0715-20 NY Times Crossword 15 Jul 20, Wednesday

Constructed by: Lee Higbie &Jeff Chen
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Eruption

The black squares in the grid depict a volcano, with circled letters depicting ASH and LAVA flowing down its sides:

  • 5A Start of many volcano names : MOUNT

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 9m 44s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 ___ rock (Queen’s onetime musical style) : GLAM

I remember the days of glam rock so well, as it was a hugely popular genre of music in Britain and Ireland during the early seventies. Artistes wore the wildest of clothes, big hair, shiny outfits and really high platform boots. Names associated with glam rock are T. Rex, David Bowie, Roxy Music and the infamous Gary Glitter.

Queen is an English rock band that formed back in 1970. With the help of lead singer Freddie Mercury (now deceased), Queen has a long list of great hits, including “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions”. “Bohemian Rhapsody” spent a total of nine weeks at number one in the UK. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is also the title of an outstanding 2018 biographical film about the band.

5 Start of many volcano names : MOUNT …

Our word “volcano” comes from “Vulcano”, the name of a volcanic island off the coast of Italy. The island’s name comes from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire. The Romans believed that the island of Vulcano was the chimney of the forge belonging to the god Vulcan. The Romans also believed that the eruptions on Mount Etna in Sicily were caused by Vulcan getting angry and working his forge so hard that sparks and smoke flew out of the top of the volcano.

14 Mustang, e.g. : AUTO

The Ford Mustang car was introduced in 1964. Back then the Mustang wasn’t a brand new design, but was based on the Ford Falcon. The Mustang was the first of the “pony cars”, American models that are compact and affordable, as well as sporty in image and performance.

15 A bug might produce one : ERROR

Back in 1947, famed computer programmer Grace Hopper noticed some colleagues fixing a piece of equipment by removing a dead moth from a relay. She remarked that they were “debugging” the system, and so Hopper has been given credit for popularizing the term “bug” in the context of computing.

17 Place : LIEU

As one might imagine perhaps, “in lieu” came into English from the Old French word “lieu” meaning “place”, which in turn is derived from the Latin “locum” that also means “place”. So, “in lieu” translates as “in place of”.

18 Charlie follower : DELTA

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

19 It might send you to the moon : NASA

The Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite towards the end of 1957 in a development that shocked the establishment in the US. Within months, President Eisenhower created the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, now DARPA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The Space Race had begun …

20 Tennis player with a Career Golden Slam (winning all four majors and an Olympic gold) : AGASSI

Retired tennis professional Andre Agassi has been married to fellow player Steffi Graf since 2001. Agassi wrote an autobiography called “Open”, published in 2009. An amazing revelation in the book is that Agassi’s famous head of hair was actually a wig for much of his playing career. Can you imagine how hard it must have been to play tennis at his level with a rug stuck on?

26 Military formation : PHALANX

In ancient warfare, a phalanx was a group of soldiers that stood or marched together as a unit using their shields as an outer barrier around the formation. “Phalanx” (plural “phalanges”) is the Greek word for “finger”. “Phalanx” was used for the military formation probably because of the finger-like movements that such formations made on the field of battle.

28 Pointy features on Vulcans and elves : EARS

Vulcans are an alien race in the “Star Trek” franchise. The most famous (half-) Vulcan is Spock, played by Leonard Nimoy. Spock’s father is a Vulcan, and his mother is human.

29 Info on a flight board, in brief : ETD

Estimated time of departure (ETD)

34 They’re often stored in towers : CDS

The compact disc (CD) was developed jointly by Philips and Sony as a medium for storing and playing sound recordings. When the first commercial CD was introduced back in 1982, a CD’s storage capacity was far greater than the amount of data that could be stored on the hard drive of personal computers available at that time.

39 Actress Kristen of the “Twilight Saga” series : STEWART

Kristen Stewart is an actress from Los Angeles who topped the list of highest-paid actresses in 2010 and again in 2012. One of Stewart’s first roles was playing the daughter of Jodie Foster’s character in the 2002 film “Panic Room”. Her most famous role is probably Bella Swan in “The Twilight Saga” series of movies.

44 British sailor, in slang : LIMEY

“Limey” is a slang nickname for someone from Britain, and is a term used in particular by people from North America and Australia. “Limey” is thought to be short for “lime-juicer”, an insulting phrase used to describe Royal Navy sailors who were given lime juice while at sea to help stave off scurvy.

45 Film ratings org. : MPAA

The Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) film-rating system (PG-13, R, etc.) is purely voluntary and is not backed by any law. Movie theaters agree to abide by the rules that come with the MPAA ratings in exchange for access to new movies.

