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0509-17 New York Times Crossword Answers 9 May 17, Tuesday





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Solution to today's crossword in the New York Times
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CROSSWORD CONSTRUCTOR: Peter A. Collins
THEME: Blew a Clue?
Well, I didn’t, and I hope that you didn’t. Each of today’s themed answers is a phrase in the format Word-A a Word-B, where Word-A and Word-B rhyme with each other:
17A. View furtively : SNEAK A PEEK
24A. Complete the negotiations : SEAL A DEAL
30A. Secure some urban transportation : GRAB A CAB
44A. Was vaccinated : GOT A SHOT
51A. Prepare for someone's birthday, perhaps : BAKE A CAKE
62A. Briefly put pen to paper, say : WROTE A NOTE
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 4m 58s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Social adroitness : TACT
The French for "to the right" is "à droit", from which we get our word "adroit". The original meaning of "adroit" was "rightly, properly", but it has come to mean dexterous and skillful. Someone described as “maladroit” is unskilled and awkward.

5. City between Gainesville and Orlando : OCALA
The city of Ocala was founded near a historic village with the same name. In the local Timucua language "Ocala" means "Big Hammock".

14. Radar response : ECHO
Scientists have been using radio waves to detect the presence of objects since the late 1800s, but it was the demands of WWII that accelerated the practical application of the technology. The British called their system RDF standing for Range and Direction Finding. The system used by the US Navy was called Radio Detection And Ranging, which was shortened to the acronym RADAR.

15. Mushroom variety : MOREL
The morel is that genus of mushroom with the honeycomb-like structure on the cap. They're highly prized, especially in French cuisine. Morels should never be eaten raw as they are toxic, with the toxins being removed by thorough cooking.

16. Garfield's foil in the comics : ODIE
Odie is Garfield's best friend and is a slobbery beagle. Both are characters in Jim Davis’ comic strip named “Garfield”.

21. John of "Saturday Night Fever" : TRAVOLTA
The actor, dancer and singer John Travolta got his first break playing student Vinnie Barbarino in the sitcom “Welcome Back, Kotter” in the seventies. While still on the TV show, Travolta showed off his dancing skills on two fabulous musical films: “Saturday Night Fever” (1977) and “Grease” (1978). His career then took a bit of dip, before resurging again with his role in the 1994 Quentin Tarantino blockbuster “Pulp Fiction”.

"Saturday Night Fever" was a phenomenal movie in its day, but to be honest I don't think it has aged well. I still love the soundtrack, the third best selling movie soundtrack of all time (number one is "The Bodyguard" and number two is “Purple Rain”, would you believe?). "Saturday Night Fever" was the first film for which the soundtrack was launched before the movie itself, in a cross-marketing exercise designed to hype the movie before its release.

23. Amber Alert, e.g., for short : PSA
Public service announcement (PSA)

The acronym in the AMBER alert system stands for “America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response”. Despite the abbreviation, the system was named in memory of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman who was abducted and murdered in Arlington, Texas in 1996.

37. Oscar winner Jared of "Dallas Buyers Club" : LETO
Jared Leto is an actor and musician. In the world of music, Leto is the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the rock band 30 Seconds to Mars. In the film world, one of his most critically acclaimed role was that of a heroin addict in “Requiem for a Dream”. He also appeared in “American Psycho”, “Panic Room” and “Lord of War”. Leto won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for portraying a transgender woman in 2013’s “Dallas Buyers Club”.

"Dallas Buyers Club" is a 2013 film that tells the real-life story of AIDS patient Ron Woodruff. Woodruff smuggled unapproved AIDS drugs across the US border into Texas in opposition to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The movie won the Best Actor Oscar for Matthew McConaughey and Best Supporting Actor for Jared Leto.

41. Jacob's biblical twin : ESAU
Esau was the twin brother of Jacob, the founder of the Israelites. When their mother Rebekah gave birth to the twins "the first emerged red and hairy all over (Esau), with his heel grasped by the hand of the second to come out (Jacob)". As Esau was the first born, he was entitled to inherit his father's wealth (it was his "birthright"). Instead, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for the price of a "mess of pottage" (a meal of lentils).

44. Was vaccinated : GOT A SHOT
A vaccine is a modified virus that causes a particular disease, which is administered to an individual to stimulate the immune system into developing immunity. British physician Edward Jenner came up with the first vaccine, injecting people with the cowpox virus in order to prevent smallpox. The term “vaccination” comes from the Latin “vaccinus” meaning “from cows”, with “vacca” translating as “cow”.

