Thursday, December 31, 2009

NYT Friday 1/1/10 - First Footing

A very happy new year - I hope you all have a wonderful solving year in 2010! I was half-expecting a thematic puzzle for 01/01/10, but this New York Times crossword seemed regular Friday fare. I got off to a great start guessing withers for 1-Across, which helped me land the whole NW corner in three minutes or so. This helpful picture on flickr labels 25 of the horse parts for you.

That stroke of luck didn't last: seeing that the NE corner was going to be a minefield, I worked my way steadily clockwise, getting a leg-up every time I cracked one of the long down answers in the middle section. After 27 minutes, I just had the top right bit to do and was very apprehensive about it all until I managed to guess Perot and then Pfizer.

With all those new initial letters, I was able to get the problem down to just what to do with 9-Down F-AN-, specifically the crossings with 15-Across PE-RINE and 23-Across AL RIT-. Not knowing any of these three, I simply had to make calculated guesses and eventually concluded Franz was most likely, and if there was any justice in the world I'd have got the puzzle right. I was relieved to check Wikipedia and confirm my hunches were A-OK this time.
Solving time: 32 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 55a Ali Baba {His opening statement is famous}
Solution

Brad Wilber
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics
Compilers
Brad Wilber / Will Shortz
Grid
15x15 with 32 (14.2%) black squares
Answers
70 (average length 5.51)
Theme squares
0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points
314 (average 1.63)
Letters used
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

15a Perrine {Valerie of "The Electric Horseman"}. There was some blind guesswork here, as Hans and Franz were unfamiliar. Valerie Perrine is an actress and model notable as the first person to display herself nude on American television by completely baring her breasts during the May 4, 1973 broadcast of Bruce Jay Friedman's Steambath. In The Electric Horseman (1979), she plays the minor role of Charlotta Steele, ex-wife of the rodeo champion played by Robert Redford.



21a Nat {Basketball Hall-of-Famer Holman}. Nat Holman (1896–1995) was an early pro basketball player and one of its great innovators. After retiring in 1930, he took over the head coaching position at the City College of New York in 1920. Known as "Mr. Basketball", Holman guided CCNY to the so-called grand slam of college basketball, winning both the NCAA and NIT titles in 1950, a feat that has never been achieved since.

22a Erno {Resistance leader in Woody Allen's "Sleeper"}. Well Sleeper (1973) is one of my favorite early Woody Allen movies, but there's no way I'd remember Erno unless I'd rewatched the film in the preceding week ... Erno shmerno.



23a Al Ritz {Eldest of a trio of comic brothers in 1930s-'40s films}. Until considering 9-Down, I had Al Ritt here, but was convinced to go with the Z ending to make the SNL character a more likely one. The Ritz Brothers have parallels with the Marx Brothers, not least in the shape of their surname: there were four brothers, sons of an Austrian-born haberdasher, but only Al, Jimmy and Harry performed, the fourth brother George becoming their manager. Here they are in The Goldwyn Follies (1938).



24a I Go {Neil Sedaka's "___ Ape"}. I Go Ape was a hit for Neil Sedaka in 1959, the year I was born. A clip says it all.



25a Nicol {Williamson who played Hamlet and Macbeth on Broadway}. I've a feeling I'll recognize Nicol Williamson when I see a clip of him, as he's the British actor that John Osborne described as "the greatest actor since Marlon Brando". Ah yes, I know the face from such movies as The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976), the Sherlock Holmes pastiche in which Nicol plays the Great Detective. This shows the swashbuckling Holmes didn't start with Robert Downey, Jr..



Great Dark Spot60a Neptune {Great Dark Spot locale}. Stupidly had Jupiter here for a while: stupid not least because there's no way a 14-letter answer would have a J in the penultimate position (well I suppose it could have been somebody Jr. but that is highly unlikely). Like Jupiter's Great Red Spot, a Great Dark Spot on Neptune is a massive anticyclonic storm. However, the Great Dark Spots are comparatively short-lived, dissipating once every few years. Jupiter's Red Spot has lasted several hundred years.
7d Steel Magnolias {Play set entirely in a beauty parlor}. I was happy to get this from about half the crossings: although I know absolutely zilch about the play, the title is so striking that it has stuck in the mind. Steel Magnolias is probably better known as a 1989 movie, originally a 1987 Robert Harling play. The drama concerns a group of Southern women in northwest Louisiana and is based on the playwright's experience with the death of his sister. The movie action seems to have been moved out of the beauty parlor to a large extent.



9d Franz {Half of a recurring "Saturday Night Live" duo}. SNL history is really tough for me and I'm not sure what I'm going to be able to do about that. Watching the performances is so much better than reading about them, so maybe I should dig out a "best of SNL" collection to view? Anyway, Hans and Franz appeared in a recurring sketch called "Pumping Up with Hans & Franz" and were played by Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon, respectively. YouTube is remarkably deficient in the original Hans and Franz: however, do you really want to see a Hans and Franz tribute made by high school students? No I thought not.

Noteworthy

baseball cat14a One o' Cat {Quaint game with a giver and a striker}. I'd luckily met this "quaint" game before somewhere - almost certainly another crossword. I gather One o' Cat, short for One Old Cat, is one of the forerunners of baseball. The "one" refers to the number of batters in the game; if you have enough players for two batters you can play Two o' Cat; even more players and you have the option of town ball.
52a fun {First Across word in the world's first crossword}. A gimme at last! Strangely, the first across word in the world's first crossword was also filled in for you. Englishman Arthur Wynne's first crossword appeared on December 21, 1913 in the New York World. This is the first time I've seen its original appearance and I'm amazed at the size of the numbers ... you're supposed to write letters over those? ... I wonder how long it was before the now standard presentation (single small number marking the start of across or down) was adopted?

 world's first crossword

55a Ali Baba {His opening statement is famous}. Got this once I had the first few letters: Ali Baba's famous opening statement is of course "Open Sesame".

ecu5d écu {Coin depicting Louis XVI}. The ECU (European Currency Unit) was briefly the name of the basket of the currencies of the European Community member states, prior to it being replaced by the euro on January 1, 1999. It is presumably just a coincidence that écu is also the name of several obsolete French coins. I'll see if I can find a picture of a Louis XVI écu. No dice, let's go with Louis XIII.

