1105-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 5 Nov 2017, Sunday

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Constructed by: Natan Last
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: Lane Changes

The circled letters in today’s grid are forks of across-answer that branch off after a synonym of “street, thoroughfare”:

  • 22A. 1992 movie based on an “S.N.L.” sketch … or, diverged: Modus vivendi : WAYNE’S WORLD (change lanes for “WAY OF LIFE”)
  • 39A. Computer mouse action … or, diverged: Event for RuPaul : DRAG AND DROP (change lanes for “DRAG SHOW”)
  • 67A. 1916 Frost verse … or, diverged: Start of a saying about meaning well : THE ROAD NOT TAKEN (change lanes for “THE ROAD TO HELL”)
  • 97A. Bring someone home … or, diverged: Common high school offering : DRIVE IN A RUN (change lanes for “DRIVER’S ED”)
  • 117A. Nissan S.U.V.s … or, diverged: Emotional appeal : PATHFINDERS (change lanes for “PATHOS”)

Bill’s time: 26m 04s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • RAINN (Raine)
  • PWNS (Pwes)

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Popular web portal : MSN

The Microsoft Network (MSN) used to be an Internet service provider (ISP). These days, MSN is mainly a web portal.

4. Sweet stuff : SUCROSE

Sugars are usually named using the “-ose” suffix e.g., glucose, fructose, sucrose.

11. Braggadocio : BIG TALK

A “braggadocio” is one who brags, or that act of boasting. The term was coined by poet Edmund Spenser in his epic poem “The Faerie Queen”. One of the characters in the poem is a comic knight who is prone to bragging, and is someone Spenser names “Braggadocchio”.

22. 1992 movie based on an “S.N.L.” sketch … or, diverged: Modus vivendi : WAYNE’S WORLD (change lanes for “WAY OF LIFE”)

“Wayne’s World” was originally a “Saturday Night Live” sketch starring Mike Myers (as Wayne Campbell) and Dana Carvey as Garth Algar. The sketch was so successful that it was parlayed into two hit movies, released in 1992 and 1993. Not my cup of tea though …

“Modus vivendi” is a Latin expression translating literally as “way of living”. “Modis vivendi” implies that it is possible for two parties in dispute to reach an agreement, to find “a way to live with” those differences.

30. Defunct org. in which Donald Trump owned the New Jersey Generals : USFL

The United States Football League (USFL) was started in 1983 as a league playing during the spring and summer. The league’s backer’s thought there would be a lot of interest in watching and attending games during the NFL’s offseason. The USFL folded after three years, so apparently the backers were wrong …

33. “Prince Valiant” son : ARN

In the comic strip, Arn is the eldest son of Prince Valiant and Aleta is his wife. Edward, the Duke of Windsor, called the “Prince Valiant” comic strip the “greatest contribution to English Literature in the past one hundred years”. I’m not so sure …

39. Computer mouse action … or, diverged: Event for RuPaul : DRAG AND DROP (change lanes for “DRAG SHOW”)

RuPaul is a famous drag queen who has developed a diverse career beyond performing on stage. He works as an actor, model, author and a recording artist. Famously, RuPaul doesn’t mind whether one addresses him as “he” or as “she” …

You can call me he. You can call me she. You can call me Regis and Kathie Lee; I don’t care! Just as long as you call me.

He currently hosts his own reality TV show called “RuPaul’s Drag Race”, which is billed as a search for “America’s next drag superstar”.

The etymology of the term “drag”, as used in the transvestite world, seems to be unclear. It perhaps relates to the tendency of a transvestite’s skirts to drag along the ground in days of old (although why they just didn’t hitch up their skirts is beyond me!).

45. Blue-roofed eatery : IHOP

The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) was founded back in 1958. IHOP was originally intended to be called IHOE, the International House of Eggs, but that name didn’t do too well in marketing tests!

47. Gambols : FRISKS

“Gambol” is a such a lovely word, meaning to frolic and leap about.

49. Erstwhile Fords : LTDS

There has been a lot of speculation about what the abbreviation LTD stands for in the car model known as “Ford LTD”. Many say it is an initialism standing for Luxury Trim Decor, and others say that it is short for “limited”. Although the car was produced in Australia with the initialism meaning Lincoln Type Design, it seems LTD was originally chosen as just three meaningless letters that sound well together.

