0320-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 20 Mar 2018, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Andrew Zhou
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Reveal Answer: Season Openers

Themed answers sound like they start with one of the four seasons:

  • 53A. Much-anticipated sporting events … or, when spoken, what 20-, 28-, 35- and 43-Across have? : SEASON OPENERS
  • 20A. Part of a fire safety system : SPRINKLER HEAD (giving “spring”)
  • 28A. Flipped : SOMERSAULTED (giving “summer”)
  • 35A. Constantinople was its capital : OTTOMAN EMPIRE (giving “autumn”)
  • 43A. Instruments of renewable energy : WIND TURBINES (giving “winter”)

Bill’s time: 7m 06s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

14. Leveled : RAZED

To raze (“rase”, in UK English) is to level to the ground. I’ve always thought it a little quirky that “to raise”, a homophone of “to raze”, means “to build up”.

15. Queens stadium that was 14-Across in 2008-09 : SHEA
(14A. Leveled : RAZED)

Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows, New York was named after William A. Shea, the man credited with bringing National League baseball back to the city in the form of the New York Mets. Shea Stadium was dismantled in 2008-2009, and the site now provides additional parking for the new stadium nearby called Citi Field.

17. Prized taste in ramen : UMAMI

Umami is one of the five basic tastes, along with sweet, sour, bitter and salty. “Umami” is a Japanese word used to describe “a pleasant savory taste”. Umami was proposed as a basic taste in 1908, but it wasn’t until 1985 that the scientific community finally accepted it as such.

Ramen is a noodle dish composed of Chinese-style wheat noodles in a meat or fish broth flavored with soy or miso sauce. Ramen is usually topped with sliced pork and dried seaweed. The term “ramen” is a also used for precooked, instant noodles that come in single-serving, solid blocks.

25. Dance place that might have a revolving ball overhead : DISCO

Discotheques first appeared during WWII in Occupied France. American-style music (like jazz and jitterbug dances) was banned by the Nazis, so French natives met in underground clubs that they called discotheques where records were often played on just a single turntable. After the war, these clubs came out into the open. One famous Paris discotheque was called “Whiskey a Gogo”. In that Paris disco, non-stop music was played using two turntables next to a dance-floor, and this concept spread around the world.

31. Peter the Great, for one : TSAR

Peter the Great (aka “Peter I”) was perhaps the most successful of the Romanov tsars, and was famous for modernizing Russia and expanding the country’s sphere of influence, creating the Russian Empire. He ruled from 1682 until his death in 1725.

33. Addams Family cousin : ITT

In the television sitcom “The Addams Family”, the family had a frequent visitor called Cousin Itt. Itt is a short man with long hair that runs from his head to the floor. Cousin Itt was played by Italian actor Felix Silla.

They’re creepy and they’re kooky,
Mysterious and spooky,
They’re altogether ooky,
The Addams Family.

35. Constantinople was its capital : OTTOMAN EMPIRE (giving “autumn”)

Osman I was the man who established the Ottoman Dynasty, with “Ottoman” coming from the name “Osman”. This is despite the fact that the “Ottoman Empire” came about with the conquest of Constantinople, and that didn’t happen until almost 130 years after Osman I died.

40. Tulsa sch. : ORU

Oral Roberts University (ORU) is a private school in Tulsa, Oklahoma. ORU was founded relatively recently, in 1963 by the late televangelist Oral Roberts. The campus includes a Prayer Tower at its center, a spectacular glass and steel structure designed by architect Frank Wallace. The tower includes an observation deck, and is a popular tourist attraction. The school’s sports teams are known as the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles.

43. Instruments of renewable energy : WIND TURBINES (giving “winter”)

A turbine is a machine uses the flow of a fluid (sometimes air) to create rotational work. Simple examples of turbines are windmills and waterwheels.

48. Some Miller beers : LITES

The first light beer was produced by Chicago’s Meister Brau brewery in the sixties. Miller took over Meister Brau, reformulated the light beer using the same process and became the first of the big breweries to come out with a light beer, “Lite Beer from Miller” introduced in 1973. There really wasn’t a serious competitor to Miller Lite until Anheuser-Busch finally came up with a process and a product in 1982 that they called Bud Light.

49. Egyptian sacred bird : IBIS

The ibis is a wading bird that was revered in ancient Egypt. “Ibis” is an interesting word grammatically speaking. You can have one “ibis” or two “ibises”, and then again one has a flock of “ibis”. And if you want to go with the classical plural, instead of two “ibises” you would have two “ibides”!

50. 1, along the East Coast: Abbr. : RTE

US Route 1 runs from Fort Kent in Maine right down to Key West in Florida.

57. Chicago mayor Emanuel : RAHM

Rahm Emanuel was an Illinois representative in the US House before resigning in 2009 to take up President Obama’s offer to become the White House Chief of Staff. Emanuel moved on from the White House the following year in order to run as a candidate in Chicago’s mayoral election in 2011. He won the 2011 race, and was re-elected in 2015.

60. Pitch-perfect? : NO-HIT

That would be baseball.

Down

2. Places for genies : LAMPS

The “genie” in the bottle takes his or her name from “djinn”. “Djinns” were various spirits considered lesser than angels, with people exhibiting unsavory characteristics said to be possessed by djinn. When the book “The Thousand and One Nights” was translated into French, the word “djinn” was transformed into the existing word “génie”, because of the similarity in sound and the related spiritual meaning. This “génie” from the Arabian tale became confused with the Latin-derived “genius”, a guardian spirit thought to be assigned to each person at birth. Purely as a result of that mistranslation the word genie has come to mean the “djinn” that pops out of the bottle. A little hard to follow, I know, but still quite interesting …

3. Southern Missouri’s ___ Mountains : OZARK

The Ozark Mountains aren’t really mountains geographically speaking, and the Ozarks are better described by the alternate name, the Ozark Plateau. It’s not really certain how the Ozarks got their name, but my favorite theory is that “Ozarks” is the phonetic spelling of “aux Arks”, short for “of Arkansas” in French.

6. Tristan’s love, in legend : ISOLDE

According to Arthurian legend, Iseult (also “Isolde”) was the adulterous lover of Sir Tristan, one of the Knights of the Round Table. Iseult was an Irish Princess who fell in love with Tristan who had been sent to win Iseult’s hand in marriage for King Mark of Cornwall. The tale was used as the basis for Richard Wagner’s celebrated opera “Tristan und Isolde”.

12. Reed with a guitar : LOU

Lou Reed was best known as a rock musician and songwriter, and was especially associated with the fabulous 1973 hit “Walk on the Wildside”. Reed is less well known as a photographer, but he published two collections of his work. The first was released in 2003 under the title “Emotions in Action”, and the second in 2006 called “Lou Reed’s New York”. Reed passed away in 2013.

26. Largest object in the asteroid belt : CERES

Ceres is the smallest dwarf planet in our solar system. Ceres was discovered in 1801 and is the largest body in the asteroid belt, and is the only asteroid that is classified as a dwarf planet. For fifty years, Ceres was classified as the eighth planet circling our sun. The Dawn space probe launched by NASA entered Ceres orbit in March 2015, becoming the first mission to study a dwarf planet at close range.

The vast majority of asteroids in the Solar System are found in the main asteroid belt, which is located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Four large asteroids (Ceres, Vesta, Pallas and Hygeia) make up about half the mass of the asteroid belt and are 400-950 km in diameter. The total mass of the belt is just 4% of the mass of our Moon. The larger asteroids are also known as “planetoids”.

27. Work of Horace : ODE

One of Ancient Rome’s leading lyric poets was Quintus Horatius Flaccus, or “Horace” as we tend to know him. Horace’s most famous work is probably his collection of Latin lyric poems titled “Carmina” (the Latin for “Odes).

29. ___-Foy, Que. : STE

Sainte-Foy used to be a city in its own right, but as of 2002 it is a neighborhood in Quebec City. Sainte-Foy is an important part of the larger city, partly because it is home to the area’s main airport, Jean Lesage International.

31. Traditional Japanese gate : TORII

A torii is a very traditional Japanese gate, one often seen at the entrance to a Shinto shrine.

36. Spartans of the Big Ten Conf. : MSU

Michigan State University’s sports teams used be called the Aggies, as the school was founded as the State Agricultural College of Michigan. The team name was changed to the Spartans in 1925, reflecting the school’s shift in focus beyond agriculture-centered education. The school mascot Sparty hit the scene in 1989.

39. What 46-Down runs on : IOS
(46D. Apple reading app : IBOOKS)

iOS is what Apple now call their mobile operating system. Previously, it was known as iPhone OS.

40. Symbol of wisdom : OWL

The Greek goddess Athena (sometimes “Athene”) is often associated with wisdom, among other attributes. In many representations. Athena is depicted with an owl sitting on her head. It is this linkage of the owl with the goddess of wisdom that led to today’s perception of the owl as being “wise”. Athena’s Roman counterpart was Minerva.

45. 3-1-1 liquids rule enforcer, for short : TSA

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the agency that employs the good folks that check passengers and baggage at airports.

52. Ending with poly- : ESTER

Esters are very common chemicals. The smaller, low-molecular weight esters are usually pleasant smelling and are often found in perfumes. At the other end of the scale, the higher-molecular weight nitroglycerin is a nitrate ester and is very explosive, and polyester is a huge molecule and is a type of plastic. Fats and oils found in nature are fatty acid esters of glycerol known as glycerides.

54. Sport conducted in a dohyo : SUMO

Sumo is a sport that is practiced professionally only in Japan, the country of its origin. There is an international federation of sumo wrestling now, and one of the organization’s aims is to have the sport accepted as an Olympic event.

