0218-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 18 Feb 15, Wednesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Ed Sessa
THEME: Swapped Words … each of today’s themed answers is common phrase in the format “A the B”, but A and B swapped to read “B the A”.

17A. Mollycoddle Dwayne Johnson? : BABY THE ROCK (from “rock the baby”)
22A. Enters charges against a restaurant employee? : BOOKS THE COOK (from “cook the books”)
36A. Try to find out what’s what at a pond? : QUESTION THE DUCK (from “duck the question”)
46A. Shift responsibility for some missing campsite food? : BLAME THE BEAR (from “bear the blame”)
56A. Kayo Popeye? : DECK THE SWAB (from “swab the deck”)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 8m 08s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Letters on Soyuz rockets : CCCP
The abbreviation CCCP stands for “Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик”, which translates from Russian as “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics”, the USSR.

The Russian Soyuz space program started in the early sixties as part of a plan to land a cosmonaut on the moon. The Soyuz program is still alive and kicking, and derivatives of those early spacecraft designs from the sixties are regularly visiting the International Space Station. “Soyuz” is a Russian word meaning “union”.

5. St. Francis’ home : ASSISI
St. Francis founded the Franciscan religious order in Assisi in 1208. He died in 1226, and was declared a saint just two years later in 1228. Construction of the Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi started immediately after the canonization, and finished 25 years later. The Basilica is now a United Nations World Heritage Site.

11. Some gas stations : BPS
BP is an oil and gas company headquartered in London, UK. BP started out as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in 1909 with the remit of exploiting oil discovered in Iran. The company name was changed to British Petroleum in 1954, and today the name used is simply “BP”.

14. Fifth-longest bone in the human body : ULNA
The top six longest bones in the human body are:

1. Femur (thighbone)
2. Tibia (shinbone)
3. Fibula (lower leg)
4. Humerus (upper arm)
5. Ulna (inner lower arm)
6. Radius (outer lower arm)

16. Problem on the red carpet, maybe : RIP
I guess we’re talking about a rip in one of those expensive gowns that are display on the red carpet.

17. Mollycoddle Dwayne Johnson? : BABY THE ROCK (from “rock the baby”)
Dwayne Johnson is a former professional wrestler whose ring name was “the Rock”. He has used his success as a character in the ring, to cross over into television and movies. He is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as getting the highest payment for a first starring role: $5.5 million.

“To mollycoddle” is to be overprotective. Back in the mid-1700s, a “mollycoddle” was an insulting term used to describe a man who was weak and effeminate.

19. 108-card game : UNO
In my youth I remember being taught a great card game, by a German acquaintance of mine, called Mau Mau. Years later I discovered that Uno is basically the same game, but played with a purpose-printed deck instead of the regular deck of playing cards that’s used for Mau Mau. I hear that Mau Mau is derived from the game called Crazy Eights.

20. Onetime Microsoft encyclopedia : ENCARTA
Microsoft badly wanted to get into the online encyclopedia business in the eighties, and approached the biggest and the best, “Encyclopaedia Britannica”. “Britannica” declined, fearing that an online version would damage their print sales. Of course, “Britannica” had to sell eventually, but not to Microsoft, as the inevitable decline in print sales happened anyway. So Microsoft made a deal with “Funk & Wagnalls”, and started publishing “Encarta” in disk form in the early nineties. Usage of Encarta grew, until, along came Wikipedia. Encarta was discontinued in at the end of 2009.

27. One of the Waughs : EVELYN
Evelyn Waugh was an English author, most famous for his fabulous 1945 novel “Brideshead Revisited”. Evelyn Waugh met and fell in love with Evelyn Gardner in 1927. Known to friends as “He-Evelyn” and “She-Evelyn”, the couple were married in 1929 (but divorced one year later).

30. Worthless stuff : TRIPE
“Tripe” is an informal term meaning “rubbish, of little value”. Tripe is actually the rubbery lining of say a cow, that in the UK is traditionally eaten with onions.

31. Miffed : SORE
“To miff” is “to put out, to tee off”, a word that has been around since the early 1600s. Interestingly, in 1824 Sir Walter Scott described the word “miffed” as “a women’s phrase”. That would get him a slap, I’d say …

32. Major League Baseball’s oldest-ever rookie (age 42) : PAIGE
Satchel Paige pitched baseball in the Negro leagues and then the majors, retiring in 1966. When he moved to the Major League, he was 42 as he pitched his first game, making him the oldest ever “rookie” to play Major League Baseball. And when he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971, he was the first person to be so honored from the Negro leagues.

