0515-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 15 May 2018, Tuesday

Constructed by: Garry Trudeau & Ross Trudeau
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Reveal Answer: Stand-Up Comics

There’s a note with today’s puzzle:

CELEBRITY CROSSWORD
This puzzle is a collaboration by the cartoonist Garry Trudeau, the Pulitzer-winning creator of “Doonesbury,” working together with his son Ross Trudeau, a digital media producer in Cambridge, Mass. This is Ross’s sixth puzzle for The Times.
More information about the making of today’s puzzle appears in the Times’s daily crossword column (nytimes.com/column/wordplay).

Themed answers are all STAND in the UP-direction in the grid, i.e. are all down-answers. And, each is the title of a well-known COMIC strip:

  • 33A. Dave Chappelle and Dane Cook … or a literal hint to the answers to the eight starred clues : STAND-UP COMICS
  • 2D. *Feline in a zoo : TIGER
  • 7D. *Bounce on a stick : POGO
  • 14D. *Dreamy eyes, informally : BABY BLUES
  • 23D. *President between Hayes and Arthur : GARFIELD
  • 25D. *1959 film set in Dogpatch, U.S.A. : LI’L ABNER
  • 28D. *Detective who wore a two-way radio : DICK TRACY
  • 46D. *Mongrels : MUTTS
  • 49D. *Magnum ___ : OPUS

Bill’s time: 6m 05s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Pioneering game company behind Tank and Tank II : ATARI

At one point, the electronics and video game manufacturer Atari was the fastest growing company in US history. However, Atari never really recovered from the video game industry crash of 1983.

6. Music genre for Tokyo teens : J-POP

“J-pop” is an abbreviation for “Japanese pop”, a genre of music that emerged in the nineties. Although J-pop is rooted in traditional Japanese music, it is heavily influenced by western bands from the sixties such as the Beatles and the Beach Boys.

15. Coif that gets squished by headphones : FRO

A coif is a hairdo. The term comes from an old French term “coife”, a skull-cap that was worn under a helmet back in the late 13th century.

16. “Uncle!” : I GIVE!

“To say uncle” is an American expression meaning “to submit, yield”. Its usage dates back to the early 1900s, but nobody seems to know how “uncle!” came to mean “stop!”

17. Jargon : ARGOT

“Argot” is a French term. It is the name given in the 17th century to “the jargon of the Paris underworld”. Nowadays argot is a set of idioms used by any particular group, the “lingo” of that group.

“Jargon” can mean nonsensical and meaningless talk, or the specialized language of a particular group, trade or profession. The term is Old French, with the more usual meaning of “a chattering”. How apt …

18. Fib : LIE

To fib is to to tell a lie. The verb likely comes from “fibble-fable” meaning “nonsense”, with “fibble-fable” coming from “fable”.

20. H.S. science course for college credit : AP BIO

The Advanced Placement (AP) program offers college-level courses to kids who are still in high school. After being tested at the end of the courses, successful students receive credits that count towards a college degree.

22. Tequila plant : AGAVE

The agave is a succulent plant found mainly in Mexico. Surprisingly (to me, anyway), the agave is unrelated to the cactus, and isn’t related to the aloe plant either. The blue agave is used in the production of tequila.

Tequila is a spirit made from the blue agave. The drink takes its name from the city of Tequila, located about 40 miles northwest of Guadalajara.

24. Relatives of cable cars : TROLLEYS

The Cable Car Museum in San Francisco is a little special in that it is housed in the same complex as the city’s cable car power house. While touring the museum, visitors can look out over the power house and see the huge haulage cables heading out to the streets to pull the cars up all of those steep hills.

26. Actress Dash of “Clueless” : STACEY

Stacey Dash is an actress from the Bronx, New York. Dash is best known for playing one of the lead roles in the 1995 movie “Clueless”, as well as in the TV spin-off series also called “Clueless”.

27. Showbiz reference site : IMDB

The website called the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) was launched in 1990, and is now owned by Amazon.com. It’s a great site for answering question one has about movies and actors.

30. Something to pour dans votre café : LAIT

In French, one might pour “lait” (milk) “dans votre café” (in your coffee).

32. A philanthropist might set one up : FUND

Philanthropy is a concern for human welfare, and the act of donating to persons or groups who support such concerns. The term “philanthropy” derives from the Greek “phil-” meaning “loving”, and “anthropos” meaning “mankind”.

33. Dave Chappelle and Dane Cook … or a literal hint to the answers to the eight starred clues : STAND-UP COMICS

Dave Chappelle is a stand-up comedian who has also had some roles in big movies, like “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” and “Con Air”. Chappelle lives on a 65-acre farm outside Yellow Springs, Ohio, the town where his father lived when Dave was growing up in Washington, D.C.

Dane Cook is a stand-up comedian who has had a number of roles in movies as well. He had a setback handling the income he was earning from his work though back in 2008. His half-brother had been his business manager up to that point and it was discovered that he had embezzled millions of dollars from Dane. The half-brother and his wife are now in prison for the crime.

36. ___ Ewbank, 1969 Super Bowl-winning coach : WEEB

Weeb Ewbank was a football coach mostly known for coaching the Baltimore Colts and the New York Jets in the fifties, sixties and seventies. He won two NFL championships with the Colts (1958, 1959), and one AFL championship with the Jets (1968).

37. Schlemiel : JERK

A schlemiel is an awkward and clumsy person. “Shlemiel” is the Yiddish for “bungler”, with the term coming from the German story “The Wonderful History of Peter Schlemihl”, published in 1813.

41. Kitchenware brand with a hyphenated name : T-FAL

Tefal (also “T-Fal”) is a French manufacturer of cookware, famous for its nonstick line. The name “Tefal” is a portmanteau, of TEFlon and ALuminum, the key materials used in producing their pots and pans.

44. Classic Pontiacs : GRAND AMS

The Pontiac Grand Am was introduced in 1972. Aptly enough, the Grand Am was built in Pontiac, Michigan.

48. Drum used for a drumroll : SNARE

Snare drums are so called because they have a set of wire strands (snares) stretching across the bottom surface of the drum. When the drum is struck, the snares vibrate against the bottom drumhead producing a unique sound.

49. Cousin of a chimp : ORANG

Orangutans (also “orangs”) are arboreal creatures, the largest arboreal animals known to man. They are native to Indonesia and Malaysia, and live in the rainforests. Like most species in rainforests these days, orangutans are endangered, with only two species surviving. The word “orangutan” is Malay, meaning “man of the forest”.

The Common Chimpanzee is a species of ape, a member of the Hominidae family (along with gorillas, humans and orangutans). The human and chimpanzee branches of the Hominidae family tree diverged 4-6 million years ago, making the chimp our closest living relatives in the animal kingdom.

50. “Runaround” girl in a 1961 Dion hit : SUE

The singer and songwriter Dion DiMucci went by the stage name of just “Dion”. Dion’s most successful year was 1961, when he released his big hits “Runaround Sue” and “The Wanderer”.

52. Certain jelly : ASPIC

Aspic is a dish in which the main ingredients are served in a gelatin made from meat stock. “Aspic” is a French word meaning “jelly”.

58. Smallest pups : RUNTS

Back around 1500, a runt was an old or decayed tree stump, and by the early 1600s “runt” was being used to describe animals that were similarly old and decayed. Ultimately “runt” came to mean the smallest and often sickest in a litter.

60. The “S” of GPS: Abbr. : SYST

The modern Global Positioning System (GPS) system that we use today was built by the US military who received the massive funding needed because of fears during the Cold War of the use of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. We civilians, all round the world, owe a lot to President Ronald Reagan because he directed the military to make GPS technology available to the public for the common good. President Reagan was moved to do so after the Soviet Union shot down KAL flight 007 carrying 269 people, just because the plane strayed accidentally into Soviet airspace.

Down

2. *Feline in a zoo : TIGER

“Tiger” is a syndicated comic strip that originally ran from 1965 until 2003, and was the creation of cartoonist Bid Blake. The title character is a school-age boy who is a the unofficial leader of a gang of scrappy schoolkids living in a middle-class neighborhood.

