0215-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 15 Feb 13, Friday

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Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
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CROSSWORD SETTER: Tom Heilman
THEME: None
COMPLETION TIME: 35m 12s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … KEENEN (Kennan), LITOTES (litotas)

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Smelting ended it : STONE AGE
Ancient societies can be classified by the “three-age system”, which depends on the prevalence of materials used to make tools. The three ages are:

– The Stone Age
– The Bronze Age
– The Iron Age

The actual dates defined by each age depend on the society, as the timing of the transition from the use of one material to another varied around the globe.

Metals are found in ore in the form of oxides. In order to get pure metal from the ore, the ore is heated and the metal oxides within are reduced (i.e. the oxygen is removed) in the chemical process known as smelting. The oxygen is extracted by adding a source of carbon or carbon monoxide which uses up the excess oxygen atoms to make carbon dioxide, a waste product of smelting (and of course, a greenhouse gas).

9. Latin pop Grammy winner Jon : SECADA
Jon Secada is a Cuban-American singer/songwriter, born in Havana and raised in Florida. Secada was hired as a background singer by Gloria Estefan in the late eighties, and soon after he started composing for her. It was Gloria Estefan that gave Secada his performing break, offering him solo spots on stage during her performances.

19. Pringles Light ingredient : OLEAN
Olean is a brand name for the fat substitute, Olestra. Naturally occuring fats are made of a glycerol molecule holding together three fatty acids. Olestra is instead made of several fatty acid chains held together by a sucrose molecule. Olestra has a similar taste and consistency as natural fat, but has zero caloric impact as it is too large a molecule to pass through the intestinal wall and passes right out of the body. Personally, I would steer clear of it. Olestra is banned in Britain and Canada due to concerns about side effects, but I guess someone knows the right palms to grease (pun intended!) here in the US, and so it’s in our food.

20. Roster shortener : ET ALII
Et alii (et al.) is the equivalent of et cetera (etc.), with et cetera being used in place of a list of objects, and et alii used for a list of names. In fact “et al.” can stand for et alii (for a group of males, or males and females), aliae (for a group of women) and et alia (for a group of neuter nouns, or for a group of people where the intent is to retain gender-neutrality).

21. Bach wrote three for violin : PARTITAS
A “partita” can be a suite of music written for one instrument. The Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach wrote two sets of partitas, one set for a solo keyboard and one set for a solo violin.

25. Impenetrable : ARCANE
Something that is “arcane” is something that is understood by only a few, something that might be described as mysterious.

26. Thornton Wilder, while earning his B.A. : ELI
Eli is the nickname for a graduate of Yale University, a term used in honor of the Yale benefactor Elihu Yale.

Thornton Wilder was a playwright and novelist from Madison, Wisconsin. Wilder won three Pulitzer Prizes, including one for his 1937 play “Our Town”.

27. Debt memo : CHIT
A chit is a note or a short letter. The term tends to be used these days in the sense of an amount owed (as in a poker game). The word used to be “chitty”, which is now obsolete but closer to the original Hindi term. I feel a tad obsolete myself because when we are at school we would be excused class if we had a “chitty”.

28. Mower handle? : DEERE
John Deere invented the first commercially successful steel plow in 1837. Prior to Deere’s invention, farmers used an iron or wooden plow that constantly had to be cleaned as rich soil stuck to its surfaces. The cast-steel plow was revolutionary as its smooth sides solved the problem of “stickiness”.

32. Knuckles the Echidna’s company : SEGA
Sega is a Japanese video game company headquartered in Tokyo. Sega actually started out 1940 in the US as Standard Games and was located in Honolulu, Hawaii. The owners moved the operation to Tokyo in 1951 and renamed the company to Service Games. The name “Sega” is a combination of the first two letters of the words “Se-rvice” and “Ga-mes”.

Knuckles the Echidna is a character appearing in the “Sonic the Hedgehog” series of video games produced by Sega.

33. Crayola color introduced in 1958 : SEPIA
Sepia is that lovely rich, brown-grey color so common in old photographs. “Sepia” is the Latinized version of the Greek word for cuttlefish, as sepia pigment is derived from the ink sac of the cuttlefish.The “sepia tone” of old photographs is not the result of deterioration over time. Rather, it is the result of a deliberate preservation process which converts the metallic silver in the photographic image to a more stable silver sulfide. Prints that have been sepia-toned can last in excess of 150 years.

