0523-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 23 May 2018, Wednesday

Constructed by: David Steinberg
Edited by: Will Shortz

[ad_above_grid]

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Expanded Abbreviations

Themed clues point to relatively short answers. Those answers have been EXPANDED by writing out fully an abbreviation included in the answer:

  • 16A. Beginning, expanded? : STREET ART (“start” expanded)
  • 22A. Forming a crust, expanded? : CALIFORNIA KING (“caking” expanded)
  • 47A. Choose in advance, expanded? : PRESIDENT ELECT (“preselect” expanded)
  • 57A. Inspiration for something, expanded? : SOUTH PARK (“spark” expanded)

Bill’s time: 10m 33s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9. The “P” of 23-Down : PALE
(23D. See 9-Across : IPA)

India pale ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.

15. Grp. whose members have reserves : OPEC

Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

18. “Finding Dory” fish : NEMO

Pixar’s 2016 animated feature “Finding Dory” is a sequel to the megahit film “Finding Nemo”. “Finding Dory” seems to have built on the success of its predecessor and had the highest-grossing opening weekend ever in North America for an animated movie.

19. Glass of public radio : IRA

Ira Glass is a well-respected presenter on American Public Radio who is perhaps best known for his show “This American Life”. I was interested to learn that one of my favorite composers, Philip Glass, is Ira’s first cousin.

21. Order from a food truck : GYRO

A gyro is a traditional Greek dish of meat roasted on a tall vertical spit that is sliced from the spit as required. Gyros are usually served inside a lightly grilled piece of pita bread, along with tomato, onion and tzatziki (a yogurt and cucumber sauce).

27. Poor area : GHETTO

The original “ghetto” was an island in Venice that was used for confining Venetian Jews. The same island was used to store slag from a foundry, and “getto” was the Venetian word for “slag”. The term “ghetto” spread across Europe, at the beginning always associated with repressed Jewish populations. Ultimately it came to mean any urban area housing a minority group under economic and social pressure.

31. Annoyance for an online gamer : LAG

In Internet terms, lag is a delay in response caused by network latency. We might notice lag when streaming a video, for example.

34. Member of a crew, informally : COX

The coxswain of a boat is one in charge of steering and navigation. The word “coxswain” is shortened to “cox”, particularly when used for the person steering and calling out the stroke in a competition rowing boat.

39. Like naughty privates? : AWOL

The Military Police (MPs) often track down personnel who go AWOL (absent without leave).

44. Big name in laptops : LENOVO

Lenovo is a Chinese manufacturer of computers. The company is very successful, and sold more personal computers in 2013 than any other vendor worldwide. IBM sold off its personal computer division to Lenovo in 2005.

46. French Facebook connection : AMI

A male friend in France is “un ami”, and a female friend is “une amie”.

56. Drag show props : BOAS

The etymology of the term “drag”, as used in the transvestite world, seems to be unclear. It perhaps relates to the tendency of a transvestite’s skirts to drag along the ground in days of old (although why they just didn’t hitch up their skirts is beyond me!).

57. Inspiration for something, expanded? : SOUTH PARK (“spark” expanded)

“South Park” is an adult-oriented cartoon series on Comedy Central. I don’t do “South Park” …

59. Italian province or its capital : ASTI

Asti is a city in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. The region is perhaps most famous for its Asti Spumante sparkling white wine.

60. Buff relative : ECRU

The shade called ecru is a grayish, yellowish brown. The word “ecru” comes from French and means “raw, unbleached”. “Ecru” has the same roots as our word “crude”.

Down

4. Match at a casino : SEE

The term “casino” originated in the 1700s, then describing a public room for music or dancing. “Casino” is a diminutive of “casa” meaning “house”.

5. Vehicle that goes “vroom” : HOT ROD

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.

7. Long-beaked bird : HERON

Herons are birds with long legs that inhabit freshwater and coastal locales. Some herons are routinely referred to as egrets, and others as bitterns. Herons look a lot like storks and cranes, but differ in their appearance in flight. Herons fly with their necks retracted in an S-shape, whereas storks and cranes have their necks extended.

8. Soldier or queen : ANT

In an ant colony, soldier ants differ from worker ants in that they have stronger mandibles and are hence more suitable for fighting. However, when they aren’t fighting, that basically carry out the same functions as the workers. All worker and soldier ants are sterile females.

10. They get drunk before dinner : APERITIFS

An apéritif is an alcoholic drink served before a meal, to stimulate the palate. A digestif is an alcoholic drink served after a meal, to aid digestion.

11. Minute Maid plant? : LEMON TREE

In the mid-forties a process was developed to concentrate orange juice into a powder, the intent being to make it available to the armed forces. When WWII came to an end, the government’s need for the product went away, so Florida Foods Corporation was set up to market orange juice concentrate (rather than powder) to the public. This new concentrate was given the name “Minute Maid” implying that juice could be prepared quickly by simple dilution.

24. ___ Azalea (“Fancy” rapper) : IGGY

Iggy Azalea is the stage name of Australian rapper Amethyst Kelly. I haven’t heard of her outside of crosswords …

25. Popular gym chain : GOLD’S

The chain of fitness centers called Gold’s Gym was founded in 1965 by Joe Gold in Venice Beach, California.

31. Writer Tolstoy : LEO

The Russian author Leo Tolstoy is best known for his novels “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina”. He also wrote the much-respected novellas “Hadji Murad” and “The Death of Ivan Ilyich”.

36. Polo competitor : IZOD

Jack Izod was a tailor of some repute over in England, producing shirts for King George V as well as other members of the Royal Family. As Izod was about to retire, he was approached for the use of his name by an American clothing manufacturer based in New York. The brand Izod of London was introduced to America in 1938.

46. Offered for breeding : AT STUD

The word “stud”, meaning “a male horse kept for breeding”, is derived from the Old English word “stod”, which described a whole herd of horses. The term “stud” can be used figuratively for a “ladies’ man”.

48. Historical stretch : EPOCH

Geological time is divided into a number of units of varying lengths. These are, starting from the largest:

  • supereon
  • eon (also “aeon”)
  • era
  • period
  • epoch
  • age

49. Island that’s the world’s third-smallest country, after Vatican City and Monaco : NAURU

Nauru is the world’s smallest island nation, and is located in the South Pacific 300 km to the east of Kiribati. The island was taken as a colony by Germany in the late 1800s, and came under the administration of Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom after WWI. The Japanese invaded during WWII, but Nauru was one of the islands that was bypassed in the US advance across the Pacific towards Japan. Nauru achieved independence in 1968.

51. Appurtenances with blinds : CORDS

An appurtenance is an accessory, perhaps a piece of equipment for a specific task. It might also be an appendage; a suffix to a word, for example.

58. Educ. group : PTA

Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Bottoms : BUMS
5. “So funny!” : HA HA!
9. The “P” of 23-Down : PALE
13. Anti-inflammatory agent : ALOE
14. Like some relationships : OPEN
15. Grp. whose members have reserves : OPEC
16. Beginning, expanded? : STREET ART (“start” expanded)
18. “Finding Dory” fish : NEMO
19. Glass of public radio : IRA
20. Cold: Sp. : FRIO
21. Order from a food truck : GYRO
22. Forming a crust, expanded? : CALIFORNIA KING (“caking” expanded)
26. Detachable spacecraft : POD
27. Poor area : GHETTO
28. Bit of fishing gear : SPEAR
31. Annoyance for an online gamer : LAG
33. ___ group : GIRL
34. Member of a crew, informally : COX
35. Staple of hippie fashion : TIE-DYE
38. Provided meals to : FED
39. Like naughty privates? : AWOL
41. Vet employer : ZOO
42. Things counted at meetings : NOSES
44. Big name in laptops : LENOVO
46. French Facebook connection : AMI
47. Choose in advance, expanded? : PRESIDENT ELECT (“preselect” expanded)
53. Kind of school : PREP
54. See 45-Down : … PASS
55. Complaint about one’s calves? : MOO!
56. Drag show props : BOAS
57. Inspiration for something, expanded? : SOUTH PARK (“spark” expanded)
59. Italian province or its capital : ASTI
60. Buff relative : ECRU
61. Having nothing out of place : TIDY
62. Track-and-field team calendar listing : MEET
63. Fall sound : THUD
64. “I’m not done …” : ALSO …

