0911-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 11 Sep 15, Friday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Peter A. Collins
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 12m 34s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

10. Inits. on old rubles : CCCP
The abbreviation CCCP stands for “Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик”, which translates from Russian as “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics”, the USSR.

The ruble (also “rouble”) is the unit of currency in Russia, as well as several other countries of the former Soviet Union. One ruble is divided into one hundred kopecks (also “kopeks”).

14. Pro athlete whose mascot is an orange-capped alien : ASTRO
Orbit is the mascot of the Houston Astros baseball team. He is an alien creature with two antennae tipped by baseballs. Orbit was introduced by the Astros in 1990, and then retired in 1999 to make way for Junction Jack, the team mascot when the Astros moved to Enron Field. Orbit was resurrected in 2013 when the Astros moved from the National to the American League.

15. End piece : CODA
In music, a coda is primarily a passage that brings a movement to a conclusion. “Coda” is Italian for “tail”.

16. Moon of Saturn : RHEA
Rhea is the second-largest of Saturn’s moons, and the ninth-largest of all the moons in our solar system. The moon is named after the Titan Rhea from Greek mythology. Unlike our moon, Rhea might have an atmosphere of sorts, and even rings.

21. Polish with wax : SIMONIZE
The verb “to simonize” means to polish something to a high sheen, especially an automobile. The term came into the language relatively recently and is derived from the company Simoniz USA that produces car and janitorial cleaning products.

23. Potential mag. articles, maybe : MSS
An editor (ed.) might be faced with a pile of manuscripts (MSs).

27. Hebrew letter: Var. : ALEF
Alef is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and beth the second.

29. Hall-of-Fame football center Jim : OTTO
Jim Otto played professional football for the Oakland Raiders.

31. Little brother or sister? : REL
Relative (rel.)

32. Dandy accessory : CRAVAT
The cravat originated in Croatia and was an accessory used with a military uniform. Cravats were introduced to the fashion-conscious French by Croatian mercenaries enlisted into a regiment of the French army. The English placed a lot of emphasis on the knot used for the cravat, and in the period after the Battle of Waterloo the cravat came to be known as a “tie”. What we now call a tie in English is still called a “cravate” in French.

34. Relatively risqué : SAUCIER
“Risqué” is a French word, the past participle of the verb “to risk”. So in English we use “risqué” to mean “racy”, but in French it means “risky”.

38. Retail store opening? : WAL-
Walmart (previously “Wal-Mart”) takes in more revenue than any other publicly traded company in the world. Over in my homeland, Walmart operates under the name Asda. Walmart’s worldwide headquarters are in Bentonville, Arkansas, the home of Sam Walton’s original Five and Dime. You can actually go into the original store, as it is now the Walmart Visitor Center.

39. First name in detective fiction : ERLE
I must have read all of the Perry Mason books when I was in college. I think they kept me sane when I was facing the pressure of exams. Author Erle Stanley Gardner was himself a lawyer, although he didn’t get into the profession the easy way. Gardner went to law school, but got himself suspended after a month. So, he became a self-taught attorney and opened his own law office in Merced, California. Understandably, he gave up the law once his novels became successful.

40. Bond part : ATOM
In the world of chemistry, an ionic bond is formed between two oppositely-charged ions, like that between positively-charged sodium atoms and negatively-charged chlorine atoms to form table salt (NaCl). A covalent bond, on the other hand, is formed when two atoms share electrons, making each of the sharing atoms more stable, so they prefer to stay together rather than apart.

41. Thomas of TV : MARLO
Marlo Thomas’s most famous role was playing the title character in the television sitcom “That Girl”. Thomas is also well known as a spokesperson for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

48. Film featuring the fictional album “Smell the Glove” : THIS IS SPINAL TAP
“This Is Spın̈al Tap” is a rock musical mockumentary about the fictional band Spinal Tap, directed by the great Rob Reiner. I love Rob Reiner’s work, but this movie … not so much …

53. Bobby with a low rank : POLICE CONSTABLE
Police officers in the UK are sometimes called “bobbies” (and used to be called “peelers”). The name refers back to Sir Robert Peel, who as Home Secretary created the modern police force.

