0510-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 10 May 2018, Thursday

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Constructed by: Caitlin Reid
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Reveal Answer: Dead Center

Themed answers incorporate the word “DEAD” that is assumed to occupy the black square at the CENTER of the grid:

  • 51A. Bull’s-eye … or a hint to this puzzle’s theme : DEAD CENTER
  • 33A. “Break a leg!” : KNOCK ‘EM DEAD!
  • 35A. In any condition, as an outlaw : DEAD OR ALIVE
  • 7D. Abandoned while there still might have been hope : LEFT FOR DEAD
  • 40D. Certain absentee parent : DEADBEAT DAD

Bill’s time: 9m 12s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

11. Take flight? : LAM

To be on the lam is to be in flight, to have escaped from prison. “On the lam” is American slang that originated at the end of the 19th century. The word “lam” also means to “beat” or “thrash”, as in “lambaste”. So “on the lam” might derive from the phrase “to beat it, to scram”.

16. Something found near a temple : EAR

The sides of the head behind the eyes are known as the “temples”.

17. Kismet : KARMA

Karma is religious concept with its basis in Indian faiths. Karma embraces the notion of cause and effect. Good deeds have good consequences at some later point in one’s life, one’s future life, or one’s afterlife. And, bad deeds have bad consequences.

“Kismet” is a Turkish word, meaning “fate, fortune, lot”.

18. SAG partner : AFTRA

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) was founded in 1937 as AFRA. AFTRA merged with the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) in 2012, forming SAG-AFTRA.

25. 2015 “Mad Max” reboot, familiarly : FURY ROAD

”Mad Max: Fury Road” is a 2015 film in the “Mad Max” series, one that was released a full thirty years after the third installment, “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome”. The title character was played by Mel Gibson in the first three movies, with Tom Hardy taking over for the fourth film. I must admit, I’m not a “Mad Max” fan …

28. “You’ve Got a Friend ___” (song from “Toy Story”) : IN ME

“You’ve Got a Friend in Me” is the theme song for the “Toy Story” series of animated films from Pixar. The song was written and first recorded by Randy Newman for the original “Toy Story” movie, with cover versions being used in subsequent releases.

29. Part of L.A.P.D. : LOS

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is the third largest local law enforcement agency in the country, after New York PD and Chicago PD. Among other things, LAPD is famous for creating the first Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team in the US, in 1965.

33. “Break a leg!” : KNOCK ‘EM DEAD!

There are many, many colorful theories for the origins of the expression “break a leg” that’s used in the world of theater to mean “good luck”. Regardless of the origin, what is clear is that using the phrase “good luck” is considered to be very “bad luck”.

40. Honey bunches? : BEES

Honey bees 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.

42. Gaelic language : ERSE

There are actually three Erse languages: Irish, Manx (spoken on the Isle of Man) and Scots Gaelic. In their own tongues, these would be Gaeilge (in Ireland), Gaelg (on the Isle of Man) and Gaidhlig (in Scotland).

50. Baseball’s Lefty : O’DOUL

Lefty O’Doul was a baseball player and manager from San Francisco. O’Doul was instrumental in spreading the popularity of the sport in Japan both before and after WWII. In fact, the Tokyo Giants were named by O’Doul, a reference to the New York Giants franchise with whom he spent the last years of his playing career. O’Doul also owned a restaurant in San Francisco that bears his name and which still operates today (near Union Square). There’s a bridge near AT&T Park, the Giant’s relatively new ballpark, that’s called Lefty O’Doul Bridge.

55. Spectrum or Xfinity, briefly : ISP

Internet service provider (ISP)

57. Guitarist Van Halen : EDDIE

Van Halen is a heavy metal band formed in Pasadena, California back in 1972. Brothers Eddie and Alex Van Halen originally called the band Mammoth, changing the name to Van Halen in 1974 when they found out there was another Mammoth playing the circuit. Early on, the brothers were renting a sound system from David Lee Roth, and they decided to save some money by bringing him into the band and saving on the rental fee!

