0117-24 NY Times Crossword 17 Jan 24, Wednesday

Constructed by: Morton J. Mendelson
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Right, Turn Now!

Themed answers are in the across-direction until hitting a black square, and then they turn to the down-direction. Note that the last letter of the across-word is shared with the start of the down-answer:

  • 1A Accelerated path of advancement : FAST …
  • 4D – : … TRACK
  • 5A Ballot with votes for multiple parties : SPLIT …
  • 9D – : … TICKET
  • 10A Cherish : HOLD …
  • 13D – : … DEAR
  • 28A Promotion for a new credit account, maybe : TEASER …
  • 31D – : … RATE
  • 32A Stimulating drug, informally : PEP …
  • 34D – : … PILL
  • 35A Bit of traditional Polynesian attire : GRASS …
  • 36D – : … SKIRT
  • 47A Ultra-rapid transit options : BULLET …
  • 49D – : … TRAINS
  • 53A Game that everyone but one person barely loses? : STRIP …
  • 57D – : … POKER

Bill’s time: 8m 26s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Ballot with votes for multiple parties : SPLIT …
[4D – : … TRACK]

A split-ticket ballot is one in which a voter votes for candidates from more than one political party.

15 Pre-nursing homes? : UTERI

“Uterus” (plural “uteri”) is the Latin word for “womb”.

18 Potter’s area of expertise : MAGIC

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. As the stories progress, the friendship between Ron and Hermione developed to the point that they became husband and wife and had two children together.

19 Kind of bean in succotash : LIMA

The main ingredients in succotash are corn and lima beans, although in parts of the South, succotash can be made with any collection of vegetables prepared with lima beans and topped with butter.

24 Product once advertised with the slogan “Everything you love about coffee without everything you don’t” : SANKA

The first successful process for removing caffeine from coffee involved steaming the beans in salt water, and then extracting the caffeine using benzene (a potent carcinogen) as a solvent. Coffee processed this way was sold as Sanka here in the US. There are other processes used these days, and let’s hope they are safer …

26 Last Julio-Claudian emperor : NERO

Nero was Emperor of Rome from 54 to 68 CE, and towards the end of his reign participated in the Olympic Games in the year 67. The Roman leader raced in a ten-horse chariot, of which he lost control and nearly perished after being thrown from the vehicle. Acting and singing were Olympic events back then, and Nero also took part in those competitions. By all accounts, Nero performed badly in every event in which he vied, and yet somehow still managed to win Olympic crowns that he paraded around Rome on his return from Greece. Just before he died, Nero reportedly declared, “What an artist the world is losing in me!”

44 Novelist Wharton : EDITH

Edith Wharton was a novelist and designer from New York City. Wharton was a wealthy woman and built her own estate in Lenox, Massachusetts called the Mount. My wife and I had the privilege of touring the Mount a few years ago, and there we saw evidence of what design meant to Wharton.

47 Ultra-rapid transit options : BULLET …
[49 – : … TRAINS]

Although rail transportation started out its life in Europe, it really came into its own across the vast United States. However, it was the Japanese who developed rail transportation into the exceptional service it is today. A bullet train is any high-speed train that resembles the locomotives developed by the Japanese in the fifties and sixties.

50 Orcinus ___ (marine species) : ORCA

The taxonomic name for the killer whale is “Orcinus orca”. The use of the name “orca”, rather than “killer whale”, is becoming more and more common. The Latin word “Orcinus” means “belonging to Orcus”, with Orcus being the name for the Kingdom of the Dead.

51 Bit of cowhand’s gear : LARIAT

Our word “lariat” comes from the Spanish “la reater” meaning “the rope”.

58 Many North Africans : SAHARANS

The name “Sahara” means “greatest desert” in Arabic. The Sahara is just that, a great desert covering almost 4 million square miles of Northern Africa. That’s almost the size of the United States.

65 Crash, with “out” : CONK …

The phrase “conk out” was coined by airmen during WWI, and was used to describe the stalling of an engine.

68 Toon with yellow fur : ODIE

Odie is Garfield’s best friend, and is a slobbery beagle. Both are characters in Jim Davis’ comic strip named “Garfield”.

69 U.K. network moniker, with “the” : … BEEB

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is also known as “the Beeb”, a name given to the network by the great Peter Sellers on the classic British radio comedy called “The Goon Show”. The BBC was founded in 1922, and was the world’s first national broadcasting organization.

