0419-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 19 Apr 2018, Thursday

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Constructed by: Todd Gross
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Count the Squares

The number of letters in each of today’s themed answers is needed to unravel the corresponding themed clue:

  • 35A. How to find out what “this many” is in 17-, 21-, 52- and 57-Across : COUNT THE SQUARES
  • 17A. He wrote this many symphonies : BEETHOVEN (9 letters, 9 symphonies)
  • 21A. It borders this many other states : MISSOURI (8 letters, 8 states)
  • 52A. It has this many legs : ARACHNID (8 letters, 8 legs)
  • 57A. He won this many Olympic gold medals : MARK SPITZ (9 letters, 9 gold medals)

Bill’s time: 10m 30s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Slow sort, informally : POKE

Back in the early 1800s, a “poke” was a device attached to domestic animals such as pigs or sheep to keep them from escaping their enclosures. The poke was like a yoke with a pole, and slowed the animal down, hence the term “slowpoke”.

5. Duke, e.g.: Abbr. : UNIV

Duke University was founded in 1838 as Brown’s Schoolhouse. The school was renamed to Trinity College in 1859, and to this day the town where the college was located back then is known as Trinity, in honor of the school. The school was moved in 1892 to Durham, North Carolina in part due to generous donations from the wealthy tobacco industrialist Washington Duke. Duke’s donation required that the school open its doors to women, placing them on an equal footing with men. Trinity’s name was changed to Duke in 1924 in recognition of the generosity of the Duke family. Duke’s athletic teams are known as the Blue Devils.

17. He wrote this many symphonies : BEETHOVEN (9 letters, 9 symphonies)

If I had to name which of Beethoven’s symphonies I listen to most often, at the top of the list comes the 7th followed closely by the 9th, and then the 5th a little further down. But that four-note opening of the 5th; that is superb …

19. Now, in Bilbao : AHORA

Bilbao is a city in the Basque region of northern Spain. One of the most famous buildings in the city is the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, a spectacular structure standing on the banks of the Nervión river in the downtown area.

20. First name on the Supreme Court : SONIA

Sonia Sotomayor is the first Hispanic justice on the US Supreme Court, and the third female justice. Sotomayor was nominated by President Barack Obama to replace the retiring Justice David Souter.

21. It borders this many other states : MISSOURI (8 letters, 8 states)

Missouri borders eight different states: Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska.

27. Tax ID : SSN

The main purpose of a Social Security Number (SSN) is to track individuals for the purposes of taxation, although given its ubiquitous use, it is looking more and more like an identity number to me. The social security number system was introduced in 1936. Prior to 1986, an SSN was required only for persons with substantial income so many children under 14 had no number assigned. For some years the IRS had a concern that a lot of people were claiming children on their tax returns who did not actually exist. So, from 1986 onward, it is a requirement to get an SSN for any dependents over the age of 5. Sure enough, seven million dependents “disappeared” in 1987.

28. The Devil has one : GOATEE

A goatee is a beard formed by hair on just a man’s chin. The name probably comes from the tuft of hair seen on an adult goat.

30. Country that changed its name in 1939 : SIAM

Siam was the official name of Thailand up to 1939 (and again from 1945 to 1949).

34. Fish whose roe is used in sushi : SMELT

Smelt is the name given to several types of small silvery fish, examples being Great Lake smelts and whitebait smelts.

40. Choreographer Alvin : AILEY

Alvin Ailey was a dancer who formed his own troupe in New York in 1958, naming it “the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater”. The most famous work that Ailey choreographed was called “Revelations”. President Barack Obama awarded Ailey the Presidential Medal of Freedom, posthumously in 2014.

41. Oktoberfest order : STEIN

A stein is a type of beer glass. The term is German in origin, and is short for “Steinkrug” meaning “stone jug”. “Stein” is German for “stone”.

