0514-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 14 May 2018, Monday

Constructed by: Andrea Carla Michaels
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Reveal Answer: Fight Club

Themed answers each start with a word associated with a FIGHT:

  • 62A. 1999 Brad Pitt movie hinted at by the beginnings of 17-, 21-, 39- and 52-Across : FIGHT CLUB
  • 17A. End of a drinking hose : BITE VALVE
  • 21A. Get going, as an old motorcycle or a new company : KICKSTART
  • 39A. Like some magazine perfume ads : SCRATCH-AND-SNIFF
  • 52A. Party vessel with a ladle : PUNCH BOWL

Bill’s time: 5m 14s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5. Lead-in to “di” or “da” in a Beatles song : OB-LA-

“Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” is one of many songs credited to Lennon/McCartney that was actually written by just one of the pair. Paul McCartney wrote this one, a song that John Lennon really did not like at all. Apparently, Lennon was quite obstructionist during the recording of the song and even walked out at one point.

9. Fowl raised for food : POULT

A poult is a young fowl, like a turkey, chicken or pheasant

14. Commedia dell’___ : ARTE

“Commedia dell’arte” translates literally from Italian as “comedy of craft”. It is a style of theater that started out in Italy in the mid-1500s. The commedia featured a cast of stock characters such as devious servants and foolish old men, most of whom wore distinctive and recognizable masks. Some of the better known characters are Harlequin (a foolish but acrobatic servant), and Pantalone (a lascivious old merchant).

17. End of a drinking hose : BITE VALVE

Bite valves are routinely found at the drinking end of the pipe leading to the reservoir in a hydration system. Hydration systems are routinely carried these days by many participating in recreations such as cycling and hiking. The bite valve allows control of the flow of the liquid with minimal effort.

19. Rand McNally volume : ATLAS

Rand McNally is a company long associated with the city of Chicago. Its roots go back to 1856 when William Rand opened a printing shop in the city. Two years later he hired an Irish immigrant named Andrew McNally and the pair turned to printing tickets and timetables for the railroad industry. They diversified into “railroad guides” in 1870, including the first Rand McNally map in the December 1872 edition. When automobile travel started to become significant, Rand and McNally turned their attention to roads and they published their first road map in 1904, a map of New York City. Rand and McNally popularized the use of highway numbers, and indeed erected many roadside highway signs themselves, long before the state and federal authorities adopted the idea.

20. Diving gear : SCUBA

The self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) was co-invented by celebrated French marine explorer Jacques Cousteau.

26. Rapper with the 1996 double-platinum album “Hard Core” : LIL’ KIM

“Lil’ Kim” is the stage name of rap artist Kimberly Denise Jones from Brooklyn, New York. Lil’ Kim spent a year in jail in 2005 for lying to a jury in a case about a shooting.

29. Handyman’s inits. : DIY

Back in Ireland we don’t have “hardware stores” as such, but rather “DIY centres” (and that’s the spelling of “centres”). “DIY” is an initialism standing for “Do it yourself”.

35. Enero begins it : ANO

In Spanish, we start the “año” (year) in “enero” (January) as noted on a “calendario” (calendar).

36. Certain red dye : EOSIN

Eosin is a red dye that fluoresces under light, and that is used in the lab as a stain on microscope slides. It is particularly effective in staining animal tissues. Eosin is also used as a toner in cosmetics.

43. Borden milk’s cow : ELSIE

Elsie the Cow is the mascot of the Borden Company. Elsie first appeared at the New York World’s Fair in 1939, introduced to symbolize the perfect dairy product. She is so famous and respected that she has been awarded the degrees of Doctor of Bovinity, Doctor fo Human Kindness and Doctor of Ecownomics. Elsie was also given a husband named Elmer the Bull. Elmer eventually moved over to the chemical division of Borden where he gave his name to Elmer’s Glue.

44. 6-3 or 7-6, e.g. : SET

That could be the score in a tennis match ….

45. Cy Young Award winner Hershiser : OREL

Orel Hershiser is big into poker now that he has retired from Major League Baseball. Hershiser lives in Las Vegas and when he isn’t working for ESPN, apparently he is at the poker tables, playing professionally. When Hershiser is eliminated in a poker tournament, he is in the habit of presenting the person who ousts him with an autographed baseball.

