Monday, February 15, 2010

NYT Monday 2/15/10 - Carry On Cleo

We're currently visiting Magdalen's relatives in the Boston area, so I'm having to keep the commentary brief again today. Normal service will be resumed with the Tuesday puzzle, as we drive back home to Pennsylvania tomorrow.

Here we are back with a Monday New York Times crossword and I equal my fastest time of 4 minutes, thanks to solving on the computer rather than on paper. Pencil and paper solving invariably takes me a little longer, probably due to all the searching to find specific clues.

This was one of those rare puzzles where I'm familiar with all the references in the clues. Even on a Monday, there are usually one or two things that are new to me. But the likes of Edie Falco, Miami-Dade County, and Ken Burns have become familiar to me over the year and a bit I have been solving the NYT puzzles. The theme is also a very straightforward answers-of-a-kind type.

I thought it amusing that Cleo should return to the squares of the crossword immediately after her use as the answer to an NPR Sunday Puzzle - almost as if she had been embargoed and was desperate to reassert herself at the earliest opportunity. Crossword solvers like me had an advantage with last week's NPR puzzle because of Cleo's fairly frequent appearance in grids with a clue such as today's {Egypt's last ruling Ptolemy, familiarly}. I always think of Cleo as portrayed in her movie in the Carry On franchise - British comedy classics that don't seem to have been taken up in the US as much as Benny Hill, for example (why Benny Hill should be so popular and the Carry Ons not, is a mystery to me).

Solving time: 4 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 25a ski {Go down a slippery slope}

Lynn Lempel
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


"X in the Y" phrases, where X is a part of the body.
17a mind in the gutter {What a dirty person has}
27a hand in the till {What an embezzler has}
43a foot in the door {What a well-connected applicant has}
58a head in the clouds {What a dreamer has}
CompilersLynn Lempel / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.92)
Theme squares56 (29.9%)
Scrabble points288 (average 1.54)
Other Clues
1a dorm {Collegiate digs}; 5a Dada {Baby's first word, maybe}; 9a endow {Provide with funds, as a college}; 14a Edie {Emmy-winning Falco}; 15a opal {Milky gem}; 16a Miami {___-Dade County}; 20a Indira {___ Gandhi, pioneering female leader}; 21a LSU {Sch. in Baton Rouge}; 22a wane {Become less bright, as the moon}; 23a cold {Refrigerated}; 25a ski {Go down a slippery slope}; 33a scary {Hair-raising}; 35a Rouen {City where Joan of Arc was burned}; 36a CIA {Espionage org.}; 37a else {"If all ___ fails ..."}; 38a serfs {Feudal workers}; 39a gins {Machines on cotton plantations}; 40a let {Tennis serve requiring a do-over}; 41a decaf {Coffee for before bed}; 42a treks {Long, arduous walks}; 46a odd {Eccentric}; 47a tows {Aids for disabled cars}; 48a camp {Kid's summer getaway}; 51a oat {Bit of Dobbin's dinner}; 54a testee {Exam taker}; 61a ardor {Passion}; 62a mayo {Tartar sauce ingredient}; 63a unit {The "U" in I.C.U.}; 64a dodge {Manage to avoid}; 65a stem {Blossom supporter}; 66a ta-ta {"Toodle-oo"}.

1d Demi {Actress Moore}; 2d Odin {Valhalla god}; 3d rind {Orange or watermelon cover}; 4d Medicare {Health program for seniors}; 5d Donald {Gazillionaire Trump}; 6d apt {Suitable}; 7d Dahl {Roald who wrote "James and the Giant Peach"}; 8d ales {Pub quaffs}; 9d emu {Australia's unofficial national bird}; 10d nitwit {Lamebrain}; 11d data {Input for computers}; 12d omen {Portent}; 13d wire {Telegram}; 18d irony {Literary twist}; 19d gushes {Oohs and aahs (over)}; 24d direct {Lacking a stopover, as a flight}; 26d Ken {Documentary filmmaker Burns}; 27d has to {Simply must}; 28d Norah {Singer Jones whose father is Ravi Shankar}; 29d tuffet {Spot for eating curds and whey}; 30d icier {Far less friendly}; 31d link {Connection}; 32d lass {Fair maiden}; 33d self {Freudian concern}; 34d Cleo {Egypt's last ruling Ptolemy, familiarly}; 38d send on {Forward, as mail}; 39d gross out {Fill with disgust}; 41d did {"The butler ___ it"}; 42d towel {Low-tech hair dryer}; 44d top dog {Honcho}; 45d dotcom {Techie's company}; 48d chad {Paper ballot punch-out}; 49d aero- {Prefix with dynamic}; 50d M.A.D.D. {Grass-roots org. that fights alcohol abuse}; 52d ATMs {Devices you can bank on, briefly}; 53d that {"Take ___!"}; 55d tuna {Deli salad fish}; 56d edit {Fix up, as text}; 57d esta {"Cómo ___ usted?"}; 59d ire {Fury}; 60d eye {Cyclops' distinctive feature}.

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