1101-18 NY Times Crossword 1 Nov 18, Thursday

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Constructed by: Matt Ginsberg
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Criss-Cross Word

Several across-answers alliterate, and use two letters to make two words. Either letter works in the corresponding down-answers:

  • 17A. *Sound of little feet : PITTER-PATTER
  • 22A. *Tycho Brahe contemporary : GALILEO GALILEI
  • 33A. *Mr. Moneybags : FAT CAT
  • 37A. *Branded candy with multicolored beans : JELLY BELLY
  • 40A. *Woman’s young lover, in slang : BOY TOY
  • 51A. *Small talk : CHITTER-CHATTER
  • 58A. *Idiom meaning “guaranteed” : AS GOOD AS GOLD
  • 2D. Louver feature : SLIT/SLAT
  • 13D. Admitted : LET ON/LET IN
  • 26D. Ink stain, e.g. : BLOB/BLOT
  • 33D. Scratch, say : FLAW/CLAW
  • 37D. Take a flier : JET/BET
  • 48D. Prefix with economics : MICRO-/MACRO-
  • 55D. Sticky stuff : GOOP/GLOP

Bill’s time: 16m 41s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10. River past Orsk and Orenburg : URAL

The Ural River rises in the Ural Mountains in Russia and flows for half its length through Russian territory until it crosses the border into Kazakhstan, finally emptying into the Caspian Sea. It is the third-longest river in Europe, after the Volga and Danube.

15. Snake genus, or one of its members : BOA

Boa constrictors are members of the Boidae family of snakes, all of which are non-venomous. Interestingly, the female boa is always larger than the male.

16. Pet form of José : PEPE

“José” is the Spanish for “Joseph”. Friends might also refer to José as “Pepe”. Both José and Pepe derive from Saint Joseph, the father of Jesus. Saint Joseph is sometimes referred to as “padre putativo” meaning “presumed father”. The initialism “PP”, standing for “padre putativo”, led to the name “Pepe”.

22. *Tycho Brahe contemporary : GALILEO GALILEI

Galileo Galilei may be the most famous son of the city of Pisa in Italy and was considered by many to have been the father of modern science. In the world of physics, Galileo postulated that objects of different masses would fall at the same rate provided they did so in a vacuum (so there was no air resistance). There is a story that he dropped two balls of different masses from the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa to demonstrate this, but this probably never happened. Centuries later, Astronaut David Scott performed Galileo’s proposed experiment when he dropped a hammer and feather on the moon during the Apollo 15 mission and we all saw the objects hit the moon surface, at exactly the same time.

Tycho Brahe was a Danish astronomer, and a contemporary of Galileo. Brahe lost his nose in a duel, and wore a replacement made from either silver or gold that was pasted onto his face!

23. Bridge player’s combo : TENACE

In the wonderful card game of bridge, a tenace is a broken sequence of honor cards, like AQ or KJ.

32. Solidarity leader Walesa : LECH

Lech Walesa worked as an electrician in the Gdansk Shipyards in Poland. Walesa was active in the trade union movement in the days when unions were not welcome behind the Iron Curtain. His efforts resulted in the founding of Solidarity, the first independent trade union in Soviet-controlled territory. For his work, Walesa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, and in 1990 he became the first democratically elected President of Poland. He has lost support in Poland in recent years, but he is a very popular booking on the international speaking circuit.

37. *Branded candy with multicolored beans : JELLY BELLY

The Jelly Belly Candy Company is located not far from where I live in California. My son has toured the factory with his girlfriend and tells me its a great way to spend a few hours, if you’re in the area …

41. Actress Campbell : NEVE

Neve Campbell is a Canadian actress whose big break in movies came with the “Scream” horror film series, in which she had a leading role. I don’t do horror films, so I haven’t seen any of the “Scream” movies. Nor have I seen the TV series “Party of Five” which launched the acting careers of both Campbell and Jennifer Love Hewitt in the nineties.

42. Staple of ragtime music : PIANO

Ragtime music was at the height of it popularity in the early 1900s. It takes its name from its characteristic “ragged” rhythms. The most famous ragtime composer was Scott Joplin, who had a big hit with his “Maple Leaf Rag” when it was published in 1899. He followed that up with a string of hits, including the “Pine Apple Rag” (sic). Ragtime fell out of favor about 1917 when the public turned to jazz. It had a resurgence in the forties when jazz musicians started to include ragtime tunes in their repertoires. But it was the 1973 movie “The Sting” that brought the true revival, as the hit soundtrack included numerous ragtime tunes by Scott Joplin, including the celebrated “The Entertainer” originally published in 1902.

