0512-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 12 May 2018, Saturday

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Constructed by: Alex Eylar
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 11m 37s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Husky relatives : AKITAS

The Akita breed of dog is named for its point of origin, the Akita Prefecture in Japan. When Helen Keller visited Japan in 1937, she asked for and was given an Akita breed of dog, with the name of Kamikaze-go. Sadly, the dog died within a year from distemper. The following year the Japanese government officially presented Keller with a replacement dog. Supposedly Keller’s dogs were the first members of the breed to be introduced into the US.

The Siberian Husky is one of the oldest breeds of dog, and originated in northern Asia. Siberian Huskies were imported into Alaska in great numbers in the early 1900s for use as sled dogs during the gold rush.

13. Title setting for Shakespeare : VERONA

Verona is a city in northern Italy. Famously, William Shakespeare set three of his plays in Verona: “Romeo and Juliet”, “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” and “The Taming of the Shrew”.

“The Two Gentlemen of Verona” is one of William Shakespeare’s comedies. Some scholars think that “Two Gentlemen” is Shakespeare’s first play, and not his best.

38. Who once described puritanism as “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy” : MENCKEN

H. L. Mencken was a journalist and essayist from Baltimore. Mencken reported on the Scopes trial of 1925 and was the writer who dubbed it the “Monkey Trial”.

39. Contents of une fontaine : EAU

In French, there is “eau” (water) in “une fontaine” (a fountain).

44. Despot exiled in 1979 : AMIN

Idi Amin ruled Uganda as a dictator from 1971 until 1979. Amin started his professional career as a cook in the Colonial British Army. Amin seized power from President Milton Obote in a 1971 coup d’état. The former cook eventually gave himself the title “His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular”.

A despot is a ruler with absolute power, often one who wields that power oppressively. “Despot” is an old French term from the 14th century, ultimately derived from the Greek “despotes” meaning “master of a household, absolute ruler”.

45. Bobby who co-founded the Black Panthers : SEALE

Bobby Seale is the civil rights activist who co-founded the Black Panther Party with Huey Newton. Seale was one of the Chicago Eight, eight people charged as a result of anti-Vietnam war protests that took place during the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. The judge ordered Seale severed from the case, reducing the group of defendants to the Chicago Seven. However, Seale’s vehement protests during the trial led to the judge ordering him bound, gagged and chained to his chair, and eventually sentenced him to four years in jail for contempt of court. That conviction was quickly overturned on appeal.

47. Co-star of the “Thin Man” films : LOY

The beautiful Myrna Loy was one of my favorite actresses. Her career took off when she was paired up with William Powell in the fabulous “The Thin Man” series of films. Loy also appeared opposite Cary Grant in a couple of films that I like to watch every so often, namely “The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer” (1947) and “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House” (1948).

51. Certain religious proselytizer, informally : MOONIE

The Unification Church was founded in Seoul, South Korea in 1954 by Sun Myung Moon. Members of the church are sometimes called “Moonies”, which is probably an offensive term …

55. Measure of military alertness : DEFCON

The US military uses the DEFCON scale to move to different stages of readiness (DEFCON: the defense readiness condition). DEFCON 5 denotes normal peacetime readiness. DEFCON 1 is maximum readiness. The scale was created in 1959 by the Joint Chiefs. The highest DEFCON level ever reached (as far as we public folk know) was DEFCON 2 during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, although this only applied to Strategic Air Command. The military reached DEFCON 3 during the Yom Kippur War, and also during the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Down

1. Place of eternal happiness : AVALON

Avalon is a legendary island featured in the Arthurian legends. The name Avalon probably comes from the word “afal”, the Welsh word for “apple”, reflecting the fact that the island was noted for its beautiful apples. Avalon is where King Arthur’s famous sword “Excalibur” was forged, and supposedly where Arthur was buried.

2. Beat someone? : KEROUAC

The term “beatnik” was coined by journalist Herb Caen in 1958 when he used it to describe the stereotypical young person of the “beat generation” that was oft associated with the writer Jack Kerouac.

3. Cooking title : IRON CHEF

“Iron Chef” is a Japanese cooking show that has been broadcast since 1993. The original Japanese show was dubbed for airing in English-speaking countries and became a surprising hit around the world. There are now spin-off shows around the world including “Iron Chef America” and “Iron Chef UK”.

5. Jamaica’s St. ___ Bay : ANN’S

St. Ann’s Bay is on the northern coast of Jamaica.

7. Image on every carton of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream : COW

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield did a correspondence course on ice-cream making in 1977 given by Pennsylvania State University’s Creamery. The following year they opened an ice cream parlor in an old gas station in Burlington, Vermont. Today Ben & Jerry’s has locations in over 20 countries around the world, and theirs was the first brand ice-cream to go into space.

11. Pull one’s hair out? : TWEEZE

Tweezers are small metal pincers used in handling small objects. Back in the 1600s, “tweeze” was the name given to the case in which such an implement was kept, and over time the case gave its name to the device itself. “Tweeze” evolved from “etweese”, the plural of “etwee”, which came from “étui “, the French word for a “small case”.

