0204-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 4 Feb 2018, Sunday

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Constructed by: David Levinson Wilk
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: Cracking Wise

Did you ever notice that an uppercase letter Y looks like a letter V on top of a letter I? Well, we are CRACKING WISE in today’s grid, in the sense that letters Y in themed across-answers are read like VI in the crossing down-answers. Also, we’ve got CRACKING themed answers, all of which relate to humor in some way:

  • 23A. “Stop! You’re killing me!” : THAT’S HYSTERICAL!
  • 24D. Poison ivy, e.g. : VINE
  • 31A. Internet home to “Between Two Ferns” : FUNNY OR DIE
  • 29D. Some sneakers : AVIAS
  • 50A. A person skilled at deadpan has one : DRY SENSE OF HUMOR
  • 36D. Late ’50s singing sensation : ELVIS
  • 67A. Unimpressed response to someone’s one-liner : EVERYBODY‘S A COMEDIAN
  • 60D. Car rental giant : AVIS
  • 62D. Poet who wrote “Fortune and love favor the brave” : OVID
  • 86A. Stand-up chain started in Los Angeles : THE LAUGH FACTORY
  • 84D. Modern party summons : E-VITE
  • 100A. It might involve someone being “so poor” or “so old” : YO MAMA JOKE
  • 100D. Champion : VICTOR
  • 115A. “Jeez … lighten up!” : I WAS ONLY KIDDING!
  • 105D. Concoct : DEVISE

Bill’s time: 19m 46s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. 52-story Boston skyscraper, familiarly : THE PRU

“The Pru” is the familiar name given to the Prudential Tower in Boston. It is currently the second highest building in the city, after the John Hancock Tower. However, if one includes the height of the radio tower on its roof, then it is the highest building in Boston. When it was completed in 1964, the Pru was the tallest building in the country, outside of New York City.

15. ___ Malfoy, student at Hogwarts : DRACO

Draco Malfoy is one of the regular “bad guys” in the “Harry Potter” stories. Malfoy is one of Potter’s fellow students, the one who sneers a lot. Draco’s father is Lucius Malfoy, a character who becomes more and more relevant as the storyline in the series of books progresses.

20. Sorkin and Spelling : AARONS

The wonderful screenwriter Aaron Sorkin got his big break when his stage play “A Few Good Men” was picked up by a Hollywood producer. Since then Sorkin has written great films including “The American President”, “The Social Network”, “Charlie Wilson’s War”, “Moneyball” and the excellent “The West Wing” and “The Newsroom” television series.

Aaron Spelling was a film and television producer who is most associated with his TV successes such as “Charlie’s Angels”, “The Love Boat”, “Dynasty” and “Beverly Hills, 90210”. Spelling made a pretty penny with his production company Spelling Television. He purchased Bing Crosby’s former home in LA in 1988, demolished it and built a 56,500 square-foot mansion on the property. “The Manor”, as it’s called, is the largest single-family home in Los Angeles, and has 123 rooms.

21. Kind of equinox : AUTUMNAL

An equinox is a phenomenon dictated by the tilt of the earth’s axis. Twice every year, that tilt “evens out” and the sun is equidistant from points at the same latitude both north and south of the equator. It is as if the earth has no tilt relative to the sun. The term “equinox” comes from the Latin for “equal night”, inferring that night and day are equally long, as the effect of the earth’s “tilt” is nullified. Equinoxes occur each year around March 21st (the vernal equinox) and September 23rd (the autumnal equinox).

22. Puerto ___ : RICAN

Puerto Rico (PR) is located in the northeastern Caribbean (in the Atlantic Ocean), east of the Dominican Republic. The name “Puerto Rico” is Spanish for “rich port”. The locals often call their island Borinquen, the Spanish form of “Boriken”, the original name used by the natives.

25. ___-garde : AVANT

Someone or something described as avant-garde is especially innovative. “Avant-garde” is French for “advance guard”.

30. For whom the Lorax speaks : TREES

“The Lorax” is a children’s book written by Dr. Seuss. It is an allegorical work questioning the problems created by industrialization, and in particular its impact on the environment. At one point in the story, the Lorax “speaks for the trees, for the trees have no tongues”. “The Lorax” was adapted into an animated film that was released in 2012, with Danny DeVito voicing the title character.

