0217-20 NY Times Crossword 17 Feb 20, Monday

Constructed by: Sally Hoelscher
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): First Ladies’ Book Club

Themed answers are titles of memoirs penned by First Ladies of the United States:

  • 17A Author of the memoir “Spoken From the Heart” (2010) : LAURA BUSH
  • 23A Author of the memoir “First Lady From Plains” (1984) : ROSALYNN CARTER
  • 36A Author of the memoir “Becoming” (2018) : MICHELLE OBAMA
  • 47A Author of the memoir “Living History” (2003) : HILLARY CLINTON
  • 59A Author of the memoir “The Times of My Life” (1978) : BETTY FORD

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 5m 17s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

14 Communication system for the deaf, for short : ASL

American Sign Language (ASL)

15 Second-largest city in Oklahoma : TULSA

Tulsa is the second-largest city in the state of Oklahoma (after Oklahoma City). Tulsa started out as a settlement established by the Loachapoka and Creek Native American tribes in 1836. These early settlers called their new home “Tallasi” meaning “old town”, and this name morphed into “Tulsa” that we use today.

16 High-quality black tea : PEKOE

A pekoe (or more commonly “orange pekoe”) is a medium-grade black tea. There is no orange flavor in an orange pekoe tea. The “orange” name most likely derived from the name of the trading company that brought the tea to Europe from Asia.

17 Author of the memoir “Spoken From the Heart” (2010) : LAURA BUSH

Laura Bush, wife of President George W. Bush, had her memoir “Spoken from the Heart” published in 2010. Born Laura Lane Welch, the former First Lady has a Master’s degree in Library Science (as does my wife, my own First Lady!). Given that background, it’s not surprising that two causes that Laura Bush focused on while in the White House were education and literacy. She established the annual National Book Festival, first held in Washington, D.C. in 2001, after having co-founded the Texas Book Festival in her home state.

19 Supreme Court justice Kagan : ELENA

Elena Kagan was the Solicitor General of the United States who replaced Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court. That made Justice Kagan the first female US Solicitor General and the fourth female US Supreme Court justice. I hear she is a fan of Jane Austen, and used to reread “Pride and Prejudice” once a year. Not a bad thing to do, I’d say …

20 In ___ (as found) : SITU

“In situ” is a Latin phrase meaning “in the place”, and we use the term to mean “in the original position”.

22 Shape of a rainbow : ARC

Sunlight reflected by airborne water droplets can produce rainbows. The water droplets act as little prisms, dispersing the white light into its constituent colors. Sometimes we see double rainbows. If we look carefully, we can see that the order of the colors in the first and second arcs is reversed.

23 Author of the memoir “First Lady From Plains” (1984) : ROSALYNN CARTER

First Lady Rosalynn Carter was very active in the administration of President Jimmy Carter. She was recognized as perhaps her husband’s most trusted adviser, and kept herself informed by sitting in on cabinet meetings at the invitation of the president. Her contribution was recognized by “Time” magazine when she was labelled “the second most powerful person in the United States”.

31 “Shogun” or “The Lord of the Rings” : EPIC

“Shogun” is a novel by James Clavell, and the third in his famous “Asian Saga” suite of six titles. The six books are:

  • “King Rat”
  • “Tai-Pan”
  • “Shōgun”
  • “Noble House”
  • “Whirlwind”
  • “Gai-Jin”

J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” is the second best-selling novel ever written, with only “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens having sold more copies around the world. Remarkably I think, the third best-selling novel is “The Hobbit”, which was also written by Tolkien.

35 Inits. in some church names : AME

The African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AME Zion) Church was formed in New York City. The church was established by African-American Christians who faced discrimination when attending other churches. Initially the African-American congregations were led by Caucasian Methodist ministers, with the first African American being ordained in 1820.

36 Author of the memoir “Becoming” (2018) : MICHELLE OBAMA

“Becoming” is a 2018 autobiographical memoir by former First Lady Michelle Obama. After “Becoming” was published in November 2018, it took just 15 days for it to break the record for copies sold of any book in the US that year.

