1102-18 NY Times Crossword 2 Nov 18, Friday

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Constructed by: David Steinberg
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 15m 46s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. It might give you a headache : MSG

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of a naturally-occurring,non-essential amino acid called glutamic acid. It is used widely as a flavor enhancer, particularly in many Asian cuisines. Whether or not it is harmful seems to be still under debate. I say that something produced in a test tube shouldn’t be in our food …

10. “Westworld” network : HBO

“Westworld” is an HBO series that is based on a 1973 movie of the same name, which was written and directed by novelist Michael Crichton. Westworld is a high-tech theme park populated by androids that interact with the guests.

13. Restaurant chain with a “never-ending pasta bowl” : OLIVE GARDEN

Olive Garden is a chain of Italian-American restaurants that has over 800 locations worldwide. The chain was originally established as part of General Mills. The current owners of the chain also operate Red Lobster restaurants. Apparently there are plans to co-located Olive Garden and Red Lobster eateries so that they have separate entries but share kitchens.

19. Doughnut-loving toon : HOMER

“The Simpsons” is one of the most successful programs produced by the Fox Broadcasting Company. Homer Simpson’s catchphrase is “D’oh!”, which became such a famous exclamation that it has been included in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) since 2001. “D’oh!” can be translated as “I should have thought of that!”

20. ___ Air : BEL

Bel Air is a ritzy neighborhood in Los Angeles that was once home to many, many stars of film and television. Famously, the sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” was set in the neighborhood. President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan had a home in Bel Air, and in fact the former president passed away there in 2004.

21. Kind of ball that’s edible : MATZO

Matzo is an unleavened bread that is very brittle. The bread is crushed, creating Matzo meal that is then formed into balls using eggs and oil as a binder. The balls are usually served in a chicken stock.

23. Did a pantomime of : APED

Our word “pantomime” comes from the Greek word “pantomimos” meaning “actor”. The literal translation of the Greek is “imitator of all”, from “panto-” (all) and “mimos” (imitator). We use the term today to describe communication by means of facial expression and physical gestures. On the other side of the Atlantic, pantomimes (often “pantos”) are also very popular Christmas entertainments based on nursery tales like “Mother Goose”, “Aladdin” and “Jack and the Beanstalk”. Great, great stuff …

24. Ukulele accessory : CAPO

A capo is a clamp-like device that is placed around the neck of a guitar or other stringed instrument to shorten the strings, and hence raise the pitch. The full name, rarely used these days, is “capo tasto”, which is Italian for “head tie”.

25. Like many textbook publishers : ELHI

“Elhi” is an informal word used to describe anything related to schooling from kindergarten through grade 12, i.e. elementary through high school.

26. Show letters : USO

The United Service Organization (USO) was founded in 1941 at the request of President Franklin D. Roosevelt “to handle the on-leave recreation of the men in the armed forces”. A USO tour is undertaken by a troupe of entertainers, many of whom are big-name celebrities. A USO tour usually includes troop locations in combat zones.

28. Game in which I is 1 : SCRABBLE

The game of Scrabble has been around since 1938, the invention of an architect named Alfred Mosher Butts. Butts determined how many tiles of each letter, and the point value of each tile, by analyzing letter distributions in publications like “The New York Times”.

35. Some Tornado Alley residents : KANSANS

Tornado Alley has no precisely defined boundaries, but it generally lies between the Rockies and the Appalachians. It is so named because it is the area in the US where tornadoes occur most frequently.

37. Country music’s ___ Young Band : ELI

The Eli Young Band is a country group from Texas founded by Mike Eli and James Young when they were roommates in the University of North Texas.

38. Figures in some “Twilight Zone” episodes, for short : ETS

The iconic television series “The Twilight Zone” first aired in 1959 and then ran for 156 episodes before being pulled in 1964. “The Twilight Zone” was revived for four years in the late eighties, and was also spun-off into a movie by Steven Spielberg in 1983.

55. Bear in a hit 2012 film : TED

“Ted” is a 2012 movie written, directed, produced and starring Seth MacFarlane. In the story, MacFarlane voices a somewhat irreverent teddy bear who is the best friend of a character played by Mark Wahlberg. The audiences liked the film, and “Ted 2” followed in 2015.

56. Invite, as to one’s penthouse : ASK UP

Originally, the term “penthouse” described a modest building attached to a main structure. In fact, in centuries past, the manger in which Jesus was born was often referred to as a penthouse. The modern, more luxurious connotation dates back to the early twenties.

