Saturday, February 28, 2009

NYT Sunday 3/1/09 - Huddled Masses

New York HarborOur first full day of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament started with breakfast at a local cafe and a walk to New York Harbor. On a beautifully clear crisp day, I caught my first distant sight of The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island - a reminder of what former generations of immigrants would have experienced before they even entered the country. Today's immigration process is a lot more civilized, even though the complicated rules and paperwork are oppressive in their way.

The Huddled MassesLater in the morning, we joined the huddled masses of competitors yearning to solve crossword puzzles. The tournament is held in the huge ballroom of the Marriott Hotel at the Brooklyn Bridge - a room in which 700-odd solvers can be accommodated, all under the watchful eye of director Will Shortz. I will write in more detail about my experiences of the competition itself in a later post.

We enjoyed the entertainments arranged for the evening, especially Stan Newman's trivia, although I don't think I guessed a single answer correctly. When we settled down to do the Sunday New York Times puzzle, it was getting late and our tiredness is evident in a rather slow solving time.
Solving time: 50 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 76a retread [Unoriginal work]

Good and Bad: "good" phrases with the opposite ("bad") meaning when you remove the first letter:
23a wreckless driving [Good and bad for a motorist]
37a closing a sale [Good and bad for a marketer]
52a shaving a beard [Good and bad for a West Point cadet]
78a trusty machete [Good and bad for a jungle guide]
90a black of night [Good and bad for a vampire]
108a covert operations [Good and bad for a spy]

Robert W. Harris
Grid art by Sympathy

CompilersRobert W. Harris / Will Shortz
Grid21x21 with 67 (15.2%) black squares
Answers140 (average length 5.34)
Theme squares82 (21.9%)
Scrabble points569 (average 1.52)
New To Me

Boss Tweed15a Nast [Cartoonist who took on Boss Tweed]. Huh? Luckily Magdalen knew of Thomas Nast and his campaign against the Tammany Hall leader.

65a clam [Buck]. Another one for Magdalen to explain: clam as slang for a dollar probably derives from the use of clamshells as currency in various parts of the world.

32d Winona [Minnesota county or its seat]. It's fun to see a first name I know from the actress in this new context ... and then discover that the actress was actually named after the county seat.

Keith Haring56d Keith [Painter Haring]. An artist inspired by graffiti and other street culture.


59a nous [Us outside the U.S.]. "Us" in French. One wonders why the clue couldn't be the more enigmatic "US outside the US?": would the misleading capitalization of the first US be considered unfair; are the periods required for reasons of style?

76a retread [Unoriginal work]. It's neater to clue the answer using this figurative meaning.

Mahler's 8th13d Veni ["___ Creator Spiritus" (Latin hymn)]. This will be known to any Mahler fan as the words set in the first movement of his Symphony of a Thousand.

Spartacus49d Olivier [Douglas's "Spartacus" co-star]. A memorable Stanley Kubrick movie. Seeing the film title makes me break into an "I'm Spartacus" routine (you're lucky to be spared that).

88a eds. [MS. readers]. Editors read manuscripts - I got a lot of them when I was editor of the Listener Crossword, so I can attest to that!

