Saturday, December 18, 2010

NYT Sunday 12/19/10 Kevin G. Der - Total Eclipse of the Crossword

This Sunday New York Times crossword seemed very slow going to us, but then we realized at the end we'd been doing a 23x23, not the usual 21x21. The end-result is very pretty, so we feel the effort was worthwhile: this has to be one of the most complex rebus puzzles I've come across in the last two years - instead of the usual uniform type of rebus square, we have six different types (three occurring twice).

We caught on to the presence of rebus squares fairly early on when 26-Across seemed to be many moons ago. Magdalen's instinct was to represent the moon as a crescent, but we soon discovered that, with the theme being the eclipse, the moon is better represented by a circle of differing colors. In the grid image below, the rebus squares are shaded and the moon's colors are white (for bright), gray (for dim), black (for dark) and red; the sun is yellow and the earth is blue.

Roberto AlomarUnfortunately, we ran into problems at the crossing of 109a Alomar and 101d Alia, opting for Aromar and Aria, without thinking through the options very clearly (though I'm not convinced that would have helped). There being only one Queen of Jordan we know about, we naturally assumed the airport would be named for Noor. When this didn't work out, we were a bit at a loss and let our instincts about the slugger rule the day ... and our instincts were unfortunately wrong. Perhaps Roberto Alomar is better known to the average solver, but I do wonder why Alia was clued in this particularly obscure way and not with the tried-and-trusted {Inter ___}.
Solving time: 43 mins (with Magdalen, no solving aids, two wrong answers)
Clue of the puzz: 1d OBs {Delivery people, briefly}

Kevin G. Der
Grid art by Sympathy


"Hope For Clear Skies". A rebus puzzle in which the bodies (or their appearance) involved in the December 2010 lunar eclipse fit into a single square, affecting the following answers.
26a many moons ago {A long time past}
29a after dark {At night}
32a dark horse {Long-shot candidate}
40a on a dime {One way to stop}
47a CD image {Clone of an optical medium's contents}
63a brighten {Remove drapes from, as a room}
69a Albright {First female U.S. secretary of state}
81a At The Earth's Core {1914 Edgar Rice Burroughs novel set in an underground land}
140a goes under {Folds}
27d mooning {Youthful prank in a car}
30d Darkman {Superhero played by Liam Neeson in a 1990 film}
32d dark age {Era of ignorance}
41d Dimag {Yankee great Joe, colloquially}
48d dimly {How things may be lit or remembered}
59d rare earth {Terbium or thulium}
63d bright idea {Promising proposal}
71d bright side {Optimist's focus}
143d sun-up {Dawn}
Long answers relate to this theme:
35a turn red {What the focus of a 125-Across will do at its climax}
66a celestial bodies {Objects of interest in a 125-Across}
94a amateur astronomer {Many an avid observer of a 125-Across}
125a total lunar eclipse {Event on Dec. 21, 2010, viewable in North and South America, depicted visually in this puzzle}
137a/146a casting a shadow {What the center of this puzzle is doing during a 125-Across}
Crucimetrics [about Crucimetrics]
CompilersKevin G. Der / Will Shortz
Grid23x23 with 93 (17.6%) black squares
Answers170 (average length 5.13)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points697 (average 1.60)
Video of the Day

125a total lunar eclipse {Event on Dec. 21, 2010, viewable in North and South America, depicted visually in this puzzle}. A total lunar eclipse will take place on December 20/21, 2010. It will be visible after midnight Eastern Standard Time on December 21 in North and South America. The beginning of the total eclipse will be visible from northern Europe just before sunrise. The end of the total eclipse will be visible rising at sunset for Japan and northeastern Asia, it also appears very visible to the Philippines just after sunset (as in Partial lunar eclipse). It will be the first total lunar eclipse in nearly 3 years, the last being on February 20, 2008.

It is the second of two lunar eclipses in 2010. The first was a partial lunar eclipse on June 26, 2010. It is also called the Christmas lunar eclipse. It will be the first total lunar eclipse to occur on the day of the Winter Solstice (in the Northern Hemisphere; Summer in the Southern) since 1638.

