0129-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 29 Jan 15, Thursday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: John Farmer
THEME: Cut Out the Middleman … we’ve had the word MAN cut out of three of today’s answers. I’ve added those missing “MEN” in my grid. You can see them in the MIDDLE of two other “MEN”, above and below:

17A. With 58-Across, buy or sell direct … or what to do in this puzzle three times? : CUT OUT THE
58A. See 17-Across : MIDDLEMAN

18A. Upright type : ROMAN
20A. Best Picture between “The Last Emperor” and “Driving Miss Daisy” : RAIN MAN
23A. Archaeological discovery of the 1920s whose fossils have been missing since 1941 : PEKING MAN

32A. Offer? : HIT MAN
34A. With 37-Across, drama set in New York’s Last Chance Saloon : THE ICEMAN
(37A. See 34-Across : COMETH)
40A. Procrastinator’s time : MANANA

49A. Faithful servant : MAN FRIDAY
53A. Central American capital : MANAGUA
55A. “Homeland” actor Patinkin : MANDY

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 12m 06s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

5. General who became a secretary of state : HAIG
Alexander Haig was Secretary of State under President Reagan, and White House Chief of Staff under Presidents Nixon and Ford. Famously, Haig took over temporary control of the country immediately after President Reagan was shot in 1981. To do so was a pragmatic move, while waiting on Vice President Bush to arrive in Washington. There was much debate at the time about the legality of the steps taken, as the presidential line of succession called out in the US Constitution is President, Vice President, Speaker of the House, President pro tempore of the US Senate, and then Secretary of State.

9. Bird that’s the lead character in “Rio” : MACAW
“Rio” is a 2011 animated movie about a male blue macaw who is brought to mate with a female blue macaw in Rio de Janeiro, hence the movie’s title. Fans can go see “Rio 2” that was released in 2014.

16. Bula : Fiji :: ___ : Hawaii : ALOHA
The Hawaiian word “Aloha” has many meanings in English: affection, love, peace, compassion and mercy. More recently “aloha” has come to mean “hello” and “goodbye”, but only since the mid-1800s.

“Bula” is the Fijian word for “hello”.

18. Upright type : ROMAN
HIstorically there have been three classes of typeface: roman, italic and blackletter. Blackletter is quite ornate and looks somewhat archaic, so is rarely used these days. In days of yore, typefaces were either roman (upright) or italic (slanted). Today, we mix roman and italic typefaces in the same document, often using the italics for stress.

20. Best Picture between “The Last Emperor” and “Driving Miss Daisy” : RAIN MAN
“Rain Man” is an entertaining and thought-provoking film released in 1988 starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. It’s all about a self-possessed yuppie (Cruise, appropriate casting!) who discovers he has a brother who is an autistic savant (Hoffman). Hoffman won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance, and “Rain Man” won the Best Picture award.

“The Last Emperor” is a 1987 biographical film about Puyi, the last Emperor of China. “The Last Emperor” was unique in that it was the first time the Chinese government allowed filming in the Forbidden City in Beijing. In fact, Queen Elizabeth II was on a state visit to China the same time that filming was taking place, and the Chinese government gave priority to filming, so the British royal party could not visit the Forbidden City.

The 1989 movie “Driving Miss Daisy” is based on the 1987 play by Alfred Uhry. Not only did Uhry win the Pulitzer for the play, he also won an Academy Award for the screenplay for the movie. In a famous scene, when Hoke, Miss Daisy’s driver takes her from Atlanta to Mobile for her brother’s 90th birthday party, Hoke reveals to his passenger that the journey marked the first time he had ever left his home state of Georgia.

22. Part of a historic trio : PINTA
Famously, Christopher Columbus used three ships in his first voyage across the Atlantic: the Santa Maria, the Niña and the Pinta. The Pinta was the fastest of the three, and it was from the Pinta that the New World was first spotted, by a sailor called Rodrigo de Triana who was a lookout on the fateful day. Pinta was a nickname for the ship that translated as “the painted one”. The Pinta’s real name has been lost in mists of time.

23. Archaeological discovery of the 1920s whose fossils have been missing since 1941 : PEKING MAN
Back in the 1920s, fossil specimens were discovered near Beijing (Peking), China that were shown to be examples of “primitive man”. The species that was discovered became known as “Peking Man”, a human ancestor. The cast majority of the specimens found were packed up during WWII for transportation to the American Museum of Natural HIstory in New York, but the fossils vanished en route from China and have never been recovered.

29. Service break at Wimbledon? : TEATIME
The Wimbledon Championships of tennis are held at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club located in Wimbledon, a district of London. The Wimbledon Championships started in 1877, and are still played on grass.

31. Like : A LA
The phrase “in the style of” can be translated in “alla” in Italian and “à la” in French.

32. Offer? : HIT MAN
A hit man might “off” (kill) someone.

33. Onetime Road Runner rivals : GTOS
The Pontiac GTO was was produced by GM from 1964 to 1974, and again by a GM subsidiary in Australia from 2004 to 2006. The original GTO’s design is credited to Pontiac chief engineer at the time John DeLorean, who later was found the DeLorean Motor Company.

The Plymouth Road Runner is a classic muscle car produced by Chrysler from 1968 to 1980. Chrysler paid Warner Bros. $50,000 for the rights to use the Road Runner name, after the cartoon character. The auto manufacturer even used the cartoonish “beep, beep” sound for the Plymouth Road Runner’s horn.

34. With 37-Across, drama set in New York’s Last Chance Saloon : THE ICEMAN
37. See 34-Across : COMETH
“The Iceman Cometh” is a play written by American playwright Eugene O’Neill and first performed in 1946 on Broadway. The play centers on some down-and-out men in a shabby saloon in Manhattan. The title is a reference to the “ice man”, the man who would have delivered ice to homes back in the time of the play. The reference is to a bawdy joke in which the “ice man” was having an affair with someone’s wife.

39. Butler, e.g. : HELP
In a large (and posh!) household, a butler is generally the most senior member of the staff. Traditionally, the butler is male, and is in charge of the male members of the household, with the housekeeper managing the female staff. The butler also has direct control of the dining room, the wine cellar and the pantry. It is the management of the wine cellar that is indicative of the roots of the term “butler”. Back in Ancient Greece and Rome, the equivalent of the butler was in charge of the wine supply. Our modern term from the Old French “botellier” meaning “bottle bearer”, and further back from the Medieval Latin “butticula”.

40. Procrastinator’s time : MANANA
“Mañana” is the Spanish for “tomorrow”.

44. Where Forrest Gump attended college : ALABAMA
The epic 1994 movie “Forrest Gump” is based on a 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom. Groom said that he had envisioned John Goodman playing the title role, and not Tom Hanks.

46. Twit : ASS
“Twit” is a word not used very often here in America. It’s a slang term that was quite common in England where it was used for “someone foolish and idiotic”.

49. Faithful servant : MAN FRIDAY
In Daniel Defoe’s 1719 novel “Robinson Crusoe”, the castaway encounters a companion that Crusoe calls “Friday”, because the two first met on that day. Friday soon becomes his willing servant. This character is the source of our terms “Man Friday” and “Girl Friday”, which are used to describe a particularly competent and loyal assistant.

51. Certain dressing : RANCH
Ranch dressing has been the best selling salad dressing in the country since 1992. The recipe was developed by Steve Henson who introduced it in the fifties to guests on his dude ranch, Hidden Valley Ranch in Northern California. His ranch dressing became so popular that he opened a factory to produce packets of ranch seasoning that could be mixed with mayonnaise and buttermilk. Henson sold the Hidden Valley Ranch brand for $8 million in 1972.

53. Central American capital : MANAGUA
Managua is the capital and largest city in Nicaragua. It is also the second-largest city in Central America in terms of population, with Guatemala City topping the list.

54. Vintage Ford : MODEL A
The Ford Model A was the original car produced by the Ford Motor Company. The first production run lasted from 1903 to 1904, when it was replaced by the Model C. The name “Model A” was brought back in 1927 and used for the successor to the Model T.

55. “Homeland” actor Patinkin : MANDY
Mandy Patinkin is a stage and screen actor, and a tenor vocalist. Patinkin played the part of Che in the original Broadway production of “Evita”. More recently, he has been playing Saul Berenson on the excellent Showtime series “Homeland”.

63. Piece in a rockhound’s collection : GEODE
A geode is a rock in which there is a cavity lined or filled with crystal formations.

64. Certain dress : SARI
The item of clothing called a “sari” (also “saree”) is a strip of cloth, as one might imagine, unusual perhaps in that is unstitched along the whole of its length. The strip of cloth can range from four to nine meters long (that’s a lot of material!). The sari is usually wrapped around the waist, then draped over the shoulder leaving the midriff bare. I must say, it can be a beautiful item of clothing.

Down
1. Caribbean vacation, e.g. : ESCAPE
The Caribbean Sea takes its name from the Carib people. The Caribs are an American Indian people that live in the Lesser Antilles islands, part of the West Indies.

2. Gulf War ally : SAUDIS
Many of us tend to use “Operation Desert Storm” as the overall name for the conflict more correctly called the Persian Gulf War. Operation Desert Storm was in fact just the air and land battle that took place between January 17th and April 11th 1991. The buildup of forces was called Operation Desert Shield, and the withdrawal of forces after the liberation of Kuwait was known as Operation Desert Farewell.

3. 2014 Broadway play based on Moss Hart’s autobiography : ACT ONE
Moss Hart was a playwright and theater director from New York City. Hart wrote a memoir called “Act One” that told of his childhood and his struggle to achieve success on Broadway. The book was adapted into a 1963 film and a stage play that premiered in 2014.

4. Women’s hybrid attire : SKORT
Skorts are a hybrid between shorts and a skirt.

5. “Survivor” quarters : HUTS
The reality show “Survivor” is based on a Swedish television series created in 1997 called “Expedition Robinson”.

6. Queen’s pawn? : ANT
The queen ant of some species can live to the ripe old age of 30 years, which is one of the longest lifespans in the insect world.

7. “___ liebe dich” : ICH
“Ich liebe dich” translates into “I love you” from German.

8. Vlasic classic : GHERKIN
Often a dill pickle is actually a pickled gherkin, as the gherkin and cucumber are different cultivars within the same species. Here in the US, dill is commonly added to the pickling vinegar or brine, but this wasn’t the case when I used to eat them back in Ireland (I can’t stand dill!). You might see jars labeled as “cornichons”, but they’re gherkins. Cornichon is just the French word for gherkin.

Apparently Vlasic invented the glass-packed, shelf-stable pickle. The company adopted the stork mascot in the late sixties, with the stork originally carrying a baby. The mascot was a play on the perception that pregnant women have a higher than average appetite for pickles.

9. ___ One (president’s helicopter) : MARINE
Marine One is the call sign used by a Marine Corps helicopter when it is carrying the US president. In fact, the call sign can be used by any Marine Corps aircraft carrying the president, but usually refers either a Sea King or WhiteHawk helicopter that is used routinely in transportation to and from the White House.

23. “Jackie Brown” actress Grier : PAM
Pam Grier is an actress whose most acclaimed performance was in the 1997 Quentin Tarantino film “Jackie Brown”, in which she played the title role.

24. Chapter seven? : ETA
I guess the reference is to a chapter of a Greek fraternity, with eta being the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet.

27. Longtime Crosby partner : NASH
The supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash (CSN) is made up of David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. The band can grow to “CSNY” when the trio is joined by Neil Young. Fans have been known to call the act “C, S, N and sometimes Y”, a play on the expression that names all the vowels, “A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y”.

30. Tour de France season : ETE
One might spend the summer (été) under the sun (le soleil) in Paris.

Back in the late 1800s, long-distance cycle races were used as promotional events, traditionally to help boost sales of newspapers. These races usually took place around tracks, but in 1902 the backers of the struggling sports publication “L’Auto” decided to stage a race that would take the competitors all around France. That first Tour de France took place in 1903, starting in Paris and passing through Lyon, Marseilles, Bordeaux, Nantes and then back to Paris.

33. TV debut of 1975, briefly : GMA
“Good Morning America” (GMA) is ABC’s morning show, and has been since 1975. There was even a spinoff show called “Good Afternoon America”, although it only lasted for a few months in 2012.

