Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NYT Thursday 11/12/09 - Five of Diamonds

This Thursday New York Times crossword seems to me a nice clean example of a rebus idea: the affected squares are in symmetrical positions except for the one in the central across - A Diamond is Forever - which sort-of introduces the theme (it gave me more trouble than most, because I tried hard to make it Diamond(s) are Forever).

It took quite a while for the penny to drop about the diamond squares. I think I'd balked on all the ones in the top half and even tried to make 68-Across baseball field, hoping there might be a cursed stadium called Hope Field, before eventually seeing how much better diamond would work!
Solving time: 20 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 31a tastier {Better at dinner}
Solution

Brendan Emmett Quigley
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

A rebus puzzle in which DIAMOND is squeezed into a square in five places, affecting the following answers:
1a Diamond Jim Brady {Tycoon who was reputedly the first person in New York City to own an automobile}
10a Diamond Head {Hawaiian landmark}
36a A Diamond is Forever {Classic marketing tagline}
67a Neil Diamond {"Heartlight" singer, 1982}
68a baseball diamond {Home setting}
1d diamond ring {Union symbol?}
10d Diamondbacks {Chase Field team}
37d Diamond Lil {Mae West role}
44d black diamond {Symbol for a difficult ski run}
54d Hope Diamond {Subject of a renowned curse}
 Crucimetrics
Compilers
Brendan Emmett Quigley / Will Shortz
Grid
15x15 with 44 (19.6%) black squares
Answers
76 (average length 4.76)
Theme squares
57 (31.5%)
Scrabble points
293 (average 1.62)
Letters used
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
New To Me

The Night Cafe
19a nuit {Van Gogh's "Le Café de ___"}. Le Café de nuit is an oil, created in Arles in September 1888. It currently hangs in the Yale University Art Gallery, having been bequeathed to Yale by Stephen Carlton Clark.

22a Gide {"Corydon" author}. I know embarrassingly little about André Gide (1869—1951) other than that he was a French author. Corydon was published between 1911 and 1920 and is a collection of essays about homosexuality. Corydon is the stock name for a shepherd in classical poetry and Gide took the name specifically from Virgil.

24a R. Kelly {Singer with the 2002 hit "Ignition"}. Having an answer starting RK is always a bit of a surprise, though I think I've met the rapper R. Kelly before, which lessened the impact. Ignition is one of the singer's signature songs and was included on his 2003 studio album Chocolate Factory.



7d Anita {"The Red Tent" author Diamant}. An interesting choice of reference, given the theme (diamant is French for "diamond"). Anita Diamant writes fiction and non-fiction and is best known for the cited novel The Red Tent, which tells the story of Dinah, daughter of Jacob and sister of Joseph, a talented midwife and proto-feminist. The book's title refers to the tent in which the women of Jacob's tribe must, according to the ancient law, take refuge while menstruating or giving birth.

Inc. magazine
33d CFOs {Inc. article subjects}; 40d Cos. {Inc. article subjects}. I wasn't sure what the "Inc." business was all about, but deduced Inc. must be a business magazine. Yes, it's written for people who run growing companies and publishes an annual list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., the "Inc. 500."

60d Pei {"Dictionary of Linguistics" linguist}. Don't tell me there's another Pei! I get into enough trouble already with architect I. M. Pei. Yes, there was an Italian-American linguist called Mario Pei (1901–1978) who first published A Dictionary of Linguistics in 1954.

Noteworthy

20a toric {Like some fancy soap bubbles}. Of course this makes me want to find a YouTube clip of soap bubbles shaped like donuts. Here's one:



12d ere {"___ upon my bed I lay me": Longfellow}. It seems that the vast majority of clues based on quotes from poetry have the answer ere. That's what I guessed here and I got lucky. The line is from The Song of Hiawatha (1855).



busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy
13d ATL {Airport code of the world's busiest airport}. I always thought Heathrow was the world's busiest. It seems that's true for international passenger traffic, but Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest in total passenger traffic with over 90 million passengers passing through it in 2008.

14d DHs {Some A.L.'ers}. Designated hitters I learned about during the World Series: it seems they're allowed in the American League, but not in the National League. In the World Series, the rules of the home team's league apply to both teams, so this year the Yankees could use a DH for their games in Yankee Stadium, but not those in Citizens Bank Park.

The Rest

15a redefines {Changes in a whole new way}; 16a berth {Moorage}; 17a isolative {Tending to cut off}; 18a Axels {Tricky jumps}; 23a ran {Got a move on}; 29a today {"No more delaying!"}; 31a tastier {Better at dinner}; 32a recto {Chapter's starting point, usually}; 35a très {___ chic}; 40a curl {Show signs of age, maybe}; 42a opens {Uncorks}; 43a omnibus {Collected work}; 46a coups {Impressive feats}; 50a spells {Kisses may break them}; 51a MDL {Year Nostradamus's first almanac was written}; 53a Tech {Texas ___}; 55a assai {Very, to Verdi}; 57a otro {Not esto or eso}; 58a aspic {Kind of jelly}; 62a turboprop {Commuter aircraft, maybe}; 65a whelk {Marine snail}; 66a arteriole {Small blood vessel}.

2d Jesuit {Kind of priest}; 3d I do, I do! {Excited answer to "Who wants ...?"}; 4d melted {Like the Wicked Witch of the West at the end of "The Wizard of Oz"}; 5d BFA {Painter's deg.}; 6d rit. {Slowing down, in mus.}; 8d Devon {Exeter's county}; 9d Yser {North Sea tributary}; 11d hex {Whammy}; 21d Ira {NPR host Flatow}; 23d ryes {Some breads}; 25d -ette {Diminutive ending}; 26d LIRR {Way into N.Y.C.}; 27d Lee {Jason who starred in TV's "My Name Is Earl"}; 28d yrs. {Sentence units: Abbr.}; 30d Ari {Anagrammatic cousin of 21-Down?}; 31d tore {Flew}; 34d top {Nonpareil}; 36d Arne {His first opera was "Rosamund"}; 38d encl. {Unsolicited MS., perhaps}; 39d VSO {Brandy letters}; 41d ump {Expert on a 68-Across}; 45d USS {Maritime letters}; 47d utopia {Fantasy world}; 48d petrol {It's refined in Britain}; 49d scroll {Dungeons & Dragons item}; 51d Maura {Actress Tierney of "ER"}; 52d dirts {Grimes}; 56d stab {Attempt}; 58d awn {Plant bristle}; 59d she {___-bear}; 61d ill {In a bad way}; 63d bee {Community get-together}; 64d orb {Regal symbol}.

2 comments:

kidsmoke said...

You're such a great help and a pleasure to read. Please keep up the great work!

Crossword Man said...

Thanks for the feedback. Glad you enjoy the commentaries.