0604-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 4 Jun 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: John R. O’Brien
THEME: Planets … all of the theme answers feature one of the planets in our solar system:

17A. A classic beauty who is not all there : VENUS DE MILO
27A. Booster of the Apollo space program : SATURN ROCKET
48A. 1960s-’70s Ford Company model : MERCURY COMET
65A. Milky Way bars and others : MARS CANDIES

COMPLETION TIME: 5m 35s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
5. Czech capital : PRAGUE
The beautiful city of Prague is today the capital of the Czech Republic. Prague’s prominence in Europe has come and gone over the centuries. For many years it was the capital of the Holy Roman Empire.

11. Banned organic compound, for short : PCB
Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) …

14. TV’s warrior princess : XENA
Lucy Lawless is a New Zealand actress (and singer), famous for playing the title role in TV’s “Xena: Warrior Princess”. Lawless first played the Xena character in a made-for-TV movie called “Hercules and the Amazon Women”, and later reprised the role in a series called “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”. Xena became so popular that a series was built around her character, with Lawless retained for the role.

17. A classic beauty who is not all there : VENUS DE MILO
The famous “Venus de Milo” is so named as she was discovered in the ruins of the ancient city of Milos, on the Aegean island of the same name. I’ve been lucky enough to see the statue, in the Louvre in Paris, and was surprised at how large it is (6 ft 8 in tall).

19. Satellite-based navigation aid, in brief : GPS
GPS stands for Global Positioning System. The modern GPS system that we use today was built by the US military who received the massive funding needed because of fears during the Cold War of the use of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. We civilians, all round the world, owe a lot to President Ronald Reagan because he directed the military to make GPS technology available to the public for the common good. He was moved to do so after the Soviet Union shot down KAL flight 007 carrying 269 people, just because it accidentally strayed into Soviet airspace.

20. That is, in Latin : ID EST
i.e. = id est = that is …

21. Plains tribe : OTO
The Otoe (also Oto) Native American tribe originated in the Great Lakes region as part of the Winnebago or Siouan tribes. The group that would become the Otoe broke away from the Winnebago and migrated southwestwards ending up in the Great Plains. In the plains the Otoe adopted a semi-nomadic lifestyle dependent on the horse, with the American bison becoming central to their diet.

22. Wrap worn in India : SARI
The item of clothing called a sari (also saree) is a strip of cloth, as one might imagine, unusual perhaps in that is unstitched along the whole of its length. It can range from four to nine meters long (that’s a lot of material!). The sari is usually wrapped around the waist, then draped over the shoulder leaving the midriff bare. I must say, it can be a beautiful item of clothing.

27. Booster of the Apollo space program : SATURN ROCKET
The Saturn rocket boosters came out of a US program to build launch vehicles, although the development team was largely German, led by Wernher von Braun. The Saturn boosters were originally developed as launch vehicles for military satellites but were quickly pressed into use for the Apollo program in the 1960s, and very successful they were too!

34. Younger brother of Cain and Abel : SETH
According to the Bible, Seth was the third son of Adam and Eve, coming after Cain and Abel. Seth is the only other child of Adam and Eve who is mentioned by name. According to the Book of Genesis, Seth was born after Cain had slain his brother Abel.

35. Lowest point : NADIR
The nadir is the direction pointing immediately below a particular location (through to the other side of the Earth for example). The opposite direction, that pointing immediately above, is called the zenith.

39. Country on the south side of Mount Everest : NEPAL
Nepal lies to the northeast of India. Today it is known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. In 2008, the Communist Party of Nepal won the country’s general election. Soon after, the Assembly voted to change the form of government, moving away from a monarchy and creating a secular republic.

42. Chinese philosopher ___-tzu : LAO
Lao Tse (also Lao-Tsu) is a central figure in the development of the religion/philosophy of Taoism.

43. Lopez with the 1963 hit “If I Had a Hammer” : TRINI
Trini Lopez is a noted singer and guitarist from Dallas, Texas. He is perhaps best known for his international hit “If I Had a Hammer” from 1963, as well as “Lemon Tree” from 1965.

44. Spanish artist El ___ : GRECO
“El Greco” (“the Greek”, in Spanish) was the nickname of the artist whose real name was Domenikos Theotokopoulos. El Greco was born in Crete in 1541, and moved to Venice to study art when he was in his early twenties. A few years later he moved to the city of Toledo in central Spain, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life.

45. Colored part of the eye : IRIS
The iris is the colored part of the eye with an aperture in the center that can open or close depending on the level of light hitting the eye.

47. Lead-in to maniac or surfing : EGO
We’ve all done it, googling our own names to see what comes up. It’s called “ego surfing”.

48. 1960s-’70s Ford Company model : MERCURY COMET
The Mercury Comet was produced by Ford from 1960-1969, and then again from 1971-1977. Back in 2010 it was reported that a woman in Florida was still driving her Mercury Comet, a vehicle that she had purchased new in 1964. It had over 560,000 miles on the odometer.

52. Microscopic blob : AMOEBA
An ameba (or “amoeba” as we spell it back in Ireland) is a single-celled microorganism. The name comes from the Greek “amoibe”, meaning change. The name is quite apt, as the cell changes shape readily as the ameba moves, eats and reproduces.

55. West Coast travel hub, informally : LAX
Los Angeles International Airport is the sixth busiest airport in the world in terms of passenger traffic, and the busiest here on the West Coast of the US. The airport was opened in 1930 as Mines Field, and was renamed to Los Angeles Airport in 1941. On the airport property is the iconic white structure that resembles a flying saucer. This is called the Theme Building and I believe it is mainly used as a restaurant and observation deck for the public. The airport used to be identified by the letters “LA” but, when the aviation industry went to a three-letter standard for airport identification, this was changed to “LAX”. Apparently the “X” has no significant meaning.

65. Milky Way bars and others : MARS CANDIES
Having lived on both sides of the Atlantic, I find the Mars Bar to be the most perplexing of candies! The original Mars Bar is a British confection (and delicious) first manufactured in 1932. The US version of the original Mars Bar is called a Milky Way. But there is candy bar called a Milky Way that is also produced in the UK, and it is completely different to its US cousin, being more like an American “3 Musketeers”. And then there is an American confection called a Mars Bar, something different again. No wonder I gave up eating candy bars …

68. With 53-Down, a coffee-flavored liqueur : TIA
(53D. See 68-Across : MARIA)
Tia Maria is a coffee liqueur, invented just after WWII in Jamaica, using Jamaica coffee beans. The name of course translates to “Aunt Maria”.

69. Some marbles : AGATES
A playing marble made from agate is called just that, an agate. Steelies on the other hand, are made from solid steel.

70. Book before Nehemiah : EZRA
In the Hebrew Bible the Book of Ezra was originally combined with the Book of Nehemiah, with the two being separated in the early days of the Christian Era.

73. River across the French/German border : SAAR
The Saar is a river that rises on the border between Alsace and Lorraine in France, flows through western Germany and finally entering the Moselle. Historically the Saar river valley was an important source for coal, iron and steel.

Down
2. Clarinet or sax : REED
The clarinet is a lovely-sounding instrument, isn’t it? The name comes from the Italian word “clarino” meaning “trumpet” with the “-et” suffix indicating “small”.

The saxophone was invented by the Belgian, Adolphe Sax. Sax developed lip cancer at one point in his life, and one has to wonder if that was related to his saxophone playing (I am sure not!). I had the privilege of visiting Sax’s grave in the Cemetery of Montmartre in Paris a few years ago.

3. Actress Hathaway : ANNE
The young actress Anne Hathaway is a favorite of mine, I must say. She starred in “The Devil Wears Prada” in 2006, and in 2007’s “Becoming Jane”, a film I particularly enjoyed.

4. Wisconsin city : WAUSAU
The Wausau Insurance company is now part of Liberty Mutual. Wausau Insurance started out in the early 1900s as Employers Insurance of Wausau, in the city of Wausau, Winsconsin. The company eventually changed its name to Wausau Insurance, and nationwide advertising campaigns put the city on the map.

5. What an M.A. might go on to earn : PHD
PhD is an abbreviation for “philosphiae doctor”, Latin for “teacher of philosophy”.

10. Fairness-in-hiring inits. : EEO
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) is a term that has been around since 1964 when the Equal Employment Commission was set up by the Civil Rights Act.

11. Polytheistic : PAGAN
A pagan is someone who holds religious beliefs that are different from the main religions of the world. In classical Latin “paganus” was a villager, a rustic.