47 Big skiing destination : ALPS

There are eight Alpine countries:

  • Austria
  • Slovenia
  • France
  • Switzerland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Germany
  • Monaco
  • Italy

48 Actor Schreiber : LIEV

Liev Schreiber is highly regarded as a stage actor, and has many classical roles under his belt. He won a Tony in 2005 for his Broadway performance in “Glengarry Glen Ross”, and earned excellent reviews for his performance in Shakespeare’s “Cymbeline”.

51 “___ we forget” : LEST

“Lest we forget” is an oft-quoted phrase, one that comes from a poem by Rudyard Kipling called “Recessional”. Kipling wrote the piece on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897 and used it to express sadness at the waning of the British Empire. The phrase “lest we forget” is used in this context, a warning that the empire will decline. Ever since WWI we’ve been using the words on memorials as a plea not to forget the sacrifices made by others in the past.

53 Food also known as ladies’ fingers : OKRA

The plant known as okra is mainly grown for its edible green pods. The pods are said to resemble “ladies’ fingers”, which is an alternative name for the plant. Okra is known as “ngombo” in Bantu, a name that might give us the word “gumbo”, the name for the name of the southern Louisiana stew that includes okra as a key ingredient.

54 O’Connor’s successor on the Supreme Court : ALITO

Associate Justice Samuel Alito was nominated to the US Supreme Court by President George W. Bush. Alito is the second Italian-American to serve on the Supreme Court (Antonin Scalia was the first). Alito studied law at Yale and while in his final year he left the country for the first time in his life, heading to Italy to work on his thesis about the Italian legal system.

Sandra Day O’Connor is a former associate justice on the US Supreme Court. O’Connor was the first woman appointed to the court, and was in office from 1981 after being appointed by President Reagan. As the court became more conservative she was viewed as the swing vote in many decisions. As a result, O’Connor was known as one of the most powerful women in the world. She retired in 2006 (replaced by Samuel Alito), and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2009.

55 Things drawn with compasses : ARCS

We use the term “compass” to describe both a drawing tool/mathematical instrument, and a mariner’s directional tool. The name was applied first to the drawing tool, back in the 1300s. The usage extended to the navigational tool a century later. That extension of usage is probably because a directional compass is circular and has a needle or point, and so resembles the mathematical instrument.

60 ___ B. Wells, co-founder of the N.A.A.C.P. : IDA

Ida B. Wells was an African-American journalist and leader of the civil rights movement. She published a pamphlet in 1892 called “Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases”, which publicized the horrors of lynching of African Americans by white mobs in the South.

The full name of the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is remarkable in that it actually still uses the offensive term “colored people”. The NAACP was founded in 1909, by a group that included suffragette and journalist Mary White Ovington, wealthy socialist William English Walling, and civil rights activist Henry Moskowitz. Another member of the founding group was W. E. B. Du Bois, the first African-American to earn a doctorate at Harvard University. The date chosen for the founding of the NAACP was February 12th, 1909, the 100th anniversary of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln, the man most visibly associated with the emancipation of African-American slaves.

61 Western range : SIERRAS

The American Sierra Nevada range lies in California and Nevada. The Spanish Sierra Nevada range is in Andalusia, with the name meaning “snowy range” in Spanish.

62 Kerfuffle : ADO

“Kerfuffle” comes from the Scottish “curfuffle”, with both words meaning “disruption”.

64 Grants may come out of it : ATM

President Ulysses S. Grant appears on the obverse of the US fifty-dollar bill. There have been two unsuccessful attempts in recent years in Congress to have President Grant’s image replaced with that of President Ronald Reagan.

65 The youngest host in its history is Drew Barrymore (age 7): Abbr. : SNL

The youngest person to host “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) was Drew Barrymore, at age 7 in 1982. The oldest host was Betty White, at 88 in 2010.

66 Lepidopterist’s need : NET

A lepidopterist is a person who studies butterflies and moths, a name coming from Lepidoptera, the order of insects that encompasses such flying insects. “Lepidoptera” comes from the Greek words for “scale” and “wing”.

Down

2 Video game character with an “L” on his hat : LUIGI

Mario Bros. started out as an arcade game back in 1983, developed by Nintendo. The more famous of the two brothers, Mario, had already appeared in an earlier arcade game “Donkey Kong”. Mario was given a brother called Luigi, and the pair have been around ever since. In the game, Mario and Luigi are Italian American plumbers from New York City.

4 Often-chocolaty dessert : MOUSSE

Our word “mousse” is an Old French term meaning “froth”.

6 Division of the Danish krone : ORE

The Norwegian and Danish krone are divided into 100 öres.

