Sunday, October 31, 2010

NYT Monday 11/1/10 Holden Baker - Pro-Caine

Although I solved this Monday New York Times crossword on Halloween night, I don't detect any spooky influences and reckon we're finally through with the boo references for 2010. Instead we get a neat idea based on sound-alike words.

Sir Michael CaineI was onto the theme after getting walking cane and raising cain, hence knew what to expect with the remaining thematic entries. I had to pause over 11-Down because I wasn't 100% sure that Key Biscayne and Robert Byrd are spelled with a Y not an I ... luckily I still had vaguely memories the latter from a March 2009 blog post.

It would have helped if I'd immediately recognized cocaine at 36-Across as a theme answer, as that would have ruled out a repeat of the -caine ending. Unfortunately, I didn't spot that shorter thematic word till doing this write-up - I was poised to bemoan the absence of the great Michael Caine when I finally noticed it!
Solving time: 4 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 55d add {Put two and two together}

Holden Baker
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


Long answers end with the "caine" sound:
17a walking cane {Aid for a person with a limp}
36a cocaine {Drug from Colombia}
53a Citizen Kane {1941 Orson Welles classic}
11d Key Biscayne {Nixon's Florida home}
25d raising cain {Creating a ruckus}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersHolden Baker / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.97)
Theme squares51 (27.0%)
Scrabble points335 (average 1.77)
Video of the Day

9d Urn {Keats's "Ode on a Grecian ___"}. It's about time for another of those wonderful poetry animations. Ode on a Grecian Urn is a poem written by the English Romantic poet John Keats in May 1819 and published in January 1820. It is one of his Great Odes of 1819. Keats found earlier forms of poetry unsatisfactory for his purpose, and the collection represented a new development of the ode form. He was inspired to write the poem after reading two articles by English artist and writer Benjamin Haydon. Keats was aware of other works on classical Greek art, and had first-hand exposure to the Elgin Marbles, all of which reinforced his belief that classical Greek art was idealistic and captured Greek virtues, which forms the basis of the poem.

The Doctor is IN

11a KFC {Col. Sanders's restaurant}. KFC = Kentucky Fried Chicken, the "Col." indicating an abbreviated answer.

16a ere {"... ___ he drove out of sight"}. Part of a line in A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore.

2d TWA {Old "Up, up and away" carrier}. TWA (Trans World Airlines) disappeared when it was acquired by American Airlines in 2001.

34d Godot {Whom Vladimir and Estragon were waiting for, in a Beckett play}. Vladimir and Estragon are characters in Waiting for Godot.

43d Ito {Judge in the O. J. Simpson trial}. I.e. Judge Lance Ito.

Image of the Day

Pabst Blue Ribbon

21a Pabst {Blue Ribbon beer brewer}. Pabst Blue Ribbon is a brand of beer sold by Pabst Brewing Company, originally established in Milwaukee, Wisconsin but now based in Woodridge, Illinois. Pabst Blue Ribbon is contract-brewed in six different breweries around the U.S. in facilities owned by Miller Brewing Company (a few of which were actually Pabst breweries at one time). Originally called Best Select, and then Pabst Select, the current name came from the blue ribbons that were tied around the bottle neck, a practice that ran from 1882 until 1916. It is often referred to by the nickname PBR, or Peebz.

Other Clues

1a stoic {Not reacting to pain, say}; 6a pin-up {Playboy centerfold, e.g.}; 14a swirl {Go round and round}; 15a Andre {Tennis champ Agassi}; 19a yin {Yang's counterpart}; 20a squeak {Sound from a mouse}; 23a sprouts {Brussels ___}; 26a sheiks {Arabian V.I.P.'s}; 27a Thames {River past Westminster Palace}; 28a favors {Party handouts}; 30a a lie {"That's ___!" ("Not true!")}; 31a Arpel {Cosmetician Adrien}; 32a cog {Machine tooth}; 35a Los {___ Alamos, N.M.}; 38a ago {"Long ___ and far away ..."}; 39a LXI {Virgil's 61}; 40a orang {Long-armed ape, for short}; 41a Byrd {Late West Virginia senator Robert}; 42a Nimitz {W.W. II admiral Chester}; 44a Borneo {Island where many a 40-Across lives}; 46a rag-tag {Disheveled}; 48a dopiest {Most boneheaded}; 49a ex-con {One out of prison}; 50a Stones {Mick Jagger and bandmates, informally}; 52a à la {___ carte}; 58a Pei {Architect I. M. ___}; 59a haute {French word before cuisine or couture}; 60a elder {Respected tribe member}; 61a SSN {ID on an I.R.S. form}; 62a end on {___ a positive note}; 63a Ryder {Actress Winona}.

1d SSW {Opposite NNE}; 3d oil {Texaco's business}; 4d irksome {Irritating}; 5d clique {In-group}; 6d pages {Senate gofers}; 7d Inca {Early Peruvian}; 8d N.Dak. {Fargo's home: Abbr.}; 10d peep-hole {Hotel room door feature}; 12d frisk {Pat down, as for weapons}; 13d cents {Number after a decimal in a price}; 18d nuts {Items in a Planters can}; 22d Aer {___ Lingus}; 23d stall {Play for time}; 24d phlox {Showy flowers}; 26d Sven {Stereotypical Swedish man's name}; 28d Franz {Writer Kafka}; 29d a pig {Fat as ___}; 31d a cat {Nervous as ___}; 33d ogres {Fairy tale monsters}; 36d Comanche {War chief Black Horse's tribe}; 37d orig. {Copier input: Abbr.}; 41d briskly {In a quick and lively manner}; 44d bone {Common shape for a dog biscuit}; 45d opener {First game of the season}; 46d reaps {Harvests}; 47d axles {Connections for car wheels}; 48d dozen {Egg carton count}; 50d stud {Poker variety}; 51d Tito {Latin jazz great Puente}; 54d Ian {Author Fleming or McEwan}; 55d add {Put two and two together}; 56d née {Jacqueline Kennedy ___ Bouvier}; 57d err {Blunder}.

NPR Puzzle 10/31/10 - Trick or . . . Well, No, Just a Trick

Here's this week's puzzle:
Name a creature in six letters. Move the first three letters to the end and read the result backward to name another creature. Clue: If you break either six-letter word in half, each pair of three letters will themselves spell a word.
We knew the answer to this with no solving needed.  And the reason we knew the answer to this is that on a famous walk in Alaska in 2008, Ross came up with this puzzle.  He sent it in -- admittedly with different wording -- and heard nothing.  Which is okay; we know Dr. Will Shortz gets tons of puzzle ideas that he rejects immediately and forgets.  And we understand that the wording of a puzzle can make all the difference.  Presumably Ross's wording wasn't puzzle-worthy, and the nice fellow who sent this in came up with better wording.

But still. 

So, in honor of this minor annoyance, here are some pictures of where we were in Alaska when we created solved this puzzle. 

Time for ...

P I C K   A   R A N G E

This is where we ask you how many entries you think NPR will get for the challenge above.  If you want to win, leave a comment with your guess for the range of entries NPR will receive.  First come first served, so read existing comments before you guess.  Ross and I guess last, just before we publish the Thursday post.  After the Thursday post is up, the entries are closed.

