0620-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 20 Jun 2018, Wednesday

Constructed by: Jeffrey Wechsler
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme (according to Bill): OU to U

Themed answers are common phrases in which the letter O has been dropped from the pair of letters OU:

  • 17A. Well-behaved sister? : PROPER NUN (from “proper noun”)
  • 23A. Evidence of a cat fight? : FUR ON THE FLOOR (from “four on the floor”)
  • 37A. TV bleep? : CURSE CORRECTION (from “course correction”)
  • 45A. Impolite press conference attendees? : CURT REPORTERS (from “court reporters”)
  • 59A. Part of the queen’s tea service? : PALACE CUP (from “palace coup”)

Bill’s time: 8m 00s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Bit in a fish tank : ALGA

Algae are similar to terrestrial plants in that they use photosynthesis to create sugars from light and carbon dioxide, but they differ in that they have simpler anatomies, and for example lack roots.

15. Q5 or Q7 : AUDI

In most countries around the world, Audi uses its corporate tagline in advertising, namely “Vorsprung durch Technik” (which translates as “Advancement through Technology”). However, the literal translation from the German was dropped for the US market, in favor of “Truth in Engineering”.

16. Lump in one’s throat : UVULA

The uvula is that conical fleshy projection hanging down at the back of the soft palate. The uvula plays an important role in human speech, particularly in the making of “guttural” sounds. The Latin word for “grape” is “uva”, so “uvula” is a “little grape”.

19. Lustrous fabrics : LAMES

Lamé is a fabric that has metallic yarns included in the weave. Lamé is a popular fabric for stylish evening wear, and also in the sport of fencing. The metallic threads are conductive and so help register a touch by an épée.

21. Dangerous virus : EBOLA

The Ebola virus causes a very nasty form of hemorrhagic fever. The name of the virus comes from the site of the first known outbreak, in a mission hospital in the Ebola River Valley in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then known as Zaire). The disease is transmitted from human to human by exposure to bodily fluids. In nature, the main carrier of Ebola is the fruit bat.

22. Cuba ___ (cocktail) : LIBRE

The cocktail known as a Cuba libre is basically a rum and Coke, although the traditional recipe also calls for a splash of lime juice.

23. Evidence of a cat fight? : FUR ON THE FLOOR (from “four on the floor”)

Back in the day, the majority of American-made cars had three forward speeds and the gear shift was mounted on the steering column. Said gear shift is sometimes referred to as “three on the tree”. Around the same time, European-made cars tended to have four forward speeds, and a gear shifter mounted on the floor. That arrangement is known as “four on the floor”. As an aside, I happen to be on vacation in Europe at the moment and am driving a rental car with “six on the floor”. That’s a first for me …

28. Insult, informally : DIS

“Dis” is a slang term meaning “insult” that originated in the eighties. It is a shortened form of “disrespect” or “dismiss”.

34. “Westworld” airer : HBO

“Westworld” is an HBO series that is based on a 1973 movie of the same name, which was written and directed by novelist Michael Crichton. Westworld is a high-tech theme park populated by androids that interact with the guests.

41. Like chlorine gas : TOXIC

Chlorine is a yellow-green gas that is very poisonous at high concentrations. As such, chlorine gas was used in WWI, earning the shameful title of the world’s first gaseous chemical weapon. Chlorine was mistakenly believed to be an oxide for many years, until English chemist Sir Humphry Davy correctly concluded that the gas was an element. Davy coined the name “chlorine”, from the Greek “chloros” meaning “”green-yellow”.

42. Swarm : HORDE

A horde is a large crowd. “Horde” ultimately derives from the Turkish “ordu” that means “camp, army”.

43. Important ID : SSN

Social Security number (SSN)

44. Dangerous things to do at busy intersections : UEYS

Hang a “uey” or “uie”, make a u-turn, make a 180.

