0828-19 NY Times Crossword 28 Aug 19, Wednesday

Constructed by: Daniel Grinberg
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Tennis

Themed answers are movie titles that sound as if they might refer to TENNIS:

  • 62A What 8-, 20-, 36- and 52-Across sound like they could be about : TENNIS
  • 8A 1995 cyberthriller about espionage : THE NET
  • 20A 2004 film about a group of street dancers : YOU GOT SERVED
  • 36A 2014 romance about two teens with cancer, with “The” : FAULT IN OUR STARS
  • 52A 2003 Christmas-themed rom-com : LOVE ACTUALLY

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

Bill’s time: 9m 59s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Egg containers : SACS

An egg sac is a case made of silk that contains the eggs of a female spider.

5 Figure who works with figures, for short : CPA

Certified public accountant (CPA)

8 1995 cyberthriller about espionage : THE NET

“The Net” is a very entertaining thriller movie starring Sandra Bullock as computer expert who gets involved with some cyberterrorists who steal her identity.

15 ___ lamp : ARC

The first electric light was an “arc lamp”, a lamp in which light is produced by an arc of ionized gas between two electrodes. The arc lamp was largely replaced by incandescent lighting, in which light was produced by a glowing filament that was heated by passing an electric current through it.

19 Showy shrub : AZALEA

Azaleas are very toxic to horses, sheep and goats, but strangely enough cause no problem for cats or dogs. And if you go to Korea, you might come across “Tug Yonju”, which is azalea wine made from the plant’s blossoms. Azaleas are usually grown as shrubs, but are also seen as small trees, and often indoors.

22 United, for one: Abbr. : SYN

“United” is a synonym (syn.) for “one”.

29 Pommes frites seasoning : SEL

In French, one might put “sel” (salt) on “pommes frites” (French fries).

36 2014 romance about two teens with cancer, with “The” : FAULT IN OUR STARS

“The Fault in Our Stars” is a 2014 film based on a novel of the same by John Green. Both film and novel are about two teenage cancer patients who fall in love with each other. The leads are played by Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort.

40 Slowing down, on a score: Abbr. : RIT

Rit. (or sometimes ritard.) is the abbreviation for “ritardando”, a musical direction to slow down the tempo.

41 Ship named for an ancient Roman province in Iberia : LUSITANIA

The RMS Lusitania was a Cunard ocean liner that was sunk off the coast of Ireland in May 1915 during WWI. The Lusitania was on it’s traditional route between Liverpool and New York City, having departed New York six days before the sinking. She was attacked by a German U-boat, with 1,198 of the 1,959 people on board being killed. The main result of the sinking was to turn public opinion against Germany, greatly contributing to the US entering the war.

42 Smeltery imports : ORES

Metals are found in ore in the form of oxides. In order to get pure metal from the ore, the ore is heated and the metal oxides within are reduced (i.e. the oxygen is removed) in the chemical process known as smelting. The oxygen is extracted by adding a source of carbon or carbon monoxide which uses up the excess oxygen atoms to make carbon dioxide, a waste product of smelting (and, a greenhouse gas).

45 Instrument featured on Springsteen’s “Born to Run” : SAX

The saxophone was invented by Belgian musician Adolphe Sax. Sax developed lip cancer at one point in his life, and one has to wonder if his affliction was related to his saxophone playing (I am sure not!). I had the privilege of visiting Sax’s grave in the Cemetery of Montmartre in Paris a few years ago.

“Born to Run” is a 1975 Bruce Springsteen song that was the title track of an album of the same name. Springsteen wrote the song, but he wasn’t actually the first to record it. Allan Clarke of the Hollies had that honor, but the release of the Clarke version was delayed until Springsteen’s hit the record shelves. “Born to Run” became Springsteen’s first US Top 40 hit.

48 Tosspot : SOT

Our word “sot” comes from the Old English “sott”, meaning “fool”. The word “sot” started to be associated with alcohol and not just foolery in the late 1500s.

A “juicer” or “tosspot” is a drunk.

49 Only mo. that can begin and end on the same day of the week : FEB

The name of the month February comes from the Latin word “februum” meaning “purification”. The Romans had a ritual named Februa (purification) on February 15th every year. I don’t think many people pronounce the first letter R in “February”, leaving it silent, but I could be wrong …

52 2003 Christmas-themed rom-com : LOVE ACTUALLY

“Love Actually” is a wonderful British romantic comedy, and a film we watch every Christmas. The movie has a great ensemble cast and was written and directed by Richard Curtis. Curtis was also the man behind “Four Weddings and a Funeral”, “Bridget Jones’s Diary” and “Notting Hill”. “Love Actually” is very much in the same style as those earlier films.

