0811-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 11 Aug 16, Thursday

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Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
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Jump to a complete list of today’s clues and answers

CROSSWORD SETTER: Timothy Polin
THEME: Sounds Like Two Letters
Today’s puzzle is somewhat self-referential. Each themed answer is clued by the sound of two letters circled in that answer:

17A. [See circled letters] : CONFISCATE (“CC” sounds like “seize”)
25A. [See circled letters] : LIFE OF RILEY (“EE” sounds like “ease”)
31A. [See circled letters] : GOOD GOLLY! (“GG” sounds like “Jeez!”)
41A. [See circled letters] : FLIRT WITH (“TT” sounds like “tease”)
47A. [See circled letters] : SCRUTINIZES (“II” sounds like “eyes”)
57A. [See circled letters] : RUN THROUGH (“UU” sounds like “use”)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 25m 45s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … ACING (icing), IZZATSO?! (izzitso?!)

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Capital south of Lake Volta : ACCRA
Accra sits on Ghana’s coast and is a major seaport as well as the country’s capital city. The name “Accra” comes from a local word “Nkran” meaning “ants”, a name chosen because of the large number of anthills found in the area when the city was founded.

Lake Volta is the largest artificially formed lake in the world by surface area, and the fourth largest by volume. The lake has a surface area of over 3,000 square miles. Lake Volta is located almost totally in the Republic of Ghana in West Africa. It is formed by the Akosombo Dam that holds back the White Volta River and the Black Volta River.

6. Qdoba offering : TACO
Qdoba is a chain of casual restaurants specializing in Mexican cuisine. The chain started out in 1995 with the name Zuma Fresh Mexican Grill, then Z-Teca Mexican Grill in 1997. Both “Zuma” and “Z-Teca” were challenged by establishments that already had similar names, and so the company settled on Qdoba Mexican Grill in 1999, a completely invented moniker.

10. J. K. Rowling, by residence : SCOT
The author of the amazingly successful “Harry Potter” series of books is J. K. Rowling. Rowling wrote the first book when she was living on welfare in Edinburgh in Scotland, and in longhand. She would often write in local cafes, largely because she needed to get her baby daughter out of the house (she was a single mom), and the youngster would tend to fall asleep on walks. Within five years, the single mom on welfare became a very rich woman, and is now worth about $1 billion!

15. Without restraint : AMOK
The phrase “to run amok” (sometimes “to run amuck”) has been around since the 1670s and is derived from the Malay word for “attacking furiously”, “amuk”. The word “amok” was also used as a noun to describe Malay natives who were “frenzied”. Given Malaya’s troubled history, the natives probably had good reason for that frenzy …

19. Like Antarctica : ARID
On average, Antarctica is the coldest, driest and windiest of all seven continents. Although Antarctica is very cold, it is essentially a desert, receiving only 8 inches of precipitation annually at the coasts, and even less inland.

21. ___ Dantès, the Count of Monte Cristo : EDMOND
“The Count of Monte Cristo” is an 1844 novel by the French author Alexandre Dumas. Dumas’ other famous title is “The Three Musketeers”.

25. [See circled letters] : LIFE OF RILEY (“EE” sounds like “ease”)
The phrase “life of Reilly” dates back to at least 1919. It may have originated in a song from the 1880s about a man called O’Reilly and how he became rich and lived an easy life.

28. Source of sake : RICE
We refer to the Japanese alcoholic beverage made from rice as “sake”. We’ve gotten things a bit mixed up in the West. “Sake” is actually the word that the Japanese use for all alcoholic drinks. What we know as sake, we sometimes refer to as rice wine. Also, the starch in the rice is first converted to sugars that are then fermented into alcohol. This is more akin to a beer-brewing process than wine production, so the end product is really a rice “beer” rather than a rice “wine”.

33. Excites : WHETS
The words “whet” and “pique” can both be used in the sense of sharpening or awaking one’s interest or desire.

38. Winston’s tormenter in “1984” : O’BRIEN
The protagonist in George Orwell’s novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” is Winston Smith, just an ordinary individual. Winston is tormented by O’Brien, a member of the Inner Party who poses as someone open to counter-revolutionary resistance.

