Monday, November 22, 2010

NYT Tuesday 11/23/10 Richard Chisholm - It's So Handy

This Tuesday New York Times crossword played out much like a Monday for me, but I can see a bit of spin on some clues that probably wouldn't have been countenanced yesterday: thus {Skinny} deceptively clues the slang meaning info at 1-Across and euros is enigmatically the {Capital of more than 15 states} at 19-Across.

A Royal FlushAlthough I sensed the theme had something to do with cards, I had to wait till I solved the theme-revealing clue at 65-Across to realize the other thematic answers were all poker hands. Neat that they can all be clued with reference to a non-poker meaning, this only becoming slightly strained in the case of 50a royal flush {Sound from a palace bathroom?}, which alone requires a question mark to indicate a punning sense.

As there seems to be less than usual to write about today, I'll finish with the skinny on a self-publishing venture which we were delighted to discover at the beginning of the month: New York Times constructor Patrick Blindauer has launched a new "Puzzlefest", a linked series of 10 puzzles with a final answer (which you can submit in the hopes of winning one of 26 prizes); the latest Puzzlefest is entitled “I Know Where I Was Last Summer” and closes at the end of January 2011.

We enjoyed that puzzle series so much, we also decided to try his earlier “Holiday Puzzlefest” - that's already closed, so we're not eligible for the prize, but it's still fun to do. You can get hold of the Puzzlefests through Patrick Blindauer's Shop.
Solving time: 5 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 1d info {Skinny}

Richard Chisholm
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


Names for poker hands are clued with reference to a different meaning, as indicated by 65a poker hand {What the answer to each starred clue is}.
17a full house {*What "S.R.O." indicates}
27a Three Kings {*The Magi, e.g.}
50a royal flush {*Sound from a palace bathroom?}
10d Four Aces {*Group with the 1951 hit "Tell Me Why," with "the"}
40d two pairs {*Makeup of a double date}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersRichard Chisholm / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.85)
Theme squares54 (28.6%)
Scrabble points316 (average 1.67)
Video of the Day

23a Gwen {Broadway singer/actress Verdon}; 59d Lola {Role for 23-Across in "Damn Yankees"}. Damn Yankees is a musical comedy with a book by George Abbott and Douglass Wallop and music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross. The story is a modern retelling of the Faust legend set during the 1950s in Washington, D.C., during a time when the New York Yankees dominated Major League Baseball. The musical is based on Wallop's novel The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant. 

Damn Yankees ran for 1,019 performances in its original 1955 Broadway production, which starred Gwen Verdon in the role of seductive temptress Lola and Ray Walston in the part of Mr. Applegate (the Devil).

The Doctor is IN

19a euros {Capital of more than 15 states}. Capital = currency is in Pavlov's Guide to Crosswords.

36a Leno {O'Brien's late-night predecessor and successor}. I.e. Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien.

44a peewee {Kind of league}. peewee n. an age-specific level of youth sports;  also : a member of a team in a peewee league [MWCD11].

69a Alex {The "A" in A-Rod}. A reference to baseball player Alex Rodriguez.

3d Celt {Boston cager, briefly}. Celt = a member of the Boston Celtics.

6d ASU {Tempe sch.}. ASU = Arizona State University are in The Crucy League.

13d Tess {Thomas Hardy heroine}. I.e. the title character of Tess of the d'Urbervilles.

27d Trapp {"The Sound of Music" family name}. A reference to Georg Ludwig von Trapp, Maria von Trapp, and their descendants.

52d Luther {Writer of "The 95 Theses"}. I.e. Martin Luther (1483–1546).

Image of the Day

British Monopoly board

38d Mayfair {Upscale London district}. All Brits are familiar with the exclusivity of Mayfair, as it's the most expensive space on the UK Monopoly board, the equivalent of Boardwalk in the US version.

Mayfair is named after the annual fortnight-long May Fair that took place on the site that is Shepherd Market today (from 1686 until it was banned in that location in 1764). Until 1686, the May Fair was held in Haymarket, and after 1764, it moved to Fair Field in Bow because the well-to-do residents of the area felt the fair 'lowered the tone' of the neighborhood.

Mayfair was traditionally bordered by Hyde Park to the west, Oxford Street to the north, Piccadilly to the south and Bond Street to the east, although the eastern boundary has been stretched in recent years to Regent Street. The old telephone district of MAYfair (later 629) changed east of Bond Street to REGent (later 734). Most of the area was first developed between the mid 17th Century and the mid 18th Century as a fashionable residential district, by a number of landlords, the most important of them being the Dukes of Westminster,the Grosvenor family. The Rothschild family bought up large areas of Mayfair in the 19th century. The freehold of a large section of Mayfair also belongs to the Crown Estate.

