0327-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 27 Mar 2018, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Peter Koetters
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Punny State Capitals

Themed answers (sorta) sound like common phrases, but actually include the capital of the state mentioned in each themed clue:

  • 20A. “Explore Alaska! It’s ___!” : MORE THAN JUNEAU (sounds like “more than you know”)
  • 33A. “Writers and photographers will find Michigan a great place for ___!” : FREE LANSING (sounds like “freelancing”)
  • 39A. “Blow into Maine on ___!” : AUGUSTA WIND (sounds like “a gust of wind”)
  • 50A. “I was afraid to ski, but in New Hampshire I ___!” : CONCORD MY FEARS (sounds like “conquered my fears”)

Bill’s time: 7m 04s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Fellows : CHAPS

“Chap” is an informal term for “lad, fellow”, that is used especially in England. The term derives from “chapman”, an obsolete word meaning “purchaser” or “trader”.

6. Mystic in a turban : SWAMI

A swami is a religious teacher in the Hindu tradition. The word “swami” can also mean “husband” in the Bengali and Malay languages.

11. Fixer at a horse race? : VET

A veterinarian (vet) is a professional who treat animals for disease and injury. The word “veterinary” comes from the Latin “veterinae” meaning “working animals, beasts of burden”.

14. Leader in a turban : 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.

15. Less risqué : TAMER

“Risqué” is a French word, the past participle of the verb “to risk”. So in English we use “risqué” to mean “racy”, but in French it means “risky”.

17. Alternative to National or Enterprise : ALAMO

The third largest car rental company over recent years is Alamo, which was founded in 1974. Alamo made inroads (pun!) into the market by popularizing the idea of “unlimited mileage”.

18. Luxury handbag maker : PRADA

Prada was started in 1913 as a leather-goods shop in Milan, by the two Prada brothers. One of the brothers, Mario Prada, prevented the female members of his family participating in the company as he didn’t believe women should be involved in business (!). When the sexist brother died, his son had no interest in the business so it was his daughter who took over and ran the company for about twenty years, handing it over to her own daughter. I’d say the devil loved that …

20. “Explore Alaska! It’s ___!” : MORE THAN JUNEAU (sounds like “more than you know”)

Given that it’s the capital of the vast state of Alaska, it is perhaps not surprising to learn that the municipality of Juneau is almost as big as the area of the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined, and yet has only a population of about 31,000 people!

24. A fleur-de-lis is a stylized one : LILY

“Lys” (also “lis”) is the French word for “lily”, as in “fleur-de-lys”, the heraldic symbol often associated with the French monarchy.

28. Kuala Lumpur’s home : MALAYSIA

The capital city of Malaysia is Kuala Lumpur, which is very often abbreviated to “KL”. The name “Kuala Lumpur” translates into English as “muddy estuary”. Famously, KL is home to the spectacular Petronas Twin Towers, which are currently the tallest twin towers in the world and was the tallest of any building from 1998 to 2004.

33. “Writers and photographers will find Michigan a great place for ___!” : FREE LANSING (sounds like “freelancing”)

Lansing, Michigan is unique among US state capitals in that it is not a county seat, even though it is located in Ingham County. The county seat is Mason, Michigan.

The term “free lance” was coined by Sir Walter Scott in his 1820 novel “Ivanhoe”, when he used it to describe a medieval mercenary warrior. Forty years later, a “freelancer” was a journalist who did work for more than one publication without a long-term commitment.

39. “Blow into Maine on ___!” : AUGUSTA WIND (sounds like “a gust of wind”)

As well as being the easternmost state capital, Augusta, Maine is the third smallest, with a population of under 20,000. The least populous state capitals are Montpelier, Vermont (~7,000) and Pierre, South Dakota (~14,000).

44. ___-X : GEN

The term “Generation X” originated in the UK where it was the name of a book by Jane Deverson. Her book detailed the results of a study of British youths in 1964, contrasting their lifestyle to those of previous generations. It was Canadian author Douglas Coupland who was responsible for popularizing the term, with his more successful publication “Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture”. By one definition, Gen-Xers were born between 1961 and 1981.

