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0820-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 20 Aug 14, Wednesday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Zhouqin Burnikel
THEME: Free Letters to Start … each of today’s themed answers starts with a single letter, and those letters (R, S, T, L, N, E) are given "FREELY" in the last round of the “Wheel of Fortune” TV game show:
17A. *Fare for those 17 and up : R-RATED MOVIE
22A. *Astronomical red giant : S STAR
28A. *"Invest With Confidence" firm : T ROWE PRICE
48A. *Best-selling novelist who wrote the children's poetry volume "Father Goose" : L FRANK BAUM
54A. *"It's Gonna Be Me" group : N SYNC
60A. *The Boss's backup musicians : E STREET BAND

55D. Like the initial letters of the answers to the six starred clues, on "Wheel of Fortune" : FREE
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 13m 21s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Start to grunt? : HARD G
The first letter in the word “grunt” is a hard G.

11. Tabloid paper, slangily : RAG
"Tabloid" is the trademarked name (owned by Burroughs, Wellcome and Co,) for a "small tablet of medicine", a name that goes back to 1884. The word "tabloid" had entered into general use to mean a compressed form of anything, and by the early 1900s was used in "tabloid journalism", applied to newspapers that had short, condensed articles and stories printed on smaller sheets of paper.

15. Plain People : 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.

16. Subj. for U.S. citizens-to-be : 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).

17. *Fare for those 17 and up : R-RATED MOVIE
The Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) film-rating system (R, PG-17, G etc.) is purely voluntary and is not backed by any law. Movie theaters agree to abide by the rules that come with the MPAA ratings in exchange for access to new movies.

19. Lunes or martes : DIA
In Spanish, an example of a day (dia) would be Monday (lunes) or Tuesday (martes).

20. Google Earth offering : MAP
Google Earth is a program that maps the Earth by superimposing satellite images and aerial photographs. Google acquired the technology when it purchased Keyhole, Inc in 2004. Keyhole had been partially funded by the CIA.

22. *Astronomical red giant : S STAR
Red giants are very large stars with a relatively low mass. The atmosphere of a red giant is also very inflated and extends a long way into space so the surface of that atmosphere that we see is relatively cool, which gives it a red color. Stars are classified by their spectral characteristics, basically the color of the light they emit. As such, red giants are classified as M stars. Cool red giants are of a color beyond the usual range, and are classified as S stars.

Stars are usually classified based on the color of the light that they emit. These classifications are, from hottest to coolest, O, B, A, F, G, K and M. One way to remember the order of these letters is to use the mnemonic “Oh, be a fine girl, kiss me”. The colors of these stars range from blue (class O) to red (class M). Our sun is class G, a yellow star, but I think we all know that …

28. *"Invest With Confidence" firm : T ROWE PRICE
T. Rowe Price is an investment company based in Baltimore that was founded in 1937 by Thomas Rowe Price, Jr.

35. Schumer of Comedy Central : AMY
Amy Schumer is a stand-up comedian, and an alumna of the reality TV show “Last Comic Standing”, in which she placed fourth. Schumer now has her own comedy series “Inside Amy Schumer”, which airs on Comedy Central. Amy is a first cousin once removed of Chuck Schumer, the senior US Senator from New York.

39. G.M.'s Mary Barra, beginning in 2014 : CEO
Mary Barra is the chief executive officer of General Motors (GM). Barra is the first woman to hold the top position in a global automotive manufacturing company. She truly served her apprenticeship with GM, having joined the company in 1980 as a co-op student. She was promoted to her first VP position in 2008, and took over the top spot early in 2014.

42. Land on the eastern Mediterranean : SYRIA
The modern state that we know as Syria was established after WWI as a French mandate. Syria was granted independence from France in 1946.

43. Imam's Almighty : ALLAH
An imam is a Muslim leader, often the person in charge of a mosque or perhaps a Muslim community.

48. *Best-selling novelist who wrote the children's poetry volume "Father Goose" : L FRANK BAUM
L. Frank Baum (the “L” is for Lyman) was of course famous for writing “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. Writing early in the 20th century, Baum actually described in his books things that had yet to be invented, like television, laptop computers and wireless telephones.

53. Windblown soil : LOESS
Loess is a wind-blown accumulation of silt. "Loess" is German in origin and was first used to describe silt along the Rhine Valley.

