Sunday, April 4, 2010

NYT Monday 4/5/10 - Nursery Slope Rhymes

The theme of this Monday New York Times crossword was evident early on with town and gown, but other aspects of the puzzle kept me thinking right to the end.

First, was the central answer Yoko Ono thematic? I conclude not, although the name has a kind of poetic rhythm to it. It's interesting to see Ono in her full form, given we're so used to seeing the constructor-helpful three-letter surname on its own.

Then there were two areas where I had to think carefully: in the NW corner, I started with louie for 14-Across and was scratching my head over how luwph might be a selling point for a shampoo. We had looie with the identical definition as recently as February 28, so I should have remembered it.

Plus in the central block, my embryonic knowledge of US geography led me to try Ken. at 39-Down. Daisy Mee didn't look right, so I scrambled to think of a better-fitting state. Finally, I was worried (still am really) about 28d {Protected, as the feet} leading to shoed rather than shod - I reckon it has to be right tho.

I was amused by the clue to oboe, as I tried playing the thing as a kid and the result was always lamentable. Whoever said it's "an ill wind that nobody blows good" was on the money.
Solving time: 5 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 40d oboe {Melancholy instrument}

Nancy Salomon
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


Idioms of the form X and Y where X and Y rhyme with each other.
17a town and gown {Campus/off-campus community, collectively}
27a Stars and Bars {Confederate flag}
46a gloom and doom {Extreme pessimism}
61a wear and tear {Damage from ordinary use}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersNancy Salomon / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.92)
Theme squares46 (24.6%)
Scrabble points272 (average 1.45)
Video of the Day

62d Eli {"The Book of ___" (2010 film)}. The Book of Eli is a 2010 American post-apocalyptic action film directed by the Hughes brothers, written by Gary Whitta, and starring Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Jennifer Beals and Mila Kunis. Filming began in February 2009 and took place in New Mexico.

The Doctor is IN

14a looie {Sarge's superior}. Looie = slang for lieutenant.

5d NEA {PBS funder}. National Endowment for the Arts.

18d Nita {Old-time actress Talbot or Naldi}. Nita Talbot and Nita Naldi.

56d Nate {___ the Great of children's literature}. Nate the Great novel series by Marjorie Sharmat.

Image of the Day

43a Mae {Daisy ___ of "Li'l Abner"}. Beautiful Daisy Mae was hopelessly in love with Li'l Abner throughout the entire 43-year run of Al Capp's comic strip (1934-77). During most of the epic, the impossibly dense Abner exhibited little romantic interest in her voluptuous charms, (much of it visible daily thanks to her famous polka-dot peasant blouse and cropped skirt). In 1952, Abner reluctantly proposed to Daisy to emulate the engagement of his comic strip "ideel", Fearless Fosdick. Fosdick's own wedding to longtime fiancée Prudence Pimpleton turned out to be a dream, but Abner and Daisy's ceremony, performed by Marryin' Sam, was permanent. Once married, Abner became relatively domesticated. Like Mammy Yokum and other wimmenfolk in Dogpatch, Daisy Mae did all the work, domestic and otherwise, while the useless menfolk generally did nothing whatsoever.

Other Clues

1a all-in {Going for broke, as a poker player}; 6a beard {Goatee, for one}; 11a CFO {Corp.'s head money person}; 15a Artoo {___-Detoo of "Star Wars"}; 16a arr. {Flight board abbr.}; 19a rib {Bone that's part of a "cage"}; 20a apps {iPhone downloads}; 21a Igor {Composer Stravinsky}; 22a Andes {Peru's peaks}; 24a Shiite {Majority Muslim in Iran}; 26a I lied {Declaration that may be followed by "So sue me"}; 31a spits {Roasting rods}; 34a HMO {Med. group}; 35a lip {Place for ChapStick}; 36a ion {Charged particle}; 37a Yoko Ono {John Lennon's lady}; 41a eco- {Environmentalist's prefix}; 42a Not {"Believe It or ___!"}; 44a beret {Hat for a military specialist}; 51a tow in {Job for a roadside assistance worker}; 52a Ore-Ida {Tater Tots maker}; 55a faded {No longer vivid}; 56a nota {___ bene}; 58a tuba {Oompah band instrument}; 60a Abe {Lincoln, the Rail-Splitter}; 64a Île {___ de France}; 65a altar {Where a wedding march ends}; 66a delta {River mouth feature}; 67a Rep. {Dem.'s foe}; 68a yield {Triangular road sign}; 69a Edsel {1950s Ford flop}.

1d Alta {Resort near Snowbird}; 2d loops {Figure skating figures}; 3d low pH {Boast of some shampoos}; 4d I insist {"No use arguing with me"}; 6d badger {Nag to death}; 7d ergo {As a result}; 8d -ator {Suffix with origin}; 9d row {Part of an airplane seat assignment}; 10d Donald {Disney's ___ Duck}; 11d car dealer {Seller of coupes and sedans}; 12d fried rice {Chinese side dish}; 13d orbs {Heavenly bodies}; 23d nib {Penpoint}; 25d itsy {Teeny, informally}; 26d in on {Listen ___ (hear via eavesdropping)}; 28d shoed {Protected, as the feet}; 29d amo {"I love," in Latin}; 30d spot {Parking space}; 31d sing {Perform on "American Idol," e.g.}; 32d pool table {Place to "rack 'em up"}; 33d in too deep {Unable to dig oneself out}; 38d Oman {Muscat's land}; 39d Kan. {It's north of Okla.}; 40d oboe {Melancholy instrument}; 45d emitted {Sent out, as rays}; 47d owe {Fall behind financially}; 48d Midway {Chicago alternative to O'Hare}; 49d dotard {Senile sort}; 50d Oran {Algerian port}; 53d duels {Face-offs with guns or swords}; 54d abate {Lessen}; 55d fair {Without a cloud in the sky}; 57d oral {Grueling grilling}; 59d Aral {Asia's shrunken ___ Sea}; 63d DDE {Ike's monogram}.


Daniel Myers said...

I have one nit to pick w/ this otherwise straightforward Monday puzzle: Shouldn't 17A be clued "Off-campus/campus" rather than the other way around to line up with the "X" and "Y" of the answer?

Here's a 1902 (14 July) citation in the OED from the Edinburgh Evening News using "shoed": "He kicked her with his shoed feeet." Rum lot the Scots.

Crossword Man said...

Yes, your version is preferable, but it's not like the other three clues implied an ordering, with this one being contradictory (I seem to remember a case where that happened and I overlooked the problem that time too).

Thanks for the OED citation. Do you have access to a computer version? By the way, the ubiquitous Anon is taking issue with the first comment you made regarding the February 19 puzzle.

Daniel Myers said...

Quite. It's merely a nit that I felt like picking.

Yes, I do! I bought it on CD-ROM about 6 years ago, and, I say this sans hyperbole: It's the best thing on which I've EVER spent $200.00. The software works beautifully. I simply don't understand what the nit-pickers on Amazon are on about. I've installed it on my new computer since then with only a little trouble from the C-Dilla protection file. And so what if you have to re-verify it every three months or so w/ the data disk? It takes all of two minutes! It definitely trounces using the print edition with the magnifying glass, as I had done for years previously. Do yourself a favour and buy it Ross. It's a delight!! The only downside is that you might well become addicted to it and neglect this blog.

Thanks for the heads up on ubiquitous Anon. He/she is correct, of course. Posted a reply to her/him.

Crossword Man said...

I don't know about the OED2 on CD-ROM. Instinctively I would prefer the web version, but I see that's $295 per annum. I might go for a month's use at $29.95 to see what it's like.