New York Times crossword Nov. 18 / Constructed by Timothy Polin
Is it still November? I had a vague notion Thanksgiving was around the corner, but I’m now a little confused — this morning I found Christmas trees at the grocery store and a Valentine’s Day-themed puzzle in the NYT Magazine.
Today’s crossword was pretty easy, especially if you’re a movie (or literature) buff. Constructor Timothy Polin placed five ill-fated couples throughout the grid, managing to cross them with the actors who played the roles. So LARA AND YURI (“Doctor Zhivago,” 3 Down), crossed with JULIE (“Christie who played half of 3-Down,” 1 Down) and OMAR (“Sharif who played half of 3-Down,” 57 Across).
Others: CECILIA AND ROBBIE (“Atonement,” 24 Across) crossed with KEIRA (Knightley, 16 Down) and JAMES (McAvoy, 13 Down). ILSA AND RICK (“Casablanca,” 64 Across) crossed with INGRID (Bergman, 36 Down) and HUMPHREY (Bogart, 33 Down). SCARLETT AND RHETT (“Gone With the Wind,” 105 Across) crossed with VIVIEN (Leigh, 80 Down) and CLARK (Gable, 87 Down). ROSE AND JACK (“Titanic,” 67 Down) crossed with KATE (Winslet, 82 Across) and LEONARDO (DiCaprio, 111 Across).
So Long Hostess Dept.: “Coffee Cakes maker” is DRAKE’S (21 Down), but not for long. Drake’s is a division of Hostess, which as you probably heard is shutting down. The news has led to a run on treats like Twinkies, which in some cases are being sold to the highest bidder. Here in the Philly area, people grew up on the local delicacies known as TastyKakes. But I grew up in L.A. with Hostess Cupcakes or Ding Dongs in my lunch bag. Very sad.
Raised Eyebrows Dept.: Could it really be a coincidence that G-SPOT (“Subject of a 1982 best seller on sexuality,” 99 Down) crosses with TITS (“Small songbirds,” 116 Across)? Granted, TITS in this case are short for titmouses (titmice?), but still. Also in this category — if you read it wrong (as I did at first) — is DOC OCK, which is short for “Doctor Octopus” (“Tentacled ‘Spider-Man’ meanie,” 55 Down).
Name Dropping Dept.: “Novelist who translated ‘Alice in Wonderland’ into Russian” is NABOKOV (50 Down). “Anonymous female in a court case” is JANE ROE (1 Down), as in Roe v. Wade. (Updated from my original post, which mistakenly had JANE DOE as the answer – I failed to cross-check. Thanks to reader Liz for pointing it out!)
On Ice Dept.: It’s day 64 of the NHL lockout, which means the minor-league AHL (“Calder Cup org.,” 95 Down) is about the only hockey around — except for college games.
Where In The World? Dept.: “Honshu city devastated by the 2011 tsunami” is SENDAI (35 Across). “John O’Hara’s ‘Appointment in ___’” is SAMARRA (14 Across). And “From Assisi, e.g.” means you’re UMBRIAN (2 Down).
Cosa Nostra Dept.: “Don” (48 Down) is MOB BOSS, while the seemingly related “Wise guy” (53 Down) is actually a SMART ASS.
Huh? Dept.: I figured out that “Pony” (10 Down) is CRIB SHEET, but I have to confess I don’t understand the reference. Help?