0726-18 NY Times Crossword 26 Jul 18, Thursday

Constructed by: Nate Cardin
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Hashtag

Themed answers include a rebus square containing the # symbol. The meaning of that symbol is different for each of the four pairs of themed answers:

  • 70A. With 71-Across, symbol used four times in this puzzle with four different meanings : HASH-
  • 71A. See 70-Across : TAG
  • 54A. Numerical prefix … or, with 62-Across, another name for this puzzle’s key symbol : OCTO-
  • 62A. Olympian Jim or Ian : THORPE
  • 20A. Accountant : NUMBER CRUNCHER
  • 1D. A.T.M. necessity : PIN NUMBER
  • 41A. Dessert made primarily of flour, butter, eggs and sugar : POUND CAKE
  • 26D. Place to get a rescue animal : DOG POUND
  • 48A. Astronauts’ workplace : SPACE STATION
  • 27D. Far parts of the universe : DEEP SPACE
  • 57A. Deadeyes : SHARPSHOOTERS
  • 36D. Finely honed : RAZOR SHARP

Bill’s time: 9m 43s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4. Recipe details: Abbr. : AMTS

Amount (amt.)

8. Popular newspaper puzzle : JUMBLE

The Daily and Sunday Jumbles are syndicated puzzles from Tribune Media Services that are syndicated widely in newspapers all over the English-speaking world. The first Jumble was created in 1954 by Martin Naydel.

16. Yoga poses : ASANAS

“Asana” is a Sanskrit word literally meaning “sitting down”. The asanas are the poses that a practitioner of yoga assumes. The most famous is the lotus position, the cross-legged pose called “padmasana”.

23. Smartphones replaced them, for short : PDAS

Personal digital assistant (PDA)

24. German wheels : AUDI

In most countries around the world, Audi uses its corporate tagline in advertising, namely “Vorsprung durch Technik” (which translates as “Advancement through Technology”). However, the literal translation from the German was dropped for the US market, in favor of “Truth in Engineering”.

30. Cirque du Soleil performers : ACROBATS

An acrobat is someone who performs gymnastic feats. The term comes into English via French from the Greek “akrobatos” meaning “going on tip-toe, climbing up high”.

Cirque du Soleil is an entertainment company based in Montreal. The company was founded in 1984 by two former street performers, and stages spectacular shows that are a dramatic mix of circus and street entertainment. I’ve seen several Cirque du Soleil shows over the years, and have thoroughly every single one.

34. Rival school of Winchester : ETON

Eton College near Windsor in the south of England was founded way back in 1440 by King Henry VI. Originally known as “The King’s College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor”, the school was intended to provided free education to poor boys. Free education today at Eton? Not so much …

37. Feature of two lowercase letters of the alphabet : DOT

Lowercase “i” and “j”.

41. Dessert made primarily of flour, butter, eggs and sugar : POUND CAKE

Pound cake is so called because the traditional recipe calls for a pound of each of four ingredients:

  • a pound of flour
  • a pound of butter
  • a pound of eggs
  • a pound of sugar

I’d say that’s a lot of cake …

43. K-12 school org. : PTA

Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)

52. Sierra Club founder John : MUIR

John Muir was a famous American naturalist, although he was born in Scotland. Muir founded the Sierra Club in 1892. He published “My First Summer in the Sierra” in 1911, which described one of Muir’s favorite places in the country, the Sierra Nevada range in California.

54. Numerical prefix … or, with 62-Across, another name for this puzzle’s key symbol : OCTO-
62. Olympian Jim or Ian : THORPE

The # symbol is sometimes referred to as an octothorpe. The term “octothorpe” was almost certainly coined at Bell Labs in the late sixties, although there are several conflicting stories about how the name “octothorpe” actually arose.

The sports star Jim Thorpe was quite the all-rounder. He played professional football, baseball, and basketball, and also won Olympic golds in two other all-rounder events, the pentathlon and decathlon (in 1912). However, he lost his medals when it was revealed that he had been paid for playing baseball before the Games, and back then, amateur status was important to the Olympic governing body.

Ian Thorpe is a retired competitive swimmer from Australia. Thorpe won five Olympic gold medals, and earned himself the nickname “The Thorpedo”.

67. “Make room for life” sloganeer : IKEA

Every IKEA store features a restaurant that serves traditional Swedish food, including Swedish meatballs and lingonberry jam. Each store also has a Swedish Food Market where customers can purchase specialty foods from Sweden.

69. Charm : AMULET

Amulets are items worn to ward off disease or to protect against harmful magical spells.

