0829-20 NY Times Crossword 29 Aug 20, Saturday

Constructed by: Michael Hawkins
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 12m 31s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9 Cause of a public embarrassment, maybe : HOT MIC

One of my favorite hot-mic moments took place in 2005, when Paris and London were vying to host the 2012 Olympics. French President Jacques Chirac compared Paris and London in that context while chatting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. Chirac said, over a hot mic:

The only thing that they have ever done for European agriculture is mad cow disease … You cannot trust people who have such bad cuisine.

16 Blitz : INVADE

“Blitz”, as it is used in English, means a fast-moving and overwhelming attack. It is a shortened version of the German word “blitzkrieg”. The blitzkrieg was a tactic used by Germany running up to and during WWII. In the original German blitzkrieg, the army and air-force threw everything into a rapid penetration of enemy lines without stopping to reinforce its flanks. The word “blitz” means “lightning” (and “krieg” means “war”).

17 Flop : LAY AN EGG

Apparently the expression “to lay an egg”, meaning “to perform or play really badly” comes from the resemblance of the number 0 to an egg. One laying an egg scores zero.

19 Bank job of a sort : REPO

Repossession (repo)

25 Stuff : SATE

“Sate” is a variant of the older word “satiate”. Both terms can mean either to satisfy an appetite fully, or to eat to excess.

26 Wall Street woe : LOSS

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

30 Alternative to a Yodel or a Swiss Roll : HO HO

Ho Hos snack cakes were first produced in San Francisco in 1967. The “Happy Ho Ho” mascot was created for the brand in the 1970s, and was a cartoon character in a Robin Hood outfit. Ho Hos weren’t the best thing to come out of the sixties I’d say …

Yodels are snack cakes made by Drake’s baking company. They are similar to Hostess Ho Hos and Little Debbie’s Swiss Rolls.

31 Fool : SIMP

“Simp” is slang describing a simple or foolish person. Not nice …

34 Picketer’s holding : PLACARD

Back in the late 17th century, a picket was a pointed stake used militarily to defend against attacking forces, and charging cavalry in particular. Ultimately, the term “picket” comes from the French verb “piquer” meaning “to pierce”. The term “pickets” then became the name for troops posted in the front lines, watching for the enemy. A picket line is a unit of soldiers lined up as a team of lookouts. The first use of “picket line” in the sense of labor disputes appeared just after the end of WWII.

37 Joan who wrote “The Year of Magical Thinking” : DIDION

Joan Didion is a journalist and author who was profiled in the Netflix documentary “The Center Will Not Hold”. She won a Pulitzer for her autobiographical work “The Year of Magical Thinking”, which book she used as the basis for a stage play of the same name. The book focuses on the year following the death of her husband, while the play also encompasses the subsequent death of her daughter.

38 Outburst from Sneezy : AH CHOO!

In the original Brothers Grimm fairy tale called “Snow White”, the seven dwarfs were not given any names. The names were added for the 1937 classic Disney film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. The seven dwarfs are:

  • Doc (the leader of the group)
  • Grumpy (that would be me, according to my wife …)
  • Happy
  • Sleepy
  • Bashful
  • Sneezy
  • Dopey

39 Like ziggurats : STEPPED

Ziggurats were massive, terraced, step pyramids built in the ancient Mesopotamian valley. The ziggurat-style of architecture has been used in modern buildings, with notable examples being the US Bullion Depository in Fort Knox, and the MI6 Building in London.

41 This will help ease the pain : TYLENOL

Tylenol is a pain-relieving drug with the active ingredient acetaminophen (which is known as “paracetamol” outside of the US).

42 “___ All That” (1999 rom-com) : SHE’S

The 1999 romantic comedy “She’s All That” is an adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion” (as is “My Fair Lady”). The critics hated “She’s All That”, but it still made it to number one at the box office.

43 Haydée, to the Count of Monte Cristo, par exemple : AMIE

“The Count of Monte Cristo” is an 1844 novel by the French author Alexandre Dumas. Dumas’ other famous title is “The Three Musketeers”.

