0828-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 28 Aug 15, Friday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Samuel A. Donaldson
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 25m 30s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

9. 1987 B’way smash : LES MIZ
The 1980 musical “Les Misérables” is an adaptation of the 1862 novel of the same name by Victor Hugo. The show opened in London in 1985, and is the longest running musical in the history of London’s West End. My wife and I saw “Les Miz” in the Queen’s Theatre in London quite a few years ago, but were only able to get tickets in the very back row. The old theater’s seating is very steep, so the back row of the balcony is extremely high over the stage. One of the big events in the storyline is the building of a street barricade over which the rebels fight. At the height we were seated we could see the stagehands behind the barricade, sitting drinking Coke, even smoking cigarettes. On cue, the stagehands would get up and catch a dropped rifle, or an actor that had been shot. It was pretty comical. I didn’t really enjoy the show that much, to be honest. Some great songs, but the musical version of the storyline just didn’t seem to hang together for me.

19. Locale of the American Red Cross headquarters in Washington : E STREET
Clara Barton was deeply disturbed by her experiences caring for the wounded during the Civil War. She dedicated herself after the war towards American recognition of the International Committee of the Red Cross. The American Red Cross was inevitably formed, in 1881, and Barton was installed as its first president.

21. Places for life-and-death decisions, for short : ERS
Emergency rooms (ERs)

24. Obfuscate : BEFOG
“To obfuscate” is to make something unclear, a word derived from the Latin “obfuscare” meaning “to darken”.

27. Cousin of a pollock : COD
In the British Isles, the most common fish that is used in traditional “fish and chips” is Atlantic cod. Cod has been overfished all over the world, and is now considered to be an endangered species by many international bodies. Confrontations over fishing rights in the North Atlantic led to conflicts called “the Cod Wars” between Iceland and the UK in the 1950s and the 1970s, with fishing fleets being protected by naval vessels and even shots being fired.

28. Barely communicates on a smartphone? : SEXTS
“Sexting” (a portmanteau of “sex” and “texting”) is the sending of explicit dialog and images between cell phones. The term “sexting” was first coined by the UK’s “Sunday Telegraph Magazine” in a 2005 article. Apparently the practice is “rampant” among teens and young adults. Whatever happened to dinner and a movie …?

34. Chimichurri ingredient : PARSLEY
The original recipe for the green sauce called chimichurri comes from the Rio de la Plata area in Argentina. The ingredients are chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano and white vinegar. It’s not really clear how the sauce got its name.

38. Many a bachelorette party hiree : HUNK
I know, they’re always calling me …

39. Star of the sitcom “Wanda at Large” : SYKES
Wanda Sykes is a very successful American comedienne and comic actress. Interestingly, Sykes spent her first five years out of school working for the NSA. I saw her perform in Reno not that long ago, and she is very, very funny.

40. ___ talk : TED
The acronym TED stands for Technology Entertainment and Design. TED is a set of conferences held around the world by a non-profit group called the Sapling Foundation. The conference subjects are varied, and the meetings are often led by big names such as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Gates and Jane Goodall. The Sapling Foundation then makes recordings of the conferences available for free online with the intent of disseminating the ideas globally. These conferences are known as “TED talks”.

41. Having no currency : PASSE
“Passé” is a French word, meaning “past, faded”.

43. Leo’s advisee on “The West Wing” : JED
In the excellent television show “The West Wing”, President Jed Bartlet is played by Martin Sheen. Leo McGarry was played very ably by John Spencer. If you haven’t seen them, the early seasons of “The West Wing” are just fabulous. I learned so much about the workings of the American government through this TV show.

44. Anatomical tube : VAS
“Vas” is an anatomical term for a tube. The vasa deferentia are the ducts that carry sperm into the urethra during ejaculation. In a vasectomy, the vasa deferentia are cut and the ends tied to prevent sperm from reaching the urethra.

47. Single or double : GET A HIT
In baseball, a batter who gets a single or double had gotten a hit.

53. Classical squares : AGORAE
In early Greece the “agora” was a place of assembly. Often the assemblies held there were quite formal, perhaps for the reading of a proclamation. Later in Greek history, things became less formal as the agora evolved into a market place. Our contemporary word “agoraphobia” comes from these agorae, in the sense that an agoraphobe has a fear of open spaces, a fear of “public meeting places”.

54. Academic references : ENDNOTES
In a text, footnotes are notes at the foot of the page. Endnotes are notes at the end of a chapter or book.

55. Stretching muscle : TENSOR
A tensor muscle is one that tightens or stretches a part of the body.

Down
1. Area between an upper and lower deck : LOGE
In most theaters today, “loge” is the name given to the front rows of a mezzanine level. Loge can also be the name given to box seating.

2. A long time in Barcelona : ANOS
In Spanish, there are ten years (años) in a decade (una decada).

3. Experienced lacrimation : WEPT
“Lacrimation” is the secretion of tears, especially when crying really hard. The term comes from the Latin “lacrimare” meaning “to weep”.

