0218-19 NY Times Crossword 18 Feb 19, Monday

Constructed by: Leslie Rogers & Andrea Carla Michaels
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Cap and Gown

Themed clues two words, the first of which is a type of CAP, AND the second a type of GOWN:

  • 59A Graduation garb … or what the compound answers to 17-, 28- and 44-Across represent? : CAP AND GOWN
  • 17A “Sleep well!” : NIGHT NIGHT! (giving “nightcap” & “nightgown”)
  • 28A Billy Idol hit that starts “Hey little sister, what have you done?” : WHITE WEDDING (giving “whitecap” & “wedding gown”)
  • 44A Vegetarian spaghetti topper : MUSHROOM BALL (giving “mushroom cap” & “ballgown”)

Bill’s time: 5m 22s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Fortuneteller’s deck : TAROT

Tarot cards have been around since the mid-1400s, and for centuries were simply used for entertainment as a game. It has only been since the late 1800s that the cards have been used by fortune tellers to predict the future. The list of tarot cards includes the Wheel of Fortune, the Hanged Man and the Lovers.

15 ___ Hari (W.W. I spy) : MATA

“Mata Hari” was the stage name used by Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, born in the Netherlands in 1876. After an unsuccessful and somewhat tragic marriage, Zella moved to Paris in 1903 where she struggled to make a living. By 1905 she was working as an exotic dancer and using the name Mata Hari. She was a successful courtesan, notably moving in various circles of high-ranking military officers. She apparently worked as a double agent, both for the French and the Germans. When Mata Hari was accused by the French of passing information to the enemy, she was tried, found guilty and executed by firing squad at the height of WW1, in 1917.

19 Actress Hathaway of “The Devil Wears Prada” : ANNE

Actress Anne Hathaway is a favorite of mine, I must say. She starred in “The Devil Wears Prada” in 2006 and in 2007’s “Becoming Jane”, a film that I particularly enjoyed.

Anna Wintour is fashion editor in Britain, and is also the editor-in-chief of American “Vogue”. Lauren Weisberger wrote the book “The Devil Wears Prada” with the tyrannical main character apparently based on Wintour.

20 Australia’s unofficial national bird : EMU

The emu has had a tough time in Australia since man settled there. There was even an “Emu War” in Western Australia in 1932 when migrating emus competed with livestock for water and food. Soldiers were sent in and used machine guns in an unsuccessful attempt to drive off the “invading force”. The emus were clever, breaking their usual formations and adopting guerrilla tactics, operating as smaller units. After 50 days of “war”, the military withdrew. Subsequent requests for military help for the farmers were ignored. The emus had emerged victorious …

21 Work from Keats or Shelley : ODE

The English poet John Keats died in Rome in 1821, and is buried there in the Protestant Cemetery. His last wish was that his grave be marked with a tombstone bearing just the words “”Here lies One whose Name was writ in Water”, and no name nor a date. Keats’ friends honored his request to some extent, as the words were included on the stone and no name is given. The full epitaph reads:

This Grave
contains all that was Mortal
of a
Young English Poet
Who
on his Death Bed, in the Bitterness of his Heart
at the Malicious Power of his Enemies
Desired
these Words to be
engraven on his Tomb Stone:
Here lies One
Whose Name was writ in Water.
24 February 1821

Percy Bysshe Shelley was an English Romantic poet. Shelley had strong views on vegetarianism. He was dedicated to the cause of all sentient beings, believing that the slaughter of animals by humans for the use of food was a barbaric practice. He wrote a famous essay on the subject called “A Vindication of Natural Diet” in 1813.

22 Nut used to make marzipan : ALMOND

Marzipan is a scrumptious confection made from almond meal sweetened with sugar or honey. The former English name was “marchpane” meaning “March bread”. We now use the term “marzipan”, which is the German name.

24 Content that has already been shared, as on a Reddit forum : REPOSTS

Reddit.com is a networking and news website that started up in 2005. It is essentially a bulletin board system with posts that are voted up and down by users, which determines the ranking of posts. The name “Reddit” is a play on “read it”, as in “I read it on Reddit”. One popular feature of the Reddit site is an online forum that is similar to a press conference. Known as an AMA (for “ask me anything”), participants have included the likes of President Barack Obama, Madonna, Bill Gates, Stephen Colbert and Gordon Ramsay. President Obama’s AMA was so popular that the high level of traffic brought down many parts of the Reddit site.