45 Cockamamie : DAFT

“Cockamamy” (sometimes “cockamamie”) is a slang term meaning “ridiculous, incredible”. The term goes back at least to 1946, but may have originated as an informal term used by children in New York City in the 1920s.

47 New Age author Deepak ___ : CHOPRA

Deepak Chopra is a medical doctor who is now an advocate for alternative medicine. Chopra was born in New Delhi, India and immigrated to the US in 1968. He is an advocate for mind/body spiritual healing. I have heard Chopra speak, and he really knows how to get his message across …

49 Two for dinner? : ENS

There are two letters N (ens) in the word “dinner”.

51 Close one : CHUM

A chum is a friend. The term “chum” originated in the late 1600s as an alternative spelling for “cham”. In turn, “cham” was a shortened form of “chambermate”, a roommate at university.

55 2015 film from Marvel Studios : ANT-MAN

In the Marvel universe, Ant-Man has been the superhero persona of three different fictional characters: Hank Pym, Scott Lang and Eric O’Grady. In the 2015 film “Ant-Man”, Michael Douglas plays Hank Pym, and Paul Rudd plays Scott Lang.

60 Where Marie Curie was born : POLAND

Marie Curie lived a life of firsts. She was the first female professor at the University of Paris, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and indeed was the first person to win two Nobel prizes (in Physics in 1903, and in Chemistry in 1911). Most of Curie’s work was in the field of radioactivity, and was carried out in the days when the impact of excessive radiation on the human body was not understood. She died from aplastic anemia, caused by high exposure to radiation. To this day, Curie’s personal papers are kept preserved in lead-lined boxes as they are highly radioactive, even her personal cookbook.

Down

1 ___ State (school with 23 campuses) : CAL

California State University (CSU) is the largest university system in the country, with 23 campuses. About half of the bachelor’s degrees in the state of California awarded annually are from CSU.

3 Diagnosis from an ophthalmologist : STYE

A stye is a bacterial infection of the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes, and is also known as a hordeolum.

Ophthalmology is that branch of medicine dealing with the physiology and health of the eye. “Ophthalmos” is the Greek word for “eye”.

6 Day when the ball drops: Abbr. : NYE

The famous New Year’s Eve (NYE) ball-dropping tradition in Times Square started on January 1st 1908. The original ball was lit with one hundred 25-watt light bulbs and was dropped at one second after midnight. A fifth version of the ball was introduced in 2008 for the centennial anniversary of the ceremony. The 2008 ball was built by Waterford Crystal and was lit by 9,567 LED bulbs that consumed the same amount of power as ten electric toasters. The current ball was used for the first time in 2009, and is double the size of the 2008 ball at 12 feet in diameter. The ball now sits atop Times Square year round, so you can go see it next time you are in town.

7 Ship’s record : LOGBOOK

The word “logbook” dates back to the days when the captain of a ship kept a daily record of the vessel’s speed, progress etc. using a “log”. A log was a wooden float on a knotted line that was dropped overboard to measure speed through the water.

14 Fill with fragrance, in a way : CENSE

To cense is to perfume with incense. Such a lovely word …

21 Music genre for Psy and BTS : K-POP

K-pop (Korean pop) is a genre of music from South Korea that emerged in the early nineties. It’s a bit beyond me …

“PSY” is the stage name of South Korean rapper Park Jae-sang. PSY became an international star when his 2012 music video “Gangnam Style” went viral on YouTube. That video had over 1 billion views on YouTube in about six months, making it the most viewed YouTube video clip of all time.

24 Côtes du ___ (wine appellation) : RHONE

Côtes du Rhône is a wine region centered on the Rhône river in France. The name of the region translates as “Slopes (or Hills) of Rhône”. The most prevalent grapes used in Côtes du Rhône wine are Grenache (in reds and rosés) and Grenache blanc (in whites).

25 Released for attack : SICCED

“Sic ’em” is an attack order given to a dog, one instructing the animal to growl, bark or even bite. The term dates back to the 1830s, with “sic” being a variation of “seek”.

26 Features of some 11-Down : LCDS
(11D Array in a security office : TVS)

Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) are the screens that are found in most laptops today, and in flat panel computer screens and some televisions. LCD monitors basically replaced Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) screens, the old television technology.

