Tuesday, September 28, 2010

NYT Wednesday 9/29/10 Charles Gersch - The Magnificent Seven

The theme of this Wednesday New York Times crossword is simply stated: movie titles. But we get seven full-size ones ... amazing! That makes close on half the squares thematic and I'd heard of every title, so no barrels had to be scraped in the making of this grid (which incidentally breaks the mold by extending to 16 rows).

The only thematic aspect I can see to fault is the one case (37-Across) where the movie is not quite complete, having an article missing. A tiny flaw and I would not have wanted to miss this puzzle for the sake of awaiting new movies that would have allowed only complete titles.

There seems to be a little subtheme involving boxing (see Video of the Day below), which might explain why Mr. T is clued with reference to his Rocky associations, and not in the A team context ... that answer at 30-Across being beautifully, but elusively, clued as {Starters}.

romantic bathMy 6 minute time is pretty exceptional for a midweek puzzle and my feeling totally at home with the theme made all the difference. I only really stalled at the middle left, where 25d bath {Setting for candlelit romance} completely defied my expectations ... that's a bit steamy for the NYT isn't it? This area also had that tough A team clue and a reference to one of the more obscure state mottoes esto perpetua ("let it be perpetual").
Solving time: 6 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 25a baa {It may make a ewe turn}

Charles Gersch
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


Movie titles:
14a Anger Management {2003 Sandler/Nicholson comedy}
17a Road to Singapore {1940 Crosby/Lamour/Hope film that was the first of a "travel" series}
37a Last Picture Show {1971 film that was Cybill Shepherd's debut, with "The"}
41a On the Waterfront {1954 Elia Kazan Oscar winner};
59a Horton Hears a Who! {2008 film derived from Dr. Seuss}
62a The Color of Money {1986 film for which Paul Newman won his only Oscar}
7d A Night at the Opera {1935 Marx Brothers romp}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersCharles Gersch / Will Shortz
Grid16x15 with 38 (15.8%) black squares
Answers77 (average length 5.25)
Theme squares100 (49.5%)
Scrabble points314 (average 1.55)
Video of the Day

42a TKO {Bout stopper}; 46a WBA {Pugilists' grp.}; 5d Mr. T {"I pity the fool" speaker}. TKO = technical knockout. WBA = World Boxing Association. Since there's something of a boxing subtheme in this puzzle, I'm going with Rocky III for today's video ... the movie in which Mr. T first uttered his oft-repeated catchphrase. Rocky's opponent this time is James "Clubber" Lang, played by Mr. T. Lang is a younger and more aggressive boxer than Rocky. He is brash, arrogant, outspoken, and immensely strong. This role made Mr. T an icon, leading to him being one of the first elements outlined for The A-Team television series.

The Doctor is IN

34a tic {First X or O, say}. Reference to tic-tac-toe.

49a Hoch {Mystery writer Edward D. ___}. Edward D. Hoch (1930–2008) wrote over 900 short stores in the detective genre.

64a seas {Proverbial heptad}. Reference to (sailing the) Seven Seas.

4d Reds {N.L. Central team}. I.e. the Cincinnati Reds baseball team.

13d Stes. {Fr. holy women}. Stes. = Saintes (female saints in French).

15d moola {Lettuce or kale}. kale = money is in Pavlov's Guide to Crosswords; I guess lettuce had better go in too now.

28d Parr {Henry VIII's sixth}. I.e. Catherine Parr, the "survived" of "divorced, beheaded, died; divorced beheaded, survived".

58d Laos {Vientiane's country}. Vientiane is the capital and largest city in Laos.

61d SMU {Dallas sch.}. SMU = Southern Methodist University is mysteriously not in the The Crucy League.

Image of the Day

L'homme à la houe

60d hoe {Implement in a Millet painting}. Jean-François Millet (1814–1875) was a French painter and one of the founders of the Barbizon school in rural France. Millet is noted for his scenes of peasant farmers; he can be categorized as part of the naturalism and realism movements. Millet's painting L'homme à la houe inspired the famous poem "The Man With the Hoe" (1898) by Edwin Markham.

Other Clues

1a rearm {Supply with more ammo, say}; 6a Babe {Term of endearment}; 10a îles {Bits of land in la Seine}; 18a Elis {Yalies}; 19a Org. {Part of NATO: Abbr.}; 20a stenos {"Mad Men" extras}; 21a ran {Conducted}; 22a Lahr {Actor Bert}; 24a Len {Mystery writer Deighton}; 25a baa {It may make a ewe turn}; 27a Topps {Big name in baseball cards}; 30a A team {Starters}; 33a agar {Gelatinous ingredient in desserts}; 43a Roth {Author Philip}; 44a Atras {Some razors}; 45a hence {Ergo}; 47a ABO {Blood-typing syst.}; 51a To A {Ode title starter}; 54a olé olé {World Cup chant}; 57a Pia {Singer/actress Zadora}; 58a loch {Lomond, e.g.}; 63a oath {Inauguration Day highlight}; 65a users {Addicts}.

1d rarer {Less well done}; 2d Enola {___ Gay, historic plane displayed by the Smithsonian}; 3d again! {"Encore!"}; 6d Basra {Mideast city whose name, coincidentally, is an anagram of ARABS}; 8d ban {Proscribe}; 9d eggs {Drives (on)}; 10d impels {Drives}; 11d Leone {Sierra ___}; 12d Enron {Bankrupt company in 2001-02 news}; 16d eat {Corrode}; 23d rogue {Ne'er-do-well}; 25d bath {Setting for candlelit romance}; 26d ampere {Current unit}; 29d prefab {Like some suburban homes}; 30d a lot {Scads}; 31d tank {Go south}; 32d esto {"___ perpetua" (Idaho's motto)}; 34d Thor {Thursday's eponym}; 35d Iona {College in New Rochelle, N.Y.}; 36d cwts {100-lb. units}; 38d I won! {Triumphant cry}; 39d catch {Fisherman's 10-pounder, e.g.}; 40d Srta. {Mex. miss}; 45d hootch {The sauce}; 46d wharf {Fisherman's spot}; 47d aloha {Lei-person's greeting?}; 48d beret {Covering for la tête}; 50d ciaos {Pietro's ta-tas}; 51d Towne {Olde ___ (historic area, quaintly)}; 52d ocher {Orangish shade}; 53d ahoys {Shipboard cries}; 54d Oh to {"___ be in England ..."}; 55d Loo {Old card game with forfeits}; 56d enls. {Photo blowups: Abbr.}.

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