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0518-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 18 May 15, Monday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Gene Newman
THEME: Tom Swifties … each of today’s themed answers is a “punny” adverb, one relating to the sense of the clue. Such punny phrases are referred to as “Tom Swifties”, as they were used liberally in the “Tom Swift” series of children’s books:
18A. "You forgot to water the plants," Tom said ___ : WITHERINGLY (and they WITHERED)
61A. "Oh, I just fed the alligator," Tom said ___ : OFFHANDEDLY (and it bit my HAND OFF)
3D. "As much as I'd like, you're not getting any of my estate," Tom said ___ : UNWILLINGLY (and you’re out of my WILL)
28D. "Being a bit lazy, I prefer automatic," Tom said ___ : SHIFTLESSLY (so I SHIFT gear LESS)
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 5m 18s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Ostrichlike bird : EMU
The emu has had a tough time in Australia since man settled there. There was even an "Emu War" in Western Australia in 1932 when migrating emus competed with livestock for water and food. Soldiers were sent in and used machine guns in an unsuccessful attempt to drive off the "invading force". The emus were clever, breaking their usual formations and adopting guerrilla tactics, operating as smaller units. After 50 days of "war", the military withdrew. Subsequent requests for military help for the farmers were ignored. The emus had emerged victorious …

4. Alternative to rock and scissors : PAPER
Rock-paper-scissors is a hand game played by two people, at least here in North America. Back in Ireland we called the game “scissors-paper-stone”. The game is often used as a way to choose between two options or two people.

9. T-bone, for one : STEAK
The T-bone and porterhouse are related cuts of meat, with the latter being a larger version of the former, and both being cut from the short loin.

15. Girl who was a guest at the Mad Hatter's tea party : ALICE
In Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", the Mad Hatter makes his first appearance in a chapter called "A Mad Tea-Party". This event is usually described as "The Mad Hatter's Tea Party", even though the Mad Hatter was just a guest. The host was the March Hare. In fact, the phrase "mad Hatter" doesn't appear anywhere in Lewis Carroll's novel, although the character, the Hatter (and sometimes "Hatta"), is described as mad.

16. Bird on the back of a quarter : EAGLE
The American quarter is a little unusual in the world of decimal currency if you think about it. Most currencies have a "20-cent" coin, easier to work with mathematically. The US went for the quarter in deference to the practice of dividing Spanish Milled Dollars into eight wedge-shaped "bits". That's also why the quarter is sometimes referred to as "two bits". State quarters were introduced in 1999, but prior to that the quarter had an eagle on its reverse.

20. Hunter constellation : ORION
The very recognizable constellation of Orion is named after the Greek God Orion, the Hunter. If you take a look at the star in Orion's "right shoulder", the second brightest star in the constellation, you might notice that it is quite red in color. This is the famous star called Betelgeuse, a red supergiant, a huge star that is on its way out. Betelgeuse is expected to explode into a supernova within the next thousand years or so. You don't want to miss that ...

23. Playwright Hellman : LILLIAN
Lillian Hellman was a dramatist and screenwriter who was famously blacklisted by the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) in the late forties and early fifties. Although Hellman was ostensibly married to playwright Arthur Kober, her name was linked romantically with author Dashiell Hammett. Hammett was also blacklisted by HUAC for decades.

26. Savory filled pastries : SAMOSAS
A samosa is quite a tasty appetizer, usually a triangular-shaped savory that often has a vegetarian filling. The word "samosa" is primarily used on Indian menus, and the name comes from "sanbosag", the name for the dish in Persia.

41. Reaction to the Beatles in 1964 or Justin Bieber in 2010 : MANIA
The phenomenon known as “Beatlemania” originated in the early sixties, with the term describing the frenzy exhibited particularly by female fans of the group. The term is perhaps imitative of the much older “Lisztomania”, a term coined in 1844 for the similar fan frenzy directed towards pianist and composer Franz Liszt during an eight-year tour of Europe starting in 1939. Hysterical fans of Liszt would try to get locks of his hair, fight over his handkerchiefs and even carry glass vials containing the dregs from his coffee cup.

Justin Bieber is a young pop singer from London, Ontario. Bieber was actually discovered on YouTube by talent manager Scooter Braun. Fans of Bieber call themselves “Beliebers”. Personally, I’m no believer in Bieber …

44. Former F.B.I. director J. ___ Hoover : EDGAR
J. Edgar Hoover was the controversial director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from the time of its founding in 1935 until his death in 1972. While being given the credit for establishing the FBI as a first-class crime-fighting organization, he was also criticized by many for exceeding his authority. In particular, he came into conflict with Presidents Truman and Kennedy, both of whom considered dismissing him. Neither took that step however, fearing the political fallout.

