1007-20 NY Times Crossword 7 Oct 20, Wednesday

Constructed by: Ross Trudeau
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Look, Ma, No Hands!

Themed answers are things that have NO HANDS:

  • 51A Cry while doing a stunt … or a hint to 2-, 7- and 12-Down : LOOK, MA,NO HANDS!
  • 2D Something the ancient Egyptians used for keeping time : WATER CLOCK
  • 7D Vessel found drifting without a crew : GHOST SHIP
  • 12D Audience unlikely to applaud : TOUGH CROWD

Bill’s time: 8m 55s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 “___ a rough night”: Macbeth : ‘TWAS

There is a superstition in the theatrical world that uttering the name “Macbeth” in a theater will bring disaster of some sort. To avoid this, the euphemism “the Scottish Play” is used instead.

5 Miss on TV : PIGGY

The Muppet named Miss Piggy has a pretentious air, and so refers to herself as “moi”. In 1998, Miss Piggy even released her own perfume called “Moi”.

10 Falafel bread : PITA

Falafel is a ball of ground chickpeas or fava beans that has been deep fried and served in pita bread. I love chickpeas, but falafel is often too dry for me …

15 ___ Jackson Jr., “Straight Outta Compton” star : O’SHEA

Rapper Ice Cube’s real name is O’Shea Jackson. Since the year 2000, Ice Cube has gradually moved away from rap music and focuses more on acting. The 2015 movie “Straight Outta Compton” tells the story of the gangsta rap group N.W.A., of which Ice Cube was a member. Ice Cube co-produced the film, and O’Shea Jackson Jr. played his real-life Dad on screen.

16 God whose name is an apt anagram of “rose” : EROS

The name of Eros, the Greek god of love, gives rise to our word “erotic” meaning “arousing sexual desire”. Eros was referred to in Latin as both “Amor” (meaning “love”) and “Cupid” (meaning “desire”).

19 Sign on for another tour : RE-UP

To re-up is to re-enlist, say in the armed forces.

20 Kind of position : FETAL

The word “fetus”, used for an unborn young animal, comes from Latin as one might expect. “Fetus” is the Latin word for the act of hatching or bringing forth a young animal or child. The mistaken spelling “foetus” is seen occasionally, but there’s no historical basis for adding that “o”.

27 Cpl. or sgt. : NCO

A non-commissioned officer (NCO) might be a sergeant (sgt.) or a corporal (cpl.).

28 Something to take and “make it better,” in the Beatles’ “Hey Jude” : SAD SONG

“Hey Jude” was originally a song called “Hey Jules”, written by Paul McCartney. He wrote the original song for John Lennon’s son Julian, in an attempt to comfort the boy during his parents’ divorce. There’s a phenomenal coda in “Hey Jude” after the fourth verse that lasts for over four minutes.

31 Duke’s N.C.A.A. div. : ACC

The collegiate athletic conference known as the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) was founded in 1953. The seven charter members of the ACC were Clemson, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina and Wake Forest.

Duke University was founded in 1838 as Brown’s Schoolhouse. The school was renamed to Trinity College in 1859, and to this day the town where the college was located back then is known as Trinity, in honor of the school. The school was moved in 1892 to Durham, North Carolina in part due to generous donations from the wealthy tobacco industrialist Washington Duke. Duke’s donation required that the school open its doors to women, placing them on an equal footing with men. Trinity’s name was changed to Duke in 1924 in recognition of the generosity of the Duke family. Duke’s athletic teams are known as the Blue Devils.

33 Cockpit measurement: Abbr. : ALT

Altitude (alt.)

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.

34 Architect Frank : GEHRY

Frank Gehry is an architect from Toronto who is based in Los Angeles. Listed among Gehry’s famous creations are the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao in Spain, The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and his own private residence in Santa Monica, California. He is currently working on the upcoming Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial that will be placed in Washington, D.C. I hope to see that one day …

35 Beats by ___ (audio brand) : DRE

Beats by Dre is a brand of audio products made by Beats Electronics, a company that was co-founded by rapper Dr. Dre. Apple bought Beats for $3 billion in 2014, the largest acquisition by far in the company’s history.

36 Hide ___ hair : NOR

The phrase “neither hide nor hair” means “nothing whatsoever”. This peculiarly American phrase arose in the mid 1800s, and paradoxically may have its origins in a much older English expression that means exactly the opposite. The older “in hide and hair” meant “wholly, entirely”.

39 London lav : LOO

It has been suggested that the British term “loo”, meaning “toilet”, comes from “Waterloo” (water closet … water-loo), but no one seems to know for sure. Another suggestion is that the term comes from the card game of “lanterloo”, in which the pot was called the loo!

40 Honda division : ACURA

Acura is the luxury brand of the Honda Motor Company. As an aside, Infiniti is the equivalent luxury brand for the Nissan Motor Company, and Lexus is the more luxurious version of Toyota’s models.

43 Celebrity gossip show with an exclamation point in its title : E! NEWS

E! Entertainment Television started out in 1987 as Movietime, and hired on-air hosts such as Greg Kinnear and Paula Abdul. It was renamed in 1990 to E! Entertainment Television, underscoring the focus on Hollywood gossip and the like.

45 Falls (over) : KEELS

To keel over is to capsize, to turn a boat over so that her keel lies up from the surface. We also use the phrase “keel over” figuratively to mean “collapse, faint”.

47 Car mentioned in the Beach Boys’ “Fun, Fun, Fun” : T-BIRD

“Fun, Fun, Fun” is a 1964 song written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love for the Beach Boys. The English rock band Status Quo released a great cover version of “Fun, Fun, Fun” in 1996, which featured the Beach Boys on backup vocals.

48 Bluish hue : TEAL

The beautiful color teal takes its name from the duck called a teal, which has dark greenish-blue (teal) markings on its head and wings.

56 California’s ___ Woods : MUIR

Muir Woods is a National Monument located not too far from here, just north of San Francisco. It is home to enormous old-growth Coast Redwood trees. The land was declared a National Monument in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt. The name “Muir Woods” was chosen in honor of the naturalist John Muir.

58 Classic Monopoly token : IRON

The tokens included with a game of Monopoly have changed over the years. Two of the more interesting tokens are the battleship and cannon. These were created by Hasbro for a board game called Conflict. When Conflict failed in the market, the excess tokens were recycled and included with Monopoly.

Down

1 “The freakin’ weekend is here!” : TGIF!

“Thank God It’s Friday” (TGIF) is a relatively new expression that apparently originated in Akron, Ohio. It was a catchphrase used first by disk jockey Jerry Healy of WAKR in the early seventies. That said, one blog reader wrote to me to say that he had been using the phrase in the fifties.

4 Leaves for dinner? : SALAD

Our word “salad” comes from the Latin “salare” meaning “to salt”. The Latin “herba salata” translates as “salted vegetables”, which I guess could be a salad …

6 Caribbean natives, e.g. : ISLANDERS

The Caribbean Sea takