1104-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 4 Nov 2017, Saturday

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Constructed by: Michael Shteyman
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: Stretch the Truth

Unusually, we have a themed puzzle on a Saturday. The word TRUTH appears in the longest answers, but the letters are STRETCHED throughout each answer:

  • 54A. Exaggerate … or a hint to five nonconsecutive letters in 20-Across, 36-Across and 7-Down : STRETCH THE TRUTH
  • 20A. Over time : THROUGH THE YEARS
  • 36A. Garden fruit that tastes pumpkin-y : BUTTERNUT SQUASH
  • 7D. “Because I said so!” : DON’T ARGUE WITH ME!

Bill’s time: 10m 17s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Spelling aid? : MOJO

The word “mojo”, meaning “magical charm, magnetism”, is probably of Creole origin.

5. Band of warriors : CADRE

A cadre is most commonly a group of experienced personnel at the core of a larger organization that the small group trains or heavily influences. “Cadre” is a French word meaning “frame”. We use it in the sense that a cadre is a group that provides a “framework” for the larger organization.

10. Cavil : CARP

The word “carp” used to mean simply “talk” back in the 13th century, with its roots in the Old Norwegian “karpa” meaning “to brag”. A century later the Latin word “carpere” meaning “to slander” influenced the use of “carp” so that it came to mean “find fault with”.

A cavil is a trivial objection, a nit.

14. One of the Twelve Olympians : ARES

The Greek god Ares is often referred to as the Olympian god of warfare, but originally he was regarded as the god of bloodlust and slaughter. Ares united with Aphrodite to create several gods, including Phobos (Fear), Deimos (Terror) and Eros (Desire). Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, and the Roman equivalent to Ares was Mars.

Mount Olympus is the highest peak in Greece. In Greek mythology, Mount Olympus was home to the gods, and in particular home to the principal gods known as the Twelve Olympians.

16. Grandmother of 14-Across : RHEA
(One of the Twelve Olympians : ARES)

In Greek mythology Rhea was one of the Titans. She was the sister and husband of Cronus, and together they had six children, the last of which was Zeus. Cronus swallowed all of his children as soon as they were born, except for Zeus, who Rhea managed to hide from her husband.

17. Automaker with the slogan “Wir leben Autos” : OPEL

Opel’s motto “Wir leben Autos” is usually translated as “We live and breathe cars”.

Adam Opel founded his company in 1863, first making sewing machines in a cowshed. Commercial success brought new premises and a new product line in 1886, namely penny-farthing bicycles. Adam Opel died in 1895, leaving his two sons with a company that made more penny-farthings and sewing machines than any other company in the world. In 1899 the two sons partnered with a locksmith and started to make cars, but not very successfully. Two years later, the locksmith was dropped in favor of a licensing arrangement with a French car company. By 1914, Opel was the largest manufacturer of automobiles in Germany. My Dad had an Opel in the seventies, a station wagon (we’d say “estate car” in Ireland) called an Opel Kadett.

19. They may respond for the unresponsive, for short : EMTS

Emergency medical technician (EMT)

23. Big tower letters : AAA

AAA tow trucks do a lot of towing.

24. Actress Negri of the silents : POLA

Pola Negri was a Polish actress, and the first star to be invited from Europe to develop a career in Hollywood. Most of her success came in the silent era, but she was able to make the transition to the talkies. Her off-screen life attracted the attention of the gossip columnists who rejoiced in her affairs with the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Rudolph Valentino.

28. Rebate requirement, at times: Abbr. : RCPT

Receipt (rcpt.)

31. Fraternity letter : TAU

Tau is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet, the letter which gave rise to our Roman “T”. Both the letters tau (T) and chi (X) have long been symbolically associated with the cross.

32. Island on which Mount Obama is the highest point : ANTIGUA

Antigua is an island in the West Indies, and is the main island of the country of Antigua and Barbuda. These twin islands take their names from the Spanish for “ancient” and “bearded”.

