0123-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 23 Jan 2018, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Jim Hilger
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: Spread

The circled letters in several rows of the grid spell out words or phrases that often precede the word SPREAD. The letters in those words have been SPREAD out over rows in the grid. Those SPREADS are:

  • WINGSPREAD
  • CHEESE SPREAD
  • MAGAZINE SPREAD
  • MIDDLE-AGE SPREAD
  • POINT SPREAD
  • BEDSPREAD

Bill’s time: 6m 43s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Value of snake eyes in craps : TWO

“Snake eyes” is the slang term for a roll of two dice in which one pip turns up on each die.

If one considers earlier versions of craps, then the game has been around for a very long time and probably dates back to the Crusades. It may have been derived from an old English game called “hazard” also played with two dice, which was mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” from the 1300s. The American version of the game came here courtesy of the French and first set root in New Orleans where it was given the name “crapaud”, a French word meaning “toad”.

15. 87, 89 or 93, on a gas pump : OCTANE

The difference between a premium and regular gasoline is its octane rating. The octane rating is measure of the resistance of the gasoline to auto-ignition i.e. its resistance to ignition just by virtue of being compressed in the cylinder. This auto-ignition is undesirable as multiple-cylinder engines are designed so that ignition within each cylinder takes place precisely when the plug sparks, and not before. If ignition occurs before the spark is created, the resulting phenomenon is called “knocking”. We sometimes use the adjective “high-octane” to mean “intense, dynamic, high-powered”

17. Pro at tax time : CPA

Certified public accountant (CPA)

23. ___-X : GEN

The term “Generation X” originated in the UK where it was the name of a book by Jane Deverson. Her book detailed the results of a study of British youths in 1964, contrasting their lifestyle to those of previous generations. It was Canadian author Douglas Coupland who was responsible for popularizing the term, with his more successful publication “Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture”. By the latest accepted definition, Gen-Xers were born between 1961 and 1981.

25. Member of a Marvel Comics group : AVENGER

The Avengers are a team of superheroes in the Marvel Comics universe. The original lineup, which dates back to 1963, consisted of Ant-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and the Wasp. Soon after their formation, the Avengers rescued Captain America trapped in ice, and thereafter he joined the team. There is a 2012 movie called “The Avengers” that features Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk and Thor.

29. Divinity school subj. : REL

Religion (rel.)

33. Neighbor of the asteroid belt : MARS

The vast majority of asteroids in the Solar System are found in the main asteroid belt, which is located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Four large asteroids (Ceres, Vesta, Pallas and Hygeia) make up about half the mass of the asteroid belt and are 400-950 km in diameter. The total mass of the belt is just 4% of the mass of our Moon. The larger asteroids are also known as “planetoids”.

34. Strip discussed in the Oslo Accords : GAZA

After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the boundaries of the strip of land on the Mediterranean around Gaza were fixed in the Israel-Egypt Armistice Agreement. The boundaries were specifically defined but were not to be recognized as an international border. From 1948, the Gaza Strip was occupied and administered by Egypt, until 1967 when Israel took over occupation following the Six-Day War. In 1993, Israel and the PLO signed the Oslo Accords which handed over administration to the Palestinian Authority, but with Israel retaining control of the Gaza Strip’s airspace, some land borders and its territorial waters. The intent was to further this agreement, but discussions between the parties broke down. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.

38. Nobel laureate Wiesel : ELIE

Elie Wiesel was a holocaust survivor, and is best known for his book “Night” that tells of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.

39. Opinion pieces : OP-EDS

“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.

41. Nashville venue, informally : OPRY

The Grand Ole Opry started out as a radio show in 1925 originally called the WSM “Barn Dance”. In 1927, the “Barn Dance” radio show was broadcast in a slot after an NBC production called “Musical Appreciation Hour”, a collection of classical works including Grand Opera. In a December show, the host of “Barn Dance” announced, “For the past hour, we have been listening to music taken largely from Grand Opera. From now on we will present the ‘Grand Ole Opry'”. That name was used for the radio show from then on.

42. Mork’s TV pal : MINDY

“Mork & Mindy” is a sitcom that originally aired from 1978 to 1982. The title characters were played by Robin Williams and Pam Dawber.

