1121-18 NY Times Crossword 21 Nov 18, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Brandon Koppy
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Flip-Flops

Themed answers are common two-word phrases that must be FLIP-FLOPPED to make sense of the clue:

  • 63A. Questionable political moves suggested by the answers to the nine starred clues : FLIP-FLOPS
  • 17A. *Principle of international economic pacts : TRADE FAIR (giving “fair trade”)
  • 30A. *Neanderthal : MAN CAVE (giving “caveman”)
  • 48A. *Noted Vegas entertainers of the 1960s : PACK RAT (giving “Rat Pack”)
  • 3D. *Half of a 1990s cartoon duo : HEAD-BUTT (giving “Butt-Head”)
  • 10D. *Informal term for a brothel : HOUSE CAT (giving “cathouse”)
  • 22D. *Mr. Peanut accessory : GLASS EYE (giving “eyeglass”)
  • 25D. *Spring festival : OVERPASS (giving “Passover”)
  • 36D. *Bloopers, typically : TAKES OUT (giving “outtakes”)
  • 40D. *Residence in a row : HOMETOWN (giving “townhome”)

Bill’s time: 7m 17s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Emanuel of Democratic politics : RAHM

Rahm Emanuel was an Illinois representative in the US House before resigning in 2009 to take up President Obama’s offer to become the White House Chief of Staff. Emanuel moved on from the White House the following year in order to run as a candidate in Chicago’s mayoral election in 2011. He won the 2011 race, and was re-elected in 2015.

5. Titles for attys. : ESQS

The title “esquire” is of British origin and is used differently today depending on whether one is in the US or the UK. Here in America the term is usually reserved for those practicing the law (both male and female). In the UK, “esquire” is a term of gentle respect reserved for a male who has no other title that one can use. So a mere commoner like me might receive a letter from the bank say, addressed to W. E. Butler Esq.

14. Curved molding : OGEE

An ogee is a type of S-curve. Specifically it is a figure consisting of two arcs that curve in opposite directions (like an S) but both ends of the curve end up parallel to each other (which is not necessarily true for an S).

15. Dogs that take YOU for a walk? : FEET

Apparently the phrase “my dogs are barking” meaning “my feet are hurting” originated in America in the 1920s. From there evolved the use of the term “dogs” for “feet”.

19. Fred ___, lead vocalist for Limp Bizkit : DURST

Fred Durst is the vocalist for the rock band Limp Bizkit. Durst chose the band’s name, and he was looking for something that turned people off. Sure enough, any record label interested in the band in its early days asked for a name change!

Limp Bizkit is described as a nu metal band, with “nu metal” being a subgenre of “heavy metal”. Limp Bizkit has been around since 1994, and that’s all I know …

20. Setting for the first panel of Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights” : EDEN

Hieronymus Bosch was a Dutch painter who worked late 15th and early 16th centuries. Perhaps his most recognized work is his triptych titled “The Garden of Earthly Delights”.

21. Victory, in German : SIEG

The Nazi salute was usually accompanied by the words, “Heil Hitler!” (“Hail Hitler!”), “Heil, mein Führer!” (“Hail, my leader!”) or often “Sieg Heil!” (“Hail victory!”).

23. Most arias : SOLI

“Soli” (the plural of “solo”) are pieces of music performed by one artist, whereas “tutti” are pieces performed by all of the artists.

24. Old Chrysler : LEBARON

The Chrysler LeBaron made from 1977 to 1995 was a low-priced mid-sized automobile. However, the original LeBaron made in the 1930s was Chrysler’s luxury model, which competed with other luxury cars such as the Lincoln and the Packard.

28. Big Ten sch. : OSU

Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus was founded back in 1870 as the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. The athletic teams of OSU are called the Buckeyes, named after the state tree of Ohio. In turn the buckeye tree gets its name from the appearance of its fruit, a dark nut with a light patch thought to resemble a “buck’s eye”.

29. Tube travelers? : OVA

The Fallopian tubes leading from the ovaries of female mammals in the uterus. The tubes are named for the 16th-century Italian anatomist Gabriello Fallopio, who was the first to describe them.

30. *Neanderthal : MAN CAVE (giving “caveman”)

The literal translation of “Homo sapiens” from Latin is “wise or knowing man”. The Homo genus includes the species Homo sapiens (modern humans), but we’re the only species left in that genus. The last known species related to humans was Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthal Man) which died off about 24,000 years ago. However, another species was discovered in Indonesia in 2003 that has been dubbed Homo floresiensis (Flores Man … sometimes called “hobbit”), and it may possibly have lived as recently as 12,000 years ago. Watch this space …

31. Six-time N.L. home run leader in the 1930s and ’40s : OTT

At 5′ 9″, baseball legend Mel Ott weighed just 170 lb (I don’t think he took steroids!) and yet he was the first National League player to hit over 500 home runs. Sadly, Ott died in a car accident in New Orleans in 1958 when he was only 49 years old. And, according to Wikipedia, “Ott’s name frequently appears in crossword puzzles, on account of its letter combination and brevity.” True that …

32. Indie singer ___ Case : NEKO

Neko Case is an American singer-songwriter who is best known as a solo artist as well as a member of the indie rock group from Canada called the New Pornographers.

34. Bus stop: Abbr. : STA

A station (“stn.” or “sta.”) is a railroad (RR) or bus stop.

35. Applesauce eponym : MOTT

Samuel R. Mott was a producer of apple cider and vinegar. In 1842 he founded his own company to market and sell his products. The Mott’s company owns brands such as Mr & Mrs T, Hawaiian Punch and ReaLime/ReaLemon.

39. Cuisine with tom yum soup : THAI

Tom yum is a delicious spicy soup served in Thai restaurants. It is usually described as “hot and sour”, and I love it …

43. Nile biter : ASP

The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.

48. *Noted Vegas entertainers of the 1960s : PACK RAT (giving “Rat Pack”)

The original Rat Pack from the fifties was a group of actors that centered on Humphrey Bogart, and included a young Frank Sinatra. Supposedly, Bogart’s wife, Lauren Bacall, christened them the Rat Pack after seeing them all return from one of their nights on the town in Las Vegas. The sixties Rat Pack was a reincarnation of the fifties version, with the core group of actors being Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin (Dino), Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford.

A pack rat is rodent that can also be called a woodrat. The pack rat is so called because it frequently drags back objects to its nest. We’ve been using the term “pack rat” for a hoarder since the mid 1800s. It’s not certain whether the rodent was named for the human, or the human for the rodent.

53. British pols : MPS

Member of Parliament (MP)

57. Mom-and-pop grps. : PTAS

Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)

61. Island north of Australia : TIMOR

Timor is an island in Maritime Southeast Asia. The island is politically divided into West Timor, belonging to Indonesia, and the independent state of East Timor. The name “Timor” comes from a Malay word for “east”, and is used as Timor lies at the eastern end of the Lesser Sunda Islands.

69. St. ___ (Caribbean getaway) : BARTS

The correct name for the island we often call “St. Barts” is “Saint Barthélemy”. St. Barts is in the Caribbean and is one of the French West Indies.

71. Novelist Seton : ANYA

“Anya Seton” was the pen name of Ann Seton, an author of historical romances from New York City. Seton’s 1944 novel “Dragonwyck” was released into theaters in 1946 and starred Gene Tierney and Walter Huston.

Down

3. *Half of a 1990s cartoon duo : HEAD-BUTT (giving “Butt-Head”)

“Beavis and Butt-Head” is an adult cartoon television show and film. The show ran on MTV, which is only one reason why I’ve never seen it …

4. Euripides tragedy : MEDEA

“Medea” is a tragedy penned by Ancient Greek playwright Euripides. Dealing with the myth of Jason and Medea, it was not received well at its debut in 431 BC. It was premiered at that year’s Dionysia festival in Athens, competing against plays by Euphorion and Sophocles. Euphorion’s play won the competition and Euripides’ “Medea” came in last.

Euripides was a celebrated playwright of Ancient Greece and someone renowned for his tragedies. Euripides was one of the three great writers of tragedy of classical Athens, alongside Aeschylus and Sophocles.

5. Scrabble 4-pointer : EFF

That would be the letter F (“ef” or “eff”).

6. Source of a venomous underwater bite : SEA SNAKE

I used to live in the Philippines and spent almost every weekend SCUBA diving (happy days!). Occasionally, I’d come across a sea snake slithering through the water. The rule was always to never swim “above” sea snakes as they don’t have gills and have to come to the surface to breathe. You don’t want to be in the way of a sea snake when it’s coming up for a breath of air, as all sea snakes are venomous and many fatalities have been recorded from their bites.

7. Role for Helen Mirren, informally : QEII

Princess Elizabeth became queen Elizabeth II in 1952 when her father, King George VI died. The Princess was on an official visit to Kenya when her husband broke the news to her, that she had become queen. When she was crowned in 1953 in Westminster Abbey, it was the first coronation to be televised. Queen Elizabeth’s reign is longest in the history of the UK.

