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0917-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 17 Sep 14, Wednesday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Zhouqin Burnikel & Don Gagliardo
THEME: Bees on Flowers … in today’s grid, the circled letters spell out the names of flowers. We also have BEES hovering in the line above those flowers:
14A. Complaint BEEF (hiding “BEE”)
17A. Drink made with Jameson, maybe IRISH COFFEE (hiding “IRIS”)

22A. Geoffrey of fashion BEENE (hiding “BEE”)
26A. Genie's reply YES, MASTER (hiding “ASTER”)

46A. Circus clown car, often BEETLE (hiding “BEE”)
50A. Literary hybrid PROSE POEM (hiding “ROSE”)

62A. Job done by the insects seen above the circled words in 17-, 26- and 50-Across POLLINATION
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 9m 29s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Hatcher who was a Bond girl TERI
Teri Hatcher's most famous role these days is the Susan Mayer character in "Desperate Housewives". I've never seen more than a few minutes of "Housewives" but I do know Teri Hatcher as a Bond girl, as she appeared in "Tomorrow Never Dies".

11. Letters at Indy STP
STP is a brand name for automotive lubricants and additives. The name STP comes from “Scientifically Treated Petroleum”.

14. Complaint BEEF
A “beef” is a complaint or a grievance. It’s not quite clear how “beef” came to have this meaning, but one suggestion is that derives from the habit of soldiers at the end of the 1800s complaining about the quality or availability of beef in their rations.

17. Drink made with Jameson, maybe IRISH COFFEE
Shannon Airport in the West of Ireland was the first place in the world to offer duty-free shopping. Shannon was also where the Irish Coffee originated, despite claims to the contrary …

Jameson is a brand of Irish whiskey from Dublin, and is the best selling Irish whiskey in the world. It’s not my favorite though, that honor going to Bushmills (from Northern Ireland).

19. "The Lord of the Rings" creature ENT
Ents are those tree-like creatures that live in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth in his series of books "The Lord of the Rings". “Ent” is an Old English word for “giant”.

21. Eric, in Finland EERO
The Nordic country Finland is the most sparsely populated nation in the European Union. The relatively modest population of 5.5 million people live in the eighth largest country in the continent.

22. Geoffrey of fashion BEENE
Geoffrey Beene was an American fashion designer. He had an impressive list of clients that included First Ladies Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon and Nancy Reagan.

26. Genie's reply YES, MASTER
The "genie" in the bottle takes his or her name from "djinn". "Djinns" were various spirits considered lesser than angels, with people exhibiting unsavory characteristics said to be possessed by djinn. When the book "The Thousand and One Nights" was translated into French, the word "djinn" was transformed into the existing word "génie", because of the similarity in sound and the related spiritual meaning. This "génie" from the Arabian tale became confused with the Latin-derived "genius", a guardian spirit thought to be assigned to each person at birth. Purely as a result of that mistranslation the word genie has come to mean the "djinn" that pops out of the bottle. A little hard to follow, I know, but still quite interesting …

29. Original "Veronica Mars" airer UPN
“Veronica Mars" is a TV show starring Kristen Bell in the title role. Mars is a student who also works as a private investigator.

31. Spartan serfs HELOTS
The helots were a population of poorly-treated slaves who served the citizens of Sparta.

Sparta was a city-state in ancient Greece, famous for her military might. Spartan children had a tough upbringing, and newborn babies were bathed in wine to see if the child was strong enough to survive. Every child was presented to a council of elders that decided if the baby was suitable for rearing. Those children deemed too puny were executed by tossing them into a chasm. We’ve been using the term “spartan” to describe something self-disciplined or austere since the 1600s.

32. "Behold," to Brutus ECCE
The most famous man with the name “Brutus” in Ancient Rome was Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger. It was this Brutus that Julius Caesar turned to when he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate. William Shakespeare immortalized Brutus by featuring him in his play, “Julius Caesar”, and giving his victim the line “Et tu, Brute?”

