Sunday, November 14, 2010

NYT Monday 11/15/10 Emily L. Lilly - Star-Crossed Foods

The theme of this Monday New York Times crossword is quite straightforward once you get the hang of it, but caused me problems in two areas: with the pairs of answers self-supporting, you tend to either get stuck in a corner or solve it PDQ. I had trouble NW and SE, but found the other two pairs easy.

Nora RobertsIt didn't help in the NW that I wasn't aware of the foody context at the start. I also tried Romano cheese instead of Asiago first at 17-Across, which really made for problems. In the SE, difficulties came from semi-familiar foods halva and latke, and their crossing with the new-to-me Novato, CA.

I wondered if the constructor had intentionally tried to get as many food answers as possible in addition to the theme ones. Fortunately, the theme clues make it quite clear where the pairings are.

I was amused to see 11d Nora {Romance writer Roberts} today. I can't count the number of times "Romance writer" has appeared in a clue and Magdalen - an avid reader and now writer of romances - has failed to recognize the author. I know this won't happen today: Nora Roberts is probably the most famous active writer in the genre and Magdalen is often to be seen reading her latest.
Solving time: 6 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 41a deli {What may have the makings of a hero?}

Emily L. Lilly
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


Pairs of foods that were made for each other appear crosswise:
14a burger {___ and 3-Down} & 3d fries {14-Across and ___}
22a cake {___ and 10-Down} & 10d ice-cream {22-Across and ___}
52a meat {___ and 38-Down} & 38d potatoes {52-Across and ___}
62a franks {___ and 49-Down} & 49d beans {62-Across and ___}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersEmily L. Lilly / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 37 (16.4%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.82)
Theme squares[not calculated]
Scrabble points269 (average 1.43)
Video of the Day

53d Ella {Jazz great Fitzgerald}. I was tempted to go with the great Ella Fitzgerald yesterday, in honor of the Take the 'A' Train reference at 102-Down. Today I can make amends while the omission is fresh in my mind.

Take the 'A' Train is a jazz standard by Billy Strayhorn that was the signature tune of the Duke Ellington orchestra. It is arguably the most famous of the many compositions to emerge from the collaboration of Ellington and Strayhorn. Ella Fitzgerald sang and recorded the song many times.

The Doctor is IN

41a deli {What may have the makings of a hero?}. Hero = submarine sandwich is in Pavlov's Guide to Crosswords.

42a yos {Calls from Rocky}. "yo" is Rocky Balboa's standard attention-getter (see Memorable Quotes from Rocky).

51d erose {Irregularly edged}. erose adj. IRREGULAR, UNEVEN; specifically : having the margin irregularly notched as if gnawed [MWCD11].

Image of the Day

spot the Asiago

17a Asiago {Italian cheese that's often grated}. Asiago is an Italian cheese that can assume different textures, according to its aging, from smooth for the fresh Asiago (Asiago Pressato) to a crumbly texture for the aged cheese (Asiago d'allevo) of which the flavor is reminiscent of Parmesan. The aged cheese is often grated in salads, soups, pastas, and sauces while the fresh Asiago is sliced to prepare panini or sandwiches; it can also be melted on a variety of dishes, including bagels. Asiago is treated as interchangeable with the parmesan and romano cheeses in some cuisines.

As Asiago has a protected designation of origin (Denominazione di Origine Protetta or DOP), the only "official" Asiago is produced in the alpine area of the town of Asiago, province of Vicenza, in the Veneto region, and now is also made in the Alpine region of the Province of Trento, which has become part of the DOP area for Asiago production. Most Asiago, however, is made elsewhere using techniques and cultures that produce a cheese of the same or similar flavor.

Other Clues

1a arf! arf! {Dog's bark}; 7a ass {Nincompoop}; 10a in re {Regarding, on a memo}; 15a ELO {"Xanadu" grp.}; 16a cool {Refrigerate}; 18a rod {Fishing pole}; 19a Eros {Greek god with a bow and arrow}; 20a stets {Editors' marks meaning "put back in"}; 21a Roto- {Commercial lead-in for Rooter}; 23a esse {Latin "to be"}; 24a Kashmir {Disputed region between Pakistan and India}; 26a stenos {Office transcribers}; 28a retro {Stylish again}; 32a Roo {Pooh's friend in "Winnie-the-Pooh"}; 35a rail {Staircase aid}; 36a soared {Flew high}; 37a oil pans {Bottoms of crankcases}; 39a man-made {Not natural}; 40a in love {Smitten}; 43a skate {Foot gear for an N.H.L.'er}; 44a detach {Unfasten}; 46a alarmed {Having a fright}; 48a able {Competent}; 55a Dior {Christian in fashion}; 56a clear {Cloudless}; 57a alto {Chorister's voice}; 58a oft {Frequent, in verse}; 59a Novato {City north of San Francisco}; 60a sloe {Gin flavoring}; 61a rte. {Hwy.}; 63a hams {Easter roasts}; 64a ess {Road curve}; 65a lessee {Tenant}.

1d abase {Lower in rank}; 2d rusts {Becomes inoperable, maybe, as an old machine}; 4d agates {Playing marbles}; 5d regs {Govt. rules}; 6d fro {To's opposite}; 7d aerosol {Spray type}; 8d sloths {Lazy people}; 9d Sodom {Gomorrah's sister city}; 11d Nora {Romance writer Roberts}; 12d rook {Corner piece in chess}; 13d else {Besides}; 21d ranis {Indian princesses}; 24d Keane {"The Family Circus" cartoonist Bil}; 25d ironic {Funny in a twisted way}; 27d travel {Commit a basketball infraction}; 29d tray {Buffet meal carrier}; 30d Redo {Edit menu command}; 31d odes {Tributes in verse}; 32d rois {Louis XIV et Louis XVI}; 33d oink {Sty sound}; 34d olla {Earthen pot}; 36d salad {Dieter's meal, maybe}; 39d meter {Poetic rhythm}; 41d demotes {Lowers in rank}; 44d drifts {Snow buildups}; 45d halvas {Mideast confections}; 47d adore {Idolize}; 50d latke {Hanukkah treat}; 52d M*A*S*H {Hit TV show set in Korea}; 54d atom {Elemental unit}; 56d core {Part of an apple}; 59d NFL {Gridiron grp.}.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the ELLA. Her singing is beyond great. She really stretches out on this one. She can sing something technically stunning with complete ease and humor! She's musical Prozac!

The SE corner destroyed me. I can't remember ever doing this badly on a Monday. NOVATO and HALVAS were unknown to me.

Crossword Man said...

Glad I wasn't the only one with problems today. I'd at least heard of halva, though you don't often see it in the plural.

Daniel Myers said...

NOVATO was new to me as well. Luckily, the crossings made easy work of it. Also new but easily attained through crossings is ASIAGO - which thanks for the write-up - remarkable by its complete abscence from the unabridged OED.:-)

Crossword Man said...

This is the third time Asiago has come up since I started blogging, so I'm beginning to get used to it. Can't say I've met any in the flesh yet.

Daniel Myers said...

Usually, depending on my mood, if an unfamiliar word like this one pops up which I attain facilely by crossings, I merely sigh to myself and dismiss it as, in this case, some sort of cruciverbalist cheese thingee....and promptly forget it. I don't think I'm in danger of forgetting it now!

According to this article, it's pronounced with three syllables only:

Crossword Man said...

Blogging has been excellent for cementing these answers in my mind. Before I started commentating on puzzles, I happily shrugged and forgot stuff like that.