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0315-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 15 Mar 16, Tuesday





QuickLinks:
Solution to today's crossword in the New York Times
Solution to today's SYNDICATED New York Times crossword in all other publications
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Jump to a complete list of today's clues and answers

CROSSWORD SETTER: Gordon Johnson
THEME: States of Matter … we have three states of matters in one of today’s themed answers. Three other themed answers start with the three states of H2O:
20A. Elements' various forms : STATES OF MATTER
52A. Three main 20-Across ... with examples included in 38-Across and 11- and 26-Down : SOLID, LIQUID & GAS

38A. Places to do figure eights : ICE-SKATING RINKS
11D. Large containers often found atop buildings : WATER TANKS
26D. Some Mississippi River traffic : STEAMBOATS
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 5m 57s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Tori who sang "Cornflake Girl" : AMOS
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 ...)!

9. Shot the bull : JAWED
The phrase “bull session” was popularized by American college students in the 1920s. The term refers to a discussion, particularly between male friends. The phrase “to shoot the bull”, meaning to talk freely and pretentiously about something one knows very little, is derivative of “bull session”.

16. As a friend, in France : EN AMI
"En ami" is the French for "in friendship".

17. Nut from Hawaii : MACADAMIA
The macadamia tree is native to Australia and is largely grown for its fruit, the macadamia nut. The tree was names in 1857 in honor of Scottish-Australian chemist and politician John Macadam. The macadamia was introduced into Hawaii as a commercial crop in the 1920s.

20. Elements' various forms : STATES OF MATTER
(52A. Three main 20-Across ... with examples included in 38-Across and 11- and 26-Down : SOLID, LIQUID & GAS)
When I was a youngster, I was taught that there are three states of matters: solid, liquid and gas. When a little older, I was informed that there is a fourth state of matter, namely plasma.

24. Ottoman bigwig : PASHA
A “pasha” was a high-ranking official in the Ottoman Empire, roughly equivalent to the English rank of “lord”.

28. Tapioca or taro root : TUBER
The cassava plant is a woody shrub native to South America grown largely for its carbohydrate-rich tubers. In fact, the cassava is the third largest food source of carbohydrates (for humans) in the world. Ordinarily, that carbohydrate is extracted from the plant, dried as flour and is called tapioca.

The corm of some taro plants is used to make poi, the traditional Hawaiian dish (that I think tastes horrible). When a taro plant is grown as an ornamental, it is often called Elephant Ears due to the shape of its large leaves.

31. "Eternally nameless" Chinese concept : TAO
The Chinese character "tao" translates as "path", but the concept of Tao signifies the true nature of the world.

36. ___ chi : TAI
More correctly called tai chi chuan, tai chi is a martial art that is mostly practiced to improve overall health and increase longevity.

37. "The Magic Mountain" novelist Thomas : MANN
Thomas Mann was a German novelist whose most famous work is probably his novella "Death in Venice", originally published in German in 1912 as "Der Tod in Venedig". The story was famously adapted for the big screen in 1971, in a movie starring Dirk Bogarde.

“The Magic Mountain” is a 1924 novel by Thomas Mann, first published in German as “Der Zauberberg”. “The Magic Mountain” was originally intended as humorous novella, a follow-up to Mann’s more famous work 1912 work “Death in Venice”.

38. Places to do figure eights : ICE-SKATING RINKS
Figure skating started out as a sport in which a skater demonstrated skill at carving out specific patterns into the ice (a figure-8, for example). Over time, the sport placed greater influence on free skating. Compulsory figures were dropped completely from most international competitions in the 1990, but the name “figure skating” has been retained.

41. One preparing for a coming flood : NOAH
The term “ark”, when used with reference to Noah, is a translation of the Hebrew word “tebah”. The word “tebah” is also used in the Bible for the basket in which Moses was placed by his mother when she floated him down the Nile. It seems that the word “tebah” doesn’t mean “boat” and nor does it mean “basket”. Rather, a more appropriate translation is “life-preserver” or “life-saver”. So, Noah’s ark was Noah's life-preserver during the flood.

42. Sports org. with a five-ring logo : IOC
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was founded in 1894, and has its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The symbol of the Olympic Games consists of five interlocking rings, with each ring representing one of the five continents involved in the Olympics. The five continents are Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania and America (North and South combined). The symbol was designed in 1912, adopted in 1914, and introduced at the 1920 Games.