53. Casanova’s desire : AMORE

Giacomo Casanova was an 18th-century adventurer from Venice. We know so much about him, and his reputation as a womanizer, because he left us his autobiography “Histoire de ma vie” (Story of My Life). A guy recounting stories of his love life and conquests? All true, I am sure …

54. Critic with raised or lowered thumbs : EBERT

Roger Ebert co-hosted a succession of film review television programs for over 23 years, most famously with Gene Siskel until Siskel passed away in 1999. Siskel and Ebert famously gave their thumbs up or thumbs down to the movies they reviewed. Ebert himself died in 2013.

55. Nincompoop : ASS

The word “nincompoop”, meaning a fool, seems to have been around for quite a while. It has been used since the 1670s, but no one appears to know its origins.

58. ___ New Guinea : PAPUA

Papua New Guinea is a country occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea (the western side of the island is part of Indonesia).

59. Part of the queen’s tea service? : PALACE CUP (from “palace coup”)

A coup d’état (often just “coup”) is the sudden overthrow of a government, and comes from the French for “stroke of state”. The Swiss-German word “putsch” is sometimes used instead of “coup”, with “Putsch” translating literally as “sudden blow”.

61. Fix, as text : EMEND

The verb “to amend” means “to change for the better, put right, alter by adding”. The related verb “to emend” is used more rarely and mainly in reference to the editing of professional writing. Both terms are derived from the Latin “emendare” meaning “to remove fault”.

62. Religious leader usually sporting a beard : IMAM

An imam is a Muslim leader, and often the person in charge of a mosque or perhaps a Muslim community.

Down

1. “Real dogs eat meat” sloganeer : ALPO

Alpo is a brand of dog food introduced by Allen Products in 1936, with “Alpo” being an abbreviation for “Allen Products”. Lorne Greene used to push Alpo in television spots, as did Ed McMahon and Garfield the Cat, would you believe?

2. Title for Voldemort : LORD

Lord Voldemort (born Tom Marvolo Riddle) is the main “bad guy” in the “Harry Potter” series of books. I heard author J. K. Rowling on the radio some time back and she tells us that “Voldemort” is supposed to be pronounced with a silent “t” on the end, so it sounds kind of French. But when the movies came out the actors went with the hard “t”, and that’s the pronunciation that seems to prevail now. It seems to be generally accepted that Rowling chose the name from the French “vol de mort” meaning “flight of death”.

3. Tinker Bell, e.g. : GOOD FAIRY

Tinker Bell is a fairy in the “Peter Pan” story by J. M. Barrie. “Tink” is a minor character in the original play and novel, but evolved into a major character in the many, many film and television adaptation of the tale.

4. Google Maps, for one : APP

Google Maps was developed as a web mapping service for desktops. The (wonderful!) Google Maps mobile app was released in 2008, and is now the most popular smartphone app in the world.

5. About whom Bette Davis said “Her instinct, her mastery over the machine, was pure witchcraft” : GARBO

Famously, Greta Garbo lived a life of seclusion in New York City after she retired from the entertainment business. Commentators often associated her need for privacy with a line she uttered in the great 1932 movie “Grand Hotel”. Her character Grusinskaya the Russian ballerina said, “I want to be alone (…) I just want to be alone”.

6. Extended sentence? : RUN-ON

A “run-on sentence” is one in which two separate clauses are linked without appropriate conjugation. Two examples would be:

Today’s crossword is really tough I can’t finish.
Today’s crossword is really tough, I can’t finish.

More acceptable sentences would be:

Today’s crossword is really tough. I can’t finish.
Today’s crossword is really tough; I can’t finish.
Today’s crossword is really tough, so I can’t finish.

8. Alice’s cat in “Through the Looking-Glass” : DINAH

Dinah is Alice’s pet cat, and a companion that she mentions quite often in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and in “Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There”.

11. Disney’s fourth animated feature film : DUMBO

The 1941 Disney animated film “Dumbo” was made a year after the feature called “Fantasia” was released. “Dumbo” was largely a commercial venture. The film was made quickly and released in theaters as soon as possible, the idea being to recoup the financial losses incurred by “Fantasia”.

