0201-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 1 Feb 2018, Thursday

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Constructed by: Damon Gulczynski
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: Initially

Themed answers are the names of famous people. Themed clues start with a word that we have to break up into component parts, the first of which are the initials of the person in the answer:

  • 54A. At the start … or how the first two letters of each starred clue relate to the answer? : INITIALLY
  • 17A. *Roman of Hollywood? : RYAN O’NEAL (“RO” man)
  • 24A. *Legal acting in a 1980s prime-time soap opera? : LINDA EVANS (“LE” gal)
  • 34A. *Malady of French history? : MARIE ANTOINETTE (“MA” lady)
  • 46A. *Regent of film criticism? : ROGER EBERT (“RE” gent)

Bill’s time: 5m 51s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5. Qatar’s capital : DOHA

Doha is the capital city of the state of Qatar located on the Persian Gulf. The name “Doha” translates from Arabic as “the big tree”.

14. Literary matchmaker : EMMA

Jane Austen’s novel “Emma” is the tale of Emma Woodhouse and the wonderful George Knightley. At the end of the story, Emma marries Knightley and her young friend Harriet marries Robert Martin, who had been trying to get Harriet’s attention practically from page one of the novel.

17. *Roman of Hollywood? : RYAN O’NEAL (“RO” man)

Actor Ryan O’Neal got his big break in the sixties on television. He appeared in the prime-time soap opera “Peyton Place”, opposite fellow newcomer Mia Farrow. Then in 1970 he landed a starring role in the hit movie “Love Story”, which established him in Hollywood. O’Neal was an amateur boxer before he turned to acting, and established a respectable record Golden Gloves competitions. These days, O’Neal has a recurring role on the TV show “Bones”, playing the title character’s father.

20. Shoe company based in Southern California : LA GEAR

LA Gear is an athletic shoe manufacturer based in Los Angeles.

21. Basketball sportscaster Dick : VITALE

The basketball sportscaster Dick Vitale is also known as “Dickie V”. Vitale is famous for coining some colorful and descriptive terms, such as “diaper dandy” for an outstanding freshman player.

22. Paradise in “On the Road” : SAL

Jack Kerouac’s 1957 novel “On the Road” is largely autobiographical, telling the story of Sal Paradise (Jack K.) and the road trips that he and his friends took across the country in the fifties.

24. *Legal acting in a 1980s prime-time soap opera? : LINDA EVANS (“LE” gal)

Linda Evans is an actress probably best known for playing Audra Barkley on TV’s “The Big Valley” in the sixties, and Krystle Carrington on the prime-time soap “Dynasty in the eighties. Evans was married for six years to film producer John Derek, and also had a nine-year relationship with new-age musician Yanni.

26. Seven-time Cy Young Award winner of the 1980s-2000s : CLEMENS

Roger Clemens is a retired baseball pitcher who racked up the third-highest number of career strikeouts (after Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson). Clemens earned the nickname “The Rocket” due to a hard-throwing, intimidating pitching style.

28. Operating system developed at Bell Labs : UNIX

Unix is a computer operating system that was developed at Bell Labs in 1969. The initial name for the project was Uniplexed Information and Computing Service (Unics), and this evolved over time into “Unix”.

29. Frost : HOAR

The Old English word “har” meant “gray, venerable, old”, and came into English as “hoar” (and later “hoary”) with the same meaning. The term “hoar-frost” dates back to the 13th century, and reflects the similarity of the white feathers of frost to the gray/white of an old man’s beard.

30. “The Simpsons” bus driver : OTTO

Otto Mann drives the school bus on the TV show “The Simpsons”. Otto is a Germanic character voiced by Harry Shearer, and his name is a play on “Ottoman Empire”. Whenever Bart sees him, he greets Otto with the words “Otto, man!”

31. Barfly : SOT

Our word “sot” comes from the Old English “sott”, meaning “fool”. The word “sot” started to be associated with alcohol and not just foolery in the late 1500s.

34. *Malady of French history? : MARIE ANTOINETTE (“MA” lady)

Marie Antoinette was the wife of Louis XVI, the last king of France. Marie Antoinette was the fifteenth of sixteen children born to the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. The marriage to Louis, her second cousin once removed, was arranged while the two were very young. The prospective bride was “handed over” to the French at a border crossing in 1770 and two weeks later she was married to the future king. Marie Antoinette was just 14 years of age at the time, and Louis only a year her senior. Both Louis and Marie Antoinette were doomed to lose their heads courtesy of the guillotine during the French Revolution.