They had 824 (nice precise number, NPR-Intern-Whose-Name-I-Should-Know) entries this week. 

We have a tiny issue here.  Jimel, who regularly enters the Pick-A-Range contest, had a little trouble getting his original comment to post, and by the time he noticed, the range of his dreams had been taken.  So on Friday he posted a comment on last Sunday's post and picked 800-900.  On the one hand, we close picks with our Thursday answer post because, in theory, knowing the answer might make it easier to pick the correct range.  But Jimel is a long-time reader, and he's never won anything, and poor Les Foeldessy must be thinking we'd never again give his cool book, Gryptics away -- so we've made the executive decision to believe Jimel and award him the prize.

Jimel, send us your address (to either Ross or Magdalen and we'll have Les send Gryptics to you.  And everyone else -- just get your picks in before the Thursday post goes up.  It's cleaner that way.

This means there's a Brand New Prize for you this week.  Pick a range and see if you can win it.

[As always, troublemakers risk winning the American Girl puzzle book, so play nice.  :-)]

Here are the ranges:

Fewer than 100
100 - 200
200 - 300
300 - 400
400 - 500

500 - 600
600 - 700
700 - 800
800 - 900
900 - 1,000

1,000 - 1,100
1,100 - 1,200
1,200 - 1,300
1,300 - 1,400
1,400 - 1,500

1,500 - 1,600
1,600 - 1,700
1,700 - 1,800
1,800 - 1,900
1,900 - 2,000

2,000 - 2,100
2,100 - 2,200
2,200 - 2,300
2,300 - 2,400
2,400 - 2,500

2,500 - 3,000

3,000 - 3,500

3,500 - 4,000

4,000 - 4,500

4,500 - 5,000

More than 5,000

More than 5,000 and it sets a new record.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

NYT Sunday 10/31/10 Elizabeth C. Gorski - Sadly Out of Luck

My solving of this Sunday New York Times crossword was not my finest hour (or even 26 minutes), although this is one of those cases where I don't think I'm entirely to blame for mistakes made.

Whitby Abbey (helped inspire Bram Stoker's Dracula)On downloading the puzzle, I checked out the instructions for the extra drawing (the like of which I've seen before) and was amused to see the puzzle title was exactly the same as I chose for Wednesday's blog post. Clearly we were in for a final Halloween crossword, which didn't come as a complete surprise.

One question in my mind was where any further theme material might be, given the need to embed A thru R at specific positions in the grid creates significant constraints. I wasn't sure, for example, if 4-Down and 12-Down would turn out to be thematic (they aren't).

After solving 23-Across as Nosferatu, I realized the main theme of the puzzle (aside from the bat drawing) was vampire movies and this was useful to know, even though I'm not really an aficionado of the genre. With about a third of the circled letters in place, I could see that the drawing would result in a bat and found it helpful to predict the positions of the remaining letters. This was one of the reasons for my fairly good solving time.

A neat extra touch with this puzzle is the thematic cluing to 92a sera {When Italian ghouls come out?} and 3d nuit {When French ghouls come out?}, plus other timely references such as in the clue to 89-Across.

Unfortunately, I ran into difficulties with the crossing of 82a Naya and 75d sal, being unfamiliar with the former and thinking 75d was probably another brand name with soda in the drinks sense. Hence I looked at all the possible vowels at the crossing, considering only A and O at all likely and marginally preferring Noya/Sol, which I eventually opted for.

Although Naya could hardly be clued in any simpler way, sal at 75-Down certainly could have been and I'm surprised the clue wasn't e.g. {___ volatile}, or a reference to a Sal we've all heard of.
Solving time: 26 mins (solo, no solving aids, two wrong answers)
Clue of the puzz: 109a carats {Ring figures}

Elizabeth C. Gorski
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


"Fangs for the Memory". When the circled letters A thru R are connected in order, they form the shape of a 84a bat. The titles of vampire movies appear as long answers:
23a Nosferatu {1922 Max Schreck film}
56a Vampire in Brooklyn {1995 Eddie Murphy film}
68a Dracula {1931 Bela Lugosi film}
97a Love at First Bite {1979 George Hamilton film}
113a Near Dark {1987 Adrian Pasdar film}
117a Twilight {2008 Robert Pattinson film}
125a Blood Ties {1986 Brad Davis film}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersElizabeth C. Gorski / Will Shortz
Grid21x21 with 79 (17.9%) black squares
Answers144 (average length 5.03)
Theme squares[not calculated]
Scrabble points549 (average 1.52)
Video of the Day

118d Wess {Jazz saxophonist/flutist Frank}. Frank Wess is an American jazz musician, who has played saxophone (both alto and tenor) and flute. In 2007 Wess was named an NEA Jazz Master by the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts.

The Doctor is IN

50a tea-shop {Cozy place?}. Reference to tea cozies.

77a Paine {"The Rights of Man" writer}. I.e. Thomas Paine (1737–1809).

7d Defoe {Crusoe's creator}. I.e. Daniel Defoe (ca. 1659-1661–1731).

51d ASL {Communication syst.}. ASL = American Sign Language.

57d Earp {O.K. Corral figure}. I.e. Wyatt Earp (1848–1929).

75d sal {___ soda}. sal soda is another name for soda ash, sodium carbonate.

95d mss {Slush pile contents: Abbr.}. mss = manuscripts (see slush pile).

99d VOA {Cold war broadcasting inits.}. VOA = Voice of America.

Image of the Day


82a Naya {Water brand}. Naya Waters manufactures, under the name Naya, bottled natural spring water, drawn from a spring in the Laurentian Mountains. Naya water is bottled directly at this source, and it is naturally sodium free. The name Naya comes from the word Naiads, who, in Greek mythology, were the goddesses of thermal waters and the immortal guardians of rivers, fountains and springs.

Other Clues

1a MSNBC {Home of "Hardball"}; 6a adage {"Love is blind," e.g.}; 11a bread {Moolah}; 16a equal {Even}; 17a imbecilic {Doltish}; 21a lodge {Odd Fellows' meeting place}; 22a amino {Kind of acid}; 24a I care {Words of empathy}; 25a titan {Heavyweight}; 26a flood-line {High-water mark}; 27a no más! {"Enough, Jorge!"}; 28a NES {Super ___ (old game console)}; 30a are {It might come after you}; 31a Sno {___ Balls (Hostess snack food)}; 32a sic {As written}; 33a mesa {Tijuana table}; 36a curb {Parking spot}; 38a Ewan {Actor McGregor}; 40a Otto {"Beetle Bailey" dog}; 44a Tristan {Lover of Isolde}; 46a scads {Oodles}; 52a Valhalla {Wagnerian opera setting}; 54a DNA {Crime scene matter}; 55a feasters {Saturnalia participants}; 59a geek {Tech whiz}; 61a stoa {Athenian porch}; 62a urns {Some gravesite decorations}; 63a Lapp {Arctic herder}; 66a Rorem {Composer Ned}; 72a retie {Fix, as laces}; 73a ACs {Coolers, for short}; 74a ism {System of beliefs}; 78a Kea {Mauna ___}; 80a una {Argentine article}; 81a pet {Furry adoptee}; 85a Lee J {Cobb of "12 Angry Men"}; 86a rah {A bit of cheer?}; 87a enameled {Like some fondue pots}; 89a boo! {Halloween cry}; 90a obligate {Compel}; 92a sera {When Italian ghouls come out?}; 93a yip {Poodle's greeting}; 95a moa {Bygone flightless bird}; 96a Ulan {___ Bator}; 105a it'll do {"Fine"}; 108a solus {Stage direction that means "alone"}; 109a carats {Ring figures}; 116a Rin {___ Tin Tin}; 119a ulnae {Bones also called cubiti}; 120a easy as pie! {"Piece of cake!"}; 123a Clara {Pianist/composer Schumann}; 124a seats {Tandem twosome}; 126a Eliot {George who wrote "The Spanish Gypsy"}; 127a exist {Walk the earth}; 128a Abou {"___ Ben Adhem"}; 129a ours {Belonging to you and me}; 130a Danes {Many visitors to Legoland}.

