0129-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 29 Jan 2018, Monday

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Constructed by: Lynn Lempel
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: Downsize

Themed answers are in the DOWN-direction. Each includes a SIZE, and those sizes increase as we move from the top-left to the bottom-right of the grid:

  • 62A. Diminish the work force … or a literal hint to the answers to the four starred clues : DOWNSIZE
  • 3D. *”Crazy to run into you here!” : SMALL WORLD!
  • 6D. *Newspapers or magazines : PRINT MEDIUM
  • 27D. *Contest for an areawide seat : AT-LARGE RACE
  • 31D. *Nonsense : MUMBO JUMBO

Bill’s time: 5m 32s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Scuttlebutt : GOSSIP

Just as modern day office workers gather around the water cooler to gossip, on board a ship back in the early 1800s the sailors would gather around the water barrel on the deck to shoot the breeze. That water barrel was called a “scuttlebutt”, from “scuttle” (opening in a ship’s deck) and “butt” (barrel). Quite interesting …

7. ___ Fridays (restaurant chain) : TGI

T.G.I. Fridays is an American restaurant chain that was founded in 1965 in New York City. Today there are over a thousand T.G.I. Friday’s restaurants in over 50 countries. I think that Fridays has always been particularly successful overseas. I used to visit one a lot with my family when we lived in the Philippines, and I believe the most successful Fridays restaurant anywhere in the world is the one in Haymarket Leicester Square in London in the UK.

14. Hedy in Hollywood : LAMARR

Hedy Lamarr was an American actress, originally from Vienna in modern-day Austria. Not only was Lamarr a successful Hollywood performer, during WWII she was the co-inventor of the frequency-hopping spread-spectrum method of transmitting radio signals that is still used to this day in wireless communication. Impressive …

15. Dessert topper from a can : REDDI-WIP

Reddi-Wip is a brand of sweetened whip cream that comes out of a pressurized can. The propellant used in the can is nitrous oxide, also called “laughing gas”, which is the same gas used by dentists as an anesthetic.

17. And others, in a bibliography : ET ALII

Et alii (et al.) is the equivalent of et cetera (etc.), with et cetera being used in place of a list of objects, and et alii used for a list of names. In fact “et al.” can stand for et alii (for a group of males, or males and females), aliae (for a group of women) and et alia (for a group of neuter nouns, or for a group of people where the intent is to retain gender-neutrality).

19. Org. for Penguins and Ducks : NHL

The Penguins are the professional hockey team based in Pittsburgh. They have been around since 1967, and were one of the first expansion teams when the NHL grew from six to twelve teams. The expansion team were to play in Pittsburgh’s Civic Arena, a domed structure known locally as the Igloo. It was the “Igloo” name that inspired a fan to suggest the “Penguins” moniker, which won a contest to choose the name of the new franchise.

The Walt Disney Company founded the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim hockey team in 1993, with the franchise’s name being a nod to the 1992 Disney movie called “The Mighty Ducks”. The name was changed to the Anaheim Ducks when Disney sold the team before the 2006-2007 season.

22. Vice president Spiro : AGNEW

Spiro Agnew served as Vice-President under Richard Nixon, before becoming the only VP in American history to resign because of criminal charges (there was a bribery scandal). Agnew was also the first Greek-American to serve as US Vice President as he was the son of a Greek immigrant who had shortened the family name from Anagnostopoulos.

25. Spill the beans : TELL ALL

To spill the beans is to divulge a secret. The expression first appeared in American English, in the early 1900s. The phrase arose as an alternative to “spoil the beans” or “upset the applecart”.

28. Online source for health info : WEBMD

WebMD is a website containing health information that has been online since 1996. WebMD is read by over 80 million readers each month.

34. “Ye olde” place to browse : SHOPPE

The word “olde” wasn’t actually used much earlier than the 1920s. “Olde” was introduced to give a quaint antique feel to brand names, shop names etc. as in “Ye Olde Shoppe”.

42. Farrow in films : MIA

Mia Farrow is an energetic, award-winning actress who really hasn’t looked back in her career since her first leading role, in “Rosemary’s Baby” back in 1968. Her on-screen celebrity is matched by the interest created by her personal life. Her first husband was Frank Sinatra, a wedding in 1966 that received a lot of attention partly due to the couple’s age difference (she was 21, he was 50). Her second husband was almost as famous, the magnificent musician André Previn. Farrow then moved in with Woody Allen, a relationship that famously fell apart when Farrow discovered that Allen was having a sexual relationship with Soon-Yi, one of her adopted daughters from the marriage with André Previn.

