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0414-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 14 Apr 16, Thursday





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Solution to today's crossword in the New York Times
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CROSSWORD SETTER: Jason Flinn
THEME: Water Slides … each of today’s themed answers SLIDES down towards the bottom right, with the second part of the answer shown in circled letters running diagonally across the grid. The second part of each themed answer is in effect a WATER SLIDE:
37A. Summer amusements ... or a literal description of three answers in this puzzle : WATER SLIDES

21A. Fowl territory? : CHICKEN RUN
28A. Like traditional media, to some : LAMESTREAM
51A. Free-for-all : DONNYBROOK
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 13m 34s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

15. Space ___ : OPERA
“Space opera” is a type of science fiction with storylines that resemble those in westerns, but set in outer space in the future. The term derives from “horse opera”, which is used to describe formulaic western films.

16. Naturalization requirement : OATH
The current text of the Oath of Allegiance of the reads:
I hereby declare, “on oath”(or “and solemnly affirm”), that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God (the last four words are optional).

17. Mathematician John portrayed in "A Beautiful Mind" : NASH
The wonderful 2001 movie "A Beautiful Mind" is of course based on a true story, but it is also a screenplay adapted from a very successful book of the same name written by Sylvia Nasar. Both book and film tell the life story of John Nash (played by Russell Crowe on the big screen). Nash is a mathematician and Nobel Laureate who struggles with paranoid schizophrenia.

19. One-named singer born Christa Päffgen : NICO
Nico was the stage name of the German singer born Christa Päffgen. Nico was one of Andy Warhol’s superstars, a group of personalities that gathered around him and whom he promoted in the sixties and seventies.

20. Ziegfeld Follies costumer : ERTE
Erté was the pseudonym of French (Russian born) artist and designer Romain de Tirtoff. Erté is the French pronunciation of his initials "R.T." Erté’s diverse portfolio of work included costumes and sets for the “Ziegfeld Follies” of 1923, as well as productions of the Parisian cabaret show “Folies Bergère”.

Florenz “Flo” Ziegfeld, Jr. was the man behind the series of theatrical revues called the “Ziegfeld Follies”, as well as the producer of the musical “Show Boat”. The “Follies” shows were structured as imitations of the “Folies Bergère” cabaret shows of Paris.

23. Societal instability resulting from a breakdown in values : ANOMIE
“Anomie” is social breakdown caused by the erosion of value and standards. The term comes to us via French from Greek. The root words are "a-" (without) "nomos" (law).

25. He gave Odysseus a bag of winds : AEOLUS
Aeolus was the ruler of the winds in Greek mythology, and he gave his name to the adjective "aeolian" (also “aeolic, eolic”) meaning "windblown", something produced or carried by the wind. For example, an aeolian harp is a fascinating instrument; a box with a sounding board and strings that is "played" by the wind as it blows.

28. Like traditional media, to some : LAMESTREAM
The term “mainstream media” is largely used to describe the large news conglomerates comprising newspapers and broadcast media. With the rise of Internet-borne programing and reporting, some folks who tend to denigrate mainstream media might refer to it as “lamestream media”.

29. Original airer of "The Office" : BBC
The excellent sitcom "The Office" is set in a branch of a paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania. If you haven't seen the original UK version starring Ricky Gervais, I do recommend you check it out. Having said that, the US cast took the show to a whole new level. Great television …

33. CVS rival : RITE AID
What we know today as Rite Aid started out as one store in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1962. Rite Aid is now the biggest chain of drugstores on the East Coast of the United States and has operations all over the country.

The name of the drugstore chain CVS once stood for Consumer Value Stores, although these days the company uses the acronym to denote Convenience, Value and Service.

36. Cannes condiment : SEL
A Frenchman might use a pinch of “sel” (salt).

40. Employer whose workers don't discuss their jobs much, in short : CIA
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is the successor to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) formed during WWII. The CIA was chartered by the National Security Act of 1947.

42. Top choice in December? : DREIDEL
A dreidel is a spinning top with four sides, often associated with the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Each of the four sides on a dreidel bears a letter from the Hebrew alphabet (nun, gimel, hei and shin). The four letters are the initials of the Hebrew phrase “Nes Gadol Hayah Sham” meaning “a great miracle happened there”. According to tradition, children would be taught Torah while hiding in caves away from the Greeks. When Greek soldiers approached, the children would hide their torah scrolls and play with their dreidels instead.

43. Nighttime irregularity : APNEA
Sleep apnea (“apnoea” in British English) can be caused by an obstruction in the airways, possibly due to obesity or enlarged tonsils.

46. ___ Clare, ward in Dickens's "Bleak House" : ADA
“Bleak House” is a Charles Dickens novel that was originally published as a serial from 1852 to 1853. The novel’s storyline highlights injustices in the English Legal system in the 19th century.

