0924-18 NY Times Crossword 24 Sep 18, Monday

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Constructed by: Michael Black
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Back-to-Back Games

Themed answers refer to two of the most successful TV game shows, shows that are usually placed back-to-back in the schedules:

  • 18A. Popular program usually shown back to back with 34-/36-Across : JEOPARDY!
  • 23A. Host of 18-Across : ALEX TREBEK
  • 34A. With 36-Across, popular program usually shown back to back with 18-Across : WHEEL OF …
  • 36A. See 34-Across : … FORTUNE
  • 49A. Co-host of 34-/36-Across : VANNA WHITE
  • 54A. Co-host of 34-/36-Across : PAT SAJAK

Bill’s time: 4m 41s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Just one year, for Venus and Serena Williams : AGE GAP

Venus Williams is the older of the two Williams sisters playing professional tennis. In 2002, Williams became the first African-American woman to earn the World No. 1 ranking by the Women’s Tennis Association in the Open Era.

Serena Williams is the younger of the two Williams sisters playing professional tennis. Serena has won more prize money in her career than any other female athlete.

11. ___-Caps (candy) : SNO

Sno-Caps are a brand of candy usually only available in movie theaters. Sno-caps have been around since the 1920s, would you believe?

14. It gets beaten at a party : PINATA

Piñatas originated in Mexico, probably among the Aztecs or Mayans. Today piñatas are usually made from cardboard that is brightly decorated with papier-mâché. Traditionally a piñata was made out of a clay pot, adorned with feathers and ribbons and filled with small treasures. During religious ceremonies the clay pots would be suspended and broken open so that the contents would spill out onto the ground at the feet of a god as an offering.

15. McEntire with a twang in her voice : REBA

Reba McEntire is a country music singer and television actress. McEntire starred in her own sitcom called “Reba” that aired on the WB and the CW cable channels from 2001 to 2007.

18. Popular program usually shown back to back with 34-/36-Across : JEOPARDY!

The TV show “Jeopardy!” first went on the air in 1964, and is another successful Merv Griffin creation. But it took the introduction of Alex Trebek as host in order to bring the show into the big times. Trebek has been host since 1984.

22. Speaker’s place : SOAPBOX

Back in the 1650s, a soapbox was just that, a wooden box for holding or transporting soap. Empty soapboxes were easily carried by a potential orator and used as a stand from which to deliver an address.

23. Host of 18-Across : ALEX TREBEK

Alex Trebek has been the host of “Jeopardy!” since the syndicated version of the game show launched in 1984. Trebek has missed just one episode since then, when he and host of “Wheel of Fortune” Pat Sajak swapped roles in 1997 as an April Fool’s joke. In 2014, Trebek picked up the Guinness World Record for hosting the most episodes of a game show.

29. Some hospital pics : MRIS

An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine uses powerful magnetic fields to generate its images so there is no exposure to ionizing radiation (such as X-rays). We used MRI equipment in our chemistry labs at school, way back in the days when the technology was still called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging (NMRI). Apparently the marketing folks didn’t like the term “nuclear” because of its association with atomic bombs, so now it’s just called MRI.

31. Immigrant’s class, for short : ESL

English as a Second Language (ESL) is sometimes referred to as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL).

33. Purchase at Citgo : GAS

The oil and gasoline company Citgo was founded in 1910 as Cities Services Company, a supplier of gas and electricity to public utilities. City Services Company introduced the Citgo brand in 1965 in its petroleum businesses. Citgo is now owned by the national oil company of Venezuela.

34. With 36-Across, popular program usually shown back to back with 18-Across : WHEEL OF …

36. See 34-Across : … FORTUNE

Contestants have been spinning the “Wheel of Fortune” since the game show first aired in 1975.

42. H.S. proficiency exam : GED

The General Educational Development (GED) tests are a battery of five tests designed to demonstrate that a student has the academic skills of someone who has graduated from an American or Canadian high school.

43. Vegas hot spot, with “the” : STRIP

The stretch of South Las Vegas Boulevard on which most of the big casinos are concentrated is referred to as the “Las Vegas Strip”. The Strip was named for LA’s Sunset Strip by former Los Angeles law enforcement officer Guy McAfee. McAfee was a notoriously corrupt head of the LAPD vice squad in 1920s and 1930s who ran several brothels and gambling saloons. McAfee moved to Las Vegas in 1939 where he opened several casinos, including the Golden Nugget.

47. Smelting refuse : SLAG

The better lead ores are processed in a blast furnace, to extract the metal. The waste from this process is called “slag”. Slag does contain some lead and it can be processed further in a slag furnace to extract the residual metal. Slag furnaces also accept poorer lead ores as a raw material.

