0309-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 9 Mar 15, Monday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Debbie Ellerin
THEME: Board Game … each of today’s themed answers starts with the name of a BOARD GAME:

62A. Entertainment found at the start of the answer to 17-, 21-, 27-, 45- or 54-Across : BOARD GAME

17A. One living on the edge : RISKTAKER (giving “Risk”)
21A. Need on a sinking ship : LIFE RAFT (giving “Life”)
27A. Ominous outlook : TROUBLE AHEAD (giving “Trouble”)
45A. “‘Fraid not” : SORRY, CHARLIE (giving “Sorry!”)
54A. “So what’s the story” : CLUE ME IN (giving “Clue”)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 6m 03s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Letter after alpha : BETA
The Greek alphabet starts off with the letters alpha, beta, gamma …

5. Con artists’ targets : SAPS
“Sap” is slang for a fool, someone easily scammed. The term arose in the early 1800s in Britain when it was used in “saphead” and “sapskull”. All these words derive from “sapwood”, which is the soft wood found in tree trunks between the bark and the heartwood at the center.

15. La ___ Tar Pits : BREA
The La Brea Tar Pits are located right in the heart of the city of Los Angeles. At the site there is a constant flow of tar that seeps up to the surface from underground, a phenomenon that has been around for tens of thousands of years. What is significant is that much of the seeping tar is covered by water. Over many, many centuries animals came to the water to drink and became trapped in the tar as they entered the water to quench their thirsts. The tar then preserved the bones of the dead animals. Today a museum is located right by the Tar Pits, recovering bones and displaying specimens of the animals found there. It’s well worth a visit if you are in town …

16. Snake with a deadly bite : COBRA
“Cobra” is the name given to a group of snakes, some of which are in different animal families. The term “cobra” is reserved for those snakes that can expand their neck ribs to create a hood. The name “cobra” is an abbreviated form of “cobra de capello” which translates from Portuguese as “snake with hood”.

17. One living on the edge : RISKTAKER (giving “Risk”)
Risk is a fabulous board game, first sold in France in 1957. Risk was invented by a very successful French director of short films called Albert Lamorisse. Lamorisse called his new game “La Conquête du Monde”, which translates into English as “The Conquest of the World”. A game of Risk is a must during the holidays in our house …

19. Bums : 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.

20. Patisserie pastry : ECLAIR
The name for the pastry known as an “éclair” is clearly French in origin. The French word for lightning is “éclair”, but no one seems to be too sure how it came to be used for the rather delicious bakery item.

A patisserie is a French bakery that sells pastries, or “tartes”.

21. Need on a sinking ship : LIFE RAFT (giving “Life”)
The board game we call “The Game of Life” was created quite a few years ago, in 1869 by Milton Bradley. Back then it was called “The Checkered Game of Life” and was the first parlor game to become a popular hit. The modern version of the game was first released in 1960.

23. N.Y.C.’s Penn ___: Abbr. : STA
Penn Station in New York City may have been the first Pennsylvania Station, but it’s not the only one. The Pennsylvania Railroad gave that name to many of its big passenger terminals, including one in Philadelphia (now called 30th Street Station), one in Baltimore, one in Pittsburgh, one in Cleveland, and a few others.

26. Thurman of “Pulp Fiction” : UMA
Robert Thurman was the first westerner to be ordained a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Robert raised his children in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and called his daughter “Uma” as it is a phonetic spelling of the Buddhist name “Dbuma”. Uma’s big break in movies came with her starring role in Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 hit “Pulp Fiction”. My favorite Uma Thurman film is the wonderful 1996 romantic comedy “The Truth About Cats and Dogs”.

I”m not a big fan of director Quentin Tarantino. His movies are too violent for me, and the size of his ego just turns me right off. Having said that, I think “Pulp Fiction” is a remarkable film. If you can look past the violence it’s really well written. And what a legacy it has. John Travolta’s career was on the rocks and he did the film for practically no money, and it turned out be a re-launch for him. Uma Thurman became a top celebrity overnight from her role. Even Bruce Willis got some good out of it, putting an end to a string of poorly received performances.

