0728-20 NY Times Crossword 28 Jul 20, Tuesday

Constructed by: Ross Trudeau
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Web of Lies

Themed answers together form a WEB OF LIES that criss-cross the grid:

  • 36D It’s spun by mendacious people … or a hint to the shaded answers : WEB OF LIES
  • 17A “The Tortoise and the Hare,” e.g. : FABLE
  • 29A “___ of the tongue leads to that of the heart”: Jefferson : FALSEHOOD
  • 44A Bubble gum in 1906, e.g. : INVENTION
  • 60A Writing that can get you in trouble : LIBEL
  • 4D Accounts of Paul Bunyan, say : TALL TALES
  • 8D Section of a bookstore : FICTION
  • 24D Burger King offering : WHOPPER
  • 41D Fabrication : UNTRUTH

Bill’s time: 5m 53s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9 Norse trickster : LOKI

Loki is a god appearing in Norse mythology. In one story about Loki, he was punished by other gods for having caused the death of Baldr, the god of light and beauty. Loki is bound to a sharp rock using the entrails of one of his sons. A serpent drips venom which is collected in a bowl, and then his wife must empty the venom onto Loki when the bowl is full. The venom causes Loki great pain, and his writhing results in what we poor mortals experience as earthquakes.

15 1992 Brendan Fraser film about a thawed Cro-Magnon : ENCINO MAN

“Encino Man” is a comedy film released in 1992 starring Brendan Fraser as a caveman who is brought back to life in the 20th century. The movie’s name comes from the location where the caveman is found, Encino in California. To help European audiences, who may not have heard of Encino, the movie was released there under the title “California Man”.

Brendan Fraser is a Canadian-American actor (both parents are Canadian), who was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. Fraser was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2006, making him the first American-born actor to be so honored.

17 “The Tortoise and the Hare,” e.g. : FABLE

“The Tortoise and the Hare” is perhaps the most famous fable attributed to Aesop. The cocky hare takes a nap during a race against the tortoise, and the tortoise sneaks past the finish line for the win while his speedier friend is sleeping.

21 Twosome on TMZ : ITEM

An unmarried couple known to be involved with each other might appear in the gossip columns. This appearance as “an item” in the papers, led to the use of “item” to refer to such a couple, but only since the very early seventies.

TMZ.com is a celebrity gossip website launched in 2005. “TMZ” stands for “thirty-mile zone”, a reference to the “studio zone” in Los Angeles. The studio zone is circular in shape with a 30-mile radius centered on the intersection of West Beverly Boulevard and North La Cienega Boulevard.

22 Muscleman of “The A-Team” : MR T

Mr. T’s real name is Laurence Tero Tureaud. Mr. T is famous for many things, including the wearing of excessive amounts of jewelry. He started this habit when he was working as a bouncer, wearing jewelry items that had been left behind by customers at a nightclub so that the items might be recognized and claimed. It was also as a bouncer that he adopted the name Mr. T. His catch phrase comes from the movie “Rocky III”. In the film, before he goes up against Rocky Balboa, Mr. T says, “No, I don’t hate Balboa, but I pity the fool”. He parlayed that line into quite a bit of success. He had a reality TV show called “I Pity the Fool”, and produced a motivational video called “Be Somebody … or Be Somebody’s Fool!”.

“The A-Team” is an action television series that originally ran in the eighties. The A-Team was a group of ex-US special forces personnel who became mercenaries. Star of the show was Hollywood actor George Peppard (as “Hannibal” Smith), ably assisted by Mr. T (as “B.A.” Baracus) and Robert Vaughn (as Hunt Stockwell).

29 “___ of the tongue leads to that of the heart”: Jefferson : FALSEHOOD

Thomas Jefferson was born a British subject in 1743 in the Colony of Virginia, one of ten children born to Peter Jefferson and Jane Randolph Jefferson. The Jefferson’s had four sons in all, with two dying in infancy. The remaining two sons inherited Peter’s estate, divided between them. Thomas came into 5,000 acres of land, including Monticello, and 20-40 slaves.

32 ___ Grande : RIO

The Rio Grande (Spanish for “big river”) is a waterway that forms part of the border between Mexico and the United States. Although we call the river the Rio Grande on this side of the border, in Mexico it is called the Río Bravo or Río Bravo del Norte (Spanish for “furious river of the north”).

37 The girl in the Disney song “Kiss the Girl” : ARIEL

“Kiss the Girl” is a song from the 1989 Disney animated film “The Little Mermaid”. Nominated for the Best Original Song Oscar and Golden Globe, “Kiss the Girl” lost out to “Under the Sea”, which is also on “The Little Mermaid” soundtrack.

38 So-called “twin killings” in baseball, for short : DPS

Double play (DP)

40 Some whiskeys : RYES

For whiskey to be labelled as “rye” in the US, it has to be distilled from at least 51% rye grain. In Canada however, a drink called rye whiskey sometimes contains no rye at all.

41 One who brushes off a plate, informally : UMP

Back in the 15th century, “an umpire” was referred to as “a noumpere”, which was misheard and hence causing the dropping of the initial letter N. The term “noumpere” came from Old French “nonper” meaning “not even, odd number”. The idea was that the original umpire was a third person called on to arbitrate between two, providing that “odd number” needed to decide the dispute.

43 Wok, for one : PAN

“Wok” is a Cantonese word, and is the name for the frying pan now used in many Asian cuisines.

48 ___ Speed Wagon (old truck) : REO

The REO Speed Wagon was a light truck introduced in 1915, and a precursor to the modern pickup truck. The rock band REO Speedwagon is named for the truck, but note the difference between the spelling of Speedwagon (the band) and Speed Wagon (the truck).

49 Military installations: Abbr. : FTS

Fort (ft.)

51 Fish with long jaws : GARS

“Gar” was originally the name given to a species of needlefish found in the North Atlantic. The term “gar” is now used to describe several species of fish with elongated bodies that inhabit North and Central America and the Caribbean. The gar is unusual in that it is often found in very brackish water. What I find interesting is that the gar’s swim bladders are vascularized so that they can actually function as lungs. Many species of gar can actually be seen coming to the surface and taking a gulp of air. This adaptation makes it possible for them to live in conditions highly unsuitable for other fish that rely on their gills to get oxygen out of the water. Indeed, quite interesting …

60 Writing that can get you in trouble : LIBEL

The word “libel” describes a published or written statement likely to harm a person’s reputation. It comes into English from the Latin “libellus”, the word for a small book. Back in the 1500s, libel was just a formal written statement, with the more damaging association arising in the 1600s. The related concept of slander is defamation in a transient form, such as speech, sign language or gestures.

61 Woolworth’s, once : DIME STORE

A five-and-ten is a store that sells inexpensive items. “Five-and-ten” is an alternative name for “dime store”, “five-and-dime” and “ten-cent store”. The “five-and-ten” name is short for “five-and-ten cent store”.

63 Object of dirty looks? : SMUT

“Smut” means “dirt, smudge” and more recently “pornographic material”. The term comes from the Yiddish “schmutz”, which is a slang word used in English for dirt, as in “dirt on one’s face”.

64 Circle in the game hangman : HEAD

The word-guessing game Hangman seems to have been played first in Victorian England. At one time it was known as “Birds, Beasts and Fishes” as the words to be guessed had to be types of animal.

65 Actor Rogen : SETH

Seth Rogen is a Canadian comedian who got a lot of credit for his supporting role in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”. That led to him being cast as the lead in the 2007 film “Knocked Up”. Rogen also co-directed and co-starred in “The Interview”, a movie that created a huge ruckus in North Korean regime.

Down

4 Accounts of aPul Bunyan, say : TALL TALES

Paul Bunyan is a character of American myth. He is a skilled lumberjack, and has a sidekick called Babe the Blue Ox. Both Bunyan and Babe are gigantic in size.

6 Ariana Grande’s “___ Last Time” : ONE

Ariana Grande is a singer and actress from Boca Raton, Florida. Grande plays the role of Cat Valentine on the sitcom “Victorious” that aired for four season on Nickelodeon. Grande’s singing career took off with the release of the 2011 album “Victorious: Music from the Hit TV Show”.

7 Berry in a purple smoothie : ACAI

Açaí (pronounced “ass-aye-ee”) is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.

9 Rich soils : LOAMS

Loam is soil made up of sand, silt and clay in the ratio of about 40-40-20. Relative to other soil types, loam is usually rich in nutrients and moisture, drains well and is easy to till. Loam can also be used in constructing houses as it is quite strong when mixed with straw and dried.

10 Meditation syllables : OMS

“Om” is a sacred mystic word from the Hindu tradition. “Om” is sometimes used as a mantra, a focus for the mind in meditation.

