Sunday, April 18, 2010

NYT Monday 4/19/10 - A Capital Notion?

The capitals European cities theme of this Monday New York Times crossword was clear early on from crossings, but I was surprised (given this is the first of the week) not to have heard of example 1 (Harold Rome), nor example 2 (Ellen Glasgow). The latter was more of a problem, because I was unsure of the downs crossing her forename.

By contrast, Irving Berlin was very straightforward and I entered Jack London without even looking at the clue, when it was clear what the last city would be. I suspect Harold Rome and especially Ellen Glasgow are better known in the USA - I keep coming across new stars of American literature. On the other hand, Magdalen tells me she's heard of neither of these names.

So the last part of the puzzle to be completed was inevitably half way up the left hand side, where I didn't know Vincent Lopez's signature tune (didn't know Vincent Lopez himself for that matter) and couldn't immediately come up with open it for {Gift-giver's urging}. Dyan (Cannon) and Sonoma are also relatively obscure (to me at least).

Eventually it just came down to the crossing of 24-Down and 33-Across and I simply went through the options until I found one that resulted in two sane forenames: Nora was the only other serious contender, but I didn't like the look of Elren Glasgow. So Nola and Ellen Glasgow it had to be ... not the sort of alphabetical roulette you expect to be faced with on a Monday, but that may just be down to the peculiarities of my background.

Postscript: my confusion over this puzzle is evident in my mistaken assumption that the theme was capital cities, when Glasgow doesn't fit that description. See discussion in the comments. Let's hope I do better with the Tuesday puzzle!
Solving time: 7 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 38a echo {"Anybody home? ... home? ... home? ..."}
Solution

Randy Sowell
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

Four people with surnames that are capital European cities:
17a Harold Rome {Broadway lyricist/composer who wrote "I Can Get It for You Wholesale"}
33a Ellen Glasgow {Virginia-born Pulitzer Prize novelist of 1942}
42a Irving Berlin {"God Bless America" composer}
61a Jack London {"The Call of the Wild" author}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersRandy Sowell / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.79)
Theme squares46 (24.6%)
Scrabble points306 (average 1.64)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



24d Nola {Theme song of bandleader Vincent Lopez}. Vincent Lopez (1895–1975) was an American bandleader and pianist. He was born of Portuguese immigrant parents in Brooklyn, New York and was leading his own dance band in New York City by 1917. On November 27, 1921 his band began broadcasting on the new medium of entertainment radio; the band's weekly 90-minute show on Newark, NJ station WJZ boosted the popularity of both himself and of radio. He became one of America's most popular bandleaders, and would retain that status through the 1940s. He began his radio programs by announcing "Lopez speaking!". His theme song was Nola, Felix Arndt's novelty ragtime piece of 1915, and Lopez became so identified with it that he occasionally satirized it. (His 1939 movie short for Vitaphone, Vincent Lopez and his Orchestra, features the entire band singing "Down with Nola.")

The Doctor is IN

36a Dyan {Actress Cannon}. Dyan Cannon was Cary Grant's fourth wife.

37a on a {Three ___ match}. It's considered bad luck for a third person to share a light from the same match.

10d GMAC {Auto financing inits.}. GMAC (formerly General Motors Acceptance Corporation) is the  financial services arm of General Motors.

Image of the Day

Pina Colada

48d Colada {Piña ___}. The piña colada ("strained pineapple" in Spanish) is a sweet, rum-based cocktail made with hard rum, cream of coconut, and pineapple juice, usually served either blended or shaken with ice. It may be garnished with a pineapple wedge or a maraschino cherry. The piña colada has been the official beverage of Puerto Rico since 1978.

The Piña Colada was introduced on August 16, 1954 at the Caribe Hilton’s Beachcomber Bar in San Juan, Puerto Rico by its alleged creator, Ramon “Monchito” Marrero. Apparently, the hotel management had expressly requested Monchito to mix a new signature drink that would delight the demanding palates of its starstudded clientele. Monchito accepted the challenge, and after 3 intense months of blending, shaking and experimenting, the first Piña Colada was born.

