0912-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 12 Sep 15, Saturday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Damon J. Gulczynski
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 53m 29s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … GALBA (Galea), BLAXPLOITATION (elaxploitation)

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Emperor after Nero : GALBA
AD 69 was a year of civil war in ancient Rome. The unrest started with the death of emperor Nero in AD 68, after which followed the brief rule of Galba, of Otho, of Vitellius, and of Vespasian all in the same year. As a result, AD 69 became known as the Year of the Four Emperors.

6. One celebrating the holiday Hogmanay : SCOT
The New Year’s celebration in Scotland is known as Hogmanay, although the term “Hogmanay” applies to New Year’s Eve. Such is the extent of the party for Hogmanay, that New Year’s Day is a public holiday across the country, and so is January 2nd.

10. Nickname for many a 6-Across : MAC
“Mac” is a Gaelic word meaning “son” and “son of”, and is a common prefix in Irish and Scottish names.

13. Step above the rookie leagues, informally : A-BALL
The term “rookie”, used for a raw recruit, first appeared in Rudyard Kipling’s collection of songs and poems called the “Barrack-Room Ballads” originally published in 1892.

14. Ottoman pooh-bah : AGHA
“Aga” (also “agha”) is a title that was used by both civil and military officials in the Ottoman Empire.

The term “pooh-bah” (also “poobah”), meaning an ostentatious official, comes from the world of opera. Pooh-Bah is a character in the wonderful Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera “The Mikado”. Famously, Pooh-Bah holds many, many offices, including that of “Lord High Everything Else”.

15. ___ Bunny (Bugs Bunny’s girlfriend) : LOLA
Bugs Bunny’s girlfriend is Lola Bunny, first appearing in the 1996 movie “Space Jam”.

16. Unbroken : FERAL
“Feral”, meaning existing in a wild or untamed state, comes from the Latin word “fera” meaning “a wild animal”.

17. Willing to experiment, in a way : BI-CURIOUS
Bsexuality is a sexual attraction towards both makes and females. Bi-curiosity is the phenomenon of a heterosexual or homosexual person exhibiting some curiosity about a relationship with someone of the sex that the person does not usually favor.

19. Vegan wrap? : FAUX FUR
Faux fur is fake fur, with “faux” being the French word for false, fake.

A vegan is someone who stays away from animal products. A dietary vegan eats no animal foods, not even eggs and dairy which are usually eaten by vegetarians. Ethical vegans take things one step further by following a vegan diet and also avoiding animal products in other areas of their lives e.g. items made from leather or silk.

21. Ear malady : OTALGIA
The medical term for an earache is otalgia, a Greek term deriving from “otos” meaning “ear” and “algos” meaning pain”.

22. Start of an algorithm : STEP ONE
In the world of mathematics and computing, an algorithm is a set of rules or steps used to solve a particular problem.

23. Be in continuous agitation : MOIL
“To moil” is to toil or to slave away. The verb originally applied to laboring in the mire, swamp. The term comes from the Old French “moillier” meaning “to wet”, as in getting wet in the mire.

24. ___ Suárez, player suspended during the 2014 World Cup for biting another player : LUIS
Luis Suárez is soccer player on the Barcelona football team, as well as the Uruguay national team. As well as having a reputation as great soccer striker, Suárez is known for biting at least three of his opponents on the field (believe it or not!).

29. One in a trailer : ACTOR
The term “trailer” came about in the film industry as advertisements for upcoming features were originally shown at the end of a movie being screened. This practise quickly fell out of favor as movie patrons usually left without paying much attention to the trailers. So, the trailers were moved to the beginning of the show, and the term “trailer” persisted.

32. Man’s name that means “king” : ROY
The name “Roy” is of Norman origin, and comes from the Spanish “rey” or French “roi” meaning “king”.

33. Juillet follower : AOUT
Août is the French for August, and juillet is French for July (note that the name of months aren’t capitalized in French).

34. Forum for seekers of faithful partners? : CHRISTIAN MINGLE
Spark Networks is company that owns several special-interest dating sites online. The most famous is probably ChristianMingle.com, but there is also BlackSingles.com, LDSSingles.com, JDate.com and CatholicMingle.com.

39. Columbia ___ (D.C. neighborhood: Abbr.) : HTS
Columbia Heights is neighborhood in the nation’s capital, aptly named for an area in the District of Columbia.