Harpo Marx20d fright wig {Clown's over-the-top topper}. Don't know how, but I've actually come across fright wig references before. Maybe through reading about Harpo Marx ... a fright wig has hair that sticks out dramatically, like quills upon the fretful porpentine, as the Bard puts it.

The Rest

1a withers {Part of a horse between the shoulder blades}; 8a Pfizer {Xanax maker}; 16a of no use {Like broken things}; 17a orators {Pros at projecting}; 18a load {Ready to be fired}; 19a Teflon {Pot cover}; 27a MIT {Its chapel was designed by Eero Saarinen, briefly}; 28a msec {Processing time unit: Abbr.}; 29a sty {Foul territory?}; 30a adagio {Pas de deux part}; 33a Omsk {Dostoyevsky's exile city}; 34a roughcast {Coarse, as stucco}; 36a bale {Plantation creation}; 39a intake {Dieter's concern}; 40a RAF {Org. whose emblem features an eagle and a crown}; 43a Enid {She's a paradigm of patience}; 44a owl {Notable head-turner}; 45a aïoli {Bouillabaisse go-with}; 47a ego {I}; 48a filial {Like some love}; 51a MMIX {Time of Obama's swearing-in}; 53a émigré {Einstein, notably}; 54a puma {Elk's enemy}; 57a epaulet {Uniform adornment}; 59a Lazarus {New Testament miracle recipient}; 61a or else {Blackmailer's words}; 62a arrests {Record producers}.

1d woolens {Some winter wear}; 2d in for it {Sure to be grounded, say}; 3d tenancy {Matter of lease concern?}; 4d hoodoo {Bring bad luck to}; 6d Rasta {One with a dreaded style?}; 8d Perot {Choate ran with him in 1996}; 10d IRT {N.Y.C. transportation debut of 1904}; 11d Zionism {Movement Herman Wouk called "a single long action of lifesaving"}; 12d enrages {Sets off}; 13d restock {Do a store chore}; 15d political arena {City hall, often}; 26d Lao {Mekong River native}; 28d mot {Zinger}; 31d DUI {Police blotter abbr.}; 32d oak {One of Iowa's state symbols}; 34d Red {With 35-Down, Mocha is on it}; 35d Sea {See 34-Down}; 36d beefalo {Mix on the range}; 37d angular {Far from Rubenesque}; 38d lionize {Put on a pedestal}; 40d Romulus {Abductor of the Sabine women}; 41d aliment {Sustaining stuff}; 42d fixates {Obsesses}; 46d impute {Ascribe}; 48d fears {Psychotherapy topics}; 49d imbue {Suffuse}; 50d leper {New Testament miracle recipient}; 56d bal. {Credit card statement abbr.}; 58d APR {Credit card statement abbr.}.

NPR Puzzle: 12/27/09 -- Happy New Year!

Here's the puzzle for this week:

Take the phrase "pray when." Double four of these letters. Using these letters plus the four singles, rearrange all 12 letters to spell a familiar phrase. What phrase is it?

Um, the answer is pretty obvious:

HAPPY NEW YEAR !

And here's the Times Square Ball for good measure:



Everyone have a safe & joyous New Year's celebration, and we'll see you next year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

NYT Thursday 12/31/09 - Piglet Trio

This Thursday New York Times crossword went fairly well, even though there's a lot of stuff in the New to Me section today. When progressing down the grid, I got stuck in the vicinity of each rebus square, so my first insight into the theme came when I solved 60a Three Little Pigs after 10 minutes or so.

I initially thought the pigs might be diagonally hidden, but eventually spotted the first rebus square in the northeast and then was able to finish off the grid reasonably quickly. I was lucky to have met Hogan's Heroes in a puzzle in March.

I'm used to seeing a few more than three theme squares in rebus puzzles and then often in a specific arrangement. So I wondered for a while why this idea merited its appearance ... until I noticed the extra significance of the "little" in suggesting the pigs should occupy a single square (and hence appear very small) - neat idea! If you were artistically inclined, you could even draw little pigs in the squares instead of trying to write in boar, sow and hog.
Solving time: 19 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 71a were {Be in a certain mood?}
Solution

Frank Longo
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

60a Three Little Pigs {Storybook group residing in this puzzle?}. The three "little" pigs - boar, sow and hog - appear in rebus squares (hence necessarily in a smaller font), affecting the following answers:
17a chairman of the board {Person making firm decisions}
12d Cobo Arena {Detroit venue for sporting events and concerts}
Cobo Arena

22a to each his own {"Different strokes for different folks"}
25d so what {"Big deal"}

55a Hogan's Heroes {1960s sitcom set at a camp}
37d quahog {Thick-shelled seafood selection}

Crucimetrics
Compilers
Frank Longo / Will Shortz
Grid
15x15 with 37 (16.4%) black squares
Answers
78 (average length 4.82)
Theme squares
50 (26.6%)
Scrabble points
322 (average 1.71)
Letters used
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

