0921-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 21 Sep 2017, Thursday

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Constructed by: Matt Ginsberg
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: Uey

Each of today’s themed answers makes a u-turn (UEY) at the end of one line in the grid, and continues in the reverse direction in the line below:

  • 57D. Often-illegal maneuver that is key to answering the asterisked clues : UEY
  • 1A. *Adlai Stevenson as a presidential candidate, e.g. : TWO-TIME LOSER
  • 21A. *Limits on team payrolls : SALARY CAPS
  • 31A. **Doesn’t go to either extreme : STRIKES A BALANCE
  • 47A. *Snitch : TATTLETALE
  • 60A. *Individual telephone connections : PRIVATE LINES

Bill’s time: 15m 14s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. *Adlai Stevenson as a presidential candidate, e.g. : TWO-TIME LOSER

Adlai Stevenson (AES) ran for president unsuccessfully against Dwight D. Eisenhower (DDE) in 1952 and again in 1956. Some years after his second defeat, Stevenson served under President Kennedy (JFK) as Ambassador to the United Nations. Stevenson was always noted for his eloquence and he had a famous exchange in a UN Security Council meeting during the Cuban missile crisis. Stevenson bluntly demanded that the Soviet representative on the council tell the world if the USSR was installing nuclear weapons in Cuba. His words were “Don’t wait for the translation, answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’!” followed by “I am prepared to wait for my answer until Hell freezes over!”

10. Fricassee, for example : STEW

A “fricassée” is a dish containing meat that has been cut up, sautéed and braised, and then served in a white sauce. The French term fricassée is thought perhaps to be a combination of the the verbs “frire” (to fry) and “casser” (to break into pieces).

17. Remark from Don Rickles : INSULT

Don Rickles is a stand-up comedian and actor from Queens, New York. Rickles became known as an “insult comedian” early in his stand-up career, as he handled hecklers in the audience. His witty insults received bigger laughs than his prepared jokes. Rickles’ acerbic style earned him the nicknames “The Merchant of Venom” and “Mr. Warmth”. Rickles was also a popular guest on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson”, appearing over 100 times.

18. It’s “knowing all the facts,” according to Woody Allen : PARANOIA

Allan Stewart Konigsberg changed his legal name to “Heywood Allen” when he was 17 years old, and soon after started to call himself “Woody Allen”, the name with which he achieved celebrity. Allen won four Academy Awards, three for Best Original Screenplay and one for Best Director. He has more Oscar nominations as a screenwriter than any other writer, but he spurns the Awards ceremony and only attended it once in all his years in the movie business. He broke tradition by turning up at the 2002 ceremony, unannounced, to beg producers to continue filming in his beloved New York City despite the fears created by the 9/11 attacks.

20. Connection provider, for short : DSL

The abbreviation “DSL” originally stood for Digital Subscriber Loop, but is now accepted to mean (Asymmetric) Digital Subscriber Line. DSL is the technology that allows Internet service be delivered down the same telephone line as voice service, by separating the two into different frequency signals.

22. Ragtime legend Blake : EUBIE

James Hubert “Eubie” Blake was a composer and pianist from Baltimore, Maryland. Blake was a noted composer and performer of ragtime music. The 1978 musical revue “Eubie!” features his music. Apparently Blake claimed to have started smoking cigarettes at the age of 10 years, and died 85 years later in 1983. Blake’s celebrity status and long life as a smoker was often cited by politicians who opposed anti-tobacco legislation.

28. How cigars should be kept, say aficionados : MOIST

An aficionado is an enthusiast, a word that came to us from Spanish. Imported from Spanish, “aficionado” was originally used in English to describe a devotee of bullfighting.

33. Head lines, briefly? : EEGS

An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a record of electrical activity caused by the firing of neurons within the brain. The EEG might be used to diagnose epilepsy, or perhaps to determine if a patient is “brain dead”.

36. Social gathering : BEE

Back in 18th-century America, when neighbors would gather to work for the benefit of one of their group, such a meeting was called a bee. The name “bee” was an allusion to the social nature of the insect. In modern parlance, a further element of entertainment and pleasure has been introduced, for example in a quilting bee, or even a spelling bee.

