Tuesday, March 16, 2010

NYT Wednesday 3/17/10 - The Wearing of the Green

I had at the back of my mind that St. Patrick's Day was imminent, as Magdalen asked me earlier today whether I wanted corned beef and cabbage to celebrate. I wasn't keen and promptly forgot about it.

Which was a shame as it might have helped for this Wednesday New York Times crossword. As it was, I struggled to work out what the connection was between the four improvised answers. 37a St Patrick was one of the last answers to be completed and having got it, I still couldn't work out how the other four theme entries were arrived at.

My first thought was that the split was into ST/PAT/RICK with the ST appearing literally in each answer and the other two parts synonymously. This didn't hold water, and eventually I realized the required interpretation of "ST-PA trick" with PA in a well-known phrase becoming ST in the entry.

I found the intersection of 44-Down and 65-Across a little tricky too: I started with 44-Down as silence, thinking {End of life as we know it?} might refer to the Hamlet quote "The rest is silence". But this made a nonsense of the across answer, and I eventually made the correction to estate/silent E.

Another point of interest is the occurrence of an ABSCAM reference so soon after I first encountered it on Sunday. This was a real gift, particularly as a gimme at 1-Across gets you off to a great start.
Solving time: 12 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 39a house-fly {Buzzer in the kitchen, maybe}
Solution

Patrick Merrell
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

37a St Patrick {March figure ... or, when split into three parts, a title for this puzzle}. Reinterpreting the central across answer as "ST-PA trick" suggests PA becomes ST in a phrase, making a pun:
17a string knife {Twine cutter?} cf paring knife
24a oil stinting {OPEC production cutback?} cf oil painting
50a take-home sty {Pen for a pet pig?} cf take-home pay
60a stir skating {Ice hockey in prison?} cf pair skating
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersPatrick Merrell / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 34 (15.1%) black squares
Answers72 (average length 5.31)
Theme squares53 (27.7%)
Scrabble points302 (average 1.58)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



23a Uma {Thurman of "Pulp Fiction"}.Uma Thurman stars as Mia Wallace in the Quentin Tarantino-directed Pulp Fiction (1994). Above is the famous scene at "Jack Rabbit Slim's" in which she dances with John Travolta (as Vincent Vega) in a twist contest, to Chuck Berry's You Never Can Tell.

The Doctor is IN

1a ABSCAM {U.S. political scandal involving a fictional sheik}. ABSCAM was a corruption investigation.

11a PCs {Some tablets}. "tablets" = tablet computers.

63a EAP {"The Raven" writer's inits.}. I.e. Edgar Allan Poe.

33d SPF {Hawaiian Tropic no.}. Hawaiian Tropic is a brand of suntan lotion, which is rated using a Sun Protection Factor (SPF).

Image of the Day

The Pyramid of the Louvre, Paris, France

29a Pei {Louvre Pyramid architect}. The Louvre Pyramid (Pyramide du Louvre) is a large glass and metal pyramid, surrounded by three smaller pyramids, in the main courtyard (Cour Napoleon) of the Louvre Palace (Palais du Louvre) in Paris. The large pyramid serves as the main entrance to the Louvre Museum. Commissioned by the President of France François Mitterrand in 1984, it was designed by the architect I. M. Pei.

Other Clues

7a épée {Sport whose name has two accents}; 14a Tacoma {Puget Sound city}; 15a Roxy {Classic theater name}; 16a oop {Alley ___}; 19a era {Time for the history books}; 20a the line {Words after cross, down or over}; 21a Boston {Setting of an April marathon}; 27a dams {Reservoir producers}; 30a -ical {Suffix with myth}; 31a tsars {Bygone monarchs}; 34a test case {Legal precedent setter}; 39a house-fly {Buzzer in the kitchen, maybe}; 42a Smuts {Onetime South African P.M. Jan}; 45a anni {Years in old Rome}; 46a UPI {Reuters competitor}; 48a prim {Strait-laced}; 55a -ile {Suffix with project}; 56a cleric {Imam, e.g.}; 57a lie over {Be postponed}; 59a hem {Folded-over skirt part}; 64a tent {Rental for an outdoor reception}; 65a estate {Will's focus}; 66a DDT {Banned bug spray}; 67a Otts {Some valuable 1920s-'40s baseball cards}; 68a stoles {Fur wraps}.

1d at stud {Offered for breeding}; 2d bathmat {Shower room sight}; 3d screams {Fun house sounds}; 4d coil {Stamp purchase}; 5d amnio {Prenatal exam, briefly}; 6d magni- {Great: Prefix}; 7d -ern {Directional ending}; 8d poi {Polynesian paste}; 9d ex-FBI {Like some private dets.}; 10d eye on {"I've got my ___ you!"}; 11d Poetica {Horace's "Ars ___"}; 12d Coronas {Mexican beer choices}; 13d spangle {Glittery glue-on}; 18d kelp {Seaweed variety}; 22d stickup {Bank teller's fear}; 25d set type {Make up galleys for printing}; 26d tier {Layer}; 28d sassier {Less respectful}; 32d rte. {Map no.}; 35d sis {What your mom might call your aunt}; 36d TCM {RKO film airer, maybe}; 38d alum {Grad}; 39d hatched {Came out of one's shell}; 40d on a lead {Being walked, as Fido}; 41d unkempt {Disheveled}; 43d trivial {Of no matter}; 44d silent E {End of life as we know it?}; 47d isls. {Archipelago's makeup: Abbr.}; 49d merges {Becomes one}; 51d histo- {Tissue: Prefix}; 52d octet {Quarterfinals qualifiers, e.g.}; 53d tikes {Little ones: Var.}; 54d yeast {Brewing need}; 58d Otto {One of four Holy Roman emperors}; 61d int. {Bankbook fig.}; 62d RTs {Football linemen: Abbr.}.

3 comments:

Ethan said...

Infuriatingly, the arts section didn't make it to any of the pick-up points at my university. I had no crossword today. >:|

Anonymous said...

All 12 months have at least 28 days. So the answer is all of them instead of February if the question had been which month has ONLY 28 days.

great blog.

Crossword Man said...

Ethan, the pixies must have nabbed all the crosswords today. Better luck tomorrow.

Thanks for the explanation Anon.