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0827-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 27 Aug 15, Thursday





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CROSSWORD SETTER: Joon Pahk
THEME: Similar Answers … there is a note with today’s puzzle:
Seven Across answers in this puzzle have a highly unusual property for which we can't think of a single other common example. What is the property?
The seven themed answers start with two initials, with each pair of initials being beside each other in the alphabet, but reversed alphabetically in the answer:
8A. Box with handles? : CB RADIO (BC reversed)
17A. "The Invisible Man" author : HG WELLS (GH reversed)
22A. Washington M.L.S. team : DC UNITED (CD reversed)
35A. "The A-Team" character played by Mr. T : BA BARACUS (AB reversed)
49A. Educational institution near Plano, informally : UT DALLAS (TU reversed)
60A. Some return addresses : PO BOXES (OP reversed)
64A. "Four Quartets" poet : TS ELIOT (ST reversed)
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 9m 35s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

8. Box with handles? : CB RADIO (BC reversed)
One’s “handle” is one’s name, especially one used on a CB radio.

In 1945, the FCC set aside certain radio frequencies for the personal use of citizens. The use of the Citizens' Band increased throughout the seventies as advances in electronics brought down the size of transceivers and their cost. There aren't many CB radios sold these days though, as they have largely been replaced by cell phones.

15. Mariner's measure : SEA MILE
A nautical mile (sometimes “sea mile”) is a distance measurement that is about a one-minute arc of longitude at the equator. A nautical mile is also equal to about a one-minute arc of latitude along any meridian. The accepted length today is 1,852 meters. The unit of speed known as a “knot” is equal to one nautical mile per hour.

16. Attire : RAIMENT
Raiment is clothing, those items “arrayed” on one’s body.

17. "The Invisible Man" author : HG WELLS (GH reversed)
The full name of the English author known as H. G. Wells was Herbert George Wells. Wells is particularly well known for his works of science fiction, including “The War of the Worlds”, “The Time Machine”, “The Invisible Man” and “The Island of Doctor Moreau”. He was a prolific author, and a prolific lover as well. While married to one of his former students with whom he had two sons, he also had a child with writer Amber Reeves, and another child with author Rebecca West.

21. Game with Wild Draw 4 cards : UNO
In my youth I remember being taught a great card game, by a German acquaintance of mine, called Mau Mau. Years later I discovered that Uno is basically the same game, but played with a purpose-printed deck instead of the regular deck of playing cards that's used for Mau Mau. I hear that Mau Mau is derived from the game called Crazy Eights.

22. Washington M.L.S. team : DC UNITED (CD reversed)
D.C. United is a professional soccer team based in the nation’s capital. The team competes in Major League Soccer (MLS) and plays home games at the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium.

31. G.I.-entertaining grp. : USO
The United Service Organization (USO) was founded in 1941 at the request of FDR "to handle the on-leave recreation of the men in the armed forces". A USO tour is undertaken by a troupe of entertainers, many of whom are big-name celebrities. A USO tour usually includes troop locations in combat zones.

33. "___: Cyber" : CSI
“CSI: Cyber” is the youngest show in the incredibly successful franchise of “CSI” crime dramas. I was excited to hear of the concept behind “CSI: Cyber”, but have given up watching the show after a few episodes …

34. Lead-in to while : ERST-
Erstwhile means "in the past" or "once upon a time".

35. "The A-Team" character played by Mr. T : BA BARACUS (AB reversed)
“The A-Team” is an action television series that originally ran in the eighties. The A-Team was a group of ex-US special forces personnel who became mercenaries. Star of the show was Hollywood actor George Peppard, ably assisted by Mr. T and Robert Vaughan.

42. Land bordering Francia : ESPANA
In Spanish, France (Francia) is a neighbor of Spain (EspaƱa) in Europe.

46. Dad on "Malcolm in the Middle" : HAL
In the television show “Malcolm in the Middle”, Malcolm’s Dad was played by actor Bryan Cranston. Cranston picked up an even bigger role starring in 2008, when he started portraying Walter White, the lead on the AMC hit series “Breaking Bad”.

