1008-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 8 Oct 15, Thursday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Stu Ockman
THEME: Longest Common Words … each of today’s themed answers is a longest common word in the English language, with a specific restriction:

17A. Longest common word in the English language … that has its letters in reverse alphabetical order : SPOON-FEED
21A. … that forms another word when read backward : DESSERTS
39A. … that has no repeated letters : UNCOPYRIGHTABLE
54A. … that has five consecutive vowels : QUEUEING
62A. … that is spelled entirely from the last dozen letters of the alphabet : TORTUROUS

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 19m 53s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … Z-BAR (L-bar!!!), ROSE TOPAZ (roset opal!!!)

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

6. Group of whales : GAM
Nope, not a “pod”, but rather a “gam” of whales.

14. XXII Winter Olympics locale : SOCHI
Sochi is a city in the west of Russian on the Black Sea coast. It is the largest resort city in the whole country. Sochi is going to be pretty busy in the next few years. It will host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, the Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix from 2014 as well as the 2018 World Cup in soccer.

16. Bluesman Willie : LOMAX
Willie Lomax is a blues guitarist from Miami. Lomax has music in his blood as he is the son of a jazz drummer.

20. Fir coat? : TINSEL
The custom of decorating trees at Christmas seems to have originated in Renaissance Germany. Those first trees were placed in guildhalls and were decorated with sweets and candy for the apprentices and children. After the Protestant Reformation, the Christmas tree became an alternative in Protestant homes for the Roman Catholic Christmas cribs. The Christmas tree tradition was imported into Britain by the royal family because of its German heritage. That tradition spread from Britain into North America.

21. … that forms another word when read backward : DESSERTS
The word DESSERTS reverses to gives us STRESSED.

23. Not estos or 60-Down : OTROS
(60D. See 23-Across : ESOS)
Not these (estos) or these (esos), but the others (otros), in Spanish.

25. Producer of change : MINT
The first mint in the US was established in 1792 in Philadelphia, which was the nation’s capital at that time. The modern Philadelphia Mint was opened in 1969, and is the fourth building used as a mint in the city. The facility can produce a million coins in just half an hour.

26. Contemporary of Faraday : OHM
The unit of electrical resistance is the ohm (with the symbol omega) named after German physicist Georg Simon Ohm. Ohm was the guy who established experimentally that the amount of current flowing through a circuit is directly proportional to the voltage applied, (V=IR) a relationship that every school kid knows as Ohm’s Law.

Michael Faraday was a scientist from England who discovered electromagnetic induction among other things. It was Faraday who first observed that a conductor carrying an electric current has an associated magnetic field. Amazingly, the sum total of Faraday’s formal education was little more than a seven-year apprenticeship as a bookbinder and bookseller.

30. In a slip : MOORED
A “slipway” or “slip” is a ramp on the shore in which boats can “slip” into the water. This “slipping” into the water was is literally the case in a shipyard where a vessel’s hull slips off the ramp after it is coated with grease.

34. Slinky, e.g. : COIL
The marvelous Slinky toy was invented in the early forties by a naval engineer called Richard James. James was developing springs for the navy that could stabilize sensitive instruments in rough seas. One day he accidentally knocked one of his experimental coils off a shelf and watched it “step” onto a stack of books, then onto a table and from there onto the floor where it recoiled itself very neatly. The Slinky was born …

36. Neighbor of Manhattan’s Little Italy : SOHO
The Manhattan neighborhood known today as SoHo was very fashionable in the early 1900s, but as the well-heeled started to move uptown the area became very run down and poorly maintained. Noted for the number of fires that erupted in derelict buildings, SoHo earned the nickname “Hell’s Hundred Acres”. The area was then zoned for manufacturing and became home to many sweatshops. In the mid-1900s artists started to move into open loft spaces and renovating old buildings as the lofts were ideal locations in which an artist could both live and work. In 1968, artists and others organized themselves so that they could legalize their residential use of an area zoned for manufacturing. The group they formed took its name from the name given to the area by the city’s Planning Commission i.e “South of Houston”. This was shortened from So-uth of Ho-uston to SoHo as in the SoHo Artists Association, and the name stuck.

43. Srta., on the Seine : MLLE
Señorita (Srta.) is Spanish and mademoiselle (Mlle.) is French for “Miss”.

47. Edward who wrote “A Book of Nonsense” : LEAR
Edward Lear was an English artist, author and poet who was famous for his nonsense poetry and limericks. Lear’s best known works are “A Book of Nonsense” published in 1846, and “The Owl and the Pussycat” published in 1867.

49. “___ a bird …” : IT’S
It’s a bird. It’s a plane. it’s Superman!

50. Melville adventure : OMOO
Herman Melville mined his own experiences when writing his novels. Melville sailed from New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1841 on a whaler heading into the Pacific Ocean (a source for “Moby Dick”). Melville ended up deserting his ship 18 months later and lived with natives on a South Pacific Island for three weeks (a source for “Typee”). He picked up another whaler and headed for Hawaii, where he joined the crew of a US navy frigate that was bound for Boston (a source for “Omoo”).

