1027-18 NY Times Crossword 27 Oct 18, Saturday

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Constructed by: Byron Walden
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 31m 05s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Overweight and untidy : SCHLUBBY

A “schlub” is a clumsy, stupid person. The term comes into English possibly via Yiddish from the Polish “żłób“ meaning “blockhead”.

9. Fertilizer ingredient : POTASH

“Potash” is the common name for potassium carbonate, and is a name also applied to other minerals containing the element potassium. The term arises from the old process for producing the chemical which involved soaking wood ashes in water and evaporating the mixture in an iron pot. The resulting material were called “pot ashes”.

15. Sybaritic pursuit : PLEASURE

A sybarite is a person devoted to pleasure and luxury. The term “sybarite” is derived from Sybaris, an Ancient Greek city which was extremely wealthy. The city’s inhabitants, the Sybarites, were known for their love of the good life.

16. City on the Douro River : OPORTO

Portugal’s city of Oporto (“Porto” in Portuguese) gave its name to port wine in the late 1600s. Oporto was the seaport through which most of the region’s fortified red wine was exported.

18. 1973 Best Actor winner for “Save the Tiger” : LEMMON

The marvelous actor Jack Lemmon was born in 1925 in a suburb of Boston, in a hospital elevator. The long list of Jack Lemmon movies on my list of favorites includes “Some Like It Hot”, “The Apartment”, “Irma La Douce”, “The Odd Couple” and “Grumpy Old Men”.

19. Knotty tree growth : BURL

A burl is a small knot in a piece of wood or in cloth. The term “burl” is derived from the Old French “bourle” meaning “tuft of wool”.

22. Slobbery toon : ODIE

Odie is Garfield’s best friend, and is a slobbery beagle. Both are characters in Jim Davis’ comic strip named “Garfield”.

23. Subject of the documentary “Top Secret Rosies: The Female Computers of W.W. II” : ENIAC

The acronym ENIAC stands for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator (although many folks insist that the C was for “Computer”). ENIAC was introduced at the University of Pennsylvania in 1946, at which time it was the first general-purpose electronic computer, and dubbed “Giant Brain” by the press. Its original purpose was the calculation of artillery firing tables, but it ended up being used early on to make calculations necessary for the development of the hydrogen bomb. Given its uses, it’s not surprising to hear that development of ENIAC was funded by the US Army during WWII.

24. Torah vessels : ARKS

The Torah ark is found in a synagogue, and is the ornamental container in which are stored the Torah scrolls. The word “Torah” best translates as “teaching”, I am told.

25. “Happy Days” hangout, informally : AL’S

Much of the sitcom “Happy Days” was set in Arnold’s Drive-In. Arnold Takahashi was played by Pat Morita, who also played Mr Miyagi in the movie “The Karate Kid”. Morita left the show after three seasons, and was replaced by Al Molinaro as Al Delvecchio, the character who ran the diner as “Al’s” for the rest of series’ run.

26. Waiting for a delivery : PREGNANT

The normal gestation period for humans is 280 days, a little over 9 months. The gestation period can be a little shorter, or longer. Back in 1945, a pregnancy was confirmed at 375 days, which is just over 12 months.

41. Jack’s other name : KNAVE

The playing card known as a jack is also known as a knave. “Knave” was the original term, the same term used for a male servant of a king and queen. The term “jack” came into usage in games played by “common folk”, and started to become entrenched in the mid-1980s.

42. Certain Febreze targets : PET ODORS

The odor-eliminating product we know today as Febreze was developed in England in the early nineties, and is now produced by Product & Gamble.

44. Paragon : GEM

A paragon is an model of excellence, a peerless example. Ultimately the term derives from the Greek “para-” meaning “on the side” and “akone” meaning “whetstone”. This derivation comes from the ancient practice of using a touchstone to test gold for its level of purity by drawing a line on the stone with the gold and comparing the resulting mark with samples of known purity.

45. Played with the bow, in music : ARCO

“Arco” is a musical direction instructing a string player to return to normal bowing technique after a passage played using some other technique (perhaps pizzicato).

48. “Say Anything …” director : CROWE

“Say Anything…” is a much-respected 1989 film high-school romantic comedy/drama film starring John Cusack and Ione Skye.

