Monday, August 30, 2010

NYT Tuesday 8/31/10 Paula Gamache and Ed Stein - Double Crossers

Once fathomed, the theme of this Tuesday New York Times crossword turned out to be extremely helpful: the puzzle ended up a very easy solve, taking around the same time as yesterday's. I suspect only the "rule-breaking" wackiness of the idea pushed it slightly later in the week.

Having solved 20-Across as exploit, I couldn't quite believe that 4-Down had the same answer. Some mistake, shurely? But once I accepted this was actually happening, and must be our cruciverbal fun for the day, I proceeded to "take advantage of" the knowledge at every opportunity - and there was no shortage of such, as the theme squares occupy more than a third of the grid today.

Wall of bottles laying down in the Joseph Drouhin cellar
Wall of bottles lying down in the Joseph Drouhin cellar
I missed seeing an explanatory answer, but I've put what I suspect it might have made a good title ... if the NYT went in for such things on a weekday ... in the title of the post.

Outside of the theme, there was nothing too troublesome. I did pause over 68a last {In the cellar}, as it's an idiom I've never encountered before. My first thought was the clue related to wine. But when I got the answer from crossings, it seemed plausible as referring to athletic standings. If "in the cellar" means last, what is used for being top of the standings? "in the attic" or "on the roof"? perhaps that's not high enough ... how about "with the angels"?
Solving time: 5 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 33d idea {Invention starter}

Paula Gamache and Ed Stein
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


The same seven-letter word appears across and down, intersecting at the central letter, clued using different meanings of the word:
20a exploit {Bit of derring-do}
4d exploit {Take advantage of}

22a present {Here and now}
10d present {Show, in a show-and-tell}

39a address {Lincoln's famous one was just 272 words}
25d address {Prepare to drive, as a golf ball}

56a incense {Aromatic sticks}
44d incense {Make boiling mad}

58a console {Home entertainment centerpiece}
47d console {Say "There, there" to, say}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersPaula Gamache and Ed Stein / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.85)
Theme squares65 (34.4%)
Scrabble points297 (average 1.57)
Video of the Day

51d Viggo {"The Road" star Mortensen}. Viggo Mortensen is a Danish actor, poet, musician, photographer and painter. He is best known for his roles as Aragorn in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Tom Stall in David Cronenberg's A History of Violence, and his Academy Award-nominated role as Nikolai Luzhin in Cronenberg's Eastern Promises. He also starred in the 2009 film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road, as "The Man".

The Doctor is IN

5a Esth. {Only O.T. book that never mentions God: Abbr.}. Esth. = Esther.

16a Prego {Ragú rival}. Prego and Ragú are pasta sauce brands.

18a PFCs {Ones ranking below cpls.}. PFC = Private First Class.

26a Odette {"Swan Lake" swan}. Odette is the "good" swan, and Odile the "bad" swan, in the ballet Swan Lake.

68a last {In the cellar}. cellar n. the lowest place in the standings (as of an athletic league) [MWCD11].

41d salon {Permanent provider}. perm is a shortening of permanent or permanent wave.

Image of the Day

Amati at the National Music Museum - Vermillion, SD
Amati at the National Music Museum - Vermillion, SD
32a Amati {Cremona craftsman}. Amati is the name of a family of Italian violin makers, who flourished at Cremona from about 1549 to 1740. Andrea Amati (ca. 1505 – ca. 1578) was the earliest maker of violins whose instruments still survive today; indeed he seems more or less responsible for giving the instruments of the modern violin family their definitive profile. He was succeeded by his sons Antonio Amati (born ca. 1550) and Girolamo Amati (1551–1635); "The Brothers Amati", as they were known, implemented far-reaching innovations in design, including the perfection of the shape of the f-holes. Nicolò Amati (1596–1684) was the son of Girolamo Amati; he was the most eminent of the family, and improved the model adopted by the rest of the Amatis, producing instruments capable of yielding greater power of tone; of his pupils, the most famous were Antonio Stradivari and Andrea Guarneri, the first of the Guarneri family of violin makers.

