Wednesday, June 30, 2010

NYT Thursday 7/1/10 Clive Probert - Inspect A Rebus

This Thursday New York Times crossword is decidedly rebus-based, and yet the term "rebus" seems to have been adopted in America for puzzles where more than one letter is written in a square. I'm not sure how that peculiar usage came about, but it means I have to be careful when describing something as a "rebus puzzle".

The nature of the theme was clear within the first minute, when I noticed the cross reference from 1-Across to the clue below and immediately thought of eggs over easy. Then I knew what to expect, although I was also prepared for left-right juxtapositions and those didn't materialize: the constructor went for a streamlined set of over/under answers, which is both completely symmetrical in position, and balanced in having over opposite under everywhere. Neat!
Anagram Map of the London Underground
As I was solving, I noted the real danger with this idea: that having two entries relating to a single clue together can leave a gaping hole if you fail to solve the clue. This happened to me in the northeast corner (where the answer is the horribly familiar London Underground ... isn't that ironic!) and that corner stayed stubbornly empty until I worked my way into from a different direction. (Looking for a tube map, I found the highly amusing one above with anagrams of each station .... have fun working them out!)

The constructor(s) may have erred on the side of caution, as I found most of the cluing to be very straightforward and this resulted in one of the fastest Thursday times I think I've recorded. My nine minute solving time is certainly WAY faster than the 25+ minutes I've experienced in the last couple of weeks.
Solving time: 9 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 28d drop-outs {Classless group?}
Solution

Clive Probert
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

The middle of a three-part phrase is implied by the juxtaposition of two grid entries:
1a/14a eggs over easy {Breakfast order?}
16a/8a London Underground {World's oldest subway system?}
34a/42a one over par {Bogey?}
45a/42a one under par {Birdie?}
70a/67a you are under arrest {Dreaded words from a cop?}
69a/72a mind over body {Motto of a fitness trainer?}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersClive Probert / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 44 (19.6%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.64)
Theme squares49 (27.1%)
Scrabble points281 (average 1.55)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



44a These {"___ Eyes" (1969 hit)}. These Eyes is a song by the Canadian rock band The Guess Who. The song was co-written by the group's lead guitarist Randy Bachman and lead singer Burton Cummings and originally included on the band's 1968 album Wheatfield Soul. Bachman had the original piano chords with a title of These Arms. Cummings changed the title to These Eyes and added the middle eight. The song has been used in the films Now and Then (1995), Stay (2005) and Superbad (2007).

The Doctor is IN

15a lei {Romanian "dollars"}. lei is the plural of the Romanian currency leu (from their word for "lion").

19a Ottawa {Pontiac, for one}. Reference to Chief Pontiac, an Ottawa leader.

47a Uru. {Winner of the first World Cup: Abbr.}. Uru. = Uruguay, FIFA World Cup winners in 1930 and 1950.

58a SNL {Longtime TV inits.}. SNL = Saturday Night Live.

3d GSA {Govt. office supplier}. GSA = General Services Administration is in Alphabet Soup.

11d Udall {One of a Western political family}. The Udall family has been in politics over 100 years and four generations.

51d Spiro {Dick's partner}. Spiro Agnew, the veep under President Richard "Tricky Dick" Nixon.

62d zoo {Morning ___ (radio format)}. See morning zoo.

64d mio {Puccini's "O ___ babbino caro"}. O mio babbino caro (Oh my dear papa) is an aria from  Gianni Schicchi.

Image of the Day

alligator gar

2d gar {Long-nosed fish}. The gar and the ged are two crossword pikes I learned from cryptics. The term gar, or garpike for long, is strictly applied to members of the Lepisosteidae, a family including seven living species of fish in two genera that inhabit fresh, brackish, and occasionally marine, waters of eastern North America, Central America, and the Caribbean islands. In British English the name gar was originally used for a species of needlefish, Belone belone, found in the North Atlantic, itself likely named after the Old English word gar meaning "spear". Belone belone is now more commonly referred to as the "garpike" or "gar fish" to avoid confusion with the North American gars of the family Lepisosteidae. The alligator gar Atractosteus spatula (shown above) is the biggest, with specimens recorded up to 3 metres (9.8 ft) in length.

Other Clues

5a ETs {U.F.O. crew}; 17a grab {Show greed or impatience}; 18a yak {Fat-mouth}; 20a ads {___ by Google}; 22a haw! {"Left!"}; 24a à la {Like}; 25a decried {Condemned}; 29a deeply {With fervor}; 31a upriver {Away from the mouth}; 32a HDL {Good cholesterol, for short}; 33a coati {Raccoon relative}; 36a erect {Put up}; 41a acted {Put on a show}; 43a copra {Coconut oil source}; 46a tacit {Implied}; 49a noisome {Sickening}; 51a snap at {Answer angrily}; 54a trotter {Entry at a hippodrome}; 55a pat {Like some answers}; 56a tsk {When repeated, it might accompany a finger wag}; 59a Pius II {15th-century pontiff who was the only pope to write an autobiography}; 61a Uzi {Weapon in "The Terminator"}; 63a amie {Confidante, say}; 68a Ron {Actor Moody of "Oliver!"}; 71a too {"___ bad!"}.

1d EEG {Result of a certain med. test}; 4d sybarites {Lovers of luxury}; 5d Elysée {Parisian palace}; 6d tea {What the Mad Hatter pours on the Dormouse to wake it up}; 7d Sikh {Turban wearer}; 8d glowed {Was radiant}; 9d rot {Balderdash}; 10d on tap {Ready}; 12d no way! {"Keep dreaming!"}; 13d DNA {"CSI" topic, often}; 21d divide up {Split}; 23d adherent {Stalwart supporter}; 25d ducat {Coin in "The Merchant of Venice"}; 26d epoch {Eocene, e.g.}; 27d crate {Jalopy}; 28d drop-outs {Classless group?}; 30d election {Run for it}; 35d nan {Tandoori-baked bread}; 37d roast lamb {Traditional Easter entree}; 38d Epcot {Florida tourist attraction}; 39d crime {Bookstore section}; 40d tater {Spud}; 48d ratite {Many an Australian bird}; 50d Orsino {"Twelfth Night" duke}; 52d Nauru {Pacific republic}; 53d at sea {Not like a landlubber}; 57d Kurt {Mathematician Gödel}; 59d pay {Subject of union negotiations}; 60d Isr. {Neighbor of Syr.}; 65d Ind. {Neighbor of Ill.}; 66d Edy {Joseph who co-founded an ice cream company}.

2 comments:

Gareth Bain said...

Was also was wondering whether I could call this puzzle a rebus or not!

Had the same experience as you but in the top-left where I was expecting another UNDER gimmick. This and some unnecessary hesitation in the middle-lift made for slower than normal Thursday here.

Crossword Man said...

It occurred to me later that "rebus" might have originally been used because of the many times a picture can appear in place of the multiple letters, as in I ♥ NY. But there are now lots of "rebus puzzles" where you have multi-letter squares without them corresponding to anything pictorial.