1118-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 18 Nov 15, Wednesday

QuickLinks:
Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
Solution to today’s SYNDICATED New York Times crossword in all other publications
Solution to today’s New York Times crossword found online at the Seattle Times website
Jump to a complete list of today’s clues and answers

CROSSWORD SETTER: Zachary Spitz
THEME: It’s an Exclamation! … each of today’s themed clues is an exclamation in the form “It’s ____!” The exclamation is interpreted literally to point to the answer:

20A. It’s striking! : LIGHTNING BOLT
33A. It’s unbelievable! : BALD-FACED LIE
43A. It’s breathtaking! : ASTHMA ATTACK
59A. It’s remarkable! : DRY-ERASE BOARD

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 8m 18s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

9. Indian chief : RAJAH
“Raja” (also “rajah”) is word derived from Sanskrit that is used particularly in India for a monarch or princely ruler. The female form is “rani” (also “ranee”) and is used for a raja’s wife.

14. Actor McKellen : IAN
Sir Ian McKellen is a marvelous English actor, someone who is comfortable playing anything from Macbeth on stage to Magneto in an “X-Men” movie. On the big screen, McKellen is very famous for playing Gandalf in “The Lord of Rings”. In the UK Sir Ian is noted for being at the forefront of the campaign for equal rights for gay people, a role he has enthusiastically embraced since the eighties.

15. Pacific greeting : ALOHA
The Hawaiian word “Aloha” has many meanings in English: affection, love, peace, compassion and mercy. More recently “aloha” has come to mean “hello” and “goodbye”, but only since the mid-1800s.

16. Nerve cell conductors : AXONS
A nerve cell is more correctly called a neuron, and the long nerve fiber that is part of a neuron is called the axon. A neuron that has no definite axon is referred to as “apolar” or “nonpolar”. In apolar neurons the nerve impulses radiate in all directions.

18. Scorpion’s defense : TOXIN
There are about 1750 different species of scorpion in the world, but only 25 or so have venom sufficiently toxic to kill a human.

23. Salinger heroine : ESME
J. D. Salinger wrote a short story called “For Esmé – with Love and Squalor”, originally published in “The New Yorker” in 1950. It is a story about a young English girl called Esme and an American soldier, and is set in WWII.

32. Plains Indian : OTOE
The Otoe (also Oto) Native American tribe originated in the Great Lakes region as part of the Winnebago or Siouan tribes. The group that would become the Otoe broke away from the Winnebago and migrated southwestwards ending up in the Great Plains. In the plains the Otoe adopted a semi-nomadic lifestyle dependent on the horse, with the American bison becoming central to their diet.

33. It’s unbelievable! : BALD-FACED LIE
Our “bald-faced” lies here in the US are “bare-faced” lies on the other side of the Atlantic. The original expression was indeed “bare-faced”, which portrays the concept of lying with an uncovered face, unashamedly.

37. U.K. lawmakers : MPS
Member of Parliament (MP)

The UK Parliament is divided into two houses, with the upper house known as the House of Lords and the lower house as the House of Commons. The members of the House of Commons are elected, but most new members of the House of Lords are appointed. Historically, a large proportion of the membership of the upper house were hereditary peers, but recent legislative changes are reducing the numbers who can sit in the House of Lords by virtue of birthright.

40. 45-Down suburb : LOD
(45D. City served by the airport in 40-Across : TEL AVIV)
Ben-Gurion International (TLV) is Israel’s main airport, and is located in the city of Lod just a few miles southeast of Tel Aviv. The airport is named for David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister.

41. Half of a dance : CHA
The cha-cha-cha (often simplified to “cha-cha”) is a Latin dance with origins in Cuba, where it was introduced by composer Enrique Jorrin in 1953.

47. ___ cake (Chinese New Year delicacy) : TARO
Taro cake is Chinese dish made mainly from rice flour and the vegetable taro. As a dim sum dish, it is usually pan-fried and then cut into squares for the table.

48. Actor Sheridan : TYE
The young actor Tye Sheridan had one of the lead roles in the 2012 coming-of-age film “Mud”, which starred Matthew McConaughey.

