1216-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 16 Dec 14, Tuesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Joel D. Lafargue
THEME: The Brothers Gibb … today’s theme is the THE BEE GEES, with each of the three long answers starting with the given name of one of the band’s members:

60A. Trio whose members start 17-, 26- and 44-Across : THE BEE GEES

17A. R&B singer backed by the Love Unlimited Orchestra : BARRY WHITE (giving “Barry Gibb”)
26A. Late comic genius : ROBIN WILLIAMS (giving “Robin Gibb”)
44A. Children’s author/illustrator with a National Medal of Arts : MAURICE SENDAK (giving “Maurice Gibb”)

66A. Last name of 60-Across : GIBB

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 11m 53s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

9. Somewhat : A TAD
Back in the 1800s “tad” was used to describe a young child, and this morphed into our usage of “small amount” in the early 1900s. The original use of “tad” for a child is very likely a shortened version of “tadpole”.

13. Cookie involved in a licking race : OREO
A competitor has to take several steps to finish an OREO Lick Race:

a. Twist open the cookie.
b. Lick each half clean of creme.
c. Show the clean cookie halves to the fellow competitors.
d. Dunk the cookie halves in a glass of milk.
e. Eat the cookie halves.
f. Drink the milk.

Ready, set, go …

14. Word after Mother or Google : EARTH
Google Earth is a program that maps the Earth by superimposing satellite images and aerial photographs. Google acquired the technology when it purchased Keyhole, Inc in 2004. Keyhole had been partially funded by the CIA.

17. R&B singer backed by the Love Unlimited Orchestra : BARRY WHITE (giving “Barry Gibb”)
Barry White was a singer-songwriter from Texas who grew up in South Central Los Angeles. White has a rough start to life and ended up in jail at 17 for stealing Cadillac tires. It was while in prison that White was inspired to begin a musical career, after listening Elvis Presley on record singing “It’s Now or Never”. White’s greatest chart success was in the mid-seventies, with recordings such as “Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up” and “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything”.

The Love Unlimited Orchestra was a 40-piece mainly string orchestra that was pulled together by Barry White as a backing band for the female vocal trio Love Unlimited. Love Unlimited had in turn provided backing vocals for Barry White himself. Included in the trio was Glodean James, who later became White’s wife. The Love Unlimited Orchestra had a number-one hit in 1973 with “Love’s Theme”.

Barry Gibb was the oldest of the trio of brothers who made up the Bee Gees. Robin also did a lot of songwriting, both with and without his siblings. He is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the second most successful songwriter in history, after Paul McCartney.

23. When repeated, kind of pedal : WAH
A wah-wah pedal connected to an electric guitar alters the tone of the signal created so that it mimics the human voice.

26. Late comic genius : ROBIN WILLIAMS (giving “Robin Gibb”)
The actor and comedian Robin Williams got his big break playing Mork on the sitcom “Mork & Mindy”. Williams also had lauded performances on the big screen, starring in films such as “Good Morning, Vietnam”, “Dead Poet’s Society”, “Good Will Hunting”, “Hook”, “Mrs. Doubtfire” and my personal favorite “The Birdcage”. The world was shocked to hear that Williams committed suicide in August 2014.

Robin Gibb was one of the twin brothers in the sibling trio called the Bee Gees. Off the stage, Robin had an eventful life. While travelling with his first wife he survived a devastating rail crash in 1967 that killed 49 fellow passengers. That marriage ended in divorce in the early eighties. Gibb ended up in jail for two weeks after that divorce, for speaking to the press about the marriage in breach of a court order.

41. TV diner boss : MEL
Florence Jean “Flo” Castleberry was a waitress in the sitcom “Alice” which aired on CBS in the 70s and 80s. Flo got her own sitcom (called “Flo”) which had a brief run in the early 80s. I saw a few episodes of “Alice”, but that’s about it. Oh, and Flo was played by Polly Holliday.

