0507-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 7 May 12, Monday

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: Guy Tabachnick
THEME: Phantoms … each of the theme answers contains a word meaning phantom:

20A. Rapper who came to prominence as a member of the Wu-Tang Clan : GHOSTFACE KILLAH
25A. Former Republican-turned-Democratic senator from Pennsylvania : ARLEN SPECTER
43A. Form of sparring : SHADOWBOXING
53A. Whiskey or vodka : DISTILLED SPIRIT

COMPLETION TIME: 6m 49s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Shaggy’s nickname for his canine friend : SCOOB
“Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” is a series of cartoons produced for Hanna-Barbera Productions, introduced in 1969.

6. Winnie-the-___ : POOH
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. The young Milne was 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.

14. “A Fish Called ___” : WANDA
I think that the 1988 comedy “A Fish Called Wanda” is very under-appreciated. The film was co-written by and stars John Cleese, and has an exceptional cast including Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline and Cleese’s friend from “Monty Python”, Michael Palin. The “fish” in the film is the con artist Wanda, played by Curtis.

15. The “A” in A.D. : ANNO
The designations Anno Domini (AD, “year of Our Lord”) and Before Christ (BC) are found in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. The dividing point between AD and BC is the year of the conception of Jesus, with AD 1 following 1 BC without a year “0” in between. The AD/BC scheme dates back to AD 525, and gained wide acceptance soon after AD 800. Nowadays a modified version has become popular, with CE (Common/Christian Era) used to replace AD, and BCE (Before the Common/Christian Era) used to replace BC.

16. Letter before kappa : IOTA
Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet. We use “iota” to portray something very small as it is the smallest of all Greek letters.

20. Rapper who came to prominence as a member of the Wu-Tang Clan : GHOSTFACE KILLAH
Ghostface Killah is the stage name of rapper Dennis Coles, a member of the New York hip-hop collective known as the Wu-Tang Clan. It might sound as though I know what all that means, but I don’t. I just lifted it from a couple of places in Wikipedia. I don’t understand rap …

23. Karate teacher : SENSEI
“Sensei” is a Japanese form of address used for figures of authority, from lawyers to martial arts instructors.

24. Pianist’s practice piece : ETUDE
An étude is a small instrumental composition that is usually quite hard to play and is intended to help the performer master a particular technique. “Étude” is the French word for “study”. Études are commonly performed on the piano.

25. Former Republican-turned-Democratic senator from Pennsylvania : ARLEN SPECTER
Arlen Specter was the US Senator for Pennsylvania, famous for switching from the Republican to the Democratic Party in 2009. In 2010 he lost the Democratic primary and his seat went to Pat Toomey, a Republican. Spector developed a reputation for himself of being hard to work with over the years, earning the nickname “Snarlin’ Arlen”.

30. Blouse undergarment : BRA
The word “brassière” is of course French in origin, but it isn’t the word the French use for a “bra”. In France what we call a bra is known as a “soutien-gorge”, translating to “held under the neck”. The word “brassière” is indeed used in France but there it describes a baby’s undershirt, a lifebelt or a harness. “Brassière” comes from the Old French word for an “arm protector” in a military uniform (“bras” is the French for “arm”). Later “brassière” came to mean “breast plate” and from there the word was used for a type of woman’s corset. The word jumped into English around 1900.

34. Skylit rooms : ATRIA
In modern architecture an atrium is a large open space, often in the center of a building and extending upwards to the roof. The original atrium was an open court in the center of an Ancient Roman house. One could access most of the enclosed rooms of the house from the atrium.

48. Golf legend Sam : SNEAD
Sam Snead was probably the most successful golfer never to win a US Open title, as he won a record 82 PGA Tour events. He did win seven majors, but never the US Open. He was also quite the showman. He once hit the scoreboard at Wrigley Field stadium with a golf ball, by teeing off from home plate.

49. Kitt who sang “Santa Baby” : EARTHA
Eartha Kitt sure did have a unique voice and singing style. Her rendition of “Santa Baby” has to be one of the most distinctive and memorable recordings in the popular repertoire. Some of you will no doubt remember Eartha playing Cat Woman on the final series of the TV show “Batman”.

57. Tulsa’s home: Abbr. : OKLA
Tulsa is the second-largest city in the state of Oklahoma (after Oklahoma City). Tulsa started out as a settlement established by the Lochapoka and Creek Native American tribes in 1836. These early settlers called their new home “Tallasi” meaning “old town”, and this name morphed into “Tulsa” that we use today.

58. Potpourri : OLIO
Olio is a term meaning a hodgepodge or a mixture, coming from the mixed stew of the same name. The stew in turn takes its name from the Spanish “olla”, the clay pot used when cooking the stew.

60. ___ moss : PEAT
Peat moss is the common name for Sphagnum moss, a moss that is often found in peat bogs.

62. Skip over, as a vowel : ELIDE
To elide is to pass over, omit or slur a syllable when speaking.

65. Screenwriter Ephron : DELIA
Delia Ephron is the sister of the more famous Nora Ephron, and is a screenwriter and producer in her own right. Among Delia’s writing credits is the 2005 movie “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”.