39. Tomorrow’s jr. : SOPH

The term “sophomore” has been used for a student in the second year of university since the 1680’s. The original meaning of the word was “arguer”. The term has Greek roots, from two Greek words that have been artificially combined in English. The Greek “sophos” means “wise”, and “moros” means “foolish”.

42. ___ Helmer of “A Doll’s House” : NORA

“A Doll’s House” is probably the most famous play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. The play deals with the feminist awakening of the lead character, Nora Helmer. “A Doll’s House” is sometimes referred to as the “first true feminist play”.

43. George I or V? : SOFT G

Letters number one (I) and five (V) in the word “George” are soft Gs.

47. *Snitch : TATTLETALE

Something described as tattletale is revealing, it gives away a secret. The term is a combination of “tattle” and “tale”, and is probably patterned on the similar word “telltale”. “To tattle” means “to tell secrets”, and the noun “tattletale” applies to someone who tells secrets and informs.

49. Boxer’s concern, maybe : FLEAS

The boxer breed of dog (one of my favorites!) originated in Germany. My first dog was a boxer/Labrador mix, a beautiful combination. Our current family dog is a boxer/pug mix, and is another gorgeous animal.

52. Abductee of myth : HELEN

According to Greek mythology, Helen was the daughter of Zeus and Leda. When Helen reached the age of marriage, she had many suitors as she was considered the most beautiful woman in the world. Menelaus was chosen as her husband, and he took her back to his home of Sparta. Paris, a Trojan prince, seduced Helen, as she eloped with him and travelled to Troy. This event sparked the Trojan War that waged between the city of Troy and Greece. Because of this war, Helen was said to have “the face that launched a thousand ships”. And because of this phrase, it has been suggested, probably by author Isaac Asimov, that the amount of beauty needed launch a single ship is one “millihelen”.

58. 1927 automotive debut : MODEL A

The Ford Model A was the original car produced by the Ford Motor Company. The first production run lasted from 1903 to 1904, when it was replaced by the Model C. The name “Model A” was brought back in 1927 and used for the successor to the Model T.

61. Research org. : INST

Institute (inst.)

Down

1. Speaker in major-league baseball history : TRIS

Tris Speaker was a Major League Baseball player, the holder of the record for the most doubles hit in a career. He led the Boston Red Sox to two World Series championships, in 1912 and 1915.

3. Bone: It. : OSSO

“Osso” is the Italian word for bone, as in the name of the dish “osso buco”, which features braised veal shanks.

7. Stand : COPSE

A copse is a small stand of trees. The term “copse” originally applied to a small thicket that was specifically grown for cutting.

8. Hypermeticulous : ANAL

The use of the word “anal” to mean “stiffly conventional” is an abbreviated form of “anal-retentive”, a term derived from Freudian psychology. Regardless, I’m not a big fan of the term …

9. German article : DER

The definite article in German is der, die or das, for masculine, feminine and neuter nouns. The indefinite article is ein, eine or ein, again depending on the gender of the noun. A further complication, relative to English, is that the masculine form (and only the masculine form) of the article changes when used in the accusative case, when used with the object of a sentence. The accusative forms are “den” and “einen”.

10. Something involved in a firing : SYNAPSE

A synapse is a junction between a nerve cell and another cell over which an electrical or chemical signal can pass.

12. Vacuum tube innovation of 1946 : ENIAC

The acronym ENIAC stands for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator (although many folks insist that the C was for “Computer”). ENIAC was introduced at the University of Pennsylvania in 1946, at which time it was the first general-purpose electronic computer, and dubbed “Giant Brain” by the press. Its original purpose was the calculation of artillery firing tables, but it ended up being used early on to make calculations necessary for the development of the hydrogen bomb. Given its uses, it’s not surprising to hear that development of ENIAC was funded by the US Army during WWII.

16. Operatic villains, often : BASSI

The bass is the lowest male singing voice. A man with such a voice might be called a “basso” (plural “bassi”).

23. Makeup of many moon rocks : BASALT

Basalt is a volcanic rock that is created when lava cools rapidly at the earth’s surface.

27. Quadrennial U.S. occurrence : VEEPSTAKES

The process of a US presidential candidate selecting a running mate during the election cycle is commonly referred to as “veepstakes”.

29. Michael of “The Great Santini” : O’KEEFE

Michael O’Keefe played Danny Noonan in the film “Caddyshack” (I’m not a big fan of that movie). I also saw O’Keefe not that long ago in the George Clooney film “Michael Clayton”.

