0306-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 6 Mar 12, Tuesday

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: Wesley Johnson
THEME: So What? … each of the theme answers is a different way of expressing a lack of concern, a disowning of a problem:

17A. “So what?!” : DOESN’T CONCERN ME
27A. “So what?!” : COULDN’T CARE LESS
49A. “So what?!” : IT’S NOT MY PROBLEM
65A. “So what?!” : NO SKIN OFF MY BACK

COMPLETION TIME: 7m 39s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Salon offering : PERM
A perm is the name given to the permanent wave, a chemical or thermal treatment of hair to produce waves, curls or even to straighten hair. I don’t worry about such things … No.1 all over …

5. America’s 44th : OBAMA
President Obama’s first name, Barack, is Swahili with roots in an old Arabic word meaning “blessed”. Barack was the President’s father’s name. President Obama’s middle name is Hussein, an Arabic word meaning “good” or “handsome one”. Hussein was the name of the President’s grandfather on the paternal side. His surname, Obama, doesn’t really have a translation, but is common among the Luo tribe of Kenya.

14. ___ Rios, Jamaica : OCHO
If you ever take a cruise ship to Jamaica, you will likely disembark in Ocho Rios, a major port of call for the cruise lines. Ocho Rios is Spanish for “eight rivers”.

21. ___ From Hawaii (1973 Elvis concert) : ALOHA
“Aloha from Hawaii” was a concert broadcast in 1973, live from Honolulu, with Elvis Presley as the headline act. The show cost $2.5 million to produce, the most expensive entertainment special up to that time. It was aired in over 40 countries worldwide and to this day it holds the record for being the most-watched broadcast by a single entertainer. The album containing music from the show was also a big hit, the first chart-topping album for Elvis since 1965.

22. Kind of store : APP
There are a few versions of an “App Store” (Amazon has one, for example), but I think the most famous is the Apple App Store. The Apple App Store is an online distribution platform where you can buy all sorts of applications from Apple’s iTunes Store.

23. Elizabethan ___ : ERA
The Elizabethan Era, the period associated with the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, is considered by many to be the golden age of English history, the age of Shakespeare and the English Renaissance. Elizabeth I was the last sovereign of the House of Tudor, the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.

38. Pago Pago’s place : SAMOA
The official name for the South Pacific country is the Independent State of Samoa. “Samoa” is the western part of the island group, with American Samoa lying to the southeast. The whole group of islands used to be known as Navigators Island, a name given by European explorers in recognition of the seafaring skills of the native Samoans.

Pago Pago is the capital of American Samoa in the South Pacific. The island was used by the US Navy during WWII and it managed to escape most of the conflict. The only military incident of consequence was the shelling of the city’s harbor by a Japanese submarine. A more devastating event was the tsunami that hit Pago Pago and surrounding areas in 2009, causing widespread damage and numerous deaths.

39. Number two son : ABEL
The story of Cain and Abel not only appears in the Bible, it also features in the Qur’an. In the Muslim account the brothers are named Kabil and Habil.

43. Israel’s first king : SAUL
According to the Hebrew Bible, Saul was the first King of Israel and ruled from 1049 BC to 1007 BC. Saul’s story is mainly recounted in the Books of Samuel.

44. Bridgestones, e.g. : TIRES
Bridgestone tires are manufactured around the world by the Shajiro Ishibashi company which is headquartered in Fukuoka, Japan. The company name “Ishibashi” means “stone bridge”, giving rise to the brand name “Bridgestone”.

46. Condos, e.g. : UNITS
The words “condominium” and “apartment” tend to describe the same type of residential property, a private living space with facilities shared with others residing in the same building or complex. The difference is that a condominium is usually owned, and an apartment is rented. At least that’s how it is in the US. The word “condominium” comes from the Latin “com” (together) and “dominum” (right of ownership).

48. British verb ending : -ISE
Not only is Noah Webster’s name inextricably linked with his series of dictionaries, but he is also renowned as an advocate for English spelling reform. He argued that “traditional” English is hard to learn, and that it should be simplified and standardized. He published spelling books that were used in schools, and from edition to edition he changed the spelling of words in order to simplify the language. Examples are the use of “s” over “c” in words like “defense” (in Ireland we have defence and defense depending on usage), “-re” became “-er” as in center instead of centre (reversing the influence of French), and he dropped one of the Ls in words like traveler (I learned “traveller”). Mind you, he also spelled “tongue” as “tung”, but he didn’t get very far with that one.

