0910-18 NY Times Crossword 10 Sep 18, Monday

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Constructed by: Jacob Stulberg
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Cheese … Spread

Names of CHEESES are SPREAD throughout each themed answer, and are circled in the grid:

  • 28A. With 45-Across, savory topping found in tubs … and the circled squares? : CHEESE …
  • 45A. See 28-Across : … SPREAD
  • 17A. Zero-tariff policy : FREE TRADE (giving “feta”)
  • 31A. Complete lack of wind, as at sea : DEAD CALM (giving “edam”)
  • 43A. “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” actor : BURL IVES (giving “brie”)
  • 58A. Device to remove water from a ship : BILGE PUMP (giving “bleu”)

Bill’s time: 6m 47s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6. Part of the body that crunches work : ABS

The abdominal muscles (abs) are more correctly referred to as the rectus abdominis muscles. They might be referred to as a “six-pack” in a person who has developed the muscles and who has low body fat. In my case, more like a keg …

9. Dreadlocks wearer, informally : RASTA

Dreadlocks are matted coils of hair that are usually formed intentionally, although if one lets hair grow out without grooming then it naturally forms twisted and matted dreadlocks. The hairstyle is associated with the Rastafarian movement in which “dread” is a very positive term meaning “fear of the Lord”.

14. The “F” of R.A.F. : FORCE

The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the oldest independent air force in the world (i.e. the first air force to become independent of army or navy forces). The RAF was formed during WWI on 1 April 1918, a composite of two earlier forces, the Royal Flying Corps (part of the Army) and the Royal Naval Air Service. The RAF’s “finest hour” was the Battle of Britain, when the vastly outnumbered British fighters fought off the might of the Luftwaffe causing Hitler to delay his plan to cross the English Channel. This outcome prompted Winston Churchill to utter the memorable words

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

20. Shaggy grazer : YAK

The English word “yak” is an Anglicized version of the Tibetan name for the male of the species. Yak milk is much prized in the Tibetan culture. It is made into cheese and butter, and the butter is used to make a tea that is consumed in great volume by Tibetans. The butter is also used as a fuel in lamps, and during festivals the butter is even sculpted into religious icons.

23. Swanky : POSH

No one really knows the etymology of the word “posh”. The popular myth that “posh” is actually an acronym standing for “port out, starboard home” is completely untrue, and is a story that can actually be traced back to the 1968 movie “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”. The myth is that wealthy British passengers travelling to and from India would book cabins on the port side for the outward journey and the starboard side for the home journey. This trick was supposedly designed to keep their cabins out of the direct sunlight.

24. Beginning blossoms : BUDS

Blossoms are the flowers of a tree that bears stone fruit, e.g. cherries, peaches, apples and oranges. The blossoms provide pollen that is necessary for cross-pollination between individual trees.

27. Six-sided game piece : DIE

The numbers on dice are arranged so that the opposite faces add up to seven. Given this arrangement, the numbers 1, 2 and 3 all meet at a common vertex. There are two ways of arranging the 1, 2 and 3 around the common vertex, a so called right-handed die (clockwise 1-2-3) or a left-handed die (counterclockwise 1-2-3). Traditionally, dice used in Western cultures are right-handed, whereas Chinese dice are left-handed. Quite interesting …

35. Iced tea brand in a bottle : SOBE

The brand name “SoBe” can be found on teas, juices and bottled waters. SoBe is an abbreviation for South Beach, the neighborhood in Miami Beach, Florida.

40. Guinness world record holder for longest live weather report : AL ROKER

Al Roker is best known as the weatherman on the “Today” show on NBC. He has successfully branched out from that platform though, and even co-wrote a novel called “The Morning Show Murders”, about a celebrity chef and TV host who get entangled in mystery. Topical stuff …

As part of a fundraiser to benefit the military and USO, weatherman Al Roker did a non-stop, 34-hour weather forecast on NBC in November, 2014. The event was nicknamed a “Roker-thon”, and set a new Guinness World Record. Roker reproduced the event in different forms in 2015 and 2017. For Roker-thon 2, Al reported on the weather from all fifty states and Washington, D.C. in the same week. For Roker-thon 3, he visiting colleges around the country and participated in record-setting stunts such as the longest conga line on ice, and the largest human letter.

42. Alternative to an S.U.V. : SEDAN

The American sedan car is the equivalent of the British saloon car. By definition, a sedan car has two rows of seating and a separate trunk (boot in the UK), although in some models the engine can be at the rear of the car.

