0702-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 2 Jul 2018, Monday

Constructed by: Evan Kalish
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: It’s a Secret

Themed answers each include a SECRET word spelled out in circled letters in the grid. That word is often preceded by “SECRET”:

  • 59A. “Keep this between us” … or hint to this puzzle’s circled letters : IT’S A SECRET
  • 16A. Italian food item that can be stuffed and baked : PASTA SHELL (giving “secret stash”)
  • 20A. Militia of farmers, e.g. : PEASANT ARMY (giving “Secret Santa”)
  • 24A. “He’s so polite” : WHAT A GENTLEMAN (giving “secret agent”)
  • 44A. It may allow a text document to be displayed on a web page : MARKUP LANGUAGE (giving “secret plan”)
  • 49A. 3, 5 or 7, but not 9 : PRIME NUMBER (giving “secret menu”)

Bill’s time: 5m 26s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

13. Atlantic or Pacific : OCEAN

The earliest known mention of the name “Atlantic” for the world’s second-largest ocean was in Ancient Greece. The Greeks called the ocean “the Sea of Atlas” or “Atlantis thalassa”.

The Pacific Ocean was given its name by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. When Magellan sailed into the ocean on his 1521 circumnavigation of the globe, he encountered favorable winds and so called it “Mar Pacifico” meaning “peaceful sea”.

15. Bullets and BBs : AMMO

A BB gun is an air pistol or rifle that shoots birdshot known as BBs. Birdshot comes in a number of different sizes, from size 9 (0.070″ in diameter) to size FF (.230″). Birdshot that is size BB (0.180″ in diameter) gives the airgun its name.

20. Militia of farmers, e.g. : PEASANT ARMY (giving “Secret Santa”)

The Christmas tradition known as “Secret Santa” is often used for gift-giving by a group of friends or colleagues. Each person is randomly assigned another member of the group to whom they give a gift. The identity of the gift-giver is kept secret, hence the name of the tradition.

22. ___ Solo of 2018’s “Solo” : HAN

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” is a 2018 installment in the “Star Wars” anthology series of films. This one tells the story of a young Han Solo and his young (190-year-old) sidekick Chewbacca. Solo, famously played by Harrison Ford in the original movies, is portrayed by American actor Alden Ehrenreich.

33. What poi is made from : TARO

I am a big fan of starch (being an Irishman I love potatoes). That said, I think that poi tastes horrible! Poi is made from the bulbous tubers (corm) of the taro plant by cooking the corm in water and mashing it until the desired consistency is achieved.

34. What a plane’s hold holds : CARGO

Cargo is freight carried by some vehicle. The term “cargo” comes into English via Spanish, ultimately deriving from the Latin “carricare” meaning “to load on a cart”.

35. ___-Man (shrinking Marvel superhero) : ANT

In the Marvel universe, Ant-Man has been the superhero persona of three different fictional characters: Hank Pym, Scott Lang and Eric O’Grady. In the 2015 film “Ant-Man”, Michael Douglas plays Hank Pym, and Paul Rudd plays Scott Lang.

36. Hit musical set in Argentina : EVITA

“Evita” was the follow-up musical to “Jesus Christ Superstar” for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Both of these works were originally released as album musicals, and very successful ones at that (I remember buying them when they first came out). “Evita” was made into a film in 1996, with Madonna playing the title role and Welsh actor Jonathan Pryce playing her husband Juan Perón.

44. It may allow a text document to be displayed on a web page : MARKUP LANGUAGE (giving “secret plan”)

The initialism “HTML” stands for HyperText Markup Language. HTML is the language used to write most Internet web pages (including this one).

49. 3, 5 or 7, but not 9 : PRIME NUMBER (giving “secret menu”)

A prime number is a number greater than 1 that can only be divided evenly by 1 and itself. There are still some unanswered questions involving prime numbers, perhaps most notably Goldbach’s Conjecture. This conjecture dates back to the 1740s and is assumed to be true, but has never been proven. It states that every even integer greater than 2 can be expressed as the sum of two prime numbers.

