0627-17 New York Times Crossword Answers 27 Jun 17, Tuesday

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CROSSWORD CONSTRUCTOR: John Guzzetta
THEME: Go Down Swinging
Each of today’s themed answers starts with a type of SWING in baseball:

48A. Fight to the bitter end … or a hint to the starts of 20-, 32- and 40-Across : GO DOWN SWINGING

20A. Slight sense that something is seriously shady : WHIFF OF SCANDAL
32A. One who really brings out the crowds : FAN FAVORITE
40A. Military unit assembled for sudden attack : STRIKE FORCE

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 5m 31s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Exiled leader of 1979 : SHAH
The last Shah of Iran was Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, as he was overthrown in the revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. The post-revolution government sought the extradition of the Shah back to Iran while he was in the United States seeking medical care (he had cancer). His prolonged stay in the United States, recovering from surgery, caused some unrest back in Iran and resentment towards the United States. Some say that this resentment precipitated the storming of the US Embassy in Tehran and the resulting hostage crisis.

10. I.R.S. experts : CPAS
Certified public accountant (CPA)

14. Spotted rodent of South America : PACA
There are two species of rodents called pacas, and both are found in Central and South America. In some parts, paca is considered a gourmet dish.

15. Zoo resident that needs a big tank : HIPPO
The name “hippopotamus” comes from the Greek for “river horse”. Hippos are the third largest land mammals, after elephants and rhinos. The closest living relatives to hippos don’t even live on land. They are the whales and porpoises of the oceans.

16. River of Florence : ARNO
The Arno is the principal river in the Tuscany region of Italy, passing through the cities of Florence and Pisa. Famously the Arno flooded in 1966, the worst flood in the region for centuries. There were numerous deaths and extensive destruction of priceless art treasures, particularly in Florence.

Florence is the capital city of the Tuscany region in Italy. Something from or related to Florence is described as “Florentine”. The city is known as “Firenze” in Italian.

35. Broody rock genre : EMO
The musical genre of “emo” originated in Washington D.C. in the 80s, and takes its name from “emotional hardcore”. “Emo” is also the name given to the associated subculture. Not my cup of tea …

36. “Ye” follower on shoppe signs : OLDE
The word “olde” wasn’t actually used much earlier than the 1920s. “Olde” was introduced to give a quaint antique feel to brand names, shop names etc. as in “Ye Olde Shoppe”.

37. Gene, the singing cowboy : AUTRY
Gene Autry was a so-called singing cowboy who had an incredibly successful career on radio, television and in films starting in the thirties. Autry’s signature song was “Back in the Saddle Again”, and his biggest hit was “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. He also had a hit with his own Christmas song called “Here Comes Santa Claus”. There’s even a town in Oklahoma called Gene Autry, named in his honor. Famously, Autry owned the Los Angeles Angels (now the Anaheim Angels) for many years, from 1961 to 1997.

38. Hitters’ stats : RBIS
Run batted in (RBI)

44. Morales of “Criminal Minds” : ESAI
The actor Esai Morales is best known in the world of film for the 1987 movie “La Bamba”, which depicted the life of Ritchie Valens and his half-brother Bob Morales (played by Esai). On the small screen, Morales plays Lt. Tony Rodriguez on “NYPD Blue” and Joseph Adama on “Caprica”.

“Criminal Minds” is a police drama that has aired on CBS since 2005. The stories revolve around the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit in Quantico, Virginia.

46. Depression-era migrant : OKIE
“Okies” was a derogatory term used during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s for farming families who migrated from Oklahoma (hence the name), Arkansas, Kansas and Texas in search of agricultural jobs in California. The road used by many of these migrant families was Route 66, which is also called “Mother Road”.

55. “Star Trek: T.N.G.” character : WORF
In the television series “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, Mr. Worf is one of the main characters. He is a Klingon officer on the Enterprise, and is played by Michael Dorn. Worf is a unique character in the “Star Trek” franchise in that he also appeared regularly in another “Star Trek” show: “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”.

