0922-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 22 Sep 16, Thursday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Jeffrey Wechsler
THEME: Foreign Numbers First
Today’s themed answers start with a number in a foreign language. The number sounds like it fits in a well-known phrase:

17A. A number of stage items in a French play? : SEPT PIECES (sounds like “set pieces”)
23A. A number of cocktails in Berlin? : DREI MARTINIS (sounds like “dry martinis”)
37A. A number of Freudians in Freiburg? : SECHS THERAPISTS (sounds like “sex therapists”)
46A. A number of chemical rarities in Madrid? : TRES ELEMENTS (sounds like “trace elements”)
57A. A number of grain-producing sites in Normandy? : HUIT FIELDS (sounds like “wheat fields”)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 18m 34s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Writer whose wife said he’s a “genius, but what a dirty mind he has” : JOYCE
James Joyce and his wife Nora wrote a famous set of erotic letters to each other while they Joyce was away on business in 1909. The letters from James survived, and have fetched tidy sums at auction.

Nora Barnacle (what a name!) was the wife of Irish author James Joyce. Nora had her first romantic liaison with Joyce on 16 June 1904, a date that Joyce chose as the setting for his “one-day” novel “Ulysses”. June 16th is celebrated in Ireland, and indeed around the world, as Bloomsday.

10. Batman villain known as “Queen of the Cossacks” : OLGA
Olga, Queen of the Cossacks is a villain in the “Batman” stories. On the sixties TV show, Olga was played by Anne Baxter.

14. Deep dislike : ODIUM
“Odium” is a strong dislike or aversion. The term is Latin in origin and relates to the Latin word “odi” meaning “I hate”.

16. A.C.L.U. target : BIAS
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has its roots in the First World War when it was founded to provide legal advice and support to conscientious objectors. The ACLU’s motto is “Because Freedom Can’t Protect Itself”. The ACLU also hosts a blog on the ACLU.org website called “Speak Freely”.

17. A number of stage items in a French play? : SEPT PIECES (sounds like “set pieces”)
“Sept” is French for “seven”.

21. With 5-Down, creator of 24,000+ miles of road before 1600 : INCA
(5D. See 21-Across : EMPIRE)
The Incas built almost 25,000 miles of road, and much of that roadway system persists to this day. The most famous section is known as the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The backbone of the system is formed by two north-south routes, one running along the west coast of the continent, and the other running relatively parallel, further inland.

22. “The West Wing” speechwriter : SAM
The actor Rob Lowe is one of the “founding members” of the so-called Brat Pack, having appeared in the movie “St. Elmo’s Fire”. More recently, he played a regular character on the TV show “Parks and Recreation”. My favorite of his roles though, was playing speechwriter Sam Seaborn on Aaron Sorkin’s great drama series “The West Wing”. When “The West Wing” first aired, Seaborn was billed as the show’s main character, but outstanding performances from the rest of the cast and some great writing meant that Lowe’s role became “one of many”. This led to some dissatisfaction on Lowe’s part, and eventually he quit the show.

23. A number of cocktails in Berlin? : DREI MARTINIS (sounds like “dry martinis”)
“Drei” is German for “three”.

The term “martini” probably takes it name from the “Martini & Rossi” brand of dry vermouth, although no one seems to be completely sure. What is clear is that despite the Martini name originating in Italy, the martini drink originated in the US. The original martini was made with gin and sweet vermouth, but someone specifying a “dry” martini was given gin and dry vermouth. Nowadays we use dry vermouth for all martinis and the term “dry” has become a reference to how little vermouth is included in the drink. Famously, Noel Coward liked his drink very dry and said that a perfect martini is made by “filling a glass with gin then waving it in the general direction of Italy”. The German-American journalist and satirist H. L. Mencken referred to the martini as “the only American invention as perfect as a sonnet”.

Berlin is the capital and largest city in Germany, and is the second most populous city in the European Union (after London).

31. Palazzo ___, architectural gem of the Renaissance : FARNESE
The Palazzo Farnese is a Renaissance palace in Rome that currently serves as the French embassy in Italy. The Farnese name comes from the family that first lived in the palace, taking up occupation in 1517. Alessandro Farnese became Pope Paul III in 1534.

36. Strauss’s “___ Heldenleben” : EIN
The title of Richard Strauss’ tone poem “Ein Heldenleben” translates into English as “A Hero’s Life”.

37. A number of Freudians in Freiburg? : SECHS THERAPISTS (sounds like “sex therapists”)
“Sechs” is German for “six”.

Freiburg is a city in the very southwest of Germany, on the western edge of the Black Forest.

