0617-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 17 Jun 14, Tuesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Zhouqin Burnikel
THEME: Silent Movies … each of today’s themed answer is the name of a movie, and each title starts with a SILENT letter:

8A. 1960 Alfred Hitchcock thriller : PSYCHO
20A. 2012 John C. Reilly animated film : WRECK-IT RALPH
39A. 2012 Quentin Tarantino western : DJANGO UNCHAINED
57A. 2010 James Mangold action comedy : KNIGHT AND DAY

69A. ___ movies (8-, 20-, 39- and 57-Across, in a way) : SILENT

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 8m 10s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

4. Air Force One honcho : PREZ
We usually use the term “Air Force One” for the purpose-built military aircraft that transports the president, although any plane can use the call sign, provided the president is aboard. There was an incident in 1953 which a flight carrying President Eisenhower (flight no. Air Force 8610) flew close to commercial airliner (flight no. Eastern 8610). In order to avoid confusion of flight numbers in the future, the special callsign “Air Force One” was created.

8. 1960 Alfred Hitchcock thriller : PSYCHO
The classic Alfred Hitchcock suspense film “Psycho” released in 1960 is based on a 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. The Bloch novel in turn is loosely based on actual crimes committed by murderer and grave robber Ed Gein. When “Psycho” was making its initial run in theaters, latecomers were not granted admission, a policy instigated by Hitchcock himself. He felt that anyone missing the opening scenes would not enjoy the film.

14. Overseer of corp. accounts : CFO
Chief financial officer (CFO)

18. Gulf State leader : EMIR
An emir is a prince or chieftain, most notably in the Middle East. In English, “emir” can also be written as “amir” and “ameer” (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).

20. 2012 John C. Reilly animated film : WRECK-IT RALPH
“Wreck-It Ralph” is a 2012 animated movie from Disney. The title character is an arcade game villain who dreams of losing his bad guy image and becoming a hero.

24. N.Y.C. home to works of Picasso : MOMA
The founding of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City was very much driven by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, the wife of John D. Rockefeller, son of the oil magnate. Working with two friends, Abby managed to get the museum opened in 1929, just nine days after the Wall Street Crash. The MoMA’s sculpture garden bears the name of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, and has done so since 1949.

Pablo Picasso’s full name was Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso, a name he was given right from birth. Got that?

25. Musical improv : JAM
The use of “jam”, to mean an improvised passage performed by a whole jazz band, dates back to the late twenties. This gave rise to “jam session”, a term used a few years later. The use of “jam” in this context probably stems from the meaning of “jam” as something sweet, something excellent.

34. Kabayaki fish : EEL
“Kabayaki” is a specific way of preparing fish in Japanese cuisine, and in particular refers to the preparation of eel.

38. Conductor Zubin ___ : MEHTA
Zubin Mehta is an Indian conductor of western classical music, from Mumbai. Mehta studied music in Vienna, where he made his conducting debut in 1958. In 1961 he was named assistant director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, creating a fuss with the music director designate of the orchestra, Georg Solti. Solti resigned as a protest, and Mehta took his job. In 1978 Mehta took over as Music Director and Principal Conductor of the New York Philharmonic, eventually becoming the longest holder of that position.

39. 2012 Quentin Tarantino western : DJANGO UNCHAINED
“Django Unchained” is a Quentin Tarantino film that was released in 2012. It is the highest grossing film that Tarantino has made to date. I tend to avoid Tarantino movies as I find them to be unnecessarily violent. Apparently “Django Unchained” is one of his more violent offerings.

43. Columbus’s hometown : GENOA
Genoa is a seaport in the very north of Italy, in the region known as Liguria. One of Genoa’s most famous sons was Christopher Columbus.

45. Its score is reported on some univ. applications : GRE
Passing the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is usually a requirement for entry into graduate school here in the US.

46. Demi or Julianne Moore : ACTRESS
Demi Moore was born Demetria Guynes and took the name Demi Moore when she married her first husband, Freddy Moore. She changed her name to Demi Guynes Kutcher a few years after marrying her present husband, Ashton Kutcher. She still uses Demi Moore as her professional name.

Julianne Moore is a favorite actress of mine. Favorite performances have been in “The End of the Affair” (1999), “The Hours” (2002), “Children of Men” and the TV movie “Game Change” in which she played vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Moore is also a very successful children’s novelist, with her book “Freckleface Strawberry” becoming a New York Times Best Seller.

49. Colleague of Roberts and Scalia : ALITO
Associate Justice Samuel Alito was nominated to the US Supreme Court by President George W. Bush. Alito is the second Italian-American to serve on the Supreme Court (Antonin Scalia was the first). Alito studied law at Yale and while in his final year he left the country for the first time in his life, heading to Italy to work on his thesis about the Italian legal system.