45. Cary of “The Princess Bride” : ELWES

Cary Elwes is an English actor who is perhaps most noted for appearing in the 1987 film “The Princess Bride”. He also played the title role in 1993’s “Cary Elwes”. Cary is the son of a celebrated English portrait painter, Dominick Elwes.

“The Princess Bride” is a novel by William Goldman written in 1973. Famously, the book was adapted into a 1987 film of the same name directed by Rob Reiner that has become a cult classic.

46. Neighbor of Tonga : SAMOA

The official name for the South Pacific nation formerly known as Western Samoa is the Independent State of Samoa. Samoa is the western part of the island group, with American Samoa lying to the southeast. The whole group of islands used to be known as Navigators Island, a name given by European explorers in recognition of the seafaring skills of the native Samoans.

The Kingdom of Tonga is made up of 176 islands in the South Pacific, 52 of which are inhabited and scattered over an area of 270,000 square miles. Tonga was given the name Friendly Islands in 1773 when Captain James Cook first landed there, a reference to the warm reception given to the visitors.

49. Dr. Seuss’ real surname : GEISEL

“Dr. Seuss” was the pen name of Theodor Seuss Geisel. Geisel first used the pen name while studying at Dartmouth College and at the University of Oxford. Back then, he pronounced “Seuss” as it would be in German, i.e. rhyming with “voice”. After his books found success in the US, he went with the pronunciation being used widely by the public, quite happy to have a name that rhymes with “Mother Goose”.

56. Bossed around : HECTORED

The verb “to hector” means “to bully, to dominate in a blustering way”. The term comes from the Trojan hero Hector, who encouraged his fellow Trojans to keep up the fight against the Greeks.I guess he must have bullied them …

60. Sea of Tranquillity, e.g. : MARE

The Moon’s Mare Tranquillitatis (Latin for “Sea of Tranquility”) was named in 1651 by astronomers Francesco Grimaldi and Giovanni Battista Riccioli. Famously, the first manned landing on the Moon was in the Sea of Tranquility, when the Apollo 11 Lunar Module named Eagle touched down there in 1969. However, the first man-made vehicle to reach the Sea of Tranquility arrive four years earlier. the Ranger 8 spacecraft was deliberately crashed there in 1965, sending back thousands of photographs to Earth in the last 23 minutes of its mission.

61. Chief agricultural export of Kenya : TEA

Kenya lies on the east coast of Africa, right on the equator. The country takes her name from Mount Kenya, the second-highest peak on the continent (after Kilimanjaro). The official languages of Kenya are English and Swahili.

62. Part of a steering system : TIE ROD

Tie rods are part of a rack and pinion steering mechanism in a car.

Down

1. Picking up things? : ESP

Extrasensory perception (ESP)

6. ___ Field, former home to the Houston Astros : ENRON

Enron Field, as it was known, is a retractable-roof ballpark that was built next to Houston’s old Union Station. Enron paid $100 million to get its name on the field, and then when the world found out what a scam Enron actually was, the Astros bought back the contract for the name, for a mere $2.1 million. The stadium became Astros Field for a few months, until the Coke people paid $170 million for a 28-year contract to rename the stadium Minute Maid Park. A good deal for the Astros, I’d say.

7. Figure seen on the National Mall, informally : ABE

The Lincoln Memorial is my favorite place to visit in the whole of Washington D.C. The memorial was designed by Henry Bacon, and the sculptor of the magnificent statue of President Lincoln was Daniel Chester French. I spent a wonderful afternoon a few years ago touring the workshop and home of French, in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The workshop is stunning, with miniature studies for his magnum opus, the Lincoln Statue, as well as many other beautiful works.

The National Mall is a park in downtown Washington, D.C. The National Mall is home to several museums that are part of the Smithsonian, as well as the National Gallery of Art.

8. Writing on many a greeting card : DOGGEREL

“Doggerel” is a term used to insult poetry that has little value as literature. The term probably comes from “dog”, perhaps in that it is “only fit for dogs”.

9. Frank Herbert’s “Dune” series, e.g. : SAGA

The less than successful 1984 movie “Dune” (directed by David Lynch) was an adaptation of the spectacularly successful 1965 novel of the same name written by Frank Herbert.

12. Nocturnal affliction : APNEA

Sleep apnea (“apnoea” in British English) can be caused by an obstruction in the airways, possibly due to obesity or enlarged tonsils.

