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0304-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 4 Mar 14, Tuesday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Bruce Haight & Peter A. Collins
THEME: Kite Flying … today’s crossword has references to Benjamin Franklin’s famous experiment in which he flew a kite in a thunderstorm to discover previously unknown facts about the nature of lightning and electricity. The black squares in the grid even depict Franklin’s kite flying high in the air, and I think I can see a couple of lightning bolts too:
16A. With 23-Down, what 27-Across/32-Down is often credited with : DISCOVERING
23D. See 16-Across : ELECTRICITY

27A. With 32-Down, person associated with the scene depicted in this puzzle's grid : BENJAMIN
32D. See 27-Across : FRANKLIN

35A. With 44-Down, advice to 27-Across/32-Down? : GO FLY
44D. See 35-Across : A KITE

37D. Site of 27-Across/32-Down's ambassadorship : FRANCE
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 11m 31s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Archenemy of the Fantastic Four : DR DOOM
Doctor Doom is a supervillain created in the Marvel Comics universe, an archenemy of the Fantastic Four.

The Fantastic Four is a team of superheroes in Marvel Comics universe. The team is made up of Mister Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Human Torch and the Thing.

7. Tech product introduced in '81 : IBM PC
The original IBM Personal Computer is model number 5150, which was introduced to the world on August 12, 1981. The term “personal computer” was already in use, but the success of the IBM 5150 led to the term “PC” being used for all computer products compatible with the IBM platform.

12. Rapper with the 2002 #1 hit "Always on Time" : JA RULE
Ja Rule is the stage name of rapper Jeffrey Atkins. Apparently Ja Rule is noted not only for his music, but for his “feuds” with the likes of 50 Cent and Eminem.

13. Make into cornrows : BRAID
The traditional African American braids known as a cornrows can also be called “crows”, a shortened version of the original term. The style was imported into the US from Africa.

16. With 23-Down, what 27-Across/32-Down is often credited with : DISCOVERING
(23D. See 16-Across : ELECTRICITY)
(35A. With 44-Down, advice to 27-Across/32-Down? : GO FLY)
(44D. See 35-Across : A KITE)
Benjamin Franklin may not have discovered electricity, but he did important work that helped us understand the nature of electricity. He is reputed to have flown a kite at the end of wet string during a thunderstorm. At the end of the string was a key, and Franklin noted that sparks jumped from the key to the back of his hand, showing that lightning was an electrical phenomenon.

18. Song girl who's "sweet as apple cider" : IDA
“Ida! Sweet as Apple Cider” is a song that dates back to 1903 when it was written by Eddie Leonard and Eddie Munson.

23. Coup d'___ : ETAT
A coup d'état (often just "coup") is the sudden overthrow of a government, and comes from the French for "stroke of state". The Swiss German word “putsch” is sometimes used instead of “coup”, with “Putsch” translating literally as “sudden blow”.

27. With 32-Down, person associated with the scene depicted in this puzzle's grid : BENJAMIN
(32D. See 27-Across : FRANKLIN)
The noted polymath Benjamin Franklin was one of the US’s Founding Fathers. Franklin was born into a working class family in Boston in 1706. He went on to invent the lightning rod and bifocals. He became the first US Ambassador to France, the US’s Postmaster General and the Governor of Pennsylvania. He played the violin, the harp and the guitar and composed a string quartet. He was also an accomplished chess player, the first to be known by name in the American colonies. The list of the Benjamin Franklin’s accomplishments seems to be endless …

32. Mink, e.g. : FUR COAT
There are two species of mink extant, the European Mink and the American Mink. There used to be a Sea Mink which was much larger than its two cousins, but it was hunted to extinction (for its fur) in the late 1800s. American Minks are farmed over in Europe for fur, and animal rights activists have released many of these animals into the wild when raiding mink farms. As a result the European Mink population has declined due to the presence of its larger and more adaptable American cousin.

