Sunday, September 20, 2009

NYT Monday 9/21/09 - Periodically

It looks like the New York Times is back to normal this week with a Monday crossword from a constructor who started in 2005.

Understanding today's theme was made more difficult by Self, which I hadn't come across before. Studying the answers after completing the puzzle, I see that the second word implies a reader of the aforementioned magazine, but don't think that "promoter" really fits in. I guess a fanatical reader of Self might promote it to friends, but it seems a less tightly integrated answer than the other three.

Incidentally, I love the description "people person" - I wonder who came up with it and whether there's a linguistic term for such expressions? I guess it's a cousin to descriptions such as "the actor's actor" or "the cartoonist's cartoonist".
Solving time: 8 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 66a dream {Bedtime story?}

Mark Feldman
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


Phrases which punningly suggest 39a magazine readers {What 17-, 20-, 56- and 60-Across are?}, their first words each being the name of a magazine:
17a Time keeper {Official with a stopwatch}
20a Self promoter {Bragging sort}
56a People person {One good at forming connections with others}
60a Money lover {Miser, e.g.}
CompilersMark Feldman / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.97)
Theme squares59 (31.2%)
Scrabble points280 (average 1.48)
New To Me

42a Shel {Writer/illustrator Silverstein}. I thought we might have encountered Shel Silverstein (1930–1999) in the NYT earlier this year, but I couldn't find it earlier in the blog: I must have met him in one of the anthologies I've been solving. In any event, it doesn't look like there's any alternative Shel when a constructor is forced into that letter sequence. He seems to have been something of a "Renaissance man": poet, song-writer, musician, cartoonist, author and screenwriter. I unwittingly heard one of his songs "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan" when watching Thelma & Louise.

cassiterite48d tin ore {Cassiterite}. I didn't know that cassiterite is tin ore, but it bothered me less than Magdalen, who wasn't familiar with the ibex. Cassiterite is tin dioxide, SnO2, its name deriving from the Greek for tin, kassiteros.


Betty Grable's gams29a gam {Pinup's leg}. A term I don't hear used much these days: gam is slang for a leg, specifically a shapely female one. The craze for insuring such legs apparently started with Betty Grable, who covered hers with a $1,000,000 policy at Lloyd's of London.

52a Asta {"The Thin Man" pooch}. A triumph for the Cruciverbal Canines - that post came just in the "Nick" of time!

64a Wren {Sir Christopher the architect}. An excuse to feature one of my favorite Clerihews:
Sir Christopher Wren
Said, "I am going to dine with some men.
If anyone calls
Say I am designing St. Paul's"
From Biography for Beginners by E. Clerihew Bentley
66a dream {Bedtime story?}. Nice whimsical clue ... somewhat unusual in a Monday puzzle.

2d tai {___ chi ch'uan}. In full, this translates as "great ultimate boxing", but I'm more used to seeing the shortening to Tai chi, which just means "great ultimate". This can be such a graceful practice.

Norge24d Norge {Oslo's country, to natives}. I knew this from collecting stamps. My family were skeptical about the hobby, forever telling me "philately will get you nowhere".

32d Ena {Disney deer}. Bambi's aunt Ena of course. Ena is mother to Bambi's love-interest Faline.

38d Essex {County on the Thames}. This clue grates a little, as I don't think natives would describe Essex thus: the estuary of the Thames forms a small part of the county's border. I'd have gone for {County bordering the Thames Estuary}.

The Rest

1a at all {Even a tiny bit}; 6a clan {Family group}; 10a uses {Employs}; 14a Maria {Tia ___ (coffee liqueur)}; 15a live {Opposite of taped}; 16a neat {Having everything arranged just so}; 19a feta {Goat cheese}; 22a aunt {Uncle's partner}; 25a at it {Going ___ (bickering)}; 26a irons {Alternatives to woods}; 27a droops {Sags}; 30a air {Broadcast}; 31a a tempo {Resuming the previous speed, in music}; 35a Erie {See 5-Down}; 43a caress {Stroke gently}; 44a has {Owns}; 45a Cos. {Firms: Abbr.}; 47a estate {Subject of a will}; 49a straw {Stable bedding}; 55a ibex {Wild goat}; 59a ergo {"And so ..."}; 65a Ursa {___ Minor (constellation)}; 67a sate {Fill}; 68a stet {"Leave in," to a proofer}; 69a seers {Crystal ball users}.

1d amt {Quantity: Abbr.}; 3d arm {Where the humerus and ulna are}; 4d lies to {Doesn't level with}; 5d Lake {With 35-Across, view from Cleveland}; 6d cleft {Split}; 7d Lippi {Florentine painter Fra Filippo ___}; 8d avert {Prevent, as disaster}; 9d Nero {Detective ___ Wolfe}; 10d unformed {Not yet in a recognizable shape}; 11d see to {Take care of}; 12d eaten {All gone, as dinner}; 13d stars {Constellation elements}; 18d elastics {Stretchables}; 21d Mia {Actress Farrow}; 22d Adams {John or John Quincy}; 23d Uriah {Dickens's Heep}; 28d Paz {La ___, Bolivia}; 29d goes easy {Takes it slow}; 33d Mer {Mal de ___}; 34d pre- {Lead-in to nuptial}; 36d rehab {Program for kicking a habit}; 37d irate {Angry, and then some}; 40d Al Capone {Gangster a k a Scarface}; 41d ass {Nincompoop}; 46d owl {"Whoo ... whoo ..." caller}; 49d spews {Gushes}; 50d terra {___ firma}; 51d Roget {Thesaurus compiler}; 52d aport {Toward the left side of a ship}; 53d sense {Taste or touch}; 54d treat {Halloween goody}; 57d emus {Down Under birds}; 58d Olds {Former G.M. make}; 61d vee {Sign flashed by Churchill}; 62d ear {Something that may be pricked}; 63d Rms. {Apt. divisions}.

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