0819-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 19 Aug 14, Tuesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Sam Buchbinder
THEME: In Oz … three of our themed answers today end with three things sought by DOROTHY’s companions who follow the YELLOW BRICK ROAD in the Land of OZ. The circled letters in the grid spell out OZ:

17A. IBM’s Watson, essentially : ARTIFICIAL BRAIN (the Scarecrow wants a “brain”)
26A. Embolden oneself : GET UP THE COURAGE (the Cowardly Lion wants “courage”)
44A. Dear : NEAR TO ONE’S HEART (the Tin Man wants a “heart”)

34A. Tin Man’s worry : RUST
58A. Path taken by 37-Across to find the ends of 17-, 26- and 44-Across in [circled letters] : YELLOW BRICK ROAD
37A. 23-Down of a classic L. Frank Baum novel : DOROTHY
23D. See 37-Across : HEROINE

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 11m 41s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Olympics awards : MEDALS
In the Ancient Olympic Games, the winner of an event was awarded an olive wreath. When the games were revived in 1896, the winners were originally given a silver medal and an olive branch, with runners-up receiving a bronze medal and a laurel branch. The tradition of giving gold, silver and bronze medals began at the 1904 Summer Olympic Games held in St. Louis, Missouri.

15. Actress Mayim of “The Big Bang Theory” : BIALIK
The wonderful Mayim Bialik is an actress best known for playing Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler on TV’s “The Big Bang Theory”. Bialik also played the title role in the NBC sitcom “Blossom”. There’s a line in one of “The Big Bang Theory” episodes where Sheldon talks about “the girl who played TV’s ‘Blossom’”. He notes that the “Blossom” actress has “a Ph. D. in neuroscience or something”. And that is true, actress Mayim Bialik has indeed got a doctorate in neuroscience.

16. Deals buyable via a tap on an app : GROUPONS
Groupon is a relatively young company, a deal-of-the-day type website that was started in 2008. The concept behind the business is illustrated by the company name, a portmanteau of “group coupon”. Each day a discount coupon is offered to website members who sign up knowing that the coupon requires a minimum number of “takers” in order for it to be valid. If too few buyers sign up, then the coupon is void. When sufficient buyers sign up the coupon is honored, and the retailer benefits from the large volume of business generated. Groupon was very successful for a couple of years and predictions were made that the company would reach $1 billion in sales faster than any other company in history. That forecast has changed dramatically, and the CEO was ousted in February 2013.

17. IBM’s Watson, essentially : ARTIFICIAL BRAIN
Watson is a program still in development at IBM. Watson is designed to answer questions that are posed in natural language, so that it should be able to interpret questions just as you and I would, no matter how the question is phrased. The program is named after the founder of IBM, Thomas J. Watson. Today’s Watson competed in a few memorable episodes of “Jeopardy!” in 2011 taking out two of the best players of the quiz show. That made for fun television …

20. “___ Carter III” (Lil Wayne 3x platinum album) : THA
“Tha Carter III” is an album by rapper Lil Wayne. Lil Wayne’s real name is … Dwayne Carter, Jr.

24. Smooching on the street, e.g., briefly : PDA
PDA is an initialism that stands for “public display of affection”.

33. Cookie ingredient in dirt cake : OREO
Dirt cake is a dessert usually made by breaking up Oreo cookies and scattering the pieces over chocolate pudding, and then adding gummy worms on top. Sounds delicious …

34. Tin Man’s worry : RUST
Actor Jack Haley played the Tin Man in “The Wizard of Oz”. Haley was the second choice for the role, as it was originally given to Buddy Ebsen (who later played Jed Clampett in “The Beverly Hillbillies”). Ebsen was being “painted up” as the Tin Man when he had an extreme, near-fatal reaction from inhaling the aluminum dust makeup that was being used. When Haley took over, the makeup was changed to a paste, but it was still uncomfortable and caused him to miss the first four days of shooting due to a reaction in his eyes. During filming, Haley must have made good friends with the movie’s star, Judy Garland, as years later Jack’s son married Judy’s daughter, Liza Minnelli.

35. Corn Pops competitor : KIX
Kix cereal has been around since 1937, would you believe? Kix used to be just puffed grains, processed to give the characteristic shape. Then the decision was made to add sugar to get better penetration into the young kid marketplace. Sad really …

36. “Leaving ___ Vegas” : LAS
“Leaving Las Vegas” is a 1995 film starring Nicolas Cage as a suicidal alcoholic who tries to drink himself to death in Las Vegas, befriending a prostitute played by Elisabeth Shue along the way. The film is based on a semi-autobiographical novel of the same name written by John O’Brien. Two weeks into production of the movie, O’Brien actually did commit suicide.

