0105-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 5 Jan 16, Tuesday

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Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
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Jump to a complete list of today’s clues and answers

CROSSWORD SETTER: Jim Holland
THEME: T-Things … each of today’s themed answers is a common phrase preceded by the letter T:

16A. Major telecom’s corporate headquarters? : T-MOBILE HOME (T + mobile home)
26A. Early history of a drafting tool? : T-SQUARE ROOTS (T + square roots)
42A. Demeanor during a kid’s outdoor game? : T-BALL BEARING (T + ball bearing)
56A. Sending of invoices for removable car roofs? : T-TOP BILLING (T + top billing)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 6m 58s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

6. Food thickener : AGAR
Agar (also “agar-agar”) is a jelly extracted from seaweed that has many uses. Agar is found in Japanese desserts, and can also be used as a food thickener or even as a laxative. In the world of science it is the most common medium used for growing bacteria in Petri dishes.

13. ___ Burr, major role in “Hamilton” : AARON
Aaron Burr was the third vice-president of the US, serving under Thomas Jefferson. In the final year of his term in office, Burr fought an illegal duel and killed his political rival Alexander Hamilton. Burr wasn’t brought to justice, but he did pay the price politically. Thomas Jefferson dropped him from his ticket in the election held the following year.

“Hamilton” is a 2015 musical based on the life or US Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, as described in the 2004 biography by Ron Chernow. The representations of the main characters is quite ground-breaking. The show is rooted in hip-hop and the main roles such as Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington are all played by African-American and Hispanic actors.

15. ___ Aviv : TEL
The full name of Israel’s second largest city is Tel Aviv-Yafo. Tel Aviv translates into “Spring Mound”, a name chosen in 1910.

16. Major telecom’s corporate headquarters? : T-MOBILE HOME (T + mobile home)
T-Mobile is a German telecommunications company, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. Deutsche Telekom has used the “T” prefix for a number of its services, including T-Com, T-Online and T-Home.

18. 1950s presidential nickname : IKE
When the future president was growing up, the Eisenhower family used the nickname “Ike” for all seven boys in the family, as “Ike” was seen as an abbreviation for the family name. “Big Ike” was Edgar, the second oldest boy. “Little/Young Ike” was Dwight, who was the third son born. Dwight had no sisters.

19. “Little red” animal in a children’s tale : HEN
“The Little Red Hen” is an old folk tale, probably from Russia. In the story, the little red hen finds a grain of wheat and asks for help to plant it. “Not I” is the response she gets, repeatedly. She does the work herself, eventually baking bread from the harvested grain. She asks for help in eating the bread, and gets lots of volunteers. But, the hen decides to save the bread for herself and her chicks, seeing as no one would help her plant the wheat in the first place.

26. Early history of a drafting tool? : T-SQUARE ROOTS (T + square roots)
A T-square is a technical drawing instrument used for drawing horizontal lines. You can also get a drywall T-square, which is used in measuring and cutting drywall.

36. Dutch shoe : SABOT
There is a story that disgruntled textile workers would kick their wooden shoes, called sabots, into the looms in order to disable them so that they didn’t have to work. This act of vandalism was named for the shoe, an act of “sabot-age”.

38. Musical finale : CODA
In music, a coda is primarily a passage that brings a movement to a conclusion. “Coda” is Italian for “tail”.

40. Where baby Moses was found : NILE
According to the Bible, The Pharaoh issued an edict that all male Hebrew children be drowned in the river Nile soon after birth. Moses’ mother saved her child by placing him in a basket and hiding him among the bulrushes at the edge of the Nile. The baby was found and adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter.

41. Focused beam : LASER
The term “laser” is an acronym, coming from “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation” (LASER). It has been pointed out that a more precise name for laser technology is “Light Oscillation by Stimulated Emission of Radiation”, but the resulting acronym isn’t quite so appealing, namely LOSER …

48. Part of a spider’s description, in a children’s song : ITSY

The Itsy Bitsy Spider crawled up the water spout.
Down came the rain, and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun, and dried up all the rain,
And the Itsy Bitsy Spider went up the spout again.

