1130-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 30 Nov 15, Monday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Ian Livengood
THEME: Mid As Touch … today’s themed answers comprise two words, the first ending in A, and the second starting with A. So we have As (letters A) touching mid-answer, a MID AS TOUCH:

64A. Moneymaking skill … or, when read as three words, what happens in 17-, 21-, 35-, 45- and 54-Across : MIDAS TOUCH (or “mid As touch”)

17A. Songs for divas : OPERA ARIAS
21A. 1997 Grammy-winning artist whose last name is a fruit : FIONA APPLE
35A. Tibetan watchdogs : LHASA APSOS
45A. Former “American Idol” judge : PAULA ABDUL
54A. Noted California horse-racing venue : SANTA ANITA

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 5m 21s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Add alcohol to, as punch : SPIKE
Punch is a drink containing fruit or fruit juice, with or without alcohol. The term “punch” comes from the Sanskrit “pañc” meaning “five”. The original punch came from India, contained the five ingredients: alcohol, sugar, lemon, water and tea or spices.

6. Caesar dressing? : 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”.

10. Letters on a Soviet rocket : CCCP
The abbreviation CCCP stands for “Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик”, which translates from Russian as “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics”, the USSR.

16. ___ vera : ALOE
Aloe vera has a number of alternate names that are descriptive of its efficacy as a medicine. These include the First Aid plant, Wand of Heaven, Silent Healer and Miracle Plant.

17. Songs for divas : OPERA ARIAS
“Diva” comes to us from Latin via Italian. “Diva” is the feminine form of “divus” meaning “divine one”. The word is used in Italy to mean “goddess” or “fine lady”, and especially is applied to the prima donna in an opera. We often use the term to describe a singer with a big ego.

19. Read the ___ act : RIOT
The Riot Act was a British law that was in force from 1715 to 1967. According to the Riot Act, government entities could declare any gathering of twelve or more people “unlawful”. Our expression “read the Riot Act” is derived from the requirement for the authorities to read out the Riot Act proclamation to an unlawful assembly before the Act could be enforced.

21. 1997 Grammy-winning artist whose last name is a fruit : FIONA APPLE
Fiona Apple is a singer-songwriter and pianist from New York City.

25. Dull-colored : DRAB
We use the word “drab” to mean “dull, cheerless”. Back in the late 17th century, “drab” was the color of natural, undyed cloth.

26. Pods of cotton : BOLLS
A boll is a seed-bearing capsule of some plants, particularly of flax and cotton.

35. Tibetan watchdogs : LHASA APSOS
The Lhasa apso breed of dog originated in Tibet and is named after “Lhasa” (the capital city) and “apso” (a Tibetan word meaning “bearded”). The Lhasa apso has been around since 800 BC and is one of the oldest breeds in the world, one very closely related to the ancestral wolf.

38. Orson Welles’s “Citizen ___” : KANE
“Citizen Kane” was the first film made by Orson Welles, one considered by many to be the finest film ever made. It’s a remarkable achievement by Wells, as he played the lead, and also produced and directed. Despite all the accolades for “Citizen Kane” over the decades, the movie was far from a commercial success in its early run and actually lost money at the box office.

40. Elvis who was “all shook up” : PRESLEY
“All Shook Up” is a song composed by Otis Blackwell and recorded by Elvis Presley in 1957. It was the first Elvis recording to top the UK charts.

43. Bauxite and magnetite : ORES
Bauxite is an aluminum ore. It takes its name from the absolutely beautiful village of Les Baux in southern France, the home of the geologist who first recognized that the mineral was a useful source of the metal.

Iron ore comes in a number of different forms, like magnetite (the most magnetic of all minerals) and hematite (the most commonly exploited iron ore).

45. Former “American Idol” judge : PAULA ABDUL
Paula Abdul is primarily a singer and dancer, and someone who endeared herself even more to the American public in recent years as a judge on “American Idol”. Abdul had a famous husband for a couple of years, as she was married to actor Emilio Estevez from 1992-94.

