Sunday, January 24, 2010

NYT Monday 1/25/10 - Par Excellence

This Monday New York Times crossword is something of an oddity in the complexity of its grid and the nature of the denouement. Unless I've missed something, the one over par and two under par are explicitly linked with their nicknames; but the equivalents for two over par and one under par are just dangling with double bogey and birdie nowhere to be seen (not that I imagine it would have been easy to squeeze those in on top of all the other grid features!).

When solving, I didn't really notice the precise contents of the circles until late on, and I certainly didn't appreciate the circled letters made a rebus until after the grid was finished. This is the neatest aspect of the puzzle, which is some compensation for puzzlement elsewhere. What I did ascertain and exploit during solving, was the general theme of golf; nonetheless, I finished the course with a longish solving time (probably the result of stalling out on a couple of clues around the middle of the grid).
Solving time: 6 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 30a Colo. {Boulder's home: Abbr.}

Holden Baker
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


Each corner contains a non-par result for a golf hole, rebus-style: (clockwise from the top left) one over par, two over par, two under par, one under par. Three answers relate to the golfing theme, linked by an arrow to the result where relevant (printed version only):
15a bogey {[See grid]} -> one over par
41a par for the course {Exactly what's expected}
69a eagle {[See grid]} -> two under par
Holden Baker / Will Shortz
15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
78 (average length 4.79)
Theme squares
49 (26.2%)
Scrabble points
274 (average 1.47)
Letters used
New To Me

STP27a STP {"The racer's edge"}. If STP is a brand in the UK (and I think it well might be), I didn't need to pay much attention to it there, only now when trying to solve US puzzles. It's been hard to find an internet reference for the origins of "the racer's edge" ... perhaps an advertising jingle? There are lots of old STP cans in the accompanying picture, but I don't see the slogan anywhere.

8d Lenas {Singer Horne and actress Olin}. It says something about my preference for music over drama that I knew Lena Horne, but not Lena Olin. The latter is known for her portrayal of the Russian mob assassin Mona Demarkov in Romeo Is Bleeding and as Irina Derevko in the successful television series Alias.

31d O'Shea {Milo of "Ulysses"}. I assumed this was a character in Ulysses the book, as I didn't realize until today that a film existed. How can you film Joyce? We're not about to find out, as I can't find a clip. Anyway, in that movie, Milo O'Shea starred as Leopold Bloom, the story's protagonist and antihero; here is in The Verdict (1982) in which he plays the trial judge with the bushy eyebrows.

38d SFCs {Certain NCOs}. Not too used to this abbr. (PFCs are much more common). An SFC is a Sergeant First Class, the seventh enlisted rank in the U.S. Army.


5a a tale {"It is ___ told by an idiot ...": Macbeth}. Lines I know pretty well, not least because of Hyman Kaplan's take on it ("I see de whole scinn. It's in a tant, on de night bafore dey makink Julius de Kink fromm Rome. etc etc"). Here's the whole of Macbeth's soliloquy:
She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
From Macbeth Act V Scene 5
boulders30a Colo. {Boulder's home: Abbr.}. An uncharacteristic attempt to mislead early in the week? I'm going to assume so and put Boulder, CO in Pavlov's Guide to Crosswords ... the next time it comes up the clue could be a lot harder!

25d Aleta {Prince Valiant's wife}. I'm sure every other solver knows the Prince Valiant strip inside out, but I like to remind myself from time to time: created by Hal Foster in 1937, its most crossworthy character is Arn, first born son of Valiant, followed by Aleta, Queen of the Misty Isles. I think Rowanne only shows up in The Legend of Prince Valiant TV series.

39d Teris {Actresses Garr and Hatcher}. A little unfortunate to get a second plural of a girl's forename. TERI hatCHER was in the forefront of my mind because of last week's NPR puzzle, which cast her as the sort-of inversion of CHERi oTERI, a crossword regular. Teri Garr I also knew from her many cruciverbal appearances.

