1022-18 NY Times Crossword 22 Oct 18, Monday

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

Today’s Reveal Answer: Planets

Themed answers are adjectives that are derived from the names of PLANETS:

  • 45D. Etymological origins of the answers to the five starred clues : PLANETS
  • 17A. *Capricious : MERCURIAL (from “Mercury”)
  • 22A. *Forgivable : VENIAL (from “Venus”)
  • 36A. *Warlike : MARTIAL (from “Mars”)
  • 55A. *Jolly : JOVIAL (from “Jupiter”)
  • 61A. *Gloomy : SATURNINE (from “Saturn”)

Bill’s time: 5m 29s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9. 1, 8, 27, 64, etc. : CUBES

A perfect cube is a number that is the cube of an integer. For example, 8 is the perfect cube of 2. On the other hand, 10.648 is just the cube of 2.2 (an non-integer).

14. The “U” of B.T.U. : UNIT

In the world of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), the power of a heating or cooling unit can be measured using the British Thermal Units (BTU). This dated unit is the amount of energy required to heat a pound of water so that the water’s temperature increases by one degree Fahrenheit.

15. 1982 movie inspired by Pong : TRON

Released in 1982, Disney’s “Tron” was one of the first mainstream films to make extensive use of computer graphics. The main role in the movie is played by Jeff Bridges. The original spawned a 2010 sequel called “Tron: Legacy”, as well as a 2012 TV show called “Tron: Uprising”.

Do you remember the arcade video game that was like a game of tennis, with paddles moving up and down to hit what looked like a ball, over what looked like a net? Well, that was Pong. The arcade version of Pong was introduced in 1972, with Atari selling a home version through Sears for the Christmas market in 1975.

16. Yoga posture : ASANA

“Asana” is a Sanskrit word literally meaning “sitting down”. The asanas are the poses that a practitioner of yoga assumes. The most famous is the lotus position, the cross-legged pose called “padmasana”.

17. *Capricious : MERCURIAL (from “Mercury”)

“Mercurial” is an adjective used to describe things related to Mercury, the god or the planet. A person described as mercurial is said to have a changeable temperament, a characteristic long associated with people born under the influence of the planet. This erratic quality may be an association with the fluid properties of mercury, the liquid metal.

Something “capricious” is impulsive or unpredictable. The term comes into English from the Italian “capriccio” meaning “sudden start or motion”, which in turn comes from the Latin word “capreolus” meaning “wild goat”.

22. *Forgivable : VENIAL (from “Venus”)

Something described as venial is forgivable, can be pardoned. The term “venial” comes into English via French from the Latin “venia” meaning “forgiveness, pardon”.

23. ___ McDonald (clown) : RONALD

“Fast Food Nation” is an expose by investigative journalist Eric Schlosser that reveals in the inner workings of the US fast food industry. One of Schlosser’s more controversial findings was the deliberate targeting of children by the marketing folks at McDonald’s. McDonald’s copied the marketing plans of Walt Disney to attract not only children, but also their parents and grandparents. That’s how Ronald McDonald was born …

27. Gas brand whose logo has a blue oval : ESSO

The brand name Esso has its roots in the old Standard Oil company as it uses the initial letters of “Standard” and “Oil” (ESS-O). The Esso brand was replaced by Exxon in the US, but ESSO is still used in many other countries.

30. Pupu ___ : PLATTER

In Hawaiian, “pupu” is a word originally meaning “snail”. Nowadays “pupu” denotes many different types of food that are usually served as an hors d’oeuvres. A “pupu platter” then is a selection of such foods served in a Hawaiian restaurant.

32. Isaac’s elder son : ESAU

Esau, was the grandson of Abraham and the twin brother of Jacob, the founder of the Israelites. When Esau was born to Isaac and Rebekah, the event was described “Now the first came forth, red all over like a hairy garment”. Esau is portrayed later in life as being very different from his brother Jacob, as a hunter and someone who loves the outdoor life.

33. Gas brand whose logo has a red triangle : CITGO

The oil and gasoline company Citgo was founded in 1910 as Cities Services Company, a supplier of gas and electricity to public utilities. City Services Company introduced the Citgo brand in 1965 in its petroleum businesses. Citgo is now owned by the national oil company of Venezuela.

36. *Warlike : MARTIAL (from “Mars”)

Something described as martial is suited for war. The term “martial” ultimately derives from Latin and means “Arts of Mars”, a reference to Mars, the Roman god of war.

