0912-19 NY Times Crossword 12 Sep 19, Thursday

Constructed by: Grant Thackray
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): What a Racket/Racquet!

Themed answers each include “QUE”, and sound like common phrases with a “K” sound:

  • 19A Fury at a husband leaving his entire estate to his mistress? : WIDOW’S PIQUE (sounds like “widow’s peak”)
  • 25A What an in-group uses for fishing? : CLIQUE BAIT (sounds like “clickbait”)
  • 37A “Oh, I’m supposed to be in the line over there”? : THAT’S MY QUEUE? (sounds like “that’s my cue”)
  • 54A Some alcohol smuggled into a rodeo, say? : BOOT LIQUOR (sounds like “boot licker”)
  • 59A Smudge on a theater sign? : MARQUEE MARK (sounds like “Marky Mark”)

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

Bill’s time: 9m 17s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9 2001 title role for Audrey Tautou : AMELIE

“Amélie” is a 2001 French film, a romantic comedy about a shy waitress in Montmartre, Paris played by Audrey Tautou (who also played the female lead in “The Da Vinci Code”). The movie was originally released under the French title, “Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain” (“The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain”).’

15 What Elvis Aaron Presley’s middle name is spelled with on his birth certificate : ONE A

Elvis Aron Presley (aka “the King”) was the younger of two identical twins. His brother was stillborn, and delivered 35 minutes before Elvis. The brother was named Jesse Garon Presley. So, although born a twin, Elvis was raised as an only child.

16 Part of Q.E.D. : ERAT

The initialism “QED” is used at the end of a mathematical proof or a philosophical argument. QED stands for the Latin “quod erat demonstrandum” meaning “that which was to be demonstrated”.

17 Spinal Tap vis-à-vis 1980s rock bands : PARODY

“This Is Spın̈al Tap” is a rock musical mockumentary about the fictional band Spinal Tap, directed by the great Rob Reiner. I love Rob Reiner’s work, but this movie … not so much …

18 Thataway, from a crow’s-nest : THAR

“Thar she blows!” is a phrase that originated on whaling ships. A lookout spotting a whale surfacing to breathe might see the spray from the blowhole caused by the expulsion of carbon dioxide. Thar (there) she blows!

A crow’s nest is a structure atop the mainmast of a ship that is used as a lookout point. The first crow’s nest was erected in 1807, and was simply a barrel that was lashed to the tallest mast. Supposedly, the structure is named for the crows or ravens that Vikings carried with them on their voyages. The birds were released and used as navigation aids as invariably, the crow or raven headed straight for the nearest land.

19 Fury at a husband leaving his entire estate to his mistress? : WIDOW’S PIQUE (sounds like “widow’s peak”)

Our term “pique” meaning “fit of ill feeling” is a French word meaning “prick, sting, irritation”.

A widow’s peak is a distinct point in the hairline at the center of the forehead. The old belief was that the presence of such a feature in a woman was an omen of early widowhood.

21 Mitch who wrote “Tuesdays With Morrie” : ALBOM

Author MItch Albom had established himself as a successful sports writer when he penned his breakthrough memoir “Tuesdays with Morrie” in 1997. Albom followed this with the 2003 novel “The Five People You Meet in Heaven”. Both books were adapted into extremely successful TV movies.

24 Sturm ___ Drang : UND

“Sturm und Drang” translates from German into “Storm and Stress” or perhaps “Storm and Impulse”. “Sturm und Drang” was the name given to a movement in German literature and music in the latter half of the 18th century. The writer Johann Goethe was a major proponent of the movement, which took its name from a play by Maximilian Klinger. The term “Sturm und Drang” has come to mean “turmoil, upheaval”.

25 What an in-group uses for fishing? : CLIQUE BAIT (sounds like “clickbait”)

A clique is a small, exclusive group of people. The term “clique” comes to us from France, where it has the same meaning. In French, it somehow evolved in meaning from the original “clique” meaning a sharp noise, or as we would say today, “click”.

Clickbait is trickery used by website designers to entice a reader to click on a particular link. That link may be a disguised ad, so that the website owner gets some income from the advertiser.