Oktoberfest is a 16-day beer festival in Munich that actually starts in September. About six million people attend every year, making it the largest fair in the world. I’ve been there twice, and it really is a great party …

45. Consideration for avoiding burns, for short : SPF

In theory, the sun protection factor (SPF) is a calibrated measure of the effectiveness of a sunscreen in protecting the skin from harmful UV rays. The idea is that if you wear a lotion with say SPF 20, then it takes 20 times as much UV radiation to cause the skin to burn than it would take without protection. I say just stay out of the sun …

52. It has this many legs : ARACHNID (8 letters, 8 legs)

Arachnids are creatures with eight jointed legs. The name of the class Arachnida comes from the Greek “aráchnē” meaning “spider”.

55. Soap brand mentioned in “Hair” : RINSO

Rinso was a laundry detergent that was first manufactured in England in 1908 by a company called Hudson’s Soap. It was introduced into the US in 1918. In America, Rinso took to radio advertising and sponsorship in the days of “soap operas”. Their most famous program association was with “The Amos ‘n’ Andy Show” in the forties. One of the brand’s slogans was “Solium, the sunlight ingredient”. I have no idea what Solium is, but it certainly did sell a lot of soap!

The full name of the famed show from the sixties is “Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical”. This controversial work outraged many when it was first performed in the sixties, as it attacked many aspects of life at the time. For example, the song “Air” is a satirical look at pollution, sung by a character who comes onto the stage wearing a gas mask. The opening lines are “Welcome, sulfur dioxide. Hello carbon monoxide. The air … is everywhere”. How things have changed in fifty years said he … satirically …

56. Many an art print, informally : LITHO

Lithography is a printing technique that was invented in 1796 as a cheap way to publish theatrical works. In the litho process the image is drawn on a metal plate, although originally it was drawn on a stone (hence the prefix “litho-“). The image is drawn in such a way that some regions of the plate repel ink, and then when paper is applied to the plate, those areas are ink-free. A “lithograph” is a print that is made using the technique, and is often a reproduction of a work of art.

57. He won this many Olympic gold medals : MARK SPITZ (9 letters, 9 gold medals)

Mark Spitz is a retired competitive swimmer, and famously the winner of seven gold medals for the US at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. That was a record number of gold medals won for a single Olympic Games, which stood until the 2008 games when Michael Phelps won a total of 8 golds. Spitz was only 22 years of age right after the 1972 Games, at which point he retired from competition. Having said that, Spitz briefly came out of retirement in 1992 and tried for a place in the US team for the Barcelona Olympics at the age of 41. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make the grade.

61. “Man produces ___ as a bee produces honey”: William Golding : EVIL

William Golding was a British author best known for his outstanding novel “Lord of the Flies”. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983. Golding was in the Royal Navy in WWII and participated in the action that sank the German battleship “Bismarck”, and also commanded a landing ship during the Normandy Invasion.

62. Sheltered at sea : ALEE

Alee is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing aweather.

63. “Cabaret” director : FOSSE

Bob Fosse won more Tony Awards for choreography than anyone else, a grand total of eight (and another Tony for direction). Fosse also won an Oscar for Best Director for the 1972 movie “Cabaret”, even beating out the formidable Francis Ford Coppola who was nominated that same year for “The Godfather”.

The musical “Cabaret” is based on “I Am a Camera”, a 1951 play written by John Van Druten. In turn, the play was adapted from a novel “Goodbye to Berlin” written by Christopher Isherwood. The action in the musical takes place in the 1930s, in a seedy Berlin cabaret called the Kit Kat Club. “Cabaret” is a great stage musical, although the 1972 film of the musical isn’t one of my favorites.

65. Polar bird : TERN

Terns are seabirds that are found all over the world. The Arctic Tern makes a very long-distance migration. One Arctic Tern that was tagged as a chick in Great Britain in the summer of 1982, was spotted in Melbourne, Australia just three months later. The bird had traveled over 14,000 miles in over those three months, an average of about 150 miles a day. Remarkable …

Down

1. Classic Milwaukee brews : PABSTS

Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) is the most recognizable brand of beer from the Pabst Brewing Company. There appears to be some dispute over whether or not Pabst beer ever won a “blue ribbon” prize, but the company claims that it did so at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The beer was originally called Pabst Best Select, and then just Pabst Select. With the renaming to Blue Ribbon, the beer was sold with an actual blue ribbon tied around the neck of the bottle until it was dropped in 1916 and incorporated into the label.