Hannibal Hamlin5a Hamlin {Vice president after Breckinridge}. My knowledge of US political history hasn't yet extended to veeps, so I struggled here, needing all the crossings to be sure of Hannibal Hamlin (1809–1891). When I saw that Hamlin had been vice president under Abe, I wondered how come he didn't become prez #17 after the assassination. Apparently Hamlin - a Mainer - was so unsuccessful in the job that he wasn't nominated for a second term, Andrew Johnson being chosen instead.
Sasha Vujacic29a Sasha {Vujacic of the Los Angeles Lakers, who's nicknamed "The Machine"}. The Los Angeles Lakers came up in a trivia question over Christmas: "where are the lakes in the team name?". I gather Minnesota, "Land of 10,000 Lakes", as the basketball team made Minneapolis its home from 1947–1960. Sasha Vujačić is a Slovenian who currently plays for the team, at the shooting guard spot in the Lakers' triangle offense.
Jean Lafitte47a Jean {Pirate Lafitte}. I thought this was probably to do with baseball, as I now know all about the Pittsburgh Pirates. Today, however, a Pirate is just a pirate: Jean Lafitte (ca. 1776 – ca. 1823) filibustered around the Gulf of Mexico in the early 19th century. He briefly helped General Andrew Jackson defend New Orleans against the British in 1815, but subsequently became a Spanish spy, moving to Galveston Island to help develop the colony there.
Parris Island54a USMC {Parris Isl. outfit}. This time I successfully guessed the US Marine Corps based on just the last two crossings. Parris Island is near Beaufort, South Carolina and is used for the training of enlisted Marines. Male recruits living east of the Mississippi River and female recruits from all over the United States report here to receive their initial training (male recruits living west of the Mississippi River receive their training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, but may train at Parris Island by special request).

67a Monroe {"Niagara" star, 1953}. Niagara is a film noir thriller directed by Henry Hathaway. A big hit at the time, it features Marilyn Monroe, Joseph Cotten and Jean Peters. Given the title, it's no surprise that Niagara Falls is an important setting in the drama.



Pachacuti70a Incans {Pachacuti's people}. Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui was the ninth Sapa Inca (1438-1471/1472) of the Kingdom of Cusco, which he transformed into the empire Tawantinsuyu, or the Inca Empire. In Quechua, Pachakutiq means "He who remakes the world". During his reign, Cuzco grew from a hamlet into an empire that could compete with, and eventually overtake, the Chimu.

4d soilage {Green crops cultivated for fodder}. A new one on me, although my first guess of silage came close. Soilage seems to derive from an etymologically distinct meaning of soil, viz to fatten livestock with green food:
soil vt to feed (livestock) on fresh-cut green food; to purge by so doing; to fatten.
soilage n green fodder for livestock.
From The Chambers Dictionary
23d O God {Psalm start}. This made me think more of a hymn, viz O God, Our Help in Ages Past, and that turns out to be a paraphrase of Psalm 90. But this is probably not what the clue is getting at. How about Psalm 63, which starts:
O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul
thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and
thirsty land, where no water is;
From The King James Bible
38d Sara {Tony-winning "Spamalot" actress Ramirez}. Sara Ramirez, known for her appearances in The OR (official name Grey's Anatomy) won the Tony for playing The Lady of the Lake in Spamalot. Her role is described as "An aquatic diva. Part fairy, part diva and all woman.". Here she is singing Find Your Grail at the awards show.



44d Len {"Live Free or Die Hard" director Wiseman}. Live Free or Die Hard (2007) is the fourth installment of the Die Hard series. The producers must have doubted certain audiences would get this, as the film was released as "Die Hard 4.0" outside of North America.



UNLV61d Lon {Hoops coach Kruger}. "Hoops" means basketball ... maybe that should go into Pavlov's Guide to Crosswords? Lon Kruger is head coach at UNLV, and took the Runnin' Rebels to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2007.

Noteworthy

71a were {Be in a certain mood?}. Nicely misleading use of mood in the grammatical sense, were being the verb "(to) be" in the subjunctive mood (hope I got that right).

Ashton and Demi51d Ashton {"Punk'd" host Kutcher}; 58d,1d demi sec {Moderately sweet, to a vintner}. I covered the Punk'd show back in October, so I wasn't going to comment on this until my eye lighted on Demi, ie Mrs Kutcher, at 58-Down. Strange to see these answers so close in the grid and yet not linked through the cluing.

The Rest

1a sips {Small drafts}; 11a FCC {Govt. media monitor}; 14a echo {Return from a mountain?}; 15a ugsome {Dreadful, old-style}; 16a Loa {Mauna ___}; 20a slept {Wasn't up}; 21a -soxer {Bobby-___}; 27a bone {Radius, e.g.}; 28a agog {Intensely interested}; 30a bras {Cup holders?}; 31a cones {Alternatives to cups, in dessert orders}; 33a patty {Something to throw on the BBQ}; 35a ode {Salute in stanzas}; 36a IQs {Mental figures}; 39a tsk {Click of condescension}; 40a per {On the authority of}; 43a usual {It's nothing new, with "the"}; 45a of use {Not worthless}; 50a areas {Country statistics}; 53a Otto {Maestro Klemperer}; 57a scold {Chew out}; 59a haven {Place to escape to}; 66a sea {It has a very large bed}; 68a acre {Plot piece}; 69a owl {Athena's symbol}.

2d ich {Potsdam pronoun}; 3d phase one {Multistep process starter}; 5d humphs {Snorts of disdain}; 6d Agatha {She created Hercule}; 7d MSN {Alternative to AOL or Juno}; 8d loo {Bath bathroom}; 9d IMF {Global lending org.}; 10d nets {Cross-court items?}; 11d flexor {Limb bender}; 13d cadres {Training groups}; 18d rec. {It's done for fun, for short}; 19d hobby {It's done for fun}; 22d Taco {___ Bell}; 24d ISP {AOL or Juno}; 26d Nats {D.C. diamond squad}; 32d sis {Granny, to a great-aunt}; 34d TKO {Ref's call}; 40d put on ice {Shelve for a while}; 41d Este {City in Padua province}; 42d REOs {Antique autos}; 43d uncle {Cry when you've had enough}; 46d forepaw {What Fido "shakes hands" with}; 47d just so {To a T}; 48d eschew {Abstain from}; 49d amoral {Unconcerned with scruples}; 52d shales {Some are bituminous}; 56d eve {Brink}; 62d Inc. {Magazine with an annual "500"}; 63d tra {La-la lead-in}; 64d grr {[Mumble, mumble]}; 65d see? {"Comprende?"}.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

NYT Wednesday 12/30/09 - My Misfortune

Based on my solving time, I did fairly well with this Wednesday New York Times crossword, but what is that if you can't actually get the letters right? The theme seemed straightforward enough, but - as if to compensate - the rest of the puzzle was unusually thorny.

