Sunday, March 8, 2009

NYT Monday 3/9/09 - Positive Thoughts

Magdalen and I enjoyed the theme of today's New York Times crossword - it seemed an appropriate Monday composition, aimed at those just starting out with the New York Times puzzle.

I doubt it's a coincidence that (Norman Vincent) Peale, the inventor of positive thinking, appeared in the puzzle. We have more need for Peale's message later in the week, but appreciate that the New York Times needs to cater for solvers of all abilities and encourage new ones into the fold.
Solving time: 7 mins (no cheating)
Theme

Four 11-letter phrases giving encouragement. It was quite an achievement to get four phrases of exactly the same length to fit the theme:
17a try, try again! ["Keep going!"]
58a never say die! ["Keep going!"]
11d hang in there! ["Keep going!"]
25d don't stop now! ["Keep going!"]
Solution

Betty Keller
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics
CompilersBetty Keller / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.97)
Theme squares44 (23.3%)
Scrabble points281 (average 1.49)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

23a cadence ["Sound off - one, two ...," e.g.]. Magdalen had to explain this clue to me: I'd never come across cadence in the military sense, although I'd seen it in movies such as Full Metal Jacket:



5d Loren [Best Actress for "Two Women"]. I'm not familiar with this particular movie, but it is noteworthy as containing the performance for which Sophia Loren got her one Oscar:



45d Popeyes [Popular chain of chicken restaurants]. I don't remember seeing a Popeyes, but Magdalen says we've been past one in South Philly a few times. Our nearest one is 83 miles away.

54d Peale ["Positive thinker" Norman Vincent ___]. Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993) was a preacher who promoted the power of "positive thinking" in books and as a speaker. How appropriate in light of the theme!

Noteworthy

Tia Maria46a Tia Maria [Coffee liqueur brand]. Thank goodness for Tia Maria and Tio Pepe, which make it so much easier to remember the Spanish for aunt and uncle.

55a rupee [Mumbai money] and 56a puree [Baby food (whose name is an anagram of 55-Across)]. Nice to exploit the coincidence of having anagrammed words in the same row.

3d Ely [Bridge writer Culbertson]. I've heard of Ely Culbertson, but perhaps only because I have tried to learn bridge over the past couple of years. He is regarded as "the man who made contract bridge", but his writings seem to have been long superseded.

geese13d geese [Fliers in V's]. We have started to see skeins of geese flying North over us, so they are obviously positive thinkers and believe spring is near. Geese fly so high that you hear them more often than you see them.

18d YMCA [Village People hit whose title completes the line "It's fun to stay at the ..."]. Too much information, even for a Monday!?



26d Sela [Actress Ward]. Had this exact clue around a month ago, so now know how to answer it. Here she is on Isaac Mizrahi's show:



The Rest

1a smell [What skunks do]; 6a scull [Oared racing shell]; 11a hog [Harley-Davidson, slangily]; 14a igloo [Domed domicile]; 15a Hosea [Book after Daniel]; 16a ace [One-spot]; 19a née [Born: Fr.]; 20a temps [Workers just for the day]; 21a Degas [Edgar who painted dancers]; 26a saltine [Square cracker]; 28a on or [___ about (roughly)]; 29a Armenian [Neighbor of an Azerbaijani]; 31a vinyl [Cheap seat cover material]; 33a élan [Pizazz]; 34a tsp. [Cough medicine amt.]; 37a -est [Superlative suffix]; 38a imitate [Do impressions of]; 41a hoe [Garden tool]; 42a yes ["I agree"]; 43a gave [Donated]; 44a spews [Erupts]; 50a Oreo [Nabisco cookie]; 51a bookman [Bibliophile]; 53a nippers [Playful puppies]; 57a inn [Hostel]; 64a Eco [Prefix with tourism]; 65a toile [Decorative upholstery fabric]; 66a learn [Acquire information]; 67a few [Small number]; 68a snits [Peevish states]; 69a esses [Letters before tees].

1d sit [Use a stool]; 2d mgr. [Store head: Abbr.]; 4d lottery [Scratch-off game, e.g.]; 6d shaper [Woodworking tool]; 7d cogs [Gear teeth]; 8d USA [Where Springsteen was born, in song]; 9d lei [Floral necklace]; 10d landlines [Noncellular phones]; 12d ocean [Atlantic or Pacific]; 22d eta [Seventh Greek letter]; 23d covey [Small flock]; 24d anise [Licorice-tasting seed]; 27d anat. [Course related to physiology: Abbr.]; 30d meter [It might go from 0 to 60 minutes]; 32d ligaments [Easily torn bands of tissue]; 35d sower [Spreader of seeds]; 36d pesos [Mexican money]; 39d Mama [Papa's mate]; 40d Ivan ["Terrible" czar]; 47d Ike [Dick was his running mate in '52 and '56]; 48d inures [Hardens]; 49d airs [Broadcasts]; 51d brief [Succinct]; 52d ounce [1/16 of a pound]; 56d pelt [Animal hide]; 59d eon [Seeming eternity]; 60d vii [7, to Caesar]; 61d Das ["___ Rheingold"]; 62d ire [Wrath]; 63d ens. [Coast Guard officer: Abbr.].

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