0818-20 NY Times Crossword 18 Aug 20, Tuesday

Constructed by: Olivia Mitra Framke
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Amendment XIX

Themed clues each relate to the NINETEENTH AMENDMENT OF THE US CONSTITUTION:

  • 53A Measure fully ratified on 8/18/1920 : AMENDMENT XIX
  • 17A Rights advocate who campaigned for 53-Across : ALICE PAUL
  • 19A What 53-Across changed : CONSTITUTION
  • 34A Subject of 53-Across : WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE
  • 56A 36th state to ratify 53-Across, resulting in its passage : TENNESSEE

Bill’s time: 5m 19s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Piece for Leontyne Price : ARIA

Leontyne Price is a soprano from Laurel, Mississippi. Before retiring from the opera stage, Price was a leading artist at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, one of the first African-American singers to be so honored.

5 Recipe measures: Abbr. : TSPS

Teaspoon (tsp.)

14 Like a blue moon : RARE

As there is a full moon once every four weeks, approximately monthly, there are usually twelve full moons in any given year. However, every 2-3 years, depending on the phase of the moon at the beginning of the calendar year, there may be a thirteenth full moon. The “extra” full moon is called a “blue moon”, although no one seems to really know why the term “blue” is used, as far as I can tell. Which of the thirteen full moons that is designated as the blue moon varies depending on tradition. My favorite definition is from the Farmer’s Almanac. It states that as each of the seasons normally has three full moons (one for each calendar month), then the season with four full moons is designated as “special”, then the third (and not the fourth) full moon in that “special” season is the blue moon. Complicated, huh?

15 New York State’s ___ Canal : ERIE

The Erie Canal runs from Albany to Buffalo in the state of New York. What the canal does is allow shipping to proceed from New York Harbor right up the Hudson River, through the canal and into the Great Lakes. When it was opened in 1825, the Erie Canal had an immediate impact on the economy of New York City and locations along its route. It was the first means of “cheap” transportation from a port on the Atlantic seaboard into the interior of the United States. Arguably it was the most important factor contributing to the growth of New York City over competing ports such as Baltimore and Philadelphia. It was largely because of the Erie Canal that New York became such an economic powerhouse, earning it the nickname of “the Empire State”. Paradoxically, one of the project’s main proponents was severely criticized. New York Governor DeWitt Clinton received so much ridicule that the canal was nicknamed “Clinton’s Folly” and “Clinton’s Ditch”.

16 Mine, in Le Mans : A MOI

Le Mans is a city in northwestern France. The city is famous for the 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car race that has been held annually since 1923. The 24-hour race uses the city’s race track, but closed city streets are also used for part of the circuit.

17 Rights advocate who campaigned for 53-Across : ALICE PAUL
19 What 53-Across changed : CONSTITUTION

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was written by the American suffragist leader, Alice Paul. Although Paul was successful in her campaign to get passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution (guaranteeing voting rights regardless of sex), her 1923 Equal Rights Amendment didn’t make it to the Senate floor until 1972. The amendment was passed by the Senate, and then headed to the state legislatures for the required ratification. 38 states had to approve the legislation for the amendment to be adopted, but only 35 states voted in favor before the deadline. The amendment is still pending, although about half of the fifty states have adopted the ERA into their state constitutions.

22 Zeus, to Rhea : SON

In Greek mythology, Rhea was one of the Titans. She was the sister and husband of Cronus, and together they had six children, the last of whom was Zeus. Cronus swallowed all of his children as soon as they were born, except for Zeus, who Rhea managed to hide from her husband.

23 One meas. of economic activity : GDP

A country’s Gross National Product (GNP) is the value of all services and products produced by its residents in a particular year. GNP includes all production wherever it is in the world, as long as the business is owned by residents of the country concerned. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is different, although related, and is the value of all services and goods produced within the borders of the country for that year.

26 Cul-de-___ : SAC

Even though “cul-de-sac” can indeed mean “bottom-of-the-bag” in French, the term “cul-de-sac” is of English origin (the use of “cul” in French is actually quite rude). The term was introduced in aristocratic circles at a time when it was considered very fashionable to speak French. Dead-end streets in France are usually signposted with just a symbol and no accompanying words, but if words are included they are “voie sans issue”, meaning “way without exit”.

27 Nickelodeon’s “Kenan & ___” : KEL

“Kenan & Kel” is a sitcom that aired on Nickelodeon from 1996 to 2000. It starred Kenan Thompson (now of “Saturday Night Live”), and Kel Mitchell.

