Saturday, June 5, 2010

NYT Sunday 6/6/10 - About Face

Well we were tipped off that this Sunday New York Times crossword would involve some non-standard typography and even given a link to an online PDF version. That seemed to go live a bit prematurely, but I resisted the temptation to get started ahead of the usual 6pm EST kickoff and we eventually tackled the puzzle over dinner on Saturday evening.

It was soon clear that the unorthodoxy was in the clues and not the grid: capital punishment at 23-Across pointed the way and the only theme clues that gave us any trouble at all were 101-Across Roman candles, as that looked to us to be in a fixed width font such as Courier; and 118-Across which we originally had as strike out swinging. These minor issues were both resolved very easily.

We also had few problems with the non-theme aspects: if we took longer than usual, that was probably down to the difficulties of solving at the same time as trying to eat a pizza ... and of seeing the smaller than usual print in the gloom of an ill-lit restaurant. We did have 1-Across as look up to start with, until crossings ruled that out and we eventually kicked ourselves over the actual answer; neither of us had heard of Melanie Oudin before, though since she's rapidly climbing the tennis rankings and is now No. 31 in the world, we should perhaps be paying her more attention.
Solving time: 45 mins (with Magdalen, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 89a felt {Pool surface}
Solution

Daniel A. Finan
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

"Typecasting". Phrases that start with the name of a typeface (or type style) are indicated by cluing the second part only, presented in that typeface. In the print version and PDF file provided online, you can see the intended implementation of the idea; other online versions indicate the unrealizable typefaces in square brackets and that's what I've used below.
23a capital punishment {JAIL OR FINE}
37a slanted views {Perspectives [in italics]}
59a shadow-boxing {Putting in a carton [repeated underneath in gray]}
79a script-writer {Wordsmith [in cursive]}
101a Roman candles {Birthday cake toppers [in standard serif type]}
118a struck out swinging {Couple-swapping [with a line through it]}
16d bold statement {Assertion [in extra-dark type]}
58d Gothic fiction {Untruths [in medieval-looking type]}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersDaniel A. Finan / Will Shortz
Grid21x21 with 69 (15.6%) black squares
Answers140 (average length 5.31)
Theme squares108 (29.0%)
Scrabble points574 (average 1.54)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



61d war {It's good for "absolutely nothing" according to a 1970 hit}. War is a soul song written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for the Motown label in 1969. Whitfield first produced the song — a blatant anti-Vietnam War protest — with The Temptations as the original vocalists. After Motown began receiving repeated requests to release War as a single, Whitfield re-recorded the song with Edwin Starr as the vocalist, deciding to withhold the Temptations' version so as not to alienate their more conservative fans. Starr's version of War was a number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1970, and is not only the most successful and well-known record of his career, but is also one of the most popular protest songs ever recorded. Its power was reasserted when Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band took their rendition into the U.S. Top 10 in 1986.

The Doctor is IN

1a ACROSS {See above}. Since this clue immediately follows the label for the ACROSS clues, the constructor grasped this rare cluing opportunity.

28a slurs {Staff connections}. Referencing slurs in music, which connect notes, indicating they should be played without separation.

42a Seattle {Sound city}. Theory 1: a reference to Seattle being on Puget Sound; theory 2: a reference to the Seattle sound, another name for grunge music. Any ideas readers?

68a GMAT {Exam for a Wharton applicant: Abbr.}. GMAT = Graduate Management Admission Test, part of the selection criteria for admission into graduate business administration programs.

83a TDs {Results of some rushes, for short}. Rushes in American football can lead to touchdowns.

89a felt {Pool surface}. felt is a misnomer, as the playing area of a pool table is made of cloth.

91a Deeres {Some riding mowers}. Magdalen and I have a mixed marriage: I drive a green and yellow John Deere lawn tractor and Magdalen drives a blue Ford New Holland farm tractor.

2d Chapala {Mexico's largest lake}. Lake Chapala, 45 km southeast of Guadalajara, Jalisco, is Mexico's largest lake.

40d Webbs {"Our Town" family}. Our Town is a three-act play by Thornton Wilder.

72d DLR {Abbr. on some license plates}. Refers to the special "dealer plates" issued in some states - these include the abbreviation DLR in some manner.

106d DNC {Leadership org. opposed to the G.O.P.}. DNC = Democratic National Committee.

Image of the Day

Yankees logo made out of tulips


14d Yankees {Team whose logo features a bat in a hat}. I had a bit of a duh moment with this one: I could only think of the logo with the N and Y interlaced and wondered how on earth that could represent a bat (as in the flying mammal) in a hat. When I looked at what Wikipedia had by way of explanation, I realized the above logo was intended, which I have seen before (but certainly not as much as the Yankees' other insignia).

The bat in the hat logo, created in 1947 by sports artist Henry Alonzo Keller, consists of "Yankees" against a baseball, written in red script with a red bat forming the vertical line of the K, an Uncle Sam hat hanging from the barrel. The logo was slightly changed over the years, with the current version first appearing in the 1970s. Family members of 21 Club artist Sam Friedman claim, however, that Mr. Friedman created the primary logo for Dan Topping, then co-owner of the team, on a bar napkin in 1947. The above rendition was made out of tulips at the Keukenhof gardens in the Netherlands.

