0331-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 31 Mar 14, Monday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Robert Cirillo
THEME: Ma & Pa … the first word in each of today’s themed answers starts with MA and the last word starts with PA:

16A. *Where Romeo and Juliet meet : MASQUERADE PARTY
24A. *Often-seedy establishment : MASSAGE PARLOR
42A. *1978 #1 Donna Summer hit that covered a 1968 #2 hit by Richard Harris : MACARTHUR PARK
56A. *New Orleans event with floats : MARDI GRAS PARADE

35A. Rural couple … or what the respective halves of the answers to the four starred clues start with : MA AND PA

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 5m 02s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

10. Droid : BOT
A bot is computer program that is designed to imitate human behavior. It might “crawl” around the Web doing searches for example, or it might participate in discussions in chat rooms by giving pre-programmed responses.

“Droid” id short for “android” and is used to describe a robot that resembles a human. The Latin word “androides” was used in English in the 18th century to mean “like a man”. Science fiction writers introduced us to “android” in the early 1950s.

14. Triangular chip : DORITO
Doritos are a brand of flavored tortilla chips launched in 1964. The name “Doritos” means “little bits of gold” in Spanish.

15. I.R.S. filing time: Abbr. : APR
April 15th wasn’t always Tax Day in the US. The deadline for returns was March 1st from 1913-18, when it was moved to March 15th. Tax Day has been April 15th since 1955.

16. *Where Romeo and Juliet meet : MASQUERADE PARTY
William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” is all about the love between the two title characters, which is forbidden as the pair come from two families who are sworn enemies. Early in the play, Romeo (a Montague) sneaks into a masquerade ball being held by the Capulets in the hope of meeting a Capulet girl named Rosaline. Instead, he meets and falls for Juliet, also a Capulet. Tragedy ensues …

19. Dick, to Liz, twice : EX-HUSBAND
Elizabeth Taylor married eight times, to seven husbands. Those marriages were to:

– Conrad “Nicky” Hilton, the young hotel heir
– Michael Wilding, the English actor
– Mike Todd, the film and stage producer
– Eddie Fisher, the singer
– Richard Burton (twice), the Welsh actor
– John Warner, who went on to become a US Senator for Virginia
– Larry Fortensky, a construction worker who Taylor met at the Betty Ford Clinic

20. Hank Aaron finished his career with 2,297 of them, in brief : RBIS
The great Hank Aaron (Hammerin’ Hank) has many claims to fame. One notable fact is that he is the last major league baseball player to have also played in the Negro League.

29. Brad of “Moneyball” : PITT
Brad Pitt’s first major role was playing the cowboy hitchhiker in the 1991’s “Thelma and Louise”. Pitt’s life offscreen garners as much attention as his work onscreen, it seems. The tabloids revel in the series of high-profile relationships in which he has been involved. He was engaged to Gwyneth Paltrow for a while, married to Jennifer Aniston, and he now lives with Angelina Jolie.

Billy Beane is the general manager of the Oakland Athletics baseball team. Michael Lewis wrote his book “Moneyball” about the way Billy Beane built his team by bringing on board players who were “undervalued”, getting the maximum benefit from his limited payroll budget. I must admit I know nothing about baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading “Moneyball”, and the film adaptation with Brad Pitt playing Beane.

31. Antlered animal : ELK
The elk (also known as the wapiti) is the one of the largest species of deer in the world, with only the moose being bigger. Early European settlers were familiar with the smaller red deer back in their homelands, so when they saw the “huge” wapiti they assumed it was a moose, and incorrectly gave it the European name for a moose, namely “elk”. The more correct name for the beast is “wapiti”, which means “white rump” in Shawnee. It’s all very confusing …

34. Kerfuffle : ADO
“Kerfuffle” comes from the Scottish “curfuffle”, with both words meaning “disruption”.

38. Gift that may be presented with an “Aloha!” : LEI
“Lei” is the Hawaiian word for “garland, wreath”, although in more general terms a “lei” is any series of objects strung together as an adornment for the body.

The Hawaiian word “Aloha” has many meanings in English: affection, love, peace, compassion and mercy. More recently “aloha” has come to mean “hello” and “goodbye”, but only since the mid-1800s.

