Monday, August 24, 2009

NYT Tuesday 8/25/09 - Crossing Traffic

Yesterday's New York Times crossword was a little unusual in that I couldn't find anything New to Me. That was too good to last, and today we have the usual crop of clues that show up gaps in my knowledge. Still, the Tuesday puzzles are now pretty easy for me (dare I say) and seem to take around the same time as the Monday ones.

This crossword's take on hybrid vehicles illustrates how a simple idea can make for a really entertaining puzzle. It makes me realize how many more great hybrids there must be: how about the Kitten Wrangler, the Aspen Avalanche or the Jazz Hummer. OK, I cheated because those are almost certainly from different manufacturers - kudos to the constructor for keeping the hybrids within bounds.
Solving time: 7 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 12d alibi {It's good when airtight}

56a hybrid vehicles {Cars suggested by 20-, 26- and 48-Across?}. Two car models from the same manufacturer "hybridize" to make a phrase:
20a Suburban Malibu {Residential area of California [think Chevy]}
26a Mustang Escape {Start of a stampede, maybe [think Ford]}
48a Accord Element {Part of a peace treaty [think Honda]}

Bob Johnson
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

CompilersBob Johnson / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.92)
Theme squares54 (28.9%)
Scrabble points314 (average 1.68)
New To Me

14a Macon {Georgia Music Hall of Fame city}. I hadn't heard of Macon, GA before, but I'm used to US cities having names from European geography, so it didn't surprise me. Macon's rich musical history began with the invention of the kazoo by Alabama Vest in the 1840s.

68a Wally {The Beav's big brother}. I can now recognize this as a reference to Leave It To Beaver, but don't know all the Beav's family members. Wally Cleaver was played by Tony Dow in the TV show. Wait a minute ... I've showed this wonderful clip before, so I really should have learned Wally already.

40d Ode {"___ to Billie Joe" (1967 #1 hit)}. The song Ode to Billie Joe was written and recorded by Bobbie Gentry. It's also the title of her debut album. The song tells the story of a young man who commits suicide by jumping off the Tallahatchie Bridge over the Mississippi.


34a Rohan {Realm of Tolkien's Middle-earth}. Many of my teenage years were (mis?)spent reading (and re-reading) The Lord of the Rings and that helped a lot here, as there are options for 31-Down (see below). Rohan is a grassy land inhabited by the Rohirrim, who are fine horsemen.

67a Evil {Dr. ___ (Mike Myers character)}. Dr. Evil is the Donald Pleasance-esque villain from the Austin Powers series ... vintage Mike Myers.

Ty Cobb69a Pete {Rose who surpassed Cobb}. Pete Rose is something of a regular in the NYT and was the subject of the June 4 puzzle this year. This clue leaves us to work out in what statistic he surpassed Ty Cobb. I'm guessing the number of career base hits: Pete Rose had 4,256 compared to Ty Cobb's 4,191.

wide load11d mobile home {It might have a "wide load" sign}. We seem to be at the epicenter of mobile home production, as we so often see parts of houses on I-81, together with their escort vehicles. These are often sections of modular homes, rather than the traditional caravan-style mobile home.

12d alibi {It's good when airtight}. Nice piece of deception, but I always think of "watertight" in this context: I guess if something's airtight, then the chances are it's also watertight.

29d Gia {Actress ___ Scala}. I remembered Gia Scala (1934–1972) from her previous outing in June; it seems the only other Gia in crosswords is supermodel Gia Carangi. I most remember Gia Scala for playing Anna in The Guns of Navarone - her looks were very appropriate for the part of the Greek resistance fighter Anna.

31d pop {Much Top 40 music}. It was very tempting to read irony into the clue and put in pap here ... which could easily stick if you didn't remember the realm of Rohan.

41d Solti {Sir Georg of the Chicago Symphony}. A real gimme for me, as I probably have more recordings of Sir Georg Solti (19121997) and the Chicago Symphony than any conductor/orchestra combination. If I visited Chicago I'd certainly want to hear the Symphony play, and I gather maestro Muti is due to take over as music director there from the 2010-11 season.

58d Eric {Idle of "Life of Brian"}. Can't resist this opportunity for some laughs from Britain's greatest contribution to comedy. How about the "what have the Romans ever done for us?" scene?

The Rest

1a abaci {Early calculators}; 6a tact {What it takes not to say "I see you've put on a little weight"}; 10a Oman {Arabian Peninsula land}; 15a OSHA {Workplace watchdog org.}; 16a Polo {Fashion line named for a sport}; 17a palms {Conceals, as a card}; 18a Meir {Golda of Israel}; 19a a bit {Just slightly}; 23a à la {In the style of}; 24a oaf {Clumsy sort}; 25a lip {Fresh talk}; 32a Apu {"The Simpsons" storekeeper}; 33a rail {Commuter's option}; 37a hint {Subtle flavor}; 39a tacos {Sonora snacks}; 42a poke {Elbow}; 43a India {Locale of many outsourced jobs}; 45a I dos {Altar exchange}; 47a mix {Be sociable}; 52a sky {Blue shade}; 54a toe {Tot's "piggy"}; 55a tau {Letter-shaped cross}; 62a area {Surface figure}; 63a lira {Trevi Fountain throw-in, once}; 64a Ollie {Colonel North, informally}; 66a risk {Put on the line}; 70a sect {Religious offshoot}; 71a shake {Soda shop order}.

1d amp {Roadie's load}; 2d baas {Meadow calls}; 3d ACLU {Rights org.}; 4d combat {Front-line action}; 5d insular {Isolated, as a people}; 6d tomb {Mummy's locale}; 7d a-sea {On a cruise}; 8d chinos {Casual slacks}; 9d tarmac {Takeoff or touchdown site}; 10d opal {Gem mined in Australia}; 13d not up {Still in bed}; 21d ran at {Charged}; 22d afar {At a distance}; 26d Mahi {Hawaiian fish, on menus}; 27d up in {___ arms (indignant)}; 28d Sunday best {Going-to-church clothes}; 30d El Cid {Conqueror of Valencia, 1094}; 35d akin {Closely related}; 36d next {Barbershop call}; 38d tic {Quirky habit}; 44d Act I {Play opener}; 46d sea-cows {Dugongs or manatees}; 49d oodles {Lots and lots}; 50d revive {Bring back, as a fashion}; 51d mullah {Islamic leader}; 52d sharp {Quick-witted}; 53d Kyrie {"___ eleison" ("Lord, have mercy")}; 57d rake {Do some yard work}; 59d halt {Sentry's order}; 60d Ella {Jazz's Fitzgerald}; 61d silk {Symbol of smoothness}; 65d eye {Check out}.


Daniel Myers said...

Anent ROHAN: It would seem that our youths were similarly mis-spent!

Crossword Man said...

AnEnt is very funny in light of one of today's answers. How did you know?

Daniel Myers said...

A-NENE-Told me.:-)