1026-18 NY Times Crossword 26 Oct 18, Friday

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Constructed by: Evan Kalish
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 13m 22s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15. Tahoe, for one : ALPINE LAKE

Lake Tahoe (often referred to simply as “Tahoe”) is up in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and is located right on the border between California and Nevada. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in the country, and the largest lake in general, behind the five Great Lakes. It’s also the second deepest lake, with only the beautiful Crater Lake in Oregon being deeper. Given its location, there are tall casinos that sit right on the shore on the Nevada side of the state line where gambling is legal.

16. Costa ___ : RICA

Costa Rica is a country in Central America that is bordered by Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the South. Costa Rica is remarkable in my opinion, a leader on the world stage in many areas. It has been referred to as the “greenest” country in the world, the “happiest” country in the world, and has a highly educated populace. In 1949, the country unilaterally abolished its own army … permanently!

17. Trendy salad type : KALE CAESAR

The Caesar salad was created by restaurateur Caesar Cardini at the Hotel Caesar’s in Tijuana, Mexico. The original recipe called for whole lettuce leaves that were to be lifted up by the stem and eaten with the fingers.

18. Plot in Genesis : EDEN

The Book of Genesis is the first book in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles. Some of the main figures in the book are Adam and Eve, Noah, Moses and Abraham. “Genesis” is a Greek word meaning “origin, creation”.

19. Prey for a dingo : EMU

The dingo is a wild dog of Australia. It is thought to have originated from domesticated dogs that were brought to Australia with humans that settled the land centuries ago.

21. Assessment of acidity : PH TEST

As we all recall from chemistry class, a pH of 7 is considered neutral. Anything less than 7 is an acid, and anything above 7 is a base.

23. Platform that many things run on : IOS

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

24. Part of the Trinity : SON

In the Christian tradition, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit/Holy Ghost are three persons in one divine being, the Holy Trinity.

31. Knights, bishops, rooks, etc. : MEN

It is believed that the game of chess originated in northwest India. It evolved from a 6th-century game called “chaturanga”, a Sanskrit word meaning “four divisions”. These four (military) divisions were represented in the game:

  • Infantry (now “pawns”)
  • Cavalry (now “knights”)
  • Elephants (now “bishops”)
  • Chariots (now “rooks”)

32. Fluff pieces : LINT

“Lint”, meaning “fluff”, is one of those terms that I had to learn when I moved to the US. We call the same thing “fuzz” on the other side of the pond …

33. See 47-Down : SKUNK
(47D. First name of a cartoon 33-Across : PEPE)

Skunks have anal scent glands that can be used as defensive weapons. The glands produce sulfur-containing chemicals that have a really awful smell and that can irritate the eyes and skin.

34. Not final : BETA

In the world of software development, the first tested issue of a new program is usually called the alpha version. Expected to have a lot of bugs that need to be fixed, the alpha release is usually distributed to a small number of testers. After reported bugs have been eliminated, the refined version is called a beta and is released to a wider audience, but with the program clearly labeled as “beta”. The users generally check functionality and report further bugs that are encountered. The beta version feeds into a release candidate, the version that is tested just prior to the software being sold into the market, hopefully bug-free.

40. Excel-using exec, maybe : CFO

Chief financial officer (CFO)

Microsoft Excel is the spreadsheet program included in the Microsoft Office suite of applications. Microsoft’s first spreadsheet program was introduced back in 1982 and called Multiplan. Multiplan’s popularity waned due to the success of the competing product Lotus 1-2-3. Microsoft then introduced Excel, initially just for the Macintosh. When Excel was extended to Windows, Lotus was slow to respond and Microsoft took over the market.

43. Subway operator, for short : MTA

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has public transportation responsibility in the state of New York (as well as part of Connecticut). “MTA” might also refer to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is known as “the Metro” and sometimes “the MTA”.

46. Stuffed appetizer : SAMOSA

A samosa is quite a tasty appetizer. It is usually a triangular-shaped savory that often has a vegetarian filling. The word “samosa” is primarily used on Indian menus, and the name comes from “sanbosag”, the name for the dish in Persia.

47. Relative of sepia : PUCE

The name of the purple shade known as “puce” has a strange derivation. “Puce” came into English from French, in which language “puce” means “flea”. Supposedly, puce is the color of a flea!

Sepia is that rich, brown-grey color so common in old photographs. “Sepia” is the Latinized version of the Greek word for cuttlefish, as sepia pigment is derived from the ink sac of the cuttlefish. Sepia ink was commonly used for writing and drawing as far back as Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece. The “sepia tone” of old photographs is not the result of deterioration over time. Rather, it is the result of a deliberate preservation process which converts the metallic silver in the photographic image to a more stable silver sulfide. Prints that have been sepia-toned can last in excess of 150 years.

48. Cable inits. popular with female viewers : OWN

Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN)

53. Hilton alternative : OMNI

Omni Hotels & Resorts is headquartered in Irvine, California and has properties in the US, Canada and Mexico.

