Sunday, March 14, 2010

NYT Monday 3/15/10 - Para Parade

With the shorter time difference (EDT having started, but not BST) it was just feasible to solve this Monday New York Times crossword the night before we set off at the crack of dawn to make the return trip to the USA.

As usual when traveling I solved this puzzle at the computer (it being difficult to make a printed copy) completing the grid in around four minutes ... a typical time for e-solving a Monday puzzle. It helped that the thematic idea was very straightforward: I understood early on what was going on from paramounts, and that was very helpful when considering the three other long answers.

There were no particular problem areas, although the puzzle introduced me to two new slang terms - the "laugher" and the "buttinsky". Luckily their meanings could be inferred easily enough, but I did check with Magdalen after completing the grid that they were really used and not an invention of the constructor(s)!
Solving time: 4 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 34a oar {Boat propeller}
Solution

Fred Piscop
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

A word of the form "paraXs" is clued punningly as if it were "pair of Xs".
17a paramounts {Two steeds?}
57a parachutes {Two water slides?}
11d paratroops {Two scout groups?}
27d paragraphs {Two charts?}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersFred Piscop / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.79)
Theme squares40 (21.4%)
Scrabble points277 (average 1.48)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



10d Swanee {Al Jolson classic}. Swanee was written in 1919 by George Gershwin, with lyrics by Irving Caesar. The song was written for a New York City revue called Demi-Tasse, which opened in October 1919 in the Capitol Theater. Caesar and Gershwin, who was then aged 20, claimed to have written the song in about ten minutes riding on a bus in Manhattan, and then at Gershwin's apartment. The song had little impact in its first show, but not long afterwards Gershwin played it at a party where Al Jolson heard it. Jolson then put it into his show Sinbad, already a success at the Winter Garden Theatre, and recorded it for Columbia Records in January 1920. "After that," said Gershwin, "Swanee penetrated the four corners of the earth.".

The Doctor is IN

37a Norm {"Cheers" barfly}. Norm Peterson played by George Wendt.

61a Elias {Sewing machine inventor Howe}. Elias Howe (1819–1867).

62a nosy {Like a buttinsky}. Buttinsky = slang for someone who butts in.

4d Evas {Actresses Mendes and Longoria}. Eva Mendes and Eva Longoria.

29d Jotto {Word-guessing game}. Jotto is like Mastermind, but with words.

42d laugher {Lopsided win, in slang}. Laugher = a game where one side outclasses the other.

Image of the Day

buttes

38a butte {Isolated hill}. A butte is a conspicuous isolated hill with steep, often vertical sides and a small, relatively flat top; it is smaller than mesas, plateaus, and tables. In some regions, such as the north central and northwestern United States, the word is used for any hill. The word "butte" comes from a French word meaning "small hill"; its use is prevalent in the western United States, including the southwest, where "mesa" is also used. Because of their distinctive shapes, buttes are frequently key landmarks in both plains and mountainous areas. The above picture shows West Mitten, East Mitten and Merrick Butte in Monument Valley.

Other Clues

1a holed {Sank, as a putt}; 6a flap {What bird wings do}; 10a spam {Usually deleted e-mail}; 14a olive {Item stuffed with pimento}; 15a -aire {Suffix with zillion}; 16a wage {Living ___ (what an employer is asked to pay)}; 19a area {Pi r squared, for a circle}; 20a in a sense {Somewhat}; 21a tenant {One signing with a landlord}; 23a rut {Groove}; 24a Getty {Industrialist J. Paul ___}; 25a capris {Pants ending just below the knees}; 29a jigger {Small whiskey glass}; 32a await {Hang around for}; 33a money {$$$}; 34a oar {Boat propeller}; 39a holy {"___ cow!"}; 40a à la {In the style of}; 41a gusto {Hearty enjoyment}; 42a lapse {Small error}; 43a ghetto {Poor, depressed neighborhood}; 45a lassos {Rodeo ropes}; 46a Aaron {Hank whose home-run record was surpassed by Barry Bonds}; 48a eau {___ de toilette}; 49a smarts {Intelligence}; 51a emigrate {Move to another country}; 56a lops {Cuts off, as branches}; 59a ache {Dull hurt}; 60a agog {Bug-eyed}; 63a toss {Deep-six}; 64a retro {Harking back to an earlier style}.

1d Hopi {Arizona tribe}; 2d O-Lan {"The Good Earth" heroine}; 3d lira {Italian currency before the euro}; 5d demerit {Point off, as for bad behavior}; 6d Faust {In legend he sold his soul to the devil}; 7d line {Queue}; 8d Art {The "A" in MoMA}; 9d pest {Cockroach or termite}; 12d agent {Player's rep}; 13d meaty {Full of substance}; 18d onus {Cross to bear}; 22d eggy {Like omelets}; 25d Cana {Biblical water-to-wine site}; 26d AWOL {Missing roll call, say}; 28d rim {Salt's place on a margarita glass}; 30d into {Wild about}; 31d gee {"Wow, I didn't know that!"}; 33d must {Event not to be missed}; 35d also {"Not to mention ..."}; 36d ryes {Dark loaves}; 38d but {"However ..."}; 39d has {Is afflicted with}; 41d gent {Mannerly guy}; 44d horsey {Rocking toy, in tot-speak}; 45d laic {Of the flock}; 46d Aslan {Lion in "The Chronicles of Narnia"}; 47d Amoco {Oil company acquired by BP}; 48d e-mags {Online publications, briefly}; 50d spat {Small argument}; 51d Eros {Greek Cupid}; 52d rule {Govern}; 53d at it {Going ___ tooth and nail}; 54d tear {Go like hell}; 55d esso {Old U.S. gas brand}; 58d ago {"Fourscore and seven years ___ ..."}.

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