0908-12: New York Times Crossword Answers 8 Sep 12, Saturday

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Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
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CROSSWORD SETTER: Byron Walden
THEME: None
COMPLETION TIME: 33m 11s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0


Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. One of the housewives on “Desperate Housewives” : GABY
Gaby is the nickname of Gabrielle Solis, one of the main characters on television’s “Desperate Housewives”. Gaby is played by actress Eva Longoria.

During pre-production, the television show we know as “Desperate Housewives” was called “Wisteria Lane” and then “The Secret Lives of Housewives”.

15. Book with the chapter “How They Dress in Tahiti” : OMOO
Herman Melville mined his own experiences for his most famous novel, “Moby Dick”. Melville sailed from New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1841 on a whaler heading into the Pacific Ocean (a source for “Moby Dick”). Melville ended up deserting his ship 18 months later, and lived with natives on a South Pacific Island for three weeks (a source for “Typee”). He picked up another whaler and headed for Hawaii, where he joined the crew of a US navy frigate headed for Boston (a source for “Omoo”).

16. Emulated Anne Frank : KEPT A DIARY
Anne Frank has to be one of the most famous victims of the Holocaust. This is largely because the story of this young girl lives on in her widely published diary, and in adaptations of the diary for stage and screen. Anne Frank was a German until she lost her nationality in 1941 when the Nazis came to power. By this time she was living with her family in Amsterdam, as the Franks chose to flee Germany in 1933. When the Germans occupied the Netherlands, the family went into hiding in the attic of Otto Frank’s office building (Otto was Anne’s father). There the family hid for two whole years until they were betrayed. The family was split up, and Anne and her sister died from typhus in a concentration camp in 1945.

17. Take one’s lumps? : TONG
To tong is to use tongs, as in picking up a sugar lump perhaps.

18. Black piecrust component : OREO COOKIE
The Oreo was the best-selling cookie in the 20th century, and almost 500 billion of them have been sold since they were introduced in 1912 by Nabisco. In those early days the creme filling was made with pork fat, but today vegetable oils are used instead. If you take a bite out of an Oreo sold outside of America you might notice a difference from the homegrown cookie, as coconut oil is added in the overseas version to give a different taste.

21. Mockingbird prey : BEES
The New World birds known as mockingbirds are so named as some are known for mimicking the sounds of other birds, insects or amphibians.

22. Timon of Athens, e.g. : HERMIT
Timon of Athens was noted for renouncing society, for being someone who despised mankind. Timon started out life as a wealthy man, but he lost all his money by pandering to the needs of his friends. Without money, Timon’s friends deserted him. Timon became rich again when he found a pot of gold, and so his friends sought him out once more. Timon was very embittered and so drove everyone away and lived the rest of his life as a hermit. Centuries after he died, Timon of Athens was to become the title character in a play by William Shakespeare.

23. Trattoria order : PENNE
Cylindrical pasta is known in general as “penne”, and there are many variants. For example, Ziti is a particularly large and long tube with square-cut ends.

A trattoria is an Italian restaurant. In Italian, a “trattore” is the keeper of an eating house.

24. President who won 97.6% of the vote in 2007 : ASSAD
Dr. Bashar al-Assad is the current President of the Syrian Arab Republic and the son of the former President, Hafez al-Assad, whom he replaced in 2001. President Assad is a medical doctor, speaks fluent English and conversational French. Assad was studying ophthalmology in London when he met his wife, an Englishwoman.

25. Cameo voicer on Weird Al Yankovic’s “I Lost on Jeopardy” : PARDO
Don Pardo’s distinctive voice announces the show “Saturday Night Live, and has been doing so since the premiere episode that aired in 1975. Pardo has been the announcer for all the SNL shows except for the 1981-82 season. Pardo retired from NBC in 2004 and moved to Tucson, Arizona, but the producers of “Saturday Night Live” persuaded him to stay on as announcer for their show. He has a lifetime contract, one of only two people ever to have such an arrangement with NBC (the other was Bob Hope!). Pardo is still doing the job and celebrated his 90th birthday on air, blowing out candles on his birthday cake at the end of an episode of SNL.

“I Lost on Jeopardy” is a song written and performed by Weird Al Yankovic. One voice featured in the song is that of Don Pardo, the original announcer on the TV show “Jeopardy!”

32. George III descriptor : MAD
George III was King of Great Britain and Ireland until 1801, at which time he became the first king of the new state known as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. George III was on the throne during turbulent times. He saw Britain defeat France in the Seven Years’ War, Britain lose in the American War of Independence, and the defeat of Napoleon in the Battle of Waterloo. Famously, George became quite mad towards the end of his life. During that period, his eldest son George ruled as Prince Regent.

