0630-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 30 Jun 16, Thursday

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Solution to today’s crossword in the New York Times
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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

CROSSWORD SETTER: Jonathan M. Kaye
THEME: Top Off
We have themed clues again today. Each clue is a seemingly meaningless string of numbers and letters. If we draw a horizontal line through that string of numbers, and then ignore the TOP half, the bottom half gives us our clue:

38. With 39-Across, refill to capacity … or a hint to interpreting the clues at 17-, 27-, 46- and 61-Across : TOP
39. See 38-Across : OFF

17. B0B : DEFECTIVE BULLET (take the top off B0B to get DUD)
27. TB8L : ADORED SUPERSTAR (take the top off TB8L to get IDOL)
46. 8V8TB : SHAPED LIKE AN EGG (take the top off 8V8TB to get OVOID)
61. VMB : BRIGHTLY-COLORED (take the top off VMB to get VIVID)

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 13m 44s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

9. Thin air : ETHER
The Greek philosopher Empedocles proposed that there are four elements that made up the universe, namely earth, water, air and fire. Aristotle later proposed a fifth element which he called aether (also “ether”). Aether was the divine substance that made up the stars and planets.

14. Electrified bit of sports equipment : EPEE
The French word for sword is “épée”. In competitive fencing the épée is connected to a system that records an electrical signal when legal contact is made on an opponent’s body.

15. Caligula’s love : AMOR
“Amor” is Latin for “love”.

Caligula was emperor of Rome after Tiberius, and before Claudius. “Caligula” was actually a nickname for Gaius Germanicus. Gaius’s father was a successful general in the Roman army and his soldiers called young Gaius “Caligula”, meaning “little soldier’s boot”.

16. Light violet : MAUVE
The name given to the light violet color that we know as “mauve” comes via French from the Latin “malva”. The Latin term translates as “mallow”, the common name of several species of plants, many of which have mauve-colored flowers.

20. Christensen of “Parenthood” : ERIKA
Actress Erika Christensen is probably best known for playing a young cocaine addict in the film “Traffic” (2000), and the youngest daughter of the Braverman family on the TV show “Parenthood”.

21. City whose name, appropriately, rhymes with “casino” : RENO
The city of Reno’s economy took off when open gambling was legalized in Nevada in 1931. Within a short time, a syndicate had built the Bank Club in Reno, which was the largest casino in the whole world at the time.

22. Ingredient in old-time cookie recipes : LARD
Fat, when extracted from the carcass of an animal, is called “suet”. Untreated suet decomposes at room temperature quite easily so it has to be “rendered” or purified to make it stable. Rendered fat from pigs is what we call “lard”. Rendered beef or mutton fat is known as “tallow”.

23. Record co. excoriated in a Sex Pistols song : EMI
EMI was a British music company, with the abbreviation standing for Electric and Musical Industries.

The Sex Pistols were the group that introduced the punk movement to the UK, back in 1975. The Sex Pistols were very vocal in their opposition to the social norms of the time. One of their most famous singles is “God Save the Queen”, from 1977. The lyrics were considered so offensive that workers at the plant where the record was being pressed came out on strike rather than be associated with the song. When it was eventually released, the BBC went as far as banning the record, not something that happens very often.

34. Tout’s stock-in-trade : TIPS
A “tout” (mainly in the British Isles) is someone who checks out racehorses and sells information gained to people placing bets.

35. Fuzz : NAP
A “nap” is a soft and perhaps fuzzy surface on cloth, leather, a carpet and even a tennis ball.

36. “And thereby hangs ___” : A TALE
“And thereby hangs a tale” is a line from William Shakespeare’s play “As You Like It”, and is an idiom that we use today meaning “there’s a story connected with this”.

37. Many a numerator : ONE
In a fraction, the number above the line is the numerator, and the number below the line is the denominator. A common numerator is the number one, as in ½, ¼, ⅓ etc.

44. Actor Mineo : SAL
The 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.

45. Novelist O’Brien : EDNA
Edna O’Brien is an Irish novelist and playwright who is known for her works that shine a light on the problems of women relating to men and society in general. O’Brien’s first novel, “The Country Girls”, was banned, burned and denounced by the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. As a result, O’Brien left the country and now lives in London.

