Friday, October 9, 2009

NYT Saturday 10/10/09 - Constitutional Amendment

giant fire hyrdantThis is an abbreviated form of my usual crossword post, as we are on a road trip for a few days. Before leaving Columbia, SC, we saw a few more of the sights of this beautiful southern city, including a giant fire hydrant that must be a puzzle for the local dogs.

We have now reached Florida, the fourth of the new states I've chalked up this fall. We're heading for Jensen Beach, where we'll visit friends before heading north again.

This Saturday New York Times crossword seemed a trivially easy themeless compared to yesterday's exceptionally challenging one.

A lot depended on getting the long down answers in the center, and Oompa-Loompas was a real gimme; whippersnappers needed just a few crossings - how nicely these two go together! Only Old Ironsides put up much of a fight and I had to look this answer up (once I'd finished the grid) to discover that the clue's "Constitution" is not the framework for federal government, but the frigate USS Constitution built in 1797.

The toughest part for me was the NW corner, where not knowing Visine was a serious handicap given the general difficulty of the cluing in that area.
Solving time: 24 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 10d gin {It's played with two hands}

Natan Last
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

CompilersNatan Last / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 32 (14.2%) black squares
Answers70 (average length 5.51)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points292 (average 1.51)

1a abets {Is an accessory for}; 6a word game {Ghost, e.g.}; 14a Visine {Redness remover}; 16a hooligan {Tough}; 17a iconic {Kind of statue or status}; 18a imminent {Close}; 19a dat {Slangy pronoun}; 20a troppo {It means too much to a maestro}; 22a nor {"None shall slumber ___ sleep": Isaiah 5:27}; 23a mea culpa {Admission of sorts}; 25a metre {It's around a yard around Buckingham Palace}; 27a perch {Bust of Pallas, to Poe's raven}; 28a deltas {Some mouths}; 30a Erik {"___ the Viking," 1989 film starring Tim Robbins}; 31a pirouette {Revolutionary dance move?}; 34a Zac {Actor Efron of "High School Musical"}; 35a parsons {Service aces?}; 36a alp {Part of it is often in the clouds}; 38a lay it on me {"I'm listening, bro"}; 40a plié {It might follow a 31-Across}; 41a unsnap {Release with a pop}; 42a salon {Where locks are changed?}; 43a marks {Graffiti, say}; 46a Spamalot {Tony winner between "Avenue Q" and "Jersey Boys"}; 48a ora {Time, in Torino}; 49a nips at {Barely bites}; 50a RNs {They can take the pressure: Abbr.}; 52a bona fide {Real}; 55a no idea {Comment from the clueless}; 57a I'm a goner! {"This looks like the end for me!"}; 58a surest {Like the best bet}; 59a late pass {Excuse for a teacher}; 60a terse {Not drawn out}.

1d avid {Keen}; 2d bicameral {Like Japan's national diet}; 3d esoterica {Dark matter?}; 4d tin {Spice holder}; 5d snitch {Tell}; 6d whippersnappers {Ones who are too big for their britches}; 7d Oompa-Loompas {Willy Wonka's work force}; 8d Romo {QB Tony}; 9d DLI {Sixth-century year}; 10d gin {It's played with two hands}; 11d agent {One making the cut?}; 12d manor {Reeve's charge}; 13d entre {Between, to Batista}; 15d ecru {Shade for shades}; 21d Old Ironsides {What the Constitution is called}; 24d ack {Comic strip outburst}; 25d Maes {Fannie ___ (some securities)}; 26d -est {Ending for a record}; 27d Pez {Candy acquired while holding one's chin up?}; 29d tune {Often-carried thing}; 31d pats {Congratulates, in a way}; 32d tall order {Hard thing to pull off}; 33d Eliot Ness {Officer who was still hunting in the 1920s-'30s}; 35d pins {Basting aids}; 37d pen {With 40-Down, friend you may have never met}; 39d yuk {Good laugh}; 40d pal {See 37-Down}; 42d sat out {Opted not to play}; 43d Mobil {Shell alternative}; 44d aroma {Range attraction}; 45d ran at {Charged}; 47d mans {Staffs}; 49d Nina {Noël Coward title woman "from Argentina"}; 51d sate {Be enough for}; 53d age {It might be checked at the door}; 54d fop {Many a metrosexual}; 56d ire {Really ruffle}.

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