0222-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 22 Feb 2018, Thursday

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Constructed by: Zhouqin Burnikel
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Reveal Answer: Reversing Course

Themed answers are all COURSES, and each is written in REVERSE in the grid:

  • 60A. Backtracking … or what 17-, 27- and 46-Across are doing? : REVERSING COURSE
  • 17A. Home of the Masters : AUGUSTA NATIONAL
  • 27A. Something unknowns are introduced in : PRE-ALGEBRA
  • 46A. Starters : APPETIZERS

Bill’s time: 10m 14s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15. Writer/filmmaker Ephron : NORA

Nora Ephron had many talents, including writing film scripts and novels. Many of the movies that she wrote, she also directed. These would include some of my favorite movies of all time like “Sleepless in Seattle”, “You’ve Got Mail” and most recently, the wonderful “Julie & Julia”. And, did you know that Nora Ephron’s second marriage was to journalist Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame? She wrote an autobiographical novel based on her life with Bernstein, which deals in particular with Bernstein’s affair with the daughter of British Prime Minister James Callaghan.

17. Home of the Masters : AUGUSTA NATIONAL

The Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia was founded in 1933 by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts. Famously, Augusta hosts the Masters Tournament each year. Augusta is very much a private club, and some of its policies have drawn criticism over the years. Prior to 1959, the club had a bylaw requiring that all caddies be African American. There were no African-American club members admitted until 1990, and no women until 2012.

20. Doc who might treat sleep apnea : ENT

Ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT)

Sleep apnea (“apnoea” in British English) can be caused by an obstruction in the airways, possibly due to obesity or enlarged tonsils.

21. They’re often caught and passed around : COLDS

The common cold is caused by a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. There are over 200 strains of virus that are known to cause the disease.

27. Something unknowns are introduced in : PRE-ALGEBRA

Algebra (alg.) is a branch of mathematics in which arithmetical operations are performed on variables rather than specific numbers (x,y etc). The term “algebra” comes from the Arabic “al jebr” meaning “reunion of broken parts”.

33. Minnesota senator Klobuchar : AMY

Amy Klobuchar was elected to the US Senate in 2006, and became the first elected female senator for Minnesota when she took her seat in the following January. Former Second Lady of the US Muriel Humphrey was Minnesota’s first female senator. Ms. Humphrey was appointed to serve out the balance of her husband’s term after Hubert Humphrey died.

42. Bub : MAC

“Mac” is a casual and generic form of address to a man. The term comes from the Gaelic “mac” that is commonly used in Scottish and Irish names, and which means “son of”.

“Bub” is American slang, and a term used to address males. “Bub” is possibly a variation of “bud”.

43. One who might be second-guessed by instant replays : UMP

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.

45. Easy-to-park cars : MINIS

The original mini was a fabulous car, one that I drove all over Ireland in my youth. It had a unique front-wheel-drive layout that took up very little space, allowing for a lot of room (relatively speaking) for passengers and baggage. One space-saving trick was to mount the engine transversely, so it sits rotated 90 degrees from the norm. That engine had a capacity of only 848cc. In 1961, a Mini Cooper model was introduced, which was a sporty version. The Mini Cooper was a phenomenal hit, especially after repeated wins in the Monte Carlo Rally. The Mini marque has been owned by BMW since 1994.

52. Orioles legend Ripken : CAL

Cal Ripken played his entire, 20-year professional baseball career for the Baltimore Orioles. Ripken was known as the “Iron Man” because he showed up for work every day, come rain or shine. He played 2,632 straight games, blowing past the previous 2,130-game record held by Lou Gehrig.

56. Plant life : FLORA

The fauna is the animal life of a particular region, and the flora is that region’s plant life. The term “fauna” comes from the Roman goddess of earth and fertility who was called Fauna. Flora was the Roman goddess of plants, flowers and fertility.

63. Pink-slipped : AXED

The term “pink-slip” can be used as a verb meaning “to terminate an employee”. No one really seems to know for sure where the term originated, but there are lots of stories.

68. What bagpipes are often played in : KILTS

The Scottish skirt called a “kilt” takes its name from the Middle English word “kilten” meaning “to tuck up”. The idea is that the kilt can be tucked up around the body to give freedom to the legs.

Bagpipes have been played for centuries all across Europe, in parts of Asia and North Africa, and in the Persian Gulf. However, the most famous versions of the instrument today are the Scottish Great Highland bagpipe and the Irish uilleann pipes, my personal favorite (I’m biased). The bag in the Scottish version is inflated by blowing into it, whereas the Irish version uses a bellows under the arm.

Down

1. Alfred who coined the term “inferiority complex” : ADLER

Alfred Adler was one of the group of medical professionals that founded the psychoanalytic movement. Today, Adler is less famous than his colleague Sigmund Freud.

