0828-18 NY Times Crossword 28 Aug 18, Tuesday

Constructed by: Brian Thomas
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: Backchannel

Themed answers each include the name of a TV CHANNEL written BACKWARDS:

  • 60A. Covert means of communication … or what’s hiding in the circled letters? : BACKCHANNEL
  • 17A. Teaching catchphrase popularized by “The Karate Kid” : WAX ON, WAX OFF (back FOX)
  • 21A. Resealable container for chips or cheese : ZIPLOC BAG (back ABC)
  • 32A. Portrayer of Cruella de Vil in 1996’s “101 Dalmatians” : GLENN CLOSE (back CNN)
  • 44A. Connection point for a smartphone cable : USB CHARGER (back CBS)

Bill’s time: 7m 33s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Richie and Ralph’s pal on “Happy Days” : POTSIE

Anson Williams plays the lovable Warren “Potsie” Weber character on “Happy Days”. After “Happy Days” finished its run, Williams moved into directing and has directed episodes of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, “Xena: Warrior Princess”, “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”, “Melrose Place”, “Beverly Hills 90210” and other shows. But Williams’ true claim to fame has to be that he is the second cousin of Dr. Henry Heimlich, who invented the Heimlich Maneuver!

7. Shakespearean title : BARD

William Shakespeare is referred to as the Bard of Avon as he was born and raised in the lovely town of Stratford-upon-Avon in the English midlands.

14. “Knocked Up” director Judd : APATOW

Judd Apatow is known for producing the TV series “Freaks and Geeks” and “Undeclared”. Those shows aren’t my cup of tea, but he also collaborated with Lena Dunham to create the show “Girls”. I could drink that tea all day long. “Girls” is a very entertaining series …

15. Tribe at Council Bluff : OTOE

The Native American people known as the Otoe and the Missouri were the first tribes encountered by the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The meeting took place in 1804 at a point on the Missouri River that is now known as Council Bluffs.

16. First word of the Lord’s Prayer : OUR

Our Father … (“Pater noster” in Latin) are the opening words of the Lord’s Prayer, which is probably the best-known prayer in the Christian tradition.

17. Teaching catchphrase popularized by “The Karate Kid” : WAX ON, WAX OFF (back FOX)

The 1984 film “The Karate Kid” starred Ralph Macchio in the title role, with Pat Morita playing the enigmatic karate teacher Mr. Miyagi. There is an excellent 2010 remake, starring Jaden Smith (Will Smith’s son) as the Karate Kid himself, with Jackie Chan playing the teacher. In the original 1984 movie, the Karate Kid was named Daniel LaRusso, and in the 2010 remake was named Dre Parker.

20. Spot for a yacht : SLIP

A “slipway” or “slip” is a ramp on the shore in which boats can “slip” into the water. This “slipping” into the water was is literally the case in a shipyard where a vessel’s hull slips off the ramp after it is coated with grease.

21. Resealable container for chips or cheese : ZIPLOC BAG (back ABC)

Ziploc re-sealable storage bags came on the market in 1968.

23. Place to get a perm : SALON

“Perm” is the common name given to a permanent wave, a chemical or thermal treatment of hair to produce waves or curls. I don’t worry about such things, as it’s a number-one all over for me …

26. Jean who wrote “Wide Sargasso Sea” : RHYS

“Wide Sargasso Sea” was written by Jean Rhys and first published in 1966. It’s a clever work, written as a sort of prequel to Charlotte Bronte’s famous “Jane Eyre”, which dates back to 1847.

30. Rhinoceros’s skin, essentially : ARMOR

There are five types of rhinoceros that survive today, with the smaller Javan Rhino being the most rare. The rhinoceros is probably the rarest large mammal on the planet, thanks to poaching. Hunters mainly prize the horn of the rhino, as it is used in powdered form in traditional Chinese medicine.