Cy Young was a pitcher in the major leagues from 1890-1911. Young is remembered for pitching the first perfect game of baseball’s modern era. Soon after he died in 1955, the Cy Young Award was created and is presented to the best pitcher in each baseball season.

46. Faux ___ : PAS

The term “faux pas” is French in origin, and translates literally as “false step” (or “false steps”, as the plural has the same spelling in French).

49. Like non-Rx drugs : OTC

Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs don’t need a prescription (Rx).

52. Party vessel with a ladle : PUNCH BOWL

The drink we call “punch” can be either alcoholic or non-alcoholic, but usually contains some fruit juice and/or fruit. The original “punch” was served in India, and the name comes from the Hindi word “panch” meaning “five”. This name was used because the traditional drink had “five” ingredients: alcohol, sugar, lemon, water and tea or spices.

62. 1999 Brad Pitt movie hinted at by the beginnings of 17-, 21-, 39- and 52-Across : FIGHT CLUB

“Fight Club” is a 1996 novel by Chuck Palahniuk about an insomniac who uses an underground fighting club as psychotherapy for his sleeping disorder. Palahniuk’s novel was adapted into a famous 1999 movie starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton.

64. Planet demoted to “dwarf planet” in 2006 : PLUTO

Pluto was discovered in 1930, and was welcomed as the ninth planet in our solar system. Pluto is relatively small in size, just one fifth of the mass of our own moon. In the seventies, astronomers began to discover more large objects in the solar system, including Eris, a “scattered disc object” at the outer reaches. Given that Eris is actually bigger than Pluto, and other objects really aren’t that much smaller, Pluto’s status as a planet was drawn into question. In 2006 there was a scientific definition for a “planet” agreed for the first time, resulting in Pluto being relegated to the status of “dwarf planet”, along with Eris.

65. Woman of the Haus : FRAU

In German, a “Herr” (Mr.) is married to a “Frau” (Mrs.), and they live together in a “Haus” (house).

66. Fishes that may shock you : EELS

“Electrophorus electricus” is the biological name for the electric eel. Despite its name, the electric “eel” isn’t an eel at all, but rather what is called a knifefish, a fish with an elongated body that is related to the catfish. The electric eel has three pairs of organs along its abdomen, each capable of generating an electric discharge. The shock can go as high as 500 volts with 1 ampere of current (that’s 500 watts), and that could perhaps kill a human.

69. Go bananas : SNAP

The expression “to go bananas” is one that I would have imagined had a clear etymology but that doesn’t seem to be the case. A further surprise is that we’ve only been “going bananas” since the sixties, in the days of flower power. One apt theory about the hippy roots of the phrase is that there was an unfounded belief that ingesting roasted banana peels had a similar hallucinogenic effect as magic mushrooms.

Down

2. “Spamalot” creator Idle : ERIC

Eric Idle is one of the founding members of the Monty Python team. Idle was very much the musician of the bunch, and is an accomplished guitarist. If you’ve seen the Monty Python film “The Life of Brian”, you might remember the closing number “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”. It was sung by Idle, and was indeed written by him. That song made it to number 3 in the UK charts in 1991.

The hit musical “Spamalot” is a show derived from the 1974 movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”. In typical Monty Python style, the action starts just before the curtain goes up with an announcement recorded by the great John Cleese:

(You can) let your cell phones and pagers ring willy-nilly … (but) be aware there are heavily armed knights on stage that may drag you on stage and impale you.

3. Caesar’s rebuke to Brutus : ET TU?

It was Shakespeare who popularized the words “Et tu, Brute?” (meaning “And you, Brutus?”). They appear in his play “Julius Caesar”, although the phrase had been around long before he penned his drama. It’s not known what Julius Caesar actually said in real life (if anything at all) as he was assassinated on on the steps of the Senate in Rome.

4. Nike competitor : REEBOK

The brand name Reebok was adopted as the new company name for Foster Shoes of the UK in 1960. The name Reebok (more commonly “Rhebok”) is an Afrikaans word for an antelope, and comes from the term “roe buck”.

