Saturday, July 31, 2010

NYT Sunday 8/1/10 Brendan Emmett Quigley - D-Day

Brendan Emmett Quigley's byline used to make me quake in my boots, as I have consistently run into problems with his puzzles at the ACPT. To try to get on his wavelength, I've been solving BEQ's excellent self-published puzzles at his blog and that seemed to help with this jumbo New York Times crossword.

I tried to get a solid start at the top left, but ran out of steam before being able to solve the first theme answer at 21-Across. I did better in the NE, where the likes of Woolf at 23-Across and Callas at 16-Down played to my strengths and I pieced together shopping spray at 15-Down with 6 minutes on the clock.

In view of the title, it was now clear what the theme involved and I set to work on the remaining theme answers, one of which (valet girl at 27-Down) I failed to notice was such ... it's unusual to have as many as six theme answers in the down orientation in a Sunday puzzle.

The right hand side continued to be easier than the left for me, and the crux of the puzzle was dealing with the SW corner and halfway up the left-hand side ... everything crossing the giving tray at 56-Down in fact - not knowing the book on which the pun is based was quite a problem.

The crossing of 120a Neale and 113d île was tough, but I was eventually confident with my choice at the intersection, despite not having heard of Saint-Martin before. The baseball-oriented crossing of 67a R H E and 55d Ichiro would probably have resulted in a mistake a year ago, but I got the former under my belt last October and the latter in January 2010.

Fun to see some juxtapositions of related clues today: 112a Osric {Duel overseer in "Hamlet"} precedes the thematic pun based on to be, or not to be; then 53d Ewings {Oil family of TV} is appropriately followed by 54d barrel {Oil unit}. Did I miss any?

POSTSCRIPT: several readers wrote and commented to point out a mistake I originally made at the crossing of 58d fancy fray and 103a nobly. When first published, the post had fancy frae and noble ... this now looks so ridiculous, I reckon I just got careless and somehow was blind to the error when commenting. My sincere apologies for the slip-up.
Solving time: 29 mins (solo, no solving aids, two wrong answers)
Clue of the puzz: 47a Eden {Location for the Fall}
Solution

Brendan Emmett Quigley
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

"Play Bargaining". A long E sound (as in plea) changes to a long A sound (as in play) making a pun.
21a weigh three kings {Put a few monarchs on the scale?} cf We Three Kings
29a sharpei pen {Wrinkly dog holder?} cf Sharpie pen
105a general lei {Floral garland for whoever?} cf General Lee
114a to bay or not to bay {Indecisive wolf's question?} cf to be, or not to be
15d shopping spray {Mist from a mall?} cf shopping spree
27d valet girl {Miss who parks cars?} cf Valley Girl
33d chez devil {In hell?} cf she-devil
56d the giving tray {Generous carhop's prop?} cf The Giving Tree
58d fancy fray {Brawl at a ball?} cf fancy-free
62d Jay string {Leno's necklace?} cf gee-string
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersBrendan Emmett Quigley / Will Shortz
Grid21x21 with 71 (16.1%) black squares
Answers140 (average length 5.29)
Theme squares112 (30.3%)
Scrabble points593 (average 1.60)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



82a Lovett {1996 Grammy winner for the album "The Road to Ensenada"}. Lyle Lovett is an American singer-songwriter and actor. Active since 1980, he has recorded thirteen albums and released 21 singles to date, including his highest entry, the #10 chart hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, "Cowboy Man". Lovett has won four Grammy Awards, including Best Male Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Album. It's Not Big It's Large was released in 2007, where it debuted and peaked at #2 on the Top Country Albums chart. A new studio album, Natural Forces, was released on October 20, 2009 by Lost Highway Records. Above is the title song from The Road to Ensenada, recorded and released in 1996.

The Doctor is IN

1a onions {Grinder toppings}. grinder = submarine sandwich had better go into Pavlov's Guide to Crosswords.