33 Compulsively particular, say : ANAL

The use of the word “anal” to mean “stiffly conventional” is an abbreviated form of “anal-retentive”, a term derived from Freudian psychology. Regardless, I’m not a big fan of the term …

34 Subject of 53-Across : WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE

Nowadays, the word “suffrage” is used to mean “right to vote”. The term comes from the Latin noun “suffragium” that translates as “vote, right to vote”.

39 Grad : ALUM

An alumnus (plural “alumni”) is a graduate or former student of a school or college. The female form is “alumna” (plural “alumnae”). The term comes into English from Latin, in which an alumnus is a foster-son or pupil. “Alum” is an informal term used for either an alumna or alumnus.

41 Seven Sisters school in the Hudson Valley : VASSAR

Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York is now a coeducational school, after over a century of operating as a women’s college since its founding in 1861. The school was officially declared co-ed in 1969, although it had accepted a handful of male students on the GI Bill after WWII.

The Seven Sisters are a group of (traditionally women’s) colleges in the northeast of the country that were founded to parallel the all-male (as they were then) Ivy League colleges. The seven are:

  • Mount Holyoke
  • Vassar
  • Wellesley
  • Smith
  • Radcliffe
  • Bryn Mawr
  • Barnard

44 “If ___ doesn’t make us better, then what on earth is it for?”: Alice Walker : ART

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.

45 Computer key usually hit with the left pinkie : TAB

When we run a “tab” at a bar, we are running a “tabulation”, a listing of what we owe. Such a use of “tab” is American slang that originated in the 1880s.

48 Tonsillitis-treating doc : ENT

The branch of medicine known as “ear, nose and throat” (ENT) is more correctly called “otolaryngology”.

The suffix “-itis” is used to denote inflammation, as in laryngitis (inflammation of the larynx), otitis (inflammation of the ear), tendinitis (inflammation of a tendon), tonsillitis (inflammation of the tonsils) and sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses).

The palatine tonsils are located at the back of the human throat. The exact role that tonsils play isn’t completely understood, but it is known that they are in the first line of defense in the body’s immune system. They provide some level of protection against pathogens that are ingested and inhaled.

51 Balkan land whose capital is Pristina : KOSOVO

The country name “Kosovo” is an adjectival form of the Serbian word “kos” meaning “blackbird”. The name commemorates the “field of the blackbirds” the site of a 1389 battle between Serbia and the Ottoman Empire. The dispute over Kosovo technically dates back to the implosion of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. The capital of Kosovo is Pristina.

58 Narrow estuaries : RIAS

A drowned valley might be called a ria or a fjord, and both are formed as sea levels rise. A ria is a drowned valley created by river erosion, and a fjord is a drowned valley created by glaciation.

59 Jason’s ship, in myth : ARGO

In Greek mythology, Jason and the Argonauts sailed on the Argo in search of the Golden Fleece. The vessel was called “Argo” in honor of the ship’s builder, a man named Argus.

61 Girl of Green Gables : ANNE

“Anne of Green Gables” is a 1908 novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery that she set in the fictional Prince Edward Island community of Avonlea. Montgomery wrote several sequels to “Anne”, with them all being set on Prince Edward Island (PEI), from where the author hailed.

63 Bullring cries : OLES

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

Down

1 Simple adding device : ABACUS

The abacus (plural “abaci”) was used as a counting frame long before man had invented a numbering system. It is a remarkable invention, particularly when one notes that abaci are still widely used today across Africa and Asia.

2 ___ Quimby of children’s literature : RAMONA

Ramona Quimby is a character in a series of “Henry Huggins” children’s novels penned by Beverly Cleary. As she aged, Ramona merited her own set of stories.

3 Alanis Morissette song about unfortunate situations : IRONIC

“Ironic” is a 1996 song co-written and recorded by Alanis Morissette. A couple of lines in the song are:

It’s meeting the man of my dreams
And then meeting his beautiful wife

For an awards ceremony in 2004, Morissette changed these lyrics to demonstrate support for same-sex marriage:

It’s meeting the man of my dreams
And then meeting his beautiful husband

4 “Sealed With ___” : A KISS

“SWAK” is an initialism standing for “sealed with a kiss”. SWAK, and the related SWALK (sealed with a loving kiss), are postal acronyms that originated during WWII.

