1127-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 27 Nov 14, Thursday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Stanley Newman
THEME: Thanksgiving Phrase … each of today’s themed answers goes with the clue “Thanksgiving phrase”, and is a phrase used in various languages to give thanks. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

15A. Thanksgiving phrase : MUCHAS GRACIAS (Spanish)
51A. Thanksgiving phrase : MERCI BEAUCOUP (French)
16D. Thanksgiving phrase : GRAZIE MILLE (Italian)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 15m 19s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

13. State south of Veracruz : OAXACA
Oaxaca is a state in the southern part of Mexico on the Pacific coast. The state takes the name of Oaxaca, its largest city.

14. Upwards of 170 beats per minute : PRESTO
On a musical score, presto is used to indicate a fast tempo. “Presto” is the Italian word for “quick”.

17. Mario Vargas Llosa’s home : PERU
Mario Vargas Llosa is a Peruvian writer of renown, one of the most significant authors from Latin America by all accounts. Llosa is also very active politically, and in 1990 ran unsuccessfully for the Peruvian presidency.

19. Somerhalder of “The Vampire Diaries” : IAN
Ian Somerhalder had his big break as an actor in the TV drama “Lost”, and now has a part in TV’s “The Vampire Diaries”.

“The Vampire Diaries” is a series of horror novels aimed at teens, with a spinoff television series of the same name. I don’t do vampires …

21. Newcastle and others : ALES
Newcastle upon Tyne in the North of England is home to the famous Newcastle Brown Ale.

23. Sister of the grand duchess Anastasia : OLGA
The Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna was the eldest daughter of the doomed Nicholas and Alexandra, the last Emperor and Empress of Russia. Olga was murdered along with her parents and siblings in 1918.

The last ruler of Imperial Russia was Tsar Nicholas II (of the House of Romanov). Famously, the Tsar and his family were murdered in 1918 in the basement of a house in Yekaterinburg, Russia by members of the Bolshevik secret police. The Tsar’s youngest daughter was 16-year-old Anastasia and rumors of her escape have persisted for years. The rumors grew with the help of numerous women who claimed to be Anastasia. In 2009, DNA testing finally proved that the remains of all of the Tsar’s immediate family, including Anastasia, have been found and identified.

27. ___ shooting : SKEET
There are three types of competitive shotgun target shooting sports:

– Skeet shooting
– Trap shooting
– Sporting clays

29. Parts of a Nativity scene : MAGI
“Magi” is the plural of the Latin word “magus”, a term applied to someone who was able to read the stars. Hence, magi is commonly used with reference to the “wise men from the East” who followed the star and visited Jesus soon after he was born.

31. Highest-paid TV star of 2014, by far : JUDGE JUDY
Judge Judy of television fame is actually Judith Sheindlin, a retired family court judge from New York. Ms. Sheindlin reportedly earns $47 million per year for “Judge Judy”. That’s a tad more than she was earning on the “real” bench, I think, and it makes her the highest-earning personality on television by a long shot.

36. “When You’re Good to ___” (“Chicago” tune) : MAMA
The wonderful 1975 musical Broadway “Chicago” is based on a 1926 play of the same name written by a news reporter called Maurine Dallas Watkins. Watkins had been assigned to cover the murder trials of Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner for the “Chicago Tribune”, and used the story that unfolded as the basis for her play. Annan became the character Roxie Hart, and Gaertner became Velma Kelly. I’ve only ever seen the 2002 movie version of “Chicago” and never a live performance …

37. Bit of honey, perhaps: Abbr. : TSP
Teaspoon (tsp.)

40. Classic diva performances? : POUTS
“Diva” comes to us from Latin via Italian. “Diva” is the feminine form of “divus” meaning “divine one”. The word is used in Italy to mean “goddess” or “fine lady”, and especially is applied to the prima donna in an opera. We often use the term to describe a singer with a big ego.

41. Minor inventions : FIBS
To “fib” is to “to tell a lie”. The term likely comes from “fibble-fable” meaning “nonsense”, itself derived from “fable”.

42. Second-largest moon of Saturn : RHEA
Rhea is the second-largest of Saturn’s moons, and the ninth-largest of all the moons in our solar system. The moon is named after the Titan Rhea from Greek mythology. Unlike our moon, Rhea might have an atmosphere of sorts, and even rings.

47. Monster in the “Odyssey” : SCYLLA
Charybdis was a beautiful naiad, a water nymph of Greek mythology. Zeus became enraged with Charybdis and turned her into a sea monster. In Greek myth, the monstrous form of Charybdis lay at one side of a narrow channel of water, with another sea monster, Scylla, lying at the other. Sailors found it impossible to navigate the channel as getting to a safe distance from one monster left them in the clutches of the other. From this tale arose the expression “between Scylla and Charybdis” meaning having two choices, neither of which is a good one.