48. Aromatic seasoning : FENNEL
Fennel is a hardy perennial plant species in the celery family that is used as a herb. Personally, I can’t stand fennel …

49. Educational institution near Plano, informally : UT DALLAS (TU reversed)
The University of Texas at Dallas has its main campus in Richardson, a few miles north of downtown Dallas. Prior to be being bequeathed to the state, UT Dallas was a research arm of Texas Instruments.

51. "Straight Outta Compton" rappers : NWA
“Straight Outta Compton” was the first album by N.W.A. N.W.A was a hip hop group from Compton, California. The original five group members included rappers who have made a name for themselves as solo acts, including: Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. The story of NWA is told in a 2015 film, also called “Straight Outta Compton". I hear that the movie is being well received, although I probably won’t be seeing it …

52. Birthplace of Paddington Bear : PERU
Paddington Bear is a character from a series of books written by Michael Bond. Paddington is an immigrant from Peru who is found sitting on his suitcase in Paddington Railway Station in London.

63. Legalese adverb : THEREAT
“Thereat” means “located in that place”.

64. "Four Quartets" poet : TS ELIOT (ST reversed)
T. S. Eliot was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948, largely due to his "Four Quartets", a set of four poems that Eliot himself considered to be his life's masterpiece.

Down
2. New York State's ___ Examinations : REGENTS
Regents Exams are standardized test that all high school students must pass before graduation. These exams have been around for a long time, and date back to 1866.

4. Contacted via Google Talk, say : IMED
Even though instant messaging (sending IMs) has been around since the 1960s, it was AOL who popularized the term “instant message” in the eighties and nineties.

“Gchat” is a common name for the Google Talk instant messaging service. Google Talk offers both text and voice communication as well as a plugin that allows video chat. All of this works seamlessly with Gmail, my personal favorite email client. That said, much of this functionality seems to have been replaced with the Google Hangouts service.

6. Duckbill's tail? : ELLS
There are two letters L (ells) at the tail of the word “duckbill”.

7. Note's counterpart : REST
In music, a note might be followed by a rest.

8. Grand ___ (wine designation) : CRU
"Cru" is a term used in the French wine industry that means "growth place". So, "cru" is the name of the location where the grapes are grown, as opposed to the name of a specific vineyard. The terms "premier cru" and "grand cru" are also used, but the usage depends on the specific wine region. Generally it is a classification awarded to specific vineyards denoting their potential for producing great wines. “Grand cru” is reserved for the very best vineyards, with “premier cru” the level just below.

11. Fine fiddle : AMATI
The first of the Amati family to make violins was Andrea Amati, who lived in the 14th century. He was succeeded by his sons, Antonio and Girolamo. In turn, they were succeeded by Girolamo's son, Nicolo. Nicolo had a few students who achieved fame making musical instruments as well. One was his own son, Girolamo, and another was the famed Antonio Stradivari.

12. Stephen ___, War of 1812 naval hero : DECATUR
Stephen Decatur was a naval officer from Maryland who served with distinction in the US Navy in a career that included the 1812. In 1804, Decatur became the youngest captain in the history of the Navy. His career, and life, came to an untimely end when he was killed in a duel with a fellow officer in the navy.

14. Extra N.B.A. periods : OTS
Overtime (OT)

21. 2015 Women's World Cup champs : USA
The first FIFA Women’s World Cup is a soccer tournament that has been held every four years since 1991. The US national team has won the tournament three times, more than any other nation.

23. ___ Nostra : COSA
Apparently “Cosa Nostra” is the real name for the Italian Mafia. “Cosa Nostra” translates as “our thing” or “this thing of ours”. The term first became public in the US when the FBI managed to turn some members of the American Mafia. The Italian authorities established that “Cosa Nostra” was also used in Sicily when they penetrated the Sicilian Mafia in the 1980s. The term “Mafia” seems to be just a literary invention that has become popular with the public.

