1021-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 21 Oct 15, Wednesday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Mary Lou Guizzo & Jeff Chen
THEME: Fool to Sage … we have an adage in the grid today, along with a word ladder that illustrates said adage:

17A. Part 1 of a maxim by Publilius Syrus, hinted at by the series of circled letters : LET A FOOL …
20A. Part 2 of the maxim : … HOLD HIS TONGUE ….
60A. Part 3 of the maxim : … AND HE WILL PASS ….
65A. End of the maxim : … FOR A SAGE

The accompanying word ladder takes us from FOOL to SAGE:

FOOL
TOOL
TOLL
TALL
TALE
SALE
SANE
SAGE

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 10m 08s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Flexible, electrically speaking : AC/DC
Anyone with a laptop with an external power supply has an AC/DC converter, that big “block” in the power cord. It converts the AC current from a wall socket into the DC current that is used by the laptop.

5. “Calculating” device : GPS
Global Positioning System (GPS)

15. Alley-___ : OOP
An “alley-oop” is a play in basketball in which one player throw the ball close to the basket for a teammate who usually scores with a slam dunk.

16. Alaskan grizzly : KODIAK
Brown bears are found over much of northern Europe, Asia, and North America. The biggest subspecies of brown bear is the Kodiak Bear, the largest land-based predator in the world. The Kodiak grows to about the same size as the enormous polar bear.

17. Part 1 of a maxim by Publilius Syrus, hinted at by the series of circled letters : LET A FOOL …
20. Part 2 of the maxim : … HOLD HIS TONGUE ….
60. Part 3 of the maxim : … AND HE WILL PASS ….
65. End of the maxim : … FOR A SAGE
Publilius Syrus was a writer of adages and proverbs in Ancient Roman times. He was a freed slave, originally a Syrian, who was freed by his master in Italy. Publilius wrote the adage “People who are always moving, with no roots in one place, avoid responsibilities and cares”. We are more familiar with the contemporary “A rolling stone gathers no moss”.

28. Looney Tunes “devil,” informally : TAZ
The “Looney Tunes” character known as the Tasmanian Devil, or “Taz”, first appeared on screens in 1964 but gained real popularity in the 1990s.

The carnivorous marsupial known as the Tasmanian devil is aptly named, in the sense that the only place the animal is found in the wild is on the island of Tasmania. The “little devils” are about the size of a small dog, and they have the strongest bite for their size of any known mammal.

30. Houlihan player on “M*A*S*H” : SWIT
Loretta Swit started playing “Hot Lips” Houlihan on “M*A*S*H” in 1972. She and Alan Alda were the only actors who appeared in both the pilot and the series finale. Swit has written a book on needlepoint, would you believe? It’s called “A Needlepoint Scrapbook”.

34. Prego competitor : RAGU
The Ragu brand of pasta sauce is owned by Unilever. The name ” Ragù” is the Italian word for a sauce used to dress pasta, however the spelling is off a little. In Italian the word is “Ragù” with a grave accent over the “u”, but if you look at a jar of the Unilever sauce, it is spelled “Ragú” on the label, with an acute accent. Sometimes I think we just don’t try …

The Prego brand of pasta sauce is owned by the Campbell Soup Company. It is actually based on the family recipe of one of the company’s chefs. “Prego” literally means “I pray” in Italian, but it translates in English best as “you’re welcome” when it is used after a “thank you” (“grazie”, in Italian).

41. G.I. fare : MRE
The Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) comes in a lightweight package that’s easy to tote around. The MRE replaced the more cumbersome Meal, Combat, Individual (MCI) in 1981, a meal-in-a-can. In turn, the MCI had replaced the C-ration in 1958, a less sophisticated meal-in-a-can with a more limited choice.

42. Some military choppers : HUEYS
The military helicopter known as the Bell UH-1 Iroquois is usually referred to as the “Huey”. The Huey was first used by the US Army for medevac and utility operations in the mid-fifties. About 7,000 Hueys saw service in the Vietnam War. The US military phased out the Huey relatively recently, mainly replacing it with the UH-60 Black Hawk.

