1005-18 NY Times Crossword 5 Oct 18, Friday

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Constructed by: Robyn Weintraub
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 7m 40s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15. Purple-blue shade or the flower it’s named after : PERIWINKLE

Vinca is a plant genus with six species all native to Europe, Africa and Asia. Vincas are vine-like in their growing behavior, which explains the name “vinca” as “vincire” is Latin for “to bind”. Vinca is often referred to as “periwinkle” in English.

18. Props for a Broadway play? : TONY

The Tony Awards are more completely referred to as the Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Broadway Theatre. The awards are named for Mary Antoinette “Tony” Perry, who was a co-founder of the American Theatre Wing.

“Props” is North American slang for “proper respect”.

19. Salinger title teen : ESME

J. D. Salinger wrote a short story called “For Esmé – with Love and Squalor” that was originally published in “The New Yorker” in 1950. It is a story about a young English girl called Esme and an American soldier, and is set in WWII.

25. Cargo area : STOWAGE

Cargo is freight carried by some vehicle. The term “cargo” comes into English via Spanish, ultimately deriving from the Latin “carricare” meaning “to load on a cart”.

30. U.S.’s first so-called “Public Enemy No. 1” : CAPONE

The Chicago gangster Al Capone was eventually jailed for tax evasion. He was given a record 11-year sentence in federal prison, of which he served 8 years. He left prison suffering dementia caused by late-stage syphilis. Capone suffered through 7-8 sickly years before passing away in 1947.

31. Krugerrand, e.g. : GOLD COIN

The Krugerrand is a gold coin minted in South Africa. The coin takes its name from the Rand, the South African unit of currency, and Paul Kruger, the President of the South African Republic whose face appears on the obverse of the coin. The Krugerrand is made from a gold alloy that is almost 92% pure i.e. 22 karats.

34. “Fore!,” for one : ALERT

No one seems to know for sure where the golfing term “fore!” comes from. It has been used at least as far back as 1881, and since then has been called out to warn other golfers that a wayward ball might be heading their way. My favorite possibility for its origin is that it is a contraction of the Gaelic warning cry “Faugh a Ballagh!” (clear the way!) which is still called out in the sport of road bowling. Road bowling is an Irish game where players bowl balls along roads between villages, trying to reach the end of the course in as few bowls as possible, just like in golf!

36. Looney Tunes’s Speedy Gonzales, e.g. : MOUSE

When I was a kid, Speedy Gonzales was one of my favorite cartoon characters. He was billed as “The Fastest Mouse in all Mexico” and tore around the place yelling “¡Ándale! ¡Ándale! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba! ¡Epa¡ ¡Epa! ¡Epa! Yeehaw!”

39. V.I.P. section? : PERSON

Very important person (VIP)

40. King maker : SERTA

Serta was founded in 1931 when a group of 13 mattress manufacturers came together, essentially forming a cooperative. Today, the Serta company is owned by eight independent licensees in a similar arrangement. Serta advertisements feature the Serta Counting Sheep. Each numbered sheep has a different personality, such as:

  • #1 The Leader of the Flock
  • #½ The Tweener
  • #13 Mr. Bad Luck
  • #53 The Pessimist
  • #86 Benedict Arnold

41. Brewski : COLD ONE

“Brewski”, “suds” and “cold one” are slang terms for “beer”.

46. Of the flock : LAIC

Anything described as laic (or “laical, lay”) is related to the laity, those members of the church who are not clergy. The term “laic” ultimately comes from the Greek “laikos” meaning “of the people”.

48. Actress Jessica : ALBA

Actress Jessica Alba got her big break when she was cast in the Fox science fiction show “Dark Angel”. Alba had a tough life growing up as she spent a lot of time in hospital and so found it difficult to develop friendships. As a youngster she twice had a collapsed lung, frequently caught pneumonia, suffered from asthma, had a ruptured appendix and a tonsillar cyst. On top of all that, Alba acknowledges that she suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder as a child.

53. Crux of “The Crucible” : WITCH TRIAL

“The Crucible” is a 1952 play by Arthur Miller that tells the story of the Salem witch trials. Miller wrote it as an allegory for the House Committee on Un-American Activities hearings that were being chaired by Senator Joe McCarthy around that time. Miller was called before the Committee himself, and was convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to “name names”.

“Crux” is the Latin word for “cross”. The term came into English meaning “a central difficulty” in the early 1700s.

55. Medieval weapon : MACE

A mace is a relatively simple weapon in essence. It is a heavy weight on the end of a handle that is used to deliver powerful blows on an opponent’s body.

European history is often divided in three major periods: classical antiquity and the modern period, with the Middle Ages in between. Specifically, the Middle Ages are said to have begun in 476 AD, when the last Roman Emperor was deposed by a Germanic chieftain. The end date for the Middle Ages is less specific, but is about 1500 AD. The list of events signalling the end of the Middle Ages includes Christopher Columbus’s first voyage to the New World (1492) and the Protestant Reformation (1517). The term “medieval” is used to describe something belonging to the Middle Ages.

