0823-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 23 Aug 14, Saturday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Timothy Polin
THEME: N-Less … unusually, we have a themed Saturday puzzle. Four of the answers explain what is going on i.e. EACH CLUE IN THE PUZZLE IS MISSING THE LETTER N, so I’ve rewritten each of the clues (below) with the Ns added back in:

17A. First part of a hit (hint) for this crossword : EACH CLUE IN
32A. Hit (hint), part 2 : THE PUZZLE
46A. Hit (hint), part 3 : IS MISSING
62A. Last part of the hit (hint) : THE LETTER N

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 22m 41s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Rage (range) : AMBIT
An ambit is an outer boundary or limit, a circumference. The term can also be used to mean the sphere or scope of influence. “Ambit” comes from the Latin “ambire” meaning “to go around”.

14. Quiet parter (partner)? : PEACE
Peace and quiet

15. Pie (pine) cutter’s tool : ADZE
An adze (also adz) is similar to an axe, but is different in that the blade of an adze is set at right angles to the tool’s shaft. An axe’s blade is set in line with the shaft.

20. Arc’s (narc’s) target, maybe : XTC
“Ecstasy” is a street name for the drug 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). MDMA was first synthesised way back in 1912, but wasn’t used recreationally until the late sixties and early seventies. The drug was designated a controlled substance in the US in 1988.

“Narc” is a slang term for a law enforcement officer who tracks down criminals associated with illegal drugs.

22. Easter (eastern) floor mat : TATAMI
A tatami is a traditional mat used on floors in Japan. The term “tatami” comes from the Japanese word “tatamu” meaning “to fold”, reflecting the fact that the mat is designed to be folded up for storage.

24. Pog (Pong) or Pogs, formerly : FAD
Do you remember the arcade video game that was like a game of tennis, with paddles moving up and down to hit what looked like a ball, over what looked like a net? Well, that was the game called “Pong”.

The game of pogs was originally played with bottle caps from POG fruit juice. The juice was named for its constituents, passion fruit, orange and guava.

29. Bad (band) member to pick? : SITAR
The sitar has been around since the Middle Ages. The sitar is a stringed instrument that is played by plucking, and is used most often in Hindustani classical music. In the West we have been exposed to the instrument largely through the performances of Ravi Shankar and some music by George Harrison of the Beatles, a onetime student of Shankar.

30. Fly (Flynn) of film : ERROL
Errol Flynn was born 1909 in Tasmania, Australia where he was raised. In his twenties, Flynn lived in the UK where he pursued his acting career. Around the same time he starred in an Australian film “In the Wake of the Bounty” and then appeared in a British film “Murder at Monte Carlo”. It was in the latter film that he was noticed by Warner Brothers who brought him to America. Flynn’s non-American heritage shone through even while he was living the American dream in California. He regularly played cricket, along with his friend David Niven, in the Hollywood Cricket Club.

34. Olympia (Olympian) with a watery realm : SEA GOD
Mount Olympus is the highest peak in Greece. In Greek mythology, Mount Olympus was home to the gods, and in particular home to the principal gods known as the Twelve Olympians.

38. Covered with slug (slung) mud : SULLIED
“To sully” is to stain, tarnish. The term is often used in the context of sullying or tarnishing a reputation.

43. Dramatically scored (scorned) sorceress : MEDEA
In Greek mythology Medea was the wife of Jason, the heroic leader of the Argonauts. Medea was a sorceress who pledged to help Jason in his search for the Golden Fleece, on condition that he take her as his wife. According to some accounts, Jason left Medea and took up with Glauce, the daughter of the king of Corinth. Medea got her own back by sending Glauce a golden coronet and a dress that were covered with poison. The poison killed Glauce, and her father the king. To further her revenge on Jason, Medea killed two of her own children that were fathered by him.

50. Cagey (Cagney) parts, e.g. : ROLES
When Jimmy Cagneyaccepted the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1974, he addressed one of the most famous movie “non-quotes”. He told the audience “I never said ‘Mmmmmm, you dirty rat!”. The closest he ever came to saying that line, so often used by impressionists, was in the 1932 movie “Taxi!” in which he starred opposite Loretta Young. In that film he had the line “You dirty rat, I’m going to get rid of you, just like you gave it to my brother.”

51. Early (nearly): QUASI
“Quasi” is a Latin word meaning “as if, as though”. We use the term in English to mean “having a likeness to something”.

52. Part of a euro (neuron) : AXON
A nerve cell is more correctly called a neuron, and the long nerve fiber that is part of a neuron is called the axon.

