Sunday, May 2, 2010

NYT Monday 5/3/10 - Cross Country

This Monday New York Times crossword seemed harder than usual for the week's overture. So much so, that I thought it might help to figure out the theme as I went down the grid. No dice, as I couldn't see a connection between first words of the theme answers, nor the last words.

And the explanatory clue at 61-Across was tough enough that its answer was the last to go in; only then did I see how the idea tied together thematically, and appreciate the elegance of the implementation ... it's always nice to have different sense of the keyword being employed in cases like this.

The crossing of two country music names in the NE corner seems a little controversial - Tex at 11-Across could have been clued as straightforwardly in a different way. I might have come a cropper over this, but had vague memories of Tex Ritter ... plus, no alternative letter seems plausible for that spot in either direction. Magdalen points out that the two singers are of different generations and distinct styles, so maybe the idea was to make a feature of the coincidence of having two country-related forenames together.
Solving time: 5 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 59d idly {How thumbs are twiddled}
Solution

Susan Gelfand
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

Things that can be tied in different senses, indicated by 61a fit to be tied {Really steamed ... or what the ends of 17-, 26- and 47-Across are?}.
17a first string {A-team}
26a musical score {Composer's work for a film}
47a mother tongue {Portuguese, for Brazilians, e.g.}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersSusan Gelfand / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.85)
Theme squares46 (24.3%)
Scrabble points303 (average 1.60)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



12d Earle {Country star Steve}. Steve Earle  is an American singer-songwriter known for his rock and country music as well as his political views. He is also a published writer, a political activist and has written and directed a play. In the later part of his career, after troubles with the law, drug addiction and his uncompromising viewpoints, he has become known as "the hardcore troubadour". Above he introduces and sings selections from his Washington Square Serenade album.

The Doctor is IN

11a Tex {Country singer Ritter}. Tex Ritter (1905–1974) was also a movie actor.

44a UAR {Former Mideast inits.}. UAR = United Arab Republic, the state formed by the union of the republics of Egypt and Syria in 1958. It existed until Syria's secession in 1961, although Egypt continued to be known as the UAR until 1971.

60a Ens. {"Star Trek" rank: Abbr.}. Ens. = Ensign, a rank held by Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig), for example.

9d mongoose {Kipling's Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, for one}. Rikki-Tikki-Tavi appears in The Jungle Book (1894).

50d Trib {Oakland paper, informally}. The Oakland Tribune publishes syndicated NYT puzzles.

Image of the Day

loris tardigradus

37a lorises {Slow-moving primates}. Loris is the common name for the strepsirrhine primates of the subfamily Lorinae in family Lorisidae. Loris is one genus in this subfamily and represents the slender lorises, while Nycticebus is the genus for the slow lorises. Lorises are nocturnal. They are found in tropical and woodland forests of India, Sri Lanka, and southeast Asia. Loris locomotion is a slow and cautious climbing form of quadrupedalism. Some lorises are almost entirely insectivorous, while others also include fruits, gums, leaves, and slugs in their diet. Female lorises practice "infant parking," leaving their young infants behind in nests. Before they do this they bathe their young with their allergenic saliva, which discourages most predators.

Other Clues

1a dream {Vision that isn't real}; 6a slums {Areas of urban decay}; 14a early {Ahead of time}; 15a Hanoi {Vietnam's capital}; 16a War {Vietnam ___}; 19a IRA {Provision for old age, in brief}; 20a yds. {Footballers' measures: Abbr.}; 21a heed {Pay attention to}; 22a gnarly {Excellent, in slang}; 24a jilt {Abruptly dump, as a lover}; 25a poodles {Curly-haired dogs}; 30a Aruba {Caribbean resort island}; 31a PBS {"Sesame Street" airer}; 32a SOLD {Realtor's favorite sign}; 36a zip {Five-digit postal number, informally}; 41a Rio {___ de Janeiro}; 42a Esso {Canadian gas brand}; 45a cries {"Come on!" and "Go!"}; 51a Strauss {Waltz composer}; 54a Eros {Love god}; 55a hearth {Fireplace floor}; 56a emit {Spew}; 57a DWI {Drunk's road offense, for short}; 64a bop {Conk}; 65a inset {Map close-up}; 66a Ravel {"Boléro" composer}; 67a any {"___ questions?"}; 68a tease {Show just a little bit of leg, say}; 69a snaky {Winding}.

1d defy {Go against, as someone's will}; 2d Raid {Antibug spray}; 3d errs {Makes a boo-boo}; 4d Als {Gore and Green}; 5d mythical {Like dragons and centaurs}; 6d shtetl {Yiddish for "small town"}; 7d lard {Cooking fat}; 8d uni- {Prefix with cycle}; 10d signor {Milan mister}; 11d twirl {Band majorette's move}; 13d X-rays {Pictures at a dentist's}; 18d Sela {Actress Ward}; 23d ades {Fruity drinks}; 24d jib {Triangular sail}; 25d PCBs {Banned pollutants, briefly}; 26d maze {Labyrinth}; 27d Uris {Literary Leon}; 28d sups {Dines}; 29d spire {Church feature seen from a distance}; 33d orig. {Not a copy: Abbr.}; 34d lieu {In ___ of (replacing)}; 35d dose {One teaspoonful or two caplets, maybe}; 38d outshine {Surpass}; 39d rahs {Stadium cheers}; 40d scooters {Relatives of mopeds}; 43d Omar {"The Rubáiyát" poet ___ Khayyám}; 46d RNs {E.R. or O.R. workers}; 48d outfit {Barbie doll purchase}; 49d remote {What a couch potato probably holds}; 51d Sheba {Biblical queendom}; 52d tenon {It's inserted in a mortise}; 53d raspy {Hoarse}; 56d étés {Hot times on the Riviera}; 57d diva {One who might receive roses at the end of a performance}; 58d week {Timespan for The Economist}; 59d idly {How thumbs are twiddled}; 62d TSA {Airport worker's org.}; 63d tan {Light brown}.

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