0827-18 NY Times Crossword 27 Aug 18, Monday

Constructed by: Susan Gelfand
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: Two Celebs in One

Themed answers are celebrities whose given name and family name are the same as the given names of two fellow celebrities in the same business:

  • 21A. Actor Cameron + actor Fairbanks = actor ___ : KIRK DOUGLAS (KIRK Cameron + DOUGLAS Fairbanks)
  • 31A. Comedian Carell + comedian Short = comedian ___ : STEVE MARTIN (STEVE Carell + MARTIN Short)
  • 40A. Singer Brown + singer Swift = singer ___ : JAMES TAYLOR (JAMES Brown + TAYLOR Swift)
  • 50A. Basketball player Walton + basketball player Westbrook = basketball player ___ : BILL RUSSELL (BILL Walton + RUSSELL Westbrook)

Bill’s time: 5m 19s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

15. Mario who wrote “The Godfather” : PUZO

The novelist and screenwriter Mario Puzo, was best known for his book “The Godfather”, which he also co-adapted for the big screen. Puzo also wrote two sequels, “The Last Don” and “Omertà”, that latter being published after his death. His name is less associated with some very famous screenplays that he wrote, including “Earthquake”, “Superman” and “Superman II”. Puzo won two Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay: for “The Godfather” (1972) and for “The Godfather Part II” (1974).

16. Farmland measure : ACRE

At one time, an acre was defined as the amount of land a yoke of oxen could plow in a day. Then, an acre was more precisely defined as a strip of land “one furrow long” (i.e. one furlong) and one chain wide. The length of one furlong was equal to 10 chains, or 40 rods. A area of one furlong times 10 rods was one rood.

18. Shortly : ANON

“Anon” originally meant “at once”, but the term’s meaning evolved into “soon” apparently just because the word was misused over time.

19. Brand of beans : GOYA

Goya Foods is a supplier of food products headquartered in Secaucus, New Jersey. The company was founded in 1936 by two immigrants from Spain.

20. Ring result, for short : TKO

Technical knockout (TKO)

21. Actor Cameron + actor Fairbanks = actor ___ : KIRK DOUGLAS (KIRK Cameron + DOUGLAS Fairbanks)

Megastar Kirk Douglas was born Issur Danielovitch in Upstate New York. One of Douglas’ coups was to purchase the film-making rights to the play “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, in which he starred on Broadway in the mid-sixties. He gave those rights to his son, actor Michael Douglas, who made it into the magnificent movie of the same name. Kirk Douglas celebrated his 100th birthday in December, 2016.

Kirk Cameron is perhaps best known for playing Mike Seaver on the sitcom “Growing Pains” when he was a child actor. Cameron ended up marrying Chelsea Noble, the young actress who played his girlfriend on “Growing Pains”. Also, Cameron is a co-founder of the Christian evangelical ministry known as the Way of the Master (WOTM).

Douglas Fairbanks was an actor famous for playing swashbuckler types in movies in the Silent Era. His most famous roles were in “The Thief of Baghdad”, “Robin Hood” and “The Mark of Zorro”. Fairbanks’ first marriage resulted in his only child, the actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Fairbanks’ second marriage was to fellow actor Mary Pickford.

29. Black tea variety : PEKOE

A pekoe (or more commonly “orange pekoe”) is a medium-grade black tea. There is no orange flavor in an orange pekoe tea. The “orange” name most likely derived from the name of the trading company that brought the tea to Europe from Asia.

31. Comedian Carell + comedian Short = comedian ___ : STEVE MARTIN
(STEVE Carell + MARTIN Short)

Comedian, actor and writer Steve Martin is from Waco, Texas. Martin’s entertainment career started to take off with success as a writer for the “Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour”. He then turned to stand-up comedy and often appeared on “The Tonight Show”. He was, and still is, a popular guest host on “Saturday Night Live”. He is so popular on “SNL” that many mistakenly believe that he was a permanent member of the “Saturday NIght Live” cast.

The actor Steve Carell has achieved great success on both television and in movies. On the small screen, Carell came to prominence on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and then of as the lead in the US version of “The Office”. On the big screen, he starred in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”, “Evan Almighty”. My personal favorite Carell movie is 2007’s ”Dan in Real Life”, in which he stars opposite the wonderful Juliette Binoche.