5. Perfect guy : IDEAL MAN

Yep, that’s what my wife calls me …

6. The “J” of J.D. : JURIS

The law degree that is abbreviated to J.D. stands for Juris Doctor.

7. *Bounce on a stick : POGO

What we know today as a pogo stick was invented in Germany by Max Pohlig and Ernst Gottschall. The name “pogo” comes from the first two letters in each of the inventors’ family names: Po-hlig and Go-ttschall.

“Pogo” is a comic strip that was launched in 1948, and was the creation of cartoonist Walt Kelly. The story centers on animals that live in the Okefenokee Swamp on the Georgia-Florida border, with the title character “Pogo Possum” being an anthropomorphic opossum.

8. Lennon’s love : ONO

Yoko Ono is an avant-garde artist. Ono actually met her future husband John Lennon for the first time while she was preparing her conceptual art exhibit called “Hammer a Nail”. Visitors were encouraged to hammer in a nail into a wooden board, creating the artwork. Lennon wanted to hammer in the first nail, but Ono stopped him as the exhibition had not yet opened. Apparently Ono relented when Lennon paid her an imaginary five shillings to hammer an imaginary nail into the wood.

9. Food famously misspelled by Dan Quayle : POTATO

Dan Quayle served as both a US Representative and a US Senator from Indiana before becoming the 44th Vice President, under President George H. W. Bush. Quayle refused to run for office in 1996, going up against the Clinton/Gore ticket, but entered the fray again in 2000 seeking the Republican nomination for president. Ironically, he was defeated by the son of his former Commander-in-Chief, George W. Bush.

10. Noted “spokesfowl” : AFLAC DUCK

In 1999, Aflac (American Family Life Assurance Company) was huge in the world of insurance but it wasn’t a household name, so a New York advertising agency was given the task of making the Aflac brand more memorable. One of the agency’s art directors, while walking around Central Park one lunchtime, heard a duck quacking and in his mind linked it with “Aflac”, and that duck has been “Aflacking” ever since …

11. Alfresco theaters : DRIVE-INS

Our word “alfresco” means outdoors, in the fresh air. The term derives from the Italian “al fresco”, which translates as “in the fresh (air)”.

14. *Dreamy eyes, informally : BABY BLUES

“Baby Blues” is a comic strip that was launched in 1990 by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott. Initially, the strip told the story of married couple Darryl and Wanda MacPherson, along with their baby Zoe. The family now includes middle child Hammie and youngest child Wren.

21. ___ Xing : PED

Pedestrian crossing (Ped Xing)

23. *President between Hayes and Arthur : GARFIELD

James Abram Garfield, the 20th President, was assassinated in office. He was shot twice, and one bullet could not be found (it was lodged in his spine). The inventor Alexander Graham Bell developed a metal detector in an attempt to locate the bullet, but apparently he was unsuccessful because of interference from the metal bed frame on which the president lay. Garfield died two months after being shot.

Rutherford B. Hayes (RBH) was the 19th president of the US. Long before we had to endure the dispute over the 2000 Presidential election, Rutherford Hayes found himself president after a disputed election in 1876. President Hayes came into office having lost the popular vote to his opponent Samuel Tilden as he was voted into office by one electoral college vote. Hayes was awarded the election in the end because of an informal deal struck between Democrats and Republicans called the Compromise of 1877. Democrats allowed Rutherford to occupy the White House in exchange for removal of federal troops occupying some of the southern states.

Chester Alan Arthur (CAA) was the 21st President of the US, and came to power after the assassination of James Garfield in 1881. President Arthur was known to be socially adept, and was very conscious of his role in society. He was always immaculately attired, apparently even changing his pants several times in a day. He was called “Chet” by family and friends, and sometimes answered to his middle name, Alan. However, he insisted that Alan be pronounced with the stress on the second syllable, Al-an.

“Garfield” is a comic strip drawn by Jim Davis since 1978. Garfield is an orange tabby cat. Davis named his cartoon hero Garfield after his own grandfather.

