1108-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 8 Nov 15, Sunday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Tracy Gray
THEME: Three-Peat … each of today’s themed answers includes a three-letter string that is repeated. That the repetition of the string is not included in the grid and is instead assumed:

23A. 1982 Arnold Schwarzenegger film : CONAN THE BARBARIAN
33A. Bringer of peace between nations : ENTENTE CORDIALE
39A. State bordering Texas : CHIHUAHUA, MEXICO
57A. Rose buds? : CINCINNATI REDS
66A. Jason Bourne and others : TRAINED ASSASSINS
76A. Salad bar bowlful : ALFALFA SPROUTS
91A. Some auto auctions’ inventory : REPOSSESSED CARS
100A. Land in the Caucasus : CHECHEN REPUBLIC
114A. Chocolaty Southern dessert : MISSISSIPPI MUD PIE

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 29m 25s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … SESTINAS (sestines), SEHNA (sehne)

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

8. Horn of Africa native : SOMALI
Somalia is a country located in the Horn of Africa that, sadly, is noted today for a devastating civil war and as a base for pirates who prey on ships passing through the Indian Ocean along the Somali coast.

20. Wellesley grads : ALUMNAE
An “alumnus” (plural … alumni) is a graduate or former student of a school or college. The female form is “alumna” (plural … alumnae). The term comes into English from Latin, in which alumnus means foster-son or pupil. “Alum” is an informal term used for either an alumna or an alumnus.

Wellesley is a private women’s school located in the town of Wellesley, Massachusetts. Wellesley was founded in 1870 and is one of the original Seven Sisters Colleges.

The Seven Sisters are a group of (traditionally women’s) colleges in the northeast of the country that were founded to parallel the all-male (as they were then) Ivy League colleges. The seven are:

– Mount Holyoke
– Vassar
– Wellesley
– Smith
– Radcliffe
– Bryn Mawr
– Barnard

22. Paternally related : AGNATE
Something that is enate is growing outward, and “enate” is used to describe ancestors related on the mother’s side. Something that is agnate comes from a common source, and “agnate” is used to describe relatives on the father’s side of the family tree.

23. 1982 Arnold Schwarzenegger film : CONAN THE BARBARIAN
The character known as Conan the Barbarian first appeared in “Weird Tales” magazine in a fantasy story in 1932. The character was played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in a 1982 film “Conan the Barbarian”, and in a 1984 sequel “Conan the Destroyer”.

25. Vintner Paul who would “sell no wine before its time” : MASSON
Paul Masson emigrated to California from the Burgundy region of France. There he became a pioneer in the state’s wine industry, producing his first “champagne” in 1892.

26. Knot on a tree : KNAR
“Knar” is another word for a knot or burl on a tree or in wood.

28. Like a chestnut : OLD
An “old chestnut” is a joke that is “well worn”. The origin of the expression is very specific. It dates back to a play by William Diamond, first produced in 1816. In the story, one of the characters keeps telling the same joke over and over, with minor variations. The joke is about a cork tree, and an exasperated listener after hearing the joke one time too many refutes the use of the cork tree saying, “A Chestnut. I have heard you tell the joke 27 times and I’m sure it was a Chestnut!”

29. ___ Joaquin, Calif. : SAN
The San Joaquin Valley is in the southern part of the Central Valley of California (the northern part is the Sacramento Valley). The San Joaquin Valley is plagued with smog due to the surrounding mountains holding in pollution generated by traffic in built-up areas. The smog is bad that the San Joaquin Valley is one of the three worst areas in the country for pollution, along with Los Angeles and Houston.

30. Fell for an April fool, say : BIT
April Fool’s Day is celebrated on April 1st in the western world. In the US (and Ireland) one can make practical jokes all day long if one wants. But in the UK there is a noon deadline. Anyone pranking after midday is called an “April Fool”.

31. Verses with six stanzas : SESTINAS
A sestina is a poetic form consisting of six stanzas with six lines in each stanza. Although still in contemporary use, the sestina dates back to around 1200.

33. Bringer of peace between nations : ENTENTE CORDIALE
An “entente cordiale” (sometimes just “entente”) is a friendly understanding, usually between two nations. The term, which translates from French as “cordial agreement”, was first used to describe a set of agreements between the UK and France that were put in place 1904.

37. NPR host Shapiro : ARI
Ari Shapiro is the very able White House correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR).

