0915-18 NY Times Crossword 15 Sep 18, Saturday

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Constructed by: David Liben-Nowell
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 14m 09s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

17. Equal rights subject : SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

The concept of same-sex marriage isn’t a new one by any means, as there are references to such legal arrangements in the days of the Roman Empire and the Ming Dynasty in China.

19. Homer’s father : ABE

In the animated TV show called “The Simpsons”, Grampa Abe Simpson is voiced by Dan Castellaneta, the same actor who provides the voice for Homer.

20. 3-Down inventor’s inits. : TAE
(3D. Reproductive system? : MIMEOGRAPH)

Thomas Alva Edison (TAE) was nicknamed “The Wizard of Menlo Park” by a newspaper reporter, a name that stuck. He was indeed a wizard, in the sense that he was such a prolific inventor. The Menlo Park part of the moniker recognizes the location of his first research lab, in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

21. Best Picture after “The Last Emperor” : RAIN MAN

“Rain Man” is an entertaining and thought-provoking film released in 1988 starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. It’s all about a self-possessed yuppie (Cruise, appropriate casting!) who discovers he has a brother who is an autistic savant (Hoffman). Hoffman won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance, and “Rain Man” won the Best Picture award.

“The Last Emperor” is a 1987 biographical film about Puyi, the last Emperor of China. “The Last Emperor” was unique in that it was the first time the Chinese government allowed filming in the Forbidden City in Beijing. In fact, Queen Elizabeth II was on a state visit to China the same time that filming was taking place, and the Chinese government gave priority to filming, so the British royal party could not visit the Forbidden City.

28. Actress Michelle of “Crazy Rich Asians” : YEOH

Michelle Yeoh is an actress from Malaysia who appeared in several Hong Kong action films in which she did her own stunts and martial arts scenes. Her most famous performance was in the 2000 movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, although I best know her for playing opposite Pierce Brosnan in the Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies”.

30. One showing firm leadership? : CEO

Chief executive officer (CEO)

34. Destination of Muhammad in his Night Journey : JERUSALEM

Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world, with the oldest part of Jerusalem having been settles in the 4th millennium BCE. The city is considered holy in all three of the big Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and as a result is one of the crucial issues to be resolved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

36. Persian for “place of” : STAN

The suffix “-stan” in many place names is Persian for “place of”.

37. Skedaddle : SPLIT

“Skedaddle” is a slang term meaning “run away” that dates back to the Civil War.

38. “Dr. T and the Women” star, 2000 : GERE

The 2000 movie “Dr. T & the Women” is a pretty good film, starring Richard Gere in the title role. It’s a romantic comedy about a gynecologist, and the women in his private and public life. The list of actresses playing those women is impressive, and includes Helen Hunt, Farrah Fawcett, Laura Dern, Shelley Long, Kate Hudson and Liv Tyler.

39. Squirt : PIPSQUEAK

“Twerp” and “pipsqueak” are both terms used for someone who is insignificant and contemptible.

44. Wool sources : OVINES

The Latin word for “sheep” is “ovis”, giving us the adjective “ovine” meaning “like a sheep”.

53. EWR alternative : LGA

The three big airports serving New York City (NYC) are John F. Kennedy (JFK), La Guardia (LGA) and Newark (EWR).

59. “M” or “Z” : MOVIE

“M” is a German thriller written and directed by Fritz Lang that was released in 1931. The film starred Peter Lorre in his first major role. Before playing in “M”, Lorre was known for his comic roles. He played the villain “M”, a role in which he very much became typecast in Hollywood.

Down

2. Literary character likened to a “mute, maned sea-lion” : AHAB

Captain Ahab is the obsessed and far from friendly captain of the Pequod in Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick”. The role of Captain Ahab was played by Gregory Peck in the 1956 John Huston film adaptation. Patrick Stewart played Ahab in a 1998 miniseries in which Peck made another appearance, as Father Mapple.

3. Reproductive system? : MIMEOGRAPH

A mimeograph (also “mimeo”) is a cheap printing press that applies ink to paper through a stencil wrapped around a rotating drum. Mimeographs are still around, but have largely been replaced by offset printers and photocopiers.

4. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” pilot : POE

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is a 2017 movie from the “Star Wars” film franchise, and the second installment of the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy. The title character is Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill. Ah, but is Luke in fact the “last Jedi”?

