1020-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 20 Oct 14, Monday

There’s a note with today’s puzzle:

A SIGN OF THE TIMES
A Crossword Contest
All the puzzles this week, from Monday to Saturday, have been created by one person, Patrick Blindauer. Keep your solutions handy, because the Saturday puzzle conceals a meta-challenge involving the solution grids of all six. When you have the answer to the meta-challenge, send it to crossword@nytimes.com. Twenty correct solvers, chosen at random, whose entries are received by 6:00 p.m. E.T. Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014, will win one-year online subscriptions to the New York Times crossword. Only one entry per person, please. The answer and winners’ names will appear on Friday, Oct. 31, at www.nytimes.com/wordplay.

We’ve been asked by Will Shortz, the New York Times puzzle editor, not to speculate about the meta-challenge until the competition ends on Sunday evening. Let’s honor that request …

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CROSSWORD SETTER: Patrick Blindauer
THEME: More and More Time … each of today’s answers includes a unit of time, and that unit increases in size as we progress down the grid:

17A. Instant SPLIT SECOND
26A. Product that competes with Uncle Ben’s MINUTE RICE
35A. Midnight THE WITCHING HOUR
50A. 1965 Beatles hit that begins “Got a good reason for taking the easy way out” DAY-TRIPPER
58A. Time leading up to Easter PASSION WEEK

BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 5m 34s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Travel aimlessly, with “about” GAD
“To gad about” is to move around with little purpose. The word “gad” comes from the Middle English “gadden” meaning “to hurry”.

7. Studio with a lion mascot MGM
There has been a lion in the logo of the MGM studio since 1924. The original was an Irishman (!), a lion named Slats who was born in Dublin Zoo in 1919. However, it wasn’t until Jackie took over from Slats in 1928 that the roar was heard, as the era of silent movies was coming to an end. The current lion is called Leo, and he has been around since 1957.

10. Standard sugar measure: Abbr. TSP
Teaspoon (tsp.)

13. King Kong, e.g. APE
The classic 1993 movie “”King Kong” was remade in 2005 by Peter Jackson of “Lord of the Rings” fame. The female lead, played by Fay Wray in the original, was portrayed by Naomi Watts in the remake. The cost of production was a whopping $207 million, a record for any movie made up to that date.

15. Answer to “Paris est-il la capitale de la France?” OUI
In French, if asked the question “Is Paris the capital of France?” (Paris est-il la capitale de la France?), one should answer “Yes” (Oui).

16. Indian immigrant on “The Simpsons” APU
The fictional Kwik-E-Mart store is operated by Apu Nahasapeemapetilon on “The Simpsons” TV show. Apu is married to Apu, and the couple have eight children. The convenience store owner doesn’t seem to be making much use of his Ph.D in computer science that he earned in the US. Apu’s undergraduate degree is from Caltech (the Calcutta Technical Institute), where he graduated top of his class of seven million students …

20. Gen ___ (member of the MTV Generation) XER
The term Generation X originated in the UK where it was the name of a book by Jane Deverson. Her book detailed the results of a study of British youths in 1964, contrasting their lifestyle to those of previous generations. It was Canadian author Douglas Coupland who was responsible for popularizing the term, with his more successful publication “Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture”. By the latest accepted definition, Gen-Xers were born between 1961 and 1981.

The phrase “MTV Generation” refers to those people of the age to be influenced by the MTV television channel i.e. the youth of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The phrase was coined by the MTV channel itself in reference to their teenage viewing audience.

21. Nutritional supplement brand ENSURE
Ensure is a line of liquid nutritional supplements that has been on the shelves since 1973.

22. Lo-cal beers LITES
The first light beer was produced by Chicago’s Meister Brau brewery in the sixties. Miller took over Meister Brau, reformulated the light beer using the same process and became the first of the big breweries to come out with a light beer, “Lite Beer from Miller” introduced in 1973. There really wasn’t a serious competitor to Miller Lite until Anheuser-Busch finally came up with a process and a product in 1982 that they called Bud Light.

24. Attire for Caesar TOGA
In Ancient Rome the classical attire known as a toga (plural “togae”) was usually worn over a tunic. The tunic was made from linen, and the toga itself was a piece of cloth about twenty feet long made from wool. The toga could only be worn by men, and only if those men were Roman citizens. The female equivalent of the toga was called a “stola”.

