0729-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 29 Jul 15, Wednesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: David J. Lieb
THEME: Double-Double … each of today’s themed answers comprises two words, each of which can follow DOUBLE:

65A. Statistical achievement in basketball … or what the answer to each starred clue is : DOUBLE-DOUBLE

18A. *It’s divided into four zones in the contiguous U.S. states : STANDARD TIME (double standard & double time)
27A. *Coup d’état, e.g. : TAKEOVER (double take & double over)
33A. *Incidental chatter : CROSS TALK (double cross & double-talk)
47A. *Handouts to theatergoers : PLAYBILLS (double play & double bills)
53A. *Make retroactive : BACKDATE (double back & double date)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 8m 57s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

7. Parent of a zorse or a zonkey : ZEBRA
A “zebroid” is the offspring of a zebra and another equine. More specifically, a “zorse” is a hybrid of a zebra and a horse, and a “zonkey” is the offspring of a zebra and a donkey.

12. “Fresh Air” network : NPR
National Public Radio (now just called NPR) was launched in 1970 after President Johnson signed into law the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. The intent of the act was to provide funding for radio and television broadcasting that wasn’t simply driven by profit. As a longtime fan of the state-funded BBC in the UK, I’d have to agree with that intent …

“Fresh Air” is a marvelous radio talk show broadcast on NPR, hosted by Terry Gross. The first broadcast of the program was made in 1975, with Judy Blank hosting. Terry Gross took over a few months later, and Gross has been presenting and producing the show ever since. I had the privilege of hearing Terry Gross give a talk here in my hometown some years ago. What a fascinating woman she is, full of great stories about the her experiences interviewing so many interesting personalities.

15. Knuckle to the head : NOOGIE
A “noogie” is that childish move where someone rubs his (and it’s always a guy!) knuckles into a person’s head to create a little soreness.

16. Lop-___ : EARED
A creature that is “lop-eared” has bent or drooping ears.

17. “Hostel” director Roth : ELI
Eli Roth is one of a group of directors of horror movies known quite graphically as “The Splat Pack”. I can’t stand “splat” movies and avoid them as best I can. Roth is also famous for playing Donny Donowitz in the Quentin Tarantino movie “Inglourious Basterds”, a good film I thought, if you close your eyes during the gruesome bits.

18. *It’s divided into four zones in the contiguous U.S. states : STANDARD TIME (double standard & double time)
That would be Pacific, Mountain, Central and Eastern Standard Time.

22. Carne ___ (burrito filler) : ASADA
The name of the dish called “Carne Asada” translates from Spanish as “roasted meat”.

23. Eight-year member of Clinton’s cabinet : RENO
Janet Reno was Attorney General of the US from 1993 to 2001. Reno was the person to hold the office second longest, and was our first female Attorney General. In 2002, Reno ran for Governor of Florida but failed to win the Democratic nomination. Thereafter she retired from public life.

27. *Coup d’état, e.g. : TAKEOVER (double take & double over)
A coup d’état (often just “coup”) is the sudden overthrow of a government, and comes from the French for “stroke of state”. The Swiss German word “putsch” is sometimes used instead of “coup”, with “Putsch” translating literally as “sudden blow”.

29. Blood-typing system : ABO
The most important grouping of blood types is the ABO system. Blood is classified as either A, B, AB or O, depending on the type of antigens on the surface of the red blood cells. A secondary designation of blood is the Rh factor, in which other antigens are labelled as either positive or negative. When a patient receives a blood transfusion, ideally the donor blood should be the same type as that of the recipient, as incompatible blood cells can be rejected. However, blood type O-neg can be accepted by recipients with all blood types, A, B, AB or O, and positive or negative. Hence someone with O-neg blood type is called a “universal donor”.

30. What a line drive lacks : ARC
In baseball, a line drive is a ball that is hit low, hard and straight.

37. Stain on one’s reputation : STIGMA
A stigma (plural “stigmata), in a social sense, is a distinguishing mark of disgrace. For example, one might have to suffer the stigma of being in prison. The term derives from the Greek “stigma”, which was a mark or brand.

41. Home of the Buccaneers : TAMPA
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers joined the NFL in 1976 along with the Seattle Seahawks as expansion teams. The Bucs had a tough start in the NFL, losing their first 26 games. Things went better in the early eighties, but then the team went through 14 consecutive losing seasons. Their luck changed again though, and they won the Super Bowl at the end of the 2002 season.

