0603-20 NY Times Crossword 3 Jun 20, Wednesday

Constructed by: Johanna Fenimore
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: The Big Bad Wolf

The last word in each of today’s themed answers bring to mind THE BIG BAD WOLF who threatened to “HUFF and PUFF and BLOW the house down” in “The Three Little Pigs” fairy tale:

  • 57A Fairy tale villain associated with the ends of 20-, 27- and 49-Across : THE BIG BAD WOLF
  • 20A Storms out : LEAVES IN A HUFF
  • 27A Airy snack item : CHEESE PUFF
  • 49A Singer whose 1980 single “The Breaks” was the first gold record rap song : KURTIS BLOW

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 6m 28s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • NIKKI (Nicki!)
  • KURTIS BLOW (Curtis Blow)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 James who sang “At last, my love has come along” : ETTA

“Etta James” was the stage name of celebrated blues and soul singer Jamesetta Hawkins. James’ most famous recording was her 1960 hit “At Last”, which made it into the pop charts. James performed “At Last” at the age of 71 in 2009 on the reality show “Dancing with the Stars”, which was to be her final television appearance. She passed away in 2012.

9 Easy mark : PATSY

The etymology of the word “patsy” meaning “fall guy” isn’t really understood. One colorful theory suggests that the term comes from an 1890s vaudeville character named Patsy Bolivar. Patsy always got the blame when something went wrong.

15 Fat removal procedure, in brief : LIPO

Liposuction (lipo) dates back to the 1920s when it was developed by a surgeon in France. However, the procedure quickly lost favor when a French model developed gangrene after surgery. As a result, it wasn’t until the mid-seventies that modern liposuction took off, after being popularized by two Italian-American surgeons in Rome.

17 Direction on a ship : ALEE

Alee is the direction away from the wind. If a sailor points into the wind, he or she is pointing aweather.

18 Oscar-winning Jared : LETO

Jared Leto is an actor and musician. In the world of music, Leto is the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the rock band 30 Seconds to Mars. In the film world, one of his most critically acclaimed roles was that of a heroin addict in “Requiem for a Dream”. He also appeared in “American Psycho”, “Panic Room” and “Lord of War”. Leto won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in 2013’s “Dallas Buyers Club”, which he portraying a transgender woman.

23 Author Rand : AYN

Ayn Rand was a Russian-American novelist born Alisa Rosenbaum. Her two best known works are her novels “The Fountainhead” published in 1943 and “Atlas Shrugged” from 1957. Back in 1951, Rand moved from Los Angeles to New York City. Soon after, she gathered a group of admirers around her with whom she discussed philosophy and shared drafts of her magnum opus, “Atlas Shrugged”. This group called itself “The Collective”, and one of the founding members was none other than future Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan. Rand described herself as “right-wing” politically, and both she and her novel “Atlas Shrugged” have become inspirations for the American conservatives, and the Tea Party in particular.

31 Like Life Savers : TORIC

A torus (plural “tori”) is a shape resembling a doughnut.

Life Savers were introduced in 1912. The candy was created by Clarence Crane who contracted a pill manufacturer to press his formulation for mints into shape. The pill manufacturer found that the pieces of candy were produced more easily if a hole was stamped in the middle. The Life Saver name was chosen as the candy had the same shape as lifebuoys.

32 Miss Piggy’s coy question : MOI?

The Muppet named Miss Piggy has a pretentious air, and so refers to herself as “moi”. In 1998, Miss Piggy even released her own perfume called “Moi”.

37 “Pretty Woman” co-star : GERE

Richard Gere has played such great roles on the screen, and I find him to be a very interesting character off the screen. Gere has been studying Buddhism since 1978 and is a very visible supporter of the Dalai Lama and the people of Tibet. Gere has been married twice; to supermodel Cindy Crawford from 1991 to 1995, and to model/actress Carey Lowell from 2002 until 2016. Gere’s breakthrough role was as the male lead in the 1980 film “American Gigolo”.

