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0915-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 15 Sep 12, Saturday





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: Joon Pahk & Brad Wilber
THEME: None
COMPLETION TIME: 55m 45s!!!
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

9. The "them" in "Let them eat cake" : MASSES
There is no evidence that Marie Antoinette ever uttered the words “Let them eat cake”. The phrase was attributed to “a great queen” though, by the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau wrote in his autobiography:
Finally I recalled the stopgap solution of a great princess who was told that the peasants had no bread, and who responded: "Let them eat brioche (cake)."

15. Caribbean isle : DOMINICA
Dominica is an island nation in the Caribbean, not to be confused with the Dominican Republic. Christopher Columbus and his crew first spotted the island on a Sunday.  Columbus named it "Dominica" as "dominica" is Latin for "Sunday".

16. Experts at jet propulsion : OCTOPI
Octopi move around by swimming through the water, and walking across the seabed. However, their fastest means of locomotion is jet propulsion, when they squeeze water out explosively to the rear creating forward motion.

17. Colorful marine fish with spiny, fanlike fins : DRAGONET
Dragonets (“little dragons”) are fabulous-looking fish found in the Indian Ocean and much of the Pacific.

20. Miami Heat player who was the 2006 N.B.A. Finals M.V.P. : DWYANE WADE
Dwayne Wade is a basketball player with the Miami Heat. Wade was chosen as the “Sports Illustrated” Sportsman of the Year in 2006.

22. "Cherry ice cream smile" wearer, in a Duran Duran hit : RIO
Duran Duran is a New Wave band from Birmingham in England. Duran Duran’s success was partially driven by some well-received MTV music videos in the 1980s. The band also worked hard on their image and paid a lot of money for very fashionable clothes in which they performed. As a result, one of Duran Duran’s nicknames is “the prettiest boys in rock”.

23. Winter Palace succession : TSARS
The Winter Palace is a magnificent building in St. Petersburg in Russia, home to the Russian tsars (and tsarinas). The Winter Palace houses the famous Hermitage Museum. I was lucky enough to visit the Palace and museum some years ago, and I have to say that I have rarely been more impressed by a historical building.

25. Pacific port : APIA
Apia is the capital city, in fact the only city, of the Pacific island-nation of Samoa. The harbor of Apia is famous for a very foolish incident in 1889 involving seven ships from Germany, the US and Britain. A typhoon was approaching so the safest thing to do was to head for open water away from land, but no nation would move its ships for fear of losing face in front of the others. Six of the vessels were lost in the typhoon as a result and 200 American and German sailors perished. The British cruiser HMS Calliope barely managed to escape from the harbor and rode out the storm safely.

27. Real-life 33-Across once played by Stallone : NITTI
Frank Nitti was one of the top henchmen working for Al Capone. Unlike American-born Capone, Nitti was actually from Italy, near the city of Salerno. When Capone was eventually put away for 11 years for tax evasion, Netti was convicted of the same crime. Nitti was only imprisoned for 18 months, and when released he was labelled as the new head of Capone's Chicago Outfit. However the truth seems to be that he was just a frontman, with others making the decisions.

“Capone” is a 1975 biopic about the noted Chicago gangster, Al Capone. This movie had a B-list cast, I’d say. The one big name was Sylvester Stallone who played Capone’s henchman Frank Nitti, although it was a very early role for “Sly”.

30. Bygone operator of N.Y.C.'s Second Avenue El : IRT
The Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) was the original private operator of the New York Subway when it opened in 1904. The city took over ownership of the system in 1940, but the lines originally operated by the IRT are still known by the IRT moniker.

31. Org. with a "This Just In" blog : CNN
CNN (Cable News Network) was launched in 1980, and was the first television channel in the world to provide news coverage 24 hours a day.

35. Famous higher-up in admissions? : ST PETER
According to the Gospel of St. Matthew, Peter the apostle was given “the keys of the kingdom of heaven”. This account gave rise to the popular depiction, largely outside of the Church, that St. Peter literally guards the gates of heaven.