59. Diego Rivera’s specialty : MURAL

Diego Rivera was a Mexican painter, famous for his murals. His wife was the equally famous Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

61. Half of none? : ENS

Half of the letters in the word “none” are letters N (ens).

62. Bygone equivalent of “OMG!” : EGADS

“OMG” is text-speak for “Oh My Gosh!” “Oh My Goodness!” or any other G-words you might think of …

Down

4. Sound quality : TIMBRE

The timbre of a sound is its distinguishing quality above and beyond its volume and pitch. “Timbre” was used in Old French to mean “sound of a bell”.

5. Gate info : ETA

Estimated time of arrival (ETA)

6. Noggin : BEAN

Slang terms for “head” are “bean” and “noggin”.

10. Sordid : SEAMY

We’ve used “seamy” to mean “the least pleasant, the worst” since the 1600s. The idea comes from the seamed side of a sewn garment being the less attractive.

11. One of the Fab Four : LENNON

The Beatles were described on the sleeve notes of their 1963 album “With the Beatles” as the “fabulous foursome”. The press picked up on the phrase and morphed it into “the Fab Four”.

13. One half of a “strange case” : MR HYDE

Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” was published in 1886. There are many tales surrounding the writing of the story including one that the author wrote the basic tale in just three to six days, and spent a few weeks simply refining it. Allegedly, Stevenson’s use of cocaine stimulated his creative juices during those few days of writing.

22. Bay window : ORIEL

An oriel window is a bay window that projects from a wall, but does not reach all the way to the ground.

24. “Parenthood” actress Christensen : ERIKA

Actress Erika Christensen is probably best known for playing a young cocaine addict in the film “Traffic” (2000), and the youngest daughter of the Braverman family on the TV show “Parenthood”.

26. Jan. honoree : MLK

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a US Federal holiday taking place on the third Monday of each year. It celebrates the birthday of Dr. King, and was signed into law by President Reagan in 1983, and first observed in 1986. However, some states resisted naming the holiday MLK Day, and gave it alternative names (like “Civil Rights Day”). It was officially celebrated as MLK Day in all 50 states from the year 2000 onwards.

27. Laddie topper : TAM

A tam o’shanter is a man’s cap traditionally worn by Scotsmen. “Tams” were originally all blue (and called “blue bonnets”) but as more dyes became readily available they became more colorful. The name of the cap comes from the title character of the Robert Burns poem “Tam O’Shanter”.

31. “The Daily Show” host after Jon : TREVOR

Trevor Noah is a comedian from Johannesburg, South Africa. Noah took over as host of the Comedy Channel’s “The Daily Show” after Jon Stewart retired. Noah can speak several languages, including English, Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, Afrikaans, and German.

36. “Eureka!” : I FOUND IT!

“Eureka” translates from Greek as “I have found it”. The word is usually associated with Archimedes, uttered as he stepped into his bath one day. His discovery was that the volume of water that was displaced was equal to that of the object (presumably his foot) that had been submerged. He used this fact to determine the volume of a crown, something he needed in order to determine if it was made of pure gold or was a forgery.

38. Tolkien creature : ENT

Ents are those tree-like creatures that live in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth in his series of books “The Lord of the Rings”. “Ent” is an Old English word for “giant”.

42. Salad vegetable : ENDIVE

Endive is a leaf vegetable belonging to the chicory genus, and is in the daisy family. Endive is also known as escarole.

43. German chocolate brand : RIESEN

Riesen is a brand of chocolate that is produced and sold mainly in Germany, but is also sold here in the US. Riesen introduced a recipe for a hot chocolate drink in 2007. The recipe calls for melting the chocolate candy over heat in a saucepan, then adding one cup of milk per candy piece. Sprinkle nutmeg to taste.

48. Start of an old boast : I CAME …

The oft-quoted statement “Veni, vidi, vici” (“I came, I saw, I conquered”) is believed by many to have been written by Julius Caesar. The words date back to 47 BC and refer to the short war between Rome and Pharnaces II of Pontus.

49. Put through beta testing : DEBUG

Back in 1947, famed computer programmer Grace Hopper noticed some colleagues fixing a piece of equipment by removing a dead moth from a relay. She remarked that they were “debugging” the system, and so Hopper has been given credit for popularizing that term.

