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0408-17 New York Times Crossword Answers 8 Apr 17, Saturday





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Solution to today's crossword in the New York Times
Solution to today's SYNDICATED New York Times crossword in all other publications
Solution to today's New York Times crossword found online at the Seattle Times website
Jump to a complete list of today's clues and answers

CROSSWORD SETTER: Jeff Chen
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 45m 20s!!!
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Subject of plays by Sophocles, Euripides and Cocteau : ANTIGONE
“Antigone” is a tragedy written by Greek playwright Sophocles and first performed in 442 BC. Antigone is the daughter of King Oedipus of Thebes, born out of the incestuous relationship with his mother Jocasta.

9. Inventor with three steam engine patents : WATT
James Watt was a Scottish inventor, a man who figured prominently in the Industrial Revolution in Britain largely due to the improvements he made to the fledgling steam engine. The SI unit of power is called the watt, named in his honor.

21. Hires for a float? : ROOT BEER
Hires Root Beer was introduced way back in 1876, making it the longest continuously-made soft drink in the country. The basic formulation was developed by Philadelphia pharmacist Charles Elmer Hires.

25. One who might recall action on Iwo : WWII VET
Iwo Jima is a volcanic island located south of Tokyo that today is uninhabited. The name is Japanese for “Sulfur Island”, referring to the sulfur mining on which Iwo Jima’s economy once depended. There were about a thousand Japanese civilians living on the island prior to WWII. In 1944, there was a massive influx of Japanese military personnel in anticipation of the inevitable US invasion. As the Japanese military moved in, the civilians were forced out and no one has lived there since. Control of the island was wrested from the Japanese in the five-week Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. Said battle was one of the bloodiest in the Pacific theater in WWII.

30. YouTuber or eBayer : NETIZEN
A netizen is an “Internet citizen”, someone with a presence on the Internet. I guess I would be a netizen, then ...

32. It was often accompanied by a lyre in ancient Greece : ODE
The lyre is a stringed instrument most closely associated with Ancient Greece, and with the gods Hermes and Apollo in particular. According to myth, Hermes slaughtered a cow from a sacred herd belonging to Apollo and offered it to the gods but kept the entrails. Hermes used the entrails to make strings that he stretched across the shell of a tortoise, creating the first lyre. Apollo liked the sound from the lyre and agreed to accept it as a trade for his herd of cattle.

33. Component of the pigment Maya blue : ANIL
Anil is another name for the indigo plant, as well as the name for the blue indigo dye that is obtained from it. The color of anil is relatively close to navy blue. The main coloring agent in indigo dye is a crystalline powder called indigotin.

37. Fictional mariner also known as Prince Dakkar : NEMO
In the 1954 movie version of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, Captain Nemo goes down with his ship. In the novel by Jules Verne the fate of Nemo and his crew isn’t quite so cut and dry, although the inference is perhaps that they did indeed head for Davy Jones’ Locker.

40. President between two Williams : THEODORE
President William McKinley was re-elected in 1900, but failed to serve out the full term. In September of 1901 he went to the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York where he went to meet the public at the Exposition's Temple of Music. Leon Czolgosz was waiting for the president, armed with a pistol. Czolgosz shot the President twice before being subdued (and beaten) by the crowd. Doctors operated, and were able to stabilize President McKinley. The medical profession decided to leave one bullet inside the victim, on the face of it a good decision as the President spent almost a week apparently recovering from his ordeal. However, he relapsed, and eight days after being shot he died from gangrene surrounding the wound.

President Theodore Roosevelt was the first American to win a Nobel Prize in any field. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for his role in negotiating an end to the Russo-Japanese War.

William Howard Taft may have been the 27th President of the United States, but his lifelong ambition was to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. President Taft was able to realize that dream in 1921, eight years after losing his bid for re-election as president. As Chief Justice, this former US President swore in two new presidents: Calvin Coolidge (in 1925) and Herbert Hoover (in 1929). William Howard Taft is also remembered as the most obese president. In the last year of his presidency, he weighed about 340 pounds (he was 5 feet 11 inches tall). Twelve months after leaving the White House, President Taft had dropped 80 pounds and substantially lowered his blood pressure.

