0211-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 11 Feb 16, Thursday

QuickLinks:
Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
Solution to today’s SYNDICATED New York Times crossword in all other publications
Solution to today’s New York Times crossword found online at the Seattle Times website
Jump to a complete list of today’s clues and answers

CROSSWORD SETTER: Zhouqin Burnikel
THEME: Initials + Gender … each of today’s themed clues is a common word. But, that word is reinterpreted as a famous person’s initials, followed by that famous person’s gender:

17A. Malady? : MARIE ANTOINETTE (M.A. lady)
22A. Tamale? : TOM ARNOLD (T.A. male)
27D. Roman? : ROY ORBISON (R.O. man)
30D. Legal? : LINDA EVANS (L.E. gal)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 15m 35s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

10. Works at the Guggenheim : OILS
The Guggenheim art museum on Fifth Avenue in New York opened in 1939 as the Museum of Non-Objective Painting. The museum was funded by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation that had been set up by the American businessman and philanthropist for whom the foundation was named. When Guggenheim died in 1952, the New York museum was renamed to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. I’ve only visited the museum once in my life, and I love the building (designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright). The works that I saw there … not so much …

15. Hooch : SAUCE
In the Klondike gold rush, a favorite tipple of the miners was “Hoochinoo”, a liquor made by the native Alaskans. Soon after, “hooch” (also “hootch”) was adopted as a word for cheap whiskey.

17. Malady? : MARIE ANTOINETTE (M.A. lady)
Marie Antoinette was the wife of Louis XVI, the last king of France. Marie Antoinette was the fifteenth of sixteen children born to the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. The marriage to Louis, her second cousin once removed, was arranged while the two were very young. The prospective bride was “handed over” to the French at a border crossing in 1770 and two weeks later she was married to the future king. Marie Antoinette was just 14 years of age at the time, and Louis only a year her senior. Both Louis and Marie Antoinette were doomed to lose their heads courtesy of the guillotine during the French Revolution.

20. 1968 Heineken acquisition : AMSTEL
Amstel is a Dutch beer and brewery, founded in 1870 in Amsterdam. The brewery takes its name from the Amstel river which runs through the city.

Heineken Lager Beer is named for Gerard Adriaan Heineken, the brewer who founded the company in the Netherlands in 1873.

21. Prairie predator : COYOTE
The coyote is a canine found in most of Central and North America. The name “coyote” is Mexican Spanish, in which language it means “trickster”. Coyotes can sometimes mate with domestic dogs, creating hybrid animals known as “coydogs”. Coyotes can also mate with wolves, creating a “coywolf”. South Dakota named the coyote its state animal in 1949.

22. Tamale? : TOM ARNOLD (T.A. male)
The comedian and actor Tom Arnold met his future wife Roseanne Barr when she hired him as a writer for her sitcom “Roseanne”. The couple soon garnered a lot of media attention, largely due to some outrageous behavior. Arnold was then labeled as a second-rate performer. That said, I think that he played a great character in the 1994 Arnold Schwarzenegger movie “True Lies”.

26. ___ II (Gillette razor) : TRAC
Gillette introduced the Trac II in 1971. The Trac II was the world’s first twin-blade razor.

28. Con opener? : NEO-
By definition, a neoconservative (neocon) is a former left-aligned politician who has moved to the right and supports the use of American power and military to bring democracy, liberty, equality and human rights to other countries.

29. Popular fragrance that’s a girl’s name : LOLA
Lola is a fragrance in the Marc Jacob line.

32. One 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 …

37. Outfit for newborns : LAYETTE
A newborn baby’s collection of clothing and accessories is called a “layette”.

39. Adventure’s end? : SILENT E
The end of the word “adventure” is a silent E.

41. Brian who scored “The Lovely Bones” : ENO
Brian Eno was one of the pioneers of the “ambient” genre of music. Eno composed an album in 1978 called “Ambient 1: Music for Airports”, the first in a series of four albums with an ambient theme. Eno named the tracks somewhat inventively: 1/1, 2/1, 2/1 and 2/2.

“The Lovely Bones” is a remarkable film directed by Peter Jackson (of “Lord of the Rings” fame). It stars the incredibly talented Irish actress, Saoirse Ronan, who plays a 14-year-old girl who has been murdered and is living in a surreal “in-between” world that is neither Heaven nor Earth. Often I find computer-generated graphics in movies overpowering and distracting, but this movie uses the technique to create a beautiful backdrop that really brings the story to life.

