0327-17 New York Times Crossword Answers 27 Mar 17, Monday

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Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
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CROSSWORD SETTER: Tom McCoy
THEME: S Takeout
Today’s themed answers are familiar versions of common phrases. Each includes an extra letter S that is not used in the grammatically correct phrase itself:

39A. Police operation … or, when read another way, what a grammarian would like to do to 18-, 24-, 52- and 65-Across? : STAKEOUT (or “S TAKEOUT”)

18A. “The one thing that’s clear to me …” : ALLS I KNOW … (should be “all I know …”)
24A. Distant : A LONG WAYS OFF (should be “a long way off”)
52A. Narrative connector : AND THEN I SAYS … (should be “and then I say …)
65A. “What do you think of …?” : HOWS ABOUT …? (should be “how about …?)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 6m 11s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Set of pictures at a dentist’s : X-RAYS
X-rays were first studied comprehensively by the German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen (also “Roentgen”), and it was he who gave the name “X-rays” to this particular type of radiation. Paradoxically, in Röntgen’s native language of German, X-rays are routinely referred to as “Röntgen rays”. In 1901 Röntgen won the first Nobel Prize in Physics that was ever awarded, recognition for his work on X-rays.

16. “I love,” to Cato : AMO
Cato the Elder was a Roman statesman, known historically as “the elder” in order to distinguish him from his great-grandson, Cato the Younger. Cato the Elder’s ultimate position within Roman society was that of Censor, making him responsible for maintaining the census, and for supervising public morality.

Cato the Younger was a politician in the late Roman Republic, noted for his moral integrity. He is also remembered for an extended conflict with Julius Caesar.

17. Perfect world : UTOPIA
The word “Utopia” was coined by Sir Thomas More for his book “Utopia” published in 1516 describing an idyllic fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. More’s use of the name Utopia comes from the Greek “ou” meaning “not” and “topos” meaning “place”. By calling his perfect island “Not Place”, More was apparently making the point that he didn’t think that the ideal could actually exist.

23. Boxing achievements, in brief : TKOS
In boxing, a knockout (KO) is when one of the fighters can’t get up from the canvas within a specified time, usually 10 seconds. This can be due to fatigue, injury, or the participant may be truly “knocked out”. A referee, fighter or doctor may also decide to stop a fight without a physical knockout, especially if there is concern about a fighter’s safety. In this case the bout is said to end with a technical knockout (TKO).

33. Villainous count in the Lemony Snicket books : OLAF
Count Olaf is the main antagonist in “A Series of Unfortunate Events”, the collection of children’s novels penned by Lemony Snicket  (the pen name of Daniel Handler).

35. Obama’s successor : TRUMP
When Donald Trump became US president in 2017, he became the oldest person ever to assume the office, as well as the wealthiest. He is also the first US president without prior experience in either the US military or in government.

36. Jason’s ship : ARGO
In Greek mythology, Jason and the Argonauts sailed on the Argo in search of the Golden Fleece. The vessel was called the “Argo” in honor of the ship’s builder, a man named Argus.

43. Day-___ paint : GLO
“Dayglo” is a registered trademark used for an ink or paint that glows when exposed to a black light in a darkened room. When Dayglo paint is viewed in daylight the colors can look particularly vivid because they respond to the UV light that is present in sunlight.

44. Japanese soup : MISO
Miso is the name of the seasoning that makes the soup. Basic miso seasoning is made by fermenting rice, barley and soybeans with salt and a fungus to produce a paste. The paste can be added to stock to make miso soup, or perhaps to flavor tofu.

50. Vietnamese soup : PHO
“Pho” is a noodle soup from Vietnam that is a popular street food.

51. What Google’s Ngram program tracks, for word usage : TRENDS
Google’s Ngram Viewer searches for words or phrases and charts the frequency of their usage in print media. The database used for the search comprises sources printed between the years 1500 and 2008.

