0717-20 NY Times Crossword 17 Jul 20, Friday

Constructed by: Rich Proulx
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Character Sketch

We have some grid art today, with black squares SKETCHING out a face.

  • 13A Literary profile : CHARACTER SKETCH

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 9m 37s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9 Some office workers on “Mad Men” : STENOS

Stenography is the process of writing in shorthand. The term comes from the Greek “steno” (narrow) and “graphe” (writing).

11 Greek god of the winds : AEOLUS

Aeolus was the ruler of the winds in Greek mythology, and he gave his name to the adjective “aeolian” (also “aeolic, eolic”) meaning “windblown”, something produced or carried by the wind. For example, an aeolian harp is a fascinating instrument; a box with a sounding board and strings that is “played” by the wind as it blows.

17 Links things? : CARTS

The oldest type of golf course is a links course. The name “links” comes from the Old English word “hlinc” meaning “rising ground”. “Hlinc” was used to describe areas with coastal sand dunes or open parkland. As a result, we use the term “links course” to mean a golf course that is located at or on the coast, often amid sand dunes. The British Open is always played on a links course.

18 Romance novelist Roberts : NORA

Nora Roberts is a very successful author who has written over 165 romance novels. Roberts is published under a number of pen names, i.e. J.D. Robb, Jill March and Sarah Hardesty.

20 Vitamin supplement brand : GERITOL

The “Geritol” brand name was very carefully chosen at the time it was introduced, in 1950, to suggest that it is efficacious for us as we move on in years. In general, the formula has always featured iron and several B-complex vitamins. Geritol ran afoul of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the early sixties due to its claims that it is effective in relieving tiredness, regardless of the cause. In 1965, the company was instructed by the FTC to make it clear in its advertising that Geritol’s formula is only effective in relieving tiredness in individuals suffering from anemia (a lack of iron).

23 It forms at the mouth : DELTA

A river delta is a triangular landform at the mouth of a river created by the deposition of sediment. The Nile Delta in Northern Egypt is one of the world’s largest river deltas, and covers 150 miles of coastline on the Mediterranean. The most famous “delta” in the United States isn’t actually a delta at all. The Mississippi Delta is an alluvial plain that lies 300 miles north of the river’s actual delta, yet it is known as the “Mississippi River Delta”. Very confusing …

25 Majors in acting : LEE

Lee Majors is an actor best known for his roles on television. He played Heath Barkley on the Western show “The Big Valley” from 1965 to 1969, Steve Austin on the sci-fi show “The Six Million Dollar Man” from 1973 to 1978, and Colt Seavers on the action show “The Fall Guy”. Majors has been married four times, including to fellow actor Farrah Fawcett from 1973 to 1979.

33 Pinball player’s undoing : TILT MECHANISM

In a game of pinball, some players get an irresistible urge to “nudge” the machine . Such a nudge, a movement of the machine designed to influence the path taken by the ball, is called a “tilt”. Most pinball machines have sensors designed to detect a tilt, and when activated a “tilt” warning light comes on and the player’s controls are temporarily disabled.

38 Title locale for a Hemingway novel, with “the” : … SEA

If you’ve read Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man And The Sea” (maybe first at school, like me!) you’ll likely remember it as a quick read as it is a novella, although it might be better described as a “long short story”. It was first published in 1952, the last major work that Hemingway had published in his lifetime. That first publication was as a story in “Life Magazine”, and it was such a hit that the magazine sold 5 million copies in the first two days. “The Old Man and the Sea” won a Pulitzer in 1952 and two years later the title was cited when Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

40 Tide competitor : ALL

All is a laundry detergent made by Sun Products.

Down

1 Worker in Albany or Sacramento, say : STATE LEGISLATOR

New York’s state capital of Albany was founded as a Dutch trading post called Fort Nassau in 1614. The English took over the settlement in 1664 and called it Albany, naming it after the future King of England James II, whose title at the time was the Duke of Albany. It became the capital of New York State in 1797.

