0813-18 NY Times Crossword 13 Aug 18, Monday

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Constructed by: Lynn Lempel
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Good News, Bad News

Today’s themed answers can be viewed as GOOD NEWS … or as BAD NEWS. It depends on whether we consider the first part of the clue … or the second:

  • 61A. Start of a mixed message, as illustrated by 17-, 23-, 39- and 54-Across : GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS …
  • 17A. Leave a lasting legacy … or do worse at school : GO DOWN IN HISTORY
  • 23A. Succeed on the gridiron … or invite a slap in the face : MAKE PASSES
  • 39A. Score in baseball … or ruin some hose : GET A RUN
  • 54A. Be lucky in Scrabble … or come up short memorywise : DRAW A BLANK

Bill’s time: 6m 44s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Pear variety : BOSC

Bosc is a cultivar of the European pear grown in the northwest of the United States. The Bosc is that pear with a skin the color of a potato, with a long neck. I always seem to use the potato as my point of reference. How Irish am I …?

9. Peruvian animal : LLAMA

Many female mammals lick off their newborn. That’s not an option for llamas as their tongues only reach out of their mouths about half an inch. Instead, llama dams nuzzle their young and hum to them.

14. Toledo’s home : OHIO

Toledo, Ohio lies in the northwest of the state, at the western end of Lake Erie. Toledo was founded as a result of the prosperity that hit the area when the Miami and Erie Canal was constructed in the 19th century connecting Cincinnati to the Great Lakes. Toledo is known as the Glass City as several glass companies originated there, including Owens Corning and Pilkington North America. There is a large exhibition of glass art at the Toledo Museum of Art.

16. Common golf shirts : POLOS

René Lacoste was a French tennis player who went into the clothing business, and came up with a more comfortable shirt that players could use. This became known as a “tennis shirt”. When it was adopted for use in the sport of polo, the shirts also became known as “polo shirts”. The “golf shirt” is basically the same thing.

20. Drug giant ___ Lilly : ELI

Eli Lilly is the largest corporation in the state of Indiana. Founder Eli Lilly was a veteran of the Union Army in the Civil War, and a failed Mississippi plantation owner. Later in life he returned to his first profession and opened a pharmaceutical operation to manufacture drugs and sell them wholesale. Under Lilly’s early guidance, the company was the first to create gelatin capsules to hold medicines and the first to use fruit flavoring in liquid medicines.

21. English school on the Thames : ETON

The world-famous Eton College is located just outside London. It lies between the River Thames, and the Jubilee River. The Jubilee is a 7-mile stretch of man-made waterway that was built in the late 1990s to take overflow from the Thames and reduce flooding around the nearby towns.

22. The Gershwins’ “Of ___ I Sing” : THEE

“Of Thee I Sing” is a musical by George and Ira Gershwin that premiered on Broadway in 1931. “Of Thee I Sing” is about a politician running for president who falls for the “wrong” woman. The show’s title comes from a line in the patriotic song “America”.

The patriotic song “America” is also known by its first line, “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”. The song was written by Samuel Francis Smith in 1831, and was the de facto national anthem of the country until “The Star-Spangled Banner” was declared the official anthem in 1931. The melody of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” is identical with the British national anthem, “God Save the Queen”.

My country, ’tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From ev’ry mountainside
Let freedom ring!

23. Succeed on the gridiron … or invite a slap in the face : MAKE PASSES

We never used the word “gridiron” when I was growing up in Ireland (meaning a grill used for cooking food over an open fire). So, maybe I am excused for taking two decades as a US resident to work out that a football field gridiron is so called because the layout of yard lines over the field looks like a gridiron used in cooking!

26. Word after Near, Middle or Far : EAST

In geographical terms there are three “Easts”. “Near East” and “Middle East” are terms that are often considered synonymous, although “Near East” tends to be used when discussing ancient history and “Middle East” when referring to the present day. The Near/Middle East encompasses most of Western Asia and Egypt. The term “Far East” describes East Asia (including the Russian Far East), Southeast Asia and South Asia.

27. Waders with curved bills : IBISES

The ibis is a wading bird that was revered in ancient Egypt. “Ibis” is an interesting word grammatically speaking. You can have one “ibis” or two “ibises”, and then again one has a flock of “ibis”. And if you want to go with the classical plural, instead of two “ibises” you would have two “ibides”!

