1118-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 18 Nov 16, Friday

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Peter Wentz
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 21m 27s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 2

  • JONI (Toni)
  • J COLE (T Cole)

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

10. Site of Dostoyevsky’s exile : OMSK
Omsk is a city in southwest Siberia. It is located over 1400 miles from Moscow and was chosen as the destination for many internal exiles in the mid-1900s. Perhaps the most famous of these exiles was the author Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s most famous novels are “Crime and Punishment” and “The Brothers Karamazov”. Dostoyevsky was arrested in 1849 and sentenced to death by Tsar Nicholas I for being part of a liberal intellectual group. He endured a mock execution before being told that his sentence was commuted to four years hard labor and exile in a camp at Omsk in Siberia.

14. 2002 Hugh Grant dramedy : ABOUT A BOY
“About a Boy” is a 2002 film adaptation of a 1988 novel of the same name by Nick Hornby (who also wrote “High Fidelity” and “Fever Pitch”, which were also turned into successful movies). “About a Boy” stars Hugh Grant and Toni Collette, with Nicholas Hoult playing the title character. Hornby’s novel has now been adapted for the small screen, and a TV series of the same name premiered on NBC in 2014.

The English actor Hugh Grant’s full name is Hugh John Mungo Grant. Grant’s breakthrough came with his leading role in 1994’s “Four Weddings and a Funeral”. That was a fabulous performance. Sadly, I think Grant has basically been playing the same character ever since …

16. He played the antagonist to Leonardo DiCaprio in “Titanic” : BILLY ZANE
Billy Zane is an actor from Chicago, Illinois. One of Zane’s most prominent roles was the title character in the 1996 superhero film called “The Phantom”. He also played the somewhat creepy bad guy in the 1989 thriller movie called “Dead Calm”.

Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio is from Los Angeles, California. DiCaprio’s mother was visiting a museum in Italy when she was pregnant and felt the first kick of her unborn child. At the moment of that first kick, Mama DiCaprio was looking at a painting by Leonardo da Vinci, and so named her son Leonardo.

When James Cameron made his epic movie “Titanic”, released in 1997, it was the most expensive film ever made, costing about $200 million. It was a good investment for the studio as it became the highest-grossing film of all time, bringing in over $1.8 billion. “Titanic” remained the highest-grossing film until 2010, when Cameron eclipsed the prior record with “Avatar”.

17. Noted 1983 graduate of Columbia : OBAMA
There are only two US Presidents who have two degrees from Ivy League schools. The first is President George W. Bush. President Bush holds a BA from Yale and an MBA from Harvard. The second is President Barack Obama. President Obama holds a BA in political science from Columbia and a JD from Harvard Law School.

Columbia University is an Ivy League school in New York City. Columbia’s athletic teams are called the Lions, thought to be a reference to the lion on the English coat of arms. Prior to the American Revolution, Columbia was called King’s College as it was chartered by King George II in 1754.

18. Blend : ADMIX
“Admix” is a rarely used term, and it just means “mix”.

19. Trash collector : DUMPSTER
“Dumpster” is one of those words that we use generically that is actually a brand name. The original “Dumpster” was patented by the Dempster Brothers of Knoxville, Tennessee. “Dumpster” is derived from “dump” and “Dempster”.

21. Close relative of elephant garlic : LEEK
The leek is a vegetable closely related to the onion and the garlic. It is also a national emblem of Wales (along with the daffodil), although I don’t think we know for sure how this came to be. One story is that the Welsh were ordered to wear leeks in their helmets to identify themselves in a battle against the Saxons. Apparently, the battle took place in a field of leeks.

22. The “m” in the equation y = mx + b : SLOPE
In the world of coordinate geometry, any straight line can be described by the equation y = mx + b, where me is the slope of the line, and b is the value at which the line crosses the y-axis.

24. Trending : HOT
In the world of Twitter, a word or phrase that is getting “tagged” more than others is said to be “trending”.

25. Letters in front of many a state name : USS
The abbreviation “USS” stands for “United States Ship”. The practice of naming US Navy vessels in a standard format didn’t start until 1907 when President Theodore Roosevelt issued an executive order that addressed the issue.

33. 13 things? : BAR MITZVAHS
A Jewish girl becomes a Bat Mitzvah at 12 years of age, the age at which she becomes responsible for her actions. Boys become Bar Mitzvahs at 13. The terms translate into English as daughter and son of the commandments.