42. Knuckleballer Wilhelm : HOYT
Hoyt Wilhelm was a Major league pitcher. Hoyt had a long career and made his final appearance (for the LA Dodgers) in 1972, just shy of his 50th birthday.

47. *Handouts to theatergoers : PLAYBILLS (double play & double bills)
I get quite a kick out of reading the bios in “Playbill” as some of them can be really goofy and entertaining. “Playbill” started off in 1884 in New York as an in-house publication for just one theater on 21st St. You can’t see any decent-sized production these days anywhere in the United States without being handed a copy of “Playbill”.

49. Regatta gear : OARS
The word “regatta” is Venetian dialect and was originally used to describe boat races among the gondoliers of Venice on the Grand Canal back in the mid-1600s.

51. Flight info, briefly : ETA
Estimated time of arrival (ETA)

52. End to “end” : DEE
The end of the word “end” is the letter D (dee).

57. Russell of “Black Widow” : THERESA
“Black Widow” is a 1987 thriller about a woman who marries wealthy men and murders them for their money, and the efforts made by a female agent in the Department of Justice who tries to prove the crimes. The “black widow” is played by Theresa Russell, and the agent by Debra Winger.

60. Site with Daily Deals : EBAY
eBay was founded in 1995 as AuctionWeb as part of a computer programmer’s personal website. One of the first items purchased was a broken laser pointer, for $14.83. The buyer collected broken laser pointers …

61. Fare for Oliver Twist : GRUEL
“Oliver Twist” is a novel by Charles Dickens. It is a popular tale for adaptation to the big screen. There were two silent film versions, in 1909 and 1922, and the first talkie version was released in 1933, with many to follow. The latest “Oliver” for the big screen was a 2005 Roman Polanski production.

63. Hoodwink : CON
“Hoodwink” has had the meaning “to deceive” since about 1600. Prior to that it meant simply “to blindfold”, and is simply a combining of the words “hood” and “wink”.

64. Great Society inits. : LBJ
President Johnson introduced a set of programs in the mid-sixties that were designed to eliminate racial injustice and domestic poverty. The president called these programs “the Great Society”. Some of the Great Society programs have survived the ravages of time, such as Medicare, Medicaid and the Older Americans Act.

65. Statistical achievement in basketball … or what the answer to each starred clue is : DOUBLE-DOUBLE
In the world of basketball, a “double” is the accumulation of double digits in either points, rebounds, assists, steals or blocked shots. A “double-double” is getting double digits in two of these five categories. A player can also earn a triple-double, quadruple-double or quintuple-double.

69. Fraternity letter : TAU
Tau is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet, the letter which gave rise to our Roman “T”. Both the letters tau (T) and chi (X) have long been symbolically associated with the cross.

71. Breath mint in a tin : ALTOID
Altoids breath mints have been around since 1780, when they were introduced in Britain. The famous tin in which Altoids are sold is often reused for other purposes. The most famous use is as a container to hold a mini survival kit.

72. Hyphenated ID : 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 SSNs are assigned randomly.

Down
3. Where forgotten umbrellas may accumulate : COATROOMS
Our term “umbrella” ultimately derives from the Latin “umbra” meaning “shade, shadow”.

4. Vice president before Ford : AGNEW
Spiro Agnew served as Vice-President under Richard Nixon, before becoming the only VP in American history to resign because of criminal charges (there was a bribery scandal). Agnew was also the first Greek-American to serve as US Vice-President as he was the son of a Greek immigrant who had shortened the family name from Anagnostopoulos.

President Gerald Ford was well known for his athletic prowess. He was the star football player both in his high school and later at the University of Michigan. After graduation, President Ford received two offers to play in the NFL, from the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers. He turned down both teams opting instead to take a coaching position at Yale giving him the opportunity to apply to Yale Law School. But young Mr. Ford’s plan backfired as Yale Law School turned him down because of his full-time commitment to sports: coaching football, boxing and teaching JV cheerleading. It took three years for President Ford to make it into Yale Law School, but he finally got there, in 1938.

5. Half a 45 : SIDE A
The first vinyl records designed to play at 33 1/3 rpm were introduced by RCA Victor in 1931, but were discontinued due to quality problems. The first Long Play (LP) 33 1/3 rpm disc was introduced by Columbia Records many years later in 1948, with RCA Victor following up with a 45 rpm “single” the following year, in 1949.