56. Peach pit or walnut : SEED
Our everyday usage of “nut” is often at odds with the botanical definition of the term. Examples of “true nuts” are acorns, chestnuts and hazelnuts. On the other hand, even though we usually refer to almonds, pecans and walnuts as “nuts”, botanically they are classified as “drupes”. Both drupes and true nuts are fruits, the vehicles that flowering plants use to disseminate seeds. True nuts are examples of a “dry fruit”, a fruit that has no fleshy outer layer. Drupes are examples of a “fleshy fruit”, a fruit with a fleshy outer layer that often makes it desirable for an animal to eat. Familiar examples of drupes are cherries, peaches and plums. We eat the fleshy part of these drupes, and discard the pit inside that contains the seed. Other examples of drupes are walnuts, almonds and pecans. The relatively inedible flashy part of these drupes is usually removed for us before they hit our grocery stores shelves. We crack open the pit inside and eat the seed of these drupes. No wonder we use the term “nuts” to mean “crazy”!

62. Cuba’s capital : HAVANA
Havana is the capital city of Cuba. The city was founded by the Spanish in the early 1500s after which it became a strategic location for Spain’s exploration and conquest of the Americas. In particular, Havana was used as a stopping-off point for treasure-laden ships on the return journey to Spain.

72. Novices : TYROS
A tyro (also “tiro”) is a beginner or a novice. “Tyro” comes into English from Latin, in which “tiro” means “a recruit”.

Down
5. ___ Lanka : SRI
The island nation of Sri Lanka lies off the southeast coast of India. The name “Sri Lanka” translates from Sanskrit into English as “venerable island”. Before 1970, Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon, a name given to the country during British rule.

12. FedEx rival : UPS
United Parcel Service (UPS) is based in Sandy Springs, Georgia and has its own airline that operates out of Louisville, Kentucky. UPS often goes by the nickname “Brown”, because of its brown delivery trucks and brown uniforms.

14. ___ Juan, Puerto Rico : SAN
San Juan is the capital city of Puerto Rico. It was founded in 1521 by the Spanish, who called it “Ciudad de Puerto Rico” (Rich Port City).

23. Dance in which one partner might hold a rose between his teeth : TANGO
The dramatic dance called the tango originated in the late 1800s in the area along the border between Argentina and Uruguay. Dancers and orchestras from Buenos Aires in particular traveled to Europe and beyond in the early twentieth century and brought the tango with them. The tango craze first struck Europe in Paris in the 1910s, and from there spread to London and Berlin, crossing the Atlantic to New York in 1913.

27. Old-fashioned wine holder : FLAGON
A flagon is a large jug with a lid that is traditionally used for holding beer or wine.

29. Thorny parts of roses : STEMS
Believe it or not, roses don’t have any thorns. Thorns are derived from shoots, spines are derived from leaves, and prickles are derived from the epidermis. The rose’s defensive barbs are in fact prickles.

30. Group of three : TROIKA
“Troika” is a Russian word meaning “set of three”. “Troika” can apply to a sled or carriage drawn by three horses, or to a folk dance between one man and two women. The term might also apply to a triumvirate of political leaders.

36. Ohio city that was once the Rubber Capital of the World : AKRON
For part of the 1800s, the Ohio city of Akron was the fasting growing city in the country, feeding off the industrial boom of that era. The city was founded in 1825 and its location, along the Ohio and Erie canal connecting Lake Erie with the Ohio River, helped to fuel Akron’s growth. Akron sits at the highest point of the canal and the name “Akron” comes from the Greek word meaning “summit”. Indeed, Akron is the county seat of Summit County. The city earned the moniker “Rubber Capital of the World” for most of the 20th century, as it was home to four major tire companies: Goodrich, Goodyear, Firestone and General Tire.

42. Labourite’s opponent, in British politics : TORY
“Tory” comes from the Irish word “tóraí” meaning “outlaw, robber”. The term “tory” was originally used for an Irish outlaw and later became a term of abuse for Irish rebels. At the end of the reign of King Charles II in Britain, there was a political divide with one side being called “Whigs” and the other “Tories”. Historically, the term “Tory” evolved to basically mean a supporter of the British monarchy, and today is used for a member of the British Conservative Party.

48. Big electronics chain : BEST BUY
Best Buy is a retailer specializing in the supply of consumer electronics. Best Buy services include the famous “Geek Squad”, a band of technical experts that will help solve your computer and other consumer electronic problems.

59. Sound to fear in the savanna : ROAR
A savanna (also “savannah”) is a grassland. If there are any trees in a savanna, by definition they are small and widely spaced so that light can get to the grasses allowing them to grow unhindered.

