0817-20 NY Times Crossword 17 Aug 20, Monday

Constructed by: Alan Massengill & Andrea Carla Michaels
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Beachfront

The start (“FRONT”) of themed answers are things seen at the BEACH:

  • 54A Property along the ocean … or a hint to the starts of 18-, 23-, 36- and 47-Across : BEACHFRONT
  • 18A Greets from across the way, say : WAVES HELLO
  • 23A Casually browse online : SURF THE NET
  • 36A Spends moolah : SHELLS OUT CASH
  • 47A Demonstrates some sleight of hand : PALMS CARDS

Bill’s time: 4m 18s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9 Off-the-cuff remark : AD LIB

“Ad libitum” is a Latin phrase meaning “at one’s pleasure”. In common usage, the phrase is usually shortened to “ad lib”. On the stage, the concept of an ad lib is very familiar.

14 Em, to Dorothy, in “The Wizard of Oz” : AUNT

In the children’s novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum, Dorothy Gale lives with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry.

16 Garlic-flavored mayonnaise : AIOLI

To the purist, especially in Provence in the South of France, aioli is prepared just by grinding garlic with olive oil. However, other ingredients are often added to the mix, particularly egg yolks.

17 “In ___ of flowers …” : LIEU

As one might imagine perhaps, “in lieu” came into English from the Old French word “lieu” meaning “place”, which in turn is derived from the Latin “locum” that also means “place”. So, “in lieu” translates as “in place of”.

20 Lollygags : LOAFS

To lollygag (also “lallygag”) is to dawdle, to dally.

22 That is to say, in Latin : ID EST

Texas A&M is the seventh largest university in the country, and was the first public higher education institute in the state when it accepted its first students in 1876. The full name of the school was the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (hence “A&M”) and its primary mission used to be the education of males in the techniques of farming and military warfare. That’s quite a combination! Because of the agricultural connection, the college’s sports teams use the moniker “Aggies”. Texas A&M is also home to the George Bush Presidential Library.
“Id est” is Latin for “that is”, and is often abbreviated to “i.e.” when used in English.

23 Casually browse online : SURF THE NET

The Internet (uppercase letter I) is a system of interconnected networks that use the Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) to link devices around the world. In common usage, the word “internet” (lowercase letter I) is often used interchangeably with “World Wide Web”, although “the Web” is just one of many services and applications that uses the Internet.

30 “Tiny” Dickens boy : TIM

“Tiny Tim” is the nickname of Timothy Cratchit, a character in the Charles Dickens novella “A Christmas Carol”. Tiny Tim is the son of Ebenezer Scrooge’s underpaid clerk Bob Cratchit, and is a sickly child. Famously, the child utters the words “God bless us, every one!” at Christmas dinner, which words are repeated by the author at the end of the story.

36 Spends moolah : SHELLS OUT CASH

Lettuce, cabbage, kale, dough, bread, scratch, cheddar, simoleons, clams and moola(h) are all slang terms for money.

39 Little VW : BEETLE

“VW” stands for “Volkswagen”, which translates from German into “people’s car”. The original Volkswagen design was the Beetle and was built under a directive from Adolf Hitler, who wanted a cheap car built that ordinary people could afford to purchase. Hitler awarded the contract to engineer Ferdinand Porsche, whose name (paradoxically) would forever be associated with high performance, expensive cars. The Beetle was the official name of the VW model released in North America, but it was usually referred to as a “Bug” here in the US, and a “Beetle” elsewhere in the world.

42 Illusionist Geller : URI

Uri Geller’s most famous performance was perhaps his uncomfortable failure on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson in 1973. Carson “hijacked” Geller on live television by providing him with spoons to bend and watches to start, none of which had been available to Geller before the show aired. Clever!

43 Modern term of endearment : BAE

“Bae” is a contemporary term of endearment. It is a pet name that is an abbreviation of “babe, baby”, although I’ve also read that it is an acronym standing for “before anyone else”.

59 Dance at Jewish weddings : HORA

The hora is a circle dance that originated in the Balkans. It was brought to Israel by Romanian settlers, and is often performed to traditional, Israeli folk songs. The hora (also “horah”) is a regular sight at Jewish weddings. Sometimes the honoree at an event is raised on a chair during the hora.

60 Hanukkah potato treat : LATKE

A latke is a delicious potato pancake (I’m Irish, so anything made with potato is delicious!).

