0706-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 6 Jul 2018, Friday

Constructed by: Randolph Ross
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Race Meet

We have a mini-theme today. The longest answer across the MIDDLE of the grid is “Meet in the MIDDLE”. The longest answer touching the BOTTOM of the grid is “Race to the BOTTOM”.

Bill’s time: 11m 00s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Ruler who died in 30 B.C. : CLEOPATRA

Cleopatra was the last pharaoh to rule Egypt. After she died, Egypt became a province in the Roman Empire.

16. Alice with a Nobel Prize in Literature : MUNRO

Alice Munro is a writer from southwestern Ontario in Canada. Munro won the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature.

18. Co-star of Wood in “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).

Elijah Wood is an American actor who is most associated with his role as Frodo Baggins in the “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

19. Land of ___ (where 1-Down lived) : NOD

According to the Bible’s Book of Genesis, after Cain murdered his brother Abel, he fled to the “Land of Nod” located “east of Eden” (from which John Steinbeck got the title for his celebrated novel “East of Eden”).

25. One of two polar opposites : ICE CAP

The polar ice cap at the north of our planet is floating pack ice in the Arctic Ocean. The southern polar ice cap is an ice sheet that covers the landmass known as Antarctica. About 70% of all the freshwater on Earth is held in the southern polar ice cap.

28. Standard product, once : OIL

John D. Rockefeller was an American industrialist whose biggest success came with the Standard Oil Company that he founded and ran for over 25 years. Rockefeller became the richest man in the world, and America’s first billionaire.

34. More au courant : TRENDIER

“Au courant” means “up-to-date” and comes into English directly from French, in which language it has the same meaning.

39. Ironic reaction to dry humor? : SPIT TAKE

The comic maneuver in which someone spits out a drink in response to a joke or a surprising statement, that’s called a “spit take”.

41. Tribe encountered by Lewis and Clark : OTOE

The Native American people known as the Otoe and the Missouri were the first tribes encountered by the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The meeting took place in 1804 at a point on the Missouri River that is now known as Council Bluffs.

42. One of the jacks in cribbage : NOB

Cribbage is a great card game that originated in 17th-century England. It was a creation of the poet Sir John Suckling. One of the unique features of the game is that a cribbage board with pegs is used to keep score. Here in the US, cribbage is very much associated with the submarine service, as it is a favorite game of submariners of all ranks.

51. Floppy disk creator : IBM

I don’t think my kids really know what a floppy disk is. A floppy disk is made up of a thin and flexible magnetic material that can store data, enclosed in a protective case. I’ve used 8-inch floppies in my time, and many 5.25-inch floppy disks. Until fairly recently, I had a desktop that would take 3.5-inch disks, although I think the last 3.5-inch floppy disappeared from the house several years ago …

54. River of forgetfulness, in myth : LETHE

The Lethe is one of the five rivers of Hades in Greek mythology. All the souls who drank from the river Lethe experienced complete forgetfulness. The Greek word “lethe” means “oblivion, forgetfulness”.

55. Image on the Maine or South Carolina flag : STATE TREE

The state flag of South Carolina consists of a crescent moon and a palmetto palm tree on a blue background.

Maine’s state flag features the state coat of arms on a blue background. The center of the shield depicts a moose resting under a pine tree, and the shield is supported by a farmer and seaman. The North Star sits atop the shield.

58. Some “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” costumes : ARMOR

“Monty Python and the Holy Grail” was released as a movie in 1975, and was a great success. Some thirty years later the film’s storyline was used as inspiration for the hit musical “Spamalot”. I saw “Spamalot” on stage not that long ago and wasn’t that impressed. But, mine was very much a minority opinion …

The Holy Grail is a theme found throughout Arthurian legend. The grail itself is some vessel, with the term “grail” coming from the Old French “graal” meaning “cup or bowl made of earth, wood or metal”. Over time, the legend of the Holy Grail became mingled with stories of the Holy Chalice of the Christian tradition, the cup used to serve wine at the Last Supper. Over time, the term “grail” came to be used for any desired or sought-after object.

61. Sizable ordinal : UMPTEENTH

The word “umpty” was introduced as slang for a Morse code dash. In the early 1900’s, the same term came to mean “of an indefinite number”, and was associated with the numerals divisible by ten, i.e. twenty, thirty, forty etc. The extended adjective “umpteen” began to appear during WWI as army slang.

Down

1. Problematic firstborn : CAIN

As Cain was the first murderer according the Bible, he is associated with evil or trouble. The idiom “raise Cain” is the equivalent of “raise Hell” and “raise the Devil”. In all cases, the meaning is to bring back evil or to cause trouble.

2. Lead-in to type : LINO-

Linotype printing was the main technology used in the publication of newspapers and magazines for most of the 20th century, up until the 1970s when it was gradually replaced by offset printing and computer typesetting. Linotype printing was so called as a complete “line of type” was produced at one time.

3. Abbr. on a city boundary sign : ESTD

Established (“est.” or “estd.”)

