0409-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 9 Apr 15, Thursday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Jacob Stulberg
THEME: Base Routine … we are reminded in today’s puzzle of everyone’s favorite Abbott and Costello routine “Who’s on First?” Three squares in the grid use the base numbers FIRST, SECOND and THIRD, for the down-answers:

5D. How most babies come out : HEADFIRST
22D. Tiny adjustment to an atomic clock : LEAP SECOND
52D. Subway power source : THIRD RAIL

From the comedy routine we know that:

WHO is on FIRST
WHAT is on SECOND
I DON’T KNOW is on THIRD

We use WHO, WHAT and I DON’T KNOW as part of the across-answers:

23A. One of Aesop’s fables : THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF
38A. Lead-in to some surprising news : GUESS WHAT!
46A. “Well, obviously” : TELL ME SOMETHING I DON’T KNOW

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 17m 17s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. In : CHIC
“Chic” is a French word meaning “stylish”.

9. Larva, e.g. : STAGE
The larva is an intermediate stage in the development of an insect. All four stages are embryo, larva, pupa and imago.

14. Strike zone? : LANE
A ten-pin bowler marks down an X when he or she makes a strike.

15. Biblical outcast : LEPER
The horrible disease known as leprosy is also called Hansen’s disease, named after the Norwegian physician famous for isolating the bacterium that causes the disease. We can use the term “leper” to mean someone in general who is shunned by society.

16. “Arabian Nights” prince : AHMED
In the “Arabian Nights”, Prince Ahmed is noted for having a magic tent which would grow larger to shelter an army, and then grow small again so that it could fit into a pocket.

17. Citation abbr. : ET AL
Et alii (et al.) is the equivalent of et cetera (etc.), with et cetera being used in place of a list of objects, and et alii used for a list of names. In fact “et al.” can stand for et alii (for a group of males, or males and females), aliae (for a group of women) and et alia (for a group of neuter nouns, or for a group of people where the intent is to retain gender-neutrality).

18. Iced ___ : LATTE
The term “latte” is an abbreviation of the Italian “caffelatte” meaning “coffee (and) milk”. Note that in the correct spelling of “latte”, the Italian word for milk, there is no accent over the “e”. An accent is often added by mistake when we use the word in English, perhaps meaning to suggest that the word is French.

21. Brown-eared comics character : ODIE
Odie is Garfield’s best friend and is a slobbery beagle, a character in Jim Davis’s comic strip named “Garfield”.

23. One of Aesop’s fables : THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF
“The Boy Who Cried Wolf” is one of Aesop’s fable, and the tale that gives rise to our phrase “to cry wolf”, which means to give a false alarm. In the fable, a shepherd boy is in the habit of tricking nearby villagers into thinking a wolf is attacking his flock by crying “wolf!”. When an actual attack is made, the villages assume it’s another false alarm and the sheep are are eaten by the wolf.

28. Nuclear plant unit : RAD
A rad is a unit used to measure radiation levels that is largely obsolete now. The rad has been superseded by the rem.

29. Like some contracts : ORAL
An oral contract is just as valid as a written contract in most cases. The phrase “verbal contract” is sometimes used to describe a contract that is agreed by spoken communication, but this is inaccurate. A verbal contract is simply one that uses words, and can be either written or spoken.

30. Notable tower, for short : AAA
AAA tows a lot of cars.

31. Diagonal spar : SPRIT
A sprit is a pole that extends out from a mast, often supporting a special sail called a spritsail.

34. Edit : BLUE-PENCIL
The tradition is that an editor writes corrections to written copy using a blue pencil. The practise arose with the introduction of the “non-photo blue” pencil, which had a color that did not show up in some photographic reproduction processes.

37. Make keen : WHET
The words “whet” and “pique” can both be used in the sense of sharpening or awaking one’s interest or desire.

39. One, in Austria : EINS
The German for “one, two, three” is “eins, zwei, drei”.

The name “Austria” is a Latin variant of the German name for the country, “Österreich”. “Österreich” itself means “Eastern borderlands”, a reference to the country’s history as a prefecture of neighboring Bavaria to the west.

43. Lagos-to-Dar es Salaam dir. : ESE
Lagos is a port and the biggest city in Nigeria. Lagos used to be the country’s capital, until it was replaced in that role in 1991 by Abuja, a city built for just for this purpose.

Dar es Salaam is the largest city in Tanzania, and sits right on the east coast of Africa. The city’s name is usually translated from Arabic as “Haven of Peace”.

44. Prefix with science : OMNI-
“Omniscience” is the quality of having complete knowledge and awareness. The term comes from the Latin “omnis” meaning “all” and “scientia” meaning “knowledge”.