Mount Obama is the highest point on the island of Antigua in the West Indies. Formerly known as Boggy Peak, the mountain was renamed for Barack Obama on August 4th, 2009, the US president’s 44th birthday.

42. RR stop : STN

A station (stn.) is a railroad (RR) stop.

43. Annual music and film festival founded in 1987, briefly : SXSW

South by Southwest, also known as SXSW, is an annual festival that has been taking place in Austin, Texas since 1987. SXSW is a melded event, combining a music festival, a film festival and an interactive festival.

44. “___ is about finding your own space”: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar : ISLAM

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s name at birth was Ferdinand Lewis “Lew” Alcindor. Alcindor changed his name when he converted to Islam.

53. Co-director and co-star of the 2011 film “Bed Peace” : ONO

John Lennon and Yoko Ono had a very public honeymoon in a hotels in Amsterdam and then Montreal, when they staged their famous “bed-in” for peace. In answering questions from reporters Lennon found himself often repeating the words “give peace a chance”. While still in bed, he composed his famous song “Give Peace a Chance” and even made the original recording of the song in the Montreal hotel room, with reporters present, and with a whole bunch of friends. The song was released later in 1969 and became a smash hit. Writing credit was initially given to Lennon-McCartney, as was the agreement between John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Later versions of the song were credited just to Lennon, even though Lennon stated that Yoko Ono actually wrote the song with him.

58. Engineering college in Needham, Mass. : OLIN

Olin College of Engineering is a private school in Needham, Massachusetts. The college was established in 1997 with funds provided by the F. W. Olin Foundation. Franklin W. Olin was the founder of the chemical and manufacturing company known as the Olin Corporation.

62. Bad state to be in : LIMBO

In the Roman Catholic tradition, “Limbo” is a place where souls can remain who cannot enter heaven. For example, infants who have not been baptized are said to reside in Limbo. Limbo is said to be located on the border of Hell. The name was chosen during the Middle Ages from the Latin “limbo” meaning “ornamental border to a fringe”. We use the phrase “in limbo” in contemporary English to mean “in a state of uncertainty”.

64. Dryden’s “Alexander’s Feast” and others : ODES

John Dryden was a highly influential poet and playwright in the late 1600s. He came from good literary stock, and was a cousin once-removed of Jonathan Swift. Dryden was made England’s first Poet Laureate, in 1668.

Down

1. Strong Chinese liquor : MAOTAI

Maotai is a Chinese liquor that is distilled from fermented sorghum. It is named for the the town of Maotai in Guizhou Province, where there is a long history of distilling alcoholic spirits in volume.

2. Tom Sawyer or Oliver Twist : ORPHAN

Tom Sawyer is a favorite character created by Mark Twain. He turns up in four of Twain’s books:

  • “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”
  • “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”
  • “Tom Sawyer Abroad”
  • “Tom Sawyer, Detective”

But that’s not all, as he appears in at least three works that Twain left unfinished:

  • “Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Among the Indians” (a sequel to “Huckleberry Finn”)
  • “Schoolhouse Hill”
  • “Tom Sawyer’s Conspiracy” (a sequel to “Tom Sawyer, Detective”)

“Oliver Twist” is a novel by Charles Dickens. It is a popular tale for adaptation to the big screen. There were two silent film versions, in 1909 and 1922, and the first talkie version was released in 1933, with many to follow. The latest “Oliver” for the big screen was a 2005 Roman Polanski production.

5. Hold things : CARGO

Cargo is freight carried by some vehicle. The term comes into English via Spanish, ultimately deriving from the Latin “carricare” meaning “to load on a cart”.

