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0524-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 24 May 14, Saturday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Peter Wentz
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 26m 47s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

15. National tree of India : BANYAN
The banyan is a fig and germinates in cracks and crevices of a host tree and then sends roots down towards the ground. The roots that head down the the host give rise to a familiar name for the banyan, namely the strangler fig. The banyan tree is the national tree of India.

18. Singer who wrote : ISAAC
Isaac Bashevis Singer was a Jewish-American author from Poland who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978. As well as being a much-respected author, Singer was a noted vegetarian, and featured the theme of vegetarianism in his some of his works. He was once asked if he had become a vegetarian for health reasons, to which he remarked “I did it for the health of the chicken”.

19. Battle of Albert setting, 1914 : SOMME
The were three battles called the Battle of Albert during WWI, all of which were named for town of Albert in the Somme department of France near where the fighting took place. The first Battle of Albert took place between 25-29 September, 1914 and was part of the “Race to the Sea” in which the opposing forces pushed northwards through France and Belgium towards the North Sea, both trying to envelop each other’s northern flank. The second Battle of Albert took place between 1-13 July 1916 and was the opening offensive in the Battle of the Somme. The third Battle of Albert was fought between 21-122 August, 1918 and was a smaller battler that marked the opening push of the Second Battle of the Somme.

21. United hub, briefly : SFO
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) serves as the main base of operations for Virgin America, and is also the maintenance hub for United Airlines. SFO was the site of a 2013 crash of an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 that resulted in three fatalities. My wife and I had flown into SFO 24 hours earlier. That tends to be sobering ...

24. Accent reduction may be a subj. in it : ESL
English as a Second Language (ESL) is sometimes referred to as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL).

25. Italian title : FRA
The title "Fra" (brother) is used by Italian monks.

26. Unwelcome closet discovery : MOTHS
The larvae of several types of moth are noted for eating fabrics made from natural fibers such as wool or cotton. Many people store woolens in cedar chests believing that the scent of the wood prevents a moth infestation. In fact, the only known effective repellent is the naphthalene found in mothballs, which might be a health concern for humans. One way to kill moth larvae in fabric is to freeze the garment for several days at a temperature below 8 degrees centigrade.

29. Their sizes are measured in cups : BRAS
The word "brassière" is of course French in origin, but it isn't the word the French use for what we know as a "bra". In France what we call a bra is known as a "soutien-gorge", translating to "held under the neck". The word "brassière" is indeed used in France but there it describes a baby's undershirt, a lifebelt or a harness. "Brassière" comes from the Old French word for an "arm protector" in a military uniform ("bras" is the French for "arm"). Later "brassière" came to mean "breastplate" and from there the word was used for a type of woman's corset. The word jumped into English around 1900.

30. 1967 album that included "I Can See for Miles" : THE WHO SELL OUT
"I Can See for Miles" is the biggest selling single for the Who in the United States, although I doubt it is the track that is heard most often. Three songs from the Who are used as theme music for the three very successful CSI television series.

The Who's hit "Who Are You" is used as the theme song for the TV show "CSI". Old hits from the Who are also used as theme songs for the CSI spin-off shows, "CSI: New York" (theme: "Baba O'Riley") and "CSI: Miami" (theme: "Won't Get Fooled Again"). The Who played all three "CSI" songs during the halftime show at the 2010 Super Bowl.

34. Fiddled : NOODLED AROUND
Apparently “to noodle around” is to fiddle around with something.

35. "A Study in the Word" host : JIMMY SWAGGART
Jimmy Swaggart is a Pentecostal pastor and televangelist. Swaggarts weekly telecasts were hugely popular during the early eighties, but he fell from favor during the late eighties and early nineties when he was implicated in two sex scandals involving prostitutes.

37. Old cinema : ODEON
Several older movie theaters in the US bear the name “Odeon Theater”.

In Ancient Greece an odeon (also odeum) was like a small theater, with "odeon" literally meaning a "building for musical competition". Odea were used in both Greece and Rome for entertainments such as musical shows and poetry readings.

38. Round stopper, for short : TKO
In boxing, a knockout (KO) is when one of the fighters can't get up from the canvas within a specified time, usually 10 seconds. This can be due to fatigue, injury, or the participant may be truly "knocked out". A referee, fighter or doctor may also decide to stop a fight without a physical knockout, especially if there is concern about a fighter's safety. In this case the bout is said to end with a technical knockout (TKO).

