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0511-17 New York Times Crossword Answers 11 May 17, Thursday





QuickLinks:
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 CONSTRUCTOR: Timothy Polin
THEME: Phonetic Clues
Today’s themed clues/answers come in intersecting pairs. One element of the pair is sounded out phonetically to give the clue for the second element:
8D. Comfortably inviting ... or, phonetically, a clue for 20-Across? : HOMEY (sounds like “Hoe me”)
20A. See 8-Down : VEGETABLE GARDEN

27D. Somber ... or, phonetically, a clue for 29-Across? : GLOOMY (sounds like “glue me”)
29A. See 27-Down : MODEL AIRPLANE

50D. Commodious ... or, phonetically, a clue for 58-Across? : ROOMY (sounds like “Rue me”)
58A. See 50-Down : LOST OPPORTUNITY
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 11m 52s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

14. Good sign? : HALO
The Greek word “halos” is the name given to the ring of light around the sun or moon, which gives us our word “halo”, used for a radiant light depicted above the head of a saintly person.

16. Spin out on the ice? : AXEL
An axel is a forward take-off jump in figure skating. The maneuver was first performed by Norwegian Axel Paulsen at the 1882 World Figure Skating championships.

19. Bread at a Greek restaurant : PITA
Pita is a lovely bread in Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. Pita is usually round, and has a "pocket" in the center. The pocket is created by steam that puffs up the dough during cooking leaving a void when the bread cools.

23. Raskolnikov's lover in "Crime and Punishment" : SONYA
"Crime and Punishment" is one of the two most famous novels by Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky, the other being "The Brothers Karamazov".

25. 1980s-'90s Oldsmobile : CIERA
Oldsmobile made the Cutlass Ciera from 1982 to 1996. The Ciera was the brand name's most successful model.

26. Test done in pre-op : EKG
An EKG measures electrical activity in the heart. Back in my homeland of Ireland, an EKG is known as an ECG (for electrocardiogram). We use the German name in the US, Elektrokardiogramm, giving us EKG. Apparently the abbreviation EKG is preferred as ECG might be confused (if poorly handwritten, I guess) with EEG, the abbreviation for an electroencephalogram.

28. Hunky-dory : A-OK
Our term “A-OK” is supposedly an abbreviation for “A(ll systems are) OK”, and arose in the sixties during the Space Program.

Surprisingly (to me), the term "hunky-dory" has been around a long time, and is documented back in the mid-1800s. Nobody's really sure of its origin, but some say it is an Anglicization of Honcho dori, that back in the day was a street of ill repute in Yokohama, Japan.

37. Subject studied at Hogwarts : SORCERY
In J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” universe, The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was founded by the four most brilliant witches and wizards of their time: Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw and Salazar Slytherin. Each of the founders lent their name to a House in the school, i.e. Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin.

38. Eerie gift in "The Dead Zone," for short : ESP
Extrasensory perception (ESP)

“The Dead Zone” is a 1979 novel by Stephen King. The “dead zone” in the title is an area of the brain of the book’s protagonist that suffered damage as a result of an accident. I really don’t do Stephen King …

42. Seventh of 24 : 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.

47. Angel dust, briefly : PCP
Phencyclidine is a recreational drug usually referred to on the street as “PCP” or “angel dust”.

53. Meeting bigwig : CHAIR
A “bigwig” is someone important. The use of the term harks back to the days when men of authority and rank wore … big wigs.

55. Mauna ___ : LOA
Mauna Loa on the “big island” of Hawaii is the largest volcano on the planet (in terms of volume). The name “Mauna Loa” is Hawaiian for “Long Mountain”.

62. Bagel topper : SCHMEAR
The word “schmear” comes from the Yiddish word “shmir” meaning “spread”. The phrase “the whole schmear” is a relatively recent one, dating back to around 1969 and coming from the world of business.

63. Level of judo proficiency : DAN
Judo is a martial art from Japan that was developed relatively recently, in 1882. The name “judo” translates as “gentle way”. Practitioners of judo proceed through a series of proficiency grades known as the kyu-dan system. At each progression, a different colored belt is awarded.

66. PC file suffix : EXE
In the Windows Operating System, a file with the extension .exe is an "executable" file.

Down
1. Prison weapons : SHIVS
“Shiv” is a slang term for a weapon crudely fashioned to resemble a knife. Mostly we hear of shivs that have been fashioned by prison inmates to do harm to others.

2. It might be just a line or two : CAMEO
Even in my day, a cameo role was more than just a short appearance in a movie (or other artistic piece). For the appearance to be a cameo, the actor had to playing himself or herself, and was instantly recognizable. With this meaning it's easy to see the etymology of the term, as a cameo brooch is one with the recognizable carving of the silhouette of a person. Nowadays, a cameo is any minor role played by a celebrity or famous actor, regardless of the character played.

