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0908-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 8 Sep 16, Thursday





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: Joanne Sullivan
THEME: Black Squares
We have the word BLACK hidden in five black squares in today’s grid. We need to use the five BLACK squares as part of the answers touching those squares. Note that the word BLACK is written simply as white B in my grid:
17A. Jet : COAL BLACK
18A. Montana Indians : BLACKFEET
25A. "Nacho Libre" star, 2006 : JACK BLACK
27A. Driveway covering : BLACKTOP
37A. 1966 #1 Rolling Stones hit : PAINT IT, BLACK
41A. People holding on to secrets : BLACKMAILERS
53A. Football player's application : EYEBLACK
54A. Ingredient in some chili and burritos : BLACK BEAN
63A. Person whose work shines : SHOEBLACK
64A. Ban : BLACKLIST
7D. 1998 Brad Pitt film : MEET JOE BLACK
10D. Product from soot : LAMPBLACK
21D. Italian Fascist : BLACKSHIRT
24D. What orange is said to be : THE NEW BLACK
32D. 1990 #1 hit for Alannah Myles : BLACK VELVET
42D. Solvent : IN THE BLACK
45D. 1960s-'70s radical : BLACK PANTHER
57D. Witchcraft : BLACK ARTS
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 16m 21s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Given to eavesdropping : NOSY
To "eavesdrop" is to listen in on someone else's conversation without being invited to do so. The term comes from the practice of spies loitering in the area just outside the walls of a house, particularly in the "eavesdrip", the ground close to a house that catches the drips of rainwater falling from the eaves of the roof.

9. C in shop class? : CLAMP
That would be a c-clamp, often used to hold two pieces of wood together.

15. Big brother's victim, once : ABEL
In the story of Cain and Abel in the Book of Genesis, Cain murders his brother Abel. Subsequently, God asks Cain, “Where is Abel thy brother?” Cain replies, “I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?”

16. Like perfect games vis-à-vis no-hitters : RARER
That would be in baseball.

17. Jet : COAL BLACK
The color “jet black” takes its name from the minor gemstone known as jet. The gemstone and the material it is made of takes its English name from the French name: “jaiet”.

19. Post with many rules : EMILY
Emily Post was a writer from Baltimore, Maryland who is best known for her writings on the subject of etiquette. Her work giving advice on etiquette is continued by the Emily Post Institute, which she founded in 1946.

20. One rushing to work, for short? : EMT
An emergency medical technician (EMT) might administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Emergency medical technician (EMT)

22. Google ___ : MAPS
Google Maps was developed as a web mapping service for desktops. The (wonderful!) Google Maps for mobile app was released in 2008, and is now the most popular app in the world for smartphones.

25. "Nacho Libre" star, 2006 : JACK BLACK
The actor Jack Black was born in Santa Monica, California and is the son of two satellite engineers who worked on the Hubble Space Telescope program.

“Nacho Libre” is a 2006 comedy movie starring Jack Black as the title character. Nacho is a professional wrestler, whose real name is Ignacio. The film’s plot is based loosely on the real-life story of a Mexican Catholic priest who fought as a freestyle wrestler for 23 years under the name “Fray Tormenta” (Friar Storm). Fray Tormenta used his winnings to support a local orphanage.

30. Nintendo dinosaur : YOSHI
Yoshi is a dinosaur-like character in some Nintendo video games. He first appeared as a sidekick for Mario and Luigi in the 1991 game called “Super Mario World”.

31. Elf's foe : ORC
Orcs are mythical humanoid creatures that appear in the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien. Since Tolkien’s use of orcs, they have also been featured in other fantasy fiction and in fantasy games.

32. "___ la Vida," #1 Coldplay album : VIVA
Coldplay is a rock band that was formed in London in 1996 by Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland. Chris Martin was married to the American actress Gwyneth Paltrow for twelve years.

35. Where waves come in? : EAR
Those would be sound waves.

36. First place : EDEN
According to the Book of Genesis, Adam and Eve lived in a garden "in" Eden, with Eden being geographically located by reference to four rivers including the Tigris and the Euphrates. Some scholars hypothesize that Eden was located in Mesopotamia, which encompasses much of modern-day Iraq.

