1125-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 25 Nov 2017, Saturday

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Constructed by: Kevin G. Der
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 55m 42s!!

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10. Whom the children of Israel served, per Judges : BA’AL

According to Canaanite mythology, Ba’al was the most powerful of all gods. He was worshiped as the sun, storm and fertility god.

14. Baseball cards, campaign buttons and such : AMERICANA

An ana (plural “anas”) is a collection, perhaps of literature, that represents the character of a particular place or a person. “Ana” can be used as a noun or as a suffix (e.g. “Americana”).

15. Triangular body parts : SACRA

The sacrum and the two ilia are three bones in the human pelvis.

16. Bootleg seller : SPEAKEASY

A speakeasy is an establishment that sells alcoholic drinks illegally. Speakeasies were very big in the US in the days of Prohibition. The obvious etymology, of a speakeasy owner asking his or her customers to “speak easy” so as not to draw attention to the authorities, is thought to have originated in 1888 in McKeesport just outside Pittsburgh.

“To bootleg” is to make or smuggle alcoholic drinks illegally. The term arose in the late 1800s as slang for the practice of concealing a flask of liquor down the leg of a high boot. The term has been extended to mean the illegal production and sale of just about anything.

18. Trophy named for the N.H.L.’s first president : CALDER CUP

The American Hockey League (AHL) is the so-called development circuit for the National Hockey League (NHL), the equivalent of the minors in professional baseball. The AHL’s playoff trophy is called the Calder Cup, which is named for Frank Calder who was the first president of the NHL.

19. Thoreau’s “The ___ Woods” : MAINE

Henry David Thoreau is a personal hero of mine. Thoreau is best known for his book called “Walden” published in 1854. The book outlines his philosophy of life and details his experiences living in a cabin near Walden Pond just outside Concord, Massachusetts.

20. Devil ___ Hatfield, Golden Globe-winning role for Kevin Costner : ANSE

The Hatfield and McCoy families of West Virginia and Kentucky were involved in a notorious feud that lasted from 1863 to 1891. The feud was somewhat resurrected in 1979 when representatives from both families appeared on the game show “Family Feud”. The McCoys came out ahead on TV and went home with over $11,000 and a pig.

23. Chow line? : LEASH

The Chow Chow is a breed of dog that originated in China. The Chinese name for the breed is “Songshi Quan”, which translates as “puffy-lion dog”, a rather apt name given its appearance …

26. “Cavalleria Rusticana” baritone : ALFIO

“Cavalleria rusticana” is an opera by Italian composer Pietro Mascagni that was first performed in 1890. The title translates as “Rustic Chivalry”, which is reference to the opera’s bucolic setting. The beautiful symphonic intermezzo from “Cavalleria rusticana” is often heard in “highlights from movie soundtracks” as it was used in the opening of “Raging Bull” and the finale of “The Godfather Part III”.

27. Portraitist with a Baltimore museum named after him : PEALE

Artist Charles Willson Peale’s most famous works are portraits of historical figures from the American Revolution, most notably George Washington. Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. Peale had a lot of children, sixteen in all with two wives. Many of those children were named for his favorite artists, including Rembrandt Peale who became a celebrated artist in his own right.

28. Nissan offering : SENTRA

The Nissan Sentra is sold as the Nissan Sunny back in Japan.

36. Big name in scholastic philosophy : OCCAM

Ockham’s Razor (also “Occam’s Razor”) is a principle in philosophy and science that basically states that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. This explanation is a corollary to the more exact statement of the principle, that one shouldn’t needlessly use assumptions in explaining something.

42. Super, slangily : SOCKO

“Socko” is a slang term meaning “impressive”.

46. Autobús alternative : TREN

In Spanish, one might travel by “autobús” (bus) or “tren” (train).

48. Entertainers for whom lines quickly form : SLAM POETS

A poetry slam is a competition in which poets read their own work (usually), with winners being chosen by members of audience. Apparently the first poetry slam took place in Chicago in 1984. Now there is a Nation Poetry Slam that takes place each year, with representatives from the US, Canada and France.

53. Describing the efforts of Batman and Spider-Man : ANTICRIME

Batman and Robin are unique among their superhero compatriots in that they have no special powers, just a whole load of cool gadgets. Batman is sometimes referred to as the Caped Crusader, Robin as the Boy Wonder, and the pair as the Dynamic Duo.

Spider-Man is a creation of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and first appeared in comics in 1962. Spider-Man was a somewhat groundbreaking character in that his alter ego was a teenage high school student (named Peter Parker), which marked the first time that a young person featured front and center as the superhero.

54. End up leaving : STET

“Stet” is a Latin word meaning “let it stand”. In editorial work, the typesetter is instructed to disregard any change previously marked by writing the word “stet” and then underscoring that change with a line of dots or dashes.

Down

1. Tourist attraction that faces a statue of Leonardo da Vinci : LA SCALA

La Scala Opera House opened in 1778. It was built on the site of the church of Santa Maria della Scala, which gave the theater its name: “Teatro alla Scala” in Italian.

6. Alternatives to Toshibas : ACERS

Acer is a Taiwanese company that I used to visit a lot when I was in the electronics business. I was very impressed back then with the company’s dedication to quality, although I have heard that things haven’t gone so well in recent years …

7. Org. that publishes The Crisis magazine : NAACP

The full name of the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is remarkable in that it actually still uses the offensive term “colored people”. The NAACP was founded in 1909, by a group that included suffragette and journalist Mary White Ovington, wealthy socialist William English Walling, and civil rights activist Henry Moscowitz. Another member of the founding group was W. E. B. Du Bois, the first African-American to earn a doctorate at Harvard University. The date chosen for the founding of the NAACP was February 12th, 1909, the 100th anniversary of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln, the man most visibly associated with the emancipation of African-American slaves.

8. Directly connected, as a bathroom to a bedroom : EN SUITE

The expression “en suite” is an example of the French language being used in English, but with a new meaning. Firstly, the word “ensuite” translates from French as “then” or “later”. The phrase “en suite” translates as “as a set, series”. The French use the term “suite” as we do sometimes, as in a suite of connecting rooms. Over in the British Isles, “en suite”, and sometimes “en-suite” or “ensuite”, is a term used in the hotel industry for a bedroom that has a private bathroom or shower room attached. Some smaller establishments in that part of the world might rent out bedrooms with the occupants having to share bathing facilities.

10. One of the Iron Chefs on “Iron Chef America” : BATALI

Mario Batali is an American celebrity chef who specializes in Italian cuisine. He is often referred to as “Molto Mario”.

“Iron Chef” is a Japanese cooking show that has been broadcast since 1993. The original Japanese show was dubbed for airing in English-speaking countries and became a surprising hit around the world. There are now spin-off shows around the world including “Iron Chef America” and “Iron Chef UK”.

13. U.S. city that hosts the world’s largest jalapeño festival : LAREDO

Laredo is a border city in Texas that is situated on the banks of the Rio Grande, across the border from Nuevo Laredo in Mexico.

The jalapeño is a chili pepper, and a favorite of mine. The pepper’s name translates from Spanish as “from Xalapa”. Xalapa (also “Jalapa”) is the capital of the Mexican state of Veracruz, and the traditional origin of the jalapeño pepper.

15. Cocktails with Kahlúa and cream : SOMBREROS

Kahlúa is a rum-based liqueur from Mexico that has a coffee flavor.

22. Contemporary of Saint-Saëns : LALO

Édouard Lalo was a classical composer from France. Lalo’s most famous work is probably the complex opera “Le roi d’Ys”, which is based on a Breton legend.

Camille Saint-Saens was one of the great French composers in my opinion. Saint-Saëns composed during the Romantic Era, and it was he who introduced the symphonic poem to France. Even his light and airy “The Carnival of the Animals” is a lovely work.

27. Striped or spotted animal named for its habitat : PAMPAS CAT

The pampas are fertile lowlands covering a large part of Argentina, Uruguay and some of Brazil. “Pampa” is a Quechua word meaning “plain”.

29. Flatbread sometimes served with curry : ROTI

In an Indian restaurant, naan bread is very popular. Roti is the unleavened cousin to naan.

31. Safaris without guns, say : ECOTOURS

“Safari” is a Swahili word meaning “journey” or “expedition”.

