0618-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 18 Jun 14, Wednesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Amy Johnson
THEME: You’d Need a Blank … today’s themed answers are high-scoring opening words in a game of Scrabble, but all require the use of a blank tile:

17A. 2001 best seller about competitive Scrabble : WORD FREAK

26A. Japanese “soft art” (max opening score of 92 points) : JUJITSU
29A. Sounds of censure (max opening score of 80 points) : TSKTSKS
43A. Totally inept sorts (max opening score of 104 points) : SPAZZES
45A. Ran off, in a way (max opening score of 94 points) : XEROXED

58A. What you’d need to play 26-, 29-, 43- or 45-Across : BLANK TILE

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 7m 25s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Some gobblers : TOMS
The tradition of the US President “pardoning” a Thanksgiving turkey was only formalized in 1989, during the administration of President George H, W. Bush. The pardoned turkey is taken to a farm where is gets to live out its life. Prior to 1989, the tradition was more focused on the presentation of a turkey to the White House, and less on the fate of the bird. President Eisenhower was presented with a turkey in each year of his two terms, and he ate them all …

5. Part of a fashion ensemble, maybe : VEST
Here’s another word that often catches me out. What we call a vest in the US is a waistcoat back in Ireland. And the Irish use the word “vest” for an undershirt.

14. Black-bordered news item : OBIT
“Obituary” comes from the Latin “obituaris”, originally the record of the death of a person, although the literal meaning is “pertaining to death”.

16. Bindle toters : HOBOS
No one seems to know for sure how the term “hobo” originated, although there are lots of colorful theories. My favorite is that “hobo” comes from the first letters in the words “ho-meward bo-und”, but it doesn’t seem very plausible. A kind blog reader tells me that according to Click and Clack from PBS’s “Car Talk” (a great source!), “hobo” comes from “hoe boy”. Hoe boys were young men with hoes looking for work after the Civil War. Hobos differed from “tramps” and “bums”, in that “bums” refused to work, “tramps” worked when they had to, while “hobos” traveled in search of work.

“Bindle” is the name given to that bag or sack that the stereotypical hobo carried on a stick over his shoulder. “Bindle” is possibly a corruption of “bundle”.

17. 2001 best seller about competitive Scrabble : WORD FREAK
“Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive SCRABBLE Players” is a 2001 book by “Wall Street Journal” sports reporter Stefan Fatsis. The book recounts Fatsis’s own education in the game as he progresses from being a decent player at home to being ranked “expert” by the National Scrabble Association.

19. Scarlett’s suitor : RHETT
In Margaret Mitchell’s novel “Gone with the Wind”, when Rhett Butler finally walks out on Scarlett O’Hara he utters the words “My dear, I don’t give a damn”. Most of us are more familiar with the slightly different words spoken by Clark Gable in the film adaption of the story: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

22. Tiny bits : IOTAS
Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet. We use the word “iota” to portray something very small as it is the smallest of all Greek letters.

26. Japanese “soft art” (max opening score of 92 points) : JUJITSU
Jujitsu (also “jiujitsu”) is a group of martial arts associated with Japan. The name “jujitsu” comes from “ju” meaning “gentle” and “jitsu” meaning “technique”. The name was chosen to represent the principle of using the opponent’s force against himself, rather than relying on one’s own strength.

29. Sounds of censure (max opening score of 80 points) : TSKTSKS
Yes, “tsktsk” is a word in the dictionary. I checked …

33. Where to hear “Bravo!” and “Brava!” : OPERA
To express appreciation for a male performer at an operatic performance, traditionally one calls out “bravo!”. Appreciation for a female performer is shown by using “brava!”, and for more than one performer by using “bravi!”

