0904-19 NY Times Crossword 4 Sep 19, Wednesday

Constructed by: Patrick Blindauer
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): 1, 2 & 3 Scoops

Several themed answers are in the down-direction and comprise letters O and V. Each themed “O” represents a scoop of ice cream, and each themed “V” represents a cone:

  • 17A Ice cream flavor : VANILLA
  • 34A Ice cream flavor : CHOCOLATE
  • 55A Ice cream flavor : PISTACHIO
  • 1D With 57-Across, ice cream order depicted at 14-Down : SINGLE …
  • 12D With 57-Across, ice cream order depicted at 31-Down : DOUBLE …
  • 46D With 57-Across, ice cream order depicted at 56-Down : TRIPLE …
  • 57A See 1-, 12- and 46-Down : … SCOOP
  • 14D Yum! This won’t last long, though! : OV (single scoop)
  • 31D I bet these flavors taste great together! : OOV (double scoop)
  • 56D Wow! Look at the size of this thing! : OOOV (triple scoop)

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

Bill’s time: 7m 47s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 Midsize Nissan : ALTIMA

Nissan has been making the Altima since 1993. In 2007 the company started to produce a hybrid version, Nissan’s first foray into the hybrid market and a successful one by all accounts. Altima hybrids are even used as police cruisers by the New York Police Department.

10 Dirty dog : CAD

Our word “cad”, meaning “person lacking in finer feelings”, is a shortening of the word “cadet”. “Cad” was first used for a servant, and then students at British universities used “cad” as a term for a boy from the local town. “Cad” took on its current meaning in the 1830s.

13 Elba, e.g., to Napoléon : ILE

In French, one might go to an “île” (island) in the middle of “l’océan” (the ocean).

Napoléon Bonaparte was a military professional from Corsica who rose to prominence after the French Revolution during the French First Republic. He took over the country in 1799 in a coup d’état and installed himself as First Consul. Soon after, he led France in the Napoleonic Wars, conflicts between the growing French Empire and a series of opposing coalitions. He was eventually defeated at the Battle of Leipzig and was forced into exile on the Italian island of Elba off the Tuscan coast. Napoleon escaped in 1815 and regained power, only to be finally defeated a few months later at the Battle of Waterloo. The British dispatched him to the island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic where he lived out the last six years of his life as a prisoner.

14 Hammed up : OVERDID

The word “ham”, describing a performer who overacts, is a shortened form of “hamfatter” and dates back to the late 1800s. “Hamfatter” comes from a song in old minstrel shows called “The Ham-Fat Man”. It seems that a poorly performing actor was deemed to have the “acting” qualities of a minstrel made up in blackface.

15 Plastic ___ Band : ONO

The Plastic Ono Band was a so-called “super-group”, brought together by John Lennon and Yoko Ono in 1969. Members of the group included John and Yoko, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Keith Moon.

16 Org. whose members go on hikes? : NFL

The quarterback (QB) starts each play in football with a snap (also called a “hike”). He announces to his teammates the exact moment of the snap by calling out signals, usually including the word “hut” one or more times in a prearranged sequence.

17 Ice cream flavor : VANILLA

The flavor extract we call “vanilla” comes from the pod-like fruit of climbing orchids belonging to the genus Vanilla. Genuine vanilla is a relatively expensive spice, second only to saffron, due to the amount of work required to grow and harvest the fruit (also called “beans” and “pods”). Spanish and Portuguese explorers came across the Vanilla orchid while exploring the Gulf Coast of Mexico. They gave it the name “vainilla” meaning “little pod”.

18 Costello of comedy : LOU

Lou Costello was half of the Abbott & Costello double act. One tragic and terrible event in Lou Costello’s life was the death of his baby son, Lou Costello, Jr. Lou was at NBC studios one night for his regular broadcast when he received word that the 11-month-old baby had somehow drowned in the family swimming pool. With the words “Wherever he is tonight, I want him to hear me”, he made the scheduled broadcast in front of a live and unsuspecting audience.

21 Form of defamation : LIBEL

The word “libel” describes a published or written statement likely to harm a person’s reputation. It comes into English from the Latin “libellus”, the word for a small book. Back in the 1500s, libel was just a formal written statement, with the more damaging association arising in the 1600s. The related concept of slander is defamation in a transient form, such as speech, sign language or gestures.

27 Tesla competitor : EDISON

Thomas Alva Edison (TAE) was nicknamed “The Wizard of Menlo Park” by a newspaper reporter, a name that stuck. He was indeed a wizard, in the sense that he was such a prolific inventor. The Menlo Park part of the moniker recognizes the location of his first research lab, in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

Nikola Tesla was born in Serbia, but later moved to the US. Tesla’s work on mechanical and electrical engineering was crucial to the development of alternating current technology, the same technology that is used by equipment at the backbone of modern power generation and distribution systems.

