1105-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 5 Nov 15, Thursday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Samuel A. Donaldson
THEME: Higher Power … each of today’s themed answers contains the NTH POWER, i.e. the hidden letter sequence NTH. This is a HIGHER POWER, and so the NTH sequence of letters is written above the rest of the answer. Complicated, I know …

63A. Divine being … or a hint to 17-, 31- and 48-Across : HIGHER POWER

17A. Groundbreaking 1970s sitcom : ALL IN THE FAMILY
31A. Just before the deadline : ELEVENTH HOUR
48A. Point beyond which light cannot escape from a black hole : EVENT HORIZON

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 15m 58s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Travolta’s “Saturday Night Fever” role : MANERO
“Saturday Night Fever” was a phenomenal movie in its day, but to be honest I don’t think it has aged well. I still love the soundtrack, the third best selling movie soundtrack of all time (number one is “The Bodyguard” and number two is “Purple Rain”, would you believe?). “Saturday Night Fever” was the first film for which the soundtrack was launched before the movie itself, in a cross-marketing exercise designed to hype the movie before its release.

The actor, dancer and singer John Travolta got his first break playing student Vinnie Barbarino in the sitcom “Welcome Back, Kotter” in the seventies. While still on the TV show, Travolta showed off his dancing skills on two fabulous musical films: “Saturday Night Fever” (1977) and “Grease” (1978). His career then took a bit of dip, before resurging again with his role in the 1994 Quentin Tarantino blockbuster “Pulp Fiction”.

7. Word following Kansas or Oklahoma : CITY
The Kansas City metropolitan area straddles the stateline between Kansas and Missouri. The metropolitan area includes several cities, with the largest being (in order):

– Kansas City, Missouri
– Overland Park, Kansas
– Kansas City, Kansas
– Independence, Missouri

Oklahoma City is the largest city in Oklahoma, and the state capital. Although it is only the 29th most-populous city in the country, Oklahoma City is the eighth-largest by land area. Sadly, the city suffered the nation’s worst act of domestic terrorism, the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building that caused the death of 168 people.

11. Election night abbr. : PCT
Percent (pct.)

14. Column base : PLINTH
A plinth is a block on which something is placed, especially a column. The Greek word “plinthos” means “squared stone”.

16. Part of B.C.E. : ERA
The designations Anno Domini (AD, “year of Our Lord”) and Before Christ (BC) are found in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. The dividing point between AD and BC is the year of the conception of Jesus, with AD 1 following 1 BC without a year “0” in between. The AD/BC scheme dates back to AD 525, and gained wide acceptance soon after AD 800. Nowadays a modified version has become popular, with CE (Common/Christian Era) used to replace AD, and BCE (Before the Common/Christian Era) used to replace BC.

17. Groundbreaking 1970s sitcom : ALL IN THE FAMILY
“All in the Family” is an American sitcom, a remake of the incredibly successful BBC show called “Till Death Us Do Part”. Both the UK and US versions of the sitcom were groundbreaking in that the storyline brought into focus topics previously considered unsuitable for a television comedy, including racism, homosexuality, women’s liberation, menopause and impotence. “All in the Family” is one of only three TV shows that has topped the Nielsen ratings for five consecutive seasons (the other two are “The Cosby Show” and “American Idol”). Stars of the show are:

– Carroll O’Connor as Archie Bunker
– Jean Stapleton as Edith Bunker
– Sally Struthers as Gloria Stivic née Bunker
– Rob Reiner as Michael Stivic

22. Three of a kind, in Texas hold’em : SET
The official birthplace of the incredibly popular poker game of Texas Hold ‘Em is Robstown, Texas where the game dates back to the early 1900s. The game was introduced into Las Vegas in 1967 by a group of Texan enthusiasts including Doyle Brunson, a champion often seen playing on TV today. Doyle Brunson published a poker strategy guide in 1978, and this really helped increase the popularity of the game. But it was the inclusion of Texas Hold ‘Em in the television line-up that really gave the game its explosive surge in popularity, with the size of the prize money just skyrocketing.

34. Baker’s qty. : DOZ
A “baker’s dozen” is thirteen, and is a phrase that dates back to the sixteenth century. Apparently, the expression comes from the practice of bakers back then adding one loaf to every twelve, primarily for fear of being fined for supplying fewer loaves than had been purchased.

Our word “dozen” is used for a group of twelve. We imported it into English from Old French. The modern French word for twelve is “douze”, and a dozen is “douzaine”.