1d meat {Coconut filler}; 2d sq. mi. {Acreage fig.}; 3d nuit {When French ghouls come out?}; 4d banana shake {Fruit-based fountain treat}; 5d clone {Make a copy of}; 6d absorbs {Sucks up}; 8d aced {Breezed through}; 9d girls {Grade school door sign}; 10d Elaine's {Noted New York eatery}; 11d blini {Russian pancakes}; 12d rococo style {What Chippendale furniture was made in}; 13d Edam {Cheese ball?}; 14d Agra {"Slumdog Millionaire" locale}; 15d dees {Subpar grades}; 17d in F {Gershwin's "Concerto ___"}; 18d molar {Canine cousin}; 19d it now {"Do ___!" ("Stop procrastinating!")}; 20d cue {Maestro's sign}; 29d scalps {Skull caps?}; 32d sneaks {Sly sorts}; 33d MTV {"Jersey Shore" airer}; 34d era {All alternative}; 35d silver star {Medal of valor}; 37d unlit {Like the inside of a coffin}; 39d ate on {Used, as a dinner tray}; 41d The Natural {Bernard Malamud's first novel}; 42d tor {Rocky pinnacle}; 43d Ops {Saturn's wife}; 45d tam {Souvenir from Scotland}; 47d CDI {Early fifth-century year}; 48d Ann {"Slander" author Coulter}; 49d dab {Bit of Vaseline}; 53d Arod {Longtime Yankee nickname}; 55d fora {Roman squares}; 58d rule {Exclude, with "out"}; 59d grapes {Bunch at a grocery store}; 60d Eocene {Epoch in which mammals arose}; 64d piñata {One getting hit on at a party?}; 65d peahen {Female fowl}; 67d mine {Selfish person's cry before and after "all"}; 69d AABB {Common rhyme scheme}; 70d ciao! {"Later!"}; 71d unto {Biblical preposition}; 72d Raji {N.F.L. defensive lineman B. J. ___}; 76d my eye! {"... And I'm the queen of England!"}; 78d kebab {Serving on a stick}; 79d eel {Sushi bar order}; 83d Adia {Sarah McLachlan hit}; 85d loot {It may be hidden at a hideout}; 88d mall rats {Shopping center regulars}; 91d guerilla {Kind of warfare}; 94d pts. {Units of cream: Abbr.}; 98d oddest {Least typical}; 100d for you {Gift giver's words}; 101d Iliad {Epic translated by Alexander Pope}; 102d runs to {Reaches altogether}; 103d ici {"Vous êtes ___"}; 104d talced {Sprinkled with baby powder}; 105d in use {Like a locked lavatory}; 106d telex {Old-style fax}; 107d lanai {Hawaiian veranda}; 110d again {Question shouted in exasperation}; 111d throe {Spasm}; 112d stats {Some of the fine print on sports pages}; 114d Reba {1988 #1 country album}; 115d Kalb {Newsman Marvin}; 117d tier {Layer}; 121d Soo {Ontario's ___ Canals}; 122d più {"A ___ tardi" ("See you later," in Italy)}.

Friday, October 29, 2010

NYT Saturday 10/30/10 Barry C. Silk - Side-Tracked

This Saturday New York Times crossword seems to me very close in difficulty to yesterday's and I'm pleased to have completed both this week's themeless puzzles in a reasonable time and with no doubts as to correctness.

I got my start today at the top right, having drawn the proverbial blank trying to deal with the top left. Guessing abra- at 10-Down, then palate and orates to cross it, I had that whole corner done after 3 minutes and was able to push into the center, but not unfortunately into any of the other corners directly from there.

So, as yesterday, there followed a long pause as I dotted around the grid looking for a fresh start elsewhere. This eventually came in the SW after 16 minutes, and I then moved around to the right via silvers and Aesop at 41- and 52-Down.

With all those starting letters to the eight-letter acrosses, I soon had spielers and Rod Laver and - boom - all but the top left corner was done with 18 minutes on the clock.

puppy loveAs so often happens, when all my solving energies got focused back on the one spot that seemed to be causing most trouble, new ideas for possible answers emerged: I originally had young love at 4-Down, but why not puppy love?

Then I managed to guess Chippewa despite having no idea what the Treaty of Fort McIntosh was about. That opened the floodgates for more answers and I finished the grid in a flurry of activity. {Local listings} for stops at 19-Across remained mysterious until Magdalen gave me the train explanation - I'd definitely got side-tracked by the TV schedule meaning of "local listings".
Solving time: 21 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 24a scam {Contrivance for taking people for a ride}

Barry C. Silk
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersBarry C. Silk / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 25 (11.1%) black squares
Answers68 (average length 5.88)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points307 (average 1.53)
Video of the Day

34d B. J. Thomas {Singer with the 1966 hit "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry"}. I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry is a song written and recorded by American country music singer-songwriter Hank Williams in 1949. The song about loneliness was largely inspired by his troubled relationship with wife Audrey Sheppard. With evocative lyrics, such as the opening lines "Hear that lonesome whip-poor-will/He sounds too blue to fly," the song has been covered by a wide range of musicians, including B. J. Thomas, the American popular singer known for his chart-topping hits in the 1960s and 1970s - his album featuring I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.

The Doctor is IN

19a stops {Local listings}. Local in the sense of "local train".

22a Coty {De Gaulle's predecessor}. References to René Coty and Charles de Gaulle.

27a atts. {They often want to settle: Abbr.}. atts. = attorneys.

29a lib {Ad conclusion?}. Reference to lib as part of ad lib.

30a O'Toole {"What's New, Pussycat?" co-star, 1965}. Peter O'Toole plays Michael James in What's New Pussycat?.

37a Strasse {Automobil site}. "Road" and "automobile" in German.

40a T-Strap {Pump alternative}. "T-Strap" and "pump" are types of shoe.

42a TSA {Subway inspection org.}. TSA = Transportation Security Administration really belongs in Alphabet Soup.

43a Troi {Empathic counselor of sci-fi}. Reference to Deanna Troi in the Star Trek universe.

