08.24.08 -- Spruce Goose

H-4 (HK-1) Hercules -- "Spruce Goose"
Sunday, August 24, 2008
COME FLY WITH ME, Puzzle by Kevin G. Der, edited by Will Shortz
The clue for 30-Across (Instructions for what to do when this puzzle is done) is, of course, no clue at all, but merely a warning that this Sunday crossword will occupy a bit more time, accompanied by frustration, than usual. The related across “clues”, are not worth noting, e.g., 48. With 67- and 97-Across, second part of the instructions; 67. See 48-Across; 97. See 48-Across; 138. Final part of the instructions. The resulting “instructions” are CUT ALONG THE DOTTED LINE, FOLD THROUGH EACH PAIR OF NUMBERS IN THE GRID SEQUENTIALLY -- GO THROW THE PAPER AIRPLANE.
Go throw it yourself! I don’t like post-solution instructions having nothing to do with the content of the crossword -- there‘s no reference in the puzzle to origami, office or schoolboy pranks, aerodynamics, etc. I handed the completed puzzle to the nearest tween and received the query, “Why don’t you do it on the computer?”!, which is yet another way of saying, and yes I repeat -- “GO THROW IT YOURSELF!”
Following are the across entries and clues involved in the production of the numbers (5, 1, 4; 3, 2; 3, 2; 5, 4; 1) mentioned in the “instructions“ (essentially a non-attributed quotation achievable through tedious clues and entries that barely fly):
MI 5 (5A. U.K. counterespionage agcy.);
AS 1 OF (8A. Belong to);
4 TH (13A. July holiday, with “the”);
3 SETS (78A. Need for the winner of a Wimbledon men’s match);
STEP 2 (83A. It follows the initial part of a procedure);
3 RS (109A. Staples of early education);
BY 2 (113A. How one must win in Ping-Pong);
5 AGAINST 4 127A. Common hockey power play);
DO 1 IN (149A. Slay somebody).
The electronic version of the puzzle is prefaced: “Note: We recommend printing out and solving this puzzle on paper. Download the PDF.” Unfortunately, the majority of solvers will be working the crossword from The New York Times Magazine itself -- why, unfortunately?
The paper of the New York Times Magazine is too flimsy to fly and the addition of lead or ink will cause it to drop to the floor like Howard Hughes’ H-4 (HK-1) Hercules, better known as the "Spruce Goose".
Add to that cutting through the face of child with a cleft in the advertisement from Smile Train on the back of the crossword page, any attempt at flying the “airplane” is one of the least palatable tactile crossword experiences of which the Times could possibly conceive.
The New York Times Crossword Puzzle of August 24, 2008 held up to the light, illustrating the exceptionally thin nature of the paper and the advertisement that can be clearly discerned upon the back of the crossword page.
The voluminous and fragmented remainders of the crossword puzzle exist merely to support the conceit of an origami airplane, albeit comprised of unwise material for any execution of the instruction to GO THROW THE AIRPLANE, except perhaps into the nearest wastebasket.
The acrosses: 1. Dish that’s often roasted; 16. Spell caster; 20. Declare; 21. PC key; 22. Silents star Bara; 23. Agent Gold of “Entourage”; 24. Teensy bit; 25. Think the world of; 27. “Now I remember”; 28. Leaves in the kitchen; 34. “Moving forward” sloganeer; 34. Galilee’s locale; 35. G.I. addresses; 38. Soft-shoe, e.g.; 41. “CAS in cat”; 43. Something to go in… or on; 47. CUL-de-sac; 57. “NOI won’t!”; 58. Sequoyah, for one; 60. Victim of Hercules’ second labor; 61. Given directly; 63. Ones caught in a maze?; 64. Little squirt, maybe; 65. Lachrymose; 66. MENS et manus” (M.I.T.’s motto); 72. Brag; 74. Digs; 75. In and of ITSELF; 76. Most liable to sunburn; 77. Call on a pitch; 81. Young ‘un; 82. “KUM Ba Yah” (campfire song) ; 85. Beethoven’s Third; 88. Forecast for improved weather; 92. College BOARDS; 94. Religious image: Var.; 95. Seasonal activity; 96. Capital of Italy; 103. Baby kangaroos; 104. Start of a counting rhyme; 105. BlackBerrys, e.g., for short; 106. Blackthorn pickings; 108. Request for Vanna; 110. “The War of the Worlds” invaders, briefly; 115. Rubbish!”; 116. Some corner stores; 119. Orange and green fruits; 123. Rock candy, essentially; 126. Einstein’s birthplace; 129. Author mentioned in the Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus”; 130. Trillionth: Prefix; 132. Study of the heavens: Abbr.; 133. Bias; 135. Collaborative Web document; 145. Something you later might think better of; 146. Consumer; 147. “Death in Venice: and “Of Mice and Men”; 148. Machine used to maneuver manure; 150. Thoreau, e.g.
