Wednesday, October 28, 2009

NYT Wednesday 10/28/09 - Of Kin

I made rather heavy weather over this Wednesday New York Times crossword. Without any specific clue to explain the workings of the theme, I footled around for quite a while before finally completing the first long answer and realizing silent Ks were being inserted.

The NE corner proved problematic and I eventually bypassed and came back to it when I'd filled in everything else. It didn't help that I ran into two red herrings in the same area: locusts instead of cicadas at 7-Across and adopt instead of act on at 12-Down.
Solving time: 14 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 3d trick {What a king may win}
Solution


Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

A silent K is inserted in front of an N in five phrases, making puns:
15a old Knick {Retired Big Apple basketball player?}
21a knew testament {Was well-versed in a will?}
38a lady of the knight {Guinevere, to Lancelot?}
48a knot for profit {Macramé company's goal?}
64a knit pick {Select a sweater?}
Crucimetrics
Compilers
Mike Torch / Will Shortz
Grid
15x15 with 40 (17.8%) black squares
Answers
74 (average length 5.00)
Theme squares
57 (30.8%)
Scrabble points
311 (average 1.68)
Letters used
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

63a Call Me {Theme song from "American Gigolo"}. There have been a number of songs with this name: this Call Me is by Blondie and released in 1980. It was composed specifically for the soundtrack of American Gigolo (1980), and was played over the opening titles.



30d Wyatt {Jane of "Father Knows Best"}. Father Knows Best started as a radio show in 1949 before moving to TV in 1954. Jane Wyatt played Margaret Anderson, the wife of the eponymous father, on the TV show.



49d No One {"___ Is to Blame" (1986 hit)}. No One Is to Blame was a hit song for Howard Jones in 1986. Howard was once pointed out to me in a pub in High Wycombe in the late 80s - I wouldn't have recognized him otherwise. Wikipedia confirms this was the town he grew up in.



62d LPN {Hosp. staffer}. I'm still a bit confused about nursing qualifications in the USA. I've gotten used to seeing RNs as an answer, and have worked out that RN is short for Registered Nurse. I see LPN is short for Licensed Practical Nurse, a lower rung on the nursing ladder: LPNs must operate under the supervision of an RN or a physician.

Noteworthy

Randy Jackson
1a pitchy {Slightly sharp or flat, as a voice}. I associate this meaning of "pitchy" exclusively with American Idol and, not finding it in dictionaries, I wonder if Randy Jackson actually coined the term?

20a gor {Brit's oath}. In the nineteenth century maybe? Sorry, I can't say I've heard gor (or gorblimey for that matter) used in my lifetime except ironically. They reek of faux Cockney, like Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins (1964).



10d an I {"Gimme ___!" (repeated cry of a University of Mississippi cheerleader)}. I assume Ole Miss was just chosen for this clue as having a superfluity of Is. Cheerleaders must cry themselves hoarse over such a long name.



63d CTA {Windy City transportation org.}. I was lucky to have encountered the same answer early in the day, clued as {Overseer of els: Abbr.}. So I had no problem with this reference to the Chicago Transit Authority.


The Rest

7a cicadas {Insects in swarms}; 14a inroad {Encroachment}; 16a skills {What tests test}; 17a goes into {Expounds upon}; 18a Ascot {English racing site}; 19a Erda {"Das Rheingold" goddess}; 25a doc {Sawbones}; 26a été {Hot time in la cité}; 27a brew {Make in a cauldron}; 31a lewd {R-rated, maybe}; 34a tress {Lock}; 41a usual {Like some suspects}; 42a café {Lunch site}; 43a toys {Kids' stuff}; 44a tan {What you might get in a booth}; 46a Eno {Roxy Music co-founder}; 55a Ios {Cyclades island}; 56a woes {Sorrows}; 57a flies {Bloopers, e.g.}; 60a come late {Miss the start, maybe}; 65a tied-up {Even}; 66a secants {Trigonometric ratios}; 67a arrest {Run in}.

1d Pisa {Torre Pendente city}; 2d inks {Prepares, as the presses}; 3d trick {What a king may win}; 4d colon {List preceder}; 5d halted {Stopped}; 6d yds. {Upholsterer's meas.}; 7d clods {Oafs}; 8d ideate {Think up}; 9d cks. {Bank drafts: Abbr.}; 11d dinge {Griminess}; 12d act on {Follow, as advice}; 13d skort {Woman's golf wear}; 15d ogre {Meanie}; 19d etc etc {Blah, blah, blah}; 22d wolf {Woman-chaser}; 23d attn. {Ltr. routing aid}; 24d merit {Earn}; 27d Blu {___-ray Disc}; 28d RAs {Dorm heads, for short}; 29d .edu {E-mail address ending}; 32d wha? {"Huh?"}; 33d defers {Puts off}; 35d ego {Kind of boost}; 36d shy {Short}; 37d Sts. {Many figs. on stained-glass windows}; 39d Olaf {Norwegian king}; 40d keno {Numbers game}; 45d no, wait! {"Uh, hold on! That's wrong!"}; 47d off-air {Like things said after cutting to a commercial}; 48d kicks {Fun}; 50d osmic {Of element #76}; 51d ROTCs {University mil. programs}; 52d peek {Look through half-closed blinds, e.g.}; 53d iller {Less healthy}; 54d tilde {Type squiggle}; 58d emus {Aussie runners}; 59d sept {Number of dwarfs with Blanche Neige}; 61d eta {Theta preceder}.

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