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0404-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 4 Apr 16, Monday





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

CROSSWORD SETTER: David Kwong
THEME: Back Country … each of today’s themed answers contains as string of circled letters. Reading this string of letters BACKWARDS spells out the name of a COUNTRY:
61A. Rural area ... or what can be found in each set of circled letters? : BACK COUNTRY

17A. Actor who portrayed Newman on "Seinfeld" : WAYNE KNIGHT (hiding KENYA backwards)
22A. Obvious indication : CLEAR SIGN (hiding ISRAEL backwards)
34A. It may keep cafeteria food warm : HEAT LAMP (hiding MALTA backwards)
43A. Billiards variant : NINE BALL (hiding BENIN backwards)
54A. Ushers' offerings : PLAYBILLS (hiding LIBYA backwards)
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 6m 48s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Republican grp. : GOP
The Republican Party has had the nickname Grand Old Party (GOP) since 1875. That said, the phrase was coined in the “Congressional Record” as “this gallant old party”. The moniker was changed to “grand old party” in 1876 in an article in the “Cincinnati Commercial”. The Republican Party’s elephant mascot dates back to an 1874 cartoon drawn by Thomas Nast for “Harper’s Weekly”. The Democrat’s donkey was already an established symbol. Nast drew a donkey clothed in a lion’s skin scaring away the other animals. One of the scared animals was an elephant, which Nast labeled “The Republican Vote”.

13. "Cat ___ Hot Tin Roof" : ON A
“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” is the play that won Tennessee Williams the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1955. The play was adapted into a famous film version in 1958, with Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman playing the leads.

14. Billionaire Aristotle : ONASSIS
Aristotle Onassis was born to a successful Greek shipping entrepreneur in Smyrna in modern-day Turkey. However, his family lost its fortune during WWI and so Aristotle worked with his father to build up a new business empire centered on the importation of tobacco. In 1957, Aristotle founded the Greek national airline, what is today called Olympic Air, and he also got into the business of shipping oil around the world. He married Athina Livanos in 1946, the daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate. They couple had two children together, with one being the famous Christina Onassis. Livanos divorced Onassis on discovering him in bed with the opera singer Maria Callas. Onassis ended his affair with Callas in order to marry Jackie Kennedy in 1968.

16. Lunar New Year in Vietnam : TET
The full name for the New Year holiday in Vietnam is “Tet Nguyen Dan” meaning "Feast of the First Morning", with the reference being to the arrival of the season of spring. Tet usually falls on the same day as Chinese New Year.

17. Actor who portrayed Newman on "Seinfeld" : WAYNE KNIGHT (hiding KENYA backwards)
Wayne Knight's most famous role is Newman in the sitcom "Seinfeld". Knight also had a small role in a very famous movie scene, playing one of the police officers interrogating Sharon Stone’s character in "Basic Instinct".

Kenya lies on the east coast of Africa, right on the equator. The country takes her name from Mount Kenya, the second highest peak on the continent (after Kilimanjaro). The official languages of Kenya are English and Swahili.

22. Obvious indication : CLEAR SIGN (hiding ISRAEL backwards)
The land that is now Israel was ruled by the British after WWI as the British Mandate of Palestine. The British evacuated the area after WWII, largely responding to pressure from both Jewish and Arab nationalist movements. The British Mandate expired on 14 May 1948 and the State of israel was established at the same time. This declaration of a new state was followed by the immediate invasion of the area by four Arab countries and the start of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. A ceasefire was declared after a year of fighting and tension has persisted in the region ever since.

28. Mortarboard attachment : TASSEL
Mortarboards, or square academic caps, are associated with school graduations all over the world, although traditions do differ. For example in Ireland (where I come from), mortarboards are only worn by female graduates.

31. Glock, e.g. : PISTOL
Glock is an Austrian company that produces the Glock series of pistols. Much of the frame of the Glock is made out of a polymer, as opposed to metal.

34. It may keep cafeteria food warm : HEAT LAMP (hiding MALTA backwards)
The island state of Malta is relatively small, but its large number of inhabitants makes it one of the most densely populated countries in Europe. Malta's strategic location has made it a prized possession for the conquering empires of the world. Most recently it was part of the British Empire and was an important fleet headquarters. Malta played a crucial role for the Allies during WWII as it was located very close to the Axis shipping lanes in the Mediterranean. The Siege of Malta lasted from 1940 to 1942, a prolonged attack by the Italians and Germans on the RAF and Royal Navy, and the people of Malta. When the siege was lifted, King George VI awarded the George Cross to the people of Malta collectively in recognition of their heroism and devotion to the Allied cause. The George Cross can still be seen on the Maltese flag, even though Britain granted Malta independence in 1964.

