0409-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 9 Apr 13, Tuesday

QuickLinks:
Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
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CROSSWORD SETTER: Steve Blais
THEME: Go on a Head … We have four answers today that end with a head covering:

17A. Merlin Olsen, 14 times : PRO BOWLER
23A. 1991 John Singleton film : BOYZ N THE HOOD
37A. Global warming concern : SHRINKING ICE CAP
48A. Annual 29-Down since 1934 : SOAPBOX DERBY
60A. “I’ll catch up!” … or what the ends of 17-, 23-, 37- and 48-Across do? : GO ON AHEAD!

COMPLETION TIME: 08m 46s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

9. Tropical nuts : KOLAS
The nut of the kola tree has a bitter taste, and is loaded with caffeine. Despite the taste, the nut is habitually chewed in some cultures, especially in West Africa where the tree is commonly found in the rainforest. Of course in the US we best know the kola nut as a flavoring used in cola drinks.

14. Christmas seasons : YULES
“Yule” celebrations coincide with Christmas, and the words “Christmas” and “Yule” have become synonymous in much of the world. However, Yule was originally a pagan festival celebrated by Germanic peoples. The name “Yule” comes from the Old Norse word “jol” that was used to describe the festival.

15. Hawaiian vacation souvenir : LEI
“Lei” is the Hawaiian word for “garland, wreath”, although in more general terms a “lei” is any series of objects strung together as an adornment for the body.

16. “Stop!,” at sea : AVAST
“Avast” is a nautical term used to tell someone to stop or desist from what they are doing. The word comes from the Dutch “hou vast” meaning “hold fast”.

17. Merlin Olsen, 14 times : PRO BOWLER
Merlin Olsen played in the NFL with the LA Rams. Olson was selected to the Pro Bowl 14 a record 14 times (shared with Bruce Matthews). After retiring from the game, his career continued to flourish. He worked as a sports broadcaster for many years, and then landed a major role on television’s “Little House on the Prairie”, playing Jonathan Garvey. In one episode, Garvey was to help coach a boy’s football team, so the writers gave Olsen’s character the tongue-in-cheek line “I don’t know nothin’ about football!” Olsen was also the commercial face of FTD florists for many years. Olson passed away in March 2010, aged 69.

20. Work unit : ERG
An erg is a unit of energy or mechanical work. “Erg” comes from the Greek word “ergon” meaning “work”. A dyne is a unit of force. The name “dyne” comes from the Greek “dynamis” meaning “power, force”. Ergs and dynes are related to each other in that one erg is the amount of energy needed to move a force of one dyne over a distance of one centimeter.

21. McKellen of “X-Men” : IAN
Sir Ian McKellen is a marvelous English actor, someone who is comfortable playing anything from Macbeth on stage to Magneto in an “X-Men” movie. On the big screen, McKellen is very famous for playing Gandalf in “The Lord of Rings”. In the UK Sir Ian is noted for being at the forefront of the campaign for equal rights for gay people, a role he has enthusiastically embraced since the eighties.

X-Men is a team of superheroes created by Stan Lee for Marvel Comics. Nowadays the X-Men are perhaps best known as the subject of a series of movies, with Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine, and Patrick Stewart playing Professor Xavier (or simply “Professor X”).

22. Military counterassault : SORTIE
A sortie is an attack by an armed unit, usually a breakout by forces that are besieged, The term “sortie” comes directly from French and means “a going out”. “Sortie” is also used for a mission by a combat aircraft.

23. 1991 John Singleton film : BOYZ N THE HOOD
“Boyz N the Hood” is a 1991 movie about gang culture in South Central LA. Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Ice Cube have starring roles, and the director was Jon Singleton. Singleton was only 23 years old at the time of filming, and his resulting nomination for a Best Director Oscar made him the youngest ever nominee for that category of Academy Award.

27. Aegean Sea island : IOS
The Cyclades are a group of islands in the Aegean Sea lying southeast of the Greek mainland. There are about 200 islands in the group, almost all of which are the peaks of a submerged mountain range. Ios is one of the larger islands, 11 miles long and 6 miles wide.