44. Grandma Moses' output : FOLK ART
“Grandma” Moses was the nickname of American folk artist Anna Moses. Anna's moniker is perhaps particularly apt as she really only took up art as a career when she was 78 years old.

48. Round bump on a cactus : AREOLE
Areoles are bumps on the side of cacti from which grow clusters of spines. These areoles are one of the features of cacti that distinguish them from other succulent plants.

49. Emulate Bonnie and Clyde : ROB A BANK
Bonnie and Clyde were criminals who robbed and killed their way across the central US during the Great Depression. Clyde Barrow was born a desperately poor young boy just south of Dallas, Texas. He was always in trouble with the law, first getting arrested at the age of 16. He met Bonnie Parker in 1930 at a friend's house, and the smitten Parker followed Clyde into a life of crime. The pair were killed by a posse of Texas police officers just four years later in Louisiana.

51. Croatia is on it : ADRIATIC
The Adriatic is the sea separating Italy from the Balkans.

The Republic of Croatia is a Balkan country. The Croats declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Croatia became a member of NATO in 2009, and a member of the European Union in 2013.

53. Ineffective pill : DEADHEAD
A deadhead is a dull or unproductive person.

Down
2. Like herbal cigarettes : NO-TAR
The partially-combusted particulate matter that is produced as a cigarette burns forms a resinous material called “tar”. Cigarette tar is different than the tar used on roads, but is very toxic. Marijuana smoke produces a very similar tar to cigarette smoke, and is just as dangerous.

6. Slanted paper lines? : OP-ED
“Op-ed” is an abbreviation for "opposite the editorial page". Op-eds started in "The New York Evening World" in 1921 when the page opposite the editorials was used for articles written by a named guest writer, someone independent of the editorial board.

7. First-century megalomaniac : 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.

8. Adding a "z" to its front forms its preceder : ETA
Eta is the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet, and is a forerunner of our Latin character “H”. Originally denoting a consonant, eta was used as a long vowel in Ancient Greek.

Zeta is the sixth letter of the Greek alphabet, and is a precursor of our Roman letter Z. The word “zeta” is also the ancestor of the name “zed”, which became “zee”, the pronunciation that we use here in the US.

10. Gordon Gekko or Rooster Cogburn : ANTIHERO
An “antihero”, perhaps in a movie or novel, is the “hero” of the piece, but someone who doesn’t exhibit the qualities associated traditionally with a hero, such as bravery or moral fortitude.

“Wall Street” is a very entertaining 1987 film from Oliver Stone starring Charlie Sheen as an up and coming stockbroker, and Michael Douglas as an amoral corporate raider named Gordon Gekko. Douglas’ portrayal of Gekko earned him a Best Actor Oscar, and deservedly so, I’d say …

The classic 1969 western movie “True Grit” starring John Wayne is a screen adaptation of a 1968 novel by Henry Hathaway. The Coen brothers made another big screen adaption of the novel in 2010 starring Jeff Bridges in the Rooster Cogburn role previously played by John Wayne.

12. Bikini, notably : TEST SITE
The testing of US nuclear weapons by the US at Bikini Atoll in the middle of 1946 went by the codename "Operation Crossroads". The tests used A-bombs and were designed to measure the effect of blasts on navy vessels. There were three tests planned, but the third had to be cancelled as the Navy couldn't decontaminate the ships used in the second test.

16. 68 works of Haydn : QUARTETS
Josef Haydn was an Austrian composer, often called the “Father of the Symphony” due to his prolific output of symphonies that helped define the form. This is one of the reasons that he was known, even in his own lifetime, as “Papa Haydn”. Haydn was also the father figure among “the big three” composers of the Classical Period: Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. Hayden was a good friend to Mozart, and a teacher of Beethoven.

18. Guitarist Zappa : DWEEZIL
Frank Zappa was an American composer and guitarist, a solo artist as well as the founding member of the rock band Mothers of Invention. You might like to meet his four children: Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan, and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen.

