0929-20 NY Times Crossword 29 Sep 20, Tuesday

Constructed by: Ricky Cruz
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Breaks Character

Several rows in the grid contain hidden CHARACTERS used in writing, with each BROKEN by a black square:

  • 38A Can’t hold back laughter while performing, say … or a hint to the circled letters : BREAKS CHARACTER
  • 18A No later than : UNTIL
  • 19A Tightly packed : DENSE (broken “TILDE”)
  • 24A Gray in the face : ASHY
  • 25A Prodigies, informally : PHENOMS (broken “HYPHEN”)
  • 51A Homes with wheels : CAMPERS
  • 53A “Toy Story” boy : ANDY (broken “AMPERSAND”)
  • 61A Something to make in an emergency? : HASTE
  • 62A Having low odds of success : RISKY (broken “ASTERISK”)

Bill’s time: 5m 36s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Message in Morse code, maybe : SOS

The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots). That said, in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so “SOS” is really only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are back-formations that were introduced after the SOS signal was adopted.

Samuel Morse came up with the forerunner to modern Morse code for use on the electric telegraph, of which he was the co-inventor. Morse code uses a series of dots and dashes to represent letters and numbers. The most common letters are assigned the simplest code elements e.g. E is represented by one dot, and T is represented by one dash. When words are spelled aloud in Morse code, a dot is pronounced as “dit”, and a dash is pronounced as “dah”.

9 Lou Bega’s “___ No. 5” : MAMBO

“Mambo No. 5” was originally recorded by the song’s composer Pérez Prado, back in 1949. German musician Lou Bega released an insanely successful cover version of “Mambo No. 5” in 1999.

14 Actress Longoria : EVA

Eva Longoria is a fashion model and actress who had a regular role on TV’s “Desperate Housewives”, playing Gabrielle Solis.

15 Frank of the Mothers of Invention : ZAPPA

Frank Zappa was an American composer and guitarist. He was a solo artist as well as the founding member of the rock band Mothers of Invention. You might like to meet his four children: Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan, and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen.

16 Like the modern descendants of dinosaurs : AVIAN

The Mesozoic Era is also known as “the Age of the Dinosaurs” and “the Age of Reptiles”. Most dinosaurs developed during that time and the era ended with the extinction of all dinosaurs (except the avian species, which developed into our modern birds). The Mesozoic Era started with another cataclysmic event, the so-called “Great Dying”, the largest mass extinction in the history of our planet. During the “Great Dying” over 90% of all marine species and 70% of all terrestrial vertebrate species died off.

18 No later than : UNTIL
19 Tightly packed : DENSE (broken “TILDE”)

The tilde diacritical mark (~) is very much associated with the Spanish language. We use the name “tilde” in English, taking that name from Spanish. Confusingly, the word “tilde” in Spanish is used more generally to mean “accent mark, diacritic”, of which a “~” is just one. What we call a “tilde” in English is usually referred to as a “virgulilla” or “tilde de la eñe” in Spanish.

22 Some Catholic gift shop purchases : ROSARIES

The Rosary is a set of prayer beads used in the Roman Catholic tradition. The name “Rosary” comes from the Latin “rosarium”, the word for a “rose garden” or a “garland of roses”. The term is used figuratively, in the sense of a “garden of prayers”.

24 Gray in the face : ASHY
25 Prodigies, informally : PHENOMS (broken “HYPHEN”)

“Hyphen” is a Greek word that came into English via Latin while retaining the meaning “mark joining two syllables or words”. It is speculated that the mark was introduced to indicate how a word should be sung. The term comes from the Greek “hypo” and “hen” and translates literally as “under one”.

33 Cabinet members, to the president : ADVISORS

In the Westminster system, the Cabinet is a group of sitting politicians chosen by the Prime Minister to head up government departments and also to participate collectively in major governmental decisions in all areas. In the US system, the Cabinet is made up not of sitting politicians, but rather of non-legislative individuals who are considered to have expertise in a particular area. The Cabinet members in the US system tend to have more of an advisory role outside of their own departments.

