1023-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 23 Oct 15, Friday

QuickLinks:
Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
Solution to today’s SYNDICATED New York Times crossword in all other publications
Solution to today’s New York Times crossword found online at the Seattle Times website
Jump to a complete list of today’s clues and answers

Share today’s solution with a friend:
FacebookTwitterGoogleEmail

CROSSWORD SETTER: Evan Birnholz
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 17m 19s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Rural activity in an urban legend : COW TIPPING
Cow tipping is supposedly the pushing over of cows, for “fun”, as they sleep on their feet, and it’s an urban myth. Cows sleep lying down, and it’s practically impossible to push them over when they are standing up. No, I haven’t tried …

11. Acronym in casual dining : IHOP
The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) was founded back in 1958. IHOP was originally intended to be called IHOE, the International House of Eggs, but that name didn’t do too well in marketing tests …

15. Place for vocal supporters : AMEN CORNER
“Amen corner” is the name given to that location in a church where the congregation is particularly vocal in responding to the preacher. It’s a term that arose in Southern Baptist churches.

16. Wizard : MAGE
Mage is an archaic word for a magician.

20. One-named singer who was a muse for Andy Warhol : NICO
Nico was the stage name of the German singer born Christa Päffgen. Nico was one of Andy Warhol’s superstars, a group of personalities that gathered around him and whom he promoted in the sixties and seventies.

21. Lexicographers’ concerns : USAGES
A “lexicographer” is someone who compiles a dictionary. The term comes into English via French from the Greek “lexikon” meaning “wordbook” and “graphos” meaning “writer”.

23. “The breath of art,” per Frank Lloyd Wright : SPACE
The architect Frank Lloyd Wright embraced the philosophy of designing structures that were in harmony with the environment. One of his most famous works is an elaborate home in rural Pennsylvania known as Fallingwater, which is partially built over a waterfall.

24. Acts like a ham? : RADIOS
Amateur radio enthusiasts were originally called ham operators by professional telegraph operators, and the term was intended to be insulting. It came from the similar term “ham actor”, describing a person who is less than effective on the stage. But amateur operators eventually embraced the moniker and so it stuck.

30. Looking at it a long time might make your head hurt : OP ART
Op art is also known as optical art, and puts optical illusions to great effect.

31. “Democracy in fashion,” per Giorgio Armani : JEANS
Denim fabric originated in Nimes in France. The French phrase “de Nimes” (from Nimes) gives us the word “denim”. Also, the French phrase “bleu de Genes” (blue of Genoa) gives us our word “jeans”.

Giorgio Armani is an Italian fashion designer and founder of the company that has borne his name since 1975. Although Armani is famous for his menswear, the company makes everything from jewelry to perfume.

32. Scientific discovery of 1869 : DNA
DNA was first isolated in 1869 by Swiss physician and biologist. The molecular structure of DNA was identified in 1953, by the American and British team of James Watson and Francis Crick.

33. Skinny : LANK
The term “lank” can describe something that is straight and flat, particularly hair. The usage was extended in the early 1800s (especially in the form “lanky”) to mean “awkwardly tall and thin”.

34. One party in the Crimean War : TURKS
The Crimean War of 1855-1856 was fought between Russia and an alliance of France, Britain, the Ottoman Empire and Sardinia. One of the most famous engagements of the Crimean War was the 1854 Battle of Balaclava, which involved the disastrous Charge of the Light Brigade.

35. 2008 Libertarian candidate for president : BARR
Before Bob Barr joined the Libertarian party, he served as one of Georgia’s Republican Representatives in the US House. Barr came to prominence during the Clinton administration when he was one of the leaders of the movement to impeach the President, and the first representative to call for the President’s resignation after the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke.

36. “The Two Towers” creature : ORC
Orcs are mythical humanoid creatures that appear in the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien. Since Tolkien’s use of orcs, they have also been featured in other fantasy fiction and in fantasy games.

37. McDonald’s order with about 340 calories : FRIES
McDonald’s really popularized the concept of “fast food” when they introduced their Speedee Service System in 1948. Soon after, the company introduced its first mascot, a man with a hamburger head called Speedee. Speedee was replaced with Ronald McDonald in 1967.

38. Alternative to a Ding Dong : SUZY Q
Suzy Q is a line of snack cakes from Hostess.

A Ding Dong is a chocolate cake made by Hostess Brands. The Ding Dong was introduced in 1967.

42. Favor-seeking sort : CRONY
A crony is a friend or companion. The term originated as slang in Cambridge University in England in the 1600s. “Crony” is probably derived from the Greek “khronios” meaning “long-lasting”.