39. Red or yellow card issuer : REF
A series of colored penalty cards is used by referees and umpires in several sports, most notably in soccer. The cards were first used in the 1970 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, after language difficulties created confusion during the prior competition in 1966. The main cards used are a yellow card indicating a caution, and a red card indicating expulsion from the game.

41. Channel for Anderson Cooper : CNN
Anderson Cooper is a respected news personality on CNN and on various shows around the dial. My favorite appearances of his, although he would call them trivial I am sure, was as host of a great reality game show called "The Mole" that aired in 2001.

43. Billiards variant : NINE BALL (hiding BENIN backwards)
Eight-ball and nine-ball are arguably the most popular variants of pool played in North America. In eight-ball, one player sinks the striped balls, and the other the solid balls. The first to sink all his or her balls, and then the black 8-ball, without fouling wins the game. In nine-ball, each player must hit the lowest numbered ball on the table first with the cue ball. The first player to sink the 9-ball wins. Sinking the nine ball can happen when first hitting the lowest bowl on the table, or possibly when balls numbered 1-8 have been sunk.

The Republic of Benin is a country in West Africa. Benin used to be a French colony, and was known as Dahomey. Dahomey gained independence in 1975, and took the name Benin after the Bight of Benin, the body of water on which the country lies.

54. Ushers' offerings : PLAYBILLS (hiding LIBYA backwards)
I get quite a kick out of reading the bios in "Playbill" as some of them can be really goofy and entertaining. "Playbill" started off in 1884 in New York as an in-house publication for just one theater on 21st St. You can't see any decent-sized production these days anywhere in the United States without being handed a copy of "Playbill".

The Italo-Turkish War was fought between the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Italy from September 1911 and October 1912. At the end of the conflict the Ottoman Empire ceded to Italy the three provinces of Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica. These provinces became Italian North Africa, and ultimately the country that we know today as Libya. The name “Libya” comes from the Ancient Greek “Libúē”, the historical name for Northwest Africa.

57. Native of Akron or Cleveland : OHIOAN
For part of the 1800s, the Ohio city of Akron was the fasting growing city in the country, feeding off the industrial boom of that era. The city was founded in 1825 and its location, along the Ohio and Erie canal connecting Lake Erie with the Ohio River, helped to fuel Akron's growth. Akron sits at the highest point of the canal and the name "Akron" comes from the Greek word meaning "summit". Indeed, Akron is the county seat of Summit County.

Cleveland, Ohio was named after the man who led the team that surveyed the area prior to founding of the city. General Moses Cleaveland did his work in 1796 and then left Ohio, never to return again.

60. Dante's "La Vita ___" ("The New Life") : NUOVA
“La Vita Nuova” is a text by Italian poet Dante Alighieri comprising both prose and verse. It recounts the author’s love for Beatrice, describing in 42 chapters the history of that love from the first time he saw her when they were children, right up his mourning after her death. “La Vita Nuova” translates into English from Italian as “The New Life”.

67. "Able was I ___ I saw Elba" : ERE
The three most famous palindromes in English have to be:
- Able was I ere I saw Elba
- A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!
- Madam, I'm Adam
One of my favorite words is "Aibohphobia", although it doesn't appear in the dictionary and is a joke term. "Aibohphobia" is a great way to describe a fear of palindromes, by creating a palindrome out of the suffix "-phobia".

72. Heed the coxswain : ROW
The coxswain of a boat is one in charge, particularly of its steering and navigation.

Down
3. James whose novels have sold more than 300 million copies : PATTERSON
Author James Patterson is known for his thriller novels, especially those featuring his forensic psychologist Alex Cross. Patterson holds the record for the most hardcover fiction titles to appear in “The New York Times” bestseller list ... 63 so far!

4. Diarist Nin : ANAIS
Anaïs Nin was a French author, famous for her journals that she wrote for over sixty years from the age of 11 right up to her death. Nin also wrote highly regarded erotica and cited D. H. Lawrence as someone from whom she drew inspiration. Nin was married to banker and artist Hugh Parker Guiler in 1923. Decades later in 1955, Nin married former actor Rupert Pole, even though she was still married to Guiler. Nin and Pole had their marriage annulled in 1966, but just for legal reasons, and they continued to live together as husband and wife until Nin passed away in 1977.