39. State bordering Texas : CHIHUAHUA, MEXICO
Chihuahua is a state in northern Mexico that shares a border with Texas and New Mexico. Chihuahua is the largest state in the country, so has the nickname “El Estado Grande”. The state takes its name from the Chihuahuan Desert which lies largely within its borders. And of course the Chihuahua breed of dog takes its name from the state.

45. Actress Pflug of “M*A*S*H” : JO ANN
Jo Ann Pflug was co-host of “Candid Camera” in the seventies, along with Allen Funt. In 1971 she married celebrated game show host Chuck Woolery, although the marriage only lasted ten years. Pflug’s big break in movies came when she played an Army nurse in the 1970 film “M*A*S*H”.

48. Author who inspired the musical “Wicked” : BAUM
L. Frank Baum (the “L” is for Lyman) was famous for writing “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. Writing early in the 20th century, Baum actually described in his books things that had yet to be invented, like television, laptop computers and wireless telephones.

“Wicked” is a musical that debuted on Broadway in 2003. The stage show is based on a novel called “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West”. The novel tells the same story as in “The Wizard of Oz”, but from the perspective of the Wicked Witch of the West and the Good Witch of the North.

50. Chiwere-speaking tribe : OTOE
Chiwere is a Siouan language spoken by the Otoe people, as well as by the Missouria and Iowa.

54. Bygone office worker : STENO
Stenography is the process of writing in shorthand. The term comes from the Greek “steno” (narrow) and “graphe” (writing).

56. 65 or so : DEE
A mark of 65% or so is a grade D.

57. Rose buds? : CINCINNATI REDS
The Red Scare (i.e. anti-communist sentiment) following WWII had such an effect on the populace that it even caused the Cincinnati baseball team to change its name from the Reds. The team was called the Cincinnati Redlegs from 1953-1958, as the management was fearful of losing money due to public distrust of any association with “Reds”.

Pete Rose was a talented baseball player who holds the record for all-time Major League hits. In recent years of course his reputation has been tarnished by admissions that he bet on games in which he played and managed.

62. Op-Ed columnist Maureen : DOWD
Maureen Dowd is a celebrated columnist for “The New York Times” as well as a best-selling author. Dowd won a Pulitzer for her columns about the Monica Lewinski scandal.

Op-Ed is an abbreviation for “opposite the editorial page”. Op-Eds started in “The New York Evening World” in 1921 when the page opposite the editorials was used for articles written by a named guest writer, someone independent of the editorial board.

63. Spanish airline : IBERIA
The airline called Iberia is the flag carrier for Spain and is based in the country’s capital city at Madrid-Barajas Airport.

66. Jason Bourne and others : TRAINED ASSASSINS
“The Bourne Identity” is a great spy novel written by Robert Ludlum, and first published in 1980. It has been ranked as the second best spy novel of all time, just behind the even more enjoyable “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold” by John le Carre. I’ll agree with that sentiment. Ludlum wrote two sequels, and all three parts of the Bourne Trilogy have been made into very successful movies now, starring Matt Damon in the title role. Ludlum died before he could write more than three novels featuring Jason Bourne, but five more titles in the series have been published, written by Eric Van Lustbader. I must check them out …

70. Big name in outdoor and fitness gear : REI
REI is a sporting goods store, the initialism standing for Recreational Equipment Inc. REI was founded in Seattle by Lloyd and Mary Anderson in 1938 as a cooperative that supplies quality climbing gear to outdoor enthusiasts. The first full-time employee hired by the Andersons was Jim Whittaker, who was the American to climb Mount Everest.

71. 2014 land-grab : CRIMEA
Crimea is a peninsula jutting out into the Black Sea that is almost completely surrounded by water. It is connected to the Ukrainian mainland to the north by the Isthmus of Perekop, and is separated from the nearby Russian region of Kuban by the narrow (less than 10 miles) Kerch Strait. Crimea has been occupied by foreign powers many times over the centuries, and now control of the region is disputed by Ukraine and Russia.

73. Draft picks? : OXEN
“Draft” can mean a load, something that is pulled or drawn. Horses or perhaps oxen that are used to pull loads are called “draft animals”.

74. Tarzan’s simian sidekick : CHEETA
The chimpanzee Cheeta was a very popular character in the most of the Tarzan movies and television shows, however, he/she (the sex changed back and forth) never appeared in the original novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

“Simian” means “pertaining to monkeys or apes”, from the Latin word “simia” meaning “ape”.