Martin Short’s father emigrated to Canada as a refugee from Ireland during the 1919-1921 Irish War of Independence. In fact, I worked closely with one of Martin’s cousins back in Ireland. Martin Short started out his career as a comedian with “SCTV” before moving to “Saturday Night Live” where he became one of the show’s most celebrated stars. Back in 1972 Short appeared in a production of “Godspell” alongside Gilda Radner. Short and Radner dated for a while, then Short started going out with Radner’s understudy, Nancy Dolman. Dolman and Short married in 1980. Any of you that follow British politics will know of Clare Short, a minister in the cabinet of former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Clare and Martin are first cousins.

33. Bluesy woodwind : SAX

The saxophone was invented by Belgian Adolphe Sax. Sax developed lip cancer at one point in his life, and one has to wonder if his affliction was related to his saxophone playing (I am sure not!). I had the privilege of visiting Sax’s grave in the Cemetery of Montmartre in Paris a few years ago.

40. Singer Brown + singer Swift = singer ___ : JAMES TAYLOR (JAMES Brown + TAYLOR Swift)

James Taylor is a singer-songwriter and guitarist who first achieved success with his 1070 song “Fire and Rain”. Famously, Taylor was married to fellow singer Carly Simon, from 1972 to 1983.

The singer James Brown was often referred to as “The Godfather of Soul” and sometimes “Mr. Dynamite”. He was born in Barnwell, South Carolina and had a rough and impoverished upbringing. He lived for some years in his aunt’s house which she ran as a brothel, and when he was sixteen he was convicted of armed robbery and was sent to reform school. While in reform school he was noticed by the R&B star Bobby Byrd, who took him under his wing. Byrd helped secure the young man an early release, and thereafter Brown turned his energies to music.

Singer Taylor Swift had one of her first gigs at the US Open tennis tournament when she was in her early teens. There she sang the national anthem and received a lot of favorable attention for the performance.

44. Elaine of “Seinfeld” : BENES

The character Elaine Benes, unlike the other lead characters (Jerry, Kramer and George), did not appear in the pilot episode of “Seinfeld”. NBC executives specified the addition of a female lead when they picked up the show citing that the situation was too “male-centric”.

46. Drug for insomniacs : AMBIEN

Ambien is a brand name for the prescription drug zolpidem. I have a friend who used to swear by Ambien for helping cope with jet lag. I once had to deal with jet lag almost monthly and swear by the diet supplement melatonin, which you can buy over the counter here in the US. But, I am no doctor so don’t listen to anything I say …

50. Basketball player Walton + basketball player Westbrook = basketball player ___ : BILL RUSSELL (BILL Walton + RUSSELL Westbrook)

Bill Russell is a retired basketball player who played for the Boston Celtics from 1956 to 1969. Russell also captained the gold medal-winning US national team at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia.

Bill Walton is retired NBA basketball player. After an outstanding college career with the UCLA Bruins, Walton played professionally with the Portland Trail Blazers, the San Diego Clippers and the Boston Celtics. He was plagued with injuries during his pro career, and after retiring from the game had to have both of his ankles surgically fused. Walton now holds the record of missing the most games in an NBA playing career.

Russell Westbrook is an NBA basketball player who was drafted by the Seattle Supersonics just 6 days before the team relocated and became the Oklahoma City Thunder.

56. Frenzied way to go : AMOK

The phrase “to run amok” (sometimes “to run amuck”) has been around since the 1670s and is derived from the Malay word for “attacking furiously”, “amuk”. The word “amok” was also used as a noun to describe Malay natives who were “frenzied”. Given Malaya’s troubled history, the natives probably had good reason for that frenzy …

57. Flapjack franchise, briefly : IHOP

The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) was founded back in 1958. IHOP was originally intended to be called IHOE, the International House of Eggs, but that name didn’t do too well in marketing tests!

58. = : EQUAL

The equals sign (=) was the 1557 creation of a Welsh physician and mathematician Robert Recorde. Recorde proposed the use of two parallel lines to indicate equality “because no 2 things, can be more equal.”

62. Cuban dance : RUMBA

The rumba (sometimes “rhumba”) is a Cuban dance, with influences brought by African slaves and Spanish colonists. The name “rumba” comes from “rumbo”, the Spanish word for “party, spree”.

Down

4. Traveling salesperson’s assignment: Abbr. : RTE

Route (rte.)

6. Practices pugilism : SPARS

“Pugilism”, another word for “boxing”, comes from the Latin “pugil” meaning “boxer”. In turn, “pugil” derives from “pugnus”, the word for “fist”.

