1002-20 NY Times Crossword 2 Oct 20, Friday

Constructed by: Debbie Ellerin
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 13m 04s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 Early stage for some bugs? : BETA

In the world of software development, the first tested issue of a new program is usually called the alpha version. Expected to have a lot of bugs that need to be fixed, the alpha release is usually distributed to a small number of testers. After reported bugs have been eliminated, the refined version is called a beta and is released to a wider audience, but with the program clearly labeled as “beta”. The users generally check functionality and report further bugs that are encountered. The beta version feeds into a release candidate, the version that is tested just prior to the software being sold into the market, hopefully bug-free.

14 City near Memphis : CAIRO

Cairo is the capital city of Egypt. It is nicknamed “The City of a Thousand Minarets” because of its impressive skyline replete with Islamic architecture. The name “Cairo” is a European corruption of the city’s original name in Arabic, “Al-Qahira”.

Memphis was an ancient city on the River Nile. The ruins of Memphis are located just south of Cairo, Egypt. It was a magnificent city that eventually failed due to the economic success of the city of Alexandria, which was located further down the river and right on the Mediterranean coast.

18 Whom one might address as “sensei” : ZEN MASTER

Zen is a Buddhist school that developed its own tradition in China back in the 7th century AD. Zen is a Japanese spelling of the Chinese word “chan”, which in turn derives from the Sanskrit word “dhyana” meaning “meditation”.

19 Host of the first World Table Tennis Championships: Abbr. : ENG

Ping-Pong is called table tennis in the UK, where the sport originated in the 1880s. Table tennis started as an after-dinner activity among the elite, and was called “wiff-waff”. To play the game, books were stacked in the center of a table as a “net”, two more books served as “”rackets” and the ball used was actually a golf ball. The game evolved over time with the rackets being upgraded to the lids of cigar boxes and the ball becoming a champagne cork (how snooty is that?). Eventually the game was produced commercially, and the sound of the ball hitting the racket was deemed to be a “ping” and a “pong”, giving the sport its alternative name. The name “Ping-Pong” was trademarked in Britain in 1901, and eventually sold to Parker Brothers in the US.

20 Dress : FROCK

A frock is a woman’s dress, but the term “frock” also describes a robe worn by monks. Our use of “frock” comes from the Old French “froc”, which back in the 12th century was the name for a monk’s habit.

25 With 17-Across, “Giant” actor of 1956 : SAL …
(17A See 25-Across : … MINEO)

Actor Sal Mineo’s most famous role was John “Plato” Crawford, the kid who was in awe of the James Dean character in “Rebel Without a Cause”. Sadly, Mineo was murdered in 1976 when he was just 37 years old. He was attacked in the alley behind his Los Angeles apartment and stabbed through the heart. When an arrest was made it was discovered that the murderer had no idea that his victim was a celebrity, and that his plan was just to rob anyone who came along.

“Giant” is a 1952 novel by author Edna Ferber. It was adapted into a successful Hollywood movie released in 1956. In the film, Bick Benedict (played by Rock Hudson) marries Leslie (played by Elizabeth Taylor) and takes his new wife home to the family ranch in Texas called Reata. The ranch’s handyman is Jett Rink, played by James Dean. Dean was killed in a car accident before the film was released. Some of Dean’s lines needed work before the film could be released and so another actor had to do that voice-over work.

31 One hand washing the other, so to speak : QUID PRO QUO

“Quid pro quo” is Latin for “something for something”, i.e. a swap.

34 Red peg, in the game Battleship : HIT

Battleship is a remarkably fun guessing game that I used to play as a child. Back then, we would play it just using pencil and paper. These days kids are more likely to play an electronic version of the game.

37 Recipient of a “Brava!” : DIVA

The term “diva” comes to us from Latin via Italian. “Diva” is the feminine form of “divus” meaning “divine one”. The word is used in Italy to mean “goddess” or “fine lady”, and especially is applied to the prima donna in an opera. We often use the term to describe a singer with a big ego.

To express appreciation for a male performer at an operatic performance, traditionally one calls out “bravo!”. Appreciation for a female performer is shown by using “brava!”, and for more than one performer of either sex by using “bravi!”

