0712-17 New York Times Crossword Answers 12 Jul 17, Wednesday

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CROSSWORD CONSTRUCTOR: Elayne Boosler & Patrick Merrell
THEME: Modern-Day Remakes
There’s a note with today’s puzzle”

CELEBRITY CROSSWORD
To mark the 75th anniversary of the New York Times crossword, which debuted in 1942, we are publishing a series of puzzles co-created by famous people who solve the Times crossword, working together with regular Times puzzle contributors.

This collaboration is by the comedian Elayne Boosler, who was recently named by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the “50 Best Stand-Up Comics of All Time,” working together with Patrick Merrell, a writer/illustrator in Vero Beach, Fla. This is Patrick’s 86th puzzle for The Times.

The celebrity collaborations will continue periodically through the year.

More information about the making of today’s puzzle appears in the Times’s daily crossword column (nytimes.com/column/wordplay).

Each of today’s themed answers is a famous movie, but the title has been changed as if it’s a “MODERN-DAY REMAKE”. A key word has been given a contemporary twist:

18A. Modern-day remake of a Robert De Niro film? : UBER DRIVER (from “Taxi Driver”)
28A. Modern-day remake of a W. C. Fields film? : THE PAYPAL DICK (from “The Bank Dick”)
46A. Modern-day remake of a Bing Crosby film? : HOLIDAY AIRBNB (from “Holiday Inn”)
60A. … and something to eat while watching the remakes : GMO POPCORN

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 7m 12s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. TV’s “Top ___” : CHEF
“Top Chef” is a reality television show on the Bravo channel. It’s basically a cooking competition.

10. One on a U.S. penny : UNUM
From 1776, “E pluribus unum” was the unofficial motto of the United States. The phrase translates from Latin as “Out of many, one”. It was pushed aside in 1956 when an Act of Congress designated “In God We Trust” as the country’s official motto. “In God We Trust” had appeared on US coins since 1864, but was only introduced on paper currency in 1957.

16. Moon unit? : NASA
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

18. Modern-day remake of a Robert De Niro film? : UBER DRIVER (from “Taxi Driver”)
Uber is a ridesharing service that was founded in 2009 and is based in San Francisco. The service is somewhat controversial and has been described as an illegal taxicab operation. Central to Uber’s service is the company’s mobile app, which can use the client’s GPS location to help find the nearest available ride. Uber’s main competitor is Lyft. Personally, I love the service and have only had good experiences …

“Taxi Driver” is a remarkable 1976 movie directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro. The film is remarkable for some great performances, but also for sparking an attempt on the life of President Ronald Reagan. Would-be assassin John Hinckley, Jr. tried to kill the President in order to impress Jodie Foster. Hinckley had been obsessed with Foster since seeing her performance in the film as child prostitute Iris Steensma.

22. Indians’ home: Abbr. : CLE
The Cleveland baseball franchise started out in 1869 as the Forest Citys named after Forest City, the nickname for Cleveland. After a number of transitions, in 1914 the team took on the name “Indians”. The media came up with name “Indians” after being asked for suggestions by the team owners. “Indians” was inspired by the successful Boston team of the day, the Boston Braves.

23. Part of EGBDF : EVERY
In the world of music, EGBDF are the notes on the lines of the treble clef. The notes are often remembered with a mnemonic such as “Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge”.

24. Jessica of “Fantastic Four” : ALBA
Actress Jessica Alba got her big break when she was cast in the Fox science fiction show “Dark Angel”. Alba had a tough life growing up as she spent a lot of time in hospital and so found it difficult to develop friendships. As a youngster she twice had a collapsed lung, frequently caught pneumonia, suffered from asthma, had a ruptured appendix and a tonsillar cyst. On top of all that she acknowledges that she suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder as a child. It seems that she has really turned her life around …

“Fantastic Four” is a 2005 movie about the band of comic heroes made famous in Marvel Comics. The Fantastic Four are:

  • Mr. Fantastic (played by Ioan Gruffudd)
  • The Invisible Woman (played by Jessica Alba)
  • The Human Torch (played by Chris Evans)
  • Thing (played by Michael Chiklis)

26. Fine cotton : PIMA
Pima is a soft cotton that is very durable and absorbent. Pima cotton is named after the Pima Native Americans who first cultivated it in this part of the world.