2d Heston {El Cid player}. Charlton Heston (1923–2008) played the title role in El Cid (1961).

6d Ero {Leandro's partner}. Reference to e.g. George Frideric Handel's Italian-language cantata Ero e Leandro.

10d abra- {Magician's opening}. As in abracadabra.

12d articles {They're in rags}. "rags" in the sense of newspapers.

56d bale {"Oklahoma!" set piece}. I.e. a bale could be seen on the set of Oklahoma!.

Image of the Day


16a Oberon {William Herschel discovery of 1787}. Oberon also designated Uranus IV, is the outermost major moon of the planet Uranus. It is the second largest and second most massive of the Uranian moons, and the ninth most massive moon in the Solar System. Discovered by William Herschel in 1787, Oberon is named after the mythical king of the fairies who appears as a character in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Its orbit lies partially outside Uranus's magnetosphere.

It is likely that Oberon formed from the accretion disk that surrounded Uranus just after the planet's formation. The moon consists of approximately equal amounts of ice and rock, and is probably differentiated into a rocky core and an icy mantle. A layer of liquid water may be present at the boundary between the mantle and the core. The surface of Oberon, which is dark and slightly red in color, appears to have been primarily shaped by asteroid and comet impacts. It is covered by numerous impact craters reaching 210 km in diameter. Oberon possesses a system of chasmata (graben or scarps) formed during crustal extension as a result of the expansion of its interior during its early evolution.

The Uranian system has been studied up close only once: the spacecraft Voyager 2 took several images of Oberon in January 1986, allowing 40% of the moon's surface to be mapped.

Other Clues

1a Chippewa {Treaty of Fort McIntosh signer, 1785}; 9a palate {Taste test need}; 15a requires {Can't do without}; 17a I suppose {Comment while hemming}; 18a orates {Has an impressive address}; 20a extra-fine {Coin collector's classification}; 23a Aruba {Part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands}; 24a scam {Contrivance for taking people for a ride}; 25a one lap {440 yards, for many runners}; 32a T-cell {Antigen attacker}; 34a bravest {Least likely to turn tail}; 39a Judea {Bethlehem's region}; 45a owes to {Has a loan from}; 49a HTML {What a webmaster may master}; 51a Eilat {Gulf of Aqaba city}; 53a chow {Eats}; 54a obsessive {Monomaniacal}; 56a boron {Group 13 member, in chemistry}; 57a mean to {Mistreating}; 58a escarole {Common salad ingredient}; 60a allied {Confederate}; 61a Rod Laver {Eponym of an Australian Open arena}; 62a stents {Surgeons' insertions}; 63a spielers {Deliverers of product lines?}.

1d Crisco {Big name in oil}; 3d I quote {Lead-in to someone else's words, after "and"}; 4d puppy love {What a crush might be}; 5d pips {Marks in a casino}; 7d Weser {River to the North Sea}; 8d asexual {Kind of reproduction}; 9d poor at {Not skilled in}; 11d leafs {Browses (through)}; 13d toe-nails {They may be treated in a spa}; 14d ensemble {Pieces together?}; 21d TB test {American Lung Assn. recommendation}; 23d A pos. {Blood drive spec.}; 26d ate at {Distressed}; 28d straw {One stuck in a float}; 31d Otto II {Holy Roman emperor, 973-83}; 33d Cape Coral {Florida city on the Caloosahatchee}; 35d rust belt {Area with aging factories}; 36d Adam's ale {Water}; 38d trot {Compete in the Breeders Crown}; 41d silvers {Some Olympians get them}; 44d resods {Covers over, in a way}; 46d shrove {Freed from guilt}; 47d tooler {Stonemason's chisel}; 48d owners {They have rights}; 50d Lenin {Comintern creator}; 52d Aesop {"The Frogs Who Desired a King" author}; 55d stet {Editorial reconsideration}; 59d CDI {Year the Visigoths invaded Italy}.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

NYT Friday 10/29/10 Barry Boone - Enlightenment

After some slower times for Friday puzzles recently, I was happy to get today's New York Times crossword done in just 20 minutes.

I got a great start in the NW by guessing an -ing ending for 1-Down, which prompted adjacent acrosses Incas and Netscape at 27- and 31-Across. When scant also worked at 28-Down, I felt I had things right and went on to complete that first corner in about four minutes.

I wasn't so lucky over in the NE and wasted some time there before tackling areas further down. The SE was next to fall with 14 minutes on the clock, and I then had so many angles of attack on the SW that it was finished in just two more minutes.

please stay on the pathSo there was now no choice but to resume work on the NE and here my guesswork led me down a costly blind alley: reading too much into {April shower?} at 18-Across, I tried daffodil, which happened to fit with both zydeco at 12-Down (correct) and Tao at 11-Down (close, but wrong, since its symbol is the Taijitu).

Enlightenment took a while and eventually arose from the left hand side where bicycle stand finally came to me as the answer to {Common sight outside a school building}. That ruled out the attractive daffodil, and I soon rebuilt the corner with bedazzle as the main reference.
Solving time: 20 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 47a tread {It's worn while driving}

Barry Boone
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersBarry Boone / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 27 (12.0%) black squares
Answers72 (average length 5.50)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points338 (average 1.71)
Video of the Day

8d Ed Ames {Mingo player of 1960s TV}. Hard to believe this nod to the constructor's namesake is coincidental: Daniel Boone is an American action/adventure television series that aired from September 24, 1964 to September 10, 1970 on NBC for 165 episodes, and was made by 20th Century Fox Television. The title role was played by Fess Parker. Ed Ames co-starred as Mingo, Boone's American Indian friend, for the first four seasons of the series. Albert Salmi portrayed Boone sidekick Yadkin in season one only. Country Western singer-actor Jimmy Dean was a featured actor as Josh Clements during the 1968–1970 seasons. Actor and former NFL football player Roosevelt Grier made regular appearances in the 1969 to 1970 season. The show was broadcast "in living color" beginning in fall, 1965, the second season. It was shot entirely in California and Kanab, Utah.

The Doctor is IN

19a amo {I love the classic way?}. amo is the Latin for "I love".

29a pls {Abbr. of politeness}. pls is short for please.

33a Ida. {Home of Lewis-Clark State Coll.}. Lewis-Clark State College is a public undergraduate college located in Lewiston, Idaho.

44a BLT {Club cousin}. BLT and club are types of sandwich.

61a rasped {Copied a capo}. Presumably a reference to Vito Corleone's raspy voice ... in Marlon Brando's portrayal, at least.

3d solo acts {Ones with the motto "One for the road"?}. A reference to a solo act being a single person on tour, hence "one for the road"?

9d Daley {Sawyer's successor in Chicago}. Reference to Chicago mayors Richard M. Daley and Eugene Sawyer.

21d Zippo {Lighter option}. Zippo lighters are made in Bradford, Pennsylvania.

24d Năstase {The court's Bucharest Buffoon}. I.e. Ilie Năstase.

48d drear {"How pallid, chill and ___!": Keats}. Quoting from The Eve of St. Agnes.