54. Reject : VETO

The verb “veto” comes directly from Latin and means “I forbid”. The term was used by tribunes of Ancient Rome to indicate that they opposed measures passed by the Senate.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Very sore : IRATE
6. Monday feeling, with “the” : BLAHS
11. Take flight? : LAM
14. Overhaul : REFIT
15. Unsettling, in a way : EERIE
16. Something found near a temple : EAR
17. Kismet : KARMA
18. SAG partner : AFTRA
19. Kind of degree : NTH
20. Big piece of a sheet cake : SLAB
21. Well-aimed : ON THE MONEY
23. Street clearer : SIREN
25. 2015 “Mad Max” reboot, familiarly : FURY ROAD
26. Debate figure : MODERATOR
28. “You’ve Got a Friend ___” (song from “Toy Story”) : IN ME
29. Part of L.A.P.D. : LOS
30. Skyscraper support : I-BAR
31. Football kickoff aid : TEE
33. “Break a leg!” : KNOCK ‘EM DEAD!
35. In any condition, as an outlaw : DEAD OR ALIVE
39. Snitch : RAT
40. Honey bunches? : BEES
41. Spread (out) : FAN
42. Gaelic language : ERSE
45. Finished, as a term of office : SERVED OUT
47. “You’re clever!” : NICE IDEA!
50. Baseball’s Lefty : O’DOUL
51. Bull’s-eye … or a hint to this puzzle’s theme : DEAD CENTER
53. Being broadcast : ON TV
55. Spectrum or Xfinity, briefly : ISP
56. Dwelling : ABODE
57. Guitarist Van Halen : EDDIE
58. Fork in the road, basically : VEE
59. Diego Rivera’s specialty : MURAL
60. Twinkle : GLINT
61. Half of none? : ENS
62. Bygone equivalent of “OMG!” : EGADS
63. Beginning, informally : GET-GO

Down

1. Peeves : IRKS
2. Not too far from now : REAL SOON
3. “Yes, unfortunately” : AFRAID SO
4. Sound quality : TIMBRE
5. Gate info : ETA
6. Noggin : BEAN
7. Abandoned while there still might have been hope : LEFT FOR DEAD
8. PBS Kids’ cartoon aardvark : ARTHUR
9. Personnel director, at times : HIRER
10. Sordid : SEAMY
11. One of the Fab Four : LENNON
12. Jackson Generals or Portland Sea Dogs : AA TEAM
13. One half of a “strange case” : MR HYDE
21. How money may be lost : ON A BET
22. Bay window : ORIEL
24. “Parenthood” actress Christensen : ERIKA
26. Jan. honoree : MLK
27. Laddie topper : TAM
31. “The Daily Show” host after Jon : TREVOR
32. Soothed : EASED
34. Rifleman’s ___ (part of Marine training) : CREED
35. “The Strife Is ___, the Battle Done” (old hymn) : O’ER
36. “Eureka!” : I FOUND IT!
37. Springing over : VAULTING
38. Tolkien creature : ENT
40. Certain absentee parent : DEADBEAT DAD
42. Salad vegetable : ENDIVE
43. German chocolate brand : RIESEN
44. Views from sea or land : SCAPES
45. Half of a Spanish union : SENORA
46. Output during a boring meeting, say : DOODLE
48. Start of an old boast : I CAME …
49. Put through beta testing : DEBUG
52. Certain reef dwellers : EELS
54. Reject : VETO
57. It may be beaten and eaten : EGG

26 thoughts on “0510-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 10 May 2018, Thursday”

  1. 17:05 Had a little trouble figuring out the theme. I thought something funny was going on and realized what it was at KNOCKEM.

  2. Newbie here…23:42. Merciful for a Thursday. Q: Are most of you folks puzzle subscribers or full paper subscribers? Any opinions on the digital crossword versus the analog/hard copy version of the crossword?

