1006-22 NY Times Crossword 6 Oct 22, Thursday

Constructed by: Simeon Seigel
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Merge Left

Themed answers are in the down-direction and are divided into two words, side-by-side in the grid. The words are combined by MERGING the LEFT word into the one on the right:

  • 16A What you might have to do for some highway construction … or a first hint to solving this puzzle’s theme : MERGE LEFT
  • 11D With 12-Down, secretly plots (with) : CLUE
  • 12D – : OLDS (merges into “COLLUDES”)
  • 25D With 26-Down, repeated occurrences of things in turn : ATRAIN
  • 26D – : LENTOS (merges into “ALTERNATIONS”)
  • 28D With 29-Down, taught a lesson : SHOE
  • 29D – : COLD (merges into “SCHOOLED”)
  • 34D With 35-Down, some common attire for cooks : HINT
  • 35D – : ARES (merges into “HAIRNETS”)
  • 56D With 57-Down, noble title : CUTS
  • 57D – : ONES (merges into “COUNTESS”)

Bill’s time: 12m 24s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Musky “cat” : CIVET

The civet is a spotted cat that is native to Africa and Asia. There is a type of coffee that is highly prized in Vietnam and the Philippines that is made from coffee beans that have been eaten by civets, partially digested and then harvested from the civet’s feces. This civet coffee can cost about $100 a cup, if you want to try some …

6 Banned antimalarial : DDT

DDT is dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (don’t forget now!). DDT was used with great success to control disease-carrying insects during WWII, and when made available for use after the war it became by far the most popular pesticide. And then Rachel Carson published her famous book “Silent Spring”, suggesting there was a link between DDT and diminishing populations of certain wildlife. It was the public outcry sparked by the book, and reports of links between DDT and cancer, that led to the ban on the use of the chemical in 1972. That ban is touted as the main reason that the bald eagle was rescued from near extinction.

Malaria is a disease passed onto humans by mosquitoes. As a result of the disease, a parasite invades human red blood cells and multiplies causing fever and possibly coma or death. Over 750,000 people died from malaria in 2009, out of 225 million cases reported.

9 Direction to bow, for a violinist : ARCO

“Arco” is a musical direction instructing a string player to return to normal bowing technique after a passage played using some other technique (perhaps pizzicato).

16 What you might have to do for some highway construction … or a first hint to solving this puzzle’s theme : MERGE LEFT

The “zipper merge” or “late merge” is encouraged by most traffic authorities when two lanes of traffic are merging into one. The alternative “early merge”, where cars move out of the lane that is closing before reaching the merge point, tends to be discouraged. The favored technique is to use both lanes until the merge point, and then alternate (zipper) from each lane through the merge itself. That said, one should always obey whatever instructions are given by the traffic authorities at the scene. And I know, I know … a lot of people think it rude to merge late …

17 F in music class? : LOUD

In musical notation, the Italian word “piano” (p) instructs musicians to play softly, and “forte” (f) to play loudly. The additional notation “pianissimo” (pp) means “very soft”, and fortissimo (ff) means “very loud”.

18 Falco of TV’s “Oz” : EDIE

Actress Edie Falco won three Emmy Awards for playing Carmela Soprano on HBO’s outstanding drama series called “The Sopranos”. Falco also won an Emmy in 2010 for playing the title role in “Nurse Jackie”, an excellent black comedy.

24 One who’s up to the minutes : STENO

Stenography is the process of writing in shorthand. The term comes from the Greek “steno” (narrow) and “graphe” (writing).

25 Michigan college or its town : ALMA

Alma College in Alma, Michigan was founded by Michigan Presbyterians in 1886. The school has a Scottish heritage of which it is very proud. Alma has its own Scottish marching band, a Scottish dance troupe and even its own design of tartan.

27 Key used for exiting : ESC

The escape key (Esc) was originally used just to control computer peripherals. It was a key that allowed the computer operator to stop what the peripheral was doing (cancel a print job, for example). Nowadays the escape key is used for all sorts of things, especially in gaming programs.

32 “Bésame ___” (bolero song) : MUCHO

“Bésame Mucho” was written in 1940, by Mexican songwriter Consuelo Velázquez. The title translates into “kiss me a lot”. Remarkably, according to Velázquez, at the time she wrote the song she had never herself been kissed! “Besame Mucho” was just one of Jimmy Dorsey’s eleven number-one hits, all from the thirties and forties.

