Tuesday, March 30, 2010

NYT Wednesday 3/31/10 - On The Money

We see a return of an embedding theme with this Wednesday New York Times crossword; after getting 17-Across, I looked for what the circled letters spelled out, but must have entered something wrong as they didn't make sense.

After that, I just plowed ahead with filling and ignored the theme until I hit 38-Across and spread the wealth. At this point, I glanced back to the top two theme answers and magically saw that bread and dinero had appeared. Redistributionism in the economic sense is new to me, but I could still make sense of the theme.

Manolo BlahnikFilling the bottom half wasn't quite such a breeze, mainly because I'm not familiar with Manolo Blahnik (49-Across) and the letters of moolah didn't - alas - confirm the crossing answers I was most unsure about. I suspect the brand must have been mentioned on Ab Fab a few times, but it didn't stick in the mind.

The other area that gave some grief was the top right, where 10-Across (I think) allows multiple different spellings of the autocratic ruler (tsar, tzar, csar?, czar ... blogger certainly has a preference for the official answer). I stupidly opted for tsar initially, requiring two corrections to make sense of the downs - 10-Down was surprisingly easy once I thought of Camino Real.

There's one nuance to the thematic implementation which became apparent when I prepared this post: there's only one way the letters of the money terms could have been circled in each ... normally there are several possibilities and there is a certain arbitrariness about which is chosen. This may just have been accidental, but I think it's a neat feature (and if not accidental, must have constrained the theme somewhat).
Solving time: 8 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 46d garage {Mustang's place}
Solution

Chuck Deodene
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

38a spread the wealth {Redistributionist's catchphrase ... or a hint to the words formed by the circled letters}. Slang term for money are spread in the long answers.
17a by popular demand {How a former product may be brought back} => bread
23a Dante's Inferno {Tale of a hellish trip} => dinero
49a Manolo Blahnik {Upscale shoe brand} => moolah
59a pleasure cruises {Escapes via luxury liner} => lucre
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersChuck Deodene / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.97)
Theme squares71 (37.6%)
Scrabble points294 (average 1.56)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



40d Edna {Cross-dressing "Dame" of humor}. Another fine excuse to show a clip of the wonderful Dame Edna Everage. I calculate that she's now in her mid- to late-70s, yet she doesn't look her age and shows no signs of slowing down: Dame Edna is currently starring in All About Me on Broadway.

The Doctor is IN

43a Rhys {Actor Jonathan ___ Meyers}. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is an Irish actor and the face of Hugo Boss.

48a ANC {Ruling party in Johannesburg: Abbr.}. African National Congress.

6d Adlai {Dwight's two-time opponent}. Adlai Stevenson and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

10d camino {Spanish road}. Road = camino in Spanish is a new one for Español para los crucigramistas.

12d Arne {Obama education secretary ___ Duncan}. Arne Duncan.

18d Ursa {Bear overhead?}. Ursa Major or Ursa Minor.

24d tree {Dendrologist's subject}. Dendrology = tree science.

25d Enna {Central Sicilian city}. You've got to know Enna for crosswords.

51d Becky {Tom Sawyer's crush}. Rebecca "Becky" Thatcher.

54d Kesey {Merry Prankster Ken}. The Merry Pranksters formed around author Ken Kesey.

Image of the Day

Puente Romano (Segovia)

41d arch {Roman aqueduct support}. What did the Romans ever do for us? One answer is the aqueducts, many of which survive to this day, in some cases still performing their original function. The methods of construction are well described by Vitruvius in his work De Architectura written in the first century BC. The picture above shows the Aqueduct of Segovia, one of the most significant and best-preserved monuments left by the Romans on the Iberian Peninsula. It provided water to Segovia, mainly to the Segovia Alcázar, until recently.

Other Clues

1a Gates {Billionaire Bill}; 6a abed {Sleeping in, say}; 10a czar {Bolshevik's foe}; 14a Osage {Lake of the Ozarks feeder}; 15a drei {Eins und zwei}; 16a aero {Streamlined, in brief}; 20a Ali {Louisville sports icon}; 21a raw {Like steak tartare}; 22a riles {Provokes}; 28a RNA {Biochem strand}; 29a unsound {Faulty, as a plan}; 32a Auden {"City Without Walls" poet}; 35a Esso {Shell alternative}; 37a sou {Trifling amount}; 42a toe {"Piggy"}; 44a dry as {___ dust (so-o-o boring)}; 45a in agony {Suffering torment}; 55a outré {Eccentric}; 57a pea {Soybean relative}; 58a été {Valéry's vacation time}; 64a anag. {Puzzling jumble: Abbr.}; 65a Turk {Izmir native}; 66a got me {"Good question"}; 67a lame {Half-baked}; 68a eBay {"Buy It Now" site}; 69a hussy {Impudent lady}.

1d go bad {Sprout mold, say}; 2d asyla {Places of respite}; 3d tap-in {Anticlimactic putt}; 4d ego {Elitist's problem}; 5d Sep. {Patriot Day mo.}; 7d brawn {Brain's counterpart}; 8d e'er {Unceasingly, to Burns}; 9d did {Accomplished}; 11d zealously {With fervor}; 13d rods {Concrete reinforcers}; 19d errs {Muffs}; 26d fuses {Amalgamates}; 27d enow {Adequate, in verse}; 30d nota {Part of N.B.}; 31d duhs {Cries from the momentarily stupid}; 32d Asti {Moscato d'___ (Italian wine)}; 33d up on {Knowledgeable of}; 34d dream team {Superstar assembly}; 35d ethyl {Alcohol type used as biofuel}; 36d shy {Short}; 39d Dr. No {Fleming supervillain}; 46d garage {Mustang's place}; 47d ones {Vending machine input}; 48d Alar {Former orchard spray}; 50d opera {Teatro La Fenice offering}; 52d nests {Snuggles}; 53d items {Lovey-dovey pairs}; 55d opal {Queensland gem}; 56d ulna {It parallels the radius}; 60d ute {RAV4 or TrailBlazer, briefly}; 61d rub {Chafe}; 62d ugh {Cry made while holding the nose}; 63d IOU {Note from a busted person}.

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