1206-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 6 Dec 14, Saturday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Josh Knapp
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 43m 43s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Site of a 1789 rebellion : HMS BOUNTY
Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall wrote “Mutiny on the ‘Bounty'”, based on a true story. They followed up their successful novel with two more works, creating what is now called the “Bounty Trilogy”. The three books are:

1. “Mutiny on the ‘Bounty'”, the tale of the mutiny against Captain Bligh.
2. “Men Against the Sea”, the story of Captain Bligh and the eighteen men set adrift in an open boat by the mutineers.
3. “Pitcairn’s Island”, a narrative about the lives of the mutineers on South Sea islands after the mutiny.

14. Classic brewing ingredient : EYE OF NEWT
The witches in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” have some lovely lines as they boil up and evil brew and cast a spell:

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,–
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

15. It can wrap things up : TWINE
Our word “twine”, meaning a light string, has the same root as our word “twin”. The original Old English “twin” was a double thread.

17. Gap competitor : H AND M
H&M is a Swedish clothing company. “H&M” is a brand name, short for Hennes & Mauritz. The words “Hennes” and “Mauritz” are a somewhat unusual combination (meaning “hers” and “Mauritz”), explained by the history of the company. H&M was founded in 1957, selling women’s clothing, and was called “Hennes”, the Swedish for “Hers”. The company acquired a hunting equipment store, with a line of men’s clothing called Mauritz Widforss (a man’s name), with the transaction leading to a new store name of Hennes & Mauritz, eventually shortened to H&M.

The Gap is a San Francisco-based clothing retailer founded in 1969. The name “the Gap” is a homage to the popular sixties term “the generation gap”.

19. “No Exit” has one : ACT
“Huis Clos” means “behind closed doors” in French. It is the title of the Jean-Paul Sartre play that we in the English-speaking world would better recognize as “No Exit”. The play features four characters who are trapped in a room that they discover is actually located in Hell. One of the characters is Estelle Rigault, a society woman who married her husband for her money, and then has an affair that results in a child whom she murders. Heavy stuff! “No Exit” is the source for one of Sartre’s most famous quotations, “Hell is other people”, meaning that Hell isn’t found in torture or physical punishment, but in the torment inflicted by others.

20. Cloth with tears in it? : HANKIE
A “kerchief” is a triangular or square piece of cloth used as a covering for the head. So, a handkerchief (“hand-kerchief”) is a square piece of cloth held in the hand and used for personal hygiene.

21. Enterprise adversary : AVIS
Avis has been around since 1946, and is the second largest car rental agency after Hertz. Avis has the distinction of being the first car rental company to locate a branch at an airport.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car was established in 1957 by Jack. C. Taylor in St. Louis, Missouri, where the company is still headquartered today. The company was originally called Executive Leasing Company. The name was changed in 1962 in honor of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise on which Taylor served during WWII.

22. Dimwitted title character of a 2001 comedy : ZOOLANDER
“Zoolander” is a 2001 movie starring Ben Stiller, with Ben’s father, Jerry Stiller in a supporting role. Derek Zoolander is a male model, with the name coming from a melding of two real-life make models, Mark Vanderloo and Johnny Zander.

25. Deodorant brand : MENNEN
The Mennen Speed Stick was the leading deodorant for men for many years. The Mennen Company was founded by Gerhard Mennen in Newark, New Jersey in 1878.

26. Middle marker? : IDES
There were three important days in each month of the old Roman calendar. These days originally depended on the cycles of the moon but were eventually “fixed” by law. “Kalendae” were the first days of each month, originally the days of the new moon. “Nonae” were originally the days of the half moon. And “idus” (the ides) was originally the day of the full moon, eventually fixed at the 15th day of a month. Well, actually the ides were the 15th day of March, May, July and October. For all other months, the ides fell on the 13th. Go figure …

29. Four-time Pro Bowler Michael : VICK
Michael Vick is an NFL quarterback. Famously, Vick was found guilty of operating a dog fighting ring on his property in 2007, for which he served 21 months in prison. This led to Vick losing his place on the Atlanta Falcons football team. It also resulted in him having to file for bankruptcy. However, he was taken on by the Philadelphia Eagles and was back on the field in 2009.

33. Score in Italy : VENTI
“Venti” is Italian for “twenty”. That’s why we can order a “venti” coffee in Starbucks, a drink that is 20 fl. oz. in volume.

