0720-18 NY Times Crossword 20 Jul 18, Friday

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Constructed by: Robyn Weintraub
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 13m 07s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Dreamhouse resident : BARBIE DOLL

The famous Barbie doll was created by businesswoman Ruth Handler and first appeared on store shelves in 1959. Barbie was based on a German fashion doll called Bild Lilli that was introduced in 1955. Lilli had been a German cartoon character before taking on a three-dimensional form. Prior to the introduction of Bild Lilli and Barbie, children’s dolls were primarily representations of infants.

11. Food portmanteau : SPAM

Spam is a precooked meat product that is sold in cans. It was introduced by Hormel Foods in 1937. The main meat ingredients are pork shoulder meat and ham. The name “Spam” was chosen as the result of a competition at Hormel, with the winner earning himself a hundred dollars. According to the company, the derivation of the name “Spam” is a secret known by only a few former executives, but the speculation is that it stands for “spiced ham” or “shoulders of pork and ham”. Spam is particularly popular in Hawaii, so popular that it is sometimes referred to as “the Hawaiian steak”.

19. Schooner feature : MAST

By definition, a schooner is sailing vessel with two or more masts, but one on which the foremast is shorter than the rear mast(s).

20. Secretary of state after Muskie : HAIG

Alexander Haig was Secretary of State under President Reagan, and White House Chief of Staff under Presidents Nixon and Ford. Famously, Haig took over temporary control of the country immediately after President Reagan was shot in 1981. To do so was a pragmatic move, while waiting on Vice President Bush to arrive in Washington. There was much debate at the time about the legality of the steps taken, as the presidential line of succession called out in the US Constitution is President, Vice President, Speaker of the House, President pro tempore of the US Senate, and then Secretary of State.

Ed Muskie was Governor of Maine in the late fifties. Muskie was born in Rumford, Maine and was a Polish-American. When he served as Secretary of State in the Carter administration, Muskie held the highest office in the US for any Polish-American.

22. Stole, maybe : FUR

A stole is a lady’s clothing accessory, a narrow shawl. It can be made of quite light decorative material, or it can be heavier especially if made of fur.

23. Neighbor of Djibouti : ERITREA

Eritrea is a country located in the Horn of Africa, surrounded by Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti and the Red Sea. Some scientists believe that the area now known as Eritrea was the departure point for the anatomically modern humans who first left Africa to populate the rest of the world.

Djibouti is a country in the Horn of Africa that is located to the northwest of Somalia, with coasts on the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Once known as French Somaliland, the country gained independence from France in 1977. The newly independent nation adopted the same name as Djibouti, the capital city.

25. Gorp ingredients : RAISINS

“Gorp” is the name sometimes used for trail mix, particularly by hikers. It’s not really known for sure how this name came about, but some say it stands for “good old raisins and peanuts” or perhaps “gobs of raw protein”.

29. Actress Kirsten : DUNST

Kirsten Dunst is a Hollywood actress from Point Pleasant, New Jersey. Dunst is perhaps best known for playing the love interest and female lead in the “Spider-Man” series of movies opposite Tobey Maguire. Personally, my favorite Dunst films are “Wimbledon” and “Marie Antoinette”. Dunst is a dual citizen of the US and Germany, as her father is from Hamburg.

34. Title character of a 2006 mockumentary : BORAT

The full name of the 2006 “mockumentary” is “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan”. Borat is played by a British comedian, Sacha Baron Cohen. Not my cup of tea …

36. Israeli-born Jew : SABRA

Jewish people born in the State of Israel, or the historical region of israel, are known as Sabras. “Sabra” is actually the name of the prickly pear, the thorny desert cactus. Apparently the name “Sabra” is used because someone born in the region is said to be tough on the outside and sweet on the inside, just like a prickly pear.

37. What can get batters out? : SPATULAS

A spatula is a tool or implement used for mixing, lifting or spreading. “Spatula” is the Latin name for the tool, and is a diminutive of the word “spatha” meaning “broad, flat blade”. “Spatha” gives rise to our related term “spade”.

39. Chad’s place : BALLOT

Today, a ballot is a piece of paper used to cast a vote. Back in the 1500s, a “ballot” was a small “ball” used in the process of voting.

We are all familiar with “hanging chads” after the famous Florida election recounts of 2000. A chad is any piece of paper punched out from a larger sheet. So, those round bits of paper we’ve all dropped over the floor when emptying a hole punch, they’re chads.

