0915-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 15 Sep 15, Tuesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Iain S. Padley
THEME: Ain’t No Obstacles … each of today’s theme answers is a phrase from the 1967 Marvin Gaye – Tammi Terrell hit R&B song “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. And, each phrase is an obstacle that cannot stop the singer from GETTING TO YOU:

20A. First obstacle in a 1967 R&B hit : MOUNTAIN HIGH
34A. Second obstacle : VALLEY LOW
45A. Third obstacle : RIVER WIDE
57A. Objective in the 1967 R&B hit : GETTING TO YOU

Oh baby there ain’t no mountain high enough,
Ain’t no valley low enough,
Ain’t no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you babe

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 7m 15s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Like all students at Atlanta’s Morehouse College : MALE
Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia is one of only three men’s liberal arts colleges left in the US. The other two are Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia and Wabash College in Indiana.

14. Dvorák’s “O Silver Moon,” for one : ARIA
“O Silver Moon” is an aria from “Rusalka”. “Rusalka” is an opera by Czech composer Antonín Dvořák. In Slavic mythology, a “Rusalka” is a water sprite.

Antonín Dvořák was a composer from Czechoslovakia who spent three years working and composing in the United States. He was the director of the National Conservatory of Music of America in New York from 1892 to 1895. Certainly here in the US, Dvořák’s best known work is his Symphony No. 9, “From the New World”, which is often referred to as “The New World Symphony”.

15. Kristiania, after 1925 : OSLO
Oslo is an ancient city, founded around 1048. The medieval city was destroyed by fire in 1624 and was rebuilt by the Danish-Norwegian King Christian IV and renamed Christiania. In 1877 there was an official change of the name’s spelling to “Kristiania”, and then more recently in 1925 the name was restored to the original Oslo. Things have gone full circle as the center of Oslo, the area that would have been contained by the original medieval walls, has recently been named Christiania again.

17. Taiwanese computer brand : ACER
I owned several Acer laptops, which are for my money the most reliable machine at the best price. Acer is a Taiwanese company that I used to visit a lot when I was in the electronics business. I was very impressed with the company’s dedication to quality, and haven’t been let down since.

20. First obstacle in a 1967 R&B hit : MOUNTAIN HIGH
34. Second obstacle : VALLEY LOW
45. Third obstacle : RIVER WIDE
57. Objective in the 1967 R&B hit : GETTING TO YOU
The R&B song “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” was a hit for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell in 1967, and then a hit for Diana Ross in 1970. In fact, it was destined to become Diana Ross’s first solo number-one hit.

23. Title girl in a J. D. Salinger story : ESME
J. D. Salinger wrote a short story called “For Esme – with Love and Squalor”, originally published in “The New Yorker” in 1950. It is a story about a young English girl called Esme and an American soldier, and is set in WWII.

24. “The daily diary of the American dream” sloganeer, for short : WSJ
“The Wall Street Journal” (WSJ) is a daily newspaper with a business bent that is published in New York City by Dow Jones & Company. The WSJ has a larger US circulation than any other newspaper, with “USA Today” coming in second place.

27. Grp. conducting raids : ATF
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is today part of the Department of Justice (DOJ). The ATF has its roots in the Department of Treasury dating back to 1886 when it was known as the Bureau of Prohibition. “Explosives” was added to the ATF’s name when the bureau was moved under the DOJ as part of the reorganization called for in the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

30. Grp. conducting raids in W.W. II : RAF
The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the oldest independent air force in the world (i.e. the first air force to become independent of army or navy forces). The RAF was formed during WWI on 1 April 1918, a composite of two earlier forces, the Royal Flying Corps (part of the Army) and the Royal Naval Air Service. The RAF’s “finest hour” has to be the Battle of Britain when the vastly outnumbered British fighters fought off the might of the Luftwaffe causing Hitler to delay his plan to cross the English Channel. This outcome prompted Winston Churchill to utter the memorable words:
Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

32. Florida Gulf city, informally : ST PETE
St. Petersburg, Florida is often referred to as St. Pete by locals and visitors alike. The neighboring city of St. Petersburg Beach also had its name shortened routinely, so in 1994 the residents voted to change the name officially to St. Pete Beach.

38. Forecast around 32 degrees : SLEET
Apparently “sleet” is a term used to describe two weather conditions. One is a shower of ice pellets, smaller than hail, and the second is a mixture of rain and snow, with the snow melting as it falls. It’s the second definition that I have always used …

39. “A priest and a dog walk into ___ …” : A BAR
A rabbi, a priest and a duck walk into a bar, and the bartender says, “What is this? A joke?”

