1112-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 12 Nov 15, Thursday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: David Kwong
THEME: P and A … we have a rebus puzzle today, with some squares in the grid containing the letters PA. The “reveal” to the puzzle is the answer PANDA (or “P and A”). To top things off, we have some grid art. If you squint, you can see that the black squares in the grid are the outline of a panda’s face:

40A. Popular zoo attraction … or a hint to 11 squares in this puzzle : PANDA (or “P AND A”)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 35m 52s!!
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. ___ nerve, the longest in the human body : SCIATIC
The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in the human body. It runs from the lower back down through the leg to the foot.

8. Learning method : OSMOSIS
To learn by osmosis is to gradually absorb the required information, at least to seem to do so.

Osmosis is the movement of a solvent (often just water) across a semipermeable membrane. In the process of osmosis, the solvent tends to flow from an area of less concentration to an area of higher concentration. This sense of “absorbing” water effortlessly gives rise to the expression “learning by osmosis”.

16. Cheeky : FLIPPANT
Both of the adjectives “flip” and “flippant” mean the same thing: frivolously disrespectful, lacking in seriousness”.

18. Hall of fame : ARSENIO
Arsenio Hall got his big break with his role in the movie “Coming to America” with Eddie Murphy in 1988. The following year he started hosting “The Arsenio Hall Show”, which ran until 1994. He had a loyal group of fans in the audience that had the habit of almost “barking” while pumping their fists in the air. The raucous move became so popular it extended far beyond the influences of Arsenio, and to this day it is still used as a mark of appreciation in some arenas. Not by me, mind you …

23. Belarus, once: Abbr. : SSR
The Republic of Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, located east of Poland and north of Ukraine. Belarus didn’t exist as an entity until the Russian Revolution when it was created as one of the Soviet Socialist Republics (SSR) that made up the USSR. The Republic of Belarus was formed soon after the USSR dissolved in 1990, but unlike many of the former Soviet Republics, Belarus has retained many of the old Soviet policies. Alexander Lukashenko is the country’s president and he believes in state ownership of the economy. Belarus and Russia have formal agreements in place that pledge cooperation.

24. University in Philadelphia : LA SALLE
La Salle University is a private, Roman Catholic school in Philadelphia that was founded in 1863. The school is named for French priest Jean -Baptiste de La Salle who is the patron saint of teachers. La Salle’s athletic teams are known as the Explorers, a name that is actually a little incongruous. The name was chosen by a sportswriter in 1931, as he thought that the school was named for the French explorer Sieur de La Salle. Regardless, the student body picked the Explorer name in a contest just one year later.

29. “The Wild Bunch” director : SAM PECKINPAH
Movie director Sam Peckinpah is remembered for some edgy movies, including “The Wild Bunch” (1969), “Straw Dogs” (1971) and “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia” (1974).

“The Wild Bunch” is a 1969 Western film directed by Sam Peckinpah, who also co-wrote the screenplay. Starring William Holden, Robert Ryan and Ernest Borgnine, “The Wild Bunch” seems to on lot of people’s list of favorite Westerns.

32. 19th-century nativist group : KNOW-NOTHING PARTY
The Know-Nothing Party was a political party that operated in the mid-19th century. The party’s membership was limited to Protestant men, and it’s goal was to curb immigration, mainly of German and Irish Catholics. The modus operandi of the organization was semi-secret. When asked about its activities, members were supposed to answer “I know nothing”, hence the popular name given to the movement, which was officially called the Native American Party.

36. First in a historical trio : NINA
The ship used by Christopher Columbus that we know as the Niña was actually the nickname of a ship actually called the Santa Clara. The nickname “Niña” probably came from the name of her owner, Juan Niña of Moguer.

37. Howard of Hollywood : RON
Ron Howard sure has come a long way since playing Opie Taylor on “The Andy Griffith Show”. He has directed some fabulous movies including favorites of mine like “Apollo 13”, “A Beautiful Mind” and “The Da Vinci Code”.

38. Bygone European capital : LIRA
The word “lira” is used in a number of countries for currency. “Lira” comes from the Latin for “pound” and is derived from a British pound sterling, the value of a Troy pound of silver. For example, the lira (plural “lire”) was the official currency of Italy before the country changed over to the euro in 2002.

40. Popular zoo attraction … or a hint to 11 squares in this puzzle : PANDA (or “P AND A”)
Taxonomic classification of the giant panda has been a subject of great debate for years, the main question being whether it belongs to the bear or raccoon family. The accepted opinion these days, based on molecular studies, seems to be that the panda is in fact a true bear.

