1017-18 NY Times Crossword 17 Oct 18, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Patrick Blindauer & Tony Orbach
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): A Triple Stack

Themed answers provide us all the ingredients needed for a triple stack, three PANCAKES on a PLATE with syrup dripping down the sides, and a PAT of butter on top:

  • 6A. Serving of butter, as might go on top of several answers in this puzzle : PAT
  • 21A. Kind of makeup : PANCAKE
  • 38A. Flatten : PANCAKE
  • 56A. Breakfast food item : PANCAKE
  • 68A. Item that might go under several answers in this puzzle : PLATE
  • 27D. Syrup brand : AUNT JEMIMA
  • 29D. Syrup brand : HUNGRY JACK

Bill’s time: 6m 07s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

16. Menace in the 1957 film “The Enemy Below” : U-BOAT

The term “U-boat” comes from the German “Unterseeboot” (undersea boat). U-boats were primarily used in WWII to enforce a blockade against enemy commercial shipping, with a main objective being to cut off the supplies being transported to Britain from the British colonies and the US. The epic fight for control of the supply routes became known as the Battle of the Atlantic.

“The Enemy Below” is a 1956 World War II novel by English author Denys Rayner. Rayner had been an officer in the Royal Navy who fought throughout the Battle of the Atlantic. As such, his novel about a prolonged engagement between a British destroyer and a U-boat is particularly realistic and powerful. “The Enemy Below” was adapted into an American film of the same name in 1957 starring Curt Jürgens as a U-boat captain and Robert Mitchum as captain of a US destroyer. Good movie …

17. Car company headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif. : TESLA

Tesla Motors is a manufacturer of electric vehicles based in Palo Alto, California. Tesla is noted for producing the first electric sports car, called the Tesla Roadster. The company followed the sports car with a luxury sedan, the Model S. The Model S was the world’s best selling plug-in electric vehicle of 2015.

18. Cancel : NIX

The use of “nix” as a verb, meaning “to shoot down”, dates back to the early 1900s. Before that “nix” was just a noun meaning “nothing”. “Nix” comes from the German “nichts”, which also means “nothing”.

19. 1992 Joe Pesci title role : VINNY

“My Cousin Vinny” is a really fun film from 1992 starring Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei. In 2008, the American Bar Association rated “My Cousin Vinny” as the #3 Greatest Legal Movie of all time, after “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “12 Angry Men”!

Joe Pesci got his big break in movies with a supporting role in “Raging Bull” starring Robert De Niro, earning Pesci an Oscar nomination early in his career. There followed a string of gangster roles played alongside De Niro, namely “Once Upon a Time in America”, “Goodfellas” and “Casino”. But I like Pesci’s comedic acting best of all. He was marvelous in the “Home Alone” films, the “Lethal Weapon” series, and my personal favorite, “My Cousin Vinny”. Pesci gets a mention in the stage musical “Jersey Boys”, which isn’t too surprising as he is one of the show’s producers.

20. Kitchen shortening? : TSP

Teaspoon (tsp.)

24. Instrument with a notable solo in Springsteen’s “Born to Run” : SAX

The saxophone was invented by Belgian Adolphe Sax. Sax developed lip cancer at one point in his life, and one has to wonder if his affliction was related to his saxophone playing (I am sure not!). I had the privilege of visiting Sax’s grave in the Cemetery of Montmartre in Paris a few years ago.

“Born to Run” is a 1975 Bruce Springsteen song that was the title track of an album of the same name. Springsteen wrote the song, but he wasn’t actually the first to record it. Allan Clarke of the Hollies had that honor, but the release of the Clarke version was delayed until Springsteen’s hit the record shelves. “Born to Run” became Springsteen’s first US Top 40 hit.

30. Swim with the fishes, maybe : SCUBA

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

32. Internet messaging pioneer : AOL

Founded as Quantum Computer Services in 1983, the company changed its name in 1989 to America Online. As America Online went international, the acronym AOL was used in order to shake off the “America-centric” sound to the name. During the heady days of AOL’s success the company could not keep up with the growing number of subscribers, so people trying to connect often encountered busy signals. That’s when users referred to AOL as “Always Off-Line”.

34. One of 18 French kings : LOUIS

There were actually nineteen kings of France with the name Louis. The last, Louis XIX, reigned only for a matter of minutes. He was the eldest son of Charles X, who abdicated at the height of the July Revolution of 1830. When his father abdicated, Louis Antoine, Duke of Angoulême technically became King Louis XIX. However, Louis followed his father’s lead and also abdicated 20 minutes later.

37. Mama lobster : HEN

A male lobster is called a cock, and a female a hen. A lobster weighing less than a pound is called a chicken.

