0725-18 NY Times Crossword 25 Jul 18, Wednesday

Constructed by: Emily Carroll
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Flipped the Bird

Themed answers include the names of BIRDS as hidden words, but those names are FLIPPED, turned around:

  • 56A. Gestured rudely … or what this puzzle’s circles have done? : FLIPPED THE BIRD
  • 20A. Grand preparations? : PIANO REHEARSAL (flipped the HERON)
  • 27A. Things that go bump in the night : POLTERGEISTS (flipped the EGRET)
  • 47A. Iconic logo since 1962 : GOLDEN ARCHES (flipped the CRANE)

Bill’s time: 9m 26s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Get too scared, with “out” : WIMP …

Our term “wimp”, describing a “timid person”, is probably an alteration of “whimper”, the sound that such an individual might make.

14. Witching ___ : HOUR

In common parlance, the witching hour is midnight. In the world of the occult, the witching hour last from 3 to 4 in the morning, and is the time at which witches and demons appear and are at their most powerful. This particular hour is chosen as there are no Catholic church services nor prayers called out for that time in the canonical hours.

15. Word that might accompany an air kiss : CIAO

“Ciao” is the Italian for “‘bye”. “Arrivederci” is more formal, and translates as “goodbye”.

16. Garden pest : APHID

Aphids are called “greenfly” back in the British Isles where I come from. The most effective way to control aphids, in my experience, is to make sure there are plenty of ladybugs in the garden (called “ladybirds” in Ireland!).

17. Memo header : IN RE

The term “in re” is Latin, and is derived from “in” (in) and “res” (thing, matter). “In re” literally means “in the matter”, and is used to mean “in regard to” or “in the matter of”.

20. Grand preparations? : PIANO REHEARSAL (flipped the HERON)

A grand piano is one with the frame supported horizontally on three legs. An upright piano has the frame and strings running vertically. Grand pianos come in many sizes. For example, the length of a concert grand is about 9 feet, a parlor grand is about 7 feet, and a baby grand is about 5 feet.

23. Comment after a sneeze : SALUD

“Salud” is Spanish for “health”, and is used as a toast. Salud!

24. Sushi bar offering : UNI

Sea urchins are globular, spiny creatures found just about everywhere in the ocean. The “roe” of a sea urchin is eaten as a delicacy in several cuisines around the world. In a sushi restaurant, the sea urchin roe is called “uni”. The term “roe” normally means “fish eggs”, but in the case of the sea urchin it refers to the gonads of both the male and female.

25. Letter before omega : PSI

Psi is the 23rd and penultimate letter of the Greek alphabet, and the one that looks a bit like a trident or a pitchfork.

27. Things that go bump in the night : POLTERGEISTS (flipped the EGRET)

A poltergeist is a spirit or ghost that makes its presence known by making noises or by moving objects. The term “poltergeist” is German, coming from “poltern” meaning “to rumble” or “to make a noise”, and “Geist”, the German for “ghost” or “spirit”.

41. Genus that includes geniuses : HOMO

The literal translation of “Homo sapiens” from Latin is “wise or knowing man”. The Homo genus includes the species Homo sapiens (modern humans), but we’re the only species left in that genus. The last known species related to humans was Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthal Man) which died off about 24,000 years ago. However, another species was discovered in Indonesia in 2003 that has been dubbed Homo floresiensis (Flores Man … sometimes called “hobbit”), and it may possibly have lived as recently as 12,000 years ago. Watch this space …

46. Vietnamese festival : TET

The full name for the New Year holiday in Vietnam is “Tet Nguyen Dan” meaning “Feast of the First Morning”, with the reference being to the arrival of the season of spring. Tet usually falls on the same day as Chinese New Year.

47. Iconic logo since 1962 : GOLDEN ARCHES (flipped the CRANE)

The original McDonald’s restaurant was opened in 1940 by Richard and Maurice McDonald as a barbecue restaurant. The brothers then moved into fast food hamburgers, eventually selling out to one of their franchise agents, Ray Kroc. It was Ray Kroc who really led the company to its worldwide success. He was played by Michael Keaton in the movie about Ray Kroc’s business life called “The Founder”.

51. Granola morsel : OAT

The names “Granola” and “Granula” were trademarked back in the late 1800s for whole-grain foods that were crumbled and baked until crisp. Granola was created in Dansville, New York in 1894.

64. Neighbor of Saudi Arabia : YEMEN

Yemen is located on the Arabian Peninsula, and lies just south of Saudi Arabia and west of Oman. Yemen is the only state on the peninsula that is a republic (its official name is the Republic of Yemen). Everyone over the age of 18 gets to vote, but only Muslims can hold elected office. Yemen has seen many rebellions over the centuries, and has been suffering through a Shia uprising since February 2015.

66. Communion, e.g. : RITE

The Communion rite is the part of the Mass in the Roman Catholic tradition. The rite involves distribution of the Communion bread (the host, a wafer) to the faithful.

67. 7 7 7, in France : SEPTS

“Sept” is French for “seven”.

