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0505-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 5 May 14, Monday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Lynn Lempel
THEME: It’s About Nothing … today’s themed answers each have a hidden word meaning NOTHING:
17A. Instruments played at theaters during silent films : WURLITZER ORGANS (hiding “zero”)
23A. Singer with the 1963 hit "If I Had a Hammer" : TRINI LOPEZ (hiding “nil”)
36A. First president to live in the White House : JOHN ADAMS (hiding “nada”)
55A. Ha-ha producer in a sitcom : LAUGH TRACK (hiding “aught”)

61A. Why this puzzle is like "Seinfeld"? : IT’S ABOUT NOTHING
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 4m 53s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. PC connection means: Abbr. : USB
Universal Serial Bus (USB) is an industry standard dealing with how computers and electronic devices connect and communicate, and deal with electrical power through those connections.

15. Country located in what was once the Inca Empire : PERU
Peru's name comes from the word "Biru". Back in the early 1500s, Biru was a ruler living near the Bay of San Miguel in Panama. The territory over which Biru ruled was the furthest land south in the Americas known to Europeans at that time. The Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro was the first European to move south of Biru's empire and the land that he found was designated "Peru", a derivative of "Biru".

16. Stan's partner in comedy : OLLIE
Oliver Hardy was born Norvell Hardy in 1892 in Harlem, Georgia. Hardy used the stage name “Oliver” as a tribute to his father Oliver Hardy. His early performances were credited as “Oliver Norvell Hardy”, and off camera his nickname was “Babe Hardy”. Hardy appeared in several films that also featured the young British actor Stan Laurel, but it wasn’t until 1927 that they teamed up to make perhaps the most famous double act in the history of movies. The Laurel and Hardy act came to an end in 1955. That year, Laurel suffered a stroke, and then later the same year Hardy had a heart attack and stroke from which he never really recovered.

17. Instruments played at theaters during silent films : WURLITZER ORGANS (hiding “zero”)
Franz Rudolf Wurlitzer started the Wurlitzer Company in 1853 to make various musical instruments. Over time the company focused on marketing automated instruments like the “Mighty Wurlitzer” theater organ.

20. Tehran's land : IRAN
Tehran is the capital of Iran and is the largest city in the Middle East, with a population of about 8.5 million. Iran has been around an awful long time and Tehran is actually the country's 31st national capital.

21. Shrek, e.g. : OGRE
Before "Shrek" was a successful movie franchise and Broadway musical, it was a children's picture book called "Shrek!" authored and illustrated by William Steig. The title "Shrek!" came from the German/Yiddish word Schreck, meaning "fear" or "terror".

22. Clock-setting standard: Abbr. : GMT
Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is the time at the Prime Meridian, the meridian that runs through Greenwich in London.

A meridian is a line of longitude, and the Prime Meridian is that line of longitude defined as 0 degrees. The Prime Meridian is also called the Greenwich Meridian as it passes through the Royal Observatory in Greenwich in southeast London. Of course the line of longitude that is used to represent 0 degrees is an arbitrary decision. 25 nations formally decided in 1884 to use the Greenwich Meridian as 0 degrees as it was already a popular choice. That is all except the French, who abstained from the vote and used the Paris Meridian as 0 degrees on French charts for several decades.

23. Singer with the 1963 hit "If I Had a Hammer" : TRINI LOPEZ (hiding “nil”)
Trini Lopez is a noted singer and guitarist from Dallas, Texas. He is perhaps best known for his international hit "If I Had a Hammer" from 1963, as well as "Lemon Tree" from 1965.

26. Françoise, to François, maybe : AMIE
A male friend in France is "un ami", and a female friend is "une amie".

28. Guy's rental for a gala : TUX
The style of men's evening dress called a "tuxedo" was apparently first worn to a country club event in 1886 in New York. The use of a dark dinner jacket without tails became fashionable at the club with the members, and the tradition spread from there. The country club was located in Tuxedo Park, New York, giving the style of dress its name.

31. Drinker's party instruction, for short : BYOB
Bring Your Own Beer/Bottle/Booze (BYOB)

36. First president to live in the White House : JOHN ADAMS (hiding “nada”)
John Adams was the second President of the United States. I must admit that I learned much of what I know about President Adams in the excellent, excellent HBO series “John Adams”. Having said that, I also visited his home in Quincy, Massachusetts not too long ago. He was clearly a great man with a great intellect …

40. Welles of "Citizen Kane" : ORSON
"Citizen Kane" was the first film made by Orson Welles, one considered by many to be the finest film ever made. It's a remarkable achievement by Welles, as he played the lead and also produced and directed. Despite all the accolades for "Citizen Kane" over the decades, the movie was far from a commercial success in its early run and actually lost money at the box office.

51. Letters on a wanted poster : AKA
Also known as (aka)

53. Atlas page : MAP
The famous Flemish geographer Gerardus Mercator published his first collection of maps in 1578. Mercator's collection contained a frontispiece with an image of Atlas the Titan from Greek mythology holding up the world on his shoulders. That image gave us our term "atlas".

54. "Micro" and "macro" subject, for short : ECON
Economics (econ.)

55. Ha-ha producer in a sitcom : LAUGH TRACK (hiding “aught”)
An “aught” is a zero. The term can be used in the context of dates as in “the aughts”, the years 2000-2009. I’ve also heard those years referred to as “the noughties”.

59. "___ She Lovely" : ISN’T
"Isn't She Lovely" is a Stevie Wonder song that he released in 1976.

60. Shakespeare character who says "I hate the Moor" : 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 Desdemona, 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 …

The most famous Moor in literature has to be Othello, the title character in William Shakespeare's tragedy "Othello, the Moor of Venice". The word "Moor" describes various peoples of North Africa, usually of the Muslim faith. At the height of their geographic influence the Moors occupied much of the Iberian peninsula, calling it Al Andalus (from which modern Andalusia gets its name).

61. Why this puzzle is like "Seinfeld"? : IT’S ABOUT NOTHING
"Seinfeld" aired for nine seasons on NBC, and in 2002 was declared by TV Guide as the "greatest television program of all time". After the show completed its run in 1998, each of the main supporting actors made failed attempts to launch new sitcoms. This phenomenon became known as "the Seinfeld curse", but Julia Louis-Dreyfus finally managed to break free of it with a successful five-season run in "The New Adventures of Old Christine".

67. Hit on the noggin : BEAN
A slang term for a “head” might be “bean” or “noggin”.

68. Peeved state : SNIT
The exact etymology of “snit”, meaning “fit of temper”, isn’t really known. The term was first used in print in the play “Kiss the Boys Goodbye” by Clare Booth Luce, which dates back to the 1930s and is set in the American South.

69. Dresses in Delhi : SARIS
The item of clothing called a "sari" (also "saree") is a strip of cloth, as one might imagine, unusual perhaps in that is unstitched along the whole of its length. The strip of cloth can range from four to nine meters long (that's a lot of material!). The sari is usually wrapped around the waist, then draped over the shoulder leaving the midriff bare. I must say, it can be a beautiful item of clothing.

New Delhi is the capital city of India. New Delhi resides within the National Capital Territory of Delhi (otherwise known as the metropolis of Delhi). New Delhi and Delhi, therefore, are two different things.

70. Therefore : ERGO
"Ergo" is the Latin word for "hence, therefore".

Down
1. Detroit-based labor org. : UAW
The United Auto Workers (UAW) was founded to represent workers in auto plants in the Detroit area in 1935. Nowadays the UAW's membership extends into the aerospace, agriculture and other industries.

