Saturday, October 30, 2010

NYT Sunday 10/31/10 Elizabeth C. Gorski - Sadly Out of Luck

My solving of this Sunday New York Times crossword was not my finest hour (or even 26 minutes), although this is one of those cases where I don't think I'm entirely to blame for mistakes made.

Whitby Abbey (helped inspire Bram Stoker's Dracula)On downloading the puzzle, I checked out the instructions for the extra drawing (the like of which I've seen before) and was amused to see the puzzle title was exactly the same as I chose for Wednesday's blog post. Clearly we were in for a final Halloween crossword, which didn't come as a complete surprise.

One question in my mind was where any further theme material might be, given the need to embed A thru R at specific positions in the grid creates significant constraints. I wasn't sure, for example, if 4-Down and 12-Down would turn out to be thematic (they aren't).

After solving 23-Across as Nosferatu, I realized the main theme of the puzzle (aside from the bat drawing) was vampire movies and this was useful to know, even though I'm not really an aficionado of the genre. With about a third of the circled letters in place, I could see that the drawing would result in a bat and found it helpful to predict the positions of the remaining letters. This was one of the reasons for my fairly good solving time.

A neat extra touch with this puzzle is the thematic cluing to 92a sera {When Italian ghouls come out?} and 3d nuit {When French ghouls come out?}, plus other timely references such as in the clue to 89-Across.

Unfortunately, I ran into difficulties with the crossing of 82a Naya and 75d sal, being unfamiliar with the former and thinking 75d was probably another brand name with soda in the drinks sense. Hence I looked at all the possible vowels at the crossing, considering only A and O at all likely and marginally preferring Noya/Sol, which I eventually opted for.

Although Naya could hardly be clued in any simpler way, sal at 75-Down certainly could have been and I'm surprised the clue wasn't e.g. {___ volatile}, or a reference to a Sal we've all heard of.
Solving time: 26 mins (solo, no solving aids, two wrong answers)
Clue of the puzz: 109a carats {Ring figures}

Elizabeth C. Gorski
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]


"Fangs for the Memory". When the circled letters A thru R are connected in order, they form the shape of a 84a bat. The titles of vampire movies appear as long answers:
23a Nosferatu {1922 Max Schreck film}
56a Vampire in Brooklyn {1995 Eddie Murphy film}
68a Dracula {1931 Bela Lugosi film}
97a Love at First Bite {1979 George Hamilton film}
113a Near Dark {1987 Adrian Pasdar film}
117a Twilight {2008 Robert Pattinson film}
125a Blood Ties {1986 Brad Davis film}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersElizabeth C. Gorski / Will Shortz
Grid21x21 with 79 (17.9%) black squares
Answers144 (average length 5.03)
Theme squares[not calculated]
Scrabble points549 (average 1.52)
Video of the Day

118d Wess {Jazz saxophonist/flutist Frank}. Frank Wess is an American jazz musician, who has played saxophone (both alto and tenor) and flute. In 2007 Wess was named an NEA Jazz Master by the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts.

The Doctor is IN

50a tea-shop {Cozy place?}. Reference to tea cozies.

77a Paine {"The Rights of Man" writer}. I.e. Thomas Paine (1737–1809).

7d Defoe {Crusoe's creator}. I.e. Daniel Defoe (ca. 1659-1661–1731).

51d ASL {Communication syst.}. ASL = American Sign Language.

57d Earp {O.K. Corral figure}. I.e. Wyatt Earp (1848–1929).

75d sal {___ soda}. sal soda is another name for soda ash, sodium carbonate.

95d mss {Slush pile contents: Abbr.}. mss = manuscripts (see slush pile).

99d VOA {Cold war broadcasting inits.}. VOA = Voice of America.

Image of the Day


82a Naya {Water brand}. Naya Waters manufactures, under the name Naya, bottled natural spring water, drawn from a spring in the Laurentian Mountains. Naya water is bottled directly at this source, and it is naturally sodium free. The name Naya comes from the word Naiads, who, in Greek mythology, were the goddesses of thermal waters and the immortal guardians of rivers, fountains and springs.

