0804-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 4 Aug 2018, Saturday

Constructed by: Sam Trabucco
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme (according to Bill): With Some Down

Themed answers are completed by adding a number written in the DOWN-direction in the grid:

  • 18A. With 10-Down, literally, now and then : EVERY SO OFTEN (EVERY SO OF with TEN-down)
  • 23A. With 7-Down, literally, neither wins nor loses : BREAKS EVEN (BREAK with SEVEN-down)
  • 50A. With 8-Down, literally, one just taking up space : DEAD WEIGHT (DEAD W with EIGHT-down)
  • 56A. With 1-Down, literally, downright dastardly : BAD TO THE BONE (BAD TO THE B with ONE-down)

Bill’s time: 20m 04s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15. Love of Cyrano de Bergerac : ROXANE

Cyrano de Bergerac was a French dramatist who lived in the 17th century. Paintings and drawings show that Bergerac had a large nose, although the size was exaggerated by those who wrote about his life. Reputedly, Cyrano fought in over 1000 duels, mostly instigated by someone insulting his nose. In the play written about his life, Cyrano had a famous lover named Roxane. It is thought that the Roxane character was modeled on Cyrano’s cousin who lived with his sister in a convent.

16. One not abstaining : WET

The 18th Amendment to the US Constitution was a great victory for the temperance movement (the “dry” movement), and in 1919 ushered in the Prohibition era. Highly unpopular (with the “wet” movement), Prohibition was repealed in 1933 by the 21st Amendment.

17. Husband of Octavia : NERO

Nero was Emperor of Rome from 54 to 68 CE, and he had quite the family life. When he was just 16-years-old Nero married his step-sister Claudia Octavia. He also had his mother and step-brother executed.

20. Feature of a moat : DAM

A moat is a protective trench that surrounds a castle, say, or a an exhibit in a zoo. A moat may or may not be filled with water.

30. European river that originates from a glacier : AARE

The Aar (also called the “Aare” in German) is the longest river entirely in Switzerland. The Aar is a major tributary of the Rhine and flows through Bern, the nation’s capital.

33. Some Tesla employees, in brief : EES

Electrical engineer (EE)

34. Only French-produced film to win an Oscar for Best Picture (2011) : THE ARTIST

“The Artist” is a 2011 movie from France that was filmed in black-and-white, and without sound. This dated format reflects the movie’s subject matter. The story takes place in Hollywood during the days when silent movies were being replaced by “talkies”. “The Artist” has won more awards than any other French film in history, including a Best Picture Oscar.

37. Chest-thumping, for short? : CPR

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) has for decades involved the simultaneous compression of the chest to pump blood using the heart, and artificial respiration by blowing air into the lungs. Nowadays emergency services are placing more emphasis on heart compressions, and less on artificial respiration.

41. Old Gremlins and Hornets : AMCS

When Nash-Kelvinator Corporation and Hudson Motor Car Company came together in 1954, it was the largest US corporate merger to date. The new company was called American Motors Corporation (AMC), and was of a size that could compete with the “Big Three” automakers. A few months after the merger, George W. Romney was given the top job at AMC. George was father of presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

The Gremlin is a subcompact car that was made by AMC in the 1970s. The Gremlin was positioned to compete with the Chevy Vega and Ford Pinto from the US, and with imports like the VW Beetle and Toyota Corona. On the list of ex-Gremlin drivers are Presidents Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush.

The Hornet was a compact produced by AMC in the seventies. The Hornet platform was used in the design of the Gremlin, a smaller subcompact that was basically the front half of the Hornet with a truncated rear.

47. Makings of a population : GENE POOL

The set of all genes in a particular population is known as the “gene pool”, a term coined in Russian by geneticist Aleksandr Sergeevich Serebrovskii in the 1920s. In general, the larger the gene pool, the more diverse and robust the population.

51. Preps, as cappuccino milk : FROTHS

The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin is an order of Roman Catholic friars, an offshoot of the Franciscans. The order split from the Franciscans back in 1520, and were forced to go into hiding from church authorities. The new order was helped by the Camaldolese monks, and in recognition of their assistance, the breakaway monks adopted the Camaldolese hood, known as a capuccio. It is this “capuccio” that gave the order its name, and indeed ultimately gave the name to the Capuchin monkey. The cappuccino coffee is named for the coffee-and-white colored habits worn by Capuchin friars.

55. Pen lead-in : EPI-

EpiPen is a brand name of epinephrine auto-injector. An EpiPen delivers a measured dose of epinephrine, usually for the treatment of an allergic reaction.

58. Place for a post : BLOG

Many folks who visit this website regard it as just that, a website. That is true, but more correctly it is referred to as a blog, as I make regular posts (actually daily posts) that then occupy the “front page” of the site. The blog entries are in reverse chronological order, and one can just look back day-by-day, reading older and older posts. “Blog” is a contraction of the term “web log”.

62. Ancient title : REX

“Rex” is Latin for “king”.

64. Tech review site : CNET

c|net is an excellent technology website. c|net started out in 1994 as a television network specializing in technology news. The host of “American Idol”, Ryan Seacrest, started off his career as host of a c|net show.

