0404-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 4 Apr 2018, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Weird Al Yankovic & Eric Berlin
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Cheesy Movies

There is a note with today’s puzzle:

CELEBRITY CROSSWORD
This puzzle is a collaboration by the singer/songwriter Weird Al Yankovic, working together with Eric Berlin, a writer and puzzle editor from Milford, Conn. This is Eric’s 40th puzzle for The Times.
More information about the making of today’s puzzle appears in the Times’s daily crossword column (nytimes.com/column/wordplay).

Themed answers sound like famous movie titles, but make reference to a type of CHEESE:

  • 20A. Cheesy 1992 military drama? : A FEW GOUDA MEN (sounds like “A Few Good Men”)
  • 28A. Cheesy 1987 thriller? : FETA ATTRACTION (sounds like “Fatal Attraction”)
  • 46A. Cheesy 1993 legal drama? : THE PELICAN BRIE (sounds like “The Pelican Brief”)
  • 53A. Cheesy 2001 animated film? : MUENSTERS INC (sounds like “Monsters Inc.”)

Bill’s time: 6m 55s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

14. ___ Brothers, duo who sang “Wake Up Little Susie” : EVERLY

The Everly Brothers were noted for their steel guitar sound, and their great use of harmony. Their harmony onstage wasn’t reflected off the stage though. In 1973 the brothers decided to pursue separate careers and scheduled a farewell performance attended by many fans, family and stalwarts from the music industry. Don Everly came on stage too drunk to perform, and eventually brother Phil just stormed off into the wings, smashing his guitar as he left. The boys didn’t talk to each other for ten years after that incident. Phil Everly passed away in January 2014.

“Wake Up, Little Susie” is a song most famously associated with the Everly Brothers, as it was a hit for the duo in 1957. “Wake Up, Little Susie” is, or at least used to be, the favorite song of President George W. Bush.

16. Skin art, informally : 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”.

17. Satirist Tom : LEHRER

Tom Lehrer is an American singer-songwriter, and someone famous for writing humorous songs and parodies.

19. Airport info, for short : ETA

Estimated time of arrival (ETA)

20. Cheesy 1992 military drama? : A FEW GOUDA MEN (sounds like “A Few Good Men”)

Gouda is a cheese that originated in the Dutch city of the same name, although today Gouda is produced all over the world and very little of it comes from the Netherlands. Gouda is often smoke-cured, given it a yellowish-brown outer skin and that characteristic smoky taste.

The marvelous 1992 movie “A Few Good Men” was adapted for the big screen by Aaron Sorkin, from his own play of the same name. Sorkin is also the man behind “The West Wing” and “The Newsroom” on television, two great shows. Stars of the movie version “A Few Good Men” are Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson and Demi Moore.

23. Aid and ___ : ABET

The word “abet” comes into English from the Old French “abeter” meaning “to bait” or “to harass with dogs” (it literally means “to make bite”). This sense of encouraging something bad to happen morphed into our modern usage of “abet” meaning to aid or encourage someone in a crime.

28. Cheesy 1987 thriller? : FETA ATTRACTION (sounds like “Fatal Attraction”)

Feta is a Greek cheese made from sheep’s milk, or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk. The cheese is salted and cured in a brine solution for several months before it is eaten.

“Fatal Attraction” is a an exceptional thriller released in 1987, starring Micheal Douglas and Glenn Close. The movie is about a married man who has a brief affair with a woman who then obsessively stalks him. There’s a famous scene where the Michael Douglas character discovers that his stalker has killed the family pet rabbit and left it stewing in a pot on his stove. In the British Isles “bunny boiler” is now a common enough term used to describe a crazed woman …

33. Supply for Wile E. Coyote : TNT

“TNT” is an abbreviation for trinitrotoluene. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.

Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner are two much-loved cartoon characters from Warner Bros. Wile E. Coyote was created first, and Road Runner was invented as someone for Wile E. to play off. I love this cartoon; definitely one of the best …

35. Singer/songwriter Bareilles : SARA

Sara Bareilles achieved success with her 2007 “Love Song” with the help of the iTunes online store. In one week in June of that year, iTunes offered the song as “free single of the week” and it quickly became the most downloaded song in the store, and from there climbed to the number spot in the charts.

36. Mediterranean building material : STUCCO

Stucco is a decorative coating that is applied to walls and ceilings. “Stucco” is the Italian name for the material, and a word that we imported into English.

