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0323-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 23 Mar 16, Wednesday





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Solution to today's crossword in the New York Times
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CROSSWORD SETTER: Alex Boisvert & Jeff Chen
THEME: Triple Time … each of themed answers today comprises three words, each of which often precedes TIME:
17A. *Speedy shipping option : NEXT-DAY AIR (next time, daytime & airtime)
23A. *Romantic comedy featuring two members of the Brat Pack : ABOUT LAST NIGHT (about time, last time & nighttime)
33A. *Going back to square one : STARTING ALL OVER (starting time, all time & overtime)
47A. *Recurring soap opera plot device : LONG LOST FATHER (long time, lost time & Father Time)
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 10m 19s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

6. Strongman player on "The A-Team" : MR T
Mr. T's real name is Laurence Tero Tureaud. Mr. T is famous for many things, including the wearing of excessive amounts of jewelry. He started this habit when he was working as a bouncer, wearing jewelry items that had been left behind by customers at a nightclub so that the items might be recognized and claimed. It was also as a bouncer that he adopted the name Mr. T. His catch phrase comes from the movie "Rocky III". In the film, before he goes up against Rocky Balboa, Mr. T says, "No, I don't hate Balboa, but I pity the fool". He parlayed that line into quite a bit of success. He had a reality TV show called "I Pity the Fool", and produced a motivational video called "Be Somebody ... or Be Somebody's Fool!".

“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 (as “Hannibal” Smith), ably assisted by Mr. T (as “B.A.” Baracus) and Robert Vaughn (as Hunt Stockwell).

9. Spanish ___ : MOSS
Spanish moss is seen growing all over larger trees, particularly in the southeast of the US. Also known as beard lichen, Spanish moss is neither a moss nor a lichen. Rather, it is a flowering plant, although the flowers are tiny and difficult to spot.

13. It preceded "Eleven," "Twelve" and "Thirteen" on the big screen : OCEAN’S
“Ocean’s 11” is a great film from 1960, starring Frank Sinatra as Danny Ocean. The original storyline is updated for the excellent 2001 remake, with George Clooney playing the lead. In the 1960 movie, the love interest is a character called Beatrice Ocean, played by Angie Dickinson. In the 2001 version, the love interest gets a new name, Tess Ocean, and is played by Julia Roberts. The 2001 remake (Called “Ocean’s Eleven”, note the spelling) spawned two sequels: “Ocean’s Twelve” in 2004 and “Ocean’s Thirteen” in 2007.

16. It becomes its own synonym when "cap" is added in front : ABLE
“Able” is a synonym of “capable”.

19. Hollywood's Ken or Lena : OLIN
The actor Ken Olin was one of the stars on the hit television series "Thirtysomething", playing Michael Steadman. After "Thirtysomething", Olin moved behind the camera and is now a producer and director.

The lovely Lena Olin is a Swedish actress, clearly someone who had acting in her blood. Her mother was the actress Britta Holmberg and her father the actor and director Stig Olin. Olin had a very successful career in Sweden, often working with the great Ingmar Bergman. Olin's breakthrough international and English-speaking role was playing opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" released in 1988. Way back in 1974, the lovely Miss Olin was crowned Miss Scandinavia in a beauty pageant for Nordic women held in Helsinki, Finland.

21. International airport near Tokyo : NARITA
Plans were put together for the construction of Narita International Airport back in 1966. However, the airport was not a popular addition to the metropolis in some quarters and demonstrations, often violent, delayed the project. Originally planned for completion in 1971, the airport didn’t open until 1978. The opening ceremony was attended by about 6,000 protesters and 14,000 security police.

23. *Romantic comedy featuring two members of the Brat Pack : ABOUT LAST NIGHT (about time, last time & nighttime)
“About Last Night” is a 1986 film that is based on a 1974 David Mamet play called “Sexual Perversity in Chicago”. It stars Rob Lowe and Demi Moore as a couple of yuppies who are both entering a serious relationship for the first time.

