Saturday, April 3, 2010

NYT Sunday 4/4/10 - Free On Board

I was intrigued to see the byline of Bob Klahn on this Sunday New York Times crossword, as I've incurred his anger, along with everyone else it seems ... my current solving for pleasure is The Wrath of Klahn. This themed jumbo puzzle is a different kettle of fish, although the constructor's love of the misleading context clue is very evident and took up a lot of the commentary today.

The "after word" (board) became clear after no more than two of the twelve theme answers, and thereafter, there wasn't much to keep the solver's interest in the thematic aspect of the journey. This type of idea may be better suited to the smaller arena of a 15x15, though I have to give credit for the high count of thematic squares today: in fact my first tally came out at a credible 110, but I'd missed black cat and end table - there are an amazing 124 theme squares in the 21x21 grid.

cheeseheadOne reason the idea is less appealing is that the long answers tend to be dullish compound forms; there were exceptions, like the colorful cheesehead, which I was delighted to be introduced to. Is it safe to use it jocularly if I meet a Wisconsinite, or would that get me into trouble?
Solving time: 33 mins (with Magdalen, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 37d Tories {Major party}

Bob Klahn
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


"After word": both halves of each theme answer can be followed by board to make a compound word or phrase:
23a wallpaper {"Either that ___ goes, or I do" (Oscar Wilde's reputed last words)}
25a floor leader {Legislative V.I.P.}
34a black cat {Object of superstition}
39a college draft {Annual N.F.L. event}
54a switchback {Zigzag trail up a mountain}
72a cheesehead {Green Bay Packers fan}
84a running score {Tally}
90a end table {Lamp holder}
98a drawing card {Lure}
102a whitewash {Cover-up}
32d sandwich bread {Wonder product}
35d cutting school {Risking detention}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersBob Klahn / Will Shortz
Grid21x21 with 72 (16.3%) black squares
Answers140 (average length 5.27)
Theme squares124 (33.6%)
Scrabble points608 (average 1.65)
Video of the Day

44a Our {"___ Love" (1978 hit for Natalie Cole)}. Natalie Cole is an American singer, songwriter and performer. She achieved success in her early career as an R&B star, but smoothly changed her repertoire toward a more pop and jazz oriented musical style in the early 1990s. She has won nine Grammy Awards. Our Love was a number one hit on the Hot Soul Singles chart and has become one of her most familiar songs.

The Doctor is IN

1a coach {Economy}. Economy class = coach class.

20a Ada {"Cold Mountain" heroine}. Ada Monroe was played by Nicole Kidman in the 2003 movie adaptation.

33a chat {Chin}. chat and chin are equivalent in the sense of "to talk idly".

42a UFO {Project Blue Book subj.}. Project Blue Book investigated UFOs from 1952 to 1970 and found no threats to national security.

56a revise {Better writing, e.g.}. Presumably "better" is in the verb sense of "to improve".

66a cider {Something that might be hard to drink?}. Reference to hard (i.e. alcoholic) cider.

14d The Act {1977 Liza Minnelli musical}. The Act is a Kander and Ebb musical written to showcase Minnelli's talent.

16d Ind. {Gary's home: Abbr.}. Gary, Indiana is destined for Pavlov's Guide to Crosswords.

37d Tories {Major party}. Reference to Sir John Major, leader of the Conservative Party aka the Tories.

46d sevens {Some naturals}. natural = a throw of 7 or 11 on the first cast in craps.

69d Oriana {Epithet for Elizabeth I}. The English queen Elizabeth I was referred to as Oriana.

96d barn {One raised on a farm}. As in a barn raising.

Image of the Day


83a moa {Display in the Auckland Museum}. The moa were ten species (in six genera) of flightless birds endemic to New Zealand. The two largest species, Dinornis robustus and Dinornis novaezelandiae, reached about 12 ft in height with neck outstretched, and weighed about 510 lb. Moa are members of the order Struthioniformes (or ratites). The ten species of moa are the only wingless birds, lacking even the vestigial wings which all other ratites have. They were the dominant herbivores in New Zealand forest, shrubland and subalpine ecosystems for thousands of years, and until the arrival of the Māori were hunted only by the Haast's Eagle (also extinct). All species are generally believed to have become extinct by 1500 AD, mainly due to hunting by Māori.

