0603-13 New York Times Crossword Answers 3 Jun 13, Monday

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Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
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CROSSWORD SETTER: John Lampkin
THEME: Oink! Oink! … each of today’s themed answers starts with a word related to our porcine friends:

17A. Unseen purchase : PIG IN A POKE
39A. You can’t make a silk purse out of it, they say : SOW‘S EAR
63A. Like some wasteful government spending : PORK BARREL
11D. Ecstatic state, informally : HOG HEAVEN
34D. Clumsy : HAM-FISTED

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 06m 49s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Wood for a chest : CEDAR
Cedar is used for the manufacture of some wardrobes and chests as it has long been believed that the fragrant oil in the wood is a moth-repellent. However, whether or not cedar oil is actually effective at keeping moths away seems to be in doubt.

6. Holy Land : ZION
The name “Zion” first turns up in the Book of Solomon in the Bible. Zion is commonly used to refer to Jerusalem, and sometimes the Biblical land of Israel.

10. TV’s Dr. ___ : PHIL
Dr. Phil (McGraw) met Oprah Winfrey when he was hired to work with her as a legal consultant during the Amarillo Texas beef trial (when the industry sued Oprah for libel over “Mad Cow Disease” statements). Oprah was impressed with Dr. Phil and invited him onto her show, and we haven’t stopped seeing him since …

15. “Dies ___” (Latin hymn) : IRAE
“Dies Irae” is Latin for “Day of Wrath”. It is the name of a famous melody in Gregorian Chant, one that is often used as part of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass.

16. Gossipy Barrett : RONA
Rona Barrett is a gossip columnist originally from New York City but who plies her trade in Southern California. Barrett started out as with a gossip column that was syndicated in newspapers but then made a successful transition to television. She made regular appearances in news broadcasts and on her entertainment shows in the sixties and seventies.

17. Unseen purchase : PIG IN A POKE
“Poke” is an old term for a sack. One wouldn’t want to buy a pig in a sack, sight unseen.

20. Writer Wiesel : ELIE
Elie Wiesel is a holocaust survivor, best known for his book “Night” that tells of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.

26. “___ Mio” : O SOLE
“‘O sole mio” is a famous Italian song from Naples, written in 1898. The song’s lyrics are usually sung in the original Neapolitan, as opposed to Italian. The title translates from Neapolitan into “My Sun” (and not into “O, My Sun” as one might expect). It’s a love song of course, sung by a young man declaring that there is a sun brighter than that in the sky, the sun that is his lover’s face. Awww …

29. Reeves of “The Matrix” : KEANU
Keanu Reeves is a Canadian actor whose most celebrated roles were a metalhead in “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” (1989), a cop in “Speed” (1994) and the main antagonist in “The Matrix” series of films. Although Reeves is a Canadian national, he was born in Beirut, Lebanon. Reeves has some Hawaiian descent and the name “Keanu” is Hawaiian for “the coldness”.

The 1999 movie sensation “The Matrix” was meant to be set in a nondescript urban environment. It was actually shot in Australia, as one of the co-producers of the film was the Australian company, Village Roadshow Pictures. You can pick up all sorts of clues about the location when watching the film, including a view of Sydney Harbour Bridge in a background shot. Also, traffic drives along on the left and there are signs for the “lift” instead of an “elevator”.

32. Holy wars : JIHADS
In the Islamic tradition “jihad” is a duty, either an inner spiritual struggle to fulfill religious obligations or an outward physical struggle to defend the faith. Someone engaged in jihad is called a “mujahid” with the plural being “mujahideen”.

37. Designer Saint Laurent : YVES
Yves Saint-Laurent was a French fashion designer, actually born in Algeria. Saint-Laurent started off working as an assistant to Christian Dior at the age of 17. Dior died just four years later, and as a very young man Saint-Laurent was named head of the House of Dior. However, in 1950 Saint-Laurent was conscripted into the French Army and ended up in a military hospital after suffering a mental breakdown from the hazing inflicted on him by his fellow soldiers. His treatment included electroshock therapy and administration of sedatives and psychoactive drugs. He was released from prison, managed to pull his life back together and started his own fashion house. A remarkable story …

43. Actress Moore of “Ghost” : DEMI
Demi Moore was born Demetria Guynes and took the name Demi Moore when she married her first husband, Freddy Moore. She changed her name to Demi Guynes Kutcher a few years after marrying her present husband (soon to be ex), Ashton Kutcher. She still uses Demi Moore as her professional name.

The fabulous film “Ghost” was the highest-grossing movie at the box office in 1990, bringing in over $500 million, despite only costing $21 million to make. Stars of the film are Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg. You might want to check out the stage musical adaptation “Ghost The Musical”, which debuted in 2011 and is touring the UK and US.

48. Daniel who wrote “Robinson Crusoe” : DEFOE
When Daniel Defoe wrote his marvelous 1719 novel called “Robinson Crusoe”, he was likely thinking of real-life Scottish castaway, Alexander Selkirk. Selkirk lived alone on the Pacific Island called “Mas a Tierra” off the coast of Chile, for four years. The island was officially renamed in 1966, and is now called Robinson Crusoe Island.

