0411-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 11 Apr 15, Saturday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Martin Ashwood-Smith
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 48m 26s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … NIN (Rin), HAND-BEATEN (hard-beaten)

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Rule ending in 1947 : RAJ
The period of colonial rule by the British in South Asia from 1858 to 1947 is referred to as the British Raj. Prior to 1858, the area was ruled by a private enterprise, the British East India Company. “Raj” is the Hindi word for “reign”.

11. Whammy : HEX
“Hexen” is a German word meaning “to practice witchcraft”. The use of the word “hex” in English started with the Pennsylvania Dutch in the early 1800s.

“Whammy” is a slang term for a hex, a supernatural spell.

14. Chief John Duncan, e.g. : UTE
Chief John Duncan was an influential member of the Ute people, who served as a liaison between several Native American tribes and the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington D.C. after the Civil War. There is a marble bust of Chief John Duncan in the Utah State Capitol building.

15. Port alternative : MADEIRA
Madeira is a Portuguese-owned archipelago that lies to the southwest of mainland Portugal. Madeira is famous for its wine, which is a fortified beverage (as is port, sherry and Marsala wine).

The city of Oporto in Portugal gave its name to port wine in the late 1600s, as it was the seaport through which most of the region’s fortified red wine was exported.

17. Opportune : PAT
Something described as “pat” is apt, opportune.

18. Like many 911 calls : FRANTIC
The first use of an emergency phone number nationally was in the UK in 1937, where the number 999 was introduced to call emergency services. If you need emergency services in the UK or Ireland to this day, you have to dial 999. It’s not really clear why 911 became the emergency number in the US. The most credible suggestion (to me) is that when it was introduced by the FCC in 1967, it was a number that “fit” with the numbers already used by AT&T for free services (211-long distance; 411-information; 611-repair service).

19. “Under a Glass Bell” writer : NIN
“Under a Glass Bell” was the breakthough publication for French author Anaïs Nin. It is a collection of short stories that deals with subjects as diverse as diary keeping (“The Labyrinth”), life in Paris (“Houseboat”) and late-term abortion (“The Birth”).

20. Blueprint additions : ELLS
An ell is an extension to a building that is oriented at right angles to the existing structure.

Blueprints are reproductions of technical or architectural drawings that are contact prints made on light-sensitive sheets. Blueprints were introduced in the 1800s and the technology available dictated that the drawings were reproduced with white lines on a blue background, hence the name “blue-print”.

24. Renowned 1920s raider : ELIOT NESS
Eliot Ness was the Treasury agent (T-man) charged with the task of bringing down the notorious Chicago gangster Al Capone. When Ness took on the job in 1930, Chicago law-enforcement agents were renowned for being corrupt, for being on the take. Ness handpicked 50 prohibition agents who he thought he could rely on, later reducing the group to a cadre of 15 and ultimately just 11 trusted men. That group of 11 earned the nickname “The Untouchables”, the agents who couldn’t be bought.

28. Firm cheese? : CEO
Chief executive officer (CEO)

The phrase “the big cheese” doesn’t have its roots in the word “cheese” at all. The original phrase was “the real cheese” meaning “the real thing”, used way back in late 1800s (long before Coke picked it up). “Chiz” is a Persian and Hindi word meaning “thing”, and it’s not hard to see how the expression “the real chiz” would morph into “the real cheese”. Then in early-20th century America, instead of a “real cheese”, the most influential person in a group was labeled as “the big cheese”. And I think that is about the only use of the word “cheese” that is in anyway complimentary!

42. On no occasions, to Nietzsche : NIE
“Nie” is the German word for “never”.

Friedrich Nietzsche was a German philosopher. Not my cup of tea …

43. 1990s collectible : POG
The game of pogs was originally played with bottle caps from POG fruit juice. The juice was named for its constituents, passion fruit, orange and guava.

