0530-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 30 May 2018, Wednesday

Constructed by: Sande Milton & Jeff Chen
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Reveal Answer: Mixed Bag

Themed answers relate to the word game SCRABBLE. Three answers are anagrams of each other, or a “MIXED BAG”:

  • 35D. Assortment … or a description of 32-, 39- and 42-Across? : MIXED BAG
  • 32A. Key : ISLET
  • 39A. Subway entry : STILE
  • 42A. Game pieces in 31-Down : TILES

Four more answers are words made by rearranging the letters in four racks of SCRABBLE tiles, just like PLAYERS ARRANGE JUMBLED LETTERS in a real game:

  • 31D. Game described by this puzzle’s four racks : SCRABBLE
  • 20A. Rack #1: AELPRSY : PLAYERS
  • 25D. Rack #2: AAEGNRR : ARRANGE
  • 56A. Rack #3: BDEJLMU : JUMBLED
  • 23D. Rack #4: EELRSTT : LETTERS

Bill’s time: 6m 43s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Loose ones sink ships, in a saying : LIPS

“Loose lips sinks ships” is used as a warning that unguarded talk can be dangerous. The phrase originated during WWII when it was coined by the US War Advertising Council for use on posters.

5. Transparent sheet used for overlays : ACETATE

An acetate is a transparency used on a projector onto which one can write or draw. It is called an acetate because it is usually made out of cellulose acetate.

16. Gooey vegetable : OKRA

The plant known as okra is mainly grown for it edible green pods. The pods are said to resemble “ladies’ fingers”, which is an alternative name for the plant. Okra is known as “ngombo” in Bantu, a name that might give us the word “gumbo”, the name for the name of the southern Louisiana stew that includes okra as a key ingredient.

17. Bolivian president Evo : MORALES

Evo Morales has been President of Bolivia since 2006. Morales has a socialist agenda, and as such his government is a close ally to the regimes in Venezuela and in Cuba.

19. Alternative to Sky UK, with “the” : BEEB

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is also known as “the Beeb”, a name given to the network by the great Peter Sellers on the classic British radio comedy called “The Goon Show”. The BBC was founded in 1922, and was the world’s first national broadcasting organization.

21. Shamu, e.g. : ORCA

Shamu was the name of the third orca (aka “killer whale”) ever to be featured in a public exhibition. Shamu starred in a popular SeaWorld show in San Diego in the sixties. After she died in 1971, her name lived on as the name “Shamu” is still used by SeaWorld for its killer whale shows. That original Shamu was retired after she grabbed and refused to let go of the leg of one of her trainers.

22. Iconic theater in Harlem : APOLLO

The Apollo Theater in the Harlem district of Manhattan, New York was opened in 1914 as Hurtig and Seamon’s New Burlesque Theater. The original facility was a whites-only venue. When it was opened to African Americans in 1934, the name was changed to the Apollo.

24. Foul atmosphere : MIASMA

The word “miasma” was first used for the poisonous atmosphere thought to arise from swamps and rotting matter, and which could cause disease. Nowadays, a miasma is just a thick cloud of gas or smoke.

26. ___ Marie, singer of the 1985 hit “Lovergirl” : TEENA

Teena Marie was a very successful R&B singer who was born Mary Christine Brockert in Santa Monica, California.

29. Odometer button : RESET

An odometer measures distance traveled. “Odometer comes from the Greek “hodos” meaning “path” and “metron” meaning “measure”.

32. Key : ISLET

A “key” (also “cay”) is a low offshore island, as in the Florida Keys. Our term in English comes from the Spanish “cayo” meaning “shoal, reef”.

39. Subway entry : STILE

A stile is a structure allowing people to pass over or through a fence, while at the same time preventing livestock from escaping. The derivative term “turnstile” describes a revolving structure in a wall or fence that allows the controlled passage of people.

40. Historic walled city of Spain : AVILA

Avila is famous for the walled defenses around the old city, which date back to 1090. They were constructed out of brown granite, and are still in excellent repair. There are nine gateways and eighty-towers in all. Even the cathedral built between the 12th and 14th centuries is part of the city’s defenses, so it looks like an imposing fortress.

