0820-20 NY Times Crossword 20 Aug 20, Thursday

Constructed by: Grant Thackray
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer(s): A Wrinkle in Time

Themed answers each include the letter sequence T-I-M-E. That sequence is WRINKLED in that two of those letters jump up into the row above:

  • 59A Classic young adult novel … or hint to the path taken by four letters in the answers to the starred clues : A WRINKLE IN TIME
  • 16A *An old wedding dress might have this : SENTIMENTAL VALUE
  • 29A *”Er … um …” : WHAT I MEANT WAS …
  • 45A *Mickey’s rival for Minnie’s affection : MORTIMER MOUSE

Bill’s time: 10m 04s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

7 Bases make up a part of it : PH SCALE

As we all recall from chemistry class, a pH of 7 is considered neutral. Anything less than 7 is an acid, and anything above 7 is a base.

The “opposite” of an acid is a base. Acids turn litmus paper red, and bases turn it blue. Acids and bases react with each other to form salts. An important subset of the chemicals called bases are alkalis, hydroxides of the alkali metals and of ammonium. The term “alkali” is sometimes used interchangeably with “base”, especially if that base is readily soluble in water.

14 Dr. Evil’s little clone in the “Austin Powers” films : MINI-ME

Actor Verne Troyer was best known for playing the character Mini-Me in the “Austin Powers” series of films. Troyer suffered from a form of dwarfism, and at a height of only 2 ft 8 in was one of the shortest men in the world.

15 Dainty dining decorations : DOILIES

There was a draper in London in the seventeenth century named Doiley, and he gave his name to the lace fabric that he sold, which in turn gave its name to the ornamental mat that we call a “doily”. I can’t stand doilies …

21 Root in Polynesian cuisine : TARO

The corm of some taro plants is used to make poi, a traditional Hawaiian dish (which I think tastes horrible). When a taro plant is grown as an ornamental, it is often called Elephant Ears due to the shape of its large leaves.

The term “Polynesia” was coined in 1756 by author Charles de Brosses when he used it to describe all the islands in the Pacific. This usage was later restricted to what we now refer to as a subregion of Oceania.

25 First name in jazz : ELLA

Ella Fitzgerald, the “First Lady of Song”, had a hard and tough upbringing. She was raised by her mother alone in Yonkers, New York. Her mother died while Ella was still a schoolgirl, and around that time the young girl became less interested in her education. She fell in with a bad crowd, even working as a lookout for a bordello and as a Mafia numbers runner. She ended up in reform school, from which she escaped, and found herself homeless and living on the streets for a while. Somehow Fitzgerald managed to get herself a spot singing in the Apollo Theater in Harlem. From there her career took off and as they say, the rest is history.

32 Relatives of violas : CELLI

The word “cello” (plural “celli” or “cellos”) is an abbreviation for “violoncello”, an Italian word for “little violone”, referring to a group of stringed instruments that were popular up to the end of the 17th century. The name violoncello persisted for the instrument that we know today, although the abbreviation “‘cello” was often used. Nowadays, we just drop the apostrophe.

36 Kitchen brand : OXO

The OXO line of kitchen utensils and housewares is designed to be ergonomically superior to the average household tools. The intended user of OXO products is someone who doesn’t have the normal range of motion or strength in the hands e.g. someone suffering from arthritis.

37 Carrier of sleeping sickness : TSETSE

Tsetse flies live on the blood of vertebrate mammals. The name “tsetse” comes from Tswana, a language of southern Africa, and translates simply as “fly”. Tsetse flies are famous for being carriers of the disease known as “sleeping sickness”. Sleeping sickness is caused by a parasite which is passed onto humans when the tsetse fly bites into human skin tissue. If one considers all the diseases transmitted by the insect, then the tsetse fly is responsible for a staggering quarter of a million deaths each year.

40 Mens ___ (legal term) : REA

“Mens rea” is Latin for “guilty mind” and is a central concept in criminal law. The concept is expanded to “actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea” meaning “the act does not make a person guilty unless the mind be also guilty”. In other words, someone should not be deemed guilty of an act, unless he or she had a “guilty mind”, intended to do wrong.

49 Multivolume ref. works : OEDS

Work started on what was to become the first “Oxford English Dictionary” (OED) in 1857. Several interim versions of the dictionary were published in the coming years with the first full version appearing, in ten bound volumes, in 1928. The second edition of the OED appeared in 1989 and is made up of twenty volumes. The OED was first published in electronic form in 1988 and went online in 2000. Given the modern use of computers, the publishing house responsible feels that there will never be a third print version of the famous dictionary.

