0911-20 NY Times Crossword 11 Sep 20, Friday

Constructed by: Caitlin Reid & Erik Agard
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 12m 25s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

11 It’s hardly a breath of fresh air : SMOG

“Smog” is a portmanteau formed by melding “smoke” and “fog”. The term was first used to describe the air around London in the early 1900s. Several cities around the world have a reputation of being particularly smoggy. For example, the most smog-plagued city in Latin America is Mexico City, which is located in a highland “bowl” that traps industrial and vehicle pollution.

16 Where to visit the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial : OAHU

The USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor sits across the sunken hull of the battleship, the resting place of 1,102 out of 1,117 sailors of the Arizona who were killed during the 1941 attack. After the attack, the superstructure of the Arizona protruded above the surface of the water. This was removed during and after WWII, hence leaving just a submerged hull. The memorial itself was approved by President Eisenhower in 1958, and the building was opened in 1962. In 1999, the battleship USS Missouri was permanently moored in Pearl Harbor, docked nearby and perpendicular to the Arizona. It was on board the Missouri that the Japanese surrendered, marking the end of WWII.

27 “Auntie,” on the telly : BBC

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is also known as “the Beeb”, a name given to the network by the great Peter Sellers on the classic British radio comedy called “The Goon Show”. The BBC was founded in 1922, and was the world’s first national broadcasting organization.

33 Achilles’ heel, e.g. : FLAW

Achilles is the protagonist in Homer’s “Iliad”. When Achilles was born, his mother attempted to make him immortal by dipping him into the River Styx. As he was held by the heel as he was immersed, this became the only vulnerable point on his body. Years later he was killed when a poisoned arrow struck him in the heel. That arrow was shot by Paris.

42 Sister language of Thai : LAO

Lao, the language of Laos, does not use spaces between words (or periods!), although this is apparently changing. Spaces are used between sentences and clauses.

43 Member of the House of Saud, e.g. : EMIR

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest Arab country in the Middle East and is the world’s largest oil producer, home to the world’s largest oil reserves. The Saudi dynasty started in central Arabia in 1744 when the secular leader Muhammad ibn Saud joined forces with the Islamic scholar and Imam, Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab. At the time, Saud was a ruler of a town near Riyadh and he was determined to bring “true” Islam to the Arabian peninsula. Since 1744 the fortunes of the Saudi family have risen and fallen, but it is that same family who rules what we know today as Saudi Arabia.

44 ___ nut : KOLA

The nut of the kola tree has a bitter taste, and is loaded with caffeine. Despite the taste, the nut is habitually chewed in some cultures, especially in West Africa where the tree is commonly found in the rainforest. Here in the US we best know the kola nut as a flavoring used in cola drinks.

45 Cicely ___, 2020 Television Academy Hall of Fame inductee : TYSON

Cicely Tyson is an actor known for her performance in the film “Sounder”, for which she received an Oscar nomination. In the outstanding mini-series “Roots”, she played the role of Binta, Kunta Kinte’s mother back in his homeland of Gambia.

47 Seventh of 24 : ETA

Eta is the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet, and is a forerunner of our Latin character “H”. Originally denoting a consonant, eta was used as a long vowel in Ancient Greek.

53 Proverbial back-breaker : STRAW

We use the idiom “the straw that broke the camel’s back” to refer to an seemingly inconsequential action that can cause a cataclysmic failure given the pressure on the situation that already exists. Our English idiom comes from an Arabic proverb with a similar wording and meaning.

55 King ___ : COBRA

The king cobra isn’t a cobra at all and rather belongs to its own genus. The king cobra is the world’s longest venomous snake and can grow to over 18 feet in length.

63 Miguel in “Coco,” por ejemplo : NINO

“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.

64 Sweet Indian beverage : MANGO LASSI

Lassi is a yogurt-based drink from India. Popular variants are namkeen lassi (which is salty), sweet lassi and mango lassi. There is even a bhang lassi, which is infused with a liquid derivative of cannabis.