45. “Love It or List It” channel : HGTV

HGTV first went on air in 1994, as the “Home, Lawn and Garden Channel”. The name was shortened (the lawn was dropped) soon after. Nowadays, it’s referred to as HGTV.

46. Hospital patron : ST JUDE

The St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is located in Memphis, Tennessee. The hospital was founded in 1962 by the entertainer Danny Thomas, and it is named after Thomas’ patron saint.

48. Opposite of paix : GUERRE

In French, “guerre” (war) is the opposite of “paix” (peace).

50. Siri’s digital cousin : ALEXA

Amazon’s Alexa is a personal assistant application that is most associated with the Amazon Echo smart speaker. Apparently, one reason the name “Alexa” was chosen is because it might remind one of the Library of Alexandria, the “keeper of all knowledge”.

Siri is a software application that works with Apple’s iOS operating system. “Siri” is an acronym standing for Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface. Voice-over artist Susan Bennett revealed herself as the female American voice of Siri a few years ago. The British version of Siri is called Daniel, and the Australian version is called Karen. Also, “Siri” is a Norwegian name meaning “beautiful woman who leads you to victory”, and was the name the developer had chosen for his first child.

51. Carrier to Oslo : SAS

SAS was formerly known as Scandinavian Airlines System and is the flag carrier of three countries: Denmark, Norway and Sweden. SAS is based at Stockholm Arlanda Airport located just north of the Swedish capital.

55. On the ___ (fleeing) : LAM

To be on the lam is to be in flight, to have escaped from prison. “On the lam” is American slang that originated at the end of the 19th century. The word “lam” also means to “beat” or “thrash”, as in “lambaste”. So “on the lam” might derive from the phrase “to beat it, to scram”.

59. Au ___ (how a French dip is served) : JUS

The French term “au jus” is usually translated as “with it’s own juice”.

63. Broccoli ___ (leafy vegetable) : RABE

Broccoli rabe is perhaps better known as “rapini”, and is a vegetable often used in Mediterranean cuisines. It is quite delicious sauteed with garlic …

66. Sch. whose colors are “true blue” and gold : UCLA

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) gets more applications from potential students than any other university in the country. UCLA also has more students enrolled than any other university in the state.

Down

4. “Licensed to ___” (1986 Beastie Boys album) : ILL

“Licensed to Ill” is a 1986 studio album released by the Beastie Boys. It was the first rap album to reach number-one in the Billboard charts. Beastie Boys are a hip hop band from New York that formed back in 1981.

5. Nonsense : CLAPTRAP

“Claptrap” these days means nonsense talk. It was originally a term used on the stage meaning a trick to attract applause, hence the name “clap trap”.

6. Place that’s “beneath the blue suburban skies,” in a Beatles song : PENNY LANE

When in their teens, Paul McCartney and John Lennon would often head into the center of Liverpool together on the bus. The convenient place for them to meet was at the end of Penny Lane. Years later, Paul McCartney wrote the song “Penny Lane”, which was a big hit in 1967. “Penny Lane” was released as a double A-side record with “Strawberry Fields Forever” penned by John Lennon. Coincidentally, Strawberry Field was also a real location, not far from Penny Lane in Liverpool. Strawberry Field was a Salvation Army Children’s Home in the garden of which Lennon would play as a child. I don’t think Lennon and McCartney ever really forgot their roots …

7. Big name in athletic shoes : ASICS

ASICS is a Japanese company that produces athletic gear, including running shoes. The name comes from the Latin phrase “anima sana in corpore sano” which translates to “a healthy soul in a healthy body”.

8. Banner with a single star : TEXAS FLAG

The single star on the state flag of Texas is a reminder of the “lone star” on the 1836 National Standard of Texas. The single gold star on a blue background symbolized Texas as an independent republic and its struggle for independence from Mexico.

10. Tie that binds, in Japan? : OBI

The sash worn as part of traditional Japanese dress is known as an obi. The obi can be tied at the back in what is called a butterfly knot. The term “obi” is also used for the thick cotton belts that are an essential part of the outfits worn by practitioners of many martial arts. The color of the martial arts obi signifies the wearer’s skill level.

12. “Peter Pan” dog : NANA

In J.M. Barrie’s play and novel about Peter Pan, Peter takes Wendy Darling and her two brothers on adventures on the island of Neverland. Back in the real world, the Darling children are taken care of by a nanny, a Newfoundland dog called Nana. It is Nana who takes Peter Pan’s shadow away from him as he tries to escape from the Darling house one night.