37. 1966 #1 Rolling Stones hit : PAINT IT, BLACK
A close runner-up to my favorite Rolling Stones song (“Satisfaction”) is “Paint It, Black”, released in 1966. Due to the song's prominent use in the movie “Full Metal Jacket” and the TV show “Tour of Duty”, "Paint It, Black" has become inextricably linked with the Vietnam War. That linkage gets reinforced even today as the song is often used in television shows and even video games whenever there is a Vietnam reference. It is interesting to note that the correct form of the title includes a comma (“Paint It, Black”) as this was how it was written when originally released. According to Keith Richards, the inclusion of the comma was a mistake made by the company printing the original record label, and it stuck.

44. Many a metrosexual : FOP
I think it’s generally accepted that the term “metrosexual”, from “metropolitan heterosexual”, refers to a man who lives in an urban environment and puts a fair amount of money and energy into his appearance. That wouldn’t be me …

46. It might have a street name: Abbr. : ENV
Envelope (env.)

47. J. follower : CREW
J.Crew is a clothing and accessory retailer. Never been there, but I’ve seen the name turn up on credit card statements somehow …

48. ___ diavolo (sauce) : FRA
Fra diavolo is a spicy sauce used for pasta and seafood, usually made with chili peppers in a tomato base. The name “Fra diavolo” translates to “Brother devil”. The sauce may be named for the Italian revolutionary Michele Pezza who was also known as Fra Diavolo.

56. When leaves 56-Across : FALL
Leaves “fall” in the season of “fall”.

58. Info for a dating site : TYPE
My children just informed that this refers to “personality type”.

60. Napoleonic ___ : ERA
By most definitions, the Napoleonic era started with Napoleon Bonaparte’s coup d'état that effectively ended the French Revolution. The era itself ended with Napoleon’s defeat at the Battle of Waterloo.

61. Director Kurosawa : AKIRA
Akira Kurosawa was an Oscar-winning Japanese film director. His most famous movie to us in the West has to be "The Seven Samurai", the inspiration for "The Magnificent Seven" starring Yul Brynner, and indeed a basis for "Star Wars: The Clone Wars".

63. Person whose work shines : SHOEBLACK
A bootblack (or “shoeblack”) is a person who polishes and shines boots and shoes for a living.

66. Bygone Broadway critic Walter : KERR
Walter Kerr was a Broadway theater critic for the “New York Herald Tribune” and the “New York Times”. Together with his wife Jean, Kerr also wrote the Tony-winning musical “Goldilocks”, which premiered in 1958.

67. Like Cookie Monster and Grover : BLUE
Cookie Monster is a beloved Muppet on the TV show “Sesame Street”. He is a big eater, and is especially fond of cookies, which he eats while grunting out “Om nom nom nom”.

Grover is a character on the TV show “Sesame Street”, a blue monster who was originally performed by Frank Oz.

Down
2. Cry from a Veronese lover : O ROMEO!
In William Shakespeare’s play “Romeo and Juliet”, the lovers discuss the sad fact that they have been born into two feuding families in the famous balcony scene. Juliet says:
O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I'll no longer be a Capulet.
Romeo’s reply includes the famous lines:
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;

Verona is a city in northern Italy. Famously, William Shakespeare set three of his plays in Verona: “Romeo and Juliet”, “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” and “The Taming of the Shrew”.

4. Haute couture 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 hospital, managed to pull his life back together and started his own fashion house. A remarkable story …

Haute couture, literally "high dressmaking" in French, is a name given to the creation of exclusive fashions. A couturier is someone who creates or sells such fashions.

5. Actor Willem : DAFOE
Willem Dafoe is an American actor, from Wisconsin. He was born just plain William Dafoe, but didn’t like being called “Billy”. So, he changed his name to Willem, which was the pronunciation of his name by his Scottish babysitter. Those Scots …

6. There's an app for that : UBER
Uber is a ridesharing service that was founded in 2009 and is based in San Francisco. The service is somewhat controversial and has been described as an illegal taxicab operation. Central to Uber’s service is the company’s mobile app, which can use the client’s GPS location to help find the nearest available ride. Uber’s main competitor is Lyft. Personally, I love the service and have only had good experiences …

7. 1998 Brad Pitt film : MEET JOE BLACK
“Meet Joe Black” is an engaging 1998 film that melds romance with fantasy. It is loosely based on the earlier film “Death Takes a Holiday” from 1934, which in turn was based on the Italian play “La Morte in Vacanza”. The cast of “Meet Joe Black” is headed by Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins.