70. With 71-Across, symbol used four times in this puzzle with four different meanings : HASH-
71. See 70-Across : TAG

A hashtag is a word preceded by the symbol #. Hashtags are big these days because of its use by Twitter. The “#” symbol is usually referred to as the “number sign”, but here in the US the name “pound sign” is very common as well.

Down

1. A.T.M. necessity : PIN NUMBER

One enters a Personal Identification Number (PIN) when using an Automated Teller Machine (ATM). Given that the N in PIN stands for “number”, then “PIN number” is a redundant phrase. And, given that the M in ATM stands for “machine”, then “ATM machine” is a redundant phrase as well. Grr …!

2. Cabinet dept. : EDUC

The largest government department in the cabinet is the Department of Defense (DOD), with a permanent staff of over 600,000. The smallest department, by far, is the Department of Education, with a mere four or five thousand employees.

3. Gritty genre : NOIR

The expression “film noir” has French origins, but only in that it was coined by a French critic in describing a style of Hollywood film. The term, meaning “black film” in French, was first used by Nino Frank in 1946. Film noir often applies to a movie with a melodramatic plot and a private eye or detective at its center. Good examples would be “The Big Sleep” and “D.O.A”.

4. Mystery novelist Cross : AMANDA

Carolyn Gold Heilbrun wrote her mystery novels under the pen name “Amanda Cross”.

5. Stone-capturing board game : MANCALA

There is no actual game called “mancala”, and rather it is the name given to a genre of hundreds of games. Mancala are count-and-capture games that are particularly popular in Africa. Some of the most popular examples of the genre are Bao la Kiswahili, Congkak, Kalah and Oware.

6. Instruments on dashes : TACHS

The tachometer takes its name from the Greek word “tachos” meaning “speed”. A tachometer in a car measures engine revolutions per minute (rpm).

Back in the 1800s, “dashboard” was the name given to a board placed at the front of a carriage to stop mud from “dashing” against the passengers in the carriage, mud that was kicked up by the hoofs of the horses. Quite interesting …

7. Hook’s henchman : SMEE

In J. M. Barrie’s play and novel about Peter Pan, Smee is one of Captain Hook’s pirates and is Hook’s right-hand man. Smee is described by Barrie as being “Irish” and “a man who stabbed without offence”. Nice guy! Captain Hook and Smee sail on the pirate ship called the Jolly Roger.

10. Fill-in-the-blanks story : MAD LIB

Mad Libs is a word game, one mostly played by children in America. The idea is that one player provides a list of words which are then inserted into blank spots in a story, usually with hilarious results (they say!).

11. ___ B’rith : B’NAI

B’nai B’rith is a Jewish service organization founded in New York City in 1843. “B’nai B’rith” is Hebrew for “Sons of the Covenant”.

25. Where to find an average joe? : URN

It seems that no one really knows why we refer to coffee as “joe”, but we’ve been doing so since early in WWII.

28. Les ___-Unis : ETATS

“Les États-Unis” is what French speakers call “the United States”.

30. Major biotech company : AMGEN

AMGen is a biotechnology company that was founded in 1980 as Applied Molecular Genetics. The company’s headquarters is in Thousand Oaks, California.

31. What Rhett Butler didn’t give : A DAMN

In Margaret Mitchell’s novel “Gone with the Wind”, when Rhett Butler finally walks out on Scarlett O’Hara he utters the words “My dear, I don’t give a damn”. Most of us are more familiar with the slightly different words spoken by Clark Gable in the film adaption of the story: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

32. Arcade item : TOKEN

Our word “arcade” comes from the Latin “arcus” meaning “arc”. The first arcades were passages made from a series of arches. This could be an avenue of trees, and eventually any covered avenue. I remember arcades lined with shops and stores when I was growing up on the other side of the Atlantic. Arcades came to be lined with lots of amusements, resulting in amusement arcades and video game arcades.

33. Transcriber : STENO

Stenography is the process of writing in shorthand. The term comes from the Greek “steno” (narrow) and “graphe” (writing).

45. Article of the Constitution that provides for the Supreme Court : III

The US Constitution doesn’t specify the size of the Supreme Court, but authorizes the Congress to the determine the number of justices. The court started with six justices in 1789, and the size of the bench grew with the size of the country and the number of judicial circuits. There were as many as ten justices, from 1863 to 1866. There have been nine justices since 1869.

51. Repeated part of the “Camptown Races” refrain : DOO-DAH

“Camptown Races” is a comic song written in African-American vernacular dialect. The song was composed by Stephen Foster in 1850, and was originally titled “Gwine to Run All Night”.

De Camptown ladies sing dis song—Doo-dah! doo-dah!
De Camp-town race-track five miles long—Oh! doo-dah day!
I come down dah wid my hat caved in—Doo-dah! doo-dah!
I go back home wid a pocket full of tin—Oh! doo-dah day!