44 Possible uses for Bundt pans : MOLDS

Here in the US, what we know as bundt cake takes its name from the ring-shaped pan in which it is usually baked. This pan was introduced in 1950 by the company Nordic Ware, at which time the “Bundt” name was trademarked.

45 “Isle of Dogs” director Anderson : WES

Film director Wes Anderson’s most famous movie is probably “The Royal Tenenbaums” that was released in 2001, and is not my favorite film by any stretch. However, Anderson’s 2007 release “The Darjeeling Limited”, that I enjoyed.

“Isle of Dogs” is a 2018 animated and stop-action film by Wes Anderson. The movie has a science-fiction storyline, and is set in near-future Japan. All dogs are banished to Trash Island after an outbreak of dog flu threatens to cross into the human population. The voice cast of “Isle of Dogs” is very impressive, and includes Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Frances McDormand, Scarlett Johansson, Yoko Ono and many other A-list names.

49 Sphere of influence : 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”.

52 Core exercise : PLANK

The plank is an isometric exercise that strengthens the abdominals, as well as the back and shoulder muscles.

53 Neighbor of Scorpius in the sky : ARA

The constellation of Ara takes its name from the Latin word for “altar”.

The constellation Scorpius is named for the scorpion. One of the brighter stars in Scorpius is Antares, which has a clearly perceptible red hue that is said to rival the redness of the planet Mars.

58 Talus : ANKLE BONE

The collection of seven bones in the foot just below the ankle are known collectively as the tarsus. One of those bones is the talus (plural “tali”), more commonly called “ankle bone”. The talus is the lower part of the ankle joint and articulates with the lower ends of the tibia and fibula in the lower leg.

59 I I I : IOTAS

Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet, and one that gave rise to our letters I and J. We use the word “iota” to portray something very small, as it is the smallest of all Greek letters.

62 Aromatic herb : THYME

In ancient Greece, thyme was burned as incense and used in baths as it was believed to be a source of courage.

Down

3 Event with a room full of people making a row : BINGO NIGHT

Our game called “Bingo” is a derivative of an Italian lottery game called “Il Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia” that became popular in the 16th-century.

4 “Take heed, ___ summer comes or cuckoo-birds do sing”: “The Merry Wives of Windsor” : ERE

“The Merry Wives of Windsor” is one of William Shakespeare’s comedies, and perhaps the most farcical of all his works. The main character is Sir John Falstaff, an overweight and jocular character intent on seducing one of the “merry wives”. The Windsor in the title is the Windsor Castle just outside London that is now a favored residence of Queen Elizabeth II.

8 Serving of kielbasa or knackwurst : LINK

Link sausages are so called as they can come in chains, with each sausage being a link in that chain.

Kielbasa is a type of sausage. The name “kielbasa” translates from Polish simply as “sausage”.

10 Volcanic rock : BASALT

Basalt is a volcanic rock that is created when lava cools rapidly at the earth’s surface.

11 Some famous last words : ET TU

It was Shakespeare who popularized the words “Et tu, Brute?” (meaning “And you, Brutus?”). They appear in his play “Julius Caesar”, although the phrase had been around long before he penned his drama. It’s not known what Julius Caesar actually said in real life (if anything at all) as he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate in Rome.

12 Deuces, e.g. : TIES

In tennis, if the score reaches deuce (i.e. when both players have scored three points), then the first player to win two points in a row wins the game. The player who wins the point immediately after deuce is said to have the advantage. If the player with the advantage wins the next point then that’s two in a row and that player wins the game. If the person with the advantage loses the next point, then advantage is lost and the players return to deuce and try again. The player calling out the score announces “ad in”, or more formally “advantage in”, if he/she has the advantage. If the score announcer’s opponent has the advantage, then the announcement is “ad out” or “advantage out”. Follow all of that …?

13 One of Yellowstone’s 2.2+ million : ACRE

Yellowstone was the first National Park to be established in the world, when it was designated as such by President Grant in 1872. What a great tradition it started! The American National Parks truly are a treasure.

16 Eastern gambling mecca : MACAU

Macau (also “Macao”) is an autonomous territory of China located on the Pearl River estuary about 40 miles west of Hong Kong. Macau was a Portuguese colony from the mid-1500s until 1999. It was in fact the first European colony in China, and the last, having been handed back to the Chinese in 1999, two years after Hong Kong was returned by the British. Macau’s economy is driven by tourism and gambling. The territory’s gaming revenue is the highest for any gambling center in the world.