28. The hare, e.g., in “The Tortoise and the Hare” : ALSO-RAN
“The Tortoise and the Hare” is perhaps the most famous fable attributed to Aesop. The hare takes a nap during a race against the tortoise, and the tortoise sneaks past the finish line for the win while his speedier friend is sleeping.

32. “Swan Lake” attire : TUTU
The word “tutu”, used for a ballet dancer’s skirt, is actually a somewhat “naughty” term. It came into English from French in the early 20th century. The French “tutu” is an alteration of the word “cucu”, a childish word for “cul” meaning the “bottom,” or “backside”.

“Swan Lake” is such a delightfully light and enjoyable ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. “Swan Lake” tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by a sorcerer. The ballet also features Odile, Odette’s “evil twin”. Odile is disguised to look like Odette with the goal of tricking the prince to fall in love with her. In the ballet, the roles of Odette and Odile are played by the same ballerina.

34. Part of a squeeze play : BUNT
In baseball, a squeeze play is one in which a batter bunts the ball expecting to be thrown out at first, but gives a runner at third base a chance to score. In a safety squeeze the runner at third waits to see where the bunt is going before heading for home. In a suicide squeeze, the runner heads home as soon as the pitcher throws the ball.

36. ___ mode : A LA
In French, “à la mode” simply means “fashionable”. In America, the term has come to describe a way of serving pie, usually with ice cream, or as I recall from when I lived in Upstate New York, with cheese.

37. Global warming concern : SHRINKING ICE CAP
The polar ice cap at the north of our planet is floating pack ice in the Arctic Ocean. The southern polar ice cap is an ice sheet that covers the land mass known as Antarctica. About 70% of all the freshwater on Earth is held in the southern polar ice cap.

43. Mideast’s Gulf of ___ : ADEN
The Gulf of Aden is the body of water that lies south of the Red Sea, and just north of the Horn of Africa.

47. The “O” in P.L.O.: Abbr. : ORG
The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded in 1964. The PLO’s early stated goal was the liberation of Palestine, with Palestine defined as the geographic entity that existed under the terms of the British Mandate granted by the League of Nations back in 1923. The PLO is recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people by over one hundred countries, and was granted observer status (i.e. no voting rights) at the United Nations in 1974.

48. Annual 29-Down since 1934 : SOAPBOX DERBY
Gravity racers are kids vehicles that are propelled by gravity alone, moving down a hill. Back in Ireland we called gravity racers “trolley carts”, whereas here in North America I believe that they are called soapbox cars.

57. Pindar offering : ODE
Pindar was an Ancient Greek poet, best known perhaps for composing a series of Victory Odes that celebrated triumph in competition, most notably the Olympian Games of the day.

58. “Don’t Bring Me Down” grp. : ELO
The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) is a symphonic rock group from the north of England. The band’s manager was Don Arden, father of Sharon Osbourne (wife of Ozzy).

59. Like Cheerios : OATEN
Cheerios breakfast cereal has the distinction of being the first oat-based cereal introduced into the market, hitting the grocery store shelves in 1941. Back then, “Cheerios” were known as CheeriOats.

64. It borders the Black Sea: Abbr. : UKR
Ukraine is a large country in Eastern Europe, a Soviet Republic before the dissolution of the USSR. In English we often call the country “the” Ukraine, but I am told that we should just say “Ukraine”.

65. San Diego baseballer : PADRE
The San Diego Padres were founded in 1969. The Padres took their name from a Minor League team that had been in the the city since 1936. The name is Spanish for “fathers” and is a reference to the Franciscan Friars from Spain who founded San Diego in 1769.

67. Submissions to an ed. : MSS
An editor (ed.) has to wade his or her way through a manuscript (MS) that has been submitted.

68. Ford failure of the late ’50s : EDSEL
It was Henry Ford’s son Edsel who gave his name to the Edsel brand of automobile, a name that has become synonymous with “failure”.

Down
1. Easygoing, personality-wise : TYPE B
The Type A and Type B personality theory originated in the fifties. Back then, individuals were labelled as Type A in order to emphasize a perceived increased risk of heart disease. Type A personality types are so called “stress junkies”, whereas Type B types are relaxed and laid back. But there doesn’t seem to be much scientific evidence to support the linkage between the Type A personality and heart problems.

