0724-18 NY Times Crossword 24 Jul 18, Tuesday

Constructed by: Jonathan M. Kaye
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: DNA

We have a visual representation of a DOUBLE HELIX running down the center of today’s grid. There are also several references to the DNA molecule:

  • 66D. Subject of this puzzle : DNA
  • 20A. What 7-Down is : BIOCHEMICAL
  • 58A. Shape of 7-Down : DOUBLE HELIX
  • 7D. When the ends of each of its letters are connected to those above and below, a simplified schematic of a famous structure : HXHHXHHXHHXHHXH
  • 11D. Creatures with 23 pairs of 25-Down : HUMAN BEINGS
  • 25D. Genetic bundles : CHROMOSOMES

Bill’s time: 6m 53s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Classic Halloween costume : GHOST

All Saints’ Day is November 1st each year. The day before All Saints’ Day is All Hallows’ Eve, better known by the Scottish term “Halloween”.

10. ___ the fat (gossip, e.g.) : CHEW

Back in the day, a wealthy man would “bring home the bacon”, and sit around with guests “chewing the fat”.

14. Tag for the “Friday the 13th” film subtitled “A New Beginning” : PART V

Can you believe that the “Friday the 13th” franchise of horror movies comprises twelve films (so far)? The bad guy in the series is Jason Voorhees, a boy who drowned at summer camp. “Friday the 13th” is an incredibly successful franchise, something that I just do not understand …

16. Dance in a festive skirt : HULA

The hula is a native dance of Hawaii that uses arm movements to relate a story. The hula can be performed while sitting (a noho dance) or while standing (a luna dance).

18. Onetime Queens stadium : SHEA

Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows, New York was named after William A. Shea, the man credited with bringing National League baseball back to the city in the form of the New York Mets. Shea Stadium was dismantled in 2008-2009, and the site now provides additional parking for the new stadium nearby called Citi Field.

Queens is the largest borough in New York City, and is an amazingly diverse location in terms of ethnicity. There is a population of over 2 million people, with almost 50% of that population being foreign-born. Apparently there are over 130 native languages spoken in the area. Queens was named for Catherine of Braganza (from Portugal), the Queen consort of King Charles II of England.

19. Format much used for action films : IMAX

The IMAX Corporation, which is behind the IMAX film format, is a Canadian company. The impetus for developing the system came after Expo ’67 in Montreal. Back then large format screenings were accomplished using multiple projectors with multiple screens, with images basically stitched together. The team behind the IMAX technology set out to simplify things, and developed a single-camera, single-projector system.

23. Extended story line : ARC

A story arc is a continuing storyline in say a television show that has a number of episodes. Story arcs are also found in comics, books, video games, and other forms of media.

26. Spun fiber : FLAX

Flax is mainly grown for its seeds (to make oil) and for its fibers. Flax fibers have been used to make linen for centuries, certainly back as far as the days of the Ancient Egyptians. Flax fibers are soft and shiny, resembling blonde hair, hence the term “flaxen hair”.

27. Thick Japanese noodle : UDON

Udon noodles are made from wheat-flour and are very popular in Japanese cuisines such as tempura.

32. Den grp. : BSA

As every little boy (of my era) knows, the Scouting movement was founded by Lord Baden Powell, in 1907. The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) soon followed, in 1910. And, the Boy Scouts motto is “Be Prepared”.

36. Condition that causes fidgeting, informally : ADHD

The “official” name for the condition we sometimes still refer to as “attention deficit disorder” (ADD) is “attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder” (ADHD).

41. Philly basketballer : SIXER

The Philadelphia 76ers basketball team is one of the oldest franchises in the NBA. “The Sixers” were formed in 1946 as the Syracuse Nationals. The team moved to Philadelphia in 1963, and the name 76er was chosen in a fan contest, a name that honors the men who fought for the country’s independence in 1776.

46. Cuisine with tom yum soup : THAI

Tom yum is a delicious spicy soup served in Thai restaurants. It is usually described as “hot and sour”, and I love it …

49. Cat-o’-nine-tails component : LASH

The cat-o’-nine-tails was a vicious instrument of punishment, one that was particularly popular in the Royal Navy. The “cat” was made up on nine cord thongs and at the end of each thong was a knot. The specialty knot was aptly called a blood knot, and was designed to bite into the skin and draw blood. It was these “claws” at the end of the thongs, along with the nine “tails” that gave the name to the whip, the “cat-o’-nine-tails”.