54. *"It's Gonna Be Me" group : ‘N SYNC
'N Sync was a boy band from Orlando, Florida that was formed in 1995. The name of the group came from a comment by the mother of band member Justin Timberlake, who said the boys voices sounded "in sync". But, it's also true that the letters of the name 'N Sync are the last letters of the given names of the five band members:
- Justin Timberlake
- Chris Kirkpatrick
- Joey Fatone
- Lance "Lansten" Bass
- JC Chasez

56. Autograph seeker's encl. : SAE
A stamped addressed envelope (SAE) might be included with a manuscript (MS) submitted to an editor (ed.).

60. *The Boss's backup musicians : E STREET BAND
The E Street Band is the backing group for Bruce Springsteen. The band came together in 1972 but didn't take a formal name until two years later. The keyboard player in the original line up was David Sancious, and his mother allowed the group to rehearse at her home. That home was on E Street in Belmar, New Jersey, and that's where the band got their name.

Bruce Springsteen is a rock singer and songwriter, famously from New Jersey. A lot of Springsteen’s works are centered on his home state and the American heartland. His most famous album is “Born in the USA”, which was released in 1984. Springsteen lives in New Jersey, with his wife Patti Scialfa and their children. Back in the late sixties, he picked up the nickname “the Boss”, as he always gave himself the task of picking up the nightly pay from a club and distributing it to the band’s members. However, Springsteen is none too fond of “bosses”, so he isn’t overjoyed with the nickname.

64. ___ Offensive of 1968 : TET
The Tet Offensive was a military campaign launched by the Viet Cong against the South Vietnamese and American military in 1968.

The Viet Cong was the name of the political and military organization based in South Vietnam that fought the US and South Vietnamese government during the Vietnam War. The American military referred to the Viet Cong as “the VC”. “VC” could be extended to “Victor Charlie” in the phonetic alphabet, and this was shortened to “Charlie”, which became a military slang term for the Viet Cong and other Communists.

65. "Julius," e.g., in Gaius Julius Caesar : NOMEN
In an Ancient Roman naming convention, the higher-class male citizens were had three names. First came the “praenomen”, which was the given name. Second was the “nomen”, the person’s clan or “gens”. Lastly came the “cognomen”, the family line with the clan.

The most famous Roman with the Gaius Julius Caesar was the dictator usually referred to as Julius Caesar. It was Julius Caesar’s actions and assassination which ushered in the end of the Roman Republic and the birth of the Roman Empire. The name Gaius Julius Caesar was also used by the dictator’s father, and indeed his grandfather.

66. Like the number 8, to the Chinese : LUCKY
The number 8 is considered to be lucky in Chinese culture. This is because the Chinese for “eight” sounds very similar to the Chinese for “wealth”.

67. Masthead listings, for short : EDS
The masthead is a list often found on the editorial page of a newspaper that gives the members of a newspaper's editorial board.

Down
2. Start of a magic incantation : ABRA
The incantation "abracadabra" has a long history. It was used as far back as the 2nd century AD in Ancient Rome when the word was prescribed by a physician to be worn on an amulet to help his emperor recover from disease. "Abracadabra" is Aramaic, and roughly translates as "I will create as I speak".

3. Liszt piece : RHAPSODY
Franz Liszt was a Hungarian composer and a fabulous pianist. Particularly towards the end of his life, Liszt gained a tremendous reputation as a teacher. While he was in his sixties, his teaching jobs caused him to commute regularly between the cities of Rome, Weimar and Budapest. It is quite remarkable that a man of such advanced age, and in the 1870s, could do so much annual travel. It is estimated that Liszt journeyed at least 4,000 miles every year!

4. Umlaut half : DOT
An “umlaut” (also “diaeresis”) is a diacritical mark consisting of two horizontal dots placed over a letter, usually a vowel. Here in the West, we are perhaps most familiar with umlauts in German, as in “Schön”.

6. Hedy of "Ecstasy" : LAMARR
Hedy Lamarr was an American actress, originally from Vienna in modern-day Austria. Not only was Lamarr a successful Hollywood performer, during WWII she was the co-inventor of the frequency-hopping spread-spectrum method of transmitting radio signals that is still used to this day in wireless communication. Impressive ...

“Ecstasy” is a 1933 film from Czechoslovakia that stars Hedy Kiesler (later to changer her name to Hedy Lamarr). “Ecstasy” is famous as the first mainstream movie to portray sexual intercourse. Only the actors faces were visible during the “act”, although there were plenty of nude scenes featuring Ms. Kiesler elsewhere in the film.

