0317-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 17 Mar 15, Tuesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: David Phillips
THEME: Midterms … we have the word TERM hidden right in the MIDDLE of each themed answer. As an aside, Happy St. Paddy’s Day, everyone:

56A. Some tests … or what’s found literally in 17-, 24-, 30-, 39- and 44-Across : MIDTERMS

17A. “Catch ya on the flip side” : LATER, MAN
24A. Up in the air : UNDETERMINED
30A. Genius : MASTERMIND
39A. Ingredient in some pancake batter : BUTTERMILK
44A. “Mothra vs. Godzilla,” e.g. : MONSTER MOVIE

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 6m 44s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Containers in a pantry : JARS
The word “pantry” dates back to 1300 when it came into English from the Old French “panetrie” meaning a “bread room”. Bread is “pain” in French, and “panis” in Latin.

5. Headwear for a Scot : TAM
A tam o’shanter is a man’s cap traditionally worn by Scotsmen. “Tams” were originally all blue (and called “blue bonnets”), but as more dyes became readily available they became more colorful. The name of the cap comes from the title character of Robert Burns’ poem “Tam O’Shanter”.

14. “Garfield” barker : ODIE
Odie is Garfield’s best friend and is a slobbery beagle, a character in Jim Davis’s comic strip named “Garfield”.

19. With 51-Down, “Mad Men” actress : ALISON
(51D. See 19-Across : BRIE)
Alison Brie is an actress best known for playing Trudy Campbell, the wife of Pete Campbell, on the TV drama “Mad Men”.

20. Celebrity gossip site : TMZ
TMZ.com is a celebrity gossip web site launched in 2005. “TMZ” stands for “thirty-mile zone”, a reference to the “studio zone” in Los Angeles. The studio zone is circular in shape with a 30-mile radius centered on the intersection of West Beverly Boulevard and North La Cienega Boulevard.

21. ABC, for “Modern Family” or “Scandal” : AIRER
“Modern Family” is a marvelous television show shown on ABC since 2009. The show’s format is that of a “mockumentary”, with the cast often addressing the camera directly. In that respect “Modern Family” resembles two other excellent shows: “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation”, both of which might also be described a “mockumentaries”.

“Scandal” is a TV political drama about a woman running a crisis management firm in Washington, D.C. The main character is based on real-life Judy Smith, who served as press aide for the administration of President George H. W. Bush.

23. Spanish liqueur : ANIS
Anis is a Spanish liqueur, equivalent to what’s called anisette in other countries (in France, for example). It has a licorice taste as it is produced by distilling the seeds of the anis plant. Like all anis-type drinks, it is usually mixed with water and turns a milky white color when the water is added.

27. Org. with merit badges : BSA
As every little boy (of my era) knows, the Scouting movement was founded by Lord Baden Powell, in 1907. The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) soon followed, in 1910.

28. Letter before upsilon : TAU
Tau is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet, the letter which gave rise to our Roman “T”. Both the letters tau (T) and chi (X) have long been symbolically associated with the cross.

Upsilon is the Greek letter that gives rise to our English “Y”.

29. Cousin of mead : ALE
Mead is a lovely drink, made from fermented honey and water.

36. Scottish landowner : LAIRD
“Laird” is just the word “lord” in the local English dialect in Scotland and the north of England.

38. Home of the Braves: Abbr. : ATL
The Atlanta Braves are the only team to have won baseball’s World Series in three different home cities. They won as the Boston Braves in 1914, the Milwaukee Braves in 1957 and the Atlanta Braves in 1995.

41. Med. diagnostic : MRI
A CT (or “CAT”) scan produces (via computer manipulation) a three dimensional image of the inside of an object, usually the human body. It does so by taking a series of two dimensional x-ray images while rotating the camera around the patient. The issue with CT scans is that they use x-rays, and high doses of radiation can be harmful causing damage that is cumulative over time. An MRI on the other hand (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), uses powerful magnetic fields to generate its images so there is no exposure to ionizing radiation (such as X-rays). We used MRI equipment in our chemistry labs at school, way back in the days when the technology was still called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging (NMRI). Apparently the marketing folks didn’t like the term “nuclear” because of its association with atomic bombs, so now it’s just called MRI.

