Saturday, May 8, 2010

NYT Sunday 5/9/10 - Mother Wit

A very happy Mother's Day to all moms out there, including cat and dog moms, so Magdalen doesn't feel left out. I now send my mother in the UK two cards per year, since the equivalent British celebration, called Mothering Sunday, coincides with the fourth Sunday in Lent.

goose and goslings

Magdalen realized very early on what the circled letters in this Sunday New York Times puzzle would spell out, so we filled those in right away and that certainly helped our solving time. We enjoyed learning about the inventive mothers in the grid, most of them new to us and I suspect new to most people, given the difficulty of obtaining appropriate images.

The only one I immediately knew of was Grace Hopper, who was often pictured in computer rags back in the day, usually in her uniform as a Rear Admiral in the US Navy. There was a very nice punchline to this puzzle at 104-Across Mothers of Invention, albeit not quite the last theme answer.
Solving time: 30 mins (with Magdalen, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 54d KFC {Letters on a bucket}
Solution

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

Theme

Seven inventors who were also mothers, as indicated by 104a Mothers of Invention {Rock group whose name is an appropriate alternative title for this puzzle}. Circled letters in the grid spell out Happy Mother's Day.
Grace Hopper
23a Cobol computer language {Programming tool created by Grace Hopper (1906-92)}

backless brassiere
29a the modern brassiere {Item of apparel created by Mary Phelps Jacob (1891-1970)}

6-mercaptopurine
50a drug for leukemia {Medical discovery of Gertrude Elion (1918-99)}

circular saw
64a circular saw {Woodworking tool created by Tabitha Babbitt (1784-1853)}

Liquid Paper
71a liquid paper {Office item created by Bette Nesmith Graham (1924-80)}

windshield wiper
88a windshield wiper {Driving convenience created by Mary Anderson (1866-1953)}

Toll House cookies
117a Toll House cookie recipe {Food formula created by Ruth Wakefield (1903-77)}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersElizabeth C. Gorski / Will Shortz
Grid21x21 with 79 (17.9%) black squares
Answers140 (average length 5.17)
Theme squares130 (35.9%)
Scrabble points582 (average 1.61)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



13d Ada {Lead role in "The Piano"}. The Piano is a 1993 film about Ada McGrath, a mute pianist (Holly Hunter), and her daughter Flora (Anna Paquin), set during the mid-19th century in a rainy, muddy frontier New Zealand backwater. The film was written and directed by Jane Campion, and also stars Harvey Keitel and Sam Neill. It features a score for the piano by Michael Nyman which became a bestselling soundtrack album. Hunter played her own piano pieces for the film, and also served as sign language teacher for Paquin, earning herself three different screen credits. Alistair Fox has argued that The Piano was significantly influenced by Jane Mander's The Story of a New Zealand River. The movie also serves as a retelling of the fairytale Bluebeard, which is hinted at further in the inclusion of Bluebeard as a piece of the Christmas pageant.

The Doctor is IN

59a ariose {Songlike}. ariose = "like an aria" is in Webster's Third New International Dictionary.

1d pica {Common type}. The pica setting on a typewriter gives 10 characters per inch.

51d gie {Donate, to Burns}. gie is the Scots form of "give".

54d KFC {Letters on a bucket}. I.e. Kentucky Fried Chicken, suppliers of fried chicken in paper buckets.

72d Iden {Esquire in "Henry VI, Part 2"}. Alexander Iden kills Jack Cade in Henry VI, Part 2.

73d quod {"Eris ___ sum" ("You will be what I am")}. The words are a classic gravestone inscription.

89d in so {Preceder of many words?}. Reference to "(not) in so many words".

123d ESE {Needle point?}. I.e. the compass point east-south-east.

Image of the Day

piñata

106d tilde {What appears above a piñata?}. An appropriate reference for the week of Cinco de Mayo: the N in piñata literally has a tilde over it. A piñata is a brightly-colored decoration made from either a clay container or cardboard shape covered with papier-mâché, which is smashed by blindfolded people with sticks. The term 'Piñata' has also come to mean a sort of punching bag in the wider sense. The original piñata was shaped like a star with seven points. The points represented the seven deadly sins, and the bright colors of the piñata symbolize temptation. The blindfold represents faith and the stick is virtue or the will to overcome sin. The candies and other goodies inside the piñata are the riches of the kingdom of heaven. Thus teaching that with faith and virtue one could overcome sin and receive all the rewards of heaven.

