0223-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 23 Feb 15, Monday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Joel Fagliano
THEME: Leave a Bad Taste … each of today’s themed answers is a descriptive phrase that conjures up an image of something that would LEAVE A BAD TASTE:

53A. Not sit well … or what eating 20-, 32- or 41-Across might do? : LEAVE A BAD TASTE
20A. Online aggregator of movie reviews : ROTTEN TOMATOES
32A. Fox’s feeling in an Aesop fable : SOUR GRAPES
41A. Hard-to-accept consequence : BITTER PILL

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 5m 04s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

6. Lobster limb : CLAW
Lobsters are usually cooked by placing them in boiling water. Some chefs stab the lobster through its “brain” to kill it or render it unconscious. However, the lobster has several nerve ganglia rather than a brain, so just destroying the frontal ganglion in the head doesn’t render the animal insensate. Boiling lobsters while they are alive is actually illegal in the Italian city of Reggio Emilia.

14. Gossip spreader : YENTA
Yenta (also “Yente”) is actually a female Yiddish name. In Yiddish theater “yenta” came to mean a busybody.

15. The ___ Bible : HOLY
The Bible is the biggest selling book of all time, with annual sales running at about 100 million copies.

17. Actress Fox of the “Transformers” movies : MEGAN
Megan Fox is an actress and model from Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Fox’s big break as an actress came when she played the love interest of one of the male leads in the 2007 sci-fi movie “Transformers”. Frankly, I have no idea who she is …

The 2007 blockbuster hit “Transformers” is inspired by a line of toys. Toy transformers can be morphed from their mundane looking appearance as a vehicle or perhaps an animal, into a robotic action figure. Not a movie I will be renting though …

18. What a garage protects : AUTO
We imported the word “garage” into English from French, in which language the term historically described a place for storing or sheltering something. Later the term specifically applied to a “shelter” for a car. The verb “garer” is French for “to shelter”.

20. Online aggregator of movie reviews : ROTTEN TOMATOES
“Rotten Tomatoes” is a website that mainly provides reviews and ratings of movies, although it now covers TV shows as well. The site was launched in 1998 and takes its name from the practice of audience members throwing rotten tomatoes at a unappreciated performer on stage.

25. Neighbor of Niger : CHAD
The landlocked African country called Chad takes its name from the second largest wetland on the continent, which is known as Lake Chad.

The Republic of Niger is a landlocked country in Western Africa that gets its name from the Niger River. 80% of the country lies within the bounds of the Sahara Desert.

32. Fox’s feeling in an Aesop fable : SOUR GRAPES
Our expression “sour grapes” is an allusion to one of Aesop’s fables, the story of “The Fox and the Grapes”. In the fable, a squirrel could climb up to grapes high in a tree that a fox was unsuccessful in getting to. On seeing this the fox said, “It’s okay, the grapes were sour anyway”.

37. Omanis and Saudis : ARABS
Oman lies on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula and is neighbored by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest Arab country in the Middle East and is the world’s largest oil producer, home to the world’s largest oil reserves. The Saudi dynasty started in central Arabia in 1744 when the secular leader Muhammad ibn Saud joined forces with the Islamic scholar and Imam, Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab. At the time, Saud was a ruler of a town near Riyadh and he was determined to bring “true” Islam to the Arabian peninsula. Since 1744 the fortunes of the Saudi family have risen and fallen, but it is that same family who rules what we know today as Saudi Arabia.

39. Hosp. scan : MRI
A CT (or “CAT”) scan produces (via computer manipulation) a three dimensional image of the inside of an object, usually the human body. It does so by taking a series of two dimensional x-ray images while rotating the camera around the patient. The issue with CT scans is that they use x-rays, and high doses of radiation can be harmful causing damage that is cumulative over time. An MRI on the other hand (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), uses powerful magnetic fields to generate its images so there is no exposure to ionizing radiation (such as X-rays). We used MRI equipment in our chemistry labs at school, way back in the days when the technology was still called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging (NMRI). Apparently the marketing folks didn’t like the term “nuclear” because of its association with atomic bombs, so now it’s just called MRI.

