NYT Sunday Puzzle – 2/14/10: Trifecta!

Holy Macaroly! Pick me up off the floor! I’ve completed three Sunday puzzles in a row!

NYT Sunday Puzzle - 2/14/10

Early this morning, I was finally able to fill in the one remaining open space which completed two words. Stymied, but hell bent on figuring it out, I resorted to a tried and true technique: going through the alphabet letter-by-letter to find the one that fit both words. When I got to “Y” – Eureka! In an effort to be cutesy, the puzzle’s creators’ came up with clues that were rather obtuse – at least, to me. Of course, once I had the answers, they made sense.

84 Across: “Rep center?” GYM
85 Down: “The bright side?” YANG
(Note that the question marks are part of the clues.)

As for the puzzle’s theme, appropriately for Valentine’s Day, the answers to the major clues were replies by famous people to the question which filled in 25 Across: What is love?

Although I had no trouble coming up with “Love Is a Many Splendored Thing” (102 Across), the clue “…according to Frank Sinatra” surprised me because I had no memory at all that he had recorded it. For me, THE version is and always will be the original by the Four Aces. And, by the way, that movie is one of my all-time favorites!

You may recall the problem I had two weeks ago with “ondit.” Well, this puzzle had another stumper, 37 Across: One______ (baseball variant). I hadn’t the ghost of a clue how to fill in the blank but was able to fill in everything around it. That left me with the following correct answer: ocat. Huh?! I’m a baseball fan, but I’d never heard of it. I asked M, who is a way bigger baseball fan than I and very knowledgeable about all aspects of the game, and he’d never heard of it either.

Onward to Google where a link to this short piece in Time (dating back to 1927!) provided the explanation that o’cat = One Old Cat, which is a round-robin type of baseball game played by kids.

Now, the pressure mounts for next week…

P.S. A final word about “ondit.” In discussing it with J, who is fluent in French, she agreed that it is a purely French word. Further exploration, i.e., a French dictionary, determined that its correct spelling is “on-dit,” with a hyphen. Puzzle clues normally indicate when a word is not English and what language it is. In this case, “Fr.” should have been provided, but it was not.

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