Sunday, December 27, 2009

NYT Monday 12/28/09 - Missing Links

This is an abbreviated form of my usual crossword post, as I'm in vacation mode for a few days. The theme of this Monday New York Times crossword is beautifully simple, but I can't recall seeing anything like it before.

Only one thematic aspect caused any problems for me: I hadn't heard of a hard roll before, which I believe is a variant term for "Kaiser roll". If "bed" had been used as the linking word here, the clue would have worked better for me.

Overall, the puzzle was maybe slightly harder than average, but the extra minute or so that it took me to finish the grid may just come down to seasonal haziness. It was nice to be reminded of Roz Chast - both Magdalen and I love her work in The New Yorker. Here's a short documentary special about her.

Solving time: 6 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 7d La Brea {Famed tar pits whose name is Spanish for "the tar"}

Patrick Merrell
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


Easiest to describe using algebra: phrases of the form X and Z are clued via third word Y that makes compounds X Y and Y Z.
17a cock-and-bull {One word that precedes "pit," one that follows it} cf cockpit, pit bull
27a room and board {One word that precedes "key," one that follows it} cf room key, keyboard
45a down and dirty {One word that precedes "play," one that follows it} cf downplay, play dirty
61a rock-and-roll {One word that precedes "hard," one that follows it} cf rock-hard, hard roll
Patrick Merrell / Will Shortz
15x15 with 37 (16.4%) black squares
78 (average length 4.82)
Theme squares
46 (24.5%)
Scrabble points
357 (average 1.90)
Letters used
Other Clues

1a Denzel {Actor Washington who once played Malcolm X}; 7a LPGA {Org. for women on the links}; 11a Das {Karl Marx's "___ Kapital"}; 14a ice-axe {Mountain climber's tool}; 15a a raw {Got ___ deal (was rooked)}; 16a ESP {Mind reader's "gift"}; 19a ate {Had a bite}; 20a elk {Antlered animal}; 21a mourns {Grieves}; 22a Trix {Cereal advertised with a "silly rabbit"}; 23a disk {"Slipped" backbone part}; 25a me I {"Don't tell ___ can't ...!"}; 26a ahs {Sounds during medical checkups}; 33a visibly {By eyesight}; 36a gar {Long-nosed fish}; 37a nae {Scottish refusal}; 38a onesie {Infant bodysuit}; 39a rustic {Countryish}; 41a it a {"Let's call ___ day"}; 42a WAC {W.W. II female}; 44a pep talk {Pregame morale builder}; 48a -oon {Suffix with pont-}; 49a Roz {Cartoonist Chast}; 50a X-ray {With 13-Down, "super power" glasses}; 54a bird {Ostrich or owl}; 56a Banzai {Buckaroo ___ (movie character)}; 59a Oto {Plains tribe}; 60a ant {Insect with a queen}; 63a ich {"___ bin ein Berliner"}; 64a bake {Prepare cookies or chicken, e.g.}; 65a Karnak {Egyptian temple site}; 66a thy {"Love ___ neighbor ..."}; 67a itsy {___-bitsy}; 68a assess {Evaluate}.

1d diced {Chopped into small cubes}; 2d E. coli {Food-poisoning bacteria}; 3d necks {Prominent giraffe parts}; 4d Zak {Ringo's drummer son}; 5d exam {Test}; 6d Leno {NBC host Jay}; 7d La Brea {Famed tar pits whose name is Spanish for "the tar"}; 8d pruning {Clipping, as shrubs}; 9d gals {Guys' mates}; 10d awl {Hole-making tool}; 11d Dear Santa {Start of a Christmas letter}; 12d Asti {___ Spumante (wine)}; 13d spex {See 50-Across}; 18d dummy {Ventriloquist's prop}; 22d tho {However, informally}; 24d Kris {Singer Kristofferson}; 26d abrupt {Sudden}; 28d Obi-Wan {___ Kenobi of "Star Wars"}; 29d Olean {Fat substitute brand}; 30d darer {Risk taker}; 31d rail {Train track part}; 32d deck {What a swabbie swabs}; 33d void {Invalidate, as a check}; 34d into {Fascinated by}; 35d seaworthy {Fit for sailing}; 40d Styx {Hellish river}; 43d CD racks {Music store fixtures}; 44d pizza {Order from Domino's}; 46d nod {Silent assent}; 47d donkey {Braying animal}; 51d Roone {TV sports broadcasting pioneer Arledge}; 52d atlas {Book of maps}; 53d yolks {"Sunny" egg parts}; 54d bait {Worms in a can, e.g.}; 55d inch {1/36 of a yard}; 56d boat {Gravy vessel}; 57d Anka {Paul who wrote "My Way"}; 58d Idas {Actress Lupino and others}; 61d RBI {Slugger's stat}; 62d RRs {B&O and Reading: Abbr.}.


Jared said...

I think hard roll is from the game of Craps, but I am not totally sure.

Crossword Man said...

Quite right Jared. If the two rolled dice have the same denomination, that's a hard roll (conversely, different denominations = a soft roll).