0209-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 9 Feb 2018, Friday

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Constructed by: Brendan Emmett Quigley
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 14m 46s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

17. Give a flat fee? : LEASE TO

“Flat”, in the sense of an apartment or condominium, is a word more commonly used in the British Isles than on this side of the pond. The term “flat” is Scottish in origin, in which language it used to mean “floor in a house”.

21. TV commentator Navarro : ANA

Ana Navarro is a Nicaraguan-born American political strategist and commentator. Navarro is a lifelong Republican who worked for Governor Jeb Bush and for Senator John McCain. However, she was very critical of presidential candidate Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign. She was so vehement in her anti-Trump views that she ended up voting for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the election.

22. Abbr. in math class : QED

The initialism “QED” is used at the end of a mathematical proof or a philosophical argument. QED stands for the Latin “quod erat demonstrandum” meaning “that which was to be demonstrated”.

23. Stock at a wine bar : CABS

The cabernet sauvignon grape has been around since the 17th century, and is the result of a chance crossing in southwestern France of the cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc grapes.

27. Off the wall : ZANY

Something described as zany is clownish and bizarre. “Zany” can also be a noun, a term used for a clown or a buffoon. The original noun was “Zanni”, a Venetian dialect variant of Gianni, short for Giovanni (John). Zanni was a character who appeared in comedy plays of the day, and was someone who aped the principal actors.

30. Battle of Soissons setting : GAUL

The Gauls were a Celtic race, with Gaul covering what is now known as France and Belgium. We use the term “Gallic” today, when we refer to something pertaining to France or the French.

Soissons is an ancient town in northern France, located about 60 miles northeast of Paris.

33. Goon : APE

The term “goon” was coined by American humorist Frederick J. Allen in a 1921 “Harper’s” piece titled “The Goon and His Style”. The article defines a good as “a person with a heavy touch” someone lacking “a playful mind”. The term was popularized in the “Thimble Theater” comic strips featuring Popeye. The first use of “goon” to describe a hired thug was in 1938, with reference to strikebreakers.

34. Weapon with a rope and balls : BOLA

Bolas are heavy balls connected by cords that constitute a throwing weapon. Bolas are often used to capture animals by tripping them as they run. The weapon is usually associated with gauchos, the South American cowboys, although there is evidence that the Inca army used them in battle.

35. Literary nickname for Dolores : LOLITA

Vladimir Nabokov’s novel “Lolita” has a famously controversial storyline, dealing with a middle-aged man’s obsession and sexual relationship with a 12-year-old girl named Dolores Haze. 38-year-old professor Humbert Humbert privately refers to Dolores as “Lolita”. Although “Lolita” is considered a classic today, after Nabokov finished it in 1953 the edgy subject matter made it impossible for him to find a publisher in the US (where Nabokov lived). In 1955, he resorted to publishing it in English at a printing house in Paris. Publication was followed by bans and seizures all over Europe. A US printing house finally took on the project in 1958, by which time the title had such a reputation that it sold exceptionally quickly. “Lolita” became the first book since “Gone with the Wind” to sell over 100,000 copies in its first three weeks in stores.

36. One of the Smithsonian buildings : PORTRAIT GALLERY

The Smithsonian Institution was established in 1846 as the United States National Museum. The institution was renamed in honor of British scientist James Smithson who indirectly provided the initial funding. The funds were collected from England on the orders of President Andrew Jackson, and arrived in the form of 105 sacks containing 104,960 gold sovereigns.

42. Iowa town where Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” is set : ELDON

The iconic Grant Wood work called “American Gothic” was painted in 1930. It depicts a farmer holding a pitchfork standing beside his spinster daughter. Grant used his sister as a model for the daughter, and his dentist as a model for the farmer. You can see “American Gothic” on display at the Art Institute of Chicago. You can also visit the house depicted in the painting, in the city of Eldon, Iowa. Perhaps predictably, the house is located on what is now called American Gothic Street.

43. Shade of red : RUBY

Ruby is a precious stone made from the mineral corundum, also called aluminium oxide. The corundum includes some of the element chromium, which results in the red or pink color.

55. Paper that runs mots croisés : LE MONDE

“Mots croisés” is French for “crossword”.

“Le Monde” is a newspaper published each evening in France. “Le Monde” is one of the two most famous French papers, along with “Le Figaro”.

59. When Caesar says “Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look” : SCENE II

Here are some lines spoken by the title character in the play “Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare:

Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look.
He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous.

Caesar is referring to Cassius, one of the leading figures in the plot to assassinate him.

60. Prized sheep : MERINOS

The Merino breed of sheep is prized for the soft quality of its wool.

61. 1831 Poe work : TO HELEN

Edgar Allan Poe wrote two versions of his poem “To Helen”. The “Helen” in the poems might be the Greek goddess of light or perhaps Helen of Troy. If fact Poe wrote the poem in honor of Jane Stanard, who was the mother of one of his childhood friends.

Down

1. Carnival Cruise stop : ISLE

The Carnival Cruise Line was founded in 1972, and now has over 20 vessels in operation. Three of those Carnival ships were chartered by the US government in the wake of Hurricane Katrina so that they could provided temporary housing for families displaced by the storm.

2. Twosome : ITEM

An unmarried couple known to be involved with each other might appear in the gossip columns. This appearance as “an item” in the papers, led to the use of “item” to refer to such a couple, but only since the very early seventies.

3. ___ tide : NEAP

Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon on the oceans. At neap tide, the smaller gravitational effect of the sun cancels out some of the moon’s effect. At spring tide, the sun and the moon’s gravitational forces act in concert causing more extreme movement of the oceans.

4. Walk alluringly : SASHAY

To sashay is to strut along in a showy manner. “Sashay” is an Anglicized form of the French word “chassé”, a sliding step used in square dancing.

7. “Star Trek: T.N.G.” role : TROI

Deanna Troi is a character on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” who is played by the lovely Marina Sirtis. Sirtis is a naturalized American citizen and has what I would call a soft American accent on the show. However, she was born in the East End of London and has a natural accent off-stage that is more like that of a true Cockney.

8. Mount near Haifa : CARMEL

“Mount” Carmel is actually a mountain range, one located on the coast of northern Israel. Haifa, the country’s third largest city, is located on the northern slope of Mount Carmel.

10. Peugeot symbol : LION

Peugeot is part of PSA Peugeot Citroen, the second largest car manufacturer in Europe. Peugeot was founded in 1810, and back then manufactured coffee and pepper grinders. The company expanded into other metallic goods like umbrella frames, saw blades and famously, into bicycles (still made to this day). The bicycles were a springboard into cars, an expansion fueled by meetings with Gottlieb Daimler who provided engines for the first years of production.

12. Gangbusters, for short? : ATF

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is today part of the Department of Justice (DOJ). The ATF has its roots in the Department of Treasury dating back to 1886 when it was known as the Bureau of Prohibition. “Explosives” was added to the ATF’s name when the bureau was moved under the Department of Justice (DOJ) as part of the reorganization called for in the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

28. Cyclops killer of myth : APOLLO

Cyclops was a one-eyed giant in Greek and Roman mythology. Cyclops lived in Mount Etna, the Sicilian volcano.

29. Poet who wrote “Tonight I can write the saddest lines” : NERUDA

“Pablo Neruda” was the pen name, and eventually the legal name, used by Chilean writer Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. Basoalto chose the name as a homage to Czech poet Jan Neruda.

31. Ayaan Hirsi ___, Somali-born advocate for women’s rights and religious freedom : ALI

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Dutch-American activist and author who was born in Somalia. One of Ali’s most notable campaigns is opposition to female genital mutilation.

32. Online hilarity : LOLZ

Apparently, the text-speak “LOLZ” is the plural form of LOL (laugh out loud).

37. Ska band instrument : TROMBONE

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.

38. Be garrulous : GAB

To be garrulous is to be tiresomely talkative. To be reticent is to be inclined to keep one’s thoughts to oneself.

44. Epicure : FOODIE

An epicure is a gourmet, one who appreciates fine food and drink in particular. The term is derived from the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus.

46. “Doctor Who” actress Whittaker : JODIE

Actress Jodie Whittaker made a little history at the end of 2017. She took over from Peter Capaldi in the role of “Doctor Who”, becoming the Doctor’s thirteenth and first female incarnation.

48. Good genre for a maze maker : OP ART

Op art is also known as optical art, and puts optical illusions to great effect.

50. Intro to Torts student : ONE L

“One L” is a name used in general for first year law students, especially those attending Harvard.

51. “The Bicycle Thief” setting : ROME

“The Bicycle Thief” is 1948 Italian film that was adapted from the novel “Bicycle Thieves” by Luigi Bartolini. “The Bicycle Thief” is widely lauded as one of the greatest films ever to be made. It was directed by Vittorio De Sica.

55. W.W. II craft: Abbr. : LST

The initialism “LST” stands for Landing Ship, Tank. LSTs are the large vessels used mainly in WWII that have doors at either ends through which tanks and other vehicles can roll off and onto beaches. The design concept persists to this day in the huge fleet of commercial roll-on/roll-off car ferries, all inspired by the LST.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. “No, really” : I INSIST
8. Sort : COLLATE
15. Carpet cleaner : STEAMER
16. High-minded sort? : AVIATOR
17. Give a flat fee? : LEASE TO
18. Back in the stadium : ROOT FOR
19. [Can you believe they wrote this?!] : EMPHASIS MINE
21. TV commentator Navarro : ANA
22. Abbr. in math class : QED
23. Stock at a wine bar : CABS
27. Off the wall : ZANY
30. Battle of Soissons setting : GAUL
32. Place for a miniature flag : LAPEL
33. Goon : APE
34. Weapon with a rope and balls : BOLA
35. Literary nickname for Dolores : LOLITA
36. One of the Smithsonian buildings : PORTRAIT GALLERY
39. What “they” can only be, to grammar sticklers : PLURAL
40. Enliven, with “up” : JAZZ
41. Signal : CUE
42. Iowa town where Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” is set : ELDON
43. Shade of red : RUBY
44. Word with chicken or news : FEED
45. Go here and there : ROAM
46. Tight spot : JAM
47. Scare quote? : BOO!
49. Pitch to a publisher : BOOK PROPOSAL
55. Paper that runs mots croisés : LE MONDE
58. Seeing someone, say : ON A DATE
59. When Caesar says “Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look” : SCENE II
60. Prized sheep : MERINOS
61. 1831 Poe work : TO HELEN
62. Prizes : ESTEEMS

Down

1. Carnival Cruise stop : ISLE
2. Twosome : ITEM
3. ___ tide : NEAP
4. Walk alluringly : SASHAY
5. “Well …” : I MEAN …
6. Aspires to do something : SETS A GOAL
7. “Star Trek: T.N.G.” role : TROI
8. Mount near Haifa : CARMEL
9. Like a squashed circle : OVOID
10. Peugeot symbol : LION
11. It may come long after the play : LATE CALL
12. Gangbusters, for short? : ATF
13. “___ soon?” : TOO
14. Go astray : ERR
20. Exercise started by crouching : SQUAT JUMP
24. Per : APIECE
25. Not stray : BE TRUE
26. Did phenomenally onstage : SLAYED
27. Debugging tool? : ZAPPER
28. Cyclops killer of myth : APOLLO
29. Poet who wrote “Tonight I can write the saddest lines” : NERUDA
31. Ayaan Hirsi ___, Somali-born advocate for women’s rights and religious freedom : ALI
32. Online hilarity : LOLZ
34. Healthful breakfast choice : BRAN
35. Do-nothing : LAZYBONES
37. Ska band instrument : TROMBONE
38. Be garrulous : GAB
43. Make hand over fist : RAKE IN
44. Epicure : FOODIE
46. “Doctor Who” actress Whittaker : JODIE
48. Good genre for a maze maker : OP ART
50. Intro to Torts student : ONE L
51. “The Bicycle Thief” setting : ROME
52. All together, so to speak : SANE
53. Bond collector? : ATOM
54. Not so great : LESS
55. W.W. II craft: Abbr. : LST
56. Pro-sustainability, in lingo : ECO
57. “It doesn’t excite me” : MEH

7 thoughts on “0209-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 9 Feb 2018, Friday”

  1. 20:53, no errors. Did it last night. Recognized “mots croisés” as French and filled in LE MONDE, but didn’t realize what the phrase meant until this morning. Very cute. Cool puzzle.

  2. 42:21. Very tough puzzle. Saturday worthy. Had to Google twice to finish. Ditto what Dave said about the clue for LE MONDE. Mr Quigley definitely has a knack for cluing.

    “They” is always PLURAL. Period.

    Best –

  3. 24:20 Most of this was pretty easy. The bottom right and middle left slowed me down and I thought I’d be stuck for awhile. But I put the puzzle down for several hours (had to go to work) then got everything pretty quickly when I came back to it.

  4. 30:52, no errors. Took me a long time to get into this setters’ head. Several major leaps of faith had to be erased. For example, National Gallery has the same number of letters as PORTRAIT GALLERY; ovate initially works as well as OVOID; and ‘last row’ seemed a better fit for ‘Back in the stadium’ than ROOT FOR.

    Considering many setters penchant for including uncommon foreign words/phrases into this English language puzzle, sometimes I think those puzzles would be better suited for Le Monde than the New York Times.

  5. 34:38 and 5 errors in the bottom right corner. I find B.E.Q.’s puzzles to be chock-full of arcane references, “cleverer-than-thou” pedantry, as well as misleading clues that create difficulty with cynical editing. This one was no exception, but I was glad to be able to even finish it at all. I was almost stuck (or so I thought) with less than half filled in.

    I take exception to the clue for 58A. “Seeing someone” is more a “status” or a situation, than a time-specific event, such as being on a date.

  6. @BruceB — “Back in the stadium” could also be a RUNNING back or a QUARTER back and probably some other kind of “back” in soccer, etc. (At least that is what I first thought.)

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