0816-19 NY Times Crossword 16 Aug 19, Friday

Constructed by: Ori Brian
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Read on, or jump to …
… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 9m 38s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Forgo Uber or Lyft : GRAB A CAB

Uber is a ridesharing service that was founded in 2009 and is based in San Francisco. The service is somewhat controversial and has been described as an illegal taxicab operation. Central to Uber’s service is the company’s mobile app, which can use the client’s GPS location to help find the nearest available ride. Uber’s main competitor is Lyft.

9 Maxim, e.g. : LAD MAG

A “lad mag” is a men’s magazine.

“Maxim” is an international men’s magazine featuring revealing photo spreads (non-nude in the US) of female celebrities and models.

15 Story involving Pecos Bill or Babe the Blue Ox : TALL TALE

Pecos Bill has become a character in tall tales of the Old West after having been introduced in 1917 by author Edward O’Reilly. Legend has it that Bill was travelling in a covered wagon from Texas with his family when he fell out unnoticed by the party. He was lost near the Pecos River, hence his name. He was found and raised by a pack of coyotes, but years later was recovered by his real brother. Pecos Bill grew up to be a cowboy and married a woman called Slue-Foot Sue who he met riding a giant catfish down the Rio Grande.

Paul Bunyan is a character of American myth; Bunyan is a skilled lumberjack, and has a sidekick called Babe the Blue Ox. Both Bunyan and Babe are gigantic in size.

16 Grandmother, in Granada : ABUELA

Granada is a city and province in Andalusia in the south of Spain. Granada should not to be confused with Grenada (note the different spelling), an island nation in the Caribbean that was invaded by the US in 1983.

18 Website with the popular page r/explainlikeimfive : REDDIT

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.

19 Producer with cameos in “Iron Man” and “Black Panther” : STAN LEE

Stan Lee did just about everything at Marvel Comics over the years, from writing to being president and chairman of the board. If you like superhero movies based on the characters from Marvel Comics, then you could spend a few hours trying to spot Stan Lee in those films as he had a penchant for making cameo appearances. Lee can be spotted in “X-Men” (2000), “Spider-Man” (2002), “Hulk” (2003), “Fantastic Four” (2005), “Iron Man” (2008) and many other films.

21 “___ Kapital” : DAS

“Das Kapital” (entitled “Capital” in English versions) is a book about political economy written by Karl Marx, first published in 1867. The book is in effect an analysis of capitalism, and proffers the opinion that capitalism relies on the exploitation of workers. Marx concludes that the profits from capitalist concerns come from the underpaying of labor.

22 D.C. fund-raising group : PAC

A political action committee (PAC) is a private group that works to influence the outcome of a particular election or group of elections. Any group becomes a PAC by law when it receives or spends more than $1,000 for the purpose of influencing the outcome of an election. In 2010 the Supreme Court ruled that PACS that did not make direct contributions to candidates or parties could accept unlimited contributions. These “independent, expenditure-only committees” are commonly referred to as “super PACs”.

23 Without : SANS

In French, “avec” (with) and “sans” (without) are opposites.

27 Discards in old maid : PAIRS

Old maid is a card game that originated in Victorian England, although similar games are played throughout the world. When played with a regular deck of cards, the queen of clubs is removed before play starts. The cards are distributed to the players and are discarded as “matches” are made (two aces, two kings etc). The person left with an unmatched queen is the loser, the “old maid”.

29 Org. for Big Red or Big Green : NCAA

Big Red is the name given to the athletic teams of Cornell University.

The Big Green are the athletic teams of Dartmouth College. The Big Green’s unofficial mascot is Keggy the Keg, an anthropomorphic beer keg.

30 Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, for one : PARLOR GAME

Kevin Bacon is an actor from Philadelphia who appeared first on the big screen in the 1978 comedy “National Lampoon’s Animal House”. That wasn’t to be the big break that Bacon needed though, which came with “Footloose” in 1984. A fun fact about him is that he is the subject of a popular trivia game called “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” in which players have to show that a particular actor can be related to Kevin Bacon in fewer than six links, with each link being a movie in which two actors appear together.

35 Digital photo add-on : INSTAGRAM FILTER

Instagram is a photo-sharing application, one that is extremely popular. Instagram was started in San Francisco in 2010. Facebook purchased Instagram two years later, paying $1 billion. The billion-dollar Instagram company had just 13 employees at the time of the sale …

37 Best-selling author who used an awful lot of commas : PETER ROGET

Peter Mark Roget was an English lexicographer. Roget was an avid maker of lists, apparently using the routine of list-making to combat depression, a condition he endured for most of his life. He published his famous thesaurus in 1852, with revisions and expansions being made years later by his son, and then in turn by his grandson.

