1021-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 21 Oct 16, Friday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Martin Ashwood-Smith
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 9m 14s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

17. Passage between Sicily and the toe of Italy : STRAIT OF MESSINA
Messina is a port, and the third largest city on the Italian island of Sicily. The city’s natural harbor has a curved shape like that of a scythe. When founded by Greek colonists in the 8th century BC, the settlements first name was “Zancle”, from the Greek word for “scythe”. The port gives its name the Strait of Messina, the narrow passage between the island of Sicily and the Italian mainland.

19. Take home, perhaps? : STEAL
That would be in baseball.

20. ___ scripta (statutes) : LEX
“Lex scripta” is Latin for “statutory law”, whereas “lex non scripta” is Latin for “common law”.

21. Blyth of “Mildred Pierce” : ANN
Actress Ann Blyth is best known for her supporting role as Veda Pierce in the 1945 film “Mildred Pierce”.

23. Org. opposed to weaving? : MADD
Candice Lightner lost her 13-year-old child to a drink driver in 1980. Soon after, Lightner formed the group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

27. Band from the East : 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.

29. “1984” concern : TOTALITARIANISM
Totalitarianism is the political system in which the state strives for complete control over all aspects of public and private life. One of the more famous leaders in recent times who openly embraced totalitarianism was Benito Mussolini, leader of Italy’s National Fascist Party up until his ousting in 1943.

George Orwell’s famous novel actually has the title “Nineteen Eighty-Four” (as opposed to “1984”), with the date spelled out.

38. Pre-buffet declaration : I COULD EAT A HORSE
Our word “buffet” comes from the French “bufet” meaning “bench, sideboard”. So, a buffet is a meal served from a “bufet”.

42. Prize for Pizarro : ORO
In Spanish, a “medalla” (medal) might be made from “oro” (gold).

Francisco Pizarro was a Spanish conquistador, the man who led the conquest of the Incan Empire in 1533. Pizarro founded the city of Lima in Peru in 1535. Pizarro’s body was laid to rest in Lima after the son of a rival conquistador assassinated him.

43. Gulf War ally : OMAN
Oman lies on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula and is neighbored by the OAE, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Oman is a monarchy, and the official name of the state is the Sultanate of Oman. All of the country’s legislative, executive and judiciary power resides with the hereditary sultan.

The Gulf War was a response to Iraq’s invasion and annexation of Kuwait. The first major ground engagement of the conflict was the Battle Khafji. Saddam Hussein ordered his troops to invade Saudi Arabia from Kuwait, resulting in a brief Iraqi occupation of the Saudi city of Khafji. Coalition air and ground forces regained control of the city after just one night.

46. Occasion for dragon dances : TET
The full name for the New Year holiday in Vietnam is “Tet Nguyen Dan” meaning “Feast of the First Morning”, with the reference being to the arrival of the season of spring. Tet usually falls on the same day as Chinese New Year.

The lion dance is a traditional dance in Chinese cultures in which performers move around in an elaborate lion costume. Apparently we Westerners often mistake the lion for a dragon. The Chinese dragon dance does exist, and is similar, but the dancers perform outside of the costume and hold up the dragon on poles.

48. Cousin of a zebra : ASS
The name “zebra” comes from an old Portuguese word “zevra” meaning “wild ass”. Studies of zebra embryos show that zebras are basically black in color, with white stripes that develop with growth. Before this finding, it was believed they were white, with black stripes.

51. Something that might interrupt a flight, for short : APB
An All Points Bulletin (APB) is a broadcast from one US law enforcement agency to another.

53. “Little ___” : WOMEN
“Little Women” is a novel written by American author Louisa May Alcott. The quartet of little women is Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March. Jo is a tomboy and the main character in the story, and is based on Alcott herself.

60. It’s of no concern to a usurer : INTEREST RATE CAP
“Usury” was originally the name given to the practice of lending money at interest, but the term now refers to lending at excessive rates of interest.

