1130-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 30 Nov 2017, Thursday

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Constructed by: Trenton Charlson
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: Battleship

Each of today’s themed answers includes a BATTLESHIP game piece. The number of letters X tell us which vessel completes the answer:

  • 60A. It’s four units long in a popular board game (with the game’s other pieces hinted at by the circled letters) : BATTLESHIP (XXXX = battleship)
  • 17A. 1984 Schwarzenegger sequel : CONAN THE DESTROYER (XX = destroyer)
  • 25A. Early form of airmail? : CARRIER PIGEON (XXXXX = carrier)
  • 37A. Chrysler model discontinued in 2010 : PT CRUISER (XXX = cruiser)
  • 50A. Grinder : SUBMARINE SANDWICH (XXX = submarine)
  • 62D. Success in the game 60-Across … or a hint to interpreting the circled squares : HIT!

Bill’s time: 14m 49s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Venomous African snake : MAMBA

Mambas, and most famously black mambas, are highly venomous snakes that used to be responsible for a great number of fatalities before anti-venoms became available. Mamba venom is a deadly mix of neurotoxins that attack the nervous system and cardiotoxins that attack the heart. A bite, if left untreated, causes the lungs and the heart to shut down.

10. Duchess of ___ (Goya subject) : ALBA

María Cayetana de Silva was the 13th Duchess of Alba. She was a favorite subject of the Spanish painter Francisco Goya. The duchess is the subject in the famous portraits known as “La maja desnuda” (The Nude Maja) and “La maja vestida” (The Clothed Maja). “Maja” translates from Spanish as “beautiful lady”.

14. “Ghosts” playwright : IBSEN

Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen wrote “Ghosts” in 1881, although he disputed the popular English translation of his original title. His title of “Gengangere” really means, “The Ones Who Return”, or “Again Walkers”.

15. Cartoon dog : ODIE

Odie is Garfield’s best friend, and is a slobbery beagle. Both are characters in Jim Davis’ comic strip named “Garfield”.

17. 1984 Schwarzenegger sequel : CONAN THE DESTROYER

The character known as Conan the Barbarian first appeared in “Weird Tales” magazine in a fantasy story in 1932. The character was played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in a 1982 film “Conan the Barbarian”, and in a 1984 sequel “Conan the Destroyer”.

20. Reeves of “The Matrix” : KEANU

Keanu Reeves is a Canadian actor whose most celebrated roles were a metalhead in “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” (1989), a cop in “Speed” (1994) and the protagonist Neo in “The Matrix” series of films. Although Reeves is a Canadian national, he was born in Beirut, Lebanon. Reeves has some Hawaiian descent, and the name “Keanu” is Hawaiian for “the coolness” or “cool breeze”..

The 1999 movie sensation “The Matrix” was meant to be set in a nondescript urban environment. It was actually shot in Australia, as one of the co-producers of the film was the Australian company, Village Roadshow Pictures. You can pick up all sorts of clues about the location when watching the film, including a view of Sydney Harbour Bridge in a background shot. Also, traffic drives along on the left and there are signs for the “lift” instead of an “elevator”.

22. ___ Ranch (onetime “Texas White House”) : LBJ

The LBJ Ranch was the home of President Lyndon B. Johnson. The property is now preserved as Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park. Within the bounds of the park are the former president’s birthplace and his final resting place. While President Johnson was in office, the LBJ Ranch was known as the Texas White House.

25. Early form of airmail? : CARRIER PIGEON

A carrier pigeon is a homing pigeon that has a message attached to its leg.

30. It’s measured in cups : BRA

The word “brassière” is French in origin, but it isn’t the word that the French use for a “bra”. In France, what we call a bra is known as a “soutien-gorge”, translating to “held under the neck”. The word “brassière” is indeed used in France but there it describes a baby’s undershirt, a lifebelt or a harness. “Brassière” comes from the Old French word for an “arm protector” in a military uniform (“bras” is the French for “arm”). Later “brassière” came to mean “breastplate” and from there the word was used for a type of woman’s corset. The word jumped into English around 1900.

34. Round floor cleaner : ROOMBA

The Roomba vacuum cleaner is a cool-looking device that navigates its way around a room by itself, picking up dirt as it goes. Like I said, it’s cool-looking but I am not sure how effective it is …

36. Many a bar mitzvah attendee : TEEN

A Jewish girl becomes a Bat Mitzvah at 12 years of age, the age at which she becomes responsible for her actions. Boys become Bar Mitzvahs at 13. The terms translate into English as daughter and son of the commandments.