13. River in which Achilles was dipped : STYX

The River Styx of Greek mythology was the river that formed the boundary between the Earth and the Underworld (or “Hades”). The souls of the newly dead had to cross the River Styx in a ferry boat piloted by Charon. Traditionally, a coin would be placed in the mouths of the dead “to pay the ferryman”.

Achilles is a Greek mythological figure, and the main protagonist of Homer’s “Iliad”. When Achilles was born, his mother attempted to make him immortal by dipping him into the River Styx. As he was held by the heel as he was immersed, this became the only vulnerable point on his body. Years later he was killed when a poisoned arrow struck him in the heel. That arrow was shot by Paris.

22. Designation for the Buffalo Bisons and the Durham Bulls : AAA

The Durham Bulls are the Triple-A minor league baseball team based in Durham, North Carolina. The team was established in 1902 as the Durham Tobacconists, and are now the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. It was the Durham Bulls who featured in the 1988 movie “Bull Durham” starring Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon.

23. Snake in “The Jungle Book” : KAA

Kaa is the python character in Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book”.

26. W.W. II arena : ETO

General Dwight D. Eisenhower (DDE) was in command of the European Theater of Operations (ETO) during WWII.

27. Syrup brand : AUNT JEMIMA

The Aunt Jemima brand name was taken from an old vaudeville song called “Old Aunt Jemima”. The whole Aunt Jemima image has been surrounded by controversy for many years, understandably …

29. Syrup brand : HUNGRY JACK

Hungry Jack is a brand of syrup and waffles, and also mashed potatoes.

30. 1971 Tom Jones hit : SHE’S A LADY

“She’s a Lady” is a 1971 song composed by Paul Anka and released by Tom Jones.

Tom Jones … now he has a real voice and is a great showman. I saw him in Las Vegas many, many moons ago, and it was one of the best Vegas shows I’ve ever attended. Although “Tom Jones” is a carefully selected stage name (he was born Thomas Woodward) the name isn’t too far from reality as Jones is his mother’s maiden name. The stage name was chosen by his manager to capitalize on the appeal of “Tom Jones”, a filmed version of the Henry Fielding novel that was having a successful run at the time. The name also emphasized Tom’s Welsh roots, as Jones is a very common name in Wales.

31. “Them’s the breaks,” genteelly : C’EST LA VIE

“C’est la vie” is French for “that’s life”.

33. Hoarder’s possible condition, briefly : OCD

Apparently, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is the fourth most commonly diagnosed mental disorder, making it about as prevalent as asthma.

36. All the oceans, colloquially : SEVEN SEAS

The phrase “the seven seas” has been used for centuries by many different peoples. The actual definition of what constitutes the collection of seven has varied depending on the period and the culture. Nowadays we consider the seven largest bodies of water as the seven seas, namely:

  • The North Pacific Ocean
  • The South Pacific Ocean
  • The North Atlantic Ocean
  • The South Atlantic Ocean
  • The Indian Ocean
  • The Southern Ocean
  • The Arctic Ocean

43. “La Cage ___ Folles” : AUX

The musical “La Cage aux Folles” opened on Broadway in 1985. It is an adaptation of the French play of the same name by Jean Poiret that was first staged in 1973. I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing the stage play nor the musical, but I love the wonderful movie adaptation called “The Birdcage”, which was released in 1996. The film has a very strong cast that includes Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Gene Hackman and Hank Azaria.

47. Fist-bump : DAP

The dap is a form of handshake, and often a complicated and showy routine of fist bumps, slaps and shakes. Some say that “dap” is an acronym standing for “Dignity And Pride”.

49. Great Basin people : UTE

The Great Basin is a large region of the US covering most of Nevada, much of Utah and some parts of Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon and California. The 200,000 square mile area drains internally, with all precipitation sinking underground or flowing into lakes. Most of the lakes in the Great Basin are saline, including the Great Salt Lake, Pyramid Lake and the Humboldt Sink.

51. Fishhook line : SNELL

A snell is a length of thin line that connects a fishhook to heavier line. The knot that is typically used to fasten a hook to the snell is known as a snell knot.

52. Train from Boston to Washington : ACELA

The Acela Express is the fastest train routinely running in the US, getting up to 150 mph at times. The service runs between Boston and Washington D.C. via Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. Introduced in 2000, the brand name “Acela” was created to evoke “acceleration” and “excellence”.

58. Title film character based on William Randolph Hearst : KANE

1941’s “Citizen Kane” was the first film made by Orson Welles, and considered by many to be the finest film ever made. It’s a remarkable achievement by Wells, as he played the lead, and also produced and directed. Despite all the accolades for “Citizen Kane” over the decades, the movie was far from a commercial success in its early run and actually lost money at the box office.

