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0228-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 28 Feb 15, Saturday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Barry C. Silk
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 20m 14s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Summer suit accessory : PANAMA HAT
Panama hats are also known as Jipijapas, named for a town in Ecuador (and not Panama, surprisingly) that was a major player in the hat trade.

16. "Bluebeard's Castle," e.g. : OPERA
“Bluebeard's Castle” is an opera by Hungarian composer and pianist Béla Bartók. The opera is a little unusual in that there are only two singing characters on stage. There is only one act, and the whole work takes just over an hour to perform.

18. One of Utah's state symbols : TOPAZ
Topaz is a semiprecious stone made from silicate containing aluminum and fluorine. Topaz is the state gemstone of Utah, and the rare blue topaz is the state gemstone of Texas.

19. It serves many clients, briefly : LAN
Local Area Network (LAN)

20. Versailles votes : NONS
“Oui” is “yes” in French, and “non” is “no”.

Versailles is a city located just 10 miles from the center of Paris. It is famous of course as home to the magnificent Palace of Versailles. The palace started out as a hunting lodge built in the village of Versailles in 1624, built for Louis XIII. Louis XIII extended the lodge into a full-blown château, but it was Louis XIV who expanded it into one of the largest palaces on the planet. Louis XIV moved the royal court from Paris to Versailles starting in 1678.

21. Nincompoop : DODO
The word "nincompoop", meaning a fool, seems to have been around for quite a while. It has been used since the 1670s, but no one appears to know its origins.

24. Bean seen on-screen : SEAN
Sean Bean is an English actor who is perhaps best known in North America for playing Boromir in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. James Bond fans will remember him as the bad guy in “GoldenEye”, the character called Alec Trevelyan.

26. One of many made by Hitchcock : CAMEO
Even in my day, a cameo role was more than just a short appearance in a movie (or other artistic piece). For the appearance to be a cameo, the actor had to playing himself or herself, and was instantly recognizable. With this meaning, it's easy to see the etymology of the term, as a cameo brooch is one with the recognizable carving of the silhouette of a person. Nowadays, a cameo is any minor role played by a celebrity or famous actor, regardless of the character played.

Alfred Hitchcock makes a cameo appearance in 39 of his 52 movies. My favorite, and perhaps the most innovative, is in the movie "Lifeboat". In the film, there is a limited cast, just the people in a lifeboat and no extras. Hitchcock managed to make his appearance in a print ad in a newspaper read by one of the survivors in the boat.

27. Some orders at Chipotle : TACOS
Chipotle Mexican Grill is a chain of casual dining restaurants that was founded and is now headquartered in Denver, Colorado. For several years, the major investor in Chipotle was McDonald’s. The chain is named for the smoke-dried jalapeño called a “chipotle”.

29. Famous New Year's Eve party? : DICK CLARK
Television personality Dick Clark was best known for hosting “American Bandstand”, the longest-running TV variety show in the country’s history. Clark was also known as the host of the game show “Pyramid”, and of course as host of “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” which was broadcast annually from Times Square in New York City. Despite suffering a massive stroke in 2004, and having a speech impairment as a result, Clark appeared on the “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” show right up till the 2011/2012 episode. Clark passed away a few months later, in April 2012 at the age of 82.

34. Group of crackers, for short? : NSA
The NSA are famous as code crackers.

The National Security Agency (NSA) was set up in 1952 by President Truman, a replacement for the Armed Forces Security Agency that had existed in the Department of Defense since 1949. The NSA has always been clouded in secrecy and even the 1952 letter from President Truman that established the agency was kept under wraps from the public for over a generation. I really like the organization’s nickname ... "No Such Agency".

35. Like many basements : DANK
"Dank" is such a lovely word, now largely superseded by another nice word "damp". It is thought that "dank" came into English from Scandinavia some time before the 14th century. The modern Swedish word "dank" means "moist place".

37. Crib unit : SLAT
There are usually a collection of slats at the bottom of a crib.

39. State of old, briefly : SSR
The former Soviet Union (USSR) was created in 1922, not long after the Russian Revolution of 1917 that overthrew the Tsar. Geographically, the new Soviet Union was roughly equivalent to the old Russian Empire, and was comprised of fifteen Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs).