57. Get a lode of these! : ORES

A lode is a metal ore deposit that’s found between two layers of rock or in a fissure. The mother lode is the principal deposit in a mine, usually of gold or silver. “Mother lode” is probably a translation of “veta madre”, an expression used in mining in Mexico.

58. Military leader known for being chicken? : GENERAL TSO

General Tso’s chicken is an American creation, and a dish often found on the menu of a Chinese restaurant. The name General Tso may be a reference to General Zuo Zongtang of the Qing Dynasty, but there is no clear link.

Down

1. Place for a shrine : APSE

The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally, apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.

3. Perfumery measure : DRAM

I think that the dram is a confusing unit of measurement. It has one value as an ancient unit of mass, and two different values as a modern unit of mass, another value as a unit of fluid volume, and yet another varying value as a measure of Scotch whisky!

5. Pecorino Romano source : EWE

Pecorino is a family of hard cheeses from Italy, with the name coming from the Italian “pecora” meaning “sheep”. The most famous variety here in North America is Pecorino Romano, which we often refer to simply as “Romano”.

9. Seemingly spontaneous gathering : FLASH MOB

A flash mob is a group of people who gather to perform a sudden, brief act in a public location and then quickly disperse. Flash mobs originated in Manhattan in 2003, as a social experiment by an editor of “Harper’s Magazine” called Bill Wasik. Wasik’s first attempt to form a flash mob was unsuccessful, but the second attempt worked. The first successful flash mob was relatively tame by today’s elaborate standards, and consisted of about 130 people gathered on the 9th floor of Macy’s department store pretending to be shopping en masse for a “love rug”.

13. Roger ___, fifth chief justice of the Supreme Court : TANEY

Roger B. Taney was Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court from 1836 until 1864 (when he passed away). Taney’s most notable decision was in the case of Dred Scott v. Sandford, in which he delivered the majority opinion that African Americans could not be considered citizens of the US. Taney was the second-longest serving Chief Justice (Chief Justice John Marshall served for 34 years, from 1801 to 1835).

14. “Family Ties” mother : ELYSE

“Family Ties” was one of the first TV shows that I enjoyed when I arrived in the US back in 1983. I found the situation very appealing, with two ex-hippie parents facing off against an ultra-conservative son. The main characters in the show were Michael J. Fox as Alex, Meredith Baxter-Birney as Alex’s mom Elyse, and Michael Gross as Alex’s dad Steven. Some future stars had recurring roles as well, including Courteney Cox as one of Alex’s girlfriends and Tom Hanks as Elyse’s young brother.

21. Vulcan telepathy technique : MIND MELD

Mr. Spock was the first to show us the Vulcan mind meld, on the original “Star Trek” series. Vulcans have the ability to meld with the minds of other Vulcans, and indeed humans, in order to see what what’s “going on” in the other individual’s mind.

Vulcans are an alien race in the “Star Trek” franchise. The most famous (half) Vulcan is Spock, played by Leonard Nimoy. Spock’s father is a Vulcan, and his mother is human.

25. Jazzy style : SCAT

Scat singing is a vocal improvisation found in the world of jazz. There aren’t any words as such in scat singing, just random nonsense syllables made up on the spot.

26. Anklebones : TALI

The collection of seven bones in the foot just below the ankle are known collectively as the tarsus. One of those bones is the talus (plural “tali”), more commonly called the ankle bone. The talus is the lower part of the ankle joint and articulates with the lower ends of the tibia and fibula in the lower leg.

28. Honey bunch? : WORKER BEES

A queen bee has a stinger, just like worker bees. When a worker bee stings, it leaves it stinger in its victim. The worker bee dies after losing its stinger as the loss rips out part of its insides. However, a queen bee can sting with impunity as her stinger’s anatomy is different.

31. Travel (about) : GAD

To gad about is to move around with little purpose. The word “gad” comes from the Middle English “gadden” meaning “to hurry”.

33. State bird whose name sounds like its call : NENE

The nene is a bird that native to Hawaii, and is also known as the Hawaiian goose. The name “nene” is imitative of its call. When Captain Cook landed on the islands in 1778, there were 25,000 nene living there. By 1950, the number was reduced by hunting to just 30 birds. Conservation efforts in recent years have been somewhat successful. The nene was named State Bird of Hawaii in 1957.

38. LAX to ORD or JFK: Abbr. : RTE

LAX (Los Angeles), ORD (Chicago O’Hare) and JFK (John F. Kennedy) are airports.

41. Like a kid in a candy store, e.g. : CLICHE

“Cliché” is a word that comes from the world of printing. In the days when type was added as individual letters into a printing plate, for efficiency some oft-used phrases and words were created as one single slug of metal. The word “cliché” was used for such a grouping of letters. It’s easy to see how the same word would become a term to describe any overused phrase. Supposedly, “cliché” comes from French, from the verb “clicher” meaning “to click”. The idea is that when a matrix of letters was dropped in molten metal to make a cliché, it made a clicking sound.

42. Sap : SCHMO

“Scroggin” and “schmogle” are names used for “trail mix” in New Zealand.