38. Jousters’ equipment : LANCES

Tilting is the most recognized form of jousting. Jousting can involve the use of a number of different weapons, but when lances are used, the competition is called tilting.

44. ___ G, Sacha Baron Cohen character : ALI

“Da Ali G Show” is a satirical TV series featuring English comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. I wouldn’t be a big fan …

46. Cheesy 1993 legal drama? : THE PELICAN BRIE (sounds like “The Pelican Brief”)

Brie is a soft cheese that is named for the French region in which it originated. Brie is similar to the equally famous (and delicious) Camembert.

50. ___ beans : SOYA

What are known as soybeans here in the US are called “soya beans” in most other English-speaking countries. So, I drink soy milk here in America, but when I am over in Ireland I drink “soya milk”.

53. Cheesy 2001 animated film? : MUENSTERS, INC (sounds like “Monsters, Inc.”)

Muenster is an American cheese, not to be confused with Munster cheese which is from the department called Vosges in the northeast of France. The American cheese is named for the German city of Münster (also Muenster) in the northwest of the country, a city that doesn’t actually have a local cheese named for it.

The animated feature “Monsters, Inc.” was released in 2001, and was Pixar’s fourth full-length movie. It’s about cute monsters, and that’s all I know other than that the voice cast included the likes of John Goodman, Billy Crystal and Steve Buscemi.

58. The CW superseded it : UPN

The United Paramount Network (UPN) was a TV channel that launched in 1995, and shut down in 2006. Some of UPN’s programming was moved to the CW channel at the time of UPN’s demise.

59. Roman moon goddess : LUNA

“Luna” is the Latin word for “moon”, and is the name given to the Roman moon goddess. The Greek equivalent of Luna was Selene. Luna had a temple on the Aventine Hill in Rome but it was destroyed during the Great Fire that raged during the reign of Nero.

64. Locale for a bathysphere : SEA

A bathysphere is a submersible used in exploring the deep sea. The bathysphere is spherical in shape, so as to better resist the high pressure of deep waters. The term “bathysphere” comes from the Greek “bathus” and “sphaira” meaning “deep” and “sphere”. The vessel is simply lowered into the water on a strong cable.

66. John famous for “silly walks” : CLEESE

The magnificent actor and comedian John Cleese came to the public’s attention as a cast member in the BBC’s comedy sketch show “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”. Cleese then co-wrote and starred in the outstanding comedy “Fawlty Towers”. He even had a role in two “James Bond” films.

67. “___ dead, Jim” : HE’S

“He’s dead, Jim” is a line often spoken by medical officer “Bones” McCoy to Captain James T. Kirk on the original “Star Trek” TV show.

Down

1. It’s SE of Penn. : DEL

The state of Delaware takes its name from Virginia’s first colonial governor, Englishman Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr. Delaware is known as the First State as it was the first to ratify the US Constitution, in 1787.

2. Wall-E’s love : EVE

“WALL-E” is a very cute Pixar movie that was released in 2008. The hero of the piece is a robot named WALL-E, who loves his “Hello Dolly”, and who falls in love with a robot named EVE.

4. Typos, e.g. : ERRATA

“Errata” is the past participle of the Latin word “errare” meaning “to err”. We use “errata” (singular “erratum”) to mean a list of errors that have been noted in some publication.

5. Curly musical symbol : CLEF

“Clef” is the French word for “key”. In music, a clef is used to indicate the pitch of the notes written on the stave. The bass clef is also known as the F-clef, the alto clef is the C-clef, and the treble clef is the G-clef.

6. “Pericles, Prince of ___” : TYRE

“Pericles, Prince of Tyre” is a play that was written in the Jacobean era. Many experts believe that at least half of the play was written by William Shakespeare, and half by some collaborator.

7. Wild equine : ONAGER

The onager is also known as the Asiatic wild ass. The onager is a little larger than a donkey, and looks like a cross between a donkey and a horse. One characteristic of the onager is that it is remarkably “untamable”.

8. Tolkien elf played in film by Orlando Bloom : LEGOLAS

English actor Orlando Bloom’s breakthrough on the big screen came when he was chosen to play the Sindarin Elf Legolas in “The Lord of the Rings” series of films.

9. Beige-ish : ECRU

The shade called ecru is a grayish, yellowish brown. The word “ecru” comes from French and means “raw, unbleached”. “Ecru” has the same roots as our word “crude”.