24. International humanitarian grp. : UNICEF
The United Nations Children’s Fund is known by the acronym UNICEF because the organization’s original name when it was founded in 1946 was the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund. The original focus of the fund was to provide relief to children in countries that had been devastated by WWII. UNICEF is supported by contributions from governments, but also by individual donors. One of the more successful programs for collecting private donations is the Trick-or-Treat UNICEF box that has been a tradition here in North America since 1950.

28. Lyricist Gershwin : IRA
Ira Gershwin was a lyricist who worked with his brother George to create such American classics as the songs "I Got Rhythm" and "Someone to Watch Over Me", as well as the opera "Porgy and Bess". After George Gershwin died, Ira continued to create great music, working with the likes of Jerome Kern and Kurt Weill.

34. National Spelling Bee airer : ESPN
The Scripps National Spelling Bee is sponsored and managed by the E. W. Scripps Company. ESPN has been televising the latter rounds of the National Spelling Bee since 2006.

36. Pierce portrayer : ALDA
Hawkeye Pierce is the lead character in the “M*A*S*H” novel, movie and TV series. Hawkeye was originally portrayed by Donald Sutherland in the film, and then by Alan Alda in the television show. Pierce is the only character appearing in all 250 episodes of the groundbreaking TV series.

38. Election Day in the U.K. : THU
There are several theories about how election day in the UK came to be Thursday. One is that Thursday is a traditional market day in many towns around the country, so much of the rural population would be in town and available to vote.

39. Milliners' accessories : HATPINS
A milliner is someone who makes, designs or sells hats. Back in the 1500s, the term described someone who sold hats made in Milan, Italy, hence the name “milliner”.

40. Somewhat firm : AL DENTE
The Italian expression "al dente" literally means "to the tooth" or "to the bite" and is used to describe not only pasta, but also vegetables that are cooked so that they are tender yet still crisp.

44. Noted recovery program : NEW DEAL
The New Deal was the series of economic programs championed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in response to the Great Depression. The New Deal was focused on three objectives, the “3 Rs”:
- Relief for the unemployed and poor
- Recovery of the economy to normal levels
- Reform of the financial system to prevent a repeat depression

45. "Selma" setting: Abbr. : ALA
Alabama (Ala.)

“Selma” is a 2014 film about the Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches of 1965. The film stars British actors David Oyewale as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon Johnson. “Selma” was received extremely well by critics and audiences alike. That said, there is some criticism about the way President Johnson is portrayed as being less supportive of civil rights than is assumed to be the case in reality.

50. Prince Eric's love : ARIEL
“The Little Mermaid” is a 1989 animated feature from Disney that is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of the same name. It tells the story of a mermaid princess named Ariel who falls in love with the human Prince Eric. Ariel’s father is chief merman King Triton.

53. Flats: Abbr. : APTS
"Flat" is a word more commonly used in the British Isles than here. A flat is basically an apartment or condominium. The word "flat" is Scottish in origin, in which language it meant a "floor in a house".

54. ___-chic (fashion style) : BOHO
Boho-chic is a style of fashion that grew out of the bohemian and hippie looks.

55. Genesis son : ABEL
According to the Bible, Adam and Eve had several children, although only the first three are mentioned by name: Cain, Abel and Seth.

56. Singer Amos : TORI
Tori Amos is an American pianist and singer. Amos started playing the piano at two years old, and was composing piano pieces by age five. She was playing in piano bars (chaperoned by her father) when she was 14. I'm going to have to find some of her music (I lead such a sheltered life ...)!

