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0120-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 20 Jan 16, Wednesday





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Solution to today's crossword in the New York Times
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CROSSWORD SETTER: Herre Schouwerwou
THEME: Dry Martini … we’re making a DRY MARTINI today using the ends of three themed answers. One more themed answer provides us with two garnishes:
49A. Cocktail made by combining the ends of 17-, 26- and 38-Across : DRY MARTINI

17A. Like some top-quality kitchen oil : EXTRA-VIRGIN (giving “gin”)
26A. Delta locale : RIVER MOUTH (giving “vermouth”)
38A. Exchange program for preschoolers? : DIAPER SERVICE (giving “ice”)

60A. Dickens classic ... and, phonetically, two garnishes for a 49-Across? : OLIVER TWIST (“olive or twist”)
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 9m 30s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

7. Late-night host before Carson : PAAR
Jack Paar was most famous as the host of “The Tonight Show”, from 1957 to 1962. When he died in 2004, “Time” magazine wrote that Paar was “the fellow who split talk show history into two eras: Before Paar and Below Paar”. Very complimentary …

Johnny Carson hosted “The Tonight Show” for thirty years, from 1962 to 1992. Although Carson was the first choice to take over the show from Jack Paar, he initially declined. Carson eventually took the job, after it had also been declined by Bob Newhart, Jackie Gleason, Groucho Marx and Joey Bishop.

11. Fare for the toothless : PAP
One meaning of "pap" is soft or semi-liquid food for babies and small children. "Pap" comes into English via French, from the Latin word used by children for "food". In the 1500s, "pap" also came to mean "an oversimplified" idea. This gives us a usage that's common today, describing literature or perhaps TV programming that lacks real value or substance. Hands up those who think there's a lot of pap out there, especially on television ...

14. "Clearly Different" eye care chain : PEARLE
Pearle Opticians were founded by Stanley Pearle in Savannah, Georgia back in 1961.

15. Aunt of Prince William : ANNE
Anne, Princess Royal was born in 1950 and is the only daughter of British Queen Elizabeth II. Princess Anne has been in the public spotlight for many things, including her success as an equestrian. Princess Anne was the first member of the British Royal Family to have competed in an Olympic Games. Her daughter Zara Phillips continued the tradition and competed as a member of the British equestrian team in the 2012 Olympic Games. Zara's medal was presented to her by her own mother, Princess Anne.

Prince William is second in line to the British throne, after his father Prince Charles, with Prince Harry holding the third spot. Prince Harry moved down the list when William and Kate had their first child George. The law was changed in 2011 so that the eldest child of Prince William and Kate Middleton would be next in line, regardless of sex. Up until 2011, sons took precedence, even over older daughters.

16. Sénat accord : OUI
The French Senate (Sénat) sometimes votes “yes” (oui) and sometimes “no” (non).

17. Like some top-quality kitchen oil : EXTRA-VIRGIN (giving “gin”)
Virgin olive oil is oil produced from olives with no chemical treatment involved in the production process at all. To be labelled “virgin”, the oil must have an acidity level of less than 2% and must be be judged to have "a good taste". Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) comes from virgin oil production, and is the portion with acidity levels of less than 0.8% acidity that is judged to have "superior taste".

19. Org. originally known as the National Congress of Mothers : PTA
The National Parent Teacher Association (National PTA) was founded back in 1897 as the National Congress of Mothers. The PTA uses the slogan “everychild. onevoice” (sic).

20. Sci-fi visitors : ETS
Extraterrestrial (ET)

21. Cross-dressing Streisand character : YENTL
"Yentl" is a play that opened in New York City in 1975. The move to adapt the play for the big screen was led by Barbara Streisand, and indeed she wrote the first outline of a musical version herself as far back as 1968. The film was eventually made and released in 1983, with Streisand performing the lead role.

22. Arsenal stock : AMMO
The word “munitions” describes materials and equipment used in war. The term derives from the Latin “munitionem” meaning “fortification, defensive wall”. Back in the 17th century, French soldiers referred to such materials as “la munition”, a Middle French term. This was misheard as “l’ammunition”, and as a result we ended up importing the word “ammunition” (often shortened to “ammo”), a term that we now use mainly to describe the material fired from a weapon.

Our word "arsenal" comes from the Italian "arzenale", a work adapted from the Arabic for "workshop". There was a large wharf in Venice called the Arzenale that became associated with the storage of weapons and ammunition, and this led to our contemporary usage of "arsenal".

26. Delta locale : RIVER MOUTH (giving “vermouth”)
Vermouth is a fortified wine that is infused with various aromatic flavors. The vermouth that we use today originated in Turin, Italy in the mid-1700s. The various vermouths produced all use a neutral grape wine as a base, with alcohol added to fortify it. Dry ingredients like herbs or roots are added to give a distinctive flavor, and then sugar can be added to make the drink sweeter. Today, most vermouth comes from Italy and France.