46. Pinch in the kitchen : DASH
In cooking, the terms “dash”, “pinch” and “smidgen” can all be used for a very small measure, one that is often undefined. However, you can in fact buy some measuring spoons that define these amounts as follows:
  • a dash is 1/8 teaspoon
  • a pinch is 1/16 teaspoon
  • a smidgen is 1/32 teaspoon

49. Hit with a Taser : ZAP
Victor Appleton wrote a novel for young adults called “Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle”. The company that developed the TASER electroshock weapon partly named its product as a homage to the novel. The acronym “TASER” stands for “Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle”.

50. Terre Haute sch. : ISU
Indiana State University (ISU) was established in Terre Haute in 1865, as the Indiana State Normal School. ISU’s sports teams are called the Sycamores.

Terre Haute, Indiana is a city close to the state’s western border with Illinois. The city is home to a state prison which in turn is home to the state’s death row. The name “Terre Haute” was chosen by French explorers in the 18th century to describe the location, as “terre haute” is French for “high ground”.

55. Org. for top-notch H.S. students : NHS
National Honor Society (NHS)

57. Blue-blooded : WELL BORN
The idiomatic phrase “blue blood” applies to someone of noble descent. The phrase is a translation from the Spanish “sangre azul”, which was applied to the royal family in Spain. The notion is that someone of noble birth does not have to work outdoors in the fields, and so has untanned skin. The veins showing in the skin had “blue blood”, whereas those veins were masked by the darker skin of the peasant classes.

58. Hollywood's Diane, Buster or Michael : KEATON
Buster Keaton was a comic actor who was most famous for his work during the silent era. Keaton starred in and co-directed the 1926 silent comedy “The General”, lauded by some as the greatest movie of all time.

Michael Keaton is an actor from Coraopolis, Pennsylvania. Keaton is perhaps best remembered for roles he played in Tim Burton films. Keaton had the title role in “Beetlejuice” in 1988, and the title role in “Batman” in 1989 and “Batman Returns” in 1992.

61. Seed cover : ARIL
The casing surrounding many seeds is called the aril, and it may be quite fleshy. This fruit-like characteristic makes it desirable as a food and aids in the dispersion of the seeds.

68. Relatively cool red giant : S STAR
Red giants are very large stars with a relatively low mass. The atmosphere of a red giant is also very inflated and extends a long way into space so the surface of that atmosphere that we see is relatively cool, which gives it a red color. Stars are classified by their spectral characteristics, basically the color of the light they emit. As such, red giants are classified as M stars. Cool red giants are of a color beyond the usual range, and are classified as S stars.

69. The second "S" of MS-DOS: Abbr. : SYST
MS-DOS (short for Microsoft Disk Operating System) was the main operating system used by IBM-compatible PCs in the eighties and for much of the nineties.

Down
1. Radio host John : TESH
John Tesh is a pianist and composer, as well as a radio and television presenter. For many years Tesh presented the show “Entertainment Tonight”. For “ET” he once covered the filming of an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. As part of the piece, he volunteered to act as a Klingon warrior. If you see the “Star Trek: TNG” episode called “The Icarus Factor” in reruns, watch out for John Tesh engaging in ritual torture with Mr. Worf as his victim.

3. Takeout food together with a Netflix movie, maybe : CHEAP DATE
Netflix was founded in Los Gatos, California in 1997 as a DVD rental company that sent out titles by mail. Netflix no longer focuses on distribution by mail, and instead provides programming on demand. The company is also making a big name for itself producing films and TV programs.

5. Tip of the Arabian Peninsula : OMAN
The Arabian Peninsula is shaped like a boot, with the Sultanate of Oman occupying the toe of that boot.

6. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" figure : COP
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is a sitcom set in the 99th precinct of the NYPD in Brooklyn. Star of the show is “Saturday Night Live” alum Andy Samberg, who plays Detective Jake Peralta.

7. Rocky glacial ridge : ARETE
An arete is ridge of rock defining the border between two parallel valleys that have been formed by glaciation. If this ridge is rounded, it is called a "col". However if it is "sharpened", with rock falling way due to successive freezing and thawing, then it is called an "arete". “Arête“ is the French word for "fish bone".

9. High-pH substance : ALKALI
The “opposite” of an acid is a base. Acids turn litmus paper red, and bases turn it blue. Acids and bases react with each other to form salts. An important subset of the chemicals called bases are the alkalis, the hydroxides of the alkali metals and of ammonium. The term “alkali” is sometimes used interchangeably with “base”, especially if that base is readily soluble in water.

