Fast Work

New York Times crossword puzzle July 28 / Constructed by Andrew Reynolds

I probably wasn’t the only one to make fast work of “Fast Work,” a fairly easy puzzle that celebrates the upcoming 150th anniversary of the birth of HENRY FORD (“Business titan born July 30, 1863,” 5 Down).

The theme answers all revolve around one of Ford’s most famous creations, the MODEL T (“5-Down unit,” 116 Across). And constructor Andrew Reynolds has cleverly illustrated the ASSEMBLY LINE (“5-Down innovation,” 57 Down) aspect of the iconic car by “building” a Model T throughout the grid’s shaded squares (which I’m bolding and underlining):

PRELIM (“Early round,” 7 Across)

NEVERMORE (“Opposite of eternally,” 31 Across)

ALAMODOME (“Texas athletic site,” 52 Across)

SLEEP MODE (“A computer may be in it,” 73 Across)

ART MODELL (“N.F.L. owner who moved the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore in 1996,” 95 Across)

And finally ending with the finished product, the aforementioned MODEL T.

Solvers "build" a Model T with the shaded squares in the grid.
Solvers “build” a Model T with the shaded squares in the grid.

Other Ford-related entries: CONVEYOR BELT (“Feature of a 57-Down,” 16 Down); MASS PRODUCED (“Like the 116-Across,” 62 Across); TIN LIZZIE (“116-Across, colloquially,” 83 Down) and NYSE (“Where 5-Down’s company gets an ‘F’?” 85 Down). And the related “Auto safety feature, for short” – which the Model T assuredly didn’t have – is ABS (69 Across), for anti-lock braking system.

Here in Pennsylvania we’ve been so immersed in the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Gettysburg that it seems surprising that something else momentous could have happened 150 years ago. But how sad that the puzzle’s celebration of the auto magnate comes less than two weeks after Detroit filed for bankruptcy.

Repeat That? Dept.: The twice-used clue “Bobble” yields both SLIP (49 Down) and ERROR (25 Across). “Before long, poetically” is ANON (30 Down) while “Before, poetically” is ERE (32 Down). “Not conned by” is ONTO (6 Down), while “Cons” is HAS (61 Across) and “Con” is INMATE (79 Across).

Say What? Dept.: I got RNASE (“Genetic enzyme,” 26 Down) from crossing words, then looked it up to make sure. It’s a combination of RNA plus the enzyme suffix -ase. Ugh – cheap. The word TRIODE (“Old TV component”) seemed to work for 21 Across, which gave me STEWED as the answer for “Blasted” as 13 Down. I didn’t understand that at first, but now I’m thinking those two words are supposed to refer to being drunk – although no one I know uses them.

Quote Of The Day Dept.: “I exist, that is all, and I find it nauseating” was written by SARTRE (47 Down).

Philly Shout-Outs Dept.: The US OPEN (“P.G.A. event played on Father’s Day,” 19 Across) was held last month at the Merion Golf Club, just over the city line from Philadelphia. And this puzzle marks the second consecutive appearance of the answer O-LAN (“Pearl Buck heroine,” 84 Down). Buck lived outside Philly at Green Hills Farm, where she is buried. Her home is now open for tours.

Need some solving tips and tricks? I’ve posted some here. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments below. You can also visit my Facebook page, or tweet me @crosswordkathy.

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4 thoughts on “Fast Work”

  1. “Fast Work” indeed! I solved this drive-around-the-block in less than 30 minutes — probably my all-time record. Notwithstanding which, I deemed the puzzle a very clever one, because of how many clues/answers related to the Henry Ford motif, & because of how one solved the grid by actually building a “MODEL-T” from top to bottom, one part at a time!

  2. What are you driving at, George? 🙂 Just kidding. A Twitter follower made that joke to me last week. I certainly could have made a lot of car-related puns in my post — but I decided to give my readers a break. (Rim shot!)

  3. 82-down is such a groaner. Shrew (noun) and scold (verb)? Where’s the grammatical continuity?

  4. Hey Andy … funny, I didn’t even notice that discrepancy. But you made me curious – since Will Shortz rarely makes mistakes! – and Merriam-Webster says scold can be a noun, too. Not that it’s often used that way, IMHO. Thanks for reading (and writing).

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