0420-20 NY Times Crossword 20 Apr 20, Monday

Constructed by: Lynn Lempel
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Boy Oh Boy!

Themed answers each comprise two parts, both of which are types of BOY:

  • 66A “Wow!” … and a hint to both halves of the answers to the starred clues : BOY OH BOY!
  • 17A *Something to “take me out to,” in an old song : BALL GAME (ball boy & Game Boy)
  • 23A *The presidency, e.g. : HIGH OFFICE (highboy & office boy)
  • 38A *Unpleasant tidings : BAD NEWS (bad boy & newsboy)
  • 42A *Means of locating one from the herd : COWBELL (cowboy & bellboy)
  • 56A *Drama department production : SCHOOL PLAY (schoolboy & playboy)

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 4m 33s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 Orange-nosed Muppet : ELMO

The “Sesame Street” character named Elmo has a birthday every February 3rd, and on that birthday he always turns 3½ years old. The man behind/under Elmo on “Sesame Street” for many years was Kevin Clash. If you want to learn more about Elmo and Clash, you can watch the 2011 documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey”.

14 Hospital dept. for the neediest cases : ICU

Many a hospital (hosp.) includes an intensive care unit (ICU).

17 *Something to “take me out to,” in an old song : BALL GAME (ball boy & Game Boy)

“Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is a 1908 song that is traditionally sung during the seventh inning stretch of a baseball game. Even though the song is now inextricably linked to baseball, neither of the two composers had ever been to a game before they wrote it.

The Game Boy is a hugely successful handheld video game player that was released in 1989 by Nintendo. I remember that my kids were so eager to get hold of the devices when they first came out that I bought a couple of them in a Japanese railroad station, while over there on a business trip.

19 Hershey’s coconut candy bar : MOUNDS

I think my favorite candy growing up was an Almond Joy, although in my part of the world it was a little different formulation and was called a Bounty Bar (and was more like a Mounds bar). The Almond Joy bar has been around since 1946. Hershey’s used a famous jingle in a seventies ad campaign for the Mounds and Almond Joy:

Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t
Almond Joy’s got nuts
Mounds don’t

21 Close buddy, in a modern coinage : BFF

Best friend forever (BFF)

23 *The presidency, e.g. : HIGH OFFICE (highboy & office boy)

A lowboy is a chest of drawers for holding clothes that is about table height. A highboy is a double chest of drawers, with one chest on top of the other. The lower drawers are usually wider than those on top. A tallboy is a wardrobe sitting on top of a chest of drawers.

29 Desert refuges : OASES

An isolated area of vegetation in a desert is called an oasis (plural “oases”). As water is needed for plant growth, an oasis might also include a spring, pond or small lake. We often use the term “oasis” more generally to describe a haven, a place of rest.

33 Trains like Chicago’s : ELS

Elevated railroad (El)

35 Estate in “Gone With the Wind” : TARA

In Margaret Mitchell’s novel “Gone with the Wind”, Scarlett O’Hara’s home is the Tara plantation. Tara was founded not far from the Georgia city of Jonesboro by Scarlett’s father, Irish immigrant Gerald O’Hara. Gerald won the square mile of land on which Tara was built in an all-night poker game. He named his new abode after the Hill of Tara back in his home country, the ancient seat of the High King of Ireland. Rhett’s rival for the affections of Scarlet is Ashley Wilkes who lives at the nearby Twelve Oaks plantation.

37 George Gershwin’s brother/partner : IRA

Ira Gershwin was the lyricist who worked with his brother George to create such American classics as the songs “I Got Rhythm” and “Someone to Watch Over Me”, as well as the opera “Porgy and Bess”. After George Gershwin died, Ira continued to create great music, and worked with the likes of Jerome Kern and Kurt Weill.

44 Thrilla in Manila victor : ALI

Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier had three memorable fights. The first was billed as the “Fight of the Century” and took place in 1971 in Madison Square Garden. It was a fight between two great boxers, both of whom were undefeated up till that point. Frazier won in a unanimous decision after fifteen rounds. A couple of years later, in 1973, Frazier lost his title to George Foreman. Ali and Frazier had a non-title rematch in 1974, with Ali coming out ahead this time, also in a unanimous decision. Later that year, Ali grabbed back the World Heavyweight Title in “The Rumble in the Jungle”, the famous “rope-a-dope” fight against George Foreman. That set the stage for the third and final fight between Ali and Frazier, “The Thrilla in Manila”. Ali won the early rounds, but Frazier made a comeback in the middle of the fight. Ali took control at the end of the bout, so much so that Frazier wasn’t able to come out of his corner for the 15th and final round. He couldn’t come out of his corner because both of his eyes were swollen shut, giving Ali a victory due to a technical knockout (TKO).

