0125-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 25 Jan 2018, Thursday

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Constructed by: Alex Eaton-Salners
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: Island Hopping

In order to make sense of each themed clue, we need to HOP over the ISLAND that is embedded in the themed answer:

  • 33A. Yachter’s itinerary, maybe … or a hint to understanding the answers to the starred clues : ISLAND HOPPING
  • 16A. *Smelled : SCUBA TANK (hop over “Cuba” for “stank”)
  • 24A. *They’re not pros : CONCRETES (hop over “Crete” for “cons”)
  • 46A. *Poetry : VERBALISE (hop over “Bali” for “verse”)
  • 55A. *Hayloft item : BALTIMORE (hop over “Timor” for “bale”)

Bill’s time: 12m 35s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9. P.I. : TEC

“Tec” is a slang term for “private detective”, “private investigator” (PI).

13. 1950s service site : KOREA

Korea was occupied by the Japanese military from 1910 until Japan surrendered at the end of WWII in 1945. While the UN was working towards a trusteeship administration for Korea, the Soviet Union managed the Korean Peninsula north of the 38th parallel and the US managed the south. The UN’s plans came to naught as the Cold War dictated the establishment of the two separate states of North Korea and South Korea. North Korea invaded the South in 1950, leading to the Korean War. After three years of fighting, the border between the two states became the demarcation line between the two military forces on the day the Armistice Agreement was signed. That line runs diagonally across the 38th parallel, and is better known as the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

14. Hamilton, to Burr : RIVAL

Alexander Hamilton was one of America’s Founding Fathers, chief of staff to General George Washington and the first Secretary of the Treasury. It was Hamilton who founded the nation’s first political party, the Federalist Party. He is also famous for fighting a duel with Vice President Aaron Burr, which resulted in Hamilton’s death a few days later.

Aaron Burr was the third vice-president of the US, and served under Thomas Jefferson. In the final year of his term in office, Burr fought an illegal duel and killed his political rival Alexander Hamilton. Burr wasn’t brought to justice, but he did pay the price politically. Thomas Jefferson dropped him from his ticket in the election held the following year.

16. *Smelled : SCUBA TANK (hop over “Cuba” for “stank”)

The self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) was co-invented by celebrated French marine explorer Jacques Cousteau.

Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean. The exact etymology of the name “Cuba” seems a little unclear. Most believe “Cuba” to be derived from the Taíno terms for “where fertile land is abundant” (cubao) or “great place” (coabana).

18. Group of football blockers, in brief : O-LINE

Offensive line (O-line)

20. Picnic crasher : ANT

Our term “picnic” comes from the French word that now has the same meaning, namely “pique-nique”. The original “pique-nique” was a fashionable potluck affair, and not necessarily held outdoors.

24. *They’re not pros : CONCRETES (hop over “Crete” for “cons”)

Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands. Crete figures heavily in Greek mythology. Zeus was born in a cave at Mount Ida, the highest peak on the island. Crete was also home to the Labyrinth where the Minotaur was slain by Theseus. Icarus and Daedalus, after having crafted the Labyrinth, escaped from the island using wings that they crafted.

26. Solving crosswords, e.g. : PASTIME

Arthur Wynne is generally credited with the invention of what we now known as a crossword puzzle. Wynne was born in Liverpool, England and emigrated to the US when he was 19-years-old. He worked as a journalist and was living in Cedar Grove, New Jersey in 1913 when he introduced a “Word-Cross Puzzle” in his page of puzzles written for the “New York World”. The first book of crossword puzzles was published by Shuster & Shuster, in 1924. The collection of puzzles was a huge hit, and crosswords were elevated to the level of “a craze” in 1924 and 1925.

28. Gurneys’ destinations, in brief : ORS

Gurneys are stretchers with wheels that are used in hospital and ambulances for transporting patients. Outside of North America, gurneys are usually called “trolleys”. The term “gurney” may have been used as the design is similar to a horse-drawn cab that was patented by one J. Theodore Gurney.

30. Who wrote and sang “We’re All Water” in 1972 : ONO

Yoko Ono was born in 1933 in Tokyo into a prosperous Japanese family, and is actually a descendant of one of the emperors of Japan. Yoko’s father moved around the world for work, and she lived the first few years of her life in San Francisco. The family returned to Japan, before moving on to New York, Hanoi and back to Japan just before WWII, in time to live through the great fire-bombing of Tokyo in 1945. Immediately after the war the family was far from prosperous. While Yoko’s father was being held in a prison camp in Vietnam, her mother had to resort to begging and bartering to feed her children. When her father was repatriated, life started to return to normal and Yoko was able to attend university. She was the first woman to be accepted into the philosophy program of Gakushuin University.

