0604-20 NY Times Crossword 4 Jun 20, Thursday

Constructed by: Barbara Lin
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Unhappy Workers

Themed answers are puns about unhappy workers cited in the clue:

  • 17A The unhappy drill press operator … : … FINDS WORK BORING
  • 24A The unhappy calendar maker … : … NEEDS A WEEK OFF
  • 40A The unhappy elevator operator … : … ASKS FOR A RAISE
  • 52A The unhappy orthopedic surgeon … : … WANTS MORE BREAKS

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 8m 58s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Where the first velociraptor fossil was discovered (1923) : GOBI

The large desert in Asia called the Gobi lies in northern China and southern Mongolia. The Gobi desert is growing at an alarming rate, particularly towards the south. This “desertification” is caused by increased human activity. The Chinese government is trying to halt the desert’s progress by planting great swaths of new forest, the so-called “Green Wall of China”. The name “Gobi” is Mongolian for “waterless place, semidesert”.

14 ___ Drago, foe of Rocky Balboa : IVAN

Dolph Lundgren is an actor and martial artist from Sweden. Lundgren’s debut role was a small one, acting as a KGB henchman in the James Bond movie “A View to a Kill”. His big break was starring opposite Sylvester Stallone in “Rocky IV”, playing a scary Russian boxer named Ivan Drago.

15 “Schitt’s Creek” actress Catherine : O’HARA

Catherine O’Hara is an actress and comedienne from Toronto, Ontario. One of O’Hara’s more famous film roles is Kevin’s mother in the Christmas classic “Home Alone”. She also plays a lead character in the excellent sitcom “Schitt’s Creek” alongside Eugen Levy.

21 “I Am the Walrus” and “Revolution,” for two : B-SIDES

“I Am the Walrus” is a Beatles song released in 1967. It was written by John Lennon, with the “Walrus” being a reference to the poem “The Walrus and the Carpenter” from Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking-Glass”.

The recording and release of the Beatles song “Revolution” was very much driven by John Lennon. Lennon was then in a committed relationship with Yoko Ono, and well into the “revolutionary” phase of his life. One interesting thing to note about the original recording is the “scream” right at the start of the song. This had to come from Paul rather than John, because John couldn’t catch his breath after the scream in time to start into the song’s lyrics.

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world

22 Cottage cheese morsel : CURD

When milk curdles it separates into two parts, the solid curds and the liquid whey.

Cottage cheese got its name because it was a simple cheese that was made by simple folk living in cottages, using any milk left over from butter production.

23 Beginner’s trumpet sound : BLAT

To blat is to cry, especially like a sheep. In other words, to “blat” is to “bleat”. The noun “blat” is often used for an overblown sound on a brass instrument.

30 ___-Pacific : ASIA

The term “Asia-Pacific” is often used, particularly in the world of business. However, it tends to be quite imprecise, as the exact definition of which countries and regions are included in Asia-Pacific isn’t really clear. Sometimes Asia-Pacific might include the United States for example, and sometimes not.

37 Something blown on for good luck : DIE

The numbers on dice are arranged so that the opposite faces add up to seven. Given this arrangement, the numbers 1, 2 and 3 all meet at a common vertex. There are two ways of arranging the 1, 2 and 3 around the common vertex, a so-called right-handed die (clockwise 1-2-3) or a left-handed die (counterclockwise 1-2-3). Traditionally, dice used in Western cultures are right-handed, whereas Chinese dice are left-handed. Quite interesting …

38 Low-effort internet joke : MEME

A meme (from “mineme”) is a cultural practice or idea that is passed on verbally or by repetition from one person to another. The term lends itself very well to the online world where links, emails, files etc. are so easily propagated.

39 World-weary : JADED

Our term “jaded”, meaning tired and feeling a little “ho-hum”, comes from the noun “jade” which in the 14th century was an old, worn-out horse.

45 President who also served as provisional governor of Cuba : TAFT

William Howard Taft may have been the 27th President of the United States, but his lifelong ambition was to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. President Taft was able to realize that dream in 1921, eight years after losing his bid for re-election as president. As Chief Justice, this former US President swore in two new presidents: Calvin Coolidge (in 1925) and Herbert Hoover (in 1929). William Howard Taft is also remembered as the most obese president. In the last year of his presidency, he weighed about 340 pounds (he was 5 feet 11 inches tall). Twelve months after leaving the White House, President Taft had dropped 80 pounds and substantially lowered his blood pressure.