Sacramento, California’s state capital, was named for the Sacramento River. The river was named by a Spanish explorer, who called it “Rio de los Sacramentos”. This translates as “River of the Blessed Sacrament”.

3 Tokyo-based carrier : ANA

All Nippon Airways (ANA) is a Japanese airline, one that is now larger in size than the nation’s flag carrier Japan Airlines (JAL).

4 Game played on a 90-foot-long court : BOCCE

The Italian bowling game of “bocce” (often anglicized as “bocci” or “boccie”) is based on a game played in ancient Rome. “Bocce” is the plural of the Italian word “boccia” meaning “bowl”.

5 Painter’s mixture : GESSO

“Gesso” is the Italian word for “chalk” and gives its name to the powdered calcium carbonate that is used as a primer coat under artistic panel paintings. Gesso is mixed with glue and applied to wood so that it acts as an absorbent surface for paint.

6 “Peachy!” : A-OK!

Our term “A-OK” is supposedly an abbreviation for “A(ll systems are) OK”, and arose at NASA in the sixties during the space program.

10 Joey Dee’s backup group in 1960s pop, with “the” : STARLITERS

Joey Dee and the Starliters (sometimes “Starlighters”) are a pop music group best known for the 1961 hit “Peppermint Twist”.

14 Western New York natives : ERIES

The Erie people lived on lands south of Lake Erie, in parts of the modern-day US states of New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. The Erie were sometimes referred to as the Cat Nation, a reference to the mountain lions that were ever-present in the area that they lived. The name “Erie” is a shortened form of “Erielhonan” meaning “long tail”, possibly a further reference to the mountain lion or cat, which was possibly used as a totem. The Erie people gave their name to the Great Lake.

20 Choke : GAROTTE

The handheld weapon known as a garrote (also “garotte”) was particularly associated with murderers and robbers harassing travelers in India. These felons were known locally as “thuggees” (from the Hindi word for “thief”). This gave us our contemporary word “thug”, meaning “brute”.

21 Faint prints, in detective work : LATENTS

In the world of criminology, there are three classes of fingerprints:

  • Patent prints are those which are obvious, easily spotted by the naked eye.
  • Impressed prints are those made when the fingertips apply pressure to a soft material or surface, such as the skin.
  • Latent prints are those that are invisible to the naked eye, but which can be detected using special equipment and materials.

24 Like Wookiees : TALL

Wookiees are a biped race featured in “Star Wars”. The most notable Wookiee is Chewbacca (aka “Chewie”), the loyal friend and associate of Han Solo who serves as co-pilot on the Millennium Falcon spaceship.

27 Member of the South Asian diaspora : DESI

People from the Indian subcontinent might refer to themselves as “desi”.

“Diaspora” is a Greek word meaning “a scattering of seeds”. I guess I’m one of the Irish seeds …

30 Classic western hero who says “A man has to be what he is, Joey. Can’t break the mold” : SHANE

The classic 1953 western movie “Shane” is based on the novel of the same name by Jack Schaefer published in 1949. Heading the cast is Alan Ladd in the title role, alongside Jean Arthur and Van Heflin.

33 Nails for kites : TALONS

A talon is a claw of a bird of prey. The term “talon” ultimately derives from “talus”, the Latin word for “ankle”.

Kites are birds of prey that feed mainly on carrion.

34 Word on a French wine bottle : CRU

“Cru” is a term used in the French wine industry that means “growth place”. So, “cru” is the name of the location where the grapes are grown, as opposed to the name of a specific vineyard. The terms “premier cru” and “grand cru” are also used, but the usage depends on the specific wine region. Generally it is a classification awarded to specific vineyards denoting their potential for producing great wines. “Grand cru” is reserved for the very best vineyards, with “premier cru” the level just below.