6. Chai ___ : TEA
Chai is a drink made from spiced black tea, honey and milk, with “chai” being the Hindi word for “tea”. We often called tea “a cup of char” growing up in Ireland, with “char” being our slang word for tea, derived from “chai”.

7. Sleep indicator in a British comic strip : ZEDS
The letter named “zed” has been around since about 1400, and derives from the Greek letter zeta. The spelling and pronunciation of “zee” used in America today first popped up in the 1670s.

11. Ending with Gator : -ADE
Gatorade was developed at the University of Florida by a team of researchers at the request of the school’s football team. And so, Gatorade is named after the Gators football team.

12. More than half of Israel : NEGEV
The Negev is a desert region in southern Israel. The largest city in the Negev is Beersheba.

23. Corkscrew-shaped pasta : ROTINI
Rotini is the corkscrew-shaped pasta that is often used in pasta salads. Even though “rotini” sounds like it comes from a word meaning “twist, rotate”, the word “rotini” doesn’t exist in Italian, other than as the name for the pasta.

24. Prickly pears, e.g. : CACTI
The “prickly pear” is a genus of cactus more correctly called “opuntia”.

25. James ___ Garfield : ABRAM
James Abram Garfield, the 20th President, was assassinated in office. Garfield was shot twice, and one bullet could not be found (it was lodged in his spine). The inventor Alexander Graham Bell developed a metal detector in an attempt to locate the bullet, but apparently he was unsuccessful because of interference from the metal bed frame on which the president lay. Garfield died two months after being shot.

36. “American Sniper” subject Chris ___ : KYLE
Chris Kyle was a Navy SEAL who served four tours in Iraq, and then wrote a 2012 autobiography called “American Sniper”. The book was adapted into an equally successful 2014 movie of the same name. Kyle was murdered in 2013 by a US Marine suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder on a public shooting range.

48. “Fargo” assent : YAH
“Fargo” is one of my favorite films of all time, and stars perhaps my favorite actress, Frances McDormand. “Fargo” was directed by the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan. Frances McDormand is Joel’s wife.

50. Walks like a peacock : STRUTS
The female peafowl, the peahen, has very dull plumage compared to the extravagant display on the tail of the peacock.

54. Arafat’s successor : ABBAS
Mahmoud Abbas took over as Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization in 2004 after the death of Yasser Arafat. Abbas is also the President of the Palestinian National Authority, equivalent to “head of state”.

Yasser (also Yasir) Arafat was born in Cairo in 1929, the son of two Palestinians and the second-youngest of seven children. Arafat was beaten by his father as a child and so did not have a good relationship with him. Arafat did not attend his father’s funeral, nor did he visit his grave. The beatings were apparently administered because the young Arafat was repeatedly attending religious services in the Jewish quarter of Cairo. Arafat’s explanation was that he wanted to “study the mentality” of the Jewish people.

55. New Orleans cuisine : CAJUN
The great explorer Verrazzano gave the name “Arcadia” to the coastal land that stretched from north of present day Virginia right up the North American continent to Nova Scotia. The name Arcadia was chosen as it was also the name for a part of Greece that had been viewed as idyllic from the days of classical antiquity. The “Arcadia” name quickly evolved into the word “Acadia” that was used locally here in North America. Much of Acadia was settled by the French in the 1600s, and then in 1710 Acadia was conquered by the British. There followed the French and Indian War after which there was a mass migration of French Acadians, often via the French colony of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti) to the French colony of Louisiana. The local dialectic pronunciation of the word “Acadian” was “Cajun”, giving the name to the ethnic group for which Louisiana has been home for about 300 years.

56. Ragtime pianist Blake : EUBIE
James Hubert “Eubie” Blake was a composer and pianist from Baltimore, Maryland. Blake was a noted composer and performer of ragtime music. The 1978 musical revue “Eubie!” features his music. Apparently Blake claimed to have started smoking cigarettes at the age of 10 years, and died 85 years later in 1983. Blake’s celebrity status and long life as a smoker was often cited by politicians who opposed anti-tobacco legislation.

58. France’s ___ des Beaux-Arts : ECOLE
In France, an “École des Beaux-Arts” is a school of fine arts. The most famous such school is the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts located on the left bank of the Seine in Paris, across the river from the Musée du Louvre.

67. Polygraph detection : LIE
We are most familiar with the term “polygraph” as the generic name for a lie detector instrument. This usage began in 1921, although the term had been around since the end of the 18th century. Back then, a polygraph was a mechanical device use to make multiple copies as something was written or drawn. Famously, Thomas Jefferson used a polygraph to preserve copies of letters that he wrote to correspondents.

