1128-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 28 Nov 2017, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Andrew J. Ries
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: U-Turns

The circled letters in today’s grid spell out the name of universities. To make sense of those groups of circled letters, we need to see that they are in a U-shape, are making U-turns. That’s pretty apt, as each university might us the letter U as an abbreviation for “University”. The four U-niversities are:

  • PRINCETON
  • CLEMSON
  • CALTECH
  • NOTRE DAME
  • 29D. Often-forbidden maneuver … as hinted at four times in this puzzle : U-TURN

Bill’s time: 5m 24s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Molded jelly : ASPIC

Aspic is a dish in which the main ingredients are served in a gelatin made from meat stock. “Aspic” is a French word meaning “jelly”.

15. Dell competitor : ACER

Acer is a Taiwanese company that I used to visit a lot when I was in the electronics business. I was very impressed back then with the company’s dedication to quality, although I have heard that things haven’t gone so well in recent years …

Dell, the computer manufacturer, is named after the company’s founder Michael Dell. Michael Dell started his company in his dorm room at college, shipping personal computers that were customized to the specific needs of his customers. He dropped out of school in order to focus on his growing business, a decision that I doubt he regrets. Michael Dell is now one of the richest people in the world.

17. Charley ___ : HORSE

“Charley horse” is a very American term for painful muscles spasms in the legs. The term possibly arose in the late 19th century, and may be named for baseball pitcher Charlie “Old Hoss” Radbourn who apparently suffered a lot from leg cramps.

18. Actress Taylor of “Mystic Pizza” : LILI

The actress Lili Taylor had supporting roles in films like “Mystic Pizza”, “The Haunting” and “Rudy”. She also had a recurring role in the HBO series “Six Feet Under”.

“Mystic Pizza” is a coming-of-age film released in 1988. Included in the cast are Annabeth Gish and Julia Roberts. If you watch closely, you’ll also see Matt Damon speaking his first line in a movie. The title refers to the name of a pizza restaurant located in Mystic, Connecticut.

19. Tidbit at a Spanish bar : TAPA

“Tapa” is the Spanish word for “lid”, and there is no clear rationale for why this word came to be used for an appetizer. There are lots of explanations cited, all of which seem to involve the temporary covering of one’s glass of wine with a plate or item of food to either preserve the wine or give one extra space at the table.

20. Music conglomerate that broke up in 2012 : EMI

EMI was a British music company, with the initialism standing for Electric and Musical Industries.

24. Cosa ___ : NOSTRA

Apparently “Cosa Nostra” is the real name for the Italian Mafia. “Cosa Nostra” translates as “our thing” or “this thing of ours”. The term first became public in the US when the FBI managed to turn some members of the American Mafia. The Italian authorities established that “Cosa Nostra” was also used in Sicily when they penetrated the Sicilian Mafia in the 1980s. The term “mafia” seems to be just a literary invention that has become popular with the public.

27. Kind of pork on a Chinese menu : MOO SHU

Moo shu pork (also “mu shu pork”) is a traditional dish from northern China, with the main ingredients being shredded pork and scrambled egg. In North America, the dish is served with tortilla-like wrappers that are sometimes referred to as “moo shu pancakes”.

36. Piano teacher’s assignment : ETUDE

An étude is a short instrumental composition that is usually quite hard to play and is intended to help the performer master a particular technique. “Étude” is the French word for “study”. Études are commonly performed on the piano.

38. Fort ___, N.J. : DIX

“Fort Dix” is the name commonly used for what is now more correctly called Joint Base McGuire -Dix-Lakehurst, a US Army base located near Trenton, New Jersey. Fort Dix was established in 1917 by the Army, and was consolidated with nearby Air Force and Navy facilities in 2009.

39. Neighbor of an Estonian : LETT

Latvia is one of the former Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs). People from Latvia are called Letts.

