0729-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 29 Jul 14, Tuesday

QuickLinks:
Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
Solution to today’s SYNDICATED New York Times crossword in all other publications

Share today’s solution with a friend:
FacebookTwitterGoogleEmail

CROSSWORD SETTER: Timothy Polin
THEME: Nursery Worker’s Suggestions … today’s themed answers are all plants with two-part names, with the clue being matched to the first part of that name:

18A. Nursery worker’s suggestion for a backstabber? : SNAKE PLANT
36A. … for a scoundrel? : DOGWOOD
57A. … for a fall guy? : GOATSBEARD
3D. … for a grouch? : CRABGRASS
32D. … for a lothario? : WOLF’S BANE

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 20m 29s!!!
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … MESTIZA (mestiha), XZIBIT (Xhibit)

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Willy of “Free Willy,” e.g. : ORCA
The orca that starred in the 1993 movie “Free Willy” was actually called Keiko, with Willy being his “stage name”. Keiko had a sad life. He was captured near Iceland in 1979 and sold to a local aquarium. Subsequently he was sold on to Marineland in Ontario, and then Six Flags Mexico in 1985. After starring in the movie, his fans raised money with the intent of returning Keiko to the wild. Keiko had become very ill, partly from being confined in a small tank in Mexico, so a lot of money had to be spent returning him to good health. He was purchased by the Oregon Coast Aquarium who undertook the task of treating him and preparing him for the wild. You might recall the dramatic journey he took from Mexico to Oregon in US Air Force transport plane in 1996. Having regained his health, he was flown to Iceland and there was gradually reintroduced into the wild. Sadly, Keiko did not fare too well back in the ocean. He was never adopted by a pod, so lived a solitary life. He lost weight, would sometimes follow fishing boats and play with any humans who would give him attention. In 2003 he beached himself in Taken Bay in Norway, where he died.

5. Kind of breath : BATED
“Bated breath” is breath that has lessened in intensity, “abated”.

10. Transportation for Mary Poppins or E.T. : BIKE
The “Mary Poppins” series of children’s novels was written by Australian-born English writer and actress P. L. Travers. Mary Poppins is a magical children’s nanny with a best friend called Bert. In the famous musical film adaptation of the Mary Poppins stories, Poppins is played by Julie Andrews and Bert is played Dick Van Dyke.

1982’s classic science fiction movie “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” was directed by Steven Spielberg. The idea behind the film came from Spielberg himself, and the character E.T. was based on an imaginary friend that he conjured up as a child after his parents divorced in 1960.

17. United Nations headquarters decoration : FLAG
The United Nations building is located on “international territory” in New York City in Manhattan, overlooking the East River. The building is sometimes referred to as “Turtle Bay”, as it is located in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of the city.

18. Nursery worker’s suggestion for a backstabber? : SNAKE PLANT
Snake plant and mother-in-law’s tongue are familiar names for the plant Sansevieria trifasciata. The moniker “snake plant” is given because of the shape of its leaves, and “mother-in-law’s tongue” is a reference to the leaves’ sharpness!

22. Pontius ___ : PILATE
Pontius Pilate was the judge at the trial of Jesus Christ and the man who authorized his crucifixion. Over the years, many scholars have suggested that Pilate was a mythical character. However in 1961 a block of limestone was found in the modern-day city of Caesarea in Israel, and in the block was an inscription that included the name of Pontius Pilate, citing him as Prefect of Judea.

24. Killer bees and others : MENACES
Killer bees are descended from European and African bees that were deliberately interbred by a Brazilian geneticist in 1957. The resulting hybrid was intended to be isolated from local populations, but 28 swarms were accidentally released into the wild. Over the coming decades, the Africanized bees have been remarkably successful in ecological terms and have spread right through South and Central America. The first to be found in the US were discovered in California in 1985.

25. Shrew : VIRAGO
The term “virago” can describe a strong or courageous woman. The term can also be used pejoratively to mean a shrewish, domineering woman. “Virago” uses the Latin root “vir” meaning “man”, with the “-ago” suffix feminizing the term.

28. Tennis’s Ivanovic : ANA
Ana Ivanovic is a Serbian tennis player, and former world number one. As well as playing tennis, she also studied finance at university in her native Belgrade.

29. Former New York governor Spitzer : ELIOT
Eliot Spitzer was the Governor of New York for just over a year before he resigned when it surfaced that he had been a client of a prostitution ring.

31. Deuces : TWOS
“Deuce” is a word that we sometimes use for a “two” in a game of dice or cards. The term comes from “deux”, the French word for “two”.

39. Physicist Georg : OHM
The unit of electrical resistance is the ohm (with the symbol omega) named after German physicist Georg Simon Ohm. Ohm was the guy who established experimentally that the amount of current flowing through a circuit is directly proportional to the voltage applied, (V=IR) a relationship that every school kid knows as Ohm’s Law.

