0907-20 NY Times Crossword 7 Sep 20, Monday

Constructed by: Gareth Bain
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: About a Foot

Themed answers each end with part of A FOOT:

  • 59A How tall Barbie is … or what the ends of 17-, 25-, 38- and 47-Across are? : ABOUT A FOOT
  • 17A Entranceway to London’s Hyde Park : MARBLE ARCH
  • 25A Kids’ game that usually ends in a draw : TIC-TAC-TOE
  • 38A North Carolinian : TAR HEEL
  • 47A Popular food fish that’s actually a flounder : LEMON SOLE

Bill’s time: 5m 23s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 “___-voom!” : VA-VA

“Va-va-voom!” is an expression that turns up in a lot of places. For example, it was a frequent utterance by comic actor Art Carney, most notably while playing Ed Norton in the sitcom “The Honeymooners” from the 1950s. Carney even released a comedy song “Va Va Va Voom” in 1954.

14 DuVernay who directed “Selma” : AVA

Ava DuVernay is a filmmaker who became the first African-American woman to win the Best Director Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, a feat she achieved in 2012 for her feature film “Middle of Nowhere”. “Middle of Nowhere” tells the story of a woman who drops out of medical school to focus on her husband when he is sentenced to 8 years in prison. DuVernay also directed the 2014 film “Selma” about the 1965 voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

“Selma” is a 2014 film about the Selma-to-Montgomery marches of 1965. Directed by Ava DuVernay, the movie stars David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson.

15 Printing goofs : ERRATA

“Errata” is the past participle of the Latin word “errare” meaning “to err”. We use “errata” (singular “erratum”) to describe a list of errors that have been noted in some publication.

16 “___ go bragh!” : ERIN

“Erin go bragh!” is an anglicization of the Irish phrase “Éirinn go Brách!”, which translates as “Ireland Forever!”

17 Entranceway to London’s Hyde Park : MARBLE ARCH

The Arch of Constantine in Rome was the inspiration for subsequent structures built around the world, including the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, Marble Arch in London and the main facade of Union Station in Washington, D.C.

Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in central London. A famous element in Hyde Park is Speakers’ Corner, which is located in the northeast corner of the park. Speakers’ Corner was the site of the infamous Tyburn gallows that was used for public executions in centuries past. Today, Speakers’ Corner is a site for public speech and debate, and a center for public protest. Some say that the tradition of allowing free speech at the site dates back to the condemned man being allowed to say his final words prior to execution at the Tyburn gallows.

21 Summer coolers, for short : ACS

Air conditioner (AC)

25 Kids’ game that usually ends in a draw : TIC-TAC-TOE

When I was growing up in Ireland we played “noughts and crosses” … our name for the game tic-tac-toe.

33 Designer Oscar ___ Renta : DE LA

Oscar de la Renta is a fashion designer who really came to prominence in the sixties when his designs were worn by Jacqueline Kennedy.

37 Singer Yoko : ONO

Yoko Ono was born in 1933 in Tokyo into a prosperous Japanese family, and is actually a descendant of one of the emperors of Japan. Yoko’s father moved around the world for work, and she lived the first few years of her life in San Francisco. The family returned to Japan, before moving on to New York, Hanoi and back to Japan just before WWII, in time to live through the great firebombing of Tokyo in 1945. Immediately after the war the family was far from prosperous. While Yoko’s father was being held in a prison camp in Vietnam, her mother had to resort to begging and bartering to feed her children. When her father was repatriated, life started to return to normal and Yoko was able to attend university. She was the first woman to be accepted into the philosophy program of Gakushuin University.

38 North Carolinian : TAR HEEL

“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.

40 Safe Drinking Water Act enforcer, for short : EPA

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

41 Japanese moolah : YEN

The Korean won, Chinese yuan, and Japanese yen (all of which are Asian currencies) take their names from the Chinese written character that represents “round shape”.

42 Actress Jessica : BIEL

Jessica Biel is an actress who was known by television audiences Mary Camden on “7th Heaven”. Biel’s first film role was playing Peter Fonda’s granddaughter in “Ulee’s Gold”. Biel married singer and actor Justin Timberlake in 2012.

45 Classic pie crust ingredient : LARD

Fat, when extracted from the carcass of an animal, is called suet. Untreated suet decomposes at room temperature quite easily so it has to be rendered, purified to make it stable. Rendered fat from pigs is what we call lard. Rendered beef or mutton fat is known as tallow.

47 Popular food fish that’s actually a flounder : LEMON SOLE

Lemon sole is also called English sole, and is native to Northern Europe. It is a flatfish, and a very popular food fish in the British Isles.