42. Linking brainstem part : PONS
The pons is part of the brainstem lying between the midbrain and the medulla oblongata. The pons is more completely known as the pons Varolii, named for the anatomist Costanzo Varolio who first described the feature in the 1570s. “Pons” is Latin for bridge.

48. Laugh-inducing pic : PHOTOBOMB
Photobombing is the act of intruding during the taking of a photograph as a practical joke. The term has gotten a lot of usage in recent years due to the proliferation of smartphone cameras. Collins English Dictionary named “photobomb” as Word of the Year for 2014.

51. Carrier with the WorldPass frequent flier program : PAN AM
Pan Am started out as a mail and passenger service between Key West, Florida and Havana, Cuba in 1927. From very early in the company's life it was the de facto representative air carrier of the United States. For many years Pan Am's fleet was built around the Boeing 314 Clipper, a long-range flying boat that was one of the largest aircraft around at the time. Pan Am adopted the Clipper as part of its image, even using "clipper" as the call sign for its flights.

53. "Bluebeard's Castle" librettist Balázs : BELA
Béla Balázs was a Hungarian film critic, although he is best remembered for writing the libretto to Béla Bartók’s opera “Bluebeard’s Castle”.

55. Name meaning "born again" : RENE
“René” and “Renée” are French for the adjective “reborn”, when applied to masculine and feminine nouns respectively.

57. Dandy : LULU
We call a remarkable thing or a person a “lulu”. The term is used in honor of Lulu Hurst, a stage magician active in the 1880s who was also known as the Georgia Wonder.

59. Port. title : SRA
The Portuguese word for “sir” is “senhor”, abbreviated to “Sr.” The female equivalent is “senhora”, or “sra.” for short.

60. Rearward, to a rear admiral : ABAFT
On a boat the term “abaft” means “towards the stern”.

64. Occasion for goat tying : RODEO
Goat tying is a rodeo event typically done by girls of high school and college age. The event is a race on horseback from one end of the arena to the other, where there is a goat tethered to a stake on the end of a 10-foot rope. The competitor dismounts, catches the goat, throws it to the ground and ties three of the animal’s feet together. I must admit, it’s not something I would approve of …

67. Greasy spoon appliance : FRYOLATOR
A fryolator is a deep fat fryer, a kitchen appliance.

“Greasy spoon” is a familiar term for a restaurant, usually a diner, that is less than pristine and that serves cheap food.

Down
2. GPS display : AREA MAP
Global Positioning System (GPS)

4. SAT fill-in: Abbr. : ANS
One fills in an answer (ans.) on the SAT Reasoning Test.

Today the standardized test for admission to colleges is known as the SAT Reasoning Test, but it used to be called the Scholastic Aptitude Test and Scholastic Assessment Test, which led to the acronym SAT.

5. Last name on a 40-Down : MCAN
Thom McAn footwear was introduced in 1922 by the Melville Corporation (now CVS Caremark). The brand was named after a Scottish golfer called Thomas McCann. The Thom McAn line is epitomized by the comfortable leather casual and dress shoe, so sales have really been hurt in recent decades by the growing popularity of sneakers.

6. City that rivaled ancient Sparta : ARGOS
Argos is one of the oldest cities in Greece, and indeed in Europe, having been continuously inhabited for over 7,000 years. In ancient times, Argos was a rival city-state to the powerful Sparta.

Sparta was a city-state in ancient Greece, famous for her military might. Spartan children had a tough upbringing, and newborn babies were bathed in wine to see if the child was strong enough to survive. Every child was presented to a council of elders that decided if the baby was suitable for rearing. Those children deemed too puny were executed by tossing them into a chasm. We’ve been using the term “spartan” to describe something self-disciplined or austere since the 1600s.

7. Like some owls : HORNED
The Great Horned Owl is a large owl that is native to North and South America. Also called the Tiger Owl, it is the most common true owl in the region.

9. Equivalent of several dashes: Abbr. : TSP
In cooking, a “dash” is a very small measure, one that is often undefined. However, you can in fact buy some measuring spoons that define not only a dash but also a “pinch” and a “smidgen”, as follows:
- a dash is 1/8 teaspoon
- a pinch is 1/16 teaspoon
- a smidgen is 1/32 teaspoon

10. Kitty : POT
The "pot" in a card game has been referred to as the “kitty” since the 1880s. It's not certain how the name "kitty" evolved but possibly it came from "kit", the necessary equipment for the game.

