0811-20 NY Times Crossword 11 Aug 20, Tuesday

Constructed by: Amanda Rafkin & Ross Trudeau
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: E-I-E-I-O

The vowels in each themed answer are E-I-E-I-O, and in that order:

  • 37A Refrain in a children’s song … or a literal feature of 17-, 25-, 42- and 55-Across : E-I-E-I-O
  • 17A Popular shooter in the Old West : DERRINGER PISTOL
  • 25A Puts one’s own slant on the past : REWRITES HISTORY
  • 42A W.W. I leader : PRESIDENT WILSON
  • 55A Vietnamese noodle salads : VERMICELLI BOWLS

Bill’s time: 6m 06s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Bulldozed : RAZED

To raze (“rase”, in UK English) is to level to the ground. I’ve always thought it a little quirky that “raise”, a homophone of “raze”, means “build up”.

The term “bulldoze” comes from the noun “bulldose”, which meant “a severe beating” back in the late 1800s. A bulldose was “a dose fit for a bull”, a beating designed to intimidate mainly black Republican voters in the 1876 US presidential election.

11 Loop in secretly, in a way : BCC

A blind carbon copy (bcc) is a copy of a document or message that is sent to someone without other recipients of the message knowing about that extra copy.

20 Angsty music genre : EMO

The emo musical genre originated in Washington, D.C. in the 80s, and takes its name from “emotional hardcore”. “Emo” is also the name given to the associated subculture. Not my cup of tea …

22 Nothing, to Nero : NIHIL

Nero was Emperor of Rome from 54 to 68 CE, and he had quite the family life. When he was just 16-years-old Nero married his step-sister Claudia Octavia. He also had his mother and step-brother executed.

23 Railways not on street level : ELS

Elevated railroad (El)

33 One of the Coen brothers : ETHAN

I think it’s great to see two brothers working together and being so successful. Joel and Ethan Coen are two movie producers and directors who both live in New York City. The Coen brothers do love the movie-making business and they even married industry “insiders”. Ethan’s wife is film editor Tricia Cooke, and Joel is married to one of my favorite actresses, the talented Frances McDormand.’

34 One feeding off others : LEECH

We are most familiar with medicinal leeches, which feed on the blood of mainly vertebrate animals. However, most leeches are predatory and swallow other invertebrates for food.

36 Baker who sang “My Funny Valentine” : CHET

The famous jazz trumpeter Chet Baker was noted for his heroin addiction, a problem that nearly put an end to his performing career. He managed a comeback in the late seventies, mainly appearing and recording in Europe. But he never kicked the drug habit and was found dead one day after falling from his hotel room window in Amsterdam.

37 Refrain in a children’s song … or a literal feature of 17-, 25-, 42- and 55-Across : E-I-E-I-O

There was an old American version of the English children’s song “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” (E-I-E-I-O) that was around in the days of WWI. The first line of the older US version goes “Old MacDougal had a farm, in Ohio-i-o”.

38 Captain’s spot : HELM

In its broadest sense, the term “helm” describes the whole of a ship’s steering mechanism, including the rudder and tiller. In a more specific sense, the helm is the handle, tiller or wheel that is used to control the steering gear.

39 ___ Lingus : AER

Aer Lingus is my favorite airline! Well, the service isn’t that great, but when I get on board an Aer Lingus plane I feel like I am back in Ireland. Aer Lingus is the national airline of Ireland, with “Aer Lingus” being a phonetic spelling of the Irish “aer-loingeas” meaning “air fleet”. These days Aer Lingus can only lay claim to the title of Ireland’s oldest airline as it is no longer the biggest. That honor goes to the controversial budget airline Ryanair.

41 2008 sci-fi Pixar hit : WALL-E

“WALL-E” is a very cute Pixar movie that was released in 2008. The hero of the piece is a robot named WALL-E, who loves his “Hello Dolly”, and who also falls in love with a robot named EVE.

42 W.W. I leader : PRESIDENT WILSON

President Woodrow Wilson proposed fourteen principles to be used for peace negotiations towards the end of WWI. The president presented his fourteen points in a speech to the US Congress in January of 1918. The Treaty of Versailles that marked the end of the war did have significant differences with the US proposals, but President Wilson was awarded the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize for his peacemaking efforts.

45 Composition of some mountain forests : FIRS

Firs are evergreen coniferous trees, with several species being popular as Christmas trees. The most commonly used species during the holidays are the Nordmann fir, noble fir, Fraser fir and balsam fir. We also see a lot of Douglas fir trees at Christmas, but they’re not actually true firs.