Other Clues

1a MSNBC {Home of "Hardball"}; 6a adage {"Love is blind," e.g.}; 11a bread {Moolah}; 16a equal {Even}; 17a imbecilic {Doltish}; 21a lodge {Odd Fellows' meeting place}; 22a amino {Kind of acid}; 24a I care {Words of empathy}; 25a titan {Heavyweight}; 26a flood-line {High-water mark}; 27a no más! {"Enough, Jorge!"}; 28a NES {Super ___ (old game console)}; 30a are {It might come after you}; 31a Sno {___ Balls (Hostess snack food)}; 32a sic {As written}; 33a mesa {Tijuana table}; 36a curb {Parking spot}; 38a Ewan {Actor McGregor}; 40a Otto {"Beetle Bailey" dog}; 44a Tristan {Lover of Isolde}; 46a scads {Oodles}; 52a Valhalla {Wagnerian opera setting}; 54a DNA {Crime scene matter}; 55a feasters {Saturnalia participants}; 59a geek {Tech whiz}; 61a stoa {Athenian porch}; 62a urns {Some gravesite decorations}; 63a Lapp {Arctic herder}; 66a Rorem {Composer Ned}; 72a retie {Fix, as laces}; 73a ACs {Coolers, for short}; 74a ism {System of beliefs}; 78a Kea {Mauna ___}; 80a una {Argentine article}; 81a pet {Furry adoptee}; 85a Lee J {Cobb of "12 Angry Men"}; 86a rah {A bit of cheer?}; 87a enameled {Like some fondue pots}; 89a boo! {Halloween cry}; 90a obligate {Compel}; 92a sera {When Italian ghouls come out?}; 93a yip {Poodle's greeting}; 95a moa {Bygone flightless bird}; 96a Ulan {___ Bator}; 105a it'll do {"Fine"}; 108a solus {Stage direction that means "alone"}; 109a carats {Ring figures}; 116a Rin {___ Tin Tin}; 119a ulnae {Bones also called cubiti}; 120a easy as pie! {"Piece of cake!"}; 123a Clara {Pianist/composer Schumann}; 124a seats {Tandem twosome}; 126a Eliot {George who wrote "The Spanish Gypsy"}; 127a exist {Walk the earth}; 128a Abou {"___ Ben Adhem"}; 129a ours {Belonging to you and me}; 130a Danes {Many visitors to Legoland}.

1d meat {Coconut filler}; 2d sq. mi. {Acreage fig.}; 3d nuit {When French ghouls come out?}; 4d banana shake {Fruit-based fountain treat}; 5d clone {Make a copy of}; 6d absorbs {Sucks up}; 8d aced {Breezed through}; 9d girls {Grade school door sign}; 10d Elaine's {Noted New York eatery}; 11d blini {Russian pancakes}; 12d rococo style {What Chippendale furniture was made in}; 13d Edam {Cheese ball?}; 14d Agra {"Slumdog Millionaire" locale}; 15d dees {Subpar grades}; 17d in F {Gershwin's "Concerto ___"}; 18d molar {Canine cousin}; 19d it now {"Do ___!" ("Stop procrastinating!")}; 20d cue {Maestro's sign}; 29d scalps {Skull caps?}; 32d sneaks {Sly sorts}; 33d MTV {"Jersey Shore" airer}; 34d era {All alternative}; 35d silver star {Medal of valor}; 37d unlit {Like the inside of a coffin}; 39d ate on {Used, as a dinner tray}; 41d The Natural {Bernard Malamud's first novel}; 42d tor {Rocky pinnacle}; 43d Ops {Saturn's wife}; 45d tam {Souvenir from Scotland}; 47d CDI {Early fifth-century year}; 48d Ann {"Slander" author Coulter}; 49d dab {Bit of Vaseline}; 53d Arod {Longtime Yankee nickname}; 55d fora {Roman squares}; 58d rule {Exclude, with "out"}; 59d grapes {Bunch at a grocery store}; 60d Eocene {Epoch in which mammals arose}; 64d piñata {One getting hit on at a party?}; 65d peahen {Female fowl}; 67d mine {Selfish person's cry before and after "all"}; 69d AABB {Common rhyme scheme}; 70d ciao! {"Later!"}; 71d unto {Biblical preposition}; 72d Raji {N.F.L. defensive lineman B. J. ___}; 76d my eye! {"... And I'm the queen of England!"}; 78d kebab {Serving on a stick}; 79d eel {Sushi bar order}; 83d Adia {Sarah McLachlan hit}; 85d loot {It may be hidden at a hideout}; 88d mall rats {Shopping center regulars}; 91d guerilla {Kind of warfare}; 94d pts. {Units of cream: Abbr.}; 98d oddest {Least typical}; 100d for you {Gift giver's words}; 101d Iliad {Epic translated by Alexander Pope}; 102d runs to {Reaches altogether}; 103d ici {"Vous êtes ___"}; 104d talced {Sprinkled with baby powder}; 105d in use {Like a locked lavatory}; 106d telex {Old-style fax}; 107d lanai {Hawaiian veranda}; 110d again {Question shouted in exasperation}; 111d throe {Spasm}; 112d stats {Some of the fine print on sports pages}; 114d Reba {1988 #1 country album}; 115d Kalb {Newsman Marvin}; 117d tier {Layer}; 121d Soo {Ontario's ___ Canals}; 122d più {"A ___ tardi" ("See you later," in Italy)}.


Neil said...

95 down, slush pile contents; abbr. Any idea?

Crossword Man said...

Hi Neil. This one is covered in The Doctor is IN section above: unsolicited manuscripts (mss for short) sent to a publisher are nicknamed the slush pile.