0412-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 12 Apr 2018, Thursday

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Constructed by: Jules Markey
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Reveal Answer: Cable Boxes

We have a rebus puzzle today, with the abbreviated names of CABLE channels appearing in some BOXES in the grid:

  • 64A. TV adjuncts … or a hint to four squares in this puzzle : CABLE BOXES
  • 17A. Native American charm made with a willow hoop : DREAMCATCHER
  • 21A. Popular TV dramedy based on a Colombian telenovela : UGLY BETTY
  • 39A. Some gridiron formations : WISHBONES
  • 47A. 2016 comedy that takes place mainly in a supermarket : SAUSAGE PARTY
  • 4D. Image on a soccer jersey : TEAM CREST
  • 11D. Setting for Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” : GLOBE THEATER
  • 24D. Place for a clock or a radio : DASHBOARD
  • 28D. Facetious sign in a lab or office : GENIUS AT WORK

Bill’s time: 12m 38s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6. Variety of lettuce : BIBB

Bibb is a variety of lettuce in the cultivar known as butterhead. All butterhead varieties have loose-leafed heads and a buttery texture.

10. Grim Grimm beast : OGRE

The Brothers Grimm (Jacob and Wilhelm) were two German academics noted for collecting and publishing folk tales. Among the tales in their marvelous collection are “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, “Sleeping Beauty” and “Cinderella”.

15. Catalina, e.g. : ISLE

Catalina Island off the coast of California is more correctly referred to as Santa Catalina Island. Santa Catalina is one of the Channel Islands of California, and is located in Los Angeles County. Santa Catalina has been a major tourist destination since the early 1920s when William Wrigley, Jr. of chewing gum fame invested millions of dollars to develop needed infrastructure to attract visitors. Wrigley owned the Chicago Cubs at the time, and so he made the Chicago Cubs use the island for spring training, as part of a publicity campaign. The Cubs trained there until 1951.

19. Signal a performer doesn’t want to hear : GONG

NBC’s “The Gong Show” was originally broadcast in the seventies and eighties, but it always seems to be showing somewhere on cable TV. I suppose the show was a forerunner of today’s “America’s Got Talent”, in that it was a talent show in which the acts can be cut off in mid-performance by the sounding of a gong (just like the 3 buzzers on “Talent”). Despite all the terrible acts that appeared, some famous names made it after the show e.g. Boxcar Willie, Paul Reubens (Pee Wee Herman) and Andrea McArdle (played “Annie” on Broadway).

20. Cancer locator? : STAR MAP

The constellation of Cancer has few stars, and those stars are relatively dark in the night sky. As such, the zodiac sign of Cancer is sometimes referred to as the Dark Sign. “Cancer” is the Latin word for “crab”.

21. Popular TV dramedy based on a Colombian telenovela : UGLY BETTY

“Ugly Betty” is a drama-comedy show that originally aired on television from 2006 to 2010. The show is based on a telenovela soap opera from Colombia called “Yo soy Betty, la fea”. The title role of Betty Suarez is played by America Ferrera.

25. Granite State sch. : UNH

The University of New Hampshire (UNH) is the largest university in the state. UNH was founded as the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts in 1866 in Hanover. The college was moved to Durham in the early 1890s, which is where UNH’s main campus is located to this day.

New Hampshire is called the Granite State, because it has lots of granite quarries and granite formations.

34. “Gone With the Wind” role : RHETT

In Margaret Mitchell’s novel “Gone with the Wind”, when Rhett Butler finally walks out on Scarlett O’Hara he utters the words “My dear, I don’t give a damn”. Most of us are more familiar with the slightly different words spoken by Clark Gable in the film adaption of the story: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

36. Shelter for a Minuteman : SILO

“Silo” is a Spanish word that we absorbed into English. The term ultimately derives from the Greek “siros”, which described a pit in which one kept corn.

There are still hundreds Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) in service, with most of them dotted around the landscape of the plain states. I drove through the area several years ago and counted five missile silos and two launch control centers, just sitting there, not far from the main road.

37. Co. acquired by Verizon in 2015 : AOL

GTE was a rival to AT&T, the largest of the independent competitors to the Bell System. GTE merged with Bell Atlantic in 2000 to form the company that we know today as Verizon. Verizon made some high-profile acquisitions over the years, including MCI in 2005 and AOL in 2015.

