0430-20 NY Times Crossword 30 Apr 20, Thursday

Constructed by: Caitlin Reid
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Corner Kicks

Themed answers each include a rebus square in a CORNER of the grid. Those rebus squares are types of shoes (“KICKS”):

  • 35A Goal-scoring opportunities in soccer … or a hint to this puzzle’s theme : CORNER KICKS
  • 1A Pirates, say : BOOTLEGS
  • 10A Refilling site : GAS PUMP
  • 60A Type of short haircut : FLATTOP
  • 62A Bunker need : SAND WEDGE
  • 1D Rigorous training courses : BOOTCAMPS
  • 13D Deceptive basketball moves : PUMP FAKES
  • 39D Doesn’t land, as a joke : FALLS FLAT
  • 44D Common seafood garnish : LEMON WEDGE

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 19m 53s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Pirates, say : BOOTLEGS

To bootleg is to make or smuggle alcoholic drinks illegally. The term arose in the late 1800s as slang for the practice of concealing a flask of liquor down the leg of a high boot. The term has been extended to mean the illegal production and sale of just about anything.

10 Refilling site : GAS PUMP

The gas pump was actually around before there were cars on the road. The first gas pump was the invention of one Sylvanus Bowser from Fort Wayne, Indiana. His first pump was designed to pump kerosene for lamps and stoves, and was introduced in 1885. As automobiles became popular, he modified the design to pump gasoline. He introduced the Self-Measuring Gasoline Storage Pump in 1905. He marketed his devices all around the world, and in some parts the name “bowser” is still used sometimes to refer to fuel pumps, and indeed some fuel tankers.

14 “The City of a Thousand Minarets” : CAIRO

Cairo is the capital city of Egypt. It is nicknamed “The City of a Thousand Minarets” because of its impressive skyline replete with Islamic architecture. The name “Cairo” is a European corruption of the city’s original name in Arabic, “Al-Qahira”.

16 First name of an early explorer of Vinland : LEIF

Leif Erikson was a Norse explorer and the first European to land in North America, some 500 years before Christopher Columbus’s landing in 1492. The Norsemen named the area they discovered “Vinland”, which might translate as “Wine Land” or “Pasture Land”. Erikson built a small settlement called Leifsbudir, which archaeologists believe they have found in modern day Newfoundland, at L’Anse aux Meadows. The settlement discovered in Newfoundland is definitely Norse, but there is some dispute over whether it is actually Erikson’s Leifsbudir.

18 Point for Poseidon : TINE

Poseidon was the god of the sea in Greek mythology as well as the “Earthshaker”, the god responsible for earthquakes.

19 Bombeck who wrote “I Lost Everything in the Post-Natal Depression” : ERMA

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.

20 ___-jongg : MAH

Mahjong (also “mahjongg” and “mah-jongg”) is the Chinese word for “sparrow”. Mahjong is a game that originated in China, and is usually played by four players. There is a myth that the game was developed by the Chinese philosopher, Confucius. The myth also suggests that Confucius was fond of birds, and hence chose the name “sparrow”.

26 Michigan, e.g.: Abbr. : AVE

Chicago’s Michigan Avenue is home to many of the city’s landmarks, including the Chicago Water Tower, the Art Institute of Chicago, Millenium Park and the Magnificent Mile shopping district.

27 Mysterious monster, familiarly : NESSIE

The monster that is reputed to inhabit the depths of Loch Ness in Scotland is often referred affectionately as “Nessie”.

28 Rush-hour subway commuter, metaphorically : SARDINE

The commuters were packed in like sardines in a can.

Our verb “to commute”, meaning “to go back and forth to work”, ultimately derives from the Latin “commutare”, meaning “to often change”. Back in the late 1800s, a “commutation ticket” was a season pass, so named because it allowed one to “change” one kind of payment into another. Quite interesting …

30 Fig. on some I.R.S. forms : EIN

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

31 Extra periods, for short : OTS

Overtime (OT)

32 “Oh, baloney!” : HOGWASH!

