Saturday, July 24, 2010

NYT Sunday 7/25/10 Alan Arbesfeld - Gish

There was no chance of solving this Sunday New York Times crossword with Magdalen today, as she has just flown off to Florida for a conference. I will in sole charge of the blog till she returns on Monday 26th.

corn on the Fourth of JulyI think today's is a record time for me, helped by a very early recognition of the theme. I noted the puzzle's title and had enough crossings to see the mutation from East of Eden to fast of Eden inside two minutes. Thereafter, I was fairly quick to recognize the theme answers with (mostly) very little to go on: for example, I got the longest at 67-Across purely on the basis of it starting corn, which filled a lot of squares for rather little effort.

The thematic clues mostly make perfect sense, but I haven't yet got a satisfactory explanation for {Bountiful harvest?} leading to dream of the crop. The clue as written would seem to be fine for dream of a crop; alternatively, you could give dream of the crop a clue like {Imagine harvest-time?}.

The hardest part for me was the area around the SW corner: I didn't help myself here by having deer for 77-Down, compounded by rungs at 97-Across. This held things up considerably until I worked up from the actual corner via ad hominem at 80-Down, and then realized where I'd gone wrong.

I was amused by 89d HOMES {Great Lakes mnemonic} ... I still remember the mnemonic I was taught which went "School Marmalade Hardly Ever Overflows". That has advantage of ordering the lakes from west to east. I'm not sure what the significance of the order suggested by HOMES is.
Solving time: 23 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 44d mope {Look down}

Alan Arbesfeld
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


"Up Starts". The letter at the start of a phrase is advanced one place in the alphabet, making a pun.
23a fast of Eden {Cause for Adam to refuse the apple?} cf East of Eden
28a tent packing {Precamping preparation?} cf sent packing
35a season to believe {Christmas, for Christians?} cf Reason to Believe
51a dream of the crop {Bountiful harvest?} cf cream of the crop
67a corn on the Fourth of July {Independence Day barbecue serving?} cf Born on the Fourth of July
86a hood for nothing {Unnecessary part of a jacket?} cf good-for-nothing
98a move me or leave me {Ultimatum from a spouse who wants nicer digs?} cf Love Me or Leave Me
106a nixing bowls {Refusing to watch football on New Year's Day?} cf mixing bowls
119a eating game {Nathan's annual hot-dog contest, e.g.?} cf Dating Game
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersAlan Arbesfeld / Will Shortz
Grid21x21 with 70 (15.9%) black squares
Answers140 (average length 5.30)
Theme squares121 (32.6%)
Scrabble points576 (average 1.55)
Video of the Day

68d Hawn {"Cactus Flower" Oscar winner} Cactus Flower is a 1969 comedy film directed by Gene Saks and starring Walter Matthau, Ingrid Bergman, and Goldie Hawn. The film is adapted from an earlier Broadway stage play, written by Abe Burrows, which in turn was based upon the French play Fleur de cactus. The film was the seventh highest grossing film of 1970. In her first major film role, Goldie Hawn won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, her sole Oscar to date.

The Doctor is IN

32a at a {One-time connection}. Reference to "one at a time".

45a TLC {Antique restorer's need, for short}. I.e. tender loving care.

46a USSR {Locale in a 1968 Beatles song}. Reference to Back in the U.S.S.R..

49a Attlee {British P.M. during the creation of Israel}. Clement Attlee (1883–1967), Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1945 to 1951.

74a Ayla {Auel heroine}. Ayla is the main character in Jean Auel's Earth's Children novels.

76a Ántonia {Girl in a Willa Cather title}. Reference to My Ántonia (1918), the final book of Willa Cather's "prairie trilogy" of novels.

85a assn. {P.T.A. member?: Abbr.}. "member" in the sense of part of the expansion of P.T.A., hence "Association".

1d effs {Pair of ruffians?}. "ruffians" has a pair of Fs, or effs, as the third and fourth letters.

2d prat {Rear end}. prat is an old slang word for the buttocks, as in a pratfall.

16d Éloi {Patron saint of goldsmiths}. Éloi is better known as Saint Eligius.

28d Talia {Shire in Hollywood}. Talia Shire plays e.g. Adrianna Balboa in the Rocky series (I to V).

42d Atri {Longfellow's bell town}. A reference to The Bell of Atri, set in Atri, Italy.

70d Joad {1940 Fonda role}. I.e. Tom Joad in John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath portrayed by Henry Fonda in the film adaption.

73d Yankee {Ruth, once}. Babe Ruth, of course.

79d Coco {First name in fashion}. Reference to Coco Chanel.

108d Xena {Lawless role}. Lawless = Xena portrayer Lucy is in Pavlov's Guide to Crosswords.

119d Eis {Winter hazard in Munich}. Eis is German for "ice".

