0104-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 4 Jan 15, Sunday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Finn Vigeland
THEME: The Descent of Man … each of today’s themed answers end with MAN. We notice that the letters MAN have dropped off into the down-direction at the end of the answer … there is a “descent of MAN”.

30A. “Nobody’s infallible, not even me” : I’M ONLY HUMAN
32A. Literary genre of “David Copperfield” or “Ender’s Game” : BILDUNGSROMAN
71A. Title song question in Disney’s “Frozen” : DO YOU WANT TO BUILD A SNOWMAN?
110A. Academy Award winner who has played both a U.S. president and God : MORGAN FREEMAN
112A. Cover subject on Ms. magazine’s debut issue, 1972 : WONDER WOMAN

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 38m 04s!!!
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across
1. The “1” of 1/4 : JAN
The old Roman calendar had only ten months in the year. “Ianuarius” (January) and “Februarius” (February) were then added as the eleventh and twelfth months. Soon after, the year was reset and January and February became the first and second months.

4. Org. portrayed in “American Hustle” : FBI
“American Hustle” is a 2013 movie with a plotline that is loosely based on the famous FBI ABSCAM sting of the late seventies and early eighties. The film stars Christian Bale and Amy Adams as two con artists who are forced to work with an FBI agent played by Bradley Cooper.

7. Conceal, in a way : PALM
As in “palming” a playing card.

25. Daily newspaper feature, informally : XWORD
Arthur Wynne is generally credited with the invention of what we now known as a crossword puzzle. Wynne was born in Liverpool, England and emigrated to the US when he was 19-years-old. He worked as a journalist and was living in Cedar Grove, New Jersey in 1913 when he introduced a “Word-Cross Puzzle” in his page of puzzles written for the “New York World”. And the rest, as they say, is history …

26. Rabelaisian : EARTHY
Something described as “rabelaisian” is earthy, sprinkled with coarse humor. The term comes from the works of François Rabelais, who had such a style of writing.

François Rabelais was a French writer and scholar during the Renaissance Period. Rabelais’ most famous work is “The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel“, a series of novels about father and son giants, Gargantua and Pantagruel.

28. Part of U.N.C.F. : NEGRO
The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) is a scholarship fund that was originally set up to address inequities in education resources for African Americans. The UNCF’s scholarships still go to mainly to African American students, but also to students of all ethnicities who attend historically black colleges and universities. The organization has been using the slogan “A mind is a TERRIBLE thing to waste” since 1972.

32. Literary genre of “David Copperfield” or “Ender’s Game” : BILDUNGSROMAN
A “Bildungsroman” is a genre of literature that might be called “coming of age” literature. Central to the plot of such a novel is the development of the main character’s growth from a youth to an adult. Examples might be “Sons and Lovers” by D. H. Lawrence, “The Catcher in the Rye” by J. D. Salinger and more recently “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini. The term “Bildungsroman” can be translated as “formation novel”.

“David Copperfield” is the eighth novel penned by English author Charles Dickens, first published in serial form from 1848 to 1849. The novel is seen as a somewhat autobiographical work, with many characters and events mirrored in Dickens’ own life.

Orson Scott Card is a science fiction author (mainly). Card’s most famous work is his novel “Ender’s Game” first published in 1985. “Ender’s Game” was adapted into a movie and released in 2013, with a cast that includes Harrison Ford.

34. World-weary : BLASE
“Blasé”, meaning “nonchalant, bored from overindulgence” comes from the French verb “blaser”, meaning “to satiate”.

35. U.K. record label : EMI
EMI was a British music company, with the abbreviation originally standing for Electric and Musical Industries.

38. So-called “herb of remembrance” : ROSEMARY
The herb rosemary is reputed to improve the memory. As such, rosemary has been used as a symbol of remembrance, especially in Europe and Australia. For example, mourners might throw sprigs of rosemary into graves, symbolically remembering the dead. The character Ophelia in William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” utters the line “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance”.

