Tuesday, June 8, 2010

NYT Wednesday 6/9/10 - Seeing Red

Plumbeous Water-Redstart (Male)
Although it isn't evident from my solving time, I thought I made rather heavy weather of this Wednesday New York Times crossword. I didn't see the connection between the theme answers, despite having at least three of them and then wanted something like zebra finch for the "boldly patterned" bird. I haven't really had a clear idea of what a redstart looks like till now. Based on the accompanying pic, I wouldn't say the bird is particularly boldly patterned, but maybe some species are bolder than others?

Once I got the central answer, all became clear and I could focus on the remaining pockets of resistance in the grid. An area that needed my new-found knowledge of all things baseball was the crossing of 45-Down Lasorda with 57-Across thro: I instinctively threw down thru for the across answer, but then saw how absurd Lasurda looked ... a year ago it might not have stood out as incongruous. Incidentally, the Burns poem is the only reference constructors seem to have dug up to justify thro' - if it's not given a fill-in-the-blank like today's clue, then you get {Poetic preposition} etc.

40d Cabaret {1966 musical based on "I Am a Camera"} reminds me of one of the neatest barbs of all time: before Cabaret came along, there was a less successful 1955 film adaptation of I Am A Camera starring Laurence Harvey and Julie Harris. This adaptation earned the infamous review by Walter Kerr, "Me no Leica".
Solving time: 8 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 5d sod {Stuff sold in rolls}

Gary Whitehead
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


Theme answers start with shades of red, as indicated by 34a redstarts {Boldly patterned warblers ... and a hint to 17-, 24-, 50- and 59-Across}.
17a blood-money {Part of a drug lord's income, maybe} cf blood red
24a cherry crush {Fruity soda} cf cherry red
50a Ruby Tuesday {Rolling Stones hit of 1967} cf ruby red
59a bricklayer {Certain mason} cf brick red
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersGary Whitehead / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 34 (15.1%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 5.03)
Theme squares51 (26.7%)
Scrabble points316 (average 1.65)
Video of the Day

57a Thro' {"Comin' ___ the Rye"}. Comin' Through the Rye is a poem written by Robert Burns (1759-1796). It is well known as a traditional children’s song, with the words put to the melody of the Scottish Minstrel Common' Frae The Town. This is a variant of the tune to which Auld Lang Syne is usually sung - in fact the melodic shape is practically the same, the difference lying in the tempo and rhythm. The above version is by Eddi Reader and illustrated with snaps from a Highlands holiday.

The Doctor is IN

6a Macs {Machines that run Panther or Leopard}. Panther and Leopard are the fourth and sixth releases of Mac OS X, Apple’s desktop and server operating system.

23a Edo {Shogun's capital}. Edo, the former name of Tokyo, was the seat of power for the Tokugawa shogunate which ruled Japan from 1603 to 1868.

49a Selena {Singer portrayed in film by Jennifer Lopez}. J.Lo played Tejano music star Selena Quintanilla-Pérez (1971-1995) in the biopic Selena (1997).

61a Orem {City in Utah}. The most notable thing about Orem, UT, like Enid, OK, is how often it appears in crosswords.

6d Moore {Actress Mary Tyler ___}; 7d Asner {Co-star of 6-Down in 1970s TV}. Mary Tyler Moore and Edward Asner play associate producer and boss on MTM.

27d bor. {Staten Isl., for one}. Staten Island is one of the five boroughs of New York City.

36d the Y {Place with a gym}. I.e. the YMCA or YWCA, or conceivably the YMHA or YWHA.

37d Sal {"The best pal that I ever had," in song}. Not a reference to the mule this time, but the Paul Dresser song My Gal Sal.

45d Lasorda {World Series-winning manager of 1981 and 1988}. Tommy Lasorda, the former pitcher and manager.

59d BMI {Ascap alternative}. BMI, ASCAP and SESAC are the three United States performing rights organizations.

Image of the Day


38a Hi-C {Minute Maid drink brand}. Even though the brand has a hyphen, I find it easier to remember as hic, a bit of a hiccup. Hi-C is a juice drink made by the Minute Maid division of The Coca-Cola Company. Hi-C was created by Niles Foster in 1946. It took Foster over a year to develop the ideal formula for Hi-C orange drink, containing orange juice concentrate, peel oil and orange essences, sugar, water, citric acid and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). The name "Hi-C" stressed the vitamin content. Hot-packed in enamel-lined 56-ounce cans, the product needed no refrigeration before opening. After test marketing in 1947, Hi-C orange drink was introduced in 1948 with a massive promotional effort, spending thousands of pre-inflation dollars weekly per market on promotions.

Other Clues

1a épées {Flexible blades}; 10a tofu {Bean curd}; 14a micro- {Prefix with brewery}; 15a Oslo {Home of King Harald V}; 16a iris {Eye part}; 19a no-no {Burping in public, e.g.}; 20a lens {Eye part}; 21a area {Field of expertise}; 22a motes {Small particles}; 26a Mumbai {"Slumdog Millionaire" setting}; 28a even so {Still}; 29a spy on {Watch furtively}; 30a ipsa {Res ___ loquitur}; 33a dew {You might get your feet wet with this}; 41a IMAX {Big film shower}; 42a hazel {Eye shade}; 46a unable {Powerless}; 54a pts. {Liq. measures}; 55a stand {Prepare to recite the Pledge of Allegiance}; 56a glen {Hidden valley}; 58a tera- {Trillion: Prefix}; 62a meta- {Prefix with physics}; 63a acred {Many-___ (large, as an estate)}; 64a note {Half, quarter or eighth follower}; 65a itsy {___-bitsy}; 66a bossa {___ nova}.

1d emblems {Insignia}; 2d piled up {Amassed}; 3d economy {Rental car choice}; 4d Eros {Cupid's Greek counterpart}; 5d sod {Stuff sold in rolls}; 8d clear {Cloudless}; 9d soy {___ milk}; 10d tin ore {Cassiterite, e.g.}; 11d orotund {Like a good speaking voice}; 12d finesse {Deft touch}; 13d USO show {Base entertainment}; 18d mahi {When doubled, a fish}; 22d MCV {When Emperor Henry IV was dethroned}; 24d cane {Fred Astaire prop}; 25d year {Oenophile's concern}; 30d ism {Doctrine}; 31d PTA {Educ. group}; 32d Sax {"Yakety ___," 1963 hit}; 35d dieu {Target of Pierre's prayers}; 38d Hurston {Author Zora Neale ___ of the Harlem Renaissance}; 39d in utero {Not yet born}; 40d Cabaret {1966 musical based on "I Am a Camera"}; 43d zephyrs {Gentle breezes}; 44d entrées {Sides accompaniers}; 47d by name {How famous people are known}; 48d Ltd. {Brit. company name ending}; 49d sank {Went under}; 51d egret {Everglades wader}; 52d slits {Skirt features}; 53d decay {Break down}; 57d Taco {___ Bell}; 60d lab {Science course requirement, maybe}.


Daniel Myers said...

Here are some alternate poetic lines which constructors might like to use to justify "THRO" - from Coleridge's "bird poem" (i.e., The Rime of The Ancient Mariner):

"Every tongue thro' utter drouth
Was wither'd at the root."

I still have the blasted thing memorised from school, down to the orthography.

Crossword Man said...

I wonder which of the ghastly crew will be the first to risk that lonesome road.

Daniel Myers said...

LOL---Aye---(Casting an eye to the right over said spectral specimens)-Perhaps Sir Henry HOOK could be so IMPRESSed - in ye olden sense - ideally on Sunday, September 19 aka International Talk Like A Pirate Day.