0222-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 22 Feb 16, Monday

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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: Ed Sessa
THEME: Down and Dirty … each of today’s themed answers is in the DOWN-direction, and is something that can be described as DIRTY:

22D. Done in a quick but effective manner … or like the answers to the three starred clues? : DOWN AND DIRTY

4D. *One “as lucky as lucky can be,” in “Mary Poppins” : CHIMNEY SWEEP
9D. *Showing at an adult film theater : X-RATED MOVIE
24D. *Sudden, unprovoked slug : SUCKER PUNCH

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 6m 17s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Indian in many an old western : APACHE
The Apache are a group of Native American peoples originally from the Southwest US. The Navajo are a separate but related people, through culture and language, and are often described as “Apachean”.

7. Prix ___ (restaurant offering) : FIXE
On a restaurant menu, items that are “à la carte” are priced and ordered separately. A menu marked “table d’hôte” (also called “prix fixe”) is a fixed-price menu with limited choice.

11. “Who cares” : MEH
“Meh!” is one of those terms unfamiliar to me outside of crosswords. It is a modern colloquialism meaning “I’m not great, but not bad”. A friendly reader of this blog tells me that the usage of the term increased dramatically after it started to appear regularly in “The Simpsons” starting in the early nineties.

14. More ritzy : POSHER
No one really seems to know the etymology of the word “posh”. The popular assertion that POSH stands for “Port Out, Starboard Home” is completely untrue, and is a story that can actually be traced back to the 1968 movie “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”. The myth is that wealthy British passengers travelling to and from India would book cabins on the port side for the outward journey and the starboard side for the home journey. This trick was supposedly designed to keep their cabins out of the direct sunlight.

The adjective “ritzy” meaning “high quality and luxurious” derives from the opulent Ritz hotels in New York, London, Paris etc.

16. “___ Baba and the 40 Thieves” : ALI
In the folk tale “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”, the title character is a poor woodcutter who discovers the magic words “Open Sesame” that open the thieves’ den.

20. Put-ons : SHAMS
A “sham” is something that is imitation, fake. In the world of bed linens a sham is also imitation and fake, in the sense that it is a decorative cover designed to cover up a regular pillow used for sleeping.

21. The first “R” of R&R : REST
Rest and relaxation/recuperation (R&R)

22. 1/8 fluid ounce : DRAM
The dram is a confusing unit of measurement, I think. It has one value as an ancient unit of mass, and two different values as a modern unit of mass, another value as a unit of fluid volume, and yet another varying value as a measure of Scotch whisky!

25. Fictional Plaza Hotel girl : ELOISE
Kay Thompson wrote the “Eloise” series of children’s books. Kay Thompson actually lived at the Plaza Hotel in New York, the setting she would choose for her “Eloise” stories. Eloise started out as a hit song for Thompson, a success that she parlayed into the book franchise.

27. The “R” of I.R.S. : REVENUE
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was set up during the Civil War to raise money to cover war expenses. Prior to the introduction of income tax in 1862, the government was funded by levies on trade and property.

30. Former “Family Feud” host Richard : DAWSON
English actor Richard Dawson is perhaps best known as the most successful of the many hosts of the television game show “Family Feud” over here in the US. Personally I remember him best for playing Corporal Peter Newkirk on the sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes”. Dawson was married to the famous British sex symbol Diana Dors from 1959 to 1966.

34. When Presidents’ Day is always celebrated: Abbr. : MON
What many of us know today as “Presidents Day” started out life as Washington’s Birthday in 1879. It was originally only observed in the District of Columbia, and on the actual birthday of President Washington, February 22. The holiday was moved to the third Monday in February by Congress in 1971. Paradoxically, this shift means that the holiday takes place between February 15-21, and never on Washington’s actual birthday, the 22nd.

35. 747s, e.g. : JETS
The first jet to be called a “Jumbo” was Boeing’s 747, as it was the first wide-body airliner. This means that it was the first to have seating laid out with two aisles running the length of the plane. The plane also has three decks for part of its length, with the lower deck being used for cargo and galley space, and the upper deck for extra passenger seating. The Airbus A380 is called a “Superjumbo” as it has two full decks of passengers.

36. Japan’s so-called “City of Ten Thousand Shrines” : KYOTO
The city of Kyoto was once the capital of Japan, and in fact the name “Kyoto” means “capital city” in Japanese. Kyoto is sometimes referred to as the City of Ten Thousand Shrines.

38. Immediately, on an order : ASAP
As soon as possible (ASAP)

42. Like Willie Winkie : WEE
“Wee Willie Winkie” is a nursery rhyme from Scotland that starts out:

Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,
Up stairs and down stairs in his night-gown,
Tapping at the window, crying at the lock,
Are the children in their bed, for it’s past ten o’clock?

