0111-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 11 Jan 16, Monday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Howard Barkin
THEME: Eroded … looking at the starting word in each of today’s themed answers, we see the results of the process of EROSION. As we progress down the grid, we go from BOULDER to DUST:

50D. Eaten away, like the first words of 17-, 31-, 48- and 65-Across in order? : ERODED

17A. Colorado River landmark dedicated by F.D.R. : BOULDER DAM
31A. Novelty B-52’s song with the lyric “Watch out for that piranha” : ROCK LOBSTER
48A. California locale of several golf U.S. Opens : PEBBLE BEACH
65A. One covering a big story? : DUST JACKET

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 4m 55s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Online pics that often move : GIFS
A bitmap is an image file format used to store digital images. Basically, each pixel in a bitmap file is stored as a “bit” of information, hence the name “bitmap”. In 1987, CompuServe introduced a new type of image file called the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF). A GIF image takes the same information as a bitmap and then compresses it, resulting in a smaller file size. However, during compression the image may lose some resolution. The GIF format also handles short video clips, usually animations.

10. European automaker : OPEL
Adam Opel founded his company in 1863, first making sewing machines in a cowshed. Commercial success brought new premises and a new product line in 1886, namely penny-farthing bicycles. Adam Opel died in 1895, leaving his two sons with a company that made more penny-farthings and sewing machines than any other company in the world. In 1899 the two sons partnered with a locksmith and started to make cars, but not very successfully. Two years later, the locksmith was dropped in favor of a licensing arrangement with a French car company. By 1914, Opel was the largest manufacturer of automobiles in Germany. My Dad had an Opel in the seventies, a station wagon (we’d say “estate car” in Ireland) called an Opel Kadett.

14. Black-and-white cookie : OREO
The Oreo was the best-selling cookie in the 20th century, and almost 500 billion of them have been sold since they were introduced in 1912 by Nabisco. In those early days the creme filling was made with pork fat, but today vegetable oils are used instead. If you take a bite out of an Oreo sold outside of America you might notice a difference from the homegrown cookie, as coconut oil is added in the overseas version to give a different taste.

15. Place to be in the hot seat? : SAUNA
As my Finnish-American wife will tell you, “sauna” is a Finnish word, and is correctly pronounced “sow-nah” (with “sow” as in the female pig).

17. Colorado River landmark dedicated by F.D.R. : BOULDER DAM
When the magnificent Hoover Dam was completed in 1936 it was the largest hydroelectric plant in the world, as well as being the world’s largest concrete structure. The edifice was originally known as Boulder Dam, due to its location near Boulder City, Nevada. The dam was eventually named after Herbert Hoover for his role in having the dam built when he was Secretary of Commerce, and his later support as US President. There was a formal dedication ceremony held in September 1935 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt was in the area, when only work on the powerhouse was incomplete. President Roosevelt managed to make his dedication speech without once referring to the name of his former opponent President Hoover. When the dam was finally put into service in 1936, the project was two years ahead of schedule. Those were the days …

20. Sundance Film Festival entry : INDIE
The Sundance film festival is the largest independent film event in the country, and takes place every year around the Sundance Resort near Provo, Utah. The festival has its roots in the Utah/US Film Festival which started in Salt Lake City in 1978. Management of the festival was taken over by Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute in 1985. The festival has became a bit of a media feeding frenzy in recent years, as a lot of A-list celebrities attend. The Festival organizers introduced a “Focus on Film” campaign in 2007 to try to offset some of the madness.

21. Bucks : SMACKERS
“Smacker” is American slang for “money”, with “smackers” often being used to mean ”dollars”. It is suggested that the term might come from “smacking” a banknote into one’s hand.

“Buck” and “clam” are both slang terms for “a dollar”. The term “buck” has been around at least since 1856, and is thought to derive from the tradition of using buckskin as a unit of trade with Native Americans during the frontier days. It has been suggested that “clam” has a similar derivation, a throwback to the supposed use of clams as units of currency in ancient cultures.

23. Honorees on the third Sunday in June : DADS
Father’s Day was added as an official holiday in 1972, although bills to create the holiday had been with Congress since 1913. By rights, the holiday should be called “Fathers’ Day” (note the punctuation), but the Bill that was introduced in 1913 used the “Father’s Day” spelling, and that’s the one that has stuck.

