0829-19 NY Times Crossword 29 Aug 19, Thursday

Constructed by: Jeff Chen
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Word to Complete …

Themed answers are well-known phrases in the format X or Y. The elements X and Y can both complete words cited in the clue:

  • 17A Word that can complete CARE___R : GIVE OR TAKE (caregiver or caretaker)
  • 27A Word that can complete SH___ED : IN OR OUT (shined or shouted)
  • 38A Word that can complete DE___ : FRIEND OR FOE (defriend or Defoe)
  • 49A Word that can complete ___TING : DO OR DIE (doting or dieting)
  • 61A Word that can complete ___ER : BOOM OR BUST (boomer or buster)

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

Bill’s time: 12m 01s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Indian royal : RAJA

“Raja” (also “rajah”) is a word derived from Sanskrit that is used particularly in India for a monarch or princely ruler. The female form is “rani” (also “ranee”) and is used for a raja’s wife.

14 Horse often used in endurance races : ARAB

The Arab (also “Arabian”) breed of horse takes its name from its original home, the Arabian Peninsula. Like any animal that humans have over-bred, the horse falls prey to genetic diseases, some of which are fatal and some of which require the horse to be euthanized.

15 Name that appears 2,698 times in the Quran : ALLAH

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

16 Letter in the W.W. II phonetic alphabet : OBOE

The Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet was introduced in 1941 and used by all branches of the US military until they transitioned to what’s usually referred to as the NATO phonetic alphabet. The Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet starts with Able, Baker, Charlie and ends with X-ray, Yoke, Zebra.

19 Already: Fr. : DEJA

“Déjà vu” is French for “already seen”.

20 Teacher in une école : MAITRE

In French, one might learn from a “maître” (master) in “une école” (a school).

21 Number two : VEEP

The familiar term “veep” comes from the abbreviation “VP” that’s used for “vice president”.

25 Person who might be chosen to be maid of honor, for short : BFF

In the world of IMs (instant messages), a BFF (best friend forever) is a VIP (very important person).

29 Chicken or veal dish, in brief : PARM

Parmigiana is a dish from southern Italy. The original parmigiana was made with an aubergine (eggplant) filling, with cheese and tomato layers and then baked. Versions originating outside of Italy have replaced the aubergine with breaded cutlets of chicken or veal.

31 Grande preceder : RIO …

The Rio Grande (Spanish for “big river”) is a waterway that forms part of the border between Mexico and the United States. Although we call the river the Rio Grande on this side of the border, in Mexico it is called the Río Bravo or Río Bravo del Norte (Spanish for “furious river of the north”).

33 Shoe company that makes Top-Siders : SPERRY

The Sperry Top-Sider is a brand of boat shoe that bears the name of company founder Paul A. Sperry. Paul was the brother of writer and illustrator Armstrong Sperry, who was noted for his historical novels set on sailing ships.

34 Fittings under the sink : U-BENDS

Most sinks in a home have a P-trap in the outlet pipe that empties into the sewer line. This P-trap has at its heart a U-bend that retains a small amount of water after the sink is emptied. This plug of water serves as a seal to prevent sewer gases entering into the home. By virtue of its design, the U-bend can also capture any heavy objects (like an item of jewelry) that might fall through the plughole. But the “trapping” of fallen objects is secondary to the P-trap’s main function of “trapping” sewer gases.

38 Word that can complete DE___ : FRIEND OR FOE (defriend or Defoe)

To defriend is to unfriend.

Daniel Defoe is most famous today as an author, of the novel “Robinson Crusoe” in particular. Defoe was also a trader, and a spy for King William III.

41 They often end letters : SERIFS

Serifs are details on the ends of characters in some typefaces. Typefaces without serifs are known as sans-serif, using the French word “sans” meaning “without” and “serif” from the Dutch “schreef” meaning “line”. Some people say that serif fonts are easier to read on paper, whereas sans-serif fonts work better on a computer screen. I’m not so sure though …

44 Kylo of “Star Wars” villainy : REN

Kylo Ren is the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa in the “Star Wars” universe. The character’s birth name was Ben Solo. He was trained as a Jedi knight by his uncle, Luke Skywalker. However, Ben came to embrace the Dark Side, and changed his name to Kylo Ren. Ren is played by actor Adam Driver.

45 Chow : EATS

“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”.

51 Mil. title in a Beatles song : SGT

“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band” was the alter-ego of the Beatles, and the title of a famous studio album released in 1967.