55. Math term usually followed by a subscript number : LOG
As an example, the number 10,000 is equal to 10 to the power of 4, so the base-10 logarithm of 10,000 is said to be 4. Inversely, the antilogarithm of 4 (in the base-10) is 10,000. But, we all remember that from school, don’t we?

58. Item often “eaten” by a tree in “Peanuts” : KITE
Charlie Brown is the main character in the long-running comic strip called “Peanuts”, created by Charles Schulz. Charlie has several persistent frustrations in his life, including an inability to fly a kite. The focus of his kite-flying frustration is the dreaded Kite-Eating Tree.

64. Ex of the Donald : IVANA
Ivana Winklmayr was born in Czechoslovakia. Winklmayr was an excellent skier, and was named as an alternate for the 1982 Czech Olympic Team. She was promoting the Montreal Olympics in New York in 1976 when she met Donald Trump. Ivana and Donald’s marriage was very public and well-covered by the media, but not nearly so well as their very litigious divorce in the early nineties.

65. Heel : CAD
Our word “cad”, meaning “a person lacking in finer feelings”, is a shortening of the word “cadet”. “Cad” was first used for a servant, and then students at British universities used “cad” as a term for a boy from the local town. “Cad” took on its current meaning in the 1830s.

66. Testing division, for short : R AND D
Research and Development (R&D)

68. Addison’s “___ to Creation” : ODE
Joseph Addison was an English man of letters and a politician. Most famously, Addison is remembered for publishing “The Spectator” magazine from 1711-12 along with his friend Richard Steele. In fact, Addison’s famous poem “Ode to Creation” first appeared in “The Spectator”. Back in my home country, Addison is noted for holding the political post of Chief Secretary for Ireland in the early 1700s.

69. Rwandan president Paul Kagame’s ethnicity : TUTSI
The Tutsi are the second largest population of people in Rwanda, with the Hutu being the largest group. The bloody conflict that has existed between the Tutsi and Hutu peoples dates back to about 1880 when Catholic missionaries arrived in the region. The missionaries found that they had more success converting the Hutus than the Tutsi, and when the Germans occupied the area during WWI they confiscated Tutsi land and gave it to Hutu tribes in order to reward religious conversion. This injustice fuels fighting to this very day.

Paul Kagame has been President of Rwanda since 2000, taking over after the resignation of his predecessor Pasteur Bizimungu. Kagame then an election in his own right in 2003, and again in 2010.

70. Sailor’s “Stop!” : AVAST!
“Avast” is a nautical term used to tell someone to stop or desist from what they are doing. The word comes from the Dutch “hou vast” meaning “hold fast”.

Down
1. A 747 has two of them : AISLES
The first jet to be called a “Jumbo” was Boeing’s 747, as it was the first wide-body airliner. This means that it was the first to have seating laid out with two aisles running the length of the plane. The plane also has three decks for part of its length, with the lower deck being used for cargo and galley space, and the upper deck for extra passenger seating. The Airbus A380 is called a “Superjumbo” as it has two full decks of passengers.

2. Debonair : RAKISH
Something described as “rakish” is styled in a sporting manner. The term probably derives from the “raking” of the mast of a sailing ship, slanting it away from the perpendicular. Raking a mast can favorably impact the vessel’s performance, and can also make it look more “sporty”.

Someone described as “debonair” is very courteous and gracious. The term comes into English via the French “debonaire”, which itself is derived from “de bon’ aire” meaning “of good race”, a phrase that applied to the breeding of hawks.

3. Nazi cipher machine broken by the Allies : ENIGMA
An Enigma machine was cipher device developed at the end of WWI by German engineer Arthur Scherbius. The machine was used by Nazi German in the run-up to and during WWII. The Enigma codes used by the Germans were first broken by three Polish mathematicians who subsequently designed mechanical devices for automated deciphering of Enigma-coded messages. Polish Military Intelligence handed over the decryption technology to the French and British just before the outbreak of war.

4. Joule/second : WATT
James Watt was a Scottish inventor, a man who 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.

