0215-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 15 Feb 2018, Thursday

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Constructed by: Peter Gordon
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Oscar-Nominated Birds

Themed answers are movie characters, the portrayal of whom earned Oscar nominations. The family names of the characters are all types of bird:

  • 53A. Jodie Foster’s Oscar-winning role in “The Silence of the Lambs” : CLARICE STARLING
  • 3D. Mary Badham’s Oscar-nominated role in “To Kill a Mockingbird” : SCOUT FINCH
  • 11D. Jon Voight’s Oscar-winning role in “Coming Home” : LUKE MARTIN
  • 30D. Janet Leigh’s Oscar-nominated role in “Psycho” : MARION CRANE
  • 31D. Johnny Depp’s Oscar-nominated role in “Pirates of the Caribbean” : JACK SPARROW

Bill’s time: 15m 34s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

11. One of the fire signs : LEO

Each of the twelve astrological signs is associated with one of the classical elements:

  • Fire signs: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
  • Earth signs: Taurus, Capricorn, Virgo
  • Air signs: Libra, Aquarius, Gemini
  • Water signs: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces

14. Checkout lines? : UPC

Universal Price Code or Universal Product Code (UPC)

16. Bag man? : UMP

In baseball, the cloth-covered pillows used to mark the first, second and third bases can be referred to as bags.

Back in the 15th century, “an umpire” was referred to as “a noumpere”, which was misheard and hence causing the dropping of the initial letter N. The term “noumpere” came for Old French “nonper” meaning “not even, odd number”. The idea was that the original umpire was a third person called on to arbitrate between two, providing that “odd number” needed to decide the dispute.

19. Young ferret : KIT

Kits are the young of several mammalian species, including the ferret and the fox. “Kit” is probably a shortened form of “kitten”.

20. Home to long-distance commuters : EXURBIA

An extension to the term “suburb”, an exurb is an area beyond the suburbs at the very outskirts of a city. The term “exurbia” is often used to denote an area inhabited by more wealthy people.

22. Canine coats : ENAMELS

Tooth enamel covers the crowns of our teeth. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. It is composed of 96% crystalline calcium phosphate.

The canine teeth of a mammal are also called the eyeteeth or cuspids. The name “canine” is used because these particular teeth are very prominent in dogs. The prefix “eye-” is used because in humans the eyeteeth are located in the upper jaw, directly below the eyes.

24. French pronoun : TOI

In French, the pronouns “toi” and “vous” both mean “you”, with the former being used with family and friends, and children. “Vous” is more formal, and is also the plural form of “toi”.

25. ___ du Nord (what separates Angleterre from Danemark) : MER

In French, the “Mer du Nord” (North Sea) separates “Angleterre” (England) from “Danemark” (Denmark).

The North Sea is an offshoot of the Atlantic Ocean that is located between Britain and Scandinavia.

30. Rapper with the double-platinum album “The Pinkprint” : MINAJ

Nicki Minaj is a rapper from Queens, New York who was born in Trinidad.

35. Hula hoops? : LEIS

“Lei” is the Hawaiian word for “garland, wreath”, although in more general terms a lei is any series of objects strung together as an adornment for the body.

The hula is a native dance of Hawaii that uses arm movements to relate a story. The hula can be performed while sitting (a noho dance) or while standing (a luna dance).

36. Santa ___ : ANITA

Santa Anita Park is a racetrack for horses located in Arcadia, California. The most famous races on the track’s calendar are the Santa Anita Derby and the Santa Anita Handicap.

37. 20th-century artist famous for serigraphs : ERTE

“Erté” was the pseudonym of French (Russian born) artist and designer Romain de Tirtoff. Erté is the French pronunciation of his initials “R.T.” Erté’s diverse portfolio of work included costumes and sets for the “Ziegfeld Follies” of 1923, productions of the Parisian cabaret show “Folies Bergère”, as well as the 1925 epic movie “Ben-Hur”. Erté’s most famous work by far is an image titled “Symphony in Black”. It depicts a tall and slender woman dressed in black, holding a black dog on a leash.

39. Cockamamie, for short : RIDIC

“Ridic” is an informal way to say “ridiculous”.

“Cockamamy” (sometimes “cockamamie”) is a slang term meaning “ridiculous, incredible”. The term goes back at least to 1946, but may have originated as an informal term used by children in New York City in 1920s.

40. Graffitist’s signature : TAG

A tag is a particular type of graffiti. A tag usually isn’t a picture, but rather words that include the author’s name.

“Graffiti” is the plural of “graffito”, the Italian for “a scribbling”. The word was first used to describe ancient inscriptions on the walls in the ruins of Pompeii.