50. Baseball great Buck : O’NEIL
Buck O’Neil was a first baseman and manager with the Kansas City Monarchs, a team in the Negro American League.

55. Actor Lugosi : BELA
Bela Lugosi was a Hungarian stage and screen actor, best known for playing the title role in the 1931 film “Dracula” and for playing the same role on Broadway. Lugosi found himself typecast for the rest of his career and almost always played the role of the villain, often in horror movies. When he passed away in 1956, his wife had him buried in the costume he wore playing Count Dracula on Broadway.

57. “My Fair Lady” lady : ELIZA
Eliza Doolittle is Professor Henry Higgins’ speech student in George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion”. “Pygmalion” was adapted by Lerner and Loewe to become the Broadway musical “My Fair Lady”. The musical spun off the wonderful 1964 film of the same name starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison. To cockney Eliza Doolittle, Professor Henry Higgins was “‘Enry ‘Iggins”.

69. Book of Mormon prophet : ENOS
According to the Book of Mormon, Enos was a son of Jacob, and the author of the Book of Enos.

Down
4. Positions in Quidditch : SEEKERS
Quidditch is a game that is famously played in the “Harry Potter” series of books and films. The game is contended by two teams of seven wizards or witches flying on broomsticks. The are four animated balls and six ring-shaped goals floating in mid-air. One of the balls is the Golden Snitch, and one of the players is the Seeker. It is the Seeker’s sole purpose to capture the Golden Snitch and thereby end the game.

5. Result of needling someone? : TAT
The word “tattoo” (often shortened to “tat”) was first used in English in the writings of the famous English explorer Captain Cook. In his descriptions of the indelible marks adorning the skin of Polynesian natives, Cook anglicized the Tahitian word “tatau” into our “tattoo”.

6. Arabian prince : EMIR
In English, emir can also be written as emeer, amir and ameer (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).

8. Possible hitch to getting hitched : PRENUP
Prenuptial agreement (prenup)

9. One of the 10-Down birds in the world : EMU
10. See 9-Down : TALLEST
The tallest living bird is the ostrich, which can reach over nine feet in height.

11. Kind of skirt : HULA
The hula skirt is a grass skirt.

13. Like many a capt. or gen. : RETD
Retired (retd.)

19. Gun measure : BORE
The gauge of a gun is the inside diameter of the weapon’s barrel, the width of the bore.

26. Navratilova rival : GRAF
Steffi Graf is a former World No. 1 professional tennis player from Germany. Graf won 22 Grand Slam singles titles, more than any other man or woman other than Margaret Court. She is married to another former World No. 1, namely Andre Agassi.

Martina Navratilova is a retired tennis player who is thought by many to have been the greatest player of all time. Navratilova won the Wimbledon singles title a record nine times, which is one of many records that she holds. She was born in Czechoslovakia but asked for political asylum in the US in 1975 at 18 years of age. Navratilova was granted temporary residency in the US and as a result was stripped of her Czech citizenship. That Czech citizenship was restored in 2008, making her a dual citizen.

28. 1956 jazz/blues album with an exclamation point : DINAH!
Dinah Washington was the stage name of the blues and jazz singer Ruth Lee Jones. Apparently when she was once performing at the famed London Palladium she announced (with Queen Elizabeth II sitting in the Royal Box), “There is but one Heaven, one Hell, one queen, and your Elizabeth is an impostor.” That would have created a bit of a stir …

29. “Porgy and Bess,” e.g. : OPERA
“Porgy and Bess” is an opera with music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin, and libretto by DuBose Heyward. The storyline of the opera is based on the novel “Porgy” written by DuBose Heyward and and wife Dorothy. “Porgy and Bess” was first performed in 1935, in New York City, but really wasn’t accepted as legitimate opera until 1976 after a landmark production by the Houston Grand Opera. The most famous song from the piece is probably the wonderful aria “Summertime”.

30. Person taken for a fool : SAP
“Sap” is slang for a fool, someone easily scammed. The term arose in the early 1800s in Britain when it was used in “saphead” and “sapskull”. All these words derive from “sapwood”, which is the soft wood found in tree trunks between the bark and the heartwood at the center.

31. Afternoon, to Alejandro : TARDE
“Tarde” is Spanish for “afternoon”.

39. Royal ___ (Detroit suburb) : OAK
The Detroit suburb of Royal Oak was incorporated as a village in 1891. The name was given to the area in 1819 by former US Secretary of State Lewis Cass when he was Governor of the Michigan Territory. He saw there a large oak tree that reminded him of the Royal Oak in which King Charles II of England escaped after the Battle of Worcester.

48. Avoid the limelight : LIE LOW
Limelight was an early form of stage lighting that was also known as Drummond Light. The illumination came from the burning of quicklime (calcium hydroxide), hence the name. Although limelights are a thing of the past, the term “in the limelight” is still used when describing someone in the public eye.

49. Biblical anagram of 55-Across : ABEL
(55. Actor Lugosi : BELA)
In the story of Cain and Abel in the Book of Genesis, Cain murders his brother Abel. Subsequently, God asks Cain, “Where is Abel thy brother?” Cain replies, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

53. Bailiwick : AREA
Bailiwick is a word dating back to the mid-1600s, and originally meant the “district of a bailiff”.

60. Some sources of vitamin C : ADES
The essential nutrient referred to as vitamin C is also called L-ascorbic acid or ascorbate. A lack of vitamin C causes the disease scurvy.

62. Artery: Abbr. : HWY
Highway (hwy.)

63. Walk-___ : ONS
A “walk-on” is a small part in a play, usually one without any lines.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. They may get into a jam : CARS
5. Sub : TEMP
9. Thin air : ETHER
14. Electrified bit of sports equipment : EPEE
15. Caligula’s love : AMOR
16. Light violet : MAUVE
17. B0B : DEFECTIVE BULLET (take the top off B0B to get DUD)
20. Christensen of “Parenthood” : ERIKA
21. City whose name, appropriately, rhymes with “casino” : RENO
22. Ingredient in old-time cookie recipes : LARD
23. Record co. excoriated in a Sex Pistols song : EMI
25. Electrical anomaly : SURGE
27. TB8L : ADORED SUPERSTAR (take the top off TB8L to get IDOL)
34. Tout’s stock-in-trade : TIPS
35. Fuzz : NAP
36. “And thereby hangs ___” : A TALE
37. Many a numerator : ONE
38. With 39-Across, refill to capacity … or a hint to interpreting the clues at 17-, 27-, 46- and 61-Across : TOP
39. See 38-Across : OFF
41. Nonsense : ROT
42. Reed section? : MARSH
44. Actor Mineo : SAL
45. Novelist O’Brien : EDNA
46. 8V8TB : SHAPED LIKE AN EGG (take the top off 8V8TB to get OVOID)
50. Baseball great Buck : O’NEIL
51. Start of a familiar run : ABC …
52. Realize : EARN
55. Actor Lugosi : BELA
57. “My Fair Lady” lady : ELIZA
61. VMB : BRIGHTLY-COLORED (take the top off VMB to get VIVID)
64. Moisten, in a way : BEDEW
65. Gathering clouds, e.g. : OMEN
66. Ticked : SORE
67. Saying “Talk to the hand ’cause the face don’t care,” say : SASSY
68. Unites : WEDS
69. Book of Mormon prophet : ENOS

Down
1. Give up : CEDE
2. Parodist, e.g. : APER
3. Bank offering, briefly : REFI
4. Positions in Quidditch : SEEKERS
5. Result of needling someone? : TAT
6. Arabian prince : EMIR
7. Gets promoted : MOVES UP
8. Possible hitch to getting hitched : PRENUP
9. One of the 10-Down birds in the world : EMU
10. See 9-Down : TALLEST
11. Kind of skirt : HULA
12. At any juncture : EVER
13. Like many a capt. or gen. : RETD
18. Showed : CAME
19. Gun measure : BORE
24. Prisoner’s assignment: Abbr. : ID NO
26. Navratilova rival : GRAF
27. Subjects in quantum mechanics : ATOMS
28. 1956 jazz/blues album with an exclamation point : DINAH!
29. “Porgy and Bess,” e.g. : OPERA
30. Person taken for a fool : SAP
31. Afternoon, to Alejandro : TARDE
32. As a companion : ALONG
33. Mark down, maybe : RETAG
38. After that : THEN
39. Royal ___ (Detroit suburb) : OAK
40. One having a small bite? : FLEA
43. Heavy drinkers, informally : SPONGES
44. “Gosh, what was I thinking?!” : SILLY ME!
45. Pen : ENCLOSE
47. Student woe : DEBT
48. Avoid the limelight : LIE LOW
49. Biblical anagram of 55-Across : ABEL
52. Falls back : EBBS
53. Bailiwick : AREA
54. Purges : RIDS
56. Nailed : ACED
58. Weights, so to speak : IRON
59. Loser, informally : ZERO
60. Some sources of vitamin C : ADES
62. Artery: Abbr. : HWY
63. Walk-___ : ONS

