0717-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 17 Jul 15, Friday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Paolo Pasco
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 10m 22s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

13. “The Imitation Game” machine : ENIGMA
An Enigma machine was cipher device developed at the end of WWI by German engineer Arthur Scherbius. The machine was used by Nazi German in the run-up to and during WWII. The Enigma codes used by the Germans were first broken by three Polish mathematicians who subsequently designed mechanical devices for automated deciphering of Enigma-coded messages. Polish Military Intelligence handed over the decryption technology to the French and British just before the outbreak of war.

Alan Turing was an English mathematician. He was deservedly well-respected for his code-breaking work during WWII at Bletchley Park in England. However, despite his contributions to cracking the German Enigma code and other crucial work, Turing was prosecuted for homosexuality in 1952. He agreed to chemical castration, treatment with female hormones, and two years later he committed suicide by taking cyanide. Turing’s life story is told in the 2014 film “The Imitation Game” with Benedict Cumberbatch playing the lead. I thoroughly enjoyed that film …

14. Island bigwigs : KAHUNAS
Like many words in Hawaiian, “kahuna” has several English translations, everything from a priest to an expert in some profession. The expression “the Big Kahuna” comes from the movie “Gidget”, released in 1959. The Big Kahuna was the leader of one of the surfing gangs in the film, and was played by Cliff Robertson.

16. Person having one too many? : BIGAMIST
“Bigamy” means having two wives or husbands at the same time. The term comes from the Latin “bigamus” meaning “twice married”.

17. “100 Years … 100 Movies” grp. : AFI
The American Film Institute (AFI) was founded in 1967 by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). One of the AFI’s more visible programs is the “100 Year Series”, which is a collection of lists of Best Movies in several categories and a list of the Best Movie Quotes in 100 years of movie-making.

18. 1994 Jean-Claude Van Damme film : TIMECOP
“Timecop” is an entertaining sci-fi movie released in 1994, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme as US federal agent who tracks down criminals with the aid of time travel.

Jean-Claude Van Damme is a Belgian actor and expert in martial arts. Given his background, he is referred to by the nickname “The Muscles from Brussels”.

20. Notable Chinese general : TSO
General Tso’s chicken is an American creation, often found on the menu of a Chinese restaurant. The name General Tso may be a reference to General Zuo Zongtang of the Qing Dynasty, but there is no clear link.

24. Photoshop option : CROP
Photoshop is a wonderful piece of software used for editing graphics. When I first bought a copy of Photoshop, it was really expensive (about $300, ten years ago), but now there are cost-effective, stripped-down versions available.

25. Gainsborough’s river : TRENT
Gainsborough is a town on the River Trent in Lincolnshire, England. Gainsborough used to be the most inland port in the country, located 55 miles from the North Sea. Many scholars believe that Gainsborough is the inspiration for the fictional town of St. Ogg’s, which is the setting for George Eliot’s 1860 novel “The Mill on the Floss”.

27. “Life Is Good” rapper, 2012 : NAS
Rapper Nas used to go by another stage name, Nasty Nas, and before that by his real name, Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones. Nas released his first album “Illmatic” in 1994, and inventively titled his fifth studio album “Stillmatic”, released in 2001. Not my cup of tea, I would say …

28. Groups of gamers : CLANS
In the world of computer gaming, an organized group of plays who regularly play together are referred to a “clan”, and sometimes as a “guild” or “faction”. New to me …

29. 1990s sitcom set in New York : MAD ABOUT YOU
“Mad About You” is a sitcom from the nineties that stars Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt as a couple living in New York City. Reiser and Hunt did well out of the success of the show, each earning one million dollars per episode for the last series.

34. Daydreaming type : WALTER MITTY
“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is a short story by James Thurber first published in 1939 in “The New Yorker”. The story was made into a film in 1947 with Danny Kaye in the title role. Mitty is a mild-mannered man with a very active fantasy life.

36. Voice of Pixar’s Mr. Fredricksen : ASNER
“Up” is the tenth movie released by Pixar studios, featuring wonderful animation as we have come to expect from Pixar. The film earned itself two Academy Awards. The main voice actor is Ed Asner, whose animated persona as Carl Fredricksen was created to resemble Spencer Tracy, as Tracy appeared in his last film, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”.

40. 2015 destination for the Dawn spacecraft : CERES
Ceres is the smallest dwarf planet in our solar system. Ceres was discovered in 1801 and is the largest body in the asteroid belt. For fifty years Ceres was classified as the eighth planet circling our sun. The Dawn space probe launched by NASA entered Ceres orbit in March 2015, becoming the first mission to study a dwarf planet at close range.

42. Dancer Fred Astaire, to Adele : LEAD
Fred Astaire’s real name was Frederick Austerlitz. Fred was from Omaha, Nebraska and before he made it big in movies, he was one half of a celebrated music hall act with his sister Adele. The pair were particularly successful in the UK, and Adele ended up marrying into nobility in England, taking the name Lady Charles Cavendish.

43. Like a rainbow : ARCED
Sunlight shining through airborne water droplets can produce rainbows. The water droplets act as little prisms, dispersing the white light into its constituent colors. Sometimes we see double rainbows. If we look carefully, the order of the colors in the first and second arcs is reversed.

45. Like e, but not i : REAL
In mathematics, the square root of the number “-1” is denoted by the letter “i”. “i” isn’t a real number as there is no real square root of a negative number, so “i” is referred to as the “imaginary unit”. That said, the use of the concept of “i” extends the real number system into what’s called the complex number system.

The mathematical constant “e” is the base of the natural logarithm, and is approximately equal to 2.71828. Got that …?

46. Common URL ender : ORG
The .org domain was one of the six original generic top-level domains specified. The complete original list is:

– .com (commercial enterprise)
– .net (entity involved in network infrastructure e.g. an ISP)
– .mil (US military)
– .org (not-for-profit organization)
– .gov (US federal government entity)
– .edu (college-level educational institution)

Internet addresses (like NYTCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com ) are more correctly called Uniform Resource Locators (URLs).

49. Agent Gold of TV : ARI
Ari Gold is a fictional character in the HBO series “Entourage”. “Entourage” tells the story of a rising film star, Vincent Chase (played by Adrian Grenier), a native of New York but now learning to handle himself in Hollywood. Vincent’s Hollywood agent is Ari Gold, played by Jeremy Piven.

50. Man who named the Pacific Ocean : MAGELLAN
Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer who was hired by King Charles I of Spain to find a westward route to the “Spice Islands”, now known as the Maluku Islands of Indonesia. Magellan headed west through the Atlantic starting out in 1519. He passed south of the Americas through was is now called the Strait of Magellan. The body of water he encountered west of the Americas he named the “peaceful sea”, the Pacific Ocean. He and his expedition reached the Spice Islands in 1521, and returned home via the Indian Ocean. This voyage was the first circumnavigation of the globe in history.

55. Goddess of wisdom, to Homer : ATHENE
The Greek goddess Athena (sometimes “Athene”) is often associated with wisdom, among other attributes. In many representations. Athena is depicted with an owl sitting on her head. It is this linkage of the owl with the goddess of wisdom that led to today’s perception of the owl as being “wise”.

Homer was a famous poet of Ancient Greece, believed to be the author of the two classic epic poems, the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey”. However, some scholars believe that Homer did not actually exist, but rather he is the personification of oral tradition that was passed down through the ages. One nice bit of advice attributed to Homer is:
How Prone to doubt, how cautious are the wise.

Down
1. Nitpicker : PEDANT
A pedant, someone who is pedantic, is a person “who trumpets minor points of learning”, a person who tends to nit-pick. “Pedant” comes via Middle French from the Italian word “pedante” meaning “teacher”.

3. TED talk topics : BIG IDEAS
The acronym TED stands for Technology Entertainment and Design. TED is a set of conferences held around the world by a non-profit group called the Sapling Foundation. The conference subjects are varied, and the meetings are often led by big names such as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Gates and Jane Goodall. The Sapling Foundation then makes recordings of the conferences available for free online with the intent of disseminating the ideas globally. These conferences are known as “TED Talks”.

4. Some TVs : LGS
LG is a very large, South Korean manufacturer of electronics, chemicals and telecom products. LG used to be known as Lucky-Goldstar.

7. Starchy palms : SAGOS
When I was growing up in Ireland I was very familiar with pearl sago, which is very similar to pearl tapioca. Pearls of sago are simply little balls of sago starch used to make breads, pancakes, biscuits, or the steamed puddings that we ate as kids. Sago comes from pith of the sago palm tree. To get at the starch, the tree has to be cut down and the trunk split to reveal the pith. The pith is crushed and manipulated to make the starch available, which is then washed out of a fibrous suspension. One sago palm tree yields about 150-300 kg of starch. Personally I love the stuff, but then, I am a bit weird …

8. Get cracking? : CHAP
The verb “to chap” means “to crack”, and has been used to mean a crack in the skin since way back in the 14th century.

9. “Pirates of the Caribbean” quaff : RUM
Rum was first distilled by slaves on the sugarcane plantations of the Caribbean in the 1800s, with the tradition being that the very first production came from Barbados.

10. “Peer Gynt” enchantress : ANITRA
Anita is a minor character Henrik Ibsen’s play “Peer Gynt”. She is the daughter of a Bedouin chief.

Henrik Ibsen’s play “Peer Gynt” is based on a Scandinavian fairy tale “Per Gynt”. The incidental music to the play, written by Edvard Grieg, is some of the most approachable classical music ever written, at least in my humble opinion …

12. Bars, to members of the bar : ESTOPS
The term “estop” means to block or stop by using some legal device. The word “estop” comes from Old French, in which “estopper” means “to stop up” or “to impede”.

14. Money source since 2009 : KICKSTARTER
Kickstarter.com is an increasingly popular “crowdfunding” website. Kickstarter is a contemporary version of the traditional model in which artists sought out patrons from among their audiences to fund their work. The website brings together individuals willing to fund projects, usually in exchange for some reward from the artist.

22. Like some chairs : ENDOWED
Chair positions (professorships) in a university are often endowed, meaning that the salary and other expenses are provided by donated funds. The chair is often named for the person providing the donation.

26. Daughter of David, in the Bible : TAMAR
According to the Bible, Tamar was the daughter of King David and his wife Maacah. King David’s eldest son, with his wife Ahinoam, was named Amnon. Amnon is supposed to have raped his half-sister Tamar, for which crime Amnon was murdered at the behest of Tamar’s sister Abalom.

28. Baby problem : COLIC
Baby colic is a condition in which a baby cries for no apparent reason for extended periods. At least one study has shown that breastfed babies are about half as likely to suffer from colic.

30. Measure of volume : BEL
In the world of acoustics, one bel is equal to ten decibels. The bel is named in honor of the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell.

33. Buff runner? : STREAKER
People have been running around naked for an awfully long time, but the application of the word “streaking” to the phenomenon only dates back to 1973. A journalist was reporting on a mass nude run of 533 people at the University of Maryland in 1973, and used the words “they are streaking (i.e. moving quickly) past me right now. It’s an incredible sight!”. The Associated Press picked up the story the next day, and interpreting “streaking” as the term to describe “running naked”, and we’ve been using it that way ever since.

36. Roberto in the Baseball Hall of Fame : ALOMAR
Roberto Alomar is a former Major League Baseball player, considered by many to be the greatest ever second baseman. Alomar won 10 Gold Glove awards in his career, which is more than any other second baseman in history.

37. It’s a wrap : SERAPE
“Serape” is the English pronunciation and spelling of the Spanish word “zarape”. A zarape is like a Mexican poncho, a soft woolen blanket with a hole in the middle for the head. Most serapes have colorful designs that use traditional Mayan motifs.

44. “The Black Tulip” novelist : DUMAS
“The Black Tulip” is an 1850 novel by the French author Alexandre Dumas.

Alexandre Dumas, pere (father) was the famed writer of “The Three Musketeers” and “The Count of Monte Cristo”. Alexandre Dumas, fils (son) was also a noted writer.

