0731-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 31 Jul 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: Michael Sharp (aka Rex Parker)
THEME: Rear-End Damage … each of the theme answers has a word at the “rear-end” that can describe damage a car might incur in a collision:

64A. Causes of some rear-end damage, as represented by the rear ends of 18-, 22-, 38- and 58-Across : COLLISIONS

18A. Gotham district attorney who becomes Batman’s nemesis Two-Face : HARVEY DENT
22A. Central figure in a Clement C. Moore poem : SAINT NICK
38A. Barely legible handwriting : CHICKEN SCRATCH
58A. Having razzle-dazzle, to a Rat Packer : RING-A-DING

COMPLETION TIME: 8m 43s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

15. Uptight, informally : ANAL
Our use of the word “anal” is an abbreviated form of “anal-retentive”, a term derived from Freudian psychology.

16. Birthplace of Obama’s father : KENYA
Barack Obama, Sr. was first married at the age of 18 in his home country of Kenya, and had two children during that marriage. He left his wife and children back in Kenya when he enrolled in the University of Hawaii in 1959 as the school’s first African foreign student. There Obama met Ann Dunham in a Russian language course. The two entered into a romantic relationship and Dunham became pregnant. Obama told Dunham that he was divorced from his first wife (not true), and the pair were married on Maui in 1961. Six months later Barack Obama II was born, destined to be come the 44th President of the United States. Soon after the birth of their child, Ann Dunham moved with their son to Seattle, Washington. The couple were divorced in 1964.

18. Gotham district attorney who becomes Batman’s nemesis Two-Face : HARVEY DENT
In the Batman storyline, Harvey Dent was the squeaky-clean District Attorney of Gotham City. Dent worked alongside Batman to fight the city’s crime. However, during a trial of a mob boss, the defendant throws acid at him and scars the left side of Dent’s face. Dent loses his mind and becomes a criminal, calling himself “Two-Face” because of his unfortunate facial features. Two-Face decides whether to do good or evil deeds by flipping a coin.

20. ___ Millan, TV’s “dog whisperer” : CESAR
Cesar Millan is the real name of television’s “dog whisperer”. Millan has been working with overly aggressive dogs on his show “Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan” since 2004. Millan was an illegal immigrant from Mexico in the US back in 1990, became legal in 2000 and then became a US citizen in 2009.

21. Immune system agent : T CELL
T cells are a group of white blood cells that are essential components of the body’s immune system. T cells are so called because they mature in the thymus, a specialized organ found in the chest.

22. Central figure in a Clement C. Moore poem : SAINT NICK
The poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” was published anonymously in 1823, and is better known today by its first line “‘Twas the night before Christmas”. Most scholars believe that the poem was written by Clement Clark Moore, a theologian from New York City. Others say that it was written by Henry Livingston, Jr. a poet from Upstate New York.

27. Vardalos of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” : NIA
Not only was the delightful Nia Vardalos the star of the 2002 hit movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, she also wrote the screenplay. The film never made it to number one at the box office, but it still pulled in more money than any other movie in history that didn’t make it to number one. That record I think reflects the fact that the film wasn’t a blockbuster but rather a so-called “sleeper hit”, a movie that people went to see based on referrals from friends. The big fat mistake came when a spin-off TV show was launched, “My Big Fat Greek Life”. It ran for only 7 episodes.

28. Org. for docs : AMA
The American Medical Association (AMA) was founded in 1847 at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. The first female member was allowed to join in 1868, but the first African American members weren’t admitted until one hundred years later, in 1968.

29. Turner memoir : I, TINA
“I, Tina” is the 1986 autobiography of Tina Turner. The book was so successful, it was adapted into a movie called “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” The film version was released in 1993 and starring Angela Bassett as Tina Turner.

Tina Turner is actually a stage name used by Anna Mae Bullock, the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll”. Turner has always loved Europe and moved there in the eighties. She now splits her time between her homes in England, France and Switzerland.

