0801-19 NY Times Crossword 1 Aug 19, Thursday

Constructed by: Patrick Merrell
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): A to Z

Collectively, themed clues comprise the letters A through Z, arranged in groups of 3-5. Those same letters appear in the corresponding answer, in the same order:

  • 17A ABCDE : ABSCONDED
  • 21A FGHI : AFGHANI
  • 26A JKL : JUNK PILE
  • 38A MNOP : HEISMAN TROPHIES
  • 46A QRST : SQUAREST
  • 55A UVW : PURVIEW
  • 62A XYZ : OXYGENIZE

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

Bill’s time: 14m 24s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Card holder at a casino : SHOE

These days, a dealer in a casino usually deals cards from a shoe. The shoe has only been around since 1961 when it was invented by magician John Scarne. The dealing device is so called because early versions resembled a woman’s high-heel shoe.

14 Artist’s collection : PORTFOLIO

Our word “portfolio” comes from the Italian “portafoglio” meaning “case for carrying loose papers”. The Italian term comes from “porta” meaning “carry” and “foglio” meaning “sheet, leaf”.

16 “Got it, I’m on it,” in radio lingo : WILCO

In the world of radio telephony, “wilco” is short for “I understand and will comply”.

25 Pronoun in Proverbs : THEE

The Book of Proverbs is in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament. The original Hebrew title for the book translates as “Proverbs of Solomon”.

30 Under Prohibition : DRY

The 18th Amendment to the US Constitution was a great victory for the temperance movement (the “dry” movement), and in 1919 ushered in the Prohibition era. Highly unpopular (with the “wet” movement), Prohibition was repealed in 1933 by the 21st Amendment.

33 Who sings “America” in “West Side Story” : ANITA

In Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story”, the female lead character is Maria. Her older friend Anita is also in the gang called the Sharks.

35 Prized athlete, for short : MVP

MVP (most valuable player)

38 MNOP : HEISMAN TROPHIES

The Heisman Trophy is awarded to the most outstanding college football player each season. The trophy was first awarded in 1935, and the following year was given the name Heisman after the death of John Heisman, a noted college football player and football director.

42 Bank stamp abbr. : NSF

Not sufficient funds (NSF)

43 Powerhouse in cricket : INDIA

Cricket is the national game of England. The term “cricket” apparently comes from the Old French word “criquet” meaning “goalpost, stick”.

45 World champion athlete under two different names : ALI

Muhammad Ali first used his famous catchphrase “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee” before his world title fight against Sonny Liston in 1964. Back then Ali still went by his birth name of Cassius Clay.

52 Winter Wyoming hrs. : MST

Mountain Standard Time (MST)

Wyoming is nicknamed the “Equality State”, and the state’s motto is “equal rights”. Wyoming was the first state to give women the vote, and the first to allow women to serve on juries. It was also the first state to have a female governor, Nellie Tayloe Ross, who took office in 1925. Unofficially, Wyoming is also referred to as the “Cowboy State”.

58 Long life: Abbr. : CEN

Century (cen.)

61 When the Lyrid meteor shower occurs : APRIL

A meteoroid is a small rocky or metallic body travelling through space. Once in the atmosphere, the meteoroid is referred to as a “meteor” or “shooting star”. Almost all meteoroids burn up, but if one is large enough to survive and reach the ground then we call it a meteorite. The word “meteor” comes from the Greek “meteōros” meaning “high in the air”.

65 TV character who said “Computers make excellent and efficient servants, but I have no wish to serve under them” : SPOCK

Leonard Nimoy played the logical Mr. Spock in the original “Star Trek” television series. Spock has to be the most popular character on the show, and he kept popping up in “Star Trek” spin offs. Nimoy first worked alongside William Shatner (Captain Kirk) in an episode of “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” (I loved that show as a kid!), with Nimoy playing a bad guy and Shatner playing an U.N.C.L.E. recruit.

67 Standish on the Mayflower : MYLES

Myles Standish was one of the passengers on the Mayflower. He had been hired by the Pilgrims as military advisor for their planned colony in the New World. Standish served as commander of the Plymouth Colony from its founding until his passing in 1656, at the age of 72.

Down

1 Food invention of 1937 : 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”.

2 So-called “king of the road” : HOBO

No one seems to know for sure how the term “hobo” originated, although there are lots of colorful theories. My favorite is that “hobo” comes from the first letters in the words “ho-meward bo-und”, but it doesn’t seem very plausible. A kind blog reader tells me that according to Click and Clack from PBS’s “Car Talk” (a great source!), “hobo” comes from “hoe boy”. Hoe boys were young men with hoes looking for work after the Civil War. Hobos differed from “tramps” and “bums” in that “bums” refused to work, “tramps” worked when they had to, while “hobos” traveled in search of work.

5 B(r)est friend? : BON AMI

In French, a male friend might be described as “bon ami” (good friend).

6 Geezers, with “the” : OLDS

“Geezer”, “codger” and “coot” are all not-so-nice terms meaning “old man”.

7 Concoction : LIE

To decoct is to extract the flavor of a liquid by boiling down and increasing the concentration. A related term is “to concoct”, meaning “to boil together”. We use the verb “to concoct” in a figurative sense to mean to contrive, devise.

9 Sponsors’ giveaways : SWAG

“Swag” is “loot, stolen property”, and a term that started out as criminal slang in England in the 1830s. “Swag” is also the name given to the promotional freebies available at some events. That said, there’s an urban myth that the promotional version of “swag” is an acronym standing for “stuff we all get”.

10 Herculean : MIGHTY

“The Twelve Labors of Hercules” is actually a Greek myth, although Hercules is the Roman name for the hero that the Greeks called Heracles. The first of these labors was to slay the Nemean lion, a monster that lived in a cave near Nemea. Hercules had a tough job as the lion’s golden fur was impenetrable to normal weapons. One version of the story is that Hercules killed the lion by shooting an arrow into its mouth. Another version says that Hercules stunned the monster with a club and then strangled him with his bare hands.

11 Figure also called “the Creator,” “the King” and “the All-Seer” : ALLAH

The name “Allah” comes from the Arabic “al-” and “ilah”, meaning “the” and “deity”. So, “Allah” can be translated as “God”.

13 TV host Mandel : HOWIE

Howie Mandel is a Canadian comic. He was a regular on TV a few years ago as host of “Deal or No Deal”, and more recently as a judge on “America’s Got Talent”. I remember Mandel from “St. Elsewhere” in the eighties, which was the first American TV show that I watched regularly when I moved to the US …

26 Doe; a Deere? : JOHN

Though the English court system does not use the term today, “John Doe” first appeared as the “name of a person unknown” in England in 1659, along with the similar “Richard Roe”. An unknown female is referred to as “Jane Doe”. Variants of “John Doe” are “Joe Blow” and “John Q. Public”.

John Deere invented the first commercially successful steel plow in 1837. Prior to Deere’s invention, farmers used an iron or wooden plow that constantly had to be cleaned as rich soil stuck to its surfaces. The cast-steel plow was revolutionary as its smooth sides solved the problem of “stickiness”. The Deere company that John founded uses the slogan “Nothing Runs Like a Deere”, and has a leaping deer as its logo.

27 Some of them come in “pineapple” and “soprano” varieties, informally : UKES

The ukulele (uke) originated in the 1800s and mimicked a small guitar brought to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese immigrants.

28 Green one : NAIF

A naïf is someone who is naive, as “naïf” is the French word for “naive”.

36 May marchers : VETS

The US’s Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for the men and women who fell serving their country in the armed forces. The holiday is held on the last Monday in May. It was originally known as Decoration Day and was established after the Civil War to commemorate both the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in that conflict. Memorial Day is also the traditional start of the summer season, with the end of the season being Labor Day.

41 Image on an Irish euro : HARP

The state symbol of Ireland is the harp. The reason for the use of the harp as a symbol seems to have been lost in time, but it has been used for centuries. The actual harp used as a model for the state symbol is called the Trinity College harp, a medieval instrument on display in the university in Dublin.

51 Flynn of “Captain Blood” : ERROL

Actor Errol Flynn was born in 1909 in Tasmania, where he was raised. In his twenties, Flynn lived in the UK where he pursued his acting career. Around the same time he starred in an Australian film “In the Wake of the Bounty” and then appeared in a British film “Murder at Monte Carlo”. It was in the latter film that he was noticed by Warner Brothers who brought him to America. Flynn’s non-American heritage shone through even while he was living the American dream in California. He regularly played cricket, along with his friend David Niven, in the Hollywood Cricket Club.

Errol Flynn plays the archetypal swashbuckler in the 1935 film “Captain Blood“. The movie is the second of three adaptations of the novel of the same name by Rafael Sabatini. Of course, Captain Blood happens to be an Irishman …

58 “So long” : CIAO

“Ciao” is Italian for “‘bye”. “Arrivederci” is more formal, and translates as “goodbye”.

59 Poet Pound : EZRA

Ezra Pound was an American poet who spent much of his life wandering the world, and spending years in London, Paris, and Italy. In Italy, Pound’s work and sympathies for Mussolini’s regime led to his arrest at the end of the war. His major work was the epic, albeit incomplete, “The Cantos”. This epic poem is divided into 120 sections, each known as a canto.