The term “Hanukkah” derives from the Hebrew for “to dedicate”. Hanukkah is a holiday lasting eight days that commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem after successful Jewish revolt against the Seleucids in the 2nd-century BCE. The story of Hanukkah includes the miracle of the one-day supply of oil that kept the menorah alight for eight days.

62 Shooting star, some might think : OMEN

A meteoroid is a small rocky or metallic body travelling through space. Once in the atmosphere, the meteoroid is referred to as a “meteor” or “shooting star”. Almost all meteoroids burn up, but if one is large enough to survive and reach the ground then we call it a meteorite. The word “meteor” comes from the Greek “meteōros” meaning “high in the air”.

64 ___ lily : SEGO

The sego lily is the state flower of Utah, and is a perennial plant found throughout the Western United States.

65 Greek peak in Thessaly : OSSA

Mount Ossa is the highest mountain in the Australian island state of Tasmania. The peak was named for Mount Ossa in Greece.

The region of Greece known as Thessaly used to be called Aeolia, and appears in Homer’s “Odyssey” under the latter name.

Down

1 Financial ctr. in Manhattan : WALL ST

New York’s famous Wall Street was originally named by the Dutch “de Waalstraat”.

3 Feature of a Las Vegas “bandit” : ONE ARM

Slot machines earned the nickname “one-armed bandits” simply because they had “one arm”, the handle pulled to operate the machine. Well, they also rob your money!

6 Director DuVernay of “Selma” : AVA

Ava DuVernay is a filmmaker who became the first African-American woman to win the Best Director Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, a feat she achieved in 2012 for her feature film “Middle of Nowhere”. “Middle of Nowhere” tells the story of a woman who drops out of medical school to focus on her husband when he is sentenced to 8 years in prison. DuVernay also directed the 2014 film “Selma” about the 1965 voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

“Selma” is a 2014 film about the Selma-to-Montgomery marches of 1965. Directed by Ava DuVernay, the movie stars David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson.

7 The ___ Spoonful (1960s pop group) : LOVIN’

The Lovin’ Spoonful is a New York band that had some big hits in the sixties, including “Do You Believe in Magic”, “Daydream” and “Summer in the City”.

8 Stockholm native : SWEDE

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and the most populous city in the country. Over one fifth of all Swedish residents live in Stockholm.

11 Ha-ha, online : LOL

Laugh out loud (LOL)

13 Info in a Who’s Who listing : BIO

Several publications use the phrase “Who’s Who” in the title. The oldest and best known is the British reference “Who’s Who” that has been listing prominent British people since 1849. There is a sister publication called “Who Was Who” that lists prominent people who have died since 1897.

24 Actress Berry : HALLE

Actress Halle Berry was the first African-American woman to win a Best Actress Oscar, which she received for her performance in the 2001 movie “Monster’s Ball”. Berry also won a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress in 2005 for playing the title role in “Catwoman”, and she very graciously accepted that award in person. Good for her!

28 Jacob’s first wife, in the Bible : LEAH

According to the Bible, Leah was one of the two wives of Jacob, the other being Leah’s sister Rachel. Jacob’s intention had been to marry Rachel, but Leah and Rachel’s father “switched” his daughters and provided Leah as the veiled bride. Jacob married Rachel a week later, and lived with the two wives concurrently.

33 “Stupid” segments on old David Letterman shows : PET TRICKS

“Stupid Pet Tricks” is a segment that was regularly shown on the “Late Show with David Letterman”. The segment was first aired on “The David Letterman Show”, a morning comedy that NBC aired in 1980.

34 “We need help!” : SOS!

The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots). That said, in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so “SOS” is really only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are also mnemonics that were introduced after the SOS signal was adopted.

36 Caspian and Caribbean : SEAS

The Caspian Sea is a landlocked body of water lying between Asia and Europe. By some definitions, the Caspian is the largest lake on the planet. The name “Caspian” comes from the Caspi people who lived to the southwest of the sea in the South Caucasus.

The Caribbean Sea takes its name from the Island Carib people. The Island Caribs are an American Indian people that live in the Lesser Antilles islands, part of the West Indies.

38 E pluribus ___ : UNUM

From 1776, “E pluribus unum” was the unofficial motto of the United States. The phrase translates from Latin as “Out of many, one”. It was pushed aside in 1956 when an Act of Congress designated “In God We Trust” as the country’s official motto. “In God We Trust” had appeared on US coins since 1864, but was only introduced on paper currency in 1957.