8. Polo competitor : IZOD

Jack Izod was a tailor of some repute over in England, producing shirts for King George V as well as other members of the Royal Family. As Izod was about to retire, he was approached for the use of his name by an American clothing manufacturer based in New York. The brand Izod of London was introduced to America in 1938.

10. Try to get a better deal : HAGGLE

Our verb “to haggle”, meaning to argue about the price, originally meant “to cut unevenly”. The suggestion is that haggling is chopping away at the price.

11. Reason for a food recall : E COLI

Escherichia coli (E. coli) are usually harmless bacteria found in the human gut, working away quite happily. However, there are some strains that can produce lethal toxins. These strains can make their way into the food chain from animal fecal matter that comes into contact with food designated for human consumption.

12. Early Indus Valley inhabitant : ARYAN

The term “Aryan” can be used to describe the Indo-European languages or the peoples who speak them. The underlying assumption in this grouping is that Indian languages (based on Sanskrit) and the major European languages all have the same root.

The Indus river rises in Tibet and flows through the length of Pakistan and empties into the Arabian Sea, the part of the Indian Ocean lying to the west of the Indian subcontinent. The Indus gives its name to the country of India as “India” used to be the name of the region along the eastern banks of the river, which paradoxically is now in modern-day Pakistan.

27. Coup d’___ : ETAT

A coup d’état (often just “coup”) is the sudden overthrow of a government, and comes from the French for “stroke of state”. The Swiss-German word “putsch” is sometimes used instead of “coup”, with “Putsch” translating literally as “sudden blow”.

33. Barn adjunct : SILO

“Silo” is a Spanish word that we absorbed into English. The term ultimately derives from the Greek “siros”, which described a pit in which one kept corn.

35. Gen ___ (post-baby boomers) : XERS

The term “Generation X” originated in the UK where it was the name of a book by Jane Deverson. Her book detailed the results of a study of British youths in 1964, contrasting their lifestyle to those of previous generations. It was Canadian author Douglas Coupland who was responsible for popularizing the term, with his more successful publication “Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture”. By one definition, Gen-Xers were born between 1961 and 1981.

38. Jekyll’s counterpart : HYDE

Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” was published in 1886. There are many tales surrounding the writing of the story including one that the author wrote the basic tale in just three to six days, and spent a few weeks simply refining it. Allegedly, Stevenson’s use of cocaine stimulated his creative juices during those few days of writing.

41. Retirement income, for some : ANNUITY

Annuities are regular payments made at fixed intervals of time. That interval of time used to be yearly (annual), but the term is used now for any regular payment, regardless of the interval of time.

42. Bluish green : TEAL

The beautiful color of teal takes it name from the duck called a teal, which has dark greenish-blue (teal) markings on its head and wings.

44. Swindled : BILKED

The verb “to bilk”, meaning “to defraud”, comes from the card game of cribbage. “To bilk” in cribbage is to spoil someone’s score.

46. Addis ___, Ethiopia : ABABA

Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia. The city is relatively young, having being founded in 1886 by Emperor Menelik II. Addis Ababa holds an important position within the nations of Africa as it is home to many international organizations that are focused on the continent.

48. Chap : BLOKE

“Bloke” is British slang for “fellow”. The etymology of “bloke” seems to have been lost in the mists of time.

49. Seized vehicles : REPOS

Repossession (repo)

51. Loafer or pump : SHOE

The loafer slip-on shoe dates back to 1939. “Loafer” was originally a brand name introduced by the Fortnum and Mason’s store in London. The derivative term “penny loafer” arose in the late fifties or early sixties, although the exact etymology seems unclear.

A pump is a woman’s shoe that doesn’t have a strap. Such shoes are probably called “pumps” because of the sound they make while walking in them.

55. Neutrogena competitor : OLAY

Oil of Olay was developed in South Africa in 1949. When Oil of Olay was introduced internationally, it was given slightly different brand names designed to appeal in the different geographies. In Ireland we know it as Oil of Ulay, for example, and in France it is Oil of Olaz.

Neutrogena is a brand of skincare products that was founded in 1930 as a cosmetics company called Natone.