44. “BOGO” event : SALE
Buy one, get one (BOGO); buy one, get one free (BOGOF).

53. R.V. stopover : KOA
Kampgrounds of America (KOA) was founded in 1962 by Montana businessman Dave Drum, who opened up his first property along the Yellowstone River. His strategy was to offer a rich package of services including hot showers, restrooms and a store, which he hoped would attract people used to camping in the rough. The original campground was an immediate hit and Drum took on two partners and sold franchises all over the country. There are about 500 KOA sites today.

Recreational vehicle (RV)

58. Carrere of “Wayne’s World” : TIA
Tia Carrere is an actress from Honolulu who got her break in the soap opera “General Hospital”. Carrere is perhaps best known for playing Cassandra Wong in the “Wayne’s World” movies.

“Wayne’s World” was originally a Saturday Night Live sketch starring Mike Myers (as Wayne) and Dana Carvey. The sketch was so successful that it was parlayed into two hit movies, released in 1992 and 1993. Not my cup of tea though …

68. Saffron-flavored dish : PAELLA
Paella is sometime referred to as the Spanish national dish, but not by Spaniards. In Spain, paella is regarded as a typical regional dish from Valencia.

Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice by weight. The spice is derived from the saffron crocus. The spice itself is the dried stigma found in the flower of the plant.

69. Mamie’s man : IKE
Mamie Eisenhower has to have been one of the most charming of all the First Ladies of the United States. Ms. Eisenhower suffered from an inner ear complaint called Ménière’s disease which caused her to lose her balance quite often. Because she was unsteady on her feet there were unfounded rumors floating around Washington that Ms. Eisenhower had a drinking problem. People can be very unkind …

Down
1. Owner of MapQuest and Moviefone : AOL
MapQuest is a very popular Internet site, one that provides driving directions and maps. MapQuest has been owned by AOL since 2000. One nice feature of MapQuest is a page where gas prices are recorded by users, allowing others to find the lowest price in their area.

Moviefone is a movie listing service that is available by telephone in many parts of the country.

2. Physician-turned-revolutionary : CHE
Ernesto “Che” Guevara was born in Argentina, and in 1948 he started to study medicine at the University of Buenos Aires. While at school he satisfied his need to “see the world” by taking two long journeys around South America, the story of which are told in Guevara’s memoir later published as “The Motorcycle Diaries”. While travelling, Guevara was moved by the plight of the people he saw and their working conditions and what he viewed as capitalistic exploitation. In Mexico City he met brothers Raul and Fidel Castro and was persuaded to join their cause, the overthrow of the US-backed government in Cuba. He rose to second-in-command among the Cuban insurgents, and when Castro came to power Guevara was influential in repelling the Bay of Pigs Invasion and bringing Soviet nuclear missiles to the island. Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to continue his work as a revolutionary. He was captured by Bolivian forces in 1967, and was executed. Fidel Castro led the public mourning of Guevara’s death, and soon the revolutionary was an icon for many left-wing movements around the world.

3. “The lady ___ protest too much”: Shak. : DOTH
“The lady doth protest too much, methinks” is a line spoken by Queen Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother in the play by William Shakespeare.

5. Mr. ___ (Hershey’s product) : GOODBAR
The Hershey’s candy bar called Mr. Goodbar has been around since 1925. If you buy one today you’ll read the description “made with chocolate and peanuts”. That wording is very deliberate as when Hershey changed the formula to save money in 2008, the FDA ruled that the cheaper formulation could not be described as “milk chocolate”, hence the single word “chocolate”.

6. Bear of children’s lit : POOH
Alan Alexander (A.A.) Milne was an English author, best known for his delightful “Winnie-the-Pooh” series of books. He had only one son, Christopher Robin Milne, born in 1920. The young Milne was the inspiration for the Christopher Robin character in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Winnie-the-Pooh was named after Christopher Robin’s real teddy bear, one he called Winnie, who in turn was named after a Canadian black bear called Winnie that the Milnes would visit in London Zoo. The original Winnie teddy bear is on display at the main branch of the New York Public Library in New York.

