0414-20 NY Times Crossword 14 Apr 20, Tuesday

Constructed by: Joe Hansen
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Five Fingers

Themed answers are all in the down-direction, and each includes the name of a finger spelled out in circled letters:

  • 7A Neither left nor right : MIDDLE OF THE ROAD
  • 18A Calculation using height and weight : BODY MASS INDEX
  • 32A Place to duke it out : BOXING RING
  • 36A “The Loco-Motion” singer, 1962 : LITTLE EVA
  • 41A Hand-to-hand combat? : THUMB WAR

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 5m 10s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Italian fashion giant : ARMANI

Giorgio Armani is an Italian fashion designer and founder of the company that has borne his name since 1975. Although Armani is famous for his menswear, the company makes everything from jewelry to perfume.

14 Appearance of a comet, to some : OMEN

Comets and asteroids are similar, both being relatively small celestial bodies orbiting the sun. Comets differ from asteroids in that they have a coma or tail, especially when they are close enough to the sun. The coma and tail are temporary fuzzy atmospheres that develop due to the presence of solar radiation. Comets are sometimes referred to as “dirty snowballs”, a reference to their composition: rock, dust, water ice and frozen gases.

15 Capital on the eastern Mediterranean : BEIRUT

Beirut is the capital city of Lebanon. After WWI, Lebanon was placed under administrative control of the French and Beirut flourished as a financial center in the Middle East and as a major world tourist destination. The city was devastated in the Lebanese Civil War that raged from 1975 to 1990, but reconstruction has restored the city to much of its former glory, making it a major cultural center once again.

16 Word after Doctor or guess : … WHO

The iconic science-fiction television show “Doctor Who” first aired in 1963 on the BBC, and relaunched in 2005. The relaunched series is produced in-house by the BBC in Cardiff in Wales, the location that is the setting of the successful “Doctor Who” spin-off called “Torchwood”. The new show is about the Cardiff branch of the Torchwood Institute which investigates incidents involving extraterrestrials. Why “Torchwood”? Well, “Torchwood” is an anagram of “Doctor Who”.

19 Unaccounted for, briefly : MIA

Missing in action (MIA)

22 Netflix crime drama starring Jason Bateman : OZARK

“Ozark” is an excellent TV crime show starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney as a married couple who relocate from Chicago to the Missouri Ozarks. The couple fall foul of Mexican drug lord after a money laundering scheme goes awry. The show is set at a lake resort in the Ozarks, although filming actually takes place at lakes in the Atlanta area in order to take advantage of tax breaks offered by the State of Georgia.

Jason Bateman is an actor from Rye, New York who is most associated with the role of Michael Bluth on TV’s “Arrested Development”. Jason’s older sister is Justine Bateman, who played Mallory Keaton on the show “Family Ties”.

24 Preserved, as pastrami : CURED

In the US, pastrami was originally called “pastrama”, and was a dish brought to America by Jewish immigrants from Romania in the second half of the nineteenth century. The original name may have evolved from the Turkish word “pastirma” meaning “pressed”. “Pastrama” likely morphed into “pastrami” influenced by the name of the Italian sausage called salami.

28 Retirement benefits org. : SSA

The Social Security Administration (SSA) was set up as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. The first person to receive a monthly retirement benefit was Ida May Fuller of Vermont who received her first check for the sum of $22.54 after having contributed for three years through payroll taxes. The New Deal turned out to be a good deal for Ms. Fuller, as she lived to be 100 years of age and received a total benefit of almost $23,000, whereas her three years of contributions added up to just $24.75.

33 One crying “Yer out!” : 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.

34 Nordic capital : OSLO

The Norwegian capital of Oslo is located at the northern end of a fjord known as Oslofjord. The fjord is home to 40 islands that lie within the city’s limits. Oslo also has 343 lakes.

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

36 “Hamilton” creator ___-Manuel Miranda : LIN

Lin-Manuel Miranda is a composer and playwright from New York City, and the creator and star of the hit Broadway musicals “Hamilton” and “In the Heights”. Miranda also co-wrote the songs for the 2016 Disney animated feature “Moana”. He started composing early, and wrote jingles as a child. One of those jingles was later used by Eliot Spitzer in his 2006 gubernatorial campaign.