35 Like bad, bad Leroy Brown vis-à-vis a junkyard dog, in song : MEANER

“Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” is a song written and first performed by Jim Croce. It was a number-one hit for him in 1973. The song was inspired by a real-life Leroy Brown, who was someone that Croce met while serving in the US Army.

36 Mideast traveler, of a sort : HAJI

“Haji” (also “Hajji” and “Hadji”) is the term used for someone who has made a pilgrimage to Mecca, and it is sometimes also used as a form of address for such a person. The journey itself goes by the name “haj”, “hajj” or “hadj”.

39 Double or triple feat in the Olympics : AXEL

An axel is a forward take-off jump in figure skating. The maneuver was first performed by Norwegian Axel Paulsen at the 1882 World Figure Skating championships.

44 View from Memphis : NILE

Depending on definition, the Nile is regarded generally as the longest river on the planet. The Nile forms from two major tributaries, the White Nile and the Blue Nile, which join together near Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. From Khartoum the Nile flows north, traveling almost entirely through desert making it central to life for those living along its length.

Memphis was an ancient city on the River Nile. The ruins of Memphis are located just south of Cairo, Egypt. It was a magnificent city that eventually failed due to the economic success of the city of Alexandria, which was located further down the river and right on the Mediterranean coast.

47 Challenge for a barber : MOP

Our term “barber” comes to us via Anglo-French from the Latin “barba” meaning “beard”. Barbers originally offered a wide range of services, including surgery. Henry VIII restricted barbers to just haircutting … and dentistry!

48 “The Problem With ___” (2017 documentary) : APU

“The Problem with Apu” is a 2017 documentary that explores the use of racial stereotypes by focusing on the character Apu Nahasapeemapetilon from the animated sitcom “The Simpsons”. The film was written by and stars American stand-up comedian Hari Kondabolu.

49 Annual three-day celebration : TET

The full name for the New Year holiday in Vietnam is “Tet Nguyen Dan” meaning “Feast of the First Morning”, with the reference being to the arrival of the season of spring. Tet usually falls on the same day as Chinese New Year.

50 Tide competitor : ERA

Era was the first liquid laundry detergent produced by Procter & Gamble.

52 Luau offering : POI

Nowadays, the word “luau” denotes almost any kind of party on the Hawaiian Islands, but to the purist a luau is a feast that always includes a serving of poi, the bulbous underground stems of taro.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Clear, as the deck : SWAB
5 Nuts (over) : GAGA
9 Some office workers on “Mad Men” : STENOS
11 Greek god of the winds : AEOLUS
13 Literary profile : CHARACTER SKETCH
16 Speed : RATE
17 Links things? : CARTS
18 Romance novelist Roberts : NORA
19 Woman’s name that means “life” : EVE
20 Vitamin supplement brand : GERITOL
22 Bud : PAL
23 It forms at the mouth : DELTA
25 Majors in acting : LEE
26 Not be stuck in one’s ways : ADAPT
28 Close ones : NEAR DISASTERS
31 Be a bad winner : GLOAT
32 Home where the heart is? : CHEST
33 Pinball player’s undoing : TILT MECHANISM
36 Is blessed with : HAS
37 Flood : TORRENT
38 Title locale for a Hemingway novel, with “the” : … SEA
40 Tide competitor : ALL
41 Sews up : ENSURES
42 Strain : TAX
43 Woman’s name in English that’s a man’s name in Catalan : JOAN
45 What a “R-r-r-ring!” in the kitchen signifies : DONE
46 Slips, e.g. : INTIMATE APPAREL
54 Person with no one to play with : SOLO PERFORMER
55 Names : REPUTATIONS

