0821-20 NY Times Crossword 21 Aug 20, Friday

Constructed by: Alex Eaton-Salners
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer(s): Saint Basil’s Cathedral

Themed answers relate to SAINT BASIL’S CATHEDRAL in Moscow. And, we have some grid art, with black squares defining an ONION DOME:

  • 5A With 17-Across, landmark consecrated in 1561 : SAINT …
  • 17A See 5-Across : … BASIL’S CATHEDRAL
  • 26D Where to find 5-/17-Across : RED SQUARE
  • 35D Prominent feature of 5-/17-Across depicted in this puzzle’s grid : ONION DOME

Bill’s time: 12m 24s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Best-selling crime novelist Caleb : CARR

One of Caleb Carr’s novels is a latter-day Sherlock Holmes mystery called “The Italian Secretary”. The novel was written as a homage to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (using the Holmes character with the permission of the Doyle estate). I am a big fan of Sherlock Holmes stories, so I must put this one on my reading list …

5 With 17-Across, landmark consecrated in 1561 : SAINT …
(17 See 5-Across : … BASIL’S CATHEDRAL)

10 Shindig : BASH

“Shindig” is such a lovely word, I think, and one describing a party that usually includes some dancing. Although its origin isn’t really clear, the term perhaps comes from “shinty”, a Scottish game similar to field hockey.

14 It has 12 territories in Risk : ASIA

Risk is a fabulous board game that was introduced in France in 1957. It was invented by a very successful French director of short films called Albert Lamorisse. Lamorisse called his new game “La Conquête du Monde”, which translates into English as “The Conquest of the World”. A game of Risk is a must during the holidays in our house …

15 Paul ___, pioneer in graph theory : ERDOS

Paul Erdős was a famous Hungarian mathematician, and a very prolific writer. Erdős published more papers than any other mathematician in history.

16 Taurus, for one : AUTO

The Taurus is an incredibly successful car that was introduced by Ford in 1985. The Taurus was the successor to the Ford LTD, and is still in production today. The Taurus was the best-selling automobile in the US between 1992 and 1996, before being knocked off its pedestal by Japanese imports.

22 Danced to un bandoneón : TANGOED

The dramatic dance called the tango originated in the late 1800s in the area along the border between Argentina and Uruguay. Dancers and orchestras from Buenos Aires in particular traveled to Europe and beyond in the early twentieth century and brought the tango with them. The tango craze first struck Europe in Paris in the 1910s, and from there spread to London and Berlin, crossing the Atlantic to New York in 1913.

23 Things formed at the bases of dog-ears : CREASES

The folded-down corner of the page of a book, a temporary placeholder, is known as a “dog-ear”. I suppose that’s because it looks like the ear of a dog …

25 “Grand Old Opry” airer : TNN

I think the “Old” in the clue should read “Ole” …

The Nashville Network (TNN) was a country music cable channel that operated from 1983 to 2003. When TNN closed down it was relaunched with a completely different format as Spike, which was marketed as “the first television channel for men”.

The Grand Ole Opry started out as a radio show in 1925 originally called the WSM “Barn Dance”. In 1927, the “Barn Dance” radio show was broadcast in a slot after an NBC production called “Musical Appreciation Hour”, a collection of classical works including Grand Opera. In a December show, the host of “Barn Dance” announced, “For the past hour, we have been listening to music taken largely from Grand Opera. From now on we will present the ‘Grand Ole Opry'”. That name was used for the radio show from then on.

26 Helen with the 1972 #1 hit “I Am Woman” : REDDY

The successful singer Helen Reddy was born in Melbourne, Australia. In 1966, Reddy won a talent contest and earned herself a trip to New York City for an audition. The 25-year-old single mother decided to stay in the US, and a few years later was able to launch a successful singing career. Her hit song “I Am Woman”, released in 1972, was the first recording by an Australian artist to reach #1 in the US charts.

37 Company whose headquarters were the world’s tallest building for nearly 25 years : SEARS

Sears made a big splash in the world’s newspapers in 1974 when it completed its new headquarters in Chicago, the Sears Tower. At 110 stories, it was the tallest building in the world, and remained so until the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur were completed in 1996. Sears moved out of the building in 1993, but had the rights to the name on the building until early 2009. Since that time, the building has been called the Willis Tower, after the new owners.

