0526-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 26 May 2018, Saturday

Constructed by: Peter Wentz
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 11m 21s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15. About a third of South America : AMAZONIA

The Amazon rainforest is the world’s largest, covering 1.4 billion acres in nine different countries of South America. Those 1.4 billion acres represent more than half of the rainforest that’s left on the planet.

16. Election Day declaration : I VOTED

Election Day was chosen by Congress back in 1845. The month of November was selected as it suited an agricultural society, following the fall harvest and yet not too far into winter, which could make travel difficult. Tuesday was chosen so that people had time to travel to polling stations. Monday elections might have meant that some would have to start out on Sunday, and that could interfere with Christian services.

19. Part of some shortcuts : ALT

The Alt (alternate) key is found on either side of the space bar on US PC keyboards. The Alt key evolved from what was called a Meta key on old MIT keyboards, although the function has changed somewhat over the years. Alt is equivalent in many ways to the Option key on a Mac keyboard, and indeed the letters “Alt” have been printed on most Mac keyboards starting in the nineties.

20. Its capital is Nuku’alofa : TONGA

The Kingdom of Tonga is made up of 176 islands in the South Pacific, 52 of which are inhabited and scattered over an area of 270,000 square miles. Tonga was given the name Friendly Islands in 1773 when Captain James Cook first landed there, a reference to the warm reception given to the visitors.

25. Single numbers : SOLI

“Soli” (the plural of “solo”) are pieces of music performed by one artist, whereas “tutti” are pieces performed by all of the artists.

39. Blockbuster 2014 animated film : THE LEGO MOVIE

“The Lego Movie” is a 2014 computer animated film in which all the characters are Lego figures. Apparently “The Lego Movie” was well received, and resulted in the spin-off film “The Lego Batman Movie”.

41. Heat : ESTRUS

The estrous cycle of mammals can be divided into four phases:

  1. Proestrus is the phase when the body prepares for a potential fertilized egg. In particular, the lining to the uterus starts to develop.
  2. Estrus is the phase when the female is said to be “in heat”, when she is sexullay receptive.
  3. Metestrus is the phase when levels of progesterone increase. The levels continue to increase if pregnancy has occured, but fall of if there has been no fertilization.
  4. Anestrus is the phase when the sexual cycle rests, before starting all over again.

45. Repeated collaborator with Bowie : ENO

Brian Eno is a musician, composer and record producer from England who first achieved fame as the synthesizer player with Roxy Music. As a producer, Eno has worked with David Bowie, Devo, Talking Heads and U2.

David Bowie was the stage name of English singer David Jones. Bowie adopted the alter ego Ziggy Stardust during his glam rock phase in the 1970s. Sadly, Bowie passed away from liver cancer in early 2016.

46. Grasslands burrower : VOLE

Vole populations can really increase rapidly. Mama vole is pregnant for just three weeks before giving birth to litters of 5-10 baby voles. Then the young voles become sexually mature in just one month! If you have one pregnant vole in your yard, within a year you could have over a hundred of the little critters.

49. Supposed source of large footprints : YETI

The yeti, also known as “the abominable snowman”, is a beast of legend. “Yeti” is a Tibetan term, and the beast is fabled to live in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet. Our equivalent legend in North America is that of Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch. The study of animals whose existence have not yet been substantiated is called cryptozoology.

59. 2014 Facebook acquisition : WHATSAPP

WhatsApp is a popular messaging service used on smartphones that sends messages and other files from one mobile phone number to another. Launched in 2011, WhatsApp is incredibly popular, most popular messaging service used today. Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014, paying over $19 billion.

62. One of the superstates in “1984” : EASTASIA

The action in George Orwell’s 1949 novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” takes place in the intercontinental superstate of Oceania. Orwell also created two other superstates, called Eurasia and Eastasia.

63. Panegyrizes : EXALTS

A panegyric was originally a formal speech made in public, the intent of which was to praise some person of some entity. Later, the term came to mean a laudatory verse, such as an ode. “Panegyris” is the Greek for “speech fit for a general assembly”.

64. Instagram rival : SNAPCHAT

Snapchat is a messaging system that allows users to send photos and video clips to a limited list of recipients. The photos and clips, called “snaps”, can be viewed for only a few seconds before they are deleted from the recipient’s device, and from the Snapchat servers.

Down

1. Republican politico George : PATAKI

George Pataki is a member of the Republican Party who served as Governor of New York from 1995 to 2006. I happen to know that Pataki’s maternal grandmother is from a village close to where I lived in Ireland. When Pataki was first running for Governor, I met someone in Ireland who was researching Pataki’s Irish roots for him. My guess is that the Irish vote is important in New York State …

4. Drug marketed as Retrovir : AZT

AZT is the abbreviated name for the drug azidothymidine, which is used extensively in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. AZT was originally developed in the seventies as a potential treatment for retroviruses (cancer-causing viruses), although it was never approved for use in treatment. In 1984, it was confirmed that AIDS was caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), so scientists turned to known antiviral drugs in the search for a viable treatment. Burroughs-Wellcome came up with a treatment regime using AZT, and filed a patent in 1985. The patent was challenged in court but the patent expired anyway in 2005 without any decision being made. There are now at least four generic forms of AZT approved for sale in the US.

5. Use Instagram, e.g. : POST

Instagram is a photo-sharing application, one that is extremely popular. Instagram was started in San Francisco in 2010. Facebook purchased Instagram two years later, paying $1 billion. The billion-dollar Instagram company had just 13 employees at the time of the sale …

8. Slow and dignified : LARGO

Largo is an instruction to play a piece of music with a very slow tempo. “Largo” is an Italian word meaning “broadly”.

14. Portrayer of Warren Buffett in HBO’s “Too Big to Fail” : ED ASNER

“Too Big to Fail” is a 2009 book written by Andrew Ross Sorkin that describes the events surrounding the 2008 financial crisis and the collapse of Lehman Brothers in particular. Sorkin’s book was adapted into an excellent HBO television movie of the same name in 2011.

21. War-torn Mideast city : ALEPPO

Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and is located not far from Damascus, the nation’s capital. Aleppo owes it size and history of prosperity to its location at the end of the Silk Road, the trade route that linked Asia to Europe (and other locations). The Suez Canal was opened up in 1869 bringing a new route for transport of goods, and so Aleppo’s prosperity declined over the past one hundred years or so. The city’s population has suffered terribly since the start of the Syrian Civil War, with the Battle of Aleppo raging from 2012 to 2016.

26. Smitten : IN LOVE

“Smitten” is a past participle of “smite” meaning “to inflict a heavy blow”. We tend to use “smitten” to mean “affected by love, love-struck”.

30. End of a presidential address : DOT GOV

The White House website went live in 1994, although the design and content changes with each new administration. The website’s address is WhiteHouse.gov. It’s a good idea to note the ending of the address, because WhiteHouse.com used to be an adult site!

32. Margaret Thatcher’s husband : DENIS

Margaret Thatcher served as Prime Minister of the UK from 1979 to 1990, making her the longest serving leader of the country in the 20th century, and the first woman to hold the office. Thatcher’s nickname in the press was the “Iron Lady”, a moniker bestowed on her by a Soviet journalist. The “Iron Lady” was born Margaret Hilda Roberts, the daughter of a grocer. She studied chemistry at Oxford University and worked for a while as a research chemist.

35. Question pundits discuss after a presidential debate : WHO WON?

A pundit is a learned person who one might turn to for an opinion. “Pundit” is derived from the Hindi word “payndit” meaning “learned man”.

36. Certain voter ID : DEM

The modern-day Democratic Party was founded in 1828 when supporters of Andrew Jackson broke away from the former Democratic-Republican Party during the presidency of John Quincy Adams. That date makes the Democratic Party the oldest voter-based political party in the world. Andrew Jackson became the first Democratic US president, in 1829.

39. “Friday I’m in Love” band, 1992 : THE CURE

The Cure is an English rock band founded in 1976 and still going strong today, although not with the original line up. The only top ten hit the Cure had in the US is “Love Song”, released in 1989.

43. It’s perfect : UTOPIA

The word “Utopia” was coined by Sir Thomas More for his book “Utopia” published in 1516 describing an idyllic fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. More’s use of the name Utopia comes from the Greek “ou” meaning “not” and “topos” meaning “place”. By calling his perfect island “Not Place”, More was apparently making the point that he didn’t think that the ideal could actually exist.

47. “Never stop improving” sloganeer : LOWE’S

Lucius S. Lowe opened the first Lowe’s hardware store in 1921, in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Lucius only knew the one store, as it was family who expanded the company after he passed away in 1940.

48. ___ Hunt, protagonist in the “Mission: Impossible” films : ETHAN

It was Tom Cruise’s idea to adapt the “Mission Impossible” television series for the big screen, and it became the first project for Cruise’s own production company. Tom Cruise took on the starring role of Ethan Hunt, the point man for the Impossible Missions Force (IMF).

54. Mexican quarters : CASA

We use the term “quarters” for a place of abode, especially housing for military personnel. Back in the late 16th century, quarters were a portion (quarter) of a town reserved for a military force.

55. Letters before a colon : HTTP

“http” are the first letters in many Internet links. “http” stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. More secure and “safer” websites (like this one!) use links starting with “https”, which stands for “http secure”).

58. Some shelter volunteers, briefly : RNS

Registered nurse (RN)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Easy way to ease pain : POP A PILL
9. Doesn’t bother : LETS BE
15. About a third of South America : AMAZONIA
16. Election Day declaration : I VOTED
17. Tries to detect, as a substance in the body : TESTS FOR
18. Literally, “of nothing” : DE NADA
19. Part of some shortcuts : ALT
20. Its capital is Nuku’alofa : TONGA
22. “Dagnabbit!” : NERTS!
23. Bottom of the sea? : KEEL
25. Single numbers : SOLI
27. Trash holder : BIN
28. “How curious …” : IT’S ODD …
31. Final stage : END GAME
34. Fan favorite : CROWD PLEASER
37. Patronize off-track betting, say : PLAY THE PONIES
39. Blockbuster 2014 animated film : THE LEGO MOVIE
40. Typing center : HOME ROW
41. Heat : ESTRUS
45. Repeated collaborator with Bowie : ENO
46. Grasslands burrower : VOLE
49. Supposed source of large footprints : YETI
50. The “00” of “.00” : CENTS
53. V-shaped cut : NOTCH
56. In : HOT
57. The Beatles had their last one in 1966 : US TOUR
59. 2014 Facebook acquisition : WHATSAPP
61. Not leave at the end of the line : REEL IN
62. One of the superstates in “1984” : EASTASIA
63. Panegyrizes : EXALTS
64. Instagram rival : SNAPCHAT

Down

1. Republican politico George : PATAKI
2. ___ station : OMELET
3. Wallops : PASTES
4. Drug marketed as Retrovir : AZT
5. Use Instagram, e.g. : POST
6. Thumbnail bio, e.g. : INFO
7. Threats to Daniel, in the Book of Daniel : LIONS
8. Slow and dignified : LARGO
9. Aid in keeping food fresh : LID
10. Perfectly matched : EVEN
11. Word with skin or ring : TONE
12. Outpost in science fiction : STAR BASE
13. Subjects of babysitter negotiations : BEDTIMES
14. Portrayer of Warren Buffett in HBO’s “Too Big to Fail” : ED ASNER
21. War-torn Mideast city : ALEPPO
24. Setting : LOCALE
26. Smitten : IN LOVE
29. Lint collector : DRYER
30. End of a presidential address : DOT GOV
32. Margaret Thatcher’s husband : DENIS
33. Merrymaking : GAIETY
35. Question pundits discuss after a presidential debate : WHO WON?
36. Certain voter ID : DEM
37. Intimate practice done at a distance : PHONE SEX
38. Beverage said to help with weight loss : LEMON TEA
39. “Friday I’m in Love” band, 1992 : THE CURE
42. Warmed-over material : REHASH
43. It’s perfect : UTOPIA
44. Hold tight : SIT PAT
47. “Never stop improving” sloganeer : LOWE’S
48. ___ Hunt, protagonist in the “Mission: Impossible” films : ETHAN
51. Payment that many wait in line to make : TOLL
52. “___ yourself” : SUIT
54. Mexican quarters : CASA
55. Letters before a colon : HTTP
58. Some shelter volunteers, briefly : RNS
60. Certain ink holder : SAC

16 thoughts on “0526-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 26 May 2018, Saturday”

  1. 15:38, no errors. Not too difficult. Margaret Farrar wouldn’t have approved of 37D or 41A.