23a Woolf {"Orlando" novelist}. I.e. Virginia Woolf.

24a Anne {Sister of Charlotte and Emily}. The Brontë sisters.

33a crema {Espresso topping}. crema is Italian for "cream".

57a fifed {Blew by a drummer, maybe}. The constructor may have had in mind Archibald Willard's The Spirit of '76.

67a R H E {Line score letters}. Scoreboards in baseball show the runs (R), hits (H) and errors (E) for each inning.

100a Leb. {Its cap. is Beirut}. I.e. Lebanon.

109a Igor {Character with a prominent back}. Igor, the archetypal hunch-backed assistant.

32d icon {Only thing between you and an open window?}. Reference to icon in the computing sense.

43d pity {"The scavenger of misery," per Shaw}. Referencing one of Undershaft's lines in Major Barbara.

53d Ewings {Oil family of TV}. The Ewing family in Dallas.

55d Ichiro {First player to hit an inside-the-park home run during an All-Star Game, 2007}. I.e. Ichiro Suzuki aka "Ichi" & "The Hits Man".

78d Celts {Bird and others, once}. Bird =  basketballer Larry is in Pavlov's Guide to Crosswords.

Image of the Day

Beer Bottle Lineup
Beer Bottle Lineup
95d Corona {Dos Equis competitor}. I thought this might have to do with cigars, but no ... Corona and Dos Equis are rival brands of Mexican beer. Dos Equis is a pale lager that was originally brewed by the German-born Mexican brewer Wilhelm Hasse in 1897. It is now produced by the Cervecería Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma. The brand was named "Siglo XX" ("20th century") to commemorate the arrival of the new century, and the bottles were marked with the Roman numerals "XX", or "Dos Equis" (two X).

Corona Extra, better known as Corona, is a brand of pale lager owned and produced by Cerveceria Modelo at a number of breweries in Mexico. It is one of the best-selling beers in Mexico and is one of the top-selling beers worldwide. Corona beer is available in over 150 countries. Outside Mexico, Corona is often served with a wedge of citrus fruit - usually lime, occasionally lemon - inserted into the neck of the bottle. Within Mexico, especially in the south, Corona served with lime is not uncommon, but is not considered mandatory. In the United States, Corona Extra is the top selling imported beer.

Other Clues

7a Scalia {Supreme Court justice nominated by Reagan}; 13a Pesci {Real-life actor Joe who is a character in Broadway's "Jersey Boys"}; 18a ski suit {Bunny's covering?}; 19a talons {Bent nails}; 20a Ethan {Furniture retailer ___ Allen}; 25a awry {All wrong}; 26a Luvs {Huggies rival}; 28a PLO {Gaza Strip org.}; 35a spar {Engage in debate}; 36a now {"I said - ___!"}; 37a arc {Firecracker's trajectory}; 38a Sasha {Obama whose Secret Service code name is "Rosebud"}; 40a elitism {Snobbery}; 42a trap-door {Location for a fall}; 45a liens {Bank claims}; 47a Eden {Location for the Fall}; 48a ironed {Helped with the laundry}; 50a czar {Political appointee}; 51a tangle {Cords behind a computer, often}; 54a bitte {Word with a German request}; 59a sightsaw {Played the tourist}; 61a achy {Hurting}; 62a Joe Camel {Smoking character}; 65a tío {Relative in the barrio}; 66a phi {The golden ratio}; 68a harden {Gel}; 69a visors {Golfers' wear}; 71a Ron {N.B.A. All-Star Artest}; 72a rig {Tractor-trailer}; 73a eye {One with a pupil}; 74a Schiphol {Amsterdam air hub}; 76a Sarg {Puppeteer Tony}; 77a Ericsson {Company that merged with Sony in 2001}; 80a Yalie {Brunonian rival}; 81a Hayes {Compromise of 1877 president}; 83a raft {Camper's rental}; 85a detour {Alternate road}; 88a Iler {Robert of "The Sopranos"}; 89a agree {Poll answer choice}; 91a Red Baron {Famed Fokker flier}; 95a centric {Toward the middle}; 98a aargh! {"Why is this happening to me?!"}; 101a eco- {Prefix with tour}; 102a orgs. {Mensa and others: Abbr.}; 103a nobly {With honor}; 108a rat {Kangaroo ___}; 110a Atra {Gillette model}; 111a dads {Many P.T.A. members}; 112a Osric {Duel overseer in "Hamlet"}; 120a Neale {John Mason ___, English priest who wrote "Good King Wenceslas"}; 121a inures {Accustoms}; 122a crimper {Hair-texturizing tool}; 123a as yet {Heretofore}; 124a excess {Overage}; 125a espial {Observation}.

