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0226-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 26 Feb 15, Thursday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Caleb Emmons
THEME: Half at the End … each of today’s themed answers features a “HALF something” at the end. But, the word HALF is left out of the grid, and only the first HALF of the word that follows is shown:
17A. Coin first minted in 1964 : KENNEDY HALF DOLLAR (KENNEDY “DOL”)
54A. Signaling remembrance, in a way : FLYING AT HALF-MAST (FLYING AT “MA”)
10D. Acting rashly : GOING OFF HALF-COCKED (GOING OFF “COC”)
24D. Occasion for a much-hyped performance : SUPER BOWL HALFTIME (SUPER BOWL “TI”)
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 24m 36s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Nile wader : HIPPO
The name “hippopotamus” comes from the Greek for “river horse”. Hippos are the third largest land mammals, after elephants and rhinos. The closest living relatives to hippos don’t even live on land. They are the whales and porpoises of the oceans.

14. Utopian : IDEAL
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.

15. Sainted pope after Sixtus III : LEO I
The first pope named Leo is now known as Pope Saint Leo the Great. Leo I is famous for meeting with the feared Attila the Hun and persuading him to turn back his invading force that was threatening to overrun Western Europe.

16. Wind quintet member : OBOE
A wind quintet is a group of five woodwind players, usually flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon.

17. Coin first minted in 1964 : KENNEDY HALF DOLLAR (KENNEDY “DOL”)
The Kennedy half dollar is a 50-cent coin that was first issued in 1964 as a memorial to President John F. Kennedy, who had been assassinated the year before. Even though a lot of the coins were minted, and still are, there are rarely seen in circulation. The first minting disappeared almost immediately as collectors and regular individuals put the coins away as a memento or an investment.

19. Golden calf, e.g. : IDOL
According to the Book of Exodus in the Bible, Aaron made a golden calf as an idol for the Israelites to worship while Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments. When Moses returned, he became angry on seeing the calf and destroyed it.

20. Dot-dot-dot : ESS
The Morse code symbol for the letter S is “dot-dot-dot”.

23. Elvis's "What'd I Say" vis-à-vis "Viva Las Vegas" : A-SIDE
“What’d I Say” is an R&B song composed by Ray Charles that he recorded in 1959. Elvis Presley sang the song in his 1964 film “Viva Las Vegas”, and released it as a single. The B-side to the Elvis version of “What’d I Say” is the “Viva Las Vegas” title song.

25. "Danced" like a bee : WAGGLED
The waggle dance is a behavior exhibited by bees that informs other members of the hive about the direction and distance to a supply of nectar. Apparently the meaning of the dance “moves” are fairly well understood. The direction of the dance relative to the sun indicates the direction to the nectar source. The length of time spent “waggling” in one direction indicates how far away the source is.

29. Hunter of wallabies and kangaroos : DINGO
The dingo is a wild dog of Australia. The dingo is thought to have originated from domesticated dogs that were brought to Australia with humans that settled the land centuries ago.

36. Tabloid nickname of the '80s : JACKO
Michael Jackson was such a sad figure I always think. Jackson's apparently unconstrained lifestyle made him an easy target for the tabloids. The less than charitable representatives of the media gave him the nickname "Wacko Jacko".

37. Münster Mrs. : FRAU
Münster is a city in the northwestern part of Germany, in the Westphalia region. Münster is noted for being the most bicycle-friendly city in the country with almost 40% of all traffic in the city being cyclists.

38. Company with a lot of bean counters? : STARBUCKS
Starbucks is a coffee company based in Seattle, Washington. It is the largest coffeehouse company in the world and has over 19,000 stores. In the 1990s, Starbucks was opening one new store every single day! Starbucks is named after the chief mate on the Pequod in the Herman Melville book “Moby Dick”.

40. Keeping in the loop, in a way : CCING
I wonder do the kids of today know that "cc" stands for carbon copy, and do they have any idea what a carbon copy was? Do you remember how messy carbon paper was to handle?

42. Visitors in "A Christmas Carol" : GHOSTS
The classic 1843 novella "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens has left us with a few famous phrases and words. Firstly, it led to popular use of the phrase "Merry Christmas", and secondly it gave us the word "scrooge" meaning a miserly person. And thirdly, everyone knows that Ebenezer Scrooge uttered the words "Bah! Humbug!".