40. Jimmy : CROWBAR
A crowbar is a wonderful tool, one that can be used to pry open things, and to remove nails. The claw at one or both ends of the tool aids in that nail removal, and it is likely this “claw” was said to resemble that of a crow, giving us the name “crowbar”. Back in Elizabethan times. the same tool was called an “iron crow”. There’s a line in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” that reads “Get me an iron crow and bring it straight/Unto my cell.”

“Jimmy” is a variant of the word “jemmy” that is used for a type of crowbar, one associated with burglars back in the 1800s.

43. Serenader, maybe : BEAU
A beau is the boyfriend of a belle, a young lady.

45. Something a chair has : AGENDA
“Agenda” is a Latin word that translates as “things to be done”, coming from the verb “agere” meaning “to do”.

47. “Candid Camera” feature : PRANK
The hidden-camera prank show called “Candid Camera” was created and produced by Allen Funt, and first aired on television in 1948. The show actually started as “Candid Microphone”, a radio series that was broadcast from 1947 until it was eclipsed by the television version.

51. What a hippie lives in? : THE NOW
We’re “living in the now” …

54. Takes to court : ARRAIGNS
In the law, to arraign someone is to call a person before a court to answer charges that have been brought.

56. Novelist Frank who wrote “The Octopus” : NORRIS
“The Octopus: A Story of California” is a 1901 novel by Frank Norris. The novel tells of conflict between wheat growers and a railway company, and was inspired by a true story. Back in the late 1800s there were many disputes between railroad companies and farmers who leased railroad land. At issue was the elevated prices charged by the railroads to purchase property, after the farmers themselves had developed the land while it was under lease.

58. She, in Brazil : ELA
“Ela” is Portuguese for “she”.

59. Hipster beer, for short : PBR
Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) is the most recognizable brand of beer from the Pabst Brewing Company. There appears to be some dispute over whether or not Pabst beer ever won a “blue ribbon” prize, but the company claims that it did so at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The beer was originally called Pabst Best Select, and then just Pabst Select. With the renaming to Blue Ribbon, the beer was sold with an actual blue ribbon tied around the neck of the bottle until it was dropped in 1916 and incorporated into the label.

61. Most IRT lines in the Bronx, e.g. : ELS
“Els” are elevated trains.

The Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) was the original private operator of the New York Subway when it opened in 1904. The city took over ownership of the system in 1940, but the lines originally operated by the IRT are still known by the IRT moniker.

63. ___ cotta : TERRA
The name “terra cotta” comes to us from Latin via Italian and means “baked earth”. Terra cotta is a ceramic made from clay which is left unglazed. Maybe the most famous work in terra cotta is the Terracotta Army, the enormous collection of life-size figures that was buried with the Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of China around 210 BC. I had the privilege of seeing some of this collection when it toured the US a few years ago, and just the few pieces on display were so very impressive.

65. Like smoothie fruit : PUREED
A “purée” is a food that has been made smooth by straining or blending. “Purée” is a French term, which I believe is now used to mean “pea soup” (more completely written as “purée de pois”). The French verb “purer” means “to strain, clean”, from the Latin “purare” meaning “to purify, clean”.

67. Rocker Weymouth of the Talking Heads : TINA
Tina Weymouth is one of the founding members of the New Wave group called Talking Heads.

71. Title song question in Disney’s “Frozen” : DO YOU WANT TO BUILD A SNOWMAN?
“Frozen” is a 2013 animated feature from Walt Disney Studios that is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Snow Queen”.

75. ___ jacket : ETON
An Eton jacket is usually black, cut square at the hips and has wide lapels. It is named for the design of jacket that is worn by the younger students at Eton College just outside London.

76. Abalone : SEA EAR
The large edible sea snails that we call abalone are called “ormer” in the British Isles. The abalone shell resembles a human ear, giving rise to the alternative names “ear shell” and “sea ear”.

77. Southern African desert : NAMIB
The Namib Desert is in Namibia, as one might expect, and and also stretches into part of Angola. It is thought to be the oldest desert in the world, having been arid for over 55 million years.

79. Bygone French coin : ECU
The ecu is an Old French coin. When introduced in 1640, the ecu was worth three livres (an older coin, called a “pound” in English). The word “ecu” comes from the Latin “scutum” meaning “shield”. The original ecu had a coat of arms on it, a shield.