41. Kibble form : PELLETS

“To kibble” is to crush or grind coarsely. This verb evolved into the noun “kibble” meaning meat and/or grain that is ground into small pellets, especially when it is used for pet food.

44. Getty oil, e.g. : ART

The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles is one of the most visited museums in the country. Like many museums in developed countries these days, the Getty has been embroiled in disputes about ownership of artifacts. The curators of the Getty have gone so far as to repatriate some items in recent years, especially to Greece and Italy. The J. Paul Getty Museum has to locations. The Getty Center is the primary location, and houses art from the Middle Ages to the present. The associated (and beautiful) Getty Villa displays art from ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria.

45. Sword grips : HAFTS

The haft of a weapon is its handle or hilt.

52. Hydroxyl-bearing compound : ENOL

An enol is an alkene with a hydroxyl group, and so is part-alkene and part-alcohol. The term “enol”, therefore, is a portmanteau of “alkene” and “alcohol”.

55. Warning from one holding an iron : 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!

57. Rice and Robbins : TIMS

Tim Rice is most famous as a lyricist, with his most celebrated collaborations being with Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lloyd Webber and Rice together wrote the hit musicals “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Evita”.

Tim Robbins is a Hollywood actor, director and producer. I’d say that Robbins’ best-known roles are the leads in “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Player”. Robbins also wrote, produced and directed the 1995 movie “Dead Man Walking” starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. Robbins was married for almost thirty years to Susan Sarandon, although they split up in 2009.

58. Skull accompanier : CROSSBONES

The Jolly Roger is a flag that was flown by pirates to identify their vessels, basically to strike fear in the hearts of the crews they were attacking. We usually think of the Jolly Roger’s design as a white skull and crossbones on a black background. There is a theory that pirates originally flew a red flag, and this was known colloquially as the “pretty red”, or “joli rouge” in French. “Joli Rouge” then evolved into “Jolly Roger”.

Down

2. Running shoe brand : AVIA

The Avia brand name for athletic shoes was chosen as “avia” is the Latin word for “to fly”, and suggests the concept of aviation. Avia was founded in Oregon in 1979.

3. Short spins? : REVS

Revolution (rev.)

4. One who’s happy about acquiring a few extra pounds, informally : BRIT

The official name of the currency of the UK is the pound sterling (plural “pounds sterling”). The most plausible suggestion for the etymology of the term “sterling” is that it derives from the Old English “steorra” meaning “star”, with the diminutive “-ling”. The resulting “little star” or “sterling” referred to a silver penny used by the English Normans. The pound sterling is the world’s oldest currency still in use.

5. Janis with the 1975 hit “At Seventeen” : IAN

Janis Ian is a singer-songwriter, mainly of folk music, who was most successful in the sixties and seventies. Her most famous song by far is the 1975 recording “At Seventeen”. In more recent years, Ian has been published several times as a science-fiction author.

Janice Ian wrote her lovely song “At Seventeen“ when she herself was 22, looking back at that earlier age with a little maturity. The lyrics were inspired by a newspaper article she read about a teenage debutante who had learned the hard way that her popularity at school was not the answer to life’s problems.

7. Bacardi brand : DEWAR’S

Dewar’s is a blended Scotch whisky introduced to the market in 1846 by John Dewar. Dewar’s White Label is the company’s most popular Scotch. It was first sold in 1899, and with a taste that is described as “heather and honey”. Dewar’s also make some single malts, under the labels Aberfeldy 12 and Aberfeldy 21. Today, Dewar’s is owned by Bacardi.

The Bacardi company is still family-owned and operated, and is based in Hamilton, Bermuda. The company was founded in Santiago de Cuba and became successful by selling a refined form of rum, something new to a market that was used to a crude dark rum. The Bacardi family opposed the Castro regime as it came to power, so the company had to relocate to Bermuda.

8. Tourist city in Ventura County : OJAI

The city of Ojai, California is located just northwest of Los Angeles. One of the city’s claims to fame is that according to the TV shows “The Bionic Woman” and “The Six Million Dollar Man”, Jaime Sommers and Steve Austin grew up in Ojai and were childhood sweethearts!