60. Currency of France or Italy : EURO
The Euro is the official currency of most of the states in the European Union, but not all. The list of states not using the Euro includes the UK, Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

61. When planes are due to take off, for short : ETDS
Estimated time of departure (ETD)

64. Biden and Pence, in brief : VPS
Vice President Joe Biden was a US Senator representing the state of Delaware from 1973 until he joined the Obama administration. While he was a senator, Vice President Biden commuted to Washington from Wilmington, Delaware almost every working day. He was such an active customer and supporter of Amtrak that the Wilmington Station was renamed as the Joseph R. Biden Railroad Station in 2011. Biden has made over 7,000 trips from that station, and the Amtrak crews were known to even hold the last train for a few minutes so that he could catch it. Biden earned himself the nickname “Amtrak Joe”.

Mike Pence served as the 50th Governor of Indiana from 2013 until 2017, when he became the 48th Vice President of the US in the Trump administration. Famously, Vice President Pence has described himself as “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order”, although he grew up in an Irish Catholic Democrat family.

65. Actor Holbrook : HAL
Hal Holbrook is an actor from Cleveland, Ohio. Although Holbrook is well known for many roles on the big and small screens, he is best known for a series of plays that he developed called “Mark Twain Tonight!”. Holbrook depicts Twain on stage giving recitations from several of Twain’s writings, varying the script for each performance. “Mark Twain Tonight!” was first performed in 1959, and Holbrook still appears in it today, well over 50 years later.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Set of pictures at a dentist’s : X-RAYS
6. Crow’s sound : CAW
9. Reprieves : LETUPS
15. Event for meeting new people : MIXER
16. “I love,” to Cato : AMO
17. Perfect world : UTOPIA
18. “The one thing that’s clear to me …” : ALLS I KNOW … (should be “all I know …”)
20. Picked : CHOSEN
21. Appear : SEEM
22. “Smoking or ___?” : NON
23. Boxing achievements, in brief : TKOS
24. Distant : A LONG WAYS OFF (should be “a long way off”)
29. Narrow water passage : STRAIT
32. “___ day now …” : ANY
33. Villainous count in the Lemony Snicket books : OLAF
35. Obama’s successor : TRUMP
36. Jason’s ship : ARGO
37. Pull off perfectly : NAIL
38. Many millennia : EON
39. Police operation … or, when read another way, what a grammarian would like to do to 18-, 24-, 52- and 65-Across? : STAKEOUT (or “S TAKEOUT”)
43. Day-___ paint : GLO
44. Japanese soup : MISO
46. Boaters’ implements : OARS
47. Some woodwinds : OBOES
49. Lose traction on the road : SKID
50. Vietnamese soup : PHO
51. What Google’s Ngram program tracks, for word usage : TRENDS
52. Narrative connector : AND THEN I SAYS … (should be “and then I say …)
56. Peach pit or walnut : SEED
57. Greedy one : HOG
58. Peach or walnut : TREE
62. Cuba’s capital : HAVANA
65. “What do you think of …?” : HOWS ABOUT …? (should be “how about …?)
67. Unscripted comedy, informally : IMPROV
68. Mimic : APE
69. Watch over : GUARD
70. Blue state? : MISERY
71. Fluorescent bulb alternative, for short : LED
72. Novices : TYROS

Down
1. Dec. celebration : XMAS
2. Tick off : RILE
3. What car wheels turn on : AXLE
4. Polite affirmative : YES MA’AM
5. ___ Lanka : SRI
6. Group of books that an educated person is supposed to be familiar with : CANON
7. In the company of : AMONG
8. Blow away : WOW
9. Jealous words of congratulations : LUCKY YOU
10. Cultural spirit : ETHOS
11. “You can’t joke about that yet” : TOO SOON
12. FedEx rival : UPS
13. Thanksgiving dessert : PIE
14. ___ Juan, Puerto Rico : SAN
19. Problem with a shoelace : KNOT
23. Dance in which one partner might hold a rose between his teeth : TANGO
25. One might apply gloss to them : LIPS
26. Things for sale : WARES
27. Old-fashioned wine holder : FLAGON
28. Unsuccessful : FAILED
29. Thorny parts of roses : STEMS
30. Group of three : TROIKA
31. Enters hurriedly : RUNS IN
34. Often-unheeded advice from dentists : FLOSS
36. Ohio city that was once the Rubber Capital of the World : AKRON
40. Liable to tip over, maybe : TOP-HEAVY
41. Expressed amazement : AAHED
42. Labourite’s opponent, in British politics : TORY
45. “Most likely …” : ODDS ARE …
48. Big electronics chain : BEST BUY
51. License plates : TAGS
53. Choir member : TENOR
54. “Fingers crossed!” : I HOPE!
55. Planted, as discord : SOWED
59. Sound to fear in the savanna : ROAR
60. Currency of France or Italy : EURO
61. When planes are due to take off, for short : ETDS
62. That guy : HIM
63. “What ___, chopped liver?” : AM I
64. Biden and Pence, in brief : VPS
65. Actor Holbrook : HAL
66. 10%-er: Abbr. : AGT