47. Take the wrong way? : BOOST
“To boost” is a slang term meaning “to steal” and especially “to shoplift”.

51. Free-for-all : DONNYBROOK
A “donnybrook” is a free-for-all, named after a famous historic fair in Donnybrook, a district in Dublin, Ireland. Donnybrook Fair had the reputation as a place where there was lots of drinking and fighting. I used to hang out a lot in Donnybrook in my student days and didn’t see any fighting. Lots of drinking, but no fighting ...

53. Small fry : MINNOW
“Minnow” are small fish often used as bait when fishing. The term is used figuratively to for someone who is comparatively insignificant or perhaps small in stature.

54. Home of the Big House in college football : ANN ARBOR
Ann Arbor, Michigan was founded in 1824 by John Allen and Elisha Rumsey. Supposedly, Allen and Rumsey originally used the name “Annsarbour” in recognition of stands of bur oak that were on the land they had purchased and in recognition of their wives, both of whom were called “Ann” (i.e. Anns' Arbor)

“The Big House” is the nickname for Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, the home of the University of Michigan’s football team. The Big House can hold over 107,000 people, making it the second-largest stadium in the world. The largest is Rungrado 1st of May Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea, with a capacity of 150,000 people.

63. Noodle concoction? : IDEA
“Noodle” and “bean” are slang terms for the head.

64. Home for American alligators : BAYOU
A bayou is a marshy inlet or outlet of a lake or river, usually with stagnant or slow-moving water. The exact origins of the term "bayou" is uncertain, but it is thought perhaps to come from the Choctaw (a Native American people from the southeast) word "bayuk", meaning "small stream".

67. Gesture made with the thumb and nose : SNOOK
“Cocking a snook” in general means to show disrespect by making an insulting gesture. In our culture, this can be to thumb one’s nose.

Down
2. Site where cuneiform tablets were discovered : AMARNA
Armana is an archaeological site on the east bank of the Nile River in Egypt, almost 200 miles south of Cairo. The ancient city is also known as el-Armana, and Tel el-Armana, although the use of "Tel" is apparently incorrect. "Tel" commonly appears in names in the region (Arabic for "hill"), but should not apply to Amarna as the site is perfectly flat.

Cuneiform writing is a very early form of written expression that uses characters that are variants of a wedge shape. The first form of cuneiform writing was developed in Sumer (in modern-day Iraq), and was largely a system of pictographs. Over time, the number of characters decreased and became smaller and simpler, until they eventually evolved into the characters that we use in alphabetic writing today.

4. Transient things : EPHEMERA
"Ephemera" was originally a medical term, used to describe a fever that only lasted a day. The use of the term was expanded in the 17th century to include insects that were "short-lived", and by end of the 18th century "ephemera" were any things of transitory existence.

5. Sweet, in Sorrento : DOLCE
Sorrento is a small town on the Italian coast that sits on a peninsula overlooking the Bay of Naples. It is an extremely popular tourist destination. The island of Capri lies off the western tip of the Sorrento Peninsula.

6. Hawaiian seafood : OPAH
Opah is the more correct name for the fish also known as the sunfish, moonfish or Jerusalem haddock. I've seen one in the Monterrey Aquarium. It is huge ...

7. Radio listener grp. : SETI
SETI is the name given to a number of projects that are searching for extraterrestrial life. The acronym stands for “search for extraterrestrial intelligence”. One of the main SETI activities is the monitoring of electromagnetic radiation (such as radio waves) reaching the Earth in the hope of finding a transmission from a civilization in another world.

8. ___ Blair, George Orwell's real name : ERIC
George Orwell was the pen name of Eric Arthur Blair, the famous British author of the classics "Nineteen Eighty-Four" and "Animal Farm".

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

10. Sarah ___, protagonist of "The Terminator" : CONNOR
Linda Hamilton is an actress from Salisbury, Maryland who is best known for portraying Sarah Connor in the first two “Terminator” movies. Hamilton’s second marriage was to film director James Cameron, with whom she worked on “Terminator 2”.

22. Brain test, briefly : EEG
An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a record of electrical activity caused by the firing of neurons within the brain. The EEG might be used to diagnose epilepsy, or perhaps to determine if a patient is "brain dead".

26. OPEC member: Abbr. : UAE
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates (states) in the Middle East. Included in the seven are Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with the city of Abu Dhabi being the UAE capital and cultural center.

27. High-profile gig for a musician, for short : SNL
"Saturday Night Live" (SNL)

Musicians use “gig” to describe a job, a performance. The term originated in the early 1900s in the world of jazz.

