Saturday, September 25, 2010

NYT Sunday 9/26/10 Pamela Amick Klawitter - Shape Shifting

Now that Magdalen has returned from a short trip away, we were able to solve this Sunday New York Times crossword together and made fairly short work of it. The note said "each set of circled letters is described by an answer elsewhere in the grid" and it didn't take long to figure out the eight long entries were the "elsewhere".

It took a while, though, to start pairing up the circled areas and theme answers and when we did, we found the title "Location, Location, Location" a little misleading. Yes, in some cases the description is based on the location of the shape, but not always.

corner stoneWe particularly like the corner-stone clue, as it had us first thinking of romantic dates (coffee house), then dates you eat (corner store) before we finally got the sense of "date" that was required.

The theme answer that had us scratching our heads a little is the man in the middle, which clearly refers to Aaron, but why that forename in particular and not a synonym like bloke (would that work in America?). Magdalen had a working theory that Hank Aaron was being referenced again, with 115-Across being one of his many nicknames, but I've not been able to justify that.
Solving time: 30 mins (with Magdalen, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 15d corner-stone {Place for a date, frequently}

Pamela Amick Klawitter
Grid art by Sympathy


"Location, Location, Location". The theme answers suggest the features indicated by the circled letters, either referencing their location in the grid, or the shape they assume.
22a dressing on the side {Specification in a salad order} => mayo to the left of the grid
34a square mile {Unit in measuring population density} => mile in a square shape
57a room at the top {Opening for an aspiring leader} => den at the top of the grid
75a slanted lines {Diagonals} => lines in a slanted shape
97a bottom fish {Carp or flounder, typically} => eel at the bottom of the grid
115a the man in the middle {Go-between} => Aaron at the center of the grid
15d corner-stone {Place for a date, frequently} => stone at the SE corner of the grid
67d mental block {Cause of thoughtlessness?} => mental in an oblong shape
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersPamela Amick Klawitter / Will Shortz
Grid21x21 with 74 (16.8%) black squares
Answers140 (average length 5.24)
Theme squares[not calculated]
Scrabble points554 (average 1.51)
Video of the Day

37d Anspach {Susan who co-starred in "Five Easy Pieces"}. Five Easy Pieces is a 1970 American drama film written by Carole Eastman (as Adrien Joyce) and Bob Rafelson, and directed by Rafelson. The film stars Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, and Susan Anspach. The cast also includes Billy 'Green' Bush, Fannie Flagg, Ralph Waite, Sally Struthers, Lois Smith, Toni Basil, and Helena Kallianiotes. The film tells the story of a surly oil rig worker, Bobby Dupea, whose blue-collar existence belies his privileged youth as a child prodigy at the piano. When word reaches Bobby that his father is dying, he reluctantly takes his girlfriend, Rayette (Black), a dimwitted, pregnant waitress, back home to make peace with his family. The "easy pieces" of the title refer to the five classical piano pieces which are played in the film.

The Doctor is IN

29a chis {XXX}. The Greek letter chi looks like a capital X.

68a Aaron {First name alphabetically in the Baseball Hall of Fame}. I.e. Hank Aaron.

114a oso {Spanish bruin}. bear = oso is in Español para los crucigramistas.

122a Enid {"Idylls of the King" lady}. Alfred, Lord Tennyson based two of his Idylls of the King on Geraint and Enid.

2d Atri {Italian bell town}. A reference to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's The Bell of Atri, set in Atri, Italy.

3d dees {Dead ends?}. Either end of the word "Dead" is a dee (D).

19d and I'm {"... ___ the queen of England!"}. Referencing an expression of incredulity, akin to "pull the other one".

65d sher {"Fer ___!"}. fer sher is a slang rendering of "for sure".

68d Asta {Dog of old films}. Asta is a Cruciverbal Canine.

Image of the Day

Ratel (Mellivora capensis) or Honey Badger

57d ratel {Honey badger}. The honey badger (Mellivora capensis, Ratel) is a member of the Mustelidae family. The honey badger is distributed throughout most of Africa and western and south Asian areas of Baluchistan (eastern Iran), southern Iraq, Pakistan and Rajasthan (western India). It is the only species in the genus Mellivora and the subfamily Mellivorinae. The underparts, sides of its body and face are usually dark brown or black in color, while the top of its head, neck and back are light gray or white. This coloration makes the honey badger particularly conspicuous in daylight. Some honey badgers, especially in the Ituri Forest of the Democratic Republic Of Congo, are wholly black.

