0815-18 NY Times Crossword 15 Aug 18, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Kathy Wienberg
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Relocate a NASA Mgr.

Themed answers are common phrases, but are reinterpreted as defining anagrams. Those anagrams are used as today’s themed clues:

  • 17A. DAM : MAD SCRAMBLE (DAM is an anagram of MAD)
  • 24A. FIRED : STIR-FRIED (FIRED is an anagram of FRIED)
  • 36A. PARBOIL : BIPOLAR DISORDER (PARBOIL is an anagram of BIPOLAR)
  • 50A. STREAM : MIXMASTER (STREAM is an anagram of MASTER)
  • 62A. LYDIA : DAILY JUMBLE (LYDIA is an anagram of DAILY)

Bill’s time: 10m 19s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

7. The Emerald Isle : ERIN

Ireland is often referred to as “the Emerald Isle” (and described as “green”) because of all that green grass that grows due to the seemingly non-stop rain.

16. Tulsa sch. : ORU

Oral Roberts University (ORU) is a private school in Tulsa, Oklahoma. ORU was founded relatively recently, in 1963 by the late televangelist Oral Roberts. The campus includes a Prayer Tower at its center, a spectacular glass and steel structure designed by architect Frank Wallace. The tower includes an observation deck, and is a popular tourist attraction. The school’s sports teams are known as the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles.

Tulsa is the second-largest city in the state of Oklahoma (after Oklahoma City). Tulsa started out as a settlement established by the Loachapoka and Creek Native American tribes in 1836. These early settlers called their new home “Tallasi” meaning “old town”, and this name morphed into “Tulsa” that we use today.

21. Tony winner Neuwirth : BEBE

Bebe Neuwirth is a wonderful actress and dancer who famously played Dr. Lilith Sternin, the wife of Dr. Frasier Crane on “Cheers” and “Frasier”. Neuwirth is a fabulous dancer, having studied ballet at Juilliard. In more recent years she has had starring roles on Broadway, and in 2010 played opposite Nathan Lane in “The Addams Family”. Neuwirth also played a leading role on the show “Madam Secretary”.

23. Prefix with -phyte : NEO-

A neophyte is a recent convert to a particular doctrine or practice.

26. Reds, blacks, evens or odds, in roulette : WAGERS

The term “roulette” means “little wheel” in French, and the game as we know it today did in fact originate in Paris, in 1796. A roulette wheel bears the numbers 1-36. A French entrepreneur called François Blanc introduced the number “0” on the wheel, to give the house an extra advantage. Legend has it that Blanc made a deal with the devil in order to unearth the secrets of roulette. The legend is supported by the fact that the numbers 1 through 36 add up to a total of “666”, which is the “Number of the Beast”. Spooky …

30. Bird that can hardly get off the ground : EMU

The large flightless birds called emus make sounds by manipulating inflatable neck-sacs. The sac is about a foot long, has a thin wall and allows the bird to emit a booming sound. The type of sound emitted is the easiest way to differentiate between male and female emus.

31. Encomium : TRIBUTE

Encomium is a formal expression of praise, and comes into English via Latin from Greek. “Encomium” is derived from the Greek “komos” meaning “banquet, procession”.

55. Ryan who co-starred in 1995’s “French Kiss” : MEG

Meg Ryan is the stage name of the actress Margaret Mary Hyra. Ryan’s big break came with the excellent 1989 movie “When Harry Met Sally”, from which she went on to star in some of the greatest romantic comedies ever made.

56. Machu Picchu builder : INCA

Machu Picchu is known as “The Lost City of the Incas”, and it can be visited on a mountain ridge in Peru, 50 miles northwest of the city of Cuzco in the southeast of the country. The name Machu Picchu means “old peak”. The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu originates about 50 miles from Cusco on the Urubamba River in Peru. It can take travelers about 5 days to trek the full length of the trail, passing through many Incan ruins before reaching the Sun Gate on Machu Picchu mountain. The trail was becoming greatly overused, forcing the Peruvian government to limit the number of people on the trail each day to 500. Book early …

57. Headlight? : HALO

The Greek word “halos” is the name given to the ring of light around the sun or moon, which gives us our word “halo” that is used for a radiant light depicted above the head of a saintly person.

62. LYDIA : DAILY JUMBLE (LYDIA is an anagram of DAILY)

The Daily and Sunday Jumbles are syndicated puzzles from Tribune Media Services that are syndicated widely in newspapers all over the English-speaking world. The first Jumble was created in 1954 by Martin Naydel.