44. Move like a fly : ARC
In baseball, a fly ball arcs high across the field.

55. Daphne du Maurier, e.g. : DAME
Dame Daphne du Maurier was an author and playwright from England. My guess is that du Maurier’s most famous works are the novel “Rebecca” and the short story “The Birds”. Both “Rebecca” and “The Birds” were adapted into movies directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

56. D.C.-based news inits. : UPI
Founded in 1958, United Press International (UPI) was one of the biggest news agencies in the world, sending out news by wire to the major newspapers. UPI ran into trouble with the change in media formats at the end of the twentieth century and lost many of its clients as the afternoon newspapers shut down due to the advent of television news. UPI, which once employed thousands, still exists today but with just a handful of employees.

57. Japanese for “finger pressure” : SHIATSU
“Shiatsu” is a Japanese word meaning “finger pressure”, and is the name given to a style of massage.

59. Word on two Monopoly squares : TAX
Those squares would be Super Tax and Income Tax …

60. “Love, ___” (1979 Bel Kaufman novel) : ETC
Bel Kaufman was a German-born American author who is best known for writing the 1965 novel “Up the Down Staircase”. Kaufman passed away in 2014, at the age of 103.

63. Female hamster : DOE
The rodents known as hamsters are commonly kept as house pets. Male hamsters are called bucks, females are called does, and baby hamsters are known as pups.

64. Flower parts that open to release their contents : ANTHERS
The stamen is the male reproductive organ of a flower. The part of the stamen known as the anther carries the pollen, which is picked up by the bee and transferred from flower to flower. The pistil is the female reproductive organ, and it accepts the pollen.

65. It’s “sim” in São Paulo : YES
“Sim” is Portuguese for “yes”, and “não” translates as “no”.

São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil. São Paulo is also the city with the highest number of helicopters in the world. This is partly driven by the horrendous traffic jams in São Paulo, but also by the wealthy having a very real fear of being kidnapped on the city’s streets.

Down
1. Mauritian money : RUPEE
The Mauritian rupee is the currency of the island nation of Mauritius. The Mauritian rupee replaced the Indian rupee, the pound sterling and the Mauritian dollar as the official currency in 1877.

The island of Mauritius lies in the Indian Ocean, about 700 miles east of Madagascar. One of Mauritius’ claim to fame is that it was the only place where one could find the renowned flightless bird called a dodo. The dodo became extinct less than a century after it was discovered, due to human settlement on the island.

2. One bit : AT ALL
I don’t like this crossword one bit, not at all. Just kidding …

3. 54-Down’s co-star in “The Forbidden Kingdom” : JET LI
(54D. See 3-Down : CHAN)
The actor Jet Li’s real name is Li Jian Jie. Jet Li is a martial artist and international film star from Beijing, China. Li played a villain in “Lethal Weapon 4”, and had a leading role in the 2000 movie “Romeo Must Die”.

The 2008 movie “The Forbidden Kingdom” is a martial-arts film starring Jackie Chan and Jet Li that is loosely based on the novel “Journey to the West” by Wu Cheng’en. I don’t really do martials-arts movies …

4. Big letters in bowling alleys : AMF
AMF Bowling Centers, Inc. is an operator of bowling allies, the largest such company in the world in fact.

5. One getting the show on the road? : CAR ANTENNA
An antenna’s job is to convert electrical power into radio waves, and radio waves into an electrical signal. The first antennas were built by the German physicist Heinrich Hertz in 1888.

6. Computer hookup? : E-DATE
Apparently an e-date is akin to a traditional date, but a lot cheaper (!). An e-date is a means to developing a romantic relationship using various online services such as Skype and Yahoo Games. There may even be an exchange of e-cards and e-flowers.

9. Flag in a garden : IRIS
Iris is a genus of flowering plants that come in a wide variety of flower colors. The term “iris” is a Greek word meaning “rainbow”. Many species of irises are called “flags”. One suggestion is that the alternate name comes from the Middle English “flagge” meaning “reed”. This term was used because iris leaves look like reeds.

10. Some xerophiles : CACTI
A xerophile is an animal or plan that thrives and flourishes in a dry and hot environment, where there is very little water. “Xeros” is the Greek word for “dry”.

