1020-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 20 Oct 2017, Friday

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Constructed by: Peter Wentz
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 19m 15s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9. Small ammo : BB SHOT

A BB gun is an air pistol or rifle that shoots birdshot known as BBs. Birdshot comes in a number of different sizes, from size 9 (0.070″ in diameter) to size FF (.230″). Birdshot that is size BB (0.180″ in diameter) gives the airgun its name.

15. 1999 prequel that grossed over a billion dollars, familiarly : EPISODE I

“Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” was the fourth film released in the “Star Wars” franchise, and the first in a prequel trilogy (the first three films were Episodes IV, V & VI). “The Phantom Menace” was released in 1999, twenty-two years after the original “Star Wars” movie, and sixteen years after the previous episode, “Return of the Jedi”.

16. Obscure knowledge : ARCANA

Arcana are deep secrets or mysteries. “Arcana” is from the Latin adjective “arcanum” meaning “secret, hidden”.

17. Iran-contra business : ARMS DEAL

The Iran-Contra affair (also called “Irangate”) came to light in 1986. The “Iran” part of the scandal was the sale of arms to Iran by the Reagan administration, initially to facilitate the release of US hostages. This was done in secret largely because there was ostensibly a US arms embargo in place against Iran. The “Contra” part of the scandal arose when the man in charge of the operation, Oliver North, took funds from the arms sales and funneled the cash to the Contra militants who were fighting to topple the government in Nicaragua.

31. Inverse function in trigonometry : ARC SINE

The most familiar trigonometric functions are sine, cosine and tangent (abbreviated to “sin, cos and tan”). Each of these is a ratio, a ratio of two sides of a right-angled triangle. The “reciprocal” of these three functions are secant, cosecant and cotangent. The reciprocal functions are simply the inverted ratios, the inverted sine, cosine and tangent. These inverted ratios should not be confused with the “inverse” trigonometric functions e.g. arcsine, arccosine and arctangent. These inverse functions are the reverse of the sine, cosine and tangent.

33. Things non-PC people buy? : MACS

Macintosh (also “Mac”) is a line of computers from Apple Inc. The first Mac was introduced in 1984, and I remember someone showing me one at work in those early days of personal computing. There was a piece of white plastic connected to the main computer by a cord, and I was amazed when the guy showed me that it controlled where the cursor was on the screen. My colleague told me that this lump of plastic was called “a mouse” …

34. Symbol for a member of Anonymous : GUY FAWKES MASK

Anonymous is a network of Internet activists (known as “hacktivists”). Formed around 2003, the group has been responsible for several attacks on government, corporate and religious websites over the years. When members of Anonymous (known as “Anons”) appear in public, they do so wearing Guy Fawkes masks.

Guy Fawkes was a Catholic who plotted to kill the Protestant King James in 1605. Fawkes’s plan was blow up the Houses of Parliament when King James was in attendance. However, he was discovered in the basement of the building, along with several barrels of gunpowder. Fawkes was taken to the Tower of London where he was tortured for over two months, before being hanged. The assassination attempt is referred to as the Gunpowder Plot, and is commemorated across the UK on November 5th each year as “Bonfire Night”.

41. Buck ___, first African-American coach in Major League Baseball : O’NEIL

Buck O’Neil was a first baseman and manager with the Kansas City Monarchs, a team in the Negro American League.

44. Time off for an N.F.L. team : BYE WEEK

The word “bye”, as used in sport, originated in cricket. A bye is a run scored due to an error by the wicketkeeper (similar to a catcher in baseball) when he fails to stop a ball bowled by the bowler (like a pitcher in baseball). Later the word “bye” in sport came to mean the position of a player in a tournament who is left without a competitor when the rest have drawn pairs. In these commercial times, those byes tend to be awarded to the best (seeded) players, so that the most popular players always advance past the first round of competition.

46. One letter of “NATO” in the NATO alphabet : OSCAR

NATO (November – Alfa – Tango – Oscar)

The NATO phonetic alphabet is also called the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) phonetic alphabet. It goes Alfa, Bravo, Charlie … X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.

