Monday, March 15, 2010

NYT Tuesday 3/16/10 - Fully Loaded

Another day, another continent: the Monday crossword was solved last thing in the UK, and this Tuesday New York Times crossword was done just after we got home. Bleary-eyed and woozy after a day's traveling, I was glad of a manageable early-week puzzle.

It was one of those puzzles where I realized what the theme was after getting most of the relevant answers from their clues alone. This might have something to do with the unusual orientation: all the long theme answers are down, with the explanatory answer across at 52-Across. I'm sure it's more common to have the grid the other way round, which would be easily enough achieved by flipping it round the main diagonal.

I don't currently get {"How many months have 28 days?," e.g.}, which leads to trick question. Maybe it's just that I'm jaded, but I don't see that it's a great example of a trick question, compared to say "Are you still beating your wife?".

There was one tricky area for me: the last square to be filled was the intersection of 42a bod and 33d Ph.D. and I spent maybe half a minute deliberating on the options before seeing D had to be right, mostly on the basis of {Third degree?} leading to Ph.D. (which typically follows a bachelor's degree and master's degree) - I haven't encountered "buff bods" before.
Solving time: 7 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 10d idea {It's a thought}
Solution

Paula Gamache
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

Things that can be 52a loaded {What 3-, 13-, 14- and 28-Down may be} in different senses:
3d boozehound {Tippler}
13d beast of burden {Donkey, for one}
14d trick question {"How many months have 28 days?," e.g.}
28d machine-gun {Rat-a-tat-tat weapon}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersPaula Gamache / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 40 (17.8%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.74)
Theme squares51 (27.6%)
Scrabble points304 (average 1.64)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



61a Rita {Poet laureate Dove}. This had me thinking of Poets Laureate in the British sense, but Rita Dove is an American poet and author. She was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1993, the first African American to be appointed, and received a second special appointment in 1999. Dove is the second African American to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (the first being Gwendolyn Brooks).

The Doctor is IN

1a babe {One "in the woods"}. Cf Babes in the Wood.

5a BSA {Troop group: Abbr.}. Boy Scouts of America.

21a Ishtar {Film bomb of 1987}. Ishtar is a comedy starring Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman.

25a UCLA {Sch. with home games at Pauley Pavilion}. Pauley Pavilion is named for oilman Edwin W. Pauley.

27a Nkrumah {Kwame ___, advocate of pan-Africanism and the first P.M. of Ghana}. Kwame Nkrumah (1909-1972).

42a bod {Buff thing}. As in a "buff bod" = a toned body.

58a E-I-E-I-O {Farm letters?}. Ref Old MacDonald Had a Farm.

Image of the Day

Ballantine Ale - Ernest Hemingway

7d ale {Ballantine product}. Ballantine was an American brewery, founded by Peter Ballantine who was born in Scotland in 1781. It is best known for Ballantine Ale, a pale ale that is one of the oldest brands of beer in the United States. At its peak, Ballantine was the 4th largest brewer in the United States. In the 1960s the company went into decline. The breweries were closed and the brands acquired by the Falstaff Brewing Corporation under whose stewardship the beers remained faithful for a time to their original flavor profile. Since 2005, the Ballantine Ale brand has been owned and marketed by the Pabst Brewing Company, which in turn outsources the brewing to the Miller Brewing Company. The above image shows an unusual commercial endorsement by Ernest Hemingway, circa 1951.

Other Clues

8a blip {Tiny light that's here and gone}; 12a Avon {Classic door-to-door marketer}; 13a built {Manufactured}; 15a Aida {Radames's love, in opera}; 16a mood {Something that swings}; 17a Enter {Keyboard key}; 18a user {Manual reader}; 19a biz {Show ___}; 20a gags {Stand-up comic's material}; 23a I refuse! {"You can't make me!"}; 26a haste {Speediness}; 31a blotto {Stewed to the gills}; 33a PDQ {Pronto}; 34a sale {Half-off event}; 35a Liu {Lucy of "Kill Bill"}; 36a off-hour {Period of low activity}; 39a con {Bamboozle}; 40a vend {Sell}; 43a eights {Figure-skating figures}; 45a duded up {Dressed to the nines}; 47a ASCII {Computer data acronym}; 48a airs {Makes public}; 49a ethanol {Gasoline additive}; 55a Brie {Soft white cheese}; 56a .EXE {Program file-name extension}; 57a yelp {Puppy's plaint}; 60a agin {Votin' no on}; 62a Nolan {Ryan in Cooperstown}; 63a Mudd {Newsman Roger}; 64a élan {Pizazz}; 65a STL {The Cards, on scoreboards}; 66a ones {Low ratings}.

1d Bambi {Disney fawn}; 2d avoir {To have, to Henri}; 4d end {Remnant}; 5d bungee {___ jumping}; 6d sits {Plops down}; 8d Bauhaus {German design school founded in 1919}; 9d list {Grocery shopper's aid}; 10d idea {It's a thought}; 11d Parr {Catherine ___, last wife of Henry VIII}; 20d gusto {Zest}; 22d SLR {Professional's camera, for short}; 24d fat {Too heavy}; 25d undo {Cancel}; 29d a lot {Very much}; 30d hens {Chickens that come home to roost}; 31d Blvd. {Hollywood or Sunset: Abbr.}; 32d lieu {Place}; 33d Ph.D. {Third degree?}; 37d fops {Dandy sorts}; 38d riche {Nouveau ___}; 41d dead-pan {Expressionless}; 44d Gia {Scala of "The Guns of Navarone"}; 46d die {Fizzle}; 47d aerial {Formerly common rooftop sight}; 50d oxide {Water or rust}; 51d lends {Makes advances?}; 52d lyre {Instrument in ancient Greek art}; 53d oeil {Trompe l'___}; 54d Alta {Utah ski resort}; 55d belt {Big swig}; 59d Ios {Cyclades island}; 60d amo {___, amas, amat ...}.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

r.e. How many months have 28 days?
This is a popular one in elementary school.
The answer is "All of them."
- Aaron

Crossword Man said...

Seems a bit sneaky to me, but that must be what was intended. Thanks Aaron!

Anonymous said...

can you explain "pdq"?

Crossword Man said...

Yes, PDQ = pretty damned quick.