1020-18 NY Times Crossword 20 Oct 18, Saturday

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Constructed by: Ben Gross & James Somers
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 17m 17s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Gang member associated with the color blue : CRIP

The Crips are a street gang with origins in Los Angeles going back to 1969. It is believed that the Crips have up to 35,000 members today across the country, and there is even a presence in the US military both here and abroad. The main rivals of the Crips are the Bloods.

5. Powerful ray : MANTA

The manta ray is the largest species of ray, with the largest one recorded at over 25 feet across and weighing 5,100 pounds. It is sometimes referred to as the sea devil.

10. Sorority letters : PSIS

Psi is the 23rd and penultimate letter of the Greek alphabet, and the one that looks a bit like a trident or a pitchfork.

17. Marie who married at 14 : ANTOINETTE

Marie Antoinette was the wife of Louis XVI, the last king of France. Marie Antoinette was the fifteenth of sixteen children born to the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. The marriage to Louis, her second cousin once removed, was arranged while the two were very young. The prospective bride was “handed over” to the French at a border crossing in 1770 and two weeks later she was married to the future king. Marie Antoinette was just 14 years of age at the time, and Louis only a year her senior. Both Louis and Marie Antoinette were doomed to lose their heads courtesy of the guillotine during the French Revolution.

19. Bean town? : LIMA

Lima is the capital city of Peru. Lima was founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, who named it “la Ciudad de los Reyes” (the City of Kings). He chose this name because the decision to found the city was made on January 6th, the feast of the Epiphany that commemorates the visit of the three kings to Jesus in Bethlehem.

The lima bean is also known as the butter bean. The lima bean was introduced to Europe from the area around Lima, Peru, hence the name.

20. Painting of a bouquet, e.g. : STILL LIFE

“Bouquet” comes from the French word for a “bunch” in the sense of bunch of flowers. In French, the term is derived from an older word describing a little wood or small grove of trees.

21. Israeli P.M. between Netanyahu and Sharon : BARAK

Ehud Barak served as Prime Minister of Israel from 1999 to 2001, taking over from Benjamin Netanyahu. Barak left office after he called a special election for Prime Minister and lost the vote to Ariel Sharon. Barak resigned from the Knesset and took an advisory job with the US company Electronic Data Systems (EDS), and did some security-related work with a private equity company. In 2007, Barak took over leadership of Israel’s Labor Party.

25. Caesarean section? : I CAME

The oft-quoted statement “Veni, vidi, vici” (“I came, I saw, I conquered”) is believed by many to have been written by Julius Caesar. The words date back to 47 BCE and refer to the short war between Rome and Pharnaces II of Pontus.

27. Wyoming town that’s home to the Buffalo Bill Museum : CODY

The city of Cody, Wyoming takes its name from one of the city’s founders Colonel William F. Cody, better known as Buffalo Bill.

Buffalo Bill Cody became a great showman after he retired from the US Army. While serving in the Army, Buffalo Bill was awarded the Medal of Honor. William Frederick Cody earned his “Buffalo Bill” nickname while supplying buffalo meat to the Kansas Pacific Railroad. Cody “hunted” and slaughtered over 4,000 American bison in an 18-month period to fulfill his contract with the railroad.

28. Relatives of tails : TUXEDOS

Apparently, the style of men’s evening dress called a “tuxedo” was first worn to a country club event in 1886 in New York. The use of a dark dinner jacket without tails became fashionable at the club with the members, and the tradition spread from there. The country club was located in Tuxedo Park, New York, giving the style of dress its name.

31. Switzerland’s ___ de Neuchâtel : LAC

Lake Neuchâtel is the largest lake that lies entirely within Switzerland’s borders.

41. Rich cakes : TORTES

A torte is a type of cake made primarily with eggs, sugar and ground nuts (but no flour).

43. Ship-to-ship communication : AHOY THERE!

“Ahoy!” is a nautical term used to signal a vessel. When the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell, he suggested that “ahoy” be used as a standard greeting when answering a call. However, Thomas Edison came up with “hello”, and we’ve been using that ever since.

47. Best Picture before “12 Years a Slave” : ARGO

“Argo” is a 2012 movie that is based on the true story of the rescue of six diplomats hiding out during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The film was directed by and stars Ben Affleck and is produced by Grant Heslov and George Clooney, the same pair who produced the excellent “Good Night, and Good Luck”. I highly recommend “Argo”, although I found the scenes of religious fervor to be very frightening …

“12 Years a Slave” is a powerful 2013 film adapted from the memoir “Twelve Years a Slave” by Solomon Northup. Northup was an African American who was born a free man in Upstate New York where he worked as a farmer and a violinist. He was lured to Washington, D.C. where slavery was legal, and there was kidnapped by slave traders. Northup spent twelve years as a slave in Louisiana before an intermediary made contact with friends and family who were able to obtain his release. The slave trader in Washington who committed the crime was arrested and tried, although he was acquitted, because D.C. law prohibited an African American from testifying against Caucasians.