39. ___ Lingus : AER
Aer Lingus is my favorite airline! Well, the service isn’t that great, but when I get on board an Aer Lingus plane I feel like I am back in Ireland. Aer Lingus is the national airline of Ireland, with “Aer Lingus” being a phonetic spelling of the Irish “aer-loingeas” meaning “air fleet”. These days Aer Lingus can only lay claim to the title of Ireland’s oldest airline as it is no longer the biggest. That honor goes to the controversial budget airline called Ryanair.

41. Actor Arkin : ALAN
The actor Alan Arkin won his only Oscar (Best Supporting Actor) for his role in “Little Miss Sunshine” from 2006, a movie that I just did not understand …

42. *1978 #1 Donna Summer hit that covered a 1968 #2 hit by Richard Harris : MACARTHUR PARK
“MacArthur Park” is a song by Jimmy Webb that was first recorded by actor Richard Harris, in 1969. Donna Summer released an equally successful disco version of the song in 1978. Webb was inspired to write it by the relationship and breakup that he had with a former girlfriend. The couple occasionally met for lunch in MacArthur Park in Los Angeles.

Donna Summer is known as “The Queen of Disco”, with great hits like “Love to Love You, Baby”, “I Feel Love” and “Hot Stuff”. In the late sixties and early seventies, LaDonna Gaines (her real name) lived and worked in Germany. There she met and married an Austrian actor called Helmuth Sommer. They divorced not long after the marriage, but Donna kept his family name, just changing the “o” to “u” to give her the stage name of “Donna Summer”.

Richard Harris was an actor from Limerick in Ireland. Harris was quite a rugby player in his day, and indeed his first major film role was playing a rugby league football player in 1963’s “This Sporting Life”. Late in his career, Harris played Professor Dumbledore in the first two “Harry Potter” films, and passed away before the whole series of films could be made.

47. Pop artist Johns : JASPER
Jasper Johns is a contemporary artist from Augusta, Georgia. Johns’ most famous work is called “Flag”, which he created two years after being discharged from the US Army, in 1954. “Flag” is a representation of the “Stars and Stripes” made with paint and a collage of newsprint.

50. Together, musically : A DUE
“A due” is a musical term meaning “together”, and literally translates from Italian as “by two”.

51. The handle of the Big Dipper is its tail : URSA MAJOR
The arrangement of seven stars known as the Big Dipper is made up of the seven brightest stars in the constellation Ursa Major, also known as the Great Bear.

56. *New Orleans event with floats : MARDI GRAS PARADE
“Mardi Gras” translates from French as “Fat Tuesday”, and gets its name from the practice of eating rich foods on the eve of the fasting season known as Lent. Lent starts on the next day, called Ash Wednesday.

60. Car famously available in any color, as long as it was black : MODEL T
The Ford Model T was the first really affordable car that was offered for sale, and it was produced from 1908 to 1927. It was the Model T that ushered in the era of assembly line production, which greatly cut down the cost of manufacture. The engine was designed to run on petrol, kerosene or even ethanol. Famously, the Model T was known colloquially as the “Tin Lizzie”.

63. Drunkard : SOUSE
The word “souse” dates back to the 14th century and means “to pickle, steep in vinegar”. In the early 1600s the usage was applied to someone “pickled” in booze, a drunkard.

Down
2. Big-screen format : IMAX
The IMAX Corporation, which is behind the IMAX film format, is a Canadian company. The impetus for developing the system came after Expo ’67 in Montreal. Back then large format screenings were accomplished using multiple projectors with multiple screens, with images basically stitched together. The team behind the IMAX technology set out to simplify things, and developed a single-camera, single-projector system.

4. Official investigation : INQUEST
An inquest is a judicial inquiry, particularly one into the cause of someone’s death.

5. “Ars Poetica” poet : HORACE
One of Ancient Rome’s leading lyric poets was Quintus Horatius Flaccus, or “Horace” as we tend to know him.

The full name of Horace’s work is “Ars Poetica, Epistula ad Pisones” (The Art of Poetry, Letters to Piso). The work describes the technical aspects of poetry in Ancient Rome, and the term “ars poetica” has come to mean the poetry of that period.

6. Tehran’s land : IRAN
Tehran is the capital of Iran and is the largest city in the Middle East, with a population of about 8.5 million. Iran has been around an awful long time and Tehran is actually the country’s 31st national capital.