Other Clues

1a macaw {Noisy bird}; 6a 'twas {"___ the night before ..."}; 10a glee {Exhilaration}; 14a Pluto {Ninth planet no more}; 15a yore {Days of King Arthur's Round Table, e.g.}; 16a Marx {Any brother in "Animal Crackers"}; 19a amat {Amo, amas, ___}; 20a froze {Opposite of melted}; 21a a case {Make ___ for (advocate)}; 22a Sonoma {California wine county}; 26a yell {Whoop}; 28a zen {Buddhist sect}; 29a propane {Gas log fuel}; 31a attest {Certify (to)}; 38a echo {"Anybody home? ... home? ... home? ..."}; 47a ice tea {Drink that might come with a mint leaf}; 50a Sapporo {Japanese site of the 1972 Winter Olympics}; 51a Nol {Lon ___ of Cambodia}; 52a stoa {Greek portico}; 55a sister {"You said it, ___!"}; 56a A-list {Elite roster}; 58a broil {Cook, as steaks in an oven}; 60a race {Indy 500, e.g.}; 66a Odin {Chief Norse god}; 67a Amer. {The "A" in U.S.A.: Abbr.}; 68a guide {Seeing Eye dog, e.g.}; 69a watt {Light bulb unit}; 70a nada {Nothing, in Juárez}; 71a steed {Pegasus, e.g.}.

1d mph {Speedometer reading: Abbr.}; 2d à la {___ carte}; 3d cur {Dog prone to biting}; 4d A to {From ___ Z}; 5d wolf-man {One who changes form during a full moon}; 6d tyro {Beginner}; 7d woozy {Mentally unclear}; 8d armée {French military force}; 9d see {Go out with}; 11d Lamaze {Childbirth training method}; 12d erases {Undoes pencil marks}; 13d extent {Scope}; 18d drang {Sturm und ___}; 21d alto {Kind of sax}; 22d sped {Hurried}; 23d Orly {Paris suburb}; 25d open it {Gift-giver's urging}; 27d lag {Fall behind}; 30d Eloi {"The Time Machine" people}; 32d twerps {Dweebs}; 34d Ann {The Beach Boys' "Barbara ___"}; 35d sags {Is low around the waist, as pants}; 39d clot {Blood circulation problem}; 40d hire {Put on the payroll}; 41d on or {___ off (light switch options)}; 43d rest {Remainder}; 44d vat {Industrial container}; 45d basil {Pesto seasoning}; 46d epilogs {Ends of some novels}; 47d in a row {Lined up}; 49d elicit {Bring out}; 53d Obama {First president born in Hawaii}; 54d arced {Followed a curved path}; 57d Sent {E-mail folder}; 59d okra {Gumbo pod}; 61d Jan. {First mo.}; 62d nut {Hickory ___}; 63d die {What immortals never do}; 64d Ode {Shelley's "___ to the West Wind"}; 65d Ned {___ Flanders of "The Simpsons"}.

7 comments:

Daniel Myers said...

Isn't there something a bit off about your "Clue of The Puzzzle"? I mean, isn't the general rule that when you clue something in quotation marks - "x" - that the answer must be an utterance as well - "y" where x=y?

I had never heard of Mr. Rome or Ms. Glasgow either.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I am a xword beginner but i felt that this one was way too hard for a monday. i didn't get a lot of the clues. tyro? three on a match?
i like your blog by the way.

Jon88 said...

Not to be too much of a killjoy, but besides the fact that almost no one can name any songs by Harold Rome or books by Ellen Glasgow, I wonder: Of what is Glasgow the capital? (Ahem.)

Crossword Man said...

Jon88: my bad for suggesting the theme was capital cities, when clearly it's European cities. Glasgow isn't even the capital of Scotland. My problem, not the puzzle's.

Anon: thanks for commenting ... it seems my difficulties with the puzzle weren't just due to my background then.

DM: I thought the echo clue a little unorthodox, but that's something I liked about it. Should the clue have been in square brackets, perhaps? ... gasp is often clued something like [I'm shocked!].

Crossword Man said...

Readers, blogger is doing some very weird things to the comments on this post. If you seem to have posted a comment and it doesn't appear, I'll do my best to sort things out, as I'm notified of the text of comments in an email.

Crossword Man said...

This is not a comment

Crossword Man said...

This is not a comment