43. The Tigers of the S.E.C. : LSU
LSU’s full name is Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College.

44. Responds hotly? : SEXTS
“Sexting” (a portmanteau of “sex” and “texting”) is the sending of explicit dialog and images between cell phones. The term “sexting” was first coined by the UK’s “Sunday Telegraph Magazine” in a 2005 article. Apparently the practice is “rampant” among teens and young adults. Whatever happened to dinner and a movie …?

49. Mujer of mixed race : MESTIZA
Mestizo (feminine form is “mestiza”) is a term that was used by the colonial Spanish and Portuguese in South America, to describe people with mixed European and Amerindian ancestry. The word “mestizo” comes from the Latin “mixticius” meaning “mixed”.

“Mujer” is a Spanish word meaning “woman”.

52. Noted filmmaker with a dog named Indiana : LUCAS
The producer and director George Lucas has amassed an incredibly large fortune, primarily due to the phenomenal success of his movie franchises “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones”. Worth about $3 billion, Lucas has gone the way of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, agreeing to give half of his fortune to charity as part of “The Giving Pledge”.

“Raiders of the Lost Ark” is, in my humble opinion, the best of the Indiana Jones franchise of movies. This first Indiana Jones film was released in 1981, produced by George Lucas and directed by Steven Spielberg. Harrison Ford was Spielberg’s first choice to play the lead, but Lucas resisted as he was concerned that he would be too closely associated with the actor (as Ford played Han Solo in “Star Wars”, and also appeared in Lucas’s “American Graffiti”). Tom Selleck was offered the role but couldn’t get out of his commitments to “Magnum, P.I.” Eventually Spielberg got his way, and that was a good thing I’d say …

53. Milanese fashion house : ARMANI
Giorgio Armani is an Italian fashion designer and founder of the company that has borne his name since 1975. Although Armani is famous for his menswear, the company makes everything from jewelry to perfume.

57. … for a fall guy? : GOATSBEARD
A fall guy is a scapegoat, or simply “goat”.

59. Connecticut Ivy : YALE
The term “Ivy League” originally defined an athletic conference, but now it is used to describe a group of schools of higher education that are associated with both a long tradition and academic excellence. The eight Ivy League Schools are: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale.

63. Cartoon collectibles : CELS
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.

64. Wheelbarrow or thimble, in Monopoly : TOKEN
There are eight tokens included in the game of Monopoly as of 2013. These are the wheelbarrow, battleship, racecar, thimble, boot, Scottie dog, top hat and cat. The latest to be introduced was the cat in 2013, replacing the iron. The battleship and the cannon (aka howitzer, now retired) had been added to the Monopoly game as part of a recycling exercise. The pieces were intended for the game “Conflict” released in 1940, but when Parker Bros. pulled “Conflict” off the market due to poor sales, they added their excess battleships and cannons to Monopoly.

Down
1. Does a mob hit on : OFFS
“To off” is a slang term meaning “to kill, assassinate”.

2. Move, to a Realtor : RELO
Some helpful blog readers have educated me on the term “Realtor” and have pointed out why the word is capitalized. “Real estate agent” is a general, generic term. “Realtor” is the name given to a member of the trade association known as the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The NAR has gone so far as the trademark the term “Realtor” in the US.

4. German chancellor Merkel : ANGELA
The formidable politician Angela Merkel is the current Chancellor of Germany, the country’s head of state. Merkel is the first female German Chancellor and when she chaired the G8 in 2007 she became only the second woman to do so, after the UK’s Margaret Thatcher. Merkel grew up in East Germany under Communist rule.

5. Extended piece by John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin or John Entwistle of the Who : BASS SOLO
John Paul Jones is the stage name of bass player John Baldwin, who is best known as a member of the English rock group Led Zeppelin. Baldwin took his stage name from the 1959 biographical film “John Paul Jones”, about the exploits of the Scottish sailor and naval hero of the US cause during the American Revolutionary War.

The English musician John Entwistle was best known as the bass guitarist for the rock band the Who. Entwistle died in 2002 at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, having succumbed to a heart attack brought on by the use of cocaine.

6. ___ Dei : AGNUS
“Agnus Dei” is Latin for “Lamb of God”, a term used in Christian faiths for Jesus Christ, symbolizing His role as a sacrificial offering to atone for the sins of man.

9. Like the diving end of a pool vis-à-vis the other end : DEEPER
We use the French phrase “vis-a-vis” to mean “with regard to” or “in relation to”. The literal translation from the French is “face to face”. When we imported the phrase into English in the mid-1700s, it had two other meanings that were more faithful to the original. Firstly, it could be a “face to face” meeting (not so today), and secondly, it was a type of carriage in which the occupants faced each other.

