0721-20 NY Times Crossword 21 Jul 20, Tuesday

Constructed by: Zhouqin Burnikel
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): This Year

Themed clues all approximate to “2020”:

  • 16A 20-20, e.g. : TIE SCORE
  • 23A “20/20,” e.g. : NEWS MAGAZINE
  • 40A 20:20, e.g. : RATIO
  • 52A 20/20, e.g. : VISUAL ACUITY
  • 65A 2020, e.g. : LEAP YEAR

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 5m 50s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 Badminton court fixtures : NETS

The game of badminton was developed in the mid-1700s by British military officers in India. There was already an old game called battledore and shuttlecock, so the creation of badminton was essentially the addition of a net and boundary lines for play. The game was launched officially as a sport in 1873 at Badminton House in Gloucestershire in England, hence the name that we now use.

13 Anderson Cooper’s channel : CNN

Anderson Cooper is a respected news personality on CNN and on various shows around the dial. Among my favorite appearances of his, although he would call them trivial I am sure, was as host of a great reality game show called “The Mole” that aired in 2001. Cooper’s mother was fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt.

14 “Law & Order: SVU” co-star : ICE-T

“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” is a spin-off from the TV crime drama “Law & Order”. “SVU” has been on the air since 1999, and is set in New York City. Interestingly (to me), there is a very successful Russian adaptation of the show that is set in Moscow.

20 Spice in pumpkin pie : MACE

The fruit of the nutmeg tree yields two very different spices. What we call “nutmeg” comes from the seed of the tree. “Mace” is the dried covering of the seed.

22 Thur. follower : FRI

The days of the week are named for celestial bodies and gods

  • Sunday — Sun’s Day
  • Monday — Moon’s Day
  • Tuesday — Tiu’s day
  • Wednesday — Woden’s day
  • Thursday — Thor’s day
  • Friday — Freya’s day
  • Saturday — Saturn’s day

50 ___ Dumpty : HUMPTY

Humpty Dumpty is a character in a nursery rhyme. He is usually depicted as an egg, although that isn’t specifically called out in the original rhyme:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

52 20/20, e.g. : VISUAL ACUITY

I only understand the expression “20/20 vision” in non-technical terms. Apparently someone with 20/20 vision can see just as well as a standard/normal person at 20 feet from an eye chart. Someone with 20/40 vision can see just as well as a standard/normal person at 40 feet. Someone with 20/100 vision can see just as well as a standard/normal person at 100 feet, and so on. Those of you living in Metric Land use the term 6/6, with the standard distance being 6 meters instead of 20 feet.

65 2020, e.g. : LEAP YEAR

I wasn’t sure of the origin of the term “leap year”, and when I checked I found it to be fairly obvious. As a reference, let’s use March 25, 2007, a Sunday. The year before, in 2006, March 25th fell one weekday earlier on a Saturday. That follows the rule that any particular date moves forward in the week by one day, from one year to the next. However, the next year (2008) has an extra day, February 29th. So March 25, 2008 falls on a Tuesday, “leaping” two weekdays forward, not one, as 2008 is a “leap” year. I think I am more confused now then when I started this paragraph …

67 Chinese noodle dish : LO MEIN

“Chow mein” has two slightly different meanings on the East and West Coasts of the US. On the East Coast, basic chow mein is a crispy dish, whereas on the West Coast it is a steamed dish that is relatively soft. On the East Coast the steamed dish is available, but under the name “lo mein”. On the West Coast, the crispy dish is also on the menu, as “Hong Kong-style chow mein”.

68 One of the four Gospels : LUKE

The Gospel According to Luke is the longest of the four Gospels in the Bible. Some well-known stories are unique to Luke, and do not appear in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark nor John. A couple of examples would be “The Prodigal Son” and “The Good Samaritan”. It is believed that the author of the Gospel of Luke was the same person who wrote “Acts of the Apostles”.