2. Small donkey : BURRO
Our word “burro” meaning donkey comes from the Spanish word for the same animal, “burrico”.

4. S. Dak. neighbor : NEB
Nebraska gets its name from the Platte River which flows through the state. “Nebraska” is an anglicized version of Otoe or Omaha words meaning “flat water”.

5. Paul Anka’s “___ Beso” : ESO
“Eso Beso” is Spanish for “That Kiss”, and is the name of a hit song recorded by Canadian-born singer Paul Anka.

6. Object of a hajji’s praise : ALLAH
The term “Allah” comes from the Arabic “al-” and “ilah”, meaning “the” and “deity”. So “Allah” translates as “God”.

A Haji (also “Hajji”) is the term used for someone who has made a pilgrimage to Mecca, and it is sometimes also used as a form of address for such a person. The journey itself goes by the name “haj” or “hajj”.

7. Nancy Drew creator Carolyn : KEENE
The “Nancy Drew” mystery stories were produced by the Stratemeyer Syndicate. The founder of the Syndicate hired a team of writers to produce the “Nancy Drew” novels, but listed the author of each book as the fictional Carolyn Keene.

9. Ones creating a lot of buzz in the music industry? : KAZOOS
The modern instrument we know today as the kazoo was invented by one Alabama Vest of Macon, Georgia in the 1800s. The kazoo first came to the public’s attention at the Georgia State Fair of 1852, when it was known as the “Down-South Submarine” (because of it’s shape, I would imagine).

12. ___ Spumante : ASTI
Asti is in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. The region is perhaps most famous for its Asti Spumante sparkling white wine.

22. Georg of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra : SOLTI
Sir Georg Solti was a great Hungarian-British conductor, who spent 22 years as music director of the Chicago Symphony, one of many prestigious positions he held in the world of classical music and opera. Solti was awarded 31 Grammy Awards, the most won by any individual in any genre of music.

24. Tubes on the dinner table : ZITI
Cylindrical pasta is known in general as “penne”, and there are many variants. For example, Ziti is a particularly large and long tube with square-cut ends.

30. Rickman of the Harry Potter films : ALAN
Alan Rickman is a marvelous English actor, famous for playing bad guy Hans Gruber in the original “Die Hard” film, Severus Snape in the “Harry Potter” series and my personal favorite, Eamon de Valera in “Michael Collins”.

32. The “id” in “id est” : THAT
i.e. = id est = that is …

33. River through Kazakhstan : URAL
The Ural River rises in the Ural Mountains in Russia and flows for half its length through Russian territory until it crosses the border into Kazakhstan, finally emptying into the Caspian Sea.

The Republic of Kazakhstan in Central Asia is the world’s largest landlocked country. Kazakhstan was the last of the former Soviet Republics to declare itself independent from Russia.

34. Upper arm muscle, informally : BICEP
The biceps muscle is made up of two bundles of muscle, both of which terminate at the same point near the elbow. The heads of the bundles terminate at different points on the scapula or shoulder blade. “Biceps” is Latin for “two-headed”.

37. It doesn’t lend to Fortune 500 cos. : SBA
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a government agency with the mission of assisting small businesses. The SBA doesn’t give loans itself, but it does act as a guarantor under the right circumstances. The SBA was set up in 1953, and isn’t a favorite with fiscal conservatives.

38. Stevens’s replacement on the Supreme Court : KAGAN
Elena Kagan was the Solicitor General of the United States who replaced Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court. That made Justice Kagan the fourth female US Supreme Court justice (there have been 108 men!). I hear she is a fan of Jane Austen, and used to reread “Pride and Prejudice” once a year. Not a bad thing to do, I’d say …

John Paul Stevens retired as an associate justice on the US Supreme Court in 2010 after having served for over 34 years. That made him the third longest serving justice in the history of the court. Stevens had been nominated by President Gerald Ford to replace Justice William O. Douglas, who had been the longest serving justice in the court (at over 36 years).

