Saturday, November 7, 2009

NYT Sunday 11/8/09 - Antsy

I wondered if the theme of this Sunday New York Times crossword might involve portmanteau words again after seeing anthemline, but Magdalen noted the title and put me straight. The remaining long answers seemed on the easy side and there were only eight of them: that's a little fewer than usual, but inserting a three-letter string to make puns is way harder to do than themes involving single letter insertions/deletions/substitutions.

We enjoyed 84a madam, I'm adamant {Gentleman's intransigent reply?} in particular, which of course is derived from the classic palindrome "Madam, I'm Adam" (how the courteous Adam introduces himself to Eve). We also spotted the extra thematic reference in 100d antsy {Fidgety}.
Solving time: 28 mins (with Magdalen, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 113a lies {Isn't straight}
Solution

Robert W. Harris
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

"Colonization". An ant is inserted into a word or phrase, making a pun:
23a anthem line {"O say can you see" or "Thru the perilous fight"?} cf hemline
25a base tenant {Resident of a military installation?}cf base ten
40a plantain dealer {Tropical fruit seller?} cf plain dealer
61a pantry bar {Place to get drunk in the kitchen?} cf prybar
67a giant bill {What overuse of a credit card might result in?} cf G.I. Bill
84a madam, I'm adamant {Gentleman's intransigent reply?} cf Madam, I'm Adam
105a pedant xing {Where nitpickers walk on a street?} cf PED XING
108a web pageant {Online beauty contest?} cf webpage
Crucimetrics
Compilers
Robert W. Harris / Will Shortz
Grid
21x21 with 71 (16.1%) black squares
Answers
140 (average length 5.29)
Theme squares
86 (23.2%)
Scrabble points
524 (average 1.42)
Letters used
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

Gloria Dei Church
53a Dei {Philadelphia's historic Gloria ___ Church}. Although we've made fairly frequent trips to Philly, I don't remember the Gloria Dei Church being pointed out to me. I understand it's the oldest church in PA (being founded in 1677) and the second oldest Swedish church in the United States.

95a Rona {Columnist Barrett}. Rona Barrett is a new name to me. She used to be a gossip columnist, best-known for her inside knowledge of Hollywood (such as the latest "star wars", as 103-Down puts it). She retired to her ranch in 1991 to grow lavender and run a foundation that helps the elderly poor, it appears. Here she is interviewing Lucille Ball about her portrayal of a bag lady in the TV movie Stone Pillow.



plat
50d platted {Like surveyors' charts}. An opportunity to check on the meaning of a verb I don't see used much (even in crosswords). To "plat" is to make a plan, map or chart of a piece of land with actual or proposed features (eg lots) ... a term that's used especially in the US, according to my British dictionary.

Irma
69d Irma {Diner manager/waitress in "Garfield"}. My knowledge of Garfield hasn't gone much beyond his canine chum Odie and his love of lasagna. Apparently Irma's Diner doesn't serve the greatest food, so even if lasagna were on the menu, I'm not sure Garfield would go for it.

92d Angela {Cartwright of "Make Room for Daddy"}. Magdalen recommended I look this one up, so here goes. Angela Cartwright is best-known as a child actress, playing Brigitta von Trapp in The Sound of Music (1965), for example. In the referenced sitcom Make Room For Daddy she was Linda Williams, the adoptive daughter of the title daddy - a role she played from 1957 to 1964.



Noteworthy

39d cesuras {Pauses during speech: Var.}. If this is the variant spelling, I wondered what it was a variant from ... cesurae? No, it seems the point is that a ligature ae is standard in this case, caesura (pl. caesuras or caesurae) being the only spelling listed in Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th Edition), for example. How did this come about, given Noah Webster painstakingly promoted the use of cesura in the first (1828) edition of his dictionary? How come caesura is preferred over cesura, but anesthesia is preferred over anaesthesia?

75d aime {"Je vous ___"}. Magdalen was surprised that anyone would say "I love you" and use the formal "vous". I note that "vous" is also the plural in all cases, so if you were to express your love for more than one person, you'd have to use "Je vous aime", even if they were very dear to you.

Gibson cocktail
77d gin {Gibson necessity}. This had me thinking of Gibson Girls, but cocktails would have been more to the point, the recipe for a Gibson cocktail being 6 parts gin to 1 part dry vermouth, with a silverskin onion as a garnish.

