Sunday, October 4, 2009

NYT Monday 10/5/09 - Money Men

My unfamiliarity with the thematic basis for this Monday New York Times crossword didn't hold me up greatly, as I knew of all the "money men" except the unlikely-looking Salmon P Chase. I doubt, though, that many Americans will be familiar with these notes: (1) they were withdrawn in 1969 in an effort to combat organized crime; (2) they weren't exactly small change even when they were in circulation.

It was quite a coup to find the pairings in the grid: I imagine the constructor listing all the people featured on US currency and not quite believing his luck when discovering that the subjects on a sequence of four high-denomination notes have lengths 15, 15, 12, 12. It's a slight shame that these notes are not very well known - those in your wallet would have been ideal, but that's a bit much to ask!
Solving time: 6 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 49d snore {Cause unrest?}
Solution

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

Theme

The people that appear on four defunct high-denomination banknotes, indicated by the central answer 35a right on the money {Exactly ... or where to find 17-, 25-, 43- and 57-Across?}.
William McKinley
17a William McKinley {$500}

James Madison
25a James Madison {$5,000}

Salmon P Chase
43a Salmon P Chase {$10,000}

Grover Cleveland
57a Grover Cleveland {$1,000}
Crucimetrics
CompilersMark Feldman / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers74 (average length 5.11)
Theme squares69 (36.5%)
Scrabble points307 (average 1.62)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

64a Isn't {Rodgers and Hart's "___ It Romantic?"}. You come to expect Ain't in a song title, but Rogers and Hart went for what is sometimes clued as {Ain't correct}. Isn't It Romantic? was introduced in the film Love Me Tonight (1932), but has been recorded numerous times since and been used in several subsequent movies. Here's how it was originally heard in the movie, sung first by Maurice Chevalier, then sundry other characters until Jeanette MacDonald finally takes it up.



32d Anka {Paul who sang "Diana"}. Paul Anka wrote and recorded Diana in 1957. It was apparently inspired by Paul's high school crush, Diana Ayoub.



59d Cos {"I Spy" co-star Bill, familiarly}. Magdalen was skeptical that Cos is a nickname for Bill Cosby, but Wikipedia confirms it and notes it was also the title of his 1976 sketch comedy series on TV. I Spy was Cosby's big break in 1965; in it (an espionage show in the James Bond mold) he costars with Robert Culp.



Noteworthy

Kerplunk22a ker- {Prefix with plunk or plop}. As kids we had a game called KerPlunk, and I wondered if the word had an existence outside of that. It seems so, since the 2nd Edition of Merriam-Webster's Unabridged gives ker- as a prefix, with kerplunk as an example (also kerflop, but not kerplop), all uses being onomatopoeic and suggestive of heavy objects falling. Hence the name of the game.

40a Kai {China's Chiang ___-shek}. Interesting that Chiang and China were today's NPR Sunday Puzzle answer, as discussed by Magdalen last Thursday. That puzzle was suggested by listener Ron Aldridge, so I suspect the NPR puzzle influenced the clue, not the other way round.

unzipped18d ahem {Sound before "Your, um, fly is open"}. Someone once told me the aide-mémoire XYZ, or "eXamine Your Zipper", which I gather from the Wikipedia article on flies, is a popular one still. It also recounts this anecdote: Winston Churchill, while at a public function, was handed a note reading "your fly is unbuttoned". Churchill scrawled on the note returning it as "dead birds do not drop out of nests".

38d Macarena {Dance craze of the '90s}. Macarena was recorded by Los del Rio and was the summer hit of 1996, spending 14 weeks at #1 in the US charts - the record for a debut single. Some associated dance moves were invented (by a Venezuelan flamenco teacher apparently), and the rest is history.



Osh Kosh39d Osh {___Kosh B'Gosh}. I sort-of knew about Oshkosh, Wisconsin even in the UK, as at least one of my siblings' kids was outfitted in clothing with Osh Kosh labels. Now I find that the name of the clothing company is OshKosh B'Gosh, even though I don't remember that last bit in the labels. The town's name (and hence the company name) comes from Chief Oshkosh of the Menominee tribe.

The Rest

1a trait {Brown eyes or curly hair}; 6a cede {Surrender}; 10a casa {House in Spain}; 14a aargh {Cry of exasperation}; 15a aloe {Salve ingredient}; 16a Alis {Boxer Muhammad and family}; 20a slouches {Stoops}; 21a naive {Not knowledgeable in the ways of the world}; 23a data set {Collection of information in tabular form}; 30a elate {Gladden}; 31a -ish {Sort of: Suffix}; 32a ach {"___ du lieber!"}; 41a got {Tricked}; 42a asked {Questioned}; 47a must-see {Not to be missed, as a TV show}; 50a or a {"... boy ___ girl?"}; 51a annoy {Pester}; 52a prorated {Divided in appropriate amounts}; 60a mire {Swampy ground}; 61a boas {Snakes that constrict}; 62a NAFTA {U.S./Mex./Can. commerce pact}; 63a ages {Years and years}; 65a antsy {Nervous}.

1d taws {Fancy marbles}; 2d rail {Banister}; 3d Arlo {Singer Guthrie}; 4d iglu {Ice house: Var.}; 5d thickset {Stocky}; 6d camera {Kodak product}; 7d elms {Majestic shade trees}; 8d Doc {Only one of the Seven Dwarfs to wear glasses}; 9d eek {Hair-raising cry}; 10d Canaan {Ancient Palestine}; 11d all is {"___ well" ("Don't worry")}; 12d sieve {Kitchen utensil with a mesh}; 13d as yet {So far}; 19d into {Take ___ account}; 23d dish {Waiter's serving}; 24d Ashe {Tennis's Arthur}; 25d jerk {Bozo}; 26d alia {Inter ___ (among other things)}; 27d magi {Bearers of gold, frankincense and myrrh}; 28d -eth {Biblical suffix}; 29d ditto {"Same for me"}; 33d cees {Middling grades}; 34d Hyde {Jekyll's counterpart}; 36d ogle {Undress with the eyes}; 37d Nome {Alaskan city near the Arctic Circle}; 43d stoves {Hotpoint products}; 44d as ye {"___ sow, so shall ..."}; 45d no rest {What the weary get, it's said}; 46d Prov. {Can. division}; 47d magma {Molten volcanic material}; 48d unrig {Strip, as a ship}; 49d snore {Cause unrest?}; 52d plan {Bit of strategizing}; 53d Alan {Shepard who walked on the moon}; 54d Taft {President just before Wilson}; 55d ENTs {Med. specialists who might treat tonsillitis}; 56d D-day {June 6, 1944}; 58d RBI {Hitter's stat}.

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