28. Modern-day remake of a W. C. Fields film? : THE PAYPAL DICK (from “The Bank Dick”)
PayPal is an e-commerce business that has been around since the year 2000, born out of a merger of two older companies: Confinity and X.com. PayPal performs payment processing for online vendors. The company was so successful that it was the first of the beleaguered dot.com companies to successfully complete an IPO after the attacks of 9/11. Then in 2002, PayPal was bought by eBay for a whopping $1.5 billion.

“The Bank Dick” is a 1940 movie starring W. C. Fields. 1940 was the same year that Fields starred in the more famous film “My Little Chickadee”, opposite Mae West.

33. Overnight flight : RED-EYE
A red-eye flight is one departing late at night and arriving early the next morning. The term is a reference to tired passengers disembarking with red eyes.

35. South African golfing great : ELS
Ernie Els is a South African golfer. Els a big guy but he has an easy fluid golf swing that has earned him the nickname “The Big Easy”. He is a former World No. 1 and has won four majors: the US Open (1994 & 1997) and the British Open (2002 & 2012).

38. Kuwaiti leader : EMIR
An emir is a prince or chieftain, most notably in the Middle East. In English, emir can also be written as emeer, amir and ameer (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).

The State of Kuwait sits at the northern tip of the Persian Gulf, famously sharing a border to the north with Iraq. After WWI, Kuwait was a Protectorate within the British Empire and then gained independence from the UK in 1961. Iraq annexed Kuwait in 1990, which led to the Gulf War of 1990-1991.

41. Carson not known for his monologues : KIT
Kit Carson was a frontiersman who moved west from Missouri when he was just 16 years old. Kit Carson’s life was immortalized in the novels of John C. Fremont, an explorer who hired Carson as a guide for his travels through California, Oregon and Nevada. Carson later served with the US Army. He is thought to be the only American to have achieved the rank of general without being able to read or write.

Johnny Carson hosted “The Tonight Show” for thirty years, from 1962 to 1992. Although Carson was the first choice to take over the show from Jack Paar, he initially declined. Carson eventually took the job, after it had also been refused by Bob Newhart, Jackie Gleason, Groucho Marx and Joey Bishop.

44. Goat coat : MOHAIR
The Angora goat produces the wool known as mohair. On the other hand, Angora wool comes from the Angora rabbit. Both rabbit and goat are named for Turkey’s capital Ankara, which was known as “Angora” in many European languages.

46. Modern-day remake of a Bing Crosby film? : HOLIDAY AIRBNB (from “Holiday Inn”)
Airbnb is a website-based service that matches people wanting to rent out short-term living quarters to people seeking accommodation.

The 1942 classic movie “Holiday Inn” stars Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, and is noted for the song “White Christmas”. And yes, the movie is the inspiration for the name of the Holiday Inn chain of hotels.

The singer Bing Crosby was a great lover of the game of golf. Crosby had just finished up 18 holes on a course in Spain in 1977 when he suffered a massive heart attack on the final green. Crosby’s last words were “That was a great game of golf, fellas.”

50. Gardner who wrote “The Case of the Negligent Nymph” : ERLE
I must have read all of the “Perry Mason” books when I was in college. I think they kept me sane when I was facing the pressure of exams. Author Erle Stanley Gardner was himself a lawyer, although he didn’t get into the profession the easy way. Gardner went to law school, but got himself suspended after a month. So, he became a self-taught attorney and opened his own law office in Merced, California. Understandably, he gave up the law once his novels became successful.

51. Canine command : SIC ‘EM
“Sic ’em” is an attack order given to a dog, instructing the animal to growl, bark or even bite. The term dates back to the 1830s, with “sic” being a variation of “seek”.

54. Word derived from the name of a Belgian town : SPA
The word “spa” migrated into English from Belgium, as Spa is the name of a municipality in the east of the country that is famous for its healing hot springs. The name “Spa” comes from the Walloon word “espa” meaning “spring, fountain”.