34. Meh : SO-SO
“Meh!” is one of those terms unfamiliar to me outside of crosswords. It is a modern colloquialism meaning “I’m not great, but not bad”. A friendly reader of this blog tells me that the usage of the term increased dramatically after it started to appear regularly in “The Simpsons” starting in the early nineties.

40. Law enforcers, slangily : POPO
Apparently “popo”, a slang term for the police, originated on the great HBO show “The Wire”.

41. Puma, for one : BIG CAT
The mountain lion is found in much of the Americas from the Yukon in Canada right down to the southern Andes in South America. Because the mountain lion is found over such a vast area, it has many different names applied by local peoples, such as cougar and puma. In fact, the mountain lion holds the Guinness record for the animal with the most number of different names, with over 40 in English alone.

45. Bygone Asian dynast : KIM JONG-IL
A “dynast” is someone who rules by virtue of heredity.

Did you know that the official leader of North Korea is actually dead? Kim Jong-il carried out the responsibilities of the country’s leader until his death in 2011, when his son Kim Jong-un took over. However, Kim Jong-il’ father Kim Il-sung (d. 1994) is designated in the North Korean constitution as “Eternal President”.

47. “The Bicycle Thief” setting : ROME
“The Bicycle Thief” is 1948 Italian film that was adapted from the novel “Bicycle Thieves” by Luigi Bartolini. “The Bicycle Thief” is widely lauded as one of the greatest films ever to be made. It was directed by Vittorio De Sica.

48. Giant article of clothing? : JERSEY
We use the word “jersey” for a sports shirt worn by a particular team member, one that usually bears the player’s name and team number. Back in the mid-1800s, the term was used for a knitted shirt or close-fitting tunic. The item of clothing was named for Jersey in the Channel Islands off the coast of France. The island was famous for its knitting trade during the Middle Ages.

49. Like soon-to-be-frescoed plaJohn Adamsster : WET
A “fresco” is a painting created on a moist plaster, usually on a wall or ceiling. The plaster is “freshly” laid when the image is created, and “fresco” is the Italian for “fresh”.

51. Number one number two : ADAMS
was the second president of the United States, after having served as the nation’s first vice president. I must admit that I learned much of what I know about President Adams in the excellent, excellent HBO series “John Adams”. Having said that, I also visited his home in Quincy, Massachusetts not too long ago. Adams was clearly a great man with a great intellect …

52. Songlike : CANTABILE
Something described as “cantabile” is songlike, flows like a song. “Cantabile” is an Italian word that we’ve absorbed into English. In the world of instrumental music, the term describes a style of playing that aims to imitate the human voice.

54. Ends of some board meetings? : MATES
In the game of chess, when the king is under immediate threat of capture it is said to be “in check”. If the king cannot escape from check, then the game ends in “checkmate” and the player in check loses. In the original Sanskrit game of chess, the king could actually be captured. Then a rule was introduced requiring that a warning be given if capture was imminent (today we announce “check!”) so that an accidental and early ending to the game doesn’t occur.

55. Some end-of-the-year dramas, informally : OSCAR BAIT
A movie that is described “Oscar bait” is one that is released late in the year, just before votes are being cast for the Academy Awards, the “Oscars”. Studios employ this tactic so that a movie is fresh in the mind of Oscar voters, so that it gets an edge over a film released months earlier.

56. Bygone bomber whose name is a call in bingo : B-TEN
The Martin B-10 bomber entered service in 1934. It was the first bomber to have retractable landing gear, an internal bomb bay and a powered gun turret. It was built for speed and was 50% faster than its predecessor biplane bombers, and at the time of its introduction, the B-10 was so fast it could outpace any fighter in the air.

Our modern bingo is a derivative of an Italian lottery game called “Il Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia” that became popular in the 16th-century.

57. First Fox show to finish in Nielsen’s top 20 for a season : THE X-FILES
“The X-Files” is a very successful science fiction show that aired on the Fox network from 1993 to 2002. The stars of the show are David Duchovny (playing Fox Mulder) and the very talented Gillian Anderson (playing Dana Scully). By the time the series ended, “The X-Files” was the longest running sci-fi show in US broadcast history.

Down
1. The “Harry Potter” books, e.g. : HEPTAD
A “heptad” is a group of seven. The prefix “hept-”, that is used for “seven”, comes from Greek. The “sept-” prefix, which means the same thing, comes from Latin.

The titles of the seven “Harry Potter books are:

– “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (“… Sorcerer’s Stone” in the U.S)
– “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”
– “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”
– “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”
– “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”
– “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”
– “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”

I tried reading the first one, and gave up three-quarters of the way through …

5. “Jesters do ___ prove prophets”: “King Lear” : OFT
“Jesters do oft prove prophets” is a line from William Shakespeare’s play “King Lear”. It is spoken by Regan, the title character’s eldest daughter. We might rewrite the line as “Don’t joke, it might come true”.

