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0229-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 29 Feb 12, Wednesday





QuickLinks:
Solution to today's crossword in the New York Times
Solution to today's SYNDICATED New York Times crossword in all other publications


CROSSWORD SETTER: Kevan Choset
THEME: Broadway Musical … each of the theme answers is a common, two-word expression that begins with the name of a Broadway musical:
17A. Security desk at a Broadway theater? : RENT CONTROL
23A. Simian on a Broadway set? : GREASE MONKEY
37A. Understudy in a Broadway show? : HAIR REPLACEMENT
48A. Pessimistic Broadway investors? : CHICAGO BEARS
59A. Nighttime Broadway wardrobe? : CAT’S PAJAMAS
COMPLETION TIME: 13m 23s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Noted handler of dogs : PAVLOV
Ivan Pavlov was studying gastric function in dogs in the 1890s when he observed that his subject dogs started to salivate before he even presented food to them. This "psychic secretion", as he called it, interested him so much that he changed the direction of his research and studied the reactions of dogs to various stimuli that were associated with the presentation of food. Famously, he discovered that a dog could be conditioned to respond as though he was about to be fed, just by sensing some stimulus that he had come to associate with food. This might be a bell ringing, an electric shock (poor dog!) or perhaps the waving of a hand. Nowadays we might describe someone as "Pavlov's Dog" if that person responds just the way he/she has been conditioned to respond, rather than applying critical thinking.

7. Mother of Helios : THEA
Theia (also “Thea” or “Thia”) was a Titan of Greek mythology, one of the Greek deities who were eventually overthrown by the Olympians. The name “Theia” translates simply as “goddess”.

11. Tubes : TVS
TVs are sometimes called “tubes” because the principal component in many televisions is the cathode ray tube. You won’t find many TVs with cathode ray tubes for sale stores anymore, though.

14. Sports star who wrote 2009's "Open: An Autobiography" : AGASSI
"Open" is the autobiography of tennis professional Andre Agassi, published in 2009. An amazing revelation in the book is that Agassi's famous head of hair was actually a wig for much of his playing career. Can you imagine how hard it must have been to play tennis at his level with a rug stuck on?

15. Whom Othello declares "is most honest" : IAGO
Iago is the schemer in Shakespeare's "Othello". Iago is a soldier who fought alongside Othello and feels hard done by, missing out on promotion. He hatches a plot designed to discredit his rival Cassio by insinuating that Cassio is having an affair with Desdomona, Othello's wife. By the end of the play, it's Iago himself who is discredited, and Othello (before committing suicide) apologizes to Cassio for having believed Iago's lies. Heavy stuff ...

16. Actress Charlotte : RAE
Charlotte Rae is an American actress, best known for playing the character Edna Garrett on two sitcoms from the seventies and eighties: "Diff'rent Strokes" and "The Facts of Life".

17. Security desk at a Broadway theater? : RENT CONTROL
The musical “Rent” is based on the Puccini opera “La bohème”. It tells the story of struggling artists and musicians living in the Lower East Side of New York, and is set against the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic. We saw “Rent” on Broadway quite a few years ago and we were quite disappointed …

19. ___ de France : ILE
Ile de France (literally "Island of France") isn't an island at all. It is the name given to the most populous of France's 26 administrative regions, and is roughly equivalent to the Paris metropolitan area.

20. Starts at either end? : ESS
There is a letter S (ess) at either end of the word “starts”.

21. Certain Alaskan : ALEUT
The Aleut people primarily speak Russian or English, depending on which part of the Aleutian Island chain they live. Several hundred people still speak the native Aleut language, although it is gradually dying out.

22. Large bra feature : D CUP
The word "brassière" is of course French in origin, but it isn't the word the French use for a "bra". In France what we call a bra is known as a "soutien-gorge", translating to "held under the neck". The word "brassière" is indeed used in France but there it describes a baby's undershirt, a lifebelt or a harness. "Brassière" comes from the Old French word for an "arm protector" in a military uniform ("bras" is the French for "arm"). Later "brassière" came to mean "breast plate" and from there the word was used for a type of woman's corset. The word jumped into English around 1900.

23. Simian on a Broadway set? : GREASE MONKEY
“Grease monkey” is a slang term for a mechanic, a term that we’ve been using since the late twenties.

"Grease" was, and still is, a very successful stage musical with an excellent blockbuster film version released in 1978. It is definitely one of our favorite shows and, believe it or not, I’ve seen it on stage in Ireland, the Philippines, Singapore, the UK, and oh yes, here in the US!

26. Challenge for a H.S. honor student : AP TEST
Advanced Placement (AP).

29. Author Dinesen : ISAK
Isak Dinesen was the pen name of the Danish author Baroness Karen Blixen. Her most famous title by far is “Out of Africa”, her account of the time she spent living in Kenya.

31. ___ & Young (accounting firm) : ERNST
Ernst & Young is one of the Big Four accountancy firms, alongside Deloitte, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Ernst & Young is headquartered in London.

34. Cancel : NIX
The use of "nix" as a verb, meaning "to shoot down", dates back to the early 1900s. Before that "nix" was just a noun meaning "nothing". "Nix" comes from the German "nichts", which also means "nothing".

37. Understudy in a Broadway show? : HAIR REPLACEMENT
The full name of the famed stage show from the sixties is "Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical". This controversial work outraged many when it was first performed in the sixties as it attacked many aspects of life at the time. For example, the song "Air" is a satirical look at pollution, sung by a character who comes onto the stage wearing a gas mask. The opening lines are "Welcome, sulfur dioxide. Hello carbon monoxide. The air ... is everywhere". How things have changed in fifty years said he, satirically. I’ve never had the chance to see “Hair” in a live production, but it’s on “the bucket list” ...

41. Place with a waiting room: Abbr. : STN
Station (stn).

44. Italian beloved : CARA
"Cara mia" is the Italian for "my beloved".

46. Greek peak SE of Olympus : MT OSSA
Mt. Ossa in Greece is located between Mt. Pelion in the south, and the famed Mt. Olympus in the north. Mount Ossa is also known as Kissavos.

48. Pessimistic Broadway investors? : CHICAGO BEARS
The wonderful 1975 musical “Chicago” is based on a 1926 play of the same name written by a news reporter called Maurine Dallas Watkins. Watkins had been assigned to cover the murder trials of Beulah Annan and Belva Gaernter for the “Chicago Tribune”, and used the story that unfolded as the basis for her play. Annan became the character Roxie Hart, and Gaernter became Velma Kelly. I’ve only ever seen the movie version of “Chicago”, and never a live performance ...

54. Actress Rene : RUSSO
The lovely and very talented actress Rene Russo is a native of Burbank, California. She went to high school with actor/director Ron Howard, but dropped out in tenth grade. At seventeen she was given the opportunity to train as a model, and within a very short time appeared on the cover of “Vogue”. As her modelling jobs slowed down in her early thirties, she made a career change and studied theater and acting. I am so glad she did, as she is one of my favorite actresses …

59. Nighttime Broadway wardrobe? : CAT’S PAJAMAS
There was a whole series of phrases involving animals that developed in the 1920s, all designed to indicate a superlative. Some are still around today, such as “the cat’s pajamas” and “the bee’s knees”. Others didn't last too long e.g. “the eel’s ankle” and “the snake’s hip”.

Andrew Lloyd Weber's source material for his hit musical "Cats" was T. S. Eliot's "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats". Eliot's collection of whimsical poems was published in 1939, and was a personal favorite of Weber as he was growing up. "Cats" is the second longest running show in Broadway history ("Phantom of the Opera" is the longest and is still running; deservedly so, in my humble opinion). We’ve seen “Cats” a couple of times and really enjoyed it ...

62. "The Simpsons" character who says "Oh geez" a lot : MOE
Moe Szyslak is the surly bartender in "The Simpson" animated TV show. I don't really care for "The Simpsons", but Hank Azaria who supplies the voice for the character, him I like ...

