Wednesday, October 13, 2010

NYT Thursday 10/14/10 Jim Hilger - Hard Lines

Yes, this is definitely a bad week for working out themes: once again, I'd filled the whole grid of this Thursday New York Times crossword before I had realized what was actually intended.

I had taken advantage of the cross-referencing for stay between the lines and read between the lines, but where were these lines? Mention of "coloring advice" in the clue to 20-Across made me wonder if some coloring in of the grid would be needed.

White Star LineI'd looked at the grid for a minute or two after completing it before I finally noticed the nine- and ten-letter theme answers are all types of line. I guess the problem is that only Mason-Dixon really stands out in this context, White Star being a bit obscure these days and free throw and production being standalone concepts.

The fairly cut-off NE and SW corners seem to have been targeted for some easier cluing and I had both those done in the first two to three minutes. Elsewhere, the clues were uniformly tough: I had trouble thinking up any valid answers, let alone alternative wrong ones (yesterday's problem). Although I did make a rod for my own back with 48a tête {Head of Haiti}, thinking like a cryptic crossword solver and supposing the "Head" of Haiti meant its first letter H; how is H rendered in French? ashe, ache, hache? Luckily we didn't have to go there.
Solving time: 14 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 47d G-force {Pressing concern for an astronaut?}

Jim Hilger
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


Four long answers are types of line. stay and read literally appear 40a between the lines {See 20- and 58-Across} and are clued thus and with reference to the figurative meaning:
17a Mason-Dixon {Border names} cf Mason-Dixon Line
20a stay {With 40-Across, coloring advice ... and literally so}
24a White Star {Owner of the Titanic} cf White Star Line

52a free throw {Unblockable shot} cf free throw line
58a read {With 40-Across, infer something ... and literally so}
61a production {Factory output} cf production line
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersJim Hilger / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.85)
Theme squares61 (32.3%)
Scrabble points328 (average 1.74)
Video of the Day

33a MTA {1959 hit with the lyric "Did he ever return? No, he never returned"}. M.T.A., often called The MTA Song, is a 1948 song written as "Charlie on the MTA" by Jacqueline Steiner and Bess Lomax Hawes. The lyrics are about a man named Charlie trapped on Boston's subway system, then known as the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA). The song was a 1959 hit when recorded and released by The Kingston Trio, an American folk group. It has become so entrenched in Boston that the city's subway system (now known as the MBTA) named its electronic card-based fare collection system the "CharlieCard" as a tribute to this song.

The Doctor is IN

1a Feds {Gangbusters}. As in the FBI, who have gang busting responsibilities.

23a cha {Half a dance}. Reference to the cha cha (cha).

48a tête {Head of Haiti}. Haiti is a French-speaking country, hence the French for "Head" is called for.

66a veni {Start of an old boast}. Reference to veni, vidi, vici.

5d Andys {Some male dolls}. I.e. the Raggedy Andy doll, a companion to Raggedy Ann.

49d drove {Was the designated one?}. Reference to the designated driver concept.

64d OEO {Antipoverty agcy.}. OEO = Office of Economic Opportunity should be in Alphabet Soup ... how did I miss that one?

Image of the Day

Alfa Romeo Spider

5a Alfas {Some Spiders, informally}. The Alfa Romeo Spider (105/115 series) is a roadster produced by the Italian manufacturer Alfa Romeo from 1966 to 1993 (190 Spiders were badged as 1994 Commemorative Editions for the North American market). Widely regarded as a design classic, it remained in production for almost three decades with only minor aesthetic and mechanical changes. The three first series were assembled by Pininfarina in Grugliasco and the fourth series in San Giorgio Canavese. The last Spider was produced in April 1993, it was also the last rear wheel drive Alfa Romeo produced before Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione was introduced.

Other Clues

10a jamb {Part of a frame}; 14a epic {Sweeping}; 15a Niobe {Petrified weeper of myth}; 16a oboe {Member of a pit crew?}; 19a bash {Big do}; 21a ado {Stink}; 28a Oaken {Old ___ Bucket (Big Ten conference football prize)}; 30a oops! {Worrying comment from a surgeon}; 31a end-all {Ultimate goal}; 34a Dr. No {Fictional villain whose given name is Julius}; 36a patina {Antique asset, often}; 43a sleeve {It might be rolled up on a farm}; 44a hexa- {Prefix with meter}; 45a tak {"And we'll ___ a cup o' kindness yet": Burns}; 46a lodger {Paying guest}; 49a dwelt {Live in the past?}; 55a Roz {The New Yorker cartoonist Chast}; 56a Eso {"___ Es el Amor" (classic Spanish-language hit)}; 59a owie {Skinned knee, say, to a tot}; 67a act up {Malfunction}; 68a ICEE {Frozen drink brand}; 69a Eden {Elysium}; 70a reset {Appliance button}; 71a stow {Warehouse}.

1d fem. {Gender abbr.}; 2d EPA {Abbr. in many car ads}; 3d dissipate {Go away}; 4d Scotts {Big name in lawn care}; 6d LII {2018 Super Bowl number}; 7d fox {Sexy babe}; 8d aboard {On}; 9d send {Thrill}; 10d job {Butcher, baker or candlestick maker}; 11d aback {One way to be taken}; 12d Moshe {___ Arens, former Israeli defense minister}; 13d Behan {Irish writer Brendan}; 18d nae {Rob Roy's refusal}; 22d oo-la-la! {"Color me impressed!"}; 24d wombs {Sonogram targets}; 25d hotel {Tourist locale}; 26d Tenn. {Clingmans Dome is its highest point: Abbr.}; 27d another {Round request}; 29d alti- {Prefix with meter}; 32d apex {Zenith}; 34d devote {Commit}; 35d reed {Thatching material}; 37d interdict {Head off}; 38d neato! {"Super-duper!"}; 39d askew {Crooked}; 41d well {Wisher's spot}; 42d here {"___ goes!"}; 47d G-force {Pressing concern for an astronaut?}; 48d that is {Start of a clarification}; 50d wowed {Amazed}; 51d e-zine {Internet publication}; 53d erupt {Hit the roof}; 54d 'tec {Gumshoe}; 57d spar {Box a bit}; 60d ein {A as in Austria}; 62d OTs {Some game enders, for short}; 63d due {Directly}; 65d new {Mint}.


aaronb said...

Re oops - worrying comment from a surgeon
This is in(from?) an old Bill Cosby routine

Crossword Man said...

Thanks for the clip Aaron. V funny!