Metals are found in ore in the form of oxides. In order to get pure metal from the ore, the ore is heated and the metal oxides within are reduced (i.e. the oxygen is removed) in the chemical process known as smelting. The oxygen is extracted by adding a source of carbon or carbon monoxide which uses up the excess oxygen atoms to make carbon dioxide, a waste product of smelting (and, a greenhouse gas).

48. Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan’s ___ Sea : ARAL

The Aral Sea is a great example of how man can have a devastating effect on his environment. In the early sixties the Aral Sea covered 68,000 square miles of Central Asia. Soviet irrigation projects drained the lake to such an extent that today the total area is less than 7,000 square miles, with 90% of the lake now completely dry. Sad …

The Republic of Kazakhstan in Central Asia is the world’s largest landlocked country. Kazakhstan was also the last of the former Soviet Republics (SSRs) to declare itself independent from Russia.

49. Co-host of 34-/36-Across : VANNA WHITE

Vanna White is the lady who turns the letters on the “Wheel of Fortune” game show. White is big into knitting and crochet, and has her own line of yarns called “Vanna’s Choice”.

53. Peter, Paul and Mary, e.g. : TRIO

Peter, Paul and Mary were a folk-singing trio who got together in 1961. The group’s members were Peter Yarrow, Paul Stookey and Mary Travers. Peter, Paul and Mary’s big hit was 1963’s “Puff, the Magic Dragon”.

54. Co-host of 34-/36-Across : PAT SAJAK

Pat Sajak took over the hosting of “Wheel of Fortune” from Chuck Woolery back in 1983 and has been doing the job ever since. Sajak had a short run as a talk show host in 1989/1990 and used to sub quite often for Larry King and Regis Philbin.

61. Actress ___ Flynn Boyle : LARA

The actress Lara Flynn Boyle played Donna Hayward on “Twin Peaks” and Helen Gamble on “The Practice”.

62. Kathmandu native : NEPALI

Although Kathmandu is the capital city of the lofty nation of Nepal, it sits in a bowl-shaped valley and so is only at an elevation of 4,600 ft. Air pollution is a huge problem in the city. Industry and residents launch a lot of smog into the air, and given the surrounding geography and climate, any pollution blown away during the day tends to fall back into the valley at night.

63. Cookbook amt. : TSP

Teaspoon (tsp.)

64. “___ Eyes” (Eagles hit) : LYIN’

The Eagles song “Lyin’ Eyes” was recorded in 1975. Written by band members Don Henley and Glenn Frey, the lyrics were inspired by a meeting between a man and a woman the composers witnessed in Dan Tana’s Bar & Restaurant in Los Angeles. Henley and Frey imagined a scenario of secret love, and “Lyin’ Eyes” was born.

You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you’d realize
There ain’t no way to hide your lyin’ eyes

The Eagles band formed in 1971, with the founding members being Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner. Frey and Henley were hired as session musicians by Linda Ronstadt. The four then played live together backing Ronstadt in a gig at Disneyland in 1971, and recorded their debut album together in England the following year.

Down

1. Kwik-E-Mart clerk on “The Simpsons” : APU

The fictional Kwik-E-Mart store is operated by Apu Nahasapeemapetilon on “The Simpsons” TV show. Apu is married to Manjula, and the couple have eight children. The convenience store owner doesn’t seem to be making much use of his Ph.D in computer science that he earned in the US. Apu’s undergraduate degree is from Caltech (the Calcutta Technical Institute), where he graduated top of his class of seven million students …

2. Alcohol that’s transparent : GIN

The spirit known as gin gets its unique flavor mainly from juniper berries. The name “gin” comes into English from the translation of “juniper” from either French (genièvre), Dutch (jenever) or Italian (ginepro).

3. Accompanier of a letter inside an env. : ENC

An envelope (env.) might include an enclosure (enc.).

4. Samsung product : GALAXY

The Galaxy is a series of mobile computing devices made by Samsung that was introduced in 2009. All of the Galaxy devices have used Google’s Android operating system, although a Windows 10 Galaxy device was introduced by Samsung in 2016.

6. Movie for which Tatum O’Neal won an Oscar : PAPER MOON

“Paper Moon” is a 1973 comedy film that tells the story of a father and daughter during the Great Depression. The onscreen father and daughter are played by real-life father and daughter Ryan and Tatum O’Neal. The original choices for the lead roles were Paul Newman and his daughter Nell Potts, but they left the project after director John Huston also dropped out.