20. "Rabbit of ___" (Bugs Bunny short) : SEVILLE
Elmer Fudd is one of the most famous of all the Looney Tunes cartoon characters, the hapless nemesis of Bugs Bunny. If you have never seen it, check out Elmer and Bugs in the marvelous “Rabbit of Seville”, a short cartoon that parodies Rossini’s “Barber of Seville”. Wonderful stuff …

36. Muckety-muck : POOH-BAH
The term "pooh-bah" (also “poobah”), meaning an ostentatious official, comes from the world of opera. Pooh-Bah is a character in the wonderful Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera "The Mikado". Famously, Pooh-Bah holds many, many offices, including that of "Lord High Everything Else".

43. Court colleague of Ruth and Elena : SONIA
Sonia Sotomayor is the first Hispanic justice on the US Supreme Court, and the third female justice. Sotomayor was nominated by President Barack Obama to replace the retiring Justice David Souter.

45. What's often debugged : CODE
Back in 1947, the famed computer programmer Grace Hopper noticed some colleagues fixing a piece of equipment by removing a dead moth from a relay. She remarked that they were “debugging” the system, and so Hopper has been given credit for popularizing the term.

46. "East of Eden" girlfriend : ABRA
Abra Bacon is a character in John Steinbeck’s novel, “East of Eden”.

John Steinbeck considered “East of Eden” his magnus opus. Most of the storyline takes place near Salinas, just south of where I live here in the Bay Area. Two of the characters in the story are brothers Cal and Aron Trask, representative of the biblical Cain and Abel.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Subject of plays by Sophocles, Euripides and Cocteau : ANTIGONE
9. Inventor with three steam engine patents : WATT
13. Sitter's charge, maybe : HOUSE PET
14. Philanthropy beneficiary : DONEE
15. "You get the idea" : ET CETERA
16. They're filled at factories : QUOTAS
17. Squeaks by : MAKES DO
18. One of a pair of drawers facing each other? : DUELIST
19. Tear : REND
20. Fabric shop collection : SWATCHES
21. Hires for a float? : ROOT BEER
24. Gas: Prefix : AERI-
25. One who might recall action on Iwo : WWII VET
26. Bonehead, to Brits : PRAT
27. Hotel offering for an extra charge : COT
30. YouTuber or eBayer : NETIZEN
32. It was often accompanied by a lyre in ancient Greece : ODE
33. Component of the pigment Maya blue : ANIL
35. Divorced : SPLIT UP
37. Fictional mariner also known as Prince Dakkar : NEMO
38. Necessitates : CALLS FOR
40. President between two Williams : THEODORE
42. G.I. Joe and Cobra Commander, e.g. : FOES
44. Grandma Moses' output : FOLK ART
45. Tender spot? : CASHBOX
48. Round bump on a cactus : AREOLE
49. Emulate Bonnie and Clyde : ROB A BANK
50. Problem to address : ISSUE
51. Croatia is on it : ADRIATIC
52. To avoid the risk that : LEST
53. Ineffective pill : DEADHEAD

Down
1. "Hello ... I'm right here" : AHEM!
2. Like herbal cigarettes : NO-TAR
3. Wear (out) : TUCKER
4. Words accompanying a head slap : I SEE NOW
5. Tears up the dance floor : GETS DOWN
6. Slanted paper lines? : OP-ED
7. First-century megalomaniac : NERO
8. Adding a "z" to its front forms its preceder : ETA
9. Head scratcher? : WOOL CAP
10. Gordon Gekko or Rooster Cogburn : ANTIHERO
11. Entertainment enticement : TEASER AD
12. Bikini, notably : TEST SITE
14. Soprano + tenor, maybe : DUET
16. 68 works of Haydn : QUARTETS
18. Guitarist Zappa : DWEEZIL
20. "Rabbit of ___" (Bugs Bunny short) : SEVILLE
22. 50-50, say : TIE SCORE
23. It's just a line or two : BIT PART
27. Guaranteed-to-fly : CAN’T FAIL
28. Jerkwater : ONE-HORSE
29. Suitable for all ages? : TIMELESS
31. "I'll shut up now" : ‘NUFF SAID
34. Member of a heist crew : LOOKOUT
36. Muckety-muck : POOH-BAH
39. Commercial enticement : REBATE
41. Counterpart of a rise : DALE
43. Court colleague of Ruth and Elena : SONIA
45. What's often debugged : CODE
46. "East of Eden" girlfriend : ABRA
47. Award-winning webcomic about "romance, sarcasm, math and language" : XKCD
49. Def : RAD


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9 comments :

Dave Kennison said...