21. Did one leg of a triathlon : RAN

An Ironman Triathlon is a race involving a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a marathon run of just over 26 miles. The idea for the race came out of a debate between some runners in the 1977 Oahu Perimeter Relay. They were questioning whether runners, swimmers or bikers were the most fit athletes. The debaters decided to combine three local events to determine the answer, inviting athletes from all three disciplines. The events that were mimicked to come up with the first triathlon were the Waikiki Roughwater swim (2.4 miles), the Around-Oahu Bike Race (115 miles) and the Honolulu Marathon (26.2 miles). The idea was that whoever finished first would be called “the Iron Man”. The first triathlon was run in 1978, with fifteen starters and only twelve finishers. The race format is used all over the world now, but the Hawaiian Ironman is the event that everyone wants to win.

27. Explorer whose name is a sport : POLO

The sport of polo originated in Iran, possibly before the 5th century BC. Polo was used back them primarily as a training exercise for cavalry units.

Marco Polo was a merchant from Venice and a famous traveler throughout Asia. Polo journeyed with his father and uncle on an epic tour of Central Asia and China that lasted 24 years. Marco tends to be the member of the party we remember today though, because it was he who documented their travels in a book called “Il Milione”.

35. Groups on Noah’s Ark : TWOS

Genesis 6:19-20 states that Noah was instructed to take two animals of every kind into the ark. Later, in Genesis 7:2-3 Noah was instructed to take on board “every clean animal by sevens … male and female, to keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth”. Apparently “extras” (7 rather than 2) were needed for ritual sacrifice.

38. Bond girl in 2006’s “Casino Royale” : EVA GREEN

Despite the English-sounding name, Eva Green is a French actress. Green played Bond girl Vesper Lynd in the 2006 movie “Casino Royale”, opposite Daniel Craig.

39. Visigoth vis-à-vis Rome : PILLAGER

The East Germanic tribe called the Goths had two main branches, called the Ostrogoths and the Visigoths. The Visigothic capital was the city of Toulouse in France, whereas the Ostrogoth capital was the Italian city of Ravenna just inland of the Adriatic coast. It was the Visigoths who sacked Rome in 410 CE, heralding the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

46. Loser : SCHMO

“Schmo” (also “shmo”) is American slang for a dull or boring person, and comes from the Yiddish word “shmok”.

48. Prefix with economics : MICRO/MACRO

Macroeconomics is the study of economies as a whole, rather than individual markets. Microeconomics is focused on the actions of individual entities like companies or individuals, and how these actions impact specific markets.

52. One-named French designer : ERTE

“Erté” was the pseudonym of French (Russian-born) artist and designer Romain de Tirtoff. Erté is the French pronunciation of his initials “R.T.” Erté’s diverse portfolio of work included costumes and sets for the “Ziegfeld Follies” of 1923, productions of the Parisian cabaret show “Folies Bergère”, as well as the 1925 epic movie “Ben-Hur”. Erté’s most famous work by far is an image titled “Symphony in Black”. It depicts a tall and slender woman dressed in black, holding a black dog on a leash.

54. “The Thin Man” role : NORA

“The Thin Man” is a detective novel written by Dashiell Hammett that was first published in the magazine “Redbook” in 1934. Hammett never wrote a sequel to his story, but it spawned a wonderful, wonderful series of “The Thin Man” films starring William Powell and Myrna Loy (as Nick and Nora Charles). “The Thin Man” was the last novel that Hammett wrote.

59. Debugging aid? : DDT

DDT is dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (don’t forget now!). DDT was used with great success to control disease-carrying insects during WWII, and when made available for use after the war it became by far the most popular pesticide. And then Rachel Carson published her famous book “Silent Spring”, suggesting there was a link between DDT and diminishing populations of certain wildlife. It was the public outcry sparked by the book, and reports of links between DDT and cancer, that led to the ban on the use of the chemical in 1972. That ban is touted as the main reason that the bald eagle was rescued from near extinction.

