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0215-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 15 Feb 16, Monday





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Solution to today's crossword in the New York Times
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CROSSWORD SETTER: David J. Kahn
THEME: Presidents Day … given that today is Presidents Day in the US, we have a presidential word ladder in the grid, one that takes us from POLK to TAFT to FORD. Also, the puzzle is contains quite a few other presidential and federal government references:
1A. President after Tyler : POLK
16A. Excess spending by Congress : PORK
24A. New York's Washington Square ___ : PARK
26A. ___ horse (surprise candidate) : DARK
31A. Blowgun ammunition : DART
39A. Touched in the head : DAFT
47A. President after Roosevelt : TAFT
50A. Mini-pie : TART
53A. Legal wrong : TORT
64A. Baltimore's ___ McHenry : FORT
68A. President after Nixon : FORD
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 5m 15s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. President after Tyler : POLK
James Knox Polk was the 11th US President. Polk is known as a president who delivered on promises that he made during his election campaign. He left office after serving only one term, as he had promised the voters, and then contracted cholera on a goodwill tour of the South. Polk died at only 53 years of age, the youngest age for any president to die in retirement. He also enjoyed the shortest retirement of any president, at only 103 days. I guess that's why no one keeps their campaign promises these days ...

John Tyler was the tenth President of the US, and the first to take the office on the death of the incumbent. Tyler’s predecessor was President William Henry Harrison, who was in office only 32 days before he died of natural causes. For a while there was a little confusion about the wording in the constitution that covered such an eventuality. There was an argument made that Tyler would continue as Vice-President but would assume the responsibilities of the office of President, in effect as “Acting President”. However, Tyler proceeded as though he was taking over as President and took the oath of office in his hotel room in Washington. Soon afterwards, Congress declared that Tyler was indeed President, although many continued to dispute the fact. Many of President Tyler's opponents referred to him as “His Accidency”. His term in office ended in 1845. When the Civil War began in 1861, Tyler sided with the Confederacy and was even elected to the Confederate House of Representatives for the 3rd District of Virginia. President Tyler passed away only a few days after taking his seat in the House. His death was the only one in presidential history that was not recognized in the nation’s capital, as he sided with the Confederate States.

16. Excess spending by Congress : PORK
Pork barrel politics have been around for a long time. The term originated in 1863 in a story by Edward Everett Hale called "The Children of the Public". Hale used "pork barrel" in a positive way, describing any public spending by government for the benefit of citizens. By the 1870s the term "pork" had negative connotations, with references in the press to "pork barrel bills" in Congress. Nowadays "pork" really applies to any government project designed to benefit a relatively small group of citizens (usually potential voters for a particular politician) with the bill being paid by the citizenry as a whole.

18. "Othello" villain : IAGO
Iago is the schemer in Shakespeare's "Othello". He is a soldier who fought alongside Othello and feels hard done by, missing out on promotion. Iago hatches a plot designed to discredit his rival Cassio by insinuating that Cassio is having an affair with Desdemona, Othello's wife. By the end of the play it's Iago himself who is discredited and Othello (before committing suicide) apologizes to Cassio for having believed Iago's lies. Heavy stuff …

24. New York's Washington Square ___ : PARK
Washington Square Park in New York City is largely surrounded by buildings belonging to New York University. The park’s most prominent feature in the park is the magnificent Washington Square Arch, a triumphal marble arch erected in 1892 to celebrate the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration as the nation’s first president in 1789.

25. Canon camera brand : EOS
I've been using Canon EOS cameras for decades now, and have nothing but good things to say about the cameras and the lenses. The EOS name stands for Electro-Optical System, and was chosen because it evokes the name of Eos, the Titan goddess of dawn from Greek mythology.

27. Job for a sleuth : CASE
The word "sleuth" came into English from Old Norse as far back as 1200 when it meant the "track or trail of a person". In the mid-1800s, a sleuthhound described a keen investigator, a hound close on the trail of the suspect. Sleuthhound was shortened to "sleuth" and was used for a detective in general.

35. Young deer : FAWNS
A fawn is a young deer, usually less than a year old.

36. "Peter Pan" girl : WENDY
In J.M. Barrie’s play and novel about Peter Pan, Peter takes Wendy Darling and her two brothers on adventures on the island of Neverland. Back in the real world, the Darling children are taken care of by a nanny, a Newfoundland dog called Nana. It is Nana who takes Peter Pan’s shadow away from him as he tries to escape from the Darling house one night.