34. Rapper/actor in several “Fast & Furious” movies : TYRESE
Tyrese Gibson is singer-songwriter and actor who is known simply as “Tyrese”. Tyrese is best known for playing the character Roman Pearce in the “Fast And Furious” series of movies.

35. Aristotle called him the inventor of the dialectic : ZENO
Zeno of Elea was a Greek philosopher who lived in Elea, a Greek colony in Southern Italy. Zeno is famous for his “paradoxes”, a set of problems that really make you think! In the problem known as “Achilles and the Tortoise”, Zeno tells us that Achilles races a tortoise, giving the tortoise a head start (of say 100 meters). By the time Achilles reaches the starting point of the tortoise, the tortoise will have moved on, albeit only a small distance. Achilles then sets his sights on the tortoise’s new position and runs to it. Again the tortoise has moved ahead a little. Achilles keeps on moving to the tortoise’s new position but can never actually catch his slower rival. Or can he …?

36. Put down on canvas? : KO’D
Knocked out (KO’d)

39. British rule in India : RAJ
The period of colonial rule by the British in South Asia from 1858 to 1947 is referred to as the British Raj. Prior to 1858, the area was ruled by a private enterprise, the British East India Company. “Raj” is the Hindi word for “reign”.

42. Senator Ernst : JONI
Joni Ernst was elected as a US Senator for Iowa in 2014. Ernst is a Republican who had previously served as a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard. She is the first female veteran in the US Senate, and the first woman to represent Iowa in the US Congress.

46. A lot : SCADS
The origin of the word “scads”, meaning “lots and lots”, is unclear, although back in the mid-1800s “scads” was used to mean “dollars”.

47. Ball game : BOCCE
The Italian bowling game of “bocce” (anglicized as “bocci”) is based on a game played in Ancient Rome. “Bocce” is the plural of the Italian word “boccia” meaning “bowl”.

48. Half a round : NINE HOLES
There’s an urban myth that the standard number of holes on a golf course is 18 because it takes 18 shots to polish off a fifth of scotch whisky. However, the truth is that the standard number of holes in the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland happened to settle down over time at 18, and that standard was adopted all around the world.

52. Rink site : ICE PALACE
An ice palace is a temporary structure, one made from blocks of ice. The first such structure was built on the order of the Empress Anna in St. Petersberg, Russia in the winter of 1739. That particular ice palace was an elaborate affair, erected during the celebrations following Russia’s victory over the Ottoman Empire. The palace survived for several months, eventually melting at the start of the following summer.

Down
1. Ricky Ricardo’s signature song : BABALU
“Babalú” is a song from Cuba that became the signature tune of Ricky Ricardo, the bandleader played by Desi Arnaz in the TV show “I Love Lucy”.

3. Radio’s “The Alan ___ Show” : COLMES
Alan Colmes is a relatively liberal political commentator that does a lot of work for Fox News on television and radio. He used to square off against conservative commentator Sean Hannity on the TV show “Hannity and Colmes”.

4. Russian men’s figure skater who won a gold medal at Nagano : KULIK
Ilia Kulik is a Russian figure skater, born in Moscow and now living in Newport Beach. I’ve seen him skate on the “Stars on Ice” tour. The ladies love it when he takes off his shirt …

Nagano is a city on Japan’s largest island, Honshu. Nagano was host to the 1998 Winter Olympic Games.

5. Something crossed in “The Divine Comedy” : STYX
The River Styx in Greek mythology was the river that formed the boundary between the Earth and the Underworld (or Hades). The souls of the newly dead had to cross the River Styx in a ferry boat piloted by Charon. Traditionally, a coin would be placed in the mouths of the dead “to pay the ferryman”.

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”.

6. Category for un Premio Nobel : PAZ
In Spanish, “un Premio Nobel” (A Nobel Prize) is awarded in the name of “paz” (peace).

7. Court inits. : ABA
The American Bar Association (ABA)

8. One of Augusta National’s first two female members : CONDOLEEZZA RICE
Condoleezza “Condi” Rice was the second African American to serve as US Secretary of State (after Colin Powell) and the second woman to hold the office (after Madeleine Albright). Prior to becoming Secretary of State in President George W. Bush’s administration, Rice was the first woman to hold the office of National Security Advisor. In private life, Rice is a remarkably capable pianist. Given her stature in Washington, Rice has had the opportunity to play piano in public with the likes of cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and soul singer Aretha Franklin.

The Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia was founded in 1933 by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts. Famously, Augusta hosts the Masters Tournament each year. Augusta is very much a private club, and some of its policies have drawn criticism over the years. Prior to 1959, the club had a bylaw requiring that all caddies be African American. There were no African-American club members admitted until 1990, and no women until 2012.

9. Consider in a lascivious way : EYE UP
“Lascivious” is such an appropriate-sounding word, I always think. It means lecherous or salacious.

10. Royal balls : ORBS
An orb and cross (“globus cruciger”) has been used as a Christian symbol of authority since Medieval times. The cross sits atop the globe, indicating Christ’s authority over the world. When the orb is held in the hand of a king or queen, this indicates the authority invested in the earthly ruler.

13. Some big boxes : KMARTS
Kmart is the third largest discount store chain in the world, behind Wal-Mart and Target. The company was founded by S. S. Kresge in 1899, with the first outlets known as S. S. Kresge stores. The first “Kmart” stores opened in 1962. Kmart is famous for its promotions known as “blue light specials”, a program first introduced in 1965 and discontinued in 1991. I remember being in a Kmart store soon after coming to live in the US. That evening an employee installed a light stand an aisle away from me, switched on a flashing blue light and there was some unintelligible announcement over the loudspeaker system. I had no idea what was going on …

A very large retail outlet is referred to as a “big-box store”, and is often part of a chain.

15. One involved with tickets and bookings : COP
“To cop” was northern British dialect for “to seize, catch”. This verb evolved in the noun “copper”, describing a policeman, someone who catches criminals. “Copper” is often shortened to “cop”.

22. City in which “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” takes place : SAN DIEGO
The name of the California city of San Diego dates back to 1602, when Spanish explorer Sebastián Vizcaíno named the area after the Catholic Saint Didacus. Saint Didacus was more commonly referred to as San Diego de Alcalá.

Ron Burgundy is the title character in the movie “Anchorman” series of films. Burgundy is a news anchor played by comedian Will Ferrell. Apparently Burgundy loves a glass of scotch, poetry, and his dog Baxter.

28. Roundup alternative : ORTHO
Ortho is a brand of weed killer owned by Scotts Miracle-Gro.

29. Souvenir shop stock : TEES
A “souvenir” is a memento, a token of remembrance. We imported the word from French, in which language it has the same meaning. The term comes from the Latin “subvenire” meaning “to come to mind”, or literally “to come up”.

30. Senator who created and introduced the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991 : GORE
Al Gore was born in Washington DC, the son of Al Gore, Sr., then a US Representative for the state of Tennessee. After deferring his military service in order to attend Harvard, the younger Gore became eligible for the draft on graduation. Many of his classmates found ways of avoiding the draft, but Gore decided to serve and even took the “tougher” option of joining the army as an enlisted man. Actor Tommy Lee Jones shared a house with Gore in college and says that his buddy told him that even if he could find a way around the draft, someone with less options than him would have to go in his place and that was just wrong.

36. Billabong Zoo attractions : KOALAS
The koala bear really does look like a little bear, but it’s not even closely related. The koala is an arboreal marsupial and a herbivore, native to the east and south coasts of Australia. Koalas aren’t primates, and are one of the few mammals other than primates who have fingerprints. In fact, it can be very difficult to tell human fingerprints from koala fingerprints, even under an electron microscope. Male koalas are called “bucks”, females are “does”, and young koalas are “joeys”. I’m a little jealous of the koala, as it sleeps up to 20 hours a day …

38. Talks smack to : DISSES
“Dis” is a slang term meaning “insult” that originated in the eighties. It is a shortened form of “disrespect” or “dismiss”.

42. Rapper with #1 albums in 2011, 2013 and 2014 : J COLE
J. Cole is the stage name of American rap artist Jermaine Cole. J. Cole was born in Germany, on the US Army base in Frankfurt.

44. Franchise with locations in New Orleans and L.A. : NCIS
NCIS is the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which investigates crimes in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The service gives its name to the CBS TV show “NCIS”, a spin-off drama from “JAG” in which the main “NCIS” characters were first introduced. The big star in “NCIS” is the actor Mark Harmon. “NCIS” is now a franchise, with spinoff shows “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “NCIS: New Orleans”.

45. Blue symbol of Delaware : HEN
The Blue Hen has been the state bird of Delaware since 1939.

46. Source of valuable eggs : SHAD
The shad is also known as the river herring. The eggs (roe) of the female shad are prized as a delicacy in the Eastern US.