55. Funny Martha : RAYE

Martha Raye was a comic actress as well as a singer. Raye was famous for the size of her mouth, something that she used to her own advantage. As her nickname was “The Big Mouth”, she made a little money appearing in commercials for the Polident denture cleaner in the eighties. Her line was, “So take it from the Big Mouth: new Polident Green gets tough stains clean!”

56. Wheedles : SWEET TALKS

“To wheedle” is to influence by flattery for one’s gain. Such a lovely verb, I think …

Down

1. Part of the original “Star Trek” cast : TAKEI

Mr. Hikaru Sulu was played by George Takei in the original “Star Trek” series. Takei has played lots of roles over the years, and is still very active in television. Did you know that he appeared in the 1963 film, “Pt-109”? He played the helmsman steering the Japanese destroyer that ran down John F. Kennedy’s motor torpedo boat. From destroyer helmsman to starship helmsman …

2. National alternative : ALAMO

The third largest car rental company over recent years is Alamo, which was founded in 1974. Alamo made inroads (pun!) into the market by popularizing the idea of “unlimited mileage”.

National Car Rental was founded back in 1947, a conglomerate of 24 independent rental agencies that already existed around the country.

6. September and October, for pumpkins : SEASON

It’s thought that the tradition of pumpkin carving originated in Ireland, although turnips and beets were used over there instead of pumpkins. The turnips and beets were carved for the festival called Samhain, which marked the end of the harvest season.

8. Farrier’s tool : RASP

A blacksmith is someone who forges and shapes iron, perhaps to make horseshoes. A farrier is someone who fits horseshoes onto the hooves of horses. The term “blacksmith” is sometimes used for one who shoes horses, especially as many blacksmiths make horseshoes and fit them as well.

9. Going by : AKA

Also known as (aka)

10. Postarrest ritual : PERP WALK

When a crime suspect in the custody of the police is walked through a public place, often to and from a courthouse, it is known as a “perp walk”.

11. “___ Arrives” (1967 soul album) : ARETHA

I think Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, had a tough life. Franklin had her first son when she was just 13-years-old, and her second at 15. In 2008, “Rolling Stone” magazine ranked Franklin as number one in their list of the greatest singers of all time.

13. Polar features : ICE SHEETS

The polar ice cap at the north of our planet is floating pack ice in the Arctic Ocean. The southern polar ice cap is an ice sheet that covers the landmass known as Antarctica. About 70% of all the freshwater on Earth is held in the southern polar ice cap.

14. Seat of Orange County, Calif. : SANTA ANA

Santa Ana is the county seat of Orange County, California and takes its name from the Santa Ana River that runs through the city.

22. Kansas’ Fort ___ : HAYS

Fort Hays was a frontier post and US Army fort near Hays, Kansas. The facility was known as Fort Fletcher when it was established in 1865, named for Missouri governor Thomas C. Fletcher.

28. Major lobbying group, colloquially : BIG PHARMA

“Big Pharma” is a nickname for the pharmaceutical industry. The monker comes from the acronym for the lobbying group for the industry, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

30. “Blue ___” (Irving Berlin tune) : SKIES

The song “Blue Skies” was written in 1926 by Irving Berlin. The song was written for a Rodgers and Hart musical called “Betsy” that was a flop. “Betsy” only ran for 39 performances, but the song “Blue Skies” was a huge hit. On the opening night of the show, the lead singer had to sing an encore of “Blue Skies” 24 times!

Irving Berlin’s real name was Israel Baline, a Russian immigrant who came to New York with his family in 1893. In the words of composer Jerome Kern, “Irving Berlin has no place in American Music – he is American music”. That would seem to ring true looking at a selection of his hits: “Alexander’s Ragtime Band”, “White Christmas”, “There’s No Business Like Show Business” and of course, “God Bless America”. Berlin was married twice. His first marriage was in 1912, to Dorothy Goetz. Sadly, Dorothy died just a few months later from typhoid fever that she contracted on their honeymoon in Havana. His second marriage was to a young heiress, Ellin Mackay. That marriage lasted a lot longer, until 1988 when Ellin passed away at the age of 85. Irving himself passed away in 1989, at the ripe old age of 101 years.

32. Lasciviously desires : LUSTS FOR

“Lascivious” is such an appropriate-sounding word, I always think. It means “lecherous, salacious”.

34. Part of one’s Twitter page, informally : BIO

I have never tweeted in my life, and have no plans to do so (but one should never say “never”!). Twitter is a microblogging service that limits any post sent to just 280 characters. In a sense, it is similar to this blog. Here I send out a post once a day containing information that I think might be useful to folks (thank you for reading!). I don’t think I could send out much of interest using just 280 characters.

37. Bills are found in it : AFC EAST

American Football Conference (AFC)

The Buffalo Bills, founded in 1959, were named after an earlier team with the same name that had merged with the Cleveland browns back in 1950. The Bills name was obviously popular with fans, as the name was chosen in public contest. The older team had been named for “Buffalo Bill” Cody. The team mascot is Billy Buffalo, and the cheerleaders are known as the Buffalo Jills.

