Wednesday, November 3, 2010

NYT Thursday 11/4/10 Mike Nothnagel - The Whole Nine Holes

The rebus theme of this Thursday New York Times crossword was evident early on: I could see that 1-Across was key and tried and succeeded to get enough answers in the NW corner to uncover hole punch inside the first minute of solving.

Lunar Hole In One!That pointed to a rebus puzzle with HOLE going into a single square, but I didn't anticipate the idea being finessed by having precisely the nine HOLEs of some golf courses - a feature pointed out at 63-Across. There's another golfing reference via hole in one at 44-Across.

Another mini-theme, that seems irrelevant to the main one, is the abundance of references to things French, which I've represented in the Video and Image of the Day. Perhaps coincidence, but with so many different options for cluing AMIS and ORNATE (in contrast to NOM and ONZE) it seems odd that we should get {They might give each French kisses} and {Like the Paris Opera}.

These little features help to offset the somewhat samey nature of the hole words, admittedly hard to avoid given the choice of that particular rebus. So we have ear hole, eye hole and arm hole all relating to clothing. Unfortunately hole pretty much means only one thing in a compound word, but other aspects of the puzzle were ample compensation for the somewhat one-note theme.

I'm guessing that the constructor had in mind that solvers would literally punch holes through the grid, rather than write in the letters HOLE. This is difficult to represent in the blog, and for clarity I've done the latter.
Solving time: 13 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 42d snorers {Ones who sleep soundly?}

Mike Nothnagel
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


A rebus puzzle in which HOLE is entered into a single square in nine places. As implied by 1- and 63-Across, the completed grid could have holes literally punched through the paper. The rebus affects the following answers:
1a hole punch {Office device appropriate for this puzzle?}
1d hole card {Game item usually seen upside-down}
21a potholes {Road hazards}
7d pinholes {Features of homemade cameras}
23a post hole {Fence builder's starting point}
13d airhole {Seal's opening?}
39a loophole {Way to get around something}
26d foxhole {Below-ground sanctuary}
43a kneehole {Space under a desk}
30d ear hole {Batting helmet feature}
44a hole in one {End of a perfect Sunday drive?}
31d rathole {Filthy place}
63a nine holes {Quick outing for Tiger Woods ... or what this completed puzzle contains}
51d eye holes {Parts of masks}
64a F-holes {Violin cutouts}
54d arm hole {Vest feature}
65a spy hole {What a peeper uses to peep}
49d sink hole {Topographical feature formed by underground erosion}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersMike Nothnagel / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.85)
Theme squares[not calculated]
Scrabble points326 (average 1.72)
Video of the Day

53d Piaf {Role for which Marion Cotillard won a 2007 Best Actress Oscar}. La Vie En Rose (literally Life in Pink; released in France as La Môme, referring to Piaf's nickname "La Môme Piaf," meaning "The Little Sparrow") is a 2007 French-Canadian biographical film about the life of French chanteuse Édith Piaf co-written and directed by Olivier Dahan. Marion Cotillard stars as Piaf. The title La Vie en Rose comes from Piaf's signature song. The film won five Césars, including one for Best Actress, and Cotillard won an Academy Award for her performance, marking the first time an Oscar had been given for a French-language role. She is also the first French actress to win a Comedy or Musical Golden Globe for a foreign language role. It also became the first French film to win more than one Oscar; the other being for Makeup.

The Doctor is IN

20a ret. {Out of service?: Abbr.}. ret. = retired.

26a Fern {"Charlotte's Web" girl}. I.e. Fern Arable, who saves Wilbur the pig.

27a Desi {One half of an old comedy duo}. I.e. Desi Arnaz, costar with Lucille Ball.

38a amis {They might give each French kisses}. amis is the plural of ami, French for "friend".

41a TBA {Undecided: Abbr.}. TBA = "to be announced".

59a Attlee {1940s British P.M.}. I.e. Clement Attlee (1883–1967).

