0803-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 3 Aug 15, Monday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: David Steinberg
THEME: Little Grey Cells … each of today’s themed answers refer to Agatha Christie’s renowned detective Hercule Poirot. We even have the squares through the center of the grid shaded in “grey” for us, a line of LITTLE GREY CELLS, which is a phrase oft-used by the ingenious Belgian sleuth:

18A. Notable 23-Across feature : MOUSTACHE
23A. Fictional character who “died” in 1975 : HERCULE POIROT
39A. What 23-Across thinks with : LITTLE GREY CELLS
50A. Notable 23-Across feature : EGG-SHAPED HEAD
62A. 23-Across’s occupation : DETECTIVE

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 5m 15s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

6. Cumberland ___ : GAP
The Cumberland Gap is a pass in the Appalachian Mountains, lying at the point where the three states of Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia meet. The pass was long used by Native Americans, before being discovered by explorer Thomas Walker in 1750. The path through the gap was widened by a team of loggers in 1775, and leading the work party was the American pioneer Daniel Boone.

9. Talkative bird : MACAW
Macaws are beautifully colored birds of native to Central and South America, and are actually a type of parrot. Most species of macaw are now endangered, with several having become extinct in recent decades. The main threats are deforestation and illegal trapping and trafficking of exotic birds.

16. Great-grandfather of Noah : ENOCH
According to the Bible, Enoch was the great-grandfather of Noah, and the great-grandson of Adam.

18. Notable 23-Across feature : MOUSTACHE
“Moustache” is the French spelling of a word that we often see written as “mustache” in American English.

20. Bygone Russian autocrats : CZARS
The term czar (also “tsar”) is a Slavic word that was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. “Czar” is derived from the word “Caesar”, which was synonymous with “emperor” at that time.

21. Mr. ___ (Marquand sleuth) : MOTO
The mysterious Mr. Moto is a Japanese secret agent who appears in six novels by American author, John P. Marquand. Mr. Moto was famously played by Peter Lorre in a series of eight films released in the 1930s.

23. Fictional character who “died” in 1975 : HERCULE POIROT
Hercule Poirot is Agatha Christie’s renowned detective, a wonderful Belgian who plies his trade from his base in London. Poirot’s most famous case is the “Murder on the Orient Express”. First appearing in “The Mysterious Affair at Styles”, published in 1920, Poirot finally succumbs to a heart condition in the 1975 book “Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case”.

27. News service inits. : UPI
Founded in 1958, United Press International (UPI) was one of the biggest news agencies in the world, sending out news by wire to the major newspapers. UPI ran into trouble with the change in media formats at the end of the twentieth century and lost many of its clients as the afternoon newspapers shut down due to the advent of television news. UPI, which once employed thousands, still exists today but with just a handful of employees.

28. President born Aug. 4, 1961 : OBAMA
Despite rumors to the contrary, I am pretty sure that Barack Hussein Obama II was indeed born in Hawaii. President Obama was born on August 4, 1961 at Kapi’olani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii.

34. ___ tide : NEAP
Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon on the oceans. At neap tide, the smaller gravitational effect of the sun cancels out some of the moon’s effect. At spring tide, the sun and the moon’s gravitational forces act in concert causing more extreme movement of the oceans.

39. What 23-Across thinks with : LITTLE GREY CELLS
Grey matter and white matter are the two component of the central nervous system. Grey matter is mainly made up of neurons, and white matter is largely made of axons, the projections of the neurons that form nerve fibers.

43. Vice president Agnew : SPIRO
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.

46. Singer K. T. ___ : OSLIN
Singer K. T. Oslin is best known for her string of country hits in the eighties.

60. Hereditary unit : GENE
A gene is a section of a chromosome that is responsible for a particular characteristic in an organism. For example, one gene may determine eye color and another balding pattern. We have two copies of each gene, one from each of our parents, with each copy known as an allele.

