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0424-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 24 Apr 14, Thursday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Stanley Newman
THEME: Four Syllables … as the themed answers tell us today:
20A. The theme, part 1 : EVERY ONE OF THE
39A. The theme, part 2 : CLUES HAS EXACTLY
57A. The theme, part 3 : FOUR SYLLABLES
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 17m 48s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Weapon with knots : BOLA
Bolas are heavy balls connected by cords that constitute a throwing weapon. Bolas are often used to capture animals by tripping them as they run. The weapon is usually associated with gauchos, the South American cowboys.

5. Soprano Gluck : ALMA
Alma Gluck was the stage name of Romanian-born American soprano Reba Feinsohn. Gluck’s second marriage was to violinist Efrem Zimbalist. Gluck and Zimbalist’s son was Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. the noted actor and star of television's “77 Sunset Strip”.

9. Grass shack dances : HULAS
Hula is the name of the Polynesian dance. The chant or song that the dance illustrates, that's known as the mele.

14. It means "skyward" : EL AL
El Al Israel Airlines is the flag carrier of Israel. The term “el al” translates from Hebrew as “to the skies”.

15. Wassailer's tune : NOEL
“Noël” is the French word for the Christmas season, ultimately coming from the Latin word for "birth" (natalis). Noel has come to be used as an alternative name for a Christmas carol.

“Wassail” is ale or mulled wine used for toasting at festivals, especially Christmas. The term “wassail” comes from Old Norse “ves heill” meaning “be healthy”.

16. City near Rome : UTICA
Utica in New York is known as “Second Chance City” these days, due to the recent influx of refugees from war-torn parts of the world and from Bosnia in particular. These immigrants have helped revitalize the area and reverse a trend of population loss.

23. It may be felt : TEXTILE
The various types of textile known as felt are all made by matting, condensing and pressing fibers together.

24. Gibson or Brooks : MEL
Mel Gibson is an American actor, and not Australian as many believe. Gibson was born in Peekskill, New York and moved with his family to Sydney, Australia when he was 12 years old.

Mel Brooks' real name is Melvin Kaminsky. Brooks is one of very few entertainers (there are only ten) who has won the "Showbiz Award Grand Slam" i.e. an Oscar, Tony, Grammy and Emmy. He is in good company, as the list also includes the likes of Richard Rogers, Sir John Gielgud, Marvin Hamlisch and Audrey Hepburn.

25. Four-yr. degrees : BAS
Bachelor of Arts (BA)

32. French department : MARNE
Marne is a department in the northeast of France that is named for the river Marne that runs through it. One of the famous locales within Marne is Champagne, home to the vineyards that produce the famous sparkling wine.

38. Chekhov "Sister" : OLGA
Olga, Masha and Irina were the “Three Sisters” in the play by Anton Chekhov. The three title characters were inspired by the three Brontë sisters, the English authors.

43. "Argo" setting : IRAN
“Argo” is a 2012 movie that is based on the true story of the rescue of six diplomats hiding out during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The film was directed by and stars Ben Affleck and is produced by Grant Heslov and George Clooney, the same pair who produced the excellent “Good Night, and Good Luck”. I saw “Argo” recently and recommend it highly, although I found the scenes of religious fervor pretty frightening …

44. Tablet smasher : MOSES
According to the Bible’s Book of Exodus, the stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed were placed in a chest called the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was built according to instructions given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. The tablets that were preserved were actually copies, as Moses smashed the originals given to him by God. Moses did so in a fit of anger when when he saw his people worshiping the Golden Calf.

45. G.M. option : ONSTAR
The OnStar system started back in 1995, a joint venture between GM, EDS and Hughes. The product itself was launched in 1996. Today, OnStar is only available on GM cars, although it used to be offered on other makes of car through a licensing agreement. OnStar is a subscription service that packages vehicle security, telephone, satellite navigation and remote diagnostics.