31. #21 of 24 : PHI

Phi is the 21st letter of the Greek alphabet.

32. Lush : WINO

“Lush” is a slang term for a heavy drinker. Back in the 1700s, “lush” was slang for “liquor”.

38. “Reading the ___: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages” (2008 book) : OED

American writer Ammon Shea read the entire Oxford English Dictionary, and wrote about his experience. His “Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages” was published in 2008.

40. Back to school? : EDU

The .edu domain was one of the six original generic top-level domains specified. The complete original list is:

  • .com (commercial enterprise)
  • .net (entity involved in network infrastructure e.g. an ISP)
  • .mil (US military)
  • .org (not-for-profit organization)
  • .gov (US federal government entity)
  • .edu (college-level educational institution)

41. Ones doing intros : MCS

The term “emcee” comes from “MC”, an initialism standing for Master or Mistress of Ceremonies.

42. “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” poet : TS ELIOT

“The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock” is a very famous poem by T. S. Eliot, first published in 1915. The rather odd name of “Prufrock” seems to have just come to Eliot, although there was a Prufrock-Littau Company in St. Louis while he lived there.

46. *Poetry : VERBALISE (hop over “Bali” for “verse”)

Bali is both an island and a province in Indonesia. It is a popular tourist spot, although the number of visitors dropped for a few years as a result of terrorist bombings in 2002 and 2005 that killed mainly tourists. Bali became more popular starting in 2008 due to a significant and favorable change in the exchange rate between the US dollar and the Indonesian rupiah.

49. Middleton of English tabloids : PIPPA

Pippa Middleton is the younger sister of Kate Middleton, aka Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Pippa has been chased by the media ever since she appeared as the maid of honor in her sister’s wedding to Prince William.

“Tabloid” is the trademarked name (owned by Burroughs, Wellcome and Co,) for a “small tablet of medicine”, a name that goes back to 1884. The word “tabloid” had entered into general use to mean a compressed form of anything, and by the early 1900s was used in “tabloid journalism”, applied to newspapers that had short, condensed articles and stories printed on smaller sheets of paper.

51. Something encountered in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” : UFO

A “close encounter” is an occasion when a person witnesses an unidentified flying object (UFO). The term was introduced to us in a 1972 book by Allen Hynek called “The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry”. The public became really aware of the concept with the release of the excellent 1977 Steven Spielberg movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”.

54. Boastful mother of Greek myth : NIOBE

In Greek mythology, Niobe fled to Mount Sipylus when her children were killed. There, she was turned into stone and wept for eternity. There is indeed a Niobe’s Rock on Mount Sipylus (in modern-day Turkey) that resembles a female face, and so is known as “The Weeping Rock”.

55. *Hayloft item : BALTIMORE (hop over “Timor” for “bale”)

Timor is an island in Maritime Southeast Asia. The island is politically divided into West Timor, belonging to Indonesia, and the independent state of East Timor. The name “Timor” comes from a Malay word for “east”, and is used as Timor lies at the eastern end of the Lesser Sunda Islands.

59. “Illmatic” rapper : NAS

Rapper Nas used to go by another stage name, Nasty Nas, and before that by his real name, Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones. Nas released his first album “Illmatic” in 1994, and inventively titled his fifth studio album “Stillmatic”, released in 2001. Not my cup of tea, I would say …

60. ___ Échos (French daily) : LES

“Les Échos” is a daily financial newspaper published in Paris. “Les Échos” grew out of a monthly publication with the name “Les Échos de l’Exportation” that was produced from 1880 until the daily ““Les Échos” was introduced in 1908.

61. Top-2% group : MENSA

If you ever learned Latin, “mensa” was probably taught to you in lesson one as it’s the word commonly used as an example of a first declension noun. Mensa means “table”. The Mensa organization, for folks with high IQs, was set up in Oxford, England back in 1946. To become a member, you have to have an IQ that is in the top 2% of the population.

62. Is from Issy? : EST

Issy-les-Moulineaux is a suburb of Paris lying on the banks of the Seine. Issy’s economy was based on manufacturing, but now it is known as a nexus for the French telecommunications and media industries.

