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0518-17 New York Times Crossword Answers 18 May 17, Thursday

Solution to today's crossword in the New York Times
Solution to today's SYNDICATED New York Times crossword in all other publications
Solution to today's New York Times crossword found online at the Seattle Times website
Jump to a complete list of today's clues and answers

THEME: Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?
We have a rebus puzzle today. In my grid, the squares with the letters CR actually contain the word CHICKEN for the across-answers, and the word ROAD for the down-answers:
19A. StarKist competitor : CHICKEN OF THE SEA
1D. Where all-terrain vehicles go : OFF-ROAD

35A. Risk mutual destruction, say : PLAY CHICKEN
36D. Noted Warner Bros. toon : ROAD RUNNER

39A. Coop material : CHICKEN WIRE
15D. Highway adjacent to a throughway : ACCESS ROAD

60A. Person getting up there in years : NO SPRING CHICKEN
63D. Plan for achieving a long-term goal : ROADMAP

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies

13. "Look out!" : FORE!
No one seems to know for sure where the golfing term “fore!” comes from. It has been used at least as far back as 1881, and since then has been called out to warn other golfers that a wayward ball might be heading their way. My favorite possibility for its origin is that it is a contraction of the Gaelic warning cry “Faugh a Ballagh!” (clear the way!) which is still called out in the sport of road bowling. Road bowling is an Irish game where players bowl balls along roads between villages, trying to reach the end of the course in as few bowls as possible, just like in golf!

18. TBS show starting in 2010 : CONAN
Before Conan O’Brien came to fame as a late night talk show host he was a writer. He wrote for both “Saturday Night Live” and “The Simpsons”.

19. StarKist competitor : CHICKEN OF THE SEA
The Chicken of the Sea brand of tuna is named for a phrase once used by fishermen for the “meat” from white albacore tuna.

StarKist is a brand of tuna that uses Charlie the Tuna as its cartoon mascot.

22. Lover boys : BEAUX
A “beau” (plural “beaux”) is the boyfriend of a “belle”, a young lady. “Beau” and “belle” are the masculine and feminine forms of the French word for “handsome, beautiful”.

30. Utah ski town : 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.

32. "The Simpsons" character who wears a bow tie at work : MOE
Moe Szyslak is the surly bartender and owner of Moe’s Tavern in “The Simpsons” animated TV show. I don’t really care for “The Simpsons”, but Hank Azaria who supplies the voice for the Moe character … him I like …

33. It's often rough: Abbr. : EST
Estimate (est.)

37. Question raised by four squares in this puzzle? : WHY?
Why did the chicken cross the road?

To get to the other side!

47. "Madness in great ___ must not unwatch'd go": "Hamlet" : ONES
“Madness in great ones must not unwatch'd go" is a line from William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet”, spoken by King Claudius. One might argue that this quotation advises us keep a careful eye on those we might regard as “mad”, as the line between greatness and insanity can be a fine one.

54. Show with a record 200+ Emmy noms : SNL
NBC first aired a form of “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) in 1975 under the title “NBC’s Saturday Night”. The show was actually created to give Johnny Carson some time off from “The Tonight Show”. Back then “The Tonight Show” had a weekend episode, and Carson convinced NBC to pull the Saturday or Sunday recordings off the air and hold them for subsequent weeknights in which Carson needed a break. NBC turned to Lorne Michaels and asked him to put together a variety show to fill the vacant slot, and he came up with what we now call “Saturday Night Live”.

57. Astronomers' sightings : NOVAE
A nova (plural “novae”) is basically a star that suddenly gets much brighter, gradually returning to its original state weeks or even years later. The increased brightness of a nova is due to increased nuclear activity causing the star to pick up extra hydrogen from a neighboring celestial body. A supernova is very different from a nova. A supernova is a very bright burst of light and energy created when most of the material in a star explodes. The bright burst of a supernova is very short-lived compared to the sustained brightness of a nova.

65. Facts and figures : DATA
Our word “data” (singular “datum”) comes from the Latin “datum” meaning “given”. The idea is that data are “things given”.