38. Book after Joel : AMOS
Amos is one of the twelve minor prophets in the Hebrew Bible.

40. Missouri birthplace of Harry Truman : LAMAR
Lamar, Missouri was named for Mirabeau B. Lamar, the second President of the Republic of Texas. Most notably, Lamar was the birthplace of President Harry S. Truman.

Harry Truman wanted to go to West Point having served with the Missouri Army National Guard on active duty in WWI, but he couldn’t get in because of his poor eyesight. Young Truman didn’t have the money to pay for college anywhere else. He did manage to study for two years towards a law degree at the Kansas City Law School in the twenties, but he never finished his schooling. So, Harry S. Truman was the last US President (out of a list of ten) who did not have a college degree.

42. Big record label in 1960s pop : ATCO
Atco Records is an American record label founded in 1955, taking its name from the parent company Atlantic Corporation.

43. Column that’s beside the point? : TENTHS
The figure to the right of the decimal point in a number represents tenths.

47. Logical extremes? : ELS
At the ends (extremes) of the word “logical” are two letters L (el).

48. Point beyond which light cannot escape from a black hole : EVENT HORIZON
In a black hole, the “event horizon” is the “point of no return”, the point at which the pull of gravity is so strong that nothing can escape the hole, including light.

55. Address book replacer, for short : PDA
Personal digital assistant (PDA)

56. Ingenuous one : NAIF
A naïf is someone who is naive, as “naïf” is the French word for “naive”.

So often in literature, the movies and on stage, there is an innocent woman at the the center of the story. Such stock characters came to be known as ingénues, a term derived from the French adjective “ingénu” meaning innocent, virtuous, candid and “ingenuous”.

58. Practical joke : JAPE
“To jape” means “to joke or quip”. The exact origins of “jape” are unclear, but it does seem to come from Old French. In the mid-1600’s “to jape” was a slang term meaning “to have sex with”. No joke!

62. Effeminate : FEY
“Fey” is such a lovely word, meaning magical or fairy-like. It comes from the Middle English word “feie” which has a less pleasant definition, “fated to die”. The term has been extended over the past century to mean “effeminate”.

67. It may be waved at the Olympics : EPEE
The sword known as an épée has a three-sided blade. The épée is similar to a foil and sabre, both of which are also thrusting weapons. However, the foil and saber have rectangular cross-sections.

68. Opera with the “Willow Song” : OTELLO
Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Otello” was first performed in 1887 at La Scala Theater in Milan. The opera is based on Shakespeare’s play “Othello” and is considered by many to be Verdi’s greatest work.

69. Original D&D co. : TSR
Dungeons & Dragons is a complex role-playing game first published in 1974, by Tactical Studies Rules Incorporated (TSR). Dungeons & Dragons was probably the first of the modern role-playing games to be developed, and the most successful. It is still played by lots of people today, including my nerdy son …

Down
1. Org. associated with filmratings.com : MPAA
The Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) film-rating system (PG-13, R, etc.) is purely voluntary and is not backed by any law. Movie theaters agree to abide by the rules that come with the MPAA ratings in exchange for access to new movies.

3. Locale in Exodus : NILE
Depending on definition, the Nile is generally regarded as the longest river on the planet. The Nile forms from two major tributaries, the White Nile and the Blue Nile, which join together near Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. From Khartoum the Nile flows north, traveling almost entirely through desert making it central to life for the peoples living along its length.

The Book of Exodus is the second book in the Bible, and deals with Moses leading the Hebrews out of Egypt. The name “exodus” comes from the Greek “exodos” meaning “departure”.

5. Mail abbr. : RTE
Route (rte.)

7. Short negligee, for short : CAMI
A camisole (also “cami”) is a sleeveless undergarment worn by women that extends down to the waist. “Camisole” is a French word that we imported into English, which ultimately derives from the Latin “camisia” meaning “shirt, nightgown”.

Our word “negligee” is borrowed from the French. In France, the word “négligée” described a simple loose gown worn by women. The term came from the French for “neglect”, reflecting the “neglected” look of the simple gown compared to the elaborate clothing worn by society women.

12. Admits defeat : CRIES UNCLE
To “say uncle” is an American expression meaning to submit or yield. Its usage dates back to the early 1900s, but nobody seems to know how “uncle!” came to mean “stop!”

18. First name in German politics : ANGELA
The formidable politician Angela Merkel is the current Chancellor of Germany, the country’s head of state. Merkel is the first female German Chancellor and when she chaired the G8 in 2007 she became only the second woman to do so, after the UK’s Margaret Thatcher. Merkel grew up in East Germany under Communist rule.