4. Pamplona plaudit : OLE!

Pamplona, Spain is famous for its San Fermin festival held in July every year, the highlight of which is the Running of the Bulls. Every year, 200-300 people are injured in the bull run, and 15 people have been killed since 1910. If you get to Pamplona two days before the Running of the Bulls, you can see the animal-rights protest event known as the Running of the Nudes. The protesters are as naked as the bulls …

Plaudits are enthusiastic expressions of approval. The term comes from the Latin word “plaudite!”, which was an appeal made by actors for “applause” at the end of a performance.

7. Rib : TEASE

“To rib”, meaning “to tease”, is a term dating back to 1930 and is probably an extension from “poking someone in the ribs”.

10. Some WikiLeaks leaks : EMAIL

Julian Assange founded WikiLeaks, the website that is notorious for publishing information that governments and individuals would rather remain secret. Assange is currently in England and lost an appeal to avoid extradition to Sweden to face charges of sexual assault. Assange entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London seeking political asylum in 2012. He was granted that asylum and now lives at the embassy.

12. Drs. that see head cases : ENTS

Ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT)

14. Orlando, in the music world : TONY

Singer Tony Orlando’s birth name is Michael Cassavitis. He had two hits in 1970 while performing with studio backup singers in an act called Dawn, namely “Candida” and “Knock Three Times”. His greatest success came in 1973 with “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree”, which was released by “Dawn featuring Tony Orlando”.

21. State capital that was a boyhood home of Herbert Hoover : SALEM

Salem is the state capital of Oregon. It is thought that the city takes its name from the older city of Salem, Massachusetts.

President Herbert Hoover was born in West Branch, Iowa, and is the only president to have been born in that state. His birthplace is now a National Landmark, and he and his wife were buried in the grounds of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch. President Hoover died at the age of 90 years old in 1964, outliving his nemesis Franklin Delano Roosevelt by almost 20 years.

27. Letters sung as mi, mi, re, re, do : E-I-E-I-O

There was an American version of the English children’s song “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” (E-I-E-I-O), that was around in the days of WWI. The first line of the US version goes “Old MacDougal had a farm, in Ohio-i-o”.

35. Olympus rival : NIKON

The Japanese company Nikon was founded in 1917 with the merger of three manufacturers of various optical devices. After the merger, Nikon’s main output was lenses (including the first lenses for Canon cameras, before Canon made its own). During the war, Nikon sales grew rapidly as the company focused on (pun!) equipment for the military including periscopes and bomb sights.

37. Pram pushers, perhaps : NANAS

Another word used in the UK that’s rarely used over here is “pram”, which in my day was the most common term for what is called a “baby carriage” in the US. “Pram” is short for “perambulator”.

38. Ring data : TKOS

Technical knockout (TKO)

45. ___ board : EMERY

Emery is a very hard type of rock that is crushed for use as an abrasive. Emery paper is made by gluing small particles of emery to paper. Emery boards are just emery paper with a cardboard backing. And emery boards are primarily used for filing nails.

46. Civil rights org. since 1909 : NAACP

The full name of the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is remarkable in that it actually still uses the offensive term “colored people”. The NAACP was founded in 1909, by a group that included suffragette and journalist Mary White Ovington, wealthy socialist William English Walling, and civil rights activist Henry Moskowitz. Another member of the founding group was W. E. B. Du Bois, the first African-American to earn a doctorate at Harvard University. The date chosen for the founding of the NAACP was February 12th, 1909, the 100th anniversary of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln, the man most visibly associated with the emancipation of African-American slaves.

48. Goddess of marriage : HERA

In Greek mythology, Hera was the wife of Zeus and was noted for her jealous and vengeful nature, particularly against those who vied for the affections of her husband. The equivalent character to Hera in Roman mythology was Juno. Hera was the daughter of Cronus and Rhea.

51. Decrease? : IRON

Remove those creases with an iron.

52. Like lop ears : BENT

A creature that is lop-eared has bent or drooping ears, like a rabbit or many breeds of dog.

55. Long-running drama set in N.Y.C., informally : SVU

“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” is a spin-off from the TV crime drama “Law & Order”. “SVU” has been on the air since 1999, and is set in New York City. Interestingly (to me), there is a very successful Russian adaptation of the show that is set in Moscow.

56. When la Bastille was stormed : ETE

In French, “été” (summer) is “la saison chaude” (the warm season).