31. Internet home to “Between Two Ferns” : FUNNY OR DIE

“Funny or Die” is TV production company and comedy website that was founded in 2007 by three Hollywood insiders including Will Ferrell. The website is home to comedic short films that feature some big names like Danny DeVito, Steve Carell, Selena Gomez and Mila Kunis. Users of the website can vote on the video clips, rating them as “funny” or “die”.

42. Shakespeare character who says “This above all: to thine own self be true” : POLONIUS

In William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet”, Polonius gives some fatherly advice to his son Laertes before the young man heads off to France. Included among the numerous pearls of wisdom is the oft-quoted “Neither a borrower nor a lender be” and “to thine own self be true”.

Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel,
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatched, unfledged comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Bear ’t that th’ opposèd may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear but few thy voice.
Take each man’s censure but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not expressed in fancy—rich, not gaudy,
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

50. A person skilled at deadpan has one : DRY SENSE OF HUMOR

The term “deadpan”, slang for an impassive expression, comes from “dead” (expressionless) and “pan” (slang for “face”).

52. What “4” may stand for : APRIL

The exact etymology of “April”, the name of the fourth month of our year, seems to be uncertain. The ancient Romans called it “mensis Aprilis”, which roughly translated as “opening month”. The suggestion is that April is the month in which fruits, flowers and animals “open” their life cycles.

54. French river or department : OISE

The department in northern France known as Oise is named for the River Oise. The River Oise rises in Belgium and joins up with the River Seine just outside Paris.

56. Advert’s ending? : -ISE

If you’d allow me to be selfish in my comments for a second, why don’t we use the suffix “-ize” for the word “advertise”? I spent years, after arriving in America from Ireland, training myself to use “-ize” instead of “-ise”. I have stumbled when confronted with “advertise”, so many, many times …

57. Designer Geoffrey : BEENE

Geoffrey Beene was an American fashion designer. He had an impressive list of clients that included First Ladies Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon and Nancy Reagan.

58. Carrier to Karachi : PIA

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA)

Karachi is the largest city in Pakistan. Karachi was the country’s capital when Pakistan gained independence from Britain in 1947. The capital was moved to Rawalpindi in 1958, and then to the newly built city of Islamabad in 1960.

72. ___ intolerance : LACTOSE

The sugar known as lactose is a disaccharide, comprising a molecule of galactose combined with a molecule of glucose. Lactose is a major component in milk, and it is broken down in the body by an enzyme called lactase. The production of lactase used to diminish over time in humans, as babies stopped nursing and transitioned to solid food. Many human populations have evolved to maintain lactose production throughout life, in response to the inclusion of animal milk in the diet. Individuals and populations that do not have the genes enabling lifelong production of lactase are said to be lactose intolerant.

73. Novo-Ogaryovo is the official one of the Russian president : DACHA

Dachas are usually second homes in Russia and the former Soviet Union that are located outside the city limits in rural areas. Residents/tenants of dachas are often called “dachniks”.

75. Hawke of “Training Day” : ETHAN

Ethan Hawke is a Hollywood actor who made his breakthrough in a supporting role in “Dead Poet’s Society”, playing opposite Robin Williams. Hawke was married to Uma Thurman, with whom he has two children.

“Training Day” is a 2001 crime movie starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke as two narcotics officers in Los Angeles. The film was well received and merited a TV spin off. The small-screen version was canceled after one season following the death of lead actor Bill Paxton.

79. Broadway’s Hagen : UTA

Uta Hagen was a German-born American actress. Hagen married Jose Ferrer in 1938, but they were divorced ten years later after it was revealed that she was having a long-running affair with Paul Robeson. Her association with Robeson, a prominent civil rights activist, earned her a spot on the Hollywood Blacklist during the McCarthy Era. This forced her away from film, but towards a successful stage career in New York City.

81. “Roméo et Juliette” segment : ACTE

That would be French.

85. Coin toss call : TAILS

The two sides of a coin are known as the “obverse” and the “reverse”. The obverse is commonly referred to as “heads”, as it often depicts someone’s head. The reverse is commonly called “tails”, as it is the opposite of “heads”.

92. Big engine additive : STP

STP is a brand name for automotive lubricants and additives. The name “STP” is an initialism standing for “Scientifically Treated Petroleum”.

95. “Iglu,” for “igloo”: Abbr. : VAR

The Inuit word for “house” is “iglu”, which we usually write as “igloo”. The Greenlandic (yes, that’s a language) word for “house” is very similar, namely “igdlo”. The walls of igloos are tremendous insulators, due to the air pockets in the blocks of snow.

104. “___, amigo” : ADIOS

The term “adiós” is Spanish for “goodbye”. In the Spanish language, “adiós” comes from the phrase “a Dios vos acomiendo” meaning “I commend you to God”.

107. Count ___ : CHOCULA

General Mills have introduced us to a whole series of monster-themed breakfast cereals, starting in 1971 with Count Chocula and Franken Berry. They followed them up with Boo Berry, Fruit Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy.

110. Its “reeds are a pain / And the fingering’s insane,” per Ogden Nash : OBOE

Ogden Nash was a poet from Rye, New York who is remembered for his light and quirky verse. Nash had over 500 such works published between 1931 and 1972.

114. Lipinski and Reid : TARAS

When American skater Tara Lipinski won the figure skating gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics, she was only 15 years old. To this day, Lipinski is the youngest person to win an individual gold at the Winter Games.

Tara Reid is an actress known for roles she played on television and the big screen. My guess is her most-remembered performances were in the “American Pie” series of movies in which she played Vicky. Sadly, Reid succumbed to the pressure to alter her looks with plastic surgery. In interviews, she has shared that her first experience under the knife “went wrong” leading to more surgeries in attempts to rectify the resulting deformity.

121. To this day, Marie Curie’s are still radioactive : LAB NOTES

Marie Curie lived a life of firsts. She was the first female professor at the University of Paris, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and indeed was the first person to win two Nobel prizes (in Physics in 1903, and in Chemistry in 1911). Most of Curie’s work was in the field of radioactivity, and was carried out in the days when the impact of excessive radiation on the human body was not understood. She died from aplastic anemia, caused by high exposure to radiation. To this day, Curie’s personal papers are kept preserved in lead-lined boxes as they are highly radioactive, even her personal cookbook.

122. Mystery : ENIGMA

Our term “enigma” meaning “puzzle, riddle” comes from the Greek “ainigma”, which means the same thing.

123. Lacoste and Descartes : RENES

René Lacoste was a French tennis player who went into the clothing business, and came up with a more comfortable shirt that players could use. This became known as a “tennis shirt”. When it was adopted for use in the sport of polo, the shirts also became known as “polo shirts”. The “golf shirt” is basically the same thing.

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”.

124. Star of 1976’s Oscar winner for Best Picture : STALLONE

If ever there was a movie that defines a career breakthrough for an actor, it would have to be “Rocky” for Sylvester Stallone. Stallone was a struggling actor in 1975 when a Muhammad Ali fight inspired Stallone to write a screenplay for a boxing movie, which he did in just three days. His efforts to sell the script went well but for the fact that the interested studios wanted a big name for the lead role, and Stallone was determined to be the star himself. Stallone persevered and “Rocky” was eventually made with him playing title role of Rocky Balboa. The movie won three Oscars, and “Sly” Stallone had arrived …

Down

5. Med. professionals who take a pledge named for Florence Nightingale : RNS

Florence Nightingale is known as the founder of modern nursing. Nightingale worked as a nurse, tending wounded soldiers during the Crimean War. There she became known as “The Lady with the Lamp” as she routinely made her rounds during the night. Not long after returning to London, Nightingale set up the first secular nursing school in the world, at St. Thomas’ Hospital.

8. Condition for filmdom’s Rain Man : AUTISM

“Rain Man” is an entertaining and thought-provoking film released in 1988 starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. It’s all about a self-possessed yuppie (Cruise, appropriate casting!) who discovers he has a brother who is an autistic savant (Hoffman). Hoffman won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance, and “Rain Man” won the Best Picture award.

11. “Uh, you’ve told me quite enough” : TMI

Too much information! (TMI)

12. Where Michael Jordan played coll. ball : UNC

Michael Jordan is considered by some to be the greatest basketball player of all time. Not only is he a talented sportsman, but he is also very successful in the business world. He became majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets NBA team in 2010. Fans refer to Jordan as “His Airness”.

14. Poet Ginsberg : ALLEN

Allen Ginsberg was a poet from from Newark, New Jersey whose name became inextricably linked with the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the counterculture of the 1960s. His most famous work is the 1955 poem “Howl”, in which Ginsberg denounces capitalism and conformity in the US.

15. “Game of Thrones” creature : DRAGON

HBO’s “Game of Thrones” is a fantasy television drama that is adapted from a series of novels by George R. R. Martin called “A Song of Ice and Fire”. “Game of Thrones” is actually filmed in and around Belfast, Northern Ireland. I recently binge-watched the show’s first seven seasons, and enjoyed it. There’s no doubt that the production value of “Game of Thrones” is remarkable, but to be honest, I never became riveted by the storyline …

16. Joan who quipped “A Peeping Tom looked in my window and pulled down the shade” : RIVERS

Joan Rivers was a comedian from Brooklyn, New York who got her big break on “The Tonight Show”, on which she was first a guest in 1965. She became the first woman to host a late night talk show in 1986 when she hosted “The Late Show with Joan Rivers”. Rivers passed away following routine throat surgery in September of 2014.

19. Doing a pirouette, say : ON TOE

We took our word “pirouette” directly from French, in which language it has the same meaning, i.e. a rotation in dancing. “Pirouette” is also the French word for “spinning top”.

24. Poison ivy, e.g. : VINE

Two of the plants that are most painful to humans are poison oak and poison ivy. Poison oak is mainly found west of the Rocky Mountains, and poison ivy to the east.

29. Some sneakers : AVIAS

The Avia brand name for athletic shoes was chosen as “avia” is the Latin word for “to fly”, and suggests the concept of aviation. Avia was founded in Oregon in 1979.

32. Fifth category of taste with a Japanese name : UMAMI

Umami is one of the five basic tastes, along with sweet, sour, bitter and salty. “Umami” is a Japanese word used to describe “a pleasant savory taste”. Umami was proposed as a basic taste in 1908, but it wasn’t until 1985 that the scientific community finally accepted it as such.

33. “Peter ___ Greatest Hits” (1974 album) : NERO’S

Peter Nero is a pianist and conductor of “pops” orchestral concerts. Nero had a huge hit in the pop music charts in 1971 with the theme tune from the movie “Summer of ’42”.

40. Cry from Homer : D’OH!

“The Simpsons” is one of the most successful programs produced by the Fox Broadcasting Company. Homer Simpson’s catchphrase is “D’oh!”, which became such a famous exclamation that it has been included in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) since 2001. “D’oh!” can be translated as “I should have thought of that!”

43. Kind of port for a flash drive : USB

Universal Serial Bus (USB) is an industry standard dealing with how computers and electronic devices connect and communicate, and deal with electrical power through those connections.

60. Car rental giant : AVIS

Rental car company Avis used the tagline “We Try Harder” for five decades, starting in the early 1960s. The slogan had its roots in a 1962 ad campaign in which the company made brilliant use of its position behind market leader Hertz. The first rendition of the new tagline was “When you’re only No. 2, you try harder. Or else”. Within a year, Avis turned its first profit in over a decade, and within three years, increased the company’s market share from 29% to 36%.

62. Poet who wrote “Fortune and love favor the brave” : OVID

The Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso is known today simply as Ovid. Ovid is usually listed alongside the two other great Roman poets: Horace and Virgil. Although he was immensely popular during his own lifetime, Ovid spent the last ten years of his life in exile. He fell foul of Emperor Augustus, although what led to this disfavor isn’t truly understood.

63. Org. that offers Precheck enrollment : TSA

The Transportation Security Administration operates its a precheck program known as “TSA Pre✓”. Members of the program receive expedited screening at airports at most airports. In order to become a member, a traveler must apply online, appear in person at a designated office for a background check and fingerprinting, and pay a fee for a 5-year membership.

64. ___ fly : SAC

That would be baseball.

66. One on the left?: Abbr. : DEM

The modern-day Democratic Party was founded in 1828 when supporters of Andrew Jackson broke away from the former Democratic-Republican Party during the presidency of John Quincy Adams. That date makes the Democratic Party the oldest voter-based political party in the world. Andrew Jackson became the first Democratic US president, in 1829.

The concept of left-right politics started in France during the French Revolution. When members of France’s National Assembly convened in 1789, supporters of the King sat to the President’s right, and supporters of the revolution to the President’s left. The political terms “left” and “right” were then coined in the local media and have been used ever since.

68. TV blocking device : V-CHIP

All television sets produced for the US market since the year 2000 are required by law to include a component called a V-chip. A V-chip allows a TV to be configured so that programming of specific “ratings” can be blocked from viewing. The “V” in V-chip stands for “viewer control”. It sounds like a great idea, but a lot of kids these days quickly do a search online and work out how to reset the password.

78. ___ Walcott, Nobel Prize-winning poet : DEREK

Derek Walcott is a poet, playwright and writer from Saint Lucia in the Caribbean. Remarkably, the tiny island nation of Santa Lucia has produced two Nobel Laureates: Walcott and the economist Arthur Lewis.

80. Patriots’ org. : AFC

The New England Patriots football team was founded in 1959 as the Boston Patriots. The “Patriots” name was selected from suggestions made by football fans in Boston. The team played at several different stadiums in the Boston area for just over ten years, before moving to their current home base in Foxborough, Massachusetts. At the time of the move, the “Boston” name was dropped and changed to “New England”.

87. Euros replaced them : LIRE

The word “lira” is used in a number of countries for currency. “Lira” comes from the Latin for “pound” and is derived from a British pound sterling, the value of a Troy pound of silver. For example, the lira (plural “lire”) was the official currency of Italy before the country changed over to the euro in 2002.

89. Grp. that puts on a show : USO

The United Service Organization (USO) was founded in 1941 at the request of FDR “to handle the on-leave recreation of the men in the armed forces”. A USO tour is undertaken by a troupe of entertainers, many of whom are big-name celebrities. A USO tour usually includes troop locations in combat zones.

90. Fleets : ARGOSIES

A large merchant ship might be referred to as an “argosy”, especially if it carries a rich cargo. The term comes from the Croatian city of Dubrovnik, which lies on the Adriatic coast. Once called Ragusa (“Arragosa” in English), the city was the departure point for ships laden with goods imported into 16th-century Britain.

91. Wall St. bigwigs : CEOS

A bigwig is someone important. The use of the term harks back to the days when men of authority and rank wore … big wigs.

93. Like Mount Narodnaya : URAL

The eastern side of the Ural Mountains in Russia and Kazakhstan is generally regarded as the natural divide between the continents of Europe and Asia.

98. Like some angels and dominoes : FALLEN

White masks with black spots were commonly seen in the old Venetian Carnival. The masks were known as “domini”. The domini lent their name to the game of dominoes, due to the similarity in appearance between the mask and a domino tile.

101. Airport that J.F.K. dedicated in 1963 : 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.

102. Erin of “Joanie Loves Chachi” : MORAN

Erin Moran was the lovely actress most famous for playing Joanie Cunningham on “Happy Days” and the resulting (short-lived) spin-off sitcom called “Joanie Loves Chachi”. Long before she got her big break in “Happy Days”, Moran played Jenny Jones on the children’s drama “Daktari” from the late sixties.

105. Concoct : DEVISE

To decoct is to extract the flavor of a liquid by boiling down and increasing the concentration. A related term is “to concoct”, meaning “to boil together”. We use the verb “to concoct” in figurative sense to mean to contrive, devise.

110. Anthony Hopkins’s “Thor” role : ODIN

The 2011 movie “Thor” is yet another film based on a comic book hero. Even though I won’t be seeing it (I don’t do comics), I must admit it does have an impressive cast. Chris Hemsworth plays Thor, supported by Natalie Portman, Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins. And to crown it all, Kenneth Branagh is the director.

The marvelous actor Anthony Hopkins got his big break in movies playing Richard the Lionheart in the 1968 historical drama “The Lion in Winter”. Hopkins hails from the south coast of Wales, and was encouraged in his early career by fellow Welshman Richard Burton, whom he met when he was a teenager. I’d say that Hopkins’ best-known film role was Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs”.

111. City NNE of San Antone : BIG D

“Big D” is a nickname for the city of Dallas, Texas.

The city of San Antonio was named by Spanish explorers who came up a Native American settlement in the area on 13 June 1631, the feast day of St. Anthony of Padua.

116. Cambodia’s Angkor ___ : WAT

Angkor Wat is a temple in Cambodia built in the 12th century. The beautiful building is iconic in Cambodia and is even featured in the center of the country’s national flag.

117. Court org. : ABA

Hmm … American Basketball Association (ABA) or American Bar Association (ABA)?

118. Skit show, for short : SNL

“Saturday Night Live” (SNL)

119. What makes you you? : DNA

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.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. 52-story Boston skyscraper, familiarly : THE PRU
7. Brass instrument with a mellow sound : BASS TUBA
15. ___ Malfoy, student at Hogwarts : DRACO
20. Sorkin and Spelling : AARONS
21. Kind of equinox : AUTUMNAL
22. Puerto ___ : RICAN
23. “Stop! You’re killing me!” : THAT’S HYSTERICAL!
25. ___-garde : AVANT
26. Give some lip : SASS
27. Uncut : ENTIRE
28. More than willing : EAGER TO
30. For whom the Lorax speaks : TREES
31. Internet home to “Between Two Ferns” : FUNNY OR DIE
34. Latin for “womb” : UTERUS
38. Monsieur’s mate : MADAME
41. Y or N, maybe : ANS
42. Shakespeare character who says “This above all: to thine own self be true” : POLONIUS
45. Actor Jason : ROBARDS
47. Zugspitze, e.g. : ALP
50. A person skilled at deadpan has one : DRY SENSE OF HUMOR
52. What “4” may stand for : APRIL
54. French river or department : OISE
55. Beseech : BEG
56. Advert’s ending? : -ISE
57. Designer Geoffrey : BEENE
58. Carrier to Karachi : PIA
61. Tugboat sounds : TOOTS
65. Decked out : ADORNED
67. Unimpressed response to someone’s one-liner : EVERYBODY’S A COMEDIAN
72. ___ intolerance : LACTOSE
73. Novo-Ogaryovo is the official one of the Russian president : DACHA
74. Lavatory sign : MEN
75. Hawke of “Training Day” : ETHAN
76. Regrettable : SAD
79. Broadway’s Hagen : UTA
81. “Roméo et Juliette” segment : ACTE
85. Coin toss call : TAILS
86. Stand-up chain started in Los Angeles : THE LAUGH FACTORY
92. Big engine additive : STP
93. Log-in needs : USER IDS
94. Verbally assail : SCREAM AT
95. “Iglu,” for “igloo”: Abbr. : VAR
97. Cover over, in a way : REROOF
99. Start limping : GO LAME
100. It might involve someone being “so poor” or “so old” : YO MAMA JOKE
104. “___, amigo” : ADIOS
107. Count ___ : CHOCULA
108. Nail salon employees, at times : FILERS
110. Its “reeds are a pain / And the fingering’s insane,” per Ogden Nash : OBOE
114. Lipinski and Reid : TARAS
115. “Jeez … lighten up!” : I WAS ONLY KIDDING!
120. Be grandiloquent : ORATE
121. To this day, Marie Curie’s are still radioactive : LAB NOTES
122. Mystery : ENIGMA
123. Lacoste and Descartes : RENES
124. Star of 1976’s Oscar winner for Best Picture : STALLONE
125. Smoothed in a shop : SANDED

