Saturday, January 23, 2010

NYT Sunday 1/24/10 - Grid Origami

This 23x23 supersized jumbo Sunday New York Times crossword was a lot of fun. I saw something similar done for a Listener Crossword, but it was still a delight to see American constructors' take on grid folding and get away from the routine punny fare.

Although we noted the instruction to add dotted lines in the grid and dutifully followed it before solving, we didn't really pay too much attention to the thematic aspects until we'd filled in all the letters (although Magdalen did remark, on solving 83a Mad Magazine, that the publication had a MAD Fold-In feature that was probably relevant).

Grid filling seemed to take longer than usual for a Sunday, though I suspect that's just the result of the slightly larger grid size (21x21 seems standard). Once we had the grid done, we knew exactly what to do from the two long down answers and saw the highlighted rows transformed into new answers ... not only that, but all those new answers are also foldable things ... neato!

I thought of showing an example of an original MAD illustration, before and after folding, but found the New York Times has already done such a great job in their Fold-Ins, Past and Present feature that I don't need to bother ... follow that link to see 23 wonderful examples of Fold-Ins by the great Al Jaffee ... enjoy!
Solving time: 38 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 12d groves {Orange spots}
Unfolded Solution

David Kwong and Kevan Choset
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Folded Solution

David Kwong and Kevan Choset
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


"Abridged Edition". If you follow the instruction 7d/14d fold page so A and B are lined up in the top and bottom rows {What to do on the dotted lines to reveal six hidden things that have something in common with this puzzle}, a new solution grid results showing six things that can also be folded (lawn chair, origami, bed sheets, poker hand, laundry, newspaper). The idea is inspired by the Mad Fold-in feature of 83a Mad Magazine {Publication founded in 1952 featuring artwork that does the same thing as this puzzle}.

David Kwong and Kevan Choset / Will Shortz
23x23 with 88 (16.6%) black squares
170 (average length 5.19)
Theme squares
131 (29.7%)
Scrabble points
691 (average 1.57)
Letters used
New To Me

43a hasta {"___ luego!"}. Luckily Magdalen knew this parting expression: hasta luego! means "see you later!" in Spanish. Compare adiós, which means "goodbye". Another one for Español para los crucigramistas.

Miguel Hidalgo63a Hidalgo {The Father of Mexican Independence}. I knew the dictionary meaning of hidalgo as a low sort of Spanish nobleman, a usage dating back to the 16th century. I didn't realize it was also a surname, as in Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla (1753–1811). Hidalgo led a rebellion that was the beginning of what would become the Mexican War of Independence.

Ichiro Suzuki149a Ichiro {Gold Glover Suzuki}. Japanese-born Ichiro Suzuki is an outfielder for the Seattle Mariners and has established a number of batting records, including the sport's single-season record for base hits with 262. He has had nine consecutive 200-hit seasons, the longest streak by any player, surpassing Wee Willie Keeler. Pete Rose, who had ten non-consecutive 200-hit seasons, is the only player with more in his career than Ichiro. Ichiro's agent Tony Attanasio described his client's status thus: "When you mail Ichiro something from the States, you only have to use that name on the address and he gets it [in Japan]. He's that big."

4d Arnos {Some early New Yorker cartoons}. Another one that Magdalen knew: Peter Arno (1904–1968) was a cartoonist whose work depicted a cross-section of New York society; his cartoons were published in The New Yorker from 1925–1968. A shame about needing the rather strained plural here: in the UK you could have gone with a reference to Arnos Grove, an area of North London and a stop on the Piccadilly Line.
Peter Arno

Greasy Neale18d Neale {Football Hall-of-Fame coach Greasy}. Time to improve my (American) football knowledge once again (and there's plenty of room for improvement). Greasy Neale (1891-1973), born Alfred Earle Neale, was the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles from 1941–1950. I'm not sure how the nickname came about (probably shouldn't ask!). We would be supporting the Eagles in the 2009-10 playoffs, except they have unfortunately already been knocked out. I think allegiance has been transferred to the New York Jets (Magdalen, correct me if I'm wrong).

57d sleaze {Vulgar person}. Slightly mean clue, as this noun sense of sleaze isn't particularly well known. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate does justify it, however:
back-formation from sleazy
1 : sleazy quality, appearance, or behavior;
also  : sleazy material
2 : a sleazy person
From Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition
117d Rosalie {Gershwin musical of 1928}. Unknown to either of us ... Rosalie had lyrics by Ira Gershwin and P.G. Wodehouse and tells the story of a princess from a faraway land who comes to America and falls in love with a West Point military cadet. How Long Has This Been Going On? is one of its most famous numbers:

Seal of Massachusetts138d ense {Start of Massachusetts' motto}. With two of the four letters known, I essayed esse ... no, the motto of Massachusetts is Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem (by the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty), which can be read on the ribbon of the Great Seal.


