0206-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 6 Feb 2018, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Bruce Haight
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: Devious

Themed answers are DEVIOUS (DV-ous?) in that they all comprise two-letter words beginning with the letters DV:

  • 45D. Tricky … or a tricky description of 18-, 29-, 36-, 48- and 59-Across : DEVIOUS
  • 18A. Lowest point for Americans? : DEATH VALLEY
  • 29A. American-made sports car with a V-10 engine : DODGE VIPER
  • 36A. Bass, e.g. : DEEP VOICE
  • 48A. Film character who says “Give yourself to the dark side” : DARTH VADER
  • 59A. Prototype, maybe : DEMO VERSION

Bill’s time: 6m 17s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4. Yeshiva leader : RABBI

In the Jewish tradition, a yeshiva is an educational institution focusing on the study of sacred texts.

16. Kind of lily : CALLA

“Calla lily” is a common name for a lily of the genus Zantedeschia. There is a lily genus called calla, but the calla lily isn’t in it. Now that, that is confusing …

17. Winter solstice mo. : DEC

A solstice occurs twice in every year. The summer solstice is the longest day of the year (has the most daylight), and the winter solstice is the shortest.

18. Lowest point for Americans? : DEATH VALLEY

Death Valley is a spectacular desert valley in California that is part of the Mojave Desert. Badwater Basin in Death Valley is lowest point in North America, sitting at 282 feet below sea level. Remarkably, Badwater Basin is located just 84 miles from Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States.

22. Like nylon stockings : SHEER

The polymer known as “nylon” was developed by Dupont in the 1930s. The first application for the new product was as bristles in toothbrushes, in 1938. The second application became more famous. The first stockings made from nylon were produced in 1940, and since then stockings have been known as “nylons”. The polymer was developed as a replacement for silk, which was to become in short supply during WWII.

23. Audi rival : BMW

The initialism “BMW” stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke, which translates into Bavarian Motor Works. BMW was making aircraft engines during WWI, but had to cease that activity according to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. The company then started making motorcycles, and moved into automobile production starting in 1928. BMW moved back into aircraft engine manufacturing during the build-up of the Luftwaffe prior to WWII.

29. American-made sports car with a V-10 engine : DODGE VIPER

The Dodge Viper is an American sports car with a V10 engine. The Viper was introduced in 1991, and finally discontinued in 2017.

32. Plains Indian : OTOE

The Otoe (also Oto) Native American tribe originated in the Great Lakes region as part of the Winnebago or Siouan tribes. The group that would become the Otoe broke away from the Winnebago and migrated southwestward, ending up in the Great Plains. In the plains the Otoe adopted a semi-nomadic lifestyle dependent on the horse, with the American bison becoming central to their diet.

33. Posted announcement at a theater entrance : SRO

Standing room only (SRO)

34. Andean capital : LIMA

Lima is the capital city of Peru. Lima was founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, who named it “la Ciudad de los Reyes” (the City of Kings). He chose this name because the decision to found the city was made on January 6th, the feast of the Epiphany that commemorates the visit of the three kings to Jesus in Bethlehem.

35. Southernmost of the Ivies : PENN

The University of Pennsylvania (Penn or UPenn) was founded in 1740 by by Benjamin Franklin. Penn was the first school in the country to offer both graduate and undergraduate courses. Penn’s sports teams are known as the Quakers, or sometimes the Red & Blue.

The term “Ivy League” originally defined an athletic conference, but now it is used to describe a group of schools of higher education that are associated with both a long tradition and academic excellence. The eight Ivy League Schools are: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale.

40. Storage tower : SILO

“Silo” is a Spanish word that we absorbed into English. The term ultimately derives from the Greek “siros”, which described a pit in which one kept corn.

43. Mount that has an insurance company named after it : ETNA

When the healthcare management and insurance company known as Aetna was founded, the name was chosen to evoke images of Mt. Etna, the Italian volcano.

