1016-18 NY Times Crossword 16 Oct 18, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Ed Sessa
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: That’s Life

Themed answers each can define the word “LIFE”:

  • 66A. Comment of resignation applicable to 17-, 28- and 50-Across? : THAT’S LIFE
  • 17A. Classic activity for family night : BOARD GAME
  • 28A. Serving in a bowl with milk : BREAKFAST CEREAL
  • 50A. Periodical format not much seen nowadays : PICTURE MAGAZINE

Bill’s time: 7m 31s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

14. “___, Brute?” : ET TU

The most famous man with the name “Brutus” in Ancient Rome was Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger. It was this Brutus that Julius Caesar turned to when he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate. William Shakespeare immortalized Brutus by featuring him in his play, “Julius Caesar”, and giving his victim the line “Et tu, Brute?”

15. Sand wedge, for one : IRON

That would be golf.

16. Justice Kagan : ELENA

Elena Kagan was the Solicitor General of the United States from 2009 until 2010, when she replaced Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court. That made Justice Kagan the first female US Solicitor General and the fourth female US Supreme Court justice. Kagan also served as the first female dean of Harvard Law School from 2003 to 2009.

19. Card groupings in canasta : MELDS

The card game called canasta originated in Uruguay apparently, with “canasta” being the Spanish word for “basket”. In the rummy-like game, a meld of seven cards or more is called a canasta.

20. Barbershop quartet voice : TENOR

Barbershop music is played in the a cappella style, meaning that it is unaccompanied vocal music. Barbershop music originated in the African-American communities in the South, as gospel quartets often gathered in neighborhood barber shops to sing together.

23. Money execs : CFOS

Chief financial officer (CFO)

24. Carson’s predecessor on “The Tonight Show” : PAAR

Jack Paar was most famous as the host of “The Tonight Show”, from 1957 to 1962. When he died in 2004, “Time” magazine wrote that Paar was “the fellow who split talk show history into two eras: “Before Paar and Below Paar”. Very complimentary …

Johnny Carson hosted “The Tonight Show” for thirty years, from 1962 to 1992. Although Carson was the first choice to take over the show from Jack Paar, he initially declined. Carson eventually took the job, after it had also been refused by Bob Newhart, Jackie Gleason, Groucho Marx and Joey Bishop.

32. Resistance unit : OHM

The unit of electrical resistance is the ohm (with the symbol omega) named after German physicist Georg Simon Ohm. Ohm was the guy who established experimentally that the amount of current flowing through a circuit is directly proportional to the voltage applied, (V=IR) a relationship that every school kid knows as Ohm’s Law.

33. Sicilian volcano : ETNA

Mount Etna on the island of Sicily is the largest of three active volcanoes in Italy, and indeed the largest of all active volcano in Europe. Etna is about 2 1/2 times the height of its equally famous sister, Mt. Vesuvius. Mt. Etna is home to a 110-km long narrow-gauge railway, and two ski resorts.

34. Colorful pond fish : KOI

Koi are fish that are also known as Japanese carp. Koi have been bred for decorative purposes and there are now some very brightly colored examples found in Japanese water gardens.

35. Imbecile : BOOB

The rather unsavory term “imbecile” was formerly used by the medical community to describe someone with moderate to severe mental retardation. The term comes from the Latin “imbecillus” meaning “weak, feeble”, which was extended to mean “weak-minded”. Back in the early 1900s, IQ tests were used to classify those suffering from mental retardation into categories:

  • “idiot” … IQ of 0-20
  • “imbecile” … IQ of 21-50
  • “moron” …IQ of 51-70

37. Girl group that’s also the name of a cable channel : TLC

The girl band called TLC is from Atlanta, Georgia. The band’s name comes from the trio’s original members:

  • Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins
  • Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes
  • Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas

The cable channel known today as TLC started out life as The Learning Channel. Programming on TLC was originally focused on educational content, but today there is an emphasis on reality television.

39. “___ Mia” (1965 #4 hit for Jay & the Americans) : CARA

“Cara Mia” was a hit for Jay and the Americans in 1965. The same song had been a hit for English singer David Whitfield in 1954, and was the first record to stay in the number one position in the UK charts for ten consecutive weeks. “Cara Mia” translates from Italian as “My Beloved”.

49. ___ and cheese : MAC

Thomas Jefferson’s name is associated with the dish we known today as “mac ‘n’ cheese”. The future president discovered the baked macaroni with Parmesan cheese while in Paris and in northern Italy. He started serving the dish to guests in the US, and even had a machine imported to make the macaroni locally. Whether or not Jefferson was the first to bring mac ‘n’ cheese to America isn’t entirely clear, but it has been popular ever since.