29. He actually said "I really didn't say everything I said" : BERRA
Yogi Berra is regarded by many as the greatest catcher ever to play in Major League Baseball, and has to be America's most celebrated "author" of malapropisms. Here are some greats:
- "It ain't over till it's over."
- "90% of the game is half mental."
- "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."
- (giving directions) "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."
- "It's déjà vu all over again."
- "Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't go to yours."
- “A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore.”

31. Lashes : CILIA
“Cilia” is the Latin for “eyelash”.

34. "TRUS___" (2016 political slogan) : TED
“TrusTED” is the logo used by the campaign to elect Ted Cruz for president.

US Senator Ted Cruz served as Solicitor General for the state of Texas before heading to Washington. Cruz was appointed Solicitor General in 2003 at the age of 32, making him the youngest Solicitor General in the country. Famously, Cruz is an opponent of the Affordable Care Act and made a speech in 2013 in the US Senate on the subject that lasted for 21 hours and 19 minutes. It was the fourth longest speech in the history of the Senate.

35. Checked off the bucket list, say : DID
A “bucket list” is a list of things one wants to achieve before dying, before “kicking the bucket”. The expression hasn’t been used in this context for very long, only a decade or so, but was popularized by the 2007 film “The Bucket List” starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.

38. "Entourage" actress Mazar : DEBI
Debi Mazar plays Shauna Roberts on the HBO series "Entourage". You might have seen her on "Dancing with the Stars" a while back, although she didn't do so well and was eliminated in the third week.

I haven’t seen the HBO series “Entourage”, but will have to take a look one day as I am a huge fan of HBO productions. “Entourage” is the story of a young movie star from New York City learning about life in Los Angeles. The show is co-produced by the actor Mark Wahlberg and so the storyline is somewhat autobiographical, based on a few of Wahlberg’s own experiences.

39. SpaceX C.E.O. : ELON MUSK
SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation) is a space transportation company that was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, veteran of PayPal and Tesla Motors. In 2012, SpaceX became the first private concern to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station. Apparently, SpaceX is the lowest-price player in the game.

40. Stinker : CAD
Our word "cad", meaning "a person lacking in finer feelings", is a shortening of the word "cadet". "Cad" was first used for a servant, and then students at British universities used "cad" as a term for a boy from the local town. "Cad" took on its current meaning in the 1830s.

41. Angel's payoff, for short : IPO
An Initial Public Offering (IPO) is the very first offer of stock for sale by a company on the open market. In other words, an IPO marks the first time that a company is traded on a public exchange. Companies have an IPO to raise capital to expand (usually).

An angel investor is one who provides capital very early in a business’s life cycle. The term “angel” is borrowed from Broadway, where angels were wealthy people who provided funds to stage theatrical productions.

44. Santa's reindeer, counting Rudolph : ENNEAD
“Ennead” is the Greek word for "the nine".

We get the names for Santa’s reindeer from the famous 1823 poem called “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, although we’ve modified a couple of the names over the years. The full list is:
- Dasher
- Dancer
- Prancer
- Vixen
- Comet
- Cupid
- Donder (originally “Dunder”, and now often “Donner”)
- Blitzen (originally “Blixem”)
Rudolph was added to the list by retailer Montgomery Ward, would you believe? The store commissioned Robert L. May to create a booklet that could be handed out to children around Christmas in 1939, and May introduced us to a new friend for Santa, namely Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

45. Rand popular with the Tea Party : AYN
Ayn Rand was a Russian-American novelist born Alisa Rosenbaum. Her two best known works are her novels "The Fountainhead" published in 1943 and "Atlas Shrugged" from 1957. Back in 1951, Rand moved from Los Angeles to New York City. Soon after, she gathered a group of admirers around her with whom she discussed philosophy and shared drafts of her magnum opus, "Atlas Shrugged". This group called itself "The Collective", and one of the founding members was none other than future Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan. Rand described herself as “right-wing” politically, and both she and her novel “Atlas Shrugged” have become inspirations for the American conservatives, and the Tea Party in particular.

48. Newborn attire : ONESIE
A “onesie” is a baby’s bodysuit, and is a common gift at a baby shower.

50. Moves behind? : TWERKS
Twerking is a dancing move in which a woman (usually) shakes her hips up and down causing a lot of “wobbling”. It’s possible that “twerk” is a portmanteau of “twist” and “jerk”. The term may have been coined back in the early 2000s with the song “Whistle While You Twurk” released by the Ying Yang Twins. Twerking became a real phenomenon in 2013 when Miley Cyrus posted a video of herself twerking in a unicorn suit to the 2011 song “Wop” by J. Dash. That video went viral on YouTube, amassing over 4 million views in no time at all.