Down

3. “The Astronomer” painter : VERMEER

Johannes (also “Jan”) Vermeer was born in the city of Delft in 1632, and died there some 43 years later. I just love Vermeer’s paintings, and his wonderful use of light. A great example of such a work is his “Girl with a Pearl Earring”. If you haven’t seen it, I thoroughly recommend the 2003 movie “Girl with a Pearl Earring” starring Scarlett Johansson as the girl in the painting, and Colin Firth as Vermeer. The movie is based on a novel of the same name by Tracy Chevalier, so it’s all just a great story as opposed to a documentary. The way the movie is shot really reflects the qualities of a Vermeer work of art.

5. Groundhog Day celebration, typically : PRESS EVENT

Punxsutawney is a borough in Pennsylvania that is located about 80 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. Punxsutawney Phil is the famous groundhog that lives in the area. Phil comes out of his hole on February 2 each year and if he sees his shadow he goes back into his hole predicting six more weeks of winter weather. February 2 is known as “Groundhog Day”.

9. “May It Be” singer, 2001 : ENYA

The Irish singer Enya co-wrote and performed two songs for the 2001 film “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”. Her song “May It Be” was nominated to that season’s Best Original Song Academy Award. The second number, called “Aniron”, was sung in Tolkien’s Elvish language called Sindarin.

11. Coin-flipping “Batman” villain : TWO-FACE

In the Batman storyline, Harvey Dent was the squeaky-clean District Attorney of Gotham City. Dent worked alongside Batman to fight the city’s crime. However, during a trial of a mob boss, the defendant throws acid at him and scars the left side of Dent’s face. Dent loses his mind and becomes a criminal, calling himself “Two-Face” because of his unfortunate facial features. Two-Face decides whether to do good or evil deeds by flipping a coin.

19. Calpurnia’s dream of Caesar’s death, e.g. : OMEN

Calpurnia Pisonis was the third and final wife of Julius Caesar.

21. Alternative to a mandolin, informally : UKE

The ukulele (“uke”) originated in the 1800s and mimicked a small guitar brought to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese immigrants.

A mandolin is a stringed instrument in the lute family. There is also a mandola, a similar instrument that is a little larger. In fact, “mandolin” comes from the Italian for “little mandola”.

28. Member of the “magnificent” 1996 U.S. women’s gymnastics team : STRUG

Kerri Strug is that plucky little gymnast who made an outstanding final vault in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics despite having an injured ankle. I think we all remember her being carried off after her vault in the arms of the US team coach Bela Karolyi.

32. ___ humain (person: Fr.) : ETRE

“Être humain” translates from French as “person, human being”.

35. Commute in the afternoon, say : HEAD HOME

Our verb “to commute”, meaning “to go back and forth to work”, ultimately derives from the Latin “commutare”, meaning “to often change”. Back in the late 1800s, a “commutation ticket” was a season pass, so named because it allowed one to “change” one kind of payment into another. Quite interesting …

36. Appetizer that may accompany sangria : TAPA

“Tapa” is the Spanish word for “lid”, and there is no clear rationale for why this word came to be used for an appetizer. There are lots of explanations cited, all of which seem to involve the temporary covering of one’s glass of wine with a plate or item of food to either preserve the wine or give one extra space at the table.

Sangria is red wine punch that is usually associated with Portugal and Spain. Recipes for sangria vary, but almost all include a robust red wine, sliced fruit, something sweet (e.g. orange juice, sugar), a spirit (e.g. brandy, triple sec), carbonated water or perhaps 7up, and ice. The drink is named for its color, as “sangre” is the Spanish for blood.

37. Popular snack for bikers and hikers : CLIF BAR

A CLIF Bar is an energy bar, and is the flagship product of Clif Bar and Company based in Emeryville, California. The CLIF Bar was developed by baker and former mountain guide Gary Erickson in 1990. He named it for his father Clifford.

38. “Star Wars” sporting event : PODRACE

Podracers are one-man racing craft in the “Star Wars” universe. Young Ani Skywalker is an expert podracer, showing off his skills in “The Phantom Menace”.

39. Quaint item on an office desk : ROLODEX

The brand name “Rolodex” is short for “rolling index”, and applies to a device that was invented back in 1956. Even in today’s world that is run by computers, Rolodexes are still quite popular.

42. Exercise in student diplomacy, for short : MODEL UN

Model United Nations is an educational simulation in which students learn about diplomacy, international relations and UN in general. Model UN conferences date back to the fifties.

46. Etta of old comics : KETT

“Etta Kett” was a comic strip that first ran in 1925. The strip ceased to be published in 1974, when creator Paul Robinson passed away. The initial intent was to offer tips to teenagers on manners and social graces, hence the name of the title character Etta Kett (sounds like “etiquette”).

48. Job ad abbr. : EEO

“Equal Employment Opportunity” (EEO) is a term that has been around since 1964 when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was set up by the Civil Rights Act. Title VII of the Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin or religion.

52. It goes to hell : STYX

The River Styx of Greek mythology was the river that formed the boundary between the Earth and the Underworld (or “Hades”). The souls of the newly dead had to cross the River Styx in a ferry boat piloted by Charon. Traditionally, a coin would be placed in the mouths of the dead “to pay the ferryman”.

53. ___ Fleck and the Flecktones : BELA

Béla Fleck is a banjo player who performed with the band’s New Grass Revival and Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. Fleck was born in New York City and was given the name Béla Anton Leoš Fleck. He was named after Hungarian composer Béla Bartók, Austrian composer Anton Webern, and Czech composer Leoš Janáček. That’s quite a name to live up to, but by all accounts Fleck is one of the most technically proficient banjo players the world has ever known.

54. End note? : OBIT

Our word “obituary” comes from the Latin “obituaris”. The Latin term was used for “record of the death of a person”, although the literal meaning is “pertaining to death”.

58. Airer of the children’s news program “Newsround” since 1972 : BBC

The marvelous British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is mainly funded by the UK government through a television licence fee that is levied annually on all households watching TV transmissions. Currently the fee is 145 UK pounds, about 230 US dollars.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Buzz source : HIVE
5. Right : PROPER
11. Leader in a chorus line? : TRA-
14. Conversation stopper : AHEM!
15. Love of Cyrano de Bergerac : ROXANE
16. One not abstaining : WET
17. Husband of Octavia : NERO
18. With 10-Down, literally, now and then : EVERY SO OFTEN (EVERY SO OF with TEN-down)
20. Feature of a moat : DAM
21. Things a smartphone has lots of : USES
22. Cash payment? : ATM FEE
23. With 7-Down, literally, neither wins nor loses : BREAKS EVEN (BREAK with SEVEN-down)
25. Pick up : LEARN
26. Some spicy brews : RYE BEERS
29. Like ranches, typically : FENCED
30. European river that originates from a glacier : AARE
31. Ones not abstaining : VOTERS
33. Some Tesla employees, in brief : EES
34. Only French-produced film to win an Oscar for Best Picture (2011) : THE ARTIST
37. Chest-thumping, for short? : CPR
40. Abide : ENDURE
41. Old Gremlins and Hornets : AMCS
45. Eye : LOOK AT
47. Makings of a population : GENE POOL
49. Ran in place : IDLED
50. With 8-Down, literally, one just taking up space : DEAD WEIGHT (DEAD W with EIGHT-down)
51. Preps, as cappuccino milk : FROTHS
53. Lamebrain : BOZO
55. Pen lead-in : EPI-
56. With 1-Down, literally, downright dastardly : BAD TO THE BONE (BAD TO THE B with ONE-down)
58. Place for a post : BLOG
59. Put something past? : ACE
60. Electrically insulating material around nerve fibers : MYELIN
61. Wild country : BUSH
62. Ancient title : REX
63. Divorcé, e.g. : EX-MATE
64. Tech review site : CNET

Down

1. Makeshift technique for female modesty : HAND BRA
2. “Yep, perfectly clear” : I HEAR YA
3. “The Astronomer” painter : VERMEER
4. ___ pop : EMO
5. Groundhog Day celebration, typically : PRESS EVENT
6. Knock about : ROVE
7. Buffoons : OXES
8. Course number : PAR
9. “May It Be” singer, 2001 : ENYA
10. Never putting down roots for long : RESTLESS
11. Coin-flipping “Batman” villain : TWO-FACE
12. Ringmaster? : REFEREE
13. Sees (to) : ATTENDS
19. Calpurnia’s dream of Caesar’s death, e.g. : OMEN
21. Alternative to a mandolin, informally : UKE
24. Provide job support : ABET
27. Take it for a ride : ROAD
28. Member of the “magnificent” 1996 U.S. women’s gymnastics team : STRUG
29. Unwanted state for a would-be lover : FRIEND ZONE
32. ___ humain (person: Fr.) : ETRE
35. Commute in the afternoon, say : HEAD HOME
36. Appetizer that may accompany sangria : TAPA
37. Popular snack for bikers and hikers : CLIF BAR
38. “Star Wars” sporting event : PODRACE
39. Quaint item on an office desk : ROLODEX
42. Exercise in student diplomacy, for short : MODEL UN
43. It’s performed on hands and knees in yoga : COW POSE
44. Dexterity : SLEIGHT
46. Etta of old comics : KETT
48. Job ad abbr. : EEO
52. It goes to hell : STYX
53. ___ Fleck and the Flecktones : BELA
54. End note? : OBIT
57. Bottom line? : HEM
58. Airer of the children’s news program “Newsround” since 1972 : BBC

4 thoughts on “0804-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 4 Aug 2018, Saturday”

  1. 28:59, no errors. This puzzle took shameless advantage of my finely honed crossword skills! In spite of that little word “literally”, I kept trying to make sense out of the entry for 18A followed by the entry for 10D, the entry for 23A followed by the entry for 7D, etc. Evil, I say, evil! (And the worst of it is, I have only myself to blame! Drat! … 😜)

    1. If you can explain these “literally” connections, I would appreciate it. After solving I still have no idea what the connection is.

  2. Oooh I did not care for this one at all. Too clever by half. Couldn’t get it and had to look at the answers. There was eye-rolling. Not enjoyable. =(

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