37. Yes, to Yves : OUI
“Oui” is “yes” in French, and “non” is “no”.

40. Like sneakers and corsets : LACED
A corset is a close-fitting undergarment that is stiffened with a material such as whalebone. Corsets are more usually worn by women, to shape the body. The word “corset” is a diminutive of the Old French “cors” meaning “body”.

46. Gen ___ (boomer's child) : -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.

A baby boomer is someone who was born in the post-WWII baby boom. The rate of births had been falling fairly steadily in the US at least since 1900, but this trend was sharply reversed in 1946 after WWII. The higher birth rate continued until 1964, when it returned to pre-war levels. Since then the birth rate has continued to decline, although at a slower pace. The period between 1946 and 1964 is defined as the "baby boom".

47. President after Roosevelt : TAFT
William Howard Taft may have been the 27th President of the United States, but his lifelong ambition was to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. President Taft was able to realize that dream in 1921, eight years after losing his bid for re-election as president. As Chief Justice, this former US President swore in two new presidents: Calvin Coolidge (in 1925) and Herbert Hoover (in 1929). William Howard Taft is also remembered as the most obese president. In the last year of his presidency, he weighed about 340 pounds (he was 5 feet 11 inches tall). Twelve months after leaving the White House, President Taft had dropped 80 pounds and substantially lowered his blood pressure.

Mount Marcy in the Adirondack HIgh Peaks is the highest point in New York State. The mountain is named after former New York Governor William L. Marcy. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt had just summited Mount Marcy in September 1901 when he was informed that President McKinley had been shot and was likely to die, resulting in Roosevelt making a quick exit from the area to the nearest train station so that he could return to Washington.

51. "___ well" (George Washington's last words) : ‘TIS
As President George Washington lay dying, he addresses his secretary Tobias Lear, “I am just going. Have me decently buried and do not let my body be put into the vault in less than three days after I am dead.” Lear nodded, but did not utter any words. Washington continued, “Do you understand”, to which Lear replied, “Yes.” The Washington said his final words, “‘Tis well.”

53. Legal wrong : TORT
The word "tort" is a French word meaning "mischief, injury or wrong". Tort law is generally about negligence, when the action of one party causes injury to another but that action falls outside of the scope of criminal law.

62. Former late-night host Jay : LENO
Jay Leno was born James Leno in New Rochelle, New York. Jay’s father was the son of Italian immigrants, and his mother was from Scotland. Leno grew up in Andover, Massachusetts and actually dropped out of school on the advice of a high school guidance counsellor. However, years later he went to Emerson college and earned a Bachelor’s degree in speech therapy. Leno also started a comedy club at Emerson in 1973. Today Jay Leno is a car nut and owns about 200 vehicles of various types. You can check them out on his website: www.jaylenosgarage.com.

64. Baltimore's ___ McHenry : FORT
Fort McHenry sits on a peninsula in the opening to Baltimore Harbor in Maryland. The fort saw action in the War of 1812 as US forces were successful there in defending an attack by the British Navy. Francis Scott Key was watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry when he was inspired to write the words to “The Star Spangled Banner”.

65. Roman road : ITER
“Iter” is the Latin for “road”.

66. Gossipy types : YENTAS
Yenta (also "Yente") is actually a female Yiddish name. In Yiddish theater "yenta" came to mean a busybody.

68. President after Nixon : FORD
Gerald Ford is the only person to have served as both Vice President and President of the US, without having been elected to those positions. Ford was nominated by President Richard Nixon to replace Vice President Spiro Agnew after he resigned in 1973. Vice President Ford assumed the presidency the following year after President Nixon resigned.

President Richard Milhous Nixon (RMN) used “Milhous” in his name in honor of his mother Hannah Milhous. Richard was born in a house in Yorba Linda, California. You can visit that house today as it is on the grounds of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library. It’s a really interesting way to spend a few hours if you ever get to Yorba Linda …

Down
2. President's workplace : OVAL OFFICE
Although there have been several “oval offices” used by US presidents in the White House, the current Oval Office was designed and constructed at the bequest of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The room has four doors: one door opens onto the Rose Garden; a second door leads to a small study and dining room; a third opens onto the main corridor running through the West Wing; the fourth door opens to the office of the president’s secretary.

