0921-18 NY Times Crossword 21 Sep 18, Friday

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Constructed by: Zhouqin Burnikel
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 9m 36s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6. El Chapo, notably : CRIME BOSS

“El Chapo” is the nickname of Mexican drug lord Joaquín Guzmán.

15. Caravan destinations : OASES

An isolated area of vegetation in a desert is called an oasis (plural “oases”). As water is needed for plant growth, an oasis might also include a spring, pond or small lake. We often use the term “oasis” more generally to describe a haven, a place of rest.

A camel train carrying passengers or goods across a desert can be referred to as a caravan. “Caravan” derives from the Persian “karwan”, which has the same meaning. Over in Britain, “caravan” is the name given to travel trailers.

16. Western vacation spot : DUDE RANCH

Our term “dude” arose as slang in New York City in the 1880s, when it was used to describe a fastidious man. In the early 1900s, the term was extended to mean “city slickers”, easterners who vacationed in the West. The first use of the term “dude ranch” was recorded in 1921.

18. 1924 to 1953 : STALIN ERA

Joseph Stalin was General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party from 1922 to 1952, and Soviet Premier from 1941 to 1953. Stalin’s real name was Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili. Not long after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1903 he adopted the name “Stalin”, which is the Russian word for “steel”.

19. Instagram filter shade : SEPIA

Sepia is that rich, brown-grey color so common in old photographs. “Sepia” is the Latinized version of the Greek word for cuttlefish, as sepia pigment is derived from the ink sac of the cuttlefish. Sepia ink was commonly used for writing and drawing as far back as Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece. The “sepia tone” of old photographs is not the result of deterioration over time. Rather, it is the result of a deliberate preservation process which converts the metallic silver in the photographic image to a more stable silver sulfide. Prints that have been sepia-toned can last in excess of 150 years.

Instagram is a photo-sharing application, one that is extremely popular. Instagram was started in San Francisco in 2010. Facebook purchased Instagram two years later, paying $1 billion. The billion-dollar Instagram company had just 13 employees at the time of the sale …

20. Trailer, e.g. : TEASER

The term “trailer” was originally used in the film industry to describe advertisements for upcoming features. These trailers were originally shown at the end of a movie being screened, hence the name. This practice quickly fell out of favor as theater patrons usually left at the end of the movie without paying much attention to the trailers. So, the trailers were moved to the beginning of the show, but the term “trailer” persisted.

26. Roadside danger, for short : IED

Improvised explosive devices (IED)

27. ___ Ski Valley, one of the highest municipalities in the U.S. (9,207 feet) : TAOS

Taos Ski Valley is a resort village in New Mexico, founded in 1955. About twelve families live there, making up thirty or so households and a population of about 60 people. It is said to very much resemble a Swiss village, and even includes an elected village council.

32. Fruits that ripen after being picked : AVOCADOS

The wonderful avocado comes from a tree that is native to Mexico and Central America. The avocado fruit is sometime called an avocado pear, because of its shape, even though it is not related to the pear at all. The fruit might also be referred to as an alligator pear, due to the roughness of the green skin of some avocado cultivars.

34. Raise : LEAVEN

Leaven is a substance that causes bread to rise, perhaps yeast or baking powder. The term comes into English via French from the Latin “levare” meaning “to rise”.

39. Polenta base : CORNMEAL

Polenta is a porridge made from finely ground corn. The term “polenta” is Italian in origin.

43. The mathematician Fibonacci, for one : PISAN

Leonardo of Pisa was a famous and respected Italian mathematician, also known as simply “Fibonacci”. He is remembered for writing about a number sequence (although he didn’t “discover” it) that later was given the name “Fibonacci sequence”. He wrote about the series of numbers in his book called “Liber Abaci”, a celebrated work that introduced Arabic numerals (i.e. 0-9) to the Western world.

