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0307-17 New York Times Crossword Answers 7 Mar 17, Tuesday





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Solution to today's crossword in the New York Times
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CROSSWORD SETTER: Freddie Cheng
THEME: Lets a Rearrangement Finish
Today’s themed answers end with words that are the letters L-E-T-S-A rearranged:
17A. Famously unfinished 14th-century literary work, with "The" : CANTERBURY TALES
24A. "How cheap!" : THAT’S A STEAL!
30A. What one might start over with : CLEAN SLATE
43A. Losing crunchiness, as chips : GOING STALE
48A. Historical figure played by David Bowie in "The Prestige" : NIKOLA TESLA
60A. "Finally ..." : LAST BUT NOT LEAST ...
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 8m 13s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

10. Old Testament prophet : AMOS
Amos is one of the twelve minor prophets in the Hebrew Bible.

15. West who said "It's better to be looked over than overlooked" : MAE
Comic actress Mae West can be quoted so easily, as she had so many great lines delivered so well. Here are a few:
  • When I’m good, I’m very good. When I’m bad, I’m better.
  • When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I’ve never tried before.
  • I’ll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure.
  • Marriage is a great institution, but I’m not ready for an institution yet.
  • I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.
  • Why don’t you come on up and see me sometime — when I’ve got nothin’ on but the radio.
  • It’s better to be looked over than overlooked.
  • To err is human, but it feels divine.
  • I like my clothes to be tight enough to show I’m a woman, but loose enough to show I’m a lady.
  • I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.
  • Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

16. Foreign Legion hat : KEPI
A kepi is that circular cap with a visor that's worn in particular by the French military.

The French Foreign Legion is a military wing of the French Army that is noted for accepting foreign nationals into its ranks. The Legion is open to French recruits, but they only make up about a quarter of the fighting force. Having said that, the majority of the officers are Frenchman.

17. Famously unfinished 14th-century literary work, with "The" : CANTERBURY TALES
Geoffrey Chaucer was an English author. He is often referred to as the father of English literature because he established vernacular English as a legitimate language for artistic works, as up to that point authors used French or Latin. Chaucer's most famous work is actually unfinished, a collection of stories called "The Canterbury Tales" that were all written at the end of the 14th century.

20. Hotel name synonymous with poshness : RITZ
César Ritz was a Swiss hotelier, who had a reputation for developing the most luxurious of accommodations and attracting the wealthiest clientèle. He opened the Hotel Ritz in Paris in 1898 and the second of his most famous hotels, the Ritz Hotel in London, in 1906. Ritz was lucky in his career, as before starting his own hotel chain he had been dismissed from the Savoy Hotel in London, implicated in the disappearance of a substantial amount of wine and spirits. Today’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company was founded in 1983, although the chain has its roots in the properties developed by César Ritz.

21. Org. whose motto is "We are their voice" : ASPCA
Unlike in most developed countries, there is no "umbrella" organization in the US with the goal of preventing cruelty to animals. Instead there are independent organizations set up all over the nation using the name SPCA. Having said that, there is an organization called the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) that was originally intended to operate across the country, but really it now focuses its efforts in New York City.

23. "Happy Days" diner : AL’S
Much of the sitcom “Happy Days” was set in Arnold’s Drive-In. Arnold Takahashi was played by Pat Morita, who also played Mr Miyagi in the movie “The Karate Kid”. Morita left the show after three seasons, and was replaced by Al Molinaro as Al Delvecchio. As a result, Arnold’s Drive-In became Al’s Drive-In.

27. Exam for the college-bound, for short : PSAT
Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT)

29. Reggae relative : 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.

35. Arthur Ashe Stadium org. : USTA
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is the national organization governing the sport of tennis in the US. The USTA was founded way back in 1881 as the United States National Lawn Tennis Association.

The Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, New York opened in 1997 and for years was the largest outdoor, tennis-only venue in the world. The stadium was often criticized for not having a retractable dome to protect the playing surface from inclement weather. Well, that changed in 2016 when the stadium debuted its new retractable roof, a $150 million investment in the facility.

