Sunday, December 13, 2009

NYT Monday 12/14/09 - Zoning In

This puzzle seemed a fairly routine New York Times Monday crossword, with about the average solving time. I noted Eastern, then central, but didn't realize time zones were involved until mountain was added to the set; thus I could anticipate Pacific, but maybe if I'd been on the ball I might have spotted the theme a little sooner?

Interesting to see the return of some old friends among the four-letter answers: it seems a while since we had Elie Wiesel or Evan Bayh and it's always fun to see the great variety of ways Enid, OK can be clued. Today it's {Oklahoma city} - no I wasn't fooled by the lower case C!

I wondered if flipping the grid around the main diagonal would result in a geographically logical disposition of the zones. Unfortunately not, as Pacific would end up in the east, with Eastern in the west. I wonder if anyone's done a grid with the time zones disposed as they would be on the map of the USA.
Solving time: 6 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 2d mean {Like taking candy from a baby?}
Solution

Tim Darling
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

The long answers begin with the four time zones in the continental USA, in order from the easternmost at the top to the westernmost at the bottom.
17a Eastern medicine {Acupuncture, e.g.}
24a central heater {Furnace, e.g.}
40a mountain biker {Rough-terrain cyclist}
53a Pacific islander {Samoan or Fijian}
Crucimetrics
Compilers
Tim Darling / Will Shortz
Grid
15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers
72 (average length 5.19)
Theme squares
56 (29.9%)
Scrabble points
293 (average 1.57)
Letters used
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

Andrea Doria
57a Doria {Andrea ___, ill-fated ship}. Several ships have had this name (and even more the English equivalent Andrew Doria) and it took a while to track down the ill-fated one. The SS Andrea Doria was unfortunately involved in a famous maritime disaster: on 25 July 1956, approaching the coast of Nantucket bound for New York City, Andrea Doria collided with the eastward-bound MS Stockholm in heavy fog. Struck in the side, Andrea Doria immediately started to list severely to starboard, which left half of her lifeboats unusable. Luckily, problems on the scale of the Titanic were averted: 1660 passengers and crew were rescued and survived, while 46 people died as a consequence of the collision. The Andrea Doria was named after the 16th-century Genoese admiral Andrea Doria.

ALPO
23d ALPO {Mighty Dog competitor}. It's only Mighty Dog that's new to me, since I'm now familiar with ALPO itself, not least from crosswords. Mighty Dog it seems is Nestlé's brand of canned dog food.

Mon Repos, Corfu
24d Corfu {Greek port where Prince Philip was born}. Anyone think I should have known this answer? Well I didn't, although I knew Prince Philip was born into the Greek royal family. The consort-to-be was born in their summer palace "Mon Repos" in the city of Corfu, which is the main town and capital of the island of Corfu.

Noteworthy

37a ALF {1980s sitcom with an extraterrestrial}. I'm sure this was on British TV back in the day: hence I recognized the answer, even if I didn't watch the show much. ALF stands for Alien Life Form, the extraterrestrial who is adopted by a suburban family with amusing consequences.



25d Aston {___ Martin (James Bond car)}. I was curious if this applied to the literary Bond or just the movies? ... and to all the movies or just some? Wikipedia supplies a helpful List of James Bond vehicles: it seems Bond's official car in the novels is a grey 1933 Bentley convertible; the Aston Martin DB5 is certainly the most famous of the Bond cars - it was used in five movies starting with Goldfinger (1964); Bond drove other Aston Martin models in further movies, but has also been known to favor Audi and BMW cars when product placement demands it.



Evan Bayh
27d Evan {Indiana senator Bayh}. I learned of Evan Bayh early on in my quest to solve American crosswords, back in the March 16 puzzle when Bayh represented one of the more obscure "I" sounds. I can't say his name has stuck in my head particularly well, as it took several crossings to get the answer. Bayh has been the junior senator for Indiana since 1999 and is a Democrat. I gather he considered running for president in 2008, but eventually thought better of it and endorsed Hillary Clinton; despite this, Bayh was apparently in the running as Obama's pick for veep.

The Rest

1a ambi- {Prefix with dextrous}; 5a Athos {Musketeer with Porthos and Aramis}; 10a Lisa {Bart Simpson's brainy sister}; 14a wean {Detach from a source of dependence}; 15a tempo {Musical beat}; 16a arid {Desertlike}; 20a sneezes {Goes "A-a-a-choo!"}; 21a amuses {Tickles the fancy}; 22a rise {Go up}; 23a assn. {The "A" in P.T.A.: Abbr.}; 29a whose {"___ side are you on anyway?"}; 31a Spot {Good name for a Dalmatian}; 32a I've {"___ about had it up to here!"}; 33a hart {Male deer}; 34a retop {Surface again, as a driveway}; 36a clan {Extended family}; 38a solo {One-person performance}; 39a aren't {"___ you glad?"}; 44a aide {Helper}; 45a Enid {Oklahoma city}; 46a scarfs {Bolts (down)}; 49a spreads {Two-page ads}; 56a erat {Quod ___ demonstrandum}; 58a Zola {Writer Émile}; 59a Xena {TV's warrior princess}; 60a el rey {What to call Spain's Juan Carlos}; 61a agts. {15-percenters: Abbr.}.

1d awes {Fills with wonder}; 2d mean {Like taking candy from a baby?}; 3d base {First, second or third, on a diamond}; 4d interest {Bank accrual}; 5d at rest {Motionless}; 6d tenser {More uptight}; 7d hmm {"Well, let me think ..."}; 8d ope {Unlock, to a bard}; 9d soda shop {Popular teen hangout 50+ years ago}; 10d lacuna {Gap in a manuscript}; 11d iris {Pupil surrounder}; 12d sine {Trig function}; 13d ades {Fruit beverages}; 18d e-zine {Web mag}; 19d I'm set {"No more for me"}; 26d tiler {Bathroom floor installer}; 28d rent {Payment in Monopoly}; 29d wham! {"Kapow!"}; 30d halo {Circle of angels?}; 34d roadside {Where a hot dog stand may stand}; 35d Elie {"Night" author Wiesel}; 36d credenza {Sideboard}; 38d stiff {Not flexible, as muscles}; 39d Akira {Director Kurosawa}; 41d Narita {Airport near Tokyo}; 42d Bessie {Nickname for Elizabeth}; 43d in play {Live, as a football}; 46d Spex {X-ray ___ (novelty item)}; 47d care {Have concern}; 48d a can {Open up ___ of worms}; 50d a dog {Work like ___}; 51d delt {Shoulder muscle, briefly}; 52d Sras. {Mmes., in Madrid}; 54d col. {Rank above maj.}; 55d irr. {Abbr. on a clothing sale item}.

2 comments:

Morgan said...

If you rotate the puzzle 90 Degrees clockwise, it does in fact fit a US timezone map (and the words would read top-to-bottom as well).

Thanks for your site. I always come to check my work (or cheat a little if I'm stuck), and I always appreciate your take on notable and "new to you" clues.

Crossword Man said...

Thanks Morgan - the grid is certainly more pleasing that way. Glad you like the commentaries ... you're either solving the puzzle in syndication or are a long way behind!