Other Clues

1a bite {Nosh}; 9a Sprat {Jack who could eat no fat}; 14a Amex {Certain charge card, informally}; 15a solo {Aria, typically}; 17a lamp {Tiffany creation}; 19a eeler {Conger catcher}; 24a omega {Alpha's opposite}; 27a rewind {Put the tape back to the start}; 30a Delon {French actor Alain}; 33a idyl {Pastoral poem}; 34a trap {Big mouth, slangily}; 38a HMS {___ Pinafore}; 42a enl. {Photo blowup: Abbr.}; 43a mahi {When doubled, a food fish}; 45a reed {Oboe or clarinet}; 46a acute {Less than 90 degrees}; 48a NCAAs {Big tournaments for university teams, informally}; 50a eloped {Fled to wed}; 51a Viacom {Nickelodeon's parent company}; 54a Saxon {Anglo-___}; 62a gland {Producer of sweat and tears, but not blood}; 63a do it! {"Go ahead!"}; 65a over {Done}; 66a gesso {Painting surface}; 67a Audi {Auto on the autobahn}; 69a otter {Web-footed mammal}; 70a misc. {Catchall abbreviation}; 71a else {"What ___?"}.

1d bale {Unit of cotton}; 2d IMAX {Supersized movie screen format}; 3d temp {Short-term worker, for short}; 5d espied {Spotted}; 6d soft G {Start of either syllable in "ginger"}; 7d TLC {An attentive doc gives it to a patient}; 8d hosp. {Doctor's place: Abbr.}; 9d Speedo {Swimwear brand}; 11d relet {Lease to a new tenant}; 12d agent {15-percenter}; 13d torte {Rich cake}; 21d omnia {___ vincit amor}; 23d Rolls {Status symbol car, familiarly}; 27d Rahm {Obama adviser Emanuel}; 28d Emma {Austen novel}; 29d wash {Get the grime off}; 31d eyed {Gave the once-over}; 33d idea {Invention starter}; 35d re-up {Sign on for another tour}; 36d ante {A chip or two to start with}; 37d pled {Said "Not guilty!," e.g.}; 40d drams {Small amounts}; 49d condor {Flier with a 10-foot wingspan}; 50d exotic {Wonderfully foreign}; 52d inlet {Fjord, e.g.}; 53d a cast {"With ___ of thousands!" (movie ad boast)}; 55d acids {They turn litmus paper red}; 57d Edam {Cheese with a red coat}; 59d oval {Ellipsoid}; 60d less {Minus}; 61d Erté {Art Deco artist}; 64d oui {Non's opposite}.


Anonymous said...

An extra bit of cleverness in the theme is that each of the across answers is a noun and each of the down answers is a verb.

Crossword Man said...

I'm sorry to say that went over my head, Anon. Thanks for pointing it out. I also gather that the emphasis is on the first syllable for the across answers and the second syllable for the down answers (tho in British pronunciation, you'd say Gettysburg ad-DRESS). Now I see why it would have been tough to explain all this within the puzzle!

Daniel Myers said...


Ross, that wall of bottles is LYING not LAYING down - Intransitive not Transitive.

Crossword Man said...

Thanks DM. Now fixed!

Jon88 said...

I must be British, since I would also refer to the Gettysburg AdDRESS. As would most everyone, I think. Let's just say it: It's an "oops."

Evgeny said...

I'd never even dream of pronouncing the noun AD-dress... And it seems like I'm impartial, since I owe my English to spending time in Australia as well as watching British and American TV in approximately equal parts. No regional preoccupations. Also, in German the second syllable is stressed, while in Russian the first one is - so, a draw here as well...

My guess: the constructors must be from an AD-dress in the US where it's pronounced in this odd way.

Ross, every day your blog is a very welcome 10 mins extension of the lunch break (or 10 mins of evening entertainment, as today). It's fascinating to read up on the experience of a fellow non-American solver. As I live in Germany, the cultural barrier between me and many a correct answer is almost insurmountable :-) Thank you!

Crossword Man said...

Welcome to the Brit fold, Jon! I learned early on not to opine about American pronunciation, so I appreciate your input. I discovered about the pronunciation differences from the Wordplay blog, not the puzzle itself ... so maybe the oops is there; though of course the idea would have been even more elegant with a consistent approach to the pronunciation.

Crossword Man said...

Thanks Evgeny. I sympathize with your difficulties - making a home here gives me more of an incentive to learn the parochial stuff. Unfortunately for the international solver, the New York Times has a license to be preoccupied with US matters, yea even New York City matters!