Tuesday, September 21, 2010

NYT Tuesday 9/21/10 Adam G. Perl - Getting On Swimmingly

This Tuesday New York Times crossword gave very little trouble compared to yesterday's. I completed the theme answers in sequence down the grid, as I reached them; so when I saw butterfly in 17-Across followed by crawl in 25-Across, I knew exactly what I was dealing with.

strokesI generally like the explanatory theme answer at the center of the grid, as today - particularly in an early-week puzzle. Putting it at the bottom is often leaving it too late; putting it at the top risks giving the game away too early (and I've rarely seen that done). As it happens, I twigged to the theme just before reaching 39-Across, so hardly needed the {Pets ...} part of the clue for confirmation.

The juxtaposition of 55d opera {Word with grand or soap} and 59d oils {Many works at the Met} amused me ... the former neatly setting up the operatic Met context in my mind two clues before I actually needed the artistic Met.
Solving time: 5 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 2d Isuzu {Trooper on the highway}

Adam G. Perl
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


Long answers start with a swimming stroke, as indicated by 39a strokes {Pets ... or what the starts of 17-, 25-, 50- and 61-Across are all kinds of}.
17a butterfly shrimp {Entree on many a Chinese menu}
25a crawl space {Cramped alternative to a basement}
50a back issues {Old New Yorkers, e.g.}
61a breast of chicken {Basic hotel banquet entree}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersAdam G. Perl / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 36 (16.0%) black squares
Answers78 (average length 4.85)
Theme squares50 (26.5%)
Scrabble points293 (average 1.55)
Video of the Day

3d Little Eva {"The Loco-Motion" singer, 1962}. Eva Narcissus Boyd (1943–2003), known by the stage name of Little Eva (after a character from Uncle Tom's Cabin), was an American pop singer. As a teenager, she worked as a maid and earned extra money as a babysitter for songwriters Carole King and Gerry Goffin. It is often claimed that Goffin and King were amused by Boyd's individual dancing style, so they wrote The Loco-Motion for her and had her record it as a demo (the record was intended for Dee Dee Sharp). However, as King said in an interview with NPR and in her "One to One" concert video, they knew she could sing when they met her, and it would be just a matter of time before they would have her record songs they wrote, the most successful being The Loco-Motion. The song is notable for appearing in the American Top 5 three times – each time in a different decade: for Little Eva during 1962 (U.S. #1); for Grand Funk Railroad in 1974 (U.S. #1); and for Kylie Minogue in 1988 (U.S. #3).

The Doctor is IN

1a Bilbo {"The Hobbit" hero}. I.e. Bilbo Baggins.

6a BMOCs {College V.I.P.'s}. BMOC = (for my overseas readers) "big man on campus", an informal term for a student whom others respect or who holds an important position in a student organization.

11a AMA {Drs.' org.}. AMA = American Medical Association.

45a Irene {"Goodnight" girl of old song}. A reference to the American folk standard Goodnight, Irene.

2d Isuzu {Trooper on the highway}. Referencing the Isuzu Trooper.

5d ones {Telephone numbers without letters}. On a standard telephone keypad only 2 (ABC) thru 9 (WXYZ) bear letters.

18d rocs {Fabled fliers}. The roc features in Arabian mythology, being popularized in the West in the travels of Marco Polo and later in the 1001 Nights' tales.

Image of the Day

TWA Flight Center, JFK

63d TWA {Eero Saarinen designed its J.F.K. terminal}. The TWA Flight Center or Trans World Flight Center, opened in 1962 as the original terminal designed by Eero Saarinen for Trans World Airlines at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). Portions of the original complex have been demolished, and the Saarinen terminal (or head house) remains under renovation, partially encircled by and ultimately to serve as a ceremonial entrance to a new adjacent terminal completed in 2008. Together, the old and new buildings comprise JetBlue Airways' JFK operations and are known collectively as Terminal 5 or simply T5.