Milwaukee sits on the western shore of Lake Michigan, and is the largest city in the state of Wisconsin. Milwaukee has a long tradition of brewing, a tradition that dates back to the 1850s and that is associated with the large number of German immigrants that started to arrive in the area during the 1840s. Even though the city was once home to four of the world’s largest breweries, namely Schlitz, Blatz, Pabst and Miller, only the latter is a major employer in Milwaukee today.

2. Chocolaty breakfast cereal : OREO O’S

Oreo O’s were made by Post from 1998 to 2007. Oreo O’s were basically O-shaped (like Cheerios) but chocolate-flavored, dark brown in color and with white sprinkles on them. Oh, and lots of sugar.

3. Actor Wynn of “Dr. Strangelove” : KEENAN

Keenan Wynn was a character actor who played many roles on television and in movies. Keenan’s father was the actor and comedian Ed Wynn.

“Dr. Strangelove” is a black comedy directed and produced by Stanley Kubrick, released in 1964. The big star in the film is the great Peter Sellers, who plays three key roles. The full name of the movie is “Dr. Strangelove or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”.

5. It’s only half due : UNO

“One, two, three” in Italian is “uno, due, tre”.

7. Two in the news : ITEM

An unmarried couple known to be involved with each other might appear in the gossip columns. This appearance as “an item” in the papers, led to the use of “item” to refer to such a couple, but only since the very early seventies.

8. One stop on a grand tour : VENICE

The city of Venice in northeast Italy is built in a saltwater lagoon on the Adriatic Coast, on 117 small islands. The classic transportation along the waterways is the gondola, but this is really only used for tourists these days, as well as on ceremonial occasions. The locals rely on the motorized water-buses.

The original Grand Tour was a rite of passage for young wealthy men, mainly in the 18th century. Rich families (especially the English) would send off their sons after finishing their schooling to be exposed to the various cultures across Europe. Essential stops along the way were Paris, Venice and Rome.

9. The New Yorker cartoonist who wrote “What I Hate: From A to Z” : CHAST

Roz Chast had her first cartoon published in “The New Yorker” in 1978, and has had more than 800 published since then.

10. “A Shropshire Lad” author : AE HOUSMAN

“A Shropshire Lad” is a collection of poems published in 1896, written by the English poet A. E. Housman. Housman couldn’t find a publisher for his work, so he had to use his own money to get the collection in print. The poems all hark back to the simple life of a young man in rural England. The collection gained in popularity as young men went overseas to fight in the Second Boer War, and then again during WWI. The nostalgic themes struck a chord with the young soldiers.

11. Casino employee : CROUPIER

A croupier is someone who conducts a game at a gambling table. In the world of gaming, the original croupier was someone who stood behind a gambler, holding reserves of cash for the person in a game. Before that, “croupier” was someone who rode behind the main rider on a horse. “Croup” was a Germanic word for “rump”. So, a croupier used to be a “second”, as it were.

12. Man in Mannheim : HERR

Mannheim is a city in southwestern Germany. The city is a little unusual in that it has streets and avenues laid out in a grid pattern, rather like an American city. For this reason, Mannheim has the nickname “die Quadratestadt” (city of the squares).

13. Actor Morales : ESAI

The actor Esai Morales is best known in the world of film for the 1987 movie “La Bamba”, which depicted the life of Ritchie Valens and his half-brother Bob Morales (played by Esai). On the small screen, Morales plays Lt. Tony Rodriguez on “NYPD Blue” and Joseph Adama on “Caprica”.

25. Poet who wrote “In the Vanities / No one wears panities” : NASH

Ogden Nash was a poet from Rye, New York who is remembered for his light and quirky verse. Nash had over 500 such works published between 1931 and 1972.

32. Washington and Adams: Abbr. : MTS

Mount Washington in New Hampshire is the highest peak in the northeast of the country. It is located in the state’s White Mountains, in the Presidential Range. The Presidential Range comprises the highest peaks in the White Mountains, most of which are named for US Presidents including: Washington, Eisenhower, Monroe, Jefferson, Adams, Quincy Adams and Madison.

