0831-19 NY Times Crossword 31 Aug 19, Saturday

Constructed by: Brian Thomas
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 15m 47s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Fancy-schmancy : POSH

No one really knows the etymology of the word “posh”. The popular myth that “posh” is actually an acronym standing for “port out, starboard home” is completely untrue, and is a story that can actually be traced back to the 1968 movie “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”. The myth is that wealthy British passengers travelling to and from India would book cabins on the port side for the outward journey and the starboard side for the home journey. This trick was supposedly designed to keep their cabins out of the direct sunlight.

5 Brownish pear : BOSC

Bosc is a cultivar of the European pear that is grown mainly in the northwest of the United States. It is named for French horticulturist Louis Bosc. The cultivar originated in Belgium or France in the early 19th century. The Bosc is that pear with a skin the color of a potato, with a long neck.

13 Dos and dos and dos and dos : OCHO

In Spanish, “cuatro” (four) times “dos” (two) is “ocho” (eight).

14 Locale of Drake University : IOWA

Drake University is a private school in Des Moines, Iowa. The school is named for co-founder Francis Marion Drake, who was a Civil War general and Governor of Iowa.

15 Classic TV character whose name is Spanish for “fool” : TONTO

Tonto was played by the actor Jay Silverheels In the television version of “The Lone Ranger”. In the terrible 1981 movie “The Legend of the Lone Ranger”, Tonto was played by Michael Horse. Tonto was played by Johnny Depp In the 2013 movie “The Lone Ranger”. Famously, the Lone Ranger’s horse was called Silver and Tonto’s mount was named Scout. But, in the early TV shows, Tonto rode a horse called White Feller.

21 What many Americans do on Thanksgiving : OVEREAT

Thanksgiving Day was observed on different dates in different states for many years, until Abraham Lincoln fixed the date for the whole country in 1863. Lincoln’s presidential proclamation set that date as the last Thursday in November. In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday to the fourth Thursday in November, arguing that the earlier date would give the economy a much-needed boost.

25 French author Georges : PEREC

Georges Perec was a French novelist. Perec’s most famous work is “La vie mode d’emploi”, or “Life: A User’s Manual”.

26 Cleanup grp. : EPA

The 1980 law called the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) is more usually referred to as “Superfund”. Superfund gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to compel polluters to clean up contaminated sites.

33 French tennis player and fashion icon : RENE LACOSTE

René Lacoste was a French tennis player who went into the clothing business, and came up with a more comfortable shirt that players could use. This became known as a “tennis shirt”. When it was adopted for use in the sport of polo, the shirts also became known as “polo shirts”. The “golf shirt” is basically the same thing.

36 Bon ___ : MOT

“Bon mot” translates from French as “good word”. We use “bon mot” (and sometimes just “mot”) to mean “quip, witticism”.

37 Big name in insurance since 1853 : AETNA

When the healthcare management and insurance company known as Aetna was founded, the name was chosen to evoke images of Mount Etna, the Italian volcano.

41 ABC, e.g., in Variety-speak : NET

I think that the reference is to ABC being a network (net).

“Variety” is a trade magazine dedicated to the entertainment industry. It was founded in 1905 in New York, but is now based in Los Angeles.

42 Leader of the Autumn Harvest Uprising, 1927 : MAO

Mao Zedong (also “Mao Tse-tung”) was born on December 16, 1893 in the Hunan Province of China. As Mao was the son of a peasant farmer, his prospects for education were limited. Indeed he left school at age 13 to work on the family farm but did eventually get to secondary school in Changsha, the provincial capital. In the years following, Mao continued his education in Beijing and actually turned down an opportunity to study in France.

44 Brand in the dairy aisle : YOPLAIT

Yoplait started out as a farmer’s cooperative in France. The company is the result of a 1965 merger between the cooperatives “Yola” and “Coplait”.

52 Gets creaky, say : RUSTS

Rust is iron oxide. Rust forms when iron oxidizes, reacts with oxygen.

55 James in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame : ETTA

“Etta James” was the stage name of celebrated blues and soul singer Jamesetta Hawkins. James’ most famous recording was her 1960 hit “At Last”, which made it into the pop charts. James performed “At Last” at the age of 71 in 2009 on the reality show “Dancing with the Stars”, which was to be her final television appearance. She passed away in 2012.

