0103-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 3 Jan 2018, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Bruce Haight
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: “Foody” Puns

Themed answers sound like common phrases, but are puns on a food referenced in the clue:

  • 16A. “Don’t worry about my cheesy chip”? : IT’S NACHO PROBLEM (sounds like “it’s not your problem”)
  • 24A. “We should discuss your Qdoba order”? : LET’S TACO ‘BOUT IT (sounds like “let’s talk about it”)
  • 42A. “Should we settle this dispute over toppings outside?”? : YA WANNA PIZZA ME? (sounds like “ya wanna piece of me?”)
  • 55A. “That Italian dessert truly boggles the mind”? : I CANNOLI IMAGINE (sounds like “I can only imagine”)

Bill’s time: 11m 16s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5. Balkan native : SLAV

The Slavic peoples are in the majority in communities covering over half of Europe. This large ethnic group is traditionally broken down into three smaller groups:

  • the West Slavic (including Czechs and Poles)
  • the East Slavic (including Russians and Ukrainians)
  • the South Slavic (including Bulgarians and Serbs)

The Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe is usually referred to as “the Balkans”. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains located in present-day Bulgaria and Serbia. “Balkan” is Bulgarian for “mountain”.

9. Fourth of July centerpiece : FLAG

On 11 June 1776, the Continental Congress appointed a committee of five people to draft a declaration of independence. Included in the five were John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Adams persuaded the other committee members to give Jefferson the task of writing the first draft. A resolution of independence was passed by the Congress on 2 Jul 1776. The final draft of the declaration was approved by the Congress two days later, on July 4th. John Adams wrote a letter to his wife that included an assertion that July 2nd (the date of the resolution of independence) would become a great American holiday. Of course Adams was wrong, and it was actually the date the Declaration of Independence was finalized that came to be celebrated annually.

13. Away from the wind : ALEE

Alee is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing aweather.

14. Northern Florida county seat : OCALA

The city of Ocala, Florida was founded near a historic village with the same name. In the local Timucua language “Ocala” means “Big Hammock”. Back in the 1890s, Ocala was famous for its oranges, with over one third of that fruit shipped from Florida coming from the city. Also, thoroughbred horse farming in Florida started in Ocala, back in 1943. Some folks today call Ocala the “Horse Capital of the World”, but I bet that’s disputed by others …

16. “Don’t worry about my cheesy chip”? : IT’S NACHO PROBLEM (sounds like “it’s not your problem”)

The dish known as “nachos” were supposedly created by the maître d’ at a restaurant called the Victory Club in the city of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico. The maître d’’s name was Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya.

23. “Elder” Roman statesman : CATO

Cato the Elder was a Roman statesman, known historically as “the elder” in order to distinguish him from his great-grandson, Cato the Younger. Cato the Elder’s ultimate position within Roman society was that of Censor, making him responsible for maintaining the census, and for supervising public morality.

24. “We should discuss your Qdoba order”? : LET’S TACO ‘BOUT IT (sounds like “let’s talk about it”)

Qdoba is a chain of casual restaurants specializing in Mexican cuisine. The chain started out in 1995 with the name Zuma Fresh Mexican Grill, then Z-Teca Mexican Grill in 1997. Both “Zuma” and “Z-Teca” were challenged by establishments that already had similar names, and so the company settled on Qdoba Mexican Grill in 1999, a completely invented moniker.

31. “2001” computer : HAL

In Arthur C. Clarke’s “Space Odyssey” (famously adapted for the big screen as “2001: A Space Odyssey”) the computer system that went rogue was called HAL 9000, or simply “HAL”. HAL stands for Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer. Even though, Clarke denied it, there’s a good argument that can be made that the acronym HAL is a veiled reference to IBM, the big player in the world of computing at the time of the novel’s publication (1968). The acronym HAL is just a one-letter shift from the initials “IBM”.

32. Writer Jaffe : RONA

Rona Jaffe was an American novelist perhaps most famous for two of her books, “The Best of Everything” and “Mazes and Monsters”. “The Best of Everything” was published in 1958 and has been compared with the HBO television series “Sex and the City” as it depicts women in the working world. “Mazes and Monsters” was published in 1981 and explores a role-playing game similar to Dungeons & Dragons and the impact it has on players.

33. Nursery rhyme sailing vessel : TUB

The nursery rhyme “Rub-a-Dub-Dub” dates back to at least 1798 when it was first published in London:

Rub-a-dub-dub,
Three men in a tub,
And how do you think they got there?
The butcher, the baker,
The candlestick-maker,
They all jumped out of a rotten potato,
‘Twas enough to make a man stare.