70 Smirnoff competitor, familiarly : STOLI

Stolichnaya is a brand of “Russian” vodka made from wheat and rye grain. “Stoli” originated in Russia, but now it’s made in Latvia. Latvia is of course a completely different country, so you won’t see the word “Russian” on the label anymore.

Down

1 Low states : FUNKS

The phrase “in a blue funk” has two different meanings, depending on what side of the Atlantic you are. Here in North America, to be in a blue funk is to be in a state of gloom. Over in Britain and Ireland, it is to be in a state of anxiety.

2 Downward dog in yoga, e.g. : ASANA

The downward-facing dog pose in yoga is more properly known as “adho mukha svanasana”.

3 Hatchback alternative : SEDAN

The American sedan car is the equivalent of the British and Irish saloon car. By definition, a sedan car has two rows of seating and a separate trunk (boot in Britain and Ireland), although in some models the engine can be at the rear of the car.

A hatchback is a car with a rear door that opens upwards. France’s Citroën car company produced a hatchback configuration in the 1930s for a commercial vehicle. That initial design featured a split door, opening upwards and downwards. A redesign in the 1940s used the more familiar upward-opening door. The word “hatchback” wasn’t used to describe the design back then, as the term wasn’t coined until the 1970s.

7 Musical passages with smooth, connected notes : LEGATOS

Staccato (stac.) is a musical direction signifying that notes should be played in a disconnected form. The opposite of staccato would be legato, indicating long and continuous notes played very smoothly.

8 Kind of terrier : IRISH

The Irish terrier is one of the older terrier breeds, and originated in the 1870s. Irish terriers usually have a golden red coat that is straight and wiry on the outside, with a soft undercoat.

21 Mother in the Hundred Acre Wood : KANGA

Kanga is a friend of A. A. Milne’s “Winnie-the-Pooh”, and is a kangaroo. She is the mother of Roo, who appears more frequently in the storyline.

23 Sierra Nevada, e.g. : ALE

The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is powered almost exclusively by solar energy, and even has a charging station for electric vehicles at its brewery. The company also uses the cooking oil from its restaurant as biodiesel for its delivery trucks. Discarded yeast is used to make ethanol fuel, and spent grain is used as food for livestock. For its efforts to preserve the environment, Sierra Nevada won the EPA’s “Green Business of the Year” award for 2010.

29 Two-seater, perhaps : SOFA

“Sofa” is a Turkish word meaning “bench”.

32 ___ Xtra (soft drink) : PIBB

The soft drink on the market today called Pibb Xtra used to be known as Mr Pibb, and before that was called Peppo. Peppo was introduced in 1972 as a direct competitor to Dr Pepper.

54 Section of Chipotle’s menu : TACOS

Chipotle Mexican Grill is a chain of casual dining restaurants that was founded and is now headquartered in Denver, Colorado. For several years, the major investor in Chipotle was McDonald’s. The chain is named for the smoke-dried jalapeño called a “chipotle”.

55 ___ Island : RHODE

Rhode Island is the smallest state in the union, and is the second-most densely populated. (after New Jersey). Rhode Island is known as the Ocean State (and more informally “Little Rhody”), largely because about 14% of the state’s area is made up of ocean bays and inlets. Exactly how Rhode Island got its name is a little unclear. What is known is that way back in 1524, long before the Pilgrims came to New England, the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano likened an island in the area to the Island of Rhodes in the Mediterranean. There were subsequent references to “Rhode Island” in English publications, before the colonists arrived.

56 Bellybutton type, informally : INNIE

The navel is essentially the scar left behind when the umbilical cord is removed from a newborn baby. One interesting use of the umbilicus (navel, belly button) is to differentiate between identical twins, especially when they are very young.

60 “I am free of all prejudices. I ___ everyone equally”: W. C. Fields : HATE

W.C. Fields worked hard to develop the on-screen image of a pretty grumpy old man. In his real life he was fairly grumpy too, and fond of protecting his privacy. He was famous for hiding in the shrubs around his house in Los Angeles and firing a BB gun at the legs of tourists who intruded on his property. Also Fields often played the drunk on-screen. In real life, Fields didn’t touch alcohol at all when he was younger, partly because he didn’t want to do anything to impair his skill as a juggler. But later in life he took to heavy drinking, so much so that it affected his health and interfered with his ability to perform.