39. Merrie Melodies sheepdog : SAM
The Old English Sheepdog is the dog that seems to have hair everywhere. I always remember Sam Sheepdog from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons, stoically guarding his flock.

46. ___ Brum (car accessory) : SNO
The SNO BRuM is sort of like a foam-padded mop with a telescopic handle that you can use to push snow off your car without scratching the vehicle’s paintjob.

50. Recipient of much 2010s humanitarian aid : HAITI
The capital city of Haiti is Port-au-Prince. The city was hit by a devastating earthquake in January of 2010. The official government estimate of the death toll stands at 230,000 people, with many bodies never recovered.

51. Giant in test prep : KAPLAN
Kaplan Inc. was founded in 1938 by Stanley Kaplan, who started out tutoring students for the New York State Regents Exam in the basement of his parents’ home in Brooklyn. He opened up locations for tuition around the country, and in 1984 sold the company to the Washington Post. Revenue for Kaplan was over 2½ billion dollars in 2009.

57. Largest minority in Croatia : SERBS
Serbs are an ethnic group native to the Balkans in southeastern Europe. Although Serbs exist as a minority group in many countries in the region, they are the majority ethnic group in Serbia, in Montenegro and in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Republic of Croatia is a Balkan country. The Croats declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.

Down
1. Took downtown : RAN IN
A police officer might arrest a suspect, take him downtown, run him in.

2. Jägermeister ingredient : ANISE
Jägermeister is a liqueur from Germany with a list of ingredients that includes 56 herbs, fruits, roots and spices. There is an urban legend that Jägermeister contains deer or elk blood, but that’s simply not true. “Jägermeister” translates as “master of hunters”. A drink that it is apparently quite popular with the younger set is a Jägerbomb, which is made by dropping a shot glass full of Jägermeister into a glass of Red Bull energy drink.

3. Talking pet : MACAW
Macaws are beautifully colored birds of native to Central and South America, and are actually a type of parrot. Most species of macaw are now endangered, with several having become extinct in recent decades. The main threats are deforestation and illegal trapping and trafficking of exotic birds.

6. Sacred thing, to Ayn Rand : EGO
The author Ayn Rand espoused what she called “rational egoism”, her view that it is irrational and immoral to act against one’s self-interest. Rand laid out the concept in depth in her 1964 collection of essays and papers titled “The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism”.

8. Indie rocker Case : NEKO
Neko Case is an American singer-songwriter who is best known as a solo artist as well as a member of the indie rock group from Canada called the New Pornographers.

13. Down, in a diner : ON TOAST
Diner lingo, the verbal slang used by the staff, can be very colorful. Here are a few examples:
- Adam & Eve on a raft: two poached eggs on toast
- Adam & Eve on a raft & wreck 'em: two scrambled eggs on toast
- Burn one: put a hamburger on the grill
- Burn one, take it through the garden and pin a rose on it: hamburger with lettuce, tomato and onion
- Down: on toast
- Whiskey down: on rye toast

28. Certain beach phony : HODAD
“Hodad” is a slang term that dates from the fifties. It’s used to describe someone who hangs out at the beach, but someone who isn’t a surfer. Hodads were mainly into cars and music.

30. "The King's Speech" director : TOM HOOPER
Tom Hooper is a British film and television director. The impressive list of his projects includes the excellent 2003 “Prime Suspect” series starring Helen Mirren, the equally impressive HBO drama series “John Adams”, the fabulous film 2010 film “The King’s Speech” and the incredibly successful 2012 big screen adaptation of “Les Misérables”.

“The King’s Speech” is a wonderful, wonderful 2010 film about King George VI and his efforts to overcome his speech impediment. Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter all do fabulous jobs playing the lead characters. It is an independent film, so was made with a relatively low budget of $15 million, but grossed almost $400 million at box offices worldwide. It is the most successful British independent film of all time.

31. Horace man? : HOMO
“Homo” is Latin for “man”.

One of Ancient Rome's leading lyric poets was Quintus Horatius Flaccus, or "Horace" as we tend to know him.

32. Field fungus : ERGOT
Ergot is a fungus, or actually a group of fungi, that cause disease in rye and related plants. If human eat ergot-contaminated grain, a condition called ergotism can result. Ergotism is the result of consumption of alkaloids produced by the fungi, alkaloids that can cause seizures and manic behavior. It has even been suggested that the hysteria exhibited by the Salem "witches" was perhaps caused by the ingestion of ergot-contaminated rye.