6. Grinding teeth : MOLARS
Molars are grinding teeth. The term “molar” comes from the Latin “mola” meaning “millstone”.

7. Cal ___, Dean's "East of Eden" role : TRASK
John Steinbeck considered "East of Eden" his magnus opus. Most of the storyline takes place near Salinas, just south of where I live here in the Bay Area. Two of the characters in the story are brothers Cal and Aron Trask, representative of the biblical Cain and Abel.

8. Terrier type : SKYE
The Skye terrier is a breed of dog that is actually under threat of extinction. A few years ago there were only 30 Skye terriers born in the breed's native land of the UK.

9. St. ___ (dog) : BERNARD
The St. Bernard dog originated in the Italian and Swiss alps, and was indeed specially bred for rescue. The breed dates back at least to the early 1700s when the dogs worked from the traveler’s hospice at the St. Bernard Pass in the Alps between Italy and Switzerland. The breed took its name from this famously treacherous route through the mountains.

10. Adam's madam : EVE
According to the Bible, Eve was created as Adam’s companion by God, creating her from Adam’s rib.

11. Jeweler's magnifying glass : LOUPE
A loupe is a little magnifying lens that is held in the hand. “Loupe” is the French name for such a device.

12. "Casablanca" woman : ILSA
Ilsa Lund was played by Ingrid Bergman in the 1942 movie "Casablanca". I love the words of one critic describing the chemistry between Bogart and Bergman in this film: "she paints his face with her eyes". Wow ...

28. Coif creator : STYLIST
A “coif” is a hairdo. The term comes from an old French term “coife”, a skull-cap that was worn under a helmet back in the late 13th century.

32. President's option for an unwanted bill : POCKET VETO
In the US, “pocket veto” is the term used for the legal maneuver that kills a piece of legislation when the President takes no action at all. The Constitution requires that the President sign or veto (i.e. a “regular veto”) any legislation within ten days while Congress is in session. If Congress adjourns within the 10-day period, then the bill does not become law. It is this inaction by the President when Congress is out of session that is called a “pocket veto”.

38. Home for G. W. Bush : TEX
President George W. Bush is named for his father, George H. W. Bush. The “W” in the name of both father and son stands for “Walker”. Walker was the family name of President George H. W. Bush’s mother, Dorothy Walker.

39. Daniel who wrote "Robinson Crusoe" : DEFOE
In Daniel Defoe’s 1719 novel “Robinson Crusoe”, the castaway encounters a companion that Crusoe calls “Friday”, because the two first met on that day. Friday soon becomes his willing servant. This character is the source of our terms “Man Friday” and “Girl Friday”, which are used to describe a particularly competent and loyal assistant.

44. Famous London department store : HARRODS
The famed Harrods department store in Knightsbridge, London is very large and very upscale operation. It is in fact the biggest department store in the whole of Europe. The store was founded in 1834 by Charles Henry Harrod as a wholesale grocery in Stepney, and opened in the current site in 1851. Harrods was owned for decades by Mohamed Al-Fayed, the father of Dodi Al-Fayed, who died with Diana, Princess of Wales in a car crash in Paris in 1997.

48. Swamp critters : GATORS
Crocodiles and alligators do indeed 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.

50. Off-limits : TABOO
The word "taboo" was introduced into English by Captain Cook in his book "A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean". Cook described "tabu" (likely imitative of a Tongan word that he had heard) as something that was both consecrated and forbidden.

52. Zorro's weapon : SWORD
The character Zorro was created by Johnston McCulley in 1919 for a series of stories and pulp fiction, the first title being “The Curse of Capistrano”. The name “Zorro” is the secret identity of a Spanish colonial nobleman called Don Diego de la Vega.

54. "Garfield" dog : ODIE
Odie is Garfield's best friend and is a slobbery beagle, a character in Jim Davis’s comic strip named “Garfield”.

55. Horse color : ROAN
A roan horse has an even mixture of white and colored hairs on the body with the head, lower legs, mane and tail having a more solid color.

57. Liberals, with "the" : LEFT
The concept of left-right politics started in France during the French Revolution. When members of France's National Assembly convened in 1789, supporters of the King sat to the President's right, and supporters of the revolution to the President's left. The political terms "left" and "right" were then coined in the local media and have been used ever since.

