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0221-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 21 Feb 12, Tuesday





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Solution to today's crossword in the New York Times
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CROSSWORD SETTER: Caleb Madison
THEME: BEST PICTURE … each of the theme answers is someone associated with movie making. The first name of each person happens to be the name of a movie that won a Best Picture Oscar:
18A. "Platoon" director : “OLIVER” STONE
24A. Comedian who voiced the lead role in "Ratatouille" : “PATTON” OSWALT
38A. Tom Cruise's "Risky Business" co-star : “REBECCA” DE MORNAY
49A. Igor player in "Young Frankenstein" : “MARTY” FELDMAN
59A. What the starts of 18-, 24-, 38- and 49-Across each won : BEST PICTURE
COMPLETION TIME: 6m 28s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
10. Vatican locale : ROME
Vatican City is a sovereign city-state that is walled off within the city of Rome. Vatican City is about 110 acres in area, and so is the smallest independent state in the world. With about 800 residents, it is also the smallest state in terms of population. Although the Holy See dates back to early Christianity, Vatican City only came into being in 1929. At that time, Prime Minister Benito Mussolini signed a treaty with the Holy See on behalf of the Kingdom of Italy that established the city-state.

16. Any of the singers of the 1973 #1 hit "Love Train" : O’JAY
The O’Jays are an R&B group from Canton, Ohio. They came together in 1963 as a band of five singers and are still performing today, although now only as a trio. The band took the name of the O’Jays as a tribute to a radio disk jockey called Eddie O’Jay who was big in Cleveland at the time. The biggest hit for the O’Jays is “Love Train”, from 1973.

18. "Platoon" director : “OLIVER” STONE
Oliver Stone came to prominence as a film director in the 1980s when he came out with a string of war films such as “Salvador”, “Platoon” and “Born on the Fourth of July”. Stone dropped out of Yale University in the sixties and spent six months in South Vietnam teaching English. A few years later he signed up with the US Army and requested combat duty in South Vietnam and completed a 15-month tour. His movie “Platoon” is a semi-autobiographical account of his experiences during the Vietnam War.

"Oliver!" is a British musical that first played in London's West End in 1960, followed by a long run on Broadway starting in 1963. And there was the fabulous movie adaptation released in 1968 that won the Oscar for Best Picture. The musical was of course based on the Charles Dickens novel "Oliver Twist".

22. Leandro's partner in a Handel title : ERO
The Greek myth of Hero and Leander gave rise to a couple of operas (one by Giovanni Bottesini and another by Arrigo Boito) and a more famous cantata from George Frideric Handel, all called "Ero e Leandro".

24. Comedian who voiced the lead role in "Ratatouille" : “PATTON” OSWALT
Patton Oswalt is a stand-up comedian who is best known on television for playing Spencer Olchin on “The King of Queens”. He also voiced the lead character of Remy in the animated movie from Pixar called “Ratatouille”.

"Ratatouille" is a 2007 animated film produced by Pixar. The hero of the piece is Remy, a rat whose ambition is to become a chef. Remy was voiced by stand-up comedian Patton Oswalt. The veteran actor Peter O’Toole voiced the character Anton Ego, a restaurant critic.

“Patton” is an excellent biographical movie about General George Patton and his exploits during WWII. The film was released in 1970 and starred George C. Scott in the title role. “Patton” won seven Oscars including Best Picture and one for Scott as Best Actor. Scott refused his award saying that he disliked “acting competitions”. In so doing, he became the first actor to refuse an Oscar.

29. Little blobs on slides : AMOEBAE
An ameba (or "amoeba" as we spell it back in Ireland) is a single-celled microorganism. The name comes from the Greek "amoibe", meaning change. The name is quite apt, as the cell changes shape readily as the ameba moves, eats and reproduces.

33. Material for a military uniform : KHAKI
“Khaki” is an Urdu word, translating literally as “dusty”. The word was adopted as the name of a fabric in the mid-1800s, by the British cavalry in India.

35. Vassal : SERF
A serf was a member of the lowest feudal class, someone attached to land owned by a lord. "Serf" comes from the Latin "servus", meaning "slave".

38. Tom Cruise's "Risky Business" co-star : “REBECCA” DE MORNAY
The actress Rebecca De Mornay made a name for herself playing the lead opposite a young Tom Cruise in 1983’s “Risky Business”. After filming the movie, Cruise and De Mornay lived together for a while in New York. For me her most memorable role was that of the evil nanny in “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle”.

