0922-18 NY Times Crossword 22 Sep 18, Saturday

Advertisement

Advertisement

Constructed by: Sam Trabucco
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 15m 46s

Bill’s errors: 0

Advertisement

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

17. No light amount of work : HERCULEAN EFFORT

“The Twelve Labors of Hercules” is actually a Greek myth, although Hercules is the Roman name for the hero that the Greeks called Heracles. The first of these labors was to slay the Nemean lion, a monster that lived in a cave near Nemea. Hercules had a tough job as the lion’s golden fur was impenetrable to normal weapons. One version of the story is that Hercules killed the lion by shooting an arrow into its mouth. Another version says that Hercules stunned the monster with a club and then strangled him with his bare hands.

21. Overseas dissent : NAE

“Nae” is Scottish vernacular for “no”.

26. Shot contents : SERUM

Blood serum (plural “sera”) is the clear, yellowish part of blood i.e. that part which is neither a blood cell or a clotting factor. Included in blood serum are antibodies, the proteins that are central to our immune system. Blood serum from animals that have immunity to some disease can be transferred to another individual, hence providing that second individual with some level of immunity. Blood serum used to pass on immunity can be called “antiserum”.

32. Childhood home of Grant Wood and Elijah Wood : CEDAR RAPIDS

Cedar Rapids is the second largest city in the state of Iowa. It is named for rapids on the Cedar River on which the city is located. The river itself was named for the red cedars growing along the river’s banks.

35. Dance in which “you bring your knees in tight” : THE TIME WARP

“The Time Warp” is a song and dance from the 1973 rock musical “The Rocky Horror Show” (filmed as “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” in 1975).

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” has to have the most devout cult-following of any movie ever made. Famously, fans attending a midnight show of the film will dress up in the outrageous costumes used in the film, and bring props with them. The props bear little relation to the storyline, but a tradition of using certain props in a particular way has been established. For example, at one point a character proposes a toast, and the audience throws toast around the theater. Go figure …

51. Wine aperitif : KIR

Kir is a French cocktail made by adding a teaspoon or so of crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) to a glass, and then topping it off with white wine. The drink is named after Felix Kir, the Mayor of Dijon in Burgundy, who used to offer the drink to his guests. My wife is particularly fond of a variant called a Kir Royale, in which the white wine is replaced with champagne.

An apéritif is an alcoholic drink served before a meal, to stimulate the palate. A digestif is an alcoholic drink served after a meal, to aid digestion.

52. TV series whose first episode was titled “Where Is Everybody?” : THE TWILIGHT ZONE

The iconic television series called “The Twilight Zone” first aired in 1959 and then ran for 156 episodes before being pulled in 1964. “The Twilight Zone” was revived for four years in the late eighties, and was also spun-off into a movie by Steven Spielberg in 1983.

55. Polo on the small screen : TERI

Teri Polo’s most prominent role on the big screen was Pam Focker in “Meet the Fockers” and its sequel. Pam is the wife of the character played by Ben Stiller. Polo also played the wife of Presidential candidate Matt Santos in “The West Wing”.

56. They typically revolve around steps : AA MEETINGS

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was founded in 1935, by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith in Akron, Ohio. As the organization grew, the guiding principles established by the founders were formatted into a 12-step program that was in place by the forties.

57. Polite reply to Aunt Polly : YES’M

Mark Twain’s famous character Tom Sawyer had a few family members. He had an Aunt Polly, an Aunt Sally Phelps, a cousin Mary and half-brother Sid.

Down

1. Orchard pests : APHIDS

Aphids are called “greenfly” back in the British Isles where I come from. The most effective way to control aphids, in my experience, is to make sure there are plenty of ladybugs in the garden (called “ladybirds” in Ireland!).

2. River from the Appalachians : PEE DEE

The Pee Dee River takes its name from the Pee Dee tribe of Native Americans from the southeast of the United States.

The Appalachian Mountains in eastern North America were once as tall as the Alps and the Rockies, before submitting to eons of erosion.

4. Emergency key : ESC

The escape key (Esc) was originally used to control computer peripherals. It was a key that allowed the computer operator to stop what the peripheral was doing (cancel a print job, for example). Nowadays the escape key is used for all sorts of things, especially in gaming programs.

6. City SW of Kansas City : IOLA

Iola is a city in southeast Kansas. The city is named for Iola, wife of J. F. Colburn, one of the owners of the land that was chosen as a site for the town in the late 1850s.

7. “___ 101” (former Nickelodeon sitcom) : ZOEY

“Zoey 101” is a TV show that aired from 2005 until 2008 on Nickelodeon. Jamie Lynn Spears plays the title role, a teenage student attending a Southern California boarding school. Apparently, “Zoey 101” is the most expensive show that Nickelodeon ever produced.

