Friday, September 4, 2009

NYT Saturday 9/5/09 - An Ill Deed

My luck ran out with this Saturday New York Times crossword. You'd have predicted the problems would be in the southwest corner, where two baseball players cross and other cultural references abound. But I actually got a letter wrong at the crossing of Dick Enberg and need ASAP, going for a D instead of an N.

I hadn't spotted the note about this being the championship round puzzle at Lollapuzzoola 2 until after I'd filled the grid. If I'd known the lightning-fast Dan Feyer had taken all of 7 minutes and 10 seconds over it, I might have been more relaxed about running over the half hour and taken another look at the northeast corner.
Solving time: 43 mins (solo, no solving aids, two wrong answers)
Clue of the puzz: 31d strike one {Call at home}

Mike Nothnagel
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

CompilersMike Nothnagel / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 33 (14.7%) black squares
Answers68 (average length 5.65)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points312 (average 1.63)
New To Me

Jonathan Papelbon56a Papelbon {Pitcher who struck out the final batter of the 2007 World Series}. Dino_burger and beanette Jack could have helped with this one, as Jonathan Papelbon plays for the Boston Red Sox: he's a closer (like "Lights Out" Lidge who I saw in action on Thursday night) with the nicknames "Pap" and "Cinco Ocho" (he plays as number 58).

58a The Stand {1978 King novel rereleased in a "Complete and uncut" version in 1990}. The Stand is King's sixth novel, with a post-apocalyptic theme. It strangely hasn't been made into movie, though there was a TV miniseries in 1994.

59a Eminem {Winner of the 2002 Academy Award for Best Original Song}. Didn't recognize Eminem from the nugget of trivia in the clue, but I have at least heard of him (who hasn't?). The award was for the song "Lose Yourself" in the hip-hop drama 8 Mile, in which Eminem starred.

2d evil twins {Bad copies?}. Easy enough to rationalize the clue in a general way, but I assumed this must involve a cultural reference I didn't immediately fathom. I gather evil twins have a long pedigree in fiction, but more recently have become a hackneyed device in soap opera etc. A notable example is the evil Spock in the "Mirror, Mirror" episode of Star Trek, who sports a convenient goatee to distinguish him.

6d Everlast {Company that provided equipment for the reality show "The Contender"}. I like this clue, as it gives you a chance to pin down the nature of the equipment, at least. Everlast is a manufacturer of boxing gear, The Contender being a classic elimination-style show that started in 2005.

11d A Tale {"Gigantic (___ of Two Johns)," 2002 documentary about They Might Be Giants}. This answer was a toss-up between A Tale and A Saga and it didn't help that I recognized neither the documentary nor what was being documented. Seems it's a rock band, formed in 1982, with the duo of John Flansburgh and John Linnell at its core (hence the documentary title).

Dick Enberg14d Enberg {Original host of "Breakfast at Wimbledon"}. A disaster for me, as I hadn't before encountered Dick Enberg - I just assumed the clue was an elliptical way of indicating a tennis star, hence Edberg. Unfortunately, deed, ASAP looked viable for the across - shades of my Bill Nie/Elaine Boosler disaster in the ACPT.

lychee punch25d tied one on {Took a lot of punches?}. "Tie one on" is not one of the myriad euphemisms for getting drunk that I'm familiar with. I gather the expression is more specifically used for having another alcoholic drink before the previous hangover has worn off. So I didn't realize what the disguised meaning of "punch" was until after completing the grid and checking out what the answer meant.

33d Edna {Housemother to Tootie, Natalie, Blair and Jo}. Although I now know The Facts of Life as a title, I'm still vague on all the characters' names, so didn't realize that show was involved until doing this research. In the series, Edna Garrett (Charlotte Rae) is the housemother to seven girls in a boarding school in Peekskill, NY (where we went to see Aimee Mann in July, as it happens).

Warren Spahn46d Spahn {Braves pitcher who won the 1957 Cy Young Award}. I should have remembered Warren Spahn (1921–2003) as he definitely is in the Baseball Hall of Fame, having been elected in 1973. Spahn was regarded as the "thinking man's"pitcher and won more games (363) than any other left-handed pitcher in history.