48. Locale for much of “The Da Vinci Code” : PARIS

“The Da Vinci Code” is an excellent yarn (although much panned), written by Dan Brown. Brown’s first book to feature the character Robert Langdon was even better in my opinion, namely “Angels & Demons”.

53. Rocker Gramm of Foreigner : LOU

I always think that the rock band Foreigner has a very apt name. The band was formed in 1976 by two British guys along with an American who were all living in New York City. Foreigner’s biggest hit is “I Want to Know What Love Is”.

59. Frequent locale in the comic strip “Andy Capp” : ALEHOUSE

“Andy Capp” is a comic strip from Britain that is syndicated internationally. The strip was created by Reg Smythe in 1957 and is still going strong, despite the fact that Smythe passed away in 1998. Andy Capp and his wife Florrie (also “Flo”) are working class characters who live in the northeast of England. Andy is unemployed and Flo works as a charwoman. “Andy Capp” was my favorite comic strip growing up …

Down

1. Lintels, e.g. : BEAMS

A lintel is a structural beam that spans an opening in a wall, usually a door or a window.

2. Blacksmiths’ wear : APRONS

A blacksmith is someone who forges and shapes iron, perhaps to make horseshoes. A farrier is someone who fits horseshoes onto the hooves of horses. The term “blacksmith” is sometimes used for one who shoes horses, especially as many blacksmiths make horseshoes and fit them as well.

8. Decorate elegantly : GILD

To gild is a to coat with gold. The phrase “to gild the lily” means to add unnecessary ornamentation, to try to improve something that is already ideal.

11. Sources of labor pains? : SCABS

We first started calling strikebreakers “scabs” in the early 1800s, and before that a scab was a person who refused to join a trade union (back as early 1777). The word probably comes from the use of “scab” as a symptom of a skin disease, and so is a term that is meant to insult.

21. Longhorn rival : SOONER

They would be the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners.

28. Big name in digital security : MCAFEE

McAfee is a security software company now known as Intel Security Group. Purchased by Intel in 2011, the company was founded by John McAfee in 1987. John McAfee might be described as a “bit of a character”. He lived in Belize for several years, before being forced out of the country. After returning to the US, McAfee went after the Libertarian Party nomination for US president in the 2016 election.

29. User-editable internet pages : WIKIS

A wiki is a website in which users are allowed to create and edit content themselves. The term “wiki” comes from the name of the first such site, introduced in 1994 and called WikiWikiWeb. “Wiki” is a Hawaiian word for “quick”, and is used because comprehensive content is created very quickly a there are so many collaborators contributing to the site.

36. Some holiday decorations : MENORAHS

There is a seven-branched menorah used symbolically in ancient temples. However, the Hanukkah menorah is a nine-branched lampstand that is lit during the eight-day holiday called Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights. “Menorah” is the Hebrew word for “lamp”.

37. Plug-in point : USB PORT

Universal Serial Bus (USB) is an industry standard dealing with how computers and electronic devices connect and communicate, and deal with electrical power through those connections.

40. ___ ape (gibbon) : LESSER

Gibbons are referred to as lesser apes as they differ in size and behavior from the great apes e.g. chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and humans.

42. Digital storage service : ICLOUD

iCloud is an Apple service that features cloud storage and cloud computing.

43. Who wrote “He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened” : LAO-TSE

Lao Tse (also “Lao-Tzu”) was a central figure in the development of the religion/philosophy of Taoism. Tradition holds that Lao-Tzu wrote the “Tao Te Ching”, a classical Chinese text that is fundamental to the philosophy of Taoism.

45. “Salomé” playwright : WILDE

“Salomé” is an 1891 play by Irishman Oscar Wilde that the playwright originally wrote in French. It tells the biblical story of Salome who requested the head of John the Baptist in return for performing the dance of the seven veils. Wilde’s work was adapted by Richard Strauss into an opera of the same name that was premiered in Dresden in 1905.

47. Easily fooled sorts : RUBES

A rube is person lacking sophistication, someone often described as a country bumpkin. The term derives from the masculine name “Reuben”, which was considered back in the early 1800s to be a typical name used in rural areas.

