0618-20 NY Times Crossword 18 Jun 20, Thursday

Constructed by: Ricky Cruz
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Traffic Jam

We have a rebus puzzle today, with several vehicles in a TRAFFIC JAM in the middle of the grid. There are a few other traffic jam-related answers in the grid to round things off:

  • 17A Possible cause of a 61-Across : BOTTLENECK
  • 39A [Ugh, we’ve been stuck here for an hour …] : CAR VAN SEMI TRUCK BUS
  • 61A Situation depicted at 39-Across : TRAFFIC JAM
  • 11D Bad place for a 61-Across : INTERSTATE
  • 28D What a 61-Across might make you : LATE TO WORK

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 16m 40s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Cosmic force : KARMA

Karma is a religious concept with its basis in Indian faiths. Karma embraces the notion of cause and effect. Good deeds have good consequences at some later point in one’s life, one’s future life, or one’s afterlife. And, bad deeds have bad consequences.

14 Company whose business rarely goes off without a hitch : U-HAUL

The U-Haul company was started by married couple Leonard Shoen and Anna Mary Carty in Ridgefield, Washington in 1945. The Shoens used $5,000 of seed money to build trailers in their garage, and then cleverly recruited gas station owners as franchisees with whom they would split the rental revenue. There are now about 15,000 U-Haul dealers across the country.

19 Vega, for one : STAR

Vega is the brightest star in the constellation Lyra. Vega (along with Altair and Deneb from other constellations) is also part of the group of three stars that is called the Summer Triangle. Vega is the star at the right-angle of this triangle.

20 Offering at a pier restaurant : OYSTER

A group of oysters is commonly referred to as a “bed”, and oysters can be farmed in man-made beds. The largest body of water producing oysters in the US today is Chesapeake Bay, although the number of beds continues to dwindle due to pollution and overfishing. Back in the 1800s, most of the world’s oysters came from New York Harbor.

23 Dog tag owners, in brief : GIS

The identification tags worn by soldiers are often called “dog tags”, simply because they do resemble tags worn by dogs. US military personnel are required to wear dog tags when in the field. Each soldier wears either two tags or a special tag that breaks easily into two identical pieces. The idea is that if a soldier is killed, then one half can be removed for notification and the remaining half stays with the body. Each tag contains basics such as name and ID number, medical information like blood type, and possibly a religious preference.

25 Brita competitor : PUR

Brita is a German company that specializes in water filtration products. Brita products do a great job of filtering tap water, but they don’t “purify” it as they don’t remove microbes. That job is usually done by a municipality before the water gets to the faucet.

26 Hogwash : MALARKEY

It’s not really known how the word “malarkey” came to mean “lies and exaggeration”. What is known is that “Malarkey” is also used as a family name.

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

31 Celebrity chef Gordon ___ : RAMSAY

Gordon Ramsay is a celebrity chef from Scotland who appears more on US television now than he does on British TV. Personally, I think the man is pretty obnoxious …

34 Remember this! : ALAMO

The famous Alamo in San Antonio, Texas was originally known as Mission San Antonio de Valero. The mission was founded in 1718 and was the first mission established in the city. The Battle of the Alamo took place in 1836, a thirteen-day siege by the Mexican Army led by President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Only two people defending the Alamo Mission survived the onslaught. One month later, the Texian army got its revenge by attacking and defeating the Mexican Army in the Battle of San Jacinto. During the surprise attack on Santa Anna’s camp, many of the Texian soldiers were heard to cry “Remember the Alamo!”.

37 ___ the line : TOE

The idiomatic expression “to toe the line” means “to obey”. The etymology of the phrase is disputed, although it is likely to come from the Royal Navy. Barefooted sailors were required to stand to attention for inspection lined up along the seams for the wooden deck, hence “toeing the line”.

38 Ones on cases: Abbr. : DETS

Detective (det.)

40 Veal ___ (informal dish) : PARM

Parmigiana is a dish from southern Italy. The original parmigiana was made with an aubergine (eggplant) filling, with cheese and tomato layers and then baked. Versions originating outside of Italy have replaced the aubergine with breaded cutlets of chicken or veal.

42 Game of chance : LOTTO

Originally, lotto was a type of card game, with “lotto” being the Italian for “a lot”. We’ve used “lotto” to mean a gambling game since the late 1700s.

43 Rocky Mountain city once home to the Anaconda Copper Mining Company : BUTTE

The city of Butte, Montana has a history that is rooted in mining. Butte was founded as a mining town in the late 1800s. Although mining brought great growth to the area, it also brought environmental problems. Today, Butte is home to the country’s largest Superfund cleanup site.

