Monday, February 15, 2010

NYT Tuesday 2/16/10 - Making Mincemeat

This Tuesday New York Times crossword was solved not long after we returned from the weekend in Boston. We were threatened with another 2-5 inches of snow, but that doesn't seem to have materialized ... an inch more like. So we just had to contend with a colder than usual house - it's taken the wood stove till this morning to warm the keeping room up to the usual 75°F.

Today's theme was a straightforward and solid one with "processed meat" being the inspiration. I think I spotted the pattern from the second theme answer down and found it helpful with the third and fourth ones. Outside of the theme, there weren't really any particular problems for me - any clues I was uncertain about in isolation had very guessable answers when you took into account the cross-checking.

Am I alone in thinking H-test a bit of a dodgy answer? It's so hard to find a reference where I can verify its usage that I'm not sure if it's hyphenated or not, or if the first T is capitalized. That and A-test are in danger of going On Notice! for lack of dictionary support.
Solving time: 6 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 5a bass {Low man in the choir}
Solution

Paul Hunsberger
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

Phrases starting with an anagram of meat, as indicated by 59a processed meat {Spam or sausage ... or a hint to the starts of 20-, 35- and 42-Across}.
20a metamorphosis {Larva-to-adult transition}
35a mate for life {Be monogamous, among animals}
42a team captain {Leader on the field}
Crucimetrics
CompilersPaul Hunsberger / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.97)
Theme squares48 (25.4%)
Scrabble points293 (average 1.55)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

2d Ride a {"___ Crooked Trail" (Audie Murphy western)}. I knew of neither actor Audie Murphy, nor the movie Ride a Crooked Trail (1958), but the missing words were easy enough to guess. Actually, I should have remembered Audie from last October. Unless there's something distinctive about a name (see Maytag below), it can take me two or three goes to remember it. Before taking up acting, Audie Murphy was a distinguished soldier in the ETO, and received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the battle at Holtzwihr.



Bologna sausage5d Bologna {Italian city after which a deli offering is named}. Another guessable answer, but I'm drawing a blank on what the "deli offering" might be. OK, it's as simple as Bologna sausage aka "baloney", of which there are several varieties. It might seem I'm particularly dim for not recognizing this, but baloney isn't as much of a staple in the UK ... at least, I don't recall ever eating it.
6d a car {"___ in every garage"}. It looks like we're suppose to recognize this as a quote ...which I didn't of course. Not surprising, as this comes from Herbert Hoover's 1928 presidential campaign slogan "A Chicken in Every Pot. A car in every garage". From what I gather, Hoover benefited from the economic boom under the Republicans in the 1920s and promised more of the same. Cue the Great Depression. The only things I knew about Hoover before writing this were: the Hoover Dam was named after him; the shanty towns built by homeless migrants in the 1930s were nicknamed Hoovervilles (learned this from The Grapes of Wrath).
8d Sasha {Skater Cohen}. With the Winter Olympics under way, I wondered if this was reference to a current US competitor. Sasha Cohen (not to be confused with Sacha Baron Cohen aka Ali G) was an Olympic silver medalist in 2006. She didn't compete for a few years, but has made a comeback for the current Olympics, being the second alternate in case of injury or other circumstances that would prevent Flatt and Nagasu from competing.



Presidio11d presidios {Spanish fortresses}. I'm familiar with presidio as a word, but I've not been sure of its meaning until today: it was a fortified military base in an area of Spanish control. It looks like they were usually square in shape, as in the Presidio of San Diego.
Dunn's River Falls22d Ocho {___ Rios, Jamaica}. Based on Español para los crucigramistas, you'd expect there to be eight rivers at Ocho Rios. There aren't and the name is thought to be a corruption by the ignorant Brits of the original Spanish name "Las Chorreras" ("the waterfalls"), a name given to the village because of nearby Dunn's River Falls. Ocho Rios was once a fishing village but now caters to tourists. It is a port of call for cruise ships and there is scuba diving and other water sports.