40. Expertise, informally : CHOPS
We use the word “chops” to mean “expertise” as in the phrases “showing his chops” and “having the chops”, meaning showing his expertise, having the expertise. This usage evolved from the use of the word “chops” for the mouth, jaw or lips, which dates back to the the 1700s. The more contemporary usage dates back to the 1940s when jazz musicians referred to the skill of a player with reference to their use of the lips on an instrument.

41. Wipes out : EFFACES
“To efface” is to erase or obliterate. coming from the MIddle French “effacer” meaning “to wipe out”, or more literally “to remove the face”.

43. Thought about France : IDEE
In French, one’s head (tête) might produce an idea (idée).

45. Beginning to flop? : TERA-
The prefix tera- signifies a trillion, and comes from the Greek word “teras” meaning “monster”.

The performance of a computer in carrying out scientific calculations is sometimes measured in “FLOPS”. FLOPS stands for “floating-point operations per second”.

50. Natural Instincts maker : CLAIROL
“Does she…or doesn’t she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure” was the catchphrase for Miss Clairol Hair Color Bath. Clairol had been around since 1931 selling hair coloring products to salons, and then hit the big time with the introduction of a one-step hair coloring product for use at home. As famous as the product was the “does she … doesn’t she” advertising campaign. Six years after the launch of the campaign, 70% of women in the US were coloring their hair.

53. Whup but good : SHELLAC
“To shellac” is a slang term meaning “to defeat decisively, to strike severely”.

54. 1961 invasion locale : BAY OF PIGS
The Bay of Pigs is on the southern coast of Cuba. The bay was the site of the abortive military invasion of Cuba in 1961 by a paramilitary group sponsored by the CIA. Cuban forces defending against the attack were personally led by Fidel Castro, and emerged victorious after three days of fighting.

56. One of three in a 1986 comedy : AMIGO
“Three Amigos” is a 1986 comedy film starring Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short as three silent movie stars who are mistaken for real western heroes by a Mexican village, a parody on the storylines in “Seven Samurai” and “The Magnificent Seven”.

57. Starting point of a long race? : EDEN
According to the Book of Genesis, Adam and Eve lived in a garden “in” Eden, with Eden being geographically located by reference to four rivers including the Tigris and the Euphrates. Some scholars hypothesize that Eden was located in Mesopotamia, which encompasses much of modern-day Iraq.

58. Singer/songwriter Sands : EVIE
Evie Sands is a singer from Brooklyn, New York. Sands is also a noted songwriter, having penned songs that have been recorded by the likes of Barbra Streisand, Gladys Knight, Karen Carpenter, Linda Ronstadt and Dusty Springfield.

59. One going clubbing, maybe : RAVER
As you might imagine, I’ve never been to a rave, and don’t have one upcoming in my diary. And as raves often start at 2 a.m. then I’m unlikely ever to experience one. A rave is generally an all-night party featuring loud, electronically-synthesized music usually played by a DJ as opposed to a live band.

60. House measure: Abbr. : RES
Resolution (res.)

Down
1. Fishing hooks : GAFFS
A gaff is that dangerous-looking metal hook on the end of a pole that fishermen use to drag large fish into their boats.

3. Lash in old westerns : LARUE
Alfred LaRue was an actor who appeared in a lot of western movies in the forties and fifties. He was very adept with the bullwhip, earning him the nickname “Lash”. Years after his onscreen career ended, LaRue was the guy who trained Harrison Ford how to use a bullwhip for his role in the “Indiana Jones” series of films.

4. Genre of the 1970s movies “Foxy Brown” and “Three the Hard Way” : BLAXPLOITATION
“Blaxploitation” is a subgenre of the “exploitation” class of movies, films that make money by exploiting a genre of subject matter. Such films tend to be labelled “B movies”. “Blaxploitation” films were targeted at urban African American audiences, hence the name. A movie associated with the emergence of blaxploitation is the classic 1971 production “Shaft”.

6. Pro team from New York : SABRES
The Buffalo Sabres joined the National Hockey League in the 1970-71 season. The team took the name “Sabres” following a fan contest.

7. Part of many a sci-fi film : CGI
Computer-generated imagery (CGI)

9. Taxonomic designation like Rattus rattus : TAUTONYM
A “tautonym” is a particular example of a scientific name in which both parts of the name are the same. Examples Bison bison (the American bison, or American buffalo) and Rattus rattus (the black rat).

