1116-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 16 Nov 2017, Thursday

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Constructed by: Alex Eylar
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: See These Clues

In today’s puzzles we clues referring to clues, in a very clever way:

  • 17A. See 58-Across : TAUTOLOGY
  • 58A. See 17-Across : TAUTOLOGY
  • 25A. See 25-Across : RECURSION
  • 36A. See 66-Across : A WILD GOOSE CHASE
  • 46A. See ??-Across : AMBIGUITY

Bill’s time: 12m 05s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

16. Frequent van Gogh setting : ARLES

Quite a few years ago now, I had the privilege of living just a short car-ride from the beautiful city of Arles in the South of France. Although Arles has a long and colorful history, the Romans had a prevailing influence over the city’s design. Arles has a spectacular Roman amphitheater, arch, circus as well as old walls that surround the center of the city. In more modern times, it was a place Vincent van Gogh often visited, and was where he painted many of his most famous works, including “Cafe Terrace at Night” and “Bedroom in Arles”.

17. See 58-Across : TAUTOLOGY
(58A. See 17-Across : TAUTOLOGY)

“Tautology” is one of my favorite words. It describes needless repetition, the redundant use words to convey the same message perhaps in the same sentence.

20. Calculator button : SIN

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.

25. See 25-Across : RECURSION

When something refers to itself, it is said to be recursive, self-referential.

31. Paid (up) : PONIED

“To pony up” means “to pay”. Apparently the term originated as slang use of the Latin term “legem pone” that was once used for “money”. “Legem Pone” was the title of the Psalm that was read out on March 25 each year, and March 25 was the first payday of the year in days gone by.

32. General ___ (“Superman” villain) : ZOD

General Zod is a supervillain and enemy of Superman of DC Comics. Zod is from Krypton, Superman’s home planet, so the two have many of the same superpowers. Zod appeared in the movies “Superman” and “Superman II”, and was played by English actor Terence Stamp.

33. Prefix with gendered : CIS-

The term “cisgender” is now used as the opposite of “transgender”. Cisgender people have a gender identity that matches the sex they were assigned at birth.

36. See 66-Across : A WILD GOOSE CHASE

Looking for 66-across? That would be a wild goose chase, as it doesn’t exist.

40. 22+ pages of the Oxford English Dictionary : SET

The “Oxford English Dictionary” (OED) contains over 300,000 “main” entries and 59 million words in total. The longest entry for one word in the second edition of the OED is the verb “set”. When the third edition was published in 2007, the longest entry for a single word became the verb “put”. Perhaps not surprisingly, the most-quoted author in the OED is William Shakespeare, with his most quoted work being “Hamlet”. The most-quoted female author is George Eliot (aka Mary Ann Evans).

41. Kind of look with bangs and eye shadow : EMO

The emo musical genre originated in Washington D.C. in the 80s, and takes its name from “emotional hardcore”. “Emo” is also the name given to the associated subculture. Not my cup of tea …

“Bangs” is another word that caught me out when I arrived in the US. “Bangs” back in Ireland are called “a fringe”. Apparently the US term is derived somehow from the hair on horses.

43. City light : NEON

The basic design of neon lighting was first demonstrated at the Paris Motor Show in 1910. Such lighting is made up of glass tubes containing a vacuum into which has been introduced a small amount of neon gas. When a voltage is applied between two electrodes inside the tube, the neon gas “glows” and gives off the familiar light.

50. Application fig. : SSN

Social Security number (SSN)

52. ___ Rohmer, French New Wave director : ERIC

Éric Rohmer was a French film director, critic and journalist. He was regarded as one of the French New Wave filmmakers, along with François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard.

61. Gig gear : AMPS

Musicians use “gig” to describe a job, a performance. The term originated in the early 1900s in the world of jazz. The derivative phrase “gig economy” applies to a relatively recent phenomenon where workers find themselves jumping from temporary job to temporary job, from gig to gig.

63. Snookums : TOOTS

The term of endearment “snookums” comes from the family name “Snooks”. Snooks was a name used in Britain in the 1800s for some hypothetical, unknown individual (as we would use the name “Joe Blow” today).

Down

2. Smoothie fruit : ACAI

Açaí is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.

4. Wile E. Coyote prop : TNT

Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner are two much-loved cartoon characters from Warner Bros. Wile E. Coyote was created first, and Road Runner was invented as someone for Wile E. to play off. I love this cartoon; definitely one of the best …

7. Wake-up call? : BUGLE

“Reveille” is a trumpet call that is used to wake everyone up at sunrise. The term comes from “réveillé”, the French for “wake up”.

9. What you might see the big game on : SAFARI

“Safari” is a Swahili word meaning “journey” or “expedition”.

10. “Survivor” host Jeff : PROBST

Jeff Probst is the highly successful host of the US version of the reality show “Survivor”. He is obviously a friendly guy, and ended up in a 3-year relationship with Julie Berry, one of the contestants from “Survivor: Vanuatu”.

11. Often-questionable account : ALIBI

“Alibi” is the Latin word for “elsewhere” as in, “I claim that I was ‘elsewhere’ when the crime was committed … I have an ‘alibi’”.

12. Quartet member : CELLO

A standard string quartet is made up of two violins, a viola and a cello. A string quintet consists of a standard string quartet with the addition of a fifth instrument, usually a second viola or cello.

13. German steel city : ESSEN

Essen is a large industrial city located on the River Ruhr in western Germany. The city experienced major population growth in the mid-1800s that was driven by the iron works established by the Krupp family.

27. Application figs. : GPAS

Grade point average (GPA)

28. Host Mike of “Dirty Jobs” and “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” : ROWE

Mike Rowe is the host of the successful reality show called “Dirty Jobs” that is broadcast by “Discovery Channel”. Rowe is also a spokesperson for Ford Motor Company in a series of television commercials. He is quite the singer too, as he sang professionally with the Baltimore Opera for a while.

37. Upscale hotel chain : OMNI

Omni Hotels & Resorts is headquartered in Irvine, California and has properties in the US, Canada and Mexico.

38. Brand trusted by “cooks who know” : CRISCO

The Crisco brand of shortening was the first shortening to be made entirely from vegetable oil. Although that sounds like a good thing, it’s actually made by hydrogenating vegetable oil so that it has physical properties similar to the animal shortening it was designed to replace. This hydrogenation turns good fats into bad fats, so medical professionals suggest limited intake.

45. Options on an IHOP table : SYRUPS

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. Celeb chef Batali : MARIO

Mario Batali is an American celebrity chef who specializes in Italian cuisine. He is often referred to as “Molto Mario”.

48. Exclamation that’s also the name of a cable channel : BRAVO!

To express appreciation for a male performer at an operatic performance, traditionally one calls out “bravo!”. Appreciation for a female performer is shown by using “brava!”, and for more than one performer by using “bravi!”

49. Latin lover’s phrase : TE AMO

“I love you” translates into “te amo” in Spanish, and into “je t’aime” in French.

56. Pioneering 1990s computer game : MYST

In the days when I played the occasional video game, the best of the bunch was undoubtedly Myst. It is a game full of puzzles with the player wandering through a beautifully-designed (for its day) interactive world.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Almanac entry : FACT
5. Shoots the breeze : GABS
9. What ” ” contains : SPACE
14. Click it : ICON
15. Be against : ABUT
16. Frequent van Gogh setting : ARLES
17. See 58-Across : TAUTOLOGY
19. Thwarts : FOILS
20. Calculator button : SIN
21. Burst of laughter : PEAL
22. Say blah blah blah blah blah : BABBLE
23. Not just any old : THE
25. See 25-Across : RECURSION
27. Was affected by too heavy a weight, say : GROANED
30. Strike out : OMIT
31. Paid (up) : PONIED
32. General ___ (“Superman” villain) : ZOD
33. Prefix with gendered : CIS-
36. See 66-Across : A WILD GOOSE CHASE
40. 22+ pages of the Oxford English Dictionary : SET
41. Kind of look with bangs and eye shadow : EMO
42. Like good farmland : ARABLE
43. City light : NEON
45. More untrustworthy : SLIMIER
46. See ??-Across : AMBIGUITY
50. Application fig. : SSN
51. Something that might be settled over drinks : BAR BET
52. ___ Rohmer, French New Wave director : ERIC
54. “Pow!” : BAM!
57. Grad students’ hurdles : ORALS
58. See 17-Across : TAUTOLOGY
60. Transfix : RIVET
61. Gig gear : AMPS
62. All those in favor : AYES
63. Snookums : TOOTS
64. Liable to peep : NOSY
65. Alternative to an elbow, maybe : PSST!

Down

1. Partner of starts : FITS
2. Smoothie fruit : ACAI
3. “You bet!” : COUNT ON IT!
4. Wile E. Coyote prop : TNT
5. Burst of laughter : GALE
6. On : ABOARD
7. Wake-up call? : BUGLE
8. What a mess! : STY
9. What you might see the big game on : SAFARI
10. “Survivor” host Jeff : PROBST
11. Often-questionable account : ALIBI
12. Quartet member : CELLO
13. German steel city : ESSEN
18. Bid first : OPENED
22. Short end of the stick : BUM DEAL
24. Come down hard? : HAIL
26. Parrots a pigeon? : COOS
27. Application figs. : GPAS
28. Host Mike of “Dirty Jobs” and “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” : ROWE
29. Narrowly defeat : EDGE OUT
32. Madhouse : ZOO
33. Some yacht assistants : CABIN BOYS
34. Yacht destination, maybe : ISLE
35. One who has a ball at work? : SEER
37. Upscale hotel chain : OMNI
38. Brand trusted by “cooks who know” : CRISCO
39. Christmas purchases : HAMS
43. Corn kernel, e.g. : NIBLET
44. Discharges : EGESTS
45. Options on an IHOP table : SYRUPS
46. Call off : ABORT
47. Celeb chef Batali : MARIO
48. Exclamation that’s also the name of a cable channel : BRAVO!
49. Latin lover’s phrase : TE AMO
53. Teeny : ITSY
55. Seemingly forever : AGES
56. Pioneering 1990s computer game : MYST
58. Get some sun : TAN
59. Something you have in a chair : LAP

20 thoughts on “1116-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 16 Nov 2017, Thursday”

  1. 18:53 but felt longer. Took me awhile to get into. Things started to flow in the northeast and I moved to the south and finished up in the section with GABS and ABUT. For awhile all I had there was TAUTOLOGY. There are a few different options for “Shoots the breeze” and wasn’t sure which one fit until I finally got BUGLE.

    The southwest fell very quickly and if I had started there I think I would have gotten everything else quicker. It’s interesting that there are times when I can’t find and the whole thing is slow but if I had started in a relatively easy spot everything else would have filled in much easier.

  2. 17:26, no errors. Odd theme. My experience was similar to Marc’s, I think. (But maybe in a little different order … I did the puzzle last night and my memory of it is a bit fuzzy, but I do remember roaming around for a bit before finally getting a firm foothold and then thinking, “Gee, I wish I had started there.”)

  3. 32:29. The main theme was really Logic 101 terms…except perhaps WILD GOOSE CHASE. This was one of those puzzles where I wanted to throw my computer across the room about a dozen times. However, after I finished I looked at the theme and puzzle as a whole and was pretty impressed by it. Aside from the theme, I thought it had some superior cluing – even for common words.

    I didn’t know GALE could mean a big laugh, and I didn’t know PEAL at all so that was a tricky area.

    Interesting history of “Pony up”

    Best –

  4. I have NO IDEA what the so-called theme of this puzzle is though I completed it perfectly: this annoys the hell out of me since apparently I’m too dense to appreciate this idiotically contrived puzzle. What the HELL does “a wild goose chase” have to do with “recursion”, “ambiguity”, and ” tautology”? Please illuminate!!!

  5. 36:43, no errors. Very slow and difficult slog for me today. Too many options that seemed, initially, to work; and I consistently took the wrong options. 2D KIWI before ACAI; 3D COUNT (ME IN)(US IN)(ON ME)(ON US); 6A BLANK before SPACE; 16A PARIS before ARLES. Didn’t help that I was unfamiliar with every proper name except for MARIO Batelli. Just happy to finish with no errors.

  6. Bangs vs. fringe: Bill, the horse reference might be to a way of grooming a horse for certain types of classes, i.e. dressage, where the tail is trimmed straight across (below the hocks), called a bang-cut tail. So on a person the “bangs” would be cut straight across the forehead.

  7. 21:56, and I’m **amazed** I had no errors. Thought about throwing in the towel more than once… and was really tempted to “research” Jeff Probst’s name at one point… but didn’t want to have another DNF this week *snicker*.

    I echo anonymous’ sentiment. This definitely falls into the “too clever by half” camp and was a real chore. In addition to a “WTF” theme, there were far too many disingenuous clues. Not a fan of this kind of skullduggery.

  8. Just short of 22 minutes, and I was gobsmacked to realize there were no mistakes. I was **this** close to quitting a couple of times. Wanted to look up the Survivor host’s last name SO BAD, but then, what would Dave Kennison think of me? 😉

    I agree with Anonymous’ post. This theme was really a stretch, in a number of ways and was thoroughly unenjoyable. In addition to an opaque theme, some of the non-theme clues were pretty cynical, too. Wish we’d see fewer of this kind of puzzle, Thursday or no.

    (In honor of “TAUTOLOGY”, which I had to look up after the fact, I present this redundant review)

  9. @Allen –

    I actually often get a kick out of your….uh…colorful comments on puzzles – whether I agree with them or not. But this might be your most clever…Made me laugh.

    Best –

  10. Glad to learn of the other meaning of TAUTOLOGY. I only knew of the meaning associated with the discipline of logic, i.e., “an undisputed true statement”. Apparently, according to dictionaries, the use in today’s puzzle is the more common of the two.

