0905-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 5 Sep 15, Saturday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Byron Walden
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 30m 27s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Book whose last line is “Ask me tomorrow but not today” : HOP ON POP
“Hop on Pop” is a Dr. Seuss book that was first published in 1963, subtitled “The Simplest Seuss for Youngest Use”. “Hop on Pop” was listed by former First Lady Laura Bush as her favorite title, citing the memories evoked of family life with her young daughters.

9. Non-primates with remarkably humanlike fingerprints : KOALAS
The koala bear really does look like a little bear, but it’s not even closely related. The koala is an arboreal marsupial and a herbivore, native to the east and south coasts of Australia. Koalas aren’t primates, and are one of the few mammals other than primates who have fingerprints. In fact, it can be very difficult to tell human fingerprints from koala fingerprints, even under an electron microscope. Male koalas are called “bucks”, females are “does”, and young koalas are “joeys”. I’m a little jealous of the koala, as it sleeps up to 20 hours a day …

15. Springsteen hit between “Born in the U.S.A.” and “Glory Days” : I’M ON FIRE
“I’m on Fire” is a song from Bruce Springsteen’s incredibly successful album “Born in the U.S.A.” The song was released as a single in 1982.

18. Sight that’s not sound : MIRAGE
A mirage occurs when light rays are bent by passing say from cold air to warmer air. The most often cited mirage is a “lake” seen in a desert, which is actually the blue of the sky and not water at all. The word “mirage” comes to us via French from the Latin “mirare” meaning “to look at in wonder”. “Mirage” has the same root as our words “admire” and “mirror”.

19. “Positively Entertaining” channel : ION
Ion Television started out as PAX TV in 1998, was renamed to i:Independent Television in 2005 and then to Ion in 2007.

20. Black : JET
The color “jet black” takes its name from the minor gemstone known as jet. The gemstone and the material it is made of takes its English name from the French name: “jaiet”.

21. Bribe money : BOODLE
“Boodle” is a slang term for money accepted as a bride, or money that is counterfeit.

25. North title: Abbr. : COL
Oliver North is a former US Marine Corps lieutenant colonel. North played an important role in the Iran-Contra affair of the late eighties.

The Iran-Contra affair (also called “Irangate”) came to light in 1986. The “Iran” part of the scandal was the sale of arms to Iran by the Reagan administration, initially to facilitate the release of US hostages. This was done in secret largely because there was ostensibly a US arms embargo in place against Iran. The “Contra” part of the scandal arose when the man in charge of the operation, Oliver North, took funds from the arms sales and funneled the cash to the Contra militants who were fighting to topple the government in Honduras.

26. Pool house? : BAPTISTERY
In the Christian tradition, a baptistery is a building or location within a church that holds a baptismal font.

30. Turgenev’s birthplace : OREL, RUSSIA
Orel (also Oryol) is a city lying on the Oka River, just over 200 miles SSW of Moscow. Orel was one of the cities occupied by Germany during WWII. It was liberated in 1943, but had been almost completely destroyed.

Ivan Turgenev was a Russian novelist and playwright. Turgenev’s most famous works are a collection of short stories called “A Sportsman’s Sketches” (1852) and the novel “Fathers and Sons” (1862).

32. He played himself in “Broadway Danny Rose” and “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” : BERLE
Comedian Milton Berle was known as “Uncle Miltie” and “Mr. Television”, and was arguably the first real star of American television as he was hosting “Texaco Star Theater” starting in 1948.

“Broadway Danny Rose” is a 1984 Woody Allen film, The title character, played by Allen, is a New York talent manager who gets involved with the mob. Mia Farrow stars alongside Woody Allen, with a long list of celebrities making appearances as themselves, including Milton Berle and Howard Cosell.

33. With 47-Across, 1978 Covert Bailey best seller on exercise and diet : FIT OR …
(47. See 33-Across : … FAT)
“Fit or Fat” is a 1978 book by nutritionist and fitness expert Covert Bailey. In his book, Bailey emphasises the roles of aerobic exercise and weightlifting in a weight-loss regime.

34. “With ___ at the South Pole,” first documentary to win an Oscar (for cinematography) : BYRD
Rear Admiral Richard Byrd was an officer in the US Navy, famous as an aviator and explorer of the polar regions. Byrd was the first person to cross the South Pole by air, in 1929. Three years earlier, Byrd claimed he had flown over the North Pole, and would have been the first person to have done so if this was true. But whether or not Byrd actually made it over the North Pole continues to be the subject of much debate.

