0721-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 21 Jul 12, Saturday

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Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
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CROSSWORD SETTER: Joe DiPietro
THEME: None
COMPLETION TIME: 35m 24s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Powerful voting bloc : HISPANICS
“Hispanic” comes from the Latin word for “Spain”, and refers all Spanish-speaking peoples around the world. “Latino” refers to people from Latin America, who might not necessarily speak Spanish (e.g. Brazilians).

15. Fast-food slogan : I’M LOVIN’ IT
“I’m lovin’ it” is a tag line used by McDonald’s.

17. Musical work that includes “Willow, Tit-Willow” : THE MIKADO
“The Mikado” is a wonderful comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan, set in the exotic location of Japan. “Mikado” is a former term for the “Emperor of Japan”.

“Tit Willow” is a song from Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Mikado”. The song refers to the Willow Tit, a small bird found right across Europe and Asia.

20. Job largely automated these days: Abbr. : OPER
I think the reference is to a telephone operator’s job …

21. Gal asked to “lay down” in a Clapton song : SALLY
“Lay Down Sally” is a fabulous song co-written by Eric Clapton, and recorded by him in 1977.

Can you believe that Eric Clapton only had one chart-topper in the US? In 1974 he released a cover version of the Bob Marley classic “I Shot the Sheriff”, and ended up selling more copies of that song than Bob Marley did himself.

24. Ways, for short : MOS
“Modus operandi” is the Latin for “mode of operating”, a term we’ve been using since the mid-1600s. It’s often used by the police when referring to the methods typically employed by a particular perpetrator of a crime, and is usually abbreviated to “M.O.”

37. Overhead ___ : CAM
Cams are wheels found on the cam shaft of a car’s engine that are eccentric in shape rather than circular. The rotation of the cams causes the intake and exhaust valves of the cylinders to open and close.

39. Like pueblos : OCHRE
A pueblo is a Native American village, a term used in the American Southwest. The buildings in a pueblo are usually made of stone and adobe mud, and hence are ochre in color.

40. Gong : TAMTAM
A tamtam is a percussion instrument, similar to a gong.

47. Pull-___ : TAB
The oldest method of opening a can with a device included in the can’s design is the pull-tab or ring pull, invented in Canada in 1956. The design was long-lived but it had its problems, so the world heaved a sigh of relief with the invention of the stay-on-tab in 1975. The new design led to less injuries and eliminated all those used pull-tabs that littered the streets.

50. King of Norway, 1957-91 : OLAF V
Olaf V was the King of Norway from 1957 until he died in 1991. He was a very popular man, and his popularity earned him the nickname the “People’s King”. In a 2005 poll, the country chose him as “Norwegian of the Century”.

53. See 54-Across : NILE
Depending on definition, the Nile is generally regarded as the longest river on the planet. The Nile forms from two major tributaries, the White Nile and the Blue Nile, which join together near Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. From Khartoum the Nile flows north, traveling almost entirely through desert making it central to life for the peoples living along its length.

54. 53-Across menaces : ASPS
The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.

58. Prefix with -lithic : PALEO-
The Paleolithic Age is a period of human history lasting from about 2.6 million to about 10,000 years ago. The Paleolithic Age is noted as the time when humans started using stone tools. The word “Paleolithic” comes from the Greek “palaios” meaning “old” and “lithos” meaning “stone”, so the term really translates as “Old Stone Age”.

62. 2012 election issue : OBAMACARE
The correct name for what has been dubbed “Obamacare” is the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”.

63. Worker bees, e.g. : CASTE
The bees in a hive are divided into three castes, three societal levels:

– a queen bee
– female worker bees
– male drones

64. Kevin Bacon film of 2000 : MY DOG SKIP
“My Dog Skip” is a film released in 2000 that is based on a memoir by Willie Morris. Both film and book tell the story of Morris at about the age of nine growing up with his dog in Yazoo City, Mississippi. In the book Skip is a Fox Terrier, but in the movie Skip is a  Jack Russell.

Down
1. Modern measures of popularity : HITS
How popular a website is, is measured by the number of “hits” it gets in a given time, the number of times it is visited.

2. Internet commenter’s initialism : IMHO
In my humble opinion (IMHO).

4. Pooches with turned-up tails : POMS
The Pomeranian is a breed of small dog, named for the Pomerania region of Europe (part of eastern Germany and northern Poland). The breed was much loved by the royalty of Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. In the 19th century, Queen Victoria owned a particularly small Pomeranian. Due to the notoriety of the monarch’s pet, the Pomeranian was bred for small size, so that during the Queen’s admittedly long reign, the size of the average “pom” was reduced by 50% …

5. Flying start? : AVI-
The prefix “avi-” means “bird-related”, as in “aviculture”, the breeding of birds.

6. Greek prince ___ Cassadine, longtime “General Hospital” character : NIKOLAS
The daytime soap opera “General Hospital” is the longest running such drama still in production in the US, and is second longest running television soap opera in the world (after the UK’s famous “Coronation Street”).

10. E.P.A. targets : PCBS
Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) …

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was set up during the Nixon administration and began operation at the end of 1970.

13. Old vaudevillian catcall : HELLO, NURSE!
In the days of vaudeville it was very common to see a voluptuous actress come onto stage wearing a nurse’s uniform, at which point the other (male) characters on the stage would call out “Hello, nurse!”

22. Mountain on the Armenian coat of arms : ARARAT
Mount Ararat is in Turkey. Ararat is a snow-capped dormant volcano with two peaks. The higher of the two, Greater Ararat, is the tallest peak in the country. Ararat takes its name from a legendary Armenian hero called Ara the Beautiful (also known as Ara the Handsome).

