0903-20 NY Times Crossword 3 Sep 20, Thursday

Constructed by: Sid Sivakumar
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Bounce Back

Themed answers each start at a letter circled in the grid. We then read from left-to-right up to a black square, and then BOUNCE BACK to read from right-to-left:

  • 64A Recover … or what 17-, 25-, 38- and 51-Across do? : BOUNCE BACK
  • 17A Fried Hanukkah treat : POTATO PANCAKE
  • 25A Apollo command module, for one : SPACE CAPSULE
  • 38A Home of Whitman College : WALLA WALLA, WASHINGTON
  • 51A Fruity loaf with a moist texture : BANANA BREAD

Bill’s time: 12m 40s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Cracked a bit : AJAR

Our word “ajar” is thought to come from Scottish dialect, in which “a char” means “slightly open”.

14 Pixar film that premiered in Mexico : COCO

“Coco” is a 2017 Pixar movie about a 12-year-old boy named Miguel who ends up in the land of the dead by accident. There, he seeks out the help of the great-great-grandfather to get back to his family in the land of the living.

17 Fried Hanukkah treat : POTATO PANCAKE

The term “Hanukkah” derives from the Hebrew for “to dedicate”. Hanukkah is a holiday lasting eight days that commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem after successful Jewish revolt against the Seleucids in the 2nd-century BCE. The story of Hanukkah includes the miracle of the one-day supply of oil that kept the menorah alight for eight days.

19 Not bamboozled by : ONTO

It’s thought that the lovely word “bamboozle” came into English from the Scottish “bombaze” meaning “perplex”. We’ve been using “bamboozle” since the very early 1700s.

20 Watch brand featured in James Bond films : SEIKO

Watch manufacturer Seiko was founded as a watch and jewelry shop in Tokyo in 1881. The store was opened by one Kintaro Hattori, who started to produce clocks under the name Seikosha, which can be translated as “House of Exquisite Workmanship”. The first Seiko watches went on sale in 1924, and today the company suggests that the name “Seiko” is Japanese for “exquisite” and “success”.

21 “Do or die” time : D-DAY

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.

23 Parapsychology research subj. : ESP

Extrasensory perception (ESP)

25 Apollo command module, for one : SPACE CAPSULE

The Apollo program is very much associated with President Kennedy, as he gave NASA the challenge to land men on the moon by the end of the sixties. However, the Apollo program was conceived during the Eisenhower administration as a follow-up to Project Mercury that put the first Americans in space.

27 Thunder, but not Lightning : NBA TEAM

The Oklahoma City Thunder NBA team arrived in 2008 after relocating from Seattle, where they were named the SuperSonics. The “Thunder” name was chosen as a reference to Oklahoma City’s exposure to the storms of Tornado Alley, and to the 45th Infantry Division “Thunderbirds” who were headquartered there until 1968.

31 One doing menial work : PEON

A peon is a lowly worker who has no real control over his/her working conditions. The word “peon” comes into English from Spanish, in which language it has the same meaning.

33 One adorns the Statue of Liberty : POEM

Emma Lazarus was a poet from New York City who is best known as the author of an 1883 sonnet “The New Colossus”. “The New Colossus” sits on a bronze plaque inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, a fitting location given that the title refers to Lady Liberty.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp! cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

36 Rama and Krishna, e.g. : GODS

In the Hindu tradition, the god known as Vishnu has several different avatars i.e. incarnations or manifestations. Rama is the seventh of these avatars.

In the Hindu tradition, Krishna is recognized as the eighth avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu. Krishna is usually depicted as a boy or young man playing a flute.

38 Home of Whitman College : WALLA WALLA, WASHINGTON

The Washington city of Walla Walla used to be called Steptoeville. It was named for Edward Steptoe, an officer in the US Army who served in the Indian Wars. Walla Walla is a Native American phrase meaning “place of many waters”.

Marcus and Narcissus Whitman established a mission in 1836 in a location in modern-day southeast Washington. Their goal was to convert the local Walla Walla tribe to Christianity. Some years after the Whitmans settled in the area, disease spread through the local tribes that was blamed on the missionaries, as the natives believed they were being poisoned. The Whitmans were killed in retaliation. Twelve years later, in 1858, Whitman Seminary was built in a nearby settlement (now the city of Walla Walla) in memory of the missionaries. The seminary was renamed to Whitman College in 1882.

43 “See ya!” : CIAO!

“Ciao” is Italian for “‘bye”. “Arrivederci” is more formal, and translates as “goodbye”.

44 What chickenpox can cause : SCAR

Chickenpox is a viral infection, and a classic disease of childhood most commonly caught by 4-10 year olds. There is a complication that can arise later in life as the virus sometimes reactivates to cause shingles.

46 “Butt out!,” briefly : MYOB

Mind your own business (MYOB)

48 Theater : usher :: restaurant : ___ : MAITRE D’

The full title of a maître d’ is “maître d’hôtel”, which means “master of the hotel”.

55 Trident-shaped letter : PSI

Psi is the 23rd and penultimate letter of the Greek alphabet, and the one that looks a bit like a trident or a pitchfork.

56 Soprano’s co-star? : ALTO

In choral music, an alto (plural “alti”) is the second-highest voice in a four-part chorus made up of soprano, contr(alto), tenor and bass. The word “alto” describes the vocal range, that of the deepest female singing-voice, whereas the term “contralto” describes more than just the alto range, but also its quality and timbre. An adult male’s voice (not a boy’s) with the same range as an alto is called a “countertenor”.

The soprano (plural “sopranos” or “soprani”) is the highest singing voice. The term “soprano “ comes from the Italian “sopra” meaning “above”. A male countertenor who is able to sing in the soprano voice range is known as a sopranist. A castrated male who can sing in the same range is known as a “castrato”, and a boy soprano is referred to as a treble.

59 Bank security option? : LEVEE

A levee is an artificial bank, usually made of earth, that runs along the length of a river. It is designed to hold back river water at a time of potential flooding. “Levée” is the French word for “raised” and is an American term that originated in French-speaking New Orleans around 1720.

66 French 101 verb : ETRE

The French for “to be” is “être”.

Down

3 Berry from Brazil : ACAI

Açaí (pronounced “ass-aye-ee”) is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.

5 H&R Block worker, for short : CPA

Certified public accountant (CPA)

The tax preparation company called H&R Block was founded in 1955 In Kansas City by two brothers, Henry and Richard Bloch. The Bloch brothers changed the spelling of their family name to “Block” for the company moniker, in order to avoid mispronunciation.

6 Org. in “Die Hard” : LAPD

The 1988 action movie “Die Hard” is such a fun film. We always pull it out at Christmas when we want something “Christmassy”, but different from “The Bishop’s Wife” or “It’s a Wonderful Life”. The “Nakatomi Plaza” building that features so prominently in the film is actually “Fox Plaza” (headquarters for 20th Century Fox) in Los Angeles, which was built not long before filming started.

7 Core of an alkaline battery : ANODE

A battery is a device that converts chemical energy into electric energy. A simple battery is made up of three parts: a cathode, an anode and a liquid electrolyte. Ions from the electrolyte react chemically with the material in the anode producing a compound and releasing electrons. At the same time, the electrolyte reacts with the material in the cathode, absorbing electrons and producing a different chemical compound. In this way, there is a buildup of electrons at the anode and a deficit of electrons at the cathode. When a connection (wire, say) is made between the cathode and anode, electrons flow through the resulting circuit from the anode to cathode in an attempt to rectify the electron imbalance.

8 U, V or W, on the periodic table : METAL

Here is a list of all the single-letter element symbols:

  • B = boron
  • C = carbon
  • F = fluorine
  • H = hydrogen
  • I = Iodine
  • K = potassium
  • N = nitrogen
  • O = oxygen
  • P = phosphorus
  • S = sulfur
  • U = uranium
  • V = vanadium
  • W = tungsten
  • Y = yttrium

11 One seeking change : PANHANDLER

To panhandle is to beg. The term has been in use since the very early 1900s and probably comes from the sticking out of one’s hand and arm, like the handle of a pan.

12 Unfinished story? : ATTIC

An attic or loft is a room or space located below the roof of a building. The term “attic” is a shortened form of “attic story”, the uppermost story or level of a house. This term “attic story” originally applied to a low, decorative level built on top of the uppermost story behind a building’s decorative facade. This use of decoration at the top of buildings was common in ancient Greece, and was particularly important in the Attica style. That Attica style was so called because it originated in the historical region of Attica that encompassed the city of Athens. And that’s how our attics are linked to ancient Greece.

24 Big ___, nickname for slugger David Ortiz : PAPI

The Dominican-American baseball player David Ortiz has the nickname “Big Papi”. After each home run that Ortiz scores, he looks upwards and points to the sky in a tribute to his mother who died in a car crash in 2002 when she was only 46 years old.