41. Dance studio fixture : BARRE

A “barre” is a handrail used by ballet dancers for warm-up exercises and to provide support when practicing certain moves.

42. Game pieces in 31-Down : TILES
(31D. Game described by this puzzle’s four racks : SCRABBLE)

The game of Scrabble has been produced in many international versions, and each of these editions has its own tile distribution to suit the local language. For example, in English we have two tiles worth ten points: one “Q” and one “Z”. If you play the game in French then there are five tiles worth ten points: one “K”, one “W”, one “X”, one “Y” and one “Z”.

43. Connecting point : NEXUS

A nexus is a means of connection, or a center where many connections come together. “Nexus” is a Latin word meaning “that which ties or binds together”. The Latin “nexus” is the past participle of the verb “nectere” meaning “to bind”.

44. Iraq’s main port : BASRA

Basra is a Iraq’s main port, and is located in the south of the country, 34 miles from the Persian Gulf. Access to the gulf is via the Shatt al-Arab waterway, a river that discharges into the gulf in the port city of Umm Qasr.

46. Turn down : NIX

The use of “nix” as a verb, meaning “to shoot down”, dates back to the early 1900s. Before that “nix” was just a noun meaning “nothing”. “Nix” comes from the German “nichts”, which also means “nothing”.

47. Shrek’s relatives : OGRES

Before “Shrek” was a successful movie franchise and Broadway musical, it was a children’s picture book called “Shrek!” that was authored and illustrated by William Steig. The title “Shrek!” came from the German/Yiddish word Schreck, meaning “fear” or “terror”.

48. Priestly attire : ALB

An alb is a white, neck-to-toe vestment worn by priests, usually with a rope cord around the waist. The term alb comes from “albus”, the Latin word for “white”.

49. 34, for each row, column and main diagonal in a 4×4 magic square : SUM

A magic square is a series of numbers arranged in a square so that all lines of numbers, including diagonals, add up to the same total. Such squares have been used for centuries to create talismans designed to bring good luck.

52. Summer hours: Abbr. : DST

Arizona and Hawaii are the only two states in the US that do not observe daylight saving time (DST), having opted out when the Uniform Time Act was passed by the US Congress in 1966. Some Native American nations in Arizona observe DST, and some don’t. As a result, times can change back and forth a few times while driving across Arizona during the summer.

60. Irish Rose’s love : ABIE

“Abie’s Irish Rose” is comedy play by Anne Nichols that opened in 1922 on Broadway and ran for over five years. Back then, that made it the longest run for any show in New York. The show then went on tour, and stayed on tour for an amazing 40 years. The play tells of a young Jewish man called Abie Levy who marries an Irish Catholic girl called Rosemary Murphy. Abie lies to his family and pretends that his “Irish Rose” is Jewish.

61. The Runnin’ Rebels of the N.C.A.A. : UNLV

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) sports teams are called the Rebels and the Lady Rebels, or in the case of the men’s basketball, the Runnin’ Rebels.

64. Miracle Met Tommie : AGEE

Tommie Agee was a Major League Baseball player who played mainly with the Indians, White Sox and Mets. He was one of the “Amazin’ Mets”, and was famous for making two phenomenal catches in game three of the 1969 world series, potentially saving five runs. Agee was also the first Mets outfielder to win a Gold Glove, doing so in 1970.

Down

2. Retail giant in furniture : IKEA

The furniture chain IKEA was founded by Ingvar Kamprad in 1943, when he was just 17-years-old. IKEA is an acronym standing for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd (don’t forget now!). Elmtaryd was the name of the farm where Ingvar Kamprad grew up, and Agunnaryd is his home parish in Sweden.

4. Some counterintelligence targets : SABOTEURS

There is a story that disgruntled textile workers would kick their wooden shoes, called sabots, into the looms in order to disable them so that they didn’t have to work. This act of vandalism was named for the shoe, an act of … sabotage.