“With Byrd at the South Pole” is a 1930 documentary about Rear Admiral Richard Byrd’s first attempt to fly over the South Pole. The documentary won the 1930 Academy Award for Cinematography. As such, the film is the only documentary to ever win the cinematography award, and was the first documentary to win an Oscar.

40. Vacillate : YO-YO
“To vacillate” is to be indecisive, to waver. The term comes from the Latin “vacillare” meaning “to sway to and fro”.

42. Virgin Islands export : 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.

The US Virgin Islands are located in the Caribbean, and are part of the Virgin Islands archipelago. The three largest islands of the US territory are Saint Croix, Saint John and Saint Thomas. The island chain was named by Christopher Columbus in 1493 in honor of Saint Ursula and her virgin followers. The United States bought the islands from Denmark during WWI in a move designed to thwart plans by Germany to use them as a submarine base.

44. Certain hash ingredients : IDAHOS
“Hash”, meaning a dish of beef and vegetables mashed together, is a very American term and one that really surprised me when I first came across it. “Hash” just seems like such an unappetizing item, but I soon found out how delicious it was. The name “hash” in this context comes from the French “hacher” meaning “to chop”. Back in the early 1900s the dish called “hashed browned potatoes” was developed, which quickly morphed into “hash browns”. From there the likes of corned beef hash was introduced.

46. Datebook abbr. : MON
Our word “Monday” evolved from an Old English word meaning “moon’s day”.

50. What Beyoncé decided to do in 2002 : GO SOLO
Beyoncé Knowles established herself in the entertainment industry as the lead singer with the R&B group Destiny’s Child. She launched her solo singing career in 2003, two years after making her first appearance as an actor. In 2006 she played the lead in the very successful movie adaptation of the Broadway musical “Dreamgirls”. Beyoncé is married to rap star Jay-Z. She is also referred to affectionately as “Queen Bey”, a play on the phrase “the queen bee”.

51. Upstate New York tribe : ONONDAGA
The Onondaga people originally lived in the area that is now Central New York. The Onondaga were one of the five founding nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, also known as the Five Nations (the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca nations).

54. Part of a sundial that casts a shadow : GNOMON
The “gnomon” is the part of a sundial that casts the shadow. The term “gnomon” is Greek for “one that knows”. I guess the gnomon knows what the time is …

55. Guitar virtuoso whose name is an anagram of YO’ RECORD : RY COODER
Ry Cooder is much-respected guitar player and composer from Santa Monica, California. Cooder has had a glass eye for most of his life, having accidentally stabbed himself in the eye when he was only four years old.

56. Hidalgo honorific : SENORA
Hidalgo is located in Eastern Mexico and is one of the nation’s 31 states. It is named for Miguel Hidalgo, a Catholic priest and leader of the Mexican War of Independence.

Down
1. Place for a ’55 45, say : HI-FI
Hi-fi systems were introduced in the late forties, and is audio equipment designed to give a much higher quality reproduction of sound than cheaper systems available up to that point. “Hi-fi” stands for “high fidelity”.

2. Classic novel whose title means “wanderer” : OMOO
Herman Melville mined his own experiences when writing his novels. Melville sailed from New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1841 on a whaler heading into the Pacific Ocean (a source for “Moby Dick”). Melville ended up deserting his ship 18 months later and lived with natives on a South Pacific Island for three weeks (a source for “Typee”). He picked up another whaler and headed for Hawaii, where he joined the crew of a US navy frigate that was bound for Boston (a source for “Omoo”).

5. “The ___ Today” : NFL
“The NFL Today” is CBS’s pre-game show. The show evolved from “Pro Football Kickoff”, which first aired in 1961.

6. Much-performed aria from Fauré’s “Requiem” : PIE JESU
“Pie Jesu” is a motet that is often included in the Requiem Mass. The original text of the piece comes from the final couplet of the hymn “Dies Irae”. The title translates from Latin as “Pious Jesu”.

Gabriel Fauré was a French composer who most famous work has to be his elegant “Pavane”. Fauré was a student of Camille Saint-Saëns, who later became a very close friend.

