We don't hear from Stanley Newman that often. Today's Tuesday, September 2 puzzle (answers) is his 12th in my database stretching back to his first nearly 15 years ago. It was typical Tuesday difficulty but the theme was completely unhelpful for the simple reason that I couldn't figure it out while I was solving.
In fact, I couldn't figure it out after I had finished solving it either. Robin looked at my answers and spotted the MAN stepping down to the right through the five 15-letter answers. I guess that's it. If there's something more, please let me know.
The image is Duchamp's famous Nude Descending the Staircase No. 2. This seemingly innocent piece of, uh, erotica I guess, was rejected by the Salon des Indépendants in Paris and caused a huge scandal when it was finally displayed in New York City in 1913. I wonder if this is what Mr. Newman was thinking about when he devised his equally scandalous crossword.
Here's the Freshness Factor surprise du jour. The word CLOCK has never appeared as an answer in a NYT puzzle before today. TEN COMMANDMENTS has now appeared 7 times. My favorite clue was Peter Gordon's: "contents of some tablets," in 2002.
GPS is a fairly common answer that until recently referred, somewhat awkwardly, to "family docs." Modern technology has made this a better answer ever since Global Positioning Systems have become more popular.
I suppose this puzzle gives me an excuse to include another fine art morphing video. This one is called Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase.
Finally, here's the answer to the question I posed yesterday: which crossword holds the record for most occurrences of a single letter? In 1994, Cathy Millhauser constructed a Sunday puzzle called Eland which repeated one letter 138 times. (Once again, that's a direct link to XWord Info since it predates the NYT puzzle archives.) The daily record holder is perhaps even more amazing. One letter is repeated 78 times in a 15 by 15 grid.