33. “O thou pale ___ that silent shines”: Burns : ORB
“O thou pale orb that silent shines” is a line from a song called “The Lament” written by Robert Burns.

37. Player who followed in Player’s footsteps : ELS
Ernie Els is a South African golfer. He’s a big guy but he has an easy fluid golf swing that has earned him the nickname “The Big Easy”. Els has a child who suffers from autism and the golfer has been very effective in raising money for charities that focus on the condition.

Gary Player is a professional golfer from South Africa. To me, Player has always come across as a real gentleman with a great personality. Living in South Africa and playing mainly in the US, he has logged over 15 million air miles, and that’s believed to be a record for any athlete.

38. Measure of thanks? : MIL
Thanks a mil …

39. People who need to find a john? : VICE COPS
A john is a slang term for a man who engages a prostitute.

41. Coin introduced by Louis IX : ECU
The ecu was an Old French coin. When introduced in 1640, the ecu was worth three livres (an older coin, called a “pound” in English). The word “ecu” comes from the Latin “scutum” meaning “shield”. The original ecu had a coat of arms on it, a shield.

Louis IX was the King of France from 1226 until 1270. Louis IX is the only king of France to have been made a saint. This Saint Louis was the man who gave his name to the city of St. Louis, Missouri.

47. Home of the Rugby League’s Rhinos : LEEDS
I went to school not far from Leeds in West Yorkshire in the north of England. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, Leeds was a major center for the production and trading of wool, and then with the onset mechanization it became a natural hub for manufacture of textiles.

49. Quarter : BILLET
A billet is a lodging for troops.

50. Pursuit of Pan : ECHO
In Greek mythology, Echo is one of the Oreads, the mountain nymphs. Echo fell in love with the vain Narcissus, and followed him into the forest one day. Narcissus heard her following him, and called out, “Who’s there?”. Echo answered, “Who’s there?” Again he called out, and again Echo echoed his words back to him. Get the gist?

In Greek mythology, Pan was a lecherous god, one who fell in love with Echo the mountain nymph. Echo refused Pan’s advances so that he became very angry. Pan’s anger created a “panic” (a word derived from the name “Pan”) and a group of shepherds were driven to kill Echo.

51. Sensor in a CD player : PHOTODIODE
A photodiode is an electronic component that is sensitive to light. When a photodiode is illuminated it changes its electrical resistance.

55. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame doo-wop group from Baltimore : THE ORIOLES
The Orioles were an R&B group in the forties and fifties, a group from Baltimore, Maryland. The Orioles were the first of a long list of musical groups that took birds names, such as the Cardinals, the Flamingos and the Ravens. One of the most famous recordings of the Orioles was “(It’s Gonna Be a) Lonely Christmas”.

58. Volunteer : TENNESSEAN
Tennessee uses the nickname “Volunteer State” as volunteer soldiers from Tennessee fought with valor during the War of 1812, especially during the Battle of New Orleans.

60. Obama and Clinton, for example : EX-SENATORS
Prior to becoming US President, Barack Obama was a US Senator for the state of Illinois. President Obama’s opponent for the nomination of the Democratic Party in the 2008 presidential election was Hillary Clinton, who was a senator for the state of New York.

Down
1. ___ journalism : GOTCHA
Gotcha journalism is the practice of interviewing someone with the intent of entrapping the interviewee, to extract a damaging statement of some sort. The term “gotcha” of course comes from “got you”.

2. Title shared by works of Ovid and D. H. Lawrence : AMORES
Ovid wrote a book of poems called “Amores”, as did the author D. H. Lawrence.

The Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso is today known simply as Ovid. Ovid is usually listed alongside the two other great Roman poets, Horace and Virgil.

D. H. Lawrence was a English writer active during the early days of the Industrial Revolution. Sadly, Lawrence died at a time when he was being widely ridiculed as a pornographer. One of his most respected works today, “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”, was officially labelled as obscene.

3. Faux pas : BONERS
The term “faux pas” is French in origin, and translates literally as “false step” (or “false steps”, as the plural has the same spelling).

“Boner” is one of those terms that I just don’t like because it can be used offensively. The usage in this case is short for “bone head”, which apparently is a slang term that originated in baseball.

4. Roll in a locker : YOGA MAT
In the West we tend to think of yoga as a physical discipline, a means of exercise that uses specific poses to stretch and strengthen muscles. While it is true that the ancient Indian practice of yoga does involve such physical discipline, the corporeal aspect of the practice plays a relatively small part in the whole philosophy. Other major components are meditation, ethical behavior, breathing and contemplation.

5. Sporty hybrid : SKORT
Skorts are a hybrid between shorts and a skirt.

6. Polo of “Little Fockers” : TERI
Teri Polo’s most prominent role on the big screen was Pam Focker in “Meet the Fockers” and its sequel. Pam is the wife of the character played by Ben Stiller.