56. Radius, for one : BONE

The radius and ulna are bones in the forearm. If you hold the palm of your hand up in front of you, the radius is the bone on the “thumb-side” of the arm, and the ulna is the bone on the “pinkie-side”.

57. Meyers of “Late Night” : SETH

Seth Meyers is an actor and comedian who is perhaps best-known for his appearances on “Saturday Night Live” (SNL), for which program he served as head writer. Meyers now hosts his own late night talk show on NBC.

58. Frisbee, e.g. : DISC

The Frisbee concept started back in 1938 with a couple who had an upturned cake pan that they were tossing between each other on Santa Monica Beach in California. They were offered 25 cents for the pan on the spot, and as pans could be bought for 5 cents, the pair figured there was a living to be earned.

60. “On the Waterfront” director Elia : KAZAN

Elia Kazan won Oscars for best director in 1948 for “Gentleman’s Agreement” and in 1955 for “On The Waterfront”. In 1999 Kazan was given an Academy Lifetime Achievement Award. He also directed “East of Eden”, which introduced James Dean to movie audiences, and “Splendor in the Grass” that included Warren Beatty in his debut role.

The 1954 drama “On the Waterfront”, starring Marlon Brando, told a story of violence and corruption among longshoremen. The movie was based on a series of 24 articles written by investigative journalist Malcolm Johnston and published in “The New York Sun”. The original news stories uncovered mob infiltration on the New York City Waterfront, but the location for the film was chosen as Hoboken, New Jersey.

66. Comment of resignation applicable to 17-, 28- and 50-Across? : THAT’S LIFE

The board game that we call “The Game of Life” was created quite a few years ago, in 1869 by Milton Bradley. Back then it was called “The Checkered Game of Life” and was the first parlor game to become a popular hit. The modern version of the game was first released in 1960.

The breakfast cereal called Life was introduced by Quaker Oats in 1961. Back then, Life contained just whole grain oats. Today’s recipe includes added sugar and flour.

“Life” magazine was founded way back in 1883, and was originally structured as a humorous publication. It changed hands in 1936, when it was repurposed as a magazine with an emphasis on photojournalism. I am a big fan of the latter format, and have quite a few favorite issues in my private collection …

70. Actor and bridge expert Sharif : OMAR

Omar Sharif was a great Hollywood actor from Egypt, someone who played major roles in memorable movies such as “Doctor Zhivago” and “Lawrence of Arabia”. But to me, he was my bridge hero (the card game). In his heyday, Sharif was one of the best bridge players in the world.

71. Something to believe in : TENET

A tenet is an article of faith, something that is held to be true. “Tenet” is Latin for “he holds”.

72. Perlman of “Cheers” : RHEA

Rhea Perlman’s most famous role has to be Carla Tortelli, the irascible waitress in the long-running sitcom “Cheers”. Perlman is also a successful children’s author, and has published a series of six books called “Otto Undercover”. She is married to Hollywood actor Danny DeVito, and has been so since 1982.

73. Luau tuber : TARO

The corm of some taro plants is used to make poi, the traditional Hawaiian dish (that I think tastes horrible). When a taro plant is grown as an ornamental, it is often called Elephant Ears due to the shape of its large leaves.

Down

2. Siouan people : OTOE

The Otoe (also “Oto”) Native American tribe originated in the Great Lakes region as part of the Winnebago or Siouan tribes. The group that would become the Otoe broke away from the Winnebago and migrated southwestward, ending up in the Great Plains. In the plains the Otoe adopted a semi-nomadic lifestyle dependent on the horse, with the American bison becoming central to their diet.

3. Lee of Marvel Comics : STAN

Stan Lee did just about everything at Marvel Comics over the years, from writing to being president and chairman of the board. If you like superhero movies based on the characters from Marvel Comics, then you could spend a few hours trying to spot Stan Lee in those films as he has a penchant for making cameo appearances. Lee can be spotted in “X-Men” (2000), “Spider-Man” (2002), “Hulk” (2003), “Fantastic Four” (2005), “Iron Man” (2008) and many other films.

4. Moon of Jupiter : EUROPA

As are many celestial bodies, the moon of Jupiter called Europa was named after a figure in Greek mythology. Europa was a Phoenician woman who was abducted by Zeus. Europa also gave her name to the continent of Europe.

5. Insurance giant bailed out in the Great Recession : AIG

“AIG” is an initialism used by the American International Group, a giant insurance corporation. After repeated bailouts by American taxpayers starting in 2008, the company made some serious PR blunders by spending large amounts of money on executive entertainment and middle management rewards. These included a $444,000 California retreat, an $86,000 hunting trip in England, and a $343,000 getaway to a luxury resort in Phoenix. Poor judgment, I’d say …

6. Like potpourri : FRAGRANT

The French term “pot pourri” literally translates to “rotten pot”, but in France it used to mean “stew”. Over time, the term “potpourri” evolved in English usage to mean a “medley”, and eventually a mixture of dried flowers and spices.

