New York Times crossword puzzle March 2 / Constructed by Alan Arbesfeld
Apologies for the late post; I’m blogging on PST (“The Oscars are awarded on it: Abbr.,” 8 Down). In fact, I solved this Hollywood-themed puzzle in The City of Angels – and I have the $68 parking ticket to prove it. Even more serendipitously, I’m watching Anne Hathaway give out the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as I’m typing this. (Spoiler alert! Jared Leto wins!)
But it’s going to take a while to get to the biggest prize of all, which is the subject of today’s puzzle: The theme answers consist of consecutive Best Picture titles (or Best Picture nominees*).
So “Nelson Mandela? [1995, 1985]” is a BRAVEHEART OUT OF AFRICA (23 Across). “One giving unreliable testimony? [1976, 1985*]” is a ROCKY WITNESS (30 Across). “Reason for missing a flight? [1970*, 2000*]” is AIRPORT TRAFFIC (53 Across). “Part of a line at O’Hare? [2002, 1976*]” is a CHICAGO TAXI DRIVER (68 Across). “Cheesy pickup line? [1944, 1995*]” is GOING MY WAY, BABE? (86 Across) “Reason all the computers are down? [1976*, 2005] is a NETWORK CRASH (106 Across). And a “Seaside outing? [1955*, 1954]” is a PICNIC ON THE WATERFRONT (118 Across).
Walk Of Fame Dept.: Brian DE PALMA (“Director of ‘Carrie’ and ‘Scarface’”) continues the Hollywood theme at 6 Across. The “Star of Mr. Hulot’s Holiday,” which I’ve never heard of, is Jacques TATI (43 Down). And a “Daughter in ‘The Sound of Music’” is LOUISA (10 Down). Maria von Trapp, the last surviving member of the singing family on which the movie is based, died last week. She was 99.
Philly Shout-Out Dept.: Both “Rocky” and “Witness” were filmed in the City of Brotherly Love. “Witness” takes place mostly in Amish country, in Lancaster County, but the plot gets going in Philly’s gorgeous 30th Street Station. I love seeing it on film.
New To Me Dept.: Crossing entries forced me to correct my answer of DUFF to BAFF at 27 Across (“Strike the ground in a golf swing”). Then I had to look up BAFF to make sure it was right, because say what? Also never heard of “The Divided Self,” nor its author R.D. LAING, which I got from crossing words. And I don’t think I’ve ever come across NISI (“Not yet final, legally,” 32 Down).
So To Speak Dept.: MAN ALIVE! is another way of saying “Holy cow!” (35 Down), while IT’S TRUE is like saying “I’m not kidding!” (49 Down).
For Fun Dept.: Unusual entries in the grid include TRADE WAR (“Reciprocal raising of tariffs, e.g.,” 13 Down), STILL LIFE (“Many a hanging,” 16 Down), PINPRICKS (“Small irritations,” 81 Down), ONE BY ONE (“Individually,” 5 Down), PAN ARAB (“Like Gamel Abdel Nasser’s movement,” 54 Down), MONARCHY (“Belgium or Denmark,” 87 Down), and FINAGLED (“Achieved through trickery,” 63 Down).
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