Down

1. Like a course labeled “101” : BASIC
2. Extremely : ULTRA
3. ___ compass : MORAL
4. Match at a casino : SEE
5. Vehicle that goes “vroom” : HOT ROD
6. “Grow ___!” (“Man up!”) : A PAIR
7. Long-beaked bird : HERON
8. Soldier or queen : ANT
9. Quarter barrel of beer : PONY KEG
10. They get drunk before dinner : APERITIFS
11. Minute Maid plant? : LEMON TREE
12. Prefix with warrior : ECO-
17. Try : EFFORT
21. “I’m so frustrated!” : GAH!
23. See 9-Across : IPA
24. ___ Azalea (“Fancy” rapper) : IGGY
25. Popular gym chain : GOLD’S
28. Head covering : SCALP
29. Superman-like stance : POWER POSE
30. Clear : EXONERATE
31. Writer Tolstoy : LEO
32. Fuss : ADO
36. Polo competitor : IZOD
37. Tangle up : ENMESH
40. Snaps : LOSES IT
43. Massage parlor supply : OIL
45. With 54-Across, granter of backstage access : VIP …
46. Offered for breeding : AT STUD
48. Historical stretch : EPOCH
49. Island that’s the world’s third-smallest country, after Vatican City and Monaco : NAURU
50. Letters that don’t need stamps : EMAIL
51. Appurtenances with blinds : CORDS
52. Location of an Asian Disneyland : TOKYO
56. Collision sound : BAM!
57. Group of gym reps : SET
58. Educ. group : PTA

24 thoughts on “0523-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 23 May 2018, Wednesday”

  1. Also finished in about 10 minutes, but never got the theme. Completed the puzzle entirely on crosses.

  2. 19:19 Another day, another tough one. I didn’t get the second layer of the theme until reading the write ups afterward. I also thought a lot of the cluing was tough for a Wednesday.

  3. 17:12, no errors. Also finished the puzzle using crossing entries and then partially figured out the theme. A very rough outing from young Master Steinberg.

  4. 24:36 – Indeed a tough one by Wednesday standards. I whiffed on the theme until the blog. Theme seemed like a bit of a stretch (can I laugh at my own joke now?)… 🙂

    And yes – Dave is right about SEE. I live in Las Vegas, but I am no gambler…except the occasional craps game. “I’ll SEE your $20 and raise you $5 more” is indeed matching someone else’s bet in a poker game and then raising it, for example.

    Best –

  5. @Bill … Is the “Theme (according to Bill): Big Dipper” a leftover from yesterday? Or am I missing something again?

  6. In my humble view, Bill’s theme isn’t quite right. It’s not expanded abbreviations. Rather, letters at the beginning of the answer, when joined to letters at the end of the answer, comprise the solution to the clue. Or have I got it wrong?

    1. @HW …
      I see what you mean, but I think Bill has the right of it. In each case, your “letters at the beginning of the answer” form the unabbreviated equivalent of the abbreviation they replace. So, “STREET” replaces the abbreviation “ST” in “START” to yield “STREET ART”, “CALIFORNIA” replaces the abbreviation “CA” in “CAKING” to form “CALIFORNIA KING”, and so on. Over all, a bit mind-expanding (or mind-bending, even mind-breaking, if you prefer … 😜).

  7. 14:12, no errors. Overly contorted theme, in my view; but setters are always trying to come up with something original. The theme was no help to me in solving the puzzle; more like trying to see how the completed fill conformed to a theme rule. My original interpretation was identical to @HW’s; but after reading Bill’s explanation, I agree with his view.

  8. No errors. Agreed, this one was pretty difficult. I got the theme by the second time it appeared and it helped on the remaining two. I did not, however, get the part about the initializing even after reading Bill’s explanation. Thanks to @HW for bringing up the question. After the subsequent discussion here on the board it finally dawned on me.

  9. 16:50 and 2 errors caused by not correctly spelling APER(I)TIFS.

    This “theme” makes no damned sense, even when explained. Just pure stupidity.

  10. This one took a while (more than just a while), but it was worth the effort and the persistence. I enjoy a Steinberg challenge, but especially when finishing without error, as happened this time, albeit with a lot of head-scratching and write-overs. No, it is definitely not your (or my) usual Wednesday fare.

  11. The initializing could be considered part of the gimmick, but doesn’t seem to add to, or be pertinent to, the puzzle and its theme.

    1. Okay, I can see that the abbreviations do add another layer of meaning to the puzzle–but a pretty thin one.

  12. Thanks to Bill et al. for explaining the abbreviation bit. I thought the mere “expansion” theme was lame until reading here, but now I can see there was some substance to it. I thought including a clue and answer to “Grow a pair” was a bit ballsy.

  13. I thought this puzzle was as stupid as they come. The “missing letters” in the middle of theme answers don’t create new words.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.