26. Product that competes with Uncle Ben’s MINUTE RICE
Minute Rice is a brand of “instant rice”, rice that has been pre-cooked and dehydrated. Using instant rice saves about ten minutes and cooking time, but many of the rice’s natural nutrients have been lost in the factory dehydration process.

Uncle Ben’s is a famous brand of rice introduced in 1943. It was the biggest selling brand of rice in the US from the fifties through the nineties. As one might imagine, the name “Uncle Ben” is pretty offensive and Mars, who owns the brand now, have tried to distance themselves from the African-American slave/domestic servant image. In 2007 there was a TV campaign showing “Uncle Ben” as Chairman of the Board of the company. But, he is still called Uncle Ben …

29. John who won the 1964 Heisman Trophy HUARTE
Former quarterback John Huarte won the Heisman Trophy in 1964. Huarte played for Notre Dame, before turning professional with the New York Jets.

31. High-ranking angels SERAPHS
A seraph is a celestial being found in Hebrew and Christian writings. The word “seraph” (plural “seraphim”) literally translates as “burning one”.

32. Apt anagram of CO-STAR – S ACTOR
“Actors” is an anagram of “co-star”.

35. Midnight THE WITCHING HOUR
In contemporary figurative usage, the phrase “witching hour” refers to midnight. IN centuries past, the witching hour was that time of the night when witches and demons were believed to appear and be at their most powerful. Some believed that time to be midnight, and others 3 a.m.

50. 1965 Beatles hit that begins “Got a good reason for taking the easy way out” DAY TRIPPER
The Beatles released the song “Day Tripper” at the end of 1965 for the Christmas market. The flip-side featured the song “We Can Work It Out”, and the record was the first one ever to be described as “double A-side”.

54. Judy’s brother on “The Jetsons” ELROY
“The Jetsons” is an animated show from Hanna-Barbera that had its first run in 1962-1963, and then was recreated in 1985-1987. When it was debuted in 1963 by ABC, “The Jetsons” was the network’s first ever color broadcast. “The Jetsons” are like a space-age version of “The Flintstones”. The four Jetson family members are George and Jane, the parents, and children Judy and Elroy. Residing with the family are Rosie the household robot, and Astro the pet dog.

57. ___ of Tranquillity SEA
The Moon’s Mare Tranquillitatis (Latin for “Sea of Tranquility”) was named in 1651 by astronomers Francesco Grimaldi and Giovanni Battista Riccioli. Famously, the first manned landing on the Moon was in the Sea of Tranquility, when the Apollo 11 Lunar Module named Eagle touched down there in 1969. However, the first man-made vehicle to reach the Sea of Tranquility arrive four years earlier. the Ranger 8 spacecraft was deliberately crashed there in 1965, sending back thousands of photographs to Earth in the last 23 minutes of its mission.

58. Time leading up to Easter PASSION WEEK
In the Roman Catholic tradition, Passion Week is the week starting on Passion Sunday that leads up to Easter Sunday. The same period is also referred to as Holy Week.

63. 555-55-5555, e.g.: Abbr. SSN
A Social Security number (SSN) is divided into three parts i.e AAA-GG-SSSS, Originally, the Area Number (AAA) was the code for the office that issued the card. Since 1973, the Area Number reflects the ZIP code from which the application was made. The GG in the SSN is the Group Number, and the SSSS in the number is the Serial Number. However, this is all moot, as since 2011 SSN’s are assigned randomly.

65. Gulager of “McQ” CLU
Clu Gulager is a television and film actor. He is most remembered for playing Billy the Kid in the TV show “The Tall Man” in the early sixties, and then as Emmett Ryker in “The Virginian” in the late sixties.

“McQ” is a 1974 crime thriller set in Seattle, Washington. “McQ” was somewhat of a consolation prize for the star John Wayne, as a few years earlier he was passed over for the title role in “Dirty Harry”. That role of course went to Clint Eastwood.