51. Its head is in the Himalayas : GANGES

The River Ganges rises in the western Himalaya and flows through the northeast of India before crossing into Bangladesh where it enters the Bay of Bengal. The Ganges is worshipped by Hindus as the goddess Ganga, and is the most sacred of all rivers in Hinduism.

The magnificent Himalaya range of mountains in Asia takes its name from the Sanskrit for “abode of snow”. Geographically, the Himalayas separate the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau to the north.

53. One bound to the land : SERF

A serf was a member of the lowest feudal class, someone attached to land owned by a lord. “Serf” comes from the Latin “servus”, meaning “slave”.

55. Some Marvel superheroes : X-MEN

X-Men is a team of superheroes created by Stan Lee for Marvel Comics. Nowadays the X-Men are perhaps best known as the subject of a series of movies, with Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine, and Patrick Stewart playing Professor Xavier (or simply “Professor X”). Some very respected actors have also played the villains that X-Men have to battle. For example, the enemy called Magneto is portrayed by veteran Shakespearean actor Sir Ian McKellen.

57. Urban grid: Abbr. : STS

Street (st.)

58. Shape of 7-Down : DOUBLE HELIX

Famously, James Watson and Francis Crick worked out that the structure of DNA is a double helix. Well, it turns out that some strands of DNA can twist into different shapes. For example, the DNA at the ends of our chromosomes can form a rectangular structure called a triplex or quadruplex.

62. McCarthy aide Roy : COHN

Roy Cohn was a prominent assistant and associate to Senator Joseph McCarthy in the days when McCarthy was famously investigating Communist activities in the US. Prior to his work with Senator McCarthy, Cohn was a central figure on the prosecuting team in the 1951 espionage trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

67. Eins + zwei : DREI

In German, “eins und zwei” (one and two) comes to “drei” (three).

68. Band with the 1988 #1 hit “Need You Tonight” : INXS

INXS (pronounced “in excess”) was a rock band from Australia. The band formed in 1977 in Sydney as the Farriss Brothers, as three of the original lineups were indeed brothers.

69. Common name for a central rail station : UNION

There are quite a few stations called “Union Station” in the US. This is because the generic “union station” is one built by two or more railroad companies acting in concert, or “union”, sharing tracks and facilities.

71. Govt. org. for whistle-blowers : OSHA

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created in 1970 during the Nixon administration. OSHA regulates workplaces in the private sector and regulates just one government agency, namely the US Postal Service.

72. Dance or dip : SALSA

The genre of music called salsa is a modern interpretation of various Cuban traditional music styles.

“Salsa” is simply Spanish for “sauce”.

Down

1. One talking to a driver? : GPS

Global positioning system (GPS)

2. Fashion statement at the Kentucky Derby : HAT

The first Kentucky Derby took place in 1875, and is a race modeled on the Epsom Derby in England and the Grand Prix de Paris (now called the “Prix de l‘Arc de Triomphe”). As such, the Kentucky Derby was run over 1½ miles, although in 1896 this was shortened to 1¼ miles. The winning horse is presented with a very elaborate blanket made of red roses, and so the Derby is nicknamed “Run for the Roses”. The race is held on the first Saturday in May each year, and is limited to 3-year-old horses.

3. Hockey great Bobby : ORR

Bobby Orr is regarded as one of the greatest hockey players of all time. By the time he retired in 1978 he had undergone over a dozen knee surgeries. At 31 years of age, he concluded that he just couldn’t skate anymore. Reportedly, he was even having trouble walking.

5. Lucy Ricardo, to Ricky : TV WIFE

In the hit television show “I Love Lucy”, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz play Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. The Ricardos’ best friends are also their landlords, Fred and Ethel Mertz. The Mertz’s are played by William Frawley and Vivian Vance.

6. One of Caesar’s assassins : CASCA

Julius Caesar was assassinated on the 15th (the ides) of March, 44 BC. He was attacked by a group of sixty people in the Roman Senate, and was stabbed 23 times. The first to strike a blow was Servilius Casca, who attacked Caesar from behind and stabbed him in the neck. In Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”, Casca utters the words “Speak, hands, for me!” just before making the fatal blow. The following line, uttered by Caesar, is more famous though: “Et tu, Brute?”

