0804-20 NY Times Crossword 4 Aug 20, Tuesday

Constructed by: Jacob Stulberg
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Forsake

Themed answers each start with word that is often seen between FOR and SAKE:

  • 37A Abandon … or two words often seen next to the starts of 17-, 27-, 47- and 60-Across : FORSAKE or FOR … SAKE
  • 17A 2016 live-action Disney film with an animated title character : PETE’S DRAGON (giving “For Pete’s sake!”)
  • 27A Where John Milton and John Oliver studied at Cambridge : CHRIST’S COLLEGE (giving “For Christ’s sake!”)
  • 47A 1933 Erskine Caldwell novel about a wealth-obsessed farm family : GOD’S LITTLE ACRE (giving “For God’s sake!”)
  • 60A Notorious cinematic flop of 1980 : HEAVEN’S GATE (giving “For heaven’s sake!”)

Bill’s time: 9m 01s!

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Supporting timber in home construction : JOIST

In a building, a joist is a supporting member running horizontally to support a ceiling or floor.

6 Jazz genre : BEBOP

The jazz term “bebop” probably came from “Arriba! Arriba!”, which were words of encouragement uttered by Latin-American bandleaders to their musicians.

11 Popular sandwich, for short : PBJ

Peanut butter and jelly (PB&J or PBJ)

14 Breathing problem for a sleeper : APNEA

Sleep apnea (“apnoea” in British English) can be caused by an obstruction in the airways, possibly due to obesity or enlarged tonsils.

17 2016 live-action Disney film with an animated title character : PETE’S DRAGON (giving “For Pete’s sake!”)

“Pete’s Dragon” is a Walt Disney feature film released in 1977. It’s all about an orphan named Pete who has a dragon named Elliott as a friend.

“For Pete’s sake” is a minced oath, meaning it’s a milder version of a less pleasant expression. “For Pete’s sake” probably came from “for God’s sake”, and maybe even refers to St. Peter.

19 Yellow ball in pool : ONE

The more correct name for the game of pool is “pocket billiards”. The designation “pool” arose after pocket billiards became a common feature in “pool halls”, places where gamblers “pooled” their money to bet on horse races.

20 Ambient musician Brian : ENO

Brian Eno was one of the pioneers of the ambient genre of music. Eno composed an album in 1978 called “Ambient 1: Music for Airports”, which was the first in a series of four albums with an ambient theme. Eno named the tracks, somewhat inventively, 1/1, 1/2, 2/1 and 2/2.

21 1982 film named after a computer program : 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”.

24 Noggin : BEAN

Slang terms for “head” are “bean”, “coconut”, “gourd”, “noodle” and “noggin”.

25 So-called “City of a Thousand Minarets” : CAIRO

Cairo is the capital city of Egypt. It is nicknamed “The City of a Thousand Minarets” because of its impressive skyline replete with Islamic architecture. The name “Cairo” is a European corruption of the city’s original name in Arabic, “Al-Qahira”.

27 Where John Milton and John Oliver studied at Cambridge : CHRIST’S COLLEGE (giving “For Christ’s sake!”)

English poet John Milton is best known for his epic poem “Paradise Lost”. Milton also wrote several sonnets, the most famous of which is probably “On His Blindness”. The poet developed glaucoma which rendered him completely blind so he had to dictate a lot of his work, including the whole of “Paradise Lost”.

32 Bumpkin : YAHOO

Yahoos are brutish creatures introduced by Irish author Jonathan Swift in “Gulliver’s Travels”. Their savage, slovenly ways gave rise to the use of “yahoo” in English to describe a lout or neanderthal.

“Bumpkin” is really a not-so-nice term for someone from a rural area. The term has an even less nice derivation. It comes from from the Middle Dutch “bommekijn” meaning “little barrel”. “Bumpkin” was used as a derogatory term for Dutch people, who were regarded as short and plump.

33 Corrida cry : OLE!

Spanish bullfighting is known locally as “corrida de toros”, literally “race of bulls”.

