0623-20 NY Times Crossword 23 Jun 20, Tuesday

Constructed by: Jeff Chen
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Straight Edges

Themed answers are each limited to letters with a STRAIGHT vertical EDGE on the left. As the answers are all in the down-direction, collectively the EDGES make STRAIGHT line oriented in the up-down direction in the grid:

  • 14D Rulers, e.g. … or what the letters in 3-, 7-, 27- and 34-Down all have : STRAIGHT EDGES
  • 3D Mascot on cookie boxes : KEEBLER ELF
  • 7D Forrest Gump’s favorite soft drink : DR PEPPER
  • 27D David Bowie hit with the lyric “You’ve torn your dress, your face is a mess” : REBEL REBEL
  • 34D “Be my guest!” : FEEL FREE!

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 6m 09s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

12 They may hang out at pubs : BEER GUTS

They also hang out here at home …

15 Brendan of “Crash” : FRASER

Brendan Fraser is a Canadian-American actor (both parents are Canadian), who was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. Fraser was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2006, making him the first American-born actor to be so honored.

The 2004 Oscar-winning movie “Crash” is a clever piece of work, with several interweaving stories that use a fine cast of characters. Having said that, the fact that “Crash” won the Academy Award in 2005 was very unexpected, as the film had not won any of the other major awards for Best Film that year. The critics’ favorite in 2005 was “Brokeback Mountain”.

18 Buffalo’s N.H.L. team : SABRES

The Buffalo Sabres joined the National Hockey League in the 1970-71 season. The team took the name “Sabres” as the result of a fan contest.

22 Revered Muslim : CALIPH

“Caliph” is an Arabic word meaning “successor”. In the Islamic tradition, a caliph is a leader who is deemed to be a successor of Muhammad.

23 Workers in puffy white hats : CHEFS

A toque was a brimless style of hat that was very fashionable in Europe in the 13th to 16th centuries. Nowadays we associate toques with chefs, as it is the name given to a chef’s hat (called a “toque blanche” in French, a “white hat”). A chef’s toque is quite interesting. Many toques have exactly 100 pleats, often said to signify the number of ways that an egg can be cooked.

25 Start of many young rappers’ names : LIL’

“Lil’” is a short form of the word “little”. There are a whole slew of rappers named “Lil’ something”, such as Lil Wayne, Lil’ J, and Lil’ Kim.

26 Intrinsically : PER SE

“Per se” is a Latin phrase that translates as “by itself”. We use “per se” pretty literally, meaning “in itself, intrinsically”.

30 2011 U.S. Open champ McIlroy : RORY

Rory McIlroy is a very successful golfer from Northern Ireland. McIlroy is a relatively young man and a former world number one on the circuit, so folks can’t help but compare him to Tiger Woods. He was the first European to win three different majors. Along with Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, McIlroy is one of only three people to win three majors before the age of 25.

32 Astronomical streaker : METEOR

A meteoroid is a small rocky or metallic body travelling through space. Once in the atmosphere, the meteoroid is referred to as a “meteor” or “shooting star”. Almost all meteoroids burn up, but if one is large enough to survive and reach the ground then we call it a meteorite. The word “meteor” comes from the Greek “meteōros” meaning “high in the air”.

36 One of two in Princess Leia’s hairstyle : BUN

Princess Leia is Luke Skywalker’s twin sister in the original “Star Wars” trilogy and was played by Carrie Fisher. Carrie Fisher has stated that she hated the famous “cinnamon bun hairstyle” that she had to wear in the films, as she felt it made her face look too round. She also had to sit for two hours every day just to get her hair styled. Two hours to get your hair done? It takes me just two seconds …

37 Thornton ___, “Our Town” playwright : WILDER

Thornton Wilder was a playwright and novelist from Madison, Wisconsin. Wilder won three Pulitzer Prizes, including one for his 1937 play “Our Town”.

“Our Town” is a play by Thornton Wilder that was first performed in 1938. Wilder won a Pulitzer for the work. “Our Town” was actually banned by the Soviet authorities in East Berlin in 1946. Their reasoning was that “the drama was too depressing and could inspire a German suicide wave”.

39 Tit for ___ : TAT

The phrase “tit for tat”, meaning some sort of retaliation, has been around for an awfully long time, since the mid-1500s. It might be derived from “tip for tap”, meaning “blow for blow”.

40 First lady Truman : BESS

Harry Truman and Bess Wallace first met when they were very young children at Sunday school. They were friends right through high school and became engaged in 1918, just before Harry went off to France during WWI, and married the next year. Bess Truman never really took to the Washington scene when she became First Lady and stayed out of the limelight as much as she could. Perhaps that contributed to her longevity. Mrs. Truman lived to the age of 97, making her the longest living First Lady in US history.

41 Daniel who wrote “Robinson Crusoe” : DEFOE

Daniel Defoe is most famous today as the author of the novels “Robinson Crusoe” and “Moll Flanders”. He was also a trader … and a spy for King William III!

When Daniel Defoe wrote his marvelous 1719 novel called “Robinson Crusoe”, he was likely thinking of real-life Scottish castaway Alexander Selkirk. Selkirk was marooned and lived alone on the Pacific Island called “Mas a Tierra” off the coast of Chile, for four years. The island was officially renamed in 1966, and is now called Robinson Crusoe Island.

42 “The Star-Spangled Banner” contraction : O’ER

The words “o’er the land of the free” come from the US national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner” written by Francis Scott Key.

53 Duds : ATTIRE

“Duds” is an informal word meaning “clothing”. The term comes from the word “dudde” that was used around 1300 as the name for a cloak.

56 Means of climbing over rural fences : STILES

A stile is a structure allowing people to pass over or through a fence, while at the same time preventing livestock from escaping. The derivative term “turnstile” describes a revolving structure in a wall or fence that allows the controlled passage of people.

60 Spike of interest in movies? : LEE

Film director Spike Lee was born in Atlanta, Georgia but has very much made New York City his home and place of work. Most of Lee’s films are set in New York City, including his first feature film, 1986’s “She’s Gotta Have It”. That film was shot over two weeks with a budget of $175,000. “She’s Gotta Have It” grossed over $7 million at the US box office.

Down

1 Some kindergarten lessons : ABCS

“Kindergarten” is a German term, one translating as “children’s garden”. The term was coined by the German education authority Friedrich Fröbel in 1837, when he used it as the name for his play and activity institute that he created for young children to use before they headed off to school. His thought was that children should be nourished educationally, like plants in a garden.

2 Ward of “CSI: NY” : SELA

Actress Sela Ward turns up in crosswords a lot. Ward played Teddy Reed in the TV show “Sisters” in the nineties, and was in “Once and Again” from 1999-2002. I don’t know either show, but I do know Ward from the medical drama “House” in which she played the hospital’s lawyer and Greg House’s ex-partner. That was a fun role, I thought. More recently, Ward played a lead role on “CSI: NY” and was a very welcome and much-needed addition to the cast. And, Ward played Dr. Richard Kimble’s murdered wife in the 1993 film version of “The Fugitive”.

3 Mascot on cookie boxes : KEEBLER ELF

The famous Keebler Elves have been appearing in ads for Keebler since 1968. The original head of the elves was J. J. Keebler, but he was toppled from power by Ernest J. Keebler in 1970. The Keebler Elves bake their cookies in the Hollow Tree Factory.

4 Long-legged waders : EGRETS

Egrets are a group of several species of white herons. Many egret species were faced with extinction in the 1800s and early 1900s due to plume hunting, a practice driven by the demand for egret plumes that could be incorporated into hats.

5 Florida gridders, in headlines : BUCS

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (the Bucs) joined the NFL in 1976, along with the Seattle Seahawks, as an expansion team. The Bucs had a tough start in the NFL, losing their first 26 games. Things went better in the early eighties, but then the team went through 14 consecutive losing seasons. Their luck changed again though, and they won the Super Bowl at the end of the 2002 season.

6 A/C measure, for short : BTU

In the world of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), the power of a heating or cooling unit can be measured using the British Thermal Units (BTU). This dated unit is the amount of energy required to heat a pound of water so that the water’s temperature increases by one degree Fahrenheit.

7 Forrest Gump’s favorite soft drink : DR PEPPER

Dr Pepper was introduced in 1885 in Waco, Texas, one year before the competing Coca-Cola was released to the market. I spent an entertaining few hours at the Dr Pepper Museum in Waco a few years ago. And, note the lack of a period after “Dr”.

The epic 1994 movie “Forrest Gump” is based on a 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom. Groom said that he had envisioned John Goodman playing the title role, and not Tom Hanks.

11 Gaelic tongue : ERSE

A Gael is anyone of a race that speaks or spoke one of the Erse tongues. There are actually three Erse languages. Irish, Manx (spoken on the Isle of Man) and Scots Gaelic. In their own tongues, these would be “Gaeilge” (in Ireland), “Gaelg” (on the Isle of Man) and “Gaidhlig” (in Scotland).

15 Points of convergence : FOCI

A focus (plural “foci”) is a point of convergence, or a center of activity. “Focus” is a Latin word meaning “hearth, fireplace”. The hearth can be a focus of a room.

24 Mandel of “America’s Got Talent” : HOWIE

Howie Mandel is a Canadian comic. He was a regular on TV a few years ago as host of “Deal or No Deal”, and more recently as a judge on “America’s Got Talent”. I remember Mandel from “St. Elsewhere” in the eighties, which was the first American TV show that I watched regularly when I moved to the US …

NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” is part of a global franchise based in the UK. The original show is called “Britain’s Got Talent”, and the whole franchise is owned by Simon Cowell. The first host of “America’s Got Talent” was Regis Philbin (2006), followed by Jerry Springer, Nick Cannon and Tyra Banks.

27 David Bowie hit with the lyric “You’ve torn your dress, your face is a mess” : REBEL REBEL

David Bowie was the stage name of English singer David Jones. Bowie adopted the alter ego Ziggy Stardust during his glam rock phase in the 1970s. Sadly, Bowie passed away from liver cancer in early 2016.

29 Physicist Mach of Mach number fame : ERNST

The Mach number of a moving object (like say an airplane) is its speed relative to the speed of sound. A plane travelling at Mach 2, for example, is moving at twice the speed of sound. The term “Mach” takes its name from the Austrian physicist Ernst Mach who published a groundbreaking paper in 1877 that even predicted the “sonic boom”.

31 Many a Christmas tree : FIR

Firs are evergreen coniferous trees, with several species being popular as Christmas trees. The most commonly used species during the holidays are the Nordmann fir, noble fir, Fraser fir and balsam fir. We also see a lot of Douglas fir trees at Christmas, but they’re not actually true firs.

42 Yoko often seen in sunglasses : ONO

Yoko Ono is an avant-garde artist. Ono actually met her future husband John Lennon for the first time while she was preparing her conceptual art exhibit called “Hammer a Nail”. Visitors were encouraged to hammer in a nail into a wooden board, creating the artwork. Lennon wanted to hammer in the first nail, but Ono stopped him as the exhibition had not yet opened. Apparently Ono relented when Lennon paid her an imaginary five shillings to hammer an imaginary nail into the wood.

45 Bellicose Greek god : ARES

The Greek god Ares is often referred to as the Olympian god of warfare, but originally he was regarded as the god of bloodlust and slaughter. Ares united with Aphrodite to create several gods, including Phobos (Fear), Deimos (Terror) and Eros (Desire). Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, and the Roman equivalent to Ares was Mars.

Someone described as bellicose is inclined to favor strife or war. The term comes from “bellum”, the Latin word for “war”.

48 Rebuke to Brutus : ET TU?

The most famous man with the name “Brutus” in ancient Rome was Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger. It was this Brutus that Julius Caesar turned to when he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate. William Shakespeare immortalized Brutus by featuring him in his play, “Julius Caesar”, and giving his victim the line “Et tu, Brute?”

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Set a price of : ASK
4 Recede : EBB
7 Arrange in folds : DRAPE
12 They may hang out at pubs : BEER GUTS
15 Brendan of “Crash” : FRASER
16 Plain as day : CLEAR-CUT
17 Way things look to the public, informally : OPTICS
18 Buffalo’s N.H.L. team : SABRES
19 Puffed snack food : RICE CAKE
21 Give the go-ahead : LET
22 Revered Muslim : CALIPH
23 Workers in puffy white hats : CHEFS
25 Start of many young rappers’ names : LIL’
26 Intrinsically : PER SE
30 2011 U.S. Open champ McIlroy : RORY
31 Hazard for takeoffs and landings : FOG
32 Astronomical streaker : METEOR
33 Be behind, in a way : OWE
34 Warrior : FIGHTER
36 One of two in Princess Leia’s hairstyle : BUN
37 Thornton ___, “Our Town” playwright : WILDER
39 Tit for ___ : TAT
40 First lady Truman : BESS
41 Daniel who wrote “Robinson Crusoe” : DEFOE
42 “The Star-Spangled Banner” contraction : O’ER
43 Key worker at a restaurant? : VALET
44 Sources of saliva and sweat : GLANDS
46 Slip up : ERR
47 Game that requires bending : LEAPFROG
50 Rude rejection : BITE ME!
53 Duds : ATTIRE
54 Sticker on green products : ECOLABEL
56 Means of climbing over rural fences : STILES
57 They can’t lose : SURE BETS
58 One-on-one pupil : TUTEE
59 Target of some football passes : END
60 Spike of interest in movies? : LEE