3. Hand-held Mexican food : BURRITO
A burrito is a common dish served in Mexican cuisine, It is a flour tortilla filled with all sorts of good stuff. The term “burrito” is Spanish for “little donkey”, the diminutive of “burro” meaning “donkey”. It’s thought that the name was applied as a burrito looks like a bedroll or pack that might be carried by a donkey.

5. Dispenser candy : PEZ
PEZ is an Austrian brand name for a particular candy sold in a mechanical dispenser. The name PEZ comes from the first, middle and last letters of "Pfefferminz", the German word for "peppermint".

9. "Solve for x" subj. : ALG
Algebra is a branch of mathematics in which arithmetical operations are performed on variables rather than specific numbers (x,y etc). The term “algebra” comes from the Arabic “al jebr” meaning “reunion of broken parts”.

11. Source of a metal once used for foil : TIN MINE
Before thin sheets of aluminum metal was available, thin sheets of tin were used in various application. Tin foil isn't a great choice for wrapping food though, as it imparts a tinny taste. On the other side of the pond, aluminum foil has a different name. No, it's not just the different spelling of aluminum ("aluminium"). We still call it "tin foil". You see, we live in the past ...

14. Political commentator Colmes : ALAN
Alan Colmes is a relatively liberal political commentator that does a lot of work for Fox News on television and radio. He used to square off against conservative commentator Sean Hannity on the TV show "Hannity and Colmes".

18. Monogram letter: Abbr. : INIT
Initial (Init.)

A “monogram” is a design made from two or more letters that often overlap. A common monogram is made from the initial letters in a person’s name.

19. Ricelike pasta : ORZO
Orzo is pasta that has been formed into granular shapes, much like barley. And indeed, "orzo" is the Italian word for "barley".

24. Drunkard : LUSH
"Lush" is a slang term for a heavy drinker. Back in the 1700s, “lush” was slang for “liquor”.

25. Yoked animals : OXEN
A yoke is that wooden beam used between a pair of oxen so that they are forced to work together.

26. Pennsylvania Dutch speakers : AMISH
The Amish are a group of Christian churches, a sub-group of the Mennonite churches. The Amish church originated in Switzerland and Alsace in 1693 when it was founded by Jakob Ammann. It was Ammann who gave the name to the Amish people. Many Amish people came to Pennsylvania in the 18th century.

30. 45 or 78: Abbr. : RPM
The playing speed of records varied initially from 60 to 130 rpm, with the first discs being produced as early as 1894 at 70 rpm. The speed began to standardize at 78 rpm by 1925. The first vinyl records designed to play at 33 1/3 rpm were introduced by RCA Victor in 1931, but were discontinued due to quality problems. The first Long Play (LP) 33 1/3 rpm disc was introduced by Columbia Records many years later in 1948, with RCA Victor following up with a 45 rpm "single" the following year, in 1949.

32. Tennis's Borg : BJORN
Bjorn Borg reacted very calmly under pressure on the tennis court, earning him the nicknames "Ice Man" and "Ice Borg", which is my personal favorite.

34. ___ Claire, Wis. : EAU
Eau Claire, Wisconsin is named for the Eau Claire River, which in turn was named by French explorers. The explorers had been travelling down the muddy Chippewa River and diverted into the clear water of what is now called the Eau Claire River. They exclaimed “Voici l’eau claire!” meaning “Here is clear water!” The French phrase “Voici l’eau claire” is now the city’s motto that appears on the city seal.

37. Area code lead-in : ONE
Area codes were introduced in the 1940s. Back then the “clicks” one heard when dialling a number led to mechanical wear on various pieces of equipment. In order to minimize overall mechanical wear, areas with high call volumes were given the most efficient area codes (lowest number of clicks). That led to New York getting the area code 212, Los Angeles 213 and Chicago 313.

39. Egyptian symbol of life : ANKH
The ankh was the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic character for "eternal life". The ankh wasn't just used in inscriptions but was often fashioned into amulets and as surrounds for mirrors (perhaps symbolizing a view into another world).