32. Portrayer of Cruella de Vil in 1996’s “101 Dalmatians” : GLENN CLOSE (back CNN)

Glenn Close a wonderful actress who has played many varied roles, but is well known for her portrayals of less than wholesome characters. She play the crazy Alex Forrest in “Fatal Attraction”, and Cruella de Vil in “101 Dalmatians”. More recently, Close had a regular role on a TV show called “Damages”. Glenn Close is an avid fan of the New York Mets and regularly sings the national anthem before games.

Cruella de Vil is the villain in the 1956 novel “The Hundred and One Dalmatians” written by Dodie Smith. Most famously perhaps, Cruella was played so ably by Glenn Close in the Disney movie adaption “101 Dalmatians”, released in 1996.

35. Portia de Rossi, to Ellen DeGeneres : WIFE

Portia de Rossi is an actress from Australia who played Nellie Porter on “Ally McBeal” and Lindsay Bluth/Fünke on “Arrested Development”. Off the screen, de Rossi is famous as the wife of Ellen DeGeneres, whom she married in 2008.

42. Lions, Tigers or Bears : TEAM

The Detroit Lions are the NFL team that plays home games at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. The team was founded way back in 1929 as the Portsmouth Spartans from Portsmouth, Ohio. The Spartans joined the NFL during the Great Depression as other franchises collapsed. However, the Spartans couldn’t command a large enough gate in Portsmouth so the team was sold and relocated to Detroit in 1934.

The origins of the Detroit Tigers baseball team’s name seems a little unclear. One story is that it was taken from the Detroit Light Guard military unit who were known as “The Tigers”. The Light Guard fought with distinction during the Civil War and in the Spanish-American War. Sure enough, when the Detroit baseball team went into the Majors they were formally given permission to use “The Tigers” name by the Detroit Light Guard.

The Chicago Bears were founded in Decatur, Illinois in 1919 and moved to Chicago in 1921. The Bears are one of only two franchises in the NFL that were around at the time of the NFL’s founding (the other is the Arizona Cardinals, who were also based in Chicago in 1921).

44. Connection point for a smartphone cable : USB CHARGER (back CBS)

Universal Serial Bus (USB) is an industry standard dealing with how computers and electronic devices connect and communicate, and deal with electrical power through those connections.

52. One using Monster.com : JOB HUNTER

Monster.com is a huge (monster) employment website. At any one time, there are apparently about a million jobs posted on the website.

55. Alpo alternative : IAMS

Iams dog food was introduced by the animal nutritionist Paul Iams. He felt that household pets were suffering somewhat by being fed a diet of table scraps, so he developed a dry dog food that he felt was more nutritious and suitable for pet dogs. He founded the Iams company, now part of Procter & Gamble, in 1946.

59. “We Like ___” (old campaign slogan) : IKE

“I Like Ike” was a political slogan that originated with the grassroots movement to get Dwight D. Eisenhower (Ike) to run for president in the 1952 presidential election.

64. The Beatles’ “Let ___” : IT BE

“Let It Be” was the last album that the Beatles released as an active group playing together. The title song “Let It Be” was written by Paul McCartney, and it is clearly one of his own favorites. McCartney says that he was inspired to write the song after having had a dream about his mother (who had died some years earlier from cancer). In fact he refers to her (Mary McCartney) in the line “Mother Mary comes to me”. Paul’s first wife, Linda, is singing backing vocals on the song, the only time she is known to have done so in a Beatles recording. 18 years after that 1970 recording was made, Paul, George and Ringo sang “Let It Be” at a memorial service for Linda, who was also lost to cancer. Sad stuff, but a lovely song …

67. Edamame beans : SOYS

Edamame is a simple dish made of immature soybeans still in the pod. The pods are boiled and then salted before serving, usually as a snack or side dish. The name “edamame” translates as “twig bean”.

Down

2. Australia’s national gem : OPAL

97% of the world’s opals come from Australia, so it’s no surprise perhaps that the opal is the national gemstone of the country. The state of South Australia provides the bulk of the world’s production, i.e. about 80%.

