Saturday, July 17, 2010

NYT Sunday 7/18/10 Robert W. Harris - Short I.E.

This Sunday New York Times crossword has a neat new way of punning on a phrase, by assuming part of a phrase is an abbreviation. The implementation restricts the abbreviations to only two-letter ones, always at the start of the second part of a two-part phrase.

The difficulty of seeing what the answer should be, and the confidence one has in it, depends very much on how recognizable the original phrase is. So I had no problem with Pittsburgh Pirate, but got a bit of grief in the area of accepted usage at 23-Across and strange ordeal at 94-Down, neither of which seems to me a common dictionary and/or encyclopedia entry.

The latter was the most troublesome and the whole SW corner got left to the end to be untangled. I hadn't hitherto heard of tienda, though now it takes pride of place in Español para los crucigramistas. That made everything around it harder to fathom and it didn't help that 115-Across and 116-Across were self-referential.

My only other problem area was at the bottom middle, where I hadn't heard of the banking term at 113-Across {Using fraudulently altered checks} and Wikipedia actual has a somewhat different explanation of what check kiting entails. That caused most problem at the intersections with 98-Down racks and 109-Down Mir, but I could reasonably infer both those answers ... Novy Mir literally translates as "New World".
Solving time: 24 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 94d stile {Steps that a farmer might take}

Robert W. Harris
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


"Critical Periods". The two letters at the start of the second (= last) word of a phrase are reinterpreted as an abbreviation, making a pun:
23a accepted U.S. age {234, as of July 4, 2010?} cf accepted usage
32a the U.N. employed {Workers in a global peace organization?} cf the unemployed
47a Pittsburgh P.I. rate {What gumshoes charge in the City of Bridges?} cf Pittsburgh Pirate
62a bilateral A.C. cord {Symmetrical power conductor for appliances?} cf bilateral accord
83a excessive T.A. riffs {Too much guitar work by a professor's helper?} cf excessive tariffs
94a strange O.R. deal {"Pay in cash and your second surgery is half-price"?} cf strange ordeal
108a common L.A. borer {Typical termite in a California city?} cf common laborer
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersRobert W. Harris / Will Shortz
Grid21x21 with 70 (15.9%) black squares
Answers140 (average length 5.30)
Theme squares99 (26.7%)
Scrabble points552 (average 1.49)
Video of the Day

13d Der {"___ Fuehrer's Face" (1942 Disney short)}. Der Fuehrer's Face is an animated cartoon by the Walt Disney Studios, starring Donald Duck. It was directed by Jack Kinney and released on January 1, 1943 as an anti-Nazi propaganda movie for the American war effort. The film won the 1943 Academy Award for Animated Short Film, and was the only Donald Duck cartoon to win an Oscar. In 1994, it was voted #22 of "the 50 Greatest Cartoons" of all time by members of the animation field.

The Doctor is IN

16a TDs {Things refs raise their arms for}. TDs = touchdowns in American football.

20a Ararat {Pairs' debarking point}. A Noah's Ark reference.

25a Rosanne {Cash in the music business}. I.e. Rosanne Cash, daughter of Johnny.

41a gong {Remove from a talent show, maybe}. A reference to The Gong Show, in which "gonging" someone meant stopping a performer in mid-act.

77a Eagle {Any singer of "Hotel California"}. Eagle = member of The Eagles band.

91a Astin {"The Addams Family" co-star}. John Astin, portrayer of Gomez Addams.

100a tienda {Nuevo Laredo store}. store = tienda is today's addition to Español para los crucigramistas.

6d detent {Locking lever}. See detent.

8d ORU {Tulsa sch.}. ORU = Oral Roberts University is #5 in The Crucy League.

15d La Salle {Explorer who claimed Louisiana for France}. I.e. René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle (1643-1687).

18d Snerd {Bergen's foil}. Mortimer Snerd, a dummy operated by ventriloquist Edgar Bergen (1903–1978).

103d aria {"Che gelida manina," e.g.}. Che gelida manina ("your tiny hand is frozen") is from La bohème.

107d tye {Nautical rope}. For excruciating detail on tyes etc, see this explanation of the terms used in rigging.

Image of the Day

how poi was produced from taro

22d taro {Poi ingredient}. The purple-gray color of poi (right above) makes it appear most unappetizing to me. Poi is the Hawaiian word for the primary Polynesian staple food made from the corm of the taro plant (known in Hawaiian as kalo). Poi is produced by mashing the cooked corm (baked or steamed) to a highly viscous fluid. Water is added during mashing and again just before eating, to achieve a desired consistency, which can range from liquid to dough-like (poi can be known as two-finger or three-finger, alluding to how many fingers you would have to use to eat it, depending on its consistency). Poi made from Taro should not be confused with
  • Samoan poi, which is a creamy dessert created by mashing ripe bananas with coconut cream.
  • Tahitian po'e, which is a sweet, pudding-like dish made with bananas, papaya, or mangoes cooked with manioc and coconut cream.
Other Clues

