XW Info

Friday, March 28, 2014
by David J. Kahn
Fri 3/28/2014
© 2014, The New York Times
Jeff Chen notes: What a nice up-to-date central crossing to seed a themeless: CAPTAIN PHILLIPS crossed by SOMALI PIRATES. Great movie, fantastic cast, unbelievable story. Neat to see it commemorated by being featured in the NYT crossword. I didn't originally notice Tom Hanks in the clue to 48-across, but after looking at the finished grid, it made me smile.

Unlike the movie, which although fantastically executed, made me utterly seasick (that's never happened before). I'm super, super glad this crossword wasn't printed using jarring camera techniques. (Don't you get any ideas, constructors.)

David takes it one step further, using four more grid-spanners, all of which are pretty decent. SOURCES OF INCOME isn't a snazzy answer in itself, even for this business-loving MBA, but its clue was fantastic. I kept on thinking about HOUSE PAINTING, DOOR TO DOOR SALES, but I was pleasantly misled. Nice a-ha moment when it came together. Now that's how you jazz up an otherwise ordinary grid entry.

Typically with such a heavily constrained grid, compromises will be present, and there's a reasonable assortment of A ROW, MTNS, UNI, ALL OR, NNE, ASCAP crossing the double-stacks. Normal, expected stuff, didn't really bother me too much. However, I did have a very hard time with TRILBY crossing INGE, ending with an error (TRELBY / ENGE).

Perhaps it's on me to know (or be able to infer) TRILBY, which I actually did enjoy looking up, but I have a feeling I won't be the only one with a mistake in that square. Even TRALBY / ANGE seemed plausible. Another crossing, KLEBAN / ABBIE, might be tough for some, but I'd argue that ABBIE Hoffman is important enough that a majority of NYT readers ought to know him.

Not that I think all squares should be gettable by every solver — I'm sure there are plenty of people for whom TREBLY is a gimme — AARGH IT'S TRILBY! Ahem. But I might have considered adding a cheater square to change INGE to ING, which could be clued as the Dutch bank or the –ING ending. Something gettable by a larger chunk of solvers, anyway.

Finally, my favorite clue/entry pair. Maybe it's a residual Harry Potter effect, but it was so much fun for me to see BLIMEY! in the grid. A fun, quaint exclamation not unlike GOR! That's a good crossword at work, making solvers smile.

JimH notes: Besides his iconic mobiles, Alexander Calder also created the beloved Eagle in Seattle's lovely Olympic Sculpture Park. Here's a sunset view.
1.Those who respond to pickup lines? : CABBIES
8.Drags : BUMMERS
15.Central Florida daily : ORLANDOSENTINEL
17.Part-time jobs for college students, say : SOURCESOFINCOME
18.Disbelieving, maybe : AWED
19.Major-leaguer from Osaka who threw two no-hitters : NOMO
20.Trap : SETUP
21.Haddock relatives : CODS
23.Constellation described by Ptolemy : ARA
25.Part of 56-Across: Abbr. : EST
26.Conductor with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame : MEHTA
28."A Chorus Line" lyricist Ed : KLEBAN
31.Iran's Ayatollah ___ Khamenei : ALI
32.Year the Angels won the World Series : MMII
34.Brit's cry of surprise : BLIMEY
41.Standard : ENSIGN
42.Extreme piques : IRES
43."I'll ___" : SEE
44.Old letter opener: Abbr. : MESSRS
46.Upper regions of space : ETHER
48.Org. of which Tom Hanks is a member : SAG
51.Mauna ___ : KEA
52.Shaving brand : ATRA
53.Slip preventer : CLEAT
56.Terminal announcements, for short : ETAS
58.Writer William : INGE
61.Mobile creator : ALEXANDERCALDER
65.Demanded immediate action from : PRESSED
66.Superlatively bouncy : SPRYEST
1.___ Nostra : COSA
2.Aligned, after "in" : AROW
3.Relatively low-risk investments : BLUECHIPS
4.Actress for whom a neckline is named : BARDOT
5.___ 500 : INC
6.Unspoiled places : EDENS
7.Meh : SOSO
8.First of two pictures : BEFORE
9.Start to color? : UNI
10.Range parts: Abbr. : MTNS
11.Symbols of timidity : MICE
12.Modern message : ENOTE
13.Fictional teller of tales : REMUS
14.Wasn't alert : SLEPT
16.Hijackers who captured 38-Across : SOMALIPIRATES
22."What's the ___?" : DAMAGE
24.First name in '60s radicalism : ABBIE
26.Old club : MACE
27.Flourish : ELAN
28.Connected people : KIN
29.Ready : ALLSET
30.Nothing : NIL
33.Eastern European capital of 2 million : MINSK
35.Screw up : MISHANDLE
36.Sport with automated scoring : EPEE
37.River of W.W. I : YSER
39.Dickens boy : TIM
40.Ballpark dingers: Abbr. : HRS
45.Positioned well : SEEDED
47.English hat similar to a fedora : TRILBY
48.Where flakes may build up : SCALP
49.___ nothing : ALLOR
50.Simple sorts : GEESE
52.Musical grp. : ASCAP
54.Fires : AXES
55.Western setting for artisans : TAOS
57.They may be heavy or open : ARMS
59.Bee ___ : GEES
60.Formerly, old-style : ERST
62.Nautical heading: Abbr. : NNE
63.Part of 56-Across: Abbr. : ARR

© 2017, Jim Horne