50. “The Simpsons Theme” composer Danny : ELFMAN

Danny Elfman is a singer and songwriter from Los Angeles. Elfman is well known for compositions used for television and films. For example, he wrote the themes for “The Simpsons” and “Desperate Housewives”.

52. Many a frat pledge : 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”.

56. Freudian “will to live” : EROS

“Libido” is a term popularized by Sigmund Freud. Freud’s usage was more general than is understood today, as he used “libido” to describe all instinctive energy that arose in the subconscious. He believed that we humans are driven by two desires, the desire for life (the libido, or Eros) and the desire for death (Thanatos). Personally, I don’t agree …

63. Italian novelist Morante : ELSA

Elsa Morante was an Italian novelist who was married to fellow author Alberto Moravia. Morante lived in Rome for most of her life, only leaving there for part of WWII as both she and her husband were half-Jewish. That flight from Italy was inspiration for her most famous work, 1974’s “Las storia”, which was published in English under the title “History”.

66. Destroys, in gamer-speak : PWNS

“To pwn” is online gamer-speak for “to own, defeat easily”. Why? I really don’t have any idea …

67. 1916 Frost verse … or, diverged: Start of a saying about meaning well : THE ROAD NOT TAKEN (change lanes for “THE ROAD TO HELL”)

Robert Frost had a poem published in 1916 in which he describes the road he took in the last lines:

I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Because of these last lines, the poem is often assumed to be titled “The Road Less Traveled”. In fact, the poem’s correct name is “The Road not Taken”. Quite interesting …

71. “Star Wars” nomad : JAWA

In the “Star Wars” universe, the Jawa are a race of rodent-like pygmies who live on the desert planet called Tatooine.

73. Opposite of “da” : NYET

“Nyet” is Russian for “no”, and “da” is Russian for “yes”.

78. Molson rival : LABATT

The Labatt Brewing Company is the largest brewer in Canada. The company was founded by John K. Labatt in London, Ontario in 1847.

The Molson Brewery in Montreal is the oldest brewery in North America, having been established in 1786. In fact, Molson (now owned by Coors) is the second oldest company in Canada, after the Hudson’s Bay Company.

82. Heads overseas? : WCS

When I was growing up in Ireland, a “bathroom” was a room that had a bath and no toilet. The separate room with the commode was called “the toilet” or sometimes the W.C. (the water closet). Apparently the term closet was used because in the 1800s when homeowners started installing toilets indoors they often displaced clothes and linens in a “closet”, as a closet was the right size to take the commode.

89. Another form of “Jehovah” : YAHWEH

“Tetragrammaton” is a Greek word meaning “consisting of four letters” It is the name given to the four-letter word in Hebrew for the name God. The four letters are usually translated into English as YHWH, with “Yahweh” used as the ancient pronunciation. Another pronunciation that has been used is “Jehovah”.

92. W.W. II org. whose insignia featured Athena : WAC

The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was formed in 1942, and the unit was converted to full status the following year to become the Women’s Army Corps (WAC). Famously, General Douglas MacArthur referred to the WACs as his “best soldiers”, saying they worked harder, complained less and were better disciplined than men. The WACs were disbanded in 1978 and the serving members were integrated into the rest of the army.

96. Cassava, for one : TUBER

The cassava plant is a woody shrub native to South America grown largely for its carbohydrate-rich tubers. In fact, the cassava is the third largest food source of carbohydrates (for humans) in the world. Ordinarily, that carbohydrate is extracted from the plant, dried as flour and is called tapioca.

102. From l. to r. : ACR

In a crossword, for example, the across (acr.) answers run from left (l.) to right (r.).

106. “Button” that’s plainly visible : OUTIE

That would be a belly “button”.

110. A germophobe might have it, for short : OCD

Apparently, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is the fourth most commonly diagnosed mental disorder, making it about as prevalent as asthma.

112. Acronym for the four major entertainment awards : EGOT

The acronym “EGOT” stands for “Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony”, and is a reference to performers who have won all four awards. Also known as the “Showbiz Award Grand Slam”, there are relatively few individuals who have been so honored. The first five to do so were:

  1. Richard Rodgers in 1962
  2. Helen Hayes in 1977
  3. Rita Moreno in 1977
  4. John Gielgud in 1991
  5. Audrey Hepburn in 1994 (posthumously)

115. Artist with the third most Top 40 hits in the 1960s, behind Elvis and the Beatles : BRENDA LEE

Brenda Lee is a country and rockabilly singer who had 37 songs that made the charts in the sixties. Lee’s biggest hits are probably “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” from 1958, and “I’m Sorry” from 1960. Lee was only 13 years old when she recorded “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”.

117. Nissan S.U.V.s … or, diverged: Emotional appeal : PATHFINDERS (change lanes for “PATHOS”)

The Pathfinder is an SUV sold in North America that is marketed in Japan and the rest of the world as the Nissan Terrano.

120. Hit 2007 Will Smith film : I AM LEGEND

“I Am Legend” is a 1955 science fiction novel by Richard Matheson that tells of an apparent sole survivor of a pandemic. The survivor has to fight off zombie-like vampires who come out at night. “I Am Legend” was famously adapted into a 1971 movie called “The Omega Man” starring Charlton Heston, and then into a 2007 film using the same title as the novel, which stars Will Smith.

121. Some potatoes : IDAHOES

Idaho has the nickname the Gem State, mainly because almost every known type of gemstone has been found there. Idaho is also sometimes called the Potato State as potatoes are such a popular crop in the state. I’d go for the potatoes over the gems, but that’s probably just me …

124. Gratiano’s love in “The Merchant of Venice” : NERISSA

Nerissa is Portia’s maid in Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice “.

125. Line in the sand? : SOS

The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots), although in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so SOS is in effect only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are also mnemonics, introduced after the “SOS” signal was adopted.

Down

1. Does course work? : MOWS

That would be mowing the grass on a golf course, perhaps.

2. Bygone title : SHAH

The last Shah of Iran was Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, as he was overthrown in the revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. The post-revolution government sought the extradition of the Shah back to Iran while he was in the United States seeking medical care (he had cancer). His prolonged stay in the United States, recovering from surgery, caused some unrest back in Iran and resentment towards the United States. Some say that this resentment precipitated the storming of the US Embassy in Tehran and the resulting hostage crisis.

7. Symbols of density : RHOS

Rho is the Greek letter that looks just like our Roman letter “p”, although it is equivalent to the Roman letter R.

11. Vegas casino robbed in “Ocean’s Eleven” : BELLAGIO

The Bellagio is a hotel and casino in Las Vegas that is named for the Italian town of Bellagio located on Lake Como. Famously, the hotel features its own artificial lake that covers 8 acres on the front of the property in which there is a large dancing water fountain.

“Ocean’s 11” is a great film from 1960, starring Frank Sinatra as Danny Ocean. The original storyline is updated for the excellent 2001 remake, with George Clooney playing the lead. In the 1960 movie, the love interest is a character called Beatrice Ocean, played by Angie Dickinson. In the 2001 version, the love interest gets a new name, Tess Ocean, and is played by Julia Roberts. The 2001 remake (titled “Ocean’s Eleven”, note the spelling) spawned two sequels: “Ocean’s Twelve” in 2004 and “Ocean’s Thirteen” in 2007.

13. Supermodel Carangi : GIA

Gia Carangi was a fashion model, often described as the world’s first supermodel. Carangi was from Philadelphia, and had her first modelling jobs appearing in newspaper ads. She started to abuse heroin in 1980, at 20 years of age. She contracted AIDS, and died at 26 years old. Carangi was one of the first famous women to succumb to the disease, in 1986. HBO made a biopic about Carangi’s life called “Gia” in 1998. Angelina Jolie plays the title role.

14. Armless coats that may bear coats of arms : TABARDS

Tabards were tunics worn by knights over their armor. Often, the tabard was quite colorful and wa emblazoned with the knight’s coat of arms. It was this usage of the word “tabard” that gave rise to the Tabard inn, which features in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales”.

21. Activist youth org. : SDS

Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was an activist group in the sixties. The SDS organized the largest student strike in the history of the United States on 26 April 1968, with about a million students staying away from class that day. The “Students for a Democratic Society” name was revived in 2006 with the foundation of a new US-based student organization with left wing beliefs. Today’s SDS was founded by a pair of high school students from Greenwich Village, New York.

23. Snacks : NOSHES

Our word “nosh” has been around since the late fifties, when it was imported from the Yiddish word “nashn” meaning “to nibble”. We use “nosh” as a noun that means snack, or as a verb meaning to eat between meals.

28. Ball brand : NERF

Nerf is soft material used in a whole series of toys designed for “safe” play indoors. The Nerf product is used to make darts, balls and ammunition for toy guns. “NERF” is an acronym, standing for Non-Expanding Recreational Foam.

31. La Dame de ___ (Eiffel Tower nickname) : FER

The Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair) of 1900 was held in Paris, France. The 1900 fair is remembered for the magnificent entrance arch that was constructed for visitors. That entrance arch was to remain standing for only nine years, but the city decided to keep it and you can visit it today. Today we call that entrance arch the Eiffel Tower. The tower is sometimes referred to in French “La Dame de Fer”, meaning “the Iron Lady”.

33. Sacred crosses : ANKHS

The ankh was the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic character for “eternal life”. The ankh wasn’t just used in inscriptions but was often fashioned into amulets and as surrounds for mirrors (perhaps symbolizing a view into another world). The ankh is also known as “the key of the Nile” and “crux ansata” (Latin for “cross with a handle”).

34. 1946 femme fatale film : GILDA

Rita Hayworth played the quintessential femme fatale in the 1946 movie “Gilda”, in which she starred opposite Glenn Ford.

35. Santa’s reindeer, e.g. : OCTET

We get the names for Santa’s reindeer from the famous 1823 poem called “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, although we’ve modified a couple of the names over the years. The full list is:

  • Dasher
  • Dancer
  • Prancer
  • Vixen
  • Comet
  • Cupid
  • Donder (originally “Dunder”, and now often “Donner”)
  • Blitzen (originally “Blixem”)

Rudolph was added to the list by retailer Montgomery Ward, would you believe? The store commissioned Robert L. May to create a booklet that could be handed out to children around Christmas in 1939, and May introduced us to a new friend for Santa, namely Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

37. TV band : UHF

TV frequencies here in North America are divided into two bands. The VHF band covers channels 2 through 13; the UHF band covers channels 14 through 83.

41. Wilson of “The Office” : RAINN

Rainn Wilson is an actor best known for playing Dwight Schrute on the US version of the sitcom “The Office”.

50. Actress Sommer : ELKE

Elke Sommer is a German-born actress who was at the height of her success on the silver screen in the sixties. Sommer won a Golden Globe as Most Promising Newcomer Actress for her role opposite Paul Newman in 1964’s “The Prize”. She also sings and has released several albums. Now Sommer focuses on painting, producing artwork that is strongly influenced by the work of Marc Chagall.

55. Bygone Apple app : ICHAT

iChat was introduced in 2002, and was Apple’s “instant messaging” application that integrated with the Mac Operating System. iChat was replaced by Messages.

57. ___-pitch : SLO

Slo-pitch (or “slow-pitch”) is a type of softball.

59. Autobahn autos : OPELS

Adam Opel founded his company in 1863, first making sewing machines in a cowshed. Commercial success brought new premises and a new product line in 1886, namely penny-farthing bicycles. Adam Opel died in 1895, leaving his two sons with a company that made more penny-farthings and sewing machines than any other company in the world. In 1899 the two sons partnered with a locksmith and started to make cars, but not very successfully. Two years later, the locksmith was dropped in favor of a licensing arrangement with a French car company. By 1914, Opel was the largest manufacturer of automobiles in Germany. My Dad had an Opel in the seventies, a station wagon (we’d say “estate car” in Ireland) called an Opel Kadett.

64. Online ticket exchange : STUBHUB!

StubHub! is an online ticket exchange business that is owned by eBay. StubHub! acts as the middleman between buyers and seller of event tickets, whether those buyers and sellers are individuals or large organizations.

65. Chem. neurotransmitter : ATP

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a chemical used in the body to transfer energy for cell-to-cell. One of the main uses of ATP is to shorten muscles, so that they can do work.

68. Sheriff’s asst. : DEP

Deputy (dep.)