Down

1 Some kindergarten lessons : ABCS
2 Ward of “CSI: NY” : SELA
3 Mascot on cookie boxes : KEEBLER ELF
4 Long-legged waders : EGRETS
5 Florida gridders, in headlines : BUCS
6 A/C measure, for short : BTU
7 Forrest Gump’s favorite soft drink : DR PEPPER
8 Gradually increase, with “up” : RATCHET …
9 Source of a big percentage of U.S. auto imports : ASIA
10 Hunt-and-___ typing : PECK
11 Gaelic tongue : ERSE
13 Make thinner, as air : RAREFY
14 Rulers, e.g. … or what the letters in 3-, 7-, 27- and 34-Down all have : STRAIGHT EDGES
15 Points of convergence : FOCI
20 Ailing : ILL
22 Target of a plumber’s snake : CLOG
23 Throng : CROWD
24 Mandel of “America’s Got Talent” : HOWIE
27 David Bowie hit with the lyric “You’ve torn your dress, your face is a mess” : REBEL REBEL
28 Boozehound : SOUSE
29 Physicist Mach of Mach number fame : ERNST
31 Many a Christmas tree : FIR
32 Convened : MET
34 “Be my guest!” : FEEL FREE!
35 Blackens : TARS
38 Group on top of a loose football : DOGPILE
40 Bill for a 28-Down : BAR TAB
42 Yoko often seen in sunglasses : ONO
43 Like some brides or threats : VEILED
45 Bellicose Greek god : ARES
47 Persist : LAST
48 Rebuke to Brutus : ET TU?
49 Going ___ (bickering) : AT IT
50 Brought into the world : BORN
51 Ration, with “out” : METE …
52 Conditional word : ELSE
55 Line that an actor waits to hear : CUE

15 thoughts on “0623-20 NY Times Crossword 23 Jun 20, Tuesday”

  1. 13:26. I was 1/2 way done in about 5 minutes, then the harder part (much of the right side) began. Took a couple minutes to find my mis-spelling of RAREFY as part of that. Only realized the theme after reading this blog. Mini-theme with BARTAB, SOUSE, and BEERGUTS???

  2. 7:42, no errors. Fumbled my way through it at the end of a long day and completely (conveniently? 😜) forgot to think about the theme. Now that it has been pointed out to me, I must, once again, marvel at the ingenuity of the setters who are endlessly tasked with finding new bits of word play to entertain us! … 😜

  3. 8:57, no errors. A quick solve on a Jeff Chen puzzle? I’m excited! I felt in the groove this morning. Jeff usually gives me a headache. None of the quadrants gave me problems today. Could there be a big crash coming for me on Wednesday? Karma!

  4. 7:02. 3 seconds faster than yesterday’s puzzle for whatever reason. I didn’t read the theme closely enough. I thought just the letters in those squares (i.e. 3,27,etc) had the straight edge to them. Kinda thought, “so what??”. Then I saw it was every letter in those words. Better. Two good early week themes. You don’t see that a lot.

    Best –

  5. No errors. Second day in a row I didn’t get the theme… I feel like crying “mom, I don’t get it!”… She could always explain things to me , or just tell me “because, that’s the way it is” and I would feel better.

  6. 21:24 no errors…when I first saw the grid and the setter I thought “here we go again” but it was not the case…thank you Jeff.
    I guess 43A refers to parking cars…I am a big time football fan but don’t remember ever hearing the term dog pile.
    @Glenn…7:08 is a slow solve? Really?
    Stay safe👍.

    1. For me it was. Kind of leery of that whole “vertical line” note as described below, so acted slower than I probably could have.

  7. Amazed at the diversity of impressions for this puzzle. Denying a big head, I finished so quickly (though untimed) and easily , I
    didn’t even notice many of the crossing clues and answers until coming here, meaning I didn’t have to cross-verify my entries. I was a little daunted at first seeing the empty grid, but quickly grasped the theme after starting.

  8. My paper (Long Beach Press Telegram) had a vertibar preprinted where required as the left side of the letter in question.

    One error – wrote “LOCI” instead of “FOCI” and never checked the
    crossing word. Seemed to make sense at the time.

    1. I didn’t see it five weeks ago, but the NYT crossword-puzzle app comes with a note hidden behind an “i” (“information”) icon: “In the print version of this puzzle, each square in 3-, 7-, 27-, and 34-Down contains a short vertical line in the left half of the square.”

      I’d start reading those things, but they’re not usually all that helpful … 😜.

  9. 12:09, 2 errors: RAR(I)FY; L(I)T. Begrudgingly conceding these as errors, since RARIFY is an alternate spelling of RAREFY, and LIT can be used in the context of ‘lighting off a project’. Only conceding since the clue is in present tense, and LIT would be past tense.

    As Anonymous II pointed out, the syndicated versions have the ‘straight edges’ already printed in the squares. Don’t know if the original puzzle had these.

  10. No errors. I use the newspaper puzzle so I had the edge lines already filled in. Caught on to what that was all about within a few fills and from there on it was pretty easy. I thought of this as “a lazy man’s puzzle”. One of the lines in a letter is already there so all I have to do is make a few more little marks to make a complete letter. It is a minuscule amount of work to complete a letter but I liked it nevertheless.

    I counted out all the letters that have the “STRAIGHT EDGE”. They are B, D, E, F, H, K, L, M, N, P, and R. I have sure developed an appreciation for these letters now since I had never paid attention to it before.

    Great puzzle. Great construction feat by Jeff Chen.

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