43. Rudely interrupt, as a comedian : HECKLE
The original use of the verb "to heckle" was to mean questioning severely, and for many years was associated with the public questioning of parliamentary candidates in Scotland. In more recent times, the meaning has evolved into questioning that is less polite and that is directed at standup comics.

44. "Cheers" bartender : SAM
On the sitcom "Cheers", barman Sam Malone was played by Ted Danson. Malone was a retired relief pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, and a recovering alcoholic. Great show ...

45. Like mud, in an idiom : CLEAR
As clear as mud …

47. Under siege : BESET
Our word "siege" comes from a 13th century word for a "seat". The military usage derives from the concept of a besieging force "sitting down" outside a fortress until it falls.

50. Mil. mail center : APO
Army post office (APO)

60. Bursting with joy : EBULLIENT
“Ebullient” means high-spirited, overflowing with enthusiasm. The term comes from the Latin “ebullire” meaning “to boil over”.

62. Middle's middle? : DEES
There are two letters D (dees) in the middle of the word “middle”.

64. Like much chili : ZESTY
The full name of the dish that is often called simply "chili" is "chili con carne", Spanish for "peppers with meat". The dish was first created by immigrants from the Spanish Canary Islands in the city of San Antonio, Texas (a city which the islanders founded). The San Antonio Chili Stand was a popular attraction at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, and that stand introduced the dish to the rest of America and to the world.

Down
2. Ring around a castle : MOAT
A “moat” is a protective trench that surrounds a castle, say, or a an exhibit in a zoo. A moat may or may not be filled with water.

3. Toothed whale : ORCA
The taxonomic name for the killer whale is Orcinus orca. The use of the name "orca", rather than "killer whale", is becoming more and more common. The Latin word "Orcinus" means "belonging to Orcus", with Orcus being the name for the Kingdom of the Dead.

7. Babe in the woods : NAIF
A naïf is someone who is naive, as "naïf" is the French word for "naive".

8. Early rock genre for David Bowie : GLAM
I remember the days of glam rock so well, as it was a hugely popular genre of music in the British Isles during the early seventies. Artistes wore the wildest of clothes, big hair, shiny outfits and really high platform boots. Names associated with glam rock are T. Rex, David Bowie, Roxy Music and Gary Glitter.

David Bowie was the stage name of English singer David Jones. Bowie adopted the alter ego Ziggy Stardust during his glam rock phase in the 1970s. Sadly, Bowie passed away from liver cancer in early 2016.

10. ___ Bath (prank call name) : ANITA
On the animated TV comedy “The Simpsons”, Bart likes to prank call Moe’s Tavern. Bart asks Moe to “page” someone in the bar using a fictitious name, a name which sounds like a rude phrase when called out loud. This running joke on “The Simpsons” is a homage to a series of legendary calls made in real life to the Tube Bar in Jersey City by John Elmo and Jim Davidson that were taped and circulated widely in the mid-seventies. Some of the milder names used in the original prank calls were:
- Al Cholic (alcoholic)
- Cole Kutz (cold cuts)
- Sal Lammy (salami)
- Anita Bath (I need a bath)

12. Abu Dhabi dignitary : EMIR
In English, emir can also be written as emeer, amir and ameer (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).

Abu Dhabi is one of the seven Emirates that make up the federation known as the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The two largest members of the UAE (geographically) are Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the only two of the seven members that have veto power over UAE policy. Before 1971, the UAE was a British Protectorate, a collection of sheikdoms. The sheikdoms entered into a maritime truce with Britain in 1835, after which they became known as the Trucial States, derived from the word “truce”.

18. Go down the gangplank : DEBARK
In getting on and off a seagoing vessel, one embarks and debarks. The terms come from the name of the small ship known as a barque.

A barque (also “bark”) is a sailboat with three or more masts, all square-rigged except the aftermast which has triangular sails

21. Just free of the sea bottom : AWEIGH
When an anchor is “aweigh” or “atrip”, it is just clear of the bottom, having just been lifted.

25. Giant in lightweight metals : ALCOA
The Aluminum Corporation of America (ALCOA) is the largest producer of aluminum in the United States. The company was founded in 1888 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where its headquarters are to this day.

