0624-20 NY Times Crossword 24 Jun 20, Wednesday

Constructed by: Joe Deeney
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Cold Open

Themed answers each comprise two words that OPEN with the letters IC (sounds like “icy”, i.e. COLD):

  • 59A Start of each “S.N.L.” episode … or a hint to the initials of the words in 17-, 24-, 35- and 47-Across : COLD OPEN
  • 17A It served as its state’s capital before Des Moines : IOWA CITY
  • 24A Joe and Jack, say? : IRISH COFFEE
  • 35A Medical ethics topic : INFORMED CONSENT
  • 47A “Barrier” dismantled in 1991 : IRON CURTAIN

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 10m 28s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • ZAC (Mac)
  • VIZSLA (mizsla)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Ansari of “Parks and Recreation” : AZIZ

Aziz Ansari is an actor and comedian from Columbia, South Carolina who is best known for playing Tom Haverford on the sitcom “Parks and Recreation”. Ansari also stars in the Netflix comedy-drama series “Master of None”.

5 Lotion letters : SPF

In theory, the sun protection factor (SPF) is a calibrated measure of the effectiveness of a sunscreen in protecting the skin from harmful UV rays. The idea is that if you wear a lotion with say SPF 20, then it takes 20 times as much UV radiation to cause the skin to burn than it would take without protection. I say just stay out of the sun …

8 Class for expectant mothers : LAMAZE

The Lamaze technique for childbirth was developed by a French obstetrician called Fernand Lamaze. He introduced the technique in the west after observing similar practices in the Soviet Union during a visit there in 1951.

15 ___-El (Superman’s birth name) : KAL

Jor-El was a scientist on the planet Krypton who was married to Lara. Jor-El and Lara had an infant son named Kal-El who they were able to launch into space towards Earth just before Krypton was destroyed. Kal-El became Superman. In the 1978 movie “Superman”, Jor-El was played by Marlon Brando, Lara was played by Susannah York, and Kal-El/Superman was played by Christopher Reeve.

16 Roberto in Cooperstown : ALOMAR

Roberto Alomar is a former Major League Baseball (MLB) player, considered by many to be the greatest ever second baseman. Alomar won 10 Gold Glove awards in his career, which is more than any other second baseman in history. Roberto is the son of MLB second baseman Sandy Alomar Sr., and the younger brother of MLB catcher and base coach Sandy Alomar Jr.

Cooperstown is a village in New York that is famous as the home to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The village was named for Judge William Cooper, the founder of Cooperstown and the father of the noted writer James Fenimore Cooper.

17 It served as its state’s capital before Des Moines : IOWA CITY

Iowa City was founded in 1839 in a move to relocate the capital of the Iowa Territory nearer to the center of the territory. The city was constructed, and officially made the capital in 1841. The Iowas Territory was admitted to the union as a state in 1846, and the state capital moved to Des Moines in 1857.

The city of Des Moines is the capital of Iowa, and takes its name from the Des Moines River. The river in turn takes its name from the French “Riviere des Moines” meaning “River of the Monks”. It looks like there isn’t any “monkish” connection to the city’s name per se. “Des Moines” was just the name given by French traders who corrupted “Moingona”, the name of a group of Illinois Native Americans who lived by the river. However, others contend that French Trappist monks, who lived a full 200 miles from the river, somehow influenced the name.

19 Traditional Japanese sword : KATANA

A katana is a curved sword worn by the samurai of Japan. A katana is sometimes referred to as a “samurai sword”.

20 Whack-a-mole implement : MALLET

The Whac-A-Mole arcade game was invented in 1976. Players use a mallet to force five plastic moles back into their holes. Whacking the moles can be so frustrating that we sometimes use the term “whac-a-mole” to describe a repetitive and futile task.

21 Where dreams are made? : REM

“REM” is an acronym standing for “rapid eye movement”. REM sleep takes up 20-25% of the sleeping hours and is the period associated with one’s most vivid dreams.

