1124-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 24 Nov 15, Tuesday

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Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
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CROSSWORD SETTER: Gary Cee
THEME: Spin Cycle … we have a hidden “word” in our themed answers today. The letters of the word SPIN “CYCLE” through each of these answers: PIN-S, IN-SP, N-SPI, SPIN.

60A. Washer action … or a hint to four consecutive letters inside 18-, 23-, 38- and 49-Across : SPIN CYCLE

18A. 1978 Cheech & Chong comedy : UP IN SMOKE
23A. Academy Award winner for “American Beauty” : KEVIN SPACEY
38A. Besides Charlie Chaplin, only film director on Time’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century : STEVEN SPIELBERG
49A. Gilbert and Sullivan operetta set on a ship : HMS PINAFORE

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 7m 13s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2 … OLETA (Aleta), POTOK (Patok)

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. ___ Games : PAN AM
The Pan American Games are held every four years, the year just before the Summer Olympic Games. The participating athletes all come from the Americas.

14. Soul singer Adams : OLETA
Oleta Adams is an American soul singer from Seattle, Washington. Adams has had most of her success over in the UK, rather than here in the US.

15. Cy Young Award winner Sparky : LYLE
Sparky Lyle is a retired MLB relief pitcher who played from 1967 to 1982, winning the Cy Young Award in 1977.

17. Memorable “Animal House” costumes : TOGAS
The very funny 1978 movie “Animal House” has the prefix “National Lampoon’s …” because the storyline came out of tales that had already appeared in “National Lampoon” magazine. “Animal House” was to become the first in a long line of successful “National Lampoon” films. The main pledges in the movie are Tom Hulce (Pinto), who later played a magnificent “Amadeus”, and Stephen Furst (Flounder), later played a regular role on television’s “Babylon 5”.

18. 1978 Cheech & Chong comedy : UP IN SMOKE
Cheech & Chong’s very first feature-length movie was 1978’s “Up in Smoke”. The film is usually regarded as the first in “stoner comedy” genre of movie.

The comedy duo Cheech & Chong are made up of Richard “Cheech” Marin and Tommy Chong. Cheech and Chong worked together from 1971 to 1985, and have been back working together again since 2002. A lot of the duo’s comedy was based on their being stoned on cannabis.

23. Academy Award winner for “American Beauty” : KEVIN SPACEY
The actor Kevin Spacey won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in 1995’s “The Usual Suspects”, and a Best Actor Oscar for 1999’s “American Beauty”. More recently, Spacey has been garnering widespread acclaim for his starring role in the political drama series “House of Cards”. Spacey also works as the artistic director for the Old Vic theatre in London, and by all accounts has been doing a fabulous job.

26. Black ___ (some military missions) : OPS
“Black ops” is the name given to covert operations, activities that are usually outside of standard military protocol and may even be against the law. Funding for black ops is usually provided by a secret “black budget”.

27. Weapons stockpile : ARSENAL
Our word “arsenal” comes from the Italian “arzenale”, a work adapted from the Arabic for “workshop”. There was a large wharf in Venice called the Arzenale that became associated with the storage of weapons and ammunition, and this led to our contemporary usage of “arsenal”.

32. Morocco’s capital : RABAT
Rabat is the capital city of the Kingdom of Morocco. After WWII, the United States maintained a major Air Force Base in Rabat, part of Strategic Air Command (SAC). Responding to pressure from the Moroccan government of King Mohammed V, the USAF pulled out in 1963.

36. Who said “It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am” : ALI
Muhammad Ali won 56 professional fights, 37 of which were knockouts. He lost 5 fights, 4 being decisions and one being a technical knockout (TKO). The TKO-loss was Ali’s second-last fight, against Larry Holmes. By the time Ali took on Holmes, he was already showing signs of Parkinson’s Syndrome, although the diagnosis would not come until four years later. Ali turned out for his last two fights largely because he needed the money. A sad end to a career, I’d say …

37. ___ Raton, Fla. : BOCA
The name of the city of Boca Raton in Florida translates from Spanish as “Mouse Mouth”. There doesn’t seem to be a definitive etymology of the name but one plausible explanation is a nautical one. “Boca”, as well as meaning “mouth” can mean “inlet”. “Ratón”, as well as meaning “mouse” was also used to describe rocks that chewed away at a ship’s anchor cable. So possibly Boca Raton was named for a rocky inlet.

38. Besides Charlie Chaplin, only film director on Time’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century : STEVEN SPIELBERG
“Time” magazine compiled its list of the 20th century’s 100 most influential people in 1999. The panel who made the selections included Dan Rather, Condoleezza Rice and Mario Cuomo. The list is alphabetical in an ranked, except for the “top three”.

