0601-20 NY Times Crossword 1 Jun 20, Monday

Constructed by: Erik Agard
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Pronouns Are Super!

Themed answers each start with a pronoun, and describe someone as “super”:

  • 19A Message on a giant foam finger : WE’RE NUMBER ONE!
  • 35A 1999 rom-com with Freddie Prinze Jr. and Rachael Leigh Cook : SHE’S ALL THAT
  • 43A “Anything Goes” song : YOU’RE THE TOP
  • 57A Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes slogan : THEY’RE GRRREAT!

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 5m 16s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 “Dancing Queen” group : ABBA

“Dancing Queen” is a great, great song from 1976 that was released by the Swedish group ABBA. ABBA’s music has never been as popular in the US as it is in other countries, but “Dancing Queen” did make it to the number-one spot in the charts here. It was in fact, ABBA’s only #1 hit in the US.

9 Barely open, as a door : AJAR

Our word “ajar” is thought to come from Scottish dialect, in which “a char” means “slightly open”.

15 Aloe ___ : VERA

Aloe vera is a succulent plant that grows in relatively dry climates. The plant’s leaves are full of biologically-active compounds that have been studied extensively. Aloe vera has been used for centuries in herbal medicine, mainly for topical treatment of wounds.

17 Cuban dance : RUMBA

The rumba (sometimes “rhumba”) is a Cuban dance, with influences brought by African slaves and Spanish colonists. The name “rumba” comes from “rumbo”, the Spanish word for “party, spree”.

30 “The Addams Family” cousin : ITT

In the television sitcom “The Addams Family”, the family had a frequent visitor called Cousin Itt. Itt is a short man with long hair that runs from his head to the floor. Cousin Itt was played by Italian actor Felix Silla.

They’re creepy and they’re kooky,
Mysterious and spooky,
They’re altogether ooky,
The Addams Family.

32 Prayer endings : AMENS

The word “amen” translates as “so be it”. “Amen” is said to be of Hebrew origin, but it is also likely to be influenced by Aramaic and Arabic.

35 1999 rom-com with Freddie Prinze Jr. and Rachael Leigh Cook : SHE’S ALL THAT

The 1999 romantic comedy “She’s All That” is an adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion” (as is “My Fair Lady”). The critics hated “She’s All That”, but it still made it to number one at the box office.

Freddie Prinze Jr. is an actor from Los Angeles who made it back with performances in teen movies like “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Scooby-Doo”. Prinze is married to actress Sarah Michelle Gellar.

41 Less than 90°, as an angle : ACUTE

In geometry, there are several classes of angles:

  • Acute (< 90 degrees) 
  • Right (= 90 degrees) 
  • Obtuse (> 90 degrees and < 180 degrees) 
  • Straight (180 degrees) 
  • Reflex (> 180 degrees)

42 “Livin’ la ___ Loca” : VIDA

“Livin’ La Vida Loca” is a 1999 single recorded by Ricky Martin, the title of which translates as “Living The Crazy Life”.

43 “Anything Goes” song : YOU’RE THE TOP

“Anything Goes” is a musical by Cole Porter, from a book by Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse, that tells of the goings on aboard an ocean liner sailing from New York to London. Some of the famous songs from the show are “Anything Goes”, “You’re the Top”, “I Get a Kick Out of You” as well as “The Gypsy in Me”.

46 Big California paper, for short : LAT

The “Los Angeles Times” newspaper started out life in 1881 as the “Los Angeles Daily Times”. The paper has a turbulent history, especially in the early 1900s when management and unions were at loggerheads. In 1910, two union members bombed the “Los Angeles Times” building causing a fire that killed 21 newspaper employees.

48 Orangutan, e.g. : APE

Orangutans (also “orangs”) are arboreal creatures, the largest arboreal animals known to man. They are native to Indonesia and Malaysia, and live in rainforests. Like most species in rainforests these days, orangutans are endangered, with only two species surviving. The word “orangutan” is Malay, meaning “man of the forest”.