10. Catwoman portrayer Meriwether : LEE

Catwoman is a supervillain who is usually depicted as an adversary of Batman in comics. In the sixties television show “Batman”, Catwoman was first portrayed by actress Julie Newmar, but then the more memorable Eartha Kitt took over, with the marvelously “feline voice”. On the big screen, Catwoman has been played by Lee Meriwether in “Batman” (1966), by Michelle Pfeiffer in “Batman Returns” (1992), by Halle Berry in “Catwoman” (2004) and by Anne Hathaway in “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012).

13. Star ___ (pho flavorer) : ANISE

Pho is a noodle soup from Vietnam that is a popular street food.

14. Intelligence community? : MENSA

If you ever learned Latin, “mensa” was probably taught to you in lesson one as it’s the word commonly used as an example of a first declension noun. Mensa means “table”. The Mensa organization, for folks with high IQs, was set up in Oxford, England back in 1946. To become a member, you have to have an IQ that is in the top 2% of the population.

24. Play from which the word “robot” comes : RUR

Karel Čapek was a Czech writer noted for his works of science fiction. Čapek’s 1920 play “R.U.R.” is remembered in part for introducing the world to the word “robot”. The words “automaton” and “android” were already in use, but Capek gave us “robot” from the original Czech “robota” meaning “forced labor”. The acronym “R.U.R.”, in the context of the play, stands for “Rossum’s Universal Robots”.

38. Language similar to Thai : LAO

Lao is the official language of Laos. Lao is also spoken in the northeast of Thailand, but there the language is known as Isan.

41. Storyboard parts : PANELS

“Storyboarding” is a process in which quickly drawn images are arranged in sequence on say a wall in order to pre-visualize a movie or cartoon. The process was developed in the thirties at the Walt Disney Studio. It’s a great system, and one that I even used in business, for setting plans and preparing presentations.

42. “Five-finger discount” : THEFT

“Five-finger discount” is a relatively recent slang expression, dating back to 1966. It is slang for “theft”, the idea being that someone using their five fingers to steal something gets the best of all discounts on the price, namely 100%.

43. Five-letter capital written as two words in its native language : HANOI

Hanoi (“Hà Nội” in Vietnamese) was the capital of North Vietnam, and Saigon the capital of South Vietnam. After the Vietnam War, Hanoi was made capital of the reunified state. Saigon, the larger metropolis, was renamed to Ho Chi Minh City. Hanoi is located in the delta of the Red River, and is just over 50 miles from the Gulf of Tonkin in the South China Sea.

50. A cameo might have one : LINE

Even in my day, a cameo role was more than just a short appearance in a movie (or other artistic piece). For the appearance to be a cameo, the actor had to playing himself or herself, and was instantly recognizable. With this meaning it’s easy to see the etymology of the term, as a cameo brooch is one with the recognizable carving of the silhouette of a person. Nowadays, a cameo is any minor role played by a celebrity or famous actor, regardless of the character played.

51. Group to which five U.S. presidents have belonged, from Harding to Ford : ELKS

The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) was founded in 1868, and is a social club that has about a million members today. It started out as a group of men getting together in a “club” in order to get around the legal opening hours of taverns in New York City. The club took on a new role as it started to look out for poor families of members who passed away. The club now accepts African Americans as members (since the seventies) and women (since the nineties), but atheists still aren’t welcome.

53. Government org. concerned with radioactive waste : NRC

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) oversees most aspects of the safety of nuclear power plants and nuclear fuel in the US.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Dreamhouse resident : BARBIE DOLL
11. Food portmanteau : SPAM
15. He’s nothing special : AVERAGE JOE
16. Get fit, with “up” : TONE
17. It gets you what you need : LIVING WAGE
18. Analogous : AKIN
19. Schooner feature : MAST
20. Secretary of state after Muskie : HAIG
21. Times, Post, News, etc. : PRESS
22. Stole, maybe : FUR
23. Neighbor of Djibouti : ERITREA
25. Gorp ingredients : RAISINS
29. Actress Kirsten : DUNST
30. About to go : UP NEXT
31. One might be by the water cooler : WORKMATE
34. Title character of a 2006 mockumentary : BORAT
35. ___ characters (Chinese script) : HAN
36. Israeli-born Jew : SABRA
37. What can get batters out? : SPATULAS
39. Chad’s place : BALLOT
40. Not built up : RURAL
41. Kibble form : PELLETS
42. From that, formally : THEREOF
44. Getty oil, e.g. : ART
45. Sword grips : HAFTS
46. Portuguese woman’s title : DONA
48. Check out, in a way : OGLE
52. Hydroxyl-bearing compound : ENOL
53. Like cooking that goes whole hog? : NOSE TO TAIL
55. Warning from one holding an iron : FORE!
56. Place to spin your wheels : ROLLER RINK
57. Rice and Robbins : TIMS
58. Skull accompanier : CROSSBONES