11. Resuming the previous speed, in music : A TEMPO

“A tempo” is a Italian for “in time”. The phrase is used on a musical score to instruct a performer to return to the main tempo of the piece, perhaps after slowing down or speeding up.

12. Glossy fabric : SATEEN

Sateen is a cotton fabric. It has a weave that is “four over, one under”, meaning that most of the threads come to the surface to give it a softer feel.

13. Custer’s “last” thing : STAND

The Battle of Little Bighorn was a famous engagement between the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho Native American peoples against the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the US Army led by General George Custer. Custer was soundly defeated and he and all of his men were killed in the engagement. As a result, the battle is often referred to as “Custer’s Last Stand”. I had the privilege of visiting the battle site a few years ago, and it was a very memorable experience.

25. Question for Brutus : ET TU

The most famous man with the name “Brutus” in Ancient Rome was Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger. It was this Brutus that Julius Caesar turned to when he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate. William Shakespeare immortalized Brutus by featuring him in his play, “Julius Caesar”, and giving his victim the line “Et tu, Brute?”

29. Songwriters’ org. : ASCAP

ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) collects licence fees for musicians and distributes royalties to composers whose works have been performed. BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated) provides the same service.

30. Valuable collection : TROVE

The term “treasure trove” comes from the Anglo-French “tresor trové “ meaning “found treasure”.

31. Certain 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 …

37. Mr. ___ : CLEAN

“Mr. Clean” is a brand of household cleaner from Procter & Gamble. “Mr. Clean” is a sold as Maestro Limpio in Mexico, Monsieur Propre in France, and as Monsieur Net in French Canada.

40. Leprechauns’ land : ERIN

A leprechaun is a mischievous fairy in Irish folklore. Traditionally, leprechauns spend their days making shoes and hide all their money in a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Our word “leprechaun” comes from the Irish name for such a sprite, “leipreachán”.

43. Just firm enough : AL DENTE

The Italian expression “al dente” literally means “to the tooth” or “to the bite” and is used to describe not only pasta, but also vegetables that are cooked so that they are tender and yet still crisp.

44. Follower of John : ACTS

The Acts of the Apostles is the fifth book of the Christian New Testament. It is believed that the author of the Gospel of Luke was the same person who wrote “Acts”.

47. Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, in “The Lion King” : HYENAS

Hyenas have the reputation of being cowardly scavengers. That said, the spotted hyena that lives in Sub-Saharan Africa actually kills about 95% of its food and a pack of spotted hyenas are capable of driving off leopards or lionesses before they can consume their kill.

Among the group of lions at the center of “The Lion King” story, young Simba is the heir apparent, the lion cub destined to take over as leader of the pride. His uncle is jealous of Simba, and plots with a trio of hyenas to kill Simba, so that he can take his position. The uncle was originally named Taka (according to books) but he was given the name Scar after being injured by a buffalo. The trio of hyenas are called Shenzi, Banzai and Ed.

48. Acre’s land : ISRAEL

Acre is a port city in northern Israel, on Haifa Bay.

49. Inexpensive writing implement : BIC PEN

Société Bic is a French company, based in Clichy in France. The first product the company produced, more than fifty years ago, was the Bic Cristal ballpoint pen that is still produced today. Bic also makes other disposable products such as lighters and razors.

54. Certain shot in hockey : SLAP

A slap shot in ice hockey involves slapping the ice just behind the puck with the stick, causing the stick to bend and store up extra energy. When the stick finally hits the puck, all that extra energy is released along with the energy from the swing resulting in the hardest shot in hockey.

57. The Big Easy : NOLA

The city of New Orleans, Louisiana has the nickname “The Big Easy”. This name might come from the early 1900s when musicians found it relatively “easy” to find work there. The city is also known by the acronym NOLA, standing for New Orleans (NO), LA.

