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0714-17 New York Times Crossword Answers 14 Jul 17, Friday





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Solution to today's crossword in the New York Times
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Solution to today's New York Times crossword found online at the Seattle Times website
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CROSSWORD CONSTRUCTOR: Patrick Berry
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 17m 34s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Perennial loser : SAD SACK
The slang phrase “sad sack” is used for a person who bungles things, someone who is pathetically inept. The phrase was coined in the twenties but gained popularity during WWII when it was used by a cartoon character in the US Armed Forces magazine “Yank”. The term is probably a shortened form of the much ruder phrase “sad sack of ****”.

17. Pasta with ribs : RIGATONI
Rigatoni is a tubular pasta that is relatively short, and with ridges along its length.

18. "Charmed" actress Milano : ALYSSA
Alyssa Milano is an actress who started her career at a very young age. Milano played Samantha Micelli on “Who’s the Boss”, the daughter of the character played by Tony Danza.

20. Washington insider, informally : POL
Politician (pol)

26. S.&P. rating : AAA
Standard & Poor’s (S&P) is a financial services company, famous for its stock market indices, especially the S&P 500. The company also publishes credit ratings for sovereign governments, and in 2011 famously lowered the rating of the US federal government from AAA to to AA+.

27. Made objections : BEEFED
A beef is a complaint or a grievance. It’s not quite clear how “beef” came to have this meaning, but one suggestion is that derives from the habit of soldiers at the end of the 1800s complaining about the quality or availability of beef in their rations.

30. Pet : SNIT
The exact etymology of “snit”, meaning “fit of temper”, isn’t really known. The term was first used in print in the play “Kiss the Boys Goodbye” by Clare Booth Luce, which dates back to the 1930s and is set in the American South.

34. High tops? : TEN-GALLON HATS
The term “ten-gallon hat” describing a cowboy hat only appeared in 1925, and nobody seems to be exactly sure of the term's origin. Some suggest that the relatively waterproof nature of the hat due to the tight weave might explain it, with images of cowboys giving drinks of water from their upturned hats. However, there's no way any cowboy hat will hold ten gallons, more like three quarts.

38. Greek vowel : 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.

39. Southwest language : HOPI
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.

45. Short-legged item of furniture : TUFFET
“Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet eating her curds and whey”, in the popular nursery rhyme. A tuffet is a low seat or a footstool, another word for a pouffe or a hassock. When milk curdles it separates into two parts, the solid curds and the liquid whey. Then “along came a spider and sat down beside her”.

47. Montreal is part of it: Abbr. : NHL
The National Hockey League (NHL) was formed in 1917 in Montreal, a successor to the defunct National Hockey Association (NHA) that had been founded in 1909. Today, the NHL comprises 30 teams: 23 in the US and 7 in Canada.

The Montreal Canadiens hockey team is known by the nickname “Habs”, which is short for “Les Habitants”. “Les habitants” were the original French settlers in Quebec.

50. Playwright who wrote "Hell is full of musical amateurs" : SHAW
The full quotation from Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw is, "Hell is full of musical amateurs; music is the brandy of the damned."

51. Grammys competitor : ARTIST
The first Grammy Awards Ceremony was held in 1959 and focused on recognizing outstanding achievement in the recording industry. The idea of a Grammy Award came up when recording executives were working on the Hollywood Walk of Fame project in the fifties. These executives concluded that there were many people in the recording industry deserving of accolades but who would probably never make it to the Walk of Fame. As a result, they founded the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The Academy considered naming the award the “Eddies” after Thomas Edison, but then opted for “Grammy” after Edison’s invention: the gramophone.

54. Musical with the song "Beauty School Dropout" : GREASE
The first Grammy Awards Ceremony was held in 1959 and focused on recognizing outstanding achievement in the recording industry. The idea of a Grammy Award came up when recording executives were working on the Hollywood Walk of Fame project in the fifties. These executives concluded that there were many people in the recording industry deserving of accolades but who would probably never make it to the Walk of Fame. As a result, they founded the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The Academy considered naming the award the “Eddies” after Thomas Edison, but then opted for “Grammy” after Edison’s invention: the gramophone.

57. Brand sold by Sears : KENMORE
Sears has a few long-standing, in-house brands, including Craftsman tools, Kenmore appliances and DieHard car batteries.

Down
2. Whodunit story? : ALIBI
“Alibi” is the Latin word for “elsewhere” as in, “I claim that I was ‘elsewhere’ when the crime was committed … I have an ‘alibi'”.

