0723-20 NY Times Crossword 23 Jul 20, Thursday

Constructed by: Robyn Weintraub
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Now

We need to REMOVE THE LETTER W FROM CLUES in order to make sense of themed answers. Clever …

  • 20A Part 1 of an instruction for solving this puzzle : REMOVE THE …
  • 40A Part 2 of the instruction : … LETTER W …
  • 61A End of the instruction : … FROM CLUES
  • 30D Present … or a concise explanation of this puzzle’s theme : NOW or NO W
  • 1A Major source of wheat : SUN (Major source of heat)
  • 17A Swaying just before a disaster : UH-OH (Saying just before a disaster)
  • 31A Some loud chewers : OLES (Some loud cheers)
  • 42A Many wages : ERA (Many ages)
  • 43A Sewer : ORACLE (Seer)
  • 53A Wrests : SITS (Rests)
  • 64A Fish frequently caught by newts : TUNA (Fish frequently caught by nets)
  • 68A Hawn of the silver screen : SOLO (Han of the silver screen)
  • 70A Some winks : DYES (Some inks)
  • 2D Job that involves a lot of sweating : USHER (Job that involves a lot of seating)
  • 9D AWOL part : AMERICA (AOL part)
  • 11D Own a boat, say : AT SEA (On a boat, say)
  • 13D Pewter accompanier in the Bible : THOMAS (Peter accompanier in the Bible)
  • 16D Wads are made to do this : SELL (Ads are made to do this)
  • 52D Shrewd : RIP UP (Shred)
  • 60D Certain lawyers : HENS (Certain layers)

… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 13m 21s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

8 Hindu avatar : RAMA

In the Hindu tradition, the god known as Vishnu has seven different avatars i.e. incarnations or manifestations. Rama is the seventh of these avatars.

The Sanskrit word “avatar” describes the concept of a deity descending into earthly life and taking on a persona. It’s easy to see how in the world of online presences one might use the word avatar to describe one’s online identity.

12 Kaplan course subj. : LSAT

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

Kaplan Inc. was founded in 1938 by Stanley Kaplan, who started out tutoring students for the New York State Regents Exam in the basement of his parents’ home in Brooklyn. He opened up locations for tuition around the country, and in 1984 sold the company to the Washington Post. Revenue for Kaplan was over 2½ billion dollars in 2009.

14 Neighbor of Algeria : MALI

The Republic of Mali is a landlocked country in western Africa located south of Algeria. Formerly known as French Sudan, the nation’s most famous city is Timbuktu. Mali is the third-largest producer of gold on the continent, after South Africa and Ghana.

Algeria is a huge country, the second largest in Africa (only Sudan is larger), and the largest country on the Mediterranean. The capital of Algeria is Algiers, and the country takes its name from the city.

18 Blarney Stone site : ERIN

Blarney is a town in County Cork in the south of Ireland. Blarney is home to Blarney Castle, and inside the castle is the legendary Blarney Stone. “Kissing the Blarney Stone” is a ritual engaged in by many, many tourists (indeed, I’ve done it myself!), but it’s not a simple process. The stone is embedded in the wall of the castle, and in order to kiss it you have to sit on the edge of the parapet and lean way backwards so that your head is some two feet below your body. There is a staff member there to help you and make sure you don’t fall. The Blarney Stone has been labelled as the world’s most unhygienic tourist attraction! But once you’ve kissed it, supposedly you are endowed with the “gift of the gab”, the ability to talk eloquently and perhaps deceptively without offending. The term “blarney” has come to mean flattering and deceptive talk.

23 Donna’s predecessor? : PRIMA …

The Italian operatic term “prima donna” is used for the lead female singer in an opera company. “Prima donna” translates from Italian as “first lady”. The lead male singer is known as the “primo uomo”. The term “prima donna assoluta” is reserved for a prima donna who is generally accepted as being an outstanding performer. We tend to use “prima donna” for a female performer who has an inflated ego.

