0806-20 NY Times Crossword 6 Aug 20, Thursday

Constructed by: Derek Allen & Jeff Chen
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer(s): Gray Area

We have a rebus puzzle today, with four squares containing the words BLACK AND WHITE. BLACK is used for the crossing answer in one direction, and WHITE is used in the other:

  • 28D With 32-Down, ambiguity … or a hint to this puzzle’s theme : GRAY …
  • 32D See 28-Down : … AREA
  • 9A Ingredient separated and whipped in meringue : EGG WHITE
  • 19A Political party founded in 1966 : THE BLACK PANTHERS
  • 56A Saying “You’ve never looked better,” maybe : TELLING A WHITE LIE
  • 67A Many a country road : BLACKTOP
  • 3D Old Glory : RED, WHITE AND BLUE
  • 12D Outer space phenomenon photographed for the first time in 2019 : BLACK HOLE
  • 25D It might prevent an overload of the power grid : ROLLING BLACKOUT
  • 52D “Grimms’ Fairy Tales” heroine : SNOW WHITE

Bill’s time: 9m 16s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 K follower : -MART

Kmart is the third-largest discount store chain in the world, behind Wal-Mart and Target. The company was founded by S. S. Kresge in 1899, with the first outlets known as S. S. Kresge stores. The first “Kmart” stores opened in 1962, with the “K” standing for “Kresge”. Kmart is famous for its promotions known as “blue light specials”, a program first introduced in 1965 and discontinued in 1991. I remember being in a Kmart store soon after coming to live in the US. That evening an employee installed a light stand an aisle away from me, switched on a flashing blue light and there was some unintelligible announcement over the loudspeaker system. I had no idea what was going on …

14 Purloin : FILCH

“Filch” is a slang word meaning for “steal”. One suggestion is that the term derives from the German “filzen” meaning “comb through”.

15 TV host with the memoir “Born a Crime” : NOAH

Trevor Noah is a comedian from Johannesburg, South Africa. Noah took over as host of the Comedy Channel’s “The Daily Show” after Jon Stewart retired. Noah can speak several languages, including English, Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, Afrikaans, and German.

16 “Hoarders” network : A AND E

The A&E television network used to be a favorite of mine, with the “A&E” standing for “arts and entertainment”. A&E started out airing a lot of the old classic dramas, as well as biographies and arts programs. Now there seems to be more reality TV, with one of the flagship programs being “Dog the Bounty Hunter”. A slight change of direction I’d say …

“Hoarders” is a documentary show on the A&E channel that tells the stories of real-life people who suffer from compulsive hoarding. The show ran for six seasons before being canceled in 2013.

17 Novelist Walker : ALICE

Alice Walker is an author and poet. Walker’s best known work is the novel “The Color Purple”, which earned her the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. “The Color Purple” was adapted into a very successful film of the same name, directed by Steven Spielberg.

18 Major-___ : DOMO

A majordomo is a person in charge, or the senior person who might act in the absence of a boss. The term derives from the Latin “major domus” meaning “senior in the house”.

19 Political party founded in 1966 : THE BLACK PANTHERS

The Black Panther Party (BPP) was a far-left revolutionary organization founded in 1966 in Oakland, California. The BPP dissolved in 1982.

23 Perimeter of a billiards table : RAILS

The name of the game billiards comes from the French word “billiard” that originally described the wooden cue stick. The Old French “bille” translates as “stick of wood”.

24 Devil dog : US MARINE

Apparently, the US Marines were nicknamed “Teufel Hunden” (dogs from Hell”) by German soldiers during WWI, although this has been disputed. Notwithstanding, the “Devil Dog” nickname is still used today by the Marines, and with pride.

26 Speakeasy, by another name : BLIND PIG

A speakeasy is an establishment that sells alcoholic drinks illegally. Speakeasies were very big in the US in the days of Prohibition. The obvious etymology, of a speakeasy owner asking his or her customers to “speak easy” so as not to draw attention to the authorities, is thought to have originated in 1888 in McKeesport just outside Pittsburgh.

