1018-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 18 Oct 2017, Wednesday

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Constructed by: John Lithgow & Brendan Emmett Quigley
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: Punny Theater Lines

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 esteemed star of TV and film John Lithgow – who last month won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting [63-Across] – working together with Brendan Emmett Quigley, of Brookline, Mass. This is Mr. Quigley’s 175th 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 phrase one might hear in a theater, but each has been clued in a “punny” way:

  • 17A. Decision to go with drapes instead of blinds? : CURTAIN CALL
  • 55A. Accountant’s shares in a company? : SUMMER STOCK
  • 10D. Fly fisherman? : CAST PARTY
  • 33D. Why one missed the coach? : STAGE LEFT

Bill’s time: 8m 26s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

16. Swiss waterway : AAR

The Aar (also called the “Aare” in German) is the longest river entirely in Switzerland. The Aar is a major tributary of the Rhine, and flows through Bern, the nation’s capital.

19. “Dexter” channel, in TV listings : SHO

“Dexter” is a crime show that airs on Showtime. The title character works for the Miami Police Department as an expert in blood spatter patterns by day, but is a serial killer by night. The original series was based on the “Dexter” novels written by Jeff Lindsay. I haven’t seen this show myself, but my eldest son really enjoys it …

20. Info that might be given with a gate change : ETA

Estimated time of arrival (ETA)

21. Engineered food, briefly : GMOS

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.

28. Slapstick specialty : SPIT-TAKE

The comic maneuver in which someone spits out a drink in response to a joke or a surprising statement, that’s called a “spit-take”.

37. Some pullovers : POLOS

Ralph Lauren is an American fashion designer, born Ralph Liftshitz in the Bronx, New York. Lauren started off working as a salesman for Brooks Brothers after spending two years in the US Army. He then opened a necktie store, featuring his own tie designs. The ties were sold under the name “Polo”, which became Lauren’s most famous brand. Other Lauren brands are Purple Label and Black Label.

38. 1944 battle locale : ST-LO

Saint-Lô is a town in Normandy that was occupied by Germany in 1940. Saint-Lo stood at a strategic crossroads and so there was intense fighting there during the Normandy invasion of 1944. After a prolonged bombardment, very little of the town was left standing.

41. Daniel who wrote “Flowers for Algernon” : KEYES

“Flowers for Algernon” was first a short story and then a novel, written by Daniel Keyes. It is a science fiction work about a mentally disabled man who undergoes surgery that briefly gives him the powers of a genius. Also featured in the tale is a laboratory mouse called Algernon, the first test subject to benefit from the experimental surgery.

44. Broadway’s “___ Joey” : PAL

“Pal Joey” is a 1940 novel by John O’Hara that was made into a stage musical and musical film with music and lyrics by Rodgers and Hart. There are two well-known songs from the musical: “I Could Write a Book” and “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered”. There’s also a film called “Pal Joey” starring Frank Sinatra, Rita Hayworth and Kim Novak. The film is loosely based on the stage musical.

45. Sea eagles : ERNES

The ern (sometimes “erne”) is also called the white-tailed eagle, or the sea-eagle.

50. Cameo role, typically : WALK-ON

A walk-on role in a performance is one in which the actor makes an appearance on stage or on set, but has no dialog. One line of dialog elevates the role to a “bit part”.

Even in my day, a cameo role was more than just a short appearance in a movie (or other artistic piece). For the appearance to be a cameo, the actor had to playing himself or herself, and was instantly recognizable. With this meaning it’s easy to see the etymology of the term, as a cameo brooch is one with the recognizable carving of the silhouette of a person. Nowadays, a cameo is any minor role played by a celebrity or famous actor, regardless of the character played.

52. Pad see ew cuisine : THAI

Pad see ew is also known as Phat si io, and is a stir-fried noodle dish in Thai cuisine. “Phat si io” means “fried with soy sauce”. I love Thai food …

53. Mater ___ (title for Mary) : DEI

“Mater Dei” is Latin for “Mother of God”.

54. ___ Miss : OLE

“Ole Miss” is the nickname for the University of Mississippi. The name “Ole Miss” dates back to 1897, the first year a student yearbook was published. The graduating class held a competition to name the yearbook and “Ole Miss” emerged as the winner. The name stuck to the yearbook, and also as a nickname for the school itself. The University of Mississippi sports teams have been known as the Rebels since 1936. Prior to 1936, they were known as the Mississippi Flood.

59. Some native Nebraskans : OTOES

The Otoe (also Oto) Native American tribe originated in the Great Lakes region as part of the Winnebago or Siouan tribes. The group that would become the Otoe broke away from the Winnebago and migrated southwestwards ending up in the Great Plains. In the plains the Otoe adopted a semi-nomadic lifestyle dependent on the horse, with the American bison becoming central to their diet.

61. Like Falstaff : FAT

Sir John Falstaff is the lead character in Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and a supporting character in the two “Henry IV” plays. Falstaff is a self-promoting, obese and cowardly man. In “King Henry IV, part I”, Falstaff refers to his portly size, saying, “thou seest I have more flesh than another man, and therefore more frailty.”

62. “Deadly” septet : SINS

The cardinal sins of Christian ethics are also known as the seven deadly sins. The seven deadly sins
are:

  • Wrath
  • Greed
  • Sloth
  • Pride
  • Lust
  • Envy
  • Gluttony

Down

5. Pioneering botanist : ASA GRAY

Asa Gray was an important American botanist in the nineteenth century. He was a lifelong friend of Charles Darwin, albeit mainly through correspondence. Darwin’s book “Forms of Flowers”, was dedicated to Gray.

7. Comfy slip-ons : MOCS

“Moc” is short for “moccasin”, a type of shoe. The moccasin is a traditional form of footwear worn by members of many Native American tribes.

9. Only N.F.L. team with a perfect season (1972) : DOLPHINS

The Miami Dolphins football team was founded in 1966 by politician Joe Robbie and the comedian Danny Thomas.

11. Obama’s birthplace : OAHU

Despite rumors to the contrary, Barack Hussein Obama II was indeed born in Hawaii. Future US President Obama was born on August 4, 1961 at Kapi’olani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii.

12. Play thing : PROP

We use the term “props” for objects that are used by actors on stage during a play. The term is a shortening of the older term “properties”, which was used with the same meaning up through the 19th century.

15. Like some nasty winter weather : SLEETY

Apparently “sleet” is a term used to describe two different weather conditions. One is a shower of ice pellets, smaller than hail, and the second is a mixture of rain and snow, with the snow melting as it falls.

23. Lead-in to Geo : NAT …

The National Geographic Channel (Nat Geo) is jointly owned by Fox and the National Geographic Society, and was launched in 2001.

25. Telethon giveaway : TOTE

The world’s first telethon was took place in 1949. It was a 16-hour fundraiser hosted by Milton Berle that raised over a million dollars for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. The term “telethon”, a portmanteau of “television” and “marathon”, was coined in the news media the day after the event.

26. Area in front of the front row of a theater : APRON

The apron of a stage (if it has one) is that part which projects out into the audience.

31. Leader with a title derived from the name “Caesar” : TSAR

The term “czar” (also tsar) is a Slavic word that was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. “Czar” is derived from the word “Caesar”, which was synonymous with “emperor” at that time.

34. Ones calling out the rowing rhythm : COXES

The coxswain of a boat is one in charge, particularly of its steering and navigation. The name is shortened to “cox”, particularly when used for the person steering and calling out the stroke in a competition rowing boat.

37. Pesto ingredients : PINE NUTS

The term “pesto” applies to anything made by pounding. What we tend to know as pesto sauce is more properly called “pesto alla genovese”, pesto from Genoa in northern Italy. I love, love pesto sauce …

40. Nine-time baseball All-Star nicknamed “The Cuban Comet” : MINOSO

Minnie Minosa is a Cuban-born former baseball player who had a very long professional career. He is one of just two player in Major League history to have played in five separate decades (40s-80s), the other being Nick Altrock.

41. Nanki-Poo’s pursuer in “The Mikado” : KATISHA

“The Mikado” is a wonderful comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan, set in the exotic location of Japan. “Mikado” is a former term for the “Emperor of Japan”. In the story, Nanki-Poo is the Mikado’s son, who falls in love with Yum-Yum.

43. Vessel that measured 300 x 50 x 30 cubits : ARK

The term “ark”, when used with reference to Noah, is a translation of the Hebrew word “tebah”. The word “tebah” is also used in the Bible for the basket in which Moses was placed by his mother when she floated him down the Nile. It seems that the word “tebah” doesn’t mean “boat” and nor does it mean “basket”. Rather, a more appropriate translation is “life-preserver” or “life-saver”. So, Noah’s ark was Noah’s life-preserver during the flood.

44. Allen’s replacement on “The Tonight Show” : PAAR

“The Tonight Show” has had six permanent hosts so far:

  • Steve Allen (1954-57)
  • Jack Paar (1957-62)
  • Johnny Carson (1962–92)
  • Jay Leno (1992–2009, 2010–14)
  • Conan O’Brien (2009–10)
  • Jimmy Fallon (2014–present)

46. “Life is a kind of ___”: Benjamin Franklin : CHESS

Benjamin Franklin came from a large family. He was his father’s fifteenth child (Josiah Franklin had seventeen children in all, with two wives). Benjamin was born in Boston in 1706. He had very little schooling, heading out to work for his father when he was ten years old. He became an apprentice printer to his older brother at the age of twelve. Benjamin did quite well with that limited education …

51. ___ Romeo : ALFA

The “Alfa” in Alfa Romeo is actually an acronym, one standing for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili (“Lombard Automobile Factory, Public Company”). ALFA was an enterprise founded in 1909 and which was taken over by Nicola Romeo in 1915. In 1920 the company name was changed to Alfa Romeo.

52. Group reporting to Eliot Ness : T-MEN

Eliot Ness was the Treasury agent charged with the task of bringing down the notorious Chicago gangster Al Capone. When Ness took on the job in 1930, Chicago law-enforcement agents were renowned for being corrupt, for being on the take. Ness handpicked 50 prohibition agents who he thought he could rely on, later reducing the group to a cadre of 15 and ultimately just 11 trusted men. That group of 11 earned the nickname “The Untouchables”, the agents who couldn’t be bought.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. TV’s “The Crown” or “Dexter” : DRAMA
6. Surrounded by : AMID
10. Crime show figure : COP
13. Tiny bits : IOTAS
14. Many babysitters’ rules : NO-NOS
16. Swiss waterway : AAR
17. Decision to go with drapes instead of blinds? : CURTAIN CALL
19. “Dexter” channel, in TV listings : SHO
20. Info that might be given with a gate change : ETA
21. Engineered food, briefly : GMOS
22. Ready to burst : PENT UP
24. Level : DESTROY
26. Lots : A HEAP
27. State tree of Iowa : OAK
28. Slapstick specialty : SPIT-TAKE
31. Lip-smackin’ good : TASTY
34. Like groaner humor : CORNY
35. Tease relentlessly : RAG
36. Word after test or web : -SITE
37. Some pullovers : POLOS
38. 1944 battle locale : ST-LO
39. Law regarding access for the handicapped, for short : ADA
40. Add and then stir : MIX IN
41. Daniel who wrote “Flowers for Algernon” : KEYES
42. Got back : REGAINED
44. Broadway’s “___ Joey” : PAL
45. Sea eagles : ERNES
46. Lure with a phony online persona : CATFISH
50. Cameo role, typically : WALK-ON
52. Pad see ew cuisine : THAI
53. Mater ___ (title for Mary) : DEI
54. ___ Miss : OLE
55. Accountant’s shares in a company? : SUMMER STOCK
58. “Noises ___” (1982 farce featuring a play within a play) : OFF
59. Some native Nebraskans : OTOES
60. Therefore : HENCE
61. Like Falstaff : FAT
62. “Deadly” septet : SINS
63. Outstanding Supporting ___ : ACTOR

Down

1. Cut into bits : DICED
2. Paper deliverer’s assignment : ROUTE
3. Gillette razors : ATRAS
4. Yoga accessory : MAT
5. Pioneering botanist : ASA GRAY
6. Get to : ANNOY
7. Comfy slip-ons : MOCS
8. Once ___ while : IN A
9. Only N.F.L. team with a perfect season (1972) : DOLPHINS
10. Fly fisherman? : CAST PARTY
11. Obama’s birthplace : OAHU
12. Play thing : PROP
15. Like some nasty winter weather : SLEETY
18. Response to “You hurt?” : I’M OK
23. Lead-in to Geo : NAT …
25. Telethon giveaway : TOTE
26. Area in front of the front row of a theater : APRON
28. “Can you do me a ___?” : SOLID
29. Salad green : KALE
30. They may clash in a theater : EGOS
31. Leader with a title derived from the name “Caesar” : TSAR
32. Errand runner, maybe : AIDE
33. Why one missed the coach? : STAGE LEFT
34. Ones calling out the rowing rhythm : COXES
37. Pesto ingredients : PINE NUTS
38. Individual : SELF
40. Nine-time baseball All-Star nicknamed “The Cuban Comet” : MINOSO
41. Nanki-Poo’s pursuer in “The Mikado” : KATISHA
43. Vessel that measured 300 x 50 x 30 cubits : ARK
44. Allen’s replacement on “The Tonight Show” : PAAR
46. “Life is a kind of ___”: Benjamin Franklin : CHESS
47. Surprise declaration at the altar : I DON’T
48. Painting on dry plaster : SECCO
49. Trail guide user : HIKER
50. Bowser’s warning : WOOF
51. ___ Romeo : ALFA
52. Group reporting to Eliot Ness : T-MEN
56. Question of false modesty : MOI?
57. Private eye, in old slang : TEC