7. Home of the Circus Maximus : ROME

The Circus Maximus was an ancient stadium used for chariot racing in Rome. It was the first such stadium built by the Romans, and was the largest ever to be built in the whole of the Roman Empire. The Circus Maximus was over 2,000 feet long and just under 400 feet wide, and could house about 15,000 spectators. There is very little of the original structure remaining and the site is now used as a major park.

9. Period of sleep with dreaming : REM

“REM” is an acronym standing for rapid eye movement sleep. REM sleep takes up 20-25% of the sleeping hours and is the period associated with one’s most vivid dreams.

11. Pic from a stick : SELFIE

A selfie is a self-portrait, one usually taken with a digital camera or cell phone. A “group selfie” is sometimes referred to as a “groufie” or “wefie”. A “couple selfie” is known as an “usie” or “ussie”, although those terms are sometimes also used for a group picture.

12. “Bewitched” witch, in 1960s TV : ENDORA

In the television sitcom “Bewitched”, Endora was Samantha’s mother, with mother, daughter and indeed granddaughter having the magical powers accorded to witches. Endora was played flamboyantly by Agnes Moorehead.

The delightful sitcom “Bewitched” originally ran on ABC from 1964 to 1972. The lead character in the show is Samantha Stephens, played by the lovely Elizabeth Montgomery. Elizabeth was the daughter of Hollywood star Robert Montgomery.

13. Mortarboard trim : TASSEL

Tasseled mortarboards, or square academic caps, are associated with school graduations all over the world, although traditions do differ. For example in Ireland (where I come from), mortarboards are only worn by female graduates.

18. Male duck : DRAKE

A male duck is a drake, and a female duck is a hen. That said, a female is sometimes just referred to as a duck!

27. Competitor of the Essex or Hupmobile : REO

The Essex Motor Company manufactured small and affordable cars in Detroit starting in 1918. Essex was actually a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Hudson Motor Company. Essex was dissolved in 1922, after which Hudson made the cars directly, continuing the Essex name until 1932.

The Hupmobile was a car built by the Hupp Motor Company in Detroit from 1909 to 1940.

The REO Motor Company was founded by Ransom Eli Olds (hence the name REO). The company made cars, trucks and buses, and was in business from 1905 to 1975 in Lansing, Michigan. Among the company’s most famous models were the REO Royale and the REO Flying Cloud.

29. Greek “P” : RHO

Rho is the Greek letter that looks just like our Roman letter “p”, although it is equivalent to the Roman letter R.

31. Westernmost state capital in the contiguous United States : SALEM

Salem is the state capital of Oregon. It is thought that the city takes its name from the older city of Salem, Massachusetts.

36. Gotham City hotline : BATPHONE

The Batphone was introduced in the Batman comic books before gaining celebrity in the Batman television series of the sixties. The Batphone was Commissioner Gordon’s secure line to Batman. The term “batphone” is used quite a bit now in the business world, where it describes a private telephone number that is handled as a priority above the regular lines.

45. Talking horse of ’60s TV : MR ED

The sitcom “Mister Ed” first aired in 1961 and ran for almost five years. It was a very successful show (and even made it to Ireland!). Mister Ed, the talking horse, was a palomino that had the real name of Bamboo Harvester. Mister Ed’s “voice” was that of actor Allan “Rocky” Lane, a star of a lot of B-movie westerns from the forties and fifties. In the show, Mister Ed would only talk to the lead (human) character Wilbur, played by Alan Young, leading to some hilarious situations. Mister Ed had a stunt double and stand-in for the show, another horse called Pumpkin. Pumpkin later made frequent appearances on the show “Green Acres”.

48. Scuba necessities : TANKS

The self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) was co-invented by celebrated French marine explorer Jacques Cousteau.

50. Volkswagen sedan : PASSAT

“Passat” is one in a series of model names related to winds that has been used by Volkswagen. “Jetta” comes from the German for “jet stream”, and the model name “Passat” comes from the German for “trade wind”.

59. Political figure granted asylum by Anwar Sadat : SHAH

The last Shah of Iran was Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, who was overthrown in the revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. The post-revolution government sought the extradition of the Shah back to Iran while he was in the United States seeking medical care (he had cancer). His prolonged stay in the United States, recovering from surgery, caused some unrest back in Iran and resentment towards the United States. Some say that this resentment precipitated the storming of the US Embassy in Tehran and the resulting hostage crisis.