37 One of many for baking soda : USE

“Bicarb” is a familiar term for sodium bicarbonate. Another name for the same compound is “baking soda”. When sodium carbonate is added to a batter, it reacts with acids and releases carbon dioxide which gives baked goods texture, all those “holes”.

43 Karaoke locale, often : BAR

“Karate” is a Japanese word meaning “empty hand”, and the related word “karaoke” translates as “empty orchestra”.

50 Sign for a soothsayer : OMEN
53 “Toy Story” boy : ANDY (broken “AMPERSAND”)

1995’s “Toy Story” was the world’s first feature-length computer-animated movie. “Toy Story” was also the studio Pixar’s first production. The main roles in the film are Woody and Buzz Lightyear, who are voiced by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen respectively. Hanks was the first choice to voice Woody, but Allen was asked to voice Buzz after Billy Crystal turned down the role.

57 Common house style : COLONIAL

The colonial style of house is very symmetrical, often with a square footprint. The main door is almost always located in the center of the front wall, with two windows on either side. The second floor has five windows, one being located directly over the front door.

61 Something to make in an emergency? : HASTE

62 Having low odds of success : RISKY (broken “ASTERISK”)

The name of the typographical symbol “asterisk” comes from the Greek word “asteriskos” meaning “little star”. The original use of the asterisk was by printers of family trees in feudal times. Back then it was a symbol indicating the date of birth.

66 Rental when moving, maybe : U-HAUL

The U-Haul company was started by married couple Leonard Shoen and Anna Mary Carty in Ridgefield, Washington in 1945. The Shoens used $5,000 of seed money to build trailers in their garage, and then cleverly recruited gas station owners as franchisees with whom they would split the rental revenue. There are now about 15,000 U-Haul dealers across the country.

71 Sgt.’s superiors : LTS

The rank of lieutenant (lt.) is superior to the rank of sergeant (sgt.), and below the rank of captain (capt.).

Down

1 Brown tone : SEPIA

Sepia is that rich, brown-grey color so common in old photographs. “Sepia” is the Latinized version of the Greek word for cuttlefish, as sepia pigment is derived from the ink sac of the cuttlefish. Sepia ink was commonly used for writing and drawing as far back as ancient Rome and ancient Greece. The “sepia tone” of old photographs is not the result of deterioration over time. Rather, it is the result of a deliberate preservation process which converts the metallic silver in the photographic image to a more stable silver sulfide. Prints that have been sepia-toned can last in excess of 150 years.

3 Actress ___ Michelle Gellar : SARAH

Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar is perhaps best known for playing the title role on the TV show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. Gellar married fellow actor Freddie Prinze Jr. in 2002.

9 Title for Marie Curie : MADAME

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.

12 It might be stolen in full view : BASE

That would be baseball.

13 Small bills : ONES

If you look at the back of a one-dollar bill there is an eye sitting above a pyramid. This is known as the Eye of Providence, and is similar to the Eye of Horus that we see so often in ancient Egyptian designs and hieroglyphs. The Eye of Providence is a common Christian emblem from the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

23 Fa’s follower : SOL

The sol-fa syllables are: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la & ti.

26 Nickname for a mythical hero : HERC

“The Twelve Labors of Hercules” is actually a Greek myth, although Hercules is the Roman name for the hero that the Greeks called Heracles.

33 “Mamma Mia” group : ABBA

The hit musical “Mamma Mia!” was written to showcase the songs of ABBA. I’m a big fan of ABBA’s music, so I’ve seen this show a couple of times and just love it. “Mamma Mia!” is such a big hit on the stage that on any given day there are at least seven performances going on somewhere in the world. There is a really interesting film version of the show that was released in 2008. I think the female lead Meryl Streep is wonderful in the movie, but the male leads … not so much! By the way, one can tell the difference between “Mamma Mia” the ABBA song and “Mamma Mia!” the musical, by noting the difference in the punctuation in the titles.