66. TV scientist Bill NYE
That would be “Bill Nye the Science Guy”. Bill’s show ran on Disney for 4 years from 1993-97. I was surprised to learn that Bill Nye was married briefly to Blair Tindall, the author of “Mozart in the Jungle”. That’s a great book, if anyone is interested …

67. Courtroom figure: Abbr. ATT
Attorney (att.)

69. “For ___ a jolly good fellow” HE’S
“For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” is the second-most popular song in the English language, according to the “Guinness Book of World Records”. Top of the list is “Happy Birthday to You”, and third comes “Auld Lang Syne”.

Down
1. Exxon product GAS
The Exxon Corporation was a descendant of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company. Exxon merged with Mobil (yet another descendant of Standard Oil) in 1999 to form ExxonMobil.

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

According to Jewish dietary law, “kosher” food is “fit” to eat, and food that is not kosher is called “treif” (or tref).

5. Sheet that might list one’s college degree and work experience RESUME
A résumé is a summary of a person’s job experience and education and is used as a tool by a job seeker. In many countries, a résumé is equivalent to a curriculum vitae. “Résumé” is the French word for “summary”.

6. Cheri of old “S.N.L.” OTERI
Cheri Oteri was the SNL cast member who regularly appeared with Will Farrell in the skit featuring a pair of Spartan cheerleaders.

9. Bette of “Beaches” MIDLER
One of my favorite singers, and indeed all-round entertainers, is Bette Midler. If you’ve ever seen her live show you’ll know that “camp” is a good word to describe it, as her humor is definitely “out there” and quite bawdy. Early in her career, Midler spent years singing in the Continental Baths, a gay bathhouse in New York City. There she became very close friends with her piano accompanist, Barry Manilow. While singing in the bathhouse, Bette only wore a white towel, just like the members of her audience. It was in those days that she created her famous character “the Divine Miss M” and also earned herself the nickname “Bathhouse Betty”.

“Beaches” is a 1988 film starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey as two friends who have known each other since childhood, with John Heard playing the third in a love triangle. The film’s theme song “Wind Beneath My Wings” became a huge hit for Midler.

10. Piece of advice from H&R Block TAX TIP
The tax preparation company called H&R Block was founded in 1955 In Kansas City by two brothers, Henry and Richard Bloch. The Bloch brothers changed the spelling of their family name to “Block” for the company moniker, in order to avoid mispronunciation.

18. How pawns are arranged, at first IN A ROW
In the game of chess, the pawns are the weakest pieces on the board. A pawn that can make it to the opposite of the board can be “promoted” to a piece of choice, usually a queen. Using promotion of pawns, it is possible for a player to have two or more queens on the board at one time. However, standard chess sets come with only one queen per side, so a captured rook is often used as the second queen by placing it on the board upside down.

23. Lyricist Gershwin IRA
Ira Gershwin was a lyricist who worked with his brother George to create such American classics as the songs “I Got Rhythm” and “Someone to Watch Over Me”, as well as the opera “Porgy and Bess”. After George Gershwin died, Ira continued to create great music, working with the likes of Jerome Kern and Kurt Weill.

27. Southwest alternative, for short USAIR
From 1953, what today is US Airways was called Allegheny Airlines. In the seventies, customers became very dissatisfied with the company’s service levels as it struggled to manage a rapid expansion in its number of flights. These problems earned the airline the nickname “Agony Air”. Allegheny tried to leave the “agony” behind in 1979 and changed its name to USAir. In 1997 the name was changed again, to US Airways. US Airways merged with American Airlines in 2013, and the “US Airways” brand name will gradually be replaced with “American Airlines”.

Southwest Airlines is the world’s largest low-cost passenger airline. I’ve always admired the Southwest operation and found that the company knows to keep costs under control while maintaining a high level of customer service. One strategy the company used for decades was only to operate Boeing 737 aircraft, which kept maintenance and operating costs to a minimum.

28. Home to Dollywood and Graceland: Abbr. TENN
Dollywood is a theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee that is owned by country singer Dolly Parton. The park opened in 1961 as Rebel Railroad. The name was changed to Goldrush Junction in 1970, Goldrush in 1976, Silver Dollar City Tennessee in 1977 and finally to Dollywood in 1986 when Parton became a co-owner.