70. ___ Industries (oil and gas giant) : KOCH

Koch Industries is a huge company with diverse interests, but with the oil industry at its core. The company was founded in 1940 by Fred C. Koch. Reportedly, Koch is the second largest privately-held company in the US, after Cargill. Today Koch Industries is owned by two of Fred’s sons: Charles and David H. Koch. Famously, the Koch Brothers are known for contributing hundreds of million dollars to conservative political causes and candidates.

71. “Aladdin” villain : JAFAR

Jafar is the bad guy in the animated film “Aladdin”. Jafar was important enough to get his name front and center in the sequel called “Aladdin 2”, which is usually referred to as “The Return of Jafar”.

72. Summers back in the day? : ABACI

The abacus (plural “abaci”) was used as a counting frame long before man had invented a numbering system. It is a remarkable invention, particularly when one notes that abaci are still widely used today across Africa and Asia.

75. “How Deep Is Your Love” group : THE BEE GEES

The Brothers Gibb (hence, the name “The Bee Gees”) were born in England but grew up and started their musical careers in Australia. They moved back to Manchester in the north of England as youths, and there hit the big time.

76. “Introduction to the Analysis of the Infinite” writer : EULER

Leonhard Euler was a brilliant Swiss mathematician and physicist, a pioneer in the fields of logarithms and graph theory.

81. Lummox : OAF

The word “lummox” comes from East Anglian slang (northeast of London), and describes an ungainly and often clueless person. The term is probably a contraction of “lumbering ox”.

86. Philip ___, first Asian-American film actor to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame : AHN

The actor Philip Ahn is perhaps best known for playing Master Kahn, one of Caine’s teachers on the television show “Kung Fu”. Ahn was the first Asian-American actor to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

87. “Milk” star, 2008 : SEAN PENN

Actor Sean Penn is a two-time Oscar winner, for his roles in “Mystic River” released in 2003 and “Milk” released in 2008. Penn’s celebrity on screen is only matched with his fame off the screen. Apart from his “big name” marriages to singer Madonna and actress Robin Wright, Penn is also well known for political and social activism. He perhaps inherited some of his political views from his father, actor and director Leo Penn. As an actor, Leo refused to “name names” in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee and so was blacklisted in Hollywood and had to move into directing to put bread on the table. In later years as a director he gave his son Sean his first acting role, in a 1974 episode of “Little House on the Prairie”.

“Milk” is a 2008 biopic based on the life of activist and politician Harvey Milk, with Sean Penn playing the title role. In 1977, Milk became the first openly gay person to be elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Tragically, Milk was assassinated along with Mayor George Moscone in 1978 by former city supervisor Dan White.

88. Interrupted mid-sentence? : PAROLED

The term “parole” is a French word that we use in English, with the French “parole” meaning “word, speech”. Of particular interest is the French phrase “parole d’honneur” which translates as “word of honor”. In the early 1600s we started using “parole” to mean a promise by a prisoner of war not to escape, as in the prisoner giving his “word of honor” not to run off. Over time, parole has come to mean conditional release of a prisoner before he or she has served the full term of a sentence.

90. Like leprechauns : WEE

A leprechaun is a mischievous fairy in Irish folklore. Traditionally, leprechauns spend their days making shoes and hide all their money in a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Our word “leprechaun” comes from the Irish name for such a sprite, “leipreachán”.

94. Skipjack, e.g. : TUNA

Skipjack tuna would be called medium-sized, growing to about three feet long. Albacore tuna is a little larger.

96. Early flight inits. : TWA

Trans World Airlines (TWA) was a big carrier in the US, but was perhaps even more recognized for its extensive presence in Europe and the Middle East. For many years, especially after the collapse of Pan Am and TWA’s purchase by Howard Hughes, TWA was considered the unofficial flag carrier for the US. The company started in 1930, the product of a forced merger of Transcontinental Air Transport and Western Air Express. The Transcontinental and Western Air that resulted (the original meaning of the initialism “TWA”) was what the Postmaster General wanted, a bigger airline to which the Postal Service could award airmail contracts.

106. Kabuki sash : OBI

The sash worn as part of traditional Japanese dress is known as an obi. The obi can be tied at the back in what is called a butterfly knot. The term “obi” is also used for the thick cotton belts that are an essential part of the outfits worn by practitioners of many martial arts. The color of the martial arts obi signifies the wearer’s skill level.