12. Blue Grotto’s island : CAPRI
The island of Capri off the coast of Southern Italy has been a tourist resort since the days of ancient Rome. Capri is home to the famous Blue Grotto, a sea cave that is illuminated with sunlight that’s colored blue as it passes through the seawater into the cave.

22. Indian instrument : SITAR
The sitar has been around since the Middle Ages. It is a stringed instrument that is played by plucking, and is used most often in Hindustani classical music. In the West we have been exposed to the sitar largely through the performances of Ravi Shankar and some music by George Harrison of the Beatles, a one-time student of Shankar.

26. Period after Shrove Tuesday : LENT
In Latin, the Christian season that is now called Lent was termed “quadragesima” (meaning “fortieth”), a reference to the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert before beginning his public ministry. When the church began its move in the Middle Ages towards using the vernacular, the term “Lent” was introduced. “Lent” comes from “lenz”, the German word for “spring”.

“To shrive” is to obtain absolution by confessing and doing penance. The past tense of “shrive” is “shrove”. The verb gives its name to Shrove Tuesday, the day before the season of fasting known as Lent. Shrove Tuesday is named in recognition of the early Christian tradition of confessing the week before Lent.

28. Taiwan-based computer giant : ACER
I am typing away right now in an Acer laptop, for my money the most reliable machine at the best price. Acer is a Taiwanese company that I used to visit a lot when I was in the electronics business. I was very impressed with the company’s dedication to quality, and haven’t been let down since.

31. Japanese port : OTARU
The city and port of Otaru is just a 25-minute drive northwest from Sapporo. Like it’s larger neighbor, Sapporo, Otaru has a famous beer named after it.

36. “Carpe ___” : DIEM
“Carpe diem” is a quotation from Horace, one of Ancient Rome’s leading lyric poets. “Carpe diem” translates from Latin as “seize the day” or “enjoy the day”.

37. Playwright William : INGE
Playwright William Inge had a run of success on Broadway in the early fifties. His most celebrated work of that time was the play “Picnic”, for which he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. The original 1953 cast of “Picnic” included a young male actor making his debut on Broadway, and his name was Paul Newman.

40. High points : ACMES
The “acme” is the highest point, coming from the Greek word “akme” which has the same meaning.

41. Richard ___, Clarence Darrow defendant : LOEB
Nathaniel Leopold and Richard Loeb were two well-heeled students at the University of Chicago who famously murdered a 14-year-old boy, apparently just on a whim, to show that they could commit the perfect crime. The crime turned out to be not quite so perfect and the pair were caught and put on trial for the murder. The trial was big news, especially after the defendants engaged high-profile attorney Clarence Durrow to represent them. In fact, the court proceedings were dubbed “The Trial of the Century”. The crime itself was the inspiration for the 1929 play called “Rope” by Patrick Hamilton, which in turn was the inspiration for the 1948 Hitchcock film of the same name.

46. Word part: Abbr. : SYL
Syllable (syl).

50. Battle of Normandy city : CAEN
Caen, on the River Orne, lies in the Calvados department of France in the northwest of the country. Caen is famous for the WWII Battle of Caen that left the town practically destroyed. Caen is also the burial place of the Norman King William I of England, also known as William the Conqueror after his victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

51. Rust and lime : OXIDES
Rust is iron oxide, and lime is calcium oxide (or sometimes calcium hydroxide).

54. ___ the Grouch : OSCAR
Oscar the Grouch is the Muppet that lives in a garbage can. His persona comes from various sources. He is named after Oscar Brand, one of the board members of the Children’s Television Workshop, the backers for Sesame Street as the Muppets were being developed in the sixties. Oscar’s personality was inspired by an angry waiter that once served Jim Henson (father of the Muppets). And the voice was modeled on a grumpy New York cab driver encountered one day by Carroll Spinney, the puppeteer who performs Oscar (if that’s the right term!).

58. Modern Persia : IRAN
Before 1935, the country we know today as Iran was called Persia by the Western world. The official name of the country since the Iranian Revolution of 1979 is the “Islamic Republic of Iran”.

59. Italian wine city : ASTI
Asti is in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. It is perhaps most famous for its Asti Spumante sparkling white wine.

61. Egyptian pyramid city : GIZA
Giza is located on the west bank of the Nile, about 20km southwest of Cairo. The nearby Giza Plateau is home to some of the most amazing ancient monuments on the planet, including the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Great Sphinx.

