0423-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 23 Apr 2018, Monday

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Constructed by: Lynn Lempel
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Reveal Answer: Go First

Themed answers each start with a synonym of “GO”, and the letters in those synonyms are circled in the grid:

  • 38A. Lead off … or a hint to the circled letters : GO FIRST
  • 17A. Small floor covering : SCATTER RUG (has “SCAT!” first)
  • 23A. Standard breakfast order : SCRAMBLED EGGS (has “SCRAM!” first)
  • 50A. Passover no-no : LEAVENED BREAD (has “LEAVE!” first)
  • 61A. Play H-O-R-S-E, say : SHOOT HOOPS (has “SHOO” first)

Bill’s time: 4m 37s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10. Story about Zeus and Hera, e.g. : MYTH

In Greek mythology, Hera was the wife of Zeus and was noted for her jealous and vengeful nature, particularly against those who vied for the affections of her husband. The equivalent character to Hera in Roman mythology was Juno. Hera was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea.

15. Language of Bangkok : THAI

Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand. The exact etymology of the name “Bangkok” seems unclear, although “bang” is a Thai word for “a village situated on a stream”.

16. Salmon variety : COHO

The Coho salmon is dark blue with silver along the side of its body, but only during the phase of its life while it is in the ocean. When spawning and heading up into a freshwater river, the Coho has bright red sides.

17. Small floor covering : SCATTER RUG (has “SCAT!” first)

Our word “scat!” means “get lost!” It comes from a 19th-century expression “quicker than s’cat”, which meant “in a great hurry”. The original phrase probably came from the words “hiss” and “cat”.

20. Gummy gumbo vegetable : OKRA

Gumbo is a type of stew or soup that originated in Louisiana. The primary ingredient can be meat or fish, but to be true gumbo it must include the “holy trinity” of vegetables, namely celery, bell peppers and onion. Okra used to be a requirement but this is no longer the case. Okra gave the dish its name as the vernacular word for the African vegetable is “okingumbo”, from the Bantu language spoken by many of the slaves brought to America.

21. “Winnie-the-Pooh” baby : ROO

Like most of the characters in A. A. Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh”, the kangaroo named Roo was inspired by a stuffed toy belonging to Milne’s son Christopher Robin.

22. Irene of old Hollywood : DUNNE

Irene Dunne was a wonderful Hollywood actress. She played a variety of roles, but I always think of her as the leading lady with Cary Grant in the movies “The Awful Truth”, “My Favorite Wife” and “Penny Serenade”. Irene Dunne was great friends with fellow actress Loretta Young, and the two often attended church together. Dunne is often described as the best actress never to win an Oscar, even though she was nominated five times for the Best Actress Academy Award.

27. Johnny who sang “Chances Are” : MATHIS

Johnny Mathis had to face a tough choice in 1956. Mathis was a talented high jumper in college and was invited to try out for the US Olympic team destined for the Melbourne Games. At the same time he was scheduled to make his first recordings, in New York. Mathis opted to go to the Big Apple.

29. Toward shelter, at sea : ALEE

Alee is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing aweather.

37. Nintendo game console : WII

The Wii is the biggest-selling game console in the world.

44. Gyro wrap : PITA

A gyro is a traditional Greek dish of meat roasted on a tall vertical spit that is sliced from the spit as required. Gyros are usually served inside a lightly grilled piece of pita bread, along with tomato, onion and tzatziki (a yogurt and cucumber sauce).

50. Passover no-no : LEAVENED BREAD (has “LEAVE!” first)

“Leaven” is a substance that causes bread to rise, perhaps yeast or baking powder. The term comes into English via French from the Latin “levare” meaning “to rise”.

The Jewish holiday of Passover (also “Pesach”) commemorates the Israelites being freed from slavery in Egypt, as recounted in the Book of Exodus in the Hebrew Bible. In that narrative, God inflicted ten plagues upon the Egyptians, the tenth being the death of their firstborn sons. God instructed the Israelites to mark their doorposts so that the plague would pass over the firstborn Israelites. This “passing over” gives the holiday its name.

56. Savings plan for old age, in short : IRA

Individual retirement account (IRA)

57. Kudrow of “Friends” : LISA

The character Phoebe Buffay (and her identical twin sister Ursula) is played on the sitcom “Friends” by the actress Lisa Kudrow. Kudrow plays the ditzy member of the troupe of friends, but I’ve always viewed her as the “smartest” of the group of actors in real life, as best I could tell. Kudrow is behind the US version of the British genealogy show “Who Do You Think You Are?” a very entertaining bit of television.

61. Play H-O-R-S-E, say : SHOOT HOOPS (has “SHOO” first)

H-O-R-S-E is a simple game played with a basketball and a hoop. The idea is that one player makes a basket using a certain move and technique, and then subsequent players have to make a basket the same way. Anyone failing to make a basket is assigned a letter in the word H-O-R-S-E, and after five letters, you’re out. A quicker game is called P-I-G.

