1105-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 5 Nov 16, Saturday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: David Phillips
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 19m 37s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

15. Small parlor piece : SPINET
A spinet is the name given to a smaller version of keyboard instruments, such as the harpsichord, piano or organ. Spinets are still made today, as smaller and cheaper versions of full-size instruments.

17. Household : MENAGE
“Ménage” is the French word for “household”. The familiar term “ménage à trois” translates as “household of three” and is used to describe a domestic arrangement in which three people having sexual relations occupy the same household.

18. Walkman insert : CASSETTE
Walkman is a brand of portable audio and video products manufactured by Sony. The first Walkman was introduced in 1979 and popularized the practice of carrying music around and listening through lightweight headphones.

21. Caribbean island that Columbus visited in 1493 : ST KITTS
Saint Kitts is the more familiar name for Saint Christopher Island, part of the West Indies. Saint Kitts, along with the neighboring island of Nevis, is part of the country known as the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. Saint Kitts has had a troubled history, with the Spanish, British and French all vying for control of the island. Most of the population today is descended from slaves brought onto Saint Kitts to farm tobacco and then sugar cane. Most of the slaves were from Africa, although Irish and Scottish slaves were also used.

23. Foamy drink : LATTE
The term “latte” is an abbreviation of the Italian “caffelatte” meaning “coffee (and) milk”. Note that in the correct spelling of “latte”, the Italian word for milk, there is no accent over the “e”. An accent is often added by mistake when we use the word in English, perhaps meaning to suggest that the word is French.

25. Cicero’s longtime servant and scribe : TIRO
Marcus Tullius Tiro was a slave in the Cicero household in Rome. In Cicero’s writings he refers to Tiro quite often, as he performed the services of a personal assistant. Perhaps as a reward for the quality of his work, Cicero freed Tiro, but the former slave chose to continue working with his master. It is thought that Tiro gathered together and published Cicero’s work after he died. Tiro himself apparently died a free man in 4 BCE, at the ripe old age of 99 years.

27. English county whose seat is Exeter : DEVON
Exeter is a historic city in the county of Devon in the southwest of England. The city takes its name from the river on which it lies, the River Exe.

33. Breaking of a mirror and others : OMENS
There is a superstition that breaking a mirror causes an individual to have seven years of bad luck, which originates from the belief that a mirror reflects the soul. So, breaking of a mirror reflects breaking part of the soul. As the soul was believed to regenerate itself every seven years then one would have to endure seven years of bad luck before the soul could repair itself.

35. Slow-burning firewood : BEECH
Beech wood is prized as firewood as it burns for many hours with a bright flame and is easily split.

37. Nonprofit Broadway production grp. : ANTA
The American National Theater and Academy (ANTA) is a not-for-profit theater producer and training organization. ANTA was set up in 1935 to be the official national theater of the United States, but today its main focus is the National Theater Conservatory at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

38. TV character who said “Help always come when people fight for right” : TONTO
On the television version of “The Lone Ranger”, Tonto was played by the actor Jay Silverheels. Famously, the Lone Ranger’s horse was called Silver and Tonto’s mount was named Scout. But in the early shows, Tonto rode a horse called White Feller.

39. Raid target : PEST
Raid insecticide has been killing bugs since 1956.

43. Character in Uncle Remus tales : BR’ER FOX
Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Fox are characters in the Uncle Remus stories, written by Joel Chandler Harris. The Uncle Remus stories are adaptations of African American folktales that Harris collected across the Southern States. “Br’er” is an abbreviated form of “brother”.

47. Gail ___, inventor of condensed milk : BORDEN
Gail Borden was a land surveyor, and an inventor. As a surveyor, Borden plotted the towns of Houston and Galveston, and collaborated on the first topographical map of Texas, produced in 1835. As an inventor, Borden patented a process for condensing milk by vacuum. He founded the New York Condensed Milk Company in 1857, which eventually was renamed to the Borden Company. Gail Borden passed away in 1874, in Borden, Texas, a town that he himself founded.

