0411-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 11 Apr 2018, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Keiran King
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Composers, so to Speak

Themed answers are classical pieces of music. Themed clues refer us to down-answers that when spoken out loudly, sound like the name of each pieces composer. Very inventive …

  • 15A. Classic work by 16-, 31- and 51-Down, so to speak? : BARBER OF SEVILLE … by ROWE-SCENE-KNEE (Rossini)
  • 24A. Classic work by 11-, 9- and 8-Down, so to speak? : CANON IN D … by PACK-ELLE-BELL (Pachelbel)
  • 39A. Classic work by 50- and 23-Down, so to speak? : NOCTURNE … by SHOW-PAN (Chopin)
  • 52A. Classic work by 45-, 35- and 28-Down, so to speak? : MOONLIGHT SONATA … BATE-HOE-VENN (Beethoven)

Bill’s time: 6m 17s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Tummy muscles : ABS

The abdominal muscles (abs) are more correctly referred to as the rectus abdominis muscles. They might be referred to as a “six-pack” in a person who has developed the muscles and who has low body fat. In my case, more like a keg …

4. Actor Wallach of stage and screen : ELI

Eli Wallach appeared consistently and made great performances on the big and small screens since the 1950s. Wallach’s most famous role was probably as “the Ugly” in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. More recently he gave a very strong performance in 2006’s “The Holiday”. Sadly, Wallach passed away in June 2014, at the age of 98.

11. Friend of Tigger : POOH

Tigger is a character in the “Winnie-the-Pooh” stories by A. A. Milne. He is a tiger with a springy tail and just loves to bounce around. Tigger will tell you himself that “bouncing is what tiggers do best.”

12. Newspaper sales fig. : CIRC

Circulation (circ.)

15. Classic work by 16-, 31- and 51-Down, so to speak? : BARBER OF SEVILLE … by ROWE-SCENE-KNEE (Rossini)

“The Barber of Seville” is an extremely popular comic opera by Gioachino Rossini that is based on a play of the same name by Pierre Beaumarchais. Beaumarchais wrote a sequel called “The Marriage of Figaro”, on which Mozart based his comic opera of the same name.

Gioachino Rossini was a prolific and very successful composer from Pesaro, Italy. During his lifetime, Rossini was lauded as the most successful composer of operas in history. His best known opera today is probably “The Barber of Seville”. His best known piece of music is probably the finale of the overture from his opera “William Tell”.

20. Jamaican music genre : SKA

Ska originated in Jamaica in the late fifties and was the precursor to reggae music. No one has a really definitive etymology of the term “ska”, but it is likely to be imitative of some sound.

22. Wilder who played Willy Wonka : GENE

Gene Wilder was an actor noted for his comedic roles. Wilder had a successful collaboration with Mel Brooks on three great films: “The Producers”, “Blazing Saddles” and my favorite, “Young Frankenstein”. For a while, Wilder dated his “Young Frankenstein” co-star Teri Garr, but he was married most famously to “Saturday Night Live” star Gilda Radner.

Willy Wonka is the lead character in the 1964 novel by Roald Dahl called “Charlie & the Chocolate Factory”. Willy Wonka has been portrayed on the big screen twice. Gene Wilder was a fabulous Wonka in the 1971 version titled “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”, and Johnny Depp played him in the Tim Burton movie from 2005 called “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. I’m not too fond of Tim Burton movies, so I haven’t seen that one …

23. What makes ale pale? : PEE

The word “ale” can be turned into the word “pale” with the addition of a letter P (pee).

24. Classic work by 11-, 9- and 8-Down, so to speak? : CANON IN D … by PACK-ELLE-BELL (Pachelbel)

Johann Pachelbel was a composer from Germany active in the Baroque Era. Pachelbel’s music was very popular during his own lifetime. Today, his best-known work is his “Canon in D”, which has become a very popular choice for contemporary wedding ceremonies.

28. Bishop’s deputy : VICAR

A vicar is a member of the clergy in several Christian traditions. In more general terms, we can use the word “vicar” for a person who acts in the place of another, i.e. a deputy. It was the latter usage of the term that gave rise to the religious usage, as a vicar in a church was considered a person acting for God.

