0406-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 6 Apr 2018, Friday

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Constructed by: David Steinberg
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 13m 02s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

19. College Board offering, for short : PSAT

Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT)

21. Nincompoop : DODO

The dodo was a direct relative of the pigeon and dove, although the fully-grown dodo was usually three feet tall. One of the reasons the dodo comes to mind when we think of extinction of a species, is that it disappeared not too long ago (last recorded alive in 1681) and humans were the reason for its demise. The dodo lived exclusively on the island of Mauritius and when man arrived, we cut back the forests that were its home. We also introduced domestic animals, such as dogs and pigs, that ransacked the dodo’s nests. The dodo was deemed to be an awkward flightless bird and so the term “dodo” has come to mean a dull-witted person.

The word “nincompoop”, meaning a fool, seems to have been around for quite a while. It has been used since the 1670s, but no one appears to know its origins.

35. Part of ISIL : LEVANT

The Levant is the geographic region that lies east of the Mediterranean, covering modern-day Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and Egypt. The term is sometimes also used synonymously with the Near East. Syria and Lebanon, when under French rule, were called the Levant States, a name still used at times for the two nations. As one might expect, the word Levant comes from French and was the Middle French word for “the Orient”. The term was used for the Orient as it described lands to the east, where the sun rises (from “lever”, the French word meaning “to rise”). Really, quite interesting …

ISIS is an extremist Sunni rebel group, with the acronym standing for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The organization is also referred to as ISIL, standing for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or simply IS, for the Islamic State.

36. Small slice of pizza? : ZEE

The letter Z (zee) is a “small slice” of the word “pizza”.

39. Help in a gym : SPOT

People at the gym who are doing weight training will often “spot” for each other. This means that the person who is spotting assists in the lift, allowing the lifter to work with more weight than usual.

41. Draconian : SEVERE

Constitutional law was brought to Athens and Ancient Greece by a legislator called Draco. The legal code that Draco developed was relatively harsh, which is why we use the term “draconian” to describe unforgiving rules.

42. Ex-Expo Rusty : STAUB

Rusty Staub had a relatively long career in baseball, having played his first game at the age of 19 and his last at age 41. Staub was one of only three players who hit home runs in the majors before the age of 20 as well as after the age of 40. The others are Gary Sheffield (never heard of him!) and Ty Cobb (heard of him!).

45. Hardly generous : MEASLY

Back in the 17th century, someone described as measly was affected with measles. The use of “measly” to describe something insultingly small was initially recorded as slang in the mid-1800s.

46. Santa ___ : ROSA

Santa Rosa is the largest city in California’s Wine Country, and the county seat of Sonoma County. The epicenter of the so-called 1906 San Francisco Earthquake was located near Santa Rosa. There was actually more damage in Santa Rosa, for the size of the city, than there was in San Francisco.

48. Salinger title girl : ESME

J. D. Salinger wrote a short story called “For Esmé – with Love and Squalor” that was originally published in “The New Yorker” in 1950. It is a story about a young English girl called Esme and an American soldier, and is set in WWII.

54. Monster of TV : ELMO

The “Sesame Street” character named Elmo has a birthday every February 3rd, and on that birthday he always turns 3½ years old. The man behind/under Elmo on “Sesame Street” is Kevin Clash. If you want to learn more about Elmo and Clash, you can watch the 2011 documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey”.

61. 1958 Bobby Freeman hit covered by the Beach Boys and the Ramones : DO YOU WANT TO DANCE

“Do You Wanna Dance?” was recorded by the Beach Boys in 1965. The song was originally written and recorded as “Do You Want to Dance?” by Bobby Freeman in 1958, and then successfully covered in the UK by Cliff Richards and the Shadows in 1962. However, my favorite version of the song was released by Bette Midler in 1972, a slow and sultry rendition by the Divine Miss M.

Down

2. Love symbol that names another love symbol if you move the first letter to the end : EROS

That would be “rose” becoming “Eros”.

3. Moon buggy : LUNAR ROVER

Three countries have sent lunar rovers to the Moon. Famously, the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle (aka “moon buggy”) carried American astronauts across the Moon’s surface, on the last three missions of the Apollo program in the early seventies. Before the landing of the Apollo vehicles, the Soviet Union sent two unmanned, remote-controlled rovers to the Moon called Lunokhod 1 & 2. Years later, in 2013, the Chinese landed a lunar rover called Yutu (or “Jade Rabbit”).