  2. 35:58 with 2 cheats. I killed an awful lot of time insisting on “slimfast” rather than LEMONTEA until nothing worked with it.

    Mission Impossible was a magnificent show and a “meh” movie(s). I have no idea why they wanted to change the show so much. Bad idea IMO, but if the movies made money, who’s going to listen to me?

    Best –

  3. 17:56 I was really cruising. Had most of it done in 12 minutes. But the top left slowed me down. I thought 1/3 of South America was something having to do with Brazil (especially after I had the z in AZT) even though the end of that didn’t make sense. Eventually I put in AMAZONIA and the rest eventually fell into place.

  4. Some comments in response to the (syndie) comments on yesterday’s puzzle:

    A puzzle having bilateral symmetry (as an occasional one does) is still symmetric. I admit that I was a little puzzled by what appeared to be a failure to carry through on a football theme.

    I was no more offended by the answer “TED NUGENT” for the clue “Rocker nicknamed ‘The Motor City Madman'”) than I would have been by “ADOLF HITLER” for “Chancellor of Germany in 1933”. The names of famous (or infamous) people are fair game for use in a puzzle; Idi Amin makes frequent appearances in them.

    And as for the use of “PORN” for “Steamy fare”: I see that word in the papers and I hear it on the radio and it doesn’t offend me, so why would it not also be fair game for use in a puzzle? One of the posts complained that it contributed to an air of “negativity, evil, and prurience”. Really?

    There are certain words that are generally avoided in print (mostly replaced by the euphemism “the X word”, where “X” is some other letter of the alphabet), but it’s a pretty short list (and some of yesterday’s posters have been known to use some of those words, albeit in a slightly disguised form – hypocrisy?).

    1. @Dave—-I don’t think that it is so much the use of PORN as an answer. The clueing for it, however, speaks volumes. If the clue had been “Unhealthy sexual outlet” it would have changed everything.

      1. @Dale … The clue for “PORN” was “Steamy fare”, which, to me, seems relatively neutral compared to “Unhealthy sexual outlet”, which seems prudish and judgmental. (Whether or not you enjoy porn, you can probably understand how it might be described as “steamy”.)

  5. 21:43, and I escaped without a blemish (*whew*). Saw and corrected AMAZONIA right at the death, not being familiar enough with POTAKI to spell it correctly initially.

  6. 24:51, no errors. Simple answers which became obvious as the blocks filled in, but vague clueing made it difficult to see those answers. Went through the entire list of clues with only a couple entries, but then the upper right corner clicked, and was able to fill the grid clockwise. 15A had the letters ONIA filled in, but couldn’t get Patagonia out of my head.

  7. Enjoyed the puzzle but got hung up, with errors, in the NW.
    (Noted yesterday that a “Tom” posted who was not me, Tom M.)

  8. After two hours D.N.F. The upper left corner got me mainly because l had Colombia for 15 A. I have heard of the Amazon but not familiar with amazonia

  9. I keep seeing references to Bill cheating! What is considered “cheating” ? A dictionary, a movie guide, Google , an atlas ?
    What is considered fair ?

  10. Once again, the only clue I don’t understand. You do not address! Unbelievable!
    2. ___ station : OMELET
    WTF is that? Where you put gas in your omelet? Where you catch a omelet to the next town?
    Where do you live?
    What was your education?
    How is it that you don’t think this needs explaining?

    1. An omelet station is just a place to get omelets at a buffet brunch. It is set aside from the main buffet table since they need a gas element for the pans.

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