7. Blue jeans pioneer Strauss : LEVI

Levi Strauss was the founder of the first company in the world to manufacture blue jeans. Levi Strauss & Co. opened in 1853 in San Francisco. Strauss and his business partner were awarded a patent in 1873 for the use of copper rivets to strengthen points of strain on working pants.

8. Trump portrayer Baldwin : ALEC

Alec Baldwin is the oldest of the acting Baldwin brothers. I think Alec’s big break was playing Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan in “The Hunt for Red October”, but thank goodness that role was taken over by Harrison Ford for the subsequent Jack Ryan movies. Baldwin also made a name for himself playing Jack Donaghy on “30 Rock”, opposite Tina Fey. More recently, he is known for impersonating President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live”.

11. The N.C.A.A.’s Bruins : UCLA

The UCLA Bruins’ mascots are Joe and Josephine Bruin, characters that have evolved over the years. There used to be “mean” Bruin mascots but they weren’t very popular with the fans, so now there are only “happy” Bruin mascots at the games.

12. Word repeated before “pants on fire” : LIAR

The full rhyme used by children to deride someone not telling the truth is:

Liar, liar, pants on fire,
Hang them up on the telephone wire.

The rhyme is the source of the title for the 1997 Jim Carrey comedy “Liar Liar”. “Liar Liar” is an amusing film about a lawyer who finds himself only able to tell the truth and cannot tell a lie, all because his son made a birthday wish.

18. Magazine of show business : VARIETY

“Variety” is a trade magazine dedicated to the entertainment industry. It was founded in 1905 in New York, but is now based in Los Angeles.

24. Fellow who might be senior class president, for short : BMOC

Big Man On Campus (BMOC)

26. Rope in a Wild West show : LASSO

Our English word “lasso” comes from the Spanish “lazo”, and ultimately from the Latin “laqueum” meaning “noose, snare”.

28. Peter of “The Maltese Falcon” : LORRE

The marvelous actor Peter Lorre was born in what is now modern-day Slovakia. Lorre’s real name was Laszlo Lowenstein. He started acting in Vienna when he was quite young, only 17 years old. When Hitler came to power, the Jewish Lowenstein headed to Paris and then London, eventually ending up in Hollywood. Lorre found himself typecast as the wicked foreigner in American movies, but I think he sneered and snarled his way to the bank.

The classic detective novel “The Maltese Falcon” was written by Dashiell Hammett and first published in 1930. The main character is Sam Spade, a character played by Humphrey Bogart in the third movie adaptation of the book, a film of the same name and released in 1941.

32. Licorice flavoring : ANISE

Liquorice (also “licorice”) and aniseed have similar flavors, but they come from unrelated plants. The liquorice plant is a legume like a bean, and the sweet flavor is an extract from the roots. The flavor mainly comes from an ether compound called anethole, the same substance that gives the distinctive flavor to anise. The seedpods of the anise plant are what we know as “aniseed”. The anise seeds themselves are usually ground to release the flavor.

34. Alternatives to Ubers : LYFTS

Lyft is a ridesharing service that is based in San Francisco, as is Uber, Lyft’s biggest competitor.

37. Mets’ former ballpark : SHEA

Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows, New York was named after William A. Shea, the man credited with bringing National League baseball back to the city in the form of the New York Mets. Shea Stadium was dismantled in 2008-2009, and the site now provides additional parking for the new stadium nearby called Citi Field.

38. Poet whose work inspired “Cats” : TS ELIOT

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s source material for his hit musical “Cats” was T. S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”. Eliot’s collection of whimsical poems was published in 1939, and was a personal favorite of Webber as he was growing up. “Cats” is the second longest running show in Broadway history (“Phantom of the Opera” is the longest and is still running; deservedly so in my humble opinion). My wife and I have seen “Cats” a couple of times and really enjoyed it …

41. Carpe ___ (seize the day: Lat.) : DIEM

“Carpe diem” is a quotation from Horace, one of Ancient Rome’s leading lyric poets. “Carpe diem” translates from Latin as “seize the day” or “enjoy the day”. The satirical motto of a procrastinator is “carpe mañana”, “translating” as “seize tomorrow”.

