Sunday, October 10, 2010

NYT Monday 10/11/10 Robert Fisher - Dinner Parties

In contrast to the early puzzles last week, the theme of this Monday New York Times crossword was obvious after just two examples. I certainly then anticipated cup, and bowl came as no surprise when that showed up.

I wound up with only an average time, though, as there was some surprising vocabulary in 22a inhere {Exist naturally}, for example; and unobvious cluing in e.g. 5d Bali {Storied isle near Java} - even after discussing this Magdalen, I'm still mystified about the "Storied" bit.

62a Okie {Merle Haggard's "___ From Muskogee"} made me wonder to what extent Okie is a derogatory term now. I know from The Grapes of Wrath that it got used that way in the depression. The Wikipedia article says "In the later half of the 20th century, there became increasing evidence that any pejorative meaning of the term Okie was changing". Anyway, quoting a title sidesteps that kind of concern, and I was amused to listen to the referenced song and make it my Video of the Day.
Solving time: 4 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 36d liar {Fabricator}

Robert Fisher
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


Long answers end with items of dishware.
19a tectonic plate {Shifting piece of the earth's crust}
33a flying saucer {Extraterrestrial's transportation}
40a FIFA World Cup {Quadrennial soccer championship}
55a Hollywood Bowl {Los Angeles Philharmonic summer venue}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersRobert Fisher / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.92)
Theme squares50 (26.7%)
Scrabble points303 (average 1.62)
Video of the Day

62a Okie {Merle Haggard's "___ From Muskogee"}. I wasn't sure I wanted to run this song, but the Muskogee Chamber of Commerce's 40th anniversary version (above) won me over. Okie from Muskogee is the title track of a country music album by Merle Haggard and the Strangers, released in 1969. The song describes Muskogee as a place "where even squares can have a ball," but it was all in jest apparently: according to Haggard, "It started out as a joke. We wrote to be satirical originally. But then people latched onto it, and it really turned into this song that looked into the mindset of people so opposite of who and where we were. My dad's people. He's from Muskogee, you know?"

The Doctor is IN

5a 'Bama {Crimson Tide, to fans}. 'Bama = the University of Alabama, whose sports teams are nicknamed the Crimson Tide.

45a rafted {Traveled with Huck Finn, e.g.}. Referencing the many journeys made by raft on the Mississippi River in the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

46a esas {Those, in Tijuana}. Those = esas is in Español para los crucigramistas, Tijuana being Mexican city.

47a Chi {___-Town (Cubbies' home)}. Reference to the Chicago Cubs baseball team.

65a vent {A/C opening}. A/C = air-conditioning.

5d Bali {Storied isle near Java}. We're stumped why Bali specifically should be deemed "storied'. Readers?

59d FDA {Prescription safety org.}. FDA = Food and Drug Administration is in Alphabet Soup.

Image of the Day

peahen and peacock

53a peahen {Showy cock's object of affection}. The term peafowl can refer to the two species of bird in the genus Pavo of the pheasant family, Phasianidae. Peafowl are best known for the male's extravagant tail, which it displays as part of courtship. The male is called a peacock, and the female a peahen. The female peafowl is brown or toned grey and brown. Its young is called a peachick. The two species are: Indian Peafowl, Pavo cristatus (Asiatic), designated as the national bird of India and the provincial bird of the Punjab; Green Peafowl, Pavo muticus (Asiatic), vulnerable to extinction due to hunting and a reduction in extent and quality of habitat.

Other Clues

1a slam {Close with a bang}; 9a gain {Loss's opposite}; 13a capo {Aria da ___}; 14a salon {Establishment with hair dryers}; 15a onto {Hip about}; 16a Oman {Muscat is its capital}; 17a alert {Warning}; 18a ajar {Slightly open, as a door}; 22a inhere {Exist naturally}; 23a Her {___ Royal Highness}; 24a lop {Cut (off), as with a sweeping motion}; 27a ate {Supped}; 28a Alta {___Vista (search engine)}; 31a reside {Dwell}; 35a aloe {Lotion ingredient}; 38a ego {Psychology 101 topic}; 39a mast {Sail holder}; 50a ORs {Surgeons' workplaces, for short}; 51a ads {Sponsors' spots}; 59a flop {Dud}; 61a Orion {The Hunter constellation}; 63a dare {"I bet you won't go bungee jumping," e.g.}; 64a tithe {Give 10% to one's church}; 66a axed {Gave the boot}; 67a sass {Impudence}; 68a ergs {Energy output units}.