22 Fleur-de-___ : LIS

“Lys” (sometimes “lis”) is the French word for “lily” as in “fleur-de-lys”, the heraldic symbol often associated with the French monarchy.

24 Joe and Jack, say? : IRISH COFFEE

Despite rumors to the contrary, I choose to believe that the Irish coffee cocktail was invented in my homeland, and specifically in Foynes flying-boat station in the west of Ireland. The terminal at Foynes was one of the busiest in Europe back in the late 1930s and early 1940s, in the days when airlines such as Pan Am were using flying-boats for transatlantic crossings. Joe Sheridan, chef at the terminal’s restaurant, started to serve coffee laced with whiskey to warm the incoming passengers, especially those who landed on a wet and blustery west of Ireland day. Sheridan, it is said, coined the term “Irish coffee” for the drink.

29 Latin “I love” : AMO

“Amo, amas, amat” translates from Latin as “I love, you love, he/she/it loves”.

42 Asti Spumante, per esempio : VINO

Asti is a sparkling white wine from the Piedmont region of Italy, and is named for the town of Asti around which the wine is produced. The wine used to be called Asti Spumante, and it had a very bad reputation as a “poor man’s champagne”. The “Spumante” was dropped in a marketing attempt at rebranding associated with a reduction in the amount of residual sugar in the wine.

46 Senate rebuke : ET TU?!

It was Shakespeare who popularized the words “Et tu, Brute?” (meaning “And you, Brutus?”). They appear in his play “Julius Caesar”, although the phrase had been around long before he penned his drama. It’s not known what Julius Caesar actually said in real life (if anything at all) as he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate in Rome.

47 “Barrier” dismantled in 1991 : IRON CURTAIN

The term “Iron Curtain” was first used in the context of Soviet influence over Eastern Europe in a speech made by Winston Churchill in 1946. He made that address in the US, at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri.

52 Word before or after pack : RAT

The original Rat Pack from the fifties was a group of actors that centered on Humphrey Bogart, and included a young Frank Sinatra. Supposedly, Bogart’s wife, Lauren Bacall, christened them the Rat Pack after seeing them all return from one of their nights on the town in Las Vegas. The sixties Rat Pack was a reincarnation of the fifties version, with the core group of actors being Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin (Dino), Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford.

A pack rat is a rodent that can also be called a woodrat. The pack rat is so called because it frequently drags back objects to its nest. We’ve been using the term “pack rat” for a hoarder since the mid 1800s. It’s not certain whether the rodent was named for the human, or the human for the rodent.

53 Country’s ___ Brown Band : ZAC

The Zac Brown Band is a country music group from Atlanta, Georgia.

55 Bratislava resident : SLOVAK

Czechoslovakia existed as a sovereign state in Europe from 1918, at which time it declared itself independent from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The country went through much turmoil through the days of Nazi and Soviet occupation, but democracy was restored in 1989 after the nonviolent Velvet Revolution that overthrew the communist government. Nationalist tendencies did develop over time, leading to a peaceful dissolution of the country in 1993, and the creation of the two independent states of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic (aka “Slovakia”).

Bratislava is the capital and largest city of Slovakia. The city itself actually borders Austria and Hungary, making Bratislava the only national capital in the world that borders two foreign countries.

59 Start of each “S.N.L.” episode … or a hint to the initials of the words in 17-, 24-, 35- and 47-Across : COLD OPEN

A “cold open” of a TV show or movie is a scene that is shown before the title sequence or opening credits. Cold opens became quite the rage on television starting in the mid-sixties.

62 Director Lee : ANG

Taiwanese director Ang Lee sure has directed a mixed bag of films, mixed in terms of genre but not in terms of quality. He was at the helm for such classics as “Sense & Sensibility” (my personal favorite), “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, “Hulk”, “Brokeback Mountain” and “Life of Pi”.

63 Old-timey “not” : NARY

The adjective “nary” means “not one”, as in “nary a soul” or even “nary a one”.

65 Jed’s adviser on “The West Wing” : LEO

In the excellent television show “The West Wing”, President Jed Bartlet is played by Martin Sheen. Leo McGarry was played very ably by John Spencer. If you haven’t seen them, the early seasons of “The West Wing” are just fabulous. I learned so much about the workings of the American government through this TV show.

66 Where Southwest Airlines is LUV : NYSE

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) can give some quite descriptive ticker symbols to companies, for example:

  • Anheuser-Busch (BUD, for “Budweiser”)
  • Molson Coors Brewing Company (TAP, as in “beer tap”)
  • Steinway Musical Instruments (LVB, for “Ludwig van Beethoven”)
  • Sotheby’s (BID, for the auction house)

Southwest Airlines (SWA) is the world’s largest low-cost passenger airline. I’ve always admired the Southwest operation and found that the company knows to keep costs under control while maintaining a high level of customer service. One strategy the company used for decades was only to operate Boeing 737 aircraft, which kept maintenance and operating costs to a minimum. Southwest has over 700 Boeing 737s in service, with each plane making about six flights per day.

Down

1 Subject of a Louisville museum : ALI

“The Muhammad Ali Center” is a museum in Ali’s hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. The center was opened in 2005 and explores the life of the champion boxer and features exhibitions that reflect Ali’s core values. I’m a real “museumphile”, and so was thrilled to be able to visit the Muhammad Ali Center a few years ago. Sadly, I found that this one missed the mark somehow …

6 Smith known as the Poet Laureate of Punk : PATTI

Patti Smith is a singer-songwriter who was a big player in the seventies punk rock movement in New York City. Smith’s most successful song is “Because the Night”, a song co-written with Bruce Springsteen and recorded by Smith in 1978. Her influence in the punk rock scene earned Smith the nickname “Godmother of Punk”.

8 Italian tourist destination : LAKE COMO

Lake Como is a glacial lake in Lombardy in Italy. Lake Como has long been a retreat for the rich and famous. Lakeside homes there are owned by the likes of Madonna, George Clooney, Gianni Versace, Sylvester Stallone and Richard Branson.

9 Car rental choice : ALAMO

The third-largest car rental company in recent years is Alamo, which was founded in 1974. Alamo made inroads (pun!) into the market by popularizing the idea of “unlimited mileage”.

10 Bon ___ : MOT

“Bon mot” translates from French as “good word”. We use “bon mot” (and sometimes just “mot”) to mean “quip, witticism”.

11 Italian tourist destination : AMALFI

Amalfi, Italy is a coastal town on the Gulf of Salerno located about 30 miles southeast of Naples. The town gives its name to the popular tourist destination known as the Amalfi Coast.

12 More out there : ZANIER

Something described as zany is clownish and bizarre. “Zany” can also be a noun, a term used for a clown or buffoon. The original noun was “Zanni”, a Venetian dialect variant of Gianni, short for Giovanni (John). Zanni was a character who appeared in comedy plays of the day, and was someone who aped the principal actors.

21 Department store founder : RH MACY

The original Macy’s store was opened by Rowland Hussey Macy in Haverhill, Massachusetts in 1851. This store, and several others that Macy opened, all failed. Macy picked himself up though, and started over again in New York City. Those early New York stores all focused on the sale of dry goods, but added departments quickly as the clientele grew. The Macy’s red star logo has been around since the company was first established. Macy chose the star because it mimicked the star tattoo that he got as a teenager when he was working on a whaling ship out of Nantucket.

23 Indonesian tourist destination : BALI

Bali is both an island and a province in Indonesia. It is a popular tourist spot, although the number of visitors dropped for a few years as a result of terrorist bombings in 2002 and 2005 that killed mainly tourists. Bali became more popular starting in 2008 due to a significant and favorable change in the exchange rate between the US dollar and the Indonesian rupiah.

28 Geometric figure with equal angles : ISOGON

An isogon is a polygon with equal angles in the corners. Examples are squares and equilateral triangles.