9. Easter Island statue, e.g. : MONOLITH
The moai are the huge human figures carved out of stone by the native people on Easter Island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean. There are 887 moai in total on the island, the tallest of which is almost 33 feet tall and weighs 82 tons.

Rapa Nui is the Polynesian name for what we are more likely to call Easter Island. The European name was coined by the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, who came across the island on Easter Sunday in the year 1722. Easter Island is inhabited, and is a location that is remarkably distant from neighboring civilization. The nearest inhabited island is Pitcairn Island, almost 1300 miles away.

10. Score after deuce : AD IN
In tennis, if the score reaches “deuce” (i.e. when both players have scored three points), then the first player to win two points in a row wins the game. The player who wins the point immediately after deuce is said to have the “advantage”. If the player with the advantage wins the next point then that’s two in a row and that player wins the game. If the person with the advantage loses the next point, then advantage is lost and the players return to deuce and try again. If the one of the players is calling out the score then if he/she has the advantage then that player announces “ad in” or more formally “advantage in”. If the score announcer’s opponent has the advantage, then the announcement is “ad out” or “advantage out”. Follow all of that …?

12. Anklebone : TALUS
The collection of seven bones in the foot just below the foot are known collectively as the tarsus. One of those bones is the talus (plural “tali”), more commonly called the ankle bone. The talus is the lower part of the ankle joint and articulates with the lower ends of the tibia and fibula in the lower leg.

13. Sport utilizing a throwing machine : SKEET
There are three types of competitive shotgun target shooting sports:

– Skeet shooting
– Trap shooting
– Sporting clays

18. Move like a moth : FLIT
It isn’t really understood why moths are attracted to artificial lights. There is one theory that sounds plausible to me though. It is suggested that moths navigate at night by maintaining the moon (the brightest celestial object) at a fixed angle. When a moth finds a brighter light source, like an artificial light, it gets confused.

26. First graphic novel to win a Pulitzer (1992) : MAUS
“Maus” is a graphic novel published in 1991, although it appeared in serial from from 1980 to 1991. Written and drawn by cartoonist Art Spiegelman, “Maus” became the first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer, doing so in 1992.

29. Between-periods equipment : ZAMBONI
The first ice resurfacing machine was developed in 1949 by one Frank Zamboni. The machine works by simultaneously executing a number of tasks. First, the surface of the ice is scraped off by a sharp blade. Next the ice is “washed” with water sprayed from the front of the Zamboni, and that wash water is vacuumed back up and filtered to remove impurities. Water is then reapplied to the scraped ice by a wet towel dragging behind the machine, forming a new skating surface.

31. Offerer of hot tips : TOUT
A “tout” (mainly in the British Isles) is someone who checks out racehorses and sell information gained to people placing bets.

33. Palindromic magazine title : ELLE
“Elle” magazine was founded in 1945 in France and today has the highest circulation of any fashion magazine in the world. “Elle” is the French word for “she”. “Elle” is published monthly worldwide, although you can pick up a weekly edition if you live in France.

The three most famous palindromes in English have to be:

– Able was I ere I saw Elba
– A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!
– Madam, I’m Adam

One of my favorite words is “Aibohphobia”, although it doesn’t appear in the dictionary and is a joke term. “Aibohphobia” is a great way to describe a fear of palindromes, by creating a palindrome out of the suffix “-phobia”.

35. “Despicable Me” supervillain : GRU
The main protagonist in the “Despicable Me” movies is the supervillain Felonius Gru, usually referred to simply as “Gru”.

“Despicable Me” is a 2010 animated comedy film. The main voice actor in the movie is the very funny Steve Carell. “Despicable Me” is a Universal Pictures production, although all of the animation was done in France. The 2010 film was followed by a sequel “Despicable Me 2” released in 2013, with a prequel/spinoff film called “Minions” released in 2015.