34 Dedicatee of “Moby-Dick” : HAWTHORNE

The full title of Herman Melville’s novel is “Moby-Dick; or, The Whale”. Note that the convention is to hyphenate “Moby-Dick” in the title, as that was how the book was first published, in 1851. However, there is no hyphen in the name of the whale “Moby Dick” as reproduced throughout the text.

41 Looked for facts in figures : DATA MINED

The process of data mining is used to extract information from a database and present it in a form that facilitates further use.

43 “Blinking heck!” : NERTS!

“Nerts” is a slang term, a corruption of “nuts!”

47 Geiger of Geiger counter fame : HANS

A Geiger counter is a particle detector that measures ionizing radiation, such as alpha particles, beta particles and gamma rays. Often a Geiger counter is equipped with a speaker through which clicks are broadcast each time a particle is detected. We’ve all heard those terrifying clicks in movies, I am sure …

49 Slowpokes at the head of a trail : SLUGS

Snails and slugs are referred to collectively as gastropods. There are many, many species of gastropods, found both on land and in the sea. Gastropods with shells are generally described as snails, and those species without shells are referred to as slugs.

Back in the early 1800s, a “poke” was a device attached to domestic animals such as pigs or sheep to keep them from escaping their enclosures. The poke was like a yoke with a pole, and slowed the animal down, hence the term “slowpoke”.

54 PBS’s “___ the Science Kid” : SID

“Sid the Science Kid” is a children’s show aired by PBS. “Sid the Science Kid” is made using CGI technology, and is a production of the Jim Henson Company that was founded on the success of “The Muppets”.

55 “I never look back, dahling. It distracts from ___”: Pixar’s Edna Mode : THE NOW

“The Incredibles” is a 2004 animated feature from Pixar, and not a great movie if you ask me. But asking me probably isn’t a good idea, as the film won two Oscars …

61 Sports org. for students : NCAA

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) dates back to the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. When his son broke his nose playing football at Harvard, President Roosevelt turned his attention to the number of serious injuries and even deaths occurring in college sports. He instigated meetings between the major educational institutions, leading to the formation of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS) in 1906, which was given the remit of regulating college sports. The IAAUS became the NCAA in 1910. The NCAA has been headquartered in Indianapolis since 1999.

62 Common operating system for supercomputers, once : UNIX

Unix is a computer operating system that was developed at Bell Labs in 1969. The initial name for the project was Uniplexed Information and Computing Service (Unics), and this evolved over time into “Unix”.

67 IDs since the Great Depression : SSNS

The Social Security Administration (SSA) was set up as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. The first person to receive a monthly retirement benefit was Ida May Fuller of Vermont who received her first check for the sum of $22.54 after having contributed for three years through payroll taxes. The New Deal turned out to be a good deal for Ms. Fuller, as she lived to be 100 years of age and received a total benefit of almost $23,000, whereas her three years of contributions added up to just $24.75.

68 2013 biopic about actor Mineo : SAL

Actor Sal Mineo’s most famous role was John “Plato” Crawford, the kid who was in awe of the James Dean character in “Rebel Without a Cause”. Sadly, Mineo was murdered in 1976 when he was just 37 years old. He was attacked in the alley behind his Los Angeles apartment and stabbed through the heart. When an arrest was made it was discovered that the murderer had no idea that his victim was a celebrity, and that his plan was just to rob anyone who came along.

69 Crapshoots, essentially : ROLLS

If one considers earlier versions of craps, then the game has been around for a very long time and probably dates back to the Crusades. It may have been derived from an old English game called “hazard” also played with two dice, which was mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” from the 1300s. The American version of the game came here courtesy of the French and first set root in New Orleans where it was given the name “crapaud”, a French word meaning “toad”.

Down

1 Many Stan Lee film appearances : CAMEOS

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.

3 Strong and energetic : VIRILE

“Vir” is the Latin word for “man”. It is the root of our word “virile”, for example, meaning “manly”.

6 Hermès, par exemple : DIEU

Hermes was the Greek god of transitions and boundaries, one who intercedes between mortals and the divine. The Roman equivalent to Hermes was the god Mercury.

