0901-18 NY Times Crossword 1 Sep 18, Saturday

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Constructed by: Randolph Ross
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 11m 22s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Lively dances in 2/4 time : SAMBAS

The samba is a Brazilian dance that is very much symbolic of the festival of Carnival. Like so much culture around the world, the samba has its roots in Africa, as the dance is derived from dances performed by former slaves who migrated into urban Rio de Janeiro in the late 1800s. The exact roots of the name “samba” seem to have been lost in the mists of time. However, my favorite explanation is that it comes from an African Kikongo word “semba” which means “a blow struck with the belly button”. We don’t seem to have a need for such a word in English …

7. Smallest country in mainland Africa : GAMBIA

The Islamic Republic of the Gambia is a country in West Africa. It is the smallest country on the African mainland, and almost completely surrounded by Senegal. The Gambia lies on the Gambia River, for which the nation is named.

22. Verb in the first telegraph message : HATH

The first telegraph message in the US was sent by Samuel Morse from the US Capitol in 1844. The message was received by a B&O railroad depot in Baltimore, Maryland. The message content was the words “WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT”, a quotation from the Book of Numbers in the Bible.

23. They’re encouraged on a ketogenic diet : FATS

A ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. When a body consumes insufficient carbohydrates to meet the need for energy, then the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies in order to make up the energy deficit. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the bloodstream is known as “ketosis”, a term that gives rise to the name “ketogenic diet”. Medical professionals sometimes prescribe a ketogenic diet in order to control epilepsy in children. A condition of ketosis can reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures.

25. Japanese stock holder : MISO

Miso is the name of the seasoning that makes miso soup. Basic miso seasoning is made by fermenting rice, barley and soybeans with salt and a fungus to produce a paste. The paste can be added to stock to make miso soup, or perhaps to flavor tofu.

26. Lead-in to comic : SERIO-

Something described as seriocomic has both serious and comical elements, but generally the comic side predominates.

27. “Super” thing in games, once : NES

The name Super NES (or SNES) stands for Super Nintendo Entertainment System.

28. Force of nature? : CENTRIPETAL

When a body moves at a steady speed along a circular path, the force that keeps the body in that circular path (rather than a straight line) is the centripetal force. For example, if we’re on a roller coaster doing a loop, the force that keeps the coaster moving in a circular direction, preventing it from flying off in a straight line, is centripetal force. The opposing force that we riders feel while looping on the coaster is centrifugal force, the force that we feel pinning us to our seats.

31. Longtime talk show host with a degree from Harvard : CONAN O’BRIEN

Before Conan O’Brien came to fame as a late night talk show host, he was a writer. He wrote for both “Saturday Night Live” and “The Simpsons”. While attending Harvard, O’Brien was president of “The Harvard Lampoon”.

34. Ethnic group that makes up about 18% of the world’s population : HAN

The Han Chinese people are the largest ethnic group in the world, and comprise 18% of the planet’s population. The 1.3 billion Han also make up 92% of China’s population. The group takes its name from the Han dynasty that ruled much of modern day China from roughly 200 BCE to 220 CE.

39. Athlete known as “The Black Pearl” : PELE

“Pelé” is the nickname of Edson de Nascimento, a soccer player who has used the name “Pelé” for most of his life. Pelé is now retired, and for my money was the world’s greatest ever player of the game. He is the only person to have been a member of three World Cup winning squads (1958, 1962 and 1970), and is a national treasure in his native Brazil. One of Pele’s nicknames is “O Rei do Futebol” (the King of Football).

40. “What, will these hands ___ be clean?”: Lady Macbeth : NE’ER

Lady Macbeth is an evil and treacherous woman in William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”. The most famous line uttered by Lady Macbeth has to be “Out, damned spot! Out, I say!” In this line, Lady Macbeth is frantically rubbing at her hand trying to get rid of an imaginary bloodstain left there after she committed four murders.

41. Wee warbler : WREN

A wren is a small songbird belonging to the family troglodytidae and the genus troglodytes. Wrens are known for making dome-shaped nests.

42. Luxurious Italian house : PRADA

Prada was started in 1913 as a leather-goods shop in Milan, by the two Prada brothers. One of the brothers, Mario Prada, prevented the female members of his family participating in the company as he didn’t believe women should be involved in business (!). When the sexist brother died, his son had no interest in the business so it was his daughter who took over and ran the company for about twenty years, handing it over to her own daughter. I’d say the devil loved that …

43. Abbr. for those who don’t like parties : IND

Independent (Ind)

44. Bisector of the Fertile Crescent : TIGRIS RIVER

The Fertile Crescent is a large swath of land in the Near East that includes the Nile Valley in the west and the land around the Tigris and Euphrates in the east.

