Tuesday, July 20, 2010

NYT Wednesday 7/21/10 Oliver Hill - Cut Up

This Wednesday New York Times crossword has a great idea and is brilliantly executed. I'm sure broken hearts must have appeared in crosswords many times, but almost always as jumbles. Here the hearts are "broken" by a black square (or squares) in the middle, which is probably more true to the idiom.

broken heartsOf course I wasn't aware of this feature until I got 4/5ths of the way down the grid and noticed 57-Across. Up to this point it had been very smooth sailing as I swept through the grid and all the broken hearts were already in place. I admire the way each break is different, the difficulty of dealing with the HEA/RT case of a single split being worked around by having the central answer split in two places. Cool beans!

The cluing seemed very straightforward today, giving the puzzle the feel of a Tuesday one. Of course I can't judge how difficult the 'Allo 'Allo! reference at 64-Across might be to Americans. That was one of my favorite shows from a distinguished writing team: I might easily have got it with no crossings, but I think I already had the last letter before noticing the clue.
Solving time: 8 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 17a scads {A heap}
Solution

Oliver Hill
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

HEART is concealed in four rows of the puzzle, each time broken by one or two black squares, as suggested by 57a broken heart {Lover's woe ... or something found, literally, in the 4th, 5th, 8th and 11th rows of this puzzle}.
20a catastrophe {Disaster}; 23a art {Skill}.
24a Leah {Woman's name meaning "weary" in Hebrew}; 25a earthly {Of this world}.
38a neath {Bard's "below"}; 40a ear {Place to put a bud}; 42a tenth {Like J in the alphabet}.
51a mishear {Experience a mondegreen, e.g.}; 54a task {Agenda unit}.
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersOliver Hill / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.79)
Theme squares63 (33.7%)
Scrabble points298 (average 1.59)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



64a 'Allo {When doubled, popular 1980s-'90s British sitcom}. Ah, yes, a great favorite in its day. 'Allo 'Allo! is a British sitcom broadcast on BBC1 from 1982 to 1992 comprising eighty-five episodes. It is a parody of Secret Army and was created by David Croft, who also wrote the theme music, and Jeremy Lloyd. Lloyd and Croft were also responsible for the popular sitcom Are You Being Served?. In 2004, Allo 'Allo came 13th in Britain's Best Sitcom.

The Doctor is IN

14a vici {End of a boast}. Reference to Julius Caesar's veni vidi vici.

2d orca {Filmdom's Willy, for one}. Reference to Free Willy (1993) and sequels.

9d Ali {The Greatest}. I.e. Muhammad Ali.

15d inhaul {Rope for pulling a sail}. For excruciating detail on inhaul(er)s etc, see this explanation of the terms used in rigging.

Image of the Day

Gladly the Cross-Eyed Bear

51a mishear {Experience a mondegreen, e.g.}. A mondegreen is the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase, typically a standardized phrase such as a line in a poem or a lyric in a song, due to near homophony, in a way that gives it a new meaning. American writer Sylvia Wright coined the term in her essay "The Death of Lady Mondegreen," published in Harper's Magazine in November 1954. "Mondegreen" was included in the 2000 edition of the Random House Webster's College Dictionary. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary added the word in 2008. The term derives from a mishearing of "And laid him on the green" as And Lady Mondegreen.

The top three mondegreens submitted regularly to mondegreen expert Jon Carroll are:
  1. "Gladly, the cross-eyed bear (from the line in the hymn "Keep Thou My Way" by Fanny Crosby, "Kept by Thy tender care, gladly the cross I'll bear") Carroll and many others quote it as "Gladly the cross I'd bear".
  2. There's a bathroom on the right (the line at the end of each verse of "Bad Moon Rising" by Creedence Clearwater Revival: "There's a bad moon on the rise")
  3. 'Scuse me while I kiss this guy (from a lyric in the song "Purple Haze", by Jimi Hendrix: "'Scuse me while I kiss the sky").
Both Creedence's John Fogerty and Hendrix eventually capitalized on these mishearings and deliberately sang the "mondegreen" versions of their songs in concert.

Other Clues

1a Monet {"Impression, Sunrise" painter}; 6a OKs {Gives the thumbs-up}; 9a Antz {Dreamworks's first animated film}; 13a arena {Site of some rock shows}; 16a Lowe {Pitcher Derek}; 17a scads {A heap}; 18a élan {Flair}; 19a iris {Subject of many Georgia O'Keeffe paintings}; 27a boil {Swelter}; 30a Measure {Word before and after "for"}; 32a arr. {Airport info: Abbr.}; 33a Terp {Maryland athlete, for short}; 34a latkes {They're often eaten with applesauce}; 43a coquet {Flirtatious one}; 45a Rosa {See 53-Down}; 47a -ite {Suffix with Brooklyn}; 48a swept up {Made tidy, in a way}; 50a et al {Bibliographic abbr.}; 56a à la {___ carte}; 62a zinc {Brass component}; 65a Ionia {Alexander the Great conquered it ca. 335 B.C.}; 66a data {Appendices with some studies}; 67a teen {SAT taker, e.g.}; 68a put-on {Don}; 69a Adam {Genesis man}; 70a see {Date}; 71a stets {Editors' marks}.

1d masc. {Like bueno but not buena: Abbr.}; 3d neat! {"Cool beans!"}; 4d end-all {It's ultimate}; 5d tasse {French cup}; 6d over here! {"Psst!"}; 7d kilo- {Metric prefix}; 8d scapes {Pretty vistas, for short}; 10d Norah {Singer Jones}; 11d twirl {Pirouette}; 12d zesty {Full of spice}; 21d tame {Lacking spice}; 22d errata {Mess-ups}; 26d tête {French bean?}; 27d banc {French bench}; 28d Oreo {Uh-Oh! ___ (Nabisco product)}; 29d Iraq {Where many a veteran has served}; 31d apart {Distinct}; 33d the web {Information superhighway}; 35d knit {Make a sweater, say}; 36d Etta {"At Last" singer James}; 37d Shel {Poet/illustrator Silverstein}; 39d tush {Rear}; 41d Route One {Slow alternative to I-95}; 44d tear at {Rip into}; 46d span {Breadth}; 49d proles {Lower class in "1984"}; 50d eke out {Manage}; 51d Mazda {Protegé, for one}; 52d Iliad {Poem with approximately 16,000 lines}; 53d Santa {With 45-Across, largest city in California's wine country}; 55d ships {Sends by UPS, say}; 58d Klee {Painter Paul}; 59d ante {Chip or two, maybe}; 60d riot {Real knee-slapper}; 61d tans {Bronzes}; 63d cam {Video shooter, for short}.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mondegreens become even more interesting when a second language is involved. In Japan, fascinatingly, a whole branch of J-Pop / pop culture has developed, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soramimi

Crossword Man said...

I hadn't come across that aspect before. Theng Sanon!

Daniel Myers said...

Many thanks for the write-up on mondegreen, which I got from crossings, but of which I had never heard. Nor have the editors of the OED.:-)

Crossword Man said...

I first heard of mondegreens when they arrived in The Chambers Dictionary - I suspect the 2003 edition. It's got to be in OED3, right? which had done M to rococoesque as of last month ... happily the right range for mondegreen.