39. “Lincoln” or “Nixon” : BIOPIC
The 2012 movie “Lincoln” is a historical drama that portrays the last four months of the life of President Abraham Lincoln. The main focus in the story is Lincoln’s work to have the US House of Representatives pass the Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, the amendment that finally abolished slavery. “Lincoln” was co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg and stars Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field and Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln. It’s a film I’d recommend …

“Nixon” is a 1995 Oliver Stone biopic in which Welsh actor Anthony Hopkins plays US president Richard Nixon. This was Stone’s second film about the American presidency, after “JFK” (1991) and before “W” (2008).

52. Longtime resident of New York’s Dakota apartments : ONO
The Dakota is an apartment building in New York City that overlooks Central Park. Built in the 1880s, the prestigious property is perhaps most famous as the home of former Beatle John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono. Lennon was murdered outside the Dakota in 1980 by Mark David Chapman. The impressive list of former residents includes Lauren Bacall, Leonard Bernstein, Rosemary Clooney, Judy Garland, Rudolf Nureyev and Boris Karloff.

56. Wise guy : YOGI
A yogi is a practitioner of yoga.

In the West we tend to think of yoga as a physical discipline, a means of exercise that uses specific poses to stretch and strengthen muscles. While it is true that the ancient Indian practice of yoga does involve such physical discipline, the corporeal aspect of the practice plays a relatively small part in the whole philosophy. Other major components are meditation, ethical behavior, breathing and contemplation.

63. Score of a lifetime? : OPUS
“Magnum opus” is a Latin term meaning “great work”. The magnum opus of a writer or composer perhaps, is his or her greatest work.

64. When José Martí was born : ENERO
In Spanish, “el año” (the year) starts in “enero” (January) and ends in “diciembre” (December).

José Martí was a Cuban writer and political activist who became a symbol for his country’s movement to gain independence from Spain in the 1800s, earning him the nickname “Apostle of Cuban Independence”. Martí was killed in action in a battle against Spanish troops in 1895.

66. T. rex, e.g. : DINO
The Tyrannosaurus rex (usually written T. rex) was a spectacular looking dinosaur. “Tyrannosaurus” comes from the Greek words “tyrannos” (tyrant) and “sauros” (lizard), and the “rex” is of course Latin for “king”. They were big boys, measuring 42 feet long and 13 feet tall at the hips, and weighing 7.5 tons.

Down
1. A shooting star has one : ARC
A shooting star is what we call the visible path of a meteoroid as is it enters the earth’s atmosphere. Almost all meteoroids burn up, but if one is large enough to survive and reach the ground, we call it a meteorite. The word “meteor” comes from the Greek “meteōros” meaning “high in the air”.

2. Co. leader : CEO
Chief executive officer (CEO)

3. Halloween handout : CANDY CORN
Candy corn is a candy that is seen mainly around Halloween in North America. Candy corn is made to look like kernels of corn, with a yellow base, orange center and white tip. The original candy corn was created by the Wunderle Candy Company in Philadelphia in the 1880s.

6. Possessed of savoir-faire : TACTFUL
“Savoir-faire” is a French term, and literally means “to know (how) to do”. There’s a similar term in French that we haven’t absorbed into English, “savoir-vivre” meaning “to know how to live”. Savoir-vivre describes the ability to acquit oneself well in the world, in society.

7. No-holds-barred online Q&A : AMA
Ask me anything (AMA)

9. Michael of “Caddyshack” : O’KEEFE
Michael O’Keefe played Danny Noonan in the film “Caddyshack” (I’m not a big fan of that movie). I also saw O’Keefe not that long ago in the George Clooney film “Michael Clayton”.

10. Wise guy : SWAMI
A swami is a religious teacher in the Hindu tradition. The word “swami” can also mean “husband” in the Bengali and Malay languages.

11. Air when it’s cold outside? : CAROL
The word “carol” came into English via the Old French word “carole”, which was a “dance in a ring”. When “carol” made it into English, about 1300 AD, the term was used to describe a dance as well as a joyful song. Around 1500 AD, carols that were sung came to be associated with Christmas.

12. Sheepish : OVINE
The Latin word for “sheep” is “ovis”, giving us the adjective “ovine”, meaning “like a sheep”.

13. Purchase in a bear market? : TEDDY
The stuffed toy known as a teddy bear was introduced in the early 1900s and was name after President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt. The toy was inspired by a political cartoon that was drawn in 1902 showing President Roosevelt on a bear hunt and refusing to kill black bear cub.

18. Don, as a chemise : SLIP ON
A modern “chemise” is a female undergarment or perhaps a loose-fitting dress. “Chemise” is a French term, one that today is used for a shirt.