79. Kung ___ chicken : PAO
Sichuan (also Szechuan) is a province in southwest China. Sichuan is noted for its cuisine, which is hot and spicy as it uses plenty of garlic, chili peppers and the Sichuan peppercorn. A famous Szechuan dish in the US is Kung Pao chicken or shrimp.

80. Constellation next to Scorpius : NORMA
The constellation of Norma is said to depict carpenter’s square or a set square. The name “Norma” is Latin for “normal”, a reference to the constellation’s prevalent right angle.

83. Stephen of “Ben-Hur” : BOYD
Stephen Boyd was an actor from Northern Ireland who is perhaps best known for playing the tribune Messala in the 1959 film “Ben-Hur”. I mainly remember Boyd from playing the lead opposite Raquel Welch in the 1966 sci-fi movie “Fantastic Voyage”.

84. Alternative media magazine founder : UTNE
The “Utne Reader” is known for aggregation and republishing of articles on politics, culture and the environment from other sources in the media. The “Utne Reader” was founded in 1984, with “Utne” being the family name of the couple that started the publication.

87. Some “Fast and the Furious” maneuvers, slangily : UIES
U-turns (Uies)

“The Fast and the Furious” is a series of actions movies about street racing and car heists. The original 2001 film spawned several sequels, making it Universal Pictures most successful franchise all time.

88. Opening of a Hawaiian volcano? : MAUNA
Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, the peak of which is the highest point in the whole state. Mauna Kea is in effect the tip of a gigantic volcano rising up from the seabed.

Mauna Loa on the “big island” of Hawaii is the largest volcano on the planet (in terms of volume). The name “Mauna Loa” is Hawaiian for “Long Mountain”.

100. Land in the Caucasus : CHECHEN REPUBLIC
Chechnya is a federal subject of Russia located in the North Caucasus in the very southwest of the country. The capital of Chechnya is Grozny. In the days of the USSR, Chechnya was part of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (ASSR). The former ASSR was subsequently divided into the Chechen Republic and the Republic of Ingushetia. The Chechen Republic declared independence from the Russian Federation, which resulted in the First Chechen War, fought from 1994 to 1996. Boris Yeltsin’s government in Moscow signed a peace treaty ending the war and ceding autonomy to Chechnya. However, Chechnya-based Islamic fighters invaded Dagestan in 1999, at which point Russian troops entered Chechnya again, starting the Second Chechen War. The second conflict raged until 2009, when the Russians withdrew many of their troops having severely disabled the capabilities of the Chechen separatists.

107. New ___ (official cap maker of Major League Baseball) : ERA
The New Era Cap Company is a headwear manufacturer based in Buffalo, New York. It is New Era that supplies all the official baseball caps used by the Major League teams.

108. Wares: Abbr. : GDS
Goods (gds.)

109. Wite-Out manufacturer : BIC
Société Bic is a French company, based in Clichy in France. The first product the company produced, more than fifty years ago, was the Bic Cristal ballpoint pen that is still produced today. Bic also makes other disposable products such as lighters and razors.

111. ___ me tangere (warning against meddling) : NOLI
“Noli me tangere” is Latin for “touch me not”. The words are the Latin translation of “cease holding on to me” written in Greek in the Gospel of John. They are words spoken by Jesus to Mary Magdalene after his resurrection. “Noli me tangere” is better known in the US in its derivative form “don’t tread on me”, which appeared on the Gadsden flag.

112. Costner/Russo golf flick : TIN CUP
“Tin Cup” is a fun romantic comedy starring Kevin Costner. Costner plays a former golf prodigy who has hit bottom, but who drags himself up by the bootstraps thanks to the influence of the female lead played by the lovely Rene Russo. Costner plays the title character Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy.

114. Chocolaty Southern dessert : MISSISSIPPI MUD PIE
The chocolate-based dessert called Mississippi mud pie probably originated in the state for which it is named. It is said that the gooey mass resembles the banks of the Mississippi River.

117. Climate-affecting current : EL NINO
When the surface temperature of much of the Pacific Ocean rises more that half a degree centigrade, then there is said to be an El Niño episode. That small temperature change in the Pacific has been associated with climatic changes that can stretch right across the globe. El Niño is Spanish for “the boy” and is a reference to the Christ child. The phenomenon was given this particular Spanish name because the warming is usually noticed near South America and around Christmas-time.

