0914-18 NY Times Crossword 14 Sep 18, Friday

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Constructed by: John Guzzetta
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 14m 05s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Differences between colors : WAVELENGTHS

When light passes through a prism, it splits up (“disperses”) into differing wavelengths. It then becomes clear that white light is actually a mixture of different colors, which show up as beautiful spectra.

12. Duchamp contemporary : ARP

Jean Arp was a French artist renowned for his work with torn and pasted paper, although that wasn’t the only medium he used. Arp was the son of a French mother and German father and spoke both languages fluently. When he was speaking German he gave his name as Hans Arp, but when speaking French he called himself Jean Arp. Both “Hans” and “Jean” translate into English as “John”. In WWI Arp moved to Switzerland to avoid being called up to fight, taking advantage of Swiss neutrality. Eventually he was told to report to the German Consulate and fill out paperwork for the draft. In order to get out of fighting, Arp messed up the paperwork by writing the date in every blank space on the forms. Then he took off all of his clothes and walked with his papers over to the officials in charge. Arp was sent home …

Marcel Duchamp was a French artist whose works are associated with the Dadaist and Surrealist movements. One of his most celebrated “works” is simply what he called “readymade” art, a urinal which he titled “Fountain”. Even though this work is considered to be “a major landmark in 20th century art”, the original that was submitted for exhibition was never actually displayed and had been lost forever. Replicas were commissioned by Duchamp, and are on display in many museums around the world. I have no further comment …

16. Accessory for Miss Piggy : BOA

The Muppet named Miss Piggy has a pretentious air, and so refers to herself as “moi”. In 1998, Miss Piggy even released her own perfume called “Moi”.

18. Some buzzer followers, for short : OTS

Overtime (OT)

19. End of a count? : -ESS

In the ranking of nobles, an earl comes above a viscount and below a marquis. The rank of earl is used in the British peerage system and is equivalent to the rank of count in other countries. Other British ranks have female forms (e.g. marquis and marchioness, viscount and viscountess), but there isn’t a female word for the rank of earl. A female given the same rank as an earl is known as a countess.

21. MTV toon teen : BEAVIS

“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 …

23. Reebok rival : FILA

Fila was originally an Italian company, founded in 1911 and now based in South Korea. Fila was started in Piedmont by the Fila brothers, primarily to make underwear that they sold to people living in the Italian Alps. The company started to focus on sportswear in the seventies, using tennis-great Bjorn Borg as their major endorser.

25. “Fiddler on the Roof” setting : SHTETL

The Yiddish word for “town” is “shtot”, and so “shtetl” is the diminutive form meaning “small town”. The fictional shtetl featured in the musical in “Fiddler on the Roof” is called Anatevka, which is also the title of my favorite song from the show.

The enduring musical “Fiddler on the Roof” is based on a collection of stories by Sholem Aleichem about Tevye, a milkman living in Tsarist Russia. The musical version of the tales first opened on Broadway in 1964. “Fiddler on the Roof” had such a long run that it became the first musical to reach 3,000 performances.

37. Novelist Ephron : DELIA

Delia Ephron is the sister of the more famous Nora Ephron, and is a screenwriter and producer in her own right. Among Delia’s writing credits is the 2005 movie “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”.

38. Course outline : SYLLABUS

“Syllabus” (plural “syllabi”) is the Latin word for “list”.

40. Helen who helped establish the 46-Down : KELLER
(46. See 40-Across : ACLU)

Helen Keller became a noted author despite been deaf and blind, largely through the work of her teacher, Anne Sullivan. Keller was left deaf and blind after an illness (possible meningitis or scarlet fever). when she was about 18 months old. She was to become the first deaf and blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. The relationship between Sullivan and Keller is immortalized in the play and film called “The Miracle Worker”.

42. Minute Rice instruction : BOIL

Minute Rice is a brand of “instant rice”, rice that has been pre-cooked and dehydrated. Using instant rice saves about ten minutes and cooking time, but many of the rice’s natural nutrients have been lost in the factory dehydration process.

45. Shepard of “Parenthood” : DAX

“Parenthood” is a TV series that originally aired from 2010 until 2015, and is loosely based on the 1989 film of the same name starring Steve Martin. Ron Howard directed the film, and served as executive producer for the TV show.

48. Darth Vader’s boyhood nickname : ANI

Anakin “Ani” Skywalker is the principal character in the first six of the “Star Wars” movies. His progress chronologically through the series of films is:

  • Episode I: Anakin is a 9-year-old slave boy who earns the promise of Jedi training by young Obi-Wan Kenobi.
  • Episode II: Anakin is 18-years-old and goes on a murdering rampage to avenge the killing of his mother.
  • Episode III: Anakin is 21-years-old and a Jedi knight, but he turns to the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader. His wife Padme gives birth to twins, Luke and Leia Skywalker.
  • Episode IV: Darth Vader, comes into conflict with his children, Luke Skywalker and the Princess Leia.
  • Episode V: Darth Vader attempts to coax his son Luke over to the dark side, and reveals to Luke that he is his father.
  • Episode VI: Luke learns that Leia is his sister, and takes on the task of bringing Darth Vader back from the Dark Side in order to save the Galaxy. Vader saves his son from the Emperor’s evil grip, dying in the process, but his spirit ends up alongside the spirits of Yoda and Obi-Wan. They all live happily ever after …

49. Type unprofessionally : HUNT AND PECK

“Hunt and peck” is a way to describe two-fingered typing.