49. Olympic racer : LUGE

A luge is a small sled used by one or two people, on which one lies face up and feet first. The luge can be compared to the skeleton, a sled for only one person and on which the rider lies face down and goes down the hill head-first. Yikes!

50. Texter’s valediction : TTYL

Talk to you later (TTYL)

Down

2. Mall authority figure : RENT-A-COP

“Rent-a-cop” is a derogatory term for a security guard. The term was used in 1988 as the title for a much-panned comedy-action film starring Burt Reynolds and Liza Minnelli. Minnelli was named Worst Actress at the 1988 Golden Raspberry Awards for her performance in “Rent-A-Cop”, and also for “Arthur 2: On the Rocks” that came out the same year.

4. Astronomer with a geocentric model of the universe : PTOLEMY

Claudius Ptolemy was an Egyptian of Greek ethnicity who lived in the days when Egypt was ruled by Ancient Rome. Ptolemy was, among other things, a mathematician and astronomer. He published a famous treatise on astronomy called “Almagest” which included a list of 48 constellations in a star catalogue. The Ptolemaic system described the cosmos geocentrically, with the Earth at the center and other celestial bodies orbiting. Ptolemy also wrote a work titled “Geography”, which compiled much of the geographical knowledge of the Roman Empire at that time. Centuries after Ptolemy died, Christopher Columbus used the maps in “Geography” to aid him on his voyages of discovery.

5. Macho : MANLY

A man described as macho shows pride in his masculinity. “Macho” is a Spanish word for “male animal”.

6. “Whose woods these ___ …”: Frost : ARE I

When I was a school-kid back in Ireland, Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” was our first introduction to American poetry, and what a lovely introduction it was:

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

8. Chats : TETE-A-TETES

A “tête-à-tête” is a one-on-one meeting, literally “head-to-head” in French.

9. A bitter pull to swallow? : ALE

What’s known as “bitter ale” in the UK corresponds to “pale ale” in the US. I’m a fan …

10. Guiding light : POLARIS

Because the orientation of the Earth’s axis shifts, albeit very slowly, the position of north relative to the stars changes over time. The bright star that is closest to true north is Polaris, and so we call Polaris the “North Star” or “Pole Star”. 14,000 years ago, the nearest bright star to true north was Vega, and it will be so again in about 12,000 years time.

11. Full-bodied red : SHIRAZ

The Iranian city of Shiraz has long been associated with wine, but there is no proven link between the city and the wine/grape we know today as “Shiraz” (also called “Syrah”). Having said that, some clay jars were found just outside of the city of Shiraz that contained wine; wine that was 7,000 years old!

12. Joint tenant? : INMATE

“Joint” is a slang term for “prison” that may only date back to the 1950s. The term can also apply to any location where shady activities take place, and that usage dates back to the 1870s.

24. Moth repellent : CEDAR

Cedar is used for the manufacture of some wardrobes and chests as it has long been believed that the fragrant oil in the wood is a moth-repellent. However, whether or not cedar oil is actually effective at keeping moths away seems to be in doubt.

26. Ended a phone call? : BUTT-DIALED

“Butt dialing” is an alternative name for “pocket dialing”, the accidental placing of a call while a phone is in one’s pocket or purse.

28. King of Cups, e.g. : TAROT

Tarot cards have been around since the mid-1400s, and for centuries were simply used for entertainment as a game. It has only been since the late 1800s that the cards have been used by fortune tellers to predict the future. The list of tarot cards includes the Wheel of Fortune, the Hanged Man and the Lovers.

32. Hannah Montana, for one : ALTER EGO

Miley Cyrus became famous playing the Disney Channel character “Hannah Montana”. Miley is the daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus. When she was born, Billy Ray and his wife named their daughter “Destiny Hope”, but soon they themselves calling her “Smiley” as she was always smiling as a baby, and this got shortened to Miley over time. Cute …

35. “Eight Elvises” and “Sixteen Jackies” : WARHOLS

American artist Andy Warhol was a leader in the pop art movement that emerged in the mid-1950s. Many of his works became the most expensive paintings ever sold. A 1963 Warhol canvas titled “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)” fetched over 100 million dollars in 2013.

38. Panegyric : EULOGY

A eulogy is a speech or piece of writing that praises someone who has recently passed away or who is retiring. “Eulogy” comes from the Greek word “eulogia” meaning “praise”.

A panegyric was originally a formal speech made in public, the intent of which was to praise some person of some entity. Later, the term came to mean a laudatory verse, such as an ode. “Panegyris” is the Greek for “speech fit for a general assembly”.