Other Clues

7a icier {Slicker, in a way}; 12a as ye {"... so long ___ both shall live?"}; 16a BSA {Youth grp.}; 19a charge {Bit of excitement}; 20a manga {Japanese comics style}; 21a an ax {Have ___ to grind}; 22a ows {Cries of a toe-stubber}; 26a lip {Edge}; 27a ups {Grown-___}; 29a Spacek {"Carrie" star}; 30a CDVI {Year Attila the Hun was born}; 31a rate {Figure on an electric bill}; 33a Noth {Chris ___, player of Mr. Big on "Sex and the City"}; 35a sore loser {Excuse maker, maybe}; 43a Eartha {Kitt who sang "Santa Baby"}; 44a Cheeta {Tarzan's simian sidekick}; 47a sit a {___ spell}; 48a Ricci {Actress Christina}; 51a Bruce {Lee who got a kick out of acting?}; 53a not so! {"You are mistaken!"}; 56a dog {Trail}; 63a Neet {Bygone name in hair removal}; 64a aroma {Salivation cause}; 66a liras {Turkish money}; 67a dry {___ spell}; 69a yeti {Himalayan legend}; 70a utter {Come out with}; 71a CD-ROM {PC insert}; 73a -iere {French suffix}; 74a ughs {Critical comments}; 75a mea {___ culpa}; 76a Palau {2005 "Survivor" setting}; 77a inner {Not superficial}; 78a so it {"___ would seem"}; 84a encls. {Ltr. accompaniers}; 86a homie {Bro}; 87a nervy {Audacious}; 94a miasma {Noxious atmosphere}; 98a deities {Mercury and Saturn}; 104a recommend {Endorse}; 107a Sith {Jedi foes, in "Star Wars"}; 108a ails {Is indisposed}; 109a arte {Goya's field}; 110a Peanut {Mr. ___ of advertising}; 113a needs {Desiderata}; 116a Mai {Printemps month}; 117a Wii {2006 Nintendo debut}; 121a ELO {1976 album "Olé ___"}; 122a veer {Zig or zag}; 123a egret {It may be snowy}; 124a pile in {Board as a group}; 125a Ryn {Rembrandt van ___}; 126a Urdu {Language from which "loot" comes}; 127a sands {Smooths, in a way}; 128a stores {Stashes}.

1d accurse {Bedamn}; 3d rap star {Snoop, e.g.}; 4d or I {"... ___ quit!"}; 5d Sgts. {Pepper and Friday: Abbr.}; 6d seal {One clapping at a circus?}; 7d improv {Comedy specialty}; 8d caustic {Biting}; 9d Inn {Comfort ___}; 10d egis {Sponsorship: Var.}; 11d rasp {Not smooth-talk?}; 12d AAMCO {Company with a "beep-beep" in its ads}; 13d sneers {Responses of contempt}; 15d Ext. {No. after a no.}; 17d swivel {Turn 90 degrees, say}; 18d aspire {Have a goal}; 24d Lund {Bergman's role in "Casablanca"}; 25d has {Is sick with}; 30d cotton-gin {Separating machine}; 32d entr {___'acte}; 34d heh {Snicker part}; 36d lain {Reclined}; 38d this a {"Is ___ joke?"}; 39d each {For one}; 41d sero- {Prefix in hematology}; 45d tux {What a penguin doesn't really wear}; 46d acid rain {Deleterious precipitation}; 49d Caltech {Prestigious West Coast school, for short}; 50d Iditarod {Race that takes a northern trail in even years and a southern trail in odd years}; 52d en route {Neither here nor there?}; 54d seared {Prepared, as some tuna}; 55d otters {Warren : rabbits :: couch : ___}; 56d day use {A parking garage may have special pricing for it}; 57d Oregon {Home of the U.S.'s last active nickel mine}; 60d ore {Garnierite, for nickel}; 62d gym {Sweaters' place}; 65d mistletoe {Christmas hanging}; 70d ums {Sounds of hesitation}; 71d caw {Field call}; 76d ptero- {Wing: Prefix}; 77d Irvin {Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Michael}; 80d I Me {The Beatles' "___ Mine"}; 81d pier {It's on top of piles}; 82d Erma {Columnist Bombeck}; 85d slim {Dude ranch nickname}; 88d yada {When tripled, a "Seinfeld" catchphrase}; 90d tempter {Satan, with "the"}; 92d EMS {Ambulance letters}; 93d sainted {Like Joan of Arc}; 95d slimier {More like a slug}; 96d Melanie {U.S. tennis player Oudin}; 97d assigns {Gives, as homework}; 98d drawer {Chest part}; 99d eerily {How haunted houses creak}; 100d see red {Blow one's stack}; 102d N-tests {Bikini blasts}; 103d chew {Copenhagen, e.g.}; 105d Nauru {Country that's just 8 square miles in area}; 111d ukes {Island instruments, for short}; 112d toga {Classical attire}; 114d dips {Party bowlfuls}; 115d snit {State of ill humor}; 118d SVU {"Law & Order: ___"}; 119d urn {Ash holder}; 120d glo {Shine, in ads}.

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