Tuesday, August 18, 2009

NYT Wednesday 8/19/09 - Garden Party

This Wednesday New York Times seemed fairly straightforward: I homed in on the bottom few rows in the hope of getting 52-Across quickly, but soon gave up with that and finally realized what was going on when I got Afghan president. It then seemed obvious that garden was hidden in each of the long answers, inspired by the 1911 children's classic The Secret Garden.

It's the second day in a row that the grid has been supersized ... again by adding an extra column. Although The Secret Garden is conveniently 15 letters long, there were perhaps insufficient phrases of that length or shorter to make the theme viable. Hence a 16 column by 15 row grid again.
Solving time: 9 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 10a owes {Is shy, in a way}
Theme

Three answers contain a "secret garden", ie the letters of garden in sequence in the marked squares; this is indicated by 52a The Secret Garden {Frances Hodgson Burnett kid-lit novel ... and a hint to 21-, 26- and 45-Across}.
21a Afghan president {Hamid Karzai, starting in 2004}
26a great-grandparent {One of four generations in a photo}
45a garage door opener {Driver's electric convenience}
Solution

Peter A. Collins
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Crucimetrics
CompilersPeter A. Collins / Will Shortz
Grid15x16 with 42 (17.5%) black squares
Answers77 (average length 5.14)
Theme squares58 (29.3%)
Scrabble points310 (average 1.57)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

Ford LTD50a LTD {Old Ford model}. This sort of thing gives me grief, but I now know enough about the funnies to get 43-Down and hence was sure of the middle letter of this car. The Ford LTD was produced between 1965 and 1986. Thought by some to stand for "Luxury Trim Decor", the abbreviation may also have been short for "Lincoln Type Design" ... or nothing at all - take your pick.

Father Damien63a Damien {Father ___, leper priest of Molokai}. The NYT crossword certainly runs the gamut of references from AAA batteries to ZZ Top. Father Damien (18401889) was a Belgian R.C. priest who's currently in the news as he's due to be canonized on October 11 this year. He ministered to leprosy sufferers quarantined on the Hawaiian island of Molokai and eventually contracted and died of the disease. Ah, but is that enough to make you a saint? What about the miracles? It seems praying to Father Damien has brought about miraculous cures of a nun suffering from an intestinal illness in 1895 and a cancer sufferer in 1997.

16d twin pac {Promo container that's a twofer}. twin pac seems to be promo-speak for twin pack, ie two items sold together at a special price. Wikipedia doesn't seem to have caught up with either's existence.

44d ipsa {Res ___ loquitur}. Magdalen the Lawyer lives for these Latin tags. Res ipsa loquitur one means "the thing speaks for itself", ie that further details don't need to be given because the facts are self-evident. If all parties can be persuaded of this, it must save considerable time.

Noteworthy

10a owes {Is shy, in a way}. Neat clue: if you're shy of the correct amount, you're still owing. You had to get this one, as 11d worn {Dog-eared} could equally well be torn (well that's what I had until I understood 10-Across).

18a tíos {Madre's hermanos}. Looks like the constructor's trying to get around Español para los crucigramistas. Madre's hermanos are your Spanish mother's brothers.

62a Suzi {Rocker Quatro}. I thought "Quatro" might be a typo for "Quattro", but I should by now have learned to trust the accuracy of NYT clues (I've not yet spotted a single problem, but I know they do very occasionally occur). Suzi Quatro was making hits when I was a kid and her euphonious nom de guerre has stuck with me. This one takes me back ...



i before e (except after c)2d Leif {Son of Eric the Red}; 26d Grieg {"Peer Gynt" composer}. I always have trouble with the E and I ordering in names like this. English test cricketer Tony Greig adds to the nightmare - at least I don't have to worry about him being in an American crossword.

Ethan Allen31d Ethan {Patriot Allen}. Thanks to the coincidence (or perhaps not) of the furniture retailer Ethan Allen having the same name, this is one patriot I don't have problems remembering. Ethan Allen the patriot is famous for capturing Fort Ticonderoga from the British in 1775, thus ensuring the revolutionaries had sufficient stocks of pencils for many years.

The Rest

1a a law {___ unto itself}; 5a stoat {Brown fur}; 14a Sega {Game Gear company}; 15a tomcat {Philanderer, in slang}; 17a homo {Our genus}; 19a erenow {To this point, in verse}; 20a drip {Intravenous hookup}; 24a snoot {Uppity type}; 25a NRA {Org. concerned with firing practices?}; 34a rials {Iranian cash}; 35a exam {Occasion for a proctor}; 36a too {Overly}; 37a I ate {"Must've been something ___"}; 38a tragic {Like "King Lear"}; 41a show {Keep an appointment}; 42a été {When juillet and août occur}; 43a shed {Get rid of}; 44a inane {Vacant, in a way}; 51a Norse {Like 26-Down}; 59a hoax {Piltdown man, notably}; 60a Arista {Longtime label for 38-Down}; 61a sexy {Like a hottie}; 64a amen {"Ain't it the truth!"}; 65a tres {Siesta time, maybe}; 66a beens {Has-___ (ones who are washed up)}; 67a tidy {Like some sums}.

1d Asta {Wirehair of film}; 3d agog {All worked up}; 4d wash sale {Stock transaction made to claim a tax deduction}; 5d stenog {Court worker, for short}; 6d torpor {Sluggishness}; 7d omertà {Mobster's code}; 8d acne {Dots over eyes?}; 9d Taos {New Mexico skiing locale}; 10d oh dear! {"Mercy!"}; 12d emit {Discharge}; 13d sop {Conciliatory bribe}; 22d ants {See 39-Down}; 23d dram {Apothecary weight}; 27d riata {Gaucho's gear}; 28d eater {What "-vore" means}; 29d neg. {Like some ions: Abbr.}; 30d DXI {Early sixth-century date}; 32d no-one {Nary a soul}; 33d tower {Air controller's place}; 38d The Dead {Jerry Garcia's band, for short}; 39d red {With 22-Down, stinging insects}; 40d ado {Hubbub}; 41d sneers at {Shows disdain for}; 43d Sgts. {Snorkel and colleagues: Abbr.}; 46d Alexis {"Dynasty" vixen}; 47d onesie {Infant's bodysuit}; 48d rotten {Raising a stink?}; 49d organs {Hammond products}; 52d tour {Historic site option}; 53d haze {Give a paddling, maybe}; 54d crab {Kvetcher}; 55d rime {White coat}; 56d Demi {Moore of film}; 57d exed {Deleted, with "out"}; 58d NY, NY {Part of Rockefeller Ctr.'s address}; 59d HST {V-J Day pres.}.

1 comment:

Magdalen said...

The example we were given for res ipsa loquitur was this: If you are walking down the sidewalk and a piano falls on you, it's a tort: res ipsa loquitur. Something so obvious that no further legal argument is necessary. In the case of the piano falling on you, the question isn't whether a tort occurred, but rather who is/are the tortfeasor(s)? My sister-in-law had the temporary facade of a building in Manhattan fall on her. Again, res ipsa -- it was a tort. But when it came time to figure out who paid what percentage of the money awarded to her, I think the negotiations among the multiple defendants took hours. (BTW: she had almost every bone fractured, but is pretty much okay today. You, on the other hand, died -- the falling piano was fatal.)