54. Opposite of odio : AMOR
In Spanish, the opposite of love (amor) is hate (odio).

57. ___ de Moine (Swiss cheese) : TETE
Tête de Moine is a type of Swiss cheese, well, I should say a type of cheese from Switzerland. It was invented by monks at the abbey of Bellelay over 800 years ago, and the name “Tête de Moine” translates as “Monk’s Head”.

59. Founder of Argentina’s Justicialist Party : PERON
Nowadays, President Juan Peron of Argentina is less well known that his wife, Eva Peron of “Evita” fame. Juan and Evita Peron founded the Justicialist Party in 1947, and it still exists today. The current Argentine president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, is a member.

Down
2. It includes a 35-min. writing sample : LSAT
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) has been around since 1948.

7. Famed fast-food figure, with “the” : COLONEL
The famous “Colonel” of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame was Harland Sanders, an entrepreneur from Henryville, Indiana. Although not really a “Colonel”, Sanders did indeed serve in the military. He enlisted in the Army as a private in 1906 at the age of 16, lying about his age. He spent the whole of his time in the Army as a soldier in Cuba. It was much later, in the 1930s, that Sanders went into the restaurant business making his specialty deep-fried chicken. By 1935 his reputation as a “character” had grown, so much so that Governor Ruby Laffoon of Kentucky gave Sanders the honorary title of “Kentucky Colonel”. Later in the fifties, Sanders developed his trademark look with the white suit, string tie, mustache and goatee. When Sanders was 65 however, his business failed and in stepped Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s. Thomas simplified the Sanders menu, cutting it back from over a hundred items to just fried chicken and salads. That was enough to launch KFC into the fast food business. Sanders sold the US franchise in 1964 for just $2 million and moved to Canada to grow KFC north of the border. He died in 1980 and is buried in Louisville, Kentucky. The Colonel’s secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices is indeed a trade secret. Apparently there is only one copy of the recipe, a handwritten piece of paper, written in pencil and signed by Colonel Sanders. Since 2009, the piece of paper has been locked in a computerized vault surrounded with motion detectors and security cameras.

8. Hunk : ADONIS
In Greek mythology, Adonis is a beautiful young god loved by Aphrodite. Adonis dies in a hunting accident (gored by a boar), but not before he gives Aphrodite a child. Adonis was originally a Phoenician god “absorbed” into Greek lore (Phoenicia is modern day Lebanon). The child born of Adonis to Aphrodite was called Beroe, after which is named Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon. We also use the term “adonis” to mean “beautiful male”.

9. Play-by-play announcer Jim : NANTZ
Jim Nantz is a sportscaster who has worked for CBS Sports since the 1990s.

10. Plains native : CREE
The Cree are one of the largest groups of Native Americans on the continent. In the US most of the Cree nation live in Montana on a reservation shared with the Ojibwe people. In Canada most of the Cree live in Manitoba.

11. Who said “If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine” : CHE GUEVARA
Ernesto “Che” Guevara was born in Argentina, and in 1948 he started to study medicine at the University of Buenos Aires. While at school he satisfied his need to “see the world” by taking two long journeys around South America, the story of which are told in Guevara’s memoir later published as “The Motorcycle Diaries”. While travelling, Guevara was moved by the plight of the people he saw and their working conditions and what he viewed as capitalistic exploitation. In Mexico City he met brothers Raul and Fidel Castro and was persuaded to join their cause, the overthrow of the US-backed government in Cuba. He rose to second-in-command among the Cuban insurgents, and when Castro came to power Guevara was influential in repelling the Bay of Pigs Invasion and bringing Soviet nuclear missiles to the island. Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to continue his work as a revolutionary. He was captured by Bolivian forces in 1967, and was executed. Fidel Castro led the public mourning of Guevara’s death, and soon the revolutionary was an icon for many left-wing movements around the world.

12. Locale of the University of Northern Iowa : CEDAR FALLS
Cedar Falls is a city in Iowa that is home to the University of Northern Iowa. The city was established in 1845 as Sturgis Falls, after the founder William Sturgis. When the Sturgis family left the area a few years later, the city was renamed for the nearby Cedar River.

