1006-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 6 Oct 16, Thursday

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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: Timothy Polin
THEME: Midsize
Today’s themed answers sound like well-known phrases, with a “sigh” sound inserted in the MIDDLE:

42D. Neither large nor small … or a phonetic hint to 17-, 30-, 45- and 57-Across : MIDSIZE

17A. Give an “Odyssey” character a trim? : CLIP CYCLOPS (from “clip-clops”)
30A. Favorite whack job? : PET PSYCHO (from “Petco”)
45A. Invoice a whole Mideast peninsula? : BILL SINAI (from “Bill Nye”)
57A. Motto of a huge “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” fan? : SEMPER SCI-FI (from “semper fi”)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 10m 54s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

11. “___ on Melancholy” : ODE
“Ode on Melancholy” was one of the so-called “1819 Odes” written by the poet John Keats, a collection that included famous poems such as “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, “Ode to a Nightingale” and “Ode to Psyche”.

16. Children’s author Asquith : ROS
Ros Asquith writes the “Teenage Worrier” books aimed at teens, as well as cartoons for “The Guardian” newspaper in the UK.

17. Give an “Odyssey” character a trim? : CLIP CYCLOPS (from “clip-clops”)
Cyclops was a one-eyed giant in Greek and Roman mythology. Cyclops lived in Mount Etna, the Sicilian volcano.

20. Old Testament book that asks “Does a lion roar in the thicket when it has no prey?” : AMOS
Amos is one of the twelve minor prophets in the Hebrew Bible.

22. Japanese writing system : KANJI
Japanese writing comes in a number of forms, including romaji (which uses the Latin alphabet), kanji (which uses Chinese characters) and hiragana (which has a cursive and flowing appearance).

24. Back muscle, informally : LAT
The muscles known as the “lats” are the latissimi dorsi, the broadest muscles in the back. “Latissimus” is the Latin for “broadest” and “dorsum” is Latin for “back”.

25. Ecosystem components : FAUNAS
The fauna is the animal life of a particular region, and the flora is that region’s plant life. The term “fauna” comes from the Roman goddess of earth and fertility who was called Fauna. Flora was the Roman goddess of plants, flowers and fertility.

28. Cover story : ALIBI
“Alibi” is the Latin word for “elsewhere” as in, “I claim that I was ‘elsewhere’ when the crime was committed … I have an ‘alibi’”.

30. Favorite whack job? : PET PSYCHO (from “Petco”)
Petco is a chain of retail stores that sells live animals and pet supplies. The Petco logo includes the two company mascots, Red Ruff the dog and Blue Mews the cat.

32. Windshield decorations : DECALS
A decal is a decorative sticker, short for “decalcomania”. The term is derived from the French “décalquer”, the practice of tracing a pattern from paper onto glass or perhaps porcelain.

34. Act of sedition : TREASON
Treason is a serious crime committed against the nation (or the sovereign). One who commits “treason” is called a “traitor”. In the past, the term treason also applied to lesser crimes (like a woman killing her husband) so there was a differentiation between high treason against the king, and “petit treason”, against a more common citizen.

41. Rhythmic Cuban dance: Var. : RHUMBA
The rumba (sometimes “rhumba”) is a Cuban dance, with influences brought by African slaves and Spanish colonists. The name “rumba” comes from “rumbo”, the Spanish word for “party, spree”.

45. Invoice a whole Mideast peninsula? : BILL SINAI (from “Bill Nye”)
The Sinai Peninsula is in the eastern part of Egypt, the triangular peninsula bounded by the Mediterranean to the north and the Red Sea to the south. It is the only part of Egypt that lies in Asia as opposed to Africa. The eastern land border of the peninsula is shared with Israel, and Israel occupied the Sinai during the 1956 Suez Crisis and the Six Day War of 1967.

That would be “Bill Nye the Science Guy”. Bill’s show ran on Disney for four years from 1993-97.

47. OPEC dignitaries : EMIRS
The OPEC cartel (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) was formally established in 1960 and has been headquartered in Vienna since 1965. The US is actually the third largest oil producer in the world (after Russia and Saudi Arabia). One reason America isn’t in OPEC, even though we are a big producer, is that we import a lot more than we export. But we all probably knew that already …

48. Annual New York honor : OBIE
The Obies are the “Off-Broadway Theater Awards”. The Obies are presented annually and the recipients are chosen by “The Village Voice” newspaper.