53. Instances when service isn’t perfect? : LETS
An umpire might call “let!” in a game of tennis.

55. Veet rival : NAIR
Nair is a hair removal product that has some pretty harsh ingredients. The most important active constituents are calcium hydroxide (“slake lime”) and sodium hydroxide (“caustic soda”). Other Nair components seem to be there to soothe the skin after the harsher chemicals have done their job. The name “Nair” probably comes from combining “no” and “hair”.

The hair removal product “Neet” was launched in Canada in 1901, and was also sold as “Immac”. Today it is sold under the name “Veet”.

56. ___ León (Mexican state) : NUEVO
Nuevo León is a Mexican state located across the border from the US state of Texas. The capital city of Nuevo León is Monterrey.

59. Woman’s name that’s an anagram of a man’s name : EDNA
“Edna” is an anagram of “Dean”.

60. Against a thing, legally : IN REM
“In rem” translates from Latin as “in a thing”. In a lawsuit, an action is described as “in rem” if it is directed against some property. This would be the case if someone disputes ownership of a piece of land, for example. An action “in personam” on the other hand, is directed against a specific individual.

62. “They say” it in Spain, in an old Andrews Sisters hit : SI SI
“Say ‘Si Si’” is a song first published in 1935, composed by Ernesto Lecuona, with lyrics originally in Spanish. The most famous recordings of the song were by the Andrews Sisters and by the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

In Spain they say “Si, Si”
In France you’ll hear “Oui, Oui”
Every little Dutch girl says “Ya, Ya”
Every little Russian says “Da, Da”

But, Sweetheart, tell me why
No matter how I try
You won’t listen to my plea
Won’t say “Yes” in any language to me
When will you say “Si, Si”

The Andrews Sisters of the boogie-woogie era really were sisters, from Mound, Minnesota. The trio consisted of LaVerne, Maxene and Patty Andrews. Their biggest hit was 1941’s marvelous “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”.

63. Contents of three squares in this puzzle, per an old comedy routine : BASES
Bud Abbott and Lou Costello made up the comedy duo Abbott and Costello who were immensely popular in the forties and fifties. Even when I was growing up in Ireland and knew nothing about baseball, I was rolling around the floor listening to Abbott and Costello’s famous “Who’s on First?” comedy routine. Can you name all the players?

– First Base: Who
– Second Base: What
– Third Base: I Don’t Know
– Left field: Why
– Center field: Because
– Pitcher: Tomorrow
– Catcher: Today
– Shortstop: I Don’t Care/I Don’t Give a Darn

64. Cat with tufted ears : LYNX
A lynx is a wild cat, of which there are four species. These are:

– The Eurasian Lynx: the biggest of the four species.
– The Canada Lynx: well-adapted to life in cold environments.
– The Iberian Lynx: a native of the Iberian Peninsula in Southern Europe, and the most endangered cat species in the world.
– The Bobcat: our North American wildcat, the smallest of the four species.

65. For whom David played the harp : SAUL
According to the Bible’s Book of Samuel, Saul was troubled by an evil spirit sent by God. David is a skilled soldier and harpist and is sent to the Saul to play for him. David is then appointed as Saul’s armor bearer and remains at court, playing his harp as required.

Down
6. Part of FiOS : OPTIC
FiOS is a service from Verizon that bundles Internet, telephone and television service. All three services are provided over fiber-optic lines, right to the door.

7. White House chief of staff after Rahm Emanuel : PETE ROUSE
Pete Rouse was appointed interim White House Chief of Staff in the Obama administration when Rahm Emanuel resigned in 2010. William M. Daley was made Chief of Staff the following year, and Rouse stayed on as Counselor to the President.

11. Tryptophan or leucine : AMINO ACID
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid. It is absolutely essential in our diet as it cannot be manufactured in the human body. There’s an old wive’s tale that high levels of tryptophan in turkey can cause drowsiness after a meal. However, the levels of tryptophan are comparable in turkey and other meats. It’s likely that the drowsiness is just due to eating a meal.

Leucine is an essential amino acid meaning that it cannot be made in the body, so much be consumed in the diet. Leucine s sometimes taken as dietary supplement as there is some evidence that it slows the degradation of muscle tissue.

13. Dict. versions : EDS
Edition (ed.)

15. Frank ___, two-time Best Director Oscar winner : LLOYD
Frank Lloyd was a film director originally from Scotland, and a winner of two Academy Awards. He didn’t win an Oscar for his most famous film though, the 1935 classic “Mutiny on the Bounty” starring Clark Gable and Charles Laughton.