5. Sportscaster Dick : ENBERG
Dick Enberg is a sportscaster famous for uttering the lines “Oh, my!” after particularly notable plays.

7. Fermi, for one : UNIT
The unit of distance called a fermi is pretty small, one quadrillionth of a meter, and is named after Enrico Fermi.

Enrico Fermi was born in Rome, Italy. Fermi moved to the US just before WWII, largely to escape the anti-Semitic feelings that were developing in Italy under Mussolini. It was Fermi’s work at the University of Chicago that led to the construction of the world’s first nuclear reactor. Fermi died at 53 years of age from stomach cancer . Cancer was a prevalent cause of death among the team working on that first nuclear pile.

8. Muscle mag subject : PEC
“Pecs” is the familiar term for the chest muscle, more correctly known as the pectoralis major muscle. “Pectus” is a the Latin word for “breast, chest”.

9. Comic strip character surnamed DeGroot : LUANN
“Luann” is a newspaper comic strip written and drawn by Greg Evans. The strip centers on the suburban adventures of teenager Luann DeGroot.

10. “Trains and Winter Rains” singer, 2008 : ENYA
Enya’s real name is Eithne Ní Bhraonáin, which can translate from Irish into Enya Brennan. Her Donegal family (in the northwest of Ireland) formed a band called Clannad, which included Enya. In 1980 Enya launched her very successful solo career, eventually becoming Ireland’s best-selling solo musician. And … she sure does turn up a lot in crosswords!

11. Like ziggurats and some mesas : STEPPED
Ziggurats were massive, terraced, step pyramids built in the ancient Mesopotamian valley. The ziggurat-style of architecture has been used in modern buildings, with notable examples being the US Bullion Depository in Fort Knox, and the MI6 Building in London.

22. Imposed (on) : FOISTED
The word “foist”, meaning “to pass off as genuine”, comes from the Dutch word meaning “take in hand”. The original concept came from playing dice, in which one die was held surreptitiously in one hand.

24. Groups sharing views : BLOCS
“Bloc” is the French word for “block”. We use the term in English for a voting alliance.

27. Bank postings : CD RATES
A certificate of deposit (CD) is like a less-flexible and higher-paying savings account. Instead of depositing money into a savings account and earning interest periodically, one can open a CD. With a CD one deposits a minimum amount of money but must leave it there for a specified length of time. In return for committing the funds for a fixed period, one is given a higher interest rate than a savings account and can redeem that interest and the initial deposit when the term has expired. CDs are relatively low-risk investments as they are FDIC insured, just like savings accounts.

31. Sum in English : I AM
“Esse” is the Latin for “to be”. “Sum” means “I am” and “erat” means “he, she was”.

32. Maniac Mansion console, for short : NES
The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was sold in North America from 1985 to to 1995. The NES was the biggest selling gaming console of the era.

Maniac Mansion is an adventure video game that dates back to 1987.

34. Brief afterthoughts, in brief : PSS
One adds a PS (post scriptum, or simply “postscript”) at the end of a letter (ltr.). A second postscript is a post post scriptum, a PPS.

37. Info on cover sheets : SENDERS
One might include the sender’s name on a cover sheet, perhaps when sending a fax. I can remember the last time I sent a fax …

38. Wigs out : HAS A COW
The phrase “don’t have a cow” originated in the fifties, a variation of the older “don’t have kittens”. The concept behind the phrase is that one shouldn’t get worked up, it’s not like one is giving birth to a cow.

41. Item authorized by Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution : PATENT
Article One of the US Constitution establishes the US Congress. The second section of Article One establishes the House of Representatives, and the third section establishes the US Senate. Section 8 of Article One lists the powers delegated to the legislature.

43. Captain Clutch of baseball : JETER
Derek Jeter played his entire professional baseball career with the New York Yankees, and was the team’s captain. Jeter is the all-time career leader for the Yankees in hits, games played, stolen bases and at bats. He is also the all-time leader in hits by a shortstop in the whole of professional baseball. Jeter’s performances in the postseason earned him the nicknames “Captain Clutch” and “Mr. November”. Jeter retired from the game in 2014.

44. One who made many Shakespeare characters sing? : VERDI
Giuseppe Verdi was an Italian composer mainly of operas who was active during the Romantic era. Equally as famous as Verdi’s operas, are arias from those operas such as “La donna è mobile” from “Rigoletto”, “The Drinking Song” from “La Traviata” and “The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves” from “Nabucco”. Verdi was a big fan of William Shakespeare and wrote three operas based on the Bard’s plays: “Macbeth”, “Otello” and “Falstaff”.

46. Aoki of the Champions Tour : ISAO
Isao Aoki is one of Japan’s greatest golfers, now playing on the senior circuit. Aoki’s best finish in a major tournament was runner-up to Jack Nicklaus in the 1980 US Open.