56 What Denver’s airport has a special carousel for : SKIS

Denver International Airport is the largest-area airport in the whole country, with 54 square miles of land. Denver is a relatively new facility, replacing Stapleton International Airport in 1995. One of Denver’s runways is 16,000 feet long, making it the longest public runway in the US. The extra length is needed for take-off of jumbo jets in the thin summer air at the mile-high altitude.

57 Like Leo XIII among all popes named Leo : LAST

The first Pope Leo led the church from 440-461 AD and is now known as Pope Saint Leo the Great. Leo I is famous for having met with the feared Attila the Hun, and persuading him to turn back his invading force that was threatening to overrun Western Europe. The last Pope Leo reigned from 1878-1903. Leo XIII died at the age of 93, making him the oldest of all popes.

Down

2 Stretch between two pitches, say : OCTAVE

I find that terminology in music can be confusing. My way of looking at an octave (my way … don’t shout at me!) is thinking of a piano keyboard. In the key of C, the seven notes of the octave are C, D, E, F, G, A, B (or “do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti”). These are all white keys. Most of these “white notes” are separated by whole tones, so there is room to add a “semitone” in between most of them, and these are the black keys (C-sharp for example). There is room for five black keys in an octave, and 7 + 5 adds up to 12. I assume we use the term “octave” because we often add an eighth note on the end “to bring us back to do” as the song says (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do … or … C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C). That eighth note is really the first note in the next octave up.

4 Putting duct tape on a wart, e.g. : HOME REMEDY

What we tend to call “duct” tape today was originally known as “duck” tape. In its first form, duck tape was rubber-based adhesive applied to a duck cloth backing, hence the name. Cotton duck cloth is a canvas-like material, a plain woven cotton fabric. The name “duck” comes from the Dutch “doek” meaning “linen canvas”. Duck tape started to be known as “duct tape” in the fifties, as it was commonly used to wrap air ducts in the construction industry.

5 What a rain forest is rich in : BIOTA

The biota of a region is the total collection of flora and fauna found there.

12 Many Weird Al Yankovic medleys : POLKAS

The polka is a dance from central Europe, one that originated in Bohemia in the mid-1800s. It’s thought that “polka” comes from a Czech word meaning “little half”, reflecting the little half-steps included in the basic dance.

“Weird Al” Yankovic is a singer-songwriter who is noted for writing and performing parodies of popular songs. Of the 150 or so such songs, the best known are probably “Eat It” (parodying “Beat It” by Michael Jackson) and “Like a Surgeon” (parodying “Like a Virgin” by Madonna).

15 Apex predator of old, informally : T-REX

The Tyrannosaurus rex (usually written “T. rex”) was a spectacular looking dinosaur. “Tyrannosaurus” comes from the Greek words “tyrannos” (tyrant) and “sauros” (lizard) and “rex” the Latin for “king”. They were big beasts, measuring 42 feet long and 13 feet tall at the hips, and weighing 7.5 tons.

18 Org. in which Marge becomes involved in a classic 1995 episode of “The Simpsons” : PTA

Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)

Marge Simpson is the matriarch of the family in “The Simpsons” animated sitcom. Marge is voiced by actress Julie Kavner, who is also well known for playing Brenda Morgenstern in the TV show “Rhoda” in the seventies.

22 Company founded in Palo Alto, Calif., in 2003 : TESLA MOTORS

Tesla Motors shortened its name to just “Tesla” in early 2017.

The city of Palo Alto, California takes its name from a specific redwood tree called El Palo Alto (Spanish for “the tall stick”) that is located within the bounds of the city. The tree is 110 feet tall and over a thousand years old.

27 Softly : PIANO

The term “piano” on a musical score is direction to play “softly”.

33 Most undersized : RUNTIEST

Back around 1500, a runt was an old or decayed tree stump, and by the early 1600s “runt” was being used to describe animals that were similarly old and decayed. Ultimately “runt” came to mean the smallest and often sickest in a litter.

34 One of a handful at a bar : BEER NUT

“Beer Nuts” is the brand name for a snack consisting of peanuts in a sweet-and-salty glaze. There’s no beer in the recipe, just the suggestion that the snack goes well with beer.

43 Coolers, for short : ACS

Air conditioner (AC)

47 Ingredient in a spanakopita pastry : FETA

Feta is a Greek cheese made from sheep’s milk, or a mixture of sheep and goat’s milk. The cheese is salted and cured in a brine solution for several months before it is eaten.

