0412-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 12 Apr 14, Saturday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Mel Rosen
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 37m 45s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Popularity boost due to a certain TV endorsement : COLBERT BUMP
Stephen Colbert is a political satirist who hosts his own show on Comedy Central called “The Colbert Report”. Colbert’s first love was theater, and so he studied to become an actor. He then moved into comedy, and ended up on the “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”. He left “The Daily Show” in 2005 to set up his own spin-off called “The Colbert Report”. In his own inimitable way, Colbert likes to use a “French” pronunciation for the name of his show, so “The Colbert Report” comes out as “The Col-bear Rep-oar”.

12. Rebel in a beret : CHE
Ernesto “Che” Guevara was born in Argentina, and in 1948 he started to study medicine at the University of Buenos Aires. While at school he satisfied his need to “see the world” by taking two long journeys around South America, the story of which are told in Guevara’s memoir later published as “The Motorcycle Diaries”. While travelling, Guevara was moved by the plight of the people he saw and their working conditions and what he viewed as capitalistic exploitation. In Mexico City he met brothers Raul and Fidel Castro and was persuaded to join their cause, the overthrow of the US-backed government in Cuba. He rose to second-in-command among the Cuban insurgents, and when Castro came to power Guevara was influential in repelling the Bay of Pigs Invasion and bringing Soviet nuclear missiles to the island. Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to continue his work as a revolutionary. He was captured by Bolivian forces in 1967, and was executed. Fidel Castro led the public mourning of Guevara’s death, and soon the revolutionary was an icon for many left-wing movements around the world.

16. Athlete in a shell : OAR
A scull is a boat used for competitive rowing. The main hull of the boat is often referred to as a shell. Crew members who row the boat can be referred to as “oars”.

17. Diet, e.g. : LEGISLATURE
A Diet was a general assembly of the estates of the former Holy Roman Empire. The most famous of these assemblies was the Diet of Worms, a 16th-century meeting that took place in the small town of Worms on the Rhine River in Germany. The main item on the agenda was discussion of the 95 theses of Martin Luther. Luther was summoned to the meeting, and there found to be guilty of heresy and so was subsequently excommunicated by the Pope.

18. “Collages” novelist, 1964 : NIN
Anaïs Nin was a French author, famous for her journals that she wrote for over sixty years from the age of 11 right up to her death. Nin also wrote highly regarded erotica and cited D. H. Lawrence as someone from whom she drew inspiration. Nin was married to banker and artist Hugh Parker Guiler in 1923. Decades later in 1955, Nin married former actor Rupert Pole, even though she was still married to Guiler. Nin and Pole had their marriage annulled in 1966, but just for legal reasons, and they continued to live together as husband and wife until Nin passed away in 1977.

19. Arab spring? : TROT
The Arab (or Arabian) breed of horse takes its name from its original home, the Arabian Peninsula. Like any animal that humans have over-bred, the horse falls prey to genetic diseases, some of which are fatal and some of which require the horse to be euthanized.

20. Mexicans roll them : ARS
Spanish speakers routinely roll their “ars” (the letter R).

24. Wear for Hu Jintao : MAO SUIT
What we call the Mao suit in the west is known as the Zhongshan suit in China. The style was introduced by Sun Yat-sen (also known as Sun Zhongshan) as the form of national dress after the founding of the Republic of China in 1912.

Hu Jintao was paramount leader of China from 2002 to 2012. In China, the term “paramount leader” has been used since the days of Mao Zedong to describe the person who holds several leadership offices concurrently. The paramount leaders have been:

1. Mao Zedong (1949 – 1976)
2. Hua Guofeng (1976 – 1978)
3. Deng Xiaoping (1978 – 1992)
4. Jiang Zemin (1992 – 2004)
5. Hu Jintao (2004 – 2012)
6. Xi Jinping (2012 – )

25. Mythical abode of heroes slain in battle : ASGARD
Asgard is one of the Nine Worlds of Norse religions. It is where the Norse gods live, and is also home to Valhalla, the enormous hall ruled over by the god Odin.

29. “Each of us bears his own Hell” writer : VIRGIL
Publius Vergilius Maro (better known as Virgil) was a poet from Ancient Rome. Virgil’s best known works are:

– The “Eclogues” (or Bucolics)
– The “Georgics”
– The “Aeneid”

30. Part of a drag outfit : HEELS
The etymology of the term “drag”, as used in the transvestite world, seems to be unclear. It perhaps relates to the tendency of a transvestite’s skirts to drag along the ground in days of old (although why they just didn’t hitch up their skirts is beyond me!).