40. Muse of poetry : ERATO
In Greek mythology, the muses are the goddesses who inspire the creation of literature and the arts. The number of muses is a subject of debate at times, but the most popular view is that there are nine:

– Calliope (epic poetry)
– Clio (history)
– Erato (lyric poetry)
– Euterpe (music)
– Melpomene (tragedy)
– Polyhymnia (choral poetry)
– Terpsichore (dance)
– Thalia (comedy)
– Urania (astronomy)

41. Hard-to-accept consequence : BITTER PILL
The term “pill” can be used to describe a boring and disagreeable person, a “bitter pill to swallow”.

46. The “M” of Y.M.C.A. : MEN’S
The YMCA is a worldwide movement that has its roots in London, England. There, in 1844, the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) was founded with the intent of promoting Christian principles through the development of “a healthy spirit, mind and body”. The founder, George Williams, saw the need to create YMCA facilities for young men who were flocking to the cities as the Industrial Revolution flourished. He saw that these men were frequenting taverns and brothels, and wanted to offer a more wholesome alternative.

47. Heart chamber : ATRIUM
The heart has four chambers. The two upper chambers (the atria) accept deoxygenated blood from the body and oxygenated blood from the lungs. The atria squeeze the blood into the two lower chambers of the heart (the ventricles), “priming” the pump, as it were. One ventricle pumps deoxygenated blood to the lungs, and the other pumps oxygenated blood to the rest of the body.

59. Exploding star : NOVA
A nova is basically a star that suddenly gets much brighter, gradually returning to its original state weeks or even years later. The increased brightness of a nova is due to increased nuclear activity causing the star to pick up extra hydrogen from a neighboring celestial body. A supernova is very different from a nova. A supernova is a very bright burst of light and energy created when most of the material in a star explodes. The bright burst of a supernova is very short-lived compared to the sustained brightness of a nova.

60. Aphrodite or Ares : DEITY
As always seems to be the case with Greek gods, Eros and Aphrodite have overlapping spheres of influence. Aphrodite was the goddess of love between a man and a woman, and Eros was the god who stirred the passions of the male. The Roman equivalent of Aphrodite was Venus, and the equivalent of Eros was Cupid.

The Greek god Ares is often referred to as the Olympian god of warfare, but originally he was regarded as the god of blood-lust and slaughter. Ares united with Aphrodite to create several gods, including Phobos, Deimos and Eros. The Roman equivalent to Ares was Mars.

64. Postcoup group : JUNTA
A junta is a group of military officers that rule a country, usually after having seized power forcibly. “Junta” is a Spanish word meaning “council”.

67. Groundbreaking admission from Ellen in a 1997 sitcom : I’M GAY
Ellen DeGeneres is a very, very successful TV personality, having parlayed her career in stand-up comedy into lucrative gigs as an actress and talk show host. Back in 1997 DeGeneres chose the “Oprah Winfrey Show” to announce that she was a lesbian. Her character on “The Ellen Show” also came out as a lesbian in a scene with her therapist, who was played by Oprah Winfrey. Nice twist!

Down
1. Facility with treadmills and yoga mats : GYM
Our word “gymnasium” comes from the Greek “gymnasion” meaning “public place where exercise is taken”. The Greek term comes from “gymnos” meaning “naked”, as that physical training was usually done unclothed.

3. Long-haired feline : ANGORA CAT
The Turkish Angora is a breed of domestic cat that is often called simply an Angora or Ankara cat. The Angora is particularly prized for its white coat, although the breed can come in a variety of colors.

5. December list keeper : SANTA
Santa checks his list of those who are naughty or nice.

6. Action film star Jackie : CHAN
Jackie Chan is an actor from Hong Kong who is noted for his action and martial arts films. When Chan was 17-years-old he featured as a stunt actor in Bruce Lee movies. He also starred in the 1982 Hong Kong action film “Dragon Lord” which includes a fight scene that required an amazing 2900 takes, a record in the movie industry.