44 Producer of Hot Wheels : MATTEL

Mattel is the world’s largest toy manufacturer. Mattel was founded by Harold “Matt” Matson and Elliot Handler in 1945, and they chose the company name by combining “Matt” with “El-liot” giving “Matt-el”.

The Hot Wheels brand of toy car was introduced by Mattel in 1968. Hot Wheels models are all die-cast, with many designs coming from blueprints provided by the manufacturers of the full-size car.

46 Polish, e.g. : EUROPEAN

The country of Poland takes her name from the West Slavic tribe known as the Polans.

49 Padre’s hermano : TIO

In Spanish, a “tio” (uncle) is the “hermano del padre o de la madre” (brother of the father or the mother).

64 Grain location : SILO

“Silo” is a Spanish word that we absorbed into English. The term ultimately derives from the Greek “siros”, which described a pit in which one kept corn.

67 Bulldogs’ home : YALE

The Yale Bulldogs are the athletic teams of Yale University. The Yale school mascot is “Handsome Dan”, the Yale bulldog. The Bulldogs’ logo features a bulldog in front of a letter Y.

68 Basketball game : HORSE

H-O-R-S-E is a simple game played with a basketball and a hoop. The idea is that one player makes a basket using a certain move and technique, and then subsequent players have to make a basket the same way. Anyone failing to make a basket is assigned a letter in the word H-O-R-S-E, and after five letters, you’re out. A quicker game is called P-I-G.

Down

2 Call for all hands on deck? : AHOY!

“Ahoy!” is a nautical term used to signal a vessel. When the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell, he suggested that “ahoy” be used as a standard greeting when answering a call. However, Thomas Edison came up with “hello”, and we’ve been using that ever since.

5 Brisk, musically : ALLEGRO

The tempo (plural “tempi”) of a piece of music is usually designated with an Italian word on the score. For example, “grave” is slow and solemn, “andante” is at a walking pace, “scherzo” is fast and light-hearted, and “allegro” is fast, quickly and bright.

8 West Coast gas brand : ARCO

The company name “ARCO” is an acronym standing for “Atlantic Richfield Company”. One of ARCO’s claims to fame is that it is responsible for the nation’s largest Superfund site. Mining and smelting in the area around Butte, Montana polluted the region’s water and soil, and ARCO has agreed to pay $187 million to help clean up the area.

9 “Oh ___!” (song from Lennon’s “Imagine” album) : YOKO

“Oh Yoko!” is a song written and performed by John Lennon in 1971 that appears on his iconic album “Imagine”. The title refers to Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono.

10 The Getty, for one : MUSEUM

The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles is one of the most visited museums in the country. Like many museums in developed countries these days, the Getty has been embroiled in disputes about ownership of artifacts. The curators of the Getty have gone so far as to repatriate some items in recent years, especially to Greece and Italy. The J. Paul Getty Museum has two locations. The Getty Center is the primary location, and houses art from the Middle Ages to the present. The associated (and beautiful) Getty Villa displays art from ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria.

11 Bad place for a 61-Across : INTERSTATE

The US Interstate System is more correctly known as the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, a nod to President Eisenhower who championed the construction. The President had come to recognise the value of the German autobahn system in his experiences during WWII, and resolved to give the US a similar infrastructure. In real terms, the US Interstate construction project is said to have been the largest public works project since the Pyramids of Egypt.

12 Lee known for his cameos : STAN

Stan Lee did just about everything at Marvel Comics over the years, from writing to being president and chairman of the board. If you like superhero movies based on the characters from Marvel Comics, then you could spend a few hours trying to spot Stan Lee in those films as he had a penchant for making cameo appearances. Lee can be spotted in “X-Men” (2000), “Spider-Man” (2002), “Hulk” (2003), “Fantastic Four” (2005), “Iron Man” (2008) and many other films.

13 Parachute part : CORD

The term “parachute” was coined by Frenchman François Blanchard, from “para-” meaning “defense against” and “chute” meaning “a fall”.

18 ___ the Red : ERIK

According to Icelandic tradition, Erik the Red was the man responsible for founding the first Norse settlement in Greenland. Erik had a famous son: the explorer Leif Ericson.

27 One setting an alarm, maybe : ALEXA

Alexa is a personal assistant application that is most associated with the Amazon Echo smart speaker. Apparently, one reason the name “Alexa” was chosen is because it might remind one of the Library of Alexandria, the “keeper of all knowledge”.

29 Alarm clock settings, for short : AMS

The 12-hour clock has been around a long time, and was even used in sundial format in ancient Egypt. Our use of AM and PM dates back to Roman times, with AM standing for Ante Meridiem (before noon) and PM standing for Post Meridiem (after noon). However, the Romans originally used the AM concept a little differently, by counting backwards from noon. So, 2AM to the Romans would be two hours before noon, or 10AM as we would call it today.

