Wednesday, April 21, 2010

NYT Thursday 4/22/10 - Puzzling Map

I found this Thursday New York Times crossword difficult to get started. The top half seemed the harder and especially troublesome before the theme was worked out. I did better in the bottom half, figuring out the theme by seeing its impact on 63-Across. From this I could guess how 24- and 40-Across should be filled in.

As the bottom seven or so rows were almost filled at this point, I focused there and had them done after about 7 minutes. The top section proved slightly more amenable, now that I knew what was going on thematically. But it still took quite a while to figure out all of 18-Across: I could see it would end on the spot, but thought at first it would be the man on the spot ... Johnny was reluctant to reveal himself.

The crossing of ésas/está (71-Across/60-Down) causes me some concern: esthetically, it seems ugly to cross two Spanish words at the letter where they inflect. And as a beginner at Spanish (hence Español para los crucigramistas), I also wonder whether the answers might equally well be ésos/esto with different inflections? If any readers are competent to say, please comment. I decided to go for está on the basis of ¿Cómo está usted? ("How are you") being so well known.
Solving time: 12 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 32d depot {Point along a line}
Solution

Caleb Madison
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

24a/40a X marks the spot {Key to the "map" of this puzzle}. "the spot" in three other long across answers is represented by an X in the grid:
18a Johnny on the Spot {One who's available when needed}
55a put on the spot {Asked a hard question in public, say}
63a that hits the spot {"Mmm! So satisfying!"}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersCaleb Madison / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 34 (15.1%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.90)
Theme squares37 (19.4%)
Scrabble points330 (average 1.73)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



34a MacRae {Gordon of "Oklahoma!"}. Gordon MacRae (1921–1986) was an American actor and singer, best known for his appearances in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, Oklahoma! (1955) and Carousel (1956). The above clip shows his performance of The Surrey With the Fringe On Top with Shirley Jones.

The Doctor is IN

16a Rhee {Syngman ___, first president of South Korea}. Rhee Syngman (1875–1965). 

23a Edd {Baseball Hall-of-Famer Roush}. Edd Roush (1893-1988) played the majority of his career in center field.

19d Nev. {Battle Born State: Abbr.}. Nevada, officially the Silver State, is also known as the Sagebrush State and the Battle Born State, reflecting its entry on the Union side during the American Civil War.

64d Tim {Enchanter in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"}. Tim the Enchanter, played by John Cleese.

Image of the Day

Amy Winehouse

6a hair {Beehive contents}. The Beehive is a woman's hairstyle that resembles a beehive; it is also known as the B-52, for its similarity to the bulbous nose of the B-52 Stratofortress bomber. Margaret Vinci Heldt of Elmherst, Illinois, owner of the Margaret Vinci Coiffures in downtown Chicago, gained national recognition as the creator of “The Beehive” hairstyle. “The Beehive” originated in 1958 as one of a variety of elaborately teased and lacquered versions of "big hair" that developed from earlier pageboy and bouffant styles. The beehive style was highly popular throughout the 1960s, particularly in the United States and other Western countries, and remains an enduring symbol of 1960s kitsch. R&B/jazz singer Amy Winehouse is a famous contemporary sporter of the beehive.

Other Clues

1a dated {Like saddle shoes and bell-bottom pants}; 10a tsps. {Cooking amts.}; 14a elate {Send}; 15a ammo {It's found in arms}; 17a Labor {Israeli political party}; 20a URL {Need for a link}; 21a episode {Pilot, for one}; 26a ovular {Like a small egg}; 28a esse {"___ quam videri" (North Carolina's motto)}; 29a yards {Rushing goal}; 33a rani {Eastern royal}; 36a ABC-TV {"One Life to Live" airer}; 37a Lil {___ Wayne with the platinum album "Tha Block Is Hot"}; 42a ESE {Dir. from Springfield, Mass., to Providence}; 43a Obama {2009 Peace Nobelist}; 45a atones {Pays (for)}; 47a OEDs {Hefty refs.}; 48a orate {Be Ciceronian}; 49a Omoo {Novel subtitled "A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas"}; 53a keys in {Enters, as data}; 57a Ang {Director Lee}; 58a streams {Flows}; 62a zee {End of a series}; 65a ready {Prep}; 67a magi {Star followers}; 68a mete {Dish (out)}; 69a dirge {Elegiac music}; 70a Edam {Dutch export}; 71a ésas {Those: Sp.}; 72a antes {Nickel and dime in gaming?}.

1d deluxe {Choice}; 2d alarms {Warnings}; 3d tablas {Raga accompaniers}; 4d ETO {W.W. II inits.}; 5d Derek {Zoolander of "Zoolander"}; 6d haji {Certain trekker}; 7d Amos {Book after Joel}; 8d IMHO {Chat room opener}; 9d rondos {Parts of sonatas}; 10d try! {"Give it a shot!"}; 11d shoelace {It may be on the tip of the tongue}; 12d pendants {Jewelry often used in hypnosis}; 13d sex drive {Libido}; 22d psych {Demoralize, with "out"}; 25d REM {Band with the 2008 album "Accelerate"}; 27d urb {City area, informally}; 30d arear {Backward}; 31d Rasta {Bob Marley, e.g.}; 32d depot {Point along a line}; 35d at a {___ loss}; 36d ate {Nibbled away}; 37d look at me! {Cry for attention}; 38d I been had! {Dupe's shout}; 39d Lady Gaga {Singer born Stefani Germanotta}; 41d one pm {Early aft. hour}; 44d mss. {In-box stock: Abbr.}; 46d sot {Alky}; 48d on time {Punctual}; 50d Mozart {"La Clemenza di Tito" composer}; 51d on edge {Antsy}; 52d oxeyes {Sunflower-like daisies}; 54d -ish {Suffix with hawk}; 56d US RDA {Std. on food labels}; 59d rtes. {Delivery drivers' assignments: Abbr.}; 60d esta {"Cómo ___?"}; 61d axes {Graph lines}; 66d ein {German "a"}.

6 comments:

Amie Devero said...

With respect your question about the Spanish clues: It has to be "esta" going down. Esta is a 2nd person singular conjugation. In the sentence "Como esta usted?" the grammatical form requires a verb and there is no conjugated form that is "esto". In the case of the clue for the across "esas", the term is a pronoun(those, fem). The ending (a or o) designates the gender of the object being replaced by the demonstrative pronoun.

And as to the intersection of 2 non-English terms, I agree that it is questionable.

Crossword Man said...

Thanks Amie, that's helpful. I had to wonder because when I googled "como esto" it produced so many hits. Maybe I should do a Spanish evening class to learn some of the basics?

Miles said...

"I been had" just doesn't sit right without the verb, unless you say it with a cockney accent.

Crossword Man said...

Gorblimey, guvnor ... I been had threw me for a loop the first time I met it in a puzzle. You can only fool me once with something like that!

Miles said...

I remember that now, and had the same indignant feeling! It's even in the same place on the grid... Well, I won't be fooled twice, perhaps.

Crossword Man said...

Yes, it looks like I been had is the perfect sandwich filling in a stack of 8-letter answers.