26. Some Mississippi River traffic : STEAMBOATS
The Mississippi River runs right through the Midwest. It originates in Lake Itasca, Minnesota and flows into the Gulf of Mexico about a hundred miles below New Orleans. The name Mississippi is a corruption of a Native American name "misi-ziibi", meaning "Great River".

27. This-and-that dish : HASH
"Hash", meaning a dish of beef and vegetables mashed together, is a very American term and one that really surprised me when I first came across it. "Hash" just seems like such an unappetizing item, but I soon found out how delicious it was. The name "hash" in this context comes from the French "hacher" meaning "to chop". Back in the early 1900s the dish called "hashed browned potatoes" was developed, which quickly morphed into "hash browns". From there the likes of corned beef hash was introduced.

29. City on the Erie Canal : UTICA
Utica in New York is known as “Second Chance City” these days, due to the recent influx of refugees from war-torn parts of the world and from Bosnia in particular. These immigrants have helped revitalize the area and reverse a trend of population loss.

The Erie Canal runs from Albany to Buffalo in the state of New York. What the canal does is allow shipping to proceed from New York Harbor right up the Hudson River, through the canal and into the Great Lakes. When it was opened in 1825, the Erie Canal had immediate impact on the economy of New York City and locations along its route. It was the first means of "cheap" transportation from a port on the Atlantic seaboard into the interior of the United States. Arguably it was the most important factor contributing to the growth of New York City over competing ports such as Baltimore and Philadelphia. It was largely because of the Erie Canal that New York became such an economic powerhouse, earning it the nickname of "the Empire State". Paradoxically, one of the project’s main proponents was severely criticized. New York Governor DeWitt Clinton received so much ridicule that the canal was nicknamed “Clinton’s Folly” and “Clinton’s Ditch”.

30. The U.N.'s ___ Ki-moon : BAN
Ban Ki-Moon is the current Secretary-General of the United Nations. He is from South Korea and spent most of his working life as a diplomat for his country, before taking the post of Foreign Minister in the South Korean government. He will continue as UN Secretary-General until the end of 2016, having been unanimously re-elected by the General Assembly to a second term.

32. Site for a parolee tracking device : ANKLE
A person under house arrest often wears an ankle monitor that is used to ensure that he or she does not stray far from home. An alternative system involves random calls to the confined person’s home that have to be answered by the convict. On the face of it, house arrest seems to be a very economic alternative for a society instead of the prison system. As part of the sentence, the convict may even be asked to pay for the cost of monitoring his or her house arrest.

The term "parole" is a French word that we use in English, with the French "parole" meaning "word, speech". Of particular interest is the French phrase "parole d'honneur" which translates as "word of honor". In the early 1600s we started using "parole" to mean a promise by a prisoner of war not to escape, as in the prisoner giving his "word of honor" not to run off. Over time, parole has come to mean conditional release of a prisoner before he or she has served the full term of a sentence.

35. Went by sloop, say : SAILED
Sloops and cutters are sailboats, and each has just one mast. One major difference between the two types of vessel is that the mast on a cutter is set much further aft than the mast on a sloop.

37. Computer alternatives to touchpads : MICE
The first computer mouse was invented at the Stanford Research Institute in 1963, by one Douglas Engelbart. Sadly for him, his patent ran out before mice became standard equipment on computers, so he never made any money from his amazing invention.

A touchpad (also “trackpad”) is a pointing device found mainly on laptop computers. It serves as a fairly decent alternative to a mouse.

39. "Piggy" : TOE
This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed home,
This little piggy had roast beef,
This little piggy had none,
And this little piggy went wee wee wee all the way home.

40. Bring to 212° again : REBOIL
When Gabriel Fahrenheit first defined his temperature scale he set 0 degrees as the temperature of a mixture ice, water and salt. He defined 100 degrees as the temperature under his wife's armpit! Using this scale he determined that water boiled at 210 degrees. Later refinements moved the boiling point of water up to 212 degrees, and as a result "body temperature" was shifted downwards to 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

46. Welch of "Myra Breckinridge" : RAQUEL
The actress Raquel Welch was born Jo Raquel Tejada in Chicago. Her first major role was in the 1966 sci-fi movie “Fantastic Voyage” (fantastic film!).

