0511-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 11 May 11, Wednesday

Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
Solution to today’s SYNDICATED New York Times crossword in all other publications

THEME: FIBONACCI SERIES … all the theme answers relate to the FIBONACCI SERIES of numbers popularized by Leonardo of PISA. Patterns found in nature (e.g. flowering of an ARTICHOKE, shell of a NAUTILUS, cochlea in the INNER EAR, florets in a SUNFLOWER) can all be mathematically described the FIBONACCI SERIES. The circled squares define a FIBONACCI SPIRAL, a pattern created using the FIBONACCI SERIES. And the circled squares spell out GOLDEN RATIO, a number that is also defined by the FIBONACCI SERIES, and is represented by the Greek letter PHI:

14A. Leonardo of ___ (mathematician who wrote about the 33-Across) : PISA
17A. Food with a heart : ARTICHOKE
29A. Cephalopod known for its shell : NAUTILUS
33A. Mathematical sequence related to a pattern found in a 17-, 29-, 42- or 58-Across, informally : FIBONACCI SERIES
42A. Cochlea locale : INNER EAR
58A. Van Gogh subject : SUNFLOWER
27D. Greek letter associated with the 33-Across : PHI


Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
9. Paper orders : REAMS
A ream is 500 sheets of paper. As there were 24 sheets in a quire, and 20 quires made up a ream, there used to be 480 sheets in a ream. Ever since the standard was changed to 500, a 480-sheet packet of paper is called a “short ream”.

The Fabulous Fibonacci Numbers14. Leonardo of ___ (mathematician who wrote about the 33-Across) : PISA
Leonardo of Pisa was a famous and respected Italian mathematician, also known as simply “Fibonacci”. He is remembered for writing about a number sequence (although he didn’t “discover” it) that later was given the name “Fibonacci sequence”. He wrote about the series of numbers in his book called “Liber Abaci”, a celebrated work that introduced Arabic numerals (i.e. 0-9) to the Western world.

Green Globe Artichoke Seeds - Cynara Scolymus - 1 Grams - Approx 21 Gardening Seeds - Vegetable Garden Seed17. Food with a heart : ARTICHOKE
The leaves on an artichoke when viewed from above are actually arranged in a spiral. That spiral gets tighter and tighter towards the heart of the artichoke. The number of leaves in each “circuit” of the spiral gets larger moving towards the outside of the plant, and can be counted: 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55 … the numbers of the Fibonacci sequence.

19. Blue-collar worker : PROLE
George Orwell introduced us to the proles, the working class folk in his famous novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. Collectively, the proles made up the section of society known as the proletariat.

20. Popular online lectures about “ideas worth spreading” : TED TALKS
The acronym TED stands for Technology Entertainment and Design. TED is a set of conferences held around the world by a non-profit group called the Sapling Foundation. The conference subjects are varied, and often led by big names, such as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Gates and Jane Goodall. The Sapling Foundation then makes the recordings of the conferences available for free online with the intent of disseminating the ideas globally. These conferences are known as “TED Talks”.

Annie Hall [VHS]21. Alvy’s love interest in a Woody Allen film : ANNIE
I suppose if there is any Woody Allen movie that I enjoy watching, it’s “Annie Hall” from 1977. I think Diane Keaton is a great actress and she is wonderful in this film, I must say. You’ll see Paul Simon as well, making a rare movie appearance, and even Truman Capote playing himself. The movie is also famous for sparking a movement in the fashion world to adopt the “Annie Hall” look, that very distinctive appearance championed by Diane Keaton as the Annie Hall character.

Muhammad Ali And Laila Ali (Famous Families)22. Father-and-daughter boxers : ALIS
Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. was born in 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky, changing his name to Muhammad Ali when he converted to Islam in 1964. Who can forget Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic flame for the 1996 games in Atlanta? Ali was presented with a gold medal during those ’96 Games, a replacement for the medal he won at the 1960 Olympics. He had thrown the original into the Ohio River as a gesture of disgust after being refused service at a “whites only” restaurant.

Laila Ali is the daughter of the great Muhammad Ali, and is a very capable boxer in her own right. She’s not a bad dancer either, coming in third in the fourth season of “Dancing with the Stars”.