“Rebecca” is a fabulous film from 1940, the first Hollywood movie for director Alfred Hitchcock (and winner of a Best Picture Oscar). The story is adapted from Daphne du Maurier’s novel of the same name, and stars Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. I don’t normally like movies or books with gothic themes, but I highly recommend this one.

44. Sonnets and such : POEMS
A sonnet is a short poem with varying rhyming schemes but always with 14 lines. The sonnet form has been around at least since the 13th century.

45. Big cake maker : SARA LEE
In 1935, businessman Charles Lubin bought a chain of three bakeries in Chicago called Community Bake Shops, and soon expanded the operation into seven stores. Lubin introduced a cream cheesecake that he named after his daughter who was only 8-years-old at the time, Sara Lee Lubin. The cheesecake was a hit, and so he renamed the bakeries to Kitchen of Sara Lee. The business was bought out by Consolidated foods in 1956, but the brand name Sara Lee persists to this day as does Ms. Sara Lee herself, now known as Sara Lee Schupf.

49. Igor player in "Young Frankenstein" : “MARTY” FELDMAN
Marty Feldman was a very talented comedy writer and performer from England. He is best known in the US for playing Igor in the Mel Brooks movie “Young Frankenstein”, for which performance Feldman won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. I’ll always remember a famous sketch he did for British television called “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Golfer”. Hilarious stuff …

I am not really a big fan of movies by Mel Brooks, but “Young Frankenstein” is the exception. I think the cast has a lot to do with me liking the film, as it includes Gene Wilder, Teri Garr, Marty Feldman and Gene Hackman.

“Marty” is a 1955 movie that is an adaptation of a very successful television play of the same name that was broadcast live in 1953. Ernest Borgnine plays the title character in the movie, a role played by Rod Steiger in the teleplay. If you’ve seen the 1991 comedy “Only the Lonely” starring John Candy and Maureen O’Hara, you might know that the 1991 script is based on the original “Marty”.

57. Old nuclear regulatory org. : AEC
The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was set up right after WWII in 1946, with the aim of promoting the peaceful use of atomic energy. Establishing the AEC was a significant move made by President Truman, as it passed control of atomic energy from the military to the civilian sector. The AEC continued to operate until 1974 when its functions were divided up into two new agencies: the Energy Research and Development Administration and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

58. Modern prefix with mom : OCTO-
“Octomom” is the name the media gave to Nadya Doud-Suleman Gutierrez. There was a lot of controversy surrounding the birth of her octuplets in 2009, which were conceived with the aid of in vitro fertilization. Gutierrez already had six children and was unemployed and using public assistance programs.

63. Navy noncom : CPO
A Chief Petty Officer (CPO) is a non-commissioned officer in the Navy and Coast Guard. The "Petty" is derived from the French word "petit" meaning "small".

64. "Fifteen Miles on the ___ Canal" : ERIE
The song "Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal" was written in 1905. The lyrics are nostalgic and look back to the days when traffic on the canal was pulled by mules, and bemoans the introduction of the fast-moving engine-powered barges. The first line is "I've got an old mule and her name is Sal".

67. Blue-green shade : TEAL
The beautiful color of teal takes it name from the duck called a "teal", which has dark greenish-blue (teal) markings on its head and wings.

Down
2. Ω : OMEGA
Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet, and is the one that looks like a horseshoe. The word "omega" literally means "great O" (O-mega). Compare this with the Greek letter Omicron meaning "little O" (O-micron).

5. State capital whose main street is named Last Chance Gulch : HELENA
Helena is the capital of the state of Montana, and is known as the Queen City of the Rockies. Helena's main street has a very colorful name, namely Last Chance Gulch.

6. Vice president Agnew : SPIRO
Spiro Agnew served as Vice-President under Richard Nixon, before becoming the only VP in American history to resign because of criminal charges (there was a bribery scandal). He was also the first Greek-American to serve as VP, the son of a Greek immigrant who shortened his name from Anagnostopoulos.

7. Saves for later viewing, in a way : TIVOS
TiVo was introduced in 1999, the world's first commercially successful DVR (Digital Video Recorder). If you don't have a DVR, you might want to consider getting one. For those of us who enjoy television, it's very liberating.

8. 2000 Beatles album or its peak chart position : ONE
“1” just has to be my favorite popular music album. It is simply a collection of all the number one hits from the Beatles, released in 2000. It is the biggest-selling album of the 21st century and has sold over 31 million copies.

25. Like much of Pindar's work : ODIC
Pindar was an Ancient Greek poet, best known perhaps for composing a series of Victory Odes that celebrated triumph in competition, most notably the Olympian Games of the day.