Even today, Gore Vidal’s 1968 novel “Myra Breckinridge” is considered controversial. I haven’t read it, but I understand it addresses transsexuality and other sexual practices usually considered to be outside the norm. There was a movie version of the novel made in 1970, with Raquel Welch in the title role.

51. A vital sign : PULSE
One’s “pulse” is the rhythmic throbbing of arteries that is usually detected at the wrist or the neck. The contraction of the heart creates a pressure wave in the blood that moves the arterial walls, which is detected as the pulse.

52. It's 1 for 90° : SINE
The most familiar trigonometric functions are sine, cosine and tangent (abbreviated to “sin, cos and tan”). Each of these is a ratio, a ratio of two sides of a right-angled triangle. The “reciprocal” of these three functions are cosecant, secant and cotangent. The reciprocal functions are simply the inverted ratios, the inverted sine, cosine and tangent. These inverted ratios should not be confused with the “inverse” trigonometric functions e.g. arcsine, arccosine and arctangent. These inverse functions are the reverse of the sine, cosine and tangent. For example, the arctangent can be read as “What angle is equivalent to the following ratio of opposite over adjacent?”

53. Mother of Helen of Troy : LEDA
In Greek mythology, Leda was the beautiful Queen of Sparta who was seduced by Zeus when he took the form of a swan. Leda produced two eggs from the union. One egg hatched into the beautiful Helen, later to be known as Helen of Troy and over whom was fought the Trojan War. The other egg hatched into the twins Castor and Pollux. Castor and Pollux had different fathers according to the myth. Pollux was the son of Zeus and was immortal, while Castor was the son of Leda's earthly husband, and so he was a mortal. William Butler Yeats wrote a famous sonnet called “Leda and the Swan” in 1924. Peter Paul Rubens made a copy of a painting called “Leda and the Swan” by Michelangelo, which is now lost.

54. Alpine goat : IBEX
Ibex is a common name for various species of mountain goat. “Ibex” is a Latin name that was used for wild goats found in the Alps and Apennines in Europe.

55. Run-down tavern : DIVE
We’ve been using the word “dive” in American English for a run-down bar since the latter half of the 19th century. The term comes from the fact that disreputable taverns were usually located in basements, so one had to literally and figuratively dive into it.

57. Youngest Brontë : ANNE
Anne was the youngest of the three sisters in the literary Brontë family. Her older sisters wrote novels that are more recognized, but Anne's two novels do have a following. "Agnes Grey" is based on her own experiences working as a governess. Her other novel, "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" is written as a long letter from a young man describing the events leading up to his first meeting with his wife-to-be. Anne Brontë's writing career was cut short in 1849, when she died of pulmonary tuberculosis, at only 29 years of age.

58. Yardsticks: Abbr. : STDS
Standard (std.)

59. Qty. at a bakery : DOZ
Our word “dozen” is used for a group of twelve. We imported it into English from Old French. The modern French word for twelve is “douze”, and a dozen is “douzaine”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Tori who sang "Cornflake Girl" : AMOS
5. Inspiring part of the body? : LUNG
9. Shot the bull : JAWED
14. Handed-down tales : LORE
15. Bibliographic abbr. : ET AL
16. As a friend, in France : EN AMI
17. Nut from Hawaii : MACADAMIA
19. Certain nonviolent protest : SIT-IN
20. Elements' various forms : STATES OF MATTER
22. Wanna-___ (copycats) : BES
23. Have on : WEAR
24. Ottoman bigwig : PASHA
28. Tapioca or taro root : TUBER
31. "Eternally nameless" Chinese concept : TAO
34. Places where knots are tied : ALTARS
36. ___ chi : TAI
37. "The Magic Mountain" novelist Thomas : MANN
38. Places to do figure eights : ICE-SKATING RINKS
41. One preparing for a coming flood : NOAH
42. Sports org. with a five-ring logo : IOC
43. Rudely interrupt, as a comedian : HECKLE
44. "Cheers" bartender : SAM
45. Like mud, in an idiom : CLEAR
47. Under siege : BESET
48. Lacking adornment : BARE
50. Mil. mail center : APO
52. Three main 20-Across ... with examples included in 38-Across and 11- and 26-Down : SOLID, LIQUID & GAS
59. Parts of combination locks : DIALS
60. Bursting with joy : EBULLIENT
61. Leading the pack : ON TOP
62. Middle's middle? : DEES
63. Sell : VEND
64. Like much chili : ZESTY
65. Greased auto part : AXLE
66. Just manages, with "out" : EKES