61. Gas option: Abbr. : REG

The difference between a premium and regular gasoline is its octane rating. The octane rating is measure of the resistance of the gasoline to auto-ignition i.e. its resistance to ignition just by virtue of being compressed in the cylinder. This auto-ignition is undesirable as multiple-cylinder engines are designed so that ignition within each cylinder takes place precisely when the plug sparks, and not before. If ignition occurs before the spark is created, the resulting phenomenon is called “knocking”. We sometimes use the adjective “high-octane” to mean “intense, dynamic, high-powered”

63. Editor Bradlee of The Washington Post : BEN

Ben Bradlee served as executive editor for “The Washington Post” from 1968 until 1991. Famously, Bradlee was at the helm of the paper when the Pentagon Papers were published, and when reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein investigated the Watergate scandal. His son, Ben Bradlee Jr., was the editor in charge of the Spotlight team at the “Boston Globe” when they broke the story of the Catholic Church covering up sexual abuse of children by priests. Ben senior was played by actor Jason Robards in the film “All the President’s Men”, and by Tom Hanks in “The Post”. Ben Jr. was played by John Slattery in the movie “Spotlight”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Imperfection : DEFECT
7. Shouts made with the waving of white hankies : OLES
11. Yo-yo : ASS
14. ___ Brothers, duo who sang “Wake Up Little Susie” : EVERLY
15. Part of a bottle : NECK
16. Skin art, informally : TAT
17. Satirist Tom : LEHRER
18. Prefix with cultural : AGRI-
19. Airport info, for short : ETA
20. Cheesy 1992 military drama? : A FEW GOUDA MEN (sounds like “A Few Good Men”)
23. Aid and ___ : ABET
26. Fish with tiny scales : EEL
27. Earned a ticket, maybe : SPED
28. Cheesy 1987 thriller? : FETA ATTRACTION (sounds like “Fatal Attraction”)
33. Supply for Wile E. Coyote : TNT
34. Many promgoers: Abbr. : SRS
35. Singer/songwriter Bareilles : SARA
36. Mediterranean building material : STUCCO
38. Jousters’ equipment : LANCES
42. Rock that rolls? : LAVA
44. ___ G, Sacha Baron Cohen character : ALI
45. Contents of a vein : ORE
46. Cheesy 1993 legal drama? : THE PELICAN BRIE (sounds like “The Pelican Brief”)
50. ___ beans : SOYA
51. Summertime setting: Abbr. : DST
52. Cluster at many a highway interchange : INNS
53. Cheesy 2001 animated film? : MUENSTERS, INC (sounds like “Monsters, Inc.”)
58. The CW superseded it : UPN
59. Roman moon goddess : LUNA
60. “Easy-peasy!” : NO PROB!
64. Locale for a bathysphere : SEA
65. Poker stake : ANTE
66. John famous for “silly walks” : CLEESE
67. “___ dead, Jim” : HE’S
68. Something you might slip on : PEEL
69. “Wait a minute …” : HANG ON …

Down

1. It’s SE of Penn. : DEL
2. Wall-E’s love : EVE
3. Dismissive interjection : FEH!
4. Typos, e.g. : ERRATA
5. Curly musical symbol : CLEF
6. “Pericles, Prince of ___” : TYRE
7. Wild equine : ONAGER
8. Tolkien elf played in film by Orlando Bloom : LEGOLAS
9. Beige-ish : ECRU
10. Result of driving on ice, perhaps : SKID
11. Resuming the previous speed, in music : A TEMPO
12. Glossy fabric : SATEEN
13. Custer’s “last” thing : STAND
21. Hoses down : WETS
22. Kind of cuisine with stir-frying : ASIAN
23. Times of day in classifieds : AFTS
24. Like the wire in clothes hangers : BENT
25. Question for Brutus : ET TU
29. Songwriters’ org. : ASCAP
30. Valuable collection : TROVE
31. Certain lily : CALLA
32. Coach … or what a coach is part of : TRAIN
37. Mr. ___ : CLEAN
39. Cheesy stuff : CORN
40. Leprechauns’ land : ERIN
41. Goes out with : SEES
43. Just firm enough : AL DENTE
44. Follower of John : ACTS
46. Rug you don’t walk on : TOUPEE
47. Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, in “The Lion King” : HYENAS
48. Acre’s land : ISRAEL
49. Inexpensive writing implement : BIC PEN
50. Reduce to a pulp : SMUSH
54. Certain shot in hockey : SLAP
55. Adjust, as a piano : TUNE
56. Nonmetric measure : INCH
57. The Big Easy : NOLA
61. Gas option: Abbr. : REG
62. Spanish bear : OSO
63. Editor Bradlee of The Washington Post : BEN

16 thoughts on “0404-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 4 Apr 2018, Wednesday”

  1. 11:30 This was a little tough at first since the theme clues were so vague but no real problems. A few of the puns made me chuckle.