119. Trig calculation : TANGENT
The most familiar trigonometric functions are sine, cosine and tangent (abbreviated to “sin, cos and tan”). Each of these is a ratio, a ratio of two sides of a right-angled triangle. The “reciprocal” of these three functions are secant, cosecant and cotangent. The reciprocal functions are simply the inverted ratios, the inverted sine, cosine and tangent. These inverted ratios should not be confused with the “inverse” trigonometric functions e.g. arcsine, arccosine and arctangent. These inverse functions are the reverse of the sine, cosine and tangent. For example, the arctangent can be read as “What angle is equivalent to the following ratio of opposite over adjacent?”

120. Div. for the Mets : NL EAST
The New York Mets baseball team was founded in 1962, a replacement for two teams that the city had lost, namely the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants. For several years the Mets played very poorly, finishing no better than second-to-last in their division. Then of course along came the “Miracle Mets” who beat the Baltimore Orioles in 1969 to claim the World Series in a huge upset.

121. It may be filled with bullets : AGENDA
“Agenda” is a Latin word that translates as “things to be done”, coming from the verb “agere” meaning “to do”.

Down
6. Like sushi or ceviche : EATEN RAW
Sushi is a Japanese dish that has as its primary ingredient cooked, vinegared rice. The rice is usually topped with something, most often fish, and can be served in seaweed rolls. If you want raw fish by itself, then you have to order “sashimi”.

Ceviche is a raw seafood dish that is popular in South and Central America. Ceviche is typically made from fish marinated in lemon or lime juice and spiced with hot peppers.

7. ___ knot, rug feature : SEHNA
A sehna knot is a hand-tied knot used in rug weaving. It is also known as a Persian knot. The knot is named for the Persian town of “Sinneh”.

9. Concubine’s chamber : ODA
“Oda” is the Turkish word for “room”, and is the name used for a room within a harem in the days of the Ottoman Empire. We use the derivative word “odalisque” for “a concubine” or “a chamber girl”.

10. Half-baked : MORONIC
The rather unsavory term “moron” was formerly used by the medical community to describe someone with a degree of mental retardation. The term comes from the Greek “moros” meaning “foolish, dull”. Back in the early 1900s, IQ tests were used to classify those suffering from mental retardation into categories:

– “idiot” … IQ of 0-20
– “imbecile” … IQ of 21-50
– “moron” …IQ of 51-70

14. Iraqi city on the Tigris : SAMARRA
Samarra is a city north of Baghdad in Iraq. We are perhaps familiar with the city name from John O’Hara’s 1934 novel “Appointment in Samarra”.

The Tigris is one of the two rivers that form the main boundaries of Mesopotamia, the other being the Euphrates.

15. Like one side of Lake Victoria : UGANDAN
Uganda is a landlocked county in East Africa lying just to the west of Kenya. Uganda was ruled by the British as a protectorate from 1894 and gained independence in 1962. Uganda is very much associated with the tyrannical rule of Idi Amin in the 1970s.

Lake Victoria is the largest area lake on the continent of Africa. It was named by English explorer John Hanning Speke in honor of Queen Victoria of the UK. Speke was the first European to set eyes on the lake.

16. Ones calling the shots, for short? : RNS
Registered nurses (RNs) are licensed medical (med.) personnel.

18. Ballet headliner : ETOILE
In the world of ballet, the étoile is the leading dancer in a company (male or female). “Étoile” is the French word for “star”.

24. Workers on Times tables, briefly? : EDS
Editor (ed.)

29. California wine region : SONOMA
Did you know that there are far more wine grapes produced in Sonoma than Napa? Within Sonoma County some of the more well-known appellations are Chalk Hill, Anderson Valley and Russian River Valley. Personally, when I want to visit the wine country, I head for the Russian River Valley as it’s far less crowded and much more fun than Napa Valley.

33. Second-largest dwarf planet : ERIS
Eris is the largest known dwarf planet in our solar system. It is also the ninth largest body orbiting the sun, a fact that helped relegate Pluto (the tenth largest body) from its status of planet in 2006. Eris was discovered in 2005.

34. Cuisine that includes cracklins and boudin : CAJUN
The skin of a pig when used as food is known as pork rind. Pork rind is a popular snack in teh UK where is a known pork scratchings and pork crackling. A similar dish served in the US as part of Cajun cuisine is also known as cracklings (or “cracklins”).

