Saturday, August 22, 2009

NYT Sunday 8/23/09 - Non-European

"How nice," I thought, "a puzzle about the European Union". This notion didn't help with quick recognition of the theme for this Sunday New York Times crossword. But we certainly enjoyed the pun-based idea that's such a staple of the jumbo puzzles ... especially The Umpire Strikes Back as we like seeing refs join the melee when players get rowdy.

There were a couple of intersections where we had grave doubts over our choices: 5a patho- and 9d -ote was a worry because we couldn't easily think of words with the latter as a suffix (and it's perhaps inelegant to have a prefix and suffix crossing at all); 47a Amores and 42d Dorr was also troubling because we knew neither, but in reality only O was likely at their intersection.
Solving time: 35 mins (with Magdalen, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 57d noels {End-of-year numbers}
Theme

An E is changed into a U in phrases, with punny results:
23a pressed the flush {Used a push-button toilet?}
40a it's past my Bud time {"I can't drink beer this late"?}
55a Butter Business Bureau {Dairy regulator?}
77a The Umpire Strikes Back {Baseball official gets revenge?}
93a works without a nut {"The bolt alone is sufficient"?}
114a The Little Red Hun {Story of a small Communist barbarian?}
Solution

Phil Ruzbarsky
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics
CompilersPhil Ruzbarsky / Will Shortz
Grid21x21 with 74 (16.8%) black squares
Answers140 (average length 5.24)
Theme squares102 (27.8%)
Scrabble points577 (average 1.57)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

Langston Hughes19a I, Too {Langston Hughes poem}. I actually knew the words of the poem, since it's one of those set by Leonard Bernstein in Songfest. That didn't help me solve the clue any, but at least I recognized the answer when it emerged from crossings. The poet, novelist and dramatist Langston Hughes (1902–1967) was a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s.
I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
Then.

Besides,
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.
118a Beene {Designer Geoffrey}. I think Magdalen knew, but I had to look up what kind of designer Geoffrey Beene (19242004) was. A couturier of course, with three first ladies among his clients: Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, Nancy Reagan. Plus he opened a chain of retail stores which continue to this day.

Thomas Wilson Dorr42d Dorr {U.S. rebellion leader of 1842}. As we weren't too confident of Ovid's Amores, we had to experiment with all the vowels in this word before we found the one that worked best and we got lucky. Thomas Wilson Dorr led the Dorr Rebellion - a short-lived armed insurrection in Rhode Island with the aim of broadening voting rights.

Noteworthy

beefeater68a beefeater {Yeoman of the British guard}. Easy for me of course. The "beefeaters" are the popular name for the Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London - a bit of a mouthful, which is why they needed a nickname (which it's thought literally derives from their privilege of having extra beef in their diet). Today's beefeaters are retired British servicemen who get to live in the Tower of London in return for being a tourist attraction on legs.

2d E*TRADE {Online brokerage}. I wasn't going to comment on E*TRADE, but then I recalled they are the brokerage that has continued to run those ads making share-trading look like child's play, despite the market turmoil. Is that responsible? Anyway, the ads are still cute and I've just discovered some outtakes, which are even better...



9d -ote {Native: Suffix}. It was hard to convince Magdalen of this: she wanted -ite, which was fair enough, but there's no such word as pathilogical. -ote is a suffix meaning inhabitant, in forms such as Corfiote and Italiote.

57d noels {End-of-year numbers}. Easily the best clue to my mind ... a noel can be a Christmas carol as well as Christmas itself.

99d Lemuel {Gulliver of "Gulliver's Travels"}. A gimme for me, as Wodehouse memorably reused the weird forename for comic effect:
"...And he shrinks, no doubt, from the prospect of being addressed for the remainder of his life as Sir Lemuel."

"His name's not Lemuel?"

"I fear so, sir."

"Couldn't he use his second name?"

"His second name is Gengulphus."

"Golly, Jeeves," I said, thinking of old Uncle Tom Portarlington, "there's some raw work pulled at the font from time to time, is there not?"

"There is indeed, sir."
From Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit
The Rest