48. Gridiron scores, for short : TDS
Touchdowns (TDs)

We never used the word "gridiron" when I was growing up in Ireland (meaning a grill used for cooking food over an open fire). So, maybe I am excused for finding out relatively recently that a football field gridiron is so called because the layout of yard lines over the field looks like a gridiron used in cooking!

53. North Pole workplace : TOY SHOP
The Santa Claus with whom we are familiar today largely comes from the description in the 1823 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, and from the 1863 caricature created by the political cartoonist Thomas Nast. Nast is also responsible for locating Santa’s workshop at the North Magnetic Pole, a fact that he revealed to the world in a series of drawings in 1879.

55. Sound systems : STEREOS
Monophonic sound ("mono") is sound reproduced using just one audio channel, which is usually played out of just one speaker. Stereophonic sound is reproduced using two audio channels, with the sound from each channel played out of two different speakers. The pair of stereo speakers are usually positioned apart from each other so that sound appears to come from between the two. Quadraphonic sound (4.0 surround sound) uses four audio channels with the sound played back through four speakers often positioned at the corners of the room in which one is listening.

60. "Saturday Night Fever" music genre : DISCO
Discotheques first appeared during WWII in Occupied France. American-style music (like jazz and jitterbug dances) was banned by the Nazis, so French natives met in underground clubs that they called discotheques where records were often played on just a single turntable. After the war, these clubs came out into the open. One famous Paris discotheque was called "Whiskey a Gogo". In that Paris disco, non-stop music was played using two turntables next to a dance-floor, and this concept spread around the world.

"Saturday Night Fever" was a phenomenal movie in its day, but to be honest I don't think it has aged well. I still love the soundtrack, the third best selling movie soundtrack of all time (number one is "The Bodyguard" and number two is “Purple Rain”, would you believe?). "Saturday Night Fever" was the first film for which the soundtrack was launched before the movie itself, in a cross-marketing exercise designed to hype the movie before its release.

61. "Oh, I just fed the alligator," Tom said ___ : OFFHANDEDLY (and it bit my HAND OFF)
Crocodiles and alligators bear a resemblance to each other, although they belong to distinct biological families. One of the main ways used to distinguish them is by their teeth and jaws. Both the upper and lower sets of teeth of a crocodile are visible when its mouth is closed, whereas only the upper teeth of an alligator are visible with the mouth shut.

67. What crosswalks cross: Abbr. : STS
Street (st.)

68. The "P" of R.S.V.P. : PLAIT
RSVP stands for "répondez s'il vous plaît", which is French for "please, answer".

69. Hit 1977 musical with the song "It's the Hard-Knock Life" : ANNIE
"It's the Hard-Knock Life" is a song written for the 1977 Broadway musical "Annie". The musical was based on Harold Gray's comic strip "Little Orphan Annie". There were two subsequent film adaptations, both really quite successful, including one released in 1982 directed by John Huston of all people. "Annie" was Huston's only ever musical.

71. Prom duds for guys : TUXES
The style of men's evening dress called a "tuxedo" was apparently first worn to a country club event in 1886 in New York. The use of a dark dinner jacket without tails became fashionable at the club with the members, and the tradition spread from there. The country club was located in Tuxedo Park, New York, giving the style of dress its name.

A prom is a formal dance held upon graduation from high school (we call them "formals" over in Ireland). The term "prom" is short for "promenade", the name given to a type of dance or ball.

“Duds” is an informal word for clothing, coming from the word “dudde” that was used around 1300 as the name for a cloak.

73. Since Jan. 1 : YTD
Year-to-date (YTD)

Down
1. Swashbuckling Flynn : ERROL
Errol Flynn was born 1909 in Tasmania, Australia where he was raised. In his twenties, Flynn lived in the UK where he pursued his acting career. Around the same time he starred in an Australian film "In the Wake of the Bounty" and then appeared in a British film "Murder at Monte Carlo". It was in the latter film that he was noticed by Warner Brothers who brought him to America. Flynn's non-American heritage shone through even while he was living the American dream in California. He regularly played cricket, along with his friend David Niven, in the Hollywood Cricket Club.

A “swashbuckler” is a flashy swordsman. The term probably derives somehow from “swash” meaning “fall of a blow” and “buckler”, the name of a small, round shield.

2. Native New Zealander : MAORI
The Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand. The Māori are eastern Polynesian in origin and began arriving in New Zealand relatively recently, starting sometime in the late 13th century. The word "māori" simply means "normal", distinguishing the mortal human being from spiritual entities.