27. Ominous outlook : TROUBLE AHEAD (giving “Trouble”)
The board game called Trouble was introduced in the US in 1965, and is very similar to the competing game called “Sorry!” that was already on the market. Both games are in turn based on the ancient game of Pachisi. The big selling feature of Trouble was the Pop-O-Matic dice container in the center of the board. I remember it well …

33. Wahine’s greeting : ALOHA
“Wahine” is the word for “woman”, in both Hawaiian and Maori.

36. Poet Cassady who was a friend of Jack Kerouac : NEAL
Neal Cassady was a member of the Beat Generation, the group of post-WWII writers who became prominent in the 1950s. Cassady was the inspiration for the character Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac’s novel “On the Road”.

37. Polygraph detection : LIE
We are most familiar with the term “polygraph” as the generic name for a lie detector instrument. This usage began in 1921, although the term had been around since the end of the 18th century. Back then, a polygraph was a mechanical device use to make multiple copies as something was written or drawn. Famously, Thomas Jefferson used a polygraph to preserve copies of letters that he wrote to correspondents.

38. Garnishes for Coronas : LIMES
The Mexican beer called Corona is the biggest-selling imported beer in the United States.

39. Org. that might garnish your wages : IRS
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was set up during the Civil War to raise money to cover war expenses. Prior to the introduction of income tax in 1862, the government was funded by levies on trade and property.

In the field of law, “garnishment” is an instruction to a third party to withhold money or property from a debtor, so that it can be held for the creditor. An employer might be directed to garnish the wages of an employee who owes taxes to the IRS.

40. Posh : SWANK
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.

42. Org. that inveighs against smoking : AMA
American Medical Association (AMA)

43. Bushels per ___ (farm measure) : ACRE
In the imperial system of weights and measures, a bushel is a unit of dry volume made up of 4 pecks. In the US system, a bushel is a dry volume of 8 gallons. We have used the term “bushel” to mean “large quantity” since the 14th century.

44. Nick of “Affliction” : NOLTE
The actor Nick Nolte got his big break playing opposite Jacqueline Bisset and Robert Shaw in “The Deep”, released in 1976. Prior to that he had worked as a model, and in fact appeared in a magazine advertisement for Clairol in 1972 alongside fellow model Sigourney Weaver.

“Affliction” is a 1997 drama movie adapted from a novel of the same name by Russell Banks. Nick Nolte plays the starring role, a small-town policeman in New Hampshire.

45. “‘Fraid not” : SORRY, CHARLIE (giving “Sorry!”)
Sorry! is a classic board game, with a long and respected history. The original version of the game dates back to about 500 BC in ancient India, where it was called “pachisi”. In this original version, the maximum moves a player can make in one turn is 25, giving the game its name, as “pachis” is the Hindi word for 25. The first real American adaptation of the game was called Parcheesi, a game with which all American kids are familiar. The game was marketed as Ludo in my part of the world when I was growing up. The more contemporary version called Sorry! originated in the UK, with a patent being filed for Sorry! in 1929, and the game being introduced in 1934. It’s the simplest of games, and I think it is great family fun.

54. “So what’s the story” : CLUE ME IN (giving “Clue”)
Clue is another board game that we knew under a different name growing up in Ireland. Outside of North America, Clue is marketed as “Cluedo”. Cluedo was the original name of the game, introduced in 1949 by the famous British board game manufacturer Waddingtons. There are cute differences between the US and UK versions. For example, the man who is murdered is called Dr. Black (Mr. Boddy in the US), one of the suspects is the Reverend Green (Mr. Green in the US), and the suspect weapons include a dagger (a knife in the US), a lead pipe (lead piping in the US) and a spanner (a wrench in the US). I think it’s a fabulous game, a must during the holidays …

65. Cutting-edge brand? : ATRA
Fortunately for crossword constructors, the Atra razor was introduced by Gillette in 1977. The Atra was sold as the Contour in some markets and its derivative products are still around today.