33. French surname starter : DES
The French word “des” translates as “of the”.

41. Battery terminal : 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.

42. Thru 12th grade : ELHI
“Elhi” is an informal word used to describe anything related to schooling from grades 1 through 12, i.e. elementary through high school.

43. Tea party crasher of fiction : ALICE
The March Hare is a character in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. It was the March Hare who hosted the tea party near the start of the story, in which we are introduced to another famous character, the Mad Hatter.

44. Polytetrafluoroethylene, commercially : TEFLON
Teflon is a brand name for the polymer called PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene). Teflon is used as a coating for nonstick pans, a lubricant in machinery and as a graft material in surgery.

51. Cry at an unveiling : ET VOILA!
“Et voilà” is French for “and there it is!”

55. Back, to Popeye : AFT
Popeye first appeared in 1929 in a comic strip called “Thimble Theatre”. The strip, created by E. C. Segar, ran for ten years before Popeye made an appearance. Popeye received such a great welcome from readers that he soon “took over” the strip, and eventually even hogged the strip’s title. Before Popeye turned up Olive Oyl was the main character.

56. Kayo Popeye? : DECK THE SWAB (from “swab the deck”)
“Swabbie” (also “swabby, swab, swabber”) is a slang term for a sailor, which we’ve been using since the late 1700s. A “swab” was originally a member of the crew assigned to the swabbing (mopping) of the ship’s decks.

A “kayo” is a knock-out (KO).

60. Letter after wye : ZEE
In the alphabet, the letter Z (zee) comes after the letter Y (wye).

62. “Beloved” author Morrison : TONI
The writer Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. Amongst other things, Morrison is noted for first coining the phrase, “our first black President”, a reference to President Bill Clinton.

64. Betty Crocker bowlful : BATTER
Betty Crocker was introduced by the Washburn Crosby Company (now part of General Mills) in 1921. “Crocker” was chosen in honor of William Crocker who was one of the company’s directors. “Betty” was selected simply because it was considered a bright, all-American name. Betty’s original job was to sign her name on correspondence arising out of consumer product questions, but soon she evolved into a very successful brand name.

65. Sulky mood : SNIT
The exact etymology of “snit”, meaning “fit of temper”, isn’t really known. The term was first used in print in the play “Kiss the Boys Goodbye” by Clare Booth Luce, which dates back to the 1930s and is set in the American South.

Down
2. Kiltie’s group : CLAN
A “kiltie” is a person who wears a kilt.

3. “Closing Bell” channel : CNBC
“Closing Bell” is a business show on CNBC that airs each weekday. As the title suggests, the show covers the period just before the end of trading (the “closing bell”) and reviews that that day on the floor after the market has closed.

4. Balance sheet heading : PAYABLES
The balance sheet of a company is a snapshot (single point in time) view of a company’s financial position. The balance sheet lists all the company’s liabilities, all of its assets, and all of its ownership equity. The assets of a company, less its liabilities equals the ownership equity. The term “balance” is used because assets always balance out with the sum of liabilities and shareholder equity.

5. Kutcher who hosted “Punk’d” : ASHTON
The actor Ashton Kutcher was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He has a fraternal twin named Michael who needed a heart transplant when the brothers were quite young. Ashton played the character Michael Kelso on Fox’s “That ‘70s Show”. Kelso was Kutcher’s breakthrough acting role. Kutcher then appeared on the sitcom “Two and a Half Men”, having replaced the “disgraced” Charlie Sheen. In 2009, Kutcher became the first user on Twitter to get over 1 million followers. I wasn’t one of them …

MTV’s “Punk’d” is sort of a contemporary version of “Candid Camera”, with the show focusing on practical jokes being played on celebrities and the action filmed with hidden cameras. The show originally aired from 2003 to 2007 and was produced and hosted by actor Ashton Kutcher. I’m not a big fan of practical jokes myself, I must say. The word is that “American Pie” star Shannon Elizabeth isn’t either. She filed for divorce from her husband apparently furious with him after he cooperated with Kutcher in pranking her into believing they had been secretly filmed on a celebrity porn tape.

7. Round Table title : SIR
King Arthur (and his Round Table) probably never really existed, but his legend is very persistent. He was supposedly a leader of the Romano-British as they tried to resist the invasion of the Anglo-Saxons in the late 5th and early 6th centuries.

11. Musical Mars : BRUNO
Bruno Mars is a singer-songwriter from Honolulu who has been active in the music business since 2006.

12. Piebald horse : PINTO
A “pinto” is a horse with patchy markings of white mixed with another color. “Pinto” means “painted” in American Spanish.

A piebald (or pied) horse is one with dark patches on a white background. A skewbald horse on the other hand is dark with white patches.