5 Some gym personnel : TRAINERS

Our word “gymnasium” comes from the Greek “gymnasion” meaning “public place where exercise is taken”. The Greek term comes from “gymnos” meaning “naked”, as that physical training was usually done unclothed in ancient Greece.

7 Toyota hybrid : PRIUS

The Toyota Prius is still the most fuel-efficient, gasoline-powered car sold in the US, according to the EPA. The name “Prius” is a Latin word meaning “ahead, leading”. In the US we pronounce the name “pree-us”, but across the Atlantic it’s pronounced “pry-us”. According to Toyota, the plural of “Prius” is “Prii”.

9 Defaulter’s loss, informally : REPO

Repossession (repo)

10 Citrus drink often sold in a pear-shaped bottle : ORANGINA

Orangina is a citrus drink that originated in France and is very popular in Europe. Despite the name, Orangina contains a lot more than just orange juice, including juice from lemons, mandarins and grapefruit.

11 Lucy who played Watson on “Elementary” : LIU

Lucy Liu is an actress from Queens, New York. Liu’s big break came when she was chosen to play the Ling Woo character in “Ally McBeal”. I liked her in the 2000 film “Charlie’s Angels” but as I am no fan of Quentin Tarantino, I did not enjoy the movie “Kill Bill”. I do enjoy one of Liu’s more recent projects in which she plays Jane Watson, one of the two lead characters in the TV crime drama “Elementary”.

If you’ve seen the American television show “Elementary”, you will know that it is an adaptation of the classic tales by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that are set in the present day. “Elementary” is similar in look and feel to the excellent BBC series “Sherlock”, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch as a modern-day Holmes. We can pick up “Sherlock” in some parts of the country as part of “Masterpiece Mystery” on PBS.

18 German article : EINE

“Eine” is the German indefinite article used with feminine nouns.

20 Coin in an arcade : TOKEN

Our word “arcade” comes from the Latin “arcus” meaning “arc”. The first arcades were passages made from a series of arches. This could be an avenue of trees, and eventually any covered avenue. I remember arcades lined with shops and stores when I was growing up on the other side of the Atlantic. Arcades came to be lined with lots of amusements, resulting in amusement arcades and video game arcades.

24 “We’re all born naked and the rest is ___”: RuPaul : DRAG

The etymology of the term “drag”, as used in the transvestite world, seems to be unclear. It perhaps relates to the tendency of a transvestite’s skirts to drag along the ground in days of old (although why they just didn’t hitch up their skirts is beyond me!).

RuPaul is a famous drag queen who has developed a diverse career beyond performing on stage. He works as an actor, model, author and a recording artist. Famously, RuPaul doesn’t mind whether one addresses him as “he” or as “she” …

You can call me he. You can call me she. You can call me Regis and Kathie Lee; I don’t care! Just as long as you call me.

He currently hosts his own reality TV show called “RuPaul’s Drag Race”, which is billed as a search for “America’s next drag superstar”.

25 Brazilian soccer great : PELE

“Pelé” is the nickname of Edson de Nascimento, a soccer player who has used the name “Pelé” for most of his life. Pelé is now retired, and for my money was the world’s greatest ever player of the game. He is the only person to have been a member of three World Cup winning squads (1958, 1962 and 1970), and is a national treasure in his native Brazil. One of Pele’s nicknames is “O Rei do Futebol” (the King of Football).

31 Some partners in lesbian couples : FEMS

Sappho was an Ancient Greek poet born on the Greek island of Lesbos. Sappho was much admired for her work, although very little of it survives today. She was renowned for writing erotic and romantic verse that dealt with the love of women as well as men. It was because of this poetry that the word “lesbian” (someone from Lesbos) is used to describe a gay woman.

32 Moon goddess : LUNA

“Luna” is the Latin word for “moon”, and is the name given to the Roman moon goddess. The Greek equivalent of Luna was Selene. Luna had a temple on the Aventine Hill in Rome but it was destroyed during the Great Fire that raged during the reign of Nero.

35 Heroine in Pearl Buck’s “The Good Earth” : O-LAN

Pearl S. Buck’s novel “The Good Earth” won a Pulitzer in 1932, and helped Buck win the Nobel Prize for literature a few years later. The novel tells of life in a Chinese village and follows the fortunes of Wang Lung and his wife O-Lan. Although “The Good Earth” has been around for decades, it hit the bestseller list again in 2004 when it was a pick for Oprah’s Book Club.