Gwine to run all night!
Gwine to run all day!
I’ll bet my money on de bob-tail nag—
Somebody bet on de bay

53. R&B singer Khan : CHAKA

Chaka Khan is the stage name of singer Yvette Stevens from Chicago. Chaka Khan was the front woman for the band Rufus before she launched her very successful solo career.

55. Nobel Prize category: Abbr. : CHEM

The Peace Prize is the most famous of the five prizes bequeathed by Alfred Nobel. The others are for Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, and Literature. There is also a Nobel Prize in Economics that is awarded along with the original five, but it is funded separately and is awarded “in memory of Alfred Nobel”. Four of the prizes are awarded by Swedish organizations (Alfred Nobel was a Swede) and so the award ceremonies take place in Stockholm. The Peace Prize is awarded by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, and that award is presented in Oslo.

56. Meat substitute : TOFU

“Tofu” is a name for bean curd, and is a Japanese word meaning just that … bean that has curdled. Tofu is produced by coagulating soy milk, using either salt or something acidic. Once the protein has coagulated, the curds are pressed into the familiar blocks. Personally I love tofu, but my wife, she absolutely hates it …

58. ___ Tzu : SHIH

The Shih Tzu is one of the oldest breeds of dog, and a breed that originated in China. Shih Tzus have long hairy coats but they don’t shed.

60. Pro ___ : RATA

“Pro rata” is a Latin phrase meaning “in proportion”.

61. Make out, in Manchester : SNOG

“Snogging” is British slang of unknown origin that dates back to the end of WWII. The term is used for “kissing and cuddling”, what we call “making out” over here in the US.

Manchester is the second most populous city in the UK, and is located in the northwest of England. Manchester grew in size dramatically during the Industrial Revolution. Home to a thriving textile industry, Manchester is often referred to as the the world’s first industrialized city.

63. Lead-in to K : PRE-

Pre-kindergarten (pre-K)

64. Certain fire dept. employee : EMT

Emergency medical technician (EMT)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Write : PEN
4. Recipe details: Abbr. : AMTS
8. Popular newspaper puzzle : JUMBLE
14. Words of promise : I DO
15. Respectful term of address : MA’AM
16. Yoga poses : ASANAS
17. Bother : NUISANCE
19. Black out, in a way : REDACT
20. Accountant : NUMBER CRUNCHER
22. Much-overused filler word : LIKE
23. Smartphones replaced them, for short : PDAS
24. German wheels : AUDI
27. “It wasn’t me,” for one : DENIAL
30. Cirque du Soleil performers : ACROBATS
34. Rival school of Winchester : ETON
35. Activating, as a security system : ARMING
37. Feature of two lowercase letters of the alphabet : DOT
38. Consumer : EATER
40. Yellow or gray : AGE
41. Dessert made primarily of flour, butter, eggs and sugar : POUND CAKE
43. K-12 school org. : PTA
44. Ring-measuring devices : SIZERS
47. Sign : OMEN
48. Astronauts’ workplace : SPACE STATION
50. Comment accompanying a shrug : I DUNNO
52. Sierra Club founder John : MUIR
53. “Let’s go!” : C’MON
54. Numerical prefix … or, with 62-Across, another name for this puzzle’s key symbol : OCTO-
57. Deadeyes : SHARPSHOOTERS
62. Olympian Jim or Ian : THORPE
65. Jack-of-all-trades : HANDYMAN
66. Plow and plant again : REFARM
67. “Make room for life” sloganeer : IKEA
68. “Am ___ understand …?” : I TO
69. Charm : AMULET
70. With 71-Across, symbol used four times in this puzzle with four different meanings : HASH-
71. See 70-Across : TAG

