Monday, November 30, 2009

NYT Tuesday 12/1/09 - Econut

This was not my finest hour: I solved the Tuesday New York Times crossword in what I thought was a good time for me, but got careless with the exo-/Alex crossing, having eco-/Alec. What's worse, I didn't realize the error until this morning when charlespignal gently put me right. The crossing I was more worried about was Allen/Alomar in the northwest, but I being aware of the dangers, I took more care to get that right.

The theme stayed a mystery until I solved 56-Across, when I realized the three long answers I already had started FA and ended ST. Although I had the end of 22-Across at that point, I was glad at least to put in the FA at the beginning, helping complete what otherwise might have been a tricky corner.
Solving time: 7 mins (solo, no solving aids, two wrong answers)
Clue of the puzz: 17a roost {Rod in a henhouse}
Solution

Jonah Kagan and Victor Fleming
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

Phrases beginning FA and ending ST, indicated by 56a breakfast {Part of a morning routine ... or a literal hint to 18-, 22-, 35- and 49-Across}.
18a fairy dust {Magical powder}

22a Falcon Crest {1980s soap opera set at a winery}



35a Father Knows Best {1950s-'60s sitcom that ran on all three networks}



49a fall harvest {Occasion for pumpkin picking}
Crucimetrics
Compilers
Jonah Kagan and Victor Fleming / Will Shortz
Grid
15x15 with 40 (17.8%) black squares
Answers
74 (average length 5.00)
Theme squares
55 (29.7%)
Scrabble points
310 (average 1.68)
Letters used
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

14a Allen {Steve who was called Steverino}. The name Steve Allen (1921(1921-12-26)–2000) rang vague bells, but I suppose he'd better go in the New To Me as I couldn't have told you his history. I gather Steve was multi-talented, but best-known for being the first host of  The Tonight Show, and thereby pioneering the concept of the late night TV talk show. He used his nickname in the title of his memoir Hi-Ho Steverino!.

moo goo gai pan
61a moo {___ goo gai pan}. Could only get moo goo gai pan from the cross-checking, though I was not surprised to see the same starting word as moo shu pork. But I'm not sure if the two moos are etymologically related, since moo goo means "button mushrooms" in Cantonese, while the of the pork dish means "wood" or "tree".


2d Alomar {Six-time baseball All-Star Sandy}. There are two Sandy Alomars in Wikipedia: the clue refers to catcher Sandy Alomar, Jr., as his Dad was only selected once for the All-Star Game. Sandy Jr. retired in 2007 and is now the first base coach for the Cleveland Indians.

56d Bad {George Thorogood stutter "B-B-B-B-___..."}. This is a reference to George Thorogood's 1982 hit song Bad to the Bone. It's often used in movies and TV to signal the entrance of a "bad guy".



Noteworthy

Alfred P. Sloan
41a Sloan {Alfred P. ___ Foundation}. I'm very familiar with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation name from its sponsorship of NPR. Alfred P. Sloan (1875–1966) was the long-time president and chairman of General Motors and created the Foundation (which now has assets of about $1.8 billion) in 1934.

exobiology
48a exo- {Prefix with biology}. An answer I belatedly discovered I got wrong. I originally had eco- ... Is there such a thing as eco-biology? Yes, but it's not made it into dictionaries and exobiology aka astrobiology is much better known, being the study of life outside the earth.

Iloilo
3d Iloilo {Repetitively named Philippine province}. Does the "repetitively named" suggest a little embarrassment at the appearance of Iloilo in this corner, or is it just trying to add a little color to the clue and be helpful? I certainly appreciated the helpfulness, and having my memory jogged about the province that last appeared in the June 17 puzzle.

A-Rod
36d Alex {The "A" in A-Rod}. I got careless here and, having guessed at eco- for 48-Across, didn't even check this clue. Yes, I don't know much about baseball, but I have heard of A-Rod and know he's Alex Rodriguez and not Alec Rodriguez. I should probably pace myself a bit better with these puzzles early in the week ... I need to get back into ACPT solving mode, where a mistake on a puzzle is fairly catastrophic.

52d Lysol {"Disinfect to Protect" brand}. The brand Lysol is familiar (it's fairly essential in a house full of pets), but I needed a lot of crossings to get the answer, as I'm not familiar with the slogan in the clue. I gather it's Lysol's trademarked slogan and features at the end of their TV ads (which we skip over of course).



The Rest

1a Cairo {City near the Great Sphinx}; 6a ore {Mine treasure}; 9a elbow {Macaroni shape}; 15a fez {Turkish headgear}; 16a goose {Golden egg layer of story}; 17a roost {Rod in a henhouse}; 20a amie {French lady friend}; 21a in a pet {Peeved}; 26a ire {Fury}; 29a erotica {Blue literature}; 30a aqua {Blue hue}; 31a lases {Cuts with light}; 34a alums {Homecoming returnees, for short}; 40a Iliad {Tale of Troy}; 42a reed {Papyrus plant, e.g.}; 43a tweezes {Plucks, as eyebrow hairs}; 53a nearly {Almost}; 55a orca {Killer whale}; 59a floor {Knock the socks off}; 60a above {Not deigning to consider}; 62a avert {Turn away}; 63a dined {Ate in high style}; 64a ale {Drink with a head}; 65a nests {Fits one inside the next}.

1d carafe {Wine container}; 4d resect {Take out surgically}; 5d Ont. {Ottawa's prov.}; 6d off {Take out}; 7d re-air {Show again}; 8d e-zine {Net mag}; 9d Egypt {1-Across is its capital}; 10d lode {Mine treasure}; 11d boutique {Chic shop}; 12d OSS {C.I.A. forerunner}; 13d wet {Not yet firm, as cement}; 19d RAs {Univ. dorm supervisors}; 23d oiled {Like some smoothly running machines}; 24d N. Car. {Tenn. neighbor}; 25d casks {Wine containers}; 27d rums {Jamaica exports}; 28d east {Atlantic Seaboard states, with "the"}; 30d alb {Priest's robe}; 32d enl. {Blowup: Abbr.}; 33d sooth {Truth, old-style}; 34d Asner {Ed who played Lou Grant}; 35d fire {Order after "Aim!"}; 37d tie one on {Get stewed}; 38d had {Duped}; 39d wawa {Guitar pedal effect}; 44d evolve {Change over time}; 45d zeroes {Homes (in on)}; 46d escort {Front car in a motorcade}; 47d starts {Turns on, as a car}; 49d faked {Not real}; 50d arf {It might mean "I want a treat!"}; 51d llama {Andean animal}; 54d eave {Christmas light site}; 57d RBI {A sac fly earns one}; 58d toe {Nail spot}; 59d fan {Wave a palm frond at, say}.

2 comments:

charlespignal said...

Hello, you are my daily rescuer for the NY Times crossword, especially on Thursdays and Fridays. Anyway, I have spotted a mistake in your answer for today's crossword. 36-Down ("The 'A' in A-Rod) is Alex, not Alec, forming exobiology on 48-across. The only reason I point this out is because it boosts the letter value...Thanks for your daily help.
Best,
Charles

Crossword Man said...

Oops ... I'll correct this when I add the commentary. Thanks for letting me know!