2. Max Build-Up Remover brand : DRANO

To clean out drains we might buy Crystal Drano, which is sodium hydroxide (lye) mixed with sodium nitrate, sodium chloride (table salt) and aluminum. The contents of Drano work in concert to clear the clog. The lye reacts with any fats creating soap which may be enough to break up the clog. Also, the finely-divided aluminum reacts with water creating tremendous heat so that that mixture boils and churns, then any hair or fibers are cut by the sharp edges of the nitrate and chloride crystals. Having said all that, I find that boiling water poured down the drain quite often does the job …

3. “Easy! Everything will be O.K.” : DON’T PANIC!

In Greek mythology, Pan was a lecherous god, one who fell in love with Echo the mountain nymph. Echo refused Pan’s advances so that he became very angry. Pan’s anger created a “panic” (a word derived from the name “Pan”) and a group of shepherds were driven to kill Echo.

4. Sound on Old MacDonald’s farm : MOO

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”.

7. Ski resort transport : GONDOLA

The word “gondola” was originally limited to the famous boats that travel along the canals of Venice. When man started to fly through the air in hot air balloons, “gondola” was used for the basket in which the passenger(s) traveled. By extension, the structure carrying passengers and crew under an airship is also called a gondola, as are the cars suspended from a cable at a ski resort.

8. Low ones are best, in brief : ERAS

Earned run average (ERA), in baseball.

18. Schlep : TOTE

Our word “schlep” means “to carry, drag”. “Schlep” comes from Yiddish, with “shlepen” having the same meaning.

24. Match maker? : EROS

As always seems to be the case with Greek gods, Eros and Aphrodite have overlapping spheres of influence. Aphrodite was the goddess of love between a man and a woman, and Eros was the god who stirred the passions of the male. The Roman equivalent of Aphrodite was Venus, and the equivalent of Eros was Cupid.

31. Publisher of American Hunter magazine, for short : NRA

The National Rifle Association (NRA) publishes several periodicals, including “American Rifleman”, “American Hunter” and “America’s 1st Freedom”.

33. Nude : AU NATUREL

“Au naturel” is a French phrase, simply meaning “in a natural state”. We use the term in the same sense, and also to mean “nude”.

34. X-ray alternative : MRI

An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine uses powerful magnetic fields to generate its images so there is no exposure to ionizing radiation (such as X-rays). We used MRI equipment in our chemistry labs at school, way back in the days when the technology was still called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging (NMRI). Apparently the marketing folks didn’t like the term “nuclear” because of its association with atomic bombs, so now it’s just called MRI.

38. Celebrity gossip site : TMZ

TMZ.com is a celebrity gossip website launched in 2005. “TMZ” stands for “thirty-mile zone”, a reference to the “studio zone” in Los Angeles. The studio zone is circular in shape with a 30-mile radius centered on the intersection of West Beverly Boulevard and North La Cienega Boulevard.

44. Hot : PICANTE

“Picante” is a Spanish word meaning “spicy hot”.

50. Amazon’s voice-controlled assistant : ALEXA

Amazon’s Alexa is a personal assistant application that is most associated with the Amazon Echo smart speaker. Apparently, one reason the name “Alexa” was chosen is because it might remind one of the Library of Alexandria, the “keeper of all knowledge”.

51. Group of 13 : COVEN

“Coven” is an old Scottish word meaning simply “gathering”. The first known application of the word to witchcraft came during the trial of a Scotswoman in 1662 accused of being a witch. At that time, “coven” came to mean a group of 13 witches.

57. Banquet : DINE

A banquet is an elaborate feast. “Banquet” is a term that seems to have reversed in meaning over time. Coming into English via French from Old Italian, “banquet” is derived from “banco” meaning “bench”. The original “banco” meal was simply a snack eaten on a bench, rather than at a table. I guess we eat more these days …

61. Toucan ___, Froot Loops mascot : SAM

Toucan Sam is the mascot of Kellogg’s Froot Loops breakfast cereal, and he can be seen on the front of every box. Froot Loops have been manufactured by Kellogg’s since 1963. The little loops come in different colors, originally red, orange and yellow, but now there are green, purple and blue loops as well. Notice I said “different colors” not “different flavors”. Each loop tastes the same, so I wonder where the color comes from …?

