Monday, September 7, 2009

NYT Tuesday 9/8/09 - Lead a Dance

Tuesday's New York Times crossword had one of those themes that is elusive until you reach the key answer, in this case dance. If I'd thought about it I could have searched out that answer straight away, but I seemed to make great progress anyway ... working from top left to bottom right, the grid was pretty much done by the time I was alerted to the thematic connection.

A couple of the theme clues really appealed to me: 21a pot-belly {Joe Six-Pack's protrusion} because it highlights the illogicality of Joe Six-Pack never having a six pack in the abdominal sense; I also enjoyed 44a baseball fan {Typical visitor to Cooperstown}, being a regular visitor there, but let's not forget about the opera and the town's hospitality: as a popular T-shirt puts it "Cooperstown: a Drinking Town with a Baseball Problem".
Solving time: 8 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 61d laic {Of the flock}

Six answers end in words that are types of dance, as indicated by 71a dance {Word that can follow the ends of 17-, 21-, 36-, 44-, 54- and 64-Across}.
17a credit line {Borrower's limit}
21a pot-belly {Joe Six-Pack's protrusion}
36a garter-snake {Harmless-to-humans slitherer}
44a baseball fan {Typical visitor to Cooperstown}
54a acid rain {One cause of deforestation}
64a Crimean War {Conflict settled by the Treaty of Paris in 1856}

Alan Arbesfeld
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

CompilersAlan Arbesfeld / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.85)
Theme squares63 (33.3%)
Scrabble points292 (average 1.54)
New To Me

Miami-Dade County4d Dade {Miami-___ County}. Miami I've heard of (not least because it is mirror-symmetrical when written as a down answer - important in at least one crossword). But I don't think I've met its county Miami-Dade County before. The Dade comes from Major Francis L. Dade, a soldier killed in 1835 in the Second Seminole War. Magdalen and I are traveling to Florida next month, but I don't think we'll be venturing quite as far south as this.

Buddy List6d AOL {Co. offering a Buddy List}. As Magdalen is an AOL user, I thought she might know what a "Buddy List" is, but even she had to look it up. Apparently, it's a feature of AOL's instant messaging service, called AIM. Your Buddy List gives the status of up to 1,000 friends.

Toronto Maple Leafs11d Maple Leafs {Canadiens' rivals}. This looked like a sporting reference, and I was right to guess at ice hockey given the Canadian bias. The Toronto Maple Leafs are rivals to the Montreal Canadiens in the National Hockey League. Why not Maple Leaves, though?


25a Sabe {Kemo ___ (the Lone Ranger)}. Kemo Sabe apparently means "trusty scout". Jim Jewell, director of The Lone Ranger from 1933 to 1939, took the phrase from Kamp Kee-Mo Sah-Bee, a boys' camp on Mullett Lake established in 1911.

30a I Am {"___ a Rock"}. I remembered this was a song title, but was vague on details. Oh yes, a Paul Simon song re-recorded by Simon and Garfunkel in 1965. We were lucky to see an Art Garfunkel concert in the grounds of Kenwood House my last summer in England. Paul Simon is a rock: what's your inanimate object?

Mimi39a ear {It may be floppy or pointy}. A whimsical clue, presumably referring to canine ears which can be both of these. Our dog's ears are definitely of the floppy variety.

Ponte Vecchio46a Ponte {___ Vecchio (Florence landmark)}. The famous bridge with shops built along it, and I wondered today whether the Vecchio was the river it spanned, or a famous Florentian figure. Neither of these: Vecchio just means "old" in Italian .. the bridge spans the Arno River.

49a Easy A {Gut course}. Highly misleading clue, which I might have judged a great one, had this use of "gut" seemed natural to me. "gut reaction", "gut feeling" etc, I'm familiar with, but not "gut course" - there may be a transatlantic difference here.

satay seller34d satay {Skewered Asian fare}. Know the word, but am a little vague as to ingredients, appearance etc, having never to my knowledge tried a satay. It seems a satay consists largely of meat, which could be chicken, goat, mutton, beef, pork, fish ... or a substitute like tofu. Authentic satays use the midrib of a coconut leaf as the skewer, but bamboo is often substituted. The cuisine is thought to have originated in Java, but can now be found throughout Southeast Asia (and restaurants everywhere).

The Rest

1a binds {Tight spots}; 6a ASAP {"Pronto!"}; 10a amat {Part of a Latin 101 conjugation}; 14a in-law {Family tree member}; 15a oh no! {"Yikes!"}; 16a maxi {Ankle-length, maybe}; 19a open {Up-front}; 20a serene {Hard to rattle}; 23a dam {Lake former, perhaps}; 26a angel {Little devil's opposite}; 33a salsa {Chips go-with}; 40a aced {Hit a serve past}; 41a Nutri {___-Grain (breakfast bar brand)}; 42a fate {You can't escape it}; 43a she {"That's all ___ wrote"}; 48a ESL {Night sch. class}; 50a Liam {Neeson of "Kinsey"}; 52a ego {Self-importance}; 58a ├ętoile {Star, in Paris}; 63a magi {Visitors to the manger}; 66a Ashe {Queens tennis stadium}; 67a Help! {1965 Beatles song or movie}; 68a reoil {Use more 3-in-One on}; 69a Jets {"West Side Story" gang}; 70a odes {Works of 9-Down}.

1d Bics {Popular ballpoints}; 2d in re {Concerning, on a memo}; 3d NLer {Pirate or Padre, for short}; 5d swindle {Bernie Madoff job}; 7d ship {Send via DHL, say}; 8d anno {Cornerstone word}; 9d poets {Keats and Horace, for two}; 10d amoeba {Pseudopod-forming organism}; 12d Axel {Jump on the ice}; 13d tiny {Facetious nickname for a giant}; 18d tea {Samovar beverage}; 22d base {Military site}; 24d misuse {Apply incorrectly}; 26d agasp {Visibly shocked}; 27d nacho {Cheesy snack}; 28d green light {Go-ahead}; 29d ETD {J.F.K. posting: Abbr.}; 31d antes {Starts the kitty}; 32d marble {Venus de Milo material}; 35d arena {Concert venue}; 37d RNA {Genetic letters}; 38d Kia {Sedona and Sorento automaker}; 42d Fla. {Atlantic state in two time zones: Abbr.}; 44d bear {Put up with}; 45d leotard {Trapeze artist's attire}; 47d tidies {Straightens (up)}; 51d macho {Like many a Clint Eastwood character}; 53d gee! {"I didn't know that!"}; 54d A maj. {Key with three sharps: Abbr.}; 55d case {Item on a docket}; 56d ired {Ticked off}; 57d Nile {Aswan's river}; 59d one-A {Fit to serve}; 60d I won! {Lottery player's cry of elation}; 61d laic {Of the flock}; 62d Erle {Writer ___ Stanley Gardner}; 65d MPs {"M*A*S*H" cops, for short}.


Daniel Myers said...

There's another dance the constructor snuck in here - "SALSA" is more than just a "chips go-with", don't you know!

Crossword Man said...

Well spotted. It's the dance that wasn't invited to the constructor's ball.