31. Cannabis variety used for rope : HEMP

Hemp is a hardy, fast-growing plant that has many uses mainly due to the strength of the fibers in the plant’s stalks. Hemp is used to make rope, paper and textiles. Famously, there is a variety of hemp that is grown to make drugs, most famously cannabis.

35. Times Sq. squad : NYPD

The New York Police Department (NYPD) is the largest municipal police force in the country. The department’s roots go back as far at 1625 when there was an eight-man night watch in the days when New York was still known as New Amsterdam. Several disparate forces with policing responsibility were amalgamated in 1844 to form the New York City Police Department, signalling the end of the night watch force that had existed for over 200 years.

Times Square in New York City isn’t a square at all, but rather a triangle. When the New York Times newspaper opened new headquarters in the area in 1904, the city agreed to the name “Times Square”, changing it from Longacre Square.

39. Score in baseball … or ruin some hose : GET A RUN

A snag is a pull or a tear in a fabric. A snag, particularly in stockings, might lead to a run. And on the other side of the Atlantic, a “run” is called a “ladder”.

41. Part of Adam from which Eve was fashioned : RIB

According to the Bible, Eve was created as Adam’s companion by God, creating her from Adam’s rib.

45. Shoe with holes : CROC

Crocs are foam clogs that were originally designed as shoes to be worn at health spas.

47. Curling surface : ICE

I think curling is such a cool game (pun!). It’s somewhat like bowls, but played on a sheet of ice. The sport was supposedly invented in medieval Scotland, and is called curling because of the action of the granite stone is it moves across the ice. A player can make the stone take a curved path (“curl”) by causing it to slowly rotate as it slides.

49. One of the Baltic States : LATVIA

Latvia is one of the former Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs). People from Latvia are called Letts.

The natives of modern day Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are sometimes referred to as Balts, a reference to the Baltic Sea on which the three countries lie. The term “Balt” is also used for someone who speaks one of the Baltic languages, a group of languages spoken by people mainly residing within the borders of Latvia and Lithuania, as well as in some immigrant communities around the world.

51. Femme fatale : VAMP

A vamp (short for “vampire”) is a seductive woman. The term was first used in reference to the sultry performance of actress Theda Bara in the 1915 film “A Fool There Was”. The movie’s title is a quotation from Rudyard Kipling’s 1897 poem “The Vampire”. Bara’s role was positioned as a “vampire”, a woman out to seduce a man, launching the use of “vamp” as an alternative term for “femme fatale”.

A “femme fatale” is a dangerously seductive woman. “Femme fatale” is French for “deadly woman”.

54. Be lucky in Scrabble … or come up short memorywise : DRAW A BLANK

Here’s a little Scrabble trivia … “Pizzazz” is the only 7-letter word in English that cannot be played in Scrabble. You can get close by using the Z-tile with the two blank tiles to get to three of the required four Zs, but there’s no way to get to that fourth letter-Z.

67. Vichyssoise vegetable : LEEK

Vichyssoise is a thick puréed potato soup that can be served hot, but is usually served cold. As well as potatoes, a classic vichyssoise contains leeks, onions, cream and chicken stock. Although the origin is disputed, it seems that the vichyssoise was invented in America, albeit by a French chef. That chef named his soup after the town of Vichy in France.

70. “Roseanne” actress Gilbert : SARA

The actress Sara Gilbert grew up playing Darlene on the sitcom “Roseanne” from 1988 to 1997. Today Gilbert appears fairly often on another hit sitcom, namely “The Big Bang Theory”. You can also see her on the daytime talk show called “The Talk”, a show that she herself created. And, she made a comeback as Darlene in 2018 in the “Roseanne” reboot.

71. Jason’s fleece-seeking ship : ARGO

In Greek mythology, Jason and the Argonauts sailed on the Argo in search of the Golden Fleece. The vessel was called “Argo” in honor of the ship’s builder, a man named Argus.

The Golden Fleece was the fleece of a winged ram made from pure gold that was held by King Aeëtes in Colchis, a kingdom on the eastern coast of the Black Sea. The fleece is central to the tale of Jason and the Argonauts, who set out on a quest to steal the fleece by order of King Pelias.

