1010-18 NY Times Crossword 10 Oct 18, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Alex Eaton-Salners
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Alphabet

Themed answers start with syllables that sound musical notes in the solfa scale. As we move down the grid, those notes reveal themselves to be the first seven notes of “The Alphabet Song”, i.e. do, do, sol, sol, la, la, sol (A, B, C, D, E, F, G). As an aside, the tune to “The Alphabet Song” is the same as the tune to “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”:

  • 67A. Series whose first seven members are sung to the starts of 18-, 26-, 41- and 54-Across : ALPHABET
  • 18A. Onetime resident of Mauritius : DODO BIRD
  • 26A. They might have 2 1/2 or 3 stars : SO-SO REVIEWS
  • 41A. 2016 Best Picture “winner” (for about two minutes) : LA LA LAND
  • 54A. Swear words? : SO HELP ME GOD

Bill’s time: 11m 40s!

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4. UV rays, to the skin : AGER

At either end of the visible light spectrum are the invisible forms of radiation known as infrared (IR) light and ultraviolet (UV) light. IR light lies just beyond the red end of the visible spectrum, and UV light lie just below the violet end.

15. Singer whose name sounds like a cry of dismay : ONO

Yoko Ono is an avant-garde artist. Ono actually met her future husband John Lennon for the first time while she was preparing her conceptual art exhibit called “Hammer a Nail”. Visitors were encouraged to hammer in a nail into a wooden board, creating the artwork. Lennon wanted to hammer in the first nail, but Ono stopped him as the exhibition had not yet opened. Apparently Ono relented when Lennon paid her an imaginary five shillings to hammer an imaginary nail into the wood.

16. Highlands hillside : BRAE

The Scottish Highlands are that part of the country not classified as the Lowlands(!). The Highlands make up the north and west of Scotland.

17. One-named singer whose real first name is Robyn : RIHANNA

The singer Rihanna was born and grew up on the island of Barbados and moved to the US when she was 16-years-old to pursue a singing career. “Rihanna” is her stage name, as she was born Robyn Rihanna Fenty. The name “Rihanna” is derived from the Welsh name “Rhiannon”.

18. Onetime resident of Mauritius : DODO BIRD

The dodo was a direct relative of the pigeon and dove, although the fully-grown dodo was usually three feet tall. One of the reasons the dodo comes to mind when we think of extinction of a species, is that it disappeared not too long ago (last recorded alive in 1681) and humans were the reason for its demise. The dodo lived exclusively on the island of Mauritius and when man arrived, we cut back the forests that were its home. We also introduced domestic animals, such as dogs and pigs, that ransacked the dodo’s nests. The dodo was deemed to be an awkward flightless bird and so the term “dodo” has come to mean a dull-witted person.

The island of Mauritius lies in the Indian Ocean, about 700 miles east of Madagascar. One of Mauritius’ claim to fame is that it was the only place where one could find the renowned flightless bird called a dodo. The dodo became extinct less than a century after it was discovered, due to human settlement on the island.

21. Former Hawaiian senator Daniel : INOUYE

Senator Daniel Inouye was a US Senator for the state of Hawaii and was the President pro tem of the Senate (the US Vice President is the President of the Senate). Given this role, he was the highest-ranking Japanese-American in the country’s history as he was third in the line of succession to the office of US President. Senator Inouye passed away in 2012. Honolulu’s airport was renamed to Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in 2017 in his honor.

30. Partner of yon : HITHER

“Hither and yon” is a phrase meaning “from here to over there”.

32. YouTube offering : VIDEO

YouTube is a video-sharing website that was launched in 2005 by three ex-PayPal employees. Google bought YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion. Yep, $1.65 billion, less than two years after it was founded …

33. Deep voices : BASSI

The bass is the lowest male singing voice. A man with such a voice might be called a “basso” (plural “bassi”). In an opera, the villain of the piece is usually played by a basso.

34. Suffix with cannon or block : -ADE

A cannonade is a bout of very heavy artillery fire. The term “cannonade” may also describe a harsh attack on someone, either verbal or physical.

“Embargo” and “blockade” are two similar yet different terms. An embargo is a legal prohibition of trade with a particular country, whilst a blockade is an act of war, a militarily enforced prevention of the movement of goods and services. The term “embargo” came into English from Spanish, in the late 16th century.

36. Behind bars : IN STIR

The slang word “stir”, meaning “prison”, probably has its roots in Start Newgate prison in London, where it was a nickname for the establishment.