41. Horse in a harness : PACER
In harness racing, the horses race using one of two specific gaits: trotting or pacing.

42. Lux. neighbor : BELG
Belgium is one of the six founding members of the European Economic Community (EEC) that evolved into today’s European Union (EU). Belgium also acts as host of several international organizations, including NATO. There are two large regions in the country. Flanders in the north is predominantly Dutch-speaking, and Wallonia in the south is predominantly French-speaking. The capital city of Brussels is officially bilingual, although from personal experience I can attest that it is mainly French-speaking even though it is located in the Flemish part of the country.

44. The first “L” of L. L. Bean : LEON
L.L.Bean (note the lack of spaces in the company name) was founded back in 1912 in Freeport, Maine as a company selling its own line of waterproof boots. The founder, Leon Leonwood Bean, gave his name to the enterprise. Right from the start, L.L.Bean focused on mail-order and sold from a circular he distributed and then from a catalog. Defects in the initial design led to 90% of the first boots sold being returned, and the company made good on its guarantee to replace them or give back the money paid.

45. Hawaiian tuna : AHI
Yellowfin tuna is usually marketed as “ahi”, its Hawaiian name. Yellowfin tuna is one big fish, often weighing over 300 pounds.

48. Actress who killed Bill in “Kill Bill Volume 2” : UMA
Robert Thurman was the first westerner to be ordained a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Robert raised his children in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and called his daughter “Uma” as it is a phonetic spelling of the Buddhist name “Dbuma”. Uma’s big break in movies came with her starring role in Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 hit “Pulp Fiction”. My favorite Uma Thurman film is the wonderful 1996 romantic comedy “The Truth About Cats and Dogs”.

“Kill Bill” is a 3-part Quentin Tarantino movie (so I haven’t seen it!). “Kill Bill” started off as one film, but as the running time was over four hours, it was split into two “volumes”, released several months apart in 2003 and 2004. There has been a lot of talk about making “Kill Bill: Volume 3”.

50. Portmanteau legally recognized since 1977 : PALIMONY
Palimony is a portmanteau of “pal” and “alimony” and describes the division of assets and property at the termination of a relationship between two persons who are not legally married. The term was coined in 1977 in a lawsuit filed by actress Michelle Triola Marvin, who had cohabited for five years with actor Lee Marvin.

54. Blanket remedies : PANACEAS
Panacea was the Greek goddess of healing. She lent her name to the term “panacea” that was used by alchemists to describe the beguiling remedy that could cure all diseases and prolong life indefinitely.

60. Fix : SPAY
Our verb “to spay”, meaning “to surgically remove the ovaries of” (an animal) comes from an old Anglo-French word “espeier” meaning “to cut with a sword”.

61. Dickens boy : TINY TIM
Tiny Tim is the nickname of Timothy Cratchit, the little disabled boy in the Charles Dickens novella “A Christmas Carol”. “A Christmas Carol” is such a popular book that it has not been out of print since its first publication in December 1843.

63. Subj. of a “Delayed” sign : ETA
Estimated time of arrival (ETA)

Down
1. Besmirches : SOILS
“Besmirch” is a derivative of “smirch”, with both words meaning to “make dirty”. In particular, to besmirch is to sully someone’s reputation.

2. What’s between here and the sun, in song? : COMES
“Here Comes the Sun” is a song on the Beatles album “Abbey Road”. It is one of the few Beatles recordings that was written by George Harrison.

6. ___ Pro (2015 debut) : IPAD
The iPad Pro tablet computer, released in November 2015, features a larger screen than all prior iPad models.

9. 35mm camera option : SLR
SLR stands for “single lens reflex”. Usually cameras with changeable lenses are the SLR type. The main feature of an SLR is that a mirror reflects the image seen through the lens out through the viewfinder, so that the photographer sees exactly what the lens sees. The mirror moves out of the way as the picture is taken, and the image that comes through the lens falls onto unexposed film, or nowadays onto a digital sensor.

35mm was chosen at the beginning of the 20th century as a standard size for film used in still cameras. 35mm was selected as it already the standard film size for film used in motion pictures.