1. Albert Einstein
2. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
3. Mahatma Gandhi

43. Kellogg’s Cracklin’ ___ Bran : OAT
Kellogg’s has been making Cracklin’ Oat Bran since 1977. The recipe for the cereal was revamped in 1989 in order to reduce the saturated fat content.

45. 3-D image in medical diagnoses : PET SCAN
The medical diagnostic tool called a PET scan relies on the detection of gamma rays emitted indirectly by radioactive tracer isotope that is introduced into the body. Usually, the tracer isotope is incorporated into a glucose-like sugar and then injected into the bloodstream. After about an hour, the radioactive compound has been concentrated in areas of high metabolic activity, perhaps a malignant tumor. As the isotope decays, it emits positrons. The positrons interact with electrons resulting in annihilation of the particles with emission of gamma photons. These gamma photons are detected and are drawn on a map showing where the molecular tracer has concentrated. The acronym PET stands for positron emission tomography.

47. Tina who won the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor : FEY
Comic actress Tina Fey has a scar on her face a few inches long on her left cheek, which I was shocked to learn was caused by a childhood “slashing” incident. When she was just five years old and playing in the front yard of her house, someone just came up to her and slashed her with a knife. How despicable!

49. Gilbert and Sullivan operetta set on a ship : HMS PINAFORE
“H.M.S. Pinafore” is one of my favorite of the Gilbert & Sullivan comic operas (a production we staged at high school, many moons ago). “Pinafore” was one of the first big hits for Gilbert & Sullivan (in their native Britain, and in America), and they followed it up with “The Pirates of Penzance” and “The Mikado”.

55. Very, in music : ASSAI
The Italian term “assai” translates as “very”, and is used in music with the same meaning.

66. Markswoman Oakley : ANNIE
Many regard Annie Oakley as the first American female superstar, given her celebrity as a sharpshooter in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. She toured with the show all over Europe, and performed her act for the likes of Queen Victoria of England and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. Supposedly, using a .22 caliber rifle from 90 feet away, Oakley could split a playing card edge-on, and shoot five or six holes in the card before it hit the ground!

69. “Common Sense” writer : PAINE
Thomas Paine was an English author who achieved incredible success with his pamphlet “Common Sense” published in 1776 which advocated independence of colonial America from Britain. Paine had immigrated to the American colonies just two years before his pamphlet was published, and so was just in time to make a major contribution to the American Revolution.

Down
1. Chaim who wrote “The Chosen” : POTOK
Chaim Potok was a Jewish American author. Potok’s most famous novel is “The Chosen”, which recounts the life of a Jewish youth in New York City during WWII.

2. “It’s ___ Thing” (1981 hit by the Whispers) : A LOVE
The Whispers are a singing group that was founded in Watts in Southern California in 1964, and are still going strong today. Their biggest hits have to be from the eighties, including “And the Beat Goes On” (1980), and “Rock Steady” (1987).

3. Israel’s ___ Desert : NEGEV
The Negev is a desert region in southern Israel. The largest city in the Negev is Beersheba.

4. Arcade game pioneer : ATARI
At one point, the electronics and video game manufacturer Atari was the fastest growing company in US history. However, Atari never really recovered from the video game industry crash of 1983.

5. Love letter : MASH NOTE
A “mash note” is a love letter, especially one expressing intense infatuation. Back in the late 1800s, “mash” was a slang term for a major crush.

7. High-strung, as a personality : TYPE A
The Type A and Type B personality theory originated in the fifties. Back then, individuals were labelled as Type A in order to emphasize a perceived increased risk of heart disease. Type A personality types are so called “stress junkies”, whereas Type B types are relaxed and laid back. But there doesn’t seem to be much scientific evidence to support the linkage between the Type A personality and heart problems.

8. Whitney who invented the cotton gin : ELI
The inventor Eli Whitney is a best known for inventing the cotton gin. Whitney also came up with the important concept of “interchangeable parts”. Parts that are interchangeable can be swapped out of equipment or perhaps used in related designs.

9. Baritones, typically : MEN
The baritone is the most common male singing voice, and lies between a bass and a tenor.

12. Puff on a joint : TOKE
“Toke” is a slang term for a puff on a marijuana cigarette or on a pipe containing the drug.

The term “joint” has a long history in the drug world. The word originally came from French in which it is the past participle of the word for “to join”. It became an Anglo-Irish term for a side-room “joined” onto a main room in the early 1800s. Towards the end of the 19th century it was US slang for a small, shady establishment, such as an opium den. By the 1930s a joint was a hypodermic needle used to inject heroin, and soon after became the term for a marijuana cigarette.