24 Of yore, of yore : OLDE

The word “olde” wasn’t actually used much earlier than the 1920s. “Olde” was introduced to give a quaint antique feel to brand names, shop names etc. as in “Ye Olde Shoppe”.

25 Adam Smith and David Hume, e.g. : SCOTSMEN

Adam Smith was a pioneer in the field of “political economy”, an original term used for the study of production and trade and their relationship with law, government and the distribution of wealth. Adam Smith’s great work is called “The Wealth of Nations” that was published in 1776. The book was a big hit within his own lifetime and went a long way to earning him the reputation as the father of modern economics and capitalism. Smith coined the phrase “the invisible hand of the market”, describing his assertion that a marketplace tends to self-regulate.

David Hume was a philosopher and historian from Scotland. One of his greatest works is the massive “The History of England”, which was published in six volumes from 1754 to 1762. The massive tome covers the nation’s history from the Roman conquest of Britain led by Julius Caesar in 55 BCE, up to the Glorious Revolution of 1688 that removed King James II from the throne and replaced him with William III and Mary II.

27 Bird feeder fill : SUET

Suet is a very popular ingredient in food provided for bird feeders.

30 Info on a flight tracker app : ETAS

Estimated time of arrival (ETA)

31 Classic cocoa powder brand : QUIK

Nestlé Quik was introduced in 1948, and is a flavored powdered milk drink. It was sold in Europe as “Nesquik”, and that brand name replaced “Quik” here in the US in 1999. The Nesquik mascot is the Quik Bunny. The Quik Bunny had a large “Q” on a collar around his neck, and with the brand name change this “Q” became an “N”, and he is now known as the Nesquik Bunny.

32 Horatian compilation : ODES

One of ancient Rome’s leading lyric poets was Quintus Horatius Flaccus or “Horace”, as we tend to know him. Horace’s most famous work is probably his collection of Latin lyric poems titled “Carmina” (the Latin for “Odes).

40 Place for an ace : COCKPIT

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the original “cockpit” was a “pit” used for fighting “cocks”. The term was then applied nautically, as the name for the compartment below decks used as living quarters by midshipmen. The cockpit of a boat today, usually on a smaller vessel, is a sunken area towards the stern in which sits the helmsman and others (who can fit!). The usage extended to aircraft in the 1910s and to cars in the 1930s.

A flying ace is an aviator who has shot down a number of enemy planes during combat. The qualifying number of kills seems to vary, but five is common. The first use of “ace” was during WWI, when the French newspapers dubbed pilot Adolphe Pegoud “l’as” (French for “the ace”) when he shot down his fifth German plane.

42 Denim and chino : TWILLS

The verb “to twill” means to weave a cloth (called “twill”) that has a pattern of diagonal parallel ribs.

Denim fabric originated in Nimes in France. The French phrase “de Nimes” (meaning “from Nimes”) gives us the word “denim”. Also, the French phrase “bleu de Genes” (meaning “blue of Genoa”) gives us our word “jeans”.

Chino is a twill cloth that is most often used to make hard-wearing pants. The pants have come to be referred to as chinos. Chino cloth was originally developed for use by the military, but quickly became popular with civilians.

49 Cracked : AJAR

Our word “ajar” is thought to come from Scottish dialect, in which “a char” means “slightly open”.

51 Triathlete’s need : BIKE

An Ironman Triathlon is a race involving a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a marathon run of just over 26 miles. The idea for the race came out of a debate between some runners in the 1977 Oahu Perimeter Relay. They were questioning whether runners, swimmers or bikers were the most fit athletes. The debaters decided to combine three local events to determine the answer, inviting athletes from all three disciplines. The events that were mimicked in the first triathlon were the Waikiki Roughwater swim (2.4 miles), the Around-Oahu Bike Race (115 miles) and the Honolulu Marathon (26.2 miles). The idea was that whoever finishes first would be called “the Iron Man”. The first triathlon was run in 1978, with fifteen starters and only twelve finishers. The race format is used all over the world now, but the Hawaiian Ironman is the event that everyone wants to win.