32. Museum guide : DOCENT
Museum docents are people who serve as guides for visitors to their institutions, usually providing their services for free. The term “docent” comes from the Latin “docere” meaning “to teach”.

43. Venetian transport : GONDOLA
The city of Venice in northeast Italy is built in a saltwater lagoon on the Adriatic Coast on 117 small islands. The classic transportation along the waterways is the gondola, but this is really only used for tourists these days, and by locals on ceremonial occasions. Most residents of Venice rely on motorized waterbuses.

44. Former Israeli P.M. Barak : EHUD
Ehud Barak served as Prime Minister of Israel from 1999 to 2001. Barak left office after he called a special election for Prime Minister and lost the vote to Ariel Sharon. He resigned from the Knesset and took an advisory job with the US company Electronic Data Systems (EDS), and did some security-related work with a private equity company. In 2007, Barak took over leadership of Israel’s Labor Party and is now the country’s Minister of Defense.

49. Sans-___ (kind of typeface) : -SERIF
Serifs are details on the ends of characters in some typefaces. Typefaces without serifs are known as sans-serif (using the French word “sans” meaning “without”). Some people say that serif fonts are easier to read on paper, whereas sans-serif fonts work better on a computer screen. I’m not so sure though …

52. Game with 108 cards : UNO
In my youth I remember being taught a great card game by a German acquaintance of mine, a game called Mau Mau. Years later I discovered that Uno is basically the same game, but played with a purpose-printed deck instead of the regular deck of playing cards that’s used for Mau Mau.

53. Runner Sebastian : COE
Sebastian Coe is a retired middle distance runner from the UK who won four Olympic medals including golds in the 1500m in 1980 and 1984. After retiring from athletics he went into politics and served as a Member of Parliament from 1992 to 1997. He headed up London’s successful bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

58. Having razzle-dazzle, to a Rat Packer : RING-A-DING
I know there was a Frank Sinatra song called “Ring-a-Ding-Ding!”, and he of course was one of the famed Rat Pack. I suppose Sinatra might have used “ring-a-ding” as an adjective to mean “razzle-dazzle”, but I am not sure …

63. “The Lady ___” : IN RED
“The Lady in Red” is a lovely ballad written and performed by Irish-English singer Chris de Burgh. It was released in 1986 and made it to number one in some parts of the world, but only number three in the US.

67. Jamie ___, oldest pitcher in major-league history to win a game : MOYER
Jamie Moyer is a free agent professional baseball pitcher. When he played his most recent game in May of 2012, Moyer was the oldest player in the majors.

68. “Shaft” composer Hayes : ISAAC
Isaac Hayes was a soul singer and songwriter. Hayes wrote the score for the 1971 film “Shaft”, and the enduring “Theme from ‘Shaft'” won him an Academy Award in 1972.

70. Director Lee : SPIKE
Shelton Jackson Lee is the real name of Spike Lee, the film director and producer. Lee’s first feature-length film, released in 1986, was “She’s Gotta Have It”. Lee shot the film in just twelve days, helping keep the movie within its relatively small budget of only $175,000. It grossed over $7 million …

72. School for English princes : ETON
The world-famous Eton College is just a brisk walk from Windsor Castle, which itself is just outside London. Eton is noted for producing many British leaders including David Cameron who took power in the last UK general election. The list of Old Etonians also includes Princes William and Harry, the Duke of Wellington, George Orwell, and the creator of James Bond, Ian Fleming (as well as 007 himself as described in the Fleming novels).

Down
5. Like atria : SKYLIT
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.

6. Hit 2012 film with a talking stuffed bear : TED
“Ted” is a movie written, directed, produced and starring Seth MacFarlane. In the story, MacFarlane voices a teddy bear who is the best friend of a character played by Mark Wahlberg.

8. Mimicking bird : MYNA
Some species of myna (also “mynah”) bird are known for their ability to imitate sounds.

10. Early phonograph : VICTROLA
The Victrola was a phonograph in which the turntable and horn could be hidden away in a wooden cabinet. The brand name is derived from the manufacturer’s name, the Victor Talking Machine Company.