53 Raiders’ org. : DEA

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

55 I.R.S. IDs : SSNS

The main purpose of a Social Security Number (SSN) is to track individuals for the purposes of taxation, although given its ubiquitous use, it is looking more and more like an identity number to me. The social security number system was introduced in 1936. Prior to 1986, an SSN was required only for persons with substantial income, so many children under 14 had no number assigned. For some years the IRS had a concern that a lot of people were claiming children on their tax returns who did not actually exist. So, from 1986 onward, it is a requirement to get an SSN for any dependents over the age of 5. Sure enough, seven million dependents “disappeared” in 1987.

57 One who might say “Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!”? : TARZAN

Tarzan is the title character in the series of books created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The line “Me Tarzan, you Jane” never appeared in the books, and indeed doesn’t even figure in the movies. Apparently Johnny Weissmuller (who played Tarzan in the thirties and forties) saw Maureen O’Sullivan (“Jane”, to Weissmuller’s “Tarzan”) struggling with a suitcase in the parking lot during filming. He grabbed the bag from her, jokingly saying “Me Tarzan, you Jane”, and people have been quoting those words ever since.

63 LAX listings : ETAS

Los Angeles International Airport is the sixth busiest airport in the world in terms of passenger traffic, and the busiest here on the West Coast of the US. The airport was opened in 1930 as Mines Field and was renamed to Los Angeles Airport in 1941. On the airport property is the iconic white structure that resembles a flying saucer. This is called the Theme Building and I believe it is mainly used as a restaurant and observation deck for the public. The airport used to be identified by the letters “LA”, but when the aviation industry went to a three-letter standard for airport identification, this was changed to “LAX”. Apparently, the “X” has no significant meaning.

65 Store with a notably mazelike layout : IKEA

The furniture chain IKEA was founded by Ingvar Kamprad in 1943, when he was just 17-years-old. IKEA is an acronym standing for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd (don’t forget now!). Elmtaryd was the name of the farm where Ingvar Kamprad grew up, and Agunnaryd is his home parish in Sweden.

66 Indian wrap : SARI

The item of clothing called a “sari” (also “saree”) is a strip of cloth, as one might imagine, unusual perhaps in that is unstitched along the whole of its length. The strip of cloth can range from four to nine meters long (that’s a lot of material!). The sari is usually wrapped around the waist, then draped over the shoulder leaving the midriff bare. I must say, it can be a beautiful item of clothing.

67 River painted by van Gogh : RHONE

The Rhône river rises in Switzerland, passes through Lake Geneva, flows through the southeast of France, and empties into the Mediterranean Sea near Arles.

Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch post-impressionist painter who seems to have had a very tortured existence. Van Gogh only painted for the last ten years of his life, and enjoyed very little celebrity while alive. Today many of his works are easily recognized, and fetch staggering sums in auction houses. Van Gogh suffered from severe depression for many of his final years. When he was only 37, he walked into a field with a revolver and shot himself in the chest. He managed to drag himself back to the inn where he was staying but died there two days later.

Down

2 Grande preceder : ARIANA

Ariana Grande is a singer and actress from Boca Raton, Florida. Grande plays the role of Cat Valentine on the sitcom “Victorious” that aired for four season on Nickelodeon. Grande’s singing career took off with the release of the 2011 album “Victorious: Music from the Hit TV Show”.

3 ___ Pérez de Cuéllar, former U.N. chief : JAVIER

Javier Pérez de Cuéllar is a diplomat from Peru, and the man who served as the fifth Secretary-General of the United Nations. He held the office from 1982 to 1992, replacing Kurt Waldheim. Pérez de Cuéllar was succeeded by Boutros Boutro-Ghali.

4 Lend a helping hand, in a bad way : ABET

The word “abet” comes into English from the Old French “abeter” meaning “to bait” or “to harass with dogs” (it literally means “to make bite”). This sense of encouraging something bad to happen morphed into our modern usage of “abet” meaning to aid or encourage someone in a crime.

6 Keyboard abbr. : ALT

The Alt (alternate) key is found on either side of the space bar on US PC keyboards. The Alt key evolved from what was called a Meta key on old MIT keyboards, although the function has changed somewhat over the years. Alt is equivalent in many ways to the Option key on a Mac keyboard, and indeed the letters “Alt” have been printed on most Mac keyboards starting in the nineties.

7 Ukrainian, e.g. : 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, Croats and Serbs)

Ukraine is a large country in Eastern Europe that was a Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) before the dissolution of the USSR. In English, we often call the country “the Ukraine”, but I am told that we should say just “Ukraine”.