34. Fathoms : GETS
To fathom something is to get it, to comprehend.

35. Author Levin : IRA
As well as writing novels, Ira Levin was a dramatist and a songwriter. Levin’s first novel was “A Kiss Before Dying”, and his most famous work was “Rosemary’s Baby” which became a Hollywood hit. His best known play is “Deathtrap”, a production that is often seen in local theater (I’ve seen it a couple of times around here). “Deathtrap” was also was a successful movie, starring Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve. My favorite of Levin’s novels though are “The Boys from Brazil” and “The Stepford Wives”.

36. Courtroom team: Abbr. : ATTS
Attorney (att.)

39. “God is the perfect ___”: Browning : POET
Robert Browning met fellow poet Elizabeth Barrett in 1845. Elizabeth was a sickly woman, confined to her parents’ house in Wimpole Street in London, largely due to the conservative and protective nature of her father. Robert and Elizabeth eventually eloped in 1846, and lived in self-inflicted exile in Italy. Away from the country of his birth, Browning was moved to write his now famous “Home Thoughts, From Abroad”, the first line of which is “Oh, to be in England …”

40. Alternative to “x,” in math : DOT
A dot (“.”) is sometimes used instead of a multiplication sign (“x”) in math.

41. Quark’s place : ATOM
The three nuclear particles that we all learned about at school were protons, electrons and neutrons. The “big” particles, the protons and neutrons are known collectively as nucleons. Nucleons aren’t fundamental particles, in the sense that nucleons are made up of three smaller particles called quarks. Protons are made from two “up” quarks and one “down” quark, while neutrons are composed of one “up” quark and two “down” quarks.

42. Feather in one’s cap : PLUME
A “plume” is a feather, as in one’s cap. The term comes into English via French from the Latin “pluma” meaning “feather”.

43. Totally inept sorts (max opening score of 104 points) : SPAZZES
I don’t like the term “spaz” at all. “Spaz” describes someone who is clumsy or inept, and comes from the word “spastic”.

45. Ran off, in a way (max opening score of 94 points) : XEROXED
Xerox was founded in 1906 in Rochester, New York and originally made photographic paper and equipment. Real success came for the company in 1959 when it introduced the first plain-paper photocopier. Xerox named Ursula Burns as CEO in 2009, the first African American woman to head up a S&P 100 company. Burn was also the first woman to succeed another female CEO (replacing Anne Mulcahy).

47. Fare that may be rolled : OATS
“Rolled oats” are so called as they have been rolled flat using heavy rollers. Oat grains are steamed before being rolled flat into flakes and then lightly toasted. I love rolled oats …

52. Column style : IONIC
The Ionic was one of the three classical orders of architecture, the others being the Doric and the Corinthian.

An Ionic column is relatively ornate. It usually has grooves running up and down its length and at the top there is a “scroll” design called a “volute”. The scroll motif makes Ionic columns popular for the design of academic buildings. The term “Ionic” means “pertaining to Ionia”, with Ionia being an ancient territory that is located in modern-day Turkey.

57. Wonderland cake message : EAT ME
In Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, Alice follows the white rabbit down a rabbit hole and finds a bottle labelled “DRINK ME”. When she drinks the contents, it causes her to shrink. She also sees a cake adorned with the words “EAT ME”, and when she eats the cake she grows so big she finds it hard to stand up. After eating the cake, she utters the famous words, “Curiouser and curiouser”.

58. What you’d need to play 26-, 29-, 43- or 45-Across : BLANK TILE
The game of Scrabble has been produced in many international versions, and each of these editions has its own tile distribution to suit the local language. For example, in English we have two tiles worth ten points: one “Q” and one “Z”. If you play the game in French then there are five tiles worth ten points: one “K”, one “W”, one “X”, one “Y” and one “Z”.

60. Some hotel lobbies : ATRIA
In modern architecture an atrium (plural “atria” or “atriums”) is a large open space usually in the center of a building and extending upwards to the roof. The original atrium was an open court in the center of an Ancient Roman house. One could access most of the enclosed rooms of the house from the atrium.