13. Prefix with phobia : XENO-
Xenophobia is the uncontrollable fear of foreigners. The word comes from Greek, with “xeno” meaning guest, stranger or foreigner, and “phobia” meaning fear, horror or aversion.

21. Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Edna St. Vincent Millay, notably : SONNETEERS
Elizabeth Barrett was a very popular poet in England in the mid-1800s. The successful poet and playwright Robert Browning was an admirer of her work, and wrote to her saying so. The two met, and and began a famous courtship that led to a secret marriage, which they had to hide from Elizabeth’s father.

Edna St. Vincent Millay was an American poet and playwright, the third woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (in 1923 for “The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver”). Millay was noted not only for her work, but also for the open arrangement that she and her husband had in their marriage. Millay took many lovers, including the poet George Dillon for whom she wrote a number of sonnets.

25. Fitting entertainment at an arcade? : TETRIS
Tetris is a very addictive video game that was developed in the Soviet Union in 1984. The name Tetris comes from a melding of the prefix “tetra-” (as all the game pieces have four segments) and “tennis” (a favorite sport played by the developer). Since 2005 there have been more than 100 million copies of the game installed on cell phones alone.

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.

29. Leader for a time? : ONE AT
One at a time …

31. Allegheny River city : OLEAN
Olean is a city in New York State located on the Allegheny River. Louie Zamperini, the subject of the book and film called “Unbroken”, was born in Olean.

32. Boardwalk cooler : ITALIAN ICE
A sno-cone (also “snow cone”) is just a paper cone filled with crushed ice and topped with flavored water. Italian ice is similar, but different. Whereas the flavoring is added on top of the ice to make a sno-cone, Italian ice is made with water that is flavored before it is frozen.

34. Headwinds often push them back, briefly : ETAS
Estimated time of arrival (ETA)

35. Bandar ___ Begawan (Brunei’s capital) : SERI
The official name of Brunei is the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace. Brunei is situated in the island of Borneo, almost completely surrounded by Malaysia. Brunei’s government is dictated by the constitution adopted in 1959, and is ruled by a sultan with full executive authority. The main language spoken in the country is “Melayu Brunei” (Brunei Malay), with the official language being Malay. Apparently Malay and Brunei Malay are quite different from each other, with native speakers finding it difficult to understand each other.

37. Sources of some state funds : LOTTOS
Originally “Lotto” was a type of card game, with “lotto” being the Italian for “a lot”. We’ve used “lotto” to mean a gambling game since the late 1700s.

38. They got grounded after streaking : SSTS
The most famous supersonic transport (SST) is the retired Concorde. Famously, the Concorde routinely broke the sound barrier, and cruised at about twice the speed of sound. Above Mach 2, frictional heat would cause the plane’s aluminum airframe to soften, so airspeed was limited.

45. He struck Caesar “like a cur” : CASCA
Julius Caesar was assassinated on the 15th (the ides) of March, 44 BC. He was attacked by a group of sixty people in the Roman Senate, and was stabbed 23 times. The first to strike a blow was Servilius Casca, who attacked Caesar from behind and stabbed him in the neck.

In William Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar”, Mark Antony speaks of the assassination of Caesar:

Villains, you did not so when your vile daggers
Hacked one another in the sides of Caesar.
You showed your teeth like apes, and fawned like hounds,
And bowed like bondmen, kissing Caesar’s feet,
Whilst damnèd Casca, like a cur, behind
Struck Caesar on the neck. O you flatterers!

46. Dead-tree : PRINT
A slang term for a “hard copy”, a copy on paper, is “dead-tree”.

48. Perfume providing an accent? : ESTEE
Estée Lauder was a very successful businesswoman, with a reputation as a great salesperson. Lauder introduced her own line of fragrances in 1953, a bath oil called “Youth Dew”. “Youth Dew” was marketed as a perfume, but it was added to bathwater. All of a sudden women were pouring whole bottles of Ms. Lauder’s “perfume” into their baths while using only a drop or two of French perfumes behind their ears. That’s quite a difference in sales volume …

49. Food on a stick : SATAY
The dish known as “satay” originated in Java, Indonesia and is marinated pieces of meat served on a skewer in a sauce, often a spicy peanut sauce. “Satay” is the Indonesian spelling, and “sate” is the Malay spelling.