44. Las Vegas’s home: Abbr. : NEV
Back in the 1800s, the Las Vegas Valley was given its name from the extensive meadows (“las vegas” is Spanish for “the meadows”) present in the area courtesy of the artesian wells drilled by local farmers. Las Vegas was incorporated as a city in 1905, in the days when it was a stopping-off point for pioneers travelling west. It eventually became a railroad town, although with the coming of the railroad growth halted as travelers began to bypass Las Vegas. The city’s tourism industry took off in 1935 with the completion of the nearby Hoover Dam, which is still a popular attraction. Then gambling was legalized, and things really started to move. Vegas was picked, largely by celebrated figures in “the mob”, as a convenient location across the California/Nevada state line that could service the vast population of Los Angeles. As a result, Las Vegas is the most populous US city founded in the 20th century (Chicago is the most populous city founded in the 19th century, just in case you were wondering).

54. Russia’s ___ Mountains : URAL
The eastern side of the Ural Mountains in Russia is generally regarded as the natural divide between the continents of Europe and Asia.

56. Bone below the knee : TIBIA
The tibia is the shin bone, the larger of the two bones right below the knee. The tibia is the strongest weight-bearing bone in the human body. “Tibia” is the Roman name for a Greek flute and it is thought that the shin bone was given the same name because flutes were often fashioned out of the shin bones of animals.

60. “Cool, man!” : RAD!
In “modern lingo”, the term “rad” means “super awesome, super cool”.

66. C minor, for Beethoven’s Fifth : KEY
If I had to name which of Beethoven’s symphonies I listen to most often, at the top of the list comes the 7th followed closely by the 9th, and then the 5th a little further down. But that four-note opening of the 5th … that is superb …

68. Presidential palace in Paris : ELYSEE
The Élysée Palace is the official residence of the French President, and is near the Champs-Élysées in Paris. In the 1800s, there used to be a tunnel between the Élysée Palace and the nearby Tuileries Palace, a tunnel used quite often by Napoleon Bonaparte. While Napoleon lived in the Tuileries Palace, he would meet his mistresses in the Élysée Palace. He was ever the soul of discretion …

Down
2. Winnie-the-___ : POOH
A. A. Milne’s “Winnie-the-Pooh” has been translated into many languages, and is one of the few modern titles for which there is a Latin version. Alexander Lenard had “Winnie ille Pu” published in 1958, and two years later it made it to the New York Times Best Seller List, the only book in the Latin language ever to get that honor.

4. *One “as lucky as lucky can be,” in “Mary Poppins” : CHIMNEY SWEEP
The “Mary Poppins” series of children’s novels was written by Australian-born English writer and actress P. L. Travers. Mary Poppins is a magical children’s nanny with a best friend called Bert, a chimney sweep. In the famous musical film adaptation of the Mary Poppins stories, Poppins is played by Julie Andrews and Bert is played Dick Van Dyke.

5. Kermit creator Jim : HENSON
Jim Henson was a puppeteer, and most famously the creator the Muppets characters. Henson produced his first puppets for a local television station in Hyattsville, Maryland while he was still in high school. As well as the famous Muppet characters, Henson created, operated and voiced the character Yoda in most of the “Star Wars” movies. Henson died from a streptococcal infection in 1990, on the same day that Sammy Davis, Jr. passed away.

Kermit has to be the most readily recognized puppet character created by the late great Jim Henson. Henson came up with Kermit way back in 1955 when he appeared on a puppet show called “Sam and Friends” that aired in Washington, D.C. Kermit is loved so much that he even has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

6. Unit of work : ERG
An erg is a unit of energy or mechanical work. “Erg” comes from the Greek word “ergon” meaning “work”.

7. Fireplace smoke escapes through them : FLUES
The flue in a chimney is a duct that conveys exhaust gases from a fire to the outdoors. An important feature of a flue is that it is adjustable. When starting a fire, the flue should be wide open, maximizing airflow to get help ignition. When the fire is burning, flow through the flue should be more restricted. The flue needs to be open sufficiently to allow smoke and exhaust gases exit, but not too wide so that too much hot air escapes, dragging cold air into the house from elsewhere.

10. Summer hours in N.Y.C. : EDT
Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

11. Native New Zealanders : MAORIS
The Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand. The Māori are eastern Polynesian in origin and began arriving in New Zealand relatively recently, starting sometime in the late 13th century. The word “māori” simply means “normal”, distinguishing the mortal human being from spiritual entities.

