Sunday, September 6, 2009

NYT Monday 9/7/09 - Caught in the Net?

The theme of this Monday New York Times crossword left Magdalen and myself a little perplexed: take the bait and get reeled in are very close in meaning (literal and figurative), but open a can of worms is different. From their symmetry and position, it looks like Go Fish and sinker are also thematic, so perhaps the idea was just to get in lots of answers related to angling?

I note also that marine green and Under the Sea have a thematic connection, though those look just to be serendipitous fill. Perhaps in view of clues like "Fall for it" and "Be a sucker", the whole puzzle is just intended as a bit of a legpull for bloggers?

Whatever the case, the actual puzzle seemed a little tougher than usual for a Monday - there were more clues than usual that I stalled on and had to revisit once there was some useful cross-checking.
Solving time: 8 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 62a cassette {Insert in a tape recorder}

Terms associated with angling:
1a Go Fish {Card game in which a player might ask "Got any 8's?}
20a take the bait {Fall for it}
41a open a can of worms {Start something that one shouldn't start}
57a get reeled in {Be a sucker}
72a sinker {Hook, line and ___}

Andrea Carla Michaels and Ashish Vengsarkar
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

CompilersAndrea Carla Michaels and Ashish Vengsarkar / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.79)
Theme squares49 (26.2%)
Scrabble points292 (average 1.56)
New To Me

pinboys49a reset {Bowler's button}. I had no doubts about this answer, but needed to do some research to confirm my guess: yes, the reference is to bowling, in which a reset button is pressed to set up bowling pins in their starting positions. The task of pinsetting was originally done by hand (often by teenagers called "pinboys"), until in 1936, Gottfried Schmidt invented the mechanical pinsetter.

Gus Grissom54a Gus {Astronaut Grissom}. Gus Grissom (1926–1967) was one of the Project Mercury astronauts, being the second American to fly into space. Sadly he was one of three killed when the Apollo 1 command module caught fire during a training exercise in 1967.

Alfred P. Sloan5d Sloan {M.I.T.'s ___ School of Management}. The MIT Sloan School of Management is one of the world's leading business schools, named after Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. (1875–1966), longtime president and chairman of General Motors and an 1895 MIT graduate.

13d Zee {New York's Tappan ___ Bridge}. I'd heard the Tappan Zee Bridge mentioned a few times, but never seen it written down ... luckily I knew it had to be Zee rather than See because (Les) Miz is totally familiar from other puzzles. The Tappan Zee derives its name from the Tappan sub-tribe of the Delaware/Lenni Lenape, and the Dutch word zee, meaning a sea or wide expanse of water.

24d under the sea {Disney lyric repeated before "Darling it's better / Down where it's wetter"}. An answer befitting the theme, the words being from Under The Sea, the Oscar-winning Calypso song from The Little Mermaid (1989).


17a Simeon {San ___ (Hearst castle)}. I knew this only because of the connection with Citizen Kane: Kane's extraordinary estate "Xanadu" was modeled on Hearst Castle, which featured 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, 127 acres of gardens, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, a movie theater, an airfield, and the world's largest private zoo.

Raggedy Ann doll26a Ann {Raggedy ___}. Having learned about Raggedy Ann dolls from crosswords, I was pleased to see a real one in the house of a friend the other day. Raggedy Ann was created by writer Johnny Gruelle (1880–1938).

56a Nye {Bill the Science Guy}. Bill Nye is a name I'll never forget, as he was the cause of my downfall in puzzle 7 of ACPT 2009. I reckon this is the first clip I've seen of the chap, who appears to be an American version of James Burke.

39d SWF {Abbr. in personals}. Standing, I assume, for "single white female", also the title of a 1992 thriller starring Bridget Fonda, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Steven Weber.

The Rest

7a RBIs {Sluggers' stats}; 11a Miz {B'way's "Les ___"}; 14a pueblo {Southwest Indian home}; 15a Alda {Alan of "M*A*S*H"}; 16a ace {Useful item accompanying a face card in blackjack}; 18a palm-tree {Coconut source}; 22a Apu {"The Simpsons" clerk}; 25a Ned {"The Simpsons" neighbor}; 27a lend {Give away temporarily}; 29a dumps {Jilts}; 33a Seth {Brother of Cain and Abel}; 36a model {Walk the runway at a fashion show}; 38a carps {Complains}; 40a Gia {Actress Scala}; 44a SLR {Certain camera, for short}; 45a motet {Sacred song}; 46a frees {Liberates}; 47a tête {Head: Fr.}; 51a bell {Steeple contents}; 52a haw {Hem's partner}; 62a cassette {Insert in a tape recorder}; 63a one-two {Boxing combo}; 67a age {What the rings signify on a tree}; 68a noun {Verb go-with}; 69a raiser {Hell-___ (rowdy sort)}; 70a baa {Call to a shepherd}; 71a snit {State when one's nose is out of joint}.

1d GPS {Navigational gizmo}; 2d oui {Yes, in Québec}; 3d fem. {Masc. alternative}; 4d I bet {"Yeah, sure"}; 6d honked {Gave a toot}; 7d rapt {Transfixed}; 8d blah {Unexciting}; 9d idle {Twiddling one's thumbs}; 10d samba {Latin ballroom dance}; 11d marine green {Algae color}; 12d Ice-T {Rapper turned actor}; 19d tans {Bronzes at the beach}; 21d educate {Instill with the three R's}; 22d almost {"Close but no cigar"}; 23d people {Us Weekly rival}; 28d den {Lion's lair}; 30d manes {Lions' hair}; 31d protégé {Tutee}; 32d SPF {Letters on a Coppertone bottle}; 34d timely {Opportune}; 35d hassle {Big inconvenience}; 37d lam {Escapee's run}; 42d cor. {Where streets meet: Abbr.}; 43d orb {Globe}; 48d eats {Grabs dinner}; 50d Tudors {English monarchs from Henry VII through Elizabeth I}; 53d wrens {Birds in many birdhouses}; 55d Sinai {Egyptian desert}; 57d gaga {Daffy}; 58d Eton {School for princes William and Harry}; 59d étui {Decorative needle case}; 60d Lent {Period of fasting}; 61d nein {No, in Nuremberg}; 62d cab {Taxi}; 64d tsk {"Tut-tut"}; 65d wee {Itsy-bitsy}; 66d Orr {Hockey's Bobby}.

1 comment:

Tom said...

Probably coincidental, but the clues "Fall for it", and "Be a sucker" - both contain nicknames for fish found in the Eastern US - Fallfish and Suckers.