3. "As much as I'd like, you're not getting any of my estate," Tom said ___ : UNWILLINGLY (and you’re out of my WILL)
“Will” is an Old English word meaning “wish, desire, determination”. In the 14th century, we started using “will” for a written document laying out a person’s “wishes” for the disposition of property after death.

4. Hocking : PAWNING
I remember the bad old days growing up in Dublin, Ireland, when my mother had to go to the pawn shop (I hope she doesn't read this!). I'd wait outside with my brother, looking up at the pawnbroker's sign, three gold balls hanging down from a metal bar. This traditional sign used by pawnbrokers is said to date back to the Medici family as the sign had symbolic meaning in the province of Lombardy where the Medici family reigned supreme. Because of this connection, pawn shop banking was originally called Lombard banking.

The phrase "in hock" is an American invention. Back in the mid-19th century "in hock" meant both "in debt" and "in prison". The word "hock" comes from the Dutch "hok" meaning "jail".

5. "___ Baba and the 40 Thieves" : ALI
In the folk tale “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”, the title character is a poor woodcutter who discovers the magic words “Open Sesame” that open the thieves’ den.

6. Poe's "The ___ and the Pendulum" : PIT
“The Pit and the Pendulum” is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe that was first published in 1842. It is a macabre tale about a prisoner who is being tortured at the hands of the spanish Inquisition. For part of the tale, the prisoner is bound to a wooden board while a scythe-like pendulum wings above him, getting nearer and nearer with each oscillation.

8. Baby Moses was found among them : REEDS
According to the Bible, The Pharaoh issued an edict that all male Hebrew children be drowned in the river Nile soon after birth. Moses’ mother saved her child by placing him in a basket and hiding him among the bulrushes at the edge of the Nile. The baby was found and adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter.

19. 500 sheets of paper : REAM
A ream is 500 sheets of paper. As there were 24 sheets in a quire, and 20 quires made up a ream, there used to be 480 sheets in a ream. Ever since the standard was changed to 500, a 480-sheet packet of paper has been called a "short ream".

21. Suffix with schnozz : -OLA
“Schnoz” is a slang term for a nose, particularly a large one.

24. Eve's man : ADAM
Eve is named as the wife of Adam in the Hebrew Bible and Christian Old Testament. However, Adam’s wife is not specifically named in the Qur’an.

25. 2015 earthquake locale : NEPAL
The Nepal earthquake of April 2015 was a magnitude 7.8 event that killed over 8,000 people. The quake triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest that killed 19 climbers, making that the deadliest day in the history of the mountain.

27. Dept. of Labor arm : OSHA
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created in 1970 during the Nixon administration. OSHA regulates workplaces in the private sector and regulates just one government agency, namely the US Postal Service.

32. Jeans material : DENIM
Denim fabric originated in Nimes in France. The French phrase "de Nimes" (from Nimes) gives us the word "denim". Also, the French phrase "bleu de Genes" (blue of Genoa) gives us our word "jeans".

35. SiriusXM medium : RADIO
XM Satellite Radio used to be in competition with Sirius Satellite Radio but the FCC allowed the two companies to merge in 2008 forming SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

42. Fats Waller's "___ Misbehavin'" : AIN’T
"Ain't Misbehavin'" is a song written in 1929 by Fats Waller and Harry Brooks, with lyrics by Andy Razaf. Waller was the first to record the song, quickly followed by six other artists that same year. The song also provided the title for a successful stage musical that premiered in 1978.

Fats Waller was the son of a clergyman in New York City, and started playing the piano when he was six, and his father’s church organ when he was ten. Waller took up the piano professionally when only fifteen years old, working in theaters and cabarets. Waller co-wrote such classics as “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and “Honeysuckle Rose”.

52. ___ Ben Canaan of "Exodus" : ARI
"Exodus" is a wonderful novel written by American writer Leon Uris, first published in 1947. The hero of the piece is Ari Ben Canaan, played by Paul Newman in the 1960 film adaptation directed by Otto Preminger.

59. So-called "Biggest Little City in the World" : RENO
Reno, Nevada was named in honor of Major General Jesse Lee Reno, a Union officer killed in the Civil War. The city has a famous "Reno Arch", a structure that stands over the main street. The arch was erected in 1926 to promote an exposition planned for the following year. After the expo, the city council decided to keep the arch and held a competition to decide what wording should be displayed, and the winner was "The Biggest Little City in the World".

62. Annual winter outbreak : FLU
Influenza (flu) is an ailment that is caused by a virus. The virus is readily inactivated by the use of soap, so washing hands and surfaces is especially helpful in containing flu outbreaks.

64. Hasten : HIE
"To hie" is to move quickly, to bolt.

65. Genetic stuff : DNA
I've always been fascinated by the fact that the DNA of living things is so very similar across different species. Human DNA is almost exactly the same for every individual (to the degree of 99.9%). However, those small differences are sufficient to distinguish one individual from another, and to determine whether or not individuals are close family relations.

