0708-20 NY Times Crossword 8 Jul 20, Wednesday

Constructed by: Chase Dittrich
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Format Matters

Themed answers refer to the formatting used in the clue:
20A Having a meal! : STRESS “EATING”
35A M i l i t a r y t r a i n e e s : SPACE “CADETS”
42A Downward dog : STRIKE “A POSE”
56A “Will you marry me?” : BOLD “PROPOSAL”
… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 6m 39s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 Hot rod race : DRAG

Back in the 18th century “drag” was slang for a wagon or buggy, as it was “dragged” along by a horse or horses. In the 1930s, the underworld adopted “drag” as slang for an automobile. This sense of the word was imported into automobile racing in the forties, giving the name to “drag racing”. A drag race is basically a competition between two cars to determine which can accelerate faster from a standstill.

A hot rod is an American car that has been modified for speed by installing a larger than normal engine. A street rod is generally a more comfortable type of hot rod, with the emphasis less on the engine and more on custom paint jobs and interiors. By definition, a street rod must be based on an automobile design that originated prior to 1949.

14 Sets of points, in math : LOCI

In mathematics, a locus (plural “loci”) is the set of all points that satisfy a given requirement. For example, the locus called a circle is the set of all points equidistant from a single point.

15 Some cartridge filler : 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.

16 Hershey caramel-filled candy : ROLO

Rolo was a hugely popular chocolate candy in Ireland when I was growing up. Rolo was introduced in the thirties in the UK, and is produced under license in the US by Hershey. I was a little disappointed when I had my first taste of the American version as the center is very hard and chewy. The recipe used on the other side of the Atlantic calls for a soft gooey center.

17 Land between the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf : IRAN

Before 1935, the country we know today as Iran was referred to as Persia by the Western world. The official name of the country since the Iranian Revolution of 1979 is the “Islamic Republic of Iran”.

The Caspian Sea is a landlocked body of water lying between Asia and Europe. By some definitions, the Caspian is the largest lake on the planet. The name “Caspian” comes from the Caspi people who lived to the southwest of the sea in the South Caucasus.

The Persian Gulf is in effect an inland sea, although it technically is an offshoot of the Indian Ocean. The outlet from the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean is one of the most famous maritime “choke points” in the world, and is known as the Strait of Hormuz. About 20% of the world’s supply of petroleum passes through the Strait of Hormuz.

19 Devil-may-care attitude, in modern parlance : YOLO

You only live once (YOLO)

31 Oscar-winning Sophia : LOREN

Sophia Loren certainly has earned her exalted position in the world of movies. In 1962 Loren won an Oscar for Best Actress for her role in the Italian film “Two Women”, marking the first actress to win an Academy Award for a non-English speaking performance. She received a second nomination for Best Actress for her role in “Marriage Italian-Style”, another Italian-language movie, released in 1964.

32 Landmark 1973 Supreme Court case, informally : ROE

Roe v. Wade was decided in a US District Court in Texas in 1970, and reached the Supreme Court on appeal. The basic decision by the Supreme Court was that a woman’s constitutional right to privacy applied to an abortion, but that this right had to be balanced with a state’s interest in protecting an unborn child and a mother’s health. The Court further defined that the state’s interest became stronger with each trimester of a pregnancy. So, in the first trimester the woman’s right to privacy outweighed any state interest. In the second trimester the state’s interest in maternal health was deemed to be strong enough to allow state regulation of abortion for the sake of the mother. In the third trimester the viability of the fetus dictated that the state’s interest in the unborn child came into play, so states could regulate or prohibit abortions, except in cases where the mother’s life was in danger. I’m no lawyer, but that’s my understanding of the initial Supreme Court decision …

35 M i l i t a r y t r a i n e e s : SPACE “CADETS”

The expression “space cadet” is used to describe someone who is eccentric and disconnected from reality. It may even imply that the person is a user of hallucinogens. The phrase has been around since the sixties, and may be derived from the science fiction TV show “Tom Corbett, Space Cadet” which aired in the fifties.

38 ___ Tometi, activist who co-founded Black Lives Matter : OPAL

Opal Tometi is a Nigerian-born human rights activist who co-founded the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013, along with Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors. One of Tometi’s major contributions was setting up the social media aspects of the movement.

