1108-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 8 Nov 2017, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Joel Fagliano & Sam Ezersky
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: Initial Groups

Each of today’s themed answers looks like a single word. However, it is actually three initial letters followed by the name of a group:

  • 19A. Midas, Agamemnon, Richard : M A R KINGS (looks like “markings”)
  • 32A. Polo, archery, soccer : P A S SPORTS (looks like “passports”)
  • 51A. Heart, U2, Slayer : H U S BANDS (looks like “husbands”)
  • 15D. Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Ohio : A P O STATES (looks like “apostates”)
  • 27D. Dakota, Iroquois, Arapaho : D I A TRIBES (looks like “diatribes”)

Bill’s time: 6m 05s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9. Member of la famille : PERE

In French, a “père” (father) is a “membre de la famille” (member of the family).

13. The Depression or the Cold War : ERA

The Wall Street Crash of 1929 that signalled the start of the Great Depression did not happen on just one day. The first big drop in the market took place on October 24 (Black Thursday). Things stabilized on Friday, and then the slide continued on the 28th (Black Monday) and the 29th (Black Tuesday).

The term “Cold War” was coined by the novelist George Orwell in a 1945 essay about the atomic bomb. Orwell described a world under threat of nuclear war as having a “peace that is no peace”, in a permanent state of “cold war”. The specific use of “cold war” to describe the tension between the Eastern bloc and the Western allies is attributed to a 1947 speech by Bernard Baruch, adviser to Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

14. Dean Martin’s “That’s ___” : AMORE

“That’s Amore” is a pop standard written by Harry Warren and Jack Brooks in 1952. “That’s Amore” became the signature song for Dean Martin after he sang it (with some help from Jerry Lewis) in the 1953 comedy film “The Caddy”. “When the moon hits you eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore …”

Dean Martin was the stage name of singer and actor Dino Crocetti. Martin was famous for his numerous hit songs such as “That’s Amore”, “Volare” and Everybody Loves Somebody”, as well as his film career with Jerry Lewis. Off screen, Martin was a member of the famous “Rat Pack” as he was a great friend of Frank Sinatra. Martin was always associated with Las Vegas and when he passed away in 1995 the lights on the strip were dimmed in his honor.

15. Writer Edgar ___ Poe : ALLAN

The celebrated American writer Edgar Allan Poe was born “Edgar Poe” in 1809 in Boston. Poe’s father abandoned Edgar and his two siblings after the death of their mother. As a result, Edgar was taken into the home of the Allan family in Richmond Virginia. His foster parents gave the future author the name “Edgar Allan Poe”.

16. TV screen inits. : LCD

Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) are the screens that are found in most laptops today, and in flat panel computer screens and some televisions. LCD monitors basically replaced Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) screens, the old television technology.

17. Element next to iodine on the periodic table : XENON

Xenon was the first of the noble gases to be made into a compound, which was somewhat remarkable in that the noble gases were thought by many to be completely inert, nonreactive.

19. Midas, Agamemnon, Richard : M A R KINGS (looks like “markings”)

King Midas of Greek mythology might be termed an alchemist as he had the power to turn everything he touched into gold i.e. the Midas touch. The power that he was given became be a curse, as everything he touched turned to gold, including his food and drink and even his children.

Agamemnon was a figure in Greek mythology. He was the brother of Menelaus, who in turn was married to Helen. When Helen ran off with Paris to Troy, Agamemnon led the united Greek forces in the resulting Trojan War.

The English king Richard I was famously known as Richard the Lionheart. It is probably more correct to use the French moniker “Richard Coeur de Lion”, as the king lived less than a year in England and spoke mainly French and Old Provençal.

22. Have too much of, briefly : OD ON

Overdose (OD)

25. “I believe,” on the internet : IMO

In my opinion (IMO)

26. Something much-wished-for for people : NICE DAY

And I hope that ye all have a nice day …

30. Actor George with over 10 million Facebook followers : TAKEI

Mr. Hikaru Sulu was played by George Takei in the original “Star Trek” series. Takei has played lots of roles over the years, and is still very active in television. Did you know that he appeared in the 1963 film, “Pt-109”? He played the helmsman steering the Japanese destroyer that ran down John F. Kennedy’s motor torpedo boat. From destroyer helmsman to starship helmsman …

32. Polo, archery, soccer : P A S SPORTS (looks like “passports”)

The sport of polo originated in Iran, possibly before the 5th century BC. Polo was used back them primarily as a training exercise for cavalry units.

