0509-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 9 May 12, Wednesday

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: Eshan Mitra
THEME: S-sound to Z-sound … each of the theme answers is derived from a common expression that ends with an “s” sound. The last word have been changed in each expression so that it now ends with a “z” sound, and is clues accordingly:

17A. What company bosses do for employees? : SET THE PAYS (set the pace)
23A. Best meal of a cow’s life? : AMAZING GRAZE (“Amazing Grace”)
37A. Having a successful theater career? : IN THE RIGHT PLAYS (in the right place)
45A. Guantánamo and others? : MILITARY BAYS (military base)
57A. The second round of betting, for one? : POKER PHASE (poker face)

COMPLETION TIME: 10m 01s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1. Townsman in “Fiddler on the Roof” : RABBI
The enduring musical “Fiddler on the Roof” is based on a collection of stories by Sholem Alecheim about Tevye, a milkman in Tsarist Russia. The musical version of the tales first opened on Broadway in 1964. “Fiddler on the Roof” had such a long run that it became the first musical to reach 3,000 performances.

14. Quarter Pounder topper : ONION
The Quarter Pounder sandwich was created just down the road here, in a McDonald’s restaurant in Fremont, California. The franchise owner felt that there was a market for a hamburger with more meat in the bun, and so introduced a meat patty that weighed a quarter pound prior to cooking. He advertised the Quarter Pounder in his restaurant using the slogan, “Today Fremont, tomorrow the world”. Prophetic words …

15. City founded by King Harald III : OSLO
Oslo, the capital of Norway, is an ancient city that was founded around 1048. The medieval city was destroyed by fire in 1624, and was rebuilt by the Danish-Norwegian king Christian IV and renamed Christiana. In 1877 there was an official change of the spelling to “Kristiana”, and then more recently in 1925 the name was restored to the original Oslo. Things have almost gone full circle for now the center of Oslo, the area that would have been contained by the original medieval walls, has apparently been renamed Christiana.

19. What comes as a relief?: Abbr. : FEMA
Federal emergency management has been structured for over 200 years, but what we know today as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was created in 1979 in an Executive Order issued by President Jimmy Carter.

21. Hexagonal state : UTAH
The state of Utah does indeed have six sides to it. It’s almost shaped like a rectangle, but there is a “bite” out of that rectangle in the northeast corner of the state.

23. Best meal of a cow’s life? : AMAZING GRAZE (“Amazing Grace”)
“Amazing Grace” is a very, very famous hymn, with words written by John Newton in 1779. The words have been set to a number of different melodies, but what we are used to hearing is that of a tune named “New Britain”.

29. Flatow of NPR : IRA
“Science Friday” is an excellent talk show broadcast every Friday on NPR, and hosted by Ira Flatow. Flatow is known on television as the host of “Newton’s Apple”, which ran from 1983 to 1998.

31. Star followers : MAGI
“Magi” is the plural of the Latin word “magus”, a term applied to someone who was able to read the stars. Hence, magi is commonly used with reference to the “wise men from the East” who followed the star and visited Jesus soon after he was born.

33. With 56-Across, a Monopoly order : GO TO
The commercial game of Monopoly is supposedly a remake of “The Landlord’s Game” created in 1903 by a Quaker woman called Lizzie Phillips. Phillips used her game as a tool to explain the single tax theory of American economist Henry George. The Landlord’s Game was first produced commercially in 1924. The incredibly successful derivative game called Monopoly was introduced in 1933 by Charles Darrow, making him a very rich man when Parker Brothers bought the rights to the game just two years later in 1935.

40. Christmas : NOEL
“Noël” is the French word for the Christmas season, ultimately coming from the Latin word for “birth”, “natalis”. Noel has come to be used as an alternative name for a Christmas carol.