6. Martial arts film hit : CHOP
Martial arts are various fighting traditions and systems used in combat or simply to promote physical well-being. The term ultimately derives from Latin and means “Arts of Mars”, a reference to Mars, the Roman god of war.

7. Number-picking game : KENO
The name "Keno" has French or Latin roots, with the French "quine" being a term for five winning numbers, and the Latin "quini" meaning "five each". The game originated in China and was introduced into the West by Chinese immigrants who were working on the first Transcontinental Railroad in the 1800s.

8. Popular backache remedy : DOAN’S
Doan’s is a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory drug. The active ingredient is magnesium salicylate, and it can be purchased without a prescription.

9. Blue arm : INLET
That would be an inlet of a blue sea or ocean.

10. Moon of Pluto discovered in 2012 : STYX
Styx is the fifth largest moon of Pluto, and is only 10 or 25 kilometers in diameter.

11. Pair in "Carmen" : CASTANETS
Castanets are hand-held percussion instruments associated most notably with Spanish music. We tend to think of castanets being used in the flamenco style of dance, but in fact this is rarely the case. The name “castanets” comes from “castaña”, the Spanish word for “chestnut”, which they resemble.

Georg Bizet was a French composer active in the Romantic era. Bizet's most famous work has to be his opera "Carmen". "Carmen" initially received a lukewarm reception from the public, even though his fellow composers had nothing but praise for it. Sadly, Bizet died very young at only 36, before he could see "Carmen's" tremendous success.

15. Optimists' discoveries : SILVER LININGS
The idiom “every cloud has a silver lining” suggests that there is something good to be found in in every bad situation. The phrase “silver lining” was coined by English poet John Milton in “Comus”, a piece of dramatic entertainment that was first performed in 1634. The relevant lines are:
Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night?
I did not err; there does a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night,
And casts a gleam over this tufted grove.

23. Fabric with diagonal lines : SERGE
Serge is a type of twill fabric with diagonal ridges on both sides. The name "serge" comes from the Greek word for "silken".

25. Rostand who wrote about Cyrano : EDMOND
Edmond Rostand wrote the famous play “Cyrano de Bergerac” in 1897. There have been a few interesting film adaptations. Perhaps the most famous is 1950’s Hollywood “Cyrano de Bergerac” starring José Ferrer. 1987’s “Roxanne” is a modern-day resetting of the play starring Steve Martin, and 1990’s “Cyrano de Bergerac” (in French) starring Gérard Depardieu was nominated for several Oscars, winning for Best Costume Design.

28. Onetime owner of Skype : EBAY
The main feature of the Skype application is that it allows voice communication to take place over the Internet (aka VoIP). Skype has other features such as video conferencing and instant messaging, but the application made its name from voice communication. Skype was founded by two Scandinavian entrepreneurs and the software necessary was developed by a team of engineers in Estonia. The development project was originally called “Sky peer-to-peer” so the first commercial name for the application was “Skyper”. This had to be shortened to “Skype” because the skyper.com domain name was already in use.

30. Alpha Centauri, for one : STAR SYSTEM
The Alpha Centauri star system is a mere 4.37 light-years from the Sun, making it the closest star system to our solar system. Sometimes referred to as the closest “star”, Alpha Centauri is actually a binary star system, with two stars orbiting a common center. It is likely that Alpha Centauri is in fact a triple star system, as a third star called Proxima Centauri was discovered in 1915 that is probably linked gravitationally. It is Proxima Centauri that is actually the closest star to our own solar system, being just 4.24 light-years from the Sun.

32. ___ regni : ANNO
“Anno regni” is Latin for “in the year of the reign”.

39. "Siddhartha" novelist : HESSE
The 1922 novel “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse focuses on the spiritual journey of a man called Siddhartha. Even though the Buddha’s name was Siddhartha Gautama before he renounced his former life, Hesse’s Siddhartha is a different character who lived around the time of the Buddha.

46. Turin-based automaker : FIAT
Fiat is the largest car manufacturer in Italy, and is headquartered in Turin in the Piedmont region in the north of the country. Fiat was founded in 1899 by Giovanni Agnelli, when the company’s name was “Fabbrica Italiana di Automobili Torino” (FIAT). A few years ago, Fiat became the majority shareholder in Chrysler.

