0831-18 NY Times Crossword 31 Aug 18, Friday

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Constructed by: Peter Wentz
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 13m 48s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • TA-NEHISI COATES (Ta-Narisi Coates)
  • GEHRY (Gerry!!)

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15. Florid drapery fabrics : CHINTZES

Chintz is a calico fabric that is very florid, and which originated in India. Indian chintz was in such great demand in Europe in the 17th-century, and so much was sold, that both England and France banned its import. This contributed to the term “chintz” being applied derogatively to a fabric, and from there to anything cheap or gaudy.

16. Early stage of development : FETUS

The word “fetus”, used for an unborn young animal, comes from Latin as one might expect. “Fetus” is the Latin word for the act of hatching or bringing forth a young animal or child. The mistaken spelling “foetus” is seen quite a lot, but there’s no historical basis for adding that “o”.

17. Can opener? : HARD C

The opening letter in the word “can” is a hard C.

20. Downtown Julie Brown’s former employer : MTV

MTV (the Music Television Network) started using “video jockey” (VJ) to describe the media personalities who introduced music videos. The term is a derivative of the already well-established “disk jockey” (DJ).

Downtown Julie Brown is an English TV personality who is best known as host of the music show “Club MTV” in the late eighties and early nineties.

22. Dolly, e.g. : EWE

Dolly is the most famous sheep in the world. She was a clone, and was born in 1996 near Edinburgh in Scotland, grown from a cell taken from the mammary gland of a healthy donor sheep. When asked why she was called Dolly, the scientist responsible said, and I quote:

“Dolly is derived from a mammary gland cell and we couldn’t think of a more impressive pair of glands than Dolly Parton’s”.

23. Subject of Marie Curie’s isolation : RADIUM

The element radium was discovered by Marie and Pierre Curie, in 1898.

Marie Curie lived a life of firsts. She was the first female professor at the University of Paris, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and indeed was the first person to win two Nobel prizes (in Physics in 1903, and in Chemistry in 1911). Most of Curie’s work was in the field of radioactivity, and was carried out in the days when the impact of excessive radiation on the human body was not understood. She died from aplastic anemia, caused by high exposure to radiation. To this day, Curie’s personal papers are kept preserved in lead-lined boxes as they are highly radioactive, even her personal cookbook.

26. ___ d’amore : OBOE

An oboe d’amore is a musical instrument similar to an oboe but a little larger.

28. “Family Feud” host Harvey : STEVE

Steve Harvey is a comedian and TV personality who really started his successful career in 1990 when he landed the job of hosting “It’s Showtime at the Apollo” in 1990. He has hosted “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” on the radio since 2000, and “Family Feud” on television since 2010.

35. Pop singer’s second album before “Jagged Little Pill” : ALANIS

Alanis Morissette is a Canadian singer-songwriter. After releasing two pop albums in Canada, in 1995 she recorded her first album to be distributed internationally. Called “Jagged Little Pill”, it is a collection of songs with more of a rock influence. The album was a huge success, the highest-selling album of the 1990s, and the highest-selling debut album by any artist at any time (selling over 30 million units).

37. Currency replaced by the euro : LIRA

The word “lira” is used in a number of countries for currency. “Lira” comes from the Latin for “pound” and is derived from a British pound sterling, the value of a Troy pound of silver. For example, the lira (plural “lire”) was the official currency of Italy before the country changed over to the euro in 2002.

39. Org. with a top 10 list : FBI

The FBI was the first agency to create a “most wanted list”, introducing the “FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list in 1950. Director J. Edgar Hoover came up with the idea after fielding a question from a journalist asking for the names and description of the “toughest guys” being sought by the FBI. One misconception about the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list is that it is ranked, but there is no such thing as the “#1 Most Wanted Fugitive”.

43. Scandal suffix : -GATE

The Watergate scandal is so named because it involved a break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters in the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. The Watergate complex is made up of five units, three of which are apartment buildings, one an office building, and one a hotel-office building (which housed the DNC headquarters). Watergate led to the “-gate” suffix being used for many subsequent scandals, such as “Irangate”, “Bridgegate” and “Deflategate”.

46. Naïve sorts : BABES

“Babes in the Wood” is a children’s tale, dating back to the late 1500s, that I think is quite morbid and scary. The basic story is that two children are abandoned in a wood, die, and are then covered in leaves by robins. It’s a morality tale, that does describe the downfall of the uncle who has the children taken to the woods. However, today we think more the “innocent babes”, as we describe someone who is naive as a “babe in the woods”.