38. Actor McShane of “Deadwood” : IAN

Ian McShane is an English actor, who is famous in his homeland (and to PBS viewers in the US) for playing the title role in “Lovejoy”. In this country he is perhaps better known for playing the conniving saloon owner on the HBO western drama “Deadwood”.

42. iPhone 8? : TUV

The letters TUV are found on the 8-key of most phone’s keyboards.

43. Open ___ : MRI

MRI scans can be daunting for many people as they usually involve the patient lying inside a tube with the imaging magnet surrounding the body. Additionally, the scan can take up to 40 minutes in some cases. There are some open MRI scanners available that help prevent a feeling of claustrophobia. However, the image produced by open scanners are of lower quality as they operate at lower magnetic fields.

44. Actress Stone : EMMA

The actress Emma Stone is from Scottsdale, Arizona. Stone really came to prominence with her performance in the 2010 high school movie called “Easy A”. She won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in the 2016 movie “La La Land”. Now one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood, Stone values her privacy and works hard to maintain a low profile. Good for her, I say …

45. Goddess of peace : IRENE

Eirene (also “Irene”) was the Greek goddess of peace, with “eirene” being the Greek word for “peace”. The Roman equivalent to Eirene was the goddess Pax.

51. Dyne-centimeters : ERGS

An erg is a unit of mechanical work or energy. It is a small unit, with one joule comprising 10 million ergs. it has been suggested that an erg is about the amount of energy required for a mosquito to take off. The term comes from “ergon”, the Greek word for work.

52. King in 1922 headlines : TUT

“King Tut” is a name commonly used for the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun. Tutankhamun may not have been the most significant of the pharaohs historically, but he is the most famous today largely because of the discovery of his nearly intact tomb in 1922 by Howard Carter. Prior to this find, any Egyptian tombs uncovered by archaeologists had been ravaged by grave robbers. Tutankhamun’s magnificent burial mask is one of the most recognizable of all Egyptian artifacts.

67. Nobelist Wiesel : ELIE

Elie Wiesel was a holocaust survivor, and is best known for his book “Night” that tells of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.

69. Part of B.P.O.E. : ELKS

The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) was founded in 1868, and is a social club that has about a million members today. It started out as a group of men getting together in a “club” in order to get around the legal opening hours of taverns in New York City. The club took on a new role as it started to look out for poor families of members who passed away. The club now accepts African Americans as members (since the seventies) and women (since the nineties), but atheists still aren’t welcome.

71. Ritual meal : SEDER

The Passover Seder is a ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish Passover holiday, celebrating the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. One of the traditions at the meal is that the youngest child at the table asks “The Four Questions”, all relating to why this night is different from all other nights in the year:

  • Why is it that on all other nights during the year we eat either bread or matzoh, but on this night we eat only matzoh?
  • Why is it that on all other nights we eat all kinds of herbs, but on this night we eat only bitter herbs?
  • Why is it that on all other nights we do not dip our herbs even once, but on this night we dip them twice?
  • Why is it that on all other nights we eat either sitting or reclining, but on this night we eat in a reclining position?

Down

3. Lab problem : FLEA

Fleas are flightless insects, but they sure can jump. Their very specialized hind legs allow them to jump up to 50 times the length of their bodies.

The Labrador (Lab) breed of dog has been around at least since 1814. The breed comes in three registered colors: black, yellow and chocolate.

4. Image on a soccer jersey : TEAM CREST

Soccer (also known as “association football”) is the most popular sport in the world. The term “association football” was introduced in 1863 in England, with the name chosen to distinguish the sport from rugby football. The term “soccer” started to appear about 20 years later in Oxford, as an abbreviation for “association”.

5. 2003 Afghani film that won a Golden Globe : OSAMA

“Osama” is a 2003 film from Afghanistan that tells the story of girl who pretends to be a boy named Osama in order to support her family under the Taliban regime. Her true gender is eventually discovered and the young teen is put on trial. As a result of the trial, Osama is a given to a much older man as his fourth wife.

6. Product advertised with the slogan “Writes first time, every time” : 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.