1d Scotia {Nova ___, Canada}; 2d lament {Bemoan}; 3d Apache {Cochise or Geronimo}; 4d Monte {Del ___ Foods}; 6d Alec {Actor Baldwin}; 7d morph {Undergo transformation, as one image into another}; 8d antlers {Stag's pride}; 9d goat {Billy or nanny}; 10d Anjelica {Oscar winner Huston}; 11d it a {Make ___ habit}; 12d nor {Neither's partner}; 14d sanely {In a rational way}; 20d oral {___ vaccine}; 21d area {General location}; 25d odes {Poems of praise}; 26d pert {Bouncy}; 29d tier {Stadium level}; 30d angle {Viewpoint}; 32d sump {Drainage pit}; 33d feat {Impressive act}; 34d gods {Dwellers on Mount Olympus}; 35d afro {Hardly a close-cut hairdo}; 36d liar {Fabricator}; 37d offshore {Not on land, as an oil rig}; 41d weal {Prosperity}; 42d odd lots {Stock in nonstandard quantities}; 43d Capone {Gangster known as Scarface}; 44d used {Exploited}; 47d choker {Snug necklace}; 48d hewing {Felling}; 49d inlets {Small bays}; 52d Syria {Neighbor of Israel}; 54d above {Over}; 56d op-ed {___ page (newspaper part)}; 57d wits {Jokesters}; 58d oohs {Sounds of amazement}; 60d lax {Too permissive}.


Daniel Myers said...

In re BALI: There's a part in one of Wodehouse's stories - a writer with whom we're both acquainted, I believe - in which Jeeves is expressing an urge to travel and Bertie, unconvinced, says something to the effect of, if I remember aright, "Possibly, you've been reading about the dancing girls of Bali..."

Reading where though, one wonders. I hope this helps a bit.

Anonymous said...

Was Bali the setting for "South Pacific?" Also, I'm pretty sure there was a "Road to Bali" in the series of films with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby (not sure if either of these would make Bali "storied" though).

Daniel Myers said...

Ah, here's the paragraph, from The Code of The Woosters. My memory wasn't exact - It's been some 20 years - but I had the gist:

"'I can't do with any more education. I was full up years ago. No, Jeeves, I know what's the matter with you. That old Viking strain of yours has come out again. You yearn for the tang of the salt breezes. You see yourself walking the deck in a yachting cap. Possibly someone has been telling you about the Dancing Girls of Bali. I understand, and I sympathize. But not for me. I refuse to be decanted into any blasted ocean-going liner and lugged off round the world."

Crossword Man said...

I'm impressed DM, as I certainly didn't remember that passage. It looks like we need The New Annotated Jeeves and Wooster to explain the allusions. I was going to suggest Leslie S. Klinger for the job, as I'm an admirer of his glosses on Sherlock Holmes. But by all accounts he went off the rails a bit when attempting something similar with Dracula ... could he be trusted with The Master?

Thanks for your help Anon. Like you, we weren't sure if those explanations justified "storied". I don't believe the Bali Hai of South Pacific is the Bali near Java.

Daniel Myers said...

I'm a tad chagrined that I'd never heard of Klinger, my own well-worn copy of the the Holmes stories being of the rather purist sort, with accompanying illustrations as they originally appeared upon publication in The Strand. But, to go by Klinger's Wikipedia entry, he seems to have given up serious scholarship for the present.

So, I don't quite know whom to suggest. Surely, someone must fancy doing it, and be up to the job!

In the meantime, we shall remain in ignorance as to those (storied?) Dancing Girls of Bali, though no doubt if one were to peruse one of the tomes at the bottom of the Bali Wikipedia entry, one would no doubt hit upon the answer.

But that's all a tad recondite for a Monday puzzle, or even a Saturday one!

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised about your Bali "ignorance" – what did you do for your Gap year? ;-)

Bali is a major – no, a MAJOR – stop on the international backpackers circuit. Beaches, surfing, diving, famous temple ceremonies (anyone who has ever taken a college anthropology course knows all about these ...), and most of all a relaxed, welcoming culture (re Hindu origins, relative to the rest of mostly Islamic Indonesia) in a glorious natural setting. What's not to be "storied"?

Sorry about the lack of learned quotations from obscure literary references to support this suggested explanation, however ... ;-)

(By the by, my copy of the Holmes stories are also reprinted as they originally appeared in The Strand, per typeface, illustrations and page markings ...)

Crossword Man said...

I worked in an Oxford book store in my gap year. Silly me :-)