41. Virginie, par exemple : ETAT
In French, Virginia (Virginie) is a state (état).

45. Guantánamo and others? : MILITARY BAYS (military base)
The Guantánamo Bay Naval Base is often referred to by using abbreviation “GTMO” or simply “Gitmo”. Gitmo is the oldest overseas base operated by the navy and dates back to the Cuban-American Treaty of 1903, at which time the US leased the facility as a fueling station. A perpetual lease was offered by Tomas Estrada Palma, the first President of Cuba, after the US took over control of Cuba from Spain following the Spanish-American War of 1898.

52. Hindi relative : URDU
Urdu is one of the two official languages of Pakistan (the other being English). Urdu partly developed from Persian and, as such, it is written from right to left.

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).

53. Center of a Trivial Pursuit board : HUB
Trivial Pursuit was invented in 1979 by two Canadians from Montreal. The pair decided to come up with their own game after they discovered that there were pieces missing from the game of Scrabble that they wanted to play. There was a full blown launch of a commercial version of the game in 1982. In 2008, Hasbro bought the complete rights to Trivial Pursuit, for US$80 million.

60. Common enemy in Dungeons & Dragons : OGRE
Dungeons & Dragons is a complex role-playing game first published in 1974, by Tactical Studies Rules Incorporated (TSR). It was probably the first of the modern role-playing games to be developed, and the most successful. It is still played by lots of people today, including my nerdy son …

63. Great American Ball Park team : REDS
Great American Ball Park is named after Great American Insurance Group. Pity really, as it is such a grand name for a baseball field. Oh, and it is of course home to the Cincinnati Reds.

64. Pink-slips : CANS
The term “pink slip” can be used as a verb meaning “to terminate an employee”. No one really seems to know for sure where the term originated, but there are lots of stories.

Down
1. Parks in Alabama : ROSA
Rosa Parks was one of a few brave women in days gone by who refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white woman. It was the stand taken by Rosa Parks on December 1, 1955 that sparked the Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott. President Clinton presented Ms. Parks with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996. When she died in 2005, Rosa Parks became the first ever woman to have her body lie in honor in the US Capital Rotunda.

4. Autonomous computer program : BOT
A bot is computer program that is designed to imitate human behavior. It might “crawl” around the Web doing searches, for example, or it might participate in discussions in chat rooms by giving pre-programmed responses.

6. Birthstone for most Scorpios : TOPAZ
Here is the “official” list of birthstones by month, that we tend to use today:

January: Garnet
February: Amethyst
March: Bloodstone or Aquamarine
April: Diamond
May: Emerald
June: Pearl or Moonstone
July: Ruby
August: Sardonyx or Peridot
September: Sapphire or Lapis Lazuli
October: Opal or Pink Tourmaline
November: Topaz or Citrine
December: Turquoise or Zircon (also now, Tanzanite)

7. Japanese beer brand : ASAHI
Asahi is a beer, and the name of the brewery that produces it. “Asahi” is Japanese for “morning sun”. Asahi introduced a “dry beer” in 1987, igniting a craze that rocketed the brewery to the number one spot in terms of beer production in Japan, with Sapporo close behind.

9. Stats in Street Fighter : KOS
Street Fighter is a video game from Japan. It was first introduced in arcades in 1987, and over 33 million copies of the game have been sold to private consumers.

10. “Aladdin” villain : JAFAR
Jafar is the bad guy in the animated film “Aladdin”. He was important enough to get his name front and center in the sequel “Aladdin 2”, which is usually referred to as “The Return of Jafar”.

11. Strauss’s “Die Fledermaus,” for one : OPERA
“Die Fledermaus” is a really lovely operetta composed by Johann Strauss II, first performed in 1874. “Fledermaus” is German for “bat” (literally “flying mouse”). The title comes from the fact that one of the characters (Falke) was abandoned drunk, dressed as a bat, in the center of town one evening. As he was subject to ridicule, the machinations of the story are designed as revenge for Falke’s humiliation.

12. Mr. Addams of “The Addams Family” : GOMEZ
Chas Addams was a cartoonist. He didn’t draw a cartoon strip, but rather individual cartoons, although many of his cartoons did feature regular characters. His most famous characters were the members of the Addams Family, who were published in single-panel cartoons between 1938 and 1988 (when Addams died) in “The New Yorker”. The Addams Family moved onto the small and big screens starting in 1964.