42 Sport one’s biceps : FLEX

The biceps muscle is made up of two bundles of muscle, both of which terminate at the same point near the elbow. The heads of the bundles terminate at different points on the scapula or shoulder blade. “Biceps” is Latin for “two-headed”.

43 N.Y.S.E. debut : IPO

An initial public offering (IPO) is the very first offer of stock for sale by a company on the open market. In other words, an IPO marks the first time that a company is traded on a public exchange. Companies have an IPO to raise capital to expand (usually).

46 Dog collar attachment : ID TAG

Identity document (ID)

48 Post-O.R. stop : ICU

Intensive care unit (ICU)

52 The piper’s son, in a nursery rhyme : TOM

Tom, Tom, the piper’s son,
Stole a pig, and away did run;

The “pig” mentioned in the rhyme isn’t actually a live animal but rather a small pastry with an apple filling.

53 Drink in a red, white and blue cup : ICEE

Slush Puppie and ICEE are brands of frozen, slushy drinks. Ostensibly competing brands, ICEE company now owns the Slush Puppie brand.

59 Emissions watchdog, for short : EPA

The Clean Air Act of 1963 is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

67 007 creator Fleming : IAN

Ian Fleming is most famous for writing the “James Bond” series of spy novels. You might also know that he wrote the children’s story “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”, which was made into a cute movie released in 1968 and even a stage musical that opened in 2002.

The character James Bond was the creation of writer Ian Fleming. Fleming “stole” the James Bond name from an American ornithologist. The number 007 was “stolen” from the real-life, 16th century English spy called John Dee. Dee would sign his reports to Queen Elizabeth I with a stylized “007” to indicate that the reports were for “her eyes only”. There’s an entertaining miniseries that aired on BBC America called “Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond” that details Ian Fleming’s military career, and draws some nice parallels between Fleming’s experiences and aspirations and those of his hero James Bond. Recommended …

68 Kim of “Vertigo” : NOVAK

Kim Novak is a retired actress from Chicago who is perhaps best known for playing both Judy Barton and Madeleine Ester in the HItchcock classic “Vertigo” from 1958. Novak effectively retired from acting in the early sixties, making only a handful of appearances in the eighties and nineties.

“Vertigo” is a 1958 Alfred Hitchcock film that’s based on a 1954 novel “D’entre les morts” (“From Among the Dead”) by Boileau-Narcejac. Jimmy Stewart stars as a retired San Francisco police detective who has developed an extreme fear of heights. Stewart’s character is hired to trail someone’ wife, played by Kim Novak.

69 Company where the computer mouse was developed : XEROX

Xerox was founded in 1906 in Rochester, New York and originally made photographic paper and equipment. Real success came for the company in 1959 when it introduced the first plain-paper photocopier. Xerox named Ursula Burns as CEO in 2009, the first African American woman to head up a S&P 100 company. Burn was also the first woman to succeed another female CEO (replacing Anne Mulcahy).

The computer mouse was invented at the Stanford Research Institute in 1963, by one Douglas Engelbart. Sadly for him, his patent ran out before mice became standard equipment on computers, so he never made any money from his amazing invention.

70 Results of some Hail Mary passes, informally : TDS

Touchdown (TD)

A Hail Mary pass (also called “the long bomb”) is a desperation move in American football in which a long pass is thrown with very little chance of success, right at the end of a game or at the end of a half. The term dates back to the thirties, and was probably first used at Notre Dame. The “Hail Mary” is a prayer in the Christian tradition that is of particular significance Roman Catholicism.

71 Pesky fliers : GNATS

Gnats are attracted to the smell of rotting food, and vinegar. Simple homemade traps that use vinegar are often constructed to attract and kill gnats.

Down

3 Nissan compact : SENTRA

The Nissan Sentra is sold as the Nissan Sunny back in Japan.

4 “Giant” of wrestling and moviedom : ANDRE

André the Giant was a professional wrestler from France whose real name was André René Roussimoff. He suffered from gigantism, overproduction of growth hormone, and reached the height of 6 feet 3 inches by the time he was 12-years-old. But, he used his size to develop a very successful career in the ring.

5 Rushmore neighbor of Teddy : ABE

President Theodore Roosevelt and his wife Edith lived much of their lives in a 22-room mansion near Oyster Bay on the north shore of Long Island, New York. Named Sagamore Hill, the home was also known as the “Summer White House” in the years that President Roosevelt was in office.

