0229-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 29 Feb 16, Monday

QuickLinks:
Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
Solution to today’s SYNDICATED New York Times crossword in all other publications
Solution to today’s New York Times crossword found online at the Seattle Times website
Jump to a complete list of today’s clues and answers

CROSSWORD SETTER: Joel Fagliano
THEME: Leap Day … the circled letters in today’s grid spell out the name of four named holidays. Each of those DAYS has to LEAP over a black square, from the end of one answer to the start of the next. The four holidays are:

MOTHER’S DAY
Note the official punctuation in “Mother’s Day”, even though one might think it should be “Mothers’ Day”. President Wilson, and Anna Jarvis who created the tradition, specifically wanted Mother’s Day to honor the mothers within each family and not just “mothers” in general, so they went with the “Mother’s Day” punctuation.

LABOR DAY
Labor Day is a federal holiday observed every year on the first Monday in September. The tradition of honoring workers with a holiday started in Boston in 1878, when a day of observance was organized by the Central Labor Union, the major trade union at the time. There was a bloody dispute in 1894 between labor unions and the railroads called the Pullman Strike, which led to the death of some workers when the US Military and US Marshals were instructed to maintain order. President Grover Cleveland submitted a “Labor Day” bill to Congress which was signed into law just six days after the end of the strike. The introduction of a federal holiday to honor the worker was a move designed to promote reconciliation between management and unions after the bitter conflict.

VETERANS DAY
Veterans Day used to be known as Armistice Day, and is observed on November 11th each year. This particular date was chosen as the Armistice that ended WWI was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

BOXING DAY
Boxing Day is a holiday observed in some parts of the world, for example in the UK, Ireland and Canada. Boxing Day is the day after Christmas, and is traditionally when servants and tradespeople would be given gifts known as “Christmas boxes”.

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 5m 11s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Apelike : SIMIAN
“Simian” means “pertaining to monkeys or apes”, from the Latin word “simia” meaning “ape”.

11. 4.0 is a great one, in brief : GPA
Grade point average (GPA)

14. Frigid time, climatically speaking : ICE AGE
Ice ages are periods in the Earth’s history when there are extensive ice sheets present in the northern and southern hemispheres. One might argue that we are still in an ice age that began 2.6 million years ago, as evidenced by the presence of ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica.

17. Witty remark : BON MOT
“Bon mot” translates from French as “good word”. We use “bon mot” (and sometimes just “mot”) to mean a quip, a witticism.

18. The past, from a feminist standpoint : HER STORY
As opposed to “his story” (history) …

21. Crafty Norse god : LOKI
Loki is a god appearing in Norse mythology. He is a “shape shifter”, a being who can appear in different forms. In one story about Loki, he was punished by other gods for having caused the death of Baldr, the god of light and beauty. Loki is bound to a sharp rock using the entrails of one of his sons. A serpent drips venom which is collected in a bowl, and then his wife must empty the venom onto Loki when the bowl is full. The venom causes Loki great pain, and his writhing results in what we poor mortals experience as earthquakes.

26. ___ Crunch (Quaker cereal) : CAP’N
The first Cap’n Crunch commercials aired in 1963, at the time the product line was launched. The Cap’n’s full name is Captain Horatio Magellan Crunch, would you believe? Crunch’s voice was provided for many years by Daws Butler, the same voice actor who gave us Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound. Cap’n Crunch is commander of the S.S. Guppy.

28. Milan opera house : LA SCALA
La Scala Opera House opened in 1778. It was built on the site of the church of Santa Maria della Scala, which gave the theater its name: “Teatro alla Scala” in Italian.

35. Finnish telecom giant : NOKIA
I do enjoy classical guitar music, but there isn’t a huge choice on CD. There is one very special piece called “Gran Vals” by Francisco Tárrega, written in 1902. This piece has a unique reputation as it contains a phrase that it is the most listened to piece of music in the whole world. Just a few bars into the work one can hear the once omnipresent Nokia ring tone!

37. Auto with the slogan “Zoom-zoom” : MAZDA
“Zoom-zoom” is a catchphrase use by the automaker Mazda. Mazda is based in the Hiroshima Prefecture in Japan. The ballpark where the Hiroshima baseball team play was for many years known as the MAZDA Zoom-Zoom Stadium.

38. ___ populi : VOX
The Latin phrase “vox populi” translates as “voice of the people”. The expression is used in the world of broadcasting to describe interviews with members of the public.

