0918-18 NY Times Crossword 18 Sep 18, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Greg Johnson
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): What a Gas!

Themed answers are gases, and there’s a molecule of each gas shown in the grid by the circled letters:

  • 20A. Flammable gas represented in 18-Across and 9-Down : METHANE (CH4)
  • 38A. Respiratory gas represented in 36-Across : CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2)
  • 55A. Pungent-smelling gas represented in 57-Across and 49-Down : AMMONIA (NH3)

Bill’s time: 7m 37s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5. European capital whose name most people incorrectly accent on the second syllable : SOFIA

Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria. Natives pronounce the name “Sofia” with the emphasis on the “o”, while the rest of us tend to stress the “i”. Bulgarians do agree with us though when it comes to the girl’s name “Sofia”, then they stress the “i” like we do!

10. Actress ___ Pinkett Smith : JADA

Jada Pinkett Smith is an actress from Baltimore, Maryland. Pinkett Smith’s most famous role is the human rebel Niobe in “The Matrix” series of movies. Back in 1990, she auditioned for the TV show “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”, to play the girlfriend of the character played by Will Smith. She didn’t get the role but did get Will Smith, as the couple were married in 1997.

14. N.B.A. coach Steve : KERR

Steve Kerr is a retired NBA basketball player who moved into team management. Kerr was born in Beirut, Lebanon, the son of an American academic who specialized in Middle East studies. Kerr’s father was assassinated by militant nationalists in Beirut when Steve was 19 years old.

17. Chromebook competitor : IMAC

The iMac is a desktop computer platform from Apple introduced in 1998. One of the main features of the iMac is an “all-in-one” design, with the computer console and monitor integrated. The iMac also came in a range of colors, that Apple marketed as “flavors”, such strawberry, blueberry and lime.

20. Flammable gas represented in 18-Across and 9-Down : METHANE (CH4)

Methane (CH4) is the main component of natural gas, with ethane (C2H6) being the second largest component.

22. Dance in the days of doo-wop : HOP

Doo-wop developed in the 1940s and can be described as a vocal-based R&B music. Even though the style has been around since the forties, the name doo-wop wasn’t introduced until the early sixties.

24. Wearers of kilts : SCOTSMEN

The Scottish skirt called a “kilt” takes its name from the Middle English word “kilten” meaning “to tuck up”. The idea is that the kilt can be tucked up around the body to give freedom to the legs.

29. What “*” may mean in a reference book : SEE BELOW

The name of the typographical symbol “asterisk” comes from the Greek word “asteriskos” meaning “little star”. The original use of the asterisk was by printers of family trees in feudal times. Back then it was a symbol indicating the date of birth.

32. “!!!” : OMG

“OMG” is text-speak for “Oh My Gosh!” “Oh My Goodness!” or any other G-words you might want to use …

33. Ambulance driver, for short : EMT

Emergency medical technician (EMT)

Our word “ambulance” originated in the French term “hôpital ambulant” meaning “field hospital” (literally “walking hospital”). In the 1850s, the term started to be used for a vehicle transporting the wounded from the battlefield, leading to our “ambulance”.

36. 1990s BP acquisition : AMOCO

“Amoco” is an abbreviation for “American Oil Company”, an oil company that merged with BP in 1998. Amoco was the first oil company to introduce gasoline tanker trucks and drive-through filling stations. I wonder did they know what they were starting …?

38. Respiratory gas represented in 36-Across : CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2)

Oxides are usually named for the number of oxygen atoms in each molecule of the oxide. Oxides with one oxygen atom are called monoxides (as in carbon monoxide: CO). Oxides with two oxygen atoms are dioxides (as in carbon dioxide: CO2). Oxides with three oxygen atoms are trioxides (as in sulfur trioxide: SO3). Oxides with four oxygen atoms are tetroxides (as in dinitrogen tetroxide: N2O4).

41. Back tooth : MOLAR

Molars are grinding teeth. The term “molar” comes from the Latin “mola” meaning “millstone”.