22. Tiny adjustment to an atomic clock : LEAP SECOND
Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) is the primary time standard used to regulate clocks around the world. Because the Earth’s rotational speed is decreasing ever so slowly, UTC can vary slightly from solar time. As a result, leap seconds are added as required to UTC, on average about once every 19 months. Leap seconds are always added on June 30th or December 31st.

An atomic clock is the most accurate way of keeping track of time that is known. Most clocks work using some sort of an oscillation that takes place at a regular interval, like a pendulum. In the case of an atomic clock, the oscillation that is measured is between the nucleus of an atom and its surrounding electrons.

24. Quaker ___ Bran : OAT
The Quaker Oats Company was founded in 1901 when four oat mills merged, including the Quaker Mill Company of Ravenna, Ohio. Quaker Mill’s owner Henry Parsons Crowell played the key role in the new company and remained at the helm until 1943.

25. Start of an attorney’s conclusion : I REST …
I rest my case …

26. Psychiatry writer R. D. ___ : LAING
R. D. Laing was a controversial Scottish psychiatrist. Laing was associated with the anti-psychiatry movement, holding the view that psychiatric treatments are often more damaging to to patients rather than helpful.

27. “F” on a test : FALSE
True (T) or false (F)?

32. Half-moon, e.g. : PHASE
The phases of the moon have been given the following names, in order:

– New moon
– Waxing crescent moon
– First quarter moon
– Waxing gibbous moon
– Full moon
– Waning gibbous moon
– Third quarter moon
– Waning crescent moon
– Dark moon

33. Pawnshops and such : RESELLERS
The tradition sign outside a pawnbroker’s shop consists of three balls. This symbol dates back to the Middle Ages, where it was used on coats of arms as a sign of monetary success. The running joke is that the three balls mean “two to one, you won’t get your stuff back”.

34. “Auld Lang Syne” writer : BURNS
The song “Auld Lang Syne” is a staple at New Year’s Eve, the words of which were written by Scottish poet Robbie Burns. The literal translation of “Auld Lang Syne” is “old long since”, but is better translated as “old times”. The sentiment of the song is “for old time’s sake”.

35. Roman soldier : LEGIONARY
In Ancient Roman, a legionary was a professional soldier, a heavy infantryman. As a result, a legionary was loaded down with armor including a shield, helmet, a pair of javelins, a short sword and a dagger.

38. Darts and hearts : GAMES
Darts is a wonderful game often played in English and Irish pubs, even over here in America. The scoring in a traditional game of darts is difficult to describe in a sentence or two, but the game of darts called “Round the Clock” is simply hitting the numbers 1 through 20 in sequence.

Hearts is a card game in the Whist family, meaning that it involves the taking of tricks. Other games in the Whist family are Bridge and Spades. The uniqueness of Hearts is that players are trying to avoid winning certain cards which carry penalty points, so often the idea is to avoid winning tricks altogether.

41. The Indians regularly beat them : TOM-TOMS
The tom-tom is a drum played with the hands, which gave its name to a dull, repeating beat or sound.

47. Surge protector? : LEVEE
A levee is an artificial bank usually made of earth, running along the length of a river. A levee is designed to hold back river water at a time of potential flooding. “Levée” is the French word for “raised” and is an American term that originated in French-speaking New Orleans around 1720.

49. Clacton-on-Sea’s county : ESSEX
Clacton-on-Sea is a seaside resort in Essex on the southeast coast of England. I spent many a summer day at Clacton with my family when I was a young lad …

50. Petrova of tennis : NADIA
Nadia Petrova is a tennis player from Moscow who has ranked third in the world in doubles. Petrova has a good complement of athletic genes as her father was a successful hammer thrower and her mother won an Olympic bronze in the 400m track relay.

51. Kind of knife : GINSU
Ginsu knives are more famous for their hard-sell television ads than they are for their efficacy in the kitchen. The Ginsu phenomenon took off in the seventies when two brothers found a set of knives called “Eversharp” that were being manufactured in Ohio. The brothers changed the brand name to something more exotic, and Japanese in particular (Ginsu), and then produced ads that made references to Japanese martial arts. I think they made a fortune …

52. Subway power source : THIRD RAIL
The first commercial uses of a third rail to power trains were actually in Ireland, with the Giant’s Causeway Tramway in 1883, and the Bessbrook and Newry Tramway in 1885.

56. Pen part : NIB
“Nib” is a Scottish variant of the Old English word “neb”, with both meaning the beak of a bird. This usage of “nib” as a beak dates back to the 14th century, with “nib” meaning the tip of a pen or quill coming a little later, in the early 1600s.

