0831-17 New York Times Crossword Answers 31 Aug 17, Thursday

Constructed by: Zachary Spitz

Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Syndicated Crossword

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Read Comments/Leave a Comment

Theme: Corner Office

We have a rebus puzzle today. Each of the CORNER squares contains a type of OFFICE. Those four are:

  • BOX OFFICE
  • POST OFFICE
  • OVAL OFFICE
  • HOME OFFICE

Bill’s time: 25m 43s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15. “How ___ Your Mother” : I MET

“How I Met Your Mother” is a sitcom that CBS has been airing since 2005. The main character is Ted Mosby, played by Josh Radnor. Mosby is also the narrator for the show looking back from the year 2030 (the live action is set in the present). As narrator, the older Mosby character is voiced by Bob Saget.

16. First lady with a popular recipe for “million-dollar fudge” : MAMIE

Mamie Eisenhower has to have been one of the most charming of all the First Ladies of the United States. Ms. Eisenhower suffered from an inner ear complaint called Ménière’s disease which caused her to lose her balance quite often. Because she was unsteady on her feet there were unfounded rumors floating around Washington that Ms. Eisenhower had a drinking problem. People can be very unkind …

17. School founded by Henry VI : ETON

London’s Eton College has three academic terms, although those three terms are known as “halves”. That name dates back to when the school year was split into two halves. The current terms are:

  • The Michaelmas Half (early September to mid-December)
  • The Lent Half (mid-January to late March)
  • The Summer Half (late April to late-June/early-July)

King Henry VI of England succeeded to the throne when he was just nine months old, making him the youngest monarch ever to sit on the English throne.

20. Mitt Romney’s wife : ANN

Ann Davies knew Mitt Romney way back in elementary school, and the pair started dating when Ann was 16 and were married in 1968 when she was 19 years old. Ann Romney was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998, and she has been very active with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

29. Soccer star Chastain with two Olympic gold medals : BRANDI

Brandi Chastain is professional soccer player and former member of the US national team. Famously, Chastain scored the game-winning kick in a penalty shootout in the 1999 Women’s World Cup final. Male soccer players regularly whip off their jerseys in celebration of a goal, and Chastain did the same thing. The sports bra seen around the world, as it were …

35. Microsoft offering : EXCEL

Microsoft Excel is the spreadsheet program included in the Microsoft Office suite of applications. Microsoft’s first spreadsheet program was introduced back in 1982 and called Multiplan. Multiplan’s popularity waned due to the success of the competing product Lotus 1-2-3. Microsoft then introduced Excel, initially just for the Macintosh. When Excel was extended to Windows, Lotus was slow to respond and Microsoft took over the market.

39. Gavin of “The Love Boat” : MACLEOD

The actor Gavin MacLeod is noted for his television roles as Happy Haines on “McHale’s Navy”, Murray Slaughter on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and Captain Stubing on “The Love Boat”.

“The Love Boat” TV series was born out of 1976 made-for-TV movie with the same title. The movie was which itself was an adaptation of a nonfiction book called “The Love Boats” written by real-life cruise director Jeraldine Saunders.

41. What a Möbius strip lacks : END

A Möbius strip is a surface that has only one side. One is easily made by taking a strip of paper and joining the ends together, but with a twist so that it isn’t a regular “band”.

42. Rehm of public radio : DIANE

Diane Rehm is host of the NPR-syndicated radio show called “The Diane Rehm Show”. The show used to be called “Kaleidoscope”, when Rehm took over as host in 1979. It was rebranded in 1984.

46. Capital on an Asian peninsula : ANKARA

Ankara is the second largest city in Turkey, after Istanbul (formerly Constantinople). After WWI, the Ottoman Empire had been defeated and the Allies occupied the Ottoman capital of Istanbul. The victors planned to break up most of Turkey, leaving native Turks just part of their country for their own. In the inevitable War of Independence that followed, the Turkish Nationalists used Ankara as their base. When the Nationalists emerged victorious, they declared Ankara the new capital of Turkey.

48. ___ Tomb : LENIN’S

Lenin’s Tomb is mausoleum in which lie the embalmed remains of Vladimir Lenin. The tomb lies just outside the walls of the Kremlin in Red Square. Lenin died in 1924, after which his body was housed in a wooden structure in Red Square for viewing by mourners. The current marble and granite structure was completed in 1930. The body has rested there on display ever since, except for the years of WWII when there was a perceived danger of Moscow falling to the Germans. The body was evacuated to Tyumen in Siberia for the war years.

53. Jack who was quick with a quip : PAAR

Jack Paar was most famous as the host of “The Tonight Show”, from 1957 to 1962. When he died in 2004, “Time” magazine wrote that Paar was “the fellow who split talk show history into two eras: “Before Paar and Below Paar”. Very complimentary …

57. Odd group of musicians? : NONET

A nonet is a piece of music requiring nine musicians for a performance. The term is also used for the group itself.