36 Ford Motor muscle cars : MUSTANGS

The Ford Mustang car was introduced in 1964. Back then the Mustang wasn’t a brand new design, but was based on the Ford Falcon. The Mustang was the first of the “pony cars”, American models that are compact and affordable, as well as sporty in image and performance.

38 Foldable bed : FUTON

Anyone lucky enough to have visited Japan might be familiar with the traditional Japanese futon. Unlike what we tend to call futon in this country, the Japanese original is a padded mattress and quilt. Japanese futons are usually rolled up in the morning so that the space used for sleeping can be repurposed during the day.

42 Ending with chick : -ADEE

Chickadees are a group of birds in the tit family, with some species within the group called chickadees and some called tits. The name chickadee is imitative of the bird’s alarm call “chick-dee dee dee”.

46 Feathered creatures : AVIANS

An aviary is a large cage that houses birds, and something described as avian is bird-like or bird-related. “Avis” is Latin for “bird”.

47 Complete DVD collection, maybe : BOX SET

The abbreviation “DVD” doesn’t actually stand for anything these days, although it was originally short for “digital video disk”. The use of the word “video” was dropped as DVDs started to be used for storing a lot more than video. As a result, some folks assign the phrase “digital versatile disk” to “DVD”.

50 Ford Motor flop of the 1950s : EDSEL

Edsel Ford was the only child of automobile manufacturing pioneer Henry Ford. Edsel became president of Ford Motors, as Henry’s sole heir, and served in that capacity from 1919 until his death in 1943. Henry’s name is very much associated with the Model T, the Tin Lizzie. Edsel was the man behind the subsequent development of the more fashionable Model A. However, despite Edsel’s many successes, his name is inextricably linked with the highly unsuccessful Edsel line of cars.

52 Bra part : STRAP

The word “brassière” is French in origin, but it isn’t the word that the French use for a “bra”. In France, what we call a bra is known as a “soutien-gorge”, translating to “held under the neck”. The word “brassière” is indeed used in France but there it describes a baby’s undershirt, a lifebelt or a harness. “Brassière” comes from the Old French word for an “arm protector” in a military uniform (“bras” is the French for “arm”). Later “brassière” came to mean “breastplate” and from there the word was used for a type of woman’s corset. The word jumped into English around 1900.

55 Grumpy Cat or Doge, e.g. : MEME

A meme (from “mineme”) is a cultural practice or idea that is passed on verbally or by repetition from one person to another. The term lends itself very well to the online world where links, emails, files etc. are so easily propagated.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Piece for Leontyne Price : ARIA
5 Recipe measures: Abbr. : TSPS
9 ___-play : ROLE
13 Something produced by a dogwood tree … or a dog : BARK
14 Like a blue moon : RARE
15 New York State’s ___ Canal : ERIE
16 Mine, in Le Mans : A MOI
17 Rights advocate who campaigned for 53-Across : ALICE PAUL
19 What 53-Across changed : CONSTITUTION
21 A choir might sing in it : UNISON
22 Zeus, to Rhea : SON
23 One meas. of economic activity : GDP
26 Cul-de-___ : SAC
27 Nickelodeon’s “Kenan & ___” : KEL
29 Call it a day : RETIRE
31 Wild : FERAL
33 Compulsively particular, say : ANAL
34 Subject of 53-Across : WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE
39 Grad : ALUM
40 Front of a pig : SNOUT
41 Seven Sisters school in the Hudson Valley : VASSAR
44 “If ___ doesn’t make us better, then what on earth is it for?”: Alice Walker : ART
45 Computer key usually hit with the left pinkie : TAB
48 Tonsillitis-treating doc : ENT
49 Expected, as a baby : DUE
51 Balkan land whose capital is Pristina : KOSOVO
53 Measure fully ratified on 8/18/1920 : AMENDMENT XIX
56 36th state to ratify 53-Across, resulting in its passage : TENNESSEE
58 Narrow estuaries : RIAS
59 Jason’s ship, in myth : ARGO
60 Fill-in worker : TEMP
61 Girl of Green Gables : ANNE
62 [OMG!] : [GASP!]
63 Bullring cries : OLES
64 “Hey, you!” : PSST!