51. Talk smack about : DIS
“Dis” is a slang term meaning “insult” that originated in the eighties. It is a shortened form of “disrespect” or “dismiss”.

52. Shadow : UMBRA
A shadow usually has three distinct parts called the umbra, penumbra and antumbra, with the terms most often used with reference to the shadows cast by celestial bodies. The terms can also be used to describe the levels of darkness in sunspots. The umbra (Latin for “shadow”) is the innermost, darkest part of a shadow. The penumbra (“almost shadow”, from Latin) is a lighter part of a shadow, where part of the light source “leaks” around the body casting the shadow. The antumbra phenomenon is experienced when the object casting the shadow is sufficiently far away from the viewer so that it appears smaller than the light source, with an annular ring around it. When the eye is in the shadow cast by an object that has light passing around it, the eye is in the antumbra.

54. Barrio greeting : HOLA
“Hola” is Spanish for the greeting “hi”.

“Barrio” is the name given to an urban district in Spanish-speaking countries.

56. PBS backer : NEA
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is an agency funded by the federal government that offers support and financing for artistic projects. The NEA was created by an Act of Congress in 1965. Between 1965 and 2008, the NEA awarded over $4 billion to the arts, with Congress authorizing around $170 million annually through the eighties and much of the nineties. That funding was cut to less than $100 million in the late nineties due to pressure from conservatives concerned about the use of funds, but it is now back over the $150 million mark. I wonder how long that will last though …

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) was founded in 1970, and is my favorite of the broadcast networks. I love PBS’s drama and science shows in particular, and always watch the election results coming in with the NewsHour team.

57. Motto of a huge “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” fan? : SEMPER SCI-FI (from “semper fi”)
“Semper Fidelis” (often abbreviated to “semper fi”) is the motto of the United States Marine Corps (USMC). The phrase is Latin and means “Always Faithful”. The US Marine Corps isn’t the only military unit using “Semper Fidelis” as a motto. It’s also used by the Portuguese Marine Corps, the Republic of China Marine Corps and the Swiss Grenadiers.

61. Meticulous to a fault : ANAL
The use of the word “anal” to mean “stiffly conventional” is an abbreviated form of “anal-retentive”, a term derived from Freudian psychology. Regardless, I’m not a big fan of the term …

62. Washington in “Philadelphia” : DENZEL
Denzel Washington is an actor from Mount Vernon, just outside New York City. Washington’s big break came with a TV role, playing Dr. Philip Chandler on “St. Elsewhere” from 1982 to 1988.

“Philadelphia” is a groundbreaking 1993 film starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington. The movie was one of the first out of Hollywood to deal with HIV/AIDS and homophobia as a central theme. Hanks won that season’s Best Actor Oscar for his performance, and Bruce Springsteen won the Oscar for Best Original Song with “Streets of Philadelphia”.

63. Ticket info : ETA
Expected time of arrival (ETA)

65. Silver and others : STEEDS
Famously, the Lone Ranger’s horse was called Silver and Tonto’s mount was named Scout. But in the early shows, Tonto rode a horse called White Feller.

Down
2. Like Wabash College : ALL-MALE
Wabash College is an all-male school in Crawfordsville, Indiana that was founded in 1832 as the Wabash Teachers Seminary and Manual Labor College. Wabash is one of only three all-male liberal arts colleges left in the US. The other two are Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia and Morehouse College in Georgia.

5. The Gamecocks of the N.C.A.A. : USC
The University of South Carolina’s sports teams have gone by the moniker “Gamecocks” since about 1900. The name was chosen in honor of a South Carolina revolutionary war hero named Thomas Sumter. Sumter’s nickname was the Carolina Gamecock, as British General Banastre Tarleton once said that Sumter “fought like a gamecock”.

6. They’re found within kingdoms : PHYLA
Taxonomy is the classification of organisms or maybe even just items into groups or categories. We are most familiar with the classification of organisms in the major taxonomic ranks of:

  • Life
  • Domain
  • Kingdom
  • Phylum
  • Class
  • Order
  • Family
  • Genus
  • Species

7. Controversial fish catcher : GILL NET
A fisherman’s gill net hangs vertically in the water, with small floats holding the upper edge of the net on the surface. The net has a mesh sized so that the only the heads of the targeted fish can pass. The mesh gets entangled in the flaps covering the gills, so the fish cannot escape. Gil nets are so effective that they are banned in some states in order to protect fishery stocks.

11. River that’s home to the black spot piranha : ORINOCO
The Orinoco is a major river in South America, flowing through Venezuela and Colombia.