66. Stack of sheets : REAM
A ream is 500 sheets of paper. As there were 24 sheets in a quire, and 20 quires made up a ream, there used to be 480 sheets in a ream. Ever since the standard was changed to 500, a 480-sheet packet of paper has been called a "short ream". We also use the term “reams” to mean a great amount, evolving from the idea of a lot of printed material.

69. Letters on a stamp : USDA
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) classifies meat into eight different grades:
  • Prime
  • Choice
  • Select
  • Standard
  • Commercial
  • Utility
  • Cutter
  • Canner

2. It's hit with a mallet : POLO BALL
The sport of polo originated in Iran, possibly before the 5th century BC. Polo was used back them primarily as a training exercise for cavalry units.

3. First, second and third, exactly : TRIFECTA
In horse racing, a trifecta is a bet in which the first, second and third place finishers are predicted in the correct order. The same bet can be made in jai alai competitions, predicting which the top three finishers.

4. BART : San Francisco :: ___ : Philadelphia : SEPTA
Public transportation in and around Philadelphia is managed by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA).

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) serves the San Francisco Bay Area.

8. Subject of Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard" : ESTATE
“The Cherry Orchard” was Anton Chekhov’s last play. Chekhov wrote the play as a comedy, but when it was first staged in Moscow in 1904 it was directed as a tragedy!

11. Muse invoked in "Paradise Lost" : URANIA
In Greek mythology, the muses are the goddesses who inspire the creation of literature and the arts. The number of muses is a subject of debate at times, but the most popular view is that there are nine:
  • Calliope (epic poetry)
  • Clio (history)
  • Erato (lyric poetry)
  • Euterpe (music)
  • Melpomene (tragedy)
  • Polyhymnia (choral poetry)
  • Terpsichore (dance)
  • Thalia (comedy)
  • Urania (astronomy)
Before the adoption of the nine muses of Greek mythology, there were originally three muses, the three Boeotian Muses. These were:
  • Mneme (memory)
  • Melete (meditation)
  • Aoede (song)

“Paradise Lost” is an epic poem written by Englishman John Milton. It is indeed an epic work, published originally in ten volumes with over ten thousand lines of verse. The “paradise” that is “lost” is the Garden of Eden, from which Adam and Eve were expelled by God in the “Fall of Man”.

12. How the boat goes down the stream, in a children's song : GENTLY
Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.

24. Galena, for one : ORE
Galena is the most commonly used mineral to produce lead. It is a form of lead sulfide. Galena is the state mineral of Missouri and of Wisconsin.

28. ___ jacket : NEHRU
A Nehru jacket is very like a regular suit jacket, except that the collar buttons at the neck. It was originally created in the 1940s in India, and then marketed as the Nehru jacket in the west in the sixties. The name Nehru was lifted from Jawaharlal Nehru, the prime minister of India from 1947 to 1964.

34. Derek Jeter, for the Yankees : TWO
Derek Jeter played his entire professional baseball career with the New York Yankees, and was the team’s captain. Jeter is the all-time career leader for the Yankees in hits, games played, stolen bases and at bats. He is also the all-time leader in hits by a shortstop in the whole of professional baseball. Jeter’s performances in the postseason earned him the nicknames “Captain Clutch” and “Mr. November”. Jeter retired from the game in 2014.

36. Noted Warner Bros. toon : ROAD RUNNER
Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner are two much-loved cartoon characters from Warner Bros. Wile E. Coyote was created first, and Road Runner was invented as someone for Wile E. to play off. I love this cartoon; definitely one of the best …

38. Aching : YEN
The word "yen", meaning "urge", has been around in English since the very early 1900s. It comes from the earlier word "yin" imported from Chinese, which was used in English to describe an intense craving for opium!

41. Deserter of a cause : RENEGADE
A renegade is a person who leaves one cause, usually to take up an opposing cause. “Renegade” likely comes from the Spanish “renegado”, a term which originally was used for a Christian who had converted to Islam back in the late 16th century.

42. Subj. for a diplomat, maybe : ESL
English as a Second Language (ESL) is sometimes referred to as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL).

44. Aesop character : ANT
In Aesop’s fable “The Ant and the Grasshopper”, the grasshopper spends the warm months singing and having a good time while the ant toils away storing food. When winter arrives, the grasshopper starts to die from hunger and begs the ant for food. The ant tells the grasshopper that he should have been more sensible instead of singing away all summer, and maybe he should dance through the winter!

