Sunday, August 8, 2010

NYT Monday 8/9/10 David Poole - Alimentary, My Dear Watson

This seems to me a great example of a Monday New York Times crossword - kudos to the constructor if it's his first published puzzle. I like the cleanly executed theme, which occupies a generous (but not excessive) number of squares - in particular, the story told in the sequence from top to bottom.

Not a huge amount to say about the solving process, as it was very smooth and involved no wrong turnings that I recall. Interesting to see the return of Ulee at 8-Down, who (at one point) popped up frequently enough to be considered for the On Notice! list. Unlike Stephen Colbert, I give answers notice that they're liable to be On Notice!, which gives them a chance to lie low for a bit.

I've been creating some crossworthy designs for T-shirts etc through that wonderful site Zazzle.com (what! another crossword store? ... yes, sorry). Since I consider Ulee such a worthy cliche, I gave him pride of place on a T-shirt design - also available on a mug.
Solving time: 4 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 48a O'Hare {Site of many Chicago touchdowns}
Solution

David Poole
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

Idioms starting with a phase of the eating process, in a logical order:
20a bite the bullet {Accept an inevitable hardship}
27a chew the scenery {Ham it up}
43a swallow the bait {Fall for a flimflam}
51a digest the news {Understand what's happening}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersDavid Poole / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 40 (17.8%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.87)
Theme squares54 (29.2%)
Scrabble points286 (average 1.55)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



47d Henson {Jim who created Kermit the Frog}. I've been itching to use the Muppets' Bohemian Rhapsody ever since hearing an interview with Brian May on NPR last week. This is my first chance, although it's a bit of a cheat, since Kermit doesn't sing and only comes on right at the end. Who is ultimately responsible for all this? Why Jim Henson (1936–1990), who was one of the most widely known puppeteers in history and the creator of The Muppets. He was the leading source behind their long run in the television series Sesame Street and The Muppet Show and films such as The Muppet Movie (1979) and creator of advanced puppets for projects like Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth. He was also an Oscar-nominated film director, Emmy Award-winning television producer, and the founder of The Jim Henson Company, the Jim Henson Foundation, and Jim Henson's Creature Shop.

The Doctor is IN

8d Ulee {Beekeeper in a 1997 film}. Ulee (short for Ulysses) Jackson of Ulee's Gold.

10d Attlee {Churchill's predecessor and successor}. Clement Attlee (1883–1967).

31d Ens. {Warrant officer's superior: Abbr.}. Ens. = Ensign, in e.g. the United States Navy.

52d tras {Chorus syllables}. The archetypal chorus being "tra la la".

Image of the Day

Antelope Kachina Doll
Antelope Kachina Doll
4d Hopi {Indian doll maker}. Hopi Kachina Dolls (also known as tithu) are pedagogical objects made of cottonwood that embody the characteristics of the ceremonial Kachina, the masked spirits of the Hopi Indian tribe. According to the Hopi, Kachina dolls are objects meant to be treasured and studied, and are not to be considered idols of worship or children’s toys.

Other Clues

1a itch {Something to scratch}; 5a Cyrus {"Hannah Montana" star Miley}; 10a acro- {Height: Prefix}; 14a Nero {Roman tyrant}; 15a ovule {Small egg}; 16a toed {___ the line (obeyed)}; 17a clap {Applaud}; 18a meter {Taxi's ticker}; 19a tome {Any volume of the Oxford English Dictionary}; 23a ATM {Source of after-hours $$$}; 25a Ott {Giants great Mel}; 26a reeds {Clarinet, oboe and saxophone}; 32a trade {Swap}; 33a tins {Sardine containers}; 34a sots {Boozehounds}; 35a Ezras {Poet Pound and others}; 37a dais {Emcee's spot}; 41a aloe {Succulent houseplant}; 42a genre {Comedy, sci-fi or romance}; 48a O'Hare {Site of many Chicago touchdowns}; 49a her {The other woman}; 50a -ish {Suffix like -like}; 56a I not {"How could ___?"}; 57a reels {Film vault collection}; 58a onus {Burden}; 61a Utne {___ Reader (alternative magazine)}; 62a Alamo {Davy Crockett died defending it, with "the"}; 63a ripe {Fully red, as a raspberry}; 64a moss {Peat source}; 65a sedan {Alternative to a convertible}; 66a knit {Furrow, as the brow}.

1d Inc. {Abbr. at the end of a company's name}; 2d Tel {___ Aviv}; 3d crabmeat {Stuffed sole stuffing}; 5d Cometh {"The Iceman ___"}; 6d Yvette {Actress Mimieux of "The Time Machine"}; 7d Ruth {Babe with a bat}; 9d Serb {Many a Bosnian}; 11d cooler {Hoosegow}; 12d remedy {Cure}; 13d Odets {Clifford ___, "Awake and Sing!" dramatist}; 21d tote {Carry}; 22d urns {Vases}; 23d acts {Is a cast member}; 24d Thro' {"Comin' ___ the Rye"}; 28d wds. {Vocabulary: Abbr.}; 29d strew {Toss (about)}; 30d CIA {"Alias" org.}; 35d ell {Building wing}; 36d Zoo {Dr. Seuss' "If I Ran the ___"}; 37d deb {Society girl, for short}; 38d Anaïs Nin {"Delta of Venus" author}; 39d iris {What the white of an eye surrounds}; 40d Seth {Actor Rogen of "Knocked Up"}; 41d ales {Pub quaffs}; 42d Gere {Richard of "Chicago"}; 43d Shinto {Japanese for "the way of the gods"}; 44d wagons {Conestogas, e.g.}; 45d arêtes {Craggy mountain ridges}; 46d Thelma {"___ & Louise," 1991 film}; 48d odium {Hatred}; 53d tele- {The "T" in TV}; 54d head {President}; 55d work {Cry made while cracking a whip, maybe}; 59d UPI {Wire service inits.}; 60d set {"Quiet on the ___!"}.

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