49 Homophone of 24-Across : LYE
(24A Falsehood : LIE)

What we call “lye” is usually sodium hydroxide, although historically the term “lye” was used for potassium hydroxide. Lye has many uses, including to cure several foodstuffs. Lye can make olives less bitter, for example. The chemical is also found in canned mandarin oranges, pretzels and Japanese ramen noodles. More concentrated grades of lye are used to clear drains and clean ovens. Scary …

50 ___ Fridays : TGI

T.G.I. Fridays is an American restaurant chain that was founded in 1965 in New York City. Today there are over a thousand T.G.I. Friday’s restaurants in over 50 countries. I think that Fridays has always been particularly successful overseas. I used to visit one a lot with my family when we lived in the Philippines, and I believe the most successful Fridays restaurant anywhere in the world is the one in Haymarket Leicester Square in London in the UK.

55 Grp. that might give you a hand on the shoulder? : AAA

The American Automobile Association (AAA) is a not-for-profit organization focused on lobbying, provision of automobile servicing, and selling of automobile insurance. The AAA was founded in 1902 in Chicago and published the first of its celebrated hotel guides back in 1917.

57 Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes slogan : THEY’RE GRRREAT!

Tony the Tiger has been the mascot of Frosted Flakes cereal since the product’s introduction in 1951. As Tony would say, “They’re Gr-r-reat!” Well, I thought they were when I was a lot younger …

69 Norway’s 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.

71 Not-safe-for-work transmission : SEXT

Sexting (a portmanteau of “sex” and “texting”) is the sending of explicit dialog and images between cell phones. The term “sexting” was coined by the UK’s “Sunday Telegraph Magazine” in a 2005 article.

The abbreviation “NSFW” stands for “not safe/suitable for work”. It’s Internet slang used to describe online content that is best not viewed at work.

72 Some whiskeys : RYES

For whiskey to be labelled as “rye” in the US, it has to be distilled from at least 51% rye grain. In Canada however, a drink called rye whiskey sometimes contains no rye at all.

Down

1 Cole ___ : SLAW

The term “coleslaw” is an Anglicized version of the Dutch name “koolsla”, which in itself is a shortened form of “Koolsalade” meaning “cabbage salad”.

4 Grows, as the moon : WAXES

The verb “to wax”, in phrases like “wax lyrical” and “wax poetic”, means “to grow”. “To wax” is the opposite of “to wane”, which means “to decrease”. We are probably most familiar with the “waxing and waning” of the moon.

5 Grad : ALUM

An alumnus (plural “alumni”) is a graduate or former student of a school or college. The female form is “alumna” (plural “alumnae”). The term comes into English from Latin, in which an alumnus is a foster-son or pupil. “Alum” is an informal term used for either an alumna or alumnus.

7 Site of a biblical tower : BABEL

We use the word “babel” now to describe a scene of confusion, lifting the term from the biblical story of the Tower of Babel. The Tower was built in the city of Babylon, and the construction was cursed with a confusion of languages due to the varied origins of all the builders.

8 Company that launched Pong : ATARI

Do you remember the arcade video game that is like a game of tennis, with paddles moving up and down to hit what looks like a ball, over what looks like a net? Well, that is Pong. The arcade version of Pong was introduced in 1972, with Atari selling a home version through Sears for the Christmas market in 1975.

9 Stratford-upon-___ : AVON

Stratford-upon-Avon is a town in the county of Warwickshire in the English midlands. Most famously perhaps, it was the birthplace of William Shakespeare.

20 TV drama with spinoffs set in Los Angeles and New Orleans : NCIS

NCIS is the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which investigates crimes in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The service gives its name to the CBS TV show “NCIS”, a spin-off drama from “JAG” in which the main “NCIS” characters were first introduced. The big star in “NCIS” is the actor Mark Harmon. “NCIS” is now a franchise, with spin-off shows “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “NCIS: New Orleans”.

21 Down Under gemstone : OPAL

97% of the world’s opals come from Australia, so it’s no surprise perhaps that the opal is the national gemstone of the country. The state of South Australia provides the bulk of the world’s production, i.e. about 80%.

31 Silicon Valley industry : TECH

The Santa Clara Valley, located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay, is better known as “Silicon Valley”. The term “Silicon Valley” dates back to 1971 when it was apparently first used in a weekly trade newspaper called “Electronic News” in articles written by journalist Don Hoefler.

