0814-18 NY Times Crossword 14 Aug 18, Tuesday

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Constructed by: Andy Kravis & Erik Agard
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Goofy Garb

Themed answers are common phrases that have been reinterpreted as zany items of clothing. And, as we move from the top of the grid to the bottom. We also move down the body, from the CAP on the head to the BELT around the waist:

  • 18A. Article of headwear for an explosives engineer? : BLASTING CAP
  • 35A. Article of neckwear for the Stooges? : THREE-WAY TIE
  • 42A. Wrist accessory for a celebrity magazine editor? : PEOPLE WATCH
  • 60A. Waist accessory for a Russian cook? : BORSCHT BELT

Bill’s time: 7m 05s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Three-letter sandwich : PBJ

Peanut butter and jelly (PB&J or PBJ)

4. Ballroom dance from Cuba : RUMBA

The rumba (sometimes “rhumba”) is a Cuban dance, with influences brought by African slaves and Spanish colonists. The name “rumba” comes from “rumbo”, the Spanish word for “party, spree”.

16. Front and back halves of a golf course, often : NINES

There’s an urban myth that the standard number of holes on a golf course is 18 because it takes 18 shots to polish off a fifth of scotch whisky. However, the truth is that the standard number of holes in the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland happened to settle down over time at 18, and that standard was adopted all around the world.

26. Where tapas are enjoyed : SPAIN

Spain is the second largest country in the European Union (after France). “Spain” is an anglicized form of the Spanish name “España”, which comes from the Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula “Hispania”.

“Tapa” is the Spanish word for “lid”, and there is no clear rationale for why this word came to be used for an appetizer. There are lots of explanations cited, all of which seem to involve the temporary covering of one’s glass of wine with a plate or item of food to either preserve the wine or give one extra space at the table.

35. Article of neckwear for the Stooges? : THREE-WAY TIE

If you’ve seen a few of the films starring “The Three Stooges” you might have noticed that the line up changed over the years. The original trio was made up of Moe and Shemp Howard (two brothers) and Larry Fine (a good friend of the Howards). This line up was usually known as “Moe, Larry and Shemp”. Then Curly Howard replaced his brother when Shemp quit the act, creating the most famous trio, “Moe, Larry And Curly”. Shemp returned when Curly had a debilitating stroke in 1946, and Shemp stayed with the troupe until he died in 1955. Shemp was replaced by Joe Besser, and then “Curly-Joe” DeRita. When Larry Fine had a stroke in 1970, it effectively marked the end of the act.

37. Comedian Issa ___ : RAE

Issa Rae is a Stanford University graduate who created a YouTube web series called “Awkward Black Girl”. Rae also plays the title role in the series, a young lady named “J”. “Awkward Black Girl” was adapted into an HBO comedy-drama called “Insecure”, in which Issa Rae stars.

38. Set-asides for old age, for short : IRAS

Individual retirement account (IRA)

39. “Today” rival, in brief : GMA

“Good Morning America” (GMA) is ABC’s morning show, and has been since 1975. There was even a spin-off show called “Good Afternoon America”, although that only lasted for a few months in 2012.

NBC’s “Today” was launched in 1952, becoming the first of the morning news/talk shows on US television. The show’s first host was Dave Garroway, who was at the helm until 1961. Back in those days, “Today” had a mascot who often appeared on air with Garroway: a chimpanzee named J. Fred Muggs.

40. Artist Chagall or N.B.A. player Gasol : MARC

Marc Chagall was a Russian-French artist, one of the most successful of the 20th century. Unlike so many painters, Chagall was able to achieve wealth and notoriety for his work during his own lifetime. It did help that Chagall lived to a ripe old age though. He passed away in 1985, when he was 97 years young. One of Chagall’s most famous works is the ceiling of the Paris Opera. The new ceiling for the beautiful 19th-century building was commissioned in 1963, and took Chagall a year to complete. Chagall was 77 years old when he worked on the Paris Opera project.

Pau Gasol is a Spanish basketball player who started his professional career with FC Barcelona Bàsquet. He started playing in the NBA in 2001, turning out for the Memphis Grizzlies. Pau’s younger brother Marc also signed up with the Memphis Grizzlies, in 2008.

41. Dispenser candy : PEZ

PEZ is an Austrian brand of candy sold in a mechanical dispenser. Famously, PEZ dispensers have molded “heads”, and have become very collectible over the years. The list of heads includes historical figures like Betsy Ross and Paul Revere, characters from “Star Wars” and “Star Trek”, and even British royalty like the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (“William and Kate”). The name PEZ comes from the first, middle and last letters of “Pfefferminz”, the German word for “peppermint”.

