0428-17 New York Times Crossword Answers 28 Apr 17, Friday

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Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
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CROSSWORD CONSTRUCTOR: David Steinberg
THEME: None
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 15m 54s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

14. Literally, “highest city” : ACROPOLIS
Our prefix “acro-” comes from the Greek “akros” meaning “at the top”. Examples are “acrophobia” (fear of heights) and “Acropolis” (“city at the top”).

16. Mystical characters : RUNES
A rune is a character in an alphabet that is believed to have mysterious powers. In Norse mythology, the runic alphabet was said to have a divine origin.

18. Highway through the Yukon : ALCAN
The Alaska Highway is also known as the Alaska-Canadian Highway or ALCAN Highway. A highway connecting the contiguous United States to Alaska was proposed in the twenties, but the Canadian authorities didn’t believe the project had much merit as the road would be used by very few of its citizens. The perceived importance of the route increased during WWII and President Roosevelt deemed the road a strategic necessity so he made a deal with Canada. The cost of construction would be born by the US, but the road and related facilities were to be handed over to Canada at the end of the war. The project was accelerated when the Japanese invaded and occupied Kiska and Attu Islands in the Aleutians. The road of course has been improved and is still in use today. The ALCAN Highway forms part of what is popularly known as the Pan-American Highway, which runs from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to the south of Argentina or Chile depending on how the route is defined.

22. Drummer Starkey : ZAK
Zak Starkey is an English drummer just like his Dad Richard Starkey, better known as Ringo Starr. Zak has performed with the Who and with Oasis.

25. TV boy with spiked hair : BART
Bart Simpson is the main character in television’s “The Simpsons”. Bart’s name was chosen by the writers as it is an anagram of “brat”. Bart is voiced by actress and comedian Nancy Cartwright.

29. Org. since 1902 with 50+ million members : AAA
The American Automobile Association (AAA) is a not-for-profit organization focused on lobbying, provision of automobile servicing, and selling of automobile insurance. The AAA was founded in 1902 in Chicago and published the first of its celebrated hotel guides back in 1917.

32. Intermission starter? : ENTR-
The term “entr’acte” comes to us from French, and is the interval “between two acts” (“entre deux actes”) of a theatrical performance. The term often describes some entertainment provided during that interval.

33. Part of XXX : TIC
When I was growing up in Ireland we played “noughts and crosses” … our name for the game tic-tac-toe.

34. California’s Harvey ___ College : MUDD
Harvey Mudd was a mining engineer, and president of Cyprus Mines Corporation. He lent his name to Harvey Mudd College, a science and engineering college in Claremont, California.

35. Santa player in “Elf” : ASNER
“Elf” is a comedy movie released for the 2003 Christmas season. “Elf” was directed by Jon Favreau and stars Will Ferrell in the title role, with James Caan supporting and Ed Asner playing Santa Claus. It’s all about one of Santa’s elves who finds out he is human and goes to meet his father in New York City.

37. Food sticker : TINE
That would be one of the tines (points) on a fork.

38. “Star Wars” nickname : ANI
Anakin “Ani” Skywalker is the principal character in the first six of the “Star Wars” movies. His progress chronologically through the series of films is:

  • Episode I: Anakin is a 9-year-old slave boy who earns the promise of Jedi training by young Obi-Wan Kenobi.
  • Episode II: Anakin is 18-years-old and goes on a murdering rampage to avenge the killing of his mother.
  • Episode III: Anakin is 21-years-old and a Jedi knight, but he turns to the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader. His wife Padme gives birth to twins, Luke and Leia Skywalker.
  • Episode IV: Darth Vader, comes into conflict with his children, Luke Skywalker and the Princess Leia.
  • Episode V: Darth Vader attempts to coax his son Luke over to the dark side, and reveals to Luke that he is his father.
  • Episode VI: Luke learns that Leia is his sister, and takes on the task of bringing Darth Vader back from the Dark Side in order to save the Galaxy. Vader saves his son from the Emperor’s evil grip, dying in the process, but his spirit ends up alongside the spirits of Yoda and Obi-Wan. They all live happily ever after …

42. Old RR watchdog : ICC
The Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) was set up in 1887 to regulate the railroads and later the trucking industry. The ICC was abolished in 1995 and its functions were absorbed by the Surface Transportation Board.

43. Like some columns : IONIC
The Ionic was one of the three classical orders of architecture, the others being the Doric and the Corinthian. An Ionic column is relatively ornate. It usually has grooves running up and down its length and at the top there is a “scroll” design called a “volute”. The scroll motif makes Ionic columns popular for the design of academic buildings. The term “Ionic” means “pertaining to Ionia”, with Ionia being an ancient territory that is located in modern-day Turkey.

46. Court ruling : LET
That would be on a tennis court, perhaps.

47. “Eww, no more!” : TMI
TMI (too much information!)

