0301-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 1 Mar 2018, Thursday

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Constructed by: Timothy Polin
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Reveal Answer: W or D Square

Today’s grid includes three SQUARES that we must read in three different ways. For across-answers, those squares read WORD. For down-answers, those squares read both W and D. This gives us a pair of down-answers, each of which fit the clue. Note that I’ve left the letter W in place in my grid:

  • 61A. Classic letter puzzle — or, when parsed differently, a hint to three Down answers in this puzzle : WORD SQUARE (also “W OR D SQUARE”)
  • 18A. “Bring it on!” or “Let’s rumble!” : FIGHTING WORDS
  • 27A. Writing/editing aid : WORD PROCESSOR
  • 47A. Recommend, as an applicant : PUT IN A WORD FOR
  • 12D. Things at the ends of dogs’ legs : PAWS or PADS
  • 27D. How some jokes are delivered : WRYLY or DRYLY
  • 49D. Entertaining, in a way : WINING or DINING

Bill’s time: 12m 16s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Sorority letter : ZETA

Zeta is the sixth letter of the Greek alphabet, and is a precursor of our Roman letter Z. The word “zeta” is also the ancestor of the letter name “zed”, which became “zee”, the term that we use here in the US.

10. Leader in white : POPE

The Pope is the Bishop of Rome and the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. The term “pope” comes from the Latin “papa”, and ultimately from the Greek “pappas”, with both terms being a child’s word for “father”.

14. Mao Zedong or Mahatma Gandhi : ICON

Mao Zedong (also “Mao Tse-tung”) was born on December 16, 1893 in the Hunan Province of China. As Mao was the son of a peasant farmer, his prospects for education were limited. Indeed he left school at age 13 to work on the family farm but did eventually get to secondary school in Changsha, the provincial capital. In the years following, Mao continued his education in Beijing and actually turned down an opportunity to study in France.

15. Castle with famous steps : IRENE

Vernon and Irene Castle were a husband-wife team of ballroom dancers who regularly performed on Broadway at the start of the 20th century. The Castles have been credited with creating or at least popularizing the dance called the “foxtrot”.

16. ___ Karakum (Asian desert) : ARAL

The Karakum Desert is located in Turkmenistan in Central Asia, covering about 70% of the country. It is bordered to the north by the infamous Aral Sea, the southern part of which continues to dry out. As such, the Karakum is expanding in size.

17. Conservative : TORY

“Tory” comes from the Irish word “tóraí” meaning “outlaw, robber”. The term “tory” was originally used for an Irish outlaw and later became a term of abuse for Irish rebels. At the end of the reign of King Charles II in Britain, there was a political divide with one side being called “Whigs” and the other “Tories”. Historically, the term “Tory” evolved to basically mean a supporter of the British monarchy, and today is used for a member of the British Conservative Party.

21. Fictional home in Georgia : TARA

In Margaret Mitchell’s novel “Gone with the Wind”, Scarlett O’Hara’s home is the Tara plantation. Tara was founded not far from the Georgia city of Jonesboro by Scarlett’s father, Irish immigrant Gerald O’Hara. Gerald won the square mile of land on which Tara was built in an all-night poker game. He named his new abode after the Hill of Tara back in his home country, the ancient seat of the High King of Ireland. Rhett’s rival for the affections of Scarlet is Ashley Wilkes who lives at the nearby Twelve Oaks plantation.

22. Spinny billiards shot : MASSE

In billiards, a massé shot is one in which the cue ball makes an extreme curve due to the player imparting heavy spin on the ball with his or her cue held relatively vertically.

30. Band with the aptly titled album “Powerage” : AC/DC

The Heavy Metal band known as AC/DC was formed by two brothers Malcolm and Angus Young in Australia. The group is usually called “Acca Dacca” down under.

34. Girl’s name that’s a body part in reverse : RAE

“Rae” in reverse is “ear”.

35. Argentine author Jorge ___ Borges : LUIS

Jorge Luis Borges was an Argentine writer and poet from Buenos Aires. By the time Borges was in his early thirties, he was published many times. However, he had not achieved sufficient success to support himself as a writer, and so started a career as a public lecturer. Around this time, Borges garnered more attention through his speaking, but also started to lose his sight. He was to become completely blind in his late fifties. It has been suggested that this progressive blindness gave him a particularly unique writing style, one that was to bring him a lot of celebrity and respect. One of Borges’ more famous quotations is, “I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library”.

38. Haute couture inits. : YSL

Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) was a French fashion designer, actually born in Algeria. Saint Laurent started off working as an assistant to Christian Dior at the age of 17. Dior died just four years later, and as a very young man Saint-Laurent was named head of the House of Dior. However, in 1950 Saint Laurent was conscripted into the French Army and ended up in a military hospital after suffering a mental breakdown from the hazing inflicted on him by his fellow soldiers. His treatment included electroshock therapy and administration of sedatives and psychoactive drugs. He was released from hospital, managed to pull his life back together and started his own fashion house. A remarkable story …

“Haute couture”, literally “high dressmaking” in French, is a name given to the creation of exclusive fashions. A couturier is someone who creates or sells such fashions.