39. Some I.R.A.s : CDS
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.

42. Greek sorceress : MEDEA
In Greek mythology Medea was the wife of Jason, the heroic leader of the Argonauts. Medea was a sorceress who pledged to help Jason in his search for the Golden Fleece, on condition that he take her as his wife. According to some accounts, Jason left Medea and took up with Glauce, the daughter of the king of Corinth. Medea got her own back by sending Glauce a golden coronet and a dress that were covered with poison. The poison killed Glauce, and her father the king. To further her revenge on Jason, Medea killed two of her own children that were fathered by him.

43. Nicholas Gage memoir : ELENI
Nicholas Gage is a Greek-American author and investigative journalist. Gage wrote two memoirs, “Eleni” and “A Place for Us”. “Eleni” tells of his life in Greece during WWII and the Greek Civil War. The title is a tribute to his mother Eleni who was executed by Communists who occupied her village, simply because she helped her children escape from the ravages of a war of occupation. “Eleni” was adapted into a movie in 1985, with John Malkovich playing Gage.

44. Anakin’s master in “Star Wars” : OBI-WAN
Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of the more beloved of the “Star Wars” characters. Kenobi was portrayed by two fabulous actors in the series of films. As a young man he is played by Scottish actor Ewan McGregor, and as an older man he is played by Alec Guinness.

Anakin “Ani” Skywalker is the principal character in all six of the “Star Wars” movies. His progress chronologically through the series of films is:

– Episode I: Anakin is a 9-year-old slave boy who earns the promise of Jedi training by young Obi-Wan Kenobi.
– Episode II: Anakin is 18-years-old and goes on a murdering rampage to avenge the killing of his mother.
– Episode III: Anakin is 21-years-old and a Jedi knight, but he turns to the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader. His wife Padme gives birth to twins, Luke and Leia Skywalker.
– Episode IV: Darth Vader, comes into conflict with his children, Luke Skywalker and the Princess Leia.
– Episode V: Darth Vader attempts to coax his son Luke over to the dark side, and reveals to Luke that he is his father.
– Episode VI: Luke learns that Leia is his sister, and takes on the task of bringing Darth Vader back from the Dark Side in order to save the Galaxy. Vader saves his son from the Emperor’s evil grip, dying in the process, but his spirit ends up alongside the spirits of Yoda and Obi-Wan. They all live happily ever after …

51. Amateur botanists’ projects : TERRARIA
A “terrarium” (plural “terraria”) is contained environment used to house land animals. The term comes from the equivalent “aquarium”, a tank for holding mainly fish. In general, a contained environment for keeping live animals or plants is known as a “vivarium”

52. Yellow dog in the funnies : ODIE
Odie is Garfield’s best friend and is a slobbery beagle, a character in Jim Davis’s comic strip named “Garfield”.

53. Morales of HBO’s “The Brink” : ESAI
The actor Esai Morales is best known for his role in the 1987 movie “La Bamba”, which depicted the life of Ritchie Valens and his half-brother Bob Morales (played by Esai).

“The Brink” is an HBO comedy series that centers on a geopolitical crisis in Pakistan. Stars of the show are Tim Robbins and Jack Black.

55. John in the Songwriters Hall of Fame : OATES
Daryl Hall & John Oates are a pop music duo, most successful in the late seventies and early eighties. They had six number one hits, including the 1982 release “Maneater”.

57. Writes in C++, say : CODES
C++ is a popular programming language (just ask my nerdy son!). It is an enhanced version of another programming language developed at Bell Labs called simply “C”.

59. “A Doll’s House” playwright : IBSEN
“A Doll’s House” is probably the most famous play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. The play deals with the feminist awakening of the lead character, Nora Helmer. “A Doll’s House” is sometimes referred to as the “first true feminist play”.

62. Showtime crime drama, 2006-13 : DEXTER
“Dexter” is a crime show that airs on Showtime. The title character works for the Miami Police Department as an expert in blood spatter patterns by day, but is a serial killer by night. The original series was based on the “Dexter” novels written by Jeff Lindsay. I haven’t seen this show myself, but my eldest son really enjoys it …

64. One who has crossed the line? : SCAB
We first started calling strikebreakers “scabs” in the early 1800s, and before that a scab was a person who refused to join a trade union (back as early 1777). The word probably comes from the use of “scab” as a symptom of a skin disease, and so is a term that is meant to insult.