The downs: 1. Head; 2. With: Fr.; 3. A small one helps the indecisive; 4. QB Favre and others; 5. Like corn bread; 6. Childish retort; 8. Rat-ATAT; 9. “Zip it!”; 11. Experimented too much?; 12. Burkina FASO; 14. Court figure; 15. “Broom-HILDA; 16. MANILA Bay, 1898 battle site; 17. Memo abbr.; 18. 2007 Peace Nobelist; 19. Subgenre of punk rock; 26. 1990s Indian P.M.; 29. Mugful; 31. Commerce treaty starting 1947; 32. “Oh, pooh!”; 35. Big Ten rival: Abbr.; 36. “Stupidest thing I ever heard!”; 37. Poisonous shrub; 39. Sound at a sauna; 40. Remove with effort; 41. Assume the fetal position; 42. Ottoman big shot; 44. Opened, as a flag; 45. Skating jumps; 46. Suffix with planet; 48. Pro; 49. Safari sight; 50. Unleash upon; 51. “Avast!”; 52. Pantheon head; 53. Respect; 54. Copycats; 55. Succeed effortlessly; 56. Bygone TV control: Abbr.; 59. 62-Down carriers: Abbr.; 62. Gridiron grp.; 68. Access the contents of, say; 69. Mother, slangily -- OLDLADY!?; 70. Invents; 71. Let slip; 79. Hoity-TOITY; 80. Punjabi believers; 83. A Little Princess” heroine and others; 84. Internet forum rabble-rouser; 86. Iowa college; 87. Brings to a boil; 89. Audible pauses; 90. Greeting to Gaius; 91. Necessary: Abbr.; 92. BETSYS Wedding,” Alan Alda film; 93. Overseas O.K.; 97. Prefix with sphere; 98. Sine qua non; 99. Dos’ followers; 100. Pick up; 101. Western wolf; 102. Some hand-raisers; 103. Alternative to a cross; 107. SHE Cried” (1962 hit); 110. Emissions org.; 111. TAI chi; 112. Thesaurus offering: Abbr.; 117. Trick-taking game; 118. Girl’s name that’s Latin for “fame”; 119. Walk; 120. “I concur”; 121. Behind; 122. Hubbub; 124. Black-eyed legume; 125. Comic Charles Nelson REILLY; 130. Tire (out); 131. Like ITOR not …”; 132. Bide-AWEE; 134. Monterrey kin; 136. Many-armed Hindu goddess; 137. Old actresses Claire and Balin; 138. Traveler’s aid, for short; 139. Funny; 140. Kung PAO chicken; 142. Eastern Canadian prov.; 143. Campers, briefly; 144. Id EST.
A transfer to hard copy produces the origami crossword puzzle airplane desired as shown in the photograph below:
Nevertheless, a Spruce Goose!
For today’s cartoon, go to The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.
Click on image to enlarge.
Puzzle available on the internet at
If you subscribe to home delivery of The New York Times you are eligible to access the daily crossword via The New York Times - Times Reader, without additional charge, as part of your home delivery subscription.


alanrichard said...

The concept was original, like it or not. I agree it would have been better theme wise if there was more aerodynamic allusions in the puzzle. However,I am tearful to say, I did learn one new word, lachrymose.

DONALD said...



I knew of lachrymose from my days as an altar boy (the Mass was still in Latin)-- but one can find it in requiems (esp., see the film "Amadeus" where it is used extensively)--

The Lacrimosa is part of the Dies Irae sequence in the Requiem mass. Its text comes from the 18th and 19th stanzas of the sequence. Many composers, including Mozart, Berlioz, and Verdi have set the text as a discrete movement of the Requiem.

Beautiful music, too bad those it's played for can't hear it, being dead you know!


naomind said...

I loved the concept, and agree that the actual flight was disappointing because of the flimsy paper. It did take me looking at your photo of the plane to get the folds right...at first I didn't really understand the instructions to "fold through each pair of numbers." I also agree that it's unfortunate about having to mutilate the cleft palate kid.

cornbread hell said...

well, i enjoyed it. but of course i didn't have the nyt mag version...

i also liked your images for bad idea, rubbish, & oh pooh. maybe there were more? but i think you missed one at 148A: