1127-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 27 Nov 2017, Monday

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Constructed by: Kevin Christian
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: Mullet Films

Each of today’s themed answer is a movie in which the actor cited in the clue sports a MULLET hairstyle:

  • 68A. Much-derided hairstyle seen in 1-, 17-, 24-, 39-, 47- and 58-Across : MULLET
  • 1A. 1997 Nicolas Cage film : CON AIR
  • 17A. 1987 Kiefer Sutherland film : THE LOST BOYS
  • 24A. 1987 Patrick Swayze film : DIRTY DANCING
  • 39A. 1982, 1985, 1988 and 2008 Sylvester Stallone film franchise : RAMBO
  • 47A. 1987 Mel Gibson film : LETHAL WEAPON
  • 58A. 1994 John Travolta film : PULP FICTION

Bill’s time: 5m 50s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. 1997 Nicolas Cage film : CON AIR

“Con Air” is an entertaining action movie that was released in 1997. The film tells the story of a bunch of convicts being transported by air who escape and take control of the plane. If you take a look at the movie’s closing credits you’ll see the words “In Memory of Phil Swartz”. Swartz, a welder with the special effects team, was killed in a tragic accident when a static model of the plane used in the movie fell on him.

The actor Nicolas “Nic” Cage was born Nicolas Coppola. Cage is the nephew of director Francis Ford Coppola and actress Talia Shire, both of whom are his father’s siblings.

7. Took too much of a drug, briefly : ODED

Overdose (OD)

11. Biblical symbol of patience : JOB

The story of “the patience of Job” is told in the Book of Job in the Bible. Job exhibits great patience in refusing to condemn God after Satan was allowed to destroy his family and property.

14. St. Francis of ___ : ASSISI

St. Francis founded the Franciscan religious order in Assisi in 1208. He died in 1226, and was declared a saint just two years later in 1228. Construction of the Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi started immediately after the canonization, and finished 25 years later. The Basilica is now a United Nations World Heritage Site.

15. ___-Hoop (toy) : HULA

Hula hoops were a big craze in the 1950s, but they have been around in various forms at least since the year 500 BCE!

16. Address beginning “http” : URL

Internet addresses (like NYTCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) are more correctly called Uniform Resource Locators (URLs).

17. 1987 Kiefer Sutherland film : THE LOST BOYS

“The Lost Boys” is a 1987 horror comedy movie about two brothers who move to Arizona and get mixed up with gang of young vampires. I don’t do vampires …

19. Item for a T-bar user : SKI

A T-bar is a ski lift on which the skiers are pulled up the hill in pairs, with each pair standing (not sitting!) either side of a T-shaped metal bar. The bar is placed behind the thighs, pulling along the skiers as they remain standing on their skis (hopefully!). There’s also a J-bar, a similar device, but with each J-shaped bar used by one skier at a time.

20. ___ fly (certain baseball out, informally) : SAC

That would be a sac(rifice) fly, in baseball.

21. Music producer Brian : ENO

Brian Eno is a musician, composer and record producer from England who first achieved fame as the synthesizer player with Roxy Music. As a producer, Eno has worked with David Bowie, Devo, Talking Heads and U2.

22. Actor John or his actor son Sean : ASTIN

The actor John Astin is best known for playing Gomez, the head of the household on “The Addams Family” TV series.

Sean Astin is best known for playing the title role in the 1993 film “Rudy” and the character Samwise Gamgee in the “Lord of the Rings” movies. You might also have seen him playing Lynn McGill in the 5th season of “24”. Astin is the son of actress Patty Duke, and the adopted son of actor John Astin (of “The Addams Family” fame).

24. 1987 Patrick Swayze film : DIRTY DANCING

The celebrated 1987 film “Dirty Dancing” stars Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray, who were both relative unknowns at the time of filming. “Dirty Dancing” had a relatively low budget but was destined to earn over $200 million. It became the first movie to sell more than a million copies on home video. There was a prequel made in 2004 called “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights”, that wasn’t a good film at all. Patrick Swayze was paid $200,000 for his 1987 performance, and received $5 million to make a cameo in the prequel.

I think Patrick Swayze’s greatest role was the dance instructor in the 1987 movie “Dirty Dancing”. Swayze (and Jennifer Grey who played opposite Swayze) were chosen for the starring roles because of their dancing ability. He had a fair amount of acting experience, and his dancing experience was with the Joffrey Ballet. Sadly, Swayze passed away at age 57 in 2009, from pancreatic cancer.

28. ___ salts (bath supply) : EPSOM

The Surrey town of Epsom in England is most famous for its racecourse (Epsom Downs), at which is run the Epsom Derby every year, one of the three races that make up the English Triple Crown. We also come across Epsom salt from time to time. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, originally prepared by boiling down mineral waters. Epsom was indeed a spa town at one time. The town is also home to Epsom College, an English “public school” (which actually means “private, and expensive”). One of Epsom’s “old boys” was the Hollywood actor Stewart Granger.

33. Yemeni port : ADEN

Aden is a seaport in Yemen that is located on the Gulf of Aden by the eastern approach to the Red Sea. Aden has a long history of British rule, from 1838 until a very messy withdrawal in 1967. A native of Aden is known as an Adeni. Some believe that Cain and Abel are buried in the city.

38. Lowly worker : SERF

A serf was a member of the lowest feudal class, someone attached to land owned by a lord. “Serf” comes from the Latin “servus”, meaning “slave”.

39. 1982, 1985, 1988 and 2008 Sylvester Stallone film franchise : RAMBO

“First Blood” was the original of the four “Rambo” films starring Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo, a troubled Vietnam War veteran. I thought “First Blood” was a pretty good film actually, but the sequels were terrible, and way too violent for me. But action all the way …

If ever there was a movie that defines a career breakthrough for an actor, it would have to be “Rocky” for Sylvester Stallone. Stallone was a struggling actor in 1975 when a Muhammad Ali fight inspired Stallone to write a screenplay for a boxing movie, which he did in just three days. His efforts to sell the script went well but for the fact that the interested studios wanted a big name for the lead role, and Stallone was determined to be the star himself. Stallone persevered and “Rocky” was eventually made with him playing title role of Rocky Balboa. The movie won three Oscars, and “Sly” Stallone had arrived …

40. Amazon rodent : PACA

There are two species of rodents called pacas, and both are found in Central and South America. In some parts, paca is considered a gourmet dish.

41. “… ___ saw Elba” : ERE I

The three most famous palindromes in English have to be:

  • Able was I ere I saw Elba
  • A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!
  • Madam, I’m Adam

One of my favorite words is “Aibohphobia”, although it doesn’t appear in the dictionary and is a joke term. “Aibohphobia” is a great way to describe a fear of palindromes, by creating a palindrome out of the suffix “-phobia”.

42. Sin associated with the color green : ENVY

William Shakespeare was one of the first to associate the color green with envy. He called jealousy the “green-eyed monster” in his play “Othello”.

46. Fertile soil : LOESS

Loess is a wind-blown accumulation of silt. The word is German in origin and was first used to describe silt along the Rhine Valley.

47. 1987 Mel Gibson film : LETHAL WEAPON

The “Lethal Weapon” series of film features Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in the lead roles as Sergeants Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh. All four films in the series were directed by Richard Donner.

Mel Gibson is an actor who was born in America, and not in Australia as many believe. Gibson was born in Peekskill, New York and moved with his family to Sydney, Australia when he was 12 years old.

53. 35mm camera inits. : SLR

SLR stands for “single lens reflex”. Usually, cameras with changeable lenses are the SLR type. The main feature of an SLR is that a mirror reflects the image seen through the lens out through the viewfinder, so that the photographer sees exactly what the lens sees. The mirror moves out of the way as the picture is taken, and the image that comes through the lens falls onto unexposed film, or nowadays onto a digital sensor.

54. ___ Beta Kappa : PHI

Phi Beta Kappa was the first collegiate Greek fraternity in the US, founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary. The organization served as a model for future collegiate fraternities and sororities, although in the 19th century Phi Beta Kappa distanced itself from the fraternal focus and transformed into the honor society that it is today, recognizing academic excellence. The initials Phi Beta Kappa stand for “philosophia biou kybernētēs”, which translates into “philosophy is the guide of life”. The symbol of the Phi Beta Kappa Society is a golden key.

57. The Blue Jays, on scoreboards : TOR

The Toronto Blue Jays baseball franchise was founded in 1977. The Blue Jays are the only team based outside the US to have won a World Series, doing so in 1992 and 1993. And since the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington, the Blue Jays are the only Major League Baseball team now headquartered outside of the US.

58. 1994 John Travolta film : PULP FICTION

I”m not a big fan of director Quentin Tarantino. His movies are too violent for me, and the size of his ego just turns me right off. Having said that, I think “Pulp Fiction” is a remarkable film. If you can look past the violence it’s really well written. And what a legacy it has. John Travolta’s career was on the rocks and he did the film for practically no money, and it turned out be a re-launch for him. Uma Thurman became a top celebrity overnight from her role. Even Bruce Willis got some good out of it, putting an end to a string of poorly received performances.

The actor, dancer and singer John Travolta got his first break playing student Vinnie Barbarino in the sitcom “Welcome Back, Kotter” in the seventies. While still on the TV show, Travolta showed off his dancing skills on two fabulous musical films: “Saturday Night Fever” (1977) and “Grease” (1978). His career then took a bit of dip, before resurging again with his role in the 1994 Quentin Tarantino blockbuster “Pulp Fiction”.

63. The Cavaliers, on scoreboards : CLE

The Cleveland Cavaliers are the professional basketball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavs joined the NBA as an expansion team in 1970.

64. Handmade products website : ETSY

Etsy.com is an e-commerce website where you can buy and sell the kind of items that you might find at a craft fair.

67. Root beer brand : DAD’S

Dad’s root beer was developed by Ely Klapman and Barney Berns in 1937, and was given the name “Dad’s” in honor of Klapman’s father who used to make root beer for his family at home.

68. Much-derided hairstyle seen in 1-, 17-, 24-, 39-, 47- and 58-Across : MULLET

A mullet haircut is one that is short at the front and sides, and is long in the back.

Down

2. Dept. of Labor arm : OSHA

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created in 1970 during the Nixon administration. OSHA regulates workplaces in the private sector and regulates just one government agency, namely the US Postal Service.

8. Hall & Oates, for example : DUO

Daryl Hall & John Oates are a pop music duo who were most successful in the late seventies and early eighties. They had six number one hits, including the 1982 release “Maneater”.

9. Tarzan player Ron : ELY

Ron Ely is most famous for playing the title role in the “Tarzan” TV series in the sixties. Years later, Ely hosted the 1980 and 1981 “Miss America” pageants right after longtime host Bert Parks retired, before the job was taken over by Gary Collins. And Ely is a successful mystery novelist. He wrote “Night Shadows” and “East Beach” in the mid-nineties, both of which featured his private eye Jake Sands.

10. Evian competitor : DASANI

Dasani is a Coca-Cola brand of bottled water. Dasani is simply filtered tap water with some trace minerals added.

12. Big name in pest control : ORKIN

Orkin is a pest-control company. If you want to learn more about insects, you might want to visit the O. Orkin Zoo, a permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. The exhibit has over 300 live insects, all displayed in their natural habitats.

13. Flashy jewelry : BLING

Bling-bling (often simply “bling”) is the name given to all the shiny stuff sported by rap stars in particular i.e. the jewelry, watches, metallic cell phones, even gold caps on the teeth. The term comes from the supposed “bling” sound caused by light striking a shiny metal surface.

18. Stuff that blows up other stuff : TNT

“TNT” is an abbreviation for trinitrotoluene. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.

23. Zodiac symbol between scales and an archer : SCORPION

Scorpio is a the eighth astrological sign of the Zodiac.

