Tuesday, June 1, 2010

NYT Wednesday 6/2/10 - What's Your Angle?

This Wednesday New York Times crossword seemed fairly easy, taking me a minute less than yesterday's. I guess it helped that I didn't stress over any of the crossings today: those {Mentholated smokes} at 1-Down could have been Cools I suppose, but knowing of Kobe in Japan got me off the hook. Similarly, once the significance of the mysterious {___ + 4} at 59-Down had been worked out, it helped to have very solid checking for the tougher acrosses in that corner.

The theme is one of the usual category types: although I struggled to land 20-Across as I made my way down the grid, I had no problems over Captain Hook at 35-Across and What's My Line at 42-Across came easily too. Thinking of "hook, line and sinker" suggested what the common theme was, but I looked in vain for a sinker at 56-Across. I suppose should have noted right away that the need for four theme words would rule out the use of this phrase.

I was amused to see another reference to a movie bomb so soon after All About Steve. Is this perhaps the cluing trend de nos jours? The answer to today's {Movie bomb of 2003} turned out to be Gigli, which I of course took to be a biopic about bygone opera star Beniamino Gigli ... not so apparently!

Solving time: 7 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 64a iron {It may let off steam}

Adam Cohen
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


Phrases ending in equipment used for angling.
20a lightning rod {Metaphorical target of attacks}
35a Captain Hook {Captor of Wendy Darling}
42a What's My Line? {Game show originally titled "Occupation Unknown"}
56a Virginia reel {Dance with fiddlers and a caller}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersAdam Cohen / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.97)
Theme squares46 (24.3%)
Scrabble points309 (average 1.63)
Video of the Day

50a Ago {George Harrison's "All Those Years ___"}. All Those Years Ago is a song written by George Harrison, released as a single from the album Somewhere in England. The song was a personal tribute to former bandmate John Lennon, who was murdered by Mark David Chapman on 8 December 1980. Harrison originally wrote the song with different lyrics for Ringo Starr to record. Although he recorded it, Starr felt the vocal was too high for his range and he did not like the words. Harrison took the track back and after Lennon's death the lyrics were changed to reflect a tribute to Harrison's lost friend and colleague. In the song, Harrison makes reference to The Beatles song All You Need is Love and the Lennon song Imagine.

The Doctor is IN

16a Eric {Holder in the Obama cabinet}. Holder = Attorney General Eric is in Pavlov's Guide to Crosswords.

29a Rabe {Broccoli ___}. Broccoli Rabe is another name for rapini.

38a osos {Bears, in Baja}. Bear = oso is in Español para los crucigramistas.

49a Yasir {Oslo Accords partner of Yitzhak and Bill}. Yasir is a less common transliteration of Yasser Arafat's first name.

62a digit {One of 101 in a googol}. A googol is 10100, i.e., 1 followed by one hundred 0s (101 digits in all).

69a Abes {Sawbuck halves}. Slang terms for five- and ten-dollar bills. Lots of math in this puzzle!

4d Esther {"Sanford and Son" aunt}. The bible-toting Aunt Esther (Anderson), played by LaWanda Page.

51d Gigli {Movie bomb of 2003}. Gigli is an homage to Nick Gigli of John Dos Passos's U.S.A. trilogy.

60d Uri {Altdorf's canton}. Also William Tell's Canton ... you've just gotta learn it.

Image of the Day

Pad See Ew
63a Thai {Cuisine that includes pad see ew}. Pad See Ew or Phat Si Io is a Chinese-influenced stir fried noodle dish which is commonly eaten as street food in Laos and Thailand. It is also quite popular in Laotian and Thai restaurants around the world. The literal meaning is "fried (with) soy sauce" and it is very similar to the char kway teow of Singapore and Malaysia. The Lao dish Lard Na and the Thai dish Rad Na are also similar, although Phat Si Io uses a smaller amount of gravy than the other dishes. It is made with dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, garlic, broad rice noodles, called "kway teow sen yai" in Thai (commonly abbreviated to just "sen yai" meaning "big strip"), Chinese broccoli, egg, and some form of thinly sliced meat — commonly pork or chicken. The name comes from the dark soy sauce, which is called "nam see ew", or "see ew" sauce, a loanword from Teochew.

Other Clues

1a Kobe {Japanese beef center}; 5a islet {Speck in the ocean}; 10a haji {Visitor to Mecca}; 14a ores {Sources of gold, e.g.}; 15a stale {Clichéd}; 17a obit. {Bye lines?}; 18a brier {Prickly plant}; 19a Acme {Looney Tunes manufacturer}; 23a steer {Roundup animal}; 24a key {Speck in the ocean}; 25a Masai {Tribesman of Kenya or Tanzania}; 31a pectin {It makes jelly gel}; 32a hog {Grab most of}; 40a Laila {Boxer Ali}; 41a Erle {___ Stanley Gardner}; 45a Kid {The Cisco ___}; 46a Delray {___ Beach, Fla.}; 47a mote {Bit of dust}; 52a narcs {Some border patrol cops}; 59a Zuni {New Mexico native}; 64a iron {It may let off steam}; 65a Allée {Grande ___ (Québec's main drag)}; 66a hasp {Diary fastener}; 67a ping {Unwanted engine sound}; 68a seism {Richter scale event}.

1d Kools {Mentholated smokes}; 2d orbit {Go round and round}; 3d beige {Color that blends well}; 5d ISBN {Amazon.com ID}; 6d strike-pay {Compensation during a work stoppage}; 7d Laine {"Rawhide" singer Frankie}; 8d elegy {Poem of lament}; 9d terr. {La., e.g., from 1805 to 1812}; 10d headache {Ibuprofen target}; 11d arc {Circumference section}; 12d Jim {Olympian Thorpe}; 13d ice {Beverage store buy}; 21d Trac {___ II (razor brand)}; 22d omen {Eclipse, to the impressionable}; 26d stork {Image on many a birth announcement}; 27d aïoli {Garlicky sauce}; 28d inked {Sporting tattoos, slangily}; 30d balmy {Like Indian summer days}; 31d piano {Forte's opposite}; 32d howdy {Cowboy's greeting}; 33d O'Shea {Milo of "The Playboys"}; 34d goals {What a shut-out team may lack}; 36d til {Up to, in ads}; 37d alimonies {Severance package payments?}; 39d striving {Trying hard}; 43d sari {"Slumdog Millionaire" garb}; 44d Etna {Sicilian spewer}; 48d Eartha {Kitt in a cabaret}; 50d agile {Like a ballerina}; 53d rehab {Post-surgery regimen, for short}; 54d cease! {"Give it a rest!"}; 55d slips {Errata}; 57d RDAs {Vitamin label amts.}; 58d item {Agenda part}; 59d zip {___ + 4}; 61d non {___ troppo (moderately, in music)}.

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