0815-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 15 Aug 15, Saturday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Jeff Chen
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 67m 46s!!!
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

9. Its plantation features the Pineapple Garden Maze : DOLE
The Dole Plantation on Oahu is home to the Pineapple Garden Maze. The maze sits on three acres of land, and includes over two miles of paths. It is the largest maze in the world.

13. U.S. freight measure : SHORT TON
Here in the US, a ton is equivalent to 2,000 pounds. Over in the UK, a ton is 2,240 pounds. The UK unit is sometimes referred to as an Imperial ton or sometimes a “long ton”. Folks over there refer to the US ton then as a “short ton”. To further complicate matters, there is also a “metric ton” or “tonne”, which is equivalent to 2,204 pounds. I wish we’d just stick to kilograms …

14. Italian admiral for whom several ships were named : DORIA
The SS Andrea Doria was an Italian ocean liner with the home port of Genoa. She was named after Andrea Doria, a 16th-century admiral from the city. As always seems to be the case with ships that go down, the Andrea Doria was the pride of the fleet and was deemed to be the biggest, fastest and safest of Italy’s ships in the fifties. Her end came in 1956 when she collided with the MS Stockholm off the coast of Nantucket Island. Such was the damage to the side of the vessel that she quickly and severely listed to starboard, rendering half her lifeboats unusable. Nonetheless, 1,660 crew and passengers were rescued by vessels that came to her aid. Only 46 lives were lost, mainly in the collision itself. The Andrea Doria capsized and sank eleven hours after the collision.

15. Symbol of the Franciscan order : TAU CROSS
The Cross of Tau is a variant of the cross symbol used in the Christian tradition. Also known as St. Anthony’s Cross, the Cross of Tau resembles the Greek letter tau, and our letter T. St. Anthony of Egypt bore such a symbol on his cloak, hence the alternate name.

16. Jays’ fan, maybe : BIRDER
A “birder” is a bird watcher, an ornithologist.

19. Jazz trumpeter Jones : THAD
Thad Jones was a jazz trumpeter and bandleader from Pontiac, Michigan. Thad came from a very musical family. His older brother was Hank Jones the jazz pianist, and his younger brother was Elvin Jones the jazz drummer.

25. South Pacific’s largest city : SUVA
Suva is the capital city of Fiji, and is located on the island of Viti Levu. Suva is the largest island in the South Pacific.

26. Sigma signification : SUM
Sigma is the eighteenth letter of the Greek alphabet, and is the one used for an “ess” sound, equivalent to our letter S. Sigma is used in mathematics to represent a summation, the adding together of a sequence of numbers.

29. Recipient of Argus’s 100 eyes, in myth : PEACOCK
Argus Panoptes is a monster of Greek mythology. “Panoptes” means “all-seeing”, so over time Argus has been described as having many, many eyes. Argus was noted for being alert, always keeping some eyes open when sleeping. This characteristic led to Argus being used for a vigilant person, and has been adopted as the name for many newspapers. After Argus died, Hera transferred his eyes to the tail of the peacock.

The female peafowl, the peahen, has very dull plumage compared to the extravagant display on the tail of the peacock.

35. Singer/actress once called the “Black Venus” : FALANA
Lola Falana is a singer, dancer and actress who grew up in Philadelphia. In the sixties Falana had an affair with, and later became good friends with, Sammy Davis Jr. Davis helped get her act into Las Vegas where she was very successful, eventually earning Falana the nickname “Queen of Las Vegas”. With her success came money, and so she became the highest paid female performer in Vegas at that time. Sadly, Falana suffers from multiple sclerosis, a disease that forced her to cut short her career as an entertainer.

37. Iconoclast stiflers : THOUGHT POLICE
The original Thought Police were a creation of the novelist George Orwell, who featured them in his 1949 novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. The Thought Police tracked down “thoughtcrimes” and punished “thought-criminals”, people who had thoughts about challenging authority. In modern parlance, we might label people who embrace the concept of political correctness as “thought police”.

Iconoclasm is the deliberate destruction of society’s icons, either religious or cultural. The term applies more to a rebellious action from within a society, as opposed to an act by external forces invading another culture. As such, the term “iconoclast” has come to have a broader meaning, describing anyone who stands up against established convention.

44. Longtime jeweler to royals : CARTIER
Cartier is a manufacturer of jewelry and watches based in Paris that has had a long association with royalty and the very rich. According to King Edward VII, Cartier is “the jeweller of kings and the king of jewellers” (note the English spelling of “jeweller”!).

45. Peter Fonda cult film about an acid experience : THE TRIP
“The Trip” is a 1967 movie starring Peter Fonda as man who takes his first ever dose of LSD while going through a divorce. The film basically documents the man’s experience on that first “trip”. As an aside, “The Trip” was written by famed actor Jack Nicholson.

