0611-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 11 Jun 14, Wednesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Ian Livengood
THEME: Flag Day … there’s a note without today’s puzzle that reads:

When this puzzle is done, the seven circled letters, reading clockwise, will spell a phrase relating to the puzzle’s theme.

Today’s themed answers are the familiar names for the flag’s of four nations. The circled letters spell out the word Flag Day. Note that Flag Day in the US is June 14th each year:

18A. [Canada] : MAPLE LEAF
31A. [U.S.A.] : STARS AND STRIPES
41A. [U.S.S.R.] : HAMMER AND SICKLE
59A. [Japan] : RISING SUN

67A. June 14, e.g. : DATE

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 8m 27s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

10. Pen, e.g. : SWAN
An adult male swan is called a “cob”, and an adult female is a “pen”. Young swans are called “swanlings” or “cygnets”.

14. Not engaging : ALOOF
I suppose one might guess from the “feel” of the word “aloof” that is has nautical roots. Originally aloof meant “to windward” and was the opposite to “alee”. A helmsman might be instructed to stay aloof, to steer the boat into the weather to keep a distance from a lee-shore. It is from this sense of maintaining a distance that aloof came to mean “distant” in terms of personality. Interesting, huh …?

15. “Remove,” to a typesetter : DELE
“Dele” is the editorial instruction to delete something from a document, and is often written in red.

16. Oscar-winning Ben Affleck film : ARGO
“Argo” is a 2012 movie that is based on the true story of the rescue of six diplomats hiding out during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The film was directed by and stars Ben Affleck and is produced by Grant Heslov and George Clooney, the same pair who produced the excellent “Good Night, and Good Luck”. I saw “Argo” at the cinema and recommend it highly, although I found the scenes of religious fervor pretty frightening …

18. [Canada] : MAPLE LEAF
The current design of the Canadian National Flag, known as “the Maple Leaf”, has been in place since 1965. It made its first appearance on February 15th of that year, and so that date is celebrated annually as National Flag of Canada Day.

20. Lighted tree, maybe : FIR
The custom of decorating trees at Christmas seems to have originated in Renaissance Germany. Those first trees were placed in guildhalls and were decorated with sweets and candy for the apprentices and children. After the Protestant Reformation, the Christmas tree became an alternative in Protestant homes for the Roman Catholic Christmas cribs. The Christmas tree tradition was imported into Britain by the royal family because of its German heritage. That tradition spread from Britain into North America.

21. Zilch : NIL
We use the term “zilch” to mean “nothing”. Our current usage evolved in the sixties, before which the term was used to describe “meaningless speech”. There was a comic character called Mr. Zilch in the 1930s in “Ballyhoo” magazine. Mr. Zilch’s name probably came from the American college slang “Joe Zilch” that was used in the early 1900s for “an insignificant person”.

22. Party with a piñata, say : FIESTA
Piñatas originated in Mexico, probably among the Aztecs or Mayans. Today piñatas are usually made from cardboard that is brightly decorated with papier-mâché. Traditionally a piñata was made out of a clay pot, adorned with feathers and ribbons and filled with small treasures. During religious ceremonies the clay pots would be suspended and broken open so that the contents would spill out onto the ground at the feet of a god as an offering.

27. ___ holiday : TET
The full name for the New Year holiday in Vietnam is Tet Nguyen Dan, meaning “Feast of the First Morning”. Tet usually falls on the same day as Chinese New Year.

28. Cook’s canful : LARD
Fat, when extracted from the carcass of an animal, is called “suet”. Untreated suet decomposes at room temperature quite easily so it has to be “rendered” or purified to make it stable. Rendered fat from pigs is what we call “lard”. Rendered beef or mutton fat is known as “tallow”.

31. [U.S.A.] : STARS AND STRIPES
Legend has it that Betsy Ross made the first American flag for General George Washington. However, this story only surfaced during the centennial celebrations of 1876, and although Betsy Ross was indeed one of several flag makers in Philadelphia in the days of George Washington, sadly there’s no definitive evidence that Ross provided that first stars and stripes.

