Tuesday, December 1, 2009

NYT Wednesday 12/2/09 - Wish on a Wednesday

I don't reckon I made any stupid mistakes in this Wednesday New York Times crossword ... if I have, no doubt readers will correct me. It took me over twice as long as yesterday's, and that wasn't just a result of being more careful ... the cluing seemed pretty tough for a Wednesday.

Although I got picture of wealth after seven minutes, and so figured Hs were being turned into Ws, that didn't help much with the rest of the theme answers. I really love haste makes waste as the key answer that explains the theme ... wish I'd thought of it myself.

I initially thought so proudly we wail resulted directly from Those Key Lines, but it seems the anthem has "so proudly we hailed". Hence I assume the clue refers instead to the 1943 movie So Proudly We Hail!

Solving time: 15 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 44d adopted {Like Steve Jobs and Moses}

Jack McInturff
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


H is changed to W in a phrase, making a pun. This substitution is modeled on the phrase 62a haste makes waste {Advice to the rash, and a hint to this puzzle's theme}.
17a picture of wealth {Bill Gates snapshot?} cf picture of health
28a so proudly we wail {Banshees' boast?} cf So Proudly We Hail!
39a base wit {Comedic soldier during training?} cf base hit
47a head for the wills {Words to estate attorneys?} cf "head for the hills!"
Jack McInturff / Will Shortz
15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
78 (average length 4.85)
Theme squares
67 (35.4%)
Scrabble points
299 (average 1.58)
Letters used
New To Me

21a son {"That's a joke, ___!"}. Not a catchphrase I've come across before: I gather it comes from Kenny Delmar's performances as the diehard supporter of the old, old south, Senator Beauregard Claghorn, on Fred Allen's radio program. Let's see if I can find a clip ... better still, a clip from the 1947 movie featuring Claghorn.

36a lei {Pikake garland}. A new spin on an old answer, and I assumed (capital P) Pikake was just another Hawaiian place name ... No, (small p) pikake is the flower from which leis are made, being the local name for a species of jasmine.

42a Syd {Lead role on "Providence"}. Providence was a TV drama that ran from 1999 to 2002. The central character was Dr. Sydney "Syd" Hansen (Melina Kanakaredes), who left her job as a high-profile plastic surgeon to work in, and later run, a free clinic in her home town (why not home city?) of Providence, RI.

66a Arlene {Francis of "What's My Line?"}. I seem to have used What's My Line? clips quite frequently for personalities not otherwise conveniently represented on YouTube. Finally we get an actual reference to the show, via Arlene Francis (1907–2001), who made regular appearances from 1950 through to the middle of the 1970s.

9d Åse {Mother of Peer Gynt}. It looks like Peer Gynt repays close attention: Anitra of Anitra's Dance has been spotted a few times this year. Now it's the turn of Åse (also spelled Aase) whose death features in Suite No. 1.

12d Ratt {Heavy metal band with the triple-platinum album "Out of the Cellar"}. Whoever chose Out of the Cellar gets a thumbs up for giving helpful confirmation of Ratt, which otherwise I'd have had doubts about. I gather the band is classified as glam metal , a subgenre I hadn't heard of before.

Hanukkah gelt
27d gelt {Hanukkah goodies}. A result of moving to the US is that Hanukkah and its associated traditions is much more visible to me, e.g. dreidel was just a dictionary word until I saw one in the local supermarket. I gather Hanukkah gelt ("money" in Yiddish) is given out to kids at the holiday and is also available as chocolate money.

39d Biff {"Back to the Future" bully}. Biff seems to be a stock name for a class bully ... I seem to remember Woody Allen's stand-up routines have a Biff or two in them. In Back to the Future (1985) Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson) starts bullying Marty's father George McFly (Crispin Glover) in school and continues in the workplace.

40d Wahl {"Wiseguy" actor Ken}. Ken Wahl, two-time recipient of the "Sexiest Man on TV" title, landed the lead in the late 80s TV crime drama Wiseguy. He plays Vincent Michael “Vinnie” Terranova, an undercover agent of the OCB (Organized Crime Bureau), a fictional division of the FBI.