13. Like cassette tapes : PASSE
“Passé” is a French word, meaning “past, faded”.

18. Onetime big name in cassette tapes : MEMOREX
Memorex is now a brand of data storage products owned by Imation. Memorex started out in 1961 in Silicon Valley as a company making computer tapes, eventually adding storage disks and other media to its portfolio of products. A famous advertising campaign featured singer Ella Fitzgerald singing a note that shattered a glass. A recording of that note was then played, which also shattered the glass. The tag line to the ad became very famous: Is it live, or is it Memorex?”

30. Sex plus two, to Caesar : OCTO
In Latin, six (sex) plus two makes eight (octo).

32. Original publisher of nearly all Agatha Christie novels : COLLINS
Agatha Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time, having sold about 4 billion copies worldwide in total. The only books to have sold in higher volume are the works of William Shakespeare and the Bible.

35. Like much of Keats’s poetry : IAMBIC
An iamb is a metrical foot containing an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. Robert Frost’s “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” consists of lines made up of four sequential iambs e.g. “Whose woods / these are / I think / I know”. With a sequence of four iambs, the poem’s structure is described as iambic tetrameter.

The English poet John Keats died in Rome in 1821, and is buried there in the Protestant Cemetery. His last wish was that his grave be marked with a tombstone bearing just the words “”Here lies One whose Name was writ in Water”, and no name nor date. Keats’ friends honored his request to some extent, as the words were included on the stone and no name is given. The full epitaph reads:

This Grave
contains all that was Mortal
of a
Young English Poet
Who
on his Death Bed, in the Bitterness of his Heart
at the Malicious Power of his Enemies
Desired
these Words to be
engraven on his Tomb Stone:
Here lies One
Whose Name was writ in Water. 
24 February 1821

36. Montana town at the north entrance to Yellowstone : GARDINER
Gardiner, Montana is the town closest to the main entrance of Yellowstone National Park. The town is named for a fur trapper who operated in the area in the early 1830s.

38. Great Britain’s first prime minister : WALPOLE
The Prime Minister (PM) of the UK has powers equivalent to the US President, but with major differences. The office of prime minister exists by convention and not by any constitution. The convention is that the King or Queen of England appoints as PM the person most likely to have the confidence of the House of Commons, and that person is usually the leader of the party with the most seats in the Commons. There is no term limit and the PM serves “at his/her majesty’s pleasure”. The first UK PM wasn’t actually called “Prime Minister” and the person first attributed with the equivalent powers was Sir Robert Walpole, the First Lord of the Treasury in 1721. The incumbent PM is David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party.

42. How narcs might act : ON A TIP
“Narc” is a slang term for a law enforcement officer who tracks down criminals associated with illegal drugs.

44. One prompting people to go green, for short? : ST PAT
There is a fair amount known about St. Patrick, some of which comes from two letters written in his own hand. St. Patrick lived in the fifth century, but was not born in Ireland. He was first brought to Ireland at about 16 years of age from his native Britain, by Irish raiders who made him a slave for six years. Patrick managed to escape and returned to his homeland where he studied and entered the Church. He went back to Ireland as a bishop and a missionary and there lived out the rest of his life. There seems to be good evidence that he died on March 17th (now celebrated annually as St. Patrick’s Day), although the year is less clear. The stories about shamrock and snakes, I am afraid they are the stuff of legend.

49. Stud, often : SIRE
The word “stud”, meaning “a male horse kept for breeding”, is derived from the Old English word “stod”, which described a whole herd of horses.

50. Elevator used by skiers : T-BAR
A T-bar is a type of ski lift in which the skiers are pulled up the hill in pairs, with each pair standing (not sitting!) either side of T-shaped metal bar. The bar is placed behind the thighs, pulling along the skiers as they remain standing on their skis (hopefully!). There’s also a J-bar, a similar device, but with each J-shaped bar used by one skier at a time.

51. Part of the range that’s widely accessible? : ALTO
I’m not sure about explaining this clue. My best guess is that the reference is to the range of human voice. The alto voice is “widely accessible” because it is the lowest female voice (also called “contralto”), and the highest male voice (also called “counter tenor”).

