Sunday, February 14, 2010

NYT Sunday 2/14/10 - Love Is ...

I'm keeping the commentary on this Sunday New York Times crossword relatively short, as we are visiting Magdalen's relatives in the Boston area this weekend.

A Valentine's Day puzzle was predictable but still apt. I actually got as far as completing 102-Across as [Love is] a Many-Splendored Thing before recognizing what the key answer at 23-Across should be. I always thought that particular song must be based on an earlier poem, but it seems it has original lyrics by Paul Francis Webster (1907–1984) and was written for the 1955 movie of the same name.

Our unusual routine this weekend meant I solved the puzzle on my own and using a solving application on the computer instead of on paper. I'd have had a very fast time, helped by recognizing most of the theme answers very easily, except that I got stuck for several minutes in the block at the top headed by Aetna. Although I'm a customer of theirs, I didn't realize Cigna is also a health insurer. 20a reran {Showed over} also misled me completely.

40d elem. {B or C, but not A or D: Abbr.} is a wonderfully subtle clue and I asked Magdalen for an explanation, thinking it might relate to elementary schools. With my background in chemistry, I should have known better: B (boron) and C (carbon) are symbols for chemical elements, but this is not true of A and D. This would be my fav clue, except for the answer being an abbreviation requiring the ugly qualification in the clue. {B or C, but not A or D} cluing element would be perfect.
Solving time: 33 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 122a sell {What bears do}

Matt Ginsberg and Pete Muller
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


Seven definitions of love, indicated by 23a What Is Love {1993 dance hit, and a question answered seven times in this puzzle}.
10a blind {23-Across ... according to Shakespeare}
32a friendship set to music {... according to Joseph Campbell}
52a the beauty of the soul {... according to St. Augustine}
78a sharing your popcorn {... according to Charles Schulz}
102a a many-splendored thing {... according to Frank Sinatra}
114a all you need {... according to the Beatles}
123a a rose {... according to Neil Young}
CompilersMatt Ginsberg and Pete Muller / Will Shortz
Grid21x21 with 74 (16.8%) black squares
Answers136 (average length 5.40)
Theme squares106 (28.9%)
Scrabble points563 (average 1.53)
Other Clues
1a Nehi {It was once advertised as "Your favorite drink in your favorite flavor"}; 5a Aetna {Cigna competitor}; 15a haji {Mecca trekker}; 19a open {Nonexclusive}; 20a reran {Showed over}; 21a Sodom {Sin city}; 22a Olin {Lena of "Chocolat"}; 25a sci-fi {"E.T.," e.g.}; 26a oils {Some Da Vinci pieces}; 27a tune {It's whistleable}; 28a tams {Kilt accompaniers}; 30a koan {"What is the sound of one hand clapping?," say}; 31a kale {Purple or green vegetable}; 36a meat-pie {Secret dish in "Sweeney Todd"}; 37a o'cat {One ___ (baseball variant)}; 38a repeat {End of shampoo instructions, often}; 39a keystone {Linchpin}; 41a Rowan {Martin's partner in 1960s-'70s TV}; 45a assn. {A.A.A. part: Abbr.}; 46a TDs {What some bombs lead to, for short}; 47a elms {Sherwood Forest sights}; 50a no-load {Like some mutual funds}; 60a put out {Irritated}; 63a mile {It may be marked on a racetrack}; 64a laic {Not clerical}; 65a orzo {Literally, "barley"}; 66a changes {Fresh sets of clothes}; 68a Lunts {Lynn Fontanne and her husband}; 70a therein {Regarding that matter}; 72a bore {One who's easier to pray for than to visit, according to C. S. Lewis}; 73a Ruhr {German region occupied by France and Belgium from 1923-25}; 75a oohs {Responses to pleasure or pain}; 77a or else {"And you'd better listen!"}; 82a tea-pot {Where some leaves settle}; 83a opah {Sunfish or moonfish}; 84a gym {Rep center?}; 87a Vega {Star in the Summer Triangle}; 90a Remus {Slain twin}; 92a signoras {Milanese madames}; 96a Pamela {Pioneering 1740 novel subtitled "Virtue Rewarded"}; 98a ring {Telephone}; 101a leering {Un-PC behavior}; 107a none {Nary a soul}; 108a trod {Put one's foot down}; 109a Emil {Actor Jannings, winner of the first Best Actor Oscar}; 110a Dred {Great Scott?}; 111a dour {Sullen}; 112a hit it {What's said before some numbers}; 118a a-sea {Having given a slip the slip?}; 119a Mott's {Apple juice brand}; 120a alien {E.T., e.g.}; 121a Treo {Early smartphone}; 122a sell {What bears do}; 124a Meese {Reagan attorney general}; 125a SSgt {U.S.A.F. noncom}.

