0826-20 NY Times Crossword 26 Aug 20, Wednesday

Constructed by: Carl Larson
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Work Portfolio

Themed answers are common phrases reinterpreted as investments that a particular professional might own:

  • 34A Collection that demonstrates job skills … as suggested by 17-, 24-, 48- and 55-Across : WORK PORTFOLIO
  • 17A Investment for a humorist? : COMEDY GOLD
  • 24A Investment for a butcher? : BEEF STOCK
  • 48A Investment for a physicist? : IONIC BOND
  • 55A Investment for a restaurateur? : MENU OPTION

Bill’s time: 5m 30s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Redding who wrote “Respect” : OTIS

Otis Redding is often referred to as the “King of Soul”, and what a voice he had. Like so many of the greats in the world of popular music it seems, Redding was killed in a plane crash, in 1967 when he was just 26 years old. Just three days earlier he had recorded what was to be his biggest hit, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”.

“Respect” is a song by Otis Redding, and one that he recorded himself in 1965. It became a hit when Aretha Franklin made her famous cover version in 1967. The Redding and Franklin versions have different storylines though, and different musical “feels”.

5 New York’s ___ Lawrence College : SARAH

Sarah Lawrence College is a private school in Yonkers, New York that was established in 1926 by real-estate mogul William Van Duzer Lawrence. He named the institution in honor of his wife Sarah, who died that same year. The school was originally intended to provide an education in the arts and humanities for women students, although back then the curriculum included modeling, shorthand, typing and applying makeup. Things have changed a little since then …

15 Sauce that’s heavy on garlic … and vowels : 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.

16 “Thirtysomething” actor Ken : OLIN

Ken Olin was one of the stars on the hit television series “Thirtysomething”, playing Michael Steadman. After “Thirtysomething”, Olin moved behind the camera and is now a producer and director.

19 Word before curriculum or meltdown : CORE …

A curriculum (plural “curricula”) is a set of courses offered by a teaching establishment. “Curriculum” is Latin for “running, course”, and comes from “currere” meaning “to run”.

A loss-of-coolant accident in a nuclear reactor is often referred to as the “China syndrome”. The name is meant to reflect the severe meltdown with the core component burning through the Earth’s crust and reaching the opposite side of the planet. Well, that couldn’t happen …

20 Mila of “Bad Moms” : KUNIS

Mila Kunis is a Ukrainian-born, American actress who plays Jackie Burkhart on “That ’70s Show”. Fans of the cartoon series “Family Guy” might recognize her voicing the Meg Griffin character. In ”Black Swan”, Kunis plays a rival ballet dancer to the character played by Natalie Portman. In her personal life, Kunis dated Macaulay Culkin for 8 years, but married Ashton Kutcher, her co-star from “That 70s Show”, in 2015.

“Bad Moms” is a 2016 comedy movie about three stressed-out mothers who go on a fling, shirking their maternal responsibilities for a few days. Those “bad moms” are played by Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn.

23 Vacation goal, in brief : R AND R

A vacation (“vacay”) might provide some rest and relaxation/recuperation (R&R).

26 Constitution or Independence, in D.C. : AVE

Famously, the layout of the streets in Washington was designed by French-born American architect Pierre Charles L’Enfant. The L’Enfant Plan called for a grid of east-west and north-south streets. This grid was criss-crossed with diagonal avenues. The avenues and streets met at circles and rectangular plazas. Later, the diagonal avenues were named for states of the union.

27 Prepared to be knighted : KNELT

Kneel, and a monarch might “dub thee a knight” if you’re lucky. “Dub” is a specific term derived from Old English that was used to mean “make a knight”. As the knight was also given a knightly name at the same time, “dub” has come to mean “give someone a name”.

29 Election winner of 1908 : TAFT

William Howard Taft may have been the 27th President of the United States, but his lifelong ambition was to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. President Taft was able to realize that dream in 1921, eight years after losing his bid for re-election as president. As Chief Justice, this former US President swore in two new presidents: Calvin Coolidge (in 1925) and Herbert Hoover (in 1929). William Howard Taft is also remembered as the most obese president. In the last year of his presidency, he weighed about 340 pounds (he was 5 feet 11 inches tall). Twelve months after leaving the White House, President Taft had dropped 80 pounds and substantially lowered his blood pressure.

