0314-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 14 Mar 15, Saturday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: James Mulhern
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 18m 31s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 4 … ANIMANIACS (Ego Maniacs), LAmar (Lemar), ON ONE (O-gone!!!), BINGO (bongo!)

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
11. Online heads-up : NSFW
The abbreviation “NSFW” stands for “not safe/suitable for work”. I’ve never heard of the term outside of crosswords, but apparently it’s Internet slang.

15. 1990s TV cartoon produced by Steven Spielberg : ANIMANIACS
“Animaniacs” is a cartoon series that aired on Fox Kids and then the WB in the nineties. The show was a collaboration between Steven Spielberg and Warner Bros. Animation. One aspect of the show was the occasional humor aimed at an adult audience. Example were episodes that parodied Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Pirates of Penzance” and “H.M.S. Pinafore”, the Beatles movie “A Hard Day’s Night”, and an episode poking fun at the Three Tenors.

16. Home for the College of Wooster : OHIO
The College of Wooster is a private school in Wooster, which is located in Ohio about 100 miles northeast of Columbus. The school was founded in 1866 as a Presbyterian university.

18. Role for Ferrell on “S.N.L.” : RENO
While appearing on “Saturday Night Live”, comedian Will Ferrell was noted for several impersonations, including President George W. Bush, Neil Diamond, James Lipton, Ted Kennedy and Janet Reno.

20. “The ___ Bridge Disaster” (McGonagall poem) : TAY
“The Tay Bridge Disaster” is an 1880 poem, the most famous ever penned by Scotsman William McGonagall. The poem is about a real-life disaster, the collapse of the Tay Rail Bridge in 1879 when a train was traveling over it during gale-force winds. Every one of the 75 people on the train were lost.

22. Diamond ___ Trucks (bygone company) : REO
Diamond Reo Trucks was a company formed by the merger of Diamond T and Reo Trucks in 1967.

23. It’s found on the toe of a boot : OMAN
The Arabian Peninsula is shaped like a boot, with the Sultanate of Oman occupying the toe of that boot.

25. Goes for the gold? : SMELTS
Metals are found in ore in the form of oxides. In order to get pure metal from the ore, the ore is heated and the metal oxides within are reduced (i.e. the oxygen is removed) in the chemical process known as smelting. The oxygen is extracted by adding a source of carbon or carbon monoxide which uses up the excess oxygen atoms to make carbon dioxide, a waste product of smelting (and of course, a greenhouse gas).

27. Yogi’s title : SRI
“Sri” is a title of respect for a male in India.

A yogi is a practitioner of yoga.

28. Bolivian export : COCA
The coca plant is native to South America, similar in appearance to a blackthorn bush. Coca leaves have been chewed for centuries, perhaps even as far back as 3,000 years ago. Chewing the leaves apparently produces a pleasurable, numb sensation in the mouth and a pleasant taste. The most famous alkaloid in the leaf is cocaine, but this wasn’t extracted in its pure form until the mid-1800s. The cocaine was used in a medicines and tonics and other beverages, including the original version of Coca-Cola! Before 1903, a glass of Coke would contain about 9 mg of cocaine. Coca-Cola still uses coca leaves, as the flavor is prized, but the cocaine is extracted before it arrives at the bottling plant.

31. Subject of a Hoyle treatise : WHIST
Edmond Hoyle was a writer, most famous for documenting the rules and play of card games. In particular, Hoyle first wrote a book on the game of whist that was very popular. Such was the success of Hoyle’s treatises that we use the phrase “according to Hoyle” to mean “according to some respected authority”. When the Poker Hall of Fame was founded in 1979, Edmund Hoyle was one of the first inductees, even though the game of power was invented after he died.

33. Portrayer of Hector in “Troy” : ERIC BANA
Eric Bana is an Australian actor who enjoyed a successful career in his home country before breaking into Hollywood playing an American Delta Force sergeant in “Black Hawk Down”. A couple of years later he played the lead in Ang Lee’s 2003 movie “The Hulk”, the role of Dr Bruce Banner. More recently he played the Romulan villain Nero, in the 2009 “Star Trek” movie.