51. Major-league player from 32-Across : RAY
(32A. Florida Gulf city, informally : ST PETE)
The Tampa Bay Rays are a relatively “young” franchise, being formed in 1998. The initial name of the franchise was the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. While known as the Devil Rays, the team finished last in the league in almost every year. The name was changed to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008, and I am told the Rays started into a streak of winning seasons soon after.

52. Ramadan observance : FAST
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is traditionally a period of fasting. The faithful that observe Ramadan refrain from eating, drinking and sexual relations from dawn to dusk everyday, a lesson in patience, humility and spirituality.

55. Telesthesia, for example : ESP
Telesthesia is a type of extrasensory perception (ESP) that operates over long distances. Someone who is purported to have such a gift has a sensibility to sights an sounds that beyond the range of the sense organs.

62. First monument on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va. : ROBERT E LEE
Monument Avenue is a carefully planned thoroughfare in Richmond, Virginia that features a long, tree-lined mall and several stately monuments. The monuments mainly memorialize Confederate heroes of the Civil War, such as Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and Stonewall Jackson. I hear that it’s a magnificent sight, but somehow I’ve never made it to Richmond. It’s on the list …

67. Muppet with an orange nose : ELMO
The man behind/under the character Elmo on “Sesame Street” is Kevin Clash. If you want to learn more about Elmo and Clash, you can watch the 2011 documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey”.

69. The Boy Scouts’ “Be Prepared,” e.g. : MOTTO
As every little boy (of my era) knows, the Scouting movement was founded by Lord Baden Powell, in 1907. The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) soon followed, in 1910.

70. City at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône : LYON
The city of Lyon in France, is also known as “Lyons” in English. It is located in the central eastern part of the country, where major rivers the Rhône and the Saône meet.

71. Parks in 1955 news : ROSA
Rosa Parks was one of a few brave women in days gone by who refused to give up their seats on a bus to white women. It was the stand taken by Rosa Parks on December 1, 1955 that sparked the Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott. President Clinton presented Ms. Parks with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996. When she died in 2005, Rosa Parks became the first ever woman to have her body lie in honor in the US Capitol Rotunda.

Down
2. Chevron competitor : ARCO
ARCO stands for Atlantic Richfield Company. One of ARCO’s claims to fame is that it is responsible for the nation’s largest Superfund site. Mining and smelting in the area around Butte, Montana polluted the region’s water and soil, and ARCO have agreed to pay $187 million to help clean up the area.

3. In ___ of : LIEU
As one might perhaps imagine, “in lieu” comes into English from the Old French word “lieu” meaning “place”, which in turn is derived from the Latin “locum”, also meaning “place”. So, “in lieu” means “in place of”.

6. Morales of “NYPD Blue” : ESAI
The actor Esai Morales is best known for his role in the 1987 movie “La Bamba”, which depicted the life of Ritchie Valens and his half-brother Bob Morales (played by Esai).

“NYPD Blue” is a police drama that was originally aired in 1993, and ran until 2005. Stars of the show are Dennis Franz, David Caruso, Jimmy Smits and Rick Schroder. The show created a bit of a fuss back in the nineties as it featured a relatively large amount of nudity for broadcast television.

8. Ones in the closet? : MOTHS
The larvae of several types of moth are noted for eating fabrics made from natural fibers such as wool or cotton. Many people store woolens in cedar chests believing that the scent of the wood prevents a moth infestation. In fact, the only known effective repellent is the naphthalene found in mothballs, which might be a health concern for humans. One way to kill moth larvae in fabric is to freeze the garment for several days at a temperature below 8 degrees centigrade.

11. Sch. in Greenwich Village since 1835 : NYU
The main campus of the private New York University (NYU) is located right in Manhattan, in Washington Square in the heart of Greenwich Village. NYU has over 12,000 resident students, the largest number of residents in a private school in the whole country. NYU’s sports teams are known as the Violets, a reference to the violet and white colors that are worn in competition. Since the 1980s, the school’s mascot has been a bobcat. “Bobcat” had been the familiar name given to NYU’s Bobst Library computerized catalog.

12. Person behind the hits? : DON
In the Mafia, a don is a head of a family, someone who might order a hit, a killing.

13. Where Nice is en France : SUD
In France, “nord” (north) is opposite to “sud” (south).

The French city of Nice is on the Mediterranean coast in the southeast of the country. Although Nice is only the fifth most populous city in France, it is home to the busiest airport outside of Paris. That’s because of all the tourists flocking to the French Riviera.

24. Twerp : WEENIE
“Twerp” and “pipsqueak” are both terms used for someone who is insignificant and contemptible.

27. First movie to top “Titanic” at the box office : AVATAR
James Cameron’s 2009 epic “Avatar” is the highest-grossing film of all time (based on theater ticket sales. The second highest-grossing film is 1997’s “Titanic”, also from James Cameron. However, if you adjust for inflation, then 1939’s “Gone with the Wind” edges out “Avatar” for the top spot.

