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0924-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 24 Sep 14, Wednesday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Andy Kravis
THEME: Changes to Movies … each of today’s themed answers is a film title, but with one letter changed to an X:
17A. Film about a Communist invasion? (1996) MARX ATTACKS! (from “Mars Attacks!”)
26A. Film about the woman most likely to catch men's attention? (2001) A BEAUTIFUL MINX (from “A Beautiful Mind”)
46A. Film about an elegantly made crossword? (2009) THE LOVELY BOXES (from “The Lovely Bones”)
63A. Film about a romantic dentist's daily routine? (2010) EAT, X-RAY, LOVE (from “Eat, Pray, Love”)
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 11m 47s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

6. Bellini opera NORMA
"Norma" is an opera written by Vincenzo Bellini, first performed in 1831. One aria from the work is "Casta diva", which is one of the most popular arias of the 1800s.

11. Night light, perhaps UFO
In 1952, the USAF revived its studies of reported sightings of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) in a program called Project Blue Book. Project Blue Book ran from 1952 until it was shut down in 1969 with the conclusion that there was no threat to national security and that there were no sightings that could not be explained within the bounds of modern scientific knowledge.

14. Shoptalk ARGOT
"Argot" is a French term, the name given in the 17th century to "the jargon of the Paris underworld". Nowadays argot is the set of idioms used by any particular group, the "lingo" of that group.

17. Film about a Communist invasion? (1996) MARX ATTACKS! (from “Mars Attacks!”)
“Mars Attacks!” is a 1996 science fiction-comedy movie directed by Tim Burton.The film parodies sci-fi B movies and has an impressive ensemble cast that includes Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Danny DeVito, Sarah Jessica Parker, Martin Short, Natalie Portman, Rod Steiger, Michael J. Fox and Tom Jones. The film is all about Martians invading Earth, and I watched it because of the cast. I hated it …

20. Casanova PLAYBOY
Giacomo Casanova was an 18th century adventurer from Venice. We know so much about him, and his reputation as a womanizer, because he left us his autobiography "Histoire de ma vie" (Story of My Life). A guy recounting stories of his love life and conquests. All true, I am sure ...

23. Moroccan headwear FEZ
"Fez" is the name given to the red cylindrical hat worn mainly in North Africa, and by Shriners here in the US. The fez used to be a very popular hat across the Ottoman Empire. The etymology of "fez" is unclear, although it might have something to do with the Moroccan city named Fez.

25. Line on a baseball SEAM
A baseball is made by wrapping string around a rubber or cork center, and then covering the resulting sphere with leather. The string inside a baseball can measure up to a mile in length.

26. Film about the woman most likely to catch men's attention? (2001) A BEAUTIFUL MINX (from “A Beautiful Mind”)
The movie "A Beautiful Mind" is based on the true story of the Nobel-winning economist John Forbes Nash. The film’s screenplay was adapted from a very successful book of the same name written by Sylvia Nasar. Great movie!

34. It's usually between 3 and 5 PAR
There’s an urban myth that the standard number of holes on a golf course is 18 because it takes 18 shots to polish off a fifth of scotch whisky. However, the truth is that the standard number of holes in the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland happened to settle down over time at 18, and that standard was adopted all around the world.

35. Logic game with matchsticks NIM
Nim is an ancient entertainment, a simple mathematical game of strategy. Nim involves removing items from distinct piles (say matchsticks). Each player must remove at least one item per turn, and the last person to remove an item is the loser.

39. The statue "David" on open-air display in Florence, e.g. REPLICA
When Michelangelo's famous statue of David was unveiled in 1504, it was at a time when the city-state of the Florentine Republic was threatened by rival states (including Rome). The statue depicts David after he has decided to fight Goliath, and the subject is sporting what is described as a "warning glare". David was originally placed outside the Palazzo della Signoria, the seat of government in Florence, and that warning glare was directed very deliberately in the direction of its enemy, Rome. The original statue of David can be seen in the Accademia Gallery in Florence, where it has resided since 1873. There is a replica of the statue in its original location in the public square outside of the Palazzo della Signoria.

43. Take a gander at EYE
To take “a gander” is to take a long look. It’s a term we’ve been using since the 1880s and comes from the idea that in taking a long look one might be craning one’s neck like a goose (or gander).

46. Film about an elegantly made crossword? (2009) THE LOVELY BOXES (from “The Lovely Bones”)
"The Lovely Bones" is a remarkable film directed by Peter Jackson (of "Lord of the Rings" fame). It stars the incredibly talented Irish actress, Saoirse Ronan, who plays a 14-year-old girl who has been murdered and is living in a surreal "in-between" world that is neither Heaven nor Earth. Often I find computer-generated graphics in movies overpowering and distracting, but this movie uses the technique to create a beautiful backdrop that really brings the story to life.

51. Collaborator with Disney on the film "Destino" DALI
“Destino” is an animated short by Disney that was released in 2003. Originally a collaboration between the studio and the surrealist painter Salvador Dali, the “Destino” project actually dates back to 1945. It was abandoned due to Disney’s financial difficulties after the war, but was resurrected in 1999. I just watched the 6-minute film on YouTube. It’s well worth a look ...