30 California’s ___ Valley : YOSEMITE

President Abraham Lincoln passed a bill in 1864 creating the Yosemite Grant, which was the first piece of federal legislature that set aside park land for preservation and public use. The Yosemite Grant paved the way for the creation of Yellowstone as the nation’s first national park in 1872. Yosemite was made a national park in 1890.

31 Visual puzzle : REBUS

A rebus is a puzzle that uses pictures to represent letters and groups of letters. For example, a picture of a “ewe” might represent the letter “U” or the pronoun “you”, a picture of an “oar” might represent the letter “R” or the conjunction “or”, and a picture of an “awl” might represent the word “all”.

32 Blood line : AORTA

The aorta originates in the heart and extends down into the abdomen. It is the largest artery in the body.

33 Arab Spring nation : YEMEN

Yemen is located on the Arabian Peninsula, and lies just south of Saudi Arabia and west of Oman. Yemen is the only state on the peninsula that is a republic (its official name is the Republic of Yemen). Everyone over the age of 18 gets to vote, but only Muslims can hold elected office. Yemen has seen many rebellions over the centuries, and has been suffering through a Shia uprising since February 2015.

The term “Arab Spring” has been applied to the wave of protests, riots and civil wars that impacted the Arab world from 2010 to 2012. The uprisings were sparked by the Tunisian Revolution at the end of 2010 that led to the ouster of the longtime president and the institution of democratic elections. The period of instability that followed in some Arab League countries has been dubbed the “Arab Winter”

39 Winter air : CAROL

The word “carol” came into English via the Old French word “carole”, which was a “dance in a ring”. When “carol” made it into English, about 1300 AD, the term was used to describe a dance as well as a joyful song. Around 1500 AD, carols that were sung came to be associated with Christmas.

43 Uncivilized : BOORISH

Back in the early 1500s, a boor was a rustic person, a peasant farmer, someone associated with the countryside. The term “boor” ultimately comes from the Latin “bos” meaning “cow, ox”. By the mid-1500s, someone described as boorish was considered rude in manner, which is our usage today.

51 Writer Wiesel : ELIE

Elie Wiesel was a holocaust survivor, and is best known for his book “Night” that tells of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. He was also the first recipient of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Award, which was later renamed the Elie Wiesel Award in his honor.

52 Place to order handmade goods : ETSY

Etsy.com is an e-commerce website where you can buy and sell the kind of items that you might find at a craft fair.

53 “Brava!” elicitor : ARIA

To express appreciation for a male performer at an operatic performance, traditionally one calls out “bravo!”. Appreciation for a female performer is shown by using “brava!”, and for more than one performer of either sex by using “bravi!”

54 The world’s largest one is in Chengdu, China (covering 18 million square feet) : MALL

Chengdu (also “chengtu”) is the capital city of the landlocked province of Sichuan in Southwest China. The area surrounding the city is home to many giant pandas, and the city itself is home to the Chengdu Panda Base, a giant panda research and breeding facility.

56 Delta follower : ECHO

The NATO phonetic alphabet is also called the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) phonetic alphabet. It goes Alfa, Bravo, Charlie … X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.

57 Cracked open : AJAR

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

58 Neighbor of Nebr. : KANS

The US state of Kansas is named after the Kansa Native American tribe that lived in the area. The first European to explore what is now Kansas Spanish conquistador Vázquez de Coronado, who also was first to see the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River. The first permanent settlement of Europeans was Fort Leavenworth, founded in 1827. The territories of Nebraska and Kansas were established at the same time in 1854, with the Kansas-Nebraska Act. In the following decade, settlers arrived in Kansas, both from slave states and slave-free states. Violent conflict between the two factions led to the territory earning the name “Bleeding Kansas”. Kansas was eventually admitted as a slave-free state in 1861, making it the last state admitted prior to the Civil War that broke out later that year.