37. 23-Down of a classic L. Frank Baum novel : DOROTHY
Judy Garland wore ruby slippers in the movie “The Wizard of Oz”. However, in the original novel by L. Frank Baum, Dorothy wore “Silver Shoes”.

41. Communication used at Gallaudet University, for short : ASL
It’s really quite unfortunate that American Sign Language (ASL) and British Sign Language (BSL) are very different, and someone who has learned to sign in one cannot understand someone signing in the other.

Gallaudet University is a private school in Washington, D.C. that is focused on the education of the deaf and hard of hearing. Gallaudet was founded in 1864 and is officially a bilingual institution, with classes held in both English and ASL.

42. Yours, in Tours : A TOI
“À toi” is the French term for “yours”, when talking to someone with whom one is familiar. “À toi” literally means “to you”.

Tours is the largest city in the Centre region of France. It is said that the people of Tours speak the “purest” form of French in the whole country, and when spoken by a local it is also said to be free of any accent.

54. Actor Efron of “Neighbors” : ZAC
Zac Efron is an actor from San Luis Obispo, California. Apparently Efron is a heartthrob to “tweenyboppers”. His big break was in the Disney hit movie “High School Musical”.

“Neighbors” is a 2014 comedy film starring Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne as a young couple with a newborn child. Zac Efron and Dave Franco play the leaders of a fraternity that moves into the house next door. I am told that hilarity ensues …

55. Beats by ___ (popular headphone brand) : DRE
Beats by Dre is a brand of audio products that was founded by rapper Dr. Dre.

58. Path taken by 37-Across to find the ends of 17-, 26- and 44-Across in [circled letters] : YELLOW BRICK ROAD
According to L. Frank Baum’s series of “Oz” novels, there are two Yellow Brick Roads that lead to the Emerald City from Munchkin Country, and it turns out that Dorothy chose the harder of the two. There is also a Red Brick Road, which leads from Munchkin County to the Country of the Quadlings.

65. Ham-handed : KLUTZY
Our word “klutz” is used to describe a foolish person, and comes into English from Yiddish. The Yiddish word for a clumsy person is “klots”.

66. Charge of the 1% against Occupy Wall Street : CLASSISM
The Occupy movement is a protest directed against economic and social inequality worldwide. The first such protest to garner major attention took place in Wall Street in 2011 and from there similar protests spread around the world.

Down
1. Degs. held by Romney and Bush : MBAS
The world’s first MBA degree was offered by Harvard’s Graduate School of Business Administration, in 1908.

Mitt Romney was born Willard Mitt Romney in 1947 in Detroit, Michigan. Romney’s parents named him after J. Willard Marriott (the hotel magnate) who was the father’s best friend, and after Milton “Mitt” Romney who was the father’s cousin and quarterback for the Chicago Bears.

President George W. Bush graduated from Yale with an A.B. in history in 1968. He later earned a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School. President Bush is the only person with an MBA to have held the nation’s highest office.

2. The Emerald Isle : EIRE
“Éire”, is the Irish word for “Ireland”. “Erin” is an anglicized version of “Éire” and actually corresponds to “Éirinn”, the dative case of “Éire”.

Ireland is called the “Emerald Isle” (and described as “green”) because of all that green grass that grows due to the seemingly non-stop rain.

3. Possible outcome of an eHarmony match : DATE
eHarmony is a high-profile online dating service based in Pasadena, California.

4. 2001 Will Smith biopic : ALI
“Ali” is a 2001 biographical movie about Muhammad Ali, with Will Smith in the title role. Among other things, the film is noted for its realistic fight scenes. The scenes were realistic because Smith was really being hit, as hard as his opponents could manage.

7. Film special FX : CGI
Computer-generated imagery(CGI)

“FX” is an abbreviation for “effects”, as in “special effects”.

8. Southern constellation : ARA
The constellation of Ara takes its name from the Latin word for “altar”.

9. David Axelrod or Karl Rove, for short : POL
I’ve always thought of “pol” as an abbreviated form for “politician”. I would have described David Axelrod and Karl Roves as “pundits” or “political advisors”, and not “pols”, but I suppose a politician is anyone who is actively involved in party politics …

David Axelrod was a key advisor to President Barack Obama in his 2008 reelection campaign . Axelrod was also a top advisor to President Bill Clinton while he was in office. More recently, he was appointed as a strategic advisor to the UK’s Labour Party, presumably with the task of helping party leader Ed Miliband win the anticipated 2015 general election.

Whatever your politics, you have to give Karl Rove credit for engineering both presidential election victories for President George W. Bush. Rove is a Christmas baby, born on December 25, 1950.

