Saturday, February 27, 2010

NYT Sunday 2/28/10 - Real to Reel

This Sunday New York Times crossword has a familiar punning theme, this time based on substitution of letters. We cottoned on to this very early on, assisted by the helpful title.

We have to say this isn't one of our favorites, because of the labored nature of some of the theme answers: ... week of heart (22-Across) meaning "honeymoon" seems a bit of a stretch; and we wondered just what aromatic tea (36-Across) is - I looked for dictionary and/or encyclopedic support without success (if readers know of any, please comment). We thought flee collar the neatest of the theme entries.

Our lack of interest towards the end of the puzzle perhaps contributed to our getting a letter wrong: I suggested Col. as the neighbor of Nev. at 35-Down and we never fixed it. We stupidly accepted that Fred Ollen was a TV personality neither of us had heard of, rather than thinking to correct it to Fred Allen.

Otherwise, there was the usual sprinkling of clues that needed some unraveling and/or confirmation from Wikipedia, and I've tried to cover such below. One particular answer got an ugh review from both of us and that was short U {Thumb's middle?} - nothing wrong with the clue itself, just a dislike for that family of answers.
Solving time: 35 mins (solo, no solving aids, two wrong answers)
Clue of the puzz: 60a cents {Things often put in in twos}
Solution

Yaakov Bendavid
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

"Ease-E Does It". EA changes to EE in a phrase, making a pun:
22a not for the week of heart {Inappropriate on a honeymoon?}
36a aromatic tee {Item at a golf boutique?}
55a peek season {Summer next door to the nudist camp?}
71a flee collar {What a pursued perp might do?}
90a a time to heel {The point when Fido's master starts walking?} cf Ecclesiastes 3:3
103a reel men don't eat quiche {Bit of advice when packing anglers' lunches?}
15d frankly, my deer {Buck's candid conversation opener?} cf frankly, my dear ...
54d Hamburger meet {Dating service in a northern German city?}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersYaakov Bendavid / Will Shortz
Grid21x21 with 72 (16.3%) black squares
Answers138 (average length 5.35)
Theme squares106 (28.7%)
Scrabble points571 (average 1.55)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



40a Fred Allen {"Imitation is the sincerest form of television" quipster}. Fred Allen (1894–1956) was an American comedian whose absurdist, topically pointed radio show (1932–1949) made him one of the most popular and forward-looking humorists in the so-called classic era of American radio. His best-remembered gag was his long-running mock feud with friend and fellow comedian Jack Benny. The above video clip is a short from very early in his career: The Installment Collector (1929) is supposedly his first on-screen appearance.

The Doctor is IN

27a Assisi {Italian home of the Basilica of San Francesco}. Papal Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.

42a Tomei {"Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" actress};  Marisa Tomei plays Gina Hanson.

46a repro {Camera-ready page}. repro = a sharp proof used to make a printing plate.

60a cents {Things often put in in twos}. As in put my two cents in.

61a Zadora {"Butterfly" actress, 1981}. Pia Zadora won a Golden Globe Award for Butterfly.

69a Alice {"Falstaff" soprano}. Alice Ford in Verdi's Falstaff.

77a Yser {River deliberately flooded in W.W. I}. See Battle of the Yser.

92a ivories {They may be tickled}. "Tickle the ivories" = play the piano.

96a Easton {City near Bethlehem}. Easton and Bethlehem in Pennsylvania.

110a thou {Grand}. Slang terms for a thousand.

1d Na-Nu {TV alien's word}. Mork's greeting in Mork & Mindy was Na-Nu Na-Nu.

8d Moe {Baseballer and O.S.S. spy Berg}. Moe Berg.

9d adeste {Carol opener}. As in Adeste Fideles.

10d press {Basketball tactic}. Full-court press.

31d scored {Made it home safely}. home = home plate in baseball.

51d Nara {Former Japanese capital}. Nara.

63d Tres {Los ___ Reyes Magos}. The Three Wise Men in Spanish.

72d looie {Sarge's superior}. Looie = slang for lieutenant.

80d short U {Thumb's middle?}. Pronunciation of the letter U in "thumb".

100d octo- {Prefix with mom}. Reference to the "octomom" Nadya Suleman.

Image of the Day

Anne Hathaway's Cottage

18a Anne {Mrs. Shakespeare}. Anne Hathaway (1556–1623) married William Shakespeare in November 1582, while pregnant with the couple's first child, to whom she gave birth six months later. Hathaway was 26 years of age; Shakespeare was only eighteen. This age difference, together with Hathaway's antenuptial pregnancy, has been employed by some historians as evidence that it was a shotgun wedding, forced on a reluctant Shakespeare by Hathaway's family. There is, however, no reliable evidence for this inference.