51 Thanksgiving side dish : YAM

Although in the US we sometimes refer to sweet potatoes as “yams”, the yam is actually a completely different family of plants. True yams are more common in other parts of the world than they are in this country, and are especially common in Africa.

53 Miracle on ___ (1980 Winter Olympics upset) : ICE

Team USA won the gold medal in men’s hockey at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. The victory was a surprising one given the decades-long dominance of the USSR team. The “big result” for the American team was the epic victory against the Soviets, a victory often referred to as the “Miracle on Ice”. The US went on to defeat Finland in the final and secured the gold medal. The moniker “miracle” comes from words uttered by sportscaster Al Michaels, who was calling the game for ABC. He declared, in the final seconds, “Do you believe in miracles?! Yes!”

55 Greek cheese : FETA

Feta is a Greek cheese made from sheep’s milk, or a mixture of sheep and goat’s milk. The cheese is salted and cured in a brine solution for several months before it is eaten.

59 How tall Barbie is … or what the ends of 17-, 25-, 38- and 47-Across are? : ABOUT A FOOT

The famous Barbie doll was created by businesswoman Ruth Handler and first appeared on store shelves in 1959. Barbie was based on a German fashion doll called Bild Lilli that was introduced in 1955. Lilli had been a German cartoon character before taking on a three-dimensional form. Prior to the introduction of Bild Lilli and Barbie, children’s dolls were primarily representations of infants.

63 Joseph who wrote “Heart of Darkness” : CONRAD

Joseph Conrad was a Polish-British author who was active in the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries. His list of novels includes “Heart of Darkness” (1899) and “Lord Jim” (1900). Many of Conrad’s works have been adapted for the big and small screen. For example, “Apocalypse Now” is an updated telling of the “Heart of Darkness” storyline.

“Heart of Darkness” is an 1899 novella by Joseph Conrad in which the narrator journeys up the Congo River in search of an agent who is the most successful supplier of ivory. The basic storyline for the novella inspired the 1979 movie “Apocalypse Now”.

64 Roth ___ (investment) : IRA

Roth Individual Retirement Accounts (Roth IRAs) were introduced in 1997 under a bill sponsored by Senator William Roth of Delaware, hence the name.

65 “S.N.L.” bit : SKIT

“Saturday Night Live” (SNL)

66 Artists’ stands : EASELS

The word “easel” comes from an old Dutch word meaning “donkey”, would you believe? The idea is that an easel carries its load (an oil painting, say) just as a donkey would be made to carry a load.

Down

1 Dalai ___ : LAMA

The Dalai Lama is a religious leader in the Gelug branch of Tibetan Buddhism. The current Dalai Lama is the 14th to hold the office. He has indicated that the next Dalai Lama might be found outside of Tibet for the first time, and may even be female.

2 Any of several Russian czars : IVAN

Ivan I was Prince of Moscow from 1325, succeeding his older brother Yuri III, who in turn succeeded their father Daniil Aleksandrovich. Daniil was the first Prince of Moscow, the first in a long line that culminated in Ivan the Terrible, who became the first Tsar of Russia.

3 Temple on Athens’s Acropolis : PARTHENON

The Parthenon is the ruined temple that sits on the Athenian Acropolis. Although the Parthenon was dedicated to the goddess Athena as a sacred building in the days of the Athenian Empire, it was actually used primarily as a treasury. In later centuries, the Parthenon was repurposed as a Christian Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and was also used as a mosque after Ottoman conquest.

The term “acropolis” translates from Greek as “high city” or “city on the extremity”. In English we use the term “citadel” to mean the same thing. The most famous citadel bearing the name is the Acropolis of Athens. This Acropolis is a large, flat-topped rock in the city of Athens that rises almost 500 feet above sea level. The most recognizable building that stands on the Acropolis is the Parthenon, also known as the Temple of Athena.

4 Blanc who voiced Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig : MEL

Mel Blanc was known as “The Man of a Thousand Voices”. We’ve all heard Mel Blanc at one time or another, I am sure. His was the voice behind such cartoon characters as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Woody Woodpecker, Elmer Fudd and Barney Rubble. And the words on Blanc’s tombstone are … “That’s all folks”.

Bugs Bunny first said “What’s up, Doc?” while addressing the hunter Elmer Fudd, in the 1940 cartoon short “A Wild Hare”.

Daffy Duck first appeared on the screen in “Porky’s Duck Hunt” in 1937. In the original cartoon, Daffy was just meant to have a small role, but he was a big hit as he had so much sass. Even back then, Daffy was voiced by the ubiquitous Mel Blanc.