61. Newport Beach isle : LIDO
Lido Isle is an island in the harbor of Newport Beach that was man-made in 1923. Originally a mudflat, the island was built up and developed as a master planned community built to resemble a Mediterranean resort. The resulting community was named Lido Isle, a nod to the famous developed sandbar in Venice called the Lido di Venezia.

62. A.C.L.U. part: Abbr. : AMER
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has its roots in the First World War when it was founded to provide legal advice and support to conscientious objectors.

64. M.Y.O.B. part : YOUR
Mind your own business (MYOB)

65. Guinness word : MOST
“The Guinness Book of World Records” holds some records of its own. It is the best-selling, copyrighted series of books of all time and is one of the books most often stolen from public libraries! The book was first published in 1954 by two twins, Norris and Ross McWhirter. The McWhirter twins found themselves with a smash hit, and eventually became very famous in Britain hosting a TV show based on world records.

Down
2. Light wind? : OBOE
The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name “oboe” comes from the French “hautbois” which means “high wood”. When you hear an orchestra tuning before a performance you’ll note (pun intended!) that the oboe starts off the process by playing an “A”. The rest of the musicians in turn tune to that oboe’s “A”.

3. Barcelona’s Joan ___ Foundation : MIRO
The Fundació Joan Miró (Joan Miró Foundation) is a museum of modern art in Barcelona featuring the works of Joan Miró.

Joan Miro was a Spanish artist. Miro immersed himself in Surrealism, so much so that Andre Breton, the founder of the movement, said that Miro was “the most Surrealist of us all”.

6. 1974 Mocedades hit whose English version is titled “Touch the Wind” : ERES TU
We have a big event across Europe every year called the Eurovision Song Contest. Each nation enters one song in competition with each other, and then voters across the whole continent decide on the winner. That’s how ABBA got their big break when they won in 1974 with “Waterloo”. In 1972, Spain’s entry was “Eres tu” (the Spanish for “You Are”) sung by the band Mocedades. “Eres tu” came second in the competition, but should have won in my humble opinion.

7. One-named singer who married Heidi Klum : SEAL
Seal is an English soul singer, of Nigerian and Brazilian descent. He had a famous wife, namely German model Heidi Klum.

German-born Heidi Klum is a talented lady and has built a multi-faceted career based on her early success as a model. She is the force behind the Bravo reality show called “Project Runway” that has been on the air since 2004. Klum has been nominated 4-5 times for an Emmy for her association with the show. Klum was also signed up as the official ambassador for Barbie in 2009, the 50th anniversary of the Barbie Doll, and for her service that year a “Heidi Klum Barbie” was produced. Klum was married to the successful English singer called Seal until 2012.

13. Former Air France fleet members, for short : SSTS
The most famous supersonic transport (SST) is the retired Concorde. Concorde was developed and produced under an Anglo-French treaty by France’s Aérospatiale and the UK’s British Aircraft Corporation (BAC). Concordes were mainly operated by Air France and British Airways, with both companies buying the planes with substantial subsidies from the French and British governments.

18. Fruity soda brand : FANTA
The soft drink “Fanta” has quite an interesting history. As WWII approached, the Coca-Cola plant in Germany had trouble obtaining the ingredients it needed to continue production of the cola beverage, so the plant manager decided to create a new drink from what was available. The new beverage was built around whey (left over from cheese production) and pomace (left over after juice has been extracted from fruit). The inventor asked his colleagues to use their imagination (“Fantasie” in German) and come up with a name for the drink, so they piped up “Fanta!”

23. What snobs put on : AIRS
Back in the 1780s, a “snob” was a shoemaker or a shoemaker’s apprentice. By the end of the 18th century the word was being used by students at Cambridge University in England to refer to all local merchants and people of the town. The term evolved to mean one who copies those who are his or her social superior (and not in a good way). From there it wasn’t a big leap for “snob” to include anyone who emphasized their superior social standing and not just those who aspired to rank. Nowadays a snob is anyone who looks down on those considered to be of inferior standing.