35. Protagonist in the “Die Hard” films : MCCLANE

The 1988 action movie “Die Hard” is such a fun film. We always pull it out at Christmas when we want something “Christmassy” but different from “The Bishop’s Wife” or “It’s a Wonderful Life”. The “Nakatomi Plaza” building that features so prominently in the film is actually “Fox Plaza” (headquarters for 20th Century Fox) in Los Angeles, which was built not long before filming started.

37. Beverage brand whose logo depicts three claw marks : MONSTER

Monster Energy is a drink containing lots of caffeine. The label on the drink usually warns the consumer about over-consumption of the contents.

38. Green cars : TESLAS

Tesla Motors is a manufacturer of electric vehicles based in Palo Alto, California. Tesla is noted for producing the first electric sports car, called the Tesla Roadster. The company followed the sports car with a luxury sedan, the Model S. The Model S was the world’s best selling plug-in electric vehicle of 2015.

39. Musician with the 1963 gold-selling album “Honey in the Horn” : AL HIRT

Al Hirt was a trumpeter and bandleader. Hirt’s most famous recordings were the song “Java” and the album “Honey in the Horn”, as well the theme song used “The Green Hornet” TV series in the sixties.

40. Opportunity for people to act badly? : B MOVIE

The term “B movie” was used to describe movies that were made with low budgets and were intended to be the bottom half of a double feature (remember the days of double features?).

41. Rodeo ring? : LARIAT

Our word “lariat” comes from the Spanish “la reater” meaning “the rope”.

49. Prey for a jaguar : PACA

There are two species of rodents called pacas, and both are found in Central and South America. In some parts, paca is considered a gourmet dish.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Places for drivers to get around : LEFT LANES
10. Whom the children of Israel served, per Judges : BA’AL
14. Baseball cards, campaign buttons and such : AMERICANA
15. Triangular body parts : SACRA
16. Bootleg seller : SPEAKEASY
17. Animal known to chase its tail : OTTER
18. Trophy named for the N.H.L.’s first president : CALDER CUP
19. Thoreau’s “The ___ Woods” : MAINE
20. Devil ___ Hatfield, Golden Globe-winning role for Kevin Costner : ANSE
21. Engage in warfare : SPILL BLOOD
23. Chow line? : LEASH
25. Dress down : TEAR INTO
26. “Cavalleria Rusticana” baritone : ALFIO
27. Portraitist with a Baltimore museum named after him : PEALE
28. Nissan offering : SENTRA
30. Ready to attack, say : SORE AT
34. Similar to: Fr. : COMME
36. Big name in scholastic philosophy : OCCAM
38. Consumers want to get their hands on it : TABLET PC
42. Super, slangily : SOCKO
43. 1992 western with a Spanish title : EL MARIACHI
46. Autobús alternative : TREN
47. Tide pool locale : SHORE
48. Entertainers for whom lines quickly form : SLAM POETS
50. Tony’s mother on “The Sopranos” : LIVIA
51. Check on the passing of bills? : CASH AUDIT
52. Popular typeface : ARIAL
53. Describing the efforts of Batman and Spider-Man : ANTICRIME
54. End up leaving : STET
55. Producer of loose leaf notes? : TEA TASTER

Down

1. Tourist attraction that faces a statue of Leonardo da Vinci : LA SCALA
2. Picks for a case : EMPANELS
3. Have peace of mind : FEEL SAFE
4. Buys and sells : TRADES IN
5. Fancy : LIKE
6. Alternatives to Toshibas : ACERS
7. Org. that publishes The Crisis magazine : NAACP
8. Directly connected, as a bathroom to a bedroom : EN SUITE
9. “Ask politely” : SAY PLEASE
10. One of the Iron Chefs on “Iron Chef America” : BATALI
11. Lure for a gambler : ACTION
12. Brief comeback : ARE NOT!
13. U.S. city that hosts the world’s largest jalapeño festival : LAREDO
15. Cocktails with Kahlúa and cream : SOMBREROS
22. Contemporary of Saint-Saëns : LALO
24. Oatmeal, e.g. : HOT CEREAL
27. Striped or spotted animal named for its habitat : PAMPAS CAT
29. Flatbread sometimes served with curry : ROTI
31. Safaris without guns, say : ECOTOURS
32. Give a stamp of approval : ACCREDIT
33. Not happen overnight : TAKE TIME
35. Protagonist in the “Die Hard” films : MCCLANE
37. Beverage brand whose logo depicts three claw marks : MONSTER
38. Green cars : TESLAS
39. Musician with the 1963 gold-selling album “Honey in the Horn” : AL HIRT
40. Opportunity for people to act badly? : B MOVIE
41. Rodeo ring? : LARIAT
44. “___ Siempre” (much-covered 1965 song about Che Guevara) : HASTA
45. Cry in a dogfight : I’M HIT!
49. Prey for a jaguar : PACA

