0529-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 29 May 2018, Tuesday

Constructed by: John Lieb
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Reveal Answer: Tridents

Themed answers include “TRI-D-E-N-T-S”, three occurrences of each of the letters D-E-N-T-S side-by-side as we progress down the grid:

  1. 66A. Certain spears … or a curious spelling feature of 1-, 20-, 26-, 45- and 53-Across? : TRIDENTS or TRI-D-E-N-T-S
  1. 1A. Idiosyncratic sorts : ODD DUCKS
  2. 20A. Google or Yahoo offering : FREE EMAIL
  3. 26A. Betty White’s role on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” : SUE ANN NIVENS
  4. 45A. Moniker of an 18th-century British statesman : PITT THE ELDER
  5. 53A. Sorting criterion at the women’s department : DRESS SIZE

Bill’s time: 5m 30s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9. J. J. ___, director of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” : ABRAMS

J. J. Abrams is a director and producer of both movies and television shows. He created the TV dramas “Alias” and “Fringe”, and co-created the highly successful show “Lost”. He also directed “Mission: Impossible III” on the big screen, and the 2009 movie “Star Trek”.

16. Unpleasant accompanier of a headlock : NOOGIE

A “noogie” is that childish move where someone rubs his (and it’s always a guy!) knuckles into a person’s head to create a little soreness.

17. “M*A*S*H” star : ALAN ALDA

Alan Alda has had a great television career, especially of course as a lead actor in “M*A*S*H”. Alda won his first Emmy in 1972, for playing surgeon Hawkeye Pierce on “M*A*S*H”. He won his most recent Emmy in 2006 for his portrayal of Presidential candidate Senator Arnold Vinick in “The West Wing”. When it comes to the big screen, my favorite of Alda’s movies is the 1978 romantic comedy “Same Time, Next Year” in which he starred opposite Ellen Burstyn.

18. Cosmic order, in Hinduism : DHARMA

In the context of Buddhism, “dharma” can mean the collection of teachings and doctrines of the faith. The term is also used to describe proper and correct behavior that maintains the natural order of things.

19. Her first scene is with R2-D2 : LEIA

In the first “Star Wars” movie, Princess Leia hides plans for the Galactic Empire’s Death Star in the droid named R2-D2. She also records a holographic message, so when it is played we can see Princess Leia as a hologram, asking for help to destroy the Death Star:

I have placed information vital to the survival of the Rebellion into the memory systems of this R2 unit. My father will know how to retrieve it. You must see this droid safely delivered to him on Alderaan. This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.

20. Google or Yahoo offering : FREE EMAIL

The search engine Google was originally called “BackRub” would you believe? The name was eventually changed to “Google”, an intentional misspelling of the word “googol”. A googol is a pretty big number, 10 to the power of 100. That would be the digit 1 followed by 100 zeros.

Jerry Yang and David Filo called their company “Yahoo!” for two reasons. Firstly, a Yahoo is a rude unsophisticated brute from Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels”. Secondly, Yahoo stands for “Yet another Hierarchical Officious Oracle”.

22. Payroll ID, for short : SSN

Social Security number (SSN)

23. FedEx alternative : DHL

Back in the sixties, Larry Hillblom was making pocket money as a Berkeley law student by doing courier runs between San Francisco and Los Angeles. After law school, Hillblom decided to parlay his experience into his own business and set up a courier service flying bills of lading ahead of freight from San Francisco to Honolulu. He brought in two buddies, Adrian Dalsey and Robert Lynn, as partners and the three were soon hopping on and off commercial flights and gradually making more and more money. And DHL was born … D (for Dalsey) H (for Hillblom) L (for Lynn).

25. Aries animal : RAM

Aries the Ram is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, and is named after the constellation. Your birth sign is Aries if you were born between March 21 and April 20, but if you are an Aries you would know that! “Aries” is the Latin word for “ram”.

26. Betty White’s role on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” : SUE ANN NIVENS

The comic actress Betty White has been at the top of her game for decades. White started her television career with an appearance with high school classmates on a local Los Angeles show back in 1939. Her most famous TV run was co-hosting the Tournament of Roses Parade, a gig she had for nineteen years in the sixties and seventies. Given her long career, White holds a number of records in the world of entertainment. For example, she is the oldest person to host “Saturday Night Live” (at 88) and she is the oldest woman to win a Grammy (at 90).

35. 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.

40. NBC’s “The More You Know” spots, e.g. : PSAS

Public service announcement (PSA)

41. Place for a sweater : SAUNA

As my Finnish-American wife will tell you, “sauna” is a Finnish word, and is pronounced more correctly as “sow-nah” (with “sow” as in the female pig).

43. Craftsmanship from a barista : LATTE ART

Latte art is the name given to the designs that can be drawn on the surface of coffee drinks. Some of those designs can be quite intricate.

45. Moniker of an 18th-century British statesman : PITT, THE ELDER

William Pitt, the Elder was the Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1766 to 1768. Although a prominent figure in British politics for many years, he refused to accept a title until he took over government of the country. For this refusal, he earned the nickname “The Great Commoner”. It was William Pitt, the Elder who gave his name to the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

49. AOL alternative : MSN

The Microsoft Network (MSN) used to be an Internet service provider (ISP). These days, MSN is mainly a web portal.

50. Engine part : CAM

Cams are wheels found on the cam shaft of a car’s engine that are eccentric in shape rather than circular. The rotation of the cams causes the intake and exhaust valves of the cylinders to open and close.

63. Word in 17 Monopoly property names : AVENUE

The street names in the original US version of the board game Monopoly are locations in or around Atlantic City, New Jersey.

64. Short piano piece : SONATINA

A cantata is a piece of music that is sung, as opposed to a sonata, which is a piece that is played on some instrument, often a piano. A sonatina is in effect a sonata that has been labelled as something lighter and shorter.

65. Indulges in too much Netflix, say : BINGES

I’m a big fan of binge-watching, the practice of watching perhaps two or three (even four!) episodes of a show in a row. My wife and I will often deliberately avoid watching a recommended show live, and instead wait until whole series have been released on DVD or online. I’m not a big fan of “tune in next week …”

Down

1. October birthstones : OPALS

97% of the world’s opals come from Australia, so it’s no surprise perhaps that the opal is the national gemstone of the country. The state of South Australia provides the bulk of the world’s production, i.e. about 80%.

4. Fox News host Perino : DANA

Dana Perino served as the White House Press Secretary from 2007 until 2009, working in the administration of President George W. Bush. Perino was the second woman to work as White House Press Secretary, with Dee Dee Myers having paved the way during the Clinton Administration.

7. Speedy DC Comics sidekick : KID FLASH

Kid Flash is a junior counterpart to the DC Comics superhero known as “The Flash”. Kid Flash was one of several young superhero sidekicks who were introduced in the late fifties after the success of Batman’s faithful companion Robin.

8. German coal district : SAAR

The Saar is a river that rises on the border between Alsace and Lorraine in France, flows through western Germany and finally enters the Moselle. Historically the Saar river valley was an important source for coal, iron and steel.

9. From the mountains of Peru : ANDEAN

The Andes range is the longest continuous chain of mountains in the world, as it runs down the length of the west coast of South America for about 4,300 miles. The highest peak in the Andes is Mt. Aconcagua, at an elevation of 22,841 feet. Interestingly, the peak of Mt. Chimborazo in Ecuador is the furthest point on the Earth’s surface from the center of the planet. That’s because of the equatorial “bulge” around the Earth’s “waist”.

10. European region that lent its name to a nonconforming lifestyle : BOHEMIA

The region known as Bohemia covers most of the Czech Republic. Centuries ago, it was wrongly believed that gypsies came from Bohemia, giving rise to the term “Bohemian” meaning a “gypsy of society”.

12. Taj Mahal city : AGRA

“Mahal” is the Urdu word for “palace”, as in “Taj Mahal” meaning “crown of palaces”. The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum holding the body of Mumtaz Mahal, the third wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The name “Mumtaz Mahal” translates as “the chosen one of the palace”.

13. “Rent” role : MIMI

The musical “Rent” by Jonathan Larson is based on the Puccini opera “La bohème”. “Rent” tells the story of struggling artists and musicians living in the Lower East Side of New York, and is set against the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic. We saw “Rent” on Broadway quite a few years ago and were very disappointed …

14. Certain Navy specialist : SEAL

“SEAL” is an acronym used by the US Navy’s SEa, Air and Land teams. The SEALs were born out of the Navy’s special warfare groups from WWII, like the Underwater Demolition Teams and the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons. The Navy SEAL unit was established soon after President Kennedy’s famous speech in which he announced the plan to put a man on the moon, as in the same speech the president allocated $100m of funding to strengthen special operations forces. The Navy used some of this money to set up guerrilla and counter-guerrilla units, which soon became the SEALs.