40. The Wildcats of the N.C.A.A., for short : UNH
The University of New Hampshire (UNH) is the largest university in the state. It was founded as the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts in 1866. The school’s athletic teams are known as the Wildcats.

42. Olympics host after Melbourne : ROME
The 1960 Summer Olympics were held in Rome, Italy. It was the second time that the modern games had been awarded to Rome, as the intention had been to hold the event there in 1908. The 1908 Olympics had to be moved to London following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1906. The Italian government was forced to divert funds from the sporting event in order to reconstruct the devastated city of Naples.

The 1956 Summer Olympic Games were held in Melbourne, Australia. The 1956 games were a little unusual in that all of the equestrian events were held a long way away, in Stockholm, Sweden. At issue were the host nation’s quarantine regulations, which prevented all participants from shipping horses into Australia to compete.

43. Its capital is Maseru : LESOTHO
Lesotho is an enclaved country that is completely surrounded by the Republic of South Africa.

45. Trig functions : SINES
The most familiar trigonometric functions are sine (sin), cosine (cos) and tangent (tan). Each of these is a ratio, a ratio of two sides of a right-angled triangle. The reciprocal of these three functions are cosecant, secant, and cotangent. The reciprocal functions are simply the inverted ratios, the inverted sine (cosec = 1/sin), cosine (sec = 1/cos) and tangent (cot = 1/tan).

46. A number of chemical rarities in Madrid? : TRES ELEMENTS (sounds like “trace elements”)
“Tres” is Spanish for “three”.

50. IV measures : CCS
Fluids in an IV (intravenous drip) might be measured in ccs (cubic centimeters).

51. Shock, in a way : TASE
“To tase” is to use a taser, a stun gun.

52. Tina who won a Mark Twain Prize for American Humor : FEY
Comic actress Tina Fey has a scar on her face a few inches long on her left cheek, which I was shocked to learn was caused by a childhood “slashing” incident. When she was just five years old and playing in the front yard of her house, someone just came up to her and slashed her with a knife. How despicable!

The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor has been awarded annually since 1998 by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The first recipient of the award was Richard Pryor. George Carlin won in 2008, and was the only person to be awarded posthumously.

55. Epsilon follower : ZETA
Zeta is the sixth letter of the Greek alphabet, and is a precursor of our Roman letter Z. The word “zeta” is also the ancestor of the name “zed”, which became “zee”, the pronunciation that we use here in the US.

Epsilon is the fifth letter of the Greek alphabet. The uppercase epsilon looks very similar to our Latin E.

57. A number of grain-producing sites in Normandy? : HUIT FIELDS (sounds like “wheat fields”)
“Huit” is French for “eight”.
The Normans were the people from the north of France, from the region that bears the name Normandy. The Normans are descended from Viking stock, so the name “Norman” derives from a translation of “North Men”.

60. Dumpster attribute, often : ODOR
“Dumpster” is one of those words that we use generically that is actually a brand name. The original “Dumpster” was patented by the Dempster Brothers of Knoxville, Tennessee. “Dumpster” is derived from “dump” and “Dempster”.

61. Org. inspecting 64-Across : USDA
(64A. Inspection target of the 61-Across : MEAT)
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) classifies meat into eight different grades:

  • Prime
  • Choice
  • Select
  • Standard
  • Commercial
  • Utility
  • Cutter
  • Canner

62. Who has won more Olympic medals than Michael Phelps : NO ONE
Michael Phelps is a competitive swimmer from Towson, Maryland. Phelps won 28 medals in total in the five Olympic Games in which he has competed from 2004 to 2016. Those 28 medals make him the most decorated Olympian of all time, by far. Coming in second is former Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina, who won won 18 medals between 1956 and 1964.

63. Willa Cather’s “One of ___” : OURS
American novelist Willa Cather wrote what’s referred to as the “prairie trilogy”, books that tell the story of Swedish immigrants living in Nebraska. The titles in the trilogy are “O, Pioneers!”, “The Song of the Lark” and “My Antonia”. Cather won the Pulitzer Prize for another novel, “One of Ours”, that is set in Nebraska and the French battlefields of WWI.

65. E. C. ___, creator of Popeye : SEGAR
Popeye first appeared in 1929 in a comic strip called “Thimble Theatre”. The strip, created by E. C. Segar, ran for ten years before Popeye made an appearance. Popeye received such a great welcome from readers that he soon “took over” the strip, and eventually even hogged the strip’s title. Before Popeye turned up Olive Oyl was the main character.

Down
1. “No way” man : JOSE
No way, José!

2. ___ of Solomon : ODES
The Odes of Solomon are a group of 42 religious poems that have been attributed to Solomon, one of the Kings of Israel.