32. Grp. that once plotted against Fidel Castro : CIA

Fidel Castro studied law at the University of Havana and there became a follower of left-wing ideals. He launched his first rebellion against Cuban president Fulgencio Batista in 1953, which landed him in jail for a year. He later led rebels in a guerrilla war against the Cuban government, which led to the Cuban Revolution and the overthrow of Batista in 1959. Castro took control of the country, and immediately formed a strong relationship with the Soviet Union. Concern over the alliance in the US led to the botched Bay of Pigs Invasion of 1961. There followed the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Fidel Castro started to transfer power to his brother Raúl in 2008, and passed away in 2016.

36. Greenpeace or the Red Cross, for short : NGO

Non-governmental organization (NGO)

39. Classic work by 50- and 23-Down, so to speak? : NOCTURNE … by SHOW-PAN (Chopin)

A nocturne is a musical piece that is written to be evocative of the night.

Frédéric Chopin was a Polish composer who spent most of his life in France. He was most famous for his piano works in the Romantic style. Chopin was a sickly man and died quite young, at 39. For many of his final years he had a celebrated and tempestuous relationship with the French author George Sand (the nom de plume of the Baroness Dudevant). Those years with Sand may have been turbulent, but they were very productive in terms of musical composition.

41. “Sprechen ___ Deutsch?” : SIE

“Sprechen Sie Deutsch?” is the German for “Do you speak German?”

42. Where a comb may be found : HIVE

Honeybees create a structure within their nests called a honeycomb that is used to contain their larvae and also to store honey and pollen. The honeycomb comprises hexagonal cells made from wax.

43. Snapchat or Pokémon Go : APP

Snapchat is a messaging system that allows users to send photos and video clips to a limited list of recipients. The photos and clips, called “snaps”, can be viewed for only a few seconds before they are deleted from the recipient’s device, and from the Snapchat servers.

“Pokémon GO!” is a reality-based video game in which players must locate, capture, battle and train virtual creatures known as Pokémon. The Pokémon are hidden in the real world, in the sense that they have to be located on an electronic device (like a smartphone) in “the real world”, for which a GPS location is needed. Players see the Pokémon overlaid on a view of the real world on their smart device.

44. Conan’s TV home : TBS

The tbs cable television station started out in 1967 as local broadcast TV station in Atlanta. The station’s first call letters were WJRJ-TV, and this was changed to WTCG in 1970 when it was acquired by Ted Turner (the TCG stood for Turner Communications Group). In 1976, Turner started distributing WTCG via satellite making its programming available in other parts of the country. WTCG was only the second channel to transmit via satellite, following HBO. The difference was that WTCG was broadcast without requiring a premium subscription. The station’s call sign was changed again in 1979 to WTBS, with TBS standing for Turner Broadcasting System. In 1981, the channel adopted the moniker “Superstation WTBS”.

Before Conan O’Brien came to fame as a late night talk show host, he was a writer. He wrote for both “Saturday Night Live” and “The Simpsons”. While attending Harvard, O’Brien was president of “The Harvard Lampoon”.

52. Classic work by 45-, 35- and 28-Down, so to speak? : MOONLIGHT SONATA … BATE-HOE-VENN (Beethoven)

Beethoven subtitled his “Piano Sonata No. 14, Op. 27, No. 2” as “Quasi una fantasia”, or “sonata in the manner of a fantasy” in English. Five years after Beethoven died, a music critic wrote that the (superb!) first movement of the piece had an effect like that of moonlight shining on Lake Lucerne. Since then, the work has been known as the “Moonlight Sonata”.

Famously, and tragically, composer Ludwig van Beethoven started to lose his hearing in his late 20s, and was basically deaf for the last ten years of his life. As a result of his deafness, Beethoven was forced to use conversation books in which others communicated to the composer, while he generally responded verbally. 136 of those books survive, and provide some detailed insight into Beethoven’s life.

