1127-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 27 Nov 15, Friday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Peter Wentz
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 11m 40s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Napa options, informally : CABS
The Cabernet Sauvignon grape has been around since the 17th century, and is the result of a chance crossing in southwestern France of the Cabernet franc and Sauvignon blanc grapes.

The first commercial winery in Napa Valley, California was established way back in 1858. However, premium wine production only dates back to the 1960s, with the region really hitting the big time after its success at the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976. The story of that famous blind wine tasting is told in the entertaining 2008 film “Bottle Shock”.

15. Browse without comment : LURK
A “lurker” is someone who visits websites, especially a discussion forum, and who just reads but does not make a contribution or leave a comment. In other words, someone who just lurks in the background. I know you’re out there … 🙂

17. “Paris is always a good ___” (line from the film “Sabrina”) : IDEA
“Sabrina” is a fabulous romantic comedy directed by Billy Wilder from 1954. A real favorite of mine, it stars Audrey Hepburn in the title role, opposite Humphrey Bogart in an unusual role for him. William Holden plays the inevitable second love interest. There’s a nice scene in the movie where Hepburn performs a lovely rendition of “La Vie en rose”. “Sabrina was remade in 1995 in a version that’s almost as good as the original, starring Julia Ormond, Harrison Ford and Greg Kinnear.

19. “Bad Girls” rapper : MIA
M.I.A. is the stage name of British rap artist Maya Arulpragasam.

20. Fix, as a toy : 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”.

The toy group of dogs is made up of the smallest breeds. The smallest breeds are sometimes called “teacup” breeds.

22. Chinese cabbage : BOK CHOY
Bok choy is a variety of Chinese cabbage. “Bok choy” translates as “white vegetable”.

30. John who wrote “BUtterfield 8” : O’HARA
“BUtterfield 8” (note the capitalization of both the “B” and the “U”) is a film released in 1960 starring Elizabeth Taylor and Laurence Harvey. The title of the movie, and of the John O’Hara novel on which the film is based, is actually a telephone number. Up to the mid-sixties, telephone exchanges were given names rather than numbers. BUtterfield 8 was an exchange in the wealthy Upper East Side of Manhattan, and dialling of BU-8 was equivalent to 28-8, the first three digits of a 7-digit phone number.

31. Michael who played Alfred Pennyworth in three Batman movies : CAINE
There have been only two actors who have been nominated for an Academy Award in every decade from the 1960s to the 2000s. One is Jack Nicholson, and the other is Michael Caine. Caine is now known as Sir Michael Caine, as he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in the year 2000.

Alfred J. Pennyworth is the loyal butler to Bruce Wayne, aka Batman. Alfred is sometimes referred to as “Batman’s batman”. Sir Michael Caine played Alfred in three movies: “Batman Begins”, “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises”.

33. 2012 Twitter acquisition : VINE
Vine is a video sharing service. Videos are limited to six-seconds in length, although each clip loops. Twitter acquired Vine in 2012, just before the service went live.

35. Stola : woman :: ___ : man : TOGA
In Ancient Rome the classical attire known as a toga (plural “togae”) was usually worn over a tunic. The tunic was made from linen, and the toga itself was a piece of cloth about twenty feet long made from wool. The toga could only be worn by men, and only if those men were Roman citizens. The female equivalent of the toga was called a “stola”.

36. Logo for the Hartford : ELK
Exactly when the Hartford Stag (or Elk, or Hart) logo first appeared isn’t precisely known. The oldest extant representation of the Hartford Stag is found on a policy that the company issued to Abraham Lincoln in 1861.

The Hartford investment and insurance company was founded in Hartford, Connecticut in 1810. The company was started by a group of local merchants as a Fire Insurance Company with an initial cash injection of $15,000. The Hartford had an annual revenue of over $26 billion in 2012.

37. Greenlanders, by citizenship : DANES
Greenland is the largest island in the world. Geographically, Greenland is part of the continent of North America, but culturally and politically is considered part of Europe. The island became a Danish colony in 1815, and joined the European Economic Community (EEC) with Denmark. Greenland withdrew from the EEC after a referendum in 1983. Since 2009, Greenland has been relatively autonomous, with the Danish government retaining control of foreign affairs, defence and the judicial system.