11 Kit ___ bar : KAT

I grew up eating Kit Kat bars as a kid, as the chocolate confection has been around since the thirties. Kit Kats didn’t hit the shelves in the US until the seventies. I’ve seen new varieties of Kit Kat over in the UK, such as an orange-flavored version, but haven’t seen anything like that over here.

20 Part of M.I.T.: Abbr. : INST

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was founded in 1861 and first offered classes in 1865, in the Mercantile building in Boston. Today’s magnificent campus on the banks of the Charles River in Cambridge opened in 1916.

24 Burger King offering : WHOPPER

If you were in Japan at the end of 2009 and went to Burger King, you might have ordered a Windows 7 Whopper, a promotion for the Windows 7 Operating System. The sandwich was 5 inches in height, and contained seven beef patties!

27 Edmonton N.H.L.’er : OILER

The National Hockey League’s Edmonton Oilers are so called because they are located in Alberta, Canada … oil country.

Edmonton is the capital city of the Canadian province of Alberta. The city was founded as Fort Edmonton in 1795, with the name taken from the area in London called Edmonton. Edmonton, London was the home of pioneer John Peter Pruden who suggested the name. London’s Edmonton was also home for deputy governor Sir James Winter Lake of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

33 Wrist bones : CARPI

The human wrist is known anatomically as the carpus (plural “carpi”). The carpal bones allow the wrist its remarkable range of motion.

34 Early Indo-European : ARYAN

The Indo-Aryans are a collection of peoples that speak languages that share the same linguistic roots, traced back to the ancient Indo-Iranian peoples. Included in the Indo-Aryan group of peoples are the Bengali people, the Gurkhas, the Kashmiri people and the Punjabi people.

38 Org. staffed by sloths in “Zootopia” : DMV

In most states, the government agency responsible for vehicle registration and the issuing of driver’s licenses is called the DMV. This initialism usually stands for the Department of Motor Vehicles, but there are “variations on the theme”. For example, in Arizona the responsible agency is called the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), and in Colorado the familiar abbreviation “DMV” stands for Division of Motor Vehicles.

“Zootopia” is a 2016 Disney animated film about a rabbit police officer and a red fox con artist who team up to uncover a bizarre conspiracy.

39 Key piece in French chess : ROI

In French, the “roi” (king) is the most important piece in the game of “échecs” (chess).

47 Source of beautiful plumes : EGRET

Egrets are a group of several species of white herons. Many egret species were faced with extinction in the 1800s and early 1900s due to plume hunting, a practice driven by the demand for egret plumes that could be incorporated into hats.

50 Refine, as metal : SMELT

Metals are found in ore in the form of oxides. In order to get pure metal from the ore, the ore is heated and the metal oxides within are reduced (i.e. the oxygen is removed) in the chemical process known as smelting. The oxygen is extracted by adding a source of carbon or carbon monoxide which uses up the excess oxygen atoms to make carbon dioxide, a waste product of smelting (and, a greenhouse gas).

52 Liqueur flavor : SLOE

The sloe is the fruit of the blackthorn bush, and the main flavoring ingredient in sloe gin. A sloe looks like a small plum, but is usually much more tart in taste.

56 Some drug cases, for short : ODS

Overdose (OD)

58 Fast runner Down Under : EMU

The emu has had a tough time in Australia since man settled there. There was even an “Emu War” in Western Australia in 1932 when migrating emus competed with livestock for water and food. Soldiers were sent in and used machine guns in an unsuccessful attempt to drive off the “invading force”. The emus were clever, breaking their usual formations and adopting guerrilla tactics, operating as smaller units. After 50 days of “war”, the military withdrew. Subsequent requests for military help for the farmers were ignored. The emus had emerged victorious …

