1220-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 20 Dec 14, Saturday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Kevin G. Der & Ian Livengood
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 21m 25s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Where much grass grows : POT FARMS
“Potiguaya” is the Mexican-Spanish word for “marijuana leaves”. The slang name “pot” comes from “potiguaya”.

9. Moolah : WAMPUM
Wampum are sacred shell beads of North American tribes in the Eastern United States. The early European colonists often used wampum to trade with the native peoples. From this original usage, “wampum” came to be a slang term for money.

No one seems to know where the term “moolah” meaning “money” comes from, but it has been around since the 1920s.

16. Creature with a crest : IGUANA
An iguana is a lizard, and as such is cold-blooded. There are times when pet iguanas need heat from an IR lamp to maintain body temperature.

17. Enterprise headquarters : STARBASE
The USS Enterprise is a starship in the “Star Trek” universe (pun intended). There have been several generations of starship with the name Enterprise, starting with the vessel numbered NCC-1701, which appeared in the original TV series. My favorite “Star Trek” series is “Next Generation”, which features USS Enterprise NCC-1701D.

20. Faiths : CREEDS
A creed is a confession of faith, or a system of belief or principles. The word “creed” comes from the Latin “credo” meaning “I believe”.

21. Rosetta Stone symbol : ANKH
The ankh was the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic character for “eternal life”. The ankh wasn’t just used in inscriptions but was often fashioned into amulets and as surrounds for mirrors (perhaps symbolizing a view into another world).

Rosetta is a coastal city and port on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt. The Rosetta Stone is an Ancient Egyptian artifact of tremendous importance in deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphics. Carvings on the stone are actually three translations of the same passage of prose, one in Egyptian hieroglyphics, one in Egyptian Demotic language, and one in classical Greek. The stone was discovered by the French military during Napoleon’s 1798 campaign in Egypt. Before the French could get it back to France, the stone somehow ended up in enemy hands (the British), so it is now on display in the British Museum. Ownership of the stone is very much in dispute. The French want it, and understandably, the Egyptians would like it back.

22. Betty’s sister on “Ugly Betty” : HILDA
“Ugly Betty” is a drama-comedy show that originally aired on television from 2006 to 2010. The show is based on a telenovela soap opera from Colombia called “Yo soy Betty, la fea”. The title role of Betty Suarez is played by America Ferrera

24. One ferried by Charon : SOUL
The River Styx of Greek mythology was the river that formed the boundary between the Earth and the Underworld (or “Hades”). The souls of the newly dead had to cross the River Styx in a ferry boat piloted by Charon. Traditionally, a coin would be placed in the mouths of the dead “to pay the ferryman”.

25. Plato portrayer in “Rebel Without a Cause” : MINEO
The actor Sal Mineo’s most famous role was John “Plato” Crawford, the kid who was in awe of the James Dean character in “Rebel Without a Cause”. Sadly, Mineo was murdered in 1976 when he was just 37 years old. He was attacked in the alley behind his Los Angeles apartment and stabbed through the heart. When an arrest was made it was discovered that the murderer had no idea that his victim was a celebrity, and that his plan was just to rob anyone who came along.

26. Org. seeking to catch 11-Down : DEA
(11D. See 26-Across : MULES)
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

37. “Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme” playwright : MOLIERE
Molière was the stage name of French actor and playwright Jean-Baptiste Poquelin. It is amazing how well the comedies of Molière, written in the 1600s, entertain us on stage today. Among his best-known plays are “The Misanthrope”, “The School for Wives” and “Tartuffe or the Hypocrite”.

“Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme” is an example of the genre of French drama called “Comédie-ballet”, a play with interludes of music and dance. Written by Molière, the title is translated as “The Bourgeois Gentleman”, “The Middle-Class Aristocrat” or “The Would-Be Noble”. The original production of the play featured Molière in the title role.