37. Release à la Edward Snowden : LEAK
Edward Snowden is a former NSA contractor who leaked several top secret NSA documents to the media beginning in June 2013. After disclosing his name as the source of the leaks, Snowden tried to seek asylum in Ecuador. While travelling to Ecuador he had a layover in Moscow. While in Moscow, the US government revoked his passport, which effectively left him stranded in the transit area of Moscow Airport. The Russian government eventually granted him annually-renewable temporary asylum.

38. Lovett of country : LYLE
As well as being famous in his own right as a successful country singer, Lyle Lovett is known for his marriage to the actress Julia Roberts in 1993. The pair had a whirlwind romance lasting just three weeks before they eloped and were wed. The marriage was also relatively whirlwind, lasting less than two years.

46. Extracurricular study for many a high school jr. : SAT PREP
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 acronym SAT.

51. Antipiracy org. : RIAA
The Recording Industry of America (RIAA) represents music distributors. It is the RIAA that certifies records that have gone gold and platinum i.e. reached fixed sales thresholds. It’s also the RIAA that goes after individuals who share music illegally online.

53. Honor society letter : KAPPA
Phi Beta Kappa was the first collegiate Greek fraternity in the US, founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary. The organization served as a model for future collegiate fraternities and sororities, although in the 19th century Phi Beta Kappa distanced itself from the fraternal focus and transformed into the honor society that it is today, recognizing academic excellence. The initials Phi Beta Kappa stand for “philosophia biou kybernētēs”, which translates into “philosophy is the guide of life”. The symbol of the Phi Beta Kappa Society is a golden key.

54. 10-year-old Oscar winner for “Paper Moon” : O’NEAL
Tatum O’Neal is the youngest actress to win a “competitive” Oscar. She won the Best Supporting Actress Award in 1974 when she was just 10 years old, for her role as Addie in “Paper Moon”. The youngest person to win an honorary Academy Award was Shirley Temple, who was only 5 years old when she was presented with an Oscar in 1934.

“Paper Moon” is a 1973 comedy film that tells the story of a father and daughter during the Great Depression. The onscreen father and daughter are played by real-life father and daughter Ryan and Tatum O’Neal. The original choices for the lead roles were Paul Newman and his daughter Nell Potts, but they left the project after director John Huston also dropped out.

55. Pertinent, in law : AD REM
The Latin term “ad rem” translates literally as “to the matter”.

61. Port on the Big Island : HILO
Hilo is the largest settlement on the Big Island of Hawai’i, with a population of over 43,000 (that’s not very many!). I love the Big Island …

62. Shape-shifting Norse god : LOKI
Loki is a god appearing in Norse mythology. He is a “shape shifter”, a being who can appear in different forms. In one story about Loki, he was punished by other gods for having caused the death of Baldr, the god of light and beauty. Loki is bound to a sharp rock using the entrails of one of his sons. A serpent drips venom which is collected in a bowl, and then his wife must empty the venom onto Loki when the bowl is full. The venom causes Loki great pain, and his writhing results in what we poor mortals experience as earthquakes.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Flexible, electrically speaking : AC/DC
5. “Calculating” device : GPS
8. Braininess : SMARTS
14. “Call on me! Call on me!” : OH! OH!
15. Alley-___ : OOP
16. Alaskan grizzly : KODIAK
17. Part 1 of a maxim by Publilius Syrus, hinted at by the series of circled letters : LET A FOOL …
19. Sitting at a red light, say : IN IDLE
20. Part 2 of the maxim : … HOLD HIS TONGUE ….
22. Bro, e.g. : SIB
23. Level, for one : TOOL
24. Ballpark fig. : EST
25. Sitter’s handful : IMP
28. Looney Tunes “devil,” informally : TAZ
30. Houlihan player on “M*A*S*H” : SWIT
32. See 47-Across : TALE
34. Prego competitor : RAGU
36. Damage inflicted : TOLL
39. Drawing contests? : DUELS
41. G.I. fare : MRE
42. Some military choppers : HUEYS
44. “BOGO” event : SALE
45. Gets free, as a smoke : BUMS
47. With 32-Across, whopper : TALL
48. Place for a pavilion : EXPO
50. Place for a stud : EAR
52. Cipher creator’s need : KEY
53. R.V. stopover : KOA
56. All there : SANE
58. Carrere of “Wayne’s World” : TIA
60. Part 3 of the maxim : … AND HE WILL PASS ….
64. Risks : PERILS
65. End of the maxim : … FOR A SAGE
68. Saffron-flavored dish : PAELLA
69. Mamie’s man : IKE
70. State firmly : AVOW
71. “Missed it by tha-a-at much!” : ALMOST
72. Beat by a hair : NIP
73. “That hurts!” : YEOW!