42. “___ American Life” : THIS
“This American Life” is a radio show that is broadcast weekly on National Public Radio (NPR). Host of the show is the much-respected Ira Glass. I was interested to learn that one of my favorite composers, Philip Glass, is Ira’s first cousin.

43. Robert De Niro spy thriller : RONIN
I haven’t seen “Ronin”, a 1998 action thriller about a group of ex-special forces and intelligence agents who collaborate to steal a mysterious suitcase. It stars Robert De Niro and Jean Reno, and sounds like my kind of film.

Robert De Niro is noted for his longtime and highly successful collaboration with the director Martin Scorsese. He is also noted for his commitment as a method actor. Famously he gained a full 60 pounds in order to play Jake Lamotta in the 1980 movie “Raging Bull”.

44. Children’s author/illustrator with a National Medal of Arts : MAURICE SENDAK (giving “Maurice Gibb”)
Maurice Sendak is an American writer and illustrator of children’s books. His best known work is “Where the Wild Things Are”, published in 1963. The “Wild Things” of the tale are beasts conjured up in the imagination of a young boy named Max, after he is sent to bed with no supper.

Maurice Gibb was the keyboard-player of the trio of brothers who made up the Bee Gees. Maurice was a big fan of the Beatles and was friends with at least two of them. John Lennon introduced him to his favorite drink, which was whiskey and soda. Maurice ended up abusing alcohol for decades, and one of his drinking buddies was Ringo Starr.

54. Missouri feeder : PLATTE
The Platte River used to be called the Nebrakier, which is an Oto word meaning “flat river”. Indeed, the state of Nebraska takes its name from “Nebrakier”. For a while it was also called the River Plate as “plate” is the French word “flat”. Later this became “Platte”, the phonetic spelling of the French “plate”.

59. Paul who sang “Diana” : ANKA
Canadian-born Paul Anka’s big hit was in 1957, the song entitled “Diana”. Anka was the subject of a much-lauded documentary film in 1962 called “Lonely Boy”.

60. Trio whose members start 17-, 26- and 44-Across : THE BEE GEES
The Brothers Gibb (hence, the name “The Bee Gees”) were born in England but grew up and started their musical careers in Australia. They moved back to Manchester in the north of England as youths, and there hit the big time.

63. Flavor : SAPOR
“Sapor” is another word for a flavor, a quality that can be tasted. “Sapor” is the Latin word for “taste, flavor”.

64. Metalliferous rocks : ORES
Metalliferous is such a lovely-sounding word. I means “containing metal” and is a term used to describe ores rich in metal.

67. Vocalist Vannelli : GINO
Gino Vannelli is a Canadian singer, from Montreal, Quebec. Today. Vannelli is very popular in Holland, and divides his time between his homes in the US and the Netherlands.

Down
1. Vagabond : HOBO
No one seems to know for sure how the term “hobo” originated, although there are lots of colorful theories. My favorite is that “hobo” comes from the first letters in the words “ho-meward bo-und”, but it doesn’t seem very plausible. A kind blog reader tells me that according to Click and Clack from PBS’s “Car Talk” (a great source!), “hobo” comes from “hoe boy”. Hoe boys were young men with hoes looking for work after the Civil War. Hobos differed from “tramps” and “bums”, in that “bums” refused to work, “tramps” worked when they had to, while “hobos” traveled in search of work.

A “vagabond” is a person without a home who moves from place to place. The term derives from the Latin “vagabundus” meaning “wandering, strolling about”.

2. ___ Mountains (continent separator) : URAL
The eastern side of the Ural Mountains in Russia is generally regarded as the natural divide between the continents of Europe and Asia.

3. One whose favorite website is Sporcle, say : NERD
Sporcle.com is a trivia quiz website. The name is derived from the word “oracle” apparently. I like the web site’s mission statement: “We actively and methodically search out new and innovative ways to prevent our users from getting any work done whatsoever.”