“The Great Santini” is a 1979 film adaptation of a novel of the same name by Pat Conroy. The film stars Robert Duvall as a Marine officer in the early days of the Vietnam War.

34. “Saw” stuff : GORE

The “Saw” franchise of movies is gruesome in the extreme. I’ve only seen a few minutes of “Saw” footage (accidentally). The storylines center on imprisoned victims who are faced with having to mutilate themselves in order to escape. Ugh …

35. Castor or Pollux : STAR

The constellation of Gemini contains 85 stars that are visible with the naked eye, but the two brightest are Pollux and Castor. These two stars are named for the twins Pollux and Castor of Greek mythology. The name “Gemini” is Latin for “twins”.

40. Topping the Scoville scale : HOTTEST

The Scoville scale is a measure of the spiciness of chili peppers. The scale was invented by a pharmacist in 1912, Wilbur Scoville. To determine the position of a pepper on Scoville scale, the amount of capsaicin in the chili is measured. Capsaicin is an irritant that causes the sensation of burning when it comes into contact with tissue, particularly the mucous membranes.

46. Punjab’s capital : LAHORE

Lahore is a large city in Pakistan, that is second in size only to Karachi. It is known as the Garden of the Mughals (or in English, Moguls) because of its association with the Mughal Empire. The Mughals ruled much of India from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries.

Punjab is the most populous province in Pakistan and is home to over half of the country’s citizens. “Punjab” (also “Panjab”) translates as “Five Waters”, a reference to five rivers that form tributaries to the Indus River: Chenab, Jhelum, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej.

47. Beats : TEMPI

The tempo (plural “tempi”) of a piece of music is usually designated with an Italian word on the score. For example, “grave” is slow and solemn, “andante” is at a walking pace, “scherzo” is fast and light-hearted, and “allegro” is fast, quickly and bright.

48. Formula One racer Prost : ALAIN

Alain Prost is a retired racing driver from France who won the Formula One Drivers’ Championship on four occasions from 1985 to 1993.

In motor racing, the designation “formula” is a set of rules that all participants and cars must abide by. The definition of “Formula One” was agreed back in 1946, with the “one” designating that it is the most advanced of the “formulae”, and the most competitive.

51. First name in mysteries : 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.

53. ___ Strauss : LEVI

Levi Strauss was the founder of the first company in the world to manufacture blue jeans. Levi Strauss & Co. opened in 1853 in San Francisco. Strauss and his business partner were awarded a patent in 1873 for the use of copper rivets to strengthen points of strain on working pants.

54. Airline with a flag in its logo : EL AL

El Al Israel Airlines is the flag carrier of Israel. El Al is known for its high levels of security, both on the ground and in the air. Reportedly, the airline’s passenger aircraft have been operating with anti-missile technology for several years.

55. Statistician Silver : NATE

Nate Silver is a statistician who gained celebrity by developing a forecasting system that predicted the future performance of baseball players. He then made a name for himself in the world of politics by predicting the outcome of the 2008 US presidential race on his website FiveThirtyEight.com. Silver successfully predicted the outcome of the election in 49 of the 50 states, missing out on Indiana, which Barack Obama won by less than 1% of the vote. FiveThirtyEight was less successful in predicting the specifics of the 2012 presidential election, but came closer than almost all other pollsters. In 2016, FiveThirtyEight predicted a victory for Hillary Clinton, but with a much lower probability than other poll aggregators. And, they all got it wrong. Oh, and why the name FiveThirtyEight.com? Because there are 538 electors in the US electoral college.

57. Often-illegal maneuver that is key to answering the asterisked clues : UEY

Hang a “uey” or “uie”, make a u-turn, make a 180.