53. Iconic green poison symbol : MR YUK
Mr. Yuk is a graphic image used to label poisonous substances, in many cases replacing the more traditional skull and crossbones. The Mr. Yuk symbol was created by the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh as a more appropriate warning for children.

56. Laddie : BOYO
“Boyo” is an informal term used in both Australia and Ireland as an alternative for “laddie” or “lad”.

57. Melville's second novel : OMOO
Herman Melville mined his own experiences when writing his novels. Melville sailed from New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1841 on a whaler heading into the Pacific Ocean (a source for "Moby-Dick"). Melville ended up deserting his ship 18 months later and lived with natives on a South Pacific Island for three weeks (a source for "Typee"). He picked up another whaler and headed for Hawaii, where he joined the crew of a US navy frigate that was bound for Boston (a source for "Omoo").

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Tablecloth material : LACE
5. Some spoonfuls : DOSES
10. Mull (over) : CHEW
14. "My turn" : I'M UP
15. Space ___ : OPERA
16. Naturalization requirement : OATH
17. Mathematician John portrayed in "A Beautiful Mind" : NASH
18. Part of a classical education : LATIN
19. One-named singer born Christa Päffgen : NICO
20. Ziegfeld Follies costumer : ERTE
21. Fowl territory? : CHICKEN RUN
23. Societal instability resulting from a breakdown in values : ANOMIE
25. He gave Odysseus a bag of winds : AEOLUS
28. Like traditional media, to some : LAMESTREAM
29. Original airer of "The Office" : BBC
32. Sound from a haunted house : GROAN
33. CVS rival : RITE AID
36. Cannes condiment : SEL
37. Summer amusements ... or a literal description of three answers in this puzzle : WATER SLIDES
40. Employer whose workers don't discuss their jobs much, in short : CIA
42. Top choice in December? : DREIDEL
43. Nighttime irregularity : APNEA
46. ___ Clare, ward in Dickens's "Bleak House" : ADA
47. Take the wrong way? : BOOST
51. Free-for-all : DONNYBROOK
53. Small fry : MINNOW
54. Home of the Big House in college football : ANN ARBOR
58. Piddling : MERE
59. Atmosphere : VIBE
61. Spacious : ROOMY
62. App purchaser : USER
63. Noodle concoction? : IDEA
64. Home for American alligators : BAYOU
65. Stocking material : SILK
66. Abbr. found on some corporate logos : ESTD
67. Gesture made with the thumb and nose : SNOOK
68. Decryption needs : KEYS

Down
1. Hereditary : LINEAL
2. Site where cuneiform tablets were discovered : AMARNA
3. Made-to-order : CUSTOM
4. Transient things : EPHEMERA
5. Sweet, in Sorrento : DOLCE
6. Hawaiian seafood : OPAH
7. Radio listener grp. : SETI
8. ___ Blair, George Orwell's real name : ERIC
9. Decaf choice : SANKA
10. Sarah ___, protagonist of "The Terminator" : CONNOR
11. It usually reveals more than you want : HAIR LOSS
12. Sentence shortener : ETC
13. Question suggesting "Never heard of 'em" : WHO?
22. Brain test, briefly : EEG
24. "Oh, really?" : IS IT?
26. OPEC member: Abbr. : UAE
27. High-profile gig for a musician, for short : SNL
29. He actually said "I really didn't say everything I said" : BERRA
30. Headquartered : BASED
31. Lashes : CILIA
34. "TRUS___" (2016 political slogan) : TED
35. Checked off the bucket list, say : DID
37. "Care to make it interesting?" : WANNA BET?
38. "Entourage" actress Mazar : DEBI
39. SpaceX C.E.O. : ELON MUSK
40. Stinker : CAD
41. Angel's payoff, for short : IPO
44. Santa's reindeer, counting Rudolph : ENNEAD
45. Rand popular with the Tea Party : AYN
48. Newborn attire : ONESIE
49. In a bad way : SORELY
50. Moves behind? : TWERKS
52. Put-downs : BARBS
53. Iconic green poison symbol : MR YUK
55. Equine color : ROAN
56. Laddie : BOYO
57. Melville's second novel : OMOO
59. Battle : VIE
60. Subjects of some voting laws : IDS


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5 comments :

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! I learn so much from your explanation of the crosswords...Thanks!

Willie D said...

Welcome back, Bill. Hope DC treated you and the brothers well. The grid was a little above my skill level today.

BruceB said...

23:49, 2 errors. 25A AEELUS, 10D CONNER. Challenging clues, not a fan of the asymmetry in the theme. The diagonal word STREAM appears to have the M cut off by the black squares. I am sure the word RUN is associated with water flow, but not an association I was familiar with.

Larry A. said...

A "run" is a creek. As in "Bull Run".

Anonymous said...

36:19, and 6 errors. This puzzle was arcane in the extreme.

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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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