8 Sudden source of rain, informally : T-STORM

Thunderstorm (t-storm)

14 The Swiss fly a square one : FLAG

The flag of Switzerland is the very distinctive white cross on a red background. Unlike most national flags, the Swiss flag is a square, although the version used as the Swiss naval ensign is rectangular.

22 Creator of an animal shelter : NOAH

Genesis 6:19-20 states that Noah was instructed to take two animals of every kind into the ark. Later, in Genesis 7:2-3 Noah was instructed to take on board “every clean animal by sevens … male and female, to keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth”. Apparently, “extras” (7 rather than 2) were needed for ritual sacrifice.

33 News letters : UPI

Founded in 1958, United Press International (UPI) used to be one of the biggest news agencies in the world, sending out news by wire to the major newspapers. UPI ran into trouble with the change in media formats at the end of the twentieth century and lost many of its clients as the afternoon newspapers shut down due to the advent of television news. UPI, which once employed thousands, still exists today but with just a fraction of that workforce.

37 Demolition material : 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.

42 TV series with the all-time most-watched episode : M*A*S*H

The final episode of the TV show “M*A*S*H” had a running time of 2½ hours, making it a “TV movie”. It was a much-anticipated event, and CBS capitalized on the anticipated viewing numbers. 30-second commercial blocks sold for a higher price than equivalent slots during that year’s (1983) Super Bowl.

44 Prison weapon : SHIV

“Shiv” is a slang term describing a weapon crudely fashioned to resemble a knife. Mostly we hear of shivs that have been fashioned by prison inmates to do harm to others.

52 Disappear midtour, say : GO AWOL

MPs (military police officers) often track down personnel who go AWOL (absent without leave).

53 Proust’s “___ Way” : SWANN’S

Marcel Proust was a French writer famous for the enormous and much respected novel “In Search of Lost Time”. Graham Greene called Proust “the greatest novelist of the twentieth century”, and W. Somerset Maugham dubbed “In Search of Lost Time” as the “greatest fiction to date”. “In Search of Lost Time” is a very, very long novel. It is divided into seven volumes and was first published in 1913-1927. The first of the volumes is called “Swann’s Way”.

54 Blue notes? : SEXTS

Sexting (a portmanteau of “sex” and “texting”) is the sending of explicit dialog and images between cell phones. The term “sexting” was coined by the UK’s “Sunday Telegraph Magazine” in a 2005 article.

58 Johnson who directed “The Last Jedi” : RIAN

Filmmaker Rian Johnson wrote and directed quite a few major films, including “Looper” (2012), “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (2017) and “Knives Out” (2019).

59 “___ Croft: Tomb Raider” : LARA

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.

60 Europe’s third-longest river : URAL

The Ural River rises in the Ural Mountains in Russia and flows for half its length through Russian territory until it crosses the border into Kazakhstan, finally emptying into the Caspian Sea. It is the third-longest river in Europe, after the Volga and Danube. The Ural is often cited as defining a long stretch of the border between Europe and Asia, although the exact position of that border is open to debate.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Musky “cat” : CIVET
6 Banned antimalarial : DDT
9 Direction to bow, for a violinist : ARCO
13 Shifts from neutral, in a way : ACIDIFIES
15 Lie about : LOLL
16 What you might have to do for some highway construction … or a first hint to solving this puzzle’s theme : MERGE LEFT
17 F in music class? : LOUD
18 Falco of TV’s “Oz” : EDIE
19 Causes to run without human involvement : AUTOMATES
21 Loosening, as a joint : OILING
23 Shiner? : RAY
24 One who’s up to the minutes : STENO
25 Michigan college or its town : ALMA
27 Key used for exiting : ESC
30 Before opening? : ANTE-
32 “Bésame ___” (bolero song) : MUCHO
34 Dedicatee of “Moby-Dick” : HAWTHORNE
39 Collect all together : POOL
40 Pumped metal : IRON
41 Looked for facts in figures : DATA MINED
43 “Blinking heck!” : NERTS!
45 Bit : IOTA
46 [Cluck] : [TSK]
47 Geiger of Geiger counter fame : HANS
49 Slowpokes at the head of a trail : SLUGS
54 PBS’s “___ the Science Kid” : SID
55 “I never look back, dahling. It distracts from ___”: Pixar’s Edna Mode : THE NOW
56 Honesty, kindness or respect, for many people : CORE VALUE
61 Sports org. for students : NCAA
62 Common operating system for supercomputers, once : UNIX
63 Gradually trims … or a phonetic second hint to solving this puzzle’s theme : PARES DOWN
65 Milk delivery point : TEAT
66 How things have always been done : TRADITION
67 IDs since the Great Depression : SSNS
68 2013 biopic about actor Mineo : SAL
69 Crapshoots, essentially : ROLLS