Down

1. A.T.M. necessity : PIN NUMBER
2. Cabinet dept. : EDUC
3. Gritty genre : NOIR
4. Mystery novelist Cross : AMANDA
5. Stone-capturing board game : MANCALA
6. Instruments on dashes : TACHS
7. Hook’s henchman : SMEE
8. Unsettle : JAR
9. Zoning concern : USE
10. Fill-in-the-blanks story : MAD LIB
11. ___ B’rith : B’NAI
12. Absence : LACK
13. Where the sun rises, in Mexico : ESTE
18. Not prone : SUPINE
21. More spicy : RACIER
25. Where to find an average joe? : URN
26. Place to get a rescue animal : DOG POUND
27. Far parts of the universe : DEEP SPACE
28. Les ___-Unis : ETATS
29. Absent from : NOT AT
30. Major biotech company : AMGEN
31. What Rhett Butler didn’t give : A DAMN
32. Arcade item : TOKEN
33. Transcriber : STENO
36. Finely honed : RAZOR SHARP
39. Alphabet quartet : RSTU
42. Sheriff’s domain, typically : COUNTY
45. Article of the Constitution that provides for the Supreme Court : III
46. Mother-and-daughter singers Nina and Lisa : SIMONES
49. Ethically unprincipled : AMORAL
51. Repeated part of the “Camptown Races” refrain : DOO-DAH
53. R&B singer Khan : CHAKA
54. “Por ___ parte” (Spanish for “on the other hand”) : OTRA
55. Nobel Prize category: Abbr. : CHEM
56. Meat substitute : TOFU
58. ___ Tzu : SHIH
59. Let out : EMIT
60. Pro ___ : RATA
61. Make out, in Manchester : SNOG
63. Lead-in to K : PRE-
64. Certain fire dept. employee : EMT

20 thoughts on “0726-18 NY Times Crossword 26 Jul 18, Thursday”

  1. 11:30 Rebus puzzles usually take me a little bit to figure out but I got this one very early so it was pretty smooth sailing. I didn’t know # could mean “space” so after getting the first # I thought the 27D/48A rebus was related to the space bar and the theme was going to be something about keys on a keyboard. The revealer helped me realize that was incorrect. I’ve also never heard of an OCTOTHORPE. Fortunately I have heard of both Ian and Jim.

  2. 11:39, no errors, surprisingly easy, and the NYT crossword app allowed me to get away with putting an appropriate word (“NUMBER”, “POUND”, “SPACE”, or “SHARP”), instead of the symbol (“#”), in each of the four “special” squares. (Most accommodating of it … 😜.)

  3. 18:56, no errors. Tough puzzle because it felt like I was guessing a lot. I don’t recall any use of # as a substitute for ‘space’ … maybe it’s too early in my coffee cycle? Another cup and it’ll come to me, surely.

  4. 21:41. Like Dave, I had put the actual words into the spaces, but the NYT PC app made me change them. Hmm. I too was appalled at PIN NUMBER (PIN #). That’s like finger nails on a blackboard to me.

    Best –

  5. Agree on what amounts to “personal identification number number/PIN number”….that’s like “ATM machine”… Thanks again to Jeff for pointing out the rebus key, on my phone I was able to enter the word rather than the symbol. For a Thursday, this one was easy for me (for once!)

  6. 34 min. and 4 errors
    Never heard of manacla or Amgen , the other two were a result of not checking my answers carefully as I have of late become too aware of time.
    I never understood hashtag this and hashtag that and now I know why. It means whatever you want it to mean
    Computers and the internet, I just love em

  7. I also thought this puzzle was easier than Thursday-level, especially once you figured out the # gimmick, although I did have to guess at AMGEN/AGE based on what seemed most probable.

    Can someone explain how “Yellow or gray” = AGE?

    1. I had a difficult time making the connection also. Eventually discerned that when something AGEs, it yellows or grays.

    2. Paper, when it ages, tends to turn yellow. Hair, when one ages, tends to turn grey.

      Semi-evil little clue. I’ve seen far worse.

  8. 17:02, no errors. The theme answers were no problem, although I was not familiar with the use of # as a space, nor with the term OCTOTHORPE. The upper right corner give me fits: wanted to enter sudoku in 8A and oest in 13D; no familiarity at all with ASANAS. Also recall MADLIBs from Mad magazine, which I seem to remember were very different than what the clue described.

  9. No errors. I caught on to the HASH TAG theme pretty early so that eased up the solve quite a bit. I had much the same difficulties as what others have already mentioned. I was surprised that some of the commenters thought this was “easy for a Thursday”. It wasn’t easy for me. It took a very concerted, focused effort from me to achieve the win. But it was worth it.

  10. 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.

  11. Easy puzzle. I had the same aha moment on yellow or gray, not recognizing them as verbs. It was nice to sail through a Thursday for once.

  12. EmGee — Former editor here — the hashtag symbol is used in proofreading to mean “insert space,” as when two words are mashed together (dig out your old Webster’s and look under “proofreaders’ marks”).

  13. The “yellow or gray = age” clue was also the one huh? moment for me. (I’d never heard of Amgen either.) Other than that one letter, pretty easy and rather fun.

  14. 11:48, no errors. Written. Gimmick revealed itself right off the bat and luckily nothing screwy in the clues for this one, so got through it relatively smoothly.

  15. 10:22, no errors. Surprisingly easy, especially with the # rebus. I got it on 1D, with PIN #, since I knew it couldn’t be 4 letters.

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