56. F.D.R., Churchill and Stalin’s last meeting place : YALTA
The Yalta Conference was a wartime meeting between WWII leaders Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin. Held in February of 1945, the conference is most remembered for decisions made on the post-war organization of Europe. To a large extent, the three leaders made decisions carving up political influence around the world, decisions that have profound implications to this day.

60. … and something to eat while watching the remakes : GMO POPCORN
A genetically modified organism (GMO) is one with genetic material that has been altered by genetic engineering. One might argue that the oldest form of genetic engineering is selective breeding, the use of animals or plants with desired traits for the creation of the next generation.

64. Rock’s Jethro ___ : TULL
Jethro Tull is a rock band from the UK, formed in 1967 and active until 2012. The band uses the name of a 18th-century, English agriculturist.

65. Guy with a lot of bookings? : DANNO
Danny Williams is a character on the TV show “Hawaii Five-O”, both in the original version that first aired in 1968 and in the remake that was first broadcast in 2010. The original “Danno” is played by James McArthur. In the remake, Danno is played by Scott Caan, son of Hollywood actor James Caan. Book him, Danno!

67. Make litterproof? : SPAY
Our verb “to spay”, meaning “to surgically remove the ovaries of” (an animal) comes from an old Anglo-French word “espeier” meaning “to cut with a sword”.

68. Emo emotion : ANGST
The musical genre of “emo” originated in Washington D.C. in the 80s, and takes its name from “emotional hardcore”. “Emo” is also the name given to the associated subculture. Not my cup of tea …

69. Animals that provided hair used in Chewbacca’s costume : YAKS
The English word “yak” is an Anglicized version of the Tibetan name for the male of the species. Yak milk is much prized in the Tibetan culture. It is made into cheese and butter, and the butter is used to make a tea that is consumed in great volume by Tibetans. The butter is also used as a fuel in lamps, and during festivals the butter is even sculpted into religious icons.

Wookiees are a biped race featured in “Star Wars”. The most notable Wookiee is Chewbacca (aka “Chewie”), the loyal friend and associate of Han Solo who serves as co-pilot on the Millennium Falcon spaceship.

Down
3. Little red monster : ELMO
The “Sesame Street” character named Elmo has a birthday every February 3rd, and on that birthday he always turns 3½ years old. The man behind/under Elmo on “Sesame Street” is Kevin Clash. If you want to learn more about Elmo and Clash, you can watch the 2011 documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey”.

5. French vineyard : CRU
“Cru” is a term used in the French wine industry that means “growth place”. So, “cru” is the name of the location where the grapes are grown, as opposed to the name of a specific vineyard. The terms “premier cru” and “grand cru” are also used, but the usage depends on the specific wine region. Generally it is a classification awarded to specific vineyards denoting their potential for producing great wines. “Grand cru” is reserved for the very best vineyards, with “premier cru” the level just below

7. Member of the first family : ABEL
The story of Cain and Abel not only appears in the Christian and Hebrew Bibles, it also features in the Qur’an. In the Muslim account the brothers are named Qabil and Habil.

8. What may have a dog leg to the left or right? : FIREPLUG
A fireplug is a fire hydrant, a connection point in the street that firefighters can use to tap into a water supply.

10. Computer that accurately predicted Ike’s 1952 election : UNIVAC
UNIVAC I was the first commercial computer made in the US. It was designed by the inventors of ENIAC, the first electronic computer built for the US government. The first UNIVAC sold went to the US Census Bureau in 1951. UNIVAC was used in 1951 to predict the outcome of the US presidential election scheduled for the following year. The traditional pollsters were predicting a win for Adlai Stevenson, but UNIVAC forecast a landslide win for Eisenhower. UNIVAC proved to be correct.

11. Where a congregation congregates : NAVE
In large Christian churches, the nave is the main approach to the altar, and is where most of the congregation are seated.

13. “Bloody” queen : MARY
Mary I was Queen of England and Ireland from 1553 to 1558. Mary was the only surviving child from the marriage of King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Unlike her father, Mary adhered to her Roman Catholic faith and was noted for her brutal persecution of Protestants during her reign. She had almost three hundred religious dissenters burned at the stake, resulting in her gaining the nickname “Bloody Mary”. Roman Catholic rule was reversed after she died, when her half-sister Elizabeth I succeeded to the throne.

