0204-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 4 Feb 12, Saturday

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

CROSSWORD SETTER: Brendan Emmett Quigley & Caleb Madison,
THEME: None
COMPLETION TIME:35m 57s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … PARM (farm), PSY (Fsy!)


Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Navajo terrain : MESAS
“Mesa” is the Spanish for “table” and is of course is how we get the term “mesa” that describes a geographic feature.

“What’s the difference between a butte and a mesa?” I hear you cry! Both are hills with flat tops, but a mesa has a top that is wider than it is tall. A butte is a much narrower formation, taller than it is wide. Now we know …

The Navajo (also Navaho) Nation mainly live on a reservation in the Four Corners area of the US. It is the largest land area in the US assigned to a Native American jurisdiction, and occupies most of northeastern Arizona.

6. Chicken ___ : PARM
Parmigiana is a dish from southern Italy. The original parmigiana was made with an aubergine filling, with cheese and tomato layers and then baked. Versions originating outside of Italy have replaced the aubergine with breaded cutlets of chicken or veal.

10. Pack member, for short? : CIG
Cigarettes come in packs.

18. 1980s-’90s hip-hop show co-hosted by Fab 5 Freddy : YO! MTV RAPS
“Yo! MTV Raps” is a 2-hour music video program that ran from 1988 to 1999 (although in its latter years it was known simply as “Yo!”).

24. Food item whose name means “pounded” : PESTO
Pesto gets its name from the Latin word for “crush”. The word “pestle”, as in mortar and pestle, is derived from the same Latin root.

25. “Patton” setting : TUNISIA
Tunisia is the most northerly country in Africa. The country takes its name from the capital city, Tunis.

“Patton” is an excellent biographical movie about General George Patton and his exploits during WWII. The film was released in 1970 and starred George C. Scott in the title role. “Patton” won seven Oscars including one for Scott as Best Actor. Scott refused the award saying that he disliked “acting competitions”. In so doing, he became the first actor to refuse an Academy Award.

32. Org. studying viruses : NIH
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is made up of 27 different institutes that coordinate their research and services. Examples of member institutes are the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Aging.

35. Be daring : PUSH THE ENVELOPE
The phrase to “push the envelope” is a relatively recent one, only dating back to the 1970s. It was popularized in Tom Wolfe’s celebrated book “The Right Stuff”, as it was oft-quoted during the space program. The “envelope” in question was the “mathematical envelope” that had to be “pushed” in order to make the space program successful.

40. Noted entertainer with a whistle : HARPO
Harpo Marx was the second oldest of the Marx brothers. Harpo’s real name was Adolph, and he earned his nickname because he played the harp. Famously he didn’t speak on screen, a routine he developed after reading a review that he performed really well when he just didn’t speak!

The five Marx Brothers were born to “Minnie” and “Frenchy” Marx in New York City. The more famous older boys were Chico, Harpo and Groucho. Zeppo was the youngest brother, and he appeared in the early Marx Brothers movies. The fifth son was called Gummo, and he decided to pursue a different career off the stage.

41. Site of a religious retreat : APSE
The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.

43. Sneeze cause : RAGWEED
The pollen of ragweed is the greatest allergen of all pollens. It seems that the pollen season has been lengthening in recent years, probably due to global warming.

49. Writer about a bear : AA MILNE
Alan Alexander (A.A.) Milne was an English author, best known for his delightful “Winnie-the-Pooh” series of books. He had only one son, Christopher Robin Milne, born in 1920 and the inspiration for the Christopher Robin character in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Winnie-the-Pooh was named after Christopher Robin’s real teddy bear, one he called Winnie, who in turn was named after a Canadian black bear called Winnie that the Milnes would visit in London Zoo. The original Winnie teddy bear is on display at the Main Branch of the New York Public Library in New York.

51. “Julie & Julia” co-star : AMY ADAMS
Amy Adams is an American actress. My favorite film of hers so far is the outstanding “Julie & Julia” in which she acted alongside Meryl Streep. I highly recommend this truly delightful movie.

56. “Bad for bacteria” brand : LISTERINE
Listerine is an antiseptic mouthwash. The brand takes its name from Joseph Lister, the British surgeon and promoter of antiseptic surgery.

58. Setting for the 1996 documentary “When We Were Kings” : ZAIRE
The African nation that was once called Zaire is a neighbor of Rwanda. The genocide and war in Rwanda spilled over into Zaire in 1996, with the conflict escalating into what is now called the First Congo War. As part of the war’s fallout, there was a regime change, and in 1997 Zaire became the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“When We Were Kings” is a documentary by Leon Gast, released in 1996. It tells of the “Rumble in the Jumble” world heavyweight title fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman that took place in Zaire. That’s the fight with the famous “rope-a-dope” tactic that tired out Foreman, and left him selling grills for the rest of his life …

59. “Funny People” actor : SETH ROGEN
Seth Rogen is a Canadian comedian who got a lot of credit for his supporting role in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”. That led to him being cast as the lead in the 1970 film “Knocked Up”. I am afraid that I haven’t seen either movie …

“Funny People” is a 2009 comedy-drama movie, starring Adam Sandler and Seth Rogan.