“Hogwash” means “rubbish, of little value”. “Hogwash” was originally the name of swill fed to pigs.

35 Goal-scoring opportunities in soccer … or a hint to this puzzle’s theme : CORNER KICKS

Soccer (also known as “association football”) is the most popular sport in the world. The term “association football” was introduced in 1863 in England, with the name chosen to distinguish the sport from rugby football. The term “soccer” started to appear about 20 years later in Oxford, as an abbreviation for “association”.

37 Efron of Hollywood : 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”.

38 “When We Were Very Young” author, 1924 : AA MILNE

Alan Alexander (A.A.) Milne was an English author who is best known for his delightful “Winnie-the-Pooh” series of books. He had only one son, Christopher Robin Milne, born in 1920. The young Milne was the inspiration for the Christopher Robin character in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Winnie-the-Pooh was named after Christopher Robin’s real teddy bear, one he called Winnie, who in turn was named after a Canadian black bear called Winnie that the Milnes would visit in London Zoo. The original Winnie teddy bear is on display at the main branch of the New York Public Library in New York.

40 Christmas season purchase : FIR

The custom of decorating trees at Christmas seems to have originated in Renaissance Germany. Those first trees were placed in guildhalls and were decorated with sweets and candy for the apprentices and children. After the Protestant Reformation, the Christmas tree became an alternative in Protestant homes for the Roman Catholic Christmas cribs. The Christmas tree tradition was imported into Britain by the royal family because of its German heritage. That tradition spread from Britain into North America.

41 20 Questions category : MINERAL

45 20 Questions category : ANIMAL

The parlor game called Twenty Questions originated in the US and really took off in the late forties as it became a weekly quiz show on the radio. Am I the only one who thinks that there aren’t enough quiz shows on the radio these days? Apart from a couple of great shows on NPR, I have to resort to listening to the BBC game shows over the Internet …

47 One of the Cyclades : IOS

The Cyclades are a group of islands in the Aegean Sea lying southeast of the Greek mainland. There are about 200 islands in the group, almost all of which are the peaks of a submerged mountain range. Ios is one of the larger islands, and is 11 miles long and 6 miles wide.

48 Place for un béret : TETE

In French, one wears a “chapeau” (hat), a “béret” (beret) perhaps, on one’s “tête” (head).

52 Role for Vin Diesel in the “Fast & Furious” movies : DOM

Vin Diesel is the stage name of actor Mark Sinclair Vincent. He was born in New York City with his twin brother Paul. The twins never knew their father, and their mother is an astrologer. Vincent was given the nickname of “Diesel” by his friends early in his life, as he was said to have a bottomless supply of energy.

54 Easy-to-park car : MINI

The original mini was a fabulous car, one that I drove all over Ireland in my youth. It had a unique front-wheel-drive layout that took up very little space, allowing for a lot of room (relatively speaking) for passengers and baggage. One space-saving trick was to mount the engine transversely, so it sits rotated 90 degrees from the norm. That engine had a capacity of only 848cc. In 1961, a Mini Cooper model was introduced, which was a sporty version. The Mini Cooper was a phenomenal hit, especially after repeated wins in the Monte Carlo Rally. The Mini marque has been owned by BMW since 1994.

57 Role for John Cho in the “Star Trek” movies : SULU

John Cho is an actor and musician who was born in Seoul, South Korea but who has lived in the US since he was a young boy. Cho’s break in movies came in playing Harold Lee in the ”Harold & Kumar” films. He is now making a name for himself playing Mr. Sulu in the latest “Star Trek” movies.

59 Easiest rating for a ski slope : GREEN

In North America, ski runs are given a standardized rating in terms of skiing difficulty. The ratings are:

  • Green circles: easy to ski, often termed “bunny slopes”.
  • Blue squares: medium difficulty
  • Black diamond: steep and challenging terrain
  • Double black diamond: experts only (I’ve never braved one!)