James Joule was an English physicist who spent much of his life working in the family brewing business. Joule used his work in the brewery to study the relationship between heat and mechanical work. In honor of his achievements, his name is used for the unit of energy in the International System of Units (i.e. the joule).

6. Hart of “Chicago” : ROXIE
The wonderful 1975 musical “Chicago” is based on a 1926 play of the same name written by a news reporter called Maurine Dallas Watkins. Watkins had been assigned to cover the murder trials of Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner for the “Chicago Tribune”, and used the story that unfolded as the basis for her play. Annan became the character Roxie Hart, and Gaertner became Velma Kelly. I’ve only ever seen the movie version of “Chicago” and never a live performance …

8. Was a ratfink : SANG
A “fink” is an informer, someone who rats out his cohorts.

9. Dangerous gas : RADON
Radon is a radioactive gas, a byproduct produced when uranium decays naturally in the earth. Radon gas can collect and accumulate in buildings and rooms that are particularly well insulated with very little air exchange. The danger is very real, as radon is listed as the second most frequent cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoke.

10. Former Obama adviser David : AXELROD
David Axelrod was a key advisor to President Barack Obama in his 2008 reelection campaign . Axelrod was also a top advisor to President Bill Clinton while he was in office. More recently, he was appointed as a strategic advisor to the UK’s Labour Party, presumably with the task of helping party leader Ed Miliband win the anticipated 2015 general election. Didn’t happen, not even close …

12. Young Darth Vader’s nickname : ANI
Anakin “Ani” Skywalker is the principal character in all six of the “Star Wars” movies. His progress chronologically through the series of films is:

– Episode I: Anakin is a 9-year-old slave boy who earns the promise of Jedi training by young Obi-Wan Kenobi.
– Episode II: Anakin is 18-years-old and goes on a murdering rampage to avenge the killing of his mother.
– Episode III: Anakin is 21-years-old and a Jedi knight, but he turns to the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader. His wife Padme gives birth to twins, Luke and Leia Skywalker.
– Episode IV: Darth Vader, comes into conflict with his children, Luke Skywalker and the Princess Leia.
– Episode V: Darth Vader attempts to coax his son Luke over to the dark side, and reveals to Luke that he is his father.
– Episode VI: Luke learns that Leia is his sister, and takes on the task of bringing Darth Vader back from the Dark Side in order to save the Galaxy. Vader saves his son from the Emperor’s evil grip, dying in the process, but his spirit ends up alongside the spirits of Yoda and Obi-Wan. They all live happily ever after …

13. D.D.E.’s predecessor : HST
The initial “S” in the middle of the name Harry S. Truman (HST) doesn’t stand for anything. The future-president was named “Harry” in honor of his mother’s brother Harrison “Harry” Young. The initial “S” was chosen in honor of young Harry’s two grandfathers: Anderson S-hipp Truman and S-olomon Young.

President Eisenhower was born in Denison, Texas and given the name David Dwight Eisenhower, but by the time he made it to the White House he was going by the name Dwight D. Eisenhower (DDE). Growing up, his family called him Dwight, and when “Ike” enrolled in West Point he himself reversed the order of his given names.

21. Basil or bugbane : HERB
Traditionally, basil is considered “the king of herbs”. And in fact, the herb’s name comes form the Greek “basileus” meaning “king”.

Bugbane is herb that can also go by the name Rattletop. The name “bugbane” comes from the plant’s reputed ability to cause bugs to fly away by rustling their dried seed heads, so they are the “bane of bugs”.

35. When the Battle of Normandy started : D-DAY
The Allied Invasion of Normandy during WWII was given the codename “Operation Overlord”. The Normandy landings that kicked off the invasion on D-Day (6 June 1944) were given the codename “Operation Neptune”.

38. Measurer of college readiness, for short : PSAT
Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT)

44. Dragsters : HOT RODS
A “hot rod” is an American car that has been modified for speed by installing a larger than normal engine. A “street rod” is generally a more comfortable type of “hot rod”, with the emphasis less on the engine and more on custom paint jobs and interiors. By definition, a street rod must be based on an automobile design that originated prior to 1949.