25. Abbr. before a founding date : ESTD
Established (estd.)

26. Steinbeck family : JOADS
John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” is set during the Great Depression. The novel tells the story of the Joad family from Oklahoma, farmers who had to leave their home and head for California due to economic hardship.

28. Volkswagen model since 1979 : JETTA
The name Passat is one in a series of names related to winds that has been used by Volkswagen. Jetta comes from the German for “jet stream””, and the model name Passat comes from the German for “trade wind”.

30. Wounded Knee tribe : SIOUX
In 1890, the US 7th cavalry killed over 300 men, women and children of the Lakota tribe, near Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota. The massacre took place when the cavalry entered the Lakota’s camp in an attempt to disarm the group. Apparently a scuffle escalated into indiscriminate shooting. Such was the confusion and lack of control, that the cavalry soldiers supposedly killed and injured many of their own men.

32. Full, and then some : SATED
“Sate” is a variant of the earlier word “satiate”. Both terms can mean either to satisfy an appetite fully, or to eat to excess.

37. Editor’s override : STET
“Stet” is a Latin word meaning “let it stand”. In editorial work, the typesetter is instructed to disregard any change previously marked by writing the word “stet” and then underscoring that change with a line of dots or dashes.

41. Cousins of rhododendrons : AZALEAS
Azaleas are very toxic to horses, sheep and goats, but strangely enough cause no problem for cats or dogs. And if you go to Korea you might come across “Tug Yonju”, which is azalea wine made from the plant’s blossoms.

45. Setting of Kubla Khan’s palace : XANADU
“Kubla Khan” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is my wife’s favorite poem. Coleridge wrote his masterpiece one night in 1797 after a vivid dream heavily influenced by opium.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

46. Key of a Bach “Bourrée” : E MINOR
Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Bourrée in E minor” is a very popular piece of music written for the lute. Even though a bourrée is a dance of French origin, Bach’s “Bourrée in E minor” was not written for dancing.

49. Baseball part : SEAM
A baseball is made by wrapping string around a rubber or cork center, and then covering the resulting sphere with leather. The string inside a baseball can measure up to a mile in length.

50. Cracker topper : PATE
Pâté is a rich spreadable paste made up of a mixture of ground meat and fat, to which various vegetables, herbs and spices may be added. The most famous version is pâté de foie gras, made from the fattened livers of geese (“foie gras” means “fat liver” in French).

51. ___ vez (again: Sp.) : OTRA
“Otra vez” is Spanish for “again”, translating literally as “other time”.

53. Mixed bag : OLIO
“Olio” is a term meaning a hodgepodge or a mixture, coming from the mixed stew of the same name. The stew in turn takes its name from the Spanish “olla”, the clay pot used for cooking.

54. Car that may have a bar : LIMO
The word “limousine” actually derives from the French city of Limoges. The area around Limoges is called the Limousin, and it gave its name to a cloak hood worn by local shepherds. In early motor cars, a driver would sit outside in the weather while the passengers would sit in the covered compartment. The driver would often wear a limousin-style protective hood, giving rise to that type of transportation being called a “limousine”. Well, that’s how the story goes anyway …

56. Smart-alecky : PERT
Apparently the original “smart Alec” (sometimes “Aleck”) was Alec Hoag, a pimp, thief and confidence trickster who plied his trade in New York City in the 1840s.

59. Pompom’s place : TAM
A tam o’shanter is a man’s cap traditionally worn by Scotsmen. “Tams” were originally all blue (and called “blue bonnets”), but as more dyes became readily available they became more colorful. The name of the cap comes from the title character of Robert Burns’ poem “Tam O’Shanter”.

