Saturday, September 12, 2009

NYT Sunday 9/13/09 - I Claim My Prize

We solved this Sunday New York Times crossword using the Across Lite version, which alerted us to the need for a separate bingo card. We assume this appears in the center of the grid in the printed version.

Even knowing what the puzzle was about, it took us a while to see how the special theme answers were made up. But once we did, it became trivial to guess the remaining ones ... sometimes based on length alone, or length with one or two crossing letters.

So progress was pretty good, but like many inattentive bingo players, we forgot to cross off one of the numbers and didn't see a complete row or column when we were done. Double-checking the grid revealed that all the numbers in the bottom row of the card are called.
Solving time: 30 mins (with Magdalen, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 96d editor {Star employee}

Bingo: twelve answers indicate numbers drawn in the game. When these are crossed off in the central bingo card, a "bingo" is formed along the bottom row. The twelve bingo answers are symmetrically disposed and all clued the same way {Mark your card!}:
1a B seven {Mark your card!}
25a G forty-nine {Mark your card!}
60a I sixteen {Mark your card!}
73a B fifteen {Mark your card!}
111a I seventeen {Mark your card!}
124a N forty {Mark your card!}
1d B twelve {Mark your card!}
16d O sixty-one {Mark your card!}
29d G fifty-three {Mark your card!}
53d O seventy-two {Mark your card!}
75d I nineteen {Mark your card!}
92d I twenty {Mark your card!}

Todd Gross
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

CompilersTodd Gross / Will Shortz
Grid21x21 with 97 (22.0%) black squares
Answers134 (average length 5.13)
Theme squares94 (27.3%)
Scrabble points517 (average 1.50)
New To Me

21a Aura {Companion of Artemis whom Zeus changed into a spring}. A factoid too obscure even for Wikipedia (and that's saying something). Researches elsewhere suggest the story comes from Nonnus's Dionysiaca, which relates how Aura suffered hideous punishments for daring to compare her body to Artemis's - being changed into a spring marked the end of a bad day for her.

idea map41a idea map {Diagram used for brainstorming}. Weird not to have come across this before. I gather an idea map is a diagram that visualizes concepts, words and the relationships between them. I'm more familiar with this being called a "spider diagram" - "mind map" is another equivalent term.

50a Net TV {Hulu, e.g.}. Magdalen had come across Hulu before ... I hadn't. I gather such services allow you to watch TV shows on demand: sanctioned by the networks and supported by commercials of course. The name comes from a Mandarin Chinese word hulu that has two relevant meanings: figuratively, "a holder of precious things" and literally an "interactive recording" ... well that's what their blog says anyway.

Carol Alt105a Alt {Cover girl Carol}. And how come Magdalen has heard of this cover girl and me not? Probably because every time Alt has been clued before, it's been a {PC key}. Carol Alt is the model and actress who featured on over 500 magazine covers in the 1980s and was nicknamed "The Face" by Life Magazine.

7d Mohr {Jay who once hosted "Last Comic Standing"}. Jay Mohr is an actor, impressionist and comedian. In addition to the show mentioned in the clue, he did time on Saturday Night Live, writing a memoir about this tumultuous period in his life.

Hollywood and Vine34d Vine {Hollywood crosser}. Neatly deceptive clue, which Magdalen eventually saw through: Hollywood and Vine is the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street in Hollywood, and is the center of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

100d Elsie {___ Janis, star of Broadway's "Puzzles of 1925"}. This clue is more interesting than it looks, because the revue Puzzles of 1925 was produced at the height of "crossword mania" and featured a scene in a mock crossword sanitarium. Will Shortz writes a bit about it in this article on his collection of crossword ephemera. Little chance of any YouTube clips of the show - I wonder if anything survives except the sheet music? So here instead is Elsie Janis "The sweetheart of the AEF" singing Fo' de Law'd's Sake Play a Waltz.


77a RNA {Genetic stuff}; 123a DNA {Genetic stuff}. We thought it a little inelegant to have both these in the crossword, although we concede it must be a nightmare to avoid such collisions in a 21x21 grid. The cluing suggests those working on the puzzle were aware of the issue and just decided to make a feature of it. At one point we thought both orbit and orbited were included ... until we realized 38-Down was actually ambit!

15d won {With 49-Down, order at a Chinese restaurant}; 49d ton {See 15-Down}. Magdalen was bothered that splitting the answer in this way suggested it was a two-word one, whereas wonton is usually one word. I've not seen enough examples to be sure of the standard here, but these clues suggest it's OK to split a word when it's etymologically reasonable.

Star96d editor {Star employee}. We liked this clue, which could refer to any number of periodicals with "Star" in the title - maybe Star Magazine?

