0814-20 NY Times Crossword 14 Aug 20, Friday

Constructed by: Nam Jin Yoon
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 13m 10s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Noted work in which many different positions are discussed : KAMA SUTRA

The “Kama Sutra” is renowned for its descriptions of positions that can be used for sexual intercourse, but the sutra includes many other texts that deal with various matters of a sexual nature, including how to woo a woman, the conduct of a “chief wife”, the conduct of “other wives”, how to make money as a courtesan, and much more.

16 You might sleep on it : SERTA

Serta was founded in 1931 when a group of 13 mattress manufacturers came together, essentially forming a cooperative. Today, the Serta company is owned by eight independent licensees in a similar arrangement. Serta advertisements feature the Serta Counting Sheep. Each numbered sheep has a different personality, such as:

  • #1 The Leader of the Flock
  • #½ The Tweener
  • #13 Mr. Bad Luck
  • #53 The Pessimist
  • #86 Benedict Arnold

18 Title lyric before “ba-doop” in a 1993 Salt-N-Pepa hit : SHOOP

Salt-N-Pepa are an all-female hip hop trio from New York made up of “Salt” (Cheryl James), “Pepa” (Sandra Denton) and “DJ Spinderella” (Deidra Roper). The group’s 1991 song “Let’s Talk Sex” created quite a fuss as the lyrics explored the subject of sex, and safe sex in particular. A later version addressed the dangers of AIDS.

19 Comic McKinnon : KATE

Comedian and impressionist Kate McKinnon’s career took off when she became a cast member of “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) in 2013. Famously, McKinnon portrayed Hillary Clinton in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. She also co-starred in the 2016 reboot of the movie “Ghostbusters”, playing Dr. Jillian Holtzmann.

22 Cat pose and crane pose, e.g. : ASANAS

“Asana” is a Sanskrit word that translates literally as “sitting down”. The asanas are the poses that a practitioner of yoga assumes. The most famous is the lotus position, the cross-legged pose called “padmasana”.

31 Spiritual force : CHI

In Chinese culture, “qi” or “chi” is the life force in any living thing.

35 Thelma and Louise, e.g. : DUO

“Thelma and Louise” is a much-respected 1991 movie starring Geena Davis as Thelma and Susan Sarandon as Louise. Brad Pitt has a supporting role, and indeed “Thelma and Louise” was the film that gave Pitt his big break.

38 “Wheel of Fortune” spin on either side of “ONE MILLION” : BANKRUPT

Contestants have been spinning the “Wheel of Fortune” since the game show first aired in 1975.

44 Having one on the way, slangily : PREGGO

The normal gestation period for humans is 280 days, a little over 9 months. The gestation period can be a little shorter, or longer. Back in 1945, a pregnancy was confirmed at 375 days, which is just over 12 months.

48 Final act : SWAN SONG

The phrase “swan song” is used for a final gesture, a last performance. The expression derives from an ancient belief that swans are silent for most of their lives, but sing a beautiful song just before they die.

54 Student financial aid option : PELL GRANT

Pell Grants are awarded by the federal government to students in financial need so that they can attend college. The grant is named for Claiborne Pell, the US senator who sponsored the bill that introduced aid for students.

Down

1 “A Hunger Artist” writer : KAFKA

“A Hunger Artist” (also “A Fasting Artist”) is a short story by Franz Kafka that was first published in 1922. The protagonist of the work is a performance artist who fasts in public for many days in a cage.

Franz Kafka was born in 1883 in Prague, then part of Bohemia and today the capital of the Czech Republic. Kafka is known as one of the greatest novelists who worked in the German language, and even has an adjective named after him. Something that is “kafkaesque” is senseless, disorienting and may have menacing complexity. As it was for many great artists, Kafka’s fame came after his death when much of his work was published.

2 One for the road? : ATLAS

Rand McNally is a company long associated with the city of Chicago. Its roots go back to 1856 when William Rand opened a printing shop in the city. Two years later he hired an Irish immigrant named Andrew McNally and the pair turned to printing tickets and timetables for the railroad industry. They diversified into “railroad guides” in 1870, including the first Rand McNally map in the December 1872 edition. When automobile travel started to become significant, Rand and McNally turned their attention to roads and they published their first road map in 1904, a map of New York City. Rand and McNally popularized the use of highway numbers, and indeed erected many roadside highway signs themselves, long before the state and federal authorities adopted the idea.