55. Adds a little toe (tone) to : TINCTS
To tinct is to do just that, add a little color to something.

57. Like a great bod (bond) : AAA
Treasury bonds or municipal bonds might be AAA-rated.

61. Dramatic cry from people who get subbed (snubbed) : ET TU
It was Shakespeare who popularized the words “Et tu, Brute?” (And you, Brutus?), in his play “Julius Caesar”, although the phrase had been around long before he penned his drama. It’s not known what Julius Caesar actually said in real life just before he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate in Rome.

66. Caker (canker), for example : SORE
Canker sores are benign mouth ulcers. The condition is more correctly called aphthous stomatitis.

67. Car whose logo is liked (linked)? : AUDI
The predecessor to today’s Audi company was called Auto Union. Auto Union was the formed with the merger of four entities: Audi, Horch, DKW and Wanderer. The Audi logo comprises four intersecting rings, each representing one of the four companies that merged.

The Audi name has an interesting history. The Horch company was founded by August Horch in 1909. Early in the life of the new company, Horch was forced out of his own business. He set up a new enterprise and continued to use his own name as a brand. The old company sued him for using the Horch name so a meeting was held to choose something new. Horch’s young son was studying Latin in the room where the meeting was taking place. He pointed out that “Horch” was German for “hear” and he suggested “Audi” as a replacement, the Latin for “listen”.

71. Chia (China) growth area? : PADDY
A paddy field is the flooded piece of land used to grow rice. The water reduces competition from weeds allowing the rice to thrive. The word “paddy” has nothing to do with us Irish folk, and is an anglicized version of the word “padi”, the Malay name for the rice plant.

Down
2. Vegas (vegans) would love this type of world : MEAT-FREE
A vegan is someone who stays away from animal products. A dietary vegan eats no animal foods, not even eggs and dairy which are usually eaten by vegetarians. Ethical vegans take things one step further by following a vegan diet and also avoiding animal products in other areas of their lives e.g. items made from leather or silk.

3. Casio (casino) game : BACCARAT
Baccarat, in all of its three variants, is a relatively simple casino card game. Baccarat is the favored game of chance for James Bond 007, and it looks so cool when he plays it! Banco!

4. Kat’s (Kant’s) “I” : ICH
“Ich” is German for “I”.

Immanuel Kant was an 18th-century, German philosopher. Kant published “Perpetual Peace” in 1795, laying out what he believed were conditions for ending all wars and creating a lasting peace. The good news for us is that one of these conditions was to have a world full of constitutional republics, so it seems that we are on the right track here in the US!

5. Slag (slang) for sleuths : TECS
“Tec” is a slang term for a private detective, a private investigator (PI).

6. Product made by Moe (Moen) : FAUCET
The Moen line of faucets was started in 1956 by inventor Alfred M, Moen. It was Moen who invented the first single-handed mixing faucet.

8. Arm from a Mideast lad (land): UZI
The first Uzi submachine gun was designed in the late 1940s by Major Uziel Gal of the Israel Defense Forces who gave his name to the gun.

11. Margarie (margarine) might be described thus : ERSATZ
Something described as “ersatz” is a copy, and usually not a good one. “Ersatz” comes from the German verb “ersetzen” meaning “to replace”.

13. Gere (genre) of “Gulliver’s Travels” : SATIRE
In the 1726 adventure novel “Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift, Gulliver comes across the two islands of Lilliput and Blefuscu in the South Indian Ocean. Both are inhabited by people who are one-twelfth of “normal” size, so Gulliver appears like a giant to them. “Gulliver’s Travels” is well known for its satirical references to real life, and indeed these two islands are poorly disguised satires of Britain (Lilliput) and France (Blefuscu). The two islands were at war, as was constantly the situation with Britain and France.

18. User’s (Unser’s) circuit : LAP
The Unser family seems to have racing cars in its blood. Al Unser, Sr. won the Indy 500 on four occasions. Al’s brother Jerry was the first of the Unsers to compete at Indianapolis. Al’s other brother Bobby, won the Indy three times. Al’s son, Al Junior, won the Indy twice. Al Junior’s son is also a racing driver who competes at the Indy Speedway.

27. Wig (wing) of the old Greek army : PHALANX
In ancient warfare, a phalanx was a group of soldiers that stood or marched together as a unit using their shields as an outer barrier around the formation. “Phalanx” (plural “phalanges”) is the Greek word for “finger”. “Phalanx” was used for the military formation probably because of the finger-like movements that such formations made on the field of battle.

28. Program that asks “Are we aloe (alone)?,” for short : SETI
SETI is the name given to a number of projects that are searching for extraterrestrial life. The acronym stands for “search for extraterrestrial intelligence”. One of the main SETI activities is the monitoring of electromagnetic radiation (such as radio waves) reaching the Earth in the hope of finding a transmission from a civilization in another world.