64. Red state grp. : GOP

The Republican Party has had the nickname Grand Old Party (GOP) since 1875. That said, the phrase was coined in the “Congressional Record” as “this gallant old party”. The moniker was changed to “grand old party” in 1876 in an article in the “Cincinnati Commercial”. The Republican Party’s elephant mascot dates back to an 1874 cartoon drawn by Thomas Nast for “Harper’s Weekly”. The Democrat’s donkey was already an established symbol. Nast drew a donkey clothed in a lion’s skin scaring away the other animals. One of the scared animals was an elephant, which Nast labeled “The Republican Vote”.

On political maps, red states are usually Republican and blue states usually Democrat. The designation of red and blue states is a very recent concept, only introduced in the 2000 presidential election by TV journalist, the late Tim Russert. In retrospect, the choice of colors is surprising, as in other democracies around the world red is usually used to describe left-leaning socialist parties (the reds under the bed!), and blue is used for conservative right-wing parties. In election cycles, swing/battleground states are often depicted in purple.

68. Spritzes, e.g. : WETS

A spritz is a squirt, a brief spray of liquid. The term “spritz” ultimately comes from German, possibly via Yiddish, in which language “spritzen” means “to squirt, spout”. A spritzer is a glass of wine with a spritz of carbonated water, and is a drink we’ve been enjoying since the early sixties.

Down

1. “Orange Is the New Black” rating : TV-MA

“Orange Is the New Black” is a very entertaining comedy-drama series made by Netflix about an upper middle-class woman who goes to jail for a drug-related offense committed ten years earlier, in her youth. The series is based on a memoir by Piper Kerman called “Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison”.

2. Prosperity : WEAL

“Weal” is “prosperity, happiness”, and has the same roots as the word “wealth”.

7. ___ Brickowski, protagonist of “The Lego Movie” : EMMET

“The Lego Movie” is a 2014 computer animated film in which all the characters are Lego figures. Apparently “The Lego Movie” was well received, and resulted in the spin-off film “The Lego Batman Movie”.

8. One of three people walking into a bar, in a joke : RABBI

A rabbi, a priest and a duck walk into a bar, and the bartender says, “What is this? A joke?”

10. Laura Bush ___ Welch : NEE

Laura Bush, wife of President George W. Bush, had her memoir “Spoken from the Heart” published in 2010. Born Laura Lane Welch, the former First Lady has a Master’s degree in Library Science (as does my wife, my own First Lady!). Given that background, it’s not surprising that two causes that Laura Bush focused on while in the White House were education and literacy. She established the annual National Book Festival, first held in Washington, D.C. in 2001, after having co-founded the Texas Book Festival in her home state.

13. Dressy rental : TUXEDO

Apparently, the style of men’s evening dress called a “tuxedo” was first worn to a country club event in 1886 in New York. The use of a dark dinner jacket without tails became fashionable at the club with the members, and the tradition spread from there. The country club was located in Tuxedo Park, New York, giving the style of dress its name.

32. Basics of school learning, in brief : RRR

The “three Rs” (RRR) are reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic.

33. When sung five times, an Abba hit : I DO

“I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do” was the second of ABBA’s long, long string of smash hits. It was particularly successful in Australia, where there is a huge ABBA fan base to this day. The song was featured in a really great Australian film called “Muriel’s Wedding” from 1994. This was the movie that launched the career of the wonderful actress Toni Collette.

35. Institute signed into existence by Thos. Jefferson : USMA

West Point is a military reservation in New York State, located north of New York City. West Point was first occupied by the Continental Army way back in 1778, making it the longest, continually-occupied military post in the country. Cadet training has taken place at the garrison since 1794, although Congress funding for a US Military Academy (USMA) didn’t start until 1802. The first female cadets were admitted to West Point in 1976, and today about 15% of all new cadets are women.

37. 2009 Peace Nobelist : OBAMA

President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the fourth US president to be so honored. He is the only one of the four to have been awarded the prize during his first year of office. The Nobel committee gave the award citing President Obama’s work towards a new climate in international relations, particularly in reaching out to the Muslim world.

38. Doctor Zhivago’s love : LARA

The heroine of Boris Pasternak’s epic novel “Doctor Zhivago” is Lara. The Lara character was inspired by Pasternak’s mistress Olga Ivinskaya.

40. URL ender for 35-Down : EDU

The .edu domain was one of the six original generic top-level domains specified. The complete original list is:

  • .com (commercial enterprise)
  • .net (entity involved in network infrastructure e.g. an ISP)
  • .mil (US military)
  • .org (not-for-profit organization)
  • .gov (US federal government entity)
  • .edu (college-level educational institution)

41. Stimpy’s TV pal : REN

“The Ren & Stimpy Show” is an animated television show created by Canadian animator John Kricfalusi, and which ran on Nickelodeon from 1991 to 1996. The title characters are Marland “Ren” Höek, a scrawny Chihuahua, and Stimpson J. Cat, a rotund Manx cat. Not my cup of tea …

44. Iota : SMIDGE

Our word “smidgen” (sometimes shortened to “smidge”) is used to describe a small amount. The term might come from the Scots word “smitch” that means the same thing or “a small insignificant person”.

45. Underling : MINION

A minion is a servile follower, a yes-man. The term “minion” comes from the French word “mignon” meaning “favorite, darling”.

49. Didn’t just criticize : REAMED

I must admit that I find the slang term “to ream out”, with its meaning “to scold harshly”, to be quite distasteful. The usage of the word as a reprimand dates back to about 1950.

53. New York Bay’s ___ Island : ELLIS

Ellis Island is an exclave of New York City that is geographically located within Jersey City, New Jersey. The name comes from a Samuel Ellis who owned the island around the time of the American Revolution. Ellis Island was the nation’s main immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954.

54. Mr. Rogers : ROY

Cowboy actor and singer Roy Rogers’ real name was Leonard Franklin Slye, and his nickname was “King of the Cowboys”. Roy Rogers married Dale Evans in 1947. Evans’ nickname was “Queen of the West”.

60. Bassoon part : REED

Our modern bassoon first appeared in the 1800s and has had a place in the concert orchestra ever since.

62. Chemical company that merged with DuPont : DOW

Dow Chemical Company was founded back in 1897 by a chemist called Herbert Henry Dow, and initially manufactured and sold bleach and potassium bromide. Dow merged with DuPont in 2017 to create DowDuPont, the world’s largest chemical company.

63. Giant part of a T. rex skeleton : JAW

The Tyrannosaurus rex (usually written “T. rex”) was a spectacular looking dinosaur. “Tyrannosaurus” comes from the Greek words “tyrannos” (tyrant) and “sauros” (lizard) and “rex” the Latin for “king”. They were big beasts, measuring 42 feet long and 13 feet tall at the hips, and weighing 7.5 tons.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Midday : TWELVE
7. The Emerald Isle : ERIN
11. Bring home : NET
14. Superficial appearance : VENEER
15. Not occurring naturally : MADE
16. Tulsa sch. : ORU
17. DAM : MAD SCRAMBLE (DAM is an anagram of MAD)
19. Car coat : WAX
20. Most-wanted group : A-LIST
21. Tony winner Neuwirth : BEBE
22. Zap, in a way : TASE
23. Prefix with -phyte : NEO-
24. FIRED : STIR-FRIED (FIRED is an anagram of FRIED)
26. Reds, blacks, evens or odds, in roulette : WAGERS
29. Perform better than : OUTDO
30. Bird that can hardly get off the ground : EMU
31. Encomium : TRIBUTE
36. PARBOIL : BIPOLAR DISORDER (PARBOIL is an anagram of BIPOLAR)
42. Place for taps : BARROOM
43. Praise-filled poem : ODE
44. Result of tears on makeup : SMEAR
47. Device for spraying paint : AIRGUN
50. STREAM : MIXMASTER (STREAM is an anagram of MASTER)
55. Ryan who co-starred in 1995’s “French Kiss” : MEG
56. Machu Picchu builder : INCA
57. Headlight? : HALO
58. One putting money on the table : PAYER
61. Something thrown to see who goes first : DIE
62. LYDIA : DAILY JUMBLE (LYDIA is an anagram of DAILY)
64. Red state grp. : GOP
65. Upscale hotel chain : OMNI
66. Opposite of keyed up : AT EASE
67. Suffix with differ : -ENT
68. Spritzes, e.g. : WETS
69. Tightly fixed : WEDGED