27. -: Abbr. : NEG
Negative (neg, “-”)

28. Mother of Selene : THEA
In Greek mythology, Theia (also “Thea”) is a goddess of the moon. Theia’s brother and consort is Hyperion, the god of the sun. Theia and Hyperion are the parents of Helios (the Sun), Selene (the Moon) and Eos (the Dawn).

Selene was the Greek goddess of the moon, the equivalent of the Roman deity, Luna. Selene gave her name to the word “selenology”, the study of the geology of the moon, and also gave her name to the chemical element “selenium”. According to mythology, Selene fell in love with the handsome hunter/shepherd Endymion, a mere mortal.

30. It’s found all around the world : OZONE LAYER
Ozone gets its name from the Greek word ozein, meaning “to smell”. It was given this name as ozone’s formation during lightning storms was detected by the gas’s distinctive smell. Famously, there is a relatively high concentration of the gas in the “ozone layer” in the Earth’s stratosphere. This ozone layer provides a vital function for animal life on the planet as it absorbs most of the sun’s UV radiation. A molecule of ozone is made up of three oxygen atoms, whereas a “normal” oxygen has just two atoms.

32. Bar entertainment? : LIMBO
The limbo dance originated on the island of Trinidad in the Caribbean. The name “limbo” is an alteration of our word “limber”, which isn’t surprising given what one has to do to get under that bar!

33. Classic cars : REOS
The REO Motor Company was founded by Ransom Eli Olds (hence the name REO). The company made cars, trucks and buses, and was in business from 1905 to 1975 in Lansing, Michigan. Among the company’s most famous models were the REO Royale and the REO Flying Cloud.

36. Beast of Borden : ELSIE
Borden used to be the country’s biggest producer of dairy and pasta products. The company ran up major losses in the nineties from which it really couldn’t recover and so is no longer operating. Famously, Borden introduced Elsie the cow as a “spokes-animal” and mascot. Elsie is now used by companies other than the defunct Borden.

39. Small-runway craft, in brief : STOL
STOL is an abbreviation standing for “short take-off and landing”

41. ___ Anne’s (pretzel company) : AUNTIE
Auntie Anne’s is a chain of pretzel bakeries that was founded in 1988. The chain started out as a simple stand in a farmer’s market in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. There are now almost 900 outlets in about a dozen countries.

Pretzels originated in Europe and are especially popular in Southern Germany where a pretzel is known as “Brezel”. Pretzels were introduced into the US in the 1800s by immigrants from Germany and Switzerland who came to be known over here as the Pennsylvania Dutch.

44. Big hits: Abbr. : HRS
Home run (HR)

46. Pride of Boston, informally : SOX
The Boston Red Sox is one of the most successful Major League Baseball teams and so commands a large attendance, but only when on the road. The relatively small capacity of Boston’s Fenway Park, the team’s home since 1912, has dictated that every game the Red Sox has played there has been a sell out since May of 2003.

49. John Peter ___, early American publisher and free press champion : ZENGER
The German American printer and journalist John Peter Zenger began printing “The New York Weekly Journal” in 1733. A year later, the British royal governor of New York William Cosby directed the Zenger be arrested, for publishing articles that were critical of the governor. At trial, Zenger was acquitted by a jury, and he became a symbol for freedom of the press.

51. U.S. soldiers, in slang : GI JOES
“GI Joe” became a nickname for American soldiers during WWII.

60. Scorer of 1,281 goals in 1,363 games : PELE
Pelé is the nickname of Edson de Nascimento, a soccer player who has used the name Pelé for most of his life. Pelé is now retired, and for my money was the world’s greatest ever player of the game. He is the only person to have been part of three World Cup winning squads, and is a national treasure in his native Brazil.

61. Greek matchmaker : EROS
Eros was the Greek god of love, the Greek counterpart of the Roman god Cupid.

63. Bunny’s beau : HEF
Hugh Hefner (often called “Hef”) is from Chicago. His first publishing job was in the military, where he worked as a writer for a US Army newspaper from 1944-46. He went to college after his military service and then worked as a copywriter for “Esquire” magazine. He left “Esquire” to found his own publication that he called “Playboy”, which first hit the newsstands in 1953. “Playboy” has been around ever since.

64. Opening on Wall St. : IPO
An Initial Public Offering (IPO) is the very first offer of stock for sale by a company on the open market. In other words, an IPO marks the first time that a company is traded on a public exchange. Companies have an IPO to raise capital to expand (usually).