41. Part of RNA : NUCLEIC

The two most common nucleic acids are deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA), both of which play crucial roles in genetics. The DNA contains the genetic instructions used to keep living organisms functioning, and RNA is used to transcribe that information from the DNA to protein “generators” called ribosomes.

47. Put a ring on : ENHALO

The Greek word “halos” is the name given to the ring of light around the sun or moon, which gives us our word “halo” that is used for a radiant light depicted above the head of a saintly person.

48. Luxe : SWANKY

“Luxe” is another word for “luxury”. The term came into English via French from the Latin “luxus” meaning “luxury”.

53. Jodie Foster’s Oscar-winning role in “The Silence of the Lambs” : CLARICE STARLING

“The Silence of the Lambs” is a 1991 psychological drama based on a novel of the same name by Thomas Harris. Jodie Foster plays FBI trainee Clarice Starling, and Anthony Hopkins plays the creepy cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter. “The Silence of the Lambs” swept the Big Five Oscars (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Screenplay) for that year, being only the third movie ever to do so. The other two so honored were “It Happened One Night” (1934) and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975).

59. Barrett of old gossip : RONA

Rona Barrett is a gossip columnist originally from New York City but who plies her trade in Southern California. Barrett started out as with a gossip column that was syndicated in newspapers but then made a successful transition to television. She made regular appearances in news broadcasts and on her entertainment shows in the sixties and seventies.

61. Draft classification : ONE-A

The US government maintains information on all males who are potentially subject to military conscription, using what is called the Selective Service System (SSS). In the event that a draft was held, men registered would be classified into groups to determine eligibility for service. Class 1-A registrants are those available for unrestricted military service. Other classes are 1-A-O (conscientious objector available for noncombatant service), 4-A (registrant who has completed military service) and 4-D (Minister of religion).

62. Ivory Coast’s largest city : ABIDJAN

Abidjan is a city on the coast of the West African nation of Ivory Coast. The urban area that includes the city is home to almost 13 million people. That makes metropolitan Abidjan the third-largest, French-speaking urban agglomeration in the world, after Paris and Kinshasa (in Congo).

The Republic of Côte d’Ivoire is located in West Africa on the Gulf of Guinea. The country is often referred to in English as “the Ivory Coast”, the direct translation from the French. The official language of the country is French, as for many years it was a French colony.

64. Biceps builder : ARM CURL

The biceps muscle is made up of two bundles of muscle, both of which terminate at the same point near the elbow. The heads of the bundles terminate at different points on the scapula or shoulder blade. “Biceps” is Latin for “two-headed”.

67. Golfer who you might think plays best on windy days? : TOM KITE

Tom Kite is a professional golfer from McKinney, Texas. Kite was a consistent money winner on the PGA circuit, and was the first to reach $6 million in winnings, as well as 7, 8 and 9 million dollars.

69. Bridge positions : WESTS

The four people playing a game of bridge are positioned around a table at seats called north, east, south and west. Each player belongs to a pair, with north playing with south, and east playing with west.

Down

3. Mary Badham’s Oscar-nominated role in “To Kill a Mockingbird” : SCOUT FINCH

Actress Mary Badham is a best known for portraying Jean Louise “Scout” Finch in the 1962 movie “To Kill a Mockingbird”. That performance earned Badham an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress. She was just 10 years old, making her the youngest actress nominated to date in the category at that time. Badham held that record until 10-year-old Tatum O’Neal was nominated, and won, for her performance in 1973’s “Paper Moon”.

4. Symbol of gentle innocence : BAMBI

The 1942 Disney classic “Bambi” is based on a book written by Felix Salten called “Bambi, A Life in the Woods”. There is a documented phenomenon known as the Bambi Effect, whereby people become more interested in animal rights after having watched the scene where Bambi’s mother is shot by hunters.

5. Berry in smoothies and yogurt : ACAI

Açaí is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.

7. Daughter of Loki : HEL

Hel is a being from Norse Mythology who presides over a realm that is also called Hel. The underworld of Hel receives many of the dead, and the term “go to Hel” is used in Norse accounts to mean “to die”.

8. Some expensive Italian cars : MASERATIS

Maserati is a manufacturer of luxury cars in Italy. The company was founded in Bologna in 1914 by five brothers: Alfieri, Bindo, Carlo, Ettore and Ernesto Maserati. The company uses a trident logo that is based on the trident depicted in the Fountain of Neptune in the Piazza Maggiore in Bologna.

