0905-20 NY Times Crossword 5 Sep 20, Saturday

Constructed by: John Guzzetta
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 13m 46s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Opposite of very : A TAD

Back in the 1800s, “tad” was used to describe a young child, and this extended into our usage of “small amount” in the early 1900s. The original use of “tad” for a child is very likely a shortened version of “tadpole”.

5 Part of Kamala Harris’s ancestry : TAMIL

Tamils are a large ethnic group of almost 80 million people who speak Tamil as their mother tongue. Despite the large Tamil population, there is no Tamil state. The highest concentration of Tamils is in Sri Lanka, where they make up about 25% of the population.

Kamala Harris has been a US Senator for California since 2017, after serving for six years as the Attorney General of California. In early 2019, Harris announced her run for the Democratic nomination for US president in the 2020 election. Although she dropped out of the race, she was chosen by eventual nominee Joe Biden as his vice-presidential running mate.

16 Some tandoori fare : NAAN

Naan (also “nan”) bread is very popular in Indian restaurants, as well as in other West, Central and South Asian cuisines. Indian Naan is traditionally baked in a clay oven known as a tandoor.

20 Dice, in slang : BONES

Dice were originally made from “knucklebones”, bones found in the ankles of a sheep. As a result, dice are often referred to as “bones”.

22 Roman foeman : HUN

The Huns were a nomadic people who originated in Eastern Europe in the 4th century. Under the command of Attila the Hun they developed a unified empire that stretched from modern-day Germany across to the steppes of Central Asia. The whole of the Hunnic Empire collapsed within a year of Attila’s death in 453 AD.

23 Witticism : BON MOT

“Bon mot” translates from French as “good word”. We use “bon mot” (and sometimes just “mot”) to mean “quip, witticism”.

24 New York football team, to fans : G-MEN

The New York Giants (NYG) football team plays home games in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, a stadium shared with the New York Jets (NYJ). The Giants are the only team remaining from a group of five that joined the league in 1925. For many years, the Giants shared team names with the New York Giants MLB team, before the baseball franchise moved to San Francisco after the 1957 season.

31 Spot at a movie theater : TEASER TRAILER

The term “trailer” was originally used in the film industry to describe advertisements for upcoming features. These trailers were originally shown at the end of a movie being screened, hence the name. This practice quickly fell out of favor as theater patrons usually left at the end of the movie without paying much attention to the trailers. So, the trailers were moved to the beginning of the show, but the term “trailer” persisted.

33 Suffix with form : -ULA

The suffix -ula indicates “small”. For example, the word “formula” is from the Latin for “little form”.

35 Plates : TAGS

A vanity plate is a vehicle registration plate for which owner’s pay extra money in order to choose their own numbers or letters. There are almost 10 million vehicles with vanity plates in North America, with the highest percentage of vanity plates being in the US state of Virginia. The world’s most expensive personal number plate is the number “1” on Dubai plate, which cost $14 million …

36 Not-so-hard pill to swallow : GELCAP

Gelatin capsules (gelcaps) might be an issue for those on a strict vegan diet. The gelatin used in the capsule is made from collagen extracted from animal skin and bone.

42 Playwright Fugard : ATHOL

Playwright Athol Fugard was born in South Africa. Fugard wrote plays that opposed apartheid, many of which had to be produced outside of South Africa given the political climate at home. Fugard now lives in San Diego, California.

47 Polonium was named for her homeland, Poland, in 1898 : MARIE CURIE

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.

50 Picks, in football: Abbr. : INTS

Interception (int.)

51 Calves come from them : BERGS

An iceberg is a large piece of freshwater ice that is floating freely after having broken away from a glacier or ice shelf. Our use of “iceberg” comes from the Dutch word for the same phenomenon “ijsberg”, which translates literally as “ice mountain”.

Down

1 Scope : AMBIT

An ambit is an outer boundary or limit, a circumference. The term can also be used to mean the sphere or scope of influence. “Ambit” comes from the Latin “ambire” meaning “to go around”.

3 Solar ___ : ARRAY

Solar panels are arrays of solar cells that make use of what’s known as the photovoltaic effect. We are more likely to have learned about the photoelectric effect in school, in which electrons were ejected from the surface of some materials when it was exposed to light or other forms of radiation. The photovoltaic effect is related but different. Instead of being electrons ejected from the surface, in the photovoltaic effect electrons move around in the material creating a difference in voltage.