Back in 1947, famed computer programmer Grace Hopper noticed some colleagues fixing a piece of equipment by removing a dead moth from a relay. She remarked that they were “debugging” the system, and so Hopper has been given credit for popularizing that term.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Something you must be willing to leave? : ESTATE
7. Them’s the breaks! : ADS
10. River past Orsk and Orenburg : URAL
14. Add to in haste : SLAP ON
15. Snake genus, or one of its members : BOA
16. Pet form of José : PEPE
17. *Sound of little feet : PITTER-PATTER
18. Shade of deep purple : EGGPLANT
20. Custom-fit : TAILOR
22. *Tycho Brahe contemporary : GALILEO GALILEI
23. Bridge player’s combo : TENACE
25. Deprive of courage : UNMAN
26. 3.3, give or take : B-PLUS
29. Without a downside : NO-RISK
31. A lot : LOADS
32. Solidarity leader Walesa : LECH
33. *Mr. Moneybags : FAT CAT
36. McGillin’s ___ Ale House (historic Philadelphia tavern) : OLDE
37. *Branded candy with multicolored beans : JELLY BELLY
39. Close follower of a team? : PLOW
40. *Woman’s young lover, in slang : BOY TOY
41. Actress Campbell : NEVE
42. Staple of ragtime music : PIANO
43. Corrects, as an ID on Facebook : RETAGS
45. Cary of “The Princess Bride” : ELWES
46. Neighbor of Tonga : SAMOA
49. Dr. Seuss’ real surname : GEISEL
51. *Small talk : CHITTER-CHATTER
53. Leapt : SPRANG
56. Bossed around : HECTORED
58. *Idiom meaning “guaranteed” : AS GOOD AS GOLD
60. Sea of Tranquillity, e.g. : MARE
61. Chief agricultural export of Kenya : TEA
62. Part of a steering system : TIE ROD
63. Something commonly found in a laundry bag : ODOR
64. Remnant : END
65. Wholly absorbed : ENRAPT

Down

1. Picking up things? : ESP
2. Louver feature : SLIT/SLAT
3. “See ya!” : TA-TA!
4. Ability : APTITUDE
5. Like sandals : TOELESS
6. ___ Field, former home to the Houston Astros : ENRON
7. Figure seen on the National Mall, informally : ABE
8. Writing on many a greeting card : DOGGEREL
9. Frank Herbert’s “Dune” series, e.g. : SAGA
10. What you need to talk to a satellite : UPLINK
11. Sphere : REALM
12. Nocturnal affliction : APNEA
13. Admitted : LET ON/LET IN
19. Richly luxurious : PLUSH
21. Did one leg of a triathlon : RAN
24. What’s helpful to a degree? : COLLEGE
26. Ink stain, e.g. : BLOB/BLOT
27. Explorer whose name is a sport : POLO
28. Word in many Catholic church names : LADY
30. Frigid : ICY
33. Scratch, say : FLAW/CLAW
34. Tops : A-ONE
35. Groups on Noah’s Ark : TWOS
37. Take a flier : JET/BET
38. Bond girl in 2006’s “Casino Royale” : EVA GREEN
39. Visigoth vis-à-vis Rome : PILLAGER
41. “Cool beans!” : NEATO!
42. Uses a keyhole, perhaps : PEERS IN
43. Scoundrel, in Britain : ROTTER
44. Girl in the fam : SIS
46. Loser : SCHMO
47. Up : AHEAD
48. Prefix with economics : MICRO/MACRO
50. Rush : SPATE
52. One-named French designer : ERTE
54. “The Thin Man” role : NORA
55. Sticky stuff : GOOP/GLOP
57. One who might explain the birds and the bees : DAD
59. Debugging aid? : DDT

13 thoughts on “1101-18 NY Times Crossword 1 Nov 18, Thursday”

  1. 14:56, no errors, but with an asterisk: I didn’t fully understand this puzzle’s gimmick until I was almost done, at which point I took the risk of leaving just one of the two letters in each of the “special” squares and the NYT crossword app accepted that. A cool puzzle, in any case … 😜.

    1. Hmmm … NHC = National Hurricane Center … an attempt to be gratuitously insulting, I guess … c’est la vie … 😳

      1. I’m thinking “Anonymous” is someone you know who’s having fun at your expense. Otherwise, his/her comments make no sense.

  2. One hour and 10 min. and one error.
    I didn’t pick up any of the double letter blocks.
    Not my favorite type of puzzle by a long shot.

    1. Agree with @Cathy, the commercial blocks that interrupt TV shows are known as ‘Station Breaks’. I don’t think the term is used as commonly nowadays.

  3. 27:48, no errors. Had the top half filled, including PATTER, GALILEI and JELLY; the bottom half completely blank. Then it dawned on me that 22A could be both GALILEO and GALILEI, and 12D could be both LET ON and LET IN. Actually used the theme to fill in CHITTER CHATTER and AS GOOD AS GOLD, which helped a lot. Good Thursday challenge.

  4. Picked up the theme right away as the pitter patter of tiny feet popped into my brain and it was Thursday so I was on the hunt for something tricky. No errors and a very satisfying solve.

  5. 23:07, no errors. Figured out the gimmick entirely, but never sure how to write certain things, so just had one of the letters for each of the special squares. Newspaper had both letters and the /’s like Bill’s grid on this page.

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