Sunday, February 28, 2010

NYT Monday 3/1/10 - Coming Down for Breakfast

Was this Monday New York Times crossword published a month early by accident? There's something odd, and decidedly foolish, about the theme answers ... they're all down instead of across. After finishing the grid, I looked hard for some connection between the longish across entries, but couldn't see one. It's a trifling matter to flip the grid so the theme answers are across, so I can only imagine this is some kind of leg-pull - consider my limbs extended BEQ.

This wasn't one of my fastest Monday puzzles, perhaps because of a few relatively obscure answers for this early in the week: shamus, serin, timbal and moxie aren't exactly new to me, but they're not everyday vocabulary either.

The only place I thought I could conceivably had gone wrong was the crossing of 3d Bacon's Rebellion and 17a rec. I don't think I've come across the former before, and just had to go with my instincts that a "rec center" is an institution in this country. Once I'd seen the theme, of course, Bacon it had to be.
Solving time: 6 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 25d aah {What to say to a doctor with a tongue depressor}

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


The long down answers start with breakfast food items:
3d Bacon's Rebellion {1676 Virginia uprising}
5d toastmistress {Woman presiding at a banquet}
11d coffee table book {Photo-filled reading matter in the living room}
19d pancake make-up {Cosmetic applied with a damp sponge}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersBrendan Emmett Quigley / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 34 (15.1%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.90)
Theme squares56 (29.3%)
Scrabble points336 (average 1.76)
Video of the Day

61d Jane {Tarzan's woman}. Jane is Jane Porter (later Jane Clayton, Lady Greystoke) a major character in Edgar Rice Burroughs's series of Tarzan novels, and in adaptations of the saga to other media, particularly film. She is an American from Baltimore, Maryland, who develops over the course of the series from a conventional damsel in distress who must be rescued from various perils to a competent and capable adventuress in her own right, fully capable of defending herself and surviving on her own in the jungles of Africa.

The Tarzan of my youth was Johnny Weissmuller and his Jane was Maureen O'Sullivan. I vividly remember the fights with rubber crocodiles and tame-looking lions. Above is a sequence of three wonderful period trailers for the films Tarzan Finds a Son! (1939), Tarzan's Secret Treasure (1941) and Tarzan's New York Adventure (1942).

The Doctor is IN

4a items {"10 ___ or less" (checkout line sign that grates on grammarians)}. Grammarians prefer ten items or fewer.

29a shamus {Detective, in slang}. Supposedly deriving from Shamash, the sexton of a synagogue.

49a timbal {Kettledrum}. A timbal is a slightly conical drum.

3d Bacon's Rebellion {1676 Virginia uprising}. Bacon's Rebellion, led by Nathaniel Bacon.

8d serin {Small finch}. Bird of the genus Serinus.

46d TBS {Atlanta-based sta.}. Turner Broadcasting System.

66d Spy {Word repeated in Mad magazine's "___ vs. ___"}. Spy vs. Spy.

Image of the Day

15a moxie {Nerve}. Moxie originated as a patent medicine called "Moxie Nerve Food" that was invented around 1876 by Dr. Augustin Thompson. Thompson claimed that it contained extracts from a rare, unnamed South-American plant that had supposedly been discovered by a "friend", Lieutenant Moxie, who had used it as a panacea, it was supposed to be especially effective against "paralysis, softening of the brain, nervousness, and insomnia".

After a few years, Thompson added soda water to the formula and changed the product's name to "Beverage Moxie Nerve Food". By 1884 he was selling Moxie both in bottles and in bulk as a soda fountain syrup, marketing it as "a delicious blend of bitter and sweet, a drink to satisfy everyone's taste."

Through extensive advertising, the neologism "moxie" has entered popular usage in American English, meaning "courage, daring, energy, and vision" ... as in "This guy's got moxie!"

Other Clues

1a Bob {1996 candidate Dole}; 9a McCoy {The real ___}; 14a ETA {When a plane is due in, for short}; 16a I hope {[Crossing my fingers]}; 17a rec {___ center (community facility)}; 18a paper profit {Unrealized gain on an investment}; 20a -tron {Suffix with cyclo- or Jumbo}; 22a Sonia {Braga a k a the Brazilian Bombshell}; 23a pfui! {"Bah, humbug!"}; 24a hint at {Merely suggest}; 26a NNE {SSW's opposite}; 28a ems {Letters on an ambulance}; 32a cede {Give up, as rights}; 34a fir {Evergreen}; 36a high-falutin {Fancy}; 40a one I {"That's ___ haven't heard!"}; 42a shark {"Jaws" menace}; 43a bade {Wished}; 44a rabbit's feet {Good luck charms}; 47a Boz {Charles Dickens pseudonym}; 48a emir {Kuwaiti leader}; 51a pal {Buddy}; 53a net {Mesh}; 55a aspect {Facet}; 58a Arlo {Guthrie with a guitar}; 60a Sajak {Pat of "Wheel of Fortune"}; 63a T-bar {Mountain lift}; 64a weigh-scales {They measure the tonnage of trucks}; 67a Ono {Singer Yoko}; 68a Enola {W.W. II bomber ___ Gay}; 69a one-up {Outdo}; 70a Ott {Giant great Mel}; 71a Danes {Copenhageners, e.g.}; 72a seepy {Tending to ooze}; 73a KOs {Flattens in the ring, for short}.

1d berth {Train sleeping spot}; 2d Oteri {Former "S.N.L." comic Cheri}; 4d imp {Little devil}; 6d expo {Giant fair}; 7d mien {Appearance}; 9d Mir {Former Russian space station}; 10d chop {Take an ax to}; 12d opium {Poppy product}; 13d yetis {Reported Himalayan sightings}; 21d nth {To the ___ degree}; 25d aah {What to say to a doctor with a tongue depressor}; 27d eel {Snakelike fish}; 30d ughs {Terse critiques}; 31d shaft {Path down to a mine}; 33d dub {Talk over?}; 34d for {In favor of}; 35d in a {Once ___ blue moon}; 37d frei {Costing nothing, in Cologne}; 38d I do {Wedding vow}; 39d Nez {___ Percé tribe}; 41d IBM {Company called "Big Blue"}; 45d I in {"Am ___ your way?"}; 50d apt {Well-put}; 51d pawed {Manhandled}; 52d arena {Indoor game site}; 54d tacos {Tex-Mex sandwiches}; 56d canto {Poetic chapter for Ezra Pound}; 57d trots {Gaits between walks and canters}; 59d ogle {Look at amorously}; 62d alee {On the sheltered side}; 65d has {Contains}.


Anonymous said...


Crossword Man said...

yr welcome!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your help since I have found this your site, I'm slowly getting better. Today for example my grandmother and I finished in under 1 hr with only needing your help for 5 clues. Where you hit snags with Amercian clues we struggle with European clues. So hank you again.

Crossword Man said...

You're very welcome Anon ... glad to help out. Bear with me if I'm a little light on the explanations of Euroclues and heavy on those for Americlues!