44. Wait for a green light, say : IDLE

The first traffic lights date back to 1868 when they were installed outside the Houses of Parliament in London. They resembled the signals already in use for trains, with semaphore arms and red and green gas lamps for nighttime use. That first system was operated manually, by a policeman at the base. Sadly, one police officer was killed, just one year after the light’s installation, when the gas system exploded.

47. It doesn’t get returned : ACE

An ace service in tennis, for example.

52. El Al hub city : LOD

The Israeli city of Lod lies just a few miles southeast of Tel Aviv. It is the home of Ben Gurion International, Israel’s main airport.

56. City straddling Europe and Asia : ISTANBUL

Istanbul, Turkey is the only metropolis in the world that is situated in two continents. The city extends both on the European side and on the Asian side of the Bosphorus river.

63. Judge Lance of the O.J. trial : ITO

Judge Lance Ito came in for a lot of criticism for his handling of the O.J. Simpson murder trial. The lead prosecutor in that trial was Marcia Clark, you might recall. I read the book that’s Clark wrote about the trial called “Without a Doubt”, and she pointed out one trait of Judge Ito that I think is quite telling. Ito would almost always refer to the prosecutor as “Marcia”, while addressing the men on both sides of the case as “Mister”.

64. Book after Chronicles : EZRA

In the Hebrew Bible, the Book of Ezra was originally combined with the Book of Nehemiah, with the two being separated in the early days of the Christian Era.

67. Drakes : ducks :: ___ : swans : COBS

An adult male swan is called a “cob”, and an adult female is a “pen”. Young swans are called “swanlings” or “cygnets”.

69. Subtext of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” : LSD

“White Rabbit” is a song recorded in 1967 by Jefferson Airplane that made it into the top ten. The lyrics make blatant drug references, and use imagery from the “Alice” children’s novels by Lewis Carroll such as the White Rabbit, the White Knight, the Red Queen and the Dormouse.

Down

2. Film editor’s gradual transition : WIPE

A wipe is a transition used in cinematography, to move from one shot to the next. Specifically, a wipe involves a gradual change from one clip to the next with the use of a shape or a line to introduce the new scene. For example, a diagonal wipe uses a diagonal line moving across the screen to bring in the new scene.

6. Calif.-to-Fla. route : I-TEN

I-10 is the most southerly of the interstate routes that cross from the Atlantic right to the Pacific. I-10 stretches from Santa Monica, California to Jacksonville, Florida. Various stretches of the route have been given different names, for example, the Rosa Parks Freeway, the Santa Monica Freeway, the San Bernardino Freeway and the Christopher Columbus Transcontinental Highway.

7. Elongated, heavily armored fish : GARS

“Gar” was originally the name given to a species of needlefish found in the North Atlantic. The term “gar” is now used to describe several species of fish with elongated bodies that inhabit North and Central America and the Caribbean. The gar is unusual in that it is often found in very brackish water. What I find interesting is that the gar’s swim bladders are vascularized so that they can actually function as lungs. Many species of gar can actually be seen coming to the surface and taking a gulp of air. This adaptation makes it possible for them to live in conditions highly unsuitable for other fish that rely on their gills to get oxygen out of the water. Indeed, quite interesting …

9. Opening word? : SESAME

In the folk tale “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”, the title character is a poor woodcutter who discovers the magic words “open sesame”, which open the thieves’ den.

10. Rear admiral’s rear : STERN

The rank of rear admiral is usually the lowest of the “admiral” ranks. The term originated with the Royal Navy. In days gone by, an admiral would head up the activities of a naval squadron from the central vessel. He would be assisted by a “vice admiral” who acted from the lead vessel. There would also be a lower-ranking admiral to command the ships at the rear of the squadron, and this was the “rear admiral”.

13. Richard of “Unfaithful” : GERE

“Unfaithful” is a 2002 drama film with leads played by Richard Gere and Diane Lane. The Hollywood movie is a remake of a French film called “La Femme infidèle” (The Unfaithful Wife).