56. John : LAV

Our word “lavatory” (sometimes “lav”) originally referred to a washbasin, and comes from the Latin “lavatorium”, a place for washing. In the 1600s, “lavatory” came to mean a washroom, and in the 1920s a toilet.

57. Belted one out of this world? : ORION

A subset of three particularly bright stars in the constellation of Orion is named “Orion’s Belt”. The three bright stars sit almost in a straight line and are about equidistant. They’re usually the easiest way to spot the constellation of Orion in the night sky.

60. Pola ___ of the silents : NEGRI

Pola Negri was a Polish actress, and the first star to be invited from Europe to develop a career in Hollywood. Most of her success came in the silent era, but she was able to make the transition to the talkies. Her off-screen life attracted the attention of the gossip columnists who rejoiced in her affairs with the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Rudolph Valentino.

63. Red-jacketed cheeses : EDAMS

Edam cheese takes its name from the Dutch town of Edam in North Holland. The cheese is famous for its coating of red paraffin wax, a layer of protection that helps Edam travel well and prevents spoiling. You might occasionally come across an Edam cheese that is coated in black wax. The black color indicates that the underlying cheese has been aged for a minimum of 17 weeks.

Down

2. Xbox space-war franchise : HALO

“Halo” is a series of video games that was introduced in 2001. Apparently, there’s a lot of shooting, and a lot of aliens …

4. Actress Anderson : PAMELA

Pamela Anderson is a Canadian/American actress and model, whose most famous TV roles were on the shows “Home Improvement” and “Baywatch”. Anderson is a hot topic in the gossip columns, especially after a honeymoon sex tape was stolen from her home. Beyond all the hype, she is a very committed animal rights activist, having become a vegetarian in her teens after seeing her father cleaning an animal that he had killed while hunting.

6. Green party honoree, briefly? : ST PAT

There is a fair amount known about Saint Patrick, some of which comes from two letters written in his own hand. St. Patrick lived in the fifth century, but was not born in Ireland. He was first brought to Ireland at about 16 years of age from his native Britain, by Irish raiders who made him a slave for six years. Patrick managed to escape and returned to his homeland where he studied and entered the Church. He went back to Ireland as a bishop and a missionary and there lived out the rest of his life. There seems to be good evidence that he died on March 17th (now celebrated annually as Saint Patrick’s Day), although the year is less clear. The stories about shamrock and snakes, I am afraid they are the stuff of legend.

10. Citizen of a theocratic republic : IRANIAN

Before 1935, the country we know today as Iran was referred to as Persia by the Western world. The official name of the country since the Iranian Revolution of 1979 is the “Islamic Republic of Iran”.

In a theocratic country, God is recognized as the head of state (“theocracy” means “rule of God”). Theocracies are typically run with strong clerical influence, and with divine guidance.

12. Isaac’s firstborn : ESAU

Esau was the twin brother of Jacob, the founder of the Israelites. When their mother Rebekah gave birth to the twins “the first emerged red and hairy all over (Esau), with his heel grasped by the hand of the second to come out (Jacob)”. As Esau was the first born, he was entitled to inherit his father’s wealth (it was his “birthright”). Instead, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for the price of a “mess of pottage” (a meal of lentils).

13. Possessive in the Ten Commandments : THY

According to the Book of Exodus, the stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments are inscribed were placed in a chest called the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was built according to instructions given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai.

22. “Family Ties” mom : ELYSE

The actress Meredith Baxter is best known for playing Elyse, the mother in the eighties sitcom “Family Ties”. Baxter’s big break on television came with a title role on a short-lived sitcom called “Bridget Loves Bernie”. She ended up marrying David Birney, her co-star on “Bridget Loves Bernie”, and so was known for many years as Meredith Baxter-Birney. She changed her name back to Meredith Baxter when the pair divorced in 1989.