I skated on thin ice at the intersection of 22d O'Day and 36a My Love. Not knowing either of these, I was grateful to be informed of Anita O'Day's pig Latin etymology in the clue ... that pointed to an -ay ending. A close call, but I escaped this particular trouble spot.

Woe is me, there were much worse dangers at the bottom middle of the grid. I had no clue about either 57d Vaca or 64a The O.C. and did my usual thing of assessing which of the two answers narrowed down the possibilities better. In this case I thought 64-Across would repay close attention and reasoned there must have been a medical show called The OR. Vara looked about as likely a name for an explorer as Vaca, so I went with it. I'm not sure I could have done any better here in the absence of the required knowledge of either answer.

Wheel of Fortune

A couple of readers have emailed me to point out that The New York Times Crossword Puzzle was featured on yesterday's Wheel of Fortune, being the answer to the question "what are you doing?". This has been a good year for the profile of the NYT puzzle in the popular media, as it was also the category an episode of Jeopardy!, which I commented on in my post for the April 2 puzzle.
Solving time: 11 mins (solo, no solving aids, two wrong answers)
Clue of the puzz: 31d dog whistle {Item used with high frequency?}
Solution

Adam Cohen
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

Company names are clued via their stock ticker, which gives a strong hint to their product or service.
20a Barnes and Noble {Company with the stock ticker symbol BKS} sell books
25a Genentech {Company with the stock ticker symbol DNA} specialize in DNA technology
39a Sealy {Company with the stock ticker symbol ZZ} make mattresses
48a Papa John's {Company with the stock ticker symbol PZZA} sell pizzas
53a Harley-Davidson {Company with the stock ticker symbol HOG} manufacture "hogs"
Crucimetrics
Compilers
Adam Cohen / Will Shortz
Grid
15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers
76 (average length 4.92)
Theme squares
51 (27.3%)
Scrabble points
332 (average 1.78)
Letters used
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

18a Shawn {Wallace ___ of "Manhattan"}. There seems to be an uncharacteristic focus on Woody Allen movies today: not a problem for this fan ... it's just unusual to see repetitiveness rather than variety in such references. Although I recall Wallace Shawn's face and his role in Manhattan as the "homunculus" of an ex-husband, I couldn't easily cough up his name. I gather Shawn is also a notable playwright in an absurdist style, and co-wrote My Dinner with Andre (1981), based on his conversations with Andre Gregory.



Elks
50a Elks {Order whose members have included five U.S. presidents}. Have come across the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (sometimes a crossword answer as BPOE), but wasn't previously aware of its presidential history. Since the BPOE was only founded in 1868 (when it was a social club called the "Jolly Cork") that rules out presidents up to #18. I'm reliably informed that the Elk presidents were:
52a Ali {Rubina ___ of "Slumdog Millionaire"}. We still haven't seen Slumdog Millionaire (2008) despite its success at the awards ceremonies. Rubina Ali is the child actress who plays the youngest version of Jamal's one true love, Latika, in the movie.



64a The O.C. {Former Fox series set in Newport Beach}. I had big problems here and still can't quite believe that a show based in Orange County, CA would be called The O.C.: why the definite article?!? ... it doesn't make sense. Anyway, not knowing the show, nor Cabeza de Vaca, I just had to guess at the most likely name for a Fox series and went for The OR ... well, there seem to be as many medical series on TV as stars in the sky. But Magdalen points out the show that would be called The OR is actually Gray's Anatomy. Boo (hoo).



Chrysler Building
65a Alen {Art Deco architect William Van ___}. William Van Alen (1883–1954) was an American architect, best known for being the lead designer of New York City's Chrysler Building (1929-30), which earned him the title "Doctor of Altitude". Unfortunately, Van Alen doesn't seem to have been fond of paperwork and neglected to enter into a contract with Walter Chrysler to design the famous skyscraper; after Chrysler refused to pay the standard fee of 6% of the building costs, Van Alen sued and won; but the court case damaged his reputation and effectively brought an end to his career.

2d Lila {Oscar winner Kedrova}. Never heard of Lila Kedrova (1918–2000), a Russian-born French actress who got her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for playing "Madame Hortense", proprietress of the "Hotel Ritz", in Zorba the Greek (1964).



22d O'Day {Jazz singer who took her surname from pig Latin}. Strange but true: Anita O'Day (1919–2006), born Anita Belle Colton, based her name on "dough" as in money, which in pig Latin becomes O'Day. Here's her Stella by Starlight in a 1963 live performance.



Ojai
45d Ojai {Ventura County's ___ Valley}. Had to get this largely from crossings, as I'm not sure I've met the Ojai Valley (pronounced "oh-high") before. Ojai means "Valley of the Moon" in the language of the Chumash Indians. It is apparently the venue for a famous music festival: the Ojai Music Festival was founded in 1947, features some of the world's top musicians and composers, and occurs on the first weekend after Memorial Day.

Cabeza de Vaca
57d Vaca {Explorer Cabeza de ___}. As far as I could see, the third letter of this answer could be just about any consonant. I decided to choose it on the basis of what would make a sensible TV show name at 64-Across and went for Vara. But Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (ca. 1490/1507–1557/1559) is the man I was expected to know: he was a Spanish explorer, one of four survivors of the Narváez expedition, which attempted to install Pánfilo de Narváez as governor of Spanish Florida during the years 1527–1528. Cabeza de Vaca recorded his experiences of the Native Americans in the 1542 work La Relacion (The Report), later known as Naufragios (Shipwrecks).

Noteworthy

35a Seth {Green of "Radio Days"}; 4d Dianne {Wiest of "Radio Days"}. Here are the other two Woody Allen references - actors in the 1987 movie Radio Days, which introduced me to Coney Island years before I even thought about coming to the USA. The young radio addict Joe is played by Seth Green as a child actor. Dianne Wiest is his aunt Bea, whose search for love is a significant part of the plot. Since Wallace Shawn is also in this movie as the diminutive performer of the "Masked Avenger" on radio, I'm surprised we didn't get {Wallace of "Radio Days"} for 18-Across which would definitely have made a feature of the coincidence of getting all three into the same grid. I guess it might have something to do with Shawn being a surname, while these two are forenames.



