0706-20 NY Times Crossword 6 Jul 20, Monday

Constructed by: Lynn Lempel
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Celebs Do Things

Themed answers are common words reinterpreted as famous people doing something:

  • 18A Pianist Cliburn plays basketball defense? : VAN GUARDS
  • 24A TV host Behar takes mass transit? : JOY RIDES
  • 35A Actress Rogers flips out? : GINGER SNAPS
  • 51A Singer Dylan has fun in the snow? : BOB SLEDS
  • 57A Businessman Gates gets out of the poker game? : BILL FOLDS

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 4m 46s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Rafael on the tennis court : NADAL

Rafael “Rafa” Nadal is a Spanish tennis player. He is noted for his expertise on clay courts, which earned him the nickname “The King of Clay”.

6 Mineral easily split into layers : MICA

Mica is a silicate mineral. Thin sheets of mica are transparent and are used in place of glass in certain applications. This form of mica is called isinglass, and as it has a better thermal performance than glass it is a great choice for “peepholes” in boilers and lanterns. Mica is also used in the electronics industry, making use of its unique electrical and thermal insulating properties.

10 Reached base feet-first : SLID

That would be baseball.

14 Michelle who wrote “Becoming” : OBAMA

“Becoming” is a 2018 autobiographical memoir by former First Lady Michelle Obama. After “Becoming” was published in November 2018, it took just 15 days for it to break the record for copies sold of any book in the US that year.

15 Gem found in the Outback : OPAL

97% of the world’s opals come from Australia, so it’s no surprise perhaps that the opal is the national gemstone of the country. The state of South Australia provides the bulk of the world’s production, i.e. about 80%.

In Australia, the land outside of urban areas is referred to as the outback or the bush. That said, I think that the term “outback” is sometimes reserved for the more remote parts of the bush.

16 Daly with a Tony for “Gypsy” : TYNE

Actress Tyne Daly really came into the public eye playing Detective Lacey in “Cagney and Lacey”. From 1999 to 2005, Daly played the mother of the title character in the TV show “Judging Amy”.

“Gypsy” is a 1962 musical film based on the book by Gypsy Rose Lee titled “Gypsy: A Memoir”. Stars of the movie are Natalie Wood as Louise Hovick (Gypsy’s real name) and Rosalind Russell as Gypsy’s mother Rose Hovick. By the way, the real-life Gypsy Rose Lee became a fiction author in 1942 when her mystery thriller was published called “The G-String Murders”. The novel was adapted into a movie a couple of years later and released as “Lady of Burlesque” starring Barbara Stanwyck.

18 Pianist Cliburn plays basketball defense? : VAN GUARDS

Van Cliburn is a classical pianist from Shreveport, Louisiana. Cliburn became famous in the late fifties when he won the prestigious International Piano Competition held in Moscow. This win was of particular interest to the public, as an American winning something in the USSR was big news in the days of the Cold War.

24 TV host Behar takes mass transit? : JOY RIDES

Joy Behar is a comedian, and former co-host of the hit talk show “The View”. Behar was one of the original co-hosts of “The View”, and stayed with the show from 1997 until 2013, and then rejoined the show in 2015. She briefly hosted her own talk show called “Late Night Joy” in November 2015.

26 Trash-loving grouch of children’s TV : OSCAR

Oscar the Grouch is the Muppet that lives in a garbage can. Oscar’s persona comes from various sources. He is named after Oscar Brand who was one of the board members of the Children’s Television Workshop, the backers for “Sesame Street” as the Muppets were being developed in the sixties. Oscar’s personality was inspired by an angry waiter that once served Jim Henson (father of the Muppets). The voice was modeled on a grumpy New York cab driver encountered one day by Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer who brings Oscar to life.

27 They bring tears to chefs’ eyes : ONIONS

When an onion is sliced, cells are broken. Enzymatic reactions take place that result in the generation of a volatile gas, syn-propanethial-S-oxide. The gas irritates the eyes and tears are produced in order to clear them.

28 Young seal : PUP

Male seals are called bulls, females are cows, and babies are pups. A group of seals comprising one or two males, with several females and their offspring, is known as a harem.