Other Clues

1a Baden {When repeated, a resort near the Black Forest}; 6a dimly {How things may be remembered}; 11a dawn {Beginning}; 15a car {Caboose, for one}; 18a utero {In ___ (unborn)}; 19a Aeneas {Homeric hero}; 20a erat {Part of Q.E.D.}; 21a Ole {___ Miss}; 25a rim {A lens fits in it}; 26a distend {Swell}; 27a notarizes {Certifies, in a way}; 28a NCO {U.S.M.C. barracks boss}; 31a epic {Homeric genre}; 32a street {Address part}; 40a en ami {As a friend, to the French}; 42a Erse {Relative of Manx}; 43a Eisner {Michael who once headed Disney}; 44a misc. {Grab bag: Abbr.}; 46a antes {Some stakes}; 48a angst {Dreadful feeling}; 49a tea-taster {Worker who may create a stir?}; 53a after {Following}; 56a gap {Opening}; 59a oke {Fine and dandy, in old slang}; 60a a darn {"I don't give ___!"}; 62a élan {Zing}; 63a Lionel {Writer/critic Trilling}; 65a SimCity {Hit computer game with the original working title Micropolis}; 70a Kennedy {President who said "I'm an idealist without illusions"}; 71a hee-hee {Giggle}; 72a -esce {Suffix with lumin-}; 73a slogs {Hard, boring efforts}; 74a -ern {Directional suffix}; 79a tov {"Mazel ___!"}; 82a retie {Fix, as a shoelace}; 84a head-to-toe {Complete}; 85a Nanci {Country singer Griffith}; 87a Adlai {Name on 1952 campaign buttons}; 89a Omoo {Romance of 1847}; 90a gofers {Errand runners}; 91a MCLI {Mid 12th-century year}; 93a N star {Cool, very red celestial body}; 99a AA bond {Highly rated security}; 101a Eger {Hungarian city}; 103a Sela {Actress Ward}; 104a YSL {Fashion inits.}; 105a other shoe {You might wait for it to drop}; 109a pedicab {Three-wheeled vehicle}; 117a Ric {Rapper ___-A-Che}; 118a même {Same: Fr.}; 119a inmate {Convict}; 120a serin {Relative of a canary}; 121a Sak {Cinch ___ (Hefty garbage bag brand)}; 123a keels {Falls (over)}; 124a masto- {Breast: Prefix}.

1d Budd {Melville's "Billy ___"}; 4d erst {Formerly, once}; 5d no secret {Public knowledge}; 6d deg. {Ph.D., e.g.}; 7d in on {Barge ___}; 8d me no {"Don't give ___ lip!"}; 9d latte {Beverage that may be foamy}; 10d Y shape {A wishbone has one}; 11d de Sica {Director Vittorio}; 12d Ariz. {48th state: Abbr.}; 13d wades in {Begins energetically}; 14d N-test {Explosive trial, for short}; 16d Alice's {"___ Restaurant"}; 17d remote {Not likely}; 23d in her {"And to those thorns that ___ bosom lodge": Shak.}; 24d Erin {St. Patrick's land}; 30d Simeon {One of the 12 tribes of Israel}; 33d reef {Shipwreck locale}; 34d sea {Ship locale}; 35d Qing {Last dynasty of China}; 36d USGA {Links org.}; 38d Liam {Actor Neeson}; 39d esta {"Cómo ___?"}; 41d mart {Shopping locale}; 45d catered to {Indulged}; 47d taping {Pre-broadcast activity}; 49d Tory {David Cameron, e.g.}; 50d St Lo {Normandy battle town}; 51d than {More ___ enough}; 52d een {Dark time, in verse}; 54d eked {Just got (by)}; 55d rely {Trust, with "on"}; 58d oleos {Dinner spreads}; 61d diesel {Engine type}; 64d on staff {Employed}; 66d -iere {French noun suffix}; 69d aced {Didn't just pass}; 70d Klee {Noted Bauhaus artist}; 72d ENE {Dallas-to-Memphis dir.}; 73d snoots {High-hats}; 76d ahis {Large food tunas}; 77d Lomb {Bausch & ___ (lens maker)}; 78d I Too {Langston Hughes poem}; 80d One I {"The ___ Gave My Heart To" (1997 Aaliyah hit)}; 81d VCRs {Tapers, briefly}; 83d idio- {Peculiar: Prefix}; 85d nomadism {Bedouins' trait}; 86d -ish {It's like "-like"}; 88d and then {"Next ..."}; 90d golem {Dimwit}; 91d mayors {City chiefs}; 92d cassia {Cinnamon tree}; 94d teemed {Swarmed}; 95d Agra {Indian tourist city}; 96d Resnik {Challenger astronaut Judith}; 98d tepee {Chief dwelling?}; 100d not me! {"I'm innocent!"}; 102d Rhine {Liechtenstein's western border}; 106d hemi {Certain engine}; 107d on me {"This round's ___"}; 108d et al {List-ending abbr.}; 110d idea {Notion}; 111d Cdrs. {Mil. leaders}; 112d alit {Came to earth}; 113d Be No {"There Shall ___ Night" (Pulitzer-winning Robert E. Sherwood play)}; 116d hts. {Elevs.}.


Anonymous said...

I've never heard "the man" used as a nickname for Hank Aaron - and it would seem to be an unlikely one, since when Aaron started playing major league baseball, Stan (Stan the Man) Musial was already an established star with the St. Louis Cardinals. "Stan" or "Musial" would have made a better answer (and would still have the baseball Hall of Fame connection, if the writer wanted that).

I'm not sure "bloke" would quite fit either. That strikes me more as "A man" in the middle rather than "THE man" in the middle.

Crossword Man said...

Thanks Anon. Looks like I tried to read too much into "the man" ... sometimes Aaron is just a name I guess.

Anonymous said...

It is nothing more than the theme of the puzzle (Location, Location, Location). Aaron is simply the man that is located in the middle of the puzzle.

Crossword Man said...

That was the conclusion I was reaching. Thanks Anon #2.