46 Frederick Douglass, for one : ORATOR

Frederick Douglass was a leader of the abolitionist movement. Douglass had been born a slave in Maryland, and escaped to the North when he was about 20 years old. A few years later, Douglass wrote his most famous book “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave”. The book became a huge hit and was reprinted nine time within the first three years of its publication. Not only did Douglass champion the abolition of slavery, but he also vigorously supported women’s suffrage. He became the first African American to be nominated for the office of US Vice President when he ran alongside women’s suffragist Victoria Woodhull in 1872.

55 Art Deco artist : ERTE

“Erté” was the pseudonym of French (Russian-born) artist and designer Romain de Tirtoff. “Erté” is the French pronunciation of his initials “R.T.” Erté’s diverse portfolio of work included costumes and sets for the “Ziegfeld Follies” of 1923, productions of the Parisian cabaret show “Folies Bergère”, as well as the 1925 epic movie “Ben-Hur”. Erté’s most famous work by far is an image titled “Symphony in Black”. It depicts a tall and slender woman dressed in black, holding a black dog on a leash.

56 First name on the Supreme Court : ELENA

Elena Kagan was the Solicitor General of the United States from 2009 until 2010, when she replaced Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court. That made Justice Kagan the first female US Solicitor General and the fourth female US Supreme Court justice. Kagan also served as the first female dean of Harvard Law School from 2003 to 2009.

59 Westernmost capital in mainland Africa : DAKAR

The Republic of Senegal is a country on the far western coast of Africa. For many years Senegal was a French colony, gaining independence in 1960. The capital of Senegal is Dakar. Dakar is located on the Cap-Vert Peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean, thus making it the westernmost capital on the African mainland.

60 Freeway hauler : SEMI

A “semi” is a “semi-trailer truck”. The vehicle is so called because it consists of a tractor and a half-trailer. The half-trailer is so called because it only has wheels on the back end, with the front supported by the tractor.

Down

1 Image file type with a much-debated pronunciation : GIF

A bitmap is an image file format used to store digital images. Basically, each pixel in a bitmap file is stored as a “bit” of information, hence the name “bitmap”. In 1987, CompuServe introduced a new type of image file called the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF). A GIF image takes the same information as a bitmap and then compresses it, resulting in a smaller file size. However, during compression the image may lose some resolution. The GIF format also handles short video clips, usually animations.

2 Poet exiled by Augustus : OVID

The Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso is known today simply as Ovid. Ovid is usually listed alongside the two other great Roman poets: Horace and Virgil. Although he was immensely popular during his own lifetime, Ovid spent the last ten years of his life in exile. He fell foul of Emperor Augustus, although what led to this disfavor isn’t truly understood.

6 Title woman of a 1965 Beach Boys hit : RHONDA

“Help Me, Rhonda” is a Beach Boys hit written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, released in 1965. When the song was first issued as a track on the album “Today!”, the song was titled “Help Me, Ronda” (note the spelling of “Ronda”). When the song was released as a single a month later, the title used the spelling with which we are familiar: “Help Me, Rhonda”.

7 Part of a Mickey Mouse costume : EARS

Walt Disney’s iconic cartoon character Mickey Mouse, was introduced to the public in 1928 in the cartoon “Steamboat Willie”. Mickey was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1978, making him the first cartoon character to be so honored. Walt Disney had some nice words to say in Disneyland in 1954:

I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.

8 Torah holder : ARK

The Torah ark is found in a synagogue, and is the ornamental container in which the Torah scrolls are stored. The word “Torah” best translates as “teaching” or “law”, I am told.

10 Triangular snack item : DORITO

The product that was to become Doritos was a creation at the Casa de Fritos in Disneyland in the early sixties. A marketing executive from Frito-Lay noticed how well the snack was selling in the park, and made a deal to produce the chips under the name “Doritos”, starting in 1964. “Doritos” translates from Spanish as “little bits of gold”.