42. “Power” suffix : -ADE
Powerade is one of those sports drinks, the only real competitor to Gatorade. Pepsi makes Gatorade, so in 1988, Coke introduced Powerade. I really do question the value of these hyped-up beverages …

43. Scrabble value of every letter in RELATIONS : ONE
The game of Scrabble has been around since 1938, the invention of an architect named Alfred Mosher Butts. Butts determined how many tiles of each letter, and the point value of each tile, by analyzing letter distributions in publication like “The New York Times”.

44. “Mothra vs. Godzilla,” e.g. : MONSTER MOVIE
Mothra is a giant moth-like monster that made its big-screen debut in the 1961 film “Mothra”. Mothra turns up quite often in “Godzilla” movies.

Godzilla is a Japanese invention. The first in a very long series of films was released way back in 1954. The original name in Japanese was “Gojira”, but this was changed to Godzilla for audiences outside of Japan. “Gojira” is a combination of “gorira” and “kujira”, the Japanese words for gorilla and whale, apt because Godzilla is a big ape-like creature that came out of the deep.

50. Miserly Marner : SILAS
“Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe” is a novel written by George Eliot and first published in 1861. There’s an excellent BBC TV version of the tale (shown on PBS) starring Ben Kingsley in the title role, with Patsy Kensit playing Eppie, the young orphaned child that Marner takes under his wing.

51. Spell-off : BEE
Back in 18th-century America, when neighbors would gather to work for the benefit of one of their group, such a meeting was called a “bee”. The name “bee” was an allusion to the social nature of the insect. In modern parlance, a further element of entertainment and pleasure has been introduced, for example in a “quilting bee”, or even a “spelling bee”.

54. Josh who played Dubya in “W.” : BROLIN
“W” is an Oliver Stone production, a biographical portrayal of the life and presidency of George W. Bush. It was released in 2008, and starred Josh Brolin as the President. Christian Bale was originally cast in the title role, and indeed worked for months perfecting his portrayal. In the end, Bale pulled out of the project, feeling that he couldn’t be convincing given his appearance, even with prosthetic makeup.

58. Body of work : OEUVRE
The sum of an artist’s work in his or her lifetime is known as his or her “oeuvre”.

Down
1. What caffeine can give you : JOLT
Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant that is found in several plants. The chemical serves as a natural pesticide by paralyzing and killing certain insects that would otherwise feed on the plant. Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug that is consumed by humans across the world.

2. Michelangelo’s “The Creation of ___” : ADAM
“The Creation of Adam” is a fresco by Michelangelo that is part of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Famously, “The Creation of Adam” features Adam and God reaching towards each other, with hands very nearly touching.

3. Cracker brand : RITZ
I’ve always liked Ritz crackers. They’ve been around since 1934 when they were introduced by Nabisco. The name Ritz was chosen because the marketing folks felt that the association with Ritz-Carlton would evoke images of wealth and the highlife.

6. Stoudemire of the N.B.A. : AMAR’E
Amar’e Stoudemire is a professional basketball player who has played with the Phoenix Suns, the New York Knicks and the Dallas Mavericks. Stoudemire is very active off the court, and has his own clothing line, his own record label and has even written a book for children.

7. “The Seine at Giverny” artist : MONET
Giverny is a commune in northern France, most famous as the location of artist Claude Monet’s home. It was in Giverny that Monet painted his famous “Water Lilies”.

8. Pier grp. : ILA
International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA)

9. Bernard who wrote “The Natural” : MALAMUD
Bernard Malamud wrote the novel “The Natural”, published in 1952. It tells the story of a baseball player called Roy Hobbs, who gets shot early in his career and makes a remarkable comeback many years later. Although Roy Hobbs is a fictional character, the story is apparently based on the real-life Phillies player Eddie Waitkus, who was indeed shot in his hotel room by an obsessed fan in 1949. The film adaptation released in 1984 is an excellent movie starring Robert Redford as “The Natural”.