“Troy” is a 2004 epic movie that is based on Homer’s “Iliad” and tells the story of the Trojan War. “Troy” has quite the cast, including Brad Pitt as Achilles, Eric Bana as Hector and Diane Kruger as Helen. Most of the filming was done on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean. It was an expensive film to make, with costs running at about $175 million. The film did well at the box office though, with most of the profits being made outside of the US.

35. Infomercial product said to hold 12 times its weight in liquid : SHAMWOW!
The ShamWow! is an ultra-absorbent towel that is touted in infomercials by pitchman Vince Offer.

37. Band with a 2000 Grammy-winning hit that’s on Rolling Stone’s list of all-time “most annoying songs” : BAHA MEN
The Baha Men are so called because they hail from … the Bahamas. Their big hit was “Who Let the Dogs Out?” which has been ranked as third in a list of the world’s most annoying songs!

41. Text-interpreting technology used with PDFs : OCR
Optical character recognition (OCR) is the conversion of scanned typewritten text into digital text. Basically OCR is turning a photograph into text document.

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format introduced by Adobe Systems in 1993. PDF documents can be shared between users and read using many different applications, making them more universally accessible than documents saved by one particular program.

42. Duke : FIST
“Dukes” is a slang term for “fists, hands”. The route taken by “dukes” to become fists seems very tortuous, but might just be true. The term “fork” has been slang for “hand” for centuries (and gives rise to “fork out” meaning “hand over”). The slang term “fork” is expressed in Cockney rhyming slang as “Duke of York”, shortened to “duke”. As I said, tortuous …

48. Boston landmark, with “the” : PRU
The Pru is the familiar name given to the Prudential Tower in Boston. It is currently the second highest building in the city, after the John Hancock Tower. However, if one includes the height of the radio tower on its roof, then it is the highest building in Boston. When it was completed in 1964, the Pru was the tallest building in the country outside of New York City.

51. George Knightley’s love interest, in literature : EMMA
I listened to one of my favorite Jane Austen novels on audio book not so long ago. “Emma” is the tale of Emma Woodhouse and the wonderful George Knightley. At the end of the story, Emma marries Knightley and her young friend Harriet marries Robert Martin, who had been trying to get Harriet’s attention practically from page one of the novel.

52. Fired (up) : HET
Someone who is “het up” is “heated up, angry”.

56. Mobbed by mosquitos : EATEN ALIVE
“Mosquito” is the Spanish for “little fly”. The female mosquito actually has to have a “blood meal” before she is able to lay her eggs.

58. Not class-specific : ELHI
“Elhi” is an informal word used to describe anything related to schooling from grades 1 through 12, i.e. elementary through high school.

59. 1999 Crowe/Pacino film nominated for seven Oscars : THE INSIDER
Jeffrey Wigand was once vice president of research and development at the tobacco company Brown & Williamson. Famously, Wigand gave a “tell all” interview for television’s “60 Minutes” in which he described deliberate actions by his employers to increase the level of addiction of cigarette smokers. Wigand’s fascinating story was told in the 1999 movie “The Insider”, with Russell Crowe playing the whistle-blower.

Down
1. Hip-hop’s Kendrick ___ : LAMAR
Kendrick Lamar is a hip hop singer from Compton, California. Lamar’s full name is Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, with the singer’s given name in honor of Motown artist Eddie Kendricks.

4. Mr. of “Peter Pan” : SMEE
In J. M. Barrie’s play and novel about Peter Pan, Smee is one of Captain Hook’s pirates and is Hook’s right-hand man. Smee is described by Barrie as being “Irish” and “a man who stabbed without offence”. Nice guy! Captain Hook and Smee sail on the pirate ship called the Jolly Roger.

5. Singer/songwriter whose name anagrams to ART OF SLY WIT : TAYLOR SWIFT
Singer Taylor Swift had one of her first gigs at the US Open tennis tournament when she was in her early teens. There she sang the national anthem and received a lot of favorable attention for the performance.

6. Med. specialist : ENT
Ear, Nose and Throat specialist (ENT)

7. Gaucho gear : RIATA
“Reata” is the Spanish word for “lasso”. We tend to use the spelling “riata” in English, but sometimes can use the original Spanish word.

A “gaucho” is someone who lives in the South American pampas, the fertile lowlands in the southeast of South America. The term “gaucho” is also used as the equivalent of our “cowboy”.