14. "Stovepipe" of W.W. II : BAZOOKA
A bazooka is a metal tube rocket launcher. The first bazooka-type weapon was developed for the US Army just before the end of WWI. The weapon is also known as a “stovepipe”, due to its appearance.

25. Most-watched show of 2012-13 : NCIS
NCIS is the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which investigates crimes in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The service gives its name to the CBS TV show "NCIS", a spin-off drama from "JAG" in which the main "NCIS" characters were first introduced. The big star in "NCIS" is the actor Mark Harmon.

30. Do-re-mi : KALE
“Do re mi” is a slang term for cash, as is kale.

32. One who's beyond picky : SNOB
Back in the 1780s, a “snob” was a shoemaker or a shoemaker’s apprentice. By the end of the 18th century the word was being used by students at Cambridge University in England to refer to all local merchants and people of the town. The term evolved to mean one who copies those who are his or her social superior (and not in a good way). From there it wasn't a big leap for “snob” to include anyone who emphasized their superior social standing and not just those who aspired to rank. Nowadays a snob is anyone who looks down on those considered to be of inferior standing.

38. Way up : T-BAR
A T-bar is a type of ski lift in which the skiers are pulled up the hill in pairs, with each pair standing (not sitting!) either side of T-shaped metal bar. The bar is placed behind the thighs, pulling along the skiers as they remain standing on their skis (hopefully!). There's also a J-bar, a similar device, but with each J-shaped bar used by one skier at a time.

39. Some cookies : SPYWARE
When you visit a website, often it will leave a little piece of text information called a "cookie" on your computer. As a cookie is a text file, and not executable, it is relatively harmless. However, as browsers routinely read these text files, cookies can be used as "spyware". Basically, the browser can read the cookie and tell a lot about your browsing habits. This can be a good thing, so when you go back to your favorite websites you will be recognized and this can help you. For example, you may have shopped at a site and you'll find that your shopping cart still has the items you were looking at, often because the items were stored in a cookie. However, they can be "bad" as some spyware uses the cookies to detect your browsing habits and can direct the browser to do things you may not want it to do. So, I only accept cookies from sites I trust, as they do enhance the browsing experience ...

41. Musical embellishment : ROULADE
In music, a “roulade” is an extended embellishment to a sung syllable, using several notes. The term comes from the French verb “rouler” meaning “to roll”.

43. Where to get the lead out? : SMELTER
Metals are found in ore in the form of oxides. In order to get pure metal from the ore, the ore is heated and the metal oxides within are reduced (i.e. the oxygen is removed) in the chemical process known as smelting. The oxygen is extracted by adding a source of carbon or carbon monoxide which uses up the excess oxygen atoms to make carbon dioxide, a waste product of smelting (and of course, a greenhouse gas).

46. Tourist destination on the Riviera : SAN REMO
The Italian city of San Remo sits on the Mediterranean, right on the border with France. In Italian the city is named Sanremo, just one word, although the spelling of "San Remo" dates back to ancient times.

49. Bit of headwear, in British lingo : TITFER
“Titfer” is British slang for a hat. The term comes from the Cockney rhyming slang “tit for tat - hat”.

50. Kind of disc : BLU-RAY
A CD player reads the information on the disc using a laser beam. The beam is produced by what’s called a laser diode, a device similar to a light-emitting diode (LED) except that a laser beam is emitted. That laser beam is usually red in CD and DVD players. Blu-ray players are so called as they use blue lasers.

54. Cutlass successor : ALERO
The Oldsmobile Alero was the last car made under the Oldsmobile brand. The Alero was produced from 1999 to 2004.

General Motors introduced the Oldsmobile Cutlass in 1961, and used the name on a succession of models right up to 1999.

61. Squirt : TOT
A “squirt” is a whippersnapper, a tot, a child.

62. Dating site initialism : SWF
Single white female (SWF) is an abbreviation commonly used in personal ads.

63. Grp. whose seal featured Washington on horseback : CSA
The Confederate States of America (CSA) set up government in 1861 just before Abraham Lincoln took office. Jefferson Davis was selected as President of the CSA at its formation and retained the post for the life of the government.