40 Author Mario Vargas ___ : LLOSA

Mario Vargas Llosa is a Peruvian writer of renown, and one of the most significant authors from Latin America by all accounts. Llosa is also very active politically, and in 1990 ran unsuccessfully for the Peruvian presidency.

42 Downward dog : STRIKE “A POSE”

The downward-facing dog pose in yoga is more properly known as “adho mukha svanasana”.

46 Historic 1965 march location : SELMA

The Bloody Sunday march took place between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama on 7 March 1965. The 600 marchers involved were protesting the intimidation of African-Americans registering to vote. When the marchers reached Dallas County, Alabama they encountered a line of state troopers reinforced by white males who had been deputized that morning to help keep the peace. Violence broke out with 17 marchers ending up in hospital, one nearly dying. Because the disturbance was widely covered by television cameras, the civil rights movement picked up a lot of support that day. The route of the march is memorialized as a US National Historic Trail called the Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights Trail.

52 Providers of some comic relief in “Star Wars” : DROIDS

“Droid” is short for “android” and is used to describe a robot that resembles a human. The Latin word “androides” was used in English in the 18th century to mean “like a man”. Science fiction writers introduced us to “android” in the early 1950s.

62 Language quintet : A-E-I-O-U

The vowels are A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y.

63 Word on a deli scale : TARE

Tare is the weight of a container that is deducted from the gross weight to determine the net weight, the weight of the container’s contents.

64 Retail giant that opened its first U.S. store near Philadelphia in 1985 : IKEA

The IKEA furniture chain was founded by Ingvar Kamprad in 1943, when he was just 17-years-old. IKEA is an acronym standing for Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd (don’t forget now!). Elmtaryd was the name of the farm where Ingvar Kamprad grew up, and Agunnaryd is his home parish in Sweden.

Down

2 Main artery : AORTA

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

4 Singer O’Connor : SINEAD

Sinéad O’Connor is a singer-songwriter from Dublin, and a somewhat outspoken and controversial character. My sister-in-law was in the same class as her in high school, and she tells me that Sinéad stood out among her peers even back then.

6 Florida State athlete, for short : NOLE

Florida State University (FSU) is located in Tallahassee, the state capital of Florida. The school’s athletic teams are known as the Seminoles (sometimes the “‘Noles”). The team name was chosen in 1947 by the students in a vote, and alludes to the Seminole people of Florida.

7 Four-time Grammy winner for Best New Age Album : ENYA

Enya’s real name is Eithne Ní Bhraonáin, which can translate from Irish into Enya Brennan. Her Donegal family (in the northwest of Ireland) formed a band called Clannad, which included Enya. In 1980 Enya launched her very successful solo career, eventually becoming Ireland’s best-selling solo musician. And, she sure does turn up a lot in crosswords!

11 Aussie hopper : ROO

The word “kangaroo” comes from the Australian Aborigine term for the animal. There’s an oft-quoted story that the explorer James Cook (later Captain Cook) asked a local native what was the name of this remarkable-looking animal, and the native responded with “Kangaroo”. The story is that the native was actually saying “I don’t understand you”, but as cute as that tale is, it’s just an urban myth.

22 Mardi Gras locale, for short : NOLA

The city of New Orleans, Louisiana has the nickname “The Big Easy”. This name might come from the early 1900s when musicians found it relatively “easy” to find work there. The city is also known by the acronym NOLA, standing for New Orleans (NO), Louisiana (LA).

29 Simba’s mate in “The Lion King” : NALA

In “The Lion King”, Nala is a lioness and the childhood friend of Simba. By the end of the story, Nala and Simba become wedded. “The Lion King” is inspired by William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, with Simba representing the title character, and Nala representing Hamlet’s love interest Ophelia.

32 Martini & ___ : ROSSI

The company that is today known as Martini & Rossi was started in the mid-1800s in Italy, by Alessandro Martini and Luigi Rossi (and a third partner who sold out years later). From day one it was focused on bottling the fortified wine known as vermouth. Nowadays, the company is also famous for its sparkling wines, and its sponsorship of Grand Prix racing teams. And yes, the famous cocktail is probably named for Mr. Martini.

39 Vegetable in succotash : LIMA BEAN

The main ingredients in succotash are corn and lima beans, although in parts of the South, succotash can be made with any collection of vegetables prepared with lima beans and topped with butter.