54 ___ cit. (footnote abbr.) : LOC

“Loc. cit”. is short for “loco citato” meaning “in the place cited”. Loc. cit. is used in a footnote instead of op. cit. as it refers not only to a prior work, but also to the same page in that work.

59 Classic young adult novel … or hint to the path taken by four letters in the answers to the starred clues : A WRINKLE IN TIME

“A Wrinkle in Time” is a book by Madeleine L’Engle. Published in 1962, it is described as a science fantasy. Included in the book’s cast of characters are Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which, all of whom turn out to be supernatural beings who transport the antagonists through the universe. “A Wrinkle in Time” was adapted into a 2018 movie of the same name starring Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling as the three “Mrs” characters.

64 Cure-all : PANACEA

Panacea was the Greek goddess of healing. She lent her name to the term “panacea” that was used by alchemists to describe the beguiling remedy that could cure all diseases and prolong life indefinitely.

65 Longhorn rival : SOONER

The University of Oklahoma was founded in 1890 in the city of Norman, as the Norman Territorial University. The school’s sports teams are called the “Sooners”, from the state of Oklahoma’s nickname.

The University of Texas at Austin was established back in 1883. UT Austin is known as one of the “Public Ivies”, a publicly-funded university at which a student can get an education comparable to that provided by the Ivy League. The school’s sports teams are known as the Texas Longhorns, named for the Longhorn cattle that is now the official “large animal” of the state of Texas.

66 Hypothetical solar system body beyond Neptune : PLANET X

Astronomer Percival Lowell spent decades searching for what was known as Planet X. Planet X was a hypothetical body in the Solar System that would explain deviations in the orbits of Uranus and Neptune (a hypothesis later shown to be false). His work is known to have led to the discovery of Pluto in 1930, 14 years after Lowell died.

67 White-barked trees : ASPENS

The “quaking” aspen tree is so called because the structure of the leaves causes them to move easily in the wind, to “tremble, quake”.

Down

2 Popular Oldsmobile model of the 1980s-’90s : CIERA

Oldsmobile made the Cutlass Ciera from 1982 to 1996. The Ciera was the most successful model that bore the Oldsmobile badge.

3 With 20-Across, balance regulator : INNER …
(20A See 3-Down : … EAR )

The eardrum lies at the intersection of the outer ear and middle ear. Also called the tympanic membrane, the eardrum picks up vibrations in air caused by sound waves, and transmits these vibrations to three tiny bones called “ossicles”. These ossicles (hammer, anvil and stirrup) are in the middle ear, and transmit the vibration to an oval window. The oval window is the membrane-covered opening lying at the intersection of the middle ear and the inner ear. The vibrations are transmitted into fluid in the inner ear, and converted into nerve impulses in the cochlea that are transmitted to the brain.

4 Tiny beef : NIT

A beef is a complaint or a grievance. It’s not quite clear how “beef” came to have this meaning, but one suggestion is that it derives from the habit of soldiers at the end of the 1800s complaining about the quality or availability of beef in their rations.

5 Feds : G-MEN

The nickname “G-men” is short for “government men” and refers to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

6 Title with a tilde : SENORA

In Spanish, a “dama” (lady) might be referred to as “Señora” (Mrs.).

7 “Get a room!” elicitor, for short : PDA

Public display of affection (PDA)

9 Hindu god of destruction : SIVA

Shiva (also “Siva”) is one of the major deities of the Hindu tradition, and is known as the destroyer of evil and the transformer. Shiva is also part of the Hindu trinity known as the Trimurti, along with Brahma and Vishnu.

10 Some reds : CLARETS

Clairet is a dark rosé wine. Although it is uncommon today, clairet used to be the most common wine produced in the Bordeaux region of France. For centuries now, English consumers have used the derivative term “claret” to describe any red wine from Bordeaux.

11 Languish : AIL

Languor, lassitude, lethargy and listlessness are such lovely words. All are L-words describing a lack of physical energy.

12 Romania’s currency : LEU

The currency of Romania is the leu (plural “lei”), a word meaning “lion”. The leu is also the name of the currency of neighboring Moldova. Romania joined the European Union in 2007, and had planned to join the Eurozone in 2014. This implementation date was missed, and Romania continues to struggle to meet economic goals set by the EU.

17 Dipstick : 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”.

22 Serenader on a pea-green boat, in rhyme : OWL

“The Owl and the Pussycat” is a poem by Edward Lear first published in 1871. It tells of an owl and a pussycat who set out to sea in a pea-green boat with honey and plenty of money wrapped in a five pound note.

26 “The ___: Generation Q,” sequel series starting in 2019 : L WORD

“The L Word” is a Showtime drama series. The show deals with lesbian, bisexual and transgender people living in West Hollywood. “The L word” reference is to “lesbian”.