GeminiJets Aer Lingus BAC 111 Series 208AL25. ___ Lingus : AER
Aer Lingus is my favorite airline! Well, the service isn’t great, but when I get on board an Aer Lingus plane I feel like I am back in Ireland. Aer Lingus is the national airline of Ireland, with Aer Lingus being a phonetic spelling of the Irish “aer-loingeas” meaning “air fleet”. These days Aer Lingus can only lay claim to the title of Ireland’s oldest airline as it’s no longer the biggest. That honor goes to the controversial budget airline, Ryan Air.

26. Midsize Kia : OPTIMA
Kia Motors is the second largest manufacturer of cars in South Korea, behind Hyundai (and Hyundai is a part owner in Kia now). In recent years, Kia has focused on sales into Europe, and has been remarkably successful.

Natural Tiger Nautilus Shell Split29. Cephalopod known for its shell : NAUTILUS
The marine creature called a nautilus is referred to as a “living fossil”, as it looks just like the spiral-shelled creatures that are commonly found in fossils. The spiral shape is a great example of the Fibonacci series defining a natural phenomenon, as the spiral is a Fibonacci spiral, described by the famous series of numbers.

Fibonacci Analysis (Bloomberg Financial)33. Mathematical sequence related to a pattern found in a 17-, 29-, 42- or 58-Across, informally : FIBONACCI SERIES
The Fibonacci numbers are a sequence, with each number being the sum of the previous two:
1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 43 …

42. Cochlea locale : INNER EAR
The cochlea is the part of the inner ear that is really responsible for hearing. The cochlea is spiral in shape, and the word “cochlea” comes from the Greek word for “snail, screw”. The shape of the cochlea is very close to the shape defined by the Fibonacci sequence of numbers.

'Iolani Palace45. Honolulu’s ___ Palace : ‘IOLANI
The ‘Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu is unique within this country. It is the only royal palace in the US that was used as an official residence by a reigning monarch. The Kingdom of Hawaii was overthrown in 1893 so the palace was used by successive governments even after Hawaii was awarded statehood in 1959. The palace has been a public museum since 1978.

50. Razor brand : ATRA
Fortunately for crossword setters, the Atra razor was introduced by Gillette in 1977. It was sold as the Contour in some markets, and its derivative products are still around today.

Jesus Christ Portrait Charcoal Drawing Matted 16" X 20"51. Sayings of Jesus : LOGIA
“Logia” is a term of Greek origin that is used for the collection of sayings attributed to Jesus.

57. Some waffles : EGGOS
Eggo is the brand name of a line of frozen waffles made by Kellogs. When they were introduced in the 1930s, the name “Eggo” was chosen to promote the “egginess” of the batter. “Eggo” replaced the original choice for a name, “Froffles”, created by melding “frozen” and “waffles”.

Vincent Van Gogh Still Life Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers 3 Art Print Poster - 13x1958. Van Gogh subject : SUNFLOWER
“Sunflowers” was the name of two series of paintings by Vincent van Gogh. In the first series, the flowers are lying on the ground and in the second, more famous series painted in Arles, the flowers are in a vase. Famously, a Japanese insurance magnate purchased “Still Life: Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers” in 1987 in an auction, paying just under $40 million. This price outstripped the previous record price paid for a work of art by a wide, wide margin, one that stood at $12 million.

Ragu Chunky Pasta Sauce, Tomato Garlic & Onion, 45 Ounce Bottles (Pack of 4)60. Sauce that’s made “Old World Style” : RAGU
The Ragu brand of pasta sauce is owned by Unilever. The name “Ragu” is the Italian word for sauce used to dress pasta, however, the spelling is off a little. In Italian the word is “Ragù” with a grave accent over the “u”, but if you look at a jar of the Unilever sauce, it is spelled “Ragú” on the label, with an acute accent. Sometimes I think we just don’t try …

61. Singer Bareilles with the 2007 top 10 hit “Love Song” : SARA
Sara Bareilles achieved success with her 2007 “Love Song” with the help of the iTunes online store. In one week in June of that year, iTunes offered the song as “free single of the week” and it quickly became the most downloaded song in the store, and from there climbed to the number spot in the charts.