43. Eponymous Soviet minister of foreign affairs : MOLOTOV
Vyacheslav Molotov was a prominent Soviet politician and protégé of Joseph Stalin. During the Winter War of WWII, between the Soviet Union and Finland, Molotov claimed in radio broadcasts that Finland was not being bombed, but rather that the Soviet Union was dropping food to relieve famine. With a sense of irony, the Finns started to call the Soviet bombs "Molotov bread baskets". The Finns also improvised incendiary bombs using bottles and a gasoline-based fuel, and called these devices "Molotov cocktails", a name that persists to this day.

48. Soap star Deborah : ADAIR
Deborah Adair is an actress best known for her roles in soap operas. Adair retired from acting in 1995 when she and her husband adopted two children.

53. What a chemist brings to the table? : NACL
Sodium chloride (NaCl, common salt) is an ionic compound, a crystal lattice made up of large chloride (Cl) ions in a cubic structure, with smaller sodium (Na) ions in between the chlorides.

54. Signaling remembrance, in a way : FLYING AT HALF-MAST (FLYING AT “MA”)
Some say that flags are flown at “half-mast” as a sign of respect or mourning in order to leave room for “the invisible flag of death” that flies at the top of the flagpole.

56. Certain sausage, informally : BRAT
A bratwurst (sometimes “brat” in the US) is a German sausage. The name comes from “brät-” meaning “finely chopped meat”, and “Wurst” meaning “sausage”.

58. Liberian president and Peace Nobelist ___ Johnson Sirleaf : ELLEN
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected President of Liberia in 2005, and re-elected in 2011. Sirleaf was the first elected head of state in the continent of Africa. She was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her work to protect women and women’s rights.

59. Many a surfer's locale, informally : CALI
California (Cali)

60. Six crayons in a Crayola 64 box : REDS
In the year 2000 the Crayola company, very cleverly I think, held the “Crayola Color Census 2000” in which people were polled and asked for their favorite Crayola colors. President George W. Bush chose “Blue Bell” and Tiger Woods chose “Wild Strawberry”.

61. Witherspoon of "Wild" : REESE
Reese is not actually actress Witherspoon's given name. She started out life as Laura Jeanne Witherspoon. Reese is her mother's maiden name.

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) runs mainly through National Forest and protected wilderness. The southern end of the trail is near Campo, California on the US-Mexico border. The trail’s northern terminus is on US-Canadian border on the edge of Manning Park, British Columbia. The 2014 movie “Wild” starring Reese Witherspoon, is based on the true story of Cheryl Strayed who hiked much of the PCT by herself in 1995.

Down
2. May 15, e.g. : IDES
There were three important days in each month of the old Roman calendar. These days originally depended on the cycles of the moon but were eventually "fixed" by law. "Kalendae" were the first days of each month, originally the days of the new moon. "Nonae" were originally the days of the half moon. And "idus" (the ides) was originally the day of the full moon, eventually fixed at the 15th day of a month. Well, actually the ides were the 15th day of March, May, July and October. For all other months, the ides fell on the 13th. Go figure ...

3. Southern city that calls itself "America's First Settlement" (1559) : PENSACOLA
Pensacola is the most westerly city in the Florida Panhandle. The port city is home to the country’s first US Naval Air Station, which in turn is home to the Navy’s Blue Angels flight demonstration team.

4. Give two thumbs down : PAN
To pan something is to criticize it harshly.

5. Oxford university, informally : OLE MISS
Ole Miss is the nickname for the University of Mississippi located in Oxford, Mississippi. The name "Ole Miss" dates back to 1897, the first year a student yearbook was published. The graduating class held a competition to name the yearbook and "Ole Miss" emerged as the winner. The name stuck to the yearbook, and also as a nickname for the school itself.

6. "Family Ties" mom : ELYSE
The actress Meredith Baxter is best known for playing Elyse, the mother in the eighties sitcom “Family Ties”. Baxter’s big break on television came with a title role on a short-lived sitcom called “Bridget Loves Bernie”. She ended up marrying David Birney, her co-star on “Bridget Loves Bernie”, and so was known for many years as Meredith Baxter-Birney. She changed her name back to Meredith Baxter when the pair divorced in 1989.

"Family Ties" was one of the first TV shows that I enjoyed when I arrived in the US back in 1983. I found the situation very appealing, with two ex-hippie parents facing off against an ultra-conservative son. The main characters in the show were Michael J. Fox as Alex, Justine Bateman as Alex's sister Mallory, Meredith Baxter-Birney as Alex's mom Elyse, and Michael Gross as Alex's dad Steven. But some future stars had recurring roles as well, including Courteney Cox as one of Alex's girlfriends and Tom Hanks as Elyse's younger brother.

