1001-20 NY Times Crossword 1 Oct 20, Thursday

Constructed by: Adam Fromm
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Touch Tone Phones

Today’s rebus puzzle includes five squares that resemble keys on a TOUCH TONE PHONE. The letters are used in the across-answers, and the numbers in the down-answers:

  • 37A Products since the 1960s … on which you can see five “key” things depicted in this puzzle : TOUCH TONE PHONES
  • 9A Let the air out of : DEFLATE
  • 9D Band with the 1970 #1 hit “Mama Told Me (Not to Come)” : 3 DOG NIGHT
  • 17A Stage a coup : GRAB CONTROL
  • 3D Bisected : IN 2
  • 46A Coral island nation north of Fiji : TUVALU
  • 46D Cassette tape predecessor : 8-TRACK
  • 52A Genre of “The Big Sleep” and “Kiss Me Deadly” : FILM NOIR
  • 55D Dr. J’s team : 6ERS
  • 64A First name of a famous Mongol ruler : GENGHIS
  • 38D Classic checker-dropping game : CONNECT 4

Bill’s time: 16m 07s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 Potentially offensive : UN-PC

To be un-PC is to be politically incorrect, not be politically correct (PC).

14 Prefix meaning one-billionth : NANO-

The prefix “nano-” is used for units of one thousand-millionth part. “Nano-” comes from the Greek “nanos” meaning “dwarf”.

17 Stage a coup : GRAB CONTROL

A coup d’état (often just “coup”) is the sudden overthrow of a government, and comes from the French for “stroke of state”. The Swiss-German word “putsch” is sometimes used instead of “coup”, with “Putsch” translating literally as “sudden blow”. We also use the abbreviated “coup” to mean “sudden, brilliant and successful act”.

19 Meat scraps : OFFAL

The internal organs and entrails of a butchered animal are referred to collectively as “offal”. Examples of dishes that make use of offal would be sausages, foie gras, sweetbreads and haggis. The term is a melding of the words “off” and “fall”, and dates back to the 14th century. The idea is that offal is what “falls off” a butcher’s block.

20 “The way” : TAOISM

The name of the Chinese character “tao” translates as “path”, but the concept of Taoism signifies the true nature of the world.

21 Reinforces : GIRDS

The phrase “gird your loins” dates back to ancient Rome. The expression describes the action of lifting “one’s skirts” and tying them between the legs to allow more freedom of movement before going into battle. Nowadays, “gird your loins” (or sometimes just “gird yourself”) is a metaphor for “prepare yourself for the worst”.

22 Titular “married lady” in a “Funny Girl” song : SADIE

The movie “Funny Girl” stars Barbra Streisand in the title role of Fanny Brice. The real Fanny Brice was a theater and film actress, and “Funny Girl” is very loosely based on her life story. Fanny Brice was born into a Hungarian Jewish family in New York City, with the real name of Fania Borach.

31 Emma Stone’s character in “La La Land” : MIA

Actress Emma Stone is from Scottsdale, Arizona. Stone really came to prominence with her performance in the 2010 high school movie called “Easy A”. She won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in the 2016 movie “La La Land”. Now one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood, Stone values her privacy and works hard to maintain a low profile. Good for her, I say …

“La La Land” is a 2016 romantic musical film starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as a musician and actress who fall in love in “La La Land” (Los Angeles, i.e. “LA”). The film was written and directed by Damien Chazelle, who had found success two years earlier with the musical drama “Whiplash”. “La La Land” won a record-breaking seven Golden Globes and tied the record number of Oscar nominations at fourteen, winning six.

32 Word after Scotch or duck : … EGG

I used to love Scotch eggs when I was a student, great food with a pint or two of beer. A Scotch egg is made from a hard-boiled egg that is wrapped in sausage meat, coated in breadcrumbs and then deep-fried. We hadn’t heard of cholesterol in those days …

33 Sport in which rikishi wear mawashi : SUMO

“Rikishi” is the term used for a sumo wrestler. “Rikishi” translates from Japanese as “strong man”.

A mawashi is a belt that sumo wrestlers wear when training and fighting. It’s actually a strip of silk, about two feet wide and 30 feet long, that is wrapped around the body and tied in a knot at the back. It weighs anywhere from 8-11 pounds.

42 “Law & Order: SVU” actor : ICE-T

Rapper Ice-T must be sick of having his name come up as an answer in crossword puzzles (I know I am!). Born Tracy Marrow, Ice-T has been interested in acting for decades and made his film debut in the 1984 movie about breakdancing called “Breakin’”. He has also played Detective Fin Tutuola in the TV show “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” since the year 2000.