62. Genre for Anthrax and Megadeth : THRASH METAL

The Big Four of thrash metal are Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax and Megadeth. I have no idea what thrash metal is …

63. An end to jargon? : -ESE

“Jargon” can mean nonsensical and meaningless talk, or the specialized language of a particular group, trade or profession. The term is Old French, with the more usual meaning of “a chattering”. How apt …

Down

1. Hot chocolaty drink : MOCHA

Mocha is a port city in Yemen on the Red Sea and was once the principal port for the capital city of Sana’a. Mocha was the major marketplace in the world for coffee until the 1600s, and gave its name to the Mocha coffee bean, which in turn gave its name to the mocha brown color, and to the flavor of coffee infused with chocolate.

2. Simple craft : SLOOP

Sloops and cutters are sailboats, and each has just one mast. One major difference between the two types of vessel is that the mast on a cutter is set much further aft than the mast on a sloop.

5. Hollywood title: Abbr. : AGT

Agent (agt.)

6. Latin rhythm : SAMBA

The samba is a Brazilian dance that is very much symbolic of the festival of Carnival. Like so much culture around the world, the samba has its roots in Africa, as the dance is derived from dances performed by former slaves who migrated into urban Rio de Janeiro in the late 1800s. The exact roots of the name “samba” seem to have been lost in the mists of time. However, my favorite explanation is that it comes from an African Kikongo word “semba” which means “a blow struck with the belly button”. We don’t seem to have a need for such a word in English …

9. Bits ___ second : PER

In the world of computing, a bit is the basic unit of information. It has a value of 0 or 1. A “byte” is a small collection of “bits” (usually 8), the number of bits needed to uniquely identify a character of text. The prefix mega- stands for 10 to the power of 6, so a megabyte (meg) is 1,000,000 bytes. The prefix giga- means 10 to the power of 9, and so a gigabyte (gig) is 1,000,000,000 bytes. Well, those are the SI definitions of megabyte and gigabyte. The purists still use 2 to the power of 20 for a megabyte (i.e. 1,048,576), and 2 to the power of 30 for a gigabyte.

11. Its shell has three sides : BRAZIL NUT

The Brazil nut tree is native to South America, however, the largest exporter of Brazil nuts isn’t Brazil but is in fact Bolivia. And, the Brazil nut isn’t actually a nut in the strict sense of the word and instead is a seed (as opposed a hard-shelled fruit).

14. German wheels : VEE-DUB

“VW” in slang is a “vee-dub”, short for “vee double-u”.

“VW” stands for “Volkswagen”, which translates from German into “people’s car”. The original Volkswagen design was the Beetle and was built under a directive from Adolf Hitler, who wanted a cheap car built that ordinary people could afford to purchase. He awarded the contract to engineer Ferdinand Porsche, whose name (paradoxically) would forever be associated with high performance, expensive cars. The Beetle was the official name of the VW model released in North America, but it was usually referred to as a “Bug” here in the US, and a “Beetle” elsewhere in the world.

22. Fathers’ clothes : ALBS

An alb is a white, neck-to-toe vestment worn by priests, usually with a rope cord around the waist. The term alb comes from “albus”, the Latin word for “white”.

29. Like Call of Duty: Black Ops : RATED-M

Call of Duty is a incredibly successful series of video games that started out life on computers and is now available for gaming consoles and handhelds. The first version of this war game was set in WWII, but other versions feature the likes of “Modern Warfare” and “Black Ops”.

32. Spinoff Nabisco cookies : OREO THINS

For those of us counting calories, Oreo Thins were introduced in 2015. There are only 40 calories in each thin cookie, compared to 53 calories in the real deal.

41. Classic TV diner : MEL’S

The sitcom “Alice” is set in Mel’s Diner, which is supposedly frequented by locals and truckers on the outskirts of Phoenix. There is a real Mel’s Diner in Phoenix, and the restaurant’s sign is used in the opening credits. The real-world Mel’s was called “Chris’ Diner”, but the owner agreed to a temporary change in name for the purposes of the show. But, “Chris” never came back, and “Mel’s” is still serving customers today.

45. Stubborn Dr. Seuss pair : THE ZAX

“The Zax” are a pair of characters who appear in “The Sneetches and Other Stories” by Dr. Seuss. “The Zax” is actually the title of one of the four stories in the collection.

49. Clarifier in texts : ID EST

“Id est” is Latin for “that is”, and is often abbreviated to “i.e.” when used in English.

51. Very furry, muscular dog : AKITA

The Akita breed of dog is named for its point of origin, the Akita Prefecture in Japan. When Helen Keller visited Japan in 1937, she asked for and was given an Akita breed of dog, with the name of Kamikaze-go. Sadly, the dog died within a year from distemper. The following year the Japanese government officially presented Keller with a replacement dog. Supposedly Keller’s dogs were the first members of the breed to be introduced into the US.