Piranhas are reputed to be able to strip an animal to its bones in seconds, but this is somewhat of a myth. Piranhas are not in fact strict carnivores, and usually are more of a nuisance to fishermen rather than a danger, as they tend to eat bait that has been set to catch other fish. Much of the reputation of the piranha is owed to the description written by President Theodore Roosevelt in his book “Through the Brazilian Wilderness”. President Roosevelt was somewhat hoodwinked though, as local fishermen put on a special “show” for him. They dumped hordes of hungry piranhas into a dammed section of a river and then tossed in a sliced up cow. President Roosevelt was pretty impressed by the orchestrated feeding frenzy.

12. “Much Ado About Nothing” villain : DON JOHN
“Much Ado About Nothing” is a play by William Shakespeare, a favorite of mine. It is a comedic tale of two pairs of lovers with lots of mistaken identities and double meanings. I once saw it performed in the fabulous Globe Theatre in London … by an all-female cast. Such a performance was somewhat ironic, given that in Shakespeare’s day the practice was to use an all-male cast.

13. White house occupant? : ESKIMO
Although still used in the US, the term “Eskimo” tends to be avoided in Canada and Greenland as there it is considered pejorative.

The Inuit word for “house” is “iglu”, which we usually write as “igloo”. The Greenlandic (yes, that’s a language) word for “house” is very similar, namely “igdlo”.

18. Masterstroke : COUP
A coup d’état (often just “coup”) is the sudden overthrow of a government, and comes from the French for “stroke of state”. The Swiss-German word “putsch” is sometimes used instead of “coup”, with “Putsch” translating literally as “sudden blow”. Both terms are also used today in a more general sense to describe a masterstroke.

23. “Sweet” plant of the mustard family : ALYSSUM
Alyssum is a genus of over a hundred species of flowering plant. The species we know as Sweet Alyssum is just one of many, and is known more formally as Lobularia maritima.

25. Sole orders : FILETS
The group of flatfish known as soles take their name from “solea”, the Latin word for “sandal”. And, they kind of have that shape.

31. Willie Mays descriptor : SAY HEY
Willie Mays’ nickname was the “Say Hey Kid”, although his friends and teammates were more likely to refer to him as “Buck”. When Mays was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, he was asked who was the best player he’d ever seen in the game. He replied, “I don’t mean to be bashful, but I was.”

33. Letter embellishment : SERIF
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” and “serif” from the Dutch “schreef” meaning “line”. 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 …

38. Barbecuer’s supply : RIB MEAT
It is believed that our word “barbecue” (BBQ) comes from the Taíno people of the Caribbean in whose language “barbacoa” means “sacred fire pit”.

39. Hero of a tale told by Scheherazade : ALI BABA
There is some controversy about the story “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” in that it has been suggested it was not part of the original collection of Arabic tales called “One Thousand and One Nights”. The suggestion is that the Ali Baba tale was added by one of the European translators of the collection.

Scheherazade was a Persian queen of legend, and the storyteller in the wonderful “One Thousand and One Nights”.

40. Impressive collection : PANOPLY
“Panoply” originally described the complete set of armor of a warrior, with the term coming from the Greek “pan-”meaning “all” and “hopla” meaning “arms”. We’ve been using “panoply” to mean “any splendid array” since the 1820s.

50. Enriches, in a way : LARDS
Fat, when extracted from the carcass of an animal, is called “suet”. Untreated suet decomposes at room temperature quite easily so it has to be “rendered” or purified to make it stable. Rendered fat from pigs is what we call “lard”. Rendered beef or mutton fat is known as “tallow”.

53. “This can’t wait!” : ASAP!
As soon as possible (ASAP)