William Randolph Hearst got into publishing when he took over “The San Francisco Examiner” from his father George Hearst. Beyond his work in the newspaper business, William Randolph Hearst was also a politician and represented a district of New York in the US House. His life was the inspiration for the lead role in the 1941 movie “Citizen Kane” with Orson Welles playing the Hearst-like character. If you’re ever driving along the coast between Los Angeles and San Francisco, I’d recommend a stop at Hearst Castle, William Randolph’s magnificent estate located near San Simeon.

61. ___ Spiegel : DER

“Der Spiegel” is a very successful German magazine found on newsstands all over Europe. The name “Der Spiegel” translates from German into “the Mirror”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Sorcery : MAGIC
6. Serving of butter, as might go on top of several answers in this puzzle : PAT
9. Welds : JOINS
14. “Let’s see what you’ve got,” in poker : I CALL
15. Linguistic ending : -ESE
16. Menace in the 1957 film “The Enemy Below” : U-BOAT
17. Car company headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif. : TESLA
18. Cancel : NIX
19. 1992 Joe Pesci title role : VINNY
20. Kitchen shortening? : TSP
21. Kind of makeup : PANCAKE
24. Instrument with a notable solo in Springsteen’s “Born to Run” : SAX
25. Keeps it together : STAYS SANE
27. Hearing-related : AURAL
28. Christianity, for one : FAITH
30. Swim with the fishes, maybe : SCUBA
32. Internet messaging pioneer : AOL
34. One of 18 French kings : LOUIS
37. Mama lobster : HEN
38. Flatten : PANCAKE
41. Vane dir. : NNE
42. ___ noche (tonight: Sp.) : ESTA
44. Spot for a flowerpot : LEDGE
45. “Love It or List It” channel : HGTV
46. Hospital patron : ST JUDE
48. Opposite of paix : GUERRE
50. Siri’s digital cousin : ALEXA
51. Carrier to Oslo : SAS
54. Assess, as a dress : TRY ON
55. On the ___ (fleeing) : LAM
56. Breakfast food item : PANCAKE
59. Au ___ (how a French dip is served) : JUS
60. Like a superfan : AVID
62. “Later!” : SEEYA!
63. Broccoli ___ (leafy vegetable) : RABE
64. 10 bucks, in slang : DIME
65. Totally committed : ALL IN
66. Sch. whose colors are “true blue” and gold : UCLA
67. Info for a graduate : YEAR
68. Item that might go under several answers in this puzzle : PLATE
69. Gets by on, with “out” : EKES

Down

1. Ball catcher : MITT
2. Terrific, in slang : ACES
3. [Horrors!] : [GASP!]
4. “Licensed to ___” (1986 Beastie Boys album) : ILL
5. Nonsense : CLAPTRAP
6. Place that’s “beneath the blue suburban skies,” in a Beatles song : PENNY LANE
7. Big name in athletic shoes : ASICS
8. Banner with a single star : TEXAS FLAG
9. Minor : JUVENILE
10. Tie that binds, in Japan? : OBI
11. Charged particles : IONS
12. “Peter Pan” dog : NANA
13. River in which Achilles was dipped : STYX
22. Designation for the Buffalo Bisons and the Durham Bulls : AAA
23. Snake in “The Jungle Book” : KAA
25. Footlong, for one : SUB
26. W.W. II arena : ETO
27. Syrup brand : AUNT JEMIMA
29. Syrup brand : HUNGRY JACK
30. 1971 Tom Jones hit : SHE’S A LADY
31. “Them’s the breaks,” genteelly : C’EST LA VIE
33. Hoarder’s possible condition, briefly : OCD
35. Imperiled : IN TROUBLE
36. All the oceans, colloquially : SEVEN SEAS
39. With 40-Down, something tapped at a pub : ALE
40. See 39-Down : KEG
43. “La Cage ___ Folles” : AUX
45. Nameless woman : HER
47. Fist-bump : DAP
49. Great Basin people : UTE
51. Fishhook line : SNELL
52. Train from Boston to Washington : ACELA
53. “Don’t hold back!” : SAY IT!
57. “Stat” : ASAP
58. Title film character based on William Randolph Hearst : KANE
61. ___ Spiegel : DER
63. Regret : RUE

3 thoughts on “1017-18 NY Times Crossword 17 Oct 18, Wednesday”

  1. 12:37. I got a kick out of the theme as well.

    @Tre –
    Normally putting 2 of the same answers into a puzzle is not done, but some themes (especially NYT Thursday puzzles but also other days) call for one or many crossword “rules” to be broken. When rules like that are broken, it’s almost always related to the theme – as it is in this case.

    Best –

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