62 Bunker need : SAND WEDGE

Sand traps on a golf course are referred to as “bunkers” on the other side of the Atlantic.

Down

4 Hurdle for an M.A. pursuer : GRE

Passing the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is usually a requirement for entry into graduate school here in the US.

6 Athleisure, e.g. : ACTIVEWEAR

The wearing of clothing designed for athletic activity in casual, non-athletic environments is termed “athleisure”, which is a portmanteau of “athletic” and “leisure”.

11 “Sssss” makers : AEROSOLS

Strictly speaking, the term “aerosol” defines a suspension of either liquid droplets or solid particles in a gas. A good example of an aerosol is smoke. We tend to use the “aerosol” to describe what comes out of a spray can, even though the liquid droplets usually fall out of the gas and don’t stay suspended.

12 Video game series since 1989 : SIMCITY

SimCity is a very clever computer game. Players build and grow cities and societies by creating the conditions necessary for people (the Sims) to move in and thrive. SimCity was launched in 1989, and to this day it is consistently ranked as one of the greatest computer games of all time.

23 Burns up in film? : KEN

Ken Burns directs and produces epic documentary films that usually make inventive use of archive footage. Recent works are the sensational “The War” (about the US in WWII) and the magnificent “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea”, as well as 2014’s “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History”. Burns’ 2017’s offering was “The Vietnam War” that he co-directed with Lynn Novick.

25 Stopgap, maybe : AD HOC

The Latin phrase “ad hoc” means “for this purpose”. An ad hoc committee, for example, is formed for a specific purpose and disbanded after making its final report.

27 In which nothing is everything : NIHILISM

“Nihil” is the Latin word for “nothing, and is a term we’ve absorbed into English. “Nihil” is also the root from which we get our term “nil”. Someone described as “nihilistic” is very skeptical and tends to believe in nothing.

30 Affectionate nose-rubbing : ESKIMO KISS

What we call an “eskimo kiss” is a pressing of one’s nose against the nose of another. The practice is based on a traditional Inuit greeting known as a “kunik”. A kunik is an intimate expression of affection involving the pressing of the tip of the nose and the upper lip against the cheek or the forehead of a loved one. While touching the other person’s skin, the person giving the kunik breathes in, causing a gentle suction bond between the two.

34 Something to shoot for : SKEET

There are three types of competitive shotgun target shooting sports:

  • Skeet shooting
  • Trap shooting
  • Sporting clays

35 University of Oregon logo : CAPITAL O

The University of Oregon was founded in 1876 as Oregon State University. I hear that the campus is very attractive, being located along the banks of the Willamette River.

36 Default for many airport TVs : CNN

CNN (Cable News Network) was launched in 1980 by the Turner Broadcasting System, and was the first television channel in the world to provide news coverage 24 hours a day.

40 It’s chewed by the chatty : FAT

Back in the day, a wealthy person would “bring home the bacon”, and sit around with guests “chewing the fat”.

50 Hill worker : AIDE

The designer of Washington D.C., Pierre L’Enfant, chose the crest of a hill as the site for the future Congress House. He called the location “Jenkins Hill” and “Jenkins Heights”. Earlier records show the name as “New Troy”. Today we call it “Capitol Hill”.

54 Time, e.g., in brief : MAG

“Time” magazine has a readership of about 25 million, making it the largest-circulation weekly news magazine in the world.