53. First family of Germany, 1969-74 BRANDTS
Willy Brandt was chancellor of Germany from 1969 to 1974. Brandt is perhaps best remembered for his efforts to reconcile West Germany with East Germany and the Soviet Bloc. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1971 for this work. Brandt stepped down as Chancellor when it was discovered that one of his closest aides was an agent for the East German secret service, the Stasi.

62. Brit's washroom LAV
Our word “lavatory” originally referred to a washbasin, and comes from the Latin “lavatorium”, a place for washing. In the 1600s a "lavatory" came to mean a washroom, and in the 1920s a toilet.

63. Film about a romantic dentist's daily routine? (2010) EAT, X-RAY, LOVE (from “Eat, Pray, Love”)
“Eat, Pray, Love” is a 2006 memoir by novelist Elizabeth Gilbert. “Eat, Pray, Love” is a huge best seller that has gotten a boost with the release of a 2010 screen adaptation starring Julia Roberts.

65. Israeli gun UZI
The first Uzi submachine gun was designed in the late 1940s by Major Uziel Gal of the Israel Defense Forces who gave his name to the gun.

66. "Delphine" author Madame de ___ STAEL
Germaine de Staël was a French-speaking Swiss author active at the turn of the 19th century. She was commonly referred to as "Madame de Staël". Staël was noted for her outspoken criticism of Napoleon in her native France, for which she suffered exile in Switzerland.

67. Fray RAVEL
“Ravel” and “unravel” mean the same thing!

69. Absorbent cloth TERRY
Terry cloth is a fabric designed to absorb lots of liquid. The fabric has relatively large loops of thread that improve the absorption properties. The larger the loop, the more thread, the better the absorption.

Down
1. Genie's home LAMP
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 …

3. Site of a famed mausoleum AGRA
The most famous mausoleum in the world has to be the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. The Taj Mahal was built after the death of the third wife of Shah Jahan, Mumtaz Mahal (hence the name of the mausoleum). The poor woman died in childbirth delivering the couple's 14th child.

10. Brewery named after a Dutch river AMSTEL
Amstel is a Dutch beer and brewery, founded in 1870 in Amsterdam. The brewery takes its name from the Amstel river which runs through the city.

18. Vegetarian's protein source TOFU
Tofu is another name for bean curd, and is a Japanese word meaning just that ... bean that has "curdled". Tofu is produced by coagulating soy milk, using either salt or something acidic. Once the protein has coagulated, the curds are pressed into the familiar blocks. Personally I love tofu, but my wife, she absolutely hates it ...

22. Son of Noah HAM
According to the Book of Genesis, Noah lived to a ripe old age. Noah fathered his three sons Shem, Ham and Japheth when he was 500 years old, and the Great Flood took place when he was 600.

24. Élan ZIP
Our word "élan" was imported from French, in which language the word has a similar meaning to ours i.e "style" or "flair".

26. Beth preceder ALEPH
“Aleph” is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and “beth” the second.

27. Actress with the iconic line "What a dump!" BETTE DAVIS
I must confess that I have a problem watching movies starring Bette Davis. I think I must have seen her play one of her more sinister roles when I was a kid and it gave me nightmares or something. So, I have never seen the 1950 classic "All About Eve", given that Bette Davis gets top billing. But, the title role of Eve Harrington was played by Anne Baxter, and Ms Baxter's movies I do enjoy. Coincidentally, on the epic television series "Hotel", when Bette Davis became ill, it was Anne Baxter who was chosen to take on her role.

The actress Bette Davis said the line “What a dump!” in two films: in 1949’s “Beyond the Forest” and in 1964’s “Dead Ringer”. The line was made famous when it appeared as a quote in the opening scene of Edward Albee’s play “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

28. Old trade inits. EEC
The European Economic Community (EEC) was also called "the Common Market". The EEC was a NAFTA-like structure that was eventually absorbed into today's European Union.

38. Caustic material LYE
What we call “lye” is usually sodium hydroxide, although historically the term was used for potassium hydroxide. Lye has many uses, including to cure several foodstuffs. Lye can make olives less bitter, for example. The chemical is also found in canned mandarin oranges, pretzels and Japanese ramen noodles. More concentrated grades of lye are used to clear drains and clean ovens. Scary …

47. Acronym for linked computers LAN
LAN (Local Area Network)

48. Like Jackie Jackson, in the Jackson 5 OLDEST
The Jackson 5 singing group was originally made up of brothers Tito, Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael.

49. How the swallows returned to San Juan Capistrano YEARLY
American Cliff Swallows migrate from Argentina and nest for the summer in the San Juan Capistrano area in California. The birds are most famously associated with the Mission San Juan Capistrano, where they build nests under the eaves of the roof. The location proves to be idea as two nearby rivers provide a supply of insects on which they feed.