60. Shakespearean king : LEAR
“King Lear” is one of William Shakespeare’s tragedies. Lear’s three daughters figure prominently in the story line. The three are, in order of age:

  • Goneril
  • Regan
  • Cordelia

61. Artist Warhol : ANDY
American artist Andy Warhol was a leader in the pop art movement that emerged in the mid-1950s. Many of his works became the most expensive paintings ever sold. A 1963 Warhol canvas titled “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)” fetched over 100 million dollars in 2013.

63. Hamlet, for one : DANE
The full title of William Shakespeare’s play that we tend to call “Hamlet” is “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”. It is the most performed of all Shakespeare’s plays and it is also his longest, the only one of his works comprising over 4,000 lines. That’s about a 4-hour sitting in a theater …

Down
3. Antioxidant-rich berry : ACAI
Açaí is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.

4. 24,110 years, for plutonium 239 : HALF-LIFE
The half-life of a radioactive substance is the time it takes for half of the substance to “disappear” due to radioactive decay. So, if a radioactive element has a half-life of say 100 years, then in 100 years 50% of the element will have disappeared, but 50% still remains. In 500 years there will still be over 3% of the material left lying around. That’s one of the terrifying things about nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. The fallout and waste just doesn’t seem to go away …

Plutonium is a very dangerous radioactive element that can accumulate in the bones of the body. There is a relatively stable isotope, plutonium-244, that can be found in nature, but only in trace quantities. Most of the plutonium in the world has been formed in the fission of uranium in a nuclear reaction. Plutonium-239 was the core material used in the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki.

8. Intl. group with two South American members and none in North America : OPEC
The OPEC cartel (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) was formally established in 1960 and has been headquartered in Vienna since 1965. The US is actually the third largest oil producer in the world (after Russia and Saudi Arabia). One reason America isn’t in OPEC, even though we are a big producer, is that we import a lot more than we export. But we all probably knew that already …

9. “When Harry Met Sally …” writer Ephron : NORA
Nora Ephron had many talents, including writing film scripts and novels. Many of the movies that she wrote, she also directed. These would include some of my favorite movies of all time like “Sleepless in Seattle”, “You’ve Got Mail” and most recently, the wonderful “Julie & Julia”. And, did you know that Nora Ephron’s second marriage was to journalist Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame? She wrote an autobiographical novel based on her life with Bernstein, dealing in particular with Bernstein’s affair with the daughter of British Prime Minister James Callaghan.

“When Harry Met Sally… “ is a 1989 romantic comedy starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in the title roles. This marvelous film was written by the late Nora Ephron and directed by Rob Reiner.

10. Exercise on an elliptical machine, informally : CARDIO
Aerobic exercise is moderate activity designed to be at a low enough intensity that very little anaerobic activity takes place. In other words, the exercise is at a level where oxygen is taken in to burn fat and carbohydrate and to create energy. Anaerobic exercise is more intense and uses carbohydrate (glycogen) in the muscle to provide energy, without the need for oxygen. Aerobics are also called “cardio” as the exercises strengthen the cardiovascular system.

11. Middle school math class : PRE-ALGEBRA
Algebra (alg.) is a branch of mathematics in which arithmetical operations are performed on variables rather than specific numbers (x,y etc). The term “algebra” comes from the Arabic “al jebr” meaning “reunion of broken parts”.

12. Annoyingly focused : ANAL
The use of the word “anal” to mean “stiffly conventional” is an abbreviated form of “anal-retentive”, a term derived from Freudian psychology. Regardless, I’m not a big fan of the term …

13. What astronomers call a day on Mars : SOL
A solar day on Mars is referred to as a “sol” by astronomers. One sol is equivalent to just under 24 hours 40 minutes here on Earth.

21. Greek salad topper : FETA
Feta is a Greek cheese made from sheep’s milk, or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk. The cheese is salted and cured in a brine solution for several months before it is eaten.

22. Florida State athlete, slangily : ‘NOLE
Florida State University (FSU) is located in Tallahassee, the state capital of Florida. The school’s athletic teams are known as the Seminoles (sometimes “the ‘Noles”). The team name was chosen in 1947 by the students in a vote, and alludes to the Seminole people who originally lived in the state. Most of the Seminole now live in Oklahoma, after their forced relocation by the US government in the 1840s.