25. *1959 film set in Dogpatch, U.S.A. : LI’L ABNER

“Li’l Abner” was created and drawn by Al Capp for over 43 years starting in 1934. Al Capp stopped producing the strip in 1977, largely due to illness (he died from emphysema two years later). As the strip finished up, he went so far as to apologize to his long-standing fans, saying that he should have stopped 3-4 years earlier as he felt that the quality of his work had gone down in those latter years. The comic strip character’s full name is “Li’l Abner Yokum”.

28. *Detective who wore a two-way radio : DICK TRACY

The “Dick Tracy” comic strip was created way back in 1931 by Chester Gould. Dick Tracy was always up to date with the latest crime fighting techniques and gadgets, and even had a few that weren’t in use in real life. Tracy’s most famous gadget was his two-way wrist radio, something he started using in 1946. The radio got an upgrade in 1964 when it became a two-way wrist TV!

31. Earth Day’s mo. : APR

Earth Day was founded in the US, where it was introduced by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. Earth Day was designed to increase awareness and appreciation of our planet’s natural environment. The original Earth Day was on April 22nd, 1970. Decades later, the day is observed in over 175 countries.

33. Croon beneath a balcony : SERENADE

A serenade is a musical performance in the open air, specifically at night. We tend to think of the term applying to a young man serenading his lover from below her window. We imported the word via French from the Italian “serenata” meaning “evening song”, influenced by the Italian “sera” meaning “evening”.

34. Played at work, informally? : DJ’ED

The world’s first radio disc jockey (DJ) was one Ray Newby of Stockton, California who made his debut broadcast in 1909, would you believe? When he was 16 years old and a student, Newby started to play his records on a primitive radio located in the Herrold College of Engineering and Wireless in San Jose. The records played back then were mostly recordings of Enrico Caruso.

35. Rachel McAdams or Amanda Seyfried role in a 2004 comedy : MEAN GIRL

“Mean Girls” is a teen comedy movie released in 2004 starring Lindsay Lohan. Tina Fey also puts in an appearance, which isn’t really surprising as Fey wrote the screenplay.

Rachel McAdams is an actress from London, Ontario who now lives in Toronto, where she also studied theater at university. I’ve enjoyed many of McAdams’ film performances, especially in the excellent 2015 biographical drama “Spotlight”.

Actress Amanda Seyfried’s first film role was in the 2004 teen comedy “Mean Girls”, supporting Lindsay Lohan. Seyfried has quite the voice too, using it to good effect in her leading roles in 2008’s “Mamma Mia!” and 2012’s “Les Misérables”. Seyfried married fellow actor Thomas Sadoski (from “Life in Pieces”) in 2017.

44. Material for a mill : GRIST

When grain has been separated from its chaff, to prepare it for grinding, it is called “grist”. Indeed, the word “grist” is derived from the word “grind”. Grist can be ground into a relatively coarse meal, or into a fine flour. The names can be confusing though. For example, the grist from maize when ground to a coarse consistency is called “grits”, and when ground to a fine consistency is called “corn meal”. There is an idiomatic phrase “grist for one’s mill”, meaning something used to one’s advantage. The grinding mechanism, or the building that holds the mechanism, is known as a “gristmill”.

45. Sitting position in yoga : ASANA

“Asana” is a Sanskrit word literally meaning “sitting down”. The asanas are the poses that a practitioner of yoga assumes. The most famous is the lotus position, the cross-legged pose called “padmasana”.

46. *Mongrels : MUTTS

The comic strip titled “Mutts” first appeared in 1994, and is drawn by Patrick McDonnell. The main characters are a Jack Russell terrier named Earl, and a black-and-white house cat named Mooch.

49. *Magnum ___ : OPUS

“Magnum opus” is a Latin term meaning “great work”. The magnum opus of a writer or composer perhaps, is his or her greatest work.

“Opus” is a comic strip that originally ran from 2003 to 2008 and was drawn by Berkeley Breathed,who is best known for “Bloom County”. “Opus” is set in Bloom County, and centers on the adventures of Opus the Penguin. When Breathed ended the strip, he went so far as killing off the main character. That said, it was revealed in a “Bloom County” episode that Opus is still alive, and has just been unconscious.