3 Chicago Auto Show debut of 1989 : MIATA

The Mazda MX-5 is sold as the Miata in North America, and as the Roadster in Japan. I’ve always liked the looks of the Mazda Miata, probably because it reminds me so much of old British sports cars. The Miata is built in Hiroshima, Japan. The name “Miata” comes from an Old High German word meaning “reward”.

4 Emilia vis-à-vis Desdemona, in “Othello” : ATTENDANT

Emilia and Iago are characters in William Shakespeare’s play “Othello”. Emilia and Iago are a married couple, although Iago kills Emilia late in the play.

Desdemona is one of the main characters in William Shakespeare’s play “Othello”. She is the daughter of a Venetian senator called Brabantio whom she vexes by eloping with Othello, a man not of her race and several years older.

8 Former U.S. poet laureate Dove : RITA

Poet Rita Dove received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1987, and was the second African American to be so honored (the first being Gwendolyn Brooks).

11 His sister, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, was the first female president of the U.N. General Assembly : NEHRU

Jawaharlal Nehru was the first prime minister of India, serving from 1947-64. Nehru was basically the heir to his mentor Mahatma Gandhi. Nehru’s only daughter Indira, also became prime minister (known as Indira Gandhi through marriage, though she was not related to Mahatma).

30 Mushroom eaten in ramen : ENOKI

Enokitake (also known as “enoki”) are long and thin white mushrooms often added to soups or salads.

Ramen is a noodle dish composed of Chinese-style wheat noodles in a meat or fish broth flavored with soy or miso sauce. Ramen is usually topped with sliced pork and dried seaweed. The term “ramen” is also used for precooked, instant noodles that come in single-serving, solid blocks.

36 One singer of “Dear Theodosia” in “Hamilton” : BURR

“Hamilton” is a 2015 musical based on the life of US Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, as described in the 2004 biography by Ron Chernow. The show opened off-Broadway in February 2015, and transferred to Broadway in August of the same year. Advance ticket sales for the Broadway production were unprecedented, and reportedly amounted to $30 million. The representations of the main characters are decidedly ground-breaking. The show is rooted in hip-hop and the main roles such as Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington are all played by African-American and Hispanic actors.

43 “Gymnopédies” composer : SATIE

Erik Satie was a French composer best known for his beautiful composition, the three “Gymnopédies”. I have tried so hard to appreciate other works by Satie but I find them so very different from the minimalist simplicity of the lyrical “Gymnopédies”.

45 Modern-day home of the Ashanti empire : GHANA

The country name “Ghana” translates as “warrior king” in the local language. The British established a colony they named the Gold Coast in 1874, later to become Ghana, as part of the scramble by Europeans to settle as much of Africa as they could. One of Ghana’s most famous sons was Kofi Annan, the diplomat who served as General Secretary of the UN for ten years until the beginning of 2007.

47 Bizarre : OUTRE

The word “outré” meaning “unconventional, bizarre” comes to us from French, as one might imagine. It is derived from the verb “outrer” meaning “to overdo, exaggerate”. “Outrer” is also the ultimate root of our word “outrage”.

49 ___ page : OP-ED

“Op-ed” is an abbreviation for “opposite the editorial page”. Op-eds started in “The New York Evening World” in 1921 when the page opposite the editorials was used for articles written by a named guest writer, someone independent of the editorial board.

50 “So Sick” hitmaker of 2006 : NE-YO

“Ne-Yo” is the stage name of R&B singer Shaffer Chimere Smith.