7 Surfer’s destination? : URL

An Internet address (like NYXCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) is more correctly called a Uniform Resource Locator (URL).

11 Body position in yoga : ASANA

“Asana” is a Sanskrit word that translates literally as “sitting down”. The asanas are the poses that a practitioner of yoga assumes. The most famous is the lotus position, the cross-legged pose called “padmasana”.

12 Great ___ National Park : BASIN

The Great Basin is a large region of the US covering most of Nevada, much of Utah and some parts of Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon and California. The 200,000 square mile area drains internally, with all precipitation sinking underground or flowing into lakes. Most of the lakes in the Great Basin are saline, including the Great Salt Lake, Pyramid Lake and the Humboldt Sink.

13 Brand of figure-shaping underwear : SPANX

Spanx is an underwear brand. Most Spanx garments are designed to make the wearer appear thinner. Spanx is a privately held company that was founded by entrepreneur Sara Blakely in 2000. Despite the success of the product line, there is some controversy. Spanx have been referred to as the corset of the modern era.

21 Spreader of frosting or plaster : SPATULA

A spatula is a tool or implement used for mixing, lifting or spreading. “Spatula” is the Latin name for the tool, and is a diminutive of the word “spatha” meaning “broad, flat blade”. “Spatha” also gives rise to our related term “spade”.

23 ___ Soprano (Edie Falco role) : CARMELA

Actress Edie Falco won three Emmy Awards for playing Carmela Soprano on HBO’s outstanding drama series called “The Sopranos”. Falco also won an Emmy in 2010 for playing the title role in “Nurse Jackie”, an excellent black comedy.

25 Alternative to five-card draw : TEXAS HOLD ’EM

The official birthplace of the incredibly popular poker game of Texas hold ’em is Robstown, Texas where the game dates back to the early 1900s. The game was introduced into Las Vegas in 1967 by a group of Texan enthusiasts including Doyle Brunson, a champion often seen playing on TV today. Doyle Brunson published a poker strategy guide in 1978, and this really helped increase the popularity of the game. But it was the inclusion of Texas hold ‘em in the television lineup that really gave the game its explosive surge in popularity, with the size of the prize money just skyrocketing.

29 Madrid’s country, in the Olympics: Abbr. : ESP

Spain is the second largest country in the European Union (after France). “Spain” is an anglicized form of the Spanish name “España”, which comes from the Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula “Hispania”.

30 Popular Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera : THE MIKADO

“The Mikado” is a wonderful comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan that is set in the exotic location of Japan. “Mikado” is a word formerly used for the “Emperor of Japan”. In the story, Nanki-Poo is the Mikado’s son, who falls in love with Yum-Yum.

31 Accessory that’s good for changing times? : DIAPER BAG

“Diaper” is another word that I had to learn when I moved to America. What are called “diapers” over here, we call “nappies” back in Ireland. The term “diaper” is actually the original term that was used in England for the garment, where “diaper” referred to the cloth that was used. The term “diaper” was brought to the New World where it stuck. Back in Britain, “diaper” was displaced by the word “nappy”, a diminutive of “napkin”.

38 Cheer at an opera house : BRAVA!

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!”

40 Author Cather : WILLA

American novelist Willa Cather wrote what’s referred to as the “prairie trilogy”, books that tell the story of Swedish immigrants living in Nebraska. The titles in the trilogy are “O Pioneers!”, “The Song of the Lark” and “My Ántonia”. Cather won the Pulitzer Prize for another novel “One of Ours”, which is set in Nebraska and the French battlefields of WWI.

48 What you need to solve sudoku : LOGIC

Number puzzles similar to our modern-day Sudoku first appeared in French newspapers in the late 1800s. The format that we use today was created by Howard Garns, a 74-year-old freelance puzzle constructor from Connersville, Indiana and first published in 1979. The format was introduced in Japan in 1984 and given the title of “Sūji wa dokushin ni kagiru”, which translates to “the digits are limited to one occurrence”. The rather elaborate Japanese title was eventually shortened to Sudoku. No doubt many of you are fans of Sudoku puzzles. I know I am …

49 “Ixnay!” : CAN IT!

Pig Latin is in effect a game. One takes the first consonant or consonant cluster of an English word and moves it to the end of the word, and then adds the letters “ay”. So, the Pig Latin for the word “nix” is “ixnay” (ix-n-ay), and for “scram” is “amscray” (am-scr-ay).

50 Sometime adversary of Godzilla : RODAN

Rodan is a flying pterosaur appearing in a series of Japanese monster movies, created by the same studio that had earlier come up with Godzilla.