81. Foreign policy grp. : NSC
The National Security Council (NSC) was created by President Harry S. Truman in 1947. The NSC is chaired by the sitting president and meets in the White House Situation Room.

82. Window units, briefly : ACS
Room coolers are air conditioning units (ACs).

83. ___ Stark, Oona Chaplin’s “Game of Thrones” role : TALISA
Oona Chaplin is an actress from Madrid in Spain. Chaplin is getting a lot of airtime these days as she plays Talisa Maegyr on HBO’s hit fantasy series “Game of Thrones”. Oona is the granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin, and is named for her maternal grandmother Oona O’Neill. the daughter of playwright Eugene O’Neill.

89. Stuffed Jewish dish : KISHKA
Kishka (also “kishke”) is a sausage or intestine stuff with meat and meal. The dish comes from Eastern Europe and is popular in Jewish communities.

92. Leslie of “Gigi” and “Lili” : CARON
The beautiful and talented French actress and dancer Leslie Caron is best known for her appearances in the classic Hollywood musical films “An American in Paris”, “Lili” and “Gigi”. Although I love the movie “Gigi”, my favorite of her performances is in the comedy war drama “Father Goose” in which she played opposite Cary Grant. Caron has danced with the best, including Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudolf Nureyev.

In the lovely musical film “Gigi”, released in 1958, the title song is sung by Louis Jourdan who plays Gaston. My favorite number though, has to be “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” sung by Maurice Chevalier. Many say that “Gigi” is the last in the long line of great MGM musicals. It won a record 9 Academy Awards, a record that only lasted one year. Twelve months later “Ben Hur” won 11 Oscars. In the 1958 film, Gigi was played by the lovely Leslie Caron. A few years earlier, “Gigi” was a successful stage play on Broadway. Chosen for the title role on stage was the then-unknown Audrey Hepburn.

“Lili” is 1953 musical film starring Leslie Caron in the title role, a naive French orphan girl. A famous song from the movie is “Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo”.

93. Singer Mann : AIMEE
Aimee Mann is an American rock singer and guitarist.

94. “Tom ___” (#1 Kingston Trio hit) : DOOLEY
The KIngston Trio is a folk and pop music group from San Francisco that formed in 1967. The original lineup disbanded in 1967, although there there is a derivative lineup still performing today. The Kingston Trio’s biggest is 1958’s “Tom Dooley”, which was also their first hit. I bought tickets the other day for a Kingston Trio in concert in a few weeks time …

98. Sang like Ella : SCATTED
Scat singing is a vocal improvisation found in the world of jazz. There aren’t any words as such in scat singing, just random nonsense syllables made up on the spot.

Ella Fitzgerald, the “First Lady of Song”, had a hard and tough upbringing. She was raised by her mother alone in Yonkers, New York. Her mother died while Ella was still a schoolgirl, and around that time the young girl became less interested in her education. She fell in with a bad crowd, even working as a lookout for a bordello and as a Mafia numbers runner. She ended up in reform school, from which she escaped, and found herself homeless and living on the streets for a while. Somehow Fitzgerald managed to get herself a spot singing in the Apollo Theater in Harlem. From there her career took off and as they say, the rest is history.

100. What may eat you out of house and home? : TERMITES
Termites are insects that are somewhat unique in that they can digest cellulose (as can ruminants such as cattle). Because of this diet, they cause a lot of trouble for human populations by feeding on wood in man-made structures.

110. Academy Award winner who has played both a U.S. president and God : MORGAN FREEMAN
The wonderful actor Morgan Freeman is from Memphis, Tennessee. When I think of all of Freeman’s great performances, two stand out for me: the chauffeur Hoke Colburn in 1989’s “Driving Miss Daisy”, and Nelson Mandela in 2009’s “Invictus”.

Morgan Freeman played US President Tom Beck in the 1998 disaster movie “Deep Impact”. He played God in the 2003 comedy “Bruce Almighty” and the 2007 sequel “Evan Almighty”.

112. Cover subject on Ms. magazine’s debut issue, 1972 : WONDER WOMAN
“Ms.” magazine is a feminist publication co-founded by political activist Gloria Steinem in 1971. The first issue was an insert in “New York” magazine, with the first stand-alone issue being published the following year in 1972. That first issue used the byline “Wonder Woman for President”, and featured the cartoon character.