30 Lucretia ___, pioneer in women’s rights : MOTT

Lucretia Coffin Mott (what a name!) was an American Quaker, and an advocate for women’s rights. Mott has been called the first American “feminist”. Her first job was teaching in the Quaker school in which she was educated. There she learned that her salary was to be one third of that paid to the males with the same job (she married one of the male teachers!). That injustice initiated her interest in women’s rights.

32 T-Mobile competitor: Abbr. : ATT

The American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T, Ma Bell) was a subsidiary of the original Bell Telephone Company that was founded by Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone. AT&T was forced to divest several subsidiaries in 1982 when the company lost an antitrust lawsuit. Those subsidiaries were known as Regional Bell Operating Systems, or “Baby Bells”.

T-Mobile is a German telecommunications company, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. Deutsche Telekom has used the “T” prefix for a number of its services, including T-Com, T-Online and T-Home.

33 The Diamondbacks, on scoreboards : ARI

The Arizona Diamondbacks (also “D-backs”) joined Major League Baseball’s National League in 1998. By winning the World Series in 2001, the Diamondbacks became the fastest expansion team to do so in Major League history.

39 What makes car care? : AN E

Add a letter E to “car” and we get “care”.

40 Gardner of old Hollywood : AVA

Ava Gardner is noted for her association with some big movies, but also for her association with some big names when it came to the men in her life. In the world of film, she appeared in the likes of “Mogambo” (1953), “On the Beach” (1959), “The Night of the Iguana” (1964) and “Earthquake” (1974). The men in her life included husbands Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw and Frank Sinatra.

41 Strategic objective soon after the D-Day invasion : ST-LO

Saint-Lô is a town in Normandy that was occupied by Germany in 1940. Saint-Lo stood at a strategic crossroads and so there was intense fighting there during the Normandy invasion of 1944. After a prolonged bombardment, very little of the town was left standing.

The most famous D-Day in history was June 6, 1944, the date of the Normandy landings in WWII. The term “D-Day” is used by the military to designate the day on which a combat operation is to be launched, especially when the actual date has yet to be determined. What D stands for seems to have been lost in the mists of time although the tradition is that D just stands for “Day”. In fact, the French have a similar term, “Jour J” (Day J), with a similar meaning. We also use H-Hour to denote the hour the attack is to commence.

43 Science fiction award : HUGO

The Hugo Awards are presented annually for excellence in science fiction and fantasy writing. The awards are named for Hugo Gernsback, founder of the sci-fi magazine “Amazing Stories”.

45 Part of Wonder Woman’s outfit : TIARA

Superhero Wonder Woman first appeared in print in 1941, in a publication from DC Comics. As she was created during WWII, Wonder Woman’s first foes were the axis powers. In the less realistic world her biggest foe was and still is Ares, a “baddie” named after the Greek mythological figure. Wonder Woman had several signature expressions, including “Merciful Minerva!”, “Suffering Sappho!” and “Great Hera!”. She also has several devices that she uses in her quest for justice, e.g. the Lasso of Truth, a pair of indestructible bracelets and a tiara that can be used as a deadly projectile. Wonder Woman uses the name “Diana Prince” when “out of uniform”.

47 “Aaron Burr, ___” (song from “Hamilton”) : SIR

“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.

50 Tequila source : AGAVE

The agave is a succulent plant found mainly in Mexico. Surprisingly (to me, anyway), the agave is unrelated to the cactus, and isn’t related to the aloe plant either. The blue agave is used in the production of tequila.

53 Working stiff : PROLE

George Orwell introduced us to the proles, the working class folk in his famous novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. Collectively, the proles make up the section of society known as the proletariat.

55 Investment for a restaurateur? : MENU OPTION

From the French, a “restaurateur” (without a letter N) owns or manages a “restaurant” (with a letter N).