51. Crude, in slang : TEXAS TEA
“Texas tea” is a familiar term for oil drilled from the Earth.

52. Group started as the Jolly Corks : ELKS
The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) was founded in 1868, and is a social club that has about a million members today. It started out as a group of minstrel performers called the Jolly Corks getting together in a “club” in order to get around the legal opening hours of taverns in New York City. The club took on a new role as it started to look out for poor families of members who passed away. The club now accepts African Americans as members (since the seventies) and women (since the nineties), but atheists still aren’t welcome.

53. Snarky sort : SMART ASS
“Snark” is a term that was coined by Lewis Carroll in his fabulous 1876 nonsense poem “The Hunting of the Snark”. Somehow, the term “snarky” came to mean “irritable, short-tempered” in the early 1900s, and from there “snark” became “sarcastic rhetoric” at the beginning of the 21st century.

Down
1. Bubbly option : ASTI
Asti is in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. The region is perhaps most famous for its Asti Spumante sparkling white wine.

3. Comeback to a comeback : TOUCHE
“Touché” is a term from fencing, acknowledging a successful “touch” in a duel. The term has been extended to mean that a successful criticism or riposte has hit home in a conversation.

4. Searchlight light : ARC LAMP
The first electric light was an “arc lamp”, a lamp in which light is produced by an arc of ionized gas between two electrodes. The arc lamp was largely replaced by incandescent lighting, in which light was produced by a glowing filament that was heated by passing an electric current through it.

5. Approached like John Wayne, with “to” : STRODE UP
John Wayne was called Marion Mitchell Morrison at birth, named after his grandfather who was a Civil War veteran. When young Marion was a little boy, a local fireman used to call him “Little Duke” because he was always seen walking with his large dog called “Duke”. Marion liked the name “Duke” and so he called himself Duke Morrison for the rest of his life. That said, Duke Morrison also used John Wayne as a stage name.

6. Relatives of Winnebagos : OTOS
The Otoe (also Oto) Native American tribe originated in the Great Lakes region as part of the Winnebago or Siouan tribes. The group that would become the Otoe broke away from the Winnebago and migrated southwestwards ending up in the Great Plains. In the plains the Otoe adopted a semi-nomadic lifestyle dependent on the horse, with the American bison becoming central to their diet.

8. Enterprise position: Abbr. : ENS
Ensign (ens.)

9. Loft additions : DORMERS
A dormer window is a window in a dormer! A dormer is a roofed structure that protrudes from the slope of the main roof.

12. Concern of paleoanthropology : EARLY MAN
The prefix “paleo-” means “prehistoric, primitive”. It comes from the Greek word “palaios” which means “old, ancient”. The prefix “neo-” would be the opposite, meaning “new, recent”.

16. Good pear for poaching : BOSC
Bosc is a cultivar of the European Pear grown in the northwest of the United States. The Bosc is that pear with a skin the color of a potato, with a long neck. I always seem to use the potato as my point of reference. How Irish am I …?

18. Film figure who said “I take orders from just one person: me” : HAN SOLO
Han Solo is the space smuggler in “Star Wars” played by Harrison Ford. Ford was originally hired by George Lucas just to read lines for actors during auditions for “Star Wars”, but over time Lucas became convinced that Ford was right for the pivotal role of Han Solo.

22. GPS output: Abbr. : RTE
A Global Positioning System (GPS) might point out a route (rte.).

26. Consideration for college admission : SAT SCORE
Today the standardized test for admission to colleges is known as the SAT Reasoning Test, but it used to be called the Scholastic Aptitude Test and Scholastic Assessment Test, which led to the initialism SAT.

27. Sturm und Drang : UPHEAVAL
“Sturm und Drang” translates from the German into “Storm and Stress” or perhaps “Storm and Impulse”. “Sturm und Drang” was the name given to a movement in German literature and music in the latter half of the 18th century. The writer Johann Goethe was a major proponent of the movement, which took its name from a play by Maximilian Klinger. The term “Sturm und Drang” has come to mean “turmoil, upheaval”.

28. Apollo collection : MOONROCK
President Kennedy famously gave the nation the goal of landing on the moon in a speech in 1961. The Mercury program had been the project that put Americans into space, and NASA decided that more development work was need to bridge the gap in capabilities needed between what was known from Mercury and what was needed to land a man on the moon, the objective of the Apollo program. So, the Gemini program was born, in which astronauts learned to spend extended periods in orbit, rendezvous and dock spacecraft, walk in space, and improve the reentry and landing stage of a space flight.

30. One side in college football’s annual Big Game, informally : CAL
Footballs BIg Game is played annually between UC Berkeley (Cal) and Stanford.

40. Slips of paper? : ERRATA
“Errata” is the past participle of the Latin word “errare” meaning “to err”. We use “errata” (singular “erratum”) to mean a list of errors that have been noted in some publication.

43. Studbook figures : SIRES
The word “stud”, meaning “a male horse kept for breeding”, is derived from the Old English word “stod”, which described a whole herd of horses.

46. Prefix related to benzene’s shape : HEXA-
Benzene is a remarkable chemical compound, from a molecular standpoint anyway. It is made up of six carbon atoms arranged in a ring, with one hydrogen atom attached to each carbon. Benzene is a significant component of gasoline, and is also very carcinogenic.