38. Herringlike fish : SHAD
The shad is also known as the river herring. The eggs (roe) of the female shad are prized as a delicacy in the Eastern US.

43. Continental coin : EURO
The European Union (EU) today stands at a membership of 27 states. The Euro is the official currency of only 16 of the 27. The list of states in the EU that don't use the Euro includes the UK, Denmark and Sweden.

44. "Absolutely right!" : AMEN!
The word “amen” is translated as “so be it”. “Amen” is said to be of Hebrew origin, but it is likely to be also influenced by Aramaic and Arabic.

48. Milan's La ___ : SCALA
The La Scala Opera House opened in 1778. It was built on the site of the church of Santa Maria della Scala, which gave the theater the name "Teatro alla Scala" in Italian.

49. Martial arts instructor : SENSEI
“Sensei” is a Japanese form of address used for figures of authority, from lawyers to martial arts instructors.

56. Precursor to talk shows for Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers, in short : SNL
Jimmy Fallon was a cast member for a number of years on “Saturday Night Live” before getting his own talk show in 2009, “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”. Fallon is in the news right now as he just took over “The Tonight Show” from Jay Leno.

Seth Meyers is an actor and comedian who is perhaps best-known for his appearances on “Saturday Night Live” (SNL), for which program he is now head writer.

57. River of W.W. I : YSER
The Yser originates in northern France and flows through Belgium into the North Sea. The Yser is often associated with WWI as it figured in a major battle early in the conflict. In the first three months of the war, the German Army pushed almost completely through Belgium, inflicting heavy losses on the Belgian Army as the defenders were forced to fight a fast-moving rearguard action. The Germans were intent on pushing right through Belgium and across France in a "race to the sea". But the Belgians, with the help of their Allies, decided to make a final stand at the Yser Canal in an effort to prevent the Germans reaching the French ports of Calais and Dunkirk. The 22-mile long defensive line was chosen at the Yser because the river and canal system could be flooded to create a barrier that might be defended. The plan was successful and the front was "stabilized". As we now know, millions of lives were lost over the coming years with very little movement of that battle line.

Down
1. Provided the music for a party, informally : DJED
Supposedly, the world's first radio disk jockey was one Ray Newby of Stockton, California who made his first broadcast in 1909 would you believe? When he was 16 years old and a student, he started to play his records on a primitive radio located in the Herrold College of Engineering and Wireless in San Jose. The records played back then were mostly recordings of Enrico Caruso.

4. Post office scale unit : OUNCE
Our term “ounce” comes from the Latin “uncia”, which was 1/12 of a “libra”, the Roman “pound”.

5. Yellow spread : OLEO
Emperor Louis Napoleon III of France announced a competition to develop a substitute for butter, a substitute that would be more accessible to the lower classes and more practical for the armed forces. In 1869, a French chemist called Hippolyte Mege-Mouries came up with something that he called oleomargarine, which was eventually manufactured under the trade name "margarine". The name "oleomargarine" also gives us our generic term "oleo".

6. Game show maven Griffin : MERV
Merv Griffin was quite the entertainer, truly a mogul in the business. He started his career as a singer on the radio during the big band era. In the sixties he hosted his own talk show, and then famously developed such great game shows as “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune”.

I've always loved the word "maven", another word for an expert. Maven comes into English from the Yiddish "meyvn" meaning someone who appreciates and is a connoisseur.

7. Spanish or Portuguese : IBERIAN
The Ebro is the longest river in Spain. The river was known by the Romans as the Iber, and it is the "Iber" river that gives the "Iberian" Peninsula its name.

9. River of W.W. I : MARNE
The River Marne runs roughly northwestward for over 300 miles, running into the River Seine just outside Paris. The Marne was the site of two major battles in WWI, one fought in 1914, and one in 1918.