52. Sleep study acronym : REM

“REM” is an acronym standing for rapid eye movement sleep. REM sleep takes up 20-25% of the sleeping hours and is the period associated with one’s most vivid dreams.

53. “Hallelujah!” : IT’S A MIRACLE!

The interjection “hallelujah!” means “praise ye the Lord!” The term comes from the Hebrew “halălūyāh” meaning “praise ye Yahweh”.

Down

2. Reddit Q&A sessions, briefly : AMAS

Reddit.com is a networking and news website that started up in 2005. It is essentially a bulletin board system with posts that are voted up and down by users, which determines the ranking of posts. The name “Reddit” is a play on “read it”, as in “I read it on Reddit”. One popular feature of the Reddit site is an online forum that is similar to a press conference. Known as an AMA (for “ask me anything”), participants have included the likes of President Barack Obama, Madonna, Bill Gates, Stephen Colbert and Gordon Ramsay. President Obama’s AMA was so popular that the high level of traffic brought down many parts of the Reddit site.

4. Oocyte, e.g. : EGG

An oocyte is an immature egg cell involved in reproduction.

7. Where Hercules slew the lion : NEMEA

“The Twelve Labors of Hercules” is actually a Greek myth, although Hercules is the Roman name for the hero that the Greeks called Heracles. The first of these labors was to slay the Nemean lion, a monster that lived in a cave near Nemea. Hercules had a tough job as the lion’s golden fur was impenetrable to normal weapons. One version of the story is that Hercules killed the lion by shooting an arrow into its mouth. Another version says that Hercules stunned the monster with a club and then strangled him with his bare hands.

8. Some Pontiacs : GTOS

The initialism “GTO” was used on several touring cars (including a famous Pontiac) and stands for “Gran Turismo Omologato”. Italian car manufacturers started the tradition of calling their luxury performance cars “Gran Turismo”, and calling those cars they approved for racing “Gran Turismo Omologato”. The phrase “gran turismo omologato” translates as “grand touring homologated”, with “homologated” being a technical term signifying official approval.

9. Night that “Friends” aired: Abbr. : THU

When the incredibly successful sitcom “Friends” was in development it was given a working title “Insomnia Cafe”. This was changed to “Friends Like Us”, before final going to air as “Friends”.

12. Supercilious : ABOVE IT ALL

“Supercilious” is a such a lovely-sounding word, with a not-so-lovely meaning. Someone described as supercilious is lofty with pride, haughtily contemptuous. The term derives from the Latin “supercilium” meaning “eyebrow” (actually “above the eyelid), the idea being that a person is prone to raise his or her eyebrows to express haughtiness.

22. “My baby at my breast,” to Shakespeare’s Cleopatra : ASP

In William Shakespeare’s play “Antony and Cleopatra”, the heroine of the piece addresses the asp as she uses the snake to commit suicide:

Come, thou mortal wretch,
With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicate
Of life at once untie: poor venomous fool,
Be angry, and dispatch.

Later she says:

Peace, peace!
Dost thou not see my baby at my breast,
That sucks the nurse asleep?

23. Boba ___, “Star Wars” bounty hunter : FETT

Boba Fett is one of the principal bad guys in the “Star Wars” universe. Boba Fett appears in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” and in “Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”. A young version of Boba Fett also appears in “Episode II: Attack of the Clones”.

25. Leafy vegetable related to a beet : SWISS CHARD

Chard is a lovely leafy vegetable, in my humble opinion. Chard is the same species as the garden beet, but chard is grown for the leaves, and beet is grown for the roots. Chard also goes by the names, Swiss chard, silverbeet, mangold. In some parts of Australia it’s even known as spinach.

26. 1974 Abba hit : HONEY, HONEY

Only three members of the quartet that made up the pop group ABBA were born in Sweden. Anni-Frid Lyngstad was born in Norway just after the end of WWII, the daughter of a Norwegian mother and a father who was German soldier and a member of the German occupying force during the war. The father returned to Germany with the army, and in 1947, Anni-Frid was taken with her family to Sweden. They left fearing reprisals against those who dealt with the German army during the occupation.

27. Mazurka meter : TRIPLE TIME

A mazurka is a Polish folk dance. The great French-Polish composer Frédéric Chopin was known for writing many mazurkas for solo piano.

30. Pelvis-patella connector : FEMUR

The thigh bone, the femur, is the longest and strongest bone in the human body.