3. Athlete’s sudden loss of ability, informally : YIPS
The informal term “yips” applies to the nervous twitching that can sometimes spoil and sportsman’s performance, especially a golfer’s putting stroke.

7. Philosopher with a razor : OCCAM
Ockham’s Razor (also “Occam’s Razor”) is a principle in philosophy and science that basically states that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. This explanation is a corollary to the more exact statement of the principle, that one shouldn’t needlessly use assumptions in explaining something.

9. Chekov, e.g., on “Star Trek”: Abbr. : ENS
Ensign (ens.)

Walter Koenig played Pavel Chekov in the original “Star Trek” series. Mr Chekov was a Russian character, but Koenig himself was born in Chicago, the son of Jewish immigrants from Lithuania.

11. Voicer of Aslan in “The Chronicles of Narnia” : LIAM NEESON
Irish actor Liam Neeson got his big break when he played Oskar Schindler in the Spielberg epic “Schindler’s List”. Neeson was in the news a few years ago when he lost his wife, actress Natasha Richardson, in a tragic skiing accident in 2009.

In the C. S. Lewis books “The Chronicles of Narnia”, Aslan is the name of the lion character (as in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”). “Aslan” is actually the Turkish word for lion. Anyone who has read the books will recognize the the remarkable similarity between the story of Aslan and the story of Christ, including a sacrifice and resurrection.

12. Bloviation : GAS
“To bloviate” is such a descriptive term, meaning to discourse pompously. “Bloviate” is mock-Latin and derived from “blow”.

13. Part of D.A.D.T. : ASK
The official US policy on gays serving on the military from 1993 to 2011 was known as “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT). In effect, this policy outlawed discrimination against closeted gay service members, while at the same time barring openly gay persons from serving in the military. Unauthorized investigations of suspected gay servicemen and servicewomen led to the policy being extended to “don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t pursue, don’t harass”. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” was repealed in 2011.

18. Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 ___ major : IN E
Anton Bruckner was an Austrian composer, not a favorite of mine as he embraces the use of dissonances (I’m a sober traditionalist!). Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 is perhaps his most popular work. He created a slow and mournful movement for the work in recognition of the impending death of Richard Wagner, whom he greatly admired.

22. Throat ailment, briefly : STREP
Streptococcus bacteria multiply and divide along a single axis so that they form linked chains. That behavior gives the genus of bacteria its name, as “streptos” is Greek for “easily twisted, like a chain”. I had to battle with streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat) twice in the past few years and it was not at all pleasant, I must say. Another species of streptococcus is responsible for that terrible “flesh-eating” infection that makes the news from time to time.

23. Provide the juicy bits : DISH
“To dish the dirt” is talk about someone or something without regard to veracity. The phrase comes from “dish” (in the sense of dishing out food) and “dirt” (in the sense of negative information).

25. Range of notice : RADAR
Scientists have been using radio waves to detect the presence of objects since the late 1800s, but it was the demands of WWII that accelerated the practical application of the technology. The British called their system RDF standing for Range and Direction Finding. The system used by the US Navy was called Radio Detection And Ranging, which was shortened to the acronym RADAR.

30. Part of the Dow : TECH SECTOR
Dow Jones & Company was founded as a publishing house in 1882 by three newspaper reporters, Charles Dow, Edward Jones and Charles Bergstresser. Today, the company’s most famous publication has to be “The Wall Street Journal”. In 1884, Charles Dow started reporting the average dollar value of the stock of eleven companies, an index which spawned a whole host of metrics that carry the Dow Jones name to this day, including the renowned Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), also known as the “Dow 30”.

33. Big name in chain saws : STIHL
Stihl is a manufacturer of power tools mainly used in landscaping and forestry. The company headquarters is located not far from Stuttgart in Germany. Stihl was founded in 1926 by Andreas Stihl, and first manufactured chainsaws.

34. Difficult struggle : THROE
Our contemporary word “throe”, meaning a spasm of pain, has been around since the early 1600s. It is a different spelling of the word “throwe” that had been around since around 1200 AD and which meant pain, particularly a pang of childbirth or the agony of death. Pain, from cradle to grave …

35. Portuguese king : REI
“Rei” is the Portuguese word for “king”.

38. Provides enough for : SATES
“Sate” is a variant of the older word “satiate”. Both terms can mean either to satisfy an appetite fully, or to eat to excess.

39. Flower whose name means “rainbow” : IRIS
Iris is a genus of flowering plants that come in a wide variety of flower colors. The term “iris” is a Greek word meaning “rainbow”. Many species of irises are called “flags”. One suggestion is that the alternate name comes from the Middle English “flagge” meaning “reed”. This term was used because iris leaves look like reeds.