41. Dresden’s state : SAXONY
Saxony is the most westerly of Germany’s sixteen states. The state’s largest city is Leipzig, and its capital is Dresden.

42. Fashion designer Marc : ECKO
Marc Ecko is a fashion designer from New Jersey. Marc was born Marc Milecofsky. In college he became a fan of graffiti and used the name “Ecko” to tag his drawings.

43. Halluces : BIG TOES
The big toe is referred to anatomically as the hallux (plural “halluces”). The thumbs is referred to as the pollex (plural “pollices”).

46. Curiosity’s locale : MARS
NASA’s Curiosity rover is the fourth in a series of unmanned surface rovers that NASA has sent to Mars. Previous rovers are the Sojourner rover (1997), Spirit rover (2004-2010) and Opportunity rover (2004-present). Curiosity rover was launched in November of 2011, and landed on Mars in August 2012 after having travelled 350 million miles. After that long journey, Curiosity landed just 1½ miles from its targeted touchdown spot.

47. Onetime Ice Cube collaborator, informally : DRE
N.W.A was a hip hop group from Compton, California. The original five group members included rappers who have made a name for themselves as solo acts, including: Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. The story of NWA is told in a 2015 film, also called “Straight Outta Compton”. I hear that the movie is being well received, although I probably won’t be seeing it …

52. Target for a snake : CLOG
A plumber’s snake might be used to clear a clog.

54. Adventurer in Grouchland in a 1999 film : ELMO
The man behind/under the character Elmo on “Sesame Street” is Kevin Clash. If you want to learn more about Elmo and Clash, you can watch the 2011 documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey”.

Down
4. Genre for the band Sublime : SKA
Ska originated in Jamaica in the late fifties and was the precursor to reggae music. No one has a really definitive etymology of the term “ska”, but it is likely to be imitative of some sound.

8. Abbr. next to a chart : FIG
Figure (fig.)

9. Tops off : FRESHENS
To freshen a drink is to top it off.

10. Orbit alternative : DENTYNE
Dentyne chewing gum was formulated back in 1899 by a druggist in New York called Franklin Canning. He came up with the name of his new gum by combining the words “dental” and “hygiene”.

Orbit is a sugarless gum made by Wrigley’s. Orbit was first introduced during WWII, but was taken off the shelves in the 1980s when there was a concern that the gum’s sweetener was carcinogenic. Orbit was relaunched in 2001.

12. [See above] : IBID
Ibid. is short for the Latin word “ibidem” and is typically found in footnotes and bibliographies. Ibid. is used to refer the reader to the prior citation, instead of giving the same information all over again (title, author etc.).

14. Computer memory units: Abbr. : KBS
In the world of computers, a “bit” is the basic unit of information. It has a value of 0 or 1. A “byte” is a small collection of bits (usually 8), the number of bits needed to uniquely identify a character of text. The prefix mega- stands for 10 to the power of 6, so a megabyte (meg) is 1,000,000 bytes. And the prefix giga- means 10 to the power of 9, so a gigabyte (gig) is 1,000,000,000 bytes. Well, those are the SI definitions of megabyte and kilobyte. The purists still use 2 to the power of 20 for a megabyte (i.e. 1,048,576), and 2 to the power of 30 for a gigabyte.

20. Sect opposed to ISIS : SHIA
The Islamic sects of Sunni and Shia Muslims differ in the belief of who should have taken over leadership of the Muslim faithful after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. Followers of the Sunni tradition agree with the decision that the Prophet Muhammad’s confidante Abu Bakr was the right choice to become the first Caliph of the Islamic nation. Followers of the Shia tradition believe that leadership should have stayed within the Prophet Muhammad’s own family, and favoured the Prophet’s son-in-law Ali.

ISIS is an extremist Sunni rebel group, with the acronym standing for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The organization is also referred to as ISIL, standing for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or simply IS, for the Islamic State.