Other Clues

1a Paltz {New ___, N.Y.}; 6a Anzio {W.W. II beachhead south of Rome}; 11a yeah! {"Amen!"}; 15a St Lo {Battle of Normandy site}; 19a imari {Japanese porcelain}; 20a giant panda {Washington zoo attraction}; 22a Chex {Squares for breakfast}; 26a as such {In that capacity}; 27a Ren {Stimpy's pal}; 28a Disney {___ World}; 36a mugs {Kissers}; 39a Neva {River of St. Petersburg}; 40a serape {Mexican wrap}; 41a Aso {Active Japanese volcano}; 42a Iams {Pet food brand}; 44a in italics {Like slanted type}; 56a bad at {Having no talent for}; 57a Adrian {Rocky's love}; 58a Afr. {It's south of Eur.}; 60a made a mint {Really prospered}; 68a embar {Block}; 70a Nadal {2008 Wimbledon champ}; 77a scrimmage {Practice game}; 83a adults {Chaperons, typically}; 84a à la {___ king}; 86a Eartha {Singer Kitt}; 87a Leoni {Actress Téa}; 94a andantino {Slightly faster than moderately slow}; 96a AMCs {Ramblers and Hornets}; 97a Ann {Cape ___}; 98a on-site {Like some companies' day care facilities}; 101a road {Pike, e.g.}; 103a arts {Music and dance, e.g.}; 111a aviate {Fly}; 112a NCR {Money machine co.}; 113a Obamas {First family starting in 2009}; 124a tide {Lunar effect}; 125a front doors {Entry-level carpentry jobs?}; 126a Silex {Proctor ___ (small appliance brand)}; 127a Eden {Shangri-la}; 128a fibs {Twists the truth}; 129a emote {Act badly?}; 130a entry {Journal jotting}.

2d Amos {Old Testament prophet}; 3d Labs {Bell ___}; 4d trouts {Whitlings, e.g.}; 5d zilch {Zippo}; 6d ago {Before now}; 7d nim {Pilfer, old-style}; 8d zap {Microwave}; 9d inure {Accustom}; 10d otters {Frolickers by a stream}; 11d Yar {Yevtushenko's "Babi ___"}; 12d enl. {Copy ctr. blowup}; 14d handset {Telephone part}; 15d scusi {"Pardon me, Arturo ..."}; 16d thane {Banquo, e.g.}; 17d Léger {"La Grande Parade" artist Fernand}; 18d oxeye {Yellow-and-white flower}; 21d penne {Tubular pasta}; 24d Chen {Julie of "The Early Show"}; 25d GIs {Joe and Jane}; 30d Meir {"Golda's Balcony" subject}; 31d oval {Roundish}; 32d Dame {Agatha Christie title}; 33d brim {Sombrero part}; 34d rani {Eastern princess}; 35d Apia {Where Polynesian Airlines is based}; 36d Madam {___ Speaker}; 37d US RDA {F.D.A. guideline}; 38d gourd {Primitive percussion instrument}; 43d sua {"Don Giovanni" aria "Dalla ___ pace"}; 45d abra {Start of a spell}; 46d lair {Home in the woods}; 47d I dos {Bride and groom exchange}; 48d casa {Jorge's house}; 49d stew {Crock pot dinner}; 52d FAA {LAX watchdog}; 53d on meds {Popping pills}; 54d KFC {Letters on a bucket}; 55d Erin {Celtic land}; 59d allied {On the same side}; 61d imp {Little rascal}; 62d NBA {Court grp.}; 63d tap {Beer source}; 65d RAs {Dorm V.I.P.'s}; 66d CDC {Public health agcy.}; 67d UAR {Former Mideast inits.}; 69d read {Interpret}; 71d la-la {Refrain syllables}; 74d ulna {Forearm part}; 75d it in {"Put ___ writing!"}; 76d RLS {Literary inits.}; 78d maw {Gaping mouth}; 79d MRI {Brief look inside?}; 80d at par {Stock phrase}; 81d Ghent {War of 1812 treaty site}; 82d earns {Takes in}; 85d aha! {"Brilliant!"}; 88d Wins {First part of a record}; 90d No If {"There Is ___ ..." (song by the Cure)}; 91d Imre {Hungarian patriot Nagy}; 92d Econ. {Coll. major}; 93d LSAT {Future atty.'s challenge}; 95d tore off {Removed with force}; 99d tinct {Add a hint of color to}; 100d encode {Make secret}; 102d Dior {Midnight Poison maker}; 103d Anacin {Relief pitcher?}; 104d matte {Having a dull surface}; 105d ovoid {Egglike}; 107d Halen {Rock's Van ___}; 108d Eth. {Land in East 58-Across: Abbr.}; 109d vroom {Drag race sound}; 110d obese {Like many a sumo wrestler}; 114d Milt {Jazz vibraphonist Jackson}; 115d aper {Impressionist}; 116d sexy {Like a hottie}; 118d Uri {Swiss canton}; 119d sob {Have a good cry}; 120d Ens. {Nav. rank}; 121d Koo {"Koochie-___!"}; 122d IRT {Subway line to Columbia U.}.

3 comments:

Magdalen said...

Hey, that's the Carnival Cruise Line piñata in South Philly. It was after I moved upstate to be with my beloved Crossword Man (thanks for the Mother's Day shout-out, sweetie!), but that's just about eight blocks from Henry's house.

Here's an article about why it wasn't broken right away.

Steve Nelson said...

In keeping with the Mother's Day theme, I'll note that Bette Nesmith Graham (71a) was the mother of Michael Nesmith of the Monkees: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Nesmith

Crossword Man said...

Hi Steve. That's an interesting point, especially in view of the theme. Thank you. I remember seeing The Monkees as a kid, but it must have been reruns as our household didn't get a TV until some time in the 1970s.