61. Old court org. : USLTA
The US National Lawn Tennis Association (USNLTA) was the first national governing body for the sport of tennis. Formed in 1881, the name was changed in 1920 to the USLTA (dropping “National”), and to the current name of USTA in 1975 (dropping “Lawn”).

66. Old company whose logo featured a torch : AMOCO
Amoco is an abbreviation for “American Oil Company”, which was acquired by BP in 1998 Amoco was the first oil company to introduce gasoline tanker trucks and drive-through filling stations. I wonder did they know what they were starting …?

67. Patriot who said “Government even in its best state is but a necessary evil” : PAINE
Thomas Paine was an English author who achieved incredible success with his pamphlet “Common Sense” published in 1776 which advocated independence of colonial America from Britain. Paine had immigrated to the American colonies just two years before his pamphlet was published, and so was just in time to make a major contribution to the American Revolution.

68. Many an email attachment : PDF
Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format introduced by Adobe Systems in 1993. PDF documents can be shared between users and read using many different applications, making them more universally accessible than documents saved by one particular program.

69. Gets on board : LADES
The verb “lade” meaning “to load” comes from an Old English word “hladan”. Lade also used to mean “to draw water” and indeed gave us our word “ladle”. So “lade” and “ladle” are close cousins.

Down
2. Early settlers around the Grand Canyon : HOPI
Many of the Hopi nation live on a reservation that is actually located within the much larger Navajo reservation in Arizona.

The Grand Canyon is in Arizona. The canyon continues to be carved out of layers of rock by the Colorado River. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and over a mile deep.

5. Moolah : DINERO
Lettuce, cabbage, kale, dinero, dough and moola (also moolah) are all slang terms for money.

8. Purchase from an I.S.P. : MODEM
A modem is a device that is used to facilitate the transmission of a digital signal over an analog line. At one end of the line a modem is used to “modulate” an analog carrier signal to encode the the digital information, and at the other end a modem is used to “demodulate” the analog carrier signal and so reproduce the original digital information. This modulation-demodulation gives the device its name: a MOdulator-DEModulator, or “modem”.

An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is just what the name indicates, a company that provides its customers with access to the Internet.

9. 1980s social policy : GLASNOST
Mikhail Gorbachev was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until the USSR dissolved in 1991. As well being associated with the ultimate collapse of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev’s name is linked with the policies of “Perestroika” and “Glasnost”. “Perestroika” (meaning “restructuring”) was his political and economic initiative to make socialism work more efficiently to better meet the needs of consumers. “Glasnost” (meaning “publicity, openness”) was Gorbachev’s policy of increased transparency of government in order to reduce levels of corruption in the Communist Party and government.

10. Pink gem : ROSE TOPAZ
Topaz is a semiprecious stone made from silicate containing aluminum and fluorine. Topaz is the state gemstone of Utah, and the rare blue topaz is the state gemstone of Texas.

11. What conquers “omnia,” in a phrase : AMOR
In Latin, “amor” (love) conquers “omnia” (all).

13. Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, e.g. : EXES
Actor Bruce Willis started to hit the big time when he got a lead role in the comedy detective series “Moonlighting” in the late eighties. Willis was born in Germany, where his father was stationed while serving in the US Army. Willis’ mother was German.

Demi Moore was born Demetria Guynes and took the name Demi Moore when she married her first husband, Freddy Moore. Moore’s second husband was Bruce Willis. She changed her name to Demi Guynes Kutcher a few years after marrying her third husband, Ashton Kutcher. But, Kutcher and Moore split in 2013.

18. Bunny of children’s literature : FLOPSY
Beatrix Potter was an English author, famous for the children’s books she wrote and illustrated. The most famous character in her stories was Peter Rabbit, whose sisters were Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail. Potter put her talent as an artist to good use in the scientific world as well. She recorded many images of lichens and fungi as seen through her microscope. As a result of her work, she was respected as an expert mycologist.

22. Resident of a popular “City” : SIM
“SimCity” is a very clever computer game. Players build and grow cities and societies by creating the conditions necessary for people (the Sims) to move in and thrive. “SimCity” was launched in 1989, and to this day it is consistently ranked as one of the greatest computer games of all time.

26. Latin eyes : OCULI
Oculus (plural “oculi”) is the Latin word for “eye”, and is used in architecture for a circular window.

29. Talker-upper, maybe : SHILL
A shill is someone planted, perhaps in an audience, with the job of feigning enthusiasm.

32. Splendor : ECLAT
“Éclat” can mean a brilliant show of success, or the applause or accolade that one receives. The word derives from the French “éclater” meaning “to splinter, burst out”.

33. Batik artists : DYERS
Genuine batik cloth is produced by applying wax to the parts of the cloth that are not to be dyed. After the cloth has been dyed, it is dried and then dipped in solvent that dissolves the wax.

