1229-10: New York Times Crossword Answers 29 Dec 10, Wednesday

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THEME: TILDE … the puzzle has a distinct Mexican/Spanish feel, and there are four squares that contain the letter “ñ”, an “n” with a tilde i.e. PIÑA COLADA/NIÑA, JALAPEÑO PEPPERS/PIÑATA, MAÑANA, SEÑOR/PIÑON/AÑOS
COMPLETION TIME: 12m 26s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies

Across
Dr. No: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack15. Key of “The James Bond Theme” : E MINOR
That fabulous James Bond theme was written by Monty Norman, at least according to the courts. As royalties are a big deal for this oft-played piece, copyright ownership has been disputed twice in legal proceedings. John Barry, who is credited with arranging the theme for the first James Bond movie, “Dr. No” has contended that he composed the music himself and didn’t just arrange it.

16. Bathe : LAVE
“To lave” is to “to wash, bathe”, from the Latin “lavare” meaning “to wash”.

Big Ben Clock Wall Poster17. Big ___ : BEN
As most people know these days, Big Ben is the nickname for the large bell in the Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster (aka the Houses of Parliament). Big Ben’s official name is the Great Bell, and there is some debate about the origins of the nickname. It may be named after Sir Benjamin Hall who oversaw the bell’s installation, or perhaps the English heavyweight champion of the day, Benjamin Caunt.

18. Margarita alternatives : PINA COLADAS
Piña colada is a Spanish term which translates into “strained pineapple”. The cocktail was introduced in the Caribe Hilton in 1954, and since 1978 it has been the official beverage of Puerto Rico. Yum …

Welcome Fabulous Las Vegas Poster Sign Nevada 857020. Spanish for “the meadows” : LAS VEGAS
Back in the 1800s, the Las Vegas Valley was given its name from the extensive meadows (“las vegas” is Spanish for “the meadows”) present courtesy of the artesian wells drilled by the 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, still a popular tourist 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).

Organic Unwins Dahlia - 150 Seeds - Hardy Annual22. Mexican bloom : DAHLIA
The Dahlia is a flowering plant native to Mexico and Central America. It was named the national flower of Mexico relatively recently, in 1963.

26. They’re caught in Chicago : ELS
The Chicago “L” is the second largest rapid transit system in the US, with the New York City Subway being the largest. It is also the second oldest, again with the New York Subway system having the honor of being around the longest. Note that the official nickname for the system is the “L” (originally short for “elevated railroad”), although the term “El” is also in common use. (especially in crosswords as “ELS”). The L is managed by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA).

The Thin Man Poster Movie C 11x17 William Powell Myrna Loy Maureen O'Sullivan Cesar Romero29. Screen role for Skippy the dog : ASTA
Asta was the wonderful little dog in the superb movie “The Thin Man” starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. In the original story by Dashiell Hammett, Asta was a female Schnauzer, but on screen Asta was played by a wire-haired fox terrier called “Skippy”. Skippy was also the dog in “Bringing up Baby” with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, the one who kept stealing the dinosaur bone. Skippy retired in 1939, so Asta was played by other dogs in the remainder of “The Thin Man” films.

Island Tiki Collection / Tiki of Happiness 7"34. Cook Island carving : TIKI
Cook Island is one of the South Sandwich Islands in the very south of the Atlantic Ocean. The three islands of Bellinghausen, Cook and Thule are collectively known as Southern Thule, a British territory that is claimed by Argentina. The Argentines landed a military party on the previously uninhabited island of Thule in 1976, something the British didn’t find out about until a month later. Rather than eject the Argentines by force, the government of the day opted (unsuccessfully) for diplomacy, and the Argentine military maintained a continuous presence on the island for six years. The Argentines believed that a similar action in the Falkland Islands in 1982 would be just as successful, but British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had a different approach then her predecessor and went to war to resolve the dispute. After the British won the Falklands War, Thatcher sent in the Royal Marines to Thule and ousted the Argentine military.

A tiki is a large carving of wood or stone, resembling a human form, found in Polynesian cultures. The carvings often mark out boundaries of sites sacred to the locals.

36. Card game of Spanish origin : OMBRE
Ombre is a card game, with the name derived from the Spanish word for “man” (“hombre”). Ombre is a trick-taking game, very popular in the 16th century and of significant importance in the history of card games. Ombre was the first game in which trumps were determined by rounds of bidding rather than just the luck of the draw. This of course is an important feature in other games today, most notably bridge.

