0515-13 New York Times Crosswords Answers 15 May 13, Wednesday

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Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
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CROSSWORD SETTER: David Sullivan
THEME: Sounds Opposite … today’s themed answers are two-word phrases, with one word sounding like a word meaning the opposite of the other:

17A. Good stretch for the Dow : STRONG WEEK (from “strong & weak”)
23A. Extra after a movie’s credits, perhaps : HIDDEN SCENE (from “hidden & seen”)
50A. Midas service : BRAKE REPAIR (from “break & repair”)
59A. Cry accompanying the arrival of visitors : THEY’RE HERE! (from “there & here”)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 13m 47s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. 1983 Tony-winning musical : CATS
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s source material for his hit musical “Cats” was T. S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”. Eliot’s collection of whimsical poems was published in 1939, and was a personal favorite of Webber as he was growing up. “Cats” is the second longest running show in Broadway history (“Phantom of the Opera” is the longest and is still running; deservedly so in my humble opinion). my wife and I have seen “Cats” a couple of times and really enjoyed it …

10. Soap brand that contains pumice : LAVA
Lava is a brand of soap that was introduced as a heavy-duty cleanser in 1983. Unlike like soaps that are marketed using a “soft” image, Lava touts the inclusion of ground pumice that is intended to abrade grime off the skin. Pumice is found in certain types of lava ejected from a volcano, hence the name of the soap.

14. One on a one-dollar bill : UNUM
From 1776, “E pluribus unum” was the unofficial motto of the United States. “E pluribus unum” is Latin for “Out of many, one”. It was pushed aside in 1956 when an Act of Congress designated “In God We Trust” as the country’s official motto.

16. Site of the first human sin : EDEN
According to the Book of Genesis, Adam and Eve lived in a garden “in” Eden, with Eden being geographically located by reference to four rivers including the Tigris and the Euphrates. Some scholars hypothesize that Eden was located in Mesopotamia, which encompasses much of modern-day Iraq.

17. Good stretch for the Dow : STRONG WEEK (from “strong & weak”)
Dow Jones & Company was founded as a publishing house in 1882 by three newspaper reporters, Charles Dow, Edward Jones and Charles Bergstresser. Today, the company’s most famous publication has to be “The Wall Street Journal”. In 1884, Charles Dow started reporting the average dollar value of the stock of eleven companies, an index which spawned a whole host of metrics that carry the Dow Jones name to this day, including the renowned Dow Jones Industrials.

19. Microsoft Word menu pick : FONT
Microsoft Word was introduced in 1981 as Multi-Tool Word for Xenix (Xenix is a discontinued version of the Unix operating system). I used to be a power user of Word, but now use Google Documents for 99% of my word processing needs.

20. Mottled bean : PINTO
Pinto beans are so-called because their skins have a mottled (“pinto”) appearance.

30. “Every kiss begins …” jeweler : KAY
Kay Jewelers is perhaps the most famous store brand owned by Sterling Jewelers. Sterling is the largest fine jewelry chain in the country, with the company’s main competitor being Zale Corporation.

32. Fritz’s “Forget it!” : NEIN!
“Nein” is the German for “no”.

38. Oxy 5 target : ZIT
The slang term “zit”, meaning “pimple”, came into the language in 1966, but no one seems to know its exact derivation.

39. 2006 Jay-Z single : LOST ONE
Jay-Z, as well as being a successful and very rich rap artist, is married to singer Beyonce.

41. ___ Cruces, N.M. : LAS
Las Cruces (Spanish for “the crosses”) is the second largest city in the state of New Mexico, and is the home of New Mexico State University.

42. Its license plates have the motto “Famous Potatoes” : IDAHO
Idaho has the nickname the Gem State, mainly because almost every known type of gemstone has been found there. Idaho is also sometimes called the Potato State as potatoes are such a popular crop in the state.

44. Dog that bit Miss Gulch : TOTO
Toto is Dorothy’s dog in the film “The Wizard of Oz”. Toto was played by a dog called Terry, but Terry’s name was soon changed to Toto in real life, due to the success of the film.

Miss Almira Gulch is the woman who gets bitten by Dorothy’s dog Toto right at the start of “The Wizard of Oz”. In Oz, Miss Gulch manifests herself as the Wicked Witch of the West.

46. Pitcher Dennis in Cooperstown, for short : ECK
Dennis Eckersley is a former baseball pitcher who goes by the nickname “Eck”. Eckersley played for the Oakland Athletics from 1987 to 1995, and the team retired his uniform number (43) in 2005.