30. Metal (mental) worker’s claim? : ESP
Extrasensory perception (ESP)

33. Doe (Donne), e.g. : POET
John Donne is one of England’s most celebrated poets, working at the start of the 17th century. He spent much of his life in poverty and even spent a short time in prison for having married his wife without procuring the appropriate permissions. After his release, his wife bore him 12 children in 16 years, passing away a few days after the twelfth child was born.

39. Sci-fi character remembered for her large bus (buns) : LEIA
Princess Leia is Luke Skywalker’s sister in the original “Star Wars” trilogy and was played by Carrie Fisher. Carrie Fisher has stated that she hated the famous “cinnamon bun hairstyle” that she had to wear in the films, as she felt it made her face look too round. She also had to to sit for two hours every day just to get her hair styled. Two hours to get your hair done? It takes me just two seconds …

46. Mesa (Mensa) prerequisite : IQ TEST
If you ever had to learn Latin, as did I, “mensa” was probably taught to you in Lesson One as it’s the word commonly used as an example of a first declension noun. Mensa means “table”. The Mensa organization for folks with high IQs was set up in Oxford, England back in 1946. To become a member, one is required to have an IQ that is in the top 2% of the population.

48. Mystical chat (chant) : MANTRA
A “mantra” is a word that is used as a focus for the mind while meditating.

53. Refusal from a boy (bonny) lass : NAE
“Nae” is the Scottish vernacular for “no”.

56. “Ow!” (Now!) : STAT
The exact etymology of “stat”, a term meaning “immediately” in the medical profession, seems to have been lost in the mists of time. It probably comes from the Latin “statim” meaning “to a standstill, immediately”. A blog reader has helpfully suggested that the term may also come from the world of laboratory analysis, where the acronym STAT stands for “short turnaround time”.

60. Murray who’s highly raked (ranked) : ANDY
Andy Murray is a tennis player from Scotland who has been the British number one for several years now. Much to the delight of the locals, Murray won the Wimbledon Championship in 2013, making him the first British player to win in 77 years. Murray also won Olympic gold in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

63. Be- (Ben-)___ : HUR
The celebrated Charlton Heston movie “Ben-Hur” is a dramatization of a book published in 1880 by Lew Wallace titled “Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ”. The 1959 epic film won a record 11 Academy Awards, a feat that has been equaled since then but has never been beaten. The other winners of 11 Oscars are “Titanic” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the Rings”.

64. Ed (end) of some school addresses : EDU
The .edu domain was one of the six original generic top-level domains specified. The complete original list is:

– .com (commercial enterprise)
– .net (entity involved in network infrastructure e.g. an ISP)
– .mil (US military)
– .org (not-for-profit organization)
– .gov (US federal government entity)
– .edu (college-level educational institution)

65. Old rival of America (American) : TWA
Trans World Airlines (TWA) was a big carrier in the US, but was perhaps even more recognized for its extensive presence in Europe and the Middle East. For many years, especially after the collapse of Pan-Am, TWA was considered the unofficial flag carrier for the US. The company started in 1930, the product of a forced merger of Transcontinental Air Transport and Western Air Express. The Transcontinental and Western Air that resulted (the original meaning of the acronym TWA) was what the Postmaster General wanted, a bigger airline to which the Postal Service could award airmail contracts.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Rage (range) : AMBIT
6. Hardly ice outside : FOUL
10. Places for sprigs : BEDS
14. Quiet parter (partner)? : PEACE
15. Pie (pine) cutter’s tool : ADZE
16. Umber at the opera : ARIA
17. First part of a hit for this crossword : EACH CLUE IN
19. Relative of “Hey, ma” : PSST!
20. Arc’s (narc’s) target, maybe : XTC
21. Plat pouch : SAC
22. Easter (eastern) floor mat : TATAMI
24. Pog (Pong) or Pogs, formerly : FAD
26. Lives : PEPS
29. Bad (band) member to pick? : SITAR
30. Fly (Flynn) of film : ERROL
32. Hit, part 2 : THE PUZZLE
34. Olympia (Olympian) with a watery realm : SEA GOD
36. Perform peace : ATONE
37. Fried with four legs : PET
38. Covered with slug (slung) mud : SULLIED
40. Sorters’ quarters : STY
43. Dramatically scored (scorned) sorceress : MEDEA
44. Ager : TEMPER
46. Hit, part 3 : IS MISSING
51. Early (nearly): QUASI
52. Part of a euro (neuron) : AXON
54. Tige (tinge), say : BIT
55. Adds a little toe (tone) to : TINCTS
57. Like a great bod (bond) : AAA
59. Bled (blend) for a social affair, perhaps : TEA
61. Dramatic cry from people who get subbed (snubbed) : ET TU
62. Last part of the hit (hint) : THE LETTER N
66. Caker (canker), for example : SORE
67. Car whose logo is liked (linked)? : AUDI
68. Ever (never) lost to : OWNED
69. Starts of some chorus lies (lines): TRAS
70. Eve (even) : TRUE
71. Chia (China) growth area? : PADDY

