Monday, December 20, 2010

NYT Tuesday 12/21/10 Alan Arbesfeld - Traveling the El

This Tuesday New York Times crossword was a much smoother solve than yesterday's. The theme seemed straightforward and there were no troublesome crossings.

I managed to solve the first theme answer plane boards at 17-Across from the clue and crossings alone, and without appreciating its origins in panel boards. This isn't too surprising as I'm not clear what a panel board is and what you use it for: ah, is see now that panelboard is American for fusebox. That's good to know.

opium denWhen I got to the second example mind blogging (24-Across) after about a minute and a half, I immediately saw it was based on mind-boggling and reckoned the theme must involve an L being moved. That knowledge proved very helpful with the one 15-letter entry Christmas claros, but for the bottom two theme answers I made do with just the cluing and crossings.

I was a bit surprised (did a double-take even) having solved 42a yens {Strong desires} to find 44a yearn {Want badly, with "for"} on the row below. I always imagined these to be closely related words, but I see that's not the case: yearn is a very old English word, while yen (from the Chinese for craving/addiction) arrived in English in the early 20th century, a period of great recreational use of opium outside China.
Solving time: 5 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 31a plank {It's walked on pirate ships}

Alan Arbesfeld
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


An L is moved in a phrase, making a pun.
17a plane boards {F.A.A. supervisors?} cf panel boards
24a mind blogging {Object to online commentary?} cf mind-boggling
37a Christmas claros {Holiday smokes?} cf Christmas carols
48a blotted water {Cleaned up after a spill?} cf bottled water
58a Adam slander {Defamation in the Garden of Eden?} cf Adam Sandler
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersAlan Arbesfeld / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.97)
Theme squares61 (32.3%)
Scrabble points283 (average 1.50)
Video of the Day

24d Man I {Gershwin's "The ___ Love"}. The Man I Love is a popular standard, with music by George Gershwin and lyrics by his brother Ira. Originally part of the 1924 score for the Gershwin government satire Lady Be Good! as "The Girl I Love", the song was deleted from the show as well as from both the 1927 anti-war satire Strike Up the Band (where it first appeared as "The Man I Love") and 1928 Ziegfeld hit Rosalie after tryouts. As with many standards of the era, it has become more famous as an independent popular song than as one from a Broadway musical. Ella Fitzgerald sings it in the above clip.

The Doctor is IN

11a tin {Composition of Jack Haley's Oz character}. Jack Haley portrayed the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz.

30a Odets {"Waiting for Lefty" playwright}. I.e. Clifford Odets (1906–1963).

63a Snape {Potter's potions professor}. I.e. Severus Snape in the Harry Potter book series.

38d tyre {One of four on a Rolls}. The British car make Rolls pointing to the British English spelling of tire.

47d ital. {Font option: Abbr.}. ital. = italics.

Image of the Day


64a tiles {Playing pieces in Rummikub}. Rummikub (also known as Rummy-O, Rummycube, Rummyking and Rummy Tile) is a tile-based game for two to four players.

Rummikub was invented by Ephraim Hertzano, a Romanian-born Jew, who emigrated to Mandate Palestine in the early 1930s. He hand-made the first sets with his family in the backyard of his home. The game combines elements of rummy, dominoes, mah-jongg and chess. Hertzano sold the first sets door-to-door and on a consignment basis at small shops. Over the years, the family licensed it to other countries and it became Israel’s #1 export game. In 1977, it became a bestselling game in the United States.

In Hertzano's 'Official Rummikub Book', published in 1978, he describes three different versions of the game: American, Sabra and International. Modern Rummikub sets include only the Sabra version rules, with no mention of the others, and there are variations in the rules between publishers.

