Sunday, November 1, 2009

NYT Monday 11/2/09 - The Talented Mr Ripley

I solved this Monday New York Times crossword on the computer using the Across Lite solver and I think that explains the four minute solving time instead of the usual five minutes: when working with a printed grid, it just takes that much longer to write all the letters in.

For a change, I also had a very good idea of the theme from discovering its topmost manifestation, The Easter Bunny, and even predicted its two counterparts (can you think of any others in ten letters? I doubt it!). Believe It, or Not! was still a surprise, although I have been aware of this American institution for ages - I discovered an anthology of the cartoon panels in the library at school and was engrossed.
Solving time: 4 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 68a rent {Landlord's check}

Andrea Carla Michaels and Kent Clayton
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


Improbable sources of benefits, indicated by 51a Believe It, or Not! {Ripley catchphrase that's apropos to 20-, 34- and 42-Across}.
20a The Easter Bunny {Spring egg distributor}
34a tooth fairy {One who leaves money under a pillow}
42a Santa Claus {Head of a major toy outfit}
Andrea Carla Michaels and Kent Clayton / Will Shortz
15x15 with 40 (17.8%) black squares
76 (average length 4.87)
Theme squares
48 (25.9%)
Scrabble points
312 (average 1.69)
Letters used
New To Me

24a Eri {Verdi aria "___ tu"}. I know vast numbers of Verdi arias, but through the music, much more than the words. Eri tu (che macchiavi quell'anima) is sung by Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera ("A Masked Ball"). I won't attempt to explain the complicated plot ... let's go straight into this wonderful baritone aria.

46a HBO {"Big Love" airer}. I am aware of HBO, but this was the first I'd heard of Big Love, the drama about a fictional fundamentalist Mormon family in Utah that practices polygamy. The series premiered in 2006 and will start its fourth season early next year. The show's main character, Bill Henrickson, has three wives (Barb, Nicki, and Margene).


5a Snap {Crackle and Pop's companion}. This seemingly happens very rarely: Rice Krispies are available in the UK and are/were advertised using the exact same trio of characters. Hence solving this clue was a bit of a snap!

23a Dik {Cartoonist Browne}. No longer new to me, as I have The Comics: Since 1945 as a guide. Dik Browne (19171989) is best known for drawing Hägar the Horrible (the one with the dog Snert - you have to know that for crosswords). He also co-created Hi and Lois with the cartoonist Mort Walker. The Hägar strip is now produced by Dik's son, Chris.

Dik Browne

8d Pete {___ Best of the pre-Ringo Beatles}. For once a "fifth Beatle" reference that isn't to crossword regular Stu Sutcliffe. Pete Best was the original drummer for The Beatles, joining in August 1960. He was replaced by Ringo Starr in August 1962, for reasons that are still not clear. Here he is on Letterman in 1982.

Villa d'Este54d Este {Villa d'___}. This comes up fairly regularly as one way to clue that friendly sequence of letters ESTE. The Villa d'Este is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Tivoli, near Rome. It was built for Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este, a scion of the House of Este. The Villa was designed by architect Pirro Ligorio and is a fine example of Renaissance architecture and the Italian Renaissance garden.

The Rest

1a FEMA {U.S. disaster relief org.}; 9a hasta {"___ la vista, baby!"}; 14a axes {Lumberjacking tools}; 15a pole {Gondolier's need}; 16a actor {Thespian}; 17a risk {Jeopardy}; 18a edit {Step after "write"}; 19a squat {Baseball catcher's position}; 25a STP {Gasoline additive}; 28a gob {Wad of gum}; 30a flotsam {Jetsam's partner}; 37a tine {Fork part}; 38a inlet {Cove}; 39a hoo {"Yoo-___!"}; 40a salon {Beauty parlor}; 41a cyan {Greenish-blue}; 44a Karachi {Largest city in Pakistan}; 47a sta. {Depot: Abbr.}; 48a chi {Greek letter X}; 49a due {Kind of date for an expectant mother}; 59a eye on {"Keep your ___ the prize"}; 60a spam {E-mail woe}; 61a tour {Band's schedule}; 63a argue {Disagree (with)}; 64a tome {Heavy book}; 65a Ezra {Poet Pound}; 66a messy {Sloppy}; 67a Eden {Adam and Eve's first residence}; 68a rent {Landlord's check}.

1d far {Distant}; 2d exit {Lighted sign above a door}; 3d mesh {Net}; 4d asked {Posed, as questions}; 5d speak of {Mention}; 6d nods {Agrees nonverbally}; 7d alit {Disembarked}; 9d Hasbro {Owner of Scrabble}; 10d acquittal {Result of a "not guilty" verdict}; 11d stun {Gobsmack}; 12d to an {Means ___ end}; 13d arty {Pretentious}; 21d eight {Start of prime time, generally}; 22d rely {Depend (on)}; 25d stick {Adhere}; 26d Tonya {Skater Harding}; 27d polar {From the extreme north and south of the earth}; 29d Bahai {Persian-founded faith}; 30d froth {Possible sign of rabies}; 31d Silas {George Eliot's "___ Marner"}; 32d an out {Provide ___ (allow to escape)}; 33d Mensa {Group for geniuses}; 35d tenacious {Stubborn}; 36d ion {Charged particle}; 40d scour {Search high and low}; 42d shiv {Prison weapon}; 43d abdomen {What situps tighten up}; 45d Cheney {Biden's predecessor as vice president}; 50d enter {Write in}; 51d beam {Smile from ear to ear}; 52d Eyre {Rochester's beloved governess}; 53d legs {Pants parts}; 55d iPod {Apple MP3 player}; 56d tame {Domesticated}; 57d ooze {Seep}; 58d turn {Chance to play in a game}; 62d rat {Mafioso informer}.


andreacarla said...

thanks for posting about this and a video of Pete Best no less! Have a good trip!

Crossword Man said...

You're welcome Andrea. Many thanks for a fun puzzle.