Sunday, October 17, 2010

NYT Monday 10/18/10 Lynn Lempel - Star Map

This is about as easy a Monday New York Times crossword as I can remember, and I managed a three-minute time rounded down (I think I'm still a bit slow overall to be reporting seconds ... what's a second here or there when you can spend close to an hour on a puzzle?).

The only wrong turning I can remember was putting in Summer house for 37-Across {Where Donna lives?} ... a not unreasonable thing to do given house hadn't yet been employed. Consideration of 19-Down put me on the right track immediately.

star mapsOtherwise, the answers seemed to fall into place very easily and I could maybe have sped things up by targeting answers with no letters already known - perhaps a complete pass through the downs before mopping up any gaps? On a normal day this can backfire terribly, so I don't do it as a rule.

Anyway, I found the theme fun and completely understandable from the first thematic answer I got. It rather reminds me of those star maps showing where the Hollywood celebs live(d) ... or how a tour guide might wittily vary his/her spiel when driving a group round ("... there's the Field house on the right and after that the Foster home ...").

I'm traveling to the UK tomorrow for a few days back in the homeland. I'll be posting abbreviated commentaries until I return home at the beginning of next week.
Solving time: 3 mins (solo, no solving aids)
Clue of the puzz: 55a ISP {Co. with a lot of connections?}

Lynn Lempel
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


Puns on famous people whose surnames are also types of abode:
18a Foster home {Where Jodie lives?} cf Jodie Foster
24a/53a Principal residence {Where Victoria lives?} cf Victoria Principal
37a Summer place {Where Donna lives?} cf Donna Summer
59a Field house {Where Sally lives?} cf Sally Field
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersLynn Lempel / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 38 (16.9%) black squares
Answers76 (average length 4.92)
Theme squares49 (26.2%)
Scrabble points279 (average 1.49)
Video of the Day

10a Myra {Dame Hess at a piano}. Dame Myra Hess (1890–1965) was a British pianist. She is famous for her morale-building efforts during World War II when, with all concert halls blacked out at night to avoid being targets of German bombers, she organized what would turn out to be some 1700 lunchtime concerts spanning a period of six years. The concerts were held at the National Gallery, in Trafalgar Square; Hess herself played in 150 of them. The Gallery had removed all their paintings, keeping just one on display each month as thousands of folks (many not regular concert goers) came to hear, be inspired, and maybe gain a little hope by these wartime concerts.

The Doctor is IN

67a et tu {"You too?" à la Caesar}. As in "Et tu, Brute?".

6d HMO {Payer of some hosp. bills}. HMO = health maintenance organization, a form of health care coverage.

61d USO {Troops' support grp.}. USO = United Service Organization.

Image of the Day

taro field

64a taro {Starchy tropical root}. Taro is a common name for the corms and tubers of several genera of the family Araceae The name includes species of Colocasia spp (dasheen, taro, cocoyam, eddoe) Alocasia spp (giant taro), Amorphophallus campanulatus (Roxb) (elephant yam) and Crytosperma chamissons (Shott) and the tropical American Xanthosoma sagittifolium (Shott).

Of all the edible aroids, Taro as Colocasia esculenta is the most widely cultivated and native to southeast Asia. It is a perennial, tropical plant primarily grown as a root vegetable for its edible starchy corm, and as a leaf vegetable and is considered a staple in African, Oceanic and Asian cultures. It is believed to have been one of the earliest cultivated plants. Colocasia is thought to have originated in the Indo-Malayan region, perhaps in eastern India and Bangladesh, and spread eastward into Southeast Asia, eastern Asia, and the Pacific islands; westward to Egypt and the eastern Mediterranean; and then southward and westward from there into East Africa and West Africa, from whence it spread to the Caribbean and Americas. It is known by many local names and often referred to as Elephant ears when grown as an ornamental plant.

Other Clues

1a umps {Officials behind batters}; 5a O'Hara {Scarlett whose final film words are "I'll never be hungry again"}; 14a sire {What to call a king}; 15a amber {Caution light's color}; 16a peep {Chick's chirp}; 17a used {Preowned}; 20a remap {Survey a second time}; 22a eau {___ de cologne}; 23a max {To the ___ (fully)}; 28a scare {Say "Boo!" to, say}; 30a Els {Ernie on the links}; 31a still {Moonshine device}; 32a sinks {Dirty dishes often collect in them}; 33a dyes {Hair colorers}; 35a SNL {Weekly TV show with guest hosts, for short}; 36a air {Broadcast}; 41a pie {A clown might get it in the face}; 42a III {Jr.'s son}; 43a ales {Heady brews}; 46a wires {Current conductors}; 49a MSNBC {Rachel Maddow's network}; 51a one {Singleton}; 52a inert {Nonreactive, chemically}; 55a ISP {Co. with a lot of connections?}; 56a est. {Inexact no.}; 58a sagas {Multigenerational stories}; 65a idle {Not working}; 66a oasis {Camel caravan's stop}; 68a test {Trial run}; 69a odors {Scents}; 70a neat {Well-kept}.

1d usurped {Seized, as the throne}; 2d miserly {Scroogelike}; 3d premises {Debaters' basic assumptions}; 4d sedan {Many a family car}; 5d oaf {Clodhopper}; 7d abs {"Washboard" muscles}; 8d retell {Give a new version of, as a story}; 9d area {Square footage}; 10d MPH {Dashboard abbr.}; 11d yeoman {Royal attendant in a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta}; 12d remark {Comment}; 13d apexes {Uppermost points}; 19d Russia {Moscow's land}; 21d PCs {Dell or Toshiba products, for short}; 25d it's me {"Who's there?" response}; 26d pine {"Knotty" wood}; 27d all rise {Cry from a bailiff when a judge walks in}; 29d circa {Around, in a date}; 34d super! {"Fantastic!"}; 36d alibi {Cover story}; 38d misted {Covered with a fine spray}; 39d pins {Bowlers' targets}; 40d elongate {Stretch}; 44d Encarta {Former Web reference from Microsoft}; 45d sees out {Ushers to the exit}; 46d Wii Fit {Nintendo product for the gym-averse, maybe}; 47d inside {Not outdoors}; 48d repels {Disgusts}; 49d Mr Toad {Wild-riding squire of "The Wind in the Willows"}; 50d CDs {Savings acct. alternatives}; 54d eaten {Consumed}; 57d shoo! {"Scram!"}; 60d let {Permit}; 62d Sir {Walter Raleigh or Walter Scott}; 63d ess {Twisty road curve}.


Anonymous said...

5 Across has a mistake. Your answer is right but the clue is wrong. Scarlet said "I'll never be hungry again" in the middle of the film after the Civil War had ended. Her final words were "tomorrow is another day" which she said immediately after Rhett told her off in the movie's most famous line.

Crossword Man said...

Thanks anon film buff. It's been a while since I saw Gone with the Wind ... but I should have spotted the mistake, as "tomorrow is another day" is such a famous line.

Anonymous said...

I was just about to say: 5 Across is a mistake.
You all beat me to it.
I was so surprised Mr. Shortz did that.
Whenever I suspect he's made an error, I find he's actually right.

Anonymous said...

New York Times has acknowledged the error:

Magdalen said...

Does this stoke the concerns this Dr. Shortz's NPR puzzle fans have that he's stretched too thin?

Crossword Man said...

Actual errors are very rare and normally if one suspects a problem (as commenter #3 says) it turns out not to be so. I haven't noticed a higher incidence of problems - like today's Scarlett (sic) one - but there's very little data to go by.

It's great to see the Corrections feature is used for glitches in crossword clues as well as regular journalistic articles.