1119-18 NY Times Crossword 19 Nov 18, Monday

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Constructed by: Jim Hilger
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): The Title of Films

Themed answers are movie titles in the format “THE xxxxx OF xxxxx”, and each has a “punny” clue:

  • 20A. “Green” 1986 film? : THE COLOR OF MONEY
  • 36A. “Fluid” 2017 film? : THE SHAPE OF WATER
  • 47A. “Noted” 1965 film? : THE SOUND OF MUSIC

Bill’s time: 5m 15s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Jack who starred on “Dragnet” : WEBB

Jack Webb played Sergeant Joe Friday on “Dragnet” on both TV and radio … and what a voice he had! Off the screen, Webb was a lover of jazz, and he played the cornet. It was within the world of jazz that he met and fell in love with Julie London, the famous singer with “the smoky voice”. The couple married and had two kids together.

5. Percussion in a pagoda : GONG

Pagodas are tiered (“storied”) towers found in various parts of Asia, usually built for religious purposes.

14. Mata ___ (W.W. I spy) : HARI

Mata Hari was the stage name used by Margaretha Geertruida Zella, born in the Netherlands in 1876. After an unsuccessful and somewhat tragic marriage, Zella moved to Paris in 1903 where she struggled to make a living. By 1905 she was working as an exotic dancer and using the name Mata Hari. She was a successful courtesan, notably moving in various circles of high-ranking military officers. She apparently worked as a double agent, both for the French and the Germans. When Mata Hari was accused by the French of passing information to the enemy, she was tried, found guilty and executed by firing squad at the height of WW1, in 1917.

15. Actress Perlman of “Cheers” : RHEA

Rhea Perlman’s most famous role has to be Carla Tortelli, the irascible waitress in the long-running sitcom “Cheers”. Perlman is also a successful children’s author, and has published a series of six books called “Otto Undercover”. She is married to Hollywood actor Danny DeVito, and has been so since 1982.

16. Tennis star Djokovic : NOVAK

Novak Djokovic is a Serbian tennis player and former world No. 1 ranked player. Djokovic is quite the character on and off the court, earning him the nickname “Djoker”. He is also very popular on the talk-show circuit, all around the world. It helps that Djokovic is fluent in several languages.

17. Vaping device, informally : E-CIG

An electronic cigarette (also called an “e-cigarette”) is a battery-powered device that resembles a real cigarette. The e-cigarette vaporizes a solution that contains nicotine, forming a vapor that resembles smoke. The vapor is inhaled in a process called “vaping”, delivering the nicotine into the body. The assumption is that an e-cigarette is healthier than a regular cigarette as the inhaled vapor is less harmful than inhaled smoke. But, that may not be so …

20. “Green” 1986 film? : THE COLOR OF MONEY

“The Color of Money” is a 1986 Martin Scorsese film starring Paul Newman as pool hustler Fast Eddie Felson. Newman co-stars with Tom Cruise and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. Prior to this particular film, Newman had been nominated for an Oscar eight times without winning. It was “The Color of Money” that finally earned him his Best Actor Academy Award. Newman was reprising the Fast Eddie role that he played in 1961’s “The Hustler”.

23. Word before Ghost or Grail : HOLY …

In the Christian tradition, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit/Holy Ghost are three persons in one divine being, the Holy Trinity.

The Holy Grail is a theme found throughout Arthurian legend. The grail itself is some vessel, with the term “grail” coming from the Old French “graal” meaning “cup or bowl made of earth, wood or metal”. Over time, the legend of the Holy Grail became mingled with stories of the Holy Chalice of the Christian tradition, the cup used to serve wine at the Last Supper. Over time, the term “grail” came to be used for any desired or sought-after object.

28. Singer McCartney : PAUL

The ex-Beatles bass player’s full name is Sir James Paul McCartney. “Paul” was knighted for his services to music in 1997.