59 Elizabethan ___ : ERA

The Elizabethan Era, the period associated with the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, is considered by many to be the golden age of English history. It was the age of William Shakespeare and the age of the English Renaissance. Elizabeth I was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and the last sovereign of the House of Tudor.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Triumph of diplomacy : PACT
5 Not do much of anything : LOAF
9 Norse trickster : LOKI
13 Lunge toward : FLY AT
15 1992 Brendan Fraser film about a thawed Cro-Magnon : ENCINO MAN
17 “The Tortoise and the Hare,” e.g. : FABLE
18 Shorelines : SEACOASTS
19 Framework for vines : TRELLIS
21 Twosome on TMZ : ITEM
22 Muscleman of “The A-Team” : MR T
23 “___ and improved!” : NEW
25 It’s *the* place to be : IN SPOT
29 “___ of the tongue leads to that of the heart”: Jefferson : FALSEHOOD
32 ___ Grande : RIO
33 Auto pound, for one : CAR LOT
35 Totally dominate, in slang : OWN
36 “Let me see …” : WELL …
37 The girl in the Disney song “Kiss the Girl” : ARIEL
38 So-called “twin killings” in baseball, for short : DPS
39 Celebrate wildly : REVEL
40 Some whiskeys : RYES
41 One who brushes off a plate, informally : UMP
42 Clears one’s mind, with “up” : SOBERS …
43 Wok, for one : PAN
44 Bubble gum in 1906, e.g. : INVENTION
46 Behind financially : IN DEBT
48 ___ Speed Wagon (old truck) : REO
49 Military installations: Abbr. : FTS
51 Fish with long jaws : GARS
53 Certain female baby on a farm : EWE LAMB
56 Response to “Objection!,” maybe : OVERRULED!
60 Writing that can get you in trouble : LIBEL
61 Woolworth’s, once : DIME STORE
62 Gal’s guy : FELLA
63 Object of dirty looks? : SMUT
64 Circle in the game hangman : HEAD
65 Actor Rogen : SETH

Down

1 [Fizzle] : [PFFT]
2 Raise the ___ : ALARM
3 Chat room pal : CYBERFRIEND
4 Accounts of Paul Bunyan, say : TALL TALES
5 Tenant : LESSEE
6 Ariana Grande’s “___ Last Time” : ONE
7 Berry in a purple smoothie : ACAI
8 Section of a bookstore : FICTION
9 Rich soils : LOAMS
10 Meditation syllables : OMS
11 Kit ___ bar : KAT
12 Outs’ opposites : INS
14 No. on a business card : TEL
16 On and on and on : NO END
20 Part of M.I.T.: Abbr. : INST
24 Burger King offering : WHOPPER
26 Like something that really shouldn’t have happened : PREVENTABLE
27 Edmonton N.H.L.’er : OILER
28 Things most interstates don’t have : TOLLS
30 “OMG, I’m dying!” : LOL!
31 Reactions to slugs : OWS
33 Wrist bones : CARPI
34 Early Indo-European : ARYAN
36 It’s spun by mendacious people … or a hint to the shaded answers : WEB OF LIES
38 Org. staffed by sloths in “Zootopia” : DMV
39 Key piece in French chess : ROI
41 Fabrication : UNTRUTH
42 Put away for safekeeping : STOW
44 Some building beams : I-BARS
45 “Thanks, I ___ that” : NEEDED
47 Source of beautiful plumes : EGRET
50 Refine, as metal : SMELT
52 Liqueur flavor : SLOE
54 One with pointy shoes and ears : ELF
55 Meh-feeling : BLAH
56 Some drug cases, for short : ODS
57 Liveliness : VIM
58 Fast runner Down Under : EMU
59 Elizabethan ___ : ERA

6 thoughts on “0728-20 NY Times Crossword 28 Jul 20, Tuesday”

  1. 8:38 Once again I seemed to get most of my traction on the first pass thru the downs. About 1/2 thru I got the theme of “fictions” in the grayed answers.

    31D – was thinking of the homeless snails (Slugs) and the reaction of EWW if you step on one, rather than getting “slugged”. Now it makes sense.

    Bill – The “Knocked Up” movie starring Seth Rogan was 2007, not 1970. Your explanation made it sound way too early since Rogan is in his late 30s

  2. 8:21, no errors. I’ve recently been doing (and enjoying) the puzzles Ross Trudeau posts on his web site. This one struck me as being a little harder than average, but I was having a fuzzy-headed day.

    @Rob (from Sunday):

    Interesting!! I checked this out on my current iPad Mini and on an older iPad Mini, and I don’t get the green highlighting, so I have no idea what’s going on for you! The asterisks in the clue (“*Swoon*”) are probably related in some way, but I don’t see how. Very odd!!

  3. 12:41, no errors. Another slow day for me. After several months I still fumble a lot with my fat fingers. One a positive note, my hip hematoma has shrunk and turned into a purple bruise so I’ll be able to ride my mountain bike again some time soon.

  4. 10:10. Didn’t realize until the end of the day that I’d forgotten to post. Somehow the world didn’t come to an end.

    Good theme for a Tuesday.

    Best –

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