Monday, June 28, 2010

NYT Tuesday 6/29/10 Peter A. Collins - Monochrome Display

I found this Tuesday New York Times crossword puzzle rather tougher than usual. I struggled to get going on the left hand side, failing to see snow-leopard early on (maybe it was easier for users of Mac OS X Snow Leopard).

Reaching the central row, I could only put in white to start with and didn't finally see the theme (and hence add black and) till I got to good old {Shamu, for one} at 60-Across, Shamu references have gone from whas? to a gimmes since I started solving.

After this, the going was reasonably good in most areas, but I got stuck on a string of answers in the SW corner. Problems may have come down to having miser for {Choir support}at 55-Down. I was thinking of misericords and imagining a non-existent shortening. I've now seen riser in the platform sense a couple of times in crosswords and since I wasn't aware of that meaning at all in the UK, this suggests an apparently technical sense of riser is more generally known over here.

However, that isn't the whole story: I also struggled to think of answers for {Makeshift seat at a rodeo} at 32-Across, {Cause of a beach closure, maybe} at 33-Down, {Some track-and-field training} at 53-Across, and {Actress Parker} at 54-Down. I'm going to give myself a break and say these were a bit tough for a Tuesday, especially in that combination.

zebra crossingThere's another cultural difference relating to the theme, illustrated by my immediately thinking of panda when I saw {Cop cruiser} at 39-Across: Brits have a habit of naming black and white things seen on the road after animals of a similar stripe:
There's more than that, but I don't want to bore you!
Solving time: 8 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 49a lie {"The dog ate my homework," maybe}
Solution

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

Theme

Monochrome animals, as indicated by 39a/41a/43a black and white {Cop cruiser ... or a description of the five animals named in this puzzle}.

snow-leopard
20a snow-leopard {Asian cat}

Shamu - killer whale
60a killer whale {Shamu, for one}

zebra
13d zebra {Equus quagga}

Jingjing
30d panda {One of the 2008 Olympic mascots}

skunk
53d skunk {Polecat}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersPeter A. Collins / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.85)
Theme squares49 (25.9%)
Scrabble points297 (average 1.57)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



38d Nena {"99 Red Balloons" singer, 1984}. I somehow was aware of this song when it became a UK hit in 1984 and I remembered all but the singer's second letter immediately ... that's unusual, so maybe Nena struck a chord (pardon the pun) with me. 99 Luftballons is a protest song by the German singer Nena, born Gabriele Susanne Kerner. Originally sung in German (as in the clip above), it was later re-recorded in English as 99 Red Balloons. 99 Luftballons reached #1 in West Germany in 1983. In 1984, the original German version also peaked at #2 on the American Billboard Hot 100 chart and the English-language version topped the UK Singles Chart. When it made the charts in the United States, most US radio DJs incorrectly assumed that "99 Luftballons" translated to English as "99 Red Balloons" and spoke the number 99 in English, saying "Ninety-nine Luftballoons."


The Doctor is IN

23a TOR {Blue Jays, on a scoreboard}. TOR = the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team.

34a Sta. {Penn, for one: Abbr.}. Reference to Penn(sylvania) Station.

35a tocsin {Alarm bell}. tocsin n. = "an alarm bell or the ringing of it" is in MWCD11.

21d ears {Prominent features of Alfred E. Neuman}. Alfred E. Neuman is the mascot and iconic cover boy of Mad magazine.

40d Klink {"Hogan's Heroes" colonel}. Wilhelm Klink, played by Werner Klemperer.

54d Posey {Actress Parker}. Parker Posey, sometimes known as the "Queen of the Indies".

55d riser {Choir support}. riser n. = "a stage platform on which performers are placed for greater visibility" is in MWCD11.

63d else {Ultimatum ender}. Reference to the threat "... or else".