48. Students’ simulation of global diplomacy, informally : MODEL UN

Model United Nations is an educational simulation in which students learn about diplomacy, international relations and UN in general. Model UN conferences date back to the fifties.

50. Arctic abode : IGLOO

The Inuit word for “house” is “iglu”, which we usually write as “igloo”. The Greenlandic (yes, that’s a language) word for “house” is very similar, namely “igdlo”. The walls of igloos are tremendous insulators, due to the air pockets in the blocks of snow.

51. “Scram!” : VAMOOSE!

To vamoose is to to leave, coming from the Spanish “vamos” meaning “let’s go”.

53. Sleepover attire, informally : PJS

Our word “pajamas” (“PJs” for short) comes to us from the Indian subcontinent, where “pai jamahs” were loose fitting pants tied at the waist and worn at night by locals and ultimately by the Europeans living there. And “pajamas” is another of those words that I had to learn to spell differently when I came to America. In the British Isles the spelling is “pyjamas”.

58. The “P” of PRNDL : PARK

PRNDL … that would be Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive and Low. The gear shift for an automatic transmission is sometimes known familiarly as the “prindle stick”, from the abbreviation PRNDL.

60. Scanned lines on a pkg. : UPC

UPC stands for Universal Price Code or Universal Product Code. The first ever UPC-marked item to get scanned in a store was on June 26, 1974 at 08:01 a.m. at Marsh’s supermarket in Troy, Ohio. It was a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum.

65. Deficiency in red blood cells : ANEMIA

The term “anemia” (or “anaemia” as we write it back in Ireland) comes from a Greek word meaning “lack of blood”. Anemia is a lack of iron in the blood, or a low red blood cell count. Tiredness is a symptom of the condition, and so we use the term “anemic” figuratively to mean “lacking in vitality or substance”.

Down

1. “Galveston” singer Campbell : GLEN

I went to a Glen Campbell concert in Reno many, many years ago, and I was surprised by how many hits the man had over the years. He really was one of the original crossover artists between country and popular music, as evidenced by his winning Grammy Awards in both categories in 1967. That year he won the country award for “Gentle on My Mind” and the pop award for “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”.

“Galveston” was composed by Jimmy Webb and recorded by Glen Campbell in 1969. Webb actually wrote it as an anti-war song while the Vietnam War was raging. It tells of a soldier whose hometown is Galveston, Texas, and who is getting ready to head off to fight.

2. Inauguration Day vows : OATHS

Inauguration Day is on January 20th in the year following the November election of a US President. This date is called out in the twentieth Amendment to the US Constitution, which was ratified by the states in 1933.

4. Erie Canal mule of song : SAL

The song “Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal” was written in 1905. The lyrics are nostalgic and look back to the days when traffic on the canal was pulled by mules, bemoaning the introduction of the fast-moving engine-powered barges. The first line is “I’ve got an old mule and her name is Sal”.

5. Blue or hazel eye part : IRIS

The iris is the colored part of the eye. It has an aperture in the center that can open or close depending on the level of light hitting the eye.

8. Form of some shampoo : GEL

Back in the 1760s, the verb “to shampoo” was an Anglo-Indian word meaning “to massage”. A century later we started to shampoo our hair.

9. Amin exiled from Uganda : IDI

Idi Amin received most of his military training in the British armed forces, eventually achieving the highest rank possible for a Black African in the British Colonial Army in 1959, that of Warrant Officer. On his return to Uganda Amin joined his country’s military and quickly rose to the rank of Deputy Commander of the Army. During that time he was quite the athlete. He was a noted rugby player and swimmer, and for nine years held the Ugandan national light-heavyweight boxing title. By the early seventies, Amin was commander of all the armed forces of Uganda and in 1971 seized power in a military coup, displacing the country’s president Milton Obote. There followed seven years of brutal rule by Amin during which it is estimated that between 100,000 and 500,000 people were murdered. Amin was ousted from power in 1979 after a war with Tanzania, and fled to Libya where he stayed for a year. He then moved to Saudi Arabia, where he was financially supported by the Saudi Royal Family for the remainder of his life. Amin died in 2003.

11. “Trainspotting” actor McGregor : EWAN

Ewan McGregor is a very talented Scottish actor, one who got his break in the 1996 film “Trainspotting”. McGregor’s first big Hollywood role was playing the young Obi-Wan-Kenobi in the “Star Wars” prequels. Less known is his televised marathon motorcycle journey from London to New York via central Europe, Ukraine, Siberia, Mongolia and Canada. The 2004 trip was shown as “Long Way Round” on TV. McGregor did a similar trip in 2007 called “Long Way Down”, which took him and the same travelling companion from the north of Scotland to Cape Town in South Africa.