Image of the Day

Enso Red 11/20

11d zen {Discipline symbolized by a painted circle}. Ensō () is a Japanese word meaning "circle" and a concept strongly associated with Zen. Ensō is one of the most common subjects of Japanese calligraphy even though it is a symbol and not a character. It symbolizes the Absolute, enlightenment, strength, elegance, the Universe, and the void; it can also symbolize the Japanese aesthetic itself. As an "expression of the moment" it is often considered a form of minimalist expressionist art.

In Zen Buddhist painting, ensō symbolizes a moment when the mind is free to simply let the body/spirit create. The brushed ink of the circle is usually done on silk or rice paper in one movement (but the great Bankei used two strokes sometimes) and there is no possibility of modification: it shows the expressive movement of the spirit at that time. Zen Buddhists "believe that the character of the artist is fully exposed in how she or he draws an ensō. Only a person who is mentally and spiritually complete can draw a true ensō. Some artists will practice drawing an ensō daily, as a kind of spiritual exercise."

Some artists paint ensō with an opening in the circle, while others complete the circle. For the former, the opening may express various ideas, for example that the ensō is not separate, but is part of something greater, or that imperfection is an essential and inherent aspect of existence (see also the idea of broken symmetry). The principle of controlling the balance of composition through asymmetry and irregularity is an important aspect of the Japanese aesthetic: Fukinsei (不均斉), the denial of perfection.

Other Clues

1a resods {Fixes, as some fairways}; 7a bedazzle {Charm the pants off}; 15a Exocet {Missile that sank a British destroyer in the Falklands War}; 16a I dare you {Words before many a foolish act}; 17a la-la-la {"I'm not listening ..."}; 18a calendar {April shower?}; 20a enzymes {Causes of breakdowns}; 22a Edo {Old Asian capital}; 23a Xi'an {Capital of Shaanxi province}; 25a dicey {Far from a sure thing}; 26a C cup {Lingerie shop specification}; 27a Incas {Ancient empire builders}; 30a I hope {Bit of wishful thinking}; 31a Netscape {Company at the forefront of the dot-com boom}; 34a Gestapo {Like brutal tactics}; 35a solider {Not so tenuous}; 39a ant {One with a small nest egg?}; 40a fine-tune {Make purr, as an engine}; 41a H Test {Poisonous mushroom producer, briefly?}; 45a Deneb {Star in the Swan constellation}; 46a orle {Shield border}; 47a tread {It's worn while driving}; 49a acro- {Top: Prefix}; 50a Boi {"Sk8er ___" (2002 top 10 hit)}; 51a theatre {Locale for an Olivier Award winner}; 53a ego {One may suffer a blow}; 54a Nude Bomb {1980 Maxwell Smart film, with "The"}; 56a elicit {Extract}; 58a open area {Clearing}; 59a ablaze {Really lit}; 60a be strong! {"Hang in there!"}.

1d relaxing {In a hammock, say}; 2d examinee {Many a patient}; 3d solo acts {Ones with the motto "One for the road"?}; 4d oca {Andean tuber}; 5d dele {Strike}; 6d stand {See 7-Down}; 7d bicycle {With 6-Down, common sight outside a school building}; 10d Ares {Longtime enemy of Wonder Woman}; 12d zydeco {Style associated with washboards}; 13d load up {Stuff}; 14d Europe {It covers 2% of the earth's surface}; 26d chai tea {Latte alternative}; 28d scant {Opposite of ample}; 30d idled {Wasn't employed}; 32d apt {Quick to get things}; 33d ion {Plasma bit}; 35d sit at {Join, as a table}; 36d dunce cap {Quaint humiliator}; 37d energize {Pep up}; 38d rebooted {Responded to a crash, maybe}; 40d flea-bag {No posh hotel}; 41d hobnob {Hang (with)}; 42d troupe {51-Across unit}; 43d elides {Uses shortening on?}; 44d Bremen {State surrounded by Lower Saxony}; 47d thoro {Complete, informally}; 51d T-bar {Alternative to a carpet lift}; 52d Elba {Part of the Tuscan Archipelago}; 55d ENT {Apnea diagnoser, briefly}; 57d ils {They, in Calais}.

NPR Puzzle 10/24/10 - Is it a Kuba in Cuba or a Louse in Laos?

Here's this week's puzzle:
Name the capital of a country. Rearrange the letters to spell a word that sounds the same as the name of another country. To approach the puzzle backward, name a country that has a homophone that is an anagram of a different country's capital. What country and what capital city are they?
I got an answer that is so nearly legal I honestly don't know if Will Shortz will allow it to be counted.  The capital of Azerbaijan is Baku, which anagrams to KUBA which is maybe a homophone of Cuba.

First note:  KUBA is a word, at least according to Webster's Second:  An important carpet or an Arabic measure in Libya.  Yeah, I wasn't impressed either.  And there are other problems.  Does KUBA sound like Cuba?  Plus, even I could tell this wasn't quite what he wanted.  I just couldn't see how this wasn't right.

Anyway, as I was alone in a hotel room in Iselin, New Jersey, I whipped out five photos of Azerbaijan and five photos of Cuba (one of which, I gather, is recognizable by the inclusion of a Transtur coach), and called that a day.

Thank goodness I admitted I wasn't sure I'd gotten the answer right, because I hadn't gotten the answer right.  The clearly intended answer is LAOS = LOUSE = SEOUL.  And in case you wondered, as we did, if LAOS & LOUSE are homophones, I was watching last week's episode of Project Runway, and Andy explained how his parents came from Laos, and he pronounced it as a single syllable word.

So, here's what I've done.  I have edited last Sunday's post (here) so that all ten of those photos are now linked back to their correct Flickr pages.  And just to show I'm a good person, really I am, here are some photos of Seoul and Laos.



And this one's for Will Shortz especially (I hope it makes you scratch a little, you know, reflexively):

The male head louse -- trust me, there were even scarier pictures, ones that made even me scratch!

Time for ...

P I C K   A   R A N G E

Here are this week's picks for the ranges:

Fewer than 100
100 - 200
200 - 300
300 - 400
400 - 500

500 - 600
600 - 700
700 - 800
800 - 900
900 - 1,000 -- DAPF

1,000 - 1,100 -- Phredp
1,100 - 1,200 -- Tom
1,200 - 1,300 -- Dave
1,300 - 1,400 -- Ross
1,400 - 1,500 -- Magdalen

1,500 - 1,600 -- Henry
1,600 - 1,700
1,700 - 1,800 -- David
1,800 - 1,900
1,900 - 2,000 -- Mendo Jim

2,000 - 2,100
2,100 - 2,200
2,200 - 2,300
2,300 - 2,400
2,400 - 2,500

2,500 - 3,000

3,000 - 3,500

3,500 - 4,000

4,000 - 4,500

4,500 - 5,000

More than 5,000

More than 5,000 and it sets a new record

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

NYT Thursday 10/28/10 David J. Kahn - The Return of the Riddler

Spooky to see a series of Halloween-themed puzzles this year, when there were none in 2009, as far as I  recall. The first theme clue of this Thursday New York Times crossword broadcast what we were dealing with and "riddle" pointed to what is a at 17-Across, so the theme was a whole lot less mysterious than most Thursday ones.

