Monday, May 17, 2010

NYT Tuesday 5/18/10 - New Ulsters

This Tuesday New York Times crossword was a neat one based on "mixed results". We were trusted today to work out where the jumbles were embedded and not given little circles to point them out - fine by me.

The one oddity with the implementation, in my view, is the choice of steel trusses for the middle example. This seemed both a little obscure and relatively uninteresting as an answer. I looked at the options in TEA and was struck by how few alternatives there were ... none really commends itself over steel trusses. So maybe this grid is about the best you can do with the basic idea.

The non-theme aspects of the puzzle were reasonably straightforward: the only place where I had any hesitation was in the SE corner, where Ottis seemed an unlikely forename. Accordingly I triple-checked all the across answers and couldn't see any possibility of mistake with them ... sure enough Ottis Jerome "O.J." Anderson is a retired running back who played for the St. Louis Cardinals (1979-1986) and New York Giants (1986-1992).

Postscript: I had one letter wrong when I first created this post {Blog addition} ... steams/set instead of steamy/yet at the bottom middle. Hard to see how I could look at either of those clues and get the wrong answer, let alone both! But it clearly happened, so my apologies and thanks to Gerry for alerting me.
Solving time: 6 mins (solo, no solving aids, two wrong answers)
Clue of the puzz: 66a Eddie {Little Munster}

Peter A. Collins
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


Embedded jumbles of RESULTS, as indicated by 56a mixed results {Unclear outcome ... or what can be found literally in 20-, 29- and 47-Across}.
20a horse rustler {Thief in a western}
29a steel trusses {Some metal frames}
47a Robert's Rules {Parliamentary procedure guide, familiarly}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersPeter A. Collins / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.85)
Theme squares48 (25.4%)
Scrabble points276 (average 1.46)
Video of the Day

41a Steve {"All About ___," 2009 Sandra Bullock bomb}. All About Steve got some publicity in crossword circles last fall because Sandra Bullock's character is supposedly a puzzle maker. Although the movie got rotten reviews I was curious to see it and had the perfect opportunity on the flight to (or maybe from) England on our last visit. The movie was perfect for that purpose: I watched maybe the first half hour before it put me to sleep and then most of the rest of the movie later on. I didn't think it quite as bad as critics made out. I have since wondered who acted as the crossword consultant for the production team: if (s)he was in the credits, the writing was too small to be visible on the in-flight screen. The trailer above conveys the flavor of the film, but doesn't involve crosswords at all (perhaps marketing folks thought mention of puzzles would put 99% of the potential audience off).

The Doctor is IN

14a Adele {Dance partner for Fred}. Adele Astaire partnered younger brother Fred Astaire in his pre-Hollywood days.

19a nexus {Link}. nexus ("connection" in Latin) = link is in Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.

35a Sta. {Penn, e.g.: Abbr.}. Reference to Pennsylvania Station in New York City, and elsewhere.

65a mtn. {Chain part: Abbr.}. mtn. = mountain, as might be found in a chain.

66a Eddie {Little Munster}. Eddie Munster is the werewolf son of Herman and Lily Munster.

10d over {In the strike zone}. Presumably over = over home plate and so in the strike zone.

22d Lars {TV husband of Phyllis}. Reference to Phyllis, the second spin-off of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Image of the Day

pine nuts

9d pine nuts {Pesto ingredients}. Mmm ... pine nuts. I wondered if these delicious ingredients actually came from pine trees or were so called because it looked like they might. Yes, pine nuts are the edible seeds of pines (family Pinaceae, genus Pinus); about 20 species of pine produce seeds large enough to be worth harvesting; in other pines the seeds are also edible, but are too small to be of great value as a human food. In North America, the main species are three of the pinyon pines, Colorado Pinyon (Pinus edulis), Single-leaf Pinyon (Pinus monophylla), and Mexican Pinyon (Pinus cembroides). In the United States, pine nuts are mainly harvested by American Indians, particularly the Shoshone, Paiute, Washoe, and Hopi tribes. Certain treaties negotiated by tribes and laws in Nevada guarantee Native Americans' right to harvest pine nuts.