“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” is a spin-off from the TV crime drama “Law & Order”. “SVU” has been on the air since 1999, and is set in New York City. Interestingly (to me), there is a very successful Russian adaptation of the show that is set in Moscow.

43 Spot for a napkin : LAP

Our word “napkin” dates back to the 1300s, when it had the same meaning as today. The term comes from the old French word “nape” meaning “tablecloth” and the Middle English suffix “-kin” meaning “little”. So, a napkin is a little tablecloth.

44 Born : NEE

“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”. The term “née” is mainly used in English when referring to a married woman’s birth name, assuming that she has adopted her husband’s name, e.g. Michelle Obama née Robinson, and Melania Trump née Knavs.

46 Coral island nation north of Fiji : TUVALU

Tuvalu is a Polynesian island nation that was formerly called the Ellice Islands. It lies midway between Hawaii and Australia. Tuvalu is the third least populous sovereign state in the world with under 11,000 inhabitants, ahead of Vatican City and Nauru.

47 Oft-repeated slogan : MANTRA

A mantra is a word that is used as a focus for the mind while meditating. The term is Sanskrit in origin, and is now used figuratively in English to describe any oft-repeated word or phrase.

52 Genre of “The Big Sleep” and “Kiss Me Deadly” : FILM NOIR

The expression “film noir” has French origins, but only in that it was coined by a French critic in describing a style of Hollywood film. The term, meaning “black film” in French, was first used by Nino Frank in 1946. Film noir often applies to a movie with a melodramatic plot and a private eye or detective at its center. Good examples would be “The Big Sleep” and “D.O.A”.

“The Big Sleep” is a film released in 1946, and a great example of the film noir genre. Based on Raymond Chandler’s 1939 novel of the same name, the movie stars Humphrey Bogart as detective Philip Marlowe, and Lauren Bacall as the sultry daughter of Marlowe’s client.

57 Fifth grader, often : TWEENAGER

The term “tween” is used to describe preadolescence, the years “between” 8 and 12 years of age.

61 Mineral in some geodes : AGATE

Agate is a micro-crystalline form of quartz (and so is related to sand/silica). Some agate samples have deposited layers that give a striped appearance, and these are called “banded agate”.

A geode is a rock in which there is a cavity that is lined or filled with crystal formations.

64 First name of a famous Mongol ruler : GENGHIS

Genghis Khan was the founder of the Mongol Empire that was destined to be the largest contiguous empire in the history of the world. He first built his empire by uniting nomadic tribes of northeast Asia, but once Genghis Khan had consolidated his position, he initiated Mongol invasions throughout Eurasia. At its height, the Mongol Empire stretched from the River Danube to the Sea of Japan.

66 “Twittering Machine” artist : KLEE

Artist Paul Klee was born in Switzerland, but studied art in Munich in Germany. We can see many of Klee’s works in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. If you get to Bern in Switzerland, even more of them can be seen at the Zentrum Paul Klee that was opened in 2005. Klee’s most celebrated work is his pointillist painting from 1932 called “Ad Parnassum”, which is owned by the Kunstmuseum, also located in Bern.

“Twittering Machine” is a watercolor-and-ink drawing by Swiss-German artist Paul Klee. It depicts some birds on a wire, which is in turn connected to a hand-crank making a “twittering machine”. You can see the work in New York’s Museum of Modern Art, where it is regarded as one of the museum’s best-known and treasured pieces.

Down

4 Playground “germ” : COOTIE

“Cooties” is WWI British slang for “body lice”. Ugh …

8 Mollifies : CALMS

To mollify is to appease. “Mollify” comes from the Latin “mollis” meaning “soft”, as in “to soften”.

9 Band with the 1970 #1 hit “Mama Told Me (Not to Come)” : 3 DOG NIGHT

The rock band Three Dog Night had its first and biggest success back in 1969 with the Harry Nilsson song “One”. The song is perhaps best known for its opening words, “One is the loneliest number …” Three Dog Night took their name from an Australian expression. Apparently, indigenous Australians would sleep in a hole in the ground alongside their tame dingoes. On a cold night, they would huddle up to two dingos, and if it was really, really cold, it was a “three-dog night”.

10 French daily founded in 1826 : LE FIGARO

“Le Figaro” is one of the main French daily newspapers, along with “Le Parisien” and “Le Monde”. It was founded as a satirical publication in 1826, with the title a reference to the Pierre Beaumarchais comedy play “The Marriage of Figaro”.

11 Oscar nominee Woodard : ALFRE

Alfre Woodard is an actress from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Woodard was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in the 1983 film “Cross Creek”. Off the stage and screen, she is very active in the Democratic Party.

13 Fish whose blood is toxic to humans : EELS

Anyone going to a sushi restaurant can order all types of raw fish (known collectively as “sashimi”). However, eel is always served cooked, and that’s because the blood of eels contains a protein that cramps muscles if eaten. If the heart muscle “cramps”, the result can be death. The protein is easily rendered harmless by applying heat, i.e. by cooking.

18 “Uh-uh!,” in Edinburgh : NAE

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland, and is a really beautiful city. In days gone by it might not have been quite so charming though. Like many cities, plumes of smoke hung over Edinburgh when coal and wood fires weren’t regulated. To this day, the city has the nickname “Auld Reekie”, Scots for “Old Smoky”.

22 “Never mind, it’s fine” : STET

“Stet” is a Latin word meaning “let it stand”. In editorial work, the typesetter is instructed to disregard any change previously marked by writing the word “stet” and then underscoring that change with a line of dots or dashes.

23 City of the Peloponnese : ARGOS

Argos is one of the oldest cities in Greece, and indeed in Europe, having been continuously inhabited for over 7,000 years. In ancient times, Argos was a rival city-state to the powerful Sparta.

The Peloponnese is a peninsula in southern Greece that was once home to the ancient city-state Sparta. Technically, the Peloponnese has been an island since 1893, when the Corinth Canal was completed, separating the peninsula from the mainland.

28 The usual suspect : BUTLER

A butler is the head servant in a household. The butler is often in charge of the wine stores in the house. The term “butler” comes from the Old French “boteillier” meaning “officer in charge of wine”, which in terms comes from the Old French “boteille”, the word for a “bottle”.

29 Mopey and ultra-introspective : EMO

The emo musical genre originated in Washington, D.C. in the 80s, and takes its name from “emotional hardcore”. “Emo” is also the name given to the associated subculture. Not my cup of tea …

30 Vodka mixer : TONIC

The original tonic water was a fairly strong solution of the drug quinine dissolved in carbonated water. It was used in tropical areas in South Asia and Africa where malaria is rampant. The quinine has a prophylactic effect against the disease, and was formulated as “tonic water” so that it could be easily distributed. In British colonial India, the colonial types got into the habit of mixing in gin with the tonic water to make it more palatable by hiding the bitter taste of quinine. Nowadays, the level of quinine in tonic water has been dropped, and sugar has been added.

The distilled beverage vodka takes its name from the Slavic word “voda” meaning “water”, with “vodka” translating as “little water”.

33 Substitutes for feet : SHOE TREES

A shoe tree (or boot tree) is an adjustable, foot-shaped device that is placed inside a shoe to preserve its shape. Shoe trees are often constructed from solid wood that absorb odor and wick away moisture from the shoe’s leather.

35 Zhou in Chinese history : ENLAI

Zhou Enlai (also “Chou En-lai”) was the first government leader of the People’s Republic of China and held the office of Premier from 1949 until he died in 1976. Zhou Enlai ran the government for Communist Party Leader Mao Zedong, often striking a more conciliatory tone with the West than that of his boss. He was instrumental, for example, in setting up President Nixon’s famous visit to China in 1972. Zhou Enlai died just a few months before Mao Zedong, with both deaths leading to unrest and a dramatic change in political direction for the country.

36 Co-founder of the Black Panthers : SEALE

Bobby Seale is a civil rights activist who co-founded the Black Panther Party with Huey Newton. Seale was one of the Chicago Eight, eight people charged as a result of anti-Vietnam war protests that took place during the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. The judge ordered Seale severed from the case, reducing the group of defendants to the Chicago Seven. However, Seale’s vehement protests during the trial led to the judge ordering him bound, gagged and chained to his chair, and eventually sentenced him to four years in jail for contempt of court. That conviction was quickly overturned on appeal.

38 Classic checker-dropping game : CONNECT 4

“Connect Four” is an interesting two-player game in which opponents drop colored discs into a vertical grid. The objective is to make straight lines of discs of one color, either horizontally, vertically or diagonally. Disappointingly, the player who goes first can always win the game by playing the right moves.

40 Tater : SPUD

The word “spud” is used as a slang term for a potato and was first recorded in the mid-1800s, in New Zealand would you believe?

46 Cassette tape predecessor : 8-TRACK

“8-track” is a common term for the sound recording technology more correctly called “Stereo 8”. 8-track became popular for a while because its magnetic tape came in a cartridge that was convenient to use in a car.

48 Like rails and stilts : AVIAN

Rails are birds of the family Rallidae (hence their name). Outside of America, the name “rail” tends to be reserved for long-billed species and the term “crake” is used for short-billed species.

The avocet is found in warm climates, usually in saline wetlands where it uses its upcurved bill to sweep from side-to-side in water searching for aquatic insects on which it feeds. Avocets, and other similar species, may go by the common name of “stilts”, a moniker applied to them because of their long legs.

49 Thespian org. : AFTRA

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) was founded in 1937 as AFRA. AFTRA merged with the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) in 2012, forming SAG-AFTRA.

A thespian is an actor. The term derives from the name of the Greek poet of the 6th century, Thespis, who is known as the father of Greek tragedy.

50 Covetousness, for one : SIN

According to the Book of Exodus, the wording for the tenth commandment is:

… thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

51 ___ beetle : STAG

Stag beetles are so called as the males of the species have large mandibles that resemble the antlers of stags.

55 Dr. J’s team : 6ERS

The Philadelphia 76ers basketball team is one of the oldest franchises in the NBA. The “Sixers” were formed in 1946 as the Syracuse Nationals. The team moved to Philadelphia in 1963, and the name 76er was chosen in a fan contest, a name that honors the men who fought for the country’s independence in 1776.

Julius Erving is a retired professional basketball player who was known as “Dr. J”, a nickname he picked up in high school. Dr. J was a trailblazer in many ways, being the first player associated with slam dunking and other moves above the rim.

60 Manhattan ingredient : RYE

The cocktail called a Manhattan is made from whiskey, sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters. I favor my own version of a brandy Manhattan, using brandy, sweet vermouth and orange bitters.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Grand in scale : EPIC
5 Potentially offensive : UN-PC
9 Let the air out of : DEFLATE
14 Prefix meaning one-billionth : NANO-
15 ___ Lum, a.k.a. actress/comedian Awkwafina : NORA
16 Go deep : DELVE
17 Stage a coup : GRAB CONTROL
19 Meat scraps : OFFAL
20 “The way” : TAOISM
21 Reinforces : GIRDS
22 Titular “married lady” in a “Funny Girl” song : SADIE
25 Burns a bit : SINGES
27 Steadfast : TRUE
28 Pick a spread, say : BET
31 Emma Stone’s character in “La La Land” : MIA
32 Word after Scotch or duck : … EGG
33 Sport in which rikishi wear mawashi : SUMO
34 Fearsome beasts : OGRES
37 Products since the 1960s … on which you can see five “key” things depicted in this puzzle : TOUCH TONE PHONES
41 Wire holder : SPOOL
42 “Law & Order: SVU” actor : ICE-T
43 Spot for a napkin : LAP
44 Born : NEE
45 Voting no : CON
46 Coral island nation north of Fiji : TUVALU
47 Oft-repeated slogan : MANTRA
50 Cooped up like pigs : STIED
51 Coupon clipper, e.g. : SAVER
52 Genre of “The Big Sleep” and “Kiss Me Deadly” : FILM NOIR
56 Instant : TRICE
57 Fifth grader, often : TWEENAGER
61 Mineral in some geodes : AGATE
62 Waterfall sound : ROAR
63 Thick and clumpy : CAKY
64 First name of a famous Mongol ruler : GENGHIS
65 Addenda : ANDS
66 “Twittering Machine” artist : KLEE

Down

1 Grade school subj. : ENG
2 Course objective : PAR
3 Bisected : IN 2
4 Playground “germ” : COOTIE
5 “For ___ whomsoever much is given …”: Luke 12:48 : UNTO
6 “Me neither” : NOR I
7 Athletes first allowed in the Olympics in 1988 : PROS
8 Mollifies : CALMS
9 Band with the 1970 #1 hit “Mama Told Me (Not to Come)” : 3 DOG NIGHT
10 French daily founded in 1826 : LE FIGARO
11 Oscar nominee Woodard : ALFRE
12 Some paid spots : TV ADS
13 Fish whose blood is toxic to humans : EELS
18 “Uh-uh!,” in Edinburgh : NAE
22 “Never mind, it’s fine” : STET
23 City of the Peloponnese : ARGOS
24 Discovered, as a shady past : DUG UP
26 “Throw it here!” : I’M OPEN!
28 The usual suspect : BUTLER
29 Mopey and ultra-introspective : EMO
30 Vodka mixer : TONIC
33 Substitutes for feet : SHOE TREES
35 Zhou in Chinese history : ENLAI
36 Co-founder of the Black Panthers : SEALE
38 Classic checker-dropping game : CONNECT 4
39 Green prefix : ECO-
40 Tater : SPUD
46 Cassette tape predecessor : 8-TRACK
47 Aunt ___, despised relative of Harry Potter : MARGE
48 Like rails and stilts : AVIAN
49 Thespian org. : AFTRA
50 Covetousness, for one : SIN
51 ___ beetle : STAG
53 Shout of victory : I WON!
54 Material in automobile batteries : LEAD
55 Dr. J’s team : 6ERS
58 Many a hoedown participant : GAL
59 Scrape (by) : EKE
60 Manhattan ingredient : RYE