36 Prefix with -mester : TRI-

“Semester” is a German word from the Latin “semestris”, an adjective meaning “of six months”. We use the term in a system that divides an academic year into two roughly equal parts. A trimester-system has three parts, and a quarter-system has four.

41 Greenpeace, e.g., for short : NGO

Non-governmental organization (NGO)

Environmental organization Greenpeace was founded in 1971, and is headquartered in Amsterdam. Famously, the organization uses seagoing vessels in some of its campaigns. The most renowned of these ships was the refitted fishing trawler Rainbow Warrior. The original Rainbow Warrior was known for disrupting activities like whale-hunting, dumping of radioactive waste and nuclear testing. In response to the latter, the French government secretly bombed the vessel while in harbor in Auckland, New Zealand. A Dutch freelance photographer died in that bombing.

42 Dame of fame : EDNA

Dame Edna Everage is the outrageous character created and played by Australian comedian Barry Humphries. I saw him/her perform live in a San Francisco theater, and what a great show it was …

44 Golfer Michelle : WIE

Michelle Wie is an American golfer on the LPGA Tour. Wie began playing golf at the age of four and was the youngest player ever to qualify for an LPGA tour event. She turned pro just before her 16th birthday.

51 “The gymnasium of the mind,” per Pascal : CHESS

Blaise Pascal was an important French mathematician, physicist and philosopher, who lived in the mid-1600s. In math, his name was given to Pascal’s triangle, a triangle of numbers in which each number is the sum of the two numbers above it. Pascal also wrote on the subject of theology. His most important theological writings were published after his death under the title “Pensées”, meaning “Thoughts”.

53 Actress Bara of 1917’s “Cleopatra” : THEDA

Theda Bara was a silent film star from Cincinnati, Ohio. Many cite Bara as the first movie sex symbol. She wore very revealing costumes in many of her films and she often played the femme fatale character. As such, Bara’s nickname was “the Vamp”.

55 Actress Polo of TV’s “The Fosters” : TERI

Teri Polo’s most prominent role on the big screen was Pam Focker in “Meet the Fockers” and its sequel. Pam is the wife of the character played by Ben Stiller. Polo also played the wife of Presidential candidate Matt Santos in “The West Wing”.

60 Notorious cinematic flop of 1980 : HEAVEN’S GATE (giving “For heaven’s sake!”)

“Heaven’s Gate” is a 1980 Western movie that is commonly cited as one of the biggest box office bombs in the history of cinema. With an initial budget of $11.6 million, the film ended up costing over $30 million. Box office sales were forecast at $40 million. The reception was so bad that “Heaven’s Gate” was pulled after only two weeks in theaters, with ticket sales of just $1.3 million.

65 Desi of old TV : ARNAZ

Desi Arnaz has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. One was placed to mark his contribution to motion pictures, and the other for his work in television.

66 Claw : TALON

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

67 “Amen!” : YES!

The word “amen” translates as “so be it”. “Amen” is said to be of Hebrew origin, but it is also likely to be influenced by Aramaic and Arabic.

Down

1 Mocking remark : JAPE

“To jape” means “to joke or quip”. The exact origins of “jape” are unclear, but it does seem to come from Old French. In the mid-1600s, “to jape” was a slang term meaning “to have sex with”. No joke …!

7 Gusto : ELAN

Our word “élan” was imported from French, in which language the word has a similar meaning to ours, i.e “style, flair”.

9 Vocalist heard on the Beatles’ “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” : ONO

“The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” is a John Lennon song that was recorded by the Beatles. The title character was inspired by a young American who was visiting the same ashram the Beatles were staying at in India while studying with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The American stayed in a bungalow next to the Maharishi, and was dubbed “Bungalow Bill” by Lennon and co. There’s a line in the song “Not when he looks so fierce”, which is sung by John Lennon’s wife Yoko Ono. That line marks the only time that a woman provided a lead vocal for a Beatles song.

10 Miniature golf course freebie : PENCIL

The game of miniature golf emerged in the early 1900s. The name “putt-putt” is quite commonly used for the game today in the US. This name comes from the Putt-Putt Fun Center chain of courses that was founded in Fayetteville, North Carolina and 1954. Putt-Putt courses are actually quite spartan compared to true miniature golf courses that are so often themed. Regardless, the names “putt-putt” and “miniature golf” have conflated over time.

12 Uneaten part of an entree, maybe : BONE

“Entrée” means “entry” in French. An entrée can be something that helps one get “a way in”, an interview for example perhaps helped along by a recommendation letter. In Europe, even in English-speaking countries, the entrée is the name for the “entry” to the meal, the first course. I found the ordering of meals to be very confusing when I first came to America!

13 Catcall : JEER

Back in the 1700s, a catcall was a noise-making device, one that emitted a squeak resembling that of an angry cat, hence the name. The device was used by unhappy audiences in play-houses to express dissatisfaction at the performers.

23 Bellicose deity : ARES

The Greek god Ares is often referred to as the Olympian god of warfare, but originally he was regarded as the god of bloodlust and slaughter. Ares united with Aphrodite to create several gods, including Phobos (Fear), Deimos (Terror) and Eros (Desire). Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, and the Roman equivalent to Ares was Mars.

Someone described as bellicose is inclined to favor strife or war. The term “bellicose” comes from “bellum”, the Latin word for “war”.

24 Paragraph in a playbill, maybe : BIO

I get quite a kick out of reading the bios in “Playbill” as some of them can be really goofy and entertaining. “Playbill” started off in 1884 in New York as an in-house publication for just one theater on 21st St. You can’t see any decent-sized production these days anywhere in the United States without being handed a copy of “Playbill”.

25 What a fountain may provide : COLA

A carbonated drink can be called by various names depending on the location. Back in Ireland, believe it or not, a drink like Sprite is called “lemonade”. In most of the US Northeast, the term “soda” is used generically, and in the South a “coke” might not be a cola drink. And the Bostonians apparently used the term “tonic” generically for a carbonated drink.

26 Supermodel Wek : ALEK

Alek Wek is a supermodel originally from Southern Sudan. In her native language, Wek’s name translates as “Black Spotted Cow”, which is a symbol of good luck for the Dinka, her native people.

28 Big finish? : HARD G

The word “big” finishes with a hard letter G (gee).

29 Heavyweight at a zoo : RHINOCEROS

There are five types of rhinoceros that survive today, with the smaller Javan Rhino being the most rare. The rhinoceros is probably the rarest large mammal on the planet, thanks to poaching. Hunters mainly prize the horn of the rhino as it is used in powdered form in traditional Chinese medicine.

30 Subdivision in group theory : COSET

I am sure I learned about cosets in math class 40-50 years ago, but I’ve long forgotten …

35 À la ___ : MODE

In French, “à la mode” simply means “fashionable”. In America, the term has also come to describe a way of serving pie. Pie served à la mode includes a dollop of cream or ice cream, or as I recall from my time living in Upstate New York, with a wedge of cheddar cheese.

38 Symbols of wisdom : OWLS

The Greek goddess Athena (sometimes “Athene”) is often associated with wisdom, among other attributes. In many representations. Athena is depicted with an owl sitting on her head. It is this linkage of the owl with the goddess of wisdom that led to today’s perception of the owl as being “wise”. Athena’s Roman counterpart was Minerva.

39 Reformer Jacob who wrote “How the Other Half Lives” : RIIS

Journalist Jacob Riis is famous for his photographs and newspaper articles that highlighted the plight of the impoverished in New York City. He wrote “How the Other Half Lives”, originally an extensive article that appeared in “Scribner’s Magazine” at Christmas 1889. The article had such an impact that Riis was commissioned to expand it into a book, which was published the following year.

40 Certain Olympic athletes since 1900 : EPEEISTS

There are three fencing events in the modern Olympics, with each distinguished by the weapon used:

  • Foil
  • Épée
  • Sabre

43 Condition that Adderall may be prescribed for, in brief : ADHD

The “official” name for the condition we sometimes still refer to as “attention deficit disorder” (ADD) is “attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder” (ADHD).

Adderall is a drug used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as well as narcolepsy. Adderall is also misused as a recreational drug as it is considered an aphrodisiac and a euphoriant.

