1129-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 29 Nov 2017, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Erik Agard
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: Motown

Each of today’s themed answers starts with a member of a famed Motown singing group:

  • 74A. Record label for the singers starting 18-, 40-, 45- and 66-Across : MOTOWN
  • 18A. 2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges, for one : SUPREME COURT CASE (The Supremes)
  • 40A. Product of assorted tones of makeup : CONTOUR KIT (The Contours)
  • 45A. So-called “self-wringing” cleaning implement : MIRACLE MOP (The Miracles)
  • 66A. Early 2000s Fox reality show : TEMPTATION ISLAND (The Temptations)

Bill’s time: 7m 18s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. What you see when you look up? : ACROSS

You should see the word “Across” is you look above this clue.

7. Observe Ramadan : FAST

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is traditionally a period of fasting. The faithful that observe Ramadan refrain from eating, drinking and sexual relations from dawn to dusk everyday, a lesson in patience, humility and spirituality.

11. Brand name after “Oh! Oh!,” in old ads : OREO

How the Oreo cookie came to get its name seems to have been lost in the mists of time. One theory is that it comes from the French “or” meaning “gold”, a reference to the gold color of the original packing. Another suggestion is that the name is the Greek word “oreo” meaning “beautiful, nice, well-done”.

16. ___ mater : ALMA

The literal translation for the Latin term “alma mater” is “nourishing mother”. The phrase was used in Ancient Rome to refer to mother goddesses, and in Medieval Christianity the term was used to refer to the Virgin Mary. Nowadays, one’s alma mater is the school one attended, either high school or college, usually one’s last place of education.

18. 2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges, for one : SUPREME COURT CASE (The Supremes)

Obergefell v. Hodges is the 2015 case in which the US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the fundamental right to marry. Famously, President Obama had the White House illuminated in rainbow colors on the night of the ruling.

21. Channel with a 24-hour “A Christmas Story” marathon on Christmas : TBS

The tbs cable television station started out in 1967 as local broadcast TV station in Atlanta. The station’s first call letters were WJRJ-TV, and this was changed to WTCG in 1970 when it was acquired by Ted Turner (the TCG stood for Turner Communications Group). In 1976, Turner started distributing WTCG via satellite making its programming available in other parts of the country. WTCG was only the second channel to transmit via satellite, following HBO. The difference was that WTCG was broadcast without requiring a premium subscription. The station’s call sign was changed again in 1979 to WTBS, with TBS standing for Turner Broadcasting System. In 1981, the channel adopted the moniker “Superstation WTBS”.

The 1983 film “A Christmas Story” has become a holiday classic. The movie is based on short stories and anecdotes by Jean Shepherd, whose voice appears in the soundtrack as the adult “Ralphie”. All young Ralphie wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB Gun.

23. Japanese noodle type : RAMEN

Ramen is a noodle dish composed of Chinese-style wheat noodles in a meat or fish broth flavored with soy or miso sauce. Ramen is usually topped with sliced pork and dried seaweed. The term “ramen” is a also used for precooked, instant noodles that come in single-serving, solid blocks.

24. Hershey toffee bar : SKOR

Skor is a candy bar produced by Hershey’s. “Skor” is Swedish for “shoes”, and the candy bar’s wrapping features a crown that is identical to that found in the Swedish national emblem. What shoes have to do with candy, I don’t know …

27. Leon Uris’s “___ 18” : MILA

“Mila 18” is a novel by American author Leon Uris that is set during WWII in Warsaw, Poland after the occupation by Germany. The book’s title refers to the bunker that served as headquarters of the Jewish resistance group in the Warsaw Ghetto. The bunker was located at “Ulica Mila 18” (“18 Pleasant Street” in English).

30. ___ land : LA-LA

“La-la land” is a euphemism for a state of unconsciousness.

38. Japanese art style : ANIME

Anime is cartoon animation in the style of Japanese Manga comic books.

40. Product of assorted tones of makeup : CONTOUR KIT (The Contours)

The Contours were a Motown soul singing group who had a big hit with “Do You Love Me” in 1962.

43. Iconic chain restaurant, informally : HOJO

The Howard Johnson (sometimes “HoJo”) chain of hotels and restaurants was the largest restaurant chain in the US in the sixties and seventies. There are only two HoJo restaurants left now. One is in Bangor, Maine and the other is in Lake Placid, New York. I just realized that I’ve been in both those restaurants …

45. So-called “self-wringing” cleaning implement : MIRACLE MOP (The Miracles)

The musical group known as the Miracles got together in 1955. The group was first called the Matadors, and was later known as Smokey Robinson & the Miracles. Their biggest hit was the great song from 1970 called “The Tears of a Clown”.

49. Deduce, with “out” : SUSS

The verb “to suss” means “to figure out”. The term originated in the 1950s as police slang, and is a shortening of “to suspect”.