Jalapeno Chile Pepper - 100 Seeds - GARDEN FRESH PACK!40. Salsa verde ingredients : JALAPENO PEPPERS
“Salsa verde” is simply Spanish for “green sauce”.

43. Barrio outsider : ANGLO
“Barrio” is the name given to an urban district in Spanish speaking countries.

44. At 30° W 30° N, e.g. : ASEA
30° W 30° N is about 1500 miles due west of Morocco, in the Atlantic Ocean. I checked …

Master Lock 175DLH Set-Your-Own Solid Brass Padlock with 2-1/4-Inch Shackle, 2-Inch45. Lock part : HASP
The “hasp” of a lock might refer to more than one thing. The u-shape loop protruding from a padlock is often called a “lock hasp”, for example.

50. Certain Protestant: Abbr. : BAP
One of the defining characteristic of a Baptist denomination within the Christian tradition is the “believer’s baptism”, the baptism of an individual who professes faith. Compare this to “infant baptism” which is the practice of baptizing infants soon after they are born.

53. Golfer Aoki : ISAO
Isao Aoki is one of Japan’s greatest golfers, now playing on the senior circuit. His best finish in a major tournament was runner-up to Jack Nicklaus in the 1980 US Open.

59. Baja buddies : AMIGOS
Baja California is both the most northern, and the most western of the Mexican states.

Ultimate Mariachi61. Like traditional Mexican music : MARIACHI
The name “Mariachi”, used for a typically Mexican popular band, is said to be a corruption of the French word for “marriage” (i.e. “mariage”). This perhaps dates back to the times of Napoleon II when France had political and cultural influence over Spain.

63. Procrastinating words south of the border : MANANA, SENOR
“Tomorrow, sir” …

65. Castor ___ (old comic strip character) : OYL
“Thimble Theater” was the precursor comic strip to the famous “Popeye” drawn by E. C. Seger. Before Popeye came into the story, the characters Castor Oyl and Olive Oyl, brother and sister, were the main protagonists.

Flanders' Book of Faith: Simpsons Library of Wisdom68. Mustachioed “Simpsons” character : NED
Ned Flanders lives next door to Homer on TV’s “The Simpsons”. Ned is voiced by the actor Harry Shearer, and has been around since the very first episode, aired on Fox in 1989.

Signed Kournikova, Anna 8x10 Photo69. Kournikova of tennis : ANNA
Not only is Anna Kournikova a world-class tennis player, but she is also a model. She apparently has a lot of fans because “Kournikova” is one of the most commonly Googled words on the Internet …

71. Carbohydrate suffix : -OSE
The sugar we consume as “sugar” is mainly sucrose that is extracted from sugar cane and sugar beet. We also ingest lactose, naturally occurring in milk, and fructose, naturally occurring in fruit. Other sugars we eat or drink tend to be prepared commercially, the most famous being high-fructose corn syrup, which is glucose that is industrially processed into a glucose/fructose mix. Don’t get me started …

Down
Tortilla Flat - Movie Poster - 11 x 171. “Tortilla Flat” character : PABLO
“Tortilla Flat” was the first of John Steinbeck’s novels to become a commercial success, published in 1935. The novel was made into a film of the same name in 1942 starring Spencer Tracy and Hedy Lamarr (with Akim Tamiroff playing Pablo).

2. Jersey Shore county, appropriately : OCEAN
Ocean County, New Jersey lies on the Atlantic coast between New York City and Atlantic City. Ocean County is actually part of the New York metropolitan area.

Nina Sailing Ship 1-75 by Heller6. One of a 15th-century trio : NINA
The ship we know as the Niña was actually the nickname of a ship actually called the Santa Clara. The nickname “Niña” probably came from the name of her owner, Juan Niña of Moguer.

7. “With the jawbone of ___ …” : AN ASS
According to the Bible, Samson slays one thousand Philistines using “the jawbone of an ass”.

Megan Moccasin in Brown Suede Color: Tan, Size: 78. Comfy footwear, briefly : MOC
Presumably “moc” is short for a moccasin shoe.

13. Tijuana tables : MESAS
“Mesa” is the Spanish for “table” and is of course is how we get the name “mesa”, a geographic feature.

