Monday, May 07, 2007

May 8th the Tuesday Sun

SPOILER WARNING: Don't read any further until you've done today's New York Sun Crossword Puzzle. New York Sun puzzles are every bit as good as the more well-known New York Times, and they're indisputably better in one way -- they're free. You can download this puzzle and join in on the fun here.

"Family Affair" by Edgar Fontaine. Another case of misdirection. Yesterday we got the four ages of history (stone, bronze, iron and space) in different contexts. Today we get four famous (or semi-famous) folks with the same first names as the Baldwin brothers. To wit:

19A: He helped Paul Revere alert the Minutemen (WILLIAMDAWES) Dawes did as much as anybody to help the colonists to their first major victory over the Redcoats -- maybe more since Revere was captured but Dawes and fellow revolutionary Samuel Prescott were not -- but because his name didn't rhyme with "Listen my children and you shall hear" the silversmith got all the credit.
Here is the first verse of "The Midnight Ride of William Dawes" a poem published in 1896:

I am a wandering, bitter shade,
Never of me was a hero made;

Poets have never sung my praise,
Nobody crowned my brow with bays;
And if you ask me the fatal
I answer only, "My name was Dawes"

28A: Author of Moll Flanders (DANIELDEFOE) Defoe is probably better known for Robinson Crusoe, but he wrote over 500 books, including works on the supernatural like The Political History of the Devil (1726), A System of Magick (1726), and An Essay on the History and Reality of Apparitions (1727) and historical novels like A Journal of the Plague Year, but it was his political writings that got him the most attention during his lifetime and he spent some time in prison because of them. As proof that it's hard for even prolific authors to make ends meet, Defoe died in 1731 while on the run from creditors.

43A: Maggie Smith's costar in "Travels With My Aunt" (ALECMCCOWEN) McCowen is better known for his classical roles, such as Mercutio in "Romeo and Juliet" but he also played Q in the James Bond film "Never Say Never Again" and an inspector in Hitchcock's "Frenzy."

52A: Author of "The Red Badge of Courage" (STEPHENCRANE) Wow, another literary entry. Crane was not nearly as prolific as Defoe, mainly because he died at age 29 of tuberculosis and malaria, but he is crediting with introducing -- or at least popularizing -- realism in American literature. I wonder why they chose to clue Defoe by his second-most well-known work and Crane by his first. Crane also wrote "Maggie: A Girl of the Streets". Maggie would no doubt have gotten along well with Moll Flanders, another reason why I would have preferred it to be clued thusly.

6D reveals the theme of the puzzle (BALDWINBROTHERS) but perhaps 63A: Hot air is often released when they are inflated (EGOS) would have worked just as well, since known of them are known for being overly-modest. EGOS by the way intersects with 33D: NARCISSUS (Self-loving mythological character) who was not exactly over-modest either.

My favorite Baldwin (and the only one whose autograph I possess) is Alec's. He was in one of my all-time favorite movies "Prelude to a Kiss."

And even though he gave the performance of a lifetime as Barney Rubble in "The Flintstones Viva Rock Vegas", I think I'd be scared to ask the youngest Baldwin for an autograph. Stephen became born again after 9-11 and was quoted in an Esquire interview as saying "God has called me to go and make disciples of the youth of America. That is what I am going to do. And if you try to stop me, I am going to break your face." (Insert your own joke here.)
See you Wednesday.


Linda G said...

Just finished up the Tuesday Sun and NYT and checked in on my favorite blogs.

Now it's time to get some ZZZzzzz.

Rex Parker said...

Never heard of DAWES or MCCOWEN - thanks for the info.

I do love the name DARLA - why isn't it in the grid more often? Those are such common letters! BEDIM and EMBAR rang untrue to me (acceptable words, just uncommon ... my main problem is that they feel ugly in my mouth), and MICA and BOHR were ... well, they were words I knew, but "knew" from crosswords more than anything else, so the whole West of this puzzle was by far the diciest part. Otherwise, reasonably easy Tuesday fare. Loved LIEU for [Nice place] - thankfully, I had the "U" in place before I saw that clue, so it was easy.


Norrin2 said...

Actually, I'd never heard of McCowen either. Granted there weren't as many Alecs to choose from as there were Stephens and Williams, but I wonder why they didn't go with Alec Guinness.
(Come to think of it, I'd could go for a Guinness myself.)
I agree with you about EMBAR (looks like it needs a GO on the end) but I like BEDIM because it reminds me of the great song "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen." ("Your voice is soft when e'er you speak, and tears bedim your loving eyes.")
When you say you love the name DARLA, I can't help picturing Alfalfa of the Little Rascals.

Zan said...

I still don't get 35 across... I must be overlooking something. And 42 across ('Techies Clients') should have been (l)users.

Norrin2 said...

35 Across is just a roundabout way of asking how many innings in a baseball game. ERA times innings pitched divided by earned runs allowed will always be nine. To keep it simple say your ERA is 2.0, and you've pitched 18 innings, so 2 times 18 is 36 and you've given up a total of four runs. If you can ignore that noise outside -- it's the Yankees backing a truckload of money up to your door -- you'll see 36 divided by 4 is 9.