Helen Mirren, one of my favorite English actresses, has played three different queens on film and television. She played Queen Elizabeth II on the 2006 film “The Queen”, the title role in the TV drama “Elizabeth I”, and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the wife of the title character in the 1994 film “The Madness of King George”. Mirren won the “Triple Crown of Acting” for playing:

  • Queen Elizabeth II in “The Queen” (winning Best Actress Oscar)
  • Queen Elizabeth II in “The Audience” (winning Best Actress in a Play Tony)
  • Detective Jane Tennison in “Prime Suspect” (winning Outstanding Lead Actress Emmy)

9. Barrett of Pink Floyd : SYD

Syd Barrett was the lead singer and a founding member of the English rock band Pink Floyd. Barrett was only active as a musician for just over ten years. He retired from the music scene in 1975 and spent the next 30 years living off Pink Floyd royalties until he passed away in 2006.

11. Night lights? : AURORA

The spectacular aurora phenomenon is seen lighting up the night sky at both poles of the earth (the Aurora Borealis in the north, and the Aurora Australis in the south). The eerie effect is caused by charged particles colliding with atoms at high latitudes.

18. Company that’s the subject of “The Smartest Guys in the Room” : ENRON

After all the trials following the exposure of fraud at Enron, several of the key players ended up in jail. Andrew Fastow was the Chief Financial Officer. He plea-bargained and received ten years without parole, and became the key witness in the trials of others. Even Fastow’s wife was involved and she was sentenced to one year for helping her husband hide money. Jeffrey Skilling (ex-CEO) was sentenced to 24 years and 4 months. Kenneth Lay (CEO) died in 2006 after he had been found guilty but before he could be sentenced. The accounting firm Arthur Andersen was found guilty of obstruction of justice for shredding thousands of pertinent documents and deleting emails and files (a decision that the Supreme Court later overturned on a technicality). But still, Arthur Andersen collapsed under the weight of the scandal and 85,000 people lost their jobs (despite only a handful being directly involved with Enron).

“The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron” is a 2003 book by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind, two writers working for “Fortune” magazine. The book was used as the basis for a 2005 documentary “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room”.

22. *Mr. Peanut accessory : GLASS EYE (giving “eyeglass”)

Planters is the company with the Mr. Peanut icon. Mr. Peanut was the invention of a first-grader named Antonio Gentile, a young man who won a design contest in 1916. A remarkable achievement, I’d say …

24. Machine with a treadle : LOOM

A treadle is a foot pedal that is used to create motion in a machine such as a loom or a potter’s wheel.

25. *Spring festival : OVERPASS (giving “Passover”)

The Jewish holiday of Passover begins on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan and lasts for seven or eight days, depending on the Jewish denomination. Nisan usually falls in March-April on the Gregorian calendar.

27. Stock for Wile E. Coyote : TNT

“TNT” is an abbreviation for “trinitrotoluene”. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.

Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner are two much-loved cartoon characters from Warner Bros. Wile E. Coyote was created first, and Road Runner was invented as someone for Wile E. to play off. I love this cartoon; definitely one of the best …

33. A heart symbol, meaning “love,” was its first graphical entry, for short : OED

Oxford English Dictionary (OED)

41. Digital wallet choice : APPLE PAY

Apple Pay is a payment service that operates with many of Apple’s mobile devices. Apple Pay competes directly with Google Wallet. Much as I like the idea behind Apple Pay and Google Wallet, they just don’t seem to be gaining any traction at all in the retail market …

42. Lilliputian, to a little ‘un : ITSY

The word “lilliputian” meaning “wee” or “very small”, comes from Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels”. In Swift’s tale, Lilliput and Blefuscu are two island nations that are inhabited by tiny people who are under six inches tall.

44. Spanish Mrs. : SRA

The equivalent of “Mrs.” in French is “Mme.” (Madame), in Spanish is “Sra.” (Señora) and in Portuguese is also “Sra.” (Senhora).

46. Sans-___ : SERIF

Serifs are details on the ends of characters in some typefaces. Typefaces without serifs are known as sans-serif, using the French word “sans” meaning “without” and “serif” from the Dutch “schreef” meaning “line”. Some people say that serif fonts are easier to read on paper, whereas sans-serif fonts work better on a computer screen. I’m not so sure though …

48. Can opener : POP TAB

The oldest method of opening a can with a device included in the can’s design is the pull-tab or ring pull, invented in Canada in 1956. The design was long-lived but it had its problems, so the world heaved a sigh of relief with the invention of the stay-on-tab in 1975. The new design led to fewer injuries and eliminated all those used pull-tabs that littered the streets.