65. Janis’s husband in the funnies : ARLO
The comic strip “Arlo and Janis” is written by Jimmy Johnson. Introduced in 1985, Arlo and Janis are a baby booming couple with an easy approach to life, and who are very much in love.

68. Phishing lures : SCAMS
Phishing is the name given to the online practice of stealing usernames, passwords and credit card details by creating a site that deceptively looks reliable and trustworthy. Phishers often send out safe-looking emails or instant messages that direct someone to an equally safe-looking website where the person might inadvertently enter sensitive information. “Phishing” is a play on the word “fishing”, as in “fishing for passwords, PIN numbers etc.”

69. Places for links? : IHOPS
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 …

72. Hit AMC series that ended with a Coca-Cola ad : MAD MEN
“Mad Men” is the flagship show on the AMC television channel. Set in the sixties, it’s all about an advertising agency located on Madison Avenue in New York (hence the title). “Mad Men” became the first show created by a basic cable channel to win an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series.

78. Hokkaido port : OTARU
The Japanese city and port of Otaru is just a 25-minute drive northwest from Sapporo. Just like Sapporo, Otaru has a famous beer that shares the city’s name.

Hokkaido is the second largest island in Japan, after Honshu. It lies to the north of the country, and its largest city is the capital, Sapporo.

81. “La ___” (Debussy opus) : MER
“La Mer” is a lovely group of three symphonic sketches for orchestra by the French composer Claude Debussy. Listen to it, and you can feel yourself at the ocean. “La Mer” is French for “The Sea”.

85. Intl. group headquartered in Vienna : OPEC
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was founded in 1960 at a conference held in Baghdad, Iraq that was attended by Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Nine more countries joined the alliance soon after, and OPEC set up headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland and then Vienna, Austria in 1965. The basic aim of OPEC was to wrench control of oil prices from the oil companies and to put it in the hands of the sovereign states that own the natural resource.

90. Got high, in a way : USED POT
“Potiguaya” is the Mexican-Spanish word for “marijuana leaves”. The slang name “pot” comes from “potiguaya”.

92. Vinland explorer circa A.D. 1000 : ERICSON
Leif Erikson was a Norse explorer and was the first European to land in North America, some 500 years before Christopher Columbus’s landing in 1492. The Norsemen named the area they discovered “Vinland”, which might translate as “Wine Land” or “Pasture Land”. Erikson built a small settlement called Leifsbudir, which archaeologists believe they have found in modern day Newfoundland, at L’Anse aux Meadows. The settlement discovered in Newfoundland is definitely Norse, but there is some dispute over whether it is actually Erikson’s Leifsbudir.

93. Opponents for Perry Mason, for short : DAS
District Attorney (DA)

I must have read all of the Perry Mason books when I was in college. I think they kept me sane when I was facing the pressure of exams. Author Erle Stanley Gardner was himself a lawyer, although he didn’t get into the profession the easy way. Gardner went to law school, but got himself suspended after a month. So, he became a self-taught attorney and opened his own law office in Merced, California. Understandably, he gave up the law once his novels became successful.

94. Winning blackjack pair : ACE-TEN
The game of “twenty-one” was first referred to in a book by Cervantes, the author famous for writing “Don Quixote”. He called the game “ventiuna” (Spanish for “twenty-one”). Cervantes wrote his story just after the year 1600, so the game has been around at least since then. Twenty-one came to the US but it wasn’t all that popular so bonus payments were introduced to create more interest. One of the more attractive bonuses was a ten-to-one payout to a player who was dealt an ace of spades and a black jack. This bonus led to the game adopting the moniker “Blackjack”.

96. Romance novelist Banks : LEANNE
Leanne Banks is an author of romance novels who is from Roanoke, Virginia.

101. Dutch town known for tulip tourism : LISSE
Lisse is a town in the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. It is located in the heart of the Dutch flower-growing region. Tourists flock to the area in the spring when hundreds of fields of flowers are in full bloom.

102. Au courant : HIP
“Au courant” means “up-to-date” and comes into English directly from French, in which language it has the same meaning.

103. Miners’ entries : ADITS
An adit is specific type of mine access, a horizontal shaft that extends into the mine. This can be compared with the more traditional vertical shaft that is used for access into most mines. Adits make sense when the ore is located inside a mountain or hill, as opposed to “underground”, as they allow the mine entrances to be on the valley floor.

