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0316-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 16 Mar 15, Monday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Ian Livengood
THEME: Small Talk … each of today’s themed answers contains a nickname that might be applied to someone who is SMALL:
66A. Chitchat ... or an apt title for this puzzle? : SMALL TALK

17A. Toy in a water fight : SQUIRT GUN
25A. Crispy seafood dish : FRIED SHRIMP
39A. 1995 crime caper based on an Elmore Leonard novel : GET SHORTY
56A. Hall-of-Fame Dodger nicknamed "The Little Colonel" : PEE WEE REESE
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 5m 35s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Streisand, familiarly : BABS
Babs is a nickname for people with the name Barbara, although my grandmother back in Ireland had the nickname of Babs, and her name was Margaret!

Barbra Streisand has recorded 31 top-ten albums since 1963, more than any other female recording artist. In fact, she has had an album in the top ten for the last five decades, a rare achievement in itself.

5. "Planet of the ___" : APES
The whole “Planet of the Apes” franchise was based on a French novel by Pierre Boulle called “La Plan├Ęte des singes”. The book was published in English as “Monkey Planet” but was republished as “Planet of the Apes” when Hollywood had made its choice for a title.

9. Banana split or fudge brownie : TREAT
The banana split was created in Latrobe, Pennsylvania in 1904. This particular sundae was the idea of David Stickler, a young apprentice pharmacist at the Tassel Pharmacy’s soda fountain.

Apparently the first brownies were created for the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The recipe was developed by a pastry chef at the city’s Palmer House Hotel. The idea was to produce a cake-like dessert that was small enough and dainty enough to be eaten by ladies as part of a boxed lunch.

14. Pac-12 hoops giant : UCLA
Pac-12 is an abbreviation for the Pacific-12 Conference, a college athletic conference in the western US. The Pac-12 has won more NCAA National Team Championships than any other conference. The Pac-12 was founded in 1915 as the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC). Over time as it grew, the conference went by the names Big Five, Big Six, Pacific-8, Pacific-10 and became the Pacific-12 in 2011.

16. Grand Canyon pack animal : BURRO
Our word “burro” meaning donkey comes from the Spanish word for the same animal, namely “burrico”.

The wild donkey that we know as a burro was introduced into the Grand Canyon in the late 1800s, where they used the animal to help pack out mined copper, asbestos and lead. When the miners moved on, they left the burros to roam free. Feral burros essentially overran the Grand Canyon in subsequent years, leading to the forced removal of 500 of them in the early eighties by the National Park Service. Burros wreak havoc on the canyon’s ecosystem, and in particular compete with native bighorn sheep. The bighorn sheep population has rebounded since the number of wild donkeys has dropped.

20. High-end leather variety : SUEDE
Suede is leather made from the underside of the skin, mainly from a lamb. As such it is very soft, although not as durable as leather made from the exterior skin. The soft leather was, and is still used for making gloves. Back in 1859 these gloves were called "gants de Suede" in France, or "gloves of Sweden". So, the name "suede" comes from the French word for Sweden.

23. Breyers rival : 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.

Breyers ice cream was introduced by William A. Breyer in 1866, in Philadelphia. Always known for using all-natural ingredients, Breyers products made in recent years contain more and more food additives in an attempt to cut costs in a competitive market. In fact, most Breyers products can’t even be labeled “ice cream” anymore as they don’t contain enough milk and cream and so are labeled “frozen dairy dessert” instead.

29. ___ pro nobis : ORA
"Ora pro nobis" translates from Latin as "pray for us". It is a common term used in the Roman Catholic tradition and is often shortened to "OPN".

32. Chinese path of enlightenment : TAO
The Chinese character "tao" translates as "path", but the concept of Tao signifies the true nature of the world.

33. Worshipers' seats : PEWS
A pew is a bench in a church, usually with a high back. The original pews were raised and sometimes enclosed seats in the church used by women and important men or families. “Pew” comes from the Old French “puie” meaning “balcony, elevation”.

39. 1995 crime caper based on an Elmore Leonard novel : GET SHORTY
Elmore Leonard used to write a lot of westerns in the fifties and moved onto crime and suspense novels later in his career. A lot of his books have made it to the big screen, including “Get Shorty” and “Mr Majestyk”.