58. A, in Arabic : ALIF
“Alif” is the first letter in the Arabic Semitic alphabet, equivalent to the Hebrew “aleph”.

60. Anti-trafficking org. : DEA
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was set up in 1973 while President Nixon was in office.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. President after Tyler : POLK
5. Quantities: Abbr. : AMTS
9. Contradicted : BELIED
15. Microwave, e.g. : OVEN
16. Excess spending by Congress : PORK
17. Change over time : EVOLVE
18. "Othello" villain : IAGO
19. Opposite of work : PLAY
20. Doesn't just throw away : REUSES
21. Cut with a knife : SLIT
22. Enter gradually : EASE IN
24. New York's Washington Square ___ : PARK
25. Canon camera brand : EOS
26. ___ horse (surprise candidate) : DARK
27. Job for a sleuth : CASE
29. Swings wildly : FLAILS
31. Blowgun ammunition : DART
32. Letters between O and S : PQR
35. Young deer : FAWNS
36. "Peter Pan" girl : WENDY
37. Yes, to Yves : OUI
38. President-elect, e.g. : TITLE
39. Touched in the head : DAFT
40. Like sneakers and corsets : LACED
42. Earth-friendly prefix : ECO-
43. Stealing : THEFT
45. Nominates : PICKS
46. Gen ___ (boomer's child) : -XER
47. President after Roosevelt : TAFT
48. Blow a ___ (lose one's temper) : GASKET
49. Prefix with dynamic : AERO-
50. Mini-pie : TART
51. "___ well" (George Washington's last words) : ‘TIS
53. Legal wrong : TORT
56. Tell : RELATE
58. Swear to : AVOW
59. Chorus after "Who wants ice cream?" : I DO! I DO!
61. Black, to a bard : EBON
62. Former late-night host Jay : LENO
63. Used a rotary phone : DIALED
64. Baltimore's ___ McHenry : FORT
65. Roman road : ITER
66. Gossipy types : YENTAS
67. Chuck : TOSS
68. President after Nixon : FORD

Down
1. Composure : POISE
2. President's workplace : OVAL OFFICE
3. Senator or representative : LEGISLATOR
4. End of one's rope? : KNOT
5. Takes to a higher court : APPEALS
6. Grinding teeth : MOLARS
7. Cal ___, Dean's "East of Eden" role : TRASK
8. Terrier type : SKYE
9. St. ___ (dog) : BERNARD
10. Adam's madam : EVE
11. Jeweler's magnifying glass : LOUPE
12. "Casablanca" woman : ILSA
13. For all time : EVER
14. 2-Down fixture : DESK
23. Quitter's words : I CAN’T
26. Breakfast alcove : DINETTE
28. Coif creator : STYLIST
30. Shoemaker's tool : AWL
31. Like a magician's hands : DEFT
32. President's option for an unwanted bill : POCKET VETO
33. Participant at a presidential press conference, say : QUESTIONER
34. Clear (of) : RID
36. Float, as an aroma : WAFT
38. Home for G. W. Bush : TEX
39. Daniel who wrote "Robinson Crusoe" : DEFOE
41. Comic strip cry of dismay : ACK!
44. Famous London department store : HARRODS
45. Mom and dad : PARENTS
48. Swamp critters : GATORS
49. Slanted : ATILT
50. Off-limits : TABOO
52. Zorro's weapon : SWORD
53. Neat : TIDY
54. "Garfield" dog : ODIE
55. Horse color : ROAN
57. Liberals, with "the" : LEFT
58. A, in Arabic : ALIF
60. Anti-trafficking org. : DEA


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5 comments :

Dave Kennison said...

7:41, no errors. I suppose I should avoid politics here, but I can't help myself (and I can claim that David Kahn started it :-) ... In the latest TIME magazine, Joe Klein makes an interesting comment: "There is an odd new law of U.S. politics: You can lie, as Trump does all the time, but you can't temporize." That is to say, you have to have an opinion, right or wrong, and deliver it as if it came from God Himself (or Herself, as the case may be). I think Joe is on to something ...:-)

Glenn said...

Zero errors. Fairly typical Monday fare. Perhaps easier with the forced theme over 11 Across answers.

Dale Stewart said...

No errors. Politics make me sick. Horrible what our government has come to.

Anonymous said...

9 mins 27 sec, a bit harder than a Monday usually is.

2 errors (no idea of what passes for a Roman road, nor do I know my alphabet in Arabic, so....) Word ladders are a *complete* waste of time, and the tint was so light on my copy of the puzzle that I quickly stopped seeing the squares, so these didn't help (or hinder) any.

BruceB said...

10:17, no errors. Bit slower for me than the usual Monday fare, was looking for something other than a word ladder. Didn't recognize it was a word ladder until I came here, it isn't President's Day for us syndicatee's.

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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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