5. B+, e.g. : ION

Boron is the chemical element with the atomic number of 5 and symbol B. It lies over to the right in Group 13 of the Periodic Table of the Elements. Uncombined, elemental boron is not found naturally on Earth. The boron that is mined is found in oxide form, not as uncombined boron.

9. “Hilarious!,” briefly : ROFL

Rolling on Floor Laughing (ROFL)

11. Loser of tennis’s Battle of the Sexes : BOBBY RIGGS

Bobby Riggs was a World No. 1 tennis player in the thirties and forties, both as an amatuer and a professional. However, Riggs is best remembered for playing “The Battle of the Sexes” match against Billie Jean King in 1973. Riggs was defeated by King in three straight sets.

13. What a Pride Day parader might dress in : DRAG

The etymology of the term “drag”, as used in the transvestite world, seems to be unclear. It perhaps relates to the tendency of a transvestite’s skirts to drag along the ground in days of old (although why they just didn’t hitch up their skirts is beyond me!).

The first gay pride parades were held all on the same weekend in 1970, in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

18. ___ dye : AZO

Azo compounds have very vivid colors and so are used to make dyes, especially dyes with the colors red, orange and yellow. The term “azo” comes from the French word “azote” meaning “nitrogen”. French chemist Lavoisier coined the term “azote” from the Greek word “azotos” meaning “lifeless”. He used this name as in pure nitrogen/azote animals die and flames are snuffed out (due to a lack of oxygen).

22. Vittles : CHOW

“Chow” is a slang term for food that originated in California in the mid-1800s. “Chow” comes from the Chinese pidgin English “chow-chow” meaning “food”.

“Victuals” is a term for food that is fit for consumption. We tend to pronounce “victuals” as “vittles”, and we use the term “vittles” and “victuals” interchangeably.

24. Raggedy ___ (dolls) : ANNS

Raggedy Ann is a rag doll that was created by Johnny Gruelle in 1915 for his daughter, Marcella. He decided to name the doll by combining the titles of two poems by James Whitcomb Riley, “The Raggedy Man” and “Little Orphan Annie”. Gruelle introduced Raggedy Ann in a series of books three years later. Sadly, Marcella died at 13 years of age with her father blaming a smallpox vaccination she was given at school. Gruelle became very active in the movement against mass vaccination, for which Raggedy Ann became a symbol.

27. Powers that be: Abbr. : MGMT

Management (mgmt.)

31. Do some farrier’s work on : RESHOE

A blacksmith is someone who forges and shapes iron, perhaps to make horseshoes. A farrier is someone who fits horseshoes onto the hooves of horses. The term “blacksmith” is sometimes used for one who shoes horses, especially as many blacksmiths make horseshoes and fit them as well.

37. Currency of Italy or France : EURO

The euro sign (€) looks like a letter C, but with two horizontal lines drawn across the middle. Inspiration for the design comes from the Greek letter epsilon.

45. Royal attendants : RETINUE

A retinue is a body of aides who attend an important person. The term comes from the Old French “retenue” that had the same meaning, although the literal translation is “that which is retained”. The idea is that the aides are retained to attend the VIP.

47. Wolf-headed Egyptian god : ANUBIS

Anubis is the Greek name for the Ancient Egyptian deity called Inpu, a god associated with death and mummification. Anubis’s role was to protect the dead and their tombs.

49. Finnish-based consumer electronics giant : NOKIA

I do enjoy classical guitar music, but there isn’t a huge choice on CD. There is one very special piece called “Gran Vals” by Francisco Tárrega, written in 1902. This piece has a unique reputation as it contains a phrase that was once the most listened-to piece of music in the whole world. Just a few bars into the work one can hear the celebrated Nokia ringtone!

50. Hockey feints : DEKES

A deke, also known as a dangle, is a technique used to get past an opponent in ice hockey. “Deke” is a colloquial shortening of the word “decoy”.

