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1121-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 21 Nov 16, Monday





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Solution to today's crossword in the New York Times
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CROSSWORD SETTER: John Lieb
THEME: Against All Odds
I solve the puzzle online, and so I kind of missed the point today. The print version is needed to make sense of the AGAINST ALL ODDS theme. In the print version, all clues and answers with odd numbers have been skipped. So, apologies for the confusion I am causing by using my inline grid here. The themed answers today all start with even numbers, 0 through 8:
60A. How an extreme underdog wins ... or this puzzle? : AGAINST ALL ODDS

16A. Driving condition in a blizzard : ZERO VISIBILITY
22A. Approval from Siskel and Ebert : TWO THUMBS UP
29A. R&B group with the #1 hit "Reach Out I'll Be There" : FOUR TOPS
45A. Amusement park with the Nitro roller coaster : SIX FLAGS
50A. 1988 film about the Black Sox scandal : EIGHT MEN OUT
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 6m 23s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

10. Drug also known as angel dust : PCP
Phencyclidine is a recreational drug usually referred to on the street as PCP or “angel dust”.

13. Ivy League sch. in Philly : UPENN
The University of Pennsylvania (Penn or UPenn) was founded in 1740 by by Benjamin Franklin. Penn was the first school in the country to offer both graduate and undergraduate courses. Penn’s sports teams are known as the Quakers, or sometimes “the Red & Blue”.

14. Furry creature in "Return of the Jedi" : EWOK
The Ewoks are creatures who live on the moon of Endor, first appearing in "Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi". They're the cute and cuddly little guys that look like teddy bears.

15. W. Hemisphere alliance : OAS
The Organization of American States (OAS) has its headquarters in Washington, D.C. All the independent states in the Americas are members of the group except Honduras, which had its membership suspended after the country’s 2009 coup.

20. Lucy's partner : DESI
Desi Arnaz was famous for his turbulent marriage to Lucille Ball. Arnaz was a native of Cuba, and was from a privileged family. His father was Mayor of Santiago and served in the Cuban House of Representatives. However, the family had to flee to Miami after the 1933 revolt led by Batista.

22. Approval from Siskel and Ebert : TWO THUMBS UP
Roger Ebert co-hosted a succession of film review television programs for over 23 years, most famously with Gene Siskel until Siskel passed away in 1999. Siskel and Ebert famously gave their thumbs up or thumbs down to the movies they reviewed.

Gene Siskel was a film critic for the “Chicago Tribune”. Siskel also hosted the long-running television show “Siskel & Ebert at the Movies”, from 1975 until 1999 when he passed away.

29. R&B group with the #1 hit "Reach Out I'll Be There" : FOUR TOPS
The original lineup of the Four Tops agreed to form a vocal quartet when they were high school students together in Detroit. The group started out using the name “The Four Aims”, but changed it to Four Tops to avoid confusion with the Ames Brothers.

33. Cockpit info: Abbr. : ALT
Altitude (alt.)

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the original “cockpit” was a pit used for fighting cocks. The term was then applied nautically, as the name for the compartment below decks used as living quarters by midshipmen. The cockpit of a boat today, usually on a smaller vessel, is a sunken area towards the stern in which sits the helmsman and others (who can fit!). The usage extended to aircraft in the 1910s and to cars in the 1930s.

35. Steinbeck's "The Grapes of ___" : WRATH
John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” is set during the Great Depression. The novel tells the story of the Joad family from Oklahoma, farmers who had to leave their home and head for California due to economic hardship.

41. Plant life : FLORA
The fauna is the animal life of a particular region, and the flora is that region’s plant life. The term “fauna” comes from the Roman goddess of earth and fertility who was called Fauna. Flora was the Roman goddess of plants, flowers and fertility.

45. Amusement park with the Nitro roller coaster : SIX FLAGS
The Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is an operator of amusement parks that is headquartered in Grand Prairie, Texas. Six Flags owns more amusement parks than any other company in the world. The first of these properties to open was Six Flags Over Texas. The park’s name was chosen as a homage to the flags of the six nations that have governed Texas, namely Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the United States of America, and the Confederate States of America.

47. Elton John's "Candle in the Wind" was rewritten to honor her : DIANA
Diana, Princess of Wales was a close friend of the English singer Elton John. At the princess’s funeral, Elton John performed a revised version of his song “Candle in the Wind” to honor his departed friend. The song was released as a single under the name “Candle in the Wind 1997” It became the fastest and best-selling song of all time, and remains the only single ever to be “certified diamond” in the US.