64. Michelangelo’s “David,” for one : NUDE

When Michelangelo’s famous statue of David was unveiled in 1504, it was at a time when the city-state of the Florentine Republic was threatened by rival states (including Rome). The statue depicts David after he has decided to fight Goliath, and the subject is sporting what is described as a “warning glare”. David was originally placed outside the Palazzo della Signoria, the seat of government in Florence, and that warning glare was directed very deliberately in the direction of its enemy, Rome. The original statue of David can be seen in the Accademia Gallery in Florence, where it has resided since 1873. There is a replica of the statue in its original location in the public square outside of the Palazzo della Signoria.

65. German luxury carmaker : AUDI

In most countries around the world, Audi uses its corporate tagline in advertising, namely “Vorsprung durch Technik” (which translates as “Advancement through Technology”). However, the literal translation from the German was dropped for the US market, in favor of “Truth in Engineering”.

66. Arctic people : INUIT

The Inuit peoples live in the Arctic, in parts of the US, Russia, Greenland and Canada.

69. Green pasta sauce : PESTO

The Italian term “pesto” applies to anything made by pounding. What we tend to know as pesto sauce is more properly called “pesto alla genovese”, pesto from Genoa in northern Italy. I love, love pesto sauce …

Down

4. Embassy staffer : ATTACHE

“Attaché” is a French term which literally means “attached”, and is used for a person who is assigned to the administrative staff of some agency or other service. The term is most recognized as it applies to someone assigned to an Ambassador’s staff at an embassy. The word was extended to “attaché case” at the beginning of the twentieth century, meaning a leather case used for carrying papers. I guess that an attache case might “attached” to an attaché at an embassy …

5. “Poppycock!” : ROT!

It is thought that the relatively gentle term “poppycock”, meaning “nonsense”, comes from a Dutch word for “dung” combined with a Latin word for “excrete”. Not so gentle after all …

6. Longtime senator Thurmond : STROM

Strom Thurmond was a US Senator for the state of South Carolina for 48 years, until he stepped down in 2003. Thurmond was the oldest-serving senator in US history. He retired from his office at the age of 100-years-old, and passed away just a few months after leaving Washington.

9. Big Bad Wolf’s target : PIG

The Big Bad Wolf is a character in many folklore stories, including “Little Red Riding” and “Three Little Pigs”. Walt Disney’s version of Big Bad Wolf is called Zeke Wolf, and has a son called Li’l Bad Wolf, or just “Li’l Wolf” to his friends.

10. Steve who directed “12 Years a Slave” : MCQUEEN

Steve McQueen is a film director from England who is best known for the 2013 movie “12 Years a Slave”. That movie won the Best Picture Oscar.

11. The “Y” of Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T.” : YOUNG

12. The “T” of Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T.” : THING

“P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” is a 1982 song from Michael Jackson’s iconic album “Thriller”.

13. “High” feelings : HOPES

Sammy Cahn wrote the lyrics for “High Hopes” for the 1959 film “A Hole in the Head”, and the song won an Oscar that year. Frank Sinatra was the star of the movie, and he recorded the most famous version of the song.

Just what makes that little old ant
Think he’ll move that rubber tree plant
Anyone knows an ant, can’t
Move a rubber tree plant

But he’s got high hopes
He’s got high hopes
He’s got high apple pie
In the sky hopes

22. J.F.K.’s predecessor : DDE

President Dwight D. Eisenhower (DDE) was replaced in office by President John F. Kennedy (JFK).

24. Age indicator in a tree trunk : RING

Growth rings can be seen in a horizontal cross section of a tree trunk. These rings are caused by a change in the rate of a growth of a tree that comes with the seasons, so the rings are more easily discerned in trees that grow in regions with marked seasonal changes.

25. Actress Linney in “Kinsey” : LAURA

The wonderfully talented actress Laura Linney is a native New Yorker from Manhattan. The performances of hers that I most admire are in “The Truman Show” and “Love Actually” on the big screen, and in the HBO miniseries “John Adams” on the small screen.

Alfred Kinsey sure did create a stir with his work and publications. He founded the Institute for Sex Research in 1947, and published the famous “Kinsey Reports” in 1948 and 1953. I enjoyed the 2004 biopic “Kinsey”, starring Irish actor Liam Neeson in the title role.

26. Trees attacked by bark beetles : ELMS

Bark beetles are so named because some species reproduce in the bark of trees. This can be a problem for the elm tree, as bark beetles are known to transmit the devastating Dutch elm disease. There is another species of bark beetle that is known as the coffee berry borer, and it is the major pest attacking coffee plants around the world.