Estonia is one of the former Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs) and is located in Northern Europe on the Baltic Sea due south of Finland. Estonia has been overrun and ruled by various empires over the centuries. The country did enjoy a few years of freedom at the beginning of the 20th century after a war of independence against the Russian Empire. However, Estonia was occupied again during WWII, first by the Russians and then by the Germans, and then reoccupied by the Soviets in 1944. Estonia has flourished as an independent country again since the collapse of the USSR in 1991.

43. “Ad ___ per aspera” (motto of Kansas) : ASTRA

The motto of the State of Kansas is “ad astra per aspera”, a Latin expression meaning “to the stars through difficulties”. Kansas shares the same motto with quite a few other institutions, including an English grammar school, an Australian high school, and even Starfleet, the service to which the USS Enterprise belongs in the “Star Trek” series.

45. Light purple : LILAC

The ornamental flowering plant known as lilac is native to the Balkans, and is a member of the olive family.

46. Wallace’s partner, in claymation : GROMIT

Clay animation, also known as “claymation”, is a stop motion animation technique that has been around since the early 1900s. The list of famous claymation productions includes the “Gumby” series of TV show segments, the California Raisins musical group ad campaign, and “Wallace and Gromit” British comedy series.

“Wallace and Gromit” is a famous animation series from England that uses claymation and stop-motion technology. Wallace is a zany inventor who just loves cheese, especially Wensleydale. Gromit is Wallace’s pet dog, and his best friend.

50. Actor Driver of “The Force Awakens” : ADAM

Adam Driver is an actor best known to TV audiences for playing Adam Sackler on the show “Girls” that airs on HBO. Driver’s movie career got a huge boost in 2015 when he played villain Kylo Ren in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”.

“Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens” is the seventh episode in the “Star Wars” series of films. Several favorite characters return in “Star Wars VII”, including Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and General Leia Organa (or “Princess Leia” in earlier films, played by Carrie Fisher).

55. The Silk Road and others : TRADE ROUTES

The Silk Road was a network of trading routes that crossed North Africa and Asia, connecting Europe to West Asia. The routes get the name from the lucrative trade in silk from China.

61. Morning TV co-host : RIPA

When Kelly Ripa secured the co-host spot on morning television with Regis Philbin, she was still acting in “All My Children” in a role she had been playing for over ten years. After a year of holding down two jobs, she eventually gave up the acting gig. Ripa has acted as spokeswoman for several brands over the years, most recently for Electrolux and Rykä.

62. Lawn mower brand : TORO

Toro is a manufacturer of mainly lawn mowers and snow removal equipment based in Bloomington, Minnesota. The company was founded in 1914 to build tractor engines.

63. Mosque V.I.P.s : IMAMS

An imam is a Muslim leader, and often the person in charge of a mosque or perhaps a Muslim community.

66. City that’s home to the Viking Ship Museum : OSLO

The most famous exhibit in Oslo’s Viking Ship Museum is the completely intact Oseberg ship. Named for the farm where it was discovered, the Oseberg ship was excavated from a large burial mound that dates back to 834 AD. The interment is an example of a “ship burial”, in which a ship was used as a container for a dead body and associated grave goods. The Oseberg ship included the bodies of two elderly females, one of which may have been included as a human sacrifice.

67. To the ___ (one way to dress) : NINES

The term “to the nines” means “to perfection”. The first person to use the term in literature was Robbie Burns. Apparently the idea behind the use of “nines” is figurative (pun!), with the number nine considered “ideal” as it is arrived at by multiplying three by three.

68. Odorous Le Pew : PEPE

Pepé Le Pew is a very likeable cartoon character from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series. Pepé is a French skunk, first introduced way back in 1945. He is always thinking of “l’amour” and chases the lady skunks, or a black cat with a white stripe accidentally painted down her back.

70. Singer of the 2012 #1 hit “Somebody That I Used to Know” : GOTYE

Gotye is the stage name of Belgian-Australian singer Wally De Backer. The stage name comes from the French name “Gauthier” meaning “Walter” (Wally).