24 Glamping option : YURT

A yurt is a wood-framed dwelling that is used by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. Although a yurt is a substantial structure, it is also extremely portable.

“Glamping” is “glamorous camping”, camping with comforts and amenities.

26 Bold alternative: Abbr. : ITAL

Italic type leans to the right, and is often used to provide emphasis in text. The style is known as “italic” because the stylized calligraphic form of writing originated in Italy, probably in the Vatican.

27 Image on the Missouri state quarter : ARCH

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is located on the banks of the Mississippi River, and is the tallest monument in the United States. It was designed by Eero Saarinen, with the help of structural engineer Hannskarl Bandel. They did their design work back in 1947, but construction wasn’t started until 1963. In 1980, a daredevil took it upon himself to parachute onto the top of the arch, intending to further jump from the apex of the arch and parachute to the ground. He hit the arch all right, and slid all the way down one of the arches to his death. No comment …

29 A jigger is bigger than this : OUNCE

The original fluid ounce was the volume of a particular liquid that weighed one ounce. The liquid used in Scotland was water. South of the border, the English used an ounce of wine.

A jigger is a 1.5 ounce shot glass.The term “jigger” was originally used for an illicit distillery in the 1800s.

34 Limelight stealer : HAM

The word “ham”, describing a performer who overacts, is a shortened form of “hamfatter” and dates back to the late 1800s. “Hamfatter” comes from a song in old minstrel shows called “The Ham-Fat Man”. It seems that a poorly performing actor was deemed to have the “acting” qualities of a minstrel made up in blackface.

Limelight was an early form of stage lighting that was also known as Drummond Light. The illumination came from the burning of quicklime (calcium hydroxide), hence the name. Although limelights are a thing of the past, the term “in the limelight” is still used when describing someone in the public eye.

39 The Cardinals, on scoreboards : STL

The St. Louis Cardinals were originally called the “Brown Stockings”, changing their name to the “Perfectos” in 1899. That obviously didn’t go down well with the locals, as the owners changed it one year later to the Cardinals.

43 Sewer : ORACLE (Seer)

In ancient Greece and Rome, an oracle was someone believed inspired by the gods to give wise counsel. The word “oracle” derives from the Latin “orare” meaning “to speak”, which is the same root for our word “orator”. One of the most important oracles of ancient Greece was the priestess to Apollo at Delphi.

45 TV’s “Science Guy” : NYE

That would be “Bill Nye the Science Guy”. Bill’s show ran on PBS for four years, from 1993-97.

46 Tech info site : C|NET

c|net is an excellent technology website. c|net started out in 1994 as a television network specializing in technology news. The host of “American Idol”, Ryan Seacrest, started off his career as host of a c|net show.

47 Heineken alternative : BECK’S

Beck’s beer comes from Bremen in northern Germany. It is the fifth most successful brewery in the country, based on sales. The image you’ll see on the bottle, a key within a shield, is the mirror image of Bremen’s coat of arms.

Heineken Lager Beer is named for Gerard Adriaan Heineken, the brewer who founded the brewery in the Netherlands in 1873. The label on a bottle of Heineken beer includes a red star logo. The red star was a symbol used by European brewers in the Middle Ages. During the Cold War, the red star came to have a negative connotation, an association with communism. So for several years, Heineken used a white star with a red outline as a logo.

49 Smoking hot Italian? : 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”.

51 1982 film that takes place inside a computer : TRON

Released in 1982, Disney’s “Tron” was one of the first mainstream films to make extensive use of computer graphics. The main role in the movie is played by Jeff Bridges. The original spawned a 2010 sequel called “Tron: Legacy”, as well as a 2012 TV show called “Tron: Uprising”.

53 Wrests : SITS (Rests)

The verb “to wrest” can mean to obtain by violent twisting and pulling. The term comes from the Middle English “wresten” meaning “to twist”. Our word “wrestling” has the same etymology.