Down

1 Worker in Albany or Sacramento, say : STATE LEGISLATOR
2 “Now ___ talking!” : WE’RE
3 Tokyo-based carrier : ANA
4 Game played on a 90-foot-long court : BOCCE
5 Painter’s mixture : GESSO
6 “Peachy!” : A-OK!
7 A stream might run through it : GLEN
8 Hose and belt sellers : AUTO PARTS STORES
9 Bald-faced : SHAVEN
10 Joey Dee’s backup group in 1960s pop, with “the” : STARLITERS
11 One who might grade on the curve? : ART TEACHER
12 Rows : SCRAPS
13 Street ___ : CRED
14 Western New York natives : ERIES
15 Discontinue : HALT
20 Choke : GAROTTE
21 Faint prints, in detective work : LATENTS
24 Like Wookiees : TALL
27 Member of the South Asian diaspora : DESI
29 One of the Wayans brothers : DAMON
30 Classic western hero who says “A man has to be what he is, Joey. Can’t break the mold” : SHANE
33 Nails for kites : TALONS
34 Word on a French wine bottle : CRU
35 Like bad, bad Leroy Brown vis-à-vis a junkyard dog, in song : MEANER
36 Mideast traveler, of a sort : HAJI
39 Double or triple feat in the Olympics : AXEL
44 View from Memphis : NILE
45 “Nuts!” : DAMN!
47 Challenge for a barber : MOP
48 “The Problem With ___” (2017 documentary) : APU
49 Annual three-day celebration : TET
50 Tide competitor : ERA
51 In the back : AFT
52 Luau offering : POI
53 Backing : PRO

20 thoughts on “0717-20 NY Times Crossword 17 Jul 20, Friday”

  1. 21:57 Struggled in the NE corner. Once I realized that 8D referred to cars and got that long one completed then it all fell into place. Fixing 9D to SHAVEN vs. SHAVED and getting 28A helped me complete it all. Haven’t heard GERITOL in a long time. Given my relative fast time, guess it was not too tough a Friday. Still not too much more than 2X Bill’s time.

  2. 12:08, no errors. Easier than I expected, given the long entries. I guess the grid art is there because of “CHARACTER SKETCH“.

    Nice one.

  3. 21:41, no errors. Got my foothold on the lower half. Took off from there. Took me a minute at the end to realize I accidentally transposed the R and the M in SOLOPERFORMER. A good Friday for me…and all of us. 😊

  4. 24:28. Biggest gaffe was spelling GARROTE incorrectly. Messed up that entire area until I realized what was happening. Also put APPELATIONS (I know….APPELLATIONS) before REPUTATIONS, but that didn’t last as long as GARROTE with 2 R’s did.

    I need to go back to grade school and take Spelling again.

    Best –

    1. I just noticed that. Forgot to mention I waited 2 seconds to enter the last letter in hopes it would help others feel better…..

  5. Agreed — pretty easy for a Friday. Finished in just over 20 minutes, felt pretty smug, then came here. Still, this may be my best Friday time.

  6. Nice challenge.. I was hung up on GAROTTE for awhile but the crosses helped. I “choked” on AEOLUS.. A 6 letter word with 4 vowels! I had AERRUS which means I blew it on AOK and CHARACTER SKETCH and then ….. Just turned into a bit of a mess in NE corner..

  7. 32:15 no errors…of there is a face in this grid it is a face only a mother could love❤️
    36D seems to be spelled anyway it’s needed to fit the puzzle.
    Stay safe😀

    1. Re “HAJI”: Transliterations from other languages tend to have variants in spelling and pronunciation; don’t blame the puzzle people! (You say Peking, I say Beijing. You say Bombay, I say Mumbai. To-may-to, to-mah-to, let’s call the whole thing off! … 😜.)

  8. About 14 minutes WNE. One of the easier, more straightforward Friday puzzles in a while as I recall. It is Friday correct?🤪

  9. I agree; seemed easy for a Friday and it also seemed a bit familiar as though it appeared on a previous date. Maybe I’m thinking of the Panda “face” grid that appeared some time ago. Anyway, no errors
    today. Had more trouble Wednesday and Thursday.

  10. All the long answers were good ones, and they made solving easier. Was toppled in the NE, though, by AEOLUS’s winds.

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