42. PC key combo : ALT+TAB
By pressing the Alt and Tab key at the same time on a PC, a user can alternate between windows open on the desktop. This keyboard shortcut is known as Task Switcher or Flip.
Try it …

46. "Grade A" purchase : EGGS
Chicken eggs are graded according to the size of the air cell within the shell at the large end of the egg. The size of the air cell is measured by viewing the egg in front of a bright light in a process known as candling. The smallest air cell receives a grade of AA. A slightly larger air cell is grade A, and the largest is grade B.

53. Japanese path of enlightenment : ZEN
Zen is a Buddhist school that developed its own tradition in China back in the 7th century AD. Zen is a Japanese spelling of the Chinese word "chan", which in turn derives from the Sanskrit word "dhyana" meaning "meditation".

56. Hall-of-Fame Dodger nicknamed "The Little Colonel" : PEE WEE REESE
Pee Wee Reese was a shortstop who played his professional career with the Brooklyn and LA Dodgers. Reese is remembered not only for his skill on the field, but for his very visible support for teammate Jackie Robinson, who famously struggled to be accepted as the first African American player in the majors. As he was an outstanding marbles player as a child, Reese was given the nickname “pee wee” after the name for a small marble.

59. Hosp. body scan : MRI
A CT (or "CAT") scan produces (via computer manipulation) a three dimensional image of the inside of an object, usually the human body. It does so by taking a series of two dimensional x-ray images while rotating the camera around the patient. The issue with CT scans is that they use x-rays, and high doses of radiation can be harmful causing damage that is cumulative over time. An MRI on the other hand (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), uses powerful magnetic fields to generate its images so there is no exposure to ionizing radiation (such as X-rays). We used MRI equipment in our chemistry labs at school, way back in the days when the technology was still called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging (NMRI). Apparently the marketing folks didn't like the term "nuclear" because of its association with atomic bombs, so now it's just called MRI.

62. Greek column variety : IONIC
The Ionic was one of the three classical orders of architecture, the others being the Doric and the Corinthian. An Ionic column is relatively ornate. It usually has grooves running up and down its length and at the top there is a "scroll" design called a "volute". The scroll motif makes Ionic columns popular for the design of academic buildings. The term “Ionic” means “pertaining to Ionia”, with Ionia being an ancient territory that is located in modern-day Turkey.

69. Heavenly body with a tail : COMET
Comets and asteroids are similar, both being relatively small celestial bodies orbiting the sun. Comets differ from asteroids in that they have a coma or tail, especially when they are close enough to the sun. The coma and tail are temporary fuzzy atmospheres that develop due to the presence of solar radiation.

71. Tahiti, for one : ISLE
Tahiti is the most populous island in French Polynesia, which is located in the central Southern Pacific. Although Captain Cook landed in Tahiti in 1769, he wasn't the first European to do so. However, Cook's visit was the most significant in that it heralded a whole spate of European visitors, who brought with them prostitution, venereal disease and alcohol. Paradoxically, they also brought Christianity. Included among the subsequent visitors was the famous HMS Bounty under the charge of Captain Bligh.

73. Venomous Nile dwellers : ASPS
The venomous snake called an asp was a symbol of royalty in Ancient Egypt.

Down
3. Sunday liquor prohibition : BLUE LAW
“Blue Laws” are prohibitive statutes designed to restrict activities on a Sunday for religious reasons. There seem to be a few dubious etymologies published to explain the use of the term “blue” in such a context. The most credible derivation seems to be point at the supporters of Oliver Cromwell in the British Parliament of the mid-17th century, who were called “blue-stockings”.

5. Field for Robert Indiana or Georgia O'Keeffe : ART
Robert Indiana is the working name used by artist Robert Clark, who was born and raised in Indiana. Indiana’s most famous work is his “LOVE” print, which first appeared in a series of poems written in 1958. The most famous version of the “LOVE” work was created for a 1964 Christmas card used by the Museum of Modern Art. Famously, the print was then used for an 8-cent US postage stamp in 1973.