51. Tolkien beast : ORC

According to Tolkien, Orcs are small humanoids that live in his fantasy world of Middle-earth (also called “Mordor”). They are very ugly and dirty, and are fond of eating human flesh.

53. ___ alphabet : NATO

The NATO phonetic alphabet is also called the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) phonetic alphabet. It goes Alfa, Bravo, Charlie … X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.

54. Soft-serve chain : TCBY

TCBY is a chain of stores selling frozen yogurt that was founded in 1981 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The acronym TCBY originally stood for “This Can’t Be Yogurt”, but this had to be changed due to a lawsuit being pressed by a competitor called “I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt”. These days TCBY stands for “The Country’s Best Yogurt”.

56. ___ Domini : ANNO

The designations Anno Domini (AD, “year of Our Lord”) and Before Christ (BC) are found in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. The dividing point between AD and BC is the year of the conception of Jesus, with AD 1 following 1 BC without a year “0” in between. The AD/BC scheme dates back to AD 525, and gained wide acceptance soon after AD 800. Nowadays a modified version has become popular, with CE (Common/Christian Era) used to replace AD, and BCE (Before the Common/Christian Era) used to replace BC.

61. That dude’s : HIS

Our term “dude” arose as slang in New York City in the 1880s, when it was used to describe a fastidious man. In the early 1900s, the term was extended to mean “city slickers”, easterners who vacationed in the West. The first use of the term “dude ranch” was recorded in 1921.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Richie and Ralph’s pal on “Happy Days” : POTSIE
7. Shakespearean title : BARD
11. Misbehaving : BAD
14. “Knocked Up” director Judd : APATOW
15. Tribe at Council Bluff : OTOE
16. First word of the Lord’s Prayer : OUR
17. Teaching catchphrase popularized by “The Karate Kid” : WAX ON, WAX OFF (back FOX)
19. Sports ___ : BRA
20. Spot for a yacht : SLIP
21. Resealable container for chips or cheese : ZIPLOC BAG (back ABC)
23. Place to get a perm : SALON
26. Jean who wrote “Wide Sargasso Sea” : RHYS
27. Spot for a yacht : MARINA
30. Rhinoceros’s skin, essentially : ARMOR
32. Portrayer of Cruella de Vil in 1996’s “101 Dalmatians” : GLENN CLOSE (back CNN)
35. Portia de Rossi, to Ellen DeGeneres : WIFE
38. Customize, as a video game : MOD
39. She reads the signs : SEERESS
41. Animated movie villain with Minions : GRU
42. Lions, Tigers or Bears : TEAM
44. Connection point for a smartphone cable : USB CHARGER (back CBS)
46. Trades : SWAPS
48. Should pay : OWES TO
49. Indian flatbread : NAAN
50. Biblical verb with “thou” : DOEST
52. One using Monster.com : JOB HUNTER
55. Alpo alternative : IAMS
59. “We Like ___” (old campaign slogan) : IKE
60. Covert means of communication … or what’s hiding in the circled letters? : BACKCHANNEL
63. Compete : VIE
64. The Beatles’ “Let ___” : IT BE
65. “Couldn’t tell ya!” : I DUNNO
66. Gobble up : EAT
67. Edamame beans : SOYS
68. Show the door : SEE OUT