61. “House,” but not “Full House” : DRAMA
I think that “House” is one of the best shows made by Fox television. It is fun for me to see English actor Hugh Laurie in the title role as coming from the other side of the Atlantic I have been watching him in various comedic roles for decades. Famously he played Bertie Wooster opposite Stephen Fry in P.G. Wodehouse’s “Jeeves & Wooster”, as well as one of the bumbling “bad guys” in “101 Dalmatians” (the version starring Glenn Close).

67. Foundation leader: Abbr. : DIR
Director (dir.)

69. En ___ (together) : MASSE
“En masse” is a French term, one that is best translated as “as a group”.

70. They: Fr. : ILS
“Ils” is the French for “they”, when not referring to feminine nouns.

Down
1. ___.com (dating site) : MATCH
Match.com is an online dating service. The company was started in 1993 and claims to have over 20 million members worldwide, in the ratio of male to female of 49:51.

3. Capital of Senegal : DAKAR
The Republic of Senegal is a country on the far western coast of Africa. For many years Senegal was a French colony, gaining independence in 1960. The capital of Senegal is Dakar, a city located on the Cap-Vert Peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean.

4. Cursory glance : APERCU
An “apercu” is a first view, a glance. By extension, the term “apercu” can also be used for a detached view, an overview or a short synopsis. “Aperçu” is French for “perceived”.

8. Former planet : PLUTO
Pluto was discovered in 1930, and was welcomed as the ninth planet in our solar system. Pluto is relatively small in size, just one fifth of the mass of our own moon. In the seventies, astronomers began to discover more large objects in the solar system, including Eris, a “scattered disc object” at the outer reaches. Given that Eris is actually bigger than Pluto, and other objects really aren’t that much smaller, Pluto’s status as a planet was drawn into question. In 2006 there was a scientific definition for a “planet” agreed for the first time, resulting in Pluto being relegated to the status of “dwarf planet”, along with Eris.

10. Tennis star Ivanovic : ANA
Ana Ivanovic is a Serbian tennis player, and former world number one. As well as playing tennis, she also studied finance at university in her native Belgrade.

11. Drinks before dinner, maybe : COCKTAILS
Our word “cocktail” first appeared in the early 1800s. The exact origin of the term is not clear, but it is thought to be a corruption of the French word “coquetier” meaning “egg cup”, a container that was used at that time for serving mixed drinks.

13. Curds’ partner in a nursery rhyme : WHEY
Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet eating her curds and whey, in the popular nursery rhyme. A tuffet is a low seat or a footstool, another word for a pouffe or a hassock. When milk curdles it separates into two parts, the solid curds and the liquid whey.

25. College military org. : ROTC
The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) is a training program for officers based in colleges all around the US. The ROTC program was established in 1862 when as a condition of receiving a land-grant to create colleges, the federal government required that military tactics be part of a new school’s curriculum.

29. French miss: Abbr. : MLLE
Señorita (Srta.) is Spanish and mademoiselle (Mlle.) is French for “Miss”.

32. Salsa and guacamole, for two : DIPS
“Salsa” is simply Spanish for “sauce”.

Guacamole is one of my favorite dishes, and is made by mashing avocados and perhaps adding the likes of tomato, onion and lime juice. The guacamole recipe dates back as early as the 16th century, to the time of the Aztecs. “Guacamole” translates as “avocado sauce”.

33. Pointy heels : STILETTOS
The stiletto knife was developed in Italy, and is a knife intended for thrusting and stabbing as opposed to slashing and cutting. The term “stiletto” comes from the Latin “stilus”, which was a thin pointed writing instrument used in Ancient Rome to engrave wax or clay tablets. And, there are also stiletto heels on some women’s shoes, heels that are long and thin.

35. Big feature for Donald Trump or Kanye West : EGO
Donald Trump got into real estate development under the influence of his father, Fred Trump, who was a wealthy New York City developer, and who was also the actual founder of the Trump Organization.

