1022-12 New York Times Crossword Answers 22 Oct 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: Joel Fagliano
THEME: Sting Operative … each of the theme answers has an UNDERCOVER COP, the word “COP” shared between the two words of the answer:

20A. It’s measured by polls : PUBLI(C OP)INION
24A. Home of the San Diego Padres : PET(CO P)ARK
39A. Conqueror of the Incas : FRANCIS(CO P)IZARRO
55A. Traveler to Cathay : MAR(CO P)OLO
60A. Sting operative … or a hint to 20-, 24-, 39- and 55-Across : UNDERCOVER COP

COMPLETION TIME: 7m 57s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

8. Bieber with the 2010 hit “Baby” : JUSTIN
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 …

14. Lyricist Gershwin : IRA
Ira Gershwin was the lyricist who worked with his brother George to create such American classics as the songs “I Got Rhythm” and “Someone to Watch Over Me”, as well as the opera “Porgy and Bess”. After George Gershwin died, Ira continued to create great music, working with the likes of Jerome Kern and Kurt Weill.

15. Olympic event with electrified equipment : EPEE
The French word for sword is “épée”. In competitive fencing the épée is connected to a system that records an electrical signal when legal contact is made on an opponent’s body.

23. Height: Prefix : ACRO-
Our prefix “acro-” comes from the Greek “akros” meaning “at the top”. Examples are “acrophobia” (fear of heights) and “Acropolis” (“city at the top”).

24. Home of the San Diego Padres : PETCO PARK
Petco Park is the ballpark used by the San Diego Padres since 2004. Before Petco Park was opened, the Padres shared Qualcomm Stadium with the San Diego Chargers of the NFL. When the new Padres stadium was being built, fans were offered the chance to buy bricks on which a dedication could be written. The animal rights group PETA tried to buy a brick in order to write a protest message against Petco’s treatment of animals, but were denied. PETA managed sneak their message onto a brick, which reads “Break Open Your Cold Ones, Toast the Padres, Enjoy This Champion Organization”. If you take the first letters of each word in the message you come up with “BOYCOTT PETCO”.

27. Tank engine of children’s fiction : THOMAS
Oh my goodness, my kids just loved Thomas the Tank Engine. The Thomas the Tank Engine” television show is based on the series of books by the Reverend W. V. Awdry and his son. The TV series was remarkable in that it attracted some celebrity narrators, the first being Ringo Starr. I think American audiences might have been more familiar with George Carlin, and then Alec Baldwin. Pierce Brosnan also had a go, narrating a TV special. I remember being on a flight one time with Ringo Starr (we didn’t sit together!). When I told our kids’ babysitter a few days later about my celebrity encounter, she was marginally impressed although I had to explain that he was the drummer for the Beatles. When I added that Ringo was also the narrator for the “Thomas the Tank Engine” show, she nearly fainted with excitement. A generation gap exists …

39. Conqueror of the Incas : FRANCIS(CO P)IZARRO
Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro discovered the Incas in 1526, marking the beginning of the end for an ancient civilization that was to be ravaged by brutal Spanish colonists and by imported smallpox. The last leader of the Inca was Atahualpa. Pizarro staged a mock trial and then condemned Atahualpa to execution by burning. A Spanish friar intervened on behalf of the condemned man, as Atahualpa believed that if he was burned his soul would not move on to the afterlife. Pizarro, was kind enough to have Atahualpa garroted instead.

46. Some cameras, for short : SLRS
SLR stands for “single lens reflex”. Usually cameras with changeable lenses are the SLR type. The main feature of an SLR is that a mirror reflects the image seen through the lens out through the viewfinder, so that the photographer sees exactly what the lens sees. The mirror moves out of the way as the picture is taken, and the image that comes through the lens falls onto unexposed film, or nowadays onto a digital sensor.

47. Frankie Valli’s “___ Take My Eyes Off You” : CAN’T
Frankie Valli is a great singer, best known for fronting the Four Seasons in the sixties. Valli had an incredible number of hits, with and without the Four Seasons. The extensive list includes, “Sherry”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Walk Like a Man”, “Rag Doll”, “My Eyes Adored You” and “Grease”.

49. Alphabetically first state: Abbr. : ALA
Alabama appears first in an alphabetical list of the 50 US states. Wyoming comes in last.

51. Seaport SE of Roma : NAPOLI
Naples is the third largest city in Italy. The name “Naples” comes from the city’s Ancient Greek name, which translates as “New City”. That’s a bit of a paradox in modern times as Naples is one of the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in the world.

55. Traveler to Cathay : MAR(CO P)OLO
Marco Polo was a merchant from Venice and a famous traveler throughout Asia. Polo journeyed with his father and uncle on an epic tour of Central Asia and China that lasted 24 years. Marco tends to be the member of the party we remember today though, because it was he who documented their travels in a book called “Il Milione”.

“Cathay” is an alternative English name for China, the anglicized version of “Catai”. Cathay is the name that Marco Polo used in his writings, and so it became an oft-used term in Europe.