Tatum O’Neal is the youngest actress to win a competitive Oscar. She won the Best Supporting Actress Award in 1974 when she was just 10 years old, for her role as Addie in “Paper Moon”. The youngest person to win an honorary Academy Award was Shirley Temple, who was only 5 years old when she was presented with an Oscar in 1934.

7. Nickname for Erving in the old N.B.A. : DR J

Julius Erving is a retired professional basketball player who was known as “Dr. J”, a nickname he picked up in high school. Dr. J was a trailblazer in many ways, being the first player associated with slam dunking and other moves above the rim.

8. ___ Pieces : REESE’S

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were invented by Harry Burnett “H.B.” Reese. Peanut Butter Cups were originally called penny cups, reflecting the price at which they were sold. Then inflation took over, and maybe that’s why they were broken into smaller “Pieces” …

9. Onetime Apple product : IBOOK

From 1996 to 2006, Apple sold a relatively cost-effective line of laptops called iBooks. Basically, an iBook was a stripped-down version of the high-end PowerBook, in a different form factor and targeted at the consumer and education markets. The iBook was replaced by the MacBook in 2006.

10. One of the Three Bears : PAPA

The story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” was first recorded in 1837 in England, although the narrative was around before it was actually written down. The original fairy tale was rather gruesome, but successive versions became more family-oriented. The character that eventually became Goldilocks was originally an elderly woman, and the three “nameless” bears became Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear.

11. Country below Hungary : SERBIA

Serbia is a landlocked country in southeast Europe. After WWII, Serbia became one of several states making up the nation called Yugoslavia. Serbia became independent again in 2006 as Yugoslavia broke up after the declaration of independence by Montenegro.

Hungary is a country in Central Europe that has become a popular tourist destination since the collapse of the Eastern Bloc in 1989. Hungarians refer to themselves as “Magyars”.

13. Banded gems : ONYXES

Onyx is a form of quartz that comes in many different shades, but most often it’s the black version that’s used for jewelry. The name “onyx” comes from the Greek word for “fingernail”, as onyx in the flesh color is said to resemble a fingernail.

19. Precollege exam that offers college credit : AP TEST

The Advanced Placement (AP) program offers college-level courses to kids who are still in high school. After being tested at the end of the courses, successful students receive credits that count towards a college degree.

21. Sans ___ (font type) : SERIF

Serifs are details on the ends of characters in some typefaces. Typefaces without serifs are known as sans-serif, using the French word “sans” meaning “without” and “serif” from the Dutch “schreef” meaning “line”. Some people say that serif fonts are easier to read on paper, whereas sans-serif fonts work better on a computer screen. I’m not so sure though …

25. Writer ___ Stanley Gardner : ERLE

I must have read all of the “Perry Mason” books when I was in college. I think they kept me sane when I was facing the pressure of exams. Author Erle Stanley Gardner was himself a lawyer, although he didn’t get into the profession the easy way. Gardner went to law school, but got himself suspended after a month. So, he became a self-taught attorney and opened his own law office in Merced, California. Understandably, he gave up the law once his novels became successful.

30. Mother with a foal : MARE

There are lots of terms to describe horses of different ages and sexes, it seems:

  • Foal: horse of either sex that is less than one year old
  • Yearling: horse of either sex that is one to two years old
  • Filly: female horse under the age of four
  • Colt: male horse under the age of four
  • Gelding: castrated male horse of any age
  • Stallion: non-castrated male horse four years or older
  • Mare: female horse four years or older

37. Unattractive fruit : UGLI

The ugli fruit is a hybrid of an orange and a tangerine that was first discovered growing wild in Jamaica where most ugli fruit comes from today. “UGLI” is a trademark name that is a variant of “ugly”, a nod to the fruits unsightly wrinkled rind.

43. Ditch for cutting timber : SAW PIT

A saw pit is a pit over which large pieces of lumber were placed to allow two men to saw tree trunks into planks. One man works above the pit, and the other in the pit below, with the pair using a large two-handled saw. The saw was called a whipsaw or pitsaw.

45. Convertible, in slang : RAGTOP

“Ragtop” is slang for a convertible automobile.

46. From Doha, e.g. : QATARI

Doha is the capital city of the Persian Gulf state of Qatar. The name “Doha” translates from Arabic as “the big tree”.

49. Golfer Singh who won the 2000 Masters : VIJAY

Vijay Singh is a professional golfer from Fiji who led the list of PGA money winner in 2003, 2004 and 2008.