The Great Seal of the Confederate States of America (CSA) features George Washington on horseback, in the same pose that the former president strikes in 1858 Virginia Washington Monument located in the city of Richmond.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Summer suit accessory : PANAMA HAT
10. Second installment : PART B
15. Classic symbol of rebellion : IRON CROSS
16. "Bluebeard's Castle," e.g. : OPERA
17. Finishes freaking out : GETS A GRIP
18. One of Utah's state symbols : TOPAZ
19. It serves many clients, briefly : LAN
20. Versailles votes : NONS
21. Nincompoop : DODO
22. Throw out : EMIT
24. Bean seen on-screen : SEAN
26. One of many made by Hitchcock : CAMEO
27. Some orders at Chipotle : TACOS
29. Famous New Year's Eve party? : DICK CLARK
31. Some sorcery : SPELLS
33. Speed ___ : DIAL
34. Group of crackers, for short? : NSA
35. Like many basements : DANK
37. Crib unit : SLAT
39. State of old, briefly : SSR
42. Linking brainstem part : PONS
44. Make an impression on : EMBOSS
48. Laugh-inducing pic : PHOTOBOMB
51. Carrier with the WorldPass frequent flier program : PAN AM
52. Dealer's quick query : YOU IN?
53. "Bluebeard's Castle" librettist Balázs : BELA
55. Name meaning "born again" : RENE
56. Evidence of a big hit : WELT
57. Dandy : LULU
59. Port. title : SRA
60. Rearward, to a rear admiral : ABAFT
62. Battlefield transport : STRETCHER
64. Occasion for goat tying : RODEO
65. Yawn-inducing : WEARISOME
66. Apply : EXERT
67. Greasy spoon appliance : FRYOLATOR

Down
1. Farm litter : PIGLETS
2. GPS display : AREA MAP
3. Mean : NOT NICE
4. SAT fill-in: Abbr. : ANS
5. Last name on a 40-Down : MCAN
6. City that rivaled ancient Sparta : ARGOS
7. Like some owls : HORNED
8. "Once more ..." : AS I SAID ...
9. Equivalent of several dashes: Abbr. : TSP
10. Kitty : POT
11. Without feet : APODAL
12. One who assumes control by default? : REPO MAN
13. Stock handlers : TRADERS
14. "Stovepipe" of W.W. II : BAZOOKA
23. Sang : TOLD
25. Most-watched show of 2012-13 : NCIS
26. Woodworker's tool : C-CLAMP
28. Apply haphazardly : SLAP ON
30. Do-re-mi : KALE
32. One who's beyond picky : SNOB
36. Opening piece : KNOB
38. Way up : T-BAR
39. Some cookies : SPYWARE
40. Holder of many a diorama : SHOEBOX
41. Musical embellishment : ROULADE
43. Where to get the lead out? : SMELTER
45. Not part of a series : ONE-SHOT
46. Tourist destination on the Riviera : SAN REMO
47. Mudslinger : SMEARER
49. Bit of headwear, in British lingo : TITFER
50. Kind of disc : BLU-RAY
54. Cutlass successor : ALERO
58. Water, e.g.: Abbr. : UTIL
61. Squirt : TOT
62. Dating site initialism : SWF
63. Grp. whose seal featured Washington on horseback : CSA


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This is the simplest of blogs.

I do the New York Times puzzle online every evening, the night before it is published in the paper. Then, I "Google & Wiki" the references that puzzle me, or that I find of interest. I post my findings, along with the solution, as soon as I am done, usually well before the newsprint version becomes available.

About Me

The name's William Ernest Butler, but please call me Bill. I grew up in Ireland, but now live out here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am retired, from technology businesses that took our family all over the world.

I answer all emails, so please feel free to email me at bill@paxient.com, contact me on Google+ or leave a comment below.

Crosswords and My Dad

I worked on my first crossword puzzle when I was about 6-years-old, sitting on my Dad's knee. He let me "help" him with his puzzle almost every day as I was growing up. Over the years, Dad passed on to me his addiction to crosswords. Now in my early 50s, I work on my Irish Times and New York Times puzzles every day. I'm no longer sitting on my Dad's knee, but I feel that he is there with me, looking over my shoulder.

This blog is dedicated to my Dad, who passed away at the beginning of this month.

Bill
January 29, 2009

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