The City of New York designated both the interiors and the exteriors of the Saarinen terminal a historic landmark in 1994 and in 2005 the National Park Service listed the Trans World Flight Center on the National Register of Historic Places. While noted architect Robert A.M. Stern called the evocative Saarinen-designed TWA Flight Center "Grand Central of the jet age", the pragmatic new encircling terminal has been called "hyper-efficient" and a "monument to human throughput".

Other Clues

14a Asian {___ flu}; 15a Earth {Mother ___}; 16a nip {Defeat by just a tad}; 20a AZT {Pioneering anti-AIDS drug}; 21a soot {Blackener of Santa's boots}; 22a Emil {Oscar winner Jannings}; 23a rule {"No shirt, no shoes, no service," e.g.}; 29a erase {Clear the board}; 31a eat a {"I could ___ horse!"}; 32a omens {Signs to heed}; 34a decaying {Rotting}; 38a Rev. {Pastor, for short}; 42a die {It can be cast}; 43a Iranians {Tabriz residents}; 47a Ossa {Greek peak}; 48a resin {Amber is a fossilized one}; 54a a ton {Lots}; 57a agri- {Prefix with cultural}; 58a NATO {Intl. group with many generals}; 60a IPO {Big milestone for a young co.}; 66a yet {Still}; 67a await {Anticipate}; 68a Loire {River that drains more than 20% of France}; 69a see {Date}; 70a parts {Labor's partner}; 71a set at {Attack}.

1d Babar {King of the elephants in a children's book series}; 4d bat {Dracula's altered form}; 6d before {Prior to}; 7d Malta {Island south of Sicily}; 8d -ory {Suffix with direct}; 9d cts. {Small change: Abbr.}; 10d shh! {It may precede "Don't let anyone hear!"}; 11d anima {Inner self}; 12d mimic {Make like}; 13d Apple {Beatles record label}; 19d repay {Settle a debt with}; 24d -ern {Directional suffix}; 26d week {Sports Illustrated span}; 27d lace {Feature of many a bodice}; 28d stasis {Equilibrium}; 30d Assisi {Franciscans' home}; 32d or I {"... ___ quit!"}; 33d Mer {Debussy's "La ___"}; 34d dos {Affairs}; 35d Identi-Kit {Facial recognition aid}; 36d Nin {Diarist Anaïs}; 37d gee {"___ whiz!"}; 40d TASS {News agency that was the first to report on Sputnik}; 41d RNAs {Genetic materials}; 44d Nokia {Mobile phone giant}; 46d ria {Small inlet}; 48d reacts {Shows shock, e.g.}; 49d Esth. {Book after Neh.}; 50d baby's {___ breath}; 51d agree {Concur}; 52d Crete {Where Minos reigned}; 53d unfit {Out of shape}; 55d opera {Word with grand or soap}; 56d nonet {Largish musical group}; 59d oils {Many works at the Met}; 62d sap {Patsy}; 64d oar {Viking ship need}; 65d Coe {Runner Sebastian}.


Daniel Myers said...

Perhaps some constructor will use "throughput" one of these Fridays or Saturdays. It's a new word for me!

Jordan said...

I got 6a without any problems, but I am curious if it is common to pluralize acronyms like that.

It seems like the plural of BMOC would be Big Men On Campus = BMOC.

Also, back to Daniel's question from a week or so ago: is the apostrophe appropriate in the 6a clue?

Crossword Man said...

throughput is comfortably within my vocab so may be techiespeak.

It's perhaps more common to pluralize abbreviations in crosswords than in real life, but BMOCs makes sense as the plural of the abbreviation, regardless of how the expanded form would be rendered. Consider for example MPhil, invariably pluralized as MPhils.

Regarding the use of apostrophe in pluralizing single letters: this is commonly done for clarity, especially if the letter is in lower case. So more than one i is written i's and not is. One wonders sometimes if the policy shouldn't be extended to two-letter words ... today's 34d dos {Affairs} looks very odd and could be confused with a certain operating system, the Spanish for two, etc.

Jordan said...

Thanks for the response crossword man.