Sunday, November 22, 2009

NYT Monday 11/23/09 - Somewhere Men

We're back on familiar territory with this Monday New York Times crossword. After last week's Ringo puzzle, we get one devoted to all four Beatles - they are somewhere in the four long answers. Is there an anniversary to account for the current bout of Beatlemania?

The fun with this puzzle lay more in spotting the answers tangentially related to the theme, which don't seem to be in any planned arrangement - it just seems that a Beatles reference was popped in whenever the opportunity arose, as for example in the clue to quote. I found seven of these tangential references, but there's a good chance I missed some more obscure ones.
Solving time: 7 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 18a pole-vaulter {Athlete trying to pass the bar?}
Solution

Ben Pall
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

The Fab Four are hidden in symmetrically disposed 11-letter answers, as indicated by 38a Beatles {Group with the four circled members}.
18a pole-vaulter {Athlete trying to pass the bar?} = Paul
59a Agent Orange {Toxic herbicide} = George
3d join the navy {Head out to sea, say} = John
26d reading-room {Library area} = Ringo
Other clues are associated with the group in different ways - check the links. If I've missed any, please let me know in comments!
9a,46d Abbey Road {1969 album by the 38-Across}
14a Ono {Yoko ___}
16a quote {"We're more popular than Jesus now," famously}
30a Man {"Nowhere ___" (1966 hit)}
47a Ravi {Sitarist Shankar}
48a try {"Gonna ___ with a little help from my friends"}
13d Yer {"___ Blues" (song on the White Album)}


Crucimetrics
Compilers
Ben Pall / Will Shortz
Grid
15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers
78 (average length 4.85)
Theme squares
51 (27.0%)
Scrabble points
290 (average 1.53)
Letters used
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

8d Neve {Campbell of "Party of Five"}. There is a dictionary word névé, meaning a type of young granular snow that you get at the top of a glacier - if this survives a full season of ablation it becomes the slightly denser firn. Lovely words, but too mundane for a Monday, so we get this reference to the Canadian actress Neve Campbell (Neve is pronounced like Nev). Party of Five is a TV series from the 1990s, in which Neve played Julia Salinger.



28d stews {Mulligan and others}. I was totally clueless here, since I thought there must be a guy called Stew Mulligan. No, there's a Mulligan stew, which is an improvised dish (based on Irish stew - hence the name) said to have been prepared by American hobos in camps in the early 1900s. The first mention of Mulligan stew in print appeared in The Yukon Midnight Sun in 1904. Mark Knopfler's song Old Pigweed on his album The Ragpicker's Dream is about a Mulligan stew.



34d Halas {Longtime N.F.L. coach nicknamed Papa Bear}. The only "Papa Bear" I've so far encountered is Bill O'Reilly. George Halas (1895–1983) also got this nickname, presumably because he led the Chicago Bears for many many years.



Noteworthy

68a snort {Sound akin to "Harrumph!"}; 69a Mel {Funnyman Brooks}. I'm not sure if this juxtaposition was intentional, but the word "Harrumph!" always takes me back to a scene in Blazing Saddles where the Governor (Mel Brooks) says "I didn't get a 'Harrumph' out of that man".



27d is too {"How much ___ much?"}. I reckon this answer gets clued as {Childish retort} a little too much, so it's great to have a completely new fill-in-the-blank idea today.

The Rest

1a Raj {Former British rule in India}; 4a dig in {"Bon appetit!"}; 15a irate {Spitting nails, so to speak}; 17a poi {Luau dish}; 20a Edna {Novelist Ferber}; 22a name tag {It may be worn around the neck at a convention}; 23a retypes {Enters again, as text}; 25a Osiris {Egyptian god of death}; 29a held {In custody}; 32a nest {Where eggs hatch}; 33a these {This and this}; 35a laic {Of the congregation}; 36a gate {Concert receipts}; 37a wan {Pallid}; 41a Dow {___ Jones industrials}; 42a El Al {Israeli carrier}; 44a lies {Big fibs}; 45a trios {The Supremes and others}; 49a neon {"Open 24 hours" sign, maybe}; 50a Psycho {Hitchcock film with a shower scene}; 52a damaged {Injured}; 55a earplug {Silencer?}; 58a drew {Sketched}; 63a ore {Metal on its way to a refinery}; 64a worse {Not so good}; 65a owned {Had}; 66a oil {Business for Shell or ExxonMobil}; 67a lores {Like a fuzzy computer image, informally}.

1d roper {Cowboy with a lariat}; 2d anode {Battery terminal}; 4d dip {Quick swim}; 5d ironed {Pressed, as clothes}; 6d galas {Festive events}; 7d item {Short news piece}; 9d aquas {Light blue shades}; 10d bulging {Like eyes seemingly about to pop out}; 11d bot {Droid}; 12d été {Summer in Paris}; 19d at once {Immediately}; 21d ayes {Yes votes}; 24d pleb {Commoner, for short}; 30d matey {One to whom "Ahoy!" is directed}; 31d ails {Isn't well}; 33d twerp {Dweeb}; 35d lair {Lion's den}; 39d El Toro {Corrida charger}; 40d stem {Long part of a rose}; 43d license {Driver's ID}; 49d nagger {Noodge}; 51d hates {Despises}; 52d dunno! {"Beats me!"}; 53d eerie {Like a coincidence that raises the hair on the back of your neck}; 54d dwell {Live (in)}; 56d pros {Mavens}; 57d lawn {___ tennis}; 59d awl {Piercing tool}; 60d goo {Slime}; 61d err {Mess up}; 62d EDT {Summer hours in N.Y.C.}.

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