51. Special interest group? : THE FED

The Federal Reserve System is more usually known simply as “the Fed”, and is the central banking system of the US. It was introduced in 1913 in response to a number of financial panics at the beginning of the 20th century. The original role for the Fed was to act as a lender of last resort, in case there was a run on a bank. This can happen as most of the money that is deposited by customers in a bank is reinvested by that bank, so it has very little liquid cash available. If too many customers look for their money at one time, then the bank can be short of cash and this can start a “run”. The Fed’s responsibilities have broadened since those early days …

56. Guacamole go-with : SALSA

“Salsa” is simply Spanish for “sauce”.

Guacamole is one of my favorite dishes. It is prepared by mashing avocados and perhaps adding the likes of tomato, onion and lime juice. The guacamole recipe dates back as early as the 16th century, to the time of the Aztecs. “Guacamole” translates as “avocado sauce”.

62. “Treasure Island” monogram : RLS

I’d say that the most celebrated work from the pen of Robert Louis Stevenson (RLS) is “Treasure Island”, which was originally written as a series for a children’s magazine in 1881. I remember “Treasure Island” as the first “real” novel I read as a youngster …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Emanuel of Democratic politics : RAHM
5. Titles for attys. : ESQS
9. Alternative to a float : SHAKE
14. Curved molding : OGEE
15. Dogs that take YOU for a walk? : FEET
16. Dealer’s query : YOU IN?
17. *Principle of international economic pacts : TRADE FAIR (giving “fair trade”)
19. Fred ___, lead vocalist for Limp Bizkit : DURST
20. Setting for the first panel of Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights” : EDEN
21. Victory, in German : SIEG
23. Most arias : SOLI
24. Old Chrysler : LEBARON
26. Tailor, at times : ALTERER
28. Big Ten sch. : OSU
29. Tube travelers? : OVA
30. *Neanderthal : MAN CAVE (giving “caveman”)
31. Six-time N.L. home run leader in the 1930s and ’40s : OTT
32. Indie singer ___ Case : NEKO
34. Bus stop: Abbr. : STA
35. Applesauce eponym : MOTT
37. Water hazards : REEFS
39. Cuisine with tom yum soup : THAI
43. Nile biter : ASP
45. Executes : DOES
47. Choose : OPT
48. *Noted Vegas entertainers of the 1960s : PACK RAT (giving “Rat Pack”)
52. Deli offering : RYE
53. British pols : MPS
54. Like some dogs in dog parks : ON-LEASH
55. In very few words : TERSELY
57. Mom-and-pop grps. : PTAS
58. Spotted : SEEN
60. “No food needed for me” : I ATE
61. Island north of Australia : TIMOR
63. Questionable political moves suggested by the answers to the nine starred clues : FLIP-FLOPS
66. Run ___ of : AFOUL
67. This: Sp. : ESTO
68. Tit for tat? : SWAP
69. St. ___ (Caribbean getaway) : BARTS
70. Title : DEED
71. Novelist Seton : ANYA

Down

1. Nonsense : ROT
2. Goes along with : AGREES TO
3. *Half of a 1990s cartoon duo : HEAD-BUTT (giving “Butt-Head”)
4. Euripides tragedy : MEDEA
5. Scrabble 4-pointer : EFF
6. Source of a venomous underwater bite : SEA SNAKE
7. Role for Helen Mirren, informally : QEII
8. Watch via HBO Now, e.g. : STREAM
9. Barrett of Pink Floyd : SYD
10. *Informal term for a brothel : HOUSE CAT (giving “cathouse”)
11. Night lights? : AURORA
12. Ninth month of the Hebrew calendar : KISLEV
13. Full : ENTIRE
18. Company that’s the subject of “The Smartest Guys in the Room” : ENRON
22. *Mr. Peanut accessory : GLASS EYE (giving “eyeglass”)
24. Machine with a treadle : LOOM
25. *Spring festival : OVERPASS (giving “Passover”)
27. Stock for Wile E. Coyote : TNT
33. A heart symbol, meaning “love,” was its first graphical entry, for short : OED
36. *Bloopers, typically : TAKES OUT (giving “outtakes”)
38. Popular battle royale video game : FORTNITE
40. *Residence in a row : HOMETOWN (giving “townhome”)
41. Digital wallet choice : APPLE PAY
42. Lilliputian, to a little ‘un : ITSY
44. Spanish Mrs. : SRA
46. Sans-___ : SERIF
48. Can opener : POP TAB
49. Modern protest group : ANTIFA
50. Hubbub : CLAMOR
51. Special interest group? : THE FED
56. Guacamole go-with : SALSA
59. Alternatively : ELSE
62. “Treasure Island” monogram : RLS
64. “___ Save America” (popular downloadable political show) : POD
65. Place to treat yourself : SPA