30 Extinct relative of an ostrich : MOA

Moas were flightless birds native to New Zealand that are now extinct. The fate of the Moa is a great example of the detrimental effect that humans can have on animal populations. The Maoris arrived in New Zealand about 1300 AD, upsetting the balance of the ecosystem. The Moa were hunted to extinction within 200 years, which had the knock-on effect of killing off the Haast’s Eagle, the Moa’s only predator prior to the arrival of man. Moa were huge creatures, measuring up to 12 feet tall with their necks stretched upwards.

40 A Hatfield vis-à-vis a McCoy : RIVAL

The Hatfield and McCoy families of West Virginia and Kentucky were involved in a notorious feud that lasted from 1863 to 1891. The feud was somewhat resurrected in 1979 when representatives from both families appeared on the game show “Family Feud”. The McCoys came out ahead on TV and went home with over $11,000 and a pig.

47 Had a conniption : LOST IT

A conniption, or more commonly a conniption fit, is a bout of violent anger or panic.

50 AAA handout : ROAD MAP

The American Automobile Association (AAA) is a not-for-profit organization focused on lobbying, provision of automobile servicing, and selling of automobile insurance. The AAA was founded in 1902 in Chicago and published the first of its celebrated hotel guides back in 1917.

55 Ice cream flavor : PISTACHIO

The pistachio is a small tree that produces some very tasty seeds. We see the seeds in grocery stores labelled as “nuts”, but botanically they are termed “drupes”. Drupe or nut, they’re delicious.

60 Mork’s home planet on “Mork & Mindy” : ORK

The sitcom “Mork & Mindy” was broadcast from 1978 to 1982. We were first introduced to Mork (played by Robin Williams) in a special episode of “Happy Days”. The particular episode in question has a bizarre storyline culminating in Fonzie and Mork having a thumb-to-finger duel. Eventually Richie wakes up in bed, and alien Mork was just part of a dream! Oh, and “Nanu Nanu” means both “hello” and “goodbye” back on the planet Ork. “I am Mork from Ork, Nanu Nanu”. Great stuff …

61 Heart line : AORTA

The aorta originates in the heart and extends down into the abdomen. It is the largest artery in the body.

65 June birthstone : PEARL

Pearls form in oysters because of a reaction that is similar to an immune system response in higher animals. The pearl is formed as the oysters lays down successive layers of calcium carbonate around some microscopic foreign body that has penetrated the shell.

Here is the “official” list of birthstones, by month, that we tend to use today:

  • January: Garnet
  • February: Amethyst
  • March: Bloodstone or Aquamarine
  • April: Diamond
  • May: Emerald
  • June: Pearl or Moonstone
  • July: Ruby
  • August: Sardonyx or Peridot
  • September: Sapphire or Lapis Lazuli
  • October: Opal or Pink Tourmaline
  • November: Topaz or Citrine
  • December: Turquoise or Zircon (also now, Tanzanite)

66 Letters on an N.Y.C. fare card : MTA

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has public transportation responsibility in the state of New York (as well as part of Connecticut). “MTA” might also refer to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is known as “the Metro” and sometimes “the MTA”.

68 F in music class? : FORTE

A person’s forte is his or her strength. The term “forte” came into English via French from the Latin “fortis” meaning strong. “Forte” (F) is also a musical direction meaning “loud”.

69 Introverted : SHY

The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung popularized the terms “Introvert” and “extrovert”, although he believed that we all have introverted and extroverted sides to us. Nowadays we tend to think of extroversion and introversion as extremes on a continuum. We bloggers, sitting at home glued to our laptops, tend to the introverted end of the scale …

Down

2 Creamy pasta sauce : ALFREDO

Alfredo sauce is usually associated with the Italian dish called fettuccine Alfredo. The sauce is made from Parmesan cheese and butter, and is named for the Italian restaurant owner Alfredo Di Lelio. Di Lelio’s nephews still own and run a restaurant in Rome called “Il Vero Alfredo”. Here in the US, we often add other ingredients to the basic cheese and butter recipe. The name “fettuccine Alfredo” won’t be found on a menu in Italy today, and instead one can order “fettuccine al burro”.

3 Food that jiggles : GELATIN

Gelatin is a foodstuff that is used as a gelling agent in cooking, and for the shells of pharmaceutical capsules. Over 800 million pounds of gelatin are produced every year worldwide. It is produced from by-products of the meat and leather industries. Gelatin is basically modified collagen derived from pork skins and the bones of cattle, pigs and horses. So, vegans usually avoid things like gummy bears and marshmallows.