66. Cornea cover : LID
The cornea is the transparent part of the eye in the front, covering the iris and the pupil. Even though the cornea is not part of the lens it acts as a lens, and in fact does most of the work focusing light coming in through the eye. The cornea is in effect a fixed-focus lens passing on light to the variable-focus lens that is inside the eye.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Ostrichlike bird : EMU
4. Alternative to rock and scissors : PAPER
9. T-bone, for one : STEAK
14. Sought office : RAN
15. Girl who was a guest at the Mad Hatter's tea party : ALICE
16. Bird on the back of a quarter : EAGLE
17. Column's opposite : ROW
18. "You forgot to water the plants," Tom said ___ : WITHERINGLY (and they WITHERED)
20. Hunter constellation : ORION
22. Poems whose titles often start "To a ..." : ODES
23. Playwright Hellman : LILLIAN
26. Savory filled pastries : SAMOSAS
31. Delivered, as a punch : LANDED
33. Pop-up or foul : MISHIT
34. Prefix with cycle or color : TRI-
36. Stared stupidly : GAPED
38. Doorbell sound : CHIME
39. Get the ___ of : HANG
41. Reaction to the Beatles in 1964 or Justin Bieber in 2010 : MANIA
43. Not many : A FEW
44. Former F.B.I. director J. ___ Hoover : EDGAR
46. Lawful : LICIT
48. Gridiron scores, for short : TDS
49. Salmon serving : FILLET
51. Lowly, as labor : MENIAL
53. North Pole workplace : TOY SHOP
55. Sound systems : STEREOS
58. Pitcher : EWER
60. "Saturday Night Fever" music genre : DISCO
61. "Oh, I just fed the alligator," Tom said ___ : OFFHANDEDLY (and it bit my HAND OFF)
67. What crosswalks cross: Abbr. : STS
68. The "P" of R.S.V.P. : PLAIT
69. Hit 1977 musical with the song "It's the Hard-Knock Life" : ANNIE
70. Meadow : LEA
71. Prom duds for guys : TUXES
72. Fills, as a washer : LOADS
73. Since Jan. 1 : YTD

Down
1. Swashbuckling Flynn : ERROL
2. Native New Zealander : MAORI
3. "As much as I'd like, you're not getting any of my estate," Tom said ___ : UNWILLINGLY (and you’re out of my WILL)
4. Hocking : PAWNING
5. "___ Baba and the 40 Thieves" : ALI
6. Poe's "The ___ and the Pendulum" : PIT
7. Sound effect in a long hallway : ECHO
8. Baby Moses was found among them : REEDS
9. Earth-shaking : SEISMIC
10. Light brown : TAN
11. What might be cooked once over easy : EGG
12. Everybody : ALL
13. Item often kept on a chain : KEY
19. 500 sheets of paper : REAM
21. Suffix with schnozz : -OLA
24. Eve's man : ADAM
25. 2015 earthquake locale : NEPAL
27. Dept. of Labor arm : OSHA
28. "Being a bit lazy, I prefer automatic," Tom said ___ : SHIFTLESSLY (so I SHIFT gear LESS)
29. Directed (at) : AIMED
30. Worries : STEWS
32. Jeans material : DENIM
34. Piracy, e.g. : THEFT
35. SiriusXM medium : RADIO
37. Cuts into cubes : DICES
40. Guys' partners : GALS
42. Fats Waller's "___ Misbehavin'" : AIN’T
45. Microwaves, say : REHEATS
47. Colors, as hippies' shirts : TIE-DYES
50. Village : TOWN
52. ___ Ben Canaan of "Exodus" : ARI
54. Part of a piano or bike : PEDAL
56. Duo quadrupled : OCTET
57. "It pains me to hear that" : SO SAD
59. So-called "Biggest Little City in the World" : RENO
61. Choose (to) : OPT
62. Annual winter outbreak : FLU
63. Obsolescent means of communication : FAX
64. Hasten : HIE
65. Genetic stuff : DNA
66. Cornea cover : LID


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4 comments :

Willie D said...

I didn't know this style of prose had a name. 61A was especially funny, for me. :-) :08 here.

Anonymous said...

Very appropriate for you to finish the 5/18 puzzle in 5:18.

steve newman said...

I was looking for a copy of this puzzle online and came across your fascinating blog. My Dad Gene Newman constructed this crossword — he's 85 years old!

Bill Butler said...

@steve newman
Please thank your Dad for me, and congratulate him. And, I am really happy that you found the blog, Steve, and I hope that you can drop by again soon :)

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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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