66. Ayatollah’s home : IRAN
An Ayatollah is a high-ranking cleric in the Muslim faith, roughly equivalent to a Bishop or a Cardinal in the Roman Catholic tradition, or to a Chief Rabbi in Judaism.

67. Noted Big Apple restaurateur : SARDI
Sardi’s is a renowned restaurant in the Theater District of Manhattan that was opened in 1927 by Italian immigrant Vincent Sardi, Sr. Sardi’s is famous for attracting celebrities who pose for caricatures that are then displayed on the restaurant’s walls. After the death of actress and director Antoinette Perry in 1946, her friend and partner Brock Pemberton was having lunch at Sardi’s and came up with idea of a theater award that could be presented in Perry’s honor. The award was to be called the Tony Award.

68. Frequent targets of fan heckling : REFS
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.

69. Black Power symbol : FIST
“Black Power” is a political slogan used by groups focused on achieving self-determination for people of African descent. A memorable use of the raised fist as a symbol of such a movement took place in a medal ceremony at the 1968 Summer Olympics. US athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos were on the podium accepting their medals (gold and bronze respectively) for the 200m race, and they raised their fists in protest at racial inequality. Both athletes wore badges supporting the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR). Caucasian Australian sprinter Peter Norman was also on the podium, accepting the silver medal. Norman also wore an OPHR patch in support of his fellow athletes, but agreed ahead of time with Smith and Carlos not to raise his fist.

Down
1. Many long PowerPoint presentations : BORES
Given that PowerPoint is a Microsoft product, it is perhaps a bit of a paradox that the original application that became PowerPoint was designed for the Macintosh computer. This first release was called “Presenter”. The company that designed Presenter was purchased by Microsoft in 1987.

3. Electric car maker : 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 …

4. Paul with the #1 hit “Lonely Boy” : ANKA
Canadian-born Paul Anka’s big hit was in 1957, the song entitled “Diana”. Anka was the subject of a much-lauded documentary film in 1962 called “Lonely Boy”. “Lonely Boy” had been a number-one hit for Anka in 1959.

5. Pizza chain seen at many airports : SBARRO
The Sbarro chain of pizza restaurants was founded by Italian immigrants, Gennaro and Carmela Sbarro.

6. Noah’s construction : ARK
The term “ark”, when used with reference to Noah, is a translation of the Hebrew word “tebah”. The word “tebah” is also used in the Bible for the basket in which Moses was placed by his mother when she floated him down the Nile. It seems that the word “tebah” doesn’t mean “boat” and nor does it mean “basket”. Rather, a more appropriate translation is “life-preserver” or “life-saver”. So, Noah’s ark was Noah’s life-preserver during the flood.

8. Dress in Madras : SARI
The government of India has been changing the names of cities since the end of British rule in 1947. Bombay was renamed to Mumbai in 1995, and Madras became Chennai a year later, in 1996.

9. Conceptual framework : SCHEMA
A schema is an outline or a model. The plural of “schema” is “schemata” and the adjectival form is “schematic”.

11. Pop group with a backward “B” in its name : ABBA
I am an unapologetic fan of ABBA’s music. ABBA was of course the Swedish group who topped the charts in the seventies and eighties. The name ABBA is an acronym formed from the first letters of the given names of each of the band members, namely: Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frid.

18. Miss America toppers : TIARAS
The Miss America beauty pageant started out as a marketing ploy in the early twenties to attract tourists to the Atlantic City boardwalk after Labor Day.

25. 1972 Summer Olympics city : MUNICH
The 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany are unfortunately best-remembered for the massacre of eleven Israeli athletes and coaches, and a West German police officer. The attack was carried out by a Palestinian group known as Black September.