44. Hall-of-Famer Merlin Olsen and others, informally : LA RAMS
Merlin Olsen played in the NFL with the LA Rams. Olson was selected to the Pro Bowl 14 a record 14 times (shared with Bruce Matthews). After retiring from the game, his career continued to flourish. He worked as a sports broadcaster for many years, and then landed a major role on television’s “Little House on the Prairie”, playing Jonathan Garvey. In one episode, Garvey was to help coach a boy’s football team, so the writers gave Olsen’s character the tongue-in-cheek line “I don’t know nothin’ about football!” Olsen was also the commercial face of FTD florists for many years. Olson passed away in March 2010, aged 69.

50. Source of a controversial 1976 Jimmy Carter interview : PLAYBOY MAGAZINE
One of the most famous interviews to appear in “Playboy” magazine was with then-presidential candidate Jimmy Carter. The interview appeared just two weeks before the 1976 election. Carter’s was the only interview with someone who was to become US president.

Down
2. Something found on the toe of a boot? : OMAN
The Arabian Peninsula is shaped like a boot, with the Sultanate of Oman occupying the toe of that boot.

4. Boom maker : TNT
TNT is an abbreviation for trinitrotoluene. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.

6. Flowers also known as tussie-mussies : POSIES
The word “posy”, meaning a bouquet of flowers, comes from the word “poesy”, which was a line of verse engraved on the inner surface of a ring. The jump to “posy” came with the notion that the giving of flowers was a form of language in itself. A posy can also be called a nosegay or a tussie-mussie.

7. Actor Jonathan, whose name sounds like it’s worth something : PRYCE
Jonathan Pryce is an actor from Wales who has relatively small parts in some big films. I always remember Pryce as the secret agent being helped by the character played by Whoopi Goldberg in the fun movie “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”. For almost all of that film, we only hear Pryce’s very distinctive voice.

8. Skinny : INFO
The use of the word “skinny” meaning information, comes from WWII military slang for “the truth”, probably a derivative of the expression “the naked truth” (and by extension, “skinny-dipping”).

9. Opposite of paleo- : NEO-
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”.

10. Some modern deals : GROUPONS
Groupon is a deal-of-the-day website that was started in 2008. The concept behind the business is illustrated by the company name, a portmanteau of “group coupon”. Each day a discount coupon is offered to website members who sign up knowing that the coupon requires a minimum number of “takers” in order for it to be valid. If too few buyers sign up, then the coupon is void. When sufficient buyers sign up the coupon is honored, and the retailer benefits from the large volume of business generated. Groupon was very successful for a couple of years and predictions were made that the company would reach $1 billion in sales faster than any other company in history. That forecast has changed dramatically, and the CEO was ousted in February 2013.

12. “Made like no other” brand : HAAGEN-DAZS
Häagen-Dazs ice cream originated in the Bronx, New York in 1961. The name “Häagen-Dazs” is a “nonsense” term, words chosen for its Scandinavian feel that the producers thought would appeal to potential customers.

14. New Orleans N.B.A. team, informally : PELS
The New Orleans Pelicans joined the NBA in 1988 as an expansion team, originally based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The team was going to be called the Charlotte Spirit, but the name was changed following a “name the team” contest run in the local area. During the Revolutionary War, Lord General Cornwallis had referred to Charlotte as a “veritable nest of hornets” due the city’s resistance to British occupation, which explains the local fans’ fondness for the name “Hornets”. The franchise was moved to New Orleans for the 2002 season, as attendance wasn’t big enough to sustain the team in Charlotte. The team had to play two seasons in Oklahoma City due to damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, and played as the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets. After several years back in New Orleans, the franchise was renamed to the Pelicans, a nod to the Brown Pelican that is the Louisiana state bird.

18. Opponents of the Reds, once : TSARS
The term czar (also tsar) is a Slavic word that was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. “Czar” is derived from the word “Caesar”, which was synonymous with “emperor” at that time.

22. Captain of TV and film : KIRK
According to the storyline in “Star Trek”, Captain James Tiberius Kirk was born in Riverside, Iowa. The town of Riverside displays a plaque, noting Riverside as the “future birthplace of James T. Kirk.” Kirk was played by William Shatner.

24. Chocolate candies in the shape of truncated cones : ROLOS
Rolo was a hugely popular chocolate candy in Ireland when I was growing up. Rolo was introduced in the thirties in the UK, and is produced under license in the US by Hershey. I was a little disappointed when I had my first taste of the American version as the center is very hard and chewy. The recipe used on the other side of the Atlantic calls for a soft gooey center.

