0809-18 NY Times Crossword 9 Aug 18, Thursday

Advertisement

Advertisement

Constructed by: Patrick Merrell
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): No, No and No!

Themed answers are common phrases starting with the word “NO”. These phrases have been reinterpreted as two separate sentences, and an answer to a question given in the clue. The first sentence is the answer “NO”, and the second is a sentence clarifying that “NO”:

  • 17A. Q: “Can I write both a poem and an essay?” A: “___” : NO! RHYME OR REASON
  • 36A. Q: “Is that snack bar known for good burgers?” A: “___” : NO! GREAT SHAKES
  • 60A. Q: “Should you call that stopover between Liverpool and Belfast a peninsula?” A: “___” : NO! MAN IS AN ISLAND

Bill’s time: 9m 10s

Bill’s errors: 0

Advertisement

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6. 1922-91 initials : USSR

The former Soviet Union (USSR) was created in 1922, not long after the Russian Revolution of 1917 that overthrew the Tsar. Geographically, the new Soviet Union was roughly equivalent to the old Russian Empire, and comprised fifteen Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs).

14. A patriarch of the Israelites : ISAAC

According to the Bible, Abraham’s son Isaac was born to Abraham’s wife Sarah when she was beyond her childbearing years and when Abraham was 100 years old. Isaac himself lived until he was 180 years old. When Isaac was just a youth, Abraham was tested by Yahweh (God) and told to build an altar on which he was to sacrifice his only son. At the last minute, an angel appeared and stopped Abraham, telling him to sacrifice a ram instead.

15. S O S, basically : PLEA

The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots), although in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so SOS is in effect only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are also mnemonics, introduced after the “SOS” signal was adopted.

16. Film treasure hunter Croft : LARA

Lara Croft was introduced to the world in 1996 as the main character in a pretty cool video game (I thought, back then) called “Tomb Raider”. Lara Croft moved to the big screen in 2001 and 2003, in two pretty awful movie adaptations of the game’s storyline. Angelina Jolie played Croft, and she did a very energetic job.

24. Matt’s replacement on “Today” : 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”.

Matt Lauer became the news anchor for NBC’s “The Today Show” when he landed the gig as co-host after Bryant Gumbel retired from the job in 1997. Lauer’s contract with NBC was terminated in 2017 following multiple accusations of sexual harassment by Lauer.

26. Candymaker H. B. ___ : REESE

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were invented by Harry Burnett “H.B.” Reese. Peanut Butter Cups were originally called penny cups, reflecting the price at which they were sold. Then inflation took over, and maybe that’s why they were broken into smaller “Pieces” …

29. Tracy Marrow’s stage name : ICE-T

Rapper Ice-T must be sick of having his name come up as an answer in crossword puzzles (I know I am!). Born Tracy Marrow, Ice-T has been interested in acting for decades and made his film debut in the 1984 movie about breakdancing called “Breakin’”. He has also played Detective Fin Tutuola in the TV show “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” since the year 2000.

32. German article : DER

The definite article in German is der, die or das, for masculine, feminine and neuter nouns. The indefinite article is ein, eine or ein, again depending on the gender of the noun. A further complication, relative to English, is that the masculine form (and only the masculine form) of the article changes when used in the accusative case, when used with the object of a sentence. The accusative forms are “den” and “einen”.

33. Author of the line “It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes” : PUZO

The novelist and screenwriter Mario Puzo, was best known for his book “The Godfather”, which he also co-adapted for the big screen. Puzo also wrote two sequels, “The Last Don” and “Omertà”, that latter being published after his death. His name is less associated with some very famous screenplays that he wrote, including “Earthquake”, “Superman” and “Superman II”. Puzo won two Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay: for “The Godfather” (1972) and for “The Godfather Part II” (1974).

Luca Brasi is one of Don Corleone’s most loyal “enforcers” in Mario Puzo’s novel “The Godfather”. Brasi comes to a violent end, garroted while his hand is pinned to a wooden bar with a knife. Famously, the Corleone family learn of his demise when they receive Brasi’s bulletproof vest wrapped around dead fish. The message is that he “sleeps with the fishes”. In the big screen adaptation of “The Godfather”, Luca Brasi is played by ex-wrestler and professional bodyguard Lenny Montana. The role launched a very successful television character-acting career for Montana.

42. Hunchbacked film character : IGOR

The lab assistant named “Igor” has turned up in many movies in recent decades, and usually appears as the aide to Dr. Frankenstein. Paradoxically, in Mary Shelley’s original novel, Frankenstein had no assistant at all. Further, the lab assistant introduced in 1931 in the first of the “Frankenstein” series of movies was named “Fritz”. Bela Lugosi played a character named “Ygor” in “Frankenstein” sequels in 1939 and 1946, but he was a blacksmith and didn’t work in the lab.

44. Night that “77 Sunset Strip” aired for most of its run: Abbr. : FRI

I used to watch “77 Sunset Strip” as a lad growing up in Ireland. It is an American show that ran from 1958 to 1964. Two of the central characters are former government secret agents, now working as private detectives. Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. plays Stu Bailey, and Roger Smith plays Jeff Spencer. And who can forget Kookie, played by Edd Byrnes? Years later, Byrnes played smooth-talking TV dance show host Vince Fontaine in the 1978 movie “Grease”.

47. Popular game console : XBOX

The Xbox line of video game consoles is made by Microsoft. The original Xbox platform was followed by Xbox 360 and more recently by Xbox One. Microsoft’s Xbox competes directly with Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s Wii.

48. Skill on display in the “Kill Bill” movies : KUNG FU

In the West, we sometimes use the term “kung fu” to describe a Chinese martial art. We’ve gotten the wrong idea though, as the term “kung fu” really describes any skill that can be learned through dedication and hard work. So, “kung fu” can indeed describe a martial art, but by no means exclusively.

“Kill Bill” is a 3-part Quentin Tarantino movie (I haven’t seen it, as I really don’t do Tarantino). “Kill Bill” started off as one film, but as the running time was over four hours, it was split into two “volumes”, released several months apart in 2003 and 2004. There has been a lot of talk about making “Kill Bill: Volume 3”.

55. Name on both sides of the Equator : AMERICA

Amerigo Vespucci was an Italian explorer. Vespucci was the man who established that the landmass discovered by Christopher Columbus was not the eastern coast of Asia, but rather was a “New World”. The newly-discovered supercontinent was named “America”, coming from the Latin version of Vespucci’s first name “Amerigo”.

60. Q: “Should you call that stopover between Liverpool and Belfast a peninsula?” A: “___” : NO! MAN IS AN ISLAND

The Isle of Man is a large island located in the middle of the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland. I used to spend a lot of time there in my youth, and a very interesting place it is indeed. The Isle of Man is classed as a British Crown Dependency and isn’t part of the United Kingdom at all. It is self-governing and has its own parliament called the Tynwald. The Tynwald was created in AD 979 and is arguably the oldest continuously-running parliament in the world. The inhabitants of the island speak English, although they do have their own language as well called Manx, which is very similar to Irish Gaeilge and Scottish Gaelic. And then there are those Manx cats, the ones without any tails. I’ve seen lots of them, and can attest that they are indeed found all over the island.

John Donne wrote a piece of prose called “Devotions upon Emergent Occasions”. One passage contains two phrases that are oft-quoted: “No man is an island”, and “for whom the bell tolls”.

No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

64. Fiddler on the reef? : CRAB

“Fiddler crab” is the common name given to several species of small crab. One characteristic of a fiddler crab is that the main claws of the female are the same size whereas one of the male’s main claws is much larger than the other.

65. Duds : GARB

“Duds” is an informal word for clothing that comes from the word “dudde” that was used around 1300 as the name for a cloak.

67. Lacking : SANS

In French, “avec” (with) and “sans” (without) are opposites.

69. Auguries : OMENS

The verb “to augur” means “to bode”, to serve as an omen. The term comes from the name of religious officials in Ancient Rome called augurs whose job it was to interpret signs and omens.

