Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday, July 21, 2008

Title: Street Closings
Author: Sarah Keller
Theme: Phrases that end in names of Manhattan streets.
  • 17a: Endodontist's treatment (ROOT CANAL).

  • 22a: Largest piano (CONCERT GRAND). I have an 1863, 7 1/2' Chickering concert grand in my living room, almost identical to this one shown.

  • 36a: 1913 Igor Stravinsky ballet (THE RITE OF SPRING).

  • 47a: Some recording studios (ECHO CHAMBERS).

  • 55a: Unconquerable obstacle (BRICK WALL).

Admission #1: I never would have figured out this theme without the title. Not being from NYC, I know of Wall Street and Canal Street. Grand Street sounds vaguely familiar. There are probably Spring Streets in most cities; I know Concord, NH has one. I've never heard of Chambers Street.

Admission #2: I double-checked to see if there was a Dip Street and a Cream Street, which seemed no less likely than a Chambers Street.

Admission #3: My lack of understanding the theme didn't detract much from my overall solving experience. The theme entries were solid Monday fare.

Sunny Spots:

  • 45a: Small piece of food (NIBLET). Especially corn, which counts as a starch.

  • 9d: Potato chip go-with (ONION DIP).

  • 21d: Fountain drinks (MALTS). Mmmm... nothing like a good chocolate malt.

  • 37d: Banana split ingredient (ICE CREAM).

Can you tell I'm on a diet? These are all things I've not seen much of in the last month. On the bright side, I've dropped 15 pounds since the beginning of July.

  • 14a: "The thrill of victory and the ___ of defeat" (AGONY). The famous "agony of defeat" skier from "Wide World of Sports" was Vinko Bogataj (how's that for crossword fodder). Here's a clip about him.

  • 16a: Like a babe in the woods (NAIVE).

  • 27a: Secret love affairs (AMOURS).

  • 33a: Gandhi's wear (DHOTI). I hesitated on the first letter for a second, but it felt right.

  • 42a: Annual theater award (OBIE). As I understand it, the Tony awards are for Broadway shows, while the OBIE awards are for Off-Broadway (O.B.) shows. I'm sure someone out there will correct me if I've oversimplified this.

  • 44a: DDE's command in WWII (ETO). There was a time that this would not have been obvious to me, but it shows up all the time. It stands for European Theater of Operations.

  • 53a: Guitar ___ (video game) (HERO). Aptly skewered by a recent South Park episode.

  • 60a: Bewildered (AT SEA).

  • 65a: Irish poet William Butler ___ (YEATS). "All empty souls tend toward extreme positions." Wonderful.

  • 2d: It can be bruised or massaged (EGO).

  • 3d: Scooby-___ (cartoon dog) (DOO). I like that this puzzle includes both this and 33d: Artoo-___ (DETOO).

  • 5d: Tour de France competitor (CYCLER). And this is different than a cyclist how?

  • 6d: "At the Center of the Storm" author George (TENET).

  • 7d: Long-armed ape, for short (ORANG).

  • 10d: Corp. division (R AND D). These kinds of fill can be tricky if you're not expecting them.

  • 22d: Religious official who sings in Hebrew (CANTOR).

  • 23d: Resident of Nebraska's most populous city (OMAHAN).

  • 25d: Round dance leader (CUER).

  • 38d: Worshiper's contribution (TITHE). Not all worshippers tithe (give 10% to the church). In fact, I bet a very low percentage do.

  • 46d: Possible response to "How are you?" (I'M OKAY). My first stab was I'M FINE, but it dropped quickly.

  • 47d: Swiss math great who solved the K√∂nigsberg bridge problem (EULER). I remember this from discrete math. Here's a description of the problem and solution.

  • 48d: "Everybody Hates ___" (CHRIS). Chris Rock show.

  • 50d: Culture medium gelatin (AGAR).

  • 52d: "Stay" singer Loeb (LISA). Here's a link.

Suns of Bitches:

  • 39d: AnnaSophia of "Bridge to Terabithia" (ROBB). This is the only clue that I got from crossings. Not a name I'm familiar with.

Fast and easy, with no cringing. That's what I like in a Monday puzzle. Of course, I'm not a speed solver, so "fast" for me is in the 5-minute range. I wouldn't be much faster than that with the answers in front of me.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


Joon said...

i'm not a new yorker either, but i've been there enough to know of these streets. the only one that didn't ring a bell was SPRING; checking a map, it seems to be the street that meets up with CANAL at the holland tunnel. another nice thing tightening this theme is that all five are E-W streets south of houston. (of course, most of the streets north of houston aren't named anyway. but still.) it would have been an interesting editorial decision whether to include HOUSTON itself--there's a difference in pronunciation between the new york street and the texas city (or anything else named after sam houston).

overall it was a really nice monday puzzle. DHOTI seemed only vaguely familiar and i needed all the crosses. TENET and ROBB seemed not at all familiar. (i remember bridge to tarabithia the book, but apparently ms ROBB is a child actress from the 2007 movie, which escaped my attention.)

i loved EULER and guitar HERO. wasn't as big a fan of CYCLER, but it seems to be in the dictionary. (there's no difference with CYCLIST.) the clue for CANTOR seemed overly specific--many christian churches also have cantors, who sing in english or spanish or latin or whatever language the songs are in.

Anonymous said...

A somewhat pedestrian theme, so to speak, and CYCLER made me cringe a bit (though I guess at least that wasn't a pedestrian word). But a pretty clean puzzle, nice and light on the abbr.s, straightforward like a Monday should be.

I wonder if the composer has had some recent dental trauma; I couldn't help notice AGONY sitting right on top of ROOTCANAL in the NW corner, with MEDIC serving as the frosting on top.

Cross-Man said...

What ruy said.