Sunday, July 26, 2009

NYT Monday 7/27/09 - Parrish Meeting

Maxfield Parrish: EnchantmentI found this Monday New York Times crossword a real struggle, taking about twice as long as I normally do: there seemed to be a lot fewer clues than usual that I could solve right away, and I got particularly mired in the NW corner where I knew neither Acela nor Eller.

The other cause of difficulty was the theme, which it took me ages to spot. It didn't hold me up, but I definitely don't think of "perish" and "parish" as being pronounced the same. Magdalen says they are, in America, and someone who thinks that "raw" and "roar" sound alike shouldn't have anything to complain about in this puzzle.

Finally, I hadn't even heard of Maxfield Parrish (18701966). I wonder if he's related to the constructor? - certainly it seems no coincidence that Allan E. Parrish should have come up with this theme.
Solving time: 12 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 30a arsenic {As, chemically}

Phrases ending with the Parrish sound (the puzzle was constructed by Allan E. Parrish).
17a publish or perish {College professor's mantra}
38a Maxfield Parrish {Highly collectible illustrator}
59a Louisiana parish {Lafayette or Orleans}

Allan E. Parrish
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

CompilersAllan E. Parrish / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 34 (15.1%) black squares
Answers74 (average length 5.16)
Theme squares45 (23.6%)
Scrabble points301 (average 1.58)
New To Me

Acela14a Acela {High-speed train from Boston to Washington}. This was my main cause of problems in the NW. I gather the unlikely sounding Acela Express is a tilting train service that runs at a maximum of 150mph and an average of 86mph. Britain has a poor record with tilting trains: its homegrown APT had ill-fated initial trials and never went into service; the ones that are now in service use the Italian technology of Fiat Ferroviaria.

Soo Canal44a Soo {The upper Midwest's ___ Canals}. If only we'd been to the right great lakes on last week's trip, I'd have known this one: the Soo Canals (two in the United States and one in Canada) allow ships to navigate between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. The canals go right by those cities oft-used in cluing STE: Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

4d Eller {Aunt from "Oklahoma!"}. Another cause of difficulty in the NW, as I had to make a guess at this unlikely name. Aunt Eller is Laurey Williams's aunt and a respected community leader in Oklahoma! She was played by Charlotte Greenwood in the 1955 film version.

Adolph Ochs13d Ochs {Adolph who was chief of The New York Times from 1896 to 1935}. I wondered if this was only considered fair game because of where this crossword appears ... or if Adolph Ochs is as famous in America as, say, Lord Beaverbrook is in the UK. Adolph Ochs (1858–1935) rescued the New York Times from oblivion, increasing its circulation from 9,000 (when he purchased it in 1896) to 780,000 by the 1920s.

39d Fritzi {Nancy's 56-Down in the comics}. Another aunt to bedevil me. In the Nancy comic strip, drawn by Ernie Bushmiller, the eponymous Nancy lives with her aunt Fritzi Rich, who's a lot sexier than I expected.Nancy


30a arsenic {As, chemically}. Thanks to their initial capital, chemical elements can be great misleaders in clues. He and I are the most commonly exploited.

34a rte. {G.P.S. offering: Abbr.}. This reminded me of a comic incident during our recent Canadian trip. Driving in Canada from Niagara Falls to Toronto, the rte. offered by our lousy G.P.S. took us onto a highway signed as "To the USA". OK, we thought, this may be the way to a bridge back to the USA, but there must be an exit beforehand to take us where we want to go. No, there was no way out, but luckily we managed to hang a uey before crossing the actual bridge, so got away with just paying the bridge toll and going back through Canadian immigration checks.

Osage orange43a Osage {___ orange}. I think I've met this one before, but not enough times for me to recall, before getting all the letters from crossings. Osage oranges are North American trees with a fruit that's somewhat like a green orange (but otherwise the trees are not closely related). The trees are also known as bois d'arc, or "bow-wood", because Native Americans used the wood for bows and other weapons.

Spicy spareribs, tangy & spicy green beans, and rice51d Hunan {Style of Chinese cuisine}. Hunan cuisine is one of eight regional cuisines of China and well-known for its hot spicy flavor, fresh aroma and deep color. Common cooking techniques include stewing, frying, pot-roasting, braising, and smoking.

The Rest

1a mired {Bogged down}; 6a hafts {Sword handles}; 11a Cro {___-Magnon man}; 15a await {Stand in a queue for, say}; 16a Hi-C {Drink with Grabbin' Grape and Smashin' Wild Berry flavors}; 20a equal {Splenda rival}; 21a pranks {Short-sheeting a bed, TP'ing a house, etc.}; 22a fun run {2K race, e.g.}; 25a scent {Bloodhound's trail}; 27a Ono {Yoko of "Double Fantasy"}; 28a Idi {Uganda's ___ Amin}; 35a ramps {Highway entrances and exits, typically}; 37a do no {"First, ___ harm" (medical axiom)}; 42a emir {Kuwaiti chief}; 45a retires {Hits the hay}; 48a Ren {Stimpy's cartoon pal}; 49a Els {Ernie of golf fame}; 50a tenth {Penny vis-à-vis a dime}; 52a get set {Gird oneself}; 54a glazer {Finisher of pottery or cakes}; 57a usage {___ note (dictionary bit)}; 64a inn {Bed-and-breakfast}; 65a éclat {Dazzling effect}; 66a drear {Dull, in poetry}; 67a bet {"Wanna ___?"}; 68a shine {What light bulbs and bootblacks do}; 69a earls {English nobles}.

1d map {Atlas page}; 2d ICU {Critical hosp. area}; 3d Reb {Yank's foe in the Civil War}; 5d daiquiri {Rum and lime juice drink}; 6d ha-ha {LOL, out loud}; 7d awols {Mil. truants}; 8d far {Distant}; 9d tipper {One leaving cash on the table?}; 10d sterns {Backs of boats}; 11d chin {It might be cut by an uppercut}; 12d risk {Jeopardy}; 18d sundae {Dairy Queen order}; 19d rated R {Deemed not suitable for kids}; 22d former {Previous}; 23d untame {Wild}; 24d no exit {1944 Jean-Paul Sartre play}; 26d Caspar {One of the Wise Men}; 29d I'm lost {"Please help me with directions"}; 31d noises {Boom, zoom and vroom}; 32d insole {Cushiony part of a shoe}; 33d co-host {Matt Lauer or Meredith Vieira for "Today"}; 36d PDs {They have precincts: Abbr.}; 40d age gap {Feature of a May-December romance}; 41d renegade {Deserter}; 46d Reese's {___ Peanut Butter Cups}; 47d enrich {Fortify with vitamins, e.g.}; 53d terra {___ incognita}; 54d glib {Fast-talking}; 55d lone {Unaccompanied}; 56d aunt {See 39-Down}; 58d sate {Completely fill}; 60d Ali {Rope-a-dope boxer}; 61d -ier {Suffix with cash}; 62d Sal {"My gal" of song}; 63d hrs. {60-min. periods}.

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