52 Drudge : PEON

A peon is a lowly worker who has no real control over his/her working conditions. The word “peon” comes into English from Spanish, in which language it has the same meaning.

55 Late justice known for powerful dissents, for short : RBG

Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) served on the US Supreme Court. Justice Ginsburg was the second woman to join the Court, and was nominated by President Bill Clinton. She was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1999 and underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. During that time she did not miss one day on the bench. In 2009 Justice Ginsburg had surgery for pancreatic cancer, and was back to work 12 days later. She had left-lung lobectomy to remove cancerous nodules in 2018, which forced Justice Ginsburg to miss oral argument in January 2019, for the first time since joining the court 25 years earlier. She finally succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 2020. Much of Ginsburg’s life is recounted in the excellent 2018 movie “On the Basis of Sex”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Shade similar to honey : AMBER
6 Hinge (on) : RELY
10 Early stage for some bugs? : BETA
14 City near Memphis : CAIRO
15 Self-evident : AXIOMATIC
17 See 25-Across : … MINEO
18 Whom one might address as “sensei” : ZEN MASTER
19 Host of the first World Table Tennis Championships: Abbr. : ENG
20 Dress : FROCK
22 Reason for a donation : CAUSE
23 Two-wheelers : SCOOTERS
25 With 17-Across, “Giant” actor of 1956 : SAL …
26 Stewing, say : ON LOW
27 Deliberately sink : SCUTTLE
31 One hand washing the other, so to speak : QUID PRO QUO
34 Red peg, in the game Battleship : HIT
35 It’s hard to fight : URGE
36 “Seems likely” : I’D BET
37 Recipient of a “Brava!” : DIVA
38 Ending with Black or brack : -ISH
39 Admissions considerations : TEST SCORES
41 Whistlers of a sort : KETTLES
44 Possible uses for Bundt pans : MOLDS
45 “Isle of Dogs” director Anderson : WES
46 Rules of conduct : PRECEPTS
49 Sphere of influence : AMBIT
52 Core exercise : PLANK
53 Neighbor of Scorpius in the sky : ARA
54 Modify so as to bypass a device’s restrictions, in hacker lingo : JAILBREAK
56 Things opened at spas : PORES
58 Talus : ANKLE BONE
59 I I I : IOTAS
60 “Seeded” or “unseeded” grocery choices : RYES
61 Growl like an angry dog : GNAR
62 Aromatic herb : THYME

Down

1 Tips : ACMES
2 Dessert preceder : MAIN COURSE
3 Event with a room full of people making a row : BINGO NIGHT
4 “Take heed, ___ summer comes or cuckoo-birds do sing”: “The Merry Wives of Windsor” : ERE
5 Urban kind of bar or garden : ROOFTOP
6 Epitome of sharpness : RAZOR
7 “Brass” : EXECS
8 Serving of kielbasa or knackwurst : LINK
9 Hebrew for “day” : YOM
10 Volcanic rock : BASALT
11 Some famous last words : ET TU
12 Deuces, e.g. : TIES
13 One of Yellowstone’s 2.2+ million : ACRE
16 Eastern gambling mecca : MACAU
21 Overdrafts? : REWRITES
24 Of yore, of yore : OLDE
25 Adam Smith and David Hume, e.g. : SCOTSMEN
27 Bird feeder fill : SUET
28 Socialists, e.g. : THIRD PARTY
29 Air on Twitch, say : LIVE STREAM
30 Info on a flight tracker app : ETAS
31 Classic cocoa powder brand : QUIK
32 Horatian compilation : ODES
33 Most Super Bowl M.V.P.s : QBS
37 Ration : DOLE
40 Place for an ace : COCKPIT
42 Denim and chino : TWILLS
43 Opposite of bother : LET BE
46 Something to try first : PLAN A
47 Fall person, perhaps : RAKER
48 Senator Ben from Nebraska : SASSE
49 Cracked : AJAR
50 “___ thanks!” : MANY
51 Triathlete’s need : BIKE
52 Drudge : PEON
55 Late justice known for powerful dissents, for short : RBG
57 Sound at a fireworks display : OOH!