30. Prefix with glyceride TRI-
Glycerides are organic compounds comprising glycerol and one, two or three fatty acids. We’re most used to hearing about triglycerides, as they are found in vegetable oils and animal fats.

33. Resell, as concert tickets SCALP
Scalping of tickets, selling them above retail price for an excessive profit, originated in the mid-1800s with scalpers making money off theater tickets. There was also quite a bit of money made by people scalping railway tickets. Railroads gave discounts on tickets for longer journeys, so someone trying to get from San Francisco to Chicago say, might buy a ticket to New York. Once in Chicago the passenger would scalp the remainder of his/her ticket to someone wanting to get to New York, and make his or her invested money back with a bonus. The exact etymology of the term “scalper” seems unclear.

34. Letter after upsilon PHI
Phi is the 21st letter of the Greek alphabet.

36. From Bangkok THAI
Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand. The exact etymology of the name “Bangkok” seems unclear, although “bang” is a Thai word meaning “a village situated on a stream”.

38. Jean of “Bombshell” HARLOW
Jean Harlow was a Hollywood actress who was at the height of her success in the thirties, appearing in many hit movies for MGM. Sadly, Harlow died in 1937 when she was only 26 years old, from kidney failure that was probably the result of her suffering scarlet fever when she 15. Harlow wrote a novel that took many years to get published. Called “Today is Tonight”, it first appeared on bookshelves in 1965.

“Bombshell” is a 1933 screwball comedy starring Jean Harlow as an actress who has been publicized as a sexy vamp but who just wants live a normal life. The actress, Lola, flees Hollywood and falls in love with a romantic (and wealthy) man, and they all live happily ever after. And, after the success of the film, Jean Harlow was forever to be known as the “Blonde Bombshell”.

40. Lenin’s land, for short USSR
Vladimir Lenin wasn’t the birth name of the Russian leader. He was born Vladimir Ulyanov, and originally took the name Lenin as a pen name.

41. Critic Rex REED
Rex Reed is a film critic who used to co-host “At the Movies”.

44. Texas city named after a Ukrainian city ODESSA
The city of Odessa, Texas has as its symbol the jack rabbit. This is because from the thirties through the seventies the city hosted a rodeo for roping rabbits. The Humane Society applied pressure and the city did away with the tradition in 1977.

The city of Odessa (also “Odesa”) in Ukraine was founded relatively recently, in 1794 by Catherine the Great. The city was originally meant to be called Odessos after an ancient Greek city believed to have been located nearby. Catherine liked the way the locals pronounced the name as “Odessa” and so went with the less Greek-sounding name.

46. Despot TYRANT
A “despot” is a ruler with absolute power, often one who wields that power oppressively. “Despot” is an old French term from the 14th century, ultimately derived from the Greek “despotes” meaning “master of a household, absolute ruler”.

52. Psychologist Fromm ERICH
Erich Fromm was a German psychologist. Fromm studied extensively the work of Sigmund Freud, and became very critical of his theories. He was also noted for his political views, and had a socialist leaning. He spent some time in the US and was active in the Socialist Party of America, in the fifties when McCarthyism was running rampant.

56. Wildebeests GNUS
A gnu is also known as a wildebeest, an antelope native to Africa. “Wildebeest” is actually the Dutch word for “wild beast”.

59. “All systems go” A-OK
Our term “A-OK” is supposedly an abbreviation for “A(ll systems are) OK”, and arose in the sixties during the Space Program.

60. 007, for one SPY
James Bond was of course the creation of the writer Ian Fleming. Fleming “stole” the James Bond name from an American ornithologist. The number 007 was “stolen” from the real-life, 16th century English spy called John Dee. Dee would sign his reports to Queen Elizabeth I with a stylized “007” to indicate that the reports were for “her eyes only”.

61. Cyclops or cyclone feature EYE
Cyclops was a one-eyed giant in Greek and Roman mythology. Cyclops lived in Mount Etna, the Sicilian volcano.

A cyclone is a weather system, something like a tropical storm. It is composed of air circulating rapidly around a low pressure center. In the northern hemisphere, cyclones circulate in a counterclockwise direction, whereas in the southern hemisphere they circulate clockwise.

62. Range of knowledge KEN
“Ken” is a Scottish verb meaning “to know”, as in being able to recognize a person or thing. The word is also used as a noun, as in “beyond my ken”, outside of what I can know or understand.