64. It's awesome : DA BOMB
“Da bomb” is a slang way of saying “it’s awesome”. Frankly, I've never been fond of either expression …

66. Love god : EROS
As always seems to be the case with Greek gods, Eros and Aphrodite have overlapping spheres of influence. Aphrodite was the goddess of love between a man and a woman, but Eros was the god who stirred the passions of the male.

67. ___ régime (pre-1789 French government) : ANCIEN
The "Ancien Régime" (French for "Old Régime") is the term used to describe the system of aristocracy and the social and political structure that reigned supreme in the 15th through 18th centuries in France, right up to the French Revolution.

Down
4. D-Day craft, for short : LST
LST stands for Landing Ship, Tank. LSTs were the large vessels used mainly in WWII that had doors at either ends from which tanks and other vehicles could roll off and onto beaches. The design concept persists to this day in the huge fleet of commercial roll-on/roll-off car ferries, all inspired by the LST.

The most famous D-Day in history was June 6, 1944, the date of the Normandy landings in WWII. The term "D-Day" is used by the military to designate the day on which a combat operation is to be launched, especially when the actual date has yet to be determined. What D stands for seems to have been lost in the mists of time although the tradition is that it just stands for "Day". In fact, the French have a similar term, "Jour J" (Day J), with a similar meaning. We also use H-Hour to denote the hour the attack is to commence.

5. Walt Disney had 26 of them : OSCARS
Walt Disney was awarded a record 26 Oscars in his lifetime, winning 22 and receiving 4 honorary awards. He also holds the record for the number of Oscars won in the same year, taking away a total of four in the 1954 awards ceremony.

7. Emperor who completed the Colosseum : TITUS
Titus Flavius Verspasianus was a successful military commander and Roman Emperor from 79 to 81 AD. It was Titus who laid siege to and destroyed the city and temple of Jerusalem, for which he was honored with the erection of the Arch of Titus that stands in Rome to this day. The Arch of Titus is the inspiration for many other famous arches around the world including the l'Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

The Roman Emperor Nero had a large (30m tall) statue made of himself in bronze, which he located outside of his palace. After he died, the bronze was altered and renamed the Colossus Solis, after the Roman sun god. It was later moved and located near the huge amphitheater that became known as the Colosseum. It is likely that the amphitheater actually took its name from the Colossus statue.

8. Author Bret : HARTE
Bret Harte was a storyteller noted for his tales of the American West even though he himself was from back East, born in Albany, New York.

10. CD mailer of the early 2000s : AOL
Founded as Quantum Computer Services in 1983 the company changed its name in 1989 to America Online. As America Online went international, the acronym AOL was used in order to shake off the "America-centric" sound to the name. During the heady days of AOL's success the company could not keep up with the growing number of subscribers, so people trying to connect often encountered busy signals. That's when users referred to AOL as "Always Off-Line" ...

13. Running slowly : SEEPY
Something that is “seepy” is oozing slightly.

18. "Sesame Street" supporter, in brief : NEA
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is an agency funded by the federal government that offers support and financing for artistic projects. The NEA was created by an Act of Congress in 1965. Between 1965 and 2008, the NEA awarded over $4 billion to the arts, with Congress authorizing around $170 million annually through the eighties and much of the nineties. That annual funding was cut to less than $100 million in the late nineties due to pressure from conservatives concerned about the use of funds, but it is now back over the $150 million mark.

Back in 1966, the Carnegie Institute allocated money to study the use of television to help young children prepare for school. The institute gave an $8million grant to set up the Children's Television Workshop with the task of creating an educational TV program for young people. The program began to come together, especially after Jim Henson (of Muppet fame) got involved. The name "Sesame Street" was chosen simply because it was the "least disliked" of all names proposed just before the program went on the air.

22. Strands in a cell? : DNA
I've always been fascinated by the fact that the DNA of living things is so very similar across different species. Human DNA is almost exactly the same for every individual (to the degree of 99.9%). However, those small differences are sufficient to distinguish one individual from another, and to determine whether or not individuals are close family relations.