44. Star-filled night : OSCARS
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is the organization that gives the annual Academy Awards also known as the “Oscars”. The root of the name “Oscar” is hotly debated, but what is agreed is that the award was officially named “Oscar” in 1939. The first Academy Awards were presented at a brunch in 1929 with an audience of just 29 people. The Awards ceremony is a slightly bigger event these days …

45. Porter supporters? : STEINS
A stein is a type of beer glass. The term is German in origin, and is short for “Steinkrug” meaning “stone jug”. “Stein” is the German for “stone”.

Porter is a dark beer that originated in London in the 1700s and is named for the street and river porters with whom it was very popular. Porter is a well-hopped beer made using brown malt, which gives it the dark color.

47. Summit on Crete where Zeus was born : MT IDA
There are two peaks called Mount Ida that are sacred according to Greek mythology. Mount Ida in Crete is the island’s highest point, and is where one can find the cave in which Zeus was reared. Mount Ida in Asia Minor (located in modern-day Turkey) is where Ganymede was swept up by Zeus in the form of an eagle that took him to Olympus where he served as cupbearer to the gods.

49. Agcy. that funds major research : NSF
The National Science Foundation (NSF) supports research and education in all scientific fields outside of medicine. The NSF was founded in 1950 during the Truman administration. Today it has a budget of almost 7 billion dollars.

53. Ferber who wrote “Giant” : EDNA
Edna Ferber was a novelist and playwright from Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ferber won a Pulitzer for her novel “So Big”, which was made into a film a few times, most famously in 1953 starring Jane Wyman. Ferber also wrote “Showboat”, “Cimarron” and “Giant”, which were adapted successful for the stage and/or big screen.

“Giant” is a 1952 novel by author Edna Ferber. It was adapted into a successful Hollywood movie released in 1956. In the film, Bick Benedict (played by Rock Hudson) marries Leslie (played by Elizabeth Taylor) and takes his new wife home to the family ranch in Texas called Reata. The ranch’s handyman is Jett Rink, played by James Dean. Dean was killed in a car accident before the film was released. Some of of Dean’s lines needed work before the film could be released and so another actor had to do that voice-over work.

54. French/Belgian river : YSER
The Yser is a river that originates in northern France and flows through Belgium into the North Sea. The Yser is often associated with WWI as it figured in a major battle early in the conflict. In the first three months of the war, the German Army pushed almost completely through Belgium, inflicting heavy losses on the Belgian Army as the defenders were forced to fight a fast-moving rearguard action. The Germans were intent on pushing right through Belgium and across France in a “race to the sea”. But the Belgians, with the help of their Allies, decided to make a final stand at the Yser Canal in an effort to prevent the Germans reaching the French ports of Calais and Dunkirk. The 22-mile long defensive line was chosen at the Yser because the river and canal system could be flooded to create a barrier that might be defended. The plan was successful and the front was “stabilized”. As we now know, millions of lives were lost over the coming years with very little movement of that battle line.

55. Bronx attraction : ZOO
The Bronx Zoo in New York City is the largest metropolitan zoo in the country, and is located right on the Bronx River.

56. Common URL ending : EDU
Internet addresses (like NYTCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) are more correctly called Uniform Resource Locators (URLs).

59. Job listing inits. : EOE
Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE)

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Writer whose wife said he’s a “genius, but what a dirty mind he has” : JOYCE
6. Act the grandparent, perhaps : DOTE
10. Batman villain known as “Queen of the Cossacks” : OLGA
14. Deep dislike : ODIUM
15. Something to mouse over : ICON
16. A.C.L.U. target : BIAS
17. A number of stage items in a French play? : SEPT PIECES (sounds like “set pieces”)
19. What you might be taken to : TASK
20. It’s twisted : ESS
21. With 5-Down, creator of 24,000+ miles of road before 1600 : INCA
22. “The West Wing” speechwriter : SAM
23. A number of cocktails in Berlin? : DREI MARTINIS (sounds like “dry martinis”)
28. Secure, as loosened shoelaces : RETIE
31. Palazzo ___, architectural gem of the Renaissance : FARNESE
32. Typical after-work times, for short : EVES
33. Take big steps : STRIDE
36. Strauss’s “___ Heldenleben” : EIN
37. A number of Freudians in Freiburg? : SECHS THERAPISTS (sounds like “sex therapists”)
40. The Wildcats of the N.C.A.A., for short : UNH
41. Less stuffy : AIRIER
42. Olympics host after Melbourne : ROME
43. Its capital is Maseru : LESOTHO
45. Trig functions : SINES
46. A number of chemical rarities in Madrid? : TRES ELEMENTS (sounds like “trace elements”)
50. IV measures : CCS
51. Shock, in a way : TASE
52. Tina who won a Mark Twain Prize for American Humor : FEY
55. Epsilon follower : ZETA
57. A number of grain-producing sites in Normandy? : HUIT FIELDS (sounds like “wheat fields”)
60. Dumpster attribute, often : ODOR
61. Org. inspecting 64-Across : USDA
62. Who has won more Olympic medals than Michael Phelps : NO ONE
63. Willa Cather’s “One of ___” : OURS
64. Inspection target of the 61-Across : MEAT
65. E. C. ___, creator of Popeye : SEGAR

