0723-18 NY Times Crossword 23 Jul 18, Monday

Constructed by: Todd Gross
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Something of the Time Period

Themed answers are in the format “X of the Y”, where Y is a time period. Those time periods get longer and longer as we descend the grid:

  • 17A. Unplanned : SPUR-OF-THE-MOMENT
  • 28A. Parliamentary agenda : ORDERS OF THE DAY
  • 48A. Literary club feature : BOOK OF THE MONTH
  • 62A. Annual Time issue : PERSON OF THE YEAR

Bill’s time: 5m 50s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Host with a microphone : EMCEE

The term “emcee” comes from “MC”, an initialism used for a Master or Mistress of Ceremonies.

6. Egyptian goddess with a repetitive name : ISIS

Isis was the ancient Egyptian goddess of fertility, as well as the protector of the dead and the goddess of children. She was the personification of the pharaoh’s power. The name “Isis” translates as “throne”, and she is usually depicted with a headdress shaped like a throne.

10. Three blind creatures, in a children’s rhyme : MICE

Three blind mice. Three blind mice.
See how they run. See how they run.
They all ran after the farmer’s wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever see such a sight in your life,
As three blind mice?

14. West Coast N.F.L. player : LA RAM

The Los Angeles Rams are the only franchise to have won NFL championships in three different cities, i.e. Cleveland (1945), Los Angeles (1951) and St. Louis (1999). The Rams were based in Cleveland from 1936 to 1945, in Los Angeles from 1946 to 1994, in St. Louis from 1995 to 2015, and returned to Los Angeles in 2016.

21. California/Nevada border lake : TAHOE

Lake Tahoe (often referred to simply as “Tahoe”) is up in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and is located right on the border between California and Nevada. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in the country, and the largest lake in general, behind the five Great Lakes. It’s also the second deepest lake, with only the beautiful Crater Lake in Oregon being deeper. Given its location, there are tall casinos that sit right on the shore on the Nevada side of the state line where gambling is legal.

22. Chutzpah : NERVE

Our word “chutzpah” meaning “nerve, gall, impudence” is derived from the Yiddish “khutspe”, which has the same meaning.

23. Singer with the multiplatinum albums “19,” “21” and “25” : ADELE

“Adele” is the stage name of English singer Adele Adkins. Adele’s debut album is “19”, named after the age she was during the album’s production. Her second album was even more successful than the first. Called “21”, the second album was released three years after the first, when Adele was three years older. Her third studio album “25”, released in 2015, broke the first-week sales records in both the UK and the US.

32. Hold on property : LIEN

A lien is the right that one has to retain or secure someone’s property until a debt is paid. When an individual takes out a car loan, for example, the lending bank is usually a lien holder. The bank releases the lien on the car when the loan is paid in full.

33. Pitching stat : ERA

Earned run average (ERA)

34. Memo-heading inits. : FYI

For your information (FYI)

35. “___ fool!” : APRIL

April Fools’ Day is celebrated on April 1st in the western world. In the US (and Ireland) one can make practical jokes all day long if one wants. But in the UK there is a noon deadline. Anyone pranking after midday is called an “April Fool”.

37. Yang’s partner : YIN

The yin and the yang can be illustrated using many different metaphors. In one, as the sun shines on a mountain, the side in the shade is the yin and the side in the light is the yang. The yin is also regarded as the feminine side, and the yang the masculine. The yin can also be associated with the moon, while the yang is associated with the sun.

39. Writer ___ Rice Burroughs : EDGAR

Edgar Rice Burroughs (ERB) was an author from Chicago who is best known as the creator of the “Tarzan” series of novels. Burroughs’ daughter Joan ended up marrying James Pierce, the actor who was the fourth to portray Tarzan on film. James and Joan Pierce also worked together, playing Tarzan and Jane on the radio show “Tarzan” from 1932 to 1934.

45. San Francisco’s ___ Hill : NOB

Nob Hill is a very elevated and central location in the city of San Francisco. Because of its views of the surrounding city and environs, Nob Hill became a desirable place to live for the wealthy in the 1800s. The area is still one of San Francisco’s most affluent neighborhoods and is home to upscale hotels as well as the magnificent Grace Cathedral. The name “Nob Hill” comes from the slang term for someone who is well-to-do, a “nob”.