17 thoughts on “1001-20 NY Times Crossword 1 Oct 20, Thursday”

  1. 24:03, no errors. Slow to catch on to the gimmick. For some reason, “GENGHIS” simply would not come to mind, and I’ve never heard of “CONNECT 4”. Badly wanted to peek at my phone a couple of times … but I didn’t … 😜. Cool puzzle.

  2. 36:14 lesson for today: never attempt a Thursday puzzle in SWI, aka Solving While Intoxicated…it tends to add more time to the process. 🙂

  3. 31:38 Caught the rebus early with THREE DOG NIGHT, but I typed in THREE and not the DEF under the phone number so that confused the crosses for a while (not to mention some fat fingers in TOUCHTONE not helping). When I figured out the crosses I wondered if I could THREE/DEF (9A and 9D) and it seemed too much. I typed in SEVENTYSIX for Dr. J’s team early and that also made no real sense. SIX ers helped, but again not with crosses.

    Once I figured out the scheme, unlike @Nonny, I did revert to the phone. Knew there had to be a GHI / 4 in the SW corner but also could not suss out GENGHIS tho I said Genghis and Kublai Khan out loud. So I needed a couple lookups in the SW corner. Also never heard of Connect 4.

    1. Got the gimmick early and that helped. IN 2, 3 DOG NIGHT and 8 TRACK… But thank goodness because I certainly didn’t know TUVALU??

      Had to sing that song in my head “mama told me not to come”.

      This was fun again.

  4. This one broke my streak…but not for the reason you think. I got the whole puzzle and checked Bill’s answers. They were all correct. So I revealed the answers on my on-line app and the app accepted the rebus letters but didn’t show the numbers in the answers. Frustrating.

  5. 28:47. I knew 3 DOG NIGHT and 8 TRACK, but I couldn’t figure what was going since whatever going the opposite (across or down) way made no sense – e.g. 3 FLATE. So I sought out the reveal. Once I got “HONE” I figured phone, touch phone and then figured it all out. I knew GENGHIS right away just from it being used in crosswords so often.

    The fill gave me some fits though. TWEENAGER? Really? Had to take ALFRE on faith. Kept wanting to put LE MONDE for LE FIGARO, but it didn’t fit – all 4 times I tried.

  6. I’m sorry but when I work a crossword puzzle I want to work just that. These rebus puzzles are just a gimmick. Plus the square too small for the answers. Just give me a straight crossword no gimmicks please.

  7. Got the theme fairly quickly via DEFlate and 3DOGNIGHT but still struggled a bit before finishing clean. Some don’t care for these types of crosswords, but I find them to add a little spice to the mix if not over done. I, too, had to edit 76ers to 6ers after the theme revealed itself. Fun.

  8. 55 minutes, but I finally got it. Didn’t figure out the theme until way late. A very challenging puzzle, obviously.

  9. 24:45, no errors. Unlike Nonny, I didn’t resist the temptation to look at my phone after figuring out the theme. (I use my phone to time my efforts).
    While attending college in 1970, the Homecoming week celebration included a concert performed by Hoyt Axton, Ike & Tina Turner, and 3 DOG NIGHT. Our tickets for seats in the 3rd row, center stage, were $4.50 each. My ‘date’ for the night must have enjoyed the concert; we were married two years later, and are still going strong.

  10. No errors and I really enjoyed the theme. Very clever, typical for Thursday.

    Challenge to fellow solver’s:
    Can you choose two numbers from the telephone keypad and rearrange those six correlating letters to make one word?

    1. @LIGGY …

      Okay, so I gave your challenge a try unassisted and came up with nothing. Then I cheated by using an online anagramming tool and found exactly one pair of numbers that works (and I won’t say anything more, lest I totally ruin the challenge for others 😜).

      In retrospect, I think I should have spent a little more time on the task before resorting to the online tool … 🤨.

  11. Got “8Track” easily enough. But had to look up “TUV” on the
    phone keypad because I don’t know the letters on the phone keypad
    and had never heard of TUVALU. But since I only looked up three letters and not a word I can claim I didn’t DNF. You’re buying
    this right?

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