Down

3. Way to get from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon : PARIS METRO

The Paris Métro is the busiest underground transportation system in western Europe. The network carries about 4.5 million passengers a day, which is about the same ridership as the New York City Subway. The system took its name from the company that originally operated it, namely “La Compagnie du chemin de fer métropolitain de Paris”, which was shorted to “Métro”. The term “Metro” was then adopted for similar systems in cities all over the world.

4. Magazine unit: Abbr. : ISS

Issue (iss.)

6. Colombian metropolis : CALI

In terms of population, Cali is the third largest city in Colombia (after Bogotá and Medellin). Santiago de Cali (the full name for the city) lies in western Colombia. Apparently, Cali is a destination for “medical tourists”. The city’s surgeons have a reputation for being expert in cosmetic surgery and so folks head there looking for a “cheap” nose job. Cali has also been historically associated with the illegal drug trade and money laundering.

7. Tums target : ACID

The main ingredient in Tums antacid, made by GlaxoSmithKline, is calcium carbonate. Tums have been on the market since 1930. If you want to save a few pennies, Target brand antacid is identical to Tums, so I hear …

8. Free-for-all : MELEE

Our term “melee” comes from the French “mêlée”, and in both languages the word means “confused fight”.

11. Spirited steed : ARAB

The Arab (also “Arabian”) breed of horse takes its name from its original home, the Arabian Peninsula. Like any animal that humans have over-bred, the horse falls prey to genetic diseases, some of which are fatal and some of which require the horse to be euthanized.

13. Refinery waste : SLAG

The better lead ores are processed in a blast furnace, to extract the metal. The “waste” from this process is called “slag”. Slag does contain some lead and it can be processed further in a “slag furnace” to extract the residual metal. Slag furnaces also accept poorer lead ores as a raw material.

22. Some military hospitals, for short : VAS

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was formed in 1930 to manage pre-existing government benefits affecting war veterans, some of which had existed since the days of the Continental Congress.

32. Kunis of “Friends With Benefits” : MILA

Mila Kunis is a Ukrainian-born, American actress, who plays Jackie Burkhart on “That ’70s Show”. Fans of the cartoon series “Family Guy” might recognize her voicing the Meg Griffin character. In ”Black Swan”, Kunis plays a rival ballet dancer to the character played by Natalie Portman. In her personal life, Kunis dated Macaulay Culkin for 8 years, but married Ashton Kutcher, her co-star from “That 70s Show”, in 2015.

35. Shakespearean king : LEAR

Shakespeare was inspired to write his famous drama “King Lear” by the legend of “Leir of Britain”, the story of a mythological Celtic king.

37. River to the Caspian : URAL

The Ural River rises in the Ural Mountains in Russia and flows for half its length through Russian territory until it crosses the border into Kazakhstan, finally emptying into the Caspian Sea.

The Caspian Sea is a landlocked body of water lying between Asia and Europe. By some definitions, the Caspian is the largest lake on the planet. The name “Caspian” comes from the Caspi people who lived to the southwest of the sea in South Caucasus.

41. Opposite of set : RISE

As in “sunset” and “sunrise”.

47. Title for Tussaud : MADAME

Marie Tussaud was a wax sculptor from France. Some of her early work was very gruesome as she lived through the French Revolution. She would take the decapitated heads of executed citizens and use them to make death masks which were then paraded through the streets. She eventually moved to London, taking with her a vast collection of wax models made by her and her father. She opened a museum to display the works, and the Madame Tussauds wax museum is a major attraction in the city to this day.

53. Former F.B.I. director James : COMEY

James Comey was appointed Director of the FBI by President Barack Obama in 2013, and was famously dismissed by President Donald Trump in 2017.

54. German state or novelist : HESSE

Hesse is a German state. The capital of Hesse is Wiesbaden, although the largest city in the state is Frankfurt.

Hermann Hesse was not only a novelist, but also a poet and a painter. His best known work is probably his 1927 novel “Steppenwolf”.

55. Sand, in golf : TRAP

Sand traps on a golf course are referred to as “bunkers” on the other side of the Atlantic.