40. School yardstick, for short : GPA

Grade point average (GPA)

41. No mas! : PAS!

“No mas!” translates from Spanish as “no more!”.

44. Pupil surrounder : IRIS

The iris is the colored part of the eye. It has an aperture in the center that can open or close depending on the level of light hitting the eye.

53. Where many people make connections : O’HARE

O’Hare International is the fourth busiest airport in the world. The original airport was constructed on the site between 1942 and 1943, and was used by the Douglas Aircraft Company for the manufacture of planes during WWII. Before the factory and airport were built, there was a community in the area called Orchard Place, so the airport was called Orchard Place Airport/Douglas Field. This name is the derivation of the airport’s current location identifier: ORD (OR-chard D-ouglas). Orchard Place Airport was renamed to O’Hare International in 1949 in honor of Lieutenant Commander Butch O’Hare who grew up in Chicago. O’Hare was the US Navy’s first flying ace and a Medal of Honor recipient in WWII.

65. Playwright Chekhov : ANTON

Anton Chekhov was a Russian writer of short stories and a playwright, as well as a physician. He wrote four classic plays that are often performed all around the world, namely “The Seagull”, “Uncle Vanya”, “Three Sisters” and “The Cherry Orchard”. All the time Chekhov was writing, he continued to practice medicine. He is quoted as saying “Medicine is my lawful wife, and literature is my mistress.”

66. Gritty genre : NOIR

The expression “film noir” has French origins, but only in that it was coined by a French critic in describing a style of Hollywood film. The term, meaning “black film” in French, was first used by Nino Frank in 1946. Film noir often applies to a movie with a melodramatic plot and a private eye or detective at its center. Good examples would be “The Big Sleep” and “D.O.A”.

67. Kind of terrier : SKYE

The Skye terrier is a breed of dog that is actually under threat of extinction. A few years ago, there were only 30 Skye terriers born in the breed’s native land of the UK. The breed was named for the Isle of Skye in Scotland.

Down

1. Baked pasta dish : ZITI

Cylindrical pasta is known in general as “penne”, and there are many variants. For example, ziti is a particularly large and long tube with square-cut ends. “Penne” is the plural of “penna”, the Italian for “feather, quill”.

3. Pre-Olympic event : TORCH RELAY

A flame is used as the symbol for the Olympic Games in commemoration of the theft of fire for humanity by Prometheus from Zeus in Greek mythology. The symbolic flame was introduced to the Modern Olympics in the 1928 Summer Games in Amsterdam. The tradition of the Olympic torch relay started out as political theater devised and funded by Nazi Germany for the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin.

6. Period when mammals first appeared : TRIASSIC

The Triassic period lasted from about 250 to 200 million years ago. It was during the Triassic that dinosaurs first appeared. A major extinction event at the end of the Triassic that allowed dinosaurs to dominate the landscape throughout the subsequent Jurassic period.

8. Treat as a saint : 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.

9. Monsoonlike : WET

The term “monsoon” was first used in India in the days of the British Raj, when it was used to describe the seasonal winds that brought rain from the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea from June to September. “Monsoon” is derived from the Portuguese “monção”, which in turn comes from the Arabic “mawsim” meaning “season”.

10. Wide-brimmed hats : PANAMAS

Panama hats are traditional headgear from Ecuador, and have never been made in Panama. The “panama” moniker came about as many of the hats were shipped to the Isthmus of Panama for transportation by sea to the rest of the world. Authentic panama hats are made from the leaves of a palm-like plant known locally as the jipijapa palm.

19. Texter’s qualifier : IMO

In my opinion (IMO)

24. Show of brilliance : ECLAT

“Éclat” can mean a brilliant show of success, or the applause or accolade that one receives. The word derives from the French “éclater” meaning “to splinter, burst out”.

28. Evening stroll : PASEO

A paseo is a slow stroll or walk taken outdoors. The term comes from the Spanish “pasear” meaning “to take a stroll”.

29. Blue area on a Risk board : EUROPE

Risk is a fabulous board game, and one introduced in France in 1957. Risk was invented by a very successful French director of short films called Albert Lamorisse. Lamorisse called his new game “La Conquête du Monde”, which translates into English as “The Conquest of the World”. A game of Risk is a must during the holidays in our house …

31. Place for a marshmallow : CUP OF COCOA

The beverages hot cocoa and hot chocolate differ from each other in that the latter contains cocoa butter, whereas the former does not.

32. Product with a pipe on its packaging : 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 …

33. Annual cinéma award : CESAR

The César Award is the national film award of France. The first César was awarded in 1975, named after the French sculptor César Baldaccini. The awards themselves are reproductions of an actual Baldaccini sculpture.

40. Where a bowl is set : GRIDIRON

We never used the word “gridiron” when I was growing up in Ireland (meaning a grill used for cooking food over an open fire). So, maybe I am excused for taking two decades as a US resident to work out that a football field gridiron is so called because the layout of yard lines over the field looks like a gridiron used in cooking!