10. Instrument in “Switched-On Bach” : MOOG
Robert Moog invented the Moog Synthesizer in the sixties, an electronic device that he used to produce music. I used to own a few of his albums, including a Moog version of Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition”. What a great performance that was …

“Switched-On Bach” is a groundbreaking album that consists of several works composed by Johann Sebastian Bach performed on a Moog synthesizer. Despite being a fan of the use of period instruments for the performance of classical works, I thoroughly recommend “Switched-On Bach”.

11. Writing on a French gift tag : A LUI
The French for “his, belonging to him” is “à lui”, and for “hers, belonging to her” is “à elle”

12. One may be found on una calle : CASA
One might see a house (“casa”) in a street (“calle”), in Spanish.

15. “Toys in the Attic” playwright, 1960 : LILLIAN HELLMAN
Lillian Hellman was a dramatist and screenwriter who was famously blacklisted by the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) in the late forties and early fifties. Although Hellman was ostensibly married to playwright Arthur Kober, her name was linked romantically with author Dashiell Hammett. Hammett was also blacklisted by HUAC for decades.

20. College abroad : UNI
In Australia (Down Under) and in the British Isles the term “Uni” is routinely used for “university”.

27. 7-Eleven’s Big ___ : GULP
The Big Gulp is an oversized soft drink available from 7-Eleven.

The first precursor to the 7-Eleven store opened in Dallas, Texas in 1927. The stores were so named (much later, in 1946) because they were open longer than other stores, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

28. Some Fr. honorees : STES
“Sainte” (ste.) is French for “saint”, when referring to a female.

31. Not kosher : TREF
According to Jewish dietary law, “kosher” food is “fit” to eat, and food that is not kosher is called “treif” (or tref).

32. Hall monitors, for short : RAS
RAs are resident assistants or resident advisers, the peer leaders found in residence halls, particularly on a college campus.

35. How things work : THE ROPES
“To know the ropes” was originally a seaman’s term, one meaning that a sailor knew how to handle himself when faced with the ropes that controlled the sails and other rigging on a sailing vessel.

37. Knoxville hockey squad : ICE BEARS
The Knoxville Ice Bears are hockey team playing in the Southern Professional Hockey League.

42. Vint ___, one of the so-called “fathers of the Internet” : CERF
Although there are a few people who are given the title “father of the Internet”, Vint Cerf is most associated with the title. Also so honoured are engineers Bob Kahn and Donald Davies. Cerf co-designed the architecture of the Internet, as well as the crucial TCP/IP protocols used.

43. Dutch branch of the Rhine : IJSSEL
The River IJssel is a branch of the Rhine that passes through the Dutch provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel.

44. “Silly me!” : D’OH!
“The Simpsons” is one of the most successful programs produced by the Fox Broadcasting Company. Homer Simpson’s catchphrase is “D’oh!”, which became such a famous exclamation that it has been included in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) since 2001. “D’oh!” can be translated as “I should have thought of that!”

47. Twins great Tony : OLIVA
Tony Oliva is a former Major League baseball player who played his whole career for the Minnesota Twins.

50. One navigating breakers? : CBER
A CBer is someone who operates a Citizens’ Band radio. In 1945, the FCC set aside certain radio frequencies for the personal use of citizens. The use of the Citizens’ Band increased throughout the seventies as advances in electronics brought down the size of transceivers and their cost. There aren’t many CB radios sold these days though, as they have largely been replaced by cell phones.

51. Put weight on : LADE
The verb “lade” meaning “to load” comes from an Old English word “hladan”. Lade also used to mean “to draw water” and indeed gave us our word “ladle”. So “lade” and “ladle” are close cousins.