50. Entire range : GAMUT
In medieval times, the musical scale was denoted by the notes “ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la”. The term “gamma ut”, shortened to “gamut”, was used to describe the whole scale. By the 1620s, “gamut” was being used to mean the entire range of anything, the whole gamut.

55. Response to an Internet meme, maybe : LOL
Laugh out loud (LOL, in text-speak)

A “meme” (short for “mineme”) is a cultural practice or idea that is passed on verbally or by repetition from one person to another. The term lends itself very well to the online world where links, emails, files etc. are so easily propagated.

56. Sending of invoices for removable car roofs? : T-TOP BILLING (T + top billing)
A T-top is a car roof that has removable panels on either side of a rigid bar that runs down the center of the vehicle above the driver.

59. Ancient dynastic ruler, briefly : TUT
King Tut is a name commonly used for the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen. Tutankhamen may not have been the most significant of the pharaohs historically, but he is the most famous today largely because of the discovery of his nearly intact tomb in 1922 by Howard Carter. Prior to this find, any Egyptian tombs uncovered by archaeologists had been ravaged by grave robbers. Tutankhamen’s magnificent burial mask is one of the most recognizable of all Egyptian artifacts.

61. Treacherous peak in the Alps : EIGER
The Eiger is a mountain in the Bernese Alps in Switzerland. It is a noted peak for mountain climbing, with its treacherous north face being the most famous approach to the summit. Over sixty climbers have died since 1935 on that north face.

63. Tampa Bay ballplayers : RAYS
The Tampa Bay Rays are a relatively “young” franchise, being formed in 1998. The initial name of the franchise was the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. While known as the Devil Rays, the team finished last in the league in almost every year. The name was changed to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008, and I am told the Rays started into a streak of winning seasons soon after.

Down
11. Orange ___ (tea type) : PEKOE
A pekoe (or more commonly “orange pekoe”) is a medium-grade black tea. There is no orange flavor in an orange pekoe tea. The “orange” name most likely derived from the name of the trading company that brought the tea to Europe from Asia.

12. It can be red or amber : ALERT
The acronym in the AMBER alert system stands for “America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response”. Despite the abbreviation, the system was named in memory of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman who was abducted and murdered in Arlington, Texas in 1996.

22. Where future mil. leaders are trained : OCS
Officer Candidate School (OCS)

23. One of the seven deadly sins : LUST
The cardinal sins of Christian ethics are also known as the seven deadly sins. The seven deadly sins are:

– wrath
– greed
– sloth
– pride
– lust
– envy
– gluttony

26. Movie in which Brad Pitt plays Achilles : TROY
“Troy” is a 2004 epic movie that is based on Homer’s “Iliad” and tells the story of the Trojan War. “Troy” has quite the cast, including Brad Pitt as Achilles, Eric Bana as Hector and Diane Kruger as Helen. Most of the filming was done on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean. It was an expensive film to make, with costs running at about $175 million. The film did well at the box office though, with most of the profits being made outside of the US.

Brad Pitt’s first major role was the cowboy hitchhiker in the 1991’s “Thelma and Louise”. Pitt’s life offscreen garners as much attention as his work onscreen, it seems. The tabloids revel in the series of high-profile relationships in which he has been involved. He was engaged to Gwyneth Paltrow for a while, married to Jennifer Aniston, and he now lives with Angelina Jolie.

Achilles is a Greek mythological figure, the main protagonist of Homer’s “Iliad”. Supposedly when Achilles was born his mother attempted to make him immortal by dipping him into the River Styx. As he was held by the heel as he was immersed, this became the only vulnerable point on his body. Years later, Achilles was killed when a poisoned arrow struck him in the heel. The arrow was shot by Paris.

32. “___ Fan Tutte” : COSI
Mozart’s comic opera “Così fan tutte” is also known in English as “The School for Lovers”. The literal translation of the opera’s title is “Thus do all (women)”, or “Women are like that”.

33. Yemen seaport : ADEN
Aden is a seaport in Yemen, located on the Gulf of Aden by the eastern approach to the Red Sea. Aden has a long history of British rule, from 1838 until a very messy withdrawal in 1967. A native of Aden is known as an Adeni. Some believe that Cain and Abel are buried in the city.