47 Wolf pack vessel in W.W. II : U-BOAT

The term “U-boat” comes from the German word “Unterseeboot” (undersea boat). U-boats were primarily used in WWII to enforce a blockade against enemy commercial shipping, with a main objective being to cut off the supplies being transported to Britain from the British colonies and the US. The epic fight for control of the supply routes became known as the Battle of the Atlantic.

52 Producer of lines at airports, for short : TSA

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the agency that employs the good folks who check passengers and baggage at airports.

55 Vietnamese noodle salads : VERMICELLI BOWLS

Vermicelli is a pasta that is similar to spaghetti, except that it is thicker. “Vermicelli” translates from Italian as “little worms”.

58 “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” rapper : EVE

“Eve” is the stage name of female rapper Eve Jeffers-Cooper from Philadelphia. Eve had her own television sitcom on the UPN network called “Eve” that aired from 2003 to 2006.

59 Pocketbook portmanteau : MURSE

A “murse” is a “man purse”. What’s wrong with pockets …?

A portmanteau was a large suitcase, one that could be taken apart into two separate pieces. The word “portmanteau” is French for a “travelling bag”, from “porter” (to carry) and “manteau” (a coat, cloak). We also use “portmanteau” to mean a word that has been melded together from two parts (just as the suitcase comprised two parts). This usage was introduced to the world by Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. He explained to Alice that the nonsense words in the “Jabberwocky” poem were actually portmanteau words. For example “slithy” comes from “slimy” and “lithe”.

60 Fyodor Dostoyevsky novel, with “The” : IDIOT

Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s most famous novels are “Crime and Punishment” and “The Brothers Karamazov”. Dostoyevsky was arrested in 1849 and sentenced to death by Tsar Nicholas I for being part of a liberal intellectual group. He endured a mock execution before being told that his sentence was commuted to four years hard labor and exile in a camp at Omsk in Siberia.

Down

1 The Haunted Mansion or Splash Mountain, at Disneyland : RIDE

Walt Disney came up with the idea of building Disneyland after visiting other theme parks with his daughters in the thirties and forties. He started building the park at Anaheim, California in 1954, and the facility opened just one year and one day later. The total cost of construction was $17 million. Opening day did not go smoothly, largely because over 28,000 people visited the park compared to the 11,000 people expected at the invitation-only event. The opening day went so badly that for years Disney executives referred to it as “Black Sunday”.

3 Goose egg : ZERO

The use of the phrase “goose egg” to mean “zero” is baseball slang that dates back to the 1860s. The etymology is as expected: the numeral zero and a goose egg are both large and round.

4 Large part of an elephant : EAR

There are only three species of elephant living today, with all others being extinct. These are the African bush elephant, the African forest elephant, and the Asian elephant (or “Indian elephant”). As is well known, the African elephant is distinguished from the Asian/Indian elephant by its much larger ears. The African bush elephant is the largest living land animal.

9 Steal, in slang : COP

“To cop” was northern-English dialect for “to seize, catch”, and is still a slang term meaning “to get hold of, steal”. This verb evolved in the noun “copper”, describing a policeman, someone who catches criminals. “Copper” is often shortened to “cop”.

23 The “E” of Q.E.D. : ERAT

The initialism “QED” is used at the end of a mathematical proof or a philosophical argument. QED stands for the Latin “quod erat demonstrandum” meaning “that which was to be demonstrated”.

24 The “R” of P.R. : RICO

Puerto Rico (PR) is located in the northeastern Caribbean (in the Atlantic Ocean), east of the Dominican Republic. The name “Puerto Rico” is Spanish for “rich port”. The locals often call their island Borinquen, the Spanish form of “Boriken”, the original name used by the natives.

26 Old anesthetic : ETHER

Ethers are a whole class of organic compounds, but in the vernacular “ether” is specifically diethyl ether. Diethyl ether was once very popular as a general anesthetic.

31 Viking who was the first ruler of Normandy : ROLLO

The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy in the north of France. They were descended from Viking stock, so the name “Norman” derives from a translation of “North Men”.

32 “Heel” of the Arabian Peninsula : YEMEN

Yemen is located on the Arabian Peninsula, and lies just south of Saudi Arabia and west of Oman. Yemen is the only state on the peninsula that is a republic (its official name is the Republic of Yemen). Everyone over the age of 18 gets to vote, but only Muslims can hold elected office. Yemen has seen many rebellions over the centuries, and has been suffering through a Shia uprising since February 2015.

The Arabian Peninsula (also “Arabia”) is part of Western Asia that is located just north-east of Africa. The peninsula is bordered to the west by the Red Sea, to the northeast by the Persian Gulf, and to the southeast by the Indian Ocean. Most of the Arabian Peninsula is taken up by Saudi Arabia, but also included are Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen. And, it’s the largest peninsula in the world, covering about 1¼ million square miles.

