0905-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 5 Sep 12, Wednesday

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Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
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CROSSWORD SETTER: Paula Gamache
THEME: B-Vowel Sounds … each of the theme answers starts with a word beginning with the letter B, followed by each of the vowel sounds in order:

18A. Unflashy coat : BEIGE PAINT (B + “A” sound …)
23A. Phenomenon evidenced in the 2011 film subtitled “Never Say Never” : BIEBER FEVER (B + “E” sound …)
36A. “Sorry I paid for that” feeling : BUYER’S REMORSE (B + “I” sound …)
50A. Actor in “The Fabulous Baker Boys” : BEAU BRIDGES (B + “O” sound …)
56A. Toady : BOOT LICKER (B + “U” sound …)

COMPLETION TIME: 10m 42s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Visa/MC alternative : AMEX
Amex is short for American Express. There are more transactions conducted in the US using the Amex card than any other (in dollar terms).

5. Threesome on a clipper : MASTS
A clipper was a sailing ship commonly crossing the seas in the 19th century. Clippers were built for speed, so were narrow and had less room for carrying freight than many vessels used in trade. They were developed largely due to the demand for speedy delivery of fresh tea from China to Europe. The name comes from the term “to clip” meaning to move swiftly (as in “at a clip”). Perhaps the most famous clipper ship is the Cutty Sark built in 1869, the last clipper to be built as a merchant vessel. The Cutty Sark owes her fame to the fact that she is on display as a museum ship in a dry dock in Greenwich in London.

16. Company with a cat in its logo : PUMA
Puma is a German company that sells athletic shoes worldwide, but is famous for soccer boots.

23. Phenomenon evidenced in the 2011 film subtitled “Never Say Never” : BIEBER FEVER (B + “E” sound …)
“Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” is a 3-D concert film released in 2011 featuring the young pop idol. I saw Justin Bieber on television a while back for the first time, and boy do I feel old. This heartthrob from Canada was born in 1994(!), and he is recording hit after hit. Me, I’ll stick with the Beatles …

26. Outback runner : EMU
The emu has had a tough time in Australia since man settled there. There was even an “Emu War” in Western Australia in 1932 when migrating emus competed with livestock for water and food. Soldiers were sent in and used machine guns in an unsuccessful attempt to drive off the “invading force”. The emus were clever, breaking their usual formation and adopting guerrilla tactics, operating as smaller units. After 50 days of “war”, the military withdrew. Subsequent requests by farmers for military help were ignored. The emus had emerged victorious …

In Australia, the land outside of urban area is referred to as “the outback” or “the bush”, although I think that “outback” can also be used just for the more remote parts of the bush.

29. Eponym of a Venetian basilica : ST MARK
St. Mark’s Basilica is the Roman Catholic cathedral in the the city of Venice, Italy. In front of the basilica is the Piazza San Marco, the city’s main public square. St. Mark’s Square is a remarkable urban space in Europe as the sound of the human voice dominates, rather than the sound of traffic.

30. Aristotle who named his yacht Christina after his daughter : ONASSIS
Aristotle Onassis was born to a successful Greek shipping entrepreneur in Smyrna in modern-day Turkey. However, his family lost its fortune during WWI and Onassis had to start in business from the bottom. Aristotle worked with his father and built up a new business empire centered on the importation of tobacco. In 1957 Aristotle founded the Greek national airline, what is today called Olympic Air, and he also got into the business of shipping oil around the world. He married Athina Livanos in 1946, the daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate. They had two children, including the famous Christina Onassis. Livanos divorced Onassis though, on discovering him in bed with the opera singer Maria Callas. Onassis ended his affair with Callas in order to marry Jackie Kennedy in 1968.

32. Div. for the Mets : NL EAST
The New York Mets baseball team was founded in 1962, a replacement for two teams that the city had lost, namely the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants. For several years the Mets played very poorly, finishing no better than second to last in their division. Then of course along came the “Miracle Mets” in 1969, who beat the Baltimore Orioles to claim the World Series in a huge upset.

35. ___ Reader : UTNE
The “Utne Reader” is known for aggregation and republishing of articles on politics, culture and the environment from other sources in the media. The “Utne Reader” was founded in 1984, with “Utne” being the family name of the couple that started the publication.