37. Chrysler model discontinued in 2010 : PT CRUISER

Chrysler’s PT Cruiser has a lovely retro styling (I think). The look and feel of the car was heavily influenced by the Chrysler Airflow from the 1930s. The PT Cruiser was introduced in 2000, and sadly was withdrawn in 2010.

39. Mother of the Virgin Mary : ANNE

In the Christian and Muslim traditions, Saint Anne was the mother of Mary and hence grandmother of Jesus Christ. Saint Anne is the patroness of unmarried women, housewives, women in labor and grandmothers. She is also the patron saint of Santa Ana, California and Quebec, Canada.

46. Fair-hiring inits. : EEO

“Equal Employment Opportunity” (EEO) is a term that has been around since 1964 when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was set up by the Civil Rights Act. Title VII of the Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin or religion.

49. Scary figure in Stephen King’s “It” : CLOWN

“It” is a 1986 horror novel penned by Stephen King. The novel was adapted into a 1990 miniseries of the same name. I don’t do Stephen King …

50. Grinder : SUBMARINE SANDWICH

The etymology of “grinder” as a sandwich is unknown, although the term does date back to 1954. It is speculated that eating the large sandwich requires a lot of chewing, and hence the name “grinder”.

55. Org. whose symbol is an eagle atop a key : NSA

The National Security Agency (NSA) seal was introduced in 1965 and features an eagle perched upon a key. The eagle represents the agency’s national mission, and the key represents security.

56. Run-of-the-mill : HO-HUM

Something described as run-of-the-mill is unspectacular, quite normal. The idea is that the regular production from say a sawmill isn’t perfect, but does the job. Imperfections in the wood can be expected, but the milled wood should get the job done. Going back a few years, similar expressions were quite common, such as “run-of-the-kiln” and “run-of-the-mine”.

57. Language from which “kayak” comes : INUIT

There is a type of boat used by Inuit people called an “umiak”. . The term “umiak” means “woman’s boat”, whereas “kayak” means “man’s boat”.

59. Pac-12 team : UTES

The Runnin’ Utes are the basketball team of the University of Utah. The team was given the nickname the Runnin’ Redskins back when Jack Gardner was the head coach from 1953 to 1971. The “Runnin’” part of the name was chosen because Gardner was famous for playing quick offenses. The “Redskins” name was later dropped in favor of the less controversial “Utes”.

60. It’s four units long in a popular board game (with the game’s other pieces hinted at by the circled letters) : BATTLESHIP

Battleship is a remarkably fun guessing game that I used to play as a child. Back then we would play it just using pencil and paper, although these days kids are more likely to play an electronic version of the game.

65. Red giant in the constellation Cetus : MIRA

Mira is a red giant star in the constellation Cetus.

Red giants are very large stars with a relatively low mass. The atmosphere of a red giant is also very inflated and extends a long way into space so the surface of that atmosphere that we see is relatively cool, which gives it a red color. Stars are classified by their spectral characteristics, basically the color of the light they emit. As such, red giants are classified as M stars. Cool red giants are of a color beyond the usual range, and are classified as S stars.

66. A penny is a small one : ANTE

Penny Ante poker is a game in which bets are limited to a penny, or some other small, friendly sum. The expression “penny-ante” has come to describe any business transaction that is on a small scale.

68. Future C.P.A.’s study : ECON

Certified public accountant (CPA)

69. “Gotta go,” in textspeak : TTYL

Talk to you later (TTYL)

70. Fragrant compound : ESTER

Esters are very common chemicals. The smaller, low-molecular weight esters are usually pleasant smelling and are often found in perfumes. At the other end of the scale, the higher-molecular weight nitroglycerin is a nitrate ester and is very explosive, and polyester is a huge molecule and is a type of plastic. Fats and oils found in nature are fatty acid esters of glycerol known as glycerides.

Down

2. Blood letters : ABO

The most important grouping of blood types is the ABO system. Blood is classified as either A, B, AB or O, depending on the type of antigens on the surface of the red blood cells. A secondary designation of blood is the Rh factor, in which other antigens are labelled as either positive or negative. When a patient receives a blood transfusion, ideally the donor blood should be the same type as that of the recipient, as incompatible blood cells can be rejected. However, blood type O-neg can be accepted by recipients with all blood types, A, B, AB or O, and positive or negative. Hence someone with O-neg blood type is called a universal donor.

