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0328-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 28 Mar 15, Saturday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: David Steinberg
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 14m 04s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Hair-raising experience for a beachgoer? : BIKINI WAX
The origin of the name "bikini", a type of bathing suit, seems very uncertain. My favorite story is that it is named after the Bikini Atoll, site of American A-bomb tests in the forties and fifties. The name "bikini" was chosen for the swim-wear because of the "explosive" effect it had on men who saw a woman wearing the garment!

16. Hyperrealist sculptor Hanson : DUANE
Duane Hanson was an artist and sculptor working in South Florida who was very much associated with Pop Art movement and hyperrealism.

An artistic work in the Pop Art style includes images taken from popular culture, perhaps from the news or an advertisement. The Pop Art movement started in the mid-fifties in Britain and emerged in the late-fifties in the US.

In the visual arts, a hyperrealist painter or sculptor produces works that look very, very “real”. similar to photorealists, hyperrealists go even further to portray every visual aspect of the scene they are depicting.

17. Planet pulverizer of sci-fi : DEATH STAR
In the “Star Wars” universe, a Death Star is a huge space station that is the size of a moon. A Death Star is armed with a superlaser that can destroy entire planets.

18. "Today" co-anchor Hill : ERICA
Erica Hill was the co-anchor of “CBS This Morning”, and before that she was co-anchor of CBS’s “The Early Show”. Hill moved in 2008 to NBC News and now co-hosts the weekend edition of “Today”.

19. Composer of the opera "Fiesque" : LALO
Édouard Lalo was a classical composer from France. Lalo’s most famous work is probably the complex opera “Le roi d’Ys”, which is based on a Breton legend.

"Fiesque" is an opera by Edouard Lalo, the French composer. Lalo worked on “Fiesque” from 1866-88, but it didn't get its first public performance until relatively recently, in Mannheim in 2007.

20. What an au pair might study, briefly : 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).

An “au pair” is a domestic assistant from a foreign country working and living as part of a host family. The term “au pair” is French, and means “on a par”, indicating that an au pair is treated as an equal in the host family.

22. Bygone military commander : AGA
"Aga" (also "agha") is a title that was used by both civil and military officials in the Ottoman Empire.

25. He worked with the illustrator Phiz : BOZ
The English author Charles Dickens used the pen-name “Boz” early in his career. He had already established himself as the most famous novelist of the Victorian Era when he came to visit America in 1842. He was honored by 3,000 of New York's elite at a "Boz Ball" in the Park Theater.

“Phiz” was the pen name of English artist Hablot Knight Browne. Browne met Charles Dickens when the author was looking for someone to illustrate “The Pickwick Papers”. Both Browne and author William Makepeace Thackeray (who also illustrated) applied for the commission, and Browne won the day. Brown changed his pen name from Nemo to Phiz in order to better meld with “Boz”, the pen name used by Dickens.

32. "Jeweler of kings, king of jewelers," per Edward VII : CARTIER
Cartier is a manufacturer of jewelry and watches based in Paris that has had a long association with royalty and the very rich. According to King Edward VII, Cartier is “the jeweller of kings and the king of jewellers” (note the English spelling of “jeweller”!).

37. Setting for un'opera : TEATRO
“Teatro” is the Italian for “theater”.

41. Natural pain reliever : ALOE
Aloe vera has a number of alternate names that are descriptive of its efficacy as a medicine. These include the First Aid plant, Wand of Heaven, Silent Healer and Miracle Plant.

42. Chain for a mechanic : NAPA
The National Automotive Parts Association (NAPA) is a retailers’ cooperative that supplies replacement parts for cars and trucks.

48. Fluffy toy, familiarly : POM
The Pomeranian is a breed of small dog, named for the Pomerania region of Europe (part of eastern Germany and northern Poland). The breed was much loved by the royalty of Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. In the 19th century, Queen Victoria owned a particularly small Pomeranian. Due to the notoriety of the monarch's pet, the Pomeranian was bred for small size, so that during the Queen's admittedly long reign, the size of the average "pom" was reduced by 50% ...

49. Novel opinions, informally? : LIT CRIT
Literary studies, also called literary criticism (lit. crit.), is the evaluation and interpretation of literature.

51. It fell after 15 years : MIR
The Russian Mir Space Station was a remarkably successful project, with the station still holding the record for the longest continuous manned presence in space, at just under ten years. Towards the end of the space station's life however, the years began to take their toll. There was a dangerous fire, multiple system failures, and a collision with a resupply ship. The Russian commitment to the International Space Station drained funds for repairs, so Mir was allowed to reenter the Earth's atmosphere and burn up in 2001.

