Monday, May 10, 2010

NYT Tuesday 5/11/10 - Shaken, Not Stirred

We just had time to watch this week's episode of How I Met Your Mother and were tickled to see Will Shortz stealing the show. We even get an explanation of why Ulee of Ulee's Gold appears so often in New York Times crosswords ... because of all the vowels of course!!! This may just be a sneaky ploy to save Ulee (who coincidentally - ? - appears at 18-Across today) from going On Notice! Well it worked, Ulee definitely isn't the party bore today.

I've not seen a way to embed the episode, or indeed a clip of it, tonight, but I'll do that as soon as I can. This Tuesday New York Times puzzle kept reminding me of the "snooty party", what with the martini theme and 30a blast {Party that's a wow} as well as 31a luxe {Posh}.

The theme strikes me as pleasingly different from the norm, with the longer theme answers being ways of presenting a martini; that aspect of the theme is very tight, but the cluing is via a more haphazard association. The straight up reference meant nothing to me until I researched it with Wikipedia and discovered it is the name of a Paula Abdul single.

Some delightful vocabulary has been worked into the grid: I particularly like mosh pit and phat; and TiVoed too. Lots to enjoy. I'd heard of all these answers, so wasn't too put out by their appearance. But the puzzle overall was fairly challenging for a Tuesday: I had trouble with the NW corner (ECCO and E.B.White were the main problems), NE corner (held up by oodles instead of oceans) and halfway up the left hand side (I couldn't get Yugo or complete extra olive until I saw through the enigmatic eye test clue).
Solving time: 9 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 62a fever {It's not good to run one}
Solution

Keith Talon
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

Ways to serve a Martini, as indicated by 37a martini {Cocktail called "the elixir of quietude" by 4-Down}, clued punningly.
20a on the rocks {Tiger and Elin Woods's 37-Across order?} ... Woods's marriage is "on the rocks"?
53a straight up {Paula Abdul's 37-Across order?} ... her 1988 single was Straight Up
11d with a twist {O. Henry's 37-Across order?} ... O . Henry specialized in twist endings
29d extra olive {Popeye's 37-Across order?} ... Popeye's sweetheart is Olive Oyl
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersKeith Talon / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.79)
Theme squares47 (25.1%)
Scrabble points323 (average 1.73)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



46d Diablo {Cisco Kid's horse}. The Cisco Kid refers to a character found in numerous film, radio, television and comic book series based on the fictional Western character created by O. Henry in his 1907 short story "The Caballero's Way", published in the collection Heart of the West. In movies and television, the Kid was depicted as a heroic Mexican caballero, even though he was originally a cruel outlaw. Renault Renaldo Duncan (1904–1980), better known as Duncan Renaldo, was an American actor who portrayed The Cisco Kid in films and on the 1950-1956 American TV series, The Cisco Kid (see above). As Cisco, Renaldo roamed the Old West on a black and white horse named Diablo, accompanied by his constant companion, Pancho, played by Leo Carrillo, who was twenty-four years Renaldo's senior.

The Doctor is IN

18a Ulee {Beekeeper played by Peter Fonda}. The title character (short for Ulysses) in Ulee's Gold (1997).

32a fool {One pitied by Mr. T}. "I pity the fool" was a catchphrase in The A-Team, the fool being H.M. "Howling Mad" Murdock.

42a eMac {Apple originally marketed to schools}. eMac = education Mac was sold between 2002 and 2006.

52a UNLV {Runnin' Rebels' sch.}. University of Nevada, Las Vegas is in The Crucy League.

65a Fredo {The hapless Corleone}. Fredo Corleone, played by John Cazale in The Godfather and sequel.

67a Tink {"Peter Pan" fairy, for short}. Tinker Bell is sometimes shortened to Tink in Peter Pan and Peter and Wendy.

32d FTC {Consumer protection agcy.}. FTC = Federal Trade Commission.

 59d SRO {B'way success sign}. SRO = Standing Room Only.

Image of the Day

Snellen chart
27a eye test {It might start "E FP TOZ LPED"}. A reference to the Snellen chart, used by eye care professionals and others to measure visual acuity. Snellen charts are named after the Dutch ophthalmologist Herman Snellen who developed the chart during 1862. The symbols on an acuity chart are formally known as "optotypes." In the case of the traditional Snellen chart, the optotypes have the appearance of block letters, and are intended to be seen and read as letters. They are not, however, letters from any ordinary typographer's font. They have a particular, simple geometry in which (1) the thickness of the lines equals the thickness of the white spaces between lines and the thickness of the gap in the letter "C"; (2) the height and width of the optotype (letter) is five times the thickness of the line.

Other Clues

1a edge {Defeat, barely}; 5a TIPS {Word on a bar worker's jar}; 9a jewel {Gem}; 14a carb {Pasta or potato, for short}; 15a amie {Savoie sweetheart}; 16a alive {Still in the game}; 17a crow {Brag}; 19a motif {Recurring melody}; 23a phat {Super, slangily}; 24a in use {Sign on a locked lavatory}; 25a oceans {Vast amounts}; 30a blast {Party that's a wow}; 31a luxe {Posh}; 33a wop {Doo-___ music}; 36a agt. {Actor's rep: Abbr.}; 40a Ike {1950s campaign nickname}; 41a nor {___'easter}; 43a MSRP {New car sticker fig.}; 44a Atlas {Figure of Greek myth with a statue at Rockefeller Center}; 46a Dakotas {1889 statehood achievers, with "the"}; 49a quoits {Ringtoss game}; 51a miles {A marathon has about 26 of these}; 58a adiós! {"Later, amigo!"}; 60a abbé {French cleric}; 61a pedi- {Foot: Prefix}; 62a fever {It's not good to run one}; 63a kiln {Potter's oven}; 64a iron {Mineral in hemoglobin}; 66a egos {Things that modest people lack}.

1d ECCO {Shoe company founded in Denmark}; 2d darn! {"Phooey!"}; 3d grot {Small cavern, in poetry}; 4d E. B. White {"The Elements of Style" updater}; 5d Taurus {Sign after Aries}; 6d I'm lost {"Please help me with directions!"}; 7d piece {Jigsaw puzzle element}; 8d seek {Be "it," in a game}; 9d jam {Wing it, musically}; 10d elopes {Skips the dos before the I do's?}; 12d Evian {Aquafina rival}; 13d lefts {Some turns and boxing punches}; 21d ENE {Opposite WSW}; 22d Solon {Wise old Athenian}; 26d Cali {City known as Colombia's sports capital}; 27d élan {Pizazz}; 28d Yugo {"Car Talk" dubbed it "the worst car of the millennium"}; 30d Boi {Avril Lavigne's "Sk8er ___"}; 34d okra {Vegetable in Cajun cuisine}; 35d peps {Livens, with "up"}; 37d melt {Cheesy sandwich}; 38d amass {Collect}; 39d RAs {Dorm figures, for short}; 43d mosh pit {Frenzied place at a rock club}; 45d TiVoed {Recorded for later viewing}; 47d aliens {"The X-Files" figures}; 48d keg {Big beer buy}; 49d quaff {Hearty drink}; 50d under {Hypnotized or anesthetized}; 51d Mr Big {Head honcho}; 54d take {Help oneself to}; 55d Teri {Garr of "Tootsie"}; 56d udon {Noodles with tempura}; 57d pink {Medium-rare steak color}.

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