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0421-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 21 Apr 14, Monday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: John Lieb
THEME: Counter Examples … today’s themed answers are all known for COUNTING:
17A. Strike zone arbiter : HOME PLATE UMPIRE
23A. George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life" : BANK MANAGER
38A. One getting hit in Vegas : BLACKJACK PLAYER
47A. Decennial official : CENSUS TAKER

58A. They disprove claims ... or 17-, 23-, 38- and 47-Across, in a way? : COUNTEREXAMPLES
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 5m 40s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Small apartment : STUDIO
“Studio” comes into English via Italian from the Latin “studium” meaning “room for study”. The meaning was extended into “studio apartment” in the early 1900s.

11. The "L" of U.N.L.V. : LAS
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) was established in 1957 as the Southern Division of the University of Nevada, Reno. One of UNLV’s flagship departments is the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration, which is consistently ranked as one of the best hotel and hospitality colleges in the nation. I suppose that’s not surprising given the proximity to the Las Vegas Strip.

14. St. Francis' birthplace : ASSISI
The Italian town of Assisi is in Umbria. Assisi is famous as the birthplace of St. Francis and as the home to the Franciscan religious order. It was also the home to Saint Clare and her order of the Poor Sisters (later known as the Poor Clares).

St. Francis founded the Franciscan religious order in Assisi in 1208. He died in 1226, and was declared a saint just two years later in 1228. Construction of the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi started immediately after the canonization, and finished 25 years later. The Basilica is now a United Nations World Heritage Site.

20. Exam for an aspiring D.A. : LSAT
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) has been around since 1948.

21. Luau dish : POI
Nowadays the word "luau" denotes almost any kind of party on the Hawaiian Islands, but to the purist a luau is a feast that always includes a serving of "poi", the bulbous underground stems of taro baked with coconut milk.

22. Cubs legend Banks : ERNIE
First baseman Ernie Banks was known as “Mr. Cub”, and played his entire 19-year professional career with the Chicago Cubs.

23. George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life" : BANK MANAGER
The Christmas Classic “It's a Wonderful Life" was released in 1946, and is a Frank Capra movie starring James Stewart and Donna Reed. The film’s screenplay was adapted from a short story called “The Greatest Gift” by Philip Van Doren Stern. Remember the famous swimming pool scene? That was shot in Beverly High School gym, and the pool is still in use today.

26. N.B.A. Hall-of-Famer Dennis : RODMAN
Retired professional basketball player Dennis Rodman was quite the character on the court, and made a big splash off the court too (and still is!). Famously, Rodman had an affair with the singer Madonna, was married for a while to Carmen Electra, and turned out in a wedding dress to promote his autobiography!

31. Creme-filled cookies : OREOS
How the Oreo cookie came to get its name seems to have been lost in the mists of time. One theory is that it comes from the French “or” meaning “gold”, a reference to the gold color of the original packing. Another suggestion is that the name is the Greek word “oreo” meaning “beautiful, nice, well-done”.

32. "___ Dark Thirty" : ZERO
“Zero Dark Thirty” is a film directed by Kathryn Bigelow that tells of the long but ultimately successful hunt for Osama bin Laden. I found one aspect of this film to be particularly uplifting, namely the central role played by a remarkable CIA officer who was a woman operating against the odds in a man’s world.

34. Disaster aid org. : FEMA
Federal emergency management has been structured for over 200 years, but what we know today as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was created in 1979 in an Executive Order issued by President Jimmy Carter.

38. One getting hit in Vegas : BLACKJACK PLAYER
The game of "twenty-one" was first referred to in a book by Cervantes, the author famous for writing "Don Quixote". He called the game "ventiuna" (Spanish for "twenty-one"). Cervantes wrote his story just after the year 1600, so the game has been around at least since then. Twenty-one came to the US but it wasn't all that popular so bonus payments were introduced to create more interest. One of the more attractive bonuses was a ten-to-one payout to a player who was dealt an ace of spades and a black jack. This bonus led to the game adopting the moniker "Blackjack".

