0917-18 NY Times Crossword 17 Sep 18, Monday

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Constructed by: Caitlin Reid
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Fish

Themed answers each end with an item used to FISH:

  • 71A. Use the items found at the ends of the answers to 20-, 31-, 47- and 56-Across : FISH
  • 20A. Holder of wires along a street : TELEPHONE POLE
  • 31A. Aggressive defensive soccer maneuver : SLIDE TACKLE
  • 47A. Series of funny outtakes : BLOOPER REEL
  • 56A. Toy in a 2017 craze : FIDGET SPINNER

Bill’s time: 5m 32s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5. Peach stones : PITS

There are two broad categories of peaches: freestones and clingstones. Clingstones (also “cling peaches”) have flesh that clings tightly to the pit. Freestones are easier to consume as the flesh separates easily from the pit.

17. At the lower side of the pH scale : ACID

As we all recall from chemistry class, a pH of 7 is considered neutral. Anything less than 7 is an acid, and anything above 7 is a base.

23. Gloom’s partner : DOOM

There’s a feeling of gloom and doom that sets in when I see the name of certain constructors at the top of a puzzle …

24. Actor Efron of “The Greatest Showman” : ZAC

Zac Efron is an actor from San Luis Obispo, California. Apparently Efron is a heartthrob to “tweenyboppers”. His big break came with the hit Disney movie “High School Musical”.

36. That, in Tijuana : ESO

Tijuana is the largest city in the Mexican state of Baja California, and lies just across the US-Mexico border from San Diego. Tijuana is also the most westerly of all Mexican cities. A lot of Tijuana’s growth took place in the twenties as tourists flocked south of the border during the days of prohibition in the US. One of the many casinos and hotels that flourished at that time was Hotel Caesar’s in the Avenida Revolución area. Hotel Caesar’s claims to be the birthplace of the now ubiquitous Caesar Salad.

37. Eco-conscious Dr. Seuss character : LORAX

“The Lorax” is a children’s book written by Dr. Seuss. It is an allegorical work questioning the problems created by industrialization, and in particular its impact on the environment. At one point in the story, the Lorax “speaks for the trees, for the trees have no tongues”. “The Lorax” was adapted into an animated film that was released in 2012, with Danny DeVito voicing the title character.

43. ___-wip (dessert topping) : REDDI

Reddi-wip is a brand of sweetened whipped cream that comes out of a pressurized can. The propellant used in the can is nitrous oxide, also called “laughing gas”, which is the same gas used by dentists as an anesthetic.

46. Nickname for John Wayne, with “the” : DUKE

John Wayne was called Marion Mitchell Morrison at birth, named after his grandfather who was a Civil War veteran. When young Marion was a little boy, a local fireman used to call him “Little Duke” because he was always seen walking with his large dog called “Duke”. Marion liked the name “Duke” and so he called himself Duke Morrison for the rest of his life. That said, Duke Morrison also used John Wayne as a stage name.

51. Smidgen : TAD

Our word “smidgen” (sometimes shortened to “smidge”) is used to describe a small amount. The term might come from the Scots word “smitch” that means the same thing or “a small insignificant person”.

52. Fashion designer’s monogram : YSL

Yves Saint Laurent (YSL)

56. Toy in a 2017 craze : FIDGET SPINNER

A fidget spinner is toy that supposedly can be used for stress relief. Sales of fidget spinners really took off in 2017, although versions of the toy existed back in the early nineties.

62. Cricket’s sound : CHIRP

The sound made by crickets is usually referred to as chirping, although the scientific term is “stridulation”. The sound is made by male crickets as they rub the top of one wing along a serration on the other wing.

65. College in New Rochelle, N.Y. : IONA

Iona College is a Roman Catholic school run by Christian Brothers in New Rochelle, New York. The school’s sports teams are called the Iona Gaels, and the team mascot goes by the name Killian.

66. Pavarotti, voicewise : TENOR

Luciano Pavarotti was one of the most celebrated tenors of all time. He was able to appeal to audiences beyond the traditional fans of opera, helped by his performances with the Three Tenors: Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras. Pavarotti made his final performance on stage at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, where he sang his famous rendition of the moving aria “Nessun dorma” and brought the house down. Pavarotti passed away from pancreatic cancer the following year, at the age of 71.

69. Horned safari animal : RHINO

There are five types of rhinoceros that survive today, with the smaller Javan Rhino being the most rare. The rhinoceros is probably the rarest large mammal on the planet, thanks to poaching. Hunters mainly prize the horn of the rhino as it is used in powdered form in traditional Chinese medicine.

Down

9. Dual-purpose bit of eyewear : BIFOCAL

Benjamin Franklin was a prolific inventor, coming up with bifocal glasses among other things. Franklin never filed for patents for his creations, and wrote:

… as we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously.

11. Hot dog topper : SAUERKRAUT

“Sauerkraut” translates from German as “sour herb” or “sour cabbage”. During WWI, sauerkraut producers changes its name in order to distance their product from the “enemy”. They called it “Liberty cabbage”.

12. The Cards, on a scoreboard : STL

The St. Louis Cardinals were originally called the “Brown Stockings”, changing their name to the “Perfectos” in 1899. That obviously didn’t go down well with the locals, as the owners changed it one year later to the Cardinals.