8. Little Thief’s people : OTOS
Little Thief was a chief of the Oto Native American tribe, one who met with Lewis and Clark on their expedition through the American West.

9. Relative of a carp : DACE
Dace are small freshwater fish, such as minnow and carp.

11. Tantalus’ daughter : NIOBE
In Greek mythology, when her children were killed, Niobe fled to Mt. Sipylus where she was turned into stone and wept for eternity. There is in fact a Niobe’s Rock on Mt. Sipylus that resembles a female face, and so is known as “The Weeping Rock”.

In Greek mythology, Tantalus wanted to make an offering to the Olympic gods, Tantalus he cut up his son, Pelops, into pieces and made up a stew. After the boy’s shoulder was consumed, the gods stopped the feasting and reassembled the young victim’s body. They replaced Pelop’s shoulder with one made of ivory.

13. Partner of Connecticut and Vermont : ORIENTAL
Oriental Avenue, Connecticut Avenue and Vermont Avenue are all properties in the US version of the game of Monopoly. The street names in the US version of Monopoly are locations in or around Atlantic City, New Jersey.

25. “Home Alone” co-star : PESCI
Joe Pesci got his big break in movies with a supporting role in “Raging Bull” starring Robert De Niro, earning Pesci an Oscar nomination early in his career. There followed a string of gangster roles played alongside De Niro in the films “Once Upon a Time in America”, “Goodfellas” and “Casino”. But I like Pesci’s comedic acting best of all. He was marvelous in the “Home Alone” films, the “Lethal Weapon” series, and my personal favorite, “My Cousin Vinny”. Pesci gets a mention in the stage musical “Jersey Boys”, which isn’t too surprising as he is one of the show’s producers.

26. Texcoco denizen : AZTEC
Texcoco was a city-state that lay just northeast of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan.

The Aztec people of Central America dominated the region in the 14th – 16th centuries. Two traits of the Aztec people are oft cited today. They were builders of magnificent pyramids, and they also engaged in human sacrifice. For the consecration of the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan, 84,400 prisoners were sacrificed over a period of four days.

28. Character inspired by Fu Manchu : DR NO
“Dr. No” may have been the first film in the wildly successful James Bond franchise, but it was the sixth novel in the series of books penned by Ian Fleming. Fleming was inspired to write the story after reading the Fu Manchu tales by Sax Rohmer. If you’ve read the Rohmer books or seen the films, you’ll recognize the similarities between the characters Dr. No and Fu Manchu.

31. So-called “Wheat Capital of the United States” : ENID
Enid, Oklahoma takes its name from the old railroad station around which the city developed. Back in 1889, that train stop was called Skeleton Station. An official who didn’t like the name changed it to Enid Station, using a character from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King”. Maybe if he hadn’t changed the name, the city of Enid would now be called Skeleton! Enid, Oklahoma has the nickname “Queen Wheat City” because is has a huge capacity for storing grain, the third largest grain storage capacity in the world.

33. Frittata, e.g. : OMELETTE
The word “frittata” is Italian, and comes from “fritto” meaning “fried”.

34. General Mills offering : RICE CHEX
The original Chex cereal was introduced in 1937 by Ralston Purina. Ralston Purina had a logo with a checkerboard square on it, which gave the pattern to the cereal as well as its name. Chex used characters from the “Peanuts” comic strip in its advertising for many years.

35. University of Delaware athletes : BLUE HENS
The athletic teams of the University of Delaware are known as the Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens. The teams take their nickname from the Blue Hen of Delaware, a variety of chicken that has been the state bird of Delaware since 1939.

44. Nancy Drew’s aunt : ELOISE
I loved the Nancy Drew mysteries as a kid (I know, as a boy I “shouldn’t” have been reading them!). They were written by a number of ghost writers after the character was introduced by Edward Stratemeyer in 1930. Nancy’s Aunt Eloise was often the source of the mysteries that were to be solved, as Nancy was often summoned to Eloise’s New York City apartment to help unravel some case or other.

45. Cincinnati baseballer of old : REDLEG
The Red Scare (i.e. anti-communist sentiment) following WWII had such an effect on the populace that it even caused the Cincinnati baseball team to change its name from the Reds. The team was called the Cincinnati Redlegs from 1953-1958, as the management was fearful of losing money due to public distrust of any association with “Reds”.

48. Family name in an 1869 romance : DOONE
“Lorna Doone” was written by Richard Doddridge Blackmore. R. D. Blackmore was an English novelist, very celebrated and in demand in his day (the late 1800s). His romantic story “Lorna Doone” was by no means a personal favorite of his, and yet it is the only one of his works still in print.