48. Film character who says “Give yourself to the dark side” : DARTH VADER

The top 5 movie villains in the American Film Institute’s list “100 Years … 100 Heroes & Villains” are:

  1. Dr. Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs”
  2. Norman Bates in “Psycho”
  3. Darth Vader in “The Empire Strikes Back”
  4. The Wicked Witch of the West in “The Wizard of Oz”
  5. Nurse Ratched in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”

53. From the beginning: Lat. : DE NOVO

“De novo” is Latin for “anew”, and is a term that we use in English with the same meaning.

54. Prefix with center : EPI-

The “epicenter” is that point on the surface of the earth which is directly above the focus of an earthquake.

58. ___ room (postdebate area) : SPIN

A spin room is an area where reporters can meet with candidates and their representatives after an election debate. Set up by the campaigns, a spin room is designed to influence the reporting of the debate in favor of a particular candidate. The first spin room was set up by the Reagan campaign in 1984, when President Ronald Reagan was being challenged for a second term by Walter Mondale.

65. Dim with tears : BLEAR

To blear is to dim the vision, usually with watery eyes.

66. Closemouthed : MUM

The phrase “mum’s the word” has been around since the early 1700s. “Mum” has been used to mean “silent” for centuries, the idea being that “mum” is the sound made when the lips are tightly sealed.

67. Blog entries : POSTS

Many folks who visit this website regard it as just that, a website. That is true, but more correctly it is referred to as a blog, as I make regular posts (actually daily posts) which then occupy the “front page” of the site. The blog entries are in reverse chronological order, and one can just look back day-by-day, reading older and older posts. “Blog” is a contraction of the term “web log”.

Down

1. Some schlumpy male physiques : DAD BODS

A “dad bod” is a man’s body that is softly rounded. Well, that’s the description I like to use …

12. The Tigers of the A.C.C. : CLEMSON

Clemson University was founded in 1889. The school takes its name from the town in which it is located: Clemson, South Carolina. The athletic teams of Clemson University have been called the Tigers since 1896 when a new football coach, Walter Riggs, arrived from Auburn University. Riggs was an admirer of the Princeton Tigers, so he gave his new school the tiger mascot.

25. Prefix with commute : TELE-

Our verb “to commute”, meaning “to go back and forth to work”, ultimately derives from the Latin “commutare”, meaning “to often change”. Back in the late 1800s, a “commutation ticket” was a season pass, so named because it allowed one to “change” one kind of payment into another. Quite interesting …

26. ___ Wilcox, daughter in E. M. Forster’s “Howards End” : EVIE

“Howards End” was written by E. M. Forster. Emma Thompson won an Oscar for playing Margaret Schlegel in the excellent 1992 film adaptation.

30. Rapscallion : IMP

We might call a little imp a rapscallion, an evolution from “rascallion”, which in turn comes from “rascal”.

36. Rx detail : DOSE

There seems to some uncertainty about the origin of the symbol “Rx” that’s used for a medical prescription. One explanation is that it comes from the astrological sign for Jupiter, a symbol put on prescriptions in days of old to invoke Jupiter’s blessing to help a patient recover.

37. Mel who was the first N.L.’er to hit 500 home runs : OTT

At 5′ 9″, baseball legend Mel Ott weighed just 170 lb (I don’t think he took steroids!) and yet he was the first National League player to hit over 500 home runs. Sadly, Ott died in a car accident in New Orleans in 1958 when he was only 49 years old. And, according to Wikipedia, “Ott’s name frequently appears in crossword puzzles, on account of its letter combination and brevity.” True that …

42. SoCal daily : LA TIMES

The “Los Angeles Times” newspaper started out life in 1881 as the “Los Angeles Daily Times”. The paper has a turbulent history, especially in the early 1900s when management and unions were at loggerheads. In 1910, two union members bombed the “Los Angeles Times” building causing a fire that killed 21 newspaper employees.

46. Words and phrases that sound approximately alike, like “ice scream” and “I scream” : ORONYMS

“Oronym” is an informal term used for a a pair of phrases that sound identical, or almost identical. There is a marvelous British comedy sketch from the show “The Two Ronnies” that is built around oronyms. Know as the “Four Candles” sketch, it’s a favorite clip of mine …

49. Cute, in modern slang : ADORBS

“Adorbs!” is a colloquial term meaning “So cute, adorable!”