12. Final Oldsmobile model : ALERO

The Oldsmobile Alero was the last car made made by General Motors under the Oldsmobile brand. It was produced from 1999 to 2004.

13. Alternative to a truncheon : TASER

The term “billy club” has been used for a policeman’s nightstick or truncheon since the 1850s. Before that, the term was burglar’s slang for a crowbar.

25. Falco of “The Sopranos” : EDIE

The actress Edie Falco won three Emmy Awards for playing Carmela Soprano on HBO’s outstanding drama series called “The Sopranos”. Falco also won an Emmy in 2010 for playing the title role in “Nurse Jackie”, an excellent black comedy.

31. Part of two major-league team names : SOX

The Chicago White Sox Major League Baseball team was established in Chicago in 1900 and originally was called the White Stockings. The name was changed because the abbreviation “Sox” for “Stockings” was regularly used in newspaper headlines.

The Boston Red Sox is one of the most successful Major League Baseball teams and so commands a large attendance, but only when on the road. The relatively small capacity of Boston’s Fenway Park, the team’s home since 1912, has dictated that every game the Red Sox has played there has been a sell-out since May of 2003. I recently had the pleasure of touring Fenway Park. It’s quite a place …

35. Hairstyling factor : BODY

Not in mine …

43. William who co-wrote “The Elements of Style” : STRUNK

William Strunk, Jr. was co-author of the first editions of “The Elements of Style” back in 1918 (usually referred to as “Strunk & White”). Strunk’s fellow-author was Elwyn Brooks (E. B.) White, the creator of the children’s stories “Charlotte’s Web” and “Stuart Little”.

Strunk & White’s “The Elements of Style” was first published in 1918. “The Elements of Style” is a relatively thin book, when compared to its modern counterpart “The Chicago Manual of Style”. Both books give guidance on the correct use of American English. The Chicago version is one of the most frequently used references on my bookshelf, and a constant reminder of my inadequacies!

46. Taste quality : UMAMI

Umami is one of the five basic tastes, along with sweet, sour, bitter and salty. “Umami” is a Japanese word used to describe “a pleasant savory taste”. Umami was proposed as a basic taste in 1908, but it wasn’t until 1985 that the scientific community finally accepted it as such.

47. Know the ___ : ROPES

As one might expect perhaps, the phrase “learning the ropes” is nautical in origin. A new recruit on a sailing vessel would have to learn how to tie the appropriate knots and learn which rope controlled which sail or spar.

49. U.S. president with the most southerly birthplace : OBAMA

Despite rumors to the contrary, Barack Hussein Obama II was indeed born in Hawaii. Future US President Obama was born on August 4, 1961 at Kapi’olani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The most southerly state in the US is Hawaii, and the most northerly is Alaska. Alaska is also the most westerly state, and believe it or not, it is also the most easterly state. That’s because Alaska’s Aleutian Islands stretch across the 180-degree of longitude into the Eastern Hemisphere.

56. Competition with minimal apparel : SUMO

Sumo is a sport that is practiced professionally only in Japan, the country of its origin. There is an international federation of sumo wrestling now, and one of the organization’s aims is to have the sport accepted as an Olympic event.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Bit in a fish tank : ALGA
5. June celebrant, for short : GRAD
9. Having trouble with : BAD AT
14. Repeating segment of computer code : LOOP
15. Q5 or Q7 : AUDI
16. Lump in one’s throat : UVULA
17. Well-behaved sister? : PROPER NUN (from “proper noun”)
19. Lustrous fabrics : LAMES
20. “That doesn’t seem right” : ODD
21. Dangerous virus : EBOLA
22. Cuba ___ (cocktail) : LIBRE
23. Evidence of a cat fight? : FUR ON THE FLOOR (from “four on the floor”)
26. Quite distant : AFAR
28. Insult, informally : DIS
29. Spring sound : BOING!
31. Serious damage to one’s reputation : STAIN
34. “Westworld” airer : HBO
37. TV bleep? : CURSE CORRECTION (from “course correction”)
40. Devious : SLY
41. Like chlorine gas : TOXIC
42. Swarm : HORDE
43. Important ID : SSN
44. Dangerous things to do at busy intersections : UEYS
45. Impolite press conference attendees? : CURT REPORTERS (from “court reporters”)
53. Casanova’s desire : AMORE
54. Critic with raised or lowered thumbs : EBERT
55. Nincompoop : ASS
58. ___ New Guinea : PAPUA
59. Part of the queen’s tea service? : PALACE CUP (from “palace coup”)
61. Fix, as text : EMEND
62. Religious leader usually sporting a beard : IMAM
63. Up for something : GAME
64. Dangerous : RISKY
65. Unsupportive votes : NAYS
66. What teens do that most twentysomethings don’t : GROW