23. Pains : CARE
To take pains is to take care.

26. Land known to locals as Cymru : WALES
The Welsh language is a Celtic tongue that is known as “Cymraeg” by its native speakers. The country of Wales is known as “Cymru” in Welsh.

27. One stuck abroad? : VOODOO DOLL
Voodoo is a religion that originated the French slave colony of Saint-Domingue on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola.

28. Scotty’s domain on “Star Trek” : ENGINE ROOM
In the “Star Trek” series on television and in the movies, the colorful character of “Scotty” was played by the Canadian actor James Doohan. Doohan joined the Royal Canadian Artillery at the start of WWII, and participated in the D-Day Invasion of Normandy. After surviving the landing, that same day Doohan was shot by one of his own men in a tragic mishap. Doohan was hit six times, with a bullet to his chest stopped by a silver cigarette case he was carrying. One of Doohan’s fingers was shot off in the incident, an injury that he successfully concealed during his acting career.

31. Part of Dante’s “Inferno” : CANTO
A canto is a section of a long poem, and is a term first used by the Italian poet Dante. “Canto” is the Italian for “song”.

Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy” is an epic poem dating back to the 14th century. The first part of that epic is “Inferno”, which is the Italian word for “Hell”. In the poem, Dante is led on a journey by the poet Virgil, starting at the gates of Hell on which are written the famous words “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here”.

34. It’s usually devoted to sports in a tabloid newspaper : BACK PAGE
“Tabloid” is the trademarked name (owned by Burroughs, Wellcome and Co,) for a “small tablet of medicine”, a name that goes back to 1884. The word “tabloid” had entered into general use to mean a compressed form of anything, and by the early 1900s was used in “tabloid journalism”, applied to newspapers that had short, condensed articles and stories printed on smaller sheets of paper.

40. Small bomb used for breaking down gates : PETARD
In days of old, a petard was a small bomb that was used to breach fortified gates and walls. The phrase “hoisted by his own petard” comes from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, and is a reference to a petard detonating prematurely and blowing up (“hoisting”) the bomber.

41. Mythical nautical dangers : SIRENS
In Greek mythology, the Sirens were seductive bird-women who lured men to their deaths with their song. When Odysseus sailed closed to the island home of the Sirens he wanted to hear their voices, but in safety. He had his men plug their ears with beeswax and then ordered them to tie him to the mast and not to free him until they were safe. On hearing their song Odysseus begged to be let loose, but the sailors just tightened his bonds and and the whole crew sailed away unharmed.

43. Follower of Able : BAKER
There are several phonetic alphabets, including what is called the RAF (Royal Air Force) phonetic alphabet that dates back to before 1956. The RAF phonetic alphabet starts off Able, Baker, Charlie (A, B, C).

44. Massive explosion : NOVA
A nova is basically a star that suddenly gets much brighter, gradually returning to its original state weeks or even years later. The increased brightness of a nova is due to increased nuclear activity causing the star to pick up extra hydrogen from a neighboring celestial body. A supernova is very different from a nova. A supernova is a very bright burst of light and energy created when most of the material in a star explodes. The bright burst of a supernova is very short-lived compared to the sustained brightness of a nova.

46. Home of “Christina’s World,” familiarly : MOMA
The founding of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City was very much driven by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, the wife of John D. Rockefeller, son of the oil magnate. Working with two friends, Abby managed to get the museum opened in 1929, just nine days after the Wall Street Crash. The MoMA’s sculpture garden bears the name of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, and has done so since 1949.

“Christina’s World” is an Andrew Wyeth painting that dates back to 1948. The subject of the work is Christina Olson, a woman who suffered from polio that paralyzed her lower body. In the picture, Wyeth painted Christina crawling across a field towards a house in the distance.

49. Presidential son and brother : JEB
Jeb Bush is the son of President George H. W. Bush, and the brother of President George W. Bush.

I always thought that Jeb was an American nickname for James or Joseph but I must be wrong, because George and Barbara’s son John Ellis Bush is called “Jeb”. A kind blog reader has suggested the the name “Jeb” may have been chosen as JEB are the initials of John Ellis Bush.