The Rest

7a mss. {Items in an ed.'s in-box}; 10a paid {Covered, in a way}; 14a a word {Briefly, after "in"}; 19a Torino {1960s-'70s Ford muscle car}; 20a own {On one's ___}; 22a no see {It comes after a "long time"}; 23a whaler {The Pequod, e.g.}; 24a hee {Giggle syllable}; 27a ease {Slacken (off)}; 28a agree to {Sign off on}; 31a Nero {Emperor who married his stepsister}; 32a Xer {Child of the '70s, in brief}; 33a LVI {Third year in 31-Across's reign}; 34a VHF {Like any channel between 30 and 300 MHz}; 35a trade {Plumbing or heating}; 37a manatee {Endangered Everglades mammal}; 39a venti {Starbucks size bigger than grande}; 43a enemy {Other side}; 44a Eigen {Manfred ___, 1967 Chemistry Nobelist}; 45a Fantasia {Classic Disney film that includes "The Nutcracker Suite"}; 47a boat {Gravy holder}; 52a come into {Enter}; 56a dyad {Pair}; 59a Wyo. {The Equality State: Abbr.}; 61a deposits {See 54-Down}; 63a dent {Parking lot mishap}; 64a tarnish {Lose luster}; 65a Vermont {State with the least populous capital}; 70a être {Raison d'___}; 72a derailed {Thrown off course}; 78a sews {Tailors}; 79a as needed {What "prn" on a prescription means}; 80a atlas {Muscular Charles}; 82a suit {Any trump}; 83a oh me oh my {Worry words}; 89a Pepsi {The "it" in the 1990s slogan "Gotta have it"}; 93a Neale {Writer Zora ___ Hurston}; 97a retreat {Opposite of charge}; 98a islet {Exposed sandbar, maybe}; 99a needled {Prodded}; 101a slobs {Pigs}; 102a Wie {Golfer Michelle}; 104a UAW {Org. headquartered in Detroit}; 106a laid {Placed}; 108a Aniston {Vaughn's co-star in "The Break-Up," 2006}; 110a on me {"This round's ___"}; 114a tie {Deuce, e.g.}; 115a Cardin {Paris couturier Pierre}; 117a lie-in {Occasional 1960s protest}; 118a omni- {Prefix with directional}; 119a ear {What an aurilave cleans}; 120a attest {Affirm, with "to"}; 121a sends {Elates}; 122a roan {Horse of a different color?}.

2d so have I {"Me too"}; 3d erasing {Writing's opposite}; 4d vile {Depraved}; 5d -ene {Chemical suffix}; 6d Norah {Singer Jones}; 8d sweeten {Better, as an offer}; 9d sneer at {Mock}; 10d pagodas {Places of worship}; 11d Auf {"___ Wiedersehen"}; 12d iron {Monopoly token}; 13d dare me {Statement of self-confidence}; 14d anyone? {"Who wants to go next?"}; 17d Renée {"Walk Away ___" (1966 hit by the Left Banke)}; 18d Deere {Combine that makes combines}; 26d Tran {Second-most common Vietnamese family name, after Nguyen}; 30d Tama {Novelist Janowitz}; 36d epi- {Prefix with center}; 38d ambit {Circuit}; 40d tendon {Bone attachment}; 42d Davos {World Economic Forum host city}; 46d acid {Base's opposite}; 48d ate {Put away}; 51d twisted {Sick}; 54d mineral {With 61-Across, prospectors' targets}; 55d extra {The 13th item in a baker's dozen}; 56d DDT {Banned insecticide}; 57d yea {Vote for}; 58d Apr. {Mo. when the Civil War started}; 62d siete {Number of wonders of el mundo antiguo}; 66d misses {Department store department}; 67d olé {Roar for a toreador}; 68d new {Untested}; 69d TDs {Football stat.}; 71d endo- {Within: Prefix}; 72d drama {Soap opera, e.g.}; 73d BAs {Undergrad degs.}; 74d FSU {The A.C.C.'s Seminoles}; 76d feted {Celebrated in style}; 81d a pie {"... blackbirds baked in ___"}; 84d HRs {Baseball stat.}; 85d melanin {Skin colorer}; 86d Eton {School near Windsor Castle}; 87d orbited {Went around}; 88d hessian {German mercenary}; 90d plunder {Spoils}; 91d sea mist {Sailor's vision obstructer}; 94d Allen's {Popular 1940s radio show "___ Alley"}; 95d lean {Get ready to fall, maybe}; 99d nails {Does perfectly}; 103d Incan {Like some pyramids}; 107d demo {Try it out}; 109d tera- {Trillion: Prefix}; 110d or to {"___ put it another way ..."}; 112d vid {YouTube clip, for short}; 113d Ena {Bambi's aunt}; 116d ATF {Agcy. regulating guns}.


Dan said...

Splitting up a single word for a "See x-Across" situation is never allowed. There must be dictionary support for WON TON being two words -- which is also how most Chinese menus spell it, in my experience...

Crossword Man said...

Thanks for the further details on cluing practice in such cases. MWCD 11 has wonton, but The New Oxford American Dictionary has both wonton and won ton. It may be one of those words undergoing a metamorphosis as it becomes fully assimilated. We'll cut the constructor some slack this time!