1102-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 2 Nov 16, Wednesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Andrew Kingsley
THEME: A Mad Hatter Riddle
Today’s themed answers give us a riddle, and it’s answer:

18A. Start of a Mad Hatter riddle that went unanswered : WHY IS A RAVEN LIKE …
23A. End of the riddle : … A WRITING DESK?

45A. Start of a possible answer to the riddle : BECAUSE POE WROTE …
50A. End of the answer : … ON BOTH OF THEM

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 9m 15s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. African land whose capital is N’Djamena : CHAD
The landlocked African country called Chad takes its name from the second largest wetland on the continent, which is known as Lake Chad.

12. Like Inverted Jenny postage stamps : RARE
The US Post Office issued a 24-cent stamp in 1918 depicting a Curtiss Jenny JN-4HM biplane, which was the aircraft used for the agency’s fledgling (pun!) airmail service. Several sheets of stamps were misprinted, and all except one were destroyed. That sheet of 100 stamps show the biplane upside down. The “Inverted Jenny” stamp is now one of the most sought after in all of philately, with examples fetching almost $1 million at auction.

13. Fuel-yielding rock : SHALE
Shale oil can be extracted from oil shale (!), although the extraction process is more expensive than that used to produce crude oil.

15. Wagering sites, for short : OTBS
Off-Track Betting (OTB) is the legal gambling that takes place on horse races outside of a race track. A betting parlor can be referred to as an OTB.

16. Onetime rival of TWA : PAN AM
Pan American World Airways (usually just “Pan Am”) started out as a mail and passenger service between Key West, Florida and Havana, Cuba in 1927. From very early in the company’s life it was the de facto representative air carrier of the United States. For many years Pan Am’s fleet was built around the Boeing 314 Clipper, a long-range flying boat that was one of the largest aircraft around at the time. Pan Am adopted the Clipper as part of its image, even using “clipper” as the call sign for its flights.

Trans World Airlines (TWA) was a big carrier in the US, but was perhaps even more recognized for its extensive presence in Europe and the Middle East. For many years, especially after the collapse of Pan Am, TWA was considered the unofficial flag carrier for the US. The company started in 1930, the product of a forced merger of Transcontinental Air Transport and Western Air Express. The Transcontinental and Western Air that resulted (the original meaning of the initialism “TWA”) was what the Postmaster General wanted, a bigger airline to which the Postal Service could award airmail contracts.

17. Kelly Clarkson was the first one, informally : IDOL
Apparently singer Kelly Clarkson was the first winner of “American Idol”. That’s all I know …

18. Start of a Mad Hatter riddle that went unanswered : WHY IS A RAVEN LIKE …
23. End of the riddle : … A WRITING DESK?
In Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, the Mad Hatter makes his first appearance in a chapter called “A Mad Tea-Party”. This event is usually described as “The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party”, even though the Mad Hatter was just a guest. The host was the March Hare. In fact, the phrase “mad Hatter” doesn’t appear anywhere in Lewis Carroll’s novel, although the character, the Hatter (and sometimes “Hatta”), is described as mad.

21. After the N.F.L., the most-watched sports org. on U.S. television : NASCAR
National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR)

22. Just dandy : A-OK
Our term “A-OK” is supposedly an abbreviation for “A(ll systems are) OK”, and arose in the sixties during the Space Program.

33. Small European finch : SERIN
The birds known as serins form a whole group of small finches, a group that includes canaries

37. All-time best-selling Frank Sinatra album (1993) : DUETS
Frank Sinatra recorded the album “Duets” in 1993 and “Duets II” in 1994. Both of these marvelous sets of recordings featured Sinatra performing with another celebrity singer. However, some folks felt “conned” as the duets didn’t involve Sinatra and the second artist singing together. Instead, the tracks were made using vocal parts pre-recorded by Sinatra.

