0225-20 NY Times Crossword 25 Feb 20, Tuesday

Constructed by: Peter Gordon
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answers: State Motto

Themed answers each start with the one-word STATE MOTTO of a state noted in the clue:

  • 69A With 70-Across, what the first word of each long Across answer is vis-à-vis the bracketed place in its clue : STATE …
    • 70A See 69-Across : … MOTTO
  • 21A International competition for countries that boycotted the 1984 Summer Olympics [Texas] : FRIENDSHIP GAMES
  • 31A 45 1/2-carat gem at the National Museum of Natural History [Rhode Island] : HOPE DIAMOND
  • 43A QB’s downfield throw [Wisconsin] : FORWARD PASS
  • 57A Companies that have big market shares [Utah] : INDUSTRY LEADERS

Several US states have single-word mottos:

  • Eureka (I have found it) — California
  • Dirigo (I lead) — Maine
  • Excelsior (Ever upward) — New York
  • Hope — Rhode Island
  • Friendship — Texas
  • Industry — Utah
  • Forward — Wisconsin

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 6m 34s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Polio vaccine developer Salk : JONAS

Jonas Salk was an American medical researcher who developed the first safe polio vaccine. In the fifties, especially after the 1952 epidemic, polio was the biggest health fear in the US. It killed thousands and left even more with disabilities, and most of the victims were children. The situation was dire and the authorities immediately quarantined the family of any polio victim. That quarantine was so strict that in many cases the families were not even permitted to attend the funeral of a family member who died from the disease.

6 The “S” of S.U.V. : SPORT

“SUV” is an initialism standing for “sports utility vehicle”, and is a term that was introduced by our marketing friends. Using the phrase “sports utility vehicle” was a very clever way to get us to pay a lot of money for what was essentially a station wagon on a truck chassis, or at least it was back then.

11 Glasgow gal : LASS

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and sits on the River Clyde. Back in the Victorian Era, Glasgow earned a reputation for excellence in shipbuilding and was known as “Second City of the British Empire”. Glasgow shipyards were the birthplaces of such famous vessels as the Lusitania, the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth. People for Glasgow are known as Glaswegians.

19 Frank ___, Al Capone henchman : NITTI

Frank Nitti was one of the top henchmen working for Al Capone. Unlike American-born Capone, Nitti was actually from Italy and was born near the city of Salerno. When Capone was eventually put away for 11 years for tax evasion, Nitti was convicted of the same crime. Nitti was only imprisoned for 18 months, and when released he was labelled as the new head of Capone’s Chicago Outfit. However the truth seems to be that he was just a frontman, with others making the decisions.

20 “Veni, ___, vici” : VIDI

The oft-quoted statement “Veni, vidi, vici” (“I came, I saw, I conquered”) is believed by many to have been written by Julius Caesar. The words date back to 47 BCE and refer to the short war between Rome and Pharnaces II of Pontus.

21 International competition for countries that boycotted the 1984 Summer Olympics [Texas] : FRIENDSHIP GAMES

The 1984 Summer Olympics were held in Los Angeles. The event was boycotted by 14 Eastern Bloc countries in retaliation for the US’s boycott of the prior 1980 Summer Olympics hosted by Moscow. The boycotting countries held a competing event around the same time that they dubbed the Friendship Games.

25 Edmonton’s hockey team : OILERS

The National Hockey League’s Edmonton Oilers are so called because they are located in Alberta, Canada … oil country.

26 Theme of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Do the Right Thing” : RACISM

Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “To Kill A Mockingbird” was first published in 1960. The book is a mainstay in English classes all around the world. In my humble opinion, “To Kill A Mockingbird” is a great ambassador for American literature.

“Do the Right Thing” is a Spike Lee movie that was released in 1989. Much of the action in the film is centered on a local pizzeria called “Sal’s” owned by Italian-American Salvatore Frangione (played by Danny Aiello).

29 Jazzy Fitzgerald : ELLA

Ella Fitzgerald, the “First Lady of Song”, had a hard and tough upbringing. She was raised by her mother alone in Yonkers, New York. Her mother died while Ella was still a schoolgirl, and around that time the young girl became less interested in her education. She fell in with a bad crowd, even working as a lookout for a bordello and as a Mafia numbers runner. She ended up in reform school, from which she escaped, and found herself homeless and living on the streets for a while. Somehow Fitzgerald managed to get herself a spot singing in the Apollo Theater in Harlem. From there her career took off and as they say, the rest is history.