8. Tricks : HOODWINKS
"Hoodwink" has had the meaning "to deceive" since about 1600. Prior to that it meant simply "to blindfold", a sort of portmanteau word from "hood" and "wink".

11. Talent show judge alongside Jackson and Cowell : ABDUL
Paula Abdul is primarily a singer and dancer, and someone who endeared herself even more to the American public in recent years as a judge on "American Idol". She had a famous husband for a couple of years, as she was married to actor Emilio Estevez from 1992-94.

12. Bull or cow : MOOSE
The moose is the largest species in the deer family. The name “moose” is used in American English for the animal called an “elk” in British English. What Americans call an elk is also known as the wapiti.

18. "My man!" : DUDE!
Our term “dude” arose as a slang term in New York City in the 1880s, when it was used to describe a fastidious man. In the early 1900s, the term was extended to mean “city slickers”, Easterners who vacationed in the West. The first use of the term “dude ranch” was recorded in 1921.

22. Azalea with the 2014 #1 hit "Fancy" : IGGY
Iggy Azalea is the stage name of Australian rapper Amethyst Kelly. I hadn’t ever heard of her …

24. Occasion for a much-hyped performance : SUPER BOWL HALFTIME (SUPER BOWL “TI”)
For the first ten years or so, the Super Bowl halftime show featured college and military marching bands. Various entertainers were then included in a show based on marching bands. Over time, the halftime show became the much-anticipated spectacular that it is today.

26. ___ mundi : ANNO
Anno Mundi is abbreviated as AM, and translates from the Latin as "in the year of the world". The AM calendar dates from the year of creation, so the actual year changes in different versions depending on which year is understood to be "year 1".

27. Biblical source of the line "It is more blessed to give than to receive" : ACTS
The Acts of the Apostles is the fifth book of the New Testament. It is believed that the author of the Gospel of Luke was the same person who wrote “Acts”.

29. University of Oregon team : DUCKS
The sports teams of the University of Oregon are known as the Oregon Ducks. The big rivals to the Ducks are the Oregon State Beavers, a rivalry that has been dubbed "the Civil War". The two schools' football teams play a game every year for the Platypus Trophy.

31. 1¢, for a penny : FACE VALUE
The US one-cent coin has borne the profile of President Abraham Lincoln since 1909, the centennial of Lincoln’s birth. Fifty years later, a representation of the Lincoln Memorial was added to the reverse side.

32. "Poetics" author : ARISTOTLE
“Poetics” is a treatise on literary theory by the Greek philosopher and scientist Aristotle. It is the oldest known such work.

36. ___ chop : JUDO
Judo is a martial art from Japan that was developed relatively recently, in 1882. The name “judo” translates as “gentle way”. Practitioners of judo proceed through a series of proficiency grades known as the kyu-dan system. At each progression, a different colored belt is awarded.

39. Smithereens : BITS
"Smithereens" is such a lovely word and I am proud to say that it comes from Irish. The Irish word "smiodar" means fragment. We add the suffix "-in" (anglicized as "-een") to words to indicate the diminutive form. So, "little fragment" is "smidirin", anglicized as "smithereens".

43. What's left of TV news? : MSNBC
MSNBC was founded in 1996 as a partnership between Microsoft ("MS") and General Electric's "NBC" broadcasting operation. Microsoft only owns a minority share in MSNBC today, but is still an equal partner in the separate company that runs msnbc.com.

44. John who wrote "Pal Joey" : O’HARA
“Pal Joey” is a 1940 novel by John O’Hara that was made into a stage musical and musical film with music and lyrics by Rodgers and Hart. There are two well-known songs from the musical: “I Could Write a Book” and “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered”. There’s also a film called “Pal Joey” starring Frank Sinatra, Rita Hayworth and Kim Novak. The film is loosely based on the stage musical.

51. ___ Straw Poll : AMES
The city of Ames, Iowa is famous for holding the Ames Straw Poll in advance of most presidential elections. The poll in question is used to gauge the level of support for two or more Republican candidates, although non-Republicans are allowed to cast a vote. To vote one has to be an Iowa resident and one must buy a ticket to the fundraising dinner at which the vote is taken. The event gets a lot of coverage, so it boosts the local economy as journalists hit the town. It is a very successful fundraiser for the Republican Party in Iowa as well, but the usefulness of the straw poll in predicting the eventual winner of the nomination is less clear. There have been six straw polls since 1979, and just 2 out of 6 times the poll winner went on to capture the party's nomination.

