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0320-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 20 Mar 15, Friday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Roland Huget
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 19m 01s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … TEAR (rear), EBBETS (Ebbers)

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Writes a Dear John letter, say : ENDS IT
Apparently the term "Dear John letter" originated in WWII among American troops who were serving abroad. The servicemen highly valued letters from girlfriends and wives back home, and almost invariably those missives started out with "Dearest", or "My Darling" or some other expression of affection. A curt, "Dear John" set the tone for a letter which was likely to contain news of a new love interest in the life of the girlfriend or wife.

13. Like many movies on file-sharing sites : BOOTLEG
“To bootleg” is make or smuggle alcoholic drinks illegally. The term arose in the late 1800s as slang for the practice of concealing a flask of liquor down the leg of a high boot. The term has been extended to mean the illegal production and sale of just about anything.

15. Lane in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame : RONNIE
Ronnie Lane was a founding member and bass guitarist of the English band Small Faces. Lane developed multiple sclerosis in the late seventies and passed away at the age of 51 after having struggled with the disease for 21 years.

18. Title locale in a 1987 Cheech Marin film : EAST LA
“Born in East L.A.” is a 1987 comedy that was written, directed and starred Cheech Marin of Cheech & Chong fame.

19. It starts in late winter in N.Y.C. : EDT
Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

22. "Licensed to ___" (first rap album to reach #1) : ILL
“Licensed to Ill” is a 1986 studio album released by the Beastie Boys. It was the first rap album to reach number-one in the Billboard charts. Beastie Boys are a hip hop band from New York that formed back in 1981.

23. Career : TEAR
"Careen" dates back to 1590 when it meant "to turn a ship on its side, exposing the keel". The word evolved from the Middle French word "carene" meaning "keel". Our modern usage, meaning to lean or tilt, only dates back as far as the 1880s. Careen should not be confused with "career", a verb meaning to move rapidly. One has to "career" from side-to-side in order to "careen".

25. Appetizer served with a two-pronged fork : SNAIL
“Escargot” is the French word for “snail”. In order to eat snails, apparently they have to be “purged” before killing them. That means starving them or feeding them on something “wholesome” for several days before cooking them up. Ugh …

26. Mayberry moppet : OPIE
Opie Taylor is the character played by Ron Howard on “The Andy Griffith Show”. Opie lives with widowed father Andy Taylor (played by Andy Griffith) and his great-aunt Beatrice “Aunt Bee” Taylor (played by Frances Bavier. Ron Howard first played the role in 1960 in the pilot show, when he was just 5 years old. Howard sure has come a long way since playing Opie Taylor. He has directed some fabulous movies including favorites of mine like "Apollo 13", "A Beautiful Mind" and "The Da Vinci Code".

Mayberry is the fictional North Carolina town in which the “The Andy Griffith Show” is set. Mayberry is said to based on Griffith’s own hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina.

27. Songwriter Carole Bayer ___ : SAGER
Carole Bayer Sager is a lyricist and singer. Sager’s first big hit was “A Groovy Kind of Love”, which she wrote with Toni White. She won the Best Song Oscar in 1981 for the theme song from the film “Arthur”, and won a Grammy in 1987 for “That’s What Friends Are For”, which she co-wrote with Burt Bacharach. In terms of her personal life, Sager had a romantic relationship with composer Marvin Hamlisch, and was married for several years to composer Burt Bacharach.

30. Staple of Hindustani music : SITAR
The sitar has been around since the Middle Ages. The sitar is a stringed instrument that is played by plucking, and is used most often in Hindustani classical music. In the West we have been exposed to the instrument largely through the performances of Ravi Shankar and some music by George Harrison of the Beatles, a onetime student of Shankar.

31. Event often with gate crashers? : GIANT SLALOM
Slalom is an anglicized version of the Norwegian word "slalam" that translates as "skiing race". There is a longer version of the traditional slalom that is called giant slalom.

35. Just deserts : COMEUPPANCE
The phrase "just deserts" describes something which is deserved, and in today's usage that can be something good or bad. The expression has been around a long time, and back in the 14th century it only applied to something bad. I guess the idea is that someone doing something unacceptable got his "just deserts", the dry and barren expanses fitting to the deed. Over time, the pronunciation of "deserts" changed, with the emphasis on the second syllable, like our word "desserts". The correct phrase is still spelled "just deserts", but it is pronounced "just desserts". As a result, many believe that the phrase is in fact spelled "just desserts", meaning is one is getting what one deserves, sweet endings to one's meals, as it were. But no, one is getting a dry and arid expanse that sounds like something sweet to eat. The correct spelling is "just deserts" and the correct pronunciation is "just desserts".