10. Some undergrad degs. : BSS
Bachelor of Science (BS)

11. Language from which “litmus” comes : NORSE
Litmus is a mixture of naturally-occurring dyes that responds to acidity by changing color. Litmus was probably first used around 1300 by the Spanish alchemist Arnaldus de Villa Nova, who extracted the blue dye from lichens. One suggestion is that the term “litmus” comes from the Old Norse “litmose” meaning “lichen for dyeing”.

14. Savior of Little Red Riding Hood : WOODSMAN
“Little Red Riding Hood” is a fairy tale that originated in Europe and was first published in France by Charles Perrault in 1697. The title translates into French as “Le Petit Chaperon Rouge”.

24. Division of biology : MITOSIS
Mitosis is the process by which the complement of chromosomes in a cell nucleus replicates and then divides into two identical sets of new chromosomes. Mitosis is followed by division of the cell itself, resulting in two identical cells. Meiosis is a special type of cell division that results in reproductive cells that have half the full complement of chromosomes. The reproductive cells join together, with one cell coming from each parent, to form a new cell with a full complement of chromosomes. That new cell develops into offspring that have characteristics of both parents.

25. Kind of nerve : SCIATIC
The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in the human body. It runs from the lower back down through the leg to the foot.

27. Boob : SIMP
“Simp” is slang for a simple or foolish person. Not a nice term …

29. Mars or Neptune : ORB
The surface of the planet Mars has a very high iron oxide content, so Mars is red because it is rusty!

Neptune is the farthest planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The existence of Neptune was predicted as early as the 1820s by mathematics based on observations of the orbit of Uranus. The planet was actually first observed in 1846.

31. Metaphor for a tedious, futile effort : WHAC-A-MOLE
The Whac-A-Mole arcade game was invented in 1976. Players use a mallet to force five plastic moles back into their holes. Whacking the moles can be so frustrating that we sometimes use the term “Whac-a-mole” to describe a repetitive and futile task.

32. Expresses grumpily : HARRUMPHS
“Harrumph” is such a lovely word, meaning “to make a show out of clearing one’s throat”. The word itself is meant to imitate the sound made.

34. Pottery ___ : BARN
Pottery Barn is a chain of home furnishing stores that has been around since 1949.

36. Newborn stats: Abbr. : WTS
Weights (wts.)

39. Figure in many New Yorker cartoons : ST PETER
Several famous “New Yorker” cartoons drawn by staff cartoonist Charles Barsotti feature St. Peter standing at the Pearly Gates of Heaven.

45. Kind of surgery : LASIK
LASIK surgery uses a laser to reshape the cornea of the eye to improve vision. The LASIK acronym stands for “laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis”.

48. What the rainbow flag signifies : PRIDE
The best-known rainbow flag is the one representing gay pride. Such usage of the rainbow flag was popularized in 1978 by artist Gilbert Baker. The varying colors of the flag represent the diversity of the gay community.

50. Web browsers : USERS
The World Wide Web (WWW) was effectively the invention of British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee. The key to Berner-Lee’s invention was bringing together two technologies that already existed: hypertext and the Internet. I for one am very grateful …

54. First name in the International Tennis Hall of Fame : ILIE
I think that Ilie Nastase was the most entertaining tennis player of the 1970s, the days of Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. No matter how much pressure there was in a match, Nastase always had time to give the crowd a laugh. After retiring from the sport, he had a few novels published (in French) during the eighties. Then Nastase went into politics, making an unsuccessful run for the mayorship of Bucharest in 1996. He made a successful run for the Hungarian Senate though, and has been a senator since May 2014.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Tie one on at dinner : LOBSTER BIB
11. Online heads-up : NSFW
15. 1990s TV cartoon produced by Steven Spielberg : ANIMANIACS
16. Home for the College of Wooster : OHIO
17. “Cash is king” : MONEY TALKS
18. Role for Ferrell on “S.N.L.” : RENO
19. Dear : ANGEL
20. “The ___ Bridge Disaster” (McGonagall poem) : TAY
21. Runners’ spot : SLED
22. Diamond ___ Trucks (bygone company) : REO
23. It’s found on the toe of a boot : OMAN
25. Goes for the gold? : SMELTS
27. Yogi’s title : SRI
28. Bolivian export : COCA
30. Stick in the mouth? : GUM
31. Subject of a Hoyle treatise : WHIST
33. Portrayer of Hector in “Troy” : ERIC BANA
35. Infomercial product said to hold 12 times its weight in liquid : SHAMWOW
37. Band with a 2000 Grammy-winning hit that’s on Rolling Stone’s list of all-time “most annoying songs” : BAHA MEN
38. Ones pulling strings? : HARPISTS
40. Old-hat : TIRED
41. Text-interpreting technology used with PDFs : OCR
42. Duke : FIST
43. Halfway house? : INN
44. Hurdles : VAULTS
46. Step : PACE
48. Boston landmark, with “the” : PRU
51. George Knightley’s love interest, in literature : EMMA
52. Fired (up) : HET
53. Some messages from messengers : WIRES
55. Truncates : LOPS
56. Mobbed by mosquitos : EATEN ALIVE
58. Not class-specific : ELHI
59. 1999 Crowe/Pacino film nominated for seven Oscars : THE INSIDER
60. Newspaper post : DESK
61. Things happy people do : CARTWHEELS