6. Menotti’s “___ and the Night Visitors” : AMAHL

The composer Gian Carlo Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors” has a special place in the repertoire, in that it is the first opera specifically composed for American television. “Amahl and the Night Visitors” was commissioned by NBC and had its debut at the NBC studios in Rockefeller Center on Christmas Eve, 1951. In today’s world of commercially-driven television, I can’t imagine a network commissioning a classical work …

8. Compassion for the misery of others : RUTH

“Ruth” is a term meaning compassion or sorrow, pity for another. The term with the opposite meaning would be “ruthless”.

9. Scot’s tongue : ERSE

There are actually three Erse languages: Irish, Manx (spoken on the Isle of Man) and Scots Gaelic. In their own tongues, these would be Gaeilge (in Ireland), Gaelg (on the Isle of Man) and Gaidhlig (in Scotland).

10. Bit of fishing gear : CREEL

A creel is a basket used for catching sea creatures (lobsters, for example). Creel is also the name given to the small wicker basket used to hold fish that have been caught by an angler. “Creel” is originally a Scottish word.

12. Camp David and others : RETREATS

Camp David is the very lovely country retreat used by the US President and family. Technically, Camp David belongs to the US Navy and is known as Naval Support Facility Thurmont. The installation was originally built between 1935 and 1938 as a retreat for government agents and their families. President Franklin D. Roosevelt converted it to a presidential retreat in 1942, naming it Shangri-La. When President Eisenhower was in office he renamed Shangri-La to Camp David in honor of his father and grandson, both of whom were called David.

27. One joule per second : WATT

James Watt was a Scottish inventor. He figured prominently in the Industrial Revolution in Britain, largely due to the improvements he made to the fledgling steam engine. The SI unit of power is called the watt, named in his honor.

30. ___ Robles, Calif. : PASO

Paso Robles is a lovely little city in San Luis Obispo County, California. Paso Robles is home to many, many wineries. The name Paso Robles translates from Spanish as “The Pass of the Oaks”.

33. Museum of natural history attraction, in brief : T REX

The Tyrannosaurus rex (usually written “T. rex”) was a spectacular looking dinosaur. “Tyrannosaurus” comes from the Greek words “tyrannos” (tyrant) and “sauros” (lizard) and “rex” the Latin for “king”. They were big beasts, measuring 42 feet long and 13 feet tall at the hips, and weighing 7.5 tons.

38. Largest of the Canaries : TENERIFE

Tenerife is the largest of the seven Canary Islands located off the coast of Morocco in North Africa. Part of Spain, Tenerife is the nation’s most populous island, home to almost 900,000 people. It also receives about five million visitors annually, making it one of the most important tourist destinations in the world.

The Canary Islands are located off the northwest coast of Africa. The islands aren’t named for the canary bird and in fact the bird is named for the islands. The name of the Canary Islands comes from the Latin “Canariae Insulae” which translates as “Island of the Dogs”. This was the original name for the third largest island, now called Gran Canaria. In the days of Ancient Rome the island was noted as a home to a large number of very large dogs.

45. Disreputable : LOUCHE

Something described as louche is shady and disreputable. “Louche” is a French term meaning “squinting”. I guess the idea is that someone disreputable might squint, avoid direct eye contact.

47. Hiawatha, for one : MOHAWK

“The Song of Hiawatha” is an epic poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that he penned in 1855. Longfellow based the poem on legends told to him by Native Americans. The main characters in the piece are Hiawatha and his lover Minnehaha.

51. Biblical land on the Arabian Peninsula : SHEBA

Sheba is referenced in the Bible several times. The “Queen of Sheba” is mentioned as someone who traveled to Jerusalem to behold the fame of King Solomon. No one knows for sure where the kingdom of Sheba was located, although there is evidence that it was actually the ancient Semitic civilization of Saba. The Sabeans lived in what today is Yemen, on the Arabian Peninsula.

55. Advanced H.S. class : CALC

The Latin word “calculus” was originally used for a reckoning or an account, and originally applied to a pebble that was used to maintain a count. The Latin word came from the Greek for a pebble, “khalix”.