55 Cry in 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!”

66 Leader typically appearing shirtless in “S.N.L.” parodies : PUTIN

Vladimir Putin became acting President of Russia at the very end of 1999 when Boris Yeltsin resigned. Putin was elected in his own right in 2000, re-elected in 2004, and then ran up against a term limit in 2008. In 2008 Putin was appointed by his successor, President Dmitry Medvedev, to the position of Prime Minister. Putin is a controversial figure, inside and outside Russia. On the one hand he led the country out of an economic crisis into a period of stability and relative prosperity. On the other hand he has been associated with government corruption and accused of allowing private concerns to have undue influence on government actions. And then, along came the 2016 US presidential election …

67 Colonnade trees : ELMS

A colonnade is a long sequence of columns that are equally spaced, and often support some type of roof. A colonnade surrounding a porch at an entranceway is known as a portico. A colonnade surrounding a courtyard or the perimeter of a building is known as a peristyle.

68 Hawn of the silver screen : SOLO (Han of the silver screen)

Han Solo is the space smuggler in “Star Wars” played by Harrison Ford. Ford was originally hired by George Lucas just to read lines for actors during auditions for “Star Wars”, but over time Lucas became convinced that Ford was right for the pivotal role of Han Solo.

69 Bustline muscles, informally : PECS

“Pecs” is the familiar name for the chest muscle, which is more correctly known as the pectoralis major muscle. “Pectus” is the Latin word for “breast, chest”.

71 Retired means of travel, for short : SST

The most famous supersonic transport (SST) is the retired Concorde. Concorde was developed and produced under an Anglo-French treaty by France’s Aérospatiale and the UK’s British Aircraft Corporation (BAC). Concordes were mainly operated by Air France and British Airways, with both companies buying the planes with substantial subsidies from the French and British governments. The final Concorde flight was a British Airways plane that landed in the UK on 26 November 2003.

Down

3 Judd of country music : NAOMI

The Judds were a country music singing duo made up of Naomi Judd and her daughter Wynonna. Naomi Judd is also the mother of actress Ashley Judd, with Ashley and Wynonna being half-sisters.

4 Hook associate : SMEE

In J. M. Barrie’s play and novel about Peter Pan, Smee is one of Captain Hook’s pirates and is Hook’s bosun and right-hand man. Smee is described by Barrie as being “Irish” and “a man who stabbed without offence”. Nice guy! Captain Hook and Smee sail on a pirate ship called the Jolly Roger.

6 Peace Nobelist Root : ELIHU

Elihu Root was an American statesman, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1912 for his diplomatic work that brought “nations together through arbitration and cooperation”. Root served as Secretary of State under President Theodore Roosevelt.

7 Dough used in a taqueria : DINERO

“Dinero” is the Spanish word for money, as well as a slang term for money here in the US.

8 Org. for some future lts. : ROTC

The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) is a training program for officers based in colleges all around the US. The ROTC program was established in 1862 when as a condition of receiving a land-grant to create colleges, the federal government required that military tactics be part of a new school’s curriculum.

9 AWOL part : AMERICA (AOL part)

Founded as Quantum Computer Services in 1983, the company changed its name in 1989 to America Online. As America Online went international, the acronym AOL was used in order to shake off the “America-centric” sound to the name. During the heady days of AOL’s success the company could not keep up with the growing number of subscribers, so people trying to connect often encountered busy signals. That’s when users referred to AOL as “Always Off-Line”.

10 Colonial force : MINUTEMEN

Back in the colony of Massachusetts Bay, the local militia was made up of all the able-bodied males in the colony who were aged between 16 and 60. These men were called to service only when necessary. Some of the men in towns around the colony were trained for rapid deployment, and were known as “minutemen”.

21 “Emeer” for “emir,” e.g.: Abbr. : VAR

An emir is a prince or chieftain, one most notably from the Middle East in Islamic countries. In English, “emir” can also be written variously as “emeer, amir, ameer” (watch out for those spellings in crosswords!).