5. Banned pollutant, for short : CFC

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) used to be widely used as propellants in aerosols, and as refrigerants in cooling systems. CFCs make their way up into the ozone layer and trigger a chain reaction that converts ozone (O3) into regular oxygen (O2). That conversion creates “holes” in the ozone layer. Regular O2 is good stuff, but we need O3 to absorb harmful UV radiation raining down on us. CFC is not good stuff …

6. A large quantity : OODLES

It’s thought that the term “oodles”, meaning “a lot”, comes from “kit and caboodle”.

8. Have a large quantity of liquor : TOPE

“To tope” is to drink alcohol excessively and habitually.

9. ___’acte : ENTR

The term “entr’acte” comes to us from French, and is the interval “entre deux actes” (between two acts) of a theatrical performance. The term often describes some entertainment provided during that interval.

11. Pressure meas. : PSF

Pounds per square foot (psf)

12. French toast maker, maybe : AMI

A male friend in France is “un ami”, and a female friend is “une amie”.

13. 14-line poem with only two rhymes : RONDEL

A rondel is a short poem consisting of 13-14 lines. A good example of the form is “Merciless Beauty” by Geoffrey Chaucer:

Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly;
Their beauty shakes me who was once serene;
Straight through my heart the wound is quick and keen.

Only your word will heal the injury
To my hurt heart, while yet the wound is clean –
Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly;
Their beauty shakes me who was once serene.

Upon my word, I tell you faithfully
Through life and after death you are my queen;
For with my death the whole truth shall be seen.
Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly;
Their beauty shakes me who was once serene;
Straight through my heart the wound is quick and keen.

14. Prefix with sperm : ENDO-

The germ of a cereal (like wheat and oat) is the reproductive part that germinates and grows into a new plant. A whole grain has three main parts:

  • the germ, the source of the new plant
  • the endosperm, the energy store of carbohydrate and protein for initial growth
  • the bran, protective outer shell

16. Veteran’s opposite : TYRO

A tyro (also “tiro”) is a beginner or a novice. “Tyro” comes into English from Latin, in which “tiro” means “a recruit”.

23. Certain letter addendum, for short : PPS

One adds a PS (post scriptum, or simply “postscript”) at the end of a letter (ltr.). A second postscript is a post post scriptum, a PPS.

28. Santa ___ : CLARA

The Santa Clara Valley, located just a few miles from me at the south of San Francisco Bay, is better known as “Silicon Valley”. The term “Silicon Valley” dates back to 1971 when it was apparently first used in a weekly trade newspaper called “Electronic News” in articles written by journalist Don Hoefler.

29. Word from the French for “mixed” : MELEE

Our term “melee” comes from the French “mêlée”, and in both languages the word means “confused fight”.

30. Civil rights icon Medgar : EVERS

Medgar Evers was an African American civil rights activist from Mississippi who was assassinated by the Klu Klux Klan in 1963. A year after the murder, one Byron De La Beckwith was arrested and charged with the crime. Two trials failed to return a decision on Beckwith’s guilt as the juries, composed completely of white males, deadlocked both times. New evidence was unearthed some thirty years later so Beckwith could be retried and he was finally convicted of the murder in 1994. Back in 1963 Evers was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery. Evers had served in the US Army in France during WWII and left the military with the rank of sergeant.

31. Quick way through a toll plaza : E-ZPASS LANE

E-ZPASS was a technology development driven by (pun!) the tolling agencies of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The first E-ZPASS toll booth was built on the New York Thruway, and opened at the Spring Valley toll plaza in 1993.

32. Summer Olympics host before Barcelona : SEOUL

Seoul is the capital city of South Korea. The Seoul National Capital Area is home to over 25 million people and is the second largest metropolitan area in the world, second only to Tokyo, Japan.

35. Giant : LEVIATHAN

Something described as leviathan is huge, of immense size. The word was used for a sea monster mentioned in the Old Testament. As a result, “leviathan” has come to be associated with any large sea monster or creature.

41. ___ Jorge (one of the Azores) : SAO

The Azores is an archipelago of nine volcanic islands in the North Atlantic lying about 1,000 miles west of Portugal. The Azores are an autonomous region belonging to Portugal.

42. “He who holds the ___ must be master of the empire”: Cicero : SEA

Cicero was a very influential senator in Ancient Rome, in part due to his renowned ability to deliver a persuasive speech. His full name was Marcus Tullius Cicero.

44. Native of NW France : BRETON

A Breton is a native of Brittany. Brittany is a large peninsula in the northwest of France that is known in French as “Bretagne”.

45. Kind of acting : METHOD

“Method acting” is a term referring to techniques in which actors really try to get into the thoughts and emotions of the character in order to give a better performance. By contrast, a classical actor would simulate the thoughts and emotions by using external means such as tone of voice or facial expression.