39 Air-conditioning meas. : BTU

In the world of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), the power of a heating or cooling unit can be measured using the British Thermal Units (BTU). This dated unit is the amount of energy required to heat a pound of water so that the water’s temperature increases by one degree Fahrenheit.

43 Needs for playing Quidditch : BROOMS

Quidditch is a game that is famously played in the “Harry Potter” series of books and films. The game is contested by two teams of seven wizards or witches flying on broomsticks. There are four animated balls and six ring-shaped goals floating in mid-air. One of the balls is the Golden Snitch, and one of the players is the Seeker. It is the Seeker’s sole purpose to capture the Golden Snitch and thereby win the game.

45 Madrid’s land, to locals : ESPANA

Spain is the second largest country in the European Union (after France). “Spain” is an anglicized form of the Spanish name “España”, which comes from the Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula “Hispania”.

Madrid is the most populous city in Spain, and is the nation’s capital. It is located very close to the geographical center of the country. Madrid is the second-largest city in the European Union by population, after Berlin. People from Madrid called themselves Madrileños.

47 File shareable on a PC or Mac : PDF

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format introduced by Adobe Systems in 1993. PDF documents can be shared between users and read using many different applications and platforms, making them more universally accessible than documents saved by one particular program.

48 Psychic glows : AURAS

An aura (plural “aurae”) is an intangible quality that surrounds a person or thing, a “je ne sais quoi”. “Je ne sais quoi” is French for “I don’t know what”.

49 Sierra ___ (African country) : LEONE

The Republic of Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa that lies on the Atlantic Coast. The capital city of Freetown was originally set up as a colony to house the “Black Poor” of London, England. These people were mainly freed British slaves of Caribbean descent who were living a miserable life in the run-down parts of London. Perhaps to help the impoverished souls, perhaps to rid the streets of “a problem”, three ships were chartered in 1787 to transport a group of blacks, with some whites, to a piece of land purchased in Sierra Leone. Those who made the voyage were granted British citizenship and protection. The descendants of these immigrants, and others who made the journey over the next 60 years, make up the ethnic group that’s today called the Sierra Leone Creole.

50 Sound preceding “Gesundheit!” : ACHOO!

“Gesundheit” is the German word for “health”, and is used in response to a sneeze in Germany, as indeed it is quite often here in the US.

52 The Beatles’ “___ Leaving Home” : SHE’S

“She’s Leaving Home” is a 1967 song released by the Beatles on the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album. None of the four members of the band play an instrument in this song, and instead the music is played by a small string orchestra. The lyrics are performed by Paul McCartney and John Lennon. In fact, George Harrison and Ringo Starr weren’t even in the studio at the time of the recording.

54 Sandwich inits. : BLT

The BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) is the second-most popular sandwich in the US, after the plain old ham sandwich.

57 Less than zero: Abbr. : NEG

Negative (neg.)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Goes a-courting : WOOS
5 Buddies : PALS
9 Off-the-cuff remark : AD LIB
14 Em, to Dorothy, in “The Wizard of Oz” : AUNT
15 Openly acknowledge : AVOW
16 Garlic-flavored mayonnaise : AIOLI
17 “In ___ of flowers …” : LIEU
18 Greets from across the way, say : WAVES HELLO
20 Lollygags : LOAFS
22 That is to say, in Latin : ID EST
23 Casually browse online : SURF THE NET
26 Word before taught or effacing : SELF-
30 “Tiny” Dickens boy : TIM
31 Drop of golden sun : RAY
32 Skin care product : TONER
33 Extremes of the earth : POLES
35 Time of lament : SAD DAY
36 Spends moolah : SHELLS OUT CASH
39 Little VW : BEETLE
40 Displays of huffiness : SNITS
41 Fruit-filled pastries : TARTS
42 Illusionist Geller : URI
43 Modern term of endearment : BAE
46 ___ ID : USER
47 Demonstrates some sleight of hand : PALMS CARDS
51 Should arrive any minute now : IS DUE
53 Ice cream serving : SCOOP
54 Property along the ocean … or a hint to the starts of 18-, 23-, 36- and 47-Across : BEACHFRONT
59 Dance at Jewish weddings : HORA
60 Hanukkah potato treat : LATKE
61 Again : ANEW
62 Shooting star, some might think : OMEN
63 Lock of hair : TRESS
64 ___ lily : SEGO
65 Greek peak in Thessaly : OSSA