11. “To his good friends thus wide I’ll ___ my arms”: “Hamlet” : OPE
The full title of William Shakespeare’s play that we tend to call “Hamlet” is “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”. It is the most performed of all Shakespeare’s plays and it is also his longest, the only one of his works comprising over 4,000 lines. That’s about a 4-hour sitting in a theater …

12. Southwest side dish : SPANISH RICE
Spanish rice is a side dish that is usually called “Mexican rice” in the American Southwest. Spanish rice is made by sautéing the rice to brown it and then adding chicken broth, chopped tomatoes and other ingredients.

24. What’s missing from a KO? : … LMN …
The three-letter string LMN goes between K and O in the alphabet.

25. Abbr. on mail to a soldier : APO
Army Post Office (APO)

26. Jeremy on the court : LIN
Jeremy Lin is a professional basketball player who was raised in the city of Palo Alto in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lin is the first American of Chinese descent to play in the NBA.

27. Like the Pilgrims: Abbr. : ENG
The early settlers of the Plymouth Colony were known as English Dissenters and belonged to congregations that separated from the Church of England. Many English Dissenters headed for Holland in the Netherlands, but the Mayflower Pilgrims opted to set up a new colony in North America in an effort to maintain their English cultural identity.

30. It’s often marked with an “@” : AWAY GAME
In the world of sports, a team’s schedule might denote the away games by placing an a symbol in front of the opponent that will be at home.

31. Official residence at the Vatican : PAPAL PALACE
The Apostolic Palace (also called the Papal Palace) is the official residence of the Pope in Vatican City. The palace is home to the Papal Apartments, where the Pope traditionally resides and where guests of the State are accommodated. The current head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, declines to stay in the sumptuous Papal Apartments and instead lives in a modest two-room residence in an official guest house known as the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

33. Trophy figure : NIKE
Nike was the Greek goddess of victory, often referred to as the Winged Goddess of Victory. The athletic shoe company Nike uses the “Nike swoosh” as its logo, which is based on the goddess’s wing.

34. Early smartphone : TREO
The Treo is a smartphone that was originally developed by a company called Handspring. Handspring was bought by Palm Inc. Subsequently, the Treo was phased out and replaced by the Palm Pre.

46. Oscar V.I.P.s : HOSTS
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is the organization that gives the annual Academy Awards also known as the “Oscars”. The root of the name “Oscar” is hotly debated, but what is agreed is that the award was officially named “Oscar” in 1939. The first Academy Awards were presented at a brunch in 1929 with an audience of just 29 people. The Awards ceremony is a slightly bigger event these days …

47. Kipling’s birthplace : INDIA
Rudyard Kipling was a British poet and writer famous for his tales of the British Raj, the rule of the British Empire in India. Kipling was actually born in Bombay, but returned with his family to England when he was very young. After being educated in England, he returned to India and from there traveled the world. Kipling’s most famous works are the stories “The Jungle Book”, “Just So Stories”, “The Man Who Would Be King”, and the poems “Mandalay”, “Gunga Din” and “If-”.

49. Oscar-winning role for Hattie McDaniel : MAMMY
Hattie McDaniel was the first African American actor to win an Academy Award. She won her Oscar for playing the O’Hara housemaid called Mammy in the 1939 classic “Gone With the Wind”.

50. Out : PASSE
“Passé” is a French word, meaning “past, faded”.

52. Three-time N.H.L. All-Star Kovalchuk : ILYA
Ilya Kovalchuk is a Russian-born hockey player with the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League.

53. Desires : YENS
The word “yen”, meaning “urge”, has been around in English since the very early 1900s. It comes from the earlier word “yin” imported from Chinese, which was used in English to describe an intense craving for opium!

55. First word of Massachusetts’ motto : ENSE
The motto of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is “Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem”, a Latin phrase that can be translated as “By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty”. The quotation is from a passage written by English politician Algernon Sidney who was executed for treason by King Charles II.

56. How some shares are sold : AT PAR
Stocks, and other financial vehicles, may be sold “at par”, meaning at the original price, neither discounted nor at a premium.