44. "The Thin Man" terrier : ASTA
Asta is the wonderful little dog in the superb "The Thin Man" series of films starring William Powell and Myrna Loy (as Nick and Nora Charles). In the original story by Dashiell Hammett, Asta was a female Schnauzer, but on screen Asta was played by a wire-haired fox terrier called "Skippy". Skippy was also the dog in "Bringing up Baby" with Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, the one who kept stealing the dinosaur bone. Skippy retired in 1939, so Asta was played by other dogs in the remainder of "The Thin Man" films.

High on the list of my favorite movies of all time is "The Thin Man" series starring William Powell and the incredibly attractive Myrna Loy. Powell and Loy played the characters Nick and Nora Charles.

46. Spanish diacritical marks : TILDES
A diacritic mark is added to a letter to indicate that it has a special phonetic sound. Examples of diacritic marks are the tilde above the n in Spanish words like “piñata”, and the cedilla under the c in French words like “façade”.

47. Decennial official : CENSUS TAKER
The original census was taken during the days of the Roman Republic, and was a reckoning of all adult males who were fit for military service. The first US Census was taken in 1790, and was conducted by Federal marshals.

53. Fort ___, N.J. : DIX
Fort Dix is the name commonly used for what is now more correctly called Joint Base McGuire -Dix-Lakehurst, a US Army base located near Trenton, New Jersey. Fort Dix was established in 1917 by the Army, and was consolidated with nearby Air Force and Navy facilities in 2009.

63. Asia's shrinking ___ Sea : ARAL
The Aral Sea is a great example of how man can have a devastating effect on his environment. In the early sixties the Aral Sea covered 68,000 square miles of Central Asia. Soviet Union irrigation projects drained the lake to such an extent that today the total area is less than 7,000 square miles, with 90% of the lake now completely dry. Sad ...

65. "I Like ___" ('50s campaign slogan) : IKE
“I Like Ike” was a political slogan that originated with the grassroots movement to get Dwight D. Eisenhower to run for president in the 1952 presidential election.

Down
1. Comedian Mort : SAHL
Mort Sahl is a Canadian-born actor and comedian who moved to the US with his family when he was a child. Sahl became friends with John F. Kennedy. When Kennedy became president, Sahl wrote a lot of jokes for the President's speeches, although he also told a lot of Kennedy jokes in his acts. After the President was assassinated in 1963, Sahl was intensely interested in finding out who was behind the crime and even got himself deputized as a member of one of the investigating teams. He was very outspoken against the results of the Warren Commission report on the assassination, and soon found himself out of favor with the public. It took a few years for him to make his comeback, but come back he did.

2. General ___ chicken : TSO’S
General Tso's chicken is an American creation, often found on the menu of a Chinese restaurant. The name General Tso may be a reference to General Zuo Zongtang of the Qing Dynasty, but there is no clear link.

3. West Point inits. : USMA
West Point is a military reservation in New York State, located north of New York City. West Point was first occupied by the Continental Army way back in 1778, making it the longest, continually-occupied military post in the country. Cadet training has taken place at the garrison since 1794, although Congress funding for a US Military Academy (USMA) didn't start until 1802.

5. AOL or Comcast, for short : ISP
An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is just what the name indicates, a company that provides its customers with access to the Internet. One way that ISPs differentiate themselves from each other is in the way in which end users are connected to the ISP's network. So, there are cable ISPs, DSL ISPs, dial-up ISPs and satellite ISPs. I'd go with cable if I were you, if it's available in your area ...

6. Crankcase reservoir : OIL PAN
In most internal combustion engines the pistons that move up and down are arranged in a line, and connected to a crankshaft that runs along the bottom of the engine. The up and down motion of the pistons turns the crankshaft, which turning motion is "transmitted" (via the transmission) to the wheels. The case surrounding the crankshaft is called the crankcase. The crankcase contains a lot of oil that is squirted onto the crankshaft to lubricate it. Excess oil falls to the bottom of the crankcase and into a reservoir called the oil pan.