30 “___ Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” : SGT

“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was the alter-ego of the Beatles, and the title of a famous studio album released in 1967, as well as the name of the album’s title track.

32 Illinois city on the Illinois River : PEORIA

Peoria is the oldest European settlement in the state of Illinois, having been settled by the French in 1680. The city is famous for being cited as “the average American city”. The phrase, “Will it play in Peoria?” is used to mean, “Will it appeal to the mainstream?” It is believed the expression originated as a corruption of, “We shall play in Peoria”, a line used by some actors in the 1890 novel “Five Hundred Dollars” by Horatio Alger, Jr.

35 Actress Rogers flips out? : GINGER SNAPS

I am a huge Ginger Rogers fan. Rogers is famous as the on-screen and dancing partner of Fred Astaire. However, my favorite films are those romantic comedies she made later in her career, especially “The Major and the Minor” and “Monkey Business”. There is a musical stage show about Ginger Rogers’ life called “Backwards in High Heels: The Ginger Musical” that debuted in 2007. The title is taken from a 1982 “Frank & Ernest” cartoon about Fred & Ginger” with the words:

Sure he was great, but don’t forget that Ginger Rogers did everything he did – backwards and in high heels.

40 Kelly seen live in the morning : RIPA

When Kelly Ripa secured the co-host spot on morning television with Regis Philbin, she was still acting in “All My Children” in a role she had been playing for over ten years. After a year of holding down two jobs, she eventually gave up the acting gig. Ripa has acted as spokeswoman for several brands over the years, including Electrolux and Rykä.

46 Martial arts level : DAN

The “dan” ranking system is used in several Japanese and Korean martial arts. The dan ranking indicates a level of proficiency, and often only applies to practitioners who have already earned a black belt.

47 Damsel : MAIDEN

A damsel is a young woman, and often a lady of noble birth. The term “damsel” came into English from the Old French “dameisele”, which had the same meaning. The modern French term is “demoiselle”, which in turn is related to the term of address “mademoiselle”.

49 Battle site where Davy Crockett died : 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!”.

The pioneer Davy Crockett is often referred to as “King of the Wild Frontier”. Crockett was from East Tennessee. After serving in the local militia he entered politics and represented his state in the US House of Representatives from 1827 to 1831. He disapproved of many of the policies of President Andrew Jackson, which led to his defeat in the 1834 election for the House. The defeat prompted Crockett to leave Tennessee for Texas. Famously, he died there in 1836 at the Battle of the Alamo.

51 Singer Dylan has fun in the snow? : BOB SLEDS

The birth name of singer Bob Dylan was Robert Zimmerman. Zimmerman changed his name to “Dylan” partly because he was influenced by the poetry of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.

57 Businessman Gates gets out of the poker game? : BILL FOLDS

Bill Gates is the former CEO of Microsoft, a company that he co-founded with Paul Allen. Gates has been listed as the wealthiest man in the world on several occasions over the past two decades. He now works full-time as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, alongside his wife Melinda. The Gates’ foundation is the largest transparently-operated charitable foundation in the world.

59 Zola who wrote “J’Accuse …!” : EMILE

The most famous work by French writer Émile Zola is his 1898 open letter “J’Accuse!” written to French president Félix Faure. The letter was published on the front page of a leading Paris newspaper, and accused the government of anti-Semitism in its handling of the trial of Captain Alfred Dreyfus. Dreyfus was a Jewish military officer in the French army, falsely accused and convicted of spying for Germany. Even after the error was discovered, the government refused to back down and let Dreyfus rot away on Devil’s Island rather than admit to the mistake. It wasn’t until 1906, 12 years after the wrongful conviction, that Dreyfus was freed and reinstated, largely due to the advocacy of Emile Zola.

63 Printer powder : TONER

The key features of a laser printer (or copier) are that it uses plain paper and produces quality text at high speed. Laser printers work by projecting a laser image of the printed page onto a rotating drum that is coated with photoconductors (material that becomes conductive when exposed to light). The areas of the drum exposed to the laser carry a different charge than the unexposed areas. Dry ink (toner) sticks to the exposed areas due to electrostatic charge. The toner is then transferred to paper by contact and is fused into the paper by the application of heat. So, that explains why paper coming out of a laser printer is warm, and sometimes powdery.

64 “___ of the d’Urbervilles” : TESS

In Thomas Hardy’s novel “Tess of the d’Urbervilles”, the heroine and title character is Tess Durbeyfield. Her father is an uneducated peasant and when he hears that his name is a corruption of the noble name of “D’Urberville”, the news goes to his head.

66 Watermelon throwaways : SEEDS

The watermelon that we find in the grocery store is actually a berry produced by the flowering, vine-like watermelon plant. Seedless watermelons were developed by Japanese scientists in 1939, and now seedless varieties account for over 80% of watermelon sales in the US.

Down

1 Rhinoplasty, informally : NOSE JOB

A nose job is more correctly called rhinoplasty. The term comes from the Greek combining form “rhino-” meaning “nose”, and “plastos” meaning “act of forming”.

2 Mollusk with an iridescent inner shell : ABALONE

The large edible sea snails that we call abalone are called ormer in Britain and Ireland, and are served as “awabi” at a sushi bar. The abalone shell resembles a human ear, giving rise to the alternative names “ear shell” and “sea ear”.

Nacre, also known as mother-of-pearl, is the strong iridescent material laid down by some mollusks on the inside of their shells, and it’s also what makes up pearls. The creature lays down nacre as a defensive mechanism, protecting the soft tissue of its body from the rough surface of the outer shell. Similarly, it uses nacre to encapsulate harmful debris or a parasite that penetrates the shell, and that’s how a pearl is formed. Cultured pearls are made by inserting a tissue graft from a donor oyster, around which the nacre is laid down.

4 Quantity: Abbr. : AMT

Amount (amt.)

7 Apple tablets : IPADS

The iPad wasn’t Apple’s first foray into the world of tablet computing. Apple created great buzz by introducing the Newton MessagePad way back in 1993. This innovative machine was fraught with problems and really died a very slow death, finally being withdrawn from the market in 1998.

9 Bit of seaweed : ALGA

Algae are similar to terrestrial plants in that they use photosynthesis to create sugars from light and carbon dioxide, but they differ in that they have simpler anatomies, and for example lack roots.

12 Dressed like RuPaul : IN DRAG

The etymology of the term “drag”, as used in the transvestite world, seems to be unclear. It perhaps relates to the tendency of a transvestite’s skirts to drag along the ground in days of old (although why they just didn’t hitch up their skirts is beyond me!).

RuPaul is a famous drag queen who has developed a diverse career beyond performing on stage. He works as an actor, model, author and a recording artist. Famously, RuPaul doesn’t mind whether one addresses him as “he” or as “she” …

You can call me he. You can call me she. You can call me Regis and Kathie Lee; I don’t care! Just as long as you call me.

He currently hosts his own reality TV show called “RuPaul’s Drag Race”, which is billed as a search for “America’s next drag superstar”.

13 Gobi or Mojave : DESERT

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”.

The Mojave Desert in the southwest is named after the Native-American Mojave tribe. Famous locations within the boundaries of the desert are Death Valley, Las Vegas, Nevada and the ghost town of Calico, California.

19 Perfect world : UTOPIA

The word “Utopia” was coined by Sir Thomas More in his book “Utopia” published in 1516 to describe an idyllic fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. More’s use of the name Utopia comes from the Greek “ou” meaning “not” and “topos” meaning “place”. By calling his perfect island “Not Place”, More was apparently making the point that he didn’t think that the ideal could actually exist.

22 Much-anticipated parts of Super Bowl broadcasts : ADS

The Super Bowl is used for high-profile advertising because of the high viewership numbers. For example, Super Bowl XLIX (2015) had an average audience of 114 million viewers, making it the most-watched American TV program in history.

