0723-19 NY Times Crossword 23 Jul 19, Tuesday

Constructed by: Kyle Dolan
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Just the Two of Us

Themed answers each include TWO incidents of letter sequence “US”:

  • 54A 1981 hit with the lyric “We can make it if we try” … or a possible title for this puzzle : JUST THE TWO OF US
  • 16A “Spare me your lame reasons!” : EXCUSES EXCUSES!
  • 26A Roman emperor who wrote “Meditations” : MARCUS AURELIUS
  • 42A Facial hair for Sam Elliott and Wilford Brimley : WALRUS MUSTACHE

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

Bill’s time: 7m 22s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

7 Cousin of a lark : SWALLOW

Swallows are remarkable birds, at least in one aspect. Swallows, and the related martins, have evolved so that they can feed while flying, snapping up insects in mid-air.

14 Nonsense word repeated in Stephen Foster’s “Camptown Races” : DOO DAH

“Camptown Races” is a comic song written in African-American vernacular dialect. The song was composed by Stephen Foster in 1850, and was originally titled “Gwine to Run All Night”.

De Camptown ladies sing dis song—Doo-dah! doo-dah!
De Camp-town race-track five miles long—Oh! doo-dah day!
I come down dah wid my hat caved in—Doo-dah! doo-dah!
I go back home wid a pocket full of tin—Oh! doo-dah day!

Gwine to run all night!
Gwine to run all day!
I’ll bet my money on de bob-tail nag—
Somebody bet on de bay

Stephen Foster was a songwriter active in the 19th century who is sometimes referred to as “the father of American music”. Foster wrote some really famous songs, including “Oh! Susanna”, “Camptown Races”, “My Old Kentucky Home”, “Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair” and “Beautiful Dreamer”. Despite the success of his songs, Foster made very little cash in his own lifetime. That all went to his publishers, with the composer impoverished in the last few years of his life.

15 Literally, “empty orchestra” : KARAOKE

“Karate” is a Japanese word meaning “empty hand”, and the related word “karaoke” translates as “empty orchestra”.

18 Home of Wall St. and Fifth Ave. : NYC

New York’s famous Wall Street was originally named by the Dutch “de Waalstraat”.

Fifth Avenue in New York is sometimes referred to as the “most expensive street in the world” as the section that runs through Midtown Manhattan is home to upscale stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue.

20 With 24-Across, food coloring in Twizzlers : RED …
(24A See 20-Across : … DYE)

Twizzlers candy has been produced since 1845, although back then the only flavor available was licorice. Famously, Twizzlers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, namely Twists, Bites and Nibs. My wife is addicted to strawberry Twizzlers. Can’t stand the stuff myself …

21 Compound with a fruity scent : ESTER

Esters are very common chemicals. The smaller, low-molecular weight esters are usually pleasant smelling and are often found in perfumes. At the other end of the scale, the higher-molecular weight nitroglycerin is a nitrate ester and is very explosive, and polyester is a huge molecule and is a type of plastic. Fats and oils found in nature are fatty acid esters of glycerol known as glycerides.

26 Roman emperor who wrote “Meditations” : MARCUS AURELIUS

Marcus Aurelius Emperor of Rome from 161 until his passing in 180. His death in 180 is generally regarded as the end of the “Pax Romana”, the long period of relative peace in the Roman Empire that started in 27 BCE. So, the death of Marcus Aurelius also marked the beginning of what came to be known as the Fall of the Roman Empire.

33 Siesta, e.g. : NAP

We use the word “siesta” to describe a short nap in the early afternoon, and imported the word into English from Spanish. In turn, the Spanish word is derived from the Latin “hora sexta” meaning “the sixth hour”. The idea is that the nap is taken at the sixth hour after dawn.

34 Michael of “Weekend Update” on “S.N.L.” : CHE

Michael Che is a standup comedian from New York City. Che had worked as a writer for “Saturday Night Live” (SNL), and then started to appear in front of SNL cameras in September 2014. One of his roles was co-anchor for the “Weekend Update” segment of the show.

46 Equipment hauled by a roadie : AMP

A roadie is someone who loads, unloads and sets up equipment for musicians on tour, on the “road”.