Mount Adams is a volcanic peak in the state of Washington, in the Cascade Range. There was an unsuccessful attempt in the 1930s to have the Cascade Range renamed to the President’s Range, with each of the major peaks named for a US president. The plan was to rename Mount Hood as Mount Adams, after President John Adams. Due to a cartographer’s error, the relatively unknown peak that we now call Mount Adams was given the name, instead of Mount Hood. The plans for “the President’s Range” came to nought, but the Mount Adams name stuck.

33. Seuss’s star-bellied creatures : SNEETCHES

Dr. Seuss’s “The Sneetches and Other Stories” was first published in 1961. The collection comprises four stories in all: “The Sneetches”, “The Zax”, “Too Many Daves” and “What Was I Scared Of?”

37. Grieves loudly : ULULATES

A ululation is a high-pitched trill, a sound usually practiced by women in ritual situations. I came across the practice not too long ago as an expression of celebration at an Arab-American wedding.

39. Monarch who took the throne in ’52 : QEII

Princess Elizabeth became queen Elizabeth II in 1952 when her father, King George VI died. The Princess was on an official visit to Kenya when her husband broke the news to her, that she had become queen. When she was crowned in 1953 in Westminster Abbey, it was the first coronation to be televised. Queen Elizabeth’s reign is longest in the history of the UK.

47. Disney movie set in Arendelle : FROZEN

“Frozen” is a 2013 animated feature from Walt Disney Studios that is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Snow Queen”. The film is all about the exploits of Princess Anna, the younger sister of Elsa, Snow Queen of Arendelle. Spoiler alert: Prince Hans of the Southern Isles seems to be a good guy for most of the film, but turns out to be a baddie in the end. And, a snowman named Olaf provides some comic relief.

52. Arabic leader? : ALIF

“Alif” is the first letter in the Arabic Semitic alphabet, and is equivalent to the Hebrew “aleph”.

54. Singer/songwriter Matthews : DAVE

The Dave Matthews Band (sometimes just “DMB”) is a rock band from Charlottesville, Virginia that formed in 1991. DMB hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2004 when their driver decided to dump about 800 pounds of liquid waste from the tour bus into the Chicago River. He pumped the waste through a grate on a bridge, and onto the passengers on sightseeing boat that was passing below.

58. Narrow waterway : RIA

A drowned valley might be called a ria or a fjord, with both formed as sea level rises. A ria is a drowned valley created by river erosion, and a fjord is a drowned valley created by glaciation.

59. Airline with a crown in its logo : KLM

The initialism KLM stands for “Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij”, which translates from Dutch as “Royal Aviation Company”. KLM is the flag carrier for the Netherlands, and is the oldest airline in the world still operating with its original name. It was founded in 1919. KLM merged with Air France in 2004.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Slow sort, informally : POKE
5. Duke, e.g.: Abbr. : UNIV
9. Contents of a vault : CACHE
14. What a salesperson may be assigned : AREA
15. Observe : NOTE
16. Word before “Johnny” or “Lucy” : HERE’S …
17. He wrote this many symphonies : BEETHOVEN (9 letters, 9 symphonies)
19. Now, in Bilbao : AHORA
20. First name on the Supreme Court : SONIA
21. It borders this many other states : MISSOURI (8 letters, 8 states)
23. Exactly right : TO A TURN
26. Riot : CUT-UP
27. Tax ID : SSN
28. The Devil has one : GOATEE
30. Country that changed its name in 1939 : SIAM
33. “Zip your lip!” : SHUSH!
34. Fish whose roe is used in sushi : SMELT
35. How to find out what “this many” is in 17-, 21-, 52- and 57-Across : COUNT THE SQUARES
40. Choreographer Alvin : AILEY
41. Oktoberfest order : STEIN
42. Like most of New York State’s flag : BLUE
43. “Aha!” : I SEE IT!
45. Consideration for avoiding burns, for short : SPF
48. Rank above maj. : LT COL
50. First in a field : PIONEER
52. It has this many legs : ARACHNID (8 letters, 8 legs)
55. Soap brand mentioned in “Hair” : RINSO
56. Many an art print, informally : LITHO
57. He won this many Olympic gold medals : MARK SPITZ (9 letters, 9 gold medals)
60. Some slushy drinks : ICEES
61. “Man produces ___ as a bee produces honey”: William Golding : EVIL
62. Sheltered at sea : ALEE
63. “Cabaret” director : FOSSE
64. Part of a baseball : SEAM
65. Polar bird : TERN

