Saturday, March 7, 2009

NYT Sunday 3/8/09 - My Post Script

This jumbo-sized puzzle offered a little light relief after an intense operatic experience on Saturday afternoon - another New York Met production Live in HD at our local movie theater. I can't help evangelizing about these opera relays, as they are a really awesome idea - kudos to Peter Gelb for coming up with this successful outreach initiative.

Today's performance of Madama Butterfly was a sell-out - word had got around that this production was something special, and we were treated to a heart-wrenching experience. There were few dry eyes in the house at the end. Magdalen and I had seen the same Anthony Minghella production in London a couple of years ago, and it was great to see it again on the big screen.

The puzzle's theme was fairly obvious after solving 23a cooking with gasps, the only question being whether the postscripts were just at the end (which they would normally be in a letter). Some, it turned out, were added to a word in the middle of the phrase. I didn't have a problem with that - crosswords themes can have a logic of their own, as long as they're consistent about it.

I also note that the solution is pangrammatic (includes all the letters of the alphabetic) - something that's a lot easier to do with a 21x21 grid.

Theme

The title "one more thing" is something Columbo might have said, but in this crossword means a postscript. Each theme entry is a phrase with a PS added:
23a cooking with gasps [Rachael Ray activity eliciting oohs and aahs?]
39a built ramps tough [Prepared for heavy on/off traffic?]
47a use the forceps Luke [Advice to actor Perry when delivering a baby?]
67a asps for me [Cleopatra's last request?]
86a going tops the polls [Travel is voted most popular?]
92a long time no seeps [Result of a good basement waterproofing years ago?]
115a bullet-proof carps [Unassailable beefs?]
Solution

Zack Kushner
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics
CompilersZack Kushner / Will Shortz
Grid21x21 with 70 (15.9%) black squares
Answers140 (average length 5.30)
Theme squares105 (28.3%)
Scrabble points600 (average 1.62)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
FeaturePangrammatic
New To Me

22a Each ["___ Dawn I Die" (James Cagney flick)]. The title aroused my curiosity - was this Cagney's vampire movie? No, this is Cagney in a typical tough-guy role:



72a Ritts [Fashion photographer Herb]. Ritts are scratches in Scots dialect, but I doubt that would be allowed in an American crossword. Thank goodness for Herb Ritts, the fashion photographer who had a sideline in commercials:



69d pong [Beer ___]. This was new to both of us: beer pong is the name of various drinking games - a crucial component of college life. To see is to believe:



100d George [Any of boxer Foreman's five sons]. Yes, George Forman named all five of his sons George. He's a lean mean George-making machine. I can see how it might be useful - my parents often called me by my brother's (and sometimes the cat's) name.

Noteworthy

Starrucca Viaduct36a spans [Viaduct features]. We live in a county famous for its viaducts, such as the Starrucca Viaduct. Every time I see one, I have to break into the "Vy a Duck" Marx Brothers routine:
Groucho: Now, here is a little peninsula, and, eh, here is a viaduct leading over to the mainland.

Chico: Why a duck?

Groucho: I'm alright, how are you? I say, here is a little peninsula, and here is a viaduct leading over to the mainland.

Chico: Alright, why a duck?

Groucho: (pause) I'm not playing "Ask Me Another," I say that's a viaduct.

Chico: Alright! Why a duck? Why that...why a duck? Why a no chicken
85a DSL [High-speed inits.]. A clue I like because I thought the answer was going to something that moved fast like a car or plane.

ravioli112a ravioli [Literally, "little turnips"]. For real? Wikipedia hedges, saying ravioli is perhaps a diminutive of the Italian dialectal rava ("turnip"). I don't have a great impression of this pasta type, as I ate a lot of the canned variety as a kid - it tasted nice, but it was hardly haute cuisine.

8d Ani [Singer DiFranco]. Another answer that tends to be clued via the rather obscure dictionary definition (ani is a type of cuckoo) in British cryptics. How much nicer to reference a different kind of singer's first name:




The Rest

1a Meg [Former eBay chief Whitman]; 4a carjack [Steal from, as in Grand Theft Auto]; 11a smug [Too big for one's britches, say]; 15a slat [Shutter piece]; 19a APR [Auto financing abbr.]; 20a Oceania [Home of Easter Island]; 21a pump [Bilge need]; 26a entr [___'acte]; 27a aquifer [Freshwater source]; 28a enure [Habituate]; 29a Eddie [Vedder of Pearl Jam]; 30a wuss [Pantywaist]; 31a daft [Harebrained]; 34a a tub ["Three men in ___"]; 37a seems [Appears]; 43a ECG [Heart chart: Abbr.]; 45a tear [Spacesuit worry]; 46a lied [Schubert piece]; 54a PPP [Extremely softly, in music]; 57a ses [French possessive]; 58a teensy [Wee]; 59a apish [Imitative]; 60a Lara [___ Croft, title role for Angelina Jolie]; 61a hit list [It's dangerous to be on this]; 63a NCAA [Org. involved with ESPN]; 64a spores [Puffball contents]; 66a Eniac [Pioneering 1940s computer]; 73a revoke [Void]; 75a cowl [Brother's attire]; 76a lionize [Adulate]; 78a ERAs [Bullpen stats]; 79a bwana [Sir, in Swahili]; 81a sisals [Rope fibers]; 84a Aer [___ Lingus]; 89a hall [Concert site]; 90a Pelé [Athlete who won the 1978 International Peace Award]; 91a rel. [Brother or aunt: Abbr.]; 99a right ["Yeah, ___"]; 103a in awe [Transfixed]; 104a axed [Canned]; 105a SSTs [Bygone "birds"]; 107a veer [Swerve]; 108a stied [Like a pig in a pen]; 109a alias [False front]; 114a ball [Cinderella's destination]; 119a Opel [Volkswagen competitor]; 120a anti- [Prefix with inflammatory]; 121a tip over [Upset]; 122a get [Fathom]; 123a Neds [Composer Rorem and others]; 124a rose [Word before or after tea]; 125a snipers [Ones concealing their aims]; 126a ere [Poetic preposition].

1d macaws [Talkative ones]; 2d Époque [La Belle ___]; 3d grouse [Bellyache]; 4d coif [Bangs, e.g.]; 5d acned [Pimply]; 6d regrab [Get a better grip on]; 7d jaw [Big part of a crocodile]; 9d cite [Refer to]; 10d Kahn [Gus who wrote the words to "Makin' Whoopee"]; 11d Sparta [What the 300 defended]; 12d museum [Field trip destination]; 13d ump [Person at home]; 14d gps [Modern navig. tool]; 15d seed pod [Bean container]; 16d landau [Coachman's carriage]; 17d acting [Provisional]; 18d thresh [Separate wheat from chaff]; 24d kismet [It's written in the stars]; 25d guar [Gum-producing plant]; 29d Estée [First name in cosmetics]; 32d futon [Informal bed]; 33d tiers [Seating sections]; 35d B-plus [Nearly excellent]; 38d schtick ["I don't get no respect," to Rodney Dangerfield]; 40d lacy [Full of frills]; 41d tre [Number of flavors in Neapolitan ice cream?]; 42d Sikhs [Some turban wearers]; 44d gees [Thousands, in slang]; 47d ushered [Brought (in)]; 48d seiners [Fishermen with nets]; 49d estival [Summery]; 50d feta [Greek salad ingredient]; 51d Paco [Designer Rabanne]; 52d spar [Tangle (with)]; 53d Liam [Irish folk musician O'Flynn]; 54d partial [Missing something]; 55d pretzel [Ballpark snack]; 56d passers [QBs, at times]; 60d loin [Choice cut]; 62d Laos [China neighbor]; 63d NFL [CBS's "The ___ Today"]; 65d prosper [Fare well]; 68d scan [Eyeball]; 70d swat [Hit hard]; 71d Elah ["In the Valley of ___" (2007 film)]; 74d Eboli [Where Christ stopped in a Carlo Levi novel]; 77d Iler [Robert of "The Sopranos"]; 80d Wilma [Mother in Bedrock]; 81d Spee [Ill-fated German admiral]; 82d isles [The Hebrides, e.g.]; 83d steps [Flight divisions]; 86d gated [Like some communities]; 87d ops [Missions, in brief]; 88d Olivia ["Twelfth Night" woman]; 89d H. G. Wells [The Father of Science Fiction]; 92d Lisbon [Capital on the Atlantic]; 93d on tape [Canned]; 94d nailed [Caught red-handed]; 95d exalts [Sings hallelujah to]; 96d Nellie [Nervous one?]; 97d Odie [Comics pooch]; 98d strove [Endeavored]; 101d helper [Volunteer, perhaps]; 102d triste [Melancholy]; 106d safer [Less wobbly, say]; 110d atts. [Brief makers: Abbr.]; 111d spin [Turn in many a children's board game]; 113d VCRs [TV hookups]; 115d bar [Kind of graph]; 116d Uno [Card game from Mattel]; 117d RPI [Sch. in Troy, N.Y.]; 118d oop [Alley ___].

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