42. Part of da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM : IAMB

An iamb is a metrical foot containing an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. Robert Frost’s “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” consists of lines made up of four sequential iambs e.g. “Whose woods / these are / I think / I know”. With a sequence of four iambs, the poem’s structure is described as iambic tetrameter.

43. ___ soap : LYE

Soap is basically made by adding a strong alkali (like lye) to a fat (like olive oil or palm oil). The fats break down in the basic solution in a process called saponification. The crude soap is extracted from the mixture, washed, purified and finished in molds.

44. Santa ___ winds : ANA

The Santa Ana winds are the very dry air currents that sweep offshore late in the year in Southern California. Because these air currents are so dry, they are noted for their influence over forest fires in the area, especially in the heat of the fall. The winds arise from a buildup of air pressure in the Great Basin that lies between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada. Under the right conditions, that air spills over the peaks of the Sierra Nevada and basically “falls” down the side of the Sierra range, heading for the ocean. As the air falls it becomes drier and heats up so that relative humidity can fall to below 10% by the time it hits the coast.

45. Where the lowest-numbered avenues in Manhattan are : EAST SIDE

While there are many neighborhoods in New York City’s borough of Manhattan, there are some broader terms that are used to navigate one’s way around the island:

  • Uptown: above 59th Street
  • Midtown: between 59th Street and 14th Street (but sometimes 23rd Street or 34th Street)
  • Downtown: below 14th Street
  • Upper Manhattan: above 96th Street
  • Lower Manhattan: below Chambers Street
  • East Side: east of Fifth Avenue
  • West Side: west of Fifth Avenue

48. Clothing brand with a horse head logo : JORDACHE

Jordache is an American clothing company noted for its designer jeans.

54. Like non-Rx meds : OTC

Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs don’t need a prescription (Rx).

55. Pungent-smelling gas represented in 57-Across and 49-Down : AMMONIA (NH3)

Ammonia is a colorless gas with a very strong smell. The compound has the chemical formula NH3. The name “ammonia” comes from salt deposits (actually the salt “ammonium chloride”) that the Romans collected near the Temple of Amun in ancient Libya.

57. “Sixteen Candles” director, 1984 : JOHN HUGHES

John Hughes was a very successful director whose name is associated with many teen films. Great examples are “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “The Breakfast Club”, two of my all-time favorite movies.

“Sixteen Candles” is a 1984 John Hughes movie starring Molly Ringwald as a sophomore suffering through the day of her 16th birthday. The family has overlooked her birthday as everyone is focused on her older sister, who is getting married the next day. A cute film, but not nearly as good as Hughes’ next film “The Breakfast Club”, which also starred Molly Ringwald. Young actor Anthony Michael Hall also appears in both movies.

62. “It’s urgent” in the E.R. : STAT

The exact etymology of “stat”, a term meaning “immediately” in the medical profession, seems to have been lost in the mists of time. It probably comes from the Latin “statim” meaning “to a standstill, immediately”. A blog reader has helpfully suggested that the term may also come from the world of laboratory analysis, where the acronym STAT stands for “short turn-around time”.

64. Bandmate of Harrison, Lennon and McCartney : STARR

Ringo Starr’s real name is Richard Starkey. Before he joined the Beatles, replacing drummer Pete Best, Starkey played with the Raving Texans. It was with the Raving Texans that he adopted the name “Ringo Starr”, because he wore a lot of rings and he thought it sounded “cowboyish”. Back then his drum solos were billed as “Starr Time”.

65. “S.N.L.” alum Fey : TINA

Comedian and actress Tina Fey was born Elizabeth Stamatina Fey in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. Fey is perhaps best known to television viewers as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” (1997-2006), and as the creator and star of the sitcom “30 Rock” (2006-2013).