Steve Jobs
44d adopted {Like Steve Jobs and Moses}. I like this clue because of the juxtaposition of the wildly different examples. Moses I knew to be adopted, but I wasn't aware (or had forgotten) that Steve Jobs was: his biological parents, Joanne Carole Schieble and Abdulfattah Jandali, gave Steve up for adoption as a baby; but they did eventually marry, having a daughter, the novelist Mona Simpson.

59d Esso {Old Sinclair rival}. I can't see the name Sinclair without thinking of Sir Clive Sinclair, the British entrepreneur who was instrumental in introducing pocket calculators and then home computers into the UK. I gather Sinclair is also an oil company, hence a rival to Esso, although the latter is not a brand ExxonMobil uses in America any more.


Bud Selig
20a Selig {Baseball's Bud}. I must have come across Bud Selig before, as the German meaning of the surname ("blessed") had helped my memorization. Selig is the current Commissioner of Major League Baseball, having served in that capacity since 1992. He plans to retire in 2012.

4d Sluggo {Nancy's friend in the funnies}. The Comics: Since 1945 has been one of my most useful and entertaining purchases in the pursuit of knowledge this year. So I know all about Nancy's friend Sluggo Smith, who - when he isn't wearing a cap - can be seen to have a stubbly hairdo. Which reminds me ... must ring up the redoubtable Mr. Shaw for a #4 myself.


The Rest

1a ton {Whole bunch}; 4a safe {In an ark, say}; 8a Hasbro {Monopoly maker}; 14a Ida {Actress Lupino}; 15a lien {Debtor's worry}; 16a O'Shea's {Irish-themed Vegas casino}; 22a data {Raw material, of sorts}; 23a agha {Turkish V.I.P.}; 26a gogo {Full of energy}; 35a la-la {In ___ land}; 37a Lynda {Actress Carter who was once Miss World USA}; 38a aka {Blotter abbr.}; 43a Sinai {Ten Commandments locale}; 45a UAL {Carrier with a hub at LAX}; 46a Pelé {FIFA Player of the Century}; 51a of La {"Man ___ Mancha"}; 52a lain {Reclined}; 53a chip {Approach shot}; 56a DJs {Spinners at affairs}; 58a N-test {Mushroom producer, for short}; 67a anti {Prefix with skid}; 68a Sur {Big ___}; 69a tied on {Attached, in a way}; 70a teen {New driver, typically}; 71a obi {"Madame Butterfly" wear}.

1d tips {Bread in a jar, perhaps}; 2d Odie {Drooling canine in the funnies}; 3d NaCl {Salt, symbolically}; 5d air {Get out into the open}; 6d fee {Sometimes-split charge}; 7d Enos {Son of Seth}; 8d how now {Start of an elocution class phrase}; 10d shadowy {Hard to make out}; 11d Béla {Composer Bartók}; 13d OSHA {Workplace watchdog org.}; 18d tiara {Item often worn with a sash}; 19d fogy {Fuddy-dud}; 24d hula {Storytelling dance}; 25d ades {Sidewalk stand buys}; 28d slash {More than just reduce}; 29d Oakie {Jack of "The Great Dictator"}; 30d Plan A {Primary strategy}; 31d lieut. {Kojak's rank: Abbr.}; 32d Ansel {Adams who co-founded Group f/64}; 33d idyll {Pastoral piece}; 34d lades {Does dock work}; 41d ilea {Sections of digestive tracts}; 46d Pinta {Niña companion}; 48d old men {Codgers}; 49d raja {Big Indian}; 50d win-win {Like a good deal for both sides}; 53d chat {Facebook feature}; 54d Hari {Mata ___}; 55d isle {Trinidad or Tobago}; 57d skat {Game with 32 cards}; 60d stub {Bit of theater litter}; 61d Teri {Actress Hatcher}; 63d Eno {Brian who produced U2}; 64d ENE {Phoenix-to-Philly dir.}; 65d Ste. {Fr. holy woman}.


F said...

That's a joke, son - I knew it from Foghorn Leghorn cartoons.

Crossword Man said...

Good point. Wikipedia comments that the Looney Tunes parody has outlasted its source [Senator Claghorn] in the public's imagination.