36d Myra {Vidal's "___ Breckinridge"}. I knew the title of this Gore Vidal novel, maybe via the 1970 movie adaptation, though I know I've never seen it. Myra Breckinridge (1968) is a campy satirical novel set in the Hollywood of the 1960s. Despite its stellar cast, the movie is apparently famously bad and often cited as one of the worst films ever made.



58d oyer {___ and terminer}. Nice gimme, which I knew from The Chambers Dictionary. oyer and terminer (literally "hear and determine") is an obsolete term in English law, being a royal commission with the power to hear and determine criminal causes.

The Rest

1a sled {Iditarod vehicle}; 5a lochs {Tay and Lomond}; 10a IMAX {Film format sometimes in 3-D}; 14a Wi-Fi {Internet cafe offering}; 15a as you {With 68-Across, "Carry on"}; 16a Saxe {___-Coburg-Gotha (old British royal house)}; 17a Alfa {Letter preceding bravo}; 19a auld {January 1 title word}; 23a Ono {Strawberry Fields pilgrimage figure}; 24a aide {Page, for example}; 30a alder {Tree sacred to the Druids}; 34a hat {Panama, for one}; 36a My Love {1973 Paul McCartney & Wings hit}; 37a Orel {Russian city on the Oka}; 41a agin {Feudin' with}; 42a strict {Unyielding}; 44a Karo {Syrup brand}; 46a wad {Stash of cash}; 47a thyme {Herb with antiseptic properties}; 60a soli {Many diva performances}; 61a Acela {Amtrak debut of 11/17/2000}; 62a stye {Ophthalmologist's concern}; 63a OPEC {Cartel led by a secretary general}; 66a wick {Part of a Zippo}; 67a Serta {Competitor of 39-Across}; 68a were {See 15-Across}.

1d swab {DNA collector, perhaps}; 3d effrontery {Chutzpah}; 5d lass {Bonny gal}; 6d OSHA {Dept. of Labor division}; 7d cyan {Printer's color}; 8d howdah {Elephant rider's seat}; 9d Sunni {Many a Muslim}; 10d Isabella {Queen in events of 1492}; 11d maul {Rough up}; 12d axle {Highway toll unit}; 13d Xed {Struck (out)}; 21d eons {Seemingly forever}; 25d ghost {Pac-Man enemy}; 26d earth {Image on eco-friendly products}; 27d test {Try to prove}; 28d été {Time off from l'école}; 29d Chaka {Grammy winner ___ Khan}; 31d dog whistle {Item used with high frequency?}; 32d Evian {Competitor of Aquafina}; 33d rends {Rips to pieces}; 38d limerick {Often-bawdy verse}; 40d lap {Michael Phelps workout unit}; 43d cell {Word on a business card}; 48d psyche {Freudian topic}; 49d old saw {"He who hesitates is lost," e.g.}; 51d Keats {Colleague of Byron and Shelley}; 53d Hopi {Pueblo language}; 54d Alec {Actor Guinness}; 55d deer {Hinds, e.g.}; 56d a lot {Zillions}; 59d nene {Endangered state bird}; 60d sow {Barnyard mother}.

Monday, December 28, 2009

NYT Tuesday 12/29/09 - Getting the Bird

This is an abbreviated form of my usual crossword post, as I'm in vacation mode for a few days. It took me two attempts to figure out the theme of this Tuesday New York Times crossword. I saw Dover in 16-Across and then Nice in 22-Across and (not considering the unlikelihood of the latter as something "hidden") wrote in ports for 46-Down. Of course that answer didn't hold up and I very quickly realized birds would do much better.

ancones
The only significant problems for me were around the intersection of 31a Aussie and 31d ancon. Although I knew the latter existed as a word, I had to check its meanings in the dictionary to be sure I'd got the answer right.
ancon n (pl ancones) the elbow; a console to support a door cornice; a breed of sheep with very short legs.
Recognition of Aussie for 31-Across was hampered by my having rpm (rather than the less common rps) for 24-Down. When I realize the reference, I was a little surprised that it should appear in an American puzzle and wondered how well it would be understood. I see from Wikipedia's shrimp on the barbie page that the expression featured in Paul Hogan ads aired in the USA, so I may be worrying unduly.



From a barbie to Betsy Wetsy, referenced in 12-Down. I'd heard of this toy before, but never seen one in the not-so-inviting flesh: the doll's unique selling point was its ability to urinate, hence the name presumably. In 2003, the Toy Industry Association named Betsy Wetsy as one of the 100 most memorable and most creative toys of the 20th century.


Solving time: 8 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 31a Aussie {Shrimp-on-the-barbie eater}
Solution

Peter A. Collins
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

Birds are hidden in consecutive letters of the long answers, as indicated by 46d birds {Things hidden in the answers to this puzzle's six starred clues}.
16a rolled over {*Did a dog trick}
22a Mister Nice Guy {*One who's often doing favors}
36a low-rent {*Affordable, as an apartment}; 38a towline {*Tugboat rope}
46a Brave New World {*Aldous Huxley novel}
57a another one {*Bar patron's request for a refill}
Crucimetrics
Compilers
Peter A. Collins / Will Shortz
Grid
15x15 with 39 (17.3%) black squares
Answers
78 (average length 4.77)
Theme squares
64 (34.4%)
Scrabble points
288 (average 1.55)
Letters used
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Other Clues

1a jive {Hipster's jargon}; 5a cagey {Shrewd}; 10a Reb {Yank's foe}; 13a ebon {Black, to bards}; 14a above {Outranking}; 15a mere {"A ___ bagatelle!"}; 18a at it {Toiling away}; 19a KSU {The Wildcats of the Big 12 Conf.}; 20a led {Took charge}; 21a stats {Rebounds, shooting percentage, etc.}; 27a Aleve {Tylenol alternative}; 29a Pedro {Martinez with three Cy Youngs}; 30a Roto {___-Rooter}; 31a Aussie {Shrimp-on-the-barbie eater}; 33a fop {Fancy dresser}; 40a Ono {"Bed-in" participant Yoko ___}; 41a iciest {Most dangerous, as winter roads}; 43a oxen {Pullers in pairs}; 44a an old {"You can't teach ___ dog ..."}; 45a bless {Sprinkle holy water on}; 51a Iowan {Hawkeye State native}; 52a ici {"___ on parle français"}; 53a cur {Mangy mutt}; 56a rams {Door-busting equipment}; 61a drat! {"Dang it!"}; 62a dente {Al ___ (pasta order)}; 63a Asti {Italian wine region}; 64a SSN {ID with two hyphens}; 65a satyr {Mythical lecher}; 66a Eton {School attended by 007}.