The patella is the kneecap. The bone’s Latin name is “patella”, which is a diminutive form of “patina”, the word for “pan”. The idea is that the kneecap is pan-shaped.

33. Member of the 1920s Murderers’ Row : BABE RUTH

The New York Yankees baseball team of the late twenties had a particularly successful core group of batters. That line-up was nicknamed “Murderers’ Row”. The most famous “Murderers’ Row” played with the 1927 Yankees, and was made up of:

  • Earle Combs
  • Mark Koenig
  • Babe Ruth
  • Lou Gehrig
  • Bob Meusel
  • Tony Lazzeri

36. Grounds for a 15-yard penalty : LATE HIT

That would be football.

37. Tragic heroine of Irish legend : DEIRDRE

Deirdre of the Sorrows is a tragic heroine of Irish legend. Her story figures prominently in Irish literature, including a play by J. M. Synge titled “Deirdre of the Sorrows”. Synge left the work unfinished when he died in 1909, but it was completed by William Butler Yeats and Synge’s fiancée, and premiered in 1910.

39. Muscle used in pull-ups, briefly : LAT

The muscles known as the “lats” are the latissimi dorsi, the broadest muscles in the back. “Latissimus” is the Latin for “broadest” and “dorsum” is Latin for “back”.

47. Classic Jaguars : XK-ES

XK and XK-E are models of Jaguar motor car.

We knew them as E-type Jags in my part of the world growing up, but they were marketed over in the US as the Jaguar XK-E line. The XK-E was manufactured from 1961 to 1974.

50. D.O.D. division : NSA

National Security Agency (NSA)

Department of Defense (DOD)

51. It might receive zero stars : PAN

To pan something is to criticize it harshly.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Differences between colors : WAVELENGTHS
12. Duchamp contemporary : ARP
15. “Well, what do you know?!” : IMAGINE THAT!
16. Accessory for Miss Piggy : BOA
17. Six-time Grammy winner who is half of the group Gnarls Barkley : DANGER MOUSE
18. Some buzzer followers, for short : OTS
19. End of a count? : -ESS
20. Toil and trouble : WOES
21. MTV toon teen : BEAVIS
23. Reebok rival : FILA
24. Most clipped : TERSEST
25. “Fiddler on the Roof” setting : SHTETL
28. Embarrassed : SHEEPISH
29. Net ___ : WORTH
30. Establish : FOUND
31. Shorts go-with : TEE
32. Still vying : IN IT
33. Bits of sweat : BEADS
34. Offensive line : BARB
35. Natl. Library Card Sign-Up Month : SEP
36. Desktop accessories : LAMPS
37. Novelist Ephron : DELIA
38. Course outline : SYLLABUS
40. Helen who helped establish the 46-Down : KELLER
41. School copier, maybe : CHEATER
42. Minute Rice instruction : BOIL
43. Like Mercury vis-à-vis Mars : HOTTER
44. Future reporter : SEER
45. Shepard of “Parenthood” : DAX
48. Darth Vader’s boyhood nickname : ANI
49. Type unprofessionally : HUNT AND PECK
52. Sleep study acronym : REM
53. “Hallelujah!” : IT’S A MIRACLE!
54. Change the locks? : DYE
55. “Brilliant!” : THAT’S GENIUS!

Down

1. Extensive : WIDE
2. Reddit Q&A sessions, briefly : AMAS
3. Circlers at airports : VANS
4. Oocyte, e.g. : EGG
5. Rest on, as chances : LIE WITH
6. Register : ENROLL
7. Where Hercules slew the lion : NEMEA
8. Some Pontiacs : GTOS
9. Night that “Friends” aired: Abbr. : THU
10. Distant stars? : HAS-BEENS
11. Led : STEERED
12. Supercilious : ABOVE IT ALL
13. Spit spot : ROTISSERIE
14. Become legally certified : PASS THE BAR
22. “My baby at my breast,” to Shakespeare’s Cleopatra : ASP
23. Boba ___, “Star Wars” bounty hunter : FETT
24. Sounds of failure : THUDS
25. Leafy vegetable related to a beet : SWISS CHARD
26. 1974 Abba hit : HONEY, HONEY
27. Mazurka meter : TRIPLE TIME
28. Individually wrapped hotel amenities : SOAPS
30. Pelvis-patella connector : FEMUR
33. Member of the 1920s Murderers’ Row : BABE RUTH
34. Bout ender : BELL
36. Grounds for a 15-yard penalty : LATE HIT
37. Tragic heroine of Irish legend : DEIRDRE
39. Muscle used in pull-ups, briefly : LAT
40. Sarah who hosted the podcast “Serial” : KOENIG
42. Support pieces : BEAMS
44. Saves or assists : STAT
45. Liter lead-in : DECI-
46. See 40-Across : ACLU
47. Classic Jaguars : XK-ES
50. D.O.D. division : NSA
51. It might receive zero stars : PAN