59. GPS fig. : LAT
Latitude (lat.)

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Ruling party? : ARBITER
8. Box with handles? : CB RADIO (BC reversed)
15. Mariner's measure : SEA MILE
16. Attire : RAIMENT
17. "The Invisible Man" author : HG WELLS (GH reversed)
18. Settles in, say : UNPACKS
19. First in line, in a way : ELDEST
20. And others: Abbr. : ET AL
21. Game with Wild Draw 4 cards : UNO
22. Washington M.L.S. team : DC UNITED (CD reversed)
26. Set location : STUDIO
30. Vast stretches of time : EONS
31. G.I.-entertaining grp. : USO
32. To the rear : ASTERN
33. "___: Cyber" : CSI
34. Lead-in to while : ERST-
35. "The A-Team" character played by Mr. T : BA BARACUS (AB reversed)
38. "Fancy ___!" : THAT
41. Possible answer to "What's brewing?" : ALE
42. Land bordering Francia : ESPANA
46. Dad on "Malcolm in the Middle" : HAL
47. Page, e.g. : AIDE
48. Aromatic seasoning : FENNEL
49. Educational institution near Plano, informally : UT DALLAS (TU reversed)
51. "Straight Outta Compton" rappers : NWA
52. Birthplace of Paddington Bear : PERU
53. Let up : ABATED
57. Least : MINIMAL
60. Some return addresses : PO BOXES (OP reversed)
62. Bug detector? : ANTENNA
63. Legalese adverb : THEREAT
64. "Four Quartets" poet : TS ELIOT (ST reversed)
65. By a wide margin : SOLIDLY

Down
1. Blond shade : ASH
2. New York State's ___ Examinations : REGENTS
3. Give a tongue-lashing : BAWL OUT
4. Contacted via Google Talk, say : IMED
5. Outdoor fountain piece : TILE
6. Duckbill's tail? : ELLS
7. Note's counterpart : REST
8. Grand ___ (wine designation) : CRU
9. Permanently exclude : BAN
10. Gets juicier, say : RIPENS
11. Fine fiddle : AMATI
12. Stephen ___, War of 1812 naval hero : DECATUR
13. Empty, as a fountain pen : INKLESS
14. Extra N.B.A. periods : OTS
21. 2015 Women's World Cup champs : USA
22. Lays down the law : DECREES
23. ___ Nostra : COSA
24. International humanitarian grp. : UNICEF
25. Period : DOT
27. College student's accumulation : DEBT
28. Lyricist Gershwin : IRA
29. Out of jail, conditionally : ON BAIL
34. National Spelling Bee airer : ESPN
36. Pierce portrayer : ALDA
37. Avail oneself of : USE
38. Election Day in the U.K. : THU
39. Milliners' accessories : HATPINS
40. Somewhat firm : AL DENTE
43. Appropriated : ANNEXED
44. Noted recovery program : NEW DEAL
45. "Selma" setting: Abbr. : ALA
47. Donors, often : ALUMNI
50. Prince Eric's love : ARIEL
53. Flats: Abbr. : APTS
54. ___-chic (fashion style) : BOHO
55. Genesis son : ABEL
56. Singer Amos : TORI
57. One may be laid at your doorstep : MAT
58. "I'll take that as ___" : A NO
59. GPS fig. : LAT
61. Swineherd's workplace : STY


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9 comments :

Eleanor said...

I learn so much from your site. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

DC Comics.

Willie D said...

I can think of 3 or 4 others. Solved the grid but did not think of the theme. The NYT failed to explain the first two letters were abbreviations.

Robert Vaughan only appeared in a handful of A-Team episodes. SEAMILE seems like an artificial invention. Don't they just call it a "nautical mile?"

Dave Kennison said...

An easy enough puzzle, but I had no clue about the theme, so I came here to find out what it was ...

Anonymous said...

Also STAR TREK etc. author D.C. Fontana. But I assume the "only seven" means only seven different initial combinations, and there could be more than one name that fits a specific combination.

One other initial combination is RQ, the library science magazine originally known as REFERENCE QUARTERLY, but that's just a two-letter combo with no longer word attached. If only it had been known as RQMAGAZINE . . . but it wasn't.

Former Librarian Dennis Lien

Anonymous said...

Surprisingly, I finished this one (it being Thursday and all); and got "most" of the theme: I didn't notice the "reverse alphabet" part (nor did, it seems 99% of people). Can you see my eyes rolling from where you are? Well, Joon Pahk, that's about how "clever" I think this all is.

Robert said...

ED pills

Robert said...

MLK junior, perhaps.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps NM STATE in Las Cruces, or Seattle Seahawks linebacker KJ WRIGHT would also work.

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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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