38. Little rapscallion : IMP

We might call a little imp a rapscallion, an evolution from “rascallion”, which in turn comes from “rascal”.

41. Glass that makes a rainbow : PRISM

When light passes through a prism, it splits up (disperses) into differing wavelengths. It then becomes clear that white light is actually a mixture of different colors, which show up as beautiful spectra.

42. Website for crowdsourced reviews : YELP

yelp.com is a website that provides a local business directory and reviews of services. The site is sort of like Yellow Pages on steroids, and the term “yelp” is derived from “yel-low p-ages”.

52. “The War of the Worlds” villains, briefly : ETS

“The War of the Worlds” is a science fiction classic penned by H. G. Wells in 1895-97. This compelling story of Martians invading Earth has been adapted many times into radio dramas, a television series and several movies.

54. Sitting Bull’s people : LAKOTA

Sitting Bull was a Hunkpapa Lakota Native American who led his people in resisting settlement of tribal lands. Sitting Bull is most notably associated with the victory over the US Cavalry, led by Lt. Col. Custer, at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. US forces pursued Sitting Bull for five years after Little Bighorn until he surrendered in 1881. He was held as a prisoner of war for almost two years before being released onto a reservation. In 1884, he was allowed to leave the reservation and joined Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show, where he earned a tidy sum for a few months. Several years later an order was issued for his arrest due to concern that he was about to flee his reservation. Sitting Bull was shot during an altercation as he was being taken into custody.

55. *Jolly : JOVIAL (from “Jupiter”)

Someone described a jovial exhibits good humor and cheerfulness. The term “jovial” comes from the Latin word “Iovius” meaning “pertaining to Jupiter”. Jupiter was the Roman god of the sky. Astrologers assert that those of us born under the sign of the planet Jupiter are convivial in nature, which explains our usage of “jovial”.

59. Figure in the form 123-45-6789, e.g.: Abbr. : SSN

A Social Security number (SSN) is divided into three parts i.e AAA-GG-SSSS, Originally, the Area Number (AAA) was the code for the office that issued the card. Since 1973, the Area Number reflects the ZIP code from which the application was made. The GG in the SSN is the Group Number, and the SSSS in the number is the Serial Number. However, this is all moot. Since 2011 SSNs are assigned randomly. However, some random numbers have been excluded from use, i.e. Area Numbers 000, 666 (!) and 900-999.

61. *Gloomy : SATURNINE (from “Saturn”)

“Saturnine” can mean “gloomy, sullen”, or can describe someone with the temperament of one born under the astrological influence of Saturn. Astrologically, Saturn is associated with many characteristics, including the governing of the “melancholic humor”.

64. Vaper’s device : E-CIG

An electronic cigarette (also called an “e-cigarette”) is a battery-powered device that resembles a real cigarette. The e-cigarette vaporizes a solution that contains nicotine, forming a vapor that resembles smoke. The vapor is inhaled in a process called “vaping”, delivering the nicotine into the body. The assumption is that an e-cigarette is healthier than a regular cigarette as the inhaled vapor is less harmful than inhaled smoke. But, that may not be so …

65. Italy’s shape : BOOT

In the Italian Peninsula in Southern Europe, the “boot” is the mainland of Italy, and the the ball being kicked by the boot is the island of Sicily.

67. Composer John with six Emmys : TESH

John Tesh is a pianist and composer, as well as a radio and television presenter. For many years Tesh presented the show “Entertainment Tonight”. For “ET” he once covered the filming of an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. As part of the piece, he volunteered to act as a Klingon warrior. If you see the “Star Trek: TNG” episode called “The Icarus Factor” in reruns, watch out for John Tesh engaging in ritual torture with Mr. Worf as his victim.

Down

3. “Hamilton” composer : MIRANDA

Lin-Manuel Miranda is composer and playwright from New York City, and the creator and star of the hit Broadway musicals “Hamilton” and “In the Heights”. Miranda also co-wrote the songs for the 2016 Disney animated feature “Moana”. He started composing early, and wrote jingles as a child. One of those jingles was later used by Eliot Spitzer in his 2006 gubernatorial campaign.

5. Brokerage with an asterisk in its name : E*TRADE

E*Trade is mainly an online discount brokerage. It was founded in 1982 in Palo Alto, California, and I used to drive by its headquarters almost every day. The company is now run out of New York City. E*Trade used to produce those famous Super Bowl ads with the talking babies staring into a webcam.