52. Preceder of Alamos or Angeles : LOS

The town of Los Alamos, New Mexico takes its name from the Spanish for “the poplars” or “the cottonwoods”. Famously, it is home to Los Alamos National Laboratory which was founded during WWII to work on the Manhattan Project, the development of the first atomic bomb. The town of Los Alamos didn’t exist as such, until it was planned and constructed to support the employees working on development of the bomb.

The California city of Los Angeles (L.A.) is the second most populous city in the country, after New York. L.A. was established in 1781 as a pueblo named “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula”, which translates as “The Town of Our Lady the Queen of Angels of the Porciúncula River”. This name evolved into “Los Angeles”, and the Porciúncula River is now called the Los Angeles River.

54. “I Still Believe ___” (#1 Vince Gill country song) : IN YOU

Vince Gill is a country music singer-songwriter. Gill has been honored with more Grammy Awards than any other male country singer.

59. Dallas sch. with a presidential library : SMU

Southern Methodist University (SMU) is located in University Park, Texas (part of Dallas), and was founded in 1911. The school’s athletic teams are known as the Mustangs. Also, SMU is home to the George W. Bush Presidential Library.

62. Annual Time issue : PERSON OF THE YEAR

“Time” magazine started naming a “Man of the Year” in 1927, only changing the concept to “Person of the Year” in 1999. Prior to 1999, the magazine did recognize four females as “Woman of the Year”: Wallis Simpson (1936), Soong May-ling a.k.a. Madame Chiang Kai-shek (1937), Queen Elizabeth II (1952) and Corazon Aquino (1986). “Time” named Albert Einstein as Person of the Century in 1999, with Franklin D. Roosevelt and Mahatma Gandhi as runners-up.

65. “CHiPs” actor Estrada : ERIK

Actor Erik Estrada’s big break came with the movie “Airport 1975”, in which he played the doomed flight engineer of a Boeing 747. A couple of years later, Estrada began a six-year gig, co-starring on the television show “CHiPs” as motorcycle police officer Poncherello.

The TV cop show “CHiPs” ran from 1977 until 1983. Stars of the show were Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada, who played two California HIghway Patrol (CHP) motorcycle officers. I find it interesting that the storylines never once called for the officers to draw their firearms over the six seasons (how shows have changed!). Erik Estrada had to learn how to ride a motorcycle for the show, but wasn’t licensed to drive one during the whole of production. He eventually qualified, but only after three attempts to pass the test.

70. Place for camels to rest : OASIS

An isolated area of vegetation in a desert is called an oasis (plural “oases”). As water is needed for plant growth, an oasis might also include a spring, pond or small lake. We often use the term “oasis” more generally to describe a haven, a place of rest.

Perhaps the most distinctive feature of a camel is the large deposit of fatty tissue on its back. The dromedary is the most common camel, and has two humps of fatty tissue on its back. The Bactrian camel has two humps, and makes up just 6% of the world’s camel population. Those fatty humps are useful if no food or water is available, as fat can be broken down into water and energy.

Down

2. GPS graphics : MAPS

A global positioning system (GPS) is known as a satellite navigation system (Sat Nav) in Britain and Ireland.

3. One leading a fight for change : CRUSADER

The Crusades were a series of religious wars fought between the 11th and 15th centuries. The term “crusade” came into English via French and Spanish from the Latin “crux” meaning “cross”. The use of the term was retrospective, with the first recorded use in English in 1757. The relevance of “crux” is that most crusaders swore a vow to reach Jerusalem from Europe, and then received a cloth cross that was then sewn into their clothing. The term “crusade” persists to this day, and is now used figuratively to describe any vigorous campaign in pursuit of of a moral cause.

7. Artsy Manhattan neighborhood : SOHO

The Manhattan neighborhood known today as SoHo was very fashionable in the early 1900s, but as the well-heeled started to move uptown the area became very run down and poorly maintained. Noted for the number of fires that erupted in derelict buildings, SoHo earned the nickname “Hell’s Hundred Acres”. The area was then zoned for manufacturing and became home to many sweatshops. In the mid-1900s artists started to move into open loft spaces and renovating old buildings as the lofts were ideal locations in which an artist could both live and work. In 1968, artists and others organized themselves so that they could legalize their residential use of an area zoned for manufacturing. The group they formed took its name from the name given to the area by the city’s Planning Commission i.e “South of Houston”. This was shortened from So-uth of Ho-uston to SoHo as in the SoHo Artists Association, and the name stuck.