40. Circle dance : HORA
The hora (also “horah”) is a circle dance that originated in the Balkans. The hora was brought to Israel by Romanian settlers, and is often performed to traditional Israeli folk songs. The dance is a regular sight at Jewish weddings.

42. French artist Pierre : BONNARD
Pierre Bonnard was a French painter active in the first half of the 20th century. Bonnard was noted for using his wife Marthe as a model in many of his works.

45. Watery-eyed : RHEUMY
Rheum is a watery discharge that comes from the eyes or the nose.

50. Actor in “The Fabulous Baker Boys” : BEAU BRIDGES (B + “O” sound …)
The actor Beau Bridges is the son of actor Lloyd Bridges, and brother of actor Jeff Bridges. Beau’s best-known role is perhaps for playing one of “The Fabulous Bakker Boys” alongside brother Jeff.

53. French possessive : SES
“Ses” is the French word for “his”, “her” or “its”, when referring to a group of items.

54. Amazonas and others : RIOS
The Amazon (“Amazona”) is a river (“rio”) … in Spanish.

The Amazon River of South America is the world’s largest in terms of volume, and accounts for an amazing one-fifth of the world’s total river flow. Perhaps even more amazing is that there are no bridges across the Amazon! There isn’t even one, mainly because the river flows through tropical rainforest where there are few roads and cities.

55. It covered Pompeii : ASH
The ancient city of Pompeii is situated close to Naples in Italy. Pompeii was destroyed in AD 79 by the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius. The city was completely lost from that time, and was only rediscovered in 1748. Excavations have uncovered the remarkably well-preserved buildings and roads, and Pompeii now attracts over 2 million visitors annually.

60. “___ virumque cano” (first words of the “Aeneid”) : ARMA
“The Aeneid” is Virgil’s epic poem that tells of the journey of Aeneas, a Trojan who traveled to Italy to become the ancestor of all Romans. “The Aeneid” begins with the words “Arma virumque cano …”, which translates as “I sing of arms and of a man …”

61. “Hair” do : AFRO
The full name of the famed stage show from the sixties is “Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical”. This controversial work outraged many when it was first performed in the sixties as it attacked many aspects of life at the time. For example, the song “Air” is a satirical look at pollution, sung by a character who comes onto the stage wearing a gas mask. The opening lines are “Welcome, sulfur dioxide. Hello carbon monoxide. The air … is everywhere”. How things have changed in fifty years said he, satirically! I’ve never had the chance to see “Hair” in a live production, but it’s on “the bucket list” …

62. Sex researcher Hite : SHERE
Shere Hite is a German sex educator, although she was born in the US. Hite’s work focuses on sexual experience and what meaning it holds for an individual.

63. Lone Star State sch. : UTEP
The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) was founded in 1914, originally as the Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy. To this day there is a mineshaft on the campus, and the mascot of the school’s sports teams is Paydirt Pete, a prospector from the mining industy.

Down
1. Extemporizes : AD LIBS
“Ad libitum” is a Latin phrase meaning “at one’s pleasure”. In common usage the phrase is usually shortened to “ad lib”. On the stage the concept of an “ad lib” is very familiar. For example, an actor may substitute his or her own words for forgotten lines using an ad lib, or a director may instruct an actor to use his or her own words at a particular point in a performance to promote a sense of spontaneity.

3. Artist with the #1 albums “Relapse” (2009) and “Recovery” (2010) : EMINEM
Eminem’s real name is Marshall Mathers, a native of Saint Joseph, Missouri. Mathers grew up poor, raised by a single-mom as the family was abandoned by his father when he was 18 months old. Marshall and his mother moved around the country before settling in a suburb of Detroit. He didn’t do well at school, and dropped out at the age of 17. But in the end he made it pretty big …

4. Check alternative? : X IN
I think that “x in” is to make an alternative mark, instead of a check mark …

5. Crime family head : MA BARKER
Ma Barker was the mother of several children who became notorious criminals in the early thirties. Collectively they ran what was known as the Barker Gang and plied their trade in the US Midwest.

8. Dress (up) : TOG
The verb “tog”, meaning to dress up, comes from the Latin “toga”. “Tog” can be use as an informal word for a coat or a cloak. Back in Ireland, togs are what we call swimming shorts.

