Sunday, September 19, 2010

NYT Monday 9/20/10 Bernice Gordon - Extras

I nearly came a cropper with the theme of this New York Times crossword, only knowing one out of the four (i.e. Glenn Close) personalities used for the puns. Is that just down to the peculiarities of my background or are one or two of them more obscure than usual for a Monday?

An Ipswich landmark
An Ipswich landmark
My ignorance didn't hurt much except for the NW corner, where the first and fourth letters of the forename had the harder crossings 1d Dr. J {Nickname of a 6'7" former basketball great} and 4d pen {Cross or Parker}. After finishing most of the grid in an average time of 5 minutes, I then spent another 2 minutes working on about four squares at the top left, trying to weigh the probabilities.

Eventually I realized 4d refers to pens and not people (I wondered if Ben might be the answer there), having heard of Parker (a popular brand in the UK) but not Cross (which I doubt has a UK presence). That confirmed my hunch of drop at 1a and having got that far, only Dr. J/Jean seemed at all likely.

44a Ipswich {Capital of Suffolk, England} gave me no trouble, but I'm not really happy with "capital", which is wrong except in the broadest possible sense: county town is the correct term. Would you get upset with me for calling Riverhead the capital of Suffolk County? Yes, I thought so.
Solving time: 7 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 29d Morse {Man with a code}
Solution

Bernice Gordon
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

's is added to someone's forename, making a pun:
17a Jean's smart {"Designing Women" actress is intelligent?} cf Jean Smart
50a Chic's young {"Blondie" cartoonist is not old?} cf Chic Young
11d Glenn's close {"Fatal Attraction" actress is nearby?} cf Glenn Close
25d Grace's slick {"White Rabbit" singer is smooth?} cf Grace Slick
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersBernice Gordon / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 34 (15.1%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 5.03)
Theme squares44 (23.0%)
Scrabble points307 (average 1.61)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



25d Grace's slick {"White Rabbit" singer is smooth?}; 12d Alice {Girl who went through a looking glass}. I admit not spotting this link until looking up Grace Slick to find she was one of the lead singers of the American psychedelic rock group Jefferson Airplane. White Rabbit is from their 1967 album Surrealistic Pillow. It was released as a single and became the band's second top ten success, peaking at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100.

One of Grace Slick's earliest songs, White Rabbit was written during either late 1965 or early 1966 and includes comparisons of the hallucinatory effects of psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin mushrooms with the imagery found in the fantasy works of Lewis Carroll: 1865's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its 1871 sequel Through the Looking-Glass. Events in these books, such as changing size after eating mushrooms or drinking an unknown liquid, are referenced in the song. Characters referenced include Alice, the hookah-smoking caterpillar, the White Knight, the Red Queen, and the Dormouse.

The Doctor is IN

32a Chi {The Windy City, for short}. Chi is an abbreviation for Chicago, aka Chi-Town.

1d Dr. J {Nickname of a 6'7" former basketball great}. I.e. Julius Erving.

18d Saint {Superdome player}. The New Orleans Saints play in the Louisiana Superdome.

Image of the Day

pen collection

4d pen {Cross or Parker}. A. T. Cross is an American brand of fountain pens and other writing instruments, founded in 1846 in Providence, Rhode Island. It manufactures ball-point pens, fountain pens, and mechanical pencils. In addition they produce a range of other luxury goods such as watches, desk accessories and leather goods. The Parker Pen Company is a manufacturer of pens, founded in 1888 by George Safford Parker in Janesville, Wisconsin. It is currently owned by Newell Rubbermaid. See if you can spot the two Crosses and three Parkers in the collection above (click on the picture to access the one with annotations).

Other Clues

1a drop {Plunge}; 5a baser {More dishonorable}; 10a a gas {"What ___!" ("That was fun!")}; 14a rave {"I loved, loved, loved that!" review}; 15a Accra {Capital of Ghana}; 16a Ella {Fitzgerald who sang "A-Tisket A-Tasket"}; 19a rein {Bridle part}; 20a ahem {"Excuse me ..."}; 21a fiancé {Husband-to-be}; 23a doggies {Little pooches}; 27a vintner {Person producing Bordeaux or Beaujolais}; 28a errand {What a gofer is sent on}; 29a minces {Takes little steps}; 30a leapt {Jumped}; 31a Wonka {Willy with a chocolate factory}; 35a voce {Viva ___}; 36a darns {Does some mending}; 37a glad {Pleased}; 38a -ese {Suffix with Siam}; 39a gutsy {Daring}; 40a Moore {Roger who played 007}; 41a stance {Batter's position}; 43a siesta {It might produce a snore in Sonora}; 44a Ipswich {Capital of Suffolk, England}; 46a possess {Hold}; 47a polite {Saying "Please" and "How do you do?," say}; 48a taut {Tense}; 49a Odin {Chief Norse god}; 56a dice {Chop up}; 57a Aimée {Anouk of le cinéma}; 58a Asia {Mongols' home}; 59a Saks {Fifth Avenue landmark}; 60a peers {Lords and ladies}; 61a kept {Retained}.

2d Rae {"Norma ___"}; 3d ova {Eggs}; 5d bashed {Clobbered}; 6d acmes {Topmost points}; 7d scam {Many an e-mail "click here" offer}; 8d err {Go astray}; 9d ratfinks {Squealers}; 10d aerate {Infuse with carbon dioxide}; 13d saner {Less addled}; 22d Inca {Machu Picchu resident}; 23d delve {Look (into)}; 24d Oreos {Cookies in a box lunch}; 26d gape {Open the mouth wide}; 27d Vinny {"My cousin" in a 1992 film}; 29d Morse {Man with a code}; 31d watch {Keep an eye on}; 33d harts {Mates for does}; 34d ideas {Notions}; 36d dunce cap {Corner sitter's headwear}; 37d goes {"Anything ___"}; 39d gait {Trot or canter}; 40d misty {Like eyes when you're getting nostalgic, maybe}; 42d twines {Twists and turns, as a tendril}; 43d souses {Drunkards}; 44d iPods {Products for music downloads}; 45d podia {Speakers' places}; 46d pacer {Nervous person in a hospital waiting room, perhaps}; 48d time {Use a stop clock on}; 51d hie {Hurry}; 52d oak {"Mighty" fine home for a squirrel?}; 53d use {"What's the ___?"}; 54d nip {Tuck's partner}; 55d gat {Gangster's gun}.

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