0117-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 17 Jan 2018, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Jules P. Markey
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: Down Feathers

Themed answers are all in the DOWN-direction. Each includes the name of a bird as a hidden word, one of our FEATHERED friends:

  • 11D. Warm winter coat contents … or what is present in the answer to each starred clue? : DOWN FEATHERS
  • 5D. *Baseball, according to some : A GAME OF INCHES (hiding “finch”)
  • 7D. *”A likely story!” : TELL ME ANOTHER ONE! (hiding “heron”)
  • 22D. *Dystopian novel set in the year 2540 : BRAVE NEW WORLD (hiding “raven”)
  • 25D. *Sports legend who was an M.V.P. for eight consecutive seasons : WAYNE GRETZKY (hiding “egret”)

Bill’s time: 10m 00s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. ___ Express (Boston-to-Washington connection) : ACELA

The Acela Express is the fastest train routinely running in the US, getting up to 150 mph at times. The service runs between Boston and Washington D.C. via Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. Introduced in 2000, the brand name “Acela” was created to evoke “acceleration” and “excellence”.

6. Site of Zeno’s teaching : STOA

A stoa was a covered walkway in Ancient Greece. A stoa usually consisted of columns lining the side of a building or buildings, with another row of columns defining the other side of the walkway. The columns supported a roof. Often stoae would surround marketplaces in large cities.
Zeno of Citium was a Greek philosopher famous for teaching at the Stoa Poikile, the “Painted Porch”, located on the north side of the Ancient Agora of Athens. Because of the location of his classes, his philosophy became known as stoicism (from “stoa”, the word for “porch”). And yes, we get our adjective “stoic” from the same root.

14. Close-fitting head covering : DO-RAG

Hip-hoppers might wear do-rags today, but they have been around for centuries. The etymology of “do-rag” is pretty evident: a piece of cloth (rag) to hold a hairstyle (do) in place.

15. Congers, e.g. : EELS

Conger eels can grow to be very, very large, perhaps up to 10 feet in length.

16. Salmon at a deli : NOVA

Nova lox is salmon that has been cured with a mild brine and then cold-smoked. The term originally applied to salmon from Nova Scotia.

17. Some evidence collected for trials : DNA SAMPLES

I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that the DNA of living things is so very similar across different species. Human DNA is almost exactly the same for every individual (to the degree of 99.9%). However, those small differences are sufficient to distinguish one individual from another, and to determine whether or not individuals are close family relatives.

19. Birdbrain : TWIT

“Twit” is a word not used very often here in America. It’s a slang term that was quite common in England where it was used for “someone foolish and idiotic”.

28. Lyrist of myth : ERATO

In Greek mythology, Erato was the Muse of lyric poetry, and is often depicted playing a lyre.
The lyre is a stringed instrument most closely associated with Ancient Greece, and with the gods Hermes and Apollo in particular. According to myth, Hermes slaughtered a cow from a sacred herd belonging to Apollo and offered it to the gods but kept the entrails. Hermes used the entrails to make strings that he stretched across the shell of a tortoise, creating the first lyre. Apollo liked the sound from the lyre and agreed to accept it as a trade for his herd of cattle.

30. Lead-in to dog or horse : SEA-

Seahorses belong to the genus Hippocampus. The genus name comes from the Greek “hippo” meaning “horse” and “kampos” meaning “sea monster”. It’s the male seahorse who carries the fertilized eggs, and not the females. The region of the brain known as the hippocampus, is so called because it resembles a seahorse in shape.

35. Tel ___ : AVIV

The full name of Israel’s second largest city is Tel Aviv-Yafo. “Tel Aviv” translates into “Spring Mound”, a name chosen in 1910.

40. ___ Mae (bond) : GINNIE

Ginnie Mae is the familiar nickname for the Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA), a government-owned corporation created in 1968 with the objective of promoting home ownership. The “Ginnie Mae” nickname is derived from the GNMA abbreviation.

42. Madre’s hermana : TIA

In Spanish, the “hermana” (sister) of your “madre” (mother) is your “tia” (aunt).

43. Wall-E’s love in “Wall-E” : EVE

WALL-E is a very cute Pixar movie that was released in 2008. The hero of the piece is a robot called WALL-E, who loves his “Hello Dolly”, and who falls in love with another robot called EVE.

44. Submarine commander of fiction : NEMO

In the 1954 movie version of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, Captain Nemo goes down with his ship. In the novel by Jules Verne the fate of Nemo and his crew isn’t quite so cut and dry, although the inference is perhaps that they did indeed head for Davy Jones’ Locker.