Porky Pig was the first of the characters created by Warner Bros. to become a hit with audiences. Porky Pig is the guy with the line at the end of each cartoon, “Th-th-th-that’s all folks!” If you don’t mind a little adult language, there’s a very funny 11-second Porky Pig clip that the studio released on a blooper reel in 1938. Porky Pig stutters out “Son of g-g-gun”, only he doesn’t say “gun” …

7 Some ankle bones : TARSI

The tarsals (also “tarsi”) are the ankle bones, and are equivalent to the carpals in the wrist.

10 Home to St. Mark’s Basilica : VENICE

St. Mark’s Basilica is the Roman Catholic cathedral in the city of Venice, Italy. In front of the basilica is the Piazza San Marco, the city’s main public square. St. Mark’s Square is a remarkable urban space in Europe as the sound of the human voice dominates, rather than the sound of traffic. That is indeed remarkable …

12 “Black-capped” or “yellow-throated” songbird : VIREO

Vireos are pretty little birds native to the New World. Vireos’ wings and bodies are mostly grey, but their heads and throats are often a lovely olive green.

13 ___ the Giant (legendary 7’4″ wrestler) : ANDRE

André the Giant was a professional wrestler from France whose real name was André René Roussimoff. He suffered from gigantism, overproduction of growth hormone, and reached the height of 6 feet 3 inches by the time he was 12-years-old. But, he used his size to develop a very successful career in the ring.

18 “If ___ Street Could Talk,” 2018 film for which Regina King won an Oscar : BEALE

Regina King won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance in the 2018 film “If Beale Street Could Talk”. On television, King plays the lead in the superhero drama series “Watchmen”.

22 California soccer club : LA GALAXY

The L.A. Galaxy is one of the ten charter clubs of Major League Soccer (MLS). The team is known for signing some high-profile players from more established leagues. England star and celebrity David Beckham played for the Galaxy from 2007 to 2012.

24 Where Jericho and Bethlehem are located : WEST BANK

The bulk of the Palestinian territories are located in the West Bank. The term “West Bank” is a reference to lands west of the River Jordan.

26 First Nations tribe : CREE

The Cree are one of the largest groups of Native Americans on the continent. In the US, Montana is home to most of the Cree nation. They live on a reservation shared with the Ojibwe people. In Canada, most of the Cree live in Manitoba.

“First Nations” is a term used in Canada describing the ethnicity of Native Americans who are neither Inuit nor Métis people.

27 Author Gay : TALESE

Gay Talese is an American author, one famous as a journalist in the sixties at “The New York Times”. His 1971 book “Honor Thy Father” is a tale about the Bonanno crime family.

28 “___, matey!” : AHOY

“Ahoy!” is a nautical term used to signal a vessel. When the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell, he suggested that “ahoy” be used as a standard greeting when answering a call. However, Thomas Edison came up with “hello”, and we’ve been using that ever since.

33 UPS alternative : DHL

Back in the sixties, Larry Hillblom was making pocket money as a Berkeley law student by doing courier runs between San Francisco and Los Angeles. After law school, Hillblom decided to parlay his experience into his own business and set up a courier service flying bills of lading ahead of freight from San Francisco to Honolulu. He brought in two buddies, Adrian Dalsey and Robert Lynn, as partners and the three were soon hopping on and off commercial flights and gradually making more and more money. And DHL was born … D (for Dalsey) H (for Hillblom) L (for Lynn). DHL was acquired by Germany’s Deutsche Post in 2002.

35 German auto : OPEL

Adam Opel founded his company in 1863, first making sewing machines in a cowshed. Commercial success brought new premises and a new product line in 1886, namely penny-farthing bicycles. Adam Opel died in 1895, leaving his two sons with a company that made more penny-farthings and sewing machines than any other company in the world. In 1899 the two sons partnered with a locksmith and started to make cars, but not very successfully. Two years later, the locksmith was dropped in favor of a licensing arrangement with a French car company. By 1914, Opel was the largest manufacturer of automobiles in Germany. My Dad had an Opel in the seventies, a station wagon (we’d say “estate car” in Ireland) called an Opel Kadett.

36 Sunbathe : BASK

Our verb “to bask”, meaning “to expose one to pleasant warmth”, is derived from the gruesome, 14th-century term “basken”, meaning “to wallow in blood”. The contemporary usage apparently originated with Shakespeare, who employed “bask” with reference to sunshine in “As You Like It”.

47 Playing surfaces for croquet : LAWNS

The very genteel game of croquet is played on lawns all over the world. It’s the game where mallets are used to hit wooden balls through hoops embedded in the grass. The name “croquet” is from French dialect and means “hockey stick”. The game originated in Brittany in France, and was popularized in Ireland in the 1830s.

49 Tuesday, in Tours : MARDI

Tours is the largest city in the Centre region of France. Sitting on the Loire river, it is said that the people of Tours speak the “purest” form of French in the whole country. The French spoken by a local is also said to be free of any accent.