58. Collaborator on several David Bowie albums : ENO
Brian Eno is a musician, composer and record producer from England who first achieved fame as the synthesiser player with Roxy Music. As a producer, Eno has worked with David Bowie, Devo and U2.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Bedridden : LAID UP
7. Enclosed, old-style : GIRT
11. “___ on Melancholy” : ODE
14. Not so current : OLDISH
15. Clue : IDEA
16. Children’s author Asquith : ROS
17. Give an “Odyssey” character a trim? : CLIP CYCLOPS (from “clip-clops”)
19. Some media coverage : INK
20. Old Testament book that asks “Does a lion roar in the thicket when it has no prey?” : AMOS
21. Take it easy : LOLL
22. Japanese writing system : KANJI
24. Back muscle, informally : LAT
25. Ecosystem components : FAUNAS
27. Threaten : LOOM
28. Cover story : ALIBI
30. Favorite whack job? : PET PSYCHO (from “Petco”)
32. Windshield decorations : DECALS
34. Act of sedition : TREASON
35. Be a crowd : TEEM
37. Hurrahs : YAYS
38. Slummy building : RATTRAP
41. Rhythmic Cuban dance: Var. : RHUMBA
45. Invoice a whole Mideast peninsula? : BILL SINAI (from “Bill Nye”)
47. OPEC dignitaries : EMIRS
48. Annual New York honor : OBIE
49. Letter sign-off : FONDLY
51. Talk smack about : DIS
52. Shadow : UMBRA
54. Barrio greeting : HOLA
55. Cruising along : ASEA
56. PBS backer : NEA
57. Motto of a huge “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” fan? : SEMPER SCI-FI (from “semper fi”)
60. One hailed by city dwellers : CAB
61. Meticulous to a fault : ANAL
62. Washington in “Philadelphia” : DENZEL
63. Ticket info : ETA
64. Carnival ride provider : PONY
65. Silver and others : STEEDS

Down
1. Small business purchase, perhaps : LOCAL AD
2. Like Wabash College : ALL-MALE
3. Not worth considering : IDIOTIC
4. Ballroom maneuvers : DIPS
5. The Gamecocks of the N.C.A.A. : USC
6. They’re found within kingdoms : PHYLA
7. Controversial fish catcher : GILL NET
8. Blind love : IDOLATRY
9. Sales ___ : REP
10. Charge : TASK
11. River that’s home to the black spot piranha : ORINOCO
12. “Much Ado About Nothing” villain : DON JOHN
13. White house occupant? : ESKIMO
18. Masterstroke : COUP
23. “Sweet” plant of the mustard family : ALYSSUM
25. Sole orders : FILETS
26. ___ gun : SPEAR
29. Conflicted sort? : BATTLER
31. Willie Mays descriptor : SAY HEY
33. Letter embellishment : SERIF
36. “Holy cow!” : MAN OH MAN!
38. Barbecuer’s supply : RIB MEAT
39. Hero of a tale told by Scheherazade : ALI BABA
40. Impressive collection : PANOPLY
42. Neither large nor small … or a phonetic hint to 17-, 30-, 45- and 57-Across : MIDSIZE
43. Brought up to speed : BRIEFED
44. Tears into : ASSAILS
45. Pep in one’s step : BOUNCE
46. Take it easy : IDLE
50. Enriches, in a way : LARDS
53. “This can’t wait!” : ASAP!
55. Bumps on the head? : ACNE
58. Collaborator on several David Bowie albums : ENO
59. Fixed : SET

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11 thoughts on “1006-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 6 Oct 16, Thursday”

  1. Just a heads up, Bill. The link to the syndicated puzzle does not work. For info, I used 0901-16 as the puzzle number to find today's correct syndicated link.

  2. Not bad for a NYT Thursday until I came to the NE. ROS, ORINOCO, DONJOHN, and KANJI was too much for me to overcome.

    That said, it was a very enjoyable puzzle. Theme made for some good laughs. Leaned several new tidbits as well.

    I had heard that about piranhas – i.e. that they aren't as dangerous as they are in the movies. That said, I'm not getting in the water and swimming with them either…

    Bill – as to the theme, it might be that the setter meant that he put "sighs" (i.e. more than 1 sigh) in the middle as it's really a "sigh" (phonetically) that is inserted into the theme answers. Bill "Sigh" Nye, Semper "sigh" fi…etc..rather than the actual word "size"

    Just my take on an extremely unimportant matter….

    Best –

  3. I was able to solve the puzzle without the use (or red herring) of 42D. I didn't understand its logic while doing the puzzle, and I still don't.

  4. 26:49, seven errors. Totally botched this one today. GIRD, DASH, HANJI; along with SPEED gun (26D) resulting in YEAS, DRUMBA & SAAREY.

    I concur with @Jeff that the phonetic theme should be 'sighs' rather than 'size'.

  5. I persevered and got them all. I had "LOAF" instead of "LOLL" so that hung me up on the middle top for a long time. I also had some delay in the upper right corner. I thought "PETPSYCHO" was pretty lame, as you end up with "PETP CHO" — unless the second P is silent, I guess. My takeaway was that it meant "Pet Show" rather than "Petco," but either one is a pretty weak result. Otherwise, fun.

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