46. It’s often played before playing : ANTHEM

The word “anthem” used to describe a sacred song, especially one with words taken from the Scriptures. The British national anthem (“God Save the Queen/King”) technically is a hymn, and so it came to be described as the “national hymn” and later “national anthem”. The use of the word “anthem” extended from there to describe any patriotic song.

59. Website with step-by-step tutorials : EHOW

eHow is a how-to website that was founded in 1999. eHow has an awful lot of content but doesn’t do a great job of assessing the value of that content. I wouldn’t recommend it …

65. Pasta used in soups and salads : ORZO

Orzo is pasta that has been formed into granular shapes, much like barley. And indeed, “orzo” is the Italian word for “barley”.

66. Maker’s mark? : APOSTROPHE

There is an apostrophe in the word “maker’s”.

71. Asian vessels : WOKS

“Wok” is a Cantonese word, and the name for the frying pan now used in many Asian cuisines.

72. Tolkien character : RUNE

A rune is a character in an alphabet that is believed to have mysterious powers. In Norse mythology, the runic alphabet was said to have a divine origin.
J. R. R. (John Ronald Reuel) Tolkien was an English author best known by far for his fantasy novels “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”. Although Tolkien lived in England and was a professor at Oxford, he served for many years as an external examiner at my old school, University College Dublin in Ireland.

73. Turkish money : LIRAS

The currency of Turkey is the Turkish lira, which is divided into 100 kuruş. In 1927, the Turkish lira replaced the Ottoman lira, which had been in use since 1844.

74. Reason to see an ophthalmologist : STYE

A stye is a bacterial infection of the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes, and is also known as a hordeolum.

75. Need for a modern pentathlon : EPEE

The original pentathlon of the ancient Olympic games consisted of a foot race, wrestling, long jump, javelin and discus. When a new pentathlon was created as a sport for the modern Olympic Games, it was given the name the “modern pentathlon”. First introduced in 1912, the modern pentathlon consists of:

  1. pistol shooting
  2. épée fencing
  3. 200m freestyle swimming
  4. show jumping
  5. 3km cross-country running

Down

4. Zap, in a way : LASE

The term “laser” is an acronym standing for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation” (LASER). It has been pointed out that a more precise name for laser technology is “Light Oscillation by Stimulated Emission of Radiation”, but the resulting acronym isn’t quite so appealing, namely LOSER.

6. Old photo tones : SEPIAS

Sepia is that rich, brown-grey color so common in old photographs. “Sepia” is the Latinized version of the Greek word for cuttlefish, as sepia pigment is derived from the ink sac of the cuttlefish.The “sepia tone” of old photographs is not the result of deterioration over time. Rather, it is the result of a deliberate preservation process which converts the metallic silver in the photographic image to a more stable silver sulfide. Prints that have been sepia-toned can last in excess of 150 years.

7. *”A likely story!” : TELL ME ANOTHER ONE! (hiding “heron”)

Herons are birds with long legs that inhabit freshwater and coastal locales. Some herons are routinely referred to as egrets, and others as bitterns. Herons look a lot like storks and cranes, but differ in their appearance in flight. Herons fly with their necks retracted in an S-shape, whereas storks and cranes have their necks extended.

9. Longtime Syrian strongman : ASSAD

Dr. Bashar al-Assad is the current President of the Syrian Arab Republic and the son of the former President Hafez al-Assad whom he replaced in 2001. President Assad is a medical doctor, speaks fluent English and conversational French. Assad was studying ophthalmology in London when he met his wife, who is an Englishwoman.

22. *Dystopian novel set in the year 2540 : BRAVE NEW WORLD (hiding “raven”)

There is a speech by Miranda in “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare that is the source for the title of “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley:

O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t.

23. Book that a bookkeeper keeps : LEDGER

A ledger is an account book. The term”ledger” comes from the Middle English “leggen” meaning “to lay”. The original ledger was a large book “laid” in one particular place permanently, an example being a breviary in a church.

25. *Sports legend who was an M.V.P. for eight consecutive seasons : WAYNE GRETZKY (hiding “egret”)

Wayne Gretzky is regarded by many as the greatest ever player of ice hockey, and indeed he has the nickname “The Great One”.

31. 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.

36. Hoppy brews : IPAS

India pale ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.

38. Mortgagor, e.g. : LIENEE

Our word “mortgage” comes from the Old French “mort gaige” which translated as “dead pledge”. Such an arrangement was so called because the “pledge” to repay “dies” when the debt is cleared.

