Wednesday, April 28, 2010

NYT Thursday 4/29/10 - Forever Odd

This Thursday New York Times crossword seemed tough to start with: I got few answers in a first pass through the acrosses and downs. As a lot of these were clustered in the SE corner, I focused there in the hopes of discovering the theme quickly.

Unfortunately, it wasn't till about 8 minutes were on the clock that I finally worked out 54-Across, but then I could see what 17- and 37-Across would be right away. A quick glance at the grid confirmed its "curious property".

Because the theme squares are relatively few, and knowing the grid property didn't help any with the remaining answers, the puzzle now played out much like an easy themeless. In fact it took me a minute longer than last Friday's crossword to nail the completed grid.

Most of the difficulties were concentrated in the NW corner, it seemed: I had to kick myself over 4-Down, which I confidently entered as ocher ... I still have the problem of not seeing anything incongruous in "Autumn" and hence not realizing a non-standard spelling is called for.

39-Across was also a challenge because of red herring answers: I considered steal into and break into long before the correct answer. It crossed with the tough 31-Down, which was hard to recognize as a (5,4) phrase and, even knowing that, getting poker at the start was a challenge.

I managed to resolve all these difficulties in time, and was just faced with the mysterious Maurice Stans at 5-Down. Here I had to rely on correctly guessing nearby fill-in-the-blanks to get his name right. But I made a fascinating discovery in connection with his name: there is an Accounting Hall of Fame which was established at the Ohio State University in 1950. Who knew?

The number of quotation clues is striking in this puzzle: four, of which I managed to track down the source of all but one (the Dean Inge quote at 28-Across) ... no worries! I particularly like quotation clues and am happy to see more of them.
Solving time: 15 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 35d rhyme {Gun, for one}

David J. W. Simpson
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


A quirky grid with answers of only odd lengths: 3-letter answers (21); 5-letter answers (37); 7-letter answers (4); 9-letter answers (8); 15-letter answers (2). This was indicated by 17a/37a/54a each answer has an odd number of letters {Curious property of this crossword}.

Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersDavid J. W. Simpson / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers72 (average length 5.25)
Theme squares33 (17.5%)
Scrabble points305 (average 1.61)
Video of the Day

44a Valerie {Actress Harper}. Valerie Harper is an American actress, best known for her role as Rhoda Morgenstern on the 1970s television show The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and for her starring roles on the sitcoms Rhoda (a spin-off of The Mary Tyler Moore Show) and Valerie. Here's the first part of her interview for the remarkable Archive of American Television project.

The Doctor is IN

15a is a {"Every day ___ new day"}. A quotation from The Old Man and the Sea.

38a tooth {Nail's partner}. Reference to "(fighting) tooth and nail".

51a ere {"___ fancy you consult, consult your purse": Benjamin Franklin}. A quotation from The Way to Wealth (1758).

60a Uta {Hagen with three Tonys}. Crossword regular Uta Hagen (1919–2004).

2d ora {60 minuti}. Hour and minutes in Italian.

4d ochre {Autumn shade}. The use of "Autumn" signals the usual British spelling of ocher.

5d Stans {Maurice of Nixon's cabinet}. Maurice Stans (1908-1998) was inducted into the Accounting Hall of Fame in 1960.

35d rhyme {Gun, for one}. "Gun" rhymes with "one".

46d lemon {It may be found often in a shop}. lemon in the sense of a defective automobile.

48d Poe {Who wrote "I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him"}. Words said by the unnamed narrator in The Tell-Tale Heart (1843).

50d Estée {First name in perfume}. Estée Lauder (1906-2004).

56d FTD {Busy co. on Mother's Day}. Florists' Transworld Delivery.

Image of the Day

El Misti

6d Misti {Peruvian volcano El ___}. I've seen El Misti mentioned recently in a couple of other crosswords, but only in the clue; I'm very glad it has finally appeared as an answer in an NYT puzzle so I can see a picture and find out all the details. El Misti, also known as Guagua-Putina, is a stratovolcano located in southern Peru near the city of Arequipa. With its seasonally snow-capped, symmetrical cone, El Misti stands at 5,822 metres (19,101 ft) above sea level and lies between the mountain Chachani (6,075 m/19,931 ft) and the volcano Pichu-Pichu (5,669 m/18,599 ft). Its last eruption was in 1985. El Misti has three concentric craters. In the inner crater fumarole activity can be seen.

Other Clues

1a dodos {Rattlebrains}; 6a MST {Winter hours in Colo.}; 9a debug {Fix, in a way}; 14a erect {Stiff-backed}; 16a erase {Clear}; 20a or not {"Whether ___ ..."}; 21a key {Common item in a purse}; 22a age {Mellow, say}; 23a James II {King with a statue in Trafalgar Square}; 25a waddles {Imitates a penguin}; 27a ESP {It may actually be a hunch}; 28a worry {"Interest paid on trouble before it falls due," per W. R. Inge}; 29a swoop {What hawks do}; 32a Zen master {Asian spiritual guide}; 36a Tasso {"Jerusalem Delivered" poet}; 39a sneak into {Enter surreptitiously}; 41a entry {Dictionary listing}; 42a gecko {Lizard that chirps}; 43a hem {Something that may be let out}; 47a appease {Quiet}; 52a bed {Foundation}; 53a toast {Hold over the fire, say}; 59a U-boat {W.W. II blockade enforcer}; 61a henna {Salon supply}; 62a sands {Smooths}; 63a TDs {Some sports scores, briefly}; 64a sedan {U.S. term for a British "saloon"}.

1d dee {Subpar grade}; 3d decompose {Rot}; 7d SSW {Dir. from Paris to Bordeaux}; 8d tae kwon do {Olympic sport since 2000}; 9d dehydrate {Parch}; 10d Era {Procter & Gamble's first liquid laundry detergent}; 11d basal {___ metabolism}; 12d usage {Dictionary topic}; 13d genes {Code carriers}; 18d no I {"___ did not!"}; 19d rearm {Abrogate a peace treaty, maybe}; 23d jests {Isn't serious}; 24d Aswan {City on the Nile}; 26d Dyson {Big name in vacuum cleaners}; 28d wed to {Conjoined with}; 30d Osage {County name in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma}; 31d poker bets {Pot contents}; 32d zonked out {Totally beat}; 33d to that end {For the reason stated}; 34d êtres {French beings}; 40d icier {Less welcoming}; 44d Venus {Mythological subject for Titian and Botticelli}; 45d Aruba {One of the ABC islands}; 47d atlas {Mini-section of an almanac}; 49d paths {Walks}; 55d bad {Misbehaving}; 57d RNA {Material in protein synthesis}; 58d San {Colorado's ___ Luis Peak}.


Daniel Myers said...

I found the source of the gloomy Dean's quote:
Observer (London, 14 February 1932) according to this website:

While not strictly agreeing with Inge on most matters, at all really, I found his two volume "The Philosophy of Plotinus" to be a masterpiece on one of my favourite philosophers.

Crossword Man said...

Thanks for that! Funny coincidence of naming with the other William Inge who crops up much more often in NYT puzzles.