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0821-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 21 Aug 14, Thursday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Jules P. Markey
THEME: PO Boxes … we have a rebus puzzle today, with the letters PO turning up in some BOXES. Those PO BOXES are located at the beginning of both words in today's two-word, themed answers:
18A. First place : POLE POSITION
61A. Means of murder in some Agatha Christie novels : POISON POWDER
4D. Throwing one's weight around, in international relations : POWER POLITICS
27D. Feature of many a movie house : POPCORN POPPER

39A. Mail conveniences ... or a hint to eight squares in this puzzle : POST OFFICE BOXES
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 30m 25s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

5. Serfs, e.g. : CLASS
A serf was a member of the lowest feudal class, someone attached to land owned by a lord. "Serf" comes from the Latin "servus", meaning "slave".

15. American ___ : SAMOA
The official name for the South Pacific country formerly known as Western Samoa is the Independent State of Samoa. "Samoa" is the western part of the island group, with American Samoa lying to the southeast. The whole group of islands used to be known as Navigators Island, a name given by European explorers in recognition of the seafaring skills of the native Samoans.

16. 26-Across of a North Carolina "-ville" : ASHE
(26A. See 16-Across : EPONYM)
Samuel Ashe was the Governor of North Carolina from 1795 to 1798. North Carolina’s Ashe County and the cities of Asheboro and Asheville are named in his honor.

20. Roman road : ITER
“Iter” is the Latin for “road”.

21. Besmirched : TARRED
"Besmirch" is a derivative of "smirch", with both words meaning to "make dirty". In particular, to besmirch is to sully someone's reputation.

22. Carrier to Tokyo : ANA
All Nippon Airways (ANA) is a Japanese airline, second in size only to Japan Airlines (JAL).

23. Cozy thing? : TEAPOT
I don’t know what I’d do without my tea cosy/cozy …

25. One that's HI-strung? : LEI
"Lei" is the Hawaiian word for "garland, wreath", although in more general terms a "lei" is any series of objects strung together as an adornment for the body.

“HI” is the official post office abbreviation for the state of Hawaii.

26. See 16-Across : EPONYM
(16A. 26-Across of a North Carolina "-ville" : ASHE)
An eponym is a name for something derived from the name of a person, as in the “sandwich” named for the Earl of Sandwich.

28. Biota part : FLORA
The biota of a region is the total collection of flora and fauna found there.

32. Ayatollah Khomeini, e.g. : SHIITE
The Islamic sects of Sunni and Shia Muslims differ in the belief of who should have taken over leadership of the Muslim faithful after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. Followers of the Sunni tradition agree with the decision that the Prophet Muhammad’s confidante Abu Bakr was the right choice to become the first Caliph of the Islamic nation. Followers of the Shia tradition believe that leadership should have stayed within the Prophet Muhammad’s own family.

The Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was one of the leaders of the 1979 Iranian Revolution which overthrew the Shah of Iran. After the revolution he came to power as the country’s Supreme Leader, holding the highest ranking political and religious position. When Khomeini died in 1989, there were two funerals. The first had to be aborted after a crowd of 2 million people got out of control and encroached on the funeral procession. The Ayatollah’s wooden casket broke open and his body nearly fell to the ground as devotees tried to grasp pieces of his death shroud.

34. Super Mario Galaxy platform : WII
The Wii is the biggest-selling game console in the world.

Mario Bros. started out as an arcade game back in 1983, developed by Nintendo. The more famous of the two brothers, Mario, had already appeared in an earlier arcade game "Donkey Kong". Mario was given a brother called Luigi, and the pair have been around ever since. In the game, Mario and Luigi are Italian American plumbers from New York City.

35. Mickey Mouse pics, e.g. : CELS
In the world of animation, a cel is a transparent sheet on which objects and characters are drawn. In the first half of the 20th century the sheet was actually made of celluloid, giving the "cel" its name.

42. Cryptozoological beast : YETI
A yeti is a beast of legend, also called an abominable snowman. "Yeti" is a Tibetan term, and the beast is fabled to live in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet. Our equivalent legend in North America is that of Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch. The study of animals whose existence have not yet been substantiated is called cryptozoology.

