Sunday, August 1, 2010

NYT Monday 8/2/10 Diane Baker van Hoff - Movie Mania?

I found this Monday New York Times crossword about average in difficulty: the thematic aspects were the most puzzling, due to the last words being misplaced. That threw me off my stride a bit and I hoped there'd be an explanatory clue somewhere ... it feels like a joke is being played on us but where's the punchline?

Two of the three theme answers derive from titles I knew were movies and I wondered if the third fit that pattern too: almost, but not quite, since Speed of Light (2007) has no definite article at the front.

I clearly benefited from my recent visit to Valley Forge as 22-Down {Mrs. George Washington} was now a gimme and wouldn't have been a year ago; apparently Martha was at Valley Forge during the infamous winter and was helpful in keep up morale. I'm getting to the stage where I know almost all the US historical references this early in the week.

Also interesting to see mention of Marc Cohn at 25-Across so soon after his last outing. Magdalen is a big fan and one of my last favors for her before she flew down to Florida was to purchase and iPodize his latest album Listening Booth: 1970. Followers of Magdalen's commentaries on the NPR Sunday Puzzles will be glad to know she's due back tomorrow, in time for the Thursday blog post.
Solving time: 5 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 56d lab {"Chocolate" dog}
Solution

Diane Baker van Hoff
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

Phrases of the form THE X OF Y, with the Ys shuffled round:
17a The Speed of Music {Tempo?} cf the speed of light
37a The Sound of Money {Ka-ching?} cf The Sound of Music
55a The Color of Light {Spectrum?} cf The Color of Money
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersDiane Baker van Hoff / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 34 (15.1%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.90)
Theme squares45 (23.6%)
Scrabble points297 (average 1.55)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



48a Bert {"Sesame Street" character with a unibrow}. Sesame Street 101: Bert is a Muppet on the Public Broadcasting Service's long-running children's television show. Bert was originally performed by Frank Oz. Since 2001, Muppeteer Eric Jacobson has been phased in as Bert's primary performer. Bert has made appearances within the Muppets franchise, including The Muppet Show and The Muppets Take Manhattan. He and his roommate Ernie form a comic duo that is one of the program's centerpieces, with Bert acting the world-weary foil to Ernie's naive trouble-maker.

Bert, though intelligent, is also grumpy, boring and easily frustrated. He enjoys activities such as paper clip and bottle cap collecting, cooking oatmeal and watching pigeons. In one sketch, Bert reads a book called "Boring Stories" and chuckles, "Boy, these Boring Stories are really exciting!" In the book Sesame Street Unpaved, Frank Oz says, "I was never really happy with Bert's character until about a year in, when I realized... that he was a very boring character, and I'd use that weakness as a strength for him."

The Doctor is IN

32d sayest {"Thou ___" (Jesus' response to Pilate)}. A reference to Luke 23:3, the question being "Art thou the King of the Jews?".

Image of the Day

The Kiss - live statues
The Kiss - live statues
33a Rodin {"The Kiss" sculptor}. The Kiss is an 1889 marble sculpture by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin. Like many of Rodin's best-known individual sculptures, including The Thinker, the embracing couple depicted in the sculpture appeared originally as part of a group of reliefs decorating Rodin's monumental bronze portal The Gates of Hell, commissioned for a planned museum of art in Paris. The couple were later removed from the Gates and replaced with another pair of lovers located on the smaller right-hand column. Above is a tribute with "live statues".

Other Clues

1a abed {Sleeping, say}; 5a stood {Got up}; 10a rest {Sleep}; 14a Ravi {Sitarist Shankar}; 15a tilde {Squiggle over an "n"}; 16a olla {___ podrida (spicy stew)}; 20a canter {Gait faster than a trot}; 21a inept {Bumbling}; 22a Mae {Fannie ___}; 25a Cohn {Marc who sang "Walking in Memphis"}; 26a wed {Marry}; 27a all rise {Cry when a judge enters a courtroom}; 29a con {Swindle}; 30a CBS {"60 Minutes" network}; 34a Karl {Bush adviser Rove}; 36a Nala {Simba's love in "The Lion King"}; 40a hark! {"Listen!"}; 41a rods {Fishing poles}; 42a ovine {Sheeplike}; 43a ass {Idiot}; 44a sit {Perch}; 45a strands {DNA units}; 47a Los {___ Alamos, N.M.}; 49a est. {Inexact fig.}; 50a sagas {Long, drawn-out stories}; 53a radial {Like the arms of a starfish}; 60a A-one {Top-notch}; 61a annul {Cancel}; 62a peer {Look out a window, say}; 63a byes {What top seeds often get at the starts of tournaments}; 64a baste {Moisten while cooking}; 65a sexy {Alluring}.

1d Art {Linkletter who hosted TV's "House Party"}; 2d bah {"___! Humbug!"}; 3d Eve {She raised Cain}; 4d disc {Kind of brake}; 5d stenos {Shorthand takers}; 6d tie the knot {Marry}; 7d olden {Ancient}; 8d odor {Skunk's defense}; 9d def. {Dict. offering}; 10d round {Quarterfinals or semifinals}; 11d else {Something ___ (a lulu)}; 12d slip {Err}; 13d tact {Saying "I'm not sure that dress looks perfect on you," e.g.}; 18d Pacino {"Scarface" star Al}; 19d mien {Bearing}; 22d Martha {Mrs. George Washington}; 23d alohas {Hawaiian greetings}; 24d elders {Tribal advisers, typically}; 26d wolf {Gobble (down)}; 28d risk {Hazard}; 29d crossed out {Put X's over}; 30d canine {Tooth next to a premolar}; 31d blends {Mixes}; 35d add {Total (up)}; 36d nova {Bright star}; 38d Uris {Leon who wrote "Exodus"}; 39d mortal {Human}; 44d so-so {Mediocre}; 46d trifle {Play (with)}; 47d laces {Spikes, as a drink}; 48d barns {Buildings with lofts}; 50d stab {Knife}; 51d ahoy {Greeting to a matey}; 52d gene {DNA element}; 53d Rona {Author Jaffe}; 54d lips {They're kissable}; 56d lab {"Chocolate" dog}; 57d gee {"___ whiz!"}; 58d hex {Put a spell on}; 59d try {Hear, as a case}.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hadn't realized the theme was 'movies' until I finished the whole puzzle. A bit tricky.

Crossword Man said...

I wasn't 100% sure the constructor had movies in mind ... hence the question mark at the end of the post title!