35. Roseanne who’s not on “The Conners” : BARR

The comedian Roseanne Barr is perhaps best known as the star of her own sitcom called “Roseanne” in which she played the character Roseanne Conner. The original cast of “Roseanne” is scheduled to return for a revival of the series in 2018. In 2012 Barr unsuccessfully vied for the Green Party’s nomination for US President. She didn’t give up though, and was successful in winning the nomination of the Peace and Freedom Party. In the 2012 presidential election she earned over 60,000 votes, and placed sixth in the list of candidates.

41. Streamer of “Game of Thrones” : HBO GO

The HBO Go offering is a “TV Everywhere” service, meaning that paid subscribers can stream content on a choice of platforms just by entering a username and password.

45. Ginger ___ (soft drink) : ALE

The brand most closely associated with ginger ale is Canada Dry. “Canada Dry Pale Ginger Ale” was first formulated in 1904 by a Canadian chemist called John McLoughlin from Ontario. Prohibition in the United States helped sales of the drink as it was particularly effective in masking the taste of illegally-produced homemade liquor.

47. “Noted” 1965 film? : THE SOUND OF MUSIC

“The Sound of Music” is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that was made into a celebrated movie in 1965 starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The musical is based on “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers”, a memoir by Maria von Trapp. The von Trapp family ended up in Stowe, Vermont after the war, and one family descended from the Vermont von Trapps lives here in the same town in which I live in California.

55. Black ___ spider : WIDOW

“Widow spider” is a common name given to several species of spider in the genus Latrodectus. The name comes from the reported behavior of the female eating the male after the pair have mated. The female wins the battle with the male largely because the female’s venom is three-times as potent as that of the male. The most notorious widow spider is the “black widow”. The female black widow’s venom glands are unusually large and the bite can be quite harmful to humans.

56. Carl who composed “Carmina Burana” : ORFF

“Carmina Burana” is a cantata by Carl Orff based on a collection of medieval poems that go by the same name. The name translates as “Songs from Beuern”. The best known movement of the cantata by far is the dramatic “O Fortuna” used at the opening and closing of the piece. One study placed “O Fortuna” as the most often played piece of classical music in the UK over the past 75 years, largely due to its use in television commercials. Famously, the piece appeared in the US in ads for Gatorade and Old Spice aftershave.

57. Greek sandwich : GYRO

A gyro is a traditional Greek dish of meat roasted on a tall vertical spit that is sliced from the spit as required. Gyros are usually served inside a lightly grilled piece of pita bread, along with tomato, onion and tzatziki (a yogurt and cucumber sauce).

58. Sheep-related : OVINE

The Latin word for “sheep” is “ovis”, giving us the adjective “ovine” meaning “like a sheep”.

60. Chew on like a beaver : GNAW

Beavers build dams so that they can live in and around the slower and deeper water that builds up above the dam. This deeper water provides more protection for the beavers from predators such as bears. Beavers are nocturnal animals and do all their construction work at night.

63. Hankerings : YENS

The word “yen”, meaning “urge”, has been around in English since the very early 1900s. It comes from the earlier word “yin” imported from Chinese, which was used in English to describe an intense craving for opium.

Down

3. Cracker topping spread with a knife : BRIE

Brie is a soft cheese that is named for the French region in which it originated. Brie is similar to the equally famous (and delicious) Camembert.

4. Grand pooh-bah : BIG CHEESE

The phrase “the big cheese” doesn’t have its roots in the word “cheese” at all. The original phrase was “the real cheese” meaning “the real thing”, and was used way back in late 1800s. “Chiz” is a Persian and Hindi word meaning “thing”, and it’s not hard to see how the expression “the real chiz” morphed into “the real cheese”. In early-20th century America, instead of a “real cheese”, the most influential person in a group was labeled as “the big cheese”.

The term “pooh-bah” (also “poobah”), meaning an ostentatious official, comes from the world of opera. Pooh-Bah is a character in the wonderful Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera “The Mikado”. Famously, Pooh-Bah holds many, many offices, including that of “Lord High Everything Else”.

7. “… and ___ the twain shall meet” : NE’ER

The phrase “never the twain shall meet” originated in a Rudyard Kipling poem from 1892. The full quotation is:

Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.