47. F.S.U. player, to fans : ‘NOLE

Florida State University (FSU) is located in Tallahassee, the state capital of Florida. The school’s athletic teams are known as the Seminoles (sometimes “the ‘Noles”). The team name was chosen in 1947 by the students in a vote, and alludes to the Seminole people who originally lived in the state. Most of the Seminole now live in Oklahoma, after their forced relocation by the US government in the 1840s.

51. Alternative to stone : STUCCO

Stucco is a decorative coating that is applied to walls and ceilings. “Stucco” is the Italian name for the material, and a word that we imported into English.

54. Console pioneer : ATARI

At one point, the electronics and video game manufacturer Atari was the fastest growing company in US history. However, Atari never really recovered from the video game industry crash of 1983.

55. Sight in many a Japanese restaurant : TATAMI MAT

A tatami is a traditional mat used on floors in Japan. The term “tatami” comes from the Japanese word “tatamu” meaning “to fold”, reflecting the fact that the mat is designed to be folded up for storage.

59. Downton Abbey, e.g. : MANOR

Fans of the wonderful TV drama “Downton Abbey” will be very familiar with the exterior appearance of Highclere Castle in Hampshire. Highclere is used as the location for exterior and many interior shots of the fictitious Grantham residence called Downton Abbey. The exterior of Highclere is very reminiscent of the Houses of Parliament building in London. That similarity exists because the house was largely rebuilt from 1839 to 1842 by architect Sir Charles Barry soon after he finished work on the refurbished Houses of Parliament.

60. Skating site : ICE PALACE

An ice palace is a temporary structure, one made from blocks of ice. The first such structure was built on the order of the Empress Anna in Saint Petersburg, Russia in the winter of 1739. That particular ice palace was an elaborate affair, erected during the celebrations following Russia’s victory over the Ottoman Empire. The palace survived for several months, eventually melting at the start of the following summer.

61. Growth on buoys : ALGAE

Algae are similar to terrestrial plants in that they use photosynthesis to create sugars from light and carbon dioxide, but they differ in that they have simpler anatomies, and for example lack roots.

Down

1. Mollycoddles : COSSETS

To cosset is to pamper. The verb comes from the noun “cosset” which was once used for a lamb that was brought up as a pet.

To mollycoddle is to be overprotective. Back in the mid-1700s, “mollycoddle” was an insulting term used to describe a man who was weak and effeminate.

6. Streaming alternatives : CDS

That would be music streaming.

8. Tarbell who took on Standard Oil : IDA

Ida Tarbell was a teacher and what we would call today an “investigative journalist”, although back in her day she was known as a “muckraker”. Her most famous work is her 1904 book “The History of the Standard Oil Company”. It is an exposé that is credited with hastening the breakup of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil in 1911.

10. Eastern city whose name sounds weird? : ERIE

Erie is a city in the very north of Pennsylvania, right on the southern shore of Lake Erie. The city takes its name from the Erie Native American tribe that resided in the area. Erie is nicknamed the Gem City, a reference to the “sparkling” water of Lake Erie.

11. Actor Eric : BANA

Eric Bana is an Australian actor who enjoyed a successful career in his home country before breaking into Hollywood playing an American Delta Force sergeant in “Black Hawk Down”. A couple of years later he played the lead in Ang Lee’s 2003 movie “Hulk”, the role of Dr Bruce Banner. More recently he played the Romulan villain Nero, in the 2009 “Star Trek” movie.

12. Tot’s attire : ONESIE

A onesie is a baby’s one-piece bodysuit, and is a common gift at a baby shower.

13. Unabomber’s writing, e.g. : SCREED

A screed is a long speech or piece of writing that is usually full of emotion.

23. Retired justice who wrote “Out of Order: Stories From the History of the Supreme Court” : O’CONNOR

Sandra Day O’Connor is a former associate justice on the US Supreme Court. O’Connor was the first woman appointed to the court, and was in office from 1981 after being appointed by President Reagan. As the court became more conservative she was viewed as the swing vote in many decisions. As a result, O’Connor was known as one of the most powerful women in the world. She retired in 2006 (replaced by Samuel Alito), and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2009.