37. Bygone Yankee nickname : A-ROD

Baseball player Alex Rodriguez, nicknamed “A-Rod”, broke a lot of records in his career, albeit under a shroud of controversy due to his use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs. When he signed a 10-year contract with the Texas Rangers for $252 million in 2000, it was the most lucrative contract in sports history. In 2007, Rodriguez signed an even more lucrative 10-year contract with the New York Yankees, worth $275 million. Rodriguez retired in 2016.

42. “Should we settle this dispute over toppings outside?”? : YA WANNA PIZZA ME? (sounds like “ya wanna piece of me?”)

Pizza was invented in Naples where it has a long tradition that goes back to Ancient Rome. During an 1889 visit to Naples, Queen Margherita of Savoy was served a special pizza that was created with toppings designed to mimic the colors of the Italian flag. The ingredients of tomato (red), mozzarella (white) and basil (green) can still be found together on menus today, on a pie usually named Pizza Margherita after the queen. I do love basil on my pizza …

52. Oxymoronic drink from a Big Gulp? : SIP

The Big Gulp is a 32-ounce oversized soft drink available from 7-Eleven. You can also get a 64-ounce Double Gulp, and a 128-ounce Team Gulp.

The word “oxymoron” is in itself an oxymoron. It derives from the Greek words “Oxys” and “moros” meaning “sharp” and “stupid”.

55. “That Italian dessert truly boggles the mind”? : I CANNOLI IMAGINE (sounds like “I can only imagine”)

Cannoli (singular “connolo”) are Italian sweet pastries that originated in Sicily. Cannoli are made by filling tubes of fried pastry dough with a creamy filling that usually contains ricotta cheese. “Cannolo” is Italian for “little tube”.

58. Machu Picchu locale : PERU

Machu Picchu is known as “The Lost City of the Incas”, and it can be visited on a mountain ridge in Peru, 50 miles northwest of the city of Cuzco in the southeast of the country. The name Machu Picchu means “old peak”. The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu originates about 50 miles from Cusco on the Urubamba River in Peru. It can take travelers about 5 days to trek the full length of the trail, passing through many Incan ruins before reaching the Sun Gate on Machu Picchu mountain. The trail was becoming greatly overused, forcing the Peruvian government to limit the number of people on the trail each day to 500. Book early …

60. Yen : URGE

The word “yen”, meaning “urge”, has been around in English since the very early 1900s. It comes from the earlier word “yin” imported from Chinese, which was used in English to describe an intense craving for opium.

62. 18 credits for a semester is a heavy one : LOAD

“Semester” is a German word from the Latin “semestris”, an adjective meaning “of six months”. We use the term in a system that divides an academic year into two roughly equal parts. A trimester-system has three parts, and a quarter-system has four.

63. HBO series about the politician Selina Meyer : VEEP

“Veep” is a political satire sitcom on HBO that is a remake of the British show “The Thick of It” (Warning: strong language!). “Veep” is set in the office of a fictional Vice President of the United States played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Down

1. Pokey : JAIL

“Pokey” (also “poky”) is a slang term for prison. It might be a corruption of “pogie”, a term for a “poorhouse”.

2. Lead-in to cumulus : ALTO-

Altocumulus clouds are globular clouds seen in layers at medium altitudes. The name comes from the Latin “altus” meaning “high”, and “cumulus” meaning “heaped”.

3. Gusto : ZEST

“Gusto” is an Italian word meaning “taste”. We use it in English in the phrase “with gusto” meaning “with great enjoyment”.

4. ___ state : ZEN

Zen is a Buddhist school that developed its own tradition in China back in the 7th century AD. Zen is a Japanese spelling of the Chinese word “chan”, which in turn derives from the Sanskrit word “dhyana” meaning “meditation”.

5. Conceptual framework : SCHEMA

A schema is an outline or a model. The plural of “schema” is “schemata” and the adjectival form is “schematic”.

6. Where to be among the Hmong : LAOS

The Hmong people are an ethnic group from the mountains of China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.

7. European summit : ALP

There are eight Alpine countries:

  • Austria
  • Slovenia
  • France
  • Switzerland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Germany
  • Monaco
  • Italy

9. Beatles moniker : FAB FOUR

The Beatles were described on the sleeve notes of their 1963 album “With the Beatles” as the “fabulous foursome”. The press picked up on the phrase and morphed it into “the Fab Four”.

10. Humdinger : LULU

We call a remarkable thing or a person a “lulu”. The term is used in honor of Lulu Hurst, the Georgia Wonder, who was a stage magician active in the 1880s.

A humdinger or a pip is someone or something outstanding. “Humdinger” is American slang dating back to the early 1900s, and was originally used to describe a particularly attractive woman.

