Saturday, October 16, 2010

NYT Sunday 10/17/10 Patrick Blindauer - Eights Week

We ran straight into the unusual theme of this Sunday New York Times crossword in the NW corner, and it caused much puzzlement: we definitely wanted 3-Down to start subway and, thinking of nest-eggs, I creatively came up with IRA for {Egg protector}.

less is moreBut that didn't square with 1-Down, which looked increasingly like lawn chair. Eventually we saw the possibility of a rebus, realizing (with the help of the title) that this first rebus square should contain an 8, replacing a sequence of letters that sound like "eight" in the answer.

I speculated that we might see other digits elsewhere in the grid, perhaps the sequence from 1 to 9. My expectations are still shaped on my experience of thematic cryptics in the UK, which don't go by the principle "less is more". This tightly constrained implementation is typical of American themes (and I imagine that handling the sound of a digit like "three" might have been tough anyway).

As it is, there are exactly eight 8s, which seems appropriate. The hardest theme answer to get was of course The Late Late Show at 40-Down, which is a little different ... but since it's the central answer, with the two 8s in symmetrical positions, I rather like it.
Solving time: 36 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 104a here! {Shout from one who's on a roll?}
Solution

Patrick Blindauer
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

"Figure of Speech". A rebus puzzle in which 8 represents the sound of "eight". This affects the following answers:
25a Conway Twitty {Singer with the #1 country hit "Hello Darlin'"}
31a crate {Egg protector}
37a Wait Until Dark {Suspenseful 1966 Broadway hit}
60a lifted weights {Repeatedly raised the bar?}
76a Peyton Place {Racy best-selling novel of 1956}
99a bait and switch {Fast-talking salesman's tactic}
116a skateboarder {X Games competitor}
127a gaiter {Spat}
3d subway train {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7, in New York City}
7d tailgate {Follow too closely}
14d abate {Lessen}
40d {Insomniac's TV viewing}
84d release date {Movie producer's time of stress}
89d states {Conditions}
109d Maytag {Largest employer in Newton, Iowa, until 2006}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersPatrick Blindauer / Will Shortz
Grid21x21 with 74 (16.8%) black squares
Answers140 (average length 5.24)
Theme squares[not calculated]
Scrabble points570 (average 1.55)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



13d Mr. Wizard {Don Herbert's moniker on 1950s-'60s TV}. Don Herbert (1917–2007) better known as Mr. Wizard, was an American television personality. He hosted two television shows about science aimed at children: Watch Mr. Wizard in the 1950s and Mr. Wizard's World in the 1980s (example above).

The Doctor is IN

67a Buc {N.F.C. South player}. A Buc is a player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

71a alc. {Still product: Abbr.}. alc. is short for "alcohol", produced in a still.

121a St. Leo {Florida univ. affiliated with the Catholic Church}. See Saint Leo University.

4d AAA {Prominent tower, for short}. "tower" = something that tows, as in the American Automobile Association.

15d Caine {"Educating Rita" star}. I.e. Michael Caine.

65d Seaver {Miracle Mets pitcher, 1969}. I.e. Tom Seaver, nicknamed "Tom Terrific".

105d reins {Dancer's controls?}. Dancer = reindeer has been added to Pavlov's Guide to Crosswords.

Image of the Day

Landing Ship, Tank


107d LSTs {W.W. II craft}. Landing Ship, Tank (LST) was the military designation for naval vessels created during World War II to support amphibious operations by carrying significant quantities of vehicles, cargo, and landing troops directly onto an unimproved shore. The majority, a thousand, were laid down in the United States during WWII for use by the Allies. Eighty more were built in the United Kingdom and Canada.

