0823-19 NY Times Crossword 23 Aug 19, Friday

Constructed by: Evan Mahnken
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 10m 57s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Wright who directed “Shaun of the Dead” and “Baby Driver” : EDGAR

“Shaun of the Dead” is 2004 horror comedy movie starring English comic actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Written by Pegg and director Edgar Wright, “Shaun of the Dead” is the first in what’s known as their “Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy” of films, along with “”Hot Fuzz” (2007) and “The World’s End” (2013).

10 DNA collector : SWAB

Cotton swabs were originally marketed under the name “Baby Gays”. This was changed in 1926 to “Q-Tips”, with the Q standing for “quality”.

14 Integral’s calculation, in calculus : AREA

Remember doing calculus at school, and all those derivatives and integrals? Well, you probably also remember that an integral calculates the area under a curve (for example), and a derivative calculates the slope of a tangent at a particular point on a curve.

20 Epictetus, e.g. : STOIC

Epictetus was a slave as a young man, and eventually earned his freedom. He was a famous student of stoicism, and in turn a teacher who helped proliferate the philosophy.

21 Taste : SAPOR

“Sapor” is another word for “flavor, a quality that can be tasted”. “Sapor” is Latin for “taste, flavor”.

22 “30 Rock” co-star : FEY

“30 Rock” is a sitcom on NBC that was created by the show’s star Tina Fey. Fey plays an ex-performer and writer from “Saturday Night Live” and uses her experiences on that show as a basis for the “30 Rock” storyline. Fey plays Liz Lemon, the head writer for the fictional sketch comedy series “TGS with Tracy Jordan”.

23 Pet : NECK

The term “necking” applies to kissing and caressing. I like what Groucho Marx had to say on the subject:

Whoever named it necking was a poor judge of anatomy.

26 Low man : BASSO

The bass is the lowest male singing voice. A man with such a voice might be called a “basso” (plural “bassi”). In an opera, the villain of the piece is usually played by a basso.

29 Con’s target : SAP

“Sap” is slang for “fool, someone easily scammed”. The term arose in the early 1800s in Britain when it was used in “saphead” and “sapskull”. All these words are derived from “sapwood”, which is the softwood found in tree trunks between the bark and the heartwood at the center.

30 Landmark on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe : VICTORIA FALLS

Victoria Falls is located on the Zambezi River, right on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The falls were named by Scottish explorer David Livingstone in honor of Queen Victoria of Britain. Victoria Falls isn’t the highest waterfall in the world, nor is it the widest. However, the total “area” of the sheet of falling water is the largest in the world, so it is usually recognized as the largest waterfall on the planet.

36 Long shots? : THREE-POINTERS

That would be basketball.

39 Cocksure : SMUG

To be cocksure is to be confident, as assured as a “cock”. English author D. H. Lawrence introduced us to a female version of the term: “hensure”.

41 Member of the proletariat, metaphorically : COG

Back in the days of the Roman Republic, citizens with some material wealth were required to list in the census the property that they owned. Citizens with little or no property instead listed their “proles”, which is the Latin word for “offspring, children”. As a result, the class of people without property were referred to as the “proletarii”. Centuries later, Karl Marx popularized the term “proletariat” to describe the working class. Still later, author George Orwell used the term “prole” to describe a member of the working class in his novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four”.

43 Some creepy-crawlies : MITES

Mites are tiny arthropods in the arachnid (spider) class. Mites are (annoyingly!) very successful creatures that have adapted to all sorts of habitats. And being so small, they generally pass unnoticed. Ick …

47 Johnny who used to cry “Come on down!” on “The Price Is Right” : OLSON

Johnny Olson was the announcer on “The Price is Right” from day one in 1972, until he passed away in 1985. Come on down!

49 Title locale in a Hercule Poirot mystery : THE NILE

Agatha Christie wrote a very successful crime novel called “Death on the Nile” that was first published in 1937. That novel had started off life as a play that was was never performed, one that Christie called “Moon on the Nile”. Christie then adapted the novel back into a play again calling it “Murder on the Nile”, which opened in London in 1946.