Down

1 Simple adding device : ABACUS
2 ___ Quimby of children’s literature : RAMONA
3 Alanis Morissette song about unfortunate situations : IRONIC
4 “Sealed With ___” : A KISS
5 Some gym personnel : TRAINERS
6 One reason dogs lick us is for this, it’s believed : SALT
7 Toyota hybrid : PRIUS
8 Division of the economy : SECTOR
9 Defaulter’s loss, informally : REPO
10 Citrus drink often sold in a pear-shaped bottle : ORANGINA
11 Lucy who played Watson on “Elementary” : LIU
12 Slithery fish : EEL
18 German article : EINE
20 Coin in an arcade : TOKEN
24 “We’re all born naked and the rest is ___”: RuPaul : DRAG
25 Brazilian soccer great : PELE
28 Scottish miss : LASS
30 Sour : TART
31 Some partners in lesbian couples : FEMS
32 Moon goddess : LUNA
34 Surfer’s need : WAVE
35 Heroine in Pearl Buck’s “The Good Earth” : O-LAN
36 Ford Motor muscle cars : MUSTANGS
37 Without the possibility of being taken back : FOR KEEPS
38 Foldable bed : FUTON
42 Ending with chick : -ADEE
43 Totals : RUNS TO
45 What juice cleanses are supposed to get rid of : TOXINS
46 Feathered creatures : AVIANS
47 Complete DVD collection, maybe : BOX SET
50 Ford Motor flop of the 1950s : EDSEL
52 Bra part : STRAP
54 Pre-Q quartet : M-N-O-P
55 Grumpy Cat or Doge, e.g. : MEME
56 Kids’ game with a lot of running : TAG
57 Period in history : ERA

24 thoughts on “0818-20 NY Times Crossword 18 Aug 20, Tuesday”

  1. Well, that was weird. Part way through I switched devices and my tablet cleared the grid but kept counting. Then I finished on my phone. Then it synced with the tablet but wouldn’t stop counting. So I get to pick from 8 minutes or 20 something…and counting. I guess I’ll pick 8.🤪

  2. 8:25. Tripped all over the theme. I was thinking of the Volstead act that brought about Prohibition, but that was a year earlier than this. Prohibition was the 18th Amendment, and it was the 21st Amendment that repealed it. Prohibition? What a nightmare. I might not sleep tonight…

    I drank ORANGINA over in France, and then I was able to find it in super markets in the U.S. I always though it was Canadian for some reason. I really liked it. It is soda-like but not as sweet. I haven’t seen it in a few years. Maybe I just need to look harder.

    The plural of PRIUS is Prii? I can’t imagine anyone wanting two of those…

    Best –

    1. Hmmm. I did this puzzle five weeks ago using the NYT crossword app on my iPad, so I saw the same clue as Bill: “Some partners in lesbian couples”. I just managed to find a syndicated version online (in an Arkansas paper!) and the clue in that version is “Ladies, slangily”. A little sleuthing on the internet reveals that the original clue was considered by some to be inaccurate (in that the answer it suggests is “FEMMES”, rather than “FEMS”) and/or mildly offensive, hence the editing change in the syndicated version.

      1. @A Nonny Muss—- I had to go to the horrid Urban Dictionary in order to find out what might have brought about the change. FEMS is quite common in slang circles but is indeed tinged with offensiveness in the eyes of some. Surely this is what brought about the change. It was, however, a rather weak change in the sense that FEMS is not commonly used to represent “Ladies, slangily”. Technically it’s okay, it’s just not commonly used. It would have been better to not have allowed the word in the puzzle to begin with. But, of course, crossword editors are not perfect and are bound to make errors in judgement.

  3. JRH — yes, my Dallas paper also had “Ladies, slangily.” Wonder what they’re afraid of?

    Bill — your note for 22A says Rhea was the husband of Cronus.

  4. JRH — yes, the Dallas paper also had “Ladies, slangily” — wonder what they’re afraid of?

    Bill — your note for 22A says Rhea was the husband of Cronus.

  5. No errors. Did a little research into why 31-Down would have been changed. Could not particularly find any reason. Both clues can fit for FEMS.

  6. @Bill—-I have been having a little problem with my posts. That is the reason that you see some “TESTS” from me. Since I see other people with the same “TESTS” posts I assume that the problem is somewhat widespread. What happens is that my comment does not show up on the board in the normal time sequence. Today, for example, my comment appeared about three hours after I had posted it. I just wanted to call this to your attention. Perhaps there is something that needs fixing?

    1. Yes, Joe. I’m pulling out whatever hair I have left trying to resolve this issue. The root cause of the problem is the lengths that I have to go to defend my blogs from spammers and hackers. Bear with me …

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