Down

1. Topical treatment : BALM
2. Running shoe brand : AVIA
3. Short spins? : REVS
4. One who’s happy about acquiring a few extra pounds, informally : BRIT
5. Janis with the 1975 hit “At Seventeen” : IAN
6. Activity for a basket holder : EGG HUNT
7. Bacardi brand : DEWAR’S
8. Tourist city in Ventura County : OJAI
9. Got access, in a way : LOGGED ON
10. Catwoman portrayer Meriwether : LEE
11. Not bite off more than one can chew : START SMALL
12. Place where lots of calls are made : POKER TABLE
13. Star ___ (pho flavorer) : ANISE
14. Intelligence community? : MENSA
21. Colorful seasoning that originated near the Himalayas : PINK SALT
22. Pipe fittings and such : FIXTURES
24. Play from which the word “robot” comes : RUR
25. Alternatives to marinades : RUBS
26. For one : A POP
27. At one’s best : IN RARE FORM
28. Creatures that divers sometimes swim with : SEA TURTLES
31. “Time ___ …” : WAS
32. Pleasant pace : TROT
33. Chuck wagon fixin’s : EATS
35. Divided barrier : HALF-DOOR
38. Language similar to Thai : LAO
39. Knocks loudly? : BERATES
41. Storyboard parts : PANELS
42. “Five-finger discount” : THEFT
43. Five-letter capital written as two words in its native language : HANOI
47. 2017 Tony winner for Best Play : OSLO
48. Other: Sp. : OTRO
49. Appreciation : GAIN
50. A cameo might have one : LINE
51. Group to which five U.S. presidents have belonged, from Harding to Ford : ELKS
53. Government org. concerned with radioactive waste : NRC
54. Scepter accompanier : ORB

11 thoughts on “0720-18 NY Times Crossword 20 Jul 18, Friday”

  1. 26:56. Enjoyed this one. As always when referring to a Friday or Saturday puzzle for me “enjoyed it”=”finished it”. Some brutal puns in this one – e.g. the clues for SPATULA and BALLOT. Ouch.

    Best –

  2. One hour and no errors.
    Spent the last twenty minutes wrestling with 31,36,39 across
    I thought rums was a better fit for 25 down but I knew Borat was right so rubs it is.

  3. Could I quibble only a little with the description of Catwoman as a super villain. She, like Batman, did not have super powers. Sorry, just a holdover nitpick from my teenage years.
    I always enjoy and value your comments. I could be wrong but super power would seem to be something that humans cannot do.

  4. 18:25, no errors. Left half of the puzzle went quickly for me, first guesses all seemed to work; especially the long entries. Opposite experience with the right half of the puzzle. Finally settled on EATS in 33D after CHOW and GRUB didn’t work; START SMALL eventually figured out after STARTS SLOW and STARTS EASY failed.

  5. 14:55, 4 errors: W(O)(R)KMATE, crossed by LOGGED(O)N, RU(R), PIN(K)SALT. So certain was I that 9D had to be LOGGEDON, and so unable was I to see WORKMATE, that I bungled that area of the grid.

    Still, a good, no-nonsense challenge for a Friday. I’d sure rather have this many errors with a fair grid than what passed for fare for a good part of this week.

    On a similar note, I’m considering a trial run with the L.A. Times puzzle, to see what kind of traditions they have for editing, clue formats, allowable tricks and deviations. Anybody have any insight into that?

    1. I do it every day, Allen; but not as challenging as NYT. No REBUS allowed. From your comments, I gather you would be a lot less frustrated with the LA Times cw.

      Mark

  6. I don’t do the L.A. Times puzzle (except occasionally when traveling) because N.Y. Times is syndicated in my home paper, but let us know what you find out. I missed Eritrea/RUR and Sabra. But overall it was a good outing and fairly challenging puzzle and I enjoyed it.

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