11. “Shaft” composer Hayes : ISAAC
Isaac Hayes was a soul singer and songwriter. Hayes wrote the score for the 1971 film “Shaft”, and the enduring “Theme from ‘Shaft'” won him an Academy Award in 1972.

12. Kunta ___ of “Roots” : KINTE
Not only did Alex Haley author the magnificent novel “Roots”, but he was also the collaborator with Malcolm X on “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”. His 1976 novel “Roots” is based on Haley’s own family history, and he claimed to be a direct descendant of the real life Kunta Kinte, the slave who was kidnapped in the The Gambia in 1767. If you remember the fabulous television adaptation of “Roots”, you might recall that Kunta Kinte was played by LeVar Burton, who later went on to play another famous role, Geordi La Forge on “Star Trek: the Next Generation”.

13. ___ Park, Colo. : ESTES
Estes Park is a town in a beautiful part of the US, in northern Colorado. Estes Park is home to the headquarters of Rocky Mountain National Park. My fire-fighting brother-in-law was based at that park, so I’ve visited and can attest that it is a gorgeous place to live. He lives in Omaha now. The geography in Omaha is a little different …

25. Improvise musically : VAMP
“To vamp” is to improvise musically, usually on a piano, and is often an accompaniment to a solo.

30. Sinatra’s “___ Kick Out of You” : I GET A
“I Get a Kick Out of You” is a Cole Porter song that was written for the 1934 musical “Anything Goes”. Ethel Merman performed the song in the show, and the most famous cover version was recorded by Frank Sinatra. The lyrics caused a few problems over the years. The original has a reference to the Lindberghs, which had to be removed in response to the Lindbergh kidnapping, so:

I shouldn’t care for those nights in the air
That the fair Mrs. Lindbergh goes through

became:

Flying too high with some guy in the sky
Is my idea of nothing to do

The original also has a reference to cocaine, which had to be taken out for the 1936 movie version of the show. The first line below:

Some get a kick from cocaine
I’m sure that if
I took even one sniff
That would bore me terrif-
ically, too

became:

Some like the perfume in Spain

Frank Sinatra was the only child of Italian immigrants living in Hoboken, New Jersey. Like so many of our heroes, Sinatra had a rough upbringing. His mother was arrested several times and convicted of running an illegal abortion business in the family home. Sinatra never finished high school, as he was expelled for rowdy conduct. He was later arrested as a youth on a morals charge for carrying on with a married woman, which was an offence back then. But Sinatra straightened himself out by the time he was twenty and started singing professionally.

32. … for a lothario? : WOLF’S BANE
“Wolf’s Bane” is a common name for genus of plant Aconitum. The plant canyield a toxin that was once used to kill wolves, hence its common name.

There is a character Lothario in Don Quixote, and in the “Fair Penitent”, a 1703 play by Nicholas Rowe. In both cases the Lothario in question exhibits less than wholesome behavior towards a woman, giving rise to the term “lothario” meaning a “roue”.

38. Bing Crosby’s record label : DECCA
Decca Records started out in 1929 as a British record label. The US branch of Decca was opened up in 1934, but the UK and US entities went their separate ways starting in WWII.

The singer Bing Crosby was a great lover of the game of golf. Crosby had just finished up 18 holes on a course in Spain in 1977 when he suffered a massive heart attack on the final green. Crosby’s last words were “That was a great game of golf, fellas.”

45. One in Munich : EINS
The German for one, two, three is “eins, zwei, drei”.

46. Rapper who hosted MTV’s “Pimp My Ride” : XZIBIT
Xzibit is the stage name of rapper Alvin Joiner from Detroit. Xzibit is the host of the show “Pimp My Ride”, which airs on MTV. The show covers the restoration of cars in poor condition.

48. Light courses? : EASY AS
An easy A, is a school course that is not very challenging.

51. Picayune : SMALL
Something described as “picayune” is of little value or importance. The original picayune was a Spanish coin worth half a real, not a lot of money.

52. Lash ___ of old westerns : LARUE
Alfred LaRue was an actor who appeared in a lot of western movies in the forties and fifties. He was very adept with the bullwhip, earning him the nickname “Lash”. Years after his on screen career ended, LaRue was the guy who trained Harrison Ford how to use a bullwhip for his role in the “Indiana Jones” series of films.

54. Purchase for Halloween : MASK
All Saints’ Day is November 1st each year. The day before All Saints’ Day is All Hallows Eve, better known by the Scottish term “Halloween”.

55. Designer Cassini : OLEG
Oleg Cassini, the French-born American fashion designer, had two big names particularly associated with his designs. In the sixties he produced the state wardrobe for First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and he was also the exclusive designer for Hollywood’s Gene Tierney, who was Cassini’s second wife.