11. Eclipse, to some : OMEN
A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes into the shadow cast by the earth from the light of the sun, in other words when the earth is positioned directly between the sun and the moon. The more spectacular solar eclipse takes place when moon passes in front of the sun, so that the earth falls into the shadow cast by the moon.

12. Trig function : COSINE
As we all remember from geometry class, when we have any right-angled triangle, if you divide the length of its adjacent side by the length of the hypotenuse, the resulting ratio is called the cosine. We all do remember that, don’t we …?

13. Pain relief brand : ANACIN
Anacin is a pain reliever, with aspirin and caffeine as active ingredients.

19. Geared to 1st-12th grades : ELHI
“Elhi” is an informal word used to describe anything related to schooling from grades 1 through 12, i.e. elementary through high school.

23. Low 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.

24. Joker : WAG
A “wag” or a “card” is a very amusing person, often quite eccentric.

30. Taboos : NO-NOS
The word “taboo” was introduced into English by Captain Cook in his book “A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean”. He described “tabu” (likely imitative of a Tongan word that he had heard) as something that was both consecrated and forbidden.

33. Suffix with spermato- : -CYTE
A spermatocyte is an intermediate in the production of sperm cells.

35. Buster Brown’s dog : TIGE
“Buster Brown” was a comic strip created in 1902 by Felton Outcault. Outcault took his name Buster from the very popular film star at the time, Buster Keaton. Buster’s dog, Tige, was an American Pit Bull Terrier. Apparently when Tige started to “talk” in the strip, he became the first talking pet in American comics.

45. Anonymous John : DOE
Though the English court system does not use the term today, John Doe first appeared as the “name of a person unknown” in England in 1659, along with another unknown, Richard Roe. Joe Blow is just a variant of John Doe, and Jane Doe is an unknown female.

46. Theater drops : SCRIMS
“Scrim” is the name given to that transparent fabric that hangs down onto a stage, often used with special lighting for various effects.

48. English king said to have died from eating a “surfeit of lampreys” : HENRY I
Henry I of England was a son of William the Conqueror. According to legend, Henry died from eating “a surfeit of lampreys”, or more likely food poisoning. Lampreys are sort of a cross between a fish and an eel in appearance.

51. Seasonal threats : FLUS
Influenza is an ailment that is caused by a virus. The virus is readily inactivated by the use of soap, so washing hands and surfaces is especially helpful in containing flu outbreaks.

57. Japanese cartoon art : ANIME
Anime is animation in the style of Japanese Manga comic books.

The Japanese word “manga” means “whimsical pictures” and is an apt term to describe the Japanese style of comic book. Manga publications are more diverse than American comic books and have a larger audience. Manga cover many subjects including romance, sports, business, horror, and mystery.

59. Computer whiz : GEEK
The original “geek” was a sideshow performer, perhaps at a circus.

60. Prominent part of a Groucho disguise : NOSE
Groucho glasses are a novelty disguise consisting of glasses attached to a plastic nose with a moustache and eyebrows included. The design is of course inspired by the comic appearance that Groucho Marx assumed in his movies.

66. Obama, Biden or McCain (but not Palin), in 2008: Abbr. : SEN
President Obama served three terms in the Illinois State Senate, from 1997 to 2004. He ran unsuccessfully for the US House of Representatives in 2000, and then successfully for the US Senate in 2004. Famously, then-State Senator Obama delivered the keynote address to the Democratic National Convention in 2004, just a few months before winning that US Senate seat.

Vice President Joe Biden was a US Senator representing the state of Delaware from 1973 until he joined the Obama administration. While he was a senator, Vice President Biden commuted to Washington from Wilmington, Delaware almost every working day. He was such an active customer and supporter of Amtrak that the Wilmington Station was renamed as the Joseph R. Biden Railroad Station in 2011. Biden has made over 7,000 trips from that station, and the Amtrak crews were known to even hold the last train for a few minutes so that he could catch it. Biden earned himself the nickname “Amtrak Joe”.

