0612-19 NY Times Crossword 12 Jun 19, Wednesday

Constructed by: Nancy Stark & Will Nediger
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Lack of Character

Themed answers are movies in which a CHARACTER disappears:

  • 53A Amorality … as suggested by 17-, 25- and 41-Across? : LACK OF CHARACTER
  • 17A 1938 Alfred Hitchcock mystery : THE LADY VANISHES
  • 25A 1999 Garry Marshall comedy : RUNAWAY BRIDE
  • 41A 1933 James Whale sci-fi horror film, with “The” : … INVISIBLE MAN

Read on, or jump to …
… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 8m 49s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

16 Top of an outfit, for short? : CEO

Chief executive officer (CEO)

17 1938 Alfred Hitchcock mystery : THE LADY VANISHES

“The Lady Vanishes” is a classic 1938 Alfred Hitchcock movie that is based on a 1936 novel “The Wheel Spins” by Ethel Lina White. Stars of the film is Margaret Lockwood, who plays an English tourist on a trans-European train journey who finds herself looking for a lady who she believes has vanished from the train. Hitchcock makes his trademark cameo appearance near the end of the movie, as a passenger standing in the railway station.

21 Well-padded coat : PARKA

A parka is a hooded jacket that is often lined with fur, and that is worn in cold weather. The original parka was a pullover design, but nowadays it is usually zipped at the front. “Parka” is the Russian name for the garment, and it was absorbed into English in the late 1700s via the Aleut language.

22 Fictional Charles : NORA

“The Thin Man” is a detective novel written by Dashiell Hammett that was first published in the magazine “Redbook” in 1934. Hammett never wrote a sequel to his story, but it spawned a wonderful, wonderful series of “The Thin Man” films starring William Powell and Myrna Loy (as Nick and Nora Charles). “The Thin Man” was the last novel that Hammett wrote.

25 1999 Garry Marshall comedy : RUNAWAY BRIDE

“Runaway Bride” is a 1999 film starring Julia Roberts in the title role, and Richard Gere as the male romantic lead. I regard this one as a very watchable romantic comedy …

29 They can be dangerous when split : ATOMS

By some definitions, New Zealand-born physicist and chemist Ernest Rutherford was the first person to “split the atom”. Rutherford bombarded nitrogen with alpha particles and thereby forced neutrons out of the nucleus of the nitrogen atom. The first intentional nuclear “fission” came decades later in the 1930s, with experiments in which larger nuclei were split into smaller nuclei.

31 Bussing on a bus, e.g., for short : PDA

Public display of affection (PDA)

To buss is to kiss.

We use the term “bus” for a mode of transportation, as it is an abbreviated form of the original “omnibus”. We imported “omnibus” via French from Latin, in which language it means “for all”. The idea is that an omnibus is a “carriage for all”.

34 Scandalous suffix : -GATE

The Watergate scandal is so named because it involved a break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters in the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. The Watergate complex is made up of five units, three of which are apartment buildings, one an office building, and one a hotel-office building (which housed the DNC headquarters). Watergate led to the “-gate” suffix being used for many subsequent scandals, such as “Irangate”, “Bridgegate” and “Deflategate”.

35 Conveyances on and off base : JEEPS

The Jeep is the original off-road vehicle. It was developed by the American Bantam Car Company in 1940 at the request of the US government who recognized the upcoming need for the armed forces as American involvement in WWII loomed. The Bantam Company was too small to cope with demand, so the government gave the designs to competing car companies. The design and brand eventually ended up with AMC in the seventies and eighties.

38 “___ sells seashells …” : SHE

She sells sea-shells on the sea-shore.
The shells she sells are sea-shells, I’m sure.
For if she sells sea-shells on the sea-shore
Then I’m sure she sells sea-shore shells.

41 1933 James Whale sci-fi horror film, with “The” : … INVISIBLE MAN

“The Invisible Man” is the classic 1933 big-screen adaptation of H. G. Wells’ sci-fi novel of the same name. The title character, Dr. Jack Griffin, is played by Claude Rains. We don’t get to see much of Rains in the movie, as he spends most of the time wrapped in bandages, and so we really only hear his voice. There’s a bit of a shooting error at the end of the film. The invisible man walks through snow, and we get to see the footprints he leaves. But, those footprints are shoe prints, and not the tracks of naked feet. Invisible shoes …?

44 Dutch master who painted “Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window” : VERMEER

Johannes (also “Jan”) Vermeer was born in the city of Delft in 1632, and died there some 43 years later. The name “Vermeer” is a contraction of “van der meer”, which translates as “from the sea/lake”. I just love Vermeer’s paintings, and his wonderful use of light. A great example of such a work is his “Girl with a Pearl Earring”. If you haven’t seen it, I thoroughly recommend the 2003 movie “Girl with a Pearl Earring” starring Scarlett Johansson as the girl in the painting, and Colin Firth as Vermeer. The movie is based on a novel of the same name by Tracy Chevalier, so it’s all just a great story as opposed to a documentary. The way the movie is shot really reflects the qualities of a Vermeer work of art.