39. Unlikeliest to be bought : LAMEST

Like a very lame excuse …

47. Grueling Olympic race, for short : TRI

An Ironman Triathlon is a race involving a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a marathon run of just over 26 miles. The idea for the race came out of a debate between some runners in the 1977 Oahu Perimeter Relay. They were questioning whether runners, swimmers or bikers were the most fit athletes. The debaters decided to combine three local events to determine the answer, inviting athletes from all three disciplines. The events that were mimicked to come up with the first triathlon were the Waikiki Roughwater swim (2.4 miles), the Around-Oahu Bike Race (115 miles) and the Honolulu Marathon (26.2 miles). The idea was that whoever finished first would be called “the Iron Man”. The first triathlon was run in 1978, with fifteen starters and only twelve finishers. The race format is used all over the world now, but the Hawaiian Ironman is the event that everyone wants to win.

52. Melodic : ARIOSE

A tune that is “ariose” is song-like, characterized by melody as opposed to harmony.

57. Deck with 78 cards : TAROT

In a 78-card tarot deck, there are four 14-card suits known as the four minor arcana. There is also a 21-card trump suit, and a card referred to as the Fool. The Fool and trump suit are sometimes collectively called the major arcana.

58. Its symbol is ORD : O’HARE

O’Hare International is the fourth busiest airport in the world. The original airport was constructed on the site between 1942 and 1943, and was used by the Douglas Aircraft Company for the manufacture of planes during WWII. Before the factory and airport were built, there was a community in the area called Orchard Place, so the airport was called Orchard Place Airport/Douglas Field. This name is the derivation of the airport’s current location identifier: ORD (OR-chard D-ouglas). Orchard Place Airport was renamed to O’Hare International in 1949 in honor of Lieutenant Commander Butch O’Hare who grew up in Chicago. O’Hare was the US Navy’s first flying ace and a Medal of Honor recipient in WWII.

64. Genre for “Chinatown” or “The Big Sleep” : NOIR

The expression “film noir” has French origins, but only in that it was coined by a French critic in describing a style of Hollywood film. The term, meaning “black film” in French, was first used by Nino Frank in 1946. Film noir often applies to a movie with a melodramatic plot and a private eye or detective at its center. Good examples would be “The Big Sleep” and “D.O.A”.
“The Big Sleep” is a film released in 1946, and a great example of the film noir genre. Based on Raymond Chandler’s 1939 novel of the same name, the movie stars Humphrey Bogart as detective Philip Marlowe, and Lauren Bacall as the sultry daughter of Marlowe’s client.

67. Whelp : PUP

A whelp is a young dog, and also a young wolf, bear, lion, tiger and seal. The term has largely been replaced by “pup” or “puppy”.

69. Solo on the silver screen : HAN

Han Solo is the space smuggler in “Star Wars” played by Harrison Ford. Ford was originally hired by George Lucas just to read lines for actors during auditions for “Star Wars”, but over time Lucas became convinced that Ford was right for the pivotal role of Han Solo.

70. Cornell-to-Yale dir. : ESE

Ezra Cornell was an associate of Samuel Morse and made his money in the telegraph business. After he retired he co-founded Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He provided a generous endowment and donated his farm as a site for the school, and was then rewarded by having the institute named after him.
Elihu Yale was a wealthy merchant born in Boston in 1649. Yale worked for the British East India Company, and for many years served as governor of a settlement at Madras (now Chennai) in India. After India, Yale took over his father’s estate near Wrexham in Wales. It was while resident in Wrexham that Yale responded to a request for financial support for the Collegiate School of Connecticut in 1701. He sent the school a donation, which was used to erect a new building in New Haven that was named “Yale” in his honor. In 1718, the whole school was renamed to “Yale College”. To this day, students of Yale are nicknamed “Elis”, again honoring Elihu.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. ___ Express (Boston-to-Washington connection) : ACELA
6. Site of Zeno’s teaching : STOA
10. Prefix with -logical : IDEO-
14. Close-fitting head covering : DO-RAG
15. Congers, e.g. : EELS
16. Salmon at a deli : NOVA
17. Some evidence collected for trials : DNA SAMPLES
19. Birdbrain : TWIT
20. Texting alternative : EMAIL
21. Boatloads : A BUNCH
23. Police, informally : LAW
26. Part of a doctor’s visit : EXAM
27. Blizzard results : DRIFTS
28. Lyrist of myth : ERATO
30. Lead-in to dog or horse : SEA-
32. Made a fast stop? : ATE
33. Towel : DRY OFF
35. Tel ___ : AVIV
37. The works : ALL
40. ___ Mae (bond) : GINNIE
41. Scruff : NAPE
42. Madre’s hermana : TIA
43. Wall-E’s love in “Wall-E” : EVE
44. Submarine commander of fiction : NEMO
46. It’s often played before playing : ANTHEM
48. Rule, informally : REG
49. Solidify : CLOT
50. Tranquil : SERENE
51. “Hurray!” : RAH!
53. Question before a name is repeated : … WHO?
55. Circuitry connectors : WIRES
56. Standard equipment on most cars : STEREO
59. Website with step-by-step tutorials : EHOW
61. Solidify : SET
62. A little behind : LATISH
63. Bad-mouth : RIP ON
65. Pasta used in soups and salads : ORZO
66. Maker’s mark? : APOSTROPHE
71. Asian vessels : WOKS
72. Tolkien character : RUNE
73. Turkish money : LIRAS
74. Reason to see an ophthalmologist : STYE
75. Need for a modern pentathlon : EPEE
76. High-tech package delivery method : DRONE