13 There are 10 million in a joule : ERGS

An erg is a unit of mechanical work or energy. It is a small unit, with one joule comprising 10 million ergs. It has been suggested that an erg is about the amount of energy required for a mosquito to take off. The term comes from “ergon”, the Greek word for work.

18 Taters : SPUDS

The word “spud” is used as a slang term for a potato and was first recorded in the mid-1800s, in New Zealand would you believe?

19 Tennis star Naomi : OSAKA

Naomi Osaka is a Japanese-born tennis professional who became the first Asian player to be ranked number-one in singles.

23 Spanish kiss : BESO

In Spanish, a “beso” (kiss) is an “indicación de afecto” (display of affection).

24 Comaneci of gymnastics : NADIA

Nadia Comaneci won three golds in the 1976 Summer Olympics and was the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of ten in the gymnastics competition. Comaneci published a book called “Letters to a Young Gymnast” in 2003, and now lives in the United States.

25 Early people of the Great Lakes : ERIES

The Erie people lived on lands south of Lake Erie, in parts of the modern-day US states of New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. The Erie were sometimes referred to as the Cat Nation, a reference to the mountain lions that were ever-present in the area that they lived. The name “Erie” is a shortened form of “Erielhonan” meaning “long tail”, possibly a further reference to the mountain lion or cat, which was possibly used as a totem. The Erie people gave their name to the Great Lake.

28 One side of New York/ New Jersey’s G.W. Bridge : FT LEE

New York City’s George Washington Bridge (GWB) spans the Hudson River and links the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan with Fort Lee in New Jersey. When the bridge was opened in 1931 it had one deck, allowing six lanes of traffic to traverse the river. The bridge’s designer allowed for the construction of a second deck under the first, and this was added in 1946. Today, the bridge carries 14 lanes of traffic, which is more than any other suspension bridge anywhere. As a result, the GWB is the world’s busiest vehicular bridge. Some locals refer to that second deck as “Martha”, a reference to the president’s wife.

35 Book after Joel : AMOS

Amos is one of the twelve minor prophets in the Hebrew Bible. The Old Testament’s Book of Amos is attributed to him.

36 Original occupation for Rachel on “Friends” : WAITRESS

Jennifer Aniston won a 2002 Emmy for playing Rachel on the great sitcom “Friends”. Jennifer’s parents are both actors, and her godfather was the actor Telly Savalas.

38 Early PC software : MS-DOS

MS-DOS (short for “Microsoft Disk Operating System”) was the main operating system used by IBM-compatible PCs in the eighties and for much of the nineties.

39 “Aladdin” villain : JAFAR

Jafar is the bad guy in the animated film “Aladdin”. Jafar was important enough to get his name front and center in the sequel called “Aladdin 2”, which is usually referred to as “The Return of Jafar”.

42 To whom the Parthenon is dedicated : ATHENA

The Greek goddess Athena (sometimes “Athene”) is often associated with wisdom, among other attributes. In many representations. Athena is depicted with an owl sitting on her head. It is this linkage of the owl with the goddess of wisdom that led to today’s perception of the owl as being “wise”. Athena’s Roman counterpart was Minerva.

The Parthenon is the ruined temple that sits on the Athenian Acropolis. Although the Parthenon was dedicated to the goddess Athena as a sacred building in the days of the Athenian Empire, it was actually used primarily as a treasury. In later centuries, the Parthenon was repurposed as a Christian Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and was also used as a mosque after Ottoman conquest.

47 Like royal flushes : RARE

The poker hand called a royal flush is the highest-ranking hand possible. It consists of a run of 10, jack, queen, king and ace, with all in the same suit.

50 Museum on the Thames : TATE

The museum known as “the Tate” is actually made up of four separate galleries in England. The original Tate gallery was founded by Sir Henry Tate as the National Gallery of British Art. It is located on Millbank in London, on the site of the old Millbank Prison, and is now called Tate Britain. There is also the Tate Liverpool in the north of England that is located in an old warehouse, and the Tate St. Ives in the west country located in an old gas works. My favorite of the Tate galleries is the Tate Modern which lies on the banks of the Thames in London. It’s a beautiful building, a converted power station that you have to see to believe.