3. ___ Explorer (browser) : MSN

MSN Explorer is a special form of the Internet Explorer web browser that integrates MSN and Windows Live.

4. Schnozz : BEAK

“Schnozz” is a slang term for a nose, particularly a large one.

6. Pope before Leo VI : JOHN X

Pope Leo VI was in office for just 9 months, spanning the years 928 and 929. Leo VI apparently wasn’t his own man, and fell under the control of a wealthy Roman noblewoman called Marozia. Marozia had allegedly been the mistress of Pope Sergius III, had ordered the imprisonment and death of Pope John X, and made Leo VI head of the Roman Catholic church.

7. For two : A DEUX

We use the French term “à deux” to describe something involving two people, usually in a private arrangement (like maybe a dinner together).

8. Potpourri : MIX

The French term “pot pourri” literally translates to “rotten pot”, but in France it used to mean “stew”. Over time, the term “potpourri” evolved in English usage to mean a “medley”, and eventually a mixture of dried flowers and spices.

10. Bella of 1970s politics : ABZUG

Bella Abzug was one of the leader’s of the Women’s Movement that founded the National Women’s Political Caucus in 1971. Abzug was elected to the US Congress the same year, helped along by a famous campaign slogan “This woman’s place is in the House – the House of Representatives”.

13. Giving heat? : ARMING

“Packing” and “packing heat” are underworld slang for “carrying a gun”.

21. Neighbor of India and China in Risk : SIAM

Risk is a fabulous board game, one first sold in France in 1957. Risk was invented by a very successful French director of short films called Albert Lamorisse. Lamorisse called his new game “La Conquête du Monde”, which translates into English as “The Conquest of the World”. A game of Risk is a must during the holidays in our house …

23. Cocktail party spread : BRIE

Brie is a soft cheese, named after the French region in which it originated. Brie is similar to the equally famous (and delicious) Camembert.

24. Foreigner song with the lyric “With that one guitar / He’ll come alive” : JUKE BOX HERO

I always think that the rock band Foreigner has a very apt name. The band was formed in 1976 by two British guys along with an American who were all living in New York City. Foreigner’s biggest hit is “I Want to Know What Love Is”.

26. Gaming debut of 2001 : XBOX

The XBox line of video game consoles is made by Microsoft. The original XBox platform was followed by XBox 360 and most recently by XBox One. Microsoft’s XBox competes directly with Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s Wii.

27. Agent : PROXY

Our word “proxy”, meaning “the agency of one who acts instead of another”, comes from the Latin “procurare” meaning “to manage”. So, “proxy” has the same root as our word “procure”.

29. Actress Headey : LENA

English actress Lena Headey is best known for playing Cersei Lannister on the fantasy series “Game of Thrones”. Although a British citizen, Headey was actually born Bermuda, where her father was stationed as a police officer.

34. Just what the doctor ordered, for short? : RXS

There seems to some uncertainty about the origin of the symbol “Rx” that’s used for a medical prescription. One explanation is that it comes from the astrological sign for Jupiter, a symbol put on prescriptions in days of old to invoke Jupiter’s blessing to help a patient recover.

41. Novelist Ferber : EDNA

Edna Ferber was a novelist and playwright from Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ferber won a Pulitzer for her novel “So Big”, which was made into a film a few times, most famously in 1953 starring Jane Wyman. Ferber also wrote “Show Boat”, “Cimarron” and “Giant”, which were adapted successful for the stage and/or big screen.

43. Filter target : SPAM

The term “spam”, used for unwanted email, is taken from a “Monty Python” sketch. In the sketch (which I’ve seen) the dialog is taken over by the word Spam, a play on the glut of canned meat in the markets of Britain after WWII. So “spam” is used for the glut of emails that takes over online communication. I can just imagine nerdy Internet types (like me) adopting something from a “Monty Python” sketch to describe an online phenomenon …

46. Unearth : EXHUME

Our word “exhume” ultimately comes from the Latin “ex” (out of) “humus” (earth).

51. Lazy ___ : SUSAN

A lazy Susan is a circular tray at the center of a dining table that can be rotated by those partaking in the meal. The term “lazy Susan” was introduced in the early 1900s, first appearing in an article in the magazine “Good Housekeeping”. Before this designation, the device had been called a “dumbwaiter”, a term we now use for a small elevator used for transporting food from a kitchen to a dining room.

52. Good at repartee : WITTY

“Repartee” is conversation that includes witty remarks. “Repartee” comes from the French “repartie” meaning “answering thrust”, originally a fencing term.