31 45 1/2-carat gem at the National Museum of Natural History [Rhode Island] : HOPE DIAMOND

The Hope Diamond is a very large diamond (45.52 carats) that is a deep blue color due to trace amounts of boron found within the crystal structure. The diamond has quite a history, the legend being that in its original (larger) form it was the eye in a sculpted statue of a Hindu god. It passed through a number of hands, being recut at least twice, and in the 19th century ended up in the collection of an Anglo-Dutch banker called Henry Philip Hope, whose name is currently used for the gem. Eventually it fell into the hands of a New York diamond merchant called Harry Winston who agreed to donate it to the Smithsonian. To deliver the diamond to its new owners, Winston popped the gem into a plain brown paper bag and sent it through the US Mail!

41 Impose, as a tax : LEVY

A levy is a tax. The term “levy” comes from Old French in which “levée” means “raising”. So a levy is a tax that has been “raised” (in the sense of “collected”, not “increased”).

46 Michael of “S.N.L.” : CHE

Michael Che is a standup comedian from New York City. Che had worked as a writer for “Saturday Night Live” (SNL), and then started to appear in front of SNL cameras in September 2014. One of his roles was co-anchor for the “Weekend Update” segment of the show.

47 ___-Ball (carnival attraction) : SKEE

Skee-Ball is that arcade game where you roll balls up a ramp trying to “bounce” it into rings for varying numbers of points. The game was first introduced in Philadelphia, in 1909.

48 Corsage flower : ORCHID

“Corsage” is a word that we imported from French in the late 15th century and meaning , believe it or not, “body size”. By the early 1800s, a corsage was a bodice, or the body of a woman’s dress. At the beginning of the 20th century, the French term “bouquet de corsage” was being used for a “bouquet worn on the bodice”, and this has been shortened simply to “corsage”.

51 Growth on a tree : LICHEN

Lichens are interesting organisms, as they are made up of a partnership of a fungus and either an alga or a bacterium existing in a symbiotic relationship. The algae or bacteria are capable of photosynthesis, and so manufacture simple sugars using light and carbon dioxide from the air. The fungus uses the manufactured sugars, and in return provides a stable environment for the algae or bacteria to thrive.

61 Drug cop : NARC

“Narc” and “narco” are slang terms describing a law enforcement officer who tracks down criminals associated with illegal drugs. Both words are short for “narcotics officer”. Narcs might work for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

63 Preliminary races : HEATS

The term “heat”, meaning “qualifying race”, dates back to the 1660s. Originally a heat was a run given to a horse to prepare it for a race, to “heat” it up.

65 Furry critter in “Return of the Jedi” : EWOK

The Ewoks are creatures that live on the moon of Endor in the “Star Wars” universe. First appearing in “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”, they’re the cute and cuddly little guys that look like teddy bears.

66 Vehicle with 18 tyres, maybe : LORRY

On the other side of the Atlantic, a truck is called a “lorry”, a term that probably comes from the English dialectal verb “to lurry” meaning “to drag, tug”.

The British spelling of “tyre”, for what we call a “tire” here in North America, was indeed the original spelling. The English started to use “tire” spelling in the 17th century, and then shifted back to the current “tyre” in the 19th century.

An 18-wheeler semi-trailer truck has eight wheels under the trailer, i.e. four on each of the two rear axles. There are 10 wheels under the tractor unit. Two of the ten wheels are on the front axle, and eight are on the rear two axles that sit under the front of the trailer.

67 Sleep problem : APNEA

Sleep apnea (“apnoea” in British English) can be caused by an obstruction in the airways, possibly due to obesity or enlarged tonsils.

68 Pols with a donkey party logo : DEMS

The modern-day Democratic Party was founded in 1828 when supporters of Andrew Jackson broke away from the former Democratic-Republican Party during the presidency of John Quincy Adams. That date makes the Democratic Party the oldest voter-based political party in the world. Andrew Jackson became the first Democratic US president, in 1829.