Down

2. Cough drop brand : RICOLA

Ricola is a Swiss brand of cough drops and breath mints.

3. Some works of Robert Schumann : ETUDES

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.

If you ever get the chance to see it, I highly recommend the movie 1947 “Song of Love”, a biopic about the lives of Robert Schumann and his extraordinary wife Clara Wieck. Schumann is played by Paul Henreid (of “Casablanca” fame) and Clara is played wonderfully by Katherine Hepburn. Clara was a concert pianist, and as Katherine Hepburn was an accomplished pianist herself, you see Hepburn actually playing some challenging pieces herself at the keyboard (although the soundtrack does feature a professional player).

4. Music boomlet of the mid-’90s : SKA

Ska originated in Jamaica in the late fifties and was the precursor to reggae music. No one has a really definitive etymology of the term “ska”, but it is likely to be imitative of some sound.

5. Smidgen : IOTA

Our word “smidgen” (sometimes shortened to “smidge”) is used to describe a small amount. The term might come from the Scots word “smitch” that means the same thing or “a small insignificant person”.

7. Japanese meal in a box : BENTO

A bento is a single-person meal that is commonly eaten in Japan. A bento can be purchased as a take-out meal, or it may be packed at home. A bento is usually sold as a “bento box”.

9. Part of España : TILDE

The tilde (~) diacritical mark is very much associated with the Spanish language. We use the name “tilde” in English, taking that name from Spanish. Confusingly, the word “tilde” in Spanish is used more generally to mean “accent mark, diacritic”, of which a “~” is just one. What we call a “tilde” in English is usually referred to as a “virgulilla” or “tilde de la eñe” in Spanish.

In Spanish, “Spain” is written as “España”.

11. Olympics event since 1936 : CANOEING

The boat know as a canoe takes its name from the Carib word “kenu” meaning “dugout”. It was Christopher Columbus who brought “kenu” into Spanish as “canoa”, which evolved into our English “canoe”.

14. Stadium sounds : ROARS

The Greek word “stadion” was a measure of length, about 600 feet. The name “stadion” then came to be used for a running track of that length. That “running track” meaning became our contemporary word “stadium” (plural “stadia”).

17. Playwright Brecht : BERTOLT

Bertolt Brecht was a poet and playwright from Augsburg in Germany. Brecht’s most famous work here in North America is probably “The Threepenny Opera”, which was a collaboration with Kurt Weill.

23. Turner on a turntable : TINA

“Tina Turner” is the stage name used by Anna Mae Bullock, the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll”. Turner has always loved Europe and moved there in the eighties. She now splits her time between her homes in England, France and Switzerland.

25. Neighborhood in New York or L.A. : NOHO

NoHo is short for North of Houston (street), and is the equivalent area to SoHo, South of Houston, both of which are in New York City.

The NoHo Arts District in Los Angeles takes its name from “North Hollywood”, although the abbreviation is a play on the famous SoHo Arts District in New York City.

31. Goal of many a candidate : PHD

“Ph.D.” is an abbreviation for “philosophiae doctor”, Latin for “teacher of philosophy”. Often, candidates for an earned PhD already hold a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, so a PhD might be considered a “third degree”.

32. Member of the British royal family : WILLIAM

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge is the elder of the two sons of Charles and Diana, Prince and Princess of Wales. As such, William is second in line to the British throne, after his father.

35. Ball boy? : DESI

Desi Arnaz was famous for his turbulent marriage to Lucille Ball. Arnaz was a native of Cuba, and was from a privileged family. His father was Mayor of Santiago and served in the Cuban House of Representatives. However, the family had to flee to Miami after the 1933 revolt led by Batista.

37. Durant and Love of the N.B.A. : KEVINS

Kevin Durant is a professional basketball player who started his career in the NBA with the Seattle Supersonics, and relocated with the team to Oklahoma City where they became the Thunder. You might come across Durant on the big screen as well, as he starred in the children’s film “Thunderstruck” in 2012.

The NBA’s Kevin Love has basketball in his genes. Kevin is the son of former NBA player Stan Love. Kevin also has music in his genes as his uncle is Mike Love, a founding member of the Beach Boys.

42. Polytetrafluoroethylene, familiarly : TEFLON

Teflon is a brand name for the polymer called PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene). Teflon is used as a coating for nonstick pans, a lubricant in machinery and as a graft material in surgery.