25. Tortilla chip dip : SALSA
“Tortilla” translates from Spanish literally as “little cake”.

26. What the River Styx forms the boundary of : UNDERWORLD
The River Styx in Greek mythology was the river that formed the boundary between the Earth and the Underworld (or Hades). The souls of the newly dead had to cross the River Styx in a ferry boat piloted by Charon. Traditionally, a coin would be placed in the mouths of the dead “to pay the ferryman”.

27. Bandleader Shaw : ARTIE
Artie Shaw was a composer, bandleader and a jazz clarinetist. Shaw’s real name was Arthur Jacob Arshawsky, born in New York City in 1910. One of his many claims to fame is that he (a white bandleader) hired Billie Holiday (a black vocalist) and toured the segregated South in the late thirties. Holiday chose to leave the band though, due to hostility from Southern audiences back then. Artie Shaw was married eight times in all. The list of his wives includes the actresses Lana Turner and Ava Gardner, as well as Betty Kern, daughter of songwriter Jerome Kern.

28. Quaint dagger : DIRK
“Dirk” is a Scots word for dagger, and is the name given to a knife that is worn hanging from a belt in traditional dress that includes a kilt. The dagger worn in a Scotsman’s sock isn’t a dirk (a popular misconception) but rather is called a “sgian dubh”, which translates as “a black or hidden knife”.

29. Eye woe : STYE
A stye is a bacterial infection of the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes, and is also known as a hordeolum.

30. ___ curiae (friends of the court) : AMICI
An amicus curiae is a “friend of the court”, and is a concept that originated in Roman law. An amicus curiae is someone who assists a court in a decision, without being a party to the case in question.

34. “___ is not to reason why” : OURS
Alfred, Lord Tennyson was the Poet Laureate during for much of the reign of Queen Victoria. There are many phrases we use today that were first penned by Tennyson, including:

  • – ‘Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all
  • – Theirs not to reason why, / Theirs but to do and die

40. State flower of Utah : SEGO
The sego lily is the state flower of Utah, and is a perennial plant found throughout the Western United States.

41. Ireland’s Sinn ___ : FEIN
Sinn Féin is a political party in Ireland, largely representing the Catholic community in Northern Ireland, although representation in the Republic of Ireland has increased in recent years. It is led by Gerry Adams, and has the stated aim of uniting Ireland north and south. Sinn Féin is Irish for “we ourselves”. It is currently the second largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

49. Rapper Kanye : WEST
Kanye West is a rap singer who was born in Atlanta and raised in Chicago. He also spent some time in Nanjing, China as a child, where his mother was teaching as part of an exchange program. West is married to reality star Kim Kardashian.

50. California’s ___ Valley : NAPA
The first commercial winery in Napa Valley, California was established way back in 1858. However, premium wine production only dates back to the 1960s, with the region really hitting the big time after its success at the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976. The story of that famous blind wine tasting is told in the entertaining 2008 film “Bottle Shock”.

51. Superhero creator Lee : STAN
Stan Lee did just about everything at Marvel Comics over the years, from writing to being president and chairman of the board. If you like superhero movies based on the characters from Marvel Comics, then you could spend a few hours trying to spot Stan Lee in those films as he has a penchant for making cameo appearances. Lee can be spotted in “X-Men” (2000), “Spider-Man” (2002), “Hulk” (2003), “Fantastic Four” (2005), “Iron Man” (2008) and many other films.

52. Company that was the first in the U.S. to air a TV ad with a gay couple (1994) : IKEA
The furniture chain IKEA was founded by Ingvar Kamprad in 1943, when he was just 17-years-old. IKEA is an acronym standing for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd (don’t forget now!). Elmtaryd was the name of the farm where Ingvar Kamprad grew up, and Agunnaryd is his home parish in Sweden.

54. Circular or spiral motion : GYRE
Every Irish schoolchild has to read “The Second Coming” by W. B. Yeats. And when it comes to interpreting and understanding it, as kids we were in trouble right from the first line:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Because of this poem, I reckon more Irish kids know what a “gyre” is than kids from any other nation! A gyre is a basically a vortex …

55. Org. for which Mike Tyson twice held the heavyweight title : WBA
World Boxing Association (WBA)

The boxer Mike Tyson has said some pretty graphic things about his opponents. For example:

  • About Lennox Lewis: “My main objective is to be professional but to kill him.”
  • To Razor Ruddock: “I’m gonna make you my girlfriend.”
  • About Tyrell Biggs: “He was screaming like my wife.”