29 Bid at the last second : SNIPED

Auction sniping is a relatively new phenomenon, a phenomenon that is associated with online auctions. A sniper waits until the final seconds of an auction and drops in a slightly higher bid, winning the auction as other bidders have no time to respond. Auction sniping is often executed with the help of a software application, or by using an online service.

31 Political satirist who said “If you were the only person left on the planet, I would have to attack you. That’s my job” : SAHL

Mort Sahl is a Canadian-born actor and comedian who moved to the US with his family when he was a child. Sahl became friends with John F. Kennedy. When Kennedy became president, Sahl wrote a lot of jokes for the President’s speeches, although he also told a lot of Kennedy jokes in his acts. After the President was assassinated in 1963, Sahl was intensely interested in finding out who was behind the crime and even got himself deputized as a member of one of the investigating teams. He was very outspoken against the results of the Warren Commission report on the assassination, and soon found himself out of favor with the public. It took a few years for him to make his comeback, but come back he did.

40 Author whose name is one letter off from 31-Down : DAHL
(31D Political satirist who said “If you were the only person left on the planet, I would have to attack you. That’s my job” : SAHL)

Roald Dahl’s name is Norwegian. Dahl’s parents were from Norway, although Dahl himself was Welsh. Dahl became one of the most successful authors of the twentieth century. Two of his most famous titles are “James and the Giant Peach” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”.

44 Kind of pork : MOO SHU

Moo shu pork (also “mu shu pork”) is a traditional dish from northern China, with the main ingredients being shredded pork and scrambled egg. In North America, the dish is served with tortilla-like wrappers that are sometimes referred to as “moo shu pancakes”.

47 ___ Williams, player of Shirley on “Laverne & Shirley” : CINDY

On the late-seventies and early-eighties sitcom “Laverne & Shirley”, Penny Marshall played Laverne (De Fazio) , and Cindy Williams played Shirley (Feeney). The show was a spin-off of “Happy Days”, in which Laverne and Shirley were friends of the Fonz.

48 They’re not basic : ACIDS

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.

52 Weight : HEFT

The heft of something is its weight, its heaviness. The term “heft” is derivative of the verb “to heave” meaning “to lift, raise”.

53 Home to part of the Wasatch Mountains : UTAH

The Wasatch Range is at the western edge of the Rocky Mountains and runs through Utah. “Wasatch” is a Ute word meaning “mountain pass”.

58 Eastern Central Div. player : CAV

The Cavaliers are the professional basketball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavs joined the NBA as an expansion team in 1970.

59 Apollo craft, for short : LEM

In the Apollo program, the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) was the vehicle that actually landed on the moon and returned the astronauts to the command module that was orbiting overhead. The third LEM built was named “Spider”, and it participated in the Apollo 9 mission which tested the functionality of the LEM design in space. The fourth LEM was called “Snoopy” and it flew around the moon in the Apollo 10 mission, the dress rehearsal for the upcoming moon landing. Apollo 11’s LEM was called “Eagle” and it brought Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to and from the moon’s surface. Another famous LEM was Apollo 13’s Aquarius. Although Aquarius never landed on the moon, it did serve as a “lifeboat” for the three astronauts after the explosive rupture of an oxygen canister in the Service Module.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 No credit, say : CASH ONLY
9 Cause of a public embarrassment, maybe : HOT MIC
15 “Please, go ahead” : AFTER YOU
16 Blitz : INVADE
17 Flop : LAY AN EGG
18 What fools do, they say : RUSH IN
19 Bank job of a sort : REPO
20 Things kept on racks : BIKES
22 Spreadsheet entries: Abbr. : NOS
23 Walks slowly and steadily : TROOPS
25 Stuff : SATE
26 Wall Street woe : LOSS
30 Alternative to a Yodel or a Swiss Roll : HO HO
31 Fool : SIMP
32 Pacific Northwest native : CHINOOK
34 Picketer’s holding : PLACARD
37 Joan who wrote “The Year of Magical Thinking” : DIDION
38 Outburst from Sneezy : AH CHOO!
39 Like ziggurats : STEPPED
41 This will help ease the pain : TYLENOL
42 “___ All That” (1999 rom-com) : SHE’S
43 Haydée, to the Count of Monte Cristo, par exemple : AMIE
45 Cockamamie : DAFT
46 Very bright, but not in a good way : LOUD
47 New Age author Deepak ___ : CHOPRA
49 Two for dinner? : ENS
50 First in a series : PILOT
51 Close one : CHUM
55 2015 film from Marvel Studios : ANT-MAN
57 Affecting people at large : SOCIETAL
60 Where Marie Curie was born : POLAND
61 Bit of misdirection from an athlete : HEAD FAKE
62 Clearly working out : SWEATY
63 Generic rivalry : US VS THEM