39. Prevents litter? : SPAYS
Our verb “to spay”, meaning “to surgically remove the ovaries of” (an animal) comes from an old Anglo-French word “espeier” meaning “to cut with a sword”.

45. Ukr., e.g., once : SSR
Ukraine is a large country in Eastern Europe, a Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) before the dissolution of the USSR. In English we often call the country “the" Ukraine, but I am told that we should just say "Ukraine".

48. Historical figure played by David Bowie in "The Prestige" : NIKOLA TESLA
Nikola Tesla was born in Serbia, but later moved to the US. Tesla's work on mechanical and electrical engineering was crucial to the development of alternating current technology, the same technology that is used by equipment at the backbone of modern power generation and distribution systems.

“The Prestige” is a 2006 film based on a 1995 novel of the same name by Christopher Priest. The story revolves around two rival magicians played by Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale. The real-life inventor Nikola Tesla appears as a character in the movie, portrayed by the great David Bowie.

54. Narcotics-fighting grp. : DEA
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

57. Rapid-fire gun : UZI
The first Uzi submachine gun was designed in the late 1940s by Major Uziel “Uzi” Gal of the Israel Defense Forces, who gave his name to the gun.

59. Uphill aid for skiers : T-BAR
A T-bar is a type of ski lift on which the skiers are pulled up the hill in pairs, with each pair standing (not sitting!) either side of T-shaped metal bar. The bar is placed behind the thighs, pulling along the skiers as they remain standing on their skis (hopefully!). There's also a J-bar, a similar device, but with each J-shaped bar used by one skier at a time.

67. ___ terrier : SKYE
The Skye terrier is a breed of dog that is actually under threat of extinction. A few years ago there were only 30 Skye terriers born in the breed's native land of the UK.

Down
1. Millionths of a meter : MICRA
The measurement of length called a micron (plural “micra”) is more correctly referred to a micrometer (or “micrometre”). One micron is equivalent to one millionth of a meter.

2. Spam medium : EMAIL
Apparently the term "spam", used for unwanted email, is taken from a "Monty Python" sketch. In the sketch (which I've seen) the dialog is taken over by the word Spam, a play on the glut of canned meat in the markets of Britain after WWII. So "spam" is used for the glut of emails that takes over online communication. I can just imagine nerdy Internet types (like me) adopting something from a "Monty Python" sketch to describe an online phenomenon …

4. Movie that came out about the same time as "A Bug's Life" : ANTZ
“Antz” was the first feature movie released by Dreamworks SKG, the studio founded by Steven Spielberg and two partners in 1994. “Antz” came out in 1998, and has a stellar cast that includes Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Sylvester Stallone, Gene Hackman and many, many other big names. The cartoon is quite unique in that the facial features of the voice actors are reflected in the animated characters.

“A Bug’s Life” is a 1998 animated feature film from Pixar. The storyline is based on the film “The Seven Samurai” and the fable of “The Ant and the Grasshopper”.

5. Emulate Pinocchio : LIE
“The Adventures of Pinocchio” is an 1883 children’s novel by Carlo Collodi, which is all about an animated puppet called Pinocchio, and Geppetto, his poor woodcarver father. In one of his adventures, Pinocchio encounters “the Terrible Dogfish”, a huge sea monster that is given the nickname “the Attila of fish and fishermen”. The sea monster features in the 1940 film “Pinocchio”, but in Walt Disney’s version it is given the name “Monstro” (the Portuguese word for “monster”).

6. Orch. section : STR
An orchestra (orch.) almost always has a string (str.) section.

8. Gripes : CARPS
The word "carp" used to mean simply "talk" back in the 13th century, with its roots in the Old Norwegian "karpa" meaning "to brag". A century later the Latin word "carpere" meaning "to slander" influenced the use of "carp" so that it came to mean "find fault with".

10. Letters on a "Wanted" poster : AKA
Also known as (aka)

11. Major scuffle : MELEE
Our word “melee” comes from the French “mêlée”, and in both languages the word means “confused fight”.