44. Hose attachment : GARTER
The word "hose" meaning a "covering for the leg" has the same roots as the contemporary German word "hose" meaning "trousers, pants".

45. Friend of Homer on "The Simpsons" : CARL
Carl Carlson is a friend of Homer's on "The Simpsons", and one of his co-workers at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. Carl is voiced by actor Hank Azaria.

47. Intermediate, in law : MESNE
Mesne is a legal term describing perhaps an intermediate or intervening step in a process.

48. Mark Twain's belief : DEISM
Deism (from the Latin "deus" meaning god) is the belief that a supreme being created the universe, a belief based on observation and reason and without the need for faith. Further, a deist does not accept divine intervention, but rather believes that the supreme being, having created the universe, leaves the world to it own devices.

Samuel Langhorne Clemens was the real name of the author Mark Twain. Twain wasn’t the only pen name used by Clemens. Early in his career he signed some sketches as “Josh”, and signed some humorous letters that he wrote under the name “Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass”. The name of Mark Twain came from the days when Clemens was working on riverboats on the Mississippi. A riverboatman would call out “by the mark twain” when measuring the depth of water. This meant that on the sounding line, according to the “mark” on the line, the depth was two (“twain”) fathoms, and so it was safe for the riverboat to proceed.

51. John of Liverpool : LOO
When I was growing up in Ireland, a "bathroom" was a room that had a bath and no toilet. The separate room with the commode was called "the toilet" or sometimes the W.C. (the water closet). Apparently the term closet was used because in the 1800s when homeowners started installing toilets indoors they often displaced clothes and linens in a "closet", as a closet was the right size to take the commode. It has been suggested that the British term "loo" comes from Waterloo (water-closet ... water-loo), but no one seems to know for sure. Another suggestion is that the term comes from the card game of "lanterloo" in which the pot was called the loo!

The use of "john" as a slang term for a toilet is peculiar to North America. "John" probably comes from the older slang term of "jack" or "jakes" that had been around since the 16th century. In Ireland, in cruder moments, we still refer to a toilet as "the jacks".

56. Legal borders? : ELS
The “borders” of the word “legal” (the outside letters) are letters L (els).

57. Wagnerian heroine : ISOLDE
According to the legend of King Arthur, Tristan was a Knight of the Round Table from Cornwall in the south of England. Tristan was sent by his Cornish king to fetch an Irish princess called Iseult from her homeland, but Tristan and Iseult instead fall in love. Most famously, the couple’s story was retold as the opera “Tristan and Isolde” by Richard Wagner.

60. H.S. exam : PSAT
Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT)

61. Means of murder in some Agatha Christie novels : POISON POWDER
Agatha Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time, having sold about 4 billion copies worldwide in total. The only books to have sold in higher volume are the works of William Shakespeare and the Bible.

64. Cocktail order : SOUR
A whiskey sour is made from whiskey, lemon juice and sugar, usually garnished with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry.

65. Knightley of "Pirates of the Caribbean" : KEIRA
The English actress Keira Knightley had her big break in movies when she co-starred in 2002’s “Bend It Like Beckham”. Knightley played one of my favorite movie roles, Elizabeth Bennett in 2005’s “Pride and Prejudice”. Knightley won a Golden Globe for that performance, although that 2005 film isn’t the best adaptation of the Austen’s novel in my opinion.

The "Pirates of the Caribbean" series of films is of course based on the wonderful ride at the Disney theme parks. The first title in the series is "The Curse of the Black Pearl", released in 2003. The film is remarkable in many ways, including the fact that it was the first Disney movie to be given a PG-13 rating.

66. Like Olympic years : EVEN
The first Winter Olympic Games was held in 1924, in Chamonix, France. The Winter and Summer Games were held in the same year until 1992, after which they were staggered so that we have an Olympic Games every two years.

67. Seasons in Lyon : ETES
One might spend the summer (été) under the sun (le soleil) in French-speaking countries.

The city of Lyon in France, is also known as “Lyons” in English.