8 “Star Trek” cast name : TAKEI

Mr. Hikaru Sulu was played by George Takei in the original “Star Trek” series. Takei has played lots of roles over the years, and is still very active in television. Did you know that he appeared in the 1963 film, “Pt-109”? He played the helmsman steering the Japanese destroyer that ran down John F. Kennedy’s motor torpedo boat. From destroyer helmsman to starship helmsman …

9 Noted father-and-son Hollywood stars : SHEENS

Martin Sheen is the stage name of actor Ramón Estévez. Despite all of his great performances, Sheen has never even been nominated for an Academy Award. Isn’t that something? I thought he was outstanding in his starring role in television’s “The West Wing”.

Charlie Sheen’s real name is Carlos Irwin Estévez, and he is of course the youngest son of actor Martin Sheen. Charlie was the highest paid actor on television in 2010, earning $1.8 million per episode on the sitcom “Two and a Half Men”. Then of course he blew it and got fired from the show amid stories of alcohol and drug abuse and domestic violence. I bet his co-stars were pretty tweaked about the show being canceled, and pretty happy that it was given a second lease of life …

11 First part of an English “rule” : I BEFORE E …

“I before E, except after C”, although with so many exceptions, I don’t think that this rule is taught in schools anymore …

18 Feature of the king of clubs : ORB

The king of clubs in a pack of playing cards is said to represent Alexander the Great.

26 Some Nordic skiers : FINNS

Someone is described as Nordic if he or she is a native of Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland or Iceland.

30 Bad stethoscope sound : MURMUR

The word “stethoscope” comes from the Greek word for “chest examination”. The stethoscope was invented back in 1816 in France by René Laennec, although back then it looked just like an ear trumpet, a wooden tube with flared ends.

40 Like shareholder distributions, typically : PRO RATA

“Pro rata” is a Latin phrase meaning “in proportion”.

42 “Poor Richard’s Almanack” filler : ADAGES

“Poor Richard’s Almanack” was an annual publication authored by none other than Benjamin Franklin. The first edition hit the shelves in 1732, and was very, very successful, selling about 10,000 copies a year. Apparently Napoleon Bonaparte was a big fan.

48 Ones always wearing suits at work : SANTAS

The Santa Claus with whom we are familiar today largely comes from the description in the 1823 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, and from the 1863 caricature created by the political cartoonist Thomas Nast. Nast is also responsible for locating Santa’s workshop at the North Magnetic Pole, a fact that he revealed to the world in a series of drawings in 1879.

50 Biblical figure who “walked with God” : ENOCH

There are two Enoch’s mentioned in the Bible. One was Enoch the son of Cain, and grandson of Adam. The second was Enoch the great-grandfather of Noah, and father of Methuselah.

52 Besmirch : TAR

“Besmirch” is a derivative of “smirch”, with both words meaning to “make dirty”. In particular, to besmirch is to sully someone’s reputation.

58 Cleanup hitter’s stat : RBIS

Run batted in (RBI)

60 Fraternity letter : PSI

Psi is the 23rd and penultimate letter of the Greek alphabet, and the one that looks a bit like a trident or a pitchfork.

62 Calculus calculation, for short : MIN

The Latin word “calculus” was originally used for a reckoning or an account, and originally applied to a pebble that was used to maintain a count. The Latin word came from the Greek for a pebble, “khalix”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Indian royal : RAJA
5 Molds : CASTS
10 “Nonsense!” : PISH!
14 Horse often used in endurance races : ARAB
15 Name that appears 2,698 times in the Quran : ALLAH
16 Letter in the W.W. II phonetic alphabet : OBOE
17 Word that can complete CARE___R : GIVE OR TAKE (caregiver or caretaker)
19 Already: Fr. : DEJA
20 Teacher in une école : MAITRE
21 Number two : VEEP
23 With 24-Across, namely : FOR …
24 See 23-Across : … ONE
25 Person who might be chosen to be maid of honor, for short : BFF
27 Word that can complete SH___ED : IN OR OUT (shined or shouted)
29 Chicken or veal dish, in brief : PARM
31 Grande preceder : RIO …
33 Shoe company that makes Top-Siders : SPERRY
34 Fittings under the sink : U-BENDS
37 Willing to listen : OPEN
38 Word that can complete DE___ : FRIEND OR FOE (defriend or Defoe)
40 Ostentatious display : POMP
41 They often end letters : SERIFS
42 Traded points : ARGUED
44 Kylo of “Star Wars” villainy : REN
45 Chow : EATS
49 Word that can complete ___TING : DO OR DIE (doting or dieting)
51 Mil. title in a Beatles song : SGT
53 Raiders’ org. : DEA
54 Thin bark : ARF!
55 I.R.S. IDs : SSNS
57 One who might say “Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!”? : TARZAN
59 Stare slack-jawed : GAWP
61 Word that can complete ___ER : BOOM OR BUST (boomer or buster)
63 LAX listings : ETAS
64 Protein found in muscles : ACTIN
65 Store with a notably mazelike layout : IKEA
66 Indian wrap : SARI
67 River painted by van Gogh : RHONE
68 Goes unused : SITS