Noteworthy

23a Maytag {Idle repairman's employer, in ads}. I think I've only come across this reference once before, but remembered it thanks to the uniquely odd brand name. The company name looks like something a marketing expert might come up with, but in fact comes from its founder Frederick Maytag (1857–1937). His corporation finally came to an end in 2005 when it was acquired by Whirlpool. Jesse White played the role of Ol' Lonely, the idle Maytag repairman, from 1967 to 1988. Clay Earl Jackson became the new Maytag repairman in 2007 after going to auditions "on a whim".



The Rest

1a Gran {___ Canaria Island}; 5a bass {Low man in the choir}; 9a sappy {Too sentimental}; 14a rime {Frosty coating}; 15a octa- {Tetra- doubled}; 16a cured {Smoked or salted}; 17a I dig {Hipster's "Understood!"}; 18a Laos {Mekong River land}; 19a ideas {Brainstormer's output}; 24a sacs {Egg pouches}; 25a in a {"___ pig's eye!"}; 28a eins {___, zwei, drei ...}; 30a hot-dog {Sports show-off}; 32a Eos {Dawn goddess}; 38a alpe {Mont Blanc, e.g., to locals}; 40a .EXE {Windows program suffix}; 41a Coen {Either "Fargo" co-director}; 47a set {Solidify, like Jell-O}; 48a aortas {Main lines}; 49a RTEs {Ways to go: Abbr.}; 51a tsk {Sound of rebuke}; 52a Béla {Composer Bartók}; 55a search {Use Google, e.g.}; 62a folio {Manuscript sheet}; 64a NCAA {Big Ten or Big 12 org.}; 65a pane {Glass piece}; 66a louts {Ill-mannered sorts}; 67a dons {Underworld V.I.P.'s}; 68a ados {Kerfuffles}; 69a oh gee! {"Golly!"}; 70a stay {Stick around}; 71a nyet {Refusenik's refusal}.

1d Grimm {Brothers' name in children's literature}; 3d amity {Peaceful relations}; 4d negate {Cancel}; 7d stops {Subway map points}; 9d scissor {Clip out, as a coupon}; 10d Audi {BMW competitor}; 12d pea {Pod item}; 13d yds. {Rushing stats: Abbr.}; 21d maim {Incapacitate}; 26d no fee {Checking account come-on}; 27d agent {Worker in real estate, e.g.}; 29d step {Assembly instructions part}; 31d TLC {Pampering, for short}; 32d eat at {Really bother}; 33d oleos {Nondairy spreads}; 34d spark-plug {Ignition system device}; 36d ext. {Phone no. add-on}; 37d fear {Cause of quaking}; 39d EMT {Defib operator}; 43d caboose {Freight train's "office"}; 44d a sec {"Wait just ___!"}; 45d it's easy! {"Like taking candy from a baby!"}; 46d need {It may be urgent}; 50d sampan {Yangtze River boat}; 53d lends {A library does it}; 54d ascot {Fancy neckwear}; 56d ready {"___ or not..."}; 57d canoe {Vacation rental craft}; 58d H-test {Mushroom cloud maker, for short}; 60d rite {Bar mitzvah or bris}; 61d San'a {Yemen's capital}; 62d Flo {Sitcom diner waitress}; 63d ooh {Response from the awed}.

5 comments:

Daniel Myers said...

For what it's worth, here's the unabridged OED's one citation of "H-tests" (sic):

1958 P. Bryant, Two Hours To Doom "Their phoney ending of H-tests."

Crossword Man said...

So hyphenated and lowercase T ... I guessed it right! H-test gets a reprieve this time thanks to DM.

Susan said...

This puzzle was in today's paper in Lexington, KY. I do not understand the word 'ados'. A kerfuffle seems to be some sort of chaos to a Brit?

Susan said...

AH, I've got it. Ado, as in "much ado about nothing". Quite a stretch, but I get the British connection now, William Shakespeare and all that.

Crossword Man said...

I don't know that ado is specifically British but it's certainly an old word ... and one that's worth knowing for crosswords.