33 Cable channel that brought the world “Beavis and Butt-head” : MTV

“Beavis and Butt-Head” is an adult cartoon television show and film. The show ran on MTV. I’ve never seen it …

44 Lake with a namesake canal : ERIE

The Erie Canal runs from Albany to Buffalo in the state of New York. What the canal does is allow shipping to proceed from New York Harbor right up the Hudson River, through the canal and into the Great Lakes. When it was opened in 1825, the Erie Canal had an immediate impact on the economy of New York City and locations along its route. It was the first means of “cheap” transportation from a port on the Atlantic seaboard into the interior of the United States. Arguably it was the most important factor contributing to the growth of New York City over competing ports such as Baltimore and Philadelphia. It was largely because of the Erie Canal that New York became such an economic powerhouse, earning it the nickname of “the Empire State”. Paradoxically, one of the project’s main proponents was severely criticized. New York Governor DeWitt Clinton received so much ridicule that the canal was nicknamed “Clinton’s Folly” and “Clinton’s Ditch”.

54 DNA shape : HELIX

Francis Crick and James Watson discovered that DNA had a double-helix, chain-like structure, and published their results in Cambridge in 1953. To this day the discovery is mired in controversy, as some crucial results collected by fellow researcher Rosalind Franklin were used without her permission or even knowledge. In 1962, along with molecular biologist Maurice Wilkins, Watson and Crick were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine.

58 Angel’s headwear : HALO

The Greek word “halos” is the name given to the ring of light around the sun or moon, which gives us our word “halo” that is used for a radiant light depicted above the head of a saintly person.

59 Hanukkah coins : GELT

“Gelt” is the Yiddish word for “money”.

64 ___ Solo of “Star Wars” : HAN

Han Solo is the space smuggler in “Star Wars” played by Harrison Ford. Ford was originally hired by George Lucas just to read lines for actors during auditions for “Star Wars”, but over time Lucas became convinced that Ford was right for the pivotal role of Han Solo.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Place underneath one’s seat, say : STOW
5 “Dancing Queen” group : ABBA
9 Barely open, as a door : AJAR
13 “Ingredient” in molten chocolate cake : LAVA
14 Decorated parade vehicle : FLOAT
15 Aloe ___ : VERA
16 Pinnacle : APEX
17 Cuban dance : RUMBA
18 Sign for the superstitious : OMEN
19 Message on a giant foam finger : WE’RE NUMBER ONE!
22 Chem. or biol. : SCI
23 ___ of the tongue : SLIP
24 Falsehood : LIE
27 Big jerk : ASS
30 “The Addams Family” cousin : ITT
32 Prayer endings : AMENS
34 To the ___ degree : NTH
35 1999 rom-com with Freddie Prinze Jr. and Rachael Leigh Cook : SHE’S ALL THAT
39 Release, as a new album : DROP
41 Less than 90°, as an angle : ACUTE
42 “Livin’ la ___ Loca” : VIDA
43 “Anything Goes” song : YOU’RE THE TOP
46 Big California paper, for short : LAT
47 Go in : ENTER
48 Orangutan, e.g. : APE
49 Homophone of 24-Across : LYE
50 ___ Fridays : TGI
51 Target of a scratch : ITCH
55 Grp. that might give you a hand on the shoulder? : AAA
57 Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes slogan : THEY’RE GRRREAT!
63 Equestrian’s “Stop!” : WHOA!
65 Turned white : PALED
66 ___-pads (hygiene product) : MAXI
67 Lug along : HAUL
68 Lesser of two ___ : EVILS
69 Norway’s capital : OSLO
70 Latch ___ (seize) : ONTO
71 Not-safe-for-work transmission : SEXT
72 Some whiskeys : RYES