49. Smee and others : BOS’NS
A boatswain works on the deck of a boat. A boatswain is unlicensed, and so is not involved in the navigation or handling of the vessel. He or she has charge of the other unlicensed workers on the deck. Boatswain is pronounced “bosun” and this phonetic spelling is often used interchangeably with “boatswain”. The contraction “bos’n” is also very popular.

In J. M. Barrie’s play and novel about Peter Pan, Smee is one of Captain Hook’s pirates and is Hook’s right-hand man. Smee is described by Barrie as being “Irish” and “a man who stabbed without offence”. Nice guy!

51. Knights’ Square site : PISA
The Knights’ Square is the second most important square in the city of Pisa, Italy. The main square in the city is Cathedral Square, the Piazza dei Miracoli.

The city of Pisa is right on the Italian coast, sitting at the mouth of the River Arno, and is famous for its Leaning Tower. The tower is actually the campanile (bell tower) of the city’s cathedral, and it has been leaning since it was completed in 1173. Just shows you how important good foundations are …

53. Imperial offering : OLEO
Emperor Louis Napoleon III of France announced a competition to develop a substitute for butter, a substitute that would be more accessible to the lower classes and more practical for the armed forces. In 1869, a French chemist called Hippolyte Mege-Mouries came up with something he called oleomargarine, which was eventually manufactured under the trade name “margarine”. The name “oleomargarine” also gives us our generic term “oleo”.

56. ___ Faire (re-enactors’ event, informally) : REN
Renaissance Faires are usually set in the time of Elizabeth I of England, although other eras are often represented, and often at the same fair.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. One of the housewives on “Desperate Housewives” : GABY
5. Spelled : STOOD IN FOR
15. Book with the chapter “How They Dress in Tahiti” : OMOO
16. Emulated Anne Frank : KEPT A DIARY
17. Take one’s lumps? : TONG
18. Black piecrust component : OREO COOKIE
19. Conditioner’s cousin : CREAM RINSE
21. Mockingbird prey : BEES
22. Timon of Athens, e.g. : HERMIT
23. Trattoria order : PENNE
24. President who won 97.6% of the vote in 2007 : ASSAD
25. Cameo voicer on Weird Al Yankovic’s “I Lost on Jeopardy” : PARDO
29. Took off the table? : ATE
30. Crime lab tool : TWEEZERS
32. George III descriptor : MAD
33. “O thou pale ___ that silent shines”: Burns : ORB
36. Second : INSTANT
37. Player who followed in Player’s footsteps : ELS
38. Measure of thanks? : MIL
39. People who need to find a john? : VICE COPS
41. Coin introduced by Louis IX : ECU
42. Word from on high : EDICT
43. Ones taking off? : APERS
47. Home of the Rugby League’s Rhinos : LEEDS
49. Quarter : BILLET
50. Pursuit of Pan : ECHO
51. Sensor in a CD player : PHOTODIODE
55. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame doo-wop group from Baltimore : THE ORIOLES
57. Backsplash piece : TILE
58. Volunteer : TENNESSEAN
59. Milked : USED
60. Obama and Clinton, for example : EX-SENATORS
61. Baseball throws : PEGS

Down
1. ___ journalism : GOTCHA
2. Title shared by works of Ovid and D. H. Lawrence : AMORES
3. Faux pas : BONERS
4. Roll in a locker : YOGA MAT
5. Sporty hybrid : SKORT
6. Polo of “Little Fockers” : TERI
7. Dentist’s request : OPEN
8. Little Thief’s people : OTOS
9. Relative of a carp : DACE
10. Mating call? : I DO
11. Tantalus’ daughter : NIOBE
12. It may be assumed : FAKE NAME
13. Partner of Connecticut and Vermont : ORIENTAL
14. Starters in some fields : RYE SEEDS
20. Labor group : MIDWIVES
23. Like some envelopes : POST-PAID
25. “Home Alone” co-star : PESCI
26. Texcoco denizen : AZTEC
27. Turn another color, say : REACT
28. Character inspired by Fu Manchu : DR NO
31. So-called “Wheat Capital of the United States” : ENID
33. Frittata, e.g. : OMELETTE
34. General Mills offering : RICE CHEX
35. University of Delaware athletes : BLUE HENS
40. Separate : SPLIT UP
44. Nancy Drew’s aunt : ELOISE
45. Cincinnati baseballer of old : REDLEG
46. Stable assets : STEEDS
48. Family name in an 1869 romance : DOONE
49. Smee and others : BOS’NS
51. Knights’ Square site : PISA
52. Myriad : HOST
53. Imperial offering : OLEO
54. Jag : TEAR
56. ___ Faire (re-enactors’ event, informally) : REN

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