John Roberts is the 17th Chief Justice of the United States. Roberts was a nominee of President George W. Bush and assumed office in 2005. President Bush first proposed Roberts as an Associate Justice to replace the retiring Sandra Day O’Connor. However, Chief Justice Rehnquist died before Roberts could be confirmed, so President Bush instead nominated Roberts for the vacant Chief Justice seat.

Antonin Scalia was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Reagan in 1986, and is now the longest serving member of the court. Justice Scalia’s minority opinions are known for the scathing language that he uses to criticize the Court’s majority.

57. 2010 James Mangold action comedy : KNIGHT AND DAY
“Knight and Day” is a fairly entertaining action comedy movie starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. Believe it or not, before Cruise was offered the leading male role, it was offered to Adam Sandler!

61. Popular sleep aid : AMBIEN
Ambien is a brand name for the prescription drug Zolpidem. I have a friend who used to swear by it for helping cope with jet lag. I once had to deal with jet lag almost monthly and swear by the diet supplement melatonin, which you can buy over the counter here in the US. But, I am no doctor so don’t listen to anything I say …

64. River through Florence : ARNO
The Arno is the principal river in the Tuscany region of Italy, passing through the cities of Florence and Pisa. Famously the Arno flooded in 1966, the worst flood in the region for centuries. There were numerous deaths and extensive destruction of priceless art treasures, particularly in Florence.

65. Space station until 2001 : MIR
The Russian Mir Space Station was a remarkably successful project, with the station still holding the record for the longest continuous manned presence in space, at just under ten years. Towards the end of the space station’s life however, the years began to take their toll. There was a dangerous fire, multiple system failures, and a collision with a resupply ship. The Russian commitment to the International Space Station drained funds for repairs, so Mir was allowed to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up in 2001.

67. Gambling mecca : RENO
The city of Reno’s economy took off when open gambling was legalized in Nevada in 1931. Within a short time, a syndicate had built the Bank Club in Reno, which was the largest casino in the whole world at the time.

71. Org. named in WikiLeaks documents : NSA
Julian Assange founded WikiLeaks, the website that is notorious for publishing information provided by whistleblowers. Assange is currently in England and recently lost an appeal to avoid extradition to Sweden to face charges of sexual assault. Assange entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London seeking political asylum in 2012. He was granted that asylum and now lives at the embassy.

Down
1. Beginning or end of “Athena” : SCHWA
A “schwa” is an unstressed and toneless vowel found in a number of languages including English. Examples from our language are the “a” in “about”, the “e” in “taken” and the “i” in pencil.

4. Like school for toddlers, in brief : PRE-K
Pre-kindergarten (pre-K)

“Kindergarten” is of course a German term, literally meaning “children’s garden”. The term was coined by the German education authority Friedrich Fröbel in 1837, when he used it as the name for his play and activity institute that he created for young children to use before they headed off to school. His thought was that children should be nourished educationally, like plants in a garden.

5. Notes after do : RE MI
Do re mi fa sol la ti do …

7. Swordsman of book and film : ZORRO
The character Zorro was created by Johnston McCulley in 1919 for a series of stories and pulp fiction. The name “Zorro” is the secret identity of a Spanish colonial nobleman called Don Diego de la Vega. “Zorro” is Spanish for “fox”.

12. Letters for a prince : HRH
His Royal Highness (HRH)

13. William Collins’s “___ to Evening” : ODE
William Collins was an 18th-century English poet who is perhaps most famous for writing lyrical odes.

21. ___ Mustard (Clue character) : COL
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 …

22. Roadie’s tote : AMP
A “roadie” is someone who loads, unloads and sets up equipment for musicians on tour, on the road.

25. “The Big Lebowski” co-star : JOHN GOODMAN
Actor John Goodman will forever be remembered as Dan Conner, the on-screen husband of Roseanne Barr in the sitcom “Roseanne”. Goodman went to Missouri State University where he studied drama and was a compatriot of Kathleen Turner. The role that I most enjoyed played by Goodman was Speaker of the House Glen Allen Walken on the great show “The West Wing”.

“The Big Lebowski” is a 1998 comedy directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, and starring Jeff Bridges in the title role. The film’s script is loosely based on the Raymond Chandler novel “The Big Sleep”. I thought “The Big Lebowski” was just “okay” though …

27. General at Gettysburg : MEADE
George Meade was a career army officer with a depth of experience in civil and military operations even before the onset of the Civil War. During the war he rose to the level of commander of the Army of the Potomac, and is best remembered for leading the Union forces that defeated General Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg in 1863.