41. [U.S.S.R.] : HAMMER AND SICKLE
The Soviet flag has three symbols:

– A hammer symbolizes the industrial workers, the proletarians
– A sickle symbolises the agricultural workers, the peasants
– A five-pointed star symbolizes the rule of the Communist Party

47. Part of a round : HOLE
There’s an urban myth that the standard number of holes on a golf course is 18 because it takes 18 shots to polish off a fifth of scotch whisky. However, the truth is that the standard number of holes in the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland happened to settle down over time at 18, and that standard was adopted all around the world.

52. Athena’s counterpart : MINERVA
Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom, and the equivalent of the Greek goddess Athena. Minerva is often depicted with an owl, signifying her association with wisdom.

55. Fortune 100 company based in Seattle : AMAZON
Amazon.com is the largest online retailer in the world. The company was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, in his garage in Bellevue, Washington. I’m a big fan of Amazon’s approach to customer service …

57. Salsa, e.g. : DIP
“Salsa” is simply the Spanish for “sauce”.

58. Wildcatter’s investment : RIG
“Wildcatter” is a familiar term for someone who drills what are called “wildcat wells”, speculative wells in areas that are not previously known to yield oil.

59. [Japan] : RISING SUN
The Japanese flag is white, with a red disc in the center that represents the sun. Japan has been referred to as the land of the rising sun at least since the 12th century.

61. Sing with dulcet tones : CROON
“Dulcet” means “pleasing to the ear” and is such a lovely word, I think. It comes from the Old French word “doucet”, a diminutive of “doux”, which is the French for “sweet”.

63. Like many a beanie : KNIT
A beanie is a knitted, close-fitting hat with no brim. The name probably comes from the slang term “bean” meaning “head”.

64. Intl. association since 1960 : OPEC
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was founded in 1960 at a conference held in Baghdad, Iraq that was attended by Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Nine more countries joined the alliance soon after, and OPEC set up headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland and then Vienna, Austria in 1965. The basic aim of OPEC was to wrench control of oil prices from the oil companies and to put it in the hands of the sovereign states that own the natural resource.

65. Place of learning in France : ECOLE
French for school is “école”, and French for pupil is “élève”.

67. June 14, e.g. : DATE
Flag Day in the US is June 14th each year, as the flag of the United States was adopted officially by the Second Continental Congress on June 14th, 1777. Flag Day in Canada is on February 15th, as the Flag of Canada was inaugurated on February 15th, 1965.

68. Some protesters in China : LAMAS
“Lama” is a Tibetan word, meaning “chief” or “high priest”.

Down
1. “You’re dethpicable” toon : DAFFY
Daffy Duck first appeared on the screen in “Porky’s Duck Hunt” in 1937. In the original cartoon, Daffy was just meant to have a small role, but he was a big hit as he had so much sass. Even back then, Daffy was voiced by the ubiquitous Mel Blanc.

2. English pop singer Goulding : ELLIE
Ellie Goulding is a singer-songwriter from England. One of Goulding’s claims to fame is that she sang at the wedding reception of Prince William and Kate Middleton at Buckingham Palace in 2011.

5. ’60s atty. gen. whose brother served as president : RFK
President John F. Kennedy was often referred to by his initials JFK, the F standing for Fitzgerald, his mother’s maiden name. The president’s brother Robert F. Kennedy also used his initials, RFK, but with the F standing for his middle name Francis.

8. 1992 Winter Olympics backdrop : ALP
Albertville is a city in south-eastern France, in the Alps. The city was established in 1836 by King Charles Albert of Sardinia, which resulted in the name “Albertville”. Albertville is perhaps most famous today as the host of the 1992 Winter Olympic Games.

9. C. S. Lewis’s birthplace : BELFAST
Irishman C. S. Lewis (who was born in Belfast) moved to Britain after serving in the British Army in WWI. A man of many achievements, he is perhaps today best remembered for his series of novels for children called “The Chronicles of Narnia” (which includes “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”). He also wrote the “The Four Loves”, a non-fiction work exploring the nature of love from a Christian perspective.

10. Memorial Day weekend event : SALE
The US’s Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for the men and women who fell serving their country in the armed forces. The holiday is held on the last Monday in May. It was originally known as Decorations Day and was established after the Civil War to commemorate both the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in that conflict. Memorial Day is also the traditional start of the summer season, with the end of the season being Labor Day.

11. Take with force : WREST
The verb “to wrest” can mean to obtain by violent twisting and pulling. The word “wrest” derives from the Middle English “wresten” meaning “to twist”. Our word “wrestling” has the same etymology.