68. Some desk workers, for short : EDS
Editor (ed.)

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Thrown skyward : UPCAST
7. Parent of a zorse or a zonkey : ZEBRA
12. “Fresh Air” network : NPR
15. Knuckle to the head : NOOGIE
16. Lop-___ : EARED
17. “Hostel” director Roth : ELI
18. *It’s divided into four zones in the contiguous U.S. states : STANDARD TIME (double standard & double time)
20. React to a stench, maybe : GAG
21. One end of a fairway : TEE
22. Carne ___ (burrito filler) : ASADA
23. Eight-year member of Clinton’s cabinet : RENO
24. Common school fund-raiser : CAR WASH
27. *Coup d’état, e.g. : TAKEOVER (double take & double over)
29. Blood-typing system : ABO
30. What a line drive lacks : ARC
32. “… ___ ye be judged” : LEST
33. *Incidental chatter : CROSS TALK (double cross & double-talk)
37. Stain on one’s reputation : STIGMA
41. Home of the Buccaneers : TAMPA
42. Knuckleballer Wilhelm : HOYT
44. Have ___ (avoid blame) : AN OUT
45. “You’ve convinced me!” : I’M SOLD
47. *Handouts to theatergoers : PLAYBILLS (double play & double bills)
49. Regatta gear : OARS
51. Flight info, briefly : ETA
52. End to “end” : DEE
53. *Make retroactive : BACKDATE (double back & double date)
57. Russell of “Black Widow” : THERESA
60. Site with Daily Deals : EBAY
61. Fare for Oliver Twist : GRUEL
63. Hoodwink : CON
64. Great Society inits. : LBJ
65. Statistical achievement in basketball … or what the answer to each starred clue is : DOUBLE-DOUBLE
69. Fraternity letter : TAU
70. As late as : UNTIL
71. Breath mint in a tin : ALTOID
72. Hyphenated ID : SSN
73. Half of the letters in this answer’s row : ESSES
74. “Of course, that’s obvious” : YES YES

Down
1. Young ___ (tots) : ‘UNS
2. Container for 6-Down : POT
3. Where forgotten umbrellas may accumulate : COATROOMS
4. Vice president before Ford : AGNEW
5. Half a 45 : SIDE A
6. Chai ___ : TEA
7. Sleep indicator in a British comic strip : ZEDS
8. Really get to : EAT AT
9. Like some showers : BRIDAL
10. Many movies with built-in audiences : REMAKES
11. Ending with Gator : -ADE
12. More than half of Israel : NEGEV
13. It lacks depth : PLANE
14. Extreme hardship : RIGOR
19. Full of school spirit : RAH-RAH
23. Corkscrew-shaped pasta : ROTINI
24. Prickly pears, e.g. : CACTI
25. James ___ Garfield : ABRAM
26. Remained idle : SAT
28. Founded: Abbr. : ESTAB
31. Sound of a wooden shoe : CLOP
34. Like a haunted house : SPOOKY
35. Restaurant dish that patrons may make themselves : SALAD
36. “American Sniper” subject Chris ___ : KYLE
38. Person who can do no wrong : GOLDEN BOY
39. Stubborn sorts : MULES
40. Totally disoriented : AT SEA
43. Act the snitch : TATTLE
46. Chinese New Year decorations : DRAGONS
48. “Fargo” assent : YAH
50. Walks like a peacock : STRUTS
53. Big swigs : BELTS
54. Arafat’s successor : ABBAS
55. New Orleans cuisine : CAJUN
56. Ragtime pianist Blake : EUBIE
58. France’s ___ des Beaux-Arts : ECOLE
59. Defeats handily : ROUTS
62. Some add-ons : ELLS
65. Expected in : DUE
66. Word repeated in “___ in, ___ out” : DAY
67. Polygraph detection : LIE
68. Some desk workers, for short : EDS

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3 thoughts on “0729-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 29 Jul 15, Wednesday”

  1. A DOUBLEDOUBLE isn't really all that big a deal in hoops–happens all the time. The triple is fairly common, too. But only four NBA players have scored the quad double: Nate Thurmond, David Robinson, Alvin Robertson, and Hakeem The Dream (twice).

  2. An easy puzzle, but I didn't completely understand the theme until I came here. Thanks again for clarifying an issue.

    A question I've been musing about: Why is it that almost all crossword puzzles are symmetric? Seems like an odd constraint to impose.

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