12. Horse hue : ROAN
A roan horse has an even mixture of white and colored hairs on the body with the head, lower legs, mane and tail having a more solid color.

13. City west of Tulsa : ENID
Enid, Oklahoma takes its name from the old railroad station around which the city developed. Back in 1889, that train stop was called Skeleton Station. An official who didn’t like the name changed it to Enid Station, using a character from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King”. Maybe if he hadn’t changed the name, the city of Enid would now be called Skeleton, Oklahoma! Enid has the nickname “Queen Wheat City” because is has a huge capacity for storing grain, the third largest grain storage capacity in the world.

Tulsa is the second-largest city in the state of Oklahoma (after Oklahoma City). Tulsa started out as a settlement established by the Loachapoka and Creek Native American tribes in 1836. These early settlers called their new home “Tallasi” meaning “old town”, and this name morphed into “Tulsa” that we use today.

14. Figs. with two hyphens : SSNS
A Social Security number (SSN) is divided into three parts i.e AAA-GG-SSSS, Originally, the Area Number (AAA) was the code for the office that issued the card. Since 1973, the Area Number reflects the ZIP code from which the application was made. The GG in the SSN is the Group Number, and the SSSS in the number is the Serial Number. However, this is all moot, as since 2011 SSN’s are assigned randomly.

22. Quid pro ___ : QUO
“Quid pro quo” is Latin for “something for something”, a swap.

24. Fancy-schmancy : POSH
No one really knows the etymology of the word “posh”. The popular myth that POSH stands for “Port Out, Starboard Home” is completely untrue, and is a story that can actually be traced back to the 1968 movie “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”. The myth is that wealthy British passengers travelling to and from India would book cabins on the port side for the outward journey and the starboard side for the home journey. This trick was supposedly designed to keep their cabins out of the direct sunlight.

26. Israel’s ___ Heights : GOLAN
Geographically speaking, the Golan Heights is a plateau in the Middle East with the western two-thirds of its area falling within Israel, and the eastern third falling within Syria. The name Golan Heights also applies to the geopolitical region that was captured from Syria during the Six-Day War of 1967 and occupied by Israel.

28. Electric car company : TESLA
Tesla Motors is a manufacturer of electric vehicles based in Palo Alto, California. Tesla is noted for producing the first electric sports car, called the Tesla Roadster. The current base price of a roadster is about $100,000, should you be interested …

30. ___ Goldsman, Oscar-winning screenwriter of “A Beautiful Mind” : AKIVA
Akiva Goldsman is a film and television writer from Manhattan, New York. Two of his more famous big-screen adaptations are “The Da Vinci Code” and “A Beautiful Mind”, with Goldsman winning an Oscar for his work on the latter.

38. Plains tribe : OTOE
The Native American people known as the Otoe were the first tribe encountered by the Lewis and clark Expedition. The meeting took place at a point on the Missouri River that is now known as Council Bluff.

39. Friend of Pooh : ROO
Like most of the characters in A. A. Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh”, the baby kangaroo called Roo was inspired by on a stuffed toy belonging to Milne’s son Christopher Robin.

43. ___ Lingus : AER
Aer Lingus is my favorite airline! Well, the service isn’t that great, but when I get on board an Aer Lingus plane I feel like I am back in Ireland. Aer Lingus is the national airline of Ireland, with “Aer Lingus” being a phonetic spelling of the Irish “aer-loingeas” meaning “air fleet”. These days Aer Lingus can only lay claim to the title of Ireland’s oldest airline as it is no longer the biggest. That honor goes to the controversial budget airline called Ryanair. And I’m booked on an Aer Lingus flight next month. Can’t wait …

45. What Stolichnaya is sold in : RUBLES
The ruble (also “rouble”) is the unit of currency in Russia, as well as several other countries of the former Soviet Union. One ruble is divided into one hundred kopecks.

Stolichnaya is a brand of Russian vodka made from wheat and rye grain. Well, “Stoli” originated in Russia but now it’s made in Latvia, which is of course a completely different country, so you won’t see the word “Russian” on the label.

46. Wyoming senator Mike : ENZI
Mike Enzi is the senior US Senator from Wyoming, and has been in office since 1997. Enzi succeeded Senator Ted Kennedy as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

48. Jeer : HECKLE
The original use of the verb “to heckle” was to mean questioning severely, and for many years was associated with the public questioning of parliamentary candidates in Scotland. In more recent times, the meaning has evolved into questioning that is less polite and that is directed at standup comics.

52. Green-blue : TEAL
The beautiful color of teal takes it name from the duck called a “teal”, which has dark greenish-blue (teal) markings on its head and wings.