48. Island capital named for a European royal house : NASSAU
Nassau, on the island of New Providence, is the capital of the Bahamas, and used to be called Charles Town. After being burnt to the ground by the Spanish in 1684, it was rebuilt and named Nassau in honor of King William III of England, a Dutchman from the House of Orange-Nassau (aka William of Orange). Nassau is a favored location for the James Bond series of movies. The city and surroundings feature in “Thunderball”, “Never Say Never Again”, “Casino Royale” and “For Your Eyes Only”.

49. ___ diet : ATKINS
The eating of relatively few carbohydrates is central to the diet proposed by Robert Atkins. Atkins first laid out the principles behind the Atkins diet in a research paper published in 1958 in the “Journal of the American Medical Association”. He popularized his diet starting in 1972 with his book “Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution”.

53. "Le Coq ___" : D’OR
“The Golden Cockerel” (“Le coq d’or”) is a an opera by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov that was premiered in 1909 in Moscow. Sadly, that premiere was a year after the composer died.

62. ___ party : STAG
Back where I come from, bachelor parties are called stag parties, and bachelorette parties are known as hen parties.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
1. Decides one way or the other : OPTS
5. Assemble in a field, say : BALE
9. Like know-it-alls : SMUG
13. "Look out!" : FORE!
14. x, y or z follower : AXIS
15. Tuned in : AWARE
16. Turn over : FLIP
17. Studio figure : RENT
18. TBS show starting in 2010 : CONAN
19. StarKist competitor : CHICKEN OF THE SEA
21. Mean something : COUNT
22. Lover boys : BEAUX
23. Polish target : TOENAIL
25. Egg ___ : SAC
26. Keeping elbows off the table, e.g. : MANNERS
29. Was idle : LAY
30. Utah ski town : ALTA
32. "The Simpsons" character who wears a bow tie at work : MOE
33. It's often rough: Abbr. : EST
35. Risk mutual destruction, say : PLAY CHICKEN
37. Question raised by four squares in this puzzle? : WHY?
39. Coop material : CHICKEN WIRE
43. Depression-___ : ERA
45. Part of a workout routine : REP
47. "Madness in great ___ must not unwatch'd go": "Hamlet" : ONES
48. Be out for a bit? : NAP
51. A bit sharp, maybe : UNTUNED
54. Show with a record 200+ Emmy noms : SNL
55. Chattahoochee River city : ATLANTA
57. Astronomers' sightings : NOVAE
59. Fabric store purchase : SKEIN
60. Person getting up there in years : NO SPRING CHICKEN
64. Move furtively, in a way : SIDLE
65. Facts and figures : DATA
66. Stack of sheets : REAM
67. Tick off : ANGER
68. Series curtailer: Abbr. : ET AL
69. Letters on a stamp : USDA
70. ___ car : USED
71. What blinks on a telephone may signify: Abbr. : MSGS
72. Choreographer's concern : STEP

1. Where all-terrain vehicles go : OFF-ROAD
2. It's hit with a mallet : POLO BALL
3. First, second and third, exactly : TRIFECTA
4. BART : San Francisco :: ___ : Philadelphia : SEPTA
5. Legal hurdle? : BAR EXAM
6. Scraps : AXES
7. "y = 2x," e.g. : LINE
8. Subject of Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard" : ESTATE
9. Faint : SWOON
10. Guide : MANUAL
11. Muse invoked in "Paradise Lost" : URANIA
12. How the boat goes down the stream, in a children's song : GENTLY
15. Highway adjacent to a throughway : ACCESS ROAD
20. Run smoothly : HUM
24. Galena, for one : ORE
25. Deplete (of) : SAP
27. Common cue : NOW
28. ___ jacket : NEHRU
31. A raised hand might indicate it : AYE
34. Derek Jeter, for the Yankees : TWO
36. Noted Warner Bros. toon : ROAD RUNNER
38. Aching : YEN
40. Most nuts : INSANEST
41. Deserter of a cause : RENEGADE
42. Subj. for a diplomat, maybe : ESL
44. Aesop character : ANT
46. Some foreign correspondents : PENPALS
48. Island capital named for a European royal house : NASSAU
49. ___ diet : ATKINS
50. Word : PLEDGE
52. What two people may ride in : TANDEM
53. "Le Coq ___" : D’OR
56. Had a 58-Down, e.g. : AILED
58. Bug : VIRUS
61. Stable stuff : OATS
62. ___ party : STAG
63. Plan for achieving a long-term goal : ROADMAP

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Glenn said...