40. Prestige : CACHET

“Cachet” is a French word that we use in English for an official seal, usually one applied to a document. We also use the term figuratively. When we say that something has “a certain cachet”, we are implying that it has a certain level of prestige, as if some authority has given it a seal of approval.

42. South American capital : SUCRE

Sucre is the constitutional capital of Bolivia (La Paz is the administrative capital and seat of the government). It is named for independence leader Antonio José de Sucre, who was the second president of Bolivia as well as the fourth president of Peru.

43. High muck-a-muck : MOGUL

A mogul is a person with power. The term comes from the Mughal emperors of India and South Asia.

44. Move behind? : TWERK

Twerking is a dancing move in which a woman (usually) shakes her hips up and down causing a lot of “wobbling”. It’s possible that “twerk” is a portmanteau of “twist” and “jerk”. The term may have been coined back in the early 2000s with the song “Whistle While You Twurk” released by the Ying Yang Twins. Twerking became a real phenomenon in 2013 when Miley Cyrus posted a video of herself twerking in a unicorn suit to the 2011 song “Wop” by J. Dash. That video went viral on YouTube, amassing over 4 million views in no time at all.

45. Very long chain : ANDES

The Andes range is the longest continuous chain of mountains in the world, as it runs down the length of the west coast of South America for about 4,300 miles, from Venezuela in the north to Chile in the south. The highest peak in the Andes is Mt. Aconcagua, at an elevation of 22,841 feet. Interestingly, the peak of Mt. Chimborazo in Ecuador is the furthest point on the Earth’s surface from the center of the planet. That’s because of the equatorial “bulge” around the Earth’s “waist”.

47. First name of a cartoon 33-Across : PEPE
(33A. See 47-Down : SKUNK)

Pepé Le Pew is a very likeable cartoon character from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series. Pepé is a French skunk, first introduced way back in 1945. He is always thinking of “l’amour” and chases the lady skunks, or a black cat with a white stripe accidentally painted down her back.

52. It checks for leaks, for short : NSA

National Security Agency (NSA)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. It might go to the dogs : TABLE SCRAP
11. Unaltered : AS IS
15. Tahoe, for one : ALPINE LAKE
16. Costa ___ : RICA
17. Trendy salad type : KALE CAESAR
18. Plot in Genesis : EDEN
19. Prey for a dingo : EMU
20. “Rush!” : ASAP!
21. Assessment of acidity : PH TEST
23. Platform that many things run on : IOS
24. Part of the Trinity : SON
25. Maniacal laugh : BWAHAHA
26. Traditional retirement present : PEN
27. Ambiguity : GRAY AREA
28. Selection ___ : BIAS
30. Breezes (along) : SAILS
31. Knights, bishops, rooks, etc. : MEN
32. Fluff pieces : LINT
33. See 47-Down : SKUNK
34. Not final : BETA
35. Word before “I hate that!” : UGH!
36. “I’m ___!” : SUING
37. An almanac and Google, for a crossword solver : AIDS
38. Extra keys, e.g. : SPARE SET
40. Excel-using exec, maybe : CFO
41. What officials need to get cleared before speaking? : THROATS
42. Bladder, e.g. : SAC
43. Subway operator, for short : MTA
46. Stuffed appetizer : SAMOSA
47. Relative of sepia : PUCE
48. Cable inits. popular with female viewers : OWN
49. Starting : FROM
50. “That’s not me anymore” : I’VE CHANGED
53. Hilton alternative : OMNI
54. “Take your time” : NO PRESSURE
55. Funny Martha : RAYE
56. Wheedles : SWEET TALKS

Down

1. Part of the original “Star Trek” cast : TAKEI
2. National alternative : ALAMO
3. 88 or 89 : B-PLUS
4. That can’t be right : LIE
5. Boxes : ENCASES
6. September and October, for pumpkins : SEASON
7. Expletive-free : CLEAN
8. Farrier’s tool : RASP
9. Going by : AKA
10. Postarrest ritual : PERP WALK
11. “___ Arrives” (1967 soul album) : ARETHA
12. Pitched horizontally : SIDE-ARMED
13. Polar features : ICE SHEETS
14. Seat of Orange County, Calif. : SANTA ANA
22. Kansas’ Fort ___ : HAYS
25. Escort : BRING
26. Rehearsed : PAT
27. Too lean : GAUNT
28. Major lobbying group, colloquially : BIG PHARMA
29. United : IN HARMONY
30. “Blue ___” (Irving Berlin tune) : SKIES
32. Lasciviously desires : LUSTS FOR
33. Keeps up : SUSTAINS
34. Part of one’s Twitter page, informally : BIO
36. High ___ : SEAS
37. Bills are found in it : AFC EAST
39. College assignment, informally? : ROOMIE
40. Prestige : CACHET
42. South American capital : SUCRE
43. High muck-a-muck : MOGUL
44. Move behind? : TWERK
45. Very long chain : ANDES
47. First name of a cartoon 33-Across : PEPE
51. “I shall return,” e.g. : VOW
52. It checks for leaks, for short : NSA