Down

1. Consideration at the Pearly Gates : SIN

“Pearly gates” is a term used for the gates of Heaven. The term comes from a description of “Heavenly Jerusalem’ in the Book of Revelations in which the walls of the city had twelve gates, each made from a single pearl.

2. Prefix with -bar : ISO-

An isobar is a line on a weather map connecting points of equal barometric pressure.

3. Chickpea : GARBANZO

The garbanzo, or chickpea, is absolutely my favorite legume to eat.

5. Haying tool : SCYTHE

I guess there are several designs of scythe, e.g. English scythes and Austrian scythes. The two main components of any scythe are the blade and the handle known as a snaith.

8. Member of a Macedonia minority : SERB

Macedonia is a country in the Balkans of Southeast Europe. Macedonia declared independence from former Yugoslavia in 1991. The country is landlocked and is surrounded by Kosovo, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Albania.

10. Certain S O S : FLARE

The most commonly used flare gun was invented by an American naval officer, called Edward Wilson Very. He put his name to his invention (from the late 1800s), so we often hear the terms Very pistol, Very flare, and maybe even Very “light”. A Very pistol is indeed a gun, with a trigger and a hammer that’s cocked and can be reloaded with Very flares.

13. British sausage : BANGER

Sausages are often referred to as “bangers” on the other side of the pond.

19. Kitt who played Catwoman : EARTHA

Eartha Kitt really did have a unique voice and singing style. Her rendition of “Santa Baby” has to be one of the most distinctive and memorable recordings in the popular repertoire. Some of you will no doubt remember Eartha playing Catwoman on the final series of the 1960s TV show “Batman”.

Catwoman is a supervillain who is usually depicted as an adversary of Batman in comics. In the sixties television show “Batman”, Catwoman was first portrayed by actress Julie Newmar, but then the more memorable Eartha Kitt took over, with the marvelously “feline voice”. On the big screen, Catwoman has been played by Lee Meriwether in “Batman” (1966), by Michelle Pfeiffer in “Batman Returns” (1992), by Halle Berry in “Catwoman” (2004) and by Anne Hathaway in “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012).

22. Tour de France high point : ALP

Back in the late 1800s, long-distance cycle races were used as promotional events, traditionally to help boost sales of newspapers. These races usually took place around tracks, but in 1902 the backers of the struggling sports publication “L’Auto” decided to stage a race that would take the competitors all around France. That first Tour de France took place in 1903, starting in Paris and passing through Lyon, Marseilles, Bordeaux, Nantes and then back to Paris.

23. Something drawn when landing on a yellow square in Pictionary : NOUN

The marvelous game Pictionary was introduced in 1985. It’s a word-guessing game that’s played in teams. Pictionary is a big hit in our house with family and friends. It must be said, a glass of wine does help boost the level of enthusiasm of all concerned …

28. Van ___ : GOGH

Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch post-impressionist painter who seems to have had a very tortured existence. Van Gogh only painted for the last ten years of his life, and enjoyed very little celebrity while alive. Today many of his works are easily recognized, and fetch staggering sums in auction houses. Van Gogh suffered from severe depression for many of his final years. When he was only 37, he walked into a field with a revolver and shot himself in the chest. He managed to drag himself back to the inn where he was staying but died there two days later.

37. Fad teddy bear name of the 1980s : RUXPIN

Teddy Ruxpin is a talking and moving bear sold as a children’s toy starting in 1985.

40. Loose change “collector” : SOFA

“Sofa” is a Turkish word meaning “bench”.

44. Swiss money : FRANCS

Not only is the Swiss Franc legal tender in Switzerland, it is also the money used in Liechtenstein and the Italian exclave of Campione d’Italia.

45. Sea sucker : REMORA

Remoras are also called suckerfish, which name is descriptive of one of the fish’s basic behaviors. One of the remoras dorsal fins is in the shape of a “sucker”, allowing it to take a firm hold on a larger marine animal, hitching a ride.