8. Tyler of "Stealing Beauty" : LIV
Actress and model Liv Tyler is the daughter of Steven Tyler, lead singer with Aerosmith, and Bebe Buell, a celebrated model and singer.

“Stealing Beauty" is a 1996 film set in Tuscany, Italy starring Liv Tyler in her first leading role. I haven’t seen this one, but will do so if I can. The cast is impressive, and includes Jeremy Irons and Sinéad Cusack (who are married in real life), as well as Rachel Weisz.

10. Game in which pieces can be forked : CHESS
In the game of chess, a “fork” is a tactic in which a piece attacks two or more opposing pieces at the same time.

12. Cheese that's often grated : ASIAGO
Asiago is a crumbly cheese, named after the region in northeastern Italy from where it originates.

23. Fr. holy women : STES
“Sainte” (ste.) is French for “saint”, when referring to a female.

26. Rose Bowl stadium sch. : UCLA
The Rose Bowl is the stadium in Pasadena, California that is home to the UCLA football team and host to Rose Bowl football game held annually on New Year’s Day.

The oldest of all the bowl games is the Rose Bowl and so has the nickname “The Granddaddy of the Them All”. The first Rose Bowl game was played in 1902.

27. Wasabi ___ (bar snack) : PEAS
Wasabi peas are peas that have been fried and then coated with wasabi powder mixed with sugar, salt and oil. They are a crunchy snack, and a favorite of mine.

Sometimes called Japanese horseradish, wasabi is a root used as a condiment in Japanese cooking. The taste of wasabi is more like mustard than a hot pepper in that the vapors that create the “hotness” stimulate the nasal passages rather than the tongue. Personally, I love the stuff …

28. Org. with a no-shoes policy? : TSA
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was of course created in 2001, soon after the 9/11 attacks.

37. First name in mysteries : ERLE
I must have read all of the Perry Mason books when I was in college. I think they kept me sane when I was facing the pressure of exams. Author Erle Stanley Gardner was himself a lawyer, although he didn't get into the profession the easy way. Gardner went to law school, but got himself suspended after a month. So, he became a self-taught attorney and opened his own law office in Merced, California. Understandably, he gave up the law once his novels became successful.

40. Mer contents : EAU
“Eau” is the French word for “water”; “Mer” is the French word for “sea”.

41. Resistor unit : OHM
The unit of electrical resistance is the ohm (with the symbol omega) named after German physicist Georg Simon Ohm. Ohm was the guy who established experimentally that the amount of current flowing through a circuit is directly proportional to the voltage applied, (V=IR) a relationship that every school kid knows as Ohm's Law.

42. Name that's Old Norse for "young man" : SVEN
Sven is a Scandinavian name. “Sven” is derived from the Old Norse word for “young man” or “young warrior”.

44. Abbr. in a birth announcement : LBS
The unit of mass that we know today as a “pound” is descended from the old Roman unit of weight known as a “libra”. That “libra” connection is why we abbreviate pound to “lb”. The name “pound” though comes from the Latin “pondo” meaning “weight”.

46. Snacked : NOSHED
Our word "nosh" has been around since the late fifties, when it was imported from the Yiddish word "nashn" meaning "to nibble".

47. No-tell motel meetings : TRYSTS
In the most general sense of the word, a “tryst” is a meeting at an agreed time and place. More usually we consider a tryst to be a prearranged meeting between lovers. The term comes from the Old French “triste”, a waiting place designated when hunting.

49. Many Astounding Stories cover subjects : ALIENS
The science fiction magazine called “Astounding Stories” was first published in 1930. It has been renamed a few times but is still around today, issued under the title “Analog Science Fiction and Fact”.

55. Like the initial letters of the answers to the six starred clues, on "Wheel of Fortune" : FREE
On the game show "Wheel of Fortune", players are given the letters R, S, T, L, N, E when guessing the hidden word or phrase. The contestant then selects four more letters before trying to come up with the answer.

57. "My Way" lyricist : ANKA
The song “My Way” has lyrics that were written by Paul Anka in 1969, but the tune itself was composed two years earlier by Claude François and Jacques Revaux. The song had been released with completely different lyrics in France as “Comme d’habitude” (“As Usual”). When Anka heard the song on television in Paris he sought out and obtained the rights to use it himself, for free. Supposedly, “Comme d’habitude” has been recorded in more languages, by more artists, than any other song in the contemporary repertoire.