40. Landlocked land LAOS
The official name for the country of Laos is the Lao People's Democratic Republic. In the Lao language, the country's name is "Meuang Lao". The French ruled Laos as part of French Indochina, having united three separate Lao kingdoms. As there was a plural of "Lao" entities united into one, the French added the "S" and so today we tend to use "Laos" instead of "Lao".

42. "S O S!," e.g. PLEA
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.

46. Circus clown car, often BEETLE
The Beetle was the official name of the VW model released in the US, but it was usually referred to as a "bug" over here, and a "beetle" elsewhere.

48. Witty sort WAG
A “wag” or a “card” is a very amusing person, one who is often quite eccentric.

57. Biathlete's weapon RIFLE
A biathlon is an event requiring expertise in two sporting disciplines. The most common biathlon is the winter sport that combines cross-country skiing with rifle shooting. This traditional biathlon was born out of an exercise for soldiers in Norway.

61. Author LeShan EDA
Eda LeShan wrote "When Your Child Drives You Crazy", and was host of the PBS television show "How Do Your Children Grow?"

66. Shape of Mork's spacecraft on "Mork & Mindy" EGG
"Mork & Mindy" was broadcast from 1978 to 1982. We were first introduced to Mork (played by Robin Williams, of course) in a special episode of "Happy Days". The particular episode in question has a bizarre storyline culminating in Fonzie and Mork having a thumb-to-finger duel. Eventually Richie wakes up in bed, and alien Mork was just part of a dream! Oh, and "Nanu Nanu" means both "hello" and "goodbye" back on the planet Ork. "I am Mork from Ork, Nanu Nanu". Great stuff ...

67. Plaza Hotel girl ELOISE
Kay Thompson wrote the "Eloise" series of children's books. Kay Thompson actually lived at the Plaza Hotel in New York, the setting she would choose for her "Eloise" stories. Eloise started out as a hit song for Thompson, a success that she parlayed into the book franchise.

69. Bridal bio word NEE
"Née" is the French word for "born" when referring to a female. The male equivalent is "né".

Down
1. Car in the Beach Boys' "Fun, Fun, Fun" T-BIRD
Ford manufactured the Thunderbird (T-Bird) from 1955 to 2005, originally as a two-seater sporty convertible.

2. Like "Dark Shadows" episodes EERIE
“Dark Shadows” is a horror comedy film released in 2012 that is based on a gothic soap opera of the same name from the late sixties and early seventies. “Dark Shadows” is a Tim Burton movie (so I won’t be seeing it!) with Johnny Depp as the star.

3. Hold the scepter REIGN
A scepter is a ceremonial staff often held by a monarch.

6. Atlanta university EMORY
Emory is a private school in Atlanta, Georgia with a focus on graduate research. The school was named after a Methodist Episcopal bishop called John Emory, who was very popular at the time of the school's founding in 1836.

7. Friday's creator DEFOE
Daniel Defoe is most famous today as an author, of the novel “Robinson Crusoe” in particular. Defoe was also a trader, and a spy for King William III.

In Daniel Defoe’s 1719 novel “Robinson Crusoe”, the castaway encounters a companion that Crusoe calls “Friday”, because the two first met on that day. Friday soon becomes his willing servant. This character is the source of our terms “Man Friday” and “Girl Friday”, which are used to describe a particularly competent and loyal assistant.

8. Neanderthal OAF
The Homo genus includes, of course, the species Homo sapiens (modern humans), but we're the only species left in that genus. The last known species related to humans was Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthal Man) which died off about 24,000 years ago. However, another species was discovered in Indonesia in 2003 that has been dubbed Homo floresiensis (Flores Man ... sometimes called "hobbit"), and it may possibly have lived as recently as 12,000 years ago. Watch this space ...

12. Home of Fort Donelson National Battlefield TENNESSEE
The Battle of Fort Donelson took place in 1862 during the Civil War. The Union forces led by Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant successfully captured Fort Donelson, Tennessee from the Confederates in a battle lasting six days. The defeated forces accepted the unconditional surrender terms offered by Grant, earning the victorious general the nickname “Unconditional Surrender Grant”, a play on his first two initials “U.S.”