8. Downwind : ALEE

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

10. With 35-Across, actor who said “You can’t fool me, there ain’t no Sanity Clause” : CHICO …
(35. See 10-Down : … MARX)

The five Marx Brothers were born to “Minnie” and “Frenchy” Marx in New York City. The more famous older boys were Chico, Harpo and Groucho. Zeppo was the youngest brother, and he appeared in the early Marx Brothers movies. The fifth son was called Gummo, and he decided to pursue a different career off the stage.

12. Carrier to the Mideast : EL AL

El Al Israel Airlines is the flag carrier of Israel. El Al is known for its high levels of security, both on the ground and in the air. Reportedly, the airline’s passenger aircraft have been operating with anti-missile technology for several years.

13. Linoleum cover : WAX

“Lino” (short for “linoleum”) was originally made by coating canvas with solidified linseed oil. The product’s inventor, Englishman Frederick Walton, give it the name “linoleum” from “linum” and “oleum”, the Latin for “linen” and “oil”.

21. Spanish stews : OLLAS

I’m wondering how accurate this clue/answer is. I thought that the referenced stew was known as an “olio”, a term that comes from “olla”, the pot used to make the stew.

22. Nice thought? : IDEE

The French city of Nice is on the Mediterranean coast in the southeast of the country. Although Nice is only the fifth most populous city in France, it is home to the busiest airport outside of Paris. That’s because of all the tourists flocking to the French Riviera.

23. Spanish ___ : ARMADA

The Spanish Armada sailed from Spain with an invasion force intent on overthrowing Queen Elizabeth I of England. The fleet was repulsed by the English, who launched an effective fireship attack on the Spanish. After smaller engagements with the English, the Spanish Armada suffered its greatest losses in severe storms in the North Atlantic that left many vessels wrecked on the coasts of Scotland and Ireland. Of the 130 vessels in the original invading force, only two thirds returned to Spain. The storms that help save Queen Elizabeth I’s throne are often referred to collectively as “the Protestant Wind”.

25. Genetic bundles : CHROMOSOMES

A gene is a section of a chromosome that is responsible for a particular characteristic in an organism. For example, one gene may determine eye color and another balding pattern. We have two copies of each gene, one from each of our parents, with each copy known as an allele.

31. Ancient theaters : ODEA

In Ancient Greece an odeon (also “odeum”) was like a small theater, with “odeon” literally meaning a “building for musical competition”. Odea were used in both Greece and Rome for entertainments such as musical shows and poetry readings.

33. Quidditch team, e.g. : SEPTET

Quidditch is a game that is famously played in the “Harry Potter” series of books and films. The game is contended by two teams of seven wizards or witches flying on broomsticks. The are four animated balls and six ring-shaped goals floating in mid-air. One of the balls is the Golden Snitch, and one of the players is the Seeker. It is the Seeker’s sole purpose to capture the Golden Snitch and thereby end the game.

37. Morse units, informally : DITS

Samuel Morse came up with the forerunner to modern Morse code for use on the electric telegraph, of which he was the co-inventor. Morse code uses a series of dots and dashes to represent letters and numbers. The most common letters are assigned the simplest code elements e.g. E is represented by one dot, and T is represented by one dash. When words are spelled aloud in Morse code, a dot is pronounced as “dit”, and a dash is pronounced as “dah”.

42. Brightest star in Orion : RIGEL

Rigel is the sixth brightest star in the night sky, and the brightest star in the constellation of Orion. If you can imagine the stars in Orion laid out, Rigel is at his left foot. The name “Rigel” is an abbreviated version of the Arabic term for “Left Foot of the Central One”.

45. Workers’ rights agcy. : NLRB

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) was set up in 1935. The NLRB is an independent government agency with the roles of conducting elections for labor unions as well as investigating and rooting out any labor practices that are deemed to be unfair.

50. Big workers’ grp. since 1955 : AFL-CIO

The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was founded in 1886, making it one of the first federations of unions in the country. Over time the AFL became dominated by craft unions, unions representing skilled workers of particular disciplines. In the early thirties, John L. Lewis led a movement within the AFL to organize workers by industry, believing this would be more effective for the members. But the craft unions refused to budge, so Lewis set up a rival federation of unions in 1932, the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). The two federations became bitter rivals for over two decades until finally merging in 1955 to form the AFL-CIO.