50. Dating inits. : BCE
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.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Napa options, informally : CABS
5. Request after a tough day, perhaps : STIFF DRINK
15. Browse without comment : LURK
16. “Ain’t gonna happen!” : NO SIREE BOB!
17. “Paris is always a good ___” (line from the film “Sabrina”) : IDEA
18. They get spots out : AD AGENCIES
19. “Bad Girls” rapper : MIA
20. Fix, as a toy : SPAY
21. Supports for gypsum boards : STUDS
22. Chinese cabbage : BOK CHOY
24. Reasons : WHYS
25. Reason for icing : SPRAIN
26. “Anytime” : WHENEVER
30. John who wrote “BUtterfield 8” : O’HARA
31. Michael who played Alfred Pennyworth in three Batman movies : CAINE
32. Solitary : ONE
33. 2012 Twitter acquisition : VINE
34. They come as a relief : BALMS
35. Stola : woman :: ___ : man : TOGA
36. Logo for the Hartford : ELK
37. Greenlanders, by citizenship : DANES
38. Covered, as a song : REDID
39. They might be paid at a memorial : RESPECTS
41. Dresden’s state : SAXONY
42. Fashion designer Marc : ECKO
43. Halluces : BIG TOES
44. Poor service penalty, possibly : NO TIP
46. Curiosity’s locale : MARS
47. Onetime Ice Cube collaborator, informally : DRE
48. It might involve someone “so fat” or “so old” : YO MAMA JOKE
50. Throw out unceremoniously : BOOT
51. Regular joes : AVERAGE MEN
52. Target for a snake : CLOG
53. What to grab for the road? : HANDLEBARS
54. Adventurer in Grouchland in a 1999 film : ELMO

Down
1. Crosses, as a range : CLIMBS OVER
2. One making a sound investment? : AUDIOPHILE
3. Fall out of line : BREAK RANKS
4. Genre for the band Sublime : SKA
5. Easily attached : SNAP-ON
6. Present time : TODAY
7. “Goodness!” : I SAY!
8. Abbr. next to a chart : FIG
9. Tops off : FRESHENS
10. Orbit alternative : DENTYNE
11. Disqualify (oneself) : RECUSE
12. [See above] : IBID
13. All those against : NOES
14. Computer memory units: Abbr. : KBS
20. Sect opposed to ISIS : SHIA
23. Pains : CARE
24. Sudden notions : WHIMS
26. Land known to locals as Cymru : WALES
27. One stuck abroad? : VOODOO DOLL
28. Scotty’s domain on “Star Trek” : ENGINE ROOM
29. Starting line : READY, SET, GO!
31. Part of Dante’s “Inferno” : CANTO
34. It’s usually devoted to sports in a tabloid newspaper : BACK PAGE
35. Exchange between cell mates? : TEXT
37. What’s the point? : DECIMAL
38. Car wash supply : RAGS
40. Small bomb used for breaking down gates : PETARD
41. Mythical nautical dangers : SIRENS
43. Follower of Able : BAKER
44. Massive explosion : NOVA
45. Foreshadowing : OMEN
46. Home of “Christina’s World,” familiarly : MOMA
48. “Oh, sure” : YAH
49. Presidential son and brother : JEB
50. Dating inits. : BCE

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4 thoughts on “1127-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 27 Nov 15, Friday”

  1. 19:36, no errors. A lot of challenging clues that required out of the box thinking, but I enjoyed the challenge.

  2. 23:26, no errors. I second BruceB's comments. Most of the answers were quite logical, once I hit on them, but I had to guess at MIA and DENTYNE, as I've never heard of the "Bad Girls" or the product called "Orbit". In any case, a nice start for the New Year …

  3. I made no headway on this one – missing clues, numbers wrong. Then I realized that the local rag had printed the Saturday clues beside the Friday grid!!! They must jam the syndicated feed into a slot in the layout with no human intervention. No proofreaders needed here. Oh, well, on to Saturday….

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