8. Kind of cheese : BLEU

Being a bit of a French speaker (admittedly a very poor one), the term “bleu” cheese has always kind of irritated me. I would prefer that we use either “blue cheese” or “fromage bleu” and not mix the languages, but then I can be annoyingly picky! It’s said that blue cheese was probably discovered accidentally, as molds tend to develop in the same conditions that are best for storing cheese. The blue mold in the cheese is introduced by adding Penicillium spores before the cheese is allowed to set. And yes, it’s the same mold that is used to produce penicillin, the antibiotic.

9. Danger for a submarine : BERG

An iceberg is a large piece of freshwater ice that is floating freely after having broken off from a glacier or ice shelf. Out use of “iceberg” comes from the Dutch word for the same phenomenon “ijsberg”, which translates literally as “ice mountain”.

10. Delivery specialists, for short : OB/GYNS

Obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN)

11. Setting for Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” : GLOBE THEATER

I have a nit to pick with this answer, as I’d have thought the spelling “theatre” would be appropriate for Shakespeare’s famous Globe Theatre that stood proudly in London, England.

The Globe Theatre was built in London in 1599, and was used mainly for staging works by William Shakespeare and his theater company called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. The theater was destroyed by fire in 1613. A second Globe was built on the site a year later, and it remained open until 1642. The original theater was reconstructed on a nearby site by the Thames and opened in 1997. I had the privilege of seeing a fabulous performance of “As You Like It” in Shakespeare’s Globe (as the new theater is called) about a decade ago. Seeing a play in that remarkable theater is tremendous entertainment, much recommended for anyone visiting London.

13. Avant-garde : EDGY

Someone or something described as avant-garde is especially innovative. “Avant-garde” is French for “advance guard”.

18. Kipling’s “Rikki-Tikki-___” : TAVI

In Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book”, one of the short stories is titled “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”, the story about a mongoose, the brave pet of an English family that protects them from a succession of snakes.

22. Actor played by Landau in “Ed Wood” : LUGOSI

Bela Lugosi was a Hungarian stage and screen actor, best known for playing the title role in the 1931 film “Dracula” and for playing the same role on Broadway. Lugosi found himself typecast for the rest of his career and almost always played the role of the villain, often in horror movies. When he passed away in 1956, his wife had him buried in the costume he wore playing Count Dracula on Broadway.

Martin Landau is a film and television actor from Brooklyn, New York. Landau is probably most famous for playing Rollin Hand, the master of disguise in TV’s “Mission Impossible”. On the big screen, Landau famously won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for playing Bela Lugosi in “Ed Wood”.

Ed Wood was a screenwriter, director, producer and actor who made a lot of low-budget films during the 1950s. Wood worked a lot with the actor Bela Lugosi and when Lugosi passed away, the popularity of Wood’s films died off with his star. Tim Burton made a biopic about the life and career of Ed Wood that was released in 1994, a movie that is simply called “Ed Wood”.

24. Place for a clock or a radio : DASHBOARD

Back in the 1800s, “dashboard” was the name given to a board placed at the front of a carriage to stop mud from “dashing” against the passengers in the carriage, mud that was kicked up by the hoofs of the horses. Quite interesting …

33. Dungeons & Dragons characters : ELVES

Dungeons & Dragons is a complex role-playing game (RPG) introduced in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules Incorporated (TSR). Dungeons & Dragons was probably the first of the modern role-playing games to be developed, and the most successful. It is still played by lots of people today, including my youngest son …

35. Modern communiqués : TWEETS

I have never tweeted in my life, and have no plans to do so (but one should never say “never”). Twitter is a microblogging service that limits any post sent to just 280 characters. In a sense, it is similar to this blog. Here I send out a post once a day containing information that I think might be useful to folks (thank you for reading!). I don’t think I could send out much of interest using just 280 characters.

50. ___ log : YULE

A Yule log is a large log made from a very hard wood that is burned as part of the Christmas celebration. There is also a cake called a Yule log that is served at Christmas, especially in French-speaking parts of the world. The cake is made from sponge that is rolled up to resemble a wooden Yule log.