35. Goddess who competed for the apple of discord : HERA
According to Greek mythology, the goddess Eris tossed the Golden Apple of Discord into the middle of the table during the feast of the gods at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis. The Golden Apple bore the words “to the fairest”, and the goddesses Hera, Athena and Aphrodite succumbed to their vanity and fought for the title of most fair. This dispute eventually led to the Trojan War.

36. Dash : ELAN
Our word “élan” was imported from French, in which language the word has a similar meaning to ours i.e “style” or “flair”.

37. Skyping device : CAM
The main feature of the Skype application is that it allows voice communication to take place over the Internet (aka VoIP). Skype has other features such as video conferencing and instant messaging, but the application made its name from voice communication. Skype was founded by two Scandinavian entrepreneurs and the software necessary was developed by a team of engineers in Estonia. The development project was originally called “Sky peer-to-peer” so the first commercial name for the application was “Skyper”. This had to be shortened to “Skype” because the skyper.com domain name was already in use.

40. Butterfly and others : MADAMES
Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” is the most-performed opera in the US. The opera that we see today is actually the second version that Puccini produced. The original version was first staged in 1904 at La Scala in Milan where it received a very poor reception. Puccini reworked the piece, breaking the second act into two new acts and making some other significant changes. The opera was relaunched a few months later and it was a resounding success.

41. Judicial ratings grp. : ABA
American Bar Association (ABA)

44. Common pattern for golf attire : ARGYLE
The argyle pattern is based on the Campbell tartan. The Campbell clan is based in the Argyll region (note the spelling) in the west of Scotland, giving the Argyle pattern its name.

45. Brooklyn-based sch. : LIU
Long Island University (LIU) is a private school that was chartered in 1926. LIU’s focus has always been on providing moderately-priced, effective education to people from all walks in life. To that end, LIU opened a second campus in 1951 in Brookville in the suburbs of New York City, recognizing the need to serve families that were living outside of the metropolis.

46. Iron supplements may treat it : ANEMIA
The term “anemia” (or “anaemia” as we write it back in Ireland) comes from a Greek word meaning “lack of blood”. Anemia is a lack of iron in the blood, or a low red blood cell count. Tiredness is a symptom of the condition.

47. Mercedes-Benz luxury line : S-CLASS
The S-Class is the most luxurious line of Mercedes cars, and is the world’s best-selling luxury sedan. The name “S-Class” stands for “Sonderklasse”, which translates from German as “special class”.

52. Grammy winner for “21” : ADELE
Adele is the stage name of English singer Adele Adkins. Adele’s debut album is “19”, named after the age she was during the album’s production. Her second album was even more successful than the first. Called “21”, the second album was released three years after the first, when Adele was three years older.

54. Year Columbus began his last voyage : MDII
Christopher Columbus made four voyages in all to the Americas. The last of these expeditions departed from Cadiz in May 1502. Columbus’s ships were damaged in a dispute with locals in Panama, and further damaged in a storm off the coast of Cuba. The members of the expedition found themselves stranded in Jamaica for a year, before they were rescued by a team sent by the Governor of Hispaniola in 1504. The party were then returned to Spain, where Columbus died two years later, in 1506.

55. Memory unit, informally : MEG
In the world of computers, a “bit” is the basic unit of information. It has a value of 0 or 1. A “byte” is a small collection of bits (usually 8), the number of bits needed to uniquely identify a character of text. The prefix mega- stands for 10 to the power of 6, so a megabyte (meg) is 1,000,000 bytes. And the prefix giga- means 10 to the power of 9, so a gigabyte (gig) is 1,000,000,000 bytes. Well, those are the SI definitions of megabyte and kilobyte. The purists still use 2 to the power of 20 for a megabyte (i.e. 1,048,576), and 2 to the power of 30 for a gigabyte.

56. Grooming brand for “helping guys get the girl” : AXE
Axe is a brand of male grooming products. Axe is sold under the name Lynx in some parts of the world.

57. Sgt., e.g. : NCO
An NCO is a non-commissioned officer in the armed forces. Usually such an officer is one who has earned his or her rank by promotion through the enlisted ranks. A good example would be a sergeant or a corporal.

59. “Well, ___ monkey’s uncle!” : I’M A
When Charles Darwin published his theory of evolution in his book “Descent of Man”, the general reception could at best be described as “skeptical”. The phrase “I’ll be a monkey’s uncle” came out of this reaction, an expression that was designed to ridicule Darwin’s theory.