39. Really binges, in brief : ODS

Overdose (OD)

40. No. crunchers : CPAS

Certified public accountant (CPA)

46. *Regent of film criticism? : ROGER EBERT (“RE” gent)

Roger Ebert co-hosted a succession of film review television programs for over 23 years, most famously with Gene Siskel until Siskel passed away in 1999. Siskel and Ebert famously gave their thumbs up or thumbs down to the movies they reviewed. Ebert himself died in 2013.

51. Maryland state symbol : ORIOLE

The Baltimore oriole is a small bird with a largely yellow body. The male’s coloring of black and yellow resembles the colors of the coat-of-arms of Lord Baltimore, the first Governor of the Province of Maryland, and so the bird was given the name “Baltimore” oriole. It is the state bird of Maryland, and lends its name to the Baltimore Orioles baseball team.

53. Student of Socrates : PLATO

Plato was a Greek philosopher and mathematician. He was a student of the equally famous and respected Socrates, and Plato in turn was the teacher and mentor of the celebrated Aristotle.

58. James with a posthumous Pulitzer : AGEE

James Agee was a noted American film critic and screenwriter. Agee wrote an autobiographical novel “A Death in the Family” that won him his Pulitzer in 1958, albeit posthumously. He was also one of the screenwriters for the 1951 classic movie “The African Queen”.

59. Award for Agency of the Year, e.g. : CLIO

The Clio Awards are the Oscars of the advertising world and are named after Clio, the Greek Muse of History. Clio was also the recorder of great deeds, the proclaimer and celebrator of great accomplishments and a source of inspiration and genius. The Clio Awards were first presented in 1959.

61. Velvety growth : MOSS

There is a traditionally-held belief that in the northern hemisphere there is a heavier growth of moss on the north-facing side of trees. The assumption is that the sun creates a drier environment on the south side of the tree, an environment that is less conducive to the growth of moss.

62. FiveThirtyEight.com owner : ESPN

FiveThirtyEight is a website that publishes compiled polling date during election cycles. The site takes its name from from the total number of electors in the US electoral college. FiveThirtyEight was established in 2008, by Nate Silver.

Down

2. “Arrival” actress Adams : AMY

Amy Adams is an American actress. although she was actually born in Vicenza, Italy while her father was a US serviceman stationed on an Italian base. My favorite Amy Adams film so far is the outstanding “Julie & Julia” in which she acted alongside Meryl Streep. I highly recommend this truly delightful movie.

8. Digital communication, for short? : ASL

It’s really quite unfortunate that American Sign Language (ASL) and British Sign Language (BSL) are very different, and someone who has learned to sign in one cannot understand someone signing in the other.

12. Subjects of the Second Commandment : IDOLS

In the Christian tradition, the second commandment prohibits the worship of “any graven image”. Usually this means that graven images can be created, but not worshipped.

13. Endangered state bird : NENE

The bird called a “nene” is a native of Hawaii, and is also known as the Hawaiian goose. The name “nene” is imitative of its call. When Captain Cook landed on the islands in 1778, there were 25,000 nene living there. By 1950, the number was reduced by hunting to just 30 birds. Conservation efforts in recent years have been somewhat successful. The nene was named State Bird of Hawaii in 1957.

21. Starbucks specification : VENTI

Starbucks introduced us to coffee drinks in a whole range of volumes:

  • Demi … 3 fl oz
  • Short … 8 fl oz
  • Tall … 12 fl oz
  • Grande … 16 fl oz (Italian for “large”)
  • Venti … 20 fl oz (Italian for “twenty”)
  • Trenta … 30 fl oz (Italian for “thirty”)

22. Average guy : SCHMO

“Schmo” (also “shmo”) is American slang for a dull or boring person, and comes from the Yiddish word “shmok”.

27. Something a doc might order : MRI

MRI scans can be daunting for many people as they usually involve the patient lying inside a tube with the imaging magnet surrounding the body. Additionally, the scan can take up to 40 minutes in some cases. There are some open MRI scanners available that help prevent a feeling of claustrophobia. However, the image produced by open scanners are of lower quality as they operate at lower magnetic fields.

30. They may follow buzzers, for short : OTS

Overtime (OT)

31. Subject of some biomedical research : STEM CELLS

Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can become specialized cells. Stem cells are found in embryos (embryonic stem cells), and are especially prevalent about 4-5 days of growth after fertilization. Stem cells are also found throughout the bodies of adults (somatic stem cells). Somatic stem cells are associated with a particular organ and have the potential to regenerate all the cell types of the organ from which they originate.

