06.21.08 -- T L H

T. L. Hinman, March 2, 2008. upon winning first place at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, photo by Donald
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Puzzle by Tyler Lewis Hinman, edited by Will Shortz
I suppose there is really no way around it -- one needs to mention the author of this crossword puzzle. After all, the diagram has his initials emblazoned in black squares so huge that the puzzle resembles the beginning of an eye chart.
Additionally, it appears to be a FIRST IMPRESSION (44A. Something given at a meeting), or a PRIMARY ELECTION (22A. One may have many runners); with LEADING ARTICLES (9D. Front-of-magazine pieces); and TWO MINUTE DRILLS (3D. Fourth-quarter strategies) -- all indications of beginnings of sorts -- I must assume that this crossword is likely the author’s first in the New York Times, and that it is a self-celebration, and certainly, a great deal of talent is on display; however the ham-handed carving of the author’s initials renders this effort to become a grade school exercise, or a personal greeting card. Hopefully, the pendulum will swing back to the days of anonymous authors.
SOME PEOPLE (19A. “The nerve!”), MISS THE CUT (51A. Not make it), ENEMY LINES (13D. Moles go behind them) and TOILET SEAT (24D. Can opener?) are the other long entries in this ego trip.

Two eight-letter entries, CARCRASH (23D. Ending of many a chase), PACKTENT (20D. Portable shelter) follow with seven-letter entries include ARROYOS (4D. Washes); DEEPENS (5D. Gets more interesting, say); DWELLON (6D. Not get over); CAMILLE (37D. Title role for Greta Garbo); UPPSALA (38D. Swedish home of Scandinavia’s oldest university); BURSTIN (Enter suddenly).

There are really a lot of interesting entries and clues in the puzzle, none of which relate to the black-square gimmick foisted upon the solver -- a black eye upon an otherwise agreeable crossword.

Other across clues: 1. Midwest farmers work later on it: Abbr.; 4. Line on an appl. form; 8. Group whose logo has a clock set at 11:00; 12. E. S. LOWE, game company that popularized Yahtzee and Scribbage; 14. “AREWE having fun yet?”; 15. Collect, as benefits; 16. Like “Beowulf,” in brief; 17. Fuss, in a way; 18. Six-Day War battleground; 25. It contains M.S.G.; 26. John Lennon’s adopted middle name; 27. AON Center, second-tallest building in Chicago; 28. Filler for a gun; 30. Line on an appl. form; 31. Planet system in several “Star Trek” episodes; 34. “Let’s go!”; 35. Santa CLARA, Calif.; 36. Girl who’s the “you” in the lyric “I’ll see you in my dreams”; 37. See 41-Across; 40. Printed over; 41. 37-Across’s birthplace; 42. Cartoon character who fathered octuplets; 43. Old N.Y.S.E. ticker symbol that’s now just “T”; 50. Numerical prefix; 52. Pioneering agriculturist Jethro; 54. La PLATA, capital of Buenos Aires province; 55. ALTE Oder (German river); 56. German-occupied capital in W.W. II; 57. Psychologist Havelock; 58. “Bill & TEDS Bogus Journey,” 1991 comedy; 59. Love NEST; 60. Skin-and-bones; 61. Rummy.

Down: 1. Hook’s place; 2. O, often; 7. Actress O’Connor TV’s “Xena”; 8. 100 Nan joules; 10. Buzz producer; 11. Produce; 14. Copier; 28. Delta Tau CHI (“Animal House” house); 29. Voice; 32. Its end is often observed; 33. Iberia : Spain :: LAN : Chile; 44. Crash pad?; 45. Locked, as a lavatory; 46. Encourage; 47. Weather may affect them: Abbr.; 48. Beat; 49. Late 1940s even, in headlines; 53. Load.

Note: I read in another blog that Tyler Hinman has been published in the past, but not with his middle name...

Cheer up, it's summer!


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1 comment:

DONALD said...

ELKS (8A. Group whose logo has a clock set at 11:00).


by Mike Kelly
Grand Lodge Historian
In regard to the Elks' 11 O'clock Toast and its origin, we have to go back long before the B.P.O.E. came into existence. One of the main contributions of Charles Richardson -- in stage name of Charles Algernon Sidney Vivian and founder of the American branch of the Jolly Corks -- was to deliver into the hands of newborn Elks the rituals and traditions of a fraternal organization started in England around 1010 A.D., the Royal and Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes, to which he belonged prior to coming to New York.

The R.A.O.B, or Buffaloes as we shall henceforth refer to them, also practiced an 11 o'clock toast in remembrance of the Battle of Hastings in October of 1066. Following his victory, William of Normandy imported a set of rules, both martial and civil in nature, to keep control of a seething Norman-Saxon population always on the edge of a revolution.

Among those rules was a curfew law requiring all watch fires, bonfires (basically all lights controlled by private citizens that could serve as signals) to be extinguished at 11 each night. From strategically placed watchtowers that also served as early fire-alarm posts, the call would go out to douse or shutter all lights and bank all fires. This also served to discourage secret and treasonous meetings, as chimney sparks stood out against the black sky. A person away from his home and out on the darkened streets, when all doors were barred for the night, risked great peril from either evildoers or patrolling militia.

The hour of 11 quickly acquired a somber meaning, and in the centuries that followed, became the synonym throughout Europe for someone on his deathbed or about to go into battle: i.e." His family gathered about his bed at the 11th hour," or "The troops in the trenches hastily wrote notes to their families as the 11th hour approached when they must charge over the top.”

Thus, when the 15 Jolly Corks (of whom seven were not native-born Americans) voted on February 16, 1868, to start a more formal and official organization, they were already aware of an almost universally prevalent sentiment about the mystic and haunting aura connected with the nightly hour of 11, and it took no great eloquence by Vivian to establish a ritual toast similar to that of the Buffaloes at the next-to-last hour each day.

The great variety of 11 O'clock Toasts, including the Jolly Corks Toast, makes it clear that there was no fixed and official version until 1906-10. Given our theatrical origins, it was almost mandatory that the pre-1900 Elks would be expected to compose a beautiful toast extemporaneously at will. Regardless of the form, however, the custom is as old as the Elks.