39 Protruding nail : TALON

A talon is a claw of a bird of prey. The term “talon” ultimately derives from “talus”, the Latin word for “ankle”.

41 It might be found on a belt : AMMO

The word “munitions” describes materials and equipment used in war. The term derives from the Latin “munitionem” meaning “fortification, defensive wall”. Back in the 17th century, French soldiers referred to such materials as “la munition”, a Middle French term. This was misheard as “l’ammunition”, and as a result we ended up importing the word “ammunition” (often shortened to “ammo”), a term that we now use mainly to describe the material fired from a weapon.

45 Diamond, on the Mohs scale : TEN

The Mohs scale of mineral hardness was developed in 1812 by Friedrich Mohs. Basically Mohs took minerals and scratched them with other minerals. In this way he was able to determine which minerals were hardest (most scratch resistant) and which softest. On the scale, diamond is the hardest (and rated 10), while talc is the softest (and rated 1).

46 Number of capitals of Bolivia : DOS

The administrative capital of Bolivia, La Paz, is officially named Nuestra Senora de La Paz (Our Lady of Peace). La Paz is the seat of the Bolivian government, even though the constitutional capital of the country is Sucre.

Sucre is the constitutional capital of Bolivia (La Paz is the administrative capital and seat of the government). It is named for independence leader Antonio José de Sucre, who was the second president of Bolivia as well as the fourth president of Peru.

53 Faddish hairstyle of the mid-2010s : MAN BUN

Man buns are topknots worn by men with long hair.

54 One who might get you into hot water? : CANNIBAL

The term “cannibalism” was coined by the Spanish, working from the name of the Carib people of the Lesser Antilles. The Spanish explorers of the Caribbean believed that the Carib people ate human flesh for food, but apparently this was untrue (although there was a war ritual that involved some chewing of an enemy’s flesh). The eating of human flesh has been noted throughout history, in many parts of the world. In fact, Fiji in the South Pacific was once known as “Cannibal Isles”.

56 Halfway home : ON SECOND

That would be baseball.

Down

1 Vintage Pontiacs : GTOS

The initialism “GTO” was used on several touring cars (including a famous Pontiac) and stands for “Gran Turismo Omologato”. Italian car manufacturers started the tradition of calling their luxury performance cars “Gran Turismo”, and calling those cars they approved for racing “Gran Turismo Omologato”. The phrase “gran turismo omologato” translates as “grand touring homologated”, “homologated” being a technical term signifying official approval.

2 Long blog entry, maybe : RANT

Many folks who visit this website regard it as just that, a website. That is true, but more specifically it is referred to as a blog, as I make regular posts (actually daily posts) that then occupy the “front page” of the site. The blog entries are in reverse chronological order, and one can just look back day-by-day, reading older and older posts. “Blog” is a contraction of the term “web log”.

3 Skiing mecca in the Rockies : ALTA

Alta ski resort actually lies within the Salt Lake City Metropolitan Area. The first ski lift in the resort was opened way back in 1939. Today, Alta is one of only three ski resorts in the country that prohibits snowboarding (along with Deer Valley, Utah and Mad River Glen, Vermont. The ski resort of Snowbird, located next to Alta, has been in operation since 1971.

6 Phoebe of “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” : CATES

Phoebe Cates is an actress and model best-known for the roles she played in the films “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Gremlins”. Cates retired from acting in the mid-90s to raise her children. Cates is married to fellow actor Kevin Kline.

“Fast Times at Ridgemont High” is a 1981 book by Cameron Crowe, which the author adapted into a celebrated 1982 movie of the same name. Crowe actually posed as a student in Clairemont High School for a year, and the book chronicles his experiences as a senior student. The film launched the careers of several young actors, including Nicolas Cage, Forest Whitaker and Sean Penn.

8 Capital of Bolivia? : BEE

The word “Bolivia” starts with a capital letter B (bee).

9 Fictional raiding archaeologist : LARA CROFT

Lara Croft was introduced to the world in 1996 as the main character in a pretty cool video game (or so I thought, back then) called “Tomb Raider”. Lara Croft moved to the big screen in 2001 and 2003, in two pretty awful movie adaptations of the game’s storyline. Angelina Jolie played Croft, and she did a very energetic job.