In case there aren't clear skies for you, the above movie shows the August 2007 lunar eclipse, as seen from Kapiolani Park in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi.

The Doctor is IN

11a adze {Shop dresser}. "Shop" in the sense of shop class.

23a Siam {Rama's kingdom}. The kings of Thailand are often referred to as Rama followed by Roman ordinal in English translation.

61a Cey {Six-time All-Star third baseman for the 1970s Dodgers}. I.e. Ron Cey.

78a mea {Pliny possessive}. mea is "my" in Latin, as in mea culpa ("my bad").

104a Moe {Duff Beer vendor}. I.e. Moe Szyslak of The Simpsons.

1d OBs {Delivery people, briefly}. OBs = obstetricians.

43d Pepé {Amorous skunk in cartoons}. I.e. Pepé Le Pew.

Image of the Day

Glen Canyon Dam

7d Dam {Glen Canyon ___}. The Glen Canyon Dam is the second largest dam on the Colorado River at Page, Arizona, USA. The dam's main purpose includes generating electrical power, storing water for the arid southwestern United States, and providing water recreation opportunities. The dam generates an average of 451 megawatts, which contributes 6% of the total electricity generated in Arizona. 13% of the electricity generated in Utah, in which most of Lake Powell resides, calculates to a figure that saves over 5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. The dam has a maximum capacity of 1300 megawatts but only utilizes an average of 451 megawatts. Damming the Colorado River caused the Glen Canyon, which lies to the north of the dam, to become flooded and has subsequently created the large reservoir called Lake Powell.

The Glen Canyon Dam is located upstream from the Grand Canyon National Park and has a 216m high concrete arch dam that controls the water flow from the upper to the lower Colorado River drainage basins. The dam controls a drainage basin of 281,671 km2 and also functions as a barrier for upstream-downstream migratory aquatic organisms. Navajo Generating Station, a 2,280 megawatt coal-fired power plant, is located in the nearby area.

Despite continuing opposition from many environmental groups, the dam, Lake Powell, and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area remain popular tourist destinations. Continued population growth in the western and southwestern United States places more demands on the system of dams and reservoirs on the Colorado River for water, power, and recreational purposes which are important to the infrastructures and economies of the western United States.

Other Clues

1a on tape {Not live}; 7a Dahl {Author Roald}; 15a thinly {How something may be veiled}; 21a Bouton {"Ball Four" author}; 22a Avia {Big name in athletic footwear}; 24a Aeneid {Whence the line "I fear Greeks even when they bring gifts"}; 25a stripe {Feature of some pool balls}; 28a crowns {Enthrones}; 31a Deion {Football's Sanders}; 33a how {___-to}; 34a Yom {___ Kippur}; 37a as I {"___ said ..."}; 38a daw {Glossy black bird}; 42a APO {Mil. address}; 44a Sgt. {Driller?: Abbr.}; 45a mug {Kisser}; 49a Vera {Wang of fashion}; 50a oners {Lulus}; 52a vices {Drinking and gambling}; 54a lyes {Basic solutions}; 55a gap {Breach}; 57a pea brains {Dummies}; 72a in utero {Not yet delivered}; 74a to order {How some things are made}; 75a Onassis {Jackie's #2}; 77a daresay {Think probable}; 79a Waikiki {Beach seen from Diamond Head}; 80a erst {Once, in the past}; 88a iced {Like many cakes}; 89a a mere {"Honor is ___ scutcheon": Shak.}; 91a lira {Bygone European capital}; 92a ploy {Subterfuge}; 93a Jesse {Track star Owens}; 100a Taj {Atlantic City locale, with "the"}; 103a Bryan {Loser to McKinley}; 105a G-suit {Spaceship attire}; 106a sag {Slump}; 109a Alomar {Slugger Roberto}; 111a Kennedy {Jackie's #1}; 114a Swann's {Proust's "___ Way"}; 116a literati {Book set?}; 119a ti amo {Italian lover's coo}; 120a maharani {Indian royal}; 122a lasagnes {Deep-dish dishes}; 123a totem {Heads outside together?}; 124a X-ray spex {Novelty glasses}; 128a agas {Turkish pooh-bahs}; 131a Reo {Flying Cloud, e.g.}; 132a avg. {Student's stat.}; 133a name {Dub}; 149a Ophelia {To whom Hamlet says "Get thee to a nunnery"}; 150a in-built {There from the start}; 151a tee line {It marks the target on a curling rink}; 152a peewees {Munchkins}; 153a cowpoke {Pardner, say}; 154a one star {Commodore's insignia}.