35. Kawasaki products : JET SKIS
"Jet Ski" is actually a brand name, owned by Kawasaki Heavy Industries of Japan. The generic term, not often used, is "personal watercraft". Most people use the term "Jet Ski" generically, although "WaveRunner" is also popular. But that's another brand name, owned by Yamaha.

40. Dahlia in Wodehouse novels, e.g. : AUNT
P. G. Wodehouse’s Bertie Wooster, of the “Jeeves” series of novels, has two aunts that turn up quite often. Aunt Agatha is the least favorite aunt as she is quite fearsome and is always trying to get Bertie married off. Bertie refers to Aunt Agatha as the “nephew-crusher”. Agatha’s sister is Aunt Dahlia, who is much beloved by her nephew.

The English author P. G. Wodehouse is most famous for creating the characters Bertie Wooster and his valet Jeeves. The author’s full name was Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse.

42. Surrealist known for self-portraits : KAHLO
Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter, famous for her self-portraits. She was married to the equally famous artist Diego Rivera. Kahlo was portrayed by the actress Salma Hayek in a film about her colorful life called “Frida” released in 2002.

48. One who has a hunch : IGOR
Igor has been the assistant to Dracula, Frankenstein and Young Frankenstein among others. Igor is almost invariably portrayed as a hunchback.

54. Classic Bogart role, in slang : TEC
“Tec” is a slang term for a private detective, a private investigator (PI).

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Talk, talk, talk : RAMBLE ON
9. Give stories : LIE TO
14. Basis of comparison : ANALOGUE
15. National tree of India : BANYAN
16. "Good going!" : NICE WORK!
17. Words before many a commercial : UP NEXT
18. Singer who wrote : ISAAC
19. Battle of Albert setting, 1914 : SOMME
21. United hub, briefly : SFO
22. Traditional Christmas gift for a child : NEW TOY
24. Accent reduction may be a subj. in it : ESL
25. Italian title : FRA
26. Unwelcome closet discovery : MOTHS
29. Their sizes are measured in cups : BRAS
30. 1967 album that included "I Can See for Miles" : THE WHO SELL OUT
34. Fiddled : NOODLED AROUND
35. "A Study in the Word" host : JIMMY SWAGGART
36. Make a comeback? : ECHO
37. Old cinema : ODEON
38. Round stopper, for short : TKO
39. Merrie Melodies sheepdog : SAM
41. Schoolmarmish sound : TSK TSK
46. ___ Brum (car accessory) : SNO
47. Having depth : CUBIC
50. Recipient of much 2010s humanitarian aid : HAITI
51. Giant in test prep : KAPLAN
53. Succeeded : GOT AHEAD
55. "Er ... uh ..." : I MEANT ...
56. Boss : OVERLORD
57. Largest minority in Croatia : SERBS
58. "Sounds about right" : RECKON SO

Down
1. Took downtown : RAN IN
2. Jägermeister ingredient : ANISE
3. Talking pet : MACAW
4. Complain : BLEAT
5. Pie-in-the-face scenes, say : LOW COMEDY
6. Sacred thing, to Ayn Rand : EGO
7. Sharing word : OURS
8. Indie rocker Case : NEKO
9. Flap of fashion : LAPEL
10. Pub : INN
11. Command to pay attention : EYES FRONT!
12. It may include laundering : TAX FRAUD
13. Down, in a diner : ON TOAST
15. They're often seeking change : BUMS
20. Text, e.g. : MESSAGE
23. Loud complaints : YOWLS
27. Life starts in it : THE WOMB
28. Certain beach phony : HODAD
29. Obscure : BLUR
30. "The King's Speech" director : TOM HOOPER
31. Horace man? : HOMO
32. Field fungus : ERGOT
33. Subprime mortgagee, to detractors : LOAN SHARK
34. Handle : NICKNAME
35. Kawasaki products : JET SKIS
39. Doctor's orders : SCANS
40. Dahlia in Wodehouse novels, e.g. : AUNT
42. Surrealist known for self-portraits : KAHLO
43. Like many ribbons : TIE-ON
44. All-___ : STARS
45. Bud : KIDDO
48. One who has a hunch : IGOR
49. Mooring spot : COVE
52. Media ___ : LAB
54. Classic Bogart role, in slang : TEC


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2 comments :

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your quiet erudition. Many thanks.

Bill Butler said...

I appreciate the kind words. But, my wife will chuckle when I tell the word "quiet" has been linked to me :) Enjoy the long weekend.

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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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