47. Mrs. James Joyce : NORA
Nora Barnacle (what a name!) was the wife of Irish author James Joyce. Nora had her first romantic liaison with Joyce on 16 June 1904, a date that Joyce chose as the setting for his “one-day” novel “Ulysses”. June 16th is celebrated in Ireland, and indeed around the world, as Bloomsday.

50. Business honcho : CEO
“Honcho” is a slang term for a leader or manager. The term comes to us from Japanese, in which language a "hancho" is a squad (han) leader (cho).

52. Bach choral work : CANTATA
The term "sonata" comes from the Latin and Italian word "sonare" meaning "to sound". 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.

Johann Sebastian Bach raised a very large family. He had seven children with his first wife, who died suddenly. He had a further thirteen children with his second wife. Of his twenty youngsters, there were four sons who became famous musicians in their own right:
- Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (aka "the Halle Bach")
- Carl Philipp Bach (aka "the Hamburg Bach")
- Johann Christoph Bach (aka "the Buckeberg Bach")
- Johann Christian Bach (aka "the London Bach")

60. Dish inventor : PETRI
Julius Richard Petri was a German bacteriologist and was the man after whom the Petri dish is named. The petri dish can have an agar gel on the bottom which acts a nutrient source for the specimen being grown and studied, in which case the dish plus agar is referred to as an "agar plate".

67. Singer Simon : CARLY
Carly Simon is a fabulous singer-songwriter who had her break in the 1970s with a series of hit records including “You’re So Vain” and “Nobody Does It Better”. Simon was married for over ten years to fellow singer-songwriter James Taylor.

68. No gentleman : RAKE
A "rake" (short for “rakehell”) is defined as a man who is habituated to immoral conduct (isn’t it always the man??!!). The rake is a character who turns up frequently in novels and films, only interested in wine, women and song and not accepting the responsibilities of life. Good examples would be Wickham in Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" and Daniel Cleaver (the Hugh Grant part) in the movie "Bridget Jones’s Diary". "Rake" comes from the Old Norse "reikall", meaning "vagrant or a wanderer".

Down
1. Hat worn by Che : BERET
Ernesto "Che" Guevara was born in Argentina, and in 1948 he started to study medicine at the University of Buenos Aires. While at school he satisfied his need to "see the world" by taking two long journeys around South America, the story of which are told in Guevara's memoir later published as "The Motorcycle Diaries". While travelling, Guevara was moved by the plight of the people he saw and their working conditions and what he viewed as capitalistic exploitation. In Mexico City he met brothers Raul and Fidel Castro and was persuaded to join their cause, the overthrow of the US-backed government in Cuba. He rose to second-in-command among the Cuban insurgents, and when Castro came to power Guevara was influential in repelling the Bay of Pigs Invasion and bringing Soviet nuclear missiles to the island. Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to continue his work as a revolutionary. He was captured by Bolivian forces in 1967, and was executed. Fidel Castro led the public mourning of Guevara's death, and soon the revolutionary was an icon for many left-wing movements around the world.

2. Shade like khaki : OLIVE
“Khaki” is an Urdu word, translating literally as “dusty”. The word was adopted for its current use as the name of a fabric by the British cavalry in India in the mid-1800s.

3. Scratch-card layer : LATEX
A scratchcard is a ticket which has an area on its surface covered with an opaque substance that can be scratched off to reveal information. The opaque substance is usually latex.

Latex is a naturally occurring polymer made by some plants, that can also be made synthetically. About one in ten of the flowering plants in the world make the milky fluid called latex. It serves as a defense against insects and is exuded when a plant is injured or attacked by insects. Latex is collected commercially and is the source of natural rubber, which can be used to make things such as gloves, condoms and balloons.

5. Luanda's land : ANGOLA
Angola is a country in south-central Africa, on the west coast. Angola is the fourth largest diamond exporter in Africa, after Botswana, the Congo and South Africa. Such a valuable export hasn't really helped the living standard of the country's citizens as life expectancy and infant mortality rates are among the poorest on the continent.