25 “The Kiss” sculptor : RODIN

“The Kiss” is a beautiful sculpture created in 1889 by Auguste Rodin. I’ve had the privilege of standing beside a large, life-size marble version of the work on a few occasions in the Rodin Museum, my favorite of all museums in Paris. The Musée Rodin is very special in that the building and garden that hold all of the works were Rodin’s actual home and studio. Well worth a visit if you make it to Paris …

32 Lowly laborer : PEON

A peon is a lowly worker who has no real control over his/her working conditions. The word “peon” comes into English from Spanish, in which language it has the same meaning.

34 Month of many unhappy returns? : APRIL

April 15th wasn’t always Tax Day in the US. The deadline for returns was March 1st from 1913-18, when it was moved to March 15th. Tax Day has been April 15th since 1955.

37 “Today” show rival, for short : GMA

“Good Morning America” (GMA) is ABC’s morning show, and has been since 1975. There was even a spin-off show called “Good Afternoon America”, although that only lasted for a few months in 2012.

44 Fictional 6-year-old at the Plaza Hotel : ELOISE

Kay Thompson wrote the “Eloise” series of children’s books. Kay Thompson actually lived at the Plaza Hotel in New York, the setting she would choose for her “Eloise” stories. Eloise started out as a hit song for Thompson, a success that she parlayed into the book franchise.

The celebrated Plaza Hotel in New York City is named for Grand Army Plaza, which faces the hotel’s main entrance on Fifth Avenue.

47 Entrepreneur’s deg. : MBA

The world’s first Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree was offered by Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, in 1908.

An entrepreneur is someone who takes on most aspects of a business venture, from the original idea to the execution. The term is imported from French, with “entreprendre” meaning “to undertake”. The original usage in English dates back to the early 1800s, when it applied to a manager and promoter of a theatrical production.

50 “And ___ to go before I sleep”: Robert Frost : MILES

When I was a schoolkid back in Ireland, Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” was our first introduction to American poetry, and what a lovely introduction it was:

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

52 Elizabeth of the “Avengers” series : OLSEN

Elizabeth Olsen is an actress and singer, and the younger sister of the famed Olsen twins Mary-Kate and Ashley.

58 Boy in knickers, perhaps : LAD

Back in the early 1900s, young boys would wear short pants in summer and longer “knee pants” in winter. The “knee pants” came to be known as “knickers” or “knickerbockers” in honor of the fictional author Diedrich Knickerbocker who appears in Washington Irving’s “History of New York”. Knickerbocker’s attire included knee-breeches.

60 Bartender on “The Simpsons” : MOE

Moe Szyslak is the surly bartender and owner of Moe’s Tavern in “The Simpsons” animated TV show. I don’t really care for “The Simpsons”, but Hank Azaria who supplies the voice for the Moe character … him I like …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Rafael on the tennis court : NADAL
6 Mineral easily split into layers : MICA
10 Reached base feet-first : SLID
14 Michelle who wrote “Becoming” : OBAMA
15 Gem found in the Outback : OPAL
16 Daly with a Tony for “Gypsy” : TYNE
17 Like the ocean and most potato chips : SALTY
18 Pianist Cliburn plays basketball defense? : VAN GUARDS
20 Building extension : ELL
21 Spoken : SAID
23 Garb : ATTIRE
24 TV host Behar takes mass transit? : JOY RIDES
26 Trash-loving grouch of children’s TV : OSCAR
27 They bring tears to chefs’ eyes : ONIONS
28 Young seal : PUP
30 “___ Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” : SGT
31 Unstraighten, as a wire : BEND
32 Illinois city on the Illinois River : PEORIA
35 Actress Rogers flips out? : GINGER SNAPS
39 “That’s enough!” : NO MORE!
40 Kelly seen live in the morning : RIPA
43 Hair goop : GEL
46 Martial arts level : DAN
47 Damsel : MAIDEN
49 Battle site where Davy Crockett died : ALAMO
51 Singer Dylan has fun in the snow? : BOB SLEDS
53 Change somewhat : MODIFY
55 “It’s a shame …” : ALAS …
56 Bit of legislation : LAW
57 Businessman Gates gets out of the poker game? : BILL FOLDS
59 Zola who wrote “J’Accuse …!” : EMILE
61 “So that’s how it is” : I SEE
62 Fury : RAGE
63 Printer powder : TONER
64 “___ of the d’Urbervilles” : TESS
65 Perfect world : EDEN
66 Watermelon throwaways : SEEDS