48. Neighbor of an Austrian : SLOVENE

The Republic of Slovenia is a country in Central Europe that is bordered by Italy, Austria, Croatia and Hungary. Given its geographic location, the country has been part of various realms over the centuries, most recently being part of Yugoslavia. Slovenia declared independence from former Yugoslavia in 1991, and is now a member of the European Union.

50. Money in the Bible : TALENTS

The talent was a unit of currency (as well as a unit of mass). It was mentioned in the Bible in Jesus’ parable of the talents. In fact, this parable is the origin of our word “talent” that we now use to mean “gift, skill”.

Down

5. Shop shapers : ADZES

An adze (also “adz”) is similar to an axe, but is different in that the blade of an adze is set at right angles to the tool’s shaft. An axe blade is set in line with the shaft.

7. Mean Miss of “The Wizard of Oz” : GULCH

Miss Almira Gulch is the woman who gets bitten by Dorothy’s dog Toto right at the start of “The Wizard of Oz”. In Oz, Miss Gulch manifests herself as the Wicked Witch of the West.

9. Ed.’s inbox filler : MSS

Editors (eds.) might read or edit a manuscript (MS)

10. Cameo : BIT PART

A “walk-on role” in a performance is one in which the actor makes an appearance on stage or on set, but has no dialog. One line of dialog elevates the role to a “bit part”.

Even in my day, a cameo role was more than just a short appearance in a movie (or other artistic piece). For the appearance to be a cameo, the actor had to playing himself or herself, and was instantly recognizable. With this meaning it’s easy to see the etymology of the term, as a cameo brooch is one with the recognizable carving of the silhouette of a person. Nowadays, a cameo is any minor role played by a celebrity or famous actor, regardless of the character played.

25. “Love ___” : ME DO

“Love Me Do” is a song written by Paul McCartney on a day that he was playing hooky from school when he just 16 years of age.

28. Hunter College is part of it, in brief : CUNY

New York City’s public university system is called the City University of New York (CUNY). CUNY is made of 24 institutions and is the largest urban university in the whole country. it is also the third largest university system in the US, after the State University of New York and California State University.

30. Attorney general before Reno : BARR

William Barr was the US Attorney General for two years in the administration of President George H. W. Bush. When not working, Barr is a very enthusiastic player of the Scottish bagpipes!

35. Chewy, in a way : AL DENTE

The Italian expression “al dente” literally means “to the tooth” or “to the bite” and is used to describe not only pasta, but also vegetables that are cooked so that they are tender and yet still crisp.

41. Toon with a middle initial : WILE E

Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner are two much-loved cartoon characters from Warner Bros. Wile E. Coyote was created first, and Road Runner was invented as someone for Wile E. to play off. I love this cartoon; definitely one of the best …

42. Drudge : PROLE

George Orwell introduced us to the proles, the working class folk in his famous novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. Collectively, the proles make up the section of society known as the proletariat.

45. Smeltery refuse : SLAG

The better lead ores are processed in a blast furnace, to extract the metal. The waste from this process is called “slag”. Slag does contain some lead and it can be processed further in a slag furnace to extract the residual metal. Slag furnaces also accept poorer lead ores as a raw material.

Metals are found in ore in the form of oxides. In order to get pure metal from the ore, the ore is heated and the metal oxides within are reduced (i.e. the oxygen is removed) in the chemical process known as smelting. The oxygen is extracted by adding a source of carbon or carbon monoxide which uses up the excess oxygen atoms to make carbon dioxide, a waste product of smelting (and, a greenhouse gas).