Down

1 Cleaning tool usually used with a bucket : RAG MOP
2 Grande preceder : ARIANA
3 ___ Pérez de Cuéllar, former U.N. chief : JAVIER
4 Lend a helping hand, in a bad way : ABET
5 Insouciant : CAREFREE
6 Keyboard abbr. : ALT
7 Ukrainian, e.g. : SLAV
8 “Star Trek” cast name : TAKEI
9 Noted father-and-son Hollywood stars : SHEENS
10 Pea jacket? : POD
11 First part of an English “rule” : I BEFORE E …
12 Stopover : SOJOURN
13 Like some laughs and stews : HEARTY
18 Feature of the king of clubs : ORB
22 Run one’s mouth : POP OFF
26 Some Nordic skiers : FINNS
28 State of inactivity : REPOSE
30 Bad stethoscope sound : MURMUR
32 More of a head-scratcher : ODDER
35 They can stand on their own two feet : BIPEDS
36 Places for balm : SORES
38 Cause for combatants’ confusion : FOG OF WAR
39 A few notes that require answering? : RINGTONE
40 Like shareholder distributions, typically : PRO RATA
42 “Poor Richard’s Almanack” filler : ADAGES
43 Keep from practicing, say : DISBAR
46 Bean popular in East Asia : ADZUKI
47 Service easy to break? : TEA SET
48 Ones always wearing suits at work : SANTAS
50 Biblical figure who “walked with God” : ENOCH
52 Besmirch : TAR
56 ___ speak : SO TO
58 Cleanup hitter’s stat : RBIS
60 Fraternity letter : PSI
62 Calculus calculation, for short : MIN

18 thoughts on “0829-19 NY Times Crossword 29 Aug 19, Thursday”

  1. 26:11. A lot of typically tricky cluing (in a good way) by Jeff Chen. Clever theme, but from a practical standpoint it was too cumbersome to help. Just noticing the sayings was enough – without paying attention to the theme clues.

    Best –

    1. With all due respect, Jeff, the theme was helpful to some of us. There were five theme answers. On the first one that I got filled in it became suggestive that there was going to be “OR” appearing in the others. One the second theme answer it was confirmed that OR was going to show up in the remaining ones also. On the remaining three knowing that there had to be an OR gave me at least two letters that I could be sure of. So that alone played a significant role in being able to decipher the remaining letters. It wasn’t much but for those of us who have only medium skill levels we have to grab for anything we can.

      I judge you to be a more advanced solver than I

      1. Oops. That last fragment of a sentence wasn’t supposed to show up but it is still valid so I will just let it stand.

  2. 39:47 not sure I would consider “Defoe” a “word” as much as a proper noun/name…but I’m a whiner anyways… 🙂

      1. Same mistake I have made several times, so I will mention that the actor you are referring to is Willem Dafoe (might help in future crosswords).

  3. 39:57 no errors…the theme clues indicate a one word answer when in fact each answer is three words…typical Jeff Chen

  4. 29:41, 2 errors: BOO(N) OR BUST/(N)IN. My own fault, just had a blind spot with 62D, since clues usually refer to integral calculus I originally entered VOL. Also had difficulty in the bottom left corner, entering GAPE before GAWP ( a word that only seems to appear in crosswords).

    Agree with previous posters who have taken issue with the theme clues which imply ‘a word’, not a choice of two words (or a three word answer, as @Jack points out).

  5. No errors. Liked it very much. I am not usually successful with a Jeff Chen puzzle so today is a special one for me.

    I disagree with some of the previous posters who say that the three words don’t count as a single word. I thought the same thing at first but, after giving it some more thought, I concluded that Jeff Chen is correct with his wording. The “OR” in the answer limits his clue down to just one single “word” to be chosen between the two that are given.

  6. I was also thrown by calling defoe a “word.” Normally, we would call it a “name.” When I saw that’s what it had to be, I decided it might refer to Daniel Defoe (author of Robinson Crusoe).

  7. Filled this puzzle with relative confidence. Again, good cluing which made it a lot of fun and I enjoyed the tricked out word play.

    I too was a little critical of the use of “word” referring to Defoe – but the clue states a “word” that could finish DE. The word being foe – and not defining “Defoe” as the word.

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