Richard Sears was a station agent on the railroad. In the late 1800s, he bought up a shipment of unwanted watches that was left at his depot and sold the watches to other agents up and down the line. He was so successful that he ordered more watches and then came up with the idea of using a catalog to promote more sales. The catalog idea caught on, and his success allowed Sears to open retail locations in 1925. By the mid 1900s, Sears was the biggest retailer in the whole country.

39 ___ Combs a.k.a. Diddy : SEAN

When Sean John Combs started his rapping career, he used the stage name “Puff Daddy”. Then he went with “P. Diddy”, and I think that he is now recording simply as “Diddy”. Having said that, he has to stick with “P. Diddy” in some countries as he lost a legal battle over use of the simpler “Diddy” name as there is another artist called Richard “Diddy” Dearlove.

40 Part of the cabinet since 2002, for short : DHS

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was created in 2002 after the September 11th attacks. Today, the DHS has over 200,000 employees making it the third largest department in the cabinet (the biggest employers are the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs). The formation of the DHS was the biggest government reorganization in US history, with 22 government agencies drawn into a single organization.

43 Stat affected by smog levels: Abbr. : AQI

The air quality index (AQI) is monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“Smog” is a portmanteau formed by melding “smoke” and “fog”. The term was first used to describe the air around London in the early 1900s. Several cities around the world have a reputation of being particularly smoggy. For example, the most smog-plagued city in Latin America is Mexico City, which is located in a highland “bowl” that traps industrial and vehicle pollution.

47 “How goes it?” equivalent : QUE PASA?

In Spanish, ¿Qué pasa? translates literally as “what’s happening?” It is used to mean “how are things going for you?”.

51 “The Point,” in brief : USMA

West Point is a military reservation in New York State, located north of New York City. West Point was first occupied by the Continental Army way back in 1778, making it the longest, continually-occupied military post in the country. Cadet training has taken place at the garrison since 1794, although Congress funding for a US Military Academy (USMA) didn’t start until 1802. The first female cadets were admitted to West Point in 1976, and as of 2018, about 15% of all new cadets were women.

54 ___ Speaker (Parliament title) : LORD

The UK Parliament is divided into two houses, with the upper house known as the House of Lords and the lower house as the House of Commons. The members of the House of Commons are elected, but most new members of the House of Lords are appointed. Historically, a large proportion of the membership of the upper house were hereditary peers, but recent legislative changes are reducing the numbers who can sit in the House of Lords by virtue of birthright.

57 Cuomo, for one: Abbr. : GOV

58 Cuomo, for one : MARIO

Mario Cuomo was Governor of New York from 1983 to 1994. I well remember Mario Cuomo’s keynote address to the 1984 Democratic National Convention soon after I moved to America. For a new immigrant it was an interesting glimpse into American politics. Here’s a little bit of trivia about Mario Cuomo: he was the first ever guest for Larry King on his CNN talk show “Larry King Live”, back in 1985. Cuomo passed away in January 2015 at the age of 82.

59 Related to the kidneys : RENAL

Something described as renal is related to the kidneys. “Ren” is the Latin word for “kidney”.

61 State that borders Bhutan : ASSAM

Assam is a state in the far northeast of India, and just south of the Himalayas. Assam is noted for its tea, as well as its silk.

Bhutan is a landlocked country in South Asia. It is located high up in the Eastern Himalayas between China to the north and India to the south, east and west. Bhutan has been a constitutional monarchy since 2008, and has been ranked by “Businessweek” as the “happiest” country in Asia.

62 Imported European wheels : EDAMS

Edam cheese takes its name from the Dutch town of Edam in North Holland. The cheese is famous for its coating of red paraffin wax, a layer of protection that helps Edam travel well and prevents spoiling. You might occasionally come across an Edam cheese that is coated in black wax. The black color indicates that the underlying cheese has been aged for a minimum of 17 weeks.

Down

1 Notable voyager of 1497 : CABOT

Giovanni Caboto (known in English as “John Cabot”) was an Italian explorer. Cabot is believed to have been the first European to visit North America since the Vikings landed here in the 11th century. Many say that he landed in Newfoundland in 1497.

2 Position that might require flexibility : ASANA

“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”.

3 Like the dough for naan, but not for roti : RISEN

In an Indian restaurant, naan bread is very popular. Roti is an unleavened cousin of naan.

