Monday, August 17, 2009

NYT Tuesday 8/18/09 - Fruit Cocktail

Cherry MashStrangely this Tuesday New York Times crossword was slightly easier than Monday's, perhaps because I guessed the fruit theme very early and knew all of the full thematic answers except Cherry Mash. Even Magdalen hadn't heard of that before, and it turns out only to be available in the Midwest.

The theme looks a little routine until you realize how narrowly defined the answers are: what follows the fruit isn't arbitrary but always combines to make something edible (or in the case of orange crush, something potable). It's harder than it looks to find sets of answers like this and then construct a puzzle grid around them.
Solving time: 6 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 30a loses it {Goes postal}
Theme

Fruity food & drink items:
17a banana split {Fountain treat}
27a lemon cream {Tangy pie filler}
37a apple crumble {Relative of a certain cobbler}
51a cherry mash {Candy bar with maraschinos}
59a orange crush {Popular Fanta-like soda}
Solution

Tony Orbach
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics
CompilersTony Orbach / Will Shortz
Grid15x16 with 40 (16.7%) black squares
Answers81 (average length 4.94)
Theme squares53 (26.5%)
Scrabble points299 (average 1.50)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

postal memorial30a loses it {Goes postal}. My favorite clue is normally culled from the ones I could figure out, but this is the exception. The expression seemed less amusing when I read about its origin: I gather going postal derives from several serious incidents of workplace rage among USPS workers from 1983 onwards. The worst was in Edmond, Oklahoma in 1986, when 14 employees were shot and killed and six more wounded ... the accompanying memorial commemorates the event.

SLA33a SLA {Patty Hearst kidnap grp.}. Patty Hearst was much in the news when I was a kid, but I'd forgotten most of the history, including the detail important for this clue that she was captured (and turned) by the Symbionese Liberation Army. The SLA didn't exist to free Symbionia ... in the words of their manifesto, "The name 'symbionese' is taken from the word 'symbiosis' and we define its meaning as a body of dissimilar bodies and organisms living in deep and loving harmony and partnership in the best interest of all within the body".

35a ach {"___ du lieber!"}, 49d my word! {"Dear me!"}. Interesting to see both of these in the puzzle, as I gather "ach du lieber!" is pretty much the German equivalent of "my word!". The 1679 Viennese folk song Ach du lieber Augustin commemorates a street musician who fell into a burial pit for plague victims while drunk; his failure to contract the disease was put down to the affluence of incahol.



47a inn {Setting for TV's "Newhart"}. I think the sitcom Newhart may have made it onto British TV screens, but I doubt I saw it. I certainly didn't know that the series was set in an historic Vermont inn.



24d Loc {Tone ___ (early rapper)}. I wondered what would qualify as "early" in the rap genre. It seems rap can be traced as far back as 1956 when deejays were toasting over a dubbed beat. Its "golden age" was from the late 1980s to around 1993 when the form underwent a dramatic transformation to the rap music we know today. Tone-Lōc (sic, there's a macron over the o) had two million-selling hit singles from his debut album Lōc-ed After Dark (1989).



brown cow40d brown cow {Root beer float with chocolate ice cream}. I just love root beer floats - great summer drink. But I can't remember seeing "brown cow" on a menu, tho I'm sure you could get a float with chocolate ice cream if you asked for it.

Noteworthy

bearded iris19a goat {Bearded beast}, 20a iris {Bearded bloom}. A witty juxtaposition of clues. Do irises have beards? Yes, in certain cases the sepals have a tuft of short upright extensions so called. In fact the most common garden iris is the bearded iris (I. germanica).

54a wasps {Big stingers}. I had to learn a whole new terminology for stinging insects when I got to the US ... mainly because there are a whole lot more types of them. What the British call wasps are known as yellow jackets in America; Britain thankfully doesn't have what Americans call wasps, nor hornets for that matter. We very often encounter wasp nests when we're least expecting it - thank goodness for Raid!

Woman with a Lute58a Lute {Vermeer's "Woman With a ___"}. I'm sure I've seen Woman With a Lute (near a Window) many times, but it still took three crossings before I figured out the clue. This Vermeer painting hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

45d dep. {Passbook abbr.}. Couldn't quite figure out what dep. expanded to, and eventually had to ask Magdalen ... deposit of course.

48d Oro {___ y Plata (Montana's motto)}. Happy to say I remembered this, as our road atlas lists all the state mottoes. Some of these seem to have unintentional humor, such as New Mexico's "It grows as it goes". Montana's means "gold and silver" despite it being neither the Golden State (California) nor the Silver State (Nevada).

The Rest

1a abrupt {Short}; 7a lair {Hideout}; 11a Tso {General on a Chinese menu}; 14a promos {Plugs}; 15a aide {Right-hand person}; 16a abet {Help in a heist, say}; 21a I can so {"Just watch me!"}; 23a elite {Type size used in typewriters}; 32a AAAs {Penlight batteries}; 34a Icarus {He flew too close to the sun, in myth}; 36a attn. {Abbr. on an envelope}; 41a tics {Idiosyncrasies}; 43a duo {Batman and Robin, e.g.}; 44a arcade {Game keeper?}; 48a Omar {Sharif of "Doctor Zhivago"}; 50a spooked {A little scared}; 55a kowtow {Show deep respect (to)}; 56a earn {Make}; 66a esos {Those, in Toledo}; 67a robo {"___Cop"}; 68a Bourne {Robert Ludlum hero searching for his identity}; 69a den {Hideout}; 70a deer {Carriers of Lyme ticks}; 71a swells {Balloons}.

1d APB {Alert, for short}; 2d bra {Thing with cups and hooks}; 3d Ron {Harry Potter's best friend}; 4d Uma {Actress Thurman}; 5d ponies up {Pays what's due}; 6d tsar {Peter I, II or III}; 7d lapse {Run out, as a subscription}; 8d ail {Feel ill}; 9d Idi {Uganda's ___ Amin}; 10d retina {Eye part}; 11d T-bone steaks {Rib-eye alternatives}; 12d sea-salt {Natural seasoning}; 13d Ottoman {Club chair companion piece}; 16d agar {Biology lab supply}; 18d silt {Buildup at a river's mouth}; 22d ccs. {IV amounts}; 23d Eli {Yale student}; 25d Isaac Newton {Scientist who experienced a great fall?}; 26d Terps {Maryland squad}; 28d macro {Lens type}; 29d Oahu {Diamond Head locale}; 31d isl. {Archipelago unit: Abbr.}; 35d Acura {Lexus competitor}; 36d Alcoa {Big name in metal foil}; 38d Edam {Dutch dairy product}; 39d map {Aid in locating a pirate's treasure}; 41d tickled {Amused}; 42d in-house {Not farmed out}; 46d eds. {Masthead contents, briefly}; 50d shag {Thick carpet}; 52d rtes. {66 and others: Abbr.}; 53d Señor {Guadalajara guy}; 57d Rebs {Confederate soldiers, for short}; 60d Roe {___ v. Wade}; 61d Abe {Actor Vigoda}; 62d rue {Lament}; 63d URL {http://www.yahoo.com, e.g.}; 64d SNL {Skit-filled NBC show, for short}; 65d he's {"For ___ a jolly ..."}.

4 comments:

Daniel Myers said...

Another nice juxtaposition is IRIS with RETINA.

Crossword Man said...

Didn't spot that one ... maybe it's time I got my eyes checked :-)

Jared said...

How about isaAc and Apple?

Crossword Man said...

Yes, the apple colliding with Isaac Newton is another cute feature. I'll have to watch out more closely for such things in the next Tony Orbach puzz.