12. Sydney ___ House : OPERA
The stunning building that is the Sydney Opera House was designed by the Danish architect Jorn Utzon. The Sydney Opera House was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007, making Utzon only the second person ever to be so honored during his own lifetime.

13. Agave fiber used in rugs : SISAL
I suppose it is telling that whenever I hear mention of agave plants, I think of tequila. The sisal plant is an agave, but as far as I can tell its flesh is not used in making the Mexican liquor. Sisal is grown instead for the fibers that run the length of its leaves. The fiber is used extensively for twine, rope, carpeting, wall coverings etc. My favorite application though, is in the construction of dartboards. Sisal takes its name from the port of Sisal in Yucatan, Mexico, once a major shipping point for sisal plants.

25. Altitudes: Abbr. : HTS
Heights (hts.)

30. Winter hrs. in Texas : CST
Central Standard Time (CST)

31. The Stones' "12 x 5" and "Flowers" : LPS
Even though Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have been the driving force behind the Rolling Stones for decades, they didn’t start the group. The band was the idea of guitarist and harmonica player Brian Jones, and it was he who invited Richards and Jagger to join, as well as Ian Stewart, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts to make an original lineup of six band members. Jones called the band “Rollin’ Stone” back then in 1962, named for the song by Muddy Waters. Jones was the leader, manager and decision maker for the first few years until songs written by Richards and Jagger became hits and he started to lose artistic control. In 1967, Jones was arrested for drug possession, and again in 1968. When his trouble with the law prevented him from getting a US work visa, Jones wasn’t able to accompany the Stones on a 1969 US tour. That was the last straw, it seems, and Jones and the Stones parted company. Famously, one month later, Jones was found dead, at the bottom of his swimming pool.

32. Chinese philosopher ___-tzu : LAO
Lao Tse (also “Lao-Tzu”) was a central figure in the development of the religion/philosophy of Taoism. Tradition holds that Lao-Tzu wrote the “Tao Te Ching”, a classical Chinese text that is fundamental to the philosophy of Taoism.

33. "___ Baba and the Forty Thieves" : ALI
In the folk tale “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”, the title character is a poor woodcutter who discovers the magic words “open sesame” that open the thieves’ den.

34. Full complement of bowling pins : TEN
Bowling has been around for an awfully long time. The oldest known reference to the game is in Egypt, where pins and balls were found in an ancient tomb that is over 5,000 years old. The first form of the game to come to America was nine-pin bowling, which had been very popular in Europe for centuries. In 1841 in Connecticut, nine-pin bowling was banned due to its association with gambling. Supposedly, an additional pin was added to get around the ban, and ten-pin bowling was born.

37. Chess champ Mikhail : TAL
Mikhail Tal was truly a chess legend. Tal holds the record for the longest unbeaten streak in competition chess. And the second longest winning streak, well, that was by Tal as well.

49. ___ Walton League (conservation group) : IZAAK
Izaak Walton was an English writer, most famous for writing “The Compleat Angler”, first published in 1653.

52. Dadaist Max : ERNST
Max Ernst was a painter and sculptor, a pioneer in the Dada movement and Surrealism. Ernst was born near Cologne in Germany in 1891 and he was called up to fight in WWI, as were most young German men at that time. In his autobiography he writes “Max Ernst died the 1st of August, 1914” a statement about his experiences in the war. In reality, Ernst died in 1976 having lived to the ripe old age of 85.

53. Lead-in to Cat or cone : SNO
The brand name Sno-Cat is owned by the Tucker company. All “snowcats” are tracked vehicles built to work in snow, famously used in expeditions to the polar regions. The modern Sno-Cat from Tucker differs from its competitors in that it has four independently-mounted tracks.

A sno-cone (also "snow cone") is just a paper cone filled with crushed ice and topped with flavored water. Italian ice is similar, but different. Whereas the flavoring is added on top of the ice to make a sno-cone, Italian ice is made with water that is flavored before it is frozen.

55. Prop found near a palette : EASEL
The word “easel” comes from an old Dutch word meaning “donkey” would you believe? The idea is that an easel carries its load (an oil painting, say) just as a donkey would be made to carry a load.