38 Dutch artist Frans : HALS

Frans Hals was a painter in the Dutch Golden Age who was born in Antwerp but who lived and worked in Haarlem. Hals is best known for his portraits, the most famous of which is probably “The Laughing Cavalier”.

43 King’s country in “The King and I” : SIAM

“The King and I” is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical based on a book by Margaret Landon called “Anna and the King of Siam” first published in 1944. Landon’s book is based on a true story, told in the memoirs of Anna Leonowens. Leonowens was the governess of the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the 1860s, and she also taught the king’s wives.

44 Collaborative online reference : WIKI

A wiki is a website on which users are allowed to create and edit content themselves. The term “wiki” comes from the name of the first such site, introduced in 1994 and called WikiWikiWeb. “Wiki” is a Hawaiian word for “quick”, and is used because comprehensive content is created very quickly, as there are so many collaborators contributing to the site.

47 Pigmented part of the eye : UVEA

The uvea is the middle of the three layers that make up the eyeball. The outer layer is called the fibrous tunic, and the inner layer is the retina.

48 Group of like things : BEVY

“Bevy” is a collective noun used for a number of types of bird, including quail and swans. “Bevy” is also sometimes used as a collective noun for ladies.

49 The Titanic’s undoing : BERG

The RMS Titanic set off on her tragic maiden voyage in 1912, sailing from Southampton, England bound for New York City. Regulations only required that the ship have lifeboat capacity for 1,178 people, even though a full complement of passengers and crew was 3,547. When the order was given to abandon ship, the captain adhered to the traditional protocol of “women and children first”. As a result, only 20% of male passengers survived the disaster, compared to 75% of the female passengers. Perhaps more telling is that 61% of those in first class survived, and only 25% of those in third class. The crew fared even worse though, with only 24% making it.

51 Things sold by the yard? : ALES

A yard of ale is a very tall glass, one that is just under a yard (three feet) long. It holds about 60 fluid ounces of beer. I’ve tried drinking out of one, and it is extremely difficult. There is a bulb at the bottom of the glass. When you get towards the end of the drink, that bulb causes a kind of airlock and the remainder of the beer rushes to the top of the glass splashing you in the face.

52 Nincompoop : TWIT

“Twit” is a word not used very often here in America. It’s a slang term that used to be quite common in England where it was used for “someone foolish and idiotic”.

The word “nincompoop”, meaning a fool, seems to have been around for quite a while. It has been used since the 1670s, but no one appears to know its origins.

56 Real mouthful? : CUD

Animals that chew the cud are called ruminants. Ruminants eat vegetable matter but cannot extract any nutritional value from cellulose without the help of microbes in the gut. Ruminants collect roughage in the first part of the alimentary canal, allowing microbes to work on it. The partially digested material (the cud) is regurgitated into the mouth so that the ruminant can chew the food more completely exposing more surface area for microbes to do their work.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Bulldozed : RAZED
6 Construction details, informally : SPECS
11 Loop in secretly, in a way : BCC
14 Rumor starter : I HEAR …
15 Item in a quiver : ARROW
16 “I figured it out!” : AHA!
17 Popular shooter in the Old West : DERRINGER PISTOL
20 Angsty music genre : EMO
21 Bounds … or partner of bounds : LEAPS
22 Nothing, to Nero : NIHIL
23 Railways not on street level : ELS
24 Serious break in relations : RIFT
25 Puts one’s own slant on the past : REWRITES HISTORY
33 One of the Coen brothers : ETHAN
34 One feeding off others : LEECH
35 “___ is me!” : WOE
36 Baker who sang “My Funny Valentine” : CHET
37 Refrain in a children’s song … or a literal feature of 17-, 25-, 42- and 55-Across : E-I-E-I-O
38 Captain’s spot : HELM
39 ___ Lingus : AER
40 Opponents : ANTIS
41 2008 sci-fi Pixar hit : WALL-E
42 W.W. I leader : PRESIDENT WILSON
45 Composition of some mountain forests : FIRS
46 Connections, informally : INS
47 Wolf pack vessel in W.W. II : U-BOAT
49 Bird bills : BEAKS
52 Producer of lines at airports, for short : TSA
55 Vietnamese noodle salads : VERMICELLI BOWLS
58 “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” rapper : EVE
59 Pocketbook portmanteau : MURSE
60 Fyodor Dostoyevsky novel, with “The” : IDIOT
61 Captains’ cries : AYS
62 Things that spheres lack : EDGES
63 Outset : GET-GO