  3. Duncan- I have a digital subscription to the Times but that doesn’t get me the crossword so I also have the digital subscription for the puzzle. It took a little bit of time for me to get used to solving digitally rather than on paper but I like it. I think the app is very good easy to use.

  4. 24:40. Like Marc, I didn’t get the them until the very end. I did think it was cleverly done, however. Otherwise a relatively straightforward Thursday gimmick.

    Duncan – I just subscribe to the online puzzle. I think it costs $40/year which amounts to roughly 11 cents per day. That’s about as good an entertainment value as you’ll see anywhere. Once you get used to doing it online, it’s easier to do than on paper – especially if you do a lot of writeovers.

    Best –

  5. 16:31, no errors. A couple of bouts of cranial flatulence slowed me down; such as entering DR. HYDE in 13D before MR. HYDE; TIMBER in 4D before TIMBRE.

  6. I’ve asked this before and didn’t get a straight answer. What are Bill’s tools for solving? A dictionary or almanac or Google or ? Or nothing at all? Does Bill solve online where you get a bleep if you err? Let’s level the playing field!

  7. I’ve asked this before and didn’t get a straight answer. What tools does Bill use for solving? A dictionary or almanac or Google or ? Or nothing at all? Does Bill solve online where you get a beep if you err? Let’s level the playing field!

    1. Ken and Ken –
      Bill has answered this question in the past. He does them online, but he uses no resources at all other than what’s between his ears. He also shuts off any red letters (that would show an incorrect entry) or any congratulatory alerts (that would show the puzzle is successfully complete). He finishes the puzzle, he glances over it to be sure it’s how he wants it, then he hits a reveal button which tells him where any errors are or if he has completed it successfully. That’s how he gets his time and lists the number of errors he had – counting one square as 2 errors as he would have missed two words to miss the square.

      That’s about as level a playing field as it gets.

      Best –

    2. @Ken … Jeff’s answer is pretty complete, but you should also check out Bill’s FAQ, where he answers your question and others. Start by clicking on the little three-line symbol in the upper right corner (all the way at the top of this page) and then on the word “FAQ”.

  8. No errors. Thursday puzzles have been my “challenge-level” for a long time. I keep knocking them out consistently now so I am considering maybe moving on to trying some Friday puzzles once in a while.

    Duncan—-I am an old-fashioned paper and pen solver. I don’t even time myself. I like things just the way they are and have no interest in going digital.

  9. 11:59, 2 errors at the ICA(M)E/MU(R)AL crossing. The clues just didn’t resonate, so I simply filled in the wrong letter.

    But, I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed this puzzle. I loved the theme, and its application… which helps solve the puzzle, not just “sitting there looking cute and doing nothing”. Clues that made me smile when I “got the answer”. Well, done, Ms. Reid!!!! Take a bow!

    As for my solving method: paper, printed from the computer on four days, as my local paper is “half-digital” now. I have only tried online puzzles a time or two, and just did NOT like them. I couldn’t get used to clicking squares, issuing a command for which direction to enter in, and then entering. Always seems to me I can fill in a paper square (in pen) much faster. Also, the other digital boons (hints that something is wrong) rub me the wrong way. Call me a purist, or a dilettante, or whatever, I just like my puzzles done the traditional way: on paper, in pen, no aids whatsoever, and timed, to keep track of one’s progress and development! Basta!! 🙂

    1. @Allen … You still seem not to understand that the one and only “digital boon” in the NYT crossword app that you can’t get rid of (the “almost there” message that you get if you accidentally fill in the last square before you’re ready to declare yourself done) is only a “boon” in the way that you mean if you choose to make it so. But … I will never, ever, be able to convince you of that, so, as you say … basta!

  10. Pen on paper, and prefer it that way, though it sometimes results in some over-inked answers. I try to minimize those by checking crosses and writing small and lightly over iffy areas.

    Took much more time to finish today than I like, but found it clever, interesting, and fun.

  11. I got the theme, it was the regular clues that got me. Seamy…may be from the 1600s but I’ve never heard it used that way. sigh.

    I do the puzzle with pencil and a very large eraser. Comes out in the Sacramento Bee tho not on the day it appears in the NYT.