46 Sign of a B’way success : SRO

Standing room only (SRO)

47 Author of the memoir “Living History” (2003) : HILLARY CLINTON

Hillary Rodham was born in Chicago, Illinois to Hugh Rodham (a businessman in the textile industry) and Dorothy Howell (a homemaker). Hillary was raised in a conservative home, and she campaigned for Republican candidate Barry Goldwater in the 1964 US presidential election. The following year, she served as president of the Young Republicans at Wellesley College. Our former First Lady left the Republican Party expressing disappointment at what she witnessed at the 1968 Republican National Convention in Miami, citing “veiled” racist messages prevalent at that time.

53 Bagel topper : LOX

Lox is a brine-cured salmon fillet that is finely sliced. The term “lox” comes into English via Yiddish, and derives from the German word for salmon, namely “Lachs”.

56 Gerontologist’s study : AGING

Gerontology is the study of all aspects of aging, including its biology, psychology and sociology. Geriatrics is the study of diseases encountered in older adults.

59 Author of the memoir “The Times of My Life” (1978) : BETTY FORD

Betty Ford was the First Lady and wife of President Gerald Ford, who was in office from 1973 to 1974. Betty Ford was forced to face her alcoholism and addiction to painkillers when her family staged an intervention in 1978. She managed to recover and then famously co-founded the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California which treats victims of chemical dependency.

61 Geico mascot : GECKO

Gecko is the “spokes-lizard” for GEICO. When Gecko was introduced in 1999, he was voiced by actor Kelsey Grammer of “Cheers” and “Frasier” fame. Since then, Gecko has been voiced by British radio presenter Dave Kelly and most recently by actor Jake Wood, who plays Max Branning on the British soap opera “EastEnders”.

63 Mag. number : ISS

Issue (iss.)

66 Actor Billy ___ Williams : DEE

Actor Billy Dee Williams is most famous for playing the character Lando Calrissian in two of the “Stars Wars” movies.

Down

2 Former competitor of Southwest : USAIR

From 1953, what we recently referred to as US Airways was called Allegheny Airlines. In the seventies, customers became very dissatisfied with the company’s service levels as it struggled to manage a rapid expansion in its number of flights. These problems earned the airline the nickname “Agony Air”. Allegheny tried to leave the “agony” behind in 1979 and changed its name to USAir, but commuters then just used the nickname “Unfortunately Still Allegheny”. The name was changed again, in 1997, to US Airways. US Airways merged with American Airlines in 2013, and the “US Airways” brand name was gradually replaced with “American Airlines”.

3 Demoted planet : PLUTO

Pluto was discovered in 1930, and was welcomed as the ninth planet in our solar system. Pluto is relatively small in size, just one fifth of the mass of our own moon. In the seventies, astronomers began to discover more large objects in the solar system, including Eris, a “scattered disc object” at the outer reaches. Given that Eris is actually bigger than Pluto, and other objects really aren’t that much smaller, Pluto’s status as a planet was drawn into question. In 2006 there was a scientific definition for a “planet” agreed for the first time, resulting in Pluto being relegated to the status of “dwarf planet”, along with Eris.

7 German steel city : ESSEN

Essen is a large industrial city located on the River Ruhr in western Germany. The city experienced major population growth in the mid-1800s that was driven by the iron works established by the Krupp family.

9 “La Traviata” and “Carmen” : OPERAS

Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “La Traviata” was originally titled “Violetta” after the main character in the piece. The title “La Traviata” translates into “The Woman Gone Astray”, reflecting Violetta’s life as a courtesan.

When Georges Bizet wrote his famous opera “Carmen”, he used the melody of what he thought was an old folk song as a theme in the lovely aria “Habanera”. Not long after he finished “Carmen”, he discovered that the folk song was in fact a piece that had been written by another composer, who had died just ten years before “Carmen” was published. Fittingly, Bizet added a note to the score, declaring the original source.