39. 2/29/16, e.g. … or a hint to the circled squares in this puzzle : LEAP DAY
Leap day is February 29th in a leap year, which is usually a year that is divisible by 4. My baby brother was born on February 19th, in 1968. A woman in Utah gave birth on February 29th in 2004, on February 29th in 2008, and once more on February 29th, 2012. That’s in the Guinness Book of World Records …

41. German article : EIN
The definite article in German is der, die or das, for masculine, feminine and neuter nouns. The indefinite article is ein, eine or ein, again depending on the gender of the noun. A further complication, relative to English, is that the masculine form (and only the masculine form) of the article changes when used in the accusative case, when used with the object of a sentence. The accusative forms are “den” and “einen”.

42. Louvre pyramid architect : IM PEI
I. M. Pei (full name: Ieoh Ming Pei) is an exceptional American architect who was born in China. Of Pei’s many wonderful works, my favorite is the renovation of the Louvre in Paris, especially the Glass Pyramid in the courtyard.

52. Tiny bit : IOTA
Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet. We use the word “iota” to portray something very small as it is the smallest of all Greek letters.

54. “Quickly!,” in an order : ASAP
As soon as possible! (ASAP)

56. Helper: Abbr. : ASST
Assistant (asst.)

60. Once-ubiquitous red fixture seen along London streets : PHONE BOX
The payphone is an American invention, a development by George A. Long based on an 1889 idea from William Gray. The first of the iconic British telephone boxes was installed in London in 1903. The network of red telephone boxes was installed across the country starting in 1920.

65. Become less full, as the moon : WANE
(51D. Becomes fuller, as the moon : WAXES)
The verbs “to wax” and “to wane” come from Old English. To wax is to increase gradually in size, strength, intensity or number. To wane is to decrease gradually.

66. Quality of a diva : BIG EGO
“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.

67. ___ Equis (Mexican beer) : DOS
Dos Equis lager was originally brewed in 1897, and back then was called “Siglo XX” (20th century) to celebrate the arrival of the new century. The name was changed later to simply “Dos Equis” (two exes).

69. Call for help : MAYDAY
The term “Mayday” is an emergency codeword that is used internationally as a distress signal, especially when making a radio transmission. “Mayday” comes from the French phrase “venez m’aider” meaning “come to help me”. When used properly, the term is repeated three times in a row: “Mayday Mayday Mayday”.

Down
1. Kids in the fam : SIBS
Siblings (sibs.)

4. ___ pentameter : IAMBIC
I remember hearing my English teacher drone on about iambic pentameter, but I understood none of it. I would have paid attention if I had known I needed it for my crosswords forty years later! In English poetry, an iamb is a metrical foot in a verse, consisting of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable (sort of da-DUM). String five of them together and you have iambic pentameter (da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM). Iambic pentameter is very common in Shakespeare’s work in particular:

6. Ping-Pong table divider : NET
Ping pong is called table tennis in the UK, where the sport originated in the 1880s. Table tennis started as an after-dinner activity among the elite, and was called “wiff-waff”. To play the game, books were stacked in the center of a table as a “net”, two more books served as “”rackets” and the ball used was actually a golf ball. The game evolved over time with the rackets being upgraded to the lids of cigar boxes and the ball becoming a champagne cork (how snooty is that?). Eventually the game was produced commercially, and the sound of the ball hitting the racket was deemed to be a “ping” and a “pong”, giving the sport its alternative name.

9. Fermi of physics : ENRICO
Enrico Fermi was born in Rome, Italy. Fermi moved to the US just before WWII, largely to escape the anti-Semitic feelings that were developing in Italy under Mussolini. It was Fermi’s work at the University of Chicago that led to the construction of the world’s first nuclear reactor. Fermi died at 53 years of age from stomach cancer . Cancer was a prevalent cause of death among the team working on that first nuclear pile.

10. Newspaper staffers, in brief : EDS
Editors (eds.)

11. Where the 9/11 Memorial is : GROUND ZERO
The 9/11 Memorial is at the former location of the World Trade Center Twin Towers. It consists of two square pools located where the Twin Towers stood, surrounded by trees. The pools are continually filled by water cascading down the sides. I found that the noise of the water to some extent drowns out the sound of city noise, providing a respectful and peaceful haven for visitors.

12. The “P” of PRNDL : PARK
PRNDL … that would be Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive and Low. The gear shift for an automatic transmission is sometimes known familiarly as the “prindle stick”, from the abbreviations PRNDL.

13. Schumer and Poehler : AMYS
Amy Schumer is a stand-up comedian, and an alumna of the reality TV show “Last Comic Standing”, in which she placed fourth. Schumer now has her own comedy series “Inside Amy Schumer”, which airs on Comedy Central. Amy is a first cousin once removed of Chuck Schumer, the senior US Senator from New York.