Wonder Woman first appeared in print in 1941, in a publication from DC Comics. As she was created during WWII, Wonder Woman’s first foes were the axis powers. In the less realistic world her biggest foe was and still is Ares, a “baddie” named for the Greek mythological figure.

115. Easily bribed : VENAL
Someone described as “venal” is open to bribery. The term ultimately derives from the Latin word “venus” meaning “for sale”.

116. City burned in Genesis : SODOM
The two cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as Admah and Zeboim, were destroyed by God for the sins of their inhabitants, according to the Bible. The name Sodom has become a metaphor for vice and homosexuality, and gives us our word “sodomy”.

118. Scope : AMBIT
An ambit is an outer boundary or limit, a circumference. The term can also be used to mean the sphere or scope of influence. “Ambit” comes from the Latin “ambire” meaning “to go around”.

120. 1990s craze : MACARENA
“Macarena” is a dance song in Spanish that was a huge hit worldwide for Los Del Río in 1995-1996.

124. Free ad, for short : PSA
Public service announcement (PSA)

128. Application info: Abbr. : SSN
A Social Security number (SSN) is divided into three parts i.e AAA-GG-SSSS, Originally, the Area Number (AAA) was the code for the office that issued the card. Since 1973, the Area Number reflects the ZIP code from which the application was made. The GG in the SSN is the Group Number, and the SSSS in the number is the Serial Number. However, this is all moot, as since 2011 SSN’s are assigned randomly.

Down
1. Pioneering urbanologist Jane : JACOBS
The journalist, author and activist Jane Jacobs was famous in the sixties for resisting urban renewal, arguing that many urban renewal projects were not in the interests of the city’s inhabitants. Jacobs wrote a 1961 book on the subject called “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”.

3. To wit : NAMELY
The verb “to wit” means “to know”. The verb really isn’t used anymore except in the phrase “to wit” meaning “that is to say, namely”.

6. “Delaware Water Gap” painter George : INNESS
The painter George Inness is often referred to as “the father of American landscape painting”.

7. Long period of stability ending circa A.D. 180 : PAX ROMANA
“Pax Romana” is Latin for “Roman Peace”. The term literally described a period in Roman history for the 1st and 2nd centuries AD during which the Roman Empire was ruled by Caesar Augustus. Under his control, expansionist ideas by powerful generals were held in check, and the peoples of foreign lands ruled by the Romans were relatively calm. The peace enjoyed was considered uneasy as Rome governed its conquered territories with an iron fist, and insurrection was likely at all times. The expression “pax Romana” then came to be used in English to describe any situation in which there is an uneasy peace, a peace imposed by a powerful state on a weaker state.

8. Part of Lawrence Welk’s introduction : A TWO
Lawrence Welk used to count into his performances with “A one and a two …”. He even had a licence plate “A1ANA2”.

10. Norma Jean, later : MARILYN
Marilyn Monroe was born in 1926 in LA County Hospital, the child of Gladys Pearl Baker. The young girl was given the name of Norma Jeane Mortenson on her birth certificate, but her mother changed this to Norma Jeane Baker almost immediately. She and her estranged husband, Martin Edward Mortensen, had separated before Baker became pregnant so it is suggested that the Mortensen name was used just to give Norma Jeane “legitimacy”. Norma Jeane married a Jim Dougherty when she 16 years old, and took his name to become Norma Jeane Dougherty in 1932. During WWII she was discovered by a photographer and became quite a successful model. The modelling earned her a screen test, at which time it was suggested that Norma Jean change her name yet again. The first name chosen for her by studio executives was Carole Lind (after Carole Lombard and Jenny Lind), but then Norma Jeane chose “Jeane Monroe” for herself, using her mother’s maiden name. It didn’t take long before the studio intervened again, suggesting that they had too many “Jeans” already. The name Marilyn Monroe was floated as it had a nice ring to it. Along with the new name, Marilyn changed from a brunette to a blonde, and a star was born …

13. One of a Greek trio : FURY
The Furies of Greek and Roman mythology were the female personification of vengeance. They were also known as the Dirae, “the terrible”. There were at least three Furies:

– Alecto: the “unceasing”
– Megaera: the “grudging”
– Tisiphone: the “avenging murder”

15. “Kinderszenen” composer : SCHUMANN
“Kinderszenen” (often “Scenes from Childhood” in English) is a suite of thirteen pieces for piano composed by Robert Schumann. The pieces are written to evoke memories of childhood. The seventh title in the suite is the lovely Träumerei” (“Dreaming”), perhaps the most familiar of all thirteen.