47 Course covering axons and dendrites, for short : NEURO

A nerve cell is more correctly called a neuron. The branched projections that receive electrochemical signals from other neurons are known as dendrites. The long nerve fiber that conducts signals away from the neuron is known as the axon. A neuron that has no definite axon is referred to as “apolar” or “nonpolar”. In apolar neurons the nerve impulses radiate in all directions.

48 Maple product : SAP

About 75% of the world’s maple syrup comes from the province of Quebec. The US’s biggest producer is the state of Vermont, which produces 5-6% of the world’s supply.

50 Chinese zodiac creature for 2019 : PIG

The 12-year cycle in the Chinese calendar uses the following animals in order:

  • Rat
  • Ox
  • Tiger
  • Rabbit
  • Dragon
  • Snake
  • Horse
  • Goat
  • Monkey
  • Rooster
  • Dog
  • Pig

51 Consumer safety org. : FDA

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has its roots in the Division of Chemistry (later “Bureau of Chemistry”) that was part of the US Department of Agriculture. President Theodore Roosevelt gave responsibility for examination of food and drugs to the Bureau of Chemistry with the signing of the Pure Food and Drug Act. The Bureau’s name was changed to the Food, Drug and Insecticide Organization in 1927, and to the Food and Drug Administration in 1930.

54 1981 hit with the lyric “We can make it if we try” … or a possible title for this puzzle : JUST THE TWO OF US

“Just the Two of Us” is best known as a song recorded in 1981 by Grover Washington, Jr. and Bill Withers.

61 Composer Bizet : GEORGES

Georges Bizet was a French composer active in the Romantic era. Bizet’s most famous work has to be his opera “Carmen”. “Carmen” initially received a lukewarm reception from the public, even though his fellow composers had nothing but praise for it. Sadly, Bizet died very young at only 36, before he could see “Carmen’s” tremendous success.

62 Alternatives to Ho Hos : YODELS

Yodels are snack cakes made by the Drake’s baking company. They are similar to Hostess Ho Hos and Little Debbie’s Swiss Rolls.

Down

1 Mideast’s Gulf of ___ : ADEN

The Gulf of Aden is the body of water that lies south of the Red Sea, and just north of the Horn of Africa.

3 Necessity for achieving one’s goals? : SOCCER BALL

Soccer (also known as “association football”) is the most popular sport in the world. The term “association football” was introduced in 1863 in England, with the name chosen to distinguish the sport from rugby football. The term “soccer” started to appear about 20 years later in Oxford, as an abbreviation for “association”.

4 Ending with “umich.” or “upenn.” : EDU

The .edu domain was one of the six original generic top-level domains specified. The complete original list is:

  • .com (commercial enterprise)
  • .net (entity involved in network infrastructure e.g. an ISP)
  • .mil (US military)
  • .org (not-for-profit organization)
  • .gov (US federal government entity)
  • .edu (college-level educational institution)

7 Slated events, in brief : SKED

Schedule (sked)

8 Material for Icarus’ wings : WAX

Daedalus was a master craftsman of Greek mythology who was tasked with creating the Labyrinth on the island of Crete that was to house the Minotaur. After the Labyrinth was completed, King Minos imprisoned Daedalus and his son Icarus in a tower, so that he could not spread word of his work. Daedalus fabricated wings so that he and Icarus could escape by flying off the island. Despite being warned by his father, Icarus flew too close to the sun so that the wax holding the wings’ feathers in place melted. Icarus drowned in the sea, and Daedalus escaped.

10 Branch of the Olympics? : LAUREL

In the Ancient Olympic Games, the winner of an event was awarded an olive wreath. When the games were revived in 1896, the winners were originally given a silver medal and an olive branch, with runners-up receiving a bronze medal and a laurel branch. The tradition of giving gold, silver and bronze medals began at the 1904 Summer Olympic Games held in St. Louis, Missouri.

13 Anderson who directed “The Grand Budapest Hotel” : WES

Film director Wes Anderson’s most famous movie is probably “The Royal Tenenbaums” that was released in 2001, and is not my favorite film by any stretch. However, Anderson’s 2007 release “The Darjeeling Limited”, that I enjoyed.

17 “Buona ___” (Italian greeting) : SERA

“Buona sera” is Italian for “good evening”.

