0120-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 20 Jan 15, Tuesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Susan Gelfand
THEME: Comic Relief … each of today’s themed answers starts with the family name of a famous COMIC:

60A. What the starts of 18-, 24-, 37- and 52-Across can provide? : COMIC RELIEF

18A. Dish with croutons and Parmesan cheese : CAESAR SALAD (giving “Sid Caesar”)
24A. Pull-down sleeper : MURPHY BED (giving “Eddie Murphy”)
37A. Evian competitor : CRYSTAL GEYSER (giving “Billy Crystal”)
52A. “Tommy,” for one : ROCK OPERA (giving “Chris Rock”)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 7m 24s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

4. Passé : OLD HAT
“Passé” is a French word, meaning “past, faded”.

10. Key of Schubert’s Symphony No. 9: Abbr. : C MAJ
There is a little confusion over the numbering of the last symphonies composed by Franz Schubert. For example, what most scholars called “Symphony No. 9 in C major” was once labeled “Symphony No. 7” by the composer himself. A possible explanation for this confusion is that what is now called “Symphony No. 7 in E major” exists in the form of sketches, and “Symphony No. 8 in B minor” is the Schubert’s famous “Unfinished Symphony”.

15. Ivanhoe’s love : ROWENA
In the famous novel “Ivanhoe” by Sir Walter Scott, the title character marries the Lady Rowena.

18. Dish with croutons and Parmesan cheese : CAESAR SALAD (giving “Sid Caesar”)
The Caesar Salad was created by restaurateur Caesar Cardini at the Hotel Caesar’s in Tijuana, Mexico. The original recipe called for whole lettuce leaves that were to be lifted up by the stem and eaten with the fingers.

Sid Caesar achieved fame in the fifties on TV’s “Your Show of Shows”. To be honest, I know Sid Caesar mainly from the very entertaining film version of the musical “Grease”, in which he played Coach Calhoun.

22. Madrid month : MES
“Mes” is the Spanish word for “month”.

Madrid is the largest city in Spain and the capital. Madrid is located very close to the geographical center of the country. It is the third-largest city in the European Union (after London and Paris). People from Madrid called themselves Madrileños.

24. Pull-down sleeper : MURPHY BED (giving “Eddie Murphy”)
A Murphy bed is a bed that pulls from a wall for use, and is folded up into closet or cabinet when not in use. The bed is named for its inventor William Murphy. The story is that Murphy lived in a one-room apartment in San Francisco, and was interested in dating a local opera singer. Moral standards at the time prevented him for inviting the young lady into a room with a bed, so he created an arrangement where his room became a parlor during the day.

Eddie Murphy is a multi-faceted performer and entertainer from the Bushwick neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. Murphy was a comedian on “Saturday Night Live” from 1980 to 1984. He has also appeared in several hit movies, the success of which make Murphy the fourth-highest grossing actor in the country, as of 2014.

27. Daytime ___ : EMMYS
The Emmy Awards are the television equivalent of the Oscars in the world of film, the Grammy Awards in music and the Tony Awards for the stage. Emmy Awards are presented throughout the year, depending on the sector of television being honored. The most famous of these ceremonies are the Primetime Emmy Awards and the Daytime Emmy Awards. The distinctive name of “Emmy” is a softened version of the word “immy”, the nickname given to the video camera tubes found in old television cameras.

29. Houston athlete : ASTRO
The Houston baseball team changed its name to the Astros from the Colt .45s in 1965 when they started playing in the Astrodome. The Astrodome was so called in recognition of the city’s long association with the US space program.

32. Action film weapon : UZI
The first Uzi submachine gun was designed in the late 1940s by Major Uziel Gal of the Israel Defense Forces who gave his name to the gun.

33. Social Security criterion : AGE
The Social Security Administration (SSA) was set up as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. The first person to receive a monthly retirement benefit was Ida May Fuller of Vermont who received her first check for the sum of $22.54 after having contributed for three years through payroll taxes. The New Deal turned out to be a good deal for Ms. Fuller, as she lived to 100 years of age and received a total benefit of almost $23,000, whereas her three years of contributions added up to just $24.75.

36. Verb with “vous” : ETES
The French for “to be” is “être”, and for “you are” is “vous êtes”.

37. Evian competitor : CRYSTAL GEYSER (giving “Billy Crystal”)
Crystal Geyser is a brand of bottled water. The water is collected by bottling plants near several natural springs across the US.