56 Singer/songwriter Rita : ORA

Rita Ora is a British singer who was born Rita Sahatçiu in Pristina, Yugoslavia to Albanian parents. The family name “Sahatçiu” comes from a Turkish word meaning “watchmaker”. Rita’s parents changed their name to make it easier to pronounce. So, the family name morphed from “watchmaker” to “time”, which is “ora” in Albanian.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Pirates, say : BOOTLEGS
6 “Like, no way!” : AS IF!
10 Refilling site : GAS PUMP
14 “The City of a Thousand Minarets” : CAIRO
15 Sound from a toy train : CHOO!
16 First name of an early explorer of Vinland : LEIF
17 Tweak : ALTER
18 Point for Poseidon : TINE
19 Bombeck who wrote “I Lost Everything in the Post-Natal Depression” : ERMA
20 ___-jongg : MAH
21 Whittles down : THINS
23 Rap : KNOCK
24 Something heard in court : PLEA
26 Michigan, e.g.: Abbr. : AVE
27 Mysterious monster, familiarly : NESSIE
28 Rush-hour subway commuter, metaphorically : SARDINE
30 Fig. on some I.R.S. forms : EIN
31 Extra periods, for short : OTS
32 “Oh, baloney!” : HOGWASH!
34 Artful : SLY
35 Goal-scoring opportunities in soccer … or a hint to this puzzle’s theme : CORNER KICKS
37 Efron of Hollywood : ZAC
38 “When We Were Very Young” author, 1924 : AA MILNE
39 Snazzy dresser : FOP
40 Christmas season purchase : FIR
41 20 Questions category : MINERAL
45 20 Questions category : ANIMAL
47 One of the Cyclades : IOS
48 Place for un béret : TETE
49 Free to attack : LET AT
50 “Go ahead, shoot!” : ASK ME!
52 Role for Vin Diesel in the “Fast & Furious” movies : DOM
53 Student ___ : LOAN
54 Easy-to-park car : MINI
55 “Don’t make me laugh!” : GOD NO!
57 Role for John Cho in the “Star Trek” movies : SULU
58 Troubles : ADOS
59 Easiest rating for a ski slope : GREEN
60 Type of short haircut : FLATTOP
61 Picks up : GETS
62 Bunker need : SAND WEDGE

Down

1 Rigorous training courses : BOOTCAMPS
2 “I’m not listening to you!” : LA LA LA!
3 Whichever : EITHER
4 Hurdle for an M.A. pursuer : GRE
5 Breed : SORT
6 Athleisure, e.g. : ACTIVEWEAR
7 Liking : SHINE
8 Cannon ammo in sci-fi : IONS
9 Challenger : FOE
10 Vales : GLENS
11 “Sssss” makers : AEROSOLS
12 Video game series since 1989 : SIMCITY
13 Deceptive basketball moves : PUMP FAKES
22 Target for clippers : HANGNAIL
23 Burns up in film? : KEN
25 Stopgap, maybe : AD HOC
27 In which nothing is everything : NIHILISM
29 “Should ___ shouldn’t …” : I OR
30 Affectionate nose-rubbing : ESKIMO KISS
33 Knockoff of a Greek sculpture? : ARM
34 Something to shoot for : SKEET
35 University of Oregon logo : CAPITAL O
36 Default for many airport TVs : CNN
37 Daydream : ZONE OUT
39 Doesn’t land, as a joke : FALLS FLAT
40 It’s chewed by the chatty : FAT
42 Ripen, maybe : REDDEN
43 Made good : ATONED
44 Common seafood garnish : LEMON WEDGE
46 “Put your big boy pants on!” : MAN UP!
47 Immature retort : IS NOT!
50 Hill worker : AIDE
51 Items carried in spoons in an outdoor race : EGGS
54 Time, e.g., in brief : MAG
56 Singer/songwriter Rita : ORA

21 thoughts on “0430-20 NY Times Crossword 30 Apr 20, Thursday”

  1. 18:21, no errors. It took me a while to realize that the rebuses were all types of footwear and, even then, the lower right corner cost me about five minutes. Pretty difficult one … 😳 … but, ultimately, satisfying … 😜.

    1. Some kind of spam bot, I assume. Kind of makes one lose faith in the human race … 😳.

      I think Bill has to delete a lot of stuff like this and just hasn’t gotten around to deleting this one.

  2. 19:33 Figured out the reveal, figured out the rebuses, never knew “kicks” was an alternative word for “shoe” so never made the connection to the rebuses, which should surprise no one…. 🙂

  3. Well, I made that harder than it had to be. Slow start, slow solve. But less than twice Bill’s time do I’ll call it a win. 34:39.no errors.