12. Brightly colored rock : AGATE
Agate is a micro-crystalline form of quartz (so is related to sand/silica). Some agate samples have deposited layers that give a striped appearance, and these are called “banded agate”.

19. Source of soft feathers : EIDER
Eiders are large sea ducks. Their down feathers are used to fill pillows and quilts, giving the name to the quilt called an “eiderdown”.

21. Zilch : NADA
“Nada” is the Spanish word for “nothing”. “De nada” translates literally from the Spanish as “of nothing”, and is used to mean “you’re welcome” or “don’t mention it”. The French have the same expression “de rien”, also translating to “of nothing” and used the same way.

24. Where odalisques once worked : HAREMS
“Oda” is the Turkish word for “room”, and is the name used for a room within a harem in the days of the Ottoman Empire. We use the derivative word “odalisque” for “a concubine” or “a chamber girl”.

25. ___ White (Clue character) : MRS
Clue is another board game that we knew under a different name growing up in Ireland. Outside of North America, Clue is marketed as “Cluedo”. Cluedo was the original name of the game, introduced in 1949 by the famous British board game manufacturer Waddingtons. There are cute differences between the US and UK versions. For example, the man who is murdered is called Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in the US), one of the suspects is the Reverend Green (Mr. Green in the US), and the suspect weapons include a dagger (a knife in the US), a lead pipe (lead piping in the US) and a spanner (a wrench in the US). I think it’s a fabulous game, a must during the holidays …

32. Crumpets go-with : TEA
I do love a nice crumpet. Crumpets are made from flour and yeast, with baking soda added to make the characteristic holes in the surface. Served hot, with butter melted into the holes, nothing better …

42. Office printing giant : EPSON
Seiko Epson is a Japanese company, one of the largest manufacturers of printers in the world. The company has its roots in the watch business, roots that go back to 1942. Seiko was chosen as the official timekeeper for the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and was asked to supply a timer that produced a printed record. This request brought Seiko into the business of printer production. The company developed the world’s first mini-printer for the 1964 Games and called it EP-101 (EP standing for Electronic Printer). In 1975 Seiko introduced the next generation of EP printers which was called EPSON, from “SON of EP”. Cute, huh?

43. Tlaloc, to the Aztecs : RAIN GOD
Chaac was the Mayan rain god, a deity who carried a lightning axe with which he struck the clouds producing thunder and rain. The equivalent Aztec god was Tlaloc.

48. Gaggle : geese :: exaltation : ___ : LARKS
Larks are small or medium-sized birds found mostly in Africa, Europe and Asia. They have been eaten by humans for centuries, often consumed bones and all. Many of us are familiar with the song “Alouette”, the title of which is the French word for “lark”.

The French-Canadian children’s song starts with, “Alouette, gentille alouette …” “Alouette” is the French word for a bird, the “lark”. The song is actually pretty gruesome, even though it was used to teach children the names of body parts. The origin of the song lies in the French colonists penchant for eating larks, which they considered to be game birds. So in the song, the singer tells the lark that he/she will pluck off one-by-one the lark’s head, nose, eyes, wings and tail.

49. Protein-building acid : AMINO
Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) is an essential catalyst in the manufacture of proteins in the body. The genetic code in DNA determines the sequence of amino acids that make up each protein. That sequence is read in DNA by messenger RNA, and amino acids are delivered for protein manufacture in the correct sequence by what is called transfer RNA. The amino acids are then formed into proteins by ribosomal RNA.

53. Part of a string quartet : VIOLA
A string quintet is a musical composition that is written for a string quartet with the addition of an extra instrument. A standard string quartet is made up of two violins, a viola and a cello. The fifth instrument is usually a second viola or cello.

54. “___ of God,” 1985 film : AGNES
“Agnes of God” is a 1985 film adaptation of a play by John Pielmeier. In the movie a young novice nun (played by Meg Tilly) is found to be pregnant, and she insists that this is a result of a virgin conception.

56. Jerry Scott/Jim Borgman teen comic strip : ZITS
“Zits” is a popular cartoon strip written by Jerry Scott and illustrated by Jim Borgman. The strip debuted in 1997, and features a teenage boy called Jeremy Duncan as the main character.