49. Rodeo rope : LASSO
Our English word “lasso” comes from the Spanish “lazo”, and ultimately from the Latin “laqueum” meaning “noose, snare”.

50. 1988 film about the Black Sox scandal : EIGHT MEN OUT
In the 1919 Black Sox Scandal, eight Chicago White Sox players conspired to throw the World Series for financial gain. The tale is told in “Eight Men Out”, a movie released in 1988 based on the book “8 Men Out” written by Eliot Asinof and published in 1963.

56. Western lily : SEGO
The Sego Lily is the state flower of Utah, and is a perennial plant found throughout the Western United States.

63. Note between fa and la : SOL
The solfa syllables are: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la & ti.

66. Naval officer: Abbr. : ENS
Ensign is (usually) the most junior rank of commissioned officer in the armed forces. The name comes from the tradition that the junior officer would be given the task of carrying the ensign flag.

68. Country music's Tucker : TANYA
Country singer Tanya Tucker's first hit was "Delta Dawn" in 1972, which she recorded at only 13 years of age.

Down
1. ___ Q's (Hostess brand) : SUZY
Suzy Q is a line of snack cakes from Hostess.

2. Fencing blade : EPEE
The sword known as an épée has a three-sided blade. The épée is similar to a foil and sabre, both of which are also thrusting weapons. However, the foil and saber have rectangular cross-sections.

3. Character in "I, Claudius" : NERO
Nero was Emperor of Rome from 54 to 68 CE, and he had quite the family life. When he was just 16-years-old Nero married his step-sister Claudia Octavia. He also had his mother and step-brother executed.

I, Claudius is a 1934 novel penned by Robert Graves, written in the form of an autobiography of Emperor Claudius of Rome. Graves wrote a sequel in 1935 called "Claudius the God". Both books were adapted by the BBC into a fabulous television series that went by the name of the first book, "I, Claudius".

4. Michelin winter product : SNOW TIRE
Michelin is a manufacturer of tires based in France. The company was founded by brothers Édouard and André Michelin in 1888. The brothers were running a rubber factory at the time, and invented the world’s first removable pneumatic tire, an invention that they used to launch their new company. Michelin is also noted for rating restaurants and accommodation in its famous Michelin Travel Guides, awarding coveted Michelin “stars”.

8. ___ strip (mathematical curiosity) : MOBIUS
A Möbius strip is a surface that has only one side. One is easily made by taking a strip of paper and joining the ends together, but with a twist so that it isn’t a regular “band”.

10. Traditional Christmas plants : POINSETTIAS
The poinsettia plant is named for botanist Joel Roberts Poinsett, who was also the first US Minister to Mexico. Poinsett introduced the species into the US from south of the border in 1828. The association of the poinsettia with the Christmas season started in Mexico and are based on a 16th-century tale. It tells of a young girl who could not afford a gift to celebrate Christmas so she was told by an angel to gather weeds from the side of the road and place them on the church altar. The weeds blossomed into showy poinsettias. Since 2002, here in the US we’ve been celebrating Poinsettia Day on December 12th, which is the day that Joel Roberts Poinsett died.

11. Heinz product : CATSUP
“Catsup” is an American spelling of “ketchup” that is sometimes used, especially in the south of the country.

The HJ Heinz Company is an American concern, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The company was founded in 1869, by Henry John Heinz. It was Heinz himself who came up with the marketing slogan of “57 Varieties”. The “57” really doesn’t have any relevance to the range of products available as Heinz chose the “5” because it was his lucky number, and the “7” because it was his wife’s lucky number.

12. "Hearts and minds" military maneuver, briefly : PSYOP
Psychological Operations (PSYOP) is a contemporary name for propaganda, the "winning of hearts and minds in a combat zone.

25. Supernatural tabloid fodder : UFOS
Unidentified flying object (UFO)

Tabloid is the trademarked name (owned by Burroughs, Wellcome and Co,) for a "small tablet of medicine", a name that goes back to 1884. The word "tabloid" had entered into general use to mean a compressed form of anything, and by the early 1900s was used in "tabloid journalism", applied to newspapers that had short, condensed articles and stories printed on smaller sheets of paper.