54. Rum cakes : BABAS

Rum baba (also “baba au rhum” in French) is a small yeast cake saturated in rum, and sometimes filled with whipped cream. Rum baba is derived from the recipe for the tall “babka” yeast cake that was introduced to the world by the Polish communities. The Polish words “baba” and “babka” mean “old woman” or “grandmother” in English. I guess someone must have thought that all grandmothers were saturated in rum!

56. The United States has a great one : SEAL

The Great Seal of the United States is a device used to authenticate some US federal documents. The obverse (front) of the Great Seal is used as the coat of arms of the US, a design that can seen on all American passports.

58. Where Flash Gordon played polo : YALE

“Flash Gordon” was originally a comic strip that was first published in 1934 and drawn by Alex Raymond. It was created to compete with the already successful strip titled “Buck Rogers”.

61. Relative of the Canada goose : NENE

The bird called a “nene” is a native of Hawaii, and is also known as the Hawaiian goose. The name “nene” is imitative of its call. When Captain Cook landed on the islands in 1778, there were 25,000 nene living there. By 1950, the number was reduced by hunting to just 30 birds. Conservation efforts in recent years have been somewhat successful. The nene was named State Bird of Hawaii in 1957.

The Canada goose has quite a distinctive coloring, with a black head and neck broken up by a white “chinstrap”. They thrive in parks that are frequented by humans, and are so successful that they are considered pests by some.

62. Issuer of ukases : TSAR

In Imperial Russia, a ukase was a proclamation issued by the government or the tsar. We now use the term to describe any order issued by an absolute authority.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Leaving for : OFF TO
6. Variety of lettuce : BIBB
10. Grim Grimm beast : OGRE
14. Metes (out) : DOLES
15. Catalina, e.g. : ISLE
16. Didn’t stay within the lines, say : BLED
17. Native American charm made with a willow hoop : DREAMCATCHER
19. Signal a performer doesn’t want to hear : GONG
20. Cancer locator? : STAR MAP
21. Popular TV dramedy based on a Colombian telenovela : UGLY BETTY
23. Like many roofs : EAVED
25. Granite State sch. : UNH
26. Fens : BOGS
29. “Fat chance!” : IN A PIG’S EYE!
34. “Gone With the Wind” role : RHETT
36. Shelter for a Minuteman : SILO
37. Co. acquired by Verizon in 2015 : AOL
38. Actor McShane of “Deadwood” : IAN
39. Some gridiron formations : WISHBONES
42. iPhone 8? : TUV
43. Open ___ : MRI
44. Actress Stone : EMMA
45. Goddess of peace : IRENE
47. 2016 comedy that takes place mainly in a supermarket : SAUSAGE PARTY
51. Dyne-centimeters : ERGS
52. King in 1922 headlines : TUT
53. Slaps on : DAUBS
55. So to speak : AS WE SAY
59. Lacking subtlety : BLATANT
63. Modernists, informally : NEOS
64. TV adjuncts … or a hint to four squares in this puzzle : CABLE BOXES
66. Citrusy : TART
67. Nobelist Wiesel : ELIE
68. Ring … or sphere : ARENA
69. Part of B.P.O.E. : ELKS
70. A little progress, so to speak : DENT
71. Ritual meal : SEDER

Down

1. Sports figures : ODDS
2. Stronghold : FORT
3. Lab problem : FLEA
4. Image on a soccer jersey : TEAM CREST
5. 2003 Afghani film that won a Golden Globe : OSAMA
6. Product advertised with the slogan “Writes first time, every time” : BIC PEN
7. Suffix with freak : -ISH
8. Kind of cheese : BLEU
9. Danger for a submarine : BERG
10. Delivery specialists, for short : OB/GYNS
11. Setting for Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” : GLOBE THEATER
12. Let : RENT
13. Avant-garde : EDGY
18. Kipling’s “Rikki-Tikki-___” : TAVI
22. Actor played by Landau in “Ed Wood” : LUGOSI
24. Place for a clock or a radio : DASHBOARD
26. Overflow points : BRIMS
27. “Gone With the Wind” role : O’HARA
28. Facetious sign in a lab or office : GENIUS AT WORK
30. Hold down : PIN
31. Suffix with duct : -ILE
32. Puppies or kittens : YOUNG
33. Dungeons & Dragons characters : ELVES
35. Modern communiqués : TWEETS
40. Handful for a pediatrician : IMP
41. Wee, to a Scot : SMA
46. Put back : RESTORE
48. The inn crowd? : GUESTS
49. Back-to-school purchase : TABLET
50. ___ log : YULE
54. Rum cakes : BABAS
55. Post’s opposite : ANTE
56. The United States has a great one : SEAL
57. Nailed : ACED
58. Where Flash Gordon played polo : YALE
60. Canned : AXED
61. Relative of the Canada goose : NENE
62. Issuer of ukases : TSAR
65. Log keeper, maybe : BIN

