New York Times crossword June 9 / Constructed by Elizabeth C. Gorski
Anyone watch the Belmont Stakes yesterday? I have to say it wasn’t high on my list of priorities due to the lack of a Triple Crown candidate. But getting the news alert about Palace Malice on my phone put me in an equine state of mind – and that was extremely helpful in solving the self-referential theme answers in today’s puzzle, which all related to SECRETARIAT (“95-Across who made the covers of Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated in the same week,” 64 Across).
It so happens that today is the 40th anniversary of the SUPER HORSE (“Time and Newsweek’s cover description of 64-Across,” 95 Across) winning THE TRIPLE CROWN (“What 64-Across won on June 9, 1973,” 46 Down). As a bonus, the crossword comes with a connect-the-dots element in case you’re not sure what a horse looks like. Just kidding. The picture is actually very well done and easily created by following the directions in an editor’s note: “(C)onnect the circled letters alphabetically from A to S to get an image related to the puzzle’s theme.”
So, do I hear any AHAS (“Puzzle solvers’ cries,” 32 Down)?
Related theme answers: CELEBRATED (“Like 64-Across, in sports annals,” 31 Across); SIRE (“Bold Ruler, to 64-Across,” 98 Across); WREATH (“Victory wear for 64-Across,” 90 Down); HOMESTRETCH (“Straightaway for 64-Across,” 37 Down), which I initially entered incorrectly as BACKSTRETCH; and ALL-TIME RECORDS (“What 64-Across holds in the three legs of 46-Down,” 13 down). Indeed, Secretariat was – as the title says – a “Fast One.”
This makes two Sunday puzzles in a row from Elizabeth C. Gorski, one of my favorite constructors. Her crossword last week, called “Stir Crazy,” was fun but its theme – “The Color Purple” – came out of nowhere; the book and movie are both many years old. But today’s theme is both clever and timely, though I found it a bit on the easy side.
Say What? Dept.: Never heard of the word PALP (“Insect’s feeler,” 1 Across), which I got from crossing words. Also correctly guessed at the final letter in KEYTAR (“Hybrid musical instrument with a shoulder strap,” 15 Down), assuming that the item was part guitar, part keyboard. The crossing word that would have given me the R was also unfamiliar: OMER (“Biblical dry measure,” 38 Across). Ancient bakeries are not my strong suit.
Two Of A Kind Dept.: “Dumbwaiter part” is a PULLEY (1 Down), while a “Dumbwaiter item” is a TRAY (53 Down).
Job Creation Dept.: Saw a few occupations in the grid, including the punny CHEFS (“Pan handlers,” 58 Across), JANITOR (“Key employee?” 6 Down), MAID (“Cleaner,” 68 Down), TAMERS (“Circus employees,” 48 Across) and WIG MAKER (“Expert with locks?” 10 Down).
Philly Shout-Out Dept.: “The Eagles, on a scoreboard” are PHI (75 Across). Let’s just hope they actually score some points this year. Last season was a disaster.