16. Exclamation repeated in the Monkees’ TV theme song : HEY
“Hey, Hey We’re the Monkees”

The Monkees pop group was assembled in 1966 specifically for a planned television series called “The Monkees”. The show aired from 1966 to 1968, and the band continued to perform in concerts until 1970. 20 years after the band was formed, there was a revival in interest for both the show and the band’s music, so the Monkees got together for several reunion tours. The lead singer of the group was Englishman Davy Jones, who passed away in February 2012.

21. Drug also known as Ecstasy : MDMA
“Ecstasy” is a street name for the drug 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). MDMA was first synthesised way back in 1912, but wasn’t used recreationally until the late sixties and early seventies. The drug was designated a controlled substance in the US in 1988.

24. Big Ten rival of UMich : OSU
The athletic teams of Ohio State University are called the Buckeyes, named after the state tree of Ohio. In turn the buckeye tree gets its name from the appearance of its fruit, a dark nut with a light patch thought to resemble a “buck’s eye”.

29. College sr.’s test : GRE
Passing the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is usually a requirement for entry into graduate school here in the US.

31. Award for Hunt and Peck : OSCAR
Helen Hunt is a very talented actress who first came to national attention playing opposite Paul Reiser in TV’s hit sitcom “Mad About You”. Hunt then starred in some major films including “As Good as It Gets” (for which she won the Best Actress Oscar), “Twister, “Cast Away”, What Women Want” and more recently “The Sessions”. Offscreen, Hunt was married for a while to Hank Azaria, a favorite actor of mine.

Gregory Peck was an iconic Hollywood actor, who hailed from La Jolla, California. Peck was recognized as a great actor as soon as he starting film acting in 1944. He was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for “The Keys of the Kingdom” (1944), “The Yearling” (1946), ‘Gentleman’s Agreement” (1947) and “Twelve O’Clock High” (1949). Peck finally won his Academy Award with the fifth nomination, for playing Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird” (1962).

33. Shooters’ org. : NRA
National Rifle Association (NRA)

39. Fourth word in the “Star Wars” prologue : AGO
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….

44. “Un Ballo in Maschera” aria : ERI TU
The aria “Eri tu” is from Verdi’s opera “Un ballo in maschera” (A Masked Ball). The opera tells the story of the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden during a masked ball.

48. + end : ANODE
A battery is a device that converts chemical energy into electric energy. A simple battery is made up of three parts: a cathode, an anode and a liquid electrolyte. Ions from the electrolyte react chemically with the material in the anode producing a compound and releasing electrons. At the same time, the electrolyte reacts with the material in the cathode, absorbing electrons and producing a different chemical compound. In this way, there is a buildup of electrons at the anode and a deficit of electrons at the cathode. When a connection (wire, say) is made between the cathode and anode, electrons flow through the resulting circuit from the anode to cathode in an attempt to rectify the electron imbalance.

50. Cold treat, informally : FROYO
Frozen yogurt (Froyo)

52. With 126-Across, first European to cross the Mississippi : HERNANDO
(126A. See 52-Down : DE SOTO)
Hernando de Soto was a Spanish conquistador who led expeditions throughout the southeastern US. De Soto’s travels were unsuccessful in that he failed to bring gold or silver back to Spain, and nor did he found any colonies. What de Soto did achieve was the exposure of local populations to devastating Eurasian diseases. De Soto was the first European to cross the Mississippi River, in 1541. The first European to see the Mississippi (but not cross it) was Alonso Álvarez de Pineda, in 1519.