26. Twerking, e.g. : DANCE CRAZE
Twerking is a dancing move in which a woman (usually) shakes her hips up and down causing a lot of “wobbling”. It’s possible that “twerk” is a portmanteau of “twist” and “jerk”. The term may have been coined back in the early 2000s with the song “Whistle While You Twurk” released by the Ying Yang Twins. Twerking became a real phenomenon in 2013 when Miley Cyrus posted a video of herself twerking in a unicorn suit to the 2011 song “Wop” by J. Dash. That video went viral on YouTube, amassing over 4 million views in no time at all.

27. McDreamy’s first name on “Grey’s Anatomy” : DEREK
Patrick Dempsey is the actor who plays Dr. Derek Shepherd (aka “McDreamy”) on TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy”. Dempsey is also an avid race car driver in his spare time.

“Gray’s Anatomy” is a very successful human anatomy textbook that was first published back in 1858 and is still in print today. The original text was written by English anatomist Henry Gray, who gave his name to the work. The TV medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy” is centered on the character Dr. Meredith Grey, but the show’s title is a nod to the title of the famous textbook.

28. How a Reuben is made : ON RYE
There are conflicting stories about the origin of the Reuben sandwich. One is that it was invented around 1914 by Arnold Reuben, an immigrant from Germany who owned Reuben’s Deli in New York.

29. Dad’s rival : BARQS
When the Barq Brothers decided to go into the root beer business around 1900, they were faced with a dilemma as the Hires Root Beer Company was attempting to trademark the term “root beer”. So, the Barqs produced their beverage and called it simply Barq’s. They did indeed keep things simple, with an early advertising slogan of “Drink Barq’s. It’s good.” As the trademark issue dissipated, the company then introduced a slogan “Is it root beer?” before finally “coming out” and calling their drink “Barq’s root beer”.

Dad’s root beer was developed by Ely Klapman and Barney Berns in 1937, and was given the name “Dad’s” in honor of Klapman’s father who used to make root beer for his family at home.

34. Architectural crosspieces : TRANSOMS
When a window is placed above a door, the horizontal beam separating the two is called a transom.

37. Impolite thing to drop : F-BOMB
The term “F-bomb” refers to the four-letter word beginning with the letter F. “F-bomb” was first used in print in a “Newsday” article in 1988 in a story about baseball catcher Gary Carter.

38. Splits, e.g. : SUNDAES
There’s a lot of speculation about how the dessert called a sundae got its name, but there seems to be agreement that it is an alteration of the word “Sunday”.

43. Fish resembling a stingray : SKATE
Skates (formally “Rajidae”) are a family of fish in the superorder of rays (formally “batoidea”). Skates look very similar to stingrays but they lack stinging spines.

44. Sports org. with the Vare Trophy : LPGA
The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) was founded in 1950 by a group of 13 lady golfers, and today it is the oldest ongoing women’s sports professional organization in the US.

The Vare Trophy is awarded by the LPGA to the player with the lowest scoring average in a season. The trophy is named for Glenna Collett-Vare who is said to have been the greatest female golfer of the 1920s.

46. “Man who stabbed, so to speak, without offence,” in a 1911 novel : SMEE
In J. M. Barrie’s play and novel about Peter Pan, Smee is one of Captain Hook’s pirates and is Hook’s right-hand man. Smee is described by Barrie as being “Irish” and “a man who stabbed without offence”. Nice guy! Captain Hook and Smee sail on the pirate ship called the Jolly Roger.

47. Singer with the 4x platinum album “No Angel” : DIDO
Dido is an English singer and songwriter. Dido’s real name is Florian Cloud de Bounevialle Armstrong. She was born on Christmas Day 1971, and celebrates a second birthday every year on June 25th. In this regard Dido is just like Paddington Bear, with one birthday on December 25th, and another on June 25th.

48. Playing past regulation, informally : IN OT
Overtime (OT)

51. Material for Voldemort’s wand : YEW
Voldemort is the main “bad guy” in the “Harry Potter” series of books. I heard J. K. Rowling, the author of the books, on the radio the other day and she tells us that “Voldemort” is supposed to be pronounced with a silent “t” on the end, so it sounds kind of French. But when the movies came out the actors went with the hard “t”, and that’s the pronunciation that seems to prevail now.