Amy Poehler was a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” from 2001 to 2008, notable for appearing in many great sketches, including those where she played Hillary Clinton opposite Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin. Poehler also starred with Fey in the 2008 movie “Baby Mama”. And, Poehler led the cast of the sitcom “Parks and Recreation” for its seven-season run.

19. Highly competitive, 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.

24. More macho : MANLIER
A man described as “macho” shows pride in his masculinity. “Macho” is a Spanish word for “male animal”.

25. ___ gin fizz : SLOE
By definition, a cocktail known as a Fizz includes lemon or lime juice and carbonated water. The most popular of the genre is the Gin Fizz, made from 3 parts gin, 2 parts lemon juice, 1 part sugar syrup and 5 parts soda water. There is also a variant known as a Sloe Gin Fizz.

27. Tropical insect that “marches” : ARMY ANT
Army ants are a collection of over two hundred different species of ants. Each of the species is known for aggressively raiding a certain area en masse, foraging for food. Army ants also stay on the move, never building permanent nests.

28. “I’m ___ it” (McDonald’s slogan) : LOVIN’
The original McDonald’s restaurant was opened in 1940 by Richard and Maurice McDonald as a barbecue restaurant. The brothers then moved into fast food hamburgers, eventually selling out to one of their franchise agents, Ray Kroc. It was Ray Kroc who really led the company to its worldwide success.

30. Johnny Rotten’s punk band, with “the” : SEX PISTOLS
Johnny Rotten is the former stage name of English punk rock singer John Lydon. Lydon was most famous as the lead singer for the Sex Pistols in the seventies. Apparently he was given the name “Rotten” as he had very poor oral hygiene as a teenage, which turned his teeth green. So, one of the Sex Pistols declared, “You’re rotten, you are!”

31. Scary experience for an LSD user : BAD TRIP
LSD (colloquially known as “acid”) is short for lysergic acid diethylamide. A Swiss chemist called Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD in 1938 in a research project looking for medically efficacious ergot alkaloids. It wasn’t until some five years later when Hofmann ingested some of the drug accidentally that its psychedelic properties were discovered. Trippy, man …

32. Intense hatred : ODIUM
“Odium” is a strong dislike or aversion. The term is Latin in origin and relates to the Latin word “odi” meaning “I hate”.

36. Wall St. debut : IPO
An Initial Public Offering (IPO) is the very first offer of stock for sale by a company on the open market. In other words, an IPO marks the first time that a company is traded on a public exchange. Companies have an IPO to raise capital to expand (usually).

43. Aquafina rival : EVIAN
Évian-les-Bains (or simply Évian) is in the very east of France, on the shores of Lake Geneva directly across the lake from Lausanne, Switzerland. As one might imagine, Évian is the home of Évian mineral water, the most successful business in town. I can’t stand the taste of Évian water …

Aquafina is a Pepsico brand of bottled water. Aquafina is just plain old municipal water that has been purified.

47. Lipton item attached to a string : TEA BAG
Sir Thomas Lipton was a grocer in Glasgow, Scotland. He founded a tea packing company in North America in 1893, in Hoboken, New Jersey. He was very successful as his blends of tea became popular in the US. Despite the Lipton roots in the UK, Lipton black tea isn’t available there, so I’ve always thought of it as an American brand.

49. Scooby-Doo’s pal : SHAGGY
Not only was Casey Kasem so closely associated with the radio show “American Top 40”, but he was also well known for playing the voice of Shaggy Rogers on the “Scooby-Doo” animated series.

53. Its postal abbreviation is also an exclamation : OHIO
Ohio (OH)

Today’s two-letter abbreviations for states were introduced by the Post Office in 1963, at the same time that ZIP codes were introduced. The list of state abbreviations has remained unchanged since then, except for Nebraska changing from “NB” to “NE”. That change was made in 1969 in order to avoid confusion with the Canadian province of New Brunswick (NB).

58. “Iliad,” e.g. : SAGA
“Iliad” is an epic poem by the Greek poet Homer, which tells the story of the siege of Ilium (also known as Troy) during the Trojan war.

59. “Iliad” locale : TROY
The ancient city of Troy was located on the west coast of modern-day Turkey. The Trojan War of Greek mythology was precipitated by the elopement of Helen, the wife of the king of Sparta, with Paris of Troy. The war itself largely consisted of a nine-year siege of Troy by the Greeks. We know most about the final year of that siege, as it is described extensively in Homer’s “Iliad”. The city eventually fell when the Greeks hid soldiers inside the Trojan Horse, which the Trojans brought inside the city’s walls. Beware of Greeks bearing gifts …

62. Tech giant with a striped blue logo : IBM
The origin of the IBM nickname “Big Blue” seems to have been lost in the mists of time. That said, maybe it has something to do with the fact that the IBM logo is blue, and almost every mainframe they produced was painted blue. I remember visiting IBM on business a few times in my career, and back then we were encouraged to wear white shirts and blue suits to “fit in” with our client’s culture.