54. Who is told “don’t preach,” in a Madonna hit : PAPA

“Papa Don’t Preach” is a 1986 song recorded by Madonna. The song’s lyrics are based on teenage gossip heard outside the studio, chatter between schoolgirls from LA’s North Hollywood High School. Subjects mentioned in the words include teenage pregnancy and abortion.

Papa don’t preach
I’m in trouble deep
Papa don’t preach
I’ve been losing sleep
But I made up my mind
I’m keeping my baby
I’m gonna keep my baby mmm

60. Plate umpire’s call : INSIDE

That would be baseball.

63. ___ lepton (elementary particle) : TAU

Leptons are subatomic particles, of which there are two major classes. There are charged leptons, and neutral leptons. The most common charged leptons are electrons. Neutral leptons are also known as “neutrinos”.

66. Early 2000s Fox reality show : TEMPTATION ISLAND (The Temptations)

The singing group known as the Temptations used to be known as the Elgins, and was formed in 1960 in Detroit. The group is still performing today, although only the second tenor, Otis Williams, was part of the original quintet. The Temptations were very much associated with their “sister group”, the Supremes.

71. Half of quadraphonic : STEREO

Monophonic sound (“mono”) is sound reproduced using just one audio channel, which is usually played out of just one speaker. Stereophonic sound is reproduced using two audio channels, with the sound from each channel played out of two different speakers. The pair of stereo speakers are usually positioned apart from each other so that sound appears to come from between the two. Quadraphonic sound (4.0 surround sound) uses four audio channels with the sound played back through four speakers often positioned at the corners of the room in which one is listening.

74. Record label for the singers starting 18-, 40-, 45- and 66-Across : MOTOWN

Motown Records is a record label that was founded in 1959 in Detroit (aka “Motor City” or “Motown”). The founder of Motown records was Berry Gordy, Jr.

Down

4. “___ the ramparts …” : O’ER

The words “o’er the ramparts we watched” come from “The Star Spangled Banner” written by Francis Scott Key.

11. Two-tone apex predator : ORCA

The taxonomic name for the killer whale is Orcinus orca. The use of the name “orca”, rather than “killer whale”, is becoming more and more common. The Latin word “Orcinus” means “belonging to Orcus”, with Orcus being the name for the Kingdom of the Dead.

12. Castigate, with “out” : REAM

I must admit that I find the slang term “to ream out”, with its meaning “to scold harshly”, to be quite distasteful. The usage of the word as a reprimand dates back to about 1950.

19. Otalgia : EARACHE

The medical term for an earache is “otalgia”, a Greek word deriving from “otos” meaning “ear” and “algos” meaning pain”.

24. Coconutty Girl Scout cookies : SAMOAS

Depending on which bakery makes the particular variety of Girl Scout cookie, the name can vary. For example, Little Brownie Bakers makes the Samoa cookies, while ABC Bakers uses the same recipe and calls the cookies Caramel deLites. The assumption is that these cookies have the exotic name of “Samoa” because they contain the tropical ingredients of coconut and cocoa. The most popular variety of Girl Scout cookie sold are Thin Mints.

29. Sign of balance? : LIBRA

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.

32. Pear variety : ANJOU

The Anjou pear is a cultivar of the European Pear. The Anjou pear is thought to have originated in Belgium or France (Anjou is a province in the Loire Valley of western France).

35. Filmmaker Kurosawa : AKIRA

Akira Kurosawa was an Oscar-winning Japanese film director. His most famous movie to us in the West has to be “The Seven Samurai”, the inspiration for “The Magnificent Seven” starring Yul Brynner, and indeed a basis for “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”.

37. Alibi : STORY

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

39. Reader’s Digest offering : EXCERPT

Lila Wallace founded the “Reader’s Digest” along with her husband in 1922, operating out of a basement office in New York City. The initial print runs were limited to about 5,000 copies. Today, “Reader’s Digest” has about 100 million readers in 163 countries worldwide.

46. Six-time Sugar Bowl winner, for short : LSU

The LSU Tigers are the sports teams of Louisiana State University (LSU). They are officially known as the Fightin’ Tigers, and the school mascot is “Mike the Tiger”. The name comes from the days of the Civil War, when two Louisiana brigades earned the nickname the “Louisiana Tigers”. Given the French/Cajun history of Louisiana, the LSU fans use the cheer “Geaux Tigers” instead of “Go Tigers”.

50. Pleasure from inflicting pain : SADISM

A sadist is someone who derives pleasure from inflicting pain, with that pleasure often being sexual in nature. The term “sadist” comes from the Marquis de Sade, who was known to exhibit such tendencies.

55. Gnocchi topper : PESTO

The term “pesto” applies to anything made by pounding. What we tend to know as pesto sauce is more properly called “pesto alla genovese”, pesto from Genoa in northern Italy. I love, love pesto sauce …

Gnocchi are small dumplings in Italian cuisine that can be made from various ingredients including potato, my personal favorite. The name “gnocchi” might be derived from the Italian “nocchio” meaning “knot in wood”.

