Bloomsday honoree — SUNDAY, Oct. 4 2009 — Political comedian with 1973 album Sing a Song of Watergate / Enemy in 1980s arcade game Arabian
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Constructor: Todd McClary
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: "Initial Offerings" — theme answers are famous person + word that sounds like initials in famous person's name, e.g. SAMUEL ADAMS ESSAY (S.A. -> "ESSAY")
Word of the Day: CAVY (115A: Rodent named for a 20th-century novelist? -> KURT VONNEGUT CAVY) — n., pl., -vies.
- Any of various tailless South American rodents of the family Caviidae, which includes the guinea pig.
- Any of various similar or related rodents, such as the capybara, coypu, and agouti.
[From New Latin Cavia, genus name, perhaps from Galibi cabiai.] (answers.com)-----
Cute and easy puzzle today. Didn't we just have this "NV"-to-ENVY type puzzle? Am I making that up? Feels awfully familiar. Theme phrases are fresh and entertaining. The gimmick was too easy to uncover and made solving too easy for me — I had a sub-10 min. time, my fastest NYT Sunday time ever, I think, or close to it. Needed most of the crosses to get the first theme answer, SAMUEL ADAMS ESSAY, but a. those crosses were easy to get, and b. after that, with the theme in hand, the other theme answers were a cinch to knock down. Just a few letters in CUTIE gave me the entirety of QUENTIN TARANTINO CUTIE for instance. Yes, that's how the Easy factor is injected into this puzzle. For once, solving the tail end first actually helps make the whole answer clearer. Usually coming at answers from the back, as opposed the front, is less helpful. Not so today. But some of the theme answers you could get just by looking at the clue. Television award give to a Surrealist? — that shouldn't take anyone (who knows anything about art or does crosswords ever) more than a second to get. TV award = EMMY ... M. E. ... surrealist ... Max Ernst. Piece of cake. I don't mind the simpleness so much because I sort of like all the answers involved. Wish the non-theme fill had been tougher, though.
- 23A: Article written by an early American patriot? (Samuel Adams ESSAY)
- 39A: Dental problem for a boxing promoter? (Don King DECAY)
- 47A: Desire to be more like an actress of Greek descent? (Nia Vardalos ENVY)
- 66A: Adorable child of an edgy filmmaker? (Quentin Tarantino CUTIE)
- 88A: Tent used by a Latin musician? (Tito Puente TEPEE)
- 94A: Television award give to a Surrealist? (Max Ernst EMMY)
- 115A: Rodent named for a 20th-century novelist? (Kurt Vonnegut CAVY)
- 1A: Political comedian with the 1973 album "Sing a Song of Watergate" (Mort Sahl) — often in puzzles as last name only, his was the first name that came to mind. Oh, and I learned his name from crosswords (before my time).
- 32A: Record label for Bill Haley and the Comets (Decca) — Dang, I just wrote a clue for DECCA almost exactly like this. Now I gotta go change it.
- 34A: Enemy in the 1980s arcade game Arabian (Roc) — loooove this clue even though I have never seen / played the game in question. "Arabian" was enough of a giveaway for me.
- 44A: Chinese dynasty 1,000 years ago (Liao) — Went with LING, then LIAN ... bah. If 39D: Clue game board space (door) had come to me sooner, LIAO would have been no problem.
- 56A: Godzilla contemporary that was a giant flying turtle (Gamera) — "contemporary," HA ha. Like they constitute a historical era. GAMERA was the subject of at least one ep of "Mystery Science Theater 3000," so I know ... him? ... well.
- 120A: Name beside a harp on euro coins (Eire) — seen this clue many times now.
- 16D: Looney Tunes lothario (Pepe Le Pew) — a skunk who is hot for cats.
- 17D: Like much of the Danube's territory (Slavic) — I think of "Slavic" as relating to people, not land.
- 33D: Animal that leaves when it's cared for? (Chia Pet) — I don't like "leaves" as verb meaning "grows leaves," but the clue is a valiant misdirection attempt.
- 48D: Overly enthusiastic (rabid) — yes, like fans.
- 51D: Salamandridae family member (newt) — "Salamandridae" looks formidable, but you can see ordinary "salamander" in there, and NEWT is supercommon.
- 63D: Bloomsday honoree (Joyce) — remember how I told you I've never read Yeats? Well he's not alone on my DNR list ...
- 64D: Skedaddles (scoots) — I had SCRAMS.
- 71D: Member of a modern theocracy (Iranian) — technically a "theocratic republic," I think.
- 99D: Court great Karl (Malone) — I worry about Mr. MALONE. How long until people just forget about him. I know he's a Hall-of-Famer for sure, but still ... I see future crosswords with future solvers complaining "Who the hell is Karl Malone?" To which I will reply, "How could you not ...? Why, in my day ..."
And now your Tweets of the Week (puzzle chat from the Twitterverse)
- fleetwoodwack Don't solve a Patrick Berry crossword with a hangover.
- Zahornberger I got so close to finishing this crossword... WtF is "Nosegay"?
- ericaandbaxter Sometimes I wonder whether nytimes crossword puzzles are in english
- miltonline I have been treated really badly by the UK Press this year. They keep charging me for each newspaper & give me really difficult crosswords.
- Belflower122 No Shame Theatre was full, so it's beer and Twizzlers and The Office and crosswords! I am so exciting.
- BriefCanPhotos is watching Jet Li fight himself, and is beginning to think his love for crosswords may be unhealthy
- AlChiz Catching up on missed NYT crosswords, and I find Sept.12th was one of my Dad's. Gee, thx for telling me, Pops. Sigh. [follow-ups: AlChiz @rexparker Ta for shout-out, tho my tweet contained a mistake: it was 9/9 that was my dad's (Richard Chisholm). // AlChiz @rexparker PS it may cheer your readers to learn that my dad constructed his first puzzle in his 70s (he is 85) after 50+ years as a solver.]
- ertchin More Kickstarter crosswords! I want one of these projects every month. At least. http://tinyurl.com/ybgohyq
That last tweet is no joke. Click through to visit the Kickstarter page for Patrick Blindauer's new puzzle project, "2009 Holiday Puzzlefest." It's the lastest independent puzzle project from one of the very best constructors in the business. A suite of 10-12 puzzles of the very highest caliber and cleverness, and you can get in for a mere $5. In just a couple of days he was already better than halfway toward his subscription goal. Get on board. Support independent constructors. You won't be disappointed. There's a contest and everything. Get details here. It'll be the crosswording event of the Holiday season. OK, I'm not sure what the competition's like in that category, but ... I'm pretty sure Patrick will own it.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]