Monday, April 19, 2010

NYT Tuesday 4/20/10 - The Main Event

After yesterday's snafu, I feel on safer ground with this Tuesday New York Times crossword, whose theme is based on the different ways the sound of "main" can be spelled at the end of a word or phrase. It only took a couple of examples to see this was the case and that helped with the bottom two answers, though I couldn't anticipate the chicken chow mein spelling.

I seemed to stall out several times when working down through the grid and bypassed the troublesome areas to deal with at the end. I'm not familiar with Lynn Swann (13-Down); nor Sven Nykvist (22-Across) ... though I should have been, as I've seen and admired his work in Fanny and Alexander at least. Despite a lack of knowledge of both answers, the intersecting square could really only be an N, luckily.

Fancy equine coifAt the bottom right, several difficult downs made it tough to recognize the first word of braided mane and dealing with that area must have taken a couple of minutes on its own at the end. Although I like the clue to 45-Down very much, it seems a mean trick to play this early in the week!
Solving time: 8 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 45d starve {Excessively fast}
Solution

Paula Gamache
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

Phrases ending with differently-spelled "main" sounds.
17a Charlemagne {King who was the son of Pepin the Short}
23a public domain {Post-copyright status}
37a chicken chow mein {La Choy product}
49a Augusta, Maine {Easternmost U.S. capital}
60a braided mane {Fancy equine coif}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersPaula Gamache / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 34 (15.1%) black squares
Answers74 (average length 5.16)
Theme squares61 (31.9%)
Scrabble points308 (average 1.61)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



22a Sven {Cinematographer Nykvist}. Sven Nykvist (1922–2006) was a two-time Academy Award winning Swedish cinematographer. He worked on over 120 films, but is known especially for his work with director Ingmar Bergman. He won Academy Awards for his work on two Bergman films, Cries and Whispers (Viskningar och rop) in 1973 and Fanny and Alexander (Fanny och Alexander) in 1983, and the Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography for The Unbearable Lightness of Being. His work is generally noted for its naturalism and simplicity. He is considered by many to be one of the greatest cinematographers of all time. The above clip is from the opening of Fanny and Alexander (1982), Bergman's autobiographical masterpiece.

The Doctor is IN

21a Ohio {River that ends at Cairo}. The Ohio River joins the Mississippi River at Cairo, Illinois.

5d Kultur {Civilization, to Freud}. Kultur is German for "culture".

7d Asahi {Sapporo competitor}. Asahi ("morning sun" in Japanese) is a brewery and soft drink company based in Tokyo.

13d Swann {Ex-Steeler Lynn}. Lynn Swann is now a Republican politician, having run against Ed Rendell for Pennsylvania Governor in 2006.

57d ansa {Jug handle, in archaeology}. An ansa is the handle of a vase, which often survives when the vase itself, being less durable, has disappeared.

61d écu {Old French coin}. écu was used for several French coins from 1266 onwards.

Image of the Day

Unadon

47d unadon {Japanese eel and rice dish}. An Unadon (鰻丼 lit. "eel bowl", less commonly spelled "unagidon") is a popular donburi (rice bowl) dish made with unagi kabayaki, grilled eel coated with a sweet sauce. Variations include unajū (鰻重, a very similar dish served in a black box rather than a donburi bowl), nagayaki (長焼き, the eel and rice are served separately), and hitsumabushi (櫃まぶし). There are two styles of grilled eel. One is the Kantō region Style (関東式), in which the eel is roasted first, smothered, and finally grilled with sauce. The other is the Kansai Region Style (関西式), which is grilled with sauce only. It is traditional to add sanshō (山椒, Sichuan pepper) as a condiment.

Other Clues

1a Alaska {"What did Delaware?" "I don't know, but ___" (old joke)}; 7a am so {"I ___ bored!"}; 11a pts. {Score components: Abbr.}; 14a tart up {Decorate flamboyantly, in slang}; 15a says {Simon ___}; 16a row {Noisy fight}; 19a I'm a {"___ Rocker" (Springsteen song)}; 20a orbit {Electron's path}; 26a Rose Red {Sister of Snow White}; 29a swat {Smack hard}; 30a ESP {Intuition, maybe: Abbr.}; 31a dims {Darkens}; 34a Oreck {Big name in vacuums}; 41a dacha {Russian country house}; 42a G-men {F.B.I. guys}; 43a Yao {Ming of the N.B.A.}; 44a eats {Puts away plates}; 46a Peugeot {French carmaker}; 53a grid {Graph paper pattern}; 54a agar {Food thickener}; 55a at par {For face value}; 59a Agr. {Cabinet dept. overseeing farm interests}; 62a tel. {No. on a calling card}; 63a avid {Zealous}; 64a coarse {Not polished}; 65a ess {Pothook shape}; 66a tens {Till compartment}; 67a undead {Like Dracula}.

1d Atco {Classic record label for the Bee Gees and Cream}; 2d Lahr {Bert who played a cowardly lion}; 3d Arab {Emirate dweller}; 4d stripe {Indicator of rank}; 6d ape {Distant cousin of humans}; 8d Magic {___ Johnson}; 9d synods {Church councils}; 10d -ose {Sugar suffix}; 11d private eye {Philip Marlowe or Sam Spade}; 12d Tomei {Actress Marisa}; 18d molding {Crown ___}; 22d smarm {Unctuous flattery}; 24d Bede {"Venerable" monk}; 25d ow! ow! {"Geez! That stings!"}; 26d recd. {Shipping dept. stamp}; 27d OSHA {Dept. of Labor arm}; 28d Spice Girls {Scary, Baby, Ginger, Posh and Sporty}; 32d MCM {Year McKinley was elected to a second term}; 33d Shepard {First American in space}; 35d ciao! {"Gotta go!"}; 36d knot {Muscle malady}; 38d chaud {Hot: Fr.}; 39d Kats {Kit ___ (candy bars)}; 40d One I {"Dedicated to the ___ Love"}; 45d starve {Excessively fast}; 48d get mad {Lose patience and then some}; 49d agate {Ornamental quartz}; 50d urges {Earnestly recommends}; 51d again {"To repeat ..."}; 52d maids {Dust busters}; 56d pare {Peel}; 58d reed {Stalk in a marsh}; 60d bat {Face the pitcher}.

2 comments:

Jordan said...

As a chemistry student, I must strongly object to the 20a clue. Electrons can be described with orbitals, but should not be thought of as having an orbit. Bohr was wrong.

Crossword Man said...

Hey Jordan, I was a chemistry student too - at Oxford from 1978 to 1982. I guess thinking of electrons in orbits is a bit old school. Laymen probably still base their ideas of atomic structure on those models that show electrons whizzing around the nucleus like planets round the sun.