The four presidents whose faces are carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore are (from left to right) George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Each of the presidents is about 60 feet in height, although they might have been larger. The original intent was for each president to be depicted from head to waist, but the project lost funding.

6 “The Bathers” Impressionist : RENOIR

“The Bathers” is a 1918/1919 oil painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir that is housed in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. One of the models Renoir used for the work was actress Catherine Hessling. A few years after posing, Hessling married Pierre-Auguste’s son Jean Renoir, who was to become one of France’s most famous film directors.

8 Disney mermaid’s name : ARIEL

In the 1989 Disney animated film “The Little Mermaid”, the title character is given the name “Ariel”. In the original fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen that dates back to 1836, the Little Mermaid is given no name at all. There is a famous statue of the unnamed Little Mermaid sitting in Copenhagen Harbor, in Andersen’s homeland of Denmark.

9 Cloistered one, perhaps : NUN

Cloisters are usually such beautifully peaceful areas. They are found as part of religious buildings in particular. Cloisters are rectangular open spaces surrounded by covered walkways that are attached to other structures. The use of the term “cloister” has evolved to also describe a monastery or convent.

12 Jersey : SHIRT

We use the word “jersey” for a sports shirt worn by a particular team member, one that usually bears the player’s name and team number. Back in the mid-1800s, the term was used for a knitted shirt or close-fitting tunic. The item of clothing was named for Jersey in the Channel Islands off the coast of France. The island was famous for its knitting trade during the Middle Ages.

18 Calculation using height and weight : BODY MASS INDEX

The body mass index (BMI) is the ratio of a person’s height to his or her mass.

23 Actor Efron : ZAC

Zac Efron is an actor from San Luis Obispo, California. Apparently Efron is a heartthrob to “tweenyboppers”. His big break came with the hit Disney movie “High School Musical”.

26 BOGO event : SALE

Buy one, get one (BOGO) or buy one, get one free (BOGOF).

32 Place to duke it out : BOXING RING

“Dukes” is a slang term meaning “fists, hands”. The route taken by “dukes” to become fists seems very tortuous, but might just be true. The term “fork” was slang for “hand” for centuries (and gives rise to “fork out” meaning “hand over”). The slang term “fork” is expressed in Cockney rhyming slang as “Duke of York”, which is shortened to “duke”. As I said, tortuous …

35 Venetian blind part : SLAT

Venetian blinds probably did not originate in Venice, and rather were brought to Europe from Persia by Venetian traders. Apparently, the French haven’t forgotten the true origins of the design as they call Venetian blinds “Les Persiennes”.

36 “The Loco-Motion” singer, 1962 : LITTLE EVA

Carole King and her longtime partner Gerry Goffin have been writing hit songs since the early sixties. Carole and Gerry had a babysitter, one Eva Narcissus Boyd, who was always bopping around the house in an unusual dance style. They wrote a song about her dance and they called it “The Loco-Motion”. Then they gave it to the babysitter to record. Ms. Boyd chose as a stage name a character in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” named Little Eva.

37 Bitter brews, for short : IPAS

India pale ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.

40 Danish shoe brand : ECCO

I have to say, after owning several pairs, that ECCO shoes are the most comfortable in the world …

41 Hand-to-hand combat? : THUMB WAR

A thumb war (also “thumb wrestling”) is a kid’s in which two players grasp each other’s hand, with thumbs pointing upwards. At the “go”, each competitor tries to pin his or her opponent’s thumb with their own.

47 Doomed from the start, for short : DOA

Dead on arrival (DOA)

54 It’s near a temple : EAR

The temporal lobe is one of the four main lobes of the brain, the others being the frontal lobe, parietal lobe and the occipital lobe. The temporal lobes (there is one on each side of the brain) are associated with visual memories, understanding language, and emotions. The “temporal” name comes from the fact that the lobes are located behind the temporal bones, the bones beneath the head’s temples. The temples are named from the Latin “tempus” meaning “time”. The idea is that a person’s age shows with greying of the hair at the temples.

60 Heinie : PRAT

“Prat” is a relatively new word for me, and is a slang term for the buttocks. A “prat-fall” is when someone falls and lands on the buttocks.