42. Reddit Q&A session, briefly : AMA
Reddit.com is a networking and news website that started up in 2005. It is essentially a bulletin board system with posts that are voted up and down by users, which determines the ranking of posts. The name “Reddit” is a play on “read it”, as in “I read it on Reddit”. One popular feature of the Reddit site is an online forum that is similar to a press conference. Known as an AMA (for “ask me anything”), participants have included the likes of President Barack Obama, Madonna, Bill Gates, Stephen Colbert and Gordon Ramsay. President Obama’s AMA was so popular that the high level of traffic brought down many parts of the Reddit site.

43. Jimmy Eat World 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 …

Jimmy Eat World is an alternative rock band from Mesa, Arizona.

45. Secret identity of Dick Grayson : ROBIN
Dick Grayson is taken in by Bruce Wayne as his legal ward in the “Batman” universe. Wayne fights crime as Batman, and Grayson assists him as Robin. Grayson’s backstory is that he is the youngest of a family of acrobats. Dick witnesses his whole family being murdered by a mafia boss who is extorting money from the circus where they performed.

47. Perfect Elements maker : SERTA
Serta was founded in 1931 when a group of 13 mattress manufacturers came together, essentially forming a cooperative. Today, the Serta company is owned by eight independent licensees in a similar arrangement.

49. James who can jam : LEBRON
Basketball player LeBron James seems to be in demand for the covers of magazines. James became the first African American man to adorn the front cover of “Vogue” in March 2008. That made him only the third male to make the “Vogue” cover, following Richard Gere and George Clooney.

51. Sports Illustrated’s 2015 Sportsperson of the Year, to fans : SERENA
Serena Williams is the younger of the two Williams sisters playing professional tennis. Serena has won more prize money in her career than any other female athlete.

56. Odyssey, e.g. : MINIVAN
The honda Odyssey is a minivan that has been around since 1994. We had one for many years …

57. ___ Nostra : COSA
Apparently “Cosa Nostra” is the real name for the Italian Mafia. “Cosa Nostra” translates as “our thing” or “this thing of ours”. The term first became public in the US when the FBI managed to turn some members of the American Mafia. The Italian authorities established that “Cosa Nostra” was also used in Sicily when they penetrated the Sicilian Mafia in the 1980s. The term “Mafia” seems to be just a literary invention that has become popular with the public.

63. Big pizza chain, informally : UNO’S
The chain of pizza parlors known today as Uno Chicago Grill used to be called Pizzeria Uno, or just “Uno’s”. Apparently Uno’s created the world’s first deep dish pizza.

Down
1. First name in home humor : ERMA
Erma Bombeck wrote for newspapers for about 35 years, producing more than 4,000 witty and humorous columns describing her home life in suburbia.

3. Monkey ___ : BARS
The “Junglegym” was invented in Chicago in 1920, although today we use the generic term “jungle gym”. Somehow, the phrase “monkey bars” started to be used in the mid-fifties for the same apparatus.

4. “You did WHAT?” reaction : SPIT-TAKE
The comic maneuver in which someone spits out a drink in response to a joke or a surprising statement, that’s called a “spit-take”.

5. Number of churchgoers? : PSALM
The Greek word “psalmoi” originally meant “songs sung to a harp”, and gave us the word “psalms”.

8. Sgt., for example : NCO
An NCO is a non-commissioned officer in the armed forces. Usually such an officer is one who has earned his or her rank by promotion through the enlisted ranks. A good example would be a sergeant.

9. Progressive competitor : GEICO
GEICO was founded in 1936 with a very specific mission, to provide auto insurance for employees of the federal government and their families, hence the name Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO). GEICO is a private company, despite the word “government” in its name. The founders’ idea was to focus on government employees as they believed such a group represented a lower risk profile than the rest of the population. Nowadays any qualifying person can take out a policy with GEICO.

Progressive is a popular auto insurance company, the one that uses the perky character named “Flo” as a spokeswoman. Flo is played by comedienne and actress Stephanie Courtney.

12. Former senator Trent : LOTT
Trent Lott was raised Democrat in Mississippi, but served in Congress as a Republican. Lott ran into trouble for remarks he made that were interpreted as being racially motivated, and ended up resigning in 2007.