35d roe {Pre-schoolers?}. The eggs in roe can become a school of fish.

43d Kirstie {Alley behind a bar on TV?}. Kirstie Alley plays Rebecca Howe in Cheers.

Image of the Day

Paris Opera

28a ornate {Like the Paris Opera}. The Palais Garnier, also known as the Opéra de Paris or Opéra Garnier, but more commonly as the Paris Opéra, is a 2,200-seat opera house on the Place de l'Opéra in Paris, France, which was the primary home of the Paris Opera from 1875 until 1989. A grand landmark designed by Charles Garnier in the Neo-Baroque style, it is regarded as one of the architectural masterpieces of its time. The building is located in the 9th arrondissement of Paris and is served by the metro station Opéra.

Upon its inauguration in 1875, the opera house was officially named the Académie Nationale de Musique - Théâtre de l'Opéra. It retained this title until 1978 when it was re-named the Théâtre National de l'Opéra de Paris. After the opera company chose the Opéra Bastille as their principal theatre upon its completion in 1989, the theatre was re-named as the Palais Garnier, though Académie Nationale de Musique is still sprawled above the columns of its front façade. In spite of the change of names and the Opera company's relocation to the Opéra Bastille, the Palais Garnier is still known by many people as the Paris Opéra, as have all of the many theatres which have served as the principal venues of the Parisian Opera and Ballet since its founding.

Other Clues

7a pend {Await}; 11a AAA {Rte. suggester}; 14a castle {Setting for many a fairy tale}; 15a Igor {Assistant played by Charles Bronson in "House of Wax"}; 16a CSI {Drama set in Las Vegas}; 17a aye sir! {Command agreement}; 18a no matter {"That's of little importance"}; 24a droppers {Small doses may come in them}; 31a radar {Airport need}; 34a proxy {Substitute}; 37a IRA {I.R.S. 1040 line item}; 40a over {No longer interested in}; 42a side A {Album half}; 46a quiz {Grill}; 48a axon {Impulse path}; 49a Supremes {33-Down's group, with "the"}; 53a parer {Kitchen tool}; 55a Niels {Physicist Bohr}; 56a rye {Jim Beam product}; 57a ironed on {Like some patches}; 61a AMs {Times in classifieds}; 62a Risk {Game played on a world map}; 66a detest {Can't stand}.

2d payer {Check writer}; 3d use to {Is of ___ (helps)}; 4d NTs {Some Windows systems}; 5d clipper {The Cutty Sark, for one}; 6d heroes {Lifesavers, say}; 8d egos {Big ones can impede progress}; 9d nom {Montréal or Québec}; 10d drapery {Window dressing}; 11d acts naive {Feigns ignorance}; 12d a set {Play ___ (perform some songs)}; 19d torn {Conflicted}; 22d tripod {Photography aid}; 25d PDAs {Portable info-storing devices}; 29d tree {Almond or pecan}; 32d ambi- {Prefix with valent}; 33d Diana Ross {See 49-Across}; 36d opaque {Light-blocking}; 39d lien {Part of a home security system?}; 40d onze {French eleven}; 42d snorers {Ones who sleep soundly?}; 45d oxen {They're drafted for service}; 47d upland {Higher ground}; 50d Mr. Lee {1957 hit for the Bobbettes}; 52d seest {"Thou ___ I have more flesh than another man": Falstaff}; 55d nosy {Like a quidnunc}; 58d dip {Feature of many a ballroom dance}; 60d TNT {"We Know Drama" channel}.


Daniel Myers said...

I've noticed a French theme throughout the week, especially on Tuesday. We'll have to see if the trend continues tomorrow. French words and phrases throughout the week, before today:



Wednesday - ELEVE


Crossword Man said...

I'll take French over Spanish any day of the week! And I don't mind Italian either, as their words are usually clued via opera - at least that's a thesis I hope to pursue in a post someday.