Monday, October 4, 2010

NYT Tuesday 10/5/10 Paula Gamache - I Should Koko

Although the theme of this Tuesday New York Times crossword is quite different to yesterday's, it played out similarly ... in that I'd tried and failed to spot any unifying theme behind each starred answer until the connection was explained for me at 62-Across. Some forehead slapping then ensued as, yes, the mysterious lyrics of American Pie are familiar to even me.

I also had uncertainties over a single square again, though it didn't worry me quite as much as yesterday's Sloop/SHO crossing. Coming to 29a Koko {Gorilla famously taught to use sign language}, I wasn't quite sure I had the spelling reliably, wondering if she could conceivably be Koco.

Hoping for a solid resolution to this poser, I looked at the crossing: 30d Kona {Coffee cultivated on Mauna Loa}. Oops, that's not familiar either. I was leaning towards Koko when I thought I recalled Kona is a brand of coffee maker ... yes, I didn't imagine it, there's a Bodum Kona Coffee Maker. That clinched it for me, and my instincts were good again.

These two answers are very suitable candidates for the Video and Image of the Day, and that should certainly help cement them in the mind for the next time they show up in a crossword.
Solving time: 6 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 46a arm {Spot for a shot}
Solution

Paula Gamache
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

The second half of the theme answers form part of the chorus to American Pie by 62a Don McLean {Singer of the lyric formed by the ends of the answers to the four starred clues}.
17a say bye-bye {*Bid adieu, informally}
26a near miss {*Failure by a narrow margin}
40a African-American {*Like Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jordan}
51a apple pie {*It's often ordered à la mode}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersPaula Gamache / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 34 (15.1%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.90)
Theme squares49 (25.7%)
Scrabble points306 (average 1.60)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



29a Koko {Gorilla famously taught to use sign language}. Koko (born July 4, 1971, at San Francisco Zoo) is a Western Lowland Gorilla who, according to Francine 'Penny' Patterson, is able to understand more than 1,000 signs based on American Sign Language, and understand approximately 2,000 words of spoken English. She has lived most of her life in Woodside, California, although a move to a sanctuary in Maui, Hawaii has been planned since the 1990s. Koko is short for the name Hanabiko (花火子 lit. "fireworks child") in Japanese, a reference to her date of birth, the Fourth of July.

The Doctor is IN

16a Nehru {Indira Gandhi's family name}. Indira Gandhi was born into the Nehru Family; her surname is from her marriage to Feroze Gandhi.

23a rel. {Thanksgiving invitee, commonly: Abbr.}. rel. = relative or relation, take your pick.

57a 'fro {'Do that one would rarely wear a hat with}. 'fro is a shortening of afro.

2d ERA {Never-ratified women-related measure, for short}. ERA = Equal Rights Amendment.

25d Rolfe {Husband of Pocahontas}. I.e. John Rolfe (c. 1585–1622).

56d males {No enrollees at Smith College}. Smith College is a private, independent women's liberal arts college located in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Image of the Day

Kona coffee berries, Kona, Hawaii

30d Kona {Coffee cultivated on Mauna Loa}. Kona coffee is the market name for coffee (Coffea arabica) cultivated on the slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa in the North and South Kona Districts of the Big Island of Hawaii. This coffee has developed a reputation that has made it one of the most expensive and sought-after coffees in the world. Only coffee from the Kona Districts can be legally described as "Kona". The unique Kona weather pattern of sunny mornings, cloud cover or rain in the afternoons, little wind and mild nights combined with porous, mineral rich volcanic soil, creates favorable coffee growing conditions.

Other Clues

1a Peru {Andean land}; 5a drag {Race for hot rods}; 9a uncap {Open, as a pill bottle}; 14a crop {Photoshop option}; 15a Ione {Actress Skye}; 19a dwell {Live}; 20a roots {Family beginnings}; 21a SSE {Boise-to-Phoenix dir.}; 24a prowls {Is on the hunt}; 28a log {Captain's record}; 31a CPU {"Brain" of a computer, briefly}; 32a elev. {Topographic map notation: Abbr.}; 34a dote {Lavish affection (on)}; 36a asses {Beasts of burden}; 43a d'Este {Villa ___}; 44a a sip {Take ___ of (sample)}; 45a core {Where a pear's seeds are}; 46a arm {Spot for a shot}; 48a trim {Not a major haircut}; 50a olé {Flamenco cry}; 55a tamper {Meddle (with)}; 58a MSN {Online portal since Windows 95 was launched}; 59a Koran {Book of divine guidance}; 60a lingo {Argot}; 66a add-on {Building wing, e.g.}; 67a idée {French brainchild}; 68a echo {It may be off the wall}; 69a testy {Irritable}; 70a ades {Fruity drinks}; 71a Skat {Card game popular in Germany}.

1d PCs {Mac alternatives}; 3d Roy Rogers {King of the Cowboys}; 4d upbow {Violinist's stroke}; 5d diet soda {Coca-Cola Zero, e.g.}; 6d robs {Rips off}; 7d any {"___ better?"}; 8d geese {Fliers in V's}; 9d under par {Like a good golf score}; 10d new {Novel}; 11d Cheri {Dear, in 12-Down}; 12d Arles {Van Gogh locale}; 13d pulls {Attracts}; 18d yolk {Fatty part of an egg}; 22d sac {___ fly (certain baseball hit, for short)}; 24d plead {Answer, in court}; 26d no taste {Characteristic of bland food and bad dressers}; 27d music {Swing or rock}; 33d vital {Life-or-death}; 35d emir {Mideast noble}; 37d scoop neck {Cleavage-revealing dress feature}; 38d Earle {Hall-of-Famer Combs who played with Gehrig and Ruth}; 39d sneer {Malfoy's look, in the Harry Potter books}; 41d ceremony {The Changing of the Guard, e.g.}; 42d epitomes {Abstracts}; 47d MPs {Brit. legislators}; 49d Marc {Painter Chagall}; 51d A flat {Chopin's "Polonaise in ___ Major, Op. 53"}; 52d pride {Group of lions}; 53d ponds {Places for ornamental fish}; 54d India {Neighbor of Bhutan}; 59d knee {Joint for a beggar?}; 61d got {Caught}; 63d odd {Bizarre}; 64d aha! {"I caught you!"}; 65d not {Word after waste and want}.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Strangely, in my newspaper edition of the puzzle, 62a referred to "the answers to the four italicized clues" for the thematic hints ... but none of the clues was italicized as printed!

In effect I had to solve the theme in reverse – get 62a from the crossings, then try to guess which four clues, from their answers, were the appropriate ones. Easy enough, of course, but luckily this "dethemed" thematic puzzle was a Tuesday and not an end-of-week edition ...

Crossword Man said...

Interesting. I'm guessing from the delay that you're solving the puzzle in syndication. Perhaps the puzzle as printed in the NYT originally had italics and the stars were just for online publication (I don't think Across Lite can handle italics)? From my experience as an editor, I know italics/bold/etc are risky and liable to disappear by accident - stars are a safe bet, but less elegant.