55. Word of caution : FORE!
No one seems to know for sure where the golfing term "fore!" comes from. It has been used at least as far back as 1881, and since then has been called out to warn other golfers that a wayward ball might be heading their way. My favorite possibility for its origin is that it is a contraction of the Gaelic warning cry "Faugh a Ballagh!" (clear the way!) which is still called out in the sport of road bowling. Road bowling is an Irish game where players bowl balls along roads between villages, trying to reach the end of the course in as few bowls as possible, just like in golf!

57. They're taken to go : LAXATIVES
Long before the word "lax" was used to mean loose in terms of rules and discipline, it was used solely to mean "loose" as in "loose bowels". Yep, “lax” has the same root as "laxative" ...

60. Periodical whose first shared cover featured Michelle Obama : O MAGAZINE
The full name of the publication usually called “O”, is “O: The Oprah Magazine”. Since the magazine’s founding in 2000, Oprah has appeared alone on the cover of each issue, with two exceptions. On the April 2009 cover Oprah was shown with First Lady Michelle Obama, and on the December 2009 cover Oprah shared the limelight with Ellen DeGeneres.

61. Six-pack container? : TORSO
"Torso" (plural “torsi”) is an Italian word meaning the "trunk of a statue", a word that we imported into English.

Down
1. Rowdydow : BEDLAM
Bethlem Royal Hospital is a facility in London in the UK for treating mental illness. The original facility was a hospital way back in the 1300s, and had the name “Bedlam”. In the 1700s and 1800s the hospital actually made money out of its patients as it charged a penny to members of the public allowing them to visit the hospital and view the unfortunate inmates in their cells. Tens of thousands of such paid visits were made each year. Our word “bedlam”, meaning uproar and confusion, is derived from the hospital’s name, and it reflects the cruel and inhumane treatment endured by the inmates in days gone by.

2. Big chill? : ICE AGE
Ice ages are periods in the Earth’s history when there are extensive ice sheets present in the northern and southern hemispheres. One might argue that we are still in an ice age that began 2.6 million years ago, as evidenced by the presence of ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica.

3. Some joeys : KOALAS
The koala bear really does look like a little bear, but it's not even closely related. The koala is an arboreal marsupial and a herbivore, native to the east and south coasts of Australia. Koalas aren’t primates, and are one of the few mammals other than primates who have fingerprints. In fact, it can be very difficult to tell human fingerprints from koala fingerprints, even under an electron microscope. Male koalas are called “bucks”, females are “does”, and young koalas are “joeys”. I’m a little jealous of the koala, as it sleeps up to 20 hours a day ...

5. Overseas drama : NOH
Noh is a form of musical drama in Japan that has been around since the 14th century. Many of the Noh performers are masked, allowing all the roles to be played by men, both male and female parts.

8. Spring-blooming bush : AZALEA
Azaleas are very toxic to horses, sheep and goats, but strangely enough cause no problem for cats or dogs. And if you go to Korea you might come across "Tug Yonju", which is azalea wine made from the plant's blossoms.

9. Kid who had an original Rubik's Cube, e.g. : 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.

What was originally called the “Magic Cube” became better known as Rubik’s Cube, named for its inventor Ernő Rubik. Rubik's Cube is the world’s biggest selling puzzle game, with over 350 million sold in just over 30 years.

10. Classical music venue : ODEON
In Ancient Greece an odeon (also odeum) was like a small theater, with "odeon" literally meaning a "building for musical competition". Odea were used in both Greece and Rome for entertainments such as musical shows and poetry readings.

29. Best successor : STARR
Ringo Starr's real name is Richard Starkey. Before he joined the Beatles (replacing drummer Pete Best), Starkey played with the Raving Texans. It was with the Raving Texans that he adopted the name "Ringo Starr", because he wore a lot of rings and he thought it sounded "cowboyish". Back then his drum solos were billed as "Starr Time".

Musician Pete Best is most famous as the first drummer with the Beatles. Famously, Best was sacked from the band by manager Brian Epstein. However, Epstein took this step reluctantly, and at the request of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison. Several stories have emerged about why the decision was made, but it seems that record producers at Parlophone were insisting that a session drummer be used in the band’s first recordings, and things snowballed from there. And of course, Best was soon replaced by Ringo Starr.

31. Musandam Peninsula populace : OMANIS
The Musandam peninsula juts out into the Strait of Hormuz, at the entry to the Persian Gulf. The peninsula if Omani territory, even though it is separated from the rest of the country by the United Arab Emirates (making the Musandam peninsula an “exclave” of Oman). The catamaran ferry service running from Musandam and the Omani capital of Muscat is reportedly the fastest passenger ferry in the world.

34. Disappearing communication system? : SNAPCHAT
Snapchat is a messaging system that allows users to send photos and video clips to a limited list of recipients. The photos and clips, called “snaps”, can be viewed for only a few seconds before they are deleted from the recipient’s device and from the Snapchat servers.