Down

1. Spongy ground : BOG

When dead plant matter accumulates in marshy areas, it may not fully decay due to a lack of oxygen or acidic conditions. We are familiar with this in Ireland, because this decaying matter can form peat, and we have lots and lots of peat bogs around the country.

3. Trusty companions : SIDEKICKS

We use the term “sidekick” to mean an associate. Prior to the early 1900s we used the similar terms “side-pal” and “side-partner”.

6. Zodiac ram : ARIES

Aries the Ram is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, and is named after the constellation. Your birth sign is Aries if you were born between March 21 and April 20, but if you are an Aries you would know that! “Aries” is the Latin word for “ram”.

8. Chevy model named for a Western lake : TAHOE

The Chevrolet Tahoe is basically the same design as the GMC Yukon, both cars being sports utility vehicles. The Tahoe is rated at 15 mpg for city driving, but there is a hybrid version which is rated at a whopping 21 mpg …

9. Carole King’s “Tapestry” and “Music” : LPS

Carole King is a marvelous singer-songwriter from Manhattan, New York. King started her career writing a string of hit songs with her partner and eventual husband Gerry Goffin (although they later divorced). King’s first composition to get to number one was “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”, which she wrote at 18 years of age for the Shirelles. Not so long ago, my wife and I saw the stage musical “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”, which tells the story of King’s music and life. I highly recommend “Beautiful” …

12. Group’s basic customs : MORES

Mores are the accepted customs and practices of a particular group. “Mores” is the plural of the Latin word “mos” which means “custom”.

19. The “I” of M.I.T.: Abbr. : INST

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was founded in 1861 and first offered classes in 1865, in the Mercantile building in Boston. Today’s magnificent campus on the banks of the Charles River in Cambridge opened in 1916.

23. Barack’s opponent in 2012 : MITT

Mitt Romney was born Willard Mitt Romney in 1947 in Detroit, Michigan. Romney’s parents named him after J. Willard Marriott (the hotel magnate) who was the father’s best friend, and after Milton “Mitt” Romney who was the father’s cousin and quarterback for the Chicago Bears.

25. Arthur with a namesake stadium : ASHE

The Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, New York opened in 1997 and for years was the largest outdoor, tennis-only venue in the world. The stadium was often criticized for not having a retractable dome to protect the playing surface from inclement weather. Well, that changed in 2016 when the stadium debuted its new retractable roof, a $150 million investment in the facility.

29. TV journalist Curry : ANN

The television journalist Ann Curry is perhaps best known for the time she spent as co-host on NBC’s “Today” show. NBC executives asked Curry to resign from the “Today” show because ratings were low. I just read online that Curry was also pushed out because of the way she insisted on dressing and because she refused to dye her gray hair. I hope that isn’t true …

36. Nongovernmentally owned ship decked out for war : PRIVATEER

A privateer is a person or ship that is authorized by a government to attack enemy ships during time of war. A privateer might be regarded as a pirate with some government backing, although many privateers had a very respectable reputation. One famous privateer of that ilk was Sir Francis Drake who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I.

39. Health products chain : GNC

General Nutrition Centers (GNC) is a retailer of health and nutrition supplements based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The company was founded in 1935 as a small health food store in downtown Pittsburgh. There are now about 5,000 stores in the US. The GNC slogan is “Live Well”.

40. Sch. near Hollywood : UCLA

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) gets more applications from potential students than any other university in the country. UCLA also has more students enrolled than any other university in the state.

42. A pelican has a big one : BEAK

The pelican is an example of a piscivore. A piscivorous animal is actually a carnivore, but one that lives on fish.

46. U.S. city with the world’s busiest airport : ATLANTA

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the world’s busiest airport, as measured by passenger traffic. Atlanta has had that distinction since 1998, and was the world’s busiest in terms of take-offs and landings from 2005 until 2013. Over 50% of Atlanta’s traffic comes from Delta Air Lines.

52. Sing-___ (hootenanny feature) : ALONG

Our colloquial word “hootenanny” is now used for a party featuring folk music. The term came into English as a word similar to “thingamajig” or “whatsit”. Out current usage is more akin to its original meaning back in Scotland, i.e. “celebration, party”.