Down

2 “Why do the French have only one egg for breakfast? Because one egg is an ___” (old joke) : OEUF

In French, an “oeuf” (egg) is the main ingredient in “une omelette” (an omelet), which may be seasoned with “sel” (salt).

3 Brand to use “if you dare wear short shorts” : NAIR

Nair is a hair-removal product that has some pretty harsh ingredients. The most important active constituents are calcium hydroxide (“slaked lime”) and sodium hydroxide (“caustic soda”). Other Nair components seem to be there to soothe the skin after the harsher chemicals have done their job. The name “Nair” probably comes from combining “no” and “hair”.

4 When Hamlet gives his “To be, or not to be” soliloquy : ACT III

There has been centuries of debate about how one interprets Hamlet’s soliloquy that begins “To be or not to be …”. My favorite opinion is that Hamlet is weighing up the pros and cons of suicide (“to not be”).

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous fortune;
Or to take Armes against a Sea of troubles …

5 500 things in a ream : SHEETS

A ream is 500 sheets of paper. As there were 24 sheets in a quire, and 20 quires made up a ream, there used to be 480 sheets in a ream. Ever since the standard was changed to 500, a 480-sheet packet of paper has been called a “short ream”. We also use the term “reams” to mean a great amount, evolving from the idea of a lot of printed material.

8 Big name in lawn care : ORTHO

Ortho is a brand of weed killer owned by Scotts Miracle-Gro.

9 Indian flatbread : ROTI

In an Indian restaurant, naan bread is very popular. Roti is an unleavened cousin of naan.

10 North African city in the lyrics to the “Marines’ Hymn” : TRIPOLI

Tripoli is the capital city of Libya and sits on the Mediterranean Coast. The city was founded by the Phoenicians in the 7th century BC and was originally called Oea.

The “Marines’ Hymn” is the official hymn of the US Marine Corp, and the oldest official song of any of the US armed forces. The famous line “To the shores of Tripoli” is a reference to the Battle of Derne in 1805, an action in the First Barbary War. In said battle, US Marines led a recruited mercenary army to victory against a much larger enemy force. Another famous line “The Halls of Montezuma”, is a reference to the Battle of Chapultepec of 1847, during the Mexican-American War. The latter battle involved a successful storming of Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City that stood atop a 200-foot hill.

11 Blobby light popular in the 1960s-’70s : LAVA LAMP

The lava lamp was invented in 1960 by a British man, Edward Craven-Walker. The “lava” is a mixture of wax and carbon tetrachloride, floating in a water/glycerol mix. The wax reduces in density as it picks up heat from the incandescent bulb in the lamp’s base. The wax rises, cools, and then sinks to the bottom of the liquid only to be heated again.

12 Japanese cartoon style : ANIME

Anime is cartoon animation in the style of Japanese manga comic books.

13 Meal with the Four Questions : SEDER

The Passover Seder is a ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish Passover holiday, celebrating the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. One of the traditions at the meal is that the youngest child at the table asks “The Four Questions”, all relating to why this night is different from all other nights in the year:

  • Why is it that on all other nights during the year we eat either bread or matzoh, but on this night we eat only matzoh?
  • Why is it that on all other nights we eat all kinds of herbs, but on this night we eat only bitter herbs?
  • Why is it that on all other nights we do not dip our herbs even once, but on this night we dip them twice?
  • Why is it that on all other nights we eat either sitting or reclining, but on this night we eat in a reclining position?

14 ___ Army knife : SWISS

Swiss Army knives are multi-tools made by the Swiss company Victorinox. The device was first produced in 1891 when Victorinox’s predecessor company was awarded the contract to supply the knife to the Swiss Army. The name “Swiss Army knife” was actually an American invention as it was the term used by American GIs during and after WWII as an alternative to pronouncing the more difficult German “Schweizer Offiziersmesser” (Swiss Officer Knife).

22 “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of ___” (Robert C. O’Brien children’s book) : NIMH

“The Secret of NIMH” is the 1982 screen adaptation of a book written by Robert C. O’Brien. The novel’s title is “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH”. “Mrs. Frisby” doesn’t actually appear in the movie version, at least not under the same name. In the film her character is called Mrs. “Brisby”, with the name change being made due to concerns about a potential trademark dispute with “Frisbee” discs.