Évian-les-Bains (or simply Évian) is in the very east of France, on the shores of Lake Geneva directly across the lake from Lausanne, Switzerland. As one might imagine, Évian is the home of Évian mineral water, the most successful business in town. I can’t stand the taste of Évian water …

Billy Crystal is an actor and comedian who first gained fame as the character Jodie Dallas on the seventies sitcom “Soap”. Crystal is also famous for hosting the Academy Awards, and has done so nine times. Only Bob Hope has hosted the event more times, and he did so on 18 occasions.

42. Guernsey chew : CUD
Ruminants are animals that “chew the cud”. Ruminants eat vegetable matter but cannot extract any nutritional value from cellulose without the help of microbes in the gut. Ruminants collect roughage in the first part of the alimentary canal, allowing microbes to work on it. The partially digested material (the cud) is regurgitated into the mouth so that the ruminant can chew the food more completely exposing more surface area for microbes to do their work.

Guernsey cattle were originally bred on Guernsey in the British-owned Channel Islands. Guernsey cows are famous for the rich flavor of their milk.

43. Comfy bit of footwear : MOC
“Moc” is short for “moccasin”, the type of shoe.

44. Certain dash lengths : EMS
In typography, there are em dashes and en dashes. The em dash is about the width of an “m” character, and an en dash about half that, the width of an “n’ character. An en dash is used, for example, to separate numbers designating a range, as in 5-10 years. Th em dash seems to be going out of style, and indeed the application I am using to write this paragraph won’t let me show you one!

45. “Evita” role : CHE
“Evita” was the followup musical to “Jesus Christ Superstar” for Andrew Lloyd Weber and Time Rice. Both of these works were originally released as album musicals, and very successful ones at that (I remember buying them when they first came out). For the original album’s cast they chose Irish singer Colm Wilkinson (or C. T. Wilkinson, as we know him back in Ireland) to play “Che”, the narrator of the piece.

46. Super Bowl gains : YARDS
Super Bowl I was played in January 1967 between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Packers emerged victorious in a game with a score of 35-10. That game was officially known as the AFL-NFL Championship Game, as the name “Super Bowl” wasn’t applied until two seasons later. That “first” Super Bowl is now known as Super Bowl III and was played between the New York Jets and the Baltimore Colts. The Jets came out on top.

50. “The Merry Widow” composer : LEHAR
Franz Lehar was a Hungarian composer who had a difficult relationship with the Nazi regime after it took control of his country. His wife was born Jewish, but converted to Catholicism. Fortunately, Hitler enjoyed Lehar’s music and as a result Goebbels intervened and made Sophie Lehar “an honorary Aryan by marriage”.

“The Merry Widow” is an operetta composed by Franz Lehar. It is a comic piece about a rich widow and the attempts by her countrymen to marry her off in order to keep her fortune in the poverty-stricken Grand Duchy of Pontevedro. “The Merry Widow” was first performed in 1905 and has been popular ever since.

52. “Tommy,” for one : ROCK OPERA (giving “Chris Rock”)
“Tommy” was the name given to the fourth album recorded by the British band, The Who. It was the original “rock opera” and was adapted for both the stage and screen, with both adaptations becoming huge successes. The title character has an uncanny ability to play pinball, giving rise to the hit song “Pinball Wizard”.

Chris Rock is a great stand-up comedian. Interestingly, Rock cites his paternal grandfather as an influence on his performing style. Grandfather Allen Rock was a preacher.

63. “Evita” role : EVA
Eva Perón was the second wife of President Juan Perón who was in office from 1946 to 1955. The Argentine First Lady was known affectionately by the people as “Evita”, the Spanish language diminutive of “Eva”. “Evita” was also the follow-up musical to “Jesus Christ Superstar” for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, and was based on the life of Eva Perón.

64. Part of a parka : HOOD
A parka is a hooded, often fur jacket that is worn in cold weather. The original parka was a pullover design, but nowadays it is usually zipped at the front. “Parka” is the Russian name for the garment , absorbed into English in the late 1700s via the Aleut language.

66. ___ stage : REM
REM is an acronym standing for Rapid Eye Movement sleep. REM sleep takes up 20-25% of the sleeping hours and is the period associated with one’s most vivid dreams.