“Pretty Woman” is a great movie; a 1990 romantic comedy starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts. The film was originally written as a very dark story, with the female lead not only a prostitute, but also a drug addict, The Disney studio took up the project and demanded that it be rewritten as a modern-day fairy tale, and what a good decision that was …

39 Mug : PUSS

“Puss” is a slang word meaning “face”, or more particularly “mouth”. The term derives from the Irish word “pus”, which translates as “lip, mouth”.

The verb “to mug” means “to make an exaggerated facial expression”. The term comes from mugs used to drink beer (called Toby mugs) that are made in the shape of heads with grotesque expressions. “Mug” can also be a noun meaning “face”.

42 Actress/director Lupino : IDA

Actress Ida Lupino was also a successful director, in the days when women weren’t very welcome behind the camera. She had already directed four “women’s” shorts when she stepped in to direct the 1953 drama “The Hitch-Hiker”, taking over when the original director became ill. “The Hitch-Hiker” was the first film noir movie to be directed by a woman, and somewhat of a breakthrough for women in the industry.

49 Singer whose 1980 single “The Breaks” was the first gold record rap song : KURTIS BLOW

Kurtis Blow is a rap singer whose real name is Kurt Walker. He was the first rapper to become a commercial success and the first to be signed by a major label, way back in 1979! Kurtis Blow is also a licensed minister and founder of the Hip Hop Church.

56 Black bird : DAW

Daws are better known today as jackdaws and belong to the crow family. The jackdaw features in a famous pangram (i.e. a short sentence containing all 26 letters of the alphabet), i.e. “Jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz”.

57 Fairy tale villain associated with the ends of 20-, 27- and 49-Across : THE BIG BAD WOLF

The fairy tale about “The Three Little Pigs” has been around for centuries, although it first appeared in print in the 1840s. One little pig built a house using straw and another built one using wood. The cleverest little pig built its house using bricks.

62 Home of Timbuktu : MALI

The Republic of Mali is a landlocked country in western Africa located south of Algeria. Formerly known as French Sudan, the nation’s most famous city is Timbuktu. Mali is the third-largest producer of gold on the continent, after South Africa and Ghana.

65 M.R.I., for one : SCAN

MRI scans can be daunting for many people as they usually involve the patient lying inside a tube with the imaging magnet surrounding the body. Additionally, the scan can take up to 40 minutes in some cases. There are some open MRI scanners available that help prevent a feeling of claustrophobia. However, the image produced by open scanners are of lower quality as they operate at lower magnetic fields.

66 If you drop this, you’re sure to trip : ACID

LSD (known colloquially as “acid”) is lysergic acid diethylamide. A Swiss chemist named Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD in 1938 in a research project looking for medically efficacious ergot alkaloids. It wasn’t until some five years later when Hofmann ingested some of the drug accidentally that its psychedelic properties were discovered. Trippy, man …

Down

1 Org. with monitors : EPA

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

4 On the main : ASEA

When one thinks of the word “main”, in the context of the sea, the Spanish Main usually comes to mind. Indeed, the use of the more general term “main” to mean “sea”, originates from the more specific “Spanish Main”. “Spanish Main” originally referred to land and not water, as it was the name given to the mainland coast around the Caribbean Sea in the days of Spanish domination of the region.

5 Mutated gene : ALLELE

A gene is a section of a chromosome that is responsible for a particular characteristic in an organism. For example, one gene may determine eye color and another balding pattern. We have two copies of each gene, one from each of our parents, with each copy known as an allele.

8 It “monthly changes in her circled orb,” in “Romeo and Juliet” : MOON

William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” doesn’t end well for the title characters. Juliet takes a potion as a ruse to fool her parents, to trick them into thinking she is dead. The potion puts her in a death-like coma for 24 hours, after which Juliet plans to awaken and run off with Romeo. Juliet sends a message to Romeo apprising him of the plan, but the message fails to arrive. Romeo hears of Juliet’s “death”, and grief-stricken he takes his own life by drinking poison. Juliet awakens from the coma, only to find her lover dead beside her. She picks up a dagger and commits suicide. And nobody lives happily ever after …

9 Turkish V.I.P. : PASHA

A pasha was a high-ranking official in the Ottoman Empire, and was roughly equivalent to the English rank of lord.