4 Frankie who co-starred in 1965’s “Beach Blanket Bingo” : AVALON

Frankie Avalon is a singer and actor who was a famous teen idol. Notably, he teamed up with actress and singer Annette Funicello in a series of “Beach Party” movies in the sixties.

5 Leader born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov : LENIN

“Lenin” wasn’t the birth name of the Russian leader. He was born Vladimir Ulyanov, and originally used “Lenin” as a pen name.

6 Chi-town paper, with “the” : TRIB

“The Chicago Tribune” was first published in 1847. The most famous edition of “The Trib” was probably in 1948 when the headline was “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN”, on the occasion of that year’s presidential election. When it turned out that Truman had actually won, the victor picked up the paper with the erroneous headline and posed for photographs with it … a famous, famous photo, that must have stuck in the craw of the editor at the time.

8 Big name in the beer aisle : MILLER

The Miller Brewing Company was founded by Frederick Miller in 1855 in Milwaukee. Miller is now in a joint venture with Coors.

9 Inits. on toothpaste tubes : ADA

American Dental Association (ADA)

10 Detective show whose premiere episode was directed by Steven Spielberg : COLUMBO

“Columbo” is a police drama that aired from 1971-78, with some more episodes made as recently as 2003. Columbo was played by Peter Falk, although the character of Columbo was first played by Bert Freed in 1960 in an episode of “The Chevy Mystery Show”. That first appearance was so successful that the episode was adapted for the stage in 1962, with Thomas Mitchell taking on the role. Then the same episode was stretched into a TV movie in 1968, with Peter Falk playing Lt. Columbo for the first time.

24 Have a bite : NOSH

Our word “nosh” has been around since the late fifties, when it was imported from the Yiddish word “nashn” meaning “to nibble”. We use “nosh” as a noun that means “snack”, or as a verb meaning “to eat between meals”.

26 Georg von Trapp’s title in “The Sound of Music”: Abbr. : CAPT

Baron Georg Johannes von Trapp was an officer in the Austro-Hungarian Navy who achieved worldwide fame when his family became the inspiration for the musical “The Sound of Musical”.

32 “Go Set a Watchman” setting: Abbr. : ALA

Alabama is known as the Yellowhammer State, in honor of the state bird. Alabama is also called the “Heart of Dixie”.

Nelle Harper Lee was an author from Monroeville, Alabama. For many years, Lee had only one published novel to her name, i.e. “To Kill a Mockingbird”. That contribution to the world of literature was enough to earn her the Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Pulitzer Prize. Harper Lee was a close friend of fellow author Truman Capote who was the inspiration for the character named “Dill” in her novel. Lee was all over the news in 2015 as she had published a second novel, titled “Go Set a Watchman”. The experts seem to be agreeing that “Go Set a Watchman” is actually a first draft of “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Lee passed away less than a year after “Go Set a Watchman” hit the stores.

35 Crushed toppings for ice cream sundaes : OREOS

There’s a lot of speculation about how the dessert called a sundae got its name, but there seems to be agreement that it is an alteration of the word “Sunday”.

36 Name seen more than 20 times on Iran’s flag : ALLAH

The Iranian flag in use today was adopted in 1980, a product of the Iranian Revolution. The flag is a tricolor composed of horizontal bands of green, white and red. Included in the green and red bands are the repeated words “Allahu Akbar”, which translates as “God is great”.

37 IV units : CCS

Cubic centimeter (cc)

42 Cash box, in brief : ATM

Automatic Teller Machine (ATM)

43 Org. with a World Factbook : CIA

“The World Factbook” is a publication produced by the CIA. It is intended primarily for use by government employees but, as it is in the public domain, it is now used by just about anyone. The first edition of “Factbook” came out in 1962 and, as it was classified, it had limited distribution. It was decided to make “Factbook” public in 1975, and it has been freely available on the World Wide Web since 1994.

44 Mel who hit 511 home runs : OTT

At 5′ 9″, baseball legend Mel Ott weighed just 170 lb (I don’t think he took steroids!) and yet he was the first National League player to hit over 500 home runs. Sadly, Ott died in a car accident in New Orleans in 1958 when he was only 49 years old. And, according to Wikipedia, “Ott’s name frequently appears in crossword puzzles, on account of its letter combination and brevity.” True that …

48 Morphinelike drug : OPIATE

The opium poppy is the source of the narcotic alkaloids known as opiates. To produce opiates, the latex sap of the opium poppy is collected and processed. The naturally-occurring drugs of morphine and codeine can both be extracted from the sap. Some synthesis is required to make derivative drugs like heroin and oxycodone.