30. Bird that says "Give a hoot! Don't pollute!" : OWL
Woodsy Owl is an icon used by the US Forest Service. Woodsy’s job is to promote the appreciation of nature and is associated with the tag-lines “Give a hoot — don’t pollute!” and “Lend a hand — Care for the Land!”

32. Bollywood dress : SARI
The item of clothing called a "sari" (also "saree") is a strip of cloth, as one might imagine, unusual perhaps in that is unstitched along the whole of its length. The strip of cloth can range from four to nine meters long (that's a lot of material!). The sari is usually wrapped around the waist, then draped over the shoulder leaving the midriff bare. I must say, it can be a beautiful item of clothing.

Bollywood is the informal name given to the huge film industry based in Mumbai in India. The term “Bollywood” is a melding of “Bombay”, the old name for Mumbai, and “Hollywood”.

36. Word after income, sales or excise : TAX
Excise taxes differ from customs duties. Excise taxes are imposed on goods within a nation's borders, whereas customs duties are imposed at the border on importation.

39. Canadian gas brand : ESSO
The brand name Esso has its roots in the old Standard Oil company as it uses the initial letters of “Standard” and “Oil” (ESS-O). The Esso brand was replaced by Exxon in the US, but ESSO is still used in many other countries.

44. Actress Christine of "Chicago Hope" : LAHTI
Christine Lahti is an actress probably best known for playing Dr. Kate Austen on the TV medical drama “Chicago Hope”. If you read “The Huffington Post” you might run across her as well, as Lahti is a contributing blogger.

51. Cosmetician Lauder : ESTEE
Estée Lauder was a very successful businesswoman, with a reputation as a great salesperson. Lauder introduced her own line of fragrances in 1953, a bath oil called "Youth Dew". "Youth Dew" was marketed as a perfume, but it was added to bathwater. All of a sudden women were pouring whole bottles of Ms. Lauder's "perfume" into their baths while using only a drop or two of French perfumes behind their ears. That's quite a difference in sales volume …

53. N.B.A.'s Magic, on scoreboards : ORL
The Orlando Magic were formed in 1989 as an NBA expansion team. A local paper was asked to run a competition to suggest names for the new team and the community came up with its four top picks of “Heat”, “Tropics”, “Juice” and “Magic”. A committee then opted for “Orlando Magic”. A good choice I think …

57. The Bible's Garden of ___ : 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.

59. Greece's Mount ___ : OSSA
Mount Ossa in Greece is located between Mt. Pelion in the south, and the famed Mt. Olympus in the north. Mount Ossa is also known as Kissavos.

61. Org. for which Edward Snowden once worked : NSA
Edward Snowden is a former NSA contractor who leaked several top secret NSA documents to the media beginning in June 2013. After disclosing his name as the source of the leaks, Snowden tried to seek asylum in Ecuador. While travelling to Ecuador he had a layover in Moscow. While in Moscow, the US government revoked his passport, which effectively left him stranded in the transit area of Moscow Airport. The Russian government eventually granted him annually-renewable temporary asylum.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Taste or touch : SENSE
6. What eyeglass lenses fit in : RIMS
10. Drug also known as angel dust : PCP
13. Ivy League sch. in Philly : UPENN
14. Furry creature in "Return of the Jedi" : EWOK
15. W. Hemisphere alliance : OAS
16. Driving condition in a blizzard : ZERO VISIBILITY
19. "Man, that smarts!" : YEOW!
20. Lucy's partner : DESI
21. Not ___ many words : IN SO
22. Approval from Siskel and Ebert : TWO THUMBS UP
25. Loosen, as laces : UNTIE
28. Go 4-0 in the Series, e.g. : SWEEP
29. R&B group with the #1 hit "Reach Out I'll Be There" : FOUR TOPS
33. Cockpit info: Abbr. : ALT
34. Fairy tale monster : OGRE
35. Steinbeck's "The Grapes of ___" : WRATH
37. Shirt that might say "I'm with stupid" : TEE
40. ___ of a gun : SON
41. Plant life : FLORA
42. Mediterranean fruits : FIGS
43. ___-pitch softball : SLO
45. Amusement park with the Nitro roller coaster : SIX FLAGS
47. Elton John's "Candle in the Wind" was rewritten to honor her : DIANA
49. Rodeo rope : LASSO
50. 1988 film about the Black Sox scandal : EIGHT MEN OUT
54. Tirade : RANT
55. ___-friendly : USER
56. Western lily : SEGO
60. How an extreme underdog wins ... or this puzzle? : AGAINST ALL ODDS
63. Note between fa and la : SOL
64. Fortuneteller : SEER
65. What light bulbs represent in cartoons : IDEAS
66. Naval officer: Abbr. : ENS
67. Summer drinks : ADES
68. Country music's Tucker : TANYA