63. Yemeni port : ADEN
Aden is a seaport in Yemen, located on the Gulf of Aden by the eastern approach to the Red Sea. Aden has a long history of British rule, from 1838 until a very messy withdrawal in 1967.

The New-Wave Mai Tai4. Tiki bar staple : MAI TAI
The Mai Tai cocktail is strongly associated with the Polynesian islands, but it was supposedly invented in 1944 in Trader Vic’s restaurant in Oakland, California. One recipe is 6 parts white rum, 3 parts orange curaçao, 3 parts Orgeat syrup, 1 part rock candy syrup, 2 parts fresh lime juice, all mixed with ice, and then a float of 6 parts dark rum.

The Black Dahlia (Widescreen Edition)5. “The Black ___” (2006 film) : DAHLIA
“The Black Dahlia” is a 2006 film based on a novel of the same name by James Elroy. The novel in turn is based on the true story of the gruesome 1947 murder of Elizabeth Short, a murder that remains unsolved to this day.

6. They thought C-3PO was a god in “Return of the Jedi” : EWOKS
The Ewoks are creatures that live on the moon of Endor, first appearing in “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”. They’re the cute and cuddly guys that look like teddy bears.

7. Scroll storers : ARKS
The Torah ark is found in a synagogue, and is the ornamental container in which are stored the Torah scrolls.

Black Russian Bread (Pumpernickel) (A Single Pack)8. Pumpernickel grain : RYE
The lovely bread known as pumpernickel is made with a recipe that originates in the Westphalia region of Germany. The version of the bread that we eat in North America has been adapted over the years from the original recipe, largely to produce a cheaper product. If you taste the European version beside the American version, it’s hard to believe they have the same origins.

9. Badinage : REPARTEE
The word “badinage” was imported into English from French, with the same meaning, namely “banter”. In French it derives from the word “badin”, used for a joker or a buffoon.

Historic Print (L): [Arnold Schoenberg, 1874-1951, bust portrait, facing slightly right]11. Like much Schoenberg music : ATONAL
Arnold Schoenberg was a champion of the use of atonality in music. I admit to having a somewhat closed mind when it comes to atonality, so I have very little of his music in my collection.

12. Surroundings : MILIEU
We use the French word “milieu” to mean an environment, surroundings. In French it is a word for “middle”.

23. Homo sapiens, e.g. : LATIN
The literal translation of “Homo sapiens” from Latin is “wise or knowing man”.

The Homo genus includes, of course, the species Homo sapiens (modern humans), but we’re the only species left in that genus. The last known species related to humans was Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthal Man) which died off about 24,000 years ago. However, another species was discovered in Indonesia in 2003 that has been dubbed Homo floresiensis (Flores Man … sometimes called “hobbit”), and it may possibly have lived as recently as 12,000 years ago. Watch this space …

Vitruvian Man Mouse Pad27. Greek letter associated with the 33-Across : PHI
The golden ratio, denoted by the Greek letter phi, is a mathematical constant that often turns up in the world of art. Phi is approximately equal to 1.61, and is represented by the two distances, a and b, where (a+b)/a = a/b. Somehow we perceive the ratio of 1.61 as “pleasing” so it appears in many works of art and in building design. For example, many aspects of the Parthenon in Athens have the ratio of 1.61 (width compared to height). Leonardo da Vinci’s famous drawing of the Vitruvian Man also illustrates the golden ratio in the proportions of the human body, where he shows that the distance from the foot to the navel, compared to the distance from the navel to the head, is 1.61.

28. Web browser subwindow : TAB
Modern web browsers (like my personal favorite, Google Chrome) have tabs at the top of the page, with each tab representing and providing easy access to different browser windows, all open at the same time.

30. Like oddly conjugated verbs: Abbr. : IRR
“Oddly” conjugated verbs are called irregular.

32. Razzle-dazzle : ECLAT
Éclat can mean a brilliant show of success, or the applause or accolade that one receives. The word derives from the French “éclater” meaning “to splinter, burst out”.