53. Site of the smallest bone in the body : EAR
The middle ear is the portion of the ear immediately behind the eardrum. The middle ear contains three small bones called the ossicles, the three smallest bones in the human body. The ossicles’ job is to transmit sound from the outer ear to the inner ear. The shape of the bones gives rise to their common names: the hammer, anvil and stirrup.

54. Hot tub locale : SPA
The word “spa” migrated into English from Belgium, as Spa is the name of a municipality in the east of the country that is famous for its healing hot springs. The name “spa” comes from the Walloon word “espa” meaning “spring, fountain”.

57. The fellas in “GoodFellas” : MAFIA
The Martin Scorsese classic “Goodfellas” is a 1990 adaptation of a non-fiction book by Nicholas Pileggi called “Wiseguy”. The film tells the story of a mob family that succumbs to the FBI after one of their own becomes an informant.

61. Slender game fishes : PIKES
I thought the plural of “pike” was just “pike”, but a quick look in the dictionary shows that “pikes” is permitted as well …

65. “So what?!” : NO SKIN OFF MY BACK
The idiom “no skin off my back” is the American version of the idiom that I grew up with on the other side of the Atlantic, “no skin off my nose”.

70. “The Time Machine” leisure class : ELOI
In the 1895 novel by H. G. Wells “The Time Machine”, there were two races that the hero encountered in his travels into the future. The Eloi are the beautiful people that live on the planet’s surface, while the Morlocks are a race of cannibals living underground who use the Eloi as food.

Down
3. ___ Silvia, mother of Romulus and Remus : RHEA
The mythical figure Ilea is better known as Rhea Silvia. Rhea Silvia was one of the Vestal Virgins, a priestess of the goddess Vesta. As such she was sworn to celibacy, but she conceived anyway and gave birth to the twins Romulus and Remus. Rhea Silvia claimed that she was seduced in the forest by the god Mars. The twins were ordered to be killed, but the servant given the task felt pity for the boys and instead set them adrift on the River Tiber. The twins were discovered on the river’s bank by a wolf who had lost her own cubs, and she raised them as her own.

4. “Fiddler on the Roof” star : MOSTEL
Zero Mostel was a stage and screen actor best known perhaps for playing Tevye on stage in “Fiddler on the Roof” and Max Bialystock in the original screen version of “The Producers”. Mostel was one of those many actors whose career languished during the 1950s as he found himself blacklisted by Senator McCarthy and co. But he rebounded, and achieved his greatest success in the sixties.

5. Toronto’s prov. : ONT
The Canadian province of Ontario takes its name from the Great Lake. In turn, Lake Ontario’s name is thought to be derived from “Ontari:io”, a Huron word meaning “great lake”. Ontario is home to the nation’s capital, Ottawa, as well as Toronto, Canada’s most populous city (and capital of the province).

6. ___ Raton, Fla. : BOCA
The name of the city of Boca Raton in Florida translates from Spanish as “Mouse Mouth”. There doesn’t seem to be a definitive etymology of the name but one plausible explanation is a nautical one. “Boca”, as well as meaning “mouth” can mean “inlet”. “Ratón”, as well as meaning “mouse” was also used to describe rocks that chewed away at a ship’s cable. So possibly Boca Ration was named for a rocky inlet.

7. M.P.’s target : AWOL
The Military Police (MPs) go after personnel who are Absent With-Out Leave (AWOL).

8. Like early Elvis albums : MONO
Monophonic sound (“mono”) is sound reproduced using just one audio channel, which is usually played out of just one speaker. Stereophonic sound is reproduced using two audio channels, with the sound from each channel played out of two different speakers. The pair of stereo speakers are usually positioned apart from each other so that sound appears to come from between the two. Quadraphonic sound (4.0 surround sound) uses four audio channels with the sound played back through four speakers often positioned at the corners of the room in which one is listening.