1d jerk {So-and-so}; 2d Ibos {Nigerian natives}; 3d Volume Two {"B," maybe, in an encyclopedia}; 4d enl. {Photo lab abbr.}; 5d cadet {Officer-to-be}; 6d abode {"Humble" dwelling}; 7d .gov {White House Web address ending}; 8d Eve {Eden exile}; 9d yer {"___ out!" (ump's call)}; 10d retag {Mark down for a sale, say}; 11d Eri tu {Verdi aria}; 12d Betsy {___ Wetsy (old doll)}; 15d Mateo {San ___ (Bay Area county)}; 17d else {Additional}; 21d screw {Hinge holder}; 23d Ivor {Songwriter Novello}; 24d rps {Rotational speed meas.}; 25d nests {Homes for 46-Down}; 26d idiot {___-proof (easy to operate)}; 27d Arlo {Guthrie who sang about Alice's Restaurant}; 28d loon {Nut case}; 31d ancon {Cornice support}; 32d utile {Of service}; 33d fixed cost {Salaries, e.g., to a business owner}; 34d ones {Leftmost compartment in a till}; 35d pens {Parker products}; 37d einen {German indefinite article}; 39d loll {Lounge around}; 42d Edw. {Part of P.E.I.: Abbr.}; 44d avast! {Salt's "Halt!"}; 45d Brie {Creamy cheese}; 47d roars {Zoo noises}; 48d aw, man! {"Gimme a break!"}; 49d witty {Quick with the zingers}; 50d ocher {Autumn shade}; 54d unto {"Render ___ Caesar ..."}; 55d rein {Horse halter}; 57d ads {PC pop-ups}; 58d NEA {Teachers' org.}; 59d Ont. {Neighbor of Que.}; 60d Rae {Singer Corinne Bailey ___}.

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"}
Solution

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

Theme

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
Crucimetrics
Compilers
Patrick Merrell / Will Shortz
Grid
15x15 with 37 (16.4%) black squares
Answers
78 (average length 4.82)
Theme squares
46 (24.5%)
Scrabble points
357 (average 1.90)
Letters used
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
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.}.

NPR Puzzle -- The Last Puzzle of 2009!

Here's the puzzle for this week:
Take the phrase "pray when." Double four of these letters. Using these letters plus the four singles, rearrange all 12 letters to spell a familiar phrase. What phrase is it?
Ross got it immediately.  I'll admit I was Twittering (bad Magdalen) and so focused on it a bit late, but I got it pretty quickly as well.  In fact, I just blurted it out, which mean Henry got it whether he wanted it or not!

I won't hint (I rather think you've all got it as well -- not precisely the hardest puzzle evah) but on Thursday I'll pass along Ross's reasons why this is actually an even cleverer puzzle than it seems at first glance.

Meanwhile, Christmas is past us.  Boxing Day (aka St. Stephen's Day) is past us.  We're in the home stretch on the end of 2009.  There are going to be some subtle changes chez Crossword Man in 2010, but it could be there won't be anything specific to report for a year or so -- if ever. 

Don't worry, though:  we'll still be solving puzzles.  Some things never change!

And, as a last image of the old year:  here's the 2009 Christmas Cake:


This is an annual tradition, adapted from Henry's childhood.  On Stir-Up Sunday (no, I'm not making this up) you make a large round fruitcake.  That's the last Sunday in November, so roughly four weeks before Christmas.  For those four weeks, the cake is wrapped in cheesecloth and tin foil and is regularly drizzled with alcohol.  (Bourbon is good; brandy is traditional, and this year we used dark rum.)  The cake is pleasantly moist by the time this process is complete.

On Christmas Eve, unwrap the cake and coat it with a layer of almond paste, and then frost it.  The traditional approach is to use a fondant icing (looks great, tastes stupid) but I use a cream cheese frosting because why not and it tastes better.  Then we decorate it.  We found these little figures and props on sale at the CVS in South Philly -- but they're just about the right size!  We have a lot more, so there's always a selection to pick from.  Ross got to decorate this year's cake and decided the call box had to go in the middle.  The rest, as they say, is history.  (Oh, and if you're wondering, the white cord runs to a battery case that lights up the "fire" in the trash can where the guys are warming their hands.)

I'd include a picture of the cake taken today, but it's sadly a fraction of its original girth.  Trust me: this cake is good.

See you all in 2010!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

NYT Sunday 12/27/09 - Countdown to 2010

This is an abbreviated form of my usual crossword post, as I'm in vacation mode for a few days. The appearance of the grid and title gave much away about the subject of this Sunday New York Times crossword, although we didn't expect so much attention to be given to Dom Pérignon when we started solving. The long answers relating to his "discovery" of champagne were among the toughest in the puzzle.

Dom Pérignon (c. 1638–1715) made important contributions to the production and quality of champagne, but definitely wasn't its inventor, nor did he make the quote attributed to him, but (to be fair) the crossword acknowledges all this in its use of "purported" in 25-Across. The evidence is that sparkling wine was first intentionally produced by the Englishman (!) Christopher Merret (1614/5–1695).

As usual, I solved this as a joint effort - today with my wife Magdalen and friend Henry. Many hands don't make light work when it comes to Sunday puzzles and we were also hampered by trying to eat cheese quesadillas while solving. Our time as a threesome was about the same as our usual Sunday time as a pair.