23 Famed child ruler, informally : TUT

“King Tut” is a name commonly used for the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun. Tutankhamun may not have been the most significant of the pharaohs historically, but he is the most famous today largely because of the discovery of his nearly intact tomb in 1922 by Howard Carter. Prior to this find, any Egyptian tombs uncovered by archaeologists had been ravaged by grave robbers. Tutankhamun’s magnificent burial mask is one of the most recognizable of all Egyptian artifacts.

24 Compete in Pictionary : DRAW

The marvelous game Pictionary was introduced in 1985. It’s a word-guessing game that’s played in teams. Pictionary is a big hit in our house with family and friends. It must be said, a glass of wine does help boost the level of enthusiasm of all concerned …

26 Colorful parrot : MACAW

Macaws are beautifully colored birds native to Central and South America that are actually a type of parrot. Most species of macaws are now endangered, with several having become extinct in recent decades. The main threats are deforestation and illegal trapping and trafficking of exotic birds.

27 Some heart chambers : ATRIA

The heart has four chambers. The two upper chambers (the atria) accept deoxygenated blood from the body and oxygenated blood from the lungs. The atria squeeze those blood supplies into the two lower chambers of the heart (the ventricles), “priming” the pump, as it were. One ventricle pumps deoxygenated blood to the lungs, and the other pumps oxygenated blood to the rest of the body.

28 Card game with suits of four different colors : UNO

UNO is a card game that was developed in the early seventies and that has been sold by Mattel since 1992. UNO falls into the shedding family of card games, meaning that the goal is to get rid of all your cards while preventing opponents from doing the same.

29 Caffeinated summer drink : ICED COFFEE

Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant that is found in several plants. The chemical serves as a natural pesticide by paralyzing and killing certain insects that would otherwise feed on the plant. Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug that is consumed by humans across the world.

37 Piece of siege equipment : RAM

Our word “siege” comes from a 13th century word for a “seat”. The military usage derives from the concept of a besieging force “sitting down” outside a fortress until it falls.

41 Disco ___ (“The Simpsons” character) : STU

On “The Simpsons”, the character of Disco Stu is voiced by Hank Azaria, although the original intent was for him to be voiced by Phil Hartman. Disco Stu is described as “a black, wrinkly John Travolta”.

43 Any member of the 2019 N.B.A. championship team : RAPTOR

The Raptors are the NBA basketball team based in Toronto, Ontario.

45 Mall cop’s transport : SEGWAY

The Segway PT is self-balancing two-wheel electric vehicle introduced to the world in 2001 by American inventor Dean Kamen.

48 Apartment building V.I.P., in slang : SUPE

“Supe” is short for “supervisor”.

50 Benches along an aisle : PEWS

A pew is a bench in a church, one usually with a high back. The original pews were raised and sometimes enclosed seats in the church used by women and important men or families. “Pew” comes from the Old French “puie” meaning “balcony, elevation”.

52 “Hamilton” climax : DUEL

Alexander Hamilton was one of America’s Founding Fathers, chief of staff to General George Washington and the first Secretary of the Treasury. It was Hamilton who established the nation’s first political party, the Federalist Party. He is also famous for fighting a duel with Vice President Aaron Burr, which resulted in Hamilton’s death a few days later.

“Hamilton” is a 2015 musical based on the life of US Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, as described in the 2004 biography by Ron Chernow. The show opened off-Broadway in February 2015, and transferred to Broadway in August of the same year. Advance ticket sales for the Broadway production were unprecedented, and reportedly amounted to $30 million. The representations of the main characters is decidedly ground-breaking. The show is rooted in hip-hop and the main roles such as Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington are all played by African-American and Hispanic actors.

53 Nile biters : ASPS

The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.