“Trainspotting” is a pretty dark comedy-drama film released in 1996 that is based on a novel of the same name by Irvine Welsh. Directed by Danny Boyle, it’s all about a group of heroin addicts in Edinburgh, Scotland. “Trainspotting” really launched the careers of lead actors Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, Kelly MacDonald and Ewen Bremner. A sequel titled “T2 Trainspotting” was released in 2017.

21. Brit. resource for writers : OED

Oxford English Dictionary (OED)

29. Controversial chemical in plastics, for short : BPA

Bisphenol A (BPA) is an organic chemical that is used extensively in the manufacture of plastics. The main source of the controversy surrounding the use of the chemical is that BPA has hormone-like properties and has been classified as an endocrine disruptor, meaning that it can interfere with human hormone systems. BPA is “everywhere”, given the amount of plastic that we use in society. The debate seems to be whether or not the levels that we are exposed to are sufficient to create a health risk.

31. *Nonsense : MUMBO JUMBO

“Mumbo jumbo” means big and empty talk, and is a term that we’ve been using since the late 1800s. Supposedly the term comes from a Mandingo word for an idol that was worshipped by some tribes in Africa.

32. Ballerina’s bend : PLIE

The French word for “bent” is “plié”. In the ballet move known as a plié, the knees are bent. A “demi-plié” is a similar move, but with less bending of the knees.

35. Angel’s band of light : HALO

The Greek word “halos” is the name given to the ring of light around the sun or moon, which gives us our word “halo” that is used for a radiant light depicted above the head of a saintly person.

36. Sardine container : TIN

Sardines are oily fish related to herrings. Sardines are also known as pilchards, although in the UK “sardine” is a noun reserved for a young pilchard. Very confusing …

40. Like early LPs : MONO

The first vinyl records designed to play at 33⅓ rpm were introduced by RCA Victor in 1931, but were discontinued due to quality problems. The first long play (LP) 33⅓ rpm disc was introduced by Columbia Records many years later in 1948, with RCA Victor following up with a 45 rpm “single” the following year, in 1949.

41. Response to an online joke : LOL

Laugh out loud (LOL)

47. 1940s-’50s jazz : BOP

“Bop” is a shortened form of “bebop”, a jazz style that dates back to the early 1940s.

52. German cars with a lightning bolt logo : OPELS

Adam Opel founded his company in 1863, first making sewing machines in a cowshed. Commercial success brought new premises and a new product line in 1886, namely penny-farthing bicycles. Adam Opel died in 1895, leaving his two sons with a company that made more penny-farthings and sewing machines than any other company in the world. In 1899 the two sons partnered with a locksmith and started to make cars, but not very successfully. Two years later, the locksmith was dropped in favor of a licensing arrangement with a French car company. By 1914, Opel was the largest manufacturer of automobiles in Germany. My Dad had an Opel in the seventies, a station wagon (we’d say “estate car” in Ireland) called an Opel Kadett.

54. Long-winded sales pitch : SPIEL

A spiel is a lengthy speech or argument designed to persuade, like a sales pitch. “Spiel” comes to us from German, either directly (“spiel” is the German for “play”) or via the Yiddish “shpil”.

55. Poet ___ St. Vincent Millay : EDNA

Edna St. Vincent Millay was an American poet and playwright, the third woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (in 1923 for “The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver”). Millay was noted not only for her work, but also for the open arrangement that she and her husband had in their marriage. Millay took many lovers, including the poet George Dillon, for whom she wrote a number of sonnets.

57. Taken a dip : SWUM

“Swam” is the simple past tense of the verb “to swim”, as in “I swam in my pool”. “Swum” is the verb’s past participle, as in “I have swum in your pool”.

59. U.S. fort with very tight security : KNOX

Fort Knox is actually a US Army base, but it lends its name to the adjacent facility that is more correctly called the United States Bullion Depository. Most of the US gold reserves are in “Fort Knox”, although it isn’t the biggest gold repository in the US. That honor goes to the vault under the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in Manhattan. Most of the gold stored in the New York vault belongs to foreign nations and banks.

61. Scoundrels : CADS

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.