5 Sonnet’s conclusion : SESTET

A sestet is a group of six lines of poetry. It is similar to a quatrain, a group of four lines.

A sonnet is a 14-line poem with a specific structure and rhyming scheme. A popular rhyming scheme for what is known as the Italian sonnet is ABBA, ABBA, CDECDE. Compare this with the Shakespearean sonnet which rhymes as ABAB, CDCD, EFEF, GG.

7 Home of Sawtooth Natl. Forest : IDA

Sawtooth National Forest is located almost completely in Idaho, with 4% of its area spilling over into Utah. Named for the Sawtooth Mountains that cross it, the area was set aside for the nation in a proclamation signed by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1905.

8 Insensitive, in a way : NOT PC

Non-politically correct (non-PC)

10 Area of South Dakota : BADLANDS

Badlands may be “bad lands” for agriculture (hence the name), but they can be beautiful. A badlands is an extensive area from which the topsoil has been eroded by wind and water, leaving exposed rock and very little vegetation. One of the most beautiful badlands in the US is preserved for the nation as South Dakota’s Badlands National Park.

11 Things examined by psychics : 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”.

13 17 and 18, but not 19 or 20 : HOLES

There’s an urban myth that the standard number of holes on a golf course is 18 because it takes 18 shots to polish off a fifth of scotch whisky. However, the truth is that the standard number of holes in the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland happened to settle down over time at 18, and that standard was adopted all around the world.

19 Disney’s princess of Avalor : ELENA

“Elena of Avalor” is a Disney Channel TV show about a Latina princess and her family. The title character is a 16-year-old crowned princess of the magical king of Avalor.

26 Where to find 5-/17-Across : RED SQUARE

I made it to Russia only once in my life, and it was a memorable trip. I saw all the sites in and around Red Square in Moscow, but couldn’t get in to visit Lenin’s Tomb. It was closed for renovations …

28 Shakespearean character who says “His unkindness may defeat my life, / But never taint my love” : DESDEMONA

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.

34 Establishments that might offer margaritas : TAQUERIAS

No one seems to know for sure who first created the cocktail known as a margarita. The most plausible and oft-quoted is that it was invented in 1941 in Ensenada, Mexico. The barman mixed the drink for an important visitor, the daughter of the German ambassador. The daughter’s name was Margarita Henkel, and she lent her name to the new drink. The basic recipe for a margarita is a mixture of tequila, orange-flavored liqueur (like Cointreau) and lime juice.

35 Prominent feature of 5-/17-Across depicted in this puzzle’s grid : ONION DOME

The onion dome is a common form for church domes in Russia and Orthodox churches across the globe.

37 “Semper Fidelis” composer : SOUSA

John Philip Sousa was a composer and conductor from Washington, D.C. Sousa was well known for his patriotic marches and earned himself the nickname “The American March King”. He served as a member of the US Marine Band from 1868 to 1875, and after leaving the Marines learned to conduct and compose. One of the Sousa compositions that is well-known around the world is called “The Liberty Bell”, a tune used as the musical theme for BBC Television’s “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”. Sousa also wrote “Semper Fidelis”, which is the official march of the US Marine Corps.

“Semper Fidelis” (often abbreviated to “Semper Fi”) is the motto of the United States Marine Corps (USMC). The phrase is Latin and means “Always Faithful”. The US Marine Corps isn’t the only military unit using “Semper Fidelis” as a motto. It’s also used by the Portuguese Marine Corps, the Republic of China Marine Corps and the Swiss Grenadiers.

38 “Gnossiennes” composer : SATIE

The “Gnossiennes” is a set of seven piano pieces written by French composer Erik 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”.

41 N.C.A.A. eligibility consideration : GPA

Grade point average (GPA)

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) dates back to the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. When his son broke his nose playing football at Harvard, President Roosevelt turned his attention to the number of serious injuries and even deaths occurring in college sports. He instigated meetings between the major educational institutions, leading to the formation of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS) in 1906, which was given the remit of regulating college sports. The IAAUS became the NCAA in 1910. The NCAA has been headquartered in Indianapolis since 1999.

42 Court cry : LET!

In tennis, a let service is one in which the ball lands fairly but after hitting the top of the net. A let service is retaken.

48 ___ Games : PAN-AM

The Pan American (Pan-Am) Games are held every four years, the year just before the Summer Olympic Games. The participating athletes all come from the Americas.