30. Prefix with conservative : NEO-
By definition, a neoconservative supports the use of American power and military to bring democracy, liberty, equality and human rights to other countries.

32. Muscat native : OMANI
Oman lies on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula and is neighbored by the OAE, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The capital city of Muscat has a strategic location on the Gulf of Oman and has a history of invasion and unrest. Centuries of occupation by the Persians ended in 1507 when the Portuguese took the city in a bloody attack. The Portuguese held Muscat for much of the next one hundred years until finally being ousted by local Omani forces in 1648. A Yemeni tribe invaded the area in 1741 and set up a monarchy that has been in place in Oman ever since.

33. Bank of China Tower designer : PEI
I. M. Pei (full name: Ieoh Ming Pei) is an exceptional American architect who was born in China. Of Pei’s many wonderful works, my favorite is the renovation of the Louvre in Paris, especially the Glass Pyramid in the courtyard.

The Bank of China Tower (often “BOC Tower) is a spectacular structure in Hong Kong, designed by I. M. Pei. Opened in 1990, the BOC Tower was the tallest building in Hong Kong at that time, and was also the first building constructed outside of North America to reach a height of over 1,000 feet.

34. Mystery award : EDGAR
The Edgar Allan Poe Awards (the Edgars) are presented annually by the Mystery Writers of America.

Edgar Allan Poe lived a life of many firsts. Poe is considered to be the inventor of the detective-fiction genre. He was also the first notable American author to make his living through his writing, something that didn’t really go too well for him as he was always financially strapped. In 1849 he was found on the streets of Baltimore, delirious from either drugs or alcohol. Poe died a few days later in hospital at 39 years of age.

37. Comedy/variety show since ’75 : SNL
NBC first aired a form of “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) in 1975 under the title “NBC’s Saturday Night”. The show was actually created to give Johnny Carson some time off from “The Tonight Show”. Back then “The Tonight Show” had a weekend episode, and Carson convinced NBC to pull the Saturday or Sunday recordings off the air and hold them for subsequent weeknights in which Carson needed a break. NBC turned to Lorne Michaels and asked him to put together a variety show to fill the vacant slot, and he came up with what we now call “Saturday Night Live”.

40. Fish ___ fowl : NOR
Something that is “neither fish nor fowl” is something that is not recognizable, is nothing familiar at all.

42. Prince with 21 Tonys : HAL
Hal Prince is a theatrical producer and director who is mainly associated with Broadway shows such as “Show Boat”, “Cabaret”, “The Phantom of the Opera”, “Evita” and “Sweeney Todd”. Prince has won 21 Tony Awards, more than any other individual.

47. Small piano : SPINET
A spinet is the name given to a smaller version of keyboard instruments, such as the harpsichord, piano or organ. Spinets are still made today, as smaller and cheaper versions of full-size instruments.

50. Kennedy aide Sorensen : TED
Ted Sorensen was John F. Kennedy’s speech-writer, and he wrote a biography about the President called “Kennedy”. President Kennedy once referred to Sorensen as his “intellectual blood bank”.

53. Jet fighter? : SHARK
Well, I jumped straight to the “West Side Story” interpretation of this clue, but a kind blog reader has pointed out that the reference could also be to the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets and San Jose Sharks.

Leonard Bernstein’s musical “West Side Story” is of course based on William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. The musical is set in New York City and features two rival gangs: the Sharks from Puerto Rico and the Jets with working-class, Caucasian roots. Tony from the Jets falls in love with Maria from the Sharks. All this parallels Romeo from the House of Montague falling for Juliet from the House of Capulet in the Italian city of Verona.

56. Gulf War ally : SYRIA
Syria was an ally of the US and part of the coalition that fought against the Iraqi military during the Gulf War of 1990-91.

Many of us tend to use “Operation Desert Storm” as the overall name for the conflict more correctly called the Persian Gulf War. Operation Desert Storm was in fact just the air and land battle that took place between January 17th and April 11th 1991. The buildup of forces was called Operation Desert Shield, and the withdrawal of forces after the liberation of Kuwait was known as Operation Desert Farewell.

58. “Forget it, Friedrich!” : NEIN!
“Nein” is the German for “no”.