55. Prime draft category : 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).

58. Pie ___ mode : A LA

In French, “à la mode” simply means “fashionable”. In America, the term has also come to describe a way of serving pie. Pie served à la mode includes a dollop of cream or ice cream, or as I recall from my time living in Upstate New York, with a wedge of cheddar cheese.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Put a cork in : CLOSE
6. “___ pass” : IT’LL
10. Girl-watch or boy-watch : OGLE
14. Leveled : RAZED
15. Queens stadium that was 14-Across in 2008-09 : SHEA
16. Recess in a room : NOOK
17. Prized taste in ramen : UMAMI
18. Rocks whose names often end in “-ite” : ORES
19. Feeling sad : BLUE
20. Part of a fire safety system : SPRINKLER HEAD (giving “spring”)
23. Critical cluck : TSK!
24. Wait awhile : BIDE
25. Dance place that might have a revolving ball overhead : DISCO
28. Flipped : SOMERSAULTED (giving “summer”)
31. Peter the Great, for one : TSAR
33. Addams Family cousin : ITT
34. “All bets ___ off” : ARE
35. Constantinople was its capital : OTTOMAN EMPIRE (giving “autumn”)
40. Tulsa sch. : ORU
41. ___ Ep (college frat) : SIG
42. Op-ed writer Douthat : ROSS
43. Instruments of renewable energy : WIND TURBINES (giving “winter”)
48. Some Miller beers : LITES
49. Egyptian sacred bird : IBIS
50. 1, along the East Coast: Abbr. : RTE
53. Much-anticipated sporting events … or, when spoken, what 20-, 28-, 35- and 43-Across have? : SEASON OPENERS
57. Chicago mayor Emanuel : RAHM
59. Reverse : UNDO
60. Pitch-perfect? : NO-HIT
61. Edible succulent : ALOE
62. Easily pushed around : MEEK
63. Orange container : CRATE
64. “Good ___ almighty!” : GAWD
65. Rowers may have a row of them : OARS
66. Old flame? : EMBER

Down

1. Leftover pizza part : CRUST
2. Places for genies : LAMPS
3. Southern Missouri’s ___ Mountains : OZARK
4. Game before the final : SEMI
5. Pennsylvania university that’s home to the Fighting Scots : EDINBORO
6. Tristan’s love, in legend : ISOLDE
7. Loose-leaf sheet holder : THREE-RING BINDER
8. Creepy look : LEER
9. Unit of corporal punishment : LASH
10. How a suspect might be released : ON BAIL
11. Elementary school honors : GOLD STARS
12. Reed with a guitar : LOU
13. Barely get (by) : EKE
21. Most common Korean surname (22%) : KIM
22. Alternative to .com : EDU
26. Largest object in the asteroid belt : CERES
27. Work of Horace : ODE
28. Perched (on) : SAT
29. ___-Foy, Que. : STE
30. Deposit site, for short : ATM
31. Traditional Japanese gate : TORII
32. “Don’t try this at home” spectacle : STUNT SHOW
36. Spartans of the Big Ten Conf. : MSU
37. Precious supply on a spaceship : AIR
38. ___ of mind : PRESENCE
39. What 46-Down runs on : IOS
40. Symbol of wisdom : OWL
44. Judged : DEEMED
45. 3-1-1 liquids rule enforcer, for short : TSA
46. Apple reading app : IBOOKS
47. Light bite : NIP
50. Help for an addict : REHAB
51. Like the expressions “a dime a dozen” and “a penny for your thoughts” : TRITE
52. Ending with poly- : ESTER
54. Sport conducted in a dohyo : SUMO
55. Prime draft category : ONE-A
56. Standard : NORM
57. Car wash aid : RAG
58. Pie ___ mode : A LA

10 thoughts on “0320-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 20 Mar 2018, Tuesday”

  1. 7:28 Moved quickly through this one. Didn’t understand what was going on with the theme until I was done. I find my times are quicker when I focus on going down from the top left rather than across the top. Makes sense since then I’m getting the front of end of the answers. But often I’m not really thinking about it and just flow across the top and then down and get the back ends first.

  2. 15:47 including a minute looking for a typo. Punny theme. Nice way to get back after a week in Puerto Vallarta. This was about all my tequila-soaked brain could handle…

    Best –

  3. 8:47, no errors. The fill was not difficult, but did not catch the homophonous theme until after I came here and thought about it for a while.

  4. No errors. I read @Marc’s comment above with some interest. To me it seems that it is a given that the most important letter in an entry is the very first letter. That would mean favoring starting from the top down and left to right. Yet when I try to force myself to put this principle into action I find that it throws my game off in a very awkward way. I think that when I am at my best I am in an easy “flow” of solving and attempting to follow intrusive rules is counterproductive. Backwards, forward, middle-out, scattered. It is all pretty much the same so long as you get the right answer.

  5. 9 mins 38 sec, no errors.

    I try to go down the list to solve, but invariably, I won’t be able to just fill in everything. I’ll try the top tier, and then go to the Down clues to try to fill in both. If I get stuck somewhere, I just try to move along and “fix it in the mix” so to speak.

  6. Filled it all in, but the homophone theme didn’t work for me. Tough to make WIND TURBINES and OTTOMAN EMPIRE sound right as “winter” and “autumn”. SPRINKLER HEAD was also a bit iffy.

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