10. Worrisome engine sound : PING
Pinging is also known as "engine knocking". It is a metallic sound, created when not all of the fuel-air mixture is detonated by the spark plug, with some of it detonated late in the cycle. The late detonation causes the knocking/pinging sound. Additives (anti-knock agents) in gasoline can help reduce the chances of pinging.

11. Some 60-mo. investments : CDS
A certificate of deposit (CD) is like a less-flexible and higher-paying savings account. Instead of depositing money into a savings account and earning interest periodically, one can open a CD. With a CD one deposits a minimum amount of money but must leave it there for a specified length of time. In return for committing the funds for a fixed period, one is given a higher interest rate than a savings account and can redeem that interest and the initial deposit when the term has expired. CDs are relatively low-risk investments as they are FDIC insured, just like savings accounts.

17. Buzz Aldrin's real first name : EDWIN
Buzz Aldrin is a true American hero, I'd say. He flew 66 combat missions in Korea, shot down two MiGs, earned his Sc. D. degree from MIT, and was one of the two men who landed on the moon for the first time. Now that man, he has lived a life worth living.

18. Writer Calvino : ITALO
As well as being an author, Italo Calvino was a famous Italian journalist. He was a supporter of communism and so wasn't very popular in the US nor in Britain.

19. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" girl : DARLA
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is a TV series that originally aired from 1997 to 2003. “Buffy …” was incredibly successful, especially given that it wasn’t aired on the one of the big four networks. The show was created by Joss Whedon and starred Sarah Michelle Gellar in the title role.

24. $5 bill, informally : ABE
The US five-dollar bill is often called an “Abe”, as President Lincoln’s portrait is on the front. An Abe is also referred to as a “fin”, a term that has been used for a five-pound note in Britain since 1868.

28. Dessert brand once pitched by Bill Cosby : JELLO
The great comedic entertainer Bill Cosby is from Philadelphia. After working as a standup comedian, Cosby got his big break on television when he landed a starring role in “I Spy” alongside Robert Culp in the sixties. His greatest success on television came in the eighties and early nineties with his own sitcom “The Cosby Show”. At its height, “The Cosby Show” was the number one show in the US for five straight years.

29. The Beatles' "___ in the Life" : A DAY
"A Day in the Life" is the last track on the Beatles' famous "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album. There's a line in the song "I'd love to turn you on", an apparent reference to drug use. As a result, "A Day in the Life" was banned for a while by the BBC.

30. British pound, informally : QUID
“Quid” is a slang term for a pound sterling (i.e. a UK pound). It’s not certain where the term comes from, but it is possibly derived somehow from the Latin phrase “quid pro quo” meaning “this for that”.

35. Dancer in a kimono : GEISHA
The Japanese term “geisha” best translates as “artist” or “performing artist”.

The lovely Japanese kimono is a garment worn by men, women and children. The word “kimono” translates simply as “thing to wear”, with “ki” meaning “wear” and “mono” meaning “thing”.

36. Best in an annual Nathan's contest, say : OUTEAT
Nathan's Famous has held a Hot Dog Eating Contest every July 4th since 1916, and always at the same location on Coney Island.

37. Site of 27-Across/32-Down's ambassadorship : FRANCE
Benjamin Franklin served as the US Ambassador to France for almost a full decade, from 1776 to 1785.

38. The Mustangs of the American Athletic Conf. : SMU
Southern Methodist University (SMU) is located in University Park, Texas (part of Dallas), and was founded in 1911. SMU is home to the George W. Bush Presidential Library.

40. 2000s White House family : OBAMAS
By tradition, the Secret Service code names used for the US President and family all start with the same letter. For the current First Family, that letter is R:
- Barack Obama: Renegade
- Michelle Obama: Renaissance
- Malia Obama: Radiance
- Sasha Obama: Rosebud

47. Dos x tres : SEIS
In Spanish, two x three (dos x tres) equals six (seis).

50. Jamaican music genre : SKA
Ska originated in Jamaica in the late fifties and was the precursor to reggae music. No one has a really definitive etymology of the term "ska", but it is likely to be imitative of some sound.