46 Dorm leaders, in brief : RAS

A resident assistant/adviser (RA) is a peer leader found in a residence hall, particularly on a college campus.

48 Enemy of Popeye : SEA HAG

The Sea Hag is Popeye’s archenemy, and sails the seas with her pet vulture Bernard on her boat called “The Black Barnacle”.

49 Pluck, as eyebrow hairs : TWEEZE

Tweezers are small metal pincers used in handling small objects. Back in the 1600s, “tweeze” was the name given to the case in which such an implement was kept, and over time the case gave its name to the device itself. “Tweeze” evolved from “etweese”, the plural of “etwee”, which in turn came from “étui “, the French word for “small case”.

50 Bereft, old-style : LORN

To be bereaved (also “bereft”) is to have suffered the loss of a loved one.

53 Frozen dessert chain : TCBY

TCBY is a chain of stores selling frozen yogurt that was founded in 1981 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The acronym TCBY originally stood for “This Can’t Be Yogurt”, but this had to be changed due to a lawsuit being pressed by a competitor called “I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt”. These days TCBY stands for “The Country’s Best Yogurt”.

54 Cocky character in a fable : HARE

“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.

56 Like every secretary of state until 1997 : MALE

The US Department of State is the equivalent of the Foreign Ministry in many other countries, and is responsible for international relations. Ceremonially, the Secretary of State is the highest ranking of all Cabinet officials, and is the highest ranking in the presidential line of succession (fourth, after the Vice President, the Speaker of the House and the President pro tem of the Senate). The department was created in 1789 by President Washington, and was the first of all executive departments created. The first Secretary of State was future-president Thomas Jefferson.

Madeleine Albright was appointed Secretary of State by President Clinton, making her the first woman to hold the post. Among her many qualifications for holding that job, is her fluency in English, French, Russian and Czech. Albright can also hold her own in Polish and Serbo-Croat.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Supporting timber in home construction : JOIST
6 Jazz genre : BEBOP
11 Popular sandwich, for short : PBJ
14 Breathing problem for a sleeper : APNEA
15 Solo : ALONE
16 Gardening tool : HOE
17 2016 live-action Disney film with an animated title character : PETE’S DRAGON (giving “For Pete’s sake!”)
19 Yellow ball in pool : ONE
20 Ambient musician Brian : ENO
21 1982 film named after a computer program : TRON
22 Handle the food for, as a party : CATER
24 Noggin : BEAN
25 So-called “City of a Thousand Minarets” : CAIRO
27 Where John Milton and John Oliver studied at Cambridge : CHRIST’S COLLEGE (giving “For Christ’s sake!”)
32 Bumpkin : YAHOO
33 Corrida cry : OLE!
34 Where clothing may come apart : SEAM
36 Prefix with -mester : TRI-
37 Abandon … or two words often seen next to the starts of 17-, 27-, 47- and 60-Across : FORSAKE or FOR … SAKE
41 Greenpeace, e.g., for short : NGO
42 Dame of fame : EDNA
44 Golfer Michelle : WIE
45 Was meddlesome : PRIED
47 1933 Erskine Caldwell novel about a wealth-obsessed farm family : GOD’S LITTLE ACRE (giving “For God’s sake!”)
51 “The gymnasium of the mind,” per Pascal : CHESS
52 Troubles : WOES
53 Actress Bara of 1917’s “Cleopatra” : THEDA
55 Actress Polo of TV’s “The Fosters” : TERI
56 Ticked off : MAD
59 Word after electric or elevator : … CAR
60 Notorious cinematic flop of 1980 : HEAVEN’S GATE (giving “For heaven’s sake!”)
64 “My man” : BRO
65 Desi of old TV : ARNAZ
66 Claw : TALON
67 “Amen!” : YES!
68 A, B or C, or first, second or third : GRADE
69 Was out : SLEPT