Kabuki is a Japanese form of theater involving dance and drama. In the original Kabuki theater, both male and female parts were played by women. In contrast, the Noh dramas have the male and female parts played by men.

107. Territory in Risk : URAL

Risk is a fabulous board game, one first sold in France in 1957. Risk was invented by a very successful French director of short films called Albert Lamorisse. Lamorisse called his new game “La Conquête du Monde”, which translates into English as “The Conquest of the World”. A game of Risk is a must during the holidays in our house …

108. Motif for Verdi or Monteverdi : TEMA

“Tema” is Italian for “motif, theme”.

Giuseppe Verdi was an Italian composer, mainly of operas, who was active during the Romantic era. Equally as famous as Verdi’s operas, are arias from those operas such as “La donna è mobile” from “Rigoletto”, “The Drinking Song” from “La Traviata” and “The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves” from “Nabucco”.

The Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi was a true pioneer. His opera “L’Orfeo” was one of the first operas ever composed, and is the earliest surviving opera that is still regularly performed. The debut performance of “L’Orfeo” was in 1607.

109. Whole heap : SLEW

Our usage of “slew” to mean “large number” has nothing to do with the verb “to slew”. The noun “slew” come into English in the early 1800s from the Irish word “sluagh” meaning “host, crowd, multitude”.

111. $$$ bigwigs : CFOS

Chief financial officer (CFO)

113. Certain fro-yo add-in : OREO

Frozen yogurt (fro-yo)

119. Eavesdropping org. : NSA

The National Security Agency (NSA) was set up in 1952 by President Truman, a replacement for the Armed Forces Security Agency that had existed in the Department of Defense since 1949. The NSA has always been clouded in secrecy and even the 1952 letter from President Truman that established the agency was kept under wraps from the public for over a generation. I really like the organization’s nickname … “No Such Agency”.

To eavesdrop is to listen in on someone else’s conversation without being invited to do so. The term comes from the practice of spies loitering in the area just outside the walls of a house, particularly in the “eavesdrip”, the ground close to a house that catches the drips of rainwater falling from the eaves of the roof.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Popular web portal : MSN
4. Sweet stuff : SUCROSE
11. Braggadocio : BIG TALK
18. “Well, well, well!” : OHO!
19. Coming : UP AHEAD
20. Slant in columns : MEDIA BIAS
22. 1992 movie based on an “S.N.L.” sketch … or, diverged: Modus vivendi : WAYNE’S WORLD (change lanes for “WAY OF LIFE”)
24. Railroad line? : ALL ABOARD!
25. “Out!” : SHOO!
26. Suffix with host : -ESS
27. Like pins-and-needles feelings : TINGLY
29. Mystiques : AURAS
30. Defunct org. in which Donald Trump owned the New Jersey Generals : USFL
32. “Adios!” : SEE YA!
33. “Prince Valiant” son : ARN
34. “We’re doomed!” : GOD HELP US!
39. Computer mouse action … or, diverged: Event for RuPaul : DRAG AND DROP (change lanes for “DRAG SHOW”)
44. Less friendly : ICIER
45. Blue-roofed eatery : IHOP
47. Gambols : FRISKS
48. Time to remember : AGE
49. Erstwhile Fords : LTDS
50. “The Simpsons Theme” composer Danny : ELFMAN
52. Many a frat pledge : SOPH
53. Become bored (of) : TIRE
54. ___ mother : DEN
55. Scarcely : ILL
56. Freudian “will to live” : EROS
58. Better, to an impatient boss : SOONER
60. Spots likely to smear : ATTACK ADS
63. Italian novelist Morante : ELSA
66. Destroys, in gamer-speak : PWNS
67. 1916 Frost verse … or, diverged: Start of a saying about meaning well : THE ROAD NOT TAKEN (change lanes for “THE ROAD TO HELL”)
71. “Star Wars” nomad : JAWA
73. Opposite of “da” : NYET
74. Put a cover on : UPHOLSTER
78. Molson rival : LABATT
80. “No ___!” : PROB
82. Heads overseas? : WCS
83. Coral, e.g. : HUE
84. A long way off : AFAR
85. Part of a treasure chest : HASP
89. Another form of “Jehovah” : YAHWEH
91. Big swig : BELT
92. W.W. II org. whose insignia featured Athena : WAC
93. Prepare, as leftovers : REHEAT
95. Fill-up filler : FUEL
96. Cassava, for one : TUBER
97. Bring someone home … or, diverged: Common high school offering : DRIVE IN A RUN (change lanes for “DRIVER’S ED”)
100. Frigid : BELOW ZERO
102. From l. to r. : ACR
103. Proscriptions : NO-NOS
105. Chill out : LAZE
106. “Button” that’s plainly visible : OUTIE
109. Showy debut : SPLASH
110. A germophobe might have it, for short : OCD
112. Acronym for the four major entertainment awards : EGOT
115. Artist with the third most Top 40 hits in the 1960s, behind Elvis and the Beatles : BRENDA LEE
117. Nissan S.U.V.s … or, diverged: Emotional appeal : PATHFINDERS (change lanes for “PATHOS”)
120. Hit 2007 Will Smith film : I AM LEGEND
121. Some potatoes : IDAHOES
122. Comic strip cry : EEK!
123. Establish, as rules : LAY DOWN
124. Gratiano’s love in “The Merchant of Venice” : NERISSA
125. Line in the sand? : SOS