Down

1 Rhinoplasty, informally : NOSE JOB
2 Mollusk with an iridescent inner shell : ABALONE
3 Wasting time : DALLYING
4 Quantity: Abbr. : AMT
5 Stores for future use : LAYS IN
6 Date night staple : MOVIE
7 Apple tablets : IPADS
8 Soup container : CAN
9 Bit of seaweed : ALGA
10 Game recap figures : STATS
11 Words to songs : LYRICS
12 Dressed like RuPaul : IN DRAG
13 Gobi or Mojave : DESERT
19 Perfect world : UTOPIA
22 Much-anticipated parts of Super Bowl broadcasts : ADS
25 “The Kiss” sculptor : RODIN
28 Get in place for the camera : POSE
29 Large coffee vessel : URN
32 Lowly laborer : PEON
33 Muff one : ERR
34 Month of many unhappy returns? : APRIL
36 Fall asleep while watching TV, perhaps : NOD OFF
37 “Today” show rival, for short : GMA
38 Spot for a football coach : SIDELINE
41 Went by bicycle : PEDALED
42 a), b), c) and d), on a multiple-choice test : ANSWERS
43 Stratagem : GAMBIT
44 Fictional 6-year-old at the Plaza Hotel : ELOISE
45 Soup-serving utensils : LADLES
47 Entrepreneur’s deg. : MBA
48 Listings in a calculation of one’s net worth : ASSETS
50 “And ___ to go before I sleep”: Robert Frost : MILES
51 Award earned by a scout : BADGE
52 Elizabeth of the “Avengers” series : OLSEN
54 Time long gone : YORE
58 Boy in knickers, perhaps : LAD
60 Bartender on “The Simpsons” : MOE

12 thoughts on “0706-20 NY Times Crossword 6 Jul 20, Monday”

  1. 7:41, no errors. Smooth and cute puzzle. Fat fingers fouled me up again but still less than twice @Bill and @Nonny times…so it’s all good.

  2. 7:26 Alaska Steve and I both have the same barometer of success…anything less than 2X Nonny and Bill’s time is a win. Needless to point out my time for last Saturday was not in the “win” category 🙂

  3. 7:42 Also had a few fat fingerings – getting used to how the app skips over filled in squares, etc. Triple the motion that if my time is less than 2X Nonny and Bill then it’s a good day. Usually Fri and Sat I fall way short of that mark.

  4. 6:10. Good theme by Monday standards. Nothing interesting to say although that’s never stopped me before.

    On my way to vacation in Puerto Vallarta tomorrow. Should be interesting under the circumstances. I made these plans 6 months ago and just found out 2 weeks ago that it’s all open there. I believe Cancun and Cabo are both open as well if anyone wants to get a way…

    I guess my consecutive streak of days finishing the NYT crossword will end at some point this week. If you don’t finish the puzzle within 24 hours of it becoming available, your streak is snapped and you go back to 0. My previous “record” was 39 days. This one is 155 days. Unlikely I’ll ever match that again unless there’s another shutdown.

    Best –

    Best –

  5. 4:55 on paper Glen,.. Very good. 8 minutes for me on paper..

    I really need paper and pen. I have to get away from computers. 30+ years in the profession crunching numbers on first CRTS, then to PC’s with lotus and excel has taken its toll.

    Anyway, I digress. Couple of nits LAYS IN for future storing? And SLIDING feet first into first base?

    1. Agree that sliding, feet first, into first base is rarely a good strategy. The runner can over run the base and still be safe; and the fielder need only touch the base, no tag on the runner is required. However, the clue in my syndicated paper is “Reached base, feet first”. This would include second and third base as well.

  6. 6:49, no errors. Enjoyed the Monday theme.
    @Bill: might want to update your reference for ‘The View’. Joy Behar (the head harpy) indeed left the show in 2013, but returned in 2015 and is still there.

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