Down

1 Cole ___ : SLAW
2 Alternative to glue : TAPE
3 Above : OVER
4 Grows, as the moon : WAXES
5 Grad : ALUM
6 Woefully underperforms : BOMBS
7 Site of a biblical tower : BABEL
8 Company that launched Pong : ATARI
9 Stratford-upon-___ : AVON
10 Award-winning sports journalist who went from ESPN to The Atlantic : JEMELE HILL
11 Exist : ARE
12 Went for office : RAN
14 Signature accessory of Carmen Miranda : FRUIT HAT
20 TV drama with spinoffs set in Los Angeles and New Orleans : NCIS
21 Down Under gemstone : OPAL
25 24 hours from now : IN A DAY
26 Subject of a will : ESTATE
27 “Still …” : AND YET …
28 Well-muscled : STRONG
29 “Don’t hesitate to say what you want” : SHOUT IT OUT
31 Silicon Valley industry : TECH
33 Cable channel that brought the world “Beavis and Butt-head” : MTV
36 Take to court : SUE
37 Intro to boy or girl : ATTA …
38 Animals with spots : LEOPARDS
40 ___-K (early learning) : PRE
44 Lake with a namesake canal : ERIE
45 Prickly ___ (variety of cactus) : PEAR
52 Goes tap-tap-tap on a keyboard : TYPES
53 Yearn for : CRAVE
54 DNA shape : HELIX
56 Knight’s protection : ARMOR
58 Angel’s headwear : HALO
59 Hanukkah coins : GELT
60 “No sweat!” : EASY!
61 Spinning part of a car : AXLE
62 Spanish uncles : TIOS
63 “Which person?” : WHO?
64 ___ Solo of “Star Wars” : HAN

17 thoughts on “0601-20 NY Times Crossword 1 Jun 20, Monday”

  1. 5:17. Bill beat me by ONE second? That hurts. Didn’t even think to look for the theme. GELT again??? Three days in a row? Now this is a full blown conspiracy. The GELT mafia is out to GE(L)T me!

    Best –

  2. 12:46 no errors…I can picture Mr Agard now just dying to add some off the wall clues to this easy puzzle…and with no partner yet…what’s happening here?
    Stay safe

  3. No errors. Nice puzzle from Mr. Agard. I like to see that he can work the entire range of difficulty from Monday to Sunday.

    @Bill—I went to my kitchen to look at the ingredients on some ramen noodles. Sure enough, I found a chemical called “Sodium Tripolyphosphate” listed. And that was only one of several others with chemically names. I am going to use up what I have but after that I am not buying any more of them.

  4. 6:32, no errors. Outside of recognizing the expressions, didn’t bother with the theme entries.

    Minor comment regarding Bill’s explanation for 7D BABEL. According to Bible stories, after the flood, humankind was a single family of Noah’s descendants. All spoke the same language. When they decided to build the Tower of Babel, presumably to reach the Heavens, God cursed them to speak different languages, making them unable to complete the tower.

    1. @Bruce B—You are right about this, Bruce. That is how the Bible presents it. I have my own take on these passages if I may give my own interpretation.

      These ancient Hebrew scholars were always attempting to explain the things that puzzled them. One of those things was “why do people speak different languages?” Why don’t all people speak the same language? Wouldn’t that be more natural?”

      These ancient religious theologians then thought “Why, of course, it must have been because God willed it to be so because of something humanity was trying to do that displeased God.” Thus, a fable was created to explain a characteristic of the natural world that they did not understand.

      I realize that I am going contrary to the belief that the Bible is infallible. I am not saying that there is no truth in it. Archeological evidence has shown that there was indeed such a tower in ancient Babylon. But it is much easier to see these passages as having been written long after the fact and embellished in order to make a point.

      1. Bruce B and Joe –

        Interesting discussion on something I didn’t/don’t know much about. My understanding of the evolution of languages is that it was intentional. Different tribes did not want rival tribes to understand what they were saying so they diversified their speech. That’s how it was explained to me anyway.

        But what do I know – I always assumed the Tower of Babel was just something they built with extra insurance money they collected from the flood….

  5. Re: 61-Down Unless I am mistaken about something, the axle on a car does not spin. The axle is stationary and the wheels spin on the axle.

    1. From the dictionary: “a rod or spindle (either fixed or rotating) passing through the center of a wheel or group of wheels”. Generally depends on whether the wheel is driven or not. For example, a car with rear wheel drive, the rear wheels are powered by the rotating. rear axle. The front wheels, however, are free to spin on a front axle stub (often called a spindle) which does not rotate.

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