57. Gospel star Winans : CECE

CeCe Winans (real name Priscilla) is a Gospel music singer. She is part of a duo with her brother, BeBe Winans (real name Benjamin).

59. Column that leans to one side? : OP-ED

“Op-ed” is an abbreviation for “opposite the editorial page”. Op-eds started in “The New York Evening World” in 1921 when the page opposite the editorials was used for articles written by a named guest writer, someone independent of the editorial board.

61. Square after four : NINE

2 squared is 4, and 3 squared is 9.

63. Food from a root : TARO

The corm of some taro plants is used to make poi, the traditional Hawaiian dish (that I think tastes horrible). When a taro plant is grown as an ornamental, it is often called Elephant Ears due to the shape of its large leaves.

65. Japanese noodle type : UDON

Udon noodles are made from wheat-flour and are very popular in Japanese cuisines such as tempura.

67. Director DuVernay : AVA

Ava DuVernay is a filmmaker who became the first African-American woman to win the Best Director Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, a feat she achieved in 2012 for her feature film “Middle of Nowhere”. “Middle of Nowhere” tells the story of a woman who drops out of medical school to focus on husband when he is sentenced to 8 years in prison. DuVernay also directed the 2014 film “Selma” about the 1965 voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. What you see when you look up? : ACROSS
7. Observe Ramadan : FAST
11. Brand name after “Oh! Oh!,” in old ads : OREO
15. Ready to retire : SLEEPY
16. ___ mater : ALMA
17. Gather : REAP
18. 2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges, for one : SUPREME COURT CASE (The Supremes)
21. Channel with a 24-hour “A Christmas Story” marathon on Christmas : TBS
22. Slackens : ABATES
23. Japanese noodle type : RAMEN
24. Hershey toffee bar : SKOR
25. Baler input : HAY
27. Leon Uris’s “___ 18” : MILA
30. ___ land : LA-LA
33. Row at the bottom of a spreadsheet : TOTALS
38. Japanese art style : ANIME
40. Product of assorted tones of makeup : CONTOUR KIT (The Contours)
42. Email holder : INBOX
43. Iconic chain restaurant, informally : HOJO
44. Japanese drum : TAIKO
45. So-called “self-wringing” cleaning implement : MIRACLE MOP (The Miracles)
47. More firm, as footing : SURER
48. Motionless conditions : STASES
49. Deduce, with “out” : SUSS
51. Way more than a few : MANY
52. Massage : RUB
54. Who is told “don’t preach,” in a Madonna hit : PAPA
56. Big get for a reporter : SCOOP
60. Plate umpire’s call : INSIDE
63. ___ lepton (elementary particle) : TAU
66. Early 2000s Fox reality show : TEMPTATION ISLAND (The Temptations)
69. Frozen drink brand : ICEE
70. Sell : VEND
71. Half of quadraphonic : STEREO
72. Tear to bits : REND
73. On the ocean : ASEA
74. Record label for the singers starting 18-, 40-, 45- and 66-Across : MOTOWN

Down

1. Helper: Abbr. : ASST
2. Extracurricular group : CLUB
3. Gym rat’s count : REPS
4. “___ the ramparts …” : O’ER
5. Command to a dog : SPEAK!
6. Emblem : SYMBOL
7. “The following is completely true:” : FACT
8. Source of trendy health juices : ALOE
9. Compress : SMUSH
10. Word with coal or pine : TAR
11. Two-tone apex predator : ORCA
12. Castigate, with “out” : REAM
13. ___ of use : EASE
14. Emotionally honest : OPEN
19. Otalgia : EARACHE
20. They’re held at the beginning of the season : TRYOUTS
24. Coconutty Girl Scout cookies : SAMOAS
26. From ___ Z : A TO
27. Hurts : MAIMS
28. “Don’t you agree?,” in British lingo : INNIT?
29. Sign of balance? : LIBRA
31. Is in the offing : LOOMS
32. Pear variety : ANJOU
34. Reason for a hospitalization : TRAUMA
35. Filmmaker Kurosawa : AKIRA
36. Compare : LIKEN
37. Alibi : STORY
39. Reader’s Digest offering : EXCERPT
41. Tennis technique : TOPSPIN
46. Six-time Sugar Bowl winner, for short : LSU
50. Pleasure from inflicting pain : SADISM
53. Nibbles : BITES
55. Gnocchi topper : PESTO
56. Show signs of life : STIR
57. Gospel star Winans : CECE
58. Portent : OMEN
59. Column that leans to one side? : OP-ED
61. Square after four : NINE
62. It may come from a fountain : SODA
63. Food from a root : TARO
64. Freshly : ANEW
65. Japanese noodle type : UDON
67. Director DuVernay : AVA
68. Tennis umpire’s call : LET!