27 Actor Reeves : KEANU

Keanu Reeves is a Canadian actor whose most celebrated roles were a metalhead in “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” (1989), a cop in “Speed” (1994) and the protagonist Neo in “The Matrix” series of films. Although Reeves is a Canadian national, he was born in Beirut, Lebanon. Reeves has some Hawaiian descent, and the name “Keanu” is Hawaiian for “the coolness” or “cool breeze”.

30 Flight board abbr. : ETD

Estimated time of departure (ETD)

32 Org. that might pocket your checks : IRS

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was set up during the Civil War to raise money to cover war expenses. Prior to the introduction of income tax in 1862, the government was funded by levies on trade and property.

33 Org. that might check your pockets : TSA

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the agency that employs the good folks who check passengers and baggage at airports.

41 Dog with an upturned tail : AKITA

The Akita breed of dog is named for its point of origin, Akita Prefecture in Japan. When Helen Keller visited Japan in 1937, she asked for and was given an Akita breed of dog, with the name of Kamikaze-go. Sadly, the dog died within a year from distemper. The following year the Japanese government officially presented Keller with a replacement dog. Supposedly Keller’s dogs were the first members of the breed to be introduced into the US.

42 One using foul language? : UMP

Back in the 15th century, “an umpire” was referred to as “a noumpere”, which was misheard and hence causing the dropping of the initial letter N. The term “noumpere” came from Old French “nonper” meaning “not even, odd number”. The idea was that the original umpire was a third person called on to arbitrate between two, providing that “odd number” needed to decide the dispute.

43 World of Warcraft, e.g., for short : RPG

Role-playing game (RPG)

World of Warcraft is an online role-playing game (RPG). My son informs me that the game is not that great. Like I would know …

51 Ed of “Up” : ASNER

Ed Asner is most famous for playing the irascible but lovable Lou Grant on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and on the spin-off drama “Lou Grant”. Off-screen Asner is noted for his political activism. He served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and was very involved in the 1980 SAG strike. When “Lou Grant” was cancelled in 1982, despite decent ratings, there was a lot of talk that the cancellation was a move by the network against Asner personally. In fact, one of Asner’s activist colleagues, Howard Hesseman (who played Johnny Fever) found that his show “WKRP in Cincinnati” was also canceled … on the very same day.

“Up” was the tenth movie released by Pixar studios, and features the wonderful animation that we have come to expect from Pixar. The film earned itself two Academy Awards. The main voice actor is Ed Asner, whose animated persona as Carl Fredricksen was created to resemble Spencer Tracy, as Tracy appeared in his last film, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”.

56 Silverback, e.g. : APE

Adult male gorillas are commonly called silverbacks, a reference to the silver hair that runs down their backs. Gorillas live in groups called troops. Each troop usually has one silverback who runs the show, with several adult females and their offspring.

57 Author of the best-selling children’s book “Matilda” : DAHL

Roald Dahl’s name is Norwegian. Dahl’s parents were from Norway, although Dahl himself was Welsh. Dahl became one of the most successful authors of the twentieth century. Two of his most famous titles are “James and the Giant Peach” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”.

“Matilda” is a children’s novel by Welsh author Roald Dahl. Hero of the piece is an extraordinary little girl called Matilda Wormwood.

59 Smudge on a theater sign? : MARQUEE MARK (sounds like “Marky Mark”)

A marquee is a large sign that is placed over the entrance to a theater. The marquee usually displays the names of the film or play currently showing, as well as the principal actors performing.

Marky Mark was frontman for the band Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch in the nineties. We know Marky Mark these days as noted movie actor Mark Wahlberg, leading actor in the likes of “The Italian Job” and “Shooter”.

67 Many a scuba destination : REEF

The self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) was co-invented by celebrated French marine explorer Jacques Cousteau.

68 “Fuhgeddaboudit!” : NO SOAP!

“No soap” is a slang term meaning “not possible”. The term probably originated with the slang usage of “soap” to mean “money”, so “no soap” meant, “I have no money (to lend you)”. Over time, the usage of “no soap” generalized to “it’s not going to happen, so don’t ask”.

70 “Happy Motoring” sloganeer, once : ESSO

The brand name Esso has its roots in the old Standard Oil company as it uses the initial letters of “Standard” and “Oil” (ESS-O). The Esso brand was replaced by Exxon in the US, but ESSO is still used in many other countries.

Down

1 Alitalia : Italy :: ___ : Poland : LOT

LOT Polish Airlines is the country’s flag carrier. Founded way back in 1929, it is one of the oldest airlines in the world that is still operating. “Lot” is a Polish word meaning “flight”.