55. Lou with more than 70 albums : RAWLS

Lou Rawls was an American soul and blues singer known for his smooth vocal style. With his singing career well on the way, Rawls was asked to sing “The Star Spangled Banner” in 1977 at a Muhammad Ali fight in Madison Square Garden. This performance led to him being asked to sing the anthem many, many times in the coming years with his last rendition being at a World Series game in 2005. Rawls passed away in January of the following year.

57. Big name in grills : WEBER

In 1952, George Stephen was working for the Weber Brothers Metal works in Chicago. One of the company’s products was a line of half-spheres that were welded together to make buoys used in Lake Michigan. Stephens took two of these metal hemispheres and converted them into the original kettle grill. The Weber company set up a barbecue division that Stephens ran, and Stephen became so successful that he bought out the Weber Brothers factory and converted all production to the manufacture of grills.

65. Letters suggesting a sellout : SRO

Standing room only (SRO)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Pear variety : BOSC
5. Fiction’s opposite : FACT
9. Peruvian animal : LLAMA
14. Toledo’s home : OHIO
15. Carpet layer’s measurement : AREA
16. Common golf shirts : POLOS
17. Leave a lasting legacy … or do worse at school : GO DOWN IN HISTORY
20. Drug giant ___ Lilly : ELI
21. English school on the Thames : ETON
22. The Gershwins’ “Of ___ I Sing” : THEE
23. Succeed on the gridiron … or invite a slap in the face : MAKE PASSES
26. Word after Near, Middle or Far : EAST
27. Waders with curved bills : IBISES
28. Gunky roofing stuff : TAR
30. Diplomat’s forte : TACT
31. Cannabis variety used for rope : HEMP
35. Times Sq. squad : NYPD
38. Sound of annoyance : TSK
39. Score in baseball … or ruin some hose : GET A RUN
41. Part of Adam from which Eve was fashioned : RIB
43. “SportsNation” station : ESPN
45. Shoe with holes : CROC
46. Helper : AIDE
47. Curling surface : ICE
49. One of the Baltic States : LATVIA
51. Femme fatale : VAMP
54. Be lucky in Scrabble … or come up short memorywise : DRAW A BLANK
58. Gel-producing succulent : ALOE
59. Starting point for a horse race : GATE
60. Have dinner : EAT
61. Start of a mixed message, as illustrated by 17-, 23-, 39- and 54-Across : GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS …
66. Excessive : UNDUE
67. Vichyssoise vegetable : LEEK
68. Drop that might run down the face : TEAR
69. Land with pyramids : EGYPT
70. “Roseanne” actress Gilbert : SARA
71. Jason’s fleece-seeking ship : ARGO

Down

1. Spongy ground : BOG
2. “Well, whaddya know!” : OHO!
3. Trusty companions : SIDEKICKS
4. Most hip : COOLEST
5. Devoted follower : FAN
6. Zodiac ram : ARIES
7. ¢ : CENTS
8. Chevy model named for a Western lake : TAHOE
9. Carole King’s “Tapestry” and “Music” : LPS
10. Small chance to win big bucks : LOTTERY
11. Hawaiian hello : ALOHA
12. Group’s basic customs : MORES
13. Up to now : AS YET
18. Clean (off) : WIPE
19. The “I” of M.I.T.: Abbr. : INST
23. Barack’s opponent in 2012 : MITT
24. Demean : ABASE
25. Arthur with a namesake stadium : ASHE
29. TV journalist Curry : ANN
32. List shortener: Abbr. : ETC
33. Damage somewhat : MAR
34. One giving you the aye? : PRO
36. Nongovernmentally owned ship decked out for war : PRIVATEER
37. Brought to ruin : DID IN
39. Health products chain : GNC
40. Sch. near Hollywood : UCLA
42. A pelican has a big one : BEAK
44. Chimed in on the conversation : PIPED UP
46. U.S. city with the world’s busiest airport : ATLANTA
48. Margin : EDGE
50. Under the covers : ABED
51. Unclear : VAGUE
52. Sing-___ (hootenanny feature) : ALONG
53. Temperamental : MOODY
55. Lou with more than 70 albums : RAWLS
56. Out on a naval deployment : AT SEA
57. Big name in grills : WEBER
62. Bit of fishery equipment : NET
63. Stephanie Clifford ___ Stormy Daniels : AKA
64. Jokester : WAG
65. Letters suggesting a sellout : SRO