11. Jon Voight’s Oscar-winning role in “Coming Home” : LUKE MARTIN

“Coming Home” is a 1978 movie about a love triangle between a young wife (Jane Fonda), her husband who is a US Marine (Bruce Dern), and a paralyzed Vietnam War veteran (Jon Voight).

12. “___ and the Detectives” (Disney film) : EMIL

“Emil and the Detectives” is a novel first published in 1929. It was originally written in German and was titled “Emil und die Detektive”. The Disney company released a film adaptation in 1964.

21. One of the friends on “Friends” : ROSS

Ross Geller is the character on “Friends” played by David Schwimmer. The role was actually written with Schwimmer in mind, and so Ross was the first of the “Friends” to be cast.

26. Oklahoma city : ENID

Enid, Oklahoma takes its name from the old railroad station around which the city developed. Back in 1889, that train stop was called Skeleton Station. An official who didn’t like the name changed it to Enid Station, using a character from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King”. Maybe if he hadn’t changed the name, the city of Enid would now be called Skeleton, Oklahoma! Enid has the nickname “Queen Wheat City” because is has a huge capacity for storing grain, the third largest grain storage capacity in the world.

28. Coeur d’___, Idaho : ALENE

The city, lake and river in Idaho called Coeur d’Alene are all named for the Coeur d’Alene People, Native Americans who lived in the area when it was first explored by French Canadian fur traders. “Coeur d’Alene” translates from French as “heart of an awl”. The Native American people were given this name as they were perceived as shrewd traders by their Canadian counterparts.

30. Janet Leigh’s Oscar-nominated role in “Psycho” : MARION CRANE

The classic Alfred Hitchcock suspense film “Psycho” released in 1960 is based on a 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. The Bloch novel in turn is loosely based on actual crimes committed by murderer and grave robber Ed Gein. The female protagonist is named Mary Crane in the novel, but that name was changed to Marion Crane in the movie. Marion Crane, portrayed by Janet Leigh, died in a celebrated and terrifying shower scene

31. Johnny Depp’s Oscar-nominated role in “Pirates of the Caribbean” : JACK SPARROW

Captain Jack Sparrow is the protagonist in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series of movies. And is played by Johnny Depp. Depp has said that he based his portrayal of Sparrow partly on the Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards. I could believe that …

42. It’s sometimes chocolate-coated : LABRADOR

The Labrador (Lab) breed of dog has been around at least since 1814. The breed comes in three registered colors: black, yellow and chocolate.

43. “The Time Machine” people : ELOI

In the 1895 novel by H. G. Wells called “The Time Machine”, there are two races that the hero encounter in his travels into the future. The Eloi are the “beautiful people” who live on the planet’s surface. The Morlocks are a race of cannibals living underground who use the Eloi as food.

46. Sorcerers : WARLOCKS

A male practitioner of black magic can be referred to as a witch, but also as a warlock. The term “witch” is used predominantly for female sorcerers.

51. Winter L.A. clock setting : PST

Pacific Standard Time (PST)

55. Jung’s inner self : ANIMA

The concepts of anima and animus are found in the Carl Jung school of analytical psychology. The idea is that within each male there resides a feminine inner personality called the anima, and within each female there is a male inner personality known as the animus.

56. Language that gave us the word “igloo” : INUIT

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.

57. Old-fashioned cry of disgust : NERTS!

“Nerts” is a slang term, a corruption of “nuts!”

58. Big blow : GALE

A gale is a very strong wind, a wind that is defined by Beaufort wind scale as a wind with speeds from 50 to just over 100 kilometers per hour.

63. Tear : JAG

The terms “jag” and “bender” describe periods of unrestrained activity, particularly those involving alcohol. Both words have been in use since the 1800s.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Undergoes : HAS
4. Tile floor cover : BATH MAT
11. One of the fire signs : LEO
14. Checkout lines? : UPC
15. Land : ACREAGE
16. Bag man? : UMP
17. Prefix with stationary : GEO-
18. Remits, as a check : MAILS IN
19. Young ferret : KIT
20. Home to long-distance commuters : EXURBIA
22. Canine coats : ENAMELS
24. French pronoun : TOI
25. ___ du Nord (what separates Angleterre from Danemark) : MER
27. Hockey ___ : MOM
28. Relatives of yips : ARFS
30. Rapper with the double-platinum album “The Pinkprint” : MINAJ
32. Shop tool : RASP
35. Hula hoops? : LEIS
36. Santa ___ : ANITA
37. 20th-century artist famous for serigraphs : ERTE
38. East ender? : -ERN
39. Cockamamie, for short : RIDIC
40. Graffitist’s signature : TAG
41. Part of RNA : NUCLEIC
44. Distorting : SKEWING
47. Put a ring on : ENHALO
48. Luxe : SWANKY
49. Fine writing material : BOND PAPER
53. Jodie Foster’s Oscar-winning role in “The Silence of the Lambs” : CLARICE STARLING
59. Barrett of old gossip : RONA
60. Critic, at times : RATER
61. Draft classification : ONE-A
62. Ivory Coast’s largest city : ABIDJAN
64. Biceps builder : ARM CURL
66. Laments : BEMOANS
67. Golfer who you might think plays best on windy days? : TOM KITE
68. Boot camp V.I.P. : SARGE
69. Bridge positions : WESTS