50. Midas service : BRAKE REPAIR (from “break & repair”)
The chain of auto service centers called Midas was established in 1956 as the Muffler Installation Dealers’ Associated Service (MIDAS).

53. Ingenue’s quality : NAIVETE
So often in literature, the movies and on stage there is an innocent woman at the the center of the story. Such stock characters came to be known as ingénues, a term derived from the French adjective “ingénu” meaning innocent, virtuous, candid and “ingenuous”.

54. Chris Matthews’s channel : MSNBC
“Hardball with Chris Matthews” is a nightly talk-show about politics, airing on MSNBC. The show’s host, Chris Matthews, is a colorful character. Matthews served with the Peace Corps from 1968 to 1970, in Swaziland in Africa. He has been back to Africa since and found himself hospitalized in 2002, suffering from malaria that he picked up on one of his trips.

63. Target of a narc : METH
“Meth” is a street name used for the drug methamphetamine, also called “crank” and “crystal meth”.

“Narc” is a slang term for a law enforcement officer who tracks down criminals associated illegal drugs.

64. Hawaiian veranda : LANAI
Named after the Hawaiian island, a lanai is a type of veranda.

65. Home of Qom : IRAN
Qom (also Q’um) is a city in Iran located about 100 miles southwest of Tehran. Qom is a holy city in the Shi’a Islam tradition, and a pilgrimage destination.

66. Gas brand in Canada : ESSO
The brand name Esso has its roots in the old Standard Oil company as it uses the initial letters of “Standard” and “Oil” (ESS-O). The Esso brand was replaced by Exxon in the US, but ESSO is still used in many other countries.

67. Download on a Nook : E-BOOK
The Barnes & Noble electronic-book reader is called the Nook. The company sells about $220 million dollars worth of the devices every year.

68. ___ Neuf (Parisian landmark) : PONT
Paradoxically, Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge standing today that crosses the River Seine in Paris. The paradox is that the name translates to “new bridge”. The bridge is in two parts, as it crosses from the Left Bank to the Île de la Cité (on which stands Notre Dame) and then from the Île de la Cité to the Right Bank.

Down
1. Zodiacal border : CUSP
The word “cusp” comes from the Latin “cuspis” meaning “spear, point”. In the world of astrology, a cusp is an imaginary line separating two signs of the zodiac. For example, some whose birthday is between April 16 and April 26 is said to have been born “on the cusp” between the signs Aries and Taurus.

2. Prefix with lock or skid : ANTI-
The first anti-lock braking system (ABS) was actually developed for use on aircraft, in 1929. The system reduced braking distances for aircraft by 30% because pilots were able to apply a full braking force immediately on landing instead of applying gradual pressure to avoid skidding.

3. When tripled, 1965 Byrds hit : TURN
There aren’t many pop hits that have lyrics taking almost entirely from the Bible. Pete Seeger took some words from the Book of Ecclesiastes, and set them to music in 1959. He recorded the song in 1962 for one of his albums. It wasn’t until it was recorded by the Byrds as “Turn! Turn! Turn!” that the song climbed the charts. It’s a nice contemplative song, I always think …

5. Falklands War side: Abbr. : ARG
The Falkland Islands are in the South Atlantic Ocean, about 300 miles off the coast of Argentina. The Falklands have been claimed as an overseas territory by various European nations, with the British having the most persistent claim from the northern hemisphere. Understandably perhaps, nearby Argentina has claimed ownership of the islands for centuries. The dispute between Britain and Argentina came to a head in 1982 when Argentine forces invaded the Falklands. It took weeks for a British expeditionary force to arrive in the area, but they emerged victorious after some explosive air and naval battles that resulted in the death of 255 British and 649 Argentine military personnel.

10. A bionic part of Steve Austin : LEFT EYE
Steve Austin is the title character in the seventies sci-fi show “The Six Million Dollar Man”, played of course by Lee Majors. The series is based on a 1972 novel called “Cyborg”.

24. Bond villain : DR NO
“Dr. No” may have been the first film in the wildly successful James Bond franchise, but it was the sixth novel in the series of books penned by Ian Fleming. Fleming was inspired to write the story after reading the Fu Manchu tales by Sax Rohmer. If you’ve read the Rohmer books or seen the films, you’ll recognize the similarities between the characters Dr. No and Fu Manchu.

26. Prime example : EPITOME
The more common meaning of “epitome” is a perfect example of a group, quality, type etc. “Epitome” is also another word for an abstract or summary of a book or article.