59 In a bit : ANON

“Anon” originally meant “at once”, but the term’s meaning evolved into “soon” apparently just because the word was misused over time.

61 Adidas competitor : AVIA

The “Avia” brand name for athletic shoes was chosen as “avia” is the Latin word for “to fly”, and suggests the concept of aviation. Avia was founded in Oregon in 1979.

63 “The final frontier” : SPACE

The original “Star Trek” TV show opened each episode with a speech from Captain Kirk, played by William Shatner:

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Down

1 Dungeons & Dragons meanie : ORC

Orcs are mythical humanoid creatures that appear in the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien. Since Tolkien’s use of orcs, they have also been featured in other fantasy fiction as well as in fantasy video games.

Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is a complex role-playing game (RPG) introduced in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules Incorporated (TSR). Dungeons & Dragons was probably the first of the modern role-playing games to be developed, and the most successful. It is still played by lots of people today, including my youngest son …

5 Simon ___ : SAYS

“Simon Says” is a kids’ game. The idea is for the players of the game to obey the “controller” who gives instructions. But the players should only obey when the controller uses the words, “Simon says …”. The game has very old roots, with a Latin version that uses the words “Cicero dicit fac hoc” (Cicero says do this).

6 Big inits. in finance : AIG

“AIG” is an initialism used by the American International Group, a giant insurance corporation. After repeated bailouts by American taxpayers starting in 2008, the company made some serious PR blunders by spending large amounts of money on executive entertainment and middle management rewards. These included a $444,000 California retreat, an $86,000 hunting trip in England, and a $343,000 getaway to a luxury resort in Phoenix. Poor judgment, I’d say …

7 Aussie animal : ROO

The word “kangaroo” comes from the Australian Aborigine term for the animal. There’s an oft-quoted story that the explorer James Cook (later Captain Cook) asked a local native what was the name of this remarkable-looking animal, and the native responded with “Kangaroo”. The story is that the native was actually saying “I don’t understand you”, but as cute as that tale is, it’s just an urban myth.

10 “Dinner” preceder on a dinner invitation : COCKTAILS

Our word “cocktail” first appeared in the early 1800s. The exact origin of the term is not clear, but it is thought to be a corruption of the French word “coquetier” meaning “egg cup”, a container that was used at that time for serving mixed drinks.

18 Old-fashioned weapon for hand-to-hand combat : DIRK

“Dirk” is a Scots word meaning “dagger”, and is the name given to a knife that is worn hanging from a belt in traditional dress that includes a kilt. The dagger worn in a Scotsman’s sock isn’t a dirk (a popular misconception) but rather is called a “sgian dubh”, which translates as “a black or hidden knife”.

22 Dodger beater in the 2017 World Series : ASTRO

The Houston baseball team changed its name to the Astros (sometimes “’Stros”) from the Colt .45s in 1965 when they started playing in the Astrodome. The Astrodome was so called in recognition of the city’s long association with the US space program. The Astros moved from the National League to the American League starting in the 2013 season.

23 Zodiac animal after fishes : RAM

Aries the Ram is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, and is named after the constellation. Your birth sign is Aries if you were born between March 21 and April 20, but if you are an Aries you would know that! “Aries” is the Latin word for “ram”.

25 Chicago transport choice : EL TRAIN

Elevated railroad (El)

31 What Hamlet meets in Act V of “Hamlet” : TRAGIC END

The full title of William Shakespeare’s play that we tend to call “Hamlet” is “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”. It is the most performed of all Shakespeare’s plays and it is also his longest, the only one of his works comprising over 4,000 lines. That’s about a 4-hour sitting in a theater …

35 Unwanted engine sound : KNOCK

Pinging is also known as “engine knocking”. It is a metallic sound, created when not all of the fuel-air mixture is detonated by the spark plug, with some of it detonated late in the cycle. The late detonation causes the knocking/pinging sound. Additives (anti-knock agents) in gasoline can help reduce the chances of pinging.