Down

1 Many Stan Lee film appearances : CAMEOS
2 Sealed the deal : ICED IT
3 Strong and energetic : VIRILE
4 Enter cautiously : EDGE IN
5 It’s no loss : TIE
6 Hermès, par exemple : DIEU
7 Expert : DEFT
8 Sudden source of rain, informally : T-STORM
9 Temper, as fears : ALLAY
10 Nose (around) : ROOT
11 With 12-Down, secretly plots (with) : CLUE
12 – : OLDS (merges into “COLLUDES”)
14 The Swiss fly a square one : FLAG
20 Officer’s title : MA’AM
22 Creator of an animal shelter : NOAH
25 With 26-Down, repeated occurrences of things in turn : ATRAIN
26 – : LENTOS (merges into “ALTERNATIONS”)
27 Major option for a future C.E.O. : ECON
28 With 29-Down, taught a lesson : SHOE
29 – : COLD (merges into “SCHOOLED”)
31 Signal to proceed : NOD
33 News letters : UPI
34 With 35-Down, some common attire for cooks : HINT
35 – : ARES (merges into “HAIRNETS”)
36 Tasks : WORK
37 Demolition material : TNT
38 Finish off : EAT
42 TV series with the all-time most-watched episode : M*A*S*H
44 Prison weapon : SHIV
48 Novelizes, e.g. : ADAPTS
50 Bestow upon temporarily : LEND TO
51 Deploy, as wire from a spool : UNCOIL
52 Disappear midtour, say : GO AWOL
53 Proust’s “___ Way” : SWANN’S
54 Blue notes? : SEXTS
55 Set up for a swing : TEED
56 With 57-Down, noble title : CUTS
57 – : ONES (merges into “COUNTESS”)
58 Johnson who directed “The Last Jedi” : RIAN
59 “___ Croft: Tomb Raider” : LARA
60 Europe’s third-longest river : URAL
64 Officer’s title : SIR

11 thoughts on “1006-22 NY Times Crossword 6 Oct 22, Thursday”

  1. 33:38. Same time as Bill except a lot longer.

    More missteps than I can list in one post. “drats” before NERTS, RyAN before RIAN, Hope college before ALMA, and the biggie – make a LEFT before MERGE LEFT. Needless to say, the theme took me a while.

    I’ll have to credit Wordplay today for this tidbit that I’d never heard before – The female counterpart to VIRILITY is something called “muliebrity”. Just to clarify (as I needed to myself), muliebrity means womanly qualities and not manly qualities of a woman.

    Tough one for me for whatever reason.

    Best –

  2. Slow and steady…23:22, no errors. I had a bit of a struggle with this one. For once I started off slowly and sped up in the end. The MERGELEFT clue really helped out today. Such a clever construction!

  3. This felt so difficult for a Thursday. I think theme is clever, but without the theme, so many squares are basically impossible, and it was very hard as a beginner solver. 🙂

  4. 1:03:50, NE fell last, even after understanding the gimmick. My daughter did 8 years of violin in school and said she never saw “arco”, that must come in year 8. Another puzzle that earns my total respect for difficulty and originality….how do they come up with these? btw, finally finished this on Saturday at 0100.

  5. Like @jeff comparing to Bills time, my time was the same as @jeff , only twice as long.

    I thought I got everything . Felt like a friday or even Saturday.

    After all that, I messed up ALMA. I had INMA because 25D and 26D made INTERNATIONS. You know, like, alternating nations?? (:

    I still enjoyed it.

  6. 1:03:17 no errors…a major struggle even after figuring out the theme👎👎
    I guess some of the puzzle gurus enjoy this type but I unfortunately am not one of those.
    Stay safe😀

  7. Wonderful, thoughtful, construction. Great satisfaction when the merge finally came together. Not a musician, had much difficulty with the arco and loud clues. Learned so much from the wiki-est googlies – thank you so much!

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