67. English princess who competed in the 1976 Olympics : ANNE
Anne, Princess Royal was born in 1950 and is the only daughter of British Queen Elizabeth II. Princess Anne has been in the public spotlight for many things, including her success as an equestrian. Princess Anne was the first member of the British Royal Family to have competed in an Olympic Games. Her daughter Zara Phillips continued the tradition and competed as a member of the British equestrian team in the 2012 Olympic Games. Zara’s medal was presented to her by her own mother, Princess Anne.

69. Old ___ (Yale, affectionately) : ELI
Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut was founded in 1701, making it the third-oldest university in the US. Originally called the Collegiate School, it was renamed to Yale University in honor of retired merchant from London called Elihu Yale, who made generous contributions to the institution. Yale University’s nickname is “Old Eli”, in a nod to the benefactor.

Down
1. Word before top or party : PAJAMA
Our word “pajamas” comes to us from the Indian subcontinent, where “pai jamahs” were loose fitting pants tied at the waist and worn at night by locals and ultimately by the Europeans living there. And “pajamas” is another of those words that I had to learn to spell differently when I came to America. In the British Isles the spelling is “pyjamas”.

2. Book of the Bible or an event described in it : EXODUS
The Book of Exodus is the second book in the Bible, and deals with Moses leading the Hebrews out of Egypt. The name “exodus” comes from the Greek “exodos” meaning “departure”.

4. Tolkien creature : ORC
Orcs are mythical humanoid creatures that appear in the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien. Since Tolkien’s use of orcs, they have also been featured in other fantasy fiction and in fantasy games.

6. Geek : DWEEB
Dweeb, squarepants, nerd … all are not nice terms that mean the same thing, someone excessively studious and socially inept.

The original “geek” was a sideshow performer, perhaps at a circus. We use the term today for someone regarded as foolish or clumsy, but also for someone who is technically driven and expert, but socially inept.

7. “Siddhartha” writer : HESSE
Hermann Hesse was not only a novelist, but also a poet and a painter. His best known work is probably his 1927 novel “Steppenwolf”.

The 1922 novel “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse focuses on the spiritual journey of a man called Siddhartha. Even though the Buddha’s name was Siddhartha Gautama before he renounced his former life, Hesse’s Siddhartha is a different character who lived around the time of the Buddha.

8. Santa ___ winds : ANA
The Santa Ana winds are the very dry air currents that sweep offshore late in the year in Southern California. Because these air currents are so dry, they are noted for their influence over forest fires in the area, especially in the heat of the fall. The winds arise from a buildup of air pressure in the Great Basin that lies between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada. Under the right conditions, that air spills over the peaks of the Sierra Nevada and basically “falls” down the side of the Sierra range, heading for the ocean. As the air falls it becomes drier and heats up so that relative humidity can fall to below 10% by the time it hits the coast.

9. Roofer’s cover : TARP
Originally, tarpaulins were made from canvas covered in tar that rendered the material waterproof. The word “tarpaulin” comes from “tar” and “palling”, with “pall” meaning “heavy cloth covering”.

11. Sled dog : MALAMUTE
The Alaskan Malamute is a breed of dog that was bred as a working dog, in particular to pull sleds. The breed takes its name from the Mahlemut tribe of Inuit people.

13. Clampett patriarch : JED
The actor Buddy Ebsen is best known for playing Jed Clampett in television’s “The Beverly Hillbillies”. Ebsen had been cast in the role of the Tin Man in the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz”, but he developed an allergy to the aluminium dust that was used in the makeup. He ended up in hospital and had to walk away from the part. Ebsen blamed “The Wizard of Oz” on persistent problems that he had with his lungs in subsequent years. But Ebsen lived 16 years longer that any of the other major cast members of the film, so maybe he got the last laugh!

“The Beverly Hillbillies” was a rags-to-riches sitcom that aired from 1962 to 1971, a creation of writer Paul Henning. Buoyed by the success of “Hillbillies”, Henning created another sitcom in 1965, one that was a complete opposite in terms of plot, the riches-to-rags story of “Green Acres”.

19. “___ Rather Be With Me” (1967 hit) : SHE’D
“She’d Rather Be with Me” was a 1967 hit for the Turtles.