67. Actress Thurman : UMA
Uma Thurman’s father, Robert Thurman, was the first westerner to be ordained a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Robert raised his children in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and called his daughter “Uma” as it is a phonetic spelling of the Buddhist name “Dbuma”.

69. Festooned with bathroom tissue, informally : TPED
TPing (toilet papering) is a prank involving the covering of some object or location with rolls and rolls of toilet paper. If you live in Texas or Minnesota that little “prank” is legal, but if you live here in California it is classed as mischief or vandalism.

70. Campus in Troy, N.Y. : RPI
The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is a private school in Troy, New York. The university is named after its founder Stephen Van Rensselaer who set up the school in 1824. The goal of RPI has always been the “application of science to the common purposes of life”, an objective set by the founder. Given that, the name for the school’s sports teams is quite apt: the Engineers.

71. Leather worker : TANNER
Leather is of course made from animal skins. When the flesh, fat and hair is removed from the skin and it is dried, the resulting product is called “rawhide”. An additional treatment of the skin with chemicals that permanently alter the protein structure of the skin is called “tanning”, and the resulting product is “leather”.

72. Sailors : TARS
A Jack Tar, or just “tar”, was a seaman in the days of the British Empire. The term probably arose due to a sailor’s various uses of tar back then, including waterproofing his clothes and using tar in his hair to slick down his ponytail.

73. ___ Andreas fault : SAN
The famous San Andreas Fault in California lies along the boundary between the Pacific and North American tectonic plates. The faultline was named in 1985 after a small lake just south of San Francisco called Laguna de San Andreas.

Down
3. Company that makes Scrabble : HASBRO
The game of Scrabble has been around since 1938, the invention of an architect named Alfred Mosher Butts. Butts determined the optimum number of tiles of each letter and the appropriate point value of each tile by analyzing letter distributions in publications like our beloved “New York Times” …

4. Jeans maker Strauss : LEVI
Levi Strauss was the founder of the first company in the world to manufacture blue jeans. Levi Strauss & Co. opened in 1853 in San Francisco. Strauss and his business partner were awarded a patent in 1873 for the use of copper rivets to strengthen points of strain on working pants.

6. Fable writer : AESOP
Aesop lived in Ancient Greece, probably around the sixth century BC. Supposedly Aesop was born a slave and somehow became a free man, but then met with a sorry end. He was sent to the city of Delphi on a diplomatic mission but instead insulted the Delphians. Aesop was tried on a trumped-up charge of stealing from a temple, sentenced to death and was thrown off a cliff.

13. Beatty of “Charlie Wilson’s War” : NED
Ned Beatty is probably best remembered for the rather disturbing “squeal like a pig” scene in the movie “Deliverance”. Beatty also earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the 1976 movie “Network”.

“Charlie Wilson’s War” is an excellent 2007 movie written by my favorite screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin. The film tells the true story of US Congressman Charlie Wilson who was instrumental in supporting local militia during the Soviet War in Afghanistan.

16. Frito-Lay product once sold in a 100% compostable bag : SUN CHIPS
Sun Chips were launched by Frito-Lay in 1991. For a while, the company seemed to be positioning the Sun Chips line as relatively healthy and earth-friendly. The chips have no cholesterol or trans fat, but they do have pork enzymes so vegans beware. They are produced in a factory not far from here in Modesto, California which uses solar power in manufacturing its products. I did buy some Sun Chips that were packed in a biodegradable bag. The bag looked like a metallic plastic (which sounds weird, but I think you know what I mean) and I put it in my compost pile, and it disappeared in 2-3 months as promised!

21. The salesman in “Death of a Salesman” : LOMAN
“Death of a Salesman” is a famous play by Arthur Miller, first produced in 1949. “Death of a Salesman” won a Pulitzer and several Tony Awards over the years.

22. Author Calvino : ITALO
As well as being an author, Italo Calvino was a famous Italian journalist. He was a supporter of communism and so wasn’t very popular in the US nor in Britain.

26. Deborah of “The King and I” : KERR
The lovely Deborah Kerr was a Scottish actress who made a real name for herself on the American stage and in Hollywood movies. Despite all her success, and six nominations for a Best Actress Oscar, Kerr never actually won an Academy Award. In 1967 she appeared in the James Bond film “Casino Royale” at the age of 46, making her oldest Bond Girl of all time.

29. Sunni rival : SHIA
The largest denomination within the Muslim faith is Sunni Islam, with the second largest being Shia Islam.

32. California’s second-busiest airport, after LAX : SFO
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is the maintenance hub for United Airlines, and is the principal base for Virgin America.

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.

37. Poet Pound : EZRA
Ezra Pound was an American poet who spent much of his life wandering the world, spending years in London, Paris, and Italy. In Italy, Pound’s work and sympathies for Mussolini’s regime led to his arrest at the end of the war. His major work was the epic, albeit incomplete, “The Cantos”. The poem is divided into 120 sections, each known as a canto.

39. Media monitoring grp. : FCC
TV broadcasting is monitored by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC has been around since 1934, when it replaced the Federal Radio Commission.