44. Repeat for emphasis : ITERATE

The verb “to iterate” means to repeat over again. The verb “reiterate” means the same thing. One might suspect that “reiterate” is one of those words that has crept into the language due to repeated (reiterated?!) misuse. Well, that’s not quite the case, but close. Back in the 1400s, “iterate” meant “repeat”, and “reiterate” meant “repeat again and again”. We’ve lost the distinction between those two definitions over time.

55. Bohemian : ARTY

The region known as Bohemia covers most of the Czech Republic. Centuries ago, it was wrongly believed that gypsies came from Bohemia, giving rise to the term “Bohemian” meaning a “gypsy of society”.

60. Literary heroine who says “Even for me life had its gleams of sunshine” : EYRE

“Jane Eyre” is a celebrated novel written by Charlotte Brontë, under the pen name Currer Bell. Over the years, I’ve shared here on my blogs that the “Jane Eyre” story line is a little too dark and Gothic for my taste, but a very persuasive blog reader convinced me to look more at the romantic side of the story and give it a second chance. I watched a wonderful 4-hour television adaptation of the novel made by the BBC a while back and I have to say that because I was focused on the relationship between Jane and Rochester, I was able to push past the Gothic influences (that depress me) so I really enjoyed the story. I thoroughly recommend the 2006 BBC adaptation to fans of the novel.

62. Chewed stimulant in the Mideast : QAT

Khat (also “qat”) is a flowering plant, the leaves of which are chewed by some in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula in particular. The leaves contain an alkaloid called cathinone which stimulates the body like an amphetamine.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Sorority letter : ZETA
5. Spread around : STREW
10. Leader in white : POPE
14. Mao Zedong or Mahatma Gandhi : ICON
15. Castle with famous steps : IRENE
16. ___ Karakum (Asian desert) : ARAL
17. Conservative : TORY
18. “Bring it on!” or “Let’s rumble!” : FIGHTING WORDS
20. Narrow margin : INCH
21. Fictional home in Georgia : TARA
22. Spinny billiards shot : MASSE
23. Potato harvesting aid : HOE
25. Hardly : SELDOM
27. Writing/editing aid : WORD PROCESSOR
30. Band with the aptly titled album “Powerage” : AC/DC
34. Girl’s name that’s a body part in reverse : RAE
35. Argentine author Jorge ___ Borges : LUIS
36. “Yeah, right” : OH SURE
38. Haute couture inits. : YSL
39. Shape on a suspension bridge : ARC
40. School yardstick, for short : GPA
41. No mas! : PAS!
42. Bring about : LEAD TO
44. Pupil surrounder : IRIS
45. ___ budget : ON A
46. Dum-dum : YO-YO
47. Recommend, as an applicant : PUT IN A WORD FOR
50. Was on first : OPENED
52. One might be nervous : TIC
53. Where many people make connections : O’HARE
56. Take a header : TRIP
58. Honker : NOSE
61. Classic letter puzzle — or, when parsed differently, a hint to three Down answers in this puzzle : WORD SQUARE (also “W OR D SQUARE”)
63. Like goo : ICKY
64. “Don’t look at me!” : NOT I!
65. Playwright Chekhov : ANTON
66. Gritty genre : NOIR
67. Kind of terrier : SKYE
68. Awkward period, often : TEENS
69. Up (for) or down (for) : GAME

Down

1. Baked pasta dish : ZITI
2. Taxing subject, briefly? : ECON
3. Pre-Olympic event : TORCH RELAY
4. “Moving right along …” : ANYHOO …
5. Strain : SIFT
6. Period when mammals first appeared : TRIASSIC
7. Backslide : REGRESS
8. Treat as a saint : ENHALO
9. Monsoonlike : WET
10. Wide-brimmed hats : PANAMAS
11. Assns. : ORGS
12. Things at the ends of dogs’ legs : PAWS or PADS
13. Otherwise : ELSE
19. Texter’s qualifier : IMO
24. Show of brilliance : ECLAT
26. Pay a visit : DROP IN
27. How some jokes are delivered : WRYLY or DRYLY
28. Evening stroll : PASEO
29. Blue area on a Risk board : EUROPE
31. Place for a marshmallow : CUP OF COCOA
32. Product with a pipe on its packaging : DRANO
33. Annual cinéma award : CESAR
37. Attacks : HAS AT
40. Where a bowl is set : GRIDIRON
43. Last-ditch : DO OR DIE
44. Repeat for emphasis : ITERATE
48. Disharmonize : UNTUNE
49. Entertaining, in a way : WINING or DINING
51. Foot: Lat. : PES
53. Has control over : OWNS
54. Tee shot goof : HOOK
55. Bohemian : ARTY
57. Writes : PENS
59. Take the top off : SKIM
60. Literary heroine who says “Even for me life had its gleams of sunshine” : EYRE
62. Chewed stimulant in the Mideast : QAT