0504-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 4 May 15, Monday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Zhouqin Burnikel
THEME: Stepmom … the circled letters in the grid spell out the word MAMA, but offset over two lines, sort of a “step-MAMA” i.e. a “stepmom”.

39A. Wicked relative of Cinderella … or what each set of circled letters represents? : STEPMOM

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 5m 59s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Qatar’s capital : DOHA
Doha is the capital city of the state of Qatar located on the Persian Gulf. The name “Doha” translates from Arabic as “the big tree”.

15. Start of a Mexican calendar : ENERO
In Spanish, the year (el año) starts in January (enero) and ends in December (diciembre).

20. Long-necked pack animal : LLAMA
The wool from a llama is much softer than that from a sheep, and it is also free from lanolin.

21. New York’s Fiorello La Guardia, once : MAYOR
Fiorello La Guardia was the Mayor of New York from 1934 to 1945, racking up three full terms in office. The famous airport that bears La Guardia’s name was built at his urging, stemming from an incident that took place while he was in office. He was taking a TWA flight to “New York” and was outraged when the plane landed at Newark Airport, in the state of New Jersey. The Mayor demanded that the flight take off again and land at a small airport in Brooklyn. A gaggle of press reporters joined him on the short hop and he gave them a story, urging New Yorkers to support the construction of a new commercial airport within the city’s limits. The new airport, in Queens, opened in 1939 as New York Municipal, often called “LaGuardia” as a nickname. The airport was officially relabeled as “LaGuardia” in 1947.

23. Org. for Rams and Jets : NFL
The St. Louis Rams have only won the Super Bowl once, in 1999, against the Tennessee Titans. The Rams were based in Cleveland from 1936-45, Los Angeles from 1946-94 and St. Louis from 1995 to the present day.

Just like the New York Giants, the New York Jets are based in New Jersey, headquartered in Florham Park. The Jets and the Giants have a unique arrangement in the NFL in that the two teams share Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Jets were an AFL charter team, formed in 1959 as the Titans of New York. The Titans changed their name to the Jets in 1963.

26. Commercial lead-in to bank : CITI-
During the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, the US government rescued Citibank by providing loan guarantees and two payments of $25 billion each. It turns out that the government made a tidy profit on that deal, as Citibank has since repaid the loans in full, along with interest.

28. 1969 Peace Prize grp. : ILO
The ILO (International Labour Organization) is an agency now administered by the UN which was established by the League of Nations after WWI. The ILO deals with important issues such as health and safety, discrimination, child labor and forced labor. The organization was recognized for its work in 1969 when it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

29. Obama-supported proposal for children of undocumented immigrants : DREAM ACT
The DREAM Act is proposed legislation that has been floating Washington around since 2001. The bill provides permanent residency to some immigrants who are deemed to be of good character and who have fulfilled certain conditions mainly related to education or to public service. The acronym DREAM stands for “Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors”.

33. Bullet with a trail : TRACER
Tracer ammunition has a small chemical charge at the base that leaves a bright, smoky trail so that path of the bullet or projectile is visible. This allows the shooter correct his or her aim more easily.

37. 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.

39. Wicked relative of Cinderella … or what each set of circled letters represents? : STEPMOM
The folk tale about “Cinderella” was first published by French author Charles Perrault in 1697. The storyline of the tale may date back as far as the days of Ancient Greece. A common alternative title to the story is “The Little Glass Slipper”.

43. Critical time of action : D-DAY
The most famous D-Day in history was June 6, 1944, the date of the Normandy landings in WWII. The term “D-Day” is used by the military to designate the day on which a combat operations are to be launched, especially when the actual date has yet to be determined. What D stands for seems to have been lost in the mists of time although the tradition is that D just stands for “Day”. In fact, the French have a similar term, “Jour J” (Day J), with a similar meaning. We also use H-Hour to denote the hour the attack is to commence.

45. ___-de-France : ILE
Île-de-France (literally “Island of France”) isn’t an island at all. It is the name given to the most populous of France’s 26 administrative regions. Île-de-France is roughly equivalent to the Paris metropolitan area.

46. “Hear! Hear!” : I AGREE!
The phrase “hear! hear!” is an expression of support that is perhaps more commonly used in the UK than on this side of the Atlantic. The phrase evolved from “Hear him! Hear him!”, which was the original utterance used in the UK parliament in the 17th century.

48. Brew with the slogan “For the love of beer” : SAM ADAMS
Samuel Adams was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, from Boston Massachusetts. Adams followed his father into the family’s malthouse business a few years after young Samuel graduated from Harvard. There were generations of Adams family members who were “maltsters” i.e. those producing malt needed for making beer. Samuel Adams is often described as a brewer, but he was actually a malster. The Samuel Adams brand of beer isn’t directly associated with the Adams family, but it is named in honor of the patriot.