There was one particular crossing that gave trouble: none of us knew Russian figure skater Ilia Kulik for 14-Down; we didn't know the Hollis neighborhood of Queens for 20-Across either. Fortunately, only one letter looked at all likely at the crossing.

It seems a little early to be celebrating the new year, but I guess that running this puzzle on Sunday January 3rd would have seemed a bit late.What's your favorite movie with a new year theme? Mine is the Billy Wilder-directed film The Apartment (1960), which deservedly won five Oscars.


Solving time: 32 mins (with Magdalen and Henry, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 69a narc {Person on the alert for snow?}
Solution

Elizabeth C. Gorski
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

"Toasting the New Year". Some thematic answers relate closely to Dom Pérignon's supposed discovery of champagne; other symmetrical answers relate peripherally to this theme and its connection with New Year celebrations. The central part of the grid is shaped like a glass with champagne in the bottom and bubbles floating up (see circled letters).
1a cheers {Common toast}
12a clinks {Sounds accompanying toasts}
25a I am drinking the stars {Purported cry from 100-Across upon discovering this puzzle's subject}
75a bottoms up {Alternative to 1-Across}
77a wine lover {Connoisseur of this puzzle's subject}
100a Dom Pierre Pérignon {See 25-Across}
119a salut {Common overseas toast}
34d Benedictine monk {100-Across, for one}
39d it's twelve o'clock {Cry before "Happy New Year!"}
Crucimetrics
Compilers
Elizabeth C. Gorski / Will Shortz
Grid
21x21 with 80 (18.1%) black squares
Answers
139 (average length 5.19)
Theme squares
147 (40.7%)
Scrabble points
571 (average 1.58)
Letters used
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Other Clues

7a a crab {Be ___ (constantly complain)}; 18a hallow {Make sacred}; 19a Maura {Actress Tierney}; 20a Hollis {Neighborhood in Queens}; 21a arsenal {Store}; 23a Obies {Cousins of Drama Desk Awards}; 24a rosiest {Most hopeful}; 28a Omni {Bygone Dodge}; 29a Ngo {Vietnamese leader ___ Dinh Diem}; 30a abet {Help out in a bad way}; 31a stabs {Tries}; 35a ELO {"Livin' Thing" band, for short}; 37a Phi {Honor society character}; 38a oil up {Prepare for a bodybuilding competition}; 43a Ione {Actress Skye}; 44a one to {11:59 p.m., e.g.}; 46a lead a {___ double life}; 48a tans {Summer shades}; 49a not now {Later}; 51a sissies {Cream puffs}; 53a gasket {Joint seal}; 55a Kiefer {Sutherland of "24"}; 57a champ {Titleholder}; 58a sun tea {Beverage brewed naturally}; 59a lah-di-dah {Hoity-toity}; 61a agn. {Once more: Abbr.}; 62a goes west {Follows the path of 19th-century pioneers}; 64a ace it {Nail the test}; 65a coo {Sweet talk}; 67a qua {Sine ___ non}; 68a Aerie {Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Eagles}; 69a narc {Person on the alert for snow?}; 70a Merce {Late choreographer Cunningham}; 72a bunko {Swindle}; 74a lien {Mechanic's ___}; 79a in heels {Dressed up, maybe}; 80a average {C}; 81a Magnus {Name of seven Norwegian kings}; 84a Lao {Thai's neighbor}; 85a Ned {Beatty of "Superman"}; 86a neocon {Ex-lib, perhaps}; 90a a poet {"___ can survive everything but a misprint": Oscar Wilde}; 91a firm {Al dente}; 92a arfs {Terriers' warnings}; 94a Econo {___ Lodge}; 95a doom {Bad end}; 96a oak {Symbol of strength}; 97a -ola {Pay back?}; 99a L. Ron {Scientologist ___ Hubbard}; 108a phonies {Fakes}; 110a bated {Restrained}; 111a gnocchi {Italian dumplings}; 114a junk DNA {Genetic material with no known function}; 115a Imari {Japanese porcelain}; 116a hulk out {Become enraged, as a comic book figure}; 117a she {Miss, e.g.}; 118a isl. {Alcatraz, for one: Abbr.}; 120a Tso {General name on menus}; 121a bet {Jump into a pool?}.

1d cha {When said three times, a dance}; 2d Hari {Spy Mata ___}; 3d Elsa {Mrs. Albert Einstein}; 4d elem. {Na, Ne, Ni or No}; 5d rondos {Some Mozart works}; 6d swarm {Hive mentality?}; 7d amok {Berserk}; 8d cabin {Part of a plane}; 9d ruing {Having certain misgivings}; 10d are go {"All systems ___"}; 11d bast {Rope fiber}; 12d chose {Went with}; 13d lost to {Was beaten by}; 14d Ilia {1998 Olympic figure skating gold medalist ___ Kulik}; 15d NLer {D-back, e.g.}; 16d kiss {New Year's Eve action}; 17d SST {Grounded flier}; 22d linen {Napkins and such}; 24d rebid {Up an offer, e.g.}; 26d Niles {"Frasier" role}; 27d ha-has {What the Laugh Factory produces}; 31d sin {Do bad}; 32d took a cab {Skipped the subway, say}; 33d antihero {Raskolnikov in "Crime and Punishment," e.g.}; 36d otic {Of the ears}; 37d peep {Slightest protest}; 40d Lake Erie {Discovery of the explorer Louis Joliet}; 41d uneasier {More restless}; 42d PST {LAX setting}; 44d owed {Due}; 45d OSHA {Workplace watchdog grp.}; 46d limn {Describe}; 47d ague {The chills}; 50d of it {The wonder ___ all}; 52d sage {Wise}; 54d ansa {Looped handle, in archaeology}; 56d raceme {Flower arrangement}; 58d Soaker {Super ___ (water shooter)}; 59d LAN {Office PC hookup}; 60d horselike {Equine}; 62d gunned for {Pursued tenaciously}; 63d Ten {Big ___}; 66d ocular {Of the eyes}; 67d quiver {It may be taken with a bow}; 70d Mohs {___ scale}; 71d Epsom {English Derby site}; 72d bwana {Swahili honorific}; 73d O-Lan {"The Good Earth" wife}; 76d T nut {Carpentry fastener}; 78d ogee {S-shaped molding}; 81d mad {"Are you ___?"}; 82d APO {Mil. address part}; 83d good one {"Funny!"}; 87d corn-cob {Biodegradable pipe material}; 88d Ono {Lennon's lady}; 89d non {French vote}; 91d Faisal {Former Saudi king}; 93d slight {Cold-shoulder}; 96d opens {Taps, in a way}; 98d Agnus {"___ Dei"}; 101d midi {Skirt length}; 102d RBIs {Diamond stats}; 103d Rama {"___ Lama Ding Dong" (1961 hit)}; 104d et al {Series ender: Abbr.}; 105d Peru {Arequipa is its second-largest city}; 106d edit {Make a long story short?}; 107d nolo {Start of a plea}; 108d PJs {Comfy evening wear}; 109d huh {"You talkin' to me?"}; 112d hue {Shade}; 113d Itt {Cousin ___ of "The Addams Family"}.