55 Religious enlightenment : SATORI

“Satori” is a Japanese term that is used in the Zen Buddhist tradition. Satori does not refer to full enlightenment (nirvana) but rather is a step along the way, a flash of awareness.

59 Underling : STOOGE

We use the term “stooge” these days to for an unwitting victim, or perhaps the straight man in a comedy duo. The first “stooges” were simply stage assistants, back in the early 1900s.

60 Top prize in los Juegos Olímpicos : ORO

In Spanish, one might win “oros” (golds) at “los Juegos Olímpicos” (the Olympic Games).

61 Bread with hummus : PITA

Pita is a lovely bread from Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. Pita is usually round, and has a “pocket” in the center. The pocket is created by steam that puffs up the dough during cooking leaving a void when the bread cools.

The lovely dip/spread called hummus usually contains mashed chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. The name “hummus” is an Arabic word for “chickpeas”.

64 Boatload : SLEW

Our usage of “slew” to mean “large number” has nothing to do with the verb “to slew” meaning “to turn, skid”. The noun “slew” came into English in the early 1800s from the Irish word “sluagh” meaning “host, crowd, multitude”.

Down

1 Fixes, as a pet : SPAYS

Our verb “to spay”, meaning “to surgically remove the ovaries of” (an animal) comes from an old Anglo-French word “espeier” meaning “to cut with a sword”.

3 Spicy Southern cuisine : CAJUN

Cajun cuisine is named for the French-speaking Acadian people who were deported from Acadia in Canada to Louisiana in the 18th century.

4 Make out, to a Brit : SNOG

“Snogging” is British slang of unknown origin that dates back to the end of WWII. The term is used for “kissing and cuddling”, what we call “making out” over here in the US.

5 Singers of high notes in olden times : CASTRATI

The soprano (plural “sopranos” or “soprani”) is the highest singing voice. The term “soprano “ comes from the Italian “sopra” meaning “above”. A male countertenor who is able to sing in the soprano voice range is known as a sopranist. A castrated male who can sing in the same range is known as a “castrato”, and a boy soprano is referred to as a treble.

9 Hell Week hellion, say : HAZER

A hellion is a mischievous and wild person. “Hellion” is a North American term, one probably derived for the word that we use for the same thing on the other side of the Atlantic, namely “hallion”.

11 Goose egg : NIL

The use of the phrase “goose egg” to mean “zero” is baseball slang that dates back to the 1860s. The etymology is as expected: the numeral zero and a goose egg are both large and round.

21 Monkey named for a king in Greek myth : RHESUS

The Rhesus macaque is also known as the Rhesus monkey. As it is widely available and is close to humans anatomically and physically, the Rhesus macaque has been used in scientific research for decades. The Rhesus monkey was used in the development of rabies, smallpox and polio vaccines, and it also gave its name to the Rhesus factor that is used in blood-typing. It was also Rhesus monkeys that were launched into space by the US and Soviet space programs. Humans and macaques share about 93% of their DNA and had a common ancestor about 25 million years ago.

25 Herbert Hoover, by birth (uniquely among all U.S. presidents to date) : IOWAN

President Herbert Hoover was born in West Branch, Iowa, and is the only president to have been born in that state. His birthplace is now a National Landmark, and he and his wife were buried in the grounds of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch. President Hoover died at the age of 90 years old in 1964, outliving his nemesis Franklin Delano Roosevelt by almost 20 years.

26 Breakout company of 1976? : ATARI

Breakout is an Atari arcade game that was released in 1976. Breakout is really like a more complex version of Pong, and involves destroying a layer of bricks in the top third of the screen using a “ball” that is “batted” against the brick wall. I wasted a few hours playing Breakout back in the day …

27 Group with a meeting of the minds? : MENSA

If you ever learned Latin, “mensa” was probably taught to you in lesson one as it’s the word commonly used as an example of a first declension noun. Mensa means “table”. The Mensa organization, for folks with high IQs, was set up in Oxford, England back in 1946. To become a member, you have to have an IQ that is in the top 2% of the population.