50. ___-Magnon man : CRO
Remains of early man, dating back to 35,000 years ago, were found in Abri de Cro-Magnon in southwest France, giving the name to those early humans. Cro-Magnon remains are the oldest human relics that have been discovered in Europe.

51. Locale of the Città del Vaticano : ROMA
In Italian, Vatican City (Città del Vaticano) is located in Rome (Roma).

Vatican City is a sovereign city-state that is walled off within the city of Rome. Vatican City is about 110 acres in area, and so is the smallest independent state in the world. With about 800 residents, it is also the smallest state in terms of population. Although the Holy See dates back to early Christianity, Vatican City only came into being in 1929. At that time, Prime Minister Benito Mussolini signed a treaty with the Holy See on behalf of the Kingdom of Italy that established the city-state.

55. Co. that developed the ThinkPad : IBM
IBM introduced the ThinkPad in 1992, and the brand is still sold today, although no longer manufactured by IBM. IBM sold off its personal computer division in 2005 to Lenovo. A ThinkPad was used aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor in 1993 on a mission focused on repairing the Hubble Telescope. The ThinkPad was being tested to see how it performed in space, given the high levels of radiation found in that environment. Now, there are about 100 (!) ThinkPads on board the International Space Station.

56. Very bottom : NADIR
The nadir is the direction pointing immediately below a particular location (through to the other side of the Earth for example). The opposite direction, that pointing immediately above, is called the zenith.

60. Newton who formulated the law of universal gravitation : ISAAC
Sir Isaac Newton was one of the most influential people in history, the man who laid the groundwork for all of classical mechanics. The story about an apple falling on his head, inspiring him to formulate his theories about gravity, well that’s not quite true. Newton often told the story about observing an apple falling in his mother’s garden and how this made him acutely aware of the Earth’s gravitational pull. However, he made no mention of the apple hitting him on the head.

64. Hit 1951 play that inspired “Cabaret” : I AM A CAMERA
The musical “Cabaret” is based on “I Am a Camera”, a 1951 play written by John Van Druten. In turn, the play was adapted from a novel “Goodbye to Berlin” written by Christopher Isherwood. The action in the musical takes place in the 1930s, in a seedy Berlin cabaret called the Kit Kat Club. “Cabaret” is a great stage musical, although the 1972 film of the musical isn’t one of my favorites.

66. ___ qua non : SINE
“Sine qua non” is a Latin phrase that we use to mean “the essential element or condition”. The literal translation is “without which not”. One might say, for example, “a challenging crossword is the sine qua non of a good newspaper”. Well, crossword fans might say that anyway …

67. “Game of Thrones,” e.g. : DRAMA
HBO’s “Game of Thrones” is a fantasy television drama that was adapted from a series of novels by George R. R. Martin called “A Song of Ice and Fire”. “Game of Thrones” is actually made in a studio in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Down
1. Roald who wrote “Fantastic Mr. Fox” : DAHL
“Fantastic Mr. Fox” is a children’s novel by Roald Dahl. “Fantastic Mr. Fox” was adapted into a 2006 animated film directed by Wes Anderson.

3. Macho guy : HE-MAN
A man described as “macho” shows pride in his masculinity. “Macho” is a Spanish word for “male animal”.

4. “The Passion of the Christ” language : ARAMAIC
“The Passion of the Christ” is a 2004 epic drama made by Mel Gibson that covers the final 12 hours in the life of Jesus. “The Passion of the Christ” has dialogue in Aramaic, but also Latin and Hebrew. It is the biggest-selling movie ever made with non-English dialogue.

7. Tokyo-based game maker : SEGA
Sega is a Japanese video game company headquartered in Tokyo. Sega actually started out 1940 in the US as Standard Games and was located in Honolulu, Hawaii. The owners moved the operation to Tokyo in 1951 and renamed the company to Service Games. The name “Sega” is a combination of the first two letters of the words “Se-rvice” and “Ga-mes”.

10. Pigskin path : ARC
“Pigskin” is a slang term for the ball used in American football.

18. Italian city where pizza originated : NAPLES
Pizza was invented in Naples where it has a long tradition that goes back to Ancient Rome. During an 1889 visit to Naples, Queen Margherita of Savoy was served a special pizza that was created with toppings designed to mimic the colors of the Italian flag. The ingredients of tomato (red), mozzarella (white) and basil (green) can still be found together on menus today on a pie usually named Pizza Margherita after the queen. I do love basil on my pizza …

22. Record label for Justin Timberlake and Miley Cyrus : RCA
RCA Records is the second-oldest recording label in the US, after Columbia Records.

Justin Timberlake got his break by appearing on TV’s “Star Search” from which he was given a starring role in “The New Mickey Mouse Club”. It was on “The New Mickey Mouse Club” that he met his future girlfriend Britney Spears, as well JC Chasez who would join Timberlake in the lineup of the boy band ‘N Sync.