1a edited {Ready for publication}; 7a colors {Flag}; 13a DSL {Certain Internet connection: Abbr.}; 19a genome {Full chromosome set}; 21a elation {Joy}; 26a D.O.A. {1950 noir film}; 27a tens {Perfect specimens}; 28a torn {Divided}; 30a Warner {___ Bros.}; 31a dyne {Unit of force}; 35a squint {Hard look?}; 38a foist {Pass off as genuine}; 39a cool {Hip}; 40a outré {Unconventional}; 42a take flak {Come under criticism}; 52a jape {Kid}; 53a Ute {Native Coloradan}; 54a tapes {Some court evidence}; 55a odors {Signs of spoilage}; 56a posse {Group following a star?}; 57a port {Left at sea}; 59a DTs {Drinker's problem, for short}; 60a atom {Word that comes from the Greek for "indivisible"}; 61a barhop {Not stay long for shots?}; 67a cavity {Hole}; 70a digs {Makes holes}; 71a ahs {Sounds of understanding}; 72a sari {Wrapped garment}; 76a agile {Nimble}; 79a avast! {"Stop!"}; 81a LAN {Grp. of connected PCs}; 82a pall {What's borne at a funeral}; 86a presplit {Like some English muffins}; 88a oars {Scullers' needs}; 89a elite {Best}; 90a eels {Aquatic shockers}; 93a palest {Most easily sunburned, maybe}; 99a aits {Small islands}; 101a fare {Get along}; 102a Ella {Singer Fitzgerald}; 103a ape {Galoot}; 106a instant {Second}; 112a latency {Inactive state}; 113a kiting {Using fraudulently altered checks}; 114a Flairs {Sharpie alternatives}; 115a ess {Preceder of 116-Across}; 116a tee {Follower of 115-Across}; 117a storer {Pack rat}; 118a sesame {"Opening" word}.

1d egad! {"Good grief!"}; 2d deco {Art ___}; 3d Inca {Quechua speaker}; 4d toe {Low digit}; 5d empty nest {What many older parents face}; 7d cads {Rogues}; 9d Las {___ Cruces}; 10d orates {Elocutes}; 11d ragout {Seasoned stew}; 12d stern {Harsh}; 14d slowpoke {Dawdler}; 16d tinny {Thin-toned}; 17d donee {Recipient}; 24d ENE {General dir. of Sal Paradise's return trip in "On the Road"}; 29d nectar {Peach ___}; 31d dirt {Gossip}; 32d tongs {Grillers' grabbers}; 33d high {On dope}; 34d moats {Things that drawbridges bridge}; 35d sop up {Absorb}; 36d Quito {Headquarters of the Union of South American Nations}; 37d utter {Speak}; 38d forest {"Hansel and Gretel" setting}; 41d Gupta {CNN's Sanjay}; 43d fjords {Northern inlets}; 44d lash {Any tail in a cat-o'-nine-tails}; 45d Apso {Lhasa ___}; 46d keep {Not spoil}; 48d badly {Not well}; 49d potages {Thick soups}; 50d idols {Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga, e.g.}; 51d Roma {Tomato type}; 56d par {Hole number}; 58d T-Bills {Some short-term investments, briefly}; 60d arils {Seed coverings}; 61d bossa {___ nova}; 63d -ite {Adherent: Suffix}; 64d edge {Advantage}; 65d cavern {Site of some paintings}; 66d chats {Informal exchanges}; 67d Capp {Li'l Abner creator}; 68d agar {Food thickener}; 69d vile {Loathsome}; 73d Alfie {1967 Dionne Warwick hit}; 74d rafts {Some constructions on "Survivor"}; 75d inset {Certain detail}; 77d exile {Bobby Fischer, once}; 78d Acts of {Words before "kindness" and "the Apostles"}; 79d avail {Be of use}; 80d treatable {Like diabetes}; 83d elegance {Refinement}; 84d iota {Tiny bit}; 85d ills {Woes}; 87d pendant {Cross or star, often}; 91d adroit {Dexterous}; 92d seem to {Apparently do}; 93d pilafs {Rice dishes}; 94d stile {Steps that a farmer might take}; 95d Tinas {Brown and Turner}; 96d rests {"The defense ___"}; 97d ante {Stake}; 98d racks {Prepares to play pool, say}; 99d all {Tie indicator}; 102d engr. {Many an M.I.T. grad}; 104d perm {Salon option}; 105d Erse {Celtic tongue}; 109d Mir {Novy ___, Russian literary magazine}; 110d one {Low digit}; 111d OAS {International grp. since 1948}.


D_Blackwell said...

ACCEPTED USAGE is common enough for me. It isn't an official phrase exactly, but a natural pairing that one hears regularly. STRANGE ORDEAL is a similar pairing; it just sounds right, though I can't say that I've used it myself. I would call that one a contrivance.

I'm surprised at how few people know TIENDA. I have an interest in the Spanish language, so that must play a part, though in most areas of the country all but the very smallest towns have at least one TIENDA. It's like the old 'corner store', mom-and-pop, family business. In large towns they can be quite a bit bigger. A bodega (grocery store, as one usage) is related.

Crossword Man said...

bodega was all I could think of and so I was completely thrown by it not being the answer. Our small town used to have a shop - the "Deli Lama" - but that has now closed. I'm not sure where the nearest tienda is!