50d allot {Mete out}; 51d let me {"I'll do it!"}; 52d Louis {1930s-'40s heavyweight champ Joe}; 55d ades {Fruit drinks}; 56d pint {Pub serving}; 57d ones {Small bills}; 60d Lao {Thai neighbor}; 61d ere {Before, poetically}.

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