26. Amtrak guess, for short : ETA
Estimated time of arrival (ETA)

Amtrak is the name used commercially by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation. “Amtrak” comes from a melding of the words “America” and “track”.

27. ___ Speedwagon : REO
The REO Speed Wagon (note the space between “speed” and “wagon”) is the vehicle. REO Speedwagon (no space) is the American rock band.

31. Novelty B-52’s song with the lyric “Watch out for that piranha” : ROCK LOBSTER
The B-52s are a rock band that formed in Athens, Georgia in 1976. The band’s name comes from a certain style of beehive hairdo that resembles the nose cone of the B-52 Stratofortress bomber aircraft. In turn, the band loaned its name to the B-52 cocktail.

36. Title for Paul McCartney or Mick Jagger : SIR
The ex-Beatles bass player’s full name is Sir James Paul McCartney. “Paul” was knighted for his services to music in 1997. The Rolling Stones lead singer’s full name is Sir Michael Philip Jagger. “Mick” was knighted for his services to popular music in 2003.

38. With 16-Across, Susan Lucci’s “All My Children” role : ERICA
(16A. See 38-Across : KANE)
Susan Lucci is perhaps the most famous actor associated with daytime soap operas, and was the highest paid actor in daytime television. Lucci was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series an incredible 21 times, for her portrayal of Erica Kane in “All My Children”.

44. John who directed “Mission: Impossible II” : WOO
John Woo is a film director from Hong Kong who is best known for directing action movies. The list of his films made for Hollywood includes “Broken Arrow” (1996), “Face/Off” (1997) and “Mission: Impossible II” (2000).

48. California locale of several golf U.S. Opens : PEBBLE BEACH
Pebble Beach Golf Links, located just south of Monterey, California, is a public course. It was the first public golf course to be chosen as the top course in the country by “Golf Digest”.

52. Bagel and ___ : LOX
Lox is a cured salmon fillet, finely sliced. The term “lox” comes into English via Yiddish, and derives from the German word for salmon, namely “Lachs”.

53. Ron who played Tarzan : ELY
Ron Ely is most famous for playing the title role in the “Tarzan” TV series in the sixties. Years later, Ely hosted the 1980 and 1981 “Miss America” pageants right after longtime host Bert Parks retired, before the job was taken over by Gary Collins. And, Ely is a successful mystery novelist. He wrote “Night Shadows” and “East Beach” in the mid-nineties, both of which featured his private eye Jake Sands.

55. Hammer-wielding deity : THOR
In Norse mythology, Thor was the son of Odin. Thor wielded a mighty hammer and was the god of thunder, lightning and storms. Our contemporary word “Thursday” comes from “Thor’s Day”.

64. October birthstone : OPAL
97% of the world’s opals come from Australia, so it’s no surprise perhaps that the opal is the national gemstone of the country. The state of South Australia provides the bulk of the world’s production, about 80%.

68. Big rig : SEMI
A “semi” is a “semi-trailer truck”. The vehicle is so called because it consists of a tractor and a half-trailer. The half-trailer is so called because it only has wheels on the back end, with the front supported by the tractor.

69. Compound found in wine and olive oil : ESTER
Esters are very common chemicals. The smaller, low-molecular weight esters are usually pleasant smelling and are often found in perfumes. At the other end of the scale, the higher-molecular weight nitroglycerin is a nitrate ester and is very explosive, and polyester is a huge molecule and is a type of plastic. Fats and oils found in nature are fatty acid esters of glycerol.

70. Clark ___ (Superman’s alter ego) : KENT
Superman’s comic book creators gave their title character’s alter-ego the name “Clark Kent” by melding the names of Clark Gable and Kent Taylor, two leading men of the cinema at the time Superman was created. However, they modeled Clark’s character more on the silent film actor Harold Lloyd.

71. ___ of March : IDES
Julius Caesar was assassinated on the 15th (the ides) of March, 44 BC. He was attacked by a group of sixty people in the Roman Senate, and was stabbed 23 times. The first to strike a blow was Servilius Casca, who attacked Caesar from behind and stabbed him in the neck. In Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”, Casca utters the words “Speak, hands, for me!” just before making the fatal blow. The following line, uttered by Caesar, is more famous though: “Et tu, Brute?”