7. Almond syrups used in cocktails : ORGEATS
Orgeat is an almond-flavored syrup, and an essential ingredient in a classic Mai Tai cocktail. Although today’s orgeat is made from almonds, the original recipe called for a blend of almonds and barley. The name “orgeat” comes from Latin via the French “orge” meaning “barley”.

8. Grinders : PESTLES
I’ve always loved the sound of the words “mortar” and “pestle”, ever since I was first introduced to them in the chemistry lab. The Romans called a receptacle for pounding or grinding things a “mortarium”, giving us “mortar”. Mortarium was also the word for the product of pounding and grinding, which gives us our “mortar” that’s used with bricks to build a wall. And further, short stubby cannons used in the 16th century resembled a grinding bowl and so were called “mortars”, which evolved into our contemporary weapon of the same name. As far as the pestle is concerned, it is also derived from its Latin name “pistillum”, which comes from the word for “crush”.

9. Treacly spirit of unity : KUMBAYA
We tend to use the term “kumbaya” now to mean “naive and unrealistic optimism”. That usage comes from the image of boy scouts and girl guides sitting around a campfire singing the song “Kumbaya”. The song was originally recorded as “Come by here, my Lord”, back in 1927.

10. Sirius’ master, in myth : ORION
In Greek mythology, Sirius was the faithful hunting dog who stood by Orion the Hunter.

13. Like Grenada, but not Granada : ANGLOPHONE
An anglophone is a speaker of English.

Granada is a city and province in Andalusia in the south of Spain. Granada should not to be confused with Grenada (note the different spelling), the island nation in the Caribbean that was invaded by the US in 1983.

24. Open ___ : MRI
MRI scans can be daunting for many people as they usually involve the patient lying inside a tube with the imaging magnet surrounding the body. Additionally, the scan can take up to 40 minutes in some cases. There are some open MRI scanners available that help prevent a feeling of claustrophobia. However, the image produced by open scanners are of lower quality as they operate at lower magnetic fields.

26. 1939 Wimbledon men’s champion : BOBBY RIGGS
Bobby Riggs was a World No. 1 tennis player in the thirties and forties, both as an amatuer and a professional. However, Riggs is best remembered for playing “The Battle of the Sexes” match against Billie Jean King in 1973. Riggs was defeated by King in three straight sets.

28. Street boss? : PERRY MASON
Della Street is Perry Mason’s very capable secretary in the Erle Stanley Gardner novels. Street was played in the TV show by the lovely Barbara Hale.

29. Casual Friday option : CHINOS
Chino is a twill cloth most often used to make hard-wearing pants. The pants have come to be referred to as chinos. Chino cloth was originally developed for use by the military, but quickly became popular with civilians.

35. Borat or Ali G, to Sacha Baron Cohen : PERSONA
Sacha Baron Cohen is a comedian and comic actor from England. Baron Cohen is perhaps most famous for playing the characters Borat and Ali G on the small and large screens. I’m not a fan …

38. Place name : TOPONYM
A “toponym” is a name that comes from a place or region. For example, New Jersey is named for the island of Jersey in the English Channel and Indianapolis is named for the state of Indiana.

39. Home to 15-foot-long crocodiles : ORINOCO
The Orinoco is a major river in South America, flowing through Venezuela and Colombia.

45. Our kind of people? : HOMO
The literal translation of “Homo sapiens” from Latin is “wise or knowing man”. The Homo genus includes the species Homo sapiens (modern humans), but we’re the only species left in that genus. The last known species related to humans was Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthal Man) which died off about 24,000 years ago. However, another species was discovered in Indonesia in 2003 that has been dubbed Homo floresiensis (Flores Man … sometimes called “hobbit”), and it may possibly have lived as recently as 12,000 years ago. Watch this space …

52. Seasonal quaff : NOG
It’s not really clear where the term “nog” (as in “eggnog”) comes from although it might derive from the word “noggin”, which was originally a small wooden cup that was long associated with alcoholic drinks.

“Quaff” is both a verb and a noun. One quaffs (takes a hearty drink) of a quaff (a hearty drink).