43. “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” actor : BURL IVES

As well as being an actor, Burl Ives was a folk singer, which was his original calling. Stemming from his life in Hollywood, Ives had a distressing experience with the House Un-American Activities Committee. He avoided being blacklisted by cooperating to some level with McCarthy and his team. This cooperation created a rift between him and Pete Seeger in particular, as Seeger was a fellow singer whom he “discussed” with the committee.

“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” is the play that won Tennessee Williams the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1955. The play was adapted into a famous film version in 1958, with Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman playing the leads.

47. ExxonMobil product : GAS

The Exxon Corporation was a descendant of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company. Exxon merged with Mobil (yet another descendant of Standard Oil) in 1999 to form ExxonMobil.

53. Only three-letter zodiac sign : LEO

Leo is the fifth astrological sign of the Zodiac. People born from July 23 to August 22 are Leos.

58. Device to remove water from a ship : BILGE PUMP

The bilge is lowest internal part of a ship. The water that collects in there is called bilge water. The term “bilge” is also used as slang for nonsense talk.

Down

2. ___ the Explorer : DORA

“Dora the Explorer” is a cartoon series shown on Nickelodeon. Part of Dora’s remit is to introduce the show’s young viewers to some Spanish words and phrases.

7. Where flowers and oysters grow : BEDS

A group of oysters is commonly referred to as a “bed”, and oysters can be farmed in man-made beds. The largest body of water producing oysters in the US today is Chesapeake Bay, although the number of beds continues to dwindle due to pollution and overfishing. Back in the 1800s, most of the world’s oysters came from New York Harbor.

10. Grp. making after-work plans? : AARP

“AARP” is now the official name for the interest group that used to be called the American Association of Retired Persons. The name change reflects the current focus of the group on all Americans aged 50 or over, as opposed to just people who have retired.

12. Throat part : TONSIL

The palatine tonsils are located at the back of the human throat. The exact role that tonsils play isn’t completely understood, but it is known that they are in the first line of defense in the body’s immune system. They provide some level of protection against pathogens that are ingested and inhaled.

13. “O Canada,” for Canada : ANTHEM

The word “anthem” used to describe a sacred song, especially one with words taken from the Scriptures. The British national anthem (“God Save the Queen/King”) technically is a hymn, and so it came to be described as the “national hymn” and later “national anthem”. The use of the word “anthem” extended from there to describe any patriotic song.

Canada’s national anthem “O Canada” was commissioned in 1880 by the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec, so the original words are in French. The first English translation was made in 1906. The current English lyrics have been revised a few times, but the French version remains the same as it did back in 1880.

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all of us command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

22. Retrieves, as baseballs : SHAGS

To shag (I am reliably informed, never having played a game of baseball in my life!) is to chase and catch a fly ball.

26. Last part of U.R.I.’s URL : EDU

The University of Rhode Island (URI) was chartered as an agricultural school back in 1888. Rhody the Ram was chosen as the school’s mascot in 1923, a nod to URI’s agricultural past. As a result, the school’s sports teams are known as the Rams. URI’s main campus is located in the village of Kingston.

30. Began, as a voyage : EMBARKED ON

In getting on and off a seagoing vessel, one embarks and debarks. The terms come from the name of the small ship known as a barque.

32. Waldorf salad ingredient : CELERY

As one might expect, the Waldorf salad was created at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City (now the Waldorf-Astoria), back in the 1890s. The classic version of the Waldorf salad is made from apples, celery and walnuts dressed in mayonnaise and served on a bed of lettuce. Anyone who is a fan of the BBC sitcom “Fawlty Towers” will remember how much trouble Basil Fawlty had coming up with a Waldorf salad for an American guest, as the kitchen was “out of Waldorfs” …

36. Bursting stars : NOVAS

A nova (plural “novae”) is basically a star that suddenly gets much brighter, gradually returning to its original state weeks or even years later. The increased brightness of a nova is due to increased nuclear activity causing the star to pick up extra hydrogen from a neighboring celestial body. A supernova is very different from a nova. A supernova is a very bright burst of light and energy created when most of the material in a star explodes. The bright burst of a supernova is very short-lived compared to the sustained brightness of a nova.

38. Org. overseeing airports : FAA

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was set up in 1958 (as the Federal Aviation Agency). The agency was established at that particular time largely in response to an increasing number of midair collisions. The worst of these disasters had taken place two years earlier over the Grand Canyon, a crash between two commercial passenger airplanes that resulted in 128 fatalities.