Boo BerryGetting the rest of the riddle and its answer was definitely a piecemeal thing, and I only saw the booberry part after around 9 minutes of solving, I scream being a more familiar pun and hence one of the earliest theme entries to go in.

Several clues vied for "Clue of the puzz" today: I liked 22a bat {Club for swingers} early on, as well as 46d pulses {Nurses take these}. But 12d estate {What you will} won out with its repurposing of the subtitle to Twelfth Night.
Solving time: 11 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 12d estate {What you will}

David J. Kahn
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


A riddle for Halloween:
17a/27a/35a what is a ghost's favorite dessert? {A Halloween riddle}
43a/60a booberry pie and I scream {Answer to the riddle}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersDavid J. Kahn / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 40 (17.8%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.87)
Theme squares49 (26.5%)
Scrabble points292 (average 1.58)
Video of the Day

64a Stengel {Yankee manager who wore #37}. Casey Stengel (1890–1975), nicknamed "The Old Perfessor", was an American Major League Baseball player and manager from 1912 until 1965. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966.

Stengel was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and originally nicknamed "Dutch", a common nickname at that time for Americans of German ancestry. After his major league career began, he acquired the nickname "Casey", which originally came from the initials of his hometown ("K. C."), which evolved into "Casey", influenced by the wide popularity of the poem Casey at the Bat. In the 1950s, sportswriters dubbed him with yet another nickname, "The Old Professor", for his sharp wit and his ability to talk at length on anything baseball-related.

Although his baseball career spanned a number of teams and cities, he is primarily associated with clubs in New York City. Between playing and managing, he is the only man to have worn all four of New York's major league clubs' uniforms. He was the first of four men (through the 2009 season) to manage both the New York Yankees and New York Mets; Yogi Berra, Dallas Green, and Joe Torre are the others. Like Torre, he also managed the Braves and the Dodgers. He ended his baseball career as the beloved manager for the then expansion New York Mets, which won over the hearts of New York due to their "lovable loser" image and the unique character of their veteran leader.

The Doctor is IN

1a Mac {Bucko}. Equivalents as terms of address (to a man).

7a bridges {George Washington and others}. Presumably referencing the George Washington Bridge spanning the Hudson River.

50a ins {Seat holders}. in noun one who is in office or power or on the inside [MWCD11].

51a Tre {Italian TV channel}. Rai Tre is a channel of the state-owned Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI).

2d Ashe {"Off the Court" autobiographer}. Arthur Ashe's Off the Court was first published in 1981.

5d cosets {Math groups}. See Cosets.

10d dol. {Capital of the U.S.?}. Capital = currency is in Pavlov's Guide to Crosswords, dol. being short for dollar(s).

31d Orr {Bomber pilot in "Catch-22"}. See Orr (Catch-22).

Image of the Day

Barnard's Inn

39d Inn {Barnard's ___, locale in "Great Expectations"}. Barnard's Inn dates back at least to the mid 13th century — it was recorded as part of the estate of Sir Adam de Basyng, one time Mayor of London. It passed on to John Mackworth, the Dean of Lincoln who in turn passed it on to the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln on his death in 1451. Three years later, it was established as an Inn of Chancery — these were schools for law students before they passed on to an Inn of Court. Barnard's Inn was one of two Inns of Chancery linked to Gray's Inn, the other being Staple Inn.

Barnard's Inn was badly damaged during the Gordon Riots in 1780. An adjacent distillery, owned by a Roman Catholic, Mr Langdale (who escaped), was set alight by rioters. The Hall and other buildings were damaged and one of the officers of the Inn witnessed a "sturdy fellow" pumping up gin from the cellar which he proceeded to sell at a penny a mug to the thirsty onlookers of the fire. The Inn received £3,200 in compensation for the damage.

By the 17th century, qualified attorneys were allowed to practice from Inns of Chancery as well as Inns of Court. By 1830, it had effectively become a set of residential chambers. In 1888, the link to the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln was broken and soon it was purchased by the Mercers' Company, serving as premises for the Mercers' School until 1959. It has been used as a venue for lectures by Gresham College since 1991.

The hero of Charles Dickens's novel Great Expectations, Pip, lodged in Barnard's Inn with Herbert Pocket for a number of years following his arrival in London.

Other Clues

4a ach! {Berlin cry}; 14a ash {Burning issue}; 15a Moe {___ Greene, "The Godfather" gangster}; 16a remorse {"The poison of life," per Brontë's Rochester}; 19a isolate {Set apart}; 20a reorder {Online store option}; 21a MTV {"Punk'd" cable channel}; 22a bat {Club for swingers}; 23a estop {Bar, at the bar}; 25a Erato {Poet's Muse}; 32a eels {Coral reef dwellers}; 33a serio- {Prefix with comic}; 34a eye {Check out}; 38a mix {Be sociable}; 41a genie {Bottled spirit}; 42a mine {Go for the gold?}; 48a Fanta {Soft drink brand}; 49a saucy {Fresh}; 54a Kleenex {Sniffler's supply}; 58a edition {Bibliophile's concern}; 61a fit into {Dovetail with}; 62a me a {"Tell ___ story"}; 63a Ave. {New York or Wisconsin, in D.C.}; 65a asp {African menace}; 66a ten {Base ___}.

1d Mawr {Bryn ___ College}; 3d Chao {Elaine ___, George W. Bush's only labor secretary}; 4d amidst {In the center of}; 6d hear of {Be told about}; 7d brim {Spilling point}; 8d rest {Staff symbol}; 9d I'm over it {"That issue is in the past"}; 11d grab at {Reach for rudely}; 12d estate {What you will}; 13d see to {Mind}; 18d tress {Lock}; 24d passers {QBs, often}; 26d Rio {Kia model}; 27d gee! {"Whaddaya know!"}; 28d hey! {"Whaddaya know!"}; 29d olé {Ring cry}; 30d vee {Sign of a winner}; 35d debating {Pre-election activity}; 36d -ene {Chemical suffix}; 37d Sir {"My dear fellow"}; 38d MIA {War stat}; 40d Xed {Crossed (out)}; 41d got {Understood}; 42d Meyer {Debbie who won three swimming gold medals at the 1968 Olympics}; 43d bandit {Picaroon}; 44d on-site {Like some job training}; 45d Yakima {Washington city, river or tribe}; 46d pulses {Nurses take these}; 47d ice-cap {Top-of-the-world topper}; 48d fiefs {Feudal domains}; 52d rote {Learning method}; 53d enol {Hydroxyl compound}; 55d neat {In order}; 56d eave {Projecting edge}; 57d X-Men {2000 Hugh Jackman movie}; 59d tin {Component of bronze}.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

NYT Wednesday 10/27/10 Jay Kaskel - Fangs for the Memory

I just about feel up to resuming commentaries with this Wednesday New York Times crossword, although (having not quite adjusted back to EDT) I solved the puzzle in a very bleary-eyed state and I suspect I'm not on top form right now.

bat mobileThe topical theme of the puzzle remained mysterious as I progressed down the grid, it being somewhat difficult to complete any of the long answers ... either from their clues, or cross-checking. In fact, I twigged to the theme from the many vampire references elsewhere in the cluing and hence was primed to fill 52-Across as Count Dracula, once I got down that far.

