Friday, March 12, 2010

NYT Friday 3/12/10 - Alphabetti Spaghetti

Knowing this Friday New York Times crossword would be difficult, I asked Magdalen to help solve it right away, given we are in holiday mode. The puzzle didn't disappoint us, taking us a little over 20 minutes ... on my own it would have been a lot longer.

After a first pass through the clues to get the few gimmes available, we made the best start in the NW. On completing that we worked down and to the right, leaving an unsolved patch in the middle, and the NE corner largely blank.

One problem in the center was the possibility of Reebok Nation at 20-Down and it took the longest time to realize that the "footwear logo" wasn't a logo on footwear, but a logo of footwear!! Once we reconsidered that wrong assumption, we finished the middle easily enough and just had the somewhat tricky NE corner to contend with.

There I was struck by Ural River: I'm not sure if this an uninteresting answer because we are all sick of Ural as a four-letter cliche in crosswords; or an ironically interesting answer for the same reason. It must be the latter since I'm bothering to comment on it.

There are lots of amusingly misleading clues and I was spoiled for choice when it came to picking a "clue of the puzz". I particularly like 9-Down which made me think of the Alphabetti Spaghetti I had as a kid - I suspect that may have been a UK-only brand, but in any event I gather it was discontinued in 1990. Boo!
Solving time: 21 mins (with Magdalen, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 9d alphabet soup {Its letters may be bolted down}

Tim Croce
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersTim Croce / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 30 (13.3%) black squares
Answers72 (average length 5.42)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points311 (average 1.59)
Video of the Day

53a She {"The Vengeance of ___" (1968 film sequel)}. Hammer Film Productions' The Vengeance of She (1968) was planned as a sequel to She (1965), but last-minute script revisions removed all connections with the earlier movie. The beautiful young girl Carol (Olga Schoberová, who appeared under the name "Olinka Berova") is taken over by the spirit of mysterious Ayesha, queen of the lost city of Kuma. The She/Ayesha character ("She Who Must Be Obeyed") originated in the H. Rider Haggard story She (1905).

The Doctor is IN

15a Doone {Heroine of Exmoor}. The eponymous Lorna Doone.

19a repair {Topic of TV's "This Old House"}. This Old House is a home improvement magazine and TV series.

41a Peso {Dominican capital}. Dominican peso. "capital" = currency is in Pavlov's Guide to Crosswords.

45a Staten {Verenigde ___ (America, in Amsterdam)}. Staten is Dutch for "states", as in Staten Island.

48a Cle {Indians' home, for short}. Cle is short for Cleveland, home of the Cleveland Indians.

64a Tupac {First name in rap}. Rapper Tupac Shakur.

3d Joe Palooka {Fighter in old strips}. Joe Palooka was created by cartoonist Ham Fisher.

4d O'Neal {Magic center, once}. Shaq. Magic = basketball is in Pavlov's Guide to Crosswords.

7d Aron {"East of Eden" son}. Caleb (Cal) and Aaron (Aron) echo Cain and Abel in East of Eden.

11d lit {Fried}. "Lit" and "fried" both mean intoxicated.

12d Avas {Roles on "Evening Shade" and "Nip/Tuck"}. Ava Evans Newton (Marilu Henner) on Evening Shade and Ava Moore (Famke Janssen) on Nip/Tuck.

38d rhyme {Rum, to some}. "Rum" rhymes with "some".

54d hora {Wedding ring?}. See hora.

57d dees {Wedding couple?}. "Wedding" has two dees (Ds).

Image of the Day

21a Nehi {Royal Crown, once}. Nehi (pronounced "knee high") is a flavored soft drink originated in America. It was introduced in 1924 by Chero-Cola/Union Bottle Works. The "Nehi Corporation" name was adopted in 1928 after the Nehi fruit-flavored sodas became popular. In 1955, the company changed its name to Royal Crown Company, after its RC Cola brand. It was founded by Claude Hatcher, a Georgia grocer, who began bottling ginger ale and root beer in 1905. As of the middle of April 2008, Nehi had become a brand of Dr Pepper Snapple Group. The other thing you need to know about Nehi is that "Grape Nehi" was Corporal Walter "Radar" O'Reilly's favorite soft drink in the television series M*A*S*H.

Other Clues

1a enjoy {Eat up}; 6a had a blast {Partied hearty}; 16a Ural River {Course in Russian geography?}; 17a épées {Their points are made bluntly}; 18a hot potato {Something passed without hesitation}; 22a shy {Slow to mix, say}; 23a alder {Material for many electric guitar bodies}; 25a dale {Peak's counterpart}; 27a -ful {Attachment used with care?}; 29a odes {Dedicated literature}; 31a begins {Sets off}; 35a on or {___ before}; 37a scaredy-cat {One starting easily?}; 39a oh oh {Cry of anticipation}; 40a ought {Moral obligation}; 42a takes X-rays {Gets under someone's skin?}; 44a tsar {Old imperator}; 46a smog {Metropolitan hangover?}; 49a Trac {Razor brand word}; 51a Euler {He introduced the symbol "e" for natural logs}; 56a a tad {Opposite of very}; 58a piñata {One suspended for a game}; 61a conspired {Worked together}; 65a argue over {Debate}; 66a crept {Was snail-like}; 67a mare's-nest {Hoax}; 68a here's {"___ trouble!"}.

1d Eder {Schwalm-___ (German district)}; 2d nope {"Ixnay"}; 5d yes I do {Admission statement}; 6d huh? {Word from one who isn't following}; 8d dated {In no way new}; 9d alphabet soup {Its letters may be bolted down}; 10d broiled {Like much filet mignon}; 13d Seth {Meyers of "Saturday Night Live"}; 14d Troy {Its ruins are a Unesco World Heritage Site}; 20d Rex Sox Nation {Fans sporting a footwear logo}; 24d recur {Make a comeback}; 26d Egypt {Yom Kippur War participant}; 27d foots {Pays}; 28d unhat {Show respect, in a way}; 30d sagas {They might span generations}; 32d ice scraper {Tool often used while wearing gloves}; 33d nasal {Like some cavities}; 34d store {Chain link?}; 36d Rhett {Country singer Akins}; 43d serapes {Wool cover-ups}; 47d glitch {Bug}; 50d carve {Do intaglio, e.g.}; 52d enure {Harden: Var.}; 53d scam {It takes folks in}; 55d engr. {Mech. master}; 59d tape {Something to get caught on}; 60d acts {Play set}; 62d sue {Make a case against?}; 63d Dr. T {2000 Richard Gere title role}.

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