Down

1 ___ State (school with 23 campuses) : CAL
2 Way out there : AFAR
3 Diagnosis from an ophthalmologist : STYE
4 Great deal : HEAP
5 Expression of doubt : … OR NOT!
6 Day when the ball drops: Abbr. : NYE
7 Ship’s record : LOGBOOK
8 Trading card franchise that’s an alternative to Pokémon : YUGIOH
9 Like good computer screens, for short : HI-RES
10 Weight : ONUS
11 Array in a security office : TVS
12 Muppets song with nonsense lyrics : MAH NA MAH NA
13 Impossible to screw up : IDIOT-PROOF
14 Fill with fragrance, in a way : CENSE
21 Music genre for Psy and BTS : K-POP
24 Côtes du ___ (wine appellation) : RHONE
25 Released for attack : SICCED
26 Features of some 11-Down : LCDS
27 “Here comes a fight!” : OH, IT’S ON NOW!
28 Extra work : SIDE HUSTLE
29 Bid at the last second : SNIPED
31 Political satirist who said “If you were the only person left on the planet, I would have to attack you. That’s my job” : SAHL
33 Accident report? : OOPS!
35 Mantle, e.g. : LAYER
36 Fool : DOLT
40 Author whose name is one letter off from 31-Down : DAHL
41 Acts cautiously (around) : TIPTOES
44 Kind of pork : MOO SHU
46 Bounds : LEAPS
47 ___ Williams, player of Shirley on “Laverne & Shirley” : CINDY
48 They’re not basic : ACIDS
50 Huff and puff : PANT
52 Weight : HEFT
53 Home to part of the Wasatch Mountains : UTAH
54 “___ me!” : MAKE
56 Barnyard sound : MAA!
58 Eastern Central Div. player : CAV
59 Apollo craft, for short : LEM

6 thoughts on “0829-20 NY Times Crossword 29 Aug 20, Saturday”

  1. 16:04, no errors. Some … interesting … entries in this one: I must have seen YUGIOH somewhere, because it came to me out of the fog after getting parts of it from crosses, but MAH NA MAH NA … hmm … wow … what to say, but … those wild and crazy Muppeteers!?!? … 😜

  2. 42:32 Third consecutive day with less than stellar times. Had SHOES on racks for the longest time. Got the SE corner fairly quickly, then polliwog brain again.

    Wanted the ship’s record to be xxxxLOG (Captain’s Log, star date, etc). I live around Seattle and took forever to see CHINOOK as NW natives since I had a G (for LOG) as part of the answer instead of K. Unfamiliar with YUGIOH and MAH NA, etc. More like the song song from STEAM – “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Good Bye”. Good epithet for my perf. on this one. Or not quite 13D.

  3. 34:35 with a bunch of lookups. Pathetic performance today by…me. Top half went great, then I stalled out pretty much everywhere else.

  4. 44:46, if only I was 2 seconds faster!!! My only complaint/observation is that “Mahna Mahna” may have been popularized by the Muppets, but I can assure you I drove my parents nuts in the late 60’s by continually playing the 45….which I still have 🙂

    1. Okay … so that finally caused me to look it up and listen to it on YouTube, and … I do remember it … vaguely … 🙂.

  5. 35:30. Hard one that required some good educated guesses. KPOP and SAHL to name two because of how common they are in crosswords. I got the bottom of MAHNA MAHNA and assumed the top would be the same. A lot of that in this puzzle.

    The one long answer I got immediately was IDIOT PROOF. I’m sure that means something that it came to mind so fast, but I don’t want to know what.

    Best –

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