Other Clues

1a Lisa {Alaska senator Murkowski}; 5a Astin {Sean who played the title role in "Rudy," 1993}; 10a perma- {Start to frost?}; 15a chef {Pan handler}; 19a agua {El océano, por ejemplo}; 20a thane {Shakespeare's Lennox, Angus or Ross}; 21a acerb {Bitter}; 22a auto {Aries or Taurus}; 23a WNBA {Hoop grp.}; 24a hairs {They may be split}; 27a now {When repeated, a calming phrase}; 28a oodles {A whole lot}; 29a anti {Debate side}; 30a inset {Cartographic extra}; 32a a log {Easy as falling off ___}; 33a e-zine {Salon, for example}; 35a harks {Listens, old-style}; 43a FDA {Grp. that conducts many tests}; 46a Ananias {Biblical liar}; 48a so hot {See 39-Down}; 49a Rae Dawn {Actress ___ Chong}; 51a iciest {Least welcoming}; 52a attend {Wait upon}; 53a deduced {Gathered}; 54a René {___ Coty, French president before de Gaulle}; 55a mire {Stick in the mud}; 57a less {Subtracting}; 59a seer {Cassandra, for one}; 63a test-tube {Long piece of glassware}; 70a bean {Noggin}; 72a alee {On the safe side}; 73a psi {Wave function symbol in quantum mechanics}; 74a ephemera {Items of short-lived use}; 79a a nap {Take ___ (rest)}; 80a Sris {Hindu titles}; 82a Olav {Speed-skating champ Johann ___ Koss}; 83a from {Out of}; 87a me first {Like an egocentric's attitude}; 91a ethane {Flammable fuel}; 93a Erie, PA {Part of a postal address for Gannon University}; 95a execute {Carry out}; 96a Dione {Moon of Saturn}; 97a griller {Barbecue cook}; 98a RTs {Football linemen: Abbr.}; 102a teeny {Itsy-bitsy}; 103a Vasco {Explorer ___ da Gama}; 104a here! {Shout from one who's on a roll?}; 106a at a {___ loss}; 107a limit {One to a customer, e.g.}; 110a A-one {Prime}; 113a smores {Camping treats}; 115a Srs. {B.M.O.C.'s, often}; 118a Tikki {Rikki-___-tavi}; 119a beat {Tanned}; 120a tear {Zoom}; 122a ace in {___ the hole}; 123a I'd do {"... and ___ it again!"}; 124a saga {"Twilight," e.g.}; 125a user's {___ manual}; 126a terns {Gull relatives}.

1d lawn chair {Common patio sight}; 2d ignorance {Bliss, it is said}; 5d Athol {Massachusetts industrial city on the Millers River}; 6d shadows {Trails}; 8d in re {Dictator's phrase}; 9d Ness {Dread loch?}; 10d paca {Spotted cavy}; 11d Econ. {H.S. class}; 12d rented {Didn't buy, perhaps}; 16d huts {Sheds}; 17d -ette {Novel conclusion?}; 18d Foyt {Track star A. J.}; 26d winked {Gave a sly signal}; 28d oasis {Good spot for a date?}; 34d irae {"Dies ___" (hymn)}; 36d kneel {Prepare for a dubbing}; 38d usted {Yucatán "you"}; 39d not {With 48-Across, mediocre}; 41d Ionesco {"The Chairs" playwright}; 42d LTDs {Former Fords}; 43d face up {Showing, as a deck member}; 44d dweebs {Square sorts}; 45d Andrei {Peace Nobelist Sakharov}; 47d ATM fee {Cost for getting money, maybe}; 50d dust {Common settler}; 52d arenas {Bowls}; 56d Itar {___-Tass news agency}; 58d staple {Bread, milk or eggs}; 61d IBM {Tech stock}; 62d wapitis {Elk}; 64d Ella {Folk singer Jenkins}; 66d 'tec {Shamus}; 67d beamer {Person who's visibly happy}; 68d up next {On deck}; 69d chafes {Rubs}; 75d epic {Sweeping story}; 77d nonet {Schubert's "Eine kleine Trauermusik," e.g.}; 78d E-File {Use TurboTax, say}; 81d Redd {Comedian Foxx}; 85d open trade {Tariffs hinder it}; 86d Mary Astor {Oscar-winning actress for "The Great Lie," 1941}; 88d rubato {With freedom of tempo}; 90d teacarts {Some service stations}; 92d ani {Black bird}; 94d rites {Devotional ceremonies}; 97d gherkin {Pickle type}; 100d noodle {Noggin}; 101d choker {Ring around the collar}; 103d vibra {Lead-in to harp or phone}; 108d Ikea {Furniture giant}; 111d ne'er {Not e'en once}; 112d Eros {Winged Greek god}; 113d stat {Ballpark figure}; 114d mice {Cheese lovers}; 117d ASU {The Sun Devils of the N.C.A.A.}; 119d big {Magnanimous}.

2 comments:

pauer said...

Fun write-up. Thanks! I may have to use your super IRA clue someday.

Crossword Man said...

Thanks pauer ... it would be an honor!