39. Marcel Duchamp’s art style : DADA
Dadaism thrived during and just after WWI, and was an anti-war, anti-bourgeois and anti-art culture. The movement began in Zurich, Switzerland started by a group of artists and writers who met to discuss art and put on performances in the Cabaret Voltaire, frequently expressing disgust at the war that was raging across Europe.

Marcel Duchamp was a French artist whose works are associated with the Dadaist and Surrealist movements. One of his most celebrated “works” is simply what he called “readymade” art, a urinal which he titled “Fountain”. Even though this work is considered to be “a major landmark in 20th century art”, the original that was submitted for exhibition was never actually displayed and had been lost forever. Replicas were commissioned by Duchamp, and are on display in many museums around the world. I have no further comment …

40. Sign before Taurus : ARIES
Aries the Ram is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, and is named after the constellation. Your birth sign is Aries if you were born between March 21 and April 20, but if you are an Aries you would know that! “Aries” is the Latin word for “ram”.

Taurus is the birth sign for those born between April 21st and June 16th. “Taurus” is Latin for “bull”.

42. Anglers’ aids : LURES
We use the verb “to angle” to mean “to fish” because “angel” was an Old English word for a hook.

44. School of whales : GAM
Yep, a group of whales can be called a “gam” as well as a “pod”.

45. Start of a possible answer to the riddle : BECAUSE POE WROTE …
50. End of the answer : … ON BOTH OF THEM
“The Raven” is a narrative poem by Edgar Allan Poe that tells of a student who has lost the love of his life, Lenore. A raven enters the student’s bedchamber and perches on a bust of Pallas. The raven can talk, to the student’s surprise, but says nothing but the word “nevermore” (“quoth the raven, ‘Nevermore’”). As the student questions all aspects of his life, the raven taunts him with the same comment, “nevermore”. Finally the student decides that his soul is trapped beneath the raven’s shadow and shall be lifted “nevermore” …

48. Org. in “Argo” : CIA
“Argo” is a 2012 movie that is based on the true story of the rescue of six diplomats hiding out during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The film was directed by and stars Ben Affleck and is produced by Grant Heslov and George Clooney, the same pair who produced the excellent “Good Night, and Good Luck”. I saw “Argo” recently and recommend it highly, although I found the scenes of religious fervor pretty frightening …

56. 1956 crisis site : SUEZ
The Suez Crisis of 1956 came about when President Nasser of Egypt decided to nationalize the Suez Canal, a response to a withdrawal of funds by Britain and the US for the building of the Aswan Dam. Egypt then refused to allow any Israeli shipping the use the canal. With British and French support, Israel invaded the Sinai in October 1956, starting the military conflict. Combined British, French and Israeli forces eventually took control of the Suez Canal, which was viewed as a military success but a political disaster. The United Nations, led by the US, pressured the British, French and Israelis to withdraw.

58. Muscat’s land : OMAN
Muscat is the capital of Oman, and lies on the northeast coast of the state on the Gulf of Oman, a branch of the Persian Gulf.

63. Sellers had three in “Dr. Strangelove” : ROLES
“Dr. Strangelove” is a black comedy directed and produced by Stanley Kubrick, released in 1964. The big star in the film is the great Peter Sellers, who plays three key roles. The full name of the movie is “Dr. Strangelove or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”.

64. Smoke an e-cigarette : VAPE
An electronic cigarette (also called “e-cigarette”) is a battery powered device that resembles a real cigarette. The e-cigarette vaporizes a solution that contains nicotine, forming a vapor that resembles smoke. The vapor is inhaled, delivering the nicotine into the body. The assumption is that an e-cigarette is healthier than a regular cigarette as the inhaled vapor is less harmful than inhaled smoke.

65. Polo Grounds great Mel : OTT
At 5′ 9″, Mel Ott weighed just 170 lb (I don’t think he took steroids!) and yet he was the first National League player to hit over 500 home runs. Sadly, Ott died in a car accident in New Orleans in 1958 when he was only 49 years old.