50. On the money : TO A T
The expression “to a T” can also be written as “to a tee”, and has been around at least since 1693.

54. Eastern terminus of the Erie Canal : ALBANY
The Erie Canal runs from Albany to Buffalo in the state of New York. What the canal does is allow shipping to proceed from New York Harbor right up the Hudson River, through the canal and into the Great Lakes. When it was opened in 1825, the Erie Canal had immediate impact on the economy of New York City and locations along its route. It was the first means of “cheap” transportation from a port on the Atlantic seaboard into the interior of the United States. Arguably it was the most important factor contributing to the growth of New York City over competing ports such as Baltimore and Philadelphia. It was largely because of the Erie Canal that New York became such an economic powerhouse, earning it the nickname of “the Empire State”. Paradoxically, one of the project’s main proponents was severely criticized. New York Governor DeWitt Clinton received so much ridicule that the canal was nicknamed “Clinton’s Folly” and “Clinton’s Ditch”.

55. Actual first name of Tom Seaver and Orson Welles : GEORGE
George Thomas “Tom” Seaver is a former baseball pitcher, noted for his ten-year stint with the New York Mets from 1967 to 1977. Seaver earned the nickname “Tom Terrific”, and is the only Met player to have his jersey number retired. When he quit baseball he moved out here to California and opened up a small winery in Calistoga. Keep an eye out for the vineyard’s name, “Seaver Family Vineyards”, and their cabernets “Nancy’s Fancy” and “GTS”.

George Orson Welles (known as “Orson”) is perhaps best-remembered in the world of film for his role in 1941’s “Citizen Kane”. In the world of radio, Welles is known for 1938’s famous broadcast of “The War of the Worlds”, a broadcast that convinced many listeners that the Earth was indeed being invaded by aliens.

57. Idlers : SLOTHS
“Sloth”, meaning “indolence, sluggishness”, comes from the Middle English word “slowe”, the same root for our contemporary word “slow”. The animal, the sloth, is named for its slow-moving behavior.

Down
1. Big citrus fruits : POMELOS
A pomelo is a very large, pear-shaped citrus fruit native to Southeast Asia.

2. Honors : LAURELS
In the Ancient Olympic Games, the winner of an event was awarded an olive wreath. When the games were revived in 1896, the winners were originally given a silver medal and an olive branch, with runners-up receiving a bronze medal and a laurel branch. The tradition of giving gold, silver and bronze medals began at the 1904 Summer Olympic Games held in St. Louis, Missouri.

5. Put one over on : SCAM
The slang term “scam” meaning a swindle may come from the British slang “scamp”.

9. What bench presses enhance : PECS
“Pecs” is the familiar term for the chest muscle, more correctly known as the pectoralis major muscle. “Pectus” is a the Latin word for “breast, chest”.

10. Symbol for Freud’s field : PSI
The Greek letter “psi” is used as a symbol for the fields of psychology and psychiatry.

Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist, and founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychiatry.

11. Merchandiser that’s never closed : E-TAILER
“E-tail” is the term used these days for online shopping. E-tail is often compared to regular shopping in the “real world” by juxtaposing it with a “brick and mortar” store.

20. Statistician Silver : NATE
Nate Silver is a statistician who first gained notoriety by developing a forecasting system that predicted the future performance of baseball players. He then made a name for himself in the world of politics by predicting the outcome of the 2008 US presidential race. Silver successfully predicted the outcome of the election in 49 of the 50 states, missing out on Indiana, which Barack Obama won by less than 1% of the vote.

26. Big name in boots : UGG
Uggs are sheepskin boots that originated in Australia and New Zealand. Uggs have sheepskin fleece on the inside for comfort and insulation, with a tanned leather surface on the outside for durability. Ugg is a generic term down under, although it’s a brand name here in the US.

31. Coffee sack material : JUTE
Jute is a very popular vegetable fiber, second only to cotton in terms of the amount produced. Jute fiber is also called hessian, and fabric made from jute can be called hessian cloth. In the US, cloth made from jute can be called burlap.

34. It meets the Shenandoah at Harper’s Ferry : POTOMAC
Harpers Ferry is a town in West Virginia located at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. We tend to remember Harpers Ferry as the place where John Brown led a raid on a federal armory during the Civil War with the intent of arming slaves.

38. Clothing items with fringes : SERAPES
“Serape” is the English pronunciation and spelling of the Spanish word “zarape”. A zarape is like a Mexican poncho, a soft woolen blanket with a hole in the middle for the head. Most serapes have colorful designs that use traditional Mayan motifs.

41. Visits by Voyager 1, e.g. : FLYBYS
NASA’s Voyager program launched two unmanned probes to explore the outer limits of our solar system. The probes were launched on different dates in 1977, with each date chosen to take advantage of particular alignments of the planets. The two probes are still active to some extent, and will be so for at least another decade. Voyager 1 is now the farthest man-made object from the Earth. In fact, Voyager 1 left our solar system in 2012, making it the first spacecraft to enter interstellar space. Cool …

47. Certain JPEG : SCAN
The JPEG file format was created by the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG), hence the name.