28. ___ rasa (clean slate) : TABULA
Tabula rasa (plural: tabulae rasae) is the idea that people are born with a “blank slate”, and that knowledge comes from experience and perception.

31. Bolivian blossom : FLOR
“Flor” is the Spanish word for “flower” or “bloom”.

35. Scientology founder Hubbard : L RON
L. Ron Hubbard wrote a self-improvement book in 1950 called “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health”. A few years later the concepts were used in the founding of the Church of Scientology.

36. Geisha’s sash : OBI
The sash worn as part of traditional Japanese dress is known as an obi. The obi can be tied in what is called a butterfly knot.

The Japanese term “geisha” best translates as “artist” or “performing artist”.

37. Bob Seger’s “___ Got Tonite” : WE’VE
“We’ve Got Tonite” is a 1978 song written and performed by Bob Seger. Although Seger’s version was quite successful, a 1983 duet cover version by Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton did even better. Note that the title of the 1983 release had a more conventional spelling “We’ve Got Tonight”.

41. Not honor, as a promise : RENEGE ON
To renege on something is to back out of it. It’s a word commonly used in card games like bridge and whist. A renege is when a player doesn’t follow suit, even though there may be a card of the suit led in his/her hand.

46. Part of R&R : REST
Rest and relaxation/recuperation (R&R)

48. Light bulb unit : WATT
James Watt was a Scottish inventor, a man who figured prominently in the Industrial Revolution in Britain largely due to the improvements he made to the fledgling steam engine. The SI unit of power is called the watt, named in his honor.

53. Product of the Nucor Corporation : STEEL
Nucor Corporation is the largest producer of steel in the US, bigger even than US Steel. Despite its size, Nucor doesn’t own one blast furnace. Instead, Nucor’s business was built on recycling steel using electric arc furnaces.

54. Meg of “The Big Chill” and “Agnes of God” : TILLY
Both Meg Tilly and her sister Jennifer are actresses. Meg has been unlucky in her career in some respects. She started out as a dancer, but had to give it up due to a serious accident. As an actress she was cast in the plum role of Constanze Mozart in “Amadeus”, but had to drop out from the role when she hurt her leg playing soccer with some local children during shooting of the film. Meg Tilly has given up acting, in favor of writing books.

“The Big Chill” is a 1983 baby-boomer comedy-drama that is noted as much for its “oldies” soundtrack as for the acting, both of which are excellent. The film follows a group of college friends who get together at the funeral of a friend who committed suicide. The great cast includes Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum, William Hurt and Kevin Kline. Kevin Costner actually played Alex, the man who died, but scenes showing his face were cut from the final version of the movie.

“Agnes of God” is a 1985 film adaptation of a play by John Pielmeier. In the movie a young novice nun (played by Meg Tilly) is found to be pregnant, and she insists that this is a result of a virgin conception.

58. “Finding ___” : NEMO
“Finding Nemo” is a 2003 animated blockbuster from Pixar. The film was the winner of the Oscar that year for Best Animated Feature. Believe it or not, “Finding Nemo” is the best-selling DVD of all time and, until 2010’s “Toy Story 3”, it was the highest-grossing, G-rated movie at the box office.

59. John’s “bed-in” bedmate : YOKO
John Lennon and Yoko Ono had a very public honeymoon in a hotels in Amsterdam and then Montreal, when they staged their famous “bed-in” for peace. In answering questions from reporters Lennon found himself often repeating the words “give peace a chance”. While still in bed, he composed his famous song “Give Peace a Chance” and even made the original recording of the song in the Montreal hotel room, with reporters present, and with a whole bunch of friends. The song was released later in 1969 and became a smash hit. Writing credit was initially given to Lennon-McCartney, as was the agreement between John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Later versions of the song were credited just to Lennon, even though Lennon stated that Yoko Ono actually wrote the song with him.

60. William ___, inventor of the steam shovel : OTIS
William Otis invented the steam shovel, a precursor to our modern excavator or digger. The patent for the invention was issued in 1839. William was a cousin of Elisha Otis, the inventor of a safety device that prevents elevators from falling.

61. Jack Ryan’s teaching post in Tom Clancy novels, briefly : USNA
The United States Naval Academy (USNA) is located in Annapolis, Maryland. The USNA was founded in 1845 and educates officers for both the US Navy and the US Marine Corps. The motto of the USNA is “Ex Scientia Tridens”, which translates as “From Knowledge, Sea Power”.