24. G.O.P. org. … or letters after Senator Richard Burr’s name : RNC

National leadership of the Republican Party is provided by the Republican National Committee (RNC). Only one chairperson of the RNC has been elected to the office of US president, and that was George H. W. Bush.

The Republican Party has had the nickname Grand Old Party (GOP) since 1875. That said, the phrase was coined in the “Congressional Record” as “this gallant old party”. The moniker was changed to “grand old party” in 1876 in an article in the “Cincinnati Commercial”. The Republican Party’s elephant mascot dates back to an 1874 cartoon drawn by Thomas Nast for “Harper’s Weekly”. The Democrat’s donkey was already an established symbol. Nast drew a donkey clothed in a lion’s skin scaring away the other animals. One of the scared animals was an elephant, which Nast labeled “The Republican Vote”.

29. “Do You Hear What I Hear?,” e.g. : NOEL

“Noël” is the French word for the Christmas season, and ultimately comes from the Latin word for “birth” (natalis). “Noel” has come to be used as an alternative name for a Christmas carol.

32. Door-to-door giant : AVON

In 1886, a young man called David McConnell was selling books door-to-door. To enhance his sales numbers he was giving out free perfume to the ladies of the houses that he visited. Seeing as his perfume was more popular than his books, he founded the California Perfume Company in New York City and started manufacturing and selling across the country. The company name was changed to Avon in 1939, and the famous “Avon Calling” marketing campaign was launched in 1954.

33. Rapper with the double-platinum album “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” : DRAKE

Drake is the stage name of rapper Aubrey Graham from Toronto.

35. Pres. Obama’s signature achievement : ACA

The correct name for what has been dubbed “Obamacare” is the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (ACA).

37. Tim Roth’s character in “Reservoir Dogs” : MR ORANGE

“Reservoir Dogs” was the first film directed by Quentin Tarantino and was released in 1992. I really don’t like Tarantino movies as I just cannot take all the violence. I checked the cast listing for “Reservoir Dogs” and it is a “men only” production. There are no named characters in the film played by women. All I can see is Linda Kaye who played “Shocked Woman”, and Suzanne Celeste who played “Shot Woman” …

38. Marco Polo was on it for 24 years : SILK ROAD

The Silk Road was a network of trading routes that crossed North Africa and Asia, connecting Europe to West Asia. The routes get the name from the lucrative trade in silk from China.

Marco Polo was a merchant from Venice and a famous traveler throughout Asia. Polo journeyed with his father and uncle on an epic tour of Central Asia and China that lasted 24 years. Marco tends to be the member of the party we remember today though, because it was he who documented their travels in a book called “Il Milione”.

45. Colleague of 23-Down for 15 years : SOUTER
(23D. Retired justice who wrote “Out of Order: Stories From the History of the Supreme Court” : O’CONNOR)

David Souter was an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court. Souter was appointed in 1990 by President George H. W. Bush, even though over time Justice Souter tended to vote with the more liberal members of the court. Souter retired in 2009. Personally, I have to admire Justice Souter’s choice of a relatively low-tech lifestyle. He writes with a fountain pen, does not use email, and doesn’t own a cell phone.

52. Rhinestone-covered appurtenance for Elvis : CAPE

A rhinestone is a colorless artificial gem made from paste or glass. The original rhinestones were rock crystals that were gathered from the river Rhine in Germany.

53. Nashville-based awards show, familiarly : CMAS

Country Music Association (CMA)

The Tennessee city of Nashville was founded in 1779 near a stockade in the Cumberland River valley called Fort Nashborough. Both the settlement and the fort were named for General Francis Nash, a war hero who died in combat during the American Revolution.

58. One of 18 on a golf course : TEE

In the game of golf, a “tee” is the wooden or plastic peg on which one can place a ball when “teeing off”. Also, the “teeing ground” (sometimes “tee” or “tee box”) is the area at the beginning of the hole from which the first stroke is taken, from where one tees off.