6. Yahoo alternative : MSN
The Microsoft Network (MSN) used to be an Internet service provider (ISP). These days, MSN is mainly a web portal.

Jerry Yang and David Filo called their company "Yahoo!" for two reasons. Firstly, a Yahoo is a rude unsophisticated brute from Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels". Secondly, Yahoo stands for "Yet another Hierarchical Officious Oracle".

8. Kind of torch on "Survivor" : TIKI
A tiki torch is a bamboo torch that's very commonly used in Tiki culture. Tiki culture is a relatively modern invention dating from the 20th century, and is the experience created in Polynesian-style restaurants. The word "Tiki" is borrowed from Polynesia.

The reality show "Survivor" is based on a Swedish television series created in 1997 called "Expedition Robinson".

9. ID thieves' targets : SSNS
Social Security Number (SSN)

10. Actress Uta : HAGEN
Uta Hagen was a German-born American actress. Hagen married Jose Ferrer in 1938, but they were divorced ten years later after it was revealed that she was having a long-running affair with Paul Robeson. Her association with Robeson, a prominent civil rights activist, earned her a spot on the Hollywood Blacklist during the McCarthy Era. This forced her away from film, but towards a successful stage career in New York City.

11. Apple messaging software : ICHAT
iChat was introduced in 2002, and is still in use today. It is Apple's "instant messaging" application that integrates with the Mac Operating System.

12. The first "M" in MGM : METRO
The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio was founded in 1924 by Marcus Loew. Loew was already a successful movie theater owner when he purchased Metro Pictures Corporation in 1919, and then Goldwyn Pictures in 1924. Later in 1924, Loew also purchased Louis B. Meyer Pictures, mainly so that Louis B. Meyer himself could run all three merged studios as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM).

14. Man ___ : O’ WAR
The man-o'-war was the most powerful design of warship from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, developed in England at the height of the British Empire.

22. Channel with hearings : C-SPAN
C-SPAN is a privately-funded, nonprofit cable channel that broadcasts continuous coverage of government proceedings.

23. Mario's video game brother : LUIGI
Mario Bros. started out as an arcade game back in 1983, developed by Nintendo. The more famous of the two brothers, Mario, had already appeared in an earlier arcade game "Donkey Kong". Mario was given a brother called Luigi, and the pair have been around ever since. In the game, Mario and Luigi are Italian American plumbers from New York City.

25. Tiny div. of a minute : NSEC
“Nanosecond” is more correctly abbreviated to "ns", and really is a tiny amount of time: one billionth of a second.

29. Serenaded : SANG
A ”serenade” is a musical performance in the open air, specifically at night. We tend to think of the term applying to a young man serenading his lover from below her window. We imported the word via French from the Italian “serenata” meaning “evening song”, influenced by the Italian “sera” meaning “evening”.

30. One of three active volcanoes in Italy : ETNA
Mt. Etna is the largest of three active volcanoes in Italy. Mt Etna is about 2 1/2 times the height of its equally famous sister, Mt. Vesuvius. Etna is home to a 110-km long narrow-guage railway, and two ski resorts.

35. Like 1947's Taft-Hartley Act : ANTI-LABOR
The 1947 Taft-Hartley Act takes its name from the original bill’s sponsors, Senator Robert Taft and Representative Fred A. Hartley, Jr. The act is still in force and deals with monitoring of the activities of labor unions. The bill came into effect after Congress managed to override the veto of President Harry S. Truman.

36. Edible mushroom : MOREL
The morel is that genus of mushroom with the honeycomb-like structure on the cap. They're highly prized, especially in French cuisine. Morels should never be eaten raw as they are toxic, with the toxins being removed by thorough cooking.

44. Kindle download : EBOOK
Amazon’s Kindle line of e-book readers was introduced in 2007. The name “kindle” was chosen to evoke images of “lighting a fire” through reading and intellectual stimulation. I bought myself a Kindle Fire HD not that long ago. I’ve started reading e-books for the first time in my life, as well as enjoying other computing options available with the tablet device. I love it ...

45. Rap's ___ Kim : LIL’
Lil’ Kim is the stage name of rap artist Kimberly Denise Jones from Brooklyn, New York. Lil’ Kim spent a year in jail in 2005 for lying to a jury in a case about a shooting.

47. Prison weapon : SHIV
“Shiv” is a slang term for a weapon crudely fashioned to resemble a knife. Mostly we hear of shivs that have been fashioned by prison inmates to do harm to others.