Armenia is a landlocked country found east of Turkey, and is a former Soviet Republic. Back in the year 301CE, the ancient Kingdom of Armenia became the first nation in the world to adopt Christianity as its national religion.

26. Singer/dancer/actress once called the “Queen of Las Vegas” : LOLA FALANA
Lola Falana is a singer, dancer and actress who grew up in Philadelphia. In the sixties Falana had an affair with, and later became good friends with, Sammy Davis Jr. Davis helped get her act into Las Vegas where she it very successful, eventually earning Falana the nickname “Queen of Las Vegas”. With her success came money, and so she became the highest paid female performer in Vegas at that time. Sadly, Falana suffers from multiple sclerosis, a disease that forced her to cut short her career as an entertainer.

28. “Night Music” playwright : ODETS
Clifford Odets was a playwright, screenwriter and director from Philadelphia. “Waiting for Lefty” was the first play by Clifford Odets that made it to stage, in 1935. The storyline deals with cab drivers who are planning a strike. Famously, the play breaks through the “fourth wall” by placing actors within the audience who react to the action taking place on the stage.

31. Gambling mecca : MACAU
Macau (also Macao) was a Portuguese colony, the first European colony in China, established in the 16th century. Macau was handed back to the Chinese in 1999, two years after Hong Kong was returned by the British. That made Macau the last European colony in China. Today Macau’s economy is driven by tourism and gambling.

35. Insignia on Pirates uniforms : PEES
The Pittsburgh Pirates were an early team in the National Baseball League, joining in 1887 just six years after the league was formed. The Pirates played in the first ever World Series, in 1903, and actually won their first World Series in 1909.

43. It may be said con flores : YO TE AMO
In Spanish one might say “I love you” (you te amo) with flowers (con flores).

49. Pink Nintendo title character : KIRBY
Kirby is the main character in a whole series of video games from Nintendo. Apparently Kirby is one of Nintendo’s most well-known characters. Personally, I had never heard of him before he turned up in a crossword …

56. ___ passu (equably) : PARI
“Pari passu” is Latin for “with an equal step” and is used in the sense of “ranking equally” or “without preference”.

60. ___ wheels : MAG
Mag wheels are often used on racing cars. They are made from a magnesium alloy, giving them their name. But beware, they are flammable and have been banned in many motor-sports in the UK.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Powerful voting bloc : HISPANICS
10. Ways : PATHS
15. Fast-food slogan : I’M LOVIN’ IT
16. Odious one : CREEP
17. Musical work that includes “Willow, Tit-Willow” : THE MIKADO
18. Woman’s name meaning “beautiful” : BELLA
19. Promulgates : SOWS
20. Job largely automated these days: Abbr. : OPER
21. Gal asked to “lay down” in a Clapton song : SALLY
22. They’re set : ALARMS
24. Ways, for short : MOS
25. #2 or #3, say : ALSO-RAN
29. Doormats, of a sort : YES MEN
32. Vendor’s condition : SOLD AS IS
34. Flirt with : CHAT UP
36. Better with deception : SLIER
37. Overhead ___ : CAM
39. Like pueblos : OCHRE
40. Gong : TAMTAM
42. Union demand : PAY RAISE
44. Rot : FESTER
46. Objects in some Japanese art : LOTUSES
47. Pull-___ : TAB
48. Become friends with : TAKE TO
50. King of Norway, 1957-91 : OLAF V
53. See 54-Across : NILE
54. 53-Across menaces : ASPS
58. Prefix with -lithic : PALEO-
59. Mr. Handsome : DREAMBOAT
61. Bay, say : INLET
62. 2012 election issue : OBAMACARE
63. Worker bees, e.g. : CASTE
64. Kevin Bacon film of 2000 : MY DOG SKIP

Down
1. Modern measures of popularity : HITS
2. Internet commenter’s initialism : IMHO
3. Knocked off : SLEW
4. Pooches with turned-up tails : POMS
5. Flying start? : AVI-
6. Greek prince ___ Cassadine, longtime “General Hospital” character : NIKOLAS
7. Opposite of collected : IN A PANIC
8. Hard ___ : CIDER
9. Violent : STORMY
10. E.P.A. targets : PCBS
11. Info in an apartment ad : AREA
12. “I want to know …” : TELL ME THIS
13. Old vaudevillian catcall : HELLO, NURSE!
14. Prevents from littering : SPAYS
22. Mountain on the Armenian coat of arms : ARARAT
23. Jiff : SEC
25. Aide, in ads : ASST
26. Singer/dancer/actress once called the “Queen of Las Vegas” : LOLA FALANA
27. Odious ones : SLIMEBALLS
28. “Night Music” playwright : ODETS
30. Feature of pop and rock? : SHORT O
31. Gambling mecca : MACAU
33. Dupe : SAP
35. Insignia on Pirates uniforms : PEES
38. Hero player : MALE LEAD
41. Satisfied : MET
43. It may be said con flores : YO TE AMO
45. What a gun may be fired at? : RANDOM
47. Something to talk about : TOPIC
49. Pink Nintendo title character : KIRBY
51. Shuffled pair : FEET
52. What a 25-Across may have lost : VOTE
54. Basics : ABCS
55. Overcharge : SOAK
56. ___ passu (equably) : PARI
57. Repeated cry in an exercise class : STEP
60. ___ wheels : MAG

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