59. Sine ___ non : QUA

“Sine qua non” is a Latin phrase that we use to mean “the essential element or condition”. The literal translation is “without which not”. One might say, for example, “a challenging crossword is the sine qua non of a good newspaper”. Well, crossword fans might say that …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Writing on a book jacket : BLURB
6. Leveling wedge : SHIM
10. Be on the mend : HEAL
14. Total, as expenses : RUN TO
15. Mario who wrote “The Godfather” : PUZO
16. Farmland measure : ACRE
17. Part of a book that’s rarely read straight through : INDEX
18. Shortly : ANON
19. Brand of beans : GOYA
20. Ring result, for short : TKO
21. Actor Cameron + actor Fairbanks = actor ___ : KIRK DOUGLAS (KIRK Cameron + DOUGLAS Fairbanks)
24. Is the right size : FITS
25. Temporary support for a bone fracture : SPLINT
26. Infuse with bubbles : AERATE
29. Black tea variety : PEKOE
31. Comedian Carell + comedian Short = comedian ___ : STEVE MARTIN (STEVE Carell + MARTIN Short)
33. Bluesy woodwind : SAX
36. Curly cabbage : KALE
37. Where a mole shouldn’t be, in brief : CIA
38. Place that’s buzzing : HIVE
39. Hog’s home : STY
40. Singer Brown + singer Swift = singer ___ : JAMES TAYLOR (JAMES Brown + TAYLOR Swift)
44. Elaine of “Seinfeld” : BENES
45. Provides funding for : ENDOWS
46. Drug for insomniacs : AMBIEN
49. Assign stars to : RATE
50. Basketball player Walton + basketball player Westbrook = basketball player ___ : BILL RUSSELL (BILL Walton + RUSSELL Westbrook)
53. ___-mo replay : SLO
56. Frenzied way to go : AMOK
57. Flapjack franchise, briefly : IHOP
58. = : EQUAL
60. Two-wheeler : BIKE
61. Commotion : TO-DO
62. Cuban dance : RUMBA
63. Got a perfect score on : ACED
64. Thumbs-up votes : YEAS
65. Full of attitude : SASSY

Down

1. One whose car has a bonnet and tyres : BRIT
2. Blockhead : LUNK
3. “Erase” on a computer : UNDO
4. Traveling salesperson’s assignment: Abbr. : RTE
5. Flying toy that’s open-ended : BOX KITE
6. Practices pugilism : SPARS
7. Object of an ogler : HUNK
8. Polo competitor : IZOD
9. Relative of a snowboard : MONOSKI
10. Try to get a better deal : HAGGLE
11. Reason for a food recall : E COLI
12. Early Indus Valley inhabitant : ARYAN
13. Bare minimum : LEAST
22. Unit in an online order cart : ITEM
23. Atop : UPON
24. Top choice, informally : FAVE
26. Raises a question : ASKS
27. Coup d’___ : ETAT
28. Bank (on) : RELY
29. Gets nosy : PRIES
30. Greek H’s : ETAS
32. Pinnacle : ACME
33. Barn adjunct : SILO
34. Openly declare : AVOW
35. Gen ___ (post-baby boomers) : XERS
38. Jekyll’s counterpart : HYDE
40. Loudly razz : JEER
41. Retirement income, for some : ANNUITY
42. Bluish green : TEAL
43. Stag’s pride : ANTLERS
44. Swindled : BILKED
46. Addis ___, Ethiopia : ABABA
47. Copycat : MIMIC
48. Chap : BLOKE
49. Seized vehicles : REPOS
51. Loafer or pump : SHOE
52. Drink at an ice cream shop : SODA
53. Simplest arithmetic problems : SUMS
54. Hands-on science classes : LABS
55. Neutrogena competitor : OLAY
59. Sine ___ non : QUA

8 thoughts on “0827-18 NY Times Crossword 27 Aug 18, Monday”

  1. No errors. I thought that the theme was only mildly interesting.

    Every time the word ACRE occurs in a crossword I seem to learn a little more about it. I remember my mother (who was a farm girl) trying to explain it to me when I was around eight or nine years of age. I am still trying to grasp it. One thing I learned from Bill’s comment today is that an ACRE is not necessarily square. In the history of the word it started off as a rather long, thin rectangle. But the word evolved to describe any shape so long as the area enclosed by the perimeter remained at the same ACRE quantity of land measure. Personally, I have encountered several people who have owned an ACRE of land and yet could only give a nebulous answer as to where the actual boundaries are.

    1. Your comment sent me up to review Bill’s explanation of ACRE. His explanation reminded me of an old ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ comic, where Calvin is doing his homework. It went as follows: Calvin: “A bushel is a unit of weight equal to four pecks.” He turns to Hobbes and asks: “What is a peck?”. Hobbes replies: “A quick smooch”. Calvin: “You know, I don’t understand math at all”.

      For us common folk: a furlong is 1/8 mile or 660 feet. We can do the rest of the math from there. 🙂

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