40. Sherlock Holmes cover-up? : ULSTER
An Ulster was an overcoat worn by men in Victorian times. If you are a fan of period dramas, you will have seen those coats with matching capes that come down just over the elbows. The overcoat lost its cape after the Edwardian era.

41. Rugby four-pointer : TRY
A try is now worth four points in rugby league (it used to be three), and is worth five points in rugby union (and has varied in value over time).

In the sport of rugby, a try is scored by grounding the ball behind the opposition’s goal line. A try is similar to a touchdown in American football, although in rugby the ball must be manually placed on the ground by the player making the score. The term “try” is used as originally that act of touching the ball to the ground simply qualified a team for a “try at goal”, an opportunity to kick the ball at goal to make the score.

42. Flying female fighters in W.W. II : WASPS
The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) were a paramilitary group formed during WWII in 1943. At its largest, the WASP comprised over a thousand female pilots. The group carried out non-combat flying duties such as delivery of aircraft and transportation of cargo. The idea was to free up male pilots for combat duty. Despite a lot of lobbying, the WASP was never given full military status during WWII. That injustice was finally rectified in 1977, and each member of the corps was awarded the WWII Victory Medal in 1984. The WASP was also awarded the Congressional Gold medal in 2009 by President Obama.

47. Lolcats, e.g. : 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.

“Lolcat” is the name given to an image of a cat with a humorous message superimposed in text. Such images have been around since the late 1800s, but the term “lolcat” only surfaced in 2006 as the phenomenon was sweeping across the Internet. “Lolcat” is a melding of the acronym for “laugh out loud” (LOL) and “cat”. New to me, I must say …

51. Kind of bullet : TRACER
Tracer ammunition has a small chemical charge at the base that leaves a bright, smoky trail so that path of the bullet or projectile is visible. This allows the shooter correct his or her aim more easily.

55. Photoshop command : ROTATE
Photoshop is a wonderful piece of software used for editing graphics. When I first bought a copy of Photoshop, it was really expensive (about $300, ten years ago), but now there are cost-effective, stripped-down versions available.

58. Nexus 7 rival : IPAD MINI
The iPad mini is line of smaller iPads that was introduced by Apple in 2012. The iPad mini has a screen size of 7.9 inches, whereas the regular iPad’s screen is 9.7 inches.

The Nexus 7 is a 7-inch tablet computer introduced by Google in 2012. The Nexus 7 was built for Google by Asus.

Down
1. Tagliatelle, e.g. : PASTA
Tagliatelle is a type of pasta from eastern Italy. Tagliatelle is similar to fettuccine, and so is made up of long, flat ribbons. The name comes from the Italian “tagliare” meaning “to cut”.

3. One delivering a knockout, informally : TRANK
A tranquilizer (familiarly “tranq, trank”) is a downer, a drug designed to reduce tension or anxiety.

5. Ones repeating “I do” in 1976? : ABBA
“I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do” was the second of ABBA’s long, long string of smash hits. It was particularly successful in Australia, where there is a huge ABBA fan base to this day. The song was featured in a really great Australian film called “Muriel’s Wedding” from 1994. This was the movie that launched the career of the wonderful actress Toni Collette.

7. Literary/film critic Janet : MASLIN
Janet Maslin was film critic for the “The New York Times” from 1977 until 1999, and now serves as a literary critic with the same paper.

8. Girded : STEELED
The phrase “gird your loins” dates back to Ancient Rome. The expression describes the action of lifting “one’s skirts” and tying them between the legs to allow more freedom of movement before going into battle. Nowadays, “gird your loins” is a metaphor for “prepare yourself for the worst”.

9. Practice with the Book of Shadows : WICCA
Wicca is a relatively new phenomenon, a Neopagan religion that developed in the twentieth century. A follower of Wicca is called a Wiccan or a Witch.

A “Book of Shadows” is a book used in the neopagan religion known as Wicca. The book contains religious texts as well as instructions for carrying out magic rituals. The first Book of Shadows was written in the late 1940s by English Wiccan Gerald Gardner.

