1101-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 1 Nov 2017, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Herre Schouwerwou
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: Animal Crackers

Today’s grid includes four ANIMALS as hidden words. Those words start with the end of one answer, and finish with the start of a second answer. The black square between the two answers “CRACKS” the ANIMAL in two, as it were:

  • 54A. With 56-Across, lunchbox snacks … or a hint to the black squares before 18-, 29-, 35- and 45-Across? : ANIMAL …
    56A. See 54-Across : … CRACKERS
  • 17A. Ewan who played Obi-Wan Kenobi : MCGREGOR
  • 18A. “Let me find out” : I’LL ASK (hiding “gor-illa”)
  • 27A. Japan’s national fruit : PERSIMMON
  • 29A. Excited, with “up” : KEYED … (hiding “mon-key”)
  • 33A. Out of it : IN A DAZE
  • 35A. Kenneth who played the title role in 1989’s “Henry V” : BRANAGH (hiding “ze-bra”)
  • 42A. Engraved pillar : STELE
  • 45A. Ghostly figures : PHANTASMS (hiding “ele-phant”)

Bill’s time: 8m 11s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Chaney of horror movies : LON

Lon Chaney, Sr. played a lot of crazed-looking characters in the days of silent movies. He did much of his own make-up work, developing the grotesque appearances that became his trademark, and earning himself the nickname “the man of a thousand faces”. Most famous were his portrayals of the title characters in the films “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1923) and “The Phantom of the Opera” (1925).

7. Winner of the four tennis majors and Olympic 8-Down : AGASSI
(8D. See 7-Across : GOLD)

Retired tennis professional Andre Agassi has been married to fellow player Steffi Graf since 2001. Agassi wrote an autobiography called “Open”, published in 2009. An amazing revelation in the book is that Agassi’s famous head of hair was actually a wig for much of his playing career. Can you imagine how hard it must have been to play tennis at his level with a rug stuck on?

17. Ewan who played Obi-Wan Kenobi : MCGREGOR

Ewan McGregor is a very talented Scottish actor, one who got his break in the 1996 film “Trainspotting”. McGregor’s first big Hollywood role was playing the young Obi-Wan-Kenobi in the “Star Wars” prequels. Less known is his televised marathon motorcycle journey from London to New York via central Europe, Ukraine, Siberia, Mongolia and Canada. The 2004 trip was shown as “Long Way Round” on TV. McGregor did a similar trip in 2007 called “Long Way Down”, which took him and the same travelling companion from the north of Scotland to Cape Town in South Africa.

Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of the more beloved of the “Star Wars” characters. Kenobi was portrayed by two fabulous actors in the series of films. As a young man he is played by Scottish actor Ewan McGregor, and as an older man he is played by Alec Guinness.

19. Rode the ump, say : BOOED

Back in the 15th century, “an umpire” was referred to as “a noumpere”, which was misheard and hence causing the dropping of the initial letter N. The term “noumpere” came for Old French “nonper” meaning “not even, odd number”. The idea was that the original umpire was a third person called on to arbitrate between two, providing that “odd number” needed to decide the dispute.

20. Abbr. on a sign at a town line : ESTD

Established (estd.)

26. Hurricane relief org. : FEMA

Federal emergency management has been structured for over 200 years, but what we know today as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was created in 1979 in an Executive Order issued by President Jimmy Carter.

27. Japan’s national fruit : PERSIMMON

The persimmon is the edible fruit of several species of tree, and in botanical terms is actually a berry.

31. Depilatory brand : NAIR

Nair is a hair removal product that has some pretty harsh ingredients. The most important active constituents are calcium hydroxide (“slake lime”) and sodium hydroxide (“caustic soda”). Other Nair components seem to be there to soothe the skin after the harsher chemicals have done their job. The name “Nair” probably comes from combining “no” and “hair”.

35. Kenneth who played the title role in 1989’s “Henry V” : BRANAGH

Kenneth Branagh is a much-respected Shakespearean actor and film director from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Not only is Branagh familiar with playing Shakespearean characters on stage, he is also noted for many performances in Shakespearean plays adapted for the big screen. Branagh was married to the magnificent actress Emma Thompson, and after their divorce spent years in a relationship with actress Helena Bonham Carter. Recently, I have been enjoying watching Branagh in the crime TV series called “Wallander” that is set in Sweden.

40. Salon job : COIF

A coif is a hairdo. The term comes from an old French term “coife”, a skull-cap that was worn under a helmet back in the late 13th century.