55. Website billed as “the front page of the Internet” :
Reddit.com is a networking and news website that started up in 2005. It is essentially a bulletin board system with posts that are voted up and down by users, which determines the ranking of posts. The name “Reddit” is a play on “read it”, as in “I read it on Reddit”.

60. Repast for a late riser : BRUNCH
Our word “repast”, meaning “meal”. came to us via French (in which language “repas” is “meal”). Ultimately the term comes from the Latin “repascere” meaning “to repeatedly graze”.

64. Singer Carly ___ Jepsen : RAE
Carly Rae Jepsen is a singer/songwriter from Mission, British Columbia. Jepsen got her start on TV’s “Canadian Idol” when she placed third in the show’s fifth season.

65. ___ favor : POR
“Por favor” is Spanish for “please”.

68. Where bombs are bursting, per Francis Scott Key : IN AIR
The lyrics of “The Star-Spangled Banner” were written first as a poem by Francis Scott Key, inspired by the bombarding by the British of the American forces at Fort McHenry that he witnessed during the Battle of Baltimore in September 1814. The words were then set to the tune of a popular British drinking song penned by John Stafford Smith called “The Anacreontic Song”, with the Anacreontic Society being a men’s club in London.

69. “Au contraire!” : NOT SO!
“Au contraire” is French for “on the contrary”.

74. Summers of old? : ABACI
The abacus was used as a counting frame long before man had invented a numbering system. It is a remarkable invention, particularly when one notes that abaci are still widely used today across Africa and Asia.

80. President Arthur’s nickname : CHET
Chester Arthur was the 21st President of the US, and came to power after the assassination of James Garfield in 1881. President Arthur was known to be socially adept, and was very conscious of his role in society. He was always immaculately attired, apparently even changing his pants several times in a day. He was called “Chet” by family and friends, and sometimes answered to his middle name, Alan. However, he insisted that Alan be pronounced with the stress on the second syllable, Al-an.

85. Mama ___ : CASS
Cass Elliot was one of the four singers in the Mamas and the Papas, a sensational group from the sixties. “Mama Cass” was performing sold-out concerts in London in 1974 when she was found dead one morning, having had a heart attack. She was only 32 years old. Eerily, Elliot died in the same flat (on loan from Harry Nilsson) in which the Who’s drummer, Keith Moon, would die just four years later.

87. Largest state of Brazil : AMAZONAS
Amazonas is the largest of the 26 states of Brazil, and is located in the northwest of the country. Named for the Amazon River, Amazonas is mostly tropical jungle. About half of the state’s 3.8 million residents live in the capital city of Manaus.

95. Place to kick your feet up : OTTOMAN
An ottoman is a cushioned footstool.

97. Solid rock center? : AS A
Solid as a rock.

101. ___ thruster (NASA system) : ION
An ion thruster is a type of engine used to propel spacecraft. Orbiting satellites might have several ion thrusters, which are used to maintain orbit and for repositioning. Basically, ion thrusters use power generated by solar panels to force ions out of a nozzle. The mass of the ions creates movement in the required direction using the principle of conservation of momentum.

105. New Jersey town next to Fort Lee : LEONIA
Leonia, New Jersey is a borough located near the western approach to the George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River. The name “Leonia” was chosen in 1865 in honor of General Charles Lee who fought in the Revolutionary War.

Fort Lee, New Jersey is located at the western side of the George Washington Bridge that spans the Hudson River. Fort Lee is known as the birthplace of the motion picture industry. The world’s first movie studio was built there by Thomas Edison, a facility known as the Black Maria.

111. Edward Snowden subj. : NSA
Edward Snowden is a former NSA contractor who leaked several top secret NSA documents to the media beginning in June 2013. After disclosing his name as the source of the leaks, Snowden tried to seek asylum in Ecuador. While travelling to Ecuador he had a layover in Moscow. While in Moscow, the US government revoked his passport, which effectively left him stranded in the transit area of Moscow Airport. The Russian government eventually granted his an annually renewable temporary asylum.