The original Polo Grounds in New York city was built in 1876 and as one might expect, it was used to play polo. The property was leased in 1880 by the New York Metropolitans and was converted into a baseball stadium. Over the years, the stadium was replaced, three times in all, but the “Polo Grounds” name was retained.

67. Comic Con, for one : EXPO
San Diego’s Comic-Con was founded in 1970 as the Golden State Comic Book Convention. Held over four days each summer, apparently Comic-Con is the largest show in North America.

Down
1. Feature of the Budweiser logo : CROWN
The American beer called Budweiser (often shortened to “Bud”) is named for the Czech town of Budweis (“České Budějovice” in Czech). The name is the subject of a dispute as here is an original Czech beer with a similar name, Budweiser Budvar. American Budweiser is sold in most European countries as “Bud”.

2. Kind of yoga : HATHA
Hatha yoga is a yoga system developed in 15th century India. Traditional Hatha yoga is a more “complete” practice than often encountered in the west, involving not just exercise but also meditation and relaxation.

3. “We have the meats” chain : ARBY’S
The Arby’s chain of fast food restaurants was founded in 1964 by two brothers, Forrest and Leroy Raffel. The name “Arby’s” is a homonym of “RB’s”, standing for “Raffel Brothers”.

4. “Two Women” director : DE SICA
Vittoria De Sica was an Italian director and actor. De Sica was director of the film “The Bicycle Thief”, released in 1948. Many deem “The Bicycle Thief” to be the greatest movie ever made.

6. Del Rey with the album “Ultraviolence” : LANA
Lana Del Rey is the stage name of singer/songwriter Elizabeth Grant. Del Rey calls herself a “self-styled gangsta Nancy Sinatra”. Nice …

7. Norway’s patron saint : OLAV
Of the many kings of Norway named Olaf/Olav (and there have been five), Olaf II is perhaps the most celebrated as he was canonized and made patron saint of the country. Olaf II was king from 1015 to 1028 and was known as “Olaf the Big” (or Olaf the Fat) during his reign. Today he is more commonly referred to as “Olaf the Holy”. After Olaf died he was given the title of Rex Perpetuus Norvegiae, which is Latin for “Norway’s Eternal King”.

9. Warrior monk of sci-fi : JEDI
The Jedi are the “good guys” in the “Star Wars” series of movies. The most famous Jedi knights from the films are Obi-Wan Kenobi (played by Alec Guinness, and later Ewan McGregor) and Yoda (voiced by Frank Oz). Well, they’re my favorites anyway …

10. Bad way to run : 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 …

11. Underground pest : MOLE
One of the more commonly known facts about my native Ireland is that there are no snakes in the country. A less known fact is that there are no moles either. There are plenty of snakes and moles in Britain, just a few miles away. Over a pint we tend to give the credit to Saint Patrick, but the last ice age is more likely the responsible party …

20. Often-rummy holiday drinks : NOGS
It’s not really clear where the term “nog” (as in “eggnog”) comes from although it might derive from the word “noggin”, which was originally a small wooden cup that was long associated with alcoholic drinks.

25. Bridgegate problem : TIE-UP
“Bridgegate” is a familiar name given to the Fort Lee lane closure scandal that took place in 2013. Some toll lanes on the George Washington Bridge were closed in order to deliberately create traffic jams in Fort Lee, New Jersey under the direction of staff members in Governor Chris Christie’s office. It is likely that the fallout from the scandal was a factor in Governor Christie’s unsuccessful bid to become the Republican candidate for US President in the 2016 election.

27. First novel in Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle : ERAGON
Christopher Paolini began writing his best-selling fantasy story “Eragon” at the age of 15. Christopher’s parents, when they read the final version two years later, they decided to self-publish it, and supported Christopher as he toured the US promoting the novel. It was eventually republished by Alfred A. Knopf in 2003, and became the second-best-selling children’s paperback of 2005. The book was adapted for the big screen in 2006. I’d call that a success story …

28. Give Xanax, say : SEDATE
Xanax is a brand name of the anti-anxiety drug alprazolam. Xanax is one of the most commonly misused prescription drugs in the US, with wide acceptance in the illegal recreational drug market.