40. Pantry pest : ANT

The word “pantry” dates back to 1300 when it came into English from the Old French “panetrie” meaning a “bread room”. Bread is “pain” in French, and “panis” in Latin.

41. 2016 Best Picture “winner” (for about two minutes) : LA LA LAND

“La La Land” is a 2016 romantic musical film starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as a musician and actress who fall in love in “La La Land” (Los Angeles, i.e. “LA”). The film was written and directed by Damien Chazelle, who had found success two years earlier with the musical drama “Whiplash”. “La La Land” won a record-breaking seven Golden Globes and tied the record number of Oscar nominations at fourteen, winning six.

44. Thurman of “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” : UMA

Uma Thurman started her working career as a fashion model, at the age of 15. She appeared in her first movies at 17, with her most acclaimed early role being Cécile de Volanges in 1988’s “Dangerous Liaisons”. Thurman’s career really took off when she played the gangster’s “moll” in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” in 1994. My favorite of all Thurman’s movies is “The Truth About Cats & Dogs”, a less acclaimed romcom released in 1996. She took a few years off from 1998 until 2002, doing very little work in favor of motherhood. It was Tarantino who relaunched her career, giving her the lead in the “Kill Bill” films.

45. 1950s Corsairs, e.g. : EDSELS

The Edsel brand of automobile was named for Edsel Ford, son of Henry. Sadly, the name “Edsel” has become synonymous with “failure”, which was no fault of Edsel himself who had died several years before the Edsel line was introduced. When the Ford Motor Company introduced the Edsel on 4 September 1957, Ford proclaimed the day to be “E Day”.

47. Fashionable letters : YSL

Yves Saint Laurent (YSL)

48. Podded plants : OKRAS

The plant known as okra is mainly grown for it edible green pods. The pods are said to resemble “ladies’ fingers”, which is an alternative name for the plant. Okra is known as “ngombo” in Bantu, a name that might give us the word “gumbo”, the name for the name of the southern Louisiana stew that includes okra as a key ingredient.

52. Summer cover-up : SARONG

“Sarong” is the Malay word for “sheath”, and the term originally described a garment worn by Malay men and women around their waists. The Malay sarong is actually a tube of fabric, about a yard wide and two-and-a-half yards long. Many variations of the sarong are worn all over South Asia and the Pacific Islands. I had occasion to wear one in Hawaii many years ago, and found it very … freeing!

58. Elisha in the National Inventors Hall of Fame : OTIS

Elevators (simple hoists) have been around for a long time. What Elisha Otis did was come up with the “safety elevator”, a design that he showcased at the 1853 World’s Fair in New York. At the Fair, Otis would stand on an elevated platform in front of onlookers and order his assistant to cut the single rope holding up the platform. His safety system kicked in when the platform had only fallen a few inches, amazing the crowd. After this demonstration, the orders came rolling in.

60. Gasteyer of “Mean Girls” : ANA

Ana Gasteyer is an actress best known for being a cast member of “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) from 1996 to 2002. Gasteyer was famous on SNL for playing Martha Stewart … topless!

“Mean Girls” is a teen comedy movie released in 2004 starring Lindsay Lohan. Tina Fey also puts in an appearance, which isn’t really surprising as Fey wrote the screenplay.

61. Put on board : LADE

The verb “to lade” meaning “to load” comes from an Old English word “hladan”. “Lade” also used to mean “draw water” and indeed gave us our word “ladle”. So “lade” and “ladle” are close cousins.

62. Part of la península ibérica : ESPANA

Spain is the second largest country in the European Union (after France). “Spain” is an anglicized form of the Spanish name “España”, which comes from the Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula “Hispania”.

67. Series whose first seven members are sung to the starts of 18-, 26-, 41- and 54-Across : ALPHABET

“The Alphabet Song” was copyrighted in 1835 in the US. The tune that goes with the words is the French folk song “Ah! vous dirai-je, Maman”, used by Mozart for a set of piano variations. The same tune is used for the nursery rhyme “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.

71. Majors in film : LEE

Lee Majors is the actor best known for his roles on television. He played Heath Barkley on the Western show “The Big Valley” from 1965 to 1969, Steve Austin on the sci-fi show “The Six Million Dollar Man” from 1973 to 1978, and Colt Seavers on the action show “The Fall Guy”. Majors has been married four times, including to fellow actor Farrah Fawcett from 1973 to 1979.

73. Annual Austin music-and-media festival, briefly : SXSW

South by Southwest, also known as “SXSW”, is an annual festival that has been taking place in Austin, Texas since 1987. SXSW is a melded event, combining a music festival, a film festival and an interactive festival.

74. Settings for some TV dramas, for short : ERS

Emergency room (ER)

Down

1. ___ Whittaker, player of the first female Doctor on “Doctor Who” : JODIE

Actress Jodie Whittaker made a little history at the end of 2017. She took over from Peter Capaldi in the role of “Doctor Who”, becoming the Doctor’s thirteenth and first female incarnation.

4. “Dear” one : ABBY

The advice column “Dear Abby” first appeared in 1956. Pauline Phillips was Abby back then, but now the column is written by Jeanne Phillips, her daughter. The full name of the “Abby” pen name is Abigail Van Buren, which Pauline Phillips came up with by combining “Abigail” from the biblical Book of Samuel, and “Van Buren” after the former US president. “Dear Abby” was also a radio show in the sixties and seventies.

8. A ___ (independent of experience) : PRIORI

In the world of philosophy, one can have “a priori” knowledge or “a posteriori” knowledge. A priori (“from the earlier”) knowledge is independent of experience, it is just known or assumed. For example, one might say that “all boys are males” is a priori knowledge. A posteriori knowledge relies on experience or some empirical evidence. For example, one might say that “boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ADD” is a posteriori knowledge.

9. Networking site : LINKEDIN

LinkedIn is a website used by professionals wishing to network with other professionals. From what I’ve heard, LinkedIn is mainly used by folks looking for a job, and other folks looking for suitable candidates to hire.

12. U.S. govt. security : T-NOTE

A Treasury note (T-note) is a government debt that matures in 1-10 years. A T-note has a coupon (interest) payment made every six months. The T-note is purchased at a discount to face value, and at the date of maturity can be redeemed at that face value. A T-bill is a similar financial vehicle, but it matures in one year or less, and a T-bond matures in 20-30 years.

29. Apple creation : IOS

iOS is what Apple now call their mobile operating system. Previously, it was known as iPhone OS.

31. Jewish campus group : HILLEL

Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life is a Jewish campus organization that operates throughout the world. Hillel was founded at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1923. The organization is named for a first-century Jewish sage called Hillel the Elder.

33. Sweetheart, in modern lingo : BAE

“Bae” is a contemporary term of endearment. It is a pet name that is an abbreviation of “babe, baby”.

38. Designer of attractions at Walt Disney theme parks : IMAGINEER

The Walt Disney Company coined the term “imagineering” to describe the creation and construction of Disney theme parks.

39. Dorm watchers, in brief : RAS

A resident assistant or resident adviser (RA) is a peer leader found in a residence hall, particularly on a college campus.

49. ___ Troopa (Mario foe) : KOOPA

Mario Bros. started out as an arcade game back in 1983, developed by Nintendo. The more famous of the two brothers, Mario, had already appeared in an earlier arcade game “Donkey Kong”. Mario was given a brother called Luigi, and the pair have been around ever since. In the game, Mario and Luigi are Italian American plumbers from New York City.

51. Some stoves : AMANAS

The Amana Corporation takes its name from the location of its original headquarters, in Middle Amana, Iowa. Today, the Amana name is very much associated with household appliances. The company was founded in 1934 to manufacture commercial walk-in coolers.

54. ___ 500 : S AND P

Standard & Poor’s (S&P) is a financial services company, famous for its stock market indices, especially the S&P 500. The company also publishes credit ratings for sovereign governments, and in 2011 famously lowered the rating of the US federal government from AAA to to AA+.

56. Selassie of Ethiopia : HAILE

Emperor Haile Selassie I ruled Ethiopia until he was removed from power in a revolution in 1974. Selassie died in 1975 under suspicious circumstances and it is widely believed that he was assassinated.

Ethiopia is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation on the continent (after Nigeria) and, with 90 million inhabitants, the most populous landlocked country in the world. Most anthropologists believe that our Homo sapiens species evolved in the region now called Ethiopia, and from there set out to populate the planet.

63. Finish third : SHOW

When betting on a horse race, the first-place finisher is said to “win”. A horse finishing first or second is said to “place”. A horse finishing first, second or third is said to “show”.

65. “___ Misérables” : LES

Victor Hugo’s famous 1862 novel “Les Misérables”, has been translated into English several times. However, the title is usually left in the original French as a successful translation of “les misérables” seems to be elusive. Some suggestions for an English title are “The Wretched”, “The Victims” and “The Dispossessed”. The novel follows the lives of several characters including an ex-convict Jean Valjean, a fanatic police inspector Javert, a beautiful prostitute Fantine, and Fantine’s illegitimate daughter Cosette.