“What’s the difference between a butte and a mesa?” I hear you cry! Both are hills with flat tops, but a mesa has a top that is wider than it is tall. A butte is a much narrower formation, taller than it is wide. Now we know …

21. Virgins of ancient Rome : VESTALS
In Ancient Rome the priestesses of the the goddess Vesta were known as the Vestals. They were also called the Vestal Virgins as they took a vow of chastity, although they weren’t required to be celibate for life. Each priestess entered the order before puberty and promised to live a celibate life for thirty years. The first decade was spent as a student, the second in service, and the final ten years as a teacher. Upon completion of the thirty years the Vestal was free to marry, but few did. Life was a lot better for a woman in the priesthood than it was subject to Roman Law.

25. Island capital of 2.6 million : TAIPEI
“Taipei City” translates from Chinese as “Northern Taiwan City” and indeed is situated at the northern tip of the island of Taiwan.

BURRO PINATA - Free Shipping - Piñata Burro para la fiesta ! Perfect for Stuffing with Candy and Toys28. It requires one who’s blind with a bat : PINATA
Today piñatas are usually made from cardboard, brightly decorated with papier-mâché. Piñatas originated in Mexico, probably among the Aztecs or Mayans. Traditionally a piñata was made out of a clay pot adorned with feathers and ribbons, and filled with small treasures. During religious ceremonies the clay pots would be suspended and broken open so that the contents would spill onto the ground at the feet of a god as an offering.

Greek Neck Amphora Vase - Collectible Figurine Statue Sculpture Figure30. Two-handled vase : AMPHORA
An amphora is a ceramic vase with two handles on either side of a long neck. The name “amphora” is Latin, coming from the Greek meaning “on both sides of the carrier”, referring to the two carrying handles.

31. 1977 double-platinum album by Steely Dan : AJA
Steely Dan’s heyday was in the seventies, when they toured for a couple of years, although the group mainly focused on studio work. The band was formed in 1972 and broke up in 1981. The core of the band reunited in 1993, and they are still going strong today.

32. Sweeping shot : PAN
In photography and cinematography, one “pans” to take a sweeping shot.

33. Medit. land : ALG
Algeria is a huge country, the second largest in Africa (only Sudan is larger), and the largest country on the Mediterranean. The capital of Algeria is Algiers, and the country takes its name from the city.

35. Flattens, for short : KOS
Knocks out …

Bea Arthur Autographed 8x10 Photo37. Arthur of “The Golden Girls” : BEA
Actress Bea Arthur’s most famous roles were on television, as the lead in the “All in the Family” spin-off, “Maude”, and as Dorothy Zbornak in “The Golden Girls”. She also won a Tony for playing Vera Charles on stage in the original cast of “Mame” in 1966.

Monopoly38. $200 Monopoly properties: Abbr. : RRS
The commercial game of Monopoly is supposedly a remake of “The Landlord’s Game” created in 1903 by a Quaker woman called Lizzie Phillips who used it as a tool to explain the single tax theory of American economist Henry George. The Landlord’s Game was first produced commercially in 1924. The incredibly successful derivative game called Monopoly was introduced in 1933 by Charles Darrow, making him a very rich man when Parker Brothers bought the rights to the game just two years later in 1935.

BILLY BOB THORNTON 8x10 COLOUR PHOTO39. Gift in “The Gift” : ESP
“The Gift” is a film produced in 2000, written by Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson. The movie is a supernatural thriller starring Cate Blanchett, and is inspired by the apparent psychic experiences of Thornton’s mother.

42. White House ceremony site : EAST ROOM
The magnificent East Room is the largest room in the White House. It was also one of the last to be finished, so Abigail Adams hung laundry there when it was in its unfinished state. Nowadays of course the East Room is used for entertaining and formal ceremonies.

Bashar Al-Assad (Major World Leaders)47. Syrian presidential family : ASSADS
Dr. Bashar al-Assad is the current President of the Syrian Arab Republic, and is the son of the former President, Hafez al-Assad, whom he replaced in 2001. President Assad is a medical doctor, speaks fluent English and conversational French. Assad was studying ophthalmology in London when he met his wife, an Englishwoman.

Very Best of Richie Valens50. “La ___” : BAMBA
“La Bamba” is a Mexican folk song that was recorded by Ritchie Valens in 1958. “La Bamba” appears in the oft-cited list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time compiled by “Rolling Stone” magazine, and is the only song in the list not sung in English. The song lent its name to the 1987 biopic about the life of Ritchie Valens, starring Lou Diamond Phillips as Valens.