As we all recall from chemistry class, a pH of 7 is considered neutral. Anything less than 7 is an acid, and anything above 7 is a base.

10. Obsolescent desktop accessories : ROLODEXES
The name Rolodex is short for "rolling index", and applies to a device that was invented back in 1956. Even in today's world that is run by computers, Rolodexes are still quite popular.

11. "Hello" singer, 2015 : ADELE
“Adele” is the stage name of English singer Adele Adkins. Adele’s debut album is “19”, named after the age she was during the album’s production. Her second album was even more successful than the first. Called “21”, the second album was released three years after the first, when Adele was three years older. More recently, her third studio album “25”, released in 2015, broke the first-week sales records in both the UK and the US.

12. Sporty Mazda : MIATA
The Mazda MX-5 is sold as the Miata in North America, and as the Roadster in Japan. I’ve always liked the looks of the Mazda Miata, probably because it reminds me so much of old British sports cars. The Miata is built in Hiroshima, Japan.

18. Qantas Airways symbol : KOALA
QANTAS is the national airline of Australia. The company name was originally an acronym for Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services. QANTAS has featured a koala in advertising campaigns for many years, although the company’s logo is a kangaroo.

26. Was the clue giver in Pictionary : DREW
The marvelous game Pictionary was introduced in 1985. It’s a word-guessing game that’s played in teams. Pictionary is a big hit in our house with family and friends. It must be said, a glass of wine does help boost the level of enthusiasm of all concerned …

28. Start of the fourth qtr. : OCT
October is the tenth month in our calendar but was the eighth month in the old Roman calendar, hence the prefix “octo-”. Back then there were only ten months in the year. “Ianuarius” (January) and “Februarius” were then added as the eleventh and twelfth months of the year. Soon after, the year was reset and January and February became the first and second months.

34. Class that covers Reconstruction and Prohibition : US HISTORY
My sad lack of knowledge about US history is one of the reasons I started doing crosswords when I moved to the United States. I find that the clues with historical references are great prompts to read up on the history of my adopted homeland ...

The Reconstruction Era followed the American Civil War, which ended in 1865. Reconstruction ended in 1877 when President Rutherford B. Hayes removed the last federal troops from the capitals of the Reconstruction states soon after taking office.

The 18th Amendment to the US Constitution was a great victory for the temperance movement (the “dry” movement), and in 1919 ushered in the Prohibition era. Highly unpopular (with the “wet” movement), Prohibition was repealed in 1933 by the 21st Amendment.

35. Neighbor of Vietnam : LAOS
The official name for the country of Laos is the Lao People's Democratic Republic. In the Lao language, the country's name is "Meuang Lao". The French ruled Laos as part of French Indochina, having united three separate Lao kingdoms. As there was a plural of "Lao" entities united into one, the French added the "S" and so today we tend to use "Laos" instead of "Lao".

36. "Swan Lake" article of attire : TUTU
The word “tutu”, used for a ballet dancer’s skirt, is actually a somewhat “naughty” term. It came into English from French in the early 20th century. The French “tutu” is an alteration of the word “cucu”, a childish word meaning “bottom,” or “backside”.

“Swan Lake” is such a delightfully light and enjoyable ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. “Swan Lake” tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by a sorcerer. The ballet also features Odile, Odette’s “evil twin”. Odile is disguised to look like Odette with the goal of tricking the prince to fall in love with her. In the ballet, the roles of Odette and Odile are played by the same ballerina. Odette’s love interest is Prince Siegfried, the only character in the ballet to appear in all four acts.

40. Letter between zeta and theta : 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.

43. Swedish aircraft giant : SAAB
“SAAB” stands for Svenska Aeroplan AB, which translates into English as Swedish Aeroplane Limited. Although we usually think of SAAB as an auto manufacturer, it is mainly an aircraft manufacturer. If you take small hops in Europe you might find yourself on a SAAB passenger plane. The SAAB automotive division was acquired by General Motors in the year 2000, who then sold it to a Dutch concern in 2010. However, SAAB (automotive) finally went bankrupt in 2011. A Chinese consortium purchased the assets of SAAB Automotive in 2012, and so SAAB vehicles are in production again. The new vehicles are using the SAAB name, but cannot use the SAAB griffin logo, the rights to which have been retained by the mother company.

