0315-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 15 Mar 2018, Thursday

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Constructed by: Joe DiPietro
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Reveal Answer: The Ides

Themed answers each start with “I’D”:

  • 38A. Date that provides a phonetic hint to four other answers in this puzzle : THE IDES
  • 3D. “Sounds like a deal” : I’D TAKE THAT
  • 15D. “Count me out” : I’D RATHER NOT
  • 20D. “Yes, how nice of you to offer” : I’D BE HONORED
  • 30D. “It’s getting late” : I’D BETTER GO

Bill’s time: 9m 53s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Tail-shedding lizard : SKINK

Skinks are lizards with relatively small legs and without a pronounced neck. Most skink species have long tails that they can shed if it is grabbed by a predator. The tail can then be regenerated.

6. General name on a dish : TSO

General Tso’s chicken is an American creation, and a dish often found on the menu of a Chinese restaurant. The name General Tso may be a reference to General Zuo Zongtang of the Qing Dynasty, but there is no clear link.

9. Yahoo : RUBE

A rube is person lacking sophistication, someone often described as a country bumpkin. The term derives from the masculine name “Reuben”, which was considered back in the early 1800s to be a typical name used in rural areas.

Yahoos were brutish creatures introduced by Irish author Jonathan Swift in “Gulliver’s Travels”. Their savage, slovenly ways gave rise of the use of “yahoo” in English to describe a lout or neanderthal.

14. Food item rich in antioxidants : ACAI BERRY

Açaí (pronounced “ass-aye-ee”) 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.

19. Bibliographic catchall : ET ALII

Et alii (et al.) is the equivalent of et cetera (etc.), with et cetera being used in place of a list of objects, and et alii used for a list of names. In fact “et al.” can stand for et alii (for a group of males, or males and females), aliae (for a group of women) and et alia (for a group of neuter nouns, or for a group of people where the intent is to retain gender-neutrality).

25. Time’s time span : WEEK

“TIME” was the first weekly news magazine in the US. It was founded in 1923 by Briton Hadden and Henry Luce. Hadden and Luce had previously worked together as chairman and managing editor of the “Yale Daily News”.

38. Date that provides a phonetic hint to four other answers in this puzzle : THE IDES

There were three important days in each month of the old Roman calendar. These days originally depended on the cycles of the moon but were eventually “fixed” by law. “Kalendae” were the first days of each month, originally the days of the new moon. “Nonae” were originally the days of the half moon. And “idus” (the ides) was originally the day of the full moon, eventually fixed at the 15th day of a month. Well, actually the ides were the 15th day of March, May, July and October. For all other months, the ides fell on the 13th. Go figure …

41. Dos y dos : CUATRO

In Spanish, “dos y dos” (two plus two) is “cuatro” (four).

45. Green of Austin Powers movies : SETH

Seth Green is an actor and comedian best-known by many as creator and voice actor on the animated television series “Robot Chicken”. I know him best for playing “Napster” in the 2005 film “The Italian Job”.

The character Austin Powers was created by the actor who plays him, namely Mike Myers. Apparently Myers came up with the idea for Powers while listening to the Burt Bacharach song “The Look of Love”.

48. Online market for crafts : ETSY

Etsy.com is an e-commerce website where you can buy and sell the kind of items that you might find at a craft fair.

57. Mother of Calcutta : TERESA

Mother Teresa was born in 1910 in the city that is now called Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. At birth she was given the names Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu (“Gonxha” means “little flower” in Albanian). She left home at the age of 18 and joined the Sisters of Loreto, and headed to Loreto Abbey in Rathfarnham in Dublin, Ireland in order to learn English. Her goal was to teach in India, and English was the language used there for instruction by the nuns. After Mother Teresa passed away in 1997 she was beatified by Pope John Paul II, a step on the road to canonization. In order for her to be beatified there had to be documented evidence of a miracle that was performed due to her intercession. The miracle in question was the healing of a tumor in the abdomen of a woman due to the application of a locket containing a picture of Mother Teresa. Documentation of a second miracle is required for her to be declared a saint. The canonization process seems to well underway, with Pope Francis recognizing a second miracle in December 2015.

60. “A New Leaf” actress/director, 1971 : ELAINE MAY

Elaine May film director, screenwriter and comedian who is best known for the comedy double act she had in the late fifties with Mike Nichols. Nichols and May routines were hilarious sketches or skits, sometimes with substantial amounts of improvisation. The comedy team split up after only four years in 1961, when they were at the pinnacle of their fame. May went into film directing, with mixed success. May wrote and directed “Ishtar” in 1987 starring Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman. “Ishtar” is often cited as the epitome of a box office failure. May never directed another film, but continued writing. She wrote the script adaptation for the wonderful 1996 film “The Birdcage”.