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Exiled leader of 1979 : SHAH
5. Sing smoothly : CROON
10. I.R.S. experts : CPAS
14. Spotted rodent of South America : PACA
15. Zoo resident that needs a big tank : HIPPO
16. River of Florence : ARNO
17. And others, for short : ET AL
18. Following : AFTER
19. Word exclaimed with “Get” or “Too” : … REAL
20. Slight sense that something is seriously shady : WHIFF OF SCANDAL
23. Minus : LESS
24. “Texas tea” : OIL
25. Courtroom wear … or concern : SUIT
27. “Just do it” or “I’m lovin’ it” : AD SLOGAN
32. One who really brings out the crowds : FAN FAVORITE
35. Broody rock genre : EMO
36. “Ye” follower on shoppe signs : OLDE
37. Gene, the singing cowboy : AUTRY
38. Hitters’ stats : RBIS
39. Take advantage of : USE
40. Military unit assembled for sudden attack : STRIKE FORCE
42. Generous giving : LARGESSE
44. Morales of “Criminal Minds” : ESAI
45. Jokester : WAG
46. Depression-era migrant : OKIE
48. Fight to the bitter end … or a hint to the starts of 20-, 32- and 40-Across : GO DOWN SWINGING
55. “Star Trek: T.N.G.” character : WORF
56. Stay home for supper : EAT IN
57. “Fine by me” : OKAY
58. Unwelcome bit of mail : BILL
59. Paddle : SPANK
60. Shakespearean king : LEAR
61. Artist Warhol : ANDY
62. Citrusy, e.g. : TANGY
63. Hamlet, for one : DANE

Down
1. Eject, as angry words : SPEW
2. “Thirty days ___ September …” : HATH
3. Antioxidant-rich berry : ACAI
4. 24,110 years, for plutonium 239 : HALF-LIFE
5. Bad state to be in : CHAOS
6. Guitar phrases : RIFFS
7. Chooses : OPTS
8. Intl. group with two South American members and none in North America : OPEC
9. “When Harry Met Sally …” writer Ephron : NORA
10. Exercise on an elliptical machine, informally : CARDIO
11. Middle school math class : PRE-ALGEBRA
12. Annoyingly focused : ANAL
13. What astronomers call a day on Mars : SOL
21. Greek salad topper : FETA
22. Florida State athlete, slangily : ‘NOLE
25. Tortilla chip dip : SALSA
26. What the River Styx forms the boundary of : UNDERWORLD
27. Bandleader Shaw : ARTIE
28. Quaint dagger : DIRK
29. Eye woe : STYE
30. ___ curiae (friends of the court) : AMICI
31. Part of the body associated with sneezing, sniffling and snoring : NOSE
32. Awful-smelling : FOUL
33. Big mixing containers : VATS
34. “___ is not to reason why” : OURS
38. Copper alloy used in jewelry : ROSE GOLD
40. State flower of Utah : SEGO
41. Ireland’s Sinn ___ : FEIN
43. Annoying critic : GADFLY
46. In the red : OWING
47. Broadway’s “___ Boots” : KINKY
48. Enter : GO IN
49. Rapper Kanye : WEST
50. California’s ___ Valley : NAPA
51. Superhero creator Lee : STAN
52. Company that was the first in the U.S. to air a TV ad with a gay couple (1994) : IKEA
53. Indian flatbread : NAAN
54. Circular or spiral motion : GYRE
55. Org. for which Mike Tyson twice held the heavyweight title : WBA

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13 thoughts on “0627-17 New York Times Crossword Answers 27 Jun 17, Tuesday”

  1. Easy one. 9 minutes. Half life implies something never goes away completely. Kind of like throwing a ball at a wall. Since the ball has to travel halfway first, then halfway from that point, then halfway from there….and so on infinitely, it can never actually arrive at the wall.

