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0802-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 2 Aug 14, Saturday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Kristian House
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 18m 44s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Not too wimpy : MAN ENOUGH
Our term “wimp”, describing a “timid person”, probably is an alteration of “whimper”, the sound that such an individual may make.

16. David had him killed, in the Bible : URIAH
Uriah the Hittite was a soldier mentioned in the Bible, a soldier in the army of King David. Uriah was married to Bathsheba with whom King David had an affair. David had Uriah killed and then took Bathsheba as his wife. Bathsheba and David became the parents of Solomon who succeeded David as king.

17. Dish with crab meat and Béarnaise : VEAL OSCAR
Veal Oscar is a dish made of sauteed veal smothered with crabmeat in a Béarnaise sauce, and often accompanied by asparagus. It is suggested that the dish is named for King Oscar II of Sweden who was particularly fond of the ingredients.

19. Allen in history : ETHAN
Ethan Allen was one of the founders of the state of Vermont. Allen was also a hero in the American Revolutionary War, famous for leading (along with Benedict Arnold) the small band of men that captured Fort Ticonderoga. And yes, the Ethan Allen store and furniture line is named for Ethan Allen the patriot.

20. Many an event security guard : RENT-A-COP
"Rent-a-cop" is a derogatory term for a security guard.

22. Say you'll make it, say : RSVP
RSVP stands for "répondez s'il vous plaît", which is French for "please, answer".

26. Dangerous blanket : SMOG
"Smog" is a portmanteau word formed by melding "smoke" and "fog". The term was first used to describe the air around London in the early 1900s.

32. Like a Big Brother society : ORWELLIAN
George Orwell was the pen name of Eric Arthur Blair, the famous British author of the classics "Nineteen Eighty-Four" and "Animal Farm". Orwell had trouble getting his novel “Animal Farm” published in his homeland of the UK during WWII. The book was a satire of life in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin, and anti-Soviet literature wasn't a good thing to publish while the UK and USSR were on the same side of a World War. In fact, one publisher who was willing to distribute the book changed his mind after being warned off by the British Ministry of Information. Given his experiences with “Animal Farm”, I find it interesting that Orwell should write "Nineteen Eighty-Four" a few years later, which introduced the world to the term “Big Brother”.

34. Food order from a grill : KEBAB
The name "kebab" (also “kabob”) covers a wide variety of meat dishes that originated in Persia. In the West, we usually use "kebab" when talking about shish kebab, which is meat (often lamb) served on a skewer. “Shish” comes from the Turkish word for “skewer”.

41. Zenith competitor : RCA
During WWI, the US government actively discouraged the loss of certain technologies to other countries, including allies. The developing wireless technologies were considered to be particularly important by the army and navy. The government prevented the General Electric Company from selling equipment to the British Marconi Company, and instead facilitated the purchase by GE of the American Marconi subsidiary. This purchase led to GE forming the Radio Corporation of America that we know today as RCA.

Zenith was an American manufacturer of consumer electronics, but the brand is now owned by LG Electronics of South Korea. The company was founded as Chicago Radio Labs in 1918 and initially produced amateur radio equipment. The founders were ham radio enthusiasts, and had the radio call sign “9ZN”. This radio call sign was extended to ZN’th and from there to “Zenith”, giving them a name for their new company.

44. Subject of the 2010 biography "Storyteller" : ROALD DAHL
Roald Dahl's name is Norwegian. Dahl's parents were from Norway, although Dahl himself was Welsh. Dahl became one of the most successful authors of the twentieth century. Two of his most famous titles are "James and the Giant Peach" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory".

57. Left, on un mapa : OESTE
In Spanish, one direction on a map (un mapa) is weste (oeste).

61. Mall features : ATRIA
In modern architecture an atrium (plural “atria” or “atriums”) is a large open space usually in the center of a building and extending upwards to the roof. The original atrium was an open court in the center of an Ancient Roman house. One could access most of the enclosed rooms of the house from the atrium.

62. Portmanteau bird? : TURDUCKEN
Turducken is a dish that is sometimes served at Thanksgiving. It is a deboned chicken stuffed into a deboned duck stuffed into a deboned turkey. You can also try a gooducken, which is a chicken stuffed into a duck stuffed into a goose.

