0926-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 26 Sep 14, Friday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Patrick Berry
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 15m 40s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. “Ninotchka” setting PARIS
“Ninotchka” is a 1939 movie starring Greta Garbo in the title role. The film is a comedy, and was the second-to-last film in which Garbo appeared. “Ninotchka” was the only full comedy that Garbo made in her career, and was marketed with the line “Garbo Laughs!”

6. Fad dance of the 1930s SHAG
The collegiate shag (sometimes just “shag”) is a dance that was particularly popular with young people (hence “collegiate”) in the thirties and forties. The dance is thought to have originated in the twenties, probably in the Carolinas.

10. Swedish Air Force supplier SAAB
SAAB stands for Svenska Aeroplan AB, which translates into English as Swedish Aeroplane Limited. SAAB was, and still is, mainly an aircraft manufacturer. If you take small hops in Europe you might find yourself on a SAAB passenger plane. The SAAB automotive division was acquired by General Motors in the year 2000, who then sold it to a Dutch concern in 2010. However, SAAB (automotive) finally went bankrupt in 2011. A Chinese consortium purchased the assets of SAAB Automotive in 2012, and so SAAB vehicles are in production again. The new vehicles are using the SAAB name, but cannot use the SAAB griffin logo, the rights to which have been retained by the mother company.

16. Lady Antebellum, e.g. TRIO
Lady Antebellum is a country music trio that formed in 2006 in Nashville.

17. Someone might call your number this evening BINGO NIGHT
Our modern bingo is a derivative of an Italian lottery game called “Il Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia” that became popular in the 16th-century.

19. Asian tourist magnet AGRA
The Indian city of Agra is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

– The Taj Mahal: the famous mausoleum built in memory of Mumtaz Mahal.
– Agra Fort: the site where the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond was seized.
– Fatehpur Sikri: a historic city that’s home to well-preserved Mughal architecture.

20. Delayed sensation? SLEEPER HIT
A “sleeper hit” is a play or film that has a mediocre initial run, but later becomes a big success. Examples of movies that became sleep hits are: “Sleepless in Seattle”, “Forest Gump” and “The Sixth Sense”.

21. 1920s-’30s debate opponent of Einstein BOHR
The physicists Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein had a series of public debates and disputes in the twenties and thirties. Although the two respected each other very highly, they held very different views on quantum theory, different views on the laws of physics at the atomic level. The passage of time has shown that Einstein lost these debates.

23. “The road of excess leads to the palace of ___”: William Blake WISDOM
William Blake was an English poet and artist, considered now have been a powerful force in his fields during the Romantic Age. One of Blake’s more famous poems is “The Tyger”, which has the celebrated lines:

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

“The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” is a set of texts written by English poet William Blake between 1790 and 1793. Two quotations from this work persist to this day as proverbs:

– The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom
– The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction

26. Exceed 21 in twenty-one BUST
The game of “twenty-one” was first referred to in a book by Cervantes, the author famous for writing “Don Quixote”. He called the game “ventiuna” (Spanish for “twenty-one”). Cervantes wrote his story just after the year 1600, so the game has been around at least since then. Twenty-one came to the US but it wasn’t all that popular so bonus payments were introduced to create more interest. One of the more attractive bonuses was a ten-to-one payout to a player who was dealt an ace of spades and a black jack. This bonus led to the game adopting the moniker “Blackjack”.

28. Orchard Field, today O’HARE
O’Hare International is the fourth busiest airport in the world. The original airport was constructed on the site between 1942 and 1943, and was used by the Douglas Aircraft Company for the manufacture of planes during WWII. Before the factory and airport were built, there was a community in the area called Orchard Place, so the airport was called Orchard Place Airport/Douglas Field. This name is the derivation of the airport’s current location identifier: ORD (OR-chard D-ouglas). Orchard Place Airport was renamed to O’Hare International in 1949 in honor of Lieutenant Commander Butch O’Hare who grew up in Chicago. O’Hare was the US Navy’s first flying ace and a Medal of Honor recipient in WWII. As an aside, Butch O’Hare’s father Edward was a lawyer friend of Al Capone who eventually worked undercover for the IRS and helped get the famous gangster convicted on tax evasion. Some years later, Edward was shot to death while driving his car.

34. Little homewreckers? CARPENTER ANTS
Carpenter ants can wreak havoc in a wooden structure. They burrow into damp wood creating galleries and pathways that form a complex network of nests. Unlike termites though, carpenter ants don’t feed on the wood.

38. Deli offering BLT
The BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) is the second most popular sandwich in the US, after the plain old ham sandwich.

39. Gin cocktail GIBSON
A Gibson is simply a regular martini (gin and vermouth) with the traditional olive garnish replaced with a pickled onion.

43. They’re on during the wee hours, briefly PJS
Our word “pajamas” (“PJs” for short) comes to us from the Indian subcontinent, where “pai jamahs” were loose fitting pants tied at the waist and worn at night by locals and ultimately by the Europeans living there. And “pajamas” is another of those words that I had to learn to spell differently when I came to America. In the British Isles the spelling is “pyjamas”.