Brad Pitt’s first major role was the cowboy hitchhiker in the 1991’s “Thelma and Louise”. Pitt’s life offscreen garners as much attention as his work onscreen, it seems. The tabloids revel in the series of high-profile relationships in which he has been involved. He was engaged to Gwyneth Paltrow for a while, married to Jennifer Aniston and then to Angelina Jolie.

8. Crispy lunch : BLT
The BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) is the second most popular sandwich in the US, after the plain old ham sandwich.

9. What old knees may do : CREAK
Yes, they do …

10. Product from soot : LAMPBLACK
Carbon black (also known as “lampblack”) is the product of the incomplete combustion of heavy petroleum products. It's very like soot, although the physical characteristics are a little different. Carbon black is commonly used as a pigment.

11. Former Haitian president : ARISTIDE
John-Bertrand Aristide is a Haitian native. When he was 29 years old he entered the priesthood, after having studied in Italy, Greece and Israel. He served as a priest in Haiti under the brutal regimes of François “Papa Doc” Duvalier and his son, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc”. Aristide became an outspoken critic of the dictators, and many times incurred their wrath. While still a priest, he was elected to the office of president, in the country’s first democratic election. Aristide was also an outspoken critic of the church, and in 1994 left the priesthood, getting married 12 months later.

13. Wrest open : PRY
The verb “to wrest” can mean to obtain by violent twisting and pulling. The word “wrest” derives from the Middle English “wresten” meaning “to twist”. Our word “wrestling” has the same etymology.

21. Italian Fascist : BLACKSHIRT
“Blackshirt” was a familiar name for a member of the Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale (MVSN), the paramilitary wing of Italy’s National Fascist Party between the two world wars.

22. "In Flanders Fields" poet John : MCCRAE
The WWI battlefields in West Flanders, East Flanders (both in Belgium) and French Flanders are often referred to in English as “Flanders Fields”. The phrase was coined by Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae in his 1915 poem “In Flanders Fields”.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

24. What orange is said to be : THE NEW BLACK
“Orange Is the New Black" is a very entertaining comedy-drama series made by Netflix about an upper middle-class woman who goes to jail for a drug-related offense committed ten years earlier, in her youth. The series is based on a memoir by Piper Kerman called “Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison”.

26. Biblical region from which the name of a language is derived : ARAM
The ancient Biblical land of Aram was named after Aram, a grandson of Noah. Aram was located in the center of modern-day Syria. Aramaic became the everyday language of Syria, Mesopotamia and Palestine.

29. Frittata equipment : PANS
A “frittata” is an omelet recipe from Italy. The word "frittata" is Italian, and comes from "fritto" meaning "fried".

32. 1990 #1 hit for Alannah Myles : BLACK VELVET
Alannah Myles is a singer-songwriter from Toronto.

34. Gustave with a tower named after him : EIFFEL
Gustave Eiffel was the French civil engineer who famously designed the Eiffel Tower.

The Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair) of 1900 was held in Paris, France. The 1900 fair is remembered for the magnificent entrance arch that was constructed for visitors. That entrance arch was to remain standing for only nine years, but the city decided to keep it and you can visit it today. Today we call that entrance arch the Eiffel Tower.

38. Like an atrium : AIRY
In modern architecture an atrium (plural “atria” or “atriums”) is a large open space usually in the center of a building and extending upwards to the roof. The original atrium was an open court in the center of an Ancient Roman house. One could access most of the enclosed rooms of the house from the atrium.

39. Obsession : IDEE FIXE
An "idée fixe" (a French term) is basically a fixed idea, an obsession.

40. Part of a battle cry : TORA!
The predetermined code word to be used by the Japanese if they managed to achieve surprise in their attack on Pearl Harbor was "tiger", or "tora" in Japanese. This gave the title to the excellent 1970 movie "Tora! Tora! Tora!".

45. 1960s-'70s radical : BLACK PANTHER
The Black Panther Party (BPP) was a far-left revolutionary organization founded in 1966 in Oakland, California. The BPP dissolved in 1982.

50. E. preceder : SHEILA
Sheila E. is the stage name of singer and drummer Sheila Escovedo. She is perhaps most famous for her collaborations with the musician Prince.

51. Set of ankle bones : TARSUS
The collection of seven bones in the foot just below the ankle are known collectively as the tarsus. One of those bones is the talus (plural “tali”), more commonly called the ankle bone. The talus is the lower part of the ankle joint and articulates with the lower ends of the tibia and fibula in the lower leg.

