1115-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 15 Nov 2017, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Steven E. Atwood
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: Britishisms

Each of today’s themed answers is a common phrase that has been reinterpreted as a BRITISHISM:

  • 11D. Words found in the answers to this puzzle’s starred clues : BRITISHISMS
  • 17A. *Monthly charge for a London apartment? : FLAT RATE
  • 26A. *French fries on a London card table? : POKER CHIPS
  • 40A. *Catalog from a London raincoat designer? : MAC BOOK
  • 51A. *Part of a London police officer’s uniform? : BOBBY SOCKS
  • 62A. *Conveyance in a multilevel London store? : SHOP LIFT

Bill’s time: 8m 06s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Man’s name that means “king” : ROY

The name “Roy” is of Norman origin, and comes from the Spanish “rey” or French “roi” meaning “king”.

4. Taxpayers’ IDs : SSNS

The main purpose of a Social Security Number (SSN) is to track individuals for the purposes of taxation, although given its ubiquitous use, it is looking more and more like an identity number to me. The social security number system was introduced in 1936. Prior to 1986, an SSN was required only for persons with substantial income so many children under 14 had no number assigned. For some years the IRS had a concern that a lot of people were claiming children on their tax returns who did not actually exist. So, from 1986 onward, it is a requirement to get an SSN for any dependents over the age of 5. Sure enough, in 1987 seven million dependents “disappeared”.

14. St. Patrick, for the Irish : ICON

There is a fair amount known about Saint Patrick, some of which comes from two letters written in his own hand. St. Patrick lived in the fifth century, but was not born in Ireland. He was first brought to Ireland at about 16 years of age from his native Britain, by Irish raiders who made him a slave for six years. Patrick managed to escape and returned to his homeland where he studied and entered the Church. He went back to Ireland as a bishop and a missionary and there lived out the rest of his life. There seems to be good evidence that he died on March 17th (now celebrated annually as Saint Patrick’s Day), although the year is less clear. The stories about shamrock and snakes, I am afraid they are the stuff of legend.

17. *Monthly charge for a London apartment? : FLAT RATE

“Flat”, in the sense of an apartment or condominium, is a word more commonly used in the British Isles than on this side of the pond. The term “flat” is Scottish in origin, in which language it used to mean “floor in a house”.

23. Mineral in bath powder : TALC

Talc is a mineral, actually hydrated magnesium silicate. Talcum powder is composed of loose talc, although these days “baby powder” is also made from cornstarch.

26. *French fries on a London card table? : POKER CHIPS

French fries are called chips back in Ireland where I grew up. And what we call chips in the US are known as “crisps” in Britain and Ireland. In France, French fries are known as “pommes frites”.

28. Mushroom used in sukiyaki : ENOKI

Enokitake (also known as “enoki”) are long and thin white mushrooms often added to soups or salads.

Sukiyaki is a Japanese soup/stew prepared and served in a “nabe”, a Japanese hot pot.

39. First X, say : TIC

When I was growing up in Ireland we played “noughts and crosses” … our name for the game tic-tac-toe.

40. *Catalog from a London raincoat designer? : MAC BOOK

When I was growing up in Ireland, we had to take our “macs” to school in case it rained (and it usually did!). “Mac” is short for “Macintosh”, a waterproof raincoat made of rubberized fabric. The coat was named after its inventor, Scotsman Charles Macintosh.

42. Spot in la mer : ILE

In French, one might go to an “île” (island) in the middle of “la mer” (the sea).

45. Learjet competitor : CESSNA

The Cessna Aircraft manufacturing company was founded in 1911 by Clyde Cessna, a farmer from Kansas. Cessna is headquartered in Wichita and today has over 8,000 employees.

Learjet is a company making business jets that was founded in 1960 by William Powell Lear. The original Learjet was a modified Swiss ground-attack fighter aircraft.

46. Cardinal ___ : SIN

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

49. Johnny Appleseed, e.g. : NOMAD

Johnny Appleseed’s real name was John Chapman. By all accounts, Johnny was a remarkable man, someone who would have fitted right in with today’s culture as we become more environmentally conscious. He lived a minimalist lifestyle, going barefoot in summer to save on shoe leather. He was a vegetarian, and had great respect for all animal life, including insects.

51. *Part of a London police officer’s uniform? : BOBBY SOCKS

Police officers in the UK are sometimes called “bobbies” (and used to be called “peelers”). The name refers back to Sir Robert Peel who, when Home Secretary, created the modern police force.

57. Home of the Ewoks : ENDOR

The Ewoks are creatures who live on the moon of Endor, first appearing in “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”. They’re the cute and cuddly little guys that look like teddy bears.

62. *Conveyance in a multilevel London store? : SHOP LIFT

Elevators are known as “lifts” in England.

67. Dagwood’s bratty neighbor : ELMO

“Blondie” was created as a comic strip by Chic Young. It was first published in 1930, and is still being created today (although the strip is now controlled by Chic’s son, Dean). The strip spawned a series of radio programs (1939-1950) and a series of Blondie films (1938-1950). Blondie is married to Dagwood Bumstead. Dagwood slaves away at a construction company run by Julius Dithers, whose wife is called Cora. Another famous character in the strip is Elmo Tuttle, a pesky neighborhood kid who is always bugging Dagwood.

69. Lucy’s sitcom pal : ETHEL

In the hit television show “I Love Lucy”, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz play Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. The Ricardos’ best friends are also their landlords, Fred and Ethel Mertz. The Mertz’s are played by William Frawley and Vivian Vance.

70. Beat people? : COPS

“To cop” was northern British dialect for “to seize, catch”, and is still a slang term meaning “to get hold of, steal”. This verb evolved in the noun “copper”, describing a policeman, someone who catches criminals. “Copper” is often shortened to “cop”.

Down

1. TKO caller : REF

In boxing, a knockout (KO) is when one of the fighters can’t get up from the canvas within a specified time, usually 10 seconds. This can be due to fatigue, injury, or the participant may be truly “knocked out”. A referee, fighter or doctor may also decide to stop a fight without a physical knockout, especially if there is concern about a fighter’s safety. In this case the bout is said to end with a technical knockout (TKO).

2. Harry Potter’s Hedwig, e.g. : OWL

Hedwig is the owl belonging to Harry Potter in the J. K. Rowling series of fantasy novels. Hedwig is a female owl, although she is played in the movies by male snowy owls. Male snowy owls are completely white, whereas females have dark patches on their plumage.

4. Familiar voice since 2011 : SIRI

Siri is a software application that works with Apple’s iOS operating system. “Siri” is an acronym standing for Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface. You’ve probably seen the ads on television, with folks talking to their iPhones asking for information and responding with a voice. I hear that Google is a little scared by Siri, as Siri is non-visual. There’s no need to touch a screen or a keyboard to work with Siri, no opportunity to click on one of Google’s ads! By the way, voice-over artist Susan Bennett revealed herself as the female American voice of Siri not that long ago. The British version of Siri is called Daniel, and the Australian version is called Karen. Also, “Siri” is a Norwegian name meaning “beautiful woman who leads you to victory”, and was the name the developer had chosen for his first child.

5. Rascal : SCAMP

Back in the 16th or 17th centuries, the word “scamp” was used to describe a highway robber. The usage evolved to mean “rascal” in the early 1800s.

7. Weaselly sort : SNEAK

To weasel out of something is to back away from a prior commitment. The association of weasels with the concept of not being trusted might have arisen from the behavior in which a weasel sucks out the contents of an egg while leaving the shell virtually intact.

8. Character-building youth org. : BSA

The rank of Eagle Scout was introduced by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in 1911. A candidate for Eagle Scout must have first earned a minimum of 21 merit badges, and demonstrate leadership skills and embrace Scout Spirit. Prior to 1911, the highest rank attainable in the BSA was Wolf Scout.

11. Words found in the answers to this puzzle’s starred clues : BRITISHISMS

A “Britishism” is a word or phrase in English that is typically used in Britain, with a meaning that is peculiar to that country. Examples would be “fortnight” (two weeks), “davenport” (small writing desk), “bomb” (great success), “kiosk” (telephone booth) and “dustman” (garbage collector).

16. Dos y cuatro : SEIS

In Spanish, “dos y cuatro” (two plus four) makes “seis” (six).

23. Final frame in bowling : TENTH

Bowling has been around for an awfully long time. The oldest known reference to the game is in Egypt, where pins and balls were found in an ancient tomb that is over 5,000 years old. The first form of the game to come to America was nine-pin bowling, which had been very popular in Europe for centuries. In 1841 in Connecticut, nine-pin bowling was banned due to its association with gambling. Supposedly, an additional pin was added to get around the ban, and ten-pin bowling was born.

24. Lennox of Eurythmics : ANNIE

Annie Lennox is a Scottish singer who rose to fame as half of the duo Eurythmics with David A. Stewart in the 1980s. Lennox went solo in 1992, and has been riding high ever since.

25. Atkins plan, e.g. : LOW-CARB DIET

The eating of relatively few carbohydrates is central to the diet proposed by Robert Atkins. Atkins first laid out the principles behind the Atkins diet in a research paper published in 1958 in the “Journal of the American Medical Association”. He popularized his diet starting in 1972 with his book “Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution”.

27. Synthetic alternative to silk : RAYON

Rayon is a little unusual in the textile industry in that it is not truly a synthetic fiber, but nor can it be called a natural fiber. Rayon is produced from naturally occurring cellulose that is dissolved and then reformed into fibers.

34. Cat once prized for its fur : OCELOT

The ocelot is found mainly in South and Central America, although there have been sightings as far north as Arkansas. An ocelot doesn’t look too different from a domestic cat, and some have been kept as pets. Perhaps most famously, Salvador Dali had one that he carried around everywhere with him.

35. Airer of Ken Burns documentaries : PBS

Ken Burns directs and produces epic documentary films that usually make inventive use of archive footage. Recent works are the sensational “The War” (about the US in WWII) and the magnificent “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea”, as well as 2014’s “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History”. His latest offering is 2017’s “The Vietnam War”.

38. George who played Norm on “Cheers” : WENDT

The character of Norm Peterson was the only customer of the bar to appear in every episode of “Cheers”, something that one couldn’t really call ironic since he loved that barstool! George Wendt played Norm, and I suppose the fact the Wendt was expelled from Notre Dame after one semester, with a 0.0 GPA, might have helped him get the role!

41. Ike’s home state: Abbr. : KAN

Dwight D. Eisenhower (DDE) was the 34th US president, but he wanted to be remembered as a soldier. He was a five-star general during WWII in charge of the Allied Forces in the European Theater of Operations (ETO). President Eisenhower died in 1969 at Walter Reed Army Hospital. He was buried in an $80 standard soldier’s casket in his army uniform in a chapel on the grounds of the beautiful Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas.

44. ___ Harry, vocalist for the band Blondie : DEBORAH

Singer Debbie Harry and guitarist Chris Stein founded the rock band Blondie in 1974. Blondie’s biggest hits were “Heart of Glass”, “Call Me”, “Rapture” and “The Tide is High”.

48. Fool’s gold : PYRITE

Pyrite is a mineral, also known as a iron pyrite. Famously, it has an appearance very similar to gold, so has the nickname “fool’s gold”. Pyrite does find its way into some baubles, which go by the name of marcasite jewelry.

50. German automaker : OPEL

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.

51. First lady after Eleanor : BESS

Harry and Bess Truman met when they were very young children, at Sunday school. They were friends right through high school and became engaged in 1918 just before Harry went off to France during WWI, marrying the next year. Bess Truman never really took to the Washington scene when she became First Lady and stayed out of the limelight as much as she could. Perhaps that contributed to her longevity. Mrs. Truman lived to the age of 97, making her the longest living First Lady in US history.

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was the daughter of Elliot, brother to President Theodore Roosevelt. “Eleanor” met Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was her father’s fifth cousin, in 1902, and the two started “walking out together” the following year after they both attended a White House dinner with President Roosevelt.

53. Sine’s reciprocal, briefly : COSEC

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.

54. Frida who was portrayed in film by Salma Hayek : KAHLO

Salma Hayek is a Mexican actress. Hayek was the first Mexican national to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, for her portrayal of artist Frida Kahlo in the 2002 movie “Frida”.

59. Some narrative writing : EPOS

“Epos” is the Greek word for a story or a poem. We have absorbed the term into English with the same meaning. We also use it in English to mean “epic”, describing a long narrative poetic work featuring heroic deeds and ventures.

61. Org. with the Original Six teams : NHL

The “Original Six” are the group of teams that made up the National Hockey League (NHL) from the opening 1942-43 season until the NHL expansion of 1967. Those teams are still in the league, and are:

  • Boston Bruins
  • Chicago Blackhawks
  • Detroit Red Wings
  • Montreal Canadiens
  • New York Rangers
  • Toronto Maple Leafs