7. N.B.A. player-turned-coach Jason : KIDD
Jason Kidd was a point guard playing in the NBA. He finished his career with the New York Knicks, and is now the head coach with the Brooklyn Nets.

8. Summer in France : ETE
One might spend the summer (été) under the sun (le soleil) in France.

10. 1968 Jane Fonda sci-fi film : BARBARELLA
“Barbarella” is a cult classic 1968 film that was directed by Roger Vadim. Vadim’s wife at the time was Jane Fonda, and she plays the title character.

Jane Fonda is of course the daughter of Henry Fonda, sister of Peter Fonda, and aunt of Bridget Fonda, making the Fondas quite the acting family. Jane Fonda had many memorable screen performances, but is equally memorable for her anti-war activism. Most famously she was outspoken against the Vietnam War, going so far as to visit North Vietnam during the height of the conflict in 1972, posing for photographs and making radio broadcasts denouncing American leaders as “war criminals”. For her stance, Fonda earned the nickname “Hanoi Jane”.

12. Meeting at a no-tell motel : TRYST
In its most general sense, a tryst is a meeting at an agreed time and place. More usually we consider a tryst to be a prearranged meeting between lovers. The term comes from the Old French “triste”, a waiting place designated when hunting.

17. Org. that rates meat “Choice” or “Prime” : USDA
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) classifies meat into eight different grades:

– Prime
– Choice
– Select
– Standard
– Commercial
– Utility
– Cutter
– Canner

18. West Coast gas chain : ARCO
ARCO stands for the Atlantic Richfield Company. One of ARCO’s claims to fame is that it is responsible for the nation’s largest Superfund site. Mining and smelting in the area around Butte, Montana polluted the region’s water and soil, and ARCO have agreed to pay $187 million to help clean up the area.

23. “Born Free” lioness : ELSA
The life story of Elsa the lion was told by game warden Joy Adamson, who had a very close relationship with the lioness from when Elsa was orphaned as a young cub. Adamson wrote the book “Born Free” about Elsa, and then “Living Free” which tells the story of Elsa and her three lion cubs. In the 1966 film based on “Born Free”, Adamson is played by the talented actress Virginia McKenna.

24. FIlm-rating grp. : MPAA
The Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) film-rating system (R, PG-17, G etc.) is purely voluntary and is not backed by any law. Movie theaters agree to abide by the rules that come with the MPAA ratings in exchange for access to new movies.

27. ___ noir (red wine) : PINOT
The Pinot noir wine grape variety takes its name from the French for “pine” and “black”. The grapes grow in tight clusters shaped like pine cones, and are very dark in color. The Pinot noir grape is most closely associated with Burgundy wines in France, although in recent years the popularity (and price) of California Pinot noir wine has soared after it featured so prominently in the wonderful, wonderful 2004 movie “Sideways”. Grab a bottle of Pinot, and go rent the DVD…

32. Shakespearean king : LEAR
Shakespeare was inspired to write his famous drama “King Lear” by the legend of “Leir of Britain”, the story of a mythological Celtic king.

35. Attacker repellent : MACE
Mace is actually a brand name, originally introduced by Lake Erie Chemical when they started to manufacture “Chemical Mace”, with the name being a play on the club-like weapon from days of old. Mace was originally a form of tear gas, but Mace today uses a formula that is actually a pepper spray.

46. “___ Lama Ding Dong” (1961 hit) : RAMA
“Rama Lama Ding Dong” was a hit in 1961, although it had been released in 1957 under the erroneous title “Lama Rama Ding Dong” and didn’t quite make it. The song was recorded by the doo-wop group called the Edsels, named after the latest (and “doomed”) Ford automobile. Before becoming the Edsels, the group was called the Essos, after the oil company.

47. King ___ Bible : JAMES
The King James Bible is a translation of the Christian Bible that was completed in 1611, during the reign of King James I of England, hence the name.

51. Language in Lahore : URDU
Urdu is one of the two official languages of Pakistan (the other being English), and is one of 22 scheduled languages in India. Urdu partly developed from Persian and is written from right to left.

Lahore is a large city in Pakistan, second in size only to Karachi. It is known as the Garden of the Mughals (or in English, Moguls) because of its association with the Mughal Empire. The Mughals ruled much of India from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries.

52. Actress Charlotte and explorer John : RAES
Charlotte Rae is an American actress, best known for playing the character Edna Garrett on two sitcoms from the seventies and eighties: “Diff’rent Strokes” and “The Facts of Life”. Towards the end of the series, the Edna Garrett character operated her own gourmet food shop called “Edna’s Edibles”.

John Rae was a Scottish explorer, who took on the task of searching for the ill-fated Franklin Expedition of 1845. The Franklin Expedition was itself searching for the elusive Northwest Passage through the Arctic Ocean connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific. John Rae stirred up much controversy back in England when he reported evidence of cannibalism among the ill-fated Franklin explorers.

53. Jakarta’s island : JAVA
Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia and is located on the northwest coast of the island of Java. The city’s name comes from “Jayakarta” meaning “complete victory”.

57. Chats online, for short : IMS
Even though instant messaging (sending IMs) has been around since the 1960s, it was AOL who popularized the term “instant message” in the eighties and nineties.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Dress that falls between the knee and ankle : MIDI
5. Nature walks, e.g. : HIKES
10. Droid : BOT
13. Comment to a card dealer : I’M IN
14. Triangular chip : DORITO
15. I.R.S. filing time: Abbr. : APR
16. *Where Romeo and Juliet meet : MASQUERADE PARTY
19. Dick, to Liz, twice : EX-HUSBAND
20. Hank Aaron finished his career with 2,297 of them, in brief : RBIS
21. Schooling: Abbr. : EDUC
22. Pour, as wine from a bottle : DECANT
24. *Often-seedy establishment : MASSAGE PARLOR
29. Brad of “Moneyball” : PITT
30. Wedding vows : I DOS
31. Antlered animal : ELK
34. Kerfuffle : ADO
35. Rural couple … or what the respective halves of the answers to the four starred clues start with : MA AND PA
38. Gift that may be presented with an “Aloha!” : LEI
39. ___ Lingus : AER
40. Bushy hairdo : AFRO
41. Actor Arkin : ALAN
42. *1978 #1 Donna Summer hit that covered a 1968 #2 hit by Richard Harris : MACARTHUR PARK
47. Pop artist Johns : JASPER
49. Take ___ (catch some Z’s) : A NAP
50. Together, musically : A DUE
51. The handle of the Big Dipper is its tail : URSA MAJOR
56. *New Orleans event with floats : MARDI GRAS PARADE
59. Yolk’s place : EGG
60. Car famously available in any color, as long as it was black : MODEL T
61. Like 2, 4, 6, 8 … : EVEN
62. Visualize : SEE
63. Drunkard : SOUSE
64. Like this clue among all the Acrosses : LAST

Down
1. Silent performer : MIME
2. Big-screen format : IMAX
3. Food serving : DISH
4. Official investigation : INQUEST
5. “Ars Poetica” poet : HORACE
6. Tehran’s land : IRAN
7. N.B.A. player-turned-coach Jason : KIDD
8. Summer in France : ETE
9. Soak (up) : SOP
10. 1968 Jane Fonda sci-fi film : BARBARELLA
11. Choose to participate : OPT IN
12. Meeting at a no-tell motel : TRYST
14. Fix, as a computer program : DEBUG
17. Org. that rates meat “Choice” or “Prime” : USDA
18. West Coast gas chain : ARCO
22. Plunge : DROP
23. “Born Free” lioness : ELSA
24. FIlm-rating grp. : MPAA
25. Adviser, for one : AIDE
26. Rise of seawater that might accompany a hurricane : STORM SURGE
27. ___ noir (red wine) : PINOT
28. Tack (on) : ADD
32. Shakespearean king : LEAR
33. Twist, as in a chain : KINK
35. Attacker repellent : MACE
36. Many miles off : AFAR
37. Opposite of “Dep.” on a flight board : ARR
41. Clothing : APPAREL
43. Parroted : APED
44. Big inconvenience : HASSLE
45. Not fitting : UNAPT
46. “___ Lama Ding Dong” (1961 hit) : RAMA
47. King ___ Bible : JAMES
48. Proverb : ADAGE
51. Language in Lahore : URDU
52. Actress Charlotte and explorer John : RAES
53. Jakarta’s island : JAVA
54. Poems by 5-Down : ODES
55. Landlord’s income : RENT
57. Chats online, for short : IMS
58. When repeated, early baby sounds : GOO

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