57. 1982’s “Ebony and Ivory,” e.g. : DUET
“Ebony and Ivory” is a hit song written by Paul McCartney and recorded by him with Stevie Wonder in 1982. The song uses the image of the ebony and ivory keys on a piano to symbolize racial integration and harmony.

60. Place with robes : SPA
The word “spa” migrated into English from Belgium, as Spa is the name of a municipality in the east of the country that is famous for its healing hot springs. The name “Spa” comes from the Walloon word “espa” meaning “spring, fountain”.

61. Toon’s place : CEL
In the world of animation, a cel is a transparent sheet on which objects and characters are drawn. In the first half of the 20th century the sheet was actually made of celluloid, giving the “cel” its name.

62. Developer of the U.S.’s first TV test pattern : RCA
Test patterns or test cards are TV rest signals that are broadcast when no programs are being aired. These patterns are used to calibrate and troubleshoot equipment using the broadcast signal. The original test cards were just that, cards at which a camera was pointed.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Put off : DEFER
6. ___-American : ARAB
10. Pen, e.g. : SWAN
14. Not engaging : ALOOF
15. “Remove,” to a typesetter : DELE
16. Oscar-winning Ben Affleck film : ARGO
17. Not pass : FLUNK
18. [Canada] : MAPLE LEAF
20. Lighted tree, maybe : FIR
21. Zilch : NIL
22. Party with a piñata, say : FIESTA
23. “For sure, dude!” : YEAH, MAN!
26. Spoiled : BAD
27. ___ holiday : TET
28. Cook’s canful : LARD
29. “Wait just ___!” : A SEC
31. [U.S.A.] : STARS AND STRIPES
38. “Is this the spot?” : HERE?
39. Big foot spec : EEE
40. Something to play : ROLE
41. [U.S.S.R.] : HAMMER AND SICKLE
46. Go a few rounds : SPAR
47. Part of a round : HOLE
48. Part of a science credit : LAB
51. One sharing a bunk bed, maybe : SIS
52. Athena’s counterpart : MINERVA
55. Fortune 100 company based in Seattle : AMAZON
57. Salsa, e.g. : DIP
58. Wildcatter’s investment : RIG
59. [Japan] : RISING SUN
61. Sing with dulcet tones : CROON
63. Like many a beanie : KNIT
64. Intl. association since 1960 : OPEC
65. Place of learning in France : ECOLE
66. Word after “&” in some store names : SONS
67. June 14, e.g. : DATE
68. Some protesters in China : LAMAS

Down
1. “You’re dethpicable” toon : DAFFY
2. English pop singer Goulding : ELLIE
3. Hot chili designation : FOUR-ALARM
4. Very long period : EON
5. ’60s atty. gen. whose brother served as president : RFK
6. Start of a website manager’s email address, maybe : ADMIN
7. All-natural : REAL
8. 1992 Winter Olympics backdrop : ALP
9. C. S. Lewis’s birthplace : BELFAST
10. Memorial Day weekend event : SALE
11. Take with force : WREST
12. Brightly colored rock : AGATE
13. Diet food phrase : NO FAT
19. Source of soft feathers : EIDER
21. Zilch : NADA
24. Where odalisques once worked : HAREMS
25. ___ White (Clue character) : MRS
26. Founded : BASED
30. Club : CIRCLE
31. “Not another word!” : SHH!
32. Crumpets go-with : TEA
33. Gets in the vicinity of : NEARS
34. Place to play cards : DEN
35. Place to play cards : POKER ROOM
36. Pipe shape : ELL
37. Get : SEE
42. Office printing giant : EPSON
43. Tlaloc, to the Aztecs : RAIN GOD
44. Overnight, maybe : SHIP
45. + or – particle : ION
48. Gaggle : geese :: exaltation : ___ : LARKS
49. Protein-building acid : AMINO
50. Yacht club locale : BASIN
52. Chop up : MINCE
53. Part of a string quartet : VIOLA
54. “___ of God,” 1985 film : AGNES
56. Jerry Scott/Jim Borgman teen comic strip : ZITS
57. 1982’s “Ebony and Ivory,” e.g. : DUET
60. Place with robes : SPA
61. Toon’s place : CEL
62. Developer of the U.S.’s first TV test pattern : RCA

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