0812-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 12 Aug 15, Wednesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Tom McCoy
THEME: Self-Reflection … each of today’s themed answers uses only letters that exhibit mirror symmetry, that are SELF-REFLECTING. We can draw a line right down the center of these answers, and the left side line of the line is the mirror image of the right side:

11D. Activity on Lent or Yom Kippur … or a quality of every letter in the answer to each starred clue : SELF-REFLECTION
3D. *”Same difference” : TOMAYTO TOMAHTO
4D. *Musical that includes the song “Take a Chance on Me” : MAMMA MIA!
8D. *”That sure was funny!” : WHAT A HOOT!
31D. *”Stop hemming and hawing!” : OUT WITH IT!
38D. *Where “they went,” in old westerns : THAT-A-WAY

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 9m 03s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

4. Peter Parker’s aunt in “Spider-Man” : MAY
Aunt May and Uncle Ben Parker are characters in the spider-Man universe created by Marvel Comics. The couple’s nephew is Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man.

14. Card game call : 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.

18. Turntable measure, in brief : RPM
Revolutions per minute (rpm)

19. Wifey, with “the” : MRS
Mr. is the abbreviation for “master”, and Mrs. is the abbreviation for “mistress”.

20. Scaly anteater : PANGOLIN
The pangolin is also known as the scaly anteater. It is the only mammal that has a layer of protective scales made from keratin that covers the skin. Pangolins are highly prized by hunters, for their meat and their armor. They are in danger of extinction, and yet there is no more highly-trafficked species on the planet.

22. Unpleasant atmosphere : MIASMA
The word miasma was first used for the poisonous atmosphere thought to arise from swamps and rotting matter, and which could cause disease. Nowadays, a miasma is just a thick cloud of gas or smoke.

26. Letters on a wanted sign : AKA
Also known as (a.k.a.)

30. Curry of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” : TIM
Tim Curry is a marvelous actor from England who is perhaps best known on this side of the Atlantic for playing Dr. Frank-N-Furter in the 1975 movie “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. Curry also played the title role in the original Broadway play “Amadeus”.

31. The Wizard of ___ (nickname of Warren Buffett) : OMAHA
Warren Buffett is one of my heroes, a man with the nickname “Wizard of Omaha”. Despite being one of the wealthiest men in the world, he lives a relatively frugal and modest life. Buffett also has a very Jeffersonian attitude towards the role his wealth plays within his family. He has set up his estate so that his children get enough money to be independent, but the vast majority of his assets are going to charity, both before and after he dies.

33. Org. whose resources partly go to waste? : EPA
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

34. Adjective for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un : GLORIOUS
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has a lengthy list of titles, including:

– Bright Sun of the 21st Century
– Amazing Politician
– Ever-Victorious, Iron-Willed Commander
– Glorious General, Who Descended from Heaven

42. Southeast Asian language : LAO
Lao, the language of Laos, does not use spaces between words (or periods!), although this is apparently changing. Spaces are used between sentences and clauses.

50. Something just under one’s nose, slangily : STACHE
“Stache” is slang for “mustache”.

55. ___ sauce : TARTAR
Tartar sauce is basically mayonnaise with some chopped pickles, capers and onion or chives. The recipe was invented by the French (as “sauce tartare”) with the name somehow linked to the Tatars, a people who once occupied Ukraine and parts of Russia.

56. Fish also known as a dorado : MAHI-MAHI
Mahi-mahi is the Hawaiian name for the dolphin-fish, also called a dorado. The mahi-mahi is an ugly looking creature if ever I saw one …

58. Big mouth : MAW
“Maw” is a term used to describe the mouth or stomach of a carnivorous animal. “Maw” is also used as slang for the mouth or stomach of a greedy person.

59. Glass of “This American Life” : IRA
“This American Life” is a radio show that is broadcast weekly on National Public Radio (NPR). Host of the show is the much-respected Ira Glass. I was interested to learn that one of my favorite composers, Philip Glass, is Ira’s first cousin.

61. City of NW Pennsylvania : ERIE
Erie is a city in the very north of Pennsylvania, right on the southern shore of Lake Erie. The city takes its name from the Erie Native American tribe that resided in the area.

63. Roman equivalent of Rhea : OPS
Ops (also “Opis”) was the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Rhea. She was the wife of Saturn.

In Greek mythology Rhea was one of the Titans. She was the sister and husband of Cronus, and together they had six children, the last of which was Zeus. Cronus swallowed all of his children as soon as they were born, except for Zeus, who Rhea managed to hide from her husband.

65. Match makeup : SETS
There might be three or five sets in a tennis match.

67. Bill in a bow tie : NYE
That would be “Bill Nye the Science Guy”. Bill’s show ran on Disney for 4 years from 1993-97.