The Brat Pack moniker is reminiscent of the Rat Pack of the fifties and sixties (Franks Sinatra & co.). To qualify as a "founding" member of the Brat pack the actor had to appear in either "The Breakfast Club" or "St. Elmo's Fire", or both. So we have Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Demi Moore, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy.

27. Pink-slip : CAN
The term "pink-slip" can be used as a verb meaning "to terminate an employee". No one really seems to know for sure where the term originated, but there are lots of stories.

28. Odin sacrificed one for wisdom : EYE
In Norse mythology, Odin was the chief of the gods. Odin's wife Frigg was the queen of Asgard whose name gave us our English term "Friday" (via Anglo-Saxon). Odin's son was Thor, and his name gave us the term "Thursday". Odin himself gave us our word “Wednesday”, from “Wodin”, the English form of his name.

39. Hand-played drum : TOM-TOM
The tom-tom is a drum played with the hands, which gave its name to a dull, repeating beat or sound.

40. Presley's "___ Las Vegas" : VIVA
“Viva Las Vegas” is an Elvis Presley movie released in 1964, considered to be one of his best films. The good reception for the movie was at least in part due to the performance of the female lead, Ann-Margret.

41. HBO rival : SHO
Showtime (SHO) is a competitor of the Movie Channel (TMC) in terms of program lineup, although both channels are in fact owned by CBS.

45. Bishop and knight : PIECES
It is believed that the game of chess originated in northwest India, evolving from a 6th-century game called "chaturanga", a Sanskrit word meaning "four divisions". These four (military) divisions were represented in the game:
- Infantry (now "pawns")
- Cavalry (now "knights")
- Elephants (now "bishops")
- Chariots (now "rooks")

54. Minuet meter ... or a description of the answers to the starred clues? : TRIPLE TIME
A minuet is a dance that originated in France. At some point, the middle section of the minuet was routinely scored for just a trio of instruments. The resulting composition was known as a minuet and trio, and in the Classical Era was commonly chosen as the third movement of a symphony.

60. "___ Mutual Friend" : OUR
“Our Mutual Friend” is the last novel that Charles Dickens finished, first published in 1865. The last novel that Dickens worked on is “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”, which he left unfinished.

61. Heavy hitter : SLEDGE
A sledgehammer is a big hammer, used to apply a lot of force. The word “sledgehammer” comes from the Anglo Saxon “Slaegan” meaning “to strike violently”. “Slaegan” is also the root of the words “slag”, “slay” and “slog”.

63. One end of a rainbow : RED
The number of colors in the visible spectrum is actually infinite because the spectrum is a continuum. However, the human eye can distinguish about 100 different colors in all. The brain tends to divide the rainbow of colors into a smaller number, seven so-called primary colors:
- Red
- Orange
- Yellow
- Green
- Blue
- Indigo
- Violet

Down
2. Bridge four-pointer : ACE
Bridge players routinely assess the value of their hands by giving points to certain cards:
- Ace: 4 points
- King: 3 points
- Queen: 2 points
- Jack: 1 point

4. Decorative ink : TATTOO ART
The word "tattoo" (often shortened to “tat”) was first used in English in the writings of the famous English explorer Captain Cook. In his descriptions of the indelible marks adorning the skin of Polynesian natives, Cook anglicized the Tahitian word "tatau" into our "tattoo".

6. Sporty Mazda : MIATA
The Mazda MX-5 is sold as the Miata in North America, and as the Roadster in Japan. I've always liked the looks of the Mazda Miata, probably because it reminds me so much of old British sports cars. The Miata is built in Hiroshima, Japan.

7. French king : ROI
“Roi” is the French word for "king".

9. Native Kiwis : 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.

Unlike many nicknames for people of a particular country, the name "Kiwi" for a New Zealander isn't offensive at all. The term comes from the flightless bird called the kiwi, which is endemic to New Zealand and is the country's national symbol. "Kiwi" is a Maori word, and the plural (when referring to the bird) is simply "kiwi". However, when you have two or more New Zealanders with you, they are Kiwis (note the "s", and indeed the capital "K"!).