Cameron Crowe was a contributing editor for “Rolling Stone” magazine before he moved into the world of film, becoming an actor, producer, director and screenwriter. Crowe wrote “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”, and wrote and directed “Say Anything…” and the huge hit “Jerry Maguire”. He also wrote and directed the semi-autobiographical movie “Almost Famous”, which was released in 2000.

53. Tarzan’s realm : APEDOM

Tarzan is the title character in the series of books created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The line “Me Tarzan, you Jane” never appeared in the books, and indeed doesn’t even figure in the movies. Apparently Johnny Weissmuller (who played Tarzan in the thirties and forties) saw Maureen O’Sullivan (“Jane”, to Weissmuller’s “Tarzan”) struggling with a suitcase in the parking lot during filming. He grabbed the bag from her, jokingly saying “Me Tarzan, you Jane”, and people have been quoting those words ever since.

57. Progressive competitor : ESURANCE

Esurance is a provider of auto insurance direct to customers online and over the phone. Esurance is now owned by Allstate.

Progressive is a popular auto insurance company, the one that uses the perky character named “Flo” as a spokeswoman. Flo is played by comedian and actress Stephanie Courtney.

Down

2. Nebulous : CLOUDLIKE

Something nebulous is indistinct and vague. The term “nebulous” comes from the Latin “nebula” meaning “mist, vapor”.

4. Transferrer of stock? : LADLE

The verb “to lade” meaning “to load” comes from an Old English word “hladan”. “Lade” also used to mean “draw water” and indeed gave us our word “ladle”. So “lade” and “ladle” are close cousins.

5. Today preceder : USA

The title of widest circulation of any American newspaper is an honor competed for by “The Wall Street Journal”, “The New York Times” and “USA Today”, with each paper selling about 2 million copies each day (including online subscribers). “USA Today” was launched in 1982.

8. “Y” with a bar : YEN SIGN

The Korean Won, the Chinese Yuan, and the Japanese Yen (all of which are Asian currencies) take their names from the Chinese written character that represents “round shape”.

9. Skunks : POLECATS

“Polecat” is a term used for several different animals, most of which are in the weasel family.

Skunks have anal scent glands that can be used as defensive weapons. The glands produce sulfur-containing chemicals that have a really awful smell and that can irritate the eyes and skin.

10. Take in the paper : OP-ED

“Op-ed” is an abbreviation for “opposite the editorial page”. Op-eds started in “The New York Evening World” in 1921 when the page opposite the editorials was used for articles written by a named guest writer, someone independent of the editorial board.

11. Winner of five British Opens between 1975 and 1983 : TOM WATSON

Tom Watson is a professional golfer from Kansas City, Missouri. Watson was the world number one from 1978 to 1982. In 2009, he got very close to winning the British Open Championship, losing in a 4-hole playoff. At the time, Watson was just a few months shy of 60 years age …

21. Capital across the Red Sea from Asmara : SANA

Sana (also “Sana’a”) is the capital city of Yemen. Sitting at an elevation of 7,380 feet, Sana is one of the highest capital cities in the world. Within the bounds of today’s metropolis is the old fortified city of Sana, where people have lived for over 2,500 years. The Old City is now a World Heritage Site. According to legend, Sana was founded by Shem, the son of Noah.

Asmara is the capital and largest city in Eritrea. The same city is known locally as “Asmera”.

The Red Sea (sometimes called the Arabian Gulf) is a stretch of water lying between Africa and Asia. The Gulf of Suez (and the Suez Canal) lies to north, and the Gulf of Aden to the south. According to the Book of Exodus in the Bible, God parted the Red Sea to allow Moses lead the Israelites from Egypt.

26. Idaho’s Nez ___ County : PERCE

The Nez Percé tribe of the Pacific Northwest call themselves the Nimiipuu, meaning “The Real People”. The name Nez Percé means “pierced nose” in French, a name applied in error to the Nimiipuu instead of the neighboring Chinook tribe, who did in fact practice nose piercing.

27. Makes out : NECKS

The term “necking” applies to kissing and caressing. I like what Groucho Marx had to say on the subject:

Whoever named it necking was a poor judge of anatomy.

29. Belgium’s longest-reigning monarch (44 years) : LEOPOLD II

There have been three kings of Belgium named Leopold. Leopold I was the first king of the Belgians after the country gained independence from the Netherlands in 1831. He was an uncle of Queen Victoria of the UK. Leopold II is most associated with the harsh Belgian regime responsible for the deaths of millions of people in the Congo Free State in Africa. Leopold III reigned from 1934-1951. He was a controversial character during WWII and faced a charge of treason after the war from which he was exonerated. Leopold III succumbed to political pressure and abdicated in 1951.