61. “This puzzle is relatively easy,” say : LIE

True that …

64. High-quality 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.

65. Like most of Maine : RURAL

There seems to be some uncertainty how the US state of Maine got its name. However, the state legislature has adopted the theory that it comes from the former French province of Maine. The legislature included language to that effect when adopting a resolution in 2001 to establish Franco-American Day.

66. Holder of the Obama cabinet : ERIC

Eric Holder was the Attorney General of the United States from 2009 to 2015, the first African American to hold the position. Holder was close to President Obama during the presidential campaign. Holder was the campaign’s legal advisor and was also one of the three members on the Obama vice-presidential selection committee that recommended future Vice President Joe Biden.

68. Popular drink : OVALTINE

Ovaltine is a milk-flavoring product that was developed in Berne, Switzerland in the early 1900s. It is still called by its original name in its native Switzerland, namely “Ovomaltine”. The “ovo-maltine” name reflects the main ingredients back then: eggs and malt.

69. Like some cellars : DANK

“Dank” is such a lovely word that has largely been superseded by another nice word, “damp”. It is thought that “dank” came into English from Scandinavia some time before the 14th century. The modern Swedish word “dank” means “moist place”.

Down

3. King in “The Tempest” : ALONSO

In William Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest”, Alonso is the King of Naples. Alonso helps Antonio to depose his brother Prospero as Duke of Milan and set him adrift in a boat with Prospero’s young daughter Miranda.

4. Kylo ___ of “The Force Awakens” : REN

Adam Driver is an actor best known for playing Adam Sackler on the TV show “Girls” that airs on HBO. Driver’s career got a huge boost in 2015 when he played villain Kylo Ren in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”.

5. City with a famous bell tower : PISA

The city of Pisa is right on the Italian coast, sitting at the mouth of the River Arno, and is famous for its Leaning Tower. The tower is actually the campanile (bell tower) of the city’s cathedral, and it has been leaning since it was completed in 1173. Just shows you how important good foundations are …

7. Author who did part of his work on Friday : DEFOE

In Daniel Defoe’s 1719 novel “Robinson Crusoe”, the castaway encounters a companion that Crusoe calls “Friday”, because the two first met on that day. Friday soon becomes his willing servant. This character is the source of our terms “Man/Guy Friday” and “Girl/Guy Friday”, which are used to describe a particularly competent and loyal assistant.

8. Jobs once in California : STEVE

Steve Jobs certainly was a business icon in Silicon Valley. I don’t think it is too surprising to learn that the brilliant Jobs didn’t even finish his college education, dropping out of Reed College in Oregon after only one semester. Steve Jobs co-founded Apple in 1976, but in 1985 he was basically fired from his own company during the computer sales slump of the mid-eighties. Jobs then founded NeXT Computer, a company focused on supplying workstations to the higher education and business markets. Apple purchased NeXT in 1996, and that’s how Jobs found himself back with his original company.

9. F.B.I. agent, informally : G-MAN

The nickname “G-men” is short for “Government Men” and refers to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

10. Conjunction in a rebus puzzle : OAR

In a rebus puzzle, the conjunction “or” might be represented by a picture of an oar.

19. Cannabis, e.g. : HERB

Hemp is a hardy, fast-growing plant that has many uses mainly due to the strength of the fibers in the plant’s stalks. Hemp is used to make rope, paper and textiles. Famously, there is a variety of hemp that is grown to make drugs, most famously cannabis.

26. Material for Icarus’ wings : WAX

Daedalus was a master craftsman of Greek mythology who was tasked with creating the Labyrinth on the island of Crete that was to house the Minotaur. After the Labyrinth was completed, King Minos imprisoned Daedalus and his son Icarus in a tower, so that he could not spread word of his work. Daedalus fabricated wings so that he and Icarus could escape by flying off the island. Despite being warned by his father, Icarus flew too close to the sun so that the wax holding the wings’ feathers in place melted. Icarus drowned in the sea, and Daedalus escaped.

28. F.D.R.-created program with the slogan “We Do Our Part” : NRA

The National Recovery Administration (NRA) was one of the first agencies set up under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program. On the one hand the NRA help set minimum wages and maximum working hours for workers in industry, and on the other hand it helped set minimum prices for goods produced by companies. The NRA was very popular with the public, and businesses that didn’t opt to participate in the program found themselves boycotted. The NRA didn’t survive for long though, as after two years of operation it was deemed to be unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court and so it ceased operations in 1935.

30. Pittance : RED CENT

Something that is “not worth a red cent” has very little value. The “red” reference is to the color of a copper penny.

A pittance is a small amount, often a living allowance or remuneration. The term came into English from Old French, and is basically an amount given out of “pity”.