53. Pandora’s domain : INTERNET RADIO

Pandora is a clever music-streaming site that runs what’s called the Music Genome Project. The idea behind the project is that particular pieces of music can be classified by specific characteristics (genes). The assumption is that given a person’s liking for the genome of a particular song, then a recommendation of another song with a similar genome will also be enjoyed by that person. I’ve used Pandora quite a lot, and it seems to work!

54. Cornish meat pie : PASTY

A pasty is a meat pie, traditionally filled with beef, potato, rutabaga (swede) and onion. The most famous variety of the pie is the Cornish pasty sold in Cornwall in England. Cornish miners brought the recipe with them as they emigrated, so various versions are found around the world. I always get a pasty when I am in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, for example.

55. 1994 Denis Leary comedy : THE REF

“The Ref” is a black comedy, a 1994 movie starring Denis Leary as a thief who ends up holding a family hostage after a heist goes wrong.

Down

2. “White Buildings” was his first collection of poetry : HART CRANE

American poet Hart Crane’s most famous work is the epic poem “The Broken Tower”, which was published just a few months before committing suicide. Crane was travelling by steamship from Mexico to New York, and threw himself overboard into the Gulf of Mexico, exclaiming, “Goodbye, everybody!”.

3. Court order? : OYEZ

“Oyez” is an Anglo-French word, traditionally called out three times, with the meaning “hear ye!”

5. Country singer who uses her first two initials : KT OSLIN

Singer K. T. Oslin is best known for her string of country hits in the eighties.

6. Tongue twister pronoun : SHE

She sells sea-shells on the sea-shore.
The shells she sells are sea-shells, I’m sure.
For if she sells sea-shells on the sea-shore
Then I’m sure she sells sea-shore shells.

11. Lionizing lines : ODE

The term “lionize” dates back to the late 1700s when there were lions kept in the Tower of London. The lions were quite famous, and attracted many visitors. Hence the term “lionize” means to treat someone as a celebrity.

13. British-based relief organization : OXFAM

Oxfam was founded in 1942 in Oxford, England, and was originally called Oxford Committee for Famine Relief. The original mission of Oxfam was to persuade the British government to allow food into Greece during WWII in the days the country was occupied by the Axis Powers. The name OXFAM was adopted in 1965. Prior to that date, OXFAM was quite simply the organization’s telegraph address (remember telegraphs?).

14. Playwright who wrote “Walk! Not bloody likely. I am going in a taxi” : SHAW

“Walk! Not bloody likely. I am going in a taxi” is a line from George Bernard Shaw’s play “Pygmalion”.

George Bernard Shaw (GBS) was a very successful Irish playwright. Shaw is the only person to have been awarded both a Nobel Prize for Literature, and an Oscar. He won his Oscar for adapting his own play “Pygmalion” for the 1938 film of the same name starring Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller. Most people are more likely to have seen the musical adaptation of “Pygmalion” that goes by the title “My Fair Lady”.

15. Revolutionary figure : 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.

21. Some hand signals : VEES

One has to be careful making that V-sign depending where you are in the world. Where I came from, the V for victory (or peace) sign has to be made with the palm facing outwards. If the sign is made with the palm facing inwards, it can be interpreted as a very obscene gesture.

25. Make potable, in a way : DESALT

Something that is “potable” is fit to drink. The term derives from the Latin verb “potare” meaning “to drink”, which is also the root for our word “potion”.

26. Manufacturer of indoor cars : OTIS

Elevators (simple hoists) have been around for a long time. What Elisha Otis did was come up with the “safety elevator”, a design that he showcased at the 1853 World’s Fair in New York. At the Fair, Otis would stand on an elevated platform in front of onlookers and order his assistant to cut the single rope holding up the platform. His safety system kicked in when the platform had only fallen a few inches, amazing the crowd. After this demonstration, the orders came rolling in.

27. Toon named after one of Matt Groening’s sisters : LISA

Lisa Simpson is Bart’s brainy younger sister on TV’s “The Simpsons”. Lisa is voiced by actress Yeardley Smith. In a 2008 episode of the show, Lisa enters a crossword tournament. Crossword celebrities Merl Reagle and Will Shortz make appearances in that episode, basically playing cartoon versions of themselves.

Matt Groening is a cartoonist. He created two successful animated shows for television, namely “The Simpsons” and “Futurama” (neither of which I understand!).

29. Subject of a museum in St. Petersburg, Fla. : DALI

The famous surrealist painter Salvador Dalí was born in Figueres, Spain. I had the privilege of visiting the Dalí Museum in Figueres some years ago, just north of Barcelona. If you ever get the chance, it’s a “must see” as it really is a quite magnificent building with a fascinating collection.