45 Great ___ of China : WALL

The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications that was built and rebuilt over the centuries to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire. Most of the existing wall was reconstructed during the Ming Dynasty. This Ming wall is about 5,000 miles long. There is an urban myth that the Great Wall is visible from the Moon, or from space. NASA has shown that the Great Wall can only be discerned from low Earth orbit (about 100 miles), and that is no more or less visible than any other man-made structure.

59 Falco with Emmys for two different series : EDIE

Actress Edie Falco won three Emmy Awards for playing Carmela Soprano on HBO’s outstanding drama series called “The Sopranos”. Falco also won an Emmy in 2010 for playing the title role in “Nurse Jackie”, an excellent black comedy.

61 Flicks that sometimes end in weddings : ROMCOMS

The slang term “flick” meaning “movie” came into use in the mid-1920s. It comes from the “flickering” appearance of films back then.

68 Fox talent show winner : IDOL

“American Idol” is a spin-off show that was created after the amazing success of the British television show “Pop Idol”. Aired on Fox from 2002 to 2016, the show “jumped ship” and moved to ABC starting in the 2018 season.

69 Brian who coined the term “ambient music” : ENO

Brian Eno was one of the pioneers of the ambient genre of music. Eno composed an album in 1978 called “Ambient 1: Music for Airports”, which was the first in a series of four albums with an ambient theme. Eno named the tracks, somewhat inventively, 1/1, 1/2, 2/1 and 2/2.

71 Big Board inits. : NYSE

The roots of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) go back to 1792 when a group of 24 stock brokers set up the New York Stock & Exchange Board. They did so in an agreement signed under a buttonwood tree outside 68 Wall Street. That document became known as the Buttonwood Agreement. Today, the NYSE is located in a National Historic Landmark building with the address 11 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City.

72 Trifling amount : SOU

A sou is an old French coin. We use the term “sou” to mean “an almost worthless amount”.

Down

1 Sexual appetite : LIBIDO

“Libido” is a term popularized by Sigmund Freud. Freud’s usage was more general than is understood today, as he used “libido” to describe all instinctive energy that arose in the subconscious. He believed that we humans are driven by two desires, the desire for life (the libido, or Eros) and the desire for death (Thanatos).

2 Maine’s national park : ACADIA

Acadia National Park in Maine was created in 1919, although back then it was called Lafayette National Park in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette who famously supported the American Revolution. The park was renamed to Acadia in 1929.

3 Rhythmic heartbeats : PULSES

One’s pulse is the rhythmic throbbing of arteries that is usually detected at the wrist or the neck. The contraction of the heart creates a pressure wave in the blood that moves the arterial walls, which is detected as the pulse.

7 Keats’s tribute to an urn, e.g. : ODE

Here’s the first verse of the poem “Ode on a Grecian Urn” by John Keats:

THOU still unravish’d bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

8 Giant-sized TV, as in a stadium : JUMBOTRON

A JumboTron is a big-screen television system developed by Sony, one often seen in sports stadiums. The brand name “JumboTron” is used pretty generically now for any big-screen system in such venues, even though Sony exited the business in 2001.

11 Its symbol is Sn : TIN

The Latin word for tin is “stannum”, and so tin’s atomic symbol is “Sn”. One of the ores used as a source of tin is “stannite”.

18 Triangular sail : LATEEN

A lateen rig is a triangular sail mounted on a spar that is attached at an angle to the mast.

25 1950s Communist-bashing grp. in Congress : HUAC

The House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) was formed by the US House of Representatives in 1947 and disbanded in 1975. The House Committee is best remembered for its investigation of the Hollywood film industry in the late forties and fifties, which led to the blacklisting of hundreds of people. The House Committee had no formal connection with the infamous Senator Joseph McCarthy, who was Chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

26 Nastase of 1970s tennis : ILIE

I think that Ilie Nastase was the most entertaining tennis player of the 1970s, the days of Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. No matter how much pressure there was in a match, Nastase always had time to share a joke with the crowd. After retiring from the sport, he had a few novels published (in French) during the eighties. Then Nastase went into politics, making an unsuccessful run for the mayorship of Bucharest in 1996. He made a successful run for the Romanian Senate though, and was elected senator in 2014.