13. Bogeyman : SPOOK
The term “bogeyman” seems to be derived from the Scottish word “bogle” meaning “ghost”.

18. Priam’s domain : TROY
Priam was king of Troy during the Trojan War. Reputedly, Priam was father to fifty sons and many daughters with his many wives. His eldest son and heir to the throne was Hector. Paris was another of Priam’s sons, the man who caused the Trojan War by eloping with Helen, Queen of Sparta.

24. Hackneyed : TRITE
Hackney is a location in London that probably gave it’s name to a “hackney”, an ordinary type of horse carriage around 1300. By 1700 a “hackney” was a person hired to do routine work, and “hackneyed” meant “kept for hire”. Around the same time, “hackneyed” came to describe something so overused that it is no longer interesting. Sort of like some crossword answers …

25. Dow Jones extreme : HIGH
Dow Jones & Company was founded as a publishing house in 1882 by three newspaper reporters, Charles Dow, Edward Jones and Charles Bergstresser. Today, the company’s most famous publication has to be “The Wall Street Journal”. In 1884, Charles Dow started reporting the average dollar value of the stock of eleven companies, an index which spawned a whole host of metrics that carry the Dow Jones name to this day, including the renowned Dow Jones Industrials.

26. Weapon with a bell guard : EPEE
The hilt of a sword consists of a grip and a guard (also called a bell guard). One grasps the sword with the grip, and the bell guard is a metal shell that is designed to protect the fingers. And, “épée” is the French word for sword.

27. Attys.’ titles : ESQS
The title “esquire” is of British origin and is used differently today depending on whether one is in the US or the UK. Here in America the term is usually reserved for those practicing the law (both male and female). In the UK, “esquire” is a term of gentle respect reserved for a male who has no other title that one can use. So a mere commoner like me might receive a letter from the bank say, addressed to W. E. Butler Esq.

28. R.S.V.P. part : VOUS
RSVP stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît”, which is French for “please, answer”.

29. “___ Tu” (1974 hit) : ERES
We have a big event across Europe every year called the Eurovision Song Contest. Each nation enters one song in competition with each other, and then voters across the whole continent decide on the winner. That’s how ABBA got their big break when they won in 1974 with “Waterloo”. In 1972, Spain’s entry was “Eres tu” (the Spanish for “You Are”) sung by the band Mocedades. “Eres tu” came second in the competition, but should have won in my humble opinion.

43. Oz. or qt. : AMT
Our term “ounce” (abbreviated to “oz.”) comes from the Latin “uncia”, which was 1/12 of a “libra”, the Roman “pound”. “Uncia” is also the derivation of our word “inch”, 1/12 of a foot.

Two pints make up a quart, which is a “quarter” of a gallon, hence the name.

45. Mansard part : EAVE
A mansard roof is a type of hip roof with two slopes on each side. The lower part of the roof has the steepest slope and is penetrated by several dormer windows. The style of roof takes its name from the French Baroque architect François Mansart.

49. Midler of “The Rose” : BETTE
I am a huge, huge fan of Bette Midler. I love everything about the woman, her bawdy humor, her expansive personality, and of course her amazing voice. Midler will forever be associated with the 1979 film “The Rose”, loosely based on the life of the self-destructive singer Janis Joplin, with Bette playing the lead. Midler shows that she can act in this movie, and boy does she show that she can sing. The title song was written by Amanda McBroom and became a huge hit for Midler in 1979.

53. Legal scholar Guinier : LANI
Lani Guinier was the first African-American woman to achieve tenure at Harvard Law School.

57. A Gabor : EVA
Eva Gabor was the youngest of the Gabor sisters, all three of whom were celebrated Hollywood actresses and socialites (her siblings were Zsa-Zsa and Magda). The Gabor sisters were born in Budapest and immigrated to the United States separately, with Eva being the first to arrive. Eva broke into movies, but her most famous role was on the TV sitcom “Green Acres” in which she played the lovely character Lisa Douglas opposite Eddie Albert. One of Eva’s claims to fame is the unwitting promotion of the game called “Twister”, the sales of which were languishing in 1996. In an appearance on “The Tonight Show” she got on all fours and played the game with Johnny Carson. Sales took off immediately, and Twister became a huge hit.

58. Op. ___ : CIT
Op. cit. is short for “opus citatum”, Latin for “the work cited”. Op. cit. is used in footnotes to refer the reader to an earlier citation. It is similar to “ibid”, except that ibid refers the reader to the last citation, the one immediately above.