46. Metaphor for death in a Eugene O’Neill play : ICEMAN

“The Iceman Cometh” is a play written by American playwright Eugene O’Neill that was first performed in 1946 on Broadway. The play centers on some down-and-out men in a shabby saloon in Manhattan. The title is a reference to the “iceman”, the man who would have delivered ice to homes back in the time of the play. The reference is to a bawdy joke in which the “iceman” was having an affair with someone’s wife.

48. Small relative of an elephant bird : KIWI

The kiwi is an unusual bird in that it has a highly developed sense of smell and is the only one of our feathered friends with nostrils located at the tip of its long beak.

49. World Heritage Site grp. : UNESCO

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is better known by the acronym “UNESCO”. UNESCO’s mission is help build peace in the world using programs focused on education, the sciences, culture, communication and information. The organization’s work is aimed in particular at Africa, and gender equalization. UNESCO also administers a World Heritage Site program that designates and helps conserve sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to humanity across the world.

53. News inits. since 1996 : MSNBC

MSNBC was founded in 1996 as a partnership between Microsoft (“MS”) and GE’s “NBC” broadcasting operation. Microsoft only owns a minority share in MSNBC today, but is still an equal partner in the separate company that runs msnbc.com.

56. Camels, e.g., for short : CIGS

The advertising mascot for Camel cigarettes was officially known as “Old Joe”, but was popularly known as “Joe Camel”. Joe originated in the seventies, in an advertising campaign that ran only in Europe where sometimes he was depicted wearing a French Foreign Legion cap. He was imported to the US in 1988 on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Camel brand. The big controversy surrounding the use of the camel character was that a 1991 study found that 5-6 year old children could recognize Joe Camel more readily than either Mickey Mouse or Fred Flintstone. Also, soon after Old Joe was introduced in the US, the Camel brand’s share of the illegal market to underage smokers went up from 1% to just under 33%.

57. Rush-rush : ASAP

As soon as possible (ASAP)

62. Wimple wearer : NUN

A wimple is a garment worn mainly in medieval Europe by women. The wimple covers the back of the head, neck and chin. It was tradition back then for genteel women to cover their hair. In modern times, habits worn by nuns include wimples.

63. Some inning enders, in brief : DPS

Double play (DP)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Sounds of surrender : SIGHS
6. 1922-91 initials : USSR
10. Extra inches : FLAB
14. A patriarch of the Israelites : ISAAC
15. S O S, basically : PLEA
16. Film treasure hunter Croft : LARA
17. Q: “Can I write both a poem and an essay?” A: “___” : NO! RHYME OR REASON
20. Meet stick : BATON
21. Tight hold : BEAR HUG
22. What Alabama cheerleaders often request? : AN A
24. Matt’s replacement on “Today” : HODA
26. Candymaker H. B. ___ : REESE
27. Yearned (for) : LONGED
29. Tracy Marrow’s stage name : ICE-T
32. German article : DER
33. Author of the line “It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes” : PUZO
34. Actualities : TRUTHS
36. Q: “Is that snack bar known for good burgers?” A: “___” : NO! GREAT SHAKES
41. Common place for a car’s name, once : HUBCAP
42. Hunchbacked film character : IGOR
44. Night that “77 Sunset Strip” aired for most of its run: Abbr. : FRI
47. Popular game console : XBOX
48. Skill on display in the “Kill Bill” movies : KUNG FU
50. Synopsis : RECAP
52. Conspirator’s agreement : I’M IN
54. Part of a pickup line? : CAB
55. Name on both sides of the Equator : AMERICA
58. Pledge : SWEAR
60. Q: “Should you call that stopover between Liverpool and Belfast a peninsula?” A: “___” : NO! MAN IS AN ISLAND
64. Fiddler on the reef? : CRAB
65. Duds : GARB
66. Jokester : CUT-UP
67. Lacking : SANS
68. Detail, in brief : SPEC
69. Auguries : OMENS