7. Lummox : LOUT
The word “lummox” comes from East Anglian slang (northeast of London). The term is probably a contraction of “lumbering ox”.

9. Least populous state : WYOMING
Wyoming is nicknamed the “Equality State”, and the state’s motto is “equal rights”. Wyoming was the first state to give women the vote, and to allow women on juries. It was also the first state to have a female governor, Nellie Tayloe Ross, who took office in 1925.

26. Mata ___ (W.W. I spy) : HARI
Mata Hari was the stage name used by Margaretha Geertuida Zella, born in the Netherlands in 1876. After an unsuccessful and somewhat tragic marriage, Zella moved to Paris in 1903 where she struggled to make a living. By 1905 she was working as an exotic dancer and using the name Mata Hari. She was a successful courtesan, notably moving in various circles of high-ranking military officers. She apparently worked as a double agent, both for the French and the Germans. When Mata Hari was accused by the French of passing information to the enemy, she was tried, found guilty and executed by firing squad at the height of WW1, in 1917.

28. Provides free of charge : COMPS
“To comp” is “to give for free”, from “complimentary”.

29. Bit of bric-a-brac : CURIO
Bric-a-brac is a French phrase (actually “bric-à-brac”) that was used as far back as the 16th century. Back then it was a nonsense term meaning “at random” or “any old way”. Since Victorian times we have used the phrase in English to mean a collection of curios, statues and the like. In modern usage, bric-a-brac tends to be a selection of cheaper items.

33. The Getty or the Guggenheim : ART MUSEUM
The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles is one of the most visited museums in the country. Like many museums in developed countries these days, the Getty has been embroiled in disputes about ownership of artifacts. The curators of the Getty have gone so far as to repatriate some items in recent years, especially to Greece and Italy. The J. Paul Getty Museum has to locations. The Getty Center is the primary location, and houses art from the Middle Ages to the present. The associated (and beautiful) Getty Villa displays art from ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria.

The Guggenheim art museum on Fifth Avenue in New York opened in 1939 as the Museum of Non-Objective Painting. The museum was funded by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation that had been set up by the American businessman and philanthropist for whom the foundation was named. When Guggenheim died in 1952, the New York museum was renamed to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

34. Subject of advice from Dr. Spock or Dr. Phil : PARENTING
Dr. Benjamin Spock owes his fame to his 1946 best-selling book “Baby and Child Care”. For over fifty years, “Baby and Child Care” sold more books than any other, except for the Bible.

Dr. Phil (McGraw) met Oprah Winfrey when he was hired to work with her as a legal consultant during the Amarillo Texas beef trial (when the industry sued Oprah for libel over “Mad Cow Disease” statements). Oprah was impressed with Dr. Phil and invited him onto her show, and we haven’t stopped seeing him since!

35. Prestigious British boys’ school : ETON
The world-famous Eton College is just a brisk walk from Windsor Castle, which itself is just outside London. Eton is noted for producing many British leaders including David Cameron who took power in the last UK general election. The list of Old Etonians also includes Princes William and Harry, the Duke of Wellington, George Orwell, and the creator of James Bond, Ian Fleming (as well as 007 himself as described in the Fleming novels).

36. Drunkards : SOTS
Our word “sot” comes from the Old English “sott”, meaning a fool. The word “sot” started to be associated with alcohol and not just foolery in the late 1500s.

38. “Anyhoo …” or “As I was saying …” : SEGUE
A “segue” is a transition from one topic to the next. “Segue” is an Italian word that literally means “now follows”. It was first used in musical scores directing the performer to play into the next movement without a break.

42. Word before novel or language : ROMANCE
The Romance languages are those that grew out of nonstandard, Vulgar Latin. Included in the list of Romance languages are Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian.

47. Suspect’s story : ALIBI
“Alibi” is the Latin word for “elsewhere” as in, “I claim that I was ‘elsewhere’ when the crime was committed … I have an ‘alibi'”.

48. Basic principle : TENET
A tenet is an article of faith, something that is held to be true. “Tenet” is Latin for “he holds”.

50. Ebony’s partner : IVORY
The traditional materials used for manufacture of piano keys was ebony (black) and ivory (white).