27 Coastal county of England : ESSEX

Essex is a county in England that is referred to as one of the “home counties”. The home counties are those that surround the city of London, outside of London itself. “Home county” is not an official designation but has been in popular use since the 1800s. The list of home counties usually comprises Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Surrey, and Sussex.

28 Billy Idol hit that starts “Hey little sister, what have you done?” : WHITE WEDDING (giving “whitecap” & “wedding gown”)

Billy Idol is an English rock musician, whose real name is William Broad. He started out with the punk band Generation X before making it big as a solo artist. Idol’s career was helped along by some well-received MTV music videos in the early days of the genre. His stage name was inspired by a school teacher who described young Billy as “idle”. He decide to avoid the “Billy Idle” spelling so as to avoid confusion with the “Monty Python” star Eric Idle.

36 Crankcase fluid : OIL

In most internal combustion engines the pistons that move up and down are arranged in a line, and connected to a crankshaft that runs along the bottom of the engine. The up and down motion of the pistons turns the crankshaft, which turning motion is “transmitted” (via the transmission) to the wheels. The case surrounding the crankshaft is called the crankcase. The crankcase contains a lot of oil that is squirted onto the crankshaft to lubricate it. Excess oil falls to the bottom of the crankcase and into a reservoir called the oil pan.

38 ___ Enterprise : USS

The USS Enterprise is a starship in the “Star Trek” universe (pun!). There have been several generations of starship with the name Enterprise, starting with the vessel numbered NCC-1701, which appeared in the original TV series. My favorite “Star Trek” series is “Next Generation”, which features USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D.

41 Pal of Harry and Hermione : RON

Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger are the principal characters in the “Harry Potter” series of fantasy novels by J. K. Rowling. The three are the best of friends.

42 Corporate money V.I.P. : CFO

Chief financial officer (CFO)

43 Henrik ___, “Hedda Gabler” playwright : IBSEN

Henrik Ibsen was a Norwegian playwright who is considered by many to be the greatest playwright since William Shakespeare. Ibsen was famous for shocking his audiences by exploring subjects that offended the sensibilities of the day (the late 1800s).

“Hedda Gabler” is a play by the great Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen that was first published in 1890. Considered one of the greatest theater roles, the title character of Hedda Gabler is sometimes referred to as the female Hamlet.

54 Austin Powers, vis-à-vis James Bond : PARODY

The character Austin Powers was created by the actor who plays him, namely Mike Myers. Apparently Myers came up with the idea for Powers while listening to the Burt Bacharach song “The Look of Love”.

56 ___-Caps (candy) : SNO

Sno-Caps are a brand of candy usually only available in movie theaters. Sno-caps have been around since the 1920s, would you believe?

63 Birch or beech : TREE

Birch is a hardwood tree. The smooth bark of the birch has eye-like features, leading to the trees nickname of “the Watchful Tree”.

The small triangular nuts of the beech tree are edible, but are very bitter. The nuts are called “beechmast” or simply “beechnuts”.

64 Astronaut Shepard : ALAN

Alan Shepard was the first American in space. Shepard’s flight was originally scheduled for October 1960 but a series of delays pushed it out till May 5, 1961. Yuri Gagarin made his celebrated flight on April 12, 1961, just one one month earlier, winning that part of the Space Race for the Soviets. A decade later, Shepard went into space again at the age of 47, as commander of Apollo 14. He was the fifth man to walk on the moon, and indeed the oldest. Shepard was also the only one of the Mercury Seven team to make it to the moon. Famously, he drove two golf balls while on the lunar surface.

67 Fey of comedy : TINA

Comedian and actress Tina Fey was born Elizabeth Stamatina Fey in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. Fey is perhaps best known to television viewers as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” (1997-2006), and as the creator and star of the sitcom “30 Rock” (2006-2013).

Down

2 Japanese cartoon art genre : ANIME

Anime is cartoon animation in the style of Japanese Manga comic books.

5 Big bang maker : TNT

“TNT” is an abbreviation for “trinitrotoluene”. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.

12 Quaker William : PENN

William Penn was given a huge land grant in America by King Charles II, because the king owed Penn’s father a lot of money. Penn took up residence on this side of the Atlantic and called his new holding “New Wales”. He later changed this name to “Sylvania” (the Latin for “forest”) and finally to “Pennsylvania”.

13 Took a gander at : EYED

To take a gander is to take a long look. “Gander” is a term we’ve been using in this sense since the 1880s, coming from the idea that in taking a long look one might be craning one’s neck like a goose (or gander).