43. Human rights advocate Jagger : BIANCA

Bianca Jagger is a human rights activist. She was also the first wife of Mick Jagger, lead singer of the Rolling Stones.

54. Mideast bigwig : EMIR

A bigwig is someone important. The use of the term harks back to the days when men of authority and rank wore … big wigs.

57. Bit of voodoo : HEX

“Hexen” is a German word meaning “to practice witchcraft”. The use of the word “hex” in English started with the Pennsylvania Dutch in the early 1800s.

Voodoo is a religion that originated the French slave colony of Saint-Domingue on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola.

59. Where parishioners sit : PEW

A pew is a bench in a church, one usually with a high back. The original pews were raised and sometimes enclosed seats in the church used by women and important men or families. “Pew” comes from the Old French “puie” meaning “balcony, elevation”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Sticker that says who you are : ID TAG
6. Part of the body that crunches work : ABS
9. Dreadlocks wearer, informally : RASTA
14. The “F” of R.A.F. : FORCE
15. Kitten’s sound : MEW
16. Use as a dinner table : EAT ON
17. Zero-tariff policy : FREE TRADE
19. Back’s opposite : FRONT
20. Shaggy grazer : YAK
21. Orders (around) : BOSSES
23. Swanky : POSH
24. Beginning blossoms : BUDS
25. With 39-Down, last words in many an old movie : THE …
27. Six-sided game piece : DIE
28. With 45-Across, savory topping found in tubs … and the circled squares? : CHEESE …
31. Complete lack of wind, as at sea : DEAD CALM
33. Feeling good to wear, say : COMFY
34. Languages : TONGUES
35. Iced tea brand in a bottle : SOBE
36. When repeated, gets specific, as an informer : NAMES
37. “Where there’s ___, there’s hope” : LIFE
40. Guinness world record holder for longest live weather report : AL ROKER
42. Alternative to an S.U.V. : SEDAN
43. “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” actor : BURL IVES
45. See 28-Across : … SPREAD
46. Pen filler : INK
47. ExxonMobil product : GAS
48. Work’s opposite : PLAY
49. Bowled over : AWED
51. Messiah : SAVIOR
53. Only three-letter zodiac sign : LEO
56. “Well, obviously!” : NO DUH!
58. Device to remove water from a ship : BILGE PUMP
60. Aged fairy tale character : CRONE
61. “We’re number ___!” : ONE
62. Worth : MERIT
63. Secondary building : ANNEX
64. Marry : WED
65. Wide-mouthed jugs : EWERS

Down

1. Far from certain : IFFY
2. ___ the Explorer : DORA
3. Journey : TREK
4. Crackerjack : ACE
5. “Start working!” : GET BUSY!
6. Accumulate : AMASS
7. Where flowers and oysters grow : BEDS
8. Sugar, e.g. : SWEETENER
9. Wearer of stripes on a court, informally : REF
10. Grp. making after-work plans? : AARP
11. Moved out of the way : STOOD ASIDE
12. Throat part : TONSIL
13. “O Canada,” for Canada : ANTHEM
18. Was a passenger : RODE
22. Retrieves, as baseballs : SHAGS
24. Happened to : BEFELL
26. Last part of U.R.I.’s URL : EDU
28. Includes in an email : CCS
29. Slangy ending for “any” : -HOO
30. Began, as a voyage : EMBARKED ON
31. Mosque toppers : DOMES
32. Waldorf salad ingredient : CELERY
34. Acknowledges applause, maybe : TAKES A BOW
36. Bursting stars : NOVAS
38. Org. overseeing airports : FAA
39. See 25-Across : … END
41. Oil ___ (gulf sight) : RIG
42. “Oh, puh-leeze!” : SPARE ME!
43. Human rights advocate Jagger : BIANCA
44. Like brand-new clothing : UNWORN
45. Trudge : SLOG
48. Stacked : PILED
50. Sand ridge : DUNE
52. Grape or watermelon plant : VINE
53. Item in a tackle box : LURE
54. Mideast bigwig : EMIR
55. Chooses, with “for” : OPTS
57. Bit of voodoo : HEX
59. Where parishioners sit : PEW

9 thoughts on “0910-18 NY Times Crossword 10 Sep 18, Monday”

  1. No errors. Delightful Monday. Thanks to Bill for noticing that the cheeses were “spread out” over the puzzle. There always seems to be some facet of a theme that I miss and Bill always seems to find.

  2. 9:21, no errors. Same reaction as @Dale, saw the various cheeses in the circles but did not connect with CHEESE SPREAD. Lost some time erasing FORTH from 19A and entering FRONT.

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