The district is now mainly commercial, with many offices in converted houses and new buildings, including major corporate headquarters, a concentration of hedge funds,real estate businesses and many different embassy offices, namely the U.S.'s large office taking up all the west side of of Grosvenor Square. Rents are among the highest in London and the world. There remains a substantial quantity of residential property as well as some exclusive shopping and London's largest concentration of luxury hotels and many restaurants. Buildings in Mayfair include the United States embassy in Grosvenor Square, the Royal Academy of Arts, The Handel House Museum, the Grosvenor House Hotel, Claridge's and The Dorchester.

Other Clues

1a Inca {Native encountered by Pizarro}; 5a Bard {Shakespeare, with "the"}; 9a E flat {D sharp equivalent}; 14a noel {"Silent Night" or "Away in a Manger"}; 15a I say! {"By Jove!"}; 16a Joyce {Novelist ___ Carol Oates}; 20a osteo- {Arthritis preceder}; 21a pit crews {Indy quick-change artists}; 26a nota {Part of N.B.}; 31a chum {Pal}; 35a Roo {Kanga's little one}; 37a smeary {Like wet paint}; 39a assts. {Helpers: Abbr.}; 41a ows {"That hurts!" cries}; 43a a sign {"It's ___ of the times"}; 46a away {Like about half of a team's games}; 48a Kea {Mauna ___}; 49a paso {___ doble (Spanish dance)}; 53a pain {What lines with stars at the end indicate in comics}; 55a beau {Boyfriend}; 56a it's a deal! {"Agreed!"}; 60a it is I {Stilted response to "Who's there?"}; 64a Rapid {___ City, S.D.}; 68a exert {Wield, as influence}; 70a égal {Alike: Fr.}; 71a did so {Response to a schoolyard denial}; 72a rant {Make a fuss at a public meeting, maybe}; 73a rope {Use a lasso on}.

1d info {Skinny}; 2d nous {Entre ___ (confidentially)}; 4d allege {Claim}; 5d bio- {Prefix with hazard}; 7d rasp {Blacksmith's tool}; 8d dyeing {Hiding the gray, say}; 9d Eject {VCR button}; 11d lyre {Orpheus' instrument}; 12d a cow {Have ___ (lose it)}; 18d how else? {"Do you have a better idea?"}; 22d toss {Flip}; 24d eke {Barely make, with "out"}; 25d niño {Madre's boy}; 28d Hosea {One of 12 Minor Prophets of the Hebrew Bible}; 29d rosés {Alternatives to reds and whites}; 30d no way! {"Don't even think about it!"}; 32d haiku {Japanese verse form}; 33d urges {Yens}; 34d mynah {Talking bird}; 42d swab {Mop}; 45d Erie {Shallowest of the Great Lakes}; 47d ale {Sam Adams product}; 51d on a par {At the same level (with)}; 54d add to {Supplement}; 56d ired {Steamed}; 57d taxi {What planes do after landing}; 58d sped {Whipped along}; 61d Iago {Shakespearean schemer}; 62d snap {[Just like that!]}; 63d idle {Like some threats}; 66d Ken {Novelist Kesey}; 67d Ext. {Bus. card datum}.


Anonymous said...

Re: 40d - (Minor complaint) I've never seen this hand described as two pairS - always two pair.

Wonder if it was intentional that 56a, "it's a deal" sort of fits with the theme as well.

Daniel Myers said...

Another minor complaint in re 70A: Whilst it's true that in its usage "alike" = "equal" more often than not - "You men are all alike." etc. - the backwards translation from EGAL puts more than a tad of a crimp in:

Liberté, egalité, fraternité

Liberty, "alikeness," brotherhood?

Not the stuff of which revolutions are made!

Anonymous said...


As you point out, the French "egal" is
not really equivalent to our "equal" in

Cela m'est egal = It's all the same to me or
I don't care!

From what I know of Spanish, the same is true;
"igual" in Spanish can mean same as well as

Daniel Myers said...


I'd forgotten that French phrase! I lived in Paris for a litttle over a year, but my idiomatic French was never quite fluent (understatement).

My main concern ici is how one gets EGAL=ALIKE, as it must needs be for 70A to be correct. It seems it can only be done by assuming that ALIKE = EQUAL in English in some VERY strained sense, as in the phrase above where it really means "the same." And, really, "the same" is not the same as "equal."

I've never heard or seen "EGAL" translated as "ALIKE" or vice-versa. "Semblable" if memory serves, is the most similar French adjective for "ALIKE." But really it's much more similar to, well, "similar."

Crossword Man said...

Thanks all for the comments. My French is much too limited for me to notice any issues with 70-Across, which I guess should have had an accent (belatedly added).

One suspects this clue arose from a studious avoidance of "equal" in the definition, which is too closely related to the answer, etymology-wise.

For what it's worth, my English-French dictionary gives "semblable, pareil, égal" as possible translations of "alike".

Crossword Man said...

I doubt it's a deal was part of the original plan ... more likely a serendipitous discovery during filling.

Daniel Myers said...

Well, if a dictionary says so, then it's, of course, acceptable in a crossword. It just struck me as all wrong. And you're no doubt also right about why "alike" was chosen. All very simple,really.

I probably have missed my calling as a rambling lecturer in Semantics. Thanks, Ross.