13. ___’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. Popeye adopts the little guy and raises him, calling him “Swee’Pea”.

18. Fair-hiring watchdog, for short : EEOC
Equal Opportunity Employment is a term that has been around since 1964 when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was set up by the Civil Rights Act. Title VII of the Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin or religion.

19. Chuck who won four Super Bowl rings : NOLL
Chuck Noll was the head coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1969 to 1991. Noll won the Super Bowl four times in all as head coach, an NFL record.

23. Like quinoa growers : ANDEAN
Quinoa is a grain crop that is more closely related to beetroots and spinach that it is to cereals and grasses. Quinoa is mainly cultivated for its edible seeds, which are high in protein. The seeds are also gluten free, which seems to be a big deal these days. I do like my quinoa …

24. Sleep stage : REM
REM is an acronym standing for Rapid Eye Movement sleep. REM sleep takes up 20-25% of the sleeping hours and is the period associated with one’s most vivid dreams.

26. Fake bill tracer : T-MAN
A T-man is a law-enforcement agent of the US Treasury (T is for Treasury).

27. Roman? : ROY ORBISON (R.O. man)
Roy Orbison had to be one the sickliest looking performers I’ve ever seen. Orbison had a very sallow complexion, pock-marked from teenage acne. The yellowish skin tone came from a severe bout of jaundice as a child. Perhaps poor nutrition affected him and his siblings, because all of them had very poor eyesight, with Roy almost blind and wearing very thick lenses from a very young age. He was also very ashamed of his head of hair, which was almost a ghostly white, and so he dyed it jet black even when he was young. Despite all this, he was immensely popular in his heyday with teenage girls, particularly in Canada and Ireland for some reason. On a tour of Ireland in 1963, the Irish police had to stop one of his performances in order to pull a bevy of local lasses off poor Mr. Orbison …

30. Legal? : LINDA EVANS (L.E. gal)
Linda Evans is an actress probably best known for playing Audra Barkley on TV’s “The Big Valley” in the sixties, and Krystle Carrington on the prime-time soap “Dynasty in the eighties. Evans was married for six years to film producer John Derek, and also had a nine-year relationship with new-age musician Yanni.

31. Something to give a kitty? : ANTE
The “pot” in a card game has been referred to as the kitty since the 1880s. It’s not certain how the name “kitty” evolved but possibly it came from “kit”, the necessary equipment for the game.

36. Knowledge range : KEN
“Ken” is a noun meaning “understanding, perception”. One might say, for example, “half the clues in Saturday’s crossword are beyond my ken, beyond my understanding”.

38. Gifting someone with a clock in China, e.g. : TABOO
The word “taboo” was introduced into English by Captain Cook in his book “A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean”. Cook described “tabu” (likely imitative of a Tongan word that he had heard) as something that was both consecrated and forbidden.

It can be considered bad form to give someone a timepiece as a gift in parts of China. There is a superstition that clocks count the seconds to the recipient’s death.

40. “Marriage Italian-Style” actress : LOREN
Sophia Loren certainly has earned her exalted position in the world of movies. In 1962 Loren won an Oscar for Best Actress for her role in the Italian film “Two Women”, the first actress to win an Academy Award for a non-English speaking performance. She received a second nomination for Best Actress for her role in “Marriage Italian-Style”, another Italian-language movie, released in 1964.

52. Thin iPods : NANOS
The iPod Nano is the successor to the iPod Mini and was introduced to the market at the end of 2005. There have been seven versions of the Nano to date and the current Nano as well as playing tunes is an FM player, records voice memos, has a pedometer and can connect with external devices (like a heart monitor, maybe) using Bluetooth technology.