Hercule Poirot is one of Agatha Christie’s most beloved characters. He is a wonderful Belgian private detective who plies his trade from his base in London. Poirot’s most famous case is the “Murder on the Orient Express”. First appearing in 1920’s “The Mysterious Affair at Styles”, Poirot finally succumbs to a heart condition in the 1975 book “Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case”. Famously, Poirot is fond of using his “little grey cells”.

54 Academic setting : IVORY TOWER

In modern usage, an ivory tower is an environment focused on education and intellectual pursuits while isolated from the practicalities of everyday life. The term is often used to describe academia. “Ivory tower” originated in the Song of Solomon in the Bible with the line “Your neck is like an ivory tower”.

56 Where to find a Bitcoin price index, for short : NYSE

New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

Bitcoins are digital units of currency that are used on some Internet sites. Bitcoins are the most popular alternative currency used on the Web today. More and more reputable online retailers are accepting bitcoins, including Overstock.com, Expedia, Dell and Microsoft.

58 Grammy-winning singer with the 2010 album “Soldier of Love” : SADE

The singer Sade’s real name is Helen Folasade Adu. Although she was born in Nigeria, Sade grew up and lives in the UK. She was the lead vocalist for the English group Sade, and adopted the name of the band. The band’s biggest hits were “Smooth Operator” (1984) and “The Sweetest Taboo” (1985).

Down

1 Rum-soaked cakes : BABAS

Rum baba (also “baba au rhum” in French) is a small yeast cake saturated in rum, and sometimes filled with whipped cream. Rum baba is derived from the recipe for the tall “babka” yeast cake that was introduced to the world by the Polish communities. The Polish words “baba” and “babka” mean “old woman” or “grandmother” in English. I guess someone must have thought that all grandmothers were saturated in rum!

4 Crime-fighting vehicle : BATMOBILE

The Batmobile was introduced in the world of comic books in 1939. It started out as a simple, red convertible, with nothing special to recommend it. Over the years though, the car evolved and became more and more sophisticated. The Batmobile always had pride of place in the Batman tales, but once in a while Batman would take the Batplane, Batboat and Batcycle out for a spin.

5 Noble rank : EARL

In the ranking of nobles, an earl comes above a viscount and below a marquis. The rank of earl is used in the British peerage system and is equivalent to the rank of count in other countries. Other British ranks have female forms (e.g. marquis and marchioness, viscount and viscountess), but there isn’t a female word for the rank of earl. A female given the same rank as an earl is known as a countess.

6 Salad ___ : DAYS

One’s salad days are the days of our youth, days of carefree exuberance and idealism. The expression “salad days” originated in William Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra” as Cleopatra refers to her youthful indiscretions saying:

…My salad days, / When I was green in judgment, cold in blood…

7 Fed. auditing agcy. : GAO

The Government Accounting Office, established as a branch of the US Congress in 1921, was renamed the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2004. A much better name, I think …

11 Carol king : WENCESLAS

“Good King Wenceslas” is one of my favorite Christmas carols. The main character in the carol is based on Saint Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia. The lyrics were written by Englishman John Mason Neale and the tune is Scandinavian in origin. That’s quite a cultural mix, but it seems to work!

12 Provide heat for, in a sense : ARM

“Packing” and “packing heat” are underworld slang for “carrying a gun”.

13 What a seed might start out with : BYE

The word “bye”, as used in sport, originated in cricket. A bye is a run scored due to an error by the wicketkeeper (similar to a catcher in baseball) when he fails to stop a ball bowled by the bowler (like a pitcher in baseball). Later the word “bye” in sport came to mean the position of a player in a tournament who is left without a competitor when the rest have drawn pairs. In these commercial times, those byes tend to be awarded to the best (seeded) players, so that the most popular players always advance past the first round of competition.

25 Military drudges, for short : KPS

The initialism “KP” is US military slang that stands for either “kitchen police” or “kitchen patrol”.

31 “Do or do not. There ___ try”: Yoda : IS NO

Yoda is one of the most beloved characters of the “Star Wars” series of films. Yoda’s voice is provided by the great modern-day puppeteer Frank Oz of “Muppets” fame.

32 When Brutus dies : ACT V

The most famous man with the name “Brutus” in ancient Rome was Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger. It was this Brutus that Julius Caesar turned to when he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate. William Shakespeare immortalized Brutus by featuring him in his play, “Julius Caesar”, and giving his victim the line “Et tu, Brute?”