53. ___-Seltzer : ALKA
The antacid known as Alka-Seltzer used an animated character called Speedy in its adverts from 1951 to 1964. Speedy had an Alka-Seltzer tablet as a body and another as a hat. His job was to get out the message that Alka-Seltzer provided speedy relief!

57. Ben & Jerry’s alternative : EDY’S
Dreyers’ ice cream sells its products under the name Dreyers in the Western United States, and Edy’s in the Eastern states. The company’s founders were William Dryer and Joseph Edy.

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield did a correspondence course on ice-cream making in 1977 given by Pennsylvania State University’s Creamery. The following year they opened an ice cream parlor in an old gas station in Burlington, Vermont. Today Ben & Jerry’s has locations in over 20 countries around the world, and theirs was the first brand ice-cream to go into space.

59. Some serious hosp. cases : ODS
Overdoses (ODs)

60. Fifth-century Chinese dynasty : WEI
During the Three Kingdoms Period in Chinese history, there were three kingdoms vying for control of China. The three competing kingdoms were Wei, Shu and Wu.

62. “Losing My Religion” band : REM
R.E.M. was a rock band from Athens, Georgia formed in 1980. The name “R.E.M.” was chosen randomly from a dictionary, apparently.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Olympics awards : MEDALS
7. Nabs : CAPTURES
15. Actress Mayim of “The Big Bang Theory” : BIALIK
16. Deals buyable via a tap on an app : GROUPONS
17. IBM’s Watson, essentially : ARTIFICIAL BRAIN
19. “What did I tell you?” : SEE?
20. “___ Carter III” (Lil Wayne 3x platinum album) : THA
21. Finishes : ENDS
22. Put down, as an uprising : QUASH
24. Smooching on the street, e.g., briefly : PDA
26. Embolden oneself : GET UP THE COURAGE
33. Cookie ingredient in dirt cake : OREO
34. Tin Man’s worry : RUST
35. Corn Pops competitor : KIX
36. “Leaving ___ Vegas” : LAS
37. 23-Down of a classic L. Frank Baum novel : DOROTHY
40. “So ___ heard” : I’VE
41. Communication used at Gallaudet University, for short : ASL
42. Yours, in Tours : A TOI
43. Declare : AVER
44. Dear : NEAR TO ONE’S HEART
49. Take advantage of : USE
50. Key key on a keyboard : ENTER
51. Stick with a knife : STAB
54. Actor Efron of “Neighbors” : ZAC
55. Beats by ___ (popular headphone brand) : DRE
58. Path taken by 37-Across to find the ends of 17-, 26- and 44-Across in [circled letters] : YELLOW BRICK ROAD
64. Unaided vision, with “the” : NAKED EYE
65. Ham-handed : KLUTZY
66. Charge of the 1% against Occupy Wall Street : CLASSISM
67. Feels : SENSES

Down
1. Degs. held by Romney and Bush : MBAS
2. The Emerald Isle : EIRE
3. Possible outcome of an eHarmony match : DATE
4. 2001 Will Smith biopic : ALI
5. Boost : LIFT UP
6. Top of a mountain? : SKI HAT
7. Film special FX : CGI
8. Southern constellation : ARA
9. David Axelrod or Karl Rove, for short : POL
10. Rubber ducky locale : TUB
11. Erect : UPREAR
12. Horse hue : ROAN
13. City west of Tulsa : ENID
14. Figs. with two hyphens : SSNS
18. “Cold, hard” money : CASH
22. Quid pro ___ : QUO
23. See 37-Across : HEROINE
24. Fancy-schmancy : POSH
25. Responsibility : DUTY
26. Israel’s ___ Heights : GOLAN
27. Clear : ERASE
28. Electric car company : TESLA
29. Abbreviate : CUT
30. ___ Goldsman, Oscar-winning screenwriter of “A Beautiful Mind” : AKIVA
31. Donor : GIVER
32. Apply, as force : EXERT
37. “___ what I’m talkin’ ’bout!” : DAT’S
38. Plains tribe : OTOE
39. Friend of Pooh : ROO
43. ___ Lingus : AER
45. What Stolichnaya is sold in : RUBLES
46. Wyoming senator Mike : ENZI
47. Library area : STACKS
48. Jeer : HECKLE
51. Match up : SYNC
52. Green-blue : TEAL
53. ___-Seltzer : ALKA
55. i’s and j’s have them : DOTS
56. Bulldoze : RAZE
57. Ben & Jerry’s alternative : EDY’S
59. Some serious hosp. cases : ODS
60. Fifth-century Chinese dynasty : WEI
61. Fly-___ (close passes by plane) : BYS
62. “Losing My Religion” band : REM
63. Jog : RUN

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