26 thoughts on “1002-20 NY Times Crossword 2 Oct 20, Friday”

  1. 21:11 First pass I had virtually nothing. Just chipping away still led to a decent time. Had SMOCK before FROCK, ORBIT before AMBIT, ROBES before PORES (PLEASE don’t open that ROBE!!)
    DOSE before DOLE, LETGO before LETBE.

    Had to look closely at PLANK crossing PLANA and realize it was PLAN-A. I suppose that if you ever get to PLAN-K, you either have a lot of options or you’re in a world of hurt.

    Not familiar with ARA, other than the food service ARA Mark.

    I did this about 00:30 Pacific – Bill’s (and my) Time Zone – and Bill’s post was not available. But waking early at 04:45 , I see that that it is now here. Just wondering when he normally posts his answers.

  2. 21:31 How did THAT happen for me on a Friday? Did all the across clues first, hardly any fills, moved to the down clues and it was nearly finished. I almost feel competent today….not!

  3. 20:58, no errors no lookups and only a few fat finger corrections to slow me down. Nice puzzle that I finally finished in the SW corner after changing ORBIT to AMBIT. This makes up for my slow early week times.

  4. 11:33, no errors.

    @Ron … Got a good chuckle out of your Plan K comment … 😜.

    (And it reminded me of a really, really bad old movie called “Plan 9 from Outer Space” 😳.)

  5. 26:31. pretty easy Friday grid. Bringing up the rear today. It felt like I did this faster, but I guess the clock doesn’t lie. Maybe I nodded off in the middle without knowing?

    One more hand up for having ORBIT before AMBIT.

    What kind of lags are you guys experiencing these days in the postings? It’s less than 3 hours, but more than my attention span…which isn’t saying much. I look 30 minutes later, then maybe an hour later, and then I get sidetracked and forget until the end of the day. Bill usually fixes these things quickly. This issue must be a bear.

    Best –

  6. @LIGGY (from yesterday) …

    I gave your telephone keypad 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 … 🤨.

  7. 51:11 no errors…not bad considering that this seemed like a sure fire DNF at the start.
    I don’t get 59A.
    Stay safe😀

    1. I hope this prints out properly: “the ninth letter of the Greek alphabet ( Ι, ι ), transliterated as ‘i.’.” Three I’s would be IOTAS.

    2. @Jack …

      In our alphabet, “I” is a capital I. In the Greek alphabet, it’s a capital “IOTA”. Learning the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet is a plus for anyone who does crossword puzzles:

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_alphabet

      And, yes, I know you think that their use in “our” puzzles is utterly wrong, wrong, wrong … but … as my mother was fond of saying … it is what it is. (Learning those letters is a small investment for a significant return … 😜.)

  8. Didn’t encounter much of a headwind today. Only slowed down when changing ARIA to DIVA, then went on my way. Plan 9 fans should see (or have probably already seen) the movie “Ed Wood” starring Johnny Depp.

  9. 15:57, no errors. Surprisingly few erasures for a Friday. MACAO before MACAU; and SEED before SUET.

    “Plan 9 from Outer Space” became a cult classic among my children’s generation. Resurrected by the TV show ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000″; it was one of those Ed Wood productions that was so bad it was good.

  10. Bill — re Cairo (Egypt) — Cairo, Ill., is also not too far from Memphis, Tenn., and a bit downriver from Thebes, Ill. — wonder what they were thinking.

  11. My experience says that if you take enough math, science & engineering classes in college you inadvertantly learn the Greek alphabet.

  12. Surprisingly straightforward solve for a Friday. No errors

    Helpful hint to yesterday’s challenge…
    Choose two numbers from a phone keypad – rearrange the corresponding six letters to create one word.
    The numbers are 4 and 6

    1. @LIGGY …

      Hmmm. You seem not to have seen my response yesterday (or its repeat, above). In any case, I agree with you that 4 and 6 are the numbers, giving one GHI + MNO => HOMING.

  13. Actually MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER didn’t do PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE (though they did do a few other Ed Wood movies). I recall someone at Best Brains, possibly Joel, replying to a suggestion that they rif PLAN 9 by saying that they thought there were a *lot* of movies even worse than PLAN 9 to go through first. (I think RIFFTRAX may have done PLAN 9, though.)

    And I share the puzzlement over a dog who says “GNAR.” Kept thinking it should be “GRRR,” but the crosses wouldn’t work. GNAR ?

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