51 ___ Oaks, neighborhood in eastern Queens : GLEN

Queens is the largest borough in New York City, and is today coterminous with Queens County. Queens is an amazingly diverse location in terms of ethnicity. There is a population of over 2 million people, with almost 50% of that population being foreign-born. Apparently there are over 130 native languages spoken in the area. Queens was named for Catherine of Braganza (from Portugal), Queen consort of King Charles II of England.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Noted work in which many different positions are discussed : KAMA SUTRA
10 Teen spirit, perhaps : ANGST
15 Up to one’s old tricks : AT IT AGAIN
16 You might sleep on it : SERTA
17 Coffee order similar to a latte : FLAT WHITE
18 Title lyric before “ba-doop” in a 1993 Salt-N-Pepa hit : SHOOP
19 Comic McKinnon : KATE
20 Get ready to battle in court : LAWYER UP
22 Cat pose and crane pose, e.g. : ASANAS
25 Loses one’s temper : ERUPTS
27 Hit after hit for a rock band? : DRUMBEAT
31 Spiritual force : CHI
32 Parodies : LAMPOONS
33 Other ___ : THAN
34 Choices for Negroni cocktails : GINS
35 Thelma and Louise, e.g. : DUO
36 Fancy serving platter at a sushi restaurant : BOAT
37 Mad : DAFT
38 “Wheel of Fortune” spin on either side of “ONE MILLION” : BANKRUPT
40 Something to raise a glass for : ALE
41 Continues doggedly, with “on” : SOLDIERS
42 Dominated : BOSSED
44 Having one on the way, slangily : PREGGO
48 Final act : SWAN SONG
52 French term of endearment that literally means “cabbage” : CHOU
53 Agenda for a vet visit, maybe : SHOTS
54 Student financial aid option : PELL GRANT
57 Chilling : EERIE
58 Bombshell : EYE-OPENER
59 “Who ___ you?” : ASKED
60 “Be polite!,” in a way : DON’T STARE!

Down

1 “A Hunger Artist” writer : KAFKA
2 One for the road? : ATLAS
3 Chicago Auto Show debut of 1989 : MIATA
4 Emilia vis-à-vis Desdemona, in “Othello” : ATTENDANT
5 Caught : SAW
6 “Eww!” : UGH!
7 Be just behind : TAIL
8 Former U.S. poet laureate Dove : RITA
9 From scratch : ANEW
10 Not just suggest : ASSERT
11 His sister, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, was the first female president of the U.N. General Assembly : NEHRU
12 Words with friends on one’s phone, say : GROUP CHAT
13 “Enough already!” : STOP THAT!
14 Opposite of bottled : TAP
21 Green lights in D.C. : YEAS
23 Sets, as a security system : ARMS
24 “Heyo” : SUP
26 Do something wrong : SIN
28 Kind of verb in grammar : MODAL
29 Headed : BOUND
30 Mushroom eaten in ramen : ENOKI
32 It takes years and years to complete : LIFE’S WORK
33 Upper-level security clearance status : TOP SECRET
34 Some wet weather attire : GALOSHES
36 One singer of “Dear Theodosia” in “Hamilton” : BURR
37 Cream quantity : DAB
38 Some might be sculpted, informally : BODS
39 Serve as an agent (for) : REP
41 Picked up : SENSED
43 “Gymnopédies” composer : SATIE
45 Modern-day home of the Ashanti empire : GHANA
46 Toast, with “a” : … GONER
47 Bizarre : OUTRE
49 ___ page : OP-ED
50 “So Sick” hitmaker of 2006 : NE-YO
51 ___ Oaks, neighborhood in eastern Queens : GLEN
53 Word before god or devil : SEA …
55 Fate : LOT
56 Alternative to a 2-Down, today : GPS

10 thoughts on “0814-20 NY Times Crossword 14 Aug 20, Friday”

  1. 17:31, no errors. Interesting cluing (somehow, a bit … different … from the usual). Had to get “SHOOP” from crosses.

  2. 14:58 Even tho several things are new to me – SATIE, RITA Dove, ENOKI, FLATWHITE, PREGGO (we ususally say “preggers”), SHOOP, etc. I guess that all the crosses were easy enough to make all my guesses good – except I had SUSSED before SENSED. Heck I even approached Bill’s time, and on a Friday no less!! Must be my fastest Fri. ever.

  3. 25:17. Pretty good time considering I had almost nothing after staring at the puzzle for 5 minutes. Got nothing in the upper left, moved to the upper right and did the puzzle clockwise until I came back to the upper left again. Finally got it.

    FLAT WHITE? I order coffee black. Anything beyond that is a mystery to me.

    Amazing that Rand McNally actually preceded automobile travel. Who’d have guessed?

    Best –

  4. 23:10. Like @Jeff, I had almost nothing to begin with. Ended up getting a start, then putting it down to go to an apple orchard with grandkids. Just came back to it now and it “clicked.”

  5. 41:12…ouch. The only good thing out of it is my “education” regarding “Kama Sutra”….May have some reading to do…..

  6. 54 minutes. No errors. I just found this to be a particularly tough puzzle and took forever to get going. Congratulations to those in the 20s and below. Awesome.

  7. Got it off to a good start at 1A (!) and the rest pretty well followed–except the SE where I didn’t finish with the endearing CHOU.

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