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For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Travel aimlessly, with “about” GAD
4. Sis’s sibling BRO
7. Studio with a lion mascot MGM
10. Standard sugar measure: Abbr. TSP
13. King Kong, e.g. APE
14. Permit LET
15. Answer to “Paris est-il la capitale de la France?” OUI
16. Indian immigrant on “The Simpsons” APU
17. Instant SPLIT SECOND
20. Gen ___ (member of the MTV Generation) XER
21. Nutritional supplement brand ENSURE
22. Lo-cal beers LITES
24. Attire for Caesar TOGA
26. Product that competes with Uncle Ben’s MINUTE RICE
29. John who won the 1964 Heisman Trophy HUARTE
31. High-ranking angels SERAPHS
32. Apt anagram of CO-STAR – S ACTOR
33. Bridge SPAN
35. Midnight THE WITCHING HOUR
42. Bald person’s lack HAIR
43. Expire, as a subscription LAPSE
44. ___ illusion OPTICAL
49. What a medical examiner examines CORPSE
50. 1965 Beatles hit that begins “Got a good reason for taking the easy way out” DAY TRIPPER
53. Almighty LORD
54. Judy’s brother on “The Jetsons” ELROY
55. It’s north of California OREGON
57. ___ of Tranquillity SEA
58. Time leading up to Easter PASSION WEEK
63. 555-55-5555, e.g.: Abbr. SSN
64. Apex TOP
65. Gulager of “McQ” CLU
66. TV scientist Bill NYE
67. Courtroom figure: Abbr. ATT
68. Cloud’s locale SKY
69. “For ___ a jolly good fellow” HE’S
70. Number of years in a decade TEN

Down
1. Exxon product GAS
2. Smartphone purchase APP
3. Political conventiongoer DELEGATE
4. Nonkosher sandwiches BLTS
5. Sheet that might list one’s college degree and work experience RESUME
6. Cheri of old “S.N.L.” OTERI
7. Oink : pig :: ___ : cow MOO
8. Revolver, e.g. GUN
9. Bette of “Beaches” MIDLER
10. Piece of advice from H&R Block TAX TIP
11. Oration SPEECH
12. Pocketbooks PURSES
18. How pawns are arranged, at first IN A ROW
19. 100 yrs. CEN
23. Lyricist Gershwin IRA
24. “___ is so you!” THAT
25. Response to an insult OUCH!
27. Southwest alternative, for short USAIR
28. Home to Dollywood and Graceland: Abbr. TENN
30. Prefix with glyceride TRI-
33. Resell, as concert tickets SCALP
34. Letter after upsilon PHI
36. From Bangkok THAI
37. Shine, in some brand names GLO
38. Jean of “Bombshell” HARLOW
39. Foe OPPONENT
40. Lenin’s land, for short USSR
41. Critic Rex REED
44. Texas city named after a Ukrainian city ODESSA
45. Least tanned PALEST
46. Despot TYRANT
47. “Who am ___ argue?” I TO
48. Underground tombs CRYPTS
49. Louisiana style of cooking CREOLE
51. Opposite of neg. POS
52. Psychologist Fromm ERICH
56. Wildebeests GNUS
59. “All systems go” A-OK
60. 007, for one SPY
61. Cyclops or cyclone feature EYE
62. Range of knowledge KEN

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4 thoughts on “1020-14 New York Times Crossword Answers 20 Oct 14, Monday”

  1. Hey Bill, on 20A that is a great point in the explanation of the Gen-Xer. To have been of the MTV Generation I guess you'd have to have become an adolescent on or after Aug. 1, 1981 – when MTV hit cable television. The first video presented on MTV was, "Video Killed The Radio Star" by The Buggles. Can anybody name the 2nd? Without Googling it?

  2. @Jim

    I knew that the Buggles had the first video, but had no idea who was second so I looked up the list of the first videos shown on MTV. It makes interesting reading. I noted that Rod Stewart had the third video, and also the fifteenth. That made him the first person to have multiple videos shown on MTV. I mention this because I saw Rod Stewart in concert in Las Vegas a couple of nights ago. He's 69 years old and still giving an amazing show.

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