Sunday, September 13, 2009

NYT Monday 9/14/09 - Going for Gold

A note with this Monday New York Times crossword explains this week's special theme: Monday through Saturday's puzzles are all by constructors who have been contributing to the NYT for over 50 years. I can scarcely imagine how that's possible, as I have yet to start and will surely be over 100 if I make it that long.

Today's puzzle is by Bernice Gordon, 95, the oldest known constructor in the history of the NYT. As with many Monday puzzles, I didn't really cotton on to the theme when solving, just was satisfied that names appeared in the long answers. I only appreciated the elegance of the idea when I sat back to review the clues.
Solving time: 7 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 15a actor {Cage or Penn}
Solution

Bernice Gordon
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

The clues suggest the S at the beginning of a person's surname has moved to the end of their forename, with amusing results:
17a Oliver's tone {Film director's sound?} cf Oliver Stone
26a Margaret's anger {Birth control advocate's fury?} cf Margaret Sanger
43a George's hearing {Jazz pianist's court appearance?} cf George Shearing
57a Tom's mothers {Comedian's parents?} cf Tom Smothers
Crucimetrics
CompilersBernice Gordon / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.92)
Theme squares50 (26.7%)
Scrabble points277 (average 1.48)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

42a Mulan {1998 Disney film set in China}. Mulan is an animated feature based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, a heroine who joins an all-male army.



27d Along {"Get ___ Little Dogies"}. Not doggies, but dogies (i.e. motherless calves), because this is a cowboy song. Here's Arlo Guthrie singing it on The Muppet Show.



Noteworthy

15a actor {Cage or Penn}. Neat choice of actors to suggest jail synonyms.

Eliel Saarinen33a Eliel {Architect Saarinen}. Eliel Saarinen (18731950), architect father of architect Eero Saarinen (1910–1961) is back again after less than a month. Writing this blog is a great help in remembering such crossword trivia. The accompanying building is the Eliel Saarinen-designed First Christian Church in Columbus, IN.

sepia34a sepia {Old photo tint}. I have little difficulty recalling sepia because of where it comes from: the ink sac of cuttlefish (their genus is also Sepia). Cuttlefish are caught for food in the Med and the East Asia and their inner shells (cuttlebones) are another byproduct, being a favorite of caged birds.

60a Liv {Ullmann from Norway}. I knew the name Liv Ullmann, though looking at her credits, it's not clear why I should have. She's in A Bridge Too Far and I've certainly seen that a couple of times, but there she's just one of a huge cast.



64a dates {7/4/1776 and 12/7/1941, e.g.}. This clue gave ample opportunity for creativity in selecting events - I wonder what was chosen? Remembering that this will be American mm/dd/yyyy date ordering, we seem to have ... the date of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence (it is thought to have been signed later) and the "date that will live in infamy" ... the day Pearl Harbor was attacked.



11d Lear {Edward who wrote humorous verse}. Spoilt for choice here. How about Edward Lear's The Jumblies.



The Rest

1a abode {Home}; 6a logic {If A > B and B > C, then A > C, e.g.}; 11a LSD {'60s hallucinogen}; 14a debit {Subtraction from a bank account}; 16a eye {Teardrop's starting point}; 19a ann {Massachusetts' Cape ___}; 20a St. Teresa {Nun from Ávila}; 21a mercy! {"Goodness gracious!"}; 23a RNA {Genetic letters}; 24a Avon {Bard of ___}; 35a cod {How some mail-order packages arrive, for short}; 37a dons {Puts on}; 38a Spain {Barcelona's home}; 39a some {Amount between all and none}; 40a Ens. {U.S.N. officer}; 41a tails {Coin toss call}; 46a lead {X-ray vision blocker}; 47a zee {Letter after wye}; 48a panda {Bamboo-eating animal}; 51a I miss you {Words of longing}; 56a USA {55-Down's cold war foe}; 61a E-File {Submit one's tax return via computer}; 62a roans {Horses with speckled coats}; 63a pay {Wages}; 65a other {This, that and the ___}.

1d ados {Foofaraws}; 2d belt {Alternative to suspenders}; 3d obit {News item listing surviving kin}; 4d diverges {Branches off}; 5d eternal {Everlasting}; 6d lass {Lad's mate}; 7d octa- {Eight: Prefix}; 8d GTO {Classic muscle car}; 9d ion {Charged particle}; 10d cremona {Onetime center of Italian violin manufacture}; 12d sync {Working well together, after "in"}; 13d deny {Say no to}; 18d rear {Derrière}; 22d Eng. {Where London is: Abbr.}; 24d aspish {Venomous, as a snake}; 25d vain {Conceited}; 26d Mede {Ancient Persian}; 28d rinse {Get the soap out}; 29d espied {Caught sight of}; 30d teals {Dabbling ducks}; 31d E. coli {Bacteria in a breakout}; 32d roman {Not italic}; 36d Deng {China's ___ Xiaoping}; 38d saga {Chronicle}; 39d sure shot {It's guaranteed to hit the mark}; 41d treated {Dealt with, as an injury}; 42d maestro {Eminent conductor}; 44d old {Antiquated}; 45d Ezio {Basso Pinza}; 48d pulp {Solid parts of orange juice}; 49d Asia {It's east of Europe}; 50d navy {Armada}; 51d isle {Capri, for one}; 52d Mmes. {Sras. : Mexico :: ___ : France}; 53d yeah {Opposite of nah}; 54d Orne {French department}; 55d USSR {56-Across's cold war foe}; 58d of a {Three ___ kind}; 59d MIT {Sch. near Harvard}.

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