53. Protein source in a vegan diet : SOY

A vegan is someone who stays away from animal products. A dietary vegan eats no animal foods, not even eggs and dairy which are usually eaten by vegetarians. Ethical vegans take things one step further by following a vegan diet and also avoiding animal products in other areas of their lives e.g. items made from leather or silk.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Pioneering game company behind Tank and Tank II : ATARI
6. Music genre for Tokyo teens : J-POP
10. Contribute : ADD
13. By the clock : TIMED
14. Good: It. : BUONO
15. Coif that gets squished by headphones : FRO
16. “Uncle!” : I GIVE!
17. Jargon : ARGOT
18. Fib : LIE
19. Something to stand on : LEG
20. H.S. science course for college credit : AP BIO
22. Tequila plant : AGAVE
24. Relatives of cable cars : TROLLEYS
26. Actress Dash of “Clueless” : STACEY
27. Showbiz reference site : IMDB
28. Critical, as a situation : DO-OR-DIE
29. Neighbor of Miss. : ALA
30. Something to pour dans votre café : LAIT
32. A philanthropist might set one up : FUND
33. Dave Chappelle and Dane Cook … or a literal hint to the answers to the eight starred clues : STAND-UP COMICS
36. ___ Ewbank, 1969 Super Bowl-winning coach : WEEB
37. Schlemiel : JERK
38. Cartoon response to a rodent : EEK!
39. Big Florida export : ORANGES
41. Kitchenware brand with a hyphenated name : T-FAL
43. Fix with a blowtorch, say : REWELD
44. Classic Pontiacs : GRAND AMS
48. Drum used for a drumroll : SNARE
49. Cousin of a chimp : ORANG
50. “Runaround” girl in a 1961 Dion hit : SUE
51. Barn bales : HAY
52. Certain jelly : ASPIC
54. Like a red-faced cartoon character : IRATE
56. Neighbor of Mont. : IDA
57. Timid : MOUSY
58. Smallest pups : RUNTS
59. Stroke : PET
60. The “S” of GPS: Abbr. : SYST
61. Smallest : LEAST

Down

1. Slanted : ATILT
2. *Feline in a zoo : TIGER
3. Mexican friend : AMIGO
4. Minister: Abbr. : REV
5. Perfect guy : IDEAL MAN
6. The “J” of J.D. : JURIS
7. *Bounce on a stick : POGO
8. Lennon’s love : ONO
9. Food famously misspelled by Dan Quayle : POTATO
10. Noted “spokesfowl” : AFLAC DUCK
11. Alfresco theaters : DRIVE-INS
12. Innocent-looking : DOE-EYED
14. *Dreamy eyes, informally : BABY BLUES
21. ___ Xing : PED
23. *President between Hayes and Arthur : GARFIELD
25. *1959 film set in Dogpatch, U.S.A. : LI’L ABNER
26. ___ speak : SO TO
28. *Detective who wore a two-way radio : DICK TRACY
29. Eroded : ATE AWAY AT
31. Earth Day’s mo. : APR
33. Croon beneath a balcony : SERENADE
34. Played at work, informally? : DJ’ED
35. Rachel McAdams or Amanda Seyfried role in a 2004 comedy : MEAN GIRL
36. Deify : WORSHIP
40. Shines, as silver : GLEAMS
42. Devoted follower : FAN
44. Material for a mill : GRIST
45. Sitting position in yoga : ASANA
46. *Mongrels : MUTTS
47. Look at, as thou might : SEEST
49. *Magnum ___ : OPUS
53. Protein source in a vegan diet : SOY
55. French street : RUE

3 thoughts on “0515-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 15 May 2018, Tuesday”

  1. 7:12 Exact same time as yesterday. Hadn’t heard of some of these comics but glad I knew who WEEB Ewbank was.

    @Jeff- Golden Knights looked good last night. I hope you’re going to game 3.

  2. 17:19 My usual distraction-filled effort. While solving this puzzle, my dog was staring into the trees just behind my home. Our local herd of white-tailed deer grazed their way past just as I was figuring out DOEeyed! A wildlife assist!!!

  3. 8:28, no errors. Garry Trudeau’s comic strip is one of my favorites, and his puzzle gets a thumbs-up, too … ?.

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