104. Ruy ___ (chess opening) : LOPEZ
The Ruy Lopez is a chess opening that is named for the 16th-century Spanish priest Ruy López de Segura. Lopez didn’t develop this particular opening, but included it in a 1561 book that discusses many different chess openings.

110. Grp. of teed-off women? : 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.

114. POW/___ bracelet (popular 1970s wear) : MIA
POW/MIA bracelets are engraved with the name and rank of an American serviceman who was captured or reported missing during the Vietnam War.

115. Neither red nor blue?: Abbr. : IND
Independent (Ind.)

On political maps, red states are Republican and blue states Democrat. The designation of red and blue states is a very recent concept, only introduced in the 2000 presidential election by TV journalist, the late Tim Russert. In retrospect, the choice of colors is surprising, as in other democracies around the world red is usually used to describe left-leaning socialist parties (the reds under the bed!), and blue is used for conservative right-wing parties. In election cycles, swing/battleground states are often depicted in purple.

116. Tres menos dos : UNO
In Spanish, “tres menos dos” (three minus two) is “uno” (one).

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Pushovers : PATSIES
8. Horn of Africa native : SOMALI
14. Pushed forward, as a crowd : SURGED
20. Wellesley grads : ALUMNAE
21. “Same here!” : I DO TOO
22. Paternally related : AGNATE
23. 1982 Arnold Schwarzenegger film : CONAN THE BARBARIAN
25. Vintner Paul who would “sell no wine before its time” : MASSON
26. Knot on a tree : KNAR
27. ___ of the earth : ENDS
28. Like a chestnut : OLD
29. ___ Joaquin, Calif. : SAN
30. Fell for an April fool, say : BIT
31. Verses with six stanzas : SESTINAS
33. Bringer of peace between nations : ENTENTE CORDIALE
36. ___ qué (why: Sp.) : POR
37. NPR host Shapiro : ARI
38. Worked to the bone : RAN RAGGED
39. State bordering Texas : CHIHUAHUA, MEXICO
45. Actress Pflug of “M*A*S*H” : JO ANN
46. Dummy : DODO
47. Wishing sites : WELLS
48. Author who inspired the musical “Wicked” : BAUM
50. Chiwere-speaking tribe : OTOE
54. Bygone office worker : STENO
56. 65 or so : DEE
57. Rose buds? : CINCINNATI REDS
60. Spruce up : NEATEN
62. Op-Ed columnist Maureen : DOWD
63. Spanish airline : IBERIA
64. Met, as a legislature : SAT
66. Jason Bourne and others : TRAINED ASSASSINS
70. Big name in outdoor and fitness gear : REI
71. 2014 land-grab : CRIMEA
73. Draft picks? : OXEN
74. Tarzan’s simian sidekick : CHEETA
76. Salad bar bowlful : ALFALFA SPROUTS
79. Kung ___ chicken : PAO
80. Constellation next to Scorpius : NORMA
83. Stephen of “Ben-Hur” : BOYD
84. Alternative media magazine founder : UTNE
85. Pep : OOMPH
87. Some “Fast and the Furious” maneuvers, slangily : UIES
88. Opening of a Hawaiian volcano? : MAUNA
91. Some auto auctions’ inventory : REPOSSESSED CARS
94. Unhurriedly : AT LEISURE
98. One calling the shots, for short? : REF
99. “Well, ___-di-dah!” : LAH
100. Land in the Caucasus : CHECHEN REPUBLIC
102. Deli sandwich filler : HAM SALAD
107. New ___ (official cap maker of Major League Baseball) : ERA
108. Wares: Abbr. : GDS
109. Wite-Out manufacturer : BIC
110. Caps : LIDS
111. ___ me tangere (warning against meddling) : NOLI
112. Costner/Russo golf flick : TIN CUP
114. Chocolaty Southern dessert : MISSISSIPPI MUD PIE
117. Climate-affecting current : EL NINO
118. How some people break out on Broadway : IN SONG
119. Trig calculation : TANGENT
120. Div. for the Mets : NL EAST
121. It may be filled with bullets : AGENDA
122. Catches some Z’s : SNOOZES