42. Mother of Gobo and Faline, in children's lit : ENA
Ena is Bambi's aunt in the 1942 Disney film “Bambi”. The movie is based on the novel "Bambi, A Life in the Woods" written by Austrian author Felix Salten and first published in 1923.

44. Christie and others : ANNAS
Eugene O'Neill won a Pulitzer for his play "Anna Christie".

Eugene O’Neill was born in a New York City hotel room in what is now called Times Square, in 1888. That building no longer exists and there is a Starbucks on the site today, but you can go take a look at the commemorative plaque at the Northeast corner of 43rd and Broadway. O’Neill died in 1953, in room 401 of the Sheraton Hotel on Bay State Road in Boston. His last words were, “I knew it. I knew it. Born in a hotel room, and God damn it, died in a hotel room."

46. Titan or Atlas, briefly : ICBM
An Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) is a ballistic missile with the range necessary to cross between continents. Being ballistic (as opposed to a cruise missile) an ICBM is guided during the initial launch phase, but later in flight just relies on thrust and gravity to arrive at its target. It is defined as intercontinental as it has a range greater that 3,500 miles. ICBMs are really only used for delivering nuclear warheads. Scary stuff ...

Titan was a family of rockets first introduced in 1959. Titan rockets were used to launch man into space in the Gemini Program in the mid-sixties, and were also part of the American ICBM missile deterrent until the eighties.

Atlas boosters launched the first four US astronauts into space. The Atlas rocket design was originally developed in the late fifties and was deployed for several years as it was intended, as an intercontinental ballistic missile.

49. "___ Coming" (1969 hit) : ELI’S
“Eli’s Coming” was a 1969 hit for Three Dog Night.

The rock band Three Dog Night had its first and biggest success back in 1969 with the Harry Nilsson song “One”. The song is perhaps best known for it's opening words, "One is the loneliest number ..." Three Dog Night took their name from an Australian expression. Apparently indigenous Australians would sleep in a hole in the ground alongside their tame dingos. On a cold night, they would huddle up to two dingos, and if it was really, really cold, it was a "three dog night".

55. Admonition to one celebrating prematurely : DON’T JINX IT
A jinx is a charm or a spell, and the word "jinx" comes from an older word "jyng" from the 17th-century. A "jyng" was another word for the wryneck, a type of bird much used in witchcraft.

58. Something in a crumbled state in Greece? : FETA
Feta is a Greek cheese made from sheep's milk, or a mixture of sheep's and goat's milk. The cheese is salted and cured in a brine solution for several months before it is eaten.

60. Cocktail party trayful : CRUDITES
Crudités are a French appetizer made up of sliced and whole raw vegetables that are dipped into a sauce. The French word “crudité” simply means "raw vegetable", and derives from the Latin word “crudus” meaning “raw”.

62. Big name in fashion : LAUREN
Ralph Lauren is an American fashion designer, born Ralph Liftshitz in the Bronx, New York. Lauren started off working as a salesman for Brooks Brothers after spending two years in the US Army. He then opened a necktie store, featuring his own tie designs. The ties were sold under the name "Polo", which became Lauren's most famous brand.

63. De facto national carrier since 1932 : AEROFLOT
Aeroflot is the flag carrier of the Russian Federation. Aeroflot is one of the oldest airlines in the world and started operations as the Russian Society of Voluntary Air Fleet in 1923. Back in the days of the Soviet Union, Aeroflot was also the world’s largest airline, an honor that now goes to Delta Airlines.

65. Casino in "Casino," 1995 : TANGIERS
“Casino” is a 1995 Martin Scorsese film. One of the movie’s stars is Robert De Niro, someone who collaborated with Scorsese in eight films in all, "Casino" being the last.