55. Romanian wedding dance : HORA
The hora is a circle dance that originated in the Balkans. It was brought to Israel by Romanian settlers, and is often performed to traditional, Israeli folk songs. The hora (also horah) is a regular sight at Jewish weddings. Sometimes the honoree at an event is raised on a chair during the hora.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Undergoes recession : EBBS
5. Dining tip? : PRONG
10. Works at the Guggenheim : OILS
14. Cut crops : REAP
15. Hooch : SAUCE
16. Have the answers : KNOW
17. Malady? : MARIE ANTOINETTE (M.A. lady)
20. 1968 Heineken acquisition : AMSTEL
21. Prairie predator : COYOTE
22. Tamale? : TOM ARNOLD (T.A. male)
26. ___ II (Gillette razor) : TRAC
28. Con opener? : NEO-
29. Popular fragrance that’s a girl’s name : LOLA
32. One way to run : AMOK
33. Let in : ADMIT
35. Pain in the neck : KINK
37. Outfit for newborns : LAYETTE
39. Adventure’s end? : SILENT E
41. Brian who scored “The Lovely Bones” : ENO
42. Reddit Q&A session, briefly : AMA
43. Jimmy Eat World genre : EMO
44. Dragon’s locale : DEN
45. Secret identity of Dick Grayson : ROBIN
47. Perfect Elements maker : SERTA
49. James who can jam : LEBRON
51. Sports Illustrated’s 2015 Sportsperson of the Year, to fans : SERENA
54. “Wow!!” : OMIGOSH!
56. Odyssey, e.g. : MINIVAN
57. ___ Nostra : COSA
58. Dweller on the upper Mississippi : IOWAN
60. Hunger indicator : PANG
61. Oodles : A TON
62. Took a shot, say : DRANK
63. Big pizza chain, informally : UNO’S
64. Part of the eye : LENS
65. Dulls, as pain : EASES
66. [You over there!] : PSST!

Down
1. First name in home humor : ERMA
2. Put on a happy face : BEAM
3. Monkey ___ : BARS
4. “You did WHAT?” reaction : SPIT-TAKE
5. Number of churchgoers? : PSALM
6. Appeared (in) : RAN
7. Caught off base : OUT
8. Sgt., for example : NCO
9. Progressive competitor : GEICO
10. “Alrighty then” : OKEY DOKE
11. Keen on : INTO
12. Former senator Trent : LOTT
13. ___’Pea : SWEE
18. Fair-hiring watchdog, for short : EEOC
19. Chuck who won four Super Bowl rings : NOLL
23. Like quinoa growers : ANDEAN
24. Sleep stage : REM
25. Bangs and clangs : NOISES
26. Fake bill tracer : T-MAN
27. Roman? : ROY ORBISON (R.O. man)
30. Legal? : LINDA EVANS (L.E. gal)
31. Something to give a kitty? : ANTE
32. Belgian red, e.g. : ALE
33. Sign on a convenience store window : ATM INSIDE
34. Mindless but addictive app games, e.g. : TIME SINKS
36. Knowledge range : KEN
38. Gifting someone with a clock in China, e.g. : TABOO
40. “Marriage Italian-Style” actress : LOREN
46. They may have many stops : ORGANS
48. Cause to blunder : TRIP UP
49. Like some subway stops : LOCAL
50. Really act out? : EMOTE
52. Thin iPods : NANOS
53. Teen sensation? : ANGST
55. Romanian wedding dance : HORA
56. Equestrian’s handhold : MANE
59. Never-___ (unsuccessful sort) : WAS

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7 thoughts on “0211-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 11 Feb 16, Thursday”

  1. 17:09, no errors. I filled in each theme answer because it was the only thing that seemed to work with the letters I got from crossing entries and, each time, I wondered how on earth it could possibly be related to its clue. After finishing the puzzle, I spent five minutes figuring out the theme, a process further complicated by the presence of six non-theme entries that also had a terminal question mark. A bit confusing. (However, I take solace in the fact that I now know I should not give a clock to anyone in China; this may have saved me from a terrible future gaffe … 🙂

  2. 16:27, no errors. A lot of curveballs today. I was helped by the fact the theme entries became obvious as famous names. My thought was that the theme was the first 2 letters of the first name, it worked for 4 out of 5 entries.

    I will also rest easy, now that I know about the timepiece taboo.

  3. This theme was *beyond stupid*. Even after reading it, it makes not a bit of sense.

    19:26, two errors: couldn't pick out Roy Orbison/Layette.

  4. Quibble re 45 across: While Dick Grayson was indeed the original Robin, I thought it was DC canon that he'd given up that identity years ago in becoming Nightwing (and that other folks had subsequently held down the "Robin" job). If so, shouldn't the clue have said *Former* Secret Identity ? / Dennis Lien

  5. Lame theme, IMO.

    My wife (Taiwanese) tells me that buying shoes for someone indicates a desire for them to leave. No problem.

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