51. Maguire of Hollywood : TOBEY
The actor Tobey Maguire is most associated with the role of Spider-Man these days. I’m not much into comic book hero films, but I do kind of enjoy the understated way that Maguire takes on “Spidey”. Maguire has appeared in other hit films, like “Pleasantville” (1998), “The Cider House Rules” (1999) and “Seabiscuit” (2003). Off the screen, he is big into poker and it’s said that he has won over $10 million playing poker in Hollywood.

52. Midway alternative : O’HARE
Chicago’s O'Hare International is the busiest airport in the world in terms of takeoffs and landings. The original airport was constructed on the site between 1942 and 1943, and was used by the Douglas Aircraft Company for the manufacture of planes during WWII. Before the factory and airport were built, there was a community in the area called Orchard Place, so the airport was called Orchard Place Airport/Douglas Field. This name is the derivation of the airport's current location identifier: ORD (OR-chard D-ouglas). Orchard Place Airport was renamed to O'Hare International in 1949 in honor of Lieutenant Commander Butch O'Hare who grew up in Chicago. O'Hare was the US Navy's first flying ace and a Medal of Honor recipient in WWII.

Midway Airport started off with just one cinder runway in 1923, and was called Chicago Air Park. By 1927 the airport had expanded and earned the name Chicago Municipal Airport. In 1932 Midway was the world's busiest airport, a title it held for thirty years. In 1949, in honor of the WWII Battle of Midway, the airport was renamed again to Chicago Midway Airport. Then in 1955, along came Chicago International Airport and all the major airlines started moving their operations over to the newer facility. Today Midway is a major hub for just one airline: Southwest.

55. Mongolian tents : YURTS
A yurt is a wood-framed dwelling that is used by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. Although a yurt is a substantial structure, it is also extremely portable.

56. All students at Eton : BOYS
The world-famous Eton College is just a brisk walk from Windsor Castle, which itself is just outside London. Eton is noted for producing many British leaders including UK prime minister David Cameron. The list of Old Etonians also includes Princes William and Harry, the Duke of Wellington, George Orwell, and the creator of James Bond, Ian Fleming (as well as 007 himself as described in the Fleming novels).

59. "The Daily Show" host Trevor : NOAH
“The Daily Show" is a satirical news program on the Comedy Central that first aired in 1996. The show was presented by Craig Kilborn from 1996 until 1998, and then very successfully by Jon Stewart from 1999 until 2015. Trevor Noah has been hosting the show since Jon Stewart left.

62. Mentalist Geller : URI
Uri Geller's most famous performance is perhaps his uncomfortable failure on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson in 1973. Carson "hijacked" Geller on live television by providing him with spoons to bend and watches to start, none of which had been available to Geller before the show aired. Clever!

63. "Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!" airer : NPR
Chicago Public Radio produces one of my favorite radio shows, "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!" It is indeed a fun game show, hosted by Peter Sagal. The “Morning Edition” newsreader Carl Kasell used to act as judge and scorekeeper, until he retired in 2014. There should be more game shows of that ilk on the radio, in my humble opinion ...

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Republican grp. : GOP
4. Owns up to : ADMITS
10. That guy : HIM
13. "Cat ___ Hot Tin Roof" : ON A
14. Billionaire Aristotle : ONASSIS
15. Point of no return? : ACE
16. Lunar New Year in Vietnam : TET
17. Actor who portrayed Newman on "Seinfeld" : WAYNE KNIGHT (hiding KENYA backwards)
19. Be behind : TRAIL
21. "Honest!" : I SWEAR!
22. Obvious indication : CLEAR SIGN (hiding ISRAEL backwards)
26. Fascinated by : INTO
27. Explore, as the Internet : SURF
28. Mortarboard attachment : TASSEL
31. Glock, e.g. : PISTOL
34. It may keep cafeteria food warm : HEAT LAMP (hiding MALTA backwards)
38. In time past : AGO
39. Red or yellow card issuer : REF
41. Channel for Anderson Cooper : CNN
42. Neither's partner : NOR
43. Billiards variant : NINE BALL (hiding BENIN backwards)
46. Prefix with intestinal : GASTRO-
48. "Come on, no cheating" : BE FAIR
50. Went in haste : HIED
51. Commotion : TO-DO
54. Ushers' offerings : PLAYBILLS (hiding LIBYA backwards)
57. Native of Akron or Cleveland : OHIOAN
60. Dante's "La Vita ___" ("The New Life") : NUOVA
61. Rural area ... or what can be found in each set of circled letters? : BACK COUNTRY
64. Spoiled : BAD
67. "Able was I ___ I saw Elba" : ERE
68. Notable products of Persia : CARPETS
69. Poem "to" somebody or something : ODE
70. Thumbs-up response : YES
71. Helping after seconds : THIRDS
72. Heed the coxswain : ROW

