Sunday, September 26, 2010

NYT Monday 9/27/10 Janice M. Putney - Blogged Down

eyelashesThis Monday New York Times crossword didn't take me very long; and I like the thematic implementation (nice to have five theme entries over 63 squares), which I had no problem recognizing involved baseball. The one theme answer that slowed me down was 51a bats an eyelash {Reacts slightly} as I think of the idiom as involving an eyelid ... is it possible to bat a single eyelash?

By comparison, the blogging process seems to taking forever - one of those days when the right video clip is really hard to come by. I wanted to feature 29a she {"Here ___ comes, Miss America"}, but completely failed to track that down. People seem to believe if comes from the Bernie Wayne theme song, but that always uses the wording "There she is Miss America". If you know how the wording in the clue originated, please let me know!

Failing on that one, I considered The Church Lady (41-Down) and Sha Na Na (63-Down), but I think I've featured both before and the available YouTube material really does neither justice ... Justice! Instead of making Elena Kagan my Image of the Day, my original intention, I'll make her the Video of the Day. Luckily I found a suitably short and sweet clip for her pronto.

My difficulties in remembering Kagan's forename today is a reminder that I definitely need to brush up on my US history and civics in time for the USCIS naturalization interview and test, which has been scheduled for October 29. I probably won't get asked about Elena, but I'm definitely expected to know there are nine Supreme Court Justices and that John G. Roberts is the Chief Justice.
Solving time: 5 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 52d aisle {Window or middle alternative}
Solution

Janice M. Putney
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

Theme

Long answers start with what a baseball player does.
17a pitches a fit {Shows petulant anger}
23a catches a break {Gets lucky}
40a fields a question {Doesn't stonewall, say}
51a bats an eyelash {Reacts slightly}
63a steals a kiss {Shows affection unexpectedly}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersJanice M. Putney / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.85)
Theme squares63 (33.3%)
Scrabble points305 (average 1.61)
Letters usedABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Video of the Day



54d Elena {Justice Kagan}. A timely clue, as Associate Justice Elena Kagan has her formal investiture this Friday before a special sitting of the Supreme Court of the United States. Kagan is the Court's 112th justice and its fourth female justice.

Kagan was born and raised in New York City. After attending Princeton, Oxford, and Harvard Law School, she completed federal Court of Appeals and Supreme Court clerkships. She began her career as a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, leaving to serve as Associate White House Counsel, and later as policy adviser, under President Clinton. After a nomination to the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which expired without action, she became a professor at Harvard Law School and was later named its first female dean.

President Obama appointed her Solicitor General on January 26, 2009. On May 10, 2010, Obama nominated Kagan to the Supreme Court to fill the vacancy from the impending retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens at the end of the Supreme Court's 2009–2010 term. After Senate confirmation, Kagan was sworn in on August 7, 2010, by Chief Justice John Roberts.

The Doctor is IN

1a Lola {Name repeated in the lyric "Whatever ___ wants, ___ gets"}. A reference to Whatever Lola Wants from the 1955 musical Damn Yankees.

6d ETS {Co. that oversees the 21-Across}. ETS = Educational Testing Service, which administers tests such as the TOEFL and the GRE.

60d isla {Cuba, por ejemplo}. isle = isla is in Español para los crucigramistas.

Image of the Day

Dom Perignon

48a Dom {___ Pérignon}. Dom Pérignon (c. 1638–1715) was a Benedictine monk who made important contributions to the production and quality of Champagne wine in an era when the region's wines were predominantly still and red. Popular myths frequently, but erroneously, credit him with the invention of sparkling Champagne, which didn't become the dominant style of Champagne until mid-19th century. The famous champagne Dom Pérignon, the préstige cuvée of Moët & Chandon, is named after him.