27. Part of “btw” : THE
By the way (btw)

28. Yogi who said “When you come to a fork in the road, take it” : BERRA
Yogi Berra is regarded by many as the greatest catcher ever to play in Major League Baseball, and has to be America’s most celebrated “author” of malapropisms. Here are some greats:

– “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
– “90% of the game is half mental.”
– “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”
– (giving directions) “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
– “It’s déjà vu all over again.”
– “Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t go to yours.”
– “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”

30. Airline to Tel Aviv : EL AL
El Al Israel Airlines is the flag carrier of Israel. The term “el al” translates from Hebrew as “to the skies” or “skyward”.

The full name of Israel’s second largest city is Tel Aviv-Yafo. Tel Aviv translates into “Spring Mound”, a name chosen in 1910.

32. Hockey fake-out : DEKE
A deke, also known as a dangle, is a technique used to get past an opponent in ice hockey. “Deke” is a colloquial shortening of the word “decoy”.

35. Poet Khayyám : OMAR
Omar Khayyam was a Persian with many talents. He was a poet as well as an important mathematician, astronomer and physician. A selection of his poems were translated by one Edward Fitzgerald in a collection called “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam”. Here are some lines from “Rubaiyat” …

And that inverted Bowl we call The Sky,
Whereunder crawling coop’t we live and die,
Lift not thy hands to It for help–for it
Rolls impotently on as Thou or I.

43. Clearasil target : ACNE
Clearasil acne medication was developed in 1940 by Ivan Combe and Kedzie Teller. Combe promoted the product by sponsoring the television show “American Bandstand” for many years.

46. Was gobsmacked : REELED
“Gobsmack” is slang from the British Isles. “Gob” is also slang, for a mouth. So someone who is gobsmacked has received “a smack in the mouth”, is stunned.

47. Sana resident : YEMENI
Sana (also Sanaa) is the capital city of Yemen. Within the bounds of today’s metropolis is the old fortified city of Sana, where people have lived for over 2,500 years. The Old City is now a World Heritage Site.

48. Births after Virgos : LIBRAS
The constellation of Libra is named for the scales held by the goddess of justice. Libra is the only sign of the zodiac that isn’t named for a living creature.

51. Big company in arcades : ATARI
At one point, the electronics and video game manufacturer Atari was the fastest growing company in US history. However, Atari never really recovered from the video game industry crash of 1983.

Our word “arcade” comes from the Latin “arcus” meaning “arc”. The first arcades were passages made from a series of arches. This could be an avenue of trees, and eventually any covered avenue. I remember arcades lined with shops and stores when I was growing up on the other side of the Atlantic. Arcades came to be lined with lots of amusements, resulting in amusement arcades and video game arcades.

52. Unresponsive states : COMAS
The term “coma” comes from the Greek word “koma” meaning “deep sleep”.

53. Former senator Lott of Mississippi : TRENT
Trent Lott was raised Democrat in Mississippi, but served in Congress as a Republican. Lott ran into trouble for remarks he made that were interpreted as being racially motivated, and ended up resigning in 2007.

54. Coonskins for Davy Crockett, e.g. : CAPS
The pioneer Davy Crockett is often referred to as “King of the Wild Frontier”. Crockett was from East Tennessee. After serving in the local militia he entered politics and represented his state in the US House of Representatives from 1827 to 1831. Crockett disapproved of many of the policies of President Andrew Jackson, which led to his defeat in the 1834 election for the House. The defeat prompted Crockett to leave Tennessee for Texas. Famously, he died there in 1836 at the Battle of the Alamo.

55. Old Italian money : LIRA
The word “lira” is used in a number of countries for currency. “Lira” comes from the Latin for “pound” and is derived from a British pound sterling, the value of a Troy pound of silver. For example, the lira (plural “lire”) was the official currency of Italy before the country changed over to the euro in 2002.

60. End-of-the-week whoop : TGIF
“Thank God It’s Friday” (TGIF) is a relatively new expression that apparently originated in Akron, Ohio. It was a catchphrase used first by disk jockey Jerry Healy of WAKR in the early seventies. That said, one blog reader wrote me to say that he had been using the phrase in the fifties.