66. Kind of dancer : GO-GO

Go-go dancing started in the early sixties. Apparently, the first go-go dancers were women at the Peppermint Lounge in New York City who would spontaneously jump up onto tables and dance the twist. It wasn’t long before clubs everywhere started hiring women to dance on tables for the entertainment of their patrons. Out in Los Angeles, the “Whisky a Go Go” club on Sunset Strip added a twist (pun intended!), as they had their dancers perform in cages suspended from the ceiling, creating the profession of “cage dancing”. The name “go-go” actually comes from two expressions. The expression in English “go-go-go” describes someone who is high energy, and the French expression “à gogo” describes something in abundance.

67. Bar, in legalese : ESTOP

The term “estop” means to block or stop by using some legal device. “Estop” comes from Old French, in which “estopper” means “to stop up” or “to impede”.

Down

1. Removes, as cream : SKIMS

The fatty component of milk is known as butterfat (sometimes “milkfat”). To be labeled whole milk, the butterfat content must be at least 3.25%. Low-fat milk is defined as milk containing 0.5-2% fat, with levels of 1% and 2% commonly found on grocery store shelves. Skim milk must contain less than 0.5% fat, and typically contains 0.1%.

2. Charles Atlas and others : HE-MEN

Charles Atlas’ real name was Angelo Siciliano. He was an Italian who moved to America in his teens. The story he told, and turned into a great advertising campaign, was that as a 97-pound weakling he once had sand kicked into his face by a bully. He went on a bodybuilding regime, developed his muscles, and then marketed the concept across America. He took the name “Charles Atlas” after he was told that his new-found body looked like that of a statue of the Greek god Atlas sitting on top of a hotel in Coney Island.

10. Vehicles made for rough terrain : JEEPS

The Jeep is the original off-road vehicle. It was developed by the American Bantam Car Company in 1940 at the request of the US government who recognized the upcoming need for the armed forces as American involvement in WWII loomed. The Bantam Company was too small to cope with demand, so the government gave the designs to competing car companies. The design and brand eventually ended up with AMC in the seventies and eighties.

12. Put down, in slang : DIS

“Dis” is a slang term meaning “insult” that originated in the eighties. It is a shortened form of “disrespect” or “dismiss”.

27. One leading the festivities : EMCEE

The term “emcee” comes from “MC”, an initialism used for a Master or Mistress of Ceremonies.

28. CARE, e.g., in brief : NGO

Non-governmental organization (NGO)

The Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE) is a humanitarian agency that was founded in 1945 in the US as a conglomerate of twenty-two charities with the aim of delivering aid to Europe after WWII. The acronym originally stood for “Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe”.

30. W.W. II arena : ETO

General Dwight D. Eisenhower (DDE) was in command of the European Theater of Operations (ETO) during WWII.

40. Kimono sash : OBI

The sash worn as part of traditional Japanese dress is known as an obi. The obi can be tied at the back in what is called a butterfly knot. The term “obi” is also used for the thick cotton belts that are an essential part of the outfits worn by practitioners of many martial arts. The color of the martial arts obi signifies the wearer’s skill level.

The lovely Japanese kimono is a garment worn by men, women and children. The word “kimono” translates simply as “thing to wear”, with “ki” meaning “wear” and “mono” meaning “thing”.

49. “Tiny Bubbles” singer : DON HO

The singer and entertainer Don Ho apparently had a pretty liberal arrangement with his wife. When Ho was touring with his two backing singers, Patti Swallie and Elizabeth Guevara, all three of them shared a room together. He had two children with each of his roommates, giving a total of ten kids including the six he had with his wife. The arrangement was quite open, it seems, with all ten kids visiting each other regularly. To each his own …

“Tiny Bubbles” was the signature song of singer and entertainer Don Ho. Written by Leon Pober, the song was intended for Lawrence Welk, but the famous bandleader turned it down.

52. 1981 royal bride : DIANA

Charles, Prince of Wales married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The wedding was a huge television event, with about 750 million people tuning in worldwide. Despite the event being billed as a fairytale wedding, the couple separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996.

53. The Devil : SATAN

Satan is the bringer of evil and temptation in the Abrahamic religions. The name “Satan” is Hebrew for “adversary”.

