0208-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 8 Feb 2018, Thursday

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Constructed by: Erik Agard
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: Hollywood Shuffle

Themed answers are HOLLYWOOD actors. The letters in each actor’s name has been SHUFFLED, anagrammed to give the clue:

  • 57A. With 61-Across, 1987 Robert Townsend satire … or a hint to deciphering four clues in this puzzle : HOLLYWOOD …
  • 61A. See 57-Across : … SHUFFLE
  • 18A. Germany : MEG RYAN
  • 19A. Steady gig : TAYE DIGGS
  • 33A. Ernest Gallo : ANSEL ELGORT
  • 43A. “It’s-a me, Mario!” : MARISA TOMEI

Bill’s time: 14m 31s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. From Clwyd or Gwynedd counties : WELSH

The Principality of Wales was created in 1216 when sovereign princes of Welsh territories agreed that Llywelyn the Great would become the paramount ruler of the region. The Principality covered about two thirds of what we call Wales today, and it gained partial recognition by the English Crown with the title of Prince of Wales being created for Llywelyn the Great and his successors. The relationship between the Principality and its powerful neighbor was an uneasy one though, and eventually there was a military conquest by the English King Edward I in 1282-1283. In 1284 the Statute of Rhuddlan became law which brought all the land held by the Prince of Wales under English rule. And today of course, the title of Prince of Wales is held by the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles.

6. Month before Shawwal : RAMADAN

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is traditionally a period of fasting. The faithful that observe Ramadan refrain from eating, drinking and sexual relations from dawn to dusk everyday, a lesson in patience, humility and spirituality.

16. Cheyenne ally : ARAPAHO

The Arapaho tribe lived on the eastern plains of Colorado and Wyoming. The Arapaho traditionally wintered in small camps in the foothills of the Rockies, and then relocated to plains in the spring where they hunted the buffalo that were gathering to give birth to their young.

17. Feature in “People”? : SILENT O

There is a silent letter O in the word “people”.

There used to be a “People” page in each issue of “Time” magazine. This page was spun-off in 1974 as a publication of its own, which we now call “People” magazine. “People” is noted for its annual special editions with features such as “Best & Worst Dressed” and “Sexiest Man Alive”. The “Sexiest Man Alive” edition now appears at the end of November each year. The first choice for “Sexiest Man” was Mel Gibson, in 1985.

18. Germany : MEG RYAN

Meg Ryan is the stage name of the actress Margaret Mary Hyra. Ryan’s big break came with the excellent 1989 movie “When Harry Met Sally”, from which she went on to star in some of the greatest romantic comedies ever made.

19. Steady gig : TAYE DIGGS

Taye Diggs is an actor most associated with the Broadway show “Rent”, in which he played the nasty landlord Benny. He then co-starred on the television show “Private Practice”. Diggs given name is “Scott”, and the nickname “Taye” comes from saying the given name as “Scottay”.

21. Actress Elisabeth who’s been on the cover of Rolling Stone, ironically : MOSS

Publilius Syrus was a writer of adages and proverbs in Ancient Roman times. He was a slave, originally a Syrian, who was freed by his master in Italy. Publilius wrote the adage “People who are always moving, with no roots in one place, avoid responsibilities and cares”. We are more familiar with the contemporary version “A rolling stone gathers no moss”.

22. Company behind the 2017 film “Coco” : PIXAR

Pixar Animation Studios started out as part of Lucasfilm in 1979, George Lucas’s production company. Lucas sold what was to become Pixar to Apple CEO Steve Jobs in 1986. Pixar produced its first feature film in 1995, the fabulous “Toy Story”, and followed up with a string of hits. The company was then sold to Walt Disney in 2006, when valued at $7.4 billion. That transaction resulted in Steve Jobs becoming the biggest shareholder in Walt Disney.

“Coco” is a 2017 Pixar movie about a 12-year-old boy named Miguel who ends up in the land of the dead by accident. There, he seeks out the help of the great-great-grandfather to get back to his family in the land of the living.