46. Arab League member OMAN
The Arab League was formed in 1945 in Cairo with six founding members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Syria. As a result of events during the 2011 Arab Spring, the Arab League has suspended Syria’s membership.

52. 1963 song investigated by the F.B.I. for supposedly obscene lyrics LOUIE LOUIE
“Louie Louie” is an R&B song that was most famously a hit for the Kingsmen in 1963. The Kingsmen were accused of deliberately slurring words in the song that were describing the sexual act. There was even a 31-month investigation by the FBI, after which it was concluded that the accusation was unfounded.

56. Cole Porter’s “___ Magnifique” C’EST
“C’est Magnifique” is a Cole Porter song, one that he included in his 1953 musical “Can-Can”.

The Cole Porter musical “Can-Can” was first produced on Broadway, in 1953, where it ran for two years. There was a very successful film adaptation (which I saw recently … it’s good stuff) released in 1960, starring Shirley MacLaine, Frank Sinatra and Maurice Chevalier. During filming, the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev visited the set as part of a tour of 20th Century Fox studios. He made a big splash in the media at the time describing what he saw as “depraved” and “pornographic”.

57. Three-player card game SKAT
When I was a teenager in Ireland, I had a friend with a German father. The father taught us the game of Skat, and what a great game it is. Skat originated in Germany in the 1800s and is to this day the most popular card game in the country. I haven’t played it in decades, but would love to play it again …

Down
1. Brewer of Schlitz, nowadays PABST
The Joseph Schlitz brewery in MIlwaukee was once the largest beer producer in the country. The brewery was founded in 1849, and was acquired by Joseph Schlitz in 1858. Schlitz had worked in the brewery as a bookkeeper and took over management of the company after the founder, August Krug, passed away. A few years later, Schlitz married the founder’s widow and changed the company name to his own.

Pabst Blue Ribbon is the most recognizable brand of beer from the Pabst Brewing Company. There appears to be some dispute over whether or not Pabst beer ever won a “blue ribbon” prize, but the company claims that it did so at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The beer was originally called Pabst Best Select, and then just Pabst Select. With the renaming to Blue Ribbon, the beer was sold with an actual blue ribbon tied around the neck of the bottle until it was dropped in 1916 and incorporated into the label.

3. Soprano Fleming RENEE
Renée Fleming is a marvelous soprano from Indiana, Pennsylvania. Famous for her appearances in opera houses and concert halls all over the world, Fleming is also noted for her willingness to bring her craft to the masses. She was a guest on “Sesame Street”, singing “counting lyrics” to an aria from “Rigoletto”, and she has appeared a few times on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion”.

4. “Splendor in the Grass” screenwriter INGE
Playwright William Inge had a run of success on Broadway in the early fifties. Inge’s most celebrated work of that time was the play “Picnic”, for which he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. The original 1953 cast of “Picnic” included a young male actor making his debut on Broadway. His name was Paul Newman. Many of Inge’s works are set in the American heartland and so he became known as the “Playwright of the Midwest”.

“Splendor in the Grass” is a 1961 film with an Oscar winning screenplay by William Inge. The film stars Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty, and even Inge himself makes a brief appearance as a clergyman.

5. Telegraphy word STOP
The punctuation mark used to terminate a sentence is called a “period” in American English, and a “full stop” in British English. The same punctuation mark has no symbol in Morse code, so the word STOP is used instead in telegraphy.

8. Fruit grower’s bane APHID
Aphids are called “greenfly” back in the British Isles where I come from. The most effective way to control aphids in my experience is to make sure there are plenty of ladybugs in the garden (called ladybirds in Ireland!).

11. Ancient mariners ARGONAUTS
Jason is a hero from Greek mythology, most noted for leading the quest for the Golden Fleece. The Golden Fleece is the fleece of the gold-haired winged ram. For his quest, Jason assembles a group of heroes who were given the name Argonauts, as they journeyed on the ship called the “Argo”. The vessel was called the “Argo” in honor of the ship’s builder, a man named Argus.

12. Banned items at Wimbledon AIR HORNS
The Wimbledon Championships of tennis are held at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club located in Wimbledon, a district of London. The Wimbledon Championships started in 1877, and are still played on grass.

18. Post office workers? NEWSMEN
Office workers at a publication called “The Post” might be “newsmen”.

26. Philosopher who wrote “Superstition is the religion of feeble minds” BURKE
Edmund Burke was an Irish statesman. Burke became famous for supporting the American revolutionaries, but later opposing the French Revolution.

34. Where firedamp can form COAL MINE
Firedamp is the name given to a number of flammable gases encountered in a coal mine. The most common gas to get the name is methane. The more general “damp” is used for any gas other than air found in a mine, with the term deriving from the German “Dampf” meaning “vapor”. In addition to the flammable firedamp, blackdamp is carbon dioxide, afterdamp is the poisonous carbon monoxide, and stinkdamp is hydrogen sulfide, which has a characteristic odor of rotten eggs.