11. God depicted in a helmet : ARES

The Greek god Ares is often referred to as the Olympian god of warfare, but originally he was regarded as the god of bloodlust and slaughter. Ares united with Aphrodite to create several gods, including Phobos (Fear), Deimos (Terror) and Eros (Desire). Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, and the Roman equivalent to Ares was Mars.

22. Cousin ___ of 1960s TV : ITT

In the television sitcom “The Addams Family”, the family had a frequent visitor called Cousin Itt. Itt is a short man with long hair that runs from his head to the floor. Cousin Itt was played by Italian actor Felix Silla.

They’re creepy and they’re kooky,
Mysterious and spooky,
They’re altogether ooky,
The Addams Family.

23. Eyes for Frosty the Snowman : COAL

“Frosty the Snowman” is a song that was recorded first by Gene Autry, in 1950. The song was specifically written in the hope that it would become a follow-up hit to Autry’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” that topped the charts the previous year.

24. First lady before Michelle : LAURA

Laura Bush, wife of President George W. Bush, had her memoir “Spoken from the Heart” published in 2010. Born Laura Lane Welch, the former First Lady has a Master’s degree in Library Science (as does my wife, my own First Lady!). Given that background, it’s not surprising that two causes that Laura Bush focused on while in the White House were education and literacy. She established the annual National Book Festival, first held in Washington, D.C. in 2001, after having co-founded the Texas Book Festival in her home state.

Michelle Obama née Robinson grew up on the South Side of Chicago. Her brother is Craig Robinson, former coach of men’s basketball at Oregon State University. After graduating from Harvard Law School, Michelle Robinson worked as an associate at the Chicago office of the Sidley Austin law firm. Barack Obama joined the firm as a summer associate and Michelle Robinson was assigned to mentor him, and as they say, one thing led to another …

26. Pioneer in space : CHIMP

Enos was a chimpanzee that was launched into Earth orbit in 1961 by NASA on a Mercury Atlas 4 rocket. Enos’s flight was a rehearsal for the first orbital flight made by an American, astronaut John Glenn. Enos returned from his mission safely, but died the following year from dysentery.

27. ___ pole : TOTEM

“Totem” is the name given to any entity that watches over a group of people. As such, totems are usually the subjects of worship. Totem poles are really misnamed, as they are not intended to represent figures to be worshiped, but rather are heraldic in nature often celebrating the legends or notable events in the history of a tribe.

40. Longtime Boston Symphony maestro : OZAWA

Seiji Ozawa is most famous for his work as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, although he is also the principal conductor of the Vienna State Opera. Ozawa is renowned for wearing a white turtleneck under his dress suit when he conducts, rather than the traditional starched shirt and white tie.

48. Common sights at pants knees : RIPS

The term “pants”, meaning trousers, is an abbreviated form of “pantaloons” that first appeared in the 1840s. Pantaloons were a kind of tights named for a silly old male character in Italian comedy called “Pantaloun”, who always wore tight trousers over skinny legs.

49. Frozen drink : ICEE

Slush Puppie and ICEE are brands of frozen, slushy drinks. Ostensibly competing brands, ICEE company now owns the Slush Puppie brand.

51. Great Pyramid locale : GIZA

Giza is located on the west bank of the Nile, about 20 km southwest of Cairo. The nearby Giza Plateau is home to some of the most amazing ancient monuments on the planet, including the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Great Sphinx.

53. “Picnic” playwright : INGE

Playwright William Inge had a run of success on Broadway in the early fifties. Inge’s most celebrated work of that time was the play “Picnic”, for which he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. The original 1953 cast of “Picnic” included a young male actor making his debut on Broadway. His name was Paul Newman. Many of Inge’s works are set in the American heartland and so he became known as the “Playwright of the Midwest”.

56. John, in Britain : LOO

It has been suggested that the British term “loo” comes from “Waterloo” (water closet … water-loo), but no one seems to know for sure. Another suggestion is that the term comes from the card game of “lanterloo”, in which the pot was called the loo!