65. Shakespeare character who asks "To whose hands have you sent the lunatic king?" : REGAN
In William Shakespeare’s “King Lear”, Regan is the king’s second daughter. Regan vies with her older sister for influence over her father, and for the attentions of Edmund, the illegitimate son of the Earl of Gloucester.

66. Left part of a map? : BLUE STATE
On political maps, red states are Republican and blue states Democrat. The designation of red and blue states is a very recent concept, only introduced in the 2000 presidential election by TV journalist, the late Tim Russert. In retrospect, the choice of colors is surprising, as in other democracies around the world red is usually used to describe left-leaning socialist parties (the reds under the bed!), and blue is used for conservative right-wing parties. In election cycles, swing/battleground states are often depicted in purple.

68. Smiley, e.g. : SPYMASTER
George Smiley is the protagonist in many of John Le Carré's spy novels.

John Le Carré is the pen name of David Cornwell, an English author famous for his spy novels. Cornwell worked for British Intelligence during the fifties and sixties, even as he was writing his spy thrillers. He left MI6 soon after his most famous 1963 novel "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold", became such a great success.

Down
3. Webster's first? : NOAH
Not only is Noah Webster's name inextricably linked with his series of dictionaries, but he is also renowned as an advocate for English spelling reform. He argued that "traditional" English is hard to learn, and that it should be simplified and standardized. He published spelling books that were used in schools, and from edition to edition he changed the spelling of words in order to simplify the language. Examples are the use of "s" over "c" in words like "defense" (In Ireland we have defence and defense depending on usage), "-re" became "-er" as in center instead of centre (reversing the influence of French), and he dropped one of the Ls in words like traveler (I learned "traveller"). Mind you, he also spelled "tongue" as "tung", but he didn't get very far with that one.

7. Perennial N.C.A.A. hoops powerhouse : UNC
The University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill started enrolling students way back in 1795, making it the oldest public university in the country (the first to enrol students).

11. She came to Theseus' aid : ARIADNE
In Greek mythology, Ariadne was the daughter of Minos, the King of Crete and master of the Minotaur. Minos charged his daughter with control of the labyrinth that housed the Minotaur. However, Ariadne fell in love with Theseus who had vowed to kill the Minotaur, and she helped him fulfill his mission.

13. Bayou snapper, briefly : GATOR
The exact origins of the word "bayou" is uncertain, but it is thought perhaps to come from the Choctaw (a Native American people from the southeast) word "bayuk", meaning "small stream".

14. Mall features : SHOPS
Surprisingly, our word “mall”, meaning “shady walk” or “enclosed shopping space”, comes from the Italian for “mallet”. All of our shopping-style malls are named for “The Mall” in St. James’s Park in London. This tree-lined promenade was so called as it used to a famous spot to play the croquet-like game called “pall-mall”. The game derived its name from the Italian for ball (palla) and mallet “maglio”. The London thoroughfare called the Mall still exists, at one end of which is Buckingham Palace. Indeed, parallel to the Mall is a street called Pall Mall.

21. Punch-Out!! platform, for short : NES
Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

23. Dance in triple time: Sp. : VALS
“Vals” is Spanish for “waltz”.

26. They're often fried : SOTS
Our word "sot" comes from the Old English "sott", meaning a fool. The word "sot" started to be associated with alcohol and not just foolery in the late 1500s.

27. Joanie's mom, to Fonzie : MRS C
In the great sitcom “Happy Days”, the Fonz liked to address Richie Cunningham’s mother as “Mrs. C”. In turn, Mrs. Marion Cunningham addressed the Fonz as “Arthur”.

Erin Moran is the lovely actress most famous for playing Joanie Cunningham on "Happy Days" and the resulting (short-lived) spin-off sitcom called "Joanie Loves Chachi". Long before she got her big break in "Happy Days", Moran played Jenny Jones on the children's drama "Daktari" from the late sixties.