Image of the Day
Glacier National Park

95d glacier {There's a national park named for one}. Glacier National Park is located in the U.S. state of Montana, bordering the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. The park encompasses over 1,000,000 acres (4,000 km2) and includes parts of two mountain ranges (sub-ranges of the Rocky Mountains), over 130 named lakes, more than 1,000 different species of plants and hundreds of species of animals. This vast pristine ecosystem is the centerpiece of what has been referred to as the "Crown of the Continent Ecosystem", a region of protected land encompassing 16,000 square miles (41,000 km2). Of the estimated 150 glaciers which existed in the park in the mid 1800s, only 25 active glaciers remained by 2010. Scientists studying the glaciers in the park have estimated that all the glaciers may disappear by 2030 if the current climate patterns persist.

Other Clues

1a Eppie {"Silas Marner" foundling}; 6a amps {They're schlepped on tours}; 10a Nigel {Bruce who played Watson in Sherlock Holmes films}; 15a peer {Equal}; 19a Fred Rogers {PBS figure from 1968 to 2001}; 21a oculi {Eyes}; 22a also {As well}; 24a nasal {Congested-sounding}; 25a rope {Weapon in Clue}; 26a stoa {Feature of some Greek buildings}; 27a fief {Feudal holding}; 30a GREs {Tests for srs.}; 34a ASCAP {BMI rival}; 41a claim {Alibi, e.g.}; 47a nibs {Beaks}; 48a that so? {"Really?"}; 55a tofu {Good source of protein}; 56a ʿAsīr {Saudi Arabian province}; 57a sloe {___ gin fizz}; 58a eine {Article in Die Zeit}; 59a Iron Man {Robert Downey Jr. title role}; 62a limo {Prom rental}; 65a apse {Place to pray}; 75a ecto- {Prefix with plasm}; 77a SPCA {Shelter grp.}; 81a hewn {Cut}; 83a lait {Serving with gâteau, maybe}; 90a at dusk {When streetlights go on}; 92a eschew {Refuse}; 93a toon {The Road Runner, for one}; 94a Eggo {Freezer brand}; 96a roe {Caviar}; 97a stool {Makeshift stepladder}; 102a monad {Single-celled organism}; 104a Esc {PC key}; 105a alti {Some chorus members}; 111a taco {Tijuana fare}; 113a Abel {Genesis victim}; 117a Omen {1970s-'80s horror film franchise, with "The"}; 118a aerie {Lofty retreat}; 121a pane {It may be framed}; 122a Ilene {___ Chaiken, creator and writer of "The L Word"}; 123a in regard to {Concerning}; 124a exam {Eye ___}; 125a older {Grayer, perhaps}; 126a sear {Scorch}; 127a gauss {Magnetic induction unit}.

3d peso {Coin with a profile of José María Morelos}; 4d ID tags {Conference clip-ons}; 5d -ero {Suffix with ranch}; 6d ageists {Ones prejudiced against 125-Across people}; 7d Mede {One subjugated by Cyrus the Great}; 8d prefab {Kind of housing, for short}; 9d SSN {1040 datum: Abbr.}; 10d none {Bar ___}; 11d I can {Self-motivational mantra}; 12d Gustav {Composer Mahler}; 13d elapse {Slip by}; 14d lilac {Eye shadow shade}; 15d Park Place {Property that costs $350}; 17d ESPN {Where to find "Baseball Tonight"}; 18d Roeg {Nicolas who directed "The Man Who Fell to Earth"}; 20d offense {Umbrage}; 29d cache {Treasure hunter's find}; 31d roué {See 110-Down}; 33d Tenerife {It's WNW of Grand Canary Island}; 35d static {Interference}; 36d El Toro {Figure at una corrida}; 37d act for {Represent}; 38d ords. {Municipal laws: Abbr.}; 39d IBM {Maker of the trivia-playing computer program Watson}; 40d esos {Those, in Toledo}; 43d is on {"The heat ___"}; 44d mope {Look down}; 48d the Son {Trinity component}; 50d Lunn {Sally ___ (teacake)}; 52d rile {Agitate}; 53d flat {Needing tuning, maybe}; 54d top hat {Mr. Peanut prop}; 56d antler {Hunting lodge decoration bit}; 60d moa {Bird that is no more}; 61d anyhow {"As I was saying ..."}; 63d moc {Casual slip-on, casually}; 64d outlines {Plans}; 66d eft {Young newt}; 69d roan {Alternative to chestnut}; 71d unsure {Hesitant}; 72d lissom {Willowy: Var.}; 77d shes {Does, say}; 78d post {Blog comment}; 80d ad hominem {Personal}; 82d no TV {Alternative to grounding}; 84d Iger {Media exec Robert}; 87d felon {Person with a serious conviction}; 88d toe {Sandal's lack}; 89d HOMES {Great Lakes mnemonic}; 90d agelong {Eternal}; 91d to a T {Perfectly}; 98d Ma Bell {Old phone company nickname}; 99d odored {Scented}; 100d octane {Station identification?}; 101d Viagra {Alternative to Cialis}; 103d Ngaio {Marsh of mysteries}; 106d nope {"Uh-uh"}; 107d IMAX {Big picture?}; 109d wine {Shiraz, for one}; 110d leer {Look from a 31-Down}; 112d Atra {Gillette product}; 114d Badu {"On&On" singer Erykah}; 115d EMTs {CPR experts}; 116d Leos {Some summer births}; 120d gag {Stand-up staple}.

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