54. Jazzman Blake : EUBIE

James Hubert “Eubie” Blake was a composer and pianist from Baltimore, Maryland. Blake was a noted composer and performer of ragtime music. The 1978 musical revue “Eubie!” features his music. Apparently Blake claimed to have started smoking cigarettes at the age of 10 years, and died 85 years later in 1983. Blake’s celebrity status and long life as a smoker was often cited by politicians who opposed anti-tobacco legislation.

56. Smart society : MENSA

If you ever learned Latin, “mensa” was probably taught to you in lesson one as it’s the word commonly used as an example of a first declension noun. Mensa means “table”. The Mensa organization, for folks with high IQs, was set up in Oxford, England back in 1946. To become a member, you have to have an IQ that is in the top 2% of the population.

58. Picasso muse ___ Maar : DORA

Dora Maar was a famous French photographer. She became Pablo Picasso’s lover and muse when she was 29, and Picasso 54. The pair had a complicated relationship that lasted nine years. Picasso painted a portrait of her called “Dora Maar with Cat” that was sold at auction in 2006 for almost $100 million, which at that time was the second-highest price ever paid for a painting.

60. Lucy Lawless title role : XENA

The Xena character, played by New Zealander Lucy Lawless, was introduced in a made-for-TV movie called “Hercules and the Amazon Women”. Lawless reprised the role in a series called “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”. Xena became so popular that a series was built around her character, with Lawless retained for the title role. The fictional Xena supposedly came from the “non-fictional” Greek city of Amphipolis.

61. Flu-fighting org. : CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is based in Atlanta, Georgia. The CDC started out life during WWII as the Office of National Defense Malaria Control Activities. The CDC worries about much more than malaria these days …

65. Goddess whom Homer called “rosy-fingered” : EOS

In Greek mythology, Eos was the goddess of the dawn who lived at the edge of the ocean. Eos would wake each morning to welcome her brother Helios the sun. The Roman equivalent of Eos was Aurora. Rather delightfully, Homer referred to Eos as “rosy-fingered dawn” in both “Iliad” and “Odyssey”.

66. Subject of this puzzle : DNA

The two most common nucleic acids are deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA), both of which play crucial roles in genetics. The DNA contains the genetic instructions used to keep living organisms functioning, and RNA is used to transcribe that information from the DNA to protein “generators” called ribosomes.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Classic Halloween costume : GHOST
6. Gossip, e.g. : CHAT
10. ___ the fat (gossip, e.g.) : CHEW
14. Tag for the “Friday the 13th” film subtitled “A New Beginning” : PART V
15. One of a pair on a car : AXLE
16. Dance in a festive skirt : HULA
17. Addition to a soda, but not to a beer : STRAW
18. Onetime Queens stadium : SHEA
19. Format much used for action films : IMAX
20. What 7-Down is : BIOCHEMICAL
23. Extended story line : ARC
26. Spun fiber : FLAX
27. Thick Japanese noodle : UDON
28. Fix, as the back of a shoe : REHEEL
30. What you might do when you cross your fingers : HOPE
32. Den grp. : BSA
35. See 10-Down : … MARX
36. Condition that causes fidgeting, informally : ADHD
38. Sporting blades : EPEES
40. For each item : A POP
41. Philly basketballer : SIXER
43. Pair that’s kissing? : LIPS
44. Evil spirit : DEMON
46. Cuisine with tom yum soup : THAI
47. Prefix with chamber : ANTE-
48. Stir : ADO
49. Cat-o’-nine-tails component : LASH
51. Its head is in the Himalayas : GANGES
53. One bound to the land : SERF
55. Some Marvel superheroes : X-MEN
57. Urban grid: Abbr. : STS
58. Shape of 7-Down : DOUBLE HELIX
61. Carefully search : COMB
62. McCarthy aide Roy : COHN
63. Gave (out) : METED
67. Eins + zwei : DREI
68. Band with the 1988 #1 hit “Need You Tonight” : INXS
69. Common name for a central rail station : UNION
70. Detective’s assignment : CASE
71. Govt. org. for whistle-blowers : OSHA
72. Dance or dip : SALSA