6. Mayflower Pilgrim, e.g. : COLONIST

The early settlers of the Plymouth Colony were known as English Dissenters and belonged to congregations that separated from the Church of England. Many English Dissenters headed for Holland in the Netherlands, but the Mayflower Pilgrims opted to set up a new colony in North America in an effort to maintain their English cultural identity.

7. Procter & Gamble detergent : ERA

Era was the first liquid laundry detergent produced by Procter & Gamble.

8. Scotland’s longest river : TAY

The Firth of Tay is an inlet on the east coast of Scotland, into which empties Scotland’s largest river, the Tay. The city of Dundee lies on the Firth, and the city of Perth a little further inland on the Tay.

9. It has a head and hops : ALE

The foodstuff that we call “hops” are actually the female flower of the hop plant. The main use of hops is to add flavor to beer. The town in which I live here in California used to be home to the largest hop farm in the whole world. Most of the harvested hops were exported all the way to the breweries of London, where they could fetch the best price.

10. Danger for homeowners : TERMITES

Termites are insects that are somewhat unique in that they can digest cellulose (as can ruminants such as cattle). Because of this diet, they cause a lot of trouble for human populations by feeding on wood in man-made structures.

11. Big name in nail polish : ESSIE

Essie Cosmetics is a company that was founded by Essie Weingarten, and which is now owned by L’Oreal. Apparently, Queen Elizabeth II will only wear Essie’s Ballet Slippers color nail polish. Well, that’s what Wikipedia claims …

14. ___ Trail (path in the Andes) : INCA

The Incas built almost 25,000 miles of road, and much of that roadway system persists to this day. The most famous section is known as the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The backbone of the system is formed by two north-south routes, one running along the west coast of the continent, and the other running relatively parallel, further inland.

15. Org. with a lot of links on its website : PGA

The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) was founded in 1916 and today has its headquarters (unsurprisingly) in Florida, where so many golfers live. Back in 1916, the PGA was based in New York City.

The oldest type of golf course is a links course. The name “links” comes from the Old English word “hlinc” meaning “rising ground”. “Hlinc” was used to describe areas with coastal sand dunes or open parkland. As a result, we use the term “links course” to mean a golf course that is located at or on the coast, often amid sand dunes. The British Open is always played on a links course.

27. Actor Sean of “The Lord of the Rings” : ASTIN

Sean Astin is best known for playing the title role in the 1993 film “Rudy” and the character Samwise Gamgee in “The Lord of the Rings” movies. You might also have seen him playing Lynn McGill in the 5th season of “24”. Astin is the son of actress Patty Duke, and the adopted son of actor John Astin (of “The Addams Family” fame).

28. Message system superseded by fax : TELEX

Telex grew out of the world of the telegraph. What Telex brought to telegraphy was the ability to route messages. Instead of having to talk to an operator to route a particular message to the intended party, the user of a telex could route the message directly to another telex machine by way of a rotary dial, very similar to that on a telephone.

31. Game described by this puzzle’s four racks : SCRABBLE

The game of Scrabble has been around since 1938, the invention of an architect named Alfred Mosher Butts. Butts determined how many tiles of each letter, and the point value of each tile, by analyzing letter distributions in publications like “The New York Times”.

33. 1953 Leslie Caron title role : LILI

“Lili” is 1953 musical film starring Leslie Caron in the title role, a naive French orphan girl. A famous song from the movie is “Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo”.

37. Carrier to Stockholm : SAS

SAS was formerly known as Scandinavian Airlines System and is the flag carrier of three countries: Denmark, Norway and Sweden. SAS is based at Stockholm Arlanda Airport located just north of the Swedish capital.

45. How some beef is served : AU JUS

The French term “au jus” is usually translated as “with it’s own juice”.

48. Water, in Oaxaca : AGUA

Oaxaca is a state in the southern part of Mexico on the Pacific coast. The state takes the name of Oaxaca, its largest city.

51. Pistol ___ (Oklahoma State’s mascot) : PETE

Pistol Pete is a sports team mascot, for at least three schools: Oklahoma State University, New Mexico State University and the University of Wyoming.

55. First lady : EVE

According to the Bible, God created Adam from “the dust of the ground”. Eve was created as Adam’s companion, from Adam’s rib.

