Sunday, December 6, 2009

NYT Monday 12/7/09 - Sing Like a Pirate Day

Miraculously our internet connection has sprung back into life today for no apparent reason: maybe the local phone company engineers have been working weekends to ensure we can blog, but I suspect they'll appear on our doorstep in a day or two and be surprised to find things working again - such is life in the wilds of SusqCo.

So I was able to download, solve and blog about this Monday New York Times crossword in something like the usual way. I think I worked out what was going on after seeing just the first two thematic acrosses, allowing and a bottle of rum to go in pronto and making Homer Simpson even easier to guess.

Just involving the first two letters of the long answers thematically seems to me to be selling us a little short - with the exception of the yo, there's not much of a constraint on the answers, but that did allow attractive selections to be made from the myriad possibilities.

I knew "yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!" from Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island (1883), which I enjoy more as an adult than I ever did as a kid. It seems the words originated with Stevenson, but he admitted to being inspired by the "Dead Man's Chest" in At Last: A Christmas in the West Indies - an 1871 book by Charles Kingsley (of the The Water-Babies). Here's a version of the song for you to enjoy:

Solving time: 6 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 58d dog {Woofer?}

Ed Sessa
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


"Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!" comes from the first syllables of the top three long answers and all of the bottom long answer:
17a yogurt smoothies {Blended fruit-flavored drinks}

yogurt smoothies

29a holy mackerel! {"Jumpin' Jehosaphat!"}

holy mackerel

43a Homer Simpson {TV character who says "It's 1 a.m. Better go home and spend some quality time with the kids"}

Homer Simpson

56a and a bottle of rum {Words after the starting syllables of 17-, 29- and 43-Across}

a bottle of rum
Ed Sessa / Will Shortz
15x15 with 34 (15.1%) black squares
76 (average length 5.03)
Theme squares
54 (28.3%)
Scrabble points
295 (average 1.54)
Letters used
New To Me

49a Cey {1970s Dodgers All-Star Ron}. The New York Times crossword wouldn't be the New York Times crossword without a baseball clue. Ron Cey (thanks for the solid crossings, as I've not come across a Cey before) was third baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1971–1982. He got the nickname "The Penguin" for his slow waddling running gait.


31a Brian {News anchor Williams}. Ok, I'm sure everyone has the blahs {Sense of tedium, with "the"} about Brian Williams, but the answer to a clue like this still doesn't come naturally to me, and I have to refresh my memory. Brian replaced Tom Brokaw as anchor of NBC Nightly News on December 2, 2004. Knowing our viewing habits, I suspect we've seen more of Brian on The Daily Show than his regular gig. Here he is doing the Sesame Street Nightly News (you can't go wrong with Sesame Street clips).

child playing piano
65a seen {"... ___ and not heard"}. An ellipsis is sometimes used to shorten in a fill-in-the-blank clues when part of the idiom/quote is well-known or has several variants. In this case, the idiom I'm familiar with is "children should be seen and not heard". This the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations dates back to the 15th century - applying in those days specifically to young women: "a mayde schuld be seen, but not herd".

8d Eton {British prep school}. I was about to "leap" into a criticism of this clue, before confirming with Magdalen that it does work under American terminology, in which prep school means a school that prepares 14- to 18-year-olds for higher education. In Britain a prep school prepares 8- to 13-year-olds for the Common Entrance Examination to schools like Eton College. What's worse, Eton is a private school, but in Britain is called a public school. The American terminology makes more sense, but it will take me a while to get used to it. In the mean time, here's Chariots of Fire (1981), which we discovered from another puzzle this pm, was filmed at Eton (masquerading as Trinity College, Cambridge).

The Rest

1a Sam's {___ Club (discount chain)}; 5a ache {Pain}; 9a Haiti {Country adjacent to the Dominican Republic}; 14a ASAP {"Quickly!," on an order}; 15a rout {Runaway victory}; 16a odder {More peculiar}; 20a on draft {Available from a keg}; 21a nice {Opposite of naughty}; 22a Kea {Hawaii's Mauna ___}; 23a yule {Christmastime}; 25a LaRosa {Old-time singer Julius}; 34a brae {Highlands hillside}; 35a mai {___ tai (cocktail)}; 36a lots {Oodles}; 37a plain {Nothing fancy}; 39a bark {"Woof!," e.g.}; 40a abs {Tummy muscles}; 41a tail {Peacock's distinctive feature}; 42a tense {Past, present or future}; 47a stenos {Shorthand pros}; 48a soon {Before long}; 52a tugs {Harbor vessels}; 54a obtrude {Thrust out}; 60a broil {Oven setting}; 61a ewer {Wide-mouthed pitcher}; 62a dice {What high rollers roll}; 63a eagle {Golf score of two under par}; 64a pods {Pea holders}.

1d say OK {Give permission}; 2d as one {Unanimously}; 3d Magda {A Gabor sister}; 4d spur {Cowboy boot feature}; 5d artful {Wily}; 6d costly {High-priced}; 7d hum {What you can do if you don't know the words}; 9d hot cake {Flapjack}; 10d adhere {Stick (to)}; 11d Idi {Uganda's ___ Amin}; 12d tee {Summer shirt, for short}; 13d IRS {Org. with a 4/15 deadline}; 18d rayon {Silky synthetic fabric}; 19d oilcan {Squirter at an auto garage}; 24d embalms {Mummifies}; 26d Orman {Financial adviser Suze}; 27d Sears {Roebuck's partner in retailing}; 28d alike {Look-___ (twin)}; 29d has {Owns}; 30d Ari {Bush spokesman Fleischer}; 31d blahs {Sense of tedium, with "the"}; 32d robot {C-3PO or R2-D2}; 33d it's me {Informal reply to "Who's there?"}; 37d pass go {Collect $200 in Monopoly}; 38d LII {52, in old Rome}; 39d Ben {London's Big ___}; 41d trouble {Reason for a 911 call}; 42d Tonto {Lone Ranger's companion}; 44d entail {Call for}; 45d pooled {Combined, as assets}; 46d sobers {Recovers from a bender, with "up"}; 49d Curie {Physics Nobelist Marie}; 50d educe {Draw out}; 51d Yemen {Modern locale of ancient Sheba}; 53d step {Rung}; 55d RFDs {Country mail rtes.}; 56d Abe {Lincoln, informally}; 57d NRA {Gun rights org.}; 58d dog {Woofer?}; 59d two {Duet number}.


Orange said...

Thanks for updating your link to Diary of a Crossword Fiend, Crossword Man!

Crossword Man said...

No problem ... I like the new Daily Standings feature.