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

48. ___ tweed : HARRIS
Tweed is a rough woolen fabric very much associated with Scotland in the UK, and County Donegal in Ireland. The cloth was originally called “tweel”, the Scots word for “twill”. Apparently a London merchant misinterpreted some handwriting in the early 1800s and assumed the fabric was called “tweed”, a reference to the Scottish River Tweed, and the name stuck …

51. Swahili master : BWANA
“Bwana” is a Swahili word meaning “important person” or “leader of a safari”.

Swahili is one of the many Bantu languages spoken in Africa. There are hundreds of Bantu languages, with most being spoken in central, east and southern Africa. The most commonly spoken Bantu language is Swahili, with Zulu coming in second.

52. Nestlé bars filled with tiny bubbles : AEROS
I must admit to having a weakness for Aero chocolate bars. Aero was introduced by Rowntree’s in the North of England in 1935. The “aero” name is a reference to the chocolate’s “bubbly” texture.

Nestlé is the world’s largest food company. It was founded in 1905 in Vevey, Switzerland where the company headquarters is to this day. Although the company came into being as the result of a merger, it retains the name of one of the co-founders, German confectioner Henri Nestlé. Henri Nestlé’s real breakthrough product was baby formula.

53. "Hogan's Heroes" colonel : KLINK
On the sitcom "Hogan's Heroes", Colonel Klink was the Camp Commandant, played by Werner Klemperer. Klemperer was born in Cologne in Germany, and fled the country with his family in 1935 due to Nazi persecution of Jews. Later, Klemperer joined the US Army and ended up using his show business talent to entertain the troops in the Pacific. Werner was the son of renowned conductor Otto Klemperer.

“Hogan’s Heroes” is a sitcom that ran in the late sixties and early seventies. The show starred Bob Crane as the ranking prisoner in a German POW camp during WWII. The four major German roles were played by actors who all were Jewish, and who all fled from the Nazis during the war. The French-American actor Robert Clary, who played Corporal Lebeau, spent three in concentration camps before being liberated from Buchenwald in 1945.

54. Noted berry farm founder Walter : KNOTT
In the twenties, Walter Knott sold berries, preserves and pies from the side of the road. In 1932, Knott picked up a new berry from Rudolph Boysen’s farm in Anaheim, California, a hybrid of blackberry, raspberry and loganberry. Knott sold the new berries at his stand, giving them the name “Boysenberries”. Boysenberry Pie became a signature dish at a small tea room that Walter Knott’s wife opened up near the location where the family sold fruit. The tea room became so popular, with lines waiting to be served that Knott expanded, adding shops and displays to entertain diners. Over time he built a volcano, a little gold mine, and a ghost town and lots of themed stores. The location just grew and grew, evolving into the huge theme park that it is today called Knott’s Berry Farm.

58. Deborah of "The King and I" : KERR
The lovely Deborah Kerr was a Scottish actress who made a real name for herself on the American stage and in Hollywood movies. Despite all her success, and six nominations for a Best Actress Oscar, Kerr never actually won an Academy Award. In 1967 she appeared in the James Bond film “Casino Royale” at the age of 46, making her oldest Bond Girl of all time.

“The King and I” is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical based on a book by Margaret Landon called “Anna and the King of Siam” first published in 1944. Landon’s book is based on a true story, told in the memoirs of Anna Leonowens. Leonowens was the governess of the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the 1860s, and she also taught the king’s wives.

60. Politico Gingrich : NEWT
Newt ... what a name! Newt Gingrich was born Newton Leroy McPherson in 1943, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Newt's mother remarried when he was very young and his new father, Robert Gingrich, adopted Newt giving him the Gingrich name.

63. Drink with crumpets : TEA
I do love a nice crumpet. Crumpets are made from flour and yeast, with baking soda added to make the characteristic holes in the surface. Served hot, with butter melted into the holes, nothing better …

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Social adroitness : TACT
5. City between Gainesville and Orlando : OCALA
10. Skateboarder's incline : RAMP
14. Radar response : ECHO
15. Mushroom variety : MOREL
16. Garfield's foil in the comics : ODIE
17. View furtively : SNEAK A PEEK
19. Main role : LEAD
20. Direct, as a collision : HEAD-ON
21. John of "Saturday Night Fever" : TRAVOLTA
23. Amber Alert, e.g., for short : PSA
24. Complete the negotiations : SEAL A DEAL
25. Like the number of games in a "best of" series : ODD
27. Cut (off) : LOP
29. Pitchfork point : TINE
30. Secure some urban transportation : GRAB A CAB
33. Rejoice : EXULT
37. Oscar winner Jared of "Dallas Buyers Club" : LETO
38. Buy and sell, as stocks : TRADE
41. Jacob's biblical twin : ESAU
42. Decorative pitchers : EWERS
44. Was vaccinated : GOT A SHOT
46. Pinch in the kitchen : DASH
49. Hit with a Taser : ZAP
50. Terre Haute sch. : ISU
51. Prepare for someone's birthday, perhaps : BAKE A CAKE
55. Org. for top-notch H.S. students : NHS
57. Blue-blooded : WELL BORN
58. Hollywood's Diane, Buster or Michael : KEATON
61. Seed cover : ARIL
62. Briefly put pen to paper, say : WROTE A NOTE
64. "Don't touch that, honey!" : NO NO!
65. Engine capacity unit : LITER
66. Increase : GROW
67. Poses a poser : ASKS
68. Relatively cool red giant : S STAR
69. The second "S" of MS-DOS: Abbr. : SYST