26 Sonic the Hedgehog creator : SEGA

Sonic the Hedgehog is a title character in a videogame and the mascot of Sega, the computer game developer. Sonic was set up as a rival to Nintendo’s mascot Mario.

27 Photographer Goldin : NAN

Nan Goldin is an American photographer who works out of New York, Berlin and Paris.

29 Devices that work by comparing air pressures : ALTIMETERS

An altimeter is an instrument used to measure altitude, height above sea level. The word “altitude” arose in the late 14th century, and was originally an astronomical term that defined the elevation above the horizon of a star or planet. The term comes from the Latin “altus” meaning “high, grown tall”.

30 Mineralogical eponym : MOHS

The Mohs scale of mineral hardness was developed in 1812 by Friedrich Mohs. Basically Mohs took minerals and scratched them with other minerals. In this way he was able to determine which minerals were hardest (most scratch resistant) and which softest. On the scale, diamond is the hardest (and rated 10), while talc is the softest (and rated 1).

34 Key used to get out, not in : ESC

The escape key (Esc) was originally used just to control computer peripherals. It was a key that allowed the computer operator to stop what the peripheral was doing (cancel a print job, for example). Nowadays the escape key is used for all sorts of things, especially in gaming programs.

52 Colleague of Ginsburg and Roberts : ALITO

Associate Justice Samuel Alito was nominated to the US Supreme Court by President George W. Bush. Alito is the second Italian-American to serve on the Supreme Court (Antonin Scalia was the first). Alito studied law at Yale and while in his final year he left the country for the first time in his life, heading to Italy to work on his thesis about the Italian legal system.

Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg serves on the US Supreme Court. Justice Ginsburg was the second woman to join the Court, and was nominated by President Bill Clinton. She was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1999 and underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. During that time she did not miss one day on the bench. In 2009 Justice Ginsburg had surgery for pancreatic cancer, and was back to work 12 days later. She had left-lung lobectomy to remove cancerous nodules in 2018, which forced Justice Ginsburg to miss oral argument in January 2019, for the first time since joining the court 25 years earlier. Much of Ginsburg’s life is recounted in the excellent 2018 movie “On the Basis of Sex”.

John Roberts is the 17th Chief Justice of the United States. Roberts was a nominee of President George W. Bush and assumed office in 2005. President Bush first proposed Roberts as an Associate Justice to replace the retiring Sandra Day O’Connor. However, Chief Justice Rehnquist died before Roberts could be confirmed, so President Bush instead nominated Roberts for the vacant Chief Justice seat.

54 Not quite right? : ACUTE

In geometry, there are several classes of angles:

  • Acute (< 90 degrees) 
  • Right (= 90 degrees) 
  • Obtuse (> 90 degrees and < 180 degrees) 
  • Straight (180 degrees) 
  • Reflex (> 180 degrees)

61 Monopoly subj. : ECON

Economics (econ.)

65 Keeps posted, in a way : CCS

I wonder do the kids of today know that “cc” stands for carbon copy, and do they have any idea what a carbon copy was? Do you remember how messy carbon paper was to handle? A kind blog reader pointed out to me a while back that the abbreviation has evolved and taken on the meaning “courtesy copy” in our modern world.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Cracked a bit : AJAR
5 Gadget shaped like its first letter : CLAMP
10 Minor dust-up : SPAT
14 Pixar film that premiered in Mexico : COCO
15 Conference group : PANEL
16 Keepeth : HATH
17 Fried Hanukkah treat : POTATO PANCAKE
19 Not bamboozled by : ONTO
20 Watch brand featured in James Bond films : SEIKO
21 “Do or die” time : D-DAY
22 The one over here : THIS
23 Parapsychology research subj. : ESP
25 Apollo command module, for one : SPACE CAPSULE
27 Thunder, but not Lightning : NBA TEAM
31 One doing menial work : PEON
32 100% : ALL
33 One adorns the Statue of Liberty : POEM
36 Rama and Krishna, e.g. : GODS
38 Home of Whitman College : WALLA WALLA, WASHINGTON
43 “See ya!” : CIAO!
44 What chickenpox can cause : SCAR
45 Before time : EVE
46 “Butt out!,” briefly : MYOB
48 Theater : usher :: restaurant : ___ : MAITRE D’
51 Fruity loaf with a moist texture : BANANA BREAD
55 Trident-shaped letter : PSI
56 Soprano’s co-star? : ALTO
57 Synthetic : MOCK
59 Bank security option? : LEVEE
63 Got even with : TIED
64 Recover … or what 17-, 25-, 38- and 51-Across do? : BOUNCE BACK
66 French 101 verb : ETRE
67 Zany action : ANTIC
68 Natural sunburn soother : ALOE
69 Meh : SO-SO
70 Bumps into : MEETS
71 Tear up : REND