The constellation of Libra is named for the scales held by the goddess of justice. Libra is the only sign of the zodiac that isn’t named for a living creature.

Sagittarius is a constellation of the zodiac, with “sagittarius” being the Latin for “archer”. The constellation is usually represented by a centaur (half-bull, half-man) with a bow.

25. Texter’s “I believe …” : IMO

In my opinion (IMO)

27. Part of A.D. : ANNO

The designations Anno Domini (AD, “year of Our Lord”) and Before Christ (BC) are found in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. The dividing point between AD and BC is the year of the conception of Jesus, with AD 1 following 1 BC without a year “0” in between. The AD/BC scheme dates back to AD 525, and gained wide acceptance soon after AD 800. Nowadays a modified version has become popular, with CE (Common/Christian Era) used to replace AD, and BCE (Before the Common/Christian Era) used to replace BC.

33. Root beer brand : A AND W

A&W is a brand of root beer that has been around since 1920, when Roy Allen partnered with Frank Wright to create the A&W moniker from their family names.

34. Driver’s license issuer, for short : DMV

In most states, the government agency responsible for vehicle registration and the issuing of driver’s licenses is called the DMV. This initialism usually stands for the Department of Motor Vehicles, but there are “variations on the theme”. For example, in Arizona the responsible agency is called the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), and in Colorado the familiar abbreviation “DMV” stands for Division of Motor Vehicles.

43. Woman in Progressive ads : FLO

Progressive is a popular auto insurance company, the one that uses the perky character named “Flo” as a spokeswoman. Flo is played by comedian and actress Stephanie Courtney.

48. Sometimes-bad bacterium : E COLI

Escherichia coli (E. coli) are usually harmless bacteria found in the human gut, working away quite happily. However, there are some strains that can produce lethal toxins. These strains can make their way into the food chain from animal fecal matter that comes into contact with food designated for human consumption.

49. Some athletic awards : ESPYS

The ESPY Awards are a creation of the ESPN sports television network. One difference with similarly named awards in the entertainment industry is that ESPY winners are chosen solely based on viewer votes.

50. Governor Landon who ran for president in 1936 : ALF

Alf Landon was the Governor of Kansas from 1933-37, and was the Republican Party’s nominee against FDR in the 1936 Presidential election. He is remembered as the candidate who “disappeared” after winning the nomination. He rarely traveled during the campaign, and made no appearances at all in its first two months. FDR famously won by a landslide, with Landon only winning the states of Maine and Vermont. He wasn’t even able to carry his home state of Kansas.

51. Cover image on Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” : PRISM

When light passes through a prism, it is split up (“disperses”) into differing wavelengths. It then becomes clear that white light is actually a mixture of different colors, which show up as beautiful spectra.

Pink Floyd was an English rock band founded in 1965. The band’s most famous albums are probably “The Dark Side of the Moon” and “The Wall”.

55. Ozone layer problem : HOLE

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are the propellants that were once used in aerosols. CFCs make their way up into the ozone layer and trigger a chain reaction that converts ozone (O3) into regular oxygen (O2). That conversion creates “holes” in the ozone layer. Regular O2 is good stuff, but we need O3 to absorb harmful UV radiation raining down on us. CFC is not good stuff …

56. The “I” of M.I.T.: Abbr. : INST

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was founded in 1861 and first offered classes in 1865, in the Mercantile building in Boston. Today’s magnificent campus on the banks of the Charles River in Cambridge opened in 1916.

59. Actress Hagen : UTA

Uta Hagen was a German-born American actress. Hagen married Jose Ferrer in 1938, but they were divorced ten years later after it was revealed that she was having a long-running affair with Paul Robeson. Her association with Robeson, a prominent civil rights activist, earned her a spot on the Hollywood Blacklist during the McCarthy Era. This forced her away from film, but towards a successful stage career in New York City.

60. Trip inducer, in brief : LSD

LSD (known colloquially as “acid”) is short for lysergic acid diethylamide. A Swiss chemist called Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD in 1938 in a research project looking for medically efficacious ergot alkaloids. It wasn’t until some five years later when Hofmann ingested some of the drug accidentally that its psychedelic properties were discovered. Trippy, man …

61. PC “brain” : CPU

The central processing unit (CPU) is the main component on the motherboard of a computer. The CPU is the part of the computer that carries out most of the functions required by a program. Nowadays you can get CPUs in everything from cars to telephones.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. 1997 Nicolas Cage film : CON AIR
7. Took too much of a drug, briefly : ODED
11. Biblical symbol of patience : JOB
14. St. Francis of ___ : ASSISI
15. ___-Hoop (toy) : HULA
16. Address beginning “http” : URL
17. 1987 Kiefer Sutherland film : THE LOST BOYS
19. Item for a T-bar user : SKI
20. ___ fly (certain baseball out, informally) : SAC
21. Music producer Brian : ENO
22. Actor John or his actor son Sean : ASTIN
24. 1987 Patrick Swayze film : DIRTY DANCING
28. ___ salts (bath supply) : EPSOM
31. Marriage : UNION
32. Release : LET GO
33. Yemeni port : ADEN
35. Some TVs : RCAS
38. Lowly worker : SERF
39. 1982, 1985, 1988 and 2008 Sylvester Stallone film franchise : RAMBO
40. Amazon rodent : PACA
41. “… ___ saw Elba” : ERE I
42. Sin associated with the color green : ENVY
43. Things you put up when you “put ’em up” : FISTS
44. Vandalized, in a way, as on Halloween : EGGED
46. Fertile soil : LOESS
47. 1987 Mel Gibson film : LETHAL WEAPON
52. Things opened at banks: Abbr. : ACCTS
53. 35mm camera inits. : SLR
54. ___ Beta Kappa : PHI
57. The Blue Jays, on scoreboards : TOR
58. 1994 John Travolta film : PULP FICTION
63. The Cavaliers, on scoreboards : CLE
64. Handmade products website : ETSY
65. Environmental messes from tankers : SPILLS
66. Concealed : HID
67. Root beer brand : DADS
68. Much-derided hairstyle seen in 1-, 17-, 24-, 39-, 47- and 58-Across : MULLET

Down

1. Pets that purr : CATS
2. Dept. of Labor arm : OSHA
3. Tiny amount of time: Abbr. : NSEC
4. Be laid up in bed : AIL
5. Prefix with propyl : ISO-
6. Early ___ (night owl’s opposite) : RISER
7. “We’re in trouble now!” : OH BOY!
8. Hall & Oates, for example : DUO
9. Tarzan player Ron : ELY
10. Evian competitor : DASANI
11. Because you never know, it might be needed : JUST IN CASE
12. Big name in pest control : ORKIN
13. Flashy jewelry : BLING
18. Stuff that blows up other stuff : TNT
23. Zodiac symbol between scales and an archer : SCORPION
24. Pilots’ combat : DOGFIGHT
25. Texter’s “I believe …” : IMO
26. Library book words : DUE BY …
27. Part of A.D. : ANNO
28. Otherwise : ELSE
29. One of 12 on a jury : PEER
30. Rep : STREET CRED
33. Root beer brand : A AND W
34. Driver’s license issuer, for short : DMV
36. Lion taming and tightrope walking, for two : ACTS
37. Talk back to : SASS
39. Rod and ___ : REEL
43. Woman in Progressive ads : FLO
45. Expressed shock : GASPED
47. Lock fastener : LATCH
48. Sometimes-bad bacterium : E COLI
49. Some athletic awards : ESPYS
50. Governor Landon who ran for president in 1936 : ALF
51. Cover image on Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” : PRISM
54. Bit of medicine : PILL
55. Ozone layer problem : HOLE
56. The “I” of M.I.T.: Abbr. : INST
59. Actress Hagen : UTA
60. Trip inducer, in brief : LSD
61. PC “brain” : CPU
62. Up to, informally : ‘TIL