  11. @Allen …

    I agree with Jeff: your second post (when I realized what you were doing) made me laugh …

    Perhaps my comments earlier in the week were a bit out of line. Due to a health issue that was causing a fair amount of pain, I was not in the best of moods. That said, I really don’t appreciate being told that I must count errors in a certain way and that I must, in a certain situation, use an initialism that, to me, implies a totally illogical meaning for a certain word. Those are your conventions, not mine. In the future, I will try to remember that you are probably just tweaking me for the sake of getting a reaction.

    I’m pleased that you didn’t give up on today’s puzzle. In my view, that’s one of the ways in which one improves. Another way is not to simply give up and look at a cheat sheet for the puzzle, but to use external references to research information you need that doesn’t happen to be a current part of your knowledge base; in my experience, information found in that way sticks around longer in the memory.

    Another way to improve is to challenge yourself with harder puzzles than you will find in the NYT. That was the point of my challenge to you last Saturday. Tim Croce’s puzzles are bloody hard; I’ve managed to do a bunch of them without external help (a great ego boost), but I’ve also run into a few that I simply could not do without Google. Doing one of his puzzles makes me better at doing the harder puzzles here and it makes me more appreciative of all the puzzles here.

    I intend to write an article about different approaches to solving crosswords and post it on that blog I created (and have since done almost nothing with). Rest assured that you will be one of the examples in my article. (Not by name, of course … ?.)

    1. @Dave—-I am looking forward to the article that you intend to write. How much of an effort would it be for you? And, how soon might we expect it?

        1. Go for it!!! I really enjoyed the last one I saw, by Eugene Maleska!!! He *almost* gave me sympathy for Will Shortz…. *almost*.

    2. I look forward to seeing your article!

      I think you may be missing something in your interpretation of my DNF scolding. I’m not telling you *at all* “how to DO a puzzle” or how to improve your ability to do them (all your suggestions in that regard are perfectly valid). I just think that it’s patently obvious, prima facie, that if you *do* use an outside reference, by DEFINITION, you DNF the puzzle by yourself. And any equivocation along those lines suggests, at the least, intellectual dishonesty. Yes, you can certainly learn from doing so, and can use such newly acquired knowledge going forward. I do that, too. But: for any puzzle that you used outside sources to solve, I’m sorry: that’s a DNF. It just IS.

      I’m sorry for your current health challenges, surely I am. And, my main point here is not to get a rise out of you or bait you, specifically. I’m really speaking in general terms. Warts and all, I think the NY Times Crossword is a special thing, and the successful completion of these is a true accomplishment, and not something just *anyone* can do. So, that’s why I feel it necessary to be honest with oneself and with others, when you’re making any kind of statement as to how you performed on a given day.

      1. My problem is that you do try to tell me (and others) how, in your opinion, we must report our results. That’s what I principally object to. I fail to see how your suggestions add anything at all to anyone’s understanding of an already adequately described solution process.

        You should research the initialism “DNF”. I Googled it and found that, although there is general agreement on what it stands for, there is certainly no general agreement on how and when it should be used. I object to it on the grounds that it is implies a totally illogical meaning of the word “finish”. I suppose I might be convinced to use DNF-BM (“Did Not Finish – By Myself”) … but DNF-BS would seem to be more appropriate … 🙂 …

        As far as I can tell, I am every bit as honest with myself and others as you are, if not more so.

        And I do thank you for your concern about my “health challenges”. My doctor is one of those rigid thinkers who feels that everyone should be taking a statin, awful side effects notwithstanding. Thirty-six hours after taking what I certainly intend to be my final dose, 95% of the problem it was causing evaporated, though I continue to be somewhat concerned about the possibility that it has caused lasting muscle damage.

  12. Found it a bit too-clever, odd-ball puzzle and theme.

    Assumed that RECURSION had something to do with going back over something repeatedly. The two TAUTOLOGY(s) seemed to confirm that (one would have been enough), but couldn’t see what A WILD GOOSE CHASE had to do with anything but its absent clue/answer. Still, completed it all except for the left-center area.

    After trying several versions of …..ON IT–other than ON IT itself–and finding that none worked, I reluctantly GROANED and quit.

  13. Solved it without ever deducing even the presence of a “theme”, let alone figuring out exactly what “it” was supposed to be. I just kept reminding myself that this is a “Thursday” puzzle. Then it began to “make sense”, if that makes sense.

    My errorless solution led to a feeling of unearned accomplishment. I find that true “understanding” is often overrated.

  14. 12 minutes??? 20 minutes??? 30 minutes??? I spent HOURS on this puzzle and couldn’t finish it. Don’t know Jeff Probst. Don’t know Mike Rowe. Tautology? Recursion? You have to be kidding me.

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