42. Wrist accessory for a celebrity magazine editor? : PEOPLE WATCH

There used to be a “People” page in each issue of “Time” magazine. This page was spun-off in 1974 as a publication of its own, which we now call “People” magazine. “People” is noted for its annual special editions with features such as “Best & Worst Dressed” and “Sexiest Man Alive”. The “Sexiest Man Alive” edition now appears at the end of November each year. The first choice for “Sexiest Man” was Mel Gibson, in 1985.

46. Had a video call with : SKYPED

The main feature of the Skype application when introduced was that it allows voice communication to take place over the Internet (aka VoIP). Skype has other features such as video conferencing and instant messaging, but the application made its name from voice communication. Skype was founded by two Scandinavian entrepreneurs and the software necessary was developed by a team of engineers in Estonia. The development project was originally called “Sky peer-to-peer” so the first commercial name for the application was “Skyper”. This had to be shortened to “Skype” because the skyper.com domain name was already in use.

48. Funeral vehicles : HEARSES

We use the term “hearse” for a vehicle used to transport a dead body to the place of burial. The original meaning, still used sometimes today, is for a framework hanging over a coffin that holds candles.

51. ___ Speed Wagon (old vehicle) : REO

REO Speedwagon is an American rock band that formed in 1967, and is still going strong. The band’s biggest hits are “Keep On Loving You” (1980) and “Can’t Fight This Feeling” (1985). The founding members chose the name for the REO Speed Wagon flatbed truck. Note that the band’s name is one word “Speedwagon”, whereas the vehicle’s name uses two words “Speed Wagon”.

52. “Help us!,” at sea : SOS

The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots), although in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so SOS is in effect only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are also mnemonics, introduced after the “SOS” signal was adopted.

53. Frog and ___ (friends in a children’s book series) : TOAD

The “Frog and Toad” series of books for young children was written illustrated by Arnold Lobel. The books were the basis of a 2002 Broadway musical called “A Year with Frog and Toad”, and there’s talk of an animated feature film.

56. Halo sporter : ANGEL

The Greek word “halos” is the name given to the ring of light around the sun or moon, which gives us our word “halo” that is used for a radiant light depicted above the head of a saintly person.

60. Waist accessory for a Russian cook? : BORSCHT BELT

For much of the 20th century, summer resorts in the Catskill Mountains were popular vacation spots for many families from the New York City Jewish community. This led to the area being nicknamed “Borscht Belt” and “Jewish Alps”.

68. Groups of bison : HERDS

There two species of bison left (four species are extinct). We are most familiar with the American bison (commonly called the American buffalo), but there is a also a European bison, sometimes called a “wisent”.

69. Three-letter sandwich : BLT

The BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) is the second most popular sandwich in the US, after the plain old ham sandwich.

Down

1. Lima’s home : PERU

Lima is the capital city of Peru. Lima was founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, who named it “la Ciudad de los Reyes” (the City of Kings). He chose this name because the decision to found the city was made on January 6th, the feast of the Epiphany that commemorates the visit of the three kings to Jesus in Bethlehem.

3. Stone prized in China : JADE

“Jade” is actually the name given to two different mineral rocks, both of which are used to make gemstones. The first is nephrite, a mineral with a varying degree of iron content, the more iron the greener the color. The second is jadeite, a sodium and aluminum-rich pyroxene. As well as being used for gemstones, both jade minerals can be carved into decorative pieces.

4. Actress in “Do the Right Thing” and the “Roots” miniseries : RUBY DEE

Ruby Dee was an actress and civil rights activist. On the big screen, she is perhaps best remembered for co-starring in “A Raisin in the Sun” alongside Sidney Poitier, in “Do the Right Thing” alongside her husband Ossie Davis, and in “American Gangster” in which she played Denzel Washington’s mother.

“Do the Right Thing” is a Spike Lee movie that was released in 1989. Much of the action in the film is centered on a local pizzeria called “Sal’s” owned by Italian-American Salvatore Frangione (played by Danny Aiello).

Not only did Alex Haley author the magnificent novel “Roots”, but he was also the collaborator with Malcolm X on “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”. His 1976 novel “Roots” is based on Haley’s own family history, and he claimed to be a direct descendant of the real life Kunta Kinte, the slave who was kidnapped in the Gambia in 1767. If you remember the original television adaptation of “Roots”, you might recall that Kunta Kinte was played by LeVar Burton, who later went on to play another famous role, Geordi La Forge on “Star Trek: the Next Generation”.

5. Address containing “www” : URL

An Internet address (like NYTCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) is more correctly called a Uniform Resource Locators (URL).