33. Child’s bear : TEDDY

The stuffed toy known as a teddy bear was introduced in the early 1900s and was name after President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt. The toy was inspired by a political cartoon that was drawn in 1902 showing President Roosevelt on a bear hunt and refusing to kill a black bear cub.

35. Ranks : ECHELONS

We use the word “echelon” (ech.) to describe a rank or level, particularly in the military. The term comes from French, in which language it has the same meaning, although the original meaning in Old French is “rung of a ladder”.

43. 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 …, e.g. : SERIES

1+1=2, 1+2=3, 2+3=5, 3+5=8, 5+8=13 …

45. Yours, in Tours : A TOI

Tours is the largest city in the Centre region of France. It is said that the people of Tours speak the “purest” form of French in the whole country, and when spoken by a local it is also said to be free of any accent.

46. John of colonial Jamestown : ROLFE

John Rolfe was one of the early English settlers in America. He is perhaps best remembered for marrying the Native American Pocahontas, daughter of Chief Powhatan. For a few months before her death, Pocahontas lived with Rolfe in England. The couple had actually boarded a ship to return them to Virginia when Pocahontas became ill and had to be brought ashore on the south coast of England, where she soon passed away.

Jamestown in the Colony of Virginia was the first English settlement in what was to become the United States. The settlement was established as James Fort in 1607, and served as capital of the colony from 1616 to 1699. Jamestown started to decline after a fire in the statehouse in 1698 that caused the capital to relocate to Williamsburg. The town was eventually abandoned and today exists as a heritage site.

48. Beat it! : BONGO

Bongo drums are Cuban percussion instruments consisting of a pair of drums, one larger than the other, The smaller drum is called the “hembra” (female) and the larger the “macho” (male).

52. Castigate, with “into” : LACE

To lace into is attack violently, and is similar to the verb “lay into”.

54. Cartesian conclusion : I AM

The great French philosopher Rene Descartes made the famous statement in Latin, “Cogito ergo sum”. This translates into French as “Je pense, donc je suis” and into English as “I think, therefore I am”.

Anything pertaining to the philosophy of the great Rene Descartes can described by the adjective “Cartesian”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Tough person to tolerate : PAIN
5. Qatar’s capital : DOHA
9. Decide to join : OPT IN
14. Literary matchmaker : EMMA
15. Clinches : ICES
16. One joining a union? : BRIDE
17. *Roman of Hollywood? : RYAN O’NEAL (“RO” man)
19. Pretend : LET ON
20. Shoe company based in Southern California : LA GEAR
21. Basketball sportscaster Dick : VITALE
22. Paradise in “On the Road” : SAL
24. *Legal acting in a 1980s prime-time soap opera? : LINDA EVANS (“LE” gal)
26. Seven-time Cy Young Award winner of the 1980s-2000s : CLEMENS
28. Operating system developed at Bell Labs : UNIX
29. Frost : HOAR
30. “The Simpsons” bus driver : OTTO
31. Barfly : SOT
34. *Malady of French history? : MARIE ANTOINETTE (“MA” lady)
39. Really binges, in brief : ODS
40. No. crunchers : CPAS
41. No longer serving: Abbr. : RETD
42. “Uh, excuse me” : AHEM
43. Like rock stars among fans : SWARMED
46. *Regent of film criticism? : ROGER EBERT (“RE” gent)
49. Get blubbery : CRY
50. In the worst way : SORELY
51. Maryland state symbol : ORIOLE
53. Student of Socrates : PLATO
54. At the start … or how the first two letters of each starred clue relate to the answer? : INITIALLY
57. In many cases : OFTEN
58. James with a posthumous Pulitzer : AGEE
59. Award for Agency of the Year, e.g. : CLIO
60. Frigid temps : TEENS
61. Velvety growth : MOSS
62. FiveThirtyEight.com owner : ESPN

Down

1. According to : PER
2. “Arrival” actress Adams : AMY
3. “Talk away” : I’M ALL EARS
4. Mom’s mom : NANA
5. Have a date night at home, say : DINE IN
6. Vast amounts : OCEANS
7. “Have you ___?” : HEARD
8. Digital communication, for short? : ASL
9. The void : OBLIVION
10. Like one line on a sales receipt : PRETAX
11. Magnate : TITAN
12. Subjects of the Second Commandment : IDOLS
13. Endangered state bird : NENE
18. Beach look? : OGLE
21. Starbucks specification : VENTI
22. Average guy : SCHMO
23. Tons : A LOAD
25. A camera may be set on it : AUTO
27. Something a doc might order : MRI
30. They may follow buzzers, for short : OTS
31. Subject of some biomedical research : STEM CELLS
32. Den : bear :: holt : ___ : OTTER
33. Child’s bear : TEDDY
35. Ranks : ECHELONS
36. Impressionism? : APERY
37. Handle : NAME
38. Goof : ERR
42. When many kids start fifth grade : AGE TEN
43. 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 …, e.g. : SERIES
44. Pens : WRITES
45. Yours, in Tours : A TOI
46. John of colonial Jamestown : ROLFE
47. Give an address : ORATE
48. Beat it! : BONGO
50. Difficult situation : SPOT
52. Castigate, with “into” : LACE
54. Cartesian conclusion : I AM
55. Sass : LIP
56. Over there : YON