35. Like Tik-Tok in the Land of Oz ROBOTIC
Tik-Tok is a character that appears in the “Land of Oz” series of books by Frank L. Baum. Tik-Tok was one of the first robots to appear in literature, and is described as a round-bodied mechanical man that runs on clockwork springs that have to be wound up.

42. Ritzy gym feature SAUNA
As my Finnish-American wife will tell you, “sauna” is a Finnish word, and is correctly pronounced “sow-nah” (with “sow” as in the female pig).

43. Egyptian monetary unit POUND
The main currency of Egypt is the Egyptian pound, divided into 100 piastres (also piasters). The piastre used to the Egyptian currency until is was replaced by Royal Decree with the Egyptian pound in 1834. The piaster continued in circulation and was pegged at 1/100 of a pound.

45. Jousting need STEED
Tilting is the most recognized form of jousting. Jousting can involve the use of a number of different weapons, but when lances are used the competition is called “tilting”. Jousting took place in a roped-off enclosure that was called the lists, or list field. In later medieval times, some castles and palaces had purpose-built “tiltyards” that were used for jousting. Do you remember where the Beach Volleyball events were held in the 2012 London Olympics. Well that was Horse Guards Parade, the former tiltyard for the Palace of Whitehall that was used in the time of King Henry VIII.

49. “Somethin’ ___” (Eddie Cochran song) ELSE
“Somethin’ Else” is a 1959 song that was recorded by rockabilly singer Eddie Cochran. the song was co-written for Eddie by his girlfriend Sharon Sheeley and his older brother Bob.

50. Dispatch DO IN
To “do in” is to kill, to do away with.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. “Ninotchka” setting PARIS
6. Fad dance of the 1930s SHAG
10. Swedish Air Force supplier SAAB
14. Hollywood job AGENT
15. Water bearer PIPE
16. Lady Antebellum, e.g. TRIO
17. Someone might call your number this evening BINGO NIGHT
19. Asian tourist magnet AGRA
20. Delayed sensation? SLEEPER HIT
21. 1920s-’30s debate opponent of Einstein BOHR
22. 15-Across shape TEE
23. “The road of excess leads to the palace of ___”: William Blake WISDOM
25. Succumb to drowsiness NOD
26. Exceed 21 in twenty-one BUST
28. Orchard Field, today O’HARE
30. Spending time unprofitably BUMMING AROUND
34. Little homewreckers? CARPENTER ANTS
35. Some carved Victorian toys ROCKING HORSES
36. Strong and durable, in a way OAKEN
37. Maid LASS
38. Deli offering BLT
39. Gin cocktail GIBSON
43. They’re on during the wee hours, briefly PJS
46. Arab League member OMAN
48. Lengthened unnecessarily DRAGGED OUT
51. Roofing material TILE
52. 1963 song investigated by the F.B.I. for supposedly obscene lyrics LOUIE LOUIE
53. Cartridge fillers INKS
54. Forever, basically EONS
55. In the intervening time SINCE
56. Cole Porter’s “___ Magnifique” C’EST
57. Three-player card game SKAT
58. Wound up ENDED

Down
1. Brewer of Schlitz, nowadays PABST
2. Catlike, in a way AGILE
3. Soprano Fleming RENEE
4. “Splendor in the Grass” screenwriter INGE
5. Telegraphy word STOP
6. Secretly carrying (off) SPIRITING
7. Weathercast numbers HIGHS
8. Fruit grower’s bane APHID
9. Reach GET TO
10. Uninformed guess STAB
11. Ancient mariners ARGONAUTS
12. Banned items at Wimbledon AIR HORNS
13. Left the gate, say BOARDED
18. Post office workers? NEWSMEN
24. Hard-to-escape situation MORASS
26. Philosopher who wrote “Superstition is the religion of feeble minds” BURKE
27. Working while others play? UMPING
29. Improves HONES
30. Answers wrongly? BACK-TALKS
31. Ultimate degree NTH
32. Fault finder? GEOLOGIST
33. Systematize ARRANGE
34. Where firedamp can form COAL MINE
35. Like Tik-Tok in the Land of Oz ROBOTIC
40. Runs without moving IDLES
41. Small tributary BROOK
42. Ritzy gym feature SAUNA
43. Egyptian monetary unit POUND
44. Power, slangily JUICE
45. Jousting need STEED
47. First flight locale NEST
49. “Somethin’ ___” (Eddie Cochran song) ELSE
50. Dispatch DO IN

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One thought on “0926-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 26 Sep 14, Friday”

  1. I thought this was a shade easier for a Friday. No?

    ORD, Having worked in the hotel business, I learned lots of airport codes. MCO is Orlando because it was originally McCoy Field. Kansas City is MCI from Mid-Continent Airlines, which TWA bought years ago. I still wonder why Maui is OGG.

    18D, pretty sneaky with a lower-case "office," 34D, my uncle Michael Whalen was a mine inspector in Illinois in the late 1800s, who died from a coal mine collapse; 12D, I'm not sure they're called AIRHORNS, but perhaps the dreaded vuvuzela. 🙂

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