27. Cavernous openings : MAWS

“Maw” is a term used to describe the mouth or stomach of a carnivorous animal. “Maw” is also used as slang for the mouth or stomach of a greedy person.

35. Suffragist Carrie Chapman ___ : CATT

Carrie Chapman Catt founded the League of Women Voters and the International Alliance of Women. Catt was also very close to Susan B. Anthony and succeeded Anthony as head of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

40. “Get ___ to a nunnery”: Hamlet : THEE

In Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, Ophelia is courted by Hamlet. In Act III, Hamlet is pretty depressed and upset, and addresses Ophelia with the famous line “Get thee to a nunn’ry, why woulds’t thou be a breeder of sinners?” In this scene, Hamlet is denying that he ever loved Ophelia, and exorts her to “become a nun”, so that she may never have to give birth to someone as pitiful and sinful as himself.

46. Sea snail with a mother-of-pearl shell : ABALONE

The large edible sea snails that we call abalone are called ormer in the British Isles, and is served as “awabi” at a sushi bar. The abalone shell resembles a human ear, giving rise to the alternative names “ear shell” and “sea ear”.

50. Creditors’ claims on property : LIENS

A lien is the right that one has to retain or secure someone’s property until a debt is paid. When an individual takes out a car loan, for example, the lending bank is usually a lien holder. The bank releases the lien on the car when the loan is paid in full.

53. Semiconductor device with two terminals : DIODE

A diode is component in a circuit, the most notable characteristic of which is that it will conduct electric current in only one direction. Some of those vacuum tubes we used to see in old radios and television were diodes, but nowadays almost all diodes are semiconductor devices.

61. Source of maple syrup : SAP

Maple syrup comes in three grades:

  • Grade A
  • Processing grade
  • Substandard

63. Belly dancer’s gyrating body part : HIP

The Middle Eastern dance referred to in Arabic as “Raqs Sharqi” was referred to in French as “danse du ventre” meaning “belly dance”, a reference to the abdominal movements used and the tradition of performing with a bare midriff.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Engaged in country-to-country combat : AT WAR
6. Dance movement : STEP
10. Story about Zeus and Hera, e.g. : MYTH
14. Be dishonest with : LIE TO
15. Language of Bangkok : THAI
16. Salmon variety : COHO
17. Small floor covering : SCATTER RUG (has “SCAT!” first)
19. Witticism : QUIP
20. Gummy gumbo vegetable : OKRA
21. “Winnie-the-Pooh” baby : ROO
22. Irene of old Hollywood : DUNNE
23. Standard breakfast order : SCRAMBLED EGGS (has “SCRAM!” first)
27. Johnny who sang “Chances Are” : MATHIS
29. Toward shelter, at sea : ALEE
30. White as a ghost : ASHEN
31. Legacy student’s relative, for short : ALUM
33. Friendly : NICE
37. Nintendo game console : WII
38. Lead off … or a hint to the circled letters : GO FIRST
41. Aye’s opposite : NAY
42. Makings of a castle at the beach : SAND
44. Gyro wrap : PITA
45. Waste maker, in a saying : HASTE
47. At any time : EVER
49. Entries in the minus column : DEBITS
50. Passover no-no : LEAVENED BREAD (has “LEAVE!” first)
55. Holder of unread emails : INBOX
56. Savings plan for old age, in short : IRA
57. Kudrow of “Friends” : LISA
60. Cut and paste text, e.g. : EDIT
61. Play H-O-R-S-E, say : SHOOT HOOPS (has “SHOO” first)
64. Michelangelo’s “David,” for one : NUDE
65. German luxury carmaker : AUDI
66. Arctic people : INUIT
67. Put the pedal to the metal : SPED
68. Get over a sunburn, maybe : PEEL
69. Green pasta sauce : PESTO

Down

1. Likewise : ALSO
2. Sound of a watch : TICK
3. Diminishes, as patience : WEARS THIN
4. Embassy staffer : ATTACHE
5. “Poppycock!” : ROT!
6. Longtime senator Thurmond : STROM
7. Pulsate : THROB
8. French water : EAU
9. Big Bad Wolf’s target : PIG
10. Steve who directed “12 Years a Slave” : MCQUEEN
11. The “Y” of Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T.” : YOUNG
12. The “T” of Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T.” : THING
13. “High” feelings : HOPES
18. Timeline periods : ERAS
22. J.F.K.’s predecessor : DDE
24. Age indicator in a tree trunk : RING
25. Actress Linney in “Kinsey” : LAURA
26. Trees attacked by bark beetles : ELMS
27. Cavernous openings : MAWS
28. Home to 48 countries : ASIA
31. Blazing : AFIRE
32. Blazing : LIT
34. Sneakily dangerous : INSIDIOUS
35. Suffragist Carrie Chapman ___ : CATT
36. Baby blues, e.g. : EYES
39. Like most businesses from 9 to 5 : OPEN
40. “Get ___ to a nunnery”: Hamlet : THEE
43. Totally loyal : DEVOTED
46. Sea snail with a mother-of-pearl shell : ABALONE
48. Annoy : VEX
49. “Shucks!” : DRAT!
50. Creditors’ claims on property : LIENS
51. Ultimately become : END UP
52. Bear patiently : ABIDE
53. Semiconductor device with two terminals : DIODE
54. Swelter : BROIL
58. Barbecue rod : SPIT
59. Concerning : AS TO
61. Source of maple syrup : SAP
62. Choice from a painter’s palette : HUE
63. Belly dancer’s gyrating body part : HIP

