Tuesday, May 4, 2010

NYT Wednesday 5/5/10 - My Goodness

I gather the New York Times crossword puzzles this week featured in a recent tournament in L.A., which perhaps explains some oddities of scheduling. Today we see the return of a rebus idea one day earlier that we normally expect to see such shenanigans ... I can't recall the previous rebus puzzle, so it must have been a while.

After struggling with the top left and top center blocks, I finally cottoned on to the nature of the rebus after about two minutes ... through 29-Across {___ Martin (cognac brand)}, which unquestionably leads to my, confirmed by its crossing with 31-Down Myers {Actor Mike}. Now every square I looked at was under suspicion of housing MY (I know to expect NYT puzzles to be well-behaved and not have more than one type of rebus square).

Even so, progress was troublesome and it took me another six minutes to complete the next corner ... the SE one. From there I worked over to the left, filling the SW corner really quickly. I had a concern over Myron, who was knew to me, but the only dangerous crossing was with Raes, and I remembered covering explorer John Rae in a Sunday puzzle this February.

So back to where I started ... the NW corner. This was a difficult area to break into and I wonder who came up with cluing 4-Down Mystic as the {Old Connecticut whaling town}? Was that really kind? With a bit of persistence I finished the corner off with reasonable confidence, despite Sammy Kaye being an unfamiliar name.

My Wikipedia researches apropos 34d Old Smokey {Snowy peak of song} turned up this oddity: the "Old Smoky" of the folk song is usually spelled without the E; "Old Smokey" with an E is the state prison electric chair in New Jersey. As the song is an old ballad, referring to who knows what mountain (see below), it perhaps was rendered in many different spellings ... I'm prepared to give the constructor(s) the benefit of the doubt on this.
Solving time: 11 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 32d myths {That you should feed a cold and starve a fever, and others}

Dan Schoenholz
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


MY is squeezed into eight rebus squares, as indicated by 49d MySpace {Popular social networking site, and this puzzle's theme}. The rebus theme affected the following other answers:
1a/69a Sammy Kaye {1930s-'50s bandleader}
17a bitter enemy {Japan, to the U.S., once}
29a my {___ Martin (cognac brand)}
32a Myron {Ancient Greek sculptor of athletes}
36a my oh my! {"Golly!"}
48a Amy Grant {"Baby Baby" singer, 1991}
64a All By Myself {1976 Eric Carmen hit}

4d Mystic {Old Connecticut whaling town}
5d agronomy {Science for farmers}
9d army mom {One with yellow ribbons, maybe}
28d Smyrna {Ancient city that lent its name to a fig}
31d Myers {Actor Mike}
32d myths {That you should feed a cold and starve a fever, and others}
50d/6d Tommy Moe {1994 Olympic gold medalist in downhill skiing}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersDan Schoenholz / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.92)
Theme squares(not calculated)
Scrabble points282 (average 1.51)
Video of the Day

34d Old Smokey {Snowy peak of song}. On Top of Old Smoky is a traditional folk song and a well-known ballad of the United States which, as recorded by The Weavers, reached the pop music charts in 1951. "Old Smoky" may be a high mountain somewhere in the Ozarks or the central Appalachians, as the tune bears the stylistic hallmarks of the Scottish and Irish people who settled the region. Possibilities include Clingmans Dome, named "Smoky Dome" by local Scots-Irish inhabitants, but exactly which mountain it is may be lost to antiquity. The song is parodied often, sometimes with violent lyrics. One example begins "On top of Old Smoky / All covered in blood / I found my true lover / Face down in the mud." Teachers are often used by children as targets in the song ("On top of Old Smokey/ All covered in sand / I shot my poor teacher/ with a pink rubber band").

The Doctor is IN

25a monisms {Views that reality is a unitary whole}. A monism is any philosophical view which holds that there is unity in a given field of inquiry, where this is not to be expected.

42a racer {Brickyard 400 entrant}. Brickyard 400 is an annual 400–mile (644 km) NASCAR Sprint Cup points race held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

51a mats {Sushi-rolling accessories}. A bamboo mat called a makisu is used in preparing a kind of rolled sushi.

12d Earl {Sandwich man?}. The sandwich is named after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich.