The Turtles were a Californian rock band active in the late sixties. The biggest hit for the Turtles was 1967’s “Happy Together”.

36. Rarity at Alcatraz : ESCAPE
Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary was a maximum high-security prison operating from 1934 to 1963 on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. The US Army had opened Fort Alcatraz on the island back in 1859, and constructed the first prison there in 1868. The first buildings that were to become the Federal Penitentiary were erected between 1910 and 1912, and again were used as a military prison. The construction was modernized and became the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in 1934. The Federal prison housed famous inmates like Al Capone, The Birdman of Alcatraz and “Machine Gun” Kelly. The prison was closed in 1963 by Attorney General Robert Kennedy, as the cost of operation was excessively high and major capital improvements were needed.

37. Neighbor of Nigeria : CAMEROON
The Republic of Cameroon is on the west coast of Africa. One of Cameroon’s claims to fame is having a great national soccer team, one that always seems to do well in the FIFA World Cup.

Nigeria is in West Africa, and it takes its name from the Niger River which flows through the country. Nigeria is the most populous country on the continent.

38. Kurosawa classic : RASHOMON
“Rashomon” is a period drama film directed by Akira Kurosawa that was released in 1950. “Rashomon” was the movie that first introduced Kurosawa to western audiences. The film’s title refers to the huge gate to the city of Kyoto.

Akira Kurosawa was an Oscar-winning Japanese film director. His most famous movie to us in the West has to be “The Seven Samurai”, the inspiration for “The Magnificent Seven” starring Yul Brynner, and indeed a basis for “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”.

39. Violinist Leopold : AUER
Leopold Auer was a Hungarian violinist, as well as a conductor and composer. Auer wrote a small number of works for the violin, the most famous of which is the “Rhapsodie Hongroise” written for violin and piano.

41. ___ canto : BEL
“Bel canto” is a term used in Italian opera, the literal translation of which is “beautiful singing”. The term specifically describes a style of singing that emphasises beauty of tone over dramatic power.

45. Swamp beast, informally : CROC
Crocodiles and alligators bear a resemblance to each other, although they belong to distinct biological families. One of the main ways used to distinguish them is by their teeth and jaws. Both the upper and lower sets of teeth of a crocodile are visible when its mouth is closed, whereas only the upper teeth of an alligator are visible with the mouth shut.

47. Patriot Paul : REVERE
Paul Revere famously alerted the Colonial militia when the British military arrived in the buildup to the battles of Lexington and Concord. Revere earned his living as a silversmith. After the war, Revere returned to his trade and diversified into other metalwork. Revere was the first American to develop a process to roll copper into sheets so that the metal could be used to sheathe the hulls of naval vessels.

49. Part of an Italian sub : SALAMI
Salame (note the “e” at the end) is an Italian sausage that is traditionally associated with the peasant classes. The meat in the sausage is preserved with salt, and it can be hung and stored for as long as ten years. The name “salame” comes from “sale”, the Italian word for salt, and “-ame”, a suffix indicating a collective noun. Our English word “salami” is actually the Italian plural for “salame”.

53. Fabric once described as “comfort in action” : ORLON
Orlon is the brand name used by the DuPont Corporation for the acrylic fibers the company developed in 1941.

54. “The Dark Knight” actor : CAINE
There have been only two actors who have been nominated for an Academy Award in every decade from the 1960s to the 2000s. One is Jack Nicholson, and the other is Michael Caine. Caine is now known as Sir Michael Caine, as he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in the year 2000.

“The Dark Knight” is a 2008 sequel to the movie “Batman Begins”. Both films star Christian Bale in the title role, with Michael Caine in the supporting role of the butler Alfred Pennyworth.

55. Prepare to be knighted : KNEEL
Kneel, and the Queen might “dub thee a knight” if you’re lucky. “Dub” is a specific term derived from Old English that was used to mean “make a knight”. As the knight was also given a knightly name at the same time, “dub” has come to mean “give someone a name”.

57. Speaker of baseball : TRIS
Tris Speaker was a Major League Baseball player, the holder of the record for the most doubles hit in a career. He led the Boston Red Sox to two World Series championships, in 1912 and 1915.

60. When repeated, a lively dance : CHA
The cha-cha-cha is a Latin dance with origins in Cuba, where it was introduced by composer Enrique Jorrin in 1953.