47. G.I. Joe’s “Knowing is half the battle” spots, e.g. : PSAS
Public service announcement (PSA)

“G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero” is a cartoon series based on the Hasbro toy soldier. The show’s original run was in the 1980s. Each episode ended with a public safety lesson aimed at kids. The catchphrase used for the lessons was “… and knowing is half the battle”.

49. GPS input: Abbr. : STS
Street (st.)

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Not diverge : ACT AS ONE
9. Its plantation features the Pineapple Garden Maze : DOLE
13. U.S. freight measure : SHORT TON
14. Italian admiral for whom several ships were named : DORIA
15. Symbol of the Franciscan order : TAU CROSS
16. Jays’ fan, maybe : BIRDER
17. Greatly magnified : IN CLOSE
18. One letting off steam at the dinner table? : HOT MEAL
19. Jazz trumpeter Jones : THAD
20. Witness by chance : PASSERBY
21. Setting of many a revival : EMERGENCY ROOM
24. Pranks : PUT-ONS
25. South Pacific’s largest city : SUVA
26. Sigma signification : SUM
29. Recipient of Argus’s 100 eyes, in myth : PEACOCK
32. Base of many operations : TEN
33. Per : A POP
35. Singer/actress once called the “Black Venus” : FALANA
37. Iconoclast stiflers : THOUGHT POLICE
41. Ones with halting speech? : SENTRIES
42. Cold-weather wear : FURS
44. Longtime jeweler to royals : CARTIER
45. Peter Fonda cult film about an acid experience : THE TRIP
48. Eggs, e.g. : OVOIDS
49. Cubs’ supporters, maybe : SHE BEARS
50. Makeup of humanity : RACES
51. Crude, in slang : TEXAS TEA
52. Group started as the Jolly Corks : ELKS
53. Snarky sort : SMART ASS

Down
1. Bubbly option : ASTI
2. “De-fense! De-fense!,” e.g. : CHANT
3. Comeback to a comeback : TOUCHE
4. Searchlight light : ARC LAMP
5. Approached like John Wayne, with “to” : STRODE UP
6. Relatives of Winnebagos : OTOS
7. 1-Down quality : NOSE
8. Enterprise position: Abbr. : ENS
9. Loft additions : DORMERS
10. Call for Chinese, say : ORDER OUT
11. Be superposed on : LIE ABOVE
12. Concern of paleoanthropology : EARLY MAN
14. Like a rattlebrain : DITSY
16. Good pear for poaching : BOSC
18. Film figure who said “I take orders from just one person: me” : HAN SOLO
20. Things removed before signing : PEN CAPS
22. GPS output: Abbr. : RTE
23. Pursue : GO AFTER
26. Consideration for college admission : SAT SCORE
27. Sturm und Drang : UPHEAVAL
28. Apollo collection : MOONROCK
30. One side in college football’s annual Big Game, informally : CAL
31. Accessory with a magnetic strip on a kitchen wall : KNIFE BAR
34. Glaziers’ supplies : PUTTIES
36. Maximally intense : ACUTEST
38. Plotting aids : GRIDS
39. Speeds : HIES
40. Slips of paper? : ERRATA
43. Studbook figures : SIRES
45. One side of a feud : THEM
46. Prefix related to benzene’s shape : HEXA-
47. G.I. Joe’s “Knowing is half the battle” spots, e.g. : PSAS
49. GPS input: Abbr. : STS

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3 thoughts on “0815-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 15 Aug 15, Saturday”

  1. Solving times are very interesting. You are usually much faster than me, typically by about 50% on late week puzzles. But today I finished in 35 minutes, my second fastest Saturday time ever, and I'm seeing lots of comments that people thought this was very challenging. Sometimes I think, I must be getting good at this (been doing the puzzle for about 3 years) but then some days I struggle. Couldn't get the last bit of the upper right corner this past Thursday, for example. I guess some days the brain is working well, some days it isn't.

  2. Any puzzle that takes Bill over an hour to finish for a 15 x 15 grid falls under the category of unsolvable. Challenging is one thing … this is ridiculous.

  3. @Cory: We must be having the same kind of day. I do the puzzle the old-fashioned way, on paper, and I seldom bother to time myself, but I have a rough idea how long it takes me and I'm almost always shocked (and somewhat chagrined … 🙂 by how much faster Bill is. Today, however, I worked my way smoothly through the puzzle, with hardly a pause, and came here thinking it was unusually easy for a Saturday.

    Over the last five years, in an attempt to keep brain cells alive in retirement, I have done many puzzles, including several thousand kenkens. Until recently, I was able to compare notes with a good friend: I would send him a kenken that I thought was extraordinarily difficult and he would often report that it was very easy for him. Then, he would send me one he thought was a bear and I would often breeze through it without difficulty. Of course, kenkens and crosswords are very different from each other, but I have become convinced that the perceived difficulty of any puzzle depends greatly on one's mental state when encountering it; objective ratings are very difficult to establish.

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