55. One of 14 lands neighboring China : LAOS

The official name for the country of Laos is the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. In the Lao language, the country’s name is “Meuang Lao”. The French ruled Laos as part of French Indochina, having united three separate Lao kingdoms. As there was a plural of “Lao” entities united into one, the French added the “S” and so today we tend to use “Laos” instead of “Lao”.

57. George Washingtons : ONES

The nation’s first president, George Washington, is on the US one-dollar bills produced today. However, when the first one-dollar bill was issued in 1863, it featured a portrait of Salmon P. Chase, President Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury.

59. Prey for a barracuda : EEL

The fish called a barracuda is large and dangerous-looking, with a fierce looking jaw filled with fang-like teeth. I was surrounded by a large school of barracuda once, many years ago while scuba diving. A scary experience …

Down

1. Lead vessel? : AORTA

The aorta originates in the heart and extends down into the abdomen. It is the largest artery in the body.

2. ___ Fett, “Star Wars” bounty hunter : BOBA

Boba Fett is one of the principal bad guys in the “Star Wars” universe. Boba Fett appears in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” and in “Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”. A young version of Boba Fett also appears in “Episode II: Attack of the Clones”.

6. Tax org. : IRS

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was set up during the Civil War to raise money to cover war expenses. Prior to the introduction of income tax in 1862, the government was funded by levies on trade and property.

8. Old AT&T symbol : BELL

The original AT&T Corporation was known as the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, hence the contemporary abbreviation. The American Telephone and Telegraph Company (Ma Bell) was forced to divest several subsidiaries in 1982 when the company lost an antitrust lawsuit. Those subsidiaries were known as Regional Bell Operating Systems, or “Baby Bells”.

9. Vogue rival : ELLE

“Elle” magazine was founded in 1945 in France and today has the highest circulation of any fashion magazine in the world. “Elle” is the French word for “she”. “Elle” is published monthly worldwide, although you can pick up a weekly edition if you live in France.

“Vogue” magazine has been published an awfully long time, with the first issue appearing in 1892. Over the decades the magazine has picked up a lot of criticism as well as its many fans. Famously, an assistant to the editor wrote a novel based on her experiences working with the magazine’s editor, and called it “The Devil Wears Prada”.

10. Turned brunette, maybe : DYED

The feminine suffix “-trix” is Latin in origin, and is equivalent to the male suffix “tor”. Examples of usage would be “aviatrix” and “aviator”. Similarly, the feminine suffix “-ette” came into English from French, with the suffix “-et” being the male equivalent. Examples of usage would be “brunette” and “brunet”.

15. ___-relief : BAS

In bas-relief, an image projects just a little above the background, as in perhaps a head depicted on a coin.

16. Mike who hosted “Dirty Jobs” : ROWE

Mike Rowe is host of the successful reality show called “Dirty Jobs” that is broadcast by “Discovery Channel”. Rowe is also a spokesperson for Ford Motor Company in a series of television commercials. He is quite the singer too, and he sang professionally with the Baltimore Opera for a while.

23. Give 0 stars : PAN

To pan something is to criticize it harshly.

24. Citi rival : CHASE

The original Chase National Bank was formed in 1877. Although he had no connection with the bank, it was named for the former US Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase.

25. Big “G” for Google, e.g. : ICON

The search engine Google was originally called “BackRub” would you believe? The name was eventually changed to “Google”, an intentional misspelling of the word “googol”. A googol is a pretty big number, 10 to the power of 100. That would be the digit 1 followed by 100 zeros.

26. It flows past Giza : NILE

Giza is located on the west bank of the Nile, about 20 km southwest of Cairo. The nearby Giza Plateau is home to some of the most amazing ancient monuments on the planet, including the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Great Sphinx.

27. ___ Inn : DAYS

The Days Inn hotel chain was founded in 1970 by a real estate developer called Cecil B. Day. One of the features of a Days Inn hotel in those early days was an on-site gas pump, which dispensed gasoline at discount prices.