27. Kind of radio : AM/FM
The radio spectrum is divided up into bands based on frequency. So, "high band" is composed of relatively high frequency values, and "low band" of frequencies that are relatively low. FM radio falls into the band called Very High Frequency, or VHF. AM radio uses lower frequencies, and so falls into the relatively low bands of Low, Medium and High Frequency (LF, MF, and HF). Television signals use frequencies even higher than VHF, frequencies in the Ultra High Frequency band (UHF).

30. Sci-fi physician played by DeForest Kelley : BONES MCCOY
The actor DeForest Kelley was best known for playing Bones McCoy in the original “Star Trek” cast. Gene Roddenberry originally offered Kelley the role of Spock, but Kelly refused it and so was given the part of the ship’s medical officer.

32. Ben & Jerry's competitor : EDY’S
Dreyers' ice cream sells its products under the name Dreyers in the Western United States, and Edy's in the Eastern states. The company's founders were William Dryer and Joseph Edy.

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield did a correspondence course on ice-cream making in 1977 given by Pennsylvania State University's Creamery. The following year they opened an ice cream parlor in an old gas station in Burlington, Vermont. Today Ben & Jerry's has locations in over 20 countries around the world, and theirs was the first brand ice-cream to go into space.

33. ___ Kross ('90s rap duo) : KRIS
Kris Kross was a teenage rap duo from the nineties. They had a big hit called “Jump” in 1992.

34. Juno, in Greece : HERA
In Greek mythology, Hera was the wife of Zeus and was noted for her jealousy and vengeful nature, particularly against those who vied for the affections of her husband. The equivalent character in Roman mythology was Juno. Hera was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea.

35. Bob of "How I Met Your Mother" : SAGET
Bob Saget is a real enigma to me. He made a name for himself playing very sugary roles in TV shows like "Full House" and "America's Funniest Home Videos", and yet in the world of stand-up comedy he is known for very blue and raunchy routines.

“How I Met Your Mother” is a sitcom that CBS has been airing since 2005. The main character is Ted Mosby, played by Josh Radnor. Mosby is also the narrator for the show, looking back from the year 2030 (the live action is set in the present). As narrator, the older Mosby character is voiced by Bob Saget.

39. "If I Could Turn Back Time" singer, 1989 : CHER
Cher’s name at birth was Cherilyn Sarkisian.

40. German car : OPEL
Adam Opel founded his company in 1863, first making sewing machines in a cowshed. Commercial success brought new premises and a new product line in 1886, namely penny-farthing bicycles. Adam Opel died in 1895, leaving his two sons with a company that made more penny-farthings and sewing machines than any other company in the world. In 1899 the two sons partnered with a locksmith, and started to make cars, but not very successfully. Two years later, the locksmith was dropped in favor of a licencing arrangement with a French car company. By 1914, Opel was the largest manufacturer of automobiles in Germany. My Dad had an Opel in the seventies, a station wagon (we'd say "estate car") called an Opel Kadett.

41. Sonata part : RONDO
A rondo was often chosen by composers for the last movement of a sonata (or symphony or concerto, for that matter). In rondo form there is a principal theme that alternates with a contrasting theme(s). So, the original theme anchors the whole piece in between secondary digressions.

The name "sonata" comes from the Latin and Italian word "sonare" meaning "to sound". In music, a sonata is a piece of music that is played, as opposed to a cantata (from Latin and Italian "cantare" meaning "to sing"), a piece of music that is sung.

46. Brew named for a Dutch river : AMSTEL
Amstel is a Dutch beer and brewery, founded in 1870 in Amsterdam. The brewery takes its name from the Amstel river which runs through the city.

47. Nordic native : LAPP
Lapland is a geographic region in northern Scandinavia, largely found within the Arctic Circle. Parts of Lapland are in Norway, Sweden and Finland. The people who are native to the region are called the Sami people. The Sami don't like to be referred to as Lapps and regard the term as insulting.

50. Rowdy ___, "Rawhide" cowboy : YATES
The Western television show "Rawhide" was on the air from 1959-65. Of course the most famous cast member was Clint Eastwood who played Rowdy Yates. But the list of guest stars was also impressive. It included Mary Astor, Frankie Avalon, Charles Bronson, and even Frankie Laine. Laine sang the theme song, which was composed by a Russian, Dimitri Tiomkin.

52. For face value : AT PAR
In days gone by, when companies first issued a stock each share would be given a face value (called "par value"). In effect, the company was making a commitment not to issue any more stock under that par value, giving investors confidence that there was no better deal to be had. Nowadays, most stock is issued without such a "guarantee" and is called "no-par stock".