Down

1. Classic Milwaukee brews : PABSTS
2. Chocolaty breakfast cereal : OREO O’S
3. Actor Wynn of “Dr. Strangelove” : KEENAN
4. Wipe out, in slang : EAT IT
5. It’s only half due : UNO
6. National Adoption Mo. : NOV
7. Two in the news : ITEM
8. One stop on a grand tour : VENICE
9. The New Yorker cartoonist who wrote “What I Hate: From A to Z” : CHAST
10. “A Shropshire Lad” author : AE HOUSMAN
11. Casino employee : CROUPIER
12. Man in Mannheim : HERR
13. Actor Morales : ESAI
18. Stuck-up : HAUGHTY
22. Not take things lying down, say : SUE
24. 32-0, e.g. : ROUT
25. Poet who wrote “In the Vanities / No one wears panities” : NASH
29. ___ days (now) : THESE
31. Oktoberfest order : ALE
32. Washington and Adams: Abbr. : MTS
33. Seuss’s star-bellied creatures : SNEETCHES
34. Ones carrying roses, maybe : SUITORS
35. One hailed on Broadway? : CAB
36. Alaskan export : OIL
37. Grieves loudly : ULULATES
38. Part of a how-to manual : STEP
39. Monarch who took the throne in ’52 : QEII
43. Ca++ or Fe+++ : ION
44. Covers in goo : SLIMES
45. No longer all there : SENILE
46. Nag : PESTER
47. Disney movie set in Arendelle : FROZEN
49. Drew from a hat, say : CHOSE
51. Bite playfully : NIP AT
52. Arabic leader? : ALIF
53. Having mucho dinero : RICO
54. Singer/songwriter Matthews : DAVE
58. Narrow waterway : RIA
59. Airline with a crown in its logo : KLM

10 thoughts on “0419-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 19 Apr 2018, Thursday”

  1. 14:44 I was having a tough time getting into this until I meandered my way down to the bottom right and figured out the theme at MARKSPITZ. The top left was the last part to fall. I’ve never heard the phrase TOATURN and didn’t know KEENAN.

  2. 28:58. Did this very late last night. I got the idea of the theme right off as I knew MISSOURI bordered 8 states. Learned that growing up in the St. Louis area. Interesting theme but not nearly as convoluted as some Thursdays.

    Best –

  3. I surprised myself as I got this one with no errors. Any time that I get a Thursday-level puzzle I am happy. But it was a squeaker with some lucky breaks. I got the theme okay when I solved ARACHNID and knew that they have eight legs. Otherwise, the numbers didn’t help much since they were things I would not have known in the first place. But it was good to learn the background on all the theme answers thanks to Bill’s comments.

  4. 13:26, 2 errors: 34A S(P)ELT, 10D R E HOUS(P)AN. One of the disadvantages of pencil/paper solving is not getting an “almost there” message.

  5. 20 minutes, 4 seconds and escaped unscathed. This one was a grind, with the involved theme. ULULATES for 37 D was a real beast, and I was proud to have spotted it. Suitable for Thursday. Not “tricksy” but challenging.

  6. Easy theme but some tough fill. Problems in the NW. Wanted OREOhS and KEENyN, which scrambled TOATURN (“exactly right”?) into ThyTURN, which, even if sounding biblical, made no sense. Let it go at that.

  7. Got all but 2 squares. For 33-down I invented some new Dr. Seuss characters, the “ONEEACHES,” imagining they each had one star. Enjoyed this one anyway. Only in a puzzle can “I” stand at the intersection of Venice and Missouri.

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