58 Fashion monogram : YSL

Yves Saint Laurent (YSL)

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 ___ rock (Queen’s onetime musical style) : GLAM
5 Start of many volcano names : MOUNT …
10 Line at an airport : CABS
14 Mustang, e.g. : AUTO
15 A bug might produce one : ERROR
16 “Now!” : ASAP!
17 Place : LIEU
18 Charlie follower : DELTA
19 It might send you to the moon : NASA
20 Tennis player with a Career Golden Slam (winning all four majors and an Olympic gold) : AGASSI
22 Digitize, as a document : SCAN IN
24 Hangs tight : SITS PAT
26 Military formation : PHALANX
27 Facility : EASE
28 Pointy features on Vulcans and elves : EARS
29 Info on a flight board, in brief : ETD
32 Text of gratitude : THX
33 Pitcher’s asset : ARM
34 They’re often stored in towers : CDS
37 Commercial district in Tokyo known as a fashion center : SHIBUYA
39 Actress Kristen of the “Twilight Saga” series : STEWART
41 Off-white shade : PEARL
42 “Can’t you see, people are trying to work!” : SHH!
44 British sailor, in slang : LIMEY
45 Film ratings org. : MPAA
46 Lead-in to boy or follower of yoo : HOO
47 Big skiing destination : ALPS
48 Actor Schreiber : LIEV
49 ___ commentary : COLOR
51 “___ we forget” : LEST
53 Food also known as ladies’ fingers : OKRA
54 O’Connor’s successor on the Supreme Court : ALITO
55 Things drawn with compasses : ARCS
56 Yak : GAB
57 Informal “yes” : INDEEDY
59 L x w x h : VOL
60 ___ B. Wells, co-founder of the N.A.A.C.P. : IDA
61 Western range : SIERRAS
62 Kerfuffle : ADO
63 Little part of a big wheel : COG
64 Grants may come out of it : ATM
65 The youngest host in its history is Drew Barrymore (age 7): Abbr. : SNL
66 Lepidopterist’s need : NET

Down

1 Fancy balls : GALAS
2 Video game character with an “L” on his hat : LUIGI
3 Bugged no end : ATE AT
4 Often-chocolaty dessert : MOUSSE
5 Avoiding the press : MEDIA SHY
6 Division of the Danish krone : ORE
7 Surfer’s destination? : URL
8 “Let’s ___” : NOT
9 Creative works made of recyclable parts : TRASH ART
10 Some shortcuts for ships : CANALS
11 Body position in yoga : ASANA
12 Great ___ National Park : BASIN
13 Brand of figure-shaping underwear : SPANX
21 Spreader of frosting or plaster : SPATULA
23 ___ Soprano (Edie Falco role) : CARMELA
25 Alternative to five-card draw : TEXAS HOLD ’EM
26 Toys that can be dangerous : PEASHOOTERS
29 Madrid’s country, in the Olympics: Abbr. : ESP
30 Popular Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera : THE MIKADO
31 Accessory that’s good for changing times? : DIAPER BAG
34 Mobile home? : CAMPER VAN
35 Business casual, e.g. : DRESS CODE
36 Where hogs go wild? : STY
38 Cheer at an opera house : BRAVA!
40 Author Cather : WILLA
43 More pious … or more moth-eaten : HOLIER
48 What you need to solve sudoku : LOGIC
49 “Ixnay!” : CAN IT!
50 Sometime adversary of Godzilla : RODAN
52 Letter-shaped opening for a bolt : T-SLOT
57 Middle of many metaphors : … IS A …
58 Fashion monogram : YSL

7 thoughts on “0715-20 NY Times Crossword 15 Jul 20, Wednesday”

  1. 14:29 with an assist. Had ALTA before ALPS, ART before ATM (when I saw Grants I thought grants to artists), and a few other slight miscues. Took a bit to suss out the SHIBUYA, BRAVA, OKRA, DIAPERBAG area to get the jingle. Well the sun hasn’t come up yet here in Seattle – lame excuse.

  2. 12:01, no errors, but a good deal of fumbling about. I think that Lee Higbie and I may have almost crossed paths back in the early 70’s. (I’ve sent an email to a co-worker who used to talk about someone by that name with whom he had worked and with whom he was greatly impressed. We’ll see … 😜.)

    1. Yup. Fifty-odd years ago, about the time I moved to Colorado, Lee Higbie and the old college friend who was responsible for my move were office mates. It is indeed a small world … 😜.

  3. 17:11. How long can I blame jet lag for coming in last every day?

    Still trying to catch up on the puzzles I missed. Two more to go. My consecutive streak was broken at 155 days in a row of finishing the puzzle within 24 hours of it becoming available. I may never match that again.

    Best –

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