50. “Grand, ungodly, godlike man,” in literature : AHAB

Captain Ahab is the obsessed and far from friendly captain of the Pequod in Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick”. The role of Captain Ahab was played by Gregory Peck in the 1956 John Huston film adaptation. Patrick Stewart played Ahab in a 1998 miniseries in which Peck made another appearance, as Father Mapple.

57. Butterfly ___ (fish) : KOI

Koi are fish that are also called Japanese carp. Koi have been bred for decorative purposes and there are now some very brightly colored examples found in Japanese water gardens.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. “And there you have it!” : BADA BING!
9. Small ammo : BB SHOT
15. 1999 prequel that grossed over a billion dollars, familiarly : EPISODE I
16. Obscure knowledge : ARCANA
17. Iran-contra business : ARMS DEAL
18. Chucks : HEAVES
19. Cut : MOW
20. Things to 19-Across : YARDS
22. Helps in a way one shouldn’t : ABETS
23. Twerps : SNIPS
25. “If I were a betting person, I’d say …” : ODDS ARE …
27. Play with strings : STRUM
29. Tries to win : WOOS
30. Hoedown participant : GAL
31. Inverse function in trigonometry : ARC SINE
33. Things non-PC people buy? : MACS
34. Symbol for a member of Anonymous : GUY FAWKES MASK
37. Things often found by the dessert table : URNS
38. Dated women? : FAIR SEX
39. Down : SAD
40. It changes one’s perspective : LENS
41. Buck ___, first African-American coach in Major League Baseball : O’NEIL
44. Time off for an N.F.L. team : BYE WEEK
46. One letter of “NATO” in the NATO alphabet : OSCAR
48. Locale for much of “The Da Vinci Code” : PARIS
49. Arabic name that sounds like a reply of agreement : YASIR
53. Rocker Gramm of Foreigner : LOU
54. Ominous parting words : OR ELSE
56. “Today” co-host beginning in 2007 : HODA KOTB
58. Book of selected texts : READER
59. Frequent locale in the comic strip “Andy Capp” : ALEHOUSE
60. Things hashed and mashed, informally : TATERS
61. Places for nightstands : BEDSIDES

Down

1. Lintels, e.g. : BEAMS
2. Blacksmiths’ wear : APRONS
3. Chucklehead : DIMWIT
4. Chucklehead : ASS
5. Catch a wave, in a way : BODYSURF
6. Conception : IDEA
7. About : NEAR
8. Decorate elegantly : GILD
9. “Enough of this!” : BAH!
10. Prepares, in a way, as chicken : BREADS
11. Sources of labor pains? : SCABS
12. Really enjoy oneself : HAVE A GAS
13. Kind of mind : ONE-TRACK
14. Curtain decorations : TASSELS
21. Longhorn rival : SOONER
24. Appeals to a higher authority? : PRAYS
26. Playground retort : DOES SO!
28. Big name in digital security : MCAFEE
29. User-editable internet pages : WIKIS
32. High-class : SWANKY
33. High points : MAXES
34. Where the rules are unclear : GRAY AREA
35. Be malnourished : UNDEREAT
36. Some holiday decorations : MENORAHS
37. Plug-in point : USB PORT
40. ___ ape (gibbon) : LESSER
42. Digital storage service : ICLOUD
43. Who wrote “He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened” : LAO-TSE
45. “Salomé” playwright : WILDE
47. Easily fooled sorts : RUBES
50. “Grand, ungodly, godlike man,” in literature : AHAB
51. Exclusive : SOLE
52. No longer anonymous, for short : ID’ED
55. Hosp. parts : ERS
57. Butterfly ___ (fish) : KOI

2 thoughts on “1020-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 20 Oct 2017, Friday”

  1. 20:49, no errors. A pretty rough outing for me. I’m especially lucky to have remembered “Hoda Kotb”, whose acquaintance (since I don’t watch TV anymore) I have made entirely through crossword puzzles.

  2. 42:59. Pretty proud to finish considering I had to get GUY HAWKES MASK and HOTAKOTB by crosses. In fact, I filled in my last letter expecting the silent treatment and was intending to go try to figure out HOTA KOTB as I was assuming it had to be incorrect.

    Otherwise, a lot of things in my wheelhouse for this one –

    Best –

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