A river delta is a triangular landform at the mouth of a river created by the deposition of sediment. The most famous “delta” in the United States isn’t actually a delta at all. The Mississippi Delta is an alluvial plain that lies 300 miles north of the river’s actual delta, which is known as the Mississippi River Delta. Very confusing ...

29. "Loot" playwright Joe : ORTON
Joe Orton was an English playwright who was active in the 1960s and who was noted for penning outrageous black comedies. Orton’s career was cut short as he was bludgeoned to death by his lover, when Orton was just 34 years old.

31. Word abbreviated on fight cards : VERSUS
A “fight card” is a program of bouts at a boxing event. The fight card often includes just two items: the “main event” and the “undercard”.

38. Exchange program for preschoolers? : DIAPER SERVICE (giving “ice”)
“Diaper” is another word that I had to learn when I moved to America. What are called "diapers" over here, we call "nappies" back in Ireland. "Diaper" is actually the original term that was used in England for the garment, where "diaper" referred to the cloth that was used. The term diaper was brought to the New World where it stuck. Back in Britain, diaper was displaced by the word "nappy", a diminutive of "napkin".

43. Treat, as table salt : IODIZE
Back in 1924, a professor of pediatrics in Michigan led a campaign in the US to have producers of salt add a small amount of sodium iodide to table salt, so that the population would have a readily available source of the iodine micronutrient. His goal was to reduce the incidence of goiter in the population.

45. Schnapps flavoring : PEACH
"Schnapps" isn't actually a German word, but is our English spelling of the German "Schnaps" (note the "pp" versus "p"). Germans use the word Schnaps to describe any strong alcoholic drink. We tend to use Schnapps to mean a liqueur, usually a sweet beverage flavored with fruit. "Schnaps" is a Low German noun meaning "swallow".

49. Cocktail made by combining the ends of 17-, 26- and 38-Across : DRY MARTINI
The name "martini" probably takes it name from the "Martini & Rossi" brand of dry vermouth, although no one seems to be completely sure. What is clear is that despite the Martini name originating in Italy, the martini drink originated in the US. The original martini was made with gin and sweet vermouth, but someone specifying a “dry” martini was given gin and dry vermouth. Nowadays we use dry vermouth for all martinis and the term "dry" has become a reference to how little vermouth is included in the drink. Famously, Noel Coward liked his drink very dry and said that a perfect martini is made by "filling a glass with gin then waving it in the general direction of Italy". The German-American journalist and satirist H. L. Mencken referred to the martini as “the only American invention as perfect as a sonnet”.

54. Battle of Normandy town : ST LO
Saint-Lô is a town in Normandy that was occupied by Germany in 1940. Saint-Lo stood at a strategic crossroads and so there was intense fighting there during the Normandy invasion of 1944. After a prolonged bombardment, very little of the town was left standing.

56. Charles who wrote "Peg Woffington" : READE
Charles Reade was an English author who came to public attention with a two-act comedy play called “Masks and Faces”. Reade turned the play into a prose story in 1852 that he called “Peg Woffington”. Reade also wrote a historical novel called “The Cloister and the Hearth” about a married man who becomes a Dominican friar on hearing that his wife has died. Years later he discovers that his wife is in fact still living and a struggle develops between the man’s obligation to family and his obligation to the Roman Catholic Church.

59. Online Q&A session : AMA
Ask me anything (AMA)

60. Dickens classic ... and, phonetically, two garnishes for a 49-Across? : OLIVER TWIST (“olive or twist”)
"Oliver Twist" is a novel by Charles Dickens. It is a popular tale for adaptation to the big screen. There were two silent film versions, in 1909 and 1922, and the first talkie version was released in 1933, with many to follow. The latest "Oliver" for the big screen was a 2005 Roman Polanski production.

66. Nativity scene beast : ASS
In the Christian tradition, a nativity scene (also “crèche”) is a display of representing the the scene of the birth of Jesus. Nativity scenes might be subjects for paintings, for example, although the term is usually used for seasonal displays associated with the Christmas season.

68. Some decaf orders : SANKAS
The first successful process for removing caffeine from coffee involved steaming the beans in salt water, and then extracting the caffeine using benzene (a potent carcinogen) as a solvent. Coffee processed this way was sold as Sanka here in the US. There are other processes used these days, and let's hope they are safer ...

Down
1. Brand of skimpy swimwear : SPEEDO
Speedo brand swimwear was first produced in Australia in 1928, by a hosiery company that wanted to diversify. The brand name was chosen after a slogan competition among employees was won by "Speed on in your Speedos". It was a long time ago, I guess ...