    Best –

  2. 15:40, with a lucky guess for E in FEIN and ESAI. Also guessed at WORF and got embarrassingly confused about NAPA hahaha. Totally missed the theme, but otherwise an easy puzzle.

    Jeff, half life is more of an exponential decay whereas throwing a ball at a wall (or Achilles chasing a tortoise) is a linear change. Though the value will never truly reach zero for an exponential decay, it could get to 0.000000000000001 which would be basically zero for all practical purposes.

  3. @Chrissy –
    You're right. I actually studied Physics in college and grad school. I was just being a little silly – repeating a comment my high school math teacher used as an example for us, and I saw the word "half life" as an opportunity for a cheap laugh.

    It was his version of Achilles chasing the tortoise. The difference is the tortoise is moving, but the wall isn't. The wall not moving helped illustrate, in effect, that when an infinite series has convergence like 1/2, 1/4, 1/8….it eventually adds up to 1….i.e. it gets there. Achilles chasing the tortoise is also convergent, but the numbers aren't as neat. If the tortoise were speeding up just enough to make a divergent series, Achilles really wouldn't catch him….

    But yes – radioactive decay doesn't decay in a linear manner like that…If I remember correctly, radioactive decay is related to total energy released and therefore dependent on what types of particles are being emitted.

    I hope there's not a pop quiz tomorrow….:)

  4. Had Wit before WAG. Never heard of WORF, NOLE or SEGO (are there flowers in Utah?).

    Didn't notice theme, but it wouldn't have helped since I never heard of WHIFF in sports.

    When it comes to crosswordese, the only valleys in Calfornia are NAPA and Simi.

  5. Easy puzzle except for two near-Naticks: WBA/WORF and WAG/SEGO. Happened to guess right on both. Always like a baseball theme, tho this one didn't particularly help — I just took notice of it.

  6. 11:30, no errors.

    Interesting discussion on half-life. My two cents: Half-life is defined as that period of time during which one half of remaining nuclei will disintegrate. It is a count of the number of disintegrations, independent of energy released. The infinite mathematical series, described by Chrissy and Jeff, assumes that the remaining number can always be divided in half. The mathematical series will approach a limit (zero in this case) as the number of time intervals approaches infinity, but will never reach the limit. In physical reality, a sample of radioactive material will eventually reach the point where there is one, indivisible atom. There is a 50/50 chance that this atom will disintegrate during the next half life. When it disintegrates there will be zero atoms of the original material left.

    To Jeff's point, the amount of radiation energy released by a radioactive sample will be based on the decay rate (i.e. number of disintegrations per second), the number and type of particles/photons emitted, and the energy level of each particle/photon emitted. Half-life and energy release are related, in that materials with short half-lives will release their energy more quickly because of a higher decay rate.

  7. @Bruce B –
    That's a much more eloquent way of explaining half lives. Good point in that you are dealing with a finite number of atoms in a radioactive decay. But the mathematical series I was referring to originally – throwing the ball at the wall – the numbers add up to 1 and not 0. If they added up to 0, the ball would never leave my hand 🙂

    Interesting to revisit this 5 weeks hence.

    Best –

  8. Never saw the theme but did not need it to get a "no errors". I got stuck on my very last entry which turned out to be the W at the WBA/WORF cross. I had to go through the alphabet three times before finally figuring that it had to be the W. Nice puzzle. I liked it.

  9. 9:44 and 2 errors, due to misspelling ACAI. No idea what a PACA is, I tend to steer clear of rodents, no matter where they're native….

    Interesting baseball theme for those into that…

  10. @Jeff: thanks for the kind response. I went back and reread my post, to see where I could clear things up. I should have clarified that I inverted your ball-to-the-wall series to make it look like a radioactive decay curve. In the series you described the ball hits the wall when it covers the total distance from your hand to the wall. In the series I described the ball hits the wall when the remaining distance between the ball and the wall is zero. Just two different ways to describe the same problem.

  11. @Bill: your entry for 4D HALF LIFE, should be corrected. The bomb (Little Boy) dropped on Hiroshima did not contain Plutonium, the core material was enriched Uranium-235. The Nagasaki bomb (Fat Man) contained Plutonium-239.

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