36. Spaghetti western persona : LONER
Spaghetti Westerns are cowboy movies that were produced and directed by Italians in the 1960s, inspired by the success of the filmmaker Sergio Leone. Leone directed the best-known and most successful movies in the genre: “A Fistful of Dollars” (1964), “For a Few Dollars More” (1965) and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966), all of which starred Clint Eastwood.

37. Chinese dynasty of 2,000 years ago : HAN
The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China and lasted from 206 BC to 220 AD. It came after the Qin Dynasty, and before the Three Kingdoms.

42. Model married to David Bowie : IMAN
Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid is a supermodel from Somalia who goes simply by the name "Iman" these days. Iman is smart cookie. Imam has a degree in Political Science and is fluent in five languages: Somali, Arabic, Italian, French and English. Since 1992, Iman has been married to British rock star David Bowie.

43. Medicinal shrub : SENNA
Sennas are used as purgatives and laxatives.

46. Longtime news inits. : NPR
National Public Radio (now just called NPR) was launched in 1970 after President Johnson signed into law the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. The intent of the act was to provide funding for radio and television broadcasting that wasn’t simply driven by profit. As a longtime fan of the state-funded BBC in the UK, I’d have to agree with that intent …

47. Tin alloys : PEWTERS
Pewter is a relatively soft alloy that is made up mostly of tin, with some copper, antimony, bismuth and lead.

49. Word on many fragrance bottles : EAU
Back in 1709, an Italian perfume-maker moved to Cologne in Germany. There he invented a new fragrance that he named Eau de Cologne after his newly adopted town. The fragrance is still produced in Cologne, using a secret formulation. However, the terms "Eau de Cologne" and "cologne", are now used generically.

50. Who wrote to Ptolemy I "There is no royal road to geometry" : EUCLID
Euclid of Alexandria was a Greek mathematician who was active around 300 BC, and who is often referred to as the "Father of Geometry". Euclid wrote a famous book called "Elements" on the subject of mathematics, a book that was so enduring that it was used as the main textbook for the subject right up to the late 19th century.

52. So-called "teardrop of India" : SRI LANKA
The name Sri Lanka translates from Sanskrit into English as "venerable island". Before 1970, Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon, a name given to the country during British rule.

54. Her helmet is shown on West Point's coat of arms : ATHENA
The Greek goddess Athena is often associated with wisdom (among other attributes). In many representations. Athena is depicted with an owl sitting on her head. It is this linkage of the owl with the goddess of wisdom that led to today's perception of the owl as being "wise".

56. Kind of jar : LEYDEN
A Leyden jar is a cool device that stores static electricity, something we may remember from high school science class. The jar is in effect a capacitor (a farad is a unit of capacitance), storing the charge between foil coatings on the inside and outside of the glass jar. One of the inventors was Dutch scientist Pieter van Musschenbroek of Leyden, a city that is home to the oldest university in the Netherlands, and a city that gave its name to the invention.

Down
1. Reese's field : EBBETS
Ebbets Field was home to the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1913 to 1957.

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.

3. Private identification? : DOG TAG
The identification tags worn by soldiers are often called “dog tags”, simply because they do resemble tags worn by dogs. US military personnel are required to wear dog tags when in the field. Each soldier wears either two tags or a special tag that breaks easily into two identical pieces. The idea is that if a soldier is killed then one half can be removed for notification and the remaining half stays with the body. Each tag contains basics such as name and ID number, medical information like blood type, and possibly a religious preference.

5. Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, e.g. : ILES
Saint Pierre and Miquelon is an island group and an overseas territory of France that is located off the Atlantic coast of Canada. It is all that remains of the former French colony of New France.

7. Spinning : AREEL
I know that we see “areel” in crosswords an awful lot, but as someone pointed out to me recently in an email, I am not sure that “areel” is actually a word …

8. V-8 sound : ROAR
The engine known as a V8 is configured with two rows of four cylinders mounted on a crankcase. The rows of cylinders are offset from each other around the crankshaft at right angles, or perhaps a little less. This arrangement of eight cylinders in a V-shape gives rise to the name “V8”.