51. Subj. of the opening scene in “Ghostbusters” : ESP
Extrasensory perception (ESP)

1984’s “Ghostbusters” really is an entertaining movie. It stars Bill Murray and Harold Ramis, and was directed by Ivan Reitman (a trio that also worked together on 1981’s “Stripes”). The first draft of the screenplay was written by another star of the movie, Dan Aykroyd. Aykroyd originally envisioned “Ghostbusters” as a vehicle for himself and John Belushi, but sadly Belushi passed away before the project could be realized.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Open : PUBLIC
7. Fix … or damage : SCRAPE
13. “The Imitation Game” machine : ENIGMA
14. Island bigwigs : KAHUNAS
15. Begins a meal : DIGS IN
16. Person having one too many? : BIGAMIST
17. “100 Years … 100 Movies” grp. : AFI
18. 1994 Jean-Claude Van Damme film : TIMECOP
20. Notable Chinese general : TSO
21. Meeting place : NODE
23. There are 60 in a minute : TICKS
24. Photoshop option : CROP
25. Gainsborough’s river : TRENT
27. “Life Is Good” rapper, 2012 : NAS
28. Groups of gamers : CLANS
29. 1990s sitcom set in New York : MAD ABOUT YOU
32. Flips : SOMERSAULTS
34. Daydreaming type : WALTER MITTY
36. Voice of Pixar’s Mr. Fredricksen : ASNER
39. Producer’s hope : HIT
40. 2015 destination for the Dawn spacecraft : CERES
42. Dancer Fred Astaire, to Adele : LEAD
43. Like a rainbow : ARCED
45. Like e, but not i : REAL
46. Common URL ender : ORG
47. Explain : CLEAR UP
49. Agent Gold of TV : ARI
50. Man who named the Pacific Ocean : MAGELLAN
52. Incognito, maybe : MASKED
54. Popular gag costume : APE SUIT
55. Goddess of wisdom, to Homer : ATHENE
56. Marker of mistakes : RED PEN
57. Result of a messy breakup? : SHARDS

Down
1. Nitpicker : PEDANT
2. Catholic school requirement : UNIFORM
3. TED talk topics : BIG IDEAS
4. Some TVs : LGS
5. “You’ve got no one else to turn to” : I’M IT
6. “Shut up!” : CAN IT!
7. Starchy palms : SAGOS
8. Get cracking? : CHAP
9. “Pirates of the Caribbean” quaff : RUM
10. “Peer Gynt” enchantress : ANITRA
11. Relay : PASS ON
12. Bars, to members of the bar : ESTOPS
14. Money source since 2009 : KICKSTARTER
16. “Reason” that doesn’t explain anything : BECAUSE I CAN
19. Third-party candidate, typically : MINOR THREAT
22. Like some chairs : ENDOWED
24. Hoarder’s problem : CLUTTER
26. Daughter of David, in the Bible : TAMAR
28. Baby problem : COLIC
30. Measure of volume : BEL
31. “Dee-lish!” : YUM!
33. Buff runner? : STREAKER
35. Kind of bonus : YEAR-END
36. Roberto in the Baseball Hall of Fame : ALOMAR
37. It’s a wrap : SERAPE
38. Ate away (at) : NAGGED
41. Playground staples : SLIDES
43. Beat : ALL IN
44. “The Black Tulip” novelist : DUMAS
47. Fingerprint, perhaps : CLUE
48. It might be worn by a hiking group : PATH
51. Subj. of the opening scene in “Ghostbusters” : ESP
53. Nonsense song syllable : SHA

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5 thoughts on “0717-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 17 Jul 15, Friday”

  1. I'm coming to detest puzzles "edited" in such a way as to deceive the reader as to the tense or usage of the clue word. Example: 7 ACROSS: Just about anyone reading "Fix… or damage" reads fix as a verb not a noun as the answer SCRAPE suggests.

    This mean-spirited kind of clue editing makes puzzles artificially difficult. This puzzle is full of them.

  2. 45 Across – The editors must have studied electrical engineering, as many of these puzzles include terms from that field. The "e" and "i" seem to refer to quantities frequently encountered in electrical engineering calculations: the base of the system of natural logarithms ("e") and the square root of -1 ("i"). The first is a real number, while the second is an "imaginary" one. Pretty obscure, if you ask me.

  3. @Anonymous … You are, of course, entitled to your opinion, but I would say that, over time, most of us have learned to consider alternate interpretations of such clues. They're just part of the crossword scene and I, for one, see that as a good thing. Again, MTCW …

  4. My approach to crosswords is to read the clue and ask myself
    what it's trying to say to me with respect to number, case,
    gender, tense, part of speech etc. Also capitalization and
    punctuation. I have no chance otherwise because I don't have
    enough vocabulary. I love the clues that are designed to cross
    me up this way.

  5. this is the first friday puzzle i ever completed without help or error! i've been following this blog fairly regularly over the last couple of years as i've gotten into crosswords and your explanations of sometimes obscure clues definitely helped me along the way. thanks bill!

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