11 Crisp, smooth fabric : TAFFETA

Taffeta is a plain woven fabric with a crisp feel that is made from silk or one of several manmade materials. The name “taffeta” ultimately comes from the Persian “taftah” meaning “silk or linen cloth”.

21 Explorer ___ da Gama : VASCO

Vasco da Gama left on his first voyage of discovery in 1497. da Gama journeyed around the Cape of Good Hope, the southernmost tip of Africa, and across the Indian Ocean making landfall in India. Landing in India, his fleet became the first expedition to sail directly from Europe to the sub-continent. Vasco da Gama was well known for acts of cruelty, especially on local inhabitants. One of his milder atrocities was inflicted on a priest whom he labelled as a spy. He had the priest’s lips and ears cut off, and sent him on his way after having a pair of dog’s ears sewn onto his head.

22 Title role for Michael Caine and Jude Law : ALFIE

There have been two versions of the movie “Alfie”. The original, and for my money the best, was made in 1966 with Michael Caine. The remake came out in 2004 and stars Jude Law in the title role. The theme song was performed by Cher in the 1966 movie, but it was Dionne Warwick’s cover version from 1967 that was the most successful in the charts.

There have been only two actors who have been nominated for an Academy Award in every decade from the 1960s to the 2000s. One is Jack Nicholson, and the other is Michael Caine. Caine is now known as Sir Michael Caine, as he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in the year 2000.

Jude Law is a wonderful English actor, and a big name in Hollywood these days. He makes a great romantic lead, witness his performance in 2006’s “The Holiday” in which he starred opposite Cameron Diaz. He and Diaz were nominated by MTV for the best onscreen kiss that year!

28 Starting point for a German count : EINS

“Eins, zwei, drei, vier” is German for “one, two, three, four”.

35 ___ Haley, former U.N. ambassador : NIKKI

Nikki Haley became Governor of South Carolina in 2011, the first woman to hold the office in the history of the state. Haley was confirmed by the US Senate in January 2017 as Ambassador to the UN in the Trump administration.

39 Faux ___ : PAS

The term “faux pas” is French in origin, and translates literally as “false step” (or “false steps”, as the plural has the same spelling in French).

40 All of America wrapped up in one book : US ATLAS

The famous Flemish geographer Gerardus Mercator published his first collection of maps in 1578. Mercator’s collection contained a frontispiece with an image of Atlas the Titan from Greek mythology holding up the world on his shoulders. That image gave us our term “atlas” that is used for a book of maps.

43 Type of coffee : ARABICA

The species Coffea arabica is thought to be the first plant cultivated for coffee. Today, 75-80% of the world’s coffee comes from Coffea arabica.

45 Theatrical partner of “Arsenic” : OLD LACE

“Arsenic and Old Lace” is a Frank Capra film released in 1944. The movie is based on a 1939 stage play by Joseph Kesselring. The film stars Cary Grant as a completely madcap and frantic Mortimer Brewster. Grant was only the fourth choice for the role, after Bob Hope, Jack Benny and Ronald Reagan. That’s quite an eclectic mix of actors …

53 Marsh plant : SEDGE

Sedges are a family of plants that resemble grasses and rushes. Sedges are more properly called Cyperaceae.

59 Actor Epps : OMAR

Omar Epps is the actor who played Eric Foreman on the excellent television series “House”. Prior to playing Dr. Foreman, Epps had a recurring role playing Dr. Dennis Gant on “ER”. And, in another link to the world of medicine, Epps was born in Savannah, Georgia to single mom, Dr. Bonnie Epps.