41. 26-Down’s role in “The King and I” : ANNA
“The King and I” is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical based on a book by Margaret Landon called “Anna and the King of Siam”, first published in 1944. Landon’s book is based on a true story, told in the memoirs of Anna Leonowens. Leonowens was the governess of the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the 1860s, and she also taught the King’s wives.

48. Whom “Dewey Defeats” in a classic Chicago Tribune headline : TRUMAN
“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 that 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.

50. “Little Women” author : ALCOTT
“Little Women” is of course a novel written by American author Louisa May Alcott. The quartet of little women is Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March. Jo is a tomboy and the main character in the story and is based on Alcott herself.

58. With 53-Down, Willy Wonka employee : OOMPA
53. See 58-Down : LOOMPA
The Oompa-Loompas are characters in the Roald Dahl book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, and indeed in the sequel story “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator”. Willy Wonka came across the Oompa-Loompas on an isolated island in the Atlantic and invited them to work in his factory in order to escape those hunting them on the island. Right before Dahl’s book was first published, he was intending to call the Oompa-Loompas the “Whipple-Scrumpets”.

64. The Cavaliers of the A.C.C. : UVA
The University of Virginia (UVA) was of course founded by Thomas Jefferson, who sat on the original Board of Visitors with former US Presidents James Madison and James Monroe. In fact, the original UVA campus was built on land that was once a farm belonging to President Monroe.

65. Its atomic symbol is Sn : TIN
The Latin word for tin is “stannum”, and so tin’s atomic symbol is “Sn”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Acad. or univ. : SCH
4. Starring role : LEAD
8. Bieber with the 2010 hit “Baby” : JUSTIN
14. Lyricist Gershwin : IRA
15. Olympic event with electrified equipment : EPEE
16. Presume : SUPPOSE
17. Lean-___ (temporary shelters) : TOS
18. Squeezing tool : VISE
19. Not checked for speed : UNTIMED
20. It’s measured by polls : PUBLI(C OP)INION
23. Height: Prefix : ACRO-
24. Home of the San Diego Padres : PETCO PARK
27. Tank engine of children’s fiction : THOMAS
30. “Never mind” : NAH
31. Some jeans : LEES
33. Hurt : ACHE
35. Be fond of : LIKE
38. Dog’s bark : ARF
39. Conqueror of the Incas : FRANCIS(CO P)IZARRO
44. Pro’s opposite : CON
45. Mexican snack : TACO
46. Some cameras, for short : SLRS
47. Frankie Valli’s “___ Take My Eyes Off You” : CAN’T
49. Alphabetically first state: Abbr. : ALA
51. Seaport SE of Roma : NAPOLI
55. Traveler to Cathay : MAR(CO P)OLO
59. Supply-and-demand subj. : ECON
60. Sting operative … or a hint to 20-, 24-, 39- and 55-Across : UNDERCOVER COP
63. Make obsolete : OUTMODE
66. Portent : OMEN
67. Actress Thurman : UMA
68. Flies : AVIATES
69. Festooned with bathroom tissue, informally : TPED
70. Campus in Troy, N.Y. : RPI
71. Leather worker : TANNER
72. Sailors : TARS
73. ___ Andreas fault : SAN

Down
1. Decide against making any changes : SIT PAT
2. Catcher’s stance : CROUCH
3. Company that makes Scrabble : HASBRO
4. Jeans maker Strauss : LEVI
5. Awesome, in slang : EPIC
6. Fable writer : AESOP
7. Get worse, as losses : DEEPEN
8. Month after mayo : JUNIO
9. Slangy request for a high-five : UP TOP
10. Kind of cord or column : SPINAL
11. Male turkey : TOM
12. Suffix with expert : -ISE
13. Beatty of “Charlie Wilson’s War” : NED
16. Frito-Lay product once sold in a 100% compostable bag : SUN CHIPS
21. The salesman in “Death of a Salesman” : LOMAN
22. Author Calvino : ITALO
25. Rump : REAR
26. Deborah of “The King and I” : KERR
28. Bank holding: Abbr. : ACCT
29. Sunni rival : SHIA
32. California’s second-busiest airport, after LAX : SFO
34. Fugitives : ESCAPEES
36. Pottery oven : KILN
37. Poet Pound : EZRA
39. Media monitoring grp. : FCC
40. Move aimlessly : ROAM
41. 26-Down’s role in “The King and I” : ANNA
42. 1950s TV innovation : COLOR
43. “___ our agreement …” : AS PER
48. Whom “Dewey Defeats” in a classic Chicago Tribune headline : TRUMAN
50. “Little Women” author : ALCOTT
52. Takes place : OCCURS
53. See 58-Down : LOOMPA
54. Hurting : IN PAIN
56. Bill worth 100 smackers : C-NOTE
57. More peculiar : ODDER
58. With 53-Down, Willy Wonka employee : OOMPA
61. Swerve : VEER
62. Finales : ENDS
63. Kellogg’s Cracklin’ ___ Bran : OAT
64. The Cavaliers of the A.C.C. : UVA
65. Its atomic symbol is Sn : TIN

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