Down

1. Congressional leaders : WHIPS

In the world of politics, the party whip is the “heavy”, the person whose job it is to ensure that party members vote according to party policy. “Whip” comes from “whipping in”, a term used in hunting. Any hounds tending to stray from the pack were “whipped in” to prevent them wandering off. “Whipping in” hounds sounds so cruel. “Whipping in” politicians, maybe not so much …

2. Ancient Anatolian region : IONIA

The geographic region called Ionia is located in present day Turkey. Ionia was prominent in the days of Ancient Greece although it wasn’t a unified state, but rather a collection of tribes. The tribal confederacy was more based on religious and cultural similarities than a political or military alliance. Nowadays we often refer to this arrangement as the Ionian League.

Asia Minor is also known as Anatolia. It is the geographic part of Asia that protrudes out into the west, towards Europe, and is roughly equivalent to modern-day Turkey.

3. Sistine Chapel feature : MURAL

A mural is a painting that is applied directly to a wall or a ceiling. The term comes from the Latin “murus” meaning “wall”.

The Sistine Chapel, in the Pope’s residence in Rome, takes its name from Pope Sixtus IV who was responsible for restoring the old Capella Magna in the 15th century. It was about a century later (1508-1512) that Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel under the patronage of Pope Julius II.

4. Union agreement, informally? : PRENUP

Prenuptial agreement (prenup)

5. Disney villain voiced by Jeremy Irons : SCAR

In the 1994 movie “The Lion King”, the protagonist is Simba, the lion cub born to Mufasa and Sarabi. The main antagonist is Scar, Simba’s uncle and Mufasa’s brother. Simba is voiced by Matthew Broderick, and Scar is voiced by Jeremy Irons.

26. “Love ___ a victory march” (“Hallelujah” lyric) : IS NOT

I’ve never been a big fan of the music of Canadian singer Leonard Cohen (don’t all yell at me at the same time!). That said, his 1984 song “Hallelujah” is superb, and I particularly like the version recorded by Jeff Buckley in 1994.

28. Action that could cause a QB’s fumble : LOW SNAP

The quarterback (QB) starts each play in football with a snap (also called a “hike”). He announces to his teammates the exact moment of the snap by calling out signals, usually including the word “hut” one or more times in a prearranged sequence.

30. “Oklahoma!” aunt : ELLER

“Oklahoma!” was the first musical written by the great duo Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. The storyline comes from a 1931 stage play called “Green Grow the Lilacs”.

31. I, in Innsbruck : ICH

Innsbruck is the capital city of the Austrian state of Tyrol. Located in the Alps, Innsbruck is a famous center for winter sports and has hosted two Winter Olympic Games, in 1964 and 1976. The name “Innsbruck” translates as “Inn bridge”, with the Inn being the river on which the city is built.

40. Body of eau : LAC

In French, a “lac” (lake) is a body of “eau” (water).

53. The South : DIXIE

“Dixie” is a nickname sometimes used for the American South, and often specifically for the original 11 states that seceded from the Union just prior to the Civil War. It’s apparently not certain how the name “Dixie” came about. One theory is that it comes from the term “dixie” which was used for currency issued by banks in Louisiana. The 10-dollar bills had the word “dix” on the reverse side, the French for “ten”. From the banknote, the French speaking area around New Orleans came to be known as Dixieland, and from there “Dixie” came to apply to the South in general.

54. TV host Van Susteren : GRETA

I remember watching Greta Van Susteren as a legal commentator on CNN during the O. J. Simpson murder trial. She parlayed those appearances into a permanent slot as co-host of CNN’s “Burden of Proof”, before becoming host of her own show on the Fox News Channel called “On the Record”. Van Susteren parted company with Fox in 2016, and apparently that parting wasn’t a happy one. She was immediately replaced on air, without giving her a chance to bid adieu to her TV audience.

55. Ford flop : EDSEL

The Edsel brand of automobile was named for Edsel Ford, son of Henry. Sadly, the name “Edsel” has become synonymous with “failure”, which was no fault of Edsel himself who had died several years before the Edsel line was introduced. When the Ford Motor Company introduced the Edsel on 4 September 1957, Ford proclaimed the day to be “E Day”.

58. Rosencrantz or Guildenstern : DANE

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are a pair of courtiers in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”. They also appear in the most famous play by British playwright Tom Stoppard, “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” (which I saw years ago, and slept through!).