27 Astronomer Sagan : CARL

Carl Sagan was a brilliant astrophysicist, and a great communicator. Sagan was famous for presenting obscure concepts about the cosmos in such a way that we mere mortals could appreciate. He also wrote the novel “Contact” that was adapted into a fascinating 1997 film of the same name starring Jodie Foster.

28 Latin list lopper, in brief : ET AL

“Et alii” (et al.) is the equivalent of “et cetera” (etc.), with “et cetera” being used in place of a list of objects, and “et alii” used for a list of names. In fact, “et al.” can stand for “et alii” (a group of males, or males and females), “et aliae” (a group of women) and “et alia” (a group of neuter nouns, or a group of people where the intent is to retain gender-neutrality).

30 Whole lot : SLEW

Our usage of “slew” to mean “large number” has nothing to do with the verb “to slew” meaning “to turn, skid”. The noun “slew” came into English in the early 1800s from the Irish word “sluagh” meaning “host, crowd, multitude”.

36 G.I. who’s way off base : AWOL

MPs (military police officers) often track down personnel who go AWOL (absent without leave).

39 Knighted actor Guinness : ALEC

Sir Alec Guinness played many great roles over a long and distinguished career, but nowadays is best remembered (sadly, I think) for playing the original Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Star Wars”.

46 Texter’s guffaw : LOL

Laugh out loud (LOL)

53 Homes made of sun-dried bricks : ADOBES

The building material known as adobe has been around a long time, and has been used in dry climates all over the world. The original form of the word “adobe” dates back to Middle Egyptian times, about 2000 BC. The original spelling is “dj-b-t”, and translates as mud (sun-dried) brick.

54 “Madama Butterfly” dress : KIMONO

The lovely Japanese kimono is a garment worn by men, women and children. The word “kimono” translates simply as “thing to wear”, with “ki” meaning “wear” and “mono” meaning “thing”.

Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” is the most-performed opera in the US. The opera that we see today is actually the second version that Puccini produced. The original version was first staged in 1904 at La Scala in Milan where it received a very poor reception. Puccini reworked the piece, breaking the second act into two new acts and making some other significant changes. The opera was relaunched a few months later and it was a resounding success.

57 Airport for a Bull or a Bear : O’HARE

O’Hare International was the world’s busiest airport from 1963 to 1998. The original airport was constructed on the site between 1942 and 1943, and was used by the Douglas Aircraft Company for the manufacture of planes during WWII. Before the factory and airport were built, there was a community in the area called Orchard Place, so the airport was called Orchard Place Airport/Douglas Field. This name is the derivation of the airport’s current location identifier: ORD (OR-chard D-ouglas). Orchard Place Airport was renamed to O’Hare International in 1949 in honor of Lieutenant Commander Butch O’Hare who grew up in Chicago. O’Hare was the US Navy’s first flying ace and a Medal of Honor recipient in WWII.

The Chicago Bulls have won six NBA championships in the life of the franchise, all of them in the nineties. They won in the 1991, 1992 and 1993 seasons (a so-called “three-peat”), and then again in 1996, 1997 and 1998 (a second “three-peat”).

The Chicago Bears were founded in Decatur, Illinois in 1919 and moved to Chicago in 1921. The Bears are one of only two franchises in the NFL that were around at the time of the NFL’s founding (the other being the Arizona Cardinals, also based in Chicago in 1921).

58 Toys on strings : YO-YOS

Would you believe that the first yo-yos date back to 500 BC? There is even an ancient Greek vase painting that shows a young man playing with a yo-yo. Centuries later Filipinos were using yo-yos as hunting tools in the 1500s. “Yo-yo” is a Tagalog (Filipino) word meaning “come-come” or simply “return”.