I loved the Tom Clancy series of novels, most of which feature Jack Ryan as the main character, but I felt that with each successive title, my interest faded a little. I was hooked with “The Hunt for Red October” published in 1984, and dutifully worked my through all Clancy’s subsequent novels, before giving up halfway through the 1998 “Rainbow Six”. Tom Clancy passed away quite recently, at the beginning of October 2013. Jack Ryan has been played on the big screen a number of times, by:

– Alec Baldwin in “The Hunt for Red October” (1990)
– Harrison Ford in “Patriot Games” (1992) and “Clear and Present Danger” (1994)
– Ben Affleck in “The Sum of All Fears” (2002)
– Chris Pine in “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” (2014)

62. Dodge truck : 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.

63. Tijuana gold : ORO
Tijuana is the largest city in the Mexican state of Baja California, and lies just across the US-Mexico border from San Diego. Tijuana is also the most westerly of all Mexican cities. A lot of Tijuana’s growth took place in the twenties as tourists flocked south of the border during the days of prohibition in the US. One of the many casinos and hotels that flourished at that time was Hotel Caesar’s in the Avenida Revolución area. Hotel Caesar’s claims to be the birthplace of the now ubiquitous Caesar Salad.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Like all students at Atlanta’s Morehouse College : MALE
5. What a mascot represents : TEAM
9. Ready money : FUNDS
14. Dvorák’s “O Silver Moon,” for one : ARIA
15. Kristiania, after 1925 : OSLO
16. “Stop being so silly!” : OH YOU!
17. Taiwanese computer brand : ACER
18. Not leave, as for something more important : WAIT AROUND
20. First obstacle in a 1967 R&B hit : MOUNTAIN HIGH
22. Farmyard female : SOW
23. Title girl in a J. D. Salinger story : ESME
24. “The daily diary of the American dream” sloganeer, for short : WSJ
27. Grp. conducting raids : ATF
30. Grp. conducting raids in W.W. II : RAF
32. Florida Gulf city, informally : ST PETE
34. Second obstacle : VALLEY LOW
38. Forecast around 32 degrees : SLEET
39. “A priest and a dog walk into ___ …” : A BAR
40. On the wagon : SOBER
42. Singles : ONES
43. Coach : TUTOR
45. Third obstacle : RIVER WIDE
47. Completely original : ALL NEW
49. K.C.-to-Detroit dir. : ENE
50. French “is” : EST
51. Major-league player from 32-Across : RAY
52. Ramadan observance : FAST
55. Telesthesia, for example : ESP
57. Objective in the 1967 R&B hit : GETTING TO YOU
62. First monument on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va. : ROBERT E LEE
65. Loads : LOTS
66. “Looks ___ everything” : AREN’T
67. Muppet with an orange nose : ELMO
68. Related : AKIN
69. The Boy Scouts’ “Be Prepared,” e.g. : MOTTO
70. City at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône : LYON
71. Parks in 1955 news : ROSA

Down
1. “Yes, ___” : MA’AM
2. Chevron competitor : ARCO
3. In ___ of : LIEU
4. Pulls in, as a salary : EARNS
5. They populate impound lots : TOWAWAYS
6. Morales of “NYPD Blue” : ESAI
7. Simple dress design : A-LINE
8. Ones in the closet? : MOTHS
9. Totally blanks on : FORGETS
10. [Gulp!] : UH-OH
11. Sch. in Greenwich Village since 1835 : NYU
12. Person behind the hits? : DON
13. Where Nice is en France : SUD
19. Intentions : AIMS
21. Drove like a demon : TORE
24. Twerp : WEENIE
25. Rides at the Renaissance Faire : STEEDS
26. Frequent fliers : JET SET
27. First movie to top “Titanic” at the box office : AVATAR
28. ___ rasa (clean slate) : TABULA
29. Unequivocally : FLATLY
31. Bolivian blossom : FLOR
33. Snow clearer : PLOW
35. Scientology founder Hubbard : L RON
36. Geisha’s sash : OBI
37. Bob Seger’s “___ Got Tonite” : WE’VE
41. Not honor, as a promise : RENEGE ON
44. Mention : REFER TO
46. Part of R&R : REST
48. Light bulb unit : WATT
53. Product of the Nucor Corporation : STEEL
54. Meg of “The Big Chill” and “Agnes of God” : TILLY
56. Word with cap or opposite : POLAR
57. Lady’s man : GENT
58. “Finding ___” : NEMO
59. John’s “bed-in” bedmate : YOKO
60. William ___, inventor of the steam shovel : OTIS
61. Jack Ryan’s teaching post in Tom Clancy novels, briefly : USNA
62. Dodge truck : RAM
63. Tijuana gold : ORO
64. Play the ponies, say : BET

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2 thoughts on “0915-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 15 Sep 15, Tuesday”

  1. Got the theme straightaway and then lurched my way to an error free finish at 11:38; far too long for a Tuesday. Good clues though, and no foolishness. Any puzzle set around Motown gets thumbs up from me.

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