Back in the 18th century “drag” was slang for a wagon or buggy, as it was “dragged” along by a horse or horses. In the 1930s, the underworld adopted drag as slang for an automobile. This sense of the word was imported into automobile racing in the forties, giving the name to “drag racing”. A drag race is basically a competition between two cars to determine which can accelerate faster from a standstill.

46. Gorilla who was famously taught sign language : KOKO
Koko is a female Lowland Gorilla that lives in Woodside, California. The researcher Penny Patterson taught Koko to speak a modified form of American Sign Language (ASL) that she called Gorilla Sign Language. Koko can apparently use over a thousand signs.

50. Paramount’s parent : VIACOM
Media giant Viacom takes it’s name from the phrase VI-deo & A-udio COM-unications.

Paramount Pictures is one of the oldest surviving film studios, and is the last major studio that still has its headquarters in Hollywood. Paramount was founded in 1912 as the Famous Players Film Company by Adolph Zukor, with partners Daniel and Charles Frohman. Paramount is now owned by Viacom.

51. Charles Schwab rival : E*TRADE
E*Trade is mainly an online discount brokerage. It was founded in 1982 in Palo Alto, California, and I used to drive by its headquarters almost every day. The company is now run out of New York City. E*Trade produces those famous Super Bowl ads with the talking babies staring into a webcam.

The Charles Schwab investment company was founded in 1971 as First Commander Corporation. Investor and businessman Charles Schwab and four partners purchased First Commander and changed the name to Charles Schwab in 1973.

54. Pop star Lauper : CYNDI
If you’ve ever heard Cyndi Lauper speaking, you’d know that she was from Queens, New York. She is the daughter of divorced parents, strongly influenced by a supportive mother. She was always a free spirit, and even as young teen in the mid-sixties she dyed her hair different colors and wore outlandish fashions. She was a young woman who wanted to “find herself”, and to that end she once spent two weeks alone in the woods up in Canada. Well, just with her dog.

56. 2003 Golden Globe-winning film set in Afghanistan : OSAMA
“Osama” is a 2003 film from Afghanistan that tells the story of girl who pretends to be a boy named Osama in order to support her family under the Taliban regime. Her true gender is eventually discovered and the young teen is put on trial. As a result of the trial, Osama is a given to a much older man as his fourth wife.

60. “Lovely ___, meter maid” (Beatles lyric) : RITA
“Lovely Rita” is a Beatles song on the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album. When the album was released in 1967, the term “meter maid” wasn’t used in the UK, although it was a slang term used in the US. The song helped spread the usage of “meter maid” all around the English-speaking world. Apparently the inspiration for the song was McCartney getting a parking ticket one day outside the Abbey Road Studios. He accepted the ticket with good grace, from a warden named Meta Davis. McCartney felt that Meta “looked like a Rita”, so that was the name she was given in the song.

61. Milhouse’s best friend, on TV : BART
Milhouse Van Houten is a character on the animated TV show “The Simpsons”. Milhouse is Bart Simpson’s best friend, and has a crush on Bart’s sister Lisa.

62. “Not what you see, but what you make others see,” per Degas : ART
Edgar Degas was a French artist, famous for his paintings and sculptures. Some of Degas’ most beautiful works feature female ballet dancers, and others depict women bathing.

