Saturday, May 15, 2010

NYT Sunday 5/16/10 - Petits Fours

This Sunday crossword is (I think) the first since I started blogging that didn't come with an Across Lite (.PUZ) file. When I saw that only a PDF was provided, I knew something strange was afoot: sure enough, ten squares appeared to be subdivided, inviting four letters to be entered in each.

Henry aka Hub 1.0 is visiting for the weekend so the puzzle was tackled by a threesome. We didn't have a great solving time, which suggests either that this was a difficult crossword, or that three solvers is getting into the "too many cooks spoil the broth" territory.

We got the first starred pair of answers (faster father/Stefan the fan) in the first few minutes and saw how the letters could be entered to make the answers read naturally. Its subdivided square, and others we discovered early, has identical letters in the top right and bottom left components - we thought this would be the case throughout, but three examples discovered towards the end do not fit the pattern.

The theme kept us alert and entertained as we progressed down the grid: Time Warner time waster and the simple stuck truck are two of the nicer examples. A few tended to be a little contrived (not a total surprise) ... for example contrition contention for {"You're not that sorry!"} .

We tried to pick out a "clue of the puzzle" as we were going along, but better and better examples kept coming in: among the other clues that we loved are 28a peahen {Comparatively dull female}, 98a Ph.D. {The nth degree?}, 69d ante {What you may need to do to get a hand} and 100d nines {Diamond complements}.

One side-effect of not having the Across Lite puzzle is that creating this blog post was much more labor-intensive. The solution image and Crucimetrics are both automatically generated and I drew the line at manually creating these for a non-standard grid tonight. Instead I offer you a scan of our actual solving grid, as hand-written by Magdalen, and minimal stats for the Crucimetrics.
Solving time: 35 mins (with Magdalen and Henry, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 118a tsetses {Flies across sub-Saharan Africa?}

Matt Ginsberg


"Double Crossers". Two-part phrases with the parts the same except for two letters; these being entered in an economical fashion, with the different letters in a single cell divided into four smaller squares.
1a faster father {Winning dad in a race}
6a in the red in the end {Like Enron}
20a cheater chatter {Whispers heard during an in-class test}
43a spatter platter {Serving tray left next to the frying pan}
58a conversion convention {Revival meeting}
73a contrition contention {"You're not that sorry!"}
80a stainer trainer {One who apprentices woodworkers}
90a kiddie kidder {Bozo, for one}
105a Spears clears {Singer Britney succeeds at the high jump}
117a little litter {Just one or two pups, say}

3d Stefan the fan {Edberg enjoying a sports match}
11d retry entry {Knock again}
14d peach patch {Nectarine grove}
26d Time Warner time waster {Stupid show from a cable TV giant}
43d spacer placer {Orthodontist, at times}
68d cookie cooker {Oven, at times}
74d restitution institution {Small-claims court}
80d stuck truck {Lorry in a ditch}
97d pickle picker {Vlasic employee}
105d Scots plots {Where Robert Burns and kin are buried}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersMatt Ginsberg / Will Shortz
Video of the Day

75d Gallipoli {1981 Mel Gibson film}. Gallipoli is a 1981 Australian film, directed by Peter Weir and starring a young Mel Gibson and Mark Lee, about several young men from rural Western Australia who enlist in the Australian Army during the First World War. They are sent to Turkey, where they take part in the Gallipoli Campaign. During the course of the movie, the young men slowly lose their innocence about the purpose of war. The climax of the movie occurs on the Anzac battlefield at Gallipoli and depicts the futile attack at the Battle of the Nek on 7 August 1915.

The Doctor is IN

24a Ena {Grandmother of Spain's Juan Carlos}. Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, known as Ena following a misunderstanding at the christening.

49a Abu {Aladdin's kleptomaniac sidekick}. Abu features in Disney's Aladdin franchise.

66a arca {Medieval chest}. arca = a chest or strong box used in ancient times as a receptacle for money or valuables ... [Webster's Third New International Dictionary].

116a Oreck {TV pitchman David}. David Oreck, founder of the Oreck Corporation, makers of vacuum cleaners and air purifiers.

41d Owens {"Laugh-In" announcer Gary}. Gary Owens, American disc jockey and voice actor.

44d rete {Neural network}. rete = a network esp. of blood vessels or nerves [MWCD11].

100d nines {Diamond complements}. Diamond = baseball is in Pavlov's Guide to Crosswords.

Image of the Day

Obama by Richard Avedon

53d Avedon {Photographer Richard}. Richard Avedon (1923–2004) was an American photographer. In an obituary published in The New York Times, Andy Grundberg said that "his fashion and portrait photographs helped define America's image of style, beauty and culture for the last half-century." Barack Obama was one of his last subjects, captured in 2004 for a project called Democracy.

