For Mother

New York Times crossword puzzle May 11 / Constructed by Peter A. Collins

Who needs a brunch reservation on Mother’s Day when the NYT has given us a maternal-themed crossword?

This MOM-themed puzzle breaks one cardinal rule of construction with the presence of two-letter words. (Click to enlarge.)
This MOM-themed puzzle breaks one cardinal rule of construction with the presence of two-letter words. (Click to enlarge.)

Today’s fun puzzle was both a visual treat for its MOM design and for the many mothers found in the grid.

Going across, solvers found Mother JONES, Mother TERESA, Mother LODE, Mother SHIP, Mother TONGUE and Mother GOOSE. Going down, you encountered Mother HUBBARD and Mother COUNTRY.

All of that to say: “Happy Mother’s DAY!” (120 Down).

Interestingly, this clever creation by Peter A. Collins violates a cardinal rule of constructing by allowing two-letter words. But I guess you can’t make a recognizable “M” shape without a little fudging. (And good moms let you slide on some stuff occasionally, right?) The answers are OH (“No kidding!” 36 Across), HE (“Element #2’s symbol,” 38 Across), EM (“Dorothy’s aunt,” 101 Across) and A.I. (“2001 Spielberg sci-fi film,” 103 Across). You’ll notice I had to correct my initial answer there, which was E.T. (Clearly, I read right over the year in the clue.)

For Fun Dept.: Most of the long answers in this puzzle aren’t part of the theme, like DON’T START IN ON ME (“Words to one who’s about to go off,” 48 Down); AVANT GARDE (“Pushing the envelope, say,” 59 Down); STEEL DRUM (“Calypso staple,” 19 Across); AMERICANA (“Smithsonian artifacts,” 123 Across); and LAUGH LINES (“Most people don’t think they’re funny,” 74 Down).

Food For Thought Dept.: “Backsliding, to a dieter” is PUTTING ON WEIGHT (7 Down). Speaking of eating, I just saw the new documentary “Fed Up.”

Famous Names Dept.: Talk about strange bedfellows! The grid features JOE BIDEN (“Politician who appeared as himself on NBC’s ‘Parks and Recreation,'” 14 Down), CLARA BOW (“The original ‘It’ girl,” 63 Across) and Dennis RODMAN (“Seven-time N.B.A. rebounding champ, 1992-98,” 56 Down). It also features NORTH KOREA as the answer for a “four-time destination” for Rodman (54 Across and 58 Down).

Really? Dept.: A friend of mine has a beloved SHIH-TZU, which I never knew meant “Literally, ‘lion dog'” (98 Across). This dog is so far from being a lion that it’s almost comical.

Philly Shout-Out: “Second of six?” is a terrible clue for the tough entry SHORT I (100 Across), which refers to the short “i” sound in the second letter of the word “six.” Everyone here in Wawa country knows that a SHORTI is a 6-inch hoagie. Wawa, our convenience store of choice, just celebrated its 50th anniversary.

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. And here’s a little more about me.

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Comments

4 thoughts on “For Mother”

  1. The rule banning unchecked letters also is violated. Interestingly, START IN ON, a rare crossword answer, was in yesterday’s LAT puzzle.

  2. Hi Vic! You are absolutely right about the other rule violation. And you would know … you are the famous crossword constructor Victor Fleming, as opposed to the film director? 🙂 Thanks so much for writing.

  3. I liked this puzzle. No problem with 2-letter clues. But…
    “Aero” as a synonym for “sleek”? Aero went out with bathtub gin and flappers. Aeroplane was the word for airplane in the 20’s (Lindy flew one across the Atlantic for Pete’s sake. Aero was the cat’s meow back when your grandmother wore nickers.
    Buzz

  4. Good point, Buzz! Can’t say “aero” has played much of a role in my life, at least not spelled like that.

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