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17 thoughts on “0327-17 New York Times Crossword Answers 27 Mar 17, Monday”

  1. Pretty challenging for a Monday, but my time was about normal. I'm assuming Bill's published time of almost 20 minutes is a missprint – or maybe a leftover from yesterday. Either that or he's feeling a big crossword hangover from the ACPT over the weekend.

    Even though it's likely a missprint, in the meantime I'll pretend that my time beat his….11 minutes for me.

    Kudos to the setter for the theme. Here in Texas I hear those phrases way too often. The one I hear most often is the word "anyways". Ugh. Fingernails on a chalkboard for me.

    Best –

  2. 8:21, no errors. The "fingers on a chalkboard" phrase for me is "Anywho, …" (or is it "Anyhoo, …"?) at the beginning of a sentence.

    (The spell-checker here doesn't like the word, either: I had to go to some trouble to type it … 🙂

  3. Hi folks!
    Nice little puzzle, but I managed to make a couple of errors: I could NOT see TROIKA, and so I kept SLIP for SKID, which threw the whole corner off.

    Jeff! I see that, in keeping with the theme, you cleverly put an extra "s" in "misprint!"

    For some reason, tho, these extra-s expressions don't bother me. As an English teacher, I should complain, but I find phrases like "anyways" kind of down home charming.

    Be well~~

  4. Thank you Carrie! I love it that there are explanations for most of the answers, and that one was bugging me.

    jannie

  5. 10:50, no errors. A bit more challenging than the typical Monday. Surprised to see Bill's time; pretty sure it's a typo, but sometimes a solver is just not in sync with the setter.

  6. Liked this one a lot. Cringed a little when first entering ALLSIKNOW before getting to the theme and revealer, but suspected it was part of the plot. Appreciate Tom McCoy's work on this.

  7. I had a garbled clue at 60-Down in my print newspaper. The clue said: Currency with a " " symbol. There was nothing in between the pair of quotation marks. With the fill completed it was obvious that it should have shown €, the Euro symbol. To my surprise, Bill's blog shows a completely different clue. I work the syndicated version so somewhere during the lag time something must have been attempted to change it. Oh well, no big deal.

    Otherwise, very nice puzzle. Liked it.

  8. I have some doubt about 52-Across. I think that taking out the S changes the verb tense. The ungrammatical "and then I says" is, I think, past tense. Another way this can be shown is "and then I sez" as a sort of dialectical representation. But again it is past tense. To take out the S changes the term to present tense "and then I say". In order to correct the original ungrammatical term and yet keep the past tense, it would end up as "and then I said". This change would keep the intent of the ungrammatical speaker but it would not fit in with the puzzle theme.

  9. What happened to Bill? Almost 20 minutes on this puzzle? Really?? 😮

    7:48 for me and no mistakes. The "theme" is horrible, a really dumb "pun", incredibly forced.

    And with that convoluted 39A 'clue', the correct fill-in would have been TAKE OUT S, not the one we have hear. Of course, that ruins the first clause in the clue… yep, just one more reason to have called the whole thing off.

    All in all, more trouble than it was worth to set. But of slightly sterner stuff than your average Monday.

  10. @all
    Yes, my time was a misprint. I left in the time for March 26th's Sunday puzzle, instead of updating that time slot to 6m 11s. I write up these posts using a template, one that has filds that I update each evening with each new puzzle. Sometimes I forget to update a field, and it's usually the solving time field. Thanks for pointing out the error, guys 🙂

  11. Bill: Seeing your initially posted time, I considered it a technical glitch of some kind. (But I couldn't suppress the notion that maybe you had a rare off-day!)

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