58. British V.I.P.s : MPS

Member of Parliament (MP)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. *Adlai Stevenson as a presidential candidate, e.g. : TWO-TIME LOSER
7. Sleazeball : CAD
10. Fricassee, for example : STEW
14. Fix, as a boot : RESOLE
15. Singly : ONE BY ONE
17. Remark from Don Rickles : INSULT
18. It’s “knowing all the facts,” according to Woody Allen : PARANOIA
19. Points along a bus route : STOPS
20. Connection provider, for short : DSL
21. *Limits on team payrolls : SALARY CAPS
22. Ragtime legend Blake : EUBIE
24. Airheaded : SPACY
25. Listen (to) : GIVE EAR
28. How cigars should be kept, say aficionados : MOIST
30. They praise in non-prose : ODES
31. **Doesn’t go to either extreme : STRIKES A BALANCE
33. Head lines, briefly? : EEGS
36. Social gathering : BEE
37. Shame : ABASE
38. “Perhaps ___” : NOT
39. Tomorrow’s jr. : SOPH
41. Knight’s need : LANCE
42. ___ Helmer of “A Doll’s House” : NORA
43. George I or V? : SOFT G
45. Blooming : AFLOWER
47. *Snitch : TATTLETALE
49. Boxer’s concern, maybe : FLEAS
50. Tickle : ELATE
51. Squid predator : EEL
52. Abductee of myth : HELEN
56. Guarantee : MAKE SURE
58. 1927 automotive debut : MODEL A
59. Dessert component often bought premade : PIE SHELL
60. *Individual telephone connections : PRIVATE LINES
61. Research org. : INST
62. “Got that right!” : YES!
63. Mentally infirm : SENILE

Down

1. Speaker in major-league baseball history : TRIS
2. Came’s partner : WENT
3. Bone: It. : OSSO
4. “Rugs” : TOUPEES
5. Injured party’s warning : I’LL SUE
6. Crossed paths : MET
7. Stand : COPSE
8. Hypermeticulous : ANAL
9. German article : DER
10. Something involved in a firing : SYNAPSE
11. “You missed your chance” : TOO LATE NOW
12. Vacuum tube innovation of 1946 : ENIAC
13. Beat : WEARY
16. Operatic villains, often : BASSI
20. Sleazeball : DIRTBAG
23. Makeup of many moon rocks : BASALT
25. A whole bunch : GOBS
26. Prefix with -logical : IDEO-
27. Quadrennial U.S. occurrence : VEEPSTAKES
28. Poker blunder : MISCALL
29. Michael of “The Great Santini” : O’KEEFE
32. Managed : RAN
34. “Saw” stuff : GORE
35. Castor or Pollux : STAR
40. Topping the Scoville scale : HOTTEST
42. Was prying : NOSED IN
44. Elaborate, with “out” : FLESH
46. Punjab’s capital : LAHORE
47. Beats : TEMPI
48. Formula One racer Prost : ALAIN
49. Thinks but doesn’t know for a fact : FEELS
51. First name in mysteries : ERLE
53. ___ Strauss : LEVI
54. Airline with a flag in its logo : EL AL
55. Statistician Silver : NATE
57. Often-illegal maneuver that is key to answering the asterisked clues : UEY
58. British V.I.P.s : MPS

9 thoughts on “0921-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 21 Sep 2017, Thursday”

  1. 46:17, no errors. I fully agree with Dave, this one had me on the ropes for a long time. Did not see the theme until all the way down to the bottom right corner, when I finally got PRIVATE LINES. Grid was pretty much blank until then. Went much faster after that, except for the STRIKES A BALANCE ‘snake’ in the middle; and the bottom left corner. A tough puzzle that I was happy to solve.

  2. Give ear? I went with lots on 25 down. Live ear sounds as legit as give ear and a tea is a social gathering. I just figured they spelled it veapstakes instead of veep. 3 errors in about 14 minutes but not liking that middle left section clues.

  3. OH COME ON!!!!! This has to be a nominee for “Worst Thursday Trickery” for this year. And with such “precious” pretentious fills as TEMPI, BASSI and SOFT G, (and VEEPSTAKES; **WTF???**) this one’s nigh on unsolveable.

    BOOOOOOO! HISSSSSS!

    (Can you tell this was a DNF for me)?

  4. Unusually tricky and tough. Had UEY of course, but it just sat there, unused, as the key to the theme and much of the rest of a great puzzle. DNF.

  5. Lower left corner defeated me, as I kept trying to work around “TALETELLER” instead of ‘TATTLETALE,” until I finally gave up on that area. D’oh. Fun theme, though I think “TEMPI” pushed my limits of clue tolerance.

  6. I finished the puzzle, as I caught on to the UEY. I got 40D immediately, but then Mr W Scoville was a distant cousin, and I’m a big fan of the Scoville scale. I like this site for answers and explanations very much. Thanks.

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