25 Castle feature : TURRET

A “turret” is a small tower, and a word coming to us from Latin via French. The French word is “tourette” meaning small “tour”, small “tower”.

32 Copier tray abbr. : LTR

Our paper sizes here in North America don’t conform with the standards in the rest of the world. ISO standard sizes used elsewhere were chosen so that the ratio of width to length is usually one to the square root of two. This mathematical relationship means that when you cut a piece of paper in two each half preserves the aspect ratio of the original, which can be useful in making reduced or enlarged copies of documents. Our standard size of “letter” (ltr., 8.5 x 11 inches) was determined in 1980 by the Reagan administration to be the official paper size for the US government. Prior to this, the “legal” size (8.5 x 14 inches) had been the standard, since 1921.

35 High point: Abbr. : MTN

Mountain (mtn.)

38 “Can’t Help Lovin’ ___ Man” : DAT

“Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man” is a famous song by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein from the 1927 musical “Show Boat”.

“Show Boat” is a 1926 novel by Edna Ferber that tells the story of performers on a floating theater, a riverboat named Cotton Blossom. The novel was famously adapted into a stage musical by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein that premiered in 1927. “Show Boat”, the musical, gave us classic songs such as “Ol’ Man River” and “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man”.

40 Cousin of “Inc.” : LLC

A limited liability company (LLC) has a structure that limits the liability of the owner or owners. It is a hybrid structure in the sense that it can be taxed as would an individual or partnership, while also maintaining the liability protection afforded to a corporation.

46 Santana of Santana : CARLOS

Carlos Santana is a Mexican American rock guitar player, famous for heading the band called Santana who melded rock music with Latin and African themes.

50 Original airer of “The Monkees” : NBC

The Monkees pop group was assembled in 1966 specifically for a planned television series called “The Monkees”. The show aired from 1966 to 1968, and the band continued to perform in concerts until 1970. 20 years after the band was formed, there was a revival in interest for both the show and the band’s music, so the Monkees got together for several reunion tours. The lead singer of the group was Englishman Davy Jones, who passed away in February 2012.

51 Shortening used in recipes? : TBSP

Tablespoon (tbsp.)

56 Fiats, e.g. : AUTOS

Fiat is the largest car manufacturer in Italy, and is headquartered in Turin in the Piedmont region in the north of the country. Fiat was founded in 1899 by Giovanni Agnelli, when the company’s name was “Fabbrica Italiana di Automobili Torino” (FIAT). A few years ago, Fiat became the majority shareholder in Chrysler.

58 Berkshire racecourse : ASCOT

Ascot Racecourse is used for thoroughbred horse racing, and is located in the town of Ascot, Berkshire in England. The course is located just six miles from Windsor Castle, and is often visited by members of the royal family. Royal Ascot is the name given to the most famous race meeting in the year, at which members of the royal family attend each day, arriving in horse-drawn carriages amidst great ceremony.

Berkshire is a county in England that is referred to as one of the “home counties”. The home counties are those that surround the city of London, outside of London itself. “Home county” is not an official designation but has been in popular use since the 1800s. The list of home counties usually comprises Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Surrey, and Sussex.