56 A couple of million? : ELS

There are a couple of letters L (els) in the word “million”.

58 Yoga convenience : MAT

In the West, we tend to think of yoga as just a physical discipline, a means of exercise that uses specific poses to stretch and strengthen muscles. While it is true that the ancient Indian practice of yoga does involve such physical discipline, the corporeal aspect of the practice plays a relatively small part in the whole philosophy. Other major components are meditation, ethical behavior, breathing and contemplation.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Best-selling crime novelist Caleb : CARR
5 With 17-Across, landmark consecrated in 1561 : SAINT …
10 Shindig : BASH
14 It has 12 territories in Risk : ASIA
15 Paul ___, pioneer in graph theory : ERDOS
16 Taurus, for one : AUTO
17 See 5-Across : … BASIL’S CATHEDRAL
20 Unvarying : ONE-NOTE
21 Sack : PILLAGE
22 Danced to un bandoneón : TANGOED
23 Things formed at the bases of dog-ears : CREASES
24 ___-out clause : OPT
25 “Grand Old Opry” airer : TNN
26 Helen with the 1972 #1 hit “I Am Woman” : REDDY
29 Word with dirty or dream : … JOB
32 Beef up : ADD TO
36 Split personalities? : EXES
37 Company whose headquarters were the world’s tallest building for nearly 25 years : SEARS
39 ___ Combs a.k.a. Diddy : SEAN
40 Part of the cabinet since 2002, for short : DHS
41 Faced facts : GOT REAL
43 Stat affected by smog levels: Abbr. : AQI
44 Showing signs of tear? : SAD
45 Beat : PULSATE
46 Two : DUO
47 “How goes it?” equivalent : QUE PASA?
49 Island locale : KITCHEN
51 “The Point,” in brief : USMA
52 Align : AGREE
54 ___ Speaker (Parliament title) : LORD
55 Pay (for) : ATONE
57 Cuomo, for one: Abbr. : GOV
58 Cuomo, for one : MARIO
59 Related to the kidneys : RENAL
60 Christmas ___ : EVE
61 State that borders Bhutan : ASSAM
62 Imported European wheels : EDAMS
63 Place to lie low : DEN
64 Possible answer to “Which ones?” : THESE

Down

1 Notable voyager of 1497 : CABOT
2 Position that might require flexibility : ASANA
3 Like the dough for naan, but not for roti : RISEN
4 For whom some spiritual dances are performed : RAIN GODS
5 Sonnet’s conclusion : SESTET
6 Bowed : ARCED
7 Home of Sawtooth Natl. Forest : IDA
8 Insensitive, in a way : NOT PC
9 Bit of concert merchandise : T-SHIRT
10 Area of South Dakota : BADLANDS
11 Things examined by psychics : AURAS
12 Rocket part : STAGE
13 17 and 18, but not 19 or 20 : HOLES
18 Out of it : LOOPY
19 Disney’s princess of Avalor : ELENA
26 Where to find 5-/17-Across : RED SQUARE
27 Beat : EXHAUSTED
28 Shakespearean character who says “His unkindness may defeat my life, / But never taint my love” : DESDEMONA
29 Suffering from desynchronosis : JET-LAGGED
30 Props for some beach house décor, maybe : OARS
31 Cover the costs, but that’s all : BREAK EVEN
33 One not to beat : DEAD HORSE
34 Establishments that might offer margaritas : TAQUERIAS
35 Prominent feature of 5-/17-Across depicted in this puzzle’s grid : ONION DOME
37 “Semper Fidelis” composer : SOUSA
38 “Gnossiennes” composer : SATIE
41 N.C.A.A. eligibility consideration : GPA
42 Court cry : LET!
48 ___ Games : PAN-AM
50 Come to blows : CLASH
53 Meander : ROVE
56 A couple of million? : ELS
58 Yoga convenience : MAT

15 thoughts on “0821-20 NY Times Crossword 21 Aug 20, Friday”

  1. 31:36 with one lookup to help me open up the NW Corner. I had 1D as PINTA for the longest time and that had me Guess NICOLA as the cathedral. Nothing else seemed to fit and I stared a lot. Was going to guess 1A as PARR and in the end “most” of that was right. Also wanted 2d as ASANA early on, but that clashed with NICOLA. So I struggled there a lot. Think I’ll imprint Saint Basil’s in my brain now. Actually, it took a while to suss out the NE as well. I was stuck in several places. Amazing, at times, how one word can open things up – SEARS, for example in the center.