An image file on a computer can be compressed so that it takes up less space. Some time the compression is “lossless” meaning even though the file is compressed, and data it is discarded, the image still looks the same. One example of data that can be discarded without loss of quality, is to not bother recording the color information of pixels that are the same color as others. Just saying “this pixel is the same is that one” takes up less space. One can compress files even more if one allows loss of quality. One well known compression algorithm that is “lossy” is the jpeg (also “.jpg”) format. The person compressing the file can decide how much quality will suffer in jpeg format, with larger files being of higher quality than the smaller ones.

49. Writer about Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals : AUEL
As Jean Auel prepared her first book in the “Earth’s Children” series, she did a lot of research about the Ice Age, the setting for her stories. She went as far as taking a survival course in cold conditions, learning to build an ice cave and how to make fire, tan leather and knap stone.

Remains of early man, dating back to 35,000 years ago, were found in Abri de Cro-Magnon in southwest France, giving the name to those early humans. Cro-Magnon remains are the oldest human relics that have been discovered in Europe.

The Homo genus includes the species Homo sapiens (modern humans), but we’re the only species left in that genus. The last known species related to humans was Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthal Man) which died off about 24,000 years ago. However, another species was discovered in Indonesia in 2003 that has been dubbed Homo floresiensis (Flores Man … sometimes called “hobbit”), and it may possibly have lived as recently as 12,000 years ago. Watch this space …

52. Hitter’s stat : RBI
Runs batted in (RBI)

53. Corp. manager : COO
Chief operating officer (COO)

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Kindly : PLEASE
7. Absorbed, with “up” : SOPPED
13. State south of Veracruz : OAXACA
14. Upwards of 170 beats per minute : PRESTO
15. Thanksgiving phrase : MUCHAS GRACIAS (Spanish)
17. Mario Vargas Llosa’s home : PERU
18. Pluses : MERITS
19. Somerhalder of “The Vampire Diaries” : IAN
21. Newcastle and others : ALES
22. Absorbed : ATE
23. Sister of the grand duchess Anastasia : OLGA
24. Capacity : ROLE
25. [Wrong] : BUZZ!
27. ___ shooting : SKEET
28. Dangerous curve ahead, say : ESS
29. Parts of a Nativity scene : MAGI
30. Having roared too much, say : HOARSE
31. Highest-paid TV star of 2014, by far : JUDGE JUDY
33. Half of some partnerships : SPOUSE
36. “When You’re Good to ___” (“Chicago” tune) : MAMA
37. Bit of honey, perhaps: Abbr. : TSP
40. Classic diva performances? : POUTS
41. Minor inventions : FIBS
42. Second-largest moon of Saturn : RHEA
43. Relative of -kin : -ETTE
44. Unkindly : ILL
45. Goes off : ERRS
46. Pigtails and ponytails : DOS
47. Monster in the “Odyssey” : SCYLLA
50. On the money : TO A T
51. Thanksgiving phrase : MERCI BEAUCOUP (French)
54. Eastern terminus of the Erie Canal : ALBANY
55. Actual first name of Tom Seaver and Orson Welles : GEORGE
56. Holds on : CLINGS
57. Idlers : SLOTHS

Down
1. Big citrus fruits : POMELOS
2. Honors : LAURELS
3. Pretext : EXCUSE
4. “That hits the spot” : AAH!
5. Put one over on : SCAM
6. Disburden : EASE
7. Bit of perfume : SPRITZ
8. Sermonize : ORATE
9. What bench presses enhance : PECS
10. Symbol for Freud’s field : PSI
11. Merchandiser that’s never closed : E-TAILER
12. Doctors’ orders : DOSAGES
16. Thanksgiving phrase : GRAZIE MILLE (Italian)
17. Take a coat off : PARE
20. Statistician Silver : NATE
23. Word that can be a noun, verb, adjective, adverb or interjection : OKAY
25. Directed : BADE
26. Big name in boots : UGG
27. Word before bread or water : SODA
29. Tousle : MUSS
30. Operates perfectly : HUMS
31. Coffee sack material : JUTE
32. Skewer : JAB
33. Went like lightning : SPED
34. It meets the Shenandoah at Harper’s Ferry : POTOMAC
35. Beat in the market : OUTSELL
37. Over and done with : THROUGH
38. Clothing items with fringes : SERAPES
39. Over and done with : PAST
41. Visits by Voyager 1, e.g. : FLYBYS
42. Counter with a sharp edge : RETORT
44. One use for marzipan : ICING
47. Certain JPEG : SCAN
48. Hangs back : LAGS
49. Writer about Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals : AUEL
52. Hitter’s stat : RBI
53. Corp. manager : COO

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