29. “Hipster doofus” on “Seinfeld” : KRAMER
Cosmo Kramer is the outrageous character played by Michael Richards on “Seinfeld”. “Seinfeld” co-creator, Larry David, introduced Kramer into the story, basing the character on real-life comedian Kenny Kramer who used to live across the hall from him.

30. ___ Spring (2010s movement) : ARAB
The term “Arab Spring” has been applied to the wave of protests, riots and civil wars that impacted the Arab world for 2010 to 2012. The uprisings were sparked by the Tunisian Revolution at the end of 2010 that led to the ouster of the longtime president and the institution of democratic elections. The period of instability that followed in some Arab League countries has been dubbed the “Arab Winter”.

31. Obama follower? : -CARE
The correct name for what has been dubbed “Obamacare” is the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (ACA).

32. “The Divine Comedy,” e.g. : EPIC
Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy” is an epic poem dating back to the 14th century. The first part of that epic is “Inferno”, which is the Italian word for “Hell”. In the poem, Dante is led on a journey by the poet Virgil, starting at the gates of Hell on which are written the famous words “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here”.

36. Knit item at a social : TEA COZY
A tea cozy is an insulated cover for a teapot, something to keep the tea hot. I don’t know what I’d do without my tea cosy/cozy …

41. Swords or cups, in tarot : SUIT
Tarot cards have been around since the mid-1400s, and for centuries were simply used for entertainment as a game. It has only been since the late 1800s that the cards have been used by fortune tellers to predict the future. The list of tarot cards includes the Wheel of Fortune, the Hanged Man and the Lovers.

43. ___’Pea : SWEE
Originally Popeye used the nickname “Swee’pea” to address his girlfriend Olive Oyl. Then along comes a baby, found on Popeye’s doorstep.

46. Much of North Africa : SAHARA
The name “Sahara” means “greatest desert” in Arabic and it is just that, a great desert covering almost 4 million square miles of Northern Africa. That’s almost the size of the United States.

50. Viking Ship Museum city : OSLO
The most famous exhibit in Oslo’s Viking Ship Museum is the completely intact Oseberg ship. Named for the farm where it was discovered, the Oseberg ship was excavated from a large burial mound that dates back to 834 AD. The interment is an example of a “ship burial”, in which a ship was used as a container for a dead body and associated grave goods. The Oseberg ship included the bodies of two elderly females, one of which may have been included as a human sacrifice.

51. Night, in Nantes : NUIT
Nantes is a beautiful city located on the delta of the Loire, Erdre and Sèvre rivers. It has the well deserved nickname of “The Venice of the West”. I had the privilege of visiting Nantes a couple of times on business, and I can attest that it really is a charming city …

52. Martial arts award : BELT
“Martial arts” are various fighting traditions and systems used in combat or simply to promote physical well-being. The term ultimately derives from Latin and means “Arts of Mars”, a reference to Mars, the Roman god of war.

55. Diez minus siete : TRES
In Spanish, “diez” (ten) minus “siete” (seven) is “tres” (three).

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. African land whose capital is N’Djamena : CHAD
5. Clumsy sort : CLOD
9. Printer problem : JAM
12. Like Inverted Jenny postage stamps : RARE
13. Fuel-yielding rock : SHALE
14. “I guess you didn’t get the ___” : MEMO
15. Wagering sites, for short : OTBS
16. Onetime rival of TWA : PAN AM
17. Kelly Clarkson was the first one, informally : IDOL
18. Start of a Mad Hatter riddle that went unanswered : WHY IS A RAVEN LIKE …
21. After the N.F.L., the most-watched sports org. on U.S. television : NASCAR
22. Just dandy : A-OK
23. End of the riddle : … A WRITING DESK?
30. Golf or tennis coup : ACE
33. Small European finch : SERIN
34. Not so risky : SURER
35. Totally absorbed : RAPT
37. All-time best-selling Frank Sinatra album (1993) : DUETS
39. Marcel Duchamp’s art style : DADA
40. Sign before Taurus : ARIES
42. Anglers’ aids : LURES
44. School of whales : GAM
45. Start of a possible answer to the riddle : BECAUSE POE WROTE …
48. Org. in “Argo” : CIA
49. Typical user of a transistor radio : TEENER
50. End of the answer : … ON BOTH OF THEM
56. 1956 crisis site : SUEZ
57. Be nuts about : ADORE
58. Muscat’s land : OMAN
62. Flower that symbolizes purity : LILY
63. Sellers had three in “Dr. Strangelove” : ROLES
64. Smoke an e-cigarette : VAPE
65. Polo Grounds great Mel : OTT
66. Flat-bottomed boats of old : ARKS
67. Comic Con, for one : EXPO