Other Clues

1a salad {You might fix one yourself at a bar}; 6a Esq. {Abbr. after a lawyer's name}; 9a posts {Blog additions}; 15a peu {Little, in Lille}; 16a Ivory {"99 and 44/100% pure" soap}; 17a shelf {Place for knickknacks}; 18a am I {"What ___ to do?"}; 23a ACs {Rm. coolers}; 24a cul {___-de-sac}; 25a -ian {Suffix with Orwell}; 26a ere {Bard's "before"}; 32a ABBA {"Dancing Queen" group}; 36a states {They're red or blue, on some maps}; 37a Plan B {Emergency strategy}; 39a STL {N.L. cap letters}; 42a aortas {Main lines}; 44a EOS {Canon camera line}; 46a Eres {"___ Tu" (1974 hit)}; 50a TDs {Outcomes of some QB sneaks}; 51a fat {Bacon runoff}; 52a -gon {Suffix with penta-}; 53a go a {___ few rounds (spar)}; 59a do-rag {Hip-hopper's headgear}; 62a AAA {Battery for many penlights}; 63a units {Modular elements}; 64a e-cash {PayPal money, e.g.}; 67a N-test {SALT subject}; 68a yet {To date}; 69a doest {Accomplish, biblically}.

1d Sasha {The younger Obama girl}; 2d ad hoc {Specially formed, as a committee}; 3d leers {Lascivious looks}; 4d alls {Tell-___ (some bios)}; 5d defect {Reason for a merchandise return}; 6d epaulets {Adornments on officers' shoulders}; 7d sems. {Coll. terms}; 8d quit it! {"Knock that off!"}; 11d Sox {Beantown or Chi-Town team}; 12d Tru {Play about Capote}; 13d Sys. {Part of CBS: Abbr.}; 21d rues {They intersect in Montréal}; 26d ester {Perfumery compound}; 27d Reeve {Christopher of "Somewhere in Time"}; 28d esses {Slalom paths}; 29d santé {"À votre ___!"}; 30d later! {"I'm outta here!"}; 31d sates {Fills to the gills}; 32d apart {In pieces}; 33d blood {Red Cross supply}; 34d barbs {Verbal digs}; 38d bar fight {A bouncer might break one up}; 40d Lou Grant {TV boss of Mary Richards}; 43d Stax {Record label for Booker T. & the M.G.'s}; 45d sloe {Gin flavoring}; 48d steamy {Like a Turkish bath}; 49d ensued {Came next}; 53d glide {Go like a flying squirrel}; 54d Ottis {Super Bowl XXV M.V.P. ___ Anderson}; 55d asset {Item in the plus column}; 56d mass {Communion service}; 57d date {See socially}; 58d Undo {"Go back," on an edit menu}; 59d den {TV room}; 60d Oct. {World Food Day mo.}; 61d Rae {"Norma ___"}.


Anonymous said...

As a Dutchman living in a non-English speaking country, I always have considerable more difficulties in solving these as our Englishman, and mostly can not do it without (internet) solving aids and of course as today's Plan B: this website! I find most of the clues (many on hindsight) logical, but todays SALT is definitely wrong: this was a treaty limiting the NUMBER of USA and USSR strategical nukes (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks) and not a ban on N-testing: this can be found in the PTBT and CTBT (Partial and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaties). Onno Kervers, Istanbul

Anonymous said...

"To date" is "set"? Not "yet"? Methinks I spy an error. My change would make "steams" into "steamy" which is equally good if not better.


Crossword Man said...

Thanks Onno. I was a bit suspicious of {SALT subject} for N-test, but don't know much about the area. "subject" allows quite a bit of wiggle room and since T stands for "Talks", it's conceivable N-tests were discussed even if not ending up in the treaty. You're right it's not a great clue and I don't much care for the A-test, H-test and N-test family of answers anyway ... these now seem very dated headlinese.

Crossword Man said...

Thanks Gerry. I've made the correction and added a postscript.