57. British term of address : GUV

“Guv” is an informal word used in the UK, and a shortened form of “governor”. It is usually a friendly address to a man, sort of like our “Mac” or “Dad”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. All that ___ : JAZZ
5. Balkan native : SLAV
9. Fourth of July centerpiece : FLAG
13. Away from the wind : ALEE
14. Northern Florida county seat : OCALA
15. Mystical glow : AURA
16. “Don’t worry about my cheesy chip”? : IT’S NACHO PROBLEM (sounds like “it’s not your problem”)
19. Parking place : LOT
20. Hwys. : RTES
21. Permeate : INFUSE
22. Follower of a bullet : ITEM
23. “Elder” Roman statesman : CATO
24. “We should discuss your Qdoba order”? : LET’S TACO ‘BOUT IT (sounds like “let’s talk about it”)
30. Like tears or sailors’ language : SALTY
31. “2001” computer : HAL
32. Writer Jaffe : RONA
33. Nursery rhyme sailing vessel : TUB
34. In a joyful manner : GAILY
36. Forklift unit : TON
37. Bygone Yankee nickname : A-ROD
39. Tree with serrated leaves that taper to a point : ELM
40. Hits theaters : OPENS
42. “Should we settle this dispute over toppings outside?”? : YA WANNA PIZZA ME? (sounds like “ya wanna piece of me?”)
46. Things some stretchers try to touch : TOES
47. Perfectly : TO A T
48. What underwear may do, annoyingly : RIDE UP
51. Swell : GROW
52. Oxymoronic drink from a Big Gulp? : SIP
55. “That Italian dessert truly boggles the mind”? : I CANNOLI IMAGINE (sounds like “I can only imagine”)
58. Machu Picchu locale : PERU
59. Moves like sap : OOZES
60. Yen : URGE
61. On its way : SENT
62. 18 credits for a semester is a heavy one : LOAD
63. HBO series about the politician Selina Meyer : VEEP

Down

1. Pokey : JAIL
2. Lead-in to cumulus : ALTO-
3. Gusto : ZEST
4. ___ state : ZEN
5. Conceptual framework : SCHEMA
6. Where to be among the Hmong : LAOS
7. European summit : ALP
8. Hit or miss, say : VARIABLY
9. Beatles moniker : FAB FOUR
10. Humdinger : LULU
11. God depicted in a helmet : ARES
12. League of Legends or World of Warcraft : GAME
14. Large chamber music group : OCTET
17. Culturally pretentious : ARTSY
18. Be ___ something : ONTO
22. Cousin ___ of 1960s TV : ITT
23. Eyes for Frosty the Snowman : COAL
24. First lady before Michelle : LAURA
25. Jostle : ELBOW
26. Pioneer in space : CHIMP
27. ___ pole : TOTEM
28. Ending with two or hole : … IN ONE
29. Lies in the sun : TANS
30. Not fly the coop : STAY
34. Heredity source : GENE POOL
35. “Sad to say …” : ALAS …
38. Kind of bread : DATE NUT
40. Longtime Boston Symphony maestro : OZAWA
41. Well-practiced, as an answer : PAT
43. What an adjective modifies : NOUN
44. “Gave it my best” : I TRIED
45. Skyrockets : ZOOMS
48. Common sights at pants knees : RIPS
49. Frozen drink : ICEE
50. “Shucks!” : DARN!
51. Great Pyramid locale : GIZA
52. Regal term of address : SIRE
53. “Picnic” playwright : INGE
54. Tiny protest : PEEP
56. John, in Britain : LOO
57. British term of address : GUV

15 thoughts on “0103-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 3 Jan 2018, Wednesday”

  1. 11:31 That included about one minute spent finding an error. For the answer to 13A I always type in ALEa instead of ALEE. Puzzle seems fine, puns weren’t particularly funny to me.

  2. 26:03 including a minute or so looking for an error. Theme was ok. The cluing was the star of the show. SIP being an “Oxymoronic drink from a Big Gulp” wins the prize..I always both struggle with and enjoy Bruce Haight’s puzzles, and this was no exception.

    Best –

    1. @AnoymousII, and others.
      Okay, we’ll blame my funny accent for the “not a”/”not your” mix-up. I’ve made the change, albeit late in the day. Thanks for the help, everyone.

  3. 12:58, three errors: 3D ZE(A)(L)/16A IT (A) NACHO PROBLEM/19A LO(L). A puzzle like this reminds me that, sometimes, just need to let go and some fun.

    I concur with AnonII, sounds like ‘it’s not yo’ problem’

  4. I had one letter wrong at the SCHEMA/LETSTACOBOUTIT cross. I had SCHEME. Since I knew nothing of what Qdoba meant and having never heard of the restaurant chain, I had no means of correcting myself. I am probably not alone on the SCHEME vs. SCHEMA choice. I am sure that a lot of puzzle workers make that mistake.

    I agree with the other posters in that ITSNACHOPROBLEM should be interpreted as “It’s not your problem”.

  5. 14:38, and no errors. Mama mia, madon’, was this a *bad* idea. Gives a guy *heartburn* to endure these groaner puns.

  6. Thought the puns were clever enough, though a bit of a stretch in pronunciations. Got them except for CANNOLI, having confused GaZA with GIZA and ending up with CANNOLa.

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