Down
1. Feature of the Budweiser logo : CROWN
2. Kind of yoga : HATHA
3. “We have the meats” chain : ARBY’S
4. “Two Women” director : DE SICA
5. Blacken on a grill : CHAR
6. Del Rey with the album “Ultraviolence” : LANA
7. Norway’s patron saint : OLAV
8. Lower in status : DEMEAN
9. Warrior monk of sci-fi : JEDI
10. Bad way to run : AMOK
11. Underground pest : MOLE
13. Traded verbal barbs : SPARRED
14. Caramel bite from Hershey : MILK DUD
19. Dust-creating tools : SAWS
20. Often-rummy holiday drinks : NOGS
24. “Go me!” : I RULE!
25. Bridgegate problem : TIE-UP
26. It’s a start : INTRO
27. First novel in Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle : ERAGON
28. Give Xanax, say : SEDATE
29. “Hipster doofus” on “Seinfeld” : KRAMER
30. ___ Spring (2010s movement) : ARAB
31. Obama follower? : -CARE
32. “The Divine Comedy,” e.g. : EPIC
36. Knit item at a social : TEA COZY
38. Does a slow burn : SEETHES
41. Swords or cups, in tarot : SUIT
43. ___’Pea : SWEE
46. Much of North Africa : SAHARA
47. Take away : REMOVE
50. Viking Ship Museum city : OSLO
51. Night, in Nantes : NUIT
52. Martial arts award : BELT
53. Landfill emanation : ODOR
54. Much coffeehouse music : FOLK
55. Diez minus siete : TRES
59. Upper limit, for short : MAX
60. Facebook, on an iPhone or Galaxy : APP
61. Prefix with classical : NEO-

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9 thoughts on “1102-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 2 Nov 16, Wednesday”

  1. Took me a bit to get this one. I finally had to guess the N of TEENER/ERAGON. I'm not familiar with the book nor the word for a teen as a TEENER. I would think a typical user of a transistor radio would be someone in a time machine from a few decades ago.

    I saw a couple at customs in Mexico once have their e-cigarettes taken from them (almost). Apparently you're not allowed to bring them into the country. I never found out why that is, but ultimately the man in customs let them go with a warning. Odd.

    It's no small miracle that a snake has never accidentally made its way into Ireland. Yet another reason to want to visit there.

    Best –

  2. No errors. My final fill-in was the G of GAM. I did not know the title of the novel either. GAM just "sounded" right and I got lucky.

  3. 16:44, 3 errors. 49 ACROSS is the worst clue and answer in recent memory. *Nobody* uses transistor radios, least of all cellphone-lade teens. WTF was THAT about???

  4. I originally had "geezer" for "teener" and still feel that would be a better answer. I ended up getting them all except "gam." I guessed "dam." Pretty "dam" good puzzle otherwise.

  5. I agree with everyone else about the word TEENER. I knew it probably had to be a 50's-60's answer since that was the era of transistor radios. But still, TEENER was just not a term anyone ever used to my knowledge. I first wrote in TEENIE as there was the common term "teenie-bopper" in use at that time. Only the crossing words ultimately straightened out the answer on this one.

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