Anne Hathaway's childhood was spent in a house near Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, England. Although it is called Anne Hathaway's Cottage, it is in fact a spacious twelve-roomed farmhouse, with several bedrooms, now set in extensive gardens. The iconic image is popular on chocolate boxes, jigsaws and souvenirs.

Other Clues

1a near {___ miss}; 5a drum {Oil holder}; 9a apse {It's often vaulted}; 13a NAFTA {Pact of '94}; 19a Iago {Shakespearean schemer}; 20a drag {Bummer}; 21a arrêt {Stop overseas}; 26a user fee {Parkgoer's charge}; 28a NCIS {Mark Harmon action drama}; 30a AFC {One side in the Pro Bowl: Abbr.}; 31a silts {Some bank deposits}; 33a lockers {Health club lineup}; 43a moss {Shade of green}; 44a seedily {With a run-down look}; 45a ova {Sperm targets}; 48a roadie {Microphone tester, perhaps}; 49a Manx {Stub-tailed cat}; 53a Penh {Phnom ___}; 57a Mylar {Solar sails material}; 58a amend {Set right}; 62a stymied {Hampered}; 65a balds {Develops an open spot?}; 66a base pay {Datum on an employment contract}; 67a probes {Some space missions}; 68a alles {Über ___ (above everything: Ger.)}; 70a rerun {Late-late-night offering}; 73a rani {Eastern noble}; 78a Bogart {Frequent gangster portrayer}; 79a Obies {Annual awards announced in New York's East Village}; 81a Lon {Chaney of "The Phantom of the Opera"}; 82a garrets {Struggling artists' places}; 84a sous {___-chef}; 85a H Test {Explosive event of '54}; 87a cameleers {Desert drivers}; 93a sties {Filthy quarters}; 94a ore {Mountain treasure}; 95a germ {Idea's start}; 99a art form {Film or sculpture}; 108a sleet {Possible flight delayer}; 109a take {Proceeds}; 111a rtes. {Itinerary segments: Abbr.}; 112a estos {These, in Madrid}; 113a sked {Convention handout, for short}; 114a came {Showed}; 115a moos {Lows}.

2d Enos {Son of Seth}; 3d ante {Kick in, say}; 4d reframe {Change the focus of, as an argument}; 5d direct {Face-to-face}; 6d rate {Bank quote}; 7d ugh {Zero-star restaurant review?}; 11d Saki {Pseudonym of H. H. Munro}; 12d egos {Teamwork thwarters}; 13d nah {"Uh-uh"}; 14d Are {The Who's "Who ___ You"}; 16d tercel {Onetime Toyota model}; 17d attire {Outfit}; 23d off-air {Like some TV interviewers' questions}; 24d wales {Land with a red dragon on its flag}; 25d filed in {Entered, as a classroom}; 29d SSN {W-2 datum: Abbr.}; 32d it's OK {"There there"}; 34d Odie {Dog in a cat comic}; 35d Cal. {Nev. neighbor}; 36d atop {On}; 37d rove {Go all over}; 38d Oman {Yemen neighbor}; 39d impend {Loom}; 40d feasts {Dinners likely to have leftovers}; 41d redos {Some major changes}; 44d so-and-so {Scoundrel}; 47d épées {Alternatives to foils}; 48d re-elect {Send back to the Hill, say}; 50d alop {Crooked}; 52d X-ray {Airport security measure}; 56d scalers {Dental hygienists, at times}; 57d masc. {Pronoun designation: Abbr.}; 59d mien {Bearing}; 61d Zaire {1990s war locale}; 62d spry {Agile, for a senior}; 64d yore {Days of old}; 65d bleats {Flock sounds}; 66d Blaise {Mathematician Pascal}; 68d Alger {Rags-to-riches author Horatio}; 69d albums {iPod heading}; 71d foresee {Divine}; 74d alee {Direction at sea}; 75d nose {Narrow margin}; 76d intl. {Like many conglomerates: Abbr.}; 78d Bree {One of the housewives on "Desperate Housewives"}; 83d Ali {2001 biopic}; 84d stint {Be sparing}; 86d The Firm {John Grisham best seller}; 87d cig {Smoke}; 88d averse {Disinclined}; 89d morels {Gourmet mushrooms}; 90d atoned {Made up (for)}; 91d torque {It's measured in pound-feet}; 93d stoke {Feed}; 97d ants {Line at a picnic?}; 98d S Dak {Neb. neighbor}; 99d atom {Accelerated bit}; 101d rheo {Current: Prefix}; 102d mess {Quagmire}; 104d Leo {"The West Wing" chief of staff ___ McGarry}; 105d mts. {McKinley and Washington: Abbr.}; 106d etc {And other things: Abbr.}; 107d aha! {"So that's it!"}.

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