54 Mr., abroad : SRI

“Sri” is a title of respect for a male in India.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Where the first velociraptor fossil was discovered (1923) : GOBI
5 Tank part : TREAD
10 Take a chance : DARE
14 ___ Drago, foe of Rocky Balboa : IVAN
15 “Schitt’s Creek” actress Catherine : O’HARA
16 Not loving anymore : OVER
17 The unhappy drill press operator … : … FINDS WORK BORING
20 Increases in intensity : DEEPENS
21 “I Am the Walrus” and “Revolution,” for two : B-SIDES
22 Cottage cheese morsel : CURD
23 Beginner’s trumpet sound : BLAT
24 The unhappy calendar maker … : … NEEDS A WEEK OFF
29 They’re raised on farms : BARNS
30 ___-Pacific : ASIA
31 RR station info : ETA
33 Polish, in a way : EDIT
34 Tease : RAG ON
36 Join together, in a way : WELD
37 Something blown on for good luck : DIE
38 Low-effort internet joke : MEME
39 World-weary : JADED
40 The unhappy elevator operator … : … ASKS FOR A RAISE
44 Wedding pair : I DOS
45 President who also served as provisional governor of Cuba : TAFT
46 Frederick Douglass, for one : ORATOR
49 Foils : THWARTS
52 The unhappy orthopedic surgeon … : … WANTS MORE BREAKS
55 Art Deco artist : ERTE
56 First name on the Supreme Court : ELENA
57 Mix up : STIR
58 Recognized : SEEN
59 Westernmost capital in mainland Africa : DAKAR
60 Freeway hauler : SEMI

Down

1 Image file type with a much-debated pronunciation : GIF
2 Poet exiled by Augustus : OVID
3 Scourge : BANE
4 Not appropriate : INDECENT
5 Broadcasting aids : TOWERS
6 Title woman of a 1965 Beach Boys hit : RHONDA
7 Part of a Mickey Mouse costume : EARS
8 Torah holder : ARK
9 Casually try : DABBLE IN
10 Triangular snack item : DORITO
11 Zealous : AVID
12 Shoe designer Caovilla : RENE
13 There are 10 million in a joule : ERGS
18 Taters : SPUDS
19 Tennis star Naomi : OSAKA
23 Spanish kiss : BESO
24 Comaneci of gymnastics : NADIA
25 Early people of the Great Lakes : ERIES
26 Speculate : WAGER
27 Puts coins into : FEEDS
28 One side of New York/ New Jersey’s G.W. Bridge : FT LEE
29 King or queen, e.g. : BED
32 Perform an operation : ADD
34 On the straight and narrow now : REFORMED
35 Book after Joel : AMOS
36 Original occupation for Rachel on “Friends” : WAITRESS
38 Early PC software : MS-DOS
39 “Aladdin” villain : JAFAR
41 Cute calendar subject : KITTEN
42 To whom the Parthenon is dedicated : ATHENA
43 Seafood server : RAW BAR
46 Isn’t square : OWES
47 Like royal flushes : RARE
48 Pay to play : ANTE
49 Long hike : TREK
50 Museum on the Thames : TATE
51 Graze : SKIM
53 Rio greeting : OLA
54 Mr., abroad : SRI

15 thoughts on “0604-20 NY Times Crossword 4 Jun 20, Thursday”

  1. 14:18, no errors. Pretty easy for a Thursday. Even the constuctor was surprised it wasn’t published earlier in the week.

  2. 16:18. This was a great Wednesday puzzle that happened to run on a Thursday. I installed some new lighting by my pool yesterday and was admiring it while doing this last night. It’s a miracle I finished at all. It’s also a miracle I didn’t electrocute myself in doing it.

    No GELT in the puzzles for the last couple of days. I’m starting to get lulled into a false sense of security.

    Best –

  3. 12:31, no errors. Maybe it’s just me, but I felt the Tuesday-Thursday puzzles were easier than Monday’s. I’ve always found the calibration of the difficulty of NYT puzzles interesting.

  4. In terms of time-to-finish, I’m more of a turtle than a hare, but turtles do finish according to fable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.