57. Andean article : UNA
“Una”, the Spanish for “a”.

The Andes is the longest continuous chain of mountains in the world, running right down the length of the west coast of South America for about 4,300 miles. The highest peak in the range is Mt. Aconcagua, at an elevation of 22,841 feet. Interestingly, the peak of Mt. Chimborazo in Ecuador is the furthest point on the Earth’s surface from the center of the planet. That’s because of the equatorial “bulge” around the Earth’s “waist”.

58. Image of Pluto, say : CEL
In the world of animation, a cel is a transparent sheet on which objects and characters are drawn. In the first half of the 20th century the sheet was actually made of celluloid, giving the “cel” its name.

Pluto is Mickey Mouse’s pet dog, as well as a star in his own right. Pluto is an unusual Disney character in that he is portrayed basically as a dog as opposed to a “humanized” version of a dog, as are the other Disney characters.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. In : CHIC
5. Cynic’s lack : HOPE
9. Larva, e.g. : STAGE
14. Strike zone? : LANE
15. Biblical outcast : LEPER
16. “Arabian Nights” prince : AHMED
17. Citation abbr. : ET AL
18. Iced ___ : LATTE
19. Decorates : TRIMS
20. Bad marks in high school? : ACNE
21. Brown-eared comics character : ODIE
22. One jumping through hoops, maybe : LION
23. One of Aesop’s fables : THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF
28. Nuclear plant unit : RAD
29. Like some contracts : ORAL
30. Notable tower, for short : AAA
31. Diagonal spar : SPRIT
34. Edit : BLUE-PENCIL
37. Make keen : WHET
38. Lead-in to some surprising news : GUESS WHAT!
39. One, in Austria : EINS
40. It gets more than its fair share of jokes : EASY TARGET
42. Not be definitive : HEDGE
43. Lagos-to-Dar es Salaam dir. : ESE
44. Prefix with science : OMNI-
45. Down : SAD
46. “Well, obviously” : TELL ME SOMETHING I DON’T KNOW
53. Instances when service isn’t perfect? : LETS
54. You might hold it by a trash can : NOSE
55. Veet rival : NAIR
56. ___ León (Mexican state) : NUEVO
58. Lead to : CAUSE
59. Woman’s name that’s an anagram of a man’s name : EDNA
60. Against a thing, legally : IN REM
61. Dropped the ball : ERRED
62. “They say” it in Spain, in an old Andrews Sisters hit : SI SI
63. Contents of three squares in this puzzle, per an old comedy routine : BASES
64. Cat with tufted ears : LYNX
65. For whom David played the harp : SAUL

Down
1. Point on the field? : CLEAT
2. Originate : HATCH
3. Dumb : INANE
4. Star : CELEBRITY
5. How most babies come out : HEADFIRST
6. Part of FiOS : OPTIC
7. White House chief of staff after Rahm Emanuel : PETE ROUSE
8. Poetic preposition : ERE
9. Did nothing : SAT IDLE
10. Peg : THROW
11. Tryptophan or leucine : AMINO ACID
12. Thing on a ring : GEM
13. Dict. versions : EDS
15. Frank ___, two-time Best Director Oscar winner : LLOYD
22. Tiny adjustment to an atomic clock : LEAP SECOND
24. Quaker ___ Bran : OAT
25. Start of an attorney’s conclusion : I REST …
26. Psychiatry writer R. D. ___ : LAING
27. “F” on a test : FALSE
31. “Awesome!” : SWEET!
32. Half-moon, e.g. : PHASE
33. Pawnshops and such : RESELLERS
34. “Auld Lang Syne” writer : BURNS
35. Roman soldier : LEGIONARY
36. Poverty : NEEDINESS
38. Darts and hearts : GAMES
41. The Indians regularly beat them : TOM-TOMS
42. “In your dreams!” : HAH!
45. General transportation? : STEED
47. Surge protector? : LEVEE
48. Feel the loss of : MOURN
49. Clacton-on-Sea’s county : ESSEX
50. Petrova of tennis : NADIA
51. Kind of knife : GINSU
52. Subway power source : THIRD RAIL
56. Pen part : NIB
57. Andean article : UNA
58. Image of Pluto, say : CEL

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3 thoughts on “0409-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 9 Apr 15, Thursday”

  1. This one was just EVIL. Very hard to set, I'll freely admit. But just not worth the aggravation to the solver. And the lack of tie in for the long answers is just another nail in the coffin. Open comment to Will Shortz: "Can we just stop it with this crap already??"

    I "got" the theme eventually (3rd RAIL was my AHA! moment), but there were 6 answers that were simply out of my ken.

  2. Hmmm. I don't really understand the complaints about this one. It was difficult, all right: it took me a lot longer than 17 minutes to finish and I had to walk away from it a time or two. In the end, though, I found it doable and I appreciated the cleverness of the gimmick.

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