Apparently, some fast-food restaurants maintain a “secret menu” of unadvertised selections that customers hear about on the grapevine.

55. Guerrilla ___ Guevara : CHE

Ernesto “Che” Guevara was born in Argentina, and in 1948 he started to study medicine at the University of Buenos Aires. While at school he satisfied his need to “see the world” by taking two long journeys around South America, the story of which are told in Guevara’s memoir later published as “The Motorcycle Diaries”. While travelling, Guevara was moved by the plight of the people he saw and their working conditions and what he viewed as capitalistic exploitation. In Mexico City he met brothers Raul and Fidel Castro and was persuaded to join their cause, the overthrow of the US-backed government in Cuba. He rose to second-in-command among the Cuban insurgents, and when Castro came to power Guevara was influential in repelling the Bay of Pigs Invasion and bringing Soviet nuclear missiles to the island. Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to continue his work as a revolutionary. He was captured by Bolivian forces in 1967, and was executed. Fidel Castro led the public mourning of Guevara’s death, and soon the revolutionary was an icon for many left-wing movements around the world.

58. “Today” co-host Kotb : HODA

Hoda Kotb is an Egyptian-American television journalist who is perhaps best known as co-host of the NBC morning show “Today”. She is also the author of a bestselling autobiography “Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee”.

65. Verizon Fios or Comcast’s Xfinity, for short : ISP

Internet service provider (ISP)

Down

1. Kangaroo movements : HOPS

The word “kangaroo” comes from the Australian Aborigine term for the animal. There’s an oft-quoted story that the explorer James Cook (later Captain Cook) asked a local native what was the name of this remarkable-looking animal, and the native responded with “Kangaroo”. The story is that the native was actually saying “I don’t understand you”, but as cute as that tale is, it’s just an urban myth.

2. Berry marketed as a superfood : ACAI

Açaí (pronounced “ass-aye-ee”) is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.

5. Get testy with : SNAP AT

Somebody described as testy is touchy, irritably impatient. The term comes into English from Old French, ultimately deriving from “testu” meaning “stubborn, headstrong”, literally “heady”. So, our word “testy” comes from the same root as the French word “tête” meaning “head”.

7. ___ wars (longtime advertising battle) : COLA

“Cola Wars” is the phrase used to describe the competing marketing campaigns of Coca Cola and PepsiCo. Coke is winning …

8. Early computer connection protocol : TELNET

Telnet is a network protocol, i.e. a defined format for controlling communications between devices in a computer network.

9. Where San Francisco and Oakland are : BAY AREA

The San Francisco Bay Area comprises the nine counties that impinge on the San Francisco Bay itself: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma. The region also includes the major cities of San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland.

10. Actor Epps : OMAR

Omar Epps is the actor who played Eric Forman on the excellent television series “House”. Prior to playing Dr. Forman, Epps had a recurring role playing Dr. Dennis Gant on “ER”. And, in another link to the world of medicine, Epps was born in Savannah, Georgia to single mom, Dr. Bonnie Epps.

14. “Eureka!” : AHA!

“Eureka” translates from Greek as “I have found it”. The word is usually associated with Archimedes, uttered as he stepped into his bath one day. His discovery was that the volume of water that was displaced was equal to that of the object (presumably his foot) that had been submerged. He used this fact to determine the volume of a crown, something he needed in order to determine if it was made of pure gold or was a forgery.

17. Its members serve six-year terms : SENATE

The six-year terms enjoyed by US senators are staggered, so that every two years about one third of the 100 US Senate seats come up for reelection.

24. “A Fish Called ___” (1988 comedy) : WANDA

The 1988 comedy “A Fish Called Wanda” is a favorite of mine. The film was co-written by and stars John Cleese, and has an exceptional cast including Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline and Cleese’s friend from “Monty Python”, Michael Palin. Kevin Kline won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance. The “fish” in the film is the con artist Wanda, played by Curtis.