57. It can see right through you, in brief : MRI

An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine uses powerful magnetic fields to generate its images so there is no exposure to ionizing radiation (such as X-rays). We used MRI equipment in our chemistry labs at school, way back in the days when the technology was still called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging (NMRI). Apparently the marketing folks didn’t like the term “nuclear” because of its association with atomic bombs, so now it’s just called MRI.

58. Nice, in Nice : BON

The French city of Nice is on the Mediterranean coast in the southeast of the country. Although Nice is only the fifth most populous city in France, it is home to the busiest airport outside of Paris. That’s because of all the tourists flocking to the French Riviera.

59. Car nut : LUG

A lug nut is a nut on which one side is tapered. Lug nuts are used to secure wheels to a vehicle.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Loose ones sink ships, in a saying : LIPS
5. Transparent sheet used for overlays : ACETATE
12. Approach shot in golf : CHIP
16. Gooey vegetable : OKRA
17. Bolivian president Evo : MORALES
18. Pealed : RANG
19. Alternative to Sky UK, with “the” : BEEB
20. Rack #1: AELPRSY : PLAYERS
21. Shamu, e.g. : ORCA
22. Iconic theater in Harlem : APOLLO
24. Foul atmosphere : MIASMA
26. ___ Marie, singer of the 1985 hit “Lovergirl” : TEENA
28. Features of many wedding cakes : TIERS
29. Odometer button : RESET
32. Key : ISLET
34. Yawners, in sports : ROMPS
38. Like diamonds from a mine : UNCUT
39. Subway entry : STILE
40. Historic walled city of Spain : AVILA
41. Dance studio fixture : BARRE
42. Game pieces in 31-Down : TILES
43. Connecting point : NEXUS
44. Iraq’s main port : BASRA
46. Turn down : NIX
47. Shrek’s relatives : OGRES
48. Priestly attire : ALB
49. 34, for each row, column and main diagonal in a 4×4 magic square : SUM
51. Lead-in to screening : PRE-
52. Summer hours: Abbr. : DST
54. Dig : GIBE
56. Rack #3: BDEJLMU : JUMBLED
60. Irish Rose’s love : ABIE
61. The Runnin’ Rebels of the N.C.A.A. : UNLV
62. 50 from Calif. to Md., e.g. : US ROUTE
63. Dreamy state : HAZE
64. Miracle Met Tommie : AGEE
65. Business end of a wasp : STINGER
66. Specs printed on a toy box : AGES

Down

1. High ball : LOB
2. Retail giant in furniture : IKEA
3. Get-ready work : PREP
4. Some counterintelligence targets : SABOTEURS
5. Sufficient : AMPLE
6. Mayflower Pilgrim, e.g. : COLONIST
7. Procter & Gamble detergent : ERA
8. Scotland’s longest river : TAY
9. It has a head and hops : ALE
10. Danger for homeowners : TERMITES
11. Big name in nail polish : ESSIE
12. Go to the opposite side : CROSS OVER
13. Injure : HARM
14. ___ Trail (path in the Andes) : INCA
15. Org. with a lot of links on its website : PGA
23. Rack #4: EELRSTT : LETTERS
25. Rack #2: AAEGNRR : ARRANGE
27. Actor Sean of “The Lord of the Rings” : ASTIN
28. Message system superseded by fax : TELEX
29. Chafe : RUB
30. Allowing to happen : ENABLING
31. Game described by this puzzle’s four racks : SCRABBLE
33. 1953 Leslie Caron title role : LILI
35. Assortment … or a description of 32-, 39- and 42-Across? : MIXED BAG
36. XXL, e.g. : PLUS SIZE
37. Carrier to Stockholm : SAS
45. How some beef is served : AU JUS
47. “Atten-shun!,” e.g. : ORDER
48. Water, in Oaxaca : AGUA
50. It’s compulsory : MUST
51. Pistol ___ (Oklahoma State’s mascot) : PETE
53. Links things : TEES
55. First lady : EVE
57. It can see right through you, in brief : MRI
58. Nice, in Nice : BON
59. Car nut : LUG
60. “I caught you!” : AHA!