Luanda is the capital city of Angola. Luanda is a large seaport that was founded by the Portuguese in 1576. For centuries, Luanda served as the main center of the slave trade from Africa to the Portuguese colony of Brazil.

8. Best-selling Mitch : ALBOM
Mitch Albom is an author and journalist, most famous for his 1997 book “Tuesdays with Morrie”.

"Tuesday's with Morrie" is a novel by Mitch Albom, first published in 1997. The story is a work of non-fiction, telling the tale of sociologist Morrie Schwartz and his students, one of whom is the author Mitch Albom. Albom has frequent visits with his old professor when he discovers that Morrie is dying from ALS.

9. Disco line dance : HUSTLE
Discotheques first appeared during WWII in Occupied France. American-style music (like jazz and jitterbug dances) was banned by the Nazis, so French natives met in underground clubs that they called discotheques where records were often played on just a single turntable. After the war, these clubs came out into the open. One famous Paris discotheque was called "Whiskey a Gogo". In that Paris disco, non-stop music was played using two turntables next to a dance-floor, and this concept spread around the world.

10. 45th state : UTAH
When Mormon pioneers were settling what is today the state of Utah, they referred to the area as Deseret, a word that means “beehive” according to the Book of Mormon. Today Utah is known as the Beehive State and there is a beehive symbol on the Utah state flag.

13. Finnair rival : SAS
SAS was formerly known as Scandinavian Airlines System and is the flag carrier of three countries: Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Finnair is the national airline of Finland, an airline in which the Finnish government holds a majority share. Finnair has been flying since 1923 and has had no fatal accidents since 1963, making it one of the world’s oldest and safest airlines.

22. Golf cup sponsor : FEDEX
FedEx began operations in 1973 as Federal Express, but now operates very successfully under it's more catchy abbreviated name. Headquartered in Memphis with its "SuperHub" at Memphis International Airport, FedEx is the world's largest airline in terms of tons of freight flown. And due to the presence of FedEx, Memphis Airport has the largest-volume cargo operation of any airport worldwide.

29. "Lazy" lady : SUSAN
A Lazy Susan is a circular tray at the center of a dining table that can be rotated by those partaking in the meal. The term “Lazy Susan” was introduced in the early 1900s, first appearing in an article in the magazine “Good Housekeeping”. Before this designation, the device had been called a “dumbwaiter”, a term we now use for a small elevator used for transporting food from a kitchen to a dining room.

31. Conan nickname : COCO
I guess Coco is a nickname for Conan O’Brien …

Before Conan O'Brien came to fame as a late night talk show host he was a writer. He wrote for both "Saturday Night Live" and "The Simpsons".

32. Colleague of Kirk : MCCOY
The actor DeForest Kelley is best known for playing Bones McCoy in the original “Star Trek” cast. The show's creator, 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.

According to the storyline in "Star Trek", Captain James Tiberius Kirk was born in Riverside, Iowa. The town of Riverside displays a plaque, noting Riverside as the "future birthplace of James T. Kirk."

40. LinkedIn client : HIRER
LinkIn is a website used by professionals wishing to network with other professionals. From what I’ve heard, LinkedIn is mainly used by folks looking for a job, and other folks looking for suitable candidates to hire.

41. "Spillsaver" brand : AMANA
The Amana Corporation takes its name from the location of its original headquarters, in Middle Amana, Iowa.

46. Mental sharpness : ACUITY
“Acuity” is an acuteness of perception, a mental sharpness. The term comes into English via French from the Latin “acuere” meaning “to sharpen”.

48. Public-road race : RALLYE
A roadrace can be called a “rally”. The French term “rallye” can also be used in English.

51. Trash can dweller : OSCAR
Oscar the Grouch is the Muppet that lives in a garbage can. Oscar's persona comes from various sources. He is named after Oscar Brand who was one of the board members of the Children's Television Workshop, the backers for Sesame Street as the Muppets were being developed in the sixties. Oscar's personality was inspired by an angry waiter that once served Jim Henson (father of the Muppets). And the voice was modeled on a grumpy New York cab driver encountered one day by Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer who brings Oscar to life.