John McCain went into the US Naval Academy in 1958, following a family tradition as his father and grandfather were both four-star admirals. The younger McCain did not achieve the same rank, retiring from the Navy as a captain in 1981, but his career development was interrupted by almost six years spent as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.

When John McCain selected Sarah Palin as candidate for Vice President in the 2008 presidential election, she became the first Alaskan to go on the national ticket for a major party. She also became the first woman nominated for Vice President by the Republican Party.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. 10K, e.g. : RACE
5. Walk heavily : STOMP
10. Words, words, words: Abbr. : VOCAB
15. Uptight, informally : ANAL
16. Birthplace of Obama’s father : KENYA
17. “___ roll!” : I’M ON A
18. Gotham district attorney who becomes Batman’s nemesis Two-Face : HARVEY DENT
20. ___ Millan, TV’s “dog whisperer” : CESAR
21. Immune system agent : T CELL
22. Central figure in a Clement C. Moore poem : SAINT NICK
24. Adore : WORSHIP
26. Propeller for a 43-Across : OAR
27. Vardalos of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” : NIA
28. Org. for docs : AMA
29. Turner memoir : I, TINA
32. Museum guide : DOCENT
34. Central part of an argument : GIST
36. How some chew gum or talk on cellphones : NOISILY
38. Barely legible handwriting : CHICKEN SCRATCH
43. Venetian transport : GONDOLA
44. Former Israeli P.M. Barak : EHUD
46. Plot : SCHEME
49. Sans-___ (kind of typeface) : -SERIF
52. Game with 108 cards : UNO
53. Runner Sebastian : COE
54. Amigo : PAL
56. Blow up : ENLARGE
58. Having razzle-dazzle, to a Rat Packer : RING-A-DING
62. Slangy expression of ignorance : DUNNO
63. “The Lady ___” : IN RED
64. Causes of some rear-end damage, as represented by the rear ends of 18-, 22-, 38- and 58-Across : COLLISIONS
67. Jamie ___, oldest pitcher in major-league history to win a game : MOYER
68. “Shaft” composer Hayes : ISAAC
69. Remote button : MUTE
70. Director Lee : SPIKE
71. Lure : TEMPT
72. School for English princes : ETON

Down
1. Cheerleader’s cry : RAH
2. Structural : ANATOMIC
3. Cause for emergency vehicles or a tow truck : CAR CRASH
4. North Pole workers : ELVES
5. Like atria : SKYLIT
6. Hit 2012 film with a talking stuffed bear : TED
7. Small bills : ONES
8. Mimicking bird : MYNA
9. Place to sunbathe or barbecue : PATIO
10. Early phonograph : VICTROLA
11. Eclipse, to some : OMEN
12. Trig function : COSINE
13. Pain relief brand : ANACIN
14. Threaten, dog-style : BARK AT
19. Geared to 1st-12th grades : ELHI
23. Low point : NADIR
24. Joker : WAG
25. Yearned (for) : PINED
30. Taboos : NO-NOS
31. Airplane seating option : AISLE
33. Suffix with spermato- : -CYTE
35. Buster Brown’s dog : TIGE
37. Fright : SCARE
39. Amigo : COMPADRE
40. Work, as dough : KNEAD
41. Produce in large quantities : CHURN OUT
42. Kept : HUNG ONTO
45. Anonymous John : DOE
46. Theater drops : SCRIMS
47. Like arcade games : COIN-OP
48. English king said to have died from eating a “surfeit of lampreys” : HENRY I
50. Bring charges against : INDICT
51. Seasonal threats : FLUS
55. Legally allowed : LICIT
57. Japanese cartoon art : ANIME
59. Computer whiz : GEEK
60. Prominent part of a Groucho disguise : NOSE
61. Razzle-dazzle : GLAM
65. Drink like a cat : LAP
66. Obama, Biden or McCain (but not Palin), in 2008: Abbr. : SEN

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