58. Brand known as Dreyer's in the West : EDY’S
Dreyers' ice cream sells its products under the name Dreyers in the Western United States, and Edy's in the Eastern states. The company's founders were William Dryer and Joseph Edy.

61. "Hel-l-l-lp!" : SOS
The combination of three dots - three dashes - three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots - pause - three dashes - pause - three dots), although in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so SOS is in effect only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases "Save Our Souls" and "Save Our Ship" are also mnemonics, introduced after the "SOS" signal was adopted.

62. Things Coke and Pepsi have: Abbr. : TMS
Trademarks (TMs)

63. Work tables? : BUS
A busboy is a person who assists a waiter, mainly by clearing tables. The verb “to bus” arose in the early 1900s and is probably a reference to the wheeled cart that was used to carry dishes.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Start to grunt? : HARD G
6. Air freshener scent : LILAC
11. Tabloid paper, slangily : RAG
14. Shudder at : ABHOR
15. Plain People : AMISH
16. Subj. for U.S. citizens-to-be : ESL
17. *Fare for those 17 and up : R-RATED MOVIE
19. Lunes or martes : DIA
20. Google Earth offering : MAP
21. Watered down : WEAK
22. *Astronomical red giant : S STAR
24. Runoff conduit : SEWER
26. Steal the show from : UPSTAGE
28. *"Invest With Confidence" firm : T ROWE PRICE
31. Swelled heads : EGOS
32. Top of a platter : SIDE-A
33. Black keys, in some key signatures : FLATS
35. Schumer of Comedy Central : AMY
36. Publicist's handout : RELEASE
39. G.M.'s Mary Barra, beginning in 2014 : CEO
42. Land on the eastern Mediterranean : SYRIA
43. Imam's Almighty : ALLAH
45. "As seen ___" : ON TV
48. *Best-selling novelist who wrote the children's poetry volume "Father Goose" : L FRANK BAUM
51. Anticipate : FORESEE
53. Windblown soil : LOESS
54. *"It's Gonna Be Me" group : ‘N SYNC
55. Symbol of authority : FIST
56. Autograph seeker's encl. : SAE
59. Cries of surprise : OHS
60. *The Boss's backup musicians : E STREET BAND
64. ___ Offensive of 1968 : TET
65. "Julius," e.g., in Gaius Julius Caesar : NOMEN
66. Like the number 8, to the Chinese : LUCKY
67. Masthead listings, for short : EDS
68. Road signs may warn of them : ESSES
69. Spaniard's "these" : ESTAS

Down
1. "What's the ___ in that?" : HARM
2. Start of a magic incantation : ABRA
3. Liszt piece : RHAPSODY
4. Umlaut half : DOT
5. Tired : GREW WEARY
6. Hedy of "Ecstasy" : LAMARR
7. "Don't worry about me" : I’M OK
8. Tyler of "Stealing Beauty" : LIV
9. "Just ___ expected" : AS I
10. Game in which pieces can be forked : CHESS
11. Sale item attachment : RED TAG
12. Cheese that's often grated : ASIAGO
13. Gives the evil eye : GLARES
18. Almost to the outfield wall : DEEP
23. Fr. holy women : STES
25. Wearer of a natural wool coat : EWE
26. Rose Bowl stadium sch. : UCLA
27. Wasabi ___ (bar snack) : PEAS
28. Org. with a no-shoes policy? : TSA
29. Wheel part : RIM
30. "Sadly ..." : I FEAR ...
34. Whistler in the kitchen : TEAKETTLE
37. First name in mysteries : ERLE
38. Subject of a search on Mars : LIFE
39. One to admire : CLASS ACT
40. Mer contents : EAU
41. Resistor unit : OHM
42. Name that's Old Norse for "young man" : SVEN
44. Abbr. in a birth announcement : LBS
45. Worth mentioning : OF NOTE
46. Snacked : NOSHED
47. No-tell motel meetings : TRYSTS
49. Many Astounding Stories cover subjects : ALIENS
50. Aroma : NOSE
52. Hot spot : SCENE
55. Like the initial letters of the answers to the six starred clues, on "Wheel of Fortune" : FREE
57. "My Way" lyricist : ANKA
58. Brand known as Dreyer's in the West : EDY’S
61. "Hel-l-l-lp!" : SOS
62. Things Coke and Pepsi have: Abbr. : TMS
63. Work tables? : BUS


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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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