Down
1. Hip-hop’s Kendrick ___ : LAMAR
2. Quick snap time, in football : ON ONE
3. “Ding ding ding!” : BINGO!
4. Mr. of “Peter Pan” : SMEE
5. Singer/songwriter whose name anagrams to ART OF SLY WIT : TAYLOR SWIFT
6. Med. specialist : ENT
7. Gaucho gear : RIATA
8. Journalistic ideal : BALANCE
9. Like glop : ICKY
10. Some undergrad degs. : BSS
11. Language from which “litmus” comes : NORSE
12. Certain subterfuge : SHELL GAME
13. Well-calibrated : FINE-TUNED
14. Savior of Little Red Riding Hood : WOODSMAN
24. Division of biology : MITOSIS
25. Kind of nerve : SCIATIC
26. Put through cycles, in a way : MACHINE WASH
27. Boob : SIMP
29. Mars or Neptune : ORB
31. Metaphor for a tedious, futile effort : WHAC-A-MOLE
32. Expresses grumpily : HARRUMPHS
34. Pottery ___ : BARN
35. Wolfed (down) : SHOVELED
36. Newborn stats: Abbr. : WTS
39. Figure in many New Yorker cartoons : ST PETER
45. Kind of surgery : LASIK
47. Bit the dust : ATE IT
48. What the rainbow flag signifies : PRIDE
49. Go wild : REVEL
50. Web browsers : USERS
52. “That’s a funny one” : HA-HA
54. First name in the International Tennis Hall of Fame : ILIE
56. “And stuff” : ETC
57. Fort Myers-to-Tampa dir. : NNW

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5 thoughts on “0314-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 14 Mar 15, Saturday”

  1. I finished with no errors, but it took me 40 minutes and google. I started with BAJAMEN and it took me forever to fix that one. So technically a DNF.

    Vince, the SHAMWOW guy, also pitched a small device for dicing veggies called the Slap-Chop, which was kind of ironc: later he got arrested to beating up a hooker in a Miami hotel room. But in all fairness, the hooker beat him up worse.

    Sooo…woomp! There it is! 🙂

  2. Had a hard time getting started on this one. Finally finished everything except a little section in the upper left and then got stuck. Walked away from it and went to the grocery store. Somewhere in the produce section, BINGO came to me, followed by ANIMATRONICS and ON ONE. Guessed at the R in LAMAR and REO and got lucky.

    I had never heard of a SHAM-WOW. I speculate that the name comes from an amalgamation of the English and French pronunciations of "chamois", one of which is used for the cloth and the other of which is used for the animal, with a bit of ad-speak thrown in …

    A fun puzzle …

  3. Make that ANIMANIACS. I don't know if I typed the wrong thing or if this device (a new iPad) did it to me. I suppose one eventually gets used to typing with one finger but, for the moment, the process is using up a lot of brain cells!

  4. This puzzle was rigged from the start: 1 Across **very disingenuously** leads you to look for a verb phrase when it's a "direction" or a "suggestion" clue, with absolutely no indication of same. That's just not *necessary* in a puzzle this tough.

    I really wish they wouldn't go to such depths to make puzzles all but unsolveable. Saturday puzzles are tough enough as it is.

  5. As with some others, my problems were in upper left corner where I missed 3 answers:1990's cartoon, Diamond reo trucks, and Hip Hops Kendrick.

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