40. Dixie school, affectionately : OLE MISS
Ole Miss is the nickname for the University of Mississippi. The name "Ole Miss" dates back to 1897, the first year a student yearbook was published. The graduating class held a competition to name the yearbook and "Ole Miss" emerged as the winner. The name stuck to the yearbook, and also as a nickname for the school itself.

“Dixie” is a nickname sometimes used for the American South, and often specifically for the original 11 states that seceded from the Union just prior to the Civil War. It’s apparently not certain how the name “Dixie” came about. One theory is that it comes from the term “dixie” which was used for currency issued by banks in Louisiana. The 10-dollar bills had the word “dix” on the reverse side, the French for “ten”. From the banknote, the French speaking area around New Orleans came to be known as Dixieland, and from there “Dixie” came to apply to the South in general.

41. Cheese stuffed in stuffed shells : RICOTTA
Ricotta is an Italian cheese made from sheep or cow's milk. Ricotta is actually produced from the whey of the milk, the liquid left after the curds have been separated out (curds are used to make "traditional" cheese). The whey is heated again so that the remaining protein, above and beyond that in the curd already removed, precipitates out making ricotta cheese. The word "ricotta" literally means "recooked", which makes sense to me now ...

45. Lennon song with the lyric "You may say I'm a dreamer ..." : IMAGINE
John Lennon’s magnus opus is his song "Imagine", released in 1971. "Imagine" was quite successful at the time of its release, but sadly, it only became a number one hit when Lennon was murdered in 1980. According to Lennon, the message behind the song is very simple: a world without countries or religion would be a peaceful place.

46. Terse : LACONIC
Someone described as “laconic” is a person who uses few words, who is terse. The term comes from the Greek “Lakon”, some from Lakonia that surrounded Sparta in Ancient Greece. The people from Lakonia were proud of their brevity of speech.

47. Toll road: Abbr. : TPK
Back in the 15th century a “turnpike” was a defensive barrier across a road. By the 17th century the term was used for a barrier that stopped travellers until a toll was paid. By the 18th century a turnpike was the name given to a road with a toll.

50. Vienna's river : DANUBE
The Danube is the second largest river in Europe (after the Volga), and actually flows through four European capitals (Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade and Bratislava).

Vienna is the capital of Austria. Vienna has a long musical tradition and was home to Franz Schubert, Johann Strauss (I and II), Josef Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms and Gustav Mahler. As such, Vienna is sometimes called the “City of Music”. It is also called the “City of Dreams” as it was home to the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud.

59. Many early PCs : IBMS
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.

62. Onassis who married Jackie : ARI
Aristotle Onassis was born to a successful Greek shipping entrepreneur in Smyrna in modern-day Turkey. However, his family lost its fortune during WWI and so Aristotle worked with his father to build up a new business empire centered on the importation of tobacco. In 1957, Aristotle founded the Greek national airline, what is today called Olympic Air, and he also got into the business of shipping oil around the world. He married Athina Livanos in 1946, the daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate. They had two children, including the famous Christina Onassis. Livanos divorced Onassis on discovering him in bed with the opera singer Maria Callas. Onassis ended his affair with Callas in order to marry Jackie Kennedy in 1968.

64. Yoko who co-produced 45-Down : ONO
Yoko Ono is an avant-garde artist. Ono actually met her future husband John Lennon for the first time while she was preparing her conceptual art exhibit called “Hammer a Nail”. Visitors were encouraged to hammer in a nail into a wooden board, creating the artwork. Lennon wanted to hammer in the first nail, but Ono stopped him as the exhibition had not yet opened. Apparently Ono relented when Lennon paid her an imaginary five shillings to hammer an imaginary nail into the wood.