19. Coins of ancient Athens : OBOLI

The obol (also “obolus”, plural “obili”) was a silver coin used in Greece. The original obols were spits of copper or bronze that looked like nails. Six obols were equivalent to one drachma. The Greek “obol” means “spit, nail”, and “drachma” means “handful” (as in a “handful” of nails).

24. Place to sing “Rock-a-Bye Baby” : CRADLE

“Rock-a-Bye Baby” is a lullaby, the history of which is much debated. Some say it originated in England, and others claim that it was the first poem that was written on American soil.

Rock-a-bye baby, on the treetop,
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,
And down will come baby, cradle and all.

26. Bona fide : VALID

“Bona fide(s)” translates from the Latin as “in good faith”, and is used to indicate honest intentions. It can also mean that something is authentic, like a piece of art that is represented in good faith as being genuine.

27. A narcissist has a big one : EGO

Narcissus was a proud and vain hunter in Greek mythology. He earned himself a fatal punishment, being made fall in love with his own reflection in a pool. So, take was he by his own image, that he could not leave it and wasted away and died by the pool. Narcissus gives us our term “narcissism” meaning “excessive love of oneself”.

28. Relative of an épée : RAPIER

A rapier is a very thin sword with a sharp point that is used to kill and maim by thrusting the point into the body, rather than by slashing.

35. End of a line on the Underground? : ZED

The letter named “zed” has been around since about 1400, and derives from the Greek letter zeta. The spelling and pronunciation of “zee”, used in America today, first popped up in the 1670s.

The official name “London Underground” is a little deceptive, as over half of the track system-wide is actually “over ground”, with the underground sections reserved for the central areas. It is the oldest subway system in the world, having opened in 1863. It was also the first system to use electric rolling stock, in 1890. “The Tube”, as it is known by Londoners, isn’t the longest subway system in the world though. That honor belongs to the Shanghai Metro. My personal favorite part of the Tube is the Tube map! It is a marvel of design …

37. Antivirus software brand : NORTON

Norton Antivirus software is produced by Symantec. The Norton brand name originated with Peter Norton Computing, a company that Symantec acquired in 1990. Peter Norton’s most famous product was Norton Utilities, and he never produced an antivirus application. Symantec decided to use the respected Norton brand for the antivirus product that it developed and introduced in 1991.

40. Divinity sch. : SEM

Originally, a “seminary” was where plants were raised from seeds, as “semen” is the Latin for “seed”. The first schools labelled as seminaries were established in the late 1500s. Those first schools were more likely to be academies for young ladies back then, rather than for trainee priests.

43. Logo with an exclamation mark : YAHOO!

Jerry Yang and David Filo called their company “Yahoo!” for two reasons. Firstly, a Yahoo is a rude unsophisticated brute from Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels”. Secondly, Yahoo stands for “Yet another Hierarchical Officious Oracle”.

48. Annual French film festival site : CANNES

Cannes is a city on the French Riviera that is noted as host of the Cannes Film Festival. The decision to host an annual film festival was adopted by the city just before WWII. However, the festival had to wait for the end of the war for its launch in 1946.

51. Deep sleeps : COMAS

The term “coma” comes from the Greek word “koma” meaning “deep sleep”.

54. Ricelike pasta : ORZO

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

55. Belgrade denizen : SERB

Belgrade is the capital city of Serbia. The name “Belgrade” translates into “White City”.

56. Anatomical canal : ITER

An iter is an anatomical passageway. The term is Latin for “path, journey”.

58. Outfit in Caesar’s senate : TOGA

In Ancient Rome the classical attire known as a toga (plural “togae”) was usually worn over a tunic. The tunic was made from linen, and the toga itself was a piece of cloth about twenty feet long made from wool. The toga could only be worn by men, and only if those men were Roman citizens. The female equivalent of the toga was called a “stola”.

59. Pac-12 team : UTES

The Utah Utes are the athletic teams of the University of Utah.