50. 2012 #1 hit by LMFAO : SEXY AND I KNOW IT
LMFAO was an electronic dance music duo active who were active from 2006 until 2012. The duo’s stage names were Redfoo and SkyBlu, with the former being the uncle of the latter. Never heard of ‘em …

56. Internet hookup : MODEM
A modem is a device that is used to facilitate the transmission of a digital signal over an analog line. At one end of the line a modem is used to “modulate” an analog carrier signal to encode the the digital information, and at the other end a modem is used to “demodulate” the analog carrier signal and so reproduce the original digital information. This modulation-demodulation gives the device its name: a MOdulator-DEModulator, or “modem”.

57. Like Sprite : LEMON-LIME
Sprite is Coca-Cola’s answer to the very successful soft drink called 7 Up. Sprite was introduced in 1961, and Coca-Cola used its muscle to topple 7 Up from its dominant position in the market. Sprite has been the number-one selling lemon soda since 1978.

58. Hindu aphorisms : SUTRA
The word “sutra” is used in Hinduism for a learned text, one usually meant to be studied by students.

An aphorism is a short and pithy statement that embodies a general truth or insightful observation. Some great examples are:

  • Life is a journey, not a destination (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
  • The average person thinks he isn’t (Larry Lorenzoni)
  • To err is human, to forgive divine (Alexander Pope)
  • Reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one (Albert Einstein)
  • Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely (Lord Acton)

59. Producer of red-and-white blooms : AMARYLLIS
Plants of the genus Amaryllis are known as belladonna lilies, although they are only distant cousins of lilies. The shape of the flower of an Amaryllis plant only resembles that of a lily.

Down
3. Ollie’s friend on old TV : FRAN
“Kukla, Fran and Ollie” is an early television show that aired from 1947-1957. Kukla and Ollie (Oliver J. Dragon) were puppets and Fran was Fran Allison, usually the only human on the show.

5. Bug exterminator? : CODER
Back in 1947, the famed computer programmer Grace Hopper noticed some colleagues fixing a piece of equipment by removing a dead moth from a relay. She remarked that they were “debugging” the system, and so Hopper has been given credit for popularizing the term.

6. Mount Holyoke grad, e.g. : ALUMNA
Mount Holyoke College is a private school for women located in South Hadley, Massachusetts. It was founded as Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in 1834 as the sister school to Andover Seminary.

8. Sports-themed restaurant : ESPN ZONE
ESPN Zone is a chain of restaurants, albeit a small chain as there are only two of them. The original location was in Baltimore, Maryland but it’s closed now. There is one ESPN Zone in the entertainment complex in Downtown Los Angeles called L.A. Live, and there is another not too far away (that I’ve visited) in Downtown Disney in Anaheim.

13. Application fig. : SSN
Social Security number (SSN)

15. Oenophile’s pride : PALATE
In Greek mythology, Oeno was the goddess of wine, giving us “oen-” as a prefix meaning “wine”. For example, oenology is the study of wine and an oenophile is a wine-lover.

20. “The Flies” playwright : SARTRE
Jean-Paul Sartre was a leading French philosopher, as well as a writer and political activist. Sartre also served with the French army during WWII and spent nine months as a prisoner of war having been captured by German troops. He was one of the few people to have been awarded a Nobel Prize and to have then refused to accept it. Sartre was named winner of the prize for Literature in 1964, for his first novel “Nausea”. Before his win, Sartre knew that his name was on the list of nominees so he wrote to the Nobel Institute and asked to be withdrawn from consideration. The letter somehow went unread, so he found himself having to refuse the award after he had been selected.

28. Prada competitor : FENDI
Fendi is an Italian fashion house, founded in 1925 by Adele Casagrande. Fendi started out as a fur and leather shop in Rome, and these days is famous for its line of handbags.

30. Communication service since 2004 : GMAIL
Gmail is a free webmail service provided by Google, and my favorite of the free email services. Gmail made a big splash when it was introduced in 2007 because it offered a whopping 1GB of storage whereas other services offered a measly 2-4MB on average.

31. Pablo Picasso’s designer daughter : PALOMA
Paloma Picasso is a fashion designer based in Paris. Paloma is the youngest daughter of Spanish artist Pablo Picasso and French author and painter Françoise Gilot.

44. Relative of an alligator : CAIMAN
Caimans are relatively small, crocodile-like reptiles that inhabit Central and South America. That said, the largest species can grow to 13 feet in length, but many are about 3 feet long.

49. Portmanteau garment : SKORT
The garment called a “skort” is a hybrid between shorts and a skirt.

A portmanteau was a large suitcase, one that could be taken apart into two separate pieces. The word “portmanteau” is French for a “travelling bag”, from “porter” (to carry) and “manteau” (a coat, cloak). We also use “portmanteau” to mean a word that has been melded together from two parts (just as the suitcase comprised two parts). This usage was introduced to the world by Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. He explained to Alice that the nonsense words in the “Jabberwocky” poem were actually portmanteau words. For example “slithy” comes from from “slimy” and “lithe”.

51. Prefix with -graphic : XERO-
A xerox is a copy made on a xerographic machine. Xerography is a dry photocopying technique that was invented in 1938 by Chester Carlson, although he originally referred to the process as electrophotography. Joseph Wilson commercialized Carlson’s process some years later, coining the term “Xerography” using the Greek words for “dry” and “writing”. Wilson changed the name of his own photographic company to Xerox.

