0718-20 NY Times Crossword 18 Jul 20, Saturday

Constructed by: John Guzzetta & Michael Hawkins
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 12m 55s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Anchor : MAINSTAY

Figuratively, a mainstay is a person or object that is the principal support or principal part. Literally, the mainstay is the main line supporting a nautical vessel’s main mast, the main line holding the mast erect.

9 Composer of the “Des Knaben Wunderhorn” collection : MAHLER

I’m still trying to keep an open mind when it comes to the music of Gustav Mahler, but I find it hard to appreciate. Mahler was an Austrian composer who was active in the late-Romantic period. During his own lifetime, he was most notable as a conductor, and his compositions gained in popularity only after his death in 1911. Mahler’s music was banned as “degenerate” during the Nazi Era, as Mahler was Jewish.

15 From nothing, as Creation : EX NIHILO

The Latin phrase “ex nihilo” means “out of nothing”. The extended phrase “creatio ex nihilo” describes the concept that God created the world out of nothing.

17 “The Simpsons” character in sunglasses and platform shoes : DISCO STU

On “The Simpsons”, the character Disco Stu is voiced by Hank Azaria, although the original intent was for him to be voiced by Phil Hartman. Disco Stu is described as “a black, wrinkly John Travolta”.

20 Bit of resistance : OHM

The unit of electrical resistance is the ohm (with the symbol omega) named after German physicist Georg Simon Ohm. Ohm was the guy who established experimentally that the amount of current flowing through a circuit is directly proportional to the voltage applied, (V=IR) a relationship that every school kid knows as Ohm’s Law.

22 ___ acid : AMINO

Amino acids are essential to life in many ways, not least of which is their use as the building blocks of proteins. Nine amino acids are considered “essential” for humans. These nine must be included in the diet as they cannot be synthesized in the body.

25 Bomb-confiscating org. : ATF

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) today is part of the Department of Justice (DOJ). The ATF has its roots in the Department of Treasury dating back to 1886 when it was known as the Bureau of Prohibition. “Explosives” was added to the ATF’s name when the bureau was moved under the Department of Justice (DOJ) as part of the reorganization called for in the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

32 1975 Wimbledon winner : ASHE

Arthur Ashe was a professional tennis player from Richmond, Virginia. In his youth, Ashe found himself having to travel great distances to play against Caucasian opponents due to the segregation that still existed in his home state. He was rewarded for his dedication by being selected for the 1963 US Davis Cup team, the first African-American player to be so honored. Ashe continued to run into trouble because of his ethnicity though, and in 1968 was denied entry into South Africa to play in the South African Open. In 1979, Ashe suffered a heart attack and had bypass surgery, with follow-up surgery four years later during which he contracted HIV from blood transfusions. Ashe passed away in 1993 due to complications from AIDS. Shortly afterwards, Ashe was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton.

38 The top Hot 100 solo artist of all time, per Billboard : MADONNA

Madonna’s full name is Madonna Louise Ciccone. Born in Bay City, Michigan, Madonna was destined to become the top-selling female recording artist of all time.

39 Gift in “The Gift of the Magi” : FOB

O. Henry’s short story called “The Gift of the Magi” was first published in 1905. It tells of relatively poor, newly-married couple who want to buy each other a gift for Christmas. The wife’s pride and joy is her long blonde hair, while the husband’s most treasured possession is his grandfather’s gold pocket watch. The wife sells her hair to buy her gift, and the husband sells his watch to buy his gift for his spouse. The wife is given a set of combs, hair accessories that are useless now that her hair is short. The husband gets a platinum fob chain for the watch that he no longer owns.

40 Mammalian hematophage : VAMPIRE BAT

Vampire bats feed mostly in the blood of mammals, including humans. When they find a suitable “victim”, often one that is asleep, the bat usually lands close by and approaches its “meal” on the ground. It makes a small cut with its razor-sharp teeth and laps up the blood. The blood tends to flow freely as the bat’s saliva contains anticoagulants. Reports of bats biting the neck of humans are very rare in the real world, but the neck is the preferred location of attack in the fantasy world of vampires.

43 A, as in April? : SCHEDULE

That would be Schedule A included in an income tax return.

44 “___ tu” : ERI

Every crossword constructor’s favorite aria “Eri tu” is from Verdi’s opera “Un ballo in maschera” (“A Masked Ball”). The opera tells the story of the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden during a masked ball.

52 Psychoactive constituent of marijuana, for short : THC

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive in cannabis.

62 Postponement info : RAIN DATE

A rain date is an alternative date scheduled if an event is postponed due to rain.