60. Mutual fund consideration : LOAD

Mutual fund loads are percentages levied as a commission. Mutual funds can be classified by the type of load levied. There are front-end loaded funds, back-end loaded funds and even no-load funds.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Value of snake eyes in craps : TWO
4. Rules as a monarch : REIGNS
10. Difficult endeavor : SLOG
14. Put on TV : AIR
15. 87, 89 or 93, on a gas pump : OCTANE
16. With 25-Down, office request : TAKE …
17. Pro at tax time : CPA
18. In any place : WHERESOEVER
20. Counterparts of compressions, in physics : TENSIONS
22. Wear away : ABRADE
23. ___-X : GEN
24. “Get serious!” : C’MON!
25. Member of a Marvel Comics group : AVENGER
29. Divinity school subj. : REL
30. T-X connection : UVW
33. Neighbor of the asteroid belt : MARS
34. Strip discussed in the Oslo Accords : GAZA
36. Word with circle or ear : INNER
38. Nobel laureate Wiesel : ELIE
39. Opinion pieces : OP-EDS
41. Nashville venue, informally : OPRY
42. Mork’s TV pal : MINDY
44. Wait for a green light, say : IDLE
45. Fire and fury : RAGE
46. Peculiar : ODD
47. It doesn’t get returned : ACE
49. Less sincere, as a promise : EMPTIER
51. Make black, in a way : CHAR
52. El Al hub city : LOD
53. “Already?” : SO SOON?
56. City straddling Europe and Asia : ISTANBUL
61. Foreboding : PREMONITION
63. Judge Lance of the O.J. trial : ITO
64. Book after Chronicles : EZRA
65. Surface : EMERGE
66. Grazing area : LEA
67. Drakes : ducks :: ___ : swans : COBS
68. Apt word to follow each row of circled letters : … SPREAD
69. Subtext of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” : LSD

Down

1. Diplomat’s skill : TACT
2. Film editor’s gradual transition : WIPE
3. Leftover in a juicer : ORANGE RIND
4. Olympic sport with strokes : ROWING
5. Repeat : ECHO
6. Calif.-to-Fla. route : I-TEN
7. Elongated, heavily armored fish : GARS
8. U-turn from SSW : NNE
9. Opening word? : SESAME
10. Rear admiral’s rear : STERN
11. ___ flow : LAVA
12. Green-lit : OK’ED
13. Richard of “Unfaithful” : GERE
19. Coins of ancient Athens : OBOLI
21. Picked up on : SENSED
24. Place to sing “Rock-a-Bye Baby” : CRADLE
25. See 16-Across : … A MEMO
26. Bona fide : VALID
27. A narcissist has a big one : EGO
28. Relative of an épée : RAPIER
30. Concern for a debt collector : UNPAID BILL
31. Brink : VERGE
32. More sardonic : WRYER
35. End of a line on the Underground? : ZED
37. Antivirus software brand : NORTON
40. Divinity sch. : SEM
43. Logo with an exclamation mark : YAHOO!
48. Annual French film festival site : CANNES
50. Smoothed out : PLANED
51. Deep sleeps : COMAS
53. Particular in a design : SPEC
54. Ricelike pasta : ORZO
55. Belgrade denizen : SERB
56. Anatomical canal : ITER
57. Royal title : SIRE
58. Outfit in Caesar’s senate : TOGA
59. Pac-12 team : UTES
60. Mutual fund consideration : LOAD
62. Little rascal : IMP

9 thoughts on “0123-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 23 Jan 2018, Tuesday”

  1. 18:38. I’m having a strong sense of deja vu regarding this theme. Seems very familiar. Smooth solve. A couple of missteps, however. OBOLI was new to me.

    Best –

  2. 10:58, no errors. Enjoyed the theme, but it was no help in solving the puzzle. Did not see the theme until I filled 68A, by then all the theme answers were filled in. Puzzle difficulty was well suited for a Tuesday.

  3. No errors. Very nice puzzle on all levels. The theme played a crucial role in my successful completion. I was having trouble in the NE corner but by that time I knew what the theme was. Seeing that CHEESE SPREAD had to work gave me the missing letters that tipped the scale and made everything else fall into place.

  4. 9:22, no muss no fuss. Theme didn’t get in the way, but wasn’t integral to solving. Seeing circles in the grid is always a nice little teaser that there *might* be some chicanery afoot…. but not always.

  5. Agree generally with all of the above. Like @Dale, theme answers, WING and CHEESE, helped finish off the NE corner. A good Tuesday exercise.

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