65. Grp. concerned with class struggles? : PTA
Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Travolta’s “Saturday Night Fever” role : MANERO
7. Word following Kansas or Oklahoma : CITY
11. Election night abbr. : PCT
14. Column base : PLINTH
15. Where many emerging markets can be found : ASIA
16. Part of B.C.E. : ERA
17. Groundbreaking 1970s sitcom : ALL IN THE FAMILY
19. Put on : AIR
20. For people? : AYES
21. Company, e.g. : UNIT
22. Three of a kind, in Texas hold’em : SET
23. Protracted : LONG
25. Threesome in a quarter : MONTHS
29. Was anti-weed? : HOED
31. Just before the deadline : ELEVENTH HOUR
34. Baker’s qty. : DOZ
35. Supermarket section : DELI
37. Time to start walking, maybe : AGE ONE
38. Book after Joel : AMOS
40. Missouri birthplace of Harry Truman : LAMAR
42. Big record label in 1960s pop : ATCO
43. Column that’s beside the point? : TENTHS
45. Accepts : BUYS
47. Logical extremes? : ELS
48. Point beyond which light cannot escape from a black hole : EVENT HORIZON
50. People eater, perhaps : OGRE
52. “Maybe” : I’LL SEE
53. Move on or off the runway : TAXI
55. Address book replacer, for short : PDA
56. Ingenuous one : NAIF
58. Practical joke : JAPE
62. Effeminate : FEY
63. Divine being … or a hint to 17-, 31- and 48-Across : HIGHER POWER
66. “Them” : FOE
67. It may be waved at the Olympics : EPEE
68. Opera with the “Willow Song” : OTELLO
69. Original D&D co. : TSR
70. Application to fill out : FORM
71. Gets smart with : SASSES

Down
1. Org. associated with filmratings.com : MPAA
2. One of “us” : ALLY
3. Locale in Exodus : NILE
4. Strand, in a way : ENISLE
5. Mail abbr. : RTE
6. Sarcastic response to a dreaded task : OH FUN
7. Short negligee, for short : CAMI
8. “Am I the only one …?” : IS IT ME …?
9. Up to, informally : TIL
10. Triumphant shout : YAY!
11. Toy gun : PEASHOOTER
12. Admits defeat : CRIES UNCLE
13. Lemonlike : TART
18. First name in German politics : ANGELA
24. “How ___!” : ODD
26. Egg container : OVARY
27. -: Abbr. : NEG
28. Mother of Selene : THEA
29. Many camcorder recordings : HOME VIDEOS
30. It’s found all around the world : OZONE LAYER
32. Bar entertainment? : LIMBO
33. Classic cars : REOS
34. Go with : DATE
36. Beast of Borden : ELSIE
39. Small-runway craft, in brief : STOL
41. ___ Anne’s (pretzel company) : AUNTIE
44. Big hits: Abbr. : HRS
46. Pride of Boston, informally : SOX
49. John Peter ___, early American publisher and free press champion : ZENGER
51. U.S. soldiers, in slang : GI JOES
54. Heads of the black community? : AFROS
55. How a dud goes : PFFT!
57. “I’m right here, you know” : AHEM!
59. Punchers for a belt : AWLS
60. Scorer of 1,281 goals in 1,363 games : PELE
61. Greek matchmaker : EROS
63. Bunny’s beau : HEF
64. Opening on Wall St. : IPO
65. Grp. concerned with class struggles? : PTA

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5 thoughts on “1105-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 5 Nov 15, Thursday”

  1. Decent Thursday grid. The theme became apparent pretty early on. The rest is kinda blah fill-in, but the cluing provided a bit of a challenge.

    I recall that Douglas MacArthur hated his generals using the term "GI's" or "General Issue." He insisted that they refer to the soldiers under his command as "The Men" or "The Troops."

  2. 15:57, no errors. I stared for a bit at THE? / ?TCO before filling in the A, but my guess turned out to be correct. The answer for 22A ("Three of a kind, in Texas hold'em") had to be SET, based on crossing entries, but it mystified me a bit: does "set" have some meaning beyond "collection" or "group" in that particular card game?

  3. 23:11, 2 errors. 56A NAIF (?AIF), 49D ZENGER (ZE?GER). Could not figure out what to put in that 'N' square. Thanks for the explanation of naif.

  4. 27:15, no errors, and resenting the disingenuous clue editing and the forced theme.

    Will they just…. STOP IT … with the Thursday hijinks???? It's damned annoying.

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