63 Sailor’s omen, in a phrase : RED SKY

We often see red in the sky at sunrise and sunset. This is because at those times of day, sunlight travels through the thickest part of the atmosphere and only the red wavelengths of light make it through. Dust and moisture particles in the atmosphere tend to scatter the other wavelengths. These scattering particles are most concentrated in high pressure weather systems, and high pressure is associated with stable air. Weather systems tend to move from west to east, because of westerly trade winds. So, if we see a red sky illuminated by the sun rising in the east, then the red is caused by a high-pressure system to the east i.e. a period of stable air that has passed. If we see a red sky lit by a setting sun in the west, it is likely that the sunlight is coming through a high-pressure system that is on its way. So the old adage has some truth to it:

Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in morning, sailor’s warning

Down

7 Toni Braxton or Mahalia Jackson, e.g. : ALTO

Toni Braxton is a very successful R&B singer, but one who seems to have trouble managing her financial affairs. After two highly successful albums, she had to file for bankruptcy protection in 1993. She recovered and had even more success, and then had to file for bankruptcy again in 2010.

Mahalia Jackson was an African-American gospel singer who was known as the first Queen of Gospel Music. She recorded many records, including 12 that went gold, i.e. sold more than a million copies each.

9 Big name in casinos : MGM

MGM Resorts International is the name given to a chain of hotel resorts and casinos, including the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The MGM Grand Las Vegas was the largest hotel in the world when it opened in 1993.

10 Soliloquy relative : ARIA

A soliloquy is an act of talking to oneself, with “soliloquy” coming from the Latin “solus” meaning “alone” and “loqui” meaning “to speak”. We mostly hear the term in the context of theater, where it is a monologue from a character that gives voice to otherwise unspoken thoughts.

11 Predecessor of Outlook : HOTMAIL

Hotmail was introduced in 1996 and was one of the world’s first webmail services. Webmail is an email service in which the emails are stored remotely on a server, rather than on a user’s own computer. Hotmail was acquired by Microsoft in 1997, and was replaced by Outlook.com in 2013.

12 Kismet : LOT IN LIFE

“Kismet” is a Turkish word, meaning “fate, fortune, lot”.

14 City north of Washoe Lake State Park : RENO

Reno, Nevada was named in honor of Major General Jesse Lee Reno, a Union officer killed in the Civil War. The city has a famous “Reno Arch”, a structure that stands over the main street. The arch was erected in 1926 to promote an exposition planned for the following year. After the expo, the city council decided to keep the arch and held a competition to decide what wording should be displayed, and the winner was “The Biggest Little City in the World”.

21 What’s found on a couple of plates in Italy? : MT ETNA

Mount Etna on the island of Sicily is the largest of three active volcanoes in Italy, and indeed the largest of all active volcanoes in Europe. Etna is about 2 1/2 times the height of its equally famous sister, Mt. Vesuvius. Mt. Etna is home to a 110-km long narrow-gauge railway, and two ski resorts. It is sometimes referred to as “Mongibello” in Italian, and as “Mungibeddu” in Sicilian. The English name “Etna” comes from the Greek “aitho” meaning “I eat”.

24 Foresters, e.g. : SUBARUS

Subaru is the automobile division of Fuji Heavy Industries, Japanese conglomerate. “Subaru” is the Japanese name for the Pleiades star cluster. As a result, the Subaru logo is also a cluster of stars.

30 Modern Q&A inits. : AMA

Ask me anything (AMA)

31 Red cents? : DEBT

To be in the red is to be in debt, to owe money. The expression “in the red” is a reference to the accounting practice of recording debts and losses in red ink in ledgers. The related phrase “in the black” means “solvent, making a profit”.

32 Countryside conveyances, for short : ATVS

All-terrain vehicle (ATV)

33 Complete shift : SEA CHANGE

A “sea change” is a change of great significance. The phrase was coined by William Shakespeare in “The Tempest”. The full quotation is:

Full fathom five thy father lies,
Of his bones are coral made,
Those are pearls that were his eyes,
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change,
into something rich and strange,
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell,
Ding-dong.
Hark! now I hear them, ding-dong, bell.

49 Actor Lane who voiced Mister Ed : ALLAN

The sitcom “Mister Ed” first aired in 1961 and ran for almost five years. It was a very successful show (and even made it to Ireland!). Mister Ed, the talking horse, was a palomino that had the real name of Bamboo Harvester. Mister Ed’s “voice” was that of actor Allan “Rocky” Lane, a star of a lot of B-movie westerns from the forties and fifties. In the show, Mister Ed would only talk to the lead (human) character Wilbur, played by Alan Young, leading to some hilarious situations. Mister Ed had a stunt double and stand-in for the show, another horse called Pumpkin. Pumpkin later made frequent appearances on the show “Green Acres”.

51 Letters on love notes : SWAK

“SWAK” is an initialism standing for “sealed with a kiss”. SWAK, and the related SWALK (sealed with a loving kiss), are postal acronyms that originated during WWII.

53 Smacker : CLAM

“Clam” is a slang term for “dollar”. It has been suggested that “clam” is a throwback to the supposed use of clams as units of currency in ancient cultures.

55 Kismet : FATE

“Kismet” is a Turkish word meaning “fate, fortune, lot”.

57 International ___ Museum (Washington, D.C., attraction) : SPY

The International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. is a private enterprise that opened in 2002. It was founded by Milton Maltz, a former code-breaker during the Korean War. The Spy Museum is a fun place to visit …

59 Plié, in ballet : DIP

The French word for “bent” is “plié”. In the ballet move known as a plié, the knees are bent. A “demi-plié” is a similar move, but with less bending of the knees.