48. Pawn : HOCK
The phrase "in hock" is an American invention. Back in the mid-19th century "in hock" meant both "in debt" and "in prison". The word "hock" comes from the Dutch "hok" meaning "jail".

I remember the bad old days growing up in Dublin, Ireland, when my mother had to go to the pawn shop (I hope she doesn't read this!). I'd wait outside with my brother, looking up at the pawnbroker's sign, three gold balls hanging down from a metal bar. This traditional sign used by pawnbrokers is said to date back to the Medici family as the sign had symbolic meaning in the province of Lombardy where the Medici family reigned supreme. Because of this connection, pawn shop banking was originally called Lombard banking.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Perennial loser : SAD SACK
8. Event featured in every Summer Olympics : DISCUS
14. Automatics lack them : CLUTCHES
16. Captured by cameras, maybe : ON TAPE
17. Pasta with ribs : RIGATONI
18. "Charmed" actress Milano : ALYSSA
19. Touch : ABUT
20. Washington insider, informally : POL
21. Alongside : NEXT TO
22. Singing ability, informally : PIPES
24. Protective garment : VEST
26. S.&P. rating : AAA
27. Made objections : BEEFED
30. Pet : SNIT
31. Pier group? : HARBORMASTERS
34. High tops? : TEN-GALLON HATS
35. Traditional holiday meals : TURKEY DINNERS
36. Extraction targets : ORES
37. Nullifies : UNDOES
38. Greek vowel : ETA
39. Southwest language : HOPI
41. Classes : TYPES
45. Short-legged item of furniture : TUFFET
47. Montreal is part of it: Abbr. : NHL
50. Playwright who wrote "Hell is full of musical amateurs" : SHAW
51. Grammys competitor : ARTIST
52. Fully ready : GOOD TO GO
54. Musical with the song "Beauty School Dropout" : GREASE
55. Advance copy sent to a critic : SCREENER
56. Mailroom device : SORTER
57. Brand sold by Sears : KENMORE

Down
1. Throw away : SCRAP
2. Whodunit story? : ALIBI
3. Managed to find : DUG UP
4. Chartered financial institutions : STATE BANKS
5. Do one's part : ACT
6. Martial arts film hit : CHOP
7. Number-picking game : KENO
8. Popular backache remedy : DOAN’S
9. Blue arm : INLET
10. Moon of Pluto discovered in 2012 : STYX
11. Pair in "Carmen" : CASTANETS
12. Flight destination? : UPSTAIRS
13. Beach grass that prevents erosion : SEA OATS
15. Optimists' discoveries : SILVER LININGS
23. Fabric with diagonal lines : SERGE
25. Rostand who wrote about Cyrano : EDMOND
28. Onetime owner of Skype : EBAY
29. Opposite of spread out, as a paper : FOLD UP
30. Alpha Centauri, for one : STAR SYSTEM
31. From now on : HEREAFTER
32. ___ regni : ANNO
33. Large, shallow pan : SHEET
34. Fink's portrayer in "Barton Fink" : TURTURRO
35. IDs tied to one digit : TOE TAGS
39. "Siddhartha" novelist : HESSE
40. Web-footed creature : OTTER
42. Vinyl enthusiast's need : PHONO
43. Breathless : EAGER
44. Delivered an oath? : SWORE
46. Turin-based automaker : FIAT
48. Pawn : HOCK
49. Stories that might not be true : LORE
53. Winter home, perhaps : DEN


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5 comments :

Dave Kennison said...

10:48, no errors. Surprisingly easy one.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the explanation for eta is accidentally copied under the explanation for hopi. Thank you for sharing these writeups every day - they're so interesting and helpful!

Anonymous said...

30A I don't see how snit is a synonym for pet.

Jeff said...

I too thought this was relatively easy for a Friday, but when I looked up at my time, I was about 2 minutes over my average Friday time. Maybe I was just being too leisurely. Enjoyed the puzzle...which is code for I finished the puzzle. I had some missteps e.g. I had "lungs" rather than PIPES at first, and I spelled it EDMuND as in Hillary and Burke.

The NHL is now officially 31 teams as the team in Las Vegas is now an official franchise starting their inaugural season in October. The team is called the Vegas (not Las Vegas) Golden Knights. I think they should have been dubbed the Vegas Gold or the Vegas Golden Nights.....no "K"..but who listens to me?

@Anon
That confused me as well, but the second definition of "pet" is to be peevish or in a bad mood - i.e. in a snit.

Best -

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jeff.

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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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