41. Whom Kane in “Citizen Kane” is based on : HEARST
William Randolph Hearst got into publishing when he took over “The San Francisco Examiner” from his father George Hearst. Beyond his work in the newspaper business, William Randolph Hearst was also a politician and represented a district of New York in the US House. His life was the inspiration for the lead role in the 1941 movie “Citizen Kane” with Orson Welles playing the Hearst-like character. If you’re ever driving along the coast between Los Angeles and San Francisco, I’d recommend a stop at Hearst Castle, William Randolph’s magnificent estate located near San Simeon.

53. Terra ___ : FIRMA
“Terra firma” is Latin for “solid ground”.

54. W. C. Fields’s “I am free of all prejudice. I hate everyone equally,” e.g. : QUIP
W. C. Fields worked hard to develop the on-screen image of a pretty grumpy old man. In his real life he was fairly grumpy too, and fond of protecting his privacy. He was famous for hiding in the shrubs around his house in Los Angeles and firing a BB gun at the legs of tourists who intruded on his property. Also Fields often played the drunk on-screen. In real life, Fields didn’t touch alcohol at all when he was younger, partly because he didn’t want to do anything to impair his skill as a juggler. But later in life he took to heavy drinking, so much so that it affected his health and interfered with his ability to perform.

55. Cadet’s sch. : USMA
The United States Military Academy (USMA) accepts about 1,300 cadets each year, of which about 1,000 graduate, each with a bachelor of science degree. The graduates are then commissioned with the rank of second lieutenant. The first female candidates entered the USMA in 1976, and today about 15% of all new cadets are women.

56. All-grade : ELHI
“Elhi” is an informal word used to describe anything related to schooling from grades 1 through 12, i.e. elementary through high school.

57. Alchemist’s quest : GOLD
One of the main goals of the ancient practice of alchemy was to change base metals into gold, a process known as transmutation.

59. Man of Fortune : LUCE
Henry Luce was a publisher, mainly of magazines. He was responsible for launching such iconic publications as “Time”, “Life”, “Fortune” and “Sports Illustrated”.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Up : AHEAD
6. Group of whales : GAM
9. Shade of purple : GRAPE
14. XXII Winter Olympics locale : SOCHI
15. Outer opening? : EXO-
16. Bluesman Willie : LOMAX
17. Longest common word in the English language … that has its letters in reverse alphabetical order : SPOON-FEED
19. Synchronously : AS ONE
20. Fir coat? : TINSEL
21. … that forms another word when read backward : DESSERTS
23. Not estos or 60-Down : OTROS
25. Producer of change : MINT
26. Contemporary of Faraday : OHM
28. Goes (for) : OPTS
30. In a slip : MOORED
34. Slinky, e.g. : COIL
36. Neighbor of Manhattan’s Little Italy : SOHO
38. Airheaded : SPACY
39. … that has no repeated letters : UNCOPYRIGHTABLE
42. Auto option : LEASE
43. Srta., on the Seine : MLLE
44. Doubly bent construction piece : Z-BAR
45. Loafers : IDLERS
47. Edward who wrote “A Book of Nonsense” : LEAR
49. “___ a bird …” : IT’S
50. Melville adventure : OMOO
52. Not stay on topic : DRIFT
54. … that has five consecutive vowels : QUEUEING
58. Suppress : STIFLE
61. Old court org. : USLTA
62. … that is spelled entirely from the last dozen letters of the alphabet : TORTUROUS
64. “Turn on the A.C.” : I’M HOT
65. Pub suds : ALE
66. Old company whose logo featured a torch : AMOCO
67. Patriot who said “Government even in its best state is but a necessary evil” : PAINE
68. Many an email attachment : PDF
69. Gets on board : LADES

Down
1. Right hand: Abbr. : ASST
2. Early settlers around the Grand Canyon : HOPI
3. Budget-minded : ECONOMICAL
4. Lots : A HOST
5. Moolah : DINERO
6. “Hmm, I don’t know about that” : GEE
7. Cut from the payroll : AXED
8. Purchase from an I.S.P. : MODEM
9. 1980s social policy : GLASNOST
10. Pink gem : ROSE TOPAZ
11. What conquers “omnia,” in a phrase : AMOR
12. What a hot dog might do : PANT
13. Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, e.g. : EXES
18. Bunny of children’s literature : FLOPSY
22. Resident of a popular “City” : SIM
24. Subject of radar tracking : STORM
26. Latin eyes : OCULI
27. Gave an edge to : HONED
29. Talker-upper, maybe : SHILL
31. Carrots and lettuce, humorously : RABBIT FOOD
32. Splendor : ECLAT
33. Batik artists : DYERS
35. Miss : LOSE OUT ON
37. Like many beach bods : OGLED
40. Spread through : PERMEATE
41. Whom Kane in “Citizen Kane” is based on : HEARST
46. “___ heard” : SO I
48. Fraternity initiation, e.g. : RITUAL
51. Coming up : ON TAP
53. Terra ___ : FIRMA
54. W. C. Fields’s “I am free of all prejudice. I hate everyone equally,” e.g. : QUIP
55. Cadet’s sch. : USMA
56. All-grade : ELHI
57. Alchemist’s quest : GOLD
59. Man of Fortune : LUCE
60. See 23-Across : ESOS
63. One calling the shots? : REF

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