70 Classic Pittsburgh mill product : STEEL

The Pennsylvania city of Pittsburgh was named in 1758 for British statesman and future prime minister William Pitt the Elder. Originally known as Fort Duquesne, the settlement was renamed after it was captured from the French during the Seven Years’ War. The most commonly used nicknames for Pittsburgh are “Steel City”, referring to the history of steel-related industry, and “City of Bridges”, referring to the 446 bridges in the metropolis.

72 Point value of a “Z” in Scrabble : TEN

The game of Scrabble has been produced in many international versions, and each of these editions has its own tile distribution to suit the local language. For example, in English we have two tiles worth ten points: one “Q” and one “Z”. If you play the game in French then there are five tiles worth ten points: one “K”, one “W”, one “X”, one “Y” and one “Z”.

Down

4 Things with Thomas Jefferson’s image : NICKELS

The 5-cent American coin known as a nickel is actually made up of 75% copper and 25% nickel. The first nickel was introduced in 1866, and was named the Shield nickel due to the shield design on the front of the coin. The current design is the Jefferson nickel, which was introduced in 1938.

8 Kind of card in a smartphone : SIM

Most cell phones have SIM cards these days. SIM cards hold the personal information of the subscriber, with the acronym being short for “Subscriber Identity Module”.

12 ___ Redmayne, Oscar winner for “The Theory of Everything” : EDDIE

English actor Eddie Redmayne played mainly supporting roles, such as Marius Pontmercy in 2012’s “Les Misérables”, until he wowed the world portraying Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything”. A few years later, Redmayne played Lili Elbe in “The Danish Girl”, and then Newt Scamander in the Harry Potter spinoff “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”.

“The Theory of Everything” is a 2014 biographical film that tells the life story of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. Eddie Redmayne portrays Hawking, in a performance that earned him an Academy Award for Best Actor. Stephen Hawking himself was very supportive of the film, and even provided his own electronic “voice” for the latter part of the movie.

15 Dora the Explorer’s cousin : DIEGO

“Dora the Explorer” is a cartoon series shown on Nickelodeon. Part of Dora’s remit is to introduce the show’s young viewers to some Spanish words and phrases.

21 Calf-length pants : CAPRIS

Capri pants first became popular on the island of Capri, apparently. They were invented in Europe in 1948, but only became stylish in the US in the sixties. Mary Tyler Moore often wore Capri pants on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and to some extent she sparked a fashion trend. After a lull in the seventies and eighties there was a resurgence in sales after Uma Thurman wore them (and danced in them) in “Pulp Fiction”.

27 “C’mon, man!” : DUDE!

Our term “dude” arose as slang in New York City in the 1880s, when it was used to describe a fastidious man. In the early 1900s, the term was extended to mean “city slickers”, easterners who vacationed in the West. The first use of the term “dude ranch” was recorded in 1921.

28 Taj Express destination city : AGRA

Agra is a medieval city on the banks of the river Yamuna in India. Agra was also the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1556 to 1658. The city is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

  • The Taj Mahal: the famous mausoleum built in memory of Mumtaz Mahal.
  • Agra Fort: the site where the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond was seized.
  • Fatehpur Sikri: a historic city that’s home to well-preserved Mughal architecture.

33 Where Jacqueline Kennedy went to college : VASSAR

Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York is now a coeducational school, after over a century of operating as a women’s college since its founding in 1861. The school was officially declared co-ed in 1969, although it had accepted a handful of male students on the GI Bill after WWII.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was born into a privileged family, the daughter of Wall Street stockbroker John Vernou Bouvier III. Ms. Bouvier moved in the same social circles as the Kennedy clan, and first met the then-US Representative John Kennedy at a dinner party hosted by mutual friends. Years later, after she saw her husband assassinated and then her brother-in-law (Bobby Kennedy) suffer the same fate, Jackie declared that she feared for the life of her children as they bore the Kennedy name. She left the country, eventually meeting and marrying Aristotle Onassis. Reportedly she was very satisfied that the Greek shipping magnate was able to provide privacy and security for her children.