Friday, December 25, 2009

NYT Saturday 12/26/09 - A Night Mare

This is an abbreviated form of my usual crossword post, as I'm in vacation mode for a few days. As I suspected might happen, the editorial gloves were off for this first post-holiday New York Times crossword. I made reasonable progress at the start, getting the SW corner first, then working up and completing the NW and much of the middle.

Unfortunately, the right hand side proved much tougher: I suspected all along that the NE would stump me, but I had hopes of completing the SE area without help. This wasn't to be, however, and after an hour had gone by, with little hope of further progress, I called in the cavalry.

Henry hadn't progressed much beyond what I'd done, so it was up to Magdalen to help finish up the grid. She got critical answers like M. Night Shyamalan, Tony Dow and Elmo, and the grid was completed very quickly with her complementary knowledge.

I gather that the central figure in the grid, M. Night Shyamalan, has strong associations with Philadelphia, where Henry lives and where Magdalen lived until recently. Magdalen in fact remembers seeing some of the filming of The Village (2004). If I'd know this critical long answer, I might have done a bit better; but that top right hand corner was always going to be tricky, especially as I persisted in thinking 39-Across was likely to be aloes (as well it might have been, but I should have rethought it sooner).


Solving time: 66 mins (with Magdalen and Henry, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 26d E-I-E-I-O {Letters after many animal names}
Solution

Kevin G. Der
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics
Compilers
Kevin G. Der / Will Shortz
Grid
15x15 with 28 (12.4%) black squares
Answers
72 (average length 5.47)
Theme squares
0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points
346 (average 1.76)
Letters used
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Clues
1a windjammer {Sailing ship}; 11a ABCs {Early education}; 15a American Me {Edward James Olmos's directorial debut, 1992}; 16a mahi {Split fish?}; 17a Claymation {Frames that take shape?}; 18a Fred {Scrooge's nephew}; 19a kit {Media ___}; 20a I dig! {"Gotcha!"}; 21a timbre {Vocal quality}; 23a OKed {Cleared}; 25a in heat {Like some noisy cats}; 27a rub {Hitch}; 28a Señora {One who's hitched, in Hidalgo}; 30a tilt {Cause of rage against the machine?}; 31a Abe {Homer Simpson's dad}; 32a Joneses {Indiana and others}; 34a twit {Schmo}; 35a let on {Pretend}; 38a chi {Acupuncturist's energy}; 39a balms {Sunburn remedies}; 40a Ives {"Universe Symphony" composer}; 41a Toyotas {Sequoias, e.g.}; 43a van {Something to move with}; 44a Mona {Homer Simpson's mom}; 45a hotpot {Chinese cuisine style}; 49a EMT {Stretcher fetcher, briefly}; 50a anomie {Social instability}; 52a Erle {"House of Dracula" director ___ C. Kenton}; 53a japery {Mocking fun}; 55a Acre {Siege of ___ (opening of the Third Crusade)}; 57a Ida {Operatic princess}; 58a area {Confines}; 59a Dalai Lamas {Holy line}; 62a zigs {Moves erratically}; 63a on a rampage {Tearing}; 64a zest {Sorbet ingredient}; 65a wine cooler {Bartles & Jaymes product}.

1d wackos {Flakes}; 2d I'm like {Start of many a comment in Valspeak}; 3d neaten {Pick up around}; 4d dry {Drink request}; 5d Jimi {First name at Woodstock}; 6d Acadian {Evangeline, e.g.}; 7d matin {Après-midi preceder}; 8d M. Night Shyamalan {1999 Oscar nominee for both direction and screenwriting}; 9d emo {Alternative to grunge}; 10d rentals {Some DVDs}; 11d AM-FM {Satellite precursor}; 12d bar brawl {Shots after shots?}; 13d cherubim {Guardians of Eden, in Genesis}; 14d side bets {Some blackjack action}; 22d ITT {Defendant in a 1970s antitrust suit: Abbr.}; 24d dojos {Schools where students wear white}; 26d E-I-E-I-O {Letters after many animal names}; 29d Ron {Friend of Hermione at Hogwarts}; 33d econo- {Cut-rate, commercially}; 34d taste {Old cigarette ad buzzword}; 35d live jazz {Some lounge entertainment}; 36d Eva Marie {Saint in "Exodus"}; 37d tent-pegs {They're driven around campsites}; 39d Bao {Vietnam's ___ Dai}; 41d Tony Dow {He played Beaver's big brother}; 42d theriac {Onetime snake venom antidote}; 44d mar {Nick, e.g.}; 46d primal {Like some fears}; 47d old-age {Senectitude}; 48d teaser {Viewer drawer}; 51d I care {Words of empathy}; 54d East {Near ___}; 56d Elmo {Must-have toy of 1996}; 60d ani {Gracklelike bird}; 61d APO {V-mail handler}.