32. Base fig. : NCO

Non-commissioned officer (NCO)

33. “The Lord of the Rings” figure : ELF

J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” is the second best-selling novel ever written, with only “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens having sold more copies around the world. Remarkably I think, the third best-selling novel is “The Hobbit”, which was also written by Tolkien.

36. Need for drugs : FDA APPROVAL

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) started out as the Food, Drug and Insecticide organization in 1906, after President Theodore Roosevelt signed into law the Food and Drug Act. The main driver behind the Act was concern over public hygiene.

40. Palm ___ : OIL

Palm oil and coconut oil are two vegetable oils that aren’t very good for our health. Both are high in saturated fat.

43. Rapper who famously feuded with Jay-Z : NAS

Rapper Nas used to go by another stage name, Nasty Nas, and before that by his real name, Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones. Nas released his first album “Illmatic” in 1994, and inventively titled his fifth studio album “Stillmatic”, released in 2001. Not my cup of tea, I would say …

Jay-Z, as well as being a successful and very rich rap artist, is married to singer Beyoncé. Jay-Z was born Shawn Corey Carter in Brooklyn, New York. As Carter was growing up, he was nicknamed “Jazzy”, a reference to his interest in music. “Jazzy” evolved into the stage name “Jay-Z”. Jay-Z and Beyoncé have a daughter named Blue Ivy Carter, and twins named Rumi and Sir Carter.

45. “Music for Airports” composer : ENO

Brian Eno was one of the pioneers of the “ambient” genre of music. Eno composed an album in 1978 called “Ambient 1: Music for Airports”, the first in a series of four albums with an ambient theme. Eno named the tracks somewhat inventively: 1/1, 2/1, 2/1 and 2/2.

50. Artist LeRoy : NEIMAN

LeRoy Neiman is an artist from Braham, Minnesota who is known for his vibrant paintings of athletes and sporting events. Niemen lives in a home in New York City overlooking Central Park that has a great pedigree in terms of residents. Former occupants include artist Norman Rockwell as well as entertainers Rudolph Valentino and Noël Coward.

55. Automaker whose current models all end in “X” : ACURA

Acura is the luxury brand of the Honda Motor Company. As an aside, Infiniti is the equivalent luxury brand for the Nissan Motor Company, and Lexus is the more luxurious version of Toyota’s models.

56. Material used in mummification : RESIN

We use the word “mummy” for a dead body that has been embalmed in preparation for burial, especially if done so by the ancient Egyptians. The term “mummy” comes from the Persian word “mumiyah” meaning “embalmed body”.

59. “The King of Football” : PELE

“Pelé” is the nickname of Edson de Nascimento, a soccer player who has used the name “Pelé” for most of his life. Pelé is now retired, and for my money was the world’s greatest ever player of the game. He is the only person to have been part of three World Cup winning squads, and is a national treasure in his native Brazil. One of Pele’s nicknames is “O Rei do Futebol” (the King of Football).

60. Make out : NECK

The term “necking” applies to kissing and caressing. I like what Groucho Marx had to say on the subject:

Whoever named it necking was a poor judge of anatomy.

64. Common email attachment : PDF

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format introduced by Adobe Systems in 1993. PDF documents can be shared between users and read using many different applications, making them more universally accessible than documents saved by one particular program.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Transporter with sliding doors : BOXCAR

5. Saddle accessories : PADS

9. Kicker’s target : GOAL POST

14. Consumer’s boon : SALE

15. “How ___ Your Mother” : I MET

16. First lady with a popular recipe for “million-dollar fudge” : MAMIE

17. School founded by Henry VI : ETON

18. Refuge : SAFE HARBOR

20. Mitt Romney’s wife : ANN

21. Pilot’s surroundings : GAS OVEN

22. Business add-on? : INC

23. Alternative to a gun : TASER

25. Futurist : SEER

26. Situation with equal losses and gains : WASH

27. “Precisely!” : SPOT ON!