52 Sith Lord’s title : DARTH

The Sith are characters in the “Star Wars” universe who use the “dark side” of “the Force”, and as such are the antithesis of the Jedi Knights. Members of the Sith use the title “Darth” before their name, as in Darth Vader. The last made of the six “Star Wars” movies is called “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith”.

57 Beach bottle inits. : SPF

In theory, the sun protection factor (SPF) is a calibrated measure of the effectiveness of a sunscreen in protecting the skin from harmful UV rays. The idea is that if you wear a lotion with say SPF 20, then it takes 20 times as much UV radiation to cause the skin to burn than it would take without protection. I say just stay out of the sun …

58 Top of a corporate ladder, for short : CEO

Chief executive officer (CEO)

59 One under a coxswain’s command : OAR

The coxswain of a boat is one in charge of steering and navigation. The word “coxswain” is shortened to “cox”, particularly when used for the person steering and calling out the stroke in a competition rowing boat.

62 GPS path: Abbr. : RTE

A global positioning system (GPS) might point out a route (rte.).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Wilt : SAG
4 Midsize Nissan : ALTIMA
10 Dirty dog : CAD
13 Elba, e.g., to Napoléon : ILE
14 Hammed up : OVERDID
15 Plastic ___ Band : ONO
16 Org. whose members go on hikes? : NFL
17 Ice cream flavor : VANILLA
18 Costello of comedy : LOU
19 Word before bag or bar : GRAB …
21 Form of defamation : LIBEL
22 Feeling no pain : NUMB
23 Made privy to, as a secret : LET IN ON
25 The point of mathematics? : DECIMAL
27 Tesla competitor : EDISON
28 Disorderly crowd : RABBLE
29 ___ place : ONE’S
30 Extinct relative of an ostrich : MOA
33 Devious maneuver : PLOY
34 Ice cream flavor : CHOCOLATE
37 Shopping aid : CART
40 A Hatfield vis-à-vis a McCoy : RIVAL
41 Treat from a truck, maybe : TACO
45 Virginal : CHASTE
47 Had a conniption : LOST IT
49 Makings of maple syrup : SAP
50 AAA handout : ROAD MAP
54 Bathroom item : MAT
55 Ice cream flavor : PISTACHIO
57 See 1-, 12- and 46-Down : … SCOOP
60 Mork’s home planet on “Mork & Mindy” : ORK
61 Heart line : AORTA
65 June birthstone : PEARL
66 Letters on an N.Y.C. fare card : MTA
67 Render beyond repair : TOTAL
68 F in music class? : FORTE
69 Introverted : SHY
70 Shot-put or pole vault : EVENT

Down

1 With 57-Across, ice cream order depicted at 14-Down : SINGLE …
2 Creamy pasta sauce : ALFREDO
3 Food that jiggles : GELATIN
4 Frankie who co-starred in 1965’s “Beach Blanket Bingo” : AVALON
5 Leader born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov : LENIN
6 Chi-town paper, with “the” : TRIB
7 Ran in place, in a way : IDLED
8 Big name in the beer aisle : MILLER
9 Inits. on toothpaste tubes : ADA
10 Detective show whose premiere episode was directed by Steven Spielberg : COLUMBO
11 Deviation from the norm : ANOMALY
12 With 57-Across, ice cream order depicted at 31-Down : DOUBLE …
14 Yum! This won’t last long, though! : OV (single scoop)
20 Cuts in half : BISECTS
22 Corn kernels : NIBLETS
24 Have a bite : NOSH
26 Georg von Trapp’s title in “The Sound of Music”: Abbr. : CAPT
30 1101, in old Rome : MCI
31 I bet these flavors taste great together! : OOV (double scoop)
32 “Go Set a Watchman” setting: Abbr. : ALA
35 Crushed toppings for ice cream sundaes : OREOS
36 Name seen more than 20 times on Iran’s flag : ALLAH
37 IV units : CCS
38 “So that’s it!” : AHA!
39 Genre introduced to the Grammys in 1989 : RAP
42 Cash box, in brief : ATM
43 Org. with a World Factbook : CIA
44 Mel who hit 511 home runs : OTT
46 With 57-Across, ice cream order depicted at 56-Down : TRIPLE …
48 Morphinelike drug : OPIATE
51 Elementary units : ATOMS
52 Sith Lord’s title : DARTH
53 Adam who directed “Vice” and “The Big Short” : MCKAY
55 Any ___ in a storm : PORT
56 Wow! Look at the size of this thing! : OOOV (triple scoop)
57 Beach bottle inits. : SPF
58 Top of a corporate ladder, for short : CEO
59 One under a coxswain’s command : OAR
62 GPS path: Abbr. : RTE
63 Color akin to butterscotch : TAN
64 ___-weekly (newspaper type) : ALT

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