The fabulous sitcom “Happy Days” originally ran for 11 seasons, from 1974 to 1984. That makes it the second longest-running sitcom in the history of ABC (behind “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet”). “Happy Days’ spawned several spin-off shows, two of which became very successful. Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams played two characters who later featured in “Laverne and Shirley”, and Robin Williams first played Mork from Ork on a “Happy Days” episode, which led to “Mork & Mindy”.

30. Alternative to tea leaves : TAROT
Tarot cards have been around since the mid-1400s, and for centuries were simply used for entertainment as a game. It has only been since the late 1800s that the cards have been used by fortune tellers to predict the future.

35. Act like a jackass : BRAY
A female donkey is known as a jenny, and a male is known as a jack, or sometimes a “jackass”.

40. Part of a C.S.A. signature : E LEE
Robert E. Lee is renowned as a southern officer in the Civil War. Lee was a somewhat reluctant participant in the war in that he opposed the secession of his home state of Virginia from the Union. At the beginning of the war, President Lincoln invited Lee to take command of the whole Union Army but he declined, choosing instead to stay loyal to his home state.

The Confederate States of America (CSA) set up government in 1861 just before Abraham Lincoln took office. Jefferson Davis was selected as President of the CSA at its formation and retained the post for the life of the government.

43. Perfect : UTOPIAN
The word “Utopia” was coined by Sir Thomas More for his book "Utopia" published in 1516 describing an idyllic fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. More's use of the name Utopia comes from the Greek "ou" meaning "not" and "topos" meaning "place". By calling his perfect island "Not Place", More was apparently making the point that he didn't think that the ideal could actually exist.

47. It changes when you go to a new site : URL
Internet addresses (like NYTCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) are more correctly called Uniform Resource Locators (URLs).

49. Bolt (down) : SCARF
“To scarf down” is teenage slang from the sixties meaning “to wolf down, to eat hastily”. The term is probably imitative of “to scoff”.

51. Labor Day arrival, e.g. : VIRGO
The astrological sign of Virgo is associated with the constellation of the same name. The Virgo constellation is related to maidens (virgins), purity and fertility.

Labor Day is a federal holiday observed every year on the first Monday in September. The tradition of honoring workers with a holiday started in Boston in 1878, when a day of observance was organized by the Central Labor Union, the major trade union at the time. There was a bloody dispute in 1894 between labor unions and the railroads called the Pullman Strike, which led to the death of some workers when the US Military and US Marshals were instructed to maintain order. President Grover Cleveland submitted a "Labor Day" bill to Congress which was signed into law just six days after the end of the strike. The introduction of a federal holiday to honor the worker was a move designed to promote reconciliation between management and unions after the bitter conflict.

53. "Semper Fidelis" composer : SOUSA
John Philip Sousa was a composer and conductor from Washington, D.C. Sousa was well known for his patriotic marches and earned himself the nickname “The American March King”. He served as a member of the US Marine Band from 1868 to 1875, and after leaving the Marines learned to conduct and compose. One of the Sousa compositions that is well-known around the world is called “The Liberty Bell”, a tune used as the musical theme for BBC Television’s “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”. Sousa also wrote “Semper Fidelis”, which is the official march of the US Marine Corps.

"Semper Fidelis" is the motto of the United States Marine Corps. The phrase is Latin and means "Always Faithful". The US Marine Corps isn't the only military unit using "Semper Fidelis" as a motto . It's also used by the Portuguese Marine Corps, the Republic of China Marine Corps and the Swiss Grenadiers.

55. Some parlors, for short : OTBS
Off-Track Betting (OTB) is the legal gambling that takes place on horse races outside of a race track. A betting parlor can be referred to as an OTB.

58. It uses sevens through aces : SKAT
When I was a teenager in Ireland, I had a friend with a German father. The father taught us the game of Skat, and what a great game it is. Skat originated in Germany in the 1800s and is to this day the most popular card game in the country. I haven't played it in decades, but would love to play it again ...

59. First of many body parts in "Alouette" : TETE
The French-Canadian children's song starts with, "Alouette, gentille alouette ..." "Alouette" is the French word for a bird, the "lark". The song is actually pretty gruesome, even though it was used to teach children the names of body parts. The origin of the song lies in the French colonists penchant for eating larks, which they considered to be game birds. So in the song, the singer tells the lark that he/she will pluck off one-by-one the lark's head, nose, eyes, wings and tail.