52. Fast way to connect, briefly : DSL
The acronym “DSL” originally stood for Digital Subscriber Loop, but is now accepted to mean (Asymmetric) Digital Subscriber Line. DSL is the technology that allows Internet service be delivered down the same telephone line as voice service, by separating the two into different frequency signals.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Archenemy of the Fantastic Four : DR DOOM
7. Tech product introduced in '81 : IBM PC
12. Rapper with the 2002 #1 hit "Always on Time" : JA RULE
13. Make into cornrows : BRAID
14. Like 50/50 vis-à-vis 60/40 : EVENER
15. Merits : EARNS
16. With 23-Down, what 27-Across/32-Down is often credited with : DISCOVERING
18. Song girl who's "sweet as apple cider" : IDA
21. Chicago-to-Tampa dir. : SSE
22. Sup : DINE
23. Coup d'___ : ETAT
24. Yellowfin tuna, on menus : AHI
25. On vacation : AWAY
26. Trumpet : BLARE
27. With 32-Down, person associated with the scene depicted in this puzzle's grid : BENJAMIN
30. Silences : QUELLS
31. Added slyly, as a comment : EDGED IN
32. Mink, e.g. : FUR COAT
33. Young chap : LAD
34. What Command-P means on a Mac : PRINT
35. With 44-Down, advice to 27-Across/32-Down? : GO FLY
38. Herringlike fish : SHAD
39. Towel holders : RODS
43. Continental coin : EURO
44. "Absolutely right!" : AMEN!
45. "Yeah, right!" : I BET!
46. Suffix with señor : -ITA
47. Real stinker : SKUNK
48. Milan's La ___ : SCALA
49. Martial arts instructor : SENSEI
51. Veteran : OLD-TIMER
53. Cope : HACK IT
54. Say wrongly : MISSTATE
55. Military command : AT EASE!
56. Precursor to talk shows for Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers, in short : SNL
57. River of W.W. I : YSER

Down
1. Provided the music for a party, informally : DJED
2. Enraptured : RAVISHED
3. Order often "on the side" : DRESSING
4. Post office scale unit : OUNCE
5. Yellow spread : OLEO
6. Game show maven Griffin : MERV
7. Spanish or Portuguese : IBERIAN
8. Opposite of dense : BRAINY
9. River of W.W. I : MARNE
10. Worrisome engine sound : PING
11. Some 60-mo. investments : CDS
17. Buzz Aldrin's real first name : EDWIN
18. Writer Calvino : ITALO
19. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" girl : DARLA
20. "This is only ___" : A TEST
23. See 16-Across : ELECTRICITY
24. $5 bill, informally : ABE
25. Surrounded by : AMID
26. Seriously overcook : BURN
28. Dessert brand once pitched by Bill Cosby : JELLO
29. The Beatles' "___ in the Life" : A DAY
30. British pound, informally : QUID
32. See 27-Across : FRANKLIN
34. Sports wonders, say : PHENOMS
35. Dancer in a kimono : GEISHA
36. Best in an annual Nathan's contest, say : OUTEAT
37. Site of 27-Across/32-Down's ambassadorship : FRANCE
38. The Mustangs of the American Athletic Conf. : SMU
40. 2000s White House family : OBAMAS
41. Remove, as spam : DELETE
42. One not blinking, perhaps : STARER
44. See 35-Across : A KITE
47. Dos x tres : SEIS
48. A, B and F, e.g., in D.C. : STS
50. Jamaican music genre : SKA
52. Fast way to connect, briefly : DSL


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3 comments :

Anonymous said...

What is the scene depicted in the puzzle. I can't see it.

Anonymous said...

I think it is a kite.

Sylvia in Calgary

Bill Butler said...

Hi there, Sylvia.

Yes, I can see a a kite in top-right corner with a string running down towards the bottom-left. Either side of the "string" are two bolts of lightning.

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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.

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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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