Down

1. “Orange Is the New Black” rating : TV-MA
2. Prosperity : WEAL
3. Turning out : ENDING UP
4. Tenant : LESSEE
5. Airplane course : VECTOR
6. Bungle : ERR
7. ___ Brickowski, protagonist of “The Lego Movie” : EMMET
8. One of three people walking into a bar, in a joke : RABBI
9. Do-nothing : IDLER
10. Laura Bush ___ Welch : NEE
11. “Hold on, don’t go yet!” : NO, WAIT!
12. Removed from memory : ERASED
13. Dressy rental : TUXEDO
18. Muscles used in a Russian twist, for short : ABS
22. “___ words have never been spoken” : TRUER
25. Pic : FOTO
26. Kind of developer : WEB
27. “Where ___?” : AM I
28. Luminary : STAR
32. Basics of school learning, in brief : RRR
33. When sung five times, an Abba hit : I DO
34. High school science class, informally : BIO
35. Institute signed into existence by Thos. Jefferson : USMA
37. 2009 Peace Nobelist : OBAMA
38. Doctor Zhivago’s love : LARA
39. Request at the end of a meal, maybe : DOGGY BAG
40. URL ender for 35-Down : EDU
41. Stimpy’s TV pal : REN
44. Iota : SMIDGE
45. Underling : MINION
46. Apart from : EXCEPT
48. Attribute : IMPUTE
49. Didn’t just criticize : REAMED
51. Guilty feeling : SHAME
52. Corrupt : TAINT
53. New York Bay’s ___ Island : ELLIS
54. Mr. Rogers : ROY
59. “What ___ is there?” : ELSE
60. Bassoon part : REED
62. Chemical company that merged with DuPont : DOW
63. Giant part of a T. rex skeleton : JAW

20 thoughts on “0815-18 NY Times Crossword 15 Aug 18, Wednesday”

  1. 19:00 This played a little slow for me. I thought the cluing was tough in spots and the bottom left really slowed me down. I couldn’t figure out MIXMASTER and I just wasn’t quite sure about anything down there.

  2. 14:02, no errors. Agree the cluing was tough.

    And, @Bill … Maybe (probably 😜?) I’m being dense, but I don’t understand the theme “Relocate a NASA Mgr.” A self-referential inside joke, perhaps?

    1. Oh. My. Indeed. Except I think that “a NASA Mgr.” is an anagram of “anagrams” (he said, trying to salvage a shred of his lost dignity 😜).

      Thank you, Cathi … 😄.

        1. Well, to repeat a somewhat ambiguous line, I have much to be humble about … 😜.

          Seriously, we all have our strengths and our weaknesses and anagrams are definitely not one of my strengths … 😳

  3. 15:26. I normally crash and burn on anagram themes, but somehow I caught on to this one early. WEAL being used without the “th” was new to me.

    @Dave –
    I didn’t understand the “Relocate a NASA Mgr” reference either, but that doesn’t really negate the possibility of you’re being dense anyway… 😛 I was looking for an anagram of NASA Mgr, but I couldn’t come up with one.

    Anyone have any ideas?

    Best –

    1. I had only heard “weal” in the phrase “the common weal”, which I vaguely remember from some long-ago lesson in school (and I’m not at all sure that I could have defined it properly).

        1. Ah. Again, thanks for the explanation. I actually guessed “PRIM COD” was an anagram and tried to use an online tool to figure out what it was an anagram of, but the tool failed me … 😳.

  4. No time, no errors. Must have accidentally hit the timer on my phone, I am certain I didn’t finish this in 4:29. Caught the theme trick early, after completely botching up the upper right corner with 11A WIN; 11D WAIT UP; 22A STUN.

    As a child of the 50’s, I remember my (English as second language) grandparents using the commercial names for things as generic terms, e.g. tissues were Kleenex. So the mixer was the MIXMASTER, the refrigerator was the Frigidaire and the stove was the Hotpoint. So it wasn’t unusual to hear them say to ‘take something out of the Frigidaire, mix it with the Mixmaster, and heat it on the Hotpoint’.

  5. No errors but it was nip and tuck all the way. New word for me was the clue “Encomium”. If I had only known that it was a TRIBUTE I could have probably breezed through the center portion of the puzzle. Add me to the list of people who did not catch on to Bill’s “NASA Mgr.” I am glad that @Dave inquired about it. I would have been inclined to let it go by with never knowing what was meant.

  6. I like Bill’s NASA Mgr., but it’s clear enough that the theme clues are anagrams. Maybe BIPOLAR DISORDER also serves as a revealer, indicating that the unscrambled anagram words appear at either end of the theme answers?

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