63. Warning from a Scottie : ARF!
Scottish Terrier is another name for the Aberdeen Terrier, commonly referred to as the Scottie. One of the most famous Scotties in American history was Fala, the much-loved dog belonging to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Also, the Scottie is famous as one of the playing pieces in the original game of Monopoly.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Letter after alpha : BETA
5. Con artists’ targets : SAPS
9. Circle or hexagon : SHAPE
14. Baking chamber : OVEN
15. La ___ Tar Pits : BREA
16. Snake with a deadly bite : COBRA
17. One living on the edge : RISKTAKER (giving “Risk”)
19. Bums : HOBOS
20. Patisserie pastry : ECLAIR
21. Need on a sinking ship : LIFE RAFT (giving “Life”)
23. N.Y.C.’s Penn ___: Abbr. : STA
24. What a sleeve covers : ARM
26. Thurman of “Pulp Fiction” : UMA
27. Ominous outlook : TROUBLE AHEAD (giving “Trouble”)
33. Wahine’s greeting : ALOHA
36. Poet Cassady who was a friend of Jack Kerouac : NEAL
37. Polygraph detection : LIE
38. Garnishes for Coronas : LIMES
39. Org. that might garnish your wages : IRS
40. Posh : SWANK
42. Org. that inveighs against smoking : AMA
43. Bushels per ___ (farm measure) : ACRE
44. Nick of “Affliction” : NOLTE
45. “‘Fraid not” : SORRY, CHARLIE (giving “Sorry!”)
49. Poetic time of day : E’EN
50. Drink ver-r-ry slowly : SIP
51. Statute : ACT
54. “So what’s the story” : CLUE ME IN (giving “Clue”)
59. Bookie’s customer : BETTOR
61. Preferred airplane seating, for some : AISLE
62. Entertainment found at the start of the answer to 17-, 21-, 27-, 45- or 54-Across : BOARD GAME
64. Clean one’s feathers : PREEN
65. Cutting-edge brand? : ATRA
66. Ayatollah’s home : IRAN
67. Noted Big Apple restaurateur : SARDI
68. Frequent targets of fan heckling : REFS
69. Black Power symbol : FIST

Down
1. Many long PowerPoint presentations : BORES
2. Boot out, as a tenant : EVICT
3. Electric car maker : TESLA
4. Paul with the #1 hit “Lonely Boy” : ANKA
5. Pizza chain seen at many airports : SBARRO
6. Noah’s construction : ARK
7. Rind : PEEL
8. Dress in Madras : SARI
9. Conceptual framework : SCHEMA
10. Old-fashioned “Yay!” : HOORAH!
11. Pop group with a backward “B” in its name : ABBA
12. College lecturer, for short : PROF
13. Toward sunrise : EAST
18. Miss America toppers : TIARAS
22. What an electric car doesn’t need : FUEL
25. 1972 Summer Olympics city : MUNICH
27. Part of “btw” : THE
28. Yogi who said “When you come to a fork in the road, take it” : BERRA
29. Modern surgical tools : LASERS
30. Airline to Tel Aviv : EL AL
31. “___ it the truth!” : AIN’T
32. Hockey fake-out : DEKE
33. “Ah, so sad” : ALAS
34. Promgoer’s ride, maybe : LIMO
35. Poet Khayyám : OMAR
40. Took potshots : SNIPED
41. “___ is me!” : WOE
43. Clearasil target : ACNE
46. Was gobsmacked : REELED
47. Sana resident : YEMENI
48. Births after Virgos : LIBRAS
51. Big company in arcades : ATARI
52. Unresponsive states : COMAS
53. Former senator Lott of Mississippi : TRENT
54. Coonskins for Davy Crockett, e.g. : CAPS
55. Old Italian money : LIRA
56. Consumer : USER
57. Letter-shaped beam : I-BAR
58. Memo : NOTE
60. End-of-the-week whoop : TGIF
63. Warning from a Scottie : ARF!

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