22. Stephen Colbert forte : DRY WIT
Stephen Colbert is a political satirist who hosted his own show on Comedy Central, “The Colbert Report”. Colbert’s first love was theater, and so he studied to become an actor. He then moved into comedy, and ended up on the “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”. He left “The Daily Show” in 2005 to set up his own spinoff, “The Colbert Report”. In his own inimitable way, Colbert likes to use a “French” pronunciation for the name of his show, so “The Colbert Report” comes out as “The Col-bear Rep-oar”. Colbert took over the “Late Show” when David Letterman retired.

23. Cant : ARGOT
Argot is a French term, the name given in the 17th century to “the jargon of the Paris underworld”. Nowadays argot is the set of idioms used by any particular group, the “lingo” of that group.

“Cant” is insincere language, or the language associated with a particularly group. Back in the 1600s, the term described the whining of beggars.

24. Mythical eponym of element #41 : NIOBE
In Greek mythology, when her children were killed, Niobe fled to Mount Sipylus where she was turned into stone and wept for eternity. There is in fact a Niobe’s Rock on Mount Sipylus (in modern-day Turkey) that resembles a female face, and so is known as “The Weeping Rock”.

The element Niobium (Nb) has the atomic number 41. It is a ductile metal that is similar to the transition metal tantalum (Ta). Tantalus was named for the Greek mythological figure Tantalus, and Niobium for Niobe, daughter of Tantalus.

26. Late start? : ELL
The word “late” starts with the letter L (ell).

27. Northwest brew, familiarly : OLY
The Olympia Brewing Company was founded in the town of Tumwater, Washington in 1896, by a German immigrant. Olympia (familiarly “Oly”) was acquired by Pabst in 1983.

29. Singer Brickell who fronted the New Bohemians : EDIE
Edie Brickell is a singer-songwriter from Dallas, Texas. Brickell has been married to fellow singer Paul Simon since 1991.

35. Storied endings? : EPILOGUES
Our word “epilog” (also “epilogue”), meaning an addition at the end of a play or other literary work, ultimately comes from Greek. “Epi-” is a prefix signifying “in addition”, and “logos” is the noun for “a speech”.

37. Jerk : SCHMO
“Schmo” (also “shmo”) is American slang for a dull or boring person, from the Yiddish word “shmok”.

42. Biodegradable neckwear : LEI
“Lei” is the Hawaiian word for “garland, wreath”, although in more general terms a “lei” is any series of objects strung together as an adornment for the body.

43. “Oh, really?!” : IZZATSO?!
Yes, it izz …

45. Jerk : NIMROD
“Nimrod” is a slang term used to describe a foolish person.

47. “Mission: Impossible” genre : SPY-FI
The “Mission: Impossible” TV show featured the following line close to the start of each episode:

As always, should you or any of your I.M. Force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions.

And then the tape self-destructed. Great stuff …

48. Musical trio, often : CHORD
A triad is a group of three, and specifically in music is a chord is made up of three notes.

50. One of the seven principles of Kwanzaa : UNITY
Kwanzaa is a celebration of African heritage that lasts from December 26 to January 1 annually. The holiday was introduced in 1966 as an alternative to the existing holidays at the end of the year. The name comes from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza”, meaning “first fruits of the harvest”. The seven days of Kwanzaa are dedicated to seven core principles known as “Nguzo Saba”.

Umoja (Unity)
Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
Nia (Purpose)
Kuumba (Creativity)
Imani (Faith)

51. Blue wail? : SIREN
I guess that’s the wail of a police siren.

58. Reuters competitor : UPI
Founded in 1958, United Press International (UPI) was one of the biggest news agencies in the world, sending out news by wire to the major newspapers. UPI ran into trouble with the change in media formats at the end of the twentieth century and lost many of its clients as the afternoon newspapers shut down due to the advent of television news. UPI, which once employed thousands, still exists today but with just a handful of employees.

The Reuters news agency was formed way back in 1851 by German-born, British entrepreneur Paul Julius Reuter. Reuter had checked the feasibility of a news service for a couple of years prior to launching the agency, and the technologies he used for his study were the telegraph and carrier pigeons …

60. M.A. seeker’s hurdle : GRE
Passing the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is usually a requirement for entry into graduate school here in the US.