60. “Pietà or Revolution by Night” artist : ERNST
“Pietà or Revolution by Night” is a 1923 painting by Max Ernst. The painting is Ernst’s reinterpretation of the pietà, with the artist shown as the body of Jesus in the arms of his father instead of the Virgin Mary.

Max Ernst was born near Cologne in Germany in 1891. He had to fight in WWI, as did most young men. In his autobiography he writes, “Max Ernst died the 1st of August, 1914” a statement about his experiences in the war. Actually, he lived to the ripe old age in 85, dying in 1976.

63. “L’Amateur d’estampes” painter : DEGAS
Edgar Degas was a French artist, famous for his paintings and sculptures. Some of his most beautiful works feature female ballet dancers, and others depict women bathing.

“L’Amateur d’estampes” is an 1866 painting by Edgar Degas that you can see at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. I think that the title translates as “The Stamp Collector”.

Down
1. Subjunctive, e.g. : MOOD
The subjunctive mood is a verb mood that is used to express a condition that is doubtful or not factual.

2. Dutch chess grandmaster Max : EUWE
Max Euwe was a Dutch chess grandmaster and a mathematician. He became the fifth World Chess Champion in 1935.

3. First N.B.A. player to light the Olympic cauldron : STEVE NASH
Steve Nash is professional basketball player who plays for the Phoenix Suns. Nash is from Canada, although he was actually born in South Africa. He became the first NBA player to carry the Olympic torch and light the Olympic cauldron, which he did at the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver, Canada.

5. French nuns : SOEURS
“Soeur” is the French word for “sister.

7. Midway, e.g. : ATOLL
Midway is an atoll lying in the North Pacific Ocean. It is located about one third of the way between Hawaii and Japan. The island was at the center of the Battle of Midway in WWII when the US Navy defeated a Japanese attack on the islands, which proved to be a major turning point in the war.

8. Fratricide victim of myth : REMUS
According to tradition, Rome was founded by the twin brothers Romulus and Remus. The pair had a heated argument about who should be allowed to name the city and Romulus hit Remus with a shovel, killing him. And so, “Rome” was born!

9. “Meet the ___” (major-league fight song) : METS
“Meet the Mets” is the fight song of the New York Mets baseball team. The song was first heard in 1962 when the brand new Mets team played its first game.

10. Bye lines? : CIAOS
“Ciao” is the Italian for “bye”. “Arrivederci” is more formal and translates better as “goodbye”.

12. Artist’s supply : GESSO
Gesso is the Italian word for “chalk” and gives it name to the powdered calcium carbonate that is used as a primer coat under artistic panel paintings. The gesso is mixed with a glue and when applied to wood it acts as an absorbent surface for paint.

20. Échecs piece : ROI
“Échecs” is the French for “chess”, and “roi” is French for “king”.

23. Modern-day pointer : LASER
The term “laser” comes from an acronym, “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation” (LASER). It has been pointed out that a more precise name for laser technology is “Light Oscillation by Stimulated Emission of Radiation”, but the resulting acronym isn’t quite so appealing, namely LOSER …

25. Part of a bar order : TAPA
“Tapa” is the Spanish word for “lid”. There is no clear rationale for why this word came to be used for an appetizer. There are lots of explanations cited, all of which seem to involve the temporary covering of one’s glass of wine with a plate or an item of food to either preserve the wine or give one extra space at the table.

27. King, e.g.: Abbr. : REV
I remember listening to the full text of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I have a dream …” speech not long after I moved to this country. I think I am man enough to admit that my eyes misted up as I listened to the words. I also recall thinking how lucky I was to have been invited to live in this great country, which was facing up to some of the sins of its past.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

30. Like ’40s boppers : HEP
The slang term “hep” meaning “cool” has the same meaning as the later, derivative term “hip”. The origins of “hep” seem unclear, but it was adopted by jazz musicians of the early 1900s.

31. Colossal, to Coleridge : ENORM
“Kubla Khan” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is my wife’s favorite poem. Coleridge wrote the masterpiece one night in 1797, after a vivid dream heavily influenced by opium.

33. Alter ___ amicus : IPSE
“Alter ipse amicus” is Latin for “a friend is another self”.

36. It rolls across fields : THUNDER
I am not sure what the reference is here …

37. Gorgon, e.g. : HAG
The Gorgons were feared female creatures of Greek mythology. They were three sisters who had hair made up of living snakes. Anyone who looked on their faces would be turned to stone instantly.

46. Makings of a model, maybe : BALSA
Balsa is a very fast growing tree that is native to parts of South America. Even though balsa wood is very soft, it is actually classified as a hardwood, the softest of all the hardwoods (go figure!). Balsa is light and strong, so is commonly used in making model airplanes and rafts. Amazingly, in WWII a full-size British plane, the de Havilland Mosquito, was built largely from balsa and plywood. No wonder they called it “The Wooden Wonder” and “The Timber Terror”.