    A bit unusual for a Fri. to be themed

  2. 16:36, no errors. Cool puzzle. It’s nice to see Paul Erdős make an appearance in a puzzle. A great mathematician and a very strange and interesting fellow. He was completely out of my league, but I can say that I knew people who knew him and worked with him during his occasional visits to Boulder, CO.

    (And I couldn’t get the correct diacritical mark over the “o” in his name until I cut and pasted it from Google. I hope it comes out right when I hit “POST COMMENT” … 😳.)

  3. 32:31 A lot of answers I was unfamiliar with, made several well placed guesses, but for once, less than an hour time on a Friday. For me, that’s an accomplishment in itself!

  4. 33:15. I struggled with this one. Would have been quite a bit faster if I had spelled Helen REDDY instead of READY. That really messed up my SW corner.

  5. 24:20. Indeed a themed Friday puzzle is odd. I guess the only rule in crosswords is that there are no rules.

    ERDOS being odd is an understatement. He was so prolific that there’s such a thing as an ERDOS number – similar to the 6 degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon – about how removed a mathemeticion was from ERDOS’ work. I guess Nonny’s ERDOS number would be 2 since he knew people who worked with him.

    I had three stints over in Russia, one of which was a six month stretch on business. SAINT BASILS CATHEDRAL is probably the most recognizable building in the country. However, inside it is pretty barren. For each ONION DOME there’s a small prayer room or something with a concrete floor, and you can look all the way up to the actual ONION DOME like a big empty silo with brick walls.

    And to Bill’s experience – I went inside Lenin’s tomb one time. There’s no schedule. Just sometimes it opens and people flock. You aren’t allowed to take photos or even stop and look at him closely. You just have to keep walking.

    They say it’s to keep the lines moving and maximize the number of people who can see him. I say it’s because whatever is lying down there is NOT Lenin. It’s a Madam Tussaud’s quality wax figure. No way was that a real person. Also, Lenin was about 5’0″ if that was him.

    Fun puzzle. Didn’t even recognize the ONION DOME in the grid until Bill pointed it out.

    Best –

  6. FWIW… I had. FORD TAURUS when I was stationed germany. It’s been around long before the 80’s. Maybe not in the US but it was in Europe before the 80’s. 4 speed on the column. Reverse had a push button on the hear shift. Also had the bright headlight switch in the turn signal long before the US final went from the floor to the turn signal. Anyone remember stomping on the floor trying to dim your lights? Good times.

  7. 32:00. No lookups. Actually I always declare a DNF before any lookup. My ‘74 VW Beetle had the bright switch on the stick, and I thought “how ingenious are these Germans”? Other novel features,too. Of course the “heater” was horrible. Once I was stuck in Iowa with 8 below temperatures and the cable snapped! What a TRIP!

  8. 41:04 no errors…I had Saint Peters Cathedral but that didn’t work…also got 34D via crosses as I do with so many foreign clues.
    Stay safe😀

  9. Only had half a dozen fills in the first 20 to 30 minutes, but things finally broke loose and I finished with no errors. YAY!!

    This would normally mean bad luck at the Friday night poker tournament, but of course poker is on hiatus at Covid Casino.

  10. 23:36, no errors. Beautiful, perfectly symmetrical puzzle. As with others, I fell into several rabbit holes. NON-PC before NOT PC; BULL before AUTO; and some type of BASILICA in 17A. Familiar with the TANGO but totally in the dark about what ‘un bandoneón’ was. Learned something new.

    1. No lookups for me. (If I have to look anything up to finish a puzzle, I mention it in my post about it.)

      Actually, I did a quick run-through of the clues and answers in this one and the only things I found that I would have been unsure of were TANGOED (which I guessed in the same way as Bruce), SATIE (which was easy to guess, even though I’ve never heard of the GNOSSIENNES, whatever they may be, but they sound French) and DESDEMONA (a name I “know“, but would not be able to relate to a specific Shakespeare play).

      Usually, there’s more than one way to come up with the entries in a crossword puzzle. That’s what makes them interesting and educational (though I will almost certainly have forgotten about those GNOSSI-thingies by tomorrow, at the latest … 😜).

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