Down
1. “No way” man : JOSE
2. ___ of Solomon : ODES
3. Athlete’s sudden loss of ability, informally : YIPS
4. Percentage : CUT
5. See 21-Across : EMPIRE
6. Italian ten : DIECI
7. Philosopher with a razor : OCCAM
8. Sole end? : TOE
9. Chekov, e.g., on “Star Trek”: Abbr. : ENS
10. Secure : OBTAIN
11. Voicer of Aslan in “The Chronicles of Narnia” : LIAM NEESON
12. Bloviation : GAS
13. Part of D.A.D.T. : ASK
18. Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 ___ major : IN E
22. Throat ailment, briefly : STREP
23. Provide the juicy bits : DISH
24. Lit : AFIRE
25. Range of notice : RADAR
26. Insecure person’s query : IS IT ME?
27. Bad decision makers may have lost theirs : SENSES
28. Consequence : RESULT
29. Less bumpy : EVENER
30. Part of the Dow : TECH SECTOR
33. Big name in chain saws : STIHL
34. Difficult struggle : THROE
35. Portuguese king : REI
38. Provides enough for : SATES
39. Flower whose name means “rainbow” : IRIS
44. Star-filled night : OSCARS
45. Porter supporters? : STEINS
47. Summit on Crete where Zeus was born : MT IDA
48. Irk : EAT AT
49. Agcy. that funds major research : NSF
52. Whip : FLOG
53. Ferber who wrote “Giant” : EDNA
54. French/Belgian river : YSER
55. Bronx attraction : ZOO
56. Common URL ending : EDU
57. Run smoothly : HUM
58. Operate : USE
59. Job listing inits. : EOE

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10 thoughts on “0922-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 22 Sep 16, Thursday”

  1. 18:28, no errors, iPad. Dredged up YIPS from somewhere in the bowels of my memory just in time to correct SETT to SEPT. I was also unsure of HUIT, but crossing entries came to the rescue there, as well. What little I know of French comes from quotes that I have seen in English literature or from other crosswords. (I don't completely agree with BruceB that foreign words don't belong in English crossword puzzles, but when it comes to French, he definitely has a point … not that I'm biased or anything … 🙂

  2. Many moons ago all newspaper crosswords were headed with a daily theme. It gave the puzzler an idea of the puzzle's basis. Why don't papers do that now? It would certainly help older brains like mine.

    Thank you,
    LC

  3. 22:34, no errors. Got hung up on 2D as SONG of Solomon; vice ODES.

    @Dave, thank you for remembering. Yes it is one of the few peeves I have about word puzzles. If a puzzle is in English, then the clues and answers should be in English; or at least a foreign word with common English usage. I have a meager grasp of French and German; so 17A, 23A, 37A & 57A came fairly easily. 46A, on the other hand, tripped me up for a while. TRES in French is pronounced 'tray', but it means 'very', not three (which would be trois). Did not see the Spanish 'trace'.

  4. 22:27, and could not finish the top left. YIPS is pretty poor for 3Down, golfer should've been the specified athlete… had a facepalm at seeing 1 down… this Thursday got me good…. but at least it wasn't dirty tricks…

  5. Like yesterday, took a lot of time but finished, I thought, pleased at RESULTs of my limited language skills. But again, like yesterday, I "finished" with a single letter error at the STeHL/AeRIER cross. Bit of a letdown, but not devastating.

  6. Didn't know Yips or Segar but got the rest. Not in Bill's 18 minutes, but who's counting? I thought the theme was super clever, though I had to dredge to come up with all the numbers.

  7. I got most of them tonight, including SEGAR, which I foggily remembered from seeing in Popeye strips when I was a little kid in the 1940s. I figured out the theme (with difficulty), then whipped through the themed answers. My partner got a few words, and was bemoaning her lack of contributions. When we were down to only a very few words, she got JOSE! It was like a kicker making the winning field goal with two seconds left on the clock. Whew!

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