47. Billet-doux recipients : AMIES
“Une amie” is “a girlfriend” in French. She might write a billet-doux to her ami. Billet-doux is a French term for a love letter. A “billet” is a short note, and “doux” means sweet.

49. Computer that pioneered in CD-ROMs : AMIGA
The Amiga is a line of desktop computers that was made by Commodore in the eighties and nineties.

50. Onetime Moore co-star : ASNER
Ed Asner is most famous for playing the irascible but lovable Lou Grant on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and on the spin-off drama “Lou Grant”. Off-screen Asner is noted for his political activism. He served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and was very involved in the 1980 SAG strike. When “Lou Grant” was cancelled in 1982, despite decent ratings, there was a lot of talk that the cancellation was a move by the network against Asner personally. In fact one of Asner’s activist colleagues Howard Hesseman, who played Johnny Fever on “WKRP in Cincinnati”,  he found that his show was also cancelled, on the very same day …

52. Longtime Yankee moniker : A-ROD
Poor old Alex Rodriguez earned more nicknames than just A-Rod. He has been called “the Cooler” by some players as there is a perception that teams go cold when he joins them and hot when he leaves. He has also been called “A-Fraud” by teammates because of another perception, that he is over-demanding.

54. Nocturnal bear : URSA
The constellation called Ursa Major (Latin for “Larger Bear”) is often just called the Big Dipper because of its resemblance to a ladle or dipper. Ursa Major also resembles a plow, and that’s what we usually call it back in Ireland, the “plough”.

57. Rhinology expert, for short : ENT
An Ear, Nose and Throat specialist is an ENT.

Rhinology is the study of the nose and the sinuses.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Navajo terrain : MESAS
6. Chicken ___ : PARM
10. Pack member, for short? : CIG
13. Top : OUTDO
14. What going 100 might result in : STEEP FINE
17. “You ___ one” : OWE ME
18. 1980s-’90s hip-hop show co-hosted by Fab 5 Freddy : YO! MTV RAPS
19. Ingurgitate : DEVOUR
21. Delectable : LUSCIOUS
22. Joins : ENROLLS
24. Food item whose name means “pounded” : PESTO
25. “Patton” setting : TUNISIA
27. Relieve : RID
28. They often accompany discoveries : AHAS
29. Congregation, metaphorically : SHEEP
32. Org. studying viruses : NIH
35. Be daring : PUSH THE ENVELOPE
39. Sound after “Lower … lower … that’s it!” : AHH
40. Noted entertainer with a whistle : HARPO
41. Site of a religious retreat : APSE
42. Oaf : LUG
43. Sneeze cause : RAGWEED
46. Salad bar offering : BACON
49. Writer about a bear : AA MILNE
51. “Julie & Julia” co-star : AMY ADAMS
53. Amass : RACK UP
56. “Bad for bacteria” brand : LISTERINE
58. Setting for the 1996 documentary “When We Were Kings” : ZAIRE
59. “Funny People” actor : SETH ROGEN
60. “Pietà or Revolution by Night” artist : ERNST
61. Jerk : ASS
62. Zip : DART
63. “L’Amateur d’estampes” painter : DEGAS

Down
1. Subjunctive, e.g. : MOOD
2. Dutch chess grandmaster Max : EUWE
3. First N.B.A. player to light the Olympic cauldron : STEVE NASH
4. Caution : ADMONISH
5. French nuns : SOEURS
6. Liberal arts dept. : PSY
7. Midway, e.g. : ATOLL
8. Fratricide victim of myth : REMUS
9. “Meet the ___” (major-league fight song) : METS
10. Bye lines? : CIAOS
11. Data : INPUT
12. Artist’s supply : GESSO
15. Line at a water fountain, maybe : PVC PIPE
16. Burned out : FRIED
20. Échecs piece : ROI
23. Modern-day pointer : LASER
25. Part of a bar order : TAPA
26. “Dream on!” : UH-UH
27. King, e.g.: Abbr. : REV
30. Like ’40s boppers : HEP
31. Colossal, to Coleridge : ENORM
32. Christmas order : NO PEEKING
33. Alter ___ amicus : IPSE
34. Follow : HEED
36. It rolls across fields : THUNDER
37. Gorgon, e.g. : HAG
38. Business that’s always cutting back? : LAWN CARE
42. Disinclined : LOATH
44. Put on : AIR
45. Like some doughnuts and eyes : GLAZED
46. Makings of a model, maybe : BALSA
47. Billet-doux recipients : AMIES
48. Some bump producers : CYSTS
49. Computer that pioneered in CD-ROMs : AMIGA
50. Onetime Moore co-star : ASNER
52. Longtime Yankee moniker : A-ROD
54. Nocturnal bear : URSA
55. No ___ (store sign) : PETS
57. Rhinology expert, for short : ENT

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