50. Other than the Nationals, only current Major League Baseball team never to have played in a World Series : MARINERS
The Seattle Mariners are one of only two Major League teams never to have appeared in a World Series. The other is the Washington Nationals. The Mariners are owned by the Nintendo Corporation of America, making them one of three Major League teams owned by businesses. The other two are the Atlanta Braves (owned by Liberty Media) and the Toronto Blue Jays (owned by Rogers Communications).

Down
7. U.S.P.S. option advertised with the slogan “If it fits, it ships” : FLAT RATE BOX
The US Postal Service (USPS) is a remarkable agency in many ways. For starters, the government’s right and responsibility to establish the Post Office is specifically called out in Article One of the US constitution. Also, the first postmaster general was none other than Benjamin Franklin. And, the USPS operates over 200,000 vehicles, which is the largest vehicle fleet in the world.

8. Northumberland river : TYNE
The River Tyne is in the northeast of England. The most famous city on the river is Newcastle upon Tyne. Newcastle upon Tyne is home to the famous Newcastle Brown Ale.

12. Archenemy of Optimus Prime in “Transformers” movies : MEGATRON
The 2007 blockbuster hit movie “Transformers” was inspired by a line of toys. Toy transformers can be morphed from their mundane looking appearance as a vehicle or perhaps an animal, into a robotic action figure. Not a movie I will be renting though …

29. Only African capital named after a U.S. president : MONROVIA
Monrovia is a the capital of Liberia in West Africa. The city was named for US President James Munroe. Monroe was a supporter of the American Colonization Society, which helped found the colony of Liberia.

Liberia is a country in West Africa. The country was founded in 1847 by former American slaves who were repatriated to Africa. As a result, the Liberian flag resembles the US flag, and the country’s motto is “The love of liberty brought us here”.

31. Enterprise standard : STARDATE
“Stardates” are fictional dates used in the “Star Trek” universe.

The USS Enterprise is a starship in the “Star Trek” universe (pun!). There have been several generations of starship with the name Enterprise, starting with the vessel numbered NCC-1701, which appeared in the original TV series. My favorite “Star Trek” series is “Next Generation”, which features USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D.

36. Device used to detect radio waves : COHERER
The “coherer” was one of the first devices used to detect a radio signal. It consists of a glass tube with an electrode at either end, and metal filings in between those electrodes. In the presence of a radio wave, the metal filings “cohere”, causing a measurable change in the resistance between the electrodes.

340. Popular arts-and-crafts brand : ELMER’S
Elsie the Cow is the mascot of the Borden Company. Elsie first appeared at the New York World’s Fair in 1939, introduced to symbolize the perfect dairy product. She is so famous and respected that she has been awarded the degrees of Doctor of Bovinity, Doctor fo Human Kindness and Doctor of Ecownomics. Elsie was also given a husband named Elmer the Bull. Elmer eventually moved over to the chemical division of Borden where he gave his name to Elmer’s Glue.

46. Black jellybean flavorer : ANISE
Jelly beans are thought to have originated in Boston, and it is documented that they were sent by families and friends of soldiers fighting in the Civil War.

48. Hookups at a gig : AMPS
An electric guitar, for example, needs an amplifier (amp) to take the weak signal created by the vibration of the strings and turn it into a signal powerful enough for a loudspeaker.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Take stock? : SHOPLIFT
9. Undergoes downsizing : SLIMS
14. By hand : MANUALLY
15. Small parlor piece : SPINET
16. Leave basically nothing to chance : OVER-PLAN
17. Household : MENAGE
18. Walkman insert : CASSETTE
19. Martian feature : ICE CAP
20. Support in a confessional : KNEELER
21. Caribbean island that Columbus visited in 1493 : ST KITTS
22. Pollen repositories : SACS
23. Foamy drink : LATTE
25. Cicero’s longtime servant and scribe : TIRO
26. ___ boy : ALTAR
27. English county whose seat is Exeter : DEVON
28. Flatten : SMUSH
32. Just make (out) : EKE
33. Breaking of a mirror and others : OMENS
34. Young studs? : COLTS
35. Slow-burning firewood : BEECH
37. Nonprofit Broadway production grp. : ANTA
38. TV character who said “Help always come when people fight for right” : TONTO
39. Raid target : PEST
43. Character in Uncle Remus tales : BR’ER FOX
45. Comment often preceding “Let’s” : SHALL WE?
47. Gail ___, inventor of condensed milk : BORDEN
48. Emphatic agreement : AMEN AMEN
49. Start a bank, say : AVIATE
50. Other than the Nationals, only current Major League Baseball team never to have played in a World Series : MARINERS
51. Turned to anarchy : RIOTED
52. Conservationist’s field? : PRESERVE
53. Has the gall : DARES
54. Under the gun : STRESSED