28 Brynner of “The King and I” : YUL

Yul Brynner was a Russian-born actor. Brynner was well known for his great performances, but also for his shaved head and his deep rich voice. He first adopted the “hairstyle” while playing the King of Siam in the stage version of “The King and I”, and he stuck with it.

“Anna and the King of Siam” is a semi-biographical novel written by Margaret Landon and first published in 1944. The book tells the largely true story of Anna Leonowens who spent five years in Siam teaching English to the children and wives of King Mongkut. The novel was adapted as a 1946 movie of the same name starring Irene Dunne and Rex Harrison. Then followed a 1951 stage musical titled “The King and I”. The musical was written as a vehicle for Gertrude Lawrence, who played Anna. Rex Harrison was asked to play the King, but he turned it down and Yul Brynner was cast instead. A movie version of the stage musical was released in 1956, famously starring Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr.

29 “To Kill a Mockingbird” narrator : SCOUT

Atticus Finch is the protagonist in Harper Lee’s great novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Atticus is the father of Jean Louise “Scout” Finch, the narrator of the piece, and of Scout’s younger brother Jeremy Atticus “Jem” Finch.

32 City near the Great Sphinx : CAIRO

Cairo is the capital city of Egypt. It is nicknamed “The City of a Thousand Minarets” because of its impressive skyline replete with Islamic architecture. The name “Cairo” is a European corruption of the city’s original name in Arabic, “Al-Qahira”.

The Great Sphinx of Giza is a huge limestone statue of a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human. It is the largest monolithic statue in the world. Famously, the Great Sphinx is missing its nose and beard.

37 Italian dishes that are simmered : RISOTTOS

Risotto is an Italian rice dish that is usually served as a first course in Italy, but as a main course here in North America.

38 Lady Liberty, for one : STATUE

The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the people of France to the United States. It was designed by sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and constructed in France by civil engineer Gustave Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame). The statue was disassembled, shipped to the US, and reassembled on its pedestal on Bedloe’s Island (now “Liberty Island). A ceremony of dedication was held in 1886. If you take a boat ride down the Seine in Paris you will probably see a one-third replica of Lady Liberty standing on a small island in the river, looking quite magnificent. That copy was given to the people of Paris by the city’s American community in 1889.

47 Cattle-herding canine : CORGI

The Welsh corgi is a herding dog that originated in Britain, with two recognized breeds: the Pembroke and Cardigan. Corgis aren’t fast enough to do their job by running around livestock like collies, and instead nip at the heels. “Corgi” is Welsh for “dwarf dog”.

48 Cause of goose bumps : SCARE

The terms “goose bumps” and “goose flesh” come from the fact that skin which is cold can look like the flesh of a plucked goose.

49 Thrash (around) : FLAIL

To flail about is to swing wildly, either literally or figuratively. The verb comes from the noun “flail”, which is an implement for threshing grain.

50 ___ Eight (March Madness stage) : ELITE

In the NCAA Division I Basketball Championship, the teams remaining at various stages of the tournament are known as:

  • The “Sweet Sixteen” (the regional semi-finalists)
  • The “Elite Eight” (the regional finalists)
  • The “Final Four” (the national semi-finalists)

53 Salutation at sea : AHOY!

“Ahoy!” is a nautical term used to signal a vessel. When the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell, he suggested that “ahoy” be used as a standard greeting when answering a call. However, Thomas Edison came up with “hello”, and we’ve been using that ever since.

54 Concert pieces : AMPS

An electric guitar, for example, needs an amplifier (amp) to take the weak signal created by the vibration of the strings and turn it into a signal powerful enough for a loudspeaker.

55 Fast flier of the past, for short : SST

The most famous supersonic transport (SST) is the retired Concorde. Concorde was developed and produced under an Anglo-French treaty by France’s Aérospatiale and the UK’s British Aircraft Corporation (BAC). Concordes were mainly operated by Air France and British Airways, with both companies buying the planes with substantial subsidies from the French and British governments. The final Concorde flight was a British Airways plane that landed in the UK on 26 November 2003.