5. Company whose headquarters were built from its own product : US STEEL

US Steel was founded in 1901 with a merger of Carnegie Steel, Federal Steel and National Steel. The resulting company immediately became the world’s first billion-dollar corporation. US Steel reorganized in 1986 and changed its name to USX Corporation, but reverted to the US Steel name in 2001. I think I’m right in saying that the USX name was chosen because US Steel is traded under the symbol “X” on the New York Stock Exchange …

9. Flavor of some eau de vie : PEAR

Eau de vie is a clear, colorless fruit brandy. “Eau de vie” is French for “water of life”.

10. Lepers : PARIAHS

“Pariah” is an anglicized version of the Tamil word “Paraiyar”. The Paraiyar are a social group of about 9 million people found in some Indian states and in Sri Lanka. The term “pariah” came to be a general term for members of the lowest caste in society, outcasts.

The horrible disease known as leprosy is also called Hansen’s disease, named after the Norwegian physician famous for isolating the bacterium that causes the disease. We can use the term “leper” to mean someone in general who is shunned by society.

12. Neighbor of India and China on a Risk board : SIAM

Risk is a fabulous board game, and one introduced in France in 1957. Risk was invented by a very successful French director of short films called Albert Lamorisse. Lamorisse called his new game “La Conquête du Monde”, which translates into English as “The Conquest of the World”. A game of Risk is a must during the holidays in our house …

13. Senate coverage? : TOGA

In Ancient Rome, the classical attire known as a toga (plural “togae” or “togas”) was usually worn over a tunic. The tunic was made from linen, and the toga itself was a piece of cloth about twenty feet long made from wool. The toga could only be worn by men, and only if those men were Roman citizens. The female equivalent of the toga was called a “stola”.

18. Fricassee relative : RAGOUT

A ragout is dish from French cuisine, and is highly-seasoned stew of either meat or fish. The name “ragout” comes from the verb “ragouter”, “to revive the taste”. The Italian “ragù” is a term borrowed from the French that describes a meat-based sauce served with pasta.

A “fricassée” is a dish containing meat that has been cut up, sautéed and braised, and then served in a white sauce. The French term fricassée is thought perhaps to be a combination of the the verbs “frire” (to fry) and “casser” (to break into pieces).

23. Pompeii, e.g. : RUINS

The ancient city of Pompeii is situated close to Naples in Italy. Pompeii was destroyed in AD 79 by the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius. The city was completely lost from that time, and was only rediscovered in 1748. Excavations have uncovered the remarkably well-preserved buildings and roads, and Pompeii now attracts over 2 million visitors annually.

27. The “o” of Verizon’s Fios : OPTIC

FiOS is a service from Verizon that bundles Internet, telephone and television service. All three services are provided over fiber-optic lines, right to the door. I presume that the name FiOS comes from something like “Fiber-Optic Service” …

29. N.B.A. coach Spoelstra : ERIK

Erik Spoelstra is the coach for the Miami Heat. Spoelstra is the first Asian American to serve as head coach in any of the four major North American sports leagues.

34. Relative of a .png file : JPEG

The JPEG file format was created by the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG), hence the name.

35. College Station player : AGGIE

Texas A&M is the seventh largest university in the country, and was the first public higher education institute in the state when it accepted its first students in 1876. The full name of the school was the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas and its primary mission used to be the education of males in the techniques of farming and military warfare. That’s quite a combination! Because of the agricultural connection, the college’s sports teams use the moniker “Aggies”. Texas A&M is also home to the George Bush Presidential Library.

40. Scanned smartphone graphics : QR CODES

A QR Code (for “Quick Response Code”) is a two-dimensional barcode that is favored over UPC barcodes as it can read more quickly and can store much more information. The QR Code comprises black squares within a square grid on a white background.

44. Like most of the Home Depot logo : ORANGE

The Home Depot is the largest home improvement retail chain in the US, ahead of Lowe’s. Home Depot opened their first two stores in 1979. The average store size if just over 100,000 square feet. The largest Home Depot outlet is in Union, New Jersey, and it is 225,000 square feet in size. That’s a lot of nuts and bolts …

55. Cousins of garters : ASPS

The venomous snake called an asp was a symbol of royalty in Ancient Egypt.

The garter snake is found right across the continent, It is in fact the most widely distributed genus of reptile in North America, being found anywhere from the Southeast Alaska to Central America.

