Saturday, November 20, 2010

NYT Sunday 11/21/10 Clive Probert - Haha Moments

The timing was good for Magdalen and I to solve this Sunday New York Times crossword together over dinner. Her comment was that the theme was more fun than the non-theme parts, although I suspect her patience is thinner than mine over seeing the same answers come up time and again, with the same sort of cluing (a feeling heightened due to the scale of the 21x21 grid typical of a Sunday puzzle).

speak to me, aloeThe title suggested to me that H's would be involved in some way, and we got the idea immediately on seeing 26-Across as real men don't (h)eat quiche. That was my favorite of the theme answers, though Magdalen's top clue was seven year (h)itch at 73-Across. The theme answers were a nice mix and all very solid, with the occasional (h)aha moment.

With our knowledge combined, there were few trouble spots, though we did bypass and revisit an isolated square at the top middle: the crossing of 31a gals {Some dates} and 11d Aloes {Athol Fugard's "A Lesson From ___"}. I guess the across clue is somewhat deceptive and I couldn't quite see what lesson you could possibly learn from aloes. Having got the puzzle right, I wholeheartedly applaud 11-Down, with its different take on a rather tired answer.
Solving time: 32 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 43d tan {Result of some time in a bed?}
Solution

Clive Probert
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

"Having aspirations". An H is added at the head of a word in a phrase, making a pun.
26a real men don't heat quiche {Macho guys like their pie cold?}
41a I think  therefore I ham {Bad actor's philosophy?}
63a delta hairlines {Concerns of middle-aged guys in lower Louisiana?}
73a seven year hitch {Lengthy military sign-up?}
92a set one's teeth on hedge {Put the dentures aside while gardening?}
108a herring on the right side {Starboard food fish?}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersClive Probert / Will Shortz
Grid21x21 with 80 (18.1%) black squares
Answers140 (average length 5.16)
Theme squares108 (29.9%)
Scrabble points552 (average 1.53)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day




57d Alph {Xanadu river}. It's poetry time again - that should make one reader happy at least.

Kubla Khan is a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, completed in 1797 and published in Christabel, Kubla Khan, and the Pains of Sleep in 1816. According to Coleridge's Preface to Kubla Khan, the poem was composed one night after he experienced an opium influenced dream after reading a work describing the Tartar king Kublai Khan. Upon waking, he set about writing lines of poetry that came to him from the dream until he was interrupted by a person from Porlock. The poem could not be completed according to its original 200-300 line plan as the interruption caused him to forget the lines. Although the specific details of Coleridge's Preface are debatable, he most likely composed Kubla Khan during autumn 1797 but left unpublished and kept for private readings until 1816 when, on the prompting by George Gordon Byron, it was made available to the public.

The poem begins with a description of Khan's Xanadu, near the river Alph which passes through caverns before reaching a dark or dead sea. Although the land is one of man-made "pleasure", there is a natural, "sacred" river that runs past it. The lines describing the river have a markedly different rhythm from the rest of the passage.

The Doctor is IN

19a O'Neal {"The Bad News Bears" actress}. I.e. Tatum O'Neal (the 1976 film, not the 2005 remake).

20a Ilsa {Film character who actually does not say "Play it again, Sam"}. Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) in Casablanca (1942).

39a Mach {Name often followed by a number}. Mach numbers are named after the Austrian physicist and philosopher Ernst Mach.

101a Stu {Disco fan on "The Simpsons"}. I.e. Disco Stu, voiced by Hank Azaria.

1d Bohr {Atom modeler}. I.e. Danish physicist Niels Bohr (1885–1962).

3d agua {Content of la mar}. sea = mar now added to Español para los crucigramistas.

12d Asta {1930s film pooch}. Asta is a Cruciverbal Canine.

34d -ling {Diminutive suffix}. As in princeling, duckling.

75d C-note {Benjamin}. Slang terms for a one hundred-dollar bill.

95d Entebbe {1976 rescue site}. See Operation Entebbe.

105d Snead {Hogan contemporary}. Golfers Sam Snead (1912–2002) and Ben Hogan (1912–1997).

Image of the Day

Etna from Catania

106a Etna {View from Catania}. As with the claim that you can see Russia from Alaska, this clue makes me want to prove or disprove it. Actually, you can very easily view Mount Etna from Catania (see above): the city is known to have a seismic history and past, having been destroyed by a catastrophic earthquake in 1169, another in 1693, and several eruptions from the neighboring volcano, the most violent of which in 1669.