52. Rapper Big Daddy ___ : KANE
Big Daddy Kane is the stage name of rap artist Antonio Hardy. Hardy chose the “Big Daddy” in his name from the character played by Vincent Price in the 1963 movie “Beach Party”, and the Kane from the title character in the TV show “Citizen Kane”.

54. Real-life figure portrayed in movies by Jason Robards, Jon Voight and Bill Murray, in brief : FDR
President Franklin D. Roosevelt has been portrayed on the screen many times. For example:
- by Jason Robards in “FDR: The Final Years” (1980)
- by Jon Voight in “Pearl Harbor” (2001)
- by Bill Murray in “Hyde Park on the Hudson” (2012) … my personal favorite!

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Nile wader : HIPPO
6. Return to sender? : ECHO
10. Up for something : GAME
14. Utopian : IDEAL
15. Sainted pope after Sixtus III : LEO I
16. Wind quintet member : OBOE
17. Coin first minted in 1964 : KENNEDY HALF DOLLAR (KENNEDY “DOL”)
19. Golden calf, e.g. : IDOL
20. Dot-dot-dot : ESS
21. Thought aloud : MUSED
22. Busy : IN USE
23. Elvis's "What'd I Say" vis-à-vis "Viva Las Vegas" : A-SIDE
25. "Danced" like a bee : WAGGLED
27. Impeach : ACCUSE
29. Hunter of wallabies and kangaroos : DINGO
30. Hutches : COOPS
31. Crazy place? : FUNNY FARM
35. Woven piece : TALE
36. Tabloid nickname of the '80s : JACKO
37. Münster Mrs. : FRAU
38. Company with a lot of bean counters? : STARBUCKS
40. Keeping in the loop, in a way : CCING
41. Waits : BIDES
42. Visitors in "A Christmas Carol" : GHOSTS
43. Eponymous Soviet minister of foreign affairs : MOLOTOV
46. It's all a plot : TRACT
47. Doesn't just tell : SHOWS
48. Soap star Deborah : ADAIR
50. Symbol of strength : OAK
53. What a chemist brings to the table? : NACL
54. Signaling remembrance, in a way : FLYING AT HALF-MAST (FLYING AT “MA”)
56. Certain sausage, informally : BRAT
57. Cause for pacing? : DUEL
58. Liberian president and Peace Nobelist ___ Johnson Sirleaf : ELLEN
59. Many a surfer's locale, informally : CALI
60. Six crayons in a Crayola 64 box : REDS
61. Witherspoon of "Wild" : REESE

Down
1. Up : HIKE
2. May 15, e.g. : IDES
3. Southern city that calls itself "America's First Settlement" (1559) : PENSACOLA
4. Give two thumbs down : PAN
5. Oxford university, informally : OLE MISS
6. "Family Ties" mom : ELYSE
7. Give up : CEDE
8. Tricks : HOODWINKS
9. It may be coming down the pipeline : OIL
10. Acting rashly : GOING OFF HALF-COCKED (GOING OFF “COC”)
11. Talent show judge alongside Jackson and Cowell : ABDUL
12. Bull or cow : MOOSE
13. Tried to catch some fish : EELED
18. "My man!" : DUDE!
22. Azalea with the 2014 #1 hit "Fancy" : IGGY
24. Occasion for a much-hyped performance : SUPER BOWL HALFTIME (SUPER BOWL “TI”)
26. ___ mundi : ANNO
27. Biblical source of the line "It is more blessed to give than to receive" : ACTS
28. Layer : COAT
29. University of Oregon team : DUCKS
31. 1¢, for a penny : FACE VALUE
32. "Poetics" author : ARISTOTLE
33. It might start "Don't get me started ..." : RANT
34. 38-Across containers : MUGS
36. ___ chop : JUDO
39. Smithereens : BITS
40. Cell need : CHARGER
42. Small beam? : GRIN
43. What's left of TV news? : MSNBC
44. John who wrote "Pal Joey" : O’HARA
45. Subway train designation : LOCAL
46. Flip response? : TAILS
49. Turned brown, say : DYED
51. ___ Straw Poll : AMES
52. Rapper Big Daddy ___ : KANE
54. Real-life figure portrayed in movies by Jason Robards, Jon Voight and Bill Murray, in brief : FDR
55. Draft classification : ALE


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3 comments :

To tom said...

Why don't you make some crosswords that people can actually do?

Anonymous said...

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PeterA said...

OMG, what a feeble theme

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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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