113. “Quo Vadis” character : NERO
“Quo Vadis” is an epic drama made in 1951, an adaptation of the 1896 novel of the same name written by Henryk Sienkiewicz. At the top of the bill were Robert Taylor and Deborah Kerr, with Peter Ustinov playing the Emperor Nero. There was also an uncredited extra making her first appearance on the screen, a young lady by the name of Sophia Loren.

117. You can trip on it : LSD
LSD (colloquially known as “acid”) is short for lysergic acid diethylamide. A Swiss chemist called Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD in 1938 in a research project looking for medically efficacious ergot alkaloids. It wasn’t until some five years later when Hofmann ingested some of the drug accidentally that its psychedelic properties were discovered. Trippy, man …

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. The “1” of 1/4 : JAN
4. Org. portrayed in “American Hustle” : FBI
7. Conceal, in a way : PALM
11. Aloof : OFFISH
17. Subj. that gets into circulation? : ANAT
19. Caterer’s container : URN
20. Starters : A-TEAM
22. Spring : POUNCE
23. Greeting at the door : COME ON IN
25. Daily newspaper feature, informally : XWORD
26. Rabelaisian : EARTHY
27. Signs from above : OMENS
28. Part of U.N.C.F. : NEGRO
30. “Nobody’s infallible, not even me” : I’M ONLY HUMAN
32. Literary genre of “David Copperfield” or “Ender’s Game” : BILDUNGSROMAN
34. World-weary : BLASE
35. U.K. record label : EMI
37. States : SAYS
38. So-called “herb of remembrance” : ROSEMARY
40. Jimmy : CROWBAR
43. Serenader, maybe : BEAU
45. Something a chair has : AGENDA
47. “Candid Camera” feature : PRANK
48. To the same extent : AS FAR
51. What a hippie lives in? : THE NOW
54. Takes to court : ARRAIGNS
56. Novelist Frank who wrote “The Octopus” : NORRIS
58. She, in Brazil : ELA
59. Hipster beer, for short : PBR
61. Most IRT lines in the Bronx, e.g. : ELS
62. Cry of discovery : OHO!
63. ___ cotta : TERRA
65. Like smoothie fruit : PUREED
67. Rocker Weymouth of the Talking Heads : TINA
71. Title song question in Disney’s “Frozen” : DO YOU WANT TO BUILD A SNOWMAN?
75. ___ jacket : ETON
76. Abalone : SEA EAR
77. Southern African desert : NAMIB
78. You can bank on it : ATM
79. Bygone French coin : ECU
81. Foreign policy grp. : NSC
82. Window units, briefly : ACS
83. ___ Stark, Oona Chaplin’s “Game of Thrones” role : TALISA
85. Friend’s couch, perhaps : CRASH PAD
89. Stuffed Jewish dish : KISHKA
92. Leslie of “Gigi” and “Lili” : CARON
93. Singer Mann : AIMEE
94. “Tom ___” (#1 Kingston Trio hit) : DOOLEY
96. Reclined : LAIN
98. Sang like Ella : SCATTED
100. What may eat you out of house and home? : TERMITES
103. Hon : DOLL
107. 37-Across, informally : SEZ
108. Some police attire : VESTS
110. Academy Award winner who has played both a U.S. president and God : MORGAN FREEMAN
112. Cover subject on Ms. magazine’s debut issue, 1972 : WONDER WOMAN
115. Easily bribed : VENAL
116. City burned in Genesis : SODOM
117. ___ algebra : LINEAR
118. Scope : AMBIT
120. 1990s craze : MACARENA
122. Eats up : SNARFS
123. Kitchen gadget : PARER
124. Free ad, for short : PSA
125. Water carrier : MAIN
126. See 52-Down : DE SOTO
127. Like stereotypical TV neighbors : NOSY
128. Application info: Abbr. : SSN
129. Spanish article : LAS