41. Houston of Texas : SAM

Sam Houston was the first President of the Republic of Texas, a US Senator for Texas, and governor of the state. Houston was also Governor of Tennessee in his earlier life and is the only person in US history to have been governor of two different states. The city of Houston is of course named for Sam, and the nearby city of Huntsville boasts a statue of Houston that’s the largest freestanding statue of any American.

42. Engraved pillar : STELE

Stelae (singular “stele” or “stela”) were used all over the world, sometimes as territorial markers and sometimes to commemorate military victories. In later times stelae were commonly erected as commemorative markers in graveyards or other religious sites.

47. Southern side : PONE

“Pone” is another word for corn bread, and comes from the Powhatan term “apan” meaning “something baked”.

54. With 56-Across, lunchbox snacks … or a hint to the black squares before 18-, 29-, 35- and 45-Across? : ANIMAL …

56. See 54-Across : … CRACKERS

Animal crackers have been around in the US since the late 1800s, with the recipe/design being imported from England. The first really successful commercially-produced animal crackers were produced by Nabisco and marketed as “Barnum’s Animals”. Nabisco animal cracker cookies were first sold in the famous “circus wagon” box in 1902, as a christmas promotion. Over 40 million packages are now sold every year.

59. Bollywood soundtrack instruments : SITARS

The sitar has been around since the Middle Ages. It is a stringed instrument that is played by plucking, and is used most often in Hindustani classical music. In the West we have been exposed to the instrument largely through the performances of Ravi Shankar and some music by George Harrison of the Beatles, a onetime student of Shankar.

“Bollywood” is the informal name given to the huge film industry based in Mumbai in India. The term “Bollywood” is a melding of “Bombay”, the old name for Mumbai, and “Hollywood”.

61. The early 20th century, for vaudeville : HEYDAY

The Vire is a river that flows through Normandy in France. The poets of the Vire valley were known as the “Vau de Vire”, a term that some say gave rise to our word “Vaudeville”.

63. GPS part: Abbr. : SYS

Global positioning system (GPS)

Down

1. Place for a nest : LIMB

That would be a limb of a tree.

4. English horn, e.g. : REED

The English Horn is also known by its French name “Cor Anglais”. It is a double-reed woodwind instrument.

5. Lee who directed “Life of Pi” : ANG

Taiwanese director Ang Lee sure has directed a mixed bag of films, mixed in terms of genre but not in terms of quality. He was at the helm for such classics as “Sense & Sensibility” (my personal favorite), “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, “Hulk”, “Brokeback Mountain” and “Life of Pi”.

The 2012 movie “Life of Pi” is based on a 2001 novel of the same name by Yann Martel. The “Pi” in the title is an Indian boy named Pi Patel who finds himself adrift for 227 days in small boat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

10. Actress Dash of “Clueless” : STACEY

Stacey Dash is an actress from the Bronx, New York. Dash is best known for playing one of the lead roles in the 1995 movie “Clueless”, as well as in the TV spinoff series also called “Clueless”.

11. Bagel choice : SESAME

The bagel was invented in the Polish city of Kraków in the 16th century. Bagels were brought to this country by Jewish immigrants from Poland who mainly established homes in and around New York City.

15. Noah of “The Daily Show” : TREVOR

Trevor Noah is a comedian from Johannesburg, South Africa. Noah took over as host of the Comedy Channel’s “The Daily Show” after Jon Stewart retired. Noah can speak several languages, including English, Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, Afrikaans, and German.

24. Pollutant that’s a portmanteau : SMAZE

“Smaze” is a weather phenomenon, a smoky haze that is like a fog but less damp. The term is a portmanteau of “smoke” and “haze”.

25. Lady friend, in Lille : AMIE

Lille is a large city in the very north of France sitting right on the border with Belgium. The name “Lille” is a derivation of the term “l’isle” meaning “the island”. The name “L’Isle” dates back to 1066, and is a reference to a castle that once stood on an island in the Deûle river that runs through the city. The city grew around the island and the castle.

26. Bit of office greenery : FERN

Ferns are unlike mosses, in that they have xylem and phloem, making them vascular plants. They also have stems, leaves and roots, but they do not have seeds and flowers, and reproduce using spores. Spores differ from seeds in that they have very little stored food.

27. Letter in an honor society’s name : PHI

Phi Beta Kappa was the first collegiate Greek fraternity in the US, founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary. The organization served as a model for future collegiate fraternities and sororities, although in the 19th century Phi Beta Kappa distanced itself from the fraternal focus and transformed into the honor society that it is today, recognizing academic excellence. The initials Phi Beta Kappa stand for “philosophia biou kybernētēs”, which translates into “philosophy is the guide of life”. The symbol of the Phi Beta Kappa Society is a golden key.