Down
1. Perfume named for Baryshnikov : MISHA
Mikhail “Misha” Baryshnikov started his dancing career with the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad before defecting to Canada in 1974. The only time my wife ever lined up to get an autograph was when she did so outside the stage door after seeing Baryshnikov dance in Syracuse, New York many moons ago. The man is a god in her eyes …

2. Shirley of “Goldfinger” : EATON
The English actress Shirley Eaton was one of the original Bond Girls, and is perhaps one of the most memorable as she appeared as Jill Masterson in “Goldfinger”. It is Masterson who is murdered by covering her body in gold paint.

5. “Mila 18” novelist : URIS
“Mila 18” is a novel by American author Leon Uris that is set during WWII in Warsaw, Poland after the occupation by Germany. The book’s title refers to the bunker that served as headquarters of the Jewish resistance group in the Warsaw Ghetto. The bunker was located at “Ulica Mila 18” (“18 Pleasant Street” in English).

6. Abbr. after many a military name : RET
Retired (ret.)

7. Twenty: Prefix : ICOSA-
The prefix “icosa-” is most often seen in the word “icosahedron”, which describes a polyhedron with 20 faces shaped as equilateral triangles. “Icosa-” comes from the Greek “eikosi” meaning “twenty”.

8. Faboo : NIFTY
The slang “faboo” (also “fabu”) is a shortened version of “fabulous”, and has the same meaning.

9. Go, for one : GAME
Go is a strategy board game that was invented in China over 5,500 years ago. Go’s name in Chinese translates as “encircling game”, which reflects the objective of surrounding the largest area on the board.

11. Model X maker : TESLA
Tesla Motors is a manufacturer of electric vehicles based in Palo Alto, California. Tesla is noted for producing the first electric sports car, called the Tesla Roadster. The company followed the sports car with a luxury sedan, the Model S. The Model S was the world’s best selling plug-in electric vehicle of 2015. The Model S platform was then used for as the base for Tesla’s crossover SUV labeled the Model X.

14. Batman co-creator Bob : KANE
The DC Comics superhero Batman was created in 1939 by Bob Kane and Bill Finger.

15. Memphis- based record label : STAX
Stax Records was founded in 1957 as Satellite Records. The biggest star to record with Stax was the great Otis Redding.

22. Large beer mug : SEIDEL
A “seidel” is a large glass for beer, and is originally a German term.

25. Ad follower? : NAUSEAM
To do something “ad nauseum” is to do so to a ridiculous degree, to the point of nausea. “Ad nauseum” is the Latin for “to sickness”.

26. Hopeless : ALL UP
After an hour, it was all up for me, no hope that I could solve this crossword …

30. Round openings in domes : OCULI
Oculus (plural “oculi”) is the Latin word for “eye”, and is used in architecture for a circular window.

32. French thinker? : TETE
“Tête” is French for “head”.

34. Arteries: Abbr. : RTES
Route (rte.)

37. Seas overseas : MERS
“La mer” is French for “the sea”.

44. “Bird on ___” (Mel Gibson/Goldie Hawn comedy) : A WIRE
“Bird on a Wire” is a fun film released in 1990, starring Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn. The movie title comes from the Leonard Cohen song “Bird on the Wire”.

46. Tin anniversary : TENTH
Some traditional gifts for wedding anniversaries are:

  • 5th: wooden
  • 10th: tin
  • 15th: crystal
  • 20th: china
  • 25th: silver
  • 30th: pearl
  • 40th: ruby
  • 50th: gold
  • 60th: diamond

47. ___-deux : ENTRE
In French, something might perhaps be discussed “entre deux” (between two) or “entre nous” (between us).

48. Fictional title character who declares “How puzzling all these changes are!” : ALICE
Lewis Carroll wrote “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” in 1865, and the sequel called “Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There” in 1871. Because in the second adventure Alice went through a looking glass, the themes were deliberately chosen to be mirror images of the themes in “Wonderland”. Whereas “Wonderland” begins indoors, is set in summer, and uses playing card imagery, “Looking Glass” begins out of doors, is set in winter and uses images from the game of chess.