61. Detergent brand : ERA
Era was the first liquid laundry detergent produced by Procter & Gamble.

62. Word after fish or French : FRY
“French fries” are called “chips” back in the British Isles where I grew up. In France, they’re called “pommes frites” (“fried potatoes”).

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Lead-in to cent or annum : PER
4. Passé : OLD HAT
10. Key of Schubert’s Symphony No. 9: Abbr. : C MAJ
14. Lumberjack’s tool : AXE
15. Ivanhoe’s love : ROWENA
16. Alternative to Drive or Road : LANE
17. Scribble (down) : JOT
18. Dish with croutons and Parmesan cheese : CAESAR SALAD (giving “Sid Caesar”)
20. Commotions : ADOS
22. Madrid month : MES
23. Lab bottle : PHIAL
24. Pull-down sleeper : MURPHY BED (giving “Eddie Murphy”)
27. Daytime ___ : EMMYS
29. Houston athlete : ASTRO
30. Peculiar : ODD
32. Action film weapon : UZI
33. Social Security criterion : AGE
35. Okla. City-to-St. Louis direction : ENE
36. Verb with “vous” : ETES
37. Evian competitor : CRYSTAL GEYSER (giving “Billy Crystal”)
41. Barnyard bleats : BAAS
42. Guernsey chew : CUD
43. Comfy bit of footwear : MOC
44. Certain dash lengths : EMS
45. “Evita” role : CHE
46. Super Bowl gains : YARDS
50. “The Merry Widow” composer : LEHAR
52. “Tommy,” for one : ROCK OPERA (giving “Chris Rock”)
56. Tireless worker? : ROBOT
58. Managed : RAN
59. Bad to the bone : EVIL
60. What the starts of 18-, 24-, 37- and 52-Across can provide? : COMIC RELIEF
63. “Evita” role : EVA
64. Part of a parka : HOOD
65. Laundry worker : IRONER
66. ___ stage : REM
67. English princess who competed in the 1976 Olympics : ANNE
68. In a rational way : SANELY
69. Old ___ (Yale, affectionately) : ELI

Down
1. Word before top or party : PAJAMA
2. Book of the Bible or an event described in it : EXODUS
3. Comeback : RETORT
4. Tolkien creature : ORC
5. Like some rich soil : LOAMY
6. Geek : DWEEB
7. “Siddhartha” writer : HESSE
8. Santa ___ winds : ANA
9. Roofer’s cover : TARP
10. Insurance submission : CLAIM
11. Sled dog : MALAMUTE
12. One taking a close look : ANALYZER
13. Clampett patriarch : JED
19. “___ Rather Be With Me” (1967 hit) : SHE’D
21. Uses an aerosol : SPRAYS
25. Monopolizes : HOGS
26. Bell sound : DONG
28. Bro’s sibling : SIS
31. Consider : DEEM
34. Work on a gravestone, e.g. : ETCH
35. Antiquity, in antiquity : ELD
36. Rarity at Alcatraz : ESCAPE
37. Neighbor of Nigeria : CAMEROON
38. Kurosawa classic : RASHOMON
39. Violinist Leopold : AUER
40. What some dieters do : YO-YO
41. ___ canto : BEL
45. Swamp beast, informally : CROC
47. Patriot Paul : REVERE
48. Senseless talk : DRIVEL
49. Part of an Italian sub : SALAMI
51. Tolerate : ABIDE
53. Fabric once described as “comfort in action” : ORLON
54. “The Dark Knight” actor : CAINE
55. Prepare to be knighted : KNEEL
57. Speaker of baseball : TRIS
60. When repeated, a lively dance : CHA
61. Detergent brand : ERA
62. Word after fish or French : FRY

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2 thoughts on “0120-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 20 Jan 15, Tuesday”

  1. OK for a Tuesday. Site seems to be working again.

    Nice to slip ORC in there instead of ENT, sneaky. And once again, Yale rears its head. I did miss on CamEroon. LEHAR became "lahar," which I believe is a pyroclastic flow from a volcano. Lahars from the Soufriefe volcano wiped out the capital of Monserrat a few years back.

  2. I'm enjoying this short period of quality without stupid "clever tricks". Wonder when the Rebus Rabble will once again assert themselves…

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