64 Calgary is in it: Abbr. : NHL

The Flames are a professional hockey team based in the Alberta city of Calgary. The team has been in Calgary since 1980, but was founded in 1972 in the US as the Atlanta Flames.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Card holder at a casino : SHOE
5 Leave in a hurry : BOLT
9 Sensation : SMASH
14 Artist’s collection : PORTFOLIO
16 “Got it, I’m on it,” in radio lingo : WILCO
17 ABCDE : ABSCONDED
18 Warmly lit : AGLOW
19 Pasture sound : MOO
20 Stomach problem : GAS
21 FGHI : AFGHANI
23 Gross amount : SUM
24 Change clothes? : DYE
25 Pronoun in Proverbs : THEE
26 JKL : JUNK PILE
30 Under Prohibition : DRY
32 Tolerable : OKAY
33 Who sings “America” in “West Side Story” : ANITA
35 Prized athlete, for short : MVP
38 MNOP : HEISMAN TROPHIES
42 Bank stamp abbr. : NSF
43 Powerhouse in cricket : INDIA
44 Doesn’t delay : ACTS
45 World champion athlete under two different names : ALI
46 QRST : SQUAREST
49 Zipped : SPED
52 Winter Wyoming hrs. : MST
54 Temperature test, of a sort : SIP
55 UVW : PURVIEW
57 Fooled : HAD
58 Long life: Abbr. : CEN
61 When the Lyrid meteor shower occurs : APRIL
62 XYZ : OXYGENIZE
65 TV character who said “Computers make excellent and efficient servants, but I have no wish to serve under them” : SPOCK
66 Commute communally : RIDE-SHARE
67 Standish on the Mayflower : MYLES
68 Passes : DIES
69 Boatful : LOAD

Down

1 Food invention of 1937 : SPAM
2 So-called “king of the road” : HOBO
3 Qualifying phrase : OR SO
4 +, briefly : ETC
5 B(r)est friend? : BON AMI
6 Geezers, with “the” : OLDS
7 Concoction : LIE
8 Rush order deadline : TODAY
9 Sponsors’ giveaways : SWAG
10 Herculean : MIGHTY
11 Figure also called “the Creator,” “the King” and “the All-Seer” : ALLAH
12 Afternoon tea offering : SCONE
13 TV host Mandel : HOWIE
15 What bathroom mirrors may do : FOG UP
22 Gave, as a meal : FED TO
23 “The ___ the limit” : SKY’S
24 One who knows the drill : DENTIST
26 Doe; a Deere? : JOHN
27 Some of them come in “pineapple” and “soprano” varieties, informally : UKES
28 Green one : NAIF
29 Developer’s purchase : LAND
31 Specialty of Bad Boy Records : RAP
34 Modern home of the ancient king Gilgamesh : IRAQ
35 They might squeak by : MICE
36 May marchers : VETS
37 Covert come-on : PSST!
39 Nice chunk of money : MIL
40 Cartoon genre : ANIME
41 Image on an Irish euro : HARP
45 Counsel : ADVICE
47 Accepted applications : USAGES
48 Staffers : AIDES
49 Uncontrolled jerk : SPASM
50 Small part of a pound? : PUPPY
51 Flynn of “Captain Blood” : ERROL
53 Symbol of power : SWORD
56 Sorts : ILKS
57 Douglas ___, first president of Ireland : HYDE
58 “So long” : CIAO
59 Poet Pound : EZRA
60 Kitchen, for a chef : NEED
63 Common clock topper : XII
64 Calgary is in it: Abbr. : NHL

17 thoughts on “0801-19 NY Times Crossword 1 Aug 19, Thursday”

  1. It’s an “ accepted application” of “ Wall Street” to mean the entire business community = It’s an accepted “usage” of “Wall Street” to mean the entire business community

  2. 30:23. I got half of the theme, which I know sounds impossible. I realized the answers contained the letters in the clues in that order. I didn’t realize until the very end that they were actually all in alphabetical order. I got the NW and therefore the ABCD answer at the end so that could explain why.

    Best –

  3. Even thou I finished this puzzle in 36:10 with no errors I think the theme clues were one of of if not the lamest
    Set of clues I can remember….not a fan

  4. While yesterday rated a 10 on the fun-o-meter, today not so much.
    Maybe it’s unfair to expect to be entertained as well as challenged.
    No errors but….meh.

  5. 17:19, no errors and no idea what I was doing….. I saw that the letters were contained in the entries, in the same order; suspected that all the clue letters were in alphabetical order. Just didn’t care. Fell into a few traps along the way: IF SO before OR SO; ADVISE before ADVICE; PENCE before PUPPY. Did not fall into the MARIA/ANITA trap in 33A.

  6. No errors. I considered this one to be more of a technical challenge. The theme was both a blessing and a curse. We knew the letters had to be in the answer, yet there was no clue at all as to what the completed answer might be. I agree with @Dave’s sentiments. Technical stuff like this is never fun.

  7. This has got to be the stupidest “theme” in recent memory. No rules, no sense, just throw it out there. It doesn’t stick.

  8. 30:11, no errors trying to guess a bunch of things in conjunction with the theme. Terrible theme that made absolutely no sense whatsoever and offered no entertainment value whatsoever. Should have never been published.

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