8. Connection concerns, in brief : ETAS

Estimated time of arrival (ETA)

9. Renaissance painter Guido : RENI

Guido Reni was an Italian painter from Bologna who was active in the first half of the 17th century. Reni’s most famous work is probably “Crucifixion of St. Peter”, an altarpiece commissioned in the early 1600s that is now on display in the Vatican.

10. Org. in 2017’s “Dunkirk” : RAF

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.

“Dunkirk” is a 2017 film about the evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk during WWII. Directed and written by Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk” has been praised for how realistic it is in depicting the conditions and events that took place on that day.

12. “Elektra” composer : STRAUSS

“Elektra” is an opera by Richard Strauss that premiered in 1909. The work is based on Greek mythology, and is centered on Elektra, the daughter of the Greek king Agamemnon.

13. Their checks don’t check out : KITERS

Check kiting is illegal. The idea behind kiting is to write a check, even though there are insufficient funds to cover the amount. The con artist then writes another check, also with insufficient funds, from another bank’s account to cover the original check. I am not sure it would work nowadays, but then I am as honest as the day is long! Oh, and I think the term “kiting” comes from the older phrase “go fly a kite”, the idea being that the bad check is floated on air (non-existent funds).

23. Owner of the Cheshire Cat, with “the” : DUCHESS

The Cheshire Cat is a character in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. The Cheshire Cat has an expansive grin, and at one point magically disappears in front of Alice, leaving just the grin visible.

Well! I’ve often seen a cat without a grin,’ thought Alice; `but a grin without a cat! It’s the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!

27. Hearty entree : MEAT STEW

“Entrée” means “entry” in French. An entrée can be something that helps one get “a way in”, an interview for example perhaps helped along by a recommendation letter. In Europe, even in English-speaking countries, the entrée is the name for the “entry” to the meal, the first course. I found the ordering of meals to be very confusing when I first came to America!

28. Actress Hayek : SALMA

Salma Hayek is a Mexican actress. Hayek was the first Mexican national to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, for her portrayal of artist Frida Kahlo in the 2002 movie “Frida”.

29. Spring arrival : ARIES

Aries the Ram is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, and is named after the constellation. Your birth sign is Aries if you were born between March 21 and April 20, but if you are an Aries you would know that! “Aries” is the Latin word for “ram”.

31. ___ Zor-El, Supergirl’s birth name : KARA

Kara Zor-El is Superman’s cousin, and is also known as Supergirl. Supergirl’s father and Superman’s father were brothers.

33. Problem for a plumber : DRIP

Plumbum is the Latin for “lead”, explaining why the symbol of the element in the Periodic Table is “Pb”. It also explains why the original lead weight on the end of a line used to check vertical was called a “plumb line”. And, as pipes were originally made of lead, it also explains why we would call in a “plumber” if one of those popes was leaking.

34. Crib users : CHEATERS

A crib is a plagiarism. It is most commonly the copying of an answer in an examination.

35. Counterpart of an iamb : TROCHEE

A trochee (also “choree, choreus”) is a metrical foot in poetry. It consists of a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable (so is an iamb reversed). Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “The Song of Hiawatha” is written using trochaic meter

Should you / ask me,/ whence these / stor/ies?
Whence these / legends / and tra/ditions

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.

38. River to the South China Sea : MEKONG

At over 2,700 miles in length, the Mekong is the twelfth longest river in the world. It rises in the Tibetan Plateau and empties into the South China Sea at the famed Mekong delta system in Vietnam.

45. Unaccounted for, briefly : MIA

Missing in action (MIA)

46. Unappealing trumpet sound : BLAT

To blat is to cry, especially like a sheep. In other words, to “blat” is to “bleat”. The noun “blat” is often used for an overblown sound on a brass instrument.

47. Frosty film : RIME

Rime is that beautiful coating of ice that forms on surfaces like roofs, trees and grass, when cold water freezes instantly under the right conditions.

48. Jon who wrote and illustrated “Smart Feller, Fart Smeller and Other Spoonerisms” : AGEE

Jon Agee is a writer who seems to like words. He writes books for children such as “Palindromania!”, which is a celebration of palindromes. He also wrote “Smart Feller Fart Smeller”, which is filled with spoonerisms.

49. Julie ___, host of TV’s “Big Brother” : CHEN

As well as co-anchoring “The Early Show”, Julie Chen has been host of the American version of “Big Brother” since it graced our screens in the year 2000.