Down

1. Some body art, for short : TATS
2. “Hilarious!” : HA HA!
3. Noteworthy times : ERAS
4. Lobster traps : POTS
5. Med. professionals who take a pledge named for Florence Nightingale : RNS
6. Welcomes : USHERS IN
7. Plaster : BASTE
8. Condition for filmdom’s Rain Man : AUTISM
9. Suffix with speed : -STER
10. “Oh, what the hell … I’ll do it” : SURE
11. “Uh, you’ve told me quite enough” : TMI
12. Where Michael Jordan played coll. ball : UNC
13. Meadow call : BAA
14. Poet Ginsberg : ALLEN
15. “Game of Thrones” creature : DRAGON
16. Joan who quipped “A Peeping Tom looked in my window and pulled down the shade” : RIVERS
17. “Pick ___ …” : A CARD
18. “Pretty please?” : CAN’T I?
19. Doing a pirouette, say : ON TOE
24. Poison ivy, e.g. : VINE
29. Some sneakers : AVIAS
30. Something carried onstage? : TUNE
31. “Terrif!” : FABU!
32. Fifth category of taste with a Japanese name : UMAMI
33. “Peter ___ Greatest Hits” (1974 album) : NERO’S
34. High hairstyle : UPDO
35. Doughnut figures : TORI
36. Late ’50s singing sensation : ELVIS
37. One of many scattered in a honeymoon suite, maybe : ROSE PETAL
39. Light bark : ARF
40. Cry from Homer : D’OH!
43. Kind of port for a flash drive : USB
44. Manage : SEE TO
46. Night vision? : DREAM
47. Bowl : ARENA
48. Maid’s armful : LINEN
49. Made an appeal : PLED
51. Hymn starter : O, GOD
52. Habitation : ABODE
53. Around the time of birth : PERINATAL
59. Chains : IRONS
60. Car rental giant : AVIS
62. Poet who wrote “Fortune and love favor the brave” : OVID
63. Org. that offers Precheck enrollment : TSA
64. ___ fly : SAC
66. One on the left?: Abbr. : DEM
67. Greatly bother : EAT AT
68. TV blocking device : V-CHIP
69. Tops : BESTS
70. Finish all at once, in a way : CHUG
71. Things taken by government officials : OATHS
72. “Sounds like a plan!” : LET’S!
77. “Don’t be ___!” : A HERO
78. ___ Walcott, Nobel Prize-winning poet : DEREK
80. Patriots’ org. : AFC
82. Bad state to be in : COMA
83. Mine transport : TRAM
84. Modern party summons : E-VITE
87. Euros replaced them : LIRE
88. Bustle : ADO
89. Grp. that puts on a show : USO
90. Fleets : ARGOSIES
91. Wall St. bigwigs : CEOS
93. Like Mount Narodnaya : URAL
95. Empty : VACATE
96. Brings a smile to : AMUSES
98. Like some angels and dominoes : FALLEN
100. Champion : VICTOR
101. Airport that J.F.K. dedicated in 1963 : O’HARE
102. Erin of “Joanie Loves Chachi” : MORAN
103. Locks up : JAILS
105. Concoct : DEVISE
106. Bug : IRK
108. Jester : FOOL
109. Feeling : INTO
110. Anthony Hopkins’s “Thor” role : ODIN
111. City NNE of San Antone : BIG D
112. “My treat!” : ON ME!
113. “My stars!” : EGAD
116. Cambodia’s Angkor ___ : WAT
117. Court org. : ABA
118. Skit show, for short : SNL
119. What makes you you? : DNA

17 thoughts on “0204-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 4 Feb 2018, Sunday”

  1. 21:28, no errors. This puzzle would have made me crazy if I hadn’t seen the same gimmick before. One such puzzle was published in the NYT on September 29, 2016:

    https://nytcrossword.com/2016/09/29

    (A better example appeared a little before that, but I was unable to find it.)

    In any case, a very clever and enjoyable outing … the 2nd … or 3rd … or more … time around … ?

  2. 45:37. No real issue with the theme here except the execution of it (which I’m in favor of…). I used “Y/VI” as a rebus doing this and it was counted as incorrect. Once I peeked at Bill’s blog, I saw that a “Y” was sufficient, I went back and changed all of them and got the congratulatory music. Did I finish without error? Well, I got all the squares correct, but by not really understanding the theme I didn’t execute the Y=VI part. It’s a judgement call, but since I make the rules I win….

    I remember watching Daktari as a kid as well as Happy Days, but I never made the connection that Joanie was also in Daktari. This is why we tune in every day.

    In the TMI category, DACHA usually refers to a summer home in the country. It derives from the Russian verb “to give” (“dat” – the perfective of “davat”) as it was usually a gift from the Tsars that one had a DACHA. The name remains, the tsars….not so much…

    I love that quote by Polonius and always have. I can’t think of better advice stated more eloquently than that anywhere. Why doesn’t we talks like that no more??