33 T-shirt choices, for short : SML

Small, medium and large (S, M & L)

34 Shortly before the events of the New Testament : ONE BC

The designations Anno Domini (AD, “year of Our Lord”) and Before Christ (BC) are found in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. The dividing point between AD and BC is the year of the conception of Jesus, with AD 1 following 1 BC without a year “0” in between. The AD/BC scheme dates back to AD 525, and gained wide acceptance soon after AD 800. Nowadays a modified version has become popular, with CE (Common/Christian Era) used to replace AD, and BCE (Before the Common/Christian Era) used to replace BC.

36 Wyatt, Virgil or Morgan of the Old West : EARP

The famous Earp brothers of the Wild West were Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan. All three brothers participated in what has to be the most famous gunfight in the history of the Old West, the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. Strangely enough, the fight didn’t happen at the O.K. Corral, but took place six doors down the street in a vacant lot next to a photography studio.

38 “Praise be to ___” : ALLAH

The name “Allah” comes from the Arabic “al-” and “ilah”, meaning “the” and “deity”. So, “Allah” can be translated as “God”.

42 Language in which the majority of words are monosyllabic : LAO

Lao, the language of Laos, does not use spaces between words (or periods!), although this is apparently changing. Spaces are used between sentences and clauses.

50 Like the Kardashians’ heritage : ARMENIAN

Armenia is a landlocked country found east of Turkey, and is a former Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR). Back in the year 301 CE, the ancient Kingdom of Armenia became the first nation in the world to adopt Christianity as its national religion.

Kris Kardashian is the matriarch of the Kardashian clan. She was married to the lawyer Robert Kardashian who was one of O. J. Simpson’s lawyers in his 1995 murder trial. The couple divorced in 1990 and Kris then married the celebrated decathlete from the 1976 Olympic Games, Bruce Jenner. That marriage ended in divorce as well, in 2015.

54 They might help you get a grip : TONGS

A pair of tongs is a tool with a scissor-like hinge used to pick up things, like meat cooking on a barbecue grill or ice from an ice bucket. The verb “to tong” means “to handle with tongs”.

60 Chorus at an arena de fútbol : OLES

“Fútbol” is the Spanish word for “football, soccer”.

65 Hard hit, in baseball lingo : LINER

In baseball, a line drive (“liner”) is a ball that is hit low, hard and straight.

67 Many a country road : BLACKTOP

The terms “tarmac” and “macadam” are short for “tarmacadam”. In the 1800s, Scotsman John Loudon McAdam developed a style of road known as “macadam”. Macadam had a top-layer of crushed stone and gravel laid over larger stones. The macadam also had a convex cross-section so that water tended to drain to the sides. In 1901, a significant improvement was made by English engineer Edgar Purnell Hooley who introduced tar into the macadam, improving the resistance to water damage and practically eliminating dust. The “tar-penetration macadam” is the basis of what we now call “tarmac”.

68 Brand of “anti-aging” products : OLAY

Oil of Olay was developed in South Africa in 1949. When Oil of Olay was introduced internationally, it was given slightly different brand names designed to appeal in the different geographies. In Ireland we know it as Oil of Ulay, for example, and in France it is Oil of Olaz.

69 Fr. religious figures : STES

“Sainte” (ste.) is French for “saint”, when referring to a “femme” (woman).

Down

2 Author of “Interview With the Vampire” : ANNE RICE

Anne Rice is an American author of erotic and Gothic novels. Rice was born Howard Allen O’Brien (no wonder she changed her name!). Her famous series of novels “The Vampire Chronicles” centers on her character Lestat de Lioncourt, a French nobleman who was turned into a vampire in the 18th century. One of the stories, “Interview with the Vampire”, was adapted for the big screen in 1994 and features Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and others in a star-studded cast. Not my kind of movie though, as I don’t do vampires …

3 Old Glory : RED, WHITE AND BLUE

The person who coined the phrase “Old Glory” with reference to the American flag was Captain William Driver, a shipmaster from Salem, Massachusetts. As Driver was leaving on an 1831 voyage aboard the brig Charles Doggett, he unfurled the American flag that he had just been given by a group of friends. As the flag caught the breeze, he uttered the words, “Old Glory!”. That’s the story anyway. On that same voyage, Charles Doggett rescued the famous mutineers of the HMS Bounty, after he encountered them on Pitcairn Island.