7. Some righties, for short? : NEOCONS
By definition, a neoconservative supports the use of American power and military to bring democracy, liberty, equality and human rights to other countries.

8. Like most semaphore flags : TWO-TONE
Semaphore is a system of message transmission that uses hand-held flags (usually). The pair of flags are held in specific positions to represent letters and numbers. The term “semaphore” came into English via French, ultimately deriving from the Greek “sema” meaning “sign” and “phoros” meaning “bearer.

9. Abbr. among stock listings : YTD
Year to date (YTD)

10. Elegant pool maneuvers : SWAN DIVES
A swan dive is one in which the diver holds the arms outspread until just before hitting the water. Over on the other side of the Atlantic, the same dive is often called a swallow dive. Sometimes we use the verb “to swan-dive” to describe something that plummets, suddenly decreases. The stock markets swan-dives every so often …

11. Job-hunter’s aid : LINKEDIN
LinkedIn is a website used by professionals wishing to network with other professionals. From what I’ve heard, LinkedIn is mainly used by folks looking for a job, and other folks looking for suitable candidates to hire.

13. Twitter trending topic, maybe : MEME
A “meme” (short for “mineme”) is a cultural practice or idea that is passed on verbally or by repetition from one person to another. The term lends itself very well to the online world where links, emails, files etc. are so easily propagated.

23. Author Deighton : LEN
I used to walk my dog right past author Len Deighton’s house years ago, as we lived in the same village in Ireland (probably my only claim to fame!). Deighton wrote the excellent espionage thriller “The IPCRESS File”, made into a 1965 movie starring Michael Caine.

30. Death on the Nile creator? : ASP
A clever misdirection, pointing us towards the Agatha Christie novel “Death on the Nile”.

Agatha Christie wrote a very successful crime novel called “Death on the Nile” that was first published in 1937. That novel had started off life as a play, which was was never performed, one that Christie called “Moon on the Nile”. Christie then adapted the novel back into a play again calling it “Murder on the Nile”, which opened in London in 1946.

The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.

32. What Eliza didn’t do for ‘enry ‘iggins? : ASPIRATE
“To aspirate” is to pronounce a letter or word with an initial release of the breath, as in the word “hey”.

Eliza Doolittle is Professor Henry Higgins’ speech student in George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion”. “Pygmalion” was adapted by Lerner and Loewe to become the Broadway musical “My Fair Lady”. The musical spun off the wonderful 1964 film of the same name starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison. To cockney Eliza Doolittle, Professor Henry Higgins was “‘Enry ‘Iggins”.

33. One calling the shots? : VET
I’m note sure about this one … a “veteran” might call the shots in a military sense, maybe? A “veterinarian” might call for hypodermic shots for a dog or cat, perhaps?

35. Certain street dancer, in slang : B-BOY
A b-boy is a male fan of rap-music and breakdancing. Apparently the term comes from either “Bronx boy” or “break boy”.

36. Director Justin of the “Fast and the Furious” franchise : LIN
Justin Lin is an American movie director who was born in Taiwan. Lin directed three of the six films in “The Fast and the Furious” series. Apparently he is directing a new film in the “Jason Bourne” series called “The Bourne Betrayal”. I’m not really a fan of “The Fast and the Furious” films, but would like to see another “Jason Bourne” movie …

38. “The poetry of reality,” per Richard Dawkins : SCIENCE
Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist and Oxford professor, and a very articulate and outspoken atheist. Dawkins is also a vocal critic of creationism.

39. Gandhi marched to the sea to protest one : SALT TAX
The “Salt March” of 1930 was a protest led by Mahatma Gandhi against a heavy salt tax imposed by the British. Gandhi led a 24-day, 240-mile to the coastal village of Dandi where he participated in the production of salt, while refusing to pay the tax imposed on that production. The protest sparked country-wide civil disobedience against the salt laws and fueled the movement that eventually brought an end to the British Raj.

42. Full of high spirits : JOVIAL
Someone described as “jovial” is a “good-humored, merry”. The term literally means “under the influence of the planet Jupiter”. The Roman god Jupiter was also known as “Jove”, and someone born under the sign of Jupiter was said to have a good-humored nature.