There’s an urban myth that the standard number of holes on a golf course is 18 because it takes 18 shots to polish off a fifth of scotch whisky. However, the truth is that the standard number of holes in the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland happened to settle down over time at 18, and that standard was adopted all around the world.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Dress down : CHIDE
6. El Chapo, notably : CRIME BOSS
15. Caravan destinations : OASES
16. Western vacation spot : DUDE RANCH
17. Split tickets? : STUBS
18. 1924 to 1953 : STALIN ERA
19. Instagram filter shade : SEPIA
20. Trailer, e.g. : TEASER
21. Gas : EMPTY WORDS
26. Roadside danger, for short : IED
27. ___ Ski Valley, one of the highest municipalities in the U.S. (9,207 feet) : TAOS
28. Effect of surplus oil : ACNE
29. They’re indispensable : NEEDS
31. Household nickname : SIS
32. Fruits that ripen after being picked : AVOCADOS
34. Raise : LEAVEN
36. Follower of “sweet” or “in your” : DREAMS
39. Polenta base : CORNMEAL
41. Clear : RID
43. The mathematician Fibonacci, for one : PISAN
46. Pen noise : OINK
47. F.S.U. player, to fans : ‘NOLE
48. “So that’s ___?” : A NO
49. Many commercial slogans : TRADEMARKS
51. Alternative to stone : STUCCO
54. Console pioneer : ATARI
55. Sight in many a Japanese restaurant : TATAMI MAT
59. Downton Abbey, e.g. : MANOR
60. Skating site : ICE PALACE
61. Growth on buoys : ALGAE
62. Took courses under pressure : STRESS ATE
63. Core group? : SEEDS

Down

1. Mollycoddles : COSSETS
2. Unwanted messages : HATE MAIL
3. “Yeah, maybe” : I SUPPOSE
4. Entries in red : DEBITS
5. Think piece : ESSAY
6. Streaming alternatives : CDS
7. Groove : RUT
8. Tarbell who took on Standard Oil : IDA
9. Goes soft : MELTS
10. Eastern city whose name sounds weird? : ERIE
11. Actor Eric : BANA
12. Tot’s attire : ONESIE
13. Unabomber’s writing, e.g. : SCREED
14. Glass pieces : SHARDS
22. Not be steadfast : WAVER
23. Retired justice who wrote “Out of Order: Stories From the History of the Supreme Court” : O’CONNOR
24. G.O.P. org. … or letters after Senator Richard Burr’s name : RNC
25. It’s not going anywhere : DEAD END
29. “Do You Hear What I Hear?,” e.g. : NOEL
30. That: Sp. : ESA
32. Door-to-door giant : AVON
33. Rapper with the double-platinum album “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” : DRAKE
35. Pres. Obama’s signature achievement : ACA
37. Tim Roth’s character in “Reservoir Dogs” : MR ORANGE
38. Marco Polo was on it for 24 years : SILK ROAD
40. Brand of facial brush : MIA
42. Fancies : DESIRES
43. French aperitif : PASTIS
44. Whole : INTACT
45. Colleague of 23-Down for 15 years : SOUTER
47. Christmas, in Italy : NATALE
49. Plugs away : TOILS
50. Baby carriers : MAMAS
52. Rhinestone-covered appurtenance for Elvis : CAPE
53. Nashville-based awards show, familiarly : CMAS
56. Goat’s cry : MAA!
57. Make believe : ACT
58. One of 18 on a golf course : TEE

5 thoughts on “0921-18 NY Times Crossword 21 Sep 18, Friday”

  1. Ditto above. Pretty straightforward until the SW. TATAMIMAT was new to me until I saw TATAMI MAT here in the blog. Then I remembered TATAMI from crosswords past. No idea as to my time. I was interrupted by 2 phone calls and I forgot to pause the clock. 46 minutes was my recorded time…so 46 minutes minus 2 phone calls…

    Best –

  2. As a retar’d accountant, I wonder about “4D Entries in red : DEBITS”
    (in what sense / situation?), ‘specially as Bill didn’t expand on it.

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