1d now {"I said ___!"}; 2d Eph. {New Testament book called the "Queen of the Epistles": Abbr.}; 3d Heat-Rays {Weapons in Wells's "The War of the Worlds"}; 4d intuits {Senses}; 5d Arsenio {Hall of "Coming to America"}; 6d eel {Unagi, in a sushi restaurant}; 7d trots {Brings (out)}; 8d Navaho {Old cruise missile}; 9d anemic {Lacking vitality}; 10d BSs {M.I.T. degs.}; 11d Locke {John who wrote "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding"}; 12d idiot {Teller of a tale "full of sound and fury," per Macbeth}; 13d no-fat {Jack Sprat's requirement}; 14d D minor {The saddest key, supposedly}; 15d hook-ups {Assignations, slangily}; 16d aliases {Ayn Rand and Anne Rice, e.g.}; 17d Jillian {Actress Ann}; 18d insect {It may have an antenna}; 24d inept {Bungling}; 29d spar {Lock horns (with)}; 32d feed {Audio ___}; 33d Deneb {Star in the Summer Triangle}; 34d stony {Like poker faces}; 35d Meade {Maryland fort name}; 36d mkt. {Nasdaq, e.g.: Abbr.}; 40d elem. {B or C, but not A or D: Abbr.}; 42d wool shop {Edinburgh tourist attraction}; 43d Alfa {___ Romeo}; 44d not it {Untagged}; 48d mailroom {Stereotypical starting job assignment at a corporation}; 49d Sulu {"Star Trek" role}; 51d ahchoo {Blessing preceder?}; 52d toner {Kind of cartridge}; 53d hug {Warm welcome}; 54d eterne {Forever, to a bard}; 55d tenor {Kind of sax}; 56d Søren {Philosopher Kierkegaard}; 57d Orel {Pitcher Hershiser}; 58d Uzis {Weapons with telescoping bolts}; 59d lone {Solo}; 60d PCBs {Chemicals banned by Congress in '76}; 61d uh-oh {"This isn't good!"}; 62d Tara {Butler's locale}; 67d sugar {Honeybunch}; 69d topo {Hiker's map, briefly}; 71d err {Bungle}; 74d hype {Some hot air}; 76d spas {They may have jets}; 79d Italy {Land of amore}; 80d U-turn {One-eighty}; 81d child {Kindergartner}; 84d grinders {Heros}; 85d yang {The bright side?}; 86d MSG {Flavor-enhancing additive}; 87d vamoose {"Scram!"}; 88d Emanuel {Chief of staff under Obama}; 89d general {Blanket}; 91d side {Hash browns, e.g., typically}; 93d get done {Execute}; 94d Nehru {___ jacket}; 95d orients {Sets right}; 96d pandas {Animals with eye patches}; 97d asthma {Cause of wheezing}; 99d no ma'am {Frequent Sgt. Friday rejoinder}; 100d grille {Car part}; 103d prior {Record listing}; 104d lotto {Jackpot producer}; 105d edits {Manuscript changes}; 106d Ellie {Carl's lifelong companion in "Up"}; 113d Tse {Lao-___}; 115d yes {Hoped-for answer to "Will you be my Valentine?"}; 116d EEG {Hosp. test}; 117d dot {Speck}.

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