Down
1. Crow (crown): APEX
2. Vegas (vegans) would love this type of world : MEAT-FREE
3. Casio (casino) game : BACCARAT
4. Kat’s (Kant’s) “I” : ICH
5. Slag (slang) for sleuths : TECS
6. Product made by Moe (Moen) : FAUCET
7. Kid (kind) of poetic work : ODE
8. Arm from a Mideast lad (land): UZI
9. Did a baker’s (banker’s) job : LENT
10. Covert (convert), maybe : BAPTIZE
11. Margarie (margarine) might be described thus : ERSATZ
12. Grad’s (grand’s) opposite : DISMAL
13. Gere (genre) of “Gulliver’s Travels” : SATIRE
18. User’s (Unser’s) circuit : LAP
23. I (in) pieces : ASUNDER
25. You might board yours at the keel (kennel) if you take a cruise : DOG
27. Wig (wing) of the old Greek army : PHALANX
28. Program that asks “Are we aloe (alone)?,” for short : SETI
30. Metal (mental) worker’s claim? : ESP
31. Abruptly becomes violet (violent): LOSES IT
33. Doe (Donne), e.g. : POET
35. Bombs without bags (bangs) : DUDS
39. Sci-fi character remembered for her large bus (buns) : LEIA
40. Strad (strand) part that becomes frayed : SPLIT END
41. Wet (went) like a seesaw : TEETERED
42. Spas (spans) that last 52 wks. : YRS
43. Bugled (bungled) strokes : MISCUES
45. Deadly gag (gang) : MOB
46. Mesa (Mensa) prerequisite : IQ TEST
47. Guy who may offer a girl a rig (ring): SUITOR
48. Mystical chat (chant) : MANTRA
49. H.L. (N.H.L.) player : GOALIE
53. Refusal from a boy (bonny) lass : NAE
56. “Ow!” (Now!) : STAT
58. O (on) : ATOP
60. Murray who’s highly raked (ranked) : ANDY
63. Be- (Ben-)___ : HUR
64. Ed (end) of some school addresses : EDU
65. Old rival of America (American) : TWA

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10 thoughts on “0823-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 23 Aug 14, Saturday”

  1. Obviously a different tack, when most Saturday grids have no theme. This one made me feel like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.

    I only stumbled on the theme by mistakenly ignoring the missing letter and filling in 7D and ANDY Murray anyway.

    I give this puzzle a big MIDDLE FIGER.

  2. Hi there, Willy.

    Yes, this one was tough. It took me a while to realise that there was actually a theme. Once I finally worked out what was going on, I thought "clever". But then, as I plowed through clue after clue doing the same thing, I thought "tedious". Still, overall I'd label the experience as "enjoyable".

  3. I surrendered to this one! The Baltimore Sun carries NYT dailies 5 weeks late. Usually I can finish Saturday's in 20-30 min, but was stumped today and had only about 1/10th of the boxes filled in after an hour, when I took mercy on myself. Sadly (stupidly?) I spotted the missing-N trope in many clues, but not all. Got PEACE, SATIRE, a few others. Saturday always leaves me looking forward to Sunday (best 17 min, avg 26-29), but Never more so thaN today.

  4. UTTER F***ING NONSENSE!!! Get Will Shortz and his band of impish tricksters OUT and get us an editor who will restore the puzzle to some semblance of respectability!!!!

  5. Two of us work on these puzzles as a team, using Skype. (One is in Pittsburgh, one in Denver.) We were totally mystified until we figured out the theme. After that, it was very challenging and a lot of fun. We got everything except FAD, which we had to look up.

  6. Okay, I didn't even get started on this one because I never figured out the trick–my bad. I will, however, be more suspicious in the future when a weird one like this comes along again. If this had been a Sunday puzzle, the title would surely have given it away.

    And fire Will Shortz? Surely you jest.

  7. It took me a long time to discover the no-N-clues theme in this puzzle. I would have found it a little more rewarding if there was a "deeper level" to the theme relating the clues/answers for those clues that were missing two Ns or two consecutive Ns. If there is such a deeper theme, I have missed it.

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