The Rest

1a hung {Placed on a wall, as a picture}; 10a hied {Went in haste}; 14a oleo {Butterlike spread}; 16a tofu {High-protein food often found in vegetarian cuisine}; 17a oner {Lollapalooza}; 18a atone {Make up for, as sins}; 19a twos {Duos}; 20a parent {The "P" in P.T.A.}; 22a ball park {Wrigley Field or Camden Yards}; 24a data {Facts and figures}; 26a see {Envision}; 32a tested {Took for a trial run}; 37a trashiest {In the poorest of taste, as a novel}; 40a hose {Nozzle connector}; 44a Alec {Sir ___ Guinness}; 45a aerometer {Device that measures gas properties}; 46a tarsal {Ankle-related}; 49a Aida {Classical opera redone by Elton John}; 50a SSE {180 degrees from NNW}; 51a loc {___ cit. (in the place cited)}; 53a sins {"Deadly" septet}; 55a parabola {Geometric curve}; 60a fiesta {Cinco de Mayo party}; 64a ones {"Washingtons"}; 65a merci {"Thank you, Henri"}; 67a pard {Tex's sidekick}; 68a ukes {Luau instruments, for short}; 70a two-D {Having length and width only, briefly}; 71a raft {Vessel in "Cast Away"}; 72a droid {Creation that's almost human}; 73a SSTs {Concorde fleet}.

1d hoop {Hula ___}; 2d ulna {Radius's neighbor}; 3d ne'er {___-do-well}; 4d gored {Like an unfortunate torero}; 5d abattoir {Slaughterhouse}; 6d tot {Onesie wearer}; 7d a gob {Lots}; 9d eyelet {Shoelace hole}; 10d http {Internet address opener}; 11d Iowa {Early state in presidential campaigns}; 12d E for {Get an ___ effort}; 13d dusk {Dawn's opposite}; 21d nacho {Cheese-covered chip}; 23d Lee {Stan of Marvel Comics}; 27d St. Pat {March 17 honoree, for short}; 28d tra-la {Syllables in a gay refrain}; 29d parer {Gadget for someone on K.P. duty}; 33d Shue {Elisabeth of "Leaving Las Vegas"}; 34d torts {Legal wrongs}; 35d esses {Mountain road features}; 36d Deere {Plow manufacturer}; 42d codified {Systematized, as laws}; 43d Omani {Resident on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula}; 47d Alb. {Tirana's land: Abbr.}; 48d loomed {Appeared on the horizon}; 52d clear {Easy to understand}; 54d Septs {Back-to-school mos.}; 55d pour {Preside over the tea ceremony}; 56d Anka {Paul who wrote "My Way"}; 57d reef {Snorkeling site}; 58d asst. {Kind of prof. or D.A.}; 59d Argo {Ship in search of the Golden Fleece}; 61d saws {Old sayings}; 62d trot {Harness race gait}; 63d adds {Comments further}; 66d CLI {151, in old Rome}.


Anonymous said...

Hi. Thanks for posting this
STP is a motor oil additive available in auto supply store
AC Watts

Crossword Man said...

Thanks AC, I'll look out for it next time we're in an auto store ... or maybe the punningly titled "Quaker Steak & Lube" restaurant!

Anonymous said...

You must be a young man. Colo. was the abbreviation for Colorado that I was taught as a child. It has since been changed to CO. California was Calif. before it became CA.
Thanks for posting..I appreciate the help.

Crossword Man said...

Hi Anonymous ... and I deduce you must be solving the syndicated puzzle. I'm not young in years, only in experience of the USA, so I appreciate enlightenment. The two-letter abbreviations would make things a lot easier if only people would stick to them ... and crosswords are one of the domains where the longer abbreviations still get used!

Jessica said...

I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that I frequently visit you to help me finish these darn puzzles. Many thanks to you for ending hours of frustration. :)

Crossword Man said...

You're welcome Jessica. Glad to help out!