Other Clues

6a rib {"Spare" part}; 9a upbow {Direction for violinists}; 14a tripe {Rubbish}; 19a allay {Relieve}; 21a salsa {Hot stuff}; 22a honor {High trump card}; 27a Celia {"As You Like It" role}; 28a claw {Curved nail, perhaps}; 29a pear {Dentiform : tooth :: pyriform : ___}; 30a assured {Certain}; 38a beat {Wiped out}; 43a rent {Get a flat}; 45a eins {German unity}; 46a stir {Kind of crazy?}; 47a USDA {Org. that gives approval}; 48a smut {Dirt}; 50a abuse {Obloquy, e.g.}; 52a Petri {___ dish}; 53a paw {Print maker}; 57a twisted {Wry}; 59a horde {Big band}; 60a Barents {Navigator William with a sea named after him}; 61a Corea {Jazzy Chick}; 62a sag {Decline in value}; 63a aging {Sitting around for years waiting to get drunk?}; 64a schleps {Tedious trips}; 68a blossom {Open up}; 71a elbows {Jostles}; 74a cri {Chartres shout}; 75a siren {Femme fatale}; 76a fairs {They may offer rides}; 77a kiln {Site of numerous firings}; 78a shin {A guard may protect it}; 79a aped {Imitated}; 80a Carl {Real first name of Alfalfa of the Little Rascals}; 81a ail {Trouble}; 82a coax {Bring around}; 89a A-one {Choice}; 92a Erik {"The Flying Dutchman" tenor}; 93a axillas {Armpits}; 95a açaí {Exotic berry in some fruit juices}; 96a baas {Missed signals from Little Boy Blue, maybe}; 97a Akira {Director Kurosawa}; 106a I, Tina {1986 rock autobiography}; 107a hiree {New addition}; 108a ass {Lunkhead}; 109a nanas {Babushkas}; 110a Meryl {Actress Streep}; 111a tends {Cultivates}; 112a doh {Interjection added to the O.E.D. in 2001}; 113a Egypt {Land called Mizraim in the Bible}.

1d caw {Harsh call}; 2d -ola {Suffix with boff}; 3d all {Purely}; 4d Calcutta {Birthplace of William Thackeray and Satyajit Ray}; 5d hyper {Wired}; 6d rapido {Spanish fleet?}; 7d idea {Brain matter?}; 8d bar {Block}; 9d US flag {June "honoree," briefly}; 10d palate {Sense of taste}; 11d blow {Big wind}; 12d oso {Spanish bear}; 13d warplane {F-14, e.g.}; 15d Roark {Family name in Frank Miller's "Sin City" series}; 17d Poe {"The Purloined Letter" writer}; 18d err {Foozle}; 24d Alec {A Baldwin}; 26d leafs {Pages (through)}; 28d Cher {Gregg Allman's wife who filed for divorce after nine days}; 30d abrupt {Sudden}; 31d seesaw {Oscillate}; 33d clutch {Critical situation}; 34d brisk {Sharp and stimulating}; 36d a first {Something unprecedented}; 40d lout {Yahoo}; 41d deuce {Dickens}; 48d sweeps {Wins everything}; 49d Midas {Cursed alchemist}; 50d abrades {Sands, e.g.}; 51d badges {Stars in many westerns}; 52d period {Stop sign?}; 54d strewn {Cast about}; 55d hosier {One stocking stockings}; 56d Raglan {Coat named for a British lord}; 58d soloed {Made an individual effort}; 60d Babel {Scene of confusion}; 64d sesame {"Open ___"}; 65d clip-on {Like some earrings}; 66d chili {Serving from a pot}; 67d rekick {Football do-over}; 70d minxes {Sassy lassies}; 72d carne {Meat, as in 66-Down}; 73d Hilo {Liliuokalani Gardens site}; 76d fanlight {Half-circle window over a door}; 78d scalawag {Rogue}; 80d Cuban {Resident of Daiquirí}; 81d as is {Frequent disclaimer}; 84d racial {Like some census categories}; 85d neared {Closed in on}; 86d grades {Marks}; 87d rakish {Dashing}; 88d exit {Out}; 91d tawny {Light brown}; 94d Irene {Galsworthy's Mrs. Forsyte}; 97d ah so! {"Got it!"}; 98d dim {Empty-headed}; 99d rte. {Rural address abbr.}; 100d air {It's in circulation}; 101d Cie. {French firm: Abbr.}; 102d wad {Bankroll?}; 103d any {A little or a lot}; 104d sap {Dupe}; 105d HST {Pres. with the Marshall Plan}.

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