30. Portrayer of Hulk in 2003 : ERIC BANA

Eric Bana is an Australian actor who enjoyed a successful career in his home country before breaking into Hollywood playing an American Delta Force sergeant in “Black Hawk Down”. A couple of years later he played the lead in Ang Lee’s 2003 movie “Hulk”, the role of Dr Bruce Banner. More recently he played the Romulan villain Nero, in the 2009 “Star Trek” movie.

“Hulk” is a 2003 film with Eric Bana starring in the title role, as Hulk, and the superhero’s alter ego Dr. Bruce Banner. “Hulk” receive a mediocre reception, and so it was remade as “The Incredible Hulk” in 2008.

31. Colonial stingers : FIRE ANTS

Fire ants are stinging ants, and many species are known as “red ants”. Most stinging ants bite their prey and then spray acid on the wound. The fire ant, however, bites to hold on and then injects an alkaloid venom from its abdomen, creating a burning sensation in humans who have been nipped.

39. Fuzz : FIVE-O

“Five-O” has become urban slang for a police officer, or the police force in general. The term is rooted in the 1970s TV Show “Hawaii Five-O”. Hawaii Five-O was a totally fictional police force created for the television show. The name recognizes that Hawaii was the 50th state to join the union. Steve McGarrett in the original show was played by Jack Lord, and “Danno” Williams was played by James MacArthur.

40. Eighth-day rite : BRIS

A mohel is a man who has been trained in the practice of brit milah (circumcision). Brit milah is known as “bris” in Yiddish. The brit milah ceremony is performed on male infants when they are 8-days old.

41. Half of a candy duo : IKE

Mike and Ike is a brand of fruit-flavored candy made by Just Born starting in 1940. Just Born launched quite a unique marketing campaign in 2012 asserting that Mike and Ike had “split up due to creative differences”. The campaign involved production of two different boxes for the candy showing one or the other name scratched out. Clever …

43. Frank who designed Walt Disney Concert Hall : GEHRY

Frank Gehry is an architect from Toronto who is based in Los Angeles. Listed among Gehry’s famous creations are the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao in Spain, The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and his own private residence in Santa Monica, California. He is currently working on the upcoming Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial that will be placed in Washington, D.C. I hope to see that one day …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Garage installation : SHOCKS
7. Bud : AMIGO
12. He works with kids : STAY-AT-HOME DAD
14. Go all out, whatever the cost : SPARE NO EXPENSE
15. Florid drapery fabrics : CHINTZES
16. Early stage of development : FETUS
17. Can opener? : HARD C
18. Burden : LOAD
20. Downtown Julie Brown’s former employer : MTV
22. Dolly, e.g. : EWE
23. Subject of Marie Curie’s isolation : RADIUM
26. ___ d’amore : OBOE
27. Not yet apparent : LATENT
28. “Family Feud” host Harvey : STEVE
29. Epitomizes : DEFINES
32. Makes new connections to, perhaps : REWIRES
34. Stem (from) : ARISE
35. Pop singer’s second album before “Jagged Little Pill” : ALANIS
37. Currency replaced by the euro : LIRA
38. They might be drawn at night : BLINDS
39. Org. with a top 10 list : FBI
42. Old-fashioned cooler? : ICE
43. Scandal suffix : -GATE
44. Self-satisfied smile : SMIRK
46. Naïve sorts : BABES
48. Source of many box office bombs? : WAR MOVIE
51. MacArthur Fellowship-winning author of “Between the World and Me” : TA-NEHISI COATES
53. Pandora’s domain : INTERNET RADIO
54. Cornish meat pie : PASTY
55. 1994 Denis Leary comedy : THE REF

Down

1. Remain valid : STAND
2. “White Buildings” was his first collection of poetry : HART CRANE
3. Court order? : OYEZ
4. Support staff : CANE
5. Country singer who uses her first two initials : KT OSLIN
6. Tongue twister pronoun : SHE
7. Jazzed : AMPED
8. Satisfy : MEET
9. Security figure, in brief : ID NUMBER
10. Many a range : GAS STOVE
11. Lionizing lines : ODE
12. Architectural high point : SPIRE
13. British-based relief organization : OXFAM
14. Playwright who wrote “Walk! Not bloody likely. I am going in a taxi” : SHAW
15. Revolutionary figure : CHE
19. Surpassed : OUTRAN
21. Some hand signals : VEES
24. Took in : ATE
25. Make potable, in a way : DESALT
26. Manufacturer of indoor cars : OTIS
27. Toon named after one of Matt Groening’s sisters : LISA
28. Watch words? : SWISS MADE
29. Subject of a museum in St. Petersburg, Fla. : DALI
30. Portrayer of Hulk in 2003 : ERIC BANA
31. Colonial stingers : FIRE ANTS
33. Downfall : END
36. Sleep next to : LIE WITH
38. Washtub : BASIN
39. Fuzz : FIVE-O
40. Eighth-day rite : BRIS
41. Half of a candy duo : IKE
43. Frank who designed Walt Disney Concert Hall : GEHRY
45. Recurring symbol : MOTIF
47. ___ salad : BEET
49. Plot element? : ACRE
50. Bellow : ROAR
51. Bit of advice : TIP
52. Predetermined : SET

