0516-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 16 May 2018, Wednesday

Constructed by: Jonathan Schmalzbach & Bill Albright
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Reveal Answer: French Twist

Today’s answers are puns (TWISTS) on the names of celebrated FRENCHMEN, potential nicknames:

  • 62A. Classic hairstyle … or a hint to the puns in 17-, 25-, 39- and 51-Across : FRENCH TWIST
  • 17A. Nickname for a glitzy author? : JEWELS VERNE (from “Jules Verne”)
  • 25A. Nickname for a clumsy composer? : CLOD DEBUSSY (from “Claude Debussy”)
  • 39A. Nickname for a sloppy painter? : TOO LOOSE LAUTREC (from “Toulouse Lautrec”)
  • 51A. Nickname for a fiery philosopher? : BLAZE PASCAL (from “Blaise Pascal”)

Bill’s time: 9m 39s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

14. What a current flows through : ANODE

A battery is a device that converts chemical energy into electric energy. A simple battery is made up of three parts: a cathode, an anode and a liquid electrolyte. Ions from the electrolyte react chemically with the material in the anode producing a compound and releasing electrons. At the same time, the electrolyte reacts with the material in the cathode, absorbing electrons and producing a different chemical compound. In this way, there is a buildup of electrons at the anode and a deficit of electrons at the cathode. When a connection (wire, say) is made between the cathode and anode, electrons flow through the resulting circuit from the anode to cathode in an attempt to rectify the electron imbalance.

15. Dickens’s ___ Heep : URIAH

Uriah Heep is a sniveling insincere character in the novel “David Copperfield” by Charles Dickens. The character is such a “yes man” that today, if we know someone who behaves the same way, then we might call that person a “Uriah Heep”.

16. “Aladdin” monkey : ABU

Abu is a monkey in the Disney production of “Aladdin”. The character is based on Abu, a thief in the 1940 film “The Thief of Baghdad”.

17. Nickname for a glitzy author? : JEWELS VERNE (from “Jules Verne”)

Jules Verne really was a groundbreaking author. Verne pioneered the science fiction genre, writing about space, air and underwater travel, long before they were practical and proved feasible. Verne is the second-most translated author of all time, with only Agatha Christie beating him out.

19. It contains M.S.G. : NYC

Madison Square Garden (MSG) is an arena in New York City used for a variety of events. In the world of sports it is home to the New York Rangers of the NHL, as well as the New York Knicks of the NBA. “The Garden” is also the third busiest music venue in the world in terms of ticket sales. The current arena is the fourth structure to bear the name, a name taken from the Madison Square location in Manhattan. In turn, the square was named for James Madison, the fourth President of the US.

20. Emmy-winning Falco : EDIE

The actress Edie Falco won three Emmy Awards for playing Carmela Soprano on HBO’s outstanding drama series called “The Sopranos”. Falco also won an Emmy in 2010 for playing the title role in “Nurse Jackie”, an excellent black comedy.

21. Stark of “Game of Thrones” : NED

Ned Stark is the protagonist in George R. R. Martin’s fantasy novel “A Game of Thrones”, although his character doesn’t exactly come out on top by the end of the story. Stark is played by actor Sean Bean in the HBO television adaptation of the novel.

22. A cluttered one is a sign of a cluttered mind, it’s said : DESK

I work with an “empty” desk, so empty mind …?

25. Nickname for a clumsy composer? : CLOD DEBUSSY (from “Claude Debussy”)

Claude Debussy is one of my favorite composers, and someone who epitomises the Romantic Era and Impressionist Movement in music. One of my favorite CDs is a collection of some “lighter” Debussy pieces called “Debussy for Daydreaming”, and what an evocative collection it is. Included are “Syrinx”, “Maid with the Flaxen Hair”, “Rêverie” and everyone’s favorite, “Clair de Lune”.

29. Key below Z, on a Mac : ALT

The Alt (alternate) key is found on either side of the space bar on US PC keyboards. The Alt key evolved from what was called a Meta key on old MIT keyboards, although the function has changed somewhat over the years. Alt is equivalent in many ways to the Option key on a Mac keyboard, and indeed the letters “Alt” have been printed on most Mac keyboards starting in the nineties.

30. Country singer Tillis : MEL

Mel Tillis is a country singer who had most of hits in the seventies. Notably, Tillis has a speech impediment, but this does not affect his singing at all.

31. John who played an older Kunta Kinte on “Roots” : AMOS

John Amos is an actor best known for playing James Evans Sr. on the television show “Good Times”. He also played Admiral Fitzwallace on “The West Wing”, and Special Forces Major Grant in “Die Hard 2”. Also, Evans is a former professional football player.

Not only did Alex Haley author the magnificent novel “Roots”, but he was also the collaborator with Malcolm X on “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”. His 1976 novel “Roots” is based on Haley’s own family history, and he claimed to be a direct descendant of the real life Kunta Kinte, the slave who was kidnapped in the Gambia in 1767. If you remember the original television adaptation of “Roots”, you might recall that Kunta Kinte was played by LeVar Burton, who later went on to play another famous role, Geordi La Forge on “Star Trek: the Next Generation”.