4 Hesitant to act : TREPID

Our word “trepidation”, meaning “fear”. comes from the Latin verb “tridare” meaning “to tremble”.

5 What a foul mouth is full of? : SILT

Today, we mostly think of silt as a deposit of sediment in a river. Back in the mid-1400s, silt was sediment deposited by seawater. It is thought that the word “silt” is related to “salt”, as found in seawater.

8 Container brand that lost its trademark status in 1963 : THERMOS

The vacuum flask was invented in 1892 by Sir James Dewar. It comprises two flasks, one inside the other, joined at the neck. The air between the walls of the two flasks is expelled, creating a near-vacuum. This vacuum minimizes heat transfer, so that liquids in the inner flask remain hot or cold longer. Two German glassblowers commercialized Dewar’s design, starting in 1904, and sold the flasks under the trademarked name “Thermos”. Thermos is still a registered trademark in some countries, but was deemed a genericized trademark in the US in 1963.

11 Main Las Vegas industry : GAMING

The stretch of South Las Vegas Boulevard on which most of the big casinos are concentrated is referred to as the “Las Vegas Strip”. The Strip was named for LA’s Sunset Strip by former Los Angeles law enforcement officer Guy McAfee. McAfee was a notoriously corrupt head of the LAPD vice squad in the 1920s and 1930s who ran several brothels and gambling saloons. McAfee moved to Las Vegas in 1939 where he opened several casinos, including the Golden Nugget.

12 Outer space phenomenon photographed for the first time in 2019 : BLACK HOLE

A black hole in space is a region that is extremely dense and one that has an enormous gravitational field. The force of gravity is so great that not even light can escape, so all that can be observed is “blackness”, which gives the phenomenon the name of “black hole”. It is believed that black holes form when large stars reach the end of their lives and collapse in upon themselves.

13 Clif Bar bit : OAT

A CLIF Bar is an energy bar, and is the flagship product of Clif Bar and Company based in Emeryville, California. The CLIF Bar was developed by baker and former mountain guide Gary Erickson in 1990. He named it for his father Clifford.

14 MuggleNet, for Harry Potter devotees : FANSITE

MuggleNet is a fansite devoted to the “Harry Potter” series of books and films. In the word of “Harry Potter”, a “muggle” is someone born without any magical ability, and who wasn’t born into the magical world. There is also a “Squib”, who is someone born to magical parents but who has no magical abilities.

20 Prime Cuts and T-Bonz brand : ALPO

Alpo is a brand of dog food introduced by Allen Products in 1936, with “Alpo” being an abbreviation for “Allen Products”. Lorne Greene used to push Alpo in television spots, as did Ed McMahon and Garfield the Cat, would you believe?

21 Actress Hayek : SALMA

Salma Hayek is a Mexican actress. Hayek was the first Mexican national to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, earning that nomination with her portrayal of artist Frida Kahlo in the 2002 movie “Frida”.

26 Compadre : BRO

“Compadre” is Spanish for “godfather”.

27 ___ Wiseman, director of “Total Recall” : LEN

Len Wiseman is a movie director best known for the films “Live Free or Die Hard” (2007) and “Total Recall” (2012). Wiseman is married to English actress Kate Beckinsale.

“Total Recall” is a very entertaining 1990 sci-fi action movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The film is loosely based on a short story by Philip K. Dick called “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale”. The 1990 film was remade in 2012. The 2012 version stars Colin Farrell, and is very forgettable …

39 DC reporter : LOIS LANE

Lois Lane has been the love interest of Superman/Clark Kent since the comic series was first published in 1938. Lois and Clark both work for the big newspaper in the city of Metropolis called “The Daily Planet”. The couple finally got hitched in the comics (and on television’s “Lois and Clark”) in 1996. One has to wonder how challenging the crossword is in “The Daily Planet” …

DC Comics takes its name from what used to be a highly popular series called “Detective Comics”. The main competitor to DC Comics is Marvel Comics, and between the two companies, they command 80% of comic sales in the US market. Nowadays of course, a lot of company income comes from movies that use the most popular characters from the original comics.