13 thoughts on “1125-17 NY Times Crossword Answers 25 Nov 2017, Saturday”

  1. DNF after about 49 minutes. It got to be too much trouble even to cheat my way through this one. It would be easier to list the stuff I knew and/or got via crosses than all the stuff I got stumped on. I’ll consider this a learning experience. Makes me feel better that even Bill struggled with this one.

    Best –

  2. 43:23(!), no errors. Brutal! More than once, I was tempted to give up.

    Had to chuckle at “Triangular body parts”; I don’t think Margaret Farrar would have let that one pass unchallenged. It’s a new age … ?

    And shame on me, but, like Jeff, I’m indulging in a little Schadenfreude regarding Bill’s time … ?

  3. 60:21 Very tough. Lots of obscure trivia. Never heard of PAMPASCAT. TABLETPC was tough to figure out. PEALE crossing LALO was difficult. ALFIO and ANSE being near each other made that corner tough even though I got CALDERCUP right away. SOCKO? Sorry, I could go on and on. I’m surprised I actually finished this one.

  4. This puzzle is the paradigm that both addresses and perhaps answers the following question: “Who is more smug: the constructor of this puzzle or idiots who feel more smug when they have unraveled THE labored and contrived workings of its author, who perhaps and probably, like me, doesn’t have a life?

  5. Gave up just short of 28 minutes with I suppose 40% filled in. Unsolveable as clued. A perfect example of “manufactured difficulty”.

    @ A. Leethia… I certainly wouldn’t call *anyone* who could finish this puzzle an idiot. The constructor, and the editor, in my view, are worthy of disdain for their cynicism; but not because of lack of grey matter, certainly….

  6. First time in ages I have given up on a puzzle…even reading the answers left me questioning them. Also, hadn’t been on this site in a long time – how or why is it so different?

  7. 44:50, 5 errors: 10D BATELI/19A MEINE; 39D ALPERT/47A SPORE/50A LEVIA. One of the great challenges of these puzzles is to force myself to stretch my brain and think ‘outside the box’. This puzzle made that in spades.

    @Liz Aguilar: you are correct, this site is much different than it was. Bill revamped it a few months ago.

  8. Quit early on this one. Ungettable and seemingly impossible, though a few skilled die-hards did stay with it and got it. I’m awed.

  9. Got three-quarters done with some struggles, but gave up with the bottom right quadrant empty (aside from a number of “answers” that turned out to be wrong — spiff instead of socko; strain — as in “strain at the leash” — instead of sore at; superhero instead of anticrime; and sic’em (minus the apostrophe) instead of I’m hit (minus the apostrophe) — since I took “dog fight” literally). Toughest one I can remember in the last few months.

    Re your explanation for 53 across, it’s far from true that Batman and Robin are “unique” among DC (or Marvel, or other) superhero comic characters in having no super powers; there are a lot of such characters. Not that it matters to the definition, of course.

  10. Got everything but CASH AUDIT. I took dog fight literally too and so I couldn’t get off of I’M BIT instead of I’M HIT. With that B there I was screwed. I also had TEA TESTER and never thought of TEA TASTER. So I was trying to figure out an animal that fit “P_CE” and couldn’t. And couldn’t get anything to fit CA_B_UDIT and finally gave up in frustration.

    Pretty pround of getting the rest, it took several periods of leaving it aside and coming back with a fresh mind.

    Agree with a lot of the criticisms.

  11. Spent two days off and on until I realized that its McClane, not McCaine. Even so , I got three squares wrong: feel sane, Natali, and Trek.

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