Sunday, May 23, 2010

NYT Monday 5/24/10 - I Can Has Cheezburger?

The theme of this Monday New York Times crossword really appealed to me. In concept, but not execution, it is similar to a Listener crossword of old which featured the ingredients of a knickerbocker glory from cherry at the bottom to nuts and wafer at the top. I like puzzles in which the layout of the thematic components in the grid mimics a corresponding "real world" layout.

It was surprising to see such a complex idea on a Monday, though, and the time it took me is more typical of a Tuesday or Wednesday. One thing that fazed me early on was seeing 17-Across starting TF and thinking the theme answers might not be real words at all.

Of course, I eventually got T formation and remembered this from a post early in my blogging career which featured a charmingly sung version of the Chicago Bears fight song apropos of Sid Luckman. Let's see if I can dig that up again:

One reason for the slow time was a number of answers I couldn't think of right away, usually the longer ones. There was even an ambiguity that had to be resolved from crossings: at 42-Across I had {Lay waste to} as savage at first, before I checked 42-Down which definitely called for ravage (and I guess is a little closer in meaning to the definition too).
Solving time: 6 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 42d rut {Same old same old}

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


Parts of a cheeseburger are embedded in across answers in a logical order top-to-bottom.

BUN from 5a Bruin {U.C.L.A. player}
TOMATO from 17a T formation {Football alignment named for its shape}
PICKLE from 26a pick of the litter {Top choice}
CHEESE from 45a cherries jubilee {"Light" dessert?}
BURGER from 58a Buck Rogers {Sci-fi hero in the 25th century}
BUN from 64a blunt {To the point, ironically}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersBob Johnson / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.97)
Theme squares60 (31.7%)
Scrabble points297 (average 1.57)
Video of the Day

19a I let {"___ a Song Go Out of My Heart"}. I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart was a 1938 hit for the American composer, pianist, and big band leader Duke Ellington (1899–1974).

The Doctor is IN

38a magpie {Heckle or Jeckle of cartoons}. Identical twin magpies Heckle and Jeckle - one has an English accent and one a New York accent, but which is which?

18d Myron {Ancient Athenian sculptor}. Myron (working circa 480-440 BC) is most famous for Discobolus (the discus thrower).

Image of the Day

cherries jubilee

45a cherries jubilee {"Light" dessert?}. cherries jubilee is a dessert made with cherries and liqueur (typically Kirschwasser), which is subsequently flambéed, and commonly served as a sauce over vanilla ice cream.
The recipe is generally credited to Auguste Escoffier, who prepared the dish for one of Queen Victoria's Jubilee celebrations, though it is unclear whether it was for the Golden Jubilee of 1887 or the Diamond Jubilee in 1897. There have been many variations on the idea of flambéed fruit since Escoffier's time, the most famous being Bananas Foster. Other variations include Mangos Diablo (mangos flambéed in tequila) and Pêches Louis (peaches flamed in whiskey).

Other Clues

1a calf {Cow's offspring}; 10a acct. {Bank no.}; 14a oleo {Margarine}; 15a repro {Copy, for short}; 16a gore {What's seen in "Saw"}; 20a sassy {Impertinent}; 21a inn {Bed-and-breakfast}; 22a Allah {Muslim's God}; 23a Aron {Elvis ___ Presley}; 25a opiate {Drug that's a downer}; 31a TO RENT {Sign in a boardinghouse window}; 32a aye aye! {"Yes, captain!"}; 33a an I {Good "Wheel of Fortune" purchase for STRING BIKINI}; 34a lye {Drano ingredient}; 35a raw {Undeveloped}; 42a ravage {Lay waste to}; 48a lost it {Went nuts}; 49a Eton {School near Windsor Castle}; 50a El Cid {11th-century conqueror of Valencia}; 51a par {Number on a golf hole}; 53a Venti {Starbucks size that's Italian for "twenty"}; 57a ades {Fruity drinks}; 60a tent {Circus shelter}; 61a Ollie {Stan's pal in old films}; 62a aria {Puccini's "Nessun dorma," for one}; 63a Smee {Captain Hook's henchman}; 65a Roxy {Classic theater name}.

1d cots {Foldable beds}; 2d Alfa {___ Romeo (Italian car)}; 3d Leos {Ones born before Virgos}; 4d forsake {Abandon}; 5d bra {Item under a blouse}; 6d retint {Color again, as the hair}; 7d up in {Go ___ smoke}; 8d iron {Do a post-washing chore}; 9d non {Oui's opposite}; 10d agility {Nimbleness}; 11d collateral {Property securing a loan}; 12d create {Manufacture}; 13d tether {Restraining cord}; 22d Apia {Samoan capital}; 24d oft {Frequent, in poetry}; 25d olé {Cheer for a bullfighter}; 26d PTA {School org.}; 27d ion {Charged particle}; 28d crime scene {It might be marked off with police tape}; 29d Hayes {Rutherford B. ___}; 30d eye {Ogle}; 34d lie {Big fib}; 36d age {Biographical datum}; 37d wee {Itsy-bitsy}; 39d artiste {Skilled entertainer}; 40d grid {Where to enter this puzzle's answers}; 41d pit {Indy 500 service area}; 42d rut {Same old same old}; 43d ab ovo {From the beginning: Lat.}; 44d vinegar {The "sour" in sweet-and-sour}; 45d cleats {Shoe grippers}; 46d hold 'em {Poker variety}; 47d jerkin {Sleeveless jacket}; 51d PULL {Word on a door handle}; 52d ACLU {Org. protecting individual rights}; 54d Nero {Literary Wolfe}; 55d Trix {"___ are for kids" (ad slogan)}; 56d I say {"___, old chap!"}; 58d bob {Go up and down, as in the water}; 59d Ret. {On Social Security: Abbr.}.

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