10 Second son : ABEL

According to the Bible, Adam and Eve had several children, although only the first three are mentioned by name: Cain, Abel and Seth.

11 Bros : DUDES

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.

12 Mythical enchantress : MEDEA

In Greek mythology, Medea was the wife of Jason, the heroic leader of the Argonauts. Medea was a sorceress who pledged to help Jason in his search for the Golden Fleece, on condition that he take her as his wife. According to some accounts, Jason left Medea and took up with Glauce, the daughter of the king of Corinth. Medea got her own back by sending Glauce a golden coronet and a dress that were covered with poison. The poison killed Glauce, and her father the king. To further her revenge on Jason, Medea killed two of her own children that were fathered by him.

14 Los ___, Calif. : GATOS

The town of Los Gatos is in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. The town’s name translates from Spanish to “the Cats” and comes from the old name for the area “Cat’s Corner”. That name is a reference to the cougars that roamed the foothills in which the town is located.

20 Foes of Fido, stereotypically : MAILMEN

“Fido”, the name for many a dog, is Latin for “I trust”.

22 Ideal : PARAGON

A paragon is a model of excellence, a peerless example. Ultimately the term derives from the Greek “para-” meaning “on the side” and “akone” meaning “whetstone”. This derivation comes from the ancient practice of using a touchstone to test gold for its level of purity by drawing a line on the stone with the gold and comparing the resulting mark with samples of known purity.

24 Impertinent sort : SNIP

An impertinent person might be described as a little snip. Quite frankly, I’m not sure of the etymology of “snip” …

26 Who originated the modern image of Santa Claus : NAST

The Santa Claus with whom we are familiar today largely comes from the description in the 1823 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, and from the 1863 caricature created by the political cartoonist Thomas Nast. Nast is also responsible for locating Santa’s workshop at the North Magnetic Pole, a fact that he revealed to the world in a series of drawings in 1879.

27 One out? : PAROLEE

The term “parole” is a French word that we use in English, with the French “parole” meaning “word, speech”. Of particular interest is the French phrase “parole d’honneur” which translates as “word of honor”. In the early 1600s we started using “parole” to mean a promise by a prisoner of war not to escape, as in the prisoner giving his “word of honor” not to run off. Over time, parole has come to mean conditional release of a prisoner before he or she has served the full term of a sentence.

28 Eastern honorific : SRI

“Sri” is a title of respect for a male in India.

32 Helps for short people, for short : ATMS

Automatic Teller Machine (ATM)

33 Link on a restaurant’s Yelp page : MENU

yelp.com is a website that provides a local business directory and reviews of services. The site is sort of like Yellow Pages on steroids, and the term “yelp” is derived from “yel-low p-ages”.

34 Freudian focus : EROS

“Libido” is a term popularized by Sigmund Freud. Freud’s usage was more general than is understood today, as he used “libido” to describe all instinctive energy that arose in the subconscious. He believed that we humans are driven by two desires, the desire for life (the libido, or Eros) and the desire for death (Thanatos).

40 Track-and-field star Jackie ___-Kersee : JOYNER

Jackie Joyner-Kersee is retired now, but in her day was one of the greatest heptathletes in the world, as well as an Olympic medal winner in the long jump. Jackie was named Jackie Joyner at birth, after Jackie Kennedy. She got the Kersee moniker when she married her coach Bob Kersee, in 1986.

42 Hit 2016 film set partly at sea : MOANA

“Moana” is a 2016 animated feature film and the 56th animated Disney movie. The title character is the daughter of a Polynesian chief who heads off in search of the demigod Maui, hoping that he can save her people.

44 Wrigley brand : ORBIT

Orbit is a sugarless gum made by Wrigley’s. Orbit was first introduced during WWII, but was taken off the shelves in the 1980s when there was a concern that the gum’s sweetener was carcinogenic. Orbit was relaunched in 2001.

46 Activity at un bal masqué : DANSE

In French, one might participate in a “danse” (dance) at “un bal masqué” (a masked ball).

48 Buggy area : DUNE

That would be a dune buggy.

49 Stop waxing, say : WANE

The verb “to wax”, in phrases like “wax lyrical” and “wax poetic”, means “to grow”. “To wax” is the opposite of “to wane”, which means “to decrease”. We are probably most familiar with the “waxing and waning of the moon.