Down
2. Storage for fast Web page retrieval : CACHE
In the world of computers a “cache” is a component that stores data locally so that there is no need to go get that original data all over again after the first usage. Applications that use a cache move along more quickly. A good example is a web browser that will store some information from a website in a cache on one’s computer. When you ask your browser to visit a website that you’ve used before, while the browser is waiting for the latest information from the website it will display the old data (the stuff that doesn’t change, that was retained from the last visit) from its cache, so that you don’t have to wait so long to view a web page.

3. “America’s Finest News Source,” with “The” : ONION
“The Onion” is a satirical news network, with a print newspaper and a heavy online presence. “The Onion” newspaper was founded by two college students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1988. The founders sold the operation a year later for about $20,000. The paper grew steadily until 1996 when it began to publish online and really took off. I think it’s worth a tad more than $20,000 today …

4. Ukrainian port whose staircase is a setting for “The Battleship Potemkin” : ODESSA
The city of Odessa in Ukraine was founded relatively recently, in 1794 by Catherine the Great. The city was originally meant to be called Odessos after an ancient Greek city believed to have been located nearby. Catherine liked the way the locals pronounced the name as “Odessa”, so went with the less Greek-sounding name.

“The Battleship Potemkin” is a silent movie made in 1925. A famous scene in the movie takes place in the port of Odessa, when Tsarist soldiers massacre rebels on the giant stairway in the city, now known as the Potemkin Stairs.

7. Words below the Lincoln Memorial : ONE CENT
The Lincoln Memorial cent was introduced in 1959, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln. The design was in use right up until 2008.

9. Begin a tryst : HOOK UP
In its most general sense, a tryst is a meeting at an agreed time and place. More usually it is associated with a prearranged meeting between lovers. The term comes from the Old French “triste”, a waiting place designated when hunting.

12. Blues singer James : ETTA
Etta James was best known for her beautiful rendition of the song “At Last”. Sadly, as she disclosed in her autobiography, James lived a life that was ravaged by drug addiction leading to numerous legal and health problems. Ms. James passed away in January 2012 having suffered from leukemia.

21. ___-O-Fish (McDonald’s sandwich) : FILET
The Filet-O-Fish sandwich was introduced by McDonald’s in 1962. The Filet-O-Fish reminds me of what we called a fish finger sandwich when I was growing up. We’d put fish fingers (called “fish sticks” here in the US) between two slices of buttered bread, and eat away. The Filet-O-Fish was developed in a McDonald’s franchise in Cincinnati, Ohio located in a predominantly Roman Catholic neighborhood. The franchise owner wanted to entice customers who were obliged not to eat meat on a Friday.

26. Nav. rank : ENS
Ensign is the most junior rank of commissioned officer (usually) in the armed forces. The name comes from the tradition that the junior officer would be given the task of carrying the ensign flag.

28. What Dubliners call their homeland : EIRE
“Éire”, is the Irish word for “Ireland”. Erin is an anglicized version of “Éire”, actually corresponding to “Éirinn”, the dative case of “Éire”.

The city of Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is known as Baile Átha Cliath in Irish (“town of the hurdled ford”). The English name “Dublin” is an anglicized form of the older Irish name for the city, “Dubh Linn” meaning “black pool”.

31. Hitter of 714 home runs : RUTH
Jack Dunn was the owner/manager of the Baltimore Orioles back in 1913, when he signed on George Herman Ruth as a pitcher. The other players called Ruth “Jack’s newest babe”, and the name “Babe” stuck.

32. Ottoman official : AGHA
“Aga”, or “agha”, is a title that was used by both civil and military officials in the Ottoman Empire.

36. It leans to the right : RED STATE
On political maps, red states are Republican and blue states Democrat. The designation of red and blue states is a very recent concept, only introduced in the 2000 presidential election by TV journalist, the late Tim Russert. In retrospect, the choice of colors is surprising, as in other democracies around the world red is usually used to describe left-leaning socialist parties (the reds under the bed!), and blue is used for conservative right-wing parties.

37. Rice-___ : A-RONI
Rice-a-Roni was introduced in 1958 by the Golden Grain Macaroni Company of San Francisco. The company was run by an Italian immigrant and his four sons. The wife of one of the sons served a pilaf dish at a family diner that was a big hit, so her brother-in-law created a commercial version by blending dry chicken soup mix with rice and macaroni. Sounds like “a San Francisco treat” to me …

38. “Kid-tested, mother-approved” cereal : KIX
Kix cereal has been around since 1937, would you believe? Kix used to be just puffed grains, processed to give the characteristic shape. Then the decision was made to add sugar to get better penetration into the young kid marketplace. Sad really …

39. Brown, Dartmouth, etc. : IVIES
The term “Ivy League” originally defined an athletic conference, but now it is used to describe a group of schools of higher education that are associated with both a long tradition and academic excellence. The eight Ivy League Schools are: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale.