52. Pilgrim to Mecca : HADJI
Hadji is the term used for someone who has made a pilgrimage to Mecca, and it is sometimes also used as a form of address for such a person. The word Hadji actually translates into English as “pilgrim”.

Mecca is in the Makkah province of Saudi Arabia and is the holiest city in Islam. Every year several million Muslims perform the Hajj, a holy pilgrimage to Mecca.

57. Jazz legend James : ETTA
Etta James was best known for her beautiful rendition of the song “At Last”. Sadly, as she disclosed in her autobiography, James lived a life that was ravaged by drug addiction leading to numerous legal and health problems. Ms. James passed away in January 2012 having suffered from leukemia.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Window material : GLASS
6. Lobster limb : CLAW
10. Cruise ship stop : PORT
14. Gossip spreader : YENTA
15. The ___ Bible : HOLY
16. “This can’t be good” : UH-OH
17. Actress Fox of the “Transformers” movies : MEGAN
18. What a garage protects : AUTO
19. Use a keyboard : TYPE
20. Online aggregator of movie reviews : ROTTEN TOMATOES
23. Where airplane bathrooms are, often : REAR
24. “No doubt in my mind” : I’M SURE
25. Neighbor of Niger : CHAD
27. Bank ID : ACCT NO
31. Census form info : RACE
32. Fox’s feeling in an Aesop fable : SOUR GRAPES
37. Omanis and Saudis : ARABS
39. Hosp. scan : MRI
40. Muse of poetry : ERATO
41. Hard-to-accept consequence : BITTER PILL
44. Horse’s gait : TROT
45. Strike out on one’s own, as a musician : GO SOLO
46. The “M” of Y.M.C.A. : MEN’S
47. Heart chamber : ATRIUM
51. Avoid : SHUN
53. Not sit well … or what eating 20-, 32- or 41-Across might do? : LEAVE A BAD TASTE
58. Wild about : INTO
59. Exploding star : NOVA
60. Aphrodite or Ares : DEITY
62. Product commonly advertised during football games : BEER
63. Baby’s bed : CRIB
64. Postcoup group : JUNTA
65. Teeny : ITSY
66. Finales : ENDS
67. Groundbreaking admission from Ellen in a 1997 sitcom : I’M GAY

Down
1. Facility with treadmills and yoga mats : GYM
2. Creepy look : LEER
3. Long-haired feline : ANGORA CAT
4. Governor’s financial concern : STATE DEBT
5. December list keeper : SANTA
6. Action film star Jackie : CHAN
7. Lummox : LOUT
8. Voice below soprano : ALTO
9. Least populous state : WYOMING
10. Strokes on the green : PUTTS
11. “Silly goose!” : OH YOU!
12. Lasso wielder : ROPER
13. “___ things happen” : THESE
21. Historical periods : ERAS
22. Love, to Luigi : AMORE
25. Sidling sea creature : CRAB
26. Mata ___ (W.W. I spy) : HARI
28. Provides free of charge : COMPS
29. Bit of bric-a-brac : CURIO
30. Sing like a bird : TRILL
33. The Getty or the Guggenheim : ART MUSEUM
34. Subject of advice from Dr. Spock or Dr. Phil : PARENTING
35. Prestigious British boys’ school : ETON
36. Drunkards : SOTS
38. “Anyhoo …” or “As I was saying …” : SEGUE
42. Word before novel or language : ROMANCE
43. In need of direction : LOST
47. Suspect’s story : ALIBI
48. Basic principle : TENET
49. Assigns stars to, say : RATES
50. Ebony’s partner : IVORY
52. Pilgrim to Mecca : HADJI
54. “I wasn’t ___ yesterday” : BORN
55. Enthusiastic : AVID
56. Pats gently : DABS
57. Jazz legend James : ETTA
61. “What great news!” : YAY!

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One thought on “0223-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 23 Feb 15, Monday”

  1. The prophets Ezekiel (ch. 18) and Jeremiah (ch. 31) reference to SOUR GRAPES: "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge."

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