23 ’60s hallucinogenic : LSD

LSD (known colloquially as “acid”) is short for lysergic acid diethylamide. A Swiss chemist called Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD in 1938 in a research project looking for medically efficacious ergot alkaloids. It wasn’t until some five years later when Hofmann ingested some of the drug accidentally that its psychedelic properties were discovered. Trippy, man …

25 “Never in the field of human conflict was so much ___ by so many to so few”: Churchill : OWED

The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the oldest independent air force in the world (i.e. the first air force to become independent of army or navy forces). The RAF was formed during WWI on 1 April 1918, a composite of two earlier forces, the Royal Flying Corps (part of the Army) and the Royal Naval Air Service. The RAF’s “finest hour” was the Battle of Britain, when the vastly outnumbered British fighters fought off the might of the Luftwaffe causing Hitler to delay his plan to cross the English Channel. This outcome prompted Winston Churchill to utter the memorable words

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

29 British racing town that lent its name to a kind of salt : EPSOM

The Surrey town of Epsom in England is most famous for its racecourse (Epsom Downs), at which is run the Epsom Derby every year, one of the three races that make up the English Triple Crown. We also come across “Epsom salts” from time to time. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, originally prepared by boiling down mineral waters. Epsom was indeed a spa town at one time. The town is also home to Epsom College, an English “public school” (which actually means “private, and expensive”). One of Epsom’s “old boys” was the Hollywood actor Stewart Granger.

31 Country/pop singer Campbell : GLEN

I went to a Glen Campbell concert in Reno many, many years ago, and I was surprised by how many hits the man had over the years. He really was one of the original crossover artists between country and popular music, as evidenced by his winning Grammy Awards in both categories in 1967. That year he won the country award for “Gentle on My Mind” and the pop award for “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”.

32 Request at a hair salon, informally : PERM

“Perm” is the common name given to a permanent wave, a chemical or thermal treatment of hair to produce waves or curls.

33 Last name of a trio of baseball brothers : ALOU

Felipe Alou is a former professional baseball player and manager. Alou managed the Montreal Expos from 1992 to 2001, and the San Francisco Giants from 2003 to 2006. Alou was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and came to the US to play for the Giants in 1955. Felipe’s brothers Matty and Jesús followed him to the US, and into Major League baseball.

38 Crafts in a “close encounter of the third kind” : UFOS

A “close encounter” is an occasion when a person witnesses an unidentified flying object (UFO). The term was introduced to us in a 1972 book by Allen Hynek called “The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry”. The public became really aware of the concept with the release of the excellent 1977 Steven Spielberg movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”.

39 Riverbank deposit : SILT

Today, we mostly think of silt as a deposit of sediment in a river. Back in the mid-1400s, silt was sediment deposited by seawater. It is thought that word “silt” is related to “salt”, as found in seawater.

45 Like some sweatshirts and cobras : HOODED

“Cobra” is the name given to a group of snakes, some of which are in different animal families. The term is reserved for those snakes that can expand their neck ribs to create a hood. The name “cobra” is an abbreviated form of “cobra de capello” which translates from Portuguese as “snake with hood”.

47 Fruit that’s peeled : BANANA

The banana is actually a berry, botanically speaking. And, they don’t really grow on trees. The “trunk” of the banana plant is in fact a pseudostem. The pseudostem is a false stem comprising rolled bases of leaves, and it can grow to 2 or 3 meters tall.

55 Home of the Taj Mahal : AGRA

Agra is a medieval city on the banks of the river Yamuna in India. Agra was also the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1556 to 1658. The city is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

  • The Taj Mahal: the famous mausoleum built in memory of Mumtaz Mahal.
  • Agra Fort: the site where the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond was seized.
  • Fatehpur Sikri: a historic city that’s home to well-preserved Mughal architecture.

60 Rumble in the Jungle champ : ALI

The Rumble in the Jungle was the celebrated 1974 fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman that took place in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). The fight was set in Zaire because of financial arrangements between promoter Don King and Zaire’s President Mobutu Seko. Ali coined the term “Rope-a-dope” to describe his incredibly successful strategy in the contest. From the second round onwards, Ali adopted a protected stance on the ropes letting Foreman pound him with blows to the body and head, with Ali using his arms to dissipate the power of the punches. He kept this up until the eighth round, and then opened up and downed the exhausted Foreman with a left-right combination. I hate boxing but I have to say, that was an fascinating fight …