  12. I really liked this theme! I agree with the paper lovers — like to read real newspapers, and to do the puzzles in them (tho I’m not nearly as daring as those who use a pen — pencil [and eraser!] and paper is more my speed).

    Welcome, Duncan.

  13. Pen and ink, one from a subscription paper, two others printed out. Dont care about time as I do other things as well, such as answering emails, making a latte, etc. I can also move around more easily with paper. Don’t need clues or red letters. To each their own.

  14. I also prefer pen-and-paper solves and I do almost all my crossword puzzles that way, but I invested a huge amount of time in learning to use the NYT crossword app and there are a few things about it that I do like. I even like one thing about the “almost there” message that I complain about so often: When I fill in the final square and I get that message, it tells me only that I have at least one error somewhere, but it does not tell me where it is (or, perhaps, where they are). At that point, I acknowledge the error and go on the hunt for it. If the error is a “real” one (as opposed to a typo), that can be a valuable learning experience. If you solve on paper, you can simulate this only by having someone else check your answers.

    1. Dave, some friendly questions:

      So when you get to the final square, you fill it in, and only then do you get the “almost there” message, doesn’t that tell you that your error is very likely, if not necessarily, in that final square? Having someone else check your answers to simulate a digital check is to place a lot of confidence in them, isn’t it? And isn’t a typo a “real” error if you’ve left it that way, assuming you’ve taken any time to look over your presumably finished puzzle?

      These may be off-base nit-picks, but we seem to have reached a point in this continuing thread where questions like this can still be asked.

      1. Tom,

        What I try to do (and what I’m suggesting that Allen could do) is to keep empty a square whose contents I’m sure of and fill it in last, thereby essentially declaring that I’m done. If, at that point, I get the “almost there” message, I could do as Allen does: record the time, check my answers against the answer key (finding out, in the process, exactly where and what the errors are), and report them also. What I choose to do instead, since the clock is continuing to run, is to find the errors (wherever they may be), fix them (thereby finally stopping the clock), and then report that time, followed by a count of the errors that I fixed. Allen seems to feel that his way is somehow more honorable, but I feel that my way is equally honorable, if not more so, and I learn more. In any case, all I try to do is to report what I did; others may interpret it as they like.

        It’s important to understand, as I’ve said before, that I’m working on an iPad mini. As Allen mentioned above, getting to the first square in which you want to enter a character, setting the direction of fill to “across” or “down”, and then actually typing the chacters using one finger on a virtual version of a QWERTY keyboard is slower than doing it on paper; it’s also more error-prone (especially when you don’t notice that the fill direction didn’t get set properly, so that the characters you subsequently type go somewhere other than you intended). I try to check for errors as I go along, but this is harder than it would be on paper, because it’s harder to locate the clues for crossing entries, and I need two sets of eyes – one set to watch the finger doing the typing and another to watch the results in the grid.

        I distinguish between “real” errors (things that I intended to enter that went where I meant them to) from “typos” (that result from the clumsiness of the process). I do this because I would like to be judged on my crossword skills rather than my typing skills. I do a lot of puzzles on paper that are a lot harder than the NYT puzzles, with essentially no “typos”: seventy years of practice makes my pen do what I tell it to do on the paper (most of the time 😜).

        All of which makes me wonder why I bother with online solving, but it does have some advantages (and I am still, however slowly, getting better at it).

  15. 25 minutes, a couple stumbles that cleared up when I got the theme. I get the paper delivered (as I’ve noted I’m a low tech guy), and do ‘em in blue ink. They can be messy later in the week (which is why I’m not a fan of circled boxes)😏. I think it was Dave who mentioned doing them with different colored pens, which I could see as helpful. But then I’d have to change me ways😜

  16. 11 minutes, no errors. One of the times I wished I had a real stop watch to compare instead of the clock by my easy chair. But to be that close to Bill with my NYT syndicated paper solve here makes me want to see how I would have done with this on an online solve (since I find they’re faster than paper solves). Which I think answers the other question going on the thread, with respect to the NYT. I online solve other puzzles, but NYT has been all paper for me.

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