60. Cabinet dept. since 1977 : ENER
The US Department of Energy (DOE) came into being largely as a result of the 1973 oil crisis. The DOE was founded in 1977 by the Carter administration. The DOE is responsible for regulating the production of nuclear power, and it is also responsible for the nation’s nuclear weapons.

63. Chess's ___ Lopez opening : RUY
A gambit is a chess opening that intrinsically involves the sacrifice of a piece (usually a pawn) with the intent of gaining an advantage. The term "gambit" was first used by the Spanish priest Ruy Lopez de Segura who took it from the Italian expression "dare il gambetto" meaning "to put a leg forward to trip someone". Said priest gave his name to the common Ruy Lopez opening, which paradoxically is not a gambit in that there is no sacrifice.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Not too wimpy : MAN ENOUGH
10. Sensational effects : BANGS
15. Begging, perhaps : ON ONE KNEE
16. David had him killed, in the Bible : URIAH
17. Dish with crab meat and Béarnaise : VEAL OSCAR
18. Associate with : TIE TO
19. Allen in history : ETHAN
20. Many an event security guard : RENT-A-COP
22. Say you'll make it, say : RSVP
25. They wrap things up : ENDERS
26. Dangerous blanket : SMOG
29. Craftsperson : ARTISAN
32. Like a Big Brother society : ORWELLIAN
34. Food order from a grill : KEBAB
38. K'ung Fu-___ (Confucius) : TSE
39. Charge at a state park : USER FEE
41. Zenith competitor : RCA
42. Hit the dirt hard? : SCRUB
44. Subject of the 2010 biography "Storyteller" : ROALD DAHL
46. "Honest" : TRUST ME
48. Regarded : EYED
49. Knowledge: Fr. : SAVOIR
52. The very recent past: Abbr. : YEST
54. Sound reproducible with coconut shells : CLIP CLOP
57. Left, on un mapa : OESTE
61. Mall features : ATRIA
62. Portmanteau bird? : TURDUCKEN
65. Shakespeare character who asks "To whose hands have you sent the lunatic king?" : REGAN
66. Left part of a map? : BLUE STATE
67. Weather map feature : FRONT
68. Smiley, e.g. : SPYMASTER

Down
1. Shake a leg : MOVE
2. Operating without ___ : A NET
3. Webster's first? : NOAH
4. Swell : ENLARGE
5. Electric shades : NEONS
6. They're not forbidding : OKS
7. Perennial N.C.A.A. hoops powerhouse : UNC
8. Stick selection : GEAR
9. "This is yours" : HERE
10. Completely bare : BUTT NAKED
11. She came to Theseus' aid : ARIADNE
12. ___-in-law : NIECE
13. Bayou snapper, briefly : GATOR
14. Mall features : SHOPS
21. Punch-Out!! platform, for short : NES
23. Dance in triple time: Sp. : VALS
24. Snoopy sorts : PRIERS
26. They're often fried : SOTS
27. Joanie's mom, to Fonzie : MRS C
28. One in arrears : OWER
30. Alternative to tea leaves : TAROT
31. Opprobrium : INFAMY
33. It helps get the wheels turning : LUBRICANT
35. Act like a jackass : BRAY
36. Really long : ACHE
37. Completely bare : BALD
40. Part of a C.S.A. signature : E LEE
43. Perfect : UTOPIAN
45. Uncovers : DETECTS
47. It changes when you go to a new site : URL
49. Bolt (down) : SCARF
50. Let out, say : ALTER
51. Labor Day arrival, e.g. : VIRGO
53. "Semper Fidelis" composer : SOUSA
55. Some parlors, for short : OTBS
56. Trashy, in a way : PULP
58. It uses sevens through aces : SKAT
59. First of many body parts in "Alouette" : TETE
60. Cabinet dept. since 1977 : ENER
63. Chess's ___ Lopez opening : RUY
64. Frequent winner in a 66-Across: Abbr. : DEM


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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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