12. Texas city on the Mexican border : EL PASO
Although there have been human settlements in the El Paso area for thousands of years, the first European settlement was founded in 1659 by the Spanish. That first community was on the south bank of the Rio Grande, and was called El Paso del Norte (the North Pass). Most of the urban development under Spanish rule took place on the south side of the river, with El Paso del Norte acting as the center of governance for the Spanish for the territory of New Mexico. The Rio Grande was chosen as the border between Mexico and the US in 1848, so most of the city of El Paso del Norte became part of the Mexican state of Chihuahua (and is now called Ciudad Juarez). The area north of the river developed as a US military post, eventually becoming the modern city of El Paso, Texas.

26. Mekong native : LAO
The official name for the country of Laos is the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. In the Lao language, the country’s name is “Meuang Lao”. The French ruled Laos as part of French Indochina, having united three separate Lao kingdoms. As there was a plural of “Lao” entities united into one, the French added the “S” and so today we tend to use “Laos” instead of “Lao”.

The Mekong is the twelfth longest river in the world, at over 2,700 miles in length. It rises in the Tibetan Plateau and empties into the South China Sea at the famed Mekong delta system in Vietnam.

27. Period of British rule in India : RAJ
The period of colonial rule by the British in South Asia from 1858 to 1947 is referred to as the British Raj. Prior to 1858, the area was ruled by a private enterprise, the British East India Company. “Raj” is the Hindi word for “reign”.

33. ___ Trapp family (“The Sound of Music” group) : VON
“The Sound of Music” is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, made into a celebrated movie in 1965 starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The musical is based on “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers”, a memoir by Maria von Trapp. The von Trapp family ended up in Stowe, Vermont after the war, and one family descended from the Vermont von Trapps lives here in the same town in which I live in California.

37. The Parthenon, for one : TEMPLE
The Parthenon is the ruined temple that sits on the Athenian Acropolis. Although the Parthenon was dedicated to the goddess Athena as a sacred building in the days of the Athenian Empire, it was actually used primarily as a treasury. In later centuries, the Parthenon was repurposed as a Christian Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and was also used as a mosque after Ottoman conquest.

39. Emergency transmission : SOS
The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots), although in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so SOS is in effect only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are also mnemonics, introduced after the “SOS” signal was adopted.

46. Northeast Corridor service : AMTRAK
Amtrak is the name used commercially by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation. “Amtrak” comes from a melding of the words “America” and “track”.

47. Veterans Day event : PARADE
Veterans Day used to be known as Armistice Day, and is observed on November 11th each year. This particular date was chosen as the Armistice that ended WWI was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

48. Onetime stage name for Sean Combs : P DIDDY
When Sean John Combs started his rapping career, he used the stage name Puff Daddy. Then he went with P. Diddy, and is now recording simply as Diddy. Having said that, he has to stick with P. Diddy in some countries as he lost a legal battle over use of the simpler “Diddy” name as there is another artist called Richard “Diddy” Dearlove.

52. Smooth sheet material : SATIN
The material known as “satin” takes its name from “Zayton”, the medieval Arabic name for the Chinese port city of Quanzhou. Quanzhou was used for the export of large amounts of silk to Europe.

55. Bar mitzvah or communion : RITE
A Jewish girl becomes a Bat Mitzvah at 12 years of age, the age at which she becomes responsible for her actions. Boys become Bar Mitzvahs at 13. The terms translate into English as daughter and son of the commandments.

The Communion rite is the part of the Mass in the Roman Catholic tradition. The rite involves distribution of the Communion bread (the host, a wafer) to the faithful.

57. Constrictors : BOAS
Boa constrictors are members of the Boidae family of snakes, all of which are non-venomous. Interestingly, the female boa is always larger than the male.

58. Playwright William : INGE
Playwright William Inge had a run of success on Broadway in the early fifties. Inge’s most celebrated work of that time was the play “Picnic”, for which he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. The original 1953 cast of “Picnic” included a young male actor making his debut on Broadway. His name was Paul Newman. Many of Inge’s works are set in the American heartland and so he became known as the “Playwright of the Midwest”.

61. Detroit labor org. : UAW
The United Auto Workers (UAW) was founded to represent workers in auto plants in the Detroit area in 1935. Nowadays the UAW’s membership extends into the aerospace, agriculture and other industries.