Down

1. “Real dogs eat meat” sloganeer : ALPO
2. Title for Voldemort : LORD
3. Tinker Bell, e.g. : GOOD FAIRY
4. Google Maps, for one : APP
5. About whom Bette Davis said “Her instinct, her mastery over the machine, was pure witchcraft” : GARBO
6. Extended sentence? : RUN-ON
7. 21+ : ADULT
8. Alice’s cat in “Through the Looking-Glass” : DINAH
9. Small Eurasian songbird : BULLFINCH
10. Makes use (of) : AVAILS
11. Disney’s fourth animated feature film : DUMBO
12. Final Oldsmobile model : ALERO
13. Alternative to a truncheon : TASER
18. Suffix with mountain : -EER
24. Some catering equipment : URNS
25. Falco of “The Sopranos” : EDIE
26. Fundamentals : ABCS
27. Word with weather or ball : FOUL …
30. Prepares : GETS READY
31. Part of two major-league team names : SOX
32. Numerical prefix : TRI-
33. A firecracker goes in one : ARC
34. Goes by livery taxi : HIRES A CAR
35. Hairstyling factor : BODY
36. 111 things? : ONES
38. Roadwork indicator : CONE
39. Take the show on the road : TOUR
43. William who co-wrote “The Elements of Style” : STRUNK
45. Elaborate theft, in movies : CAPER
46. Taste quality : UMAMI
47. Know the ___ : ROPES
48. TV chef Jacques : PEPIN
49. U.S. president with the most southerly birthplace : OBAMA
50. Circuit section : RELAY
51. Some light rail options : TRAMS
52. And so on, briefly : ETC
56. Competition with minimal apparel : SUMO
57. Send out a jet : SPEW
60. Dinosaur’s starting place : EGG

12 thoughts on “0620-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 20 Jun 2018, Wednesday”

  1. 14:14. Got the theme right away with PROPER NUN. Agree that NE corner was a bit tricky.

    Driving a 6 on the floor car would confuse me as well, Bill. I hope you are at least driving it on the right side of the road….

    Best –

      1. I probably wouldn’t have noticed, but I was trying to work out my own rationale for the theme, as in: “Oh, you!” “Me?” “Yeah, you!” (But it doesn’t really work, unfortunately … 😜.)

  2. I worked half of this puzzle and then went to the dentist.
    Not my favorite way to start a Wednesday.
    No errors and no cavities

  3. No errors. I knew early on that I had my work cut out for me if I hoped to finish this one successfully. I got the theme about two-thirds of the way through and it helped thereafter. Like Dave, I wondered why there wasn’t more of an explicit explanation of the theme. That is the way it is usually done, I think.

  4. 11:45, no errors. Only erasure was to turn AMEND into EMEND. Saw the theme early on, which helped.

    @Bill: I am surprised that you got a rental car with a manual transmission (I assume your six-on-the-floor is not a 6-speed automatic). Didn’t think rental companies had those anymore, except for specialty cars.

    1. @BruceB
      Yep, manual transmission. I’ve rented four cars here so far, and was given manual transmissions every time (without asking). Two were 5-speed, and two were 6-speed.

  5. 15 mins 5 sec and 2 errors (B)AD AT/(B)ULLFINCH. Toiled quite a bit with this one. Theme was groan inducing… “O, I get it…” Not.

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