9. “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” setting : SWEDEN
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is a sensational hit novel by the Swedish author Stieg Larsson, originally titled in Swedish as “Men Who Hate Women”. It is the first in a trilogy of successful books, all of which were only published after Larsson’s death.

10. Kindle Fire competitor : IPAD
The very exciting iPad isn’t Apple’s first foray into the world of tablet computing. Apple created great buzz by introducing the Newton MessagePad way back in 1993. This innovative machine was fraught with problems and really died a very slow death, finally being withdrawn from the market in 1998.

The Kindle Fire is a tablet computer version of the highly successful Kindle e-book reader. If you’re looking for a tablet computer at a very reasonable price, then the Fire is hard to pass up. Amazon’s strategy is to sell the Fire at little or no profit, with the intent of selling more Amazon products, mainly digital content.

11. It makes MADD mad : DUI
In some states, there is no longer a legal difference between a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) and a DUI (Driving Under the Influence). Other states retain that difference, so that by definition a DUI is a lesser offence than a DWI.

Candice Lightner lost her 13-year-old child to a drink driver in 1980. Soon after, Lightner formed the group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

21. Country music’s Travis : MERLE
Merle Travis was a country singer from Rosewood, Kentucky. One of Travis’s most famous songs is “Sixteen Tons”.

24. Tree with aerial roots : BANYAN
The banyan is a fig, and germinates in cracks and crevices of a host tree and then sends roots down towards the ground. The roots that head down the the host give rise to a familiar name for the banyan: the strangler fig.

33. Carne ___ (Mexican dish) : ASADA
Carne Asada translates from Spanish as “roasted meat”, and is a roast beef dish.

34. Indian honorific : SRI
“Sri” is a title of respect for a male in India.

37. Samovars : URNS
The samovar originated in Russia, and is often a very elegant water boiler, usually for making tea. As such, there is often an attachment on top to keep a teapot warm.

39. Milton’s “___ Blindness” : ON HIS
English poet John Milton is best known for his epic poem “Paradise Lost”. Milton also wrote several sonnets, the most famous of which is probably “On His Blindness”. The poet developed glaucoma which rendered him completely blind so he had to dictate a lot of his work, including the whole of “Paradise Lost”.

40. “Boardwalk Empire” airer : HBO
“Boardwalk Empire” is an HBO drama series set in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The storyline is set in the 1920s and 1930s during the Prohibition Era. The star of the show is Steve Buscemi.

43. Son of Eve : ABEL
The story of Cain and Abel not only appears in the Christian and Hebrew Bibles, it also features in the Qur’an. In the Muslim account the brothers are named Kabil and Habil.

46. Lorre’s role in “Casablanca” : UGARTE
Signor Ugarte is a wonderful character in the classic film “Casablanca”. Ugarte is played by Peter Lorre, and is the man who has possession of the crucial letters of transit that were obtained by murdering two German couriers.

The marvelous actor Peter Lorre was born in what is now modern-day Slovakia. Lorre’s real name was Laszlo Lowenstein. He started acting in Vienna when he was quite young, only 17 years old. When Hitler came to power, the Jewish Lowenstein headed to Paris and then London, eventually ending up in Hollywood. Lorre found himself typecast as the wicked foreigner in American movies, but I think he sneered and snarled his way to the bank.

47. Hypnotist whose name inspired a verb : MESMER
Franz Mesmer was a German physician, the person who first coined the phrase “animal magnetism”. Back then the term described a purported magnetic field that resided in the bodies of animate beings. Mesmer also lent his name to our term “mesmerize”.

51. “Family Matters” neighbor : URKEL
Steve Urkel is a character on the TV show “Family Matters” that aired in the late eighties and nineties. The Urkel character was the archetypal “geek”, played by Jaleel White. Urkel was originally written into the show’s storyline for just one episode, but before long Urkel was the show’s most popular recurring character.

52. Stella Artois, par exemple : BIERE
“Bière” is the French for “beer”.

The Belgian beer Stella Artois is named for the brewer Sebastianus Artois. Artois was the master brewer at the Den Horen Browery in Leuven, Belgium in the early 1700s. The Den Horen Brewery has been around at least since 1366 … yes, 1366!