40 Captain Morgan and others : RUMS

The Captain Morgan brand of rum comes from Jamaica in the West Indies. It is named for the privateer from Wales, Sir Henry Morgan, who plied his trade in the Caribbean in the 17th century.

41 Bass, for one : ALE

The red triangle on the label of a bottle of Bass Ale was registered in 1875 and is UK Registered Trade Mark (TM) No: 00001, the first trademark issued in the world.

46 Powerful judicial group, in brief : SCOTUS

Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS)

48 Old record co. conglomerate : EMI

EMI was a British music company, with the initialism standing for Electric and Musical Industries.

49 Peloponnesian War victor : SPARTA

The Peloponnesian War was fought from 431 to 404 BC between the Athenian Empire and the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Prior to the war, Athens was the strongest city-state in Greece. After the victory by the Peloponnesian League, Sparta emerged as the leading power.

52 Sewing machine inventor Howe : ELIAS

Elias Howe was an American inventor. Howe wasn’t the first to come up with the idea of a sewing machine, but he was the first to develop one that was functional.

54 Like the forces of an armada : NAVAL

The most famous armada was the Spanish fleet that sailed against England in order to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I in 1588. It failed in its mission, partly due to bad weather encountered en route. Ironically, the English mounted a similar naval attack against Spain the following year, and it failed as well.

56 Poet who wrote “I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree” : YEATS

Irish poet and dramatist William Butler Yeats won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923 for “inspired poetry” that gave “expression to a whole nation”. Yeats was Ireland’s first Nobel laureate.

58 Most populous Hawaiian island : OAHU

Oahu has been called “The Gathering Place”, although the word “O’ahu” has no translation in Hawaiian. It seems that “O’ahu” is simply the name of the island. One story is that it is named after the son of the Polynesian navigator who first found the islands. The island is made up of two volcanoes, Wai’anae and Ko’olau, joined together by a broad valley, the O’ahu Plain.

59 Hurdle for an aspiring atty. : LSAT

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

60 The “B” of MB : BYTE

In the world of computing, a bit is the basic unit of information. It has a value of 0 or 1. A “byte” is a small collection of “bits” (usually 8), the number of bits needed to uniquely identify a character of text. The prefix mega- stands for 10 to the power of 6, so a megabyte (meg) is 1,000,000 bytes. The prefix giga- means 10 to the power of 9, and so a gigabyte (gig) is 1,000,000,000 bytes. Well, those are the SI definitions of megabyte and gigabyte. The purists still use 2 to the power of 20 for a megabyte (i.e. 1,048,576), and 2 to the power of 30 for a gigabyte.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Message in Morse code, maybe : SOS
4 Collect : AMASS
9 Lou Bega’s “___ No. 5” : MAMBO
14 Actress Longoria : EVA
15 Frank of the Mothers of Invention : ZAPPA
16 Like the modern descendants of dinosaurs : AVIAN
17 For each : PER
18 No later than : UNTIL
19 Tightly packed : DENSE (broken “TILDE”)
20 As a whole : IN ALL
22 Some Catholic gift shop purchases : ROSARIES
24 Gray in the face : ASHY
25 Prodigies, informally : PHENOMS (broken “HYPHEN”)
27 Alternative to truth? : DARE
29 What many people do on weekend mornings : SLEEP IN
33 Cabinet members, to the president : ADVISORS
37 One of many for baking soda : USE
38 Can’t hold back laughter while performing, say … or a hint to the circled letters : BREAKS CHARACTER
43 Karaoke locale, often : BAR
44 Tried to be like : EMULATED
45 Bottomless pits : ABYSSES
50 Sign for a soothsayer : OMEN
51 Homes with wheels : CAMPERS
53 “Toy Story” boy : ANDY (broken “AMPERSAND”)
57 Common house style : COLONIAL
60 Siren’s wail, e.g. : BLARE
61 Something to make in an emergency? : HASTE
62 Having low odds of success : RISKY (broken “ASTERISK”)
65 Through : VIA
66 Rental when moving, maybe : U-HAUL
67 Implied, but not stated : TACIT
68 Away from the bow : AFT
69 Requiring nerve : GUTSY
70 Apart (from) : ASIDE
71 Sgt.’s superiors : LTS