11. Like the toves in "Jabberwocky" : SLITHY
Here are the first two verses of “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll, probably the one poem that we all just loved learning to recite at school:
’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!

12. Half of Congress : SENATE
The US Congress is described “bicameral” in that it is divided into two separate assemblies, namely the Senate and the House of Representatives. The term “bicameral” comes from the prefix “bi-” meaning “two”, and the Latin “camera” meaning “chamber”.

14. Brown, in a way : SAUTE
“Sauté” is a French word. The literal translation from the French is “jumped” or “bounced”, a reference to the tossing of food while cooking it in a frying pan.

18. Fashion inits. : YSL
Yves Saint-Laurent (YSL) was a French fashion designer, actually born in Algeria. Saint-Laurent started off working as an assistant to Christian Dior at the age of 17. Dior died just four years later, and as a very young man Saint-Laurent was named head of the House of Dior. However, in 1950 Saint-Laurent was conscripted into the French Army and ended up in a military hospital after suffering a mental breakdown from the hazing inflicted on him by his fellow soldiers. His treatment included electroshock therapy and administration of sedatives and psychoactive drugs. He was released from prison, managed to pull his life back together and started his own fashion house. A remarkable story ...

22. Historical record : ANNAL
“Annal” is a rarely used word, the singular of the more common “annals”. An annal would be the recorded events of one year, with annals being the chronological record of events in successive years. The term “annal” comes from the Latin “annus” meaning “year”.

23. At the drop of ___ : A HAT
It is suggested that the idiomatic phrase “at the drop of a hat” comes from the Old West, where a signal to start a fight was just a that, a drop of a hat.

24. Testing stage : BETA
In the world of software development, the first tested issue of a new program is usually called the "alpha" version. Expected to have a lot of bugs that need to be fixed, the alpha release is usually distributed to a small number of testers. After reported bugs have been eliminated, the refined version is called a "beta" and is released to a wider audience, but with the program clearly labeled as "beta". The users generally check functionality and report further bugs that are encountered. The beta version feeds into a release candidate, the version that is tested just prior to the software being sold into the market, bug-free. Yeah, right ...

26. Gridiron successes, 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!

34. Obnoxious sorts : TOOLS
“Tool” is one of those slang terms that I dislike immensely, even though it has been used since the 1600s. “Tool” is used to describe a socially inept person and is a reference to the male reproductive organ.

35. Charlatan, of a sort : IMPOSTOR
A charlatan is someone who makes false claims of skill or knowledge. It is a word we imported from French, although the original derivation is the Italian “ciarlatano”, the term for “a quack”.

37. It becomes its own synonym when "for" is added in front : EVER
“Ever” is a synonym of “forever”.

38. Dorm V.I.P.s : RAS
RAs are resident assistants or resident advisers, the peer leaders found in residence halls, particularly on a college campus.

41. Gated water channel : SLUICE
A “sluice” is a water channel with a gate at its head that is used to control the amount of water flowing.

42. Bigwig : HONCHO
“Honcho” is a slang term for a leader or manager. The term comes to us from Japanese, in which language a "hancho" is a squad (han) leader (cho).

45. Parts of ratchets : PAWLS
In a ratchet, there’s a rotating gear over which runs a spring-loaded finger, the piece of metal that makes the clicks as the gear rotates. That finger is called a “pawl”.

49. Position for Cal Ripken Jr. : THIRD
Cal Ripken played his entire, 20-year professional baseball career for the Baltimore Orioles. Ripken was known as the "Iron Man" because he showed up for work every day, come rain or shine. He played 2,632 straight games, blowing past the previous 2,130-game record held by Lou Gehrig.

55. Young competitor in "The Hunger Games" : RUE
In “The Hunger Games”, Rue is a 12-year-old girl with whom Katniss makes an alliance early in the Games. Rue reminds Katniss of her own younger sister.