9. College term: Abbr. : SEM

“Semester” is a German word from the Latin “semestris”, an adjective meaning “of six months”. We use the term in a system that divides an academic year into two roughly equal parts. A trimester-system has three parts, and a quarter-system has four.

10. Idea that spreads popularly and widely : MEME

A meme (short for “mineme”) is a cultural practice or idea that is passed on verbally or by repetition from one person to another. The term lends itself very well to the online world where links, emails, files etc. are so easily propagated.

11. Barcelona’s peninsula : IBERIA

The Iberian Peninsula in Europe is largely made up of Spain and Portugal. However, also included is the Principality of Andorra in the Pyrénées, a small part of the south of France, and the British Territory of Gibraltar. Iberia takes its name from the Ebro, the longest river in Spain, which the Romans named the “Iber”.

Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, after the capital Madrid. Barcelona is the largest European city that sits on the Mediterranean coast. It is also the capital city of the autonomous community of Catalonia.

19. Cyclops feature : ONE EYE

Cyclops was a one-eyed giant in Greek and Roman mythology. Cyclops lived in Mount Etna, the Sicilian volcano.

24. “Raging Bull” star Robert : DE NIRO

I just do not like boxing, nor movies about boxing, but I certainly accept that “Raging Bull” is true cinema classic. It is a biopic released in 1980, with Robert De Niro starring as Jake LaMotta, and ably directed by Martin Scorsese. Famously, De Niro gained about 70 pounds in weight to lay LaMotta in his early years, showing true dedication to his craft.

26. TV broadcast band : VHF

The radio spectrum is divided into bands based on frequency. “High band” is composed of relatively high frequency values, and “low band” is composed of frequencies that are relatively low. FM radio falls into the band called Very High Frequency, or VHF. Television signals use frequencies even higher than VHF, frequencies in the Ultra High Frequency band (UHF). AM radio uses lower frequencies that fall into the relatively low bands of Low, Medium and High Frequency (LF, MF, and HF).

28. Rock-___ (jukebox brand) : OLA

“Rock-Ola” was a brand name of jukebox. Rock-Ola basically shared the market with Wurlitzer in the heyday of the jukebox. Rock-Ola is still making jukeboxes, and now caters to the “nostalgia market”, producing authentic looking players but using digital recordings and touch-screens for better sound and ease of use.

Although coin-operated music players had been around for decades, the term “jukebox” wasn’t used until about 1940. “Jukebox” derives from a Gullah word, the language of African Americans living in the coastal areas of South Carolina and Georgia. In Gullah, a “juke joint”, from “juke” or “joog” meaning “rowdy, wicked”, was an informal establishment where African Americans would gather and for some music, dancing, gambling and drinking. The coin-operated music players became known as “jukeboxes”.

40. N.R.A. members : GUN USERS

National Rifle Association (NRA)

48. Orchestral work by Ravel : BOLERO

Maurice Ravel was a great French composer of the Romantic Era. Ravel’s most famous piece of music by far is his “Bolero”, the success of which he found somewhat irksome as he thought it to be a trivial work. Personally though, I love the minimalism and simplicity …

49. Egyptian god who’s a brother of 6-Across : OSIRIS
(6A. Egyptian goddess with a repetitive name : ISIS)

Osiris was the Egyptian god of the underworld. Osiris was the son of Geb the Earth god, and Nut the sky goddess. His wife Isis was also his sister. Osiris was killed and mutilated by Set, his own brother. Isis reassembled Osiris and revived him, just long enough that they could conceive their son Horus.

58. Skin conditioner brand : AFTA

Afta is an aftershave in the Mennen range of products that is owned by Colgate-Palmolive.

60. Island ESE of Oahu : MAUI

Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian islands. It is sometimes called the “Valley Isle” as it is composed of two volcanoes to the northwest and southeast of the island, each with numerous beautiful valleys carved into them.

63. Turner who led a slave rebellion : NAT

Nat Turner was a slave in Virginia who led a slave rebellion in 1831 that led to the deaths of over a hundred people. Half of the casualties were white,and half were black. The 55 white deaths took place on the day of the rebellion as a growing mob of slaves traveled from house-to-house freeing fellow slaves but also killing any white people they came across; men, women and children. The rebellion was suppressed within two days by a white militia. Slaves involved in the rebellion were tried for insurrection and related crimes, and a total of 56 blacks were executed on suspicion of involvement in the uprising. In the aftermath, life for slaves became even more difficult as any freedoms that they had earned were largely curtailed.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Host with a microphone : EMCEE
6. Egyptian goddess with a repetitive name : ISIS
10. Three blind creatures, in a children’s rhyme : MICE
14. West Coast N.F.L. player : LA RAM
15. Smeller : NOSE
16. Black, to poets : EBON
17. Unplanned : SPUR-OF-THE-MOMENT
20. Suffix with count : -ESS
21. California/Nevada border lake : TAHOE
22. Chutzpah : NERVE
23. Singer with the multiplatinum albums “19,” “21” and “25” : ADELE
25. “That’s all ___ got” : I’VE
27. Suffix with cash or cloth : -IER
28. Parliamentary agenda : ORDERS OF THE DAY
32. Hold on property : LIEN
33. Pitching stat : ERA
34. Memo-heading inits. : FYI
35. “___ fool!” : APRIL
37. Yang’s partner : YIN
39. Writer ___ Rice Burroughs : EDGAR
43. Chest protector : RIB
45. San Francisco’s ___ Hill : NOB
47. Fish in some salads : TUNA
48. Literary club feature : BOOK OF THE MONTH
52. Preceder of Alamos or Angeles : LOS
53. She’s a sheep : EWE
54. “I Still Believe ___” (#1 Vince Gill country song) : IN YOU
55. Pen name : ALIAS
57. Door fastener : LATCH
59. Dallas sch. with a presidential library : SMU
62. Annual Time issue : PERSON OF THE YEAR
65. “CHiPs” actor Estrada : ERIK
66. First chip in the pot : ANTE
67. Previously aired show : RERUN
68. Profit’s opposite : LOSS
69. Old Russian ruler : TSAR
70. Place for camels to rest : OASIS

Down

1. Otherwise : ELSE
2. GPS graphics : MAPS
3. One leading a fight for change : CRUSADER
4. Good listener? : EAR
5. Displayer of one’s feelings : EMOTER
6. Possibly, but unlikely : IN THEORY
7. Artsy Manhattan neighborhood : SOHO
8. “Yeah, that seems plausible” : I SEE IT
9. College term: Abbr. : SEM
10. Idea that spreads popularly and widely : MEME
11. Barcelona’s peninsula : IBERIA
12. Pass along : CONVEY
13. Go through the door : ENTER
18. Not true : FALSE
19. Cyclops feature : ONE EYE
24. “Raging Bull” star Robert : DE NIRO
26. TV broadcast band : VHF
28. Rock-___ (jukebox brand) : OLA
29. Fabric tear : RIP
30. Like a sound that can barely be heard : FAINT
31. Playground retort : DID TOO!
36. This way : LIKE SO
38. Pitcher’s tour de force : NO-HITTER
40. N.R.A. members : GUN USERS
41. Insect in a colony : ANT
42. Quaint college cheer : RAH!
44. Ship’s front : BOW
46. Park furniture : BENCH
48. Orchestral work by Ravel : BOLERO
49. Egyptian god who’s a brother of 6-Across : OSIRIS
50. Criminals : FELONS
51. “You saved me!” : MY HERO!
52. Place to put an American flag pin : LAPEL
56. Poses a question : ASKS
58. Skin conditioner brand : AFTA
60. Island ESE of Oahu : MAUI
61. Large coffee holders : URNS
63. Turner who led a slave rebellion : NAT
64. Vote in favor : YEA

18 thoughts on “0723-18 NY Times Crossword 23 Jul 18, Monday”

  1. 8:09 Vacation is over so back to the regular solving schedule. This took me a bit longer than usual for a Monday but I’m not exactly sure why. Nothing terribly hard but my brain wasn’t quite working at the beginning. I thought it was a good Monday.

