Sunday, March 7, 2010

NYT Monday 3/8/10 - Cheerio!

This Monday New York Times crossword shows how you can do something interesting with what seems an obvious thematic idea ... the four seasons. However, instead of the seasons being in the singular, we have all plurals, implemented as a pair of place names and a pair of people's names.

It reminded me of a very recent Listener Crossword which exploited the much neater naming in British English: if fall is called autumn, every season is exactly six letters long! I wonder that Americans don't favor the British spelling for the sake of cruciverbal neatness.

Talking of Britain, Magdalen and I are about to fly to England for a short break. We start in Devon and Cornwall, which we know from NYT crosswords are home to many moors and also rias. I will try to bring back pictures to prove this! At the end of the week, we'll be attending the annual Listener Crossword Dinner in Chepstow and visiting family.

As I am all set up for the trip, I solved this crossword at the computer - this I think accounts for the shorter than usual solving time. There were no particular trouble spots to negotiate - the puzzle seemed a nice easy warm-up to the week.

Traveling and time differences will disrupt blogging a little for the next few days, but I hope to keep up the regular format. I'll say cheerio {Brit's goodbye} for now, and look forward to resuming from the other side of the pond.
Solving time: 4 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 37a lap {Once around the track}
Solution

Stanley Newman
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

Long across answers end with a pluralized season:
16a Colorado Springs {Home of the U.S. Air Force Academy}
27a Buffy Summers {Vampire slayer of film and TV}
45a Wichita Falls {City in 21-Across}
60a Jonathan Winters {Comedic inspiration for Robin Williams}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersStanley Newman / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 37 (16.4%) black squares
Answers74 (average length 5.08)
Theme squares56 (29.8%)
Scrabble points295 (average 1.57)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



60a Jonathan Winters {Comedic inspiration for Robin Williams}. Jonathan Winters is an American comedian known early on for his stand-up routines and many classic comedy albums for Verve Records. He appeared in nearly 50 movies and TV shows, notably It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World in which he played the trucker Lennie Pike. Winters is one of Robin Williams' idols and appeared in the fourth and last season of Mork & Mindy as Mork & Mindy's child, Mearth. Here they both are on Letterman.

The Doctor is IN

39a Ana {Santa ___ winds}. The Santa Ana winds are strong, extremely dry offshore winds that sweep through Southern California and northern Baja California in late fall and winter.

53a Alan {Chester Arthur's middle name}. Chester Alan Arthur, Prez #21.

56a CNBC {"Mad Money" network}. Mad Money is hosted by Jim Cramer.

14d Ice-T {Rapper/actor on "Law & Order: SVU"}. Ice-T plays detective Fin Tutuola.

42d Sha Na Na {Musical group with its own 1977-81 TV show}. Sha Na Na revive and send up 1950s New York street culture.

57d Bway {Street through Times Sq.}. Broadway.

61d TDs {Six-point scores, for short}. Touchdowns in American football.

63d NEA {Teachers' union, in brief}. The National Education Association is the largest labor union in the USA.

Image of the Day

Wichita Falls

21a Texas {State that was once a republic}; 45a Wichita Falls {City in 21-Across}. Wichita Falls, TX was named after some falls on the Wichita River. Unfortunately, a flood in 1886 destroyed the original falls. After nearly 100 years of visitors wanting to visit the non-existent falls, the city built an artificial waterfall beside the river in Lucy Park. The recreated falls are 54 feet high and recirculates at 3,500 gallons per minute. They are visible to south-bound traffic on Interstate 44.

Other Clues

1a proper {Capitalized, as a noun}; 7a cassava {Tapioca source}; 14a iron ore {Raw material for a steel factory}; 15a allures {Draws in}; 18a Eve {Adam and ___}; 19a soot {Chimney grime}; 20a to a T {Fit ___ (be perfect on)}; 24a zetas {Letters after epsilons}; 33a cheerio {Brit's goodbye}; 36a nieces {Nephews' counterparts}; 37a lap {Once around the track}; 38a fee {Service charge}; 40a hat {Stetson or sombrero}; 41a arises {Comes into play}; 43a debtors {Writers of i.o.u.'s}; 48a Atari {Big name in video arcades}; 49a Yeats {Literature Nobelist William Butler ___}; 59a goo {Slime}; 65a abandon {Leave high and dry}; 66a ate into {Eroded}; 67a retaste {Take another sip of}; 68a yeasts {Bread bakers' buys}.

1d prove {Show to be true}; 2d Rolex {Watch with a flexible wristband}; 3d Ono {John Lennon's middle name}; 4d por {___ favor (Spanish "please")}; 5d eras {Big slices of history}; 6d re-do {Make over}; 7d castes {Social divisions in India}; 8d alp {Swiss peak}; 9d SLR {Camera type, for short}; 10d suits me {"I have no problem with that"}; 11d Arno {River of Florence}; 12d Vega {Bright northern star}; 13d asst. {Aide: Abbr.}; 17d oozy {Seeping}; 22d Abe {Honest ___ (presidential moniker)}; 23d surfeit {Overabundance}; 25d tunnel {Path for a mole}; 26d amiably {In a cordial way}; 28d fiesta {Big Spanish celebration}; 29d foe {Enemy}; 30d echo {Sound heard in a canyon}; 31d rear {Front's opposite}; 32d SSTs {Old trans-Atlantic jets, for short}; 33d claw {Animal's nail}; 34d Hari {Mata ___ (W.W. I spy)}; 35d epic {Of sweeping proportions}; 39d ADA {Tooth doctors' org.}; 44d Tse {Mao ___-tung}; 46d arcane {Esoteric}; 47d Finn {Huckleberry ___}; 50d agent {Representative}; 51d Torts {Law school course}; 52d so-so {Middling}; 53d ajar {Not quite shut}; 54d lobe {Ear part}; 55d anat. {Sci. course for a doctor-to-be}; 58d cite {Give as an example}; 62d hot {Just off the grill}; 64d 'tis {"___ the season to be jolly"}.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe that you solved this puzzle in 4 minutes. I solved it at first in about 6 minutes, then went back and typed in the answers as fast as I could (touch typing I might add): 4mn 29sec.

Crossword Man said...

Yes, I surprise myself sometimes with a 4 minute time. But then there are people solving online in the 2:00 to 2:30 range ... I'm far from the fastest solver.