52. Round pounder : PEEN
The peen of a hammer is on the head, and is the side of the head that is opposite the striking surface. Often the peen is in the shape of a hemisphere (as in a ball-peen hammer), but usually it is shaped like a claw (mainly for removing nails).

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Recharged, so to speak : SLEPT
6. Volunteer’s words : I CAN
10. Inits. on old rubles : CCCP
14. Pro athlete whose mascot is an orange-capped alien : ASTRO
15. End piece : CODA
16. Moon of Saturn : RHEA
17. Objects within spitting distance? : WATERMELON SEEDS
20. Gunned it : STEPPED ON THE GAS
21. Polish with wax : SIMONIZE
22. Script follower : -URE
23. Potential mag. articles, maybe : MSS
26. Fliers for a magic show : DOVES
27. Hebrew letter: Var. : ALEF
29. Hall-of-Fame football center Jim : OTTO
31. Little brother or sister? : REL
32. Dandy accessory : CRAVAT
34. Relatively risqué : SAUCIER
36. Lose freshness : GO STALE
37. Twisted here this is : SYNTAX
38. Retail store opening? : WAL-
39. First name in detective fiction : ERLE
40. Bond part : ATOM
41. Thomas of TV : MARLO
43. Nativity scene figure : ASS
44. Oomph! degreaser brand : STP
45. Groundbreaking development? : BUILDING
48. Film featuring the fictional album “Smell the Glove” : THIS IS SPINAL TAP
53. Bobby with a low rank : POLICE CONSTABLE
54. Opposite of odio : AMOR
55. Be the bomb : RULE
56. Apt to go through the roof : IRATE
57. ___ de Moine (Swiss cheese) : TETE
58. Prescient one : SEER
59. Founder of Argentina’s Justicialist Party : PERON

Down
1. Props for some magic shows : SAWS
2. It includes a 35-min. writing sample : LSAT
3. Relative of -ine : -ETTE
4. Readies : PREPS
5. Lethargic : TORPID
6. Like some treacherous roads : ICED OVER
7. Famed fast-food figure, with “the” : COLONEL
8. Hunk : ADONIS
9. Play-by-play announcer Jim : NANTZ
10. Plains native : CREE
11. Who said “If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine” : CHE GUEVARA
12. Locale of the University of Northern Iowa : CEDAR FALLS
13. Like cassette tapes : PASSE
18. Onetime big name in cassette tapes : MEMOREX
19. Landscaping aid : SHEARS
23. Shade similar to artichoke green : MOSS
24. Like some moms and dads : STAY-AT-HOME
25. High roller? : STUNT PILOT
28. All-too-common flight status : LATE
30. Sex plus two, to Caesar : OCTO
32. Original publisher of nearly all Agatha Christie novels : COLLINS
33. Souvenir shop stock : TEES
35. Like much of Keats’s poetry : IAMBIC
36. Montana town at the north entrance to Yellowstone : GARDINER
38. Great Britain’s first prime minister : WALPOLE
41. Slip : MISCUE
42. How narcs might act : ON A TIP
44. One prompting people to go green, for short? : ST PAT
46. ___ fee : USER’S
47. Skier’s problem : GLARE
49. Stud, often : SIRE
50. Elevator used by skiers : T-BAR
51. Part of the range that’s widely accessible? : ALTO
52. Round pounder : PEEN

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4 thoughts on “0911-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 11 Sep 15, Friday”

  1. I got a giggle out of two clues today "Bond part" and " Sex plus two to Ceaser" which also works for a Kiwi down here in the southern hemisphere. ST in OZ

  2. Tough grid, but fair. Finally worked out the errors. I thought I was gonna cruise to a ecord time with Spinal Tap, but not today. And yes, the IMDb rating scale for the film does go to 11. 😉

  3. 22:59, no errors. A lot of mis-starts today, but eventually sussed through it. The Spinal Tap entry was my breakthrough into the bottom half of the grid.

  4. A tough puzzle, but I got through it without errors after a very late start. (I spent most of the day in Rocky Mountain National Park where, among other things, I located the site where Harold Henthorn murdered his wife a few years ago. Sort of a weird way to spend the day, I guess, but it gave me a heck of a workout.)

    On to Saturday …

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