40 Carrier to Tokyo : ANA

All Nippon Airways (ANA) is a Japanese airline, one that is now larger in size than the nation’s flag carrier Japan Airlines (JAL).

43 Game whose dual-colored pieces are apt for this puzzle’s theme : OTHELLO

The game of Reversi is also sold as Othello. The name “Othello” was chosen as a nod to the play by William Shakespeare.

45 Air apparent? : SMOG

“Smog” is a portmanteau formed by melding “smoke” and “fog”. The term was first used to describe the air around London in the early 1900s. Several cities around the world have a reputation of being particularly smoggy. For example, the most smog-plagued city in Latin America is Mexico City, which is located in a highland “bowl” that traps industrial and vehicle pollution.

49 Cirque du ___ : SOLEIL

Cirque du Soleil is an entertainment company based in Montreal. The company was founded in 1984 by two former street performers, and stages spectacular shows that are a dramatic mix of circus and street entertainment. I’ve seen several Cirque du Soleil shows over the years, and have thoroughly every single one.

52 “Grimms’ Fairy Tales” heroine : SNOW WHITE

“Snow White” is a traditional German fairy tale that was published in 1812 in the collection of the Brothers Grimm. There is also a second, very different Grimms’ Fairy Tale called “Snow-White and Rose-Red”, not to be confused with its more famous cousin. In the latter tale, Snow-White and Rose-Red are sisters who get into trouble with a dwarf, but are rescued by a bear who turns into a prince.

The Brothers Grimm (Jacob and Wilhelm) were two German academics noted for collecting and publishing folk tales. Among the tales in their marvelous collection are “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, “Sleeping Beauty” and “Cinderella”.

57 Two-time Tony-winning actress Judith : IVEY

Judith Ivey is an actress from El Paso, Texas. Ivey is perhaps best known for playing B. J. Poteet in the last season of the TV show “Designing Women”.

58 Goddess often depicted holding an ankh : ISIS

Isis was the ancient Egyptian goddess of fertility, as well as the protector of the dead and the goddess of children. She was the personification of the pharaoh’s power. The name “Isis” translates as “throne”, and she is usually depicted with a headdress shaped like a throne.

The ankh was the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic character for “eternal life”. The ankh wasn’t just used in inscriptions but was often fashioned into amulets and as surrounds for mirrors (perhaps symbolizing a view into another world). The ankh is also known as “the key of the Nile” and “crux ansata” (Latin for “cross with a handle”).

61 Mo. when Oktoberfest starts : SEP

Oktoberfest is a 16-day beer festival in Munich that actually starts in September. About six million people attend every year, making it the largest fair in the world. I’ve attended twice, and it really is a remarkable party …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 K follower : -MART
5 Run for it! : SEAT
9 Ingredient separated and whipped in meringue : EGG WHITE
13 One with a title : OWNER
14 Purloin : FILCH
15 TV host with the memoir “Born a Crime” : NOAH
16 “Hoarders” network : A AND E
17 Novelist Walker : ALICE
18 Major-___ : DOMO
19 Political party founded in 1966 : THE BLACK PANTHERS
22 Oh, it’s nothing : NIL
23 Perimeter of a billiards table : RAILS
24 Devil dog : US MARINE
26 Speakeasy, by another name : BLIND PIG
29 “Bye-bye” : SO LONG
30 Mailroom stamp: Abbr. : RECD
31 ___ vez (again, in Spanish) : OTRA
33 T-shirt choices, for short : SML
34 Shortly before the events of the New Testament : ONE BC
36 Wyatt, Virgil or Morgan of the Old West : EARP
38 “Praise be to ___” : ALLAH
42 Language in which the majority of words are monosyllabic : LAO
44 Up votes : YEAS
46 Woman’s name that means “violet” : IONE
47 Pushes to the side : SHUNTS
50 Like the Kardashians’ heritage : ARMENIAN
52 Sole proprietorship? : SHOE SHOP
54 They might help you get a grip : TONGS
55 Little downtime : NAP
56 Saying “You’ve never looked better,” maybe : TELLING A WHITE LIE
60 Chorus at an arena de fútbol : OLES
62 Time off : LEAVE
63 Inland’s opposite : COAST
64 Sage : WISE
65 Hard hit, in baseball lingo : LINER
66 Wear in ancient Rome : TUNIC
67 Many a country road : BLACKTOP
68 Brand of “anti-aging” products : OLAY
69 Fr. religious figures : STES