The Bastille is a former fortress in Paris that was used as a prison by the kings of France. On 14 July 1789, an angry mob stormed the Bastille during the French Revolution. The mob was actually after the stores of gunpowder in the fortress, but while inside the building freed seven prisoners and killed the Bastille’s governor. The storming of the Bastille became a symbol of the French Revolution and has been celebrated in France on every July 14th since 1790. That celebration is referred to as “la Fête nationale” in France, but in English-speaking countries it is usually known as “Bastille Day”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Ruler who died in 30 B.C. : CLEOPATRA
10. Panic button : EJECT
15. Ticket request : AISLE SEAT
16. Alice with a Nobel Prize in Literature : MUNRO
17. Weave : INTERLACE
18. Co-star of Wood in “The Lord of the Rings” : ASTIN
19. Land of ___ (where 1-Down lived) : NOD
20. Legal conclusion? : -ESE
21. Doesn’t get involved : SITS BY
22. Cajolery : SWEET TALK
25. One of two polar opposites : ICE CAP
28. Standard product, once : OIL
29. “___ It Time” (1977 hit for the Babys) : ISN’T
33. Unlikely Top 40 songs : ARIAS
34. More au courant : TRENDIER
36. Find common ground : MEET IN THE MIDDLE
39. Ironic reaction to dry humor? : SPIT TAKE
40. Has a great night at the comedy club : KILLS
41. Tribe encountered by Lewis and Clark : OTOE
42. One of the jacks in cribbage : NOB
43. Dearies : HONEYS
44. Much of the text of a Supreme Court decision : REASONING
47. Big gaps : CHASMS
50. Hawaiian souvenir : TAN
51. Floppy disk creator : IBM
54. River of forgetfulness, in myth : LETHE
55. Image on the Maine or South Carolina flag : STATE TREE
58. Some “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” costumes : ARMOR
59. Trades : VOCATIONS
60. Pallid and unhealthy in appearance : PASTY
61. Sizable ordinal : UMPTEENTH

Down

1. Problematic firstborn : CAIN
2. Lead-in to type : LINO-
3. Abbr. on a city boundary sign : ESTD
4. Pamplona plaudit : OLE!
5. / : PER
6. Out : ASLEEP
7. Rib : TEASE
8. Competition that hurts everyone : RACE TO THE BOTTOM
9. Got into a pickle? : ATE
10. Some WikiLeaks leaks : EMAIL
11. Words after “Ha, ha” : … JUST KIDDING
12. Drs. that see head cases : ENTS
13. Home, in slang : CRIB
14. Orlando, in the music world : TONY
21. State capital that was a boyhood home of Herbert Hoover : SALEM
22. Lacking focus : SCATTERSHOT
23. “You sure about that?” : WAS IT?
24. Weary : TIRE
25. Kid’s proud retort : I AM SO!
26. Moved furtively : CREPT
27. Letters sung as mi, mi, re, re, do : E-I-E-I-O
30. Move furtively : SIDLE
31. Nervous ___ : NELLY
32. Lock : TRESS
35. Olympus rival : NIKON
37. Pram pushers, perhaps : NANAS
38. Ring data : TKOS
43. Intimate : HINT AT
45. ___ board : EMERY
46. Civil rights org. since 1909 : NAACP
47. Thunderous sound : CLAP
48. Goddess of marriage : HERA
49. Some bill collectors : ATMS
51. Decrease? : IRON
52. Like lop ears : BENT
53. Go well (with) : MESH
55. Long-running drama set in N.Y.C., informally : SVU
56. When la Bastille was stormed : ETE
57. Word with black or blood : … TIE

17 thoughts on “0706-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 6 Jul 2018, Friday”

  1. 15:09, no errors. Saw the theme, but Bill’s succinct statement of it didn’t occur to me. How does he do that, day after day?! 😜

  2. 20:07 Nice puzzle, I liked it. Does that really count as a theme? I thought 1D was Esau so I thought 19A was Urr which is actually Ur but clearly wrong. Obviously I’m not a Bible expert. :). Got all that sorted out and the rest wasn’t too difficult.

    1. What can I say but, “Thank you! It pleases me to think that you find my time so astonishing that you cannot imagine that I achieved it honestly.” However, if you check out the best times recorded in the ACPT (American Crossword Puzzle Tournament), you will find that my times, like Bill’s, are comparatively mediocre. (Start by renting and watching the movie “Word Play”.)

  3. I thought this was easy for a Friday. I occasionally get a NYT from a friend about a week after publishing. It is fun to get to do the puzzle closer to its release time. Our local paper is over a month behind the NYT like most. Must be a contractual thing…

  4. 19:34, no errors. Thought I was off to the races when OLE, ATE, CAIN and CLEOPATRA filled in about as fast as I could write; and the upper third was done in a couple minutes. Bogged down after that, entering MATE in 53D before MESH; and ASHEN in 60A before PASTY.

  5. 17:19, no errors. Not as difficult as most Fridays.

    Bill’s being very charitable by saying this had a “mini-theme”. Upon reading the explanation, the first thing to pop into my head was, “So *what*?” Completely useless trivia, not helping to solve the puzzle and just sitting there doing NOTHING.

  6. @Allen — I agree with your first terse paragraph, but strongly disagree with your second paragraph’s rude dismissal of Bill’s neat comment on the full grid crossing entries (if that’s what you’re referring to).

    1. @Dave …

      Welcome to the blog! I find it a bit curious that we have the same first name, but hey, it’s a good name … 😜

      And don’t feel bad that you had to look up all the answers. No one here will criticize you for being a rank beginner. Of course, as you improve, you’ll stop looking things up unless you absolutely have to. I would hope that, when you do need to look something up, or do anything else that might be considered cheating, you’ll continue to be honest and report here exactly what you did. Those are my rules for myself (but, of course, you may feel free to do as you like.)

  7. 100%. I didn’t notice the mini-theme until Bill pointed it out. The two answers meet in the middle, sharing the “H” in “THE.” Pretty clever.

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