43. Notable tech launch of 2007 : IPHONE

Apple started development of the iPhone in 2004 in collaboration with Cingular Wireless (now AT&T Mobility). The confidential program was given the name “Project Purple”, and took thirty months to complete at a cost of about $150 million. The iPhone was introduced in 2007 at the Macworld convention in San Francisco.

44. Composition of “Der Ring des Nibelungen” : OPERAS

Richard Wagner’s “Ring Cycle” is more properly called “Der Ring des Nibelungen” (The Ring of Nibelung), and comprises four very, very long operas. The individual operas are:

  1. “Das Rheingold”
  2. “Die Walkure”
  3. “Siegfried”
  4. “Gotterdammerung”

48. Debonair : SUAVE

Someone described as “debonair” is very courteous and gracious. The term comes into English via the French “debonaire”, which itself is derived from “de bon’ aire” meaning “of good race”, a phrase that originally applied to the breeding of hawks.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Some metal bands? : ORE
4. Not get involved : SIT BY
9. P.I. : TEC
12. Sellout : HIT
13. 1950s service site : KOREA
14. Hamilton, to Burr : RIVAL
16. *Smelled : SCUBA TANK (hop over “Cuba” for “stank”)
18. Group of football blockers, in brief : O-LINE
19. Point on a flowchart : NODE
20. Picnic crasher : ANT
21. Pitiful group : SAD LOT
22. On the lookout : ALERT
24. *They’re not pros : CONCRETES (hop over “Crete” for “cons”)
26. Solving crosswords, e.g. : PASTIME
28. Gurneys’ destinations, in brief : ORS
29. Part of a disguise : WIG
30. Who wrote and sang “We’re All Water” in 1972 : ONO
31. #21 of 24 : PHI
32. Lush : WINO
33. Yachter’s itinerary, maybe … or a hint to understanding the answers to the starred clues : ISLAND HOPPING
37. Clove hitch, e.g. : KNOT
38. “Reading the ___: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages” (2008 book) : OED
39. Hotel room feature: Abbr. : TEL
40. Back to school? : EDU
41. Ones doing intros : MCS
42. “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” poet : TS ELIOT
46. *Poetry : VERBALISE (hop over “Bali” for “verse”)
49. Middleton of English tabloids : PIPPA
50. Hard-wired : INNATE
51. Something encountered in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” : UFO
53. “Um, don’t look now, but …” : AHEM …
54. Boastful mother of Greek myth : NIOBE
55. *Hayloft item : BALTIMORE (hop over “Timor” for “bale”)
57. Now full : SATED
58. Skirt : AVOID
59. “Illmatic” rapper : NAS
60. ___ Échos (French daily) : LES
61. Top-2% group : MENSA
62. Is from Issy? : EST

Down

1. “Did you just see that?!” : OH SNAP!
2. Cough drop brand : RICOLA
3. Some works of Robert Schumann : ETUDES
4. Music boomlet of the mid-’90s : SKA
5. Smidgen : IOTA
6. A witch doctor might be in one : TRANCE
7. Japanese meal in a box : BENTO
8. Beat one’s gums : YAK
9. Part of España : TILDE
10. Person with inverted morality : EVIL TWIN
11. Olympics event since 1936 : CANOEING
14. Stadium sounds : ROARS
15. “Come on!” : LET’S GO!
17. Playwright Brecht : BERTOLT
21. Things with entrances and exits : SCRIPTS
23. Turner on a turntable : TINA
25. Neighborhood in New York or L.A. : NOHO
27. Accessory on a chain : MONOCLE
31. Goal of many a candidate : PHD
32. Member of the British royal family : WILLIAM
33. Not wanting to believe the truth : IN DENIAL
34. Unpleasant ending : SOUR NOTE
35. Ball boy? : DESI
36. Tiniest complaint : PEEP
37. Durant and Love of the N.B.A. : KEVINS
41. Got together : MATED
42. Polytetrafluoroethylene, familiarly : TEFLON
43. Notable tech launch of 2007 : IPHONE
44. Composition of “Der Ring des Nibelungen” : OPERAS
45. Most docile : TAMEST
47. Swaddled ones : BABES
48. Debonair : SUAVE
52. Los Angeles’s ___ College of Art and Design : OTIS
55. “Kapow!” : BAM!
56. Neighbor of Wyo. : IDA