Monday, July 26, 2010

NYT Tuesday 7/27/10 Mike Torch - On The Whole

This Tuesday New York Times crossword seemed really easy to me, taking slightly less time than yesterday's. It helped to have a very straightforward theme, and I wrote in nine yards with no cross-lights at all, the others mostly requiring just a few crossings to be recognizable. The exception was schmear which I've heard of seldom, if at all, in the thematic context.

VW T2 Campervan
Vee Dub
I took a few wrong turnings on the way down the grid today, going for neck {Nail-biting margin of victory} at 31-Across, then having pair for {Twosome} at 42-Across and Adonis for {Lover in a Shakespeare title} ... I guess randomly choosing a six-letter Shakespearean lover is a bit of a long shot. These missteps didn't seem to cost me much in terms of time, though.

Do people really call VWs Vee Dubs? I never heard that name used in the UK, despite having two VWs in my life. When I was growing up, our family had a J Reg Volkswagen Type 2, aka a "hippie van", and that was one of the earliest cars I drove. The first car I owned was a Volkswagen Golf, known by the less exciting-sounding name "Rabbit" in the USA.
Solving time: 5 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 20a ailed {Had a bug}
Solution

Mike Torch
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

{The whole ___} idioms:
17a enchilada {The whole ___}
25a shebang {The whole ___}
38a shooting match {The whole ___}
51a schmear {The whole ___}
63a nine yards {The whole ___}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersMike Torch / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 40 (17.8%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.74)
Theme squares45 (24.3%)
Scrabble points279 (average 1.51)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



42d Das {"___ Boot"}. Das Boot ("The Boat") is a 1981 feature film directed by Wolfgang Petersen, adapted from a novel of the same name by Lothar-Günther Buchheim. Hans-Joachim Krug, former first officer on U-219, served as a consultant, as did Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock, the captain of the real U-96. The film is the story of a single patrol of one World War II U-boat, U-96, and its crew. It depicts both the excitement of battle and the tedium of the fruitless hunt, and shows the men serving aboard U-boats as ordinary individuals with a desire to do their best for their comrades and their country. The story is based on an amalgamation of the exploits of the real U-96, a Type VIIC-class U-boat commanded by Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock, one of Germany's top U-boat "tonnage aces" during the war.

One of Petersen's goals was to guide the audience through "a journey to the edge of the mind" (the film's German tagline Eine Reise ans Ende des Verstandes), showing "what war is all about." The original 1981 version cost DM 32 million to make. The director's meticulous attention to detail resulted in a historically accurate film that was a critical and financial success, grossing over $80 million ($190.2 million in 2009 prices) worldwide between its two releases in 1981 and 1997. Its high production cost ranks it among the most expensive films in the history of German cinema. It was the second most expensive up until that time, after Metropolis.

The Doctor is IN

34a orator {William Jennings Bryan, for one}. William Jennings Bryan (1860–1925) was a dominant force in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, standing three times as its candidate for President of the United States.

68a Snape {Potter's potions professor}. Severus Snape in the Harry Potter book series.

26d Barts {St. ___ (Caribbean hot spot)}. St. Barts is the informal abbreviation of the French overseas collectivity of Saint Barthélemy.

39d hath {"Hell ___ no fury ..."}. The popular proverb paraphrases lines from William Congreve's The Mourning Bride (1697).

Image of the Day

Prell shampoo
Prell – Vitally Alive – Marilyn Monroe

65a Prell {Shampoo brand}. Prell is a viscous, pearl green shampoo and conditioner product manufactured by Ultimark Products that according to its maker "...contains a unique “rinse clean” formula that provides a thick, rich lather for clean, healthy hair." Prell was introduced by Procter & Gamble in 1947. The original formula was a clear green concentrate packaged in a tube. In 1955 Prell was marketed for "women who wanted their hair to have that radiantly alive look". A woman held the Prell bottle with her hands on both sides, directly in front of her face. Prell and Head & Shoulders, also made by Procter & Gamble, were the two best-selling shampoos in the United States in June 1977. Procter & Gamble sold the brand to Prestige Brands International in November 1999. Prestige then sold Prell, along with its other two shampoo brands Denorex and Zincon, to Ultimark Products in October 2009 in order to focus more on their two larger segments, over-the-counter healthcare and household cleaning products.