5. Showy trinket : GEWGAW
A “gewgaw” is a trinket, and trivial piece of jewelry. A new term to me …

7. Football Hall-of-Famer Dickerson : ERIC
Eric Dickerson is a former NFL running back. Dickerson holds the single-season rushing record, a record that he set back in 1984.

8. ___ Place, Butch Cassidy companion :
Etta Place is the schoolteacher character played by the lovely Katharine Ross in the 1969 movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”.

When the great movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” was in development, Paul Newman was always the first choice to play one of the leads, although the initial casting had him in the role of Sundance. Steve McQueen actually accepted the co-starring role, but left over a dispute about the billing (the film was entitled “The Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy” at that point). The role of Sundance was then offered to Jack Lemmon, but he turned it down. Warren Beatty and Marlon Brando were considered next, before opting for the relatively unknown Robert Redford. What a great choice …

9. Canterbury saint : ANSELM
Anselm was one of the Archbishops of Canterbury (in England) during Medieval times, from 1093 to 1109. As well as holding the important office within the Church, Anselm was an active and respected philosopher. He is often referred to as the founder of scholasticism, a method of learning that reigned in Medieval universities right across Europe for about 400 years.

15. Playwright Ibsen : HENRIK
Henrik Ibsen was a Norwegian playwright, considered by many to be the greatest playwright since William Shakespeare. Ibsen was famous for shocking his audiences by exploring subjects that offended the sensibilities of the day (the late 1800s).

22. Event with crumpets : TEA
I do love a nice crumpet. Crumpets are made from flour and yeast, with baking soda added to make the characteristic holes in the surface. Served hot, with butter melted into the holes, nothing better …

24. Cab Calloway phrase : HI-DE-HI
Cab Calloway was a famous jazz singer and bandleader who enjoyed most of his fame in the thirties and forties. His best known recording was the song “Minnie the Moocher” which had a chorus that used the “words” “hi-de-hi” and “hi-de-ho”. Calloway became so associated with the song he earned the nickname “The Hi De Ho Man”.

26. Bawl (out) : REAM
I must admit that I find the slang term “to ream out”, with its meaning “to scold harshly”, to be quite distasteful. The usage of the word as a reprimand dates back to about 1950.

27. Cartoon dog with a big tongue : ODIE
Odie is Garfield’s best friend and is a slobbery beagle, a character in Jim Davis’s comic strip.

28. Something you won’t see many bears in : BULL MARKET
The terms “bull” and “bear” markets come from the way in which each animal attacks. A bull thrusts his horns upwards (an “up” market), whereas a bear swipes with his paws downward (a “down” market).

29. “Rocks” : ICE
“Rocks” and “ice” are slang terms for diamonds, and “rocks” is a slang term for ice, as in “scotch on the rocks”.

35. Puccini’s “Un bel di,” e.g. : ARIA
“Un bel di” is the most famous aria from Puccini’s opera “Madama Butterfly”. It is also one of the most beautiful arias in the whole soprano repertoire. “Un bel di” translates as “One beautiful day”.

36. Carom : BANK
A carom is a ricochet, the bouncing of some projectile off a surface. Carom has come to mean the banking of a billiard ball, the bouncing of the ball off the side of the table.

39. ___ clef : TREBLE
Clef is the French word for “key”. In music, a clef is used to indicate the pitch of the notes written on the stave. The bass clef is also known as the F-clef, and the treble clef is the G-clef.

40. TV network once called Pax : ION
Ion Television started out as PAX TV in 1998, was renamed to i:Independent Television in 2005 and then to Ion in 2007.

45. Jane who won a 1931 Nobel Peace Prize : ADDAMS
Jane Addams was a suffragist and social worker from Cedarville Illinois. Her prominence was such that Addams nominated Theodore Roosevelt for the US Presidency at the Progressive Party’s convention in 1912. In 1931, she became the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

46. Last: Abbr. : ULT
Ultimate (ult.)

52. Friend of Scoob : SHAG
“Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” is a series of cartoons produced for Hanna-Barbera Productions, first broadcast in 1969. The title character is a great Dane dog owned by a young male called Shaggy Rogers. The character’s name was inspired by the famous “doo-be-doo-be-doo” refrain in the Frank Sinatra hit “Strangers in the Night”. Shaggy was voiced by famed disk jockey Casey Kasem.