Down

1 Mocking remark : JAPE
2 U.S. ___ : OPEN
3 Take ___ account : INTO
4 “Now do you believe me?” : SEE
5 Suggests, flavorwise : TASTES OF
6 Certain nobles : BARONS
7 Gusto : ELAN
8 Get stuck, with “down” : BOG …
9 Vocalist heard on the Beatles’ “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” : ONO
10 Miniature golf course freebie : PENCIL
11 Suitable for framing? : PHOTOGENIC
12 Uneaten part of an entree, maybe : BONE
13 Catcall : JEER
18 “Confound it!” : DRAT!
23 Bellicose deity : ARES
24 Paragraph in a playbill, maybe : BIO
25 What a fountain may provide : COLA
26 Supermodel Wek : ALEK
27 Suffix meaning “cell” : -CYTE
28 Big finish? : HARD G
29 Heavyweight at a zoo : RHINOCEROS
30 Subdivision in group theory : COSET
31 Zealous : EAGER
35 À la ___ : MODE
38 Symbols of wisdom : OWLS
39 Reformer Jacob who wrote “How the Other Half Lives” : RIIS
40 Certain Olympic athletes since 1900 : EPEEISTS
43 Condition that Adderall may be prescribed for, in brief : ADHD
46 Dorm leaders, in brief : RAS
48 Enemy of Popeye : SEA HAG
49 Pluck, as eyebrow hairs : TWEEZE
50 Bereft, old-style : LORN
53 Frozen dessert chain : TCBY
54 Cocky character in a fable : HARE
55 Infomercial, e.g. : TV AD
56 Like every secretary of state until 1997 : MALE
57 On : ATOP
58 Job for a body shop : DENT
61 Zig when one should zag, say : ERR
62 Get ___ on (ace) : AN A
63 Lass : GAL

16 thoughts on “0804-20 NY Times Crossword 4 Aug 20, Tuesday”

  1. 14:56 Started badly – IBEAM vs. JOIST, BLT VS PBJ, and that was just the first row. Last to correct was Michelle WIE – I had WII, must have been thinking of a different game but COSIT made no sense for “Group Theory”. Fixing that finally gave me the jingle.

  2. 17:02. I’d categorize this as very difficult by Tuesday standards

    I had two big issues – One was putting BLT instead of PBJ. My stubbornness there cost me a lot of time. Thought it must be BLT. PBJ didn’t even occur to me.

    The other…oh boy…sometimes I don’t know why I admit these things…is that I read 30D as “Subdivision in group therapy”. Needless to say, COSET made no sense to me. I thought it was some kind of group dynamic I’d never heard of [insert huge eye roll here].

    It wasn’t until I came to the blog that I recognized my error.

    Best –

      1. Ron F –

        You may be right. Someone said on this blog once that the anonymity of it makes us all more honest. I don’t know what that says about humans as a species, but it makes this site more amusing.

        Best –

  3. As the requisite “last place finisher” of the group, I do look forward to the daily comments from our crossword family, thanks to all of y’all and, of course, Fearless Leader.

  4. Wow, after reading the errors and tough spots I feel out of place.. I got stuck (and erred) on 27D. Didn’t know CYTE, and didn’t know which fame 42A was talking about. Ended up with TINA… I was stumped… Did not see the HARD G coming. Oh well. To make it worse, Bill once again talks about his world travels casualling mentioning seeing EDNA in person. As if to say “oh yeah, everyone knows EDNA”… You go Bill!

  5. 18 minutes. No errors. I started wrong by assuming it was sub and not PBJ. Also, all the vowels in epeeists didn’t seem to fit.

  6. 22:25 with one wrong letter (theta for theda)…sometimes I’m not sure the setter knows what day it is.
    Here’s a hint for solving easier…let’s say you want to solve 1D…don’t read the clue for 2D or some other one…It really does help to get the right clue for the right answer…trust me I know.
    Stay safe😀

  7. 12:37, no errors. Surprising and comforting to log into this blog and see so many having similar thoughts about the difficulty of this Tuesday puzzle.

  8. I also thought that this was very difficult for a Tuesday. I went through it, however, with no errors and no erasures. Of course, I am not timing myself so I can take my own sweet time. I love the words. I love the learning. I have no desire to compete against others or a clock. I am not saying my way is better. It is just that I choose a different way of enjoying the challenge.

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