7. Tie-dye alternative : BATIK
Genuine batik cloth is produced by applying wax to the parts of the cloth that are not to be dyed. After the cloth has been dyed, it is dried and then dipped in solvent that dissolves the wax.

8. Hydrocarbon suffix : -ANE
The “smaller” alkanes are gases and are quite combustible. Methane (CH4) is the main component of natural gas with ethane (C2H6) being the second largest component. Propane (C3H8) is also found in natural gas and is heavy enough to be readily turned into a liquid by compression, for ease of transportation and storage. Butane (C4H10) is also easily liquefied under pressure and can be used as the fuel in cigarette lighters or as the propellant in aerosol sprays. The heavier alkanes are liquids and solids at room temperature.

9. Air-conditioner output: Abbr. : BTU
In the world of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), the power of a heating or cooling unit can be measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). This dated unit is the amount of energy required to heat a pound of water so that the water's temperature increases by one degree Fahrenheit.

10. Saudi neighbor : YEMENI
Yemen is located on the Arabian Peninsula, lying just south of Saudi Arabia and west of Oman. Yemen is the only state on the peninsula that is a republic (its official name is the Republic of Yemen). Everyone over the age of 18 gets to vote, but only Muslims can hold elected office.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest Arab country in the Middle East and is the world's largest oil producer, home to the world's largest oil reserves. The Saudi dynasty started in central Arabia in 1744 when the secular leader Muhammad ibn Saud joined forces with the Islamic scholar and Imam, Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab. At the time, Saud was a ruler of a town near Riyadh and he was determined to bring "true" Islam to the Arabian peninsula. Since 1744 the fortunes of the Saudi family have risen and fallen, but it is that same family who rules what we know today as Saudi Arabia.

18. ___ Center (Chicago skyscraper) : AON
The Aon Center in Chicago is the third-tallest building in the city. There is also an Aon Center in Los Angeles that is the second-tallest building the that city.

19. Buster Keaton specialty : PRATFALL
"Prat" is a relatively new word for me, a slang term for the buttocks apparently. A “prat-fall” is when someone falls and lands on the buttocks.

23. Soak up the sun : BASK
Our verb “to bask”, meaning “to expose one to pleasant warmth”, is derived from the gruesome 14th-century term “basken”, meaning “to wallow in blood”. The contemporary usage apparently originated with Shakespeare, who employed with reference to sunshine in “As You Like It”.

27. Air France destination : ORLY
Orly is on the outskirts of Paris, to the south of the city. It is home of course to the Paris-Orly Airport, the second busiest international airport for the city after the more recently built Charles de Gaulle Airport. That said, Orly is home to more domestic flights than Charles de Gaulle.

Air France is my favorite airline (okay … after Aer Lingus, the Irish airline). I used to fly Air France a lot (I lived in France for a while), but haven’t done so since the company merged with KLM in 2004.

28. University official : DEAN
Our use of “dean” to describe an administrative officer in an educational institution dates back to the 1570s. The term comes via the Old French “deien” from the Latin “decanus”, which was the name for the head of a group of ten monks in a monastery, and earlier still, the name for the commander of ten soldiers. So ultimately, “dean” comes from the Greek “deka” meaning “ten”.

29. Comfortable footwear : MOCCASIN
The moccasin is a traditional form of footwear worn by members of many Native American tribes.

32. Restaurant guide name since 1979 : ZAGAT
The Zagat Survey is best known for rating restaurants across the major cities of the US, but it also rates things like hotels, nightlife, shopping, airlines and even zoos. The survey was started by Tim and Nina Zagat in 1979, and back then the survey was simply a collection of New York City restaurant ratings provided by friends of the couple.

33. "Foucault's Pendulum" author Umberto : ECO
Umberto Eco is an Italian writer, probably best known for his novel "The Name of the Rose" published in 1980. In 1986, "The Name of the Rose" was adapted into a movie with the same title starring Sean Connery.