50 Instrument with metal keys : OBOE

The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name “oboe” comes from the French “hautbois” which means “high wood”.

52 Rival of Ford and Packard : OLDS

Ransom Eli Olds was a pioneer in the automotive industry, and the founder of the Oldsmobile and REO brands. Olds introduced the first modern “stationary” assembly line (Henry Ford’s famous innovation was the “moving” assembly line). As a result, it can be argued that the Oldsmobile Curved Dash was the first mass-produced, low-priced automobile, rather than the Ford’s Model T.

54 Gander : goose :: ___ : swan : COB

An adult male swan is a cob, and an adult female is a pen. Young swans are swanlings or cygnets.

A male goose is called a gander, with the female simply being referred to as a goose. Young geese are called goslings.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Forgo Uber or Lyft : GRAB A CAB
9 Maxim, e.g. : LAD MAG
15 Story involving Pecos Bill or Babe the Blue Ox : TALL TALE
16 Grandmother, in Granada : ABUELA
17 Like a burglar or a ballerina, maybe : ON TIPTOE
18 Website with the popular page r/explainlikeimfive : REDDIT
19 Producer with cameos in “Iron Man” and “Black Panther” : STAN LEE
20 What thinning hair might affect : MALE EGO
21 “___ Kapital” : DAS
22 D.C. fund-raising group : PAC
23 Without : SANS
24 Blondish : SANDY
27 Discards in old maid : PAIRS
29 Org. for Big Red or Big Green : NCAA
30 Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, for one : PARLOR GAME
35 Digital photo add-on : INSTAGRAM FILTER
37 Best-selling author who used an awful lot of commas : PETER ROGET
38 “That’s … never gonna happen” : UM … NO
39 Protruding nail : TALON
40 One with more than two billion followers : JESUS
41 It might be found on a belt : AMMO
45 Diamond, on the Mohs scale : TEN
46 Number of capitals of Bolivia : DOS
47 Critical : DO-OR-DIE
49 “You made a mistake,” sarcastically : WAY TO GO
53 Faddish hairstyle of the mid-2010s : MAN BUN
54 One who might get you into hot water? : CANNIBAL
55 Giving a tattoo : INKING
56 Halfway home : ON SECOND
57 Samples : TASTES
58 College party buys : BEER KEGS

Down

1 Vintage Pontiacs : GTOS
2 Long blog entry, maybe : RANT
3 Skiing mecca in the Rockies : ALTA
4 It’s a setup : BLIND DATE
5 Active in determining the outcome : AT PLAY
6 Phoebe of “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” : CATES
7 Cream additive : ALOE
8 Capital of Bolivia? : BEE
9 Fictional raiding archaeologist : LARA CROFT
10 Second son : ABEL
11 Bros : DUDES
12 Mythical enchantress : MEDEA
13 Set straight : ALIGN
14 Los ___, Calif. : GATOS
20 Foes of Fido, stereotypically : MAILMEN
22 Ideal : PARAGON
24 Impertinent sort : SNIP
25 Dermatologist’s target : ACNE
26 Who originated the modern image of Santa Claus : NAST
27 One out? : PAROLEE
28 Eastern honorific : SRI
30 Features of many Disney films : PG RATINGS
31 Craft shop item with a seemingly redundant name : GLUE STICK
32 Helps for short people, for short : ATMS
33 Link on a restaurant’s Yelp page : MENU
34 Freudian focus : EROS
36 “Science made clear,” per Jean Cocteau : ART
40 Track-and-field star Jackie ___-Kersee : JOYNER
41 ___ one : ADMIT
42 Hit 2016 film set partly at sea : MOANA
43 Cenobites : MONKS
44 Wrigley brand : ORBIT
46 Activity at un bal masqué : DANSE
48 Buggy area : DUNE
49 Stop waxing, say : WANE
50 Instrument with metal keys : OBOE
51 Group with a hand sign, maybe : GANG
52 Rival of Ford and Packard : OLDS
54 Gander : goose :: ___ : swan : COB

3 thoughts on “0816-19 NY Times Crossword 16 Aug 19, Friday”

  1. 15:24, no errors.

    @Bill … This may be totally irrelevant, but … yesterday, I was unable to get to either the NYX or LAX blogs until mid-afternoon; the error message was something like “Unable to locate server”. Today, I was able to get here, but only after an unusually long wait. (I’m having similar problems with a couple of other sites as well; it’s not just yours.)

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