The Champions Tour is a golf tour hosted by the PGA in which golfers aged 50 years or more compete.

47. Actress Carano of “Fast & Furious 6,” 2013 : GINA
Gina Carano is a former martial artist from Texas who took up acting when she retired from fighting. As one might expect, Carano tends to appear in action films.

48. Ice planet in “The Empire Strikes Back” : HOTH
The fictional planet known as Hoth is featured in the “Star Wars” movie “The Empire Strikes Back”. Hoth is an ice planet, and home to a secret base belonging to the Rebel Alliance.

49. Bean sprout? : IDEA
A slang term for a “head” might be “bean” or “noggin”.

50. Follower of alpha and beta : TEST
In the world of software development, the first tested issue of a new program is usually called the “alpha” version. Expected to have a lot of bugs that need to be fixed, the alpha release is usually distributed to a small number of testers. After reported bugs have been eliminated, the refined version is called a “beta” and is released to a wider audience, but with the program clearly labeled as “beta”. The users generally check functionality and report further bugs that are encountered. The beta version feeds into a release candidate, the version that is tested just prior to the software being sold into the market, bug-free. Yeah, right …

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Prepare for a court battle : LAWYER UP
9. 1987 B’way smash : LES MIZ
15. Common court battle : ONE-ON-ONE
16. Wild : UNTAME
17. Tell the world : GO PUBLIC
18. On-deck approval : AYE, SIR
19. Locale of the American Red Cross headquarters in Washington : E STREET
20. Shapes up quickly : SNAPS TO
21. Places for life-and-death decisions, for short : ERS
22. Season ticket holder, presumably : FAN
23. Fried rice bit : PEA
24. Obfuscate : BEFOG
27. Cousin of a pollock : COD
28. Barely communicates on a smartphone? : SEXTS
30. Prankster’s activity : LARK
31. Prankster’s claim : I DIDN’T DO IT
33. Rush target : ORE
34. Chimichurri ingredient : PARSLEY
35. ___ good job : DO A
36. Group on a yearbook page : CLASSMATES
38. Many a bachelorette party hiree : HUNK
39. Star of the sitcom “Wanda at Large” : SYKES
40. ___ talk : TED
41. Having no currency : PASSE
42. Result of labor half the time? : SON
43. Leo’s advisee on “The West Wing” : JED
44. Anatomical tube : VAS
45. Writing rooms : STUDIES
47. Single or double : GET A HIT
51. Breaking news : LATEST
52. It sets occupancy limits : FIRE CODE
53. Classical squares : AGORAE
54. Academic references : ENDNOTES
55. Stretching muscle : TENSOR
56. “Hold on … did I hear that correctly?” : WAIT … WHAT?

Down
1. Area between an upper and lower deck : LOGE
2. A long time in Barcelona : ANOS
3. Experienced lacrimation : WEPT
4. Reassuring words for a fallen tot : YOU’RE OK
5. Sportscaster Dick : ENBERG
6. They’re filled for a production : ROLES
7. Fermi, for one : UNIT
8. Muscle mag subject : PEC
9. Comic strip character surnamed DeGroot : LUANN
10. “Trains and Winter Rains” singer, 2008 : ENYA
11. Like ziggurats and some mesas : STEPPED
12. Lots of outgoing people : MASS EXODUS
13. Results of knocking things off : IMITATIONS
14. Nonentity : ZERO
20. Imposed : SADDLED
22. Imposed (on) : FOISTED
24. Groups sharing views : BLOCS
25. Embryonic : EARLY STAGE
26. Subject to a hissy fit : FREAK OUT ON
27. Bank postings : CD RATES
28. Real mess : STY
29. Sum at risk : STAKE
31. Sum in English : I AM
32. Maniac Mansion console, for short : NES
34. Brief afterthoughts, in brief : PSS
37. Info on cover sheets : SENDERS
38. Wigs out : HAS A COW
41. Item authorized by Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution : PATENT
43. Captain Clutch of baseball : JETER
44. One who made many Shakespeare characters sing? : VERDI
45. Blind part : SLAT
46. Aoki of the Champions Tour : ISAO
47. Actress Carano of “Fast & Furious 6,” 2013 : GINA
48. Ice planet in “The Empire Strikes Back” : HOTH
49. Bean sprout? : IDEA
50. Follower of alpha and beta : TEST
52. Couple or so : FEW

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2 thoughts on “0828-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 28 Aug 15, Friday”

  1. :37 for me. TED completely threw me. I only got it through crosses. And I sat there for a few minutes wondering, "Is he really gonna break out with SEXTS?" Jeez, the grids seems to alternate between "old-skool" and "tweener" almost every day. 🙂

  2. 46:46, no errors. On the verge of quitting several times, but then small breakthroughs kept me going. Good challenge puzzle.

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