17a need ASAP {Note on a time-sensitive document}. I got into difficulties here, even once I'd worked out the ending was ASAP. read ASAP seemed the most logical answer, but it clearly wasn't that so I settled for deed, ASAP assuming this must be some legal jargon specific to the USA. Big mistake.

21a emu {It's classified by the U.S.D.A. as red meat under cooking guidelines and as poultry under inspection standards}. Somehow got this intriguingly-clued answer with very little help from crossings. Apparently emus are farmed on a large scale in the USA, which has an estimated population of a million birds. They're valued for their leather and oil, as well as their meat. Emu always makes me think of the Rod Hull puppet, which I tried and failed to explain to Magdalen the other day ... so here's a clip:

42a metonym {"The press," for "reporters," e.g.}. I couldn't remember if this figure of speech was a meronym or a metonym, but was still happy to narrow it down that much and let 43-Down settle the issue
metonym n the name of a single aspect of or adjunct to a thing used as a way of referring to the whole thing itself, such as 'the ring' to mean 'boxing'.
meronym n a word whose relation to another in meaning is that of part to whole, eg whisker in relation to cat.
From The Chambers Dictionary
9d slap {Indicator of freshness?}. The different possibilities here didn't help: I started with sass, which was pretty close, but then tried seal when the third letter looked to be A. Finally conceded that slap was it, once I had all the crossings.

The Rest

1a demise {End}; 7a it's war! {Battle cry}; 13a Ivan IV {First monarch to be crowned Tsar of All Russia}; 14a escalate {Intensify}; 16a G.I. Jane {1997 Demi Moore movie with the tagline "Failure is not an option"}; 18a slower {Like a runner-up, often}; 19a bad apple {Spoiler of a sort}; 20a trawl {Nab in a net}; 22a sel {Poivre's counterpart}; 23a sway {What many rulers hold}; 24a atrophy {Result of nonuse}; 28a nix {Veto}; 29a e-sign {Endorse on a Web site, maybe}; 30a oeste {Córdoba compass direction}; 34a animate {Create a flip book, say}; 36a knotted {Like many bows}; 38a pssts {Secret words?}; 39a die of {___ shame}; 41a ran {Entered a contest}; 44a Gila {River of Yuma and Phoenix}; 45a CST {Setting for 10 U.S. states: Abbr.}; 48a UNH {New England sch. with campuses in Durham and Manchester}; 49a awake {Not dormant}; 51a open area {Field, e.g.}; 54a thread {Bookbinder's material}; 57a to love {"Lieben," in German class}; 60a one ton {Rig capacity}; 61a recess {Niche}.

1d digs {Pad}; 3d major axis {Line that passes through both of an ellipse's foci}; 4d in a way {Kind of}; 5d sinew {Strength provider}; 7d iced up {Needed a coating of heated propylene glycol, say}; 8d tada! {Finish line?}; 10d wasps {With 52-Down, structure found under eaves}; 12d repel {Turn off}; 15d sea monkey {Pet for which you can buy an Aqua-Leash}; 23d snap {Spontaneous}; 26d hoof {Farrier's focus}; 27d yet {"Solitude is impractical and ___ society is fatal": Emerson}; 29d ease {Maneuver gingerly}; 31d strike one {Call at home}; 32d tea leaves {What some predictions are based on}; 35d MTM {"Lou Grant" production co.}; 37d no matter {"Whatever"}; 40d in hand {Under one's command}; 43d turban {Garment that's often reconstructed before each wearing}; 44d garlic {Food used as an antiseptic during World War I}; 45d cop to {Don't deny}; 47d tepee {Structure made from poles and hides}; 50d who me? {Cry from the accused}; 52d nest {See 10-Down}; 53d alto {Mrs. Lovett in "Sweeney Todd," for one}; 55d Dems. {Majority of U.S. governors, as of 2009: Abbr.}.

No comments: