Subject of 1980s surrogacy case / FRI 11-5-10 / Bundles of bound quarks / Early film star who wore lipstick in shape of heart
Friday, November 5, 2010
Constructor: Mike Nothnagel
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: none, but ... — CROSSWORD CONTEST! From the "Notepad" of this puzzle: When this puzzle has been completed, put nine holes over the grid and arrange the letters shown to form an appropriate two-word phrase (4,5). Where these holes are is for you to discover. When you have the answer, send it by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Twenty-five correct solvers chosen at random, whose entries are received by midnight E.S.T. Sunday, Nov. 7, will receive copies of "The New York Times Little Black and White Book of Holiday Crosswords." Only one entry per person, please. The answer and winners' names will appear on Friday, Nov. 12, at www.nytimes.com/wordplay.
[I have been asked to ask you not to post the contest answer in the comments ... so I'm asking]
Word of the Day: BABY M (25D: Subject of a 1980s surrogacy case) —
Baby M (born March 27, 1986) was the pseudonym used for Melissa Stern, the child in an American custody case between the egg donor/surrogate mother and the child's biological father. (wikipedia)
Felt like ONE appeared a lot in this grid, but it's only in there twice. There are just a lot of ONs (BITE ON, PLAYS ON, ROCK ON, ON ME, ON BUTTON ... is this some kind of record?), which clearly gave me that (erroneous) impression. I really liked CN TOWER, which felt fresh — I was just in Toronto, so got TOWER immediately, but couldn't remember the first two initials. C-something... good enough. Loved GETS / LOADED. ROCK ON and GOOD GAME added a nice colloquial touch. And CLARA BOW is both a nice answer and an opportunity for some interesting trivia revelation (7A: Early film star who wore lipstick in the shape of a heart).
Oh, I nearly forgot—I finished with an error :(
I had seen ANAKIN Skywalker (40D: "Star Wars" name) in the puzzle so often in his nickname form (ANI) that I automatically spelled it ANIKIN and didn't blink at R.I.P. for 47A: Spirited response? (RAP). I thought, "Well, if someone's dead, I guess R.I.P. is a response to the person's spirit ... whatever." O well. Don't feel too bad about that one.
As for the contest: Piece Of Cake (though you may not think so, and for good reason). I'm not sure why there are so many "hole"s in the clues today (five, by my count), but not nine holes. Why go to five and then stop? There must have been a way to work four more "hole"s into today's clues. Would've been a nice touch. At any rate, any constant solver of the NYT puzzle should be able to figure out the Contest answer in a heartbeat. I sent my answer in to the Times at about 10:12 p.m. Thursday night.
- 20A: Some compact light sources (DIODES) — couldn't tell if "compact" was an adjective or noun here for a while.
- 28A: ___ Farm, setting for a George Orwell story (MANOR) — Yeesh, completely forgot this. Needed every cross.
- 52A: Iberian city that lends its name to a variety of wine (OPORTO) — that's crossword memory right there. Never would've gotten this without many xword miles under my belt.
- 2D: Maryland's historic ___ Creek (ANTIETAM) — figured out very quickly what the answer must be, but Could Not decide if word ended -AM or -EM ...
- 25D: Subject of a 1980s surrogacy case (BABY M) — haven't thought about this case since the '80s. Completely forgot the letter, but had good enough powers of inference to get the BABY part.
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P.S. Happy birthday, Tyler Hinman