“The Hunger Games” is a 2008 novel by Suzanne Collins, the first in a trilogy of titles that also includes “Catching Fire” (2009) and “Mockingjay” (2010). “The Hunger Games” was adapted into a very successful movie released in 2012, with the sequels following soon after. Amazon.com reports more sales of “The Hunger Games” series books than even the “Harry Potter” series.

56. Mrs. McKinley : IDA
Ida Saxton met Bill McKinley at a picnic in 1867, just before she headed off to Europe on a "grand tour". So, the two had to wait until 1869 before they started courting. The couple married in 1871 in Canton, Ohio, Ida's hometown. Ida McKinley developed epilepsy before her husband was elected to President of the US and became very dependent on him to provide physical and moral support. She always sat by his side at public functions, breaking with the tradition of the President hosting some of the guests, and the First Lady others. After her husband was assassinated, Mrs. McKinley could not bring herself to attend her husband's funeral, and then withdrew from public view to her home in Canton. She passed away six years after her husband, in 1907.

57. Booker T.'s backup : MG’S
Booker T. & the M.G.'s were in effect the house band at Stax Records, and so appeared on loads of famous recordings including some by Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding. As such, they became synonymous with what became known as the Stax Sound. One of the unique things about the band was that it was racially integrated, with two white guys making a name for themselves in soul music, which at the time was very much part of black culture. And of course Booker T. & the M.G.’s produced the fabulous 1962 hit “Green Onions”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Fritter away : WASTE
6. Strongman player on "The A-Team" : MR T
9. Spanish ___ : MOSS
13. It preceded "Eleven," "Twelve" and "Thirteen" on the big screen : OCEAN’S
15. Slip in a pot : IOU
16. It becomes its own synonym when "cap" is added in front : ABLE
17. *Speedy shipping option : NEXT-DAY AIR (next time, daytime & airtime)
19. Hollywood's Ken or Lena : OLIN
20. Have confidence in : TRUST
21. International airport near Tokyo : NARITA
23. *Romantic comedy featuring two members of the Brat Pack : ABOUT LAST NIGHT (about time, last time & nighttime)
26. A person's soul mate : THE ONE
27. Pink-slip : CAN
28. Odin sacrificed one for wisdom : EYE
29. Percentages and such : DATA
30. Like much car chase footage : AERIAL
33. *Going back to square one : STARTING ALL OVER (starting time, all time & overtime)
39. Hand-played drum : TOM-TOM
40. Presley's "___ Las Vegas" : VIVA
41. HBO rival : SHO
44. Uncover, poetically : OPE
45. Bishop and knight : PIECES
47. *Recurring soap opera plot device : LONG LOST FATHER (long time, lost time & Father Time)
51. "Hold on, I just might have a good solution ..." : UNLESS ...
52. "Care to explain?" : HOW SO?
53. Desktop pic : ICON
54. Minuet meter ... or a description of the answers to the starred clues? : TRIPLE TIME
59. Converse : CHAT
60. "___ Mutual Friend" : OUR
61. Heavy hitter : SLEDGE
62. Life span of a star : EONS
63. One end of a rainbow : RED
64. Something to take a nip from : FLASK