59. Class at a Y : YOGA
The YMCA is a worldwide movement that has its roots in London, England. There, in 1844, the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) was founded with the intent of promoting Christian principles through the development of "a healthy spirit, mind and body". The founder, George Williams, saw the need to create YMCA facilities for young men who were flocking to the cities as the Industrial Revolution flourished. He saw that these men were frequenting taverns and brothels, and wanted to offer a more wholesome alternative.

60. "12" preceder : PAC
Pac-12 is an abbreviation for the Pacific-12 Conference, a college athletic conference in the western US. The Pac-12 has won more NCAA National Team Championships than any other conference. The Pac-12 was founded in 1915 as the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC). Over time as it grew, the conference went by the names Big Five, Big Six, Pacific-8, Pacific-10 and became the Pacific-12 in 2011.

61. Docking info : ETA
Expected time of arrival (ETA)

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Weapon with knots : BOLA
5. Soprano Gluck : ALMA
9. Grass shack dances : HULAS
14. It means "skyward" : EL AL
15. Wassailer's tune : NOEL
16. City near Rome : UTICA
17. Religious act : RITE
18. Distinctive dress : GARB
19. What walls might hide : SAFES
20. The theme, part 1 : EVERY ONE OF THE
23. It may be felt : TEXTILE
24. Gibson or Brooks : MEL
25. Four-yr. degrees : BAS
28. Ends up even : PARS
30. Not too awful : DECENT
32. French department : MARNE
36. Overclever : CUTE
38. Chekhov "Sister" : OLGA
39. The theme, part 2 : CLUES HAS EXACTLY
42. Negative points : CONS
43. "Argo" setting : IRAN
44. Tablet smasher : MOSES
45. G.M. option : ONSTAR
47. Mrs. James Joyce : NORA
49. House call, often : YEA
50. Business honcho : CEO
52. Bach choral work : CANTATA
57. The theme, part 3 : FOUR SYLLABLES
60. Dish inventor : PETRI
62. "That's fine with me!" : COOL!
63. It's a long time : AGES
64. Bothered a lot : ATE AT
65. Bureau, for short : AGCY
66. Track assignment : LANE
67. Singer Simon : CARLY
68. No gentleman : RAKE
69. A reduced state : LESS

Down
1. Hat worn by Che : BERET
2. Shade like khaki : OLIVE
3. Scratch-card layer : LATEX
4. On the lookout : ALERT
5. Luanda's land : ANGOLA
6. Wheels for a while : LOANER CAR
7. Pure and simple : MERE
8. Best-selling Mitch : ALBOM
9. Disco line dance : HUSTLE
10. 45th state : UTAH
11. Flotation gear : LIFE BELTS
12. Virtuoso : ACE
13. Finnair rival : SAS
21. "Oh my goodness!" : YIPES!
22. Golf cup sponsor : FEDEX
26. Hidden motive : ANGLE
27. Hotel visits : STAYS
29. "Lazy" lady : SUSAN
31. Conan nickname : COCO
32. Colleague of Kirk : MCCOY
33. Using no help : ALONE
34. Attempts to catch : RUNS AFTER
35. Hive, in effect : NEST
37. Break time, perhaps : TEN O'CLOCK
40. LinkedIn client : HIRER
41. "Spillsaver" brand : AMANA
46. Mental sharpness : ACUITY
48. Public-road race : RALLYE
51. Trash can dweller : OSCAR
53. What takes a stand? : T-BALL
54. Food for tadpoles : ALGAE
55. Some freezing temps : TEENS
56. Surefooted beasts : ASSES
58. Demanding test : ORAL
59. Class at a Y : YOGA
60. "12" preceder : PAC
61. Docking info : ETA


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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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