Sunday, May 17, 2009

NYT Monday 5/18/09 - Cracking Crossword

Gropius HouseMagdalen and I are visiting Coffee Jones, Dino_Burger and family in the Boston area and it was nice to have a not-too-demanding crossword after a day of traveling and sightseeing. One suspects that credit crunch - expression du jour - might have been the starting point. A shame that cryptic crossword just exceeds the 15-letter limit as that would have been an apposite addition to the alliterative idea.

Yesterday's non-cruciverbal adventure was visiting the Gropius House, which the founder of Bauhaus designed for his family in 1937. Escaping Nazism with very few assets, Walter Gropius accepted a post at Harvard and was loaned some $20,000 to build a home. His influence is abundantly clear in the community where we're staying - Moon Hill Road, Lexington: here all the properties were designed by disciples of Gropius.
Solving time: 7 mins (no cheating)

Phrases where both words start cr:
17a crumb crust {Graham cracker pie shell}
26a creepy-crawly {Spider or worm}
44a credit crunch {Lending crisis}
58a crab Creole {Cajun seafood dish}

Billie Truitt
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

CompilersBillie Truitt / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.85)
Theme squares44 (23.3%)
Scrabble points316 (average 1.67)
New To Me

61a Kukla {Friend of Fran and Ollie}. Although I'd had a taste of Lamb Chop, this was the first I knew of the slightly earlier puppet show Kukla, Fran and Ollie. Kukla was a clown-like puppet and Ollie a mischievous dragon.

The Five Ws28d what {One of the five W's}. I've met the Three Rs, the Three Bs and the Five Ks, but what are the Five Ws? Apparently, they're all you need to know about journalism, and if you're an advanced student you can add the optional H to the list:
Who? Who was involved?
What? What happened (what's the story)?
When? When did it take place?
Where? Where did it take place?
Why? Why did it happen?
[How? How did it happen?]

ACLU14a ACLU {Rights org.}. I shouldn't by rights know this one, but do because Coffee Jones's mother, though well past normal retirement age (I hope she won't mind me saying that), still volunteers at the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.

39a Ian {Bond creator Fleming}. I was brought up on Bond movies, thinking them the height of sophistication. The one that stays in my head the most (probably by no means the best) is Live and Let Die, because of the extraordinary title sequence with Paul McCartney's music.

Tyler Hinman49a RPI {Engineering sch. in Troy, N.Y.}. Since learning this abbreviation, I've found out the school has a special crossword association: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is where reigning American Crossword Puzzle Tournament champion Tyler Hinman studied for a bachelor's degree in IT; he still seems to have a good store of red RPI hats (or maybe it's just one "lucky" hat).

harness racing27d pacer {Harness racer}. I'm rather intrigued by harness racing, which is a relatively insignificant branch of horse racing in the UK. I suspect Pocono Downs is the venue closest to home - like many racetracks, it now seems to be dominated by the associated casino.

our dirt road59d rut {Dirt road feature}. Our dirt road seems more affected by potholes than ruts. The township has taken to spraying the dirt roads with tar in the summer, which makes a resilient surface almost as good as hardtop; we once drove through newly sprayed tar: big mistake, as it's tough to get off paintwork (but does give you a free new underseal).

The Rest

1a cash {"___ or charge?"}; 5a Debra {Winger or Messing}; 10a -fest {Suffix with song or slug}; 15a enter {Go inside}; 16a amie {Parisian girlfriend}; 19a jags {Binges}; 20a temperas {Poster paints}; 21a Dwight {President who followed Harry}; 23a ISP {AOL or MSN: Abbr.}; 24a rig {18-wheeler}; 25a beat {Exhausted}; 31a enjoys {Delights in}; 34a atom {Molecule part}; 35a hue {Tint}; 36a peat {Bog material}; 37a ice {Freezer cubes}; 38a data {Spreadsheet contents}; 40a Lane {Lois of the Daily Planet}; 42a sautés {Pan-fries}; 47a Roth {___ I.R.A. (savings plan for old age)}; 48a sot {Tippler}; 52a banana {Fruit for a monkey}; 55a raw onion {Common burger topper}; 57a agog {All in a twitter}; 60a re-do {Make over}; 62a atop {At the peak of}; 63a Eden {Garden of ___}; 64a steep {Exorbitant}; 65a psst {"Hey, you!"}.

1d cacti {Prickly plants}; 2d acres {Real estate units}; 3d slump {Batter's dry spell}; 4d hump {Camel feature}; 5d decries {Criticizes openly}; 6d enrage {Infuriate}; 7d BTUs {A/C measures}; 8d res {Hi-___ monitor}; 9d Art Deco {Style of the 1920s and '30s}; 10d fajita {Tex-Mex treat}; 11d e-mag {Online 'zine}; 12d sigh {Sound of relief}; 13d test {Try out}; 18d berry {Fruit on a bush}; 22d warm {Toasty}; 25d byte {Computer memory measure}; 26d cot {Foldaway bed}; 29d lute {Minstrel's instrument}; 30d yeas {Votes opposite the nays}; 31d epic {The "Odyssey" or "Beowulf"}; 32d near {Close by}; 33d Jane {Tarzan's love}; 37d inch {Ruler division}; 38d duh {"Well, that's obvious!"}; 40d Lion {Cowardly resident of Oz}; 41d attacks {Blitzes}; 42d snowcap {Year-round Alp topper}; 43d actor {Cast member}; 45d dragon {Fire-breathing beast}; 46d usable {Functional}; 49d riots {Mob scenes}; 50d polos {Collared pullovers}; 51d inept {Bumbling}; 52d bare {Like Mother Hubbard's cupboard}; 53d aged {Ripened}; 54d node {Bump on a branch}; 55d rake {Autumn tool}; 56d neap {Twice-a-month tide}.

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