39. Ice planet in “The Empire Strikes Back” : HOTH

The fictional planet known as Hoth is featured in the “Star Wars” movie “The Empire Strikes Back”. Hoth is an ice planet, and home to a secret base belonging to the Rebel Alliance.

41. Pecks, in a way : TYPES

“Hunt and peck” is a way to describe two-fingered typing.

44. Role for a young Ron Howard : OPIE

Opie Taylor is the character played by Ron Howard on “The Andy Griffith Show”. Opie lives with widowed father Andy Taylor (played by Andy Griffith) and his great-aunt Beatrice “Aunt Bee” Taylor (played by Frances Bavier). Ron Howard first played the role in 1960 in the pilot show, when he was just 5 years old. Howard sure has come a long way since playing Opie Taylor. He has directed some fabulous movies including favorites of mine like “Apollo 13”, “A Beautiful Mind” and “The Da Vinci Code”.

46. Spy grp. : FBI

What we know today as the FBI was set up in 1908 as the BOI, the Bureau of Investigation. The name was changed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935. The Bureau was set up at the behest of President Theodore Roosevelt. President Roosevelt was largely moved to do so after the 1901 assassination of President McKinley, as there was a perception that anarchists were threatening law and order. The FBI’s motto uses the organization’s initialism, and is “Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Gang member associated with the color blue : CRIP
5. Powerful ray : MANTA
10. Sorority letters : PSIS
14. Advanced : LENT
15. Spinning : AREEL
16. “I’m so sorry” : OH NO
17. Marie who married at 14 : ANTOINETTE
19. Bean town? : LIMA
20. Painting of a bouquet, e.g. : STILL LIFE
21. Israeli P.M. between Netanyahu and Sharon : BARAK
22. With assurance : SAFELY
23. Make deep cuts in : LACERATE
25. Caesarean section? : I CAME
26. Easy-to-eat, in a way : BITE-SIZED
27. Wyoming town that’s home to the Buffalo Bill Museum : CODY
28. Relatives of tails : TUXEDOS
29. Steamy place : SPA
30. Rapping : RAT-A-TAT
31. Switzerland’s ___ de Neuchâtel : LAC
34. Something a lawyer might make : PARTNER
35. Something that’s “free” (although that’s debatable) : WILL
36. They’re hard to beat : GREAT ODDS
39. Can’t not : HAS TO
40. Head case, so to speak : NEUROTIC
41. Rich cakes : TORTES
42. Man with ___ : A PLAN
43. Ship-to-ship communication : AHOY THERE!
45. Courts : WOOS
46. Dead ringers? : FLIP PHONES
47. Best Picture before “12 Years a Slave” : ARGO
48. Contradict : BELIE
49. Olympic racer : LUGE
50. Texter’s valediction : TTYL
51. Does nothing : IDLES
52. Spy : SPOT

Down

1. Makeup of a high school reading list : CLASSICS
2. Mall authority figure : RENT-A-COP
3. Palestinian uprising : INTIFADA
4. Astronomer with a geocentric model of the universe : PTOLEMY
5. Macho : MANLY
6. “Whose woods these ___ …”: Frost : ARE I
7. Modern invitation to hook up : NETFLIX AND CHILL
8. Chats : TETE-A-TETES
9. A bitter pull to swallow? : ALE
10. Guiding light : POLARIS
11. Full-bodied red : SHIRAZ
12. Joint tenant? : INMATE
13. Gouged : SOAKED
18. Latin pronoun : ILLE
21. Stupefy : BESOT
24. Moth repellent : CEDAR
26. Ended a phone call? : BUTT-DIALED
28. King of Cups, e.g. : TAROT
30. Sing about? : RAT ON
31. “Hey!” : LISTEN UP!
32. Hannah Montana, for one : ALTER EGO
33. Narrowly spaced : CLOSE-SET
34. Protection from harmful rays : PARASOL
35. “Eight Elvises” and “Sixteen Jackies” : WARHOLS
36. Really annoy : GNAW AT
37. Bit of news : REPORT
38. Panegyric : EULOGY
39. Ice planet in “The Empire Strikes Back” : HOTH
41. Pecks, in a way : TYPES
44. Role for a young Ron Howard : OPIE
46. Spy grp. : FBI

4 thoughts on “1020-18 NY Times Crossword 20 Oct 18, Saturday”

  1. 40:47. I didn’t set any speed records, but I fought my way through this one to finish. I found the cluing very clever. BUTT DIALED and FLIPPHONES crossing was rather amusing. Also liked NETFLIX AND CHILL – now that’s a cheap date.

    Enjoyed this one. Agree with Marc that Thursday’s puzzle was the toughest this week.

    Best –

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