41. Opiate often used in cough syrup : CODEINE
Opiates are the narcotic alkaloids found in the opium poppy plant, although some synthetic versions and derivatives of the same alkaloids are also called opiates. To produce opiates, the latex sap of the opium poppy is collected and processed. The naturally-occurring drugs of morphine and codeine can both be extracted from the sap. Some synthesis is required to make derivative drugs like heroin and oxycodone.

50. One might be made of bread crumbs : TRAIL
“Hansel and Gretel” is a Germanic fairy tale found in the collection of the Brothers Grimm. It tells of two siblings, Hansel and Gretel, the children of a woodcutter. The youngsters are abandoned in a forest at the behest of an evil stepmother. Clever Hansel hears of the plan and leaves a trail of pebbles so that he and his sister can find their way home, which they do. But the children are abandoned again and this time leave a trail of breadcrumbs. Unfortunately, the crumbs are eaten by birds and so the children do indeed become lost. But eventually they do all live happily ever after …

51. Language of India : HINDI
Hindi is the official language of India, and is closely related to the associated Hindustani language Urdu. The group of people who speak Hindi-Urdu is the fourth largest language group in the world (after Mandarin, Spanish and English).

54. European-based furniture giant : IKEA
Did you know that IKEA was founded by Ingvar Kamprad in 1943 when he was just 17-years-old??!! IKEA is an acronym that stands for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd (don’t forget now!). Elmtaryd was the name of the farm where Ingvar Kamprad grew up, and Agunnaryd is his home parish in Sweden.

55. Bulgarian or Czech : SLAV
The Slavic peoples are in the majority in communities covering over half of Europe. This large ethnic group is traditionally broken down into three smaller groups:

– the West Slavic (including Czechs and Poles)
– the East Slavic (including Russians and Ukrainians)
– the South Slavic (including Bulgarians and Serbs)

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Shaggy’s nickname for his canine friend : SCOOB
6. Winnie-the-___ : POOH
10. Did cartoons, e.g. : DREW
14. “A Fish Called ___” : WANDA
15. The “A” in A.D. : ANNO
16. Letter before kappa : IOTA
17. Less friendly : ICIER
18. Mexican money : PESO
19. Hgts. : ALTS
20. Rapper who came to prominence as a member of the Wu-Tang Clan : GHOSTFACE KILLAH
23. Karate teacher : SENSEI
24. Pianist’s practice piece : ETUDE
25. Former Republican-turned-Democratic senator from Pennsylvania : ARLEN SPECTER
30. Blouse undergarment : BRA
33. Suffix with absorb : -ENT
34. Skylit rooms : ATRIA
35. Little ‘uns : RUGRATS
38. Mouths, slangily : KISSERS
40. Neither this nor that : OTHER
41. 104, in old Rome : CIV
42. “You betcha!” : YEP
43. Form of sparring : SHADOWBOXING
48. Golf legend Sam : SNEAD
49. Kitt who sang “Santa Baby” : EARTHA
53. Whiskey or vodka : DISTILLED SPIRIT
57. Tulsa’s home: Abbr. : OKLA
58. Potpourri : OLIO
59. Intends (to) : PLANS
60. ___ moss : PEAT
61. Dispatched : SENT
62. Skip over, as a vowel : ELIDE
63. Roof overhang : EAVE
64. Focus for an arborist : TREE
65. Screenwriter Ephron : DELIA

Down
1. Drinks from a flask, say : SWIGS
2. Storage for fast Web page retrieval : CACHE
3. “America’s Finest News Source,” with “The” : ONION
4. Ukrainian port whose staircase is a setting for “The Battleship Potemkin” : ODESSA
5. Trade : BARTER
6. “Come to ___” : PAPA
7. Words below the Lincoln Memorial : ONE CENT
8. Beginnings : ONSETS
9. Begin a tryst : HOOK UP
10. Language offshoots : DIALECTS
11. Go round and round : ROLL
12. Blues singer James : ETTA
13. Laundry : WASH
21. ___-O-Fish (McDonald’s sandwich) : FILET
22. Outputs of brainstorming : IDEAS
26. Nav. rank : ENS
27. Deuce topper : TREY
28. What Dubliners call their homeland : EIRE
29. Speak with laryngitis, say : RASP
30. Homies : BROS
31. Hitter of 714 home runs : RUTH
32. Ottoman official : AGHA
36. It leans to the right : RED STATE
37. Rice-___ : A-RONI
38. “Kid-tested, mother-approved” cereal : KIX
39. Brown, Dartmouth, etc. : IVIES
41. Opiate often used in cough syrup : CODEINE
44. Lament of the defeated : WE LOST
45. One playing hoops : BALLER
46. Snoozed : NAPPED
47. Cover on the front of a car : GRILLE
50. One might be made of bread crumbs : TRAIL
51. Language of India : HINDI
52. Confused : AT SEA
53. Extraordinary, in slang : DOPE
54. European-based furniture giant : IKEA
55. Bulgarian or Czech : SLAV
56. Focus lovingly (on) : DOTE

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