  2. 8:02. Trying to think of something interesting to comment on, but I’m drawing a blank.

    @Marc –
    Hope you had a good stay in Vegas. We had a monsoon or two this past week. Hope you stayed out of the winds.

    Best –

  3. 7:07 no mistakes. Did it a couple hours after yesterday’s as our Sunday paper has both. Decent level of difficulty for a Monday.

  4. @Allen, Fri 0721

    On a similar note, I’m considering a trial run with the L.A. Times puzzle, to see what kind of traditions they have for editing, clue formats, allowable tricks and deviations. Anybody have any insight into that?

    I have far more experience with the LA Times than I do the NY Times, and could probably answer most of the questions you’d have. Checking Solving Times: NY vs. LA Times as Bill has linked to the side will answer a lot of questions on basic difficulty. I will note that Bill has a second blog (LAXCrossword.com, linked to the side) that discusses those puzzles.

    Overall, the LAT isn’t incredibly different as to the kinds of cluing you’ll see, though as noted it’ll be overall easier. Most of the time, I find the clues there to be much less nonsensical and a lot more logical. As for “tricks”, they don’t do rebus puzzles and post an occasional “direction” type puzzle on Fridays. As far as formats, Sat is themeless, Sun is 21×21. The rest start from very easy (Mon) to about Wed NYT difficulty on Fri. The Sat themeless is about like the Fri NYT, though sometimes much easier.

    As a note, the WSJ is also a good non-Shortz option, though has a lot more loopy cluing tricks and such than the LAT.

    @SteveC (Fri 0721)
    The LA Times puzzle is free on several web sites, if you want to try them, all you have to do is find one of them.

  5. I don’t always keep time but I did on this and finished in 12 min. With no errors , maybe my best time ever.
    But then I read the comics in the Baltimore Sun as I do each morning and PEARLS BEFORE SWINE, BC, and F MINUS made no sense to me at all. Am I getting that old? can anyone enlighten me?

    1. @Jack-

      If you’re asking about *Pearls* today with Pig and Goat on the beach,
      Pig’s solution to being exposed to unpleasantness on the internet/on-line is to chuck the cellphone into the sea and no longer be exposed.
      What’s not to get? The other two aren’t in my paper.

  6. I momentarily had “Edwin” instead of “Edgar” Rice Burroughs, but that was the only hiccup. Smooth sailing otherwise.

  7. 7:55, no errors.

    @Glenn: thanks for the capsule review of the LA Times puzzle (vs. our Times puzzle).

    Quite the quandary: while you say that the LA Times puzzle doesn’t have the top end of difficulty you’ll find with the NYT, you also say it’s free of rebuses and other hallmarks of Shortz’ rein of terror here. Hmmm…. that poses quite the dilemma. I’m not one to shy from a challenge, but when you consider a lot of that challenge comes from the “dirty tricks” we suffer with, I begin to think that perhaps the level of difficulty of the *fair* and traditional puzzles might even out a bit. It’s long been my opinion that a lot of the NYT’s fabled difficulty is wholly manufactured anyway, with extremely cynical and artificially vague clueing on Friday and Saturday. Without such evil “crafting” of clues, a lot of Friday and Saturday NYT offerings would be more like Thursday-hard.

    I’ll have to think long and hard about it, I suppose. But thanks for your input.

    1. @Allen
      The only real “tricks” that occur in LAT grids are the very occasional (by that I can think of 2 in the last year) direction type changes or “add a word” themes. As far as LAT difficulty goes, on average it’s lower but an occasional NYT level grid sneaks in. I think of a Jeff Chen Saturday not too long ago, and a Bruce Haight Sunday grid that were rather difficult. But yes, for me DNFs are incredibly rare on LAT grids compared to the NYT ones.

  8. Does LAT have it’s own group of “usual suspect” constructor cronies? And who’s the editor (even if he or she doesn’t cast as big a shadow [or pall] over the puzzle as Shortz does here)?

    1. @Allen
      If by “constructor cronies”, you mean “regulars” then yes. All puzzles have regular contributors. The editor is Rich Norris. That said, you’d probably do well to go over to Bill’s other blog, which features posts like this one involving the LAT puzzles. Flip back a week or two and you can kinda get the general flavor of those puzzles, including who the regular contributors are.

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