Other Clues

13a Spano {Joe of "NCIS"}; 18a are go {"All systems ___!"}; 19a Andretti {Only person to be named Driver of the Year in three different decades}; 21a defog {Dashboard choice}; 22a Beaufort {___ Sea, north of Alaska}; 23a Hector {Ajax's opponent}; 25a été {When Paris is burning?}; 27a Kenny {"South Park" boy}; 28a peahen {Comparatively dull female}; 29a sangrias {Wine drinks}; 32a Les {"___ Miz"}; 33a reef {Snorkeling spot}; 34a SLR {Camera inits.}; 36a yammerer {Kvetch}; 38a less {Minus}; 39a tia {Aunt, in Andalucía}; 40a Donne {"What if this present were the world's last night?" poet}; 42a Cav {LeBron James, beginning in '03}; 45a Sgt. {___ Snorkel}; 46a vow {108-Across, e.g.}; 47a Dwayne {___ Johnson, a k a the Rock}; 50a seethe {Foam turbulently}; 52a idea man {Edison, notably}; 54a old cars {Junkers}; 57a trot {Brisk pace}; 60a Jennifer {Tennis's Capriati}; 62a esse {Latin being}; 63a emu {Aboriginal food source}; 64a Sir {"My dear man"}; 65a TGI {___ Friday's}; 70a duration {Extent}; 75a GTOs {Old Pontiacs}; 77a savanna {Zebra's home}; 79a it's a lot {"This'll cost you"}; 82a hop {Get (to it)}; 83a and not {Excepting}; 85a eke {Squeeze (out)}; 86a Ulm {Einstein's birthplace}; 87a deters {Discourages}; 89a mai {Month after avril}; 92a CLE {The Indians, on a scoreboard}; 93a pray {Say grace, say}; 94a celerity {Speed}; 96a kil. {3,281 ft.}; 97a prod {Pointed implement}; 98a Ph.D. {The nth degree?}; 99a toluenes {Solvents often found in antiknock additives}; 103a pitied {Like the down and out}; 107a Alt {PC key}; 108a I do {Altar words}; 109a Comics {DC ___}; 110a hollowed {Caused to be depressed?}; 112a Ionic {Kind of column}; 114a plinks {Xylophone sounds}; 115a steepens {Becomes more inclined}; 118a tsetses {Flies across sub-Saharan Africa?}; 119a nests {Hornets' homes}.

1d fades {Drops back, as in a horse race}; 2d arena {Circus site}; 4d ego {___ booster}; 5d Roger and Me {1989 Michael Moore documentary}; 6d in E {Like Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony No. 1}; 7d N. Dak. {The Missouri R. runs through it}; 8d true level {Carpenter's standard}; 9d Hefner {Hugh M. ___ First Amendment Award}; 10d Etons {Stiff collars}; 12d dit {Morse code sound}; 13d sheaf {Paper bundle}; 15d attests to {Confirms}; 16d neon light {Strip sight}; 17d Orr {Only defenseman to have won the N.H.L. scoring title}; 19d abeam {Crosswise, at sea}; 20d cheeses {Dairy section}; 28d pest {Pain, so to speak}; 30d GYN {OB/___ (medical specialist)}; 31d secy. {Telephone answerer: Abbr.}; 33d Return to {Start of some sequel titles}; 35d rate {Have special privileges}; 37d ran on {Talked incessantly}; 38d Laban {Brother of Rebekah}; 40d dodos {Einsteins they aren't}; 46d vice {Greed, for one}; 48d animas {Inner personalities, in psychology}; 51d errata {Slips}; 55d djinn {Muslim spirit}; 56d sign in {Register}; 59d out ahead {Leading in a race}; 61d fit to kill {Strikingly, as in dress}; 64d soaps {Some afternoon fare}; 67d riled {Teed off}; 69d ante {What you may need to do to get a hand}; 71d used {Broken in, say}; 72d ivory {Shade of white}; 73d canal {Lock site}; 76d time limit {Exam constraint}; 78d name-drops {Tries to impress, as in conversation}; 81d repress {Make unconscious}; 84d diet {Legislature}; 88d trod {Put one's foot down}; 91d dye {Change the locks?}; 94d chalet {Alpine domicile}; 95d roads {Things between shoulders}; 98d Pelée {Volcano that devastated Martinique in 1902}; 101d edict {Decree}; 102d socks {Punches}; 104d tint {Salon job}; 106d Swee {Popeye's ___' Pea}; 109d Cpl. {One answering to a 45-Across: Abbr.}; 110d HST {Presidential inits.}; 111d Ens. {Coast Guard rank: Abbr.}; 113d ore {Pitchblende, for one}.

1 comment:

Magdalen said...

I would have written a neater grid if I'd known. I do not consider my handwriting to be among my better features...