Down
1. “The Bridge on the River Kwai” locale : BURMA
The river referred to in the movie (and novel) “The Bridge on the River Kwai” is actually called the Khwae Yai River, and is in western Thailand. The original novel by Pierre Boulle was published in French in 1952, and the wonderful movie released in 1957. Both tell the story of construction of part of the Burma Railway and a bridge over the river, using prisoners of war as laborers. The film stars William Holden, Alec Guinness and Jack Hawkins.

4. *Musical that includes the song “Take a Chance on Me” : MAMMA MIA!
The hit musical “Mamma Mia!” was written to showcase the songs of ABBA. I’m a big fan of ABBA’s music, so I’ve seen this show a couple of times and just love it. “Mamma Mia!” is such a big hit on the stage that on any given day there are at least seven performances going on somewhere in the world. There is a really interesting film version of the show that was released in 2008. I think the female lead Meryl Streep is wonderful in the movie, but the male leads … not so much! By the way, one can tell the difference between “Mamma Mia” the ABBA song and “Mamma Mia!” the musical, by noting the difference in the punctuation in the titles.

5. Panoply : ARRAY
“Panoply” originally described the complete set of armor of a warrior, with the term coming from the Greek “pan-”meaning “all” and “hopla” meaning “arms”. We’ve been using “panoply” to mean “any splendid array” since the 1820s.

7. 19th-century Midwest rail hub : TOPEKA
Topeka is the capital of Kansas, and is located on the Kansas River in the northeast of the state. The name “Topeka” was chosen in 1855 and translates from the Kansa and the Ioway languages as “to dig good potatoes”. The reference isn’t to the common potato but rather to the herb known as the prairie potato (also “prairie turnip”), which was an important food for many Native Americans.

10. Group with the 1981 #1 album “Beauty and the Beat” : GO-GO’S
The Go-Go’s are an all-female rock band that was formed in Los Angeles back in 1978. The band’s biggest hit was “We Got the Beat”, which was released in 1982. The best-known member of the Go-Go’s is probably Belinda Carlisle.

11. Activity on Lent or Yom Kippur … or a quality of every letter in the answer to each starred clue : SELF-REFLECTION
In Latin, the Christian season that is now called Lent was termed “quadragesima” (meaning “fortieth”), a reference to the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert before beginning his public ministry. When the church began its move in the Middle Ages towards using the vernacular, the term “Lent” was introduced. “Lent” comes from “lenz”, the German word for “spring”.

Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people and is also known as the Day of Atonement.

13. Nikkei 225 unit : YEN
The Nikkei is a stock market index for the Tokyo Stock Exchange that has been published by the “Nihon Keizai Shimbun” newspaper since 1950. The “Nihon Keizai Shimbun” has the largest circulation of any financial newspaper in the world, and is read by over 3 million people daily.

28. Apple’s ___ Touch : IPOD
The iPod Touch is a portable media player, personal digital assistant and gaming console with a WiFi capability. Essentially I think it’s a stripped-down version of an iPhone.

35. Party with poi : LUAU
Nowadays the word “luau” denotes almost any kind of party on the Hawaiian Islands, but to the purist a luau is a feast that always includes a serving of “poi”, the bulbous underground stems of taro baked with coconut milk.

36. Spanish she-bear : OSA
In Spanish, “osa” is a female bear, and “oso” is a male.

39. ___ power : SOLAR
Solar panels make use of what’s known as the photovoltaic effect. We are more likely to have learned about the photoelectric effect in school, in which electrons were ejected from the surface of some materials when it was exposed to light or other forms of radiation. The photovoltaic effect is related but different. Instead of being electrons ejected from the surface, in the photovoltaic effect electrons move around in the material creating a difference in voltage.

41. Bananagrams game piece : TILE
Bananagrams is a fun game that was introduced in 2006. Bananagrams is a little like Scrabble in that letter tiles are used to make interlocking words.

44. Axis foe : ALLIES
Before WWII, Hungary’s prime minister was lobbying for an alliance between Germany, Hungary and Italy and worked towards such a relationship that he called an “axis”. The main Axis powers during the war were Germany, Italy and Japan. However, also included in the relationship were Romania, Bulgaria and the aforementioned Hungary.

47. Giant Manning : ELI
Eli Manning plays as quarterback for the New York Giants. Eli’s brother Peyton Manning is quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Eli and Peyton’s father is Archie Manning, who was also a successful NFL quarterback.

48. Smallest coins : DIMES
The term “dime”, used for a 10-cent coin, comes from the Old French word “disme” meaning “tenth part”.

50. Rock’s All-___ Band : STARR
The All-Starr Band is a supergroup led by former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr. The group has been active since 1989.

51. Monster encountered by Aeneas : HARPY
In Greek mythology, a harpy was a winged spirit noted for stealing food from a king called Phineus. Phineas angered the god Zeus and so was punished by being exiled to an island with a buffet of food that he could never eat. Every time he tried to eat, harpies would arrive and steal the food. We use the term today for a shrewish woman or a predatory person.