53. Big name in microprocessors : INTEL

Intel is the world’s largest manufacturer of semiconductor chips. The company was founded in 1968, and the name “Intel” is a derived from the term “int(egrated) el(ectronics)”. Recognition of the Intel brand has been greatly helped by the success of the “Intel Inside” campaign that started back in 1991.

54. ___-de-sac : CUL

Even though “cul-de-sac” can indeed mean “bottom of the bag” in French, the term cul-de-sac is of English origin (the use of “cul” in French is actually quite rude). The term was introduced in aristocratic circles at a time when it was considered very fashionable to speak French. Dead-end streets in France are usually signposted with just a symbol and no accompanying words, but if words are included they are “voie sans issue”, meaning “way without exit”.

58. Chinese menu possessive : TSO’S

General Tso’s chicken is an American creation, and a dish often found on the menu of a Chinese restaurant. The name General Tso may be a reference to General Zuo Zongtang of the Qing Dynasty, but there is no clear link.

61. Army ___ : 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.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Venomous African snake : MAMBA
6. Quandaries : JAMS
10. Duchess of ___ (Goya subject) : ALBA
14. “Ghosts” playwright : IBSEN
15. Cartoon dog : ODIE
16. Trollish sort : BOOR
17. 1984 Schwarzenegger sequel : CONAN THE DESTROYER
19. Go fast : ZOOM
20. Reeves of “The Matrix” : KEANU
21. Kind of bar : SUSHI
22. ___ Ranch (onetime “Texas White House”) : LBJ
25. Early form of airmail? : CARRIER PIGEON
28. “Yay, me!” : I RULE!
30. It’s measured in cups : BRA
31. Minor but essential part : COG
32. “In this way” : LIKE SO
34. Round floor cleaner : ROOMBA
36. Many a bar mitzvah attendee : TEEN
37. Chrysler model discontinued in 2010 : PT CRUISER
39. Mother of the Virgin Mary : ANNE
42. Butters up? : BASTES
44. Opened one’s mouth but didn’t speak? : YAWNED
46. Fair-hiring inits. : EEO
48. Campaign freebie : PIN
49. Scary figure in Stephen King’s “It” : CLOWN
50. Grinder : SUBMARINE SANDWICH
55. Org. whose symbol is an eagle atop a key : NSA
56. Run-of-the-mill : HO-HUM
57. Language from which “kayak” comes : INUIT
59. Pac-12 team : UTES
60. It’s four units long in a popular board game (with the game’s other pieces hinted at by the circled letters) : BATTLESHIP
65. Red giant in the constellation Cetus : MIRA
66. A penny is a small one : ANTE
67. Express : VOICE
68. Future C.P.A.’s study : ECON
69. “Gotta go,” in textspeak : TTYL
70. Fragrant compound : ESTER

Down

1. Word after hot or open : … MIC
2. Blood letters : ABO
3. ___ Explorer (browser) : MSN
4. Schnozz : BEAK
5. Wings : ANNEXES
6. Pope before Leo VI : JOHN X
7. For two : A DEUX
8. Potpourri : MIX
9. Congress : SEX
10. Bella of 1970s politics : ABZUG
11. Unpredictable sort : LOOSE CANNON
12. “Oh, cry me a river!” : BOOHOO!
13. Giving heat? : ARMING
18. Duty : TAX
21. Neighbor of India and China in Risk : SIAM
22. Cheerful tune : LILT
23. Cocktail party spread : BRIE
24. Foreigner song with the lyric “With that one guitar / He’ll come alive” : JUKE BOX HERO
26. Gaming debut of 2001 : XBOX
27. Agent : PROXY
29. Actress Headey : LENA
33. Join voluntarily : OPT IN
34. Just what the doctor ordered, for short? : RXS
35. Turn on the waterworks : BAWL
38. Watch over : TEND
40. Google heading : NEWS
41. Novelist Ferber : EDNA
43. Filter target : SPAM
45. Pull off : ACHIEVE
46. Unearth : EXHUME
47. Pet store category : EXOTIC
51. Lazy ___ : SUSAN
52. Good at repartee : WITTY
53. Big name in microprocessors : INTEL
54. ___-de-sac : CUL
58. Chinese menu possessive : TSO’S
60. Take some swings : BAT
61. Army ___ : ANT
62. Success in the game 60-Across … or a hint to interpreting the circled squares : HIT!
63. Winter coat : ICE
64. Each : PER