60. Jabba, for one, in “Star Wars” : HUTT

Jabba the Hutt is the big blob of an alien that appears in the “Star Wars” movie “The Return of the Jedi”. Jabba’s claim to fame is that he enslaved Princess Leia and kitted her out in that celebrated metal bikini.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Get too scared, with “out” : WIMP …
5. Cutting class? : SHOP
9. Like a know-it-all : COCKY
14. Witching ___ : HOUR
15. Word that might accompany an air kiss : CIAO
16. Garden pest : APHID
17. Memo header : IN RE
18. Sciences’ partner : ARTS
19. Reacts to a blow : REELS
20. Grand preparations? : PIANO REHEARSAL (flipped the HERON)
23. Comment after a sneeze : SALUD
24. Sushi bar offering : UNI
25. Letter before omega : PSI
27. Things that go bump in the night : POLTERGEISTS (flipped the EGRET)
32. Girded : SET
35. Disturb : ROIL
36. Sea ___ : URCHIN
37. Mouth, slangily : TRAP
39. “___ never!” : WELL I
41. Genus that includes geniuses : HOMO
42. Shady areas : ARBORS
44. It’s right on the map : EAST
46. Vietnamese festival : TET
47. Iconic logo since 1962 : GOLDEN ARCHES (flipped the CRANE)
50. Bard’s “before” : ERE
51. Granola morsel : OAT
52. Mountain shelter : LODGE
56. Gestured rudely … or what this puzzle’s circles have done? : FLIPPED THE BIRD
61. “___ yourself!” : BRACE
62. Home to the Triple Crown of Surfing : OAHU
63. Ones who’ve called it quits : EXES
64. Neighbor of Saudi Arabia : YEMEN
65. Company, e.g. : UNIT
66. Communion, e.g. : RITE
67. 7 7 7, in France : SEPTS
68. Circus site : TENT
69. Circus sight : SEAL

Down

1. Congressional leaders : WHIPS
2. Ancient Anatolian region : IONIA
3. Sistine Chapel feature : MURAL
4. Union agreement, informally? : PRENUP
5. Disney villain voiced by Jeremy Irons : SCAR
6. Take on : HIRE
7. Curse : OATH
8. Big phony : POSEUR
9. Verizon or AT&T : CARRIER
10. Unfolds, in poetry : OPES
11. Unsporting comment : CHEAP SHOT
12. Twiddles one’s thumbs : KILLS TIME
13. Golf hole measure: Abbr. : YDS
21. Nose wrinkler : ODOR
22. Distress : ANGUISH
26. “Love ___ a victory march” (“Hallelujah” lyric) : IS NOT
28. Action that could cause a QB’s fumble : LOW SNAP
29. Part of many a garbage bag : TIE
30. “Oklahoma!” aunt : ELLER
31. I, in Innsbruck : ICH
32. Put on : STAGE
33. Scoring 100 : ERROR-FREE
34. Piece of office décor : TABLE LAMP
38. Pea’s place : POD
40. Body of eau : LAC
43. Investigates, as a cold case : REOPENS
45. Prefix meaning “far away” : TELE-
48. Went to a restaurant : ATE OUT
49. Gets serious, with “up” : SOBERS
53. The South : DIXIE
54. TV host Van Susteren : GRETA
55. Ford flop : EDSEL
57. One of the first musicians to have an “explicit content” sticker on an album : ICE-T
58. Rosencrantz or Guildenstern : DANE
59. Flimsy : THIN
60. Jabba, for one, in “Star Wars” : HUTT
61. Fly-___ : BYS

18 thoughts on “0725-18 NY Times Crossword 25 Jul 18, Wednesday”

  1. 15:03 Took a little bit for me to get going on this. I thought the cluing was a bit difficult for a Wednesday. I especially had a tough time with the upper right section.

  2. 13:46, no errors. A plodding solve for me, as well. (In part, this may have been because I did it after a long day in the mountains, but I also thought the cluing was a bit harder than usual for a Wednesday).

  3. 26:23. Agree this was more difficult than a normal Wednesday puzzle, but Wednesdays are often wild cards. They can feel like Mondays or even Thursdays or Fridays in terms of difficulty sometimes. Nice theme, but it didn’t help me at all. Interesting stuff on Witching HOUR in the write up.

    Best –

    1. 11:33 and no errors. Thoroughly enjoyable puzzle, with an unexpectedly “improper” theme.

      @ Jack: sept is french for 7. The plural is “septs”.

  4. Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept. (French 1,2,3,4,5,6,7)

    Tele- phone, graph, scope, vision, photo, type……..all involving distance.

  5. 16:56, no errors. As with others, I had little difficulty with the theme entries; but had difficulty getting traction with shorter entries. 15A entered MWAW before CIAO; 28D BAD SNAP before LOW SNAP; 24A AHI before UNI (not a sushi eater).

  6. No real problems. I’m not sure the significance, but all three birds seem to be water birds. Maybe the eau/lac clue tips us off in that direction?

  7. 51A. The word “oat” is an adjective referring to the oat plant (Avena sativa). There is no noun “oat”. “Oats” is the noun referring to the crop. A single grain (i.e., kernel or caryopsis) produced by an oat plant is known vernacularly as a “groat”. There is no such thing as an “oat”.

    1. @Stuart—-Thanks for your comment. I had always wondered about that. I just now did a brief search on google. The singular word “oat” was used in some cases. The word “groat” seems to only apply to a natural single grain before it has been further processed. The oats that are normally found in granola are rolled, that is to say, flattened, and are no longer considered to be groats. I don’t expect any of this to settle the issue but, nevertheless, wanted to pass that on to you.

  8. Yes, pretty difficult. The theme helped me at one point where I was able to spell HERON backwards and get some needed letters in the NW corner. My only erasure was where I originally had ATTN for INRE. Bottom line, no errors. Nice workout for the old brain.

  9. A rare Thursday’s puzzle, that fell within my capability to solve! On an interesting note, in “Les États-Unis” the word for states is state, spelled backwards.

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