62. New England state sch. : URI

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.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Request to be connected on social media : ADD ME
6. A long, long time : AGES
10. Becomes obscure, in a way, with “up” : FOGS
14. Wilt : DROOP
15. Writer/filmmaker Ephron : NORA
16. Like instructions you have to hold in your mind : ORAL
17. Home of the Masters : AUGUSTA NATIONAL
20. Doc who might treat sleep apnea : ENT
21. They’re often caught and passed around : COLDS
22. Fallback strategy : PLAN B
23. Mountaineer’s need : ROPE
25. Word before little and late : TOO …
26. Stomping ground : HAUNT
27. Something unknowns are introduced in : PRE-ALGEBRA
30. Needle, say : ANNOY
32. Producer of inflation : AIR
33. Minnesota senator Klobuchar : AMY
36. Divide into 120° sections, say : TRISECT
39. It’s not working : LEISURE
42. Bub : MAC
43. One who might be second-guessed by instant replays : UMP
45. Easy-to-park cars : MINIS
46. Starters : APPETIZERS
50. Didn’t feel like moving, maybe : ACHED
52. Orioles legend Ripken : CAL
53. Shot in the dark : STAB
56. Plant life : FLORA
57. Ventured : DARED
59. “___ caution” : USE
60. Backtracking … or what 17-, 27- and 46-Across are doing? : REVERSING COURSE
63. Pink-slipped : AXED
64. Couple of chips, maybe : ANTE
65. Despicable sort : CREEP
66. Whups : TANS
67. Cross : MEET
68. What bagpipes are often played in : KILTS

Down

1. Alfred who coined the term “inferiority complex” : ADLER
2. Max Build-Up Remover brand : DRANO
3. “Easy! Everything will be O.K.” : DON’T PANIC!
4. Sound on Old MacDonald’s farm : MOO
5. Way impressive : EPIC
6. Having hands, in a way : ANALOG
7. Ski resort transport : GONDOLA
8. Low ones are best, in brief : ERAS
9. Didn’t get bought : SAT
10. Muff : FOUL UP
11. Nonmonetary donation : ORGAN
12. Haggard : GAUNT
13. More than a sliver : SLAB
18. Schlep : TOTE
19. Bicker (with) : SPAR
24. Match maker? : EROS
26. “Take one” : HERE
28. “Later!” : BYE!
29. Feel under par : AIL
30. Convenience store convenience : ATM
31. Publisher of American Hunter magazine, for short : NRA
33. Nude : AU NATUREL
34. X-ray alternative : MRI
35. “Absolutely!” : YES!
37. Like forgetful actors : CUED
38. Celebrity gossip site : TMZ
40. Frequent visitor to a principal’s office : IMP
41. Nurses : SIPS
44. Hot : PICANTE
46. Reduces to bits : SHREDS
47. Back end : REAR
48. Firing range sight : TARGET
49. Standard util. : ELEC
50. Amazon’s voice-controlled assistant : ALEXA
51. Group of 13 : COVEN
54. ___ management : ASSET
55. Traffic signals : BEEPS
56. Brotherhood, for short : FRAT
57. Banquet : DINE
58. Come to port : DOCK
61. Toucan ___, Froot Loops mascot : SAM
62. New England state sch. : URI

11 thoughts on “0222-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 22 Feb 2018, Thursday”

  1. 19:13. Pretty easy for a Thursday. After the rebus yesterday I was looking for something trickier today. Nope. Just going backwards.

    Best –

  2. 13:26 I had the ANAT in the middle of 17A so I filled in AUGUSTANATIONAL happy that I got the first themer pretty quickly. But then the downs on either end of that weren’t working so I realized something was up. I thought the theme would be that the middle of the themers could go in either direction but nope, just answers in reverse.

  3. 20:46, no errors. My downfall was the upper right corner, first guess was ATLANTA, which fits and shares 3 letters with AUGUSTA. So I was trying to fit RATTY into 12D instead of GAUNT.

  4. No errors. I was smart enough to start at the bottom and work my way up. Doing that gave me the theme of REVERSING COURSES early so I knew what to expect from the upper long answers.

    The term PRE-ALGEBRA is new to me. When I was in school the course was just simply called Algebra. But I assume that the same material is covered either way.

  5. 29:30, 5 errors, mostly centered upon failing to make the backwards entries make any kind of sense. This puzzle was an absolute steaming pile of excrement. Shortz is completely losing the plot.

  6. Initial foothold at the bottom exposed the revealer early, which made rest of the theme pretty easy. Overall, clue/ansers were good ones, making for a smooth, enjoyable solve. No errors.

  7. Will Shortz rocks! This puzzle was easy but awesome for a Thursday!
    It is amazing that Eeyore does as well as he does given the hooves and everything.

  8. Bill — my understanding of the name “Bub” is that it’s short for “Bubba,” a childish nickname for “Brother” (like Sissy for Sister), probably more common in the South.

    1. @ Sandra, that is the way I have always heard it also. In fact in my own family my younger sister when she was learning to talk attempted to pronounce “brother” for my older brother. It came out as “bubba” and the rest of the family took up the nickname as well. And, yes, “bubba” was often shortened to “bub” in a more casual conversation. Naturally, “bubba” was not used in public or in any formal way. I’m sure my brother would not have liked that.

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