27 Shiny fabrics : LAMES

Lamé is a fabric that has metallic yarns included in the weave. Lamé is a popular fabric for stylish evening wear, and also in the sport of fencing. The metallic threads are conductive and so help register a touch by an épée.

30 Request that’s risky if you’re over 18? : HIT ME

“Stand” and “hit me” are instructions to the dealer in the card game Blackjack. The instruction “stand” means “I don’t want any more cards, I’ll use these”. The instruction “hit me” means “please deal me another card”.

32 Pink alcoholic drink, familiarly : COSMO

Like so many famous cocktails, the actual origins of the cosmopolitan are disputed. It is a nice drink. One of the standard recipes is 4 parts citrus vodka, 1.5 parts Cointreau, 1.5 parts lime juice and 3 parts cranberry juice.

34 Peter of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” : LORRE

The marvelous actor Peter Lorre was born in what is now modern-day Slovakia. Lorre’s real name was Laszlo Lowenstein. He started acting in Vienna when he was quite young, only 17 years old. When Hitler came to power, the Jewish Lowenstein headed to Paris and then London, eventually ending up in Hollywood. Lorre found himself typecast as the wicked foreigner in American movies, but I think he sneered and snarled his way to the bank.

In the 1954 movie “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, Captain Nemo goes down with his ship. In the novel by Jules Verne, the fate of Nemo and his crew isn’t quite so cut and dry, although the inference is perhaps that they did indeed head for Davy Jones’ Locker.

39 Salinger title girl : ESME

J. D. Salinger wrote a short story called “For Esmé – with Love and Squalor” that was originally published in “The New Yorker” in 1950. It is a story about a young English girl called Esme and an American soldier, and is set in WWII.

42 Popular salad dressing : ITALIAN

Don’t try asking for Italian dressing in Italy, as it’s a North American invention. Italians are fond of dressing their salads with olive oil, vinegar, salt and maybe some black pepper. Try it!

46 Jon Arbuckle’s dog : ODIE

Jon Arbuckle is a fictional character, and the owner of Odie from Jim Davis’s comic strip “Garfield”. Garfield is Arbuckle’s orange tabby cat. Odie is his less-than-smart beagle.

47 Issuance from an American embassy : US VISA

A visa is usually a stamp in one’s passport, an indication that one is authorized to enter (and less often, to exit) a particular country. The word “visa” comes into English, via French, from the Latin expression “charta visa” meaning “paper that has been seen”, or “verified paper”.

51 QB protectors, informally : O-LINE

Offensive line (O-line)

52 Dish served with a spoon and chopsticks : RAMEN

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.

57 Grandson of Adam and Eve : ENOS

Enos was the son of Seth, and therefore the grandson of Adam and Eve, and nephew of Cain and Abel. According to the ancient Jewish work called the Book of Jubilees, Enos married his own sister Noam.

60 Commercial lead-in to mart : WAL-

Walmart (previously “Wal-Mart”) takes in more revenue than any other publicly traded company in the world. Over in my homeland, Walmart operates under the name Asda. Walmart’s worldwide headquarters are in Bentonville, Arkansas, the home of Sam Walton’s original Five and Dime. You can actually go into the original store, as it is now the Walmart Visitor Center.

61 Basic bio subject : RNA

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is an essential catalyst in the manufacture of proteins in the body. The genetic code in DNA determines the sequence of amino acids that make up each protein. That sequence is read in DNA by messenger RNA, and amino acids are delivered for protein manufacture in the correct sequence by transfer RNA. The amino acids are then formed into proteins by ribosomal RNA.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Finishing touches, of a sort : ICINGS
7 Bases make up a part of it : PH SCALE
14 Dr. Evil’s little clone in the “Austin Powers” films : MINI-ME
15 Dainty dining decorations : DOILIES
16 *An old wedding dress might have this : SENTIMENTAL VALUE
18 With 19-Across, heretofore : ERE …
19 See 18-Across : … NOW
20 See 3-Down : … EAR
21 Root in Polynesian cuisine : TARO
23 Custom auto accessories : RIMS
25 First name in jazz : ELLA
29 *”Er … um …” : WHAT I MEANT WAS …
32 Relatives of violas : CELLI
35 “So cool!” : AWESOME!
36 Kitchen brand : OXO
37 Carrier of sleeping sickness : TSETSE
40 Mens ___ (legal term) : REA
41 Pinches pennies : SCRIMPS
43 “Why ___ thou promise such a beauteous day”: Shak. : DIDST
45 *Mickey’s rival for Minnie’s affection : MORTIMER MOUSE
48 Super’s apartment, often : ONE-A
49 Multivolume ref. works : OEDS
50 Disgruntled : SORE
54 ___ cit. (footnote abbr.) : LOC
56 “So ___ heard” : I’VE
58 It can be broken, but not fixed : LAW
59 Classic young adult novel … or hint to the path taken by four letters in the answers to the starred clues : A WRINKLE IN TIME
64 Cure-all : PANACEA
65 Longhorn rival : SOONER
66 Hypothetical solar system body beyond Neptune : PLANET X
67 White-barked trees : ASPENS