Down
1. Help for the poor : ALMS
2. Ring around a castle : MOAT
3. Toothed whale : ORCA
4. Ticket specification : SEAT
5. Alternative to buy : LEASE
6. Nth degree : UTMOST
7. Babe in the woods : NAIF
8. Early rock genre for David Bowie : GLAM
9. Court entertainer : JESTER
10. ___ Bath (prank call name) : ANITA
11. Large containers often found atop buildings : WATER TANKS
12. Abu Dhabi dignitary : EMIR
13. Loud noise : DIN
18. Go down the gangplank : DEBARK
21. Just free of the sea bottom : AWEIGH
24. Annoying sorts : PAINS
25. Giant in lightweight metals : ALCOA
26. Some Mississippi River traffic : STEAMBOATS
27. This-and-that dish : HASH
29. City on the Erie Canal : UTICA
30. The U.N.'s ___ Ki-moon : BAN
32. Site for a parolee tracking device : ANKLE
33. Get-go : ONSET
35. Went by sloop, say : SAILED
37. Computer alternatives to touchpads : MICE
39. "Piggy" : TOE
40. Bring to 212° again : REBOIL
45. Fried chicken option : CRISPY
46. Welch of "Myra Breckinridge" : RAQUEL
49. Divvy up : ALLOT
51. A vital sign : PULSE
52. It's 1 for 90° : SINE
53. Mother of Helen of Troy : LEDA
54. Alpine goat : IBEX
55. Run-down tavern : DIVE
56. Show one's nerdy side, with "out" : GEEK
57. Youngest Brontë : ANNE
58. Yardsticks: Abbr. : STDS
59. Qty. at a bakery : DOZ


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6 comments :

Dave Kennison said...

8:13, no errors, done on my iPad. Here in Colorado, there's a big storm in progress, so I'm working my way through the puzzles for the coming week and trying to get better with the on-line app.

Dave Kennison said...

6:38, no errors, on paper ... so ... even doing an easy puzzle a second time, and in my preferred way, didn't allow me to equal Bill's time! ... :-)

@Anonymous and Bill Stewart (in yesterday's blog): In Iowa, where I grew up, I heard the phrase RUN TO occasionally, though I more often heard RUN YOU, as in, "Replacing the transmission on that particular model will run you about four hundred dollars." I also remember hearing COME TO, as in, "With all the extras you've ordered, your bill's gonna come to almost five hundred bucks." I suspect that there may be some regional variation in the use of such phrases.

@Tom M (again, in yesterday's blog): I think a lot of posts start with a solution time and an error count because Bill gives both for himself. I rather enjoy being able to compare my results to that of others. A few years ago, as a result of some DNA tests, I was told that my risk of developing early-onset Alzheimer's was about five times the national average. Thankfully, I am now probably too old to worry about the "early-onset" part of that :-), but I am trying to keep tabs on how well I do some things that I have a baseline feel for and I'm trying to challenge myself with new things ...

Dale Stewart said...

Great puzzle today in all respects. no errors. I appreciate Dave's feedback on yesterday's RAN TO.

I've mentioned before that I do not time myself. I did try that for a few months but eventually stopped doing it. I definitely found that it sapped my enjoyment of being freely engaged with the puzzle and under no preoccupation with getting it done faster and faster.
Of course, whether a solver works well with a time goal may be related to the skill that the solver possesses at the outset. Bill, Dave, Bruce, et al, do well anyway whether timed or not.

But I think maybe in the competition levels of crosswords that the contestants are working against the clock. Does anyone know?

Tom Morehouse said...

@Dave Kennison: Fair enough. Good luck.

BruceB said...

7:50, no errors. For my case, Dave is absolutely correct. The only day that I try to do the puzzle with any rapidity is Monday. The other days I just enjoy the mind challenges, I tap the timer on my phone when I start, and tap it again when I finish. Whatever comes up, I post. I appreciate others posting their times/comments, as well. On those days when I have struggled with a puzzle, I usually find that others have experienced the same difficulties.

Ben F said...

Dale-

The competitions are heavily based on both time and accuracy. If you're interested, I recommend the documentary film "Wordplay" - a great look at many aspects of x-word puzzles and the people that build them, as well as the competition scene.

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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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