47. Nowhere to be found, for short : MIA

Missing in action (MIA)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Lively dances in 2/4 time : SAMBAS
7. Smallest country in mainland Africa : GAMBIA
13. Had a fit? : TRIED ON
15. Indian or Mexican : CUISINE
16. Frazzled commuter’s comment : IT’S A ZOO!
17. One getting on : OLDSTER
18. How someone may be interrupted : MID-SENTENCE
20. Country club figure : PRO
21. Language with a trilled “r” : SCOTS
22. Verb in the first telegraph message : HATH
23. They’re encouraged on a ketogenic diet : FATS
24. Encouraging words : OLES
25. Japanese stock holder : MISO
26. Lead-in to comic : SERIO-
27. “Super” thing in games, once : NES
28. Force of nature? : CENTRIPETAL
30. Bit of belt-tightening : BUDGET CUT
31. Longtime talk show host with a degree from Harvard : CONAN O’BRIEN
34. Ethnic group that makes up about 18% of the world’s population : HAN
37. Silly tricks : APERY
38. Ones on Telemundo : UNOS
39. Athlete known as “The Black Pearl” : PELE
40. “What, will these hands ___ be clean?”: Lady Macbeth : NE’ER
41. Wee warbler : WREN
42. Luxurious Italian house : PRADA
43. Abbr. for those who don’t like parties : IND
44. Bisector of the Fertile Crescent : TIGRIS RIVER
46. Road Runners’ race classification : TEN-MILE
48. Neighbor of an Austrian : SLOVENE
49. Part of an oven : BROILER
50. Money in the Bible : TALENTS
51. What’s left : ESTATE
52. Prepare to go : GET SET

Down

1. Secretary of war to Taft, Roosevelt and Truman : STIMSON
2. First word of the Constitution after the preamble : ARTICLE
3. Messes up : MISDOES
4. Wild things : BEASTS
5. Shop shapers : ADZES
6. Any minute : SOON
7. Mean Miss of “The Wizard of Oz” : GULCH
8. Second : AIDE
9. Ed.’s inbox filler : MSS
10. Cameo : BIT PART
11. Resistance to change : INERTIA
12. Kind of can : AEROSOL
14. Overhyped event, in slang : NOTHING BURGER
15. One who gets bent out of shape : CONTORTIONIST
19. Connecticut Yankee, e.g. : EASTERNER
23. Pedal pushers : FEET
25. “Love ___” : ME DO
26. Emulated Rumpelstiltskin : SPUN
28. Hunter College is part of it, in brief : CUNY
29. Summer coolers : ICES
30. Attorney general before Reno : BARR
31. Disbeliever’s question : CAN IT BE?
32. Prelims : OPENERS
33. Is unobliged to : NEED NOT
34. “My word!” : HEAVENS!
35. Chewy, in a way : AL DENTE
36. Proximate : NEAREST
39. Dividing shrub : PRIVET
41. Toon with a middle initial : WILE E
42. Drudge : PROLE
44. List : TILT
45. Smeltery refuse : SLAG
47. Nowhere to be found, for short : MIA

12 thoughts on “0901-18 NY Times Crossword 1 Sep 18, Saturday”

  1. 20:20 Didn’t fill in much on my first pass through this. Started with CONANOBRIEN which helped me get the middle first. I thought the top right was the easiest section.

  2. 31:00 with reveals, the three word combination of GAMBIA, GULCH, and HATH stumped me. Otherwise it was a tough but fun puzzle.

  3. 39:11. The entire right side of the puzzle came relatively easy, and the left side caused most of my problems. I got CONANOBRIEN and CONTORTIONIST early which helped.

    CENTRIPETAL force is the real force that makes you feel pinned to the side of a car or whatever. There are 2 vector forces involved – the force pushing you into the center and the orthogonal or perpendicular force which changes continuously that keeps you moving “forward”. There is no force (centrifugal) pushing you out as such. That’s why centrifugal force is considered a pseudo force.

    Liked the cluing in this one too.

    Best –

  4. 22:27, 2 errors: 28D CUN(S)/37A APER(S). Should have recognized CUNY, didn’t know Hunter College was part of it. Entered the ‘S’ first because of the plural nature of the clue for 37A. Tough one for me as well, had WITCH in 7D before GULCH (seemed the more obvious answer).

  5. Well over an hour with 2 errors.
    I don’t think Scots is a language (Scottish)
    I spelled cuisine with a z and cuny with an s.
    Not my best effort.

  6. Thought this was a relatively easy Saturday until ending up in the middle. I guess, ala @Jeff, I was hoodwinked by the “pseudo” centrifugal force, but not the centripetal force. Made a bit of a mess there in the middle, and not finishing there.

  7. I had a lot of trouble in the top right. I had “MSG” instead of “MSS” for 9D. When I finally fixed that, I had no idea what the “MSS” meant until I came here.

    Also, I still don’t get the “holder” part of the “MISO” clue.

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