58. L.C.D. forerunner : CRT

Cathode ray tube (CRT)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Admissions might give one away : CAMPUS MAP
10. Order at an osteria : PASTA
15. Winner of the inaugural College Football Playoff : OHIO STATE
16. x + 0 = x, e.g. : AXIOM
17. Equal rights subject : SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
19. Homer’s father : ABE
20. 3-Down inventor’s inits. : TAE
21. Best Picture after “The Last Emperor” : RAIN MAN
22. Fear-inducing phrase : OR ELSE
25. Word with reel or rule : GAG …
26. Scamps : ROGUES
28. Actress Michelle of “Crazy Rich Asians” : YEOH
30. One showing firm leadership? : CEO
33. Early major-league game setting : APRIL
34. Destination of Muhammad in his Night Journey : JERUSALEM
36. Persian for “place of” : STAN
37. Skedaddle : SPLIT
38. “Dr. T and the Women” star, 2000 : GERE
39. Squirt : PIPSQUEAK
41. Over : AGAIN
42. Conference member: Abbr. : SCH
43. Fixes : RIGS
44. Wool sources : OVINES
45. Late major-league game setting: Abbr. : OCT
46. Those needing onboarding : HIREES
48. “D’oh!” : I’M A FOOL!
52. British grandma : NAN
53. EWR alternative : LGA
56. Auto-mated things? : SELF-DRIVING CARS
59. “M” or “Z” : MOVIE
60. Print source : FINGERTIP
61. Thwacks : SWATS
62. Progress : TAKE STEPS
Down
1. Thing: Sp. : COSA
2. Literary character likened to a “mute, maned sea-lion” : AHAB
3. Reproductive system? : MIMEOGRAPH
4. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” pilot : POE
5. Company whose headquarters were built from its own product : US STEEL
6. Unbelievable bargains : STEALS
7. Ceilings : MAXES
8. Site of some credit card skimming, for short : ATM
9. Flavor of some eau de vie : PEAR
10. Lepers : PARIAHS
11. Canceling : AXING
12. Neighbor of India and China on a Risk board : SIAM
13. Senate coverage? : TOGA
14. “Yes, exactly!” : AMEN!
18. Fricassee relative : RAGOUT
23. Pompeii, e.g. : RUINS
24. Narrow margin : EYELASH
26. Says harsh words? : RASPS
27. The “o” of Verizon’s Fios : OPTIC
29. N.B.A. coach Spoelstra : ERIK
30. New year, metaphorically : CLEAN SLATE
31. Like a howl at night : EERIE
32. Howls at night, maybe : OMENS
34. Relative of a .png file : JPEG
35. College Station player : AGGIE
37. One looking for a hand : SUITOR
40. Scanned smartphone graphics : QR CODES
41. Requites : AVENGES
44. Like most of the Home Depot logo : ORANGE
45. “Come ___!” : OFF IT
47. Permanently : IN INK
48. Ideologies : ISMS
49. “Got milk?” : MEOW!
50. Part of 20-Across : ALVA
51. Ride : LIFT
54. Purchase : GRIP
55. Cousins of garters : ASPS
57. Through : VIA
58. L.C.D. forerunner : CRT

10 thoughts on “0915-18 NY Times Crossword 15 Sep 18, Saturday”

  1. 34:54. I had to stare at the long answers for a while before they started falling, but this one finally came together. I was hoping that 5D was Lego or something, but US STEEL makes more sense.

    @Greg –
    This was new to me too. Apparently the 4th definition of “purchase” is to have a firm grip on something. The example I found was “I had a purchase on the rope, and I pulled” and “I couldn’t get any purchase with the screwdriver on the screws..”
    Learn something new every day here.

    Best –

  2. 15:18 One of my faster Saturdays. Lots of things fell in place quickly for me and there were no huge trouble spots. Some easy sports clues which helped me get purchase. (Not sure if that’s proper usage but you know what I mean)

  3. Not too bad. I had a vague sense of another meaning for “purchase” but couldn’t come up with it. I also didn’t know Michelle Yeoh’s last name. But I thought this was a terrific Saturday puzzle and finishing it made for a great start to my day.

  4. After an hour and a lot of references to “my notes” I finished with no errors. Grip was a lucky guess. Anyone who knew rainman followed the last emperor has an idetic memory or the worlds biggest movie buff.

  5. Agree with others about some of the cluing, especially “EWR” and “Purchase”. Otherwise, not of usual Saturday difficulty.

  6. I had my hammer and chisel on this one for a long time before it cracked. No errors in part due to…
    The band – CRASH TEST DUMMIES had the following lyrics in one of their songs… “I wonder if my seed will find purchase in your soil” I went with GRIP and lucked out. I had no idea what 53a clue was alluding to even though I have flown into both Newark and LaGuardia. doh!

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