49. Sub standard? : SONAR
The British developed the first underwater detection system that used sound waves. Research was driven by defence demands during WWI, leading to production of working units in 1922. This new sound detection system was described as using “supersonics”, but for the purpose of secrecy the term was dropped in favor of an acronym. The work was done under the auspices of the Royal Navy’s Anti-Submarine Division, so ASD was combined with the IC from “superson-ic-s” to create the name ASDIC. The navy even went as far as renaming the quartz material at the heart of the technology “ASDivite”. By the time WWII came along, the Americans were producing their own systems and coined the term SONAR, playing off the related application, RADAR. And so the name ASDIC was deep-sixed …

55. Org. with many banned Super Bowl ads : PETA
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is famous for ad campaigns featuring implied nudity, often with celebrities appearing front and center. Networks showing the Super Bowl have been known to ban such ads.

58. Clue follower: Abbr. : DET
Detective (det.)

59. What’s left on a farm? : HAW
“Haw!” is a command given to a trained animal that is hauling something (like a horse or an ox). “Haw!” is used to instruct the animal to turn to the left. The equivalent command for a right turn is “Gee!” Just to confuse things, the same commands are used in the British Isles but with the opposite meanings. That must be pretty unsettling for jet-setting plow horses …

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Ones making the rules? : MEASURING STICKS
16. “Thanks” : I APPRECIATE THAT
17. Passage between Sicily and the toe of Italy : STRAIT OF MESSINA
18. Laughfests : HOOTS
19. Take home, perhaps? : STEAL
20. ___ scripta (statutes) : LEX
21. Blyth of “Mildred Pierce” : ANN
22. Word before or after “what” : SAY
23. Org. opposed to weaving? : MADD
25. Scottish refusal : NAE
27. Band from the East : OBI
29. “1984” concern : TOTALITARIANISM
38. Pre-buffet declaration : I COULD EAT A HORSE
39. Take legal action, say : PURSUE THE MATTER
40. Sheep-counting times : SLEEPLESS NIGHTS
41. Gendered Spanish suffix : -ITA
42. Prize for Pizarro : ORO
43. Gulf War ally : OMAN
46. Occasion for dragon dances : TET
48. Cousin of a zebra : ASS
51. Something that might interrupt a flight, for short : APB
53. “Little ___” : WOMEN
55. Frequent flier : PILOT
57. Didn’t mince words : LAID IT ON THE LINE
60. It’s of no concern to a usurer : INTEREST RATE CAP
61. Showed caution, in a way : TESTED THE WATERS

Down
1. Perfume named for Baryshnikov : MISHA
2. Shirley of “Goldfinger” : EATON
3. It comes with strings attached : APRON
4. Cross words : SPAT
5. “Mila 18” novelist : URIS
6. Abbr. after many a military name : RET
7. Twenty: Prefix : ICOSA-
8. Faboo : NIFTY
9. Go, for one : GAME
10. Whistle blower? : STEAM
11. Model X maker : TESLA
12. “___ complicated” : IT’S
13. Labor day highlight : CHILDBIRTH
14. Batman co-creator Bob : KANE
15. Memphis- based record label : STAX
22. Large beer mug : SEIDEL
24. “Stay” : DO NOT GO
25. Ad follower? : NAUSEAM
26. Hopeless : ALL UP
28. Doesn’t need a thing : IS SET
29. Server’s bread and butter : TIPS
30. Round openings in domes : OCULI
31. Shredded : TORE TO BITS
32. French thinker? : TETE
33. Sounds during a massage : AAHS
34. Arteries: Abbr. : RTES
35. Definitive disclaimer : I AM NOT
36. Just slightly : A HAIR
37. Seas overseas : MERS
44. “Bird on ___” (Mel Gibson/Goldie Hawn comedy) : A WIRE
45. Picked up on : NOTED
46. Tin anniversary : TENTH
47. ___-deux : ENTRE
48. Fictional title character who declares “How puzzling all these changes are!” : ALICE
49. Sub standard? : SONAR
50. Way up : STEPS
51. Hit the ground : ALIT
52. Transparent sheet : PANE
54. More than more : MOST
55. Org. with many banned Super Bowl ads : PETA
56. “Before ___ you go …” : I LET
58. Clue follower: Abbr. : DET
59. What’s left on a farm? : HAW

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9 thoughts on “1021-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 21 Oct 16, Friday”

  1. 21:36, no errors, iPad. This one turned out to be easier than it looked, with all those long "across" entries.

