Tuesday, September 8, 2009

NYT Wednesday 9/9/09 - Triple Play

Before solving this Wednesday New York Times crossword, I noticed its publication date was 09/09/09. Would the puzzle reference that? Apparently not, although the theme does involve three identical things in a row, specifically EEE.

I found the puzzle on the easy side, even though I hadn't heard of Tennessee Ernie Ford - stumbling blocks like that could be worked around, but I know Magdalen found the SE corner harder to crack.

The puzzle crams in a lot of theme examples, but the grid I think has suffered as a result: three-letter answers abound (many being abbrs.) and those largely cut-off 3x3 blocks in the NE and SW corners look ugly. On the plus side, the grid is pangrammatic (all the letters of the alphabet appear at least once).
Solving time: 10 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 4d Reese's {Big Cup maker}

The long across answers each contain three consecutive Es, as indicated by 25d EEEs {Some shoes ... and a feature of this puzzle's theme}.
17a tree experts {Arborists}
24a free enterprise {Capitalism}
40a don't see eye to eye {Disagree}
50a Tennessee Ernie {Tuneful Ford}
62a Klee exhibit {Art show that might feature "Fish Magic"}

Richard Chisholm
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

CompilersRichard Chisholm / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.92)
Theme squares65 (34.8%)
Scrabble points316 (average 1.69)
New To Me

14a Selena {J. Lo title role}. Selena (1997) is a biopic about the life and career of "The Queen of Tejano music", Selena Quintanilla-Pérez. Selena became famous very young, but was murdered at the age of 23 by the president of her fan club. Her Wikipedia article introduced me to the term mononym - a person known by a single name such as Diana, Madonna, Pelé and Oprah.

buffer areas58a DMZs {Buffer areas, briefly}. I could only think of railway buffers here; which wasn't helpful, especially as Americans use a different term - "bumpers". In the end, I just had to get this answer from all the crossings and hope for the best, confirming after the fact that DMZ is the standard abbreviation for demilitarized zone, such as the whole of Antarctica.

27d Roselle {___ Park, N.J.}. Roselle Park isn't a park as such, but a borough just to the east of the Garden State Parkway ... not far from Newark, which we occasionally fly from.

55d e-zine {Slate or Salon}. I knew the term e-zine, but not that these were examples. Slate is a current affairs and culture mag; Salon has Liberal Politics as its focus.


22a EDT {Summer hours in Va.}. I wondered why Va. was preferred to VA for this clue. More generally I find it strange that the traditional abbreviations for states, such as Fla. and Calif., are still in use given the elegance of USPS's two-letter system. Apparently, the Chicago Manual of Style is with me on this, as it recommends use of the two-letter abbreviations, with the traditional forms as an option.

32a am I {Jack Horner line ender}. I like this clue, a good option as an alternative to the "Friend in France" variants.

35a Ethans {Allen and Coen}. Ethans from very different times: Ethan Allen the scourge of the British in 1775 and Ethan Coen the filmwriting partner to Joel.

Hershey rollercoaster4d Reese's {Big Cup maker}. This clue had me thinking of lingerie, but I should have spotted that capital C Cup is significant. Hershey, Pennsylvania is close enough to where we live that we're going to have to make the pilgrimage there soon. I gather Hershey also has some neat rollercoasters.

7d agent {99 of "Get Smart," e.g.}. This once had me stumped, but I'm now thoroughly familiar with Get Smart as we have DVDs of it. I'm told there was also a movie version released last year.

8d Morse {"What hath God wrought" sender}. Another gimme, a reference to the first public telegraph message sent on May 24, 1844. In those days men were men and knew how to be portentous.

What hath God wrought

dovecote12d baa {Cote call}. I was quite sure this was going to be coo, as doves live in cotes. In fact cote etymologically just means shelter, so there are sheep-cotes and pig-cotes as well as the more familiar dove-cotes.

The Rest

1a escrow {Third-party account}; 7a A maj. {Key of Beethoven's Seventh: Abbr.}; 11a BBQ {Smoked fare, for short}; 15a goto {Common command in Basic programming}; 16a eau {Évian water}; 19a São {___ Tomé and Príncipe (equatorial land)}; 20a días {"Buenos ___!"}; 21a Ens. {U.S.N. junior officer: Abbr.}; 30a sex {Cause for an R rating}; 31a O'Haras {Margaret Mitchell family}; 39a CRTs. {Some touch screens, for short}; 43a Msgr. {Roman Cath. title}; 44a nestle {Get cozy}; 45a Drs. {O.R. figures}; 46a I heard {"It has come to my attention ..."}; 48a Lai {My ___, Vietnam}; 56a Esc {Key that might close a dialog box}; 57a www {Letters in a U.R.L.}; 60a War {Former cabinet department}; 66a Ada {Nabokov novel}; 67a over {Recovered from}; 68a Eugene {University of Oregon city}; 69a sol {Costa del ___}; 70a nips {Beats by a hair}; 71a Rhodes {Colossus locale}.

1d estd. {Town line sign abbr.}; 2d serif {Times Roman typeface feature}; 3d clear {Find innocent}; 5d one {See 32-Down}; 6d wax {Become full, as the moon}; 9d att. {Court V.I.P.: Abbr.}; 10d Joseph {Nativity figure}; 11d bestirred {Roused to action}; 13d quo {Quid pro ___}; 18d pen {Compose, in a way}; 23d Draco {Unmerciful Athenian lawgiver}; 26d extends {Renews, say}; 28d satyr {Libertine of myth}; 29d esses {Some hook shapes}; 32d admit {With 5-Down, ticket words}; 33d Moshe {Israel's Dayan}; 34d in general {For the most part}; 36d hee {Giggle bit}; 37d AES {1950s campaign inits.}; 38d NYT {Adolph Ochs's newspaper: Abbr.}; 41d trans {___ fats}; 42d tear {Go like heck}; 47d reckon {Think, colloquially}; 49d indigo {Roy G. Biv part}; 51d sweep {Take three of three, say}; 52d ewers {Still-life pieces}; 53d ewe {12-Down producer}; 54d imbed {Fix firmly: Var.}; 59d stes. {Jeanne d'Arc et al.: Abbr.}; 60d was {"Time ___ ..."}; 61d ado {Hubbub}; 63d LVI {Mid first-century year}; 64d Xer {Ballot marker}; 65d huh {"What the ...?"}.

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