55. Grammy category : OPERA
The first Grammy Awards Ceremony was held in 1959 and focused on recognizing outstanding achievement in the recording industry. The idea of a Grammy Award came up when recording executives were working on the Hollywood Walk of Fame project in the fifties. These executives concluded that there were many people in the recording industry deserving of accolades but who would probably never make it to the Walk of Fame. As a result, they founded the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The Academy considered naming the award the “Eddies” after Thomas Edison, but then opted for “Grammy” after Edison’s invention: the gramophone.

62. Gunpowder holder : KEG
Gunpowder is the earliest known explosive chemical. Also called “black powder”, it is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal and saltpeter (i.e. potassium nitrate). The saltpeter is a powerful oxidizing agent, providing the oxygen to burn the sulfur and charcoal, which acts as the fuel in the mixture. Gunpowder was invented by the Chinese in 8th century.

63. Some music of the Wailers : SKA
Ska originated in Jamaica in the late fifties and was the precursor to reggae music. No one has a really definitive etymology of the term "ska", but it is likely to be imitative of some sound.

The Wailers were the band, formed in Jamaica in 1963, whose most famous member was Bob Marley. The band's name went through a few iterations, starting out as the Teenagers, then the Wailing Rudeboys, the Wailing Wailers, and finally simply the Wailers.

64. Reduced weight? : LBS
The unit of mass that we know today as a “pound” is descended from the old Roman unit of weight known as a “libra”. That “libra” connection is why we abbreviate “pound” to “lb”. The name “pound” though comes from the Latin “pondo” meaning “weight”. Our term “ounce” comes from the Latin “uncia”, which was 1/12 of a Roman “libra”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Given to eavesdropping : NOSY
5. Cry made repeatedly while slapping the forehead : DUMB!
9. C in shop class? : CLAMP
14. Gets to : IRKS
15. Big brother's victim, once : ABEL
16. Like perfect games vis-à-vis no-hitters : RARER
17. Jet : COAL BLACK
18. Montana Indians : BLACKFEET
19. Post with many rules : EMILY
20. One rushing to work, for short? : EMT
21. Manner : SORT
22. Google ___ : MAPS
23. What babies do in their first two years : TEETHE
25. "Nacho Libre" star, 2006 : JACK BLACK
27. Driveway covering : BLACKTOP
30. Nintendo dinosaur : YOSHI
31. Elf's foe : ORC
32. "___ la Vida," #1 Coldplay album : VIVA
33. Lead-in to long : ERE ...
35. Where waves come in? : EAR
36. First place : EDEN
37. 1966 #1 Rolling Stones hit : PAINT IT, BLACK
41. People holding on to secrets : BLACKMAILERS
43. Second : AIDE
44. Many a metrosexual : FOP
46. It might have a street name: Abbr. : ENV
47. J. follower : CREW
48. ___ diavolo (sauce) : FRA
49. Assays : TESTS
53. Football player's application : EYEBLACK
54. Ingredient in some chili and burritos : BLACK BEAN
55. Words sometimes followed by "It's nothing" : OH THAT
56. When leaves 56-Across : FALL
58. Info for a dating site : TYPE
60. Napoleonic ___ : ERA
61. Director Kurosawa : AKIRA
63. Person whose work shines : SHOEBLACK
64. Ban : BLACKLIST
65. Comments from ones who are all thumbs? : TEXTS
66. Bygone Broadway critic Walter : KERR
67. Like Cookie Monster and Grover : BLUE
68. Cast out : EGEST
69. Flooring calculation : AREA
70. Cheek : SASS