62. Wife of Zeus : HERA
In Greek mythology, Hera was the wife of Zeus and was noted for her jealousy and vengeful nature, particularly against those who vied for the affections of her husband. The equivalent character in Roman mythology was Juno. Hera was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea.

63. Old Russian despot : TSAR
The term czar (also tsar) is a Slavic word, and was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. “Czar” is derived from the word Caesar, which was synonymous with emperor at that time.

65. “What, me worry?” magazine : MAD
“What, me worry?” was the signature phrase used by Alfred E. Neuman, the icon of “Mad” magazine.

Alfred E. Neuman is the mascot of “Mad” magazine, although the image of the smiling, jug-eared youth had been around for decades before the magazine. “Mad” first used the likeness in 1955, and young Mr. Neuman has appeared on the cover of almost every issue since then. Neuman’s name was inspired by American composer Alfred Newman, a prolific writer of film scores.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Stick in one’s ___ : CRAW
5. Czech capital : PRAGUE
11. Banned organic compound, for short : PCB
14. TV’s warrior princess : XENA
15. Compassionate : HUMANE
16. Kind of baseball or battery : AAA
17. A classic beauty who is not all there : VENUS DE MILO
19. Satellite-based navigation aid, in brief : GPS
20. That is, in Latin : ID EST
21. Plains tribe : OTO
22. Wrap worn in India : SARI
23. Broadcast : AIR
25. Mini-hospital : CLINIC
27. Booster of the Apollo space program : SATURN ROCKET
33. Frigid : ICY
34. Younger brother of Cain and Abel : SETH
35. Lowest point : NADIR
39. Country on the south side of Mount Everest : NEPAL
42. Chinese philosopher ___-tzu : LAO
43. Lopez with the 1963 hit “If I Had a Hammer” : TRINI
44. Spanish artist El ___ : GRECO
45. Colored part of the eye : IRIS
47. Lead-in to maniac or surfing : EGO
48. 1960s-’70s Ford Company model : MERCURY COMET
52. Microscopic blob : AMOEBA
55. West Coast travel hub, informally : LAX
56. “Largemouth” fish : BASS
57. By way of : VIA
60. Number in an octet : EIGHT
64. Many a line on a flight route map : ARC
65. Milky Way bars and others : MARS CANDIES
68. With 53-Down, a coffee-flavored liqueur : TIA
69. Some marbles : AGATES
70. Book before Nehemiah : EZRA
71. Floppy rabbit feature : EAR
72. Refuses to acknowledge : DENIES
73. River across the French/German border : SAAR

Down
1. 116, in ancient Rome : CXVI
2. Clarinet or sax : REED
3. Actress Hathaway : ANNE
4. Wisconsin city : WAUSAU
5. What an M.A. might go on to earn : PHD
6. Regret : RUE
7. Bullets, informally : AMMO
8. Walk or trot : GAIT
9. Open with a key : UNLOCK
10. Fairness-in-hiring inits. : EEO
11. Polytheistic : PAGAN
12. Blue Grotto’s island : CAPRI
13. Fundamental : BASIC
18. Use a swizzle stick : STIR
22. Indian instrument : SITAR
24. E.R. workers : RNS
26. Period after Shrove Tuesday : LENT
27. Be in a 32-Down, e.g. : SING
28. Taiwan-based computer giant : ACER
29. Genre : TYPE
30. Archaeologist’s find : RELIC
31. Japanese port : OTARU
32. Group in church robes : CHOIR
36. “Carpe ___” : DIEM
37. Playwright William : INGE
38. Hilarious one : RIOT
40. High points : ACMES
41. Richard ___, Clarence Darrow defendant : LOEB
46. Word part: Abbr. : SYL
49. Wreak havoc on : RAVAGE
50. Battle of Normandy city : CAEN
51. Rust and lime : OXIDES
52. Diminish : ABATE
53. See 68-Across : MARIA
54. ___ the Grouch : OSCAR
58. Modern Persia : IRAN
59. Italian wine city : ASTI
61. Egyptian pyramid city : GIZA
62. Wife of Zeus : HERA
63. Old Russian despot : TSAR
65. “What, me worry?” magazine : MAD
66. So-so grade : CEE
67. Donkey : ASS

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