Sunday, April 25, 2010

NYT Sunday 4/25/10 - Pyramid Scheme

We thought this Sunday New York Times crossword a bit tougher than usual. Magdalen and I didn't get around to it until breakfast on Sunday, as we'd been to see Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure at The Cider Mill Playhouse the night before and were perhaps not on best form ... and distracted by thoughts of the NPR Sunday Puzzle too.

Things didn't start well when we assumed baths for {Tubs} at 1-Across. Then we had a bash for {"Give it ____"} at 2-Down. We eventually gave up on that corner and revisited it once we had 23-Across and could finally fix the problems.

The theme was well-signposted, even if not the most straightforward idea. We note that the puzzle is tied in with the 93rd birthday of I. M. Pei tomorrow - many happy returns to the number one architect in crosswords!
Solving time: 40 mins (with Magdalen, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 52d capital A {April first?}
Solution

Elizabeth C. Gorski
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

"Monumental achievement". When PYRAMID is traced out using the circled letters, a picture of a pyramid appears. Other long across answers relate to this theme, with [] standing for pyramid in the clues:

cheerleading formation
23a cheerleading formation {[ ]}

image on a dollar bill
37a image on a dollar bill {[ ]}


55a yoga pose {[ ]}

The Louvre
66a The Louvre {Paris attraction that features a [ ]}

78a card game {[ ]}

glass design by I.M.Pei
89a glass design by I.M.Pei {[ ] that was the creation of an architect born 4/26/1917}


three-dimensional shape
109a three-dimensional shape {[ ]}

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersElizabeth C. Gorski / Will Shortz
Grid21x21 with 70 (15.9%) black squares
Answers142 (average length 5.23)
Theme squares110 (29.6%)
Scrabble points556 (average 1.50)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



61d Henie {"Thin Ice" star Sonja}. Sonja Henie (April 8, 1912 - October 12, 1969) was a Norwegian figure skater and actress. She was a three-time Olympic Champion (1928, 1932, 1936), a ten-time World Champion (1927-1936) and a six-time European Champion (1931-1936). Henie won more Olympic and World titles than any other ladies figure skater. At the height of her acting career she was one of the highest paid stars in Hollywood. No clips of Thin Ice, so here is One in a Million (1936) from the previous year.

The Doctor is IN

29a Renoir {"Le Déjeuner des Canotiers," e.g.}. Luncheon of the Boating Party (1881), housed in The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.

49a ask not {Start of a famous J.F.K. quote}. Reference to "ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country" from his Inaugural Address.

33a ski cap {Top of a mountain?}. I.e. a hat you might wear on a mountain.

80a Ens. {Coast Guard rank: Abbr.}. Ens. = Ensign.

84a Ley {Willy who wrote "The Conquest of Space"}. Willy Ley (1906-1969) science writer and space advocate.

85a load {Whites or colors, e.g.}. load as in a batch of laundry.

106a Cmdr. {Naval officer: Abbr.}. Cmdr. = Commander.

52d capital A {April first?}. The first letter in "April" is a capital A.

74d TRL {Bygone daily MTV series, informally}. Total Request Live was replaced by  FNMTV in November 2008.

102d Akers {Singer/actress Karen of Broadway's "Nine"}. Karen Akers.

111d sch. {Brown, e.g.: Abbr.}. Brown =  a university is in Pavlov's Guide to Crosswords.

Image of the Day

litchis

88d litchis {They're nuts}. The lychee (usual English spelling) or laichi and lichu is the sole member of the genus Litchi in the soapberry family, Sapindaceae. It is a tropical and subtropical fruit tree. It is primarily found in Asia, Southern Africa and Mexico. It is a fragranced fruit with a sweet taste. The lychee is a medium-sized evergreen tree, reaching 15–20 m tall, with alternate pinnate leaves, each leaf 15–25 cm long, with 2-8 lateral leaflets 5–10 cm long; the terminal leaflet is absent. The newly emerging young leaves are a bright coppery red at first, before turning green as they expand to full size. The flowers are small, greenish-white or yellowish-white, produced in panicles up to 30 cm long. The fruit is a drupe, 3–4 cm long and 3 cm in diameter. The outside is covered by a pink-red, roughly-textured rind that is inedible but easily removed. They are eaten in many different dessert dishes. The inside consists of a layer of sweet, translucent white flesh, rich in vitamin C, with a texture somewhat similar to that of a grape only much less moist. The edible flesh consists of a highly developed aril enveloping the seed. The center contains a single glossy brown nut-like seed, 2 cm long and 1–1.5 cm in diameter. The seed, similar to a buckeye seed, is poisonous and should not be eaten.