65. Old Pontiac muscle car : GTO
The acronym GTO stands for Gran Turismo Omologato, which is an Italian phrase that translates as “Grand Touring Homologated”. Italian car manufacturers started the tradition of calling their luxury performance cars “Gran Turismo”, and calling those cars they approved for racing “Gran Turismo Omologato”. The phrase “gran turismo omologato” translates as “grand touring homologated”, with “homologated” being a technical term signifying official approval.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. PC connection means: Abbr. : USB
4. Downloads for mobile devices : APPS
8. Floats through the air : WAFTS
13. Greenish blue : AQUA
15. Country located in what was once the Inca Empire : PERU
16. Stan's partner in comedy : OLLIE
17. Instruments played at theaters during silent films : WURLITZER ORGANS (hiding “zero”)
20. Tehran's land : IRAN
21. Shrek, e.g. : OGRE
22. Clock-setting standard: Abbr. : GMT
23. Singer with the 1963 hit "If I Had a Hammer" : TRINI LOPEZ (hiding “nil”)
26. Françoise, to François, maybe : AMIE
27. Quantity: Abbr. : AMT
28. Guy's rental for a gala : TUX
29. Inactive, as a volcano : DORMANT
31. Drinker's party instruction, for short : BYOB
33. Lay eyes on : SEE
35. Needle and cone producers : PINES
36. First president to live in the White House : JOHN ADAMS (hiding “nada”)
40. Welles of "Citizen Kane" : ORSON
43. Large coffee server : URN
44. Sword handle : HILT
48. Understand speech without hearing : LIPREAD
51. Letters on a wanted poster : AKA
53. Atlas page : MAP
54. "Micro" and "macro" subject, for short : ECON
55. Ha-ha producer in a sitcom : LAUGH TRACK (hiding “aught”)
58. Sun. follower : MON
59. "___ She Lovely" : ISN’T
60. Shakespeare character who says "I hate the Moor" : IAGO
61. Why this puzzle is like "Seinfeld"? : IT’S ABOUT NOTHING
66. Hurricane or blizzard : STORM
67. Hit on the noggin : BEAN
68. Peeved state : SNIT
69. Dresses in Delhi : SARIS
70. Therefore : ERGO
71. Earth-friendly prefix : ECO-

Down
1. Detroit-based labor org. : UAW
2. Having ants in one's pants : SQUIRMY
3. Hand-held Mexican food : BURRITO
4. Likely (to) : APT
5. Dispenser candy : PEZ
6. Before surgery, informally : PRE-OP
7. Increased rapidly, as troop numbers : SURGED
8. Had on : WORE
9. "Solve for x" subj. : ALG
10. Traffic signaler near highway construction : FLAGMAN
11. Source of a metal once used for foil : TIN MINE
12. Ensembles for six : SESTETS
14. Political commentator Colmes : ALAN
18. Monogram letter: Abbr. : INIT
19. Ricelike pasta : ORZO
23. File folder feature : TAB
24. Drunkard : LUSH
25. Yoked animals : OXEN
26. Pennsylvania Dutch speakers : AMISH
30. 45 or 78: Abbr. : RPM
32. Tennis's Borg : BJORN
34. ___ Claire, Wis. : EAU
37. Area code lead-in : ONE
38. Tow : DRAG
39. Egyptian symbol of life : ANKH
40. Dixie school, affectionately : OLE MISS
41. Cheese stuffed in stuffed shells : RICOTTA
42. "And now a word from our ___" : SPONSOR
45. Lennon song with the lyric "You may say I'm a dreamer ..." : IMAGINE
46. Terse : LACONIC
47. Toll road: Abbr. : TPK
49. The first "A" of 51-Across : ALSO
50. Vienna's river : DANUBE
52. Going ___ (bickering) : AT IT
56. Say : UTTER
57. Pep rally cries : RAHS
59. Many early PCs : IBMS
62. Onassis who married Jackie : ARI
63. Complain, complain, complain : NAG
64. Yoko who co-produced 45-Down : ONO
65. Old Pontiac muscle car : GTO


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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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