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Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Anchor : MAINSTAY
9 Composer of the “Des Knaben Wunderhorn” collection : MAHLER
15 From nothing, as Creation : EX NIHILO
16 Working rhythm : GROOVE
17 “The Simpsons” character in sunglasses and platform shoes : DISCO STU
18 Good thing to have on hand during winter? : MITTEN
19 Accused of infringement, say : SUED
20 Bit of resistance : OHM
22 ___ acid : AMINO
23 Body shop add-ons, informally : MODS
25 Bomb-confiscating org. : ATF
27 One seeking table scraps, maybe : ANT
28 With 1-Down, where students at Manhattan’s Langone Center go, for short : NYU …
29 Ruined, as plans : DERAILED
32 1975 Wimbledon winner : ASHE
35 Outcome : BOTTOM LINE
37 Something to pay a steep price for? : TEA
38 The top Hot 100 solo artist of all time, per Billboard : MADONNA
39 Gift in “The Gift of the Magi” : FOB
40 Mammalian hematophage : VAMPIRE BAT
42 Cheeky : PERT
43 A, as in April? : SCHEDULE
44 “___ tu” : ERI
46 It may be passed at a fund-raiser : HAT
47 Having everything one needs : SET
48 Prefix with -hedron : DECA-
50 Purchases at Ollivanders, in fantasy : WANDS
52 Psychoactive constituent of marijuana, for short : THC
54 Detached piece of ice : CALF
56 Funds : ENDOWS
58 Field with estate planning : ELDER LAW
61 Sort of spousal separation : AGE GAP
62 Postponement info : RAIN DATE
63 Sailor’s omen, in a phrase : RED SKY
64 Do-or-die hockey situation : EMPTY NET

Down

1 See 28-Across : … MED
2 x, y or z : AXIS
3 Recapping : IN SUM
4 Sarcastic comment after a mess-up : NICE ONE
5 Low-rent : SHODDY
6 “___ but a scratch …” : ‘TIS
7 Toni Braxton or Mahalia Jackson, e.g. : ALTO
8 “It was even funnier in person” : YOU HAD TO BE THERE
9 Big name in casinos : MGM
10 Soliloquy relative : ARIA
11 Predecessor of Outlook : HOTMAIL
12 Kismet : LOT IN LIFE
13 Calm state of affairs : EVEN TENOR
14 City north of Washoe Lake State Park : RENO
21 What’s found on a couple of plates in Italy? : MT ETNA
24 Foresters, e.g. : SUBARUS
26 Led : FRONTED
30 Modern Q&A inits. : AMA
31 Red cents? : DEBT
32 Countryside conveyances, for short : ATVS
33 Complete shift : SEA CHANGE
34 All thumbs : HAM-HANDED
36 Short lyric poem : ODELET
38 Lead-in to sentence or section : MID-
41 Ones seeking table scraps, maybe : PET DOGS
42 Historic region of northern France : PICARDY
45 Like the latest : RECENT
49 Actor Lane who voiced Mister Ed : ALLAN
50 Sign of overuse : WEAR
51 Letters on love notes : SWAK
53 Smacker : CLAM
55 Kismet : FATE
57 International ___ Museum (Washington, D.C., attraction) : SPY
59 Plié, in ballet : DIP
60 It might be hard to get this in a desert : WET

5 thoughts on “0718-20 NY Times Crossword 18 Jul 20, Saturday”

  1. 19:46, no errors. Spent a few minutes, near the end, with a blank upper right corner, but it all finally came together.

  2. 37:20 lots of things that I had never seen before…”ex nihilo” and “Disco Stu” were two that seemed amusingly close together on the grid, but couldn’t be further apart…. btw, I have yet to watch an episode of “The Simpsons”, apparently my life is not whole…although I am a fan of “South Park”

  3. Geez, that was a toughie. Almost gave up. NW and SE were my toughest areas. 38:33 with one lookup. I’m glad that’s over. Time for a hike.

  4. 34:09 Very similar experience to @AlaskaSteve. Stuck in NW and SE and needed a lookup. Did a total guess on EXNIHILO and that finally opened up the NW. I’ve also never seen the Simpsons, so those clues always stump me. Also had FLOE and BERG before CALF – which took a long time to get to. I’ve seen glaciers calve, but never thought of the breakaway piece as a calf. Then several of my guesses over-wrote good answers and it took several minutes to scope that out.

  5. 24:04. Last to fall was DEBT for “Red cents?” Sheesh. Ouch. I was able to get EXNIHILO by remembering “nihil” as meaning nothing in Latin and going from there.

    The MGM has 6800 rooms and the Venetian/Palazzo together is 7100 rooms so the two are close. The largest hotel in the world is in Malaysia of all places – ironically named The First World Hotel with 7300 rooms. Apparently one is being built in Saudi Arabia with 10,000 rooms that will eclipse them all. What those people can do in the no drinking no gambling atmosphere of Saudi Arabia is beyond me.

    Best –

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