49. C minor, for Beethoven’s Fifth : KEY
If I had to name which of Beethoven’s symphonies I listen to most often, at the top of the list comes the 7th followed closely by the 9th, and then the 5th a little further down. But that four-note opening of the 5th … that is superb …

53. Writer ___ Du Bois : WEB
W. E. B. Du Bois was sociologist and civil rights activist from Massachusetts. Du Bois was the first African American to receive a doctorate from Harvard, and went on to become a professor at Atlanta University. In 1909, he was a co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

54. Noted California horse-racing venue : SANTA ANITA
Santa Anita Park is a racetrack for horses located in Arcadia, California. The most famous races on the track’s calendar are the Santa Anita Derby and the Santa Anita Handicap.

59. “Fiddlesticks!” : DRAT!
We’ve been using “fiddlesticks” to mean “nonsense” since the early 17th century. Prior to that time, “fiddlestick” referred to the bow of a fiddle.

64. Moneymaking skill … or, when read as three words, what happens in 17-, 21-, 35-, 45- and 54-Across : MIDAS TOUCH (or “mid As touch”)
King Midas of Greek mythology might be termed an alchemist as he had the power to turn everything he touched into gold i.e. the Midas touch. The power that he was given became be a curse, as everything he touched turned to gold, including his food and drink, and even his children.

66. Icicle’s place : EAVE
The eaves are the overhanging edges of a roof that project beyond the supporting wall. The term “eaves” evolved from the Old English “efes” meaning “edge.

70. Library carrel, basically : DESK
A “carrel” is a nook located near the stacks in a library. A cerrel is usually partially partitioned off to allow private study.

Down
1. “24” or “48 Hours” : SHOW
“24” is an action-packed TV show starring Kiefer Sutherland as counter terrorism agent Jack Bauer. The show’s title refers to the structure of the series. Each season has 24 episodes, with each episode representing an hour of real-time action in the story. The collection of 24 episodes builds up to a plot that lasts a full 24 hours.

3. Furniture giant with a blue and yellow logo : IKEA
The IKEA furniture stores use the colors blue and yellow for brand recognition. Blue and yellow are the national colors of Sweden, where IKEA was founded and is headquartered.

6. Actress Hatcher : TERI
Teri Hatcher’s most famous role these days is the Susan Mayer character in “Desperate Housewives”. I’ve never seen more than a few minutes of “Housewives” but I do know Teri Hatcher as a Bond girl, as she appeared in “Tomorrow Never Dies”.

7. Mishmash : OLIO
“Olio” is a term meaning a hodgepodge or a mixture, coming from the mixed stew of the same name. The stew in turn takes its name from the Spanish “olla”, the clay pot used for cooking.

8. Gangster catcher, informally : G-MAN
The nickname “G-men” is short for “Government Men” and refers to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

9. Longtime Syrian strongman : ASSAD
Dr. Bashar al-Assad is the current President of the Syrian Arab Republic and the son of the former President Hafez al-Assad whom he replaced in 2001. President Assad is a medical doctor, speaks fluent English and conversational French. Assad was studying ophthalmology in London when he met his wife, who is an Englishwoman.

13. Tennis’s Sampras : PETE
Pete Sampras is a retired Greek-American tennis professional. Sampras was rated number one in the world rankings for six years in a row in the nineties.

22. Buenos Aires’s land: Abbr. : ARG
Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina, located on the estuary of the Ria de la Plata. As a port city, the people of Buenos Aires are known as porteños (“people of the port”).

27. Scarlett of Tara : O’HARA
Scarlett O’Hara home is the Tara plantation, in Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind”. Tara was founded not far from the Georgia city of Jonesboro by Scarlett’s father, Irish immigrant Gerald O’Hara. Gerald named his new abode after the Hill of Tara back in his home country, the ancient seat of the High King of Ireland.

28. Body of water between France and Switzerland : LAKE GENEVA
Lake Geneva straddles the border between France and Switzerland. The lake has a lot of “official” names!

