Monday, March 29, 2010

NYT Tuesday 3/30/10 - Lording It

I was on to the theme of this Tuesday New York Times crossword immediately on solving 17d au courant. I don't know what told me this was thematic and not 14d whipped up, but I thought "O, yes - different O sounds" ... and so it turned out.

Actually confirming this from 9a Five-O was not straightforward and that clue was the last to be solved: its letter pattern is not one you'd immediately recognize as an answer and it was well protected with crossings that had tougher than average clues, it seemed. 9d far-flung {Widespread} was among the hardest clues in the puzzle.

The thematic implementation was totally solid, as you'd expect from the second most prolific constructor in my sidebar: five Os differently spelled and yet still sounding the same; plus the neat explanation at 9-Across.

Aside from the NE corner, the other area that caused a little trouble was the block half way up the left hand side. I've came across Liev Schreiber just once in the last year: not enough that his odd forename is a gimme; but enough that his name rings the right sort of bells when I get it from crossings.

The same probably goes for Hi-Ho crackers and that crossed ahs which had a clue {Physical reactions?} lacking in the precision one hopes for in such an area. Anyway, I managed to get this area correct, but it took some time to sort out.
Solving time: 8 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 1a SUVs {Explorers on a hwy., e.g.}
Solution

Elizabeth C. Gorski
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

Five different spellings of the O sound, indicated by 9a Five-O {Cops, in slang ... or a hint to this puzzle's theme}.
17a au courant {Up-to-date}
23a eau-de-Cologne {Brut or Paco Rabanne}
41a Oh, to be in England {Browning opening line preceding "Now that April's there"}
52a owe back taxes {Be indebted to the I.R.S.}
65a O Pioneers! {Willa Cather novel}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersElizabeth C. Gorski / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.85)
Theme squares62 (32.8%)
Scrabble points313 (average 1.66)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



9a Five-O {Cops, in slang ... or a hint to this puzzle's theme}. Hawaii Five-O starring Jack Lord ran from 1968 to 1980 and had one of those iconic openings sequences typical of the period - the show was one of those broadcast in the UK and I remember being glued to it as a kid. The Five-O of the title actually derives from Hawaii being the 50th state of the union, but the show's influence meant it came to be used as a street slang term for the police.

The Doctor is IN

1a SUVs {Explorers on a hwy., e.g.}. The Ford Explorer is an SUV.

28a ahs {Physical reactions?}. Presumably referencing "saying ah" for a doctor at a physical (examination)?

33a Liev {Schreiber of "X-Men Origins: Wolverine"}. Liev Schreiber.

35a Elis {New Haven collegians}. Yale University students are nicknamed Elis after benefactor Elihu Yale.

71a Rhoda {Mary's upstairs neighbor, in 1970s TV}. Reference to The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

6d Ida {Civil rights advocate ___ B. Wells}. Ida B. Wells (1862–1931), an early leader in the civil rights movement.

24d Ulee {Beekeeper of filmdom}. Ulee (short for Ulysses) Jackson, portrayed by Peter Fonda in the movie Ulee's Gold (1997).

29d Hi-Ho {Bygone cracker brand}. Hi-Hos were made by Sunshine Biscuits.

64d he'd {"I knew a man Bojangles and ___ dance for you ..."}. Lyrics from Mr. Bojangles.

Image of the Day

Rosetta Stone

56d stele {Inscribed pillar}. A stele is a stone or wooden slab, generally taller than it is wide, erected for funerals or commemorative purposes, most usually decorated with the names and titles of the deceased or living — inscribed, carved in relief (bas-relief, sunken-relief, high-relief, and so forth), or painted onto the slab. The Rosetta Stone (pictured above) is one of the most famous examples, being a multilingual stele that allowed linguists to begin the process of hieroglyph decipherment.

Other Clues

5a miso {___ soup (starter at a Japanese restaurant)}; 14a whipped up {Made quickly, as a meal}; 16a Aryan {Indo-European}; 18a Raitt {Singer Bonnie}; 19a therm {Gas bill unit}; 20a in F {Gershwin's "Concerto ___"}; 22a NIH {Medical research agcy.}; 31a slam {Pro wrestling move}; 32a guv {Informal British term of address}; 37a Nadia {Gold-medal gymnast Comaneci}; 44a Tosca {1900 Puccini premiere}; 45a seem {Look}; 46a stoa {Site of Zeno's teaching}; 47a Abe {Civil War prez}; 49a nyet {Natasha's refusal}; 51a any {Whichever}; 57a NEC {Jap. computer giant}; 58a won {Took home the gold}; 59a ethos {Spirit of a group}; 63a aloha! {"Welcome to Maui!"}; 69a is new {"So what else ___?"}; 70a buddy list {Computer setup to facilitate instant messaging}; 72a sped {Floored it}; 73a Eros {Lover boy?}.

1d Swat {Sultan of ___ (Babe Ruth)}; 2d uh-uh {"No way, no how"}; 3d vice {Gambling or drinking}; 4d spore {Fungus production}; 5d mer {Sea, to Cousteau}; 7d sun {Light from above}; 8d optic {Eye-related}; 9d far-flung {Widespread}; 10d IRA {Nest egg for old age, in brief}; 11d vying {Competing}; 12d eat in {Have dinner at home}; 13d on the {Words before rocks, ropes or run}; 15d Pumas {Alternative to Nikes}; 21d nog {Eggy drink}; 25d Dalis {Some Surrealist paintings}; 26d eminent {Distinguished}; 27d ovals {Egg shapes}; 28d a lot {Gazillions}; 30d sets {Squash match units}; 34d vocab. {Lexicon contents, for short}; 36d see ya! {"Adios!"}; 38d data {Facts and figures}; 39d in on {Privy to}; 40d A Day {The Beatles' "___ in the Life"}; 42d Baba Wawa {Gilda Radner character}; 43d N.Mex. {Ariz. neighbor}; 48d eco- {Prefix with friendly}; 50d teeny {Wee}; 52d on air {Broadcasting now}; 53d Welsh {Like the name "Bryn Mawr"}; 54d Econo {___ Lodge}; 55d knobs {Door handles}; 60d heir {Prince, e.g.}; 61d or so {Roughly}; 62d SSTs {Former fast jets}; 66d pup {Young dog}; 67d -ide {Chemical suffix}; 68d odd {Like 1, 3, 5, 7 ...}.

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