26. Judge’s mallet : GAVEL

The small hammer that one raps on a table or desk to call a meeting to order, or perhaps to signify a sale at an auction, that’s called a gavel. The term “gavel” is actually American English, a word that emerged in the early 19th century.

27. Writer Jong : ERICA

The author Erica Jong’s most famous work is her first: “Fear of Flying”, a novel published in 1973. Over twenty years later, Jong wrote “Fear of Fifty: a midlife memoir”, published in 1994.

29. Head honcho : MR BIG

“Honcho” is a slang term used for a leader. The word comes to us from Japanese, in which language a “hancho” is a squad (han) leader (cho).

31. Spiced holiday drinks : NOGS

It’s not really clear where the term “nog” (as in “eggnog”) comes from although it might derive from the word “noggin”, which was originally a small wooden cup that was long associated with alcoholic drinks.

37. Texas A&M team : AGGIES

Texas A&M is the seventh largest university in the country, and was the first public higher education institute in the state when it accepted its first students in 1876. The full name of the school was the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas and its primary mission used to be the education of males in the techniques of farming and military warfare. That’s quite a combination! Because of the agricultural connection, the college’s sports teams use the moniker “Aggies”. Texas A&M is also home to the George Bush Presidential Library.

43. Tradesperson’s vehicle : VAN

The vehicle we call a “van” takes its name from “caravan”, and is a shortened version of the older term. Back in the 1600s, a caravan was a covered cart. We still used the term “caravan” in Ireland to describe what we call a “mobile home” or “recreational vehicle” here in the US.

45. Sandwich with grill marks : PANINI

In Italy, a sandwich made from sliced bread is called a “tramezzino”, while sandwiches made from non-sliced breads are called “panini” (singular “panino”). We’ve imported the term “panini” into English to mean a pressed and toasted sandwich.

52. Beehive State tribe : UTES

When Mormon pioneers were settling what is today the state of Utah, they referred to the area as Deseret, a word that means “beehive” according to the Book of Mormon. Today Utah is known as the Beehive State and there is a beehive symbol on the Utah state flag. In 1959, “Industry” was even chosen as the state motto, for the term’s association with the beehive.

53. Car sticker fig. : MSRP

Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)

57. Website for craft vendors : ETSY

Etsy.com is an e-commerce website where you can buy and sell the kind of items that you might find at a craft fair.

60. Busy worker in April, for short : CPA

Certified public accountant (CPA)

April 15th wasn’t always Tax Day in the US. The deadline for returns was March 1st from 1913-18, when it was moved to March 15th. Tax Day has been April 15th since 1955.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Foggy mental states : HAZES
6. Play a role onstage : ACT
9. Wild hog : BOAR
13. Atlantic or Pacific : OCEAN
14. Soothing substance : ALOE
15. Bullets and BBs : AMMO
16. Italian food item that can be stuffed and baked : PASTA SHELL (giving “secret stash”)
18. Doesn’t stop talking : YAPS
19. Common canine command : SIT
20. Militia of farmers, e.g. : PEASANT ARMY (giving “Secret Santa”)
22. ___ Solo of 2018’s “Solo” : HAN
23. Corn unit : EAR
24. “He’s so polite” : WHAT A GENTLEMAN (giving “secret agent”)
32. Sir’s counterpart : MA’AM
33. What poi is made from : TARO
34. What a plane’s hold holds : CARGO
35. ___-Man (shrinking Marvel superhero) : ANT
36. Hit musical set in Argentina : EVITA
38. Something the eco-conscious bring to a grocery : BAG
39. “I.e.,” spelled out : ID EST
42. Vaper’s device : E-CIG
43. A-list group at an event : VIPS
44. It may allow a text document to be displayed on a web page : MARKUP LANGUAGE (giving “secret plan”)
47. Once ___ while : IN A
48. No room at the ___ (problem once in Bethlehem) : INN
49. 3, 5 or 7, but not 9 : PRIME NUMBER (giving “secret menu”)
55. Guerrilla ___ Guevara : CHE
58. “Today” co-host Kotb : HODA
59. “Keep this between us” … or hint to this puzzle’s circled letters : IT’S A SECRET
61. December 24 and 31, e.g. : EVES
62. One probably not with the jocks at the lunch table : NERD
63. Practices boxing : SPARS
64. Watered down, as coffee : WEAK
65. Verizon Fios or Comcast’s Xfinity, for short : ISP
66. Striped cat : TABBY