In essence, the World Wide Web is a vast collection of documents that is accessible using the Internet, with each document containing hyperlinks which point to other documents in the collection. So the “Web” is different from the Internet, although the terms are often used interchangeably. The Web is the collection of documents, and the Internet is global network of computers on which the documents reside. The Web was effectively the invention of British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee. The key to Berner-Lee’s invention was bringing together two technologies that already existed: hypertext and the Internet. I, for one, am very grateful …

6. Execs’ degrees, often : MBAS

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

13. Psychic’s purported ability, for short : ESP

Extrasensory perception (ESP)

19. Architect of the Louvre Pyramid : IM PEI

I. M. Pei (full name: Ieoh Ming Pei) is an exceptional American architect who was born in China. Of Pei’s many wonderful works, my favorite is the renovation of the Louvre in Paris, especially the Glass Pyramid in the courtyard.

The Musée du Louvre has the distinction of being the most visited art museum in the whole world. The collection is housed in the magnificent Louvre Palace that used to be the seat of power in France, until 1682 when Louis XIV moved to Versailles.

28. Ogre with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame : SHREK

Before “Shrek” was a successful movie franchise and Broadway musical, it was a children’s picture book called “Shrek!” that was authored and illustrated by William Steig. The title “Shrek!” came from the German/Yiddish word Schreck, meaning “fear” or “terror”.

29. Noted Lakota leader : CRAZY HORSE

Crazy Horse’s Lakota name translates literally into English as “His Horse is Crazy or Spirited”. Crazy Horse was one of the tribal war party leaders at the Battle of Little Bighorn, also known as Custer’s Last Stand. Crazy Horse surrendered to the US Army in 1877. He was fatally stabbed while in custody, apparently trying to escape after having surrendered. The circumstances surrounding his death are still shrouded in controversy.

30. “I hate the Moor” speaker, in Shakespeare : IAGO

Iago is the schemer in Shakespeare’s “Othello”. He is a soldier who fought alongside Othello and feels hard done by, missing out on promotion. Iago hatches a plot designed to discredit his rival Cassio by insinuating that Cassio is having an affair with Desdemona, Othello’s wife.

The most famous Moor in literature has to be Othello, the title character in William Shakespeare’s tragedy “Othello, the Moor of Venice”. The word “Moor” describes various peoples of North Africa, usually of the Muslim faith. At the height of their geographic influence the Moors occupied much of the Iberian peninsula, calling it Al Andalus (from which modern Andalusia gets its name).

31. Naiad or dryad : NYMPH

The Naiads of Greek mythology were water nymphs associated with fountains, wells, springs and streams. The saltwater equivalents of the freshwater Naiads were the Oceanids.

In Greek mythology, dryads are tree nymphs. The term comes from the Greek “drys” meaning an oak tree, but “dryad” tends to be used for the nymphs of all trees and not just the oak variety.

33. Drug bust officers : NARCS

“Narc” is a slang term for a law enforcement officer who tracks down criminals associated with illegal drugs. “Narc” is short for “narcotics officer”. Narcs might work for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

36. “A ___ of Two Cities” : TALE

“A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens is the most printed book that was originally written in English. The novel was first published in 1859 in 31 weekly installments in a literary periodical called “All the Year Round”, which Dickens himself produced. The “two cities” in the title are London and Paris.

40. Perry who lost only one case in his career : MASON

“The Case of the Terrified Typist” is one of the “Perry Mason” novels by Erle Stanley Gardner. It is significant in that it is the only case that Perry Mason actually lost. Well, that’s the only loss if we are talking about the series of books. In the TV series, Mason lost “The Case of the Terrified Typist”, “The Case of the Deadly Verdict” and “The Case of the Witless Witness”.

43. Wharton or Piaf : 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.

“La Môme Piaf” (the Little Sparrow) was the nickname of France’s most famous singer, Édith Piaf. What a voice this woman had, and what gorgeous ballads she sang. Édith Piaf lived a life that was not without controversy. She was raised by her mother in a brothel in Normandy, and had a pimp as a boyfriend in her teens. She had one child, while very young, born illegitimately and who died at 2-years-old from meningitis. Her singing career started when she was discovered in the Pigalle area of Paris by nightclub owner Louis Leplée. Leplée was murdered soon after, and Piaf was accused of being an accessory to the murder but was later acquitted. During World War II she was branded a traitor by many as she frequently performed for the German occupying forces, although there are other reports of her supporting the resistance movement. Later in her life she was seriously injured in no less than three, near-fatal car accidents, including one with her friend, Charles Aznavour. While recovering from her injuries she became addicted to pain medication, an addiction that lasted for the rest of her life. When she died in 1963 she was denied a Catholic funeral mass because of her lifestyle, but the crowds that turned out for her funeral procession managed to stop all traffic in Paris, the only time that has happened since the end of WWII.

47. Groups in westerns : POSSES

Our word “posse” comes from an Anglo-Latin term from the early 15th century “posse comitatus” meaning “the force of the county”.