68. Utopian settings : EDENS
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.

Down
5. Benjamin : C-SPOT
Benjamin Franklin is featured on one side of the hundred-dollar bill, and Philadelphia's Independence Hall on the other side. There is a famous "error" in the image of Independence Hall. If you look closely at the clock face at the top of the building you can see that the "four" is written in Roman numerals as "IV" as perhaps one might expect. However, on the actual clock on Independence Hall, the "four" is denoted by "IIII".

7. "___ bag of shells" (Ralph Kramden malapropism) : A MERE
Ralph Kramden was the character played by Jackie Gleason on “The Honeymooners”. Kramden had some great lines on the show that he oft repeated to the delight of his audience. One such line was “a mere bag of shells”, a malapropism for “a mere bagatelle”, which means “a mere trifle”.

"The Rivals" is a play written by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, first performed in 1775. The character, Mrs. Malaprop, takes her name from her habit of misspeaking, to great comical effect. Malapropism is the substitution of a word for a word with a similar sound. For example, Mrs Malaprop says, "she's as headstrong as an allegory on the banks of the Nile" (substituting allegory for alligator).

8. Sleep-inducing : SOPORIFIC
“Sopor” is a Latin word that we’ve absorbed into English. “Sopor” translates as “deep sleep” or “lethargy”.

9. Return mailer, for short : SASE
A self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) might be an enclosure (enc.) sent with a letter.

19. Bean product? : IDEA
A slang term for a “head” might be “bean” or “noggin”.

24. Film pooch : TOTO
Toto is Dorothy’s dog in the film “The Wizard of Oz”. Toto was played by a dog called Terry, but Terry’s name was soon changed to Toto in real life, due to the success of the film.

31. Feudal lord : LIEGE
A liege was a feudal lord, one to whom service or allegiance was owed under feudal law. "Liege" was also the term used for one who owed allegiance or service to a lord. Very confusing ...

37. Spike in movie sales? : LEE
Shelton Jackson Lee is the real name of Spike Lee, the film director and producer. Lee's first feature-length film, released in 1986, was "She's Gotta Have It". Lee shot the film in just twelve days, and kept the movie within its relatively small budget of only $175,000. "She's Gotta Have It" grossed over $7 million ...

38. Byelorussian ___: Abbr. : SSR
The country that we now know as Belarus was called the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic in the days of the Soviet Union.

The Republic of Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, located east of Poland and north of Ukraine. Belarus didn’t exist as an entity until the Russian Revolution when it was created as one of the Soviet Socialist Republics (SSR) that made up the USSR. The Republic of Belarus was formed soon after the USSR dissolved in 1990, but unlike many of the former Soviet Republics, Belarus has retained many of the old Soviet policies. Alexander Lukashenko is the country’s president and he believes in state ownership of the economy. Belarus and Russia have formal agreements in place that pledge cooperation.

41. Stereo control : BASS
Monophonic sound ("mono") is sound reproduced using just one audio channel, which is usually played out of just one speaker. Stereophonic sound is reproduced using two audio channels, with the sound from each channel played out of two different speakers. The pair of stereo speakers are usually positioned apart from each other so that sound appears to come from between the two. Quadraphonic sound (4.0 surround sound) uses four audio channels with the sound played back through four speakers often positioned at the corners of the room in which one is listening.

46. Last name in despotism : AMIN
Idi Amin received most of his military training in the British armed forces, eventually achieving the highest rank possible for a Black African in the British Colonial Army in 1959, that of Warrant Officer. On his return to Uganda Amin joined his country's military and quickly rose to the rank of Deputy Commander of the Army. During that time he was quite the athlete. He was a noted rugby player and swimmer, and for nine years held the Ugandan national light-heavyweight boxing title. By the early seventies, Amin was commander of all the armed forces of Uganda and in 1971 seized power in a military coup, displacing the country's president Milton Obote. There followed seven years of brutal rule by Amin during which it is estimated that between 100,000 and 500,000 people were murdered. Amin was ousted from power in 1979 after a war with Tanzania, and fled to Libya where he stayed for a year. He then moved to Saudi Arabia, where he was financially supported by the Saudi Royal Family for the remainder of his life. Amin died in 2003.

A “despot” is a ruler with absolute power, often one who wields that power oppressively. “Despot” is an old French term from the 14th century, ultimately derived from the Greek “despotes” meaning “master of a household, absolute ruler”.