9. Hosp. workers : RNS
Registered nurses (RNs)

11. Leader at the Battle of Hastings : WILLIAM
The Norman Conquest of England started in 1066 when William, Duke of Normandy defeated King Harold II of England at the Battle of Hastings. William was crowned King William I of England, and was dubbed William the Conqueror.

14. Augustus, to Julius Caesar : GRANDNEPHEW
Gaius Octavius Thurinus (often called Octavian) was the grandnephew and adopted son of Gaius Julius Caesar. After Julius Caesar was assassinated, Octavian came to power in Rome and teamed up with Mark Antony and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus in what was called the Second Triumvirate. When the triumvirate fell apart, especially after Antony’s defeat at Actium, Octavian became more powerful within the Roman Republic. Several years later he wrested sufficient power from the Roman Senate to end the Republic and begin the Roman Empire. As the first Emperor of Rome, Octavian was given the name Caesar Augustus. The month of August, originally called “Sextilis” in Latin, was renamed in honor of Augustus.

17. Wisenheimer : SMARTY-PANTS
A smart Alec or wise guy might be called “Wisenheimer”. The term is mock German or Yiddish and dates back to the very early 1900s.

21. Longtime adviser on dos and don'ts : MISS MANNERS
"Miss Manners" is the pen name of Judith Martin, a journalist and authority in the field of etiquette.

26. Canola, e.g. : OILSEED
Canola is a type of rapeseed, and Canola oil is made from the seeds. The particular cultivar used in oil production was developed in Canada, and the name Canola in fact comes from "CANadian Oil, Low Acid".

32. When repeated, Thor Heyerdahl book : AKU
“Aku-Aku: the Secret of Easter Island” is a book by Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl that was first published in 1958.

33. Chaney of horror : LON
Lon Chaney, Sr. played a lot of crazed-looking characters in the days of silent movies. He did much of his own make-up work, developing the grotesque appearances that became his trademark, and earning himself the nickname "the man of a thousand faces". Most famous were his portrayals of the title characters in the films “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1923) and "The Phantom of the Opera" (1925).

34. Saudi Arabia, for one : MONARCHY
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest Arab country in the Middle East and is the world's largest oil producer, home to the world's largest oil reserves. The Saudi dynasty started in central Arabia in 1744 when the secular leader Muhammad ibn Saud joined forces with the Islamic scholar and Imam, Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab. At the time, Saud was a ruler of a town near Riyadh and he was determined to bring "true" Islam to the Arabian peninsula. Since 1744 the fortunes of the Saudi family have risen and fallen, but it is that same family who rules what we know today as Saudi Arabia.

39. Nothing, in Napoli : NIENTE
Naples (“Napoli” in Italian) is the third largest city in Italy. The name “Napoli” comes from the city’s Ancient Greek name, which translates as “New City”. That’s a bit of a paradox as today Naples is one of the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in the world.

41. 1983 Lionel Richie hit : YOU ARE
“You Are” was a 1983 hit for Lionel Richie. Richie co-wrote “You Are” with his wife at that time, Brenda Harvey Richie.

43. Body style : SEDAN
The American "sedan" car is the equivalent of the British "saloon" car. By definition, a sedan car has two rows of seating and a separate trunk (boot in the UK), although in some models the engine can be at the rear of the car.

44. "Eugene Onegin" highlights : ARIAS
“Eugene Onegin” is a novel by the Russian author Alexander Pushkin. The novel is unusual in that it is written in verse form. “Eugene Onegin” was adapted into an opera of the same name by Pyotr Tchaikovsky.

53. Ruling party in Pretoria, for short : ANC
The African National Congress (ANC) started out as the South African Native National Congress in 1912 with the goal of improving the lot of Black South Africans. After years of turmoil, the ANC came to power in the first open election in 1964.

