Sunday, July 4, 2010

NYT Monday 7/5/10 Jill Denny and Jeff Chen - A Bit Different

I love the theme of this Monday New York Times crossword, which takes the "things of a kind" idea to an extra level by adding an A on the front. Amazingly what was a body part now has a figurative meaning; since I doubt there are much more than four parts you can do this trick to, it's miraculous this theme could be pulled off at all ... one of those "wish I'd thought of it" ideas.

The puzzle didn't feel particularly straightforward as I was solving, because I kept stalling on clues where I needed more cross-checking to see the answer. So it was surprising to see no more than 5 minutes on the clock when I was done ... it felt longer.

Nevertheless, I didn't during all that time intuit what was going on with the theme. Stepping back after the grid was done, it was obvious ... it seems to me that grids where the long answers run in different directions (both across and down) make it harder to see the patterns involved in the theme.
Solving time: 5 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 60a whoa {Horse's halter?}
Solution

Jill Denny and Jeff Chen
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

Phrases whose last word is A plus a body part, as indicated by 38a apart {Separate ... or a hint to this puzzle's theme}.
20a full speed ahead! {"Go!"}
56a the game is afoot {Sherlock Holmes phrase, when on a case}
10d taken aback {Surprised and flustered}
26d two abreast {Going in side-by-side pairs}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersJill Denny and Jeff Chen / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 40 (17.8%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.87)
Theme squares53 (28.6%)
Scrabble points308 (average 1.66)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



6d Time Warp {Dance in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"}. The Time Warp is a song and dance featured in the rock musical The Rocky Horror Show and in the film adaption The Rocky Horror Picture Show, performed during the chorus of the song of the same name. The song is both an example and a parody of the dance song genre in which much of the content of the song is given over to dance step instructions. The dance is one of the major audience-participation activities during screenings of the film and performances of the show. It has become a popular song beyond the reaches of the film and show, and is often played at dances and weddings. Cover versions have been recorded by such artists as Alvin and the Chipmunks, Black Lace, Damian, Groovie Ghoulies, Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers, and Sebastian Bach of the heavy metal band Skid Row, as well as an Italian adaptation by Elio e le Storie Tese and a Spanish adaptation by the pop group Timbiriche.

The Doctor is IN

45a Coen {"Fargo" director}. Fargo was produced, directed and written by brothers Joel and Ethan Coen.

64a Esmé {Salinger heroine}. A reference to the title character in the short story For Esmé – with Love and Squalor.

4d dell {Farmer's place, in a children's ditty}. Referring to the nursery rhyme The Farmer in the Dell.

32d Lila {Reader's Digest co-founder Wallace}. Reader's Digest was co-founded in 1922 by wife and husband Lila Bell Wallace and DeWitt Wallace.

Image of the Day

matzo ball soup

62a matzo {___ ball soup}. Matzah balls, also known as קניידלאך kneydlach (pl.) (kneydl, singular) in Yiddish, (also kneydls, matza balls, matzoh balls, or matzo balls) are a traditional Ashkenazi (East-European Jewish) dumpling made from matzah meal (ground matzo). Some recipes may add a number of ingredients, such as stock and seasonings (for taste) or seltzer or baking powder (for fluffiness). Traditionally, the fat had been schmaltz (chicken fat), which imparts a distinctive flavor, but vegetable oils or margarine may be used. Butter is not used as milk products are not allowed to be used in chicken (meat) soup in accordance with the rules of kashrut. There are also recipes for fat-free Matzah balls.

The balls are shaped by hand and dropped into a pot of salted, boiling water or chicken soup. Keeping one's hands wet is vital when handling the sticky dough. The balls swell during the boiling time of approximately 20 minutes, and come out light or dense, depending on the precise recipe. Matzah balls are roughly spherical and can range anywhere from a couple of centimeters in diameter to the size of a large orange, depending on preference. They can be frozen and reheated in soup.

Other Clues

1a credo {Doctrine}; 6a Tess {"___ of the D'Urbervilles"}; 10a tuft {Bit of hair standing up}; 14a homed {Targeted, with "in on"}; 15a iron {Fe, on the periodic table}; 16a aloe {Burn soother}; 17a agile {Nimble}; 18a mire {Entangle}; 19a Knox {Fort ___ (gold repository)}; 23a fee {Doctor's charge}; 24a saw {Glimpsed}; 25a IKON {Big name in copiers}; 26a tada! {"Look how perfectly I performed!"}; 27a dynamic {Vigorous}; 31a flew {Aviated}; 34a URL {Web address, for short}; 36a ebony {Wood for black piano keys, once}; 37a limo {V.I.P.'s transport}; 41a Atra {Razor brand}; 42a alias {Billy the Kid, for Henry McCarty}; 44a Mir {Bygone Russian space station}; 46a garbled {Messed up, as a message}; 49a peck {Eat like a bird}; 51a rune {Anglo-Saxon writing symbol}; 52a tel. {No. starting with an area code}; 53a Cos. {Firms: Abbr.}; 60a whoa {Horse's halter?}; 61a mild {Temperate}; 63a ears {Big rabbit features}; 65a otter {Animal that plays along streams}; 66a tint {Shade of color}; 67a less {More's opposite}; 68a ready {All set}.

1d chaff {Grain husks}; 2d rogue {Scalawag}; 3d Émile {Author Zola}; 5d Odessa {Black Sea port}; 7d Erie {Cleveland's lake}; 8d sordid {Vile}; 9d sneaky {Underhanded}; 11d ulna {Bone that parallels the radius}; 12d food {Groceries}; 13d Tex {Moniker for a Lone Star cowboy}; 21d Padua {Italian city where "The Taming of the Shrew" is set}; 22d hone {Sharpen, as a knife}; 28d Moto {Mr. ___, John P. Marquand detective}; 29d in re {About, on a memo}; 30d cyan {Greenish blue}; 31d flag {Old Glory, for one}; 33d emir {Arab ruler}; 35d lam {Take it on the ___ (flee)}; 39d riptides {Dangerous ocean currents}; 40d trees {Oak and teak}; 43d slug {Hit hard, as a baseball}; 47d enamel {Tooth cover}; 48d demise {Death}; 50d clamor {Hullabaloo}; 53d cotta {Terra ___ (tile material)}; 54d oozed {Seeped}; 55d story {Tale}; 56d Thai {Southeast Asian cuisine}; 57d horn {Tooter}; 58d elms {Classic street liners}; 59d fate {Destiny}; 60d wet {Drenched}.

2 comments:

Occasional Constructor said...

Agreed--Wish I'd thought of it, too. Amazing what one can squeeze out of a 15x grid, if all the stars align. I'd rate this a near masterpiece; and it's a debut, to boot!

Crossword Man said...

Oops ... missed the debut ... Jill Denny and Jeff Chen are now in the sidebar. Thanks!