0507-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 7 May 2018, Monday

Constructed by: Julie Bérubé
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: Toolbox

Themed answers include the names of TOOLS as hidden words, which are spelled out in circled letters in the grid:

  • 38A. Locale of all the circled items in this puzzle : TOOLBOX
  • 17A. Group preparing a ball field for a game : GROUNDS CREW (hiding “screw”)
  • 27A. 1972 platinum album by the Allman Brothers Band : EAT A PEACH (hiding “tape”)
  • 48A. Doesn’t get near : STAYS AWAY (hiding “saw”)
  • 61A. Japanese delicacy served in thin slices : TUNA SASHIMI (hiding “shim”)
  • 12D. American Dance Theater founder : ALVIN AILEY (hiding “nail”)
  • 27D. Shoe that ties around the ankle : ESPADRILLE (hiding “drill”)

Bill’s time: 5m 05s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Peak near Tokyo: Abbr. : MT FUJI

Mount Fuji is Japan’s highest and most famous mountain. It is an active volcano situated just west of Tokyo.

7. Facts and figures : DATA

Our word “data” (singular “datum”) comes from the Latin “datum” meaning “given”. The idea is that data are “things given”.

14. Stuff that may make you go “Ah-choo!” : POLLEN

The fine powder known as pollen is basically a flower’s sperm. Pollen carries a seed plant’s male reproductive cells.

The pollen of ragweed is the greatest allergen of all pollens. It seems that the pollen season has been lengthening in recent years, probably due to global warming.

15. Actor Wilson of “Midnight in Paris” : OWEN

The actor Owen Wilson was nominated for an Oscar, but not for his acting. He was nominated for co-writing the screenplay for “The Royal Tenenbaums” along with Wes Anderson.

The 2011 Woody Allen movie called “Midnight in Paris” is a real gem in my opinion. I’ve never liked Woody Allen films, to be honest, mainly because I’m not a fan of Woody Allen as an actor. “Midnight in Paris” is very much a Woody Allen script, with Owen Wilson playing the role that Allen would usually reserve for himself. Wilson plays a much better Woody Allen! Highly recommended …

19. Homes on wheels, for short : RVS

Recreational vehicle (RV)

21. Like Monday crosswords, relatively speaking : EASY

It was the “New York Times” that introduced the concept of increasing the level of difficulty of puzzles as the week progresses. The easiest puzzle is published on Mondays, and the most difficult on Saturday. The Sunday puzzle features a larger grid and more clues, but is set at a level of difficulty of Thursday puzzles.

22. Protection : AEGIS

Someone is said to be under the aegis (also “egis”) of someone else (for example) if that other person provides protection, or perhaps sponsorship. The word “aegis” comes from the Greek word for a goat (“aigis”), the idea being that the goatskin shield or breastplate worn by Zeus or Athena, gave some measure of protection.

26. DuPont fiber : ORLON

Orlon is the brand name used by the DuPont Corporation for the acrylic fibers the company developed in 1941.

27. 1972 platinum album by the Allman Brothers Band : EAT A PEACH

The Allman Brothers Band has to be one of the most unlucky bands in the business. Soon after the group had its big break with the 1971 album “At Fillmore East”, one of the two Allman brothers, Duane, was killed in a motorcycle accident. One year later, bassist Berry Oakley was killed, also in a motorcycle accident.

33. Opposite of a liability : ASSET

Our word “asset”, meaning “owned item of value”, is actually an artificial singular that arose in the 1800s from the collective noun “assets”. “Assets” came from Anglo-French ”assetz”, with both terms originally used as adverbs meaning “sufficient estate to cover liabilities”.

36. Bit of acne : ZIT

The slang term “zit”, meaning “pimple”, came into the language in 1966, but no one seems to know its exact derivation.

41. Suffix with pay : -OLA

Payola is the illegal practice of paying radio stations or disk jockeys to repeatedly play a particular piece of music.