– English: Lake Geneva
– French: Lac Léman or Lac de Genève
– German: Genfersee or Genfer See
– Italian: Lago Lemano or Lago di Ginevra

36. Dadaist Jean : ARP
Hans Arp was a French artist renowned for his work with torn and pasted paper, although that wasn’t the only medium he used. Arp was the son of a French mother and German father and spoke both languages fluently. When he was speaking German he gave his name as Hans Arp, but when speaking French he called himself Jean Arp. Both “Hans” and “Jean” translate into English as “John”. In WWI Arp moved to Switzerland to avoid being called up to fight, taking advantage of Swiss neutrality. Eventually he was told to report to the German Consulate and fill out paperwork for the draft. In order to get out of fighting, Arp messed up the paperwork by writing the date in every blank space on the forms. Then he took off all of his clothes and walked with his papers over to the officials in charge. Arp was sent home …

Dadaism thrived during and just after WWI, and was an anti-war, anti-bourgeois and anti-art culture. The movement began in Zurich, Switzerland started by a group of artists and writers who met to discuss art and put on performances in the Cabaret Voltaire, frequently expressing disgust at the war that was raging across Europe.

41. Harvard rival : YALE
The oldest universities in the US are:

– Harvard (founded 1636)
– William & Mary (founded 1693)
– Yale (founded 1701)
– Princeton (founded 1746)
– Columbia (founded 1754)

46. War-hero candidate of 1996 : BOB DOLE
Despite all Bob Dole’s success in the world of politics, he is remembered by many as the VP candidate who lost to Walter Mondale (and Jimmy Carter) and the presidential candidate who lost to incumbent Bill Clinton. The man is a true war hero. He joined up in 1942 and fought with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division in Italy. In 1945 he was hit by machine gun fire in his right arm and back Dole was so badly injured that his comrades could only dose him up with morphine, write “M” on his forehead with his own blood (so that another, fatal dose of morphine would not be administered) and continue fighting the battle. Dole had to wait nine hours to be evacuated from the battlefield, and wait another three years before being discharged from hospital back in the States.

48. Hush-hush org. : CIA
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is the successor to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) formed during WWII. The CIA was chartered by the National Security Act of 1947.

55. With 37-Down, shrunken body of water in Asia : ARAL
(37D. See 55-Down : SEA)
The Aral Sea is a great example of how man can have a devastating effect on his environment. In the early sixties the Aral Sea covered 68,000 square miles of Central Asia. Soviet Union irrigation projects drained the lake to such an extent that today the total area is less than 7,000 square miles, with 90% of the lake now completely dry. Sad …

56. Company with a swoosh logo : 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.

57. ___ of March : IDES
Julius Caesar was assassinated on the 15th (the ides) of March, 44 BC. He was attacked by a group of sixty people in the Roman Senate, and was stabbed 23 times. The first to strike a blow was Servilius Casca, who attacked Caesar from behind and stabbed him in the neck. In Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”, Casca utters the words “Speak, hands, for me!” just before making the fatal blow. The following line, uttered by Caesar, is more famous though: “Et tu, Brute?”

61. Low-pH substance : ACID
As we all recall from chemistry class, a pH of 7 is considered neutral. Anything less than 7 is an acid, and anything above 7 is a base.

62. Rock’s ___ Might Be Giants : THEY
They Might Be Giants is an alternative rock band that formed in 1982. The band’s name is lifted from the 1971 movie of the same name, starring George C. Scott.

“They Might Be Giants” is a 1971 film starring George C. Scott and Joanne Woodward. It’s all about a millionaire who retreats into a fantasy world after the death of his wife, imagining himself to be Sherlock Holmes. The title comes from the Cervantes novel in which Don Quixote mistakes windmills for evil giants.