Down

1 [blown kiss] : MWAH!
2 Author of “Interview With the Vampire” : ANNE RICE
3 Old Glory : RED, WHITE AND BLUE
4 Hesitant to act : TREPID
5 What a foul mouth is full of? : SILT
6 Counselor to Job : ELIHU
7 Get into : ACCESS
8 Container brand that lost its trademark status in 1963 : THERMOS
9 Terminus : END
10 “I’ll be right behind you” : GO ON IN
11 Main Las Vegas industry : GAMING
12 Outer space phenomenon photographed for the first time in 2019 : BLACK HOLE
13 Clif Bar bit : OAT
14 MuggleNet, for Harry Potter devotees : FANSITE
20 Prime Cuts and T-Bonz brand : ALPO
21 Actress Hayek : SALMA
25 It might prevent an overload of the power grid : ROLLING BLACKOUT
26 Compadre : BRO
27 ___ Wiseman, director of “Total Recall” : LEN
28 With 32-Down, ambiguity … or a hint to this puzzle’s theme : GRAY …
32 See 28-Down : … AREA
35 Is allowed to, quaintly : CANST
37 Significant other : PARTNER
39 DC reporter : LOIS LANE
40 Carrier to Tokyo : ANA
41 Chick magnet? : HEN
43 Game whose dual-colored pieces are apt for this puzzle’s theme : OTHELLO
45 Air apparent? : SMOG
47 Gene with a large ‘stache of films? : SHALIT
48 “Fingers crossed!” : HOPE SO!
49 Cirque du ___ : SOLEIL
51 Passes : ENACTS
52 “Grimms’ Fairy Tales” heroine : SNOW WHITE
53 Starter course? : PLAN A
57 Two-time Tony-winning actress Judith : IVEY
58 Goddess often depicted holding an ankh : ISIS
59 And so on: Abbr. : ETC
61 Mo. when Oktoberfest starts : SEP

18 thoughts on “0806-20 NY Times Crossword 6 Aug 20, Thursday”

  1. 29:12 oddly enough, if you only put “white” in the rebus squares, you still got the music of success with the app.. Living in lake effect country, I’ve seen many whiteouts in winter, but no rolling ones…

  2. 31:28 I also had WHITE in the rebus squares but I didn’t get the chimes. Then tried WHITE/BLACK and no chime. Then “cheated” and looked here to see that Bill had B&W – still no chime. Then a couple minutes to find the fat finger error. Once I did that, the app turned the answers to GRAY. Spent probably 5 minutes with that.

    Not familiar with “Devil Dog” – could only think of that long chocolate cake I ate as a kid. Unfamiliar with BLINDPIG and IONE as well.
    Also had TOGAS before TUNIC; STEAL before FILCH; FLEE, then SCAT before SEAT. SEAT just didn’t register with me until I was long done and realized it meant run for office. Not quite on the setter’s wavelength this morning.

    1. I have the same memory of those Devil Dog chocolate cakes. On the other hand, I vaguely remembered seeing a movie ‘The Fighting Devil Dogs’. Thought it was a John Wayne picture. The only thing Google could come up with was a movie serial (no John Wayne). The origin of the term is interesting. From the 6th Marine Regiment battle history: We got our nickname Devil Dogs from official German reports which called the Marines at Belleau Wood Teufel Hunden. It has been said that this nickname came about from Marines being ordered to take a hill occupied by German forces while wearing gas masks as a precaution against German mustard gas. While the Marines fought their way up the hill, the heat caused them to sweat profusely, foam at the mouth and turned their eyes bloodshot, and at some points the hill was so steep it caused the Marines to climb up it on all fours. From the Germans’ vantage point, they witnessed a pack of tenacious, growling figures wearing gas masks, with bloodshot eyes and mouth foam seeping from the sides, advancing up the hill, sometimes on all fours, killing everything in their way. As the legend goes, the German soldiers, upon seeing this spectacle, began to yell that they were being attacked by “dogs from hell.”

