Wednesday, February 4, 2009

NYT Thursday 2/5/09 - A Crossword of Color

Today's grid has color in more than one way: the theme is the image awards for people of color, which are being presented next Thursday.

The NAACP is also celebrating its centenary on that day, which means it's Abraham Lincoln's bicentenary: the NAACP was founded on the 100th anniversary of Abe's birth.

This was unfamiliar territory for me, reflected in a long solving time. Magdalen finished the puzzle off in just 20 minutes - the theme definitely played to her strengths.
Solving time: 28 mins (no cheating)
Clue of the puzz: 51a idée [Extract from a French bean?]

The 7d NAACP Image Award [Annual entertainment honor] and seven former honorees:
18a Jamie Foxx [Actor who received a 7-Down (1998, 2002, 2005-06)]
30a Alicia Keys [Singer/songwriter who received a 7-Down (2002, 2004-06, 2008)]
36a Ashanti [Singer who received a 7-Down (2003)]
45a Della Reese [Singer/actress who received a 7-Down (1996-2002)]
58a Bernie Mac [Comedian who received a 7-Down (2003-06)]
3d Fantasia [Singer who received a 7-Down (2005)]
39d Spike Lee [Director who received a 7-Down (2007)]
I wasn't aware of the organization until this puzzle and 7d was the last answer I got. I could picture so few of the names that I wasn't even aware of their distinction as a group.

Magdalen turned in a much faster time than I did and was able to explain the background of the organization and the awards. The 40th awards show is being held on February 12 and we'll try to catch that. The Secret Life of Bees seems to be doing well in the nominations.

Here are the honorees in the puzzle doing their stuff:


Grid art by Sympathy

CompilersDavid J. Kahn / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.2%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.97)
Scrabble points306 (average 1.62)
FeatureLipogram (U absent)
New To Me

11a CLV [Year St. Pius I died] - this type of clue is on a par with "like Wurblebaum's 17th Symphony" for IN[A thru G]- you know you're dealing with a restricted set of possibilities for the letters, but can't reasonably be expected to remember the exact answer ... or even the approximate answer in this case. For what it's worth, Pius I died in circa 154 AD.

15a Nader [Subject of the 2007 documentary "An Unreasonable Man"] - I knew I'd heard of Ralph Nader before, but had about as clear an understanding of his career as Ali G:

22a Elsie [Bovine in old ads] - Elsie the Borden Cow started as a cartoon character, but real Elsie's were cast to appear in fairs etc. The first one even has a gravestone in Plainsboro, NJ:

5d ROTC [Drillers' org.?] - I thought this might be to do with dentists. No, it is the Reserve Officers' Training Corps, through which college kids can train for the US Armed Forces.

6d in jail [Next to Connecticut Avenue, say, on a Monopoly board] - the standard British board has always been based on London streets. Our equivalent of Connecticut Avenue is Pentonville Road.

9d Pei [Bank of China Tower architect] - I. M. Pei.

42d Klein [Funnyman Robert] - an American stand-up comedian who achieved fame through his routines about the Watergate Scandal.


14a Erato [Sister of Clio] - when Greek deities are involved, Erato is a prime suspect because of those oh-so-friendly letters.

16a Rae ["Norma ___"] - since the theme is awards, Sally Field won the best actress Oscar for her performance in this movie.

42a Klieg [Moviemaking lamp] - a very powerful electric lamp, originally based on a carbon arc so bright that actors could suffer Klieg eye, a form of conjunctivitis.

43a sepia [Pigment used in drawing] - the name derives from the Greek for cuttlefish, whose ink sacs were the source of the color.

51a idée [Extract from a French bean?] - ie something that comes out of a French head - lovely misleading clue.

52a slate [Party list] - a list of candidates for election, not what I first thought, an account of drinks consumed but not paid for at a bar (slate in this sense is peculiarly British).

11d crosse [Piece of equipment used in a national sport of Canada] - more prosaically known as a lacrosse stick.

59d Eli [Student at Yale] - I actually knew this one, as Magdalen had explained when it was last in a puzzle. I must get around to that post on schools and associated nicknames.

62d one [Low digit] - I originally wrote in toe, but the answer turned out to be duller.

The Rest

1a go far [Accomplish lots of things]; 6a inapt [Not fitting]; 17a tenet [Belief]; 20a Tic Tac [Popular breath mint]; 23a jean [___ material (sturdy fabric)]; 25a riper [More red, maybe]; 28a astr. [Field in which things are looking up?: Abbr.]; 29a east [Orient]; 32a trios [Some jazz combos]; 34a moose [One with a long face?]; 35a spa [Hot tub]; 39a soy [Tofu source]; 50a pill [Difficult sort]; 53a Skye [Terrier type]; 54a again [From the top]; 56a Willie ["Steamboat ___," first Mickey Mouse cartoon]; 61a alloy [Amalgam, e.g.]; 64a lin. [One-dimensional: Abbr.]; 65a clerk [Bob Cratchit's occupation]; 66a no end [To a great extent]; 67a ons [Switch positions]; 68a kinds ["It takes all ___"]; 69a knees [Benders?].

1d get [Acquire]; 2d ore [It's found in veins]; 4d ate into [Eroded]; 8d Adm. [Navy chief: Abbr.]; 10d tree [Logician's drawing]; 12d laxity [Looseness]; 13d vexers [Annoying types]; 19d flake [Bit of snow]; 21d tra [Song syllable]; 23d jets [Spurts from fountains]; 24d Earp [O.K. Corral fighter]; 26d econ. [Sch. course with graphs]; 27d riot [Comedy standout]; 31d as is [Unchanged]; 33d sala [Hacienda room]; 37d Sirs [Letter start]; 38d heel [Achilles' weakness]; 40d oily [Like some hair]; 41d Yale [Columbia rival]; 44d epsilon [Fraternity letter]; 45d diablo [Spanish devil]; 46d edge in [Enter cautiously]; 47d learns [Gets to know]; 48d sticks [Boonies]; 49d eel [Sea slitherer]; 55d nick [Small cut]; 57d lank [Tall and thin]; 60d Men [Door sign]; 63d yds. [Football stat: Abbr.].


Jeff said...

Just came across this crossword today, threw me for loops. Nice blog.

Crossword Man said...

Thanks Jeff.