Miley Cyrus became famous playing the Disney Channel character “Hannah Montana”. Miley is the daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus. When she was born, Billy Ray and his wife named their daughter “Destiny Hope”, but soon they themselves calling her “Smiley” as she was always smiling as a baby, and this got shortened to Miley over time. Cute …

25. Shakespeare character whose name sounds like a car : PORTIA
In William Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice”, Portia is the formidable heroine who takes on the guise of a male lawyer and calls herself “Balthasar”. Portia does this to save the life of Antonio, the play’s title character. Portia makes a famous speech that gives us an oft-quoted phrase, “the quality of mercy”:

The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes…

Porsche was founded in 1931 in Stuttgart, Germany by Professor Ferdinand Porsche. The company didn’t produce cars at first, but worked on design and development. The first big job awarded to the company was from the German government, to design a car for the people. The result was the Volkswagen Beetle. Yep, the Beetle/Bug is a Porsche design.

27. Blog comment qualifier : IMO
In my opinion (IMO)

30. Dodge logo animal : RAM
Chrysler put ram hood ornaments on all of its Dodge branded vehicles starting in 1933. When the first line of Dodge trucks and vans were introduced in 1981, they were named “Rams” in honor of that hood ornament.

31. Beethoven’s Third : EROICA
Beethoven originally dedicated his Symphony No. 3 to Napoleon Bonaparte. Beethoven admired the principles of the French Revolution and as such respected Bonaparte who was “born” out of the uprising. When Napoleon declared himself Emperor, Beethoven (and much of Europe) saw this as a betrayal to the ideals of the revolution so he changed the name of his new symphony from “Bonaparte” to “Eroica”, meaning “heroic” or “valiant”.

33. Little ‘uns : TADS
Back in the 1800s “tad” was used to describe a young child, and this morphed into our usage of “small amount” in the early 1900s. The original use of “tad” for a child is very likely a shortened version of “tadpole”.

34. Plane’s appearance on an air traffic controller’s screen : RADAR BLIP
Scientists have been using radio waves to detect the presence of objects since the late 1800s, but it was the demands of WWII that accelerated the practical application of the technology. The British called their system RDF standing for Range and Direction Finding. The system used by the US Navy was called Radio Detection And Ranging, which was shortened to the acronym RADAR.

35. Epiphany : AHA MOMENT
An “epiphany” is an appearance or manifestation, especially of a supreme being. By extension, “epiphany” can also apply to a sudden insight or intuitive perception. The term derives from the Greek “epiphainein” meaning “to manifest, display”.

41. “The Brady Bunch” girl : MARCIA
On the television show “The Brady Bunch”, Marcia was the eldest of the girls in the family and was played by Maureen McCormick.

44. Sweet potato : YAM
Although in the US we sometimes refer to sweet potatoes as “yams”, the yam is actually a completely different family of plants. True yams are more common in other parts of the the world than they are in this country, and are especially found in Africa.

49. Brown who wrote “The Da Vinci Code” : DAN
Dan Brown is a somewhat controversial author, best known for his 2003 novel “The Da Vinci Code”. I’ve read all of Brown’s books and must say that his early ones are awful (“Digital Fortress” and “Deception Point”). Having said that I loved “Angels and Demons”, and found “The Da Vinci Code” to be a great read. Having also read “Inferno”, which was published relatively recently, I must say that to me his stories have become rather formulaic …

52. One of 10 in bowling : FRAME
In ten-pin bowling, each player takes turns to roll up to two balls in an attempt to knock down all ten pins. Each such rotation is referred to as a “frame”. There are ten frames in a full game. The tenth frame is a little different than the others in that a third ball can be rolled in the event that a player knocks down all ten pins on the second roll.

53. Karate-based exercise system : TAE BO
Tae Bo isn’t an ancient martial art, and rather was developed as a form of aerobic exercise in the 1990s. The discipline was introduced by taekwondo expert Billy Blanks who gave it the name Tae Bo, a melding of “taekwondo” and “boxing”.

54. Bollywood wraps : SARIS
Bollywood is the informal name given to the huge film industry based in Mumbai in India. The term “Bollywood” is a melding of “Bombay”, the old name for Mumbai, and “Hollywood”.

59. Big-screen format : IMAX
The IMAX Corporation, which is behind the IMAX film format, is a Canadian company. The impetus for development of the system came after Expo ’67 in Montreal. Back then large format screenings were accomplished using multiple projectors with multiple screens, with images basically stitched together. The team behind the IMAX technology set out to simplify things, and developed a single-camera, single-projector system.