24. Biblical king who sought the counsel of the Witch of Endor : SAUL

According to the First Book of Samuel, the Witch of Endor called up the ghost of the deceased Samuel at the behest of Saul, the first King of the Israelites. Endor was a city in the land of Canaan.

27. U.R.I. URL ending : EDU

The University of Rhode Island (URI) was chartered as an agricultural school back in 1888. Rhody the Ram was chosen as the school’s mascot in 1923, a nod to URI’s agricultural past. As a result, the school’s sports teams are known as the Rams. URI’s main campus is located in the village of Kingston.

29. Starship’s second #1 hit, after “We Built This City” : SARA

The sixties folk group called Jefferson Airplane gave rise to two spin-off groups that were founded by former Jefferson Airplane band members. The first was Jefferson Starship, and the second was Starship. Confusing, huh?

33. Ernest Gallo : ANSEL ELGORT

Ansel Elgort is a relatively young actor, and someone who has had a remarkable string of successful roles. He played Tommy Ross in 2013’s “Carrie”, Caleb Prior in “The Divergent Series” movies, Augustus Waters in 2014’s “The Fault in Our Stars”, and the title character in 2017’s “Bay Driver”.

38. With 66-Across, Bond specification : NOT …
(66. See 38-Across : STIRRED)

Why have a vodka martini shaken and not stirred (as does James Bond, 007)? Well, for one thing the shaken drink tends to be colder. And with more melted ice in the drink, it isn’t as strong. These are my personal observations. No need to write in …

40. Sprint competitor : T-MOBILE

T-Mobile is a German telecommunications company, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. Deutsche Telekom has used the “T” prefix for a number of its services, including T-Com, T-Online and T-Home.

42. ___-ray : BLU

A CD player reads the information on the disc using a laser beam. The beam is produced by what’s called a laser diode, a device similar to a light-emitting diode (LED) except that a laser beam is emitted. That laser beam is usually red in CD and DVD players. Blu-ray players are so called as they use blue lasers.

43. “It’s-a me, Mario!” : MARISA TOMEI

Marisa Tomei’s first screen role was in the daytime soap “As the World Turns”, but her break came with a recurring role in “The Cosby Show” spin-off “A Different World”. Tomei won an Oscar for her delightful performance in “My Cousin Vinny” in 1992.

45. Second-year student, for short : SOPH

The term “sophomore” has been used for a student in the second year of university since the 1680’s. The original meaning of the word was “arguer”. The term has Greek roots, from two Greek words that have been artificially combined in English. The Greek “sophos” means “wise”, and “moros” means “foolish”.

47. ___ Jam records : DEF

Def Jam is a US record label, one focused on hip hop music.

49. Goddess often pictured in a chariot : EOS

In Greek mythology, Eos was the goddess of the dawn who lived at the edge of the ocean. Eos would wake each morning to welcome her brother Helios the sun. The Roman equivalent of Eos was Aurora.

57. With 61-Across, 1987 Robert Townsend satire … or a hint to deciphering four clues in this puzzle : HOLLYWOOD …

61. See 57-Across : … SHUFFLE

“Hollywood Shuffle” is a 1987 comedy movie starring, co-written and directed by Robert Townsend. It is a satirical work that plays on the stereotypes of African Americans portrayed in film and TV.

64. Contemptuous countenance : SIDE-EYE

“Side-eye” is an informal term describing a disapproving, sidelong glance.

67. Hair pieces? : HANKS

A “hank” is a loop or a coil of perhaps rope, or maybe hair.

Down

8. Molten rock : MAGMA

Magma is the molten material below the Earth’s surface. When magma cools, it forms igneous rock. “Magma” is a Greek term used for a thick ointment.