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15 thoughts on “0630-16 New York Times Crossword Answers 30 Jun 16, Thursday”

  1. 19:06, no errors, iPad. When I finished, I had no clue (pun intended) how to interpret those mysterious strings of letters and numbers. It took me another five minutes of head-scratching before the light came on. Cute.

  2. Wow! That is ab obscure theme. I initially thought they might be the names of astronomical shapes in the sky. Doing the grid online didn't seem to help, but thanks for the explanation. :29 for me.

  3. I did the puzzle without figuring out the theme. My husband had to help me see it and even with that, I still couldn't see all those words. It was like an I.Q. test, and I failed!

  4. OK, I'm fine with the usual rebus puzzles on Thursday and I enjoy many of the inventive themes ala NYT. This one, however, has to be among the all-time worst. I was able to solve it but hadn't a clue (groan!) on the theme until the end. There were some clever word twists – weight, etc. – but overall a C-.

  5. Dear WEB ; I have been doing the NYT Xword puzzle for about 10 years , I really enjoy Thursday's theme puzzle the most . But this one has me completely stumped ! I finished it in about half an hour , but still do not understand how BOB becomes DUD by taking the top off . I was like this in school as well , I would make the teacher explain it over and over again until I got it . I didn't care that other students rolled their eyes … As I'm sure many of your readers are . Please explain this to me . Thank you so much , and I appreciate it in advance . Chris from Vancouver BC

  6. 27:56, no errors. Took a while to get into this setters' head. A lot of obscure/misdirective clues. It also took me several minutes to get the theme, after completing the puzzle.

    @chris: BOB becomes DUD as follows: cut the top half off a B and it becomes a D. Cut the top half off a O and it becomes a U. The theme really becomes a stretch when changing VMB into VIVID. Cutting the top half off of V and it stays a V, cutting the top half off M gives IVI, and, again cutting the top half off a B gives a D.

  7. More Thursday STUPIDITY. 33:10, 5 errors in the top left, along with a guess of DE*T*ECTIVE BULLET. I guessed the other long answers, never coming close to figuring out the gimmick.

    I just wish they would STOP IT with this kind of nonsense.

  8. Oh, and by the way, if you "top off" a B it does NOT become a "d". The ascending stem of the lower case letter would be cut away with the rest of the top.

  9. @Anonymous … You're right that if you cut the top off of a "B"', it does not become a "d". It does, however (perhaps with a wee bit of imagination), become a "D". What point was your comment intended to make?

    I really don't think "difficult" and "stupid" are synonyms … 🙂

  10. I seem to be one of the few who caught on to the theme early on and it helped a lot. But it was little consolation as I still missed eight or ten other fills. (Sigh)

  11. I got the theme very early on, and I think it was clever. The answers to the topped off clues, on the other hand, weren't as easy, though in the end they made sense. We got BEDEW and SASSY, but the first is almost not a word, and the second is from an incomplete clue. Better would have been 'What you are being when you say…" We had a hard time with the NE corner. HULA evaded us until we got ETHER, which wasn't easy to get. Overall, a good challenge with a clever theme and some tough clues/answers.

  12. Once I got to "TOP OFF", the theme was mostly a piece of cake (except for M turning into IVI, which took a few seconds). Some of the cluing seemed "Friday/Saturday hard". I don't see how "showed" and "came" are synonymous. Words like BEDEW make me cringe; these BE+[verb] words sound like a poet's fabrication.

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