63. Actress Vardalos : NIA
Not only is the delightful Nia Vardalos the star of the 2002 hit movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, she also wrote the screenplay. The film never made it to number one at the box office, but it still pulled in more money than any other movie in history that didn’t make it to number one. That record I think reflects the fact that the film wasn’t a blockbuster but rather a so-called “sleeper hit”, a movie that people went to see based on referrals from friends. The big fat mistake came when a spin-off TV show was launched, “My Big Fat Greek Life”. It ran for only 7 episodes. “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” will hit movie theaters in 2016.

Return to top of page

For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Apelike : SIMIAN
7. “Ah, gotcha” : I SEE
11. 4.0 is a great one, in brief : GPA
14. Frigid time, climatically speaking : ICE AGE
15. Repair : MEND
16. Male sheep : RAM
17. Witty remark : BON MOT
18. The past, from a feminist standpoint : HER STORY
20. Social slight : SNUB
21. Crafty Norse god : LOKI
22. Loud laughs : YUKS
23. “No more for me, thanks” : I’M SET
26. ___ Crunch (Quaker cereal) : CAP’N
28. Milan opera house : LA SCALA
31. Reason to stare off into space : BOREDOM
34. Mine find : ORE
35. Finnish telecom giant : NOKIA
37. Auto with the slogan “Zoom-zoom” : MAZDA
38. ___ populi : VOX
39. 2/29/16, e.g. … or a hint to the circled squares in this puzzle : LEAP DAY
41. German article : EIN
42. Louvre pyramid architect : IM PEI
44. “Well, I ___ hand it to you …” : GOTTA
45. Regret : RUE
46. Gullibility : NAIVETE
48. Kidnappers’ demands : RANSOMS
50. How to address a king : SIRE
51. Area of a rectangle = length x ___ : WIDTH
52. Tiny bit : IOTA
54. “Quickly!,” in an order : ASAP
56. Helper: Abbr. : ASST
60. Once-ubiquitous red fixture seen along London streets : PHONE BOX
62. Out of neutral : IN GEAR
64. Feel sick : AIL
65. Become less full, as the moon : WANE
66. Quality of a diva : BIG EGO
67. ___ Equis (Mexican beer) : DOS
68. Things dyed for Easter : EGGS
69. Call for help : MAYDAY

Down
1. Kids in the fam : SIBS
2. Clickable image : ICON
3. Waiter’s handout : MENU
4. ___ pentameter : IAMBIC
5. Long, long ___ : AGO
6. Ping-Pong table divider : NET
7. “Can we turn on the A/C in here?!” : I’M HOT!
8. Look for : SEEK
9. Fermi of physics : ENRICO
10. Newspaper staffers, in brief : EDS
11. Where the 9/11 Memorial is : GROUND ZERO
12. The “P” of PRNDL : PARK
13. Schumer and Poehler : AMYS
19. Highly competitive, as a personality : TYPE A
21. Possible result of a cracked pipe : LEAKAGE
24. More macho : MANLIER
25. ___ gin fizz : SLOE
27. Tropical insect that “marches” : ARMY ANT
28. “I’m ___ it” (McDonald’s slogan) : LOVIN’
29. Scent : AROMA
30. Johnny Rotten’s punk band, with “the” : SEX PISTOLS
31. Scary experience for an LSD user : BAD TRIP
32. Intense hatred : ODIUM
33. What male lions have that lionesses lack : MANES
36. Wall St. debut : IPO
40. Somewhat : A TAD
43. Aquafina rival : EVIAN
47. Lipton item attached to a string : TEA BAG
49. Scooby-Doo’s pal : SHAGGY
51. Becomes fuller, as the moon : WAXES
52. Apple tablet : IPAD
53. Its postal abbreviation is also an exclamation : OHIO
55. Ballad, e.g. : SONG
57. Edible part of a sunflower : SEED
58. “Iliad,” e.g. : SAGA
59. “Iliad” locale : TROY
61. Female sheep : EWE
62. Tech giant with a striped blue logo : IBM
63. Actress Vardalos : NIA

Return to top of page

3 thoughts on “0229-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 29 Feb 16, Monday”

  1. No errors. No erasures. Pretty easy. I got the theme just fine but did not get the part about "leaping" over a black square. Where would I be without Bill's comments? Thanks, Bill, for expanding my observational skills.

  2. 8:12, no errors. Seemed, to me, a bit more difficult than the standard Monday speed test. Saw the 'day' theme near the end, did not see the 'leap' association, until I came here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.