61. Blanchett of “Blue Jasmine” : CATE
Cate Blanchett is a great Australian actress, and winner of an Academy Award for playing Katherine Hepburn in “The Aviator”. Winning for that role made Blanchett the first person to win an Academy Award for playing an actor (Hepburn) who had also won an Oscar. Now that, that is trivial information …

The 2013 comedy-drama “Blue Jasmine” was written and directed by Woody Allen, and stars Australian actress Cate Blanchett. The film’s storyline has been compared to that of the Tennessee Williams play “A Streetcar Named Desire”. My wife saw this one, and she said it was quite dark, but enjoyable. I didn’t see it as I am not much of a Woody Allen fan …

65. Two-timing sort : CAD
Our word “cad”, meaning “a person lacking in finer feelings”, is a shortening of the word “cadet”. “Cad” was first used for a servant, and then students at British universities used “cad” as a term for a boy from the local town. “Cad” took on its current meaning in the 1830s.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Qatar’s capital : DOHA
5. Mexican coins : PESOS
10. “Sad to say …” : ALAS …
14. State boldly : AVER
15. Start of a Mexican calendar : ENERO
16. Ascend : RISE
17. Traditional breakfast combo : HAM AND EGGS
19. Spring’s shape : COIL
20. Long-necked pack animal : LLAMA
21. New York’s Fiorello La Guardia, once : MAYOR
23. Org. for Rams and Jets : NFL
24. Quick, as a comeback : SNAPPY
26. Commercial lead-in to bank : CITI-
28. 1969 Peace Prize grp. : ILO
29. Obama-supported proposal for children of undocumented immigrants : DREAM ACT
33. Bullet with a trail : TRACER
36. Rowboat propeller : OAR
37. Poet ___ Khayyám : OMAR
38. “How relaxing!” : AAH!
39. Wicked relative of Cinderella … or what each set of circled letters represents? : STEPMOM
42. Before, to a poet : ERE
43. Critical time of action : D-DAY
45. ___-de-France : ILE
46. “Hear! Hear!” : I AGREE!
48. Brew with the slogan “For the love of beer” : SAM ADAMS
50. ___-Magnon man : CRO
51. Locale of the Città del Vaticano : ROMA
52. Sides of gems : FACETS
55. Co. that developed the ThinkPad : IBM
56. Very bottom : NADIR
60. Newton who formulated the law of universal gravitation : ISAAC
62. Show off, as muscles : FLEX
64. Hit 1951 play that inspired “Cabaret” : I AM A CAMERA
66. ___ qua non : SINE
67. “Game of Thrones,” e.g. : DRAMA
68. Not much : A BIT
69. Chooses, with “for” : OPTS
70. School health course, informally : SEXED
71. Amount of medicine to take : DOSE

Down
1. Roald who wrote “Fantastic Mr. Fox” : DAHL
2. Toilet seats, geometrically : OVALS
3. Macho guy : HE-MAN
4. “The Passion of the Christ” language : ARAMAIC
5. ___ Xing (street sign) : PED
6. Foe : ENEMY
7. Tokyo-based game maker : SEGA
8. Wild party : ORGY
9. Neither good nor bad : SO-SO
10. Pigskin path : ARC
11. Whip-wielding circus performer : LION TAMER
12. “Big deal” : AS IF I CARE
13. Buy’s opposite : SELL
18. Italian city where pizza originated : NAPLES
22. Record label for Justin Timberlake and Miley Cyrus : RCA
25. Shakespeare character whose name sounds like a car : PORTIA
27. Blog comment qualifier : IMO
29. Idiots : DOPES
30. Dodge logo animal : RAM
31. Beethoven’s Third : EROICA
32. See 40-Down : TREE
33. Little ‘uns : TADS
34. Plane’s appearance on an air traffic controller’s screen : RADAR BLIP
35. Epiphany : AHA MOMENT
40. With 32-Down, street shader : ELM
41. “The Brady Bunch” girl : MARCIA
44. Sweet potato : YAM
47. Loses one’s sanity : GOES MAD
49. Brown who wrote “The Da Vinci Code” : DAN
52. One of 10 in bowling : FRAME
53. Karate-based exercise system : TAE BO
54. Bollywood wraps : SARIS
55. “In that case …” : IF SO …
57. Lends a hand : AIDS
58. Have the nerve : DARE
59. Big-screen format : IMAX
61. Blanchett of “Blue Jasmine” : CATE
63. Crosses (out) : XES
65. Two-timing sort : CAD

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2 thoughts on “0504-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 4 May 15, Monday”

  1. I'm going to give C.C. credit for perhaps unintended creativity by mixing in a "Ram" clue, and later a 30D RAM, and then rhyming it with 44D YAM. By the way, you can pencil the St. Louis Rams going back to Los Angeles soon. Also nice to see some 20A LLAMA drama. 🙂

    Monty Python reference at 11D LIONTAMER.

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