47. Spirit : GUSTO

“Gusto” is an Italian word meaning “taste”. We use it in English in the phrase “with gusto” meaning “with great enjoyment”.

50. Itzamna worshipers : MAYA

The Maya civilization held sway in Central America and Mexico from about 350 AD, until the arrival of the Spanish in the 1500s.

55. It’s flaky : MICA

Mica is a silicate mineral. Thin sheets of mica are transparent and are used in place of glass in certain applications. This form of mica is called isinglass, and as it has a better thermal performance than glass it is a great choice for “peepholes’ in boilers and lanterns. Mica is also used in the electronics industry, making use of its unique electrical and thermal insulating properties.

58. Dijon-to-Lyon direction : SUD

In French, “nord” (north) is opposite to “sud” (south).

Dijon is a city in eastern France in the Burgundy region. Dijon is famous for its mustard, a particularly strong variation of the condiment. The European Union doesn’t protect the name “Dijon” so anyone can use it on a label. That seems fair enough to me, given that 90% of the mustard made in and around Dijon is produced using mustard seed imported from Canada!

The city of Lyon in France, is also known as “Lyons” in English. Lyon is the second-largest metropolitan area in the country, after Paris. It is located just to the north of the confluence of the Rhône and Saône Rivers.

59. Teens fight, for short : WWI

Prior to the outbreak of World War II, what we now know as World War I was referred to as “the World War” or “the Great War”.

60. Story assigners, in brief : EDS

Editor (ed)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Someone who cares too much? : HELICOPTER PARENT
17. Serious competition : A RUN FOR ONE’S MONEY
18. It sends waves through waves : SONIC DEPTH FINDER
19. College Board offering, for short : PSAT
20. Guarded : LEERY
21. Nincompoop : DODO
22. Age : RIPEN
24. Foggy condition : DAZE
27. They go to the dogs : SCRAPS
29. Unrelenting : MERCILESS
34. Stops streaming : CLOTS
35. Part of ISIL : LEVANT
36. Small slice of pizza? : ZEE
37. Party hearty : RAVE
38. X : DELETE
39. Help in a gym : SPOT
40. Poetic preposition : ERE
41. Draconian : SEVERE
42. Ex-Expo Rusty : STAUB
43. Deliveries in the early 1940s : WAR BABIES
45. Hardly generous : MEASLY
46. Santa ___ : ROSA
47. They have strong teeth : GEARS
48. Salinger title girl : ESME
51. Prey for an eagle or bear : TROUT
54. Monster of TV : ELMO
57. Sophomoric rejoinder : THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID
61. 1958 Bobby Freeman hit covered by the Beach Boys and the Ramones : DO YOU WANT TO DANCE
62. Be beneficial to : STAND IN GOOD STEAD

Down

1. Part of a locker : HASP
2. Love symbol that names another love symbol if you move the first letter to the end : EROS
3. Moon buggy : LUNAR ROVER
4. Kick-start : INITIATE
5. Banned pollutant, for short : CFC
6. A large quantity : OODLES
7. Show vanity, in a way : PREEN
8. Have a large quantity of liquor : TOPE
9. ___’acte : ENTR
10. Drink after a race, say : REHYDRATE
11. Pressure meas. : PSF
12. French toast maker, maybe : AMI
13. 14-line poem with only two rhymes : RONDEL
14. Prefix with sperm : ENDO-
15. “No ___” : NEED
16. Veteran’s opposite : TYRO
23. Certain letter addendum, for short : PPS
25. Result of an oil surplus : ACNE
26. 25-Down unit : ZIT
27. Thread holder : SCREW
28. Santa ___ : CLARA
29. Word from the French for “mixed” : MELEE
30. Civil rights icon Medgar : EVERS
31. Quick way through a toll plaza : E-ZPASS LANE
32. Summer Olympics host before Barcelona : SEOUL
33. Save for later : SET BY
35. Giant : LEVIATHAN
38. Eugene in labor history : DEBS
39. Gives a blank look : STARES AT
41. ___ Jorge (one of the Azores) : SAO
42. “He who holds the ___ must be master of the empire”: Cicero : SEA
44. Native of NW France : BRETON
45. Kind of acting : METHOD
47. Spirit : GUSTO
48. Some sked predictions : ETDS
49. Completely ruined : SHOT
50. Itzamna worshipers : MAYA
52. Requested service : RANG
53. Palindromic man’s name : OTTO
55. It’s flaky : MICA
56. Had too much, in brief : OD’ED
58. Dijon-to-Lyon direction : SUD
59. Teens fight, for short : WWI
60. Story assigners, in brief : EDS