33. “The bay in the fifth,” for one : TIP

Bay is a reddish-brown color. The term “bay” usually describes the coat of a horse, or a horse with a coat of such a color.

39. Nickname for a sloppy painter? : TOO LOOSE LAUTREC (from “Toulouse Lautrec”)

The celebrated French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec came from an aristocratic family. This breeding may have made life comfortable for him, but it was the source of his famous disabilities. He had congenital conditions that resulted from the inbreeding that was a tradition in his family (Henri’s parents were first cousins).

43. “Get Happy” composer : ARLEN

Harold Arlen is a composer of popular music who will forever be associated with his composition “Over the Rainbow” from the movie “The Wizard of Oz”. Arlen also composed the music to “Come Rain or Come Shine”, “It’s Only a Paper Moon”, “Lydia the Tattooed Lady” and the wonderful “Stormy Weather”.

44. Gangster’s gun : GAT

“Gat” is a slang term for a gun that is derived from the Gatling gun, the precursor to the modern machine gun. The Gatling gun was invented by Dr. Richard J. Gatling in 1861. Apparently he was inspired to invent it so that one man could do as much damage as a hundred, thereby reducing the size of armies and diminishing the suffering caused by war. Go figure …

51. Nickname for a fiery philosopher? : BLAZE PASCAL (from “Blaise Pascal”)

Blaise Pascal was an important French mathematician, physicist and philosopher, who lived in the mid-1600s. In math, his name was given to Pascal’s triangle, a triangle of numbers in which each number is the sum of the two numbers above it. Pascal also wrote on the subject of theology. His most important theological writings were published after his death under the title “Pensées”, meaning “Thoughts”.

56. Shape of a swan’s neck : ESS

An adult male swan is called a “cob”, and an adult female is a “pen”. Young swans are called “swanlings” or “cygnets”.

62. Classic hairstyle … or a hint to the puns in 17-, 25-, 39- and 51-Across : FRENCH TWIST

Apparently, French twist is the name of that updo hairstyle where a ponytail is twisted and lifted up to the top of the head and secured with pins or a clip. Not my forte …

68. Chair designer Charles : EAMES

Charles and Ray Eames were a husband-wife team of furniture designers. One of the more famous of their designs is the Eames lounge chair that comes with an ottoman. This trendy piece of furniture featured in a late episode of the television show “Frasier”. In the show, Frasier’s Dad remarks that the Eames chair is so comfortable that he might have gotten rid of his tatty old recliner a long time ago.

70. Prime minister called “Pandit” : NEHRU

Jawaharlal Nehru was the very first prime minister of India, serving from 1947-64. Nehru was basically the heir to his mentor Mahatma Gandhi. Nehru’s only daughter Indira, also became prime minister (known as Indira Gandhi through marriage, though she was no relation to Mahatma).

Down

1. ___ Mahal : TAJ

The most famous mausoleum in the world has to be the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. The Taj Mahal was built after the death of the fourth wife of Shah Jahan, Mumtaz Mahal (hence the name of the mausoleum). The poor woman died in childbirth delivering the couple’s 14th child. When Shah Jahan himself passed away 35 years later, he was buried beside his wife Mumtaz, in the Taj Mahal.

2. Start of every ZIP code in Pennsylvania : ONE

ZIP codes were introduced in 1963. The acronym “ZIP” stands for “Zone Improvement Plan”, a name indicating that mail travels more efficiently when the codes are included in the postal address.

3. Jigsaw, e.g. : POWER TOOL

Jigsaws are saws designed for the cutting of irregular curves by hand. The original jigsaw puzzles were created by painting a picture on a sheet of wood and then cutting the picture into small pieces using a jigsaw, hence the name. Today, almost all jigsaw puzzles are pictures glued onto cardboard. The puzzle pieces are then die-cut, and there’s no jigsaw involved at all.

5. Toyota coupe sold from 1970 to 2006 : CELICA

The badge name “Celica” used by Toyota comes from the Latin “coelica” meaning “heavenly”.

6. Hyundai Santa Fe or Tucson, briefly : SUV

“SUV” is an initialism standing for sports utility vehicle, and is a term that was introduced by our marketing friends. Using the phrase “sports utility vehicle” was a very clever way to get us to pay a lot of money for what was essentially a station wagon on a truck chassis, or at least it was back then.

22. Port at the west end of Lake Superior : DULUTH

Duluth, Minnesota lies at the westernmost end of Lake Superior, and as such is the westernmost port of the Great Lakes. One has to travel 2,300 miles of inland waterway to get to the Atlantic Ocean from Duluth. The city of Duluth takes its name from the first European explorer of the region, the Frenchman Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut.

23. Persona non ___ : GRATA

A persona non grata (plural “personae non gratae”) is someone who is not welcome. The phrase is Latin for “an unacceptable person”. The opposite phrase is “persona grata”, meaning “acceptable person”.

26. Old blues singer Johnny : OTIS

“Johnny Otis” was the stage name of Ioannis Veliotes, a musician from Vallejo, California. Otis is sometimes referred to as the “Godfather of Rhythm and Blues”.