Soccer (also known as “association football”) is the most popular sport in the world. The term “association football” was introduced in 1863 in England, with the name chosen to distinguish the sport from rugby football. The term “soccer” started to appear about 20 years later in Oxford, as an abbreviation for “association”.

35. The U.S. Women’s Open is part of it : LPGA TOUR

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) was founded in 1950 by a group of 13 lady golfers, and today it is the oldest ongoing women’s sports professional organization in the US.

38. Ewoks’ home moon : ENDOR

The Ewoks are creatures who live on the moon of Endor, first appearing in “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”. They’re the cute and cuddly little guys that look like teddy bears.

42. Body part that vibrates : EARDRUM

The eardrum lies at the intersection of the outer ear and middle ear. Also called the tympanic membrane, the eardrum picks up vibrations in air caused by sound waves, and transmits these vibrations to the three tiny bones called the ossicles. These ossicles (hammer, anvil and stirrup) are in the middle ear, and transmit the vibration to the oval window. The oval window is the membrane-covered opening lying at the intersection of the middle ear and the inner ear. The vibrations are transmitted into fluid in the inner ear, and converted into nerve impulses in the cochlea that are transmitted to the brain.

46. Equiangular shape : ISOGON

An isogon is a polygon with equal angles in the corners. Examples are squares and equilateral triangles.

51. Heart, U2, Slayer : H U S BANDS (looks like “husbands”)

Heart is a rock band from Seattle, Washington, founded in the seventies and still going strong. The band has had a changing lineup, except for sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson.

Irish singer Bono is a Dubliner who was born Paul David Hewson. As a youth, Hewson was given the nickname “Bono Vox” by a friend, a Latin expression meaning “good voice”, and so the singer has been known as Bono since the late seventies. His band’s first name was “Feedback”, later changed to “The Hype”. The band members searched for yet another name and chose U2 from a list of six names suggested by a friend. They picked U2 because it was the name they disliked least …

Slayer is a heavy metal band from Southern California. They are listed as one of the Big Four thrash metal bands, alongside Metallica, Anthrax and Megadeth. I have no idea what thrash metal is …

53. Many a jukebox tune : OLDIE

Although coin-operated music players had been around for decades, the term “jukebox” wasn’t used until about 1940. “Jukebox” derives from a Gullah word, the language of African Americans living in the coastal areas of South Carolina and Georgia. In Gullah, a “juke joint”, from “juke” or “joog” meaning “rowdy, wicked”, was an informal establishment where African Americans would gather and for some music, dancing, gambling and drinking. The coin-operated music players became known as “jukeboxes”.

54. World capital where Pashto is spoken : KABUL

Kabul is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. The city has been the site of major conflict for much of the 3,500 years that it has been in existence. In the past, this conflict was mainly driven by the city’s strategic location on the major trade routes of south and central Asia.

Pashto is the native language of the Pashtun and Afghan peoples.

55. Some U.F.C. victories : KOS

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is a largest promoter in the world of mixed martial arts competitions. I think the idea is that competitors fight each other in various disciplines to see who is the “best of the best” …

60. Chess finishes : MATES

In the game of chess, when the king is under immediate threat of capture it is said to be “in check”. If the king cannot escape from check, then the game ends in “checkmate” and the player in check loses. In the original Sanskrit game of chess, the king could actually be captured. Then a rule was introduced requiring that a warning be given if capture was imminent (today we announce “check!”) so that an accidental and early ending to the game doesn’t occur.

61. Retrovirus molecule : RNA

The genes of most viruses are encoded in DNA. Retroviruses are different in that their genes are encoded in RNA, and so are sometimes called “RNA viruses”. The best-known retrovirus is HIV.

Down

1. Triple Crown venue : BELMONT

The Belmont Stakes is a horse race held in June each year, at Belmont Park racetrack in Elmont, New York. The Belmont Stakes is the last of the US Triple Crown races, following the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.

The US Triple Crown horse races are, in order through the year:

  1. The Kentucky Derby
  2. The Preakness Stakes
  3. The Belmont Stakes

2. Domain of Pan, in Greek myth : ARCADIA

Arcadia is a mountainous region of Ancient Greece that was noted in times past for the innocence and contentment of its people who lived a simple, pastoral life. “Arcadia” has been used ever since as the name of a place offering peace and simplicity.

In Greek mythology, Pan was a lecherous god, one who fell in love with Echo the mountain nymph. Echo refused Pan’s advances so that he became very angry. Pan’s anger created a “panic” (a word derived from the name “Pan”) and a group of shepherds were driven to kill Echo.