18. Citation abbreviation : ET AL
Et alii (et al.) is the equivalent of et cetera (etc.), with et cetera being used in place of a list of objects, and et alii used for a list of names. In fact “et al.” can stand for et alii (for a group of males, or males and females), aliae (for a group of women) and et alia (for a group of neuter nouns, or for a group of people where the intent is to retain gender-neutrality).

22. Green org.? : PGA
The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) was founded in 1916, and today has its headquarters (unsurprisingly) in Florida, where so many golfers live. Back in 1916, the association was based in New York City.

23. Menotti title character : AMAHL
The composer Gian Carlo Menotti won a Pulitzer Prize in 1950 for his opera “The Consul”. His “Amahl and the Night Visitors” has a special place in the repertoire, in that it is the first opera specifically composed for American television. It was commissioned by NBC and had its debut at the NBC studios in Rockefeller Center on Christmas Eve, 1951. In today’s world of commercially-driven television, I can’t imagine a network commissioning another classical work …

32. ___ Khan : AGA
Aga Khan is a hereditary title of the Imam of a large sect within the Shi’a Muslim faith. The current Aga Khan is Shah Karim al-Hussayni, who has held the position since 1957.

35. Phoenician port : TYRE
Tyre is an ancient Phoenician city, and today is the fourth largest city in Lebanon. The city’s name “Tyre” means “rock”, a reference to the rocky outcrop on which the original city was built.

36. Bears, in Bolivia : OSOS
In Spanish, “osa” is a female bear, and “oso” is a male.

38. Iran’s ___ Shah Pahlavi : REZA
The last Shah of Iran was Mohammed-Reza Shah Pahlavi, who was overthrown by the revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini 1979. The post-revolution government sought the extradition of the Shah back to Iran while he was in the United States seeking medical care (he had cancer). His prolonged stay in the United States, recovering from surgery, caused some unrest back in Iran and resentment towards the United States. Some say that this precipitated the storming of the US Embassy in Tehran and the resulting hostage crisis.

44. Baghdad’s ___ City : SADR
Abulhassan Banisadr is an Iranian politician. Banisadr served as the first President of Iran after the Iranian Revolution in 1979 that overthrew the monarchy. As President he fell out of favor with revolution’s leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, and had to flee the country in 1981. He now lives in a villa in Versailles outside Paris, with protection provided by French police.

46. JPEG, e.g. : IMAGE
An image file on a computer can be compressed so that it takes up less space. Some time the compression is “lossless” meaning even though the file is compressed, and data it is discarded, the image still looks the same. One example of data that can be discarded without loss of quality, is to not bother recording the color information of pixels that are the same color as others. Just saying “this pixel is the same is that one” takes up less space. One can compress files even more if one allows loss of quality. One well known compression algorithm that is “lossy” is the jpeg format. The person compressing the file can decide how much quality will suffer in jpeg format, with larger, compressed files being of higher quality than the smaller ones.

47. Scottish landowner : LAIRD
“Laird” is just the word “lord” in the local English dialect in Scotland and the north of England.

48. Kauai and others : ISLES
Because the island of Kauai is one of the wettest places on earth, all the rainfall has helped to carve out magnificent canyons and left superb waterfalls. It’s a common backdrop for movies.

49. Home to nearly 600 miles of the Alaska Highway : YUKON
The Alaska Highway is also known as the Alaska-Canadian Highway or ALCAN Highway. A highway connecting the contiguous United States to Alaska was proposed in the twenties, but the Canadian authorities didn’t believe the project had much merit as the road would be used by very few of its citizens. The perceived importance of the route increased during WWII, and President Roosevelt deemed the road a strategic necessity so he made a deal with Canada. The cost of construction would be born by the US, but the road and related facilities were to be handed over to Canada at the end of the war. The project was accelerated when the Japanese invaded and occupied Kiska and Attu Islands in the Aleutians. The road of course has been improved and is still in use today, and forms part of what is popularly known as the Pan-American Highway, which runs from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to the south of Argentina or Chile, depending on how the route is defined.