Down

1. Consideration at the Pearly Gates : SIN
2. Prefix with -bar : ISO-
3. Chickpea : GARBANZO
4. “Made you look!” : HA HA!
5. Haying tool : SCYTHE
6. Topple : UPEND
7. ___-pitch : SLO
8. Member of a Macedonia minority : SERB
9. Like signatures of William Shakespeare : RARE
10. Certain S O S : FLARE
11. Whipped : LASHED
12. Provoke : AROUSE
13. British sausage : BANGER
18. It might be set with candles : MOOD
19. Kitt who played Catwoman : EARTHA
22. Tour de France high point : ALP
23. Something drawn when landing on a yellow square in Pictionary : NOUN
25. On-demand flier : AIR TAXI
28. Van ___ : GOGH
30. Brink : CUSP
31. Verb ending in old verse : -ETH
34. Hard or soft menu item : TACO
35. Exterior : SKIN
37. Fad teddy bear name of the 1980s : RUXPIN
38. Retreat : EBB
39. Holder of dozens upon dozens : EGG CRATE
40. Loose change “collector” : SOFA
43. Steak coating : RUB
44. Swiss money : FRANCS
45. Sea sucker : REMORA
46. Metaphor for death in a Eugene O’Neill play : ICEMAN
48. Small relative of an elephant bird : KIWI
49. World Heritage Site grp. : UNESCO
51. Sultans and sheiks, usually : ARABS
53. News inits. since 1996 : MSNBC
56. Camels, e.g., for short : CIGS
57. Rush-rush : ASAP
59. Diploma displayer, for short : ALUM
61. Live : ARE
62. Wimple wearer : NUN
63. Some inning enders, in brief : DPS

12 thoughts on “0809-18 NY Times Crossword 9 Aug 18, Thursday”

  1. 13:21, no errors. At the end, I paused for a minute or two over the “X” of “RUXPIN” (a thing I’d never heard of), thinking, “I know there’s such a thing as an X-BOX; could there also be an M-BOX? Or some other kind of alpha-box?” In the end, I went with the “X”, and all was well … 😜.

  2. 13:13 The theme didn’t help me a ton while solving but looking at it after I thought it was pretty amusing. I had a little slow down at the end of the middle themer. I thought it would be something about meat or burger related, not about shakes.

  3. No errors but I had to use several crosses to get clues like ruxpin and remora.
    This is a Thursday puzzle in our Wednesday paper.
    Am I the only one having trouble getting Bills blog lately?

  4. @Dave.
    I am not very good at anything computer. I usually get bills blog by going to google and typing in LA TIMES CROSSWORD 09 09 18 for example and it comes up. The last 3 days no luck.

  5. @Jack … Try typing “nytcrossword.com” in the space up at the top that tells you what page you’re on and hitting return/enter. That should take you to Bill’s blog for the puzzle published in the Times on the current date. Then, to get to Bill’s blog for the puzzle published in syndication on that date, click on the high-lighted link below the puzzle, where it says, “… syndicated NY Times crossword”.

    There may be even better ways for you to do this. I’m not sure what device you’re using. On my iPad, I use the “Safari” browser, keep a tab open all the time to Bill’s blog for the syndicated puzzle, and then use the links at the bottom of the page to go backwards or forwards a day at a time.

    Hope this helps …

  6. 14:21, no errors. While I saw the theme relatively early, and used it to complete all the theme fills; I did not see the ‘No!’ part of the theme. Thanks for the explanation Bill.

  7. No errors. I am starting to feel more comfortable with Thursday-level puzzles. My successful completion rate is probably about 75%. It wasn’t long ago that I did not even bother to look at them.

    TEDDY RUXPIN was completely new to me. I don’t know how I missed out on that when it was the #1 toy sold. I was curious about the unusual name. It seems that there is no story behind the name other than that it just popped into the creator’s head one day.

  8. @Dave
    Thanks for the info but like I said before I am so computer illiterate that if I can’t google it I’m lost .( hard as that is to believe) us old fogies are still out there.
    I had this iPad for years before I learned to do this.

  9. No! big problems with this one. I had some difficulty in the NE. I appreciate Bill’s insights, as usual. I like his explanation of the theme: “No, No and No!” Enjoyable overall.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.