23 Large lizards of the Southwest : GILAS

A Gila monster is a venomous lizard found in the southwestern US and northern Mexico, and is the only venomous lizard native to America. Gila monsters move along at a snail’s pace so aren’t normally a danger to humans. The name “Gila” is a reference to the Gila River Basin in the American Southwest, where the Gila monster was prevalent.

27 Florence’s river : ARNO

The Arno is the principal river in the Tuscany region of Italy, and passes through the cities of Florence and Pisa. Famously the Arno flooded in 1966, the worst flood in the region for centuries. There were numerous deaths and extensive destruction of priceless art treasures, particularly in Florence.

28 Person who might say “10-4, good buddy” : CB’ER

There is a set of “ten-codes” that were developed in 1937 for the use of law enforcement departments. As of 2006, the US federal government is recommending that they be replaced by plain language due to a lack of standardization in ten-codes. Examples of ten-codes are:

  • 10-1 meaning “bad reception”
  • 10-4 meaning “understood”
  • 10-9 meaning “say again”
  • 10-33 meaning “emergency, all units stand by”

29 “Grand” brand of ice cream : EDY’S

Dreyer’s ice cream sells its products under the name Dreyer’s in the Western United States, and Edy’s in the Eastern states. The company’s founders were William Dreyer and Joseph Edy.

32 Ye ___ Shoppe : OLDE

The word “olde” wasn’t actually used much earlier than the 1920s. “Olde” was introduced to give a quaint antique feel to brand names, shop names etc. as in “Ye Olde Shoppe”.

34 Longoria of “Desperate Housewives” : EVA

Eva Longoria is a fashion model and actress who had a regular role on TV’s “Desperate Housewives” playing Gabrielle Solis.

36 Fruity soda brand : NEHI

The Nehi cola brand has a name that sounds like “knee-high”, a measure of a small stature. Back in the mid-1900’s the Chero-Cola company, which owned the brand, went for a slightly different twist on “knee-high” in advertising. The logo for Nehi was an image of a seated woman’s stockinged legs, with her skirt pulled up to her knees to hint at “knee-high”.

45 Japanese noodles : SOBA

Soba is a thin Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour. In Japan, the word “soba” tends to describe any thin noodle, in contrast with the thicker noodle called “udon”.

49 Hillary ___ Clinton : RODHAM

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 PC spinner : CD-ROM

“CD-ROM” stands for “compact disc read only memory”. The name indicates that you can read information from the disc (like a standard music CD for example), but you cannot write to it. You can also buy a CD-RW, which stands for “compact disc – rewritable”, with which you can read data and also write over it multiple times using a suitable CD drive.

54 Freshwater polyp : HYDRA

Hydra are small multicellular animals found in freshwater. Hydra have tubular bodies with a mouth at one end surrounded by several tentacles that are used to catch prey.

64 ___ Paulo, Brazil : SAO

São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil. It is also the city with the highest number of helicopters in the world. This is partly driven by the horrendous traffic jams in São Paulo, but also by the wealthy having a very real fear of being kidnapped on the city’s streets.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Polio vaccine developer Salk : JONAS
6 The “S” of S.U.V. : SPORT
11 Glasgow gal : LASS
15 Get in touch with : REACH
16 Mistake : ERROR
17 From the start : ANEW
18 Connected set of rooms in a hotel : SUITE
19 Frank ___, Al Capone henchman : NITTI
20 “Veni, ___, vici” : VIDI
21 International competition for countries that boycotted the 1984 Summer Olympics [Texas] : FRIENDSHIP GAMES
24 “Quite true” : IT IS SO
25 Edmonton’s hockey team : OILERS
26 Theme of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Do the Right Thing” : RACISM
29 Jazzy Fitzgerald : ELLA
30 Sphere : ORB
31 45 1/2-carat gem at the National Museum of Natural History [Rhode Island] : HOPE DIAMOND
38 Time in Boston when it’s midnight in Austin : ONE AM
41 Impose, as a tax : LEVY
42 Shopping binge : SPREE
43 QB’s downfield throw [Wisconsin] : FORWARD PASS
46 Michael of “S.N.L.” : CHE
47 ___-Ball (carnival attraction) : SKEE
48 Corsage flower : ORCHID
51 Growth on a tree : LICHEN
54 Place for tugboats : HARBOR
57 Companies that have big market shares [Utah] : INDUSTRY LEADERS
61 Drug cop : NARC
62 Helped out : AIDED
63 Preliminary races : HEATS
65 Furry critter in “Return of the Jedi” : EWOK
66 Vehicle with 18 tyres, maybe : LORRY
67 Sleep problem : APNEA
68 Pols with a donkey party logo : DEMS
69 With 70-Across, what the first word of each long Across answer is vis-à-vis the bracketed place in its clue : STATE …
70 See 69-Across : … MOTTO