29. Food giant that merged with Heinz in 2015 : KRAFT

In 2012, Kraft foods split into two companies, one specializing in snack foods and the other in grocery items. The grocery company retained the Kraft name, and later merged with Heinz to become Kraft Heinz. The employees of the snack-food company chose the new name of Mondelez themselves. “Mondelez” is a portmanteau of the words for “world” and “delicious” in Romance languages.

32. Sea, colloquially : BRINY

The “briny” is the sea, from “brine” meaning “salty water”. The term “briny” was originally used for “tears”.

34. Bob who lost to Bill : DOLE

Despite all Bob Dole’s success in the world of politics, he is remembered by many as the VP candidate who lost to Walter Mondale (and Jimmy Carter) and the presidential candidate who lost to incumbent Bill Clinton. The man is a true war hero. He joined up in 1942 and fought with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division in Italy. In 1945 he was hit by machine gun fire in his right arm and back Dole was so badly injured that his comrades could only dose him up with morphine, write “M” on his forehead with his own blood (so that another, fatal dose of morphine would not be administered) and continue fighting the battle. Dole had to wait nine hours to be evacuated from the battlefield, and wait another three years before being discharged from hospital back in the States.

36. Lode analysts : ASSAYERS

A lode is a metal ore deposit that’s found between two layers of rock or in a fissure. The “mother lode” is the principal deposit in a mine, usually of gold or silver. “Mother lode” is probably a translation of “veta madre”, an expression used in mining in Mexico.

37. Emission from radioactive decay : GAMMA RAY

Gamma radiation was discovered by the French chemist Paul Villard, as he studied radiation coming from the chemical element radium. This radiation was called “gamma”, the third letter in the Greek alphabet, as alpha and beta particles had already been identified.

38. Letters before Beagle or Bounty : HMS

Englishman Charles Darwin studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland but neglected his studies largely due to his interest in nature and natural history. In the early 1830s, a friend put forward Darwin’s name as a candidate for the post of “collector” on the voyage of HMS Beagle. The Beagle was intending to spend two years at sea primarily charting the coast of South America. The voyage ended up taking five years, during which time Darwin sent back copious letters describing his findings. Back in Britain these letters were published as pamphlets by a friend and so when Darwin eventually returned home in 1836, he had already gained some celebrity in scientific circles. It was while on the Beagle that Darwin developed his initial ideas on the concept of natural selection. It wasn’t until over twenty years later that he formulated his theories into a scientific paper and in 1859 published his famous book “On the Origin of the Species”. This original publication never even mentioned the word “evolution” which was controversial even back then. It was in 1871 that Darwin addressed head-on the concept that man was an animal species, in his book “The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex”.

Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall wrote “Mutiny on the ‘Bounty’”, based on a true story. They followed up their successful novel with two more works, creating what is now called the “Bounty Trilogy”. The three books are:

  1. “Mutiny on the ‘Bounty’”, the tale of the mutiny against Captain Bligh.
  2. “Men Against the Sea”, the story of Captain Bligh and the eighteen men set adrift in an open boat by the mutineers.
  3. “Pitcairn’s Island”, a narrative about the lives of the mutineers on South Sea islands after the mutiny.

43. Canadian $2 coin, informally : TOONIE

“Toonie” is the familiar name for a two-dollar coin in Canada. The toonie was introduced in 1996, and gets its familiar name from the one-dollar coin known as a “loonie”.

45. Polynesian finger food : POI

I am a big fan of starch (being an Irishman I love potatoes). That said, I think that poi tastes horrible! Poi is made from the bulbous tubers (corm) of the taro plant by cooking the corm in water and mashing it until the desired consistency is achieved.

46. “That’s ___, son” (Foghorn Leghorn catchphrase) : A JOKE

Foghorn Leghorn is a lovable rooster who appears in “Looney Tunes” and “Merrie Melodies” cartoons from the forties through the sixties. Foghorn’s marvelous voice was provided by the great Mel Blanc. The rooster’s demeanor was drawn directly from a character called Senator Beauregard Claghorn, a blustery Southern politician who appeared regularly on radio’s “The Fred Allen Show”.

51. Logan of CBS News : LARA

Lara Logan is a South African newswoman, and is currently the Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent for CBS News. CBS placed Logan on a forced leave of absence at the end of 2013 for comments that she made about the US Government’s culpability in the Benghazi attack and for inaccuracies in her reporting of the story.