1a tend {Shepherd}; 5a patho- {Logical beginning?}; 10a stds. {Regs.}; 14a objet {Curio}; 20a Ebert {Who said "No good movie is too long, and no bad movie is short enough"}; 21a Eric {House Republican V.I.P. Cantor}; 22a loess {Windblown soil}; 26a grate {Difficult surface for high-heel shoes}; 27a Jax {The Jaguars, on scoreboards}; 28a slur {"White trash," e.g.}; 29a lain {Been in bed}; 30a magnet {Kind of school}; 31a a dime {Stop on ___}; 33a Casca {"Julius Caesar" role}; 36a Seau {12-time Pro Bowl player Junior}; 38a NES {Super ___ (game console)}; 39a rete {Neural network}; 44a runs {Operates}; 46a ache {Flu symptom}; 47a Amores {Ovid's love poetry}; 48a naive {Green}; 50a NYT {Largest city paper in the U.S.: Abbr.}; 51a ria {Narrow estuary}; 54a Uru. {Arg. neighbor}; 61a rgt. {Mil. unit}; 62a at 'em {"Up and ___!"}; 63a Osaka {It was destroyed by Godzilla in "Godzilla Raids Again"}; 64a tins {Cans}; 66a egads! {"Zounds!"}; 71a world {Sci-fi writer's creation}; 72a Deco {Like Rockefeller Center}; 73a oriel {Cantilevered window}; 74a Dali {"The Hallucinogenic Toreador" artist}; 76a moa {Extinct relative of the emu}; 83a Sri {___ Chinmoy (late spiritual leader)}; 84a cel {Toon frame}; 85a e'en {Poetic dark period}; 86a think {"Concentrate!"}; 87a T-Bonds {Govt.-issued securities}; 90a NASL {Pelé was its M.V.P. in '76}; 92a tail {Shadow}; 97a belt {Stiff drink}; 101a APO {Mil. address}; 102a aloe {Medicinal succulent}; 103a Saxon {Native of Leipzig}; 104a voter {One looking for a ticket, maybe}; 105a spiffy {Spruce}; 108a plus {Added value}; 110a B'nai {Sons of, in Hebrew}; 112a CMA {Nashville-based awards org.}; 113a Allie {Pitcher Reynolds of the 1940s-'50s Yankees}; 119a Bana {Eric of "Munich"}; 120a Ewell {Gettysburg general under Lee}; 121a peen {Hammer part}; 122a is Red {"The East ___," song of the Chinese Cultural Revolution}; 123a Aten {Egyptian solar disk}; 124a lasso {Catch in a ring, maybe}; 125a idly {Without much thought}.

1d tip jar {Bill collector?}; 3d No Exit {Sartre play set in hell}; 4d dos {Fetes}; 5d peel {Plastic surgeon's procedure}; 6d abducts {Shanghais}; 7d tetras {Colorful fish}; 8d HRH {Regal inits.}; 10d Sela {Emmy-winning Ward}; 11d truism {Platitude}; 12d Disney {Miramax owner}; 13d sch. {P.T.A. meeting place: Abbr.}; 14d Olga {Sister in Chekhov's "Three Sisters"}; 15d Borg {Five-time Wimbledon champ}; 16d Jeannie {1960s sitcom title role}; 17d esteems {Prizes}; 18d tsetse {Transmitter of nagana}; 24d SSE {Reno-to-L.A. dir.}; 25d flash {News bulletin}; 30d muu-muu {Hawaiian attire}; 32d merit {Basis of a Scouting badge}; 34d spays {Neuters}; 35d cacti {Peyotes, e.g.}; 37d ABA {Litigators' org.}; 40d inert {Chemically quiet}; 41d Teresa {Mother ___}; 43d true to {Loyally following}; 45d uveas {Eye layers}; 48d nugget {McDonald's chicken bit}; 49d attach {Affix}; 50d numeric {Having digits}; 52d is at {"The wolf ___ the door"}; 53d asked in {Welcomed, as a visitor}; 55d bred {Mated}; 56d bebop {Jazz genre}; 58d Barak {P.M. between Netanyahu and Sharon}; 59d airman {Aviator}; 60d unlock {Open}; 65d S Dak {Neb. neighbor}; 67d does OK {Gets a C, say}; 69d Eire {Where Guinness originates}; 70d feel no {___ pain}; 71d wish I {Words before may or might}; 75d let at {The French state}; 78d urns {Mantel pieces}; 79d midway {Convenient meeting place?}; 80d testa {Seed coat}; 81d relax {"Put your feet up"}; 82d Bilbo {Tolkien hobbit}; 87d topples {Overthrows}; 88d broiler {Oven option}; 89d s'il {Part of R.S.V.P.}; 91d aussi {Also, in Arles}; 92d tunnels {Places for moles}; 93d wasabi {Mustardy condiment}; 94d top-hat {Cane accompanier, maybe}; 95d Helene {Curtis of cosmetics}; 96d nobles {Aristocrats}; 98d etched {Fixed for all time}; 100d tranny {Gearshift mechanism, informally}; 104d vie {Contend}; 106d fine {"O.K. then"}; 107d feed {Network signal}; 109d Ulan {___ Bator}; 111d Arlo {Author/poet Bates}; 114d TBA {TV schedule abbr.}; 115d tel. {10-digit no.}; 116d TWA {Former rival of USAir}; 117d DPI {Printer specification: Abbr.}.

2 comments:

Stephanie said...

85A frustrated me because it's really e'en. And the clue is purposely misleading: "a poetic dark period" makes me think of a dark period in a poet's life, rather than a poetic word for evening. As a teacher of American lit, I knew "I, Too," though. Fun puzzle!

Crossword Man said...

Thanks for pointing out the error with e'en, which I've now fixed. Its clue could perhaps have done with a ? at the end?