34. Actress Helgenberger of “CSI” : MARG
Marg Helgenberger is an actress best known for roles she plays on television. Helgenberger played investigator Catherine Willows on “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”. She also played drug-addicted prostitute K.C. Koloski in the Vietnam War drama “China Beach”.

36. Where Anna met the king : SIAM
“Anna and the King of Siam” is a semi-biographical novel written by Margaret Landon and first published in 1944. The book tells the largely true story of Anna Leonowens who spent five years in Siam teaching English to the children and wives of King Mongkut. The novel was adapted as a 1946 movie of the same name starring Irene Dunne and Rex Harrison. Then followed a 1951 stage musical titled “The King and I”. The musical was written as a vehicle for Gertrude Lawrence, who played Anna. Rex Harrison was asked to play the King, but he turned it down and Yul Brynner was cast instead. A movie version of the stage musical was released in 1956, famously starring Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr.

37. “Animal Farm,” for one : ALLEGORY
“Animal Farm” is the 1945 novella written by George Orwell, a satire of life in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin. Orwell had trouble getting his novel published in his homeland of the UK during WWII, as anti-Soviet literature wasn’t a good thing to publish while the UK and USSR were on the same side of a World War. In fact, one publisher who was willing to distribute the book changed his mind after being warned off by the British Ministry of Information. Given his experiences, I find it interesting that Orwell should write “Nineteen Eighty-Four” a few years later, and introduce the world to Big Brother.

38. Grant for moviemaking? : CARY
The wonderful, wonderful actor Cary Grant was born in Bristol in England, and was given the name Archibald Leach. In the 1949 Howard Hawks film “His Girl Friday”, there’s a line where Grant describes the fate suffered by someone who crossed him. He names that person “Archie Leach”, an ad-lib using his real name.

40. Kobe Bryant, e.g. : NBA STAR
Kobe Bryant plays basketball for the LA Lakers. Kobe Bryant got his name from a menu would you believe? His parents were in a Japanese restaurant and liked the name of “Kobe” beef, the beef from around the city of Kobe on the island of Honshu in Japan.

42. Explosive initials : TNT
“TNT” is an abbreviation for trinitrotoluene. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.

43. Reductive film trope for a blonde : BIMBO
The term derogatory “bimbo” was used to describe an attractive yet stupid woman starting in the 1920s. A few years earlier, the term was used for a male, describing a “fellow, chap”. The original usage derived from the Italian “bambino” meaning “baby”.

A “trope” is a figure of speech, from the Greek word “tropos” that has the same meaning.

44. Sewing accessory : ETUI
An etui is an ornamental case used to hold small items, in particular sewing needles. We imported both the case design and the word “etui” from France. The French also have a modern usage of “etui”, using the term to depict a case for carrying CDs.

47. Like river deltas : SILTY
A river delta is a triangular landform at the mouth of a river created by the deposition of sediment. The most famous “delta” in the United States isn’t actually a delta at all. The Mississippi Delta is an alluvial plain that lies 300 miles north of the river’s actual delta, which is known as the Mississippi River Delta. Very confusing …

52. Nickname for New York’s Aqueduct Racetrack : BIG A
The Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York is known by many as the Big A. The track opened in 1894 and was located near an aqueduct belonging to the Brooklyn Water Works, which gave the name.

53. Don Juan’s mother : INEZ
Lord Byron wrote the poem “Don Juan” based on the legend of Don Juan the libertine. In the poem, he created the character Donna Inez, Don Juan’s mother. Supposedly Inez was based on Byron’s own wife, Annabella Milbanke.

57. Aunt, in Andalusia : TIA
Andalusia (“Andalucia” in Spanish) is one of the seventeen autonomous communities in the Kingdom of Spain, and is the most southerly. The capital of Andalusia is the old city of Seville. The name Andalusia comes from its Arabic name, Al-Andalus, reflecting the region’s history as the center of Muslim power in Iberia during medieval times.