Down

1. Does course work? : MOWS
2. Bygone title : SHAH
3. Expression of shock at someone’s actions : NO, YOU DIDN’T!
4. Go after for redress : SUE
5. Try to induce a bigger purchase : UPSELL
6. Rookery cries : CAWS
7. Symbols of density : RHOS
8. Beyond, to bards : O’ER
9. Sea dogs : SALTS
10. Went for a whirl : EDDIED
11. Vegas casino robbed in “Ocean’s Eleven” : BELLAGIO
12. Without purpose : IDLY
13. Supermodel Carangi : GIA
14. Armless coats that may bear coats of arms : TABARDS
15. Overflow (with) : ABOUND
16. Fabulist : LIAR
17. Russia’s ___ Sea (arm of the Arctic Ocean) : KARA
20. Hungarians : MAGYARS
21. Activist youth org. : SDS
23. Snacks : NOSHES
28. Ball brand : NERF
31. La Dame de ___ (Eiffel Tower nickname) : FER
33. Sacred crosses : ANKHS
34. 1946 femme fatale film : GILDA
35. Santa’s reindeer, e.g. : OCTET
36. Monumental support : PILLAR
37. TV band : UHF
38. “Word on the street is …” : SOME SAY …
40. Deadly cobra : ASP
41. Wilson of “The Office” : RAINN
42. They might be giants : OGRES
43. Kind of review : PEER
46. The usual : PAR
50. Actress Sommer : ELKE
51. “Keep out” sign : NO ENTRY
53. Burgs : TOWNS
55. Bygone Apple app : ICHAT
57. ___-pitch : SLO
59. Autobahn autos : OPELS
61. Feuding : AT WAR
62. Syndicate head : DON
64. Online ticket exchange : STUBHUB!
65. Chem. neurotransmitter : ATP
68. Sheriff’s asst. : DEP
69. “Them’s the breaks, I guess” : AH WELL
70. ___ Industries (oil and gas giant) : KOCH
71. “Aladdin” villain : JAFAR
72. Summers back in the day? : ABACI
75. “How Deep Is Your Love” group : THE BEE GEES
76. “Introduction to the Analysis of the Infinite” writer : EULER
77. Cool again : RETRO
78. God, informally : LAWD
79. Gender-neutral possessive : THEIR
81. Lummox : OAF
86. Philip ___, first Asian-American film actor to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame : AHN
87. “Milk” star, 2008 : SEAN PENN
88. Interrupted mid-sentence? : PAROLED
90. Like leprechauns : WEE
91. Tipsy : BUZZED
93. Shrank : RECEDED
94. Skipjack, e.g. : TUNA
96. Early flight inits. : TWA
98. For naught : VAINLY
99. Straight-talking : NO-SPIN
101. Certain radio format : OLDIES
104. What you might sit in by the pool : SHADE
106. Kabuki sash : OBI
107. Territory in Risk : URAL
108. Motif for Verdi or Monteverdi : TEMA
109. Whole heap : SLEW
110. “Fancy seeing you here!” : OH, HI!
111. $$$ bigwigs : CFOS
113. Certain fro-yo add-in : OREO
114. Sounds of reproof : TSKS
116. Back : AGO
118. Besmirch : TAR
119. Eavesdropping org. : NSA