73. “The Sweetest Taboo” singer : SADE
The singer Sade’s real name is Helen Folasade Adu. Although she was born in Nigeria, Sade grew up and lives in the UK. She was the lead vocalist for the English group Sade, and adopted the name of the band. The band’s biggest hits were “Smooth Operator” (1984) and “The Sweetest Taboo” (1985).

Down
1. Mongolian desert : GOBI
The large desert in Asia called the Gobi lies in northern China and southern Mongolia. The Gobi desert is growing at an alarming rate, particularly towards the south. This “desertification” is caused by increased human activity. The Chinese government is trying to halt the desert’s progress by planting great swaths of new forest, the so called “Green Wall of China”.

2. Fe, to chemists : IRON
The Latin word for “iron” is “ferrum”, which gives us “Fe” as the metal’s chemical symbol.

7. BFFs : BUDS
Best friend forever (BFF)

8. Tooth cover : ENAMEL
Tooth enamel covers the crowns of our teeth. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. It is composed of 96% crystalline calcium phosphate.

9. Former New York senator Alfonse : D’AMATO
Al D’Amato was a former Republican Senator who represented the state of New York from 1981 to 1999. Outside of politics, D’Amato is big into poker and is chairman of the Poker Players Alliance, an organization that fights for the rights of poker players in the US, mainly the right to play poker online.

12. Main course : ENTREE
“Entrée” means “entry” in French. An entrée can be something that helps one get “a way in”, an interview for example perhaps helped along by a recommendation letter. In Europe, even in English-speaking countries, the entrée is the name for the “entry” to the meal, the first course. I found it very confusing to order meals when I first came to America!

22. Uber competitors : CABS
Uber is a ridesharing service that was founded in 2009 and is based in San Francisco. The service is somewhat controversial and has been described as an illegal taxicab operation. Central to Uber’s service is the company’s mobile app, which can use the client’s GPS location to help find the nearest available ride. Uber’s main competitor is Lyft. Personally, I love the service and have only had good experiences …

29. [not my mistake] : SIC
“Sic” indicates that a quotation is written as originally found, perhaps including a typo. “Sic” is Latin for “thus, like this”. The term is more completely written as “sic erat scriptum”, which translates as “thus was it written”.

32. Switchblade, e.g. : KNIFE
Back in the British Isles we call a switchblade a flick knife, descriptive of the action of the blade as it springs out of the grip when released. Switchblades were somewhat glamorized in the movies on the fifties, such as “Rebel Without a Cause”, “West Side Story” and “12 Angry Men”. As a consequence, there are specific laws restricting the manufacture, sale and possession of switchblades.

40. St. Louis ___ (landmark) : ARCH
The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is the tallest monument in the United States. It was designed by Eero Saarinen, with the help of structural engineer Hannskarl Bandel. They did their design work back in 1947, but construction wasn’t started until 1963. In 1980, a daredevil took it upon himself to parachute onto the top of the arch, intending to further jump from the apex of the arch and parachute to the ground. He hit the arch alright, and slid all the way down one of the arches to his death. No comment …

42. “As I see it,” in textspeak : IMO
In my opinion (IMO)

43. “Oedipus ___” : REX
“Oedipus Rex” (also “Oedipus the King”) is a tragedy penned by the Ancient Greek playwright Sophocles. The play tells the story of Oedipus, a man who becomes King of Thebes. Famously, Oedipus was destined from birth to murder his father and marry his mother.

47. Now, en español : AHORA
“Ahora” is the Spanish for “now”, as is “hoy día”.

48. Former House speaker Nancy : PELOSI
Nancy Pelosi is a former Speaker of the House, the 60th person to hold that position. Ms. Pelosi represents a district not far from here, which covers most of San Francisco. She was the first Californian, the first Italian-American and the first woman to be Speaker of the House. As Speaker, she was also second in line, after the Vice President, to take over if President Obama could not finish his term. That made Nancy Pelosi the highest-ranking female politician in US history.

58. Whitney and Manning : ELIS
The inventor Eli Whitney is a best known for inventing the cotton gin. Whitney also came up with the important concept of “interchangeable parts”. Parts that are interchangeable can be swapped out of equipment or perhaps used in related designs.

Eli Manning plays as quarterback for the New York Giants. Eli’s brother Peyton Manning is quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Eli and Peyton’s father is Archie Manning, who was also a successful NFL quarterback.