11. “Eureka”-esque exclamations : AHAS

“Eureka” translates from Greek as “I have found it”. The word is usually associated with Archimedes, uttered as he stepped into his bath one day. His discovery was that the volume of water that was displaced was equal to that of the object (presumably his foot) that had been submerged. He used this fact to determine the volume of a crown, something he needed in order to determine if it was made of pure gold or was a forgery.

14. Pixy ___ (candy) : STIX

Pixy Stix is powdered candy that’s packaged in what looks like a straw. The “candy” was sold back in the thirties as a drink mix, but when kids were found to be eating the sweet & sour-tasting mix directly from packets, the producers began to packaging it as candy.

15. When repeated, “Animal House” chant : TOGA!

The very funny 1978 movie “Animal House” has the prefix “National Lampoon’s …” because the storyline came out of tales that had already appeared in “National Lampoon” magazine. “Animal House” was to become the first in a long line of successful “National Lampoon” films. The main pledges in the movie are Tom Hulce (Pinto), who later played a magnificent “Amadeus”, and Stephen Furst (Flounder), who later played a regular role on television’s “Babylon 5”.

20. Maddux who won four Cy Young Awards : GREG

Baseball pitcher Greg Maddux won the Cy Young Award for the four consecutive years of 1992 through 1995, a record that wasn’t matched until Randy Johnson did the same thing in 1999 through 2002.

23. ___-Shave : BURMA

Burma-Shave was a brand of shaving cream that was big in the 1940s. The brand was used in a very innovative sales campaign involving sets of billboard along highways. There were usually six consecutive small signs posted, signs that motorists read as a group in order to make sense of them.

24. Onetime Volvo rivals : SAABS

“SAAB” stands for Svenska Aeroplan AB, which translates into English as Swedish Aeroplane Limited. Although we usually think of SAAB as an auto manufacturer, it is mainly an aircraft manufacturer. If you take small hops in Europe you might find yourself on a SAAB passenger plane. The SAAB automotive division was acquired by General Motors in the year 2000, who then sold it to a Dutch concern in 2010. However, SAAB (automotive) finally went bankrupt in 2011. A Chinese consortium purchased the assets of SAAB Automotive in 2012, and so SAAB vehicles are in production again. The new vehicles are using the SAAB name, but cannot use the SAAB griffin logo, the rights to which have been retained by the mother company.

Volvo is a Swedish manufacturers of cars, trucks and construction equipment. The Volvo name was chosen as “volvo” is Latin for “I roll”.

25. WASP part : ANGLO-

The not-so-nice acronym “WASP” stands for White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. The term is used for Americans with a relatively high position in society, and who are usually of British descent.

28. Ellipses, e.g. : DOTS

“Ellipses” is the plural of “ellipsis”. An ellipsis is a series of dots (usually three) used to indicate an omission in some text. The term comes from the Greek word “élleipsis”, which means “omission”.

30. Cartoon genre : ANIME

Anime is cartoon animation in the style of Japanese Manga comic books.

31. Brand with a crown logo : ROLEX

My most-prized possession is a beautiful stainless steel Rolex watch that my uncle bought while serving with the RAF in Canada during WWII. Rolex watches were made available to the Canadian servicemen at that time as they were shipping overseas. My uncle brought his Rolex home to Ireland after the war. He needed money for booze one weekend and so sold the watch to my Dad, for five pounds. My Dad gave it to me just before he died, as he knew I loved the watch, and my brothers weren’t interested in it all. Not so long ago I had the watch appraised ($3,000), and my brothers suddenly took a liking to it! Still, it’s not something that will ever be sold, that’s for sure …

34. Escape : LAM

To be on the lam is to be in flight, to have escaped from prison. “On the lam” is American slang that originated at the end of the 19th century. The word “lam” also means to “beat” or “thrash”, as in “lambaste”. So “on the lam” might derive from the phrase “to beat it, to scram”.

41. Its capital is Gaborone : BOTSWANA

Botswana is an African country that is located just north of South Africa. Someone from Botswana is called a “Motswana” (yes, with an M), with the plural being “Batswana” (yes, with a B).

46. Young cow : HEIFER

A calf is a young cow of either sex that is not more than a year old. A heifer is a young cow that has not calved, and the term “cow” can be used for a female of the species that has given birth.

53. ___ mater : ALMA

The literal translation for the Latin term “alma mater” is “nourishing mother”. The phrase was used in Ancient Rome to refer to mother goddesses, and in Medieval Christianity the term was used to refer to the Virgin Mary. Nowadays, one’s alma mater is the school one attended, either high school or college, usually one’s last place of education.

54. Gift of Balthazar to the baby Jesus : MYRRH

Frankincense and myrrh are both tree resins that are exuded when certain species of tree are damaged. The harvested resins are used to make essentials oils for perfumes, and are also burned to give off a pleasant fragrance.

“Magi” is the plural of the Latin word “magus”, a term applied to someone who was able to read the stars. Hence, “magi” is commonly used with reference to the “wise men from the East” who followed the star and visited Jesus soon after he was born. In Western Christianity, the three Biblical Magi are:

  • Melchior: a scholar from Persia
  • Caspar: a scholar from India
  • Balthazar: a scholar from Arabia

55. Tiny amount : WHIT

Both “whit” and “fig” are used to describe a trivial amount, a mere trifle.

56. Mercedes competitor : AUDI

The predecessor to today’s Audi company was called Auto Union. Auto Union was formed with the merger of four individual entities: Audi, Horch, DKW and Wanderer. The Audi logo comprises four intersecting rings, each representing one of the four companies that merged.

58. Chief figure in the Eddas : ODIN

The Poetic Edda and Prose Edda are two ancient works that are the source for much of Norse mythology. Both Eddas were written in the 13th century, in Iceland.

59. Sound on Old MacDonald’s farm : OINK!

There was an American version of the English children’s song “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” (E-I-E-I-O), that was around in the days of WWI. The first line of the US version goes “Old MacDougal had a farm, in Ohio-i-o”.

62. Burn cause : LYE

What we call “lye” is usually sodium hydroxide, although historically the term was used for potassium hydroxide. Lye has many uses, including to cure several foodstuffs. Lye can make olives less bitter, for example. The chemical is also found in canned mandarin oranges, pretzels and Japanese ramen noodles. More concentrated grades of lye are used to clear drains and clean ovens. Scary …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. From Clwyd or Gwynedd counties : WELSH
6. Month before Shawwal : RAMADAN
13. Favoring the fortunate few : ELITIST
16. Cheyenne ally : ARAPAHO
17. Feature in “People”? : SILENT O
18. Germany : MEG RYAN
19. Steady gig : TAYE DIGGS
21. Actress Elisabeth who’s been on the cover of Rolling Stone, ironically : MOSS
22. Company behind the 2017 film “Coco” : PIXAR
23. More than a moratorium : BAN
24. Biblical king who sought the counsel of the Witch of Endor : SAUL
27. U.R.I. URL ending : EDU
29. Starship’s second #1 hit, after “We Built This City” : SARA
33. Ernest Gallo : ANSEL ELGORT
38. With 66-Across, Bond specification : NOT …
39. Way, way back : AGES AGO
40. Sprint competitor : T-MOBILE
42. ___-ray : BLU
43. “It’s-a me, Mario!” : MARISA TOMEI
45. Second-year student, for short : SOPH
47. ___ Jam records : DEF
48. “___ me” (modern parting words) : TEXT
49. Goddess often pictured in a chariot : EOS
51. Cons : SCAMS
55. Young stray : WAIF
57. With 61-Across, 1987 Robert Townsend satire … or a hint to deciphering four clues in this puzzle : HOLLYWOOD …
61. See 57-Across : … SHUFFLE
63. Band not known for music? : AM RADIO
64. Contemptuous countenance : SIDE-EYE
65. Triangular road sign’s signification : WARNING
66. See 38-Across : STIRRED
67. Hair pieces? : HANKS