62 It may be critical : MASS

The phrase “critical mass” comes from the world of nuclear physics. The critical mass of a fissionable element, such as plutonium or uranium, is the amount of material necessary to maintain a chain reaction. We use the phrase figuratively in other fields to describe the amount of resources necessary to sustain a particular effort or achieve a specific result.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Major source of wheat : SUN (Major source of heat)
4 Zipped : SPED
8 Hindu avatar : RAMA
12 Kaplan course subj. : LSAT
14 Neighbor of Algeria : MALI
15 Snubs, possibly : OMITS
17 Swaying just before a disaster : UH-OH (Saying just before a disaster)
18 Blarney Stone site : ERIN
19 Wedgy : TENSE (Edgy)
20 Part 1 of an instruction for solving this puzzle : REMOVE THE …
22 Mean : CRUEL
23 Donna’s predecessor? : PRIMA …
24 Glamping option : YURT
26 Bold alternative: Abbr. : ITAL
27 Image on the Missouri state quarter : ARCH
29 A jigger is bigger than this : OUNCE
31 Some loud chewers : OLES (Some loud cheers)
34 Limelight stealer : HAM
36 Didn’t stay put : ROAMED
39 The Cardinals, on scoreboards : STL
40 Part 2 of the instruction : … LETTER W …
42 Many wages : ERA (Many ages)
43 Sewer : ORACLE (Seer)
45 TV’s “Science Guy” : NYE
46 Tech info site : C|NET
47 Heineken alternative : BECK’S
49 Smoking hot Italian? : ETNA
51 1982 film that takes place inside a computer : TRON
53 Wrests : SITS (Rests)
55 Cry in an opera house : BRAVA
59 Labor day event : BIRTH
61 End of the instruction : … FROM CLUES
63 Minimalist : SPARE
64 Fish frequently caught by newts : TUNA (Fish frequently caught by nets)
65 Ending for patri- : -OTIC
66 Leader typically appearing shirtless in “S.N.L.” parodies : PUTIN
67 Colonnade trees : ELMS
68 Hawn of the silver screen : SOLO (Han of the silver screen)
69 Bustline muscles, informally : PECS
70 Some winks : DYES (Some inks)
71 Retired means of travel, for short : SST

Down

1 Result of loose lips? : SLURP
2 Job that involves a lot of sweating : USHER (Job that involves a lot of seating)
3 Judd of country music : NAOMI
4 Hook associate : SMEE
5 Handout on December 31 : PARTY HAT
6 Peace Nobelist Root : ELIHU
7 Dough used in a taqueria : DINERO
8 Org. for some future lts. : ROTC
9 AWOL part : AMERICA (AOL part)
10 Colonial force : MINUTEMEN
11 Own a boat, say : AT SEA (On a boat, say)
13 Pewter accompanier in the Bible : THOMAS (Peter accompanier in the Bible)
16 Wads are made to do this : SELL (Ads are made to do this)
21 “Emeer” for “emir,” e.g.: Abbr. : VAR
25 Castle feature : TURRET
28 “Rosy” things : CHEEKS
30 Present … or a concise explanation of this puzzle’s theme : NOW or NO W
31 “Special Agent ___” (Disney animated series) : OSO
32 Copier tray abbr. : LTR
33 Go on : ELABORATE
35 High point: Abbr. : MTN
37 Poet’s “before” : ERE
38 “Can’t Help Lovin’ ___ Man” : DAT
40 Cousin of “Inc.” : LLC
41 “I need your full attention over here” : EYES ON ME
44 Ending that’s in the middle? : -CENTRIC
46 Santana of Santana : CARLOS
48 Like flour for baking : SIFTED
50 Original airer of “The Monkees” : NBC
51 Shortening used in recipes? : TBSP
52 Shrewd : RIP UP (Shred)
54 In all honesty : TRULY
56 Fiats, e.g. : AUTOS
57 Bridal shop display : VEILS
58 Berkshire racecourse : ASCOT
60 Certain lawyers : HENS (Certain layers)
62 It may be critical : MASS

19 thoughts on “0723-20 NY Times Crossword 23 Jul 20, Thursday”

  1. 26:06 SOOOO many points of confusion and misdirection. A typical Thurs. puzzle within a puzzle. Started out with EIRE vs. ERIN – not a good start. Based on the font, thought 8D was an abbrev. for Its, not Lts. Had 9D as WITHOUT (not realizing the revealer) and that left the NE corner in shambles for a while. Also could not suss out much of the NW corner.