27. W.W. II foe : NAZI
The term “Nazi” is an abbreviation for the German word “Nationalsozialismus” meaning “National Socialism”.

29. Self-referential, informally : META
In recent decades the prefix “meta-” has started to be used as a standalone adjective. In this sense “meta” means “self-referential”, describing something that refers to itself. For example, “This sentence starts with the word ‘this’ and ends with the word ‘this’” might be called a meta sentence. A movie that is about the making of the very same movie could also be described as meta.

35. Czech, for one : SLAV
The Slavic peoples are in the majority in communities covering over half of Europe. This large ethnic group is traditionally broken down into three smaller groups:

– the West Slavic (including Czechs and Poles)
– the East Slavic (including Russians and Ukrainians)
– the South Slavic (including Bulgarians and Serbs)

36. Film character based on Hearst : KANE
“Citizen Kane” was the first film made by Orson Welles, one considered by many to be the finest film ever made. It’s a remarkable achievement by Wells, as he played the lead, and also produced and directed. Despite all the accolades for “Citizen Kane” over the decades, the movie was far from a commercial success in its early run and actually lost money at the box office. The main character is Charles Foster Kane, who is based mainly on the real-life newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst.

37. North Sea feeder : YSER
The Yser originates in northern France and flows through Belgium into the North Sea. The Yser is often associated with WWI as it figured in a major battle early in the conflict. In the first three months of the war, the German Army pushed almost completely through Belgium, inflicting heavy losses on the Belgian Army as the defenders were forced to fight a fast-moving rearguard action. The Germans were intent on pushing right through Belgium and across France in a “race to the sea”. But the Belgians, with the help of their Allies, decided to make a final stand at the Yser Canal in an effort to prevent the Germans reaching the French ports of Calais and Dunkirk. The 22-mile long defensive line was chosen at the Yser because the river and canal system could be flooded to create a barrier that might be defended. The plan was successful and the front was “stabilized”. As we now know, millions of lives were lost over the coming years with very little movement of that battle line.

39. John who wrote “What worries you, masters you” : LOCKE
John Locke was the English philosopher who postulated that the mind is a blank slate (or “tabula rasa”) when we are born, and that we fill that slate with our experiences and observations.

40. The Big Easy : NOLA
The city of New Orleans, Louisiana has the nickname “The Big Easy”. This name might come from the early 1900s when musicians found it relatively “easy” to find work there. The city is also known by the acronym NOLA, standing for New Orleans, LA.

49. Gimlet garnish : LIME
A gimlet is a relatively simple cocktail, traditionally made with just gin and lime juice. The trend in more recent times is replace the gin with vodka.

50. Toyland characters : BABES
“Babes in Toyland” is an operetta by Victor Herbert, first performed in 1903 in Chicago. The musical play “The Wizard of Oz” had appeared on Broadway the prior year and was a resounding hit, so the creators of “Babes in Toyland” wanted to cash in on that success by producing something in the same genre. While not as big a hit as “Oz”, the show did very well, playing for 192 performances and is still produced today. The basic storyline makes use of various characters from the Mother Goose nursery rhymes, wound into a Christmas entertainment.

53. Iditarod terminus : NOME
Nome, Alaska has over 3,500 residents, the majority of whom are Native American. The next largest ethnic group in Nome is the white population.

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race coves a massive 1,161 miles. The race starts every year on the first Saturday in March, with the first race having been held in 1973. The fastest finishing time was set in 2002 at just under 9 days. The first few races only used a northern route, but then a southern route was added to the roster every second year. It’s kind of a good thing, because when the racers take the northern route they don’t even pass through the town of Iditarod!

55. Emperor after Claudius : NERO
The emperor Nero had quite the family life. When Nero was just 16-years-old he married his stepsister, Claudia Octavia. He also had his mother and stepbrother executed.

I find Claudius to be the most fascinating of all the Roman Emperors. Claudius had a lot going against him as he walked with a limp and was slightly deaf. He was put in office by the Praetorian Guard (the emperor’s bodyguards) after Caligula was assassinated. Claudius had very little experience and yet proved to be very forward-thinking and capable.

60. Brian who composed the “Microsoft sound” : ENO
Brian Eno started out his musical career with Roxy Music. However, Eno’s most oft-played composition (by far!) is Microsoft’s “start-up jingle”, the 6-second sound you hear when the Windows operating system is booting up. Eno might have annoyed the Microsoft folks when he stated on a BBC radio show:
I wrote it on a Mac. I’ve never used a PC in my life; I don’t like them.