16 thoughts on “1105-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 5 Nov 2017, Sunday”

  1. 47:42 after fixing an error (or two errors, depending on how you look at it). I’d never heard of PWNS or RAINN, so I had to use Google to get the “N” at their intersection – a serious personal Natick. I also never saw the faint circles on the grid (although I just checked and they are there), so I was mystified by the theme until I came here. Not a personal best for me … 😜

    1. I got to thinking about this one and realized that those diagonal “roads not taken” are something of a tour de force. Maybe I’m displaying my ignorance of the constructors’ art, but it seems as if they could have been a real bear to create. Bravo!

  2. Slogged my way through the puzzle while watching the Seahawk – Redskin game. Had one blank square remaining at the intersection of 66 Across and 41 Down. Had no clue.

  3. 69:37 with a couple of lookups. Ditto to almost all of the above. Tough one and the theme totally went over my head until I looked at it here. Impressive but it didn’t really impact the puzzle until afterwards when I went “wow”.

    Kind of like the Monty Python joke of doing something ordinary but doing it the hard way – e.g. with your head in a bucket of piranha fish. Pretty impressive, but why??

    Anyway – Very good tough puzzle.

    Best –

  4. 89a. Another form of Jehovah.
    As a reminder to substitute Adonai rather than violate the prohibition of pronouncing the tetragrammaton, the rabbis inserted the vowels of Adonai under the letters. This was not intended to imply that Jehovah was another name for God.

  5. 50:51 and 6 errors, mostly in the bottom. DRIVE IN A RUN just would not occur to me, given the clue (I really *hate* sound-alike misdirections!!!!), and skipjack as a clue for a TUNA was completely out of left field (perhaps the same field one would hit to to DRIVE IN A RUN?). Ah well, big grids like this make 6 errors palatable…..

  6. 37:00, no errors. I don’t consider it necessary to get the theme in order to consider the puzzle finished; and, fortunately, that wasn’t necessary today. Kudos to the setter for executing a difficult theme, but more effort than it was worth in my opinion.

    Good mix of clues, with relatively easy ones allowing cross fills to recognize the opaque ones. Have never seen the movie GILDA, but the title immediately came to mind for some strange reason. As a long time employee of the US Navy, I am aware that many of the Navy’s attack submarines were named after fish, the USS Skipjack being one of them. 94D felt that the setter was looking for a type of fish, so TUNA seemed appropriate.

    I have also been a video gamer since the days of Pong. The much younger generation came up with term “owned” to reflect a dominant victory over an opponent. My guess is that a couple of video gamers, sitting next to each other or over on-line chat, decided that “P’owned” sounded much more forceful than “owned”, and the term seems to have stuck.

  7. I still don’t understand how Abaci answers 72 down. And ACR and PWN? Even when I filled them in, they made no sense to me. Anyway, I learn something new from nearly every puzzle. Thank you.

    1. @J M –

      Summers refers to things that sum things…as in they add them. It doesn’t mean the season of summer. So a summer is referring to an abacus because you can sum (add) with it – plural ABACI.

      ACR is indeed evil – “Short” for ACRoss as in the puzzle from l to r (left to right) is ACRoss as opposed to u to d (up to down) might be the down answers. Awful, but that’s the explanation.

      And no one understands PWN – It is modern day gamespeak for beating someone – no one knows why.

      Hope that helps

      Best –

  8. This was a tough puzzle and I missed a few (some by my own stupidity, some by simple ignorance), but I think it would have been fair to omit the circles and let folks find the diagonal meanings by themselves.

  9. Only missed two letters, but this puzzle was one of the toughest in a long time. Took two passes through it to complete, and like others, I missed the circles — after working so hard on the puzzle, I forgot they were there! I made up the divergent endings myself but didn’t see how they tied in until the circles were mentioned here.
    Can’t believe I missed the “F” in La Dame de Fer — I will be seeing “her” in another month or so!

  10. I read the explanation for the theme, twice and still have no idea what to make of it. Still finished 90% of the puzzle. Pretty impressed with myself.

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