50. Actor Lugosi BELA
Bela Lugosi was a Hungarian stage and screen actor, best known for playing the title role in the 1931 film "Dracula" and for playing the same role on Broadway. Lugosi found himself typecast for the rest of his career and almost always played the role of the villain, often in horror movies. When he passed away in 1956, his wife had him buried in the costume he wore playing Count Dracula on Broadway.

57. Instrument for Orpheus LYRE
Orpheus is a figure from Greek mythology, very often associated with poetry, singing, music and the lyre in particular. In ancient Greece there was even an Orphic cult that in effect adopted the poetry ascribed to Orpheus as central to the cult's belief system. The adjectives "Orphic" and "Orphean" describe things pertaining to Orpheus, and because of his romantic, musical bent, the term has come to describe anything melodious or enchanting.

58. King Harald's father OLAV
King Harald V is the current king of Norway, and has been on the throne since 1991 when his father King Olav V passed away. The European Royal houses are famously quite “incestuous”, so King Harald V of Norway is in the line of succession for the throne of England (albeit around no. 60).

61. Shoulder muscle, for short DELT
The deltoid muscle (delt) is actually a group of muscles, the ones that cover the shoulder and create the roundness under the skin. The deltoids are triangular in shape resembling the Greek letter delta, hence the name.

64. Member of the MTV generation, informally XER
The term Generation X originated in the UK where it was the name of a book by Jane Deverson. Her book detailed the results of a study of British youths in 1964, contrasting their lifestyle to those of previous generations. It was Canadian author Douglas Coupland who was responsible for popularizing the term, with his more successful publication "Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture". By the latest accepted definition, Gen-Xers were born between 1961 and 1981.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Bums around LOAFS
6. Bellini opera NORMA
11. Night light, perhaps UFO
14. Shoptalk ARGOT
15. Weest of wee hours ONE AM
16. Mint NEW
17. Film about a Communist invasion? (1996) MARX ATTACKS! (from “Mars Attacks!”)
19. Enthusiast FAN
20. Casanova PLAYBOY
21. Ties down TETHERS
23. Moroccan headwear FEZ
25. Line on a baseball SEAM
26. Film about the woman most likely to catch men's attention? (2001) A BEAUTIFUL MINX (from “A Beautiful Mind”)
33. Computer mode SLEEP
34. It's usually between 3 and 5 PAR
35. Logic game with matchsticks NIM
36. Battery containing a liquid electrolyte WET CELL
39. The statue "David" on open-air display in Florence, e.g. REPLICA
42. Well-suited APT
43. Take a gander at EYE
45. Captain and others RANKS
46. Film about an elegantly made crossword? (2009) THE LOVELY BOXES (from “The Lovely Bones”)
51. Collaborator with Disney on the film "Destino" DALI
52. Add-on charge FEE
53. First family of Germany, 1969-74 BRANDTS
56. Licit ALLOWED
62. Brit's washroom LAV
63. Film about a romantic dentist's daily routine? (2010) EAT, X-RAY, LOVE (from “Eat, Pray, Love”)
65. Israeli gun UZI
66. "Delphine" author Madame de ___ STAEL
67. Fray RAVEL
68. Lo-___ RES
69. Absorbent cloth TERRY
70. 4 x 400-meter relay, e.g. EVENT

Down
1. Genie's home LAMP
2. Kind of vaccine ORAL
3. Site of a famed mausoleum AGRA
4. Guileful FOXY
5. Poke holes in STAB
6. "Hold on a sec" NOT YET
7. ___ lark ON A
8. Geom. shape RECT
9. Confirm MAKE SURE
10. Brewery named after a Dutch river AMSTEL
11. Like a bass voice or a hairy chest UNFEMININE
12. "___ not!" FEAR
13. Dominates, informally OWNS
18. Vegetarian's protein source TOFU
22. Son of Noah HAM
24. Élan ZIP
26. Beth preceder ALEPH
27. Actress with the iconic line "What a dump!" BETTE DAVIS
28. Old trade inits. EEC
29. Mime APE
30. Away's partner FAR
31. Shaving boo-boos NICKS
32. Holiday associated with 44-Downs, in brief XMAS
33. Whack SWAT
37. Get off the ground? LEVITATE
38. Caustic material LYE
40. Old hand PRO
41. Easygoing LAX
44. See 32-Down ELF
47. Acronym for linked computers LAN
48. Like Jackie Jackson, in the Jackson 5 OLDEST
49. How the swallows returned to San Juan Capistrano YEARLY
50. Actor Lugosi BELA
53. Memory of a very busy day, maybe BLUR
54. Level RAZE
55. Lead STAR
57. Instrument for Orpheus LYRE
58. King Harald's father OLAV
59. Told, as a yarn WOVE
60. Level EVEN
61. Shoulder muscle, for short DELT
64. Member of the MTV generation, informally XER


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1 comment :

Willie D said...

That NE corner got to me again. In hindsight, I guess all forms of life need headlights to see in the dark. ;-) Always heard of things unRAVELing, never RAVELing. Is there such a concept?

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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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