The Rest

1a hustle [1970s dance craze]; 7a coax [Sweet-talk]; 11a RSVP [Call letters?]; 19a entail [Involve]; 20a Anne [Predecessor of George I]; 21a épée [Napoleonic army weapon]; 22a ERAs [Bullpen stats]; 26a acme [Meridian]; 27a eerie [Evoking goose bumps, say]; 28a lies [Some excuses]; 29a deli [Place with "Now Serving" numbers]; 30a kraut [Hot dog add-on]; 31a DEET [Insect repellent]; 32a want [Any entry on a Dear Santa list]; 33a sill [Part of a frame]; 34a A-lines [Some skirts]; 35a lolling [Relaxation]; 39a yon [Directional word]; 40a loom [Arachne had one]; 41a North [Civil War side]; 42a ass [Dumbhead]; 45a coating [Quarter-inch of snow, e.g.]; 48a agues [Feverish conditions]; 49a OCS [Where lieutenants are trained: Abbr.]; 55a necklet [Stole, for example]; 57a taxi [Cry before screeching brakes, maybe]; 58a arte [105-Down output]; 61a sheila [Aussie lass]; 62a a tip ["Take ___ from me"]; 63a Aare [River through Interlaken]; 67a Ives ["Three Places in New England" composer]; 68a insert [Tab, at times]; 71a Saab [Car with a griffin in its logo]; 73a atop [On]; 75a Tish [Gomez's sweetie]; 76a retread [Unoriginal work]; 81a ERs [Hosp. features]; 82a biome [Major ecological community]; 84a the rage [What's hot]; 85a red [Mao, e.g.]; 86a sulfa [Kind of drug that inhibits bacteria]; 87a écus [Bygone French coins]; 94a wiretap [Criminal's worry]; 98a rather [Preferably]; 99a edgy [All nerves]; 100a jags [Sprees]; 101a Arab [___ League]; 103a outed [No longer in the closet]; 104a rule ["No shirt, no shoes, no service," e.g.]; 105a gato [Chihuahua cat]; 106a steno [Note taker]; 107a trim [Crop]; 111a here ["Take this!"]; 112a user [Not a teetotaler]; 113a oyer [Legal hearing]; 114a aisles [Theater features]; 115a sled [Runner's place]; 116a bars [Places where free spirits aren't found?]; 117a Mass [Boston's ___ Ave.]; 118a artery [Boulevard, e.g.].

1d hewed [Cut down]; 2d unreel [Remove from a spindle]; 3d stereo [Sound choice?]; 4d tacitly [Without words]; 5d like [Go for]; 6d ell [Third of July?]; 7d casing [Sausage part]; 8d onset [Beginning]; 9d ANDs [Some operators in Boolean logic]; 10d Xer [Today's thirtysomething, for short]; 11d revels [Parties]; 12d spilling [Cause of a stain, perhaps]; 14d peg [Mastermind game piece]; 15d nearish [Relatively close]; 16d arcana [Deep mysteries]; 17d Samuel [Justice Alito]; 18d tsetse [Menace along the Congo]; 24d élan [Verve]; 25d idiom [Local language, say]; 30d klatsch [Book club gathering, e.g.]; 33d slogan [Campaign staple]; 34d agrees [Corresponds]; 36d loci [Places]; 37d cone [Test track obstacle]; 38d noun [You name it]; 40d liberate [Free]; 42d Astaire ["Royal Wedding" star, 1951]; 43d Shatner [2005 Emmy winner for "Boston Legal"]; 44d saxists [Certain jazz musicians]; 46d Agra [Train stop between Delhi and Mumbai]; 47d tatas [Byes]; 48d adulates [Worships]; 50d Celeste [Frozen pizza brand]; 51d stashed [In a cache]; 53d Viper [Dodge sports car]; 54d roc [Legendary bird]; 60d satyr [Chorus member in an ancient Greek play]; 64d ear [It may be cocked]; 66d MoMA [Home of "Christina's World," for short]; 69d rebuked [Took to task]; 70d tailor [Measuring tape user]; 72d butchy [Exaggeratedly masculine]; 74d pagers [Motorola products]; 77d doff [Remove]; 79d shut [Sealed]; 80d cede [Yield]; 83d maneuver [End run, e.g.]; 86d schemed [Machinated]; 87d egger [Ham and ___ (average Joe)]; 89d statist [One favoring a strong, centralized government]; 90d broths [Soup starters]; 91d Laurel [Mountain ___]; 92d attire [Getup]; 93d idlers [Layabouts]; 94d waters [Sprinkles, maybe]; 95d Igor ["M*A*S*H" private Straminsky]; 96d areole [Ring of color]; 97d panner [Forty-niner, e.g.]; 100d japes [Makes sport of]; 102d bossy [Domineering]; 104d Rosa [Santa ___, Calif.]; 105d Goya [Painter of "The Naked Maja"]; 106d stir [Ruckus]; 108d cub [Kind of reporter]; 109d Tom [Singer Waits]; 110d AAA [It's below the majors].


diane said...

What is MS. reader/ EDs.? I don't get it!

Crossword Man said...

MS is the abbreviation for manuscript, what editors get to read a lot of!