10 Alternative to shoelaces : VELCRO

The hook-and-loop fastener that we now call “Velcro” was invented in 1941 by Georges de Mestral, a Swiss engineer. Mestral noticed that the seeds of the burdock plant (burrs or burs) stuck to his clothes. Under the microscope he found hooks on the burrs that grabbed hold of loops in his clothing. After years of development, he came up with a way of simulating the natural hook using man-made materials, and Velcro was born.

12 Opposite of oui : NON

In French, a response on “un questionnaire” (a questionnaire) might be “oui” (yes) or “non” (no).

13 Mediterranean or Adriatic : SEA

The Mediterranean Sea is almost completely enclosed by land, and is connected to the Atlantic Ocean by the narrow Strait of Gibraltar. The sea takes its name from the Latin “mediterraneus”, which means “in the middle of land”.

The Adriatic is the sea separating Italy from the Balkans.

22 Sound before someone says “Gesundheit!” : ACHOO!

The Adriatic is the sea separating Italy from the Balkans.

26 Disney’s “Lady and the ___” : TRAMP

“Lady and the Tramp” is a classic animated feature from Walt Disney that was released in 1955. The title characters are a female American cocker spaniel and a male stray mutt. Who can forget the scene where the Tramp and Lady are “on a date”, and together eat that one strand of spaghetti? So cute! Disney made a 2019 live-action adaptation of the original using the same title.

27 Humorist Bombeck and others : ERMAS

Erma Bombeck wrote for newspapers for about 35 years. She produced more than 4,000 witty and humorous columns under the title “At Wit’s End”, with all describing her home life in suburbia.

28 Bread for a Reuben sandwich : RYE

There are conflicting stories about the origin of the Reuben sandwich. One such story is that it was invented around 1914 by Arnold Reuben, an immigrant from Germany who owned Reuben’s Deli in New York.

33 See 34-Down : … GLORY

34 With 33-Down, the U.S. flag, affectionately : OLD …

The person who coined the phrase “Old Glory” with reference to the American flag was Captain William Driver, a shipmaster from Salem, Massachusetts. As Driver was leaving on an 1831 voyage aboard the brig Charles Doggett, he unfurled the American flag that he had just been given by a group of friends. As the flag caught the breeze, he uttered the words, “Old Glory!”. That’s the story anyway. On that same voyage, Charles Doggett rescued the famous mutineers of the HMS Bounty, after he encountered them on Pitcairn Island.

37 Prestigious Atlanta university : EMORY

Emory is a private school in Atlanta, Georgia with a focus on graduate research. The school was named after a Methodist Episcopal bishop called John Emory, who was very popular at the time of the school’s founding in 1836.

45 Argentine partner dances : TANGOS

The dramatic dance called the tango originated in the late 1800s in the area along the border between Argentina and Uruguay. Dancers and orchestras from Buenos Aires in particular traveled to Europe and beyond in the early twentieth century and brought the tango with them. The tango craze first struck Europe in Paris in the 1910s, and from there spread to London and Berlin, crossing the Atlantic to New York in 1913.

49 Game of chance whose results are often televised : LOTTO

Originally, lotto was a type of card game, with “lotto” being the Italian for “a lot”. We’ve used “lotto” to mean a gambling game since the late 1700s.

51 One taking vitals, perhaps : NURSE

There are four primary vital signs that are measured by health professionals:

  1. Body temperature
  2. Blood pressure
  3. Pulse
  4. Breathing rate

55 Commercial goods: Abbr. : MDSE

Merchandise (“mdse.” or “merch.)

56 Turkish title : AGA

“Aga” (also “agha”) is a title that was used by both civil and military officials in the Ottoman Empire.