Down
1. ___ Q's (Hostess brand) : SUZY
2. Fencing blade : EPEE
3. Character in "I, Claudius" : NERO
4. Michelin winter product : SNOW TIRE
5. Letter holder: Abbr. : ENV
6. Bowling alley button : RESET
7. "If only!" : I WISH!
8. ___ strip (mathematical curiosity) : MOBIUS
9. Compete in the Nordic combined, say : SKI
10. Traditional Christmas plants : POINSETTIAS
11. Heinz product : CATSUP
12. "Hearts and minds" military maneuver, briefly : PSYOP
17. Words at the altar : I DO
18. Printed defamation : LIBEL
23. Rainy : WET
24. Air kiss sound : MWAH
25. Supernatural tabloid fodder : UFOS
26. Canceled, as a launch : NO GO
27. Blinkers : TURN SIGNALS
30. Bird that says "Give a hoot! Don't pollute!" : OWL
31. Counterparts of amateurs : PROS
32. Bollywood dress : SARI
36. Word after income, sales or excise : TAX
38. Custard base : EGGS
39. Canadian gas brand : ESSO
41. Times New Roman, e.g. : FONT
42. Pop with no fizz : FLAT SODA
44. Actress Christine of "Chicago Hope" : LAHTI
46. Focus of a yearly shot : FLU
47. ___ Alley, shopping area for Harry Potter : DIAGON
48. Made smile : AMUSED
50. Wipe clean, as a blackboard : ERASE
51. Cosmetician Lauder : ESTEE
52. Approaches : NEARS
53. N.B.A.'s Magic, on scoreboards : ORL
57. The Bible's Garden of ___ : EDEN
58. Aussie greeting : G'DAY
59. Greece's Mount ___ : OSSA
61. Org. for which Edward Snowden once worked : NSA
62. Ignited, as a match : LIT


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8 comments :

Dave Kennison said...

6:49, no errors, iPad. An enjoyably easy Monday puzzle, but, since I also did it online, I didn't understand the theme. After coming here, I tried to locate an online facsimile of the print version, but failed. (It appears that I would need a different kind of NYT subscription to do that.) So I guess I'll have to wait five weeks to be sure, but I'm guessing that the puzzle clues are actually all there; they're just numbered 2, 4, 6, ... , instead of 1, 2, 3, ... ? Maybe I'll buy a paper copy of the NYT later ... :-)

Anonymous said...

8:21 and two errors (SEGO/OSSA). I felt this was really easy, and was surprised my stopwatch read so high when I switched it off. Pointlessly dumb theme.

Dale Stewart said...

I work the puzzles on paper so I had none of the problems others have had. I'm thinking that the New York Times staff could surely foresee the problem they would be creating for on-line solvers. If they cannot find a way around the problem then I think they should not have published the puzzle in the first place.

Bill, not to be picky, but you refer to the number 0 as an even number. Zero, of course, has no value whatsoever so technically it can be neither even nor odd. Unless I am missing something?

Torb said...

Simply filled out this easy puzzle. Didn't understand the theme until I saw it here. No odd numbers. Too cute.

Tom M. said...

Have to agree with @Dale Stewart about the ZERO question. (I might be missing something, too.)

BruceB said...

8:11, no errors. The mathematical definition of an even number is: an integer 'n' of the form n=2k where k is also an integer. In the puzzle, for example the down clues in the upper left corner, number 1,2,3,4,5 in Bill's online puzzle are numbered 2,4,6,8,10 in the print version. The clue numbers are simply doubled.

Zero is an even number by definition, it is an integer and it fits the form of n=2k since 0=2*0. In other words, an even number is an integer that can be divided by 2 with no remainder. Zero divided by 2 is 0, with no remainder.

Bill Butler said...

Thanks, Bruce. I was just about to make a comment along the same lines. I appreciate the help!

Tom M. said...

@BruceB's answer (and Bill's apparent response)to the Zero problem is a matter of definitional premise and is clearly tautological.

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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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