"Foucault's Pendulum" is a 1988 Italian novel by Umberto Eco that was translated into English by William Weaver the following year. The title of the book refers to a large pendulum that was constructed by French physicist Léon Foucault to demonstrate the effect of the Earth’s rotation.

39. "West Side Story" gang : JETS
Leonard Bernstein's musical "West Side Story" is of course based on William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet". The musical is set in New York City and features two rival gangs: the Sharks from Puerto Rico and the Jets with working-class, Caucasian roots. Tony from the Jets falls in love with Maria from the Sharks. All this parallels Romeo from the House of Montague falling for Juliet from the House of Capulet in the Italian city of Verona.

45. Ottoman bigwig : SULTAN
Sultan is an Islamic title, with the word "sultan" originally meaning "strength" or "power". The word then became a title for some Muslim rulers who claimed to have extensive authority. Sultans ruled over "sultanates", and were married to "sultanas".

Osman I was the man who established the Ottoman Dynasty, with “Ottoman” coming from the name “Osman”. This is despite the fact that the "Ottoman Empire" came about with the conquest of Constantinople, and that didn't happen until almost 130 years after Osman I died.

46. Longtime sponsor of the Metropolitan Opera : TEXACO
Texaco gets its name from "The TEXA-s CO-mpany". Today Texaco is just a brand name owned by Chevron, but it used to be its own operation, founded as the Texas Fuel Company in 1901.
The Metropolitan Opera (the Met) of New York City is the largest classical music organization in the country, presenting about 220 performances each and every year. Founded in 1880, the Met is renowned for using technology to expand its audiences. Performances have been broadcast live on radio since 1931, and on television since 1977. And since 2006 you can go see a live performance from New York in high definition on the big screen, at a movie theater near you ...

50. Singer of "Skyfall," 2012 Oscar winner for Best Original Song : ADELE
Adele is the stage name of English singer Adele Adkins. Adele’s debut album is “19”, named after the age she was during the album’s production. Her second album was even more successful than the first. Called “21”, the second album was released three years after the first, when Adele was three years older.

I have not been a fan of Daniel Craig as James Bond (preferring Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan in the role). However, I saw “Skyfall” when it first came out and have been won over. “Skyfall” is one of the best Bond films so far, in my humble opinion …

51. Second-oldest General Mills cereal : KIX
Kix cereal has been around since 1937, would you believe? Kix used to be just puffed grains, processed to give the characteristic shape. Then the decision was made to add sugar to get better penetration into the young kid marketplace. Sad really ...

Wheaties were introduced to the world in 1924, making it the oldest cereal produced by General Mills. The idea of mixing wheat and bran together into a cereal was the result of an accidental spill of wheat bran into a stove. The product was first called Washburn’s Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flakes, and this was changed to Wheaties after an employee contest to find a better name.

54. Turntable rates, for short : RPMS
Revolutions per minutes (RPM)

55. Jessica of "Sin City" : ALBA
Actress Jessica Alba got her big break when she was cast in the Fox science fiction show “Dark Angel”. Alba had a tough life growing up as she spent a lot of time in hospital and so found it difficult to develop friendships. As a youngster she twice had a collapsed lung, frequently caught pneumonia, suffered from asthma, had a ruptured appendix and a tonsillar cyst. On top of all that she acknowledges that she suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder as a child. It seems that she has really turned her life around ...

“Sin City” is a 2005 thriller movie that is based on a series of graphic novels by Frank Miller. Miller also co-directs the film. “Sin City” has a large ensemble cast that includes Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Benicio del Toro, Clive Owen and Mickey Rourke. The author Frank Miller even plays a role himself.

57. Villa d'___ : ESTE
The Villa d'Este is a beautiful villa located in Tivoli near Rome, Italy.

59. Bush ___ (early 2000s) : ERA
George W. Bush won the 2000 US presidential election over Al Gore despite losing the popular vote. The result of the electoral college effectively came down to disputed votes cast in Florida. The US Supreme Court decided that these votes were to be awarded to Bush. President Bush wasn’t the first candidate to take the office without winning the popular vote. Three earlier presidents came to office in the same way : John Quincy Adams (1824), Rutherford B. Hayes (1876) and Benjamin Harrison (1888).