16 thoughts on “0412-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 12 Apr 2018, Thursday”

  1. 33:15 It’s interesting how some puzzles just don’t fit the brain. After the fact… it’s all so obvious!
    As a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol eons ago I got to visit a missile solo and take an elevator to the subterranean control center. My main recollection is that it was such a small place for two officers to spend so much time waiting for what could be an apocalyptic order.

  2. 15:45, no errors. Clever theme. As someone who essentially never turns on the TV anymore, I was afraid one of the rebuses would be something I’d never heard of, but they were all familiar. Whew … ?

  3. 33:43..and yes these all seem so much easier in retrospect. TUV for “iphone 8” wins the prize for the day. I just couldn’t think of that and had to get it via crosses. I felt appropriately foolish when I did get it….

    Best –

    1. TUV was the one I wanted explained too, and now I feel ready for next time — lesson learned — even if a different number key is used.

    1. No need to feel lame – many people own iPhones! I’m sure there’s even a 12-step recovery program founded by Google, kidding….

  4. 17:31, no errors. No idea of the connection between “iPhone 8?” and TUV until I read Bill’s explanation. Dastardly misdirection, since every phone has TUV on the 8 key.

    1. That was an *EVIL* lil so-and-so of a clue, wasn’t it? I got a wry, bitter grin on my face as I realized that a 3-letter clue had to be the letters of the 8 button on an iPhone dialer…..

  5. I like rebuses, and this one was especially fun to do. Took a while to get what was going on, but on seeing the “saUSAge party”–a movie I’ve never heard of–the rest was a matter of finding the remaining TV channels. Overall, a solid Thursday. Nice work by Jules Markey.

  6. @Bill—-In reference to your comment about 35-Down, TWEETS, I want to let you know that the company, about a year ago, doubled the number of characters that are allowed. The maximum now is 280. Interestingly, I read recently that Twitter has been surprised that users are not much availing themselves of the larger capacity. Users seem to have gotten comfortable with 140 characters and aren’t changing their habits very much.

    1. @Dale Stewart
      Thanks for catching that old info, Dale. As usual, I am way behind the times. I’ve made the necessary change. But, I still have no plans to open a Twitter account! 🙂

  7. 24:26 of intense struggle (and it took a LONG TIME before I filled 64A and realized there was an unholy rebus at work, and how to locate and fill those select four squares…!!!), but I got through it without a single error; and the “cable company” rebus squares properly filled!!!

    Now, I HATE REBUSES… and I’ll tell ya as often as you can bear to hear it… but this one, I *grudgingly* liked (I suppose my tolerance for rebuses is tied directly to whether I can solve the damned things, but often the physical problems with filling the square [as one example, if the rebus is read one way L-R and another U-D]). The upper left quadrant was a real beast, because I have never seen the term Dreamcatcher, although I’ve seen examples of them… and I had to really work to make TE AMC REST fit in 4 down, plus the fairly obscure EAVED for 23A. This was a challenge suitable for Tricky Thursday! But it didn’t go TOO FAR, as they often do.

  8. 58D: What the WHAT, now??? How does *anybody* know where Flash Gordon played some obscure upper crust sport??? There have to be dozens of alumni to use as a source for a proper clue here…. George H.W. Bush springs to mind. The clue as written is among the worst examples of obscure references in recent memory!!!

  9. I salute all who got “TUV” without crosses…@AD…I’ve been doing these for about 9 years (since retirement)…first time I encountered a Rebus I had a similar reaction as you (No Fair!)…as I gained proficiency and managed to solve a few, I began to appreciate the challenge (not always)…hang in there mi amigo…

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