Image of the Day

nacho cheese

26d nacho {___ cheese}. A form of processed cheese mixed with peppers and other spices is often used in place of freshly shredded cheese in institutional or large-scale production settings, such as schools, movie theaters, sports venues, and convenience stores, or wherever using freshly grated cheese may be logistically prohibitive. Such processed cheese is referred to in the U.S. as nacho cheese, and alternatively "queso cheese" (or just "queso"). Though originally formulated as a cheaper and more convenient source of cheese to top nachos, this dip has become popular enough in the U.S. that it is available in some Mexican-themed restaurants, and at major grocery stores, in both name-brand (Frito-Lay, Tostitos, and Taco Bell) and off-brand versions. Unlike many European cheeses, "nacho cheese" bears no geographical indication or other regulated guarantee of ingredients, process, or quality, beyond the general legal definition for cheese products as established by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

Other Clues

1a lobby {AARP or the National Rifle Association}; 6a sans {Without: Fr.}; 10a Metz {French city in 1944 fighting}; 14a a Wire {"Bird on ___" (1990 film)}; 15a état {Lafayette's state?}; 16a Arie {Singer India.___}; 17a penal {Kind of code}; 18a nova {Super star}; 19a iamb {Poetic foot}; 24a clear {Net}; 25a Leonora {Heroine of Verdi's "Il Trovatore"}; 27a ECU {Euro forerunner}; 29a drip {Slo-o-ow leak}; 31a Ana {Santa ___ winds}; 32a bale {Makeshift seat at a rodeo}; 44a scroll {Form of many a diploma}; 46a dab {Smidge}; 48a omen {Sign to be interpreted}; 49a lie {"The dog ate my homework," maybe}; 50a amas {"You love," to Livy}; 52a Uma {Thurman of "Pulp Fiction"}; 53a sprints {Some track-and-field training}; 57a prowl {Move stealthily}; 59a koi {Decorative pond fish}; 64a USSR {"Back in the ___"}; 66a toon {Porky Pig, e.g.}; 67a hotel {Building usually without a 13th floor}; 68a need {Penury}; 69a Bête {"La Belle et la ___" (French fairy tale)}; 70a a loss {At ___ for words}; 71a Kyra {Actress Sedgwick of "The Closer"}; 72a estd. {Cornerstone abbr.}; 73a terse {Like the review "Hated it," e.g.}.

1d laps {Track units}; 2d Owen {Wilson of "Wedding Crashers"}; 3d binocular {Like some vision}; 4d brawl {Melee}; 5d yelled {Bellowed}; 6d señorita {Potential enamorada}; 7d atop {On}; 8d naval {Like some exercises}; 9d stare at {Ogle}; 10d mai {___ tai (drink)}; 11d Erato {Poetic Muse}; 12d Timor {Island near Java}; 22d do now {"What should I ___?"}; 27d ebbs {Wanes}; 28d calc {Class after trig}; 33d E. coli {Cause of a beach closure, maybe}; 36d simulator {Flight training equipment}; 37d item {Thing}; 42d dampened {Made less intense}; 45d Let It Be {1970 #1 hit whose title follows the lyric "Speaking words of wisdom ..."}; 47d Barr {Bob ___, 2008 Libertarian candidate for president}; 51d so what? {"Who cares?"}; 56d sloes {Tart fruits}; 58d whole {Intact}; 61d Lott {Former Mississippi senator Trent}; 62d less {Minus}; 65d RDA {Nutritional abbr.}.

2 comments:

Gareth Bain said...

Is it a false impression I get that most cheese sold in America is processed? (Here pukka cheddar and gouda dominate things.)

We have zebra crossings yes, but no pelican or puffin crossings or for that matter those black and white Belisha Beacons. Cop cars aren't called panda cars here either, so that's a 1 out of 3!

Liked the way Peter Collins BLACK/AND/WHITE in the centre was spread over 3 entries. A single-entry central 13 would force an irregular and much tougher to fill-in grid.

Crossword Man said...

Not sure about the cheeses Gareth. We eat a lot of "Swiss" cheese, which comes from the US, region unspecified.

Yes, handling a (5,3,5) phrase like that is ingenious. The June 8 puzzle used the same ploy with Twist and Shout. Could this be the start of a trend?