63. Certain cross : 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.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. “___ you in?” : ARE
4. Blemishes : WARTS
9. Indian chief : RAJAH
14. Actor McKellen : IAN
15. Pacific greeting : ALOHA
16. Nerve cell conductors : AXONS
17. One getting the boot? : SKI
18. Scorpion’s defense : TOXIN
19. ___ card : DEBIT
20. It’s striking! : LIGHTNING BOLT
23. Salinger heroine : ESME
24. Scream made while jumping, maybe : EEK!
25. Augment : ENRICH
28. Quick-witted : SHARP
30. Go (for) : OPT
32. Plains Indian : OTOE
33. It’s unbelievable! : BALD-FACED LIE
37. U.K. lawmakers : MPS
40. 45-Down suburb : LOD
41. Half of a dance : CHA
42. When the credits roll : END
43. It’s breathtaking! : ASTHMA ATTACK
47. ___ cake (Chinese New Year delicacy) : TARO
48. Actor Sheridan : TYE
49. What helicopter parents do : HOVER
53. Hilarious person : STITCH
55. Math term usually followed by a subscript number : LOG
58. Item often “eaten” by a tree in “Peanuts” : KITE
59. It’s remarkable! : DRY-ERASE BOARD
62. Used as a plate : ATE ON
64. Ex of the Donald : IVANA
65. Heel : CAD
66. Testing division, for short : R AND D
67. Kitchen counter? : TIMER
68. Addison’s “___ to Creation” : ODE
69. Rwandan president Paul Kagame’s ethnicity : TUTSI
70. Sailor’s “Stop!” : AVAST!
71. Exasperated comment from a feminist : MEN!

Down
1. A 747 has two of them : AISLES
2. Debonair : RAKISH
3. Nazi cipher machine broken by the Allies : ENIGMA
4. Joule/second : WATT
5. By themselves : ALONE
6. Hart of “Chicago” : ROXIE
7. Call to mind : THINK OF
8. Was a ratfink : SANG
9. Dangerous gas : RADON
10. Former Obama adviser David : AXELROD
11. Assistant to the regional manager, for one : JOB TITLE
12. Young Darth Vader’s nickname : ANI
13. D.D.E.’s predecessor : HST
21. Basil or bugbane : HERB
22. “You ___!” : BETCHA
26. Close-up magician’s prop : COIN
27. Listen to : HEED
29. Something read at a carnival : PALM
31. Covenant : PACT
34. Can’t stomach : LOATHE
35. When the Battle of Normandy started : D-DAY
36. A head : EACH
37. Yoga supplies : MATS
38. Measurer of college readiness, for short : PSAT
39. Like criticism made in no uncertain terms : STRIDENT
44. Dragsters : HOT RODS
45. City served by the airport in 40-Across : TEL AVIV
46. Gorilla who was famously taught sign language : KOKO
50. Paramount’s parent : VIACOM
51. Charles Schwab rival : E*TRADE
52. Get visibly embarrassed : REDDEN
54. Pop star Lauper : CYNDI
56. 2003 Golden Globe-winning film set in Afghanistan : OSAMA
57. They help make you you : GENES
60. “Lovely ___, meter maid” (Beatles lyric) : RITA
61. Milhouse’s best friend, on TV : BART
62. “Not what you see, but what you make others see,” per Degas : ART
63. Certain cross : TAU

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6 thoughts on “1118-15 New York Times Crossword Answers 18 Nov 15, Wednesday”

  1. I appreciate when a grid vexes me for a while, and then suddenly gives up its secret. Quite a broad variety of cluing today. Not a stellar solve time, but I'm OK with that today.

  2. 12:04, no errors. Straightforward solve, if a little slower than usual. As usual, Bill's blog answered several questions raised by the puzzle. For one, I had no idea who Tye Sheridan was, though I saw and very much enjoyed the movie "Mud", one of a remarkable string of recent performances by Matthew McConaughey.

  3. 11:53, no errors. Tried to fit CARD in 26D (COIN), and ANN in 48A (TYE); other than that pretty straight forward puzzle today. Today's theme, outside of being cute puns, was irrelevant to the puzzle solution.

  4. Bill, in reference to my comments from yesterday about my local newspaper misidentifying the setter, I was amazed that today they had said it was Paula Gamache! Maybe they are running a day behind. If this continues I will consider giving the paper a friendly call and ask if they can correct this matter. For the most part the setter is just an anonymous name to me. But you, as a former setter, would I'm sure like to see the proper person given the due credit for their effort.

  5. I have lived in Hawaii for many years and could maybe clear up the meaning of "aloha" as it relates to "hello and goodbye". You are correct in the Hawaiian definition but "aloha" is also used when meeting or departing someone's presence. But in English we could easily use words conveying the same thoughts to our friends and loved ones. While translations can seldom be exact, in this case I would describe the words as overlapping each other in their intended meaning.

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