50 Civic club whose motto is “We Serve” : LIONS

Lions Club International is an organization focused on the promotion of understanding across political and sectarian lines and on the support of charitable entities. Lions Club was founded in 1917 in Chicago by businessman Melvin Jones. Lions Clubs are open to adult male members, but Lioness Clubs are open to adult females and Leo Clubs are open to younger members.

56 Singer Amos : TORI

Tori Amos is an American pianist and singer. She started playing the piano at two years old, and was composing piano pieces by age five. Amos was playing in piano bars (chaperoned by her father) when she was 14. I’m going to have to find some of her music …

60 Pet with which you might form a tight bond : BOA

Boa constrictors are members of the Boidae family of snakes, all of which are non-venomous. Interestingly, the female boa is always larger than the male.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Something that may be bitten or busted : LIP
4 No laughing ___ : MATTER
10 “___-voom!” : VA-VA
14 DuVernay who directed “Selma” : AVA
15 Printing goofs : ERRATA
16 “___ go bragh!” : ERIN
17 Entranceway to London’s Hyde Park : MARBLE ARCH
19 Brainy sort : NERD
20 Starting stake : ANTE
21 Summer coolers, for short : ACS
22 Eye makeup : LINER
23 “Yee-___!” : HAW
25 Kids’ game that usually ends in a draw : TIC-TAC-TOE
28 Eternal : AGELESS
31 Ranter’s emotion : RAGE
32 “No lie!” : HONEST!
33 Designer Oscar ___ Renta : DE LA
34 Go “boo-hoo-hoo!” : SOB
37 Singer Yoko : ONO
38 North Carolinian : TAR HEEL
40 Safe Drinking Water Act enforcer, for short : EPA
41 Japanese moolah : YEN
42 Actress Jessica : BIEL
43 Speaks impertinently to : SASSES
45 Classic pie crust ingredient : LARD
46 “The birds and the bees” : SEX TALK
47 Popular food fish that’s actually a flounder : LEMON SOLE
51 Thanksgiving side dish : YAM
52 How the surprised are taken : ABACK
53 Miracle on ___ (1980 Winter Olympics upset) : ICE
55 Greek cheese : FETA
58 Ending for “right to” or “put to” : … WORK
59 How tall Barbie is … or what the ends of 17-, 25-, 38- and 47-Across are? : ABOUT A FOOT
62 Connecting point : NODE
63 Joseph who wrote “Heart of Darkness” : CONRAD
64 Roth ___ (investment) : IRA
65 “S.N.L.” bit : SKIT
66 Artists’ stands : EASELS
67 What prevents a coffee cup from spilling : LID

Down

1 Dalai ___ : LAMA
2 Any of several Russian czars : IVAN
3 Temple on Athens’s Acropolis : PARTHENON
4 Blanc who voiced Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig : MEL
5 Geometry calculation : AREA
6 Political or religious pamphlets : TRACTS
7 Some ankle bones : TARSI
8 And so on: Abbr. : ETC
9 When repeated, very enthused : RAH
10 Home to St. Mark’s Basilica : VENICE
11 “There ___ enough hours in the day …” : AREN’T
12 “Black-capped” or “yellow-throated” songbird : VIREO
13 ___ the Giant (legendary 7’4″ wrestler) : ANDRE
18 “If ___ Street Could Talk,” 2018 film for which Regina King won an Oscar : BEALE
22 California soccer club : LA GALAXY
24 Where Jericho and Bethlehem are located : WEST BANK
26 First Nations tribe : CREE
27 Author Gay : TALESE
28 “___, matey!” : AHOY
29 Disappeared : GONE
30 Alternative to an elevator : STAIRS
33 UPS alternative : DHL
34 Staple of Asian cooking : SESAME OIL
35 German auto : OPEL
36 Sunbathe : BASK
39 Start over : REDO
44 Aides, collectively : STAFF
45 Old-fashioned keepsake : LOCKET
46 Like passwords, one hopes : SECURE
47 Playing surfaces for croquet : LAWNS
48 Some downloadable reading : E-BOOK
49 Tuesday, in Tours : MARDI
50 Civic club whose motto is “We Serve” : LIONS
54 And others: Abbr. : ET AL
56 Singer Amos : TORI
57 Slightly : A TAD
59 King beater : ACE
60 Pet with which you might form a tight bond : BOA
61 Drawbacks to a free app : ADS

4 thoughts on “0907-20 NY Times Crossword 7 Sep 20, Monday”

  1. 6:01. No issues. Unfamiliar with VIREO. Now that Bill has given the gruesome origins of the work BASK, seems like I’ve noticed it several times in puzzles the pas few weeks.

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