Down

1. Kangaroo movements : HOPS
2. Berry marketed as a superfood : ACAI
3. Lemon rind part : ZEST
4. Consume : EAT
5. Get testy with : SNAP AT
6. Lager alternatives : ALES
7. ___ wars (longtime advertising battle) : COLA
8. Early computer connection protocol : TELNET
9. Where San Francisco and Oakland are : BAY AREA
10. Actor Epps : OMAR
11. 12-hour toggle on clocks : AM/PM
12. Flushed, as cheeks : ROSY
14. “Eureka!” : AHA!
17. Its members serve six-year terms : SENATE
21. Barber’s powder : TALC
22. Nonkosher sandwich meat : HAM
24. “A Fish Called ___” (1988 comedy) : WANDA
25. Jealous critic, informally : HATER
26. Judge’s mallet : GAVEL
27. Writer Jong : ERICA
28. Away from the office : NOT IN
29. Head honcho : MR BIG
30. Open-mouthed : AGAPE
31. Spiced holiday drinks : NOGS
32. Seriously injure : MAIM
37. Texas A&M team : AGGIES
40. Robber’s identity-protecting headwear : SKI MASK
41. Something carried by a singer : TUNE
43. Tradesperson’s vehicle : VAN
45. Sandwich with grill marks : PANINI
46. Turmoil : UNREST
49. [What a relief!] : PHEW!
50. Wander about : ROVE
51. What a light bulb indicates in cartoons : IDEA
52. Beehive State tribe : UTES
53. Car sticker fig. : MSRP
54. Word to a dog that has just chewed the sofa : BAD
55. One who complains, complains, complains : CRAB
56. Parsley, sage, rosemary or thyme : HERB
57. Website for craft vendors : ETSY
60. Busy worker in April, for short : CPA

8 thoughts on “0702-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 2 Jul 2018, Monday”

  1. 5:37, no errors. Distracted and in a hurry; forgot to check out the theme. Not sure I understand “SECRET MENU”.

    1. I Googled “SECRET MENU” and, sho’ nuf, it’s a thing, but I still don’t really get it … so I’ve added it the ever-growing list of things I’m just not meant to understand … 😜

  2. 8:17, no errors. Didn’t get the theme until I got down to 59A, and by then the puzzle was essentially complete.

    @Dave: regarding SECRET MENU, fast food restaurants are based on their ability to quickly prepare a limited menu of offerings. Many restaurants obliged customers’ special requests, such as asking for a Big Mac to be made with quarter pounder patties rather than the standard ones; or, asking for Big Mac sauce for their fries rather than ketchup. Some special requests became so popular that they were given their own nicknames, and since these items were not on the menu, they are considered ‘secret menu’ items. I was not surprised to see McDonalds (and others, I am sure) jump on this, and now offer an actual ‘secret menu’ menu. See the link:
    https://secretmenus.com/mcdonalds/secret-menu/

  3. No errors. Nice puzzle.

    I have recently been working puzzles from a store-bought book. It is composed of reprinted Monday puzzles that first appeared a few years ago in the NYT. I find that I can easily breeze right through these older puzzles. The relative difficulty of the Monday puzzles therefore seems to have definitely increased over the interim years. Not to say that there won’t be individual variations, but the trend overall appears to me to be that the editor has consciously chosen to raise the stakes on these Monday puzzles.

  4. 6:37 and no errors. Definitely more of a Tuesday, difficulty wise. And once again, the circled letters gimmick and theme aren’t worth the time to figure them out. Better to just complete the grid and let that work itself out. I mean, really, I don’t even get a grin or a “aha!” moment out of these distractions. My opinion is, they’re more for the setter to massage his or her ego than anything else. Pfft: you’d think a byline would be enough…

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