61. Parts of a Santa Claus balloon : HOS
The words “Ho! Ho! Ho!” might appear in a speech bubble in a cartoon featuring Santa Claus.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Capital south of Lake Volta : ACCRA
6. Qdoba offering : TACO
10. J. K. Rowling, by residence : SCOT
14. Show in syndication, say : RE-AIR
15. Without restraint : AMOK
16. Something that may crash and break : WAVE
17. [See circled letters] : CONFISCATE (“CC” sounds like “seize”)
19. Like Antarctica : ARID
20. Passed out : DEALT
21. ___ Dantès, the Count of Monte Cristo : EDMOND
23. No one in particular : ANY
25. [See circled letters] : LIFE OF RILEY (“EE” sounds like “ease”)
28. Source of sake : RICE
30. Weight lifter : PULLEY
31. [See circled letters] : GOOD GOLLY! (“GG” sounds like “Jeez!”)
33. Excites : WHETS
38. Winston’s tormenter in “1984” : O’BRIEN
39. “Lincoln” or “Nixon” : BIOPIC
40. “It is better to give than to receive,” e.g. : TENET
41. [See circled letters] : FLIRT WITH (“TT” sounds like “tease”)
44. Irritation reaction : SNEEZE
46. Body ___ : SLAM
47. [See circled letters] : SCRUTINIZES (“II” sounds like “eyes”)
52. Longtime resident of New York’s Dakota apartments : ONO
53. Standout : PHENOM
54. Missing nothing on : ACING
56. Wise guy : YOGI
57. [See circled letters] : RUN THROUGH (“UU” sounds like “use”)
62. Band of brothers? : FRAT
63. Score of a lifetime? : OPUS
64. When José Martí was born : ENERO
65. One way to stand by : IDLY
66. T. rex, e.g. : DINO
67. Trunks, of a sort : NOSES

Down
1. A shooting star has one : ARC
2. Co. leader : CEO
3. Halloween handout : CANDY CORN
4. Bursting (with) : RIFE
5. Font akin to Helvetica : ARIAL
6. Possessed of savoir-faire : TACTFUL
7. No-holds-barred online Q&A : AMA
8. Disaster shelter sight : COT
9. Michael of “Caddyshack” : O’KEEFE
10. Wise guy : SWAMI
11. Air when it’s cold outside? : CAROL
12. Sheepish : OVINE
13. Purchase in a bear market? : TEDDY
18. Don, as a chemise : SLIP ON
22. Stephen Colbert forte : DRY WIT
23. Cant : ARGOT
24. Mythical eponym of element #41 : NIOBE
26. Late start? : ELL
27. Northwest brew, familiarly : OLY
29. Singer Brickell who fronted the New Bohemians : EDIE
32. Exasperates : GETS TO
34. “___ tricks?” : HOW’S
35. Storied endings? : EPILOGUES
36. Captain of industry : TITAN
37. Jerk : SCHMO
39. Back of a gun barrel : BREECH
41. Reedy area : FEN
42. Biodegradable neckwear : LEI
43. “Oh, really?!” : IZZATSO?!
45. Jerk : NIMROD
47. “Mission: Impossible” genre : SPY-FI
48. Musical trio, often : CHORD
49. Uncommon? : REGAL
50. One of the seven principles of Kwanzaa : UNITY
51. Blue wail? : SIREN
55. Texting in a theater, e.g. : NO-NO
58. Reuters competitor : UPI
59. Creature of habit? : NUN
60. M.A. seeker’s hurdle : GRE
61. Parts of a Santa Claus balloon : HOS

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5 thoughts on “0811-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 11 Aug 16, Thursday”

  1. 23:25, no errors, iPad. Very clever theme (and one that you have to grok in order to do the puzzle). Usually I would start a Thursday NYT puzzle when it first becomes available, at 8PM (Mountain Time) on Wednesday. Last night, I was tired after a long day, so I waited until this morning … and I'm glad I did, because this puzzle required a pretty high level of mental acuity. Most enjoyable …

  2. 32:23, no errors ("Izzat so??"). This one was really tough. In fact, I remember looking for the setter's name as a reference to perhaps fill in one of the "Jerk" entries. 🙂 Got the theme late and it helped. Truly one for Tricky Thursday.

  3. 36:46, no errors. Very challenging for me today. Almost 30 minutes in, I finally got the theme with FLIRT WITH, then CONFISCATE and LIFE OF RILEY came quickly. But the upper right and lower left corners were still tough to crack.

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