57. ___-Man : PAC
The Pac-Man arcade game was first released in Japan in 1980, and is as popular today as it ever was. The game features characters that are maneuvered around the screen to eat up dots and earn points. The name comes from the Japanese folk hero “Paku”, known for his voracious appetite.

58. Czech surname suffix : -OVA
The “-ova” suffix used in Czech names has become somewhat of a hot topic in recent years. Traditionally, Czech women take the name of their husbands when they marry, as many people do here in the west. However, the husband’s name is usually appended with the suffix “-ova” for the female, so the couple end up with two different names. Many consider this naming tradition to be sexist.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Townsman in “Fiddler on the Roof” : RABBI
6. Agenda item : TASK
10. Does laps, maybe : JOGS
14. Quarter Pounder topper : ONION
15. City founded by King Harald III : OSLO
16. Per : A POP
17. What company bosses do for employees? : SET THE PAYS (set the pace)
19. What comes as a relief?: Abbr. : FEMA
20. Wonder : AWE
21. Hexagonal state : UTAH
22. Trimmed : PARED
23. Best meal of a cow’s life? : AMAZING GRAZE (“Amazing Grace”)
26. Fox or ox : MAMMAL
29. Flatow of NPR : IRA
30. ___-American : ASIAN
31. Star followers : MAGI
33. With 56-Across, a Monopoly order : GO TO
37. Having a successful theater career? : IN THE RIGHT PLAYS (in the right place)
40. Christmas : NOEL
41. Virginie, par exemple : ETAT
42. Like the décor in ’50s-themed diners : RETRO
43. Suffix with personal : -IZE
44. Has a hunch : SENSES
45. Guantánamo and others? : MILITARY BAYS (military base)
51. Build up : AMASS
52. Hindi relative : URDU
53. Center of a Trivial Pursuit board : HUB
56. See 33-Across : JAIL
57. The second round of betting, for one? : POKER PHASE (poker face)
60. Common enemy in Dungeons & Dragons : OGRE
61. Declare : AVOW
62. Went like molasses : OOZED
63. Great American Ball Park team : REDS
64. Pink-slips : CANS
65. Requires : NEEDS

Down
1. Parks in Alabama : ROSA
2. Once more : ANEW
3. Fisher’s wish : BITE
4. Autonomous computer program : BOT
5. Barbaric : INHUMANE
6. Birthstone for most Scorpios : TOPAZ
7. Japanese beer brand : ASAHI
8. Tricky : SLY
9. Stats in Street Fighter : KOS
10. “Aladdin” villain : JAFAR
11. Strauss’s “Die Fledermaus,” for one : OPERA
12. Mr. Addams of “The Addams Family” : GOMEZ
13. Garden tool : SPADE
18. Citation abbreviation : ET AL
22. Green org.? : PGA
23. Menotti title character : AMAHL
24. Comment to one who’s retiring, informally : ‘NIGHT
25. Sandpaper surface : GRIT
26. Alternative name for 1st Street, often : MAIN
27. ___ other (uniquely) : AS NO
28. Itty-bitty biter : MITE
31. Kind of saw : MITER
32. ___ Khan : AGA
33. Streams often run through them : GLENS
34. Cereal staple : OATS
35. Phoenician port : TYRE
36. Bears, in Bolivia : OSOS
38. Iran’s ___ Shah Pahlavi : REZA
39. Hunt for, as game : PREY UPON
43. “___ party time!” : IT’S
44. Baghdad’s ___ City : SADR
45. Big-time : MAJOR
46. JPEG, e.g. : IMAGE
47. Scottish landowner : LAIRD
48. Kauai and others : ISLES
49. Home to nearly 600 miles of the Alaska Highway : YUKON
50. Makes, as beer : BREWS
53. Smog : HAZE
54. Not mint : USED
55. Some are kings and queens : BEDS
57. ___-Man : PAC
58. Czech surname suffix : -OVA
59. Garden tool : HOE

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