Kanye West is a rap singer from Atlanta, Georgia. That’s all I know …

36. Vessel landing on Mount Ararat : ARK
The term “ark”, when used with reference to Noah, is a translation of the Hebrew word “tebah”. The word “tebah” is also used in the Bible for the basket in which Moses was placed by his mother when she floated him down the Nile. It seems that the word “tebah” doesn’t mean “boat” and nor does it mean “basket”. Rather, a more appropriate translation is “life-preserver” or “life-saver”. So, Noah’s ark was Noah’s life-preserver during the flood.

Mount Ararat is in Turkey. Ararat is a snow-capped, dormant volcano with two peaks. The higher of the two, Greater Ararat, is the tallest peak in the country. Ararat takes its name from a legendary Armenian hero called Ara the Beautiful (or Ara the Handsome). According to the Book of Genesis, Noah’s ark landed on Mount Ararat as the Great Flood subsided.

37. ___ capita : PER
“Per capita” is a Latin term used to mean “per person, per unit of population”. The literal translation of the term is “by heads”.

40. Pre-calc course : TRIG
Trigonometry (trig.) and calculus (calc.) are realms of study in the world of mathematics (math.).

42. Alma mater for five U.S. presidents : YALE
Five US presidents attended Yale University:

– William Howard Taft
– Gerald Ford
– George H. W. Bush
– Bill Clinton
– George W. Bush

49. Ancient land on the Aegean : THRACE
Thrace is a historical and geographic region of southeast Europe, largely lying in southeastern Bulgaria. The region took its name from the Thracian people, an ancient race that used to inhabit the area. Included in the region is the European side of the city of Istanbul.

51. The Beatles’ ___ Pepper : SGT
When the Beatles released their iconic “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band” album in 1967, the typical cost for cover art was about fifty UK pounds. The Beatles’ album cover cast a staggering three thousand pounds. The idea for the artwork came from Paul McCartney, who provided an ink drawing to pop artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth who came up with the final design. The cover was photographed by Michael Cooper, who was famous for photographing the Rolling Stones. In the “Sgt. Pepper” cover photo, the band members are surrounded by 9 waxworks and 57 life-size cardboard cut-outs of famous people, a group carefully chosen by the Beatles. Elvis isn’t included in the mix, as he was considered “too important”. Also left out were Adolf Hitler and Jesus Christ, both of whom had been suggested by John Lennon.

52. Supermodel Klum : HEIDI
German-born Heidi Klum was married to the successful English singer, Seal. Klum is a talented lady and has built a multi-faceted career based on her early success as a model. She is the force behind the Bravo reality show called “Project Runway” that has been on the air since 2004. Klum has been nominated 4-5 times for an Emmy for her association with the show. Klum was also signed up as the official ambassador for Barbie in 2009, the 50th anniversary of the Barbie Doll, and for her service that year a Heidi Klum Barbie was produced. She has a added a touch of class to the judging panel on the show “America’s Got Talent” since 2013.

55. Stationery brand : EATON
Eaton Cards and Stationery is a company that specializes in supplying stationery for weddings.

“Stationery” is a noun describing writing materials and office supplies, items that are sold by a stationer. Centuries ago, a stationer was someone who sold goods from a shop or a “station”, from a fixed, stationary stall.

57. Copenhageners, e.g. : DANES
Copenhagen is the largest city and the capital of Denmark. I have never visited Copenhagen, but I hear it is a wonderful metropolis with a marvelous quality of life. The city is also very environmentally friendly, with over a third of its population commuting to work by bicycle.

58. Eve’s man : ADAM
According to the Bible, Eve was created as Adam’s companion by God, creating her from Adam’s rib.

59. Salad cheese : FETA
Feta is a Greek cheese made from sheep’s milk, or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk. The cheese is salted and cured in a brine solution for several months before it is eaten.