51. At full speed : AMAIN
“Amain” is an old term meaning at great speed, or of great strength.

52. Evergreen with edible nuts : PINON
The piñon is also known as the pinyon pine, and is a tree that grows in the American Southwest and in Mexico. Pinyon nuts (a type of pine nut) are quite delicious …

54. Psi follower : OMEGA
Omega is the last letter in the Greek alphabet. The word “omega” literally means “great O” (O-mega). Compare this with the Greek letter Omicron meaning “little O” (O-micron).

58. Mark used four times in this puzzle’s solution : TILDE

62. Yucatán years : ANOS
The Yucatán is one of Mexico’s 31 states, and is located in the east of the country, on the northern tip of the Yucatán peninsula. The most widely spoken, indigenous language of Yucatán is the Yucatec Maya, one of the many Mayan languages, and a language that is also spoken in nearby Belize and in parts of Guatemala.

For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Jettisoned compartment : POD
4. Update, in a way : RENAME
10. Noise in a comic book gunfight : BLAM
14. Expert : ACE
15. Key of “The James Bond Theme” : E MINOR
16. Bathe : LAVE
17. Big ___ : BEN
18. Margarita alternatives : PINA COLADAS
20. Spanish for “the meadows” : LAS VEGAS
22. Mexican bloom : DAHLIA
23. Like telemarketing headsets : ONE-EAR
24. Bit of a climb : STEP
26. They’re caught in Chicago : ELS
27. What a cheeky one’s cheek might get : SLAP
29. Screen role for Skippy the dog : ASTA
31. Pit-___ : A-PAT
34. Cook Island carving : TIKI
36. Card game of Spanish origin : OMBRE
40. Salsa verde ingredients : JALAPENO PEPPERS
43. Barrio outsider : ANGLO
44. At 30° W 30° N, e.g. : ASEA
45. Lock part : HASP
46. Goals against, e.g. : STAT
48. “What ___ be done?” : IS TO
50. Certain Protestant: Abbr. : BAP
53. Golfer Aoki : ISAO
55. Reason for an evacuation : THREAT
59. Baja buddies : AMIGOS
61. Like traditional Mexican music : MARIACHI
63. Procrastinating words south of the border : MANANA, SENOR
65. Castor ___ (old comic strip character) : OYL
66. Subj. involving cells : BIOL
67. Be altruistic : DO GOOD
68. Mustachioed “Simpsons” character : NED
69. Kournikova of tennis : ANNA
70. They might be knee-jerk reactions : SPASMS
71. Carbohydrate suffix : -OSE

Down
1. “Tortilla Flat” character : PABLO
2. Jersey Shore county, appropriately : OCEAN
3. None too swift : DENSE
4. Officially annul : REPEAL
5. Go from home to home? : EMIGRATE
6. One of a 15th-century trio : NINA
7. “With the jawbone of ___ …” : AN ASS
8. Comfy footwear, briefly : MOC
9. Slowly disappears : ERODES
10. Bor-r-ring : BLAH
11. Soup kitchen server : LADLE
12. Use : AVAIL
13. Tijuana tables : MESAS
19. One turned off for takeoff : LAPTOP
21. Virgins of ancient Rome : VESTALS
25. Island capital of 2.6 million : TAIPEI
28. It requires one who’s blind with a bat : PINATA
30. Two-handled vase : AMPHORA
31. 1977 double-platinum album by Steely Dan : AJA
32. Sweeping shot : PAN
33. Medit. land : ALG
35. Flattens, for short : KOS
37. Arthur of “The Golden Girls” : BEA
38. $200 Monopoly properties: Abbr. : RRS
39. Gift in “The Gift” : ESP
41. Crone’s concoction : POTION
42. White House ceremony site : EAST ROOM
47. Syrian presidential family : ASSADS
49. Helping for the very hungry, maybe : THIRDS
50. “La ___” : BAMBA
51. At full speed : AMAIN
52. Evergreen with edible nuts : PINON
54. Psi follower : OMEGA
56. Cheap, in adspeak : ECONO
57. “But of course” : AH YES
58. Mark used four times in this puzzle’s solution : TILDE
60. Pricey event : GALA
62. Yucatán years : ANOS
64. Soak (up) : SOP

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