That made it much easier to complete the top four long answers: my favorite of these is the bat mobile {Crib plaything for a young 52-Across?} at 43-Across, because the punning sense in the clue is so removed from the Batmobile we know and love.

Some tough cluing here and there still made it challenging to finish off the grid: I had particular trouble with 59a ad in {Deuce follower}, for which I wanted trey originally, and 42a plant {Mole, e.g.}, which I only understood after some consideration while doing this write-up.
Solving time: 9 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 59a ad in {Deuce follower}

Jay Kaskel
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


In the run-up to Halloween, some puns relating to 52a Count Dracula {See 20-, 28-, 35- and 43-Across}.
20a reality bites {Comment on life by 52-Across?} cf  Reality Bites
28a blood bank {Deposit and withdrwal site for 52-Across?}
35a pain in the neck {Result of an encounter with 52-Across?}
43a bat mobile {Crib plaything for a young 52-Across?} cf Batmobile
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersJay Kaskel / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 40 (17.8%) black squares
Answers74 (average length 5.00)
Theme squares55 (29.7%)
Scrabble points285 (average 1.54)
Video of the Day

9d Poseidon {Ill-fated ship of film}. The Poseidon is a fictional cruise ship that first appeared in the 1969 novel The Poseidon Adventure by Paul Gallico and later in four films based on the novel. In the novel, the steamdriven cruise ship is traveling across the Atlantic on a month long tour of African and South American ports, after being converted from an ocean liner into a cruise ship. On December 26, the ship capsizes when a landslide on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge produces a huge rogue wave. The description of the ship is little, but we know it is a quadruple screw ocean liner of 81,000 tons, is long as four city blocks and is as high as an apartment building. It says it also has 3 "massive" funnels.

In the first film version, from 1972, The Poseidon Adventure (see trailer above), the ship is in the Mediterranean on its final voyage, which will take it to the breaker's yards in Greece, when an undersea earthquake produces the rogue wave that capsizes the ship just after midnight on New Year's Eve. The film uses the RMS Queen Mary as a stand-in for the Poseidon, using both model shots and stock footage of the actual liner. Subsequent films are Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (1979), The Poseidon Adventure (2005) and Poseidon (2006).

The Doctor is IN

14a toe {Little dipper?}. Reference to the toes as a means of testing water temperature.

17a HDL {Cholesterol abbr.}. HDL = high-density lipoprotein, so-called "good cholesterol".

41a R. U. R. {Capek play}. R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) premiered in 1921, introducing the term "robot".

42a plant {Mole, e.g.}. Equivalents in the spy/informer sense.

60a Eis {Frozen water, to Wilhelm}. Eis is the German for "ice".

59a ad in {Deuce follower}. ad in = advantage to the serving player in tennis.

53d Taft {1920s chief justice}. I.e. William Howard Taft (1857–1930).

Image of the Day

Aon Center

30d Aon {___ Center (Chicago skyscraper)}. It seems there's an Aon Center in Chicago and an Aon Center in Los Angeles. The Chicago one (200 East Randolph Street, formerly the Amoco Building) is a modern skyscraper in the Chicago Loop designed by architect firms Edward Durell Stone and The Perkins and Will partnership, and completed in 1973 as the Standard Oil Building. With 83 floors and a height of 1,136 feet (346 m), it is the third tallest building in Chicago, surpassed in height by the Willis Tower and the Trump International Hotel and Tower.

It is the headquarters of the Aon Corporation, formerly the headquarters of Amoco. In recent years, the top floors of the building have been lit at night with colors to reflect a particular season or holiday. Orange is used for Thanksgiving, green or red for Christmas, and pink during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The lighting commonly matches the nighttime lighting on the antenna of Willis Tower, the John Hancock Center and the upper floors of the Merchandise Mart.

Other Clues

1a Ang {Director Lee}; 4a Izod {Big name in sport shirts}; 8a oppose {Dispute}; 15a noir {Film style}; 16a does OK {Makes less than a killing}; 18a kola {Nut with caffeine}; 19a estate {Grand grounds}; 23a oaten {Like some straw}; 24a loiters {Hangs around}; 32a dopey {Lamebrained}; 33a Lou {Musical Reed}; 34a gorier {Displaying more violence}; 40a kidnap {Seize for ransom}; 49a heroine {Buffy the Vampire Slayer, e.g.}; 51a rigor {Stiffness}; 56a legend {Vampire story, e.g.}; 61a Adonai {Hebrew name for God}; 62a fang {Part of a vampire}; 63a Ste {___-Foy, Que.}; 64a tootle {Pied Piper's sound}; 65a tyke {Nipper}; 66a sad {Down}.

1d athrob {Like the heart during a horror movie}; 2d no deal {"Sorry, Charlie"}; 3d gelato {Frozen treat}; 4d in kind {Way to pay someone back}; 5d zoot {___-suiter}; 6d oily {Like mechanics' hands}; 7d drab {Void of any va-va-voom}; 8d Ode to {Poem title start}; 10d pet store {Spot to pick up Spot}; 11d osa {Spanish she-bear}; 12d sot {Bar fixture, maybe}; 13d eke {Squeeze (out)}; 21d Leo {Fierce sort, astrologically}; 22d ilk {Sort}; 25d epic {Awesome, in slang}; 26d reek {Stink}; 27d Syr. {Neighbor of Turk.}; 29d blip {Tiny bump on a graph}; 31d Nutra- {Commercial lead-in to Sweet}; 34d germ {"Cootie"}; 35d pile {Carpet feature}; 36d Adar {Month before Nisan}; 37d innocent {Having clean hands}; 38d national {Like some parks}; 39d hut {QB's utterance}; 40d kph {Speed meas. in Europe}; 43d Ben {Big ___}; 44d orange {Popsicle choice}; 45d Bic {Pen with a cap}; 46d I guess {"Um ... O.K."}; 47d Lolita {1955 novel that was made into 1962 and 1997 films}; 48d erased {Obliterated}; 50d nudie {Racy film}; 54d D-day {Subject of the book "Six Armies in Normandy"}; 55d rink {N.H.L. venue}; 56d lat. {No. on a map}; 57d Edo {Tokyo, once}; 58d goo {Melted chocolate, e.g.}.