33 Ones who’ve been granted manumission : FREEMEN

Manumission is the freeing of a slave by his or her owner. In the days of slavery in the US, manumission was sometimes a clause in a slave owner’s will, so freedom was often granted at the demise of the owner. The concept of manumission dates back to Ancient Greece and Rome. The term comes from Latin for “letting go from the hand”.

34 Carrier with trans-Atlantic flights since 1958 : AER LINGUS

Aer Lingus is my favorite airline! Well, the service isn’t that great, but when I get on board an Aer Lingus plane I feel like I am back in Ireland. Aer Lingus is the national airline of Ireland, with “Aer Lingus” being a phonetic spelling of the Irish “aer-loingeas” meaning “air fleet”. These days Aer Lingus can only lay claim to the title of Ireland’s oldest airline as it is no longer the biggest. That honor goes to the controversial budget airline Ryanair.

36 Basic cable inits. : TBS

The tbs cable television station started out in 1967 as local broadcast TV station in Atlanta. The station’s first call letters were WJRJ-TV, and this was changed to WTCG in 1970 when it was acquired by Ted Turner (the TCG stood for Turner Communications Group). In 1976, Turner started distributing WTCG via satellite making its programming available in other parts of the country. WTCG was only the second channel to transmit via satellite, following HBO. The difference was that WTCG was broadcast without requiring a premium subscription. The station’s call sign was changed again in 1979 to WTBS, with TBS standing for Turner Broadcasting System. In 1981, the channel adopted the moniker “Superstation WTBS”.

42 Result of a leadoff single : ONE ON

That would be baseball.

44 First black Disney princess : TIANA

As of 2016, there are 11 “official” Disney princesses:

  1. Princess Snow White (from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”)
  2. Princess Cinderella (from “Cinderella”)
  3. Princess Aurora (from “Sleeping Beauty)
  4. Princess Ariel (from “The Little Mermaid”)
  5. Princess Belle (from “Beauty and the Beast”)
  6. Princess Jasmine (from “Aladdin”)
  7. Princess Pocahontas (from “Pocahontas”)
  8. Princess Mulan (from “Mulan”)
  9. Princess Tiana (from “The Princess and the Frog”)
  10. Princess Rapunzel (from “Tangled”)
  11. Princess Merida (from “Brave”)

“The Princess and the Frog” is an animated feature released in 2009 by Walt Disney Studios. The film is set in New Orleans in the twenties. A waitress called Tiana kisses a prince who had been turned into a frog, and then she herself turns into a frog.

45 Fighter for the Moors in Zaragoza in the 1080s : EL CID

Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar was known as El Cid Campeador, which translates as “The Champion” or perhaps “The Lord, Master of Military Arts”. El Cid was a soldier who fought under the rule of King Alfonso VI of Spain (among others). However, he was sent into exile by the King in 1080, after acting beyond his authorization in battle. El Cid then offered his services to his former foes, the Moorish kings, After a number of years building a reputation with the Moors, he was recalled from exile by Alfonso. By this time El Cid was very much his own man. Nominally under the orders of Alfonso, he led a combined army of Spanish and Moorish troops and took the city of Valencia on the Mediterranean coast in 1094, making it his headquarters and home. He died in Valencia, quite peacefully, in 1099.

Zaragoza is the capital city of the autonomous community of Aragon in Spain. The city’s name evolved from the name used by the ancient Romans, i.e. “Caesaraugusta”.

46 Otto’s preceder : SETTE

“Sette, otto” is Italian for “seven, eight”.

48 Sleeper, perhaps : SPY

A mole is a spy who works from within the ranks of an enemy’s government of intelligence service. The use of “mole” took off after publication of John Le Carré’s 1974 novel “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”. The author was himself a former intelligence officer and asserts that “mole” was a term used by the KGB, whereas Western agencies used the term “sleeper agent”.

49 Yggdrasil, in Norse mythology : TREE

Yggdrasil is an enormous tree that is central to Norse mythology, and is known as the “world tree”. It is thought that it is a yew tree, and that the name “Yggdrasil” comes from the Norse word “igwja” meaning “yew-tree”, but that fact is disputed.

