Monday, April 5, 2010

NYT Tuesday 4/6/10 - Ice Cream Tuesdae

This Tuesday New York Times crossword was one of those where the puzzle was virtually over by the time I arrived at 63-Across and realized what the preceding answers were building up to. I sometimes wonder if it's better in the most straightforward puzzles to have the linking answer at the top, but then I guess the "problem" this is trying to fix only affects a minority of the fastest solvers.

root beer float floatI'm a big fan of ice-cream, so I certainly relished this celebration of its many possibilities for presentation. Ice-cream floats are one of the most ingenious and I was delighted to be introduced to them not long after I arrived in the US.

Outside of the theme, there were no big problems anywhere: Tupac is a surprisingly common answer, and I now have a certain comfort level with him that I wouldn't have had a year ago (I doubt rapper names, even ones as famous as this, will ever rise to the level of a gimme). The toughest clue for me was probably to 44a Trixie {Alice's best friend on "The Honeymooners"}; I still have a huge amount to learn about Golden Age TV - I'm doubly disadvantaged by having been too young to have watched it and in the wrong country to have heard about it from parents.
Solving time: 6 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 15a sur {South of South America}
Solution

Sarah Keller
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

The last part of each long answers are associated with ice-cream, as indicated by 62a ice-cream {Cold treat that can precede the last word of 18-, 23-, 40- or 50-Across}.
18a space-bar {It's directly below V-B-N-M} cf ice-cream bar
23a traffic cone {Highway safety marker} cf ice-cream cone
40a knuckle sandwich {Punch in the mouth, slangily} cf ice-cream sandwich
50a parade float {Homecoming display} cf ice-cream float
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersSarah Keller / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 40 (17.8%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.74)
Theme squares53 (28.6%)
Scrabble points294 (average 1.59)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



41d Culp {Late actor Robert of "I Spy"}. Robert Culp died as recently as March 24, 2010 (see the New York Times obit), so this sheds light on how close to publication clues can be changed. Culp was an American actor, scriptwriter, voice actor and director. He earned an international reputation for his role as Kelly Robinson on I Spy (1965–1968), the espionage series in which he and co-star Bill Cosby played a pair of secret agents. I Spy broke new ground in that it was the first American television drama to feature an African-American actor in a lead role. Originally an older actor was slated to play a fatherly mentor to Culp's "Kelly Robinson." But after seeing Cosby performing stand-up comedy on a talk-show, actor-producer Sheldon Leonard decided to take a chance on hiring him to play opposite Culp.

The Doctor is IN

15a sur {South of South America}. south = sur in Spanish is in Español para los crucigramistas.

22a elm {Bark beetle's habitat}. A species of bark beetle transmits Dutch elm disease fungi.

44a Trixie {Alice's best friend on "The Honeymooners"}. Alice Kramden (played by by Pert Kelton and by Audrey Meadows) and Trixie Norton (Joyce Randolph).

67a SRO {Full house sign}. Standing Room Only.

68a rooter {Pig, when rummaging for truffles}. Truffle pigs root out truffles in the fungal sense.

8d Tupac {Rapper ___ Shakur}. Tupac Shakur (1971–1996) aka 2Pac, Pac and Makaveli.

9d Erato {Sister of Clio}. Two of the Nine Muses.

55d Tweed {Tammany Hall "boss"}. Boss Tweed.

Image of the Day

coati

21a coati {Relative of a raccoon}. Coatis, genera Nasua and Nasuella, also known as Brazilian aardvarks, Mexican tejón, hog-nosed coons, pizotes, and snookum bears, are members of the raccoon family (Procyonidae). They are diurnal mammals native to South America, Central America, and south-western North America. The word "coatimundi" is a commonly used misnomer applied to solitary adult males of N. nasua. The term is reported to be derived from the Tupi language (Brazil). Coatis have strong limbs to climb and dig, and have a reputation for intelligence, like their fellow procyonid the raccoon.

Other Clues

1a discos {Establishments with mirrored balls}; 7a ate {Snacked}; 10a agog {In a state of 10-Down}; 14a entail {Involve}; 16a wipe {Help the dishwasher, perhaps}; 17a neatly {In a precise manner}; 20a spin {Turn in many a children's game}; 27a plan {Caballer's need}; 28a end in {No ___ sight}; 32a out {Away from home}; 35a audits {Unwelcome financial exams}; 39a Orne {French river or department}; 43a Attu {Westernmost of the Aleutians}; 45a phi {Honor society letter}; 46a you'll {"___ never believe this!"}; 48a if at {"___ first you don't succeed ..."}; 56a ass {Pompous fool}; 59a hewed {Cut down}; 60a mows {Cuts down}; 64a entrée {Menu selection}; 66a damp {Not dry}; 69a aria {Diva's delivery}; 70a eds. {Newspaper staffers, in brief}; 71a armada {Fleet of warships}.

1d dens {Rooms with recliners}; 2d inept {All thumbs}; 3d stair {Flight segment}; 4d catnap {Forty winks}; 5d oil {Olive product}; 6d sly {Tricky}; 7d Assoc. {Part of P.G.A.: Abbr.}; 10d awe {Feeling when you're 10-Across}; 11d gibe {Taunt}; 12d opal {Birthstone for most Libras}; 13d germ {Start, as of an idea}; 19d Ciné {French filmdom}; 21d cinder {Remnant of a burned coal}; 24d flak {Verbal brickbats}; 25d fault {Tennis "misstep"}; 26d enow {Plenty, to a poet}; 29d drip {Icicle feature}; 30d inch {Narrow winning margin}; 31d Nehi {Classic soda pop}; 32d okay {Give the go-ahead}; 33d unto {"Do ___ others ..."}; 34d Tutu {South African Peace Nobelist, 1984}; 36d is I {"It ___" (reply to "Who's there?")}; 37d taxied {Prepared for takeoff}; 38d sniff {[Well, see if I care!]}; 42d deal {Give out cards}; 47d Lahr {Bert of "The Wizard of Oz"}; 49d tom-tom {Indian percussion}; 51d Reese {Witherspoon of "Legally Blonde"}; 52d award {Cy Young, e.g.}; 53d demos {Visual sales pitches}; 54d aorta {Line from the heart}; 56d Aida {Elton John/Tim Rice musical}; 57d scar {Mark for life}; 58d semi {Place for a cab}; 61d Sera {It's repeated after "Que" in song}; 63d CPA {Tax preparer, for short}; 64d era {Diamond stat}; 65d nor {Neither's partner}.

2 comments:

Eric said...

Would you mind addressing why a pig rummaging for truffles is a "rooter"?

Crossword Man said...

Thanks Eric. There's now an explanation above. NB truffles go for around $800 per pound, so animals with the sense of smell needed to find them (pigs are better than dogs it seems) are very much sought after.