152a sens. {A century in Washington: Abbr.}. Deceptive use of "century" to mean a group of 100 people. What are there 100 of in Washington D.C.? ... senators of course!

Mimi13d lice {Woe for Fido}. The answer was clear, but there was some question in the household as to whether dogs get lice. Apparently yes, although we have yet to see them on Mimi - she had a lot of fleas once and we found a deer tick on her this fall, but no lice (yet). Her Frontline Plus treatment means no insects survive on her long. Here's a cautionary tale about lice for all the dogs in the readership:
The Chronicon Lethrense and Annals of Lund tell that on the death of the 6th century Danish king Halga, the Swedish King Eadgils sent a small dog to the Danes to take as their king but warned that whoever told him of the death of the dog would lose his life. One day, when larger dogs were fighting, the small dog sprang to the floor among them and was torn to death. Then , the giant of Læsø, gave some advice on the matter to his herdsman Snow. Snow went to the Swedish king's court and by riddling talk eventually got the king himself to say that the dog was dead. Snow was then appointed king of Denmark in place of the dog. Snow was a vicious, oppressive, and dishonest king. Snow sent his servant named Roth 'Red', whom he disliked, to the giant Læ to ask about how Snow will die, intending that Læ would kill Roth who would be unable to pass his tests. Roth passed and Læ gave Roth two gloves to take to Snow in answer. Snow put them on in an assembly and lice suddenly attacked him and ate him to death. Thereupon Halga's son Hrólfr kraki was made king.
The Rest

1a C-clamp {Letter-shaped woodworking vise}; 7a font {Times, e.g.}; 11a iglu {Inuit word for "house"}; 15a T-bones {Butchers' offerings}; 21a Florio {Former New Jersey governor James}; 22a Omoo {"Typee" sequel}; 23a trip {Junket}; 24a absent {Out}; 25a lawn bowling {Rolling in the grass?}; 27a social chair {Party leadership?}; 29a Arlo {Comic strip "___ and Janis"}; 30a Red Sea {Parting locale}; 31a even so {"Still ..."}; 32a Alda {Only person to win Emmys for acting, writing and directing}; 33a Toys {1992 Robin Williams movie}; 34a maps {National Geographic inserts}; 35a sale {Mall attraction}; 37a tins {Cookie holders}; 39a ESP {Medium power?}; 40a lanais {Verandas}; 42a ifs {Hypotheticals}; 45a origin {Intersection of the x and y axes}; 49a Gould {Biologist Stephen Jay ___}; 51a zen {Buddhist sect}; 52a am I {"Who ___?"}; 54a renal {Kind of artery}; 55a fence {Cross swords?}; 56a PSAT {Oct. ordeal for jrs.}; 58a apices {Zeniths}; 61a bedsides {Lamp locales}; 65a sheets {It may rain in these}; 66a slot {Where a tab goes}; 67a aloe {Botanical balm}; 69a Arne {"Rule, Britannia" composer}; 70a Poe {"The Oblong Box" author}; 72a scag {Heroin, slangily}; 73a airdate {TV Guide info}; 76a adamancy {Stubbornness}; 79a apt {Quick on the uptake}; 80a hasps {Hinged fasteners}; 85a alpes {Suisse peaks}; 87a Osh {___Kosh B'Gosh}; 88a swan-song {Bittersweet performance}; 90a end late {Run longer than expected}; 92a step {Dance move}; 94a Ind. {Neither Rep. nor Dem.}; 95a tied {Headed for overtime}; 97a Xbox {PlayStation alternative}; 98a shoe {Monopoly token}; 102a poke at {Nudge}; 104a beet-red {Visibly very embarrassed}; 107a overhand {Like tennis serves}; 109a spends {Shells out}; 110a aura {Mystique}; 111a comte {Dumas's Monte Cristo, e.g.}; 113a oared {Propelled, in a way}; 114a lam {Flight}; 115a arr. {Musical score abbr.}; 116a bad at {Lacking skill in}; 117a run dry {Become depleted}; 118a latke {Hanukkah serving}; 120a SLR {Camera type, briefly}; 122a I, Robot {1950 Asimov classic}; 124a tan {Whup}; 127a Noel {"Joyeux" time}; 128a tera- {Trillion: Prefix}; 130a amas {Latin 101 word}; 131a B ten {Bingo call}; 135a Ulee {1997 Peter Fonda role}; 137a pliers {Electrician's need}; 139a patria {Roman's country}; 141a rave {Five-star review}; 142a news channel {Place for breaking things?}; 144a school paper {Classy publication?}; 146a Aretha {First name in soul}; 147a Esai {Morales of "La Bamba"}; 148a enow {Adequate, old-style}; 150a strait {Narrow waterway}; 151a deke {Rink fake-out}; 153a Ebert's {"Roger ___ Book of Film"}.

