Sunday, April 25, 2010

NYT Monday 4/26/10 - Fire Signs

This Monday New York Times crossword is amongst the easiest I can remember. I wondered if I should start including the seconds in my quoted times (in reality I solved this one in about 3:33) but that would seem ridiculous at the end of the week, with solving times often approaching or exceeding an hour. I'm not quite up there with the Amy Reynaldo's of this world.

holy smokeOnce again, the theme made no very great impression on me when solving. After finishing the puzzle, I appreciated the design and like that the sense of the theme word in the answer is different to its sense as a sign of fire. So light is in the sense of not heavy and heat in the sense of a preliminary contest. Does holy smoke! fit into this? Partridge doesn't venture an explanation of the origin of this exclamation, but I'll give the constructor the benefit of the doubt.

Aside from the theme, there were no great difficulties: I still have a bit of trouble thinking of Amana as an appliance brand; and I had plot, then plan for the mysterious plat at 33-Down. On the other hand, I've now mastered Oleg Cassini and also knew the only other word that I thought might merit discussion, shul.
Solving time: 4 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 63a coed {What Yale became in 1969}

Lynn Lempel
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


Phrases ending with a feature of fire, as indicated by 37a playing with fire {Doing something risky ... or a hint to the last words of 18-, 24-, 49- and 58-Across}.
18a pack light {Common advice to travelers}
24a dead heat {Race that finishes in a tie}
49a old flame {Bygone love interest}
58a holy smoke! {"Omigosh!"}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersLynn Lempel / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.79)
Theme squares49 (26.2%)
Scrabble points322 (average 1.72)
Video of the Day

25d Daly {Tyne of "Cagney & Lacey"}. Cagney & Lacey is an American television series that first aired on the CBS television network for seven seasons from March 25, 1982 to May 16, 1988. It is considered to be American television's first serious drama series with two female leads. I only remember Sharon Gless in the role of Cagney, but for a change, I've chosen the opening sequence of the first series with Meg Foster in the role (in the original 1981 TV movie, Cagney was played by Loretta Swit, but Swit wasn't released by the producers of M*A*S*H). Meg Foster was replaced by Sharon Gless because CBS were allegedly unhappy with Foster's performance.

The Doctor is IN

47a Oleg {Cassini of fashion}. Oleg Cassini (1913–2006) designed Jacqueline Kennedy's state wardrobe in the 1960s.

60a Amana {Oven brand}. The Amana Corporation was founded in 1934 in Middle Amana, Iowa.

33d plat {Builder's map}. Plat most commonly refers to maps produced to subdivide an area of land into saleable lots.

53d shul {Place for a bar mitzvah service}. A synagogue is commonly spoken of as a "shul" by Orthodox Jews. [Postscript: a reader emailed me to note that "shul" is a Yiddish word, and so is used by many Ashkenazi Jews in America, regardless of affiliation.]

Image of the Day

Arthur Ashe

11d Ashe {U.S. tennis legend on a 37¢ stamp}. Arthur Ashe (1943–1993) was a professional tennis player, born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. During his career, he won three Grand Slam titles, putting him among the best ever from the U.S. Ashe, an African American, is also remembered for his efforts to further social causes. He was a member of a delegation of 31 prominent African-Americans who visited South Africa to observe political change in the country as it approached racial integration. He was arrested on January 11, 1985, for protesting outside the South African embassy in Washington, D.C. during an anti-apartheid rally. He was also arrested again on September 9, 1992, outside the White House for protesting on the recent crackdown on Haitian refugees.

Other Clues

1a Hopi {Navajo's neighbor in Arizona}; 5a Scot {Edinburgh native}; 9a flaw {Defect}; 13a ovals {Racetrack shapes}; 15a eons {Many millennia}; 16a Rosa {Parks who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom}; 17a sinew {Tendon}; 20a end {Terminus}; 21a anise {Seed with a licoricelike flavor}; 23a onset {Beginning}; 26a hug {Warm embrace}; 27a bait {Worms, to a fisherman}; 28a Model Ts {Early Fords that "put America on wheels"}; 32a spell {Say "C-A-T" or "D-O-G," e.g.}; 34a oars {Boathouse gear}; 36a you {"___ don't say!"}; 41a car {Avis or Alamo offering}; 42a ills {Misfortunes}; 43a aunts {Uncles' mates}; 44a at stake {Being risked, as in a bet}; 48a ice {Cubes from the freezer}; 53a spade {Digging tool}; 56a kneed {Weak-___ (easily intimidated)}; 57a wax {Candlemaking supply}; 62a Urdu {Language of Pakistan}; 63a coed {What Yale became in 1969}; 64a yokel {Hayseed}; 65a leap {Vault (over)}; 66a sky's {"The ___ the limit"}; 67a best {Crème de la crème}.

1d hosed {Cleaned with water, as a sidewalk}; 2d ovine {Sheeplike}; 3d panda bears {Adorable zoo critters from China}; 4d -ile {Suffix with percent}; 5d sepia {Tone of many old photos}; 6d coast {Where a hurricane makes landfall}; 7d once {___ in a blue moon}; 8d tsk! {"For shame!"}; 9d fringe {Outer edge}; 10d logs {Hearth contents}; 12d watt {The "W" of kWh}; 14d Swahili {Widespread language of East Africa}; 19d loud {Earsplitting}; 22d net {Ping-Pong table divider}; 26d host {Party giver}; 28d MRIs {CT scan alternatives}; 29d lying awake {Suffering from insomnia}; 30d tort {Wrong that's adjudicated in court}; 31d sues {Takes to court}; 32d SPCA {Org. for cat and dog lovers}; 34d ogle {Look at lustfully}; 35d awl {Hole-making tool}; 38d Nike {Athletics brand with a swoosh}; 39d half-day {9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., say, for a worker}; 40d fuel {Gasoline or peat}; 45d tidy up {Neaten}; 46d aces {Unreturned tennis serves}; 47d Ode {Keats's "___ to Psyche"}; 49d on key {Not sharp or flat}; 50d Leeds {Textile city of north-central England}; 51d manes {Grooms comb them}; 52d exalt {Praise mightily}; 54d pore {Skin opening}; 55d Alda {Alan of "M*A*S*H"}; 56d kook {Nutcase}; 59d MCs {Introducers of a show's acts, e.g.}; 61d mob {"The Godfather" crowd, with "the"}.

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