5. Eric who played Hector in "Troy" : BANA
Eric Bana is an Australian actor who enjoyed a successful career in his home country before breaking into Hollywood playing an American Delta Force sergeant in "Black Hawk Down". A couple of years later he played the lead in Ang Lee's 2003 movie "Hulk", the role of Dr Bruce Banner. More recently he played the Romulan villain Nero, in the 2009 "Star Trek" movie.

“Troy” is a 2004 epic movie that is based on Homer’s “Iliad” and tells the story of the Trojan War. “Troy” has quite the cast, including Brad Pitt as Achilles, Eric Bana as Hector and Diane Kruger as Helen. Most of the filming was done on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean. It was an expensive film to make, with costs running at about $175 million. The film did well at the box office though, with most of the profits being made outside of the US.

6. Ali Baba and others : ARABS
There is some controversy about the story “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” in that it has been suggested it was not part of the original collection of Arabic tales called “One Thousand and One Nights”. The suggestion is that the Ali Baba tale was added by one of the European translators of the collection.

7. Online provocateur : TROLL
In Internet terms, a “troll” is someone who attempts to disrupt online group activities. The fishing term “troll” is used to describe such a person, as he or she throws out off-topic remarks in an attempt to “lure” others into some emotional response. Sad, sad people …

10. Goulash flavorer : PAPRIKA
Goulash is a soup or stew that is seasoned with spices, especially paprika. It is a national dish of Hungary, and the term “goulash” comes from the Hungarian word “guly├ís”, which actually translates as “herdsman”. The original goulash was a meat dish prepared by herdsman.

11. Nitrous ___ : OXIDE
Laughing gas is the common name for nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is used as an anesthetic, particularly by dentists. It is also used in motor racing to increase the power output of engines. Laughing gas was first synthesized by the English chemist Joseph Priestly, but it was Humphrey Davy who discovered its potential as an anesthetic. Once it was realized that the gas could give the patient a fit of the giggles, "laughing gas parties" became common among those could afford them.

12. What doggerel usually lacks : METER
“Doggerel” is a term used to insult poetry that has little value as literature. The term probably comes from "dog”, perhaps in that it is “only fit for dogs”.

22. Devotee : ACOLYTE
The word “acolyte” comes from the Greek “akolouthos” meaning “companion, attendant, helper”. In the Christian tradition, an acolyte is an individual who assists some way in a ceremony, by lighting candles for example. In more general terms, an acolyte is a devoted follower or attendant.

31. Duchamp contemporary : ARP
Jean Arp was a French artist renowned for his work with torn and pasted paper, although that wasn’t the only medium he used. Arp was the son of a French mother and German father and spoke both languages fluently. When he was speaking German he gave his name as Hans Arp, but when speaking French he called himself Jean Arp. Both “Hans” and “Jean” translate into English as “John”. In WWI Arp moved to Switzerland to avoid being called up to fight, taking advantage of Swiss neutrality. Eventually he was told to report to the German Consulate and fill out paperwork for the draft. In order to get out of fighting, Arp messed up the paperwork by writing the date in every blank space on the forms. Then he took off all of his clothes and walked with his papers over to the officials in charge. Arp was sent home …

Marcel Duchamp was a French artist whose works are associated with the Dadaist and Surrealist movements. One of his most celebrated "works" is simply what he called "readymade" art, a urinal which he titled "Fountain". Even though this work is considered to be "a major landmark in 20th century art", the original that was submitted for exhibition was never actually displayed and had been lost forever. Replicas were commissioned by Duchamp, and are on display in many museums around the world. I have no further comment …

53. Be too sweet : CLOY
“To cloy” is to cause distaste by oversupplying something that would otherwise be pleasant, especially something with a sweet taste.

54. Sewer of note : ROSS
Legend has it that Betsy Ross made the first American flag for General George Washington. However, this story only surfaced during the centennial celebrations of 1876, and although Betsy Ross was indeed one of several flag makers in Philadelphia in the days of George Washington, sadly there’s no definitive evidence that Ross provided that first stars and stripes.

57. Newcastle upon ___, England : TYNE
The River Tyne is in the northeast of England. The most famous city on the river is Newcastle upon Tyne. Newcastle upon Tyne is home to the famous Newcastle Brown Ale.