42. Running total at a bar : TAB

When we run a tab at a bar say, we are running a “tabulation”, a listing of what we owe. Such a use of “tab” is American slang that originated in the 1880s.

51. Peter who compiled a book of synonyms : ROGET

Peter Mark Roget was an English lexicographer. Roget was an avid maker of lists, apparently using the routine of list-making to combat depression, a condition he endured for most of his life. He published his famous thesaurus in 1852, with revisions and expansions being made years later by his son, and then in turn by his grandson.

53. James of jazz : ETTA

Etta James was best known for her beautiful rendition of the song “At Last”. Sadly, as she disclosed in her autobiography, James lived a life that was ravaged by drug addiction leading to numerous legal and health problems. Ms. James passed away in January 2012 having suffered from leukemia.

54. The Audi symbol has four of them : RINGS

The predecessor to today’s Audi company was called Auto Union. Auto Union was formed with the merger of four individual entities: Audi, Horch, DKW and Wanderer. The Audi logo comprises four intersecting rings, each representing one of the four companies that merged.

57. Musical cousin of calypso : 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.

The musical style known as calypso originated in Trinidad and Tobago, but there seems to be some debate about which influences were most important as the genre developed. It is generally agreed that the music was imported by African slaves from their homeland, but others emphasize influences of the medieval French troubadours. To me it sounds more African in nature. Calypso reached the masses when it was first recorded in 1912, and it spread around the world in the thirties and forties. It reached its pinnacle with the release of the famous “Banana Boat Song” by Harry Belafonte.

61. Japanese delicacy served in thin slices : TUNA SASHIMI

Sashimi is thinly sliced raw fish, although it can also be raw meat. The word “sashimi” translates literally as “pierced body”, which may be a reference to the practice of sticking the tail and fin to sliced fish to identify it.

68. ___ Moines, Iowa : DES

The city of Des Moines is the capital of Iowa, and takes its name from the Des Moines River. The river in turn takes its name from the French “Riviere des Moines” meaning “River of the Monks”. It looks like there isn’t any “monkish” connection to the city’s name per se. “Des Moines” was just the name given by French traders who corrupted “Moingona”, the name of a group of Illinois Native Americans who lived by the river. However, others do contend that French Trappist monks, who lived a full 200 miles from the river, somehow influenced the name.

Down

1. Fuel economy measure, for short : MPG

Miles per gallon (mpg)

3. Ice sheet : FLOE

An ice floe is a sheet of ice that has separated from an ice field and is floating freely on the ocean.

4. Wail in grief : ULULATE

A ululation is a high-pitched trill, a sound usually practiced by women in ritual situations. I came across the practice not too long ago as an expression of celebration at an Arab-American wedding.

5. Actress Aniston, to friends : JEN

Jennifer Aniston won a 2002 Emmy for playing Rachel on the great sitcom “Friends”. Jennifer’s parents are both actors, and her godfather is the actor Telly Savalas.

7. E.R. figures : DOCS

Doctors (docs) might be found working in emergency rooms (ERs).

8. Off-kilter : AWRY

To be “off-kilter” is to be off balance, not aligned. To be “out of kilter” is to be out of order, not in good condition.

10. Egypt’s Sadat : ANWAR

Anwar Sadat was the third President of Egypt right up to the time of his assassination in 1981. Sadat won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978 along with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin for the role played in crafting the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty of 1978 at Camp David. It was this agreement that largely led to Sadat’s assassination three years later.

11. Blue-veined Italian cheese : GORGONZOLA

Gorgonzola is an Italian blue cheese that bears the name of the town in Lombardy in which it originated.

12. American Dance Theater founder : ALVIN AILEY

Alvin Ailey was a dancer who formed his own troupe in New York in 1958, naming it “the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater”. The most famous work that Ailey choreographed was called “Revelations”. President Barack Obama awarded Ailey the Presidential Medal of Freedom, posthumously in 2014.