59. Kit ___ bar : KAT
I grew up eating Kit Kat bars as a kid, as the chocolate confection has been around since the thirties. Kit Kats didn’t hit the shelves in the US until the seventies. I’ve seen new varieties of Kit Kat over in the UK, such as an orange-flavored version, but haven’t seen anything like that over here.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Letters on Soyuz rockets : CCCP
5. St. Francis’ home : ASSISI
11. Some gas stations : BPS
14. Fifth-longest bone in the human body : ULNA
15. One navigating the web? : SPIDER
16. Problem on the red carpet, maybe : RIP
17. Mollycoddle Dwayne Johnson? : BABY THE ROCK (from “rock the baby”)
19. 108-card game : UNO
20. Onetime Microsoft encyclopedia : ENCARTA
21. Really digging : INTO
22. Enters charges against a restaurant employee? : BOOKS THE COOK (from “cook the books”)
27. One of the Waughs : EVELYN
30. Worthless stuff : TRIPE
31. Miffed : SORE
32. Major League Baseball’s oldest-ever rookie (age 42) : PAIGE
33. French surname starter : DES
36. Try to find out what’s what at a pond? : QUESTION THE DUCK (from “duck the question”)
40. Sound of a lit fuse : SSS
41. Battery terminal : ANODE
42. Thru 12th grade : ELHI
43. Tea party crasher of fiction : ALICE
44. Polytetrafluoroethylene, commercially : TEFLON
46. Shift responsibility for some missing campsite food? : BLAME THE BEAR (from “bear the blame”)
50. Cheery air : LILT
51. Cry at an unveiling : ET VOILA!
55. Back, to Popeye : AFT
56. Kayo Popeye? : DECK THE SWAB (from “swab the deck”)
60. Letter after wye : ZEE
61. Fly : AVIATE
62. “Beloved” author Morrison : TONI
63. Foul up : ERR
64. Betty Crocker bowlful : BATTER
65. Sulky mood : SNIT

Down
1. 21-Down unit : CUBE
2. Kiltie’s group : CLAN
3. “Closing Bell” channel : CNBC
4. Balance sheet heading : PAYABLES
5. Kutcher who hosted “Punk’d” : ASHTON
6. Command to Rover : SPEAK
7. Round Table title : SIR
8. Answer to a judge : I DO
9. Instant : SEC
10. Tee off : IRK
11. Musical Mars : BRUNO
12. Piebald horse : PINTO
13. Bogeyman : SPOOK
18. Priam’s domain : TROY
21. Motel freebie : ICE
23. One who can’t find a seat, say : STANDEE
24. Hackneyed : TRITE
25. Dow Jones extreme : HIGH
26. Weapon with a bell guard : EPEE
27. Attys.’ titles : ESQS
28. R.S.V.P. part : VOUS
29. “___ Tu” (1974 hit) : ERES
32. Bowwow : POOCH
33. Dimwitted : DULL
34. Empty hall phenomenon : ECHO
35. It’s all around you : SKIN
37. Campfire story : TALE
38. Rolling ___ (rich) : IN IT
39. Gets out of the freezer, say : DEFROSTS
43. Oz. or qt. : AMT
44. Leash : TETHER
45. Mansard part : EAVE
46. Five-alarmer, e.g. : BLAZE
47. One who never changes jobs : LIFER
48. Take up or let out : ALTER
49. Midler of “The Rose” : BETTE
52. Victor’s boast : I WON
53. Legal scholar Guinier : LANI
54. To some degree : A BIT
56. Apply sparingly : DAB
57. A Gabor : EVA
58. Op. ___ : CIT
59. Kit ___ bar : KAT

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3 thoughts on “0218-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 18 Feb 15, Wednesday”

  1. Hi Bill.

    One of the many stories attributed to Satchel PAIGE was that he once struck out Murderer's Row when the Yanks played a Negro League team. In fact, the honor should go to Jackie Mitchell, then an 18 year old girl from Tennessee. When the Yanks came through in 1931 on their way to spring training in Florida, she struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gherig in succession. I love it!

  2. Hi Bill, Re pinto horses: a piebald has black and white coloration; a skewbald is white with patches of any other color, e.g. chestnut or bay. Generally speaking, white horses with colored patches are called tobiano or sabino, and dark horses with white markings are referred to as overo. It's quite a complex subject, with lots of variations. Read you every day and thanks so much for your blog! Sarah

  3. Hi Bill, Re pinto horses: a piebald has black and white coloration; a skewbald is white with patches of any other color, e.g. chestnut or bay. Generally speaking, white horses with colored patches are called tobiano or sabino, and dark horses with white markings are referred to as overo. It's quite a complex subject, with lots of variations. Read you every day and thanks so much for your blog! Sarah

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