54. Wine shop offering, informally : ZIN

Zinfandel is one of my favorite red wine varietals. It amazes me that the rich and heavy red Zinfandel comes from the same grape as does the sweet White Zinfandel.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Eats before dinner? : APPETIZER
10. Gamble : RISK
14. Dangerous toy : PEASHOOTER
16. Dramatic opening : ACT I
17. No light amount of work : HERCULEAN EFFORT
19. Photo ___ : IDS
20. Gets hitched : SAYS I DO
21. Overseas dissent : NAE
22. Exploit : DEED
24. Go down or come up : OCCUR
26. Shot contents : SERUM
28. Garment originally fashionable in the late 1950s : SACK DRESS
32. Childhood home of Grant Wood and Elijah Wood : CEDAR RAPIDS
34. Talk show host named in the #MeToo movement : CHARLIE ROSE
35. Dance in which “you bring your knees in tight” : THE TIME WARP
36. Way to get around writer’s block? : PRESS PASS
37. Makes tingly, in a way : NUMBS
41. Dinner from the oven : ROAST
42. Home of the 11,000-foot-deep Cotahuasi Canyon : PERU
43. External: Prefix : ECT-
44. Fully accept : EMBRACE
51. Wine aperitif : KIR
52. TV series whose first episode was titled “Where Is Everybody?” : THE TWILIGHT ZONE
55. Polo on the small screen : TERI
56. They typically revolve around steps : AA MEETINGS
57. Polite reply to Aunt Polly : YES’M
58. Subject of many emo songs : TEEN ANGST

Down

1. Orchard pests : APHIDS
2. River from the Appalachians : PEE DEE
3. Program that analyzes the structure of input : PARSER
4. Emergency key : ESC
5. So : THUS
6. City SW of Kansas City : IOLA
7. “___ 101” (former Nickelodeon sitcom) : ZOEY
8. Connection concerns, in brief : ETAS
9. Renaissance painter Guido : RENI
10. Org. in 2017’s “Dunkirk” : RAF
11. What laying a king on its side in chess means : I CONCEDE
12. “Elektra” composer : STRAUSS
13. Their checks don’t check out : KITERS
15. Like half a deck : RED
18. Pics that might make you hungry : FOOD PORN
23. Owner of the Cheshire Cat, with “the” : DUCHESS
25. Harden the outside of through cooking : CRISP UP
27. Hearty entree : MEAT STEW
28. Actress Hayek : SALMA
29. Spring arrival : ARIES
30. Certain racing teams : CREWS
31. ___ Zor-El, Supergirl’s birth name : KARA
33. Problem for a plumber : DRIP
34. Crib users : CHEATERS
35. Counterpart of an iamb : TROCHEE
36. Fairly : PRETTY
38. River to the South China Sea : MEKONG
39. Comes with : BRINGS
40. Least in question : SUREST
45. Unaccounted for, briefly : MIA
46. Unappealing trumpet sound : BLAT
47. Frosty film : RIME
48. Jon who wrote and illustrated “Smart Feller, Fart Smeller and Other Spoonerisms” : AGEE
49. Julie ___, host of TV’s “Big Brother” : CHEN
50. Italian diminutive suffix : -ETTA
53. ___ O’Hara, Martian’s host on old TV’s “My Favorite Martian” : TIM
54. Wine shop offering, informally : ZIN

11 thoughts on “0922-18 NY Times Crossword 22 Sep 18, Saturday”

  1. 14:26, and no errors … sort of. I did it at the end of a long solving day and sailed through it … except for the upper left, with those slightly cryptic little three-letter downs Then, I suddenly flashed on “PEA SHOOTER” and “HERCULEAN EFFORT” and filled in their missing letters, at which point I realized that I only had to type in “APPETIZER” to finish … and I mis-typed it somehow! … so I got the “almost there” message … backed it out … and mis-typed it again! On the third try, I finally got it right, at which point the clock read 14:26. Geez … 😜

  2. 31:37. I got the bottom of the puzzle very quickly. It was the top where I kept tripping over myself. I kept wanting to put “I resign” for 11D, but it didn’t fit. I CONCEDE is acceptable, I’m just more accustomed to hearing “I resign”.

    Best –

  3. About 15 mins; fairly easy for a Saturday daily. Sailed through after realizing photo ops had to be photo ids (which I think is a bit sketchy).

  4. I got about 15% of this puzzle in about 1 hr. Then I read times and comments from you guys and it makes me want to find another hobby.

  5. 27:16, 2 errors: 35D TRO(X)HEE; 43A E(X)T. Learned several new names (Guido RENI, Jon AGEE, Julie CHEN) all of which, I am certain, will be forgotten by the time I leave this blog. Had a tough time getting in sync with the setters thinking, worked this grid from the bottom up.

  6. Got all but a few pieces of it, but that’s not good enough for a gettable Saturday puzzle. (Sometimes I feel like @Jack above.)

  7. 38:29, no errors. Reading the times of others on puzzles like this get me to wondering about my ability to do this myself, especially considering some finished this long before I broke into this grid.

  8. At least 1/2 hour with no errors incredibly. Don’t worry Glenn – only the great ones can finish in under 20 minutes. I agree with Jeff – you resign in chess just look at the annotated games “white resigned” but it’s a crossword so the setter can embellish a few things.
    Didn’t really know lots of stuff PEEDEE, IOLA, RENI Guido, super girl’s birth name, Jon AGEE, Julie CHEN, TIM o’hara and 32A but luckily all the cross crap worked out. I have heard of CEDAR RAPIDS and CHARLIE ROSE ….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.