Anwar Sadat was the third President of Egypt right up to the time of his assassination in 1981. Sadat won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978 along with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin for the role played in crafting the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty of 1978 at Camp David. It was this agreement that largely led to Sadat’s assassination three years later.

61. Product of the Coors Brewing Company : ZIMA

Zima is a clear alcoholic beverage with about the same strength as beer. Zima is sold in beer bottles but is marketed as “not” a beer, A “malternative”. It has a lemon-lime flavor and is referred to as an “alcopop”, a portmanteau word from “alcohol” and “pop”. Zima is made by Coors. The company stopped production for the US market in 2008. However, it is still quite popular in Japan.

63. Leader whose death sparked the Year of the Four Emperors : NERO

AD 69 was a year of civil war in ancient Rome. The unrest started with the death of emperor Nero in AD 68, after which followed the brief rule of Galba, of Otho, of Vitellius, and of Vespasian all in the same year. As a result, AD 69 became known as the Year of the Four Emperors.

67. Baggage checker at the airport, for short : TSA

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the agency that employs the good folks that check passengers and baggage at airports.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. One or two tablets, say : DOSE
5. Lead-in to punk or Cuban, in music : AFRO-
9. Adjust, as an alarm clock : RESET
14. “___, Brute?” : ET TU
15. Sand wedge, for one : IRON
16. Justice Kagan : ELENA
17. Classic activity for family night : BOARD GAME
19. Card groupings in canasta : MELDS
20. Barbershop quartet voice : TENOR
21. Tent, backpack, hiking shoes, etc. : GEAR
23. Money execs : CFOS
24. Carson’s predecessor on “The Tonight Show” : PAAR
26. Bad thing to go flat : CAR TIRE
28. Serving in a bowl with milk : BREAKFAST CEREAL
32. Resistance unit : OHM
33. Sicilian volcano : ETNA
34. Colorful pond fish : KOI
35. Imbecile : BOOB
37. Girl group that’s also the name of a cable channel : TLC
39. “___ Mia” (1965 #4 hit for Jay & the Americans) : CARA
43. One of two parts of a shirt : ARM
46. “He was,” in Latin : ERAT
49. ___ and cheese : MAC
50. Periodical format not much seen nowadays : PICTURE MAGAZINE
55. Like a pet dog from a pound : ADOPTED
56. Radius, for one : BONE
57. Meyers of “Late Night” : SETH
58. Frisbee, e.g. : DISC
60. “On the Waterfront” director Elia : KAZAN
64. Suppressed : SAT ON
66. Comment of resignation applicable to 17-, 28- and 50-Across? : THAT’S LIFE
68. Agreeing (with) : AT ONE
69. Acorn producers : OAKS
70. Actor and bridge expert Sharif : OMAR
71. Something to believe in : TENET
72. Perlman of “Cheers” : RHEA
73. Luau tuber : TARO

Down

1. What many college students accrue : DEBT
2. Siouan people : OTOE
3. Lee of Marvel Comics : STAN
4. Moon of Jupiter : EUROPA
5. Insurance giant bailed out in the Great Recession : AIG
6. Like potpourri : FRAGRANT
7. Home of the Circus Maximus : ROME
8. Without intermission, as a play : ONE-ACT
9. Period of sleep with dreaming : REM
10. Crowd-wowing : ELECTRIC
11. Pic from a stick : SELFIE
12. “Bewitched” witch, in 1960s TV : ENDORA
13. Mortarboard trim : TASSEL
18. Male duck : DRAKE
22. Deer hunter’s trophy : RACK
25. Rear, at sea : AFT
27. Competitor of the Essex or Hupmobile : REO
28. Weave’s partner : BOB
29. Greek “P” : RHO
30. Expressive rock style : EMO
31. Westernmost state capital in the contiguous United States : SALEM
36. Gotham City hotline : BATPHONE
38. Seafood item often served with a lemon wedge : CRAB CAKE
40. “Who ___?” (amnesiac’s query) : AM I
41. Did a 5K, say : RAN
42. Quickest tennis point : ACE
44. Dirt road feature : RUT
45. Talking horse of ’60s TV : MR ED
47. “It’s ___” (“O.K. for liftoff”) : A GO
48. Scuba necessities : TANKS
50. Volkswagen sedan : PASSAT
51. Dream up : IDEATE
52. T-shirt material : COTTON
53. Letter to the ___ : EDITOR
54. Fanatical supporter : ZEALOT
59. Political figure granted asylum by Anwar Sadat : SHAH
61. Product of the Coors Brewing Company : ZIMA
62. A ways away : AFAR
63. Leader whose death sparked the Year of the Four Emperors : NERO
65. Shrimper’s accessory : NET
67. Baggage checker at the airport, for short : TSA

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