56. Letters on an auto sticker : MSRP

Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)

60. Sporty autos : GTS

GT stands for “Grand Touring” or “Gran Turismo”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Shout to a pest : SHOO!
5. European capital whose name most people incorrectly accent on the second syllable : SOFIA
10. Actress ___ Pinkett Smith : JADA
14. N.B.A. coach Steve : KERR
15. Drenched : AWASH
16. Road sign with an arrow : EXIT
17. Chromebook competitor : IMAC
18. How a hamburger may be ordered : WITH CHEESE
20. Flammable gas represented in 18-Across and 9-Down : METHANE (CH4)
22. Dance in the days of doo-wop : HOP
23. Unwelcome acknowledgment : SNEER
24. Wearers of kilts : SCOTSMEN
29. What “*” may mean in a reference book : SEE BELOW
32. “!!!” : OMG
33. Ambulance driver, for short : EMT
35. “Bye for now!” : TA-TA!
36. 1990s BP acquisition : AMOCO
38. Respiratory gas represented in 36-Across : CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2)
41. Back tooth : MOLAR
42. Part of da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM : IAMB
43. ___ soap : LYE
44. Santa ___ winds : ANA
45. Where the lowest-numbered avenues in Manhattan are : EAST SIDE
48. Clothing brand with a horse head logo : JORDACHE
50. Devices that may serve as cash registers : IPADS
54. Like non-Rx meds : OTC
55. Pungent-smelling gas represented in 57-Across and 49-Down : AMMONIA (NH3)
57. “Sixteen Candles” director, 1984 : JOHN HUGHES
62. “It’s urgent” in the E.R. : STAT
63. “No way, José” : UH-UH
64. Bandmate of Harrison, Lennon and McCartney : STARR
65. “S.N.L.” alum Fey : TINA
66. Kind of dancer : GO-GO
67. Bar, in legalese : ESTOP
68. Do a price check on, e.g. : SCAN

Down

1. Removes, as cream : SKIMS
2. Charles Atlas and others : HE-MEN
3. Speak to a crowd : ORATE
4. Group in a pit : ORCHESTRA
5. Cut, as logs : SAWN
6. Day care knee scrape, e.g. : OWIE
7. Beef marbling : FAT
8. “Sorta” suffix : -ISH
9. Sneeze sound : AH-CHOO!
10. Vehicles made for rough terrain : JEEPS
11. Word after fire … or a synonym of fire : … AXE
12. Put down, in slang : DIS
13. “No thanks, I already ___” : ATE
19. Means of hair removal : HOT WAX
21. “Come as you ___” : ARE
24. Fixed time : SET DATE
25. Insurance filings : CLAIMS
26. Easily changing emotions : MOODY
27. One leading the festivities : EMCEE
28. CARE, e.g., in brief : NGO
30. W.W. II arena : ETO
31. Send into exile : BANISH
33. Low-cost prefix : ECONO-
34. Of the cheek : MALAR
37. Distance markers along a highway : MILEPOSTS
39. ___ mints : BREATH
40. Kimono sash : OBI
41. Rank under Lt. Col. : MAJ
46. Blame, as for a crime : ACCUSE
47. Like 10-watt light bulbs : DIM
49. “Tiny Bubbles” singer : DON HO
51. Very silly : ANTIC
52. 1981 royal bride : DIANA
53. The Devil : SATAN
55. Flying start? : AERO-
56. Letters on an auto sticker : MSRP
57. Earthenware container : JUG
58. “Well, what have we here?!” : OHO!
59. Clasp : HUG
60. Sporty autos : GTS
61. Protection against sunburn : HAT

2 thoughts on “0918-18 NY Times Crossword 18 Sep 18, Tuesday”

  1. 10:10 after fixing an error: I had “MUG” instead of “JUG” for 57D and was a bit puzzled by “MOHN HUGHES” (but apparently not puzzled enough … or maybe just too lazy … to fix it 😜).

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