46. Banned pollutant, in brief : PCB

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were banned with good reason. Apart from their link to cancer and other disorders in humans and animals, they are extremely persistent in the environment once contamination has occurred. Among other things, PCBs were used as coolants and insulating fluids in electrical gear such as transformers and large capacitors, as well as a transfer agent in carbonless copy paper.

48. Cards that may be “wild” in poker : DEUCES

A “two” playing card might be called a “deuce”, from the Middle French “deus” (or Modern French “deux”) meaning “two”.

52. “___ Was a Rollin’ Stone” (Temptations hit) : PAPA

“Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” is a 1971 song that was originally released by a Motown act called the Undisputed Truth. The song was re-released the following year by the Temptations, and became a number-one hit. The Temptations version is an impressive twelve minutes in length, with an instrumental introduction that lasts almost four minutes.

53. Addresses that may be linked on the web : URLS

Internet addresses (like NYTCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) are more correctly called Uniform Resource Locators (URLs).

58. Campbell who sang “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” : GLEN

I went to a Glen Campbell concert in Reno many, many years ago, and I was surprised by how many hits the man had over the years. He really was one of the original crossover artists between country and popular music, as evidenced by his winning Grammy Awards in both categories in 1967. That year he won the country award for “Gentle on My Mind” and the pop award for “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”.

59. Hawaiian dance : HULA

The hula is a native dance of Hawaii that uses arm movements to relate a story. The hula can be performed while sitting (a noho dance) or while standing (a luna dance).

60. Recipe measure: Abbr. : TBSP

Tablespoon (tbsp.)

63. Vocalize on a kazoo : HUM

The modern instrument we know today as the kazoo was invented by one Alabama Vest of Macon, Georgia in the 1800s. The kazoo first came to the public’s attention at the Georgia State Fair of 1852, when it was known as the “Down-South Submarine” (because of its shape, I would imagine).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Wolfish look : LEER
5. Lead-in to “di” or “da” in a Beatles song : OB-LA-
9. Fowl raised for food : POULT
14. Commedia dell’___ : ARTE
15. Gas, oil or coal : FUEL
16. Port St. ___, Fla. : LUCIE
17. End of a drinking hose : BITE VALVE
19. Rand McNally volume : ATLAS
20. Diving gear : SCUBA
21. Get going, as an old motorcycle or a new company : KICKSTART
23. Spheres, in poetry : ORBS
25. Angsty music genre : EMO
26. Rapper with the 1996 double-platinum album “Hard Core” : LIL’ KIM
29. Handyman’s inits. : DIY
31. What sirens do : WAIL
35. Enero begins it : ANO
36. Certain red dye : EOSIN
38. Having a high metallic sound : TINNY
39. Like some magazine perfume ads : SCRATCH-AND-SNIFF
42. Ill-tempered : SURLY
43. Borden milk’s cow : ELSIE
44. 6-3 or 7-6, e.g. : SET
45. Cy Young Award winner Hershiser : OREL
46. Faux ___ : PAS
47. Tribal leaders : ELDERS
49. Like non-Rx drugs : OTC
51. Female friend of François : AMIE
52. Party vessel with a ladle : PUNCH BOWL
57. “There ___ to be a law!” : OUGHT
61. Loud, as a crowd : AROAR
62. 1999 Brad Pitt movie hinted at by the beginnings of 17-, 21-, 39- and 52-Across : FIGHT CLUB
64. Planet demoted to “dwarf planet” in 2006 : PLUTO
65. Woman of the Haus : FRAU
66. Fishes that may shock you : EELS
67. Good ___ (repaired perfectly) : AS NEW
68. Appear (to be) : SEEM
69. Go bananas : SNAP