60. Genre of Macklemore and Master P : RAP
Macklemore is the stage name of rap artist Ben Haggerty from Seattle, Washington.

Master P is the stage name for rapper Percy Miller. As well as rapping, Miller knows his way around a basketball court. He had a player’s contract with two professional basketball teams, although he never actually played a regular game.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Small apartment : STUDIO
7. "And ___ makes three" : BABY
11. The "L" of U.N.L.V. : LAS
14. St. Francis' birthplace : ASSISI
15. Poker payment : ANTE
16. Even so : YET
17. Strike zone arbiter : HOME PLATE UMPIRE
20. Exam for an aspiring D.A. : LSAT
21. Luau dish : POI
22. Cubs legend Banks : ERNIE
23. George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life" : BANK MANAGER
26. N.B.A. Hall-of-Famer Dennis : RODMAN
30. Going ___ (bickering) : AT IT
31. Creme-filled cookies : OREOS
32. "___ Dark Thirty" : ZERO
34. Disaster aid org. : FEMA
38. One getting hit in Vegas : BLACKJACK PLAYER
41. Match up, as iPod and laptop files : SYNC
42. Big heads : EGOS
43. Warning : ALERT
44. "The Thin Man" terrier : ASTA
46. Spanish diacritical marks : TILDES
47. Decennial official : CENSUS TAKER
52. Bubbling, as water : ABOIL
53. Fort ___, N.J. : DIX
54. Critic's high praise : RAVE
58. They disprove claims ... or 17-, 23-, 38- and 47-Across, in a way? : COUNTEREXAMPLES
62. Lean-___ (simple shelters) : TOS
63. Asia's shrinking ___ Sea : ARAL
64. War : COMBAT
65. "I Like ___" ('50s campaign slogan) : IKE
66. Back of the neck : NAPE
67. At a reduced price : ON SALE

Down
1. Comedian Mort : SAHL
2. General ___ chicken : TSO’S
3. West Point inits. : USMA
4. Cut down on calories : DIET
5. AOL or Comcast, for short : ISP
6. Crankcase reservoir : OIL PAN
7. Tie-dye alternative : BATIK
8. Hydrocarbon suffix : -ANE
9. Air-conditioner output: Abbr. : BTU
10. Saudi neighbor : YEMENI
11. More than misleading : LYING
12. Eagle's nest : AERIE
13. Navigate : STEER
18. ___ Center (Chicago skyscraper) : AON
19. Buster Keaton specialty : PRATFALL
23. Soak up the sun : BASK
24. A, B, C, D and F : MARKS
25. Resting upon : ATOP
26. Burgles : ROBS
27. Air France destination : ORLY
28. University official : DEAN
29. Comfortable footwear : MOCCASIN
32. Restaurant guide name since 1979 : ZAGAT
33. "Foucault's Pendulum" author Umberto : ECO
35. Visually assessed : EYED
36. Trifling : MERE
37. ___ and Leisure : ARTS
39. "West Side Story" gang : JETS
40. Den : LAIR
45. Ottoman bigwig : SULTAN
46. Longtime sponsor of the Metropolitan Opera : TEXACO
47. Southwestern flora : CACTI
48. Paperless reading : EBOOK
49. "It's ___!" (defeated cry) : NO USE
50. Singer of "Skyfall," 2012 Oscar winner for Best Original Song : ADELE
51. Second-oldest General Mills cereal : KIX
54. Turntable rates, for short : RPMS
55. Jessica of "Sin City" : ALBA
56. Calves' meat : VEAL
57. Villa d'___ : ESTE
59. Bush ___ (early 2000s) : ERA
60. Genre of Macklemore and Master P : RAP
61. Tues. preceder : MON


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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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