16 thoughts on “0831-18 NY Times Crossword 31 Aug 18, Friday”

  1. 22:44 I didn’t have too much trouble with this except the top left corner. Even with 12A and 14A in place some of those downs were hard to get. I’ve never heard of HARTCRANE and didn’t know CHINTZES which didn’t help. Overall, I liked it.

  2. 31:50 but with several look ups so really a DNF. I liked it anyway. An awful lot of unknown proper nouns both in cluing and answers for me in this one, however. Nice challenge. I just wasn’t up to it.

    Best –

  3. Remembered “chintz” from the Cowardly Lion’s song. Most musicologists would claim “Alanis” to be Ms Morissette’s first album, but mine is not to argue….Filled in authors’ names with other words, guess I need to read more…or just read, period 🙂

  4. 25:04, no errors. Had a very hard time with this one, mostly along the bottom. Got “TANEHISICOATES” from crosses, but was mystified by it until the very end. Finally had a moment: “Ta-Nehisi Coates”! Yes! I saw that name somewhere! (It didn’t help that I couldn’t remember what “Pandora” was all about and that I’d never heard of “The Ref”. Oh, well … in the end, I managed to pull off a win … 😜.

  5. After 53 min. and several references to “my notes from past puzzles” I got through this one with no errors. Most of you guys and gals say that is cheating and maybe it is but I don’t have an idetic memory for things like Tanehisi Coates but it was used in the past and I made a note of it. SO THERE.
    Just kidding .

  6. Ta-Nehisi Coates is such a well known author to young and minority crossword players, that I feel compelled to comment. Just as with modern musicians, this otherwise helpful blog constantly ridicules my generation’s tastes—not a way to encourage new generations of crossword enthusiasts. If I must recognize references to Fred Astaire to compete, might it not be courteous to ease the constant ridiculing of music, movies and books after 1950?

    1. @Anon –
      Lighten up. No one here said one demeaning word about Ta-Nehisi Coates other than they didn’t know who that author is. If you wish to “ridicule” Fred Astaire, Frank Sinatra or anyone else, I can promise you no one here will feel victimized or offended. Feel free to feel both victimized and offended if it makes you feel better, however.

      Best –

      1. Lighten up yourself. Every modern reference is met with comments such as “not my cup of tea” and synonymous commentary. I don’t expect positive reviews, just a cessation of tone deaf, out of date criticism. If the criticism didn’t sound like the old “rock n’ roll is Satan’s music” trope, it would be fine. I love my grandparents and Fred Astaire, but there is a reason for generation gaps—inflexible taste. We should keep those attacks to ourselves.

        1. The only real criticism I would make is the inclusion of a complete unknown. I had to get that one via crosses and I’d wager the vast majority of the NYT audience had to do the same and was shocked as I was that such a person even exists. Content is often included in puzzles which the constructor and editor somehow thinks is culturally relevant, but really isn’t. The worst part of such things is when constructors use “legendary” or “famous” in a crossword clue for something I’ve never heard of – if that’s the case, it isn’t either “legendary” or “famous”.

          1. Ya-Nehisi Coates is the James Baldwin of my generation. It is understandable that most older crossword solvers are unfamiliar with him and fine to say so. But to pretend that only that with which you are familiar is culturally relevant or iconic, is why this wonderful pastime may disappear. I am thankful that puzzle setters are more open minded and worldly than solvers, but comments like these help me understand why I feel so alone on campus when I joyfully attack a NYT puzzle.

  7. This puzzle and I never really connected. I stopped working it when I stopped having fun. I’d say I got about 1/2 to 2/3 of it right or close to it, mostly in the upper half. It was not that enjoyable for me. Some days are better than others.

  8. “Finished” this one late in the day with one (and more) errors in the NE corner, looking up MEET to replace sate. But enjoyed it nonetheless.

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