    Then in the S I had several correct answers that made no sense based on the clues, but the crosses were solid. Lawyers as HENS? I even said to myself that RIPUP should be from “Shred”, not Shrewd”. For a while I had LETTERS for 40 A. Once I finally put in LETTERW and started re-reading all the clues could I set things straight.

    My go-to answer for Cardinals on Scoreboards is STL and in a recent puzzle it was ARI. Missouri is a also clue in 27A. So naturally I put in ARI and the answer was STL. That was the last area to “fix”. Overall the puzzle was kind of 33D.

  2. Don’t worry Ron, my 35:06 should stand as a solid last place finish, but a finish nonetheless. I stumbled along(obviously!)until figuring out shrewd/shred which provided the “aha” moment…

  3. 23:48 after going back and straightening out several stupid missteps, one of which cost me several minutes. (I made the mistake of starting a Thursday NYT puzzle while seriously distracted by other things. Should have known better … 😜.)

    1. I started at 4:30 a.m. after sleeping particularly badly. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer. 🙂

  4. Yeah. Tough one. I wasn’t sharp either. Ended up having to look up some answers. So 32:59…with cheats. Glad that’s over.

  5. 22:52. It felt like I spent 20 minutes figuring out the theme and 3 minutes finishing the puzzle. I knew something was amiss when “Hawn of the silver screen” wasn’t GOLDIE. I had no aha moment. I had to get the reveal before anything else made sense.

    Nothing to do with an SST, but interesting trivia nonetheless. On this day in 1983 an Air Canada 767 ran out of fuel on a flight from Montreal to Edmonton. Why? Canada was still converting to the metric system, and the aircraft was erroneously fueled in pounds rather than kilos of fuel. The pilots were able to glide to an airport somewhere in Manitoba and land safely. Amazing that such a thing could happen.

    Best –

    1. I had a similar experience but a longer time (about 25 minutes). With “Solo” instead of “Goldie” I realized that “Hawn” should be “Han.” 40A ended in RW, I was sure, which meant it had to be “letterw.” Once I got the gimmick the rest unraveled quickly. Fun puzzle!

  6. Bill – FYI – The link to the syndicated puzzle has vanished once again. Started 2 or 3 days ago.

    Best –

  7. One session (breakfast) no errors with unintended spousal assistance. Light went on for me in SW corner when asked spouse if she’d ever heard ‘hen’ used as a term for a lawyer. She asked me I said ‘lawyer’ or ‘layer’. Suddenly ‘shrewd’ became ‘shred’ and I finished up in another 3 or 4 minutes.

    8D also threw me for a loop as the print version made the clue look like Org. for some future Its.

  8. OMG A crossword where you HAVE to know the theme in order to finish it.. That was a curve… Then throw in some odd cluing even after you get the theme… Really??

  9. My finish came in the middle west. At, first I couldn’t make either ARI or STL work because I had LTD for 40D. After fixing that, ORACLE fell, giving me LTR and so on.

  10. Just one of those days when the theme came quickly to me. That made the rest of the grid enjoyable although I trapped myself like others by entering ARI, RAHS, and LTD. Cleaned up that tangle and finished WNE. Fun stuff.

  11. 37 minutes. No errors and no look up’s. Once I figured out the theme everything moved right along. I thought it was fun.

  12. 45:42 no errors…I got the instruction fairly early but dumb old me was trying to eliminate W from answers …once the light came on I got through OK 🎓…l still contend that era is not a good answer for42A…an era can be one year or more and not A very long time like an eon IMO.
    Stay safe

  13. 21:45, no errors. Fell down many of the same rabbit holes as previous posters. LTD before LLC; RAHS or OLES?; EIRE or ERIN?; ARI or STL?. Added a few of my own: BELLA before PRIMA; ABSENCE before AMERICA. My paper also looked like “Org. for future Its.” instead of “Org. for future lts.” Saw the theme early, but kept forgetting to apply it.

  14. Enjoyed this dastardly puzzle. I was 2/3rds done and stuck until I decided something was wrong. Thanks for your cleverness.

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