    I'd never heard the words FABOO and SEIDEL.

    And what is "implied nudity"? (I guess I'll have to look for a few of those PETA ads on YouTube.)

    Odd that GEE and HAW should have different meanings in the US and the UK. My grandfather grew up on a farm in the late 1800's and early 1900's and was very good at working with horses. He hated it. Using them to pull farm machinery can be quite dangerous. In fact, more than one of his generation were injured in the process (including one death that I know of). So much for nostalgia …

  2. Okay … I now understand "implied nudity" … and I can see why the ads were banned … 🙂

    My earlier post reminded me of an incident that happened when I was eight: I was asked/told to drive our Farmall F-12 (known as "Effie") from the field back up to the barn. As I pulled into the farmyard, the engine died. I remembered being told not to try to start the thing by myself, but I also knew why: it was started using a detachable crank and, if the engine backfired, it could throw the crank forcefully up at you. Possible injuries included a broken thumb (which could be avoided by putting your thumb on the same side of the crank as your fingers) and a nasty gash in your forehead (as both my dad and my oldest brother could attest). So I held the crank properly and I did my best to keep my head out of harm's way and I turned the engine over and it started right up and … I had forgotten to take the tractor out of gear, so it was coming straight at me. I managed to get out of its way, get around behind it, climb back on, and stop it, but not before one big rear wheel crumpled a fender on the family car. At that point, I drove it to the barn, parked it, turned it off … and ran and hid for four hours. Contrary to my expectations, when they found me, I wasn't punished, but that didn't keep me from being traumatized by the whole experience. So … tractors can be dangerous too … especially if you're absent-minded, bookish, and eight years old …

  3. Like Bill (see his comment at 25D) I had always thought the phrase was spelled "ad nauseum" So much so that until I checked my large dictionary, I thought the puzzler had made an error. But, nope, in the dictionary, there it is with an "a" as the final vowel. As for "gee" and "haw", my father told me that young farm boys drafted during WW I were often much more familiar with those terms than "left" and "right". He recalled the marching cadence count, "hayfoot, strawfoot, belly full of bean soup." And, finally, I had the same reactions as Dave to "faboo", "seidel" and "peta".

  4. Very intimidating but wasn't nearly as difficult as it looked at first glance. Got the bottom 2/3 just fine. I eventually had to look up a thing or two in the upper third to finish the grid. I had misra rather than MISHA for 1D and then riots rather than HOOTS for "Laughfests". Strange because I know Misha is the Russian equivalent for Mike.

    ALL UP for "Hopeless" is a bit of a stretch. I thought STEAL for "Take home" was more jargony as in "I think I'll take this hotel towel home with me.." But baseball is probably a better interpretation.

    I have a French-Canadian friend from Montreal, and he uses the term buffet in French to mean any array or assortment of things. The buffet we refer to (i.e. food) is just a type of buffet in his mind. I know no French so I'll take his word for it.

    Best –

  5. Here in Colorado, it's about 7:45 AM on Saturday and I can't find Bill's blog for today's puzzle, so I'll post my results for it here: 30:03, no errors, iPad. Almost got hung out to dry in the upper left corner, but finally went with a couple of educated guesses that turned out to be correct.

    Now … if I can only stop hyperventilating over the issue of the missing blog …:-)

  6. I was very glad to finish this puzzle, but then, at 20:10 (and no errors) I was disappointed at how bad I got torched by Bill's finishing time!

  7. 22:01, no errors. Interesting that the long entries seemed to be easier than the short entries.

    Too many foreign language entries for my taste. Especially when part of a pun answer, such as TETE (head) for 'French thinker'. My initial thought was Rodin, which of course wouldn't fit.

  8. We finished it without looking anything up. Pretty good, considering how tough it looked at first. I take some pride in the fact that I knew STRAITOFMESSINA as soon as I saw the clue. Chalk it up to a Med cruise in the U. S. Navy. I also remember icosahedron from my geometry teacher in 1955.

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