19. Please ___ (invoice stamp) : REMIT
An invoice is an itemized bill. The term comes from the Middle French “envois” meaning “dispatch (of goods)”. The root verb is “envoyer”, which translates as “to send”.

25. Tournament pass : BYE
An invoice is an itemized bill. The term comes from the Middle French “envois” meaning “dispatch (of goods)”. The root verb is “envoyer”, which translates as “to send”.

29. Prefix meaning “half” : HEMI-
Ever wonder what the difference is between the prefixes “hemi-”, “demi-” and “semi-”, all of which mean “half”? Well, the general observation is that words using the “demi-” prefix date back to the days of Norman influence over the English language. As a result, “demi-” turns up in the world of period costume and coats of arms. Words using “hemi-” tend to have Greek roots, and are prevalent in the world of the sciences and the medical field. Words with “semi-” tend to have Latin roots, and are most often found in music and the arts, and mathematics.

30. “All in the Family” mother : EDITH
Archie Bunker’s wife Edith was played by Jean Stapleton on the 1970s sitcom “All in the Family”. By 1980, Stapleton was growing tired of playing the role and appeared in fewer and fewer episodes. When the show’s spin-off series “Archie Bunker’s Place” premiered, the storyline revealed that Archie Bunker had just lost his wife, setting the tone for the new show.

31. Feeling of anxiety : AGITA
Agita is another name for acid indigestion, and more generally can mean “agitation, anxiety”.

32. It’s stuck on a grill : KEBAB
The term “kebab” (also “kabob”) covers a wide variety of meat dishes that originated in Persia. In the West, we usually use “kebab” when talking about shish kebab, which is meat (often lamb) served on a skewer. “Shish” comes from the Turkish word for “skewer”.

37. Southern Slav : SERB
The Slavic peoples are in the majority in communities covering over half of Europe. This large ethnic group is traditionally broken down into three smaller groups:

  • the West Slavic (including Czechs and Poles)
  • the East Slavic (including Russians and Ukrainians)
  • the South Slavic (including Bulgarians and Serbs)

39. T.S.A. screening : BODY SCAN
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created in 2001, soon after the 9/11 attacks. TSA personnel carry out the baggage and body searches at US airports. The TSA has a Trusted Traveler program that allows certain passengers to move more quickly through security screening. These passengers pay the TSA a one-time fee that covers a background check after which successful applicants are issued a Known Traveler Number (KTN).

45. Kind of boid that catches the woim? : OILY
In Brooklynese perhaps, “the oily boid catches the woim” (the early bird catches the worm).

51. Barracks barkers: Abbr. : SGTS
Sergeant (sgt.) is a rank above corporal (cpl.).

53. Pop : COLA
The first cola drink to become a commercial success was Coca-Cola, soon after it was invented by a druggist in 1886. That original Coca-Cola was flavored mainly with kola nuts and vanilla. The formulation was based on an alcoholic drink called Coca Wine that had been on sale for over twenty years.

55. Video game with a square ball : PONG
Do you remember the arcade video game that was like a game of tennis, with paddles moving up and down to hit what looked like a ball, over what looked like a net? Well, that was Pong. The arcade version of Pong was introduced in 1972, with Atari selling a home version through Sears for the Christmas market in 1975.

57. Sci-fi princess : LEIA
The full name of the character played by Carrie Fisher in the “Star Wars” series of films is Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, and later Leia Organa Solo. Leia is the twin sister of Luke Skywalker, and the daughter of Anakin Skywalker (aka “Darth Vader”) and Padmé Amidala. Leia is raised by her adoptive parents Bail and Breha Organa. She eventually marries Han Solo.