“Family Ties” was one of the first TV shows that I enjoyed when I arrived in the US back in 1983. I found the situation very appealing, with two ex-hippie parents facing off against an ultra-conservative son. The main characters in the show were Michael J. Fox as Alex, Meredith Baxter-Birney as Alex’s mom, Elyse, and Michael Gross as Alex’s Dad, Steven. But some future stars had recurring roles as well, including Courteney Cox as one of Alex’s girlfriends and Tom Hanks as Elyse’s young brother.

25. Parts of barrios : CASAS

“Barrio” is the name given to an urban district in Spanish-speaking countries.

26. Northern archipelago dweller : ALEUT

The Aleuts live on the Aleutian Islands of the North Pacific, and on the Commander Islands at the western end of the same island chain. The Aleutian Islands are part of the United States, and the Commander Islands are in Russia.

34. Ancient civilization around Susa : ELAM

The ancient civilization of Elam was located east of Mesopotamia, in what is modern-day southwest Iran.

36. Shroud of ___ : TURIN

The Shroud of Turin has to be one of the most controversial, and most studied, human artifacts ever unearthed. The Shroud is a linen cloth on which there is the image of a man who appears to have wounds inflicted by crucifixion. Many believe that the Shroud is the burial cloth in which Jesus Christ was placed after he died on the cross. The Shroud was kept in various locations in France for centuries before being moved to Turin Cathedral in 1578, from which it gets its name, and where it has been located ever since.

42. ___ a one : NARY

The adjective “nary” means “not one”, as in “nary a soul”.

47. What a janitor does : CLEANS

A janitor is someone who takes care of the maintenance or cleaning of a building. An older definition of the term is “doorman”. Our word comes from the Latin “ianitor” meaning “doorkeeper”.

51. Baltic city where Baryshnikov was born : RIGA

Mikhail “Misha” Baryshnikov started his dancing career with the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad before defecting to Canada in 1974. The only time my wife ever lined up to get an autograph was when she did so outside the stage door after seeing Baryshnikov dance in Syracuse, New York many moons ago. The man is a god in her eyes …

54. Hoarfrost : RIME

Rime is that beautiful coating of ice that forms on surfaces like roofs, trees and grass, when cold water freezes instantly under the right conditions.

The Old English word “har” meant “gray, venerable, old”, and came into English as “hoar” (and later “hoary”) with the same meaning. The term “hoar-frost” dates back to the 13th century, and reflects the similarity of the white feathers of frost to the gray/white of an old man’s beard.

55. River to Hades : STYX

The River Styx in Greek mythology was the river that formed the boundary between the Earth and the Underworld (or “Hades”). The souls of the newly dead had to cross the River Styx in a ferry boat piloted by Charon. Traditionally, a coin would be placed in the mouths of the dead “to pay the ferryman”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Fellows : CHAPS
6. Mystic in a turban : SWAMI
11. Fixer at a horse race? : VET
14. Leader in a turban : RAJAH
15. Less risqué : TAMER
16. “Black-___” (ABC sitcom) : ISH
17. Alternative to National or Enterprise : ALAMO
18. Luxury handbag maker : PRADA
19. Magpie relative : JAY
20. “Explore Alaska! It’s ___!” : MORE THAN JUNEAU (sounds like “more than you know”)
23. Sack : LOOT
24. A fleur-de-lis is a stylized one : LILY
25. Wine server : CARAFE
28. Kuala Lumpur’s home : MALAYSIA
32. Like : A LA
33. “Writers and photographers will find Michigan a great place for ___!” : FREE LANSING (sounds like “freelancing”)
35. Shipped : SENT
37. Drawn straw, say : LOT
38. Within: Prefix : ENTO-
39. “Blow into Maine on ___!” : AUGUSTA WIND (sounds like “a gust of wind”)
44. ___-X : GEN
45. Breastbones : STERNUMS
46. In a mischievous manner : ARCHLY
48. Hoot : RIOT
49. Kind of fixation : ORAL
50. “I was afraid to ski, but in New Hampshire I ___!” : CONCORD MY FEARS (sounds like “conquered my fears”)
56. John : LAV
57. Belted one out of this world? : ORION
58. Implied : TACIT
59. It goes before beauty, in a saying : AGE
60. Pola ___ of the silents : NEGRI
61. Other side : ENEMY
62. Each : PER
63. Red-jacketed cheeses : EDAMS
64. Southend-on-Sea’s county : ESSEX