62. Channel with explosive content? : TNT
“TNT” stands for Turner Network Television. The TNT cable channel made a big splash in the eighties when it started to broadcast old MGM movies that had been “colorized”, not something that was a big hit with the public. In recent years, the TNT programming lineup is touted with the tagline “We Know Drama”, and includes shows like “Judging Amy”, “ER” and “Cold Case”.

“TNT” is an abbreviation for trinitrotoluene. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Things that may be displayed on a general's chest : MEDALS
7. "Oh no!," in comics : ACK!
10. Old Testament prophet : AMOS
14. "Leave this to me!" : I'M ON IT!
15. West who said "It's better to be looked over than overlooked" : MAE
16. Foreign Legion hat : KEPI
17. Famously unfinished 14th-century literary work, with "The" : CANTERBURY TALES
20. Hotel name synonymous with poshness : RITZ
21. Org. whose motto is "We are their voice" : ASPCA
22. Historical period : ERA
23. "Happy Days" diner : AL’S
24. "How cheap!" : THAT’S A STEAL!
27. Exam for the college-bound, for short : PSAT
29. Reggae relative : SKA
30. What one might start over with : CLEAN SLATE
35. Arthur Ashe Stadium org. : USTA
39. Prevents litter? : SPAYS
40. Beverage that may be 41-Across : ALE
41. Alternative to "bottled" : ON TAP
42. "Shame on you!" sounds : TSKS
43. Losing crunchiness, as chips : GOING STALE
45. Ukr., e.g., once : SSR
47. Org.'s cousin : ASSN
48. Historical figure played by David Bowie in "The Prestige" : NIKOLA TESLA
54. Narcotics-fighting grp. : DEA
57. Rapid-fire gun : UZI
58. Embellish : ADORN
59. Uphill aid for skiers : T-BAR
60. "Finally ..." : LAST BUT NOT LEAST ...
64. Cut with a beam : LASE
65. Sighs of relief : AHS
66. Some family reunion attendees : NIECES
67. ___ terrier : SKYE
68. Tennis do-over : LET
69. Like wind chimes : TINKLY

Down
1. Millionths of a meter : MICRA
2. Spam medium : EMAIL
3. "Shhh!" : DON'T SPEAK!
4. Movie that came out about the same time as "A Bug's Life" : ANTZ
5. Emulate Pinocchio : LIE
6. Orch. section : STR
7. Something necessary : A MUST
8. Gripes : CARPS
9. It's just for openers : KEY CASE
10. Letters on a "Wanted" poster : AKA
11. Major scuffle : MELEE
12. Sydney ___ House : OPERA
13. Agave fiber used in rugs : SISAL
18. Sheep sound : BAA
19. Job to do : TASK
24. Catches some rays : TANS
25. Altitudes: Abbr. : HTS
26. Gibes : TAUNTS
28. States positively : SAYS SO
30. Winter hrs. in Texas : CST
31. The Stones' "12 x 5" and "Flowers" : LPS
32. Chinese philosopher ___-tzu : LAO
33. "___ Baba and the Forty Thieves" : ALI
34. Full complement of bowling pins : TEN
36. "Give him some space!" : STAND BACK!
37. Chess champ Mikhail : TAL
38. Copy : APE
41. Bones, anatomically : OSSA
43. Done bit by bit : GRADUAL
44. Half of a square dance duo : GAL
46. Chunk of concrete : SLAB
48. Makes void : NULLS
49. ___ Walton League (conservation group) : IZAAK
50. Given to smooching : KISSY
51. ___ nth degree : TO THE
52. Dadaist Max : ERNST
53. Lead-in to Cat or cone : SNO
55. Prop found near a palette : EASEL
56. ___-craftsy : ARTSY
59. 27-Across taker, typically : TEEN
61. Shape of a three-way intersection : TEE
62. Channel with explosive content? : TNT
63. 52, in old Rome : LII


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1 comment :

Dave Kennison said...

10:08, no errors. The "A" at the intersection of MICRA and AL'S was a guess, as I've only seen MICRONS for the plural of MICRON and I'd never heard of the diner in "Happy Days".

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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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