60 Agcy. for retirees : 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.

63 Things shown to bouncers : IDS

Identity document (ID)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 James who sang “At last, my love has come along” : ETTA
5 Small matter : ATOM
9 Easy mark : PATSY
14 Things with nails sticking out : PAWS
15 Fat removal procedure, in brief : LIPO
16 Ease up : ABATE
17 Direction on a ship : ALEE
18 Oscar-winning Jared : LETO
19 Director Coppola : SOFIA
20 Storms out : LEAVES IN A HUFF
23 Author Rand : AYN
24 Homecoming returnee, for short : ALUM
25 During the recent past : LATELY
27 Airy snack item : CHEESE PUFF
30 Casual top : TEE
31 Like Life Savers : TORIC
32 Miss Piggy’s coy question : MOI?
33 Limitless : VAST
34 Having ___ of it : NONE
37 “Pretty Woman” co-star : GERE
39 Mug : PUSS
42 Actress/director Lupino : IDA
44 Wear away : ERODE
48 Request : ASK
49 Singer whose 1980 single “The Breaks” was the first gold record rap song : KURTIS BLOW
52 Agrees : SAYS OK
55 Top-quality : A-ONE
56 Black bird : DAW
57 Fairy tale villain associated with the ends of 20-, 27- and 49-Across : THE BIG BAD WOLF
60 Playground fixture : SLIDE
61 “Je t’___” (“I love you,” in French) : AIME
62 Home of Timbuktu : MALI
64 Drooping : SAGGY
65 M.R.I., for one : SCAN
66 If you drop this, you’re sure to trip : ACID
67 Fireplace remains : ASHES
68 What hot dogs do : PANT
69 Parts of gym routines : REPS

Down

1 Org. with monitors : EPA
2 Hunting cry : TALLYHO!
3 Many a middle schooler : TWEENER
4 On the main : ASEA
5 Mutated gene : ALLELE
6 Makes too busy to do other things : TIES UP
7 Best : OPTIMUM
8 It “monthly changes in her circled orb,” in “Romeo and Juliet” : MOON
9 Turkish V.I.P. : PASHA
10 Up and ___ : ABOUT
11 Crisp, smooth fabric : TAFFETA
12 Squelches : STIFLES
13 Verily : YEA
21 Explorer ___ da Gama : VASCO
22 Title role for Michael Caine and Jude Law : ALFIE
23 Be effective : ACT
26 As of now : YET
28 Starting point for a German count : EINS
29 Maritime hazard : FOG
33 Almost any word ending in -ize : VERB
35 ___ Haley, former U.N. ambassador : NIKKI
36 Alternative to “com” and “org” : EDU
38 Mend, as a torn seam : RESEW
39 Faux ___ : PAS
40 All of America wrapped up in one book : US ATLAS
41 Way, way up : SKY HIGH
43 Type of coffee : ARABICA
45 Theatrical partner of “Arsenic” : OLD LACE
46 Somersault, say : DO A FLIP
47 “That stinks!” : EWW!
50 Everyone included : TO A MAN
51 Set to the right or the left : INDENT
53 Marsh plant : SEDGE
54 Executes orders : OBEYS
58 [Oh!!!] : [GASP!!!]
59 Actor Epps : OMAR
60 Agcy. for retirees : SSA
63 Things shown to bouncers : IDS

6 thoughts on “0603-20 NY Times Crossword 3 Jun 20, Wednesday”

  1. Bill was kind enough to make the same error that I did – a “C” instead of a “K” at the intersection of “NIKKI” and “KURTIS” – so I feel marginally better about myself (😜). By the time I found the error and fixed it, though, my time was 9:18 (😳). C’est la vie … 🙂.

    I’m having an odd reaction to my new shutters: I like the look, but I feel more isolated than ever. Maybe I’ll open them wide and go back to flashing the neighbors twice a day … 😜.

  2. 12:02 Kurtis Blow was first, but The Sugar Hill Gang did it better…my opinion of course. Nonny, twice a day? I “shudder” to think….

  3. 12:25 with no errors. Not bad for a Wednesday. For some reason my Tuesday comment disappeared yesterday. Oh, well. It was 13:00, slower than today.

  4. 12:50. At least there was no GELT in this puzzle. I guess I’d seen NIKKI Haley’s name enough in the news that I knew the spelling immediately. Didn’t know KURTIS BLOW or TAFFETA. Had to get those via crosses.

    I was reading Alaska Steve’s last sentence. His time was 13:00 yesterday with the comma. If you remove the comma, his time was 25:25. Reminds me of the old example “The man dropped, an arrow through his heart” vs “A man droped an arrow through his heart”

    Best –

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