Down

1. Mammoth : HUGE
2. Tip : APEX
3. Mary Badham’s Oscar-nominated role in “To Kill a Mockingbird” : SCOUT FINCH
4. Symbol of gentle innocence : BAMBI
5. Berry in smoothies and yogurt : ACAI
6. Cold medicine brand for kids : TRIAMINIC
7. Daughter of Loki : HEL
8. Some expensive Italian cars : MASERATIS
9. Not fer : AGIN
10. Coffee break time, perhaps : TEN AM
11. Jon Voight’s Oscar-winning role in “Coming Home” : LUKE MARTIN
12. “___ and the Detectives” (Disney film) : EMIL
13. Chooses, with “for” : OPTS
21. One of the friends on “Friends” : ROSS
23. Else : MORE
26. Oklahoma city : ENID
28. Coeur d’___, Idaho : ALENE
29. Second showing : RERUN
30. Janet Leigh’s Oscar-nominated role in “Psycho” : MARION CRANE
31. Johnny Depp’s Oscar-nominated role in “Pirates of the Caribbean” : JACK SPARROW
33. Was ripe : STANK
34. Art collector Guggenheim : PEGGY
42. It’s sometimes chocolate-coated : LABRADOR
43. “The Time Machine” people : ELOI
45. Pitcher in paintings : EWER
46. Sorcerers : WARLOCKS
50. Senior members : DEANS
51. Winter L.A. clock setting : PST
52. Eroded : ATE AT
53. Grumble : CRAB
54. Brain sections : LOBES
55. Jung’s inner self : ANIMA
56. Language that gave us the word “igloo” : INUIT
57. Old-fashioned cry of disgust : NERTS!
58. Big blow : GALE
63. Tear : JAG
65. Title for many a Parisienne: Abbr. : MME

10 thoughts on “0215-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 15 Feb 2018, Thursday”

  1. 14:55, no errors. Two of the theme names were unknown to me and I had forgotten the last name of a third (though it would have been difficult to forget Anthony Hopkin’s pronunciation of CLARICE).

  2. 28:38 with 1 square left blank. I only knew 2 of the 5 names and I had to get STARLING via crosses anyway as I couldn’t remember it. In the end I got to the “J” in JAG/ABIDJON and just gave up. Nothing was making sense to me for that square, and I was tired last night so I just hit the reveal button. Not knowing the names turned this into a bit of a slog.

    “Bag man” for UMP?….maybe. But RIDIC? I might have to cry foul. I just hired a PI to see if there’s any real human who uses that word…..

    Best –

  3. 22:43, 5 errors: (L)ATH MAT/(L)AMB(S)/TO(S); ABID(R)AN/(R)AG. I really wanted to put BATH MAT into 4A, but my initial guess of LAMBS locked me into an S at the connection with 14A. Figured 4D had to be either LAMBS or BABES. Not comfortable with most of the clues today. Impressed that Bill could come up with a theme for this puzzle.

  4. 19:57 and 6 errors. Mostly proper names (which, of course, can be **anything**).

    Never heard of EXURBIA. And REDIC? Along with ADORBS, a candidate for “words we don’t ever want to see again in a puzzle”.

  5. Too many proper nouns, in themers and fill, did me in. As they say, you either know ’em or you don’t. I didn’t.

  6. Shock and awe. I finished a Thursday puzzle, no errors and no help. Ok, it took me over an hour but I’ll still give myself a gold star.

  7. Although not an actor, Tom Kite’s last name is also the name of a bird. So maybe the category should be expanded to be celebrities.

  8. @ Bill—-I don’t think that the Morlocks of The Time Machine could be properly considered as cannibals. The definition is pretty strict that it means the eating of one’s own species. The Morlocks were, I’m pretty sure, of a different species than the obviously human Eloi. I have only seen the movie version, so H.G. Welles may have had something different in his novel.

  9. 48 minutes, 3 errors. Amazing I got that far at all considering I didn’t know hardly any of these things and had to guess my way through the entire puzzle and the general nonsense embedded within. Another example added to the Shortz demerit list…

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