61 Crime lab material : DNA

I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that the DNA of living things is so very similar across different species. Human DNA is almost exactly the same for every individual (to the degree of 99.9%). However, those small differences are sufficient to distinguish one individual from another, and to determine whether or not individuals are close family relatives.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Fortuneteller’s deck : TAROT
6 Flabbergasted : AWED
10 Material for a rock climber’s harness : ROPE
14 Collective bargaining side : UNION
15 ___ Hari (W.W. I spy) : MATA
16 Follow orders : OBEY
17 “Sleep well!” : NIGHT NIGHT! (giving “nightcap” & “nightgown”)
19 Actress Hathaway of “The Devil Wears Prada” : ANNE
20 Australia’s unofficial national bird : EMU
21 Work from Keats or Shelley : ODE
22 Nut used to make marzipan : ALMOND
24 Content that has already been shared, as on a Reddit forum : REPOSTS
27 Coastal county of England : ESSEX
28 Billy Idol hit that starts “Hey little sister, what have you done?” : WHITE WEDDING (giving “whitecap” & “wedding gown”)
32 Bullfighters’ entrance march : PASEO
35 Stroke gently : PET
36 Crankcase fluid : OIL
37 Sidestep : ELUDE
38 ___ Enterprise : USS
39 Secret ___ (metaphoric key to success) : SAUCE
41 Pal of Harry and Hermione : RON
42 Corporate money V.I.P. : CFO
43 Henrik ___, “Hedda Gabler” playwright : IBSEN
44 Vegetarian spaghetti topper : MUSHROOM BALL (giving “mushroom cap” & “ballgown”)
49 Chicken holders : COOPS
50 Bears witness (to) : ATTESTS
54 Austin Powers, vis-à-vis James Bond : PARODY
56 ___-Caps (candy) : SNO
57 Stocking stuffer? : TOE
58 Elderly : AGED
59 Graduation garb … or what the compound answers to 17-, 28- and 44-Across represent? : CAP AND GOWN
63 Birch or beech : TREE
64 Astronaut Shepard : ALAN
65 Elements of a roll call : NAMES
66 Minute or hour marker on a clock : HAND
67 Fey of comedy : TINA
68 iPhone maker : APPLE

Down

1 One doing piano repair : TUNER
2 Japanese cartoon art genre : ANIME
3 Assemble, as equipment : RIG UP
4 Cry of delight : OOH!
5 Big bang maker : TNT
6 Surrounded by : AMIDST
7 $15/hour, maybe : WAGE
8 Biblical verb suffix : -ETH
9 Collection of figures for a statistical analysis : DATA SET
10 Meandered : ROAMED
11 Very annoying : OBNOXIOUS
12 Quaker William : PENN
13 Took a gander at : EYED
18 “Me? Never!” : NOT I!
23 ’60s hallucinogenic : LSD
25 “Never in the field of human conflict was so much ___ by so many to so few”: Churchill : OWED
26 Slipper or sandal : SHOE
27 Females in wool : EWES
29 British racing town that lent its name to a kind of salt : EPSOM
30 Pleasant : NICE
31 Country/pop singer Campbell : GLEN
32 Request at a hair salon, informally : PERM
33 Last name of a trio of baseball brothers : ALOU
34 Protection at the beach : SUNSCREEN
38 Crafts in a “close encounter of the third kind” : UFOS
39 Riverbank deposit : SILT
40 Partner of ready and willing : ABLE
42 “Monkey see, monkey do” type : COPYCAT
45 Like some sweatshirts and cobras : HOODED
46 Item of fishing gear : ROD
47 Fruit that’s peeled : BANANA
48 Zillions : A TON
51 Crush with the foot, with “on” : STOMP
52 Low-tech hair dryer : TOWEL
53 Touch, taste or sight : SENSE
54 Hiker’s route : PATH
55 Home of the Taj Mahal : AGRA
56 Length of a bridge : SPAN
60 Rumble in the Jungle champ : ALI
61 Crime lab material : DNA
62 Space between two teeth, e.g. : GAP

12 thoughts on “0218-19 NY Times Crossword 18 Feb 19, Monday”

  1. No errors. The term MUSHROOM BALL perplexed me so I googled it. It turns out that there are two perfectly good meanings. One is using mushrooms as the main ingredient to form balls as an alternative to “meatballs”. The other use is the name of a physical game using a ball in which players temporarily become “mushrooms”.

    I was a little embarrassed that I did not know either of these uses. But, as always, it was nice to learn something new.

  2. 7:39, no errors. Not sure where the time went, only one erasure: 29D my mind was torn between ASCOT and EPSOM, so I wrote in EPCOT.

  3. No Errors. A couple Ink Overs. I don’t keep track of the time, and I assure you that it is not anywhere near any of you.

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