Saturday, August 7, 2010

NYT Sunday 8/8/10 Pam Klawitter - Clue To A Clue

I like the thematic implementation of this Sunday New York Times crossword, but it certainly made for a challenging puzzle: nearly half the solving time had elapsed before I fully realized what was going on, and my solving time was a long one.

The interlinked nature of the long theme answers and the answers with circled letters made for a slow start, and I was puzzled that there were two styles of theme clue: one starting "See circled letters" and others starting with an ellipsis. With hindsight, maybe I was just a little dim about this.

Anyway, I made slowish progress at the start, working generally down the grid; I try to avoid a scattershot approach, but sometimes the difficulty of solving any clues means you need to hop around to get anywhere.

After 13 minutes, I made my first thematic clue-answer association when 39-Across was seen to be web giggle, corresponding to LOL embedded in 79-Down. It was only then that I realized the ellipses in the theme clues implied a repetition of "See circled letters" from the first one - presumably necessary to save space?

Progress was fairly good for a bit, now that I finally understood all aspects of the theme. The toughest part was around 70a RN specialty (which leads to TLC) - although I like that these clues to the three-letter answers are written very freely (as freely as a regular clue in an NYT puzzle), this one maybe takes that a bit too far?

Aunt May
Aunt May
Only one crossing gave me any doubts: 108a May intersecting with 100 Kyser. Here I just had to assume that the one common forename that fitted MA? would be correct and that we weren't dealing with a made-up name along the lines of Kara Zor-El. I figured that otherwise a crossing that obscure wouldn't have been allowed through the vetting process.

I admire another aspect of the theme, which I only noticed when doing this write-up: all the embedded 3-letter theme answers are abbreviations - presumably the constructor's self-imposed constraint and (given I didn't notice it) more of aesthetic than practical appeal.
Solving time: 34 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 81d sew {Singers do it}

Pam Klawitter
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


"3 × 8". Eight long entries are clues to the 3-letter abbreviations embedded in other answers, as indicated by circles.
22a telepath's gift {See circled letters in 96-Down} => ESP
39a web giggle {... in 79-Down} => LOL
61a "Lost" network {... in 13-Down} => ABC
70a RN specialty {... in 62-Down} => TLC
88a cash cache {... in 89-Down} => ATM
111a crime fighters {... in 1-Across} => FBI
16d promissory note {... in 65-Across} => IOU
50d espionage group {... in 48-Down} => CIA
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersPam Klawitter / Will Shortz
Grid21x21 with 73 (16.6%) black squares
Answers140 (average length 5.26)
Theme squares[not calculated]
Scrabble points552 (average 1.50)
Video of the Day

67a Aames {"Charles in Charge" co-star}. Charles in Charge was an American sitcom series which starred Scott Baio as Charles, a 19-year-old student at the fictional Copeland College in New Jersey, who worked as a live-in babysitter in exchange for room and board. Baio directed many episodes of the show, and was credited with his full name, Scott Vincent Baio. Willie Aames plays Charles' best friend, Buddence "Buddy" Lembeck.

It was first broadcast on CBS from October 3, 1984 to April 3, 1985, when it was canceled due to a struggle in the Nielsen ratings. It then had a more successful first-run syndication run from January 3, 1987 to December 22, 1990. 126 original episodes were aired in total. The show was produced by Al Burton Productions and Scholastic Productions in association with Universal Television.

The Doctor is IN

1a Fabian {One-named teen idol of the late '50s/early '60s}. Fabian rose to national prominence after performing several times on American Bandstand.

20a Tegrin {Bygone shampoo brand}. Tegrin was Block Drug's medicated shampoo for Psoriasis.

44a spilt {Like some proverbial milk}. Reference to "it's no use crying over spilt milk".

75a Ain {River to the Rhône}. The Ain is a river in eastern France.

108a May {Spider-Man's aunt}. The orphaned Peter Parker alias Spider-Man is raised by Aunt May and Uncle Ben.

116a Eunice {One of the Kennedys}. I.e. Eunice Kennedy Shriver DSG (1921–2009).

5d Alph {River in "Kubla Khan"}. Alph is mentioned in line 3 of Kubla Khan: "Where Alph, the sacred river, ran".

9d tri- {Cycle attachment?}. Referencing tri- as a prefix in tricycle.

33d Dillon {TV marshal who frequents the Long Branch Saloon}. Marshal Matt Dillon, played by James Arness in the TV version of Gunsmoke.

81d sew {Singers do it}. Singer = sewing machine had better go into Pavlov's Guide to Crosswords.

86d Chiefs {Arrowhead Stadium team}. I.e. the Kansas City Chiefs.

94d Fidel {Leader succeeded by his brother Raúl}. Fidel Castro and Raúl Castro.

100d Kyser {Orchestra leader Kay}. Kay Kyser (1905–1985) was a popular bandleader and radio personality of the 1930s and 1940s.

112d IPA {Pronunciation guide std.}. IPA = International Phonetic Alphabet.

Image of the Day

Washington Mews, New York, NY
Washington Mews, New York, NY
87a mews {Row of stables, in Britain}. Mews is a chiefly British term formerly describing a row of stables, usually with carriage houses below and living quarters above, built around a paved yard or court, or along a street, behind large city houses, such as those of London, during the 17th and 18th centuries. The word may also refer to the lane, alley or back street onto which such stables open. It is sometimes applied to rows or groups of garages or, more broadly, to a narrow passage or a confined place. Today most mews stables have been converted into dwellings, some greatly modernised and considered highly desirable residences.

