Tuesday, August 10, 2010

NYT Wednesday 8/11/10 Edward Sessa - Pop Quiz

The theme of this Wednesday New York Times crossword is right up my street, accounting for a pretty good midweek solving time by my standards.

I knew Wilkins Micawber and Lord Peter Wimsey immediately from their clues, though with the former, I tried Mister Micawber first (I expect a lot of solvers will go down that route). Charlie McCarthy was much harder to piece together, thanks to the work of Edgar Bergen not crossing the Atlantic (to my knowledge).

I had to get to 68-Across to realize what the connection between all these character actually was; I wondered at one point if it was going to involve different variants of Mac, Mc, Mic. I also didn't realize Mr. Peanut was thematic until seeing that key thematic answer.

Strange that the constructor formerly published as Ed Sessa has chosen to be Edward Sessa today (I assume they're the same person). Perhaps this more formal byline is a commentary on the attire of the gentlemen in the theme today?
Solving time: 7 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 13d meter {It's fed at curbside}

Edward Sessa
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


68a monocles {Items worn by 14-, 23-, 39- and 52-Across}:
Mr. Peanut
14a Mr. Peanut {Nattily dressed ad figure}

Mr. Micawber
23a Wilkins Micawber {Dickens character who says "Something will turn up"}

Charlie McCarthy
39a Charlie McCarthy {Wisecracking dummy of old radio}

Lord Peter Wimsey
52a Lord Peter Wimsey {Dorothy L. Sayers's bon vivant sleuth}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersEdward Sessa / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 34 (15.1%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 5.03)
Theme squares61 (31.9%)
Scrabble points321 (average 1.68)
Video of the Day

28a Ida {Lupino of "High Sierra"}. High Sierra (1941) is an early heist film and film noir written by W.R. Burnett and John Huston from the novel by Burnett. The movie features Ida Lupino and Humphrey Bogart and was directed by Raoul Walsh on location at Whitney Portal, halfway up Mount Whitney. The screenplay was co-written by Bogart's friend and drinking partner, John Huston, adapted from the novel by William R. Burnett (also known for, among others, Little Caesar and Scarface). The film cemented a strong personal and professional connection between Bogart and Huston. The film was noted for its extensive location shooting, especially in the climactic final scenes, as the authorities pursue Bogart's character, gangster "Mad Dog" Roy Earle, from Lone Pine up to the foot of the mountain.

The Doctor is IN

29a li'l {Dogpatch diminutive}. As in Li'l Abner, Dogpatch denizen.

57a APA {Therapists' org.}. APA = American Psychiatric Association in this context - the American Psychological Association (also uses the APA abbreviation).

60a satire {Colbert or Stewart specialty}. I.e. Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart.

71a hill {One of a Roman septet}. As in the Seven Hills of Rome.

1d Amy {First daughter of 1977-81}. I.e. Amy Carter.

2d HRE {Charlemagne's realm: Abbr.}. Charlemagne was the first to receive papal coronation as Holy Roman Emperor.

10d SLA {1974 kidnap org.}. SLA = Symbionese Liberation Army, kidnappers of Patty Hearst.

34d PMs {Meir and Rabin, briefly}. Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin, successive Prime Ministers of Israel.

64d Eli {New Haven student}. I.e. a Yale University student.

Image of the Day


23d witch {Broom-Hilda, for one}. Broom-Hilda is an American newspaper comic strip created by Russell Myers. It is distributed by the Chicago Tribune Syndicate and first ran in 1970. The strip's title character, Broom Hilda (a play on Brünnhilde) is a witch with green skin, a wart on the end of her nose, and long stringy hair. She wears a black dress, black shoes, and a black hat with a flower on top. According to the strip's official site, Broom Hilda is Attila the Hun's ex-wife. She is perpetually looking for a new husband, but due to her abrasive nature, the quest has thus far been unsuccessful. Early on in the strip's run, she gave up cigar smoking and alcohol; she served in the United States Marine Corps for two days, and was discharged for unnecessary roughness. A hint to her rough-hewn side occurs in one strip where she is buying underwear. The clerk suggests a set of underwear, each one bearing the days of the week. She asks if she can get a set with the months of the year.

Other Clues

1a ahem {"Attention please ..."}; 5a IQs {Mensa figs.}; 8a Abscam {F.B.I. operation involving a nonexistent sheik}; 16a palace {Queen's Guard workplace}; 17a yearn for {Want badly}; 18a in a rut {Going nowhere, jobwise}; 19a CVI {Early second-century year}; 20a used {Took advantage of}; 22a -ite {Suffix with bleacher}; 30a René {Philosopher Descartes}; 31a talc {Mineral in tailor's chalk}; 33a top {Toy with an axis}; 35a NAACP {Jim Crow-fighting org.}; 43a Howie {Mandel of "Deal or No Deal"}; 44a shh! {"Stifle!"}; 45a slog {Plod along}; 46a ease {Lessen, as difficulties}; 49a AOL {Yahoo! competitor}; 51a arm {Shirt part}; 58a flea {Kind of collar}; 59a lea {Bucolic setting}; 62a twittery {Giggling nervously}; 67a Triton {Moon of Neptune}; 69a Stooge {Any of a comedic trio}; 70a ewe {59-Across grazer}.

3d EPA {DDT-banning org.}; 4d Merck {Maker of Zocor and Fosamax}; 5d Infiniti {G37 automaker}; 6d quo {Status ___}; 7d strum {Play lightly}; 8d apiece {Pricing word}; 9d bandanna {Part of many a bank robber's outfit}; 11d Carib {Native encountered by Columbus}; 12d acute {Sharp}; 13d meter {It's fed at curbside}; 15d anvil {Smithery sight}; 21d Sir {Title for Mick Jagger}; 24d Idaho {Home to part of Yellowstone Park}; 25d L.A. Law {Steven Bochco TV drama}; 26d sloe {Plumlike fruit}; 27d wears {Is tiresome}; 32d cried {Sang the blues}; 36d Atlas {Big name in tires}; 37d chore {Milking the cows, e.g.}; 38d pygmy {Tiny tribesman}; 40d leapfrog {Jumping game}; 41d char {Blacken}; 42d chow line {Mess queue}; 47d Selene {Greek moon goddess}; 48d été {Saison on the Seine}; 50d lie to {Be dishonest with}; 52d lasts {Hangs in there}; 53d op art {Some eyeball benders}; 54d ratio {Track odds, e.g.}; 55d EAT ME {Wonderland cake words}; 56d match {Success on TV's "Concentration"}; 61d I to {"Am ___ believe ..."}; 63d wow {Blow the socks off}; 65d rel. {Fam. member}; 66d YSL {Fashion monogram}.

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