50 Jazzman Al : HIRT

Al Hirt was a trumpeter and bandleader. Hirt’s most famous recordings were the song “Java” and the album “Honey in the Horn”, as well the theme song used “The Green Hornet” TV series in the sixties.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Part of a prison fence : BARB
5 Wright who directed “Shaun of the Dead” and “Baby Driver” : EDGAR
10 DNA collector : SWAB
14 Integral’s calculation, in calculus : AREA
15 Small source of power : AAA BATTERY
17 “Glad I didn’t have to deal with that!” : BETTER YOU THAN ME
19 What God created after the stars, per the Bible : ANIMALS
20 Epictetus, e.g. : STOIC
21 Taste : SAPOR
22 “30 Rock” co-star : FEY
23 Pet : NECK
26 Low man : BASSO
29 Con’s target : SAP
30 Landmark on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe : VICTORIA FALLS
35 Classic sound effect in an action film when someone is badly injured : WILHELM SCREAM
36 Long shots? : THREE-POINTERS
37 Was successfully enticed : BIT
38 Never-before seen : NOVEL
39 Cocksure : SMUG
41 Member of the proletariat, metaphorically : COG
43 Some creepy-crawlies : MITES
47 Johnny who used to cry “Come on down!” on “The Price Is Right” : OLSON
49 Title locale in a Hercule Poirot mystery : THE NILE
51 What something goes *poof* in : DISAPPEARING ACT
54 Academic setting : IVORY TOWER
55 Rod or reel : UNIT
56 Where to find a Bitcoin price index, for short : NYSE
57 Inception : ONSET
58 Grammy-winning singer with the 2010 album “Soldier of Love” : SADE

Down

1 Rum-soaked cakes : BABAS
2 Theater, of a sort : ARENA
3 Fix, as a pool cue : RETIP
4 Crime-fighting vehicle : BATMOBILE
5 Noble rank : EARL
6 Salad ___ : DAYS
7 Fed. auditing agcy. : GAO
8 Contumely : ABUSE
9 Run-down : RATTY
10 Leave a mark on : STAIN
11 Carol king : WENCESLAS
12 Provide heat for, in a sense : ARM
13 What a seed might start out with : BYE
16 While, informally : THO’
18 Possible cold symptom : EARACHE
22 What the suffix “-genesis” means : FORMING
24 Collected : CALM
25 Military drudges, for short : KPS
27 Part of a recipe : STEP
28 Aria, usually : SOLO
30 Masters : VIRTUOSOS
31 “Do or do not. There ___ try”: Yoda : IS NO
32 When Brutus dies : ACT V
33 Ones who’ve been granted manumission : FREEMEN
34 Carrier with trans-Atlantic flights since 1958 : AER LINGUS
35 Sudden change of mind : WHIM
36 Basic cable inits. : TBS
40 It’s a bad look : GLARE
41 Admit, slangily : COP TO
42 Result of a leadoff single : ONE ON
44 First black Disney princess : TIANA
45 Fighter for the Moors in Zaragoza in the 1080s : EL CID
46 Otto’s preceder : SETTE
48 Sleeper, perhaps : SPY
49 Yggdrasil, in Norse mythology : TREE
50 Jazzman Al : HIRT
51 It’s made at a construction site : DIN
52 Plant that sounds like two letters of the alphabet : IVY
53 Comments around cute babies : AWS

13 thoughts on “0823-19 NY Times Crossword 23 Aug 19, Friday”

  1. I agree; the long answers seemed to flow. No errors although the south east held me back a bit. Didn’t understand SETTE until I read Bill’s explanations. Groan inducing. The clue, not Bill’s explanation!
    Best clue? “Carol king” I was hoping Bill would explain WILHELMSCREAM. Anybody?

  2. Rod or reel — unit? Rod, yes, but is a ‘reel’ a unit? Anyone know…?

    ‘Wilhelm Scream’ turns out to be an original scream in a movie that has since been oft replicated. Who knew? — but that’s why I do crosswords.

  3. I surfed a little bit and found that a “reel” is simply a quantity of something wrapped around a reel, not a specific unit of measure.
    Pretty wispy cluing IMO.

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