64. Arithmetic series symbol : SIGMA

Sigma is the eighteenth letter of the Greek alphabet, and is the one used for an “ess” sound, equivalent to our letter S. Sigma is used in mathematics to represent a summation, the adding together of a sequence of numbers.

67. Pseudo-convertibles : T-TOPS

A T-top is a car roof that has removable panels on either side of a rigid bar that runs down the center of the vehicle above the driver.

Down

1. Condo V.I.P. : SUPE

The terms “condominium” and “apartment” tend to describe the same type of residential property, namely a private living space with facilities shared with others residing in the same building or complex. The difference is that a condominium is usually owned, and an apartment is rented. At least that’s how it is in the US. The word “condominium” comes from the Latin “com-” (together) and “dominum” (right of ownership).

6. Pic on a pec, perhaps : TAT

The word “tattoo” (often shortened to “tat”) was first used in English in the writings of the famous English explorer Captain Cook. In his descriptions of the indelible marks adorning the skin of Polynesian natives, Cook anglicized the Tahitian word “tatau” into our “tattoo”. Tattoos are also sometimes referred to as “ink”.

“Pecs” is the familiar name for the chest muscle, which is more correctly known as the pectoralis major muscle. “Pectus” is a the Latin word for “breast, chest”.

7. Union concern : SCAB

We first started calling strikebreakers “scabs” in the early 1800s, and before that a scab was a person who refused to join a trade union (back as early 1777). The word probably comes from the use of “scab” as a symptom of a skin disease, and so is a term that is meant to insult.

8. State that borders Veracruz : OAXACA

Oaxaca (officially “Oaxaca de Juárez”) is the capital city of the Mexican state of Oaxaca, located in the south of the country.

Veracruz is one of Mexico’s 31 states, and is located in the east of the country east coast. The state takes its name from the city of Veracruz, which is a major port city in the state. Veracruz is not the state capital, however, That honor goes to the city of Xalapa.

9. Soccer penalty indicator : RED CARD

A series of colored penalty cards is used by referees and umpires in several sports, most notably in soccer. The cards were first used in the 1970 FIFA World Cup in Mexico, after language difficulties created confusion during the prior competition in 1966. The main cards used are a yellow card indicating a caution, and a red card indicating expulsion from the game.

11. Air-cooled machine gun : BREN

The Bren gun is a light machine gun that was used mainly by the British armed forces from the 1930s until the 1990s. The Bren is a modified version of gun designed in the city of Brno in Czechoslovakia. The name “Bren” comes from “Brno” and “Enfield”, where the gun was modified and produced.

12. Literary governess : 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.

23. “Smooth Operator” singer, 1985 : SADE

The singer Sade’s real name is Helen Folasade Adu. Although she was born in Nigeria, Sade grew up and lives in the UK. She was the lead vocalist for the English group Sade, and adopted the name of the band. The band’s biggest hits were “Smooth Operator” (1984) and “The Sweetest Taboo” (1985).

25. W.W. II females : WAACS

The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was formed in 1942, and the unit was converted to full status the following year to become the Women’s Army Corps (WAC). Famously, General Douglas MacArthur referred to the WACs as his “best soldiers”, saying they worked harder, complained less and were better disciplined than men. The WACs were disbanded in 1978 and the serving members were integrated into the rest of the army.

28. Voltaire, religiously : DEIST

Deism (from the Latin “deus” meaning god) is the belief that a supreme being created the universe, a belief based on observation and reason and without the need for faith. Further, a deist does not accept divine intervention and rather believes that the supreme being, having created the universe, leaves the world to it own devices.

“Voltaire” was the pen name of French writer and philosopher François-Marie Arouet. He chose the name “Voltaire” as it is an anagram of “Arovet Li”, the Latinized spelling of his family name “Arouet”.

42. Sponge alternative : THE PILL

“The Pill” is more correctly called “the combined oral contraceptive pill”. The formulation is a combination of an estrogen called estradiol and a progestogen called progestin.

47. Weakness : ANEMIA

The term “anemia” (or “anaemia” as we write it back in Ireland) comes from a Greek word meaning “lack of blood”. Anemia is a lack of iron in the blood, or a low red blood cell count. Tiredness is a symptom of the condition, and so we use the term “anemic” figuratively to mean “lacking in vitality or substance”.

52. The Last Supper, e.g. : FEAST

At the Last Supper, Jesus told his apostles that one of them would betray him that day. According to the Gospel of Matthew:

And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?