39 Spiritual guide : GURU

“Guru” is a Hindi word meaning “teacher” or “priest”.

46 Device for reproducing one’s signature : AUTOPEN

An autopen is a device used to provide an automatic signature, usually for a batch of documents. With today’s technology, we can provide photographic copies of signatures quite readily. An autopen has the advantage of automatic writing of the signature, while creating the illusion that the document was signed in person using a pen.

60 Tool by a golf bunker : RAKE

Sand traps on a golf course are referred to as “bunkers” on the other side of the Atlantic.

61 Andrews of “Dancing With the Stars” : ERIN

Erin Andrews is a sports reporter. I don’t watch much in the line of sports but I do know Ms. Andrews for her appearances on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2010. She did quite well and made it to the final of the show. And then she was hired as the show’s co-host alongside Tom Bergeron.

63 Martial arts master Bruce : LEE

Bruce Lee was born not far from here in San Francisco, although he was raised in Hong Kong, returning to the US to attend college. Sadly, Bruce Lee died when he was only 32 years old, due to cerebral edema (a swelling of the brain) attributed to adverse reactions to the pain killing drug Equagesic.

66 Lead-in to an alias : AKA

Also known as (aka)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “___ and ye shall receive” : ASK
4 Badminton court fixtures : NETS
8 Like bread used for stuffing, often : STALE
13 Anderson Cooper’s channel : CNN
14 “Law & Order: SVU” co-star : ICE-T
15 Used an old phone : DIALED
16 20-20, e.g. : TIE SCORE
18 “That’s great to hear!” : I’M GLAD!
19 Command to a dog : SPEAK!
20 Spice in pumpkin pie : MACE
22 Thur. follower : FRI
23 “20/20,” e.g. : NEWS MAGAZINE
27 Dillydally : DAWDLE
30 Cleanup hitter’s attribute : POWER
31 “Gross!” : UGH!
32 Frugal sort : SAVER
35 Standing tall : ERECT
38 Party pooper : DRAG
40 20:20, e.g. : RATIO
42 Litter box emanation : ODOR
43 Enjoy thoroughly : EAT UP
45 Nickname for Alexandra : SASHA
47 “Made in the ___” : USA
48 Zones : AREAS
50 ___ Dumpty : HUMPTY
52 20/20, e.g. : VISUAL ACUITY
56 Suffix meaning “sort of” : -ISH
57 Parts of some seniors’ financial plans, for short : IRAS
58 Popular hair coloring technique : OMBRE
62 Like an old-fashioned clock : ANALOG
65 2020, e.g. : LEAP YEAR
67 Chinese noodle dish : LO MEIN
68 One of the four Gospels : LUKE
69 Hit the slopes : SKI
70 Classic Pittsburgh mill product : STEEL
71 Reach across : SPAN
72 Point value of a “Z” in Scrabble : TEN

Down

1 Circus routines : ACTS
2 Quick scissors cut : SNIP
3 Place to play spoons : KNEE
4 Things with Thomas Jefferson’s image : NICKELS
5 Prefix with system : ECO-
6 Contract specifics : TERMS
7 Prepare rice, perhaps : STEAM
8 Kind of card in a smartphone : SIM
9 Part of a garment with instructions on care : TAG
10 Raring to go : ALL FIRED UP
11 Get down pat : LEARN
12 ___ Redmayne, Oscar winner for “The Theory of Everything” : EDDIE
15 Dora the Explorer’s cousin : DIEGO
17 Beach bucketful : SAND
21 Calf-length pants : CAPRIS
24 Have on : WEAR
25 Leave wide-eyed : AWE
26 Worst possible mark on a test : ZERO
27 “C’mon, man!” : DUDE!
28 Taj Express destination city : AGRA
29 Comment made while shaking the head : WHAT A SHAME
33 Where Jacqueline Kennedy went to college : VASSAR
34 Pilot’s announcement, in brief : ETA
36 “That’ll ___ you!” : COST
37 Airplane seat attachment : TRAY
39 Spiritual guide : GURU
41 “Didn’t expect to see you here!” : OH HI!
44 Stir-fry tidbit : PEA
46 Device for reproducing one’s signature : AUTOPEN
49 Set straight : ALIGN
51 “Well, I declare!” : MY MY!
52 Lab containers : VIALS
53 “This ___ a test” : IS NOT
54 What a help center gets lots of : CALLS
55 Deplete : USE UP
59 Top-of-the-line : BEST
60 Tool by a golf bunker : RAKE
61 Andrews of “Dancing With the Stars” : ERIN
63 Martial arts master Bruce : LEE
64 Tankful or tankerful : OIL
66 Lead-in to an alias : AKA