10. Stabilizing kitchen supply : AGAR
Agar (also “agar-agar”) is a jelly extracted from seaweed that has many uses. Agar is found in Japanese desserts, and can also be used as a food thickener or even as a laxative. In the world of science it is the most common medium used for growing bacteria in Petri dishes.

11. See 26-Across : MULES
(26A. Org. seeking to catch 11-Down : DEA)
A drug mule is someone employed to smuggles illegal substances across a border.

12. Faddish food regimen : PALEO DIET
The paleolithic or caveman diet is a fad diet that became popular in the 2000s. The idea is to eat wild plants and animals that would have been available to humans during the Paleolithic era (roughly the Stone Age). This period precedes the introduction of agriculture and domestication of animals. As a result, someone on the diet avoids consuming grains, legumes, dairy and processed foods. The diet consists mainly of lean meat (about 45-65% of the total calorie intake), non-starchy vegetables, fruits, berries and nuts.

13. Italian count? : UNO DUE TRE
“One, two, three” in Italian is “uno, due, tre”.

23. Dr. ___ (archenemy of the Fantastic Four) : DOOM
Doctor Doom is a supervillain created in the Marvel Comics universe, an archenemy of the Fantastic Four.

The Fantastic Four is a team of superheroes in Marvel Comics universe. The team is made up of Mister Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Human Torch and the Thing.

25. ___ bean : MUNG
Mung beans are native to India and are used in both savory and sweet dishes in many Asian cuisines.

28. Figaro, e.g. : OPERA ROLE
Figaro is the central character in at least two operas: “The Barber of Seville” by Rossini, and “The Marriage of Figaro” by Mozart. The two storylines are based on plays by Pierre Beaumarchais, with one basically being a sequel to the other.

32. Power outage? : COUP D’ETAT
A coup d’état (often just “coup”) is the sudden overthrow of a government, and comes from the French for “stroke of state”. The Swiss German word “putsch” is sometimes used instead of “coup”, with “Putsch” translating literally as “sudden blow”.

33. Shangri-la’s lack : ILLS
Shangri-La is the earthly paradise in the mountains of Tibet described by James Hilton in his novel “Lost Horizon”. Shangri-La is “edenic” (perfect, like the Garden of Eden from the Book of Genesis). Frank Capra directed a wonderful screen adaptation of “Lost Horizon” in 1937 starring Ronald Colman.

34. Symbol of purity, in Lille : LIS
“Lys” (also “lis”) is the French word for “lily”, as in “fleur-de-lys”, the heraldic symbol often associated with the French monarchy.

Lille is a large city in the very north of France sitting right on the border with Belgium. The name “Lille” is a derivation of the term “l’isle” meaning “the island”.

36. Caterwaul : YOWL
“To caterwaul” is a utter long cries, to “wail” like a “cat”.

39. Heir apparent to a French king : DAUPHIN
The heir apparent to the throne of France used to be called the “Dauphin”. “The word “dauphin”, with a lowercase D, is the French for “dolphin”. The first heir to use the title “le Dauphin” was the future Charles V of France who ruled from 1364 to 1380.

43. Wear for Clint Eastwood in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” : SERAPE
“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.

The 1966 film “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” is the third in the “Dollars Trilogy”, which is made up of:

– “A Fistful of Dollars” (1964)
– “For a Few Dollars More” (1965)
– “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966)

47. Her “little baby loves clambake,” in a 1967 Elvis song : MAMMA
The reference is to the title song of the 1967 movie “Clambake” starring Elvis Presley, supported by Shelley Fabares and Bill Bixby.

48. Cyber Monday activity : E-TAIL
“Cyber Monday” is the Monday after Thanksgiving, a day that retailers offer incentives to online shoppers in the hope of boosting sales. The term “Cyber Monday” was coined in 2005 in a press release issued by the website Shop.org. In recent years, consumers have been spending more money online on Cyber Monday than any other day in the year.