17 thoughts on “0530-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 30 May 2018, Wednesday”

  1. 8:26, no errors. A slightly odd puzzle somehow, starting with the 17×13 aspect ratio of the grid … haven’t see that before … pleasant enough, though … 😜

  2. 11:34 Agree with Dave, slightly odd. Figuring out the themers was fairly easy given that you had all the letters. Only problem for me was putting in ROutS at 34A which meant it took a little time to figure out 35D and 36D. Also never heard of ABIE.

  3. 16:08. Fun theme. Took me a few minutes longer than Marc to overcome ROutS and not knowing ABIE.

    I didn’t know AU JUS necessarily meant its own juice.

    Best –

  4. Had trouble at the outset because I entered ‘parsley’ at 20A and couldn’t make anything down work. I do a Jumble puzzle daily in the Post-Dispatch, so the other racks were easier to decipher.

  5. No errors but l didn’t know miasma or Essie and they intersect. I seem to run into that problem a lot. Is this the puzzle creators intent or just my imagination?

    1. @Jack—-I don’t think the puzzle creators necessarily plan things like this. It is just the coincidence that you did not know those two words. All the solvers are going to have their own unique trouble spots depending on what they happen to know. Having said that, creators are absolutely aware of the degree of difficulty that they are handing to us. The clues especially give a great latitude in whether the entry will be easy or difficult.

  6. 17:16 and two errors: T(E)ES/ABI(E). I had TIES for “links things” falling to the usual evil “sound-alike clue” trap. I like Jumbles and I like Scrabble, but I really didn’t like this grid. For one thing, it’s an asymmetrical 17 x 13, and printed funny in my paper (the numbers printing too small and fine for my tastes). I just don’t like how Shortz decides on a whim what crossword rules he will or won’t obey on a given day. His constructor cronies take too many liberties in the name of “cuteness” and “cleverness” and Shortz patronizes them.

    1. Once again: Bilateral symmetry is a type of symmetry, so the grid is not asymmetrical, and non-square grids are a little unusual, but by no means unheard of. (14×16 is more common than 13×17.) As the old saw has it, variety is the spice of life.

      1. I thought that, by definition, a symmetrical puzzle is one that can be turned upside-down and the relative pattern of the black squares will still be the same. This is the classic symmetry that Margaret Farrah standardized when she took over as puzzle editor for the NYT in 1942. To my way of thinking, any puzzle that does not comply with this rule is asymmetrical. But I am open to change my mind if new reasoning convinces me.

        1. Indeed. No matter whether you’re talking bilateral symmetry or classic symmetry for the black squares, the H x W dimensions of the puzzle grid are off; I thought a crossword was **at least** supposed to be a perfect *square*, even if that is larger or smaller than 15 x 15. It’s a rectangle.

          Again, more selective bowing to cuteness.

          I say, bring back a purist editor. My patience with our current “trickster” is wearing thin.

  7. 15:20, no errors. My hang up was the top, center group. Only had ALE and TERMITES filled. Took a long time to think of ACETATE, then the rest fell apart. Fell into the same 34A trap as others, entering ROUTS before ROMPS.

  8. I had no errors but was also perplexed by the odd nature of this puzzle. I right away noticed the elongated boxes in my paper and saw that the grid was 17×13. I kept thinking that this was somehow going to be significant but it never really made any difference. I saw that the black squares were asymmetrical but again there seemed to be no significance to this fact. I thought maybe the ISLET, STILE, TILES had a “bag” ( from MIXED BAG) hiding in there somewhere. I’m glad I didn’t waste any more time looking for it since it didn’t exist. Also, while I did see that PLAYERS ARRANGE JUMBLED LETTERS all pertained to the game of SCRABBLE, I did not notice that when read clockwise they form a sentence. But overall I have no complaints with this puzzle. An odd one like this will keep me on my toes.

  9. 17 minutes no errors. Stuck in a few places, but pulled through. Enjoy this type of challenge that I can do under 20 minutes.

    @Tom @Dave !!!

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