Down

1 Financial ctr. in Manhattan : WALL ST
2 “Most definitely, monsieur!” : OUI OUI!
3 Feature of a Las Vegas “bandit” : ONE ARM
4 Things, collectively : STUFF
5 Dog’s foot : PAW
6 Director DuVernay of “Selma” : AVA
7 The ___ Spoonful (1960s pop group) : LOVIN’
8 Stockholm native : SWEDE
9 Companion of “oohs” : AAHS
10 Low-calorie drinks : DIET SODAS
11 Ha-ha, online : LOL
12 Sick : ILL
13 Info in a Who’s Who listing : BIO
19 Cry between “Ready” and “Go!” : SET
21 Leisurely walks : STROLLS
24 Actress Berry : HALLE
25 Centers of hurricanes : EYES
27 Extremities : ENDS
28 Jacob’s first wife, in the Bible : LEAH
29 Cook in oil : FRY
32 Elements of a strategy : TACTICS
33 “Stupid” segments on old David Letterman shows : PET TRICKS
34 “We need help!” : SOS!
35 Mixes with a spoon, say : STIRS
36 Caspian and Caribbean : SEAS
37 Reply in a roll call : HERE
38 E pluribus ___ : UNUM
39 Air-conditioning meas. : BTU
43 Needs for playing Quidditch : BROOMS
44 Is gaga over : ADORES
45 Madrid’s land, to locals : ESPANA
47 File shareable on a PC or Mac : PDF
48 Psychic glows : AURAS
49 Sierra ___ (African country) : LEONE
50 Sound preceding “Gesundheit!” : ACHOO!
52 The Beatles’ “___ Leaving Home” : SHE’S
54 Sandwich inits. : BLT
55 Put a ring on it! : EAR
56 Gobbled up : ATE
57 Less than zero: Abbr. : NEG
58 What it takes to tango : TWO

16 thoughts on “0817-20 NY Times Crossword 17 Aug 20, Monday”

  1. 5:59 No issues. Yesterday it hit 98 deg. here in Seattle – warmest day in 11 years. A beach front sounds kind of good.

    1. I should have added that high 90s is fairly unusual for Seattle. Summer temps are mid 70s – mid 80s with moderate humidity. People complain when it gets over 80!! I’m originally from CT where summers were often high heat AND humidity, so Seattle summer weather overall seems extremely pleasant, even 45 years after moving here.

  2. 5:51, no errors, no complaints (about the crossword … 😜).

    Very hot and dry in Denver, with fires to the west. Last night, after several days of sneezing because of the smoke, I blew my nose and created a nose bleed that I had a hard time stopping. Looking forward to complaining about cold weather … 😜.

  3. 6:12 another one where I had almost zero after the across clues and nearly completed it using the down clues….

    We’ve had a few days in the 90’s here in western NY, but not like you folks out west. That said, the “burning bush” in my front yard is already starting to turn red, hope it’s not an omen for a long winter.

  4. Well, it was around 7 minutes when I got the “almost there.” 4 minutes later I found the error. Karma for yesterday’s quick time. I’m living in the same house as my 5 year old grandson. He sings and babbles every waking moment. @Ron, pretty hot in Bellingham, too. Rode my MTB up rhe mountain. All energy was sapped.

  5. 6:02. Nice quick Monday. In the write up for 22A, is there some kind of connection between Texas A&M and the phrase ID EST that I’m missing, or was that just a cut and paste error?

    I miss the old David Letterman Show – especially when he was on NBC and then his first few years on CBS. I was visiting New York around 2005 and attended one of the shows. Very interesting to see in person.

    117 here in Las Vegas yesterday. We’re supposed to be the same today. Just west of here in Death Valley, CA they had a record 130 degree day yesterday. It’s a remarkable enough “feat” that it has to be verified before it officially goes on record. Death Valley had the same temp in 1913. I hear incidents of frostbite are way down…

    Best –

  6. Had to do a test.. Was blocked for some reason for several days.. Thanks Bill for all you do. Love the site. Thanks for fixing it.

  7. No errors. Fine puzzle for a Monday. I happened to be watching the Johnny Carson show the night that URI Geller was exposed as a fraud. Johnny himself was responsible for tricking Geller with some some backstage trickery of his own. Suffice it to say, Geller went out on stage with the assumption that the metal objects had been “doctored”. Geller’s humiliation ironically made him even more famous. To his small credit, he no longer claims to possess psychic powers.

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