43. 2001 French film that was nominated for five Academy Awards : AMELIE
“Amélie” is a French film, a romantic comedy about a shy waitress in Montmartre, Paris played by Audrey Tatou. The movie was originally released under the French title, “Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain” (“The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain”).

44. Green ___ : BERETS
The US Army Special Forces are known as the Green Berets because they wear … green berets. The Green Beret is also worn by the Royal Marines of the British Army. When US Army Rangers and OSS operatives were trained by the Royal Marines in Scotland during WWII, graduates of the gruelling training program were awarded green berets by their British instructors. The US soldiers, although proud of their new headgear, were not allowed to wear it as part of their uniform and had to wait until 1961 when President Kennedy authorized the green beret for exclusive use by US Special Forces.

46. The new girl on TV’s “New Girl” : JESS
Zooey Deschanel is an actress and singer-songwriter from Los Angeles. Zooey is the younger sister of Emily Deschanel who plays the title role on the TV show “Bones”. Now Zooey is playing Jess Day, the lead character on the sitcom “New Girl”.

48. Hinge holder : JAMB
A door or window jamb is the vertical portion of the frame. The term “jamb” comes from the French word “jambe” meaning “leg”.

53. Newfoundland cry : ARF!
The Newfoundland is a breed that originated as a working dog for fisherman in what was then the Dominion of Newfoundland. They were mainly used to haul heavy fishing nets.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Site of a 1789 rebellion : HMS BOUNTY
10. Nickname for a lanky guy : SLIM
14. Classic brewing ingredient : EYE OF NEWT
15. It can wrap things up : TWINE
16. Nursery bagful : PLANT FOOD
17. Gap competitor : H AND M
18. Chided, with “off” : TOLD
19. “No Exit” has one : ACT
20. Cloth with tears in it? : HANKIE
21. Enterprise adversary : AVIS
22. Dimwitted title character of a 2001 comedy : ZOOLANDER
24. Burrow, say : DEN
25. Deodorant brand : MENNEN
26. Middle marker? : IDES
28. Boon : GODSEND
29. Four-time Pro Bowler Michael : VICK
30. It might give you a buzz : ALARM
33. Score in Italy : VENTI
34. Meh : SO-SO
35. Gives one’s approval : BLESSES
40. Law enforcers, slangily : POPO
41. Puma, for one : BIG CAT
42. Dig : JAB
45. Bygone Asian dynast : KIM JONG-IL
47. “The Bicycle Thief” setting : ROME
48. Giant article of clothing? : JERSEY
49. Like soon-to-be-frescoed plaster : WET
50. Contend : AVER
51. Number one number two : ADAMS
52. Songlike : CANTABILE
54. Ends of some board meetings? : MATES
55. Some end-of-the-year dramas, informally : OSCAR BAIT
56. Bygone bomber whose name is a call in bingo : B-TEN
57. First Fox show to finish in Nielsen’s top 20 for a season : THE X-FILES

Down
1. The “Harry Potter” books, e.g. : HEPTAD
2. “Darling” : MY LOVE
3. Give no escape : SEAL IN
4. Investment category : BONDS
5. “Jesters do ___ prove prophets”: “King Lear” : OFT
6. Serene : UNFAZED
7. Some righties, for short? : NEOCONS
8. Like most semaphore flags : TWO-TONE
9. Abbr. among stock listings : YTD
10. Elegant pool maneuvers : SWAN DIVES
11. Job-hunter’s aid : LINKEDIN
12. Glancing : INDIRECT
13. Twitter trending topic, maybe : MEME
15. Other ___ : THAN
20. Assistance : HAND
23. Author Deighton : LEN
25. What everyone has at birth : MOM
27. One of a sporting pair : SKI
28. Union attendants : GROOMSMEN
30. Death on the Nile creator? : ASP
31. Considered : LOOKED AT
32. What Eliza didn’t do for ‘enry ‘iggins? : ASPIRATE
33. One calling the shots? : VET
35. Certain street dancer, in slang : B-BOY
36. Director Justin of the “Fast and the Furious” franchise : LIN
37. Mixture brushed onto pastry dough before baking : EGG WASH
38. “The poetry of reality,” per Richard Dawkins : SCIENCE
39. Gandhi marched to the sea to protest one : SALT TAX
42. Full of high spirits : JOVIAL
43. 2001 French film that was nominated for five Academy Awards : AMELIE
44. Green ___ : BERETS
46. The new girl on TV’s “New Girl” : JESS
47. Wedding party, sometimes : RABBI
48. Hinge holder : JAMB
52. Something that may be rolled out for company : COT
53. Newfoundland cry : ARF!

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