50. Drive-in server : CARHOP
Carhops are servers who bring food to customers in their cars at drive-in restaurants. The first carhops were seen at the Pig Stand restaurant in Dallas, Texas in 1921. These male employees would “hop” onto the running board of cars as they entered the restaurant’s parking lot in order to quickly take the customer’s order, hence the name “carhop”.

54. Ambassador’s helper : ATTACHE
Attaché is a French term which literally means “attached”, and is used for a person who is assigned to the administrative staff of some agency or other service. The term is most recognized as it applies to someone assigned to an Ambassador’s staff at an embassy. The word was extended to “attaché case” at the beginning of the twentieth century, meaning a leather case used for carrying papers, perhaps by an attaché at an embassy.

58. Birthplace of St. Francis : ASSISI
The Italian town of Assisi is in Umbria. Assisi is famous as the birthplace of St. Francis and as the home to the Franciscan religious order. It was also the home to Saint Clare and her order of the Poor Sisters (later known as the Poor Clares).

60. African antelope : GNU
A gnu is also known as a wildebeest, an antelope native to Africa. “Wildebeest” is actually the Dutch word for “wild beast”.

62. Big name in crackers : RITZ
I’ve always liked Ritz crackers. They’ve been around since 1934 when they were introduced by Nabisco. The name Ritz was chosen because the marketing folks felt that the association with Ritz-Carlton would evoke images of wealth and the high life.

63. Like some wasteful government spending : PORK BARREL
Pork barrel politics have been around for a long time. The term originated in 1863 in a story by Edward Everett Hale called “The Children of the Public”. Hale used “pork barrel” in a positive way, describing any public spending by government for the benefit of citizens. By the 1870s the term “pork” had negative connotations, with references in the press to “pork barrel bills” in Congress. Nowadays “pork” really applies to any government project designed to benefit a relatively small group of citizens (usually potential voters for a particular politician) with the bill being paid by the citizenry as a whole.

66. Toward shelter, nautically : ALEE
“Alee” is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing “aweather”.

67. Asia’s diminished ___ Sea : ARAL
The Aral Sea is a great example of how man can have a devastating effect on his environment. In the early sixties the Aral Sea covered 68,000 square miles of Central Asia. Soviet Union irrigation projects drained the lake to such an extent that today the total area is less than 7,000 square miles, with 90% of the lake now completely dry. Sad …

68. John ___ (tractor maker) : 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”.

70. Words before and after “or not” : TO BE

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous fortune;
Or to take Armes against a Sea of troubles …

There has been centuries of debate about how one interprets Hamlet’s soliloquy that begins “To be or not to be …”. My favorite opinion is that Hamlet is weighing up the pros and cons of suicide (“to not be”).

Down
2. Writer Zola : EMILE
The most famous work of French writer Émile Zola is his 1898 open letter “J’Accuse!” written to then French president Félix Faure. The letter was published on the front page of a leading Paris newspaper, and accused the government of anti-Semitism in its handling of the trial of Captain Alfred Dreyfus. Dreyfus was a Jewish military officer in the French army, falsely accused and convicted of spying for Germany. Even after the error was discovered, the government refused to back down and let Dreyfus rot away on Devil’s Island rather than admit to the mistake. It wasn’t until 1906, 12 years after the wrongful conviction, that Dreyfus was freed and reinstated, largely due to the advocacy of Emile Zola.

3. Cowherd’s stray : DOGIE
“Dogie” is cowboy slang for a motherless calf in a herd.

4. Short operatic song : ARIETTA
An arietta quite simply is a short aria.

5. Stimpy’s bud : REN
“The Ren and Stimpy Show” is an animated television show that ran on Nickelodeon from 1991 to 1996. The title characters are Marland “Ren” Höek, a scrawny Chihuahua, and Stimpson J. Cat, a rotund Manx cat. Not my cup of tea …

10. “Blue Suede Shoes” singer : PRESLEY
Elvis Aron Presley was the younger of two identical twins. His brother was stillborn, delivered 35 minutes before Elvis. The brother was named Jesse Garon Presley. So though he was born a twin, Elvis was raised as an only child.

“Blue Suede Shoes” was written and first recorded by Carl Perkins, in 1955. The idea for the song was given to him by Johnny Cash. Cash had been serving with the military in Germany and there met an airman who referred to his military regulation air shoes as “blue suede shoes”. The idea was reinforced when Perkins heard a young man who was dancing say to his partner, “Don’t step on my suede shoes”. Perkins version of the song was very, very successful, actually “going gold” in sales. Elvis Presley’s version of course did even better.

12. “Bus Stop” playwright : 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”.

“Bus Stop” is a marvelous play written by William Inge in 1955. The famous 1956 movie of the same name starring Marilyn Monroe is only very loosely based on the play.

25. Mortar troughs : HODS
A hod is a 3-sided box on the the end of a long handle used for carrying bricks (and sometimes mortar) at a construction site, usually up and down ladders.