The Rest

1a ALer {Oriole, e.g., briefly}; 5a adage {"Still waters run deep," for example}; 10a zaps {Microwaves}; 14a Supra {Bygone Toyota model}; 19a bene- {Prefix with factor}; 20a Camel {Brand with a pyramid on the package}; 21a élan {Verve}; 22a usher {Person with a program}; 27a foresee {Divine}; 28a ecru {Lace shade}; 30a seat {Place on a bus}; 31a Ste. {Business card abbr.}; 32a treats {Boxful for Bowser}; 33a Srta. {Miss in Monterrey: Abbr.}; 34a earn {Bring in}; 35a fear {Alarm}; 36a Eero {Architect Saarinen}; 37a bearding {Confronting boldly}; 39a Carly {Singer Simon}; 44a cassette {Tape holder}; 47a oop {Alley ___}; 48a dis {Run down, in slang}; 49a LP's {Collectible disks}; 52a Arie {Singer India.___}; 54a Lena {Singer Horne}; 55a inutile {Lacking serviceability}; 57a Lorca {Poet Federico García ___}; 59a snood {Hair net}; 63a in for {About to get}; 64a ein {A as in Austria}; 65a AEC {Original nuclear regulatory grp.}; 66a arête {Craggy ridge}; 70a a wrap {"That's ___" ("It's done")}; 72a salts {Seasons}; 73a nerdier {Not so cool}; 74a saps {Drains}; 76a dig {Like, '60s-style}; 78a Neet {Old brand in the shaving aisle}; 79a SSE {Toledo-to-Columbus dir.}; 80a Sam {"Casablanca" role}; 81a hip {Cool}; 82a relisted {Put back on the market}; 87a grain {Means of identifying wood}; 90a aperitif {Dry Champagne, e.g.}; 91a rasp {Horseshoer's tool}; 96a ands {&&&&}; 98a esta {This one, in Acapulco}; 99a contra {Against}; 101a amo {Latin 101 verb}; 102a Opie {Redheaded kid of old TV}; 103a Eloi {"The Time Machine" race}; 104a long run {More than the immediate future}; 110a erase {Obliterate}; 111a Oreo {Nabisco product}; 112a N'sync {Group with the 2002 hit "Girlfriend"}; 113a lies {Isn't straight}; 114a soles {Cobbler's supply}; 115a nabs {Seizes}; 116a stash {Drug agent's seizure}; 117a Andy {Handy ___}.

1d abaft {Toward the stern}; 2d Lenore {Poe poem}; 3d entrée {Beef Wellington, e.g.}; 4d rehear {Take up again, as a case}; 5d acmes {High points}; 6d dale {Place for a rivulet}; 7d ami {Porthos, to Aramis}; 8d generate {Produce}; 9d Electra {Bygone Buick}; 10d zebu {Indian bovine}; 11d à la {Part of many fancy dish names}; 12d passage {Part of a book ... or something to book}; 13d sneer {Scornful expression}; 14d suet {Tallow ingredient}; 15d USN {Blue Angels org.}; 16d phaser {Sci-fi weapon}; 17d rental {Vacation place, often}; 18d artery {Boulevard, e.g.}; 24d estops {Impedes legally}; 26d tan {Whip}; 29d radioed {Sent a message to shore, say}; 33d sentinel {Guard}; 34d endpaper {Heavy sheet inside a book's cover}; 35d far {Away's partner}; 37d Bates {___ Motel}; 38d in on {Home ___}; 41d led {Had the upper hand}; 42d ad in {Score just before winning}; 43d lint {Bit of fluff}; 44d cronies {Back-room cigar smokers, say}; 45d airfare {United charge}; 46d second {Back up}; 49d libelee {Object of a scurrilous attack, maybe}; 51d serest {Most withered}; 52d aligns {Makes flush}; 54d Lon {Cambodia's ___ Nol}; 56d tyrant {54-Down, e.g.}; 58d artisan {Goldsmith, for one}; 60d oil ships {Crude transports}; 62d academia {College world}; 65d aws {Utterances around baby pictures}; 68d bead {Moccasin decoration}; 70d apparel {Shirts and blouses}; 71d pilaf {Rice ___}; 82d rattiest {Most dilapidated}; 83d strong {Muscly}; 84d mia {Cara ___ (term of endearment)}; 85d madeira {Sherry-like wine}; 86d disowns {Takes out of the will, say}; 87d grapes {Basis of 85-Down}; 88d Romero {"Night of the Living Dead" director, 1968}; 89d anodal {From one end of a battery}; 93d strain {Group of viruses}; 94d pruned {Trimmed}; 96d apt {Quick}; 97d Nixon {Subject of a museum in Yorba Linda, Calif.}; 99d coach {One way to fly}; 100d antsy {Fidgety}; 102d ones {Till compartment}; 103d egos {Cause of star wars?}; 104d LPNs {Hosp. staffers}; 106d -ase {Enzyme suffix}; 107d Neb. {Wyo. neighbor}; 109d by a {___ hair}.

2 comments:

Mike said...

I do the Sunday Crossword only from the Ottawa Citizen. I love to check your blog to see what you had to say about the puzzle. Keep up the great work.
Mike

Crossword Man said...

Thanks for the feedback Mike. I see The Ottawa Citizen is already in the list of syndicating papers. Glad you enjoy the commentary.