23. Will of "The Waltons" : GEER
Will Geer died in 1978, just after filming the sixth season of "The Waltons" in which he played Grandpa Zeb Walton. Geer was a noted social activist and was blacklisted in the fifties for refusing to appear before the all-powerful House Committee on Un-American Activities.

27. Natl. Merit Scholarship qualifying exam : PSAT
I think the acronym PSAT stands for Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test.

The National Merit Scholarship Program is a privately funded, not-for-profit organization that was founded in 1955. The program governs two annual competitions for scholarships, one open to all students and one open to only African Americans.

31. Green org. : EPA
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was set up during the Nixon administration and began operation at the end of 1970.

32. Literary inits. : RLS
Robert Louis Stevenson was a Scottish author, famous for his novels “Treasure Island”, “Kidnapped” and “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”.

33. "Stillmatic" rapper : NAS
Rapper Nas used to go by another stage name, Nasty Nas, and before that by his real name, Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones. He released his first album "Illmatic" in 1994, and inventively titled his fifth studio album “Stillmatic”, released in 2001. Not my cup of tea, I would say ...

38. ___ avis : RARA
A rara avis is anything that is very rare, and is Latin for "rare bird".

39. Slate, e.g. : EMAG
"Slate" is an online magazine founded in 1996. It was originally owned by Microsoft and was part of the MSN offering. The magazine has been available for free since 1999 (it is ad-supported) and has been owned by the Washington Post Company since 2004.

40. Conductance units : MHOS
Conductance (measured in mhos) is the inverse of resistance (measured in ohms). The mho has been replaced by the SI unit called the siemens.

45. Rhine whine? : ACH
The German exclamation "ach!" is usually translated into English as "oh!"

46. Siege site of A.D. 72 : MASADA
The name Masada comes from the Hebrew word for fortress, and is a plateau in the Judean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea. It is home to the ruins of ancient palaces and fortifications that date back to the days of Herod the Great, father of Herod who figured in the lives of Jesus of Nazareth and John the Baptist. After the Romans invaded Jerusalem, Jewish extremists settled on the mountaintop using it as a base to harass the invaders. Eventually Romans mounted an attack on the elevated fortress, building an elaborate wall and rampart to get to the encampment with some cover. After months of preparation, the Romans breached the walls only to discover the inner buildings all ablaze, and the 1,000 rebels and their families dead after a mass suicide.

47. ___ horse : TROJAN
The story of the Wooden Horse of Troy is told in Virgil’s poem “The Aeneid”. According to the tale, the city of Troy finally fell to the Greeks after a siege that had lasted for ten years. In a ruse, the Greeks sailed away in apparent defeat, leaving behind a large wooden horse. Inside the horse were hidden 30 crack soldiers and, when the horse was dragged into the city as a victory trophy, the soldiers sneaked out and opened the city’s gates. The Greeks returned under cover of night and entered the open city.

51. M.T.A. fleet : BUSES
The MTA is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which has public transportation responsibility in the state of New York (as well as part of Connecticut).

52. Subj. of a space-to-Earth experiment on Apollo 14 : ESP
Edgar Mitchell was the sixth man to walk on the moon. Mitchell has been interested in paranormal phenomena for many years and even conducted ESP experiments with people back on earth during his Apollo 14 flight. He founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences, to study areas shunned by mainstream science. By the way, "noetics" is central to Dan Brown's last novel "The Lost Symbol".

55. Mine, in Amiens : A MOI
"À moi" (literally "to me") is the French for "mine".

Amiens is a city in the north of France in the region known as Picardy.

57. Library ID : ISBN
The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) was invented by one Gordon Foster who is now a professor at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. The code was originally developed for booksellers, so that they had a unique number (and now a bar code) for each publication.

59. Tony-winning role for Mandy Patinkin : CHE
Mandy Patinkin is a stage and screen actor, and a tenor vocalist. Patinkin played the part of Che in the original Broadway production of “Evita”.