52. Elder of the sisters who visited Narnia in “The Chronicles of Narnia” : SUSAN

In the C.S. Lewis novel “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, four siblings visit the magical land of Narnia via a wardrobe in the spare room of house in which they are living while evacuated during WWII. The children are Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter Pevensie.

53. Said “O-D-O-U-R,” e.g. : SPELT

Both “spelled” and “spelt” are valid past tenses for the verb “to spell”, although the former is way more common on this side of the Atlantic. I grew up with “spelt” on the other side of the pond, but its usage is rapidly being replaced by “spelled” in the UK and Ireland.

54. Ukulele accessory : CASE

The ukulele (uke) originated in the 1800s and mimicked a small guitar brought to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese immigrants.

56. With 65-Across, fierce marcher : ARMY …
(65. See 56-Down : … ANT)

Army ants are a collection of over two hundred different species of ants. Each species is known for aggressively raiding a certain area en masse, foraging for food. Army ants also stay on the move, never building permanent nests.

59. Post cereal made with honey : OH’S

There used to be two varieties of Oh’s made by Quaker Oats Company. One was Honey Nut Oh’s (later known as Crunchy Nut Oh’s), but it was phased out. The second type was called Crunchy Graham Oh’s, and it is still available today as Honey Graham Oh’s.

60. ___ Chang (ex-girlfriend of Harry Potter) : CHO

Cho Chang is a fellow student of Harry Potter, one year ahead of him at Hogwarts. Chang is the girl who gives Harry his first kiss!

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. It might give you a headache : MSG
4. Tank top : GAS CAP
10. “Westworld” network : HBO
13. Restaurant chain with a “never-ending pasta bowl” : OLIVE GARDEN
16. Slip : ERR
17. “You wanna fight?!” : COME AT ME, BRO!
18. Remote inserts : AAS
19. Doughnut-loving toon : HOMER
20. ___ Air : BEL
21. Kind of ball that’s edible : MATZO
23. Did a pantomime of : APED
24. Ukulele accessory : CAPO
25. Like many textbook publishers : ELHI
26. Show letters : USO
28. Game in which I is 1 : SCRABBLE
31. Belt under the waist? : LOW BLOW
35. Some Tornado Alley residents : KANSANS
36. Explosion cause : IRE
37. Country music’s ___ Young Band : ELI
38. Figures in some “Twilight Zone” episodes, for short : ETS
39. 9-to-5, maybe : RUT
40. [Knock, knock] : LET ME IN
42. Has as a tenant : RENTS TO
44. Composer of symphonic “verse” : TONE POET
46. “Heck, yeah!” : DO I?!
47. Didn’t keep quiet : TOLD
48. Level : SHIM
50. Talk smack to : SASS
54. Stopped debating : CHOSE
55. Bear in a hit 2012 film : TED
56. Invite, as to one’s penthouse : ASK UP
57. ___ package : AID
58. Wasted vacation days? : BOOZE CRUISE
61. Show with a musical guest, for short : SNL
62. Genre for Anthrax and Megadeth : THRASH METAL
63. An end to jargon? : -ESE
64. Classic gag gift : SEX TOY
65. See 56-Down : … ANT

Down

1. Hot chocolaty drink : MOCHA
2. Simple craft : SLOOP
3. Confidence booster on a test : GIMME
4. Its teeth are pointy : GEAR
5. Hollywood title: Abbr. : AGT
6. Latin rhythm : SAMBA
7. Unsavory fellows : CREEPS
8. Spot remover? : AD BLOCKER
9. Bits ___ second : PER
10. Hershey toffee treats : HEATH BARS
11. Its shell has three sides : BRAZIL NUT
12. Guesstimate words : OR SO
14. German wheels : VEE-DUB
15. Emphatic rejection : NO MEANS NO!
22. Fathers’ clothes : ALBS
24. “Sweet” : COOLIO
27. What insomnia causes to build up over time : SLEEP DEBT
29. Like Call of Duty: Black Ops : RATED-M
30. This, to Tomás : ESTO
31. Breezy air : LILT
32. Spinoff Nabisco cookies : OREO THINS
33. Wimp : WET NOODLE
34. Establishment to which customers have come for years? : WINE STORE
41. Classic TV diner : MEL’S
43. Tears don’t rip it : TISSUE
45. Stubborn Dr. Seuss pair : THE ZAX
49. Clarifier in texts : ID EST
51. Very furry, muscular dog : AKITA
52. Elder of the sisters who visited Narnia in “The Chronicles of Narnia” : SUSAN
53. Said “O-D-O-U-R,” e.g. : SPELT
54. Ukulele accessory : CASE
56. With 65-Across, fierce marcher : ARMY …
59. Post cereal made with honey : OH’S
60. ___ Chang (ex-girlfriend of Harry Potter) : CHO