57. Boomers of old, in brief : SSTS
The most famous supersonic transport (SST) is the retired Concorde. Famously, the Concorde routinely broke the sound barrier, and cruised at about twice the speed of sound. Above Mach 2, frictional heat would cause the plane’s aluminum airframe to soften, so airspeed was limited.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. ___ nerve, the longest in the human body : SCIATIC
8. Learning method : OSMOSIS
15. Sound from a traditional German band : OOM-PAH-PAH
16. Cheeky : FLIPPANT
17. Self-destruct : IMPLODE
18. Hall of fame : ARSENIO
19. Man’s name that’s 20-Across backward : LEE
20. Fish dish : EEL
22. Place to stop over : INN
23. Belarus, once: Abbr. : SSR
24. University in Philadelphia : LA SALLE
28. Blue shade : SKY
29. “The Wild Bunch” director : SAM PECKINPAH
32. 19th-century nativist group : KNOW-NOTHING PARTY
36. First in a historical trio : NINA
37. Howard of Hollywood : RON
38. Bygone European capital : LIRA
39. “Got it” : OKAY
40. Popular zoo attraction … or a hint to 11 squares in this puzzle : PANDA (or “P AND A”)
41. Horse in a harness : PACER
42. Lux. neighbor : BELG
43. Thumbs up : YES
44. The first “L” of L. L. Bean : LEON
45. Hawaiian tuna : AHI
48. Actress who killed Bill in “Kill Bill Volume 2” : UMA
50. Portmanteau legally recognized since 1977 : PALIMONY
54. Blanket remedies : PANACEAS
58. Ones getting the business? : SALES DEPARTMENTS
60. Fix : SPAY
61. Dickens boy : TINY TIM
62. Row : SPAT
63. Subj. of a “Delayed” sign : ETA
64. With freshness : SASSILY
65. Some stammering : ERS

Down
1. Besmirches : SOILS
2. What’s between here and the sun, in song? : COMES
3. Cold : IMPERSONAL
4. “Be ___!” : A PAL
5. Even if, briefly : THO’
6. ___ Pro (2015 debut) : IPAD
7. It may come with a knife and crackers : CHEESE TRAY
8. Ranging widely : OF ALL KINDS
9. 35mm camera option : SLR
10. Lead-in to speak or spell : MIS-
11. “To his good friends thus wide I’ll ___ my arms”: “Hamlet” : OPE
12. Southwest side dish : SPANISH RICE
13. Permanently : IN INK
14. Expressionless : STONY
21. Every last person : EACH ONE
24. What’s missing from a KO? : … LMN …
25. Abbr. on mail to a soldier : APO
26. Jeremy on the court : LIN
27. Like the Pilgrims: Abbr. : ENG
30. It’s often marked with an “@” : AWAY GAME
31. Official residence at the Vatican : PAPAL PALACE
32. Person’s head, in slang : KNOB
33. Trophy figure : NIKE
34. Early smartphone : TREO
35. Soft ball? : YARN
46. Oscar V.I.P.s : HOSTS
47. Kipling’s birthplace : INDIA
48. Up to : UNTIL
49. Oscar-winning role for Hattie McDaniel : MAMMY
50. Out : PASSE
51. Wash against gently : LAP AT
52. Three-time N.H.L. All-Star Kovalchuk : ILYA
53. Desires : YENS
54. Serial opener : PART I
55. First word of Massachusetts’ motto : ENSE
56. How some shares are sold : AT PAR
57. Boomers of old, in brief : SSTS
59. Yields : PAYS

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5 thoughts on “1112-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 12 Nov 15, Thursday”

  1. This actually came pretty easily, since all the rebus squares are the same. :25 for me. PAPALPALACE was quite over the top, but I'll live with it. I did notice PANDA, but was too busy filling the rebus squares to remember the hint.

  2. 48:52, no errors. I suspected that 40A would be PANDA, but did not separate it into 'P AND A' until about 30 minutes in. Once I figured out the rebus theme, things fell apart pretty quickly.

  3. 22:20, no errors. I lucked out and grokked the theme (sort of – I understood that there were lots of squares containing "PA") within the first couple of minutes. Like BruceB, I didn't initially see PANDA as P AND A, (but, unlike him, I never saw it at all!). My only real problem area was the middle of the right edge, where I initially put NERF for 35D ("Soft ball?"). Even after it became clear to me that wasn't working, it took me a while to come up with YARN.

  4. Puzzles like this elicit my middle finger to everyone involved. I HATE rebuses. They waste my time. I don't see how you're supposed to figure this one out.

  5. I am so with anonymous. A rebus prevents entering answers that are correct only because of the artificial and usually eye-rolling who cares false clever barriers. For instance, 29a, knowing it is Sam Peckinpah but with the ridiculous PA artifice making it not fit leaves a huge hole in the middle of the puzzle. Even after I read the solution it is completely "so what".
    I would appreciate it if rebus puzzles were identified at the outset so I would never waste a moment on them.

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