Down

1 Brown tone : SEPIA
2 Devices relied upon to a high degree? : OVENS
3 Actress ___ Michelle Gellar : SARAH
4 Blue: Sp. : AZUL
5 “Whew!” : MAN!
6 Well-suited : APT
7 Steeple : SPIRE
8 They do dos : SALONS
9 Title for Marie Curie : MADAME
10 Opposed (to) : AVERSE
11 ___-golf : MINI
12 It might be stolen in full view : BASE
13 Small bills : ONES
21 L.P.G.A. golfer ___ Ko, the youngest #1 in professional golf history (17 years, 9 months) : LYDIA
23 Fa’s follower : SOL
25 Reasons to do something : PROS
26 Nickname for a mythical hero : HERC
28 Seek, as consent : ASK
30 Short stroke : PUTT
31 “Makes sense to me” : I SEE
32 One who knows all the answers, maybe : NERD
33 “Mamma Mia” group : ABBA
34 Opposite of colorful : DRAB
35 Extremely : VERY
36 The woman in question : SHE
39 Subject of una balada : AMOR
40 Captain Morgan and others : RUMS
41 Bass, for one : ALE
42 Shortcut for ships : CANAL
46 Powerful judicial group, in brief : SCOTUS
47 With sound mind : SANELY
48 Old record co. conglomerate : EMI
49 Peloponnesian War victor : SPARTA
52 Sewing machine inventor Howe : ELIAS
54 Like the forces of an armada : NAVAL
55 Move with the current : DRIFT
56 Poet who wrote “I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree” : YEATS
57 Drink quickly : CHUG
58 Most populous Hawaiian island : OAHU
59 Hurdle for an aspiring atty. : LSAT
60 The “B” of MB : BYTE
63 Ecology, e.g.: Abbr. : SCI
64 Not be serious : KID

12 thoughts on “0929-20 NY Times Crossword 29 Sep 20, Tuesday”

  1. 9:14 Including about a minute to find my “E” in ADVISER and change it to an O. With various words the E / O choice is often a tossup and dictionaries can show both. I was skeptical when I first filled it in, then had forgotten my skepticism when I didn’t get the jingle and had to step thru the answers to find it.

    In the last few weeks it seems that there have been several broken / split theme answers.

  2. 9:35, no major issues, stared at the theme/reveal for 5 minutes after I finished and understood the “character” part, but didn’t get the break reference until I read Fearless Leader’s blog….someday I’ll figure this stuff out.

  3. Another slow poke day. Maybe it was the anxiety of flying back to Alaska last night. Big plane with maybe 25 passengers. 14:03 with no errors. The very first 2 entries I did had fat finger errors. 😜

  4. 7:59. I got the theme early but for some reason I had to get the reveal totally via crosses. The word CHARACTER just never came to me. Perhaps that’s because I am one or perhaps because I don’t have any? Hmmmm

    Best –

  5. Like others,.. This wasn’t a slam dunk Tuesday.. It was fun.. Didn’t get into CHARACTER as quick as I should have. Didn’t know Hercules nickname was HERC. Did he know that?

    Lots of misdirects., still fun.

  6. 12 minutes five seconds. No errors.How does someone do this puzzle in five minutes and 36 seconds? I can’t write that fast.

    1. Most, including Bill, are using the NYT app to solve the puzzles, which involves typing, not writing, which can be done far quicker. Although, it is *quite* possible to write that fast and much faster, as many people do, including me on far easier puzzles than these NYT grids.

  7. 19:04 no errors…I actually got some help from the theme for a change.
    If Biden or Trump had promised to outlaw foreign words, phrases and sometimes whole sentences in a foreign language from crossword puzzles they would have gotten my vote.
    Stay safe😀
    VOTE👍

  8. Lots of fun with an interesting wrinkle. No errors.

    Years ago we had a client in the salon who named his son Hercules. I always wondered what happened to that kid.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.