2. One who might type "OMG" or "CYA" : TEXTER
OMG is text-speak for Oh My Gosh! Oh My Goodness! or any other G words you might think of …

CYA is textspeak for “See ya”, or more crudely “cover your a**”.

9. DiFranco who created Righteous Babe Records : ANI
Ani DiFranco is a folk-rock singer and songwriter. DiFranco has also been labeled a "feminist icon", and in 2006 won the "Woman of Courage Award" from National Organization of Women.

12. Pitch-correcting audio processor : AUTO-TUNE
When Cher recorded the 1998 song "Believe", the audio engineers routinely corrected the sound of Cher's voice to ensure that all notes were sung with perfect pitch (all singers "cheat", it seems!). The software that does this pitch correction is called "Auto-Tune". Then, for a bit of fun, the same engineers played with the Auto-Tune software and created a special effect in her voice that she so liked it was left in the final release. You can easily detect the strange effect if you listen to the song. The process is now called the "Cher Effect" and is used by other artists in their recordings.

13. With 44-Down, "Butterfly" Golden Globe winner : PIA
(44D. See 13-Down : ZADORA)
Pia Zadora is an American actress and singer. Zadora's most famous role was in the 1982 film "Butterfly" in which she worked with Orson Welles and Stacey Keach. The film was based on the novel "The Butterfly" by James M. Cain and deals with the difficult subject of father-daughter incest.

23. Deposits of glacial debris : MORAINES
Moraines are fields of debris that formed due to the presence or action of glaciers. Long Island in New York State, for example, was formed largely from two glacial moraines during the Ice Age.

27. Many KOA patrons : RVERS
One using a “recreational vehicle” (RVer).

Kampgrounds of America (KOA) was founded in 1962 by Montana businessman Dave Drum, who opened up his first property along the Yellowstone River. His strategy was to offer a rich package of services including hot showers, restrooms and a store, which he hoped would attract people used to camping in the rough. The original campground was an immediate hit and Drum took on two partners and sold franchises all over the country. There are about 500 KOA sites today.

28. "The buck stops here" prez : HST
The phrase "passing the buck" supposedly comes from poker. The marker that indicated whose turn it was to deal was called the buck, and it was passed from player to player. Over time, the phrase came to mean the passing of responsibility (or usually blame). President Harry S. Truman popularized the derivative phrase "the buck stops here" by placing a sign bearing those words on his desk in the Oval Office. President Truman had received the sign as a gift from a prison warden who was also an enthusiastic poker player.

30. Tennis ball fuzz : NAP
A “nap” is a soft and perhaps fuzzy surface on cloth, leather, a carpet and even a tennis ball.

33. Stave off : DETER
The word "stave" was originally the plural of "staff", a wooden rod. To "stave off" originated with the concept of holding off with a staff. In the world of barrel-making, a stave is a narrow strip of wood that forms part of a barrel’s sides.

34. Tax planner's recommendation, for short : IRA
Individual Retirement Account (IRA)

39. Vehicles for the Unsers : INDY CARS
The Unser family seems to have racing cars in its blood. Al Unser, Sr. won the Indy 500 on four occasions. Al’s brother Jerry was the first of the Unsers to compete at Indianapolis. Al’s other brother Bobby, won the Indy three times. Al’s son, Al Junior, won the Indy twice. Al Junior’s son is also a racing driver who competes at the Indy Speedway.

48. Guides for D.I.Y.'ers : HOW-TOS
Back in Ireland we don't have “hardware stores” as such, but rather DIY Centres (and that's the spelling). DIY is an initialism standing for “Do It Yourself”.

52. Lassie's turndown : NAE
“Nae” is the Scottish vernacular for "no".

53. "The Wire" actor ___ Elba : IDRIS
Idris Elba is an actor from London who plays drug lord Stringer Bell on the HBO cop show “The Wire”. He also portrayed the title character on the 2013 biographical film “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”. Off the screen, Elba likes to work as a disk jockey under the name DJ Big Driis.

57. James who sang "At Last" : ETTA
Etta James was best known for her beautiful rendition of the song "At Last". Sadly, as she disclosed in her autobiography, James lived a life that was ravaged by drug addiction leading to numerous legal and health problems. Ms. James passed away in January 2012 having suffered from leukemia.

59. Steely Dan album of 1977 : AJA
Steely Dan's heyday was in the seventies when they toured for a couple of years, although the group mainly focused on studio work. The band was formed in 1972 and broke up in 1981. The core of the band reunited in 1993 and they are still going strong today.