61. A peck in a park is one, for short : PDA
Public display of affection (PDA)

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. TV’s “Top ___” : CHEF
5. Be abrasive : CHAFE
10. One on a U.S. penny : UNUM
14. Pause : LULL
15. Apply, as lotion : RUB IN
16. Moon unit? : NASA
17. Troop group : ARMY
18. Modern-day remake of a Robert De Niro film? : UBER DRIVER (from “Taxi Driver”)
20. Lands on a couch, say : PLOPS
22. Indians’ home: Abbr. : CLE
23. Part of EGBDF : EVERY
24. Jessica of “Fantastic Four” : ALBA
26. Fine cotton : PIMA
28. Modern-day remake of a W. C. Fields film? : THE PAYPAL DICK (from “The Bank Dick”)
33. Overnight flight : RED-EYE
34. Brief blow : GUST
35. South African golfing great : ELS
38. Kuwaiti leader : EMIR
39. Whopping : BIG
40. Relative of a musette : OBOE
41. Carson not known for his monologues : KIT
42. Completely busted : SHOT
44. Goat coat : MOHAIR
46. Modern-day remake of a Bing Crosby film? : HOLIDAY AIRBNB (from “Holiday Inn”)
49. Snooping : NOSY
50. Gardner who wrote “The Case of the Negligent Nymph” : ERLE
51. Canine command : SIC ‘EM
54. Word derived from the name of a Belgian town : SPA
56. F.D.R., Churchill and Stalin’s last meeting place : YALTA
60. … and something to eat while watching the remakes : GMO POPCORN
63. Slant : LEAN
64. Rock’s Jethro ___ : TULL
65. Guy with a lot of bookings? : DANNO
66. Gentle tune : LILT
67. Make litterproof? : SPAY
68. Emo emotion : ANGST
69. Animals that provided hair used in Chewbacca’s costume : YAKS

Down
1. Give it up, so to speak : CLAP
2. Toss : HURL
3. Little red monster : ELMO
4. Sticky strip : FLYPAPER
5. French vineyard : CRU
6. Wheel adornment : HUBCAP
7. Member of the first family : ABEL
8. What may have a dog leg to the left or right? : FIREPLUG
9. Squelch : END
10. Computer that accurately predicted Ike’s 1952 election : UNIVAC
11. Where a congregation congregates : NAVE
12. App customer : USER
13. “Bloody” queen : MARY
19. Please ___ (invoice stamp) : REMIT
21. What good comics do : SLAY
25. Tournament pass : BYE
27. Bouncer’s checks, for short? : IDS
28. Long march : TREK
29. Prefix meaning “half” : HEMI-
30. “All in the Family” mother : EDITH
31. Feeling of anxiety : AGITA
32. It’s stuck on a grill : KEBAB
36. Cut above the flank : LOIN
37. Southern Slav : SERB
39. T.S.A. screening : BODY SCAN
40. “That so?!” : OH REALLY?!
42. Film lovers may run in it : SLO-MO
43. Half of a towel set : HIS
44. Deface : MAR
45. Kind of boid that catches the woim? : OILY
47. Like cheap toilet paper : ONE-PLY
48. Aches (for) : YEARNS
51. Barracks barkers: Abbr. : SGTS
52. Grumbly “Are you still sleeping?” response : I’M UP
53. Pop : COLA
55. Video game with a square ball : PONG
57. Sci-fi princess : LEIA
58. Lecture : TALK
59. They might emerge on hilltops : ANTS
61. A peck in a park is one, for short : PDA
62. “As if!” : NOT!

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9 thoughts on “0712-17 New York Times Crossword Answers 12 Jul 17, Wednesday”

  1. 16:52. Very enjoyable and amusing puzzle. It figures a comedian did this one. Clever and fresh theme with some good cluing. A++ for the clue for FIREPLUG – "What may have a dog leg to the left or right." Hands up for those looking for a golf clue on that one…

    Best –

  2. 15:19 and 4 errors. Not at ALL a fan of these celebrity grids, because I can't seem to finish them without mistakes.

    I can certainly take issue with RUB IN; most people would say one RUBs lotion *ON*. 8 DOWN can only elicit, "Whaaaaaaaaaat?"

    Sorry, Elaine: you DIED out there.

  3. Clever and fun for the most part. No errors but a couple of write-overs: First PLOPS, then fLOPS, then back again to PLOPS. Also RUBoN before RUBIN.

  4. I guess you need to be in your 70s to get a couple of those movies…and what the hell is a peck in a park? Danno? What does that even mean? Silliness. Pure silliness.

  5. @Craig F–

    Peck in the park: PDA=Public Display of Affection.
    Danno=character on "Hawaii Five-O" whose job is to "book 'em".

    These are examples of crosswordese that you'll pick up on the more you do these things.

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