59 Mr. ___ (“Peter Pan” character) : SMEE

In J. M. Barrie’s play and novel about Peter Pan, Smee is one of Captain Hook’s pirates and is Hook’s bosun and right-hand man. Smee is described by Barrie as being “Irish” and “a man who stabbed without offence”. Nice guy! Captain Hook and Smee sail on a pirate ship called the Jolly Roger.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Cosmic force : KARMA
6 Start to come apart : FRAY
10 Line in an expense report: Abbr. : MISC
14 Company whose business rarely goes off without a hitch : U-HAUL
15 Prefix with -nautics : AERO-
16 Biblical preposition : UNTO
17 Possible cause of a 61-Across : BOTTLENECK
19 Vega, for one : STAR
20 Offering at a pier restaurant : OYSTER
21 Bit of unfinished business : LOOSE END
23 Dog tag owners, in brief : GIS
25 Brita competitor : PUR
26 Hogwash : MALARKEY
31 Celebrity chef Gordon ___ : RAMSAY
34 Remember this! : ALAMO
35 Bunch of romantics? : ROSES
37 ___ the line : TOE
38 Ones on cases: Abbr. : DETS
39 [Ugh, we’ve been stuck here for an hour …] : CAR VAN SEMI TRUCK BUS
40 Veal ___ (informal dish) : PARM
41 Terminate : AXE
42 Game of chance : LOTTO
43 Rocky Mountain city once home to the Anaconda Copper Mining Company : BUTTE
44 Producer of Hot Wheels : MATTEL
46 Polish, e.g. : EUROPEAN
48 Bonehead : OAF
49 Padre’s hermano : TIO
50 Group working with an anchor : NEWS TEAM
55 Goes off the wall : FREAKS
60 Loads : A LOT
61 Situation depicted at 39-Across : TRAFFIC JAM
63 Bog : MIRE
64 Grain location : SILO
65 One of the McMahons of WWE : SHANE
66 Cries of faux terror : EEKS
67 Bulldogs’ home : YALE
68 Basketball game : HORSE

Down

1 “___ and the Two Strings” (2016 animated film) : KUBO
2 Call for all hands on deck? : AHOY!
3 Cry sometimes made with a snap of the fingers : RATS!
4 A little of this, a little of that : MUTT
5 Brisk, musically : ALLEGRO
6 Cooler : FAN
7 Show evidence of shock : REEL
8 West Coast gas brand : ARCO
9 “Oh ___!” (song from Lennon’s “Imagine” album) : YOKO
10 The Getty, for one : MUSEUM
11 Bad place for a 61-Across : INTERSTATE
12 Lee known for his cameos : STAN
13 Parachute part : CORD
18 ___ the Red : ERIK
22 Places for baths : SPAS
24 Minor role in many a Shakespeare play : SERVANT
26 ___ President : MADAM
27 One setting an alarm, maybe : ALEXA
28 What a 61-Across might make you : LATE TO WORK
29 Alarm clock settings, for short : AMS
30 California’s ___ Valley : YOSEMITE
31 Visual puzzle : REBUS
32 Blood line : AORTA
33 Arab Spring nation : YEMEN
36 Had a bad at-bat : STRUCK OUT
39 Winter air : CAROL
40 Small part of a pound : PUP
42 Remaining : LEFT
43 Uncivilized : BOORISH
45 Preferences : TASTES
47 Expound (on) : RIFF
50 “You ___ it” : NAME
51 Writer Wiesel : ELIE
52 Place to order handmade goods : ETSY
53 “Brava!” elicitor : ARIA
54 The world’s largest one is in Chengdu, China (covering 18 million square feet) : MALL
56 Delta follower : ECHO
57 Cracked open : AJAR
58 Neighbor of Nebr. : KANS
59 Mr. ___ (“Peter Pan” character) : SMEE
62 One of “them” : FOE

9 thoughts on “0618-20 NY Times Crossword 18 Jun 20, Thursday”

  1. 18:00, no errors. I was puzzled (more than I should have been, I suppose) by the “clue in brackets” at 39A, but … it’s Thursday, so I assumed it was some kind of gimmick, avoided the traffic jam, and worked the rest of the puzzle. At the end, it became clear what the gimmick was and the jam kind of filled itself in. I don’t know if there’s a standard convention about the use of brackets in a clue; in this case, it indicates a sort of wry, cryptic, unusual hint to an unusual answer.

  2. 20:01 Had END before AXE and then 38A morphed from TECS to ATTS to DETS before I sorted all that out. Came to realize there was a rebus somewhere around the middle with California’s valley (thinking at first it would be a wine valley) before realizing Yosemite had to fit in there somehow. Just took a bit to sort out all of the re-bus-ing. And now looking it over I guess that SUVs just don’t get into traffic jams – HAH!

    1. In the dictionary, one definition of the noun “air” is “a tune or short melodious composition, typically a song.” (For example, a carol.)

  3. 19:19. I went right after the reveal, TRAFFIC JAM, and the rest of the puzzle filled pretty easily until the middle. Finally got STRUCK OUT, still couldn’t figure it out, then I saw CAROL and got the rest of the rebuses – including the rebus of REBUS.

    Cleverly executed theme.

    Best –

  4. 26:02, someday I’ll learn how to spell “malarkey” and the world will be a better place because of it. 🙂

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