56. Trees for making longbows : YEWS
Yew is the wood of choice for the longbow, a valued weapon in the history of England. The longbow is constructed with a core of yew heartwood (as the heartwood resists compression) that has a sheath of yew sapwood (as the sapwood resists stretching). The yew was in such demand for longbows that for centuries yew trees were in short supply in Britain and the wood had to be imported from all over Europe.

Share today’s solution with a friend:
FacebookTwitterGoogleEmail

Return to top of page

For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Willy of “Free Willy,” e.g. : ORCA
5. Kind of breath : BATED
10. Transportation for Mary Poppins or E.T. : BIKE
14. Bit of office greenery : FERN
15. Forge a deal, say : AGREE
16. How a sale item may be sold : AS IS
17. United Nations headquarters decoration : FLAG
18. Nursery worker’s suggestion for a backstabber? : SNAKE PLANT
20. Gets more clearheaded : SOBERS UP
22. Pontius ___ : PILATE
23. Part of a place setting : GLASS
24. Killer bees and others : MENACES
25. Shrew : VIRAGO
27. Ones cutting in line, e.g. : JERKS
28. Tennis’s Ivanovic : ANA
29. Former New York governor Spitzer : ELIOT
31. Deuces : TWOS
35. Peaks: Abbr. : MTS
36. … for a scoundrel? : DOGWOOD
39. Physicist Georg : OHM
40. Ask, as a riddle : POSE
42. Run away (with) : ELOPE
43. The Tigers of the S.E.C. : LSU
44. Responds hotly? : SEXTS
47. Atmospheric phenomenon during low temperatures : ICE FOG
49. Mujer of mixed race : MESTIZA
52. Noted filmmaker with a dog named Indiana : LUCAS
53. Milanese fashion house : ARMANI
54. Overly devoted son : MAMA’S BOY
57. … for a fall guy? : GOATSBEARD
59. Connecticut Ivy : YALE
60. Away from a chat program, say : IDLE
61. It’s debatable : ISSUE
62. From the top : ANEW
63. Cartoon collectibles : CELS
64. Wheelbarrow or thimble, in Monopoly : TOKEN
65. Line parts: Abbr. : SEGS

Down
1. Does a mob hit on : OFFS
2. Move, to a Realtor : RELO
3. … for a grouch? : CRABGRASS
4. German chancellor Merkel : ANGELA
5. Extended piece by John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin or John Entwistle of the Who : BASS SOLO
6. ___ Dei : AGNUS
7. Snare : TRAP
8. Cry at a horror house : EEK!
9. Like the diving end of a pool vis-à-vis the other end : DEEPER
10. Gas balloon supply : BALLAST
11. “Shaft” composer Hayes : ISAAC
12. Kunta ___ of “Roots” : KINTE
13. ___ Park, Colo. : ESTES
19. Rosy : PINK
21. Was fierce, as a storm : RAGED
24. “I second that” : ME TOO
25. Improvise musically : VAMP
26. “What’s gotten ___ you?” : INTO
27. Features of a droopy face : JOWLS
30. Sinatra’s “___ Kick Out of You” : I GET A
32. … for a lothario? : WOLF’S BANE
33. Extremely : OH SO
34. Self-satisfied : SMUG
37. Old-time drug hangout : OPIUM DEN
38. Bing Crosby’s record label : DECCA
41. Millionaires’ properties : ESTATES
45. One in Munich : EINS
46. Rapper who hosted MTV’s “Pimp My Ride” : XZIBIT
48. Light courses? : EASY AS
49. Illusions : MAGIC
50. Wear away, as a bank : ERODE
51. Picayune : SMALL
52. Lash ___ of old westerns : LARUE
54. Purchase for Halloween : MASK
55. Designer Cassini : OLEG
56. Trees for making longbows : YEWS
58. Spanish “that” : ESO

Return to top of page

The Best of the New York Times Crossword Collections
Amazon.com Widgets

2 thoughts on “0729-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 29 Jul 14, Tuesday”

  1. Thank you for your blog. I only use it on the occasions needed and seldom on a Tuesday. But today was a bit unusual! I was surprised by the 20 mins you required (although I was not even close to that). Mestiza??! Xzibit??! Who would have known?
    You do a fine job with this blog. Please it up!

  2. Hi there,

    Yes, I was surprised by how tricky this Tuesday puzzle was, perhaps the toughest I've come across. I was completely flummoxed by the Mestiza/Xzibit crossing, and struggled for while in other parts of the grid too.

    Thanks for the kind words about the blog. It has been a hobby of mone for years now, so I'm not planning on giving up anytime soon 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.