60. 19th of 24 : TAU
Tau is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet, the letter which gave rise to our Roman “T”. Both the letters tau (T) and chi (X) have long been symbolically associated with the cross.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Rook or gull : SCAM
5. Ancient Roman thermae : BATHS
10. Grandiosity : POMP
14. Good sign? : HALO
15. Helpful pointer : ARROW
16. Spin out on the ice? : AXEL
17. "Deal!" : I'M IN!
18. Biblical wife of Elimelech : NAOMI
19. Bread at a Greek restaurant : PITA
20. See 8-Down : VEGETABLE GARDEN
23. Raskolnikov's lover in "Crime and Punishment" : SONYA
24. Not straight : SLY
25. 1980s-'90s Oldsmobile : CIERA
26. Test done in pre-op : EKG
28. Hunky-dory : A-OK
29. See 27-Down : MODEL AIRPLANE
36. Oomph : PEP
37. Subject studied at Hogwarts : SORCERY
38. Eerie gift in "The Dead Zone," for short : ESP
40. Long time : AGE
41. Hair bun : TOPKNOT
42. Seventh of 24 : ETA
43. Return fare? : RANSOM
45. Metaphor for a fresh start : NEW DAY
47. Angel dust, briefly : PCP
48. Football stat : YARDS
52. Something passed at a meeting, maybe : HAT
53. Meeting bigwig : CHAIR
55. Mauna ___ : LOA
56. Soft cap : BERET
58. See 50-Down : LOST OPPORTUNITY
61. How you might be referred to : ONE
62. Bagel topper : SCHMEAR
63. Level of judo proficiency : DAN
64. "Suh-weet!" : YES!
65. Doesn't retire : STAYS UP
66. PC file suffix : EXE

Down
1. Prison weapons : SHIVS
2. It might be just a line or two : CAMEO
3. Set straight : ALIGN
4. Affluent : MONEYED
5. Eric who played Hector in "Troy" : BANA
6. Ali Baba and others : ARABS
7. Online provocateur : TROLL
8. Comfortably inviting ... or, phonetically, a clue for 20-Across? : HOMEY (sounds like “Hoe me”)
9. Big gulp : SWIG
10. Goulash flavorer : PAPRIKA
11. Nitrous ___ : OXIDE
12. What doggerel usually lacks : METER
13. First option : PLAN A
21. Grows fond of : TAKES TO
22. Devotee : ACOLYTE
27. Somber ... or, phonetically, a clue for 29-Across? : GLOOMY (sounds like “glue me”)
28. Splash guards, of a sort : APRONS
29. Voice amplifier : MEGAPHONE
30. Unsolved mysteries : OPEN CASES
31. Duchamp contemporary : ARP
32. "That tastes awful!" : ICK!
33. Kylo ___ of "Star Wars" : REN
34. Pickup line? : NEED A RIDE?
35. Dead reckoning? : ESTATE TAX
36. Something to shoot for : PAR
39. Emolument : PAY
44. Card game requiring quick reflexes : SPIT
46. Invitation particular : WHEN
49. Leading man? : ALPHA
50. Commodious ... or, phonetically, a clue for 58-Across? : ROOMY (sounds like “Rue me”)
51. Screws up the courage : DARES
53. Be too sweet : CLOY
54. Sewer of note : ROSS
56. "Excuse you!" elicitor : BURP
57. Newcastle upon ___, England : TYNE
59. Polling fig. : PCT
60. 19th of 24 : TAU


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11 comments :

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the connection on 54D between "Sewer of note" and "Ross"

Dave Kennison said...

13:55, no errors. I finished this puzzle without understanding the theme, filling in each long phrase only after getting enough crossing entries so that the correct answer sort of suggested itself. It then took me most of a minute to understand the whole "hoe me, glue me, rue me" thing. Very cute.

@Amonymous ... In American history, Betsy Ross was a seamstress (that is to say, "one who sews, a sewer") and she was well-known, so she was a "sewer of note".

Jeff said...

I found this a particularly enjoyable puzzle. Took me the same time as Dave's turned around (i.e. 31 minutes to complete rather than 13).

I got the theme, but still struggled with it at times. In fact, I had to get VEGETABLEGARDEN first in order to understand HOMEY.

A-OK = A street of ill-repute in Yokohama, Japan. Too many jokes come to mind to fit in one post so I'll refrain.

I've "seen" many a "Fountain" replicas in taverns around the world. :)

Dave - what does AMonymous mean? :)

Fun puzzle and kind of a fun write up today.

Best.

Dave Kennison said...

@Jeff ... An unidentifed morning person is said to be AMONYMOUS ...

Chrissy said...

Really struggled to get a foothold, only finished the top right corner with some wild guesses that turned out to be right. I'll finally be able to work on these consistently, so hopefully there will be some good improvement!

@Dave, I wish I were amonymous haha

Anonymous said...

I once saw a boat named "Anonymous II". This seemed a paradox, an oxymoron, and a lot of self-referential confusion all rolled into one.

Dave Kennison said...

@Anonymous ... Love your comment ... a great observation!

BruceB said...

14:48, no errors. Cute 'after the fact' theme. Did not get the theme until after completing the puzzle. Needed to spend a couple minutes getting the 'rue me'; 'hoe me'; 'glue me' connection.

1A I am familiar with the SCAM/rook connection, but had not seen the word gull used in connection with a SCAM before.

Anonymous said...

17:07, and no errors. Not particularly easy, either, with those phonetic clue fills....

Tom M. said...

Good fun, easy-medium, a little light on the theme, but enough other good stuff to make up for it.

Glenn said...

42 minutes, 3 errors. A lot of time trying to poke at down entries to figure out what was going on with the theme, but finally figured it out. Little too sticky in the lower right corner for me to finish out.

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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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