Crossword constructors are very patriotic.
Thanks to work done by David Steinberg and Jeff Chen, it's now possible to ask interesting questions about NYT crosswords going back to the beginning of time, that is 1942. XWord Info has always provided data about Shortz Era words, for example, but we can now consider all-time stats.
Because they span a standard daily grid, 15-letter answers are particularly interesting. What are the most common 15-letter answers all time? The answer is here. STARS AND STRIPES, MIDDLE OF THE ROAD and GONE WITH THE WIND are the top three. Next is STATUE OF LIBERTY, charmingly first clued in 1954 as "Symbol on new 8-cent stamp."
If you're curious, A FAREWELL TO ARMS is more than twice as popular as OLD MAN AND THE SEA but both are eclipsed (ha!) by THE SUN ALSO RISES. Also, and I know you want to know, A LOT ON ONE'S PLATE and SCARLET TANAGERS are tied, both just edging out A TEENAGER IN LOVE.
You may have detected a bit of patriotism in the top answers. That's a trend that carries over to other word lengths as well. Two of the top three 8-letter answers are AMERICAN and SENATORS. The top two 9-letter answers are TENNESSEE and AMERICANA with ROOSEVELT not far behind. The top two 10-letter answer words are both presidents: EISENHOWER and WASHINGTON. ABRAHAM LINCOLN is the second most popular 14-letter answer. THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS leads all 21-letter answers.
Is pride of country on constructors' minds, or is this what editors think will sell? Or are such topics somehow crossword convenient?