52. Replies to an invitation : RSVPS

RSVP stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît”, which is French for “answer, please”.

56. ___ Accords (1990s peace agreements) : OSLO

The Oslo Accords grew out of secret negotiations between the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel in a residence in Oslo in the early nineties. The delegates shared the same house while they conducted 14 meetings. While eating all their meals together at the same table, the negotiators came to respect one another and apparently friendships developed.

60. Openly gay : OUT

Back in the 1950s, to come “out of the closet” was to admit to being an alcoholic. By the seventies, the phrase mainly referred to gay people shrugging off secrecy about their orientation.

62. Org. that sticks to its guns? : NRA

National Rifle Association (NRA)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Loud commotion : DIN
4. Yeshiva leader : RABBI
9. Films on a grand scale : EPICS
14. Year, in Spain : ANO
15. If a > b and b > c, then a > c, e.g. : AXIOM
16. Kind of lily : CALLA
17. Winter solstice mo. : DEC
18. Lowest point for Americans? : DEATH VALLEY
20. Crow : BRAG
22. Like nylon stockings : SHEER
23. Audi rival : BMW
24. Like the architecture of many cathedrals : ORNATE
27. Visibly blushing : REDDISH
29. American-made sports car with a V-10 engine : DODGE VIPER
32. Plains Indian : OTOE
33. Posted announcement at a theater entrance : SRO
34. Andean capital : LIMA
35. Southernmost of the Ivies : PENN
36. Bass, e.g. : DEEP VOICE
40. Storage tower : SILO
43. Mount that has an insurance company named after it : ETNA
44. Commotion : ADO
47. Solvers’ cries : AHAS
48. Film character who says “Give yourself to the dark side” : DARTH VADER
51. Poll worker’s request : VOTER ID
53. From the beginning: Lat. : DE NOVO
54. Prefix with center : EPI-
55. Nosy sort : SNOOP
58. ___ room (postdebate area) : SPIN
59. Prototype, maybe : DEMO VERSION
63. Item in Santa’s bag : TOY
64. Exhaust : USE UP
65. Dim with tears : BLEAR
66. Closemouthed : MUM
67. Blog entries : POSTS
68. More or less, informally : SORTA
69. Letter before tee : ESS

Down

1. Some schlumpy male physiques : DAD BODS
2. Mistakenly : IN ERROR
3. “Sorry, Charlie!” : NO CAN DO!
4. Wicked cool : RAD
5. Dismiss abruptly : AXE
6. Favoritism : BIAS
7. Not just one or the other : BOTH
8. Arriver’s cry : I’M HERE!
9. Online greeting : E-CARD
10. Bud : PAL
11. “O.K., tell me more” : I’LL BITE
12. The Tigers of the A.C.C. : CLEMSON
13. Pourer’s instruction : SAY WHEN
19. Zig or zag : VEER
21. [This tastes awful!] : GAG!
25. Prefix with commute : TELE-
26. ___ Wilcox, daughter in E. M. Forster’s “Howards End” : EVIE
28. Amazing, in slang : DOPE
30. Rapscallion : IMP
31. Road worker : PAVER
36. Rx detail : DOSE
37. Mel who was the first N.L.’er to hit 500 home runs : OTT
38. How many TV shows are shown nowadays : IN HD
39. Give in : CAVE
40. Put some money away : SAVED UP
41. “Fingers crossed!” : I HOPE SO!
42. SoCal daily : LA TIMES
44. Sign on a real or virtual pet : ADOPT ME
45. Tricky … or a tricky description of 18-, 29-, 36-, 48- and 59-Across : DEVIOUS
46. Words and phrases that sound approximately alike, like “ice scream” and “I scream” : ORONYMS
48. Eat stylishly : DINE
49. Cute, in modern slang : ADORBS
50. Reply to a ques. : ANS
52. Replies to an invitation : RSVPS
56. ___ Accords (1990s peace agreements) : OSLO
57. Common fishing spot : PIER
60. Openly gay : OUT
61. ___ bran : OAT
62. Org. that sticks to its guns? : NRA