32 Prove one’s humanity, in a way : ERR

Alexander Pope’s 1709 poem “An Essay on Criticism” is the source of at least three well-known quotations:

  • A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.
  • To err is human, to forgive divine.
  • For fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

33 Literary character who lives in the Gloomy Place : EEYORE

Eeyore is the donkey character in A. A. Milne’s “Winnie-the-Pooh”. Eeyore is very lovable, but has a gloomy and pessimistic outlook on life.

36 Apple pickers? : MAC USERS

Macintosh (also “Mac”, since 1998) is a line of computers from Apple Inc. The first Macintosh was introduced in 1984, and I remember someone showing me one at work in those early days of personal computing. There was a piece of white plastic connected to the main computer by a cord, and I was amazed when the guy showed me that it controlled where the cursor was on the screen. My colleague told me that this lump of plastic was called “a mouse” …

42 Hungarian sporting dog : VIZSLA

The vizsla is a breed of sporting dog that originated in Hungary. The first vizsla dogs, a mother and two of her pups, arrived in the US from Rome in 1950.

43 Dinar spenders : IRAQIS

The dinar is the official currency in many countries, such as Iraq, Tunisia and Serbia. The gold dinar dates back to the early days of Islam, with the name deriving from the Roman currency called “denarius” meaning “ten times” (as it was originally a coin worth ten asses).

48 Closest dwarf planet : CERES

Ceres is the smallest dwarf planet in our solar system. Ceres was discovered in 1801 and is the largest body in the asteroid belt, and is the only asteroid that is classified as a dwarf planet. For fifty years, Ceres was classified as the eighth planet circling our sun. The Dawn space probe launched by NASA entered Ceres orbit in March 2015, and became the first mission to study a dwarf planet at close range.

56 Winter Olympics star Lindsey : VONN

Lindsey Vonn is a World Champion alpine ski racer from Saint Paul, Minnesota. She is one of the few women to have won World Cup races in all five alpine racing disciplines: downhill, super-G, giant slalom, slalom and super combined. In fact, Vonn is the most successful US ski racer in history.

59 Old presidential nickname : CAL

President Calvin Coolidge, the only US President to have been born on July 4th, was known as a man of few words. It was while he was serving as US Vice President, in the administration of Warren G. Harding, that Coolidge earned the nickname “Silent Cal”. There are a couple of anecdotes about Coolidge that illustrate his renowned reticence. The first involves a lady sitting beside the president at dinner one evening who remarked to him, “Mr. Coolidge, I’ve made a bet against a fellow who said it was impossible to get more than two words out of you.” His famous reply was, “You lose.” A second tale recalls the comment made by poet Dorothy Parker in 1933 when she heard that Coolidge had just died. She inquired archly, and perhaps a little coldly, “How could they tell?”

60 December 31, in brief : NYE

New Year’s Eve (NYE)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Ansari of “Parks and Recreation” : AZIZ
5 Lotion letters : SPF
8 Class for expectant mothers : LAMAZE
14 Only : LONE
15 ___-El (Superman’s birth name) : KAL
16 Roberto in Cooperstown : ALOMAR
17 It served as its state’s capital before Des Moines : IOWA CITY
19 Traditional Japanese sword : KATANA
20 Whack-a-mole implement : MALLET
21 Where dreams are made? : REM
22 Fleur-de-___ : LIS
23 Waste receptacle : BIN
24 Joe and Jack, say? : IRISH COFFEE
27 Voting against : ANTI
29 Latin “I love” : AMO
30 Shows, as shows : AIRS
31 Set free : LOOSE
33 Glossy coating : ENAMEL
35 Medical ethics topic : INFORMED CONSENT
40 In a drab way : GRAYLY
41 Bluesman Willie : DIXON
42 Asti Spumante, per esempio : VINO
45 Noise from a nest : COO
46 Senate rebuke : ET TU?!
47 “Barrier” dismantled in 1991 : IRON CURTAIN
52 Word before or after pack : RAT
53 Country’s ___ Brown Band : ZAC
54 New Orleans-to-Tampa dir. : ESE
55 Bratislava resident : SLOVAK
57 Even : SQUARE
59 Start of each “S.N.L.” episode … or a hint to the initials of the words in 17-, 24-, 35- and 47-Across : COLD OPEN
61 Adopt-a-Highway concern : LITTER
62 Director Lee : ANG
63 Old-timey “not” : NARY
64 Give a good looking-over : ASSESS
65 Jed’s adviser on “The West Wing” : LEO
66 Where Southwest Airlines is LUV : NYSE