Down
1. Pioneering urbanologist Jane : JACOBS
2. Inability to recall the names of everyday objects : ANOMIA
3. To wit : NAMELY
4. Entertainment : FUN
5. Elicit : BRING OUT
6. “Delaware Water Gap” painter George : INNESS
7. Long period of stability ending circa A.D. 180 : PAX ROMANA
8. Part of Lawrence Welk’s introduction : A TWO
9. Enthusiastic, sociable, confident type, it’s said : LEO
10. Norma Jean, later : MARILYN
11. Kitchen gadget : OPENER
12. Certain weanling : FOAL
13. One of a Greek trio : FURY
14. 100% guaranteed : IN THE BAG
15. “Kinderszenen” composer : SCHUMANN
16. Exclamation repeated in the Monkees’ TV theme song : HEY
18. Is a mixologist : TENDS BAR
21. Drug also known as Ecstasy : MDMA
24. Big Ten rival of UMich : OSU
29. College sr.’s test : GRE
31. Award for Hunt and Peck : OSCAR
33. Shooters’ org. : NRA
34. Its drafts may be crafts : BREWPUB
36. Bothers : IRKS
39. Fourth word in the “Star Wars” prologue : AGO
41. Kind of blue : OPAL
42. Ones holding hands? : WRISTS
44. “Un Ballo in Maschera” aria : ERI TU
46. Hesitant start to a question : DARE I ASK
48. + end : ANODE
49. “Ooh-la-la!” : SO HOT!
50. Cold treat, informally : FROYO
52. With 126-Across, first European to cross the Mississippi : HERNANDO
53. Thrills : ELATES
55. Website billed as “the front page of the Internet” : REDDIT
57. Clinches : SEWS UP
60. Repast for a late riser : BRUNCH
64. Singer Carly ___ Jepsen : RAE
65. ___ favor : POR
66. Good wood for cabinetmaking : ELM
68. Where bombs are bursting, per Francis Scott Key : IN AIR
69. “Au contraire!” : NOT SO!
70. “Gimme a break!” : AW, MAN!
72. Quick round of tennis : ONE SET
73. Takes on : TACKLES
74. Summers of old? : ABACI
80. President Arthur’s nickname : CHET
82. Feature of much modern architecture : ASYMMETRY
84. Hill or dale : LANDFORM
85. Mama ___ : CASS
86. Popular Eastern beverage : RICE WINE
87. Largest state of Brazil : AMAZONAS
88. Deadly viper : ADDER
90. Suffix with hotel : -IER
91. Container in a 34-Down : ALE GLASS
95. Place to kick your feet up : OTTOMAN
97. Solid rock center? : AS A
99. Very much : EVER SO
101. ___ thruster (NASA system) : ION
102. Wanders (around) : TRAMPS
104. Traveling around the holidays, maybe : ORDEAL
105. New Jersey town next to Fort Lee : LEONIA
106. 1960s-’80s Pontiac : LEMANS
109. Substitute : SWAP
111. Edward Snowden subj. : NSA
113. “Quo Vadis” character : NERO
114. Nutty : DAFT
115. Tries to win : VIES
117. You can trip on it : LSD
119. Dude : BRO
121. Has the ability to : CAN

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6 thoughts on “0104-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 4 Jan 15, Sunday”

  1. Greetings!

    I can work several other puzzles w/o cheats, but this one gets me down. Cheated several times. New word was BILDUNGSROMAN. Unfair? Still can't remember what it means after looking it up.

    PS. Like this website!

  2. Hi there, fermatprime.

    Yes, I thought this one tough as well. It too me twice as long to solve as usual for a Sunday.

    Thanks for the kind words about the blog!

  3. No, no, no, no, no!!! You don't throw in a "descender trick" and leave letters remaining at the end of some of the descenders (e.g., MORGAN FREEMAN*S*, BILDUNGSROMANA, IMONLYHUMANN!!!! If you're going to resort to dirty tricks, at least have the common decency to properly fill out the grid. This is HORRIBLE!!!!!!! Will Shortz OUT!!!!!!

  4. Thanks Bill!
    I always really appreciate your comments and explanations. I found this one especially difficult too.
    Cheers,
    Richard

  5. One of the more annoying puzzles I've endured. Got the vast majority of it but this is the kind of puzzles that make me want to ban crosswords from papers everywhere. Why not just ask us to come up with your computer password for an answer? In what universe is PBR a hipster beer? Got the answer though I felt I was telling a lie to put it in. It was the northwest corner that burned me up. The "1" of 1/4? Really? I still don't get that one. Nor, anat.

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