9. Diane Sawyer, for one : ANCHOR
Diana Sawyer is the anchor of ABC’s news program “ABC World News”. Sawyer started her career in the Nixon White House where she was hired by the Press Secretary at the time, Ron Ziegler. She worked with Nixon to help him write his memoirs after he left office and helped prepare the ex-president for his famous series of television interviews with David Frost in 1977. Sawyer is married to Mike Nichols, the noted film director.

11. “___ Lisa” : MONA
Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece that we know in English as the “Mona Lisa” is called “La Gioconda” in Italian, the language of the artist. It’s also known as “La Joconde” by the Government of France which owns the painting and displays it in the Louvre Museum in Paris. The title comes from the name of the subject, almost certainly Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo. Giocondo was a wealthy silk merchant in Florence who commissioned the painting for the couple’s new home to celebrate the birth of their second son.

12. Shell fixture : PUMP
Royal Dutch Shell is the largest energy company in the world and is headquartered in the Hague, in the Netherlands. The company was formed in 1907 with the merger of the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company and Shell Transport and Trading company of the UK. The two companies merged in order to compete globally with the biggest US oil company of the day, John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil. Shell Oil Company is a US-based subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell that is headquartered in Houston, Texas.

18. Propeller-heads : NERDS
Dweeb, squarepants, nerd, they’re all not-nice terms that mean the same thing: someone excessively studious and socially inept.

19. Icicle sites : EAVES
To “eavesdrop” is to listen in on someone else’s conversation without being invited to do so. The term comes from the practice of spies loitering in the area just outside the walls of a house, particularly in the “eavesdrip”, the ground close to a house that catches the drips of rainwater falling from the eaves of the roof.

27. Raccoon relative : COATI
A coati is a member of the raccoon family and is also known as the Brazilian aardvark, or the snookum bear. The coati is native to Central and South America, but can also be found in the southwest of the United States.

30. Actress O’Neal : TATUM
Tatum O’Neal is the youngest actress to win a “competitive” Oscar. She won the Best Supporting Actress Award in 1974 when she was just 10 years old, for her role as Addie in “Paper Moon”. The youngest person to win an honorary Academy Award was Shirley Temple, who was only 5 years old when she was presented with an Oscar in 1934.

31. Old pal : CRONY
A crony is a friend or companion. The term originated as slang in Cambridge University in England in the 1600s. “Crony” is probably derived from the Greek “khronios” meaning “long-lasting”.

32. “___ to the Moon” (seminal 1902 sci-fi film) : A TRIP
“A Trip to the Moon” is a very famous French silent movie from 1902. I saw a wonderful documentary about the making of the movie not so long ago, and there is remarkable use of animation and special effects. It is hard to believe all this was going on in 1902. You can watch it freely online as, being over a hundred years old, the copyright has expired and the film is in the public domain.

34. Boozehound : SOUSE
The word “souse” dates back to the 14th century and means “to pickle, steep in vinegar”. In the early 1600s the usage was applied to someone “pickled” in booze, a drunkard.

35. House of the Seven Gables locale : SALEM
I had the pleasure of visiting the charming House of Seven Gables not so long ago, located in Salem, Massachusetts. The core of the house was built in 1668, for one Captain John Turner, and overlooks Salem Harbor. After a couple of generations, the house had to be sold by the Turners and it was purchased by the Ingersoll family. The author Nathaniel Hawthorn was a relative of the Ingersolls and often visited the house growing up. It was of course this house that gave Hawthorn the title for his Gothic novel “The House of the Seven Gables”.

42. To be, in Tours : ETRE
The French for “to be” is “être”.

Tours is the largest city in the Centre region of France. It is said that the people of Tours speak the “purest” form of French in the whole country, and when spoken by a local it is also said to be free of any accent.

55. Copernicus, e.g., by birth : POLE
Nicolaus Copernicus was an astronomer active during the Renaissance. Copernicus was the first person to propose that the Earth and the planets revolved around the Sun.

58. Pick up, as a bill : FOOT
The term to “foot the bill” arose during the 1800s. The idea is that one can total the expenses of say a meal, and this total at the “foot” of the bill is picked up by someone at the table.