59. Rice on a shelf : ANNE
Anne Rice is an American author of erotic and Gothic novels. She was born Howard Allen O’Brien (no wonder she changed her name!). Her famous series of novels “The Vampire Chronicles” centers on her character Lestat de Lioncourt, a French nobleman who was turned into a vampire in the 18th century. One of the stories, “Interview with the Vampire”, was adapted for the big screen in 1994 and features Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and others in a star-studded cast. Not my kind of movie though, as I don’t do vampires …

60. Lunch time, maybe : NOON
Our word “noon”, meaning “midday”, comes from the Latin “nona hora” that translates as “ninth hour”. Back in Ancient Rome, the “ninth hour” was three in the afternoon. Over the centuries, traditions such as church prayers and “midday” meals shifted from 3 p.m. to 12 p.m., and so “noon” became understood as 12 noon.

63. La Paz’s land: Abbr. : BOL
The administrative capital of Bolivia, La Paz, is officially named Nuestra Senora de La Paz (Our Lady of Peace). La Paz is the seat of the Bolivian government, even though the legal capital of the country is Sucre.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Easy mark : SAP
4. Air Force One honcho : PREZ
8. 1960 Alfred Hitchcock thriller : PSYCHO
14. Overseer of corp. accounts : CFO
15. Start all over : REDO
16. Start of a rumor : I HEARD …
17. “In what way?” : HOW?
18. Gulf State leader : EMIR
19. Despise : LOATHE
20. 2012 John C. Reilly animated film : WRECK-IT RALPH
23. Prefix with 28-Across : AERO-
24. N.Y.C. home to works of Picasso : MOMA
25. Musical improv : JAM
28. Jet : PLANE
31. Pop the question : PROPOSE
34. Kabayaki fish : EEL
36. Main part of a monocle : LENS
38. Conductor Zubin ___ : MEHTA
39. 2012 Quentin Tarantino western : DJANGO UNCHAINED
43. Columbus’s hometown : GENOA
44. Student aid : LOAN
45. Its score is reported on some univ. applications : GRE
46. Demi or Julianne Moore : ACTRESS
49. Colleague of Roberts and Scalia : ALITO
51. Gridiron positions: Abbr. : RTS
52. Historical : PAST
54. Ages and ages : EONS
57. 2010 James Mangold action comedy : KNIGHT AND DAY
61. Popular sleep aid : AMBIEN
64. River through Florence : ARNO
65. Space station until 2001 : MIR
66. Knitted item for a baby : BOOTIE
67. Gambling mecca : RENO
68. Arabic name meaning “high” : ALI
69. ___ movies (8-, 20-, 39- and 57-Across, in a way) : SILENT
70. Sharp : KEEN
71. Org. named in WikiLeaks documents : NSA

Down
1. Beginning or end of “Athena” : SCHWA
2. Prior to, in poetry : AFORE
3. Electricity producers : POWER PLANTS
4. Like school for toddlers, in brief : PRE-K
5. Notes after do : RE MI
6. It has Cut, Copy and Paste commands : EDIT MENU
7. Swordsman of book and film : ZORRO
8. Notable one in a community : PILLAR
9. Butchery or bakery : SHOP
10. “You betcha” : YEAH
11. Subject of many a viral video : CAT
12. Letters for a prince : HRH
13. William Collins’s “___ to Evening” : ODE
21. ___ Mustard (Clue character) : COL
22. Roadie’s tote : AMP
25. “The Big Lebowski” co-star : JOHN GOODMAN
26. Autumn bloom : ASTER
27. General at Gettysburg : MEADE
29. Pond growth : ALGAE
30. Prefix with conservative : NEO-
32. Muscat native : OMANI
33. Bank of China Tower designer : PEI
34. Mystery award : EDGAR
35. Kick out : EJECT
37. Comedy/variety show since ’75 : SNL
40. Fish ___ fowl : NOR
41. Front hallway item : COAT TREE
42. Prince with 21 Tonys : HAL
47. Small piano : SPINET
48. Droop : SAG
50. Kennedy aide Sorensen : TED
53. Jet fighter? : SHARK
55. Finalizes, with “down” : NAILS
56. Gulf War ally : SYRIA
57. Toy with a tail : KITE
58. “Forget it, Friedrich!” : NEIN!
59. Rice on a shelf : ANNE
60. Lunch time, maybe : NOON
61. Things that exercisers crunch : ABS
62. “You mean me?” : MOI?
63. La Paz’s land: Abbr. : BOL

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4 thoughts on “0617-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 17 Jun 14, Tuesday”

  1. That's a big "oops!" I clearly don't known my Bolivia from my Ecuador. Thanks for taking the time to point out the error, and for thekind words about the blog. I appreciate the help! (all fixed now).

  2. Went back to the trailer, and I can hear the D. To me, if I pronounce Django, my tongue touches the top of my upper teeth; if I say Jango, my tongue starts near the front end of my palate. Obviously over analyzing, but hey, all part of the fun. Thanks for the site!

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