The term mews is plural in form but singular in construction, and arose from "mews" in the sense of a building where birds used for falconry are kept. Originating in London, its use has spread to parts of Canada and the United States (see, for example, Washington Mews in Greenwich Village, New York City - pictured above).

Other Clues

7a retro {Fashionably nostalgic}; 12a made par {Came out even, in a way}; 19a Apollo {God who killed the dragon Python four days after his birth}; 21a obverse {Heads}; 24a Barron's {Dow Jones publication}; 25a axe {Can}; 26a hire on {Join the crew}; 27a folic {Kind of acid found in spinach}; 29a Smee {Hook's right-hand man}; 30a Herr {Frankfurt term of address}; 32a ramrod {Demanding overseer}; 34a Ilie {Tennis's Nastase}; 36a IRT {New York subway inits.}; 37a so as {In order (to)}; 42a mess {Teen's room, stereotypically}; 46a Lett {Dweller on the Baltic}; 47a dbls. {Two-baggers: Abbr.}; 48a meeters {People holding signs at airports}; 51a Poles {Dwellers on the Baltic}; 53a reason {Why}; 55a Alsace {Noted wine region}; 56a capos {Underworld bosses}; 57a soar {Take off}; 58a Rea {Stephen of "The Musketeer"}; 60a raps {Does some freestyling}; 63a YSL {Big letters in fashion}; 64a CSI {CBS show with Laurence Fishburne}; 65a pious {Very reverent}; 68a Nth {Mathematical ordinal}; 69a I to {"What was ___ think?"}; 74a soli {Star turns}; 76a one's {___ place}; 77a Asics {New Balance competitor}; 78a plater {Flatware finisher}; 80a caster {Furniture mover}; 82a stats {On-base percentage and others}; 83a soonest {At the earliest opportunity}; 84a Geer {Will of "The Waltons"}; 85a Boca {Florida city, for short}; 86a child {Word with love or honey}; 91a LANs {Telecom hookups}; 94a fog {Highway hazard}; 95a tear {Spree}; 97a stairs {Inside flight}; 99a lack {Mane, for a female lion, e.g.}; 101a in re {Concerning}; 103a stead {Lieu}; 106a operas {Gluck works}; 109a diorite {Igneous rock}; 114a Ecuador {Home to Mount Chimborazo}; 115a tapirs {Brachyodont perissodactyls}; 117a laptops {Some carry-on items}; 118a iMacs {Apple purchases}; 119a sitter {Tot tender}.

1d Fatah {Palestinian party}; 2d apexes {Climbers' goals}; 3d Bolero {1928 musical composition originally called "Fandango"}; 4d Île {Québec's Grosse-___}; 6d no air {Tiring problem for bicyclists?}; 7d resorb {Soak back in}; 8d eggnog {Drink from a bowl}; 10d riff {Jazz phrase}; 11d onto {Aware of}; 12d mobile {Art installation}; 13d abaci {They can always be counted on}; 14d DVR {TiVo, for one, in brief}; 15d -eers {Relative of -ists}; 17d Asners {Actor Ed and family}; 18d reset {Microwave button}; 20d the Met {Lincoln Center institution}; 23d trawls {Bottom-fishes}; 28d lilt {Melodic speech}; 31d Rastas {Some Jamaicans, for short}; 35d embarks {Sets off}; 38d spec {Job detail}; 40d geese {Silly ones}; 41d GTs {Some sporty cars}; 43d Els {P.G.A.'s Ernie}; 45d ire {Heat source?}; 47d Deare {"The Wreck of the Mary ___"}; 48d Marcia {Cross of "Desperate Housewives"}; 49d elastic {Band composition}; 51d passé {Not in}; 52d opt {Make a choice}; 53d roomy {Like a successful dieter's clothes}; 54d Nestlés {Candy giant, informally}; 56d coups {Brilliant successes}; 57d swats {Goes for, as a fly}; 59d Al Hirt {Jazz great nicknamed Jumbo}; 61d loser {#2 or #3}; 62d talcs {Rash remedies}; 65d protest {Boycott, e.g.}; 66d inner {___ peace}; 71d catch! {"Coming at you!"}; 72d Isaacs {Jason who plays Lucius Malfoy in Harry Potter films}; 73d ait {River island}; 74d sandal {It has a bottom but no top}; 78d poi {Don Ho fan fare?}; 79d loll {Laze}; 82d SOS {"Mamma Mia!" song}; 83d Sherri {Shepherd of "The View"}; 85d bare {Unadorned}; 87d Monica {One of the friends on "Friends"}; 88d caters {Works a wedding, maybe}; 89d atomic {Wee}; 90d capers {Heists}; 92d name it! {"Anything you say!"}; 93d scarce {"Make yourself ___"}; 96d estop {Prevent}; 98d sages {Wise ones}; 102d erat {Part of Q.E.D.}; 104d Act I {Theater opening}; 105d dram {60 grains}; 107d Shui {Feng ___}; 110d I do {Swear words in a swearing-in}; 113d TNT {Cause of a big bang}.


Jason said...

Glad to see that MEWS made the puzzle today. Probably was a given for you?

Crossword Man said...

Yes Jason, mews was definitely a gimme ... tho as you can see from the image, they're not unknown in the USA.