28. Kind of diagram : VENN

Englishman John Venn was an expert in the field of logic, and introduced the Venn diagram in his book “Symbolic Logic” in 1881. Venn diagrams are used in set theory, to illustrate the logical relationships between sets of variables.

29. Parrot in “Aladdin” : IAGO

In the 1992 Disney feature “Aladdin”, there is a parrot called Iago. Iago is voiced by the comic Gilbert Gottfried.

30. Cousin of a gator : CROC

Crocodiles and alligators do indeed bear a resemblance to each other, although they belong to distinct biological families. One of the main ways used to distinguish them is by their teeth and jaws. Both the upper and lower sets of teeth of a crocodile are visible when its mouth is closed, whereas only the upper teeth of an alligator are visible with the mouth shut.

37. Tool for telling? : QUILL

Quills have been used as writing implements since the 6th century. Historically, goose, swan and turkey feathers have been the quills of choice. A bird’s feather is well suited for writing, as the hollow shaft acts as a reservoir for ink which then flows to the tip due to capillary action. Choice of feather is important. Right-handed writers are best served by feathers from the left wing, as the feather curves away from the palm of the hand when writing. The tip of the quill is sharpened using a “quill knife”. This quill knife is the ancestor of what we know today as a “penknife”.

38. Closing part of an address : ZIP CODE

ZIP codes were introduced in 1963. The acronym “ZIP” stands for “Zone Improvement Plan”, a name indicating that mail travels more efficiently when the codes are included in the postal address.

41. Places for pampering : SPAS

The word “spa” migrated into English from Belgium, as Spa is the name of a municipality in the east of the country that is famous for its healing hot springs. The name “Spa” comes from the Walloon word “espa” meaning “spring, fountain”.

43. Anxious : ANTSY

The word “antsy” embodies the concept of “having ants in one’s pants”, meaning being nervous and fidgety. However, “antsy” has been used in English since the 1830s, whereas “ants in the pants” originated a century later.

45. Diminish : BATE

To bate is to restrain, as in “with bated breath” meaning “with restrained breath”. The term can also mean to lessen, and is a shortening of “abate”.

47. “Here’s what I think,” in textspeak : IMHO

In my humble opinion (IMHO)

51. Patella’s place : KNEE

The patella is the kneecap. “Patella” is the Latin name for the bone, and is a diminutive form of “patina”, the word for “pan”. The idea is that the kneecap is pan-shaped.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Tummy muscles : ABS
4. Actor Wallach of stage and screen : ELI
7. Not up : ABED
11. Friend of Tigger : POOH
12. Newspaper sales fig. : CIRC
14. Depend (on) : RELY
15. Classic work by 16-, 31- and 51-Down, so to speak? : BARBER OF SEVILLE … by ROWE-SCENE-KNEE (Rossini)
18. Not have an accomplice : ACT ALONE
19. Gave the wrong impression : MISLED
20. Jamaican music genre : SKA
21. Lowest broadcast TV channel : TWO
22. Wilder who played Willy Wonka : GENE
23. What makes ale pale? : PEE
24. Classic work by 11-, 9- and 8-Down, so to speak? : CANON IN D … by PACK-ELLE-BELL (Pachelbel)
28. Bishop’s deputy : VICAR
31. Closes : SHUTS
32. Grp. that once plotted against Fidel Castro : CIA
33. Deserve : EARN
34. Radiology procedures : SCANS
35. Sacred : HOLY
36. Greenpeace or the Red Cross, for short : NGO
37. Hero’s mission : QUEST
38. Designated areas : ZONES
39. Classic work by 50- and 23-Down, so to speak? : NOCTURNE … by SHOW-PAN (Chopin)
41. “Sprechen ___ Deutsch?” : SIE
42. Where a comb may be found : HIVE
43. Snapchat or Pokémon Go : APP
44. Conan’s TV home : TBS
47. Take a breath : INHALE
50. Adjunct to a sports facility : SNACK BAR
52. Classic work by 45-, 35- and 28-Down, so to speak? : MOONLIGHT SONATA … BATE-HOE-VENN (Beethoven)
54. Dreamboat : HUNK
55. One of 14 lands neighboring China : LAOS
56. Cut, editorially : DELE
57. George Washingtons : ONES
58. Numbered rd. : HWY
59. Prey for a barracuda : EEL