31. Macbeth met one at Dunsinane Hill : TRAGIC END

Dunsinane Hill in Perthshire, Scotland gets a mention in William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”.

Macbeth shall never vanquished be, until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill Shall come against him.

32. Cabbage for canning? : SEVERANCE

Lettuce, cabbage, kale, dough, scratch, cheddar, simoleons, clams and moola(h) are all slang terms for money.

40. Like some aspirin regimens : LOW-DOSE

Aspirin used to be a brand name for the drug acetylsalicylic acid. Aspirin was introduced by the German drug company Bayer AG in the late 1800s. As part of the war reparations paid by Germany after WWI, Bayer AG lost the use of the trademark “Aspirin” (as well as the trademark Heroin!) and it became a generic term.

49. Where “The Last Supper” is located : MILAN

Leonardo da Vinci’s famous mural “The Last Supper” can be seen on an end wall of the dining hall in the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. If you want to see the painting in person, you have to make a reservation ahead of time. And once you get there, you’re only allowed 15 minutes of viewing time. It’s very popular …

51. Fabric purchase : BOLT

“Bolt” is the name given to a roll of cloth of specific length, especially one coming directly off a loom.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Overweight and untidy : SCHLUBBY
9. Fertilizer ingredient : POTASH
15. Sybaritic pursuit : PLEASURE
16. City on the Douro River : OPORTO
17. Bro-ey shout-out : YOU DA MAN!
18. 1973 Best Actor winner for “Save the Tiger” : LEMMON
19. Knotty tree growth : BURL
20. Took sick leave, say : MISSED WORK
22. Slobbery toon : ODIE
23. Subject of the documentary “Top Secret Rosies: The Female Computers of W.W. II” : ENIAC
24. Torah vessels : ARKS
25. “Happy Days” hangout, informally : AL’S
26. Waiting for a delivery : PREGNANT
28. Miss, e.g. : TITLE
30. 23andMe services : DNA TESTS
33. Ones going on runs : SKIERS
35. Got on the board : SCORED
37. Like oil spills and clearing of rain forests : ECOCIDAL
41. Jack’s other name : KNAVE
42. Certain Febreze targets : PET ODORS
44. Paragon : GEM
45. Played with the bow, in music : ARCO
48. “Say Anything …” director : CROWE
49. Embroil : MIRE
50. Ads that get lots of traffic? : BILLBOARDS
52. Confident self-assessment : I CAN
53. Tarzan’s realm : APEDOM
54. What a hack has : NO TALENT
56. Do a double take? : REFILM
57. Progressive competitor : ESURANCE
58. Being : ENTITY
59. Hinged : DEPENDED

Down

1. Some disguised fishing trawlers : SPY BOATS
2. Nebulous : CLOUDLIKE
3. Method of solving : HEURISTIC
4. Transferrer of stock? : LADLE
5. Today preceder : USA
6. “That’s lousy” : BUMMER
7. Clocked : BRAINED
8. “Y” with a bar : YEN SIGN
9. Skunks : POLECATS
10. Take in the paper : OP-ED
11. Winner of five British Opens between 1975 and 1983 : TOM WATSON
12. Hardwear? : ARMOR
13. One with a frog in its throat? : STORK
14. Signs of rush hour : HONKS
21. Capital across the Red Sea from Asmara : SANA
26. Idaho’s Nez ___ County : PERCE
27. Makes out : NECKS
29. Belgium’s longest-reigning monarch (44 years) : LEOPOLD II
31. Macbeth met one at Dunsinane Hill : TRAGIC END
32. Cabbage for canning? : SEVERANCE
34. Formulaically humorous : SITCOMMY
36. Mad : DEMENTED
38. Woman’s name meaning “gift” : DORA
39. Decked out : ADORNED
40. Like some aspirin regimens : LOW-DOSE
43. Prepare for a long day ahead : REST UP
45. At ___ minimum : A BARE
46. Turn yellow or red, say : RIPEN
47. Fissure : CLEFT
49. Where “The Last Supper” is located : MILAN
51. Fabric purchase : BOLT
55. Add up to : ARE