In the year 2000 the Crayola company, very cleverly I think, held the “Crayola Color Census 2000” in which people were polled and asked for their favorite Crayola colors. President George W. Bush chose “Blue Bell” and Tiger Woods chose “Wild Strawberry”.

43. Nagg’s wife in Samuel Beckett’s “Endgame” : NELL
“Endgame” is a 1957 play written by Irishman Samuel Beckett. Beckett actually wrote “Endgame” in French (naming it “Fin de Partie”), and translated it himself into English.

An Irishman I may be, but I have sat through so many Samuel Beckett plays (the Irish dramatist) and have yet to come away feeling satisfied that I spent my time well. Of course I am in the minority, as his play “Waiting for Godot” was once voted the most significant English language play of the 20th century. Maybe I will try again one day …

45. They have their own kingdom : PLANTS
Biological classification is a method used to group organisms by biological type. The method uses a hierarchy of nested classes, with an organism being classified with reference to evolutionary traits. The major taxonomic ranks used are:

– Life
– Domain
– Kingdom
– Phylum
– Class
– Order
– Family
– Genus
– Species

49. What Montana was in the ’80s : NINER
Joe Montana played most of his NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers, and the last two seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs. With the 49ers, Montana went to the Super Bowl four times, winning every time. In retirement one of his activities is to produce wine, so keep an eye out for his “Montagia” label.

50. CW series based on a French film : NIKITA
“La Femme Nikita” is a Canadian action/drama series based on the film “Nikita” that was written and directed by Luc Besson.

51. “Piranha” director, 1978 : JOE DANTE
Joe Dante is a movie director noted for films having an element of fantasy in the storyline. A couple of titles on his resume are “Piranha” (1978) and “Gremlins” (1984).

“Piranha” is a 1978 film that is somewhat of a parody of the 1975 hit “Jaws”. The storyline mainly involves a bunch of killer piranhas attacking people.

54. One of the Wayans brothers : KEENEN
The Wayans family is known as the First Family of Entertainment as it is replete with actors, directors, screenwriters and comedians. I hate to admit it, but I don’t think I know any of them!

55. Wicker seat place? : US SENATE
Roger Wicker is the junior US Senator from Mississippi. Wicker was appointed to the Senate by the Mississippi Governor when Senator Trent Lott resigned his post to become a lobbyist.

57. Blooms named for their scent : TEA ROSES
The first tea roses were so called because they had a fragrance reminiscent of Chinese black tea.

Down
5. Controversial school language subject : EBONICS
The term “Ebonics” refers to vernacular English used by African Americans. “Ebonics” is a blend of the words “ebony” and “phonics”. It is not a term that is embraced universally.

10. 1890-1941 Italian colony : ERITREA
Eritrea is a country located in the Horn of Africa, surrounded by Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti and the Red Sea. Some scientists believe that the area now known as Eritrea was the departure point for the anatomically modern humans who first left Africa to populate the rest of the world.

11. Ducky : COPACETIC
Something described as “copacetic” is very fine, very acceptable.

12. Like hydra neurons : APOLAR
Hydra are small multicellular animals found in freshwater. Hydra have tubular bodies with a mouth at one end surrounded by several tentacles that are used to catch prey.

14. Caine character who’s left wondering : ALFIE
The last line in the movie “Alfie” is spoken by the title character: “What’s it all about? You know what I mean.” “What’s it all about, Alfie?” is the first line of the theme song.

There have been two versions of the movie “Alfie”. The original, and for my money the best, was made in 1966 with Michael Caine. The remake came out in 2004 and stars Jude Law in the title role. The theme song was performed by Cher in the 1966 movie, but it was Dionne Warwick’s cover version from 1967 that was the most successful in the charts.

24. Quaint undies : STEP-INS
Step-ins are panties with wide legs.

35. Paintings often including an infant : MADONNAS
A Madonna is an artistic representation of Mary, mother of Jesus, one that often includes both mother and child.

36. Kindergarten song : ALOUETTE
The French-Canadian children’s song starts with, “Alouette, gentille alouette …” “Alouette” is the French word for a bird, the “lark”. The song is actually pretty gruesome, even though it was used to teach children the names of body parts. The origin of the song lies in the French colonists penchant for eating larks, which they considered to be game birds. So in the song, the singer tells the lark that he/she will pluck off one-by-one the lark’s head, nose, eyes, wings and tail.

“Kindergarten” is of course a German term, literally meaning “children’s garden”. The term was coined by the German education authority Friedrich Fröbel in 1837, when he used it as the name for his play and activity institute that he created for young children to use before they headed off to school. His thought was that children should be nourished educationally, like plants in a garden.