12. Eve who wrote “The Vagina Monologues” : ENSLER

Eve Ensler is a playwright whose most famous work is “The Vagina Monologues”. When Ensler was only 23 years of age she adopted a 15 year old boy. We are familiar with that boy on the big screen these days, i.e. actor Dylan McDermott.

25. Brazilian city at the mouth of the Amazon : BELEM

Belém is the capital city of the state of Pará in northern Brazil. Belém was founded by the Portuguese in 1616 and was the the first European colony on the Amazon river. “Belém” is the Portuguese word for “Bethlehem”.

30. ___ Canals : SOO

In the summer of 2010 I spent a very interesting afternoon watching ships make their way through the Soo Locks and Soo Canals between Lake Superior and the lower Great lakes. The name “Soo” comes from the US and Canadian cities on either side of the locks, both called Sault Ste. Marie.

37. What “I” am, in a kid’s song : TEAPOT

The children’s song “I’m a Little Teapot” was written and published in 1939, composed by a married couple who ran a dance school for children. They needed a simple tune that young ones could use to learn a simple tap routine, and came up with this:

I’m a little teapot,
Short and stout,
Here is my handle,
Here is my spout,
When I get all steamed up,
Hear me shout,
Tip me over and pour me out!

44. How shy people may stand : ALOOF

I suppose one might guess from the “feel” of the word “aloof” that is has nautical roots. Originally “aloof” meant “to windward” and was the opposite of “alee”. A helmsman might be instructed to stay aloof, to steer the boat into the weather to keep a distance from a lee-shore. It is from this sense of maintaining a distance that aloof came to mean “distant” in terms of personality. Interesting, huh …?

48. Common ___ : CORE

The Common Core State Standards Initiative lays out what K-12 students should know in English and mathematics. The standard is intended to standardize requirements across all states.

51. Reddit V.I.P., for short : MOD

Reddit.com is a networking and news website that started up in 2005. It is essentially a bulletin board system with posts that are voted up and down by users, which determines the ranking of posts. The name “Reddit” is a play on “read it”, as in “I read it on Reddit”. One popular feature of the Reddit site is an online forum that is similar to a press conference. Known as an AMA (for “ask me anything”), participants have included the likes of President Barack Obama, Madonna, Bill Gates, Stephen Colbert and Gordon Ramsay. President Obama’s AMA was so popular that the high level of traffic brought down many parts of the Reddit site.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Husky relatives : AKITAS
7. Like a virgin : CHASTE
13. Title setting for Shakespeare : VERONA
14. Event with fiddling : HOEDOWN
15. Here and there : AROUND
16. Riffraff : LOWLIFES
17. With 18-Across, desires : LONGS
18. See 17-Across : FOR
19. See 54-Across : MOTEL
20. Response to a burn or a pun : OUCH!
21. Jack ___ : FROST
23. Girth : SIZE
24. Dismissive turndown : NAH
25. They may hold the solution : BEAKERS
27. Profit chaser? : -EER
28. The last pair you’ll ever wear? : CEMENT SHOES
31. Where the magician hides the rabbit : FALSE BOTTOM
33. Embarrassments for news agencies : RETRACTIONS
35. Attained : GOT
38. Who once described puritanism as “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy” : MENCKEN
39. Contents of une fontaine : EAU
41. Not just passes : ACES
43. Piled leaves : RAKED
44. Despot exiled in 1979 : AMIN
45. Bobby who co-founded the Black Panthers : SEALE
47. Co-star of the “Thin Man” films : LOY
48. Idiots : CLODS
49. Something the Netherlands has but Belgium doesn’t? : CAPITAL N
51. Certain religious proselytizer, informally : MOONIE
52. Pattern breaker : ANOMALY
53. Faux gold : OROIDE
54. With 19-Across, spot for a tryst : NO-TELL
55. Measure of military alertness : DEFCON

Down

1. Place of eternal happiness : AVALON
2. Beat someone? : KEROUAC
3. Cooking title : IRON CHEF
4. “Too bad!” : TOUGH!
5. Jamaica’s St. ___ Bay : ANN’S
6. Bummed : SAD
7. Image on every carton of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream : COW
8. Lead : HELM
9. “Ciao” : ADIOS
10. Pushover : SOFTIE
11. Pull one’s hair out? : TWEEZE
12. Eve who wrote “The Vagina Monologues” : ENSLER
14. “Balderdash!” : HORSE HOCKEY
16. Recalls : LOOKS BACK ON
18. Letter closing from one brother to another : FRATERNALLY
21. Window: Ger. : FENSTER
22. Brought (out) : TROTTED
25. Brazilian city at the mouth of the Amazon : BELEM
26. Take root : SET IN
29. Nick, e.g. : MAR
30. ___ Canals : SOO
32. “Thirty days hath September …,” e.g. : MNEMONIC
34. Tied the knot : SAID “I DO”
35. Container that’s almost always red : GAS CAN
36. About 71% of la Tierra : OCEANO
37. What “I” am, in a kid’s song : TEAPOT
40. Invisible : UNSEEN
42. Say nasty things about : SLIME
44. How shy people may stand : ALOOF
46. Bibliography abbr. : ET AL
48. Common ___ : CORE
50. Word before and after “in” : ALL
51. Reddit V.I.P., for short : MOD