54. Help in crime : ABET
The word "abet" comes into English from the Old French "abeter" meaning "to bait" or "to harass with dogs" (it literally means "to make bite"). This sense of encouraging something bad to happen morphed into our modern usage of "abet" to mean aid or encourage someone in a crime.

55. Actor Richard : GERE
Richard Gere has played such great roles on the screen, and I find him to be a very interesting character off the screen. Gere has been studying Buddhism since 1978 and is a very visible supporter of the Dalai Lama and the people of Tibet.

56. Most of Turkey is in it : ASIA
Turkey is a country that straddles the border between the continents of Europe and Asia. Even though most of Turkey lies geographically in Asia, in recent decades the country has been strengthening its ties with its European neighbors. Turkey is a member of NATO and is well on the way to becoming a member of the European Union.

60. Stat that a QB doesn't want to be high: Abbr. : INT
Interceptions are bad things for quarterbacks.

61. Corp. honcho : CEO
Honcho is a slang term for a leader or manager. The term comes to us from Japanese, where a "hancho" is a squad (han) leader (cho).

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. "OMG ur so funny!" : LOL
4. "You flatter me too much!" : OH, STOP!
10. Vatican locale : ROME
14. "Who ___?" : AM I
15. Complain : REPINE
16. Any of the singers of the 1973 #1 hit "Love Train" : O’JAY
17. Something to hang your hat on : PEG
18. "Platoon" director : “OLIVER” STONE
20. "That tastes awful!" comments : UGHS
22. Leandro's partner in a Handel title : ERO
23. Camel refueling spots : OASES
24. Comedian who voiced the lead role in "Ratatouille" : “PATTON” OSWALT
28. It gets flatter as it gets older : SODA
29. Little blobs on slides : AMOEBAE
33. Material for a military uniform : KHAKI
35. Vassal : SERF
37. Peculiar : ODD
38. Tom Cruise's "Risky Business" co-star : “REBECCA” DE MORNAY
42. Fury : IRE
43. Mtn. stats : HGTS
44. Sonnets and such : POEMS
45. Big cake maker : SARA LEE
48. Paneled rooms, often : DENS
49. Igor player in "Young Frankenstein" : “MARTY” FELDMAN
54. Audibly amazed : AGASP
57. Old nuclear regulatory org. : AEC
58. Modern prefix with mom : OCTO-
59. What the starts of 18-, 24-, 38- and 49-Across each won : BEST PICTURE
63. Navy noncom : CPO
64. "Fifteen Miles on the ___ Canal" : ERIE
65. Necessary : NEEDED
66. Symbol of sturdiness : OAK
67. Blue-green shade : TEAL
68. Sends to the dump : TOSSES
69. Soph., jr. and sr. : YRS

Down
1. Drink greedily : LAP UP
2. Ω : OMEGA
3. "Star Wars" weapon : LIGHT SABER
4. Gold, in Guadalupe : ORO
5. State capital whose main street is named Last Chance Gulch : HELENA
6. Vice president Agnew : SPIRO
7. Saves for later viewing, in a way : TIVOS
8. 2000 Beatles album or its peak chart position : ONE
9. The "p" of r.p.m. : PER
10. Spin on an axis : ROTATE
11. 13-Down, south of the border : OJOS
12. Neck line? : MANE
13. 11-Down, north of the border : EYES
19. Unaided : SOLO
21. Feed, as a fire : STOKE
25. Like much of Pindar's work : ODIC
26. They might be hawked : WARES
27. Kind of radio : AM/FM
30. Sci-fi physician played by DeForest Kelley : BONES MCCOY
31. Leading man? : ADAM
32. Ben & Jerry's competitor : EDY’S
33. ___ Kross ('90s rap duo) : KRIS
34. Juno, in Greece : HERA
35. Bob of "How I Met Your Mother" : SAGET
36. N.Y.C. summer hrs. : EDT
39. "If I Could Turn Back Time" singer, 1989 : CHER
40. German car : OPEL
41. Sonata part : RONDO
46. Brew named for a Dutch river : AMSTEL
47. Nordic native : LAPP
48. Edict : DECREE
50. Rowdy ___, "Rawhide" cowboy : YATES
51. Fights that go on and on : FEUDS
52. For face value : AT PAR
53. Crannies : NOOKS
54. Help in crime : ABET
55. Actor Richard : GERE
56. Most of Turkey is in it : ASIA
60. Stat that a QB doesn't want to be high: Abbr. : INT
61. Corp. honcho : CEO
62. Mag. staff : EDS

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About This Blog

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 try to answer all emails, so please feel free to email me at bill@paxient.com.

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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