Down

1. Lead vessel? : AORTA
2. ___ Fett, “Star Wars” bounty hunter : BOBA
3. Refuge : SHELTER
4. Prefix meaning “cheap” : ECONO-
5. Longest sentence? : LIFE
6. Tax org. : IRS
7. Up : ARISEN
8. Old AT&T symbol : BELL
9. Vogue rival : ELLE
10. Turned brunette, maybe : DYED
11. Cigarette purchase : PACK
13. Fixes in place : CEMENTS
15. ___-relief : BAS
16. Mike who hosted “Dirty Jobs” : ROWE
17. Italian wines : VINOS
22. Emaciated : GAUNT
23. Give 0 stars : PAN
24. Citi rival : CHASE
25. Big “G” for Google, e.g. : ICON
26. It flows past Giza : NILE
27. ___ Inn : DAYS
28. Kind of diagram : VENN
29. Parrot in “Aladdin” : IAGO
30. Cousin of a gator : CROC
31. “And … ___!” (director’s cry) : SCENE
34. Spy on : SURVEIL
35. Tool for tilling : HOE
37. Tool for telling? : QUILL
38. Closing part of an address : ZIP CODE
40. Word of good manners : THANKS
41. Places for pampering : SPAS
43. Anxious : ANTSY
44. Lowest level of Little League : T-BALL
45. Diminish : BATE
46. Mrs., in Mexico : SRA
47. “Here’s what I think,” in textspeak : IMHO
48. Pluralizable thing : NOUN
49. Practice to improve : HONE
50. What must go on, proverbially : SHOW
51. Patella’s place : KNEE
53. Sound of exasperation : GAH!

13 thoughts on “0411-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 11 Apr 2018, Wednesday”

  1. 24:56. Struggled with this as I really didn’t know any of the “famous” pieces except the BARBER OF SEVILLE….and I knew that from Bugs Bunny. Good one overall, though.

    Best –

  2. 15:54, and, after getting the “almost there” and flailing for some time, I finally used Google to fill in the “T” at the intersection of “TBS” and “T-BALL” (two things I’ve probably heard of, but know nothing about). Otherwise, a relatively easy puzzle … together, I’m sure Jeff and I would have done it four minutes … tops … ?

  3. 11:00 Felt fairly easy to me as well. The theme didn’t help a ton as I just tried to get the names of the pieces rather than look at all the cross referenced clues. A few of the puns made me smile.

  4. 12:37, no errors. This puzzle seemed ‘Monday easy’ to me, until I hit the bottom third. The TBS (PBS?, CBS?) and T-BALL section threw me for a while. The theme was more effort than it was worth, in my opinion. I easily recognized the titles of the compositions, but going back and deciphering the composer homophones didn’t really accomplish anything.

  5. 8:41 with no errors. I thought it was on the easy side for Wednesday but very enjoyable. Didn’t even try to figure out the theme as I normally don’t time myself and knew that would slow me down. Cheers

  6. Hesitated like others at the TBALL/TBS cross, but seemed that a “T” made most sense. Pretty quick and easy Wednesday.

  7. One letter wrong at the NGO/IAGO cross. I had a P instead of a G. I was thinking “non-Profit organization” and I was more fixated on the old, old Aladdin stories which would have been unlikely to have had an “Iago” in them. Two errors.

    CANON IN D and Pachelbel were both new to me although I got them by crosses. I was also attempting to read CANONIND as one word and failed to break it up into its constituent parts. Rookie mistake.

  8. 9 minutes, 9 seconds, and no errors. Did not at all appreciate the “theme”, and I’ll state it plainly rather than lamely qualify with “so to speak”.

    The setters are really **reaching** for this crap….

  9. Since I had never heard of Pachelbel’s Canon in D, I just now googled it up. Wow! What a piece of music! Beautiful! I hope someday to hear it performed by a live orchestra. Working crosswords has many rewards.

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