6. Clink on the drink : BRIG

A brig is a two-masted sailing vessel, with the name “brig” coming from the related vessel known as a brigantine. Brigs and brigantines are both two-masted, but there is a difference in the sails used. It was the use of retired brigs as prison ships that led to use of “brig” as the word for a jail or prison cell on a seagoing vessel.

The Clink (also “the Clynke”) was a celebrated prison in Southwark, England owned by the Bishop of Winchester. The prison was given the name “the clink”, probably from the sound made by metal keys in metal locks and metal chains around ankles. The prison was closed down in 1780, and around the same time “clink” entered the English language as a slang term for “jail”.

8. Weekly parody source, briefly : SNL

“Saturday Night Live” (SNL)

10. Online discussion forum : USENET

Remember the good old days, when you read messages online in “newsgroups”? Well, that system of aggregating public messages is known as Usenet, and it’s still around today. Usenet started operating in 1980, some ten years before the World Wide Web was introduced (which system has displaced Usenet in terms of popularity). Usenet definitely played a significant part in the history of the Internet. For instance, the terms “FAQ” and “spam” were both born on Usenet.

11. Professional coffee server : BARISTA

The person who serves coffee in a coffee shop is often called a “barista”. “Barista” is the Italian for “bartender”.

18. ___ fruit (wrinkly citrus) : UGLI

The ugli fruit is a hybrid of an orange and a tangerine that was first discovered growing wild in Jamaica where most ugli fruit comes from today. “UGLI” is a trademark name that is a variant of “ugly”, a nod to the fruits unsightly wrinkled rind.

22. Europe’s longest river : VOLGA

The Volga is the longest river in Europe. It is also considered the national river of Russia.

24. Kwik-E-Mart minder on “The Simpsons” : APU

The fictional Kwik-E-Mart store is operated by Apu Nahasapeemapetilon on “The Simpsons” TV show. Apu is married to Manjula, and the couple have eight children. The convenience store owner doesn’t seem to be making much use of his Ph.D in computer science that he earned in the US. Apu’s undergraduate degree is from Caltech (the Calcutta Technical Institute), where he graduated top of his class of seven million students …

26. Kia model : OPTIMA

The Kia Optima was sold for a while in Canada and Europe as the Kia Magentis.

31. Alternative to Hotmail : 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”.

Hotmail was introduced in 1996 and was one of the world’s first webmail services. Webmail is an email service in which the emails are stored remotely on a server, rather than on a user’s own computer. Hotmail was acquired by Microsoft in 1997, who replaced it with Outlook.com in 2013.

34. “___ Not Unusual” (Tom Jones standard) : IT’S

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.

36. Car speed meas. : MPH

Miles per hour (mph)

37. Shakespearean sprite : ARIEL

Ariel is a spirit, and a character who appears in William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and who becomes a servant of the magician Prospero. Ariel was actually viewed as a male character when the play was first staged, and the text of the play supports this assumption. Many believe that the part was originally played by a boy actor, and over time the tendency has been to use female actors, but not exclusively.

38. Site of a 1945 Allied victory in the Pacific : IWO JIMA

Iwo Jima is a volcanic island located south of Tokyo that today is uninhabited. The name is Japanese for “Sulfur Island”, referring to the sulfur mining on which Iwo Jima’s economy once depended. There were about a thousand Japanese civilians living on the island prior to WWII. In 1944, there was a massive influx of Japanese military personnel in anticipation of the inevitable US invasion. As the Japanese military moved in, the civilians were forced out and no one has lived there since. Control of the island was wrested from the Japanese in the five-week Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. Said battle was one of the bloodiest in the Pacific theater in WWII.

39. Amino acid vis-à-vis a protein, e.g. : MONOMER

Amino acids are essential to life in many ways, not least of which is their use as the building blocks of proteins. Nine amino acids are considered “essential” for humans. These nine must be included in the diet as they cannot be synthesized in the body.

42. Tibetan beast : YAK

The English word “yak” is an Anglicized version of the Tibetan name for the male of the species. Yak milk is much prized in the Tibetan culture. It is made into cheese and butter, and the butter is used to make a tea that is consumed in great volume by Tibetans. The butter is also used as a fuel in lamps, and during festivals the butter is even sculpted into religious icons.

47. Subway entrances : STILES

A stile is a structure allowing people to pass over or through a fence, while at the same time preventing livestock from escaping. The derivative term “turnstile” describes a revolving structure in a wall or fence that allows the controlled passage of people.