46. Andy once of “60 Minutes” : ROONEY
Andy Rooney began his career in newspapers during WWII working for “Stars and Stripes” in London. He had some memorable experiences during the war, including flying on the first American bombing raid over Germany. He was also one of the first American journalists to visit the German concentration camps as they were liberated. He started his segment called “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney” on CBS’s “60 Minutes” way back in 1978, and so was on our screens for over 40 years. Rooney passed away in 2011. He was a cool, cool guy …

51. Oboes and others : REEDS
We’ve all probably heard the phrase “‘tis an ill wind that blows nobody any good”. The poet Ogden Nash made a “punny” statement about the oboe, calling the instrument “an ill wind nobody blows good”. I must say though, I disagree …

61. King Kong, e.g. : APE
When RKO released the 1933 movie “King Kong”, the promotional material listed the ape’s height as 50 feet. During filming, a bust was created for a 40-foot ape, as well as a full-size hand that went with a 70-foot Kong.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Steak cut : T-BONE
6. Letters before an alias : AKA
9. Tropical nuts : KOLAS
14. Christmas seasons : YULES
15. Hawaiian vacation souvenir : LEI
16. “Stop!,” at sea : AVAST
17. Merlin Olsen, 14 times : PRO BOWLER
19. Full of life : ZESTY
20. Work unit : ERG
21. McKellen of “X-Men” : IAN
22. Military counterassault : SORTIE
23. 1991 John Singleton film : BOYZ N THE HOOD
27. Aegean Sea island : IOS
28. The hare, e.g., in “The Tortoise and the Hare” : ALSO-RAN
32. “Swan Lake” attire : TUTU
34. Part of a squeeze play : BUNT
36. ___ mode : A LA
37. Global warming concern : SHRINKING ICE CAP
41. Peep from a sheep : BAA
42. Items up one’s sleeve, maybe : ACES
43. Mideast’s Gulf of ___ : ADEN
44. Not in custody : AT LARGE
47. The “O” in P.L.O.: Abbr. : ORG
48. Annual 29-Down since 1934 : SOAPBOX DERBY
54. Utilize, as one’s strengths : DRAW ON
57. Pindar offering : ODE
58. “Don’t Bring Me Down” grp. : ELO
59. Like Cheerios : OATEN
60. “I’ll catch up!” … or what the ends of 17-, 23-, 37- and 48-Across do? : GO ON AHEAD!
63. Give a name to : TITLE
64. It borders the Black Sea: Abbr. : UKR
65. San Diego baseballer : PADRE
66. How many winks are made : SLYLY
67. Submissions to an ed. : MSS
68. Ford failure of the late ’50s : EDSEL

Down
1. Easygoing, personality-wise : TYPE B
2. Small donkey : BURRO
3. Science suffix : -OLOGY
4. S. Dak. neighbor : NEB
5. Paul Anka’s “___ Beso” : ESO
6. Object of a hajji’s praise : ALLAH
7. Nancy Drew creator Carolyn : KEENE
8. It’s all around you : AIR
9. Ones creating a lot of buzz in the music industry? : KAZOOS
10. Exaggerate : OVERDO
11. Like Z, alphabetically : LAST
12. ___ Spumante : ASTI
13. Eye woe : STYE
18. Comedians : WITS
22. Georg of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra : SOLTI
24. Tubes on the dinner table : ZITI
25. Pluralizable word : NOUN
26. Puts out to dry, say : HANGS
29. Speed competition : RACE
30. Rickman of the Harry Potter films : ALAN
31. Siesta : NAP
32. The “id” in “id est” : THAT
33. River through Kazakhstan : URAL
34. Upper arm muscle, informally : BICEP
35. Feminine one in France? : UNE
37. It doesn’t lend to Fortune 500 cos. : SBA
38. Stevens’s replacement on the Supreme Court : KAGAN
39. “Here’s my ___” : CARD
40. Nose out : EDGE
45. Also : AS WELL
46. Andy once of “60 Minutes” : ROONEY
47. Pullers in pairs : OXEN
49. Bibliophile’s love : BOOKS
50. Smells : ODORS
51. Oboes and others : REEDS
52. Proclaim vociferously : BLARE
53. Mountain song : YODEL
54. Kids connect them : DOTS
55. Method of shipping goods : RAIL
56. Courtroom fig. : ATTY
60. Something to chew on : GUM
61. King Kong, e.g. : APE
62. Gave birth to : HAD


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