Share today’s solution with a friend:
FacebookTwitterGoogleEmail

Return to top of page

For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Rural activity in an urban legend : COW TIPPING
11. Acronym in casual dining : IHOP
15. Place for vocal supporters : AMEN CORNER
16. Wizard : MAGE
17. Team-building exercise? : FANTASY FOOTBALL
19. Certain pick in 17-Across : END
20. One-named singer who was a muse for Andy Warhol : NICO
21. Lexicographers’ concerns : USAGES
22. Cap site : KNEE
23. “The breath of art,” per Frank Lloyd Wright : SPACE
24. Acts like a ham? : RADIOS
27. Turning point? : DOORKNOB
30. Looking at it a long time might make your head hurt : OP ART
31. “Democracy in fashion,” per Giorgio Armani : JEANS
32. Scientific discovery of 1869 : DNA
33. Skinny : LANK
34. One party in the Crimean War : TURKS
35. 2008 Libertarian candidate for president : BARR
36. “The Two Towers” creature : ORC
37. McDonald’s order with about 340 calories : FRIES
38. Alternative to a Ding Dong : SUZY Q
39. “Make room!” : STEP BACK!
41. Babies : WUSSES
42. Favor-seeking sort : CRONY
43. Posted : SENT
44. Hall-of-Famer Merlin Olsen and others, informally : LA RAMS
46. ___ marks : SKID
47. Super Bowl party bowl : DIP
50. Source of a controversial 1976 Jimmy Carter interview : PLAYBOY MAGAZINE
53. Peer : GAZE
54. Hit directly : MEET HEAD-ON
55. Agape, say : AWED
56. Perfect places for hitting things : SWEET SPOTS

Down
1. Internet ___ : CAFE
2. Something found on the toe of a boot? : OMAN
3. Meander : WEND
4. Boom maker : TNT
5. “That’s impossible for me” : I CANNOT
6. Flowers also known as tussie-mussies : POSIES
7. Actor Jonathan, whose name sounds like it’s worth something : PRYCE
8. Skinny : INFO
9. Opposite of paleo- : NEO-
10. Some modern deals : GROUPONS
11. “It’s me again” : I’M BACK
12. “Made like no other” brand : HAAGEN-DAZS
13. Make goo-goo eyes at : OGLE
14. New Orleans N.B.A. team, informally : PELS
18. Opponents of the Reds, once : TSARS
22. Captain of TV and film : KIRK
23. Gets into hot water? : SOAKS
24. Chocolate candies in the shape of truncated cones : ROLOS
25. Not together : APART
26. Twerking, e.g. : DANCE CRAZE
27. McDreamy’s first name on “Grey’s Anatomy” : DEREK
28. How a Reuben is made : ON RYE
29. Dad’s rival : BARQS
31. Like some details : JUICY
34. Architectural crosspieces : TRANSOMS
35. Complete dud : BUST
37. Impolite thing to drop : F-BOMB
38. Splits, e.g. : SUNDAES
40. Hoped beyond hope : PRAYED
41. Datum on a birth announcement : WEIGHT
43. Fish resembling a stingray : SKATE
44. Sports org. with the Vare Trophy : LPGA
45. ___ unto oneself : A LAW
46. “Man who stabbed, so to speak, without offence,” in a 1911 novel : SMEE
47. Singer with the 4x platinum album “No Angel” : DIDO
48. Playing past regulation, informally : IN OT
49. They may be felt on a desk : PENS
51. Material for Voldemort’s wand : YEW
52. What lightning bolts do : ZAP

Return to top of page

3 thoughts on “1023-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 23 Oct 15, Friday”

  1. Any grid that starts with COWTIPPING and ends with SWEETSPOTS is pretty darn fun to work on. I whiffed on MEETHEADON (kept thinking "meet the _d on"???). Obviously quite a contemporary puzzle. Except I've never heard of the New Orleans Pelicans nicknamed that. Maybe they are, I dunno. Enjoyed this one.

  2. Didn't time myself, but I finished with no errors and with only a few blank-stare periods. There were quite a few entries I'd either never heard of or had totally forgotten about (like DEREK, PELS, DIDO, NICO, ROLOS, BARR, and SUZY Q), but, in each case, a crossing entry came to the rescue.

    I was surprised to learn that DNA was discovered in 1869, even though its structure wasn't understood until much later.

    I grew up around cows and I think they actually can sleep standing up. And they aren'tt nearly as dumb as most people think; they just pretend to be. As a somewhat under-sized farm kid, I was once trapped for twenty minutes between two of the wily creatures in our milking parlor. When they heard my mother coming down to the barn to find out what was going on, they stepped apart and resumed their dumb act, leaving me to try to explain why I had made so little progress in that twenty minutes. (Gary Larson, the "Far Side" cartoonist, must have been a farm kid; he understood this about cows.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.