8. Clerical gatherings : SYNODS
The word synod comes from the Greek word for assembly, or meeting. A synod is a church council, usually in the Christian faith.

9. "Conan" network : TBS
Before Conan O'Brien came to fame as a late night talk show host he was a writer. He wrote for both "Saturday Night Live" and "The Simpsons".

11. Well-educated : ERUDITE
“Erudite” is a lovely-sounding word meaning “learned, well-educated”. The term comes from the Latin verb “erudire” meaning “to educate”, or more literally “to bring out of the rough”.

12. Every West Point graduate until 1980 : ARMY MAN
West Point is a military reservation in New York State, located north of New York City. West Point was first occupied by the Continental Army way back in 1778, making it the longest, continually-occupied military post in the country. Cadet training has taken place at the garrison since 1794, although Congress funding for a US Military Academy (USMA) didn't start until 1802. The first female cadets were admitted to West Point in 1976, and today about 15% of all new cadets are women.

13. Drunkard : TOSSPOT
Drunks have been referred to as tosspots since the mid-1500s. Back then, a tosspot was someone who habitually “tossed” back numerous “pots” of ale.

22. Wood sources for baseball bats : ASH TREES
Most wooden baseball bats are made out of ash. Bats are also made of maple, although maple bats are falling out of favor due to a tendency for them to shatter.

26. Barq's or Mug : ROOT BEER
When the Barq Brothers decided to go into the root beer business around 1900, they were faced with a dilemma as the Hires Root Beer Company was attempting to trademark the term "root beer". So, the Barqs produced their beverage and called it simply Barq's. They did indeed keep things simple, with an early advertising slogan of "Drink Barq's. It's good." As the trademark issue dissipated, the company then introduced a slogan "Is it root beer?" before finally "coming out" and calling their drink "Barq's root beer".

Mug Root Beer is produced in San Francisco. The beverage was introduced in the city in the forties under the name Belfast Root Beer.

34. ___ Pepper : SGT
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band was the alter-ego of the Beatles and was the title of a famous studio album released in 1967.

38. Potent cleaning solution : 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. Pommel horse user : GYMNAST
The pommel horse is a piece of gymnastics apparatus, one traditionally used in male events. The pommel horse was originally developed to allow soldiers practise the mounting and dismounting. There are even claims that Alexander the Great used such a piece of equipment. However, the name “pommel horse” only dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. The term “pommel” dates back to the mid-1600’s when it was first used to mean a “front peak on a saddle”. Before that, a pommel was an ornamental knob.

52. Yearwood of country music : TRISHA
Trisha Yearwood is an American country music singer. She was discovered by the man who is now her third husband, country music legend Garth Brooks.

54. Simon who won a Tony for writing "The Odd Couple" : NEIL
"The Odd Couple" is a play by the wonderfully talented Neil Simon first performed on Broadway, in 1965. This great play was adapted for the big screen in 1968, famously starring Jack Lemmon (as Felix Unger, the neat-freak) and Walter Matthau (as Oscar Madison, the slob). The success of the play and the film gave rise to an excellent television sitcom that ran from 1970-1975, starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman. In 1985, Neil Simon even went so far as to adapt the play for an all-female cast, renaming it "The Female Odd Couple". I'd like to see that one ...

57. Vacillate : WAVER
“To vacillate” is to be indecisive, to waver. The term comes from the Latin “vacillare” meaning “to sway to and fro”.

58. Top TV honors : EMMYS
The Emmy Awards are the television equivalent of the Oscars in the world of film, the Grammy Awards in music and the Tony Awards for the stage. Emmy Awards are presented throughout the year, depending on the sector of television being honored. The most famous of these ceremonies are the Primetime Emmy Awards and the Daytime Emmy Awards. The distinctive name of "Emmy" is a softened version of the word "immy", the nickname given to the video camera tubes found in old television cameras.

63. Soul singer Redding : OTIS
Otis Redding is often referred to as the "King of Soul", and what a voice he had. Like so many of the greats in the world of popular music it seems, Redding was killed in a plane crash, in 1967 when he was just 26 years old. Just three days earlier he had recorded what was to be his biggest hit, "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay".