26. Anchorage’s home : ALASKA

Anchorage, Alaska is the northernmost city in the US with over 100,000 residents (in fact, it has a population close to 300,000). Anchorage is also the state’s most populous city, and is home to more than 40% of Alaska’s residents.

30. James ___, portrayer of Tony Soprano on “The Sopranos” : GANDOLFINI

The actor James Gandolfini is perhaps best known for playing Mafia boss Tony Soprano in the HBO show “The Sopranos”. For my money, one of Gandolfini’s best performances was in the 2013 romantic comedy “Enough Said”, opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Sadly, Gandolfini passed away just before that film was released.

35. “Love ___” (Beatles hit) : ME DO

“Love Me Do” is a song written by Paul McCartney on a day that he was playing hooky from school when he just 16 years of age.

44. Apple tablet with an attachable keyboard : IPAD PRO

The iPad Pro tablet computer, when it was released in November 2015, featured a larger screen than all prior iPad models. The iPad Pro also came with some interesting accessories, including an attachable keyboard and the Apple Pencil.

48. Omelet or quiche ingredient : EGG

The classic dish called quiche is made with eggs (“oeufs” in French). Even though the quiche is inextricably linked to French cuisine, the name “quiche” comes from “Kuchen”, the German word for cake,. The variant called “quiche lorraine” includes bits of smoked bacon as an ingredient.

60. Grandson of Adam and Eve : ENOS

Enos was the son of Seth, and therefore the grandson of Adam and Eve. According to the ancient Jewish work called the Book of Jubilees, Enos married his own sister Noam.

61. What talcum powder may prevent : RASH

Talc is a mineral, actually hydrated magnesium silicate. Talcum powder is composed of loose talc, although these days “baby powder” is also made from cornstarch.

62. Middle: Abbr. : CTR

Center (ctr.)

63. The laugh of someone who’s up to no good : HEH!

A sound that I imagine some of the more devious constructors using when creating puzzles for us …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Shoot out, as 14-Across : SPEW
5. Peach stones : PITS
9. Demanding that people do this and do that : BOSSY
14. Volcanic rock : LAVA
15. Uncork, as a bottle : OPEN
16. Livid : IRATE
17. At the lower side of the pH scale : ACID
18. Maple or oak : TREE
19. Stepping on the baseline when serving in tennis, e.g. : FAULT
20. Holder of wires along a street : TELEPHONE POLE
23. Gloom’s partner : DOOM
24. Actor Efron of “The Greatest Showman” : ZAC
25. Subway scurrier : RAT
28. Like one end of a battery: Abbr. : NEG
31. Aggressive defensive soccer maneuver : SLIDE TACKLE
34. Midterm or final : EXAM
36. That, in Tijuana : ESO
37. Eco-conscious Dr. Seuss character : LORAX
38. Red facial spots : ACNE
39. Transmits : SENDS
42. Toward sunrise : EAST
43. ___-wip (dessert topping) : REDDI
45. “Black gold” : OIL
46. Nickname for John Wayne, with “the” : DUKE
47. Series of funny outtakes : BLOOPER REEL
51. Smidgen : TAD
52. Fashion designer’s monogram : YSL
53. Have another birthday : AGE
54. Golf ball props : TEES
56. Toy in a 2017 craze : FIDGET SPINNER
62. Cricket’s sound : CHIRP
64. Pairs : DUOS
65. College in New Rochelle, N.Y. : IONA
66. Pavarotti, voicewise : TENOR
67. Inner: Prefix : ENDO-
68. Some natural hairdos, for short : ‘FROS
69. Horned safari animal : RHINO
70. Student body overseer : DEAN
71. Use the items found at the ends of the answers to 20-, 31-, 47- and 56-Across : FISH

Down

1. Part of a bed’s base : SLAT
2. Tempo : PACE
3. Wicked : EVIL
4. Walked through water : WADED
5. Things filled by a highway crew : POTHOLES
6. “On my honor!” : I PROMISE!
7. Adolescent : TEEN
8. Something that’s impossible to do with one’s eyes open, per an urban legend : SNEEZE
9. Dual-purpose bit of eyewear : BIFOCAL
10. Of the mouth : ORAL
11. Hot dog topper : SAUERKRAUT
12. The Cards, on a scoreboard : STL
13. Up until now : YET
21. Like one end of a battery: Abbr. : POS
22. Consoling touch : PAT
26. Anchorage’s home : ALASKA
27. Communicated via iMessage or WhatsApp : TEXTED
28. In the area : NEARBY
29. Gets all A’s, say : EXCELS
30. James ___, portrayer of Tony Soprano on “The Sopranos” : GANDOLFINI
32. Benefactor : DONOR
33. Like mixed doubles tennis, in college : COED
35. “Love ___” (Beatles hit) : ME DO
40. Fizzy, sugarless beverage : DIET SODA
41. Takes a night to think over : SLEEPS ON
44. Apple tablet with an attachable keyboard : IPAD PRO
48. Omelet or quiche ingredient : EGG
49. Like clarinets and oboes : REEDED
50. Hawaiian garland : LEI
55. Quick smell : SNIFF
57. Hotel amenity with a cord : IRON
58. Adjust, as a piano : TUNE
59. “Me neither” : NOR I
60. Grandson of Adam and Eve : ENOS
61. What talcum powder may prevent : RASH
62. Middle: Abbr. : CTR
63. The laugh of someone who’s up to no good : HEH!