56. Pile at a publisher: Abbr. : MSS
Editors (eds.) might read or edit a manuscript (MS)

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Cuckoo : DAFT
5. Showed : CAME
9. Stack (or snack) on a table : CHIPS
14. Literally, “highest city” : ACROPOLIS
16. Mystical characters : RUNES
17. “This place looks horrible!” : WHAT A DUMP!
18. Highway through the Yukon : ALCAN
19. Site where top hats and canes might be checked at the door : GENTLEMEN’S CLUB
21. Make : EARN
22. Drummer Starkey : ZAK
23. Sound that might be made while rubbing the arms : BRR!
25. TV boy with spiked hair : BART
27. In front of, to Shakespeare : AFORE
29. Org. since 1902 with 50+ million members : AAA
30. Throw a long football pass : GO DEEP
32. Intermission starter? : ENTR-
33. Part of XXX : TIC
34. California’s Harvey ___ College : MUDD
35. Santa player in “Elf” : ASNER
37. Food sticker : TINE
38. “Star Wars” nickname : ANI
39. Chucklehead : CLOD
40. Rebounded : ECHOED
42. Old RR watchdog : ICC
43. Like some columns : IONIC
45. Lacerate : REND
46. Court ruling : LET
47. “Eww, no more!” : TMI
48. Memo directive : ASAP
50. 2012 #1 hit by LMFAO : SEXY AND I KNOW IT
56. Internet hookup : MODEM
57. Like Sprite : LEMON-LIME
58. Hindu aphorisms : SUTRA
59. Producer of red-and-white blooms : AMARYLLIS
60. Get low : STOOP
61. Practice : WONT
62. No longer a draft, say : SENT

Down
1. Homey : DAWG
2. It hurts : ACHE
3. Ollie’s friend on old TV : FRAN
4. Walked unsteadily : TOTTERED
5. Bug exterminator? : CODER
6. Mount Holyoke grad, e.g. : ALUMNA
7. Act out : MIME
8. Sports-themed restaurant : ESPN ZONE
9. Soup go-with : CRACKER
10. Bottom of the sea? : HULL
11. Development period : INCUBATION
12. Dim : PEA-BRAINED
13. Application fig. : SSN
15. Oenophile’s pride : PALATE
20. “The Flies” playwright : SARTRE
24. Went pit-a-pat, pit-a-pat : RACED
25. Doesn’t stay in the hole, as a ball : BOUNCES OUT
26. Hooked on : ADDICTED TO
28. Prada competitor : FENDI
30. Communication service since 2004 : GMAIL
31. Pablo Picasso’s designer daughter : PALOMA
36. Jared Kushner, as a notable example : SON-IN-LAW
37. Where people go to vote : THE POLLS
39. Concierge’s handout : CITY MAP
41. Narrow recess : CRANNY
44. Relative of an alligator : CAIMAN
49. Portmanteau garment : SKORT
51. Prefix with -graphic : XERO-
52. Prefix with -graphic : DEMO-
53. Subterfuge : WILE
54. Opposite of “Too rich for me” : I’M IN
55. Word with road or blood : TEST
56. Pile at a publisher: Abbr. : MSS

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6 thoughts on “0428-17 New York Times Crossword Answers 28 Apr 17, Friday”

  1. A whopping 48 minutes for me on this one. Once again David Steinberg aggravates and entertains simultaneously. I never remember having an easy time with one of his puzzles, but I'm always intrigued. Hate to admit that the guy is a truly talented setter IMO. What is he 8 years old now?? Sheesh.

    I did this at a BJ's Brewpub at happy hour waiting on friends. I hope they're as entertaining as this grid was….

    Interesting deal we made for the ALCAN highway. We'll pay for it but it's all yours after the war!! Maybe someone will make the same deal for my bar tab tonight. I'll pay for it, but you have to drink it!! Deal. 🙂

    As far as the Pan Am highway, that's one long drive I won't be making…

    Best –

  2. 13:39, no errors. I actually found this one very pleasant and rather easy. Is it possible that I'm finally taking the measure of young Mr. Steinberg? (Actually, if I had realized this was one of his puzzles before I started it, I'd have probably taken a lot longer to finish … 🙂

  3. 26:48, no errors. Had a difficult time with this one. No answers immediately came to mind that had the requisite number of letters. Also started out badly, with OREOS in 9A, rather than CHIPS. That led to fitting REEF in 10D, changing it to RUST so I could put US TEN in 18A. Everything sorted out, eventually.

  4. No chance at this one. So filled with esoterica, and the rest so vaguely clued as to require mind-reading talents to finish. Gave up in 23:30 with *maybe* 40% filled, some of that wrong.

  5. I like Steinberg's work, and found this one tougher than usual. Had a one-square error at the AMoRYLLIS/CAIMoN cross. Don't think I've ever heard of the latter.

  6. DNF, 83 minutes to finish after taking or correcting 12 letters. Mainly in the top half. Difficult indeed.

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