Down

1 “All good here” : I’M SET
2 Popular Oldsmobile model of the 1980s-’90s : CIERA
3 With 20-Across, balance regulator : INNER …
4 Tiny beef : NIT
5 Feds : G-MEN
6 Title with a tilde : SENORA
7 “Get a room!” elicitor, for short : PDA
8 Ring-shaped cutters attached to drills : HOLE SAWS
9 Hindu god of destruction : SIVA
10 Some reds : CLARETS
11 Languish : AIL
12 Romania’s currency : LEU
13 -speak : -ESE
17 Dipstick : TWIT
22 Serenader on a pea-green boat, in rhyme : OWL
24 Beef, e.g. : MEAT
26 “The ___: Generation Q,” sequel series starting in 2019 : L WORD
27 Shiny fabrics : LAMES
28 “Please, have ___” : A SEAT
30 Request that’s risky if you’re over 18? : HIT ME
31 Must-haves : NEEDS
32 Pink alcoholic drink, familiarly : COSMO
33 Former inmate : EX-CON
34 Peter of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” : LORRE
38 It’s got teeth : SPROCKET
39 Salinger title girl : ESME
42 Popular salad dressing : ITALIAN
44 -y, pluralized : -IES
46 Jon Arbuckle’s dog : ODIE
47 Issuance from an American embassy : US VISA
51 QB protectors, informally : O-LINE
52 Dish served with a spoon and chopsticks : RAMEN
53 Big pitchers : EWERS
55 A while ago : ONCE
57 Grandson of Adam and Eve : ENOS
59 College ___ (something that might include an SAT score) : APP
60 Commercial lead-in to mart : WAL-
61 Basic bio subject : RNA
62 Loosey-goosey : LAX
63 One-up : TOP

23 thoughts on “0820-20 NY Times Crossword 20 Aug 20, Thursday”

  1. 22:55. First again. This is my busiest time of year which is why I’ve been up so late recently. Sometimes I get working on a project, and there really isn’t a good or convenient place to stop so I keep going. Full disclosure I’ve been sleeping in in the mornings as well. I need to get back on schedule some day soon.

    I never really got the theme until it was too late to help me. I should have looked more closely for it instead of waiting for it to just come to me.

    I guess Romanian is still a Romance language so it surprises me that “u” is a plural ending. One of many reasons I don’t understand Romanian..

    Best –

    1. Thx, Buck-buck. Yes, another case of more haste, less speed. All fixed now. Thanks for taking the time to point out the slip.

  2. 13:36, no errors. Cute.

    And yes, @Buck-buck is right about PDA. I think @Bill just managed to grab the wrong entry out of his “comments” database. (Honestly, I don’t see how Bill manages to do the NYT and LAT puzzles and create blog pages for both of them, every single day, with so few errors. It would take me all day!)

    1. I believe that Bill gets early access to some of the puzzles. A few years ago a grid and comments for a puzzle dated a week or so in the future was publish, and later removed . I think that Bill’s times are honest, and I don’t see any problem with getting them early.

    1. Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 🥃 is one of my favorite Scotches. But I don’t think it would help my solving. 🤪

    2. Duncan – Been there.

      I attempted a pretty easy Wednesday puzzle a couple of years ago after a long night out on the Vegas Strip. My eyes were tired so I closed them for a few seconds. When I woke up 48 minutes later the clock was still ticking. To this day, my Wednesday stats on the NYT app are skewed because of it.

      Best –

  3. 23:12. I kind of figured out the theme but just filled in the “missing” letters in my head. Had to read Bill’s blog to see that my missing letters were in the row above. Cute.

  4. 27:23 Like @Steve, I figured out that the IM was missing (took me a while to get there tho) but also did not realize they were in the line above. Spent a long time in the SW corner. Nothing seemed to make sense. Also had DOEST and that didn’t ring true. Only after the final walk-thru didst I realize it was DIDST and then I got the chimes.

    Why weren’t you guys solving puzzles while drinking 32D – COSMOs?? Emoji Emoji Bet I can guess the answer. – Not sure my drinks with umbrellas in them will actually show. Might have to figure out how to get the emojis in-line.

  5. I don’t usually do the Thursday puzzle. But today I took a glance at it and it seemed pretty easy. So I went ahead and worked it. My impression turned out to be correct. It was pretty easy. No errors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.