Down
1. Fine point : NICETY
2. Cry from a Veronese lover : O ROMEO!
3. Carefully avoids, with "around" : SKATES
4. Haute couture inits. : YSL
5. Actor Willem : DAFOE
6. There's an app for that : UBER
7. 1998 Brad Pitt film : MEET JOE BLACK
8. Crispy lunch : BLT
9. What old knees may do : CREAK
10. Product from soot : LAMPBLACK
11. Former Haitian president : ARISTIDE
12. Man's name that's Latin for "honey" : MEL
13. Wrest open : PRY
21. Italian Fascist : BLACKSHIRT
22. "In Flanders Fields" poet John : MCCRAE
24. What orange is said to be : THE NEW BLACK
26. Biblical region from which the name of a language is derived : ARAM
28. High, as a guess : OVER
29. Frittata equipment : PANS
32. 1990 #1 hit for Alannah Myles : BLACK VELVET
34. Gustave with a tower named after him : EIFFEL
37. Tempo : PACE
38. Like an atrium : AIRY
39. Obsession : IDEE FIXE
40. Part of a battle cry : TORA!
42. Solvent : IN THE BLACK
45. 1960s-'70s radical : BLACK PANTHER
50. E. preceder : SHEILA
51. Set of ankle bones : TARSUS
52. California and Baja California : STATES
54. Really good time : BLAST
55. Grammy category : OPERA
57. Witchcraft : BLACK ARTS
59. Bygone days : YORE
61. Took in : ATE
62. Gunpowder holder : KEG
63. Some music of the Wailers : SKA
64. Reduced weight? : LBS


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10 comments :

GeezerJackYale48 said...

Great work! Thanks.

Dave Kennison said...

27:15, no errors, iPad. I understood the theme fairly quickly, but then had a fair amount of trouble keeping track of exactly which squares were the BLACK ones. (Doing the puzzle on paper would have made that easier, I think.) Another problem was that I'd never heard of Sheila E and I wasn't familiar with the use of TARSUS to refer to a group of bones in the ankle/foot (though I had heard of "tarsal" as an adjective). So I had to depend on crossing entries in that area; the only one I wasn't real sure of was BLUE for the color of the Cookie Monster and Grover, but it was the only answer that made sense. So it all worked out, but I burned through a lot of time checking and rechecking everything ...

Most surprising tidbit from today's blog: Willem Dafoe isn't Dutch! (I'm not sure why I thought he was, but I suppose it was just a wild guess of mine based on the spelling of his first name.)

@Bill ... In your comments for 51D, you speak of "the collection of seven bones in the foot just below the foot". I think that second "foot" ought to be changed to "ankle" (but I also find myself rather unsure now just where the ankle leaves off and the foot begins).

Bill Butler said...

Thanks, Dave.

I need to get my foot out my mouth, and my blog post ...

Jeff said...

I feel like I'm playing a game where I don't know the rules. I don't even know to look for a theme like that. I guess I've seen something like that once or twice in the LA Times, but it still doesn't occur to me to look for it.

So this puzzle was difficult. Once I cheated and saw the theme, the rest of the puzzle wasn't too bad. I was a little disappointed that the answer to 62D "Gundpowder holder" wasn't "gun"

Out here in the beautiful Bay Area this week and had a few minutes. Staying in the city in the vicinity of Fisherman's Wharf. Actually going to Napa for the first time in my life tomorrow.

Bill - any suggestion?

Best -

Dale Stewart said...

Bill, you will need to update your blog comment about Brad Pitt per 7Down. He is actually married to Anjelina Jolie after living together for many years. The latest development, however, is that Anjelina has filed for a divorce. So in a short time you will need to update yet again when the divorce becomes finalized.

Bill Butler said...

Thanks, Dale. I've done just that. Appreciate the help.

BruceB said...

27:32, no errors. Once again, my paper let me down, and did not print the clues to 63D and 64D, but I was able to complete the puzzle with the crossing clues. As with @Dave, I caught on to the theme fairly early, but had difficulty identifying which were the 'BLACK' squares.

My biggest problems today were the entries where other words were suitable alternates (initially). 3D had SKIRTS vice SKATES; 27A had TAR vice TOP; 64A had BALL vice LIST.

Dave Kennison said...

On paper, five weeks later: 16:57, no errors. And yes, it was a little easier to keep track of the "black" squares on paper and, yes, they are symmetrically placed, but I still struggled with them. Also, like Bruce, I thought of SKIRTS before SKATES and wrote in TAR before changing it to TOP; I also wrote in BOOT before changing it to SHOE. So ... challenging ... both times ... but ultimately doable ... :-)

Anonymous said...

28:37, 6 errors. This was am inexcusable puzzle. Completely inconsistent. You don't have some "BLACK" squares, and not have ALL of them do the same thing. WEAK. It's been awhile since a Thursday Dirty Trick has ticked me off. Well, we can reset the clock...

Tom M. said...

Clever, symmetrical, dense theme and themers were fun to find and fill in. Not fun was dealing with the plethora of proper names. A couple of the latter prevented clean finishes in MCCRAE/ORC/ARAM middle and the SHEILA/BLUE Southwest corner.

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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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