13 thoughts on “0721-20 NY Times Crossword 21 Jul 20, Tuesday”

  1. 7:51, no errors. Very clever. (The puzzle, that is. Me, not so much … but I got it … 😜.) Did it late last night, after a long evening walk, followed by an impromptu drive to look for skies just dark enough to see Comet Neowise (with small binoculars). Cool … 🙂.

  2. 7:12 No errors (I suppose if you go thru without an error you’ve scored 20 out of 20, in some sense). Not familiar with OMBRE – all thru crosses. Did a double take thinking it was a bad spelling of “Hombre”.

  3. 8:22. I didn’t know OMBRE either. I too was wondering if it had anything to do with “hombre” or even “hombro” (shoulder) in Spanish, but I guess not.

    I saw Neowise from the plane on a late flight from Houston back to Las Vegas last Monday night. It was quite a sight from up there. I thought Saturday was the last day it was visible to the naked eye. I believe you need at least binoculars to see it now.

    Best-

  4. 14:33 no errors…I also didn’t know OMBRÉ and was tempted to put in umbra but the crosses said no.
    Stay safe😀

  5. 7:01, 2 errors: (U)MBRE; AUT(U)PEN. Entered ‘UMBRE’ thinking it might a variation on the color umber; unfortunately did not cross check AUTOPEN, which would have allowed me to catch the error.

    Maybe I’m confused by Bill’s explanation of LEAP YEAR. There are 7 days in a week and 52 weeks in a year. Seven times fifty-two is 364. The calendar year is 365 days; or 366 days for leap years. Date progression is then the difference between the number of days in 52 weeks and the number of days in the calendar year. One day progression for ‘standard’ years and two days progression for LEAP YEARS.

    1. I’ll try. If you look at history, the first start at a calendar was based on the lunar cycle. Basically every time the phase hit New Moon, a new month would happen. This was often found to be inaccurate by the early folk, as weather conditions shift (i.e. wrong seasons weather in the month). Leap months would get added to try to fix that.

      Eventually, someone hit upon the idea of using the trip of the earth around the sun as a parameter for a year and this got pegged at 365 days. I don’t know how each month was determined to have the days it has, but that’s irrelevant here. Ultimately this too was found to be inaccurate, so the idea of a leap day was born (when this change happened. As the trip around the sun is closer to 365.25 days, the idea of adding a day to the calendar every four years was adopted in order to catch up or “leap” to the proper time. Unfortunately this isn’t quite correct, so you have other rules, which is why 2000 *wasn’t* a leap year (the difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars – ultimately a number of DAYS was added upon adoption in order to catch up).

      Interestingly enough, this still isn’t 100% accurate, so scientists now add and subtract seconds to New Years Days every once in a while in order to keep the calendar accurate with the earth’s trip around the sun.

  6. Same hesitation about OMBRE; a differently motivated hesitation about MACE (not the pumpkin spice). Clever, clean puzzle.

  7. Ombre is a kind of dyeing technique where the lower part of the hair style is (usually) lighter than the top, being gradually shaded from dark to light.

  8. Ombre is a kind of dyeing technique where the lower part of the hair style is (usually) lighter than the top, being gradually shaded from dark to light.

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