2d not a one {Zero}; 3d turf war {Battle over domain}; 4d at it {Haggling}; 5d Popeye {Sailor who debuted in a 1929 comic}; 6d Enero {Juan's January}; 8d Ava {Actress Gardner}; 9d Hindu {Dharma follower}; 10d layers {Tiramisu features}; 11d assort {Catalog}; 12d Diane {Steak ___}; 13d zag {Veer back}; 14d Emo {Comic Philips}; 15d tachs {Aircraft gauges}; 16d heroic {Kind of couplet for Chaucer}; 17d in or {"___ out?"}; 18d Newsday {Paper for which Murray Kempton and Jim Dwyer won Pulitzers}; 19d lineage {Trace of blood?}; 20d yds. {Football meas.}; 33d HOV {Kind of lane}; 35d to rest {How things may be laid}; 36d D minor {Key of Bach's "The Art of Fugue"}; 39d Wes {Director Anderson}; 46d UCSD {Golden State campus inits.}; 50d opera {Lincoln Center production}; 51d Sato {1974 Japanese Nobelist}; 52d vibe {Feeling}; 53d scena {Extended solo}; 56d aces {Crackerjacks}; 58d biome {Tundra or wetland}; 60d Aldas {Father-and-son actors}; 62d Esai {Actor Morales}; 64d enarm {Prepare to fight}; 65d nurse {"Grey's Anatomy" extra}; 67d loyalty {One of the Islamic virtues}; 68d I owe you {Grateful response}; 69d Asics {Big name in athletic footwear}; 70d likes {Column in a dating questionnaire}; 73d tetra {Aquarium fish}; 76d skier {One getting a lift?}; 82d tie a {"___ yellow ribbon ..."}; 83d trunk {Place to put bags}; 84d har {Laugh part}; 85d CPR {E.M.T.'s training}; 86d ology {Science}; 87d Rons {Reagan and others}; 90d embargo {Tactic used against Britain by Napoleon}; 93d jetways {Boarding aids}; 95d arrant {Out-and-out}; 96d amnion {Protective membrane}; 97d sonata {Beethoven's "Appassionata," e.g.}; 98d teemer {One that overflows}; 99d mishap {Fender bender, e.g.}; 100d tall {Towering}; 101d Alia {Jordan's Queen ___ International Airport}; 102d jots {Smidgens}; 106d snap {[Just like that!]}; 107d Anne {One of the Brontës}; 108d G Six {E.U. group}; 110d meat stew {Pot-au-feu, e.g.}; 112d et tu {Classic rebuke}; 113d dome {Observatory feature}; 115d arsenals {Powder rooms?}; 117d tear-gas {It may be shot during a riot}; 118d isle {Castaway's locale}; 120d MXLV {The year 1045}; 121d arigatō {Japanese "thanks"}; 126d logic {Need for KenKen}; 127d carte {Bistro offering}; 128d -A-Cop {Rent-___}; 129d gape {Hang open}; 130d Ashe {1968 U.S. Open champ}; 134d adit {Mine entrance}; 135d Mona {Bart Simpson's grandmother}; 136d ewer {Pitcher}; 138d ile {Suffix with vir-}; 139d nie {Never: Ger.}; 141d Ono {Lennon's lady}; 142d EBW {"Charlotte's Web" inits.}; 144d Dio {Italian God}; 145d elk {Forest game}; 147d Sen. {Clinton or Obama, once: Abbr.}; 148d hee {Laugh part}.

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