Monday, July 6, 2009

NYT Tuesday 7/7/09 - Late Show

I really loved the theme of this New York Times crossword. A less ambitious implementation would involve only eg days of the week being advanced; but here the constructor goes for lateness using four different timescales. This is a fine example of how a theme can be made interesting without the technical fireworks of rebuses etc.

Donna Autumn makes me realize that I've been wrong in assuming Americans only know the word "fall" for the third season of the year. Magdalen wonders if the spectacular autumnal changes in the deciduous trees in the North East encouraged its inhabitants to use a more colorful and expressive word than "autumn" to describe that time.
Solving time: 9 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 16a ram {It might make a ewe turn}
Theme

Four people's surnames get changed to a later time (by one step) as a result of "arriving late":
17a Joe Saturday {Late-arriving TV detective?} - Joe Friday
28a Fredric April {Late-arriving actor of old?} - Fredric March
44a Doris Evening {Late-arriving singer/actress of old?} - Doris Day
59a Donna Autumn {Late-arriving disco singer?} - Donna Summer
Solution

Lynn Lempel
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics
CompilersLynn Lempel / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.79)
Theme squares46 (24.6%)
Scrabble points286 (average 1.53)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

10a bra {Panty raid prize}. I asked Magdalen if she'd any experience of panty raids - no, they were decidedly old hat when she went to college. Apparently it was the post-war college craze, the first documented incident being in 1949. The tradition had faded by the 1970s, with the trend to co-ed dorms.

James Monroe48a Era {___ of Good Feelings}. This fill-in-the-blank was easy enough to guess, but I had to look up Era of Good Feelings to discover it applied to the years of James Monroe's presidency, 1817-1825. In this period, the Federalists had largely dissolved and Americans united behind the Democratic-Republican Party.

Eli Lilly & Co58a Eli {___ Lilly & Co.}. I had less of an excuse for not knowing Eli Lilly and Company, as it is a global pharmaceutical brand. The company was founded in 1876 by (you guessed it) Eli Lilly (1838–1898) and we have to be grateful for two of his innovations that "sweeten the pill": gelatin capsules and fruit flavoring for liquid medicines. Today, the company is well-known for brands such as Cialis and Prozac.

2d Enoch {Tennyson title hero ___ Arden}. Enoch Arden, first published in 1864, is an antithesis to the classical Odysseus story: Enoch is a fisherman who goes to sea to better serve his family, but gets shipwrecked and is assumed dead. His wife is happily married to another man when Enoch finally returns. Enoch dies of a broken heart. D. W. Griffith filmed the story in 1911:



3d Avery {New York's ___ Fisher Hall}; 12d amps {Concert blasters}. Could the hall be named after someone called Avery Fisher? Yes, and Avery's claim to fame is he invented the first transistor-based amps. The hall that bears his name is part of the Lincoln Center complex and is home to the New York Philharmonic.

Noteworthy

41a Rex {Harrison of "My Fair Lady"}. My parents didn't own many recordings, but this was one of them: an analysis of their collection suggests they were musical-goers before they had kids. They were married in 1957 and I (the eldest of four) was born in November 1959. My Fair Lady opened in London in April 1958.



67a Hedy {Screen star Lamarr}. Is it my imagination or have we seen a lot of Hedy (not Hedley) Lamarr recently? A trip to Wikipedia reveals Hedy has another strange claim to fame: in 1942, as "Hedy Kiesler Markey", she was awarded U.S. Patent 2,292,387 jointly with composer George Antheil. Their idea involved using frequency hopping to make radio-guided torpedoes harder to detect and jam. This was ahead of its time, as the patent had expired well before such methods were technically feasible. Here she is as we normally think of her, starring as Tondelayo in White Cargo (1942):



25d Grendel {Monster defeated by Beowulf}. Grendel is a water monster, one of three antagonists killed by Beowolf in the most famous work of Anglo-Saxon literature. Several movie adaptations have been made, including this one starring Christopher Lambert:



26d Aida {Slave entombed with Radames}. Aida again?! What is there new to say? Ok, lets see how the 1998 musical by Elton John and Tim Rice measures up: this is Heather Headley as Aida singing "Easy as Life":



61d NPR {"Car Talk" airer}. Magdalen is a fan, but I find Click and Clack so irritating at times that it's hard to listen to them. They do have a nice line in puzzles, though. Here's one from last weekend:
bugles, unrest, grotto, letter, esteem, ...

What's the next word?
The Rest

1a ream {500 sheets}; 5a fells {Cuts down}; 13a anvil {It takes a hammering}; 15a lasso {Roundup rope}; 16a ram {It might make a ewe turn}; 19a yip {Puppy's bark}; 20a acrobat {Nimble circus performer}; 21a T-bills {Short-term govt. securities}; 23a shy {Like a wallflower}; 24a omega {Alpha's counterpart}; 27a Esc {Lesser-used PC key}; 32a notes {Classroom jottings}; 35a Eden {Home for Adam and Eve}; 36a edu {Campus e-mail letters?}; 37a élan {Verve}; 38a Annan {Former U.N. head Kofi ___}; 40a eels {Fish with only minute fins}; 42a plod {Work monotonously}; 43a unmet {Like some needs}; 49a allot {Parcel out}; 50a ban {Blackball}; 53a talent {Knack}; 56a Etruria {Region of pre-Roman Italy}; 62a age {"Act your ___!"}; 63a quips {Many Conan O'Brien lines}; 64a eaten {Down the hatch}; 65a RAF {U.K. fliers}; 66a start {Word next to an arrow in a maze}.

1d rajas {Indian royalty}; 4d miso {Kind of soup at a Japanese restaurant}; 5d fluted {Having decorative grooves}; 6d ear {Obstacle for a barber}; 7d LSD {Source of a hippie's high}; 8d LSAT {Exam for A.B.A.-approved schools}; 9d soy bean {Protein-rich legume}; 10d Brylcreem {"A little dab'll do ya" brand}; 11d rail {Complain bitterly}; 14d labors {Feats for Hercules}; 18d tame {Docile}; 22d ISP {AOL, for one}; 28d fen {Swamp}; 29d cen. {100 years: Abbr.}; 30d idle {Just loafing}; 31d lust {The hots}; 32d nerd {Jock's counterpart}; 33d oleo {Margarine}; 34d tax relief {Government's gift to I.R.S. filers}; 38d ale {Drink from a stein}; 39d nova {Star of changing brightness}; 40d Eng. {Official lang. of Guyana}; 42d p's and q's {Manners}; 43d untrue {Erroneous}; 45d ire {Fury}; 46d NL East {Atlanta Braves' div.}; 47d iota {Tiny bit}; 50d Brute {"Et tu, ___?"}; 51d aimed {Got ready to shoot}; 52d nanny {Kids' caretaker}; 53d tear {Shred}; 54d alga {Sea lettuce, e.g.}; 55d tout {Talk up}; 57d Utah {One of the Four Corners states}; 60d Nia {Actress Peeples}.

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