60. ___ Lingus : AER
Aer Lingus is my favorite airline! Well, the service isn't that great, but when I get on board an Aer Lingus plane I feel like I am back in Ireland. Aer Lingus is the national airline of Ireland, with Aer Lingus being a phonetic spelling of the Irish "aer-loingeas" meaning "air fleet". These days Aer Lingus can only lay claim to the title of Ireland's oldest airline as it is no longer the biggest. That honor goes to the controversial budget airline, Ryan Air.

61. "Desperate Housewives" network : ABC
I haven’t even seen one episode of the hit show “Desperate Housewives”, I must admit. During pre-production, the show was called "Wisteria Lane" and then "The Secret Lives of Housewives".

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Noted handler of dogs : PAVLOV
7. Mother of Helios : THEA
11. Tubes : TVS
14. Sports star who wrote 2009's "Open: An Autobiography" : AGASSI
15. Whom Othello declares "is most honest" : IAGO
16. Actress Charlotte : RAE
17. Security desk at a Broadway theater? : RENT CONTROL
19. ___ de France : ILE
20. Starts at either end? : ESS
21. Certain Alaskan : ALEUT
22. Large bra feature : D CUP
23. Simian on a Broadway set? : GREASE MONKEY
26. Challenge for a H.S. honor student : AP TEST
29. Author Dinesen : ISAK
30. "Even ___ speak ..." : AS WE
31. ___ & Young (accounting firm) : ERNST
34. Cancel : NIX
37. Understudy in a Broadway show? : HAIR REPLACEMENT
41. Place with a waiting room: Abbr. : STN
42. Gather : AMASS
43. Son or grandson, say : HEIR
44. Italian beloved : CARA
46. Greek peak SE of Olympus : MT OSSA
48. Pessimistic Broadway investors? : CHICAGO BEARS
53. Owns, in the Bible : HATH
54. Actress Rene : RUSSO
55. "___ made clear ..." : AS I
58. Egg: Prefix : OVI-
59. Nighttime Broadway wardrobe? : CAT’S PAJAMAS
62. "The Simpsons" character who says "Oh geez" a lot : MOE
63. [Giggle] : HE-HE
64. It's awesome : DA BOMB
65. Mac alternatives : PCS
66. Love god : EROS
67. ___ régime (pre-1789 French government) : ANCIEN

Down
1. Whittle (down) : PARE
2. A long, long time : AGES
3. Plumbers' wheels : VANS
4. D-Day craft, for short : LST
5. Walt Disney had 26 of them : OSCARS
6. Color akin to plum : VIOLET
7. Emperor who completed the Colosseum : TITUS
8. Author Bret : HARTE
9. A star can have a huge one : EGO
10. CD mailer of the early 2000s : AOL
11. Bad conditions for playing hoops, say : TRICK KNEES
12. Care about : VALUE
13. Running slowly : SEEPY
18. "Sesame Street" supporter, in brief : NEA
22. Strands in a cell? : DNA
23. Will of "The Waltons" : GEER
24. Odds and ends: Abbr. : MISC
25. Bone: Prefix : OSTE-
26. Circus cries : AAHS
27. Natl. Merit Scholarship qualifying exam : PSAT
28. Minneapolis/St. Paul : TWIN CITIES
31. Green org. : EPA
32. Literary inits. : RLS
33. "Stillmatic" rapper : NAS
35. "Last one ___ a rotten egg!" : IN IS
36. More, in adspeak : XTRA
38. ___ avis : RARA
39. Slate, e.g. : EMAG
40. Conductance units : MHOS
45. Rhine whine? : ACH
46. Siege site of A.D. 72 : MASADA
47. ___ horse : TROJAN
48. Bite : CHOMP
49. Rack and ruin : HAVOC
50. Prefix with -pedic : ORTHO-
51. M.T.A. fleet : BUSES
52. Subj. of a space-to-Earth experiment on Apollo 14 : ESP
55. Mine, in Amiens : A MOI
56. "Me, too" : SAME
57. Library ID : ISBN
59. Tony-winning role for Mandy Patinkin : CHE
60. ___ Lingus : AER
61. "Desperate Housewives" network : ABC

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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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