Down
1. Came out on top : WON
2. Bridge four-pointer : ACE
3. Congress : SEX
4. Decorative ink : TATTOO ART
5. Evasive maneuver : END RUN
6. Sporty Mazda : MIATA
7. French king : ROI
8. Beat a hasty retreat : TURN TAIL
9. Native Kiwis : MAORI
10. Necessitate : OBLIGE
11. Like the toves in "Jabberwocky" : SLITHY
12. Half of Congress : SENATE
14. Brown, in a way : SAUTE
18. Fashion inits. : YSL
22. Historical record : ANNAL
23. At the drop of ___ : A HAT
24. Testing stage : BETA
25. "Make like a tree and leave!" : SCRAM!
26. Gridiron successes, for short : TDS
30. Chips in a pot : ANTES
31. I : EGO
32. Where couples may register under assumed names : LOVE HOTEL
34. Obnoxious sorts : TOOLS
35. Charlatan, of a sort : IMPOSTOR
36. Smoking cigars, e.g. : VICE
37. It becomes its own synonym when "for" is added in front : EVER
38. Dorm V.I.P.s : RAS
41. Gated water channel : SLUICE
42. Bigwig : HONCHO
43. Checked out : ON LOAN
45. Parts of ratchets : PAWLS
46. Reflexive pronoun : ITSELF
48. Ladies' counterparts : GENTS
49. Position for Cal Ripken Jr. : THIRD
50. Snappy dresser : FOP
55. Young competitor in "The Hunger Games" : RUE
56. Mrs. McKinley : IDA
57. Booker T.'s backup : MG’S
58. "Oh, no!" : EEK!


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9 comments :

Anonymous said...

3 down: I never heard of "sex" as a synonym for 'congress"

Sfingi said...

Sexual congress is a somewhat old-fashioned expression, tis true.

Did not get the theme until here, had to Google several times. So, I won't bother with Thurs. NYT.

Dave Kennison said...

I'm familiar with the phrase "sexual congress", but I don't recall ever seeing "congress" used by itself for that particular activity. And I'm familiar with the use of "tool" to refer to someone who is easily manipulated or a toady (as in "a willing tool of the international Communist conspiracy"), but I'd never heard it used in the sense of the clue for 34D (and I'm with Bill ... I hate it ... :-)

I'm no longer posting my times. In playing with the app on my iPad, I caught up to the NYT print edition (and I'm now dipping into the archives). So, when I do a puzzle in my local paper, it's one that I've seen before and my time has to be interpreted accordingly; it's usually (but not always!) better than it would have been if I had never seen the puzzle before. Oddly, I remember some of the puzzles very well and others hardly at all; I'm trying to figure out what makes a puzzle stick with me but, so far, I have only hypotheses. I've begun to appreciate some aspects of the app, but I strongly suspect that I will never be as proficient with it as I am with pen and paper.

BruceB said...

16:24, no errors. Agree with Dave's comments regarding CONGRESS and TOOLS. Lost some time, had Cal Ripken Jr. at 'short' rather than THIRD.

Dale Stewart said...

Got it with no errors and no erasures but never did feel very comfortable working this one. I could just feel the setters trying to deliberately give esoteric clues that just barely qualified as clues. Please, setters, meet me on a level playing field from now on.

Tom M. said...

Thanks, Dave Kennison, for acknowledging your previews.

Dave Kennison said...

@Tom ... Just to be clear: All of the solution times that I have posted to this blog in the past have been for puzzles that I had not previously seen, except for a few cases in which I had already posted my initial solution time on the iPad I was experimenting with and thought that my pen-and-paper time for the same puzzle might be of some interest. The problem now is that I'm doing at least two NYT puzzles every day - a new one, that I do on my iPad, from the current on-line version of the Times, and an old one, that I do on paper and that I have seen before, from the Denver Post (delayed by five weeks for daily puzzles and one week for Sunday puzzles). It's too complicated to explain all this in every post, so I've decided to just stop posting my times entirely. (In any case, they're probably of more interest to me than to anyone else; in particular, they reveal that, for me, the mental bandwidth required for the iPad exceeds that for pen and paper, leading, so far, to longer solution times and a higher error rate ... but I'm still improving ... :-)

Anonymous said...

13 minutes flat, no errors. Yes, CONGRESS was indeed a weak clue for "SEX", but we're all by now familiar with the trend towards malicious and mean-spirited "editing" intended to trick and deceive rather than to test knowledge or vocabulary. Sad.

Not too bad for a Wednesday, but now I feel antsy going into Thursday, knowing "someone" is in a devious state of mind....

Glenn said...

DNF. Got 5 letters away with a sea of ink, but everything got too screwy and this puzzle wore out my patience on a number of levels.

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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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