57. Kentucky’s ___ Arena : RUPP

The Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky is home to the University of Kentucky’s men’s basketball team. The arena is is named for former Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp, and is the country’s largest sports indoor area with a capacity of 24,000 people.

58. Dunderhead : TWIT

“Twit” is a word not used very often here in America. It’s a slang term that was quite common in England where it was used for “someone foolish and idiotic”.

64. CPR provider : EMT

An emergency medical technician (EMT) might administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Spelling aid? : MOJO
5. Band of warriors : CADRE
10. Cavil : CARP
14. One of the Twelve Olympians : ARES
15. Undercover lover : AMOUR
16. Grandmother of 14-Across : RHEA
17. Automaker with the slogan “Wir leben Autos” : OPEL
18. Goes on … and goes off : RANTS
19. They may respond for the unresponsive, for short : EMTS
20. Over time : THROUGH THE YEARS
23. Big tower letters : AAA
24. Actress Negri of the silents : POLA
25. Tribal V.I.P. : ELDER
26. Split down the middle : IN TWO
28. Rebate requirement, at times: Abbr. : RCPT
31. Fraternity letter : TAU
32. Island on which Mount Obama is the highest point : ANTIGUA
35. Strong sprays : JETS
36. Garden fruit that tastes pumpkin-y : BUTTERNUT SQUASH
40. Working without ___ : A NET
41. Just manages : EKES OUT
42. RR stop : STN
43. Annual music and film festival founded in 1987, briefly : SXSW
44. “___ is about finding your own space”: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar : ISLAM
48. One who can’t keep a secret : SIEVE
50. Setting for many shipwreck movies : ISLE
53. Co-director and co-star of the 2011 film “Bed Peace” : ONO
54. Exaggerate … or a hint to five nonconsecutive letters in 20-Across, 36-Across and 7-Down : STRETCH THE TRUTH
58. Engineering college in Needham, Mass. : OLIN
59. Was amazed by, with “at” : AAHED
60. Home to the Ronald Reagan Med. Ctr. : UCLA
61. It’s just not right : LEFT
62. Bad state to be in : LIMBO
63. “That wasn’t easy at all!” : PHEW!
64. Dryden’s “Alexander’s Feast” and others : ODES
65. Like renewable energy : CLEAN
66. Brighten (up) : PERK

Down

1. Strong Chinese liquor : MAOTAI
2. Tom Sawyer or Oliver Twist : ORPHAN
3. Mock : JEER AT
4. Capital situated on the same latitude as St. Petersburg, Russia : OSLO
5. Hold things : CARGO
6. Menotti’s “___ and the Night Visitors” : AMAHL
7. “Because I said so!” : DON’T ARGUE WITH ME!
8. Compassion for the misery of others : RUTH
9. Scot’s tongue : ERSE
10. Bit of fishing gear : CREEL
11. Alternative to Twinings : AHMAD TEA
12. Camp David and others : RETREATS
13. Defensive football tactic : PASS RUSH
21. Winning, but barely : UP ONE
22. So far : YET
27. One joule per second : WATT
29. Salon jobs : CUTS
30. ___ Robles, Calif. : PASO
33. Museum of natural history attraction, in brief : T REX
34. Signs : INKS
35. What a cape does : JUTS
36. Certain rock concert improvisation : BASS SOLO
37. No-name? : UNTITLED
38. Largest of the Canaries : TENERIFE
39. Need to sleep, maybe : QUIET
43. Fix : SET
45. Disreputable : LOUCHE
46. Improvised place to hang a hat, say : ANTLER
47. Hiawatha, for one : MOHAWK
49. Doesn’t keep one’s emotions pent up : VENTS
51. Biblical land on the Arabian Peninsula : SHEBA
52. Deceived, in a way : LED ON
55. Advanced H.S. class : CALC
56. Greet rapturously : HAIL
57. Kentucky’s ___ Arena : RUPP