43 Pugilist’s goal : KAYO

A kayo is a knockout (KO).

“Pugilism”, another word for “boxing”, comes from the Latin “pugil” meaning “boxer”. In turn, “pugil” derives from “pugnus”, the word for “fist”.

44 Historical figure played by Kurt Russell in “Tombstone” : EARP

The legendary Western gunfighter and lawman Wyatt Earp has been portrayed on the big and small screen many, many times. Kevin Costner played the title role in 1994’s “Wyatt Earp”, and Val Kilmer played Earp in 2012’s “The First Ride of Wyatt Earp”. Joel McCrea had the part in 1955’s “Wichita”, and Kurt Russell was Earp in 1993’s “Tombstone”. James Garner played Earp twice, in 1967’s “Hour of the Gun” and 1988’s “Sunset”.

Actor Kurt Russell’s career started when he was a child playing a lead role in the TV Western series “The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters” in the sixties. Russell met actress Goldie Hawn on the set of the 1984 film “Swing Shift”, and the two have been in a committed relationship ever since.

“Tombstone” is a 1993 Western movie that has a storyline centered on the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and its aftermath. The cast includes Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday, and Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp. “Tombstone” was released six months before the ostensibly competing movie “Wyatt Earp” starring Kevin Costner. If there was a competition between the two films, then “Tombstone” won, both in terms of ticket sales and critical response.

50 Russians and Belarusians : SLAVS

The Slavic peoples are in the majority in communities covering over half of Europe. This large ethnic group is traditionally broken down into three smaller groups:

  • the West Slavic (including Czechs and Poles)
  • the East Slavic (including Russians and Ukrainians)
  • the South Slavic (including Bulgarians, Croats and Serbs)

51 Classic theater : ODEON

In ancient Greece an odeon (also “odeum”) was like a small theater, with “odeon” literally meaning a “building for musical competition”. Odea were used in both Greece and Rome for entertainments such as musical shows and poetry readings.

53 Singer/songwriter Hayes : ISAAC

Isaac Hayes was a soul singer and songwriter. Hayes wrote the score for the 1971 film “Shaft”, and the enduring “Theme from ‘Shaft’” won him an Academy Award in 1972.

54 Girl in the “Our Gang” movies : DARLA

Alfalfa’s love interest in “Our Gang” was Darla, whose real name was Darla Hood. Hood became quite a successful singer after she grew out of her “Our Gang” role.

55 Wintry mix : SLEET

Apparently, “sleet” is a term used to describe two different weather conditions. One is a shower of ice pellets that are smaller than hail, and the second is a mixture of rain and snow, with the snow melting as it falls.

57 ___ de gallo (condiment) : PICO

Pico de gallo is a Mexican condiment made from tomato, onion and chili peppers. “Pico de gallo” is Spanish for “beak of rooster”. Apparently this name was given as eating of the condiment with the thumb and forefinger resembled the pecking of a rooster.

61 Where a long drive often starts : TEE

That would be golf.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Shoe company with a fish name : BASS
5 Bumbling : INEPT
10 Hot rod race : DRAG
14 Sets of points, in math : LOCI
15 Some cartridge filler : TONER
16 Hershey caramel-filled candy : ROLO
17 Land between the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf : IRAN
18 With sleight of hand, say : SLYLY
19 Devil-may-care attitude, in modern parlance : YOLO
20 Having a meal! : STRESS “EATING”
23 Word from Swahili for “journey” : SAFARI
24 Go as far down as : STOOP TO
28 Curses : DAMNS
31 Oscar-winning Sophia : LOREN
32 Landmark 1973 Supreme Court case, informally : ROE
35 M i l i t a r y t r a i n e e s : SPACE “CADETS”
38 ___ Tometi, activist who co-founded Black Lives Matter : OPAL
40 Author Mario Vargas ___ : LLOSA
41 Aching : SORE
42 Downward dog : STRIKE “A POSE”
45 Bit of butter : PAT
46 Historic 1965 march location : SELMA
47 Business sign abbr. : ESTAB
49 “Seems about right” : I’D SAY SO
52 Providers of some comic relief in “Star Wars” : DROIDS
56 “Will you marry me?” : BOLD “PROPOSAL”
59 Grand party : FETE
62 Language quintet : A-E-I-O-U
63 Word on a deli scale : TARE
64 Retail giant that opened its first U.S. store near Philadelphia in 1985 : IKEA
65 Words, informally : VOCAB
66 In great shape : HALE
67 Ending with four or six, but not three or five : -TEEN
68 Sound of disgust : SNORT
69 “Shoo!” : SCAT!