Down

1. Finally hit the books : CRAM
2. Xbox space-war franchise : HALO
3. Nearly closed : AJAR
4. Actress Anderson : PAMELA
5. Launched, as a missile : SHOT OFF
6. Green party honoree, briefly? : ST PAT
7. Put on guard : WARN
8. Key with three sharps: Abbr. : A MAJ
9. Section of the brain : MEDULLA
10. Citizen of a theocratic republic : IRANIAN
11. Fijian-born golf Hall-of-Famer : VIJAY SINGH
12. Isaac’s firstborn : ESAU
13. Possessive in the Ten Commandments : THY
21. Gardener, often : HOER
22. “Family Ties” mom : ELYSE
25. Parts of barrios : CASAS
26. Northern archipelago dweller : ALEUT
27. Luxury S.U.V. import : RANGE ROVER
28. Alley sounds : MEOWS
29. Harmonizers with soprani and bassi : ALTI
30. What drones collect : INTEL
31. What waiting for overdue results can be : AGONY
34. Ancient civilization around Susa : ELAM
36. Shroud of ___ : TURIN
40. Treat with one’s choice of syrup : SNO-CONE
41. Taught privately : TUTORED
42. ___ a one : NARY
43. Conscript : DRAFTEE
47. What a janitor does : CLEANS
49. Some upscale chain hotels : OMNIS
50. Protection for a shark diver : CAGE
51. Baltic city where Baryshnikov was born : RIGA
52. Housing that’s often empty in the summer : DORM
53. The best, in slang : ACES
54. Hoarfrost : RIME
55. River to Hades : STYX
56. Baby sitter? : LAP

12 thoughts on “0327-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 27 Mar 2018, Tuesday”

  1. 11:02 A little harder than a normal Tuesday for me. Nothing that totally stumped me but just got slowed down in several spots. Some of the clues/answers seemed a bit out of place for early in the week.

  2. Yes, a tough Tuesday, and a good one. Took unusual amount of time, quite a lot more than Marc’s and Dave Kennison’s. Moreover, I would see it as a Thursday or even an apt Friday puzzle. No errors.

  3. 16:09. Tough for a Tuesday but fun. We’ve almost conjugated the week for this one so I’ll add one more. I would have liked to have seen this puzzle on a Sunday. I got a kick out of the theme, and a Sunday would have had more such entries.

    Best –

  4. 15:08, no errors. In the same boat as previous posters, had a lot more difficulty than usual for a Tuesday.

  5. It seems to be unanimous that this was more difficult than the typical Tuesday. I am no exception. I erroneously had EDOM for ELAM which gave me a total of three errors. That error left me with A GUST O’ WIND but since the pronunciations were only approximations I still thought that I had it right. Oh, well. Tomorrow’s another day.

  6. Hmm…. Forgot that I had also done this puzzle on the non-syndicated 3/27/18 date. (It did seem vaguely familiar, though.) There it took much more time, but completed it with no errors. Today it took a lot less time, but with 2 errors. Go figure.

  7. I have done the same thing before Tom. All of a sudden it will occur to me that I have done the puzzle before, and why can’t I remember the tricky clues this time? Weird. No problems with today’s (which I hadn’t done before) except for correctly guessing the G where RIGA and NEGRI connected.

  8. 12 minutes, 11 seconds. No errors, but it was a hard slog. Fought every one of the silly sound-alikes tooth and nail. I’m really growing to hate these…

  9. 18 minutes, 2 dumb errors (EDOM for ELAM). Difficult for a Tuesday, and seconded – this theme would have been pretty fun for a Sunday grid…

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