You got Wednesday's grid on this post.

Dave Kennison said...

@Bill ... What Glenn said ...

15:27, no errors. Another clever theme, which I understood pretty quickly, but I wasn't sure how I was going to handle the "special" squares on my iPad. At the end, after some thought, I just made each one a rebus containing the word ROAD and that worked.

Bill Butler said...

@Glenn, Dave Kennison

Thanks, guys. That was a big "oops". All fixed now.

Chrissy said...

DNF after 25 min, I finished about 1/4-1/3 of the puzzle. I figured out the "ROAD" part, but not the "CHICKEN" part, which is amusing now that I understand the puzzle. The rest of you solvers....I'm very impressed, as always!

Deborah Wells said...

It isn't accepting my "CHICKEN ROAD" or "CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD" or "CHICKEN X ROAD" answers (using the appropriate key for multiple letter entry).

Jeff said...

Finally finished this one with an inordinate amount of time spent on the NE for some reason. Finally got GENTLY of all things and the rest finally filled in.

Funny theme. NO SPRING chicken/road MAP gave it away for me. The rest filled in ok except all that time in the NE.

FWIW - I do a lot of NYT puzzles online, but I make a point of printing out Thursdays for puzzles like these that lend themselves to paper and pen. No rebus issues with a pen...

Best -

Citerna said...

No one ever answered the question why NOW 27D is the answer to "common clue".

Glenn said...


27D is [Common cue], which NOW most certainly fits.

Anonymous said...

The answer for 39 across is archaic. Home Depot no longer sells "chicken wire".
They now carry "poultry containment fencing". Really.

BruceB said...

22:52, no errors. Got the theme quickly with OFF ROAD/CHICKEN OF THE SEA, but wasn't sure all the crosses would be ROAD/CHICKEN.

@Citerna: (for what it's worth, a month later) 27D is 'Common Cue' not 'Common Clue'. A common cue to someone to begin an action is simply the word 'NOW'.

Dale Stewart said...

No errors. I had almost given up on completing this having had a blank on upper center. BAR EXAM finally occurred to me and the rest fell in okay, although not easily. The clever theme was helpful in the solving.

Tom M. said...

Yes, theme was easy, but a good share of the fill was not. This took some time, but it was worth the effort and afforded some satisfaction in the end.

Anonymous said...

24:08, and I "got to the other side" without making a mistake.

This puzzle was evil enough for a Thursday... so I suppose I can "crow a bit" about finishing it. One simply had to "scratch" a bit to solve it.

Hey, they can keep churning out rebuses, I can keep punning.

Tom M. said...

@Anonymous 09:28--Got a nice chuckle out of that. (Wondering if you might give yourself a more distinctive identity than Anonymous. Was that you again at 13:31?)

Glenn said...

35 minutes, no errors. Gimmick revealed itself rather quickly.

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About This Blog

This is the simplest of blogs.

I do the New York Times puzzle online every evening, the night before it is published in the paper. Then, I "Google & Wiki" the references that puzzle me, or that I find of interest. I post my findings, along with the solution, as soon as I am done, usually well before the newsprint version becomes available.

About Me

The name's William Ernest Butler, but please call me Bill. I grew up in Ireland, but now live out here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am retired, from technology businesses that took our family all over the world.

I try to answer all emails, so please feel free to email me at

Crosswords and My Dad

I worked on my first crossword puzzle when I was about 6-years-old, sitting on my Dad's knee. He let me "help" him with his puzzle almost every day as I was growing up. Over the years, Dad passed on to me his addiction to crosswords. Now in my early 50s, I work on my Irish Times and New York Times puzzles every day. I'm no longer sitting on my Dad's knee, but I feel that he is there with me, looking over my shoulder.

This blog is dedicated to my Dad, who passed away at the beginning of this month.

January 29, 2009

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