Down

1. This side of the puzzle : WEST
2. ___ Martell, “Game of Thrones” princess : ELIA
3. Good name for a florist? : LILY
4. Bell locales : STEEPLES
5. Language in Lucknow : HINDI
6. Head-butts : RAMS
7. Total arithmetically : ARE
8. Molten rock : MAGMA
9. Things to wipe your hands on : APRONS
10. Standard work shifts : DAYS
11. “Eureka”-esque exclamations : AHAS
12. Prefix with denial : NON-
14. Pixy ___ (candy) : STIX
15. When repeated, “Animal House” chant : TOGA!
20. Maddux who won four Cy Young Awards : GREG
23. ___-Shave : BURMA
24. Onetime Volvo rivals : SAABS
25. WASP part : ANGLO-
26. Exhaust : USE UP
28. Ellipses, e.g. : DOTS
30. Cartoon genre : ANIME
31. Brand with a crown logo : ROLEX
32. Face-planted : ATE IT
34. Escape : LAM
35. “Holy cow!” : EGADS!
36. Folk stories : LORE
37. Young ‘un : TOT
41. Its capital is Gaborone : BOTSWANA
44. “In that case …” : IF SO …
46. Young cow : HEIFER
50. Word that becomes its own synonym if you add “pr” to the front : OFFER
52. Nail : CLAW
53. ___ mater : ALMA
54. Gift of Balthazar to the baby Jesus : MYRRH
55. Tiny amount : WHIT
56. Mercedes competitor : AUDI
57. Attention : HEED
58. Chief figure in the Eddas : ODIN
59. Sound on Old MacDonald’s farm : OINK!
60. Barking lot? : DOGS
61. Serpentine sound : SSS
62. Burn cause : LYE

11 thoughts on “0208-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 8 Feb 2018, Thursday”

  1. 26:21. Really enjoyed this one. Impressive theme. It didn’t help that I didn’t know HOLLYWOOD SHUFFLE, but I figured it out. I figured out the reveal from the theme answers rather than the other way around…

    Best –

  2. 15:34, no errors. A weird solve for me. Early on, I looked at 19A (for which I had not yet read the clue) and thought, “TAYE DIGGS would fit in there.” At that point, the phone rang and I closed my iPad, stopping the clock, and spent 10 minutes talking to a friend. When I got back to the iPad, I filled in the missing letters of 19A (still without checking the clue) and moved on. I then got the rest of the theme answers entirely through crosses and was left staring at ANSEL ELGORT (of whom I had never heard, AFAIK) and finally took the time to grok the theme, fill in the last square, and get the happy little “success” message.

    @Bill … More weirdness … ? … TAYE DIGGS seems to be missing from the list of theme answers.

  3. 30:33, no errors. Culture seems to be slipping past me, and leaving me behind. Had absolutely no clue who TAYE DIGGS, ANSEL ELGORT, ELIA Martell or Elisabeth MOSS are. Only way I was able to avoid an error in the cross between ELIA and TAYE DIGGS, was that I understood the theme by then, and knew that the letters in 19A had to spell out “steady gig”; and I was missing an “A”.

  4. 7D:WHAT?????? I don’t get that at all…. it doesn’t “ADD” up (which is a hint to what *should* go into three spaces with “Total arithmetically” as the clue)

    15:44 and 6 errors, at the crosses of ARE/MEGRYAN SARA/ROLEX and TOT/ANSELANGORT.

    Kind of an aggravating puzzle…

  5. 7 Down…ARE? The explanation makes sense, but I still feel it was a stretch. Are the NYT crosswords available as an online subscription? I get them in the local paper a month or two old. TIA

  6. Re 7D: I think whether you say “1 and 1 are 2” or “1 and 1 is 2” depends on where and with whom you grew up. That said, you don’t have to do crosswords for very long before being exposed to the former expression.

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