Tuesday, August 31, 2010

NYT Wednesday 9/1/10 Michael Torch - Saltings

Despite my background (long ago) in Chemistry it took a while for me to work out the theme of this Wednesday New York Times crossword: I got the barnacle in 17-Across, then - finding it hard to make headway through the middle - the theme-defining answer add a pinch of salt with four minutes gone.

Still it didn't sink in until I put the manacles on the end of 46-Across: manacles and barnacle in the same grid couldn't be a coincidence, so I then knew an insert-and-pun theme was on offer, hastening the completion of the puzzle.

cat and fishI feel justified in being held up by the central rows, as they're relatively cut off, with the theme answers standing sentinel ... and the cluing seemed a little tougher there: the area of ward, Sasha and crown gave the most trouble. Sent COD caused some racking of brains here: you don't hear it much nowadays, and I wonder if the constructor was tempted to define it in terms of fish. Under what circumstances would you be sent cod?

Nice to see an étui carrying something a little more hip and trendy than needlework ... today it's a {French CD holder}. I guess to the younger generation, CDs must seem terribly old hat now. C'est la vie, étui!
Solving time: 7 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 5a Avon {It has ringers on its team}
Solution

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

Theme

NaCl (i.e. sodium chloride, salt) is inserted into a phrase, making a pun; this being indicated by 61a add a pinch of salt {Cooking instruction hinting at this puzzle's theme?}.
17a barnacle chested {Like a sunken treasure?} cf bare-chested
28a Scotch pinnacle {High place near Aberdeen?} cf Scotch pine
46a Fannie manacles {Restraints for writer Flagg?} cf Fannie Mae
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersMichael Torch / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.79)
Theme squares58 (31.0%)
Scrabble points300 (average 1.60)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



70a yeah {When sung three times, part of a Beatles refrain}. I'm assuming this refers to the iconic She Loves You (Beatles experts, please let me know of any other songs that meet the clue). She Loves You was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney based on an idea by McCartney, originally recorded by The Beatles for release as a single in 1963. The single set and surpassed several records in the United Kingdom charts, and set a record in the United States by being one of the five Beatles songs which held the top five positions in the American charts simultaneously. It is the Beatles' best-selling single in the United Kingdom, and was the best selling single in Britain in 1963.

The British music establishment at that time found the word "yeah" controversial. National radio in the form of the BBC broadcast the single and "in some quarters it was seen to hail the collapse of civilised society". Lennon, being mindful of Elvis Presley's All Shook Up, wanted something equally as stirring: "I don't know where the 'yeah yeah yeah' came from. I remember when Elvis did "All Shook Up" it was the first time in my life that I had heard 'uh huh', 'oh yeah', and 'yeah yeah' all sung in the same song". "The 'wooooo' was taken from The Isley Brothers' 'Twist And Shout'. We stuck it in everything". McCartney recalls them playing the finished song on acoustic guitars to his father at home immediately after the song was completed: "We went into the living room [and said] 'Dad, listen to this. What do you think? And he said 'That's very nice son, but there's enough of these Americanisms around. Couldn't you sing "She loves you, yes, yes, yes!". At which point we collapsed in a heap and said 'No, Dad, you don't quite get it!'".

The Doctor is IN

5a Avon {It has ringers on its team}. Reference to Avon Products, famous for their door-to-door sales force.

20a soft C {Third of December?}. The third letter of "December" is a soft C in the pronunciation.

26a Erin {Secretary on "The Office"}. Erin Hannon, played by Ellie Kemper.

37a oso {Spanish bear}. (He) bear = oso is in Español para los crucigramistas.

38a tornado {"The Wizard of Oz" weather event}. Dorothy and Toto are transported to the Land of Oz by a tornado.

69a rats! {Cry from Charlie Brown}. rats! is Charlie Brown's cry of frustration in Peanuts.

4d sent COD {Not yet paid for, as a mailed package}. COD = collect on delivery aka cash on delivery.