55. ___ John : DEAR

The expression “Dear John letter” originated in WWII among American troops who were serving abroad. The servicemen highly valued letters from girlfriends and wives back home, and almost invariably those missives started out with “Dearest”, or “My Darling” or some other expression of affection. A curt, “Dear John” set the tone for a letter which was likely to contain news of a new love interest in the life of the girlfriend or wife. The contemporary equivalent missive from a male to a female is a “Dear Jane letter”.

58. Grey’s title, in the tea aisle : EARL

Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey was British Prime Minister from 1830 to 1834. Beyond his political achievements, Grey lent his name to the Earl Grey blend of tea.

59. Uber competitor : LYFT

Lyft is a ridesharing service that is based in San Francisco, as is Uber, Lyft’s biggest competitor.

61. Contents of jewel cases : CDS

It seems that the derivation of the term “jewel case” (CD box) is unclear. One suggestion is that initial prototypes weren’t very successful, so when a workable design was found it was dubbed the “jewel” case.

62. Trippy drug : LSD

LSD (known colloquially as “acid”) is short for lysergic acid diethylamide. A Swiss chemist called Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD in 1938 in a research project looking for medically efficacious ergot alkaloids. It wasn’t until some five years later when Hofmann ingested some of the drug accidentally that its psychedelic properties were discovered. Trippy, man …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Three-letter sandwich : PBJ
4. Ballroom dance from Cuba : RUMBA
9. Put up with : ABIDE
14. Period in history : ERA
15. In the city : URBAN
16. Front and back halves of a golf course, often : NINES
17. Stick connected to a reel : ROD
18. Article of headwear for an explosives engineer? : BLASTING CAP
20. Words before an expiration date : USE BY
22. Appear to be : SEEM
23. Stashed away : HID
24. Poem with a dedicatee : ODE
26. Where tapas are enjoyed : SPAIN
28. Install, as a light bulb : SCREW IN
32. Breadth : EXTENT
35. Article of neckwear for the Stooges? : THREE-WAY TIE
37. Comedian Issa ___ : RAE
38. Set-asides for old age, for short : IRAS
39. “Today” rival, in brief : GMA
40. Artist Chagall or N.B.A. player Gasol : MARC
41. Dispenser candy : PEZ
42. Wrist accessory for a celebrity magazine editor? : PEOPLE WATCH
46. Had a video call with : SKYPED
48. Funeral vehicles : HEARSES
49. “Let me give you a ride!” : HOP IN!
51. ___ Speed Wagon (old vehicle) : REO
52. “Help us!,” at sea : SOS
53. Frog and ___ (friends in a children’s book series) : TOAD
56. Halo sporter : ANGEL
60. Waist accessory for a Russian cook? : BORSCHT BELT
63. Beam of sunlight : RAY
64. Made less difficult : EASED
65. Not go together fashionwise : CLASH
66. Dog’s sound : ARF!
67. Put vinaigrette on, perhaps : DRESS
68. Groups of bison : HERDS
69. Three-letter sandwich : BLT

Down

1. Lima’s home : PERU
2. Frat dudes : BROS
3. Stone prized in China : JADE
4. Actress in “Do the Right Thing” and the “Roots” miniseries : RUBY DEE
5. Address containing “www” : URL
6. Execs’ degrees, often : MBAS
7. First, second or third : BASE
8. Pays for a hand : ANTES
9. Peebles in the Memphis Music Hall of Fame : ANN
10. Chart-topper : BIG HIT
11. Burn to a crisp : INCINERATE
12. Having a battery that’s out of juice : DEAD
13. Psychic’s purported ability, for short : ESP
19. Architect of the Louvre Pyramid : IM PEI
21. Unfun sorts : BORES
25. “Yucky!” : EWW!
27. Guitar, in slang : AXE
28. Ogre with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame : SHREK
29. Noted Lakota leader : CRAZY HORSE
30. “I hate the Moor” speaker, in Shakespeare : IAGO
31. Naiad or dryad : NYMPH
33. Drug bust officers : NARCS
34. PC fixer : TECH
35. Rewards for waiting? : TIPS
36. “A ___ of Two Cities” : TALE
40. Perry who lost only one case in his career : MASON
42. Vivacity : PEP
43. Wharton or Piaf : EDITH
44. Musical ability : EAR
45. Christmas door decorations : WREATHS
47. Groups in westerns : POSSES
50. V-shaped cut : NOTCH
52. Fly high : SOAR
54. Up to the task : ABLE
55. ___ John : DEAR
57. Seize : GRAB
58. Grey’s title, in the tea aisle : EARL
59. Uber competitor : LYFT
60. Making it is a chore : BED
61. Contents of jewel cases : CDS
62. Trippy drug : LSD