Wednesday, December 15, 2010

NYT Thursday 12/16/10 Charles Deber - Shuffling Off

This Thursday New York Times crossword has a neat "entry method" that I haven't seen much in American puzzles: the theme clues indicate a complete phrase that is entered with a sequence deleted (rather than indicating the mangled entry with a pun).

David Tennant as HamletIn this case, the inspiration presumably was the "To be, or not to be" soliloquy, though this makes no actual appearance ... not to be at the center being clued as {Ill-fated}, referencing the figurative meaning, as in "I hoped to finish this puzzle in under five minutes, but it was destined not to be".

I cottoned on to the idea very early on, as I well knew {1968 #2 hit heard in "Easy Rider"} to be Born to Be Wild. With such a big discrepancy of letters, I first assumed that some kind of complicated rebus was called for, but I soon had enough crossing letters to determine which four letters to delete. Confirmation came from handling one further theme answer - I want to be alone at 3-Down - and ultimately the central answer.

There were a few rather odd references, such as to the unlikely-named Orval Faubus and the obscure (to me) Luella Bartley ... sometimes reasonable-looking fill turns out to give you no really great options when it comes to the cluing. Otherwise, the answers seemed to flow really easily and the obscure stuff was amply cross-checked by the obvious.
Solving time: 8 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 63a rune {Character in "Beowulf"}

Charles Deber
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


Phrases are entered with the words "to be" omitted, as indicated by 38a not to be {Ill-fated ... or a hint for answering the six starred clues}.
17a that remains to be seen {"I don't know yet"}
24a Born to Be Wild {1968 #2 hit heard in "Easy Rider"}
50a It Had to Be You {1924 Isham Jones/Gus Kahn song}
58a you've got to be kidding! {"No WAY!"}
3d I want to be alone {Memorable movie quote of 1932}
30d lucky to be alive {Like someone who's had a narrow escape}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersCharles Deber / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers74 (average length 5.11)
Theme squares71 (37.6%)
Scrabble points288 (average 1.52)
Video of the Day

1a aria {"Caro nome," for one}. I could feature an aria most days of the week, but try not to let my operatic passions run away with me. However, Caro nome ("dearest name") from Rigoletto is one of my all-time favs, so I can't resist: Gilda (soprano), the innocent daughter of the title jester, has fallen for the rakish Duke of Mantua disguised as the student "Gualtier Maldè" and meditates on his lovely false name.

The Doctor is IN

27a NRA {Grp. at home on the range?}. NRA = National Rifle Association ("range" in the shooting range sense).

52a ans. {Interview part: Abbr.}. ans. = answer.

66a Otis {People mover since 1853}. I.e the elevator and escalator makers, the Otis Elevator Company.

1d amt. {Tsp. or tbsp.}. amt. = amount.

12d knee {What might give a physical reaction?}. Reference to the patellar reflex, as tested by doctors.

22d on base {In a position to steal}. I suppose steal = baseball ought to be in Pavlov's Guide to Crosswords.

60d kts. {Pawn jumpers: Abbr.}. kts. = knights in chess.

Image of the Day

Luella bag

29a Luella {English fashionista Bartley}. Luella Bartley is a new name to me ... and Magdalen also. I speculated that if you happened on Luella in a grid, you might just be cornered into this (unfortunately, columnist Louella Parsons has that extra O).

A onetime journalist and fashion editor of British Vogue and Canada's Evening Standard newspaper, Luella Bartley first attended the prestigious further education arts college, Warwickshire School of Arts, before gaining a place at the world famous Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and launched her eponymous fashion label "Luella" in 1999 with a collection entitled "Daddy, I want a Pony" at a friend's (Steve Mackay - bassist from Pulp) apartment. Bartley is a former roommate of artists Justine Frischmann and Mathangi Arulpragasam (M.I.A.). A year after her first showcase, she was awarded Britain's Young Designer of the Year award. Her designs often draw influence from the British music scene and have been acclaimed for her quirky, punk inspired, often distinctly English style. Her LFW debut in February 2000 was the show "Daddy, who were the Clash?"

Wearers of her designs have included Kate Nash, Kelly Osbourne, Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sienna Miller, Mischa Barton, Chloe Sevigny, Keira Knightley, Foxy Brown, Christina Aguilera, Reese Witherspoon, Cate Blanchett, Kate Bosworth, Alexa Chung, Pixie Geldof, Zooey Deschanel, and HRH Princess Beatrice and HRH Princess Eugenie.

Other Clues

5a Orval {Gov. Faubus in Arkansas history}; 10a inky {Black}; 14a Mawr {Bryn ___}; 15a naive {Unsuspecting}; 16a none {Second to ___}; 20a nyet {Comment put in by Putin, perhaps}; 21a étoiles {Ballet headliners}; 22a opt {Decide to take, with "for"}; 28a a tee {To ___ (just so)}; 33a bel {Air or ami preceder}; 34a wast {Biblical verb with "thou"}; 36a trues {Aligns}; 37a amo {"Yo te ___"}; 40a CSI {Hit Jerry Bruckheimer TV drama}; 41a singe {Scorch}; 43a alky {Boozer}; 44a Kia {Sportage maker}; 45a exerts {Applies}; 47a ears {They may be boxed}; 49a yon {Over there}; 53a Pamelas {Hollywood's Anderson and Reed}; 56a Neil {Diamond on a record player}; 63a rune {Character in "Beowulf"}; 64a grits {Alternative to hash browns}; 65a over {Through}; 67a yeast {Vintner's need}; 68a leer {What a rake may do}.

2d rah {When repeated, excited}; 4d arty {Like many a gallerygoer}; 5d one to two {Length in years of a lenient sentence, maybe}; 6d ram {Head of the Egyptian god Amun}; 7d via {Through}; 8d A View {Arthur Miller play "___ From the Bridge"}; 9d lentil {Soup variety}; 10d insider {Person with special access}; 11d Noel {Good name for someone born on Dec. 25}; 13d yens {Wishes}; 18d Reba {Old WB sitcom}; 19d solute {Substance in a chemistry experiment}; 23d premix {Blend before using}; 25d reata {Vaquero's rope}; 26d nestled {Snug, as in bed}; 31d lesion {Wound}; 32d Asians {Chinese, e.g.}; 35d Tokay {Sweet wine of Hungary}; 38d nettle {Irk}; 39d Byronist {Certain English poetry scholar}; 42d grieves {Feels a loss}; 46d shaggy {Hirsute}; 48d sued {Took to court}; 51d a sore {"That's ___ subject"}; 53d pyro- {Fire starter?}; 54d août {Follower of juillet}; 55d Muni {San Francisco's public transit system, with "the"}; 57d idol {Favorite}; 59d Tia {___ Maria}; 61d née {Formerly}; 62d grr {[Mumble, mumble]}.


Evgeny said...

Doesn't Louella Parsons rather have that extra O?

Crossword Man said...

Yup, and I've now made the correction ... I'm not sure I'm at my best late at night!