Wednesday, May 12, 2010

NYT Thursday 5/13/10 - Double Acts

The pun-based theme of this Thursday New York Times crossword was mysterious for some time, as topmost examples were among the hardest to make sense of. But eventually my progress through the grid allowed me to piece together 34-Across and appreciate the thematic concept. With hindsight, 17-Across is the most amusing pun, but it didn't seem like that while I was struggling to get to grips with the theme.

Outside of the theme, there was one minor trouble spot in the SW at the crossing of Omnis and Gia. I've seen these before in crosswords, maybe even more than once, but they certainly weren't gimmes today. Fortunately I find that having just seem them as answers in a previous puzzle gives you a sixth sense about what's right when you come across them again, even if you don't remember very much about the context.

Elsewhere, the toughest area of the grid for me was the NE, which got bypassed as I worked down the puzzle and was reluctantly tackled at the end. Although 13-Down was obvious from the get-go, all the other downs in this area played hard-to-get and the acrosses weren't much help either. Eventually I worked my way into this morass by guessing Eli at 21-Across and then foul-ups at 12-Down. Knowing the last two letters of 9-Across, I then managed to recall Hoffa from somewhere and the corner was completed.

Patrick Merrell is one of the quartet of Patricks whose puzzles feature in Patricks' Puzzle Pandemonium, being a collection of their work from the defunct New York Sun. This is one of three puzzle books I'm working through at the moment: it's got a nice variety of themed and themeless puzzles of a range of difficulties ... plus the cutest cover I've ever seen on a crossword book!
Solving time: 13 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 52a palm {Date maker}

Patrick Merrell
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


Puns on phrases with a repeated word, the repeated part being in two different spellings in the answer.
17a wee whee monsieur {Instruction to an overexcited Frenchman?} cf oui, oui, monsieur
23a deep dew due {Really wet grass expected tomorrow morning?} cf deep doo doo
34a sew and sow {What quilting farmers do?} cf so and so
45a waves by buy {Whitecaps next to an underpriced beachfront property?} cf waves bye bye
53a weigh whey easier {Simplify things at a ricotta factory?} cf way way easier
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersPatrick Merrell / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers74 (average length 5.05)
Theme squares59 (31.6%)
Scrabble points316 (average 1.69)
Video of the Day

9a Hoffa {1992 Jack Nicholson title role}. Hoffa is a 1992 biographical film based on the life and mysterious death of Teamsters Union leader Jimmy Hoffa. Although it chronicles Hoffa's early years in Michigan to his leadership in New York City and Washington, D.C. and his death in a Detroit suburb, almost all of the film was shot in and around Pittsburgh with the city's landmarks (such as Gateway Center in the "Idlewild Airport" police pullover scene, and the Mellon Institute depicting government buildings) serving as backdrops for the various locales in the film. Jack Nicholson plays James R. "Jimmy" Hoffa, and Danny DeVito, who directed the movie, plays Hoffa's longtime friend Robert "Bobby" Ciaro. The Ciaro character is actually an amalgamation of several Hoffa associates over the years. The film is marketed with the tagline "The man who was willing to pay the price for power."

The Doctor is IN

30a EEs {Wirers, say: Abbr.}. EE = electrical engineer.

31a gate {Box office}. Equivalent in the sense of income from admissions.

62a Otts {Hockey's Steve and baseball's Mel}. Steve Ott and Mel Ott.

36d Ipanema {Beach locale of song}. Reference to The Girl from Ipanema.

39d Amelias {Some Amys, Emmas and Mias}. The three names in the clue are potential diminutives of Amelia?

41d ens {Not the longest dashes}. en (dashes) with respect to em (dashes).

54d Gia {Fashion model Carangi}. Some consider Gia Carangi (1960–1986) to have been the first supermodel.

55d HST {Only 20th-century prez without a coll. degree}. Harry S. Truman's financial constraints ruled out college, and his poor eyesight admission to West Point (his childhood dream).

Image of the Day

48d Brent {London borough containing Wembley Stadium}. Wembley Stadium (or simply Wembley) is a football stadium located in Wembley, in the London Borough of Brent, which opened in 2007 on the site of the old Wembley stadium. The 90,000 capacity venue is second largest stadium in Europe, and serves as England's national stadium. It is the home venue of the England national football team, and hosts the latter stages of the top level domestic club cup competition, the FA Cup. Designed by Foster and Partners and Populous, it includes a partially retractable roof. A signature feature of the stadium, following on from the old Wembley's distinctive Twin Towers, is the 134 metres (440 ft) high Wembley Arch. With a span of 317 metres (1,040 ft), this steel arch is the longest single span roof structure in the world.

Other Clues

1a situ {Archaeologists usually find things in this}; 5a hilt {Cutlass part}; 14a schnauzer {Asta in the book "The Thin Man," e.g.}; 16a throe {Pang}; 19a Fras {Bartolommeo and Angelico}; 20a moo {Call from the field}; 21a Eli {Common Hebrew name}; 22a ALer {Oriole or Tiger, informally}; 27a body art {Tattoos, e.g.}; 29a chop {Hack}; 33a ahems {Interruption causes}; 36a irons {Restrictive wear}; 38a Oise {Auvers-sur-___, last home of Vincent van Gogh}; 39a ace {Top of a suit?}; 42a pelt {Commodity for John Jacob Astor}; 43a Eastman {Camera innovator George}; 49a eels {Some jellied dishes}; 50a env. {Oscars prop: Abbr.}; 51a oar {Put in one's ___}; 52a palm {Date maker}; 59a Omnis {Old Dodge hatchbacks}; 60a one please {Box office request}; 61a nag at {Henpeck}; 63a SSTs {Retired fleet}.

1d SSW {Missoula-to-Boise dir.}; 2d ice floe {Seal's resting place, perhaps}; 3d The Reds {Great American Ball Park team}; 4d unwary {Heedless}; 5d hue {Color}; 6d -ize {Suffix with color}; 7d lemme {Eager beaver's word}; 8d troop {Some scouts}; 9d Hts {Dearborn ___, MI}; 10d oh I {"___ don't know about that"}; 11d Freedom {Bronze statue on top of the U.S. Capitol}; 12d foul-ups {Bobbles}; 13d aerie {Lofty stronghold}; 15d ahs {Sounds of comprehension}; 18d nod {Signal of comprehension}; 22d Abe {"The Simpsons" grampa}; 23d draws {Tournament starting points}; 24d Etta {Jazzy James}; 25d echoes {They repeat whatever you say}; 26d whew! {"That's finally done!"}; 28d agents {Realtors, e.g.}; 32d Eno {Musician Brian}; 33d assay {Evaluate}; 34d sole {Lemon ___}; 35d Dieu {Object of a French prayer}; 37d revving {Gunning}; 40d calmest {Least rocky}; 44d teases {Tempts}; 45d we won! {Victors' cry}; 46d bow {Salaam}; 47d yahoo {Unsophisticated boob}; 52d pal {Chum}; 56d yet {___ again}; 57d EPs {Mini-albums, briefly}; 58d res {Hi-___}.


Daniel Myers said...

Fun puzzle - Nice to see (63A) SSTS not incorrectly clued.

Crossword Man said...

Yes, don't mention the wings!

Daniel Myers said...

"apterous" is the word!:-)

Crossword Man said...

Very apt Myers.

Linda J said...

However, Asta from the Thin Man was NOT a schnauzer, she was a Fox Terrier (14 across)

Mick said...

However, Asta was a schnauzer in the book.

Crossword Man said...

Yup. Looks like the Asta clue was carefully worded to wrongfoot solvers.