59. Kelly Clarkson’s “___ One Will Listen” : IF NO
Apparently singer Kelly Clarkson was the first winner of “American Idol” …

62. Moolah : KALE
“Kale” and “moolah” are slang terms for money.

63. Subj. for a Fed chairman : ECON
The Federal Reserve System is more usually known simply as “the Fed”, and is the central banking system of the US. The Fed was introduced in 1913 in response to a number of financial panics at the beginning of the 20th century. The original role of the Fed was to act as a lender of last resort in case there was a run on a bank. This can happen as most of the money that is deposited by customers in a bank is reinvested by that bank, so it has very little liquid cash available. If too many customers look for their money at one time, then the bank can be short of cash and this can start a “run”. The Fed’s responsibilities have broadened since those early days …

66. Mike Tyson stat : KOS
The boxer Mike Tyson has said some pretty graphic things about his opponents, for example:

– About Lennox Lewis, “My main objective is to be professional but to kill him.”
– To Razor Ruddock, “I’m gonna make you my girlfriend.”
– About Tyrell Biggs, “He was screaming like my wife.”

67. Miss, after vows : MRS
Mr. is the abbreviation for “master”, and Mrs. is the abbreviation for “mistress”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Salon offering : PERM
5. America’s 44th : OBAMA
10. Current units : AMPS
14. ___ Rios, Jamaica : OCHO
15. Currently airing : NOW ON
16. Look sullen : POUT
17. “So what?!” : DOESN’T CONCERN ME
20. Schedule : SLATE
21. ___ From Hawaii (1973 Elvis concert) : ALOHA
22. Kind of store : APP
23. Elizabethan ___ : ERA
25. Beginnings of embryos : OVA
27. “So what?!” : COULDN’T CARE LESS
36. Surgeons’ workplaces, for short : ORS
37. Beginning : START
38. Pago Pago’s place : SAMOA
39. Number two son : ABEL
41. Stockpile : STORE
43. Israel’s first king : SAUL
44. Bridgestones, e.g. : TIRES
46. Condos, e.g. : UNITS
48. British verb ending : -ISE
49. “So what?!” : IT’S NOT MY PROBLEM
52. Viewed : SAW
53. Site of the smallest bone in the body : EAR
54. Hot tub locale : SPA
57. The fellas in “GoodFellas” : MAFIA
61. Slender game fishes : PIKES
65. “So what?!” : NO SKIN OFF MY BACK
68. As well : ALSO
69. One who has no chance : GONER
70. “The Time Machine” leisure class : ELOI
71. Savvies : GETS
72. Puts in the hold : STOWS
73. Transmitted : SENT

Down
1. Pea protectors : PODS
2. Environmental sci. : ECOL
3. ___ Silvia, mother of Romulus and Remus : RHEA
4. “Fiddler on the Roof” star : MOSTEL
5. Toronto’s prov. : ONT
6. ___ Raton, Fla. : BOCA
7. M.P.’s target : AWOL
8. Like early Elvis albums : MONO
9. Diane Sawyer, for one : ANCHOR
10. Mar. follower : APR
11. “___ Lisa” : MONA
12. Shell fixture : PUMP
13. Dance move : STEP
18. Propeller-heads : NERDS
19. Icicle sites : EAVES
24. Ones putting out feelers : ANTS
26. “Regrettably …” : ALAS
27. Raccoon relative : COATI
28. Go round and round : ORBIT
29. Rehab seekers : USERS
30. Actress O’Neal : TATUM
31. Old pal : CRONY
32. “___ to the Moon” (seminal 1902 sci-fi film) : A TRIP
33. Cybermessage : EMAIL
34. Boozehound : SOUSE
35. House of the Seven Gables locale : SALEM
40. Camera part : LENS
42. To be, in Tours : ETRE
45. “Me, too” : SO AM I
47. Like a bubble bath : SOAPY
50. Regional accents : TWANGS
51. Unethical payoffs : BRIBES
54. Impediment : SNAG
55. Copernicus, e.g., by birth : POLE
56. Helper: Abbr. : ASST
58. Pick up, as a bill : FOOT
59. Kelly Clarkson’s “___ One Will Listen” : IF NO
60. Several : A FEW
62. Moolah : KALE
63. Subj. for a Fed chairman : ECON
64. Short comic sketch : SKIT
66. Mike Tyson stat : KOS
67. Miss, after vows : MRS

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