Other Clues

1a react {Do a double-take, e.g.}; 6a opted {Made a choice}; 14a Allah {God, to Muslims}; 15a llano {Gaucho's plain}; 16a HBO {"Six Feet Under" network}; 19a -ism {Belief suffix}; 20a ten {Start of a countdown}; 21a Kern {Jerome who composed "Ol' Man River"}; 22a asses {Dolts}; 27a secant {Cosine's reciprocal}; 31a plank {It's walked on pirate ships}; 32a ere I {"... ___ saw Elba"}; 34a TBA {Awaiting scheduling, initially}; 41a air {Broadcast}; 42a yens {Strong desires}; 43a amuse {Tickle}; 44a yearn {Want badly, with "for"}; 47a iciest {Least amiable}; 52a lance {Tilter's weapon}; 53a Itar {___-Tass news agency}; 54a île {Martinique, par exemple}; 57a orb {Heavenly body}; 62a ova {Fertility clinic cells}; 65a mag {Nat Geo, for one}; 66a Easy A {Snap course}; 67a exert {Wield, as power}.

1d rapt {Totally absorbed}; 2d Elle {Vogue competitor}; 3d Alan {Shepard in space}; 4d can {Pink-slip}; 5d The Kinks {"Lola" band}; 6d O Lord {Start of grace, maybe}; 7d Plan B {Fallback strategy}; 8d tar {Subject of a cigarette rating}; 9d end {Shut down}; 10d dosage {Prescription measure}; 11d this is true {"You're right"}; 12d Ibsen {"The Wild Duck" playwright Henrik}; 13d no MSG {Chinese restaurant request}; 18d bent {Out of alignment}; 23d Sgt. {Bilko or Friday: Abbr.}; 25d loess {Windblown soil}; 26d odic {Keatsian or Pindaric}; 27d SPCA {Pet advocacy org.}; 28d el-hi {Grades K-12}; 29d carry-on bag {Allotment of one, usually, for an airline passenger}; 32d emend {Make improvements to}; 33d ran {Turned chicken}; 35d boss {One calling the shots}; 36d a set {"I'd hate to break up ___"}; 39d lacerate {Cut jaggedly}; 40d amir {Mideast potentate: Var.}; 45d etc. {Catchall abbr.}; 46d at ease {Free from anxiety}; 48d bloom {Burst into flower}; 49d larva {Maggot or grub}; 50d wimpy {Hardly macho}; 51d at sea {Totally lost}; 54d idle {Pink-slip}; 55d leer {Lecher's look}; 56d erst {Once, old-style}; 59d DNA {Paternity suit evidence}; 60d AAs {Smallish batteries}; 61d nix {Give a thumbs-down}.


don byas said...

Panelboard felt clumsy compared to the other theme entries. I say fusebox.

Great ELLA video. She makes it look so easy.
The pianist is Detroit's Tommy Flanagan. He played and recorded with nearly every big name in jazz! Coltrane, Wes Montgomery, J.J. Johnson, Sonny Rollins, Milt Jackson, Coleman Hawkins, Paul Chambers... His Wikipedia discography doesn't begin to do him justice.

Crossword Man said...

Thanks for the confirmation re Tommy Flanagan ... I wasn't sure how much the YouTube description could be trusted.

Matthew G. said...

"Panelboard" is not the American term for "fusebox." I'm pretty sure we all say "fusebox." I certainly do. "Panelboard" is a term used only by professional electricians and those who work with them, I think.

Matthew G. said...

And perhaps more specifically, I think the term "panelboard" can encompass both fuseboxes and circuit breaker panels, which are two different things. The object photographed next to the Wikipedia entry for panelboard is what I would call a circuit breaker panel.

Daniel Myers said...

It seems to me that PANEL BOARDS here most probably refers to "Control panels" or "instrument panels" on modern aircraft.

Here's a quote:


"The main PANELS contain the indicators and controls for the hydraulic and electrical systems, engine and fuel functioning, anti-icing and air-conditioning."

Sometimes it pays to have a father who was both aerospace engineer and pilot. I grew up around this sort of chat.

Crossword Man said...

Thanks for all your help re panel boards. It's way more complicated than I first thought!