66. Diamond V.I.P.s : GMS

General manager (GM)

68. Jewish deli supply : LOX

Lox is brine-cured salmon fillet that is finely sliced. The term “lox” comes into English via Yiddish, and derives from the German word for salmon, namely “Lachs”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Quickly take down : JOT
4. UV rays, to the skin : AGER
8. Alternative to paper : PLASTIC
15. Singer whose name sounds like a cry of dismay : ONO
16. Highlands hillside : BRAE
17. One-named singer whose real first name is Robyn : RIHANNA
18. Onetime resident of Mauritius : DODO BIRD
20. Here and there : IN SPOTS
21. Former Hawaiian senator Daniel : INOUYE
22. “Um, sure” : OH OK
24. Pant-leg tugger, perhaps : TOT
25. Sea cave dwellers : EELS
26. They might have 2 1/2 or 3 stars : SO-SO REVIEWS
30. Partner of yon : HITHER
32. YouTube offering : VIDEO
33. Deep voices : BASSI
34. Suffix with cannon or block : -ADE
36. Behind bars : IN STIR
40. Pantry pest : ANT
41. 2016 Best Picture “winner” (for about two minutes) : LA LA LAND
44. Thurman of “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” : UMA
45. 1950s Corsairs, e.g. : EDSELS
47. Fashionable letters : YSL
48. Podded plants : OKRAS
50. An addict may go into this : REHAB
52. Summer cover-up : SARONG
54. Swear words? : SO HELP ME GOD
58. Elisha in the National Inventors Hall of Fame : OTIS
60. Gasteyer of “Mean Girls” : ANA
61. Put on board : LADE
62. Part of la península ibérica : ESPANA
64. Carpenter’s tool : NAIL GUN
67. Series whose first seven members are sung to the starts of 18-, 26-, 41- and 54-Across : ALPHABET
69. To eat a late lunch or wait until dinner, say : DILEMMA
70. ___-tiller : ROTO
71. Majors in film : LEE
72. Gets the wrinkles out : PRESSES
73. Annual Austin music-and-media festival, briefly : SXSW
74. Settings for some TV dramas, for short : ERS

Down

1. ___ Whittaker, player of the first female Doctor on “Doctor Who” : JODIE
2. How you can count up to five : ON ONE HAND
3. Sheets that might have check boxes : TO-DO LISTS
4. “Dear” one : ABBY
5. Super Bowl-winning QB Bob : GRIESE
6. Canal zone? : EAR
7. Second chances : REDOS
8. A ___ (independent of experience) : PRIORI
9. Networking site : LINKEDIN
10. Cries of surprise : AHS
11. Drain : SAP
12. U.S. govt. security : T-NOTE
13. Getting pulled along : IN TOW
14. Finds a part for : CASTS
19. Dethrones : OUSTS
23. Squalid shelters : HOVELS
27. Unwritten : ORAL
28. One setting up at a flea market : VENDOR
29. Apple creation : IOS
31. Jewish campus group : HILLEL
33. Sweetheart, in modern lingo : BAE
35. Piece of multifunctional furniture : DAYBED
37. Record holder : TURNTABLE
38. Designer of attractions at Walt Disney theme parks : IMAGINEER
39. Dorm watchers, in brief : RAS
42. Volcanic discharge : ASH PLUME
43. Plus : ALSO
46. ‘Fore : ERE
49. ___ Troopa (Mario foe) : KOOPA
51. Some stoves : AMANAS
53. Skilled sorts : ADEPTS
54. ___ 500 : S AND P
55. Live : ON AIR
56. Selassie of Ethiopia : HAILE
57. The ten of a ten-speed : GEARS
59. Leaves full : SATES
63. Finish third : SHOW
65. “___ Misérables” : LES
66. Diamond V.I.P.s : GMS
68. Jewish deli supply : LOX

3 thoughts on “1010-18 NY Times Crossword 10 Oct 18, Wednesday”

  1. 19:00 Tough one. I didn’t know what was going on with the theme, even after I finished the puzzle. Bottom left was tough as was upper right because I misspelled RIHANNA at first.

  2. 12:32, no errors. Surprisingly, in spite of my tin ear, I got the theme early, but then didn’t use it for much. Guessed at “IMAGINEER” and “KOOPA”, both of which were unknown to me. A bit stiff for a Wednesday … 😜

  3. 32:01. Although this had a theme, it felt more like a Friday puzzle to me. I got a sense of the theme, but it really didn’t help me. There were parts of the puzzle I just had to stare at before I could get a foothold. Very tough for a Wednesday.

    Best –

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