65 “Rock or Bust” rockers : AC/DC

The Heavy Metal band known as AC/DC was formed by two brothers Malcolm and Angus Young in Australia. The group is usually called “Acca Dacca” down under.

Down

5 Alternative to 7Up : FRESCA

Fresca is a Coca-Cola product introduced in 1966 that is a little unusual in that it has no Pepsi Cola equivalent. It has always been marketed as a zero-calorie grapefruit drink, and so is artificially sweetened.

6 Like the circle in the 7Up logo : RED

7UP was introduced to the world as “Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda”, and was a patent medicine that contained lithium citrate, a mood-stabilizing drug. The introduction of a mood-stabilizing medication was pretty timely, as the 1929 Wall Street Crash happened just two weeks later. 7UP’s “Uncola” advertising campaign dates back to 1967.

11 Title of hits by Abba and Rihanna : SOS

The ABBA song “SOS” was originally titled “Turn Me On”. In the movie “Mamma Mia!”, “SOS” is performed by Meryl Streep (brilliantly) and by Pierce Brosnan (terribly).

“SOS” is a dance-pop song released by Rihanna in 2006.

24 Jaguars, e.g. : AUTOS

Auto manufacturer Jaguar started out as a manufacturer of sidecars for motorcycles back in 1922, when the company was known as the Swallow Sidecar Company (SS for short). The company changed its name to Jaguar after WWII, because of the unfortunate connotations of the letters “SS” in that era (i.e. the Nazi paramilitary organization).

27 With whom you might have a Snapchat streak, informally : BFF

Best friend forever (BFF)

Snapchat is a messaging system that allows users to send photos and video clips to a limited list of recipients. The photos and clips, called “snaps”, can be viewed for only a few seconds before they are deleted from the recipient’s device, and from the Snapchat servers.

34 With 36-Down, what plasma may be removed from : WHOLE …

36 See 34-Down : … BLOOD

Plasma (sometimes “plasm”) is the clear, yellow-colored liquid component of blood and lymph in which cells are suspended.

45 Kind of bone near the tibia and fibula : TARSAL

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

51 Literally, “law” : TORAH

The Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, are traditionally believed to have been written by Moses. As such, they are sometimes referred to as the Law of Moses, or Mosaic Law. Those five books are:

  • Bereshit/Genesis
  • Shemot/Exodus
  • Vayikra/Leviticus
  • Bamidbar/Numbers
  • Devarim/Deuteronomy

56 Big producer of speakers : BOSE

Bose Corporation was founded in 1964 by Amar G. Bose, and is a company that specializes in manufacture of audio equipment.

57 Santa ___, Calif. : ROSA

Santa Rosa is the largest city in California’s Wine Country, and the county seat of Sonoma County. The epicenter of the so-called 1906 San Francisco Earthquake was located near Santa Rosa. There was actually more damage in Santa Rosa, for the size of the city, than there was in San Francisco.

60 Nonfiction film, informally : DOC

Documentary (doc)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Fans of the Bible? : PALM FRONDS
11 It’s hardly a breath of fresh air : SMOG
15 Apartment units : SQUARE FEET
16 Where to visit the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial : OAHU
17 Necked, jocularly : SUCKED FACE
18 Sort (through) : SIFT
19 Perspectives : TAKES
20 Starters : A-TEAM
22 Bobs and weaves : DOS
23 Phone-unlocking option : SCAN
25 Pictures : IMAGERY
27 “Auntie,” on the telly : BBC
30 Dreaded examination : AUDIT
32 Like bells : RUNG
33 Achilles’ heel, e.g. : FLAW
35 Lap-sitter : TOT
36 Solution for a chef, maybe : BRINE
37 Not on time, but that’s OK : FASHIONABLY LATE
41 Talent, in slang : CHOPS
42 Sister language of Thai : LAO
43 Member of the House of Saud, e.g. : EMIR
44 ___ nut : KOLA
45 Cicely ___, 2020 Television Academy Hall of Fame inductee : TYSON
47 Seventh of 24 : ETA
48 Plot device that prompts a protagonist to piece things together : AMNESIA
50 Right columns? : EDIT
52 Roar from a crowd : RAH!
53 Proverbial back-breaker : STRAW
55 King ___ : COBRA
59 “My, my!” : EGAD!
61 Get out of here! : ESCAPE ROOM
63 Miguel in “Coco,” por ejemplo : NINO
64 Sweet Indian beverage : MANGO LASSI
65 “Rock or Bust” rockers : AC/DC
66 One who’s about ready to go out? : SLEEPYHEAD

