Monday, March 22, 2010

NYT Tuesday 3/23/10 - O Ring

I thought this Tuesday New York Times crossword was another one based on the Boston accent, my limited understanding of which comes from listening to NPR's Car Talk. However, when I finally got to the SE corner, I discovered from 73-Across that "AR to O" was the explanation for today's shenanigans.

The top half seemed to go really quickly and I thought I might be headed for a personal record time, but got somewhat bogged down towards the bottom: one reason for problems was having 57-Across {Airplane seating request} as middle, which fitted the two letters I already had. But with hindsight, why would anyone request a middle seat ... window and aisle are the two options usually?

Also in the bottom half we have take up oms, which was one of the harder theme answers to recognize. And I opted for meager at 50d {Paltry}. These stumbling blocks must have delayed me by at least a minute.
Solving time: 6 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 65d pea {Podded plant}

Kurt Krauss
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


AR to O. AR is changed to O in a phrase, making a pun; this is indicated by 73a Artoo {___-Detoo ... or, when read in three parts, a hint to 17-, 31-, 47- and 63-Across}.
17a discover cod {Try a North Atlantic fish for the first time?} cf Discover Card
31a pot company {Ekco or Farberware?} cf part company
47a takes up oms {Registers for a meditation class?} cf takes up arms
63a shop shooter {Store photographer?} cf sharpshooter
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersKurt Krauss / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 37 (16.4%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.82)
Theme squares47 (25.0%)
Scrabble points318 (average 1.69)
Video of the Day

23a/25a the media {"I'll alert ___": Hobson, in "Arthur"}. Arthur (1981) is a film set in New York City which tells the story of drunken millionaire playboy Arthur Bach (Dudley Moore), who is on the brink of an arranged marriage to a wealthy heiress, Susan Johnson (Jill Eikenberry). Arthur's valet, Hobson, is memorably played by Sir John Gielgud. Arthur earned over $82 million at the box office in the United States, placing it fourth on the box office charts for the year. To see the context of the quote cited in the clue, play the video above.

The Doctor is IN

19a Mon {Jamaican term of address}. See the Jamaican Slang Glossary.

56a gob {Hunk}. Synonyms in the sense of "a large amount".

7d war {Hell, to General Sherman}. "War Is Hell" dates back at least as far as a 1880 speech by William Tecumseh Sherman.

23d TGIF {Letters said with a shout}. TGIF = thank God it's Friday.

45d LOL {I.M. snicker}. LOL = laughing out loud when IMing.

64d OMB {Govt. book balancer}. The Office of Management and Budget oversees the activities of federal agencies in the United States.

Image of the Day

Liberation of Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben

11d Jemima {Aunt known for her pancakes}. Aunt Jemima is a trademark for pancake flour, syrup, and other breakfast foods currently owned by the Quaker Oats Company. The trademark dates to 1893, although Aunt Jemima pancake mix debuted in 1889. The term "Aunt Jemima" is sometimes used colloquially as a female version of the derogatory label "Uncle Tom". In this context, the slang term "Aunt Jemima" falls within the "Mammy archetype", and refers to a friendly black woman who is perceived as obsequiously servile or acting in, or protective of, the interests of whites. The above image entitled the Liberation of Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben is by the Jamaican-American artist Renée Cox whose "main concern is the deconstruction of stereotypes and the empowerment of women".

Other Clues

1a fumes {Vapors}; 6a swaps {Trades}; 11a JFK {Alternative to La Guardia or Newark, in brief}; 14a Tritt {Travis who sang "T-R-O-U-B-L-E"}; 15a Pablo {Picasso or Casals}; 16a Eli {Peyton Manning's brother}; 20a three {Afternoon hour}; 21a tapirs {Rhino relatives with long snouts}; 28a amie {French girlfriend}; 29a gird {Bind with a belt}; 34a idées {Notions, in Nantes}; 36a sepia {Old photo color}; 37a Federal {Part of F.B.I.}; 40a denying {Turning down}; 44a papal {Like a visit from Benedict XVI, e.g.}; 46a navel {Middle of the abdomen}; 52a semi {Big rig}; 53a Oman {Its capital is Muscat}; 54a pleas {Defendants enter them}; 57a window {Airplane seating request}; 60a Astro {Houston baseballer}; 62a IDs {They're checked at checkpoints, briefly}; 68a NSA {Code-breaking org.}; 69a Hamel {"Hill Street Blues" actress Veronica}; 70a Maine {Augusta's home}; 71a GTs {Fast sports cars}; 72a at bay {Cornered}.

1d FTD {Co. with a blooming business?}; 2d Uri {Spoon-bending Geller}; 3d Mister Ed {1960s sitcom with a talking palomino}; 4d etch {Engrave glass with acid}; 5d storm {Nor'easter, for one}; 6d Speedo {Big name in small swimwear}; 8d ABC {"Dancing With the Stars" network}; 9d plot {Secret plan}; 10d soda {Scotch's partner}; 12d florin {Old European gold coin}; 13d Kinsey {Sex authority Alfred}; 18d veep {Prez's #2}; 22d papayas {Melonlike tropical fruits}; 24d hide {Camouflage}; 26d it's {The "I" in 23-Down}; 27d aced {Got a perfect score on}; 30d deep end {Where to find the diving board}; 32d ope {Unlock, in poetry}; 33d Minn. {Wisc. neighbor}; 35d Sras. {Ladies of Spain: Abbr.}; 38d Apu {Storekeeper on "The Simpsons"}; 39d Lapp {Dweller above the Arctic Circle}; 41d I've got it! {"Eureka!"}; 42d Nemo {Nautilus captain}; 43d glib {Insincerely eloquent}; 47d towing {A.A.A. activity}; 48d amidst {Surrounded by}; 49d Kansas {"The Wizard of Oz" setting}; 50d measly {Paltry}; 51d sash {Miss America accessory}; 55d stoma {Leaf opening}; 58d OSHA {Workers' protection agcy.}; 59d what? {"Say again?"}; 61d roar {Lion's warning}; 65d pea {Podded plant}; 66d Eno {British musician Brian}; 67d REO {___ Speedwagon}.


jim said...

I wonder if "take up oms" is less "take up arms" and more "oms" as in the sound that a meditator might make "ooooooooohmmmmmmm". That might fit the pun better.

jim said...

oh - I see my mistake, clearly that's what the pun is...sorry!

Crossword Man said...

No worries Jim. Glad you worked it out!

Anonymous said...

being in the same cultural situation as you,i didn't get it either til i skipped ahead to 'ar-too'. the american pronunciation throws me off a lot. i was imagining east- coast pals saying them over a cup of cawwfee and it made life easier. (a la cartalk.)

Daniel Myers said...

We Brits are so unkind to our "ar"s when they follow a vowel---Though my "t"s may have melted into "d"s, I still can't pronounce "New York" the American way without an effort.---Sad that Dudley and Sir John are no longer with us.

Crossword Man said...

I'm not going to try to pronounce the American way. It makes my wife cringe. I have to say I liked Dud the musician more than Dud the actor - his parodies of classical pieces (e.g. Little Miss Muffet in the style of Benjamin Britten) were killingly (that's a word, what's with the squiggly red lines?) funny.