Pretoria is the executive capital of South Africa, one of three capital cities in the country. Cape Town is the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein is the judicial capital.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Writes a Dear John letter, say : ENDS IT
7. Ones taking a bow? : ARROWS
13. Like many movies on file-sharing sites : BOOTLEG
15. Lane in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame : RONNIE
16. Prime times : BIG YEARS
18. Title locale in a 1987 Cheech Marin film : EAST LA
19. It starts in late winter in N.Y.C. : EDT
20. Betray some nervousness : STAMMER
22. "Licensed to ___" (first rap album to reach #1) : ILL
23. Career : TEAR
25. Appetizer served with a two-pronged fork : SNAIL
26. Mayberry moppet : OPIE
27. Songwriter Carole Bayer ___ : SAGER
29. Hosp. workers : DRS
30. Staple of Hindustani music : SITAR
31. Event often with gate crashers? : GIANT SLALOM
34. Not to be taken seriously : MICKEY MOUSE
35. Just deserts : COMEUPPANCE
36. Spaghetti western persona : LONER
37. Chinese dynasty of 2,000 years ago : HAN
38. Tiny, informally : EENSY
42. Model married to David Bowie : IMAN
43. Medicinal shrub : SENNA
45. Natural history museum exhibit, informally : DINO
46. Longtime news inits. : NPR
47. Tin alloys : PEWTERS
49. Word on many fragrance bottles : EAU
50. Who wrote to Ptolemy I "There is no royal road to geometry" : EUCLID
52. So-called "teardrop of India" : SRI LANKA
54. Her helmet is shown on West Point's coat of arms : ATHENA
55. Amble : SAUNTER
56. Kind of jar : LEYDEN
57. Break off : SECEDE

Down
1. Reese's field : EBBETS
2. "You got me there" : NO IDEA
3. Private identification? : DOG TAG
4. Dump : STY
5. Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, e.g. : ILES
6. Nature's pacifiers? : TEATS
7. Spinning : AREEL
8. V-8 sound : ROAR
9. Hosp. workers : RNS
10. So as not to wake anyone, say : ON TIPTOE
11. Leader at the Battle of Hastings : WILLIAM
12. Eskimo hunter, at times : SEALER
14. Augustus, to Julius Caesar : GRANDNEPHEW
17. Wisenheimer : SMARTY-PANTS
21. Longtime adviser on dos and don'ts : MISS MANNERS
24. Tough course : REGIMEN
26. Canola, e.g. : OILSEED
28. Kitchen tool : RICER
30. Hard stuff : SAUCE
32. When repeated, Thor Heyerdahl book : AKU
33. Chaney of horror : LON
34. Saudi Arabia, for one : MONARCHY
35. Make sense : COMPUTE
36. Hereditary : LINEAL
39. Nothing, in Napoli : NIENTE
40. Wound : SNAKED
41. 1983 Lionel Richie hit : YOU ARE
43. Body style : SEDAN
44. "Eugene Onegin" highlights : ARIAS
47. Long : PINE
48. Turn on an axis : SLUE
51. Like some lamps : LED
53. Ruling party in Pretoria, for short : ANC


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3 comments :

Willie D said...

Finished with no errors, but it took a while. Lots of new ones today.

STAMMER: Bob Newhart tells a story about the filming of The Bob Newhart Show pilot. The director said his stutter was making the show run long, could he please stop. Newhart replied, "First of all, it's a stammer, not a stutter. Second, this stutter paid for my mouse in Malubu." EASTLA: Cheech Marin singing "Born in East L.A. from the film (think Bruce Springsteen). In 1982, several famous musicians organized a concert in RONNIE Lane's memory to support MS research, whihc included Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Steve Winwood, Jimmy Page, Bill Wyman and Kenny Jones. Very moving.

Anonymous said...

I was surprised to finish, with no errors, a consecutive Thursday and Friday puzzle. That's a first for me. But, before my head swells too much, I wasn't able to finish Tuesday's this week, which for me is usually a given.

STAMMER was a good one, I first put in STUTTER, but later Down's helped me see the e-e-e-error of my w-w-ways. LEYDEN, that's a completely new one on me, as is SENNA (I originally thought HENNA).

A moderately difficult puzzle, but more a Wednesday for difficulty. Just, THANK GOD it had no rebuses, dirty tricks or disingenuous clue "editing".

BruceB. said...

Finished 18:47 with no errors, but spent about 1/3 of my time on the northwest corner. Only thing that got me through that: grew up in NYC in the 50's. Brooklyn Bums were my favorite team, my dad took me to a game at Ebbets. Favorite players were Duke Snyder, Gil Hodges and PeeWee Reese.

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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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