61. Former hoopster ___ Ming : YAO
Yao Ming is a retired professional basketball player from Shanghai who played for the Houston Rockets. At 7’6″, Yao was the tallest man playing in the NBA.

62. English comedian Mayall : RIK
Rik Mayall is a comedian from England who is noted as half of a double-act with Adrian Edmondson. The pair hit the big times in the hit BBC sitcom “The Young Ones”, a show that was broadcast in the US on MTV. I love Britcoms, but not this one …

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. 1983 Tony-winning musical : CATS
5. In-crowd invitees : A-LIST
10. Soap brand that contains pumice : LAVA
14. One on a one-dollar bill : UNUM
15. Pool hall equipment : RACKS
16. Site of the first human sin : EDEN
17. Good stretch for the Dow : STRONG WEEK (from “strong & weak”)
19. Microsoft Word menu pick : FONT
20. Mottled bean : PINTO
21. “No lie!” : IT’S TRUE!
23. Extra after a movie’s credits, perhaps : HIDDEN SCENE (from “hidden & seen”)
27. Try to impress at a party, say : NAMEDROP
30. “Every kiss begins …” jeweler : KAY
31. State firmly : AVER
32. Fritz’s “Forget it!” : NEIN!
34. Annoying : PESKY
38. Oxy 5 target : ZIT
39. 2006 Jay-Z single : LOST ONE
41. ___ Cruces, N.M. : LAS
42. Its license plates have the motto “Famous Potatoes” : IDAHO
44. Dog that bit Miss Gulch : TOTO
45. Lose oomph : WANE
46. Pitcher Dennis in Cooperstown, for short : ECK
48. Reflect deeply on : MULL OVER
50. Midas service : BRAKE REPAIR (from “break & repair”)
53. Ingenue’s quality : NAIVETE
54. Chris Matthews’s channel : MSNBC
58. Conical woodwind : OBOE
59. Cry accompanying the arrival of visitors : THEY’RE HERE! (from “there & here”)
63. Target of a narc : METH
64. Hawaiian veranda : LANAI
65. Home of Qom : IRAN
66. Gas brand in Canada : ESSO
67. Download on a Nook : E-BOOK
68. ___ Neuf (Parisian landmark) : PONT

Down
1. Zodiacal border : CUSP
2. Prefix with lock or skid : ANTI-
3. When tripled, 1965 Byrds hit : TURN
4. Suffocate : SMOTHER
5. Falklands War side: Abbr. : ARG
6. Postgraduate field : LAW
7. Beverage store bagful : ICE
8. Length of yarn : SKEIN
9. “Shame on you!” : TSK! TSK!
10. A bionic part of Steve Austin : LEFT EYE
11. Deck out : ADORN
12. Concert hall, e.g. : VENUE
13. “I’m in” indicator : ANTE
18. Reason to deny bar service : NO ID
22. Suffix with land or mind : -SCAPE
24. Bond villain : DR NO
25. Biblical verb : DOEST
26. Prime example : EPITOME
27. W.W. II foe : NAZI
28. Ardent : AVID
29. Self-referential, informally : META
33. Still in bed : NOT UP
35. Czech, for one : SLAV
36. Film character based on Hearst : KANE
37. North Sea feeder : YSER
39. John who wrote “What worries you, masters you” : LOCKE
40. The Big Easy : NOLA
43. Forcible dismissal : HEAVE-HO
45. Church activity : WORSHIP
47. ___ corn (sweet-and-salty snack) : KETTLE
49. Gimlet garnish : LIME
50. Toyland characters : BABES
51. Civil eruptions : RIOTS
52. Addict’s need, informally : REHAB
53. Iditarod terminus : NOME
55. Emperor after Claudius : NERO
56. Fiber source : BRAN
57. Small change in the eurozone : CENT
60. Brian who composed the “Microsoft sound” : ENO
61. Former hoopster ___ Ming : YAO
62. English comedian Mayall : RIK


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Posted by Bill Butler
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4 thoughts on “0515-13 New York Times Crosswords Answers 15 May 13, Wednesday”

  1. Ahem! Yesterday it was the wrong clues. Today, it's the wrong puzzle. Whassup?

  2. Whassup is that I've been forced to use a new workflow each evening writing up the blog, because of some changes made by Google. I am afraid that the new "routine" led to a couple of slips on my part over the past few days. Hopefully I've got things under control now!

  3. Re "meta". It might well be that "self referential" is an understanding of this word, but years ago, when taking some philosophy classes, I took it to mean "one level of abstraction away from the original (or the "previous")".

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