Down

1 AA : ACES
2 “What a ___!” : JOKE
3 Berry from Brazil : ACAI
4 Zoom : ROCKET
5 H&R Block worker, for short : CPA
6 Org. in “Die Hard” : LAPD
7 Core of an alkaline battery : ANODE
8 U, V or W, on the periodic table : METAL
9 Exaggerate for effect : PLAY UP
10 Made like a shark? : SHOT POOL
11 One seeking change : PANHANDLER
12 Unfinished story? : ATTIC
13 The ones over there : THOSE
18 Facial feature missing from many emojis : NOSE
24 Big ___, nickname for slugger David Ortiz : PAPI
26 Sonic the Hedgehog creator : SEGA
27 Photographer Goldin : NAN
28 Group of voters : BLOC
29 Devices that work by comparing air pressures : ALTIMETERS
30 Mineralogical eponym : MOHS
34 Key used to get out, not in : ESC
35 Polite term of address : MA’AM
37 Action under a File menu : SAVE
39 Sporting event profiled in the 2014 documentary “Queens & Cowboys” : GAY RODEO
40 Gaming novice, slangily : NOOB
41 Finish, with “up” : WRAP …
42 Get unionized? : WED
47 Former pro wrestling star ___ Bigelow : BAM BAM
49 Place to be marooned : ISLE
50 Accessory clipped to a dress shirt : TIE BAR
51 Some answers on history exams : DATES
52 Colleague of Ginsburg and Roberts : ALITO
53 0% of the population : NO ONE
54 Not quite right? : ACUTE
58 Work with needles : KNIT
60 Glen : VALE
61 Monopoly subj. : ECON
62 Scraped (out) : EKED
65 Keeps posted, in a way : CCS

12 thoughts on “0903-20 NY Times Crossword 3 Sep 20, Thursday”

  1. 13:37, no errors. Clever. Astonishing, actually! One wonders just how many more examples of the theme there are … 🤪.

  2. 24:33 Agree with Nonny…it would be interesting to sit in on a panel discussion of the constructors to hear how/when they come up with these

  3. 22:10, no errors. When I filled in the last letter I was surprised to get the “gold.” What a fiendishly clever puzzle. How do these setters figure out such amazing puzzles?

    1. Hmmm. I disagree. If by “last letter”, you mean the rightmost letter of each theme entry, then it appears to me that it is never reused. Start with the circled letter, move to the right, one letter at a time, and, when you get to the rightmost letter, move back to the left, one letter at a time. Th gimmick is letter perfect (to coin a phrase … 😜).

    2. Oops. The

      It’d be nice if one could edit one’s responses here the way one can on the LAT blog (particularly since M & K was responding at the same time I was).

  4. And it came out jumbled with many omissions.

    One more time…

    ot/to. No repeated A

    pac/cap. No repeated E

    alla/alla. No repeated end W

    an/na. No repeated end A

    M

  5. Hello again.

    My “in defense of the makers” comment came out jumbled with many omissions.

    One more time…

    ot/to. No repeated A

    pac/cap. No repeated E

    alla/alla. No repeated end W

    an/na. No repeated end A

    M

  6. 18:04 Also agree it’s quite clever. Figured out the theme when it came to WALLA WALLA, then had to start counting letters, one at a time. At first the partially filled in across theme answers made no sense. Ha d RASH before SCAR for the Pox, leading me to MISS before MAAM. DALE before VALE. Didn’t fully read the clue about tests so with ES partial fill I put in TRUES. Re-reading with “history” set me straight. Spent about two minutes looking for the E in Pancake. I had a C for the E but I kept glossing over it when checking.

  7. Had a difficult time with the lower center. 38 Across was first theme answer I had so 64 Across became “doubleback”. Read backwards and double the first part (WALLAWALLAWASHINGTON). Of course that didn’t work for the other theme answers so I adjusted accordingly for them, but then took forever to change 64 Across to “bounceback”. Sorry not saying this very well. Fun puzzle though it took me forever to finish.
    PS Had uncle that went to Whitman College.

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