4 Celebrity chef Paula : DEEN

Paula Deen is a celebrity chef from Savannah, Georgia who is noted for her Southern cooking. Deen has been criticized for the amount of salt, fat and sugar in her recipes. The criticism became even more intense when Deen disclosed that she herself has been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

7 Dummkopf : MORON

The unsavory term “moron” was formerly used by the medical community to describe someone with a degree of mental retardation. The term comes from the Greek “moros” meaning “foolish, dull”. Back in the early 1900s, IQ tests were used to classify those suffering from mental retardation into categories:

  • “idiot” … IQ of 0-20
  • “imbecile” … IQ of 21-50
  • “moron” …IQ of 51-70

“Dummkopf” is a German word that translates literally as “dumb head”.

13 Amazon deterrent : ONE STAR

Amazon.com is the largest online retailer in the world. It is also the largest Internet company in the world by revenue. The company was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, in his garage in Bellevue, Washington. I’m a big fan of Amazon’s approach to customer service …

15 Work with a needle, informally : TAT

The word “tattoo” (often shortened to “tat”) was first used in English in the writings of the famous English explorer Captain Cook. In his descriptions of the indelible marks adorning the skin of Polynesian natives, Cook anglicized the Tahitian word “tatau” into our “tattoo”. Tattoos are sometimes referred to as “ink”.

23 Some slapstick props : BANANA PEELS

Slapstick is a physical form of comedy or horseplay. Back in the late 19th century, the term “slapstick” described a device made from two sticks loosely fastened together, which could be “slapped” together to create a sound effect offstage. The sound effect augmented the audience reaction when a clown or actor was given a slap on stage.

24 Impersonate on Halloween : GO AS

All Saints’ Day is November 1st each year. The day before All Saints’ Day is All Hallows’ Eve, better known by the Scottish term “Halloween”.

26 Gilbert and Sullivan’s “glorious thing to be” : PIRATE KING

“The Pirates of Penzance; or, The Slave of Duty” is an operetta by Gilbert & Sullivan. “Pirates” is still performed regularly today, and even though I’ve seen a lot of Gilbert & Sullivan over the decades, somehow I’ve missed this one …

30 Parts of Polynésie française : ILES

French Polynesia (Polynésie française) is a vast overseas territory of France that is located in the South Pacific Ocean. It comprises 118 islands and atolls dispersed over 1,609 square miles, the most populous being Tahiti.

31 Form of crowdfunding : TELETHON

The world’s first telethon took place in 1949. It was a 16-hour fundraiser hosted by Milton Berle that raised over a million dollars for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. The term “telethon”, a portmanteau of “television” and “marathon”, was coined in the news media the day after the event. One of the most famous annual telethons was the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon, which raised funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association for over twenty years, from 1966 until 2010.

Crowdsourcing is mainly an online phenomenon, and is the solicitation of perhaps services, ideas or content from a large group of people. “Crowdsourcing” is a portmanteau of “crowd” and “outsourcing”. An example of crowdsourcing is crowdfunding, where an individual solicits many small contributions from a large number of people to fund a project.

32 Lamborghini alternative : BUGATTI

Italian Ettore Bugatti founded his company Automobiles E. Bugatti in 1909 in Alsace, then part of Germany. Bugatti cars were noted for the beauty of their design as well as their performance. Ettore came from an artistic family. His younger brother Rembrandt Bugatti was a noted sculptor.

Ferruccio Lamborghini was in the business of manufacturing tractors back in the late forties. Almost two decades later, he founded Automobili Lamborghini to produce high-end sports cars. That’s quite a shift in target market …

39 Source of the brachiocephalic trunk : AORTA

The aorta originates in the heart and extends down into the abdomen. It is the largest artery in the body.