Down
1. Owner of MapQuest and Moviefone : AOL
2. Physician-turned-revolutionary : CHE
3. “The lady ___ protest too much”: Shak. : DOTH
4. Total confusion : CHAOS
5. Mr. ___ (Hershey’s product) : GOODBAR
6. Bear of children’s lit : POOH
7. Win one, lose one : SPLIT
8. Winter lift : SKI TOW
9. Easter Island statue, e.g. : MONOLITH
10. Score after deuce : AD IN
11. Potato chip feature : RIDGE
12. Anklebone : TALUS
13. Sport utilizing a throwing machine : SKEET
18. Move like a moth : FLIT
21. Sarcastic “Sorry!” : SO SUE ME!
25. “___ be an honor!” : IT’D
26. First graphic novel to win a Pulitzer (1992) : MAUS
27. Courtroom entry : PLEA
29. Between-periods equipment : ZAMBONI
31. Offerer of hot tips : TOUT
33. Palindromic magazine title : ELLE
35. “Despicable Me” supervillain : GRU
37. Release à la Edward Snowden : LEAK
38. Lovett of country : LYLE
40. Advertising truism : SEX SELLS
43. Like some grins : SLY
46. Extracurricular study for many a high school jr. : SAT PREP
49. Handles clumsily : PAWS AT
51. Antipiracy org. : RIAA
53. Honor society letter : KAPPA
54. 10-year-old Oscar winner for “Paper Moon” : O’NEAL
55. Pertinent, in law : AD REM
57. Like a pixie : ELFIN
59. Test, as ore : ASSAY
61. Port on the Big Island : HILO
62. Shape-shifting Norse god : LOKI
63. Command under “File” : SAVE
66. Icky stuff : GOO
67. “That’s icky!” : EWW!

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7 thoughts on “1021-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 21 Oct 15, Wednesday”

  1. I sometimes hear the mechanic at the service station say to leave my car in idle while he checks the engine. But sometimes he say neutral. I'll pay attention next time. Is it a regional difference?

  2. 10:57, no errors. Just my 2 cents, I have heard the expressions 'in neutral' and 'on idle'; but not the combination 'in idle'.

  3. Two hours, fifty-five minutes, no errors … 🙂 … at the end, I could not decide between TIA Carrerre / RIAA and TEA Carrere / REAA, so I put the puzzle down and went back to cutting up a huge cottonwood branch for my chimenea, interrupted by a very necessary nap, after which I returned to the puzzle and made the correct guess.

    IN IDLE went right by me as I did the puzzle, but I agree with others that it sounds a little off; IN NEUTRAL would be my normal choice of words.

    For 70 across ("State firmly"), I initially put AVER, rather than AVOW, and I still think AVER fits the definition better.

  4. Yes, people do say in idle; at least, *I* do….

    Have never understood the appeal of word ladders. To me, they're worth about as much as one of those trophies kids get "just for participating" in some intramural event. And, as usual, the "payoff" for this one was REALLY forced.

  5. According to Merriam-Webster's dictionary website, to AVER is to state firmly and to AVOW is to state publicly or openly [paraphrased]; so I agree with Dave Kennison: the response to "state firmly" should be AVER…bad editing on Will Shortz's part.

    Initially I typed IDLING but had to change it to the uncomfortable (to my ears) IN IDLE to make the crosses work. A Google search brought up enough uses of "in idle" to convince me it wasn't a horrible response for the clue, but it still sounds awkward to me.

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