21. Paranormal ability, for short : ESP
Extrasensory perception (ESP)

24. Colombian metropolis : CALI
In terms of population, Cali is the third largest city in Colombia (after Bogotá and Medellin). Santiago de Cali (the full name for the city) lies in western Colombia. Apparently, Cali is a destination for “medical tourists”. The city’s surgeons have a reputation for being expert in cosmetic surgery and so folks head there looking for a “cheap” nose job.

30. Piece of land : ACRE
At one time, an acre was defined as the amount of land a yoke of oxen could plow in a day. This was more precisely defined as a strip of land “one furrow long” (i.e. one furlong) and one furlong wide. The length of one furlong was equal to 10 chains, or 40 rods. A area of one furlong times 10 rods was one rood.

32. Click yes or no on an e-vite, say : RSVP
RSVP stands for “répondez, s’il vous plaît”, which is French for “please, answer”.

35. Fifth and Park, in N.Y.C. : AVES
Fifth Avenue in New York is sometimes referred to as the “most expensive street in the world” as the section that runs through Midtown Manhattan is home to upscale stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue.

Park Avenue in New York City used to be known as Fourth Avenue, and for much of its length carried the tracks of the New York and Harlem Railroad. When the line was built, some of it was constructed by cutting through the length of the street and then forming underground tunnels by covering over the line with grates and greenery. This greenery formed a parkland between 34th and 40th Streets, and in 1860 the grassy section of Fourth Avenue was renamed Park Avenue, a name that was eventually used for the whole thoroughfare.

36. Perceptive, as a pupil : APT
A particularly intelligent pupil might be described as an “apt” student, someone who learns easily.

39. Linguist Chomsky : NOAM
Noam Chomsky is a professor of linguistics at MIT. Chomsky is known as one of the fathers of modern linguistics.

40. ___-serif typeface : SANS
Serifs are details on the ends of characters in some typefaces. Typefaces without serifs are known as sans-serif (using the French word “sans” meaning “without”). Some people say that serif fonts are easier to read on paper, whereas sans-serif fonts work better on a computer screen. I’m not so sure though …

46. Stylish : CHIC
“Chic” is a French word meaning “stylish”.

50. Pullover shirts : POLOS
René Lacoste was a French tennis player who went into the clothing business, and came up with a more comfortable shirt that players could use. This became known as a “tennis shirt”. When it was adopted for use in the sport of polo, the shirts also became known as “polo shirts”. And then the “golf shirt” is basically the same thing.

51. Grammy winner Apple : FIONA
Fiona Apple is a singer-songwriter and pianist from New York City.

52. Native of Muscat : OMANI
Muscat is the capital of Oman, and lies on the northeast coast of the state on the Gulf of Oman, a branch of the Persian Gulf.

54. ___ Lauder : ESTEE
Estée Lauder was a very successful businesswoman, with a reputation as a great salesperson. Lauder introduced her own line of fragrances in 1953, a bath oil called “Youth Dew”. “Youth Dew” was marketed as a perfume, but it was added to bathwater. All of a sudden women were pouring whole bottles of Ms. Lauder’s “perfume” into their baths while using only a drop or two of French perfumes behind their ears. That’s quite a difference in sales volume …

55. Nile vipers : ASPS
The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.

57. Structure with a rounded top : SILO
“Silo” is a Spanish word that we absorbed into English, originally coming from the Greek word “siros” that described a pit in which one kept corn.

61. Designer’s monogram : YSL
Yves Saint-Laurent was a French fashion designer, actually born in Algeria. Saint-Laurent started off working as an assistant to Christian Dior at the age of 17. Dior died just four years later, and as a very young man Saint-Laurent was named head of the House of Dior. However, in 1950 Saint-Laurent was conscripted into the French Army and ended up in a military hospital after suffering a mental breakdown from the hazing inflicted on him by his fellow soldiers. His treatment included electroshock therapy and administration of sedatives and psychoactive drugs. He was released from prison, managed to pull his life back together and started his own fashion house. A remarkable story …