1d Okinawa {Battle site of 1945}; 2d Niger {River on the Benin border}; 3d -ish {-like equivalent}; 4d out {Available for purchase}; 5d NIH {Biomedical research agcy.}; 6d strap {Secure, with "in"}; 7d sternal {Breastbone-related}; 8d caky {Clumped}; 9d Ali {"Prince ___" ("Aladdin" song)}; 10d Lon {Basketball coach Kruger}; 11d ingle {Hearth}; 12d assume {Take as a given}; 13d pews {Sunday seats}; 14d ETO {W.W. II zone: Abbr.}; 16d Callas {Leonard Bernstein called her "The Bible of opera"}; 17d inform {Enlighten}; 18d Senhor {Brazilian mister}; 21d wasn't {"I ___ ready!"}; 22d ewes {Things shepherds shepherd}; 30d padre {Military chaplain}; 31d -eroo {Suffix with stink}; 34d ran a {___ close second (almost won)}; 35d stent {Arterial implant}; 39d sic 'em! {"Attack!"}; 41d Idahos {Baking spuds}; 44d re-fed {Served seconds, say}; 46d Srs. {Yearbook signers: Abbr.}; 49d dices {Cuts up, in a way}; 52d Lahore {Punjabi capital}; 54d barrel {Oil unit}; 60d I too {"Am ___ fat?"}; 63d Oreo {Mousse pie ingredient, maybe}; 64d lipid {Oily substance}; 68d Hester {Prynne of "The Scarlet Letter"}; 70d sheer {Absolute}; 75d hater {Hardly a fan}; 76d Sara {___ Lee bakery}; 79d NRA {Publisher of Shooting Illustrated, for short}; 81d hubba {When doubled, "I like!"}; 84d A Gal {"___ in Calico" (jazz standard)}; 86d tele- {Prefix with copier}; 87d Oder {River to the Baltic}; 90d egg toss {Game in which it's easy to make a mess}; 92d relabel {Change tags on}; 93d O-Cedar {Mop brand that "makes your life easier"}; 94d noisy {Whooping}; 96d erases {Clears}; 97d cootie {Louse}; 99d Herr {Austrian title}; 104d Bronx {Where hip-hop was born, with "the"}; 106d Nance {F.D.R. veep John ___ Garner}; 107d L-dopa {Parkinson's battler}; 109d Ice-T {Entertainer born Tracy Marrow}; 110d ayes {Cries made in passing?}; 113d île {Saint-Martin, e.g.}; 115d Buc {Winning Super Bowl XXXVII gridder}; 116d are {Exist}; 117d ORs {Surgery sites, for short}; 118d tip {20%, maybe}; 119d TMI {"I didn't need to know that," in modern lingo}.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your blog is my go-to place to check my answers (thank you), but this week (8/1/10) I believe there is a better answer for 103A..."with honor" = nobly rather than noble....thus making 58D fancyfray....fray being the American spelling. It's amazing that in such a short time you have mastered our American crosswords....doubt I would be so successful with crosswords in England.....Mary Ann

Crossword Man said...

Thanks Mary Ann! I've corrected the write-up and added a postscript.