26. Great Plains tribe : OTOE
The Otoe (also Oto) Native American tribe originated in the Great Lakes region as part of the Winnebago or Siouan tribes. The group that would become the Otoe broke away from the Winnebago and migrated southwestwards ending up in the Great Plains. In the plains the Otoe adopted a semi-nomadic lifestyle dependent on the horse, with the American bison becoming central to their diet.

32. Naomi or Wynonna of country music : JUDD
The Judds were a country music singing duo made up of Naomi Judd and her daughter Wynonna.

34. Clumsy : HAM-FISTED
The term “ham-fisted” has been in use since the 1920s when it was originally used to describe a pilot who was heavy on the controls of a plane.

49. Sue Grafton’s “___ for Evidence” : E IS
Sue Grafton writes detective novels, and her “alphabet series” features the private investigator Kinsey Millhone. She started off with “A Is for Alibi” in 1982 and is working her way through the alphabet, most recently publishing “U Is for Undertow” in 2009. What a clever naming system!

55. Rod who was a seven-time A.L. batting champ : CAREW
Rod Carew is a former Major League Baseball player from Panama. Actually. Carew is a “Zonian”, meaning that he was born in the Panama Canal Zone, a political entity that existed for decades from 1903.

56. Prefix with -glyphics : HIERO-
Hieroglyphs are pictorial symbols used in some writing systems.

57. “The ___ DeGeneres Show” : ELLEN
Ellen DeGeneres is a very, very successful TV personality, having parlayed her career in stand-up comedy into lucrative gigs as an actress and talk show host. Back in 1997 DeGeneres chose the “Oprah Winfrey Show” to announce that she was a lesbian. Her character on “The Ellen Show” also came out as a lesbian, in a scene with her therapist, played by Oprah Winfrey. Nice twist!

59. Corn Belt tower : SILO
Silo is a Spanish word that we absorbed into English, originally coming from the Greek word “siros” that described a pit in which one kept grain.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Wood for a chest : CEDAR
6. Holy Land : ZION
10. TV’s Dr. ___ : PHIL
14. Love, Italian-style : AMORE
15. “Dies ___” (Latin hymn) : IRAE
16. Gossipy Barrett : RONA
17. Unseen purchase : PIG IN A POKE
19. Like custard and meringue : EGGY
20. Writer Wiesel : ELIE
21. Long, long time : EON
22. – – – : DASHES
24. Transparent, informally : SEE-THRU
26. “___ Mio” : O SOLE
27. Greet with a honk : TOOT AT
29. Reeves of “The Matrix” : KEANU
32. Holy wars : JIHADS
35. Drag behind, as a trailer : TOW
37. Designer Saint Laurent : YVES
38. Made in ___ (garment label) : USA
39. You can’t make a silk purse out of it, they say : SOW’S EAR
42. Before, poetically : ERE
43. Actress Moore of “Ghost” : DEMI
45. Tell a whopper : LIE
46. Buzz and bleep : SOUNDS
48. Daniel who wrote “Robinson Crusoe” : DEFOE
50. Drive-in server : CARHOP
52. How to sign a contract : IN INK
54. Ambassador’s helper : ATTACHE
58. Birthplace of St. Francis : ASSISI
60. African antelope : GNU
61. Part that wags : TAIL
62. Big name in crackers : RITZ
63. Like some wasteful government spending : PORK BARREL
66. Toward shelter, nautically : ALEE
67. Asia’s diminished ___ Sea : ARAL
68. John ___ (tractor maker) : DEERE
69. Physiques : BODS
70. Words before and after “or not” : TO BE
71. Attach, as a button : SEW ON

Down
1. Bullfighters wave them : CAPES
2. Writer Zola : EMILE
3. Cowherd’s stray : DOGIE
4. Short operatic song : ARIETTA
5. Stimpy’s bud : REN
6. Like some detachable linings : ZIP-OUT
7. What bodybuilders pump : IRON
8. Wood for a chest : OAK
9. Essentials : NEEDS
10. “Blue Suede Shoes” singer : PRESLEY
11. Ecstatic state, informally : HOG HEAVEN
12. “Bus Stop” playwright : INGE
13. Puts down, as tile : LAYS
18. Spray can : AEROSOL
23. Just fine : A-OK
25. Mortar troughs : HODS
26. Great Plains tribe : OTOE
28. Floundering : AT SEA
30. Stereotypical techie : NERD
31. Applications : USES
32. Naomi or Wynonna of country music : JUDD
33. “Got it!” : I SEE!
34. Clumsy : HAM-FISTED
36. Laundry basin : WASHTUB
40. Lighted part of a candle : WICK
41. Part of a plant or tooth : ROOT
44. Becomes charged, as the atmosphere : IONIZES
47. Stuck, with no way to get down : UP A TREE
49. Sue Grafton’s “___ for Evidence” : E IS
51. Really bug : RANKLE
53. Barely bite, as someone’s heels : NIP AT
55. Rod who was a seven-time A.L. batting champ : CAREW
56. Prefix with -glyphics : HIERO-
57. “The ___ DeGeneres Show” : ELLEN
58. Many an Iraqi : ARAB
59. Corn Belt tower : SILO
60. Seize : GRAB
64. Spanish gold : ORO
65. What TV watchers often zap : ADS


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