Down

1 Attention getter : PSST!
2 Lead-in to culture : AQUA-
3 Unfortunate thing to be out of : LUCK
4 Nets : MAKES
5 Alternative to 7Up : FRESCA
6 Like the circle in the 7Up logo : RED
7 Intermittently : OFF AND ON
8 Dandy : NEAT
9 Trickery : DECEIT
10 Tick off : STEAM
11 Title of hits by Abba and Rihanna : SOS
12 Something that might be sacrificed at the altar? : MAIDEN NAME
13 “Never mind!” : OH FORGET IT!
14 Full of grit : GUTSY
21 Unite : MARRY
24 Jaguars, e.g. : AUTOS
26 Trickery : GUILE
27 With whom you might have a Snapchat streak, informally : BFF
28 Bad spells : BLACK MAGIC
29 Liquid paper? : CASH ON HAND
31 Where eyeglasses and espresso machines were invented : ITALY
34 With 36-Down, what plasma may be removed from : WHOLE …
36 See 34-Down : … BLOOD
38 “Check” : I PASS
39 It comes before overtime : BASE WAGE
40 Slice of life, maybe : ERA
45 Kind of bone near the tibia and fibula : TARSAL
46 “___ done!” : NICELY
48 Game site : ARENA
49 Objects : ITEMS
51 Literally, “law” : TORAH
54 Face covering of a sort : ACNE
56 Big producer of speakers : BOSE
57 Santa ___, Calif. : ROSA
58 Surrounded by : AMID
60 Nonfiction film, informally : DOC
62 Really jump out : POP

7 thoughts on “0911-20 NY Times Crossword 11 Sep 20, Friday”

  1. Welp. I thought I was gonna throw in the towel on this one. It took forever to gain any traction at all. Imagine my surprise when I filled in the last letter on PSST and I got the “congratulations.” It took exactly 30:00! On to more pleasant tasks.

  2. 22:33 Not “too” bad for a Friday (I can remember when anything under 60 min. was great). My alternative to 7-Up, 5D, has always been SPRITE and that remained in the NW corner for a long time. 7D had ONANDOFF vs. OFFANDON for a long time. also had REEDS for the tail of 1A, before FRONDS. You can probably surmise that the NW was the last area to be solved. Also had BROTH before BRINE, OLE before RAH.

    @Nonny – great time. Seems you were in the Zone.

  3. 20:36. Like all themeless puzzles, it took a while to get going. Getting FASHIONABLY LATE and OH FORGET IT right off the bat helped a lot.

    Didn’t know MANGOLASSI. Some of the derivative drinks Bill mentions…yikes. If someone offered me a salty yogurt drink, I think I’d pass. A cannabis yogurt drink doesn’t thrill me either although I guess it would give you more bhang for your buck…

    iguessillmaketheexactsamejokeaboutthelaolanguagethatimadeafew weeksagonospacesnorpunctuationishardtotype

    Best –

  4. Alaska Steve, I’ve got your back…30:19 for me. Same errors with “broth”, “ole”, “on and off”, but I also remember when Friday puzzles were usually DNF’s so go me!

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