33d Raes {Explorer John and actress Charlotte}. John Rae (1813–1893) and Charlotte Rae.

38d Rau {Former German president Johannes}. Johannes Rau (1931–2006) was President of Germany from 1 July 1999, until 30 June 2004.

59d sala {Part of una casa}. room = sala is in Español para los crucigramistas.

Image of the Day

Myron's Discobolus

32a Myron {Ancient Greek sculptor of athletes}. Myron, working circa 480-440 BC, was an Athenian sculptor from the mid-fifth century BC. He was born in Eleutherae on the borders of Boeotia and Attica. According to Pliny's Natural History, Ageladas of Argos was his teacher. The traveller Pausanias noted sculptures by Myron that remained in situ in the second century CE. Chionis, a seventh century Olympic victor from Sparta was commemorated in an idealized bronze by Myron. He worked almost exclusively in bronze, and though he made some statues of gods and heroes, his fame rested principally upon his representations of athletes, in which he made a revolution, according to commentators in Antiquity, by introducing greater boldness of pose and a more perfect rhythm, subordinating the parts to the whole. Above is the Townley Discobolus ("discus thrower") at the British Museum, one of the extant copies of a Myron sculpture whose bronze original has been lost.

Other Clues

5a Amana {Brand name in the kitchen}; 10a a tee {Suit to ___}; 14a Ares {Bellicose deity}; 15a goner {One who's "toast"}; 16a than {Comparison word}; 19a aero {Sleek, in car talk}; 20a I Do! I Do! {1966 Mary Martin musical}; 21a admirals {Fleet elite}; 23a neocon {Ex-lib, maybe}; 24a on it {"I'm ___!" ("Can do!")}; 37a tripe {Hogwash}; 39a talon {Eagle's claw}; 41a mer {Place for une île}; 43a hedge {Use weasel words}; 44a sane {All there}; 46a uses {Makes a cat's-paw of}; 47a sss {Sizzling sound}; 53a jovial {Good-humored}; 58a isotopes {Carbon 14 and uranium 235}; 62a Omen II {Subtitle of 1978's "Damien"}; 63a mako {Shark on some menus}; 66a Olen {Pulitzer-winning author Robert ___ Butler}; 67a Circe {Homeric sorceress}; 68a tree {Word with family or fruit}; 70a eased {Made bearable}; 71a stds. {Criteria: Abbr.}.

1d Sabin {Oral vaccine developer}; 2d a ride {Take for ___ (hoodwink)}; 3d me too {Copycat's cry}; 7d Anna {Wintour of fashion}; 8d need {More than desire}; 10d Atari {Game maker since 1972}; 11d theatrics {Courtroom antics, e.g.}; 13d Enos {Fourth book of the Book of Mormon}; 18d Edom {Esau's descendants' land}; 22d instr. {Brass or woodwind: Abbr.}; 26d no MSG {Chinese menu notation}; 27d I hear {Start of a rumor report}; 30d épée {Tool for a duel}; 35d nog {Creamy beverage}; 40d neato! {"Cool!"}; 45d enjoyed {Ate up, so to speak}; 52d atone {Thing to do on Yom Kippur}; 54d vests {Endows (with)}; 55d inert {Hard to combine, chemically}; 56d ailed {Was indisposed}; 57d Life's {Thomas Hardy's "___ Little Ironies"}; 58d I'm OK {"Don't worry about me"}; 60d Elia {London Magazine essayist}; 61d SLRs {Some cameras, for short}; 65d BCE {Pre-A.D.}.


Daniel Myers said...

The OED - in its list of orthographical variants of "smoky" - has "smokey" as "common in U.S." but only in sense 9 (associated with tobacco). Indeed, none of the US authors they cite (Franklin, Emerson, etc.) spell it that way, and there's only one obscure "smokey" quote from 1893 in sense 9.

It's all a bit fuggy.:-)

Crossword Man said...

Interesting ... thanks. I'm still mulling over the OED2 options.

Magdalen said...

At dinner tonight, Henry said to tell you he was most appreciative of your video for "On Top of Old Smok[e]y" -- but I think it's a swiz. Everyone in the US knows the only parody worth referencing is the one dealing with spaghetti. And a lone meatball, if I recall correctly.

Crossword Man said...

OK, I found the Spaghetti Song ... enjoy.