Other Clues

5a seesaw {Teeter-totter}; 11a Des {___ Moines}; 14a iMac {Apple computer}; 15a stroke {Hitting of a golf ball}; 16a all {Nothing's opposite}; 19a fie {"Fee, ___, foe, fum"}; 20a Oteri {Cheri formerly of "S.N.L."}; 21a SAT {Exam for H.S. seniors}; 22a ooze {Seep}; 27a goo {Hot tar, e.g.}; 29a she {"Here ___ comes, Miss America"}; 30a son {Heir, but not an heiress}; 31a alma {___ mater}; 33a Amis {"Lucky Jim" author Kingsley}; 36a Pablo {Painter Picasso}; 43a forma {Pro ___ (perfunctory)}; 44a nsec {Tiny time unit: Abbr.}; 45a eggy {Like an omelet}; 46a Ont. {Toronto's prov.}; 50a Tex {Lone Star State nickname}; 57a riot {Run amok}; 58a olé {Cheer for a matador}; 59a Maria {"Ave ___" (Latin prayer)}; 62a USA {Fourth of July celebration inits.}; 66a ils {They, in Marseille}; 67a Henrys {Eight English kings}; 68a Ella {Fitzgerald known as the First Lady of Song}; 69a net {Volleyball court divider}; 70a as a set {How china may be sold}; 71a slap {Possible response to a grabby boyfriend}.

1d lipo {Quick weight loss option, informally}; 2d omit {Leave out}; 3d late-comer {Recent arrival}; 4d Accra {Ghana's capital}; 5d SSE {Opposite of NNW}; 7d erase {Rub out}; 8d sofas {Couches}; 9d Akitas {Dogs whose tails curl up the back}; 10d wet {Rainy}; 11d Dafoe {Actor Willem}; 12d Eliza {Doolittle of "Pygmalion"}; 13d sleek {Streamlined}; 18d hits {Chart-toppers}; 22d ornate {Highly decorative}; 24d Chas {Addams who created "The Addams Family"}; 25d he-man {Muscular fellow}; 26d bops {Knocks on the noggin}; 27d gaff {Large iron hook}; 28d olio {Medley}; 32d almost {Not quite}; 34d IQs {100 is average for them}; 35d suede {Soft leather}; 37d big thrill {Cause of goose bumps, perhaps}; 38d loge {Pricey seating section}; 39d onyx {Gem with colored bands}; 41d Dana {Carvey who used to say "Well, isn't that special?"}; 42d Ecol. {Environmental sci.}; 47d T-Notes {Gov't securities}; 49d Mama {Papa's partner}; 51d Bruin {Boston N.H.L.'er}; 52d aisle {Window or middle alternative}; 53d toast {Raise a glass to}; 55d years {Senior, junior and sophomore}; 56d sakes {Rice wines}; 61d ASAP! {"Rush!," on an order}; 63d Sha {___ Na Na}; 64d lye {Soapmaker's need}; 65d SST {Fast jet, for short}.

6 comments:

Tobias Duncan said...

If you can do a Saturday NYT crossword , I doubt the naturalization test will offer any resistance. David Rakoff wrote a great essay on the process in his book "Dont Get too Comfortable" , you should read it if you get a chance.

Once you are a citizen will you change the name of your blog??

Evgeny said...

Ross, good luck for your naturalization interview, although, given your education and knowledge, I suspect there aren't many people doing the test who need less luck than you. The U.S. should be happy to get to welcome you as one of their citizens.

I went through the same procedure in Germany some four years ago. Even though the test here has become tougher since I took it, I think it is still surprisingly easy. The more surprised I was to find out that a newspaper commissioned a survey aiming to find out how Germans would perform in the test and about a third failed. Which, produces the question whether it is fair to ask the immigrants questions that a large part of the native population cannot answer. In my view, when all other (formal) requirements for naturalization are met, the test should be about language proficiency rather than factual knowledge. I mean, I know how many justices there are in the Supreme Court, but this is not knowledge I'd expect everybody to have. *end of rant* :-D

re Miss America: while solving, I had in mind the standard phrase the announcer/host exclaims at contests when the respective Miss appears on stage at the end of the show. Not sure, if that's right, though.

Crossword Man said...

Hi Evgeny. I guess I shouldn't worry, but some of history & civics questions are pretty obscure and if they decided to choose the wrong 10 questions ...

Yes, I think many US citizens from birth would also struggle. Interestingly the UK now has a Life in the UK Test and that's for those seeking permanent residency, as well as British citizenship. I can't answer every question on that either :-)

Crossword Man said...

Oh and thanks Tobias for recommending the David Rakoff book. Apologies if your comment got eaten by blogger.

Chef said...

"Here she Comes" is the song Bert Parks used to sing after the new Miss America was crowned. I do not know who the author/writer/lyricist is but that id where I first heard that phrase. Have fun wordsmiths!

Crossword Man said...

Thanks Chef. I gather that if you too want to be crowned Miss America, you can go stand under this statue in Atlantic City whereupon Bert Parks will magically sing to you out of the holy rock.