51. Cats with very fine short fur : REXES
“Rex cat” is the name given to a number of different breeds. The common characteristic is that due to a genetic mutation, every rex cat has wavy or curly hair.

53. Planning : UP TO
What are you planning, what are you up to …?

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Rule ending in 1947 : RAJ
4. Sharp : ACERBIC
11. Whammy : HEX
14. Chief John Duncan, e.g. : UTE
15. Port alternative : MADEIRA
16. Jungle swinger? : AXE
17. Opportune : PAT
18. Like many 911 calls : FRANTIC
19. “Under a Glass Bell” writer : NIN
20. Blueprint additions : ELLS
22. Corroborated : ATTESTED TO
24. Renowned 1920s raider : ELIOT NESS
26. Having five sharps : IN B
27. Wind up with : NET
28. Firm cheese? : CEO
30. Borrowing bargains : NO-INTEREST LOANS
39. What parades may necessitate : ALTERNATE ROUTES
40. Chicken preference? : BEATING A RETREAT
41. Counter intelligence? : SALES ASSISTANTS
42. On no occasions, to Nietzsche : NIE
43. 1990s collectible : POG
44. Move like a fly : ARC
46. Respectful appeal : PLEASE, SIR
52. Meets : RUNS ACROSS
55. Daphne du Maurier, e.g. : DAME
56. D.C.-based news inits. : UPI
57. Japanese for “finger pressure” : SHIATSU
59. Word on two Monopoly squares : TAX
60. “Love, ___” (1979 Bel Kaufman novel) : ETC
61. General store? : CANTEEN
62. Cause of a new wrinkle : AGE
63. Female hamster : DOE
64. Flower parts that open to release their contents : ANTHERS
65. It’s “sim” in São Paulo : YES

Down
1. Mauritian money : RUPEE
2. One bit : AT ALL
3. 54-Down’s co-star in “The Forbidden Kingdom” : JET LI
4. Big letters in bowling alleys : AMF
5. One getting the show on the road? : CAR ANTENNA
6. Computer hookup? : E-DATE
7. Checks for letters : RENTS
8. Falls for it : BITES
9. Flag in a garden : IRIS
10. Some xerophiles : CACTI
11. Like some rugs and egg whites : HAND-BEATEN
12. Go : EXIT
13. Prefix with phobia : XENO-
21. Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Edna St. Vincent Millay, notably : SONNETEERS
23. Buoyed : ENCOURAGED
25. Fitting entertainment at an arcade? : TETRIS
29. Leader for a time? : ONE AT
30. Cops : NABS
31. Allegheny River city : OLEAN
32. Boardwalk cooler : ITALIAN ICE
33. Sign of destitution : RAGS
34. Headwinds often push them back, briefly : ETAS
35. Bandar ___ Begawan (Brunei’s capital) : SERI
36. Guard dog’s quarry : TRESPASSER
37. Sources of some state funds : LOTTOS
38. They got grounded after streaking : SSTS
45. He struck Caesar “like a cur” : CASCA
46. Dead-tree : PRINT
47. Antipathetic : LOATH
48. Perfume providing an accent? : ESTEE
49. Food on a stick : SATAY
50. Something to upload or uphold : IMAGE
51. Cats with very fine short fur : REXES
52. Recalled not fondly : RUED
53. Planning : UP TO
54. See 3-Down : CHAN
58. Little ___ : ‘UNS

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3 thoughts on “0411-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 11 Apr 15, Saturday”

  1. I think I was smarter than you, Willie. I could tell after just 12 minutes that this one was unsolvable, so I quit while I was behind and saved a whole half hour of my life.

    Some of these are edited with clues so vague, so misleading and so mean-spirited that you can't be disappointed you can't finish. You were never *meant to*.

  2. Went through the list of clues twice before I was able to scratch out the NE and SW corners. Gradually chipped away and finished in 40:36 with no errors, no googles. Bottom, middle group with Shiatsu had me stumped for a long time.

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