62. Buck’s mate : DOE
A male deer is usually called a “buck”, and a female a “doe”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Indian in many an old western : APACHE
7. Prix ___ (restaurant offering) : FIXE
11. “Who cares” : MEH
14. More ritzy : POSHER
15. The Almighty : LORD
16. “___ Baba and the 40 Thieves” : ALI
17. Teasing : POKING FUN AT
19. Decide not to join, with “out” : OPT
20. Put-ons : SHAMS
21. The first “R” of R&R : REST
22. 1/8 fluid ounce : DRAM
23. Things “counted” when taking attendance : NOSES
25. Fictional Plaza Hotel girl : ELOISE
27. The “R” of I.R.S. : REVENUE
30. Former “Family Feud” host Richard : DAWSON
31. Like a game that’s played on the road : AWAY
32. 155, in ancient Rome : CLV
34. When Presidents’ Day is always celebrated: Abbr. : MON
35. 747s, e.g. : JETS
36. Japan’s so-called “City of Ten Thousand Shrines” : KYOTO
38. Immediately, on an order : ASAP
42. Like Willie Winkie : WEE
44. Las Vegas’s home: Abbr. : NEV
45. “Uh-uh” : NOPE
46. Come into view : APPEAR
49. State of thinking : MIND-SET
51. Fabricated : MADE UP
52. Miles per hour, e.g. : SPEED
53. Fall over one’s feet : TRIP
54. Russia’s ___ Mountains : URAL
56. Bone below the knee : TIBIA
60. “Cool, man!” : RAD!
61. Coalition with no infighting : UNITED FRONT
63. Interject : ADD
64. Start of a play : ACT I
65. Power failure : OUTAGE
66. C minor, for Beethoven’s Fifth : KEY
67. Word following “If not now” : … WHEN?
68. Presidential palace in Paris : ELYSEE

Down
1. iTunes Store purchases : APPS
2. Winnie-the-___ : POOH
3. “___ silly question …” : ASK A
4. *One “as lucky as lucky can be,” in “Mary Poppins” : CHIMNEY SWEEP
5. Kermit creator Jim : HENSON
6. Unit of work : ERG
7. Fireplace smoke escapes through them : FLUES
8. + and – particles : IONS
9. *Showing at an adult film theater : X-RATED MOVIE
10. Summer hours in N.Y.C. : EDT
11. Native New Zealanders : MAORIS
12. Texas city on the Mexican border : EL PASO
13. Ones used by the Mafia : HIT MEN
18. Without restraint : FREELY
22. Done in a quick but effective manner … or like the answers to the three starred clues? : DOWN AND DIRTY
24. *Sudden, unprovoked slug : SUCKER PUNCH
26. Mekong native : LAO
27. Period of British rule in India : RAJ
28. Mother sheep : EWE
29. Winery container : VAT
33. ___ Trapp family (“The Sound of Music” group) : VON
37. The Parthenon, for one : TEMPLE
39. Emergency transmission : SOS
40. Gorilla : APE
41. Animal with a collar : PET
43. Water: Fr. : EAU
46. Northeast Corridor service : AMTRAK
47. Veterans Day event : PARADE
48. Onetime stage name for Sean Combs : P DIDDY
50. Shrimper’s catch : NETFUL
52. Smooth sheet material : SATIN
55. Bar mitzvah or communion : RITE
57. Constrictors : BOAS
58. Playwright William : INGE
59. Suit to ___ : A TEE
61. Detroit labor org. : UAW
62. Buck’s mate : DOE

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5 thoughts on “0222-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 22 Feb 16, Monday”

  1. No errors. No erasures. Enjoyed it. I am unsure about 50-Down Shrimper's Catch. Seems like it should be NETFULL as opposed to NETFUL. NETFUL doesn't even sound like a real word. NETFULL I think would be a noun and it seems NETFUL is an attempt to make it into an adjective. Anyone else have a comment on this?

  2. 6:14, no errors. Monday speed test. I might have broken 6 min mark, but entered 50D as POTFUL initially, instead of NETFUL; and MINDFUL in 49A vice MINDSET. All the shrimpers that I know are non-commercial, and use shrimp pots rather than nets.

    Agree with Dale Stewart, NETFUL doesn't seem correct to me either.

  3. 8:41, no errors. In my edition, "…unprovoked slug" was cut off from the 24 A clue, so that was a bit of a problem. Otherwise, fairly easy to do.

    As for NETFUL, I am also weary of the liberties the setters get away with these days. Editing (not to mention taste) remains consistently poor. Time for Shortz to go.

  4. Though I'll admit it looks a bit odd, the word "netful" may be found in various dictionaries. See, for example, the following:

    https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/netful

    Compare also the words "armful", "cupful" and "plateful", all of which are in the dictionaries and look just fine to me.

    All things considered, I would be inclined to say that the setters and their editor have the right of it …

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