Alitalia is the national airline of Italy. The name “Alitalia” is a melding of the Italian words “ali” (wings) and “Italia” (Italy).

3 Least crisp, as an apple : MEALIEST

Something described as “mealy” resembles meal in texture, and so is granular in consistency.

4 Some Labor Day events, informally : BAR-B-QS

Labor Day is a federal holiday observed every year on the first Monday in September. The tradition of honoring workers with a holiday started in Boston in 1878, when a day of observance was organized by the Central Labor Union, the major trade union at the time. There was a bloody dispute in 1894 between labor unions and the railroads called the Pullman Strike, which led to the death of some workers when the US Military and US Marshals were instructed to maintain order. President Grover Cleveland submitted a “Labor Day” bill to Congress which was signed into law just six days after the end of the strike. The introduction of a federal holiday to honor the worker was a move designed to promote reconciliation between management and unions after the bitter conflict.

6 NPR host Shapiro : ARI

Ari Shapiro served very ably as White House correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR) for several years. He then became a co-host of network’s drive-time program “All Things Considered” in 2015.

9 Stained-glass window locale : APSE

The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally, apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.

11 Verdi’s “___ tu” : ERI

Every crossword constructor’s favorite aria “Eri tu” is from Verdi’s opera “Un ballo in maschera” (“A Masked Ball”). The opera tells the story of the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden during a masked ball.

14 Assessed lasciviously : EYED UP

“Lascivious” is such an appropriate-sounding word, I always think. It means “lecherous, salacious”.

25 Longtime staple of Thurs. night TV : CSI

The “CSI” TV show franchise uses hits from the Who as theme music:

  • “Who Are You” … “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”
  • “Baba O’Riley” … “CSI: New York”
  • “Won’t Get Fooled Again” … “CSI: Miami”
  • “I Can See for Miles” … “CSI: Cyber”

26 Grendel, e.g. : BEAST

“Beowulf” is an old epic poem from England, although the story is set in Scandinavia. Beowulf fights a battle, defending the Danish King Hrothgar from the ferocious outcast Grendel. Hrothgar had built a great hall for his people in which they could celebrate; singing, dancing and drinking lots of mead. Grendel was angered by the carousing and attacked the hall, devouring many of the incumbent warriors as they slept. A bit of an extreme reaction to noisy neighbors I’d say …

28 Grandson of Abraham : ESAU

Esau, was the grandson of Abraham and the twin brother of Jacob, the founder of the Israelites. When Esau was born to Isaac and Rebekah, the event was described with “Now the first came forth, red all over like a hairy garment”. Esau is portrayed later in life as being very different from his brother Jacob, as a hunter and someone who loves the outdoor life.

31 One, on a one : UNUM

From 1776, “E pluribus unum” was the unofficial motto of the United States. The phrase translates from Latin as “Out of many, one”. It was pushed aside in 1956 when an Act of Congress designated “In God We Trust” as the country’s official motto. “In God We Trust” had appeared on US coins since 1864, but was only introduced on paper currency in 1957.

40 Some triage pros : ER NURSES

Triage is the process of prioritizing patients for treatment, especially on the battlefield. The term “triage” is French and means “sorting”.

44 Flowers named after the Greek physician of the gods : PEONIES

The flowering plant called a peony is named for Paean, the mythical physician to the Greek gods.

46 Refrain from “Mulan” before “With all the force of a great typhoon” : BE A MAN

“Mulan” is a 1998 animated feature film made by Walt Disney studios. The film is based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, a woman who takes the place of her father in the army and serves with distinction for twelve years without reward. Disney’s lead character was given the name Fa Mulan. Donny Osmond provided the singing voice for one of the lead characters, after which his sons remarked that he had finally made it in show business as he was in a Disney film.

60 Status ___ : QUO

“Status quo” translates from Latin as “state in which”, and in English is used to mean the existing condition or state of affairs.

61 Tony winner Hagen : UTA

Uta Hagen was a German-born, American actress. Hagen married Jose Ferrer in 1938, but they were divorced ten years later after it was revealed that she was having a long-running affair with Paul Robeson. Her association with Robeson, a prominent civil rights activist, earned her a spot on the Hollywood Blacklist during the McCarthy Era. This forced her away from film, but towards a successful stage career in New York City.