Down

1 Upper-class members: Abbr. : JRS
2 “Why do the French have only one egg for breakfast? Because one egg is an ___” (old joke) : OEUF
3 Brand to use “if you dare wear short shorts” : NAIR
4 When Hamlet gives his “To be, or not to be” soliloquy : ACT III
5 500 things in a ream : SHEETS
6 Transmits : SENDS
7 Strait-laced person : PRISS
8 Big name in lawn care : ORTHO
9 Indian flatbread : ROTI
10 North African city in the lyrics to the “Marines’ Hymn” : TRIPOLI
11 Blobby light popular in the 1960s-’70s : LAVA LAMP
12 Japanese cartoon style : ANIME
13 Meal with the Four Questions : SEDER
14 ___ Army knife : SWISS
22 “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of ___” (Robert C. O’Brien children’s book) : NIMH
23 Large lizards of the Southwest : GILAS
26 Upper part of the mouth : ROOF
27 Florence’s river : ARNO
28 Person who might say “10-4, good buddy” : CB’ER
29 “Grand” brand of ice cream : EDY’S
32 Ye ___ Shoppe : OLDE
33 Liveliness : PEP
34 Longoria of “Desperate Housewives” : EVA
35 Theater sect. near the stage : ORCH
36 Fruity soda brand : NEHI
37 Homeowner’s document : DEED
39 Phrase akin to “Darn it all!” : AW SHUCKS!
40 Manufactures : MAKES
44 Cars for vacationers : RENTALS
45 Japanese noodles : SOBA
49 Hillary ___ Clinton : RODHAM
50 Sleazeball : CREEPO
51 Queued (up) : LINED
52 Really impressed : IN AWE
53 PC spinner : CD-ROM
54 Freshwater polyp : HYDRA
55 Paying attention : ALERT
56 Change from artificial blond back to brunet, say : REDYE
58 Prison uprising : RIOT
59 Rave’s partner : RANT
60 “Leave as is,” to a proofreader : STET
64 ___ Paulo, Brazil : SAO

7 thoughts on “0225-20 NY Times Crossword 25 Feb 20, Tuesday”

  1. 10:30. Educational theme so I liked it. In fact, I wish more were like that.

    I realized I didn’t even know my own state’s motto even though I’ve now lived in Nevada for 2 and a half years. It’s “All for Our Country” – a reference of its allegiance to the country as the motto was adopted right after the Civil War. Nevada became a state right before the election of 1864. Apparently Lincoln thought he needed the votes to win the election and he needed another free state to pass the 13th amendment to end slavery.

    All stuff I didn’t know until today.

    Best –

  2. 23:37 no errors…I was moving along pretty fast until I got to the bottom third and for some reason it slowed me down.
    Stay safe everyone.

  3. A good, solid puzzle.

    I did not know of such a strong comparison between the polio virus and the corona virus. All things old are new again.

  4. NIMH: First quick thought (sans clue) was “National Institute of Mental Health?”. Then there was LORRY, tipped off by “tyre”.
    Good puzzle.

  5. 10:12, no errors. Same issue as @Jack, cruised along until the bottom third. Slowed by putting 7D PRUDE before PRISS; 57A INDUSTRIAL… before INDUSTRY.

    I’ve always interpreted the joke in 2D as ‘one egg’ is ‘un oeuf’; instead of one ‘egg’ is an ‘oeuf’. That was the way the joke was told to me by a French chef in Moorea. Pronunciation works in either case.

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