61. Where many people solve crosswords, for short : LAV
Really …?

Our word “lavatory” originally referred to a washbasin, and comes from the Latin “lavatorium”, a place for washing. In the 1600s a "lavatory" came to mean a washroom, and in the 1920s a toilet.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Soaks so as to extract flavor : STEEPS
7. Late-night host before Carson : PAAR
11. Fare for the toothless : PAP
14. "Clearly Different" eye care chain : PEARLE
15. Aunt of Prince William : ANNE
16. Sénat accord : OUI
17. Like some top-quality kitchen oil : EXTRA-VIRGIN (giving “gin”)
19. Org. originally known as the National Congress of Mothers : PTA
20. Sci-fi visitors : ETS
21. Cross-dressing Streisand character : YENTL
22. Arsenal stock : AMMO
24. Refusing to listen : DEAF
26. Delta locale : RIVER MOUTH (giving “vermouth”)
29. "Loot" playwright Joe : ORTON
31. Word abbreviated on fight cards : VERSUS
32. Branch out : RADIATE
37. Slangy rebuttal to 65-Across : AIN’T
38. Exchange program for preschoolers? : DIAPER SERVICE (giving “ice”)
41. Help for the puzzled : HINT
42. Adopts, as a stray : TAKES IN
43. Treat, as table salt : IODIZE
45. Schnapps flavoring : PEACH
49. Cocktail made by combining the ends of 17-, 26- and 38-Across : DRY MARTINI
54. Battle of Normandy town : ST LO
55. Passed with ease : ACED
56. Charles who wrote "Peg Woffington" : READE
58. Unedited, as footage : RAW
59. Online Q&A session : AMA
60. Dickens classic ... and, phonetically, two garnishes for a 49-Across? : OLIVER TWIST (“olive or twist”)
63. Place for pickles : JAR
64. Fall clearance item? : RAKE
65. "Quite correct" : IT IS SO
66. Nativity scene beast : ASS
67. Declare : AVER
68. Some decaf orders : SANKAS

Down
1. Brand of skimpy swimwear : SPEEDO
2. One who might type "OMG" or "CYA" : TEXTER
3. Bothers no end : EATS AT
4. Veer off course : ERR
5. Ump's call after "Time!" : PLAY!
6. Break off completely : SEVER
7. Fifth installment of a miniseries : PART V
8. Con man's scheme : ANGLE
9. DiFranco who created Righteous Babe Records : ANI
10. Label again, as a file : RENAME
11. Top 40 fare : POP MUSIC
12. Pitch-correcting audio processor : AUTO-TUNE
13. With 44-Down, "Butterfly" Golden Globe winner : PIA
18. Common pasta suffix : -INI
23. Deposits of glacial debris : MORAINES
25. Temporarily : FOR A TIME
27. Many KOA patrons : RVERS
28. "The buck stops here" prez : HST
30. Tennis ball fuzz : NAP
33. Stave off : DETER
34. Tax planner's recommendation, for short : IRA
35. The first "A" of 59-Across : ASK
36. Plumbing joint : TEE
38. Scenes in shoeboxes, say : DIORAMAS
39. Vehicles for the Unsers : INDY CARS
40. Big wheel : VIP
41. Went underground : HID
44. See 13-Down : ZADORA
46. Under threat : AT RISK
47. Top-shelf : CLASS-A
48. Guides for D.I.Y.'ers : HOW-TOS
50. Toddler's wheels : TRIKE
51. "When will ___ learn?" : I EVER
52. Lassie's turndown : NAE
53. "The Wire" actor ___ Elba : IDRIS
57. James who sang "At Last" : ETTA
59. Steely Dan album of 1977 : AJA
61. Where many people solve crosswords, for short : LAV
62. Successfully woo : WIN


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6 comments :

Dave Kennison said...

11:56, no errors. I wasn't sure of the first letter(s) of AMA and AJA, so I appreciated the thoughtful inclusion of 35D (for which I already had ASK, based on crossing entries), at which point I remembered once looking at an "Ask Me Anything" session on ... something called "Reddit", maybe? Otherwise, I'd have been stuck since, as always, I have little to no clue about the names of music albums. At any rate ... another day, another pleasant puzzle.

BruceB said...

13:48, no errors. The 'D' in READE + IDRIS was a complete guess for me.

Dale Stewart said...

No errors. One erasure. ARMS went to AMMO. Had a lot in common with the other commentors. And, yes, I'll often work puzzles in the LAV.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't quite figure out the AMMO instead of ARMS, even though AUTO TUNE was screaming at me from the down column. So, 3 errors.... 19:19.

Dale Stewart said...

BTW, AJA is one of the songs on the Steely Dan album that gave its name to the title of the album. AJA is pronounced like "Asia". It comes from the name of a Korean woman who was indirectly known by some ofthe band members. None of this did I know until I googled it.

Lou Sander said...

Nice, cleverly-constructed puzzle. Good for a Wednesday. We never "guess" at answers. Instead, we get them intuitively. We have VERY good intuition sometimes. This puzzle is an example of verbal cleverness without resorting to underhanded, uncalled-for, nasty techniques like putting several letters in one square. ;-)

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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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