50. Catherine who married Henry VIII : PARR

Henry VIII was the English King with the most wives. Well, something rubbed off on his last wife Catherine Parr. She was to become the English Queen with the most husbands! By the time she married Henry she had been widowed twice, and after Henry died she married once again, racking up four husbands in all.

53. The final frontier, per “Star Trek” : SPACE

The original “Star Trek” TV show opened each episode with a speech from Captain Kirk, played by William Shatner:

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

58. Big name in elevators : 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.

62. Org. for the Sixers and Spurs : NBA

The Philadelphia 76ers basketball team is one of the oldest franchises in the NBA. The “Sixers” were formed in 1946 as the Syracuse Nationals. The team moved to Philadelphia in 1963, and the name 76er was chosen in a fan contest, a name that honors the men who fought for the country’s independence in 1776.

The Spurs are the professional basketball team based in San Antonio, Texas. The team was founded as the Dallas Chaparrals of the American Basketball Association (ABA) in 1967.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Base after third base : HOME
5. Flows back : EBBS
9. 1, 8, 27, 64, etc. : CUBES
14. The “U” of B.T.U. : UNIT
15. 1982 movie inspired by Pong : TRON
16. Yoga posture : ASANA
17. *Capricious : MERCURIAL (from “Mercury”)
19. French “thank you” : MERCI
20. “… man ___ mouse?” : OR A
21. Jokester’s jokes : GAGS
22. *Forgivable : VENIAL (from “Venus”)
23. ___ McDonald (clown) : RONALD
25. Additionally : TOO
27. Gas brand whose logo has a blue oval : ESSO
28. “Desserts” made from wet dirt : MUD PIES
30. Pupu ___ : PLATTER
32. Isaac’s elder son : ESAU
33. Gas brand whose logo has a red triangle : CITGO
35. What free apps often come with : ADS
36. *Warlike : MARTIAL (from “Mars”)
38. Little rapscallion : IMP
41. Glass that makes a rainbow : PRISM
42. Website for crowdsourced reviews : YELP
46. Church activity : WORSHIP
48. Clothing : APPAREL
51. “Will do!” : ON IT!
52. “The War of the Worlds” villains, briefly : ETS
54. Sitting Bull’s people : LAKOTA
55. *Jolly : JOVIAL (from “Jupiter”)
57. Meriting a “D,” say : POOR
59. Figure in the form 123-45-6789, e.g.: Abbr. : SSN
60. “___ ears!” (“Listening!”) : I’M ALL
61. *Gloomy : SATURNINE (from “Saturn”)
63. Portions (out) : METES
64. Vaper’s device : E-CIG
65. Italy’s shape : BOOT
66. “You ___ right!” : ARE SO
67. Composer John with six Emmys : TESH
68. Tiny hill builders : ANTS

Down

1. “Just play along, please” : HUMOR ME
2. Burdensome : ONEROUS
3. “Hamilton” composer : MIRANDA
4. List-ending abbr. : ETC
5. Brokerage with an asterisk in its name : E*TRADE
6. Clink on the drink : BRIG
7. Toot one’s own horn : BOAST
8. Weekly parody source, briefly : SNL
9. Arrived : CAME
10. Online discussion forum : USENET
11. Professional coffee server : BARISTA
12. Fully surrounded (by) : ENCASED
13. Ones under a captain’s command : SAILORS
18. ___ fruit (wrinkly citrus) : UGLI
22. Europe’s longest river : VOLGA
24. Kwik-E-Mart minder on “The Simpsons” : APU
26. Kia model : OPTIMA
29. What actors memorize : SCRIPT
31. Alternative to Hotmail : AOL
34. “___ Not Unusual” (Tom Jones standard) : IT’S
36. Car speed meas. : MPH
37. Shakespearean sprite : ARIEL
38. Site of a 1945 Allied victory in the Pacific : IWO JIMA
39. Amino acid vis-à-vis a protein, e.g. : MONOMER
40. Public’s opposite : PRIVATE
42. Tibetan beast : YAK
43. Beachfront property woe : EROSION
44. “How about we forgo that” : LET’S NOT
45. Etymological origins of the answers to the five starred clues : PLANETS
47. Subway entrances : STILES
49. What oxen pull, in England : PLOUGH
50. Catherine who married Henry VIII : PARR
53. The final frontier, per “Star Trek” : SPACE
56. Additionally : ALSO
58. Big name in elevators : OTIS
61. Prepare, as a dinner table : SET
62. Org. for the Sixers and Spurs : NBA