63. Nav. rank : ENS
Ensign (ens.)

64. Letter in a copyright symbol : CEE
The term “copyright” really derives from the concept of giving another party the “right to copy”. Usually “copyright” gives the holder the power to financially benefit from any copies made. Copyright was invented in essence soon after the development of the printing press, with the first legal statutes put in place in Britain in the early 18th century.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Sir’s counterpart : MADAM
6. Cumberland ___ : GAP
9. Talkative bird : MACAW
14. Having the mouth wide open : AGAPE
15. Down with something : ILL
16. Great-grandfather of Noah : ENOCH
17. Seizes : TAKES
18. Notable 23-Across feature : MOUSTACHE
20. Bygone Russian autocrats : CZARS
21. Mr. ___ (Marquand sleuth) : MOTO
22. Item on a custodian’s ring : KEY
23. Fictional character who “died” in 1975 : HERCULE POIROT
27. News service inits. : UPI
28. President born Aug. 4, 1961 : OBAMA
31. Sidebars of many web pages : ADS
34. ___ tide : NEAP
38. Works hard : TOILS
39. What 23-Across thinks with : LITTLE GREY CELLS
43. Vice president Agnew : SPIRO
44. Southern-fried vegetable : OKRA
45. Movie filming spot : SET
46. Singer K. T. ___ : OSLIN
47. Movie filming spot : LOT
50. Notable 23-Across feature : EGG-SHAPED HEAD
58. Toward the back of a ship : AFT
60. Hereditary unit : GENE
61. “House,” but not “Full House” : DRAMA
62. 23-Across’s occupation : DETECTIVE
65. Consumed : EATEN
66. Make up (for) : ATONE
67. Foundation leader: Abbr. : DIR
68. Biscuit with tea : SCONE
69. En ___ (together) : MASSE
70. They: Fr. : ILS
71. Cares for, as a garden : TENDS

Down
1. ___.com (dating site) : MATCH
2. Staring intently : AGAZE
3. Capital of Senegal : DAKAR
4. Cursory glance : APERCU
5. Err : MESS UP
6. No-sweat shot : GIMME
7. Knock for ___ : A LOOP
8. Former planet : PLUTO
9. Was introduced to : MET
10. Tennis star Ivanovic : ANA
11. Drinks before dinner, maybe : COCKTAILS
12. Pine (for) : ACHE
13. Curds’ partner in a nursery rhyme : WHEY
19. Words before “gather” or “see” : SO I
24. Queue : LINE
25. College military org. : ROTC
26. Double-reed instrument : OBOE
29. French miss: Abbr. : MLLE
30. No. 2 : ASST
31. In addition : ALSO
32. Salsa and guacamole, for two : DIPS
33. Pointy heels : STILETTOS
35. Big feature for Donald Trump or Kanye West : EGO
36. Vessel landing on Mount Ararat : ARK
37. ___ capita : PER
40. Pre-calc course : TRIG
41. Pine (for) : LONG
42. Alma mater for five U.S. presidents : YALE
48. Least normal : ODDEST
49. Ancient land on the Aegean : THRACE
51. The Beatles’ ___ Pepper : SGT
52. Supermodel Klum : HEIDI
53. Ironworker’s block : ANVIL
54. Jury of one’s ___ : PEERS
55. Stationery brand : EATON
56. Change, as the Constitution : AMEND
57. Copenhageners, e.g. : DANES
58. Eve’s man : ADAM
59. Salad cheese : FETA
63. Nav. rank : ENS
64. Letter in a copyright symbol : CEE

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3 thoughts on “0803-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 3 Aug 15, Monday”

  1. Finally got around to this one, not bad at all. I've never been much into Inspector Poirot, a little too French for me. Started with "mynah" in place of MACAW. Thanks for the explanation on APERCU–totally new one for me.

  2. I also appreciated the explanation of APERÇU, I had heard the word, but was unsure of the meaning, and I think I may have had it somewhat confused with SOUPÇON.

    Never heard of K. T. Oslin.

    always liked Peter Lorre – oddly enough, I woke up this morning thinking about the movie "Casablanca" and, specifically, Lorre's role in it. A great title for a scholarly essay might be "But Who Cried for Ugarte?" Will somebody write that, please? … 🙂

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