53. French army headwear : KEPI
A kepi is that circular cap with a visor that’s worn in particular by the French military.

56. Actress Garr : TERI
The lovely Teri Garr had a whole host of minor roles in her youth, including appearances in nine Elvis movies. Garr’s big break came with the role of Inga in “Young Frankenstein”, and her supporting role in “Tootsie” earned Garr an Academy Award nomination. Sadly, Teri Garr suffers from multiple sclerosis. She is a National Ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

58. Canadian fuel name : 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.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Event with foxhounds : HUNT
5. Lottery winner’s feeling : GLEE
9. Somewhat : A TAD
13. Cookie involved in a licking race : OREO
14. Word after Mother or Google : EARTH
16. Appoint to office : NAME
17. R&B singer backed by the Love Unlimited Orchestra : BARRY WHITE (giving “Barry Gibb”)
19. Banana discard : SKIN
20. Unlikely derby winner : OLD NAG
21. Thermos alternatives : CANTEENS
23. When repeated, kind of pedal : WAH
25. “I can ___” (“Been there”) : RELATE
26. Late comic genius : ROBIN WILLIAMS (giving “Robin Gibb”)
32. Draw out : EDUCE
33. Scrape by : DO OK
34. It might say “A-C” or “2013-14” : TAB
37. Was sick : AILED
38. Bigheadedness : EGO
39. Sparkly topper : TIARA
41. TV diner boss : MEL
42. “___ American Life” : THIS
43. Robert De Niro spy thriller : RONIN
44. Children’s author/illustrator with a National Medal of Arts : MAURICE SENDAK
48. Hold protectively : CRADLE
50. Massage : RUB
51. No easy chore : HARD TASK
54. Missouri feeder : PLATTE
59. Paul who sang “Diana” : ANKA
60. Trio whose members start 17-, 26- and 44-Across : THE BEE GEES
62. Agenda part : ITEM
63. Flavor : SAPOR
64. Metalliferous rocks : ORES
65. Decomposes : ROTS
66. Last name of 60-Across : GIBB
67. Vocalist Vannelli : GINO

Down
1. Vagabond : HOBO
2. ___ Mountains (continent separator) : URAL
3. One whose favorite website is Sporcle, say : NERD
4. Not intact : TORN
5. Showy trinket : GEWGAW
6. ___-di-dah : LAH
7. Football Hall-of-Famer Dickerson : ERIC
8. ___ Place, Butch Cassidy companion : ETTA
9. Canterbury saint : ANSELM
10. Declare something boldly : TAKE A STAND
11. Make ___ (get rich) : A MINT
12. Thickheaded : DENSE
15. Playwright Ibsen : HENRIK
18. Expressed boredom, in a way : YAWNED
22. Event with crumpets : TEA
24. Cab Calloway phrase : HI-DE-HI
26. Bawl (out) : REAM
27. Cartoon dog with a big tongue : ODIE
28. Something you won’t see many bears in : BULL MARKET
29. “Rocks” : ICE
30. Sound reasoning : LOGIC
31. Less literal : LOOSER
35. Puccini’s “Un bel di,” e.g. : ARIA
36. Carom : BANK
39. ___ clef : TREBLE
40. TV network once called Pax : ION
42. Tasty rewards : TREATS
45. Jane who won a 1931 Nobel Peace Prize : ADDAMS
46. Last: Abbr. : ULT
47. Top-notch : SUPERB
48. Committee head : CHAIR
49. Totaled : RAN TO
52. Friend of Scoob : SHAG
53. French army headwear : KEPI
55. Open-mouthed : AGOG
56. Actress Garr : TERI
57. High schooler : TEEN
58. Canadian fuel name : ESSO
61. Partner of weave : BOB

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