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Book whose last line is “Ask me tomorrow but not today” : HOP ON POP
9. Non-primates with remarkably humanlike fingerprints : KOALAS
15. Springsteen hit between “Born in the U.S.A.” and “Glory Days” : I’M ON FIRE
16. Pressing : URGENT
17. What boxers use to “shake hands” : FORELEGS
18. Sight that’s not sound : MIRAGE
19. “Positively Entertaining” channel : ION
20. Black : JET
21. Bribe money : BOODLE
22. Mr. Right : IDEAL MAN
25. North title: Abbr. : COL
26. Pool house? : BAPTISTERY
29. See 43-Down : COPY
30. Turgenev’s birthplace : OREL, RUSSIA
31. Funny ___ : HA-HA
32. He played himself in “Broadway Danny Rose” and “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” : BERLE
33. With 47-Across, 1978 Covert Bailey best seller on exercise and diet : FIT OR …
34. “With ___ at the South Pole,” first documentary to win an Oscar (for cinematography) : BYRD
35. Halted : PUT TO AN END
40. Vacillate : YO-YO
41. Wrong numbers? : ERROR CODES
42. Virgin Islands export : RUM
43. Spiders and such, slangily : CREEPIES
44. Certain hash ingredients : IDAHOS
46. Datebook abbr. : MON
47. See 33-Across : … FAT
50. What Beyoncé decided to do in 2002 : GO SOLO
51. Upstate New York tribe : ONONDAGA
54. Part of a sundial that casts a shadow : GNOMON
55. Guitar virtuoso whose name is an anagram of YO’ RECORD : RY COODER
56. Hidalgo honorific : SENORA
57. Requirement that hybrid cars may be exempted from : SMOG TEST

Down
1. Place for a ’55 45, say : HI-FI
2. Classic novel whose title means “wanderer” : OMOO
3. Subject of a certain addiction : PORN
4. Word before and after “to,” “on” or “for” : ONE
5. “The ___ Today” : NFL
6. Much-performed aria from Fauré’s “Requiem” : PIE JESU
7. Almond syrups used in cocktails : ORGEATS
8. Grinders : PESTLES
9. Treacly spirit of unity : KUMBAYA
10. Sirius’ master, in myth : ORION
11. Farm-related prefix : AGRO-
12. Like some copper gutters : LEAD-COATED
13. Like Grenada, but not Granada : ANGLOPHONE
14. Old Pittsburgh work areas : STEELYARDS
22. “That’s O.K., I guess” : IT’LL DO
23. Critical : DIRE
24. Open ___ : MRI
26. 1939 Wimbledon men’s champion : BOBBY RIGGS
27. Response to a ranter : ARE YOU DONE?
28. Street boss? : PERRY MASON
29. Casual Friday option : CHINOS
33. Turn toward : FACE
35. Borat or Ali G, to Sacha Baron Cohen : PERSONA
36. Script ending : -URE
37. Mercury poisoning symptoms : TREMORS
38. Place name : TOPONYM
39. Home to 15-foot-long crocodiles : ORINOCO
43. With 29-Across, pricier option at a print shop : COLOR
45. Our kind of people? : HOMO
47. Tapering hairdo : FADE
48. Seemingly forever : AGES
49. Biting : TART
52. Seasonal quaff : NOG
53. What’s the point? : DOT

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5 thoughts on “0905-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 5 Sep 15, Saturday”

  1. This one required a lot of persistence, but I finished it in just over an hour with no errors. Along the way I had to spend a lot of time dredging up half-remembered items from the bowels of my memory, like GNOMON and ONONDAGA and HOPONPOP and IMONFIRE and BOODLE and FITORFAT and RYCOODER, all of which ultimately seemed like the only possible choices but did not come easily to mind. I'm looking forward to an easier puzzle tomorrow … 🙂

  2. It was VERY hard, but we persisted and got everything but the NW corner. Our problem there was that we couldn't get away from boxers as pugilists, who do a FISTBUMP or FISTTAP when they shake hands. After we got HIFI and PESTLES up in that area, we were on a wild goose chase. "Street boss" threw us for a while, but we got it at last.

  3. Impossible, especially when the answers are not the common way of expressing (ex. PUT TO AN END, anyone would think PUT AN END TO first; same with STEELYARDS; STEEL *MILLS* comes much more readily to mind). Then, with "Jedi mind tricks" like the FORELEGS clue….. it's small wonder few can finish this puzzle. With Shortz' mean-spirited editing, you weren't *meant* to.

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