Tuesday, July 21, 2009

NYT Wednesday 7/22/09 - No Ordinary Joes

This is an abbreviated form of my usual blog, as I'm currently on vacation in Niagara Falls, Ontario. We were advised to do the Maid of the Mist trip in the afternoon, so the sun's in the right spot to produce the best rainbow effects. However, today's heavy rain (unheard of in these parts, we're told) encouraged us to reschedule that for tomorrow, when the weather should be better.

Henry again aided me in solving this Wednesday New York Times crossword and we knew almost every answer between us: we just needed to check in with Magdalen about 69a teen {Archie or Veronica} - a reference to the Archie Comics characters Archie Andrews and Veronica Lodge, we gather.

sloppy joeWe found the thematic aspects a bit of a challenge: the theme answers were mostly easy to get, but when they were put into the grid nothing seemed to fit around them. It wasn't until we saw sloppy joes at 64-Across that we realized what the problem was and set about rearranging the Joes to make everything fit. It's a bit unusual, in my experience, for transformed answers not to result in real words in the grid, but the idea has an impeccable logic to it and there is a nice "penny to drop" when you see how the theme works.
Solving time: 12 mins (with Henry and Magdalen, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 19a spur {It may be down at the heel}
Theme

64a sloppy joes {School cafeteria fare ... and a hint to this puzzle's theme}. Joe is mispelled in five names (each of the five possible rearrangements occurs once):
17a Eoj Frasier {Olympic boxing gold medalist of 1964} - Joe Frasier
25a Jeo Namath {Hero of Super Bowl III} - Joe Namath
30a Oje Biden {47th U.S. vice president} - Joe Biden
45a Oej Pesci {Oscar winner of 1990} - Joe Pesci
51a Ejo Cocker {Singer on day three of 1969's Woodstock} - Joe Cocker
Solution

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

Crucimetrics
CompilersPatrick Blindauer / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.85)
Theme squares54 (28.6%)
Scrabble points322 (average 1.70)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Other Clues

1a ammo {It's found in chambers}; 5a trots {Moves quickly}; 10a acid {It was dropped in the '60s}; 14a loaf {Just watch TV, say}; 15a Roxie {Historic San Francisco theater, with "the"}; 16a Edna {Dame ___ Everage (Barry Humphries character)}; 19a spur {It may be down at the heel}; 20a pro tem {For the nonce}; 21a drew {Was in a no-win situation?}; 23a lit {Under the table}; 24a Herod {King in "Jesus Christ Superstar"}; 27a die {Run out of gas, say}; 29a decay {Tooth trouble}; 35a Oteri {Cheri of "Scary Movie"}; 38a lava {Abrasive soap brand}; 39a spend {While away, as time}; 42a trod {Trampled (on)}; 43a erase {Wipe}; 47a pitas {Pockets of dough?}; 50a ash {Light hair color}; 54a of use {Handy}; 59a Nor. {Scand. land}; 60a nein {"No, mein Herr"}; 61a Anubis {Egyptian god with the head of a jackal}; 62a alas {"'Tis a pity"}; 66a cite {Commend, as for outstanding service}; 67a iller {More sick, in dialect}; 68a -iana {Bibliophile's suffix}; 69a teen {Archie or Veronica}; 70a tsars {Winter Palace figures}; 71a stay {Canine order}.

1d aleph {Jewish leader?}; 2d Moore {Roger who played the same role seven times}; 3d major {Paramount}; 4d off to {"___ the races!"}; 5d tram {Disney World transport}; 6d Ros {Cartoonist Chast}; 7d oxide {Nitrous ___}; 8d tie-rod {Steering system component}; 9d serene {Composed}; 10d AES {1950s political inits.}; 11d CD players {Sound system staples}; 12d Inuit {Indigenous Canadian}; 13d Darth {Title before Sidious or Maul}; 18d Reddi {___-wip}; 22d Waco {Steve Martin's birthplace}; 25d jeep {Cherokee, for one}; 26d matte {Certain finish}; 28d IDs {Bouncers check them, briefly}; 30d olé {Cheer for a matador}; 31d jar {Candy holder}; 32d evaporate {Disappear}; 33d basic {Meat-and-potatoes}; 34d Neo {Three-time Keanu Reeves character}; 36d roc {"Arabian Nights" bird}; 37d Idi {Uganda's ___ Amin}; 40d near {By}; 41d DJs {Wedding reception hirees}; 44d Eton {Neighbor of Slough}; 46d phony {Like the 28-Down of underage drinkers}; 48d aces it {Gets 100 on a test}; 49d skills {Learned things}; 51d enact {Pass}; 52d Jolie {Half of Brangelina}; 53d Enola {___ Gay (W.W. II bomber)}; 55d Fujis {Some apples}; 56d U-boat {W.W. II menace}; 57d Siena {___ College, north of Albany, N.Y.}; 58d essay {Lamb piece}; 61d APRs {Loan figs.}; 63d Sen. {Committee member, maybe: Abbr.}; 65d per {Word in a price}.

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