Down

1. Parts of science courses : LABS
2. “Spamalot” creator Idle : ERIC
3. Caesar’s rebuke to Brutus : ET TU?
4. Nike competitor : REEBOK
5. Birds ___ feather : OF A
6. Gains muscle, with “up” : BULKS
7. Blue jeans pioneer Strauss : LEVI
8. Trump portrayer Baldwin : ALEC
9. Blood fluid : PLASM
10. Not just playing for fun : OUT TO WIN
11. The N.C.A.A.’s Bruins : UCLA
12. Word repeated before “pants on fire” : LIAR
13. Word repeated while tapping a microphone : TEST
18. Magazine of show business : VARIETY
22. Code breaker : KEY
24. Fellow who might be senior class president, for short : BMOC
26. Rope in a Wild West show : LASSO
27. Run up, as expenses : INCUR
28. Peter of “The Maltese Falcon” : LORRE
29. Uses a rotary phone : DIALS
30. Bed-and-breakfasts : INNS
32. Licorice flavoring : ANISE
33. Derive by logic : INFER
34. Alternatives to Ubers : LYFTS
37. Mets’ former ballpark : SHEA
38. Poet whose work inspired “Cats” : TS ELIOT
40. Distribute, as resources : ALLOCATE
41. Carpe ___ (seize the day: Lat.) : DIEM
46. Banned pollutant, in brief : PCB
48. Cards that may be “wild” in poker : DEUCES
50. Lose on purpose : THROW
51. Fish tank gunk : ALGAE
52. “___ Was a Rollin’ Stone” (Temptations hit) : PAPA
53. Addresses that may be linked on the web : URLS
54. Person, place or thing : NOUN
55. Murders, mob-style : OFFS
56. Hide a mike on : WIRE
58. Campbell who sang “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” : GLEN
59. Hawaiian dance : HULA
60. Recipe measure: Abbr. : TBSP
63. Vocalize on a kazoo : HUM

19 thoughts on “0514-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 14 May 2018, Monday”

  1. 8:24. A Monday. I didn’t know POULT by itself is a word. Obviously I knew “poultry” but POULT was new to me as was EOSIN.

    Best –

  2. No errors. Both POULT and PLASM made me skeptical at first that there was going to be some kind of theme about incomplete words. I, of course, was thinking of POULTRY and PLASMA. But as it turned out I learned a couple of new words. A nice piece of work by Ms. Michaels.

  3. 6:36 no errors. POULT and EOSIN both new on me.

    Did NOT like seeing OBLA two days in a row, even knowing that the syndication print schedule separates the puzzles by three weeks or so. Actually, I don’t like that Beatles reference as a clue at ANY time.

  4. For the 35 across clue – Enero begins it – the correct answer should be “AÑO” and not ANO, which in Spanish means ‘the opening at the end of the alimentary canal through which solid waste matter leaves the body.’

    I realize this would entail a change in the Down clues but there are other Spanish words like ‘añoro’ (I miss someone) or ‘añejo’ (aged, like Bill’s whiskey), etc. Even California, after some 50 years, fixed the name on the highway signs for Año Nuevo State Park near Monterey so they would not offend our Spanish speaking visitors.

    Other than the above, I had the exact same issues as Dale Stewart above. Good puzzle for a Monday.

    1. One of the conventions observed in the NYT puzzles (and all other English-language puzzles that I know of) is that diacritical marks (like tildes and umlauts and accents) are simply ignored.

    2. Also, to add to what Dave said, if the use of the tilde over the letter N were to be mandatory then that would make the crossing word incorrect. In this particular case INCUR would be IÑCUR which is not a word in either Spanish or English.

  5. Thanks Dave and Dale for the advice. Also agree IÑCUR would not work. That’s why I suggested the possibility of using a word like AÑEJO (seen frequently on the better tequila bottles), which admittedly would force the reworking of a portion of the puzzle.

    My intent was to point out that in this case, without the tilde, the meaning of the resulting word is incorrect, not to mention some may find it inappropriate. Just a thought for future puzzle builders.

  6. 8 minutes. In a Spanish class years ago, we read a short story and answered questions in Spanish from the teacher. I was asked how old Maria was, and replied that she was 10. I remember him saying “in that case Maria has a lot of problems.”

    1. Ah, I think I understand now how you must have phrased your answer. (I can be a little slow on tbe uptake sometimes.) … 😜

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