10. Thin pancakes : BLINI
A blintz (also “blin”, plural “blini”) is a thin pancake similar to a crêpe although unlike a crêpe, a blintz may contain yeast.

13. Clark Kent’s boyhood home: Abbr. : KAN
Smallville, Kansas is the town on Earth in which Superman grew up (as Clark Kent). One of Clark’s best friends in Smallville, and the romantic interest of his youth, was Lana Lang.

24. Gorbachev’s land, for short : USSR
Mikhail Gorbachev was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until the USSR dissolved in 1991. As well being associated with the ultimate collapse of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev’s name is linked with the policies of “Perestroika” and “Glasnost”. “Perestroika” (meaning “restructuring”) was his political and economic initiative to make socialism work more efficiently to better meet the needs of consumers. “Glasnost” (meaning “publicity, openness”) was Gorbachev’s policy of increased transparency of government in order to reduce levels of corruption in the Communist Party and government.

25. Vacation time, informally : R AND R
Rest and relaxation/recuperation (R&R)

26. Part of U.S.D.A.: Abbr. : DEPT
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) actually dates back to 1862 when it was established by then-president Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln referred to the USDA as the “people’s department” as our economy had such a vast agrarian base back then.

32. Yelp contributors, essentially : RATERS
yelp.com is a website that provides a local business directory and reviews of services. The site is sort of like Yellow Pages on steroids, and the term “yelp” is derived from “yel-low p-ages”. I have a young neighbor here who used to work for yelp …

33. Sch. with an annual Mystery Hunt : MIT
The MIT Mystery Hunt is an annual event involving teams of students competing to solve extremely complex puzzles. The puzzles are arranged in a series, all pointing to the location of a coin hidden on the MIT campus. The team winning in one year sets the puzzles in the following year.

35. Soccer star Mia : HAMM
Mia Hamm is a retired American soccer player, a forward who played on the US national team that won the FIFA women’s World Cup in 1991. Hamm has scored 158 international goals, more than other player in the world, male or female. Amazingly, Hamm was born with a clubfoot, and so had to wear corrective shoes when she was growing up.

37. ___ wave : SINE
A sine wave is a mathematical function that describes a simple, smooth, repetitive oscillation. The sine wave is found right throughout the natural world. Ocean waves, light waves and sound waves all have a sine wave pattern.

39. Barbara Gordon’s secret identity, in comics : BATGIRL
Batgirl’s alter ego was Barbara Gordon, the librarian daughter of Commissioner Gordon. Yvonne Craig played Batgirl in the television series “Batman” from the sixties.

48. Darth ___ of “Star Wars” : VADER
Darth Vader is the main character in the “Star Wars” movies. The villainous adult Vader was portrayed physically by several strapping male actors, the first being English bodybuilder David Prowse. Vader’s wonderful voice was supplies by actor James Earl Jones. However, Jones went uncredited in the first two films released, at his own request. He thought that his contribution to the role was too small to warrant a mention.

52. Actress Stone of “Birdman” : EMMA
The actress Emma Stone really came to prominence with her performance in the 2010 high school movie called “Easy A”. My favorite film in which Stone appears is 2011’s “The Help”.

“Birdman or “The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance” is a 2014 film that was an incredible critical success. The title character was played by Michael Keaton. I know I am in the minority, but I hated “Birdman” …

53. Disney/Hearst-owned channel : ESPN
ESPN is the Entertainment Sports Programming Network, a cable network that broadcasts sports programming 24 hours a day. ESPN was launched back in 1979.

54. Arg. neighbor : BOL
Bolivia is a landlocked country in South America, bordered by Brazil, Paraguay, Chile, Peru and Argentina. The land now occupied by Bolivia was originally part of the Inca Empire. The country declared independence from Spain in 1809, which led to 16 years of war. When the Republic was finally named, “Bolivia” was chosen in honor of the Venezuelan-born revolutionary leader, Simón Bolívar.