55 “Star Trek” spinoff series: Abbr. : TNG

When Gene Roddenberry first proposed the science fiction series that became “Star Trek”, he marketed it as “Wagon Train to the Stars”, a pioneer-style Western in outer space. In fact his idea was to produce something more like “Gulliver’s Travels”, as he intended to write episodes that were adventure stories on one level, but morality tales on another. Personally I think that he best achieved this model with the spin-off series “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (TNG). If you watch individual episodes you will see thinly disguised treatments of moral issues such as racism, homosexuality, genocide etc. For my money, “The Next Generation” is the best of the whole franchise …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Missing school : ABSENT
7 Cousin of a lark : SWALLOW
14 Nonsense word repeated in Stephen Foster’s “Camptown Races” : DOO DAH
15 Literally, “empty orchestra” : KARAOKE
16 “Spare me your lame reasons!” : EXCUSES EXCUSES!
18 Home of Wall St. and Fifth Ave. : NYC
19 “Chicago ___” (NBC drama) : MED
20 With 24-Across, food coloring in Twizzlers : RED …
21 Compound with a fruity scent : ESTER
24 See 20-Across : … DYE
26 Roman emperor who wrote “Meditations” : MARCUS AURELIUS
32 Waiting for a pitch : AT BAT
33 Siesta, e.g. : NAP
34 Michael of “Weekend Update” on “S.N.L.” : CHE
35 Pull an all-nighter : CRAM
36 Expand : GROW
38 Giggle : HE HE
39 Be laid up in bed : AIL
40 Call to a lamb : BAA!
41 Garden plant also called stonecrop : SEDUM
42 Facial hair for Sam Elliott and Wilford Brimley : WALRUS MUSTACHE
46 Equipment hauled by a roadie : AMP
47 Course covering axons and dendrites, for short : NEURO
48 Maple product : SAP
50 Chinese zodiac creature for 2019 : PIG
51 Consumer safety org. : FDA
54 1981 hit with the lyric “We can make it if we try” … or a possible title for this puzzle : JUST THE TWO OF US
59 So far : UP TO NOW
60 Getting some shut-eye : ASLEEP
61 Composer Bizet : GEORGES
62 Alternatives to Ho Hos : YODELS

Down

1 Mideast’s Gulf of ___ : ADEN
2 Squarish : BOXY
3 Necessity for achieving one’s goals? : SOCCER BALL
4 Ending with “umich.” or “upenn.” : EDU
5 Rapper Lil ___ X : NAS
6 Topics for book clubs : THEMES
7 Slated events, in brief : SKED
8 Material for Icarus’ wings : WAX
9 Circle segment : ARC
10 Branch of the Olympics? : LAUREL
11 Misplace : LOSE
12 Gave the go-ahead : OK’ED
13 Anderson who directed “The Grand Budapest Hotel” : WES
17 “Buona ___” (Italian greeting) : SERA
22 Rip-off : SCAM
23 Famed child ruler, informally : TUT
24 Compete in Pictionary : DRAW
25 “You betcha!” : YEP!
26 Colorful parrot : MACAW
27 Some heart chambers : ATRIA
28 Card game with suits of four different colors : UNO
29 Caffeinated summer drink : ICED COFFEE
30 “You betcha!” : UH-HUH!
31 Teacher’s note that makes one go [gulp] : SEE ME
36 [Oh. My. God!] : [GASP!]
37 Piece of siege equipment : RAM
38 Get wind of : HEAR
40 Wander here and there, with “around” : BUM
41 Disco ___ (“The Simpsons” character) : STU
43 Any member of the 2019 N.B.A. championship team : RAPTOR
44 Meter or liter : UNIT
45 Mall cop’s transport : SEGWAY
48 Apartment building V.I.P., in slang : SUPE
49 Regarding : AS TO
50 Benches along an aisle : PEWS
52 “Hamilton” climax : DUEL
53 Nile biters : ASPS
54 Put a cork in it! : JUG
55 “Star Trek” spinoff series: Abbr. : TNG
56 It’s groundbreaking : HOE
57 Spanish for “bear” : OSO
58 Timeworn : OLD

7 thoughts on “0723-19 NY Times Crossword 23 Jul 19, Tuesday”

  1. 9:45.

    It takes 40 gallons of SAP from a maple tree to make 1 gallon of maple syrup. I was stunned when I heard that. I read it off of the back of a box of Maple Cheerios. You can’t get a higher authority than that…

    Best –

  2. 7:51, no errors. Had to erase AS OF NOW and JAR, and replace them with UP TO NOW and JUG. Smooth sailing otherwise.

  3. Quite a bit harder that the typical Tuesday, I thought. Even then, I managed to finish this one with no errors.

    I had gotten the theme from the lower two-thirds of the puzzle and had only the top theme answer remaining. Knowing that there had to be two US’s tipped me off to the fact that the word EXCUSES was just simply going to repeat itself. This is one time that the theme played a pivotal role in success or failure.

    Thanks to Kyle Dolan for a stimulating challenge today.

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