44 A as in Atlantic City? : ACE

Atlantic City, New Jersey was developed in the 1850s as a potential resort town. The first version of the celebrated Atlantic City Boardwalk was installed in 1870. The city’s heyday came with Prohibition, when illegal drinking and gambling thrived in the backrooms of nightclubs and restaurants. After a long period of decline, Atlantic City was revitalized with the introduction of legalized casino gambling in 1976.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Opposite of very : A TAD
5 Part of Kamala Harris’s ancestry : TAMIL
10 Lead-in to -nomic : ERGO
14 “Not finished yet …” : MORE TO COME …
16 Some tandoori fare : NAAN
17 Paper-pusher : BUREAUCRAT
18 Stopping point? : DIME
19 Outburst of complete exhaustion : I CAN’T GO ON
20 Dice, in slang : BONES
21 “Glorify ___ Name” (church chorus) : THY
22 Roman foeman : HUN
23 Witticism : BON MOT
24 New York football team, to fans : G-MEN
26 Country singer/songwriter Tillis : PAM
27 Palindromic woman’s name : AVA
28 One going through cyclic ups and downs? : MOUNTAIN BIKER
31 Spot at a movie theater : TEASER TRAILER
32 Doctor’s approach : BEDSIDE MANNER
33 Suffix with form : -ULA
34 Curve together loosely, as one’s hands : CUP
35 Plates : TAGS
36 Not-so-hard pill to swallow : GELCAP
38 Zip : PEP
39 “Pretty worm of Nilus,” in Shakespeare : ASP
42 Playwright Fugard : ATHOL
43 Laugh it off, say : TAKE A JOKE
46 Fall sound : THUD
47 Polonium was named for her homeland, Poland, in 1898 : MARIE CURIE
48 “Watch your ___!” (response to 52-Across) : TONE
49 Option for expressing grievances : OPEN LETTER
50 Picks, in football: Abbr. : INTS
51 Calves come from them : BERGS
52 See 48-Across : SASS

Down

1 Scope : AMBIT
2 Something you shouldn’t do in an art museum : TOUCH
3 Solar ___ : ARRAY
4 Celebrity chef Paula : DEEN
5 Grew a spine : TOUGHENED UP
6 Client’s company contact, informally : ACCOUNT REP
7 Dummkopf : MORON
8 “___ absolute mess” : I’M AN
9 Word that’s also a diminutive suffix : LET
10 Stop at : END ON
11 Big earner at a business : RAINMAKER
12 Message that basically tells you to get a life? : GAME OVER
13 Amazon deterrent : ONE STAR
15 Work with a needle, informally : TAT
20 Terrible on opening weekend, say : BOMBING
23 Some slapstick props : BANANA PEELS
24 Impersonate on Halloween : GO AS
25 It contains many numbers : MUSICAL
26 Gilbert and Sullivan’s “glorious thing to be” : PIRATE KING
28 Olympic pursuit : MEDAL HUNT
29 “___ inside” (convenience store sign) : ATM
30 Parts of Polynésie française : ILES
31 Form of crowdfunding : TELETHON
32 Lamborghini alternative : BUGATTI
37 Things that can be cracked : CODES
38 One knife in a knife collection : PARER
39 Source of the brachiocephalic trunk : AORTA
40 Heaven, with “the” : … SKIES
41 Gets a hard look (at) : PEERS
43 Athletic trainer’s supply : TAPE
44 A as in Atlantic City? : ACE
45 Projects : JUTS
47 Kind of rule : MOB

4 thoughts on “0905-20 NY Times Crossword 5 Sep 20, Saturday”

  1. 19:13, no errors. The only misstep I remember now was INDIA before TAMIL, but I paused for head-scratching sessions in a number of spots. A good tussle … 😜.

  2. 35:30 with a few lookups. Just not in the setter’s wavelength today. On the bright side, I’m always surprised when one little hint can open up a whole section.

  3. 24:54 with a fair number of miscues. Was sure of MEL (Tillis), but should have realized it was a Sat. and that would be too easy. That seemed to be a stumbling block to the whole E side. I had all of the W filled in and just a mattering of the E letters, tho I had MARIECURIE. From a recent X-word blog by Bill, no doubt, I learned that she was from Poland. Definitely helped here.

    And as @Steve said, just one hint / word can open a lot. Replacing MEL with PAM helped a ton. I’m a former climber (in my youth) so when I had MOUNTAIN I wanted to add GUIDE. “Cyclic” in the clue should have been a more than adequate hint.

  4. 51:50 NE, SE, SW, NW, Center….all caused me problems, but isn’t that what Saturday is all about? Lots of terms I wasn’t familiar with….

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