22:02, no errors. At the end, I almost got hung out to dry in the lower right corner, where I had "_E_DHEA_" for the clue "Ineffective pill", "RA_" for the clue "Def", "ABR_" for the clue "East of Eden girlfriend", and "XKC_" for the "webcomic" clue, all of which were pretty much unknown to me. "DEADHEAD" seemed like the obvious guess for the first of these, so I went with it and lucked out. Pretty classic example of mischievous cluing ... :-)

@Jeff ... Re yesterday's use of the word LARRUP: The only person I've ever heard use the word was my grandfather. If he really enjoyed something he was eating, he would shake his head from side to side with gusto and say, "Oh, that's larrupin'!" A fond memory of him, actually ... :-)

Arthur Brakob said...

Just a short correction. True Grit is a novel by Charles Portis not Henry Hathaway. It's a wonderful book as is his great "Dog of the South".

Jeff said...

Hard one for this solver. 58 minutes with a few cheats along the way. Had navyVET before WWIIVET and I misspelled DWEEZIL (Dweezle) at first. Those slowed me down a litle.

One that really got me when I got it....CASH BOX for "Tender spot"

Dave - Interesting use of LARRUP, but it doesn't seem to fit how the puzzle used it yesterday "Beat soundly". I suppose that was just an expression your father was using...maybe.

Best -

Dave Kennison said...

@Jeff ... For a bit, I thought you had caught me having a senior moment ... and you had, but not in quite the way I thought. See the following web page:

https://www.waywordradio.org/larrupin/

It turns out that "larrup" does indeed mean "beat" or "thrash", but it somehow gave rise to "larrupin", meaning "especially tasty, scrumptious", just as my grandfather used it. (I actually got the word through crosses as I was doing the puzzle and apparently didn't even see the clue - one senior moment - and then didn't stop to wonder about the missing "in" - a second senior moment.)

My father was actually responsible for my misunderstanding a different phrase: He would look at something like an inconveniently flat tire or some other unexpected snag and say disgustedly, "Well, isn't that the berries!" It turns out, though, that he was being sarcastic: the phrase was originally used to refer to a very good thing that had just happened. (Thankfully, the phrase, no matter what its meaning, seems to have passed out of the vernacular.)

Anonymous said...

As I recall an early nickname for Lou Gehrig was Larrupin' Lou.

Never did understand 49 down -def nor do I know anything about 47 down "XKCD"

Dave Kennison said...

@Anonymous ... I'd never heard of "XKCD", either, but there's a good Wikipedia article about it. And as for DEF, a slang term meaning the same thing that RAD means (or used to mean), I think I've only seen it as part of the nickname "Mos' Def" (and I'll admit I'm kind of guessing that the usages are related).

Anonymous said...

31:17 and 3 errors (OP ED, ANTIGONE/MAKES DO); key to that was having MAKES IT filled in, and not quite "getting" the meaning of the 6 down clue. Glad to finish, though, cuz this one was deceptive and tough. A fair challenge, however. No trickery or cynicism.

BruceB said...

27:27, no errors. Had a difficult time getting into each quadrant, but once I gained a foothold, the remaining clues became apparent.

No clue about XKCD; and, in spite of being familiar with Frank Zappa, would have been equally comfortable with DWEEZLE or DWEEZEL.

Glenn said...

DNF (needed to get one clue in the lower left for most of those being set very weirdly/strangely after about 10 minutes of staring at it), zero errors otherwise, after about 50 minutes total. Much easier than yesterday, otherwise.

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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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