10d Mt Sinai {Tablets site}. Referencing the Ten Commandments.

11d bits {Partner of pieces}. Reference to the idiom "bits and pieces".

29d crown {Bonk}. Equivalents in the sense of "hit (on the head)".

52d mags {High-performance wheels}. magsmagnesium alloy wheels.

Image of the Day

NERF machine gun
The Vulcan EBF-25, an electric, belt-fed NERF machine gun. The belts hold 25 rounds each.
3d Nerf {Hasbro product}. Nerf (trademarked in capitals as NERF) is a toy, created for safe indoor play, that either shoots or is made of foam-like material. The acronym NERF stands for Non-Expanding Recreational Foam. Most of the toys are a variety of foam-based weaponry, but there were also several different types of Nerf toys, such as balls for sports like football, basketball, and others. The most notable of the toys are the dart guns (referred to by Hasbro as "blasters") that shoot ammunition made from Nerf foam. Since many such items were released throughout the 1980s, they often featured bright neon colors and soft textures similar to the flagship Nerf ball. The product slogan frequently used from the 1990s advertising is "It's Nerf or nothing!"

Other Clues

1a bins {Lost-and-found containers}; 9a umber {Brown shade}; 14a I see {"Got it"}; 15a Ragú {Sauce brand}; 16a stile {Subway station sight}; 21a ELO {Grp. with the platinum record "A New World Record"}; 22a isms {Systems of principles}; 23a choc {Ice cream flavor, briefly}; 34a ward {One in custody}; 35a tea {Breakfast cupful}; 36a tiled {Like most bathrooms}; 41a aga {Eastern V.I.P.}; 42a oh wow! {"Amazing!"}; 44a doe {One fawning}; 45a from {Gift tag word}; 50a Etta {James who sang "A Sunday Kind of Love"}; 51a elhi {Like some textbooks}; 52a moan {Complain}; 55a urn {Grecian art object}; 57a eerie {Creepy}; 65a gizmo {Thingy}; 66a East {A.L. or N.L. division}; 67a bric {___-a-brac}; 68a sneer {Look of superiority}.

1d bibs {Places for double dribbles?}; 2d Isao {Golfer Aoki}; 5d arc {Shot put's path}; 6d Val {Kilmer of "Real Genius"}; 7d ogee {Kind of arch}; 8d nuclei {Centers}; 9d use {Consume}; 12d elem. {Part of 51-Across: Abbr.}; 13d reds {Some wines}; 18d acht {Number after sieben}; 19d horn {Honker}; 24d octo- {Eight: Prefix}; 25d Cher {Singer with a Best Actress Oscar}; 27d into {Loving}; 28d Sasha {Olympic skater Cohen}; 30d panda {2008 Beijing Olympics mascot}; 31d Clare {Irish county north of Limerick}; 32d Legos {Building set}; 33d Edam {Mild cheese}; 34d woof {Pound sound}; 38d twit {Dweeb}; 39d A-one {Super-duper}; 40d deal {25%-off price, e.g.}; 43d one name {What Shakira or 25-Down goes by}; 45d flies by {Passes quickly}; 47d étui {French CD holder}; 48d Marner {"Silas ___"}; 49d chef {Julia Child, for one}; 53d Odin {Thor's father}; 54d adze {Wood shaper}; 56d NCAA {Org. with Divisions I, II and III}; 58d rare {Exceptional}; 59d ilia {Pelvic bones}; 60d etch {Mark permanently}; 62d por {___ favor}; 63d HST {Pres. initials}; 64d OTs {Periods of extra mins.}.

2 comments:

Jon88 said...

Actually, Erin is the receptionist on "The Office." Second oops in as many days.

Crossword Man said...

Thanks Jon. I've only seen one or two episodes of the American "The Office" - amusingly set in our nearest metrop of Scranton, PA - and Erin doesn't seem to have a counterpart in the UK version I saw so much more of.