Down

1. One talking to a driver? : GPS
2. Fashion statement at the Kentucky Derby : HAT
3. Hockey great Bobby : ORR
4. Try : STAB
5. Lucy Ricardo, to Ricky : TV WIFE
6. One of Caesar’s assassins : CASCA
7. When the ends of each of its letters are connected to those above and below, a simplified schematic of a famous structure : HXHHXHHXHHXHHXH
8. Downwind : ALEE
9. Ally (with) : TEAM UP
10. With 35-Across, actor who said “You can’t fool me, there ain’t no Sanity Clause” : CHICO …
11. Creatures with 23 pairs of 25-Down : HUMAN BEINGS
12. Carrier to the Mideast : EL AL
13. Linoleum cover : WAX
21. Spanish stews : OLLAS
22. Nice thought? : IDEE
23. Spanish ___ : ARMADA
24. Gathered : REAPED
25. Genetic bundles : CHROMOSOMES
29. Brand of dry-erase markers : EXPO
31. Ancient theaters : ODEA
33. Quidditch team, e.g. : SEPTET
34. Evaluate : ASSESS
37. Morse units, informally : DITS
39. Architect’s drawing : PLAN
42. Brightest star in Orion : RIGEL
45. Workers’ rights agcy. : NLRB
50. Big workers’ grp. since 1955 : AFL-CIO
52. Ill will : ANIMUS
54. Jazzman Blake : EUBIE
56. Smart society : MENSA
58. Picasso muse ___ Maar : DORA
59. They go to great lengths : EONS
60. Lucy Lawless title role : XENA
61. Flu-fighting org. : CDC
64. Up to, informally : ‘TIL
65. Goddess whom Homer called “rosy-fingered” : EOS
66. Subject of this puzzle : DNA

12 thoughts on “0724-18 NY Times Crossword 24 Jul 18, Tuesday”

  1. 10:32, no errors. For some reason, this one threw me off-balance, and I’m not sure why. I didn’t make any significant missteps and I got the theme early on, but I paused a bit longer than usual over just about everything. Odd.

  2. 13:51 I had the same experience as Dave. The theme slowed me down slightly but there were a lot of other answers that caused a small problem which added up to a slower than normal Tuesday. The whole puzzle seemed more of a Wednesday to me. I did like how 7D turned into a double helix when I finished (I solve on the app).

    @Jeff. We had a good time in Vegas. Didn’t get caught in any rain, just the ridiculous heat. Went to Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, and Phoenix after Vegas. Was a great trip.

  3. 24:20. Really got twisted up doing this one…..pardon the pun…but I eventually worked it all out. Pretty clever theme. In the NYT blurb the setter claimed to have created this to be a Thursday puzzle. The eds changed the cluing a bit to make it more apt (so they say) for a Tuesday”curveball”.

    Agree – good visual on in the NYT app when you finished.

    Best –

  4. From July 24th – Perhaps an earlier film with Erik Estrada in it is the movie Midway. Also, for today (July 25th) Watson and Crick took the notes of a female staff person and then made the discovery. They didn’t do it all on their own.

  5. 32 min. And no errors although I had no clue what I was doing.
    Seemed more like a David Steinberg Thursday puzzle

  6. 13:09, no errors. Saw the double helix construct early, used it to enter the H and X words down the centerline. I appreciate the effort it must have taken to assemble this grid.

  7. This was slow going for me although I finally finished with no errors and no erasures. I have been trying to understand about DNA since it was relatively new science back in the 1960’s. For some reason I just cannot grasp it. However, I do know some of the terminology used in it and, fortunately, that was all that was required for this puzzle. Overall, a nice challenge, I thought.

  8. 13:16, and thankfully, no errors. I found the theme to be better described as tracing a path down a rabbit hole, frankly. Just look at the clue for 7D: when the clue has to be described with a long, tortuous paragraph to “make it work”, then I submit the entire concept is just suspect.

    Can’t we just get back to basics for a change… and *stay* there?

  9. Steve is correct. According to the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language (Real Academia Española), “OLLA” is a meal prepared with meat, bacon, vegetables, beans and potatoes, at times with added sausage, cooked all together and seasoned.

    Will taste some in Madrid next month…

    “Comida preparada con carne, tocino, legumbres y hortalizas, principalmente garbanzos y patatas, a lo que se añade a veces algún embuchado y todo junto se cuece y sazona.”

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