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THE CAPTAIN GOES DOWN WITH THE SHIP

New York Times, Sunday, April 5, 2015

Author: Tom McCoy
Editor: Will Shortz
Tom McCoy
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1.61351

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 75 Missing: {Z} This is puzzle # 10 for Mr. McCoy. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Tom McCoy notes: This puzzle was born out of a desire to make a crossword based on Moby Dick. While brainstorming possible Moby Dick-related themes, I had some music playing in the background, and the song 'White Flag' by Dido ... more
Tom McCoy notes:

This puzzle was born out of a desire to make a crossword based on Moby Dick. While brainstorming possible Moby Dick-related themes, I had some music playing in the background, and the song "White Flag" by Dido came on. This song contains the line "I will go down with this ship / And I won't put my hands up and surrender," and the theme idea quickly followed.

My favorite Sundays usually have multiple layers, so I spent a lot of time debating whether to give this theme any more elements (An anchor made out of black squares? A revealer within the puzzle? Two unchecked squares, both containing the letter "i," for "Aye Aye, Captain?") However, I decided that the theme entries were disparate enough that adding more complexity might be distracting, so the current version prevailed.

Thanks to Mr. Morris and Professor Roffman, both of whom have guided me through the murky waters of Moby Dick.

Jill Denny notes: This is a very nice puzzle whose theme just happens to touch on two of my worst nightmares: ALMONDS and being lost at sea. RIP, Captains AHAB and SMITH. Captain BLIGH, I can't tell from your wikipedia ... more
Jill Denny notes:

The fovea is at the bottom of the pic, directly opposite the lens This is a very nice puzzle whose theme just happens to touch on two of my worst nightmares: ALMONDS and being lost at sea. RIP, Captains AHAB and SMITH. Captain BLIGH, I can't tell from your wikipedia entry whether you deserved the mutiny or not, though kudos on your extraordinary navigational skills. President LINCOLN, for you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning. To the rest of you gents — KIRK, NEMO, CRUNCH, and HOOK — thanks for lightening the mood.

Setting aside my weird dislikes, this was a smooth, enjoyable, straightforward Sunday puzzle. Minimal glue, some lively fill, good feng shui in the grid, a happy medium in cluing difficulty — it hit the spot. A few answers that stuck with me:

  • AFROS. Simply because they are beautiful.
  • FOVEA. The fovea is why stars appear dimmer when you stare straight at them.
  • GLOAMING. The first time I first saw this word was in a review of "The Blue Room", in which Nicole Kidman appeared nude on stage. A critic described the moment as "two fried eggs in the gloaming". Ugh. Remind me never to become an actress.
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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0405 ( 23,889 )
Across Down
1. White's partner : SAJAK
6. Religious journey : HAJ
9. Queen's attendant : ANT
12. Treasonous groups : CABALS
18. Home of Faa'a International Airport : TAHITI
19. Kindle, e.g. : EREADER
21. Union union : AFLCIO
22. Asian wild ass : ONAGER
23. 1/100 of a peseta : CENTIMO
24. With formal properness : PRIMLY
25. Some Halloween decorations : WEBS
26. Kit ___ bar : KAT
28. "Leave!" : GONOW
29. Book that needs to be read word for word? : ROGETS
30. Picking up strength, for short? : ESP
31. Sony video recorder : BETACAM
33. Relatively recent : NEWISH
35. Postal abbr. : RTE
36. 101, say : INTRO
37. Corporate department : SALES
38. Party time, for short : BDAY
42. 7/11 product? : QUOTIENT
45. Crime of those in Dante's second circle : LUST
46. When repeated, classic song with the lyric "Sayin' we gotta go, yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah" : LOUIE
47. Bully, at times : TAUNTER
49. Begin's opposite? : SADAT
51. Word of regret : SHOULDA
53. "So what?" : WHOCARES
55. One who aims to hit singles? : CUPID
57. Quarters of a Quarter Pounder : OUNCES
58. Walk quietly : PAD
59. Keepers of appointments, for short : PDAS
61. Deficit, informally : HOLE
62. Went (for) : OPTED
63. Scoundrel : CUR
65. Baseball V.I.P.s : GMS
67. Gist : NUB
68. Crucial : KEY
69. Ayatollah's speech : FARSI
71. Afflicts : AILS
73. Hist. or Eng. : SUBJ
75. Flee : LAM
78. Ne'er-do-wells : ROGUES
79. In good ___ : STEAD
81. Twilight, poetically : GLOAMING
84. It could go either way : EVENBET
86. Adhered (to) : HEWED
88. Amaretto ingredients : ALMONDS
89. Best-selling children's series "___ Jackson & the Olympians" : PERCY
90. Common address start : HTTP
92. Bugs someone? : MELBLANC
94. See 97-Across : SASH
95. Explorer Meriwether ___ : LEWIS
96. ___-breath : BABYS
97. Japanese 94-Across : OBI
100. Claymation dog : GROMIT
102. Helpful household pets : RATTERS
104. Cut (off) : LOP
105. Appraises : VALUES
108. Some 99-Down : NANOS
110. ___ Period (part of Japanese history) : EDO
111. ___ regni : ANNO
112. Go by : ELAPSE
113. Lightly pound : KNOCKON
115. Coming or going, say : GERUND
117. Moderate : TEMPER
118. "No, you really must!" : IINSIST
119. Takes marks off : ERASES
120. Yellow-and-white flowers : OXEYES
121. Prefix with system : ECO
122. Letters in the Greek spelling of "Parthenon" : NUS
123. Capital on the Atlantic : RABAT
1. Least mad : SANEST
2. Example from classic American literature : AHABPEQUOD
3. Lively dances : JIGS
4. Polished off : ATE
5. Example from television : KIRKENTERPRISE
6. Property unit : HECTARE
7. "___ you even listening?" : ARE
8. With 18-Down, structure that gets less stable with time : JENGA
9. Deuce preceder, maybe : ADIN
10. Example from sci-fi literature : NEMONAUTILUS
11. Brick worker's tools : TROWELS
12. Summer pants : CAPRIS
13. Big dos : AFROS
14. Example from 18th-century history : BLIGHBOUNTY
15. Top : ACME
16. Pleasant inflection : LILT
17. Some beans : SOYS
18. See 8-Down : TOWER
20. Bond holder? : ATOM
27. Clad : ATTIRED
31. Flora and fauna : BIOTA
32. Deceives : CONS
34. Dampens : WETS
37. Affix carelessly : SLAPON
39. ___ de leche : DULCE
40. Cooperated with : AIDED
41. Up side? : YEAS
43. Duke rival, for short : UNC
44. Game center? : TAC
46. Watchmaker's tool : LOUPE
47. County div. : TWP
48. "I got it!" : AHA
50. "I *finally* got it!" : DUH
52. Example from fantasy literature : HOOKJOLLYROGER
54. Some trilogies : SAGAS
56. Get running smoothly, in a way : DEBUG
60. Example from 20th-century history : SMITHTITANIC
63. Example from advertising : CRUNCHGUPPY
64. Words before a date : USEBY
66. Is out : SLEEPS
69. Point of sharpest vision : FOVEA
70. Golden ___ : AGERS
72. Cut (off) : SAW
74. Told : BLABBED
75. Metaphorical example from poetry : LINCOLNUSA
76. As well as : AND
77. Classic roadsters : MGS
78. "One ... two ... three ...," in a gym : REPS
80. On the left, for short : DEM
82. Get together : AMASS
83. Many a fed. holiday : MON
85. British Invasion band : THEM
87. Kind of ceiling : DEBT
91. Much-vilified food : TWINKIE
93. Some fingerprints : LATENTS
95. Schlemiels : LOSERS
98. Louse's place, in Robert Burns's "To a Louse" : BONNET
99. See 108-Across : IPODS
101. Watch over : RESEE
102. Fearsome birds : ROCS
103. Welcome, perhaps : ASKIN
105. Ixnay : VETO
106. "A Clockwork Orange" protagonist : ALEX
107. Unbelievable, say : LAME
109. Talking during a movie, e.g. : NONO
111. ___ League : ARAB
114. Michigan rival, for short : OSU
116. Post-Civil War Reconstruction, e.g. : ERA

Answer summary: 10 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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