  3. 18:12, no errors. I tried to put “BLACK/WHITE” in the rebus squares, but couldn’t figure out how to do it, so I ended up with “BLACK” in some of them and “WHITE” in the others, and the app bought it. (Past experience suggests that one could make them all “PINK” and it would work.) “US MARINE” came to me easily because “DEVIL DOG” appeared in another crossword puzzle recently; otherwise, that might have been a head-scratching moment. Need to look up “BLIND PIG”, which is new to me; I got it from crossing entries.

  4. 20:08, no errors. I also started with just WHITE in the rebus squares. Never heard of a WHITEHOLE…that was my “aha” moment. I used WHITE/BLACK in the rebus and it worked just fine. It was a good Thursday for me. Looking forward to some humble pie tomorrow.

    1. I just read the NY Times blog. This was a Jeff Chen collaboration. Now I’m really impressed with my time. There’s also a great explanation of “blind pig.” Check it out!

  5. 21:19. I got the BLACK/WHITE rebus almost immediately. I just entered it that way in the rebus square, and the NYT software accepted it. My problems were all with the fill. Chen does make you turn your head sideways sometimes.

    Alaska Steve – Went to Wordplay and read the origin of BLIND PIG. Quite amusing. Here it is for those who are interested: (cut and pasted from today’s Wordplay)

    “During Prohibition, when serving alcoholic beverages in an establishment was illegal, a speakeasy could work around the law by charging customers for something else — say, to see a phenomenon such as a BLIND PIG — and throw in a complimentary gin and tonic with the deal. ”

    howcouldanyonepossibleylearntheLAOlanguagewithnospacesbetweenwordsandnopunctuation

    Best –

  6. Well, I’m not sure how I did. I had GRAY WHITE and BLACK in the circles.. No country road where I’m from is a BLACK top. Its gravel. So GRAY worked. Then I had SNOW WHITE. So I kinda thought only 1 word was allowed in circle. So then I had ROLLING WHITE OUT.. maybe there was such a thing as a ROLLING GRAY OUT and TELLING A GRAY LIE?? Then I thought there was THE WHITE PANTHERS? Because the flag is RED WHITE AND BLUE. but would GRAY work too? Wow, did I over think it. Ooooh, it’s BLACK and WHITE in a GRAY circle!! Then to top it off I thought SCAT was 5A. So I had CLIHU for 6D… Not sure if I should admit that. After I looked at the solve here it’s one of those “DOH” moments.. It was actually kind of fun.

  7. 1:06:11 no errors…I spent a long time at 5D. & 5A until running for an elected seat finally came to me but I still don’t get 5D …it seems like the answer should be salt and not silt.
    I am beginning to wonder if Mr Chen is capable of constructing a puzzle on his own….two against one just doesn’t sit well with me.
    Stay safe…we will get through this😊😊😊

  8. 20:22, no errors. Saw the black/white theme early. Initially put EGGS in 9A; but, guessing 12D should be BLACK HOLE and EGG BLACK didn’t make sense; EGG WHITE seemed to work. Expected, however, that the down entries would be consistently BLACK and across entries would be consistently WHITE.
    Agree with Bill’s assessment regarding the degeneration of cable programming. DISCOVER and HISTORY channels seemed to be in the same downward spiral as A&E. “No one in this world, so far as I know … has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.” H.L. Mencken

  9. Although I’ve never traveled beyond Canada and Mexico, my understanding is that the perimeter of a billiard table is never
    called “rails” anywhere. It’s “cushions” everywhere – even in the US pretty much. “Rails” is only used in the US and almost always in regard to pool tables. As an aside the number of billiard tables in Southern California has increased steadily over the past 30 years with a corresponding decrease in the number of pool tables. This is because of the growing number of immigrants from Mexico. The French occupation made them billiard players.

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