37. Some graveyard flora : YEW TREES
Yew trees were placed around churches and in graveyards all over Europe. The reason for the practice seems to be unclear, but one suggestion is that fronds from yew trees were used as substitutes for palms on Palm Sunday.

39. Figure of speech like “not unlike” : LITOTES
Litotes is a figure of speech that is an understatement, one that uses a particular adjective, but negates it. For example “not the brightest bulb” and “not a bad day’s work”.

45. McCarthy-era epithet : PINKO
The term “pinko” came to us courtesy of “Time” magazine, in 1925. Back then “pinko” was used to describe those who were politically left of center. Red was the color associated with the left going back to the 1800s (how times have changed!), and “pink” was assigned to people who were not aligned with the left politically, but had left-leaning tendencies.

After WWII the United States went through what was called “Second Red Scare”, the fear of communist infiltration in American society and government. Senator Joseph McCarthy became a lightning rod for this movement when he chaired Senate hearings in the fifties designed to root out communist infiltrators.

47. Source of grand sounds? : PIANO
What was remarkable about the piano when it was invented, compared to other keyboard instruments, was that notes could be played with varying degrees of loudness. This is accomplished by pressing the keys lightly or firmly. Because of this quality, the new instrument was called a “pianoforte”, with “piano” and “forte” meaning “soft” and “loud” in Italian. We tend to shorten the name these days to just “piano”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Smelting ended it : STONE AGE
9. Latin pop Grammy winner Jon : SECADA
15. Intellectually stimulating : CEREBRAL
16. Drive : PROPEL
17. Traditional : OLD-WORLD
18. Scam : RIP OFF
19. Pringles Light ingredient : OLEAN
20. Roster shortener : ET ALII
21. Bach wrote three for violin : PARTITAS
25. Impenetrable : ARCANE
26. Thornton Wilder, while earning his B.A. : ELI
27. Debt memo : CHIT
28. Mower handle? : DEERE
29. Close match point? : RINGSIDE SEAT
32. Knuckles the Echidna’s company : SEGA
33. Crayola color introduced in 1958 : SEPIA
34. Wishy-washy reply : I MAY
38. Variable pay schedule : SLIDING SCALE
41. Put away one’s own groceries? : ATE IN
43. Nagg’s wife in Samuel Beckett’s “Endgame” : NELL
44. Ziploc bag introducer : DOW
45. They have their own kingdom : PLANTS
46. Whisk clean : SWEEP OUT
48. Procured unlawfully, old-style : ILL-GOT
49. What Montana was in the ’80s : NINER
50. CW series based on a French film : NIKITA
51. “Piranha” director, 1978 : JOE DANTE
54. One of the Wayans brothers : KEENEN
55. Wicker seat place? : US SENATE
56. As far out as possible : ODDEST
57. Blooms named for their scent : TEA ROSES

Down
1. Ice cream store employees : SCOOPERS
2. Invent something : TELL A LIE
3. Activity for diners and list makers : ORDERING
4. Just starting to learn : NEW AT
5. Controversial school language subject : EBONICS
6. Weather might delay it: Abbr. : ARR
7. Square dance partner : GAL
8. Antiquity, in antiquity : ELD
9. Like a snow angel maker, at times : SPREAD-EAGLE
10. 1890-1941 Italian colony : ERITREA
11. Ducky : COPACETIC
12. Like hydra neurons : APOLAR
13. Characterize : DEFINE
14. Caine character who’s left wondering : ALFIE
22. Now : THIS INSTANT
23. Served : AIDED
24. Quaint undies : STEP-INS
30. It works via a series of explosions : GAS ENGINE
31. Resilient strength : SINEW
35. Paintings often including an infant : MADONNAS
36. Kindergarten song : ALOUETTE
37. Some graveyard flora : YEW TREES
39. Figure of speech like “not unlike” : LITOTES
40. Not unlike a ballet dancer : SLENDER
41. Acting as one : ALLIED
42. Named names, say : TALKED
45. McCarthy-era epithet : PINKO
47. Source of grand sounds? : PIANO
51. Extrude : JUT
52. Relative of -ish : -OSE
53. Spanish demonstrative : ESA

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2 thoughts on “0215-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 15 Feb 13, Friday”

  1. I completely blew the Thursday puzzle, but, isn't the correct order of the Three-Age System:
    – The Stone Age
    – The Bronze Age
    – The Iron Age
    ????

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