Kipling’s reference here is to the British (the “West”) and the people of India (the “East”), and the lack of understanding that existed between the two in the days of the Raj.

9. Neither vegetable nor mineral, in a guessing game : ANIMAL

The parlor game called Twenty Questions originated in the US and really took off in the late forties as it became a weekly quiz show on the radio. Am I the only one who thinks that there aren’t enough quiz shows on the radio these days? I have to resort to listening to the BBC game shows over the Internet …

10. Cosmetic injection : BOTOX

Botulinum toxin is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The toxin is a protein that can cause botulism, an extremely dangerous illness in humans and animals. Botulinum toxin is sold under the trade name “Botox”. Botox is used therapeutically and in cosmetic applications to weaken muscles, perhaps muscles that are in uncontrollable spasm. The cosmetic application involves the paralyzing of facial muscles in order to eliminate or reduce wrinkles, at least for a few months.

11. Welsh “John” : EVAN

The name “John” translates into Scottish as “Ian”, into Russian as “Ivan”, into Italian as “Giovanni”, into Spanish as “Juan”, into Welsh as “Evan”, and into Irish as “Seán”.

13. Vodka in a blue bottle : SKYY

Skyy Vodka is produced in the US, although the operation is owned by the Campari Group headquartered in Italy. Skyy first hit the shelves in 1992 when it was created by an entrepreneur from San Francisco, California.

22. Trivial entertainment : FLUFF

Trivia are things of little consequence. “Trivia” is the plural of the Latin word “trivium” which means “a place where three roads meet”. Now that’s what I call a trivial fact …

26. Like a committee formed for a special purpose : AD HOC

The Latin phrase “ad hoc” means “for this purpose”. An ad hoc committee, for example, is formed for a specific purpose and is disbanded after making its final report.

27. Krispy ___doughnuts : KREME

The Krispy Kreme chain of doughnut stores was founded in 1937 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The company introduced the Whole Wheat Glazed doughnut in 2007, great for folks looking to eat a healthy diet, I am sure …

31. Alternative to Ragú : PREGO

The Prego brand of pasta sauce is owned by the Campbell Soup Company. It is actually based on the family recipe of one of the company’s chefs. “Prego” literally means “I pray” in Italian, but it translates in English best as “you’re welcome” when it is used after a “thank you” (“grazie”, in Italian).

Bolognese sauce is a meat-based sauce originating from Bologna in Italy, hence the name. The recipe is usually referred to as “ragù alla bolognese” in Italian, or simply “ragù”. Note that the Ragú brand of sauces introduced in North America in 1937 takes its name from the same source (pun … sauce!). However, the brand name uses the wrong accent (“Ragú” instead of “Ragù”), which drives a pedant like me crazy ..

35. Pram : BABY BUGGY

Another word used in the UK that’s rarely used over here is “pram”, which in my day was the most common term for what is called a baby carriage in the US. “Pram” is short for “perambulator”.

37. Word of parting in Paris : ADIEU

“Adieu” is the French for “goodbye” or “farewell”, from “à Dieu” meaning “to God”. The plural of “adieu” is “adieux”.

46. Terrific, on Broadway : BOFFO

“Boffo” is show biz slang for “very successful”, and is a term that dates back to the early sixties.

47. Lacking depth, informally : TWO-D

The dimension of an object is defined as the minimum number of coordinates needed to specify each point in the object. Therefore a line is one-dimensional, as you only need an x-coordinate to specify a particular point on the line. A surface is two-dimensional, as you need both an x-coordinate and a y-coordinate to locate a point on the surface. The inside of a solid object is then three-dimensional, needing an x-, y- and z-coordinate to specify a point, say within a cube.

51. Reason to call a plumber : DRIP

Plumbum is the Latin for “lead”, explaining why the symbol of the element in the Periodic Table is “Pb”. It also explains why the original lead weight on the end of a line used to check vertical was called a “plumb line”. And, as pipes were originally made of lead, it also explains why we would call in a “plumber” if one of those popes was leaking.