64 Air hub between LAX and Sea-Tac : SFO

The San Francisco Bay Area is served by three major airports: San Francisco (SFO), Oakland (OAK) and San Jose (SJC).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Extremity : LIMB
5 Snags : NABS
9 2001 title role for Audrey Tautou : AMELIE
15 What Elvis Aaron Presley’s middle name is spelled with on his birth certificate : ONE A
16 Part of Q.E.D. : ERAT
17 Spinal Tap vis-à-vis 1980s rock bands : PARODY
18 Thataway, from a crow’s-nest : THAR
19 Fury at a husband leaving his entire estate to his mistress? : WIDOW’S PIQUE (sounds like “widow’s peak”)
21 Mitch who wrote “Tuesdays With Morrie” : ALBOM
23 Escape : FLEE
24 Sturm ___ Drang : UND
25 What an in-group uses for fishing? : CLIQUE BAIT (sounds like “clickbait”)
27 Actor Reeves : KEANU
29 Look at, biblically : SEEST
30 Flight board abbr. : ETD
31 Pull a cork from : UNSTOP
32 Org. that might pocket your checks : IRS
33 Org. that might check your pockets : TSA
35 Top of a schedule, maybe : LINE A
37 “Oh, I’m supposed to be in the line over there”? : THAT’S MY QUEUE? (sounds like “that’s my cue”)
41 Dog with an upturned tail : AKITA
42 One using foul language? : UMP
43 World of Warcraft, e.g., for short : RPG
46 Image on the back of a Canadian nickel : BEAVER
49 What “team” has, it’s said : NO I
51 Ed of “Up” : ASNER
53 Short staff? : ELVES
54 Some alcohol smuggled into a rodeo, say? : BOOT LIQUOR (sounds like “boot licker”)
56 Silverback, e.g. : APE
57 Author of the best-selling children’s book “Matilda” : DAHL
58 Place in canopic jars, say : INURN
59 Smudge on a theater sign? : MARQUEE MARK (sounds like “Marky Mark”)
63 Secondhand sale stipulation : AS IS
65 Quick : ASTUTE
66 Sunburn aid : ALOE
67 Many a scuba destination : REEF
68 “Fuhgeddaboudit!” : NO SOAP!
69 Those against : NAYS
70 “Happy Motoring” sloganeer, once : ESSO

Down

1 Alitalia : Italy :: ___ : Poland : LOT
2 Asthmatic’s aid : INHALER
3 Least crisp, as an apple : MEALIEST
4 Some Labor Day events, informally : BAR-B-QS
5 “It’s a ___” (“I’ve changed”) : NEW ME
6 NPR host Shapiro : ARI
7 Butter, in a dieter’s eyes : BAD FAT
8 Without betraying emotion : STOLIDLY
9 Stained-glass window locale : APSE
10 Posting at many a park entrance : MAP
11 Verdi’s “___ tu” : ERI
12 Japanese plum : LOQUAT
13 “You got me” : I DUNNO
14 Assessed lasciviously : EYED UP
20 Word with suit or blanket : WET …
22 Bonus features on some DVDs : OUTTAKES
25 Longtime staple of Thurs. night TV : CSI
26 Grendel, e.g. : BEAST
27 Reason to wear a brace : KNEE PAIN
28 Grandson of Abraham : ESAU
31 One, on a one : UNUM
34 Flutter one’s eyelids, say : STIR
36 Words after “You can’t fire me!” : I QUIT!
38 Eat : HAVE
39 “Hoo boy!” : MAN OH MAN!
40 Some triage pros : ER NURSES
44 Flowers named after the Greek physician of the gods : PEONIES
45 Trespasser’s warning : GRR!
46 Refrain from “Mulan” before “With all the force of a great typhoon” : BE A MAN
47 City once represented in Congress by Beto O’Rourke : EL PASO
48 Prevents : AVERTS
50 “Well, isn’t that fancy!” : OO LA LA!
52 Cat’s opposite : SQUARE
54 Modern sweetie : BAE
55 Count for a Facebook post : LIKES
57 Very thought-provoking : DEEP
60 Status ___ : QUO
61 Tony winner Hagen : UTA
62 Walt Disney’s older brother : ROY
64 Air hub between LAX and Sea-Tac : SFO

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