59. It is, en español : ESTA
“In Spanish” is written as “en español” in Spanish …

61. Furniture store that also sells Swedish meatballs : IKEA
Every IKEA store features a restaurant that serves traditional Swedish food, including Swedish meatballs and lingonberry jam. Each store also has a Swedish Food Market where customers can purchase specialty foods from Sweden.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Online pics that often move : GIFS
5. Flowed back, as the tide : EBBED
10. European automaker : OPEL
14. Black-and-white cookie : OREO
15. Place to be in the hot seat? : SAUNA
16. See 38-Across : KANE
17. Colorado River landmark dedicated by F.D.R. : BOULDER DAM
19. Elects (to) : OPTS
20. Sundance Film Festival entry : INDIE
21. Bucks : SMACKERS
23. Honorees on the third Sunday in June : DADS
26. Amtrak guess, for short : ETA
27. ___ Speedwagon : REO
28. Inquire : ASK
31. Novelty B-52’s song with the lyric “Watch out for that piranha” : ROCK LOBSTER
34. Measurement for a bird : WINGSPAN
36. Title for Paul McCartney or Mick Jagger : SIR
37. Environmental sci. : ECOL
38. With 16-Across, Susan Lucci’s “All My Children” role : ERICA
41. Carnival : FAIR
44. John who directed “Mission: Impossible II” : WOO
46. Temporarily : FOR A TIME
48. California locale of several golf U.S. Opens : PEBBLE BEACH
52. Bagel and ___ : LOX
53. Ron who played Tarzan : ELY
54. Prior to, poetically : ERE
55. Hammer-wielding deity : THOR
57. Friendless : LONESOME
60. Lift : RAISE
64. October birthstone : OPAL
65. One covering a big story? : DUST JACKET
68. Big rig : SEMI
69. Compound found in wine and olive oil : ESTER
70. Clark ___ (Superman’s alter ego) : KENT
71. ___ of March : IDES
72. Heads of classes? : DEANS
73. “The Sweetest Taboo” singer : SADE

Down
1. Mongolian desert : GOBI
2. Fe, to chemists : IRON
3. Ongoing dispute : FEUD
4. Cube or sphere : SOLID
5. Suffix with Brooklyn or Japan : -ESE
6. Tavern : BAR
7. BFFs : BUDS
8. Tooth cover : ENAMEL
9. Former New York senator Alfonse : D’AMATO
10. “All right already, I get it!” : OK OK!
11. Series of leads for a white-collar crime investigator : PAPER TRAIL
12. Main course : ENTREE
13. Landlord : LESSOR
18. Loved ones : DEARS
22. Uber competitors : CABS
24. Ignoramus : DOPE
25. Reminder of surgery : SCAR
28. Wonderment : AWE
29. [not my mistake] : SIC
30. Be familiar with without having met : KNOW BY NAME
32. Switchblade, e.g. : KNIFE
33. Search (through), as evidence : SIFT
35. Liquidy lump : GLOB
39. Layer of paint : COAT
40. St. Louis ___ (landmark) : ARCH
42. “As I see it,” in textspeak : IMO
43. “Oedipus ___” : REX
45. Some World Cup cheers : OLES
47. Now, en español : AHORA
48. Former House speaker Nancy : PELOSI
49. Said “I do” without the to-do : ELOPED
50. Eaten away, like the first words of 17-, 31-, 48- and 65-Across in order? : ERODED
51. Flummox : BEMUSE
56. Oven shelves : RACKS
58. Whitney and Manning : ELIS
59. It is, en español : ESTA
61. Furniture store that also sells Swedish meatballs : IKEA
62. What to click after finishing an email : SEND
63. Suffix with cigar : -ETTE
66. Number starting many a countdown : TEN
67. 11th graders: Abbr. : JRS

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4 thoughts on “0111-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 11 Jan 16, Monday”

  1. 7:30, no errors.

    The progression of the theme words reminds me of the derivation of the word 'atom'. Ancient Greek philosophers saw that solid matter could be broken into smaller and smaller pieces. They postulated that eventually you would reach a limit at which the piece was so small that it could no longer be divided. The Greek word for divided is 'tomos' (where we get the word tomography from). Something that could not be divided was said to be 'atomos'.

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