35. Home of the Canyon of the Ancients : COLORADO
The Canyon of the Ancients is a national monument in the southwest of Colorado that preserves a high concentration of Ancestral Puebloan ruins.

39. Colloquial pronoun : DAT
In Brooklynese, one of “dose” (those) is “dat” (that).

43. Microsoft's Age of Empires, e.g. : PC GAME
“Age of Empires” is a computer game first published by Microsoft in 1997. “Age of Empires” was brought out to compete with a similar game called “Civilization” that remains popular to this day. Both are historical strategy games.

45. Apple app for video editing : IMOVIE
iMovie is a video editing program published by Apple and distributed free with many of its products.

50. Late stage, of sorts : IMAGO
The imago is an intermediate stage in the development of an insect. All four stages are embryo, larva, pupa and imago.

57. Modern lead-in to cat : LOL-
“Lolcat” is the name given to an image of a cat with a humorous message superimposed in text. Such images have been around since the late 1800s, but the term “lolcat” only surfaced in 2006 as the phenomenon was sweeping across the Internet. “Lolcat” is a melding of the acronym for “laugh out loud” (LOL) and “cat”. New to me, I must say ...

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Hair-raising experience for a beachgoer? : BIKINI WAX
10. Cry of mock enthusiasm : OH JOY!
15. Bypass brand names, say : ECONOMIZE
16. Hyperrealist sculptor Hanson : DUANE
17. Planet pulverizer of sci-fi : DEATH STAR
18. "Today" co-anchor Hill : ERICA
19. Composer of the opera "Fiesque" : LALO
20. What an au pair might study, briefly : ESL
21. One of a set set in hair : ROLLER
22. Bygone military commander : AGA
23. Increase the pitch of : STEEPEN
25. He worked with the illustrator Phiz : BOZ
26. Tough to resolve : MESSY
28. Catch but good : NAIL
29. Computer command : SAVE
30. Western shocker : PROD
32. "Jeweler of kings, king of jewelers," per Edward VII : CARTIER
34. Harum-___ : SCARUM
37. Setting for un'opera : TEATRO
38. It has rules for writers : NOTEPAD
40. Stand : BEAR
41. Natural pain reliever : ALOE
42. Chain for a mechanic : NAPA
44. Like new bills : CRISP
48. Fluffy toy, familiarly : POM
49. Novel opinions, informally? : LIT CRIT
51. It fell after 15 years : MIR
52. "Jeepers!" : CRIPES!
54. 32-Across offering : GEM
55. Word of caution : FORE!
56. Like some broken pledges? : HAZED
57. They're taken to go : LAXATIVES
59. Expert : ADEPT
60. Periodical whose first shared cover featured Michelle Obama : O MAGAZINE
61. Six-pack container? : TORSO
62. Option for giving food a bite : LEMON ZEST

Down
1. Rowdydow : BEDLAM
2. Big chill? : ICE AGE
3. Some joeys : KOALAS
4. ___ pieces : INTO
5. Overseas drama : NOH
6. Response to "Need anything else?" : I”M SET
7. Point of exasperation : WITS END
8. Spring-blooming bush : AZALEA
9. Kid who had an original Rubik's Cube, e.g. : XER
10. Classical music venue : ODEON
11. Cast : HURL
12. Under-age temptation : JAIL BAIT
13. Quick examination : ONCE-OVER
14. Beginning of time : YEAR ZERO
21. Apply : RELATE
23. Some cough medicine : SYRUP
24. 34-Down item : PIC
27. Major indulgence : SPREE
29. Best successor : STARR
31. Musandam Peninsula populace : OMANIS
33. Change color, maybe : REACT
34. Disappearing communication system? : SNAPCHAT
35. Home of the Canyon of the Ancients : COLORADO
36. Perfume delivery option : ATOMIZER
39. Colloquial pronoun : DAT
40. Need to practice? : BAR EXAM
43. Microsoft's Age of Empires, e.g. : PC GAME
45. Apple app for video editing : IMOVIE
46. Emergency alerts : SIRENS
47. Like many radio stations : PRESET
49. Prompted : LED TO
50. Late stage, of sorts : IMAGO
53. Fires (up) : PEPS
55. Opposite of flatness : FIZZ
57. Modern lead-in to cat : LOL-
58. Lick : TAN


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1 comment :

Willie D said...

I liked this grid a lot. I seem to recall Steinberg co-created Bernice Gordon's final puzzle to appear in the NYT DAT kid is very talented--is he even out of high school yet? Lots of youthful references running around here: SNAPCHAT, PIC, JAILBAIT (hmm his mind must be wandering off), etc. Mixed in with some more erudite references. I will take issue with LOL and TAN. Neither answer seems to fit the clue, or is my age showing?

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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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