Down
2. Balthasar's true identity, in Shakespeare : PORTIA
In William Shakespeare's “The Merchant of Venice”, Portia is the formidable heroine. As part of the story Portia takes on the guise of a male lawyer and calls herself "Balthasar". Portia does this to save the life of Antonio, the play’s title character. Portia makes a famous speech that gives us an oft-quoted phrase, “the quality of mercy”:
The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes...

3. Start for Friday? : I’M A COP
Jack Webb played Sergeant Joe Friday on "Dragnet" on both TV and radio ... and what a voice he had! Off the screen Webb was a lover of jazz, and he played the cornet. It was within the world of jazz that he met and fell in love with Julie London, the famous singer with "the smoky voice". The couple married and had two kids together.

5. It makes mist moist : AN O
Add an “O” to the word “mist” and we get “moist”.

7. "Atonement" novelist, 2001 : MCEWAN
Ian McEwan is an English novelist with a track record of writing well-received novels. His most famous work at the moment I would say is "Atonement" which has benefited from the success of the fabulous movie adaptation released in 2007.

9. Pull up a seat for? : MOON
The first recorded mooning incident took place in 66 AD, during the First Roman-Jewish War. Roman soldiers decided to moon Jewish pilgrims as they traveled to the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

12. Harpsichord practice piece, maybe : SONATINA
A cantata is a piece of music that is sung, as opposed to a sonata, which is a piece that is played on some instrument, often a piano. A sonatina is in effect a sonata that has been labelled as something lighter and shorter.

21. Stars, in a motto : ASTRA
"Astra" is the Latin for "stars", as in "Ad Astra", the motto of my alma mater, University College Dublin in Ireland.

26. Artist with the first hip-hop album to carry an explicit content sticker : ICE-T
Rapper Ice-T must be sick of having his name come up as an answer in crossword puzzles. Maybe he should have stuck to his real name, Tracy Marrow? Then again, maybe not ...

28. Table poker? : TINE
That would be one of the tines (points) on a fork.

34. Non-PC choice : IMAC
The iMac is a desktop computer platform from Apple introduced in 1998. One of the main features of the iMac is an "all-in-one" design, with the computer console and monitor integrated.

36. Dr. Seuss book : THE LORAX
"The Lorax" is a children's book written by Dr. Seuss. It is an allegorical work, questioning the problems created by industrialization, and in particular the impact of industry on the environment.

Dr. Seuss was the pen name of Theodor Seuss Geisel. Geisel was commander of the Animation Department of the USAF during WWII. He was behind many propaganda films including one called "Our Job in Japan". Even though the film was produced specifically as propaganda, this same movie was used after the war as a basis for the short feature "Design for Death", a study of Japanese culture released in 1947 and winner of an Oscar for best Documentary.

38. 1998 De Niro film with a memorable wrong-way car chase : RONIN
I haven't seen "Ronin", a 1998 action thriller about a group of ex-special forces and intelligence agents who collaborate to steal a mysterious suitcase. It stars Robert De Niro and Jean Reno, and sounds like my kind of film.

41. Nickelodeon's Stimpy, e.g. : MANX CAT
“The Ren and Stimpy Show” ran on Nickelodeon from 1991 to 1996. Not my cup of tea ...

I've seen Manx cats by the dozen on their native island. They're found all over the Isle of Man (hence the name "Manx") located in the middle of the Irish Sea. Manx cats have no tails, they really don't ...

45. Shrub also called meadowsweet : SPIREA
Spirea, also known as Meadowsweet, is too woody to be considered as a food plant, although it has long been used by Native Americans as a herbal tea. Spirea is chock full of salicylates, chemicals that have properties similar to aspirin.

48. Hunk noted for streaking : METEOR
A meteor is a hunk of rock streaking through the atmosphere.

A shooting star is what we call the visible path of a meteoroid as is it enters the earth’s atmosphere. Almost all meteoroids burn up, but if one is large enough to survive and reach the ground, we call it a meteorite. The word “meteor” comes from the Greek “meteōros” meaning “high in the air”.