13. One of Hollywood's Farrelly brothers PETER
The Farrelly Brothers are Peter and Bobby, two Hollywood screenwriters and directors. Included in their list of movies are “There’s Something About Mary”, “Dumb and Dumber”, “Me, Myself and Ireland”, “Shallow Hal” and “The Three Stooges”.

18. Dickens's scheming clerk HEEP
Uriah Heep is a sniveling insincere character in the novel "David Copperfield" by Charles Dickens. The character is such a "yes man" that today, if we know someone who behaves the same way, then we might call that person a "Uriah Heep".

23. "___ Beso" ESO
"Eso Beso" is Spanish for "That Kiss", and is the name of a hit song recorded by Canadian-born singer Paul Anka.

32. Horror film street ELM
“A Nightmare on Elm Street” is a Wes Craven slasher-horror film, released in 1984. As I don’t do “slasher” nor “horror” I learned from crosswords that Johnny Depp was in the movie, making his feature film debut. The Elm Street in the title is located in the fictional Springwood, Ohio.

33. Where Stephen Hawking and Charles Darwin went to school CAMBRIDGE
Stephen Hawking is a theoretical physicist from Oxford, England. Hawking owes much of his fame in the world of popular science to his incredibly successful book called “A Brief History of Time”. “A Brief History of Time” has sold over 10 million copies and was on London’s “Sunday Times” bestseller list for over four years. Hawking does a wonderful job of explaining many aspects of cosmology without losing the average reader. There is only one equation in the whole book, and that equation is “E = mc2”.

Englishman Charles Darwin studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland but neglected his studies largely due to his interest in nature and natural history. In the early 1830s, a friend put forward Darwin’s name as a candidate for the post of “collector” on the voyage of HMS Beagle. The Beagle was intending to spend two years at sea primarily charting the coast of South America. The voyage ended up taking five years, during which time Darwin sent back copious letters describing his findings. Back in Britain these letters were published as pamphlets by a friend and so when Darwin eventually returned home in 1836, he had already gained some celebrity in scientific circles. It was while on the Beagle that Darwin developed his initial ideas on the concept of natural selection. It wasn’t until over twenty years later that he formulated his theories into a scientific paper and in 1859 published his famous book “On the Origin of the Species”. This original publication never even mentioned the word “evolution” which was controversial even back then. It was in 1871 that Darwin addressed head-on the concept that man was an animal species, in his book “The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex”.

36. Loggers' contest ROLEO
Roleo is the name given to a log-rolling competition traditionally engaged in by lumberjacks

37. Internet access option DSL
The acronym “DSL” originally stood for Digital Subscriber Loop, but is now accepted to mean (Asymmetric) Digital Subscriber Line. DSL is the technology that allows Internet service be delivered down the same telephone line as voice service, by separating the two into different frequency signals.

39. Snookered HAD
The use of the word “snooker” to mean “to cheat” has been used since the early 1900s. The term probably took on that connotation as it’s relatively easy to trick someone who is new to the game of snooker.

42. Okefenokee possum POGO
“Pogo” is a comic strip that was launched in 1948, the creation of cartoonist Walt Kelly. The story centers on animals that live in the Okefenokee Swamp on the Georgia-Florida border, with the title character “Pogo Possum” being an anthropomorphic opossum.

47. Subj. for a future bilingual 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).

49. Mennen shaving product AFTA
Afta is an aftershave in the Mennen range of products that is owned by Colgate-Palmolive.

51. "Dallas" matriarch ELLIE
Miss Ellie was the matriarch of the famed Ewing family, around which the TV series "Dallas" was written. For most of the series, Miss Ellie was played by Barbara Bel Geddes, and once in a TV movie of Dallas by Molly Hagan. Barbara Bel Geddes left the show in 1984 and was replaced by the celebrated actress Donna Reed. When Bel Geddes decided to return to the show the following year, Reed was fired, much to Reed's chagrin, and a lawsuit ensued.