Down
1. Radio host John : TESH
2. Teenage skin malady : ACNE
3. Takeout food together with a Netflix movie, maybe : CHEAP DATE
4. Garden amphibians : TOADS
5. Tip of the Arabian Peninsula : OMAN
6. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" figure : COP
7. Rocky glacial ridge : ARETE
8. Look upon with lust : LEER AT
9. High-pH substance : ALKALI
10. Obsolescent desktop accessories : ROLODEXES
11. "Hello" singer, 2015 : ADELE
12. Sporty Mazda : MIATA
13. Organ part : PEDAL
18. Qantas Airways symbol : KOALA
22. Barn topper : VANE
24. Practice boxing : SPAR
25. Look upon with lust : OGLE
26. Was the clue giver in Pictionary : DREW
28. Start of the fourth qtr. : OCT
31. Brothels : BORDELLOS
32. Give up on, in slang : BAG
34. Class that covers Reconstruction and Prohibition : US HISTORY
35. Neighbor of Vietnam : LAOS
36. "Swan Lake" article of attire : TUTU
39. Nod off : DOZE
40. Letter between zeta and theta : ETA
43. Swedish aircraft giant : SAAB
45. Breathing problem : APNEA
47. Frowny looks : SCOWLS
48. ___ tweed : HARRIS
51. Swahili master : BWANA
52. Nestlé bars filled with tiny bubbles : AEROS
53. "Hogan's Heroes" colonel : KLINK
54. Noted berry farm founder Walter : KNOTT
56. Puts up, as a painting : HANGS
58. Deborah of "The King and I" : KERR
59. Plains tribe members : OTOS
60. Politico Gingrich : NEWT
63. Drink with crumpets : TEA


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10 comments :

Jeff said...

About 11 minutes for this one. Liked the Hogan's Heroes reference. Incredible the factoids about the actors in that series. Got a kick out of the theme.

Best -

Sophie (Melbourne, Australia) said...

18. Down - answer is wrong. It is the kangaroo that is the Qantas Airways symbol, not the koala.

Jeff said...

@Sophie -

That's interesting. I've seen that answer many times in crosswords, but your post made me look it up. You are correct that the logo is a Kangaroo. Indeed the nickname of the airline is The Flying Kangaroo.

The only reference of a Koala for the airlines I could find via Google was in crossword answers...go figure. I then wondered and Googled a Qantas mascot. Little did I know they're headquartered in Mascot, Sydney, Australia. At that point I just laughed and moved on.

I did remember some old Qantas ads (at least they were run here in the U.S.) where they did use a Koala as a mascot for the airlines. I suppose that is what the clue is referring to.

Regardless - thanks for opening my eyes as I had never given the clue/answer much thought in the past.

Best -

Carrie said...

13:06, no errors. I'm getting better at doing these online, tho today's number hardly reflects that.
Yes, super interesting stuff about Hogan's Heroes cast members!

Dave Kennison said...

9:31, no errors. I forgot to post this yesterday, as I got too involved in other things. Still recovering from being away for two weeks, I guess.

BruceB said...

9:32, no errors. Interesting discussion about the Qantas mascot. My only familiarity with Qantas comes from the ads that ran in U.S.; featuring a koala, so I had no problem with the answer. Learn something new every day. Thank you Sophie.

Tom M. said...

Daring for a Tuesday: OGLEs, LEERs, and BORDELLOS.

Dale Stewart said...

No errors. In all fairness to the constructor and editor, they are not technically wrong about KOALA. The clue is written in such a way that is unspecific about the time period and in what context. Most all clues have some degree of being unspecific.

Anonymous said...

8:08, no errors. Cute theme. Was amazed at the times people have posted. I thought I fared poorly against Bill today, but I guess I wasn't as far behind as I thought.

Glenn said...

12 minutes, no errors.

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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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