29. Soccer star Chastain with two Olympic gold medals : BRANDI

31. With 44-Across, V.I.P. area represented four times in this puzzle : CORNER …

35. Microsoft offering : EXCEL

36. Fish ___ : FRY

39. Gavin of “The Love Boat” : MACLEOD

41. What a Möbius strip lacks : END

42. Rehm of public radio : DIANE

44. See 31-Across : … OFFICE

46. Capital on an Asian peninsula : ANKARA

48. ___ Tomb : LENIN’S

52. Without modification : AS IS

53. Jack who was quick with a quip : PAAR

57. Odd group of musicians? : NONET

58. Extra cost for an airline passenger : PET

59. Shift+5 on a keyboard : PERCENT

61. “This puzzle is relatively easy,” say : LIE

62. Not a good example : POOR EXCUSE

64. High-quality cotton : PIMA

65. Like most of Maine : RURAL

66. Holder of the Obama cabinet : ERIC

67. Bargain : DEAL

68. Popular drink : OVALTINE

69. Like some cellars : DANK

70. Alison Bechdel memoir made into a hit 2015 Broadway musical : FUN HOME

Down

1. Luxuries for theatergoers : BOX SEATS

2. Quick break : CATNAP

3. King in “The Tempest” : ALONSO

4. Kylo ___ of “The Force Awakens” : REN

5. City with a famous bell tower : PISA

6. Collect : AMASS

7. Author who did part of his work on Friday : DEFOE

8. Jobs once in California : STEVE

9. F.B.I. agent, informally : G-MAN

10. Conjunction in a rebus puzzle : OAR

11. Atmosphere : AMBIANCE

12. Locale of hostile criticism, metaphorically : LION’S DEN

13. Archetype : POSTER CHILD

19. Cannabis, e.g. : HERB

21. Shelter staffer : GROOMER

24. Alternative to “…” : ETC

26. Material for Icarus’ wings : WAX

28. F.D.R.-created program with the slogan “We Do Our Part” : NRA

30. Pittance : RED CENT

32. Base fig. : NCO

33. “The Lord of the Rings” figure : ELF

34. Certain whistle blower : REF

36. Need for drugs : FDA APPROVAL

37. De-suds : RINSE OUT

38. Japanese style of chicken : YAKITORI

40. Palm ___ : OIL

43. Rapper who famously feuded with Jay-Z : NAS

45. “Music for Airports” composer : ENO

47. Tiptop : APEX

49. Taking the place (of) : IN LIEU

50. Artist LeRoy : NEIMAN

51. Sneakily advance from third : STEAL HOME

54. Parabolic, e.g. : ARCED

55. Automaker whose current models all end in “X” : ACURA

56. Material used in mummification : RESIN

59. “The King of Football” : PELE

60. Make out : NECK

63. Controlled : RAN

64. Common email attachment : PDF

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8 thoughts on “0831-17 New York Times Crossword Answers 31 Aug 17, Thursday”

  1. 26:48, no errors. For me, a much more difficult solve than it should have been. I started well, by filling in CORNER and OFFICE with nothing to go on but the F's from ELF and REF. And the upper right corner went well, giving me POST as a rebus in the corner. But then, unaccountably, I went off the rails: The phrase CORNER POSTS first came to mind, and I almost put a POST in every corner square. And, indeed POST CARS seemed to work in the upper left; what else would a POST commander ride around in? But POST SEATS didn't work so well. So then I thought that perhaps each corner contained a synonym of "office". (Think of POST as in diplomatic POST or government POST.) Then, when HOME seemed to be the only thing that would work in the lower right corner, I was baffled instead of enlightened. In the lower left, I was sure that the "popular drink" had to be some kind of WINE and PORT WINE immediately came to mind. Was it significant that POST and PORT differed by only one letter? The clue "De-suds" seemed to suggest something ending in OUT, but it also somehow suggested that the preceding letter would have to be an S, which didn't seem to work. Nevertheless, I finally put in the OUT and then stared at -TINE. What the … ? Oh. My. OVALTINE, OVAL! OVAL OFFICE! POST OFFICE! HOME OFFICE! And, in the upper left, what? BOX! BOX OFFICE! Amazing how, sometimes, one can have a blind spot big enough to drive a truck through … 🙂

  2. Ugh. I was working on this over lunch, but got to "Shift-5" and basically had to try to finish up the bottom before I got back to my computer. Didn't have time, so PERCENT got spoiled for me.

  3. 28:59, 2 errors: 39A MCCLEOD/28D NRC. The clues covered a lot of unfamiliar territory for me. I, too, tried to find a single word that would work in all four corners, didn’t see CORNER OFFICE until about 75% complete. Initially put CLUB in 1A, to make CLUB CAR/CLUB SEATS; went back and changed it to BOX after finishing the rest of puzzle (seemed a better fit than CLUB OFFICE).

  4. 25:35, and two errors. BOXcar and BOXseats just would not come to me.
    On the plus side, I edged Bill’s time, although he escaped with no errors. I will admit to peering over at my keyboard to get PERCENT, but that wasn’t kibbitzing, dang it!!!!

    I hate ALL rebuses anyway, so there was no way this one was going to thrill me. The leaps of logic required to figure these out are wastes of time, as far as I’m concerned.

  5. Expected more out of this one than I got, and took much more time than I should have given it. One error (one square=two errors) in the NW corner rebus: Loge instead of BOX. Not worth explaining, but it was clearly a dumb error.

  6. I missed one square. had pila/neilan instead of pima/neiman. hadn’t heard of either. I probably should have gone through the alphabet like I usually do on an unknown square, but I was sick of the puzzle by the end.

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