64 ___ Today : USA

The title of the widest circulation of any American newspaper is an honor competed for by “The Wall Street Journal”, “The New York Times” and “USA Today”, with each paper selling about 2 million copies each day (including online subscribers). “USA Today” was launched in 1982.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Once around the track : LAP
4 Orange-nosed Muppet : ELMO
8 Bump against in a crowd : JOSTLE
14 Hospital dept. for the neediest cases : ICU
15 Document showing ownership : DEED
16 Loose, as shoelaces : UNTIED
17 *Something to “take me out to,” in an old song : BALL GAME (ball boy & Game Boy)
19 Hershey’s coconut candy bar : MOUNDS
20 “Sounds right to me” : I’D SAY SO
21 Close buddy, in a modern coinage : BFF
22 Weight watcher’s plan : DIET
23 *The presidency, e.g. : HIGH OFFICE (highboy & office boy)
29 Desert refuges : OASES
31 Crushing defeat : ROUT
32 Strip in a window blind : SLAT
33 Trains like Chicago’s : ELS
35 Estate in “Gone With the Wind” : TARA
37 George Gershwin’s brother/partner : IRA
38 *Unpleasant tidings : BAD NEWS (bad boy & newsboy)
42 *Means of locating one from the herd : COWBELL (cowboy & bellboy)
44 Thrilla in Manila victor : ALI
45 Great ___ of China : WALL
47 Neither’s partner : NOR
48 Where a nuthatch hatches : NEST
50 Circle : LOOP
52 Not watertight : LEAKY
56 *Drama department production : SCHOOL PLAY (schoolboy & playboy)
59 Falco with Emmys for two different series : EDIE
60 “Well, what have we here?!” : OHO!
61 Flicks that sometimes end in weddings : ROMCOMS
63 Prohibit : OUTLAW
66 “Wow!” … and a hint to both halves of the answers to the starred clues : BOY OH BOY!
67 Guarantee : ASSURE
68 Fox talent show winner : IDOL
69 Brian who coined the term “ambient music” : ENO
70 Performed some hip-hop : RAPPED
71 Big Board inits. : NYSE
72 Trifling amount : SOU

Down

1 Sexual appetite : LIBIDO
2 Maine’s national park : ACADIA
3 Rhythmic heartbeats : PULSES
4 Uptight : EDGY
5 Dog strap : LEASH
6 Account of one’s earlier days : MEMOIR
7 Keats’s tribute to an urn, e.g. : ODE
8 Giant-sized TV, as in a stadium : JUMBOTRON
9 Like a two-position electrical switch : ON/OFF
10 Fills tightly : STUFFS
11 Its symbol is Sn : TIN
12 Was the front-runner : LED
13 Some mag. workers : EDS
18 Triangular sail : LATEEN
24 Comprehended : GOT
25 1950s Communist-bashing grp. in Congress : HUAC
26 Nastase of 1970s tennis : ILIE
27 Astronomer Sagan : CARL
28 Latin list lopper, in brief : ET AL
30 Whole lot : SLEW
34 Gulped down : SWALLOWED
36 G.I. who’s way off base : AWOL
38 Prohibits : BANS
39 Knighted actor Guinness : ALEC
40 Bowl or plate : DISH
41 Swill for swine : SLOP
43 Kind of birth with a rear-first delivery : BREECH
46 Texter’s guffaw : LOL
49 Get ready for production, as a factory : TOOL UP
51 Satirical work, like “Bored of the Rings” : PARODY
53 Homes made of sun-dried bricks : ADOBES
54 “Madama Butterfly” dress : KIMONO
55 Response to “Who, me?” : YES, YOU
57 Airport for a Bull or a Bear : O’HARE
58 Toys on strings : YO-YOS
62 Spy on the inside : MOLE
63 Boat propeller : OAR
64 ___ Today : USA
65 Cough syrup amt. : TSP
66 Recycling container : BIN

10 thoughts on “0420-20 NY Times Crossword 20 Apr 20, Monday”

  1. 8:54 Even on my best days I’m 2X Bill’s time! And the theme made no sense to me until reading the blog….one of these days I’ll “get” the theme

  2. Re 30-Down: In school (many years ago), I learned that the verb meaning “to turn or skid” was spelled “slue”. Now, Merriam-Webster describes that as merely “a less common spelling” of “slew”. Interesting …

  3. Re 30-Down: In school (many years ago), I learned that the verb meaning “to turn or skid” was spelled “slue”. Now, Merriam-Webster describes that as merely “a less common spelling” of “slew”. Interesting …

  4. 8:21. I forgot to look for the theme. Once I saw it, I wasn’t sure it would have helped me.

    When I saw Bill’s explanation of all the “boys”, I thought of the tallboy beer. Generally those are beer containers with 16 oz or more in them. However, I’ve also heard “longnecks” – 12 oz beer bottles with the long neck at the top – described as tallboys. We need to get to the bottom of this. I know some people are working on a covid vaccine, but this is important!!

    Best –

  5. 9:50. Another sleepy morning. Twice Bill’s time…again. My Kindle Fire doesn’t always record my touches to I lose time going back and correcting my entries.

  6. Nice puzzle from Lynn Lempel as usual.

    I could not help but think that several of these “BOY” references have surely given over to gender equality nowadays. Also, an adult man fulfilling some of these roles is going to feel insulted still being referred to as a “BOY”. Times are changing.

  7. Bill’s explanations of clues and answers are the most important features of this blog, and better than anywhere else.

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