Sunday, August 22, 2010

NYT Monday 8/23/10 Oliver Hill - Signs of the Times

The theme of this Monday New York Times crossword is one of those elusive ones that's hard to spot during rapid solving. After finishing the grid, I looked at the top two thematic answers and thought "types of road", but it's clear from the rest that all the long answers start with common road signs.

I found the top third of the grid remarkably easy, despite having stelae at 12-Down, which needed to be corrected. That made me hope for my first three-minute time, but tougher cluing further down the puzzle held me up a little.

I barely knew Stop, drop and roll and needed a lot of crossings to pin it down ... I finally remembered encountering the message in an American TV program in which a fire station dog demonstrated the technique for an audience of kids.
Solving time: 4 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 33d anacondas {Snakes that can put you in a tight spot?}

Oliver Hill
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


Phrases that start with a common road sign:
17a one way or another {By any means necessary}
26a dead end job {Work that offers no chance for advancement}
46a yield curve {Line showing the relationship between an interest rate and maturity date}
57a stop, drop and roll {Instruction to someone who's on fire}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersOliver Hill / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 34 (15.1%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.90)
Theme squares50 (26.2%)
Scrabble points283 (average 1.48)
Video of the Day

11d Ishtar {1987 flop starring Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman}. It's possibly only crosswords that keep memories of this movie alive. Ishtar is a 1987 comedy film directed by Elaine May and starring Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman as "Rogers and Clarke", a duo of incredibly untalented lounge singers who travel to Morocco looking for work and stumble into a four-party Cold War standoff. It also starred Isabelle Adjani and Charles Grodin and was shot by Vittorio Storaro. The songs in the film were written by Paul Williams, with additional help from Hoffman and May.

Its production, on location in Morocco and in New York, drew media attention before its release for its lavish budget and cost overruns, even given its well-paid stars. May and many of the others involved with the production, particularly Beatty, clashed regularly to the point that longstanding friendships suffered. A change in studio management during post-production also led to interpersonal difficulties that affected the film. The film was a notorious failure at the box office and received horrible reviews. It is often cited as having ended May's career.

The Doctor is IN

36a nenes {Argentine tots}. Baby = nene is in Español para los crucigramistas.

Image of the Day

Bandit's Roost by Jacob Riis, 1888
Bandit's Roost by Jacob Riis, 1888
35d Riis {Muckraker Jacob}. Jacob Riis (1849-1914) was a Danish American social reformer, muckraking journalist and social documentary photographer. He is known for his dedication to using his photographic and journalistic talents to help the impoverished in New York City, which was the subject of most of his prolific writings and photography. He helped with the implementation of "model tenements" in New York with the help of humanitarian Lawrence Veiller. As one of the most prominent proponents of the newly practicable flash, he is considered a pioneer in photography.

Other Clues

1a T-bars {Some ski lifts}; 6a I now {"___ pronounce you man and wife"}; 10a gist {Basic idea}; 14a Sarah {Funnywoman Silverman}; 15a Sela {Actress Ward}; 16a as to {Regarding}; 20a ska {Reggae relative}; 21a repo {Seized property, informally}; 22a Nestlé {Company that introduced Quik in 1948}; 23a ipso {___ facto}; 24a Dad {Mom's partner}; 25a Aer {___ Lingus}; 30a or so {Approximately}; 31a Orsino {"Twelfth Night" duke}; 32a ocean {Atlantic or Pacific}; 34a Tahoe {Lake on the California/Nevada border}; 35a RRs {Four Monopoly assets: Abbr.}; 40a Mr Big {Hotshot}; 42a Aarons {Burr and Copland}; 43a psis {Letters after chis}; 48a rug {Carpet}; 49a ifs {Uncertainties}; 50a I'm on {"And while ___ the subject ..."}; 51a El Niño {Pacific weather phenomenon}; 53a Ulan {___ Bator}; 54a zoo {Place for giraffes and hippos}; 60a Tara {"Gone With the Wind" plantation}; 61a choc {22-Across flavor, for short}; 62a ailed {Was sick}; 63a one-D {Like a line, in brief}; 64a eons {Ages and ages}; 65a snags {Catches}.

1d Tso's {General ___ chicken}; 2d bank {Certificate of deposit offerer}; 3d area {Region}; 4d raw {Uncooked}; 5d sharpener {It puts a point on a pencil}; 6d isopod {Crustacean with seven pairs of legs}; 7d Nero {Emperor who "fiddled"}; 8d -ola {Suffix with pay}; 9d wannabe {Starstruck sort, maybe}; 10d gats {Gangsters' guns}; 12d steles {Inscribed pillars}; 13d torero {Bullfighter}; 18d yes/no {Like some questions}; 19d OED {Brit. word reference}; 23d idioms {Everyday expressions}; 24d docs {Hospital V.I.P.'s}; 26d dot {Speck}; 27d era {Paleozoic, e.g.}; 28d ash {Cigarette residue}; 29d Jorge {Author ___ Luis Borges}; 30d one run {Narrow margin in a baseball game}; 33d anacondas {Snakes that can put you in a tight spot?}; 37d nor {Neither here ___ there}; 38d env. {Letter holder: Abbr.}; 39d SSE {NNW's reverse}; 41d by force {Coercively}; 42d ad-man {Madison Avenue pro}; 43d presto {Part of a magician's mumbo-jumbo}; 44d sultan {Islamic sovereign}; 45d ignore {Pay no mind to}; 47d lilacs {Purple flowers}; 49d Ind. {Not Dem. or Rep.}; 52d iPad {Apple debut of 2010}; 53d upon {Atop}; 54d Zola {Author Émile}; 55d Oleg {Cassini who designed for Jackie}; 56d Olds {Discontinued G.M. car}; 58d oho?! {"Well, what have we here?!"}; 59d Rin {___ Tin Tin}.

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