52. “Auld Lang ___” : SYNE

The song “Auld Lang Syne” is a staple at New Year’s Eve (well, actually in the opening minutes of New Year’s Day). The words were written by Scottish poet Robbie Burns. The literal translation of “Auld Lang Syne” is “old long since”, but is better translated as “old times”. The sentiment of the song is “for old time’s sake”.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

54. Anthropomorphic figures in many “Far Side” cartoons : COWS

“The Far Side” is a cartoon series drawn by Gary Larson. It ran from 1980 to 1995, and continues today in reruns in many papers. A lot of “The Far Side” cartoons feature animals, often in outrageous, human-like situations. Larson was so popular with people working with animals that in 1989 a newly discovered insect species was named Strigiphilus garylarsoni. How cool is that?

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Jack who starred on “Dragnet” : WEBB
5. Percussion in a pagoda : GONG
9. Serves as a lookout for, say : ABETS
14. Mata ___ (W.W. I spy) : HARI
15. Actress Perlman of “Cheers” : RHEA
16. Tennis star Djokovic : NOVAK
17. Vaping device, informally : E-CIG
18. Skeptical comeback : I BET!
19. Where pasta originated : ITALY
20. “Green” 1986 film? : THE COLOR OF MONEY
23. Word before Ghost or Grail : HOLY …
24. Not strict, as security : LAX
25. Defiant challenge to a bully : MAKE ME
28. Singer McCartney : PAUL
30. Resort with springs : SPA
33. Seller of TV spots, informally : AD REP
34. Subject most familiar to a portrait painter : SELF
35. Roseanne who’s not on “The Conners” : BARR
36. “Fluid” 2017 film? : THE SHAPE OF WATER
39. Capital of 19-Across : ROME
40. Enter a pool headfirst : DIVE
41. Streamer of “Game of Thrones” : HBO GO
42. Rink surface : ICE
43. “O.K. by me” : FINE
44. “Whoa there!” : HEY NOW!
45. Ginger ___ (soft drink) : ALE
46. Light source that needs occasional replacement : BULB
47. “Noted” 1965 film? : THE SOUND OF MUSIC
55. Black ___ spider : WIDOW
56. Carl who composed “Carmina Burana” : ORFF
57. Greek sandwich : GYRO
58. Sheep-related : OVINE
59. Teeming : RIFE
60. Chew on like a beaver : GNAW
61. Frighten off : DETER
62. Apple device with earbuds : IPOD
63. Hankerings : YENS

Down

1. Sharpen : WHET
2. To ___ his own : EACH
3. Cracker topping spread with a knife : BRIE
4. Grand pooh-bah : BIG CHEESE
5. Car part between the headlights : GRILLE
6. “Yippee!” : OH BOY!
7. “… and ___ the twain shall meet” : NE’ER
8. Feline: Sp. : GATO
9. Neither vegetable nor mineral, in a guessing game : ANIMAL
10. Cosmetic injection : BOTOX
11. Welsh “John” : EVAN
12. Story : TALE
13. Vodka in a blue bottle : SKYY
21. Energy, informally : OOMPH
22. Trivial entertainment : FLUFF
25. Prefix with lineal : MATRI-
26. Like a committee formed for a special purpose : AD HOC
27. Krispy ___doughnuts : KREME
28. Minor annoyance : PEEVE
29. Soothing plant extract : ALOE
30. Withheld the publication of : SAT ON
31. Alternative to Ragú : PREGO
32. Symbol on a one-way street sign : ARROW
34. What planets do on their axes : SPIN
35. Pram : BABY BUGGY
37. Word of parting in Paris : ADIEU
38. Engulf, old-style : WHELM
43. Blossom : FLOWER
44. Breathed heavily : HUFFED
45. In unison : AS ONE
46. Terrific, on Broadway : BOFFO
47. Lacking depth, informally : TWO-D
48. Hill : ants :: ___ : bees : HIVE
49. Revise, as text : EDIT
50. “Me neither,” formally : NOR I
51. Reason to call a plumber : DRIP
52. “Auld Lang ___” : SYNE
53. Longtime rival of Saudi Arabia : IRAN
54. Anthropomorphic figures in many “Far Side” cartoons : COWS