52. North-of-the-border force: Abbr. : RCMP

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (the Mounties, RCMP) is an unusual police force in that it provides all policing for the whole country. The RCMP works on the national level, and right down to the municipal level. The force’s distinctive uniform of red serge tunic, blue pants with a yellow stripe, stetson hat etc. is known internally as “Review Order”. The red uniform dates back to the days of the North-West Mounted Police, which was one of the existing forces that were merged in 1920 to form the RCMP.

53. D-Day vessels: Abbr. : LSTS

“LST” stands for Landing Ship, Tank. LSTs are the large vessels used mainly in WWII that have doors at either ends through which tanks and other vehicles can roll off and onto beaches. The design concept persists to this day in the huge fleet of commercial roll-on/roll-off car ferries, all inspired by the LST.

55. “Spy vs. Spy” magazine : MAD

“Spy vs. Spy” is a comic strip that has run in “Mad” magazine continuously since 1961. It was drawn by Antonio Prohias, a refugee from Cuba, until his retirement. The early storyline was very fitting for the times, a statement about the futility of the arms race, detente and the Cold War.

58. First in a Latin 101 trio : AMO

Amo, amas, amat … I love, you love, he/she/it loves, in Latin.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Chaney of horror movies : LON
4. Low-quality paper : RAG
7. Winner of the four tennis majors and Olympic 8-Down : AGASSI
13. “Heaven forbid!” : I HOPE NOT!
16. Like lava or magma : MOLTEN
17. Ewan who played Obi-Wan Kenobi : MCGREGOR
18. “Let me find out” : I’LL ASK
19. Rode the ump, say : BOOED
20. Abbr. on a sign at a town line : ESTD
22. Mushroom part : CAP
23. Mall aid : MAP
24. Cabbage with crinkly leaves : SAVOY
26. Hurricane relief org. : FEMA
27. Japan’s national fruit : PERSIMMON
29. Excited, with “up” : KEYED …
30. Weeder’s tool : HOE
31. Depilatory brand : NAIR
32. “I’m c-c-cold!” : BRR!
33. Out of it : IN A DAZE
35. Kenneth who played the title role in 1989’s “Henry V” : BRANAGH
39. I : ONE
40. Salon job : COIF
41. Houston of Texas : SAM
42. Engraved pillar : STELE
45. Ghostly figures : PHANTASMS
47. Southern side : PONE
48. Wearing a scowl : POUTY
49. Cars are “parked” in it : JAM
50. Cars are parked in it : LOT
51. Place to hole up : LAIR
52. Part of 52-Down : ROYAL
54. With 56-Across, lunchbox snacks … or a hint to the black squares before 18-, 29-, 35- and 45-Across? : ANIMAL …
56. See 54-Across : … CRACKERS
59. Bollywood soundtrack instruments : SITARS
60. Persistently emphasize : HAMMER AT
61. The early 20th century, for vaudeville : HEYDAY
62. Unexpectedly come (by) : POP
63. GPS part: Abbr. : SYS

Down

1. Place for a nest : LIMB
2. “You’ve got to be kidding!” : OH, COME ON!
3. Forbidden zone : NO-GO AREA
4. English horn, e.g. : REED
5. Lee who directed “Life of Pi” : ANG
6. Melted marshmallows, e.g. : GOO
7. Friendly relations : AMITY
8. See 7-Across : GOLD
9. The whole enchilada : ALL
10. Actress Dash of “Clueless” : STACEY
11. Bagel choice : SESAME
12. Rubber stamp go-with : INK PAD
14. Scrubs up, say : PREPS
15. Noah of “The Daily Show” : TREVOR
21. You might give him the business : SON
24. Pollutant that’s a portmanteau : SMAZE
25. Lady friend, in Lille : AMIE
26. Bit of office greenery : FERN
27. Letter in an honor society’s name : PHI
28. Utterly absurd : INANE
29. Food giant that merged with Heinz in 2015 : KRAFT
32. Sea, colloquially : BRINY
34. Bob who lost to Bill : DOLE
35. Connection between banks? : BOAT
36. Lode analysts : ASSAYERS
37. Emission from radioactive decay : GAMMA RAY
38. Letters before Beagle or Bounty : HMS
40. One of about 400,000 in the United States : CHURCH
42. Water park sound : SPLASH
43. Canadian $2 coin, informally : TOONIE
44. Person or thing : ENTITY
45. Polynesian finger food : POI
46. “That’s ___, son” (Foghorn Leghorn catchphrase) : A JOKE
48. ___-walsy : PALSY
51. Logan of CBS News : LARA
52. North-of-the-border force: Abbr. : RCMP
53. D-Day vessels: Abbr. : LSTS
55. “Spy vs. Spy” magazine : MAD
57. Grammy category since 1988 : RAP
58. First in a Latin 101 trio : AMO