50. Relatively cheap iTunes offerings : EPS
An extended-play record, CD or download (EP) contains more music than a single, but less than an LP.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Go over again, as one’s writing? : BACKSPACE
10. Site of Dostoyevsky’s exile : OMSK
14. 2002 Hugh Grant dramedy : ABOUT A BOY
15. Beat soundly : CREAM
16. He played the antagonist to Leonardo DiCaprio in “Titanic” : BILLY ZANE
17. Noted 1983 graduate of Columbia : OBAMA
18. Blend : ADMIX
19. Trash collector : DUMPSTER
21. Close relative of elephant garlic : LEEK
22. The “m” in the equation y = mx + b : SLOPE
24. Trending : HOT
25. Letters in front of many a state name : USS
26. Crash and burn : FAIL
27. Things commonly advertised along interstates : MOTELS
30. Material for a seasonal house : GINGERBREAD
32. Cruel : COLDHEARTED
33. 13 things? : BAR MITZVAHS
34. Rapper/actor in several “Fast & Furious” movies : TYRESE
35. Aristotle called him the inventor of the dialectic : ZENO
36. Put down on canvas? : KO’D
39. British rule in India : RAJ
40. Incline : GRADE
42. Senator Ernst : JONI
43. Pretty soon, say : IN AN HOUR
46. A lot : SCADS
47. Ball game : BOCCE
48. Half a round : NINE HOLES
51. Invite at the door : ASK IN
52. Rink site : ICE PALACE
53. Take away : LESS
54. Anchors’ locales : NEWS DESKS

Down
1. Ricky Ricardo’s signature song : BABALU
2. Stands : ABIDES
3. Radio’s “The Alan ___ Show” : COLMES
4. Russian men’s figure skater who won a gold medal at Nagano : KULIK
5. Something crossed in “The Divine Comedy” : STYX
6. Category for un Premio Nobel : PAZ
7. Court inits. : ABA
8. One of Augusta National’s first two female members : CONDOLEEZZA RICE
9. Consider in a lascivious way : EYE UP
10. Royal balls : ORBS
11. Clod : MEATHEAD
12. When repeated, routine : SAME OLD
13. Some big boxes : KMARTS
15. One involved with tickets and bookings : COP
20. Tissue part : MEMBRANE
22. City in which “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” takes place : SAN DIEGO
23. Hardly serious : LIGHT
26. Some festival attractions : FILMS
28. Roundup alternative : ORTHO
29. Souvenir shop stock : TEES
30. Senator who created and introduced the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991 : GORE
31. Praised something to the skies : RAVED
32. Takes a ride? : CARJACKS
33. Just barely : BY A NOSE
34. Like some councils and tattoos : TRIBAL
36. Billabong Zoo attractions : KOALAS
37. Next up : ON DECK
38. Talks smack to : DISSES
41. Spat : RUN-IN
42. Rapper with #1 albums in 2011, 2013 and 2014 : J COLE
44. Franchise with locations in New Orleans and L.A. : NCIS
45. Blue symbol of Delaware : HEN
46. Source of valuable eggs : SHAD
49. Having just dropped : NEW
50. Relatively cheap iTunes offerings : EPS

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5 thoughts on “1118-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 18 Nov 16, Friday”

  1. 23:44, no errors, iPad. There were lots of things in this puzzle I was initially unsure of, but everything finally clicked into place and made sense, with the possible exception of the clue "Having just dropped" for NEW (49D), which I still don't understand.

    @Anonymous (from yesterday) … An unexpected expense might "leave you in a bad way", which is to say, STRAPped for cash. A pretty opaque clue, I thought.

  2. 18:53, 4 errors: 6D PAK, 16A BILLY KANE, 42A TONI, 42D TCOLE. Too many clues outside my strike zone; add in my pet peeve of foreign language clues in an English language puzzle (PAZ). Originally put 36A as TKO, which cost some time.

    49D Not sure what the setter had in mind, but to me, the expression 'Having just dropped' relates to the slang expression of 'dropping a child' or 'dropping a calf' for giving birth. A child that has just dropped would be a newborn.

  3. 23:58, the exact same 2 errors as Bill had. I don't think it's fair to ever have two Proper Nouns or names sharing an intersection. This was a tough one, though, and I was glad to simply have completed the grid, with however many mistakes.

    As for "having dropped" being a clue for NEW, it's a "new-ish" term for music or a film release. One might say their favorite artist "just dropped" a new tune or a CD, when it was released today or yesterday on the internet….

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