34. Unbarred, to a bard : OPE
“Ope” is a poetic form of “open”.

A Clockwork Orange Movie (Alex, Face, Orange) Poster Print - 24x3636. “A Clockwork Orange” narrator : ALEX
“A Clockwork Orange” is a novella by Anthony Burgess, first published in 1962. The story is about a young teenager, Alex, who leads a small gang on violent rampages each night. The story has been adapted for the big and small screens, most famously in a 1971 film by Stanley Kubrick. Way too violent for me …

This American Life - Season One37. Glass behind a radio microphone : IRA
Ira Glass is a well respected presenter on American Public Radio, most noted for his show “This American Life”. I was interested to learn that one of my favorite composers, Philip Glass, is Ira’s first cousin.

43. Knuckle-head move? : NOOGIE
A “noogie” is that childish move where someone rubs his (and it’s always a guy!) knuckles into a person’s head to create a little soreness.

La Rosa, Julius Autographed/Hand Signed 8x10 Photo B&W47. Old-time crooner Julius : LA ROSA
Julius La Rosa has been singing on radio and television since the fifties, although doesn’t perform very often now as he is in his eighties. He worked as a dick jockey for many years up to the end of the nineties, introducing old time music on a New York radio station.

50. N.B.A. player/manager Danny : AINGE
Danny Ainge is a retired professional basketball and baseball player, now serving as the President of Basketball Operations for the Boston Celtics. Ainge was an outstanding athlete from an early age, and is the only person to be named a high-school All American in the three sports of football, basketball and baseball.

Body Candy Italian Charms Laser IOTA Greek Letter LOWER CASE52. Itsy-bitsy bit : IOTA
Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet. We use it to portray something very small, as it is the smallest letter in the alphabet.

53. Pair : DUAD
A duad is a pair, from the Greek “duo” meaning “two.

54. Sound of an air kiss : MWAH
Someone might make the air kiss gesture when leaving, as it tends to be a “goodbye, love you all” kind of move. The person touches the inside of the hand to the mouth, kisses it and “tosses” the kiss to those being from whom he or she is departing. As the hand throws the kiss, the person makes an exaggerated “mwah!” sound. The use of the word “mwah!” has crept into online messaging and texting as a way of bidding farewell. It’s not something you’d catch me doing, I must admit …

55. Architect Saarinen : EERO
Eero Saarinen was a Finnish American architect, renowned in America for his unique designs for public buildings such as Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Dulles International Airport Terminal, and the TWA building at JFK.

56. Heavy cart : DRAY
A dray is a side-less, 4-wheeled cart used for hauling goods.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
1. Pipe part : STEM
5. Babycakes : DEAR
9. Paper orders : REAMS
14. Leonardo of ___ (mathematician who wrote about the 33-Across) : PISA
15. Out of kilter : AWRY
16. Have dinner at home : EAT IN
17. Food with a heart : ARTICHOKE
19. Blue-collar worker : PROLE
20. Popular online lectures about “ideas worth spreading” : TED TALKS
21. Alvy’s love interest in a Woody Allen film : ANNIE
22. Father-and-daughter boxers : ALIS
23. Pres., e.g. : LDR
25. ___ Lingus : AER
26. Midsize Kia : OPTIMA
29. Cephalopod known for its shell : NAUTILUS
31. “Now I see!” : AHA
32. “Both work for me” : EITHER
33. Mathematical sequence related to a pattern found in a 17-, 29-, 42- or 58-Across, informally : FIBONACCI SERIES
40. Sneeze producer : POLLEN
41. Cam button : REC
42. Cochlea locale : INNER EAR
45. Honolulu’s ___ Palace : ‘IOLANI
48. “___ man walks into a bar …” : SO A
49. No. after a no. : EXT
50. Razor brand : ATRA
51. Sayings of Jesus : LOGIA
53. No longer able to shoot : DISARMED
57. Some waffles : EGGOS
58. Van Gogh subject : SUNFLOWER
59. Link with : TIE TO
60. Sauce that’s made “Old World Style” : RAGU
61. Singer Bareilles with the 2007 top 10 hit “Love Song” : SARA
62. 26-Across, e.g. : SEDAN
63. Yemeni port : ADEN
64. Ship-to-ship communication : AHOY