The slang term “heinie”, meaning “rear end”, is probably a contraction of “hind end”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Spanish house : CASA
5 Italian fashion giant : ARMANI
11 Blithering fool : ASS
14 Appearance of a comet, to some : OMEN
15 Capital on the eastern Mediterranean : BEIRUT
16 Word after Doctor or guess : … WHO
17 Like hallucinogenic drugs : MIND-BENDING
19 Unaccounted for, briefly : MIA
20 Opening remarks : INTRO
21 Uplifting verse : ODE
22 Netflix crime drama starring Jason Bateman : OZARK
24 Preserved, as pastrami : CURED
25 Society’s woes : ILLS
27 Targets for exterminators : ANTS
28 Retirement benefits org. : SSA
29 Long ago : YORE
31 Easy as ___ : ABC
33 One crying “Yer out!” : UMP
34 Nordic capital : OSLO
36 “Hamilton” creator ___-Manuel Miranda : LIN
39 Subtly suggests : GETS AT
42 Sport one’s biceps : FLEX
43 N.Y.S.E. debut : IPO
44 Needs a rubdown, say : ACHES
45 ___ safe distance : AT A
46 Dog collar attachment : ID TAG
48 Post-O.R. stop : ICU
49 Something to behold : SIGHT
51 “Untrue!” : NOT SO!
52 The piper’s son, in a nursery rhyme : TOM
53 Drink in a red, white and blue cup : ICEE
54 Alike: Fr. : EGAL
55 Save, in a way : BANK
57 Surf’s sound : ROAR
59 Emissions watchdog, for short : EPA
62 Knocked the socks off : WOWED
64 Some customized cars : LOWRIDERS
66 In the loop, so to speak : AWARE
67 007 creator Fleming : IAN
68 Kim of “Vertigo” : NOVAK
69 Company where the computer mouse was developed : XEROX
70 Results of some Hail Mary passes, informally : TDS
71 Pesky fliers : GNATS

Down

1 Sunday newspaper section : COMICS
2 B-plus beater : A-MINUS
3 Nissan compact : SENTRA
4 “Giant” of wrestling and moviedom : ANDRE
5 Rushmore neighbor of Teddy : ABE
6 “The Bathers” Impressionist : RENOIR
7 Neither left nor right : MIDDLE OF THE ROAD
8 Disney mermaid’s name : ARIEL
9 Cloistered one, perhaps : NUN
10 “Let ___!” : IT GO
11 “Jeez, that’s too bad!” : AW, MAN!
12 Jersey : SHIRT
13 Long baths : SOAKS
18 Calculation using height and weight : BODY MASS INDEX
23 Actor Efron : ZAC
26 BOGO event : SALE
30 Settle on, with “for” : OPT …
32 Place to duke it out : BOXING RING
33 Take advantage of : USE
35 Venetian blind part : SLAT
36 “The Loco-Motion” singer, 1962 : LITTLE EVA
37 Bitter brews, for short : IPAS
38 “Ain’t happenin'” : NO GO
39 Trot or canter : GAIT
40 Danish shoe brand : ECCO
41 Hand-to-hand combat? : THUMB WAR
45 Get mellower : AGE
47 Doomed from the start, for short : DOA
50 “Bleah!” : ICK!
54 It’s near a temple : EAR
56 Prefix with nautical : AERO-
58 Totally rules : OWNS
60 Heinie : PRAT
61 Seeks, as a price : ASKS
62 Impermanent sculpture material : WAX
63 Not be up to date on bills : OWE
64 Beyond tipsy : LIT
65 Put on : DON

8 thoughts on “0414-20 NY Times Crossword 14 Apr 20, Tuesday”

  1. 7:46, no errors. Didn’t notice the theme. (Gee, that’s never happened before … or has it … hmmm … 😜.)

  2. 8:03 Never picked up on the theme until looking at the finished puzzle “This does not surprise me”, said anyone who reads my comments… 🙂

  3. 9:11, no errors. The theme boxes in my puzzle were shaded, so I was actually able to see theme before finishing the puzzle. Had the most difficulty in the bottom right corner, wanting to enter SEAT instead of PRAT. Eventually, the term pratfall came to mind, and I was able to stop the timer.

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