63. Post-O.R. area : ICU

Intensive care unit (ICU)

66. Fire dept. responder, maybe : EMT

Emergency medical technician (EMT)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Scuttlebutt : GOSSIP
7. ___ Fridays (restaurant chain) : TGI
10. Slob’s creation : MESS
14. Hedy in Hollywood : LAMARR
15. Dessert topper from a can : REDDI-WIP
17. And others, in a bibliography : ET ALII
18. Estrange : ALIENATE
19. Org. for Penguins and Ducks : NHL
20. Wintry coating : SNOW
22. Vice president Spiro : AGNEW
23. Cunning : SLY
25. Spill the beans : TELL ALL
28. Online source for health info : WEBMD
30. Take a stab at : ATTEMPT
34. “Ye olde” place to browse : SHOPPE
36. Up to, as a particular time : ‘TIL
37. Govern : RULE
38. Goopy roofing material : TAR
39. High U.S. Navy rank : ADMIRAL
42. Farrow in films : MIA
43. Building annexes : ELLS
45. Particle with a charge : ION
46. Thief : ROBBER
48. Students’ simulation of global diplomacy, informally : MODEL UN
50. Arctic abode : IGLOO
51. “Scram!” : VAMOOSE!
53. Sleepover attire, informally : PJS
55. Twisty curves : ESSES
58. The “P” of PRNDL : PARK
60. Scanned lines on a pkg. : UPC
62. Diminish the work force … or a literal hint to the answers to the four starred clues : DOWNSIZE
65. Deficiency in red blood cells : ANEMIA
67. Ship-related : NAUTICAL
68. Searched thoroughly, with “through” : COMBED
69. Fighting force : ARMY
70. Raises : UPS
71. Praises highly : EXTOLS

Down

1. “Galveston” singer Campbell : GLEN
2. Inauguration Day vows : OATHS
3. *”Crazy to run into you here!” : SMALL WORLD!
4. Erie Canal mule of song : SAL
5. Blue or hazel eye part : IRIS
6. *Newspapers or magazines : PRINT MEDIUM
7. Fish with a heavy net : TRAWL
8. Form of some shampoo : GEL
9. Amin exiled from Uganda : IDI
10. One circulating at a party : MINGLER
11. “Trainspotting” actor McGregor : EWAN
12. Building lot : SITE
13. Spurt forcefully : SPEW
16. Gave a hand : DEALT
21. Brit. resource for writers : OED
24. “You betcha!” : YEP!
26. Den : LAIR
27. *Contest for an areawide seat : AT-LARGE RACE
29. Controversial chemical in plastics, for short : BPA
31. *Nonsense : MUMBO JUMBO
32. Ballerina’s bend : PLIE
33. Drop running down the cheek : TEAR
34. Pipe part : STEM
35. Angel’s band of light : HALO
36. Sardine container : TIN
40. Like early LPs : MONO
41. Response to an online joke : LOL
44. Age reached by a septuagenarian : SEVENTY
47. 1940s-’50s jazz : BOP
49. Asian yogurt drink : LASSI
50. “This ___ test” : IS A
52. German cars with a lightning bolt logo : OPELS
54. Long-winded sales pitch : SPIEL
55. Poet ___ St. Vincent Millay : EDNA
56. Rise quickly : SOAR
57. Taken a dip : SWUM
59. U.S. fort with very tight security : KNOX
61. Scoundrels : CADS
63. Post-O.R. area : ICU
64. Stick in the microwave : ZAP
66. Fire dept. responder, maybe : EMT

10 thoughts on “0129-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 29 Jan 2018, Monday”

  1. 8:42 No big problems but everything was a bit slow today. Partly because I wasn’t sure how to spell REDDIWIP so nothing looked right up there.

    1. There’s actually a documentary about Lamarr’s turbulent life and her accomplishments in inventing that got a limited release in a few American cities in fall 2017 and has spread around a little bit. (It just opened March 2 in San Diego, where I live.) It’s called “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story.” Looks pretty interesting. I imagine it’ll be streaming somewhere soon.

      As for me, this was my first time timing myself, so I figured I’d start with a Monday to build confidence. 9:31. I’ll take it!

  2. 8:39, no errors. In addition to the having the same issues as previous posters with LAMARR and REDDI WHIP, also seemed to have difficulty with ET ALII vs. et alia; and PRINT MEDIUM vs. print media.

  3. No errors. Another excellent puzzle from Lynn Lempel. I have great admiration for Hedy Lamarr. She was an exquisitely beautiful actress. But as she reached middle age she wisely saw that her career could not be sustained any longer. So she started to use her brain instead of her beauty and lived out the rest of her life contributing greatly to scientific advancement.

  4. Smooth launch to the week.

    Paused over alternative answers to “You betcha” clue: yes, yeh, yea, YEP. (Coincident Oscar win last night for Frances McDormand, who spoke fluent Minnestotan in her earlier “Fargo” role.)

    Also very impressed, along with @Dale, by the amazing Hedy LAMARR, a very heady women indeed.

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