56 Chowed down : ATE

“Chow” is a slang term for food that originated in California in the mid-1800s. “Chow” comes from the Chinese pidgin English “chow-chow” meaning “food”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Egg containers : SACS
5 Figure who works with figures, for short : CPA
8 1995 cyberthriller about espionage : THE NET
14 Road map : PLAN
15 ___ lamp : ARC
16 Deep gorge : RAVINE
17 Entertainer who popularized the phrase “You ain’t heard nothing yet” : AL JOLSON
19 Showy shrub : AZALEA
20 2004 film about a group of street dancers : YOU GOT SERVED
22 United, for one: Abbr. : SYN
23 Twisted : WRY
24 “Yoo-hoo!” : HERE I AM!
28 Senatorial thumbs-up : YEA
29 Pommes frites seasoning : SEL
30 Lavish attention (on) : DOTE
31 Science of sound : ACOUSTICS
35 Ashen : WAN
36 2014 romance about two teens with cancer, with “The” : FAULT IN OUR STARS
40 Slowing down, on a score: Abbr. : RIT
41 Ship named for an ancient Roman province in Iberia : LUSITANIA
42 Smeltery imports : ORES
44 Quibble : NIT
45 Instrument featured on Springsteen’s “Born to Run” : SAX
46 Common recyclable : SODA CAN
48 Tosspot : SOT
49 Only mo. that can begin and end on the same day of the week : FEB
52 2003 Christmas-themed rom-com : LOVE ACTUALLY
55 Religious enlightenment : SATORI
58 Sour notes? : HATE MAIL
59 Underling : STOOGE
60 Top prize in los Juegos Olímpicos : ORO
61 Bread with hummus : PITA
62 What 8-, 20-, 36- and 52-Across sound like they could be about : TENNIS
63 “Absolutely!” : YES!
64 Boatload : SLEW

Down

1 Fixes, as a pet : SPAYS
2 Alnico, e.g. : ALLOY
3 Spicy Southern cuisine : CAJUN
4 Make out, to a Brit : SNOG
5 Singers of high notes in olden times : CASTRATI
6 Hardly poetic : PROSY
7 Bumps on the path to adulthood? : ACNE
8 Section of a bookstore : TRAVEL
9 Hell Week hellion, say : HAZER
10 Gave the slip to : EVADED
11 Goose egg : NIL
12 Austin-to-Boston dir. : ENE
13 Leaves in hot water? : TEA
18 Most underhanded : LOWEST
21 Monkey named for a king in Greek myth : RHESUS
25 Herbert Hoover, by birth (uniquely among all U.S. presidents to date) : IOWAN
26 Breakout company of 1976? : ATARI
27 Group with a meeting of the minds? : MENSA
28 Brynner of “The King and I” : YUL
29 “To Kill a Mockingbird” narrator : SCOUT
31 Big dos : AFROS
32 City near the Great Sphinx : CAIRO
33 Revealed a secret about : OUTED
34 Kind of skating : INLINE
37 Italian dishes that are simmered : RISOTTOS
38 Lady Liberty, for one : STATUE
39 Burden : TAX
43 Where one might take or dodge shots : SALOON
44 Maritime forces : NAVIES
47 Cattle-herding canine : CORGI
48 Cause of goose bumps : SCARE
49 Thrash (around) : FLAIL
50 ___ Eight (March Madness stage) : ELITE
51 Standing rule : BYLAW
53 Salutation at sea : AHOY!
54 Concert pieces : AMPS
55 Fast flier of the past, for short : SST
56 Chowed down : ATE
57 Boatload : TON

11 thoughts on “0828-19 NY Times Crossword 28 Aug 19, Wednesday”

  1. 45:11 no errors….I really struggled with this one with the foreign words and the movies plus a lot of “never heard ofs”
    A bit much for a Wednesday

  2. 13:32, no errors. Showing my age, I guess, entering ROLLER in 34D before INLINE. That cost me a lot of time.

    Agree with @Jack regarding the half-hearted foreign language clues. For example 29A: if the setter expects the solver to know French then make the clue ‘Assaisonnement de pommes frites’. Similarly, for 60A go all in, and make the clue ‘Primer premio en los Juegos Olímpicos’.

  3. Agree totally with the complaints registered by the previous posters. I got this one with no errors although I had several erasures in the process.

    I got the word TENNIS early on so I kept it in the back of my mind as I worked. It ended up not being much help but it did serve as a verification that I had things correct. So it helped a little.

    My pet peeve was 22Across, SYN. Almost any word in the dictionary has a whole bunch of synonyms. What on earth makes “United” so special as to count as a clue? It clues nothing. Good grief!

      1. 💡 Ah, thanks for your comment about SYN, McKinleyville Dan. In looking at the clue again it does indeed say “united is one”. I, of course, was not getting the possible other way of reading it. This will be a lesson for me to always look for alternatives before posting something about it. Thanks again!

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