1d C-flat {B, essentially}; 2d claro {Mild cigar}; 3d lowly {Humble}; 5d MIB {1997 Will Smith/Tommy Lee Jones blockbuster, for short}; 6d poor man {Have-not}; 8d omission {Elision}; 9d none {All alternative}; 10d togas {One-piece vestments}; 11d itself {What "ipso" means}; 12d groves {Orange spots}; 15d talons {Claws}; 16d BBC {World Service airer}; 17d OSHA {Labor Dept. watchdog}; 19d Enids {Writers Bagnold and Blyton}; 20d strap {Rein, e.g.}; 26d wean {Gradually remove}; 28d Asian {Like some elephants and all tigers}; 36d aid {Come to the rescue}; 38d staph {Kind of infection}; 40d Lili {"I Shot Andy Warhol" star Taylor}; 41d such {The like}; 44d amies {Pierre's girlfriends}; 45d orbs {Planets, e.g.}; 46d reel {Casting requirement}; 47d Indo- {Prefix with Chinese}; 48d gas-tap {Valve in some fireplaces}; 50d Leia {Han's hon}; 51d zag {Veer quickly}; 53d ice-cap {Polar feature}; 55d Feldman {Corey of "Stand By Me"}; 56d panda {Bamboo lover}; 58d a sec {"Just ___!"}; 59d étape {Tour de France stage}; 60d SSgts {Some Army NCO's}; 62d DAR {Patriotic women's org.}; 64d dragger {Trawler}; 68d ETDs {LAX data: Abbr.}; 71d One Love {Bob Marley classic}; 74d iss. {Edition: Abbr.}; 75d emoter {Ham on stage}; 77d minx {Coquette}; 78d Yat {China's Sun ___-sen}; 80d hosps {R.N. locales}; 81d a stop {Put ___ to (end)}; 82d shekel {Tel Aviv coin}; 84d Anita {"America" singer in "West Side Story"}; 86d LeShan {Eda who wrote "When Your Child Drives You Crazy"}; 89d wits {Mental acuity}; 91d axe {Fire}; 93d penal {Correctional}; 96d deca- {Prefix with -gon}; 99d hard {Brain-busting}; 100d oner {Lulu}; 101d eddy {Small vortex}; 103d ad-man {Jingle writer, maybe}; 105d Eur. {Where to find Lux.}; 106d Dodi {___ al-Fayed, companion of Princess Diana}; 108d rout {Lopsided victory}; 112d marathon {Part of an Ironman competition}; 115d Akela {Mowgli's friend in "The Jungle Book"}; 116d brr {Cold response?}; 119d top-hat {Monopoly token}; 120d streak {Engage in a certain college prank}; 121d Leslie {Nielsen of "The Naked Gun"}; 123d Baio {Star of "Charles in Charge"}; 124d tunas {Skipjack and yellowfin}; 125d alert {Like good guards}; 126d newer {More fresh}; 129d apses {Church recesses}; 131d Brahe {Astronomer who lost part of his nose in a duel}; 132d tapir {Animal with four toes on its front feet and three toes on its back feet}; 133d Evert {Six-time U.S. Open champ}; 134d Nero's {___ Circus (ancient Roman arena)}; 136d esta {This, in Madrid}; 140d acne {This might make you red in the face}; 143d chi {X}; 145d PCB {Toxic chemical, for short}.


Anonymous said...

The clues were different in the puzzle we received in DC print distribution - namely the duplicate answer of ALOE for 135 across (Salve Ingredient).

Anonymous said...

Yup... I was sure I was doing something wrong, to have two aloes in the puzzle... Wasn't til I came to this site that I realized the infallable Mr. Shortz was the one in error!

Crossword Man said...

Sorry, I wasn't aware of this issue till reading Rex Parker's post on the puzzle - I don't normally look at other blogs until I finish writing myself.

If a second ALOE appeared where ULEE is in my version, there was presumably a different 124-Across too, as well as 124- and 126-Down?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

124a: NAP {Quick refresher}
124d: NANAS {Tot tenders}
126d: POWER {Motor-driven}

From the NY Late Edition. I always thought the international editions were run earlier.

Crossword Man said...

Thanks Anon #4 ... maybe that'll pacify Anon #3? (BTW, I solve the puzzles online, and they can obviously be corrected after the print editions have gone to press ... and were in this case.)