16 thoughts on “0201-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 1 Feb 2018, Thursday”

  1. 12:41, no errors.

    @Glenn …

    Your memory is fantastic! Mine, not so much: I would have sworn the theme was new to me, but there I am, in the comments section of the first puzzle. (At least my time was a little better, this time around ?.)

    And (as is so often the case) Bill’s time is amazing!

    It’s interesting that a certain anonymous poster called Ms. Burnikel’s puzzle *beyond stupid*. I can’t help but wonder if anyone, five weeks from now, will have that reaction to this one … ? … ?

    1. @Dave
      I wouldn’t call it “beyond stupid”, but I would call it incredibly dumb and boring. It was the first time and it is now. A definite hit on Shortz’s editing that either one was run.

      1. I’m totting them up one by one. I really think the puzzle’s overall quality is suffering under his stewardship.

  2. 29:24. I only had a vague sense of the theme while doing the puzzle. Then I just looked at Bill’s explanation and had an “oh yeah, ok” moment. The use of the theme back in early 2016 must have been before my time doing the NYT puzzles on a regular basis so this was new to me.

    Slight issue with the grammer of 48D: “Beat it!” is a command. BONGO is a noun. I looked for a verb form of BONGO online, but I never found one – e.g. “to bongo away at my drums…” doesn’t exist. The only other definition of a BONGO I could find is that of an antelope….quite a strange looking thing, by the way.

    Best –

    1. @Jeff … The clue for 48D makes use of a convention that I have mixed feelings about: suggesting the name of a thing by using an imperative for the clue – like “Wash it!” for FLOOR. (Personally, I would have no problem accepting “You beat it” for BONGO, but “Beat it!” is a bit of a stretch.) I saw this discussed in a list of conventions often used in crossword puzzles (maybe in a Wikipedia article? or a blurb on a NYT crossword site?); I’ll see if I can find it …

      The Denver Zoo also has “bongos”. But they don’t try to play them … ?

      1. Yes, those “imperative clues” are real pet peeves when they rear their ugly heads. Glad to put a name to this extremely irritating clue tactic.

    2. So far, I have not been able to find the article I mentioned. If I come across it again, I will try to remember to post a link to it here. All I can say for the moment is that I do occasionally see clues in the form of an imperative (like “Beat it!” for “BONGO”) and I remember being pleased to finally see a discussion of it somewhere.

      The Wikipedia articles about crossword puzzles in general, and the New York Times crosswords in particular, are well worth reading.

      And … while searching … I came across the following clue, which has apparently, at some time in the past, been used in a crossword puzzle: “In summary, mop it with ease”. The answer was “EPITOME”. I’m glad I didn’t have to figure that one out! (But, to be fair, in the context of the puzzle, it may have been “obvious” that an anagram was involved.)

  3. 19:25, no errors. Solved this one from the bottom up, used the theme to get LINDA EVANS and RYAN O’NEAL. Did not see the man, lady, gal, gent connection until I came here.

  4. Clue #43 Down is incorrect. The numbers listed are the beginning entries to the Fibonacci Sequence not series. A series of numbers is defined as each term being added (or subtracted) from the previous term thus approaching a limit. A sequence does not approach a limit.

  5. 15:07, no errors.
    Theme was of no help whatsoever, and among the dumbest, most forced I’ve seen in recent memory. Why anyone would waste 10 seconds of their time trying to concoct these strained contrivances is beyond me….

  6. On the imperative “Beat it!” clue answered by the noun BONGO: Just recently in the NYT xword, PINATA appeared as the answer to the same (or very similar) imperative clue. Seemed very legit to me given that “it” was the thing to be beat.

  7. 22 minutes, no errors. I didn’t notice the theme at all, and didn’t see an explanation until I got back here. Assessment is pretty much the same as above, and the fact I didn’t remember I even commented on this is a good statement as to how utterly bad it is.

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