Monday, October 25, 2010

NYT Tuesday 10/26/10 Chris Handman - Solution

Here is the solution for the New York Times crossword puzzle dated Tuesday October 26, 2010. This is an abbreviated post as I am currently traveling in the UK. Full commentaries will resume when time permits.
Solving time: 7 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 11d Enid {An OK city}

Chris Handman
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


Satirical demonstrations planned for Saturday October 30, 2010:
1a/17a Rally to Restore Sanity {Event of 10/30/10}
39a Colbert {Organizer of the 54-/65-Across}
41a Stewart {Organizer of the 1-/17-Across}
54a/65a  March to Keep Fear Alive {Event of 10/30/10}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersChris Handman / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 39 (17.3%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.77)
Theme squares54 (29.0%)
Scrabble points295 (average 1.59)
Other Clues

6a Papa {With 10-Across, sobriquet for Bill O'Reilly used by 39-Across}; 10a Bear {See 6-Across}; 14a avoid {Duck, as a question}; 15a riot {Real comedian}; 16a Anna {Tolstoy's Karenina}; 20a sirs {Knights}; 21a OMB {White House fiscal grp.}; 22a trades {Deals in a fantasy league}; 23a retro {Fashionably old}; 25a alum {Reuniongoer}; 27a oaf {Buffoon}; 28a lady luck {Gambler's best friend?}; 33a NBA {Wizards' and Celtics' org.}; 36a tails {Winner when heads loses}; 38a area {Pi r squared, for a circle}; 44a arte {Uffizi display}; 45a storm {Tempest}; 47a lay {Troubadour's song}; 48a anathema {Object of loathing}; 51a Emb. {Envoy's bldg.}; 53a a leg {"Shake ___!"}; 57a stanza {Song part}; 61a two {Duo}; 63a IHOP {Breakfast place that's often open 24 hrs.}; 68a aria {"Caro nome," e.g.}; 69a sear {Cook in a way, as tuna or beef tenderloin}; 70a alter {Rehem, say}; 71a bent {Not straight}; 72a Emmy {Award won for 39- and 41-Across's programs}; 73a Roark {"The Fountainhead" hero}.

1d rats! {"Darn it!"}; 2d avoir {To have, to Henri}; 3d Lorre {Peter of "Casablanca"}; 4d lies to {Deceives}; 5d yds. {They are 3 ft. long}; 6d prom {Annual coronation site}; 7d airball {Complete miss in basketball}; 8d Poe {"The Tell-Tale Heart" writer}; 9d at stud {Offered for breeding}; 10d Bana {Eric who played the Hulk in 2003}; 11d Enid {An OK city}; 12d ante {Throw in a few chips, say}; 13d Rays {Tampa Bay team}; 18d too far {How a practical joke or a subway train may be taken}; 19d Army {"Be All You Can Be" group}; 24d rate {2.5%/year interest, e.g.}; 26d lasso {Rodeo rope}; 29d law {Supreme Court's sphere}; 30d Ural {___ Mountains, Europe/Asia separator}; 31d Cera {Michael of "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World"}; 32d Katy {1918 song girl whose name was sung with a stutter}; 33d NCAA {Final Four inits.}; 34d born {Brought into the world}; 35d Alta {Utah ski resort}; 37d it's me {Informal reply to "Who's there?"}; 40d bet {Wager}; 42d tremor {2 or 3 on the Richter scale, maybe}; 43d Emma {Jane Austen meddler}; 46d tag team {Wrestling duo}; 49d haze {Smog, e.g.}; 50d elapse {Go by, as time}; 52d Brillo {S.O.S alternative}; 55d Chita {Tony-winning Rivera}; 56d hover {Act like an overly protective parent}; 57d stab {Pierce}; 58d tore {Ripped}; 59d akin {Comparable (to)}; 60d neat {Tidy}; 62d wary {Cautious}; 64d perk {Employee discount, e.g.}; 66d fem. {Opposite of masc.}; 67d Aar {Swiss river}.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

NYT Monday 10/25/10 Jonah Kagan - Solution

Here is the solution for the New York Times crossword puzzle dated Monday October 25, 2010. This is an abbreviated post as I am currently traveling in the UK. Full commentaries will resume when time permits.
Solving time: 5 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 19a death {Point of no return?}

Jonah Kagan
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


Long answers begin with an onomatopoeic word that represents a bang, as indicated by 39a starts with a bang {Has an exciting opening number, say ... or what the answer to each starred clue does?}.
17a boomerang {*Toy that's thrown}
64a powder keg {*Situation set to explode}
11d whammy bar {*Guitar accessory that adds vibrato}
35d bamboozle {*Hoodwink}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersJonah Kagan / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 34 (15.1%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 5.03)
Theme squares49 (25.7%)
Scrabble points329 (average 1.72)
Other Clues

1a balm {Healing ointment}; 5a mate {Partner}; 9a Bowie {David who sang "Space Oddity"}; 14a aloe {1-Across ingredient}; 15a avid {Enthusiastic}; 16a ad hoc {Like some on-the-spot wireless networks}; 19a death {Point of no return?}; 20a effort {What an E may stand for}; 21a teak {Deck wood}; 23a Mao {China's ___ Zedong}; 24a starlit {Like a clear night sky}; 26a spasm {Tic}; 28a years {1492, 1776, 2001, etc.}; 30a pray to {Seek divine help from}; 33a tab {Indent key}; 36a nape {Back of the neck}; 38a Mabel {Silents star Normand}; 43a armor {Knight's attire}; 44a Leto {Actor Jared}; 45a RDA {Fig. on a vitamin bottle}; 46a rabies {Possible result of an animal bite}; 48a latch {Door fastener}; 51a Olsen {Jimmy of the Daily Planet}; 53a strange {Bizarre}; 57a emo {Angsty music genre}; 59a peer {Look searchingly}; 61a oui, oui! {"Certainly, madame!"}; 62a pizza {Domino's offering}; 66a isles {"Pirates of the Caribbean" locales}; 67a amid {In the thick of}; 68a dish {One who ran away with the spoon, in a nursery rhyme}; 69a Coens {Directors Ethan and Joel}; 70a lazy {Slothful}; 71a oast {Kiln for hops}.

1d babes {Toyland visitors}; 2d aloft {Overhead}; 3d loofa {Bath sponge}; 4d Memory {Dalí's "The Persistence of ___"}; 5d Martians {Invaders in an H. G. Wells story}; 6d Ava {Gardner of film}; 7d tint {Windshield glare reducer}; 8d edges {A hexagon has six of them}; 9d bad karma {Comeuppance for evil actions, supposedly}; 10d ode {Laudatory poem}; 12d iota {Itsy-bitsy bit}; 13d echo {Canyon sound effect}; 18d Erle {Gardner of mystery}; 22d app {Download for an iPhone}; 25d trawl {Fish with a net}; 27d Saab {Sad-sounding car company?}; 29d spiel {Sales pitch}; 31d tend {Be inclined (to)}; 32d Olga {___ Korbut, 1972 Soviet gymnastics star}; 33d tsar {Old Russian autocrat}; 34d Atra {Gillette razor}; 37d Ettas {Singers James and Jones}; 40d roil {Agitate}; 41d trespass {Ignore a property owner's signs, perhaps}; 42d hot toddy {Warm bedtime beverage}; 47d see {Visualize}; 49d Crüe {Rock's Mötley ___}; 50d hairdo {Bob or beehive}; 52d Nepal {Country with Sherpas}; 54d Nokia {Finnish cell phone giant}; 55d guess {"___ who?!"}; 56d eight {Number in an octet}; 57d epic {"Ben-Hur," for one}; 58d miso {Soup with sushi}; 60d Roma {Italia's capital}; 63d zen {Buddhist sect}; 65d wiz {Brainiac}.