65. 2,000 pounds : TON
Here in the US, a ton is equivalent to 2,000 pounds. Over in the UK, a ton is 2,240 pounds. The UK unit is sometimes referred to as an Imperial ton or sometimes a “long ton”. Folks over there refer to the US ton then as a “short ton”. To further complicate matters, there is also a “metric ton” or “tonne”, which is equivalent to 2,204 pounds. I wish we’d just stick to kilograms …

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Add alcohol to, as punch : SPIKE
6. Caesar dressing? : TOGA
10. Letters on a Soviet rocket : CCCP
14. One traveling with a backpack : HIKER
15. Stately hardwoods : ELMS
16. ___ vera : ALOE
17. Songs for divas : OPERA ARIAS
19. Read the ___ act : RIOT
20. Withdraw gradually from a mother’s milk : WEAN
21. 1997 Grammy-winning artist whose last name is a fruit : FIONA APPLE
23. Dine : EAT
25. Dull-colored : DRAB
26. Pods of cotton : BOLLS
29. Nurse, as a drink : SIP
32. Union man? : GROOM
35. Tibetan watchdogs : LHASA APSOS
38. Orson Welles’s “Citizen ___” : KANE
39. Acorn producer : OAK
40. Elvis who was “all shook up” : PRESLEY
42. 40-Across’s record label : RCA
43. Bauxite and magnetite : ORES
45. Former “American Idol” judge : PAULA ABDUL
47. Pulling a rabbit out of a hat, e.g. : MAGIC
49. C minor, for Beethoven’s Fifth : KEY
50. Gets the booby prize : LOSES
51. Lit sign in a theater : EXIT
53. Writer ___ Du Bois : WEB
54. Noted California horse-racing venue : SANTA ANITA
59. “Fiddlesticks!” : DRAT!
63. 39-Across, e.g. : TREE
64. Moneymaking skill … or, when read as three words, what happens in 17-, 21-, 35-, 45- and 54-Across : MIDAS TOUCH (or “mid As touch”)
66. Icicle’s place : EAVE
67. ___ out a living (gets by) : EKES
68. Song from way back : OLDIE
69. Strategize : PLAN
70. Library carrel, basically : DESK
71. Impoverished : NEEDY

Down
1. “24” or “48 Hours” : SHOW
2. Accessory for a snowman : PIPE
3. Furniture giant with a blue and yellow logo : IKEA
4. Corn seeds : KERNELS
5. Period in history : ERA
6. Actress Hatcher : TERI
7. Mishmash : OLIO
8. Gangster catcher, informally : G-MAN
9. Longtime Syrian strongman : ASSAD
10. Place to leave an auto, in Britain : CAR PARK
11. Ones providing backing for writers? : CLIPBOARDS
12. Air-condition : COOL
13. Tennis’s Sampras : PETE
18. Toward a ship’s rear : AFT
22. Buenos Aires’s land: Abbr. : ARG
24. “Now!” : ASAP!
26. Begin to flower : BLOOM
27. Scarlett of Tara : O’HARA
28. Body of water between France and Switzerland : LAKE GENEVA
29. Order to a dog to bark : SPEAK
30. Immigration or the economy, in a presidential election : ISSUE
31. Stereotypical parrot’s name : POLLY
33. With perfect timing : ON CUE
34. Breakfast and lunch : MEALS
36. Dadaist Jean : ARP
37. See 55-Down : SEA
41. Harvard rival : YALE
44. “Sweet” age : SIXTEEN
46. War-hero candidate of 1996 : BOB DOLE
48. Hush-hush org. : CIA
52. Domesticated : TAMED
53. “Now where ___ I?” : WAS
54. Stairs unit : STEP
55. With 37-Down, shrunken body of water in Asia : ARAL
56. Company with a swoosh logo : NIKE
57. ___ of March : IDES
58. Something on a to-do list : TASK
60. Like cutting in line : RUDE
61. Low-pH substance : ACID
62. Rock’s ___ Might Be Giants : THEY
65. 2,000 pounds : TON

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5 thoughts on “1130-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 30 Nov 15, Monday”

  1. OK grid for today. I'm rusty on my Greek mythology, but I recall Midas received the "golden touch" as a gift from Dionysius for some good deed he performed for the deity. It's an example of the Greek cycle of arrogance, followed by ruin, followed by catharsis.

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