Down

1. What dogs “shake” with : PAWS
2. Australia’s national gem : OPAL
3. Prepare to go on the runway : TAXI
4. Comes calling : STOPS IN
5. B+, e.g. : ION
6. “Gross!” : EWW!
7. Trap, as a car : BOX IN
8. On : ATOP
9. “Hilarious!,” briefly : ROFL
10. Twist out of shape : DEFORM
11. Loser of tennis’s Battle of the Sexes : BOBBY RIGGS
12. Mysterious vibes : AURAS
13. What a Pride Day parader might dress in : DRAG
18. ___ dye : AZO
22. Vittles : CHOW
24. Raggedy ___ (dolls) : ANNS
25. Prepare for a hockey game : LACE UP
27. Powers that be: Abbr. : MGMT
28. Sunburn soother : ALOE
29. Really sunburned : RED AS A BEET
30. “Gimme just ___” : A SEC
31. Do some farrier’s work on : RESHOE
33. What frugal people make do with : LESS
34. Ball in the sky : ORB
36. Be in a dither : FRET
37. Currency of Italy or France : EURO
40. Makes the cut? : SAWS
43. [Blown kiss] : MWAH!
45. Royal attendants : RETINUE
47. Wolf-headed Egyptian god : ANUBIS
49. Finnish-based consumer electronics giant : NOKIA
50. Hockey feints : DEKES
51. Tolkien beast : ORC
52. Nonsense talk : JIVE
53. ___ alphabet : NATO
54. Soft-serve chain : TCBY
56. ___ Domini : ANNO
57. It might start with “For Starters” : MENU
58. Part of a TV schedule : SLOT
61. That dude’s : HIS
62. Ending with many fruit names : -ADE

13 thoughts on “0828-18 NY Times Crossword 28 Aug 18, Tuesday”

  1. 14:06. I got the theme, but it didn’t help much.

    @Pix
    My background is more in physics than chemistry, but there is some truth to what you say. I Googled a few things out of curiosity – In theory boron can’t exist as an ion – something to do with the energy it would take to take away 3 of its electrons being too great. But as Bill points out, boron doesn’t even exist as a stand alone element on earth much less as an ion. What I do not know is if a boron ion could be manufactured for any amount of time. I suspect the setter used B+ as it sounds like a grade. Regardless, it’s an interesting topic of discussion. You make me want to consult with a chemist about it.

    Best –

  2. 10:20, no errors. Couldn’t figure out the theme until I filled 60A, enjoyable effort today.

    @Pix and @Jeff: had to double check with wiki. Boron has oxidation states of +3, +2, +1, -1 and -5; so Boron ions do exist. The oxide Bill is referring to is B2O3 (sorry, can’t do subscripts). Two +3 Boron ions will match three -2 Oxygen ions.

  3. Thanks to everyone who is explaining about the characteristics of Boron. I want to ask you if you have considered something else. In my newspaper the clue is written as “B+, e.g.”. The plus sign is written after the letter B and it is also raised (which I could not duplicate). My question is: Is there any significance to the plus sign following the letter B as opposed to preceding it? and also is there any significance to the plus sign being raised? Would this narrow down the meaning of what is being asked for by the constructor?

      1. Thanks, @Dave. I did visit the website that you suggested. It is a very well-done explanation of ions and is presented in a simple way that I could understand. It seems then that Boron IONs do exist and, in fact, it is their natural state. So the constructor was correct about the entry.

      2. @Dale … I would say that the meaning of the notation (a “B” with a superscript “+”) is clear and that it describes a particular kind of boron ion. What is in dispute (and I am not qualified to weigh in on the issue) is whether the boron ion described by the notation actually exists. If you want to be really swamped, try reading this article in the Encyclopedia Britannica … 😜.

      3. @Dale … I also think Jeff’s comment about the constructor’s reason for choosing boron (because B+ looks like a letter grade) is very much to the point.

        1. @Dave—-I read the encyclopedia article on Boron. It is quite amazing that chemists have discovered all those facts about it. They have put in a lot of lab work in order to fully understand everything about Boron’s nature.

          I agree with Jeff and yourself about what the constructor was intending. When I first came up on the entry, I assumed that it was a “B-plus” as a school grade. My first inclination was to put in GPA for “grade point average”. But I knew grade point averages are expressed in decimal points, not pluses and minuses. Eventually I got enough crosses that I could see that the constructor was looking for the chemical symbol.

  4. Found this on the tough side for a Tuesday, but enjoyed the challenge. Erred with the APOTOW/EWW cross, wanting EeW instead of EWW, which resulted in a careless second spelling error in APATOe.

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