Monday, April 12, 2010

NYT Tuesday 4/13/10 - Blue Notes

This New York Times crossword might just as well have been scheduled on a Monday, as it took me only a few seconds longer than yesterday's and seemingly had just as straightforward a theme. Again, I was able to work straight down the grid, only appreciating the theme after all the long answers were filled.

Actually, there was one answer where I was glad to know the theme as confirmation: I couldn't quite believe the spelling Aly at 28-Down, so left the last letter blank for later consideration. Once I knew the first word had to be Baby and not some alternative spelling, that eased my mind completely - it also jibed with what I thought Britney Spears' first hit was.

One thing I really like about the theme is the pinpoint accuracy of 58-Across in describing the theme, while being originally intended in a completely different sense. I can't conceive how the perfection of today's thematic implementation could be improved on.
Solving time: 5 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 53d T-bar {Way up the slope}
Solution

Alex Boisvert
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

Phrases starting with whades of blue, as indicated by 58a Kind of Blue {Classic Miles Davis album ... or a hint to the start of 17-, 22-, 37- or 45-Across}.
17a powder-room {Place to freshen up} cf powder blue
22a skydiving {Sport involving a chute} cf sky blue
37a Baby One More Time {Britney Spears's debut hit} cf baby blue
45a Navy SEALS {Elite military group} cf navy blue
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersAlex Boisvert / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.92)
Theme squares53 (28.3%)
Scrabble points299 (average 1.60)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



58a Kind of Blue {Classic Miles Davis album ... or a hint to the start of 17-, 22-, 37- or 45-Across}. Kind of Blue is a studio album by American jazz musician Miles Davis, released August 17, 1959 on Columbia Records in the United States. Recording sessions for the album took place at Columbia's 30th Street Studio in New York City on March 2 and April 22, 1959. The sessions featured Davis's ensemble sextet, which consisted of pianists Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly, drummer Jimmy Cobb, bassist Paul Chambers, and saxophonists John Coltrane and Julian "Cannonball" Adderley.

Though precise figures have been disputed, Kind of Blue has been cited by many music writers not only as Davis's best-selling album, but as the best-selling jazz record of all time. The above clip celebrates the the 50th anniversary of the recording and explains more of the background.

The Doctor is IN

10a MADD {Anti-D.U.I. org.}. Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

12d Damon {Friend of Pythias}. The Greek legend of Damon and Pythias symbolizes trust and loyalty in a true friendship.

28d Aly {Prince ___ Khan}. Prince Aly Khan (1911–1960) was the third husband of actress Rita Hayworth.

33d WMD {Subj. of a U.N. inspection, maybe}. The term Weapon of mass destruction was first used in 1937 after the aerial bombardment of Guernica.

Image of the Day

Joshua tree

10d Mojave {Desert with Joshua trees}. Yucca brevifolia is a plant species belonging to the genus Yucca in the family Agavaceae. It is tree-like in habit, which is reflected in its common names: Joshua tree and Yucca palm and Tree yucca and Palm tree yucca. This monocotyledonous tree is native to southwestern North America in the states of California, Arizona, Utah and Nevada, where it is confined mostly to the Mojave Desert between 2,000 and 6,000 feet.

The name Joshua tree was given by a group of Mormon settlers who crossed the Mojave Desert in the mid-19th century. The tree's unique shape reminded them of a Biblical story in which Joshua reaches his hands up to the sky in prayer. Ranchers and miners who were contemporary with the Mormon immigrants also took advantage of the Joshua tree, using the trunks and branches as fencing and for fuel for ore-processing steam engines.

Other Clues

1a Samson {Biblical strongman}; 7a say {Two cents' worth}; 14a ice-axe {Climber's chopper}; 15a PGA {Sports org. with a tour}; 16a Olay {Skin care brand}; 19a Jimi {Rock legend Hendrix}; 20a splendor {Display of grandeur}; 21a Gabon {French-speaking African nation}; 25a Natalie {"Unforgettable" duettist Cole}; 31a Orne {Caen's river}; 32a analog {Like clocks with hands}; 33a whys {Tot's repeated questions}; 34a SSN {ID with two hyphens}; 40a Stu {Early Beatle Sutcliffe}; 41a sold {Fully convinced}; 42a unites {Joins}; 43a Teri {Hatcher with a Golden Globe}; 44a unglues {Disassembles, as a model airplane}; 49a alert {On one's toes}; 50a aeration {Treatment with carbon dioxide}; 57a mega- {Prefix with star or bucks}; 60a Evan {"___ Almighty" (Steve Carell movie)}; 61a ink {Tattooist's supply}; 62a traits {Characteristics}; 63a dent {Bumper blemish}; 64a any {"Pick a card, ___ card"}; 65a sorest {Most achy}.

1d sips {Nurses, at the bar}; 2d -A-Cop {Rent-___ (private security guard)}; 3d mewl {Whimper like a baby}; 4d Sade {One-named Nigerian songstress}; 5d oxen {Paul Bunyan's Babe and others}; 6d nerd {Dorky sort}; 7d spork {Hybrid utensil}; 8d ago {Way back when}; 9d yam {Sweet potato}; 11d alibi {Suspect's story}; 13d dying {Flopping at a comedy club}; 18d rose {Ascended}; 21d ginseng {Root used in some energy drinks}; 23d yo ho {Start of a pirate's chant}; 24d dry run {Practice go-round}; 25d nabs {Catches, as a perp}; 26d anat. {Med school subj.}; 27d tabu {Forbidden-sounding perfume}; 29d loosest {Least strict}; 30d ignore {Pay no heed to}; 34d situ {In ___ (as placed)}; 35d Smee {"Peter Pan" pirate}; 36d Ness {Loch ___ monster}; 38d Elia {Director Kazan}; 39d til {Up to, in ads}; 43d tyrant {Iron-fisted boss}; 44d used {___ car dealer}; 45d named {Identified}; 46d Aleve {Tylenol alternative}; 47d vegan {Lacking meat, eggs, dairy, etc.}; 48d lanky {Like Abe Lincoln, physiologically}; 51d rots {Goes bad}; 52d afro {Early Jesse Jackson hairdo}; 53d T-bar {Way up the slope}; 54d Ilie {Netman Nastase}; 55d outs {Contract loopholes, e.g.}; 56d nest {Digs of twigs}; 58d Kia {Spectra automaker}; 59d inn {B&B, e.g.}.

2 comments:

Ethan said...

I was able to do this one completely alone! It was a lot of fun.

Crossword Man said...

Congrats Ethan! We agree on it being an awesome puzzle.