49. 1948 Literature Nobelist : ELIOT
The author T. S. Eliot was the son of Henry Ware Eliot and Charlotte Champe Stearns, so his full name was Thomas Stearns Eliot (TSE).

52. Almost any hit by Prince or Queen : OLDIE
The singer Prince was born in Minneapolis, and he lives there to this day. He took his name from his father, a jazz musician who used the stage name Prince Rogers.

Queen is an English rock band that was formed back in 1970. With the help of lead singer Freddie Mercury (now deceased), Queen has a long list of great hits, including “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions”. “Bohemian Rhapsody” spent a total of nine weeks at number one in the UK.

55. Prefix with botany : ETHNO-
Ethnobotany is is the study of the relationship between plants and people.

58. Umbrella part : SPOKE
Our term “umbrella” ultimately derives from the Latin “umbra” meaning “shade, shadow”.

59. Pitching stats : ERAS
Earned run average (ERA)

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Pace : TEMPO
5. Serfs, e.g. : CLASS
10. Absorbed : RAPT
14. Is ___ unto oneself : A LAW
15. American ___ : SAMOA
16. 26-Across of a North Carolina "-ville" : ASHE
17. Clump up : CAKE
18. First place : POLE POSITION
20. Roman road : ITER
21. Besmirched : TARRED
22. Carrier to Tokyo : ANA
23. Cozy thing? : TEAPOT
25. One that's HI-strung? : LEI
26. See 16-Across : EPONYM
28. Biota part : FLORA
30. To-do : FLAP
32. Ayatollah Khomeini, e.g. : SHIITE
34. Super Mario Galaxy platform : WII
35. Mickey Mouse pics, e.g. : CELS
39. Mail conveniences ... or a hint to eight squares in this puzzle : POST OFFICE BOXES
42. Cryptozoological beast : YETI
43. Many, many moons : EON
44. Hose attachment : GARTER
45. Friend of Homer on "The Simpsons" : CARL
47. Intermediate, in law : MESNE
48. Mark Twain's belief : DEISM
51. John of Liverpool : LOO
53. Freeloader : SPONGE
56. Legal borders? : ELS
57. Wagnerian heroine : ISOLDE
60. H.S. exam : PSAT
61. Means of murder in some Agatha Christie novels : POISON POWDER
63. Core : PITH
64. Cocktail order : SOUR
65. Knightley of "Pirates of the Caribbean" : KEIRA
66. Like Olympic years : EVEN
67. Seasons in Lyon : ETES
68. Utopian settings : EDENS
69. Edit menu command : REDO

Down
1. Left unsaid : TACIT
2. Send : ELATE
3. Prepare to give blood, perhaps : MAKE A FIST
4. Throwing one's weight around, in international relations : POWER POLITICS
5. Benjamin : C-SPOT
6. [I'm not listening ... I can't he-e-ear you!] : LA LA LA!
7. "___ bag of shells" (Ralph Kramden malapropism) : A MERE
8. Sleep-inducing : SOPORIFIC
9. Return mailer, for short : SASE
10. Mobster's "canary" : RAT
11. ___-American : ASIAN
12. Impostor : PHONY
13. Common break time : TEN AM
19. Bean product? : IDEA
24. Film pooch : TOTO
27. Feature of many a movie house : POPCORN POPPER
29. Direct : REFER
31. Feudal lord : LIEGE
32. Plant, maybe : SPY
33. Aid in weed control : HOE
34. ___ big : WIN
36. Large-scale : EXTENSIVE
37. Spike in movie sales? : LEE
38. Byelorussian ___: Abbr. : SSR
40. Succeeded : FOLLOWED
41. Stereo control : BASS
46. Last name in despotism : AMIN
47. Hip : MODERN
48. Testify : DEPOSE
49. 1948 Literature Nobelist : ELIOT
50. Offspring : ISSUE
52. Almost any hit by Prince or Queen : OLDIE
54. Like some retirement communities : GATED
55. Prefix with botany : ETHNO-
58. Umbrella part : SPOKE
59. Pitching stats : ERAS
62. Choice connections : ORS


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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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