37. TV host Philbin : REGIS

Regis Philbin is an incredibly popular television personality. Philbin is in such high demand and has had such a long career, that he holds the Guinness World Record for the most time spent in front of a television camera (in excess of 16,000 hours).

40. First word of “The Raven” : ONCE

The first verse of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” is:

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore-
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.”

41. Secular : LAIC

Anything described as laic (or “laical, lay”) is related to the laity, those members of the church who are not clergy. The term “laic” ultimately comes from the Greek “laikos” meaning “of the people”.

53. Bronze, but not silver or gold : ALLOY

An alloy is a mixture of metals, or a mixture of metal with some other element, that behaves like a metal. Alloys are produced as perhaps cheaper alternatives to pure metals, or as alternatives that have enhanced metallurgical properties. Common examples of alloys are steel, solder, brass, pewter and bronze.

54. Beth’s preceder : ALEPH

Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and beth is the second.

63. Grand finale? : CRU

“Cru” is a term used in the French wine industry that means “growth place”. So, “cru” is the name of the location where the grapes are grown, as opposed to the name of a specific vineyard. The terms “premier cru” and “grand cru” are also used, but the usage depends on the specific wine region. Generally it is a classification awarded to specific vineyards denoting their potential for producing great wines. “Grand cru” is reserved for the very best vineyards, with “premier cru” the level just below.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Issue : TOPIC
6. Fodder for sports analytics : STATS
11. Place, as a bet : LAY
14. What a current flows through : ANODE
15. Dickens’s ___ Heep : URIAH
16. “Aladdin” monkey : ABU
17. Nickname for a glitzy author? : JEWELS VERNE (from “Jules Verne”)
19. It contains M.S.G. : NYC
20. Emmy-winning Falco : EDIE
21. Stark of “Game of Thrones” : NED
22. A cluttered one is a sign of a cluttered mind, it’s said : DESK
23. [Don’t touch my bone!] : GRR!
25. Nickname for a clumsy composer? : CLOD DEBUSSY (from “Claude Debussy”)
28. Sunken track : RUT
29. Key below Z, on a Mac : ALT
30. Country singer Tillis : MEL
31. John who played an older Kunta Kinte on “Roots” : AMOS
33. “The bay in the fifth,” for one : TIP
35. Actress McDonald : AUDRA
39. Nickname for a sloppy painter? : TOO LOOSE LAUTREC (from “Toulouse Lautrec”)
43. “Get Happy” composer : ARLEN
44. Gangster’s gun : GAT
45. Setting for 46-Across on a very hot day : HIGH
46. See 45-Across : ACS
48. “___ official …” : IT’S
50. Compete : VIE
51. Nickname for a fiery philosopher? : BLAZE PASCAL (from “Blaise Pascal”)
56. Shape of a swan’s neck : ESS
57. Get under the skin of : RILE
58. ___ grecque (served with olive oil, lemon juice and seasonings) : A LA
59. Names in film credits : CAST
61. City where trap music originated: Abbr. : ATL
62. Classic hairstyle … or a hint to the puns in 17-, 25-, 39- and 51-Across : FRENCH TWIST
66. Prefix with colonialism : NEO-
67. According to : AS PER
68. Chair designer Charles : EAMES
69. Parched : DRY
70. Prime minister called “Pandit” : NEHRU
71. Address, with “to” : SPEAK

Down

1. ___ Mahal : TAJ
2. Start of every ZIP code in Pennsylvania : ONE
3. Jigsaw, e.g. : POWER TOOL
4. Named, for short : ID’ED
5. Toyota coupe sold from 1970 to 2006 : CELICA
6. Hyundai Santa Fe or Tucson, briefly : SUV
7. Focus of a Facebook sidebar : TREND
8. Put on TV : AIRED
9. Kind of bike or kayak : TANDEM
10. Miss identification? : SHE
11. Freeway divisions : LANES
12. Deep, deep pit : ABYSS
13. Eliciting an “ugh,” maybe : YUCKY
18. Have as a customer : SELL TO
22. Port at the west end of Lake Superior : DULUTH
23. Persona non ___ : GRATA
24. It might begin “Did you hear …?” : RUMOR
26. Old blues singer Johnny : OTIS
27. Fellow bringing roses, perhaps : BEAU
32. Sordid sort : SLEAZE
34. Hard throw, in baseball : PEG
36. Rush-hour : DRIVE TIME
37. TV host Philbin : REGIS
38. Bodily complaints : ACHES
40. First word of “The Raven” : ONCE
41. Secular : LAIC
42. Hook up (to) : ATTACH
47. Few and far between : SPARSE
49. Schedules : SLATES
51. ___ X : BRAND
52. Soda bottle unit : LITER
53. Bronze, but not silver or gold : ALLOY
54. Beth’s preceder : ALEPH
55. More rational : SANER
60. Give and take : SWAP
62. Item above a kitchen stove : FAN
63. Grand finale? : CRU
64. “The vasty deep,” in Shakespeare : SEA
65. “What a shame!” : TSK!