64 Kilmer of Batman fame : VAL

Val Kilmer’s first big leading role in a movie was playing Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone’s 1991 biopic “The Doors”. A few years later, Kilmer was chosen for the lead in another big production, “Batman Forever”. Things haven’t really gone as well for Kilmer since then, I’d say. Off the screen, he flirted with the idea of running for Governor of New Mexico in 2010. A Hollywood actor as a governor? Would never happen …

“Batman Forever” is a 1995 superhero film, one in a string of movies featuring the comic book hero Batman. This one has Val Kilmer in the title role, with the two main villains played by Jim Carrey (the Riddler) and Tommy Lee Jones (Two-Face).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Accelerated path of advancement : FAST …
5 Ballot with votes for multiple parties : SPLIT …
10 Cherish : HOLD …
14 ___ manual : USER
15 Pre-nursing homes? : UTERI
16 Female friend, in French : AMIE
17 Nothin’ : NADA
18 Potter’s area of expertise : MAGIC
19 Kind of bean in succotash : LIMA
20 Special talents : KNACKS
22 Inquire about the health of : ASK AFTER
24 Product once advertised with the slogan “Everything you love about coffee without everything you don’t” : SANKA
25 What an office computer whiz might provide, for short : IT HELP
26 Last Julio-Claudian emperor : NERO
28 Promotion for a new credit account, maybe : TEASER …
32 Stimulating drug, informally : PEP …
35 Bit of traditional Polynesian attire : GRASS …
37 Mixed drink mixer : SODA
38 Question often preceded by “But …” : … IS IT ART?
40 Stayed in shape : KEPT FIT
43 Big bundle : BALE
44 Novelist Wharton : EDITH
46 Eroded, with “away” : ATE …
47 Ultra-rapid transit options : BULLET …
50 Orcinus ___ (marine species) : ORCA
51 Bit of cowhand’s gear : LARIAT
53 Game that everyone but one person barely loses? : STRIP …
58 Many North Africans : SAHARANS
61 “Interesting idea, but … huh-uh” : YEAH … NO
62 Kick back : LOAF
63 “OK, that’s it for me!” : I GIVE!
65 Crash, with “out” : CONK …
66 Prefix with thesis : ANTI-
67 Silently acknowledge : NOD AT
68 Toon with yellow fur : ODIE
69 U.K. network moniker, with “the” : … BEEB
70 Smirnoff competitor, familiarly : STOLI
71 One with an eye on the future? : SEER

Down

1 Low states : FUNKS
2 Downward dog in yoga, e.g. : ASANA
3 Hatchback alternative : SEDAN
4 – : … TRACK
5 Totals : SUMS
6 Org. that may be involved in field trip planning : PTA
7 Musical passages with smooth, connected notes : LEGATOS
8 Kind of terrier : IRISH
9 – : … TICKET
10 1:30 or 2:30, e.g. : HALF-PAST
11 Drop : OMIT
12 Shade of green : LIME
13 – : … DEAR
21 Mother in the Hundred Acre Wood : KANGA
23 Sierra Nevada, e.g. : ALE
25 Really ticked off : IRATE
27 What you might do on the side of caution : ERR
29 Two-seater, perhaps : SOFA
30 Toolbar heading : EDIT
31 – : … RATE
32 ___ Xtra (soft drink) : PIBB
33 Biblical twin : ESAU
34 – : … PILL
36 – : … SKIRT
39 Bend the truth, say : TELL A FIB
41 When doubled, “You get the idea” : ETC
42 Adolescence, for one : PHASE
45 “Copy me” : DO AS I DO
48 You might play something by this : EAR
49 – : … TRAINS
52 Expensive bar : INGOT
54 Section of Chipotle’s menu : TACOS
55 ___ Island : RHODE
56 Bellybutton type, informally : INNIE
57 – : … POKER
58 Big slice : SLAB
59 Top-notch : A-ONE
60 “I am free of all prejudices. I ___ everyone equally”: W. C. Fields : HATE
61 Subject of a hairy hoax : YETI
64 Kilmer of Batman fame : VAL

6 thoughts on “0117-24 NY Times Crossword 17 Jan 24, Wednesday”

  1. 19:24, It’s more like “Yeah? No.” The response when somebody tries to promote an idiotic idea… Like me, looking for a non existent reveal clue/answer in this puzzle, but insisting to myself that there must be one.

  2. 10:36. Very late today. Busy time of year. I had breakfast at 4 PM today.

    Once you got today’s gimmick, the puzzle eased up a lot.

    I saw “Potter’s area of expertise” and thought of someone who makes clay pots. I got MAGIC via crosses , scratched my head, and moved on. I know nothing of Harry Potter anything.

    I’ll either be on time tomorrow or I’ll bring a note from home.

    Best –

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