56. Gender-bending role for Barbra Streisand YENTL
"Yentl" is a play that opened in New York City in 1975. The move to adapt the play for the big screen was led by Barbara Streisand, and indeed she wrote the first outline of a musical version herself as far back as 1968. The film was eventually made and released in 1983, with Streisand performing the lead role.

59. Old dagger SNEE
"Snick or snee" is the name given to cut and thrust while fighting with a knife. The phrase is rooted in a pair of Dutch words and it gave its name to a "snee", a light sword-like knife.

63. "___ ELO" (1976 album) OLE
ELO of course stands for the Electric Light Orchestra, a symphonic rock group from the north of England. ELO’s manager was Don Arden, father of Sharon Osbourne (wife of Ozzy). "Ole ELO" is a compilation album the band released in 1976.

64. [That cracks me up] LOL
Laugh out loud (LOL)

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Hatcher who was a Bond girl TERI
5. Medicate again REDOSE
11. Letters at Indy STP
14. Complaint BEEF
15. Words from the agreeable I’M EASY
16. Like early morning hours WEE
17. Drink made with Jameson, maybe IRISH COFFEE
19. "The Lord of the Rings" creature ENT
20. Fix RIG
21. Eric, in Finland EERO
22. Geoffrey of fashion BEENE
24. Dumb as a box of rocks DENSE
26. Genie's reply YES, MASTER
29. Original "Veronica Mars" airer UPN
31. Spartan serfs HELOTS
32. "Behold," to Brutus ECCE
35. Tough time ORDEAL
38. Mountain ___ ASH
40. Landlocked land LAOS
41. Cheated, slangily HOSED
42. "S O S!," e.g. PLEA
43. "Yummy!" MMM!
44. Supply with goods SELL TO
45. Rubber-stamped OKED
46. Circus clown car, often BEETLE
48. Witty sort WAG
50. Literary hybrid PROSE POEM
53. Raid FORAY
57. Biathlete's weapon RIFLE
58. Clueless LOST
60. Absorbed, as a loss ATE
61. Author LeShan EDA
62. Job done by the insects seen above the circled words in 17-, 26- and 50-Across POLLINATION
66. Shape of Mork's spacecraft on "Mork & Mindy" EGG
67. Plaza Hotel girl ELOISE
68. "Freedom ___ free" ISN’T
69. Bridal bio word NEE
70. Backspace over DELETE
71. Bare it all PEEL

Down
1. Car in the Beach Boys' "Fun, Fun, Fun" T-BIRD
2. Like "Dark Shadows" episodes EERIE
3. Hold the scepter REIGN
4. Hypotheticals IFS
5. Bed of ___ RICE
6. Atlanta university EMORY
7. Friday's creator DEFOE
8. Neanderthal OAF
9. About 5:00, on a compass SSE
10. Look over, informally EYEBALL
11. Cajole SWEET-TALK
12. Home of Fort Donelson National Battlefield TENNESSEE
13. One of Hollywood's Farrelly brothers PETER
18. Dickens's scheming clerk HEEP
23. "___ Beso" ESO
25. Seeks damages SUES
27. Word before cake or music SHEET
28. Place for a lark MEADOW
30. Totally useless NO HELP
32. Horror film street ELM
33. Where Stephen Hawking and Charles Darwin went to school CAMBRIDGE
34. Reach adulthood COME OF AGE
36. Loggers' contest ROLEO
37. Internet access option DSL
39. Snookered HAD
42. Okefenokee possum POGO
44. Like hot tea STEEPED
47. Subj. for a future bilingual ESL
49. Mennen shaving product AFTA
50. Congratulate oneself for achievement PREEN
51. "Dallas" matriarch ELLIE
52. Like a well-prepared turkey MOIST
54. Poker ploy RAISE
55. Set things straight, in a way ATONE
56. Gender-bending role for Barbra Streisand YENTL
59. Old dagger SNEE
63. "___ ELO" (1976 album) OLE
64. [That cracks me up] LOL
65. Line on a restaurant bill TIP


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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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