    1. The link to todays answers– Not my puzzle—–Syndicated Puzzle was not available yesterday nor today. Please correct Thank you. George

      1. @Anonymous
        Thanks for pointing out the issue. There was some broken code in the page, but it’s fixed now. Thanks for taking time to point out the problem.

    2. @Dave, you have always been helpful to me in understanding the mechanics of working crossword puzzles. Maybe you could shed some light on another question I have.

      There was a documentary from several years ago entitled “Wordplay” which dealt mostly with crosswords on the competitive level. Mention was made that some puzzle workers have the ability to get correct answers without even looking at the clues. I remember being utterly amazed at the time I first heard of this but nevertheless accepted it as true. Recently, however, I was speaking to a friend who has done some previous work in puzzle construction. When I brought the subject up to him, he scoffed at the whole idea. “That whole thing about not looking at clues is a myth. That documentary should have never said something so outrageous. It is absolutely impossible to get the answers without first looking at the clues!” he said.

      I have to agree with my friend. It seems impossible to me too. Do you have any knowledge about this subject, Dave? I would appreciate any feedback you may have.

      1. @Dale … My guess is that what was said in the movie has been misunderstood in some way. I recently ordered the book and the movie; I read the book and have been meaning to watch the movie (which I saw in a theater when it first came out) again; if and when I do, I will see if I can shed any light on what is or is not said in it.

        One more comment about yesterday’s discussion of online solving: My original goal was to do essentially all the crosswords I do (about 40 a week) using my iPad Mini and I’m now down to doing just the NYT puzzles on it. I print out all the others and do them on paper, which may give you some idea of my preferences.

        1. @dale re:not looking at clues and getting a fill.
          i am a dinosaur that still uses the newsprint editions. on monday and tuesday puzzles i have taken to folding the paper as to only be able to work the down clues. you would be surprised at how many across answers you can intuit. i don’t time myself, so i am looking for a flurious speed challenge. it adds enough difficulty (depending on the grid layout) to make the puzzle feel more like a thursday/friday. many can be completed in this fashion. if i need to, i will look at an across clue if that section just won’t fall. usually only a handful are needed even on tuesdays.
          i believe another poster here does something called “no peek tuesdays” where s/he does not look at the longer theme clues and tries to get them just by the crosses.
          don’t know if this helps or even related to your query, but thanks for letting me ramble.
          and of course grandest of accolades to our host Mr.Butler for giving us this resource!
          -malcolm

  2. 10:57, no errors. I’ll go out on a LIMBURGER and say that I felt like I WHIZ’zed through this one. Except for falling for a couple of bait and SWISS entries: putting ERRORS before ERRATA; and EVES before AFTS; I think I CREAM’ed this one. Now I’ll sit back and watch a few oldies on the tube, maybe Welcome Back COTTAGE; or a movie? East of EDAM, National VELVEETA, Blue VELVEETA or the VELVEETA Rabbit?? STILTON all, I think this puzzle GRUYERE on me. (Don’t groan, it just encourages him).

    1. I see what you did there, Bruce. I expect to see one of YOUR grids in here one of these days! 🙂

  3. No errors. Nice puzzle. The last letter to fall for me was the S in LEGOLAS. Since there were several good possibilities, I chose the S based on nothing more than the fact that it is one of the most commonly appearing letters in the language. So I got lucky. Sometimes puzzle workers have to reach to the bottom of their bag of tricks to find something that works.

  4. 14:02 and no errors. Naturally, I said “Oh NO!” when I saw the telltale CELEBRITY CROSSWORD heading and vanity paragraph proceeding this… and knowing it was Weird Al helping out on the grid I expected nothing but trouble with this.

    I was pleasantly surprised to find an interesting theme, a few challenging clues, and in the end, the best of the Celeb Puzzles I’ve seen.

    Well done.

  5. Like @Dale, ended with the S in the LEGOLAS/SARA cross. For me the decision was made by SARA because it was the most common of the _ARA names, and LEGOLAS just sounded right.

  6. A good choice for a Wednesday. No problems and the theme definitely helped me. If you don’t know who Sara Bareilles is she did a great job as Mary Magdalene in NBC’s recent live telecast of Jesus Christ Superstar which you can see online now. She also wrote the music for, and starred in for awhile, the Broadway adaptation of the movie Waitress.

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