18. “Smooth Operator” singer, 1985 : SADE

The singer Sade’s real name is Helen Folasade Adu. Although she was born in Nigeria, Sade grew up and lives in the UK. She was the lead vocalist for the English group Sade, and adopted the name of the band. The band’s biggest hits were “Smooth Operator” (1984) and “The Sweetest Taboo” (1985).

23. Aboveground trains : ELS

Elevated railroad (El)

25. Light bulb units : WATTS

James Watt was a Scottish inventor. He figured prominently in the Industrial Revolution in Britain, largely due to the improvements he made to the fledgling steam engine. The SI unit of power is called the watt, and was named in his honor.

32. School grps. : PTAS

Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)

33. Sparkling Italian wine : ASTI

Asti is a sparkling white wine from the Piedmont region of Italy, and is named for the town of Asti around which the wine is produced. The wine used to be called Asti Spumante, and it had a very bad reputation as a “poor man’s champagne”. The “Spumante” was dropped in a marketing attempt at rebranding associated with a reduction in the amount of residual sugar in the wine.

35. One living abroad, informally : EXPAT

Expatriate (expat)

47. Shape of a Silly Putty container : EGG

Silly Putty is a silicone polymer that is marketed as a toy, usually sold in an egg-shaped plastic container. It is a remarkable material that can flow like a liquid and can also bounce. Silly Putty was one of those accidental creations, an outcome of research during WWII in search of substitutes for rubber. The substitution became urgent as Japan invaded rubber-producing countries all around the Pacific Rim.

50. Sheetlike gray clouds : STRATI

Stratus clouds (plural “strati”) are very common, and as they are wider than they are tall and flat along the bottom, we might just see them as haze in a featureless sky above us. Stratus clouds are basically the same as fog, but above the ground. Indeed, many stratus clouds are formed when morning fog lifts into the air as the ground heats up.

52. Ending with poly- : -ESTER

Esters are very common chemicals. The smaller, low-molecular weight esters are usually pleasant smelling and are often found in perfumes. At the other end of the scale, the higher-molecular weight nitroglycerin is a nitrate ester and is very explosive, and polyester is a huge molecule and is a type of plastic. Fats and oils found in nature are fatty acid esters of glycerol known as glycerides.

54. The Beatles’ “Abbey ___” : ROAD

The Abbey Road Studios in London was a large Georgian townhouse built in the 1830s. It became a recording studio in 1931, and you can even see some YouTube video showing Sir Edward Elgar back then making recordings with the London symphony Orchestra. The studios passed through various owners and by the time the Beatles started their famous recording it was known as EMI Studios. The Beatles recorded practically all of their albums there, between 1962 and 1970. Famously they named a 1969 album after the studio, “Abbey Road”. That’s the one with the cover showing the Fab Four crossing the “zebra crossing” outside the studio.

56. Honey Bunches of ___ : OATS

Honey Bunches of Oats is a breakfast cereal made by Post Foods.