59 Network on the telly : BBC

The marvelous British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is mainly funded by the UK government through a television licence fee that is levied annually on all households watching TV transmissions. Currently, the fee is 145 UK pounds, about 230 US dollars.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Young dog or seal : PUP
4 Ire : ANGER
9 Bakery fixtures : OVENS
14 Communication system for the deaf, for short : ASL
15 Second-largest city in Oklahoma : TULSA
16 High-quality black tea : PEKOE
17 Author of the memoir “Spoken From the Heart” (2010) : LAURA BUSH
19 Supreme Court justice Kagan : ELENA
20 In ___ (as found) : SITU
21 Busy buzzer : BEE
22 Shape of a rainbow : ARC
23 Author of the memoir “First Lady From Plains” (1984) : ROSALYNN CARTER
29 Attempt : TRY
30 “I apologize!” : OH SORRY
31 “Shogun” or “The Lord of the Rings” : EPIC
33 Attend, as an event : GO TO
35 Inits. in some church names : AME
36 Author of the memoir “Becoming” (2018) : MICHELLE OBAMA
40 Sly animal : FOX
41 Internet forum overseers, informally : MODS
42 Swiss peaks : ALPS
43 Kind of seat in a fighter jet : EJECTOR
46 Sign of a B’way success : SRO
47 Author of the memoir “Living History” (2003) : HILLARY CLINTON
52 Even a single one : ANY
53 Bagel topper : LOX
54 Egg cell : OVUM
56 Gerontologist’s study : AGING
59 Author of the memoir “The Times of My Life” (1978) : BETTY FORD
61 Geico mascot : GECKO
62 Wash : BATHE
63 Mag. number : ISS
64 “What ___!” (“It’s so sloppy!”) : A MESS
65 Symbol of Christianity : CROSS
66 Actor Billy ___ Williams : DEE

Down

1 Buddies : PALS
2 Former competitor of Southwest : USAIR
3 Demoted planet : PLUTO
4 One day ___ time : AT A
5 Rough and textured, as fabric : NUBBLY
6 Sticky : GLUEY
7 German steel city : ESSEN
8 “Go team!” : RAH!
9 “La Traviata” and “Carmen” : OPERAS
10 Alternative to shoelaces : VELCRO
11 Barely make, with “out” : EKE …
12 Opposite of oui : NON
13 Mediterranean or Adriatic : SEA
18 Suitable for the country : RUSTIC
22 Sound before someone says “Gesundheit!” : ACHOO!
24 Prefix with angel or enemy : ARCH-
25 Jots down : NOTES
26 Disney’s “Lady and the ___” : TRAMP
27 Humorist Bombeck and others : ERMAS
28 Bread for a Reuben sandwich : RYE
31 Texter’s pictograph : EMOJI
32 Dot in a 31-Down : PIXEL
33 See 34-Down : … GLORY
34 With 33-Down, the U.S. flag, affectionately : OLD …
37 Prestigious Atlanta university : EMORY
38 Farm building : BARN
39 Many : A LOT OF
40 Sound of disgust : FEH!
44 Chain-rattling sounds : CLANKS
45 Argentine partner dances : TANGOS
46 Generous portions of pie : SIXTHS
48 Cloudless : CLEAR
49 Game of chance whose results are often televised : LOTTO
50 Egg-shaped : OVOID
51 One taking vitals, perhaps : NURSE
55 Commercial goods: Abbr. : MDSE
56 Turkish title : AGA
57 “Columbia, the ___ of the Ocean” : GEM
58 What’s dispensed from the middle of many a soda dispenser : ICE
59 Network on the telly : BBC
60 “Affirmative” : YES

8 thoughts on “0217-20 NY Times Crossword 17 Feb 20, Monday”

  1. 5:47. Pretty amazing link between OLD GLORY and the HMS Bounty.

    US AIR is now American so they’ll have to come up with new nicknames. My favorite airline nicknames were for TACA (Take A Chance Airline) and SAHSA (Stay At Home Stay Alive) airlines that operated in Central America, neither of which exists anymore.

    Best –

  2. I made A MESS of the SW, but came out with no errors. Definitely easy and fun. 21 minutes.

    I flew a lot in the eighties out of San Diego. US Airways was my favorite.

  3. I used to fly student standby from Pittsburgh to Indianapolis for $19 in the early seventies. I had no problems with Allegheny.

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