49. Home for Deer Isle and Moosehead Lake : MAINE
Deer Isle is a town in Maine that is located on the island of Deer Isle in Penobscot Bay.

Moosehead Lake is the largest lake in Maine.

50. Dock ___, Pirate who claimed to have thrown a no-hitter on LSD : ELLIS
Dock Ellis was a pitcher who played in the Majors from 1968 to 1979. Famously, Ellis pitched a no-hitter in 1970 and later claimed to have done so under the influence of the drug LSD.

54. “___ Declassified” (old Nickelodeon show) : NED’S
“Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide” is a sitcom for children that originally aired on Nickelodeon from 2004 to 2007.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Where much grass grows : POT FARMS
9. Moolah : WAMPUM
15. Jazz/funk fusion genre : AFROBEAT
16. Creature with a crest : IGUANA
17. Enterprise headquarters : STARBASE
18. Tap : CALL ON
19. Place for a sucker : TENTACLE
20. Faiths : CREEDS
21. Rosetta Stone symbol : ANKH
22. Betty’s sister on “Ugly Betty” : HILDA
24. One ferried by Charon : SOUL
25. Plato portrayer in “Rebel Without a Cause” : MINEO
26. Org. seeking to catch 11-Down : DEA
27. Cork’s place, maybe : POPGUN
31. Tameness : DOCILITY
35. In abundance : APLENTY
37. “Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme” playwright : MOLIERE
38. Positive response to “How ya doin’?” : REAL GOOD
40. Sherlock Holmes cover-up? : ULSTER
41. Rugby four-pointer : TRY
42. Flying female fighters in W.W. II : WASPS
44. Orange side dish : YAMS
46. Hip, with “in” : CLUED
47. Lolcats, e.g. : MEME
51. Kind of bullet : TRACER
53. Before making one’s debut? : PRENATAL
55. Photoshop command : ROTATE
56. Cross words? : HATE MAIL
57. Tip-offs, maybe : ALERTS
58. Nexus 7 rival : IPAD MINI
59. “No doubt!” : YES YES!
60. Important figure in business : NET SALES

Down
1. Tagliatelle, e.g. : PASTA
2. A lot : OFTEN
3. One delivering a knockout, informally : TRANK
4. Into the open : FORTH
5. Ones repeating “I do” in 1976? : ABBA
6. Access, as a pocket : REACH INTO
7. Literary/film critic Janet : MASLIN
8. Girded : STEELED
9. Practice with the Book of Shadows : WICCA
10. Stabilizing kitchen supply : AGAR
11. See 26-Across : MULES
12. Faddish food regimen : PALEO DIET
13. Italian count? : UNO DUE TRE
14. Murderer : MANSLAYER
23. Dr. ___ (archenemy of the Fantastic Four) : DOOM
25. ___ bean : MUNG
27. Caterer’s preparation : PARTY TRAY
28. Figaro, e.g. : OPERA ROLE
29. Ones with recess appointments? : PLAYMATES
30. What keeps a part apart? : GEL
32. Power outage? : COUP D’ETAT
33. Shangri-la’s lack : ILLS
34. Symbol of purity, in Lille : LIS
36. Caterwaul : YOWL
39. Heir apparent to a French king : DAUPHIN
43. Wear for Clint Eastwood in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” : SERAPE
45. Blood-curdling : SCARY
46. Garden ___ : CRESS
47. Her “little baby loves clambake,” in a 1967 Elvis song : MAMMA
48. Cyber Monday activity : E-TAIL
49. Home for Deer Isle and Moosehead Lake : MAINE
50. Dock ___, Pirate who claimed to have thrown a no-hitter on LSD : ELLIS
52. Novel’s end? : -ETTE
54. “___ Declassified” (old Nickelodeon show) : NED’S

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