23. Rock’s White Stripes, e.g. : DUO

The White Stripes were a rock duo from Detroit that were together from 1997 to 2011. The duo was made up of Meg and Jack White, who were married from 1996 to 2000. Prior to the couple tying the knot, Jack’s family name was Gillis. Gillis took the unusual step of taking his wife’s family name when they married.

26. Railroad switch : SHUNT

On a railroad, shunting is the practice of moving carriages and other rolling stock from one line to another.

27. Writer Zora ___ Hurston : NEALE

Zora Neale Hurston was an American author, most famous for her 1937 novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God”. Like the author, the main character in the novel is an African American woman, a part played by Halle Berry in a television movie adaptation that first aired in 2005.

28. Dodge model named after a snake : VIPER

The Dodge Viper is an American sports car with a V10 engine. The Viper was introduced in 1991, and finally discontinued in 2017.

29. “Let It Go” singer in “Frozen” : ELSA

“Let It Go” is an incredibly successful song from the Disney animated film “Frozen” released in 2013. It was performed in the movie by Idina Menzel, who also was the voice actor for the character Elsa. “Let It Go” is one of the very few Disney songs to make it into the Billboard Top Ten.

32. Stinger with a slender “waist” : WASP

While the wasp is considered to be a nuisance by many, the insect is very important to the agricultural industry. Wasps prey on many pest insects, while having very little impact on crops.

33. Jai ___ : ALAI

The essential equipment in the game of jai alai is the pelota (ball) and the cesta (wicker scoop).

38. Highest prize at the Cannes Film Festival : PALME D’OR

The “Palme d’Or” (or “Golden Palm” in English) is the highest award given at the Cannes Film Festival. The Palme d’Or goes to the director of the film selected as the best shown at the festival that year. The palm was selected as an emblem for the award as there is a palm featured on the coat of arms of the Commune of Cannes.

39. Snow may push them back, for short : ETDS

Estimated time of departure (ETD)

46. Corned beef dishes : HASHES

Hash, meaning a dish of beef and vegetables mashed together, is a very American dish and one that really surprised me when I first came across it. “Hash” just seems like such an unappetizing item, but I soon found out how delicious it was. The name “hash” in this context comes from the French “hacher” meaning “to chop”. Back in the early 1900s the dish called “hashed browned potatoes” was developed, which quickly morphed into “hash browns”. From there the likes of corned beef hash was introduced.

47. Big initials in the recording industry, once : EMI

The Big Four recording labels were (until EMI was broken up in 2012 and absorbed by what became “the Big Three”):

  1. Universal Music Group
  2. Sony Music Entertainment
  3. Warner Music Group
  4. EMI

54. Sitarist Shankar : RAVI

The sitar has been around since the Middle Ages. It is a stringed instrument that is played by plucking, and is used most often in Hindustani classical music. In the West we have been exposed to the instrument largely through the performances of Ravi Shankar and some music by George Harrison of the Beatles, a onetime student of Shankar.

61. Lead-in to code, on a computer : UNI-

ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) lists codes for 32 “control” characters, as well as the 95 printable characters. These binary codes are the way that our computers can understand what we mean when we type say a letter, or a number. Unicode is a more contemporary standard, and is like “Ascii on steroids”, encompassing more characters.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Idiosyncratic sorts : ODD DUCKS
9. J. J. ___, director of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” : ABRAMS
15. Irrational suspicion : PARANOIA
16. Unpleasant accompanier of a headlock : NOOGIE
17. “M*A*S*H” star : ALAN ALDA
18. Cosmic order, in Hinduism : DHARMA
19. Her first scene is with R2-D2 : LEIA
20. Google or Yahoo offering : FREE EMAIL
22. Payroll ID, for short : SSN
23. FedEx alternative : DHL
25. Aries animal : RAM
26. Betty White’s role on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” : SUE ANN NIVENS
32. Knight’s steed : WARHORSE
35. Choreographer Alvin : AILEY
36. Baseball’s Felipe, Matty or Jesus : ALOU
37. Many a word ending in -gon : SHAPE
40. NBC’s “The More You Know” spots, e.g. : PSAS
41. Place for a sweater : SAUNA
43. Craftsmanship from a barista : LATTE ART
45. Moniker of an 18th-century British statesman : PITT, THE ELDER
48. Answer to “Who is?” : I AM
49. AOL alternative : MSN
50. Engine part : CAM
53. Sorting criterion at the women’s department : DRESS SIZE
58. Massive : HUGE
59. Vegetable with a pungent taste : RADISH
60. Teaches : EDUCATES
63. Word in 17 Monopoly property names : AVENUE
64. Short piano piece : SONATINA
65. Indulges in too much Netflix, say : BINGES
66. Certain spears … or a curious spelling feature of 1-, 20-, 26-, 45- and 53-Across? : TRIDENTS or TRI-D-E-N-T-S

Down

1. October birthstones : OPALS
2. Broad valleys : DALES
3. Deplete, as savings : DRAIN
4. Fox News host Perino : DANA
5. Spanish article : UNA
6. Rank above maj. : COL
7. Speedy DC Comics sidekick : KID FLASH
8. German coal district : SAAR
9. From the mountains of Peru : ANDEAN
10. European region that lent its name to a nonconforming lifestyle : BOHEMIA
11. Wander : ROAM
12. Taj Mahal city : AGRA
13. “Rent” role : MIMI
14. Certain Navy specialist : SEAL
21. Sea eagle : ERN
23. Rock’s White Stripes, e.g. : DUO
24. His and ___ : HERS
26. Railroad switch : SHUNT
27. Writer Zora ___ Hurston : NEALE
28. Dodge model named after a snake : VIPER
29. “Let It Go” singer in “Frozen” : ELSA
30. In the neighborhood : NEAR
31. Part of GPS: Abbr. : SYST
32. Stinger with a slender “waist” : WASP
33. Jai ___ : ALAI
34. Lopsided game : ROUT
38. Highest prize at the Cannes Film Festival : PALME D’OR
39. Snow may push them back, for short : ETDS
42. Under discussion : AT ISSUE
44. Number of sides on a decagon : TEN
46. Corned beef dishes : HASHES
47. Big initials in the recording industry, once : EMI
50. Interrupt : CUT IN
51. Hollywood power player : AGENT
52. Tablelands : MESAS
53. Visually uninspiring : DRAB
54. Sitarist Shankar : RAVI
55. Genesis locale : EDEN
56. Snitch : SING
57. Piquancy : ZEST
58. “Cherish those hearts that ___ thee”: Shak. : HATE
61. Lead-in to code, on a computer : UNI-
62. Heel : CAD

14 thoughts on “0529-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 29 May 2018, Tuesday”

  1. 8:17 When I started I thought this was going to be harder than normal for a Tuesday but my time ended up being pretty fast. I thought this was easier than yesterday.

    Jeff, you got to see quite a game last night.

  2. @Marc –
    One of the most amazing sports spectacles I’ve ever attended. Too tired to do the crossword tonight. I’ll get to it tomorrow. Game 2 tomorrow night.

    Best –

  3. 15:53. Smooth sailing until getting tripped up for a bit in the SE. The theme got PITT THE ELDER for me…

    Best –

  4. 15:34, 3 errors. 27D NEAL(S); 39D ET(A)S; and (somewhat embarrassing) 45A PITT THE (S)L(A)ER. Too many unfamiliar proper names for me today.

  5. No errors. I really liked this puzzle. It had all the elements that make a puzzle first rate. It had just the right amount of challenge, a theme that was clever as well as helpful, and lots of “aha!” moments. I wish they were all like this.

  6. 13:15 and lucky to finish error free: EL[S]A/AI[L]Y was a total guess. I do NOT like proper names crossing in a grid; they always could be most **anything**.

    Thought the theme, apart from being a real construction challenge, was a stretch, quite a bit forced (as so many are): The theme fills weren’t actually occurrences of DENTDENTDENT, were they? So, the whole TRI-DENTS thing falls flat on its face. It just doesn’t work.

  7. No one, and I mean no one, has ever worn a sweater in a sauna. That’s as stupid a clue as I’ve ever read.

    1. Ah, the wonders of the English language. That a sweater can be a garment or a person perspiring in a sauna. hee, hee

  8. I have a quibble. although I solved with no errors, “Pitt the Elder” was gotten by crosses. I can find no references online to “Pitt the Elder”, and instead only find “William Pitt, the Elder”.

    I guess I am saying “Pitt the Elder” isn’t really a thing?

    Surely they are more solid triple “t” answers?

  9. @Anonymous-

    Pitt the Elder is used to distinguish him from his son, William Pitt the
    younger, who was also British Prime Minister.

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