The French call a ball made of tufted wool a “pompon”, a word that we imported into English directly as “pompon”. We use “pompon” to describe perhaps bobbles on some hats, or the tufted balls that are shaken by cheerleaders at sports events. Over time, the spelling “pompom” has become common in English, probably due to mishearing. To confuse matters a little, we also use the word “pom-pom”, which is a nickname for a British autocannon used mainly as an anti-aircraft weapon, particularly during WWII.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Some gobblers : TOMS
5. Part of a fashion ensemble, maybe : VEST
9. Checkout procedures : SCANS
14. Black-bordered news item : OBIT
15. Plot-listing datum : AREA
16. Bindle toters : HOBOS
17. 2001 best seller about competitive Scrabble : WORD FREAK
19. Scarlett’s suitor : RHETT
20. Prefix with Freudian : NEO-
21. Bridal path : AISLE
22. Tiny bits : IOTAS
23. Without ___ (riskily) : A NET
24. Interpreter of omens : SEER
26. Japanese “soft art” (max opening score of 92 points) : JUJITSU
29. Sounds of censure (max opening score of 80 points) : TSKTSKS
33. Where to hear “Bravo!” and “Brava!” : OPERA
34. Fathoms : GETS
35. Author Levin : IRA
36. Courtroom team: Abbr. : ATTS
37. While away : SPEND
39. “God is the perfect ___”: Browning : POET
40. Alternative to “x,” in math : DOT
41. Quark’s place : ATOM
42. Feather in one’s cap : PLUME
43. Totally inept sorts (max opening score of 104 points) : SPAZZES
45. Ran off, in a way (max opening score of 94 points) : XEROXED
47. Fare that may be rolled : OATS
48. In the thick of : AMID
49. Sewing kit item : SPOOL
52. Column style : IONIC
54. Napkin’s place : LAP
57. Wonderland cake message : EAT ME
58. What you’d need to play 26-, 29-, 43- or 45-Across : BLANK TILE
60. Some hotel lobbies : ATRIA
61. Newport Beach isle : LIDO
62. A.C.L.U. part: Abbr. : AMER
63. Financial resources : MEANS
64. M.Y.O.B. part : YOUR
65. Guinness word : MOST

Down
1. Mini-metro : TOWN
2. Light wind? : OBOE
3. Barcelona’s Joan ___ Foundation : MIRO
4. Norm: Abbr. : STD
5. Is inconsistent : VARIES
6. 1974 Mocedades hit whose English version is titled “Touch the Wind” : ERES TU
7. One-named singer who married Heidi Klum : SEAL
8. Stops for a breather : TAKES TEN
9. Fun house noises : SHRIEKS
10. Partner in crime : COHORT
11. Help in crime : ABET
12. “___ problem!” : NOT A
13. Former Air France fleet members, for short : SSTS
18. Fruity soda brand : FANTA
23. What snobs put on : AIRS
25. Abbr. before a founding date : ESTD
26. Steinbeck family : JOADS
27. On the observation deck, say : UP TOP
28. Volkswagen model since 1979 : JETTA
30. Wounded Knee tribe : SIOUX
31. Sweet filling, in product names : KREME
32. Full, and then some : SATED
34. It has its setting : GEM
37. Editor’s override : STET
38. “It could happen” : POSSIBLY
39. Lumber along : PLOD
41. Cousins of rhododendrons : AZALEAS
42. Balloon’s undoing : PRICK
44. Magnify an online map : ZOOM IN
45. Setting of Kubla Khan’s palace : XANADU
46. Key of a Bach “Bourrée” : E MINOR
49. Baseball part : SEAM
50. Cracker topper : PATE
51. ___ vez (again: Sp.) : OTRA
53. Mixed bag : OLIO
54. Car that may have a bar : LIMO
55. Some brews : ALES
56. Smart-alecky : PERT
59. Pompom’s place : TAM

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One thought on “0618-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 18 Jun 14, Wednesday”

  1. The maximum scores shown are wrong. They all assume that the duplicate letter needing a blank (X, Z, J) will have the same value as the original. But blank has a value of zero.

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