Down

1 The Haunted Mansion or Splash Mountain, at Disneyland : RIDE
2 [Pardon me!] : [AHEM!]
3 Goose egg : ZERO
4 Large part of an elephant : EAR
5 Teach through repetition : DRILL IN
6 Multigenerational story : SAGA
7 Get ready, in brief : PREP
8 Messes up : ERRS
9 Steal, in slang : COP
10 Coarsely ill-mannered : SWINISH
11 They get wetter as they dry : BATH TOWELS
12 Fifth-most-common Korean surname, after Kim, Lee, Park and Jung : CHOI
13 Get on the line : CALL
18 Where the baby bird gets the worm : NEST
19 Sort through, as evidence : SIFT
23 The “E” of Q.E.D. : ERAT
24 The “R” of P.R. : RICO
25 Opening of many a serial drama episode : RECAP
26 Old anesthetic : ETHER
27 Whys and ___ : WHEREFORES
28 Superior group : ELITE
29 Welcome at the front door, say : SEE IN
30 Bank job : HEIST
31 Viking who was the first ruler of Normandy : ROLLO
32 “Heel” of the Arabian Peninsula : YEMEN
37 Things trimmed at a salon : ENDS
38 Dutch artist Frans : HALS
40 TV broadcast slot : AIRTIME
41 Hits the jackpot : WINS BIG
43 King’s country in “The King and I” : SIAM
44 Collaborative online reference : WIKI
47 Pigmented part of the eye : UVEA
48 Group of like things : BEVY
49 The Titanic’s undoing : BERG
50 “What ___?” (store clerk’s query) : ELSE
51 Things sold by the yard? : ALES
52 Nincompoop : TWIT
53 Long, hard work : SLOG
54 Regarding, in a memo : AS TO
56 Real mouthful? : CUD
57 Reverential poem : ODE

20 thoughts on “0811-20 NY Times Crossword 11 Aug 20, Tuesday”

  1. 10:09 Wan’t sure about WALLE, not having seen the movie and kind of knew it was something like WYLIE, and given that I was unfamiliar with HALS and ROLLO, I spent about 2 minutes guessing in that section to come up with the right combination to get the chimes. Also my first thought about P.R. was “Public Relations” and needed a couple other fills to realize it was RICO.

  2. 19:23 Never would have guessed a Vietnamese noodle salad would be a vermicelli bowl….I thought vermicelli was only found in Rice-A-Roni, I expected a far more Asian sounding name, not an Italian sounding one…

  3. 7:57….after a 7:47 yesterday. Going with a smaller plane today, I suppose. If my time tomorrow is 8:07, I’ll post it as 7:67.

    I thought the construction of the theme was very clever for a Monday. that’s an awful lot of vowels to get just right in a phrase.

    VERMICELLI BOWLS are spectacular. I lived in Houston for 35 years which supposedly has one of the largest Vietnamese populations in the world outside of Vietnam. Not surprisingly, there are a ton of Vietnamese restaurants there as well.

    The VERMICELLI BOWLS were something I ordered almost every time I was in one – which was often. It’s much lighter than a lot of Chinese food. The one I liked best was charcoal grilled pork, egg rolls, bean sprouts, lettuce and cucumber mixed in with the vermicelli. I’d throw Sriracha on it for good measure. I get back to Houston a few times a year and try to make it to that restaurant every time I’m back.

    Best –

  4. Thanks for the recommendation, Jeff. My daughter lives in League City, south side of Houston, gonna have to look me up one of them thar vermicelli bowls!

  5. No errors. That vermicelli bowl sounds good. Never heard of it.. Along with HALS.. I also don’t get the 61A AYS. .. Captains cry AY?? Is that a pirate reference or something??

  6. 29:00 no errors…I didn’t know what 51D was until I read Bills explanation …must be a British thing…the bottom center really slowed me down but I expected trouble somewhere when I saw 2 setters on a Tuesday puzzle…not now or ever a fan of 2 against one.👎
    Stay safe😀

  7. No errors. Nice bit of construction. Researched the VERMICELLI question. Basically it comes down to a huge intermingling of cuisines. One major change by the Asian producers was to use rice or mung bean flour for the noodles instead of the original wheat flour used by the Italians. Asian cooks tended to just keep (or adopt) the name although the changes created quite a different dish. It gets very complicated with endless variations.

  8. 14 minutes no errors. I’m impressed with those who Could do this in under eight minutes. I’m not sure I could write that fast.

  9. Enjoyable theme for a Tuesday. Finished with no errors and learned a few things. The only reason I knew ALES as the answer for 51D is because the Yard House is my favorite restaurant with dozens of IPAs.

  10. A few errors. I almost gave up several times, but finally finished.
    uvis for uvea (started as iris)
    beco for bevy (huh?)
    ice for eve
    sos for ays
    choo for choi
    hihol for nihil

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