65. Sen. Cruz : TED

US Senator Ted Cruz served as Solicitor General for the state of Texas before heading to Washington. Cruz was appointed Solicitor General in 2003 at the age of 32, making him the youngest Solicitor General in the country. Famously, Cruz is an opponent of the Affordable Care Act and made a speech in 2013 in the US Senate on the subject that lasted for 21 hours and 19 minutes. It was the fourth longest speech in the history of the Senate.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Man’s name that means “king” : ROY
4. Taxpayers’ IDs : SSNS
8. Verbal digs : BARBS
13. Palindromic farm animal : EWE
14. St. Patrick, for the Irish : ICON
15. Is a first-stringer : STARTS
17. *Monthly charge for a London apartment? : FLAT RATE
19. Garb : ATTIRE
20. Targets : AIMS AT
22. Follower of the first intermission : ACT II
23. Mineral in bath powder : TALC
26. *French fries on a London card table? : POKER CHIPS
28. Mushroom used in sukiyaki : ENOKI
30. Arrives on time for : MAKES
31. 90° from ENE : NNW
32. Like a doctor’s penmanship, stereotypically : SLOPPY
36. Sign of spring : THAW
39. First X, say : TIC
40. *Catalog from a London raincoat designer? : MAC BOOK
42. Spot in la mer : ILE
43. Herd unit : HEAD
45. Learjet competitor : CESSNA
46. Cardinal ___ : SIN
47. What like-pole magnets do : REPEL
49. Johnny Appleseed, e.g. : NOMAD
51. *Part of a London police officer’s uniform? : BOBBY SOCKS
56. Furtive “Hey, you!” : PSST!
57. Home of the Ewoks : ENDOR
58. Perfectly : TO A TEE
60. Add, per a recipe : STIR IN
62. *Conveyance in a multilevel London store? : SHOP LIFT
66. Place for a sword : SHEATH
67. Dagwood’s bratty neighbor : ELMO
68. Message on an offstage card : CUE
69. Lucy’s sitcom pal : ETHEL
70. Beat people? : COPS
71. What curtains may signify : END

Down

1. TKO caller : REF
2. Harry Potter’s Hedwig, e.g. : OWL
3. Roll-call call : YEA!
4. Familiar voice since 2011 : SIRI
5. Rascal : SCAMP
6. “I beg to differ” : NOT SO
7. Weaselly sort : SNEAK
8. Character-building youth org. : BSA
9. What follows a cry of “Char-r-rge!” : ATTACK!
10. Mechanism in a unidirectional wrench : RATCHET
11. Words found in the answers to this puzzle’s starred clues : BRITISHISMS
12. Remove with a sandblaster, say : STRIP
16. Dos y cuatro : SEIS
18. Bulletin board item : TACK
21. Conductors set them : TEMPOS
23. Final frame in bowling : TENTH
24. Lennox of Eurythmics : ANNIE
25. Atkins plan, e.g. : LOW-CARB DIET
27. Synthetic alternative to silk : RAYON
29. Suffix with sex : -ISM
33. Gets ready to play basketball, say, with “up” : LACES
34. Cat once prized for its fur : OCELOT
35. Airer of Ken Burns documentaries : PBS
37. Many a rapper’s name : ALIAS
38. George who played Norm on “Cheers” : WENDT
41. Ike’s home state: Abbr. : KAN
44. ___ Harry, vocalist for the band Blondie : DEBORAH
48. Fool’s gold : PYRITE
50. German automaker : OPEL
51. First lady after Eleanor : BESS
52. Words before double or take : ON THE …
53. Sine’s reciprocal, briefly : COSEC
54. Frida who was portrayed in film by Salma Hayek : KAHLO
55. Crush, in a way, with “on” : STOMP
59. Some narrative writing : EPOS
61. Org. with the Original Six teams : NHL
63. What 61-Down teams play on : ICE
64. Amusement : FUN
65. Sen. Cruz : TED

6 thoughts on “1115-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 15 Nov 2017, Wednesday”

  1. 14:12. This was actually a DNF for me. I had the entire grid except the first and last letters of 67A and 70A. I’m not a math person so all I could think of for 53D was cosin and I have never heard of 59D or 67A. If had a bit more time I think I would have gotten it but I had to get the day going so I threw in the towel. I thought the rest of the puzzle was fine.

  2. 12:32, no errors. At the end, I was about to fill in the P of EPOS when I realized that I would then have SHAPLIFT, so I reviewed the situation, changed STAMP to STOMP, filled in the P to get SHOPLIFT, and, for once (ta-da!), avoided the damnable “almost there” message. I’m so proud of myself … 😜

  3. 17:03. That area with EPOS KAHLO and ELMO was cruel, but I managed eventually. I also had sexISt which led to the well known phrase tACBOOK. I figured that one out as well. An entire theme based on a foreign language (British)? Strange…

    Best –

  4. Uh-oh! I thought everything was correct and almost didn’t check but I did make one error. Hmmm. Had RAY instead of ROY. That gave me AWL for 2 down! Should have caught this error. Cute puzzle otherwise.

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