53. Wheat ___ : GERM

The germ of a cereal (like wheat and oat) is the reproductive part that germinates and grows into a new plant. A whole grain has three main parts:

  • the germ, the source of the new plant
  • the endosperm, the energy store of carbohydrate and protein for initial growth
  • the bran, protective outer shell

54. Diamond family name : ALOU

Jesus Alou played Major League Baseball, as did his brothers Matty and Felipe, and as does Felipe’s son Moises.

58. Dimwit : SIMP

“Simp” is slang for a simple or foolish person. Not nice …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Tail-shedding lizard : SKINK
6. General name on a dish : TSO
9. Yahoo : RUBE
13. Not warranted : UNDUE
14. Food item rich in antioxidants : ACAI BERRY
17. ___ mouth : POTTY
18. One with a no-returns policy? : TAX DODGER
19. Bibliographic catchall : ET ALII
21. Big nightlife environment : BAR SCENE
22. Sorts : KINDS
24. Un domicilio : CASA
25. Time’s time span : WEEK
27. Having trouble with : BAD AT
29. Abounding : RIFE
33. Come before : ANTECEDE
35. Where plays are discussed : HUDDLE
37. With 40-Across, place for cinders : ASH …
38. Date that provides a phonetic hint to four other answers in this puzzle : THE IDES
40. See 37-Across : … BIN
41. Dos y dos : CUATRO
43. Locks : SURE BETS
45. Green of Austin Powers movies : SETH
46. Hebrew name meaning “he has given” : NATAN
48. Online market for crafts : ETSY
49. Black : EBON
51. Yogurt choice, informally : LO-FAT
53. “Where all the cabaret shows are,” in song : GAY PAREE
57. Mother of Calcutta : TERESA
60. “A New Leaf” actress/director, 1971 : ELAINE MAY
62. When the N.B.A. regular season ends : APRIL
63. Begins one’s board game turn, perhaps : ROLLS DICE
64. Arithmetic series symbol : SIGMA
65. Ruminate : MULL
66. ___ moment : AHA
67. Pseudo-convertibles : T-TOPS

Down

1. Condo V.I.P. : SUPE
2. Gut feeling? : KNOT
3. “Sounds like a deal” : I’D TAKE THAT
4. Hard and crunchy, maybe : NUTLIKE
5. Enter, as a password : KEY IN
6. Pic on a pec, perhaps : TAT
7. Union concern : SCAB
8. State that borders Veracruz : OAXACA
9. Soccer penalty indicator : RED CARD
10. Advocate : URGE
11. Air-cooled machine gun : BREN
12. Literary governess : EYRE
15. “Count me out” : I’D RATHER NOT
16. Director : BOSS
20. “Yes, how nice of you to offer” : I’D BE HONORED
23. “Smooth Operator” singer, 1985 : SADE
25. W.W. II females : WAACS
26. Come after : ENSUE
28. Voltaire, religiously : DEIST
30. “It’s getting late” : I’D BETTER GO
31. Moves like a butterfly : FLITS
32. Itty : EENSY
34. Hub: Abbr. : CTR
36. See 39-Down : -USE
39. With 36-Down, suitable for two applications : DUAL …
42. Sponge alternative : THE PILL
44. Frenzied trading floor, metaphorically : BEAR PIT
47. Weakness : ANEMIA
50. Outlaws : BANS
52. The Last Supper, e.g. : FEAST
53. Wheat ___ : GERM
54. Diamond family name : ALOU
55. Group addressed in the South : Y’ALL
56. A head : EACH
58. Dimwit : SIMP
59. “Regrettably …” : ALAS …
61. Support for a motion : YEA

9 thoughts on “0315-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 15 Mar 2018, Thursday”

  1. 17:39 Had some trouble getting into this one. Got the bottom half first. With the revealer I thought there was a rebus somewhere so I was surprised it was so straightforward.

  2. 20:48. Not my best time, but my streak survived. It was interestingly fitting that the answer fill that brought on the music was AHA moment!

  3. 13:24, 5 errors. WAA(Q)S/(Q)UATRO (foreign language pet peeve bites again); 65A MU(S)(E)/YAL(S)/THE PIL(E) (oh, THAT kind of sponge).

  4. No errors and very few erasures. I got the revealer fairly early and it subsequently helped with the rest of the puzzle. I am cautiously optimistic that my skill-level is increasing to the point where I can tackle Thursday puzzles with some hope of success. The more you work crosswords, the better you get. No doubt about it.

  5. Exactly, @Dale, that’s been my experience, too. I felt this one was mostly, but not all, on the easy side for a Thursday.

  6. 15:51, no errors. This one was a BEAST! Full of obscure fills, arcana and a theme that actually helps solve the puzzle. I somehow “saw” THE IDES fairly early, but it took some time to develop how to use the hint. This one was certainly tricky enough to pass for Thursday… but was a bit more creative in how it utilized difficulty. Hats off to this setter.

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