Down

1 Subject of a Louisville museum : ALI
2 Magnify : ZOOM IN ON
3 Lacking : IN WANT OF
4 True believer’s quality : ZEAL
5 Athlete in goggles : SKIER
6 Smith known as the Poet Laureate of Punk : PATTI
7 Stylish, slangily : FLY
8 Italian tourist destination : LAKE COMO
9 Car rental choice : ALAMO
10 Bon ___ : MOT
11 Italian tourist destination : AMALFI
12 More out there : ZANIER
13 Wipes out : ERASES
18 151, in old Rome : CLI
21 Department store founder : RH MACY
23 Indonesian tourist destination : BALI
25 Place for a pickup baseball game : SANDLOT
26 Fake eyelash, slangily : FALSIE
28 Geometric figure with equal angles : ISOGON
32 Prove one’s humanity, in a way : ERR
33 Literary character who lives in the Gloomy Place : EEYORE
34 Goal : END
36 Apple pickers? : MAC USERS
37 Reward for working overtime : EXTRA PAY
38 “Anyone? … ANYONE?” : NO TAKERS?
39 Threaded fastener : T-NUT
42 Hungarian sporting dog : VIZSLA
43 Dinar spenders : IRAQIS
44 “Back of the line!” : NO CUTS!
48 Closest dwarf planet : CERES
49 Together : AS ONE
50 “My turn” : I’LL GO
51 Start to snooze, with “off” : NOD …
56 Winter Olympics star Lindsey : VONN
58 Downed : ATE
59 Old presidential nickname : CAL
60 December 31, in brief : NYE

6 thoughts on “0624-20 NY Times Crossword 24 Jun 20, Wednesday”

  1. 12:54, no errors. Shout-out to my ex, who was a dog person and is probably the reason why VIZSLA was a gimme for me. (Mind you, I was a little unsure of the spelling – ZS or SZ? – but at least I knew the first letter was a V … 😜.)

  2. 18:05 Several false starts – UNWANTED vs INWANTOF, ICE pack vs RAT Pack at 52A – you can also have Pack ICE. It would have also been in line with the theme, which hit me only at the very end). Initially wanted Berlin Wall for 47A, but I guess the wall came down in ’89 and the letter count was wrong anyway. Needed crosses for the Hungarian dog. Unknown to me. Still learning how to use the online app and how it does / does not overwrite letters, etc.

  3. 20:02 Also tried “Berlin Wall” and realized that would have been post Reagan Era and not enough letters anyway. Another theme that totally went over my head…. I’m still in that category of solvers called “just glad to finish” 🙂

  4. 18:02, no errors. Never heard of the dog. I was a little surprised when I completed the last square and got the gold. I thought I’d have to look up the dog but crosses saved me. The first half went very fast but as usual, I slowed down eventually. I also had ICE before switching to RAT.

  5. 21:07 and bringing up the rear as a poster as well today. I feel like such a slacker. I struggled with this one by Wednesday standards. Much higher than my Wed average which includes puzzles when I was just starting to do them. Yikes. At least I got RAT on the first try.

    Bill – loved the story on the genesis of Irish coffee. But coffee laced with coffee doesn’t sound like Irish coffee to me 🙂 . I’m assuming that’s a typo.

    As far as the clue for Irish coffee, my understanding is that Irish coffee is coffee with Irish whiskey specifically. Jack Daniels is not Irish whiskey, but I suppose if someone put it into coffee and called it such no one would complain.

    The NYT is on a roll this week. Three above average puzzles IMO so far. Let’s see how I feel after the Thursday massacre coming.

    Best –

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