Down
1. Fills to capacity : PACKS
2. How you can’t sing a duet : ALONE
3. Yellowfin and bluefin : TUNAS
4. Cell that has multiplied? : SMARTPHONE
5. Place to retire : INN
6. Like sushi or ceviche : EATEN RAW
7. ___ knot, rug feature : SEHNA
8. Some bunk bed sharers, for short : SIBS
9. Concubine’s chamber : ODA
10. Half-baked : MORONIC
11. Slanting : ATILT
12. Caterpillar machine : LOADER
13. It comes with a charge : ION
14. Iraqi city on the Tigris : SAMARRA
15. Like one side of Lake Victoria : UGANDAN
16. Ones calling the shots, for short? : RNS
17. Chatterbox : GASBAG
18. Ballet headliner : ETOILE
19. Slightly depressed : DENTED
24. Workers on Times tables, briefly? : EDS
29. California wine region : SONOMA
32. Bread substitute? : IOU
33. Second-largest dwarf planet : ERIS
34. Cuisine that includes cracklins and boudin : CAJUN
35. Turn a blind eye to : IGNORE
37. One spinning its wheels? : AXLE
39. Some I.R.A.s : CDS
40. All the rage : HOT
41. Pinpoint : IDENTIFY
42. Greek sorceress : MEDEA
43. Nicholas Gage memoir : ELENI
44. Anakin’s master in “Star Wars” : OBI-WAN
49. Bridge words : ANDS
51. Amateur botanists’ projects : TERRARIA
52. Yellow dog in the funnies : ODIE
53. Morales of HBO’s “The Brink” : ESAI
55. John in the Songwriters Hall of Fame : OATES
57. Writes in C++, say : CODES
58. Utensil’s end : TINE
59. “A Doll’s House” playwright : IBSEN
61. Lawyer’s clever question, say : TRAP
62. Showtime crime drama, 2006-13 : DEXTER
64. One who has crossed the line? : SCAB
65. Janis’s husband in the funnies : ARLO
67. Rock, paper or scissors : NOUN
68. Phishing lures : SCAMS
69. Places for links? : IHOPS
72. Hit AMC series that ended with a Coca-Cola ad : MAD MEN
75. Iffy : TOUCH AND GO
77. Immediately preceding periods : RUNUPS
78. Hokkaido port : OTARU
79. Magician’s word : POOF!
81. “La ___” (Debussy opus) : MER
82. Dunderhead : ASS
85. Intl. group headquartered in Vienna : OPEC
86. One at the wheel : HELMSMAN
89. Pellet shooters : AIR GUNS
90. Got high, in a way : USED POT
92. Vinland explorer circa A.D. 1000 : ERICSON
93. Opponents for Perry Mason, for short : DAS
94. Winning blackjack pair : ACE-TEN
95. Send : THRILL
96. Romance novelist Banks : LEANNE
97. Going out : EBBING
101. Dutch town known for tulip tourism : LISSE
102. Au courant : HIP
103. Miners’ entries : ADITS
104. Ruy ___ (chess opening) : LOPEZ
105. Skirt style : A-LINE
106. Nutritionists’ prescriptions : DIETS
110. Grp. of teed-off women? : LPGA
113. Snoop group, in brief : CIA
114. POW/___ bracelet (popular 1970s wear) : MIA
115. Neither red nor blue?: Abbr. : IND
116. Tres menos dos : UNO

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7 thoughts on “1108-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 8 Nov 15, Sunday”

  1. Sorting out the repeated syllables got a little tiresome after a while, but I don't think I've seen this theme before, so points for originality. I also whiffed on SEHNA. And I don't actually know how to spell UIES, or "ueys" or whatever, but that just doesn't look right to me.

  2. Very frustrating puzzle for me today. 1 hour 30 mins, several errors involving 42D and 43D. Also missed 33D ERIS (EROS). It seemed that the theme letters should, in some way, involve the crossing words, they did not. Spent a lot of time trying to insert the extra 3 letters into the puzzle, in a way that made sense.

    PS: regarding the 8/11/15 comment, glad to help, thank you for the daily blog.

  3. Well, I finished with no errors, but it took me forever. Ultimately, my only guess was SEHNA / SESTINAS: I came very close to changing the A to an E, but successfully resisted.

    It was indeed a bit tricky to determine which three letters to repeat in the theme answers, but by no means impossible; it just took some time. Again, I rather think they're called "puzzles" because they're meant to be puzzling … 🙂

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