50. About 264 gallons : STERE
"Stere" is a metric measure, although it is not part of the modern metric system. Nowadays the stere is used as a measure for firewood, and is equal to one cubic meter.

57. Middle-earth's Green Dragon and Prancing Pony : INNS
The Green Dragon Inn is an establishment in Tolkien’s Middle-earth found in Hobbiton, where the Hobbits live.

The Prancing Pony is an inn in Tolkien’s fictional village of Bree in Middle-earth, and is mentioned in “The Hobbit”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Livid : UP IN ARMS
9. The "them" in "Let them eat cake" : MASSES
15. Caribbean isle : DOMINICA
16. Experts at jet propulsion : OCTOPI
17. Colorful marine fish with spiny, fanlike fins : DRAGONET
18. Low-scoring, as a World Cup game : ONE NIL
19. Get a groove on? : ETCH
20. Miami Heat player who was the 2006 N.B.A. Finals M.V.P. : DWYANE WADE
22. "Cherry ice cream smile" wearer, in a Duran Duran hit : RIO
23. Winter Palace succession : TSARS
24. Rock : STUN
25. Pacific port : APIA
27. Real-life 33-Across once played by Stallone : NITTI
30. Bygone operator of N.Y.C.'s Second Avenue El : IRT
31. Org. with a "This Just In" blog : CNN
33. Person with convictions : CRIMINAL
35. Famous higher-up in admissions? : ST PETER
39. Departure, of a sort : ANOMALY
40. Moderator's domain, perhaps : CHATROOM
42. Mother of Gobo and Faline, in children's lit : ENA
43. Word of protest : HEY!
44. Christie and others : ANNAS
46. Titan or Atlas, briefly : ICBM
49. "___ Coming" (1969 hit) : ELI’S
51. Raw data, often : INPUT
53. It makes many twists and turns : EEL
55. Admonition to one celebrating prematurely : DON’T JINX IT
58. Something in a crumbled state in Greece? : FETA
59. Cheer : URGE ON
60. Cocktail party trayful : CRUDITES
62. Big name in fashion : LAUREN
63. De facto national carrier since 1932 : AEROFLOT
64. Boots : EXPELS
65. Casino in "Casino," 1995 : TANGIERS

Down
1. Milk source : UDDER
2. Balthasar's true identity, in Shakespeare : PORTIA
3. Start for Friday? : I’M A COP
4. Practically : NIGH
5. It makes mist moist : AN O
6. Coats removed before eating : RINDS
7. "Atonement" novelist, 2001 : MCEWAN
8. Wanton : SATYRIC
9. Pull up a seat for? : MOON
10. Problem to face? : ACNE
11. Worries : STEWS
12. Harpsichord practice piece, maybe : SONATINA
13. Delivery room shot : EPIDURAL
14. Without attracting attention, say : SILENTLY
21. Stars, in a motto : ASTRA
23. Sacred Hindu text : TANTRA
26. Artist with the first hip-hop album to carry an explicit content sticker : ICE-T
28. Table poker? : TINE
29. Gofer's pledge : I’M ON IT
32. Extra-bright : NEON
34. Non-PC choice : IMAC
35. Good thing to be on while working : SCHEDULE
36. Dr. Seuss book : THE LORAX
37. Getting square : PAYING UP
38. 1998 De Niro film with a memorable wrong-way car chase : RONIN
41. Nickelodeon's Stimpy, e.g. : MANX CAT
45. Shrub also called meadowsweet : SPIREA
47. Bug : BEETLE
48. Hunk noted for streaking : METEOR
50. About 264 gallons : STERE
52. Start of a back-up plan? : U-TURN
54. Goes on : LASTS
56. Prophet read on Ash Wednesday : JOEL
57. Middle-earth's Green Dragon and Prancing Pony : INNS
58. Classic name for a 61-Down : FIFI
61. See 58-Down : DOG


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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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