62. Actress Thurman : UMA

Uma Thurman started her working career as a fashion model, at the age of 15. She appeared in her first movies at 17, with her most acclaimed early role being Cécile de Volanges in 1988’s “Dangerous Liaisons”. Thurman’s career really took off when she played the gangster’s “moll” in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” in 1994. My favorite of all Thurman’s movies is “The Truth About Cats & Dogs”, a less acclaimed romcom released in 1996. She took a few years off from 1998 until 2002, doing very little work in favor of motherhood. It was Tarantino who relaunched her career, giving her the lead in the “Kill Bill” films.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Peak near Tokyo: Abbr. : MT FUJI
7. Facts and figures : DATA
11. Guy’s date : GAL
14. Stuff that may make you go “Ah-choo!” : POLLEN
15. Actor Wilson of “Midnight in Paris” : OWEN
16. Cheer at a bullfight : OLE!
17. Group preparing a ball field for a game : GROUNDS CREW
19. Homes on wheels, for short : RVS
20. Slippery fish : EEL
21. Like Monday crosswords, relatively speaking : EASY
22. Protection : AEGIS
24. Blown away : AWED
26. DuPont fiber : ORLON
27. 1972 platinum album by the Allman Brothers Band : EAT A PEACH
31. “___ out of it!” : SNAP
33. Opposite of a liability : ASSET
34. Window section : PANE
36. Bit of acne : ZIT
37. Globe: Abbr. : SPH
38. Locale of all the circled items in this puzzle : TOOLBOX
41. Suffix with pay : -OLA
42. Running total at a bar : TAB
43. Apartment building overseer, informally : SUPE
44. Gets whiter : PALES
46. Not working : IDLE
48. Doesn’t get near : STAYS AWAY
51. Peter who compiled a book of synonyms : ROGET
53. James of jazz : ETTA
54. The Audi symbol has four of them : RINGS
55. Fly high : SOAR
57. Musical cousin of calypso : SKA
60. Ancient : OLD
61. Japanese delicacy served in thin slices : TUNA SASHIMI
65. Hearty brew : ALE
66. Send off, as rays : EMIT
67. One always making adjustments on the job? : TAILOR
68. ___ Moines, Iowa : DES
69. Releases of Drake and Cardi B : RAPS
70. Tune out : IGNORE

Down

1. Fuel economy measure, for short : MPG
2. Ripped : TORE
3. Ice sheet : FLOE
4. Wail in grief : ULULATE
5. Actress Aniston, to friends : JEN
6. Seriously involved : IN DEEP
7. E.R. figures : DOCS
8. Off-kilter : AWRY
9. Shirt that might have a slogan on it : TEE
10. Egypt’s Sadat : ANWAR
11. Blue-veined Italian cheese : GORGONZOLA
12. American Dance Theater founder : ALVIN AILEY
13. Not so much : LESS
18. “Smooth Operator” singer, 1985 : SADE
23. Aboveground trains : ELS
25. Light bulb units : WATTS
26. “Say it isn’t so!” : OH NO!
27. Shoe that ties around the ankle : ESPADRILLE
28. Some women with light-colored hair : ASH BLONDES
29. Cop ___ (confess in return for lighter punishment) : A PLEA
30. Taxi : CAB
32. School grps. : PTAS
33. Sparkling Italian wine : ASTI
35. One living abroad, informally : EXPAT
39. Boot out : OUST
40. Make a choice : OPT
45. Completely covered with : AWASH IN
47. Shape of a Silly Putty container : EGG
49. Affirmative votes : YEAS
50. Sheetlike gray clouds : STRATI
52. Ending with poly- : -ESTER
54. The Beatles’ “Abbey ___” : ROAD
55. Scissors sound : SNIP
56. Honey Bunches of ___ : OATS
58. About 2.2 pounds, for short : KILO
59. Latin love : AMOR
62. Actress Thurman : UMA
63. What shoulders may do after a disappointment : SAG
64. Fury : IRE

10 thoughts on “0507-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 7 May 2018, Monday”

  1. 6:21 No issues today. Nice to see some long downs on a Monday.

    @Jeff The Golden Knights are looking great. Amazing how well they’re playing.

  2. 9:50 including having to hunt down two typos. I also had to navigate ASH BLONDES and ESPADRILLE completely by crosses.

    @Marc –
    It’s been a fun ride with the Golden Knights. I’m almost disappointed I don’t get to go to a Game 7 tomorrow night. But another round of playoffs is coming, and I have never seen a sports atmosphere like this in my life. Inside is insane, and before and after the games you find yourself on the Vegas strip. I just wish I could see my Blues make a run like this…although they did make the conf finals 2 years ago.

    Best –

  3. 6:13 no errors
    Since sports, or the lack there of, seems to be the theme of the comments today- SWEEEEEEEEP!!!

  4. 7:40, and no errors. Not exactly “easy”… but not difficult either. More so than for an average Monday, 21A notwithstanding.

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