65. U.F.O. crew, supposedly : ETS
An extraterrestrial (ET) might pilot an unidentified flying object (UFO).

67. Words With Friends, e.g. : APP
“Words With Friends” is a word game application that can be played on smart phones and other electronic devices. “Words With Friends” is basically Scrabble under a different name, I hear.

68. TV exec Moonves : LES
Leslie Moonves had many senior positions in the television industry, especially with CBS and Viacom. Early in his career he was an actor and played tough guy roles on "Cannon" and "The Six Million Dollar Man". Moonves is the great-nephew of David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, and he is married to TV news personality Julie Chen.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Streisand, familiarly : BABS
5. "Planet of the ___" : APES
9. Banana split or fudge brownie : TREAT
14. Pac-12 hoops giant : UCLA
15. Depend (on) : RELY
16. Grand Canyon pack animal : BURRO
17. Toy in a water fight : SQUIRT GUN
19. Urban renewal areas : SLUMS
20. High-end leather variety : SUEDE
21. ___ good job : DO A
23. Breyers rival : EDY’S
24. "Shop ___ you drop" : ‘TIL
25. Crispy seafood dish : FRIED SHRIMP
29. ___ pro nobis : ORA
30. III, to Jr. : SON
31. That woman : SHE
32. Chinese path of enlightenment : TAO
33. Worshipers' seats : PEWS
35. Carry-___ (airplane totes) : ONS
37. Singing, juggling or performing magic : TALENT
39. 1995 crime caper based on an Elmore Leonard novel : GET SHORTY
42. PC key combo : ALT-TAB
45. Garden tool : HOE
46. "Grade A" purchase : EGGS
50. Reason to play overtime : TIE
51. One thanked in the statement "Thank you for your service" : VET
53. Japanese path of enlightenment : ZEN
55. Over there, to a poet : YON
56. Hall-of-Fame Dodger nicknamed "The Little Colonel" : PEE WEE REESE
59. Hosp. body scan : MRI
60. This: Sp. : ESTA
61. Basketball net holder : RIM
62. Greek column variety : IONIC
64. Still kicking : ALIVE
66. Chitchat ... or an apt title for this puzzle? : SMALL TALK
69. Heavenly body with a tail : COMET
70. Overly promote : HYPE
71. Tahiti, for one : ISLE
72. Big-mouthed pitchers : EWERS
73. Venomous Nile dwellers : ASPS
74. * : ST

Down
1. Spot about every two blocks on a major city street : BUS STOP
2. Obtain : ACQUIRE
3. Sunday liquor prohibition : BLUE LAW
4. "You ___ it, brother!" : SAID
5. Field for Robert Indiana or Georgia O'Keeffe : ART
6. Hatrack piece : PEG
7. Avoid, as capture : ELUDE
8. Clerical gatherings : SYNODS
9. "Conan" network : TBS
10. Aid in drawing straight lines : RULER
11. Well-educated : ERUDITE
12. Every West Point graduate until 1980 : ARMY MAN
13. Drunkard : TOSSPOT
18. Gridiron officials, in brief : REFS
22. Wood sources for baseball bats : ASH TREES
26. Barq's or Mug : ROOT BEER
27. Overnight stops on road trips : INNS
28. Furnace output : HEAT
34. ___ Pepper : SGT
36. "Quiet!" : SHH!
38. Potent cleaning solution : LYE
40. Roof overhang : EAVE
41. Trickle (through) : OOZE
42. In a calm state : AT PEACE
43. Stays off the grid, say : LIES LOW
44. When a golf round starts : TEE TIME
47. Pommel horse user : GYMNAST
48. Thug : GORILLA
49. Tee-hee : SNICKER
52. Yearwood of country music : TRISHA
54. Simon who won a Tony for writing "The Odd Couple" : NEIL
57. Vacillate : WAVER
58. Top TV honors : EMMYS
63. Soul singer Redding : OTIS
65. U.F.O. crew, supposedly : ETS
67. Words With Friends, e.g. : APP
68. TV exec Moonves : LES


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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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