58. Rapper ___ Wayne : LIL
Rapper Lil Wayne’s real name is … Dwayne Carter, Jr.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Marital ___ : BLISS
6. Food thickener : AGAR
10. Mineral spring : SPA
13. ___ Burr, major role in “Hamilton” : AARON
14. Something to be settled : SCORE
15. ___ Aviv : TEL
16. Major telecom’s corporate headquarters? : T-MOBILE HOME (T + mobile home)
18. 1950s presidential nickname : IKE
19. “Little red” animal in a children’s tale : HEN
20. Intensely longed (for) : PINED
21. One listed in a fund-raising report : DONOR
23. Grazing grounds : LEAS
24. Dense grove : THICKET
26. Early history of a drafting tool? : T-SQUARE ROOTS (T + square roots)
30. Force out of bed : ROUST
31. They’re big among the stars : EGOS
32. Ending with web or spy : -CAM
35. Skip over : OMIT
36. Dutch shoe : SABOT
38. Musical finale : CODA
39. Still : YET
40. Where baby Moses was found : NILE
41. Focused beam : LASER
42. Demeanor during a kid’s outdoor game? : T-BALL BEARING (T + ball bearing)
45. Identify incorrectly : MISNAME
48. Part of a spider’s description, in a children’s song : ITSY
49. Gives off : EMITS
50. Entire range : GAMUT
52. Many a pre-med’s major : BIO
55. Response to an Internet meme, maybe : LOL
56. Sending of invoices for removable car roofs? : T-TOP BILLING (T + top billing)
59. Ancient dynastic ruler, briefly : TUT
60. ___-surface missile : AIR-TO
61. Treacherous peak in the Alps : EIGER
62. Filthy place : STY
63. Tampa Bay ballplayers : RAYS
64. Final ceramic layer : GLAZE

Down
1. Room often next to a bedroom : BATH
2. Not cool, informally : LAME
3. Spinach is rich in it : IRON
4. [Boo-hoo!] : SOB
5. Hit with zingers : SNIPE AT
6. Ice pack target : ACHE
7. All set : GOOD TO GO
8. Extension : ARM
9. Goes over again, as copy : RE-EDITS
10. Perform abysmally : STINK
11. Orange ___ (tea type) : PEKOE
12. It can be red or amber : ALERT
14. Have a feeling for : SENSE
17. Type who might say “The dog ate my homework” : LIAR
22. Where future mil. leaders are trained : OCS
23. One of the seven deadly sins : LUST
25. Highly amusing experience : HOOT
26. Movie in which Brad Pitt plays Achilles : TROY
27. Not all : SOME
28. Ctrl+Q function : QUIT
29. Refuse to conform : REBEL
32. “___ Fan Tutte” : COSI
33. Yemen seaport : ADEN
34. Actress Helgenberger of “CSI” : MARG
36. Where Anna met the king : SIAM
37. “Animal Farm,” for one : ALLEGORY
38. Grant for moviemaking? : CARY
40. Kobe Bryant, e.g. : NBA STAR
41. Final phase of a trip : LAST LEG
42. Explosive initials : TNT
43. Reductive film trope for a blonde : BIMBO
44. Sewing accessory : ETUI
45. Gets all gooey : MELTS
46. Poker declaration : I’M OUT
47. Like river deltas : SILTY
51. Bldg. units : APTS
52. Nickname for New York’s Aqueduct Racetrack : BIG A
53. Don Juan’s mother : INEZ
54. Folklore villain : OGRE
57. Aunt, in Andalusia : TIA
58. Rapper ___ Wayne : LIL

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6 thoughts on “0105-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 5 Jan 16, Tuesday”

  1. Awful. Confusing, forced theme and some really overwrought clue "editing"…. What the hell does "Reductive film trope for a blonde" even **mean**??? How about just, "Pejorative for a blonde?" or "Condescending term for a blonde"? You know, plain English?

    We really need a change at editor here….

  2. 8:18, no errors.

    @Clara, I have been using Bill's blog for a couple of years, his straightforward approach of 'this is how long it took me, these are the errors I made and here are explanations of the answers' is excellent. I've learned quite a bit from this blog as well. Welcome to the fold.

    @Anonymous, I suggest you don't even pick up a Friday puzzle. 🙂

  3. @LASER … "focused beam" is not a great clue … laser light may or may not be focused, just as light from any source may or may not be focused. Better clues might be "Holography light," or "Surgical beam," or "Cutting tool," and many more. Cheers.

  4. One mistake for me today. Misspelled LASER as LASAR. This word has always been my nemesis. I've just got to pound into my head that the E stands for "Emission".

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