56. ___-relief : BAS
In bas-relief an image projects just a little above the background, as in perhaps a head depicted on a coin.

59. Trib’s home : CHI
“The Chicago Tribune” was first published in 1847. The most famous edition of “The Trib” was probably in 1948 when the headline was “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN”, on the occasion of that year’s presidential election. When it turned out Truman had actually won, the victor picked up the paper with the erroneous headline and posed for photographs with it … a famous, famous photo, that must have stuck in the craw of the editor at the time.

60. Neighbor of Ger. : AUS
The name “Austria” is a Latin variant of the German name for the country: Österreich. “Österreich” itself means “Eastern borderlands”, a reference to the country’s history as a prefecture of neighboring Bavaria to the west.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Visa/MC alternative : AMEX
5. Threesome on a clipper : MASTS
10. Laid off : IDLE
14. Half at the start? : DEMI-
15. Tolerate : ALLOW
16. Company with a cat in its logo : PUMA
17. Been in bed (with) : LAIN
18. Unflashy coat : BEIGE PAINT (B + “A” sound …)
20. Where to find a keeper : INN
21. What to call a lady : MA’AM
22. Many a Cub Scout den leader : DAD
23. Phenomenon evidenced in the 2011 film subtitled “Never Say Never” : BIEBER FEVER (B + “E” sound …)
26. Outback runner : EMU
29. Eponym of a Venetian basilica : ST MARK
30. Aristotle who named his yacht Christina after his daughter : ONASSIS
32. Div. for the Mets : NL EAST
35. ___ Reader : UTNE
36. “Sorry I paid for that” feeling : BUYER’S REMORSE (B + “I” sound …)
40. Circle dance : HORA
41. Giving a leg up : AIDING
42. French artist Pierre : BONNARD
45. Watery-eyed : RHEUMY
49. Permits : OKS
50. Actor in “The Fabulous Baker Boys” : BEAU BRIDGES (B + “O” sound …)
53. French possessive : SES
54. Amazonas and others : RIOS
55. It covered Pompeii : ASH
56. Toady : BOOT LICKER (B + “U” sound …)
60. “___ virumque cano” (first words of the “Aeneid”) : ARMA
61. “Hair” do : AFRO
62. Sex researcher Hite : SHERE
63. Lone Star State sch. : UTEP
64. Flight level : STEP
65. Like many a Mediterranean roof : TILED
66. Dry as dust : SERE

Down
1. Extemporizes : AD LIBS
2. Speak with conviction : MEAN IT
3. Artist with the #1 albums “Relapse” (2009) and “Recovery” (2010) : EMINEM
4. Check alternative? : X IN
5. Crime family head : MA BARKER
6. Shake like ___ : A LEAF
7. Viciously denigrate : SLIME
8. Dress (up) : TOG
9. “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” setting : SWEDEN
10. Kindle Fire competitor : IPAD
11. It makes MADD mad : DUI
12. Three after K : LMN
13. Put away : EAT
19. Prefix with normal : PARA-
21. Country music’s Travis : MERLE
24. Tree with aerial roots : BANYAN
25. Went for a ticket, in a way : VOTED
26. Figs. that aren’t final : ESTS
27. Possible response to “Whose is this?” : MINE
28. Purpose : USE
31. Increased suddenly : SURGED
33. Carne ___ (Mexican dish) : ASADA
34. Indian honorific : SRI
36. It can be read on a 10-Down : BOOK
37. Samovars : URNS
38. Reflected : MIRRORED
39. Milton’s “___ Blindness” : ON HIS
40. “Boardwalk Empire” airer : HBO
43. Son of Eve : ABEL
44. Face down temptation : RESIST
46. Lorre’s role in “Casablanca” : UGARTE
47. Hypnotist whose name inspired a verb : MESMER
48. What a necklace with a pendant has : Y-SHAPE
51. “Family Matters” neighbor : URKEL
52. Stella Artois, par exemple : BIERE
53. “I’ve had enough!” : STOP
56. ___-relief : BAS
57. ___-times : OFT
58. Gold in them thar hills? : ORE
59. Trib’s home : CHI
60. Neighbor of Ger. : AUS

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