31. Relatives of black holes : DARK STARS
If you’re looking for a succinct explanation of the difference between a dark star and black hole, I can’t help. I did some reading, but it’s beyond me …

34. Cousin of an agave : ALOE
Aloe vera has a number of alternate names that are descriptive of its efficacy as a medicine. These include the First Aid plant, Wand of Heaven, Silent Healer and Miracle Plant.

The agave is a succulent plant found mainly in Mexico. Surprisingly (to me, anyway), the agave is unrelated to the cactus and isn’t very closely related to the aloe plant either.

36. To you, in Toulouse : A TOI
Toulouse is the fourth largest city in France, and is locate in the southwest of the country. These days, Toulouse is noted as home to the Airbus headquarters and is known as the center of the European aerospace industry.

37. Place for rank-and-filers in the House of Commons : BACKBENCH
Members of Parliament in the UK are mostly “backbenchers”, members of the rank and file who sit in the backbenches in the House of Commons. The Front Bench of the party in power is composed of those who hold government office e.g. Cabinet ministers. The Front Bench of the party in opposition are also called the Shadow Cabinet.

39. Ozone menace : FREON
Freon is a tradename for a group of compounds used as a refrigerant and also as a propellant in aerosols. Freon is used in the compressors of air conditioners as a vital component in the air-cooling mechanism

Ozone gets its name from the Greek word ozein, meaning “to smell”. It was given this name as ozone’s formation during lightning storms was detected by the gas’s distinctive smell. Famously, there is a relatively high concentration of the gas in the “ozone layer” in the Earth’s stratosphere. This ozone layer provides a vital function for animal life on the planet as it absorbs most of the sun’s UV radiation.

40. Pungent panini ingredient : ASIAGO
Asiago is a crumbly cheese, named after the region in northeastern Italy from where it originates.

42. They often provide illumination in galleries : DOCENTS
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”.

46. Palooka : OAF
The word “palooka” was originally used to describe a mediocre prizefighter and dates back to the 1920s. Then there was a comic strip called “Joe Palooka”, and I guess the meanings got melded somehow. Today we use “palooka” as a slang term for an oaf or a clumsy person.

51. Shakespeare sonnet that begins “So am I as the rich, whose blessed key” : LII
William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 52:

So am I as the rich, whose blessed key
Can bring him to his sweet up-locked treasure,
The which he will not every hour survey,
For blunting the fine point of seldom pleasure.
Therefore are feasts so solemn and so rare,
Since, seldom coming, in the long year set,
Like stones of worth they thinly placed are,
Or captain jewels in the carcanet.
So is the time that keeps you as my chest,
Or as the wardrobe which the robe doth hide,
To make some special instant special blest,
By new unfolding his imprison’d pride.
Blessed are you, whose worthiness gives scope,
Being had, to triumph, being lack’d, to hope.

56. White whale’s whereabouts : ARCTIC OCEAN
The beluga whale is also known as the white whale, and is a mammal that inhabits Arctic and sub-Arctic seas. The name “beluga” comes from the Russian “belukha”, which in turn derives from “belyy” meaning “white”.

57. Bath setting: Abbr. : ENG
Bath is a beautiful city in South West England of which I have very fond memories. Bath is an old Roman spa town, and the city’s name comes from the Roman baths that have been excavated and restored.

58. People sampling mushrooms, say : MYCOLOGISTS
Mycology is a branch of botany concerned with the study of fungi. “Mykes” is the Greek word for “fungus, mushroom”.

Down
1. Druid, e.g. : CELT
The Celts were a very broad group of people across Europe, linked by common languages. The Celts were largely absorbed by other cultures, although a relatively modern revival of the “Celtic identity” is alive and well in the British Isles. Such Celtic peoples today are mainly found in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany in France..

3. Theme of several theme parks : LEGO
Lego is manufactured by Lego Group, a privately held company headquartered in Billund, Denmark. The company was founded by a carpenter called Ole Kirk Christiansen in 1934 and the now-famous plastic interlocking blocks were introduced in 1949. The blocks were originally sold under the name “Automatic Binding Bricks” but I think “Lego” is easier to remember! The name “Lego” comes from the Danish term “leg godt” meaning “play well”.