3. Genre for Dire Straits and Steely Dan, facetiously : DAD ROCK

Arena rock (also “stadium rock” and “dad rock”) is a rock music played in large arenas. It is a phenomenon that dates back to the British Invasion when successful bands like the Beatles played to large audiences in places such as Shea Stadium in New York.

4. Leave from the gate : TAXI

That would be an airplane leaving a gate.

5. Supreme Egyptian god : AMEN-RA

Amun (also “Amon, Amen, Amun-Ra”) was a god in Egyptian mythology. Amun lends his name to our word “ammonia”. This is because the Romans called the ammonium chloride that they collected near the Temple of Jupiter Amun, “sal ammoniacus” (salt of Amun).

6. Hetero, say : NON-GAY

“Heterosexuality” is sexual attraction between persons of the opposite gender. The prefix “hetero-” comes from the Greek “heteros” meaning “different, other”.

7. 1/100 of a Polish zloty : GROSZ

The zloty is the currency of Poland, with word “zloty” translating into English as “golden”. The zloty has been around since the Middle Ages. The contemporary zloty is divided into 100 groszy.

8. Desire : YEN

The word “yen”, meaning “urge”, has been around in English since the very early 1900s. It comes from the earlier word “yin” imported from Chinese, which was used in English to describe an intense craving for opium.

11. Rampaged : RAN AMOK

The phrase “to run amok” (sometimes “to run amuck”) has been around since the 1670s and is derived from the Malay word for “attacking furiously”, “amuk”. The word “amok” was also used as a noun to describe Malay natives who were “frenzied”. Given Malaya’s troubled history, the natives probably had good reason for that frenzy …

12. Measure of disorder, in thermodynamics : ENTROPY

In the world of thermodynamics, entropy is a measure of disorder in a system. According to the second law of thermodynamics, the entropy of a closed system always increases, the system always tends toward disorder.

15. Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Ohio : A P O STATES (looks like “apostates”)

Someone may be described as apostate if he or she abandons his or her faith, political party, principles, or any particular cause.

20. Patella protector : KNEE PAD

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

21. Town ___ (bygone official) : CRIER

Town criers make public announcements on the streets, usually shouting “Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!” to attract attention. The term “oyez” derives from the Anglo-Norman word for “listen” and is used in this instance to me “Hear ye!”

24. World capital on a fjord : OSLO

The Norwegian capital of Oslo is located at the northern end of a fjord known as Oslofjord. The fjord is home to 40 islands that lie within the city’s limits. Oslo also has 343 lakes.

27. Dakota, Iroquois, Arapaho : D I A TRIBES (looks like “diatribes”)

A diatribe is a bitter discourse. The term comes from the Greek “diatribein” meaning “to wear away”.

29. Classical music style whose name means “new art” : ARS NOVA

“Ars antiqua” is a term used to describe European music of the Middle Ages between c.1170 and 1310. The term “ars nova” applies to the music that followed, between the years c.1310 and 1377.

31. Lifeguard’s skill, for short : CPR

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) has for decades involved the simultaneous compression of the chest to pump blood using the heart, and artificial respiration by blowing air into the lungs. Nowadays emergency services are placing more emphasis on heart compressions, and less on artificial respiration.

33. Heavy 39-Down : SOUSE
(39D. Bar patron : DRINKER)

The word “souse” dates back to the 14th century and means to pickle, steep in vinegar. In the early 1600s the usage was applied to someone pickled in booze, a drunkard.

34. Heavy competition? : SUMO

Sumo is a sport that is practiced professionally only in Japan, the country of its origin. There is an international federation of sumo wrestling now, and one of the organization’s aims is to have the sport accepted as an Olympic event.

36. Joint release? : PAROLEE

The term “parole” is a French word that we use in English, with the French “parole” meaning “word, speech”. Of particular interest is the French phrase “parole d’honneur” which translates as “word of honor”. In the early 1600s we started using “parole” to mean a promise by a prisoner of war not to escape, as in the prisoner giving his “word of honor” not to run off. Over time, parole has come to mean conditional release of a prisoner before he or she has served the full term of a sentence.

“Joint” is a slang term for “prison” that may only date back to the 1950s. The term can also apply to any location where shady activities take place, and that usage dates back to the 1870s.

37. Foe of Beowulf : GRENDEL

“Beowulf” is an old epic poem from England, although the story is set in Scandinavia. Beowulf fights a battle, defending the Danish King Hrothgar from the ferocious outcast Grendel. Hrothgar had built a great hall for his people in which they could celebrate; singing, dancing and drinking lots of mead. Grendel was angered by the carousing and attacked the hall, devouring many of the incumbent warriors as they slept. A bit of an extreme reaction to noisy neighbors I’d say …

40. In this puzzle it starts B-E-L : ONE-DOWN

Those would be the first three letters in “BELMONT”, the answer to the 1-down clue.