Down

1 Pure joy : BLISS
2 Main artery : AORTA
3 Neck warmer : SCARF
4 Singer O’Connor : SINEAD
5 “Piece of cake!” : IT’S SIMPLE!
6 Florida State athlete, for short : NOLE
7 Four-time Grammy winner for Best New Age Album : ENYA
8 Bombards : PELTS
9 “Have a taste!” : TRY IT!
10 Textiles and sundries : DRY GOODS
11 Aussie hopper : ROO
12 “Is that ___?” : ALL
13 Glue … or a rhyme for “glue” : GOO
21 Sp. ladies : SRAS
22 Mardi Gras locale, for short : NOLA
25 About to go under the knife, in brief : PRE-OP
26 Four: Prefix : TETRA-
27 Beginning : ONSET
29 Simba’s mate in “The Lion King” : NALA
30 Range : SCOPE
32 Martini & ___ : ROSSI
33 Chose, with “for” : OPTED …
34 Some English nobles : EARLS
36 Those, to José : ESOS
37 Make something seem less likely to be true : CAST DOUBT
39 Vegetable in succotash : LIMA BEAN
43 Pugilist’s goal : KAYO
44 Historical figure played by Kurt Russell in “Tombstone” : EARP
48 Some diner seating choices : BOOTHS
50 Russians and Belarusians : SLAVS
51 Classic theater : ODEON
53 Singer/songwriter Hayes : ISAAC
54 Girl in the “Our Gang” movies : DARLA
55 Wintry mix : SLEET
57 ___ de gallo (condiment) : PICO
58 Thunder : ROAR
59 Concern when buying shoes : FIT
60 Squeeze (out) : EKE
61 Where a long drive often starts : TEE

13 thoughts on “0708-20 NY Times Crossword 8 Jul 20, Wednesday”

  1. 8:11 I couldn’t see “strike a pose” until I read the blog this morning…I’m such an idiot…. 🤣

  2. 8:59 Have to nail down my Spanish. Never sure if it’s ESTA or ESOS. Crosses have to help me. Unfamiliar with YOLO, but seemed weird at first directly under ROLO. Thought I made another fat finger again on the wrong clue. Still having a good week so far.

  3. I’m the pokey one today. 14;30. Too much biking the last three days. Too much elevation gain. Fuzzy brain.

  4. 2 errors.. 40A and 36D.. Didn’t know LLOSA and the proverbial spanish word ESOS. I guessed LLOMA and EMOS.. Oh well. About 15 minutes.
    Bit of crypto logic today., just couldn’t stick to the ole simple crosswords.. Gotta have a gimmick I guess. At what point is it no longer a crossword puzzle?.. And it becomes an enigma of my imagination?? Ha!

  5. 24:06 no errors with a lot of help from crosses…If my life depended on figuring out this theme then this would be my obituary👎
    Stay safe.

  6. 9:02, no errors. I think the typesetting required for 42A and 56A was beyond the capability of the typesetter in my syndicated paper. 42A was not struck out, and 56A was no bolder than any other clue.

    Bill’s description of ROLO’s is very different from my memory of them. My recollection is that they have very soft centers. What Bill describes sounds very much like Milk Duds. I liked ROLO’s, not a big fan of Milk Duds. I guess I will just have to buy a tube of ROLO’s and refresh my memory. 😋

  7. Two errors caused by the LLOSA/SCOPE cross. I started out with SCALE (as in “on a scale of one to ten”). Later changed to SCAPE (as in “landscape mountain range”). Thought I surely had it at that point so I was surprised to see that the correct answer was SCOPE. All three of these words have some similarity so I will just have to file this away in my brain should this ever come up again. Otherwise, cool puzzle. Liked it.

  8. Liked the formatting theme, including the STRIKE A POSE part, but the crossed-out “downward dog” didn’t make much sense to me until reading Bill’s comment. (It seems to be in order to add “no errors”, though I wouldn’t want to post my time with this group of solvers.)

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