    Best –

  3. Poison ivy which grows on the ground should not be considered a vine which implies a climbing plant. Taxonomically it is not related to ivy either. But my downfall was “funny or die”

  4. “Did you ever notice that an uppercase letter Y looks like a letter V on top of a letter I?” No. I didn’t. And that’s precisely why so many of these fills made no damned sense to me. 38:50, with 16 errors (that I can find), all of them “unforced errors” caused by this ridiculous gag. More evidence that Shortz has lost the plot entirely. When an entire puzzle depends on imagining something that isn’t there, and wedding it to a horrible pun in the title of the puzzle, you’ve got major issues.

  5. 27:38, no errors. Unfamiliar with Mr. REEDE, so PERINATAL vs PARINATAL was a coin flip for me.

    @Ray: as a child, growing up on Long Island, NY, I could swear that I saw Poison Ivy growing up tree trunks. So your comment sent me to the all-knowing Wikipedia: “The plants can grow as a shrub up to about 1.2 metres (3.9 ft) tall, as a groundcover 10–25 cm (3.9–9.8 in) high, or as a climbing vine on various supports.”

    Our granddaughter has played the clarinet and oboe since Junior High. We admire her courage. It was interesting to see how many of her music teachers were thrilled to finally get an oboist for the orchestra. Here is Ogden Nash’s poem in its entirety:
    The oboe’s a horn made of wood.
    I’d play you a tune if I could,
    But the reeds are a pain,
    And the fingering’s insane.
    It’s the ill wind that no one blows good.

    1. @Bruce (and @Ray) … In northern Iowa, where I grew up, I only saw poison ivy as a low-growing ground cover; I learned to recognize it after running through a patch of it with sandals on and ending up with an amazing collection of blisters on my feet. Here in Colorado, I see it mostly as a ground cover, but, high up on at least one of the Flatirons (the 3rd) above Boulder, it grows as a shrub three or four feet high. I haven’t seen it as a climbing vine but, as you say, Wikipedia knows all … ?

    1. Sometimes referred to as “playing the dozens,” these are a class (if you want to use *that* word) of humorous insults that have their roots in the African-American community. Usually, they’re aimed at insulting a person’s mother, and almost always begin with, “Yo’ mama is SO UGLY…” or “Your mama is SO *FAT*…” Low-brow humor to be sure, but when they’re done right, they are devastatingly funny!!

      To finish off both of those: “Yo’ momma is so ugly, she has to sneak up on a glass of water to get a drink!” And, “Yo’ momma is so fat, she fell down on Pico and got up on Melrose!” (in Los Angeles, those are two streets separated by a few miles).

  6. I don’t like “YOMAMAJOKES” and didn’t have room for them in what’s left of my brain, so the SW corner was where I blanked and cheated to “finish”.

    1. I hesitate to offer an explanation for this, but I could only justify the Feeling: INTO connection by assuming that when someone is “INTO” someone else, they have ‘Feelings’ for them. A very tenuous connection, at best.

  7. Only two mistakes despite not discerning the “cracked y’s”. I still found this to be much easier than the typical Sunday puzzle.

  8. Solved the puzzle without an error, and (I swear….), did not understand the theme until I was down to only the numerous blank spaces where the VI/Ys were left to fill in. Then and only then did I even consider the double meaning of the puzzle’s title.

    Do I feel “wise”? Certainly not………. Just relieved at solving this one correctly while having to contend with such epic short-sightedness…… remind’s me of the observation that “occasionally, even a blind squirrel finds a walnut”. My vision today measured approximately 20/200.

  9. Late, but….
    Bill–NBA Charlotte team has been known as the “Hornets” for more than a few years now. Also, Lebron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, also known as “King James”, has been giving Michael Jordan more than a run for his money, maybe even displacing him, as the “greatest of all time”.

  10. 49 minutes, 2 dumb errors. The theme revealed itself rather easily – and also is a relatively common one.

    @Tom M.
    Lebron still has a few championships to win before he can be considered in the same breath as Jordan. But for this generation he is indeed the benchmark.

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