In Roman mythology, Aeneas was a Trojan who traveled to Italy and became the ancestor Romulus and Remus, and thus the ancestor of all Romans. Aeneas’s story is told in Virgil’s epic poem “The Aeneid”.

54. Scale deduction : TARE
“Tare” is the weight of a container that is deducted from the gross weight to determine the net weight, the weight of the container’s contents.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Word after which a parent might interrupt a child : BUT …
4. Peter Parker’s aunt in “Spider-Man” : MAY
7. Branchlet : TWIG
11. Grimy abode : STY
14. Card game call : UNO
15. “Rules ___ rules” : ARE
16. “Not that!” : OH NO!
17. Before, in poetry : ERE
18. Turntable measure, in brief : RPM
19. Wifey, with “the” : MRS
20. Scaly anteater : PANGOLIN
22. Unpleasant atmosphere : MIASMA
24. Leaves in a hurry : JETS OFF
25. Subject-changing word : ANYWAY
26. Letters on a wanted sign : AKA
27. Cartoonist’s work : STRIP
30. Curry of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” : TIM
31. The Wizard of ___ (nickname of Warren Buffett) : OMAHA
33. Org. whose resources partly go to waste? : EPA
34. Adjective for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un : GLORIOUS
37. Picks : OPTS FOR
40. Stay longer than : OUTLAST
41. Points of entry : TOEHOLDS
42. Southeast Asian language : LAO
43. Be there for : AWAIT
45. Tankard contents : ALE
46. Was furious : FUMED
49. “___ bite” : I’LL
50. Something just under one’s nose, slangily : STACHE
53. Not much : A LITTLE
55. ___ sauce : TARTAR
56. Fish also known as a dorado : MAHI-MAHI
58. Big mouth : MAW
59. Glass of “This American Life” : IRA
60. Have a part : ACT
61. City of NW Pennsylvania : ERIE
62. 15-Across backward : ERA
63. Roman equivalent of Rhea : OPS
64. Classical start? : NEO-
65. Match makeup : SETS
66. Encouraging word : TRY
67. Bill in a bow tie : NYE

Down
1. “The Bridge on the River Kwai” locale : BURMA
2. Remove from a bulletin board, say : UNPIN
3. *”Same difference” : TOMAYTO TOMAHTO
4. *Musical that includes the song “Take a Chance on Me” : MAMMA MIA!
5. Panoply : ARRAY
6. Encouraging word : YES
7. 19th-century Midwest rail hub : TOPEKA
8. *”That sure was funny!” : WHAT A HOOT!
9. Overnight stops on the road : INNS
10. Group with the 1981 #1 album “Beauty and the Beat” : GO-GO’S
11. Activity on Lent or Yom Kippur … or a quality of every letter in the answer to each starred clue : SELF-REFLECTION
12. Start for cycle : TRI-
13. Nikkei 225 unit : YEN
21. Frequently : OFT
23. Feature of a soft-serve ice cream cone : SWIRL
24. Predicaments : JAMS
28. Apple’s ___ Touch : IPOD
29. Some scores in 34-Down : PARS
31. *”Stop hemming and hawing!” : OUT WITH IT!
32. Copycat : APE
34. See 29-Down : GOLF
35. Party with poi : LUAU
36. Spanish she-bear : OSA
38. *Where “they went,” in old westerns : THAT-A-WAY
39. ___ power : SOLAR
41. Bananagrams game piece : TILE
44. Axis foe : ALLIES
47. Giant Manning : ELI
48. Smallest coins : DIMES
50. Rock’s All-___ Band : STARR
51. Monster encountered by Aeneas : HARPY
52. Wipe out : ERASE
54. Scale deduction : TARE
56. “Wow!” : MAN!
57. Hotshot : ACE
58. Came across : MET

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8 thoughts on “0812-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 12 Aug 15, Wednesday”

  1. I also couldn't figure the reflection, but at least I noticed the theme at all.

    I would call this the MAMA puzzle, with 11 MAs, mostly to the left.

    @Anon – kept wondering how to fit Pittsburgh in.

  2. 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.
    YOUR FRIEND'S NAME WAS MAU MAU ????

  3. @Bill A veil has lifted … 🙂

    I've been wondering how in the world you could keep up with three such blogs day after day. I suspected that you were creating a database of information as you went along and now, thanks to the occurrence of "Topeka" two days in a row (each time with a reference to the "prairie potato", a plant I'd never heard of before), I have what looks like proof positive! … :-). Very clever (and quite logical, I must say). Is there a book in your future? And, If so, can I order my copy now? … 🙂

  4. Does anyone know what happened to Dime Piece LA celebrity streetwear brand? I cannot check out on Dimepiecela site. I’ve read in Elle that they were bought out by a UK hedge fund for $50 million. I’ve just bought the Shatter Ceilings HeavyBlend Sweatshirt from Ebay and absolutely love it xox

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