52. Side for passage : AYES
Politicians might vote “aye” to support the passage of bill.

55. Scott-Heron who wrote “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” : GIL
Gil Scott-Heron was jazz poet and musician who is best remembered as spoken word performer from the seventies and eighties. Scott-Heron’s most famous work is the poem and song “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”, the title of which became a popular slogan for the Black Power movements in the sixties.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Emperor after Nero : GALBA
6. One celebrating the holiday Hogmanay : SCOT
10. Nickname for many a 6-Across : MAC
13. Step above the rookie leagues, informally : A-BALL
14. Ottoman pooh-bah : AGHA
15. ___ Bunny (Bugs Bunny’s girlfriend) : LOLA
16. Unbroken : FERAL
17. Willing to experiment, in a way : BI-CURIOUS
19. Vegan wrap? : FAUX FUR
21. Ear malady : OTALGIA
22. Start of an algorithm : STEP ONE
23. Be in continuous agitation : MOIL
24. ___ Suárez, player suspended during the 2014 World Cup for biting another player : LUIS
25. Bad things to give away : ENDINGS
29. One in a trailer : ACTOR
32. Man’s name that means “king” : ROY
33. Juillet follower : AOUT
34. Forum for seekers of faithful partners? : CHRISTIAN MINGLE
38. Satisfy : MEET
39. Columbia ___ (D.C. neighborhood: Abbr.) : HTS
40. Expertise, informally : CHOPS
41. Wipes out : EFFACES
43. Thought about France : IDEE
45. Beginning to flop? : TERA
46. It rises out of a depression : JOB LOSS
50. Natural Instincts maker : CLAIROL
53. Whup but good : SHELLAC
54. 1961 invasion locale : BAY OF PIGS
56. One of three in a 1986 comedy : AMIGO
57. Starting point of a long race? : EDEN
58. Singer/songwriter Sands : EVIE
59. One going clubbing, maybe : RAVER
60. House measure: Abbr. : RES
61. Persuade : SELL
62. It’s got game, often : SNARE

Down
1. Fishing hooks : GAFFS
2. One moment : A BEAT
3. Lash in old westerns : LARUE
4. Genre of the 1970s movies “Foxy Brown” and “Three the Hard Way” : BLAXPLOITATION
5. What you find crawlers on : ALL FOURS
6. Pro team from New York : SABRES
7. Part of many a sci-fi film : CGI
8. “Surely you’re joking!” : OH COME ON!
9. Taxonomic designation like Rattus rattus : TAUTONYM
10. Instrument in “Switched-On Bach” : MOOG
11. Writing on a French gift tag : A LUI
12. One may be found on una calle : CASA
15. “Toys in the Attic” playwright, 1960 : LILLIAN HELLMAN
18. Bust : RAID
20. College abroad : UNI
26. Aborted : NO-GO
27. 7-Eleven’s Big ___ : GULP
28. Some Fr. honorees : STES
29. Ultimate point : ACME
30. One with a lot of coursework? : CHEF
31. Not kosher : TREF
32. Hall monitors, for short : RAS
35. How things work : THE ROPES
36. Horror movie cry : IT’S ALIVE!
37. Knoxville hockey squad : ICE BEARS
42. Vint ___, one of the so-called “fathers of the Internet” : CERF
43. Dutch branch of the Rhine : IJSSEL
44. “Silly me!” : D’OH!
47. Twins great Tony : OLIVA
48. Relatively prudent : SAGER
49. 50-50, maybe : SCORE
50. One navigating breakers? : CBER
51. Put weight on : LADE
52. Side for passage : AYES
55. Scott-Heron who wrote “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” : GIL

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7 thoughts on “0912-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 12 Sep 15, Saturday”

  1. Thought about France is my favourite blue for today. A quick note about college. In Australia a college is either a fancy school or a university dormitory. A most confuzzling blue. ST in OZ

  2. I'm not surprised that, despite your expertise, you missed a couple (so did I),, and that some comments came in. Several clues/answers in this puzzle were unfair.. In my humble opinion the worst offenders were
    *vegan wrap —>faux fur *college abroad—>uni *unbroken—-> feral The last is particularly egregious, though I did.guess that's what it had to be. "bicurious" and "blaxploitation" are marginal at best (i got the former, missed the latter). I prefer difficult to easy puzzles, by the way. May I suggest that you allow yourself, every now and then, an editorial opinion about a puzzle that you think goes too far afield. Thanks.

  3. Well, this one took me 44 minutes and a couple of guesses, but I finished with no errors. And yes, I agree that a couple of the clues were subtly off (in particular, FERAL for "unbroken" and perhaps MOIL, which I normally hear used as a transitive verb, for "be in continuous agitation"). Nevertheless, I very much appreciate the fact that Bill's blog focuses on informing, rather than editorializing.

    As usual, I learned a number of interesting things by coming here and appreciated the way it added to the experience of doing the puzzle.

  4. After doing a little research, I mostly withdraw my objection to the clue for MOIL, though it still seems a little off, somehow.

  5. Worst ever.. Clues were obtuse, some answers, i.e. Bicurious, were hardly words in general usage. I will avoid any written by Mr. Gulczynski in the future.

  6. I echo the last. This puzzle's impossible. The clues, no doubt made worse by Shortz, mean-spirited at best, misleading at worst.

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