55. Topeka’s home: Abbr. : KAN

Topeka is the capital of Kansas, and is located on the Kansas River in the northeast of the state. The name “Topeka” was chosen in 1855 and translates from the Kansa and the Ioway languages as “to dig good potatoes”. The reference isn’t to the common potato but rather to the herb known as the prairie potato (also “prairie turnip”), which was an important food for many Native Americans.

58. “Strange Magic” band, in brief : ELO

The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) is a symphonic rock group from the north of England.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Just one year, for Venus and Serena Williams : AGE GAP
7. Small plumbing problem : DRIP
11. ___-Caps (candy) : SNO
14. It gets beaten at a party : PINATA
15. McEntire with a twang in her voice : REBA
16. Long, long time : EON
17. Remove, as from a belt : UNCLIP
18. Popular program usually shown back to back with 34-/36-Across : JEOPARDY!
20. Strong brews : ALES
22. Speaker’s place : SOAPBOX
23. Host of 18-Across : ALEX TREBEK
27. One of four on a fork : TINE
28. Anger : FURY
29. Some hospital pics : MRIS
30. Ham and lamb : MEATS
31. Immigrant’s class, for short : ESL
32. Money that may go in a slot : COIN
33. Purchase at Citgo : GAS
34. With 36-Across, popular program usually shown back to back with 18-Across : WHEEL OF …
36. See 34-Across : … FORTUNE
40. Engine cooler : FAN
41. Lose vibrancy, as from exposure to sunlight : FADE
42. H.S. proficiency exam : GED
43. Vegas hot spot, with “the” : STRIP
46. One-liner : QUIP
47. Smelting refuse : SLAG
48. Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan’s ___ Sea : ARAL
49. Co-host of 34-/36-Across : VANNA WHITE
51. “You can stop explaining the joke to us” : WE GET IT
53. Peter, Paul and Mary, e.g. : TRIO
54. Co-host of 34-/36-Across : PAT SAJAK
56. Notices : ESPIES
60. “Who am ___ say?” : I TO
61. Actress ___ Flynn Boyle : LARA
62. Kathmandu native : NEPALI
63. Cookbook amt. : TSP
64. “___ Eyes” (Eagles hit) : LYIN’
65. It shakes things up : TREMOR

Down

1. Kwik-E-Mart clerk on “The Simpsons” : APU
2. Alcohol that’s transparent : GIN
3. Accompanier of a letter inside an env. : ENC
4. Samsung product : GALAXY
5. At an angle : ATILT
6. Movie for which Tatum O’Neal won an Oscar : PAPER MOON
7. Nickname for Erving in the old N.B.A. : DR J
8. ___ Pieces : REESE’S
9. Onetime Apple product : IBOOK
10. One of the Three Bears : PAPA
11. Country below Hungary : SERBIA
12. “Stop, I beg you!” : NO, DON’T!
13. Banded gems : ONYXES
19. Precollege exam that offers college credit : AP TEST
21. Sans ___ (font type) : SERIF
23. Not many : A FEW
24. Like green, green vegetation : LUSH
25. Writer ___ Stanley Gardner : ERLE
26. Big storage item : BIN
30. Mother with a foal : MARE
32. Applaud : CLAP
33. Aunt or uncle, sometimes : GODPARENT
35. Does one’s taxes online : E-FILES
36. Like light from a far-off star : FAINT
37. Unattractive fruit : UGLI
38. “Awesome!” : NEAT!
39. Perimeter : EDGE
41. “Ain’t we got ___?” : FUN
43. Ditch for cutting timber : SAW PIT
44. Pays for everyone : TREATS
45. Convertible, in slang : RAGTOP
46. From Doha, e.g. : QATARI
47. Quaint store : SHOPPE
49. Golfer Singh who won the 2000 Masters : VIJAY
50. More sagacious : WISER
52. Always bumping one’s head on doorways, say : TALL
55. Topeka’s home: Abbr. : KAN
57. “Are you?” response : I AM
58. “Strange Magic” band, in brief : ELO
59. Ma’am’s counterpart : SIR

6 thoughts on “0924-18 NY Times Crossword 24 Sep 18, Monday”

  1. 8:42, no errors. Not sure where the time went, seemed like a typical Monday speed test. Was slowed a bit by unsure spelling of TREBEK, VIJAY, SAJAK; and couldn’t remember if Ms. WHITE was Hanna or VANNA.

  2. No errors. I always like a puzzle that I learn things from and today’s was a wonderful example. The most interesting entry today for me was SAW PIT. I had never known of such a thing. I have ancestors who were old-time carpenters back when everything was done by hand. This brings up a lot of good reminiscences for me. I can just smell the sawdust!

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