Other Clues

1a bias {Judge's no-no}; 5a civic {Like some responsibilities}; 10a Haas {German-born tennis star Tommy}; 14a Twas {Start of "A Visit From St. Nicholas"}; 18a orgy {Spree}; 21a chill! {"Take it easy!"}; 22a haul {Robbers' gain}; 23a Kanga {"Winnie-the-Pooh" character}; 24a goto {Signal for a programmer's jump}; 25a Hanoi {One side in the 1973 Paris Peace Accords}; 30a aide {Second}; 31a gals {Some dates}; 32a Our {"___ Day Will Come" (1963 #1 hit)}; 33a ear {You might play something by this}; 34a let be {Ignore}; 37a E. coli {Potential cause of a food recall}; 47a nae {"___ doubt but they were fain o' ither": Burns}; 48a NASA {Org. with the motto "For the benefit of all"}; 49a EOE {Fair-hiring inits.}; 50a dynast {Kim Jong-il, for one}; 53a Gleason {James or Jackie of Hollywood}; 56a SAS {Carrier with a frequent flier program called EuroBonus}; 59a owl {It may be snowy or spotted}; 61a Drea {Emmy-winning actress ___ de Matteo}; 62a Reb {Johnny ___}; 67a adorable {Cute}; 71a PAC {Org. for electing candidates}; 72a spouters {Whales, at times}; 76a pvt. {Cpl.'s inferior}; 77a Ames {Presidential straw poll city}; 78a ore {Bauxite, e.g.}; 79a den {Place for mounted antlers, maybe}; 80a resorts {Club Meds, e.g.}; 84a portal {Way in}; 87a MDs {Conductors of many exams, for short}; 89a One I {R.E.M.'s "The ___ Love"}; 91a IOU {Chit}; 98a Rego {___ Park, Queens}; 99a panel {News show assemblage}; 100a uveas {Eye parts}; 104a Lou {Reed in music}; 105a sect {Shiites or Sunnis}; 116a argue {Contest}; 117a alee {Away from the storm}; 118a bongo {What a beatnik beats}; 119a IMAX {Kind of theater}; 120a freer {Not so tied up}; 121a tear {Sail problem}; 122a Bates {Maine college}; 123a oh me! {[sigh]}; 124a Tess {"___ of the Storm Country"}; 125a sods {Lawn starters}; 126a erode {Wear away}; 127a noes {Vetoes}.

2d irae {"Dies ___"}; 4d syllabi {Course outlines}; 5d coked {Out of one's mind, in a way, with "up"}; 6d inane {Vacuous}; 7d vend {Hawk}; 8d Iago {"Were I the Moor, I would not be ___"}; 9d clangor {Loud ringing}; 10d high life {It's symbolized by caviar and Champagne}; 11d Aloes {Athol Fugard's "A Lesson From ___"}; 13d São Tomé {Portuguese-speaking island off the African coast}; 14d Thai {Like some spicy food}; 15d wince {Pain result}; 16d Aloha {Honolulu's ___ Stadium}; 17d slier {More cunning}; 21d churchy {Very religious}; 27d mien {Bearing}; 28d tale {Chaucer piece}; 29d Quaid {Actor Dennis}; 35d et al {List ender}; 36d thee {"Get ___ hence": I Kings 17:3}; 37d ehs {Replies from the hard of hearing}; 38d cease {Stop}; 40d hand it to {Give due credit}; 42d knobby {Not smooth}; 43d tan {Result of some time in a bed?}; 44d Oooh! {Cry of delight}; 45d rewash {Scrub over}; 46d Marne {Seine tributary}; 51d seer {Nostradamus, for one}; 52d Tass {Soviet news group}; 54d arrester {One who takes people in}; 55d Sean {A Lennon}; 58d staid {Sobersided}; 60d lip {Back talk}; 63d dear me! {"Alas"}; 64d acte {Part of a Molière play}; 65d rope in {Snag}; 66d Luvs {Huggies competitor}; 67d ASAP {Quick-like}; 68d demo {Item in a music producer's in-box}; 69d overs {Cricket units}; 70d Leo {MGM symbol}; 74d reds {Bordeaux, e.g.}; 80d Reo {Old touring car}; 81d ride {Fair attraction}; 82d toga {Feature of much ancient Roman statuary}; 83d sues {Goes after}; 85d atelier {Artist's workplace}; 86d log on {Gain access, in a way}; 88d St Peter's {Roman square}; 90d NHL {Org. with a 2004-05 lockout}; 93d nougats {Chewy treats}; 94d each {Apiece}; 96d hunt {Go after}; 97d evasion {Dodge}; 101d shaft {Give a raw deal}; 102d terre {Third planet from le soleil}; 103d urges {Impulses}; 106d egged {Pushed, with "on"}; 107d those {"___ were the days"}; 109d rues {Streets of Québec}; 110d oleo {Fleischmann's product}; 111d roar {Surf sound}; 112d into {Word after bang, break or bump}; 113d IMHO {Letters of faux modesty}; 114d Dame {Title for Helen Mirren}; 115d exes {Couples no more}.

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