60. ___ es Salaam : DAR
Dar es Salaam is the largest city in Tanzania, and sits right on the east coast of Africa. The city’s name is usually translated from Arabic as “Haven of Peace”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. María’s “those” : ESAS
5. General who became a secretary of state : HAIG
9. Bird that’s the lead character in “Rio” : MACAW
14. It might contain a sandwich and an apple : SACK LUNCH
16. Bula : Fiji :: ___ : Hawaii : ALOHA
17. With 58-Across, buy or sell direct … or what to do in this puzzle three times? : CUT OUT THE
18. Upright type : ROMAN
19. Trims : ADORNS
20. Best Picture between “The Last Emperor” and “Driving Miss Daisy” : RAIN MAN
22. Part of a historic trio : PINTA
23. Archaeological discovery of the 1920s whose fossils have been missing since 1941 : PEKING MAN
28. Suffix with official : -ESE
29. Service break at Wimbledon? : TEATIME
31. Like : A LA
32. Offer? : HIT MAN
33. Onetime Road Runner rivals : GTOS
34. With 37-Across, drama set in New York’s Last Chance Saloon : THE ICEMAN
37. See 34-Across : COMETH
39. Butler, e.g. : HELP
40. Procrastinator’s time : MANANA
43. Span of attention? : ERA
44. Where Forrest Gump attended college : ALABAMA
46. Twit : ASS
49. Faithful servant : MAN FRIDAY
51. Certain dressing : RANCH
53. Central American capital : MANAGUA
54. Vintage Ford : MODEL A
55. “Homeland” actor Patinkin : MANDY
58. See 17-Across : MIDDLEMAN
61. Stand out : EXCEL
62. Aid for a club secretary nowadays : EMAIL LIST
63. Piece in a rockhound’s collection : GEODE
64. Certain dress : SARI
65. “___ now” : EASY

Down
1. Caribbean vacation, e.g. : ESCAPE
2. Gulf War ally : SAUDIS
3. 2014 Broadway play based on Moss Hart’s autobiography : ACT ONE
4. Women’s hybrid attire : SKORT
5. “Survivor” quarters : HUTS
6. Queen’s pawn? : ANT
7. “___ liebe dich” : ICH
8. Vlasic classic : GHERKIN
9. ___ One (president’s helicopter) : MARINE
10. “Move ___” : ALONG
11. End of many addresses : COM
12. “So it was you!” : AHA!
13. Whitish : WAN
15. Nut : LUNATIC
21. Target : AIM
23. “Jackie Brown” actress Grier : PAM
24. Chapter seven? : ETA
25. Bud : MATE
26. Loads : A LOT
27. Longtime Crosby partner : NASH
30. Tour de France season : ETE
32. Like ripped jeans in the ’90s : HIP
33. TV debut of 1975, briefly : GMA
34. Us competitor : THEM
35. Goddess who competed for the apple of discord : HERA
36. Dash : ELAN
37. Skyping device : CAM
38. Hot : ON A ROLL
40. Butterfly and others : MADAMES
41. Judicial ratings grp. : ABA
42. “Permission denied” : NAY
44. Common pattern for golf attire : ARGYLE
45. Brooklyn-based sch. : LIU
46. Iron supplements may treat it : ANEMIA
47. Mercedes-Benz luxury line : S-CLASS
48. Makeshift dwelling : SHANTY
50. Nearly forgotten : FADED
52. Grammy winner for “21” : ADELE
54. Year Columbus began his last voyage : MDII
55. Memory unit, informally : MEG
56. Grooming brand for “helping guys get the girl” : AXE
57. Sgt., e.g. : NCO
59. “Well, ___ monkey’s uncle!” : I’M A
60. ___ es Salaam : DAR

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One thought on “0129-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 29 Jan 15, Thursday”

  1. Hi Bill…

    46A: "Twit" is actually used quite a bit in the US. I hear it all the time, occasionally from my wife. 🙂

    37D: Most Skype users I know would say the most important/compelling feature of the service is free peer-peer VIDEO calling. A few will mention the better than toll quality voice too.

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