47 Czech or Pole : SLAV

The Slavic peoples are in the majority in communities covering over half of Europe. This large ethnic group is traditionally broken down into three smaller groups:

  • the West Slavic (including Czechs and Poles)
  • the East Slavic (including Russians and Ukrainians)
  • the South Slavic (including Bulgarians and Serbs)

49 Appealing to lascivious desires : PRURIENT

Someone described as prurient has an extreme interest in sexual matters. Back in the 1600s, “prurient” meant “to have an itch”. Today the meaning is limited to “to have an itching desire”.

57 Mathematician John who discovered logarithms : NAPIER

As an example of a logarithm, the number 10,000 is equal to 10 to the power of 4, so the base-10 logarithm of 10,000 is said to be 4. Inversely, the antilogarithm of 4 (in the base-10) is 10,000. We all remember that from school, don’t we?

58 Stationery shade : ECRU

“Stationery” is a noun describing writing materials and office supplies, items that are sold by a stationer. Centuries ago, a stationer was someone who sold goods from a shop or a “station”, from a fixed, “stationary” stall.

59 The shakes, for short : DTS

The episodes of delirium that can accompany withdrawal from alcohol are called delirium tremens (the DTs). The literal translation of this Latin phrase is “trembling madness”.

61 Clog or pump : SHOE

Clogs are shoes made from wood, at least in part. The clog originated as a protective item of footwear for use by farm, factory and mine workers.

A pump is a woman’s shoe that doesn’t have a strap. Such shoes are probably called “pumps” because of the sound they make while walking in them.

Down

1 Light amount? : WATT

James Watt was a Scottish inventor. He figured prominently in the Industrial Revolution in Britain, largely due to the improvements he made to the fledgling steam engine. The SI unit of power is called the watt, and was named in his honor.

2 Eponym of the world’s largest tennis stadium : ASHE

Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, New York opened in 1997 and for years was the largest outdoor, tennis-only venue in the world. The stadium was often criticized for not having a retractable dome to protect the playing surface from inclement weather. Well, that changed in 2016 when the stadium debuted its new retractable roof, a $150 million investment in the facility.

5 One of the Gandhis : INDIRA

Indira Gandhi’s father was Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India. Indira herself became prime minister in 1966. She was assassinated in 1984 by two of her own bodyguards as she was walking to meet Peter Ustinov, who was about to interview her for Irish television.

8 Adán’s mate in la Biblia : EVA

In Spanish, the story of “Adán” (Adam) and “Eva” (Eve) is told in “la Biblia” (the Bible).

9 Jerry’s partner in the frozen food aisle : BEN

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield did a correspondence course on ice-cream making in 1977 given by Pennsylvania State University’s Creamery. The following year they opened an ice cream parlor in an old gas station in Burlington, Vermont. Today Ben & Jerry’s has locations in over 20 countries around the world, and theirs was the first brand ice-cream to go into space.

12 Relatives of shallots : LEEKS

The leek is a vegetable closely related to the onion and the garlic. It is also a national emblem of Wales (along with the daffodil), although I don’t think we know for sure how this came to be. One story is that the Welsh were ordered to wear leeks in their helmets to identify themselves in a battle against the Saxons. Apparently, the battle took place in a field of leeks.

The shallot is a type of onion that is closely related to the garlic, leek and chive. I’m a big fan …

26 Geographical entity with six straight sides : UTAH

When viewed on a map of the US, the state of Utah has six sides. It’s almost shaped like a rectangle, but there is a “bite” out of that rectangle in the northeast corner of the state.

28 Grace word : BLESS

A grace is a short prayer recited before or after a meal.

31 Coveted, as a position : PLUM

To describe something as plum is to say that it is especially desirable, e.g. a plum job, the plum choice. We’ve been using “plum” in this sense since the late 18th century, and it is probably a reference to the particularly sweet and enjoyably parts of a plum pudding.

32 “Anti-art” art movement : DADA

Dadaism thrived during and just after WWI, and was an anti-war, anti-bourgeois and anti-art culture. The movement was launched in Zurich, Switzerland by a group of artists and writers who met to discuss art and put on performances in the Cabaret Voltaire. The same group frequently expressed disgust at the war that was raging across Europe.

35 Don’t you believe it! : JIVE

“Jive” is a slang term meaning “nonsensical talk”.

36 Title meaning “commander” : EMIR

An emir is a prince or chieftain, one most notably from the Middle East. In English, “emir” can also be written variously as “emeer, amir, ameer” (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).