1. Short row : SPAT
2. Ring around a rim : TIRE
3. Cornerstone abbr. : ESTD
4. Tiki bar staple : MAI TAI
5. “The Black ___” (2006 film) : DAHLIA
6. They thought C-3PO was a god in “Return of the Jedi” : EWOKS
7. Scroll storers : ARKS
8. Pumpernickel grain : RYE
9. Badinage : REPARTEE
10. Merit : EARN
11. Like much Schoenberg music : ATONAL
12. Surroundings : MILIEU
13. Mocking looks : SNEERS
18. Pacify : CALM
23. Homo sapiens, e.g. : LATIN
24. Stupidity syllables : DUHS
26. Speaker of stupid syllables : OAF
27. Greek letter associated with the 33-Across : PHI
28. Web browser subwindow : TAB
29. More pleasant : NICER
30. Like oddly conjugated verbs: Abbr. : IRR
32. Razzle-dazzle : ECLAT
34. Unbarred, to a bard : OPE
35. “Because I felt like it” : NO REASON
36. “A Clockwork Orange” narrator : ALEX
37. Glass behind a radio microphone : IRA
38. Night of poetry : E’EN
39. Chem. or biol. : SCI
42. They may start as sandbars : ISLETS
43. Knuckle-head move? : NOOGIE
44. Pestered : NAGGED
45. “You’ll enjoy this” : IT’S FUN
46. Said aloud : ORAL
47. Old-time crooner Julius : LA ROSA
50. N.B.A. player/manager Danny : AINGE
52. Itsy-bitsy bit : IOTA
53. Pair : DUAD
54. Sound of an air kiss : MWAH
55. Architect Saarinen : EERO
56. Heavy cart : DRAY
58. Miguel’s Mrs. : SRA

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8 thoughts on “0511-11: New York Times Crossword Answers 11 May 11, Wednesday”

  1. This is a remarkable puzzle, a true virtuoso effort by the composer. There seem to be at least three beautifully blended thematic elements: (1) the Fibonacci related clues identified in 33 across; (2) the circles letters which spell "golden ratio", and (3) the actual appearance of the first few terms of the Fibonacci sequence: Starting at the circled letter "o" at 46 down, if one draws lines in the four compass directions until they intersect the spiral, the lengths of these lines are 1, 2, 3, 5 and 8.


    PS I think I prefer your site to Rex Parker's. He is a terrific solver, but his comments are sometimes rather insensitive, at least for my taste.

  2. Hi there, Rhodes.

    Yes, a remarkable puzzle indeed, but I don't think it was to everyone's liking 🙂 But you can't please all the folks all of the time, as they say.

    Thanks for the kind words about the blog.

    Rex Parker's site is terrific, as you say, and the original when it comes to the NYTCrossword. I try to produce something different here, partly because I am not an expert solver like "Rex", and so don't feel qualified to critique the puzzles. I am just grateful to all the setters who provide such wonderful entertainment for us.

    For me the puzzle is an opportunity to learn, especially about American culture seeing as I didn't grow up in this great country. Folks who visit here regularly seem to enjoy reading the little nuggets of trivia that I share from my research.

  3. Hi Sara,

    As I said above, this puzzle wasn't to everyone's liking, one of those "love it or hate it" puzzles. I found the Fibonacci element a little beyond me, but can only stand back and admire the skill of the setter, Jonah Kagan. Genius indeed!

    Glad you are enjoying the posts, Sara. I hope you come back and visit soon 🙂

  4. Hi Jon,

    Glad you liked the puzzle. But I tend to agree with you about slang terms like "mwah". Terms like this may be coming into the mainstream because of text messaging and the like, but I am holding out against them as long as I can! 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a commment, Jon. I appreciate it.

  5. Brillant! Loved it but needed your help to understand it. Thank you so much for your work. Much appreciated.
    Fran in Van

  6. Hi there, Fran.

    Glad you enjoyed the puzzle, and I'm also glad that the blog post helped a little in understanding what this one was all about!

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I appreciate it.

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