62. Tax time busy bee : CPA
Certified public accountant (CPA)

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. ___ Games : PAN AM
6. Part of a plant or a wineglass : STEM
10. Colony dwellers : ANTS
14. Soul singer Adams : OLETA
15. Cy Young Award winner Sparky : LYLE
16. Thief’s bagful : LOOT
17. Memorable “Animal House” costumes : TOGAS
18. 1978 Cheech & Chong comedy : UP IN SMOKE
20. Helpful cry during a rescue mission : OVER HERE!
22. Lopsided : ASKEW
23. Academy Award winner for “American Beauty” : KEVIN SPACEY
26. Black ___ (some military missions) : OPS
27. Weapons stockpile : ARSENAL
32. Morocco’s capital : RABAT
36. Who said “It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am” : ALI
37. ___ Raton, Fla. : BOCA
38. Besides Charlie Chaplin, only film director on Time’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century : STEVEN SPIELBERG
42. Repulsive : VILE
43. Kellogg’s Cracklin’ ___ Bran : OAT
44. Biblical beasts : ASSES
45. 3-D image in medical diagnoses : PET SCAN
47. Tina who won the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor : FEY
49. Gilbert and Sullivan operetta set on a ship : HMS PINAFORE
55. Very, in music : ASSAI
59. Days of yore : OLD TIMES
60. Washer action … or a hint to four consecutive letters inside 18-, 23-, 38- and 49-Across : SPIN CYCLE
63. Certain Comedy Central production : ROAST
64. Wan : PALE
65. Word after beauty or blind : SPOT
66. Markswoman Oakley : ANNIE
67. White icing on a gingerbread house, possibly : SNOW
68. Lad’s partner : LASS
69. “Common Sense” writer : PAINE

Down
1. Chaim who wrote “The Chosen” : POTOK
2. “It’s ___ Thing” (1981 hit by the Whispers) : A LOVE
3. Israel’s ___ Desert : NEGEV
4. Arcade game pioneer : ATARI
5. Love letter : MASH NOTE
6. Eats noisily : SLURPS
7. High-strung, as a personality : TYPE A
8. Whitney who invented the cotton gin : ELI
9. Baritones, typically : MEN
10. Charitable donations : ALMS
11. ___ and cranny : NOOK
12. Puff on a joint : TOKE
13. Meat-and-vegetables dish : STEW
19. Verbalizes : SAYS
21. Paranormal ability, for short : ESP
24. Colombian metropolis : CALI
25. Ontario border lake : ERIE
28. Recedes : EBBS
29. Dissents : NOES
30. Piece of land : ACRE
31. Tarries : LAGS
32. Click yes or no on an e-vite, say : RSVP
33. “___ is like kissing your sister” (sports adage) : A TIE
34. Heavyweight’s prize : BELT
35. Fifth and Park, in N.Y.C. : AVES
36. Perceptive, as a pupil : APT
39. Linguist Chomsky : NOAM
40. ___-serif typeface : SANS
41. Show some guile : LAY A TRAP
46. Stylish : CHIC
47. Steakhouse offerings : FILETS
48. Call it a day : END
50. Pullover shirts : POLOS
51. Grammy winner Apple : FIONA
52. Native of Muscat : OMANI
53. Pine exudation : RESIN
54. ___ Lauder : ESTEE
55. Nile vipers : ASPS
56. Extend across : SPAN
57. Structure with a rounded top : SILO
58. All over again : ANEW
61. Designer’s monogram : YSL
62. Tax time busy bee : CPA

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4 thoughts on “1124-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 24 Nov 15, Tuesday”

  1. Never noticed the theme.

    I love silos, especially the old tiled ones, though "big blue" fiberglass Harvestores are attractive. The concrete stave ones are the least.
    There're some new steel ones popping up called Sukup that apparently spare human drudgery by using pneumatic power.
    Every year some poor fellow dies of suffocation by failing to use a harness in a filled silo.
    And Robert Burns pointed out that "Corn-rigs are bonnie." (So don't tell me my interest is phallic.)
    Around here, many barns are collapsing, but the silos remain. Fewer farmers are needed since the big co-operatives want to have a single stop to load their tanks. Sad.

    A chimp was named Nim Chimsky after Noam Chomksky.

  2. Missed one letter. Never heard of Oleta Adams and guessed "Oletu". Never heard of a mash note but "mush note" seemed to fit. That entire upper left corner slowed me down a little. The clue didn't help at all. Overall, quite enjoyable despite my one miss.

  3. 7:30, no errors. I too neglected to look for the theme in the long entries and so, once again, was enlightened by coming here.

    It has been many years since I lived in Iowa farm country, so my memory could easily be at fault, but I would have sworn that most of the silos I saw then had either flat tops or shallowly conical ones. (Recent images that I found on Google do justify the "rounded top" clue.)

  4. 10;47, two errors. Like Anonymous, I felt MUSH NOTE was a better fit than MASH NOTE. So ALETA (ALETO) was also wrong.

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