Down
1. Lab wear : SMOCKS
2. Premium cigar : HAVANA
3. “Hold it!” : ONE SEC!
4. Compact containers : PURSES
5. Big flap in the fashion industry : LAPEL
6. Threat from a rat : I’LL TELL!
7. U.S.P.S. option advertised with the slogan “If it fits, it ships” : FLAT RATE BOX
8. Northumberland river : TYNE
9. Jot : SPECK
10. Entry in a legislative appropriations bill : LINE ITEM
11. Idle : INACTIVE
12. Archenemy of Optimus Prime in “Transformers” movies : MEGATRON
13. Members of blended families : STEPSONS
15. Hit hard : SMITE
21. Not going by the book? : STREET-SMART
24. Occupied : TAKEN
26. Sighs of relief : AHS
27. “Why did I do that?!” : DOH!
28. Blade holder : SCABBARD
29. Only African capital named after a U.S. president : MONROVIA
30. Intentionally hidden : ULTERIOR
31. Enterprise standard : STARDATE
36. Device used to detect radio waves : COHERER
38. Not flabby : TONED
39. 2013 “Cars” spinoff : PLANES
40. Popular arts-and-crafts brand : ELMER’S
41. Take a sudden turn : SWERVE
42. Prepared for impact : TENSED
44. Grand affairs : FETES
46. Black jellybean flavorer : ANISE
48. Hookups at a gig : AMPS

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6 thoughts on “1105-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 5 Nov 16, Saturday”

  1. 23:00, no errors, iPad. I had a few problems with the upper left, but it was the upper right that really held me up for a while. On the morning after, I've already forgotten most of the details, but I recall that ICECAP was a breakthrough moment, followed by SPECK and LINE ITEM, SLIMS in place of DIETS and DEVON instead of DOVER. MEGATRON was vaguely familiar, but TIRO was new to me. A most enjoyable tussle …

    @Jeff … I was amused by your comments about David Steinberg … what a nerve he has, to be so young …. and so talented … and he's probably handsome, to boot! … 🙂

  2. 23:09, no errors. Was cruising along on this one, possibly on pace to beat Bill's time, but my downfall was the upper right corner. I also placed DIETS in 9A, initially; as well as PASTE in 15D and considered DOVER in 27A.

    17A MENAGE falls into my pet peeve category, requiring knowledge of a foreign language in an English language word puzzle. C'est la vie. It does bring back an old memory of Robin Williams offering a plate of cheese to two other people and asking 'Fromage a trois?'.

    My two boys were fully involved in Masters of the Universe; but it was so long ago that MEGATRON was but a faint memory.

  3. Yes, NE corner was toughest, but ultimately gettable. The "R" in the MEGATRON/TIRO cross was the last letter to go in. A good Saturday exercise.

    BruceB: Probably not relevant, but Menage [household, or family]`a Trois is a good, inexpensive Chardonnay, but it needs to be well-chilled.

  4. Upper right was my undoing. I couldn't get past DIETS. I had STEPSONS and DEVON but guessed STJOHNS. I'm pleased with my performance on the rest of the puzzle, though. Saturdays are tough for me and I almost got there. It keeps me coming back for more.

  5. Got 'em all with no help. STKITTS seemed like the right answer, so we plugged it in. I KNOW my geography. My knowledge of rivers, however, is weak. TYNE had to be a guess from some crosses. Somehow I knew MENAGE, probably from looking it up in a previous puzzle. We had an argument over SMUSH vs. SMASH, but SMASH would have required an ALTERIOR motive, and we had never heard of one. This was a good workout, with no highly misleading clues.

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