Don Herbert's moniker 1950s-'60s TV / SUN 10-17-10 / Spotted cavy / Suspenseful 1966 Broadway hit / Racy best-selling novel 1956
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Constructor: Patrick Blindauer
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: "Figure of Speech" — "Figure 8!" — eight "8s" populate the grid, standing in for the sound of "8" ("ATE") in each instance
Word of the Day: ANANIAS (46A: Biblical liar) —
Ananias (pronounced /ˌænəˈnaɪ.əs/) and his wife Sapphira (/sæˈfaɪrə/) were, according to the Acts of the Apostles, members of the Early Christian church in Jerusalem. // Acts chapter 4 closes by stating that the Christian believers in the early Church did not consider their possessions to be their own, but they had all things in common, and that a church member, Barnabas, sold a plot of land and donated the profit to the apostles. // In chapter 5, Ananias and Sapphira also sold their land, but withheld a portion of the sales, having decided that they did not wish to give it all to the common purse. Ananias presented his donation to Peter claiming that it was the entire amount. Peter replied, "Why is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit?" Peter pointed out that Ananias was in control of the money and could give or keep it as he saw fit, but that he had withheld it from Peter and lied about it, and stated that Ananias had not only lied to Peter, but also to God. Ananias died on the spot, and as a result, everyone who heard the tale became afraid. Three hours later, his wife told the same lie and suffered the same fate. (wikipedia)
and hear Blossom Dearie singing the song ...
I think the times at the NYT site will return a verdict of "Challenging," largely because of confusion as to how to fill in the rebus ("8") squares. I did the puzzle in Black Ink (equivalent of AcrossLite) and used the numeral in those spaces—the software apparently thought that was cool, as I got the "Congratulations" message (or whatever it says) when I was through. I'm guessing many of you were like me and floundered at first, specifically at 3D: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7, in New York City. I had SUB- and went to write in SUBWAYLINE .... but no, too long. Once I knew that answer did indeed start SUBW-, then I knew something was screwy. When screwiness ensued again at 31A: Egg protector ("CR-???"), then I just had to be patient. Ran the vowels for that last letter in CR-, then thought "they want 'ATE,' but ... SUBWATE? That can't be right." But then I hit what was clearly "TAILG(8)" at 7D: Follow too closely, so I gave in and went with the number "8" in those squares. Eventually got SUBW(8)RAIN, and then it was just a matter of hunting down the remaining "8"s — not that hard, actually. I think the one in the very far SE was probably the toughest to unearth, if only because (the kind of absurd) ERIE, PA answer at the top of that section was not easy to uncover, which made getting those long Downs tougher than it might have been (93A: Part of a postal address for Gannon University). Only real sticking point, after I got the theme, was in the north, where I had DR. WIZARD and then HARD A for 10A: Start to frost? ... until I realized "frost" doesn't start with a HARD A ... or any A. Changed Dr. to MR. WIZARD (13D: Don Herbert's moniker on 1950s-'60s TV), and then "got" PERMA. Briefly thought W(8)UNTILDARK (37A: Suspenseful 1966 Broadway hit) was W(8)INGFORGODOT (it's *kind* of suspenseful...), but it didn't fit, and then the Audrey Hepburn movie popped into my head.
Remaining theme answers:
- 25A: Singer with the #1 country hiti "Hello Darlin'" (CONW(8)WITTY) / 14D: Lessen (AB(8))
- 60A: Repeatedly raised the bar? (LIFTED W(8)S) / 40D: Insomniac's TV viewing (THE L(8) L(8) SHOW) / 76A: Racy best-selling novel of 1956 ("P(8)ON PLACE")
- 99A: Fast-talking salesman's tactic (B(8) AND SWITCH) / 89D: Conditions (ST(8)S)
- 116A: X Games competitor (SK(8)BOARDER) / 109D: Largest employer in Newton, Iowa, until 2006 (M(8)AG)
- 127A: Spat (G(8)ER) / 84D: Movie producer's time of stress (RELEASE D(8))
- 35A: Listens, old-style (HARKS) — used nowadays primarily for herald angels.
- 82A: Speed-skating champ Johann ___ Koss (OLAV) — the world does not need another OLAV clue. It does, however, need a KOSS clue.
- 121A: Florida univ. affiliated with the Catholic Church (ST. LEO) — never heard of it. That was a tough clue.
- 5D: Massachusetts industrial city on the Millers River (ATHOL) — nope, still don't like it. The fact that I now know this "city" (population: bupkus—it's a "town" at best) doesn't make me think it's any more crossworthy than it was last time I saw it.
- 65D: Miracle Mets pitcher, 1969 (SEAVER) — our local team is the Mets AA affiliate, and SEAVER is from my home town, so when I went to the Hall of Fame, it was his t-shirt I came home with.
- 64D: Folk singer Jenkins (ELLA) — Hmmm, can't remember ever seeing this ELLA before. Who is she?
And now your Tweets of the Week, puzzle chatter from the Twitterverse:
- @alexword Crossword Butler 1.3 is out. I'm told you will want to have it before getting tomorrow's LAT. http://alexboisvert.com/crosswordbutler/
- @TraceyParadiso If I don't get to bed soon I'll oversleep-and my husband will finish the #NYTimes Sunday #crossword before I'm even out of bed!
- @sophizle Ethical dilemma: lady sitting next to me on bus has one of her crossword answers wrong #sophieschoice
- @SlinkySparkles We have ACTUAL worksheets for our burlesque trip to Ironbridge!!! With colouring and a crossword! We have the best stage manager ever!!! Yay
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