36 It might be muted : TV AD

Oh yeah …

38 Staple of Mediterranean cuisine : OLIVE OIL

The olive tree developed in and around the Mediterranean Basin, but has been cultivated in many locations around the world for thousands of years. The fruit of the olive tree is prized as a foodstuff, as well as a source of olive oil. Our word “oil” ultimately derives from the Greek “elaia” meaning “olive”.

42 Material collected in Minecraft : ORE

Minecraft is a video game that was released in 2011. It has been cited as one of the most influential video games of all time.

46 50 or more letters? : AARP

“AARP” is now the official name for the interest group that used to be called the American Association of Retired Persons. The name change reflects the current focus of the group on all Americans aged 50 or over, as opposed to just people who have retired.

48 Its founder was born in Mecca : ISLAM

Mecca is in the Makkah province of Saudi Arabia. It was the birthplace of Muhammad and is the holiest city in Islam. Every year several million Muslims perform the Hajj, a holy pilgrimage to Mecca.

56 New Deal program with the slogan “We Do Our Part,” in brief : NRA

The National Recovery Administration (NRA) was one of the first agencies set up under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program. On the one hand, the NRA helped set minimum wages and maximum working hours for workers in industry, and on the other hand it helped set minimum prices for goods produced by companies. The NRA was very popular with the public, and businesses that didn’t opt to participate in the program found themselves boycotted. The NRA didn’t survive for long though, as after two years of operation it was deemed to be unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court and so it ceased operations in 1935.

57 The Tar Heels of the A.C.C. : UNC

“Tar Heel” is a nickname for anyone living in, or from, the state of North Carolina. As such, it is the nickname for an athlete of the University of North Carolina (UNC). No one seems to know for sure where the term “Tar Heel” originated, but it is thought to be related to the historical importance of the tar, pitch and turpentine industries that thrived in the state due to the presence of vast forests of pine trees.

58 Rapper Lil ___ X : NAS

“Lil Nas X” is the stage name of rapper Montero Lamar Hill. He was born and raised just outside of Atlanta. His first hit was “Old Town Road”, which is classified as country rap.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Redding who wrote “Respect” : OTIS
5 New York’s ___ Lawrence College : SARAH
10 Scoundrels : CADS
14 Blowout : ROMP
15 Sauce that’s heavy on garlic … and vowels : AIOLI
16 “Thirtysomething” actor Ken : OLIN
17 Investment for a humorist? : COMEDY GOLD
19 Word before curriculum or meltdown : CORE …
20 Mila of “Bad Moms” : KUNIS
21 Insubstantial beverage … or argument : WEAK TEA
23 Vacation goal, in brief : R AND R
24 Investment for a butcher? : BEEF STOCK
26 Constitution or Independence, in D.C. : AVE
27 Prepared to be knighted : KNELT
29 Election winner of 1908 : TAFT
30 Lucretia ___, pioneer in women’s rights : MOTT
32 T-Mobile competitor: Abbr. : ATT
33 The Diamondbacks, on scoreboards : ARI
34 Collection that demonstrates job skills … as suggested by 17-, 24-, 48- and 55-Across : WORK PORTFOLIO
39 What makes car care? : AN E
40 Gardner of old Hollywood : AVA
41 Strategic objective soon after the D-Day invasion : ST-LO
43 Science fiction award : HUGO
45 Part of Wonder Woman’s outfit : TIARA
47 “Aaron Burr, ___” (song from “Hamilton”) : SIR
48 Investment for a physicist? : IONIC BOND
50 Tequila source : AGAVE
52 Like some gift bows : STICK-ON
53 Working stiff : PROLE
54 Ditch : LOSE
55 Investment for a restaurateur? : MENU OPTION
59 In a bit : ANON
60 Devilishly clever insults, in slang : BURNS
61 Adidas competitor : AVIA
62 Repair : MEND
63 “The final frontier” : SPACE
64 Phone nos. : TELS