Argentina is the second largest country in South America (after Brazil), and geographically is the world’s largest Spanish-speaking nation. The name “Argentina” comes from the Latin “argentum”, the word for “silver”. It is thought that the name was given by the early Spanish and Portuguese conquerors who also named the Rio de la Plata (the “Silver River”). Those early explorers got hold of lots of silver objects that they found among the native population.

55. Marshal at the Battle of Waterloo : NEY
Michel Ney was one of the first 18 Marshals of France created by Napoleon. When Bonaparte was eventually defeated for the last time, Ney was arrested and sentenced to death. He was executed in Paris by firing squad. Nay refused to wear a blindfold, and demanded that he himself be allowed to give the order to fire.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Containers in a pantry : JARS
5. Headwear for a Scot : TAM
8. Statement upon returning from a cut-off call : I’M BACK
14. “Garfield” barker : ODIE
15. “Well, I’d say …,” in a text : IMO
16. “I can’t he-e-ear you!” : LA LA LA!
17. “Catch ya on the flip side” : LATER, MAN
19. With 51-Down, “Mad Men” actress : ALISON
20. Celebrity gossip site : TMZ
21. ABC, for “Modern Family” or “Scandal” : AIRER
23. Spanish liqueur : ANIS
24. Up in the air : UNDETERMINED
27. Org. with merit badges : BSA
28. Letter before upsilon : TAU
29. Cousin of mead : ALE
30. Genius : MASTERMIND
34. Top 40 genre : POP
35. Prince, e.g. : HEIR
36. Scottish landowner : LAIRD
37. Catch sight of : SPOT
38. Home of the Braves: Abbr. : ATL
39. Ingredient in some pancake batter : BUTTERMILK
41. Med. diagnostic : MRI
42. “Power” suffix : -ADE
43. Scrabble value of every letter in RELATIONS : ONE
44. “Mothra vs. Godzilla,” e.g. : MONSTER MOVIE
49. Absolutely enthralled : AGOG
50. Miserly Marner : SILAS
51. Spell-off : BEE
54. Josh who played Dubya in “W.” : BROLIN
56. Some tests … or what’s found literally in 17-, 24-, 30-, 39- and 44-Across : MIDTERMS
58. Body of work : OEUVRE
59. Anticipatory night : EVE
60. Wuss : WIMP
61. In recent days : LATELY
62. German article : DER
63. Remove gradually, as from dependence : WEAN

Down
1. What caffeine can give you : JOLT
2. Michelangelo’s “The Creation of ___” : ADAM
3. Cracker brand : RITZ
4. “Get it?” : SEE?
5. Shy : TIMID
6. Stoudemire of the N.B.A. : AMAR’E
7. “The Seine at Giverny” artist : MONET
8. Pier grp. : ILA
9. Bernard who wrote “The Natural” : MALAMUD
10. Thin pancakes : BLINI
11. Start of an alphabet book : A AS IN APPLE
12. Inspection : CLOSE LOOK
13. Clark Kent’s boyhood home: Abbr. : KAN
18. Charged : RAN AT
22. Strike out, as a batter : RETIRE
24. Gorbachev’s land, for short : USSR
25. Vacation time, informally : R AND R
26. Part of U.S.D.A.: Abbr. : DEPT
27. Rescuing financially : BAILING OUT
30. City plus suburbs : METRO AREA
31. Shake off : ELUDE
32. Yelp contributors, essentially : RATERS
33. Sch. with an annual Mystery Hunt : MIT
35. Soccer star Mia : HAMM
37. ___ wave : SINE
39. Barbara Gordon’s secret identity, in comics : BATGIRL
40. Dewy, e.g. : MOIST
45. Puzzle out : SOLVE
46. Played charades : MIMED
47. Shade of green : OLIVE
48. Darth ___ of “Star Wars” : VADER
51. See 19-Across : BRIE
52. Actress Stone of “Birdman” : EMMA
53. Disney/Hearst-owned channel : ESPN
54. Arg. neighbor : BOL
55. Marshal at the Battle of Waterloo : NEY
57. “Gross!” : EWW!

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