Other Clues

1a fatso {Tubs}; 6a kaput {Dead}; 11a scad {Large amount}; 15a Edam {Imported cheese}; 19a Asher {Tribe of Israel}; 20a Omani {Resident of a country that's 97% mountains and desert}; 21a alee {Sailor's direction}; 22a Am To {"Here I ___ Worship" (contemporary hymn)}; 27a toss {Fling}; 28a ands {English connections}; 30a TNT {You may get a charge out of it}; 31a Stefani {Gwen who sang "Don't Speak," 1996}; 35a aurae {Saintly glows}; 41a off to {Leaving for}; 44a do it! {"Go on!"}; 45a alas {"A pity"}; 46a roi {Charles, for one}; 47a tight {Very friendly (with)}; 52a cts. {Price part: Abbr.}; 58a slices {Pizza orders}; 59a daws {Glossy black birds}; 60a D Train {New York City transport from the Bronx to Coney Island}; 61a hot tea {Throat soother}; 63a slip-on {Like clogs}; 65a après {After, in Avignon}; 69a omits {Passes over}; 70a cleats {Football shoes}; 72a unease {Nervousness}; 73a strati {Low clouds}; 75a Maes {Fannie ___ (some investments)}; 76a amnios {Prenatal procedures, informally}; 81a flakes {Snow fall}; 82a afoul {Run ___ of}; 86a Ames {NASA's ___ Research Center}; 87a blare {Trumpet}; 97a lulus {Humdingers}; 98a nuclei {Atomic centers}; 99a Austria {Mozart's birthplace}; 103a USA {Network that airs "WWE Raw"}; 104a anomie {Breakdown of social norms}; 108a conk {Bop}; 114a Elms {O'Neill's "Desire Under the ___"}; 115a Åse's {"___ Death" (Grieg movement)}; 116a CD-ROM {Flat storage place}; 117a rider {Headless Horseman, e.g.}; 118a syst. {Way: Abbr.}; 119a Kert {Larry who played Tony in "West Side Story"}; 120a heaps {Compost units}; 121a assns. {Professional grps.}.

1d facts {Almanac tidbits}; 2d a shot {"Give it ___"}; 3d These {"___ Foolish Things" (1936 hit)}; 4d sees fit {Deems worthy}; 5d Orr {Canadian-born hockey great}; 6d Koenig {Walter of "Star Trek"}; 7d A Mad {"Diary of ___ Housewife"}; 8d pads {Crash sites?}; 9d uni- {Prefix with sex}; 10d tin {Cookie holder}; 11d Safeco {Seattle's ___ Field}; 12d clonal {Like some cell growth}; 13d aeroplane {Part of a Virgin Atlantic fleet}; 14d demi- {Prefix with monde}; 15d eat {"Let's ___!"}; 16d Dmitri {Composer Shostakovich}; 17d atonal {Like Berg's "Wozzeck"}; 18d Montel {Williams of TV}; 24d Lana {Smallville girl}; 25d grid {Sudoku feature}; 26d Ararat {Genesis landing site}; 32d amo {"I love," in Latin}; 33d snit {Tizzy}; 34d Kat {"Krazy" one}; 36d UBS {Financial inst. that bought PaineWebber in 2000}; 38d edge {Upper hand}; 39d ooh! {"I'm impressed!"}; 40d a loss {At ___ for words}; 41d -ory {Suffix with contradict}; 42d food plan {Nutritional regimen}; 43d fig-trees {Parts of some Mediterranean orchards}; 47d toi {French pronoun}; 48d isn't {Exists no more}; 49d altus {High: Lat.}; 50d sieve {It doesn't hold water}; 51d K-car {1980s Chrysler debut}; 53d two-timer {Double-crosser}; 54d SSNs {Payroll stub IDs}; 56d areas {Fields}; 57d past {History}; 58d stoas {Covered walkways}; 59d DiMag {Joltin' Joe}; 62d oleos {Bars from the refrigerator}; 64d Lord {"___, is it I?"}; 65d acme {Tip-top}; 67d hunk {Pinup boy}; 68d Esau {"___ Wood sawed wood" (start of a tongue twister)}; 71d salad {Light lunch}; 77d made noise {Clapped and shouted, e.g.}; 78d così {"___ fan tutte"}; 79d eye {Ophthalmologist's study}; 81d fossae {Anatomical cavities}; 82d ambi- {Both: Prefix}; 83d Fey {Tina of "30 Rock"}; 85d LSU {Baton Rouge sch.}; 86d an E {"Wheel of Fortune" purchase}; 87d bes {Wanna-___ (imitators)}; 89d glutes {Sitting areas, slangily?}; 90d lushly {How rain forests grow}; 91d alarms {Bells and whistles, maybe}; 92d summer {Kind of romance}; 93d iciest {Least friendly}; 94d glen {Valley}; 95d madams {House keepers}; 96d purl {Knitting loop}; 100d roads {Some have forks}; 101d in pen {How some people solve crosswords}; 105d N.Dak. {Neighbor of Sask.}; 106d Cora {Mrs. Dithers of "Blondie"}; 107d MNOP {Run before Q}; 110d est. {Ballpark fig.}; 112d -ide {Chemical suffix}; 113d Sra. {Spanish Mrs.}.

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