Down

1 Dungeons & Dragons meanie : ORC
2 Solemnly promised : TOOK A VOW
3 Unaffected by : IMMUNE TO
4 Lighten one’s wallet, so to speak : SPEND
5 Simon ___ : SAYS
6 Big inits. in finance : AIG
7 Aussie animal : ROO
8 Completely off-base : ALL WET
9 Like advanced screens, informally : HI-DEF
10 “Dinner” preceder on a dinner invitation : COCKTAILS
11 Much : A LOT OF
12 Proceeding by the shortest way : DIRECT
13 Underhanded sort : SNEAK
18 Old-fashioned weapon for hand-to-hand combat : DIRK
22 Dodger beater in the 2017 World Series : ASTRO
23 Zodiac animal after fishes : RAM
24 Texas politico O’Rourke : BETO
25 Chicago transport choice : EL TRAIN
28 It may get hot under the collar : NAPE
31 What Hamlet meets in Act V of “Hamlet” : TRAGIC END
33 Way yonder : AFAR
35 Unwanted engine sound : KNOCK
36 It might be muted : TV AD
37 Horror movie cry : IT’S ALIVE!
38 Staple of Mediterranean cuisine : OLIVE OIL
42 Material collected in Minecraft : ORE
43 Scorcher : HOT ONE
44 A group of carolers may sing in it : UNISON
45 Build some muscle : TONE UP
46 50 or more letters? : AARP
48 Its founder was born in Mecca : ISLAM
49 Box-office busts : BOMBS
51 Intimated : GOT AT
53 Do some modeling for artists : POSE
56 New Deal program with the slogan “We Do Our Part,” in brief : NRA
57 The Tar Heels of the A.C.C. : UNC
58 Rapper Lil ___ X : NAS

11 thoughts on “0826-20 NY Times Crossword 26 Aug 20, Wednesday”

  1. 17:05 Out of sync early in the morning. Misread 27A so I had KNEEL vs. KNELT, HIRES before HIDEF (seems I always pick wrong first), FLOPS before BOMBS, SOON before ANON, etc. I made it harder than it actually was.

  2. 9:12, no errors. Total blunder-solve … but I got through it … 😜.

    Full calendar today. Unusual.

    @DuncanR … Driving spikes and shoveling ballast! Sounds pretty ambitious to me (though I don’t know what the second one involves). Good for you … 🙂.

  3. 28:10 Total last place finish…. Do you have any idea how much time it adds when one stubbornly refuses to look up what tequila is made from? It’s not guava… 🙁

    Nonny…ballast in railroad terms is the stone that the track sits on. We have to do it the old fashioned way…. ouch…

  4. 10:55. Completely punted at the end of the puzzle on the “R” at the BURNS/NRA nexus. I just did an alphabet run to get that last letter.

    I saw in today’s Wordplay the best theme answer was one left on the cutting room floor – “Investment for plumbers?” with the answer being JOHNNY CASH. He should have kept that one in.

    The evil NYT app that just awarded me my 1000th solve yesterday is acting up once again. After completing today’s puzzle, the app didn’t record it at all. I’m still at 1000 rather than 1001. Maybe I’ll be stuck there forever. It didn’t even register it in my Wednesday puzzles completed times. First no steak knives, now this.

    Best –

    1. @Jeff …

      FWIW, my solve count is 1711, so it doesn’t necessarily stop at 1000 (unless, of course, you’re in some “special” group … 😜).

  5. What @Ron said. Out of sync…but only in the bottom half and NE. 19:05 after thinking it would be a quick solve at around my 8 minute mark.

  6. Took longer than normal for a Wednesday.. No errors..,
    Re: Bill and your son playing D&D,.. My son also.. He’s now a wizard and has quite the setup in his basement. A lot of money spent.. My wife and I are perplexed.. The good news is he isn’t spending money at the bar.. Like me at that age.

  7. 49:10 no errors but it seemed more like a Saturday puzzle in a Wednesday paper…how Bill did this in 5:30 is amazing to me.
    Stay safe😀

  8. No errors. No real problems, just slow going. I originally had BEEF STAKE as in “investing a beginning start for what will hopefully turn into a money-maker.” But the puzzle was not looking for puns. It wanted real words. Anyway, it all got worked out.

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