“Sap” is slang for “fool, someone easily scammed”. The term arose in the early 1800s in Britain when it was used in “saphead” and “sapskull”. All these words derive from “sapwood”, which is the softwood found in tree trunks between the bark and the heartwood at the center.

47. Start of a subj. line : ATTN

Attention (attn.)

48. Seed case : ARIL

The casing surrounding many seeds is called the aril, and it may be quite fleshy. This fruit-like characteristic makes it desirable as a food and hence aids in the dispersion of the seeds.

49. Kind of trap : LINT

Lint”, meaning “fluff”, is one of those terms that I had to learn when I moved to the US. We call the same thing “fuzz” on the other side of the pond …

53. Lose it, with “out” : WIG

The idea behind the expression “to wig out”, meaning “to go crazy”, is that there is so much going on in your brain that it might “lift your hair/wig”.

54. Eastern rival : TWA

Trans World Airlines (TWA) was a big carrier in the US, but was perhaps even more recognized for its extensive presence in Europe and the Middle East. For many years, especially after the collapse of Pan Am and TWA’s purchase by Howard Hughes, TWA was considered the unofficial flag carrier for the US. The company started in 1930, the product of a forced merger of Transcontinental Air Transport and Western Air Express. The Transcontinental and Western Air that resulted (the original meaning of the initialism “TWA”) was what the Postmaster General wanted, a bigger airline to which the Postal Service could award airmail contracts.

Eastern Air Lines was around from 1926 until 1991. The company was purchased in 1938 by Eddie Rickenbacker, who was a WWI flying ace. Under Rickenbacker’s leadership, Eastern were very successful. However, the airline couldn’t cope with a strike, high fuel prices and deregulation in the nineties, so Eastern went bankrupt in 1991.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Exclamation appropriate for 1-Across : AND WE’RE OFF!
11. It’s where it’s at : SITE
15. Purple-blue shade or the flower it’s named after : PERIWINKLE
16. Series finale : ET AL
17. You might use it in dressing : STALE BREAD
18. Props for a Broadway play? : TONY
19. Salinger title teen : ESME
20. Heels : CADS
21. Bucks, e.g. : MALES
22. Not quite keep up : LAG
23. Salon supply : HAIR DYE
25. Cargo area : STOWAGE
29. Time, proverbially : MONEY
30. U.S.’s first so-called “Public Enemy No. 1” : CAPONE
31. Krugerrand, e.g. : GOLD COIN
34. “Fore!,” for one : ALERT
35. Dance move of the 2010s : DAB
36. Looney Tunes’s Speedy Gonzales, e.g. : MOUSE
37. Fiddled (with) : TINKERED
39. V.I.P. section? : PERSON
40. King maker : SERTA
41. Brewski : COLD ONE
42. Held in contempt : SCORNED
44. Young ‘un : LAD
45. Dark suit : CLUBS
46. Of the flock : LAIC
48. Actress Jessica : ALBA
52. “Take this …” : HERE …
53. Crux of “The Crucible” : WITCH TRIAL
55. Medieval weapon : MACE
56. Waiting to come out : IN THE WINGS
57. Get a lode of these! : ORES
58. Military leader known for being chicken? : GENERAL TSO

Down

1. Place for a shrine : APSE
2. Court equipment : NETS
3. Perfumery measure : DRAM
4. Craftiness : WILE
5. Pecorino Romano source : EWE
6. Protector of the heart : RIB CAGE
7. Bring to the boiling point : ENRAGE
8. Ratified : OK’ED
9. Seemingly spontaneous gathering : FLASH MOB
10. Supplied : FED
11. More than just won : SET A RECORD
12. “See!” : I TOLD YOU SO!
13. Roger ___, fifth chief justice of the Supreme Court : TANEY
14. “Family Ties” mother : ELYSE
21. Vulcan telepathy technique : MIND MELD
22. Some camping gear : LANTERNS
24. Verizon acquisition of 2015 : AOL
25. Jazzy style : SCAT
26. Anklebones : TALI
27. Like a code anyone can use : OPEN SOURCE
28. Honey bunch? : WORKER BEES
31. Travel (about) : GAD
32. Will go ahead as planned : IS ON
33. State bird whose name sounds like its call : NENE
35. Newsroom concern : DEADLINE
38. LAX to ORD or JFK: Abbr. : RTE
39. One who’s got game … but shouldn’t : POACHER
41. Like a kid in a candy store, e.g. : CLICHE
42. Sap : SCHMO
43. Intelligible : CLEAR
47. Start of a subj. line : ATTN
48. Seed case : ARIL
49. Kind of trap : LINT
50. Captures : BAGS
51. It may precede second thoughts : ALSO
53. Lose it, with “out” : WIG
54. Eastern rival : TWA

2 thoughts on “1005-18 NY Times Crossword 5 Oct 18, Friday”

  1. 12:46, no errors. Pretty easy one for a Friday, though, for some reason, I paused for a bit before finishing by filling in the “L” at the intersection of “CLICHE” and “LAD” … some kind of brain freeze … 😜

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