Other Clues

1a SPCA {Pet welfare org.}; 5a Oslo {Nobel Peace Prize city}; 9a clues {This puzzle has 78}; 14a Hoya {Georgetown athlete}; 15a IHOP {Stack-serving chain, for short}; 16a lento {Slowly, on a score}; 19a odist {Pindar, notably}; 20a ailed {Had a bug}; 21a welts {Mementos of a caning}; 23a Vee Dub {Autodom's Beetle is one, slangily}; 30a ess {Double curve}; 31a nose {Nail-biting margin of victory}; 35a snap to {Regain consciousness suddenly}; 37a rise {React to a crowing rooster, say}; 42a dyad {Twosome}; 43a talons {Raptor's grippers}; 44a Antony {Lover in a Shakespeare title}; 47a secy. {Cabinet position: Abbr.}; 48a SRO {B'way success sign}; 53a swiped {Ran through, as a credit card}; 55a spews {Expels forcefully}; 58a anode {Battery terminal}; 59a get at {Subtly suggest}; 66a trio {Rock music's Rush, for one}; 67a neos {Revivalists, informally}; 69a sets {What the sun does at dusk}; 70a esta {This, in Toledo}.

1d sheave {Bundle, as wheat}; 2d ponies {Track bettors play them}; 3d cycles {Presoak, wash and rinse}; 4d aahed {Sounded content}; 5d oil {Salad bar bowlful}; 6d Shaw {Clarinetist Artie}; 7d lode {Prospector's strike}; 8d opals {Gems from Australia}; 9d closer {Ninth-inning hurler, often}; 10d led {Took charge}; 11d uni- {Prefix with -form}; 12d ETs {U.F.O. crew}; 13d sot {Sighter of pink elephants}; 18d I dunno! {"Beats me!"}; 22d tho {Even if, briefly}; 24d boat {Vehicle on a trailer, perhaps}; 27d -atic {Suffix with problem}; 28d nosh {Munch on chips, say}; 29d GRE {College sr.'s test}; 32d spit {Rotisserie rod}; 33d etnas {Lab burners of old}; 35d Sodom {Biblical sin city}; 36d ogle {Gawk at}; 38d sync {Align}; 40d mocs {Around-the-house footwear, for short}; 41d anyway {Nonetheless}; 45d nestle {Get cozy}; 46d yap {Talk, talk, talk}; 48d spores {Future ferns}; 49d red dot {Mark of a rifle's laser sight}; 50d Odessa {"The Battleship Potemkin" port}; 52d rents {Most Monopoly income}; 54d inane {Totally absurd}; 56d wire {Electrician's hookup}; 57d snit {Foul mood}; 59d GPS {Modern navigation tool, for short}; 60d -ern {Directional suffix}; 61d Tea {___ Party movement}; 62d alp {Tour de France peak}; 64d Eos {Aurora's counterpart}.

5 comments:

Daniel Myers said...

Ross, I come to your blog for insight into the one answer which, I, ahem, have no clue about: to wit, VEEDUB, and it turns out you haven't the foggiest either.:-)

Anonymous said...

As an American, I've never heard anyone call a Beetle or any other VW a VeeDub. I had a problem with LENTO because I immediately filled in LARGO--also slow, also five letters.

D_Blackwell said...

Never heard of VEE DUB, but evidently plenty of people have. The bowl of OIL seems to have stumped everybody except Patrick Merrill over at Wordplay.

The BG crossword software looks interesting. Thanks for the tip. Have you tried adding Crossword Compiler files? I still haven't figured out how to export a .xwc file, which is what all of the preloaded files are in that directory. What outlets provide crosswords that people will need to download to that directory?

Crossword Man said...

It looks like Vee Dub bugged a lot of volks. Sorry I wasn't much help with that one!

Crossword Man said...

DB, a bowl of oil at the "Salad bar" does sound a little unhygienic. {Ristorante bowlful}, or the like, would have made more sense to me.

I have to confess I haven't actually tried BG Crossword Puzzle, not (happily) being in the target market for it. I get the impression that the author tried to support as many formats as possible ... some of them may not be used much in practice, or may be widely used, but not in the USA.