Down
1. Understood : GOT
2. Result of dividing any nonzero number by itself : ONE
3. James whose novels have sold more than 300 million copies : PATTERSON
4. Diarist Nin : ANAIS
5. Naturally illuminated : DAYLIT
6. Yahoo alternative : MSN
7. Suffix with expert : -ISE
8. Kind of torch on "Survivor" : TIKI
9. ID thieves' targets : SSNS
10. Actress Uta : HAGEN
11. Apple messaging software : ICHAT
12. The first "M" in MGM : METRO
14. Man ___ : O’ WAR
18. Volunteer's response : I WILL
20. Flat floater : RAFT
22. Channel with hearings : C-SPAN
23. Mario's video game brother : LUIGI
24. Exasperated cry : GAH!
25. Tiny div. of a minute : NSEC
29. Serenaded : SANG
30. One of three active volcanoes in Italy : ETNA
32. "Kill ___ killed" : OR BE
33. Thumb (through) : LEAF
35. Like 1947's Taft-Hartley Act : ANTI-LABOR
36. Edible mushroom : MOREL
37. Herders' sticks : PRODS
40. Commotion : FLAP
44. Kindle download : EBOOK
45. Rap's ___ Kim : LIL’
47. Prison weapon : SHIV
49. ___ and raved : RANTED
51. Maguire of Hollywood : TOBEY
52. Midway alternative : O’HARE
53. Does some kitchen prep work : DICES
55. Mongolian tents : YURTS
56. All students at Eton : BOYS
58. A debit card is linked to one: Abbr. : ACCT
59. "The Daily Show" host Trevor : NOAH
62. Mentalist Geller : URI
63. "Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!" airer : NPR
65. Commotion : ADO
66. It might get your feet wet : DEW


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10 comments :

Willie D said...

Maybe it's a regional thing, but BACKCOUNTRY to me means wilderness, whereas a rural area would be akin to a farm or vineyard. Otherwise, decent Monday. Lots of guns, shivs and stuff in there.

Bill, congrats again on the showing at the ACPT.

Dale Stewart said...

Could someone please explain what Bill's showing at the ACPT is all about? What is the APCT? I know nothing about this.

BruceB said...

9:53, no errors. Enjoyed the theme, once I figured it out.

I am guessing the ACPT is http://www.crosswordtournament.com/index.htm . Bill will have to fill in the rest of the story.

Anonymous said...

Yeaaahhhh....... BACK COUNTRY.... that's really stretching it, since they're spelled backWARDS.

Well, I guess so long as it's convenient, and Will says it's OK.... forget English, or any preconceived notions of crossword puzzle rules.... just as long as they can all feel clever.

That's a FAIL for this Monday, in my book.

9 mins 58, 0 errors.

Bill Butler said...

@Dale Stewart
Yes, BruceB was correct; ACPT is the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. I attended this year for the second time, and managed to improve my rankings after a disastrous outing the first year. Still, nothing to write home about: placed 253 out 575 competitors :)

Tom M. said...

Not bad, Bill, among most of the crème de la crème.

Bill Butler said...

Too kind :)

Dale Stewart said...

Thanks for your reply, Bill. Being in the middle of the pack ain't bad. Improvement is the important thing. I certainly admire you for your tournament participation.

On a different note, is there any chance that you might do some puzzle setting again? I'd sure like to see that.

Bill Butler said...

@Dale Stewart
Oh, I am note sure that would like my puzzles :) I've had over a hundred crosswords published in an Irish newspaper, but they're all of the "cryptic" genre. I've never created an American-style puzzle, which is mainly why I don't attempt to critique the puzzles that I blog about here. I don't deem myself qualified to comment on the construction. I'm just grateful to all the folks who take the time to produce these puzzles for us.

Michael Reese said...

This puzzle was actually created in conjunction with a tie-in with the television show "Blindspot." In the episode, broadcast the same day the puzzle was published (4 April 2016), the character Patterson was doing this very puzzle in the show, and one of the clues in the show was actually the first three down words in this puzzle: "GOT ONE PATTERSON". You can see the story here: 'Blindspot': How Patterson Appeared in an Actual 'New York Times' Crossword Puzzle

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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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