Down

1. Do some arithmetic : ADD
2. One side of a debate : CON
3. Word after many a president’s name : … ERA
4. Zap, in a way : LASE
5. *Baseball, according to some : A GAME OF INCHES (hiding “finch”)
6. Old photo tones : SEPIAS
7. *”A likely story!” : TELL ME ANOTHER ONE! (hiding “heron”)
8. “Hurray!” : OLE!
9. Longtime Syrian strongman : ASSAD
10. Sense : INTUIT
11. Warm winter coat contents … or what is present in the answer to each starred clue? : DOWN FEATHERS
12. Give the boot : EVICT
13. Vows : OATHS
18. Upper limit, for short : MAX
22. *Dystopian novel set in the year 2540 : BRAVE NEW WORLD (hiding “raven”)
23. Book that a bookkeeper keeps : LEDGER
24. Achieve great success : ARRIVE
25. *Sports legend who was an M.V.P. for eight consecutive seasons : WAYNE GRETZKY (hiding “egret”)
29. Boatload : TON
31. Director DuVernay : AVA
34. Sense : FEEL
36. Hoppy brews : IPAS
38. Mortgagor, e.g. : LIENEE
39. Unlikeliest to be bought : LAMEST
45. Do some lawn work : MOW
47. Grueling Olympic race, for short : TRI
52. Melodic : ARIOSE
54. “Now that makes sense!” : OH, I SEE!
56. Retards : SLOWS
57. Deck with 78 cards : TAROT
58. Its symbol is ORD : O’HARE
60. Elect (to) : OPT
64. Genre for “Chinatown” or “The Big Sleep” : NOIR
67. Whelp : PUP
68. One side of a debate : PRO
69. Solo on the silver screen : HAN
70. Cornell-to-Yale dir. : ESE

7 thoughts on “0117-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 17 Jan 2018, Wednesday”

  1. 14:21 Not too many problems until I hit the right side of the puzzle. Everything from the middle up to the top right corner slowed me down a little bit. Eventually got BRAVENEWWORLD and the rest fell into place.

  2. 16:39. I did get the theme, but it didn’t really help me solve the puzzle. The more interesting story was the setter’s originally wanting the theme to be something more akin to “bird droppings”, but the editors stepped in evidently….NYT Wordplay section has that story…

    Best –

  3. 14:53, no errors. Never felt comfortable with this one. The term DOWN FEATHERS didn’t seem quite correct; and I guessed 11D to be DUCK FEATHERS and 12D to be EJECT before EVICT. This bogged me down in top right corner, the last section I filled. It was clever for the setter to see the various types of birds in the theme expressions; something I couldn’t do, even after getting the theme.

  4. DOWNFEATHERS simply doesn’t work well here as a revealer.

    Sure, the bird answers are within down columns, but the DOWN doesn’t come from those birds, and DOWNFEATHERS would be redundant even if the birds were all ducks of some sort.

    So had some trouble there in the NE, but finished without errors.

  5. No errors. Things went relatively smoothly for me. I had FANNIE MAE before GINNIE MAE but the crosses straightened that out. Also, it took a few write-overs on the spelling of WAYNE GRETZKY’s last name. I did not need the theme in order to solve the puzzle but went back later and found the “feathered” clues.

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