58. Website links, for short : URLS

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

64. “O Sole ___” : MIO

“‘O sole mio” is a famous Italian song from Naples, written in 1898. The song’s lyrics are usually sung in the original Neapolitan, as opposed to Italian. The title translates from Neapolitan into “My Sun” (and not into “O, My Sun” as one might expect). It’s a love song of course, sung by a young man declaring that there is a sun brighter than that in the sky, the sun that is his lover’s face. Awww …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Molded jelly : ASPIC
6. Pitch a tent : CAMP
10. Snoozes : NAPS
14. / : SLASH
15. Dell competitor : ACER
16. Spoken : ORAL
17. Charley ___ : HORSE
18. Actress Taylor of “Mystic Pizza” : LILI
19. Tidbit at a Spanish bar : TAPA
20. Music conglomerate that broke up in 2012 : EMI
21. Receptacle carried from a crime scene : EVIDENCE BAG
24. Cosa ___ : NOSTRA
26. List-ending abbr. : ET AL
27. Kind of pork on a Chinese menu : MOO SHU
30. On fire : AFLAME
34. Appropriate for all audiences, as humor : CLEAN
36. Piano teacher’s assignment : ETUDE
38. Fort ___, N.J. : DIX
39. Neighbor of an Estonian : LETT
40. Coat for a cat : FUR
41. “No shoes, no shirt, no service,” e.g. : RULE
42. Stick in a lake? : OAR
43. “Ad ___ per aspera” (motto of Kansas) : ASTRA
45. Light purple : LILAC
46. Wallace’s partner, in claymation : GROMIT
48. Div. that manager Bobby Cox won every year from 1995 to 2005 : NL EAST
50. Actor Driver of “The Force Awakens” : ADAM
52. Crowd chant to an award honoree : SPEECH!
55. The Silk Road and others : TRADE ROUTES
60. Fish eggs : ROE
61. Morning TV co-host : RIPA
62. Lawn mower brand : TORO
63. Mosque V.I.P.s : IMAMS
65. ___ smasher : ATOM
66. City that’s home to the Viking Ship Museum : OSLO
67. To the ___ (one way to dress) : NINES
68. Odorous Le Pew : PEPE
69. Beginning point for a first flight : NEST
70. Singer of the 2012 #1 hit “Somebody That I Used to Know” : GOTYE

Down

1. Wan : ASHEN
2. Lovers running to each other may be shown in it : SLO-MO
3. Way to get from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon : PARIS METRO
4. Magazine unit: Abbr. : ISS
5. Root for : CHEER ON
6. Colombian metropolis : CALI
7. Tums target : ACID
8. Free-for-all : MELEE
9. Paid part of a magazine : PRINT AD
10. Kind of motel : NO-TELL
11. Spirited steed : ARAB
12. “Come to ___!” (gambler’s cry) : PAPA
13. Refinery waste : SLAG
22. Some military hospitals, for short : VAS
23. Establishment with a brunch rush, maybe : CAFE
25. Precisely : TO A T
28. Weight : HEFT
29. Often-forbidden maneuver … as hinted at four times in this puzzle : U-TURN
31. Substance that decreases purity : ADULTERANT
32. Kunis of “Friends With Benefits” : MILA
33. One high up on the corporate ladder, informally : EXEC
34. Pipe problem : CLOG
35. Shakespearean king : LEAR
37. River to the Caspian : URAL
41. Opposite of set : RISE
43. Congressional worker : AIDE
44. Begin, as a task : START ON
45. Running out : LAPSING
47. Title for Tussaud : MADAME
49. 112.5° on a compass: Abbr. : ESE
51. Costume that might involve two people : MOOSE
53. Former F.B.I. director James : COMEY
54. German state or novelist : HESSE
55. Sand, in golf : TRAP
56. Having your first shave or buying your first bra, e.g. : RITE
57. Each : A POP
58. Website links, for short : URLS
59. Blow on a horn : TOOT
64. “O Sole ___” : MIO