Spanakopita is a savory pastry from Greece. The term “spanakopita” translates from Greek as “spinach pie”. The pie’s filling includes feta cheese, onions and egg, along with the spinach.

48 Wildly : AMOK

The phrase “to run amok” (sometimes “to run amuck”) has been around since the 1670s and is derived from the Malay word for “attacking furiously”, “amuk”. The word “amok” was also used as a noun to describe Malay natives who were “frenzied”. Given Malaya’s troubled history, the natives probably had a good reason for that frenzy …

51 Prefix with dermis : EPI-

The epidermis is the outermost layer of the skin. The thickest piece of epidermal tissue in humans is on the soles of the feet and the palms, and measures about 1.5 mm. The thinnest measures 0.1 mm, and that would be the human eyelid.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Fancy-schmancy : POSH
5 Brownish pear : BOSC
9 Tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon : LISP
13 Dos and dos and dos and dos : OCHO
14 Locale of Drake University : IOWA
15 Classic TV character whose name is Spanish for “fool” : TONTO
16 Plus sign? : STAMP OF APPROVAL
19 “Here!” : TAKE IT!
20 Impression that’s only skin-deep? : BITE MARK
21 What many Americans do on Thanksgiving : OVEREAT
23 Strain : TAX
24 ___ punk (music hybrid) : SKA
25 French author Georges : PEREC
26 Cleanup grp. : EPA
28 Some skin care products : OILS
29 1980s feminist coinage regarding nuclear proliferation : MISSILE ENVY
33 French tennis player and fashion icon : RENE LACOSTE
34 Give a little bit : BUDGE AN INCH
35 Wee, informally : EENY
36 Bon ___ : MOT
37 Big name in insurance since 1853 : AETNA
41 ABC, e.g., in Variety-speak : NET
42 Leader of the Autumn Harvest Uprising, 1927 : MAO
44 Brand in the dairy aisle : YOPLAIT
46 Winning an Oscar, Emmy and Tony, for an actor : TRIFECTA
49 More sharp : KEENER
50 “Help me with this problem” : I NEED SOME ADVICE
52 Gets creaky, say : RUSTS
53 Viscous : ROPY
54 Squeezes (by) : EKES
55 James in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame : ETTA
56 What Denver’s airport has a special carousel for : SKIS
57 Like Leo XIII among all popes named Leo : LAST

Down

1 Recovery period : POST-OP
2 Stretch between two pitches, say : OCTAVE
3 One of a pair at a dinner table : SHAKER
4 Putting duct tape on a wart, e.g. : HOME REMEDY
5 What a rain forest is rich in : BIOTA
6 [Wow, that’s bad] : OOF!
7 Clear the decks? : SWAB
8 What a star may represent : CAPITAL CITY
9 Impend : LOOM
10 Like some exotic plants and prying questions : INVASIVE
11 With lots of contrast : STARKLY
12 Many Weird Al Yankovic medleys : POLKAS
15 Apex predator of old, informally : T-REX
17 ___ together (figuring out) : PIECING
18 Org. in which Marge becomes involved in a classic 1995 episode of “The Simpsons” : PTA
22 Company founded in Palo Alto, Calif., in 2003 : TESLA MOTORS
27 Softly : PIANO
28 Honest : ON THE LEVEL
30 Spot : SEE
31 Time between ordering and food arriving, seemingly : EON
32 Flew : ESCAPED
33 Most undersized : RUNTIEST
34 One of a handful at a bar : BEER NUT
35 Complete : ENTIRE
38 ___ Ray, co-host of TV’s “Extra” : TANIKA
39 Relatives not in direct line for royal succession : NIECES
40 Still : AT REST
42 Cabinetful, informally : MEDS
43 Coolers, for short : ACS
45 Gives a 16-Across : OKAYS
47 Ingredient in a spanakopita pastry : FETA
48 Wildly : AMOK
51 Prefix with dermis : EPI-

10 thoughts on “0831-19 NY Times Crossword 31 Aug 19, Saturday”

  1. 59:42 no errors….I can’t believe Etta James is in the Rock and roll hall of fame….I always associate her with classic jazz and blues…In a previous puzzle Tonto was fowl in Spanish and today it’s fool…Is it both?

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