  4. 17:43. I normally do these in the evening. Today’s I did in the morning. I think it helps, but I seldom have time in the morning these days.

    Never heard of a WEDGE shoe. I looked them up. Seems like a high heel shape, but it has a solid bottom rather than a space between the ground and the bottom of the shoe like a pump would. I just exhausted my entire knowledge of women’s shoes.

    I think Brian needs to take a writing class. His grammar is terrible even by internet standards.

    Best –

    1. I actually spent some time trying to analyze Brian’s writing, and I have at least two theories. One is that “Brian” is an AI device of some kind, perhaps like the one that produced the book “The Policeman’s Beard is Half-constructed: Computer Prose and Poetry” (a book that I will not try to describe here), but with a rather more limited set of terms to work with. The second is that “Brian” took some descriptive prose from a foreign porn site and put it through a sequence of on-line translators to end up with the English gobbledygook that “he” posted.

    2. Of course, once Bill deletes “Brian’s” handiwork, then, five weeks from now, everyone will wonder what on earth we’re talking about. Trust me … you don’t want to know … 😜.

      1. Ha, I was wondering what was going on. The first comment I saw was Greg asking “How did that first ‘reply’ get in there?” Made for some interesting reading, however.

  5. Nonny, that 5 week thing crossed my mind as well, hopefully Mr. Butler leaves our musings up to let ‘em wonder…

  6. I couldn’t solve this as the corner letters were just single letters. How did you guys manage to put say “boot” into the upper left corner?

    1. If you’re working with pen or pencil on paper, you just have to use really small letters. Online, it depends on the particular tool: for example, the NYT crossword app has a “REBUS” key that allows you to put more than one character in a square, but some apps don’t have such a key.

      So, for me, the sequence was: 1) Tap the upper left corner square; 2) tap “REBUS”; 3) tap “B”, “O”, “O”, and “T”; and 4) tap “REBUS” again.

  7. No errors.. Got stuck in NW corner way too long.. I had BOOT LOGS for 1A. .. And CAPRI for 14A, So all the downs weren’t lining up. . and OPTFOR on 3D. Took a step back and looked it over.. Oh, CAIRO fell in, then EITHER and voila.. It all fell together..

    NIHILISM was a bit of a stumper. Never have seen it used except in crosswords.
    Be safe.. It was fun.

  8. Well, I was wondering. The other thing I don’t get is that whenever I think a puzzle is easy others remark it’s difficult. The opposite is often true, I thought t0day’s was like a Tuesday puzzle. Yesterday although I solved it was a challenge for me and the comments were about how easy it was for a Wednesday

  9. 1:00:00 no errors except I had BAG in the SE corner…my curiosity is peaked about what was now deleted remarks.
    Stay safe y’all .

  10. Had HEARTLESS/HEARTCAMP in the NW, which made sense in a way. Gave myself a loud Doh! when I saw BOOT. Didn’t know GRE so LEGS wasn’t gonna happen.

  11. Wrote “longnail” instead of “hangnail” and never questioned
    that answer again. Crossed didn’t fit. So I DNF-ed.

  12. 16:15, no errors. Worked across the top, with nothing to enter, until the right corner. Got enough crosses to get GAS and FAKES. Realized that the corner square had to be a rebus, initially wanted to put HEAD in square 13, but then figured PUMP would be better. Fortunately, have heard of KICKS as slang for shoes. Today’s grid dropped fairly easily for me.

  13. I came close to a win today but I missed two of the corner words. I had DOG for BOOT and SLICE for WEDGE.

    The biggest problem I had was not realizing that I was looking for the names of shoes. I thought that the revealer was indicating that it wanted names of certain KICKS in soccer. Since I know very little about soccer terminology, I made my best guesses as to what the different types of kicks might be called.

    Anyway, I am satisfied with my effort today. This was a tough one for me.

    1. @joe — Your second paragraph describes exactly what I was thinking. And the third, for that matter, too.

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