39 Sea creature resembling a flower : ANEMONE

The name “anemone” means “daughter of the wind” in Greek, and at one time it was believed that the wind was what actually caused the flower to bloom. The sea anemone is named for the terrestrial plant even though the sea anemone isn’t a plant at all. The sea anemone is a predatory animal found on the ocean floor.

40 Santa ___, Calif. : CLARA

The Santa Clara Valley, located just a few miles from me at the south of San Francisco Bay, is better known as “Silicon Valley”. The term “Silicon Valley” dates back to 1971 when it was apparently first used in a weekly trade newspaper called “Electronic News” in articles written by journalist Don Hoefler.

49 Dr. ___ : PHIL

Dr. Phil (McGraw) met Oprah Winfrey when he was hired to work with her as a legal consultant during the Amarillo Texas beef trial (when the industry sued Oprah for libel over “Mad Cow Disease” statements). Oprah was impressed with Dr. Phil and invited him onto her show, and we haven’t stopped seeing him since!

51 Builder of the Domus Aurea : NERO

Following the great fire of 64 AD in Rome, many large homes on the slopes of Palatine Hill in the center of the city were burned to the ground. The emperor Nero cleared the area completely and used the land to construct an extravagant villa called the Domus Aurea (Latin for “Golden House”).

55 Help in filing, maybe : CPA

Certified public accountant (CPA)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Getting close : WARM
5 Having obligations : IN DEBT
11 Antiquated : OLD
14 Making a crossing, maybe : ASEA
15 Not so savvy about the ways of the world : NAIVER
16 Top of an outfit, for short? : CEO
17 1938 Alfred Hitchcock mystery : THE LADY VANISHES
20 Air : TELEVISE
21 Well-padded coat : PARKA
22 Fictional Charles : NORA
23 Assert openly : PROFESS
25 1999 Garry Marshall comedy : RUNAWAY BRIDE
29 They can be dangerous when split : ATOMS
30 Cabin-building items : LOGS
31 Bussing on a bus, e.g., for short : PDA
34 Scandalous suffix : -GATE
35 Conveyances on and off base : JEEPS
37 Silent type : CLAM
38 “___ sells seashells …” : SHE
39 List for the forward-thinking : AIMS
40 Like some oil and remarks : CRUDE
41 1933 James Whale sci-fi horror film, with “The” : … INVISIBLE MAN
44 Dutch master who painted “Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window” : VERMEER
47 Czech or Pole : SLAV
48 Self-evident truth : AXIOM
49 Appealing to lascivious desires : PRURIENT
53 Amorality … as suggested by 17-, 25- and 41-Across? : LACK OF CHARACTER
56 “Rocks” : ICE
57 Mathematician John who discovered logarithms : NAPIER
58 Stationery shade : ECRU
59 The shakes, for short : DTS
60 Former friend : EX-ALLY
61 Clog or pump : SHOE

Down

1 Light amount? : WATT
2 Eponym of the world’s largest tennis stadium : ASHE
3 Part of a film archive : REEL
4 August, e.g., but not May or June : MALE NAME
5 One of the Gandhis : INDIRA
6 Contradict : NAYSAY
7 Cruddy joint : DIVE
8 Adán’s mate in la Biblia : EVA
9 Jerry’s partner in the frozen food aisle : BEN
10 Camera stabilizers : TRIPODS
11 Shade in a desert landscape : OCHRE
12 Relatives of shallots : LEEKS
13 Crepes in Indian cuisine : DOSAS
18 Asserts openly : AVOWS
19 On base : SAFE
23 Top hat, to a magician : PROP
24 Fixes wrongly? : RIGS
25 Uses for worn-out T-shirts : RAGS
26 Geographical entity with six straight sides : UTAH
27 Reminder to oneself, perhaps : NOTE
28 Grace word : BLESS
31 Coveted, as a position : PLUM
32 “Anti-art” art movement : DADA
33 “Preach!” : AMEN!
35 Don’t you believe it! : JIVE
36 Title meaning “commander” : EMIR
37 Cracks : CREVICES
39 Sea creature resembling a flower : ANEMONE
40 Santa ___, Calif. : CLARA
41 “Don’t worry, everything’s fine” : I’M OK
42 Country that, according to its tourist bureau, has the highest number of museums per capita : ISRAEL
43 Not sharp : BLURRY
44 Not yet expired, say : VALID
45 Spot-on : EXACT
46 Chops finely : RICES
49 Dr. ___ : PHIL
50 Make a lasting impression : ETCH
51 Builder of the Domus Aurea : NERO
52 Faithful : TRUE
54 Copier option : FAX
55 Help in filing, maybe : CPA

2 thoughts on “0612-19 NY Times Crossword 12 Jun 19, Wednesday”

  1. 24:03. Second day in a row I was unfamiliar with the theme movie(s) so it solved more like a themeless. Some of the fill without a foothold was vague enough that I had issues in a few areas. Overall I found it harder than most Wednesdays, but I seem to be in the minority.

    Best –

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