17 thoughts on “0423-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 23 Apr 2018, Monday”

    1. @Dave—-I wanted to get back with you on the discussion that we have had about not looking at clues. Since we spoke last about this, I have now viewed the documentary movie “Wordplay” several times. As a result, I have had to reverse my opinion again. Tyler Hinman (who went on to win the championship that year) definitely says that he does not read all the clues. After finding out that he is leading on points, Tyler is stopped in a hallway and asked what his strategy is at this point. His reply is “Um, well, I’m going to read every clue.” He says this in a completely serious tone of voice.

      In the bonus track consisting of commentary voice-over by Will Shortz, Will says “I love that line. To most people the idea of not looking at every clue is impossible. No one [meaning the audiences in the theaters] ever laughs at that line but I just think it is hysterically funny.” What Will may have meant by this statement is not exactly clear. I think the salient point is more that the audiences took it as being serious. I just do not see any way that Tyler was being flippant.

      I think that there is still a very broad discussion that could be had about to what extent not reading clues could be utilized. But at least I have to acknowledge that apparently it does happen to some degree in competitive play. A follow-up question to Tyler Hinman would have been great. Otherwise, I will stay open to anything else that I can learn about this subject.

      1. @Dale … Your original question, as I understood it, was, “Is it suggested in the movie Wordplay that some experts solve crossword puzzles without reading any of the clues? I’m satisfied that the answer to that question is: No.

        Solving crosswords without reading any of the clues would be like driving down an interstate with your eyes closed. Not possible.

        Obviously, it is possible to solve crosswords (intentionally or otherwise) without reading some of the clues. I do it. You do it. Everyone does it. Sometimes it’s a timesaver. Sometimes it leads to errors.

        Will Shortz laughs at Tyler Hinman’s answer because he finds it funny. So do I. And it’s delivered in a dry, matter-of-fact way that makes it even funnier.

        1. @Dave—-Thank you for answering. I think maybe I did say something about *all* clues. Maybe I said “without looking at the clues at all”. Whatever I initially said I now apologize for my poor choice of words. I stand corrected.

          As to your point about everyone not looking at clues, however, I need to let you know that I almost always look at all the clues. It is quite common for me to get a full set of crosses that complete a word in such a way that I never have to look at the clue. My term for these is “a freebie”. Even in that case I will almost always look at the clue just for confirmation. Plus, even though I already have the answer, there are nuances that I can learn about how clues are created by the constructor. But I realize that in competition play where solvers are trying to shave seconds off their time it would be a wasteful and unnecessary step.

          I want to stress again that I do not time myself as most of the other solvers on this board do. So there is no motivation for me to try to develop skill at skipping clues even at those times when all other things fit.

          I do have to still say that I think Tyler Hinman was serious in what he said. I do not think it was any kind of light-hearted joke. I watched his whole personality throughout the video and, while he does have a good sense of humor, I just don’t think that he would have any reason to be flippant in this case. So maybe we can agree to disagree on that one point.

          As always, it is good to touch base with you, Dave.

  1. For those that are interested, the HBO Real Sports segment involving Will Shortz, Jesse Eisenberg, and Erik Aagard that people have been talking about off and on on here can be seen by Clicking this Youtube Link. Beware though if you haven’t attempted 0420 yet as there are spoilers to that in this video…

    1. That was an excellent segment!!!! I’m almost ready to *like* Will Shortz again (this could last as long as until the next Tricky Thursday). And I can shake my fist at his admission that yes, he’s actively and cynically trying to trick and misdirect us!!!

      I still don’t think X-words can be classified a sport (due to the lack of *physical* skill/exertion) but seeing media like this always gives me a boost in the arm, and makes me proud to refer to myself as a “solver” … at the same time as it makes me realize how far I have to go. Erik Agaard solving Friday-level puzzles in under 5 minutes…!!! JEEEZ!!!!

  2. 7:10 and no errors. I started very haltingly, then picked up steam at the end. But then, of course, hung my head in shame upon seeing Bill got through in four-and-a-half minutes.

  3. No errors. I did not know the Michael Jackson song so I was a little miffed that the constructor would put two major words side-by-side in the tight NE corner. Crosses came to my rescue.

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