Tuesday, October 6, 2009

NYT Wednesday 10/7/09 - Postseason Post Season

This is an abbreviated form of my usual crossword post, as we are leaving very early tomorrow on a road trip for a few days, of which more anon (I'll just give you a hint that we may be eating 25-Down before too long).

I think this is at least the second grid in 2009 which recreates the shape of a baseball diamond, the previous one I remember being on June 4 in honor of Pete Rose. If I've missed another one, then I'm sure readers will chip in.

The significance of the circled letters in this puzzle was much harder to spot, because I expected the letters making words to be in straight lines: CESTSR didn't make any sense to me. In fact, I had everything except THIRD already in place before I realized each base label turned a corner, so only had the benefit of being able to predict the circled letters at the western edge of the grid.

I had to check the Major League Baseball schedule to see how this all fits in with the actual 2009 Postseason. I gather this year's World Series games won't be starting until October 28 (does this mean that more baseball-themed puzzles are in the offing?); and that the two teams competing have yet to be decided by the Division Series and League Championship Series. We're rooting for the Phillies and the BoSox - I'm not sure what we'll do if they meet in the World Series!

By the way, it's my impression after over nine months of puzzles that there's a distinct bias towards baseball (in and out of season) in NYT answers and clues, with (American) football the next most popular sport. Basketball is perhaps next most likely to be referenced, with golf, tennis, ice hockey (i.e. Bobby Orr), soccer, etc., getting a look-in occasionally.
Solving time: 11 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 26d O'Hare {Bear's landing place?}
Solution

Tim Wescott
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

The grid represents a baseball field, with the first, second and third bases and home plate marked by circled letters and the mound centrally placed. The following clues relate directly to this theme:
20a World Series Game {See 57-Across}
42a mound {Center of a 57-Across}
57a baseball diamond {Setting for a 20-Across ... as represented by this puzzle's circled letters}
Crucimetrics
CompilersTim Wescott / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 42 (18.7%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.69)
Theme squares55 (30.1%)
Scrabble points308 (average 1.68)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Other Clues

1a swab {Sailor}; 5a Emmas {Austen and Flaubert heroines}; 10a sack {Blitzing linebacker's feat}; 14a have {Own}; 15a roach {Raid target}; 16a pray {Ask}; 17a aced {Served as well as possible}; 18a Norte {"El ___" (1983 film)}; 19a yell {"Gimme a C! ...," e.g.}; 23a Autry {Gene of westerns}; 24a pal {One likely to lend a needed hand}; 25a got me {"I'm stumped"}; 28a datum {Meter reading, e.g.}; 32a rho {Letter in Socrates' name}; 33a lets go {Releases}; 39a Sosa {Dominican-born player in the 600 club}; 40a Ians {Writers Fleming and McEwan}; 43a spar {Box gently}; 44a tree {Bird's home}; 45a temper {When repeated, statement after an explosion}; 47a oil {Wildcatter's find}; 48a Seder {Annual feast}; 50a infra {Prefix with red}; 52a bok {___ choy (Chinese green)}; 54a Aalto {Finnish architect Alvar ___}; 64a axil {Botanical angle}; 65a homie {Friend in the hood: Var.}; 66a ague {Flu feature}; 67a bozo {Nincompoop}; 68a loams {Farm soils}; 69a arks {Temple cases}; 70a anew {De novo}; 71a onset {Dawn}; 72a meek {Overly docile}.

1d Shaw {Henry Higgins's creator}; 2d Waco {Home of the Dr Pepper Museum}; 3d aver {Say with conviction}; 4d bedlam {Pandemonium}; 5d Ernst {___ & Young (accounting firm)}; 6d mooer {Hungry cow, maybe}; 7d marry {Wed}; 8d Act I {Dramatic start}; 9d sheep {Pen filler}; 10d spyglass {Hand-held telescope}; 11d area {Geographical info}; 12d calm {Storm's predecessor}; 13d Kyle {Richard Petty's racing son}; 21d duel {Contest at 20 paces}; 22d sad {Blue}; 25d grits {Down-home breakfast serving}; 26d O'Hare {Bear's landing place?}; 27d toned {Added muscle, with "up"}; 29d top of {On ___ things}; 30d USAir {Old carrier name}; 31d Marla {___ Maples Trump}; 34d EMT {One with defib training}; 35d toe {Chipped part of a statue, maybe}; 36d sum {Bottom line}; 37d GNP {Economic fig.}; 38d ode {Shelley's "___ to Naples"}; 41d see below {Referral for further information}; 46d Rita {"Lovely" Beatles girl}; 49d rob {Laura's 1960s sitcom hubby}; 51d no ma'am {Polite denial}; 53d Kahlo {Artist Frida ___}; 54d Almas {Actress Kruger and others}; 55d a dime {Stop on ___}; 56d liest {"Thou ___, most ignorant monster": Shak.}; 57d baba {Cake with a kick}; 58d axon {Dendrite's counterpart}; 59d size {9 1/2 narrow, e.g.}; 60d loon {"Laughing" bird}; 61d ogre {Monster}; 62d nuke {Certain W.M.D.}; 63d desk {PC site}.

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