41. Body of water next to Antarctica : ROSS SEA

The Ross Sea is a bay in the Southern Ocean of Antarctica. It was discovered by one James Ross in 1841. A more recent discovery, in the waters of the Ross Sea, was a 33 feet long giant squid that was captured in 2007.

47. African soccer powerhouse : GHANA

The name “Ghana” means “warrior king” in the local language. The British established a colony they called Gold Coast in 1874, later to become Ghana, as part of the scramble by Europeans to settle as much of Africa as they could. One of Ghana’s most famous sons is Kofi Annan, the diplomat who served as General Secretary of the UN for ten years until the beginning of 2007.

52. Crunchy diner orders : BLTS

The BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) is the second most popular sandwich in the US, after the plain old ham sandwich.

54. One of the Kardashians : KIM

Kim Kardashian is a socialite and television personality. She was introduced into society by her friend, Paris Hilton. Kardashian’s name first hit the headlines when a homemade sex tape made by her and singer Ray J was leaked.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Rotten : BAD
4. Like kiwis and mangos : TANGY
9. Member of la famille : PERE
13. The Depression or the Cold War : ERA
14. Dean Martin’s “That’s ___” : AMORE
15. Writer Edgar ___ Poe : ALLAN
16. TV screen inits. : LCD
17. Element next to iodine on the periodic table : XENON
18. Make an identification digitally? : POINT
19. Midas, Agamemnon, Richard : M A R KINGS (looks like “markings”)
21. Pursuer in a chase scene : COP CAR
22. Have too much of, briefly : OD ON
23. Products that gradually dull : RAZORS
25. “I believe,” on the internet : IMO
26. Something much-wished-for for people : NICE DAY
28. Rest on : SIT ATOP
30. Actor George with over 10 million Facebook followers : TAKEI
31. Feature of a 26-Across, maybe : CLEAR SKY
32. Polo, archery, soccer : P A S SPORTS (looks like “passports”)
35. The U.S. Women’s Open is part of it : LPGA TOUR
38. Ewoks’ home moon : ENDOR
42. Body part that vibrates : EARDRUM
43. Simple choice : YES OR NO
45. “Chances ___ …” : ARE
46. Equiangular shape : ISOGON
48. Competes (for) : VIES
49. Terse response to “I’m sorry” : DON’T BE
51. Heart, U2, Slayer : H U S BANDS (looks like “husbands”)
53. Many a jukebox tune : OLDIE
54. World capital where Pashto is spoken : KABUL
55. Some U.F.C. victories : KOS
56. Senses : FEELS
57. Not moving : INERT
58. Flock member : EWE
59. Cut down : FELL
60. Chess finishes : MATES
61. Retrovirus molecule : RNA

Down

1. Triple Crown venue : BELMONT
2. Domain of Pan, in Greek myth : ARCADIA
3. Genre for Dire Straits and Steely Dan, facetiously : DAD ROCK
4. Leave from the gate : TAXI
5. Supreme Egyptian god : AMEN-RA
6. Hetero, say : NON-GAY
7. 1/100 of a Polish zloty : GROSZ
8. Desire : YEN
9. Sound preceding a ripple : PLOP
10. Draws out : ELICITS
11. Rampaged : RAN AMOK
12. Measure of disorder, in thermodynamics : ENTROPY
15. Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Ohio : A P O STATES (looks like “apostates”)
20. Patella protector : KNEE PAD
21. Town ___ (bygone official) : CRIER
24. World capital on a fjord : OSLO
27. Dakota, Iroquois, Arapaho : D I A TRIBES (looks like “diatribes”)
29. Classical music style whose name means “new art” : ARS NOVA
31. Lifeguard’s skill, for short : CPR
33. Heavy 39-Down : SOUSE
34. Heavy competition? : SUMO
35. Bat first : LEAD OFF
36. Joint release? : PAROLEE
37. Foe of Beowulf : GRENDEL
39. Bar patron : DRINKER
40. In this puzzle it starts B-E-L : ONE-DOWN
41. Body of water next to Antarctica : ROSS SEA
43. “Absolutely!” : YOU BET!
44. Guarantee : ENSURE
47. African soccer powerhouse : GHANA
50. Cash holder : TILL
52. Crunchy diner orders : BLTS
54. One of the Kardashians : KIM