4. Piltdown man, say : BRIT
The Piltdown Man hoax is the most famous deception in the world of paleontology. The hoax played out in 1912 when a Charles Dawson announced that he had a skull fragment that was discovered at a gravel pit near the village of Piltdown in East Sussex in England. Most of the scientific community believed this was the fossilized remains of a form of man unknown up to that point. It was forty years later when it was determined that the skull fragment was in fact a composite of a medieval human skull, a 500-year old orangutan and some fossilized chimpanzee teeth. No one is really sure who pulled off the hoax, but I believe the police are looking at the usual suspects …

5. Dot-dot-dot : ESS
“…” is the letter “S” in Morse code.

Samuel Morse was a very accomplished and reputable painter (he was engaged to paint a portrait of President John Adams, for example). In 1825 Morse was in Washington working on a commissioned painting when he received a one-line letter by horse messenger telling him that his wife was ill. He left immediately for his home in New Haven, Connecticut but by the time that Morse arrived his wife had already died and had been buried. This single event spurred him to move from painting to the development of a rapid means of long distance communication, leading to the single-wire telegraph and Morse code.

6. Casualty of the Battle of Roncesvalles : ROLAND
The Battle of Roncevaux Pass (“Roncesvalles” in Spanish) took place in 778 at a high mountain pass in the Pyrenees mountain range between France and Spain. The combatants were the Basques, who emerged victorious, and the army of Charlemagne King of the Franks, led by Roland. The oldest surviving work of French literature dates back to the 11th century and gives a romanticized account of the battle. The work is called “The Song of Roland”.

7. Old dynasts : TSARS
The term czar (also tsar) is a Slavic word that was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. “Czar” is derived from the word “Caesar”, which was synonymous with “emperor” at that time.

8. Some spam senders : BOTS
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.

Apparently the term “SPAM”, used for unwanted email, is taken from a “Monty Python” sketch. In the sketch (which I’ve seen) the dialog is taken over by the word SPAM, a play on the glut of canned meat in the markets of Britain after WWII. So “SPAM” is used for the glut of emails that takes over online communication. I can just imagine nerdy Internet types (like me) adopting something from a “Monty Python” sketch to describe an online phenomenon …

9. The Negro R. runs through it : URU
The official name of Uruguay is the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, reflecting the countries location on the eastern coast of South America. It is a relatively small country, the second smallest on the continent, after Suriname. In 2009, Uruguay became the first country in the world to provide a free laptop and Internet access to every child. Now there’s a thought …

The Rio Negro (Spanish for “black river”) is a tributary of the Amazon in South America. The Rio Negro is the largest blackwater river in the world. A blackwater river is a slow-moving waterway that flows through forestation, collecting decaying vegetable matter that turns the water to a dark coffee color.

10. “Fantasy Island” host : MR ROARKE
“Fantasy Island” was a fun television series that aired from 1978 to 1984, starring the dashing Ricardo Montalban as Mr. Roarke and Herve Villechaize as Tattoo. Tattoo is Roarke’s colorful sidekick, famous for shouting out, “The plane! The plane!” as the guests arrived on the island at the beginning of each episode. There were lots of celebrity guest stars that appeared over the years, such as Sonny Bono, Tom Jones, Victoria Principal and Heather Locklear.

11. Stray mongrels : PYE-DOGS
A pariah dog (also “pye-dog”) is a dog who roams free, living on garbage discarded by humans.

12. Chancellery settings : CONSULATES
The official place of business of an embassy or consulate is called a chancellery.

13. Where Nord, Nord-Est and Nord-Ouest are departments : HAITI
The Republic of Haiti occupies the smaller, western portion of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean. The rest of the island is taken up by the Dominican Republic. Haiti is one of only two nations in the Americas to have French as an official language, the other being Canada.

14. Arp contemporary : ERNST
Max Ernst was a painter and sculptor, a pioneer in the Dada movement and Surrealism. Ernst was born near Cologne in Germany in 1891 and he was called up to fight in WWI, as were most young German men at that time. In his autobiography he writes “Max Ernst died the 1st of August, 1914” a statement about his experiences in the war. In reality, Ernst died in 1976 having lived to the ripe old age of 85.

Hans Arp was a French artist renowned for his work with torn and pasted paper, although that wasn’t the only medium he used. Arp was the son of a French mother and German father and spoke both languages fluently. When he was speaking German he gave his name as Hans Arp, but when speaking French he called himself Jean Arp. Both “Hans” and “Jean” translate into English as “John”. In WWI Arp moved to Switzerland to avoid being called up to fight, taking advantage of Swiss neutrality. Eventually he was told to report to the German Consulate and fill out paperwork for the draft. In order to get out of fighting, Arp messed up the paperwork by writing the date in every blank space on the forms. Then he took off all of his clothes and walked with his papers over to the officials in charge. He was sent home …

23. Org. whose logo has an eagle and scales : IRS
The IRS logo has to be one of the most poorly-designed logos used by the US government. The main components are a branch, scales and eagle … but … you have to look very closely to make out those features.

25. King of Kings : AHAB
Ahab was a King of Israel, but the power behind his throne was his wife Jezebel, a Phoenician princess. Jezebel’s god was Ba’al, and she used her influence to get temples of Ba’al built in Israel. Jezebel’s name is still associated with the worship of false prophets.

The Books of Kings recount events that took place between the 10th and 6th centuries BCE. The two books were actually written as one narrative. It was when the Old Testament was translated into Greek that the Book of Kings (and other books) was divided into two parts. Later printed versions have continued to recognize the relatively arbitrary division.

26. 1987 Lionel Richie hit : SE LA
Singer-songwriter Lionel Richie got his big break as a singer and saxophonist with the Commodores starting in 1968. Richie launched a very successful solo career in 1982. Richie is the father of socialite Nicole Richie, childhood friend of Paris Hilton and co-star on the Fox show “The Simple Life”.

27. 21st-century pastime for treasure hunters : GEOCACHING
Geocaching is a game rather like “hide and seek” that is played outdoors using hi-tech equipment. The idea is that someone places a waterproof container in a specific location with known GPS coordinates. The container has a logbook inside, so that players who find the “cache” can record their discovery along with any notes of interest. The location of the container is listed on special sites on the Internet for anyone to access. You can check out caches near you at www.geocaching.com. You will probably be surprised at how many there are! I know I was …

28. Leonov who was the first man to walk in space : ALEKSEI
Alexey Leonov is a retired cosmonaut. Leonov became the first human to walk in space when left his capsule on the Voskhod 2 mission to make a 12-minute spacewalk on 18 March 1965. He ran into some serious trouble trying to get back into the capsule after the extravehicular activity (EVA). Leonov’s spacesuit ballooned up in the vacuum of space while on the EVA so that he was unable to get back through the capsule’s airlock. He was forced to bleed air from his suit to reduce its size, and still struggled to gain entry, but he made it …

29. Balboa’s first name : VASCO
Vasco Núñez de Balboa was a Spanish explorer, the man who led the 1513 expedition across the Isthmus of Panama to become the first European to set eyes on the Pacific Ocean. On reaching the ocean, Balboa walked into the water up to his knees, raised his sword and an image of the Virgin Mary, and claimed possession of the ocean (that he named the South Sea) and all adjoining lands in the name of the king and queen of Spain.

31. Alternative to shoots? : DANGS
Dang it! Shoot!

38. “Fur Traders Descending the Missouri” painter, 1845 : BINGHAM
“Fur Traders Descending the Missouri” is one of the most famous paintings by American artist George Caleb Bingham. Originally called “French Trader, Half-Breed Son”, the works title was changed to avoid controversy. The painting is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

39. Creator of “30 Rock” : FEY
“30 Rock” is a sitcom on NBC that was created by the show’s star Tina Fey. Fey is an ex-performer and writer from “Saturday Night Live” and uses her experiences on that show as a basis for the “30 Rock” storyline. “30 Rock” aired its last episode in early 2013.

41. Its parent is Liberty Mutual : SAFECO
Safeco Insurance is a Seattle-based insurance company that currently has the naming rights to Safeco Field, the Seattle Mariners’ baseball stadium.

42. Opposite of agitato : DOLCE
The musical term “dolce” instructs the performer to play “gently and sweetly”.

Agitato is a musical direction seen on scores occasionally that means “agitated”. The instruction is to play in a restless, agitated style.

44. Pizza topping : BASIL
Pizza was invented in Naples where it has a long tradition that goes back to Ancient Rome. During an 1889 visit to Naples, Queen Margherita of Savoy was served a special pizza that was created with toppings designed to mimic the colors of the Italian flag. The ingredients of tomato (red), mozzarella (white) and basil (green) can still be found together on menus today on a pie usually named Pizza Margherita after the queen. I do love basil on my pizza …

46. Bart and Lisa’s bus driver : OTTO
Otto Mann drives the school bus on the TV show “The Simpsons”. Otto is a Germanic character voiced by Harry Shearer, and his name is a play on “Ottoman Empire”. Whenever Bart sees him, he greets Otto with the words “Otto, man!”

47. Sacs studied by 58-Across : ASCI
An ascus is a spore-bearing sac found in some fungi.

49. Latin 101 word : ERAT
“Esse” is the Latin for “to be”. “Sum” means “I am” and “erat” means “he, she was”.

50. Phishing loot: Abbr. : SSNS
Social Security number (SSN)

Phishing is the name given to the online practice of stealing usernames, passwords and credit card details by creating a site that deceptively looks reliable and trustworthy. Phishers often send out safe-looking emails or instant messages that direct someone to an equally safe-looking website where the person might inadvertently enter sensitive information. “Phishing” is a variant of the word “fishing”, as in “fishing for passwords, PIN numbers etc.”

53. Orange’s org. : ACC
Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)

The Orange are the athletic teams of the Syracuse University. I should know that as I lived in Syracuse for three years when I moved to the US back in 1983. And, I met my wife there, so happy memories …

54. Periodic dairy aisle offering : NOG
It’s not really clear where the term “nog” comes from although it might derive from the word “noggin”, which was originally a small wooden cup that was long associated with alcoholic drinks.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Popularity boost due to a certain TV endorsement : COLBERT BUMP
12. Rebel in a beret : CHE
15. “A thousand pardons” : EVER SO SORRY
16. Athlete in a shell : OAR
17. Diet, e.g. : LEGISLATURE
18. “Collages” novelist, 1964 : NIN
19. Arab spring? : TROT
20. Mexicans roll them : ARS
21. Composers of some rhapsodies : ODISTS
23. Business of 41-Down: Abbr. : INS
24. Wear for Hu Jintao : MAO SUIT
25. Mythical abode of heroes slain in battle : ASGARD
29. “Each of us bears his own Hell” writer : VIRGIL
30. Part of a drag outfit : HEELS
31. Relatives of black holes : DARK STARS
34. Cousin of an agave : ALOE
35. Dispatch : HASTE
36. To you, in Toulouse : A TOI
37. Place for rank-and-filers in the House of Commons : BACKBENCH
39. Ozone menace : FREON
40. Pungent panini ingredient : ASIAGO
41. Gets started : SETS TO
42. They often provide illumination in galleries : DOCENTS
44. Arm with many vessels, maybe : BAY
45. Like angels : ON HIGH
46. Palooka : OAF
47. Throws for a loop : AWES
51. Shakespeare sonnet that begins “So am I as the rich, whose blessed key” : LII
52. Parts of some alarms : HEAT SENSORS
55. Fleece : CON
56. White whale’s whereabouts : ARCTIC OCEAN
57. Bath setting: Abbr. : ENG
58. People sampling mushrooms, say : MYCOLOGISTS

Down
1. Druid, e.g. : CELT
2. Spanning : OVER
3. Theme of several theme parks : LEGO
4. Piltdown man, say : BRIT
5. Dot-dot-dot : ESS
6. Casualty of the Battle of Roncesvalles : ROLAND
7. Old dynasts : TSARS
8. Some spam senders : BOTS
9. The Negro R. runs through it : URU
10. “Fantasy Island” host : MR ROARKE
11. Stray mongrels : PYE-DOGS
12. Chancellery settings : CONSULATES
13. Where Nord, Nord-Est and Nord-Ouest are departments : HAITI
14. Arp contemporary : ERNST
22. “Interesting … but museum-worthy?” : IS IT ART?
23. Org. whose logo has an eagle and scales : IRS
24. Opposite of gloom : MIRTH
25. King of Kings : AHAB
26. 1987 Lionel Richie hit : SE LA
27. 21st-century pastime for treasure hunters : GEOCACHING
28. Leonov who was the first man to walk in space : ALEKSEI
29. Balboa’s first name : VASCO
31. Alternative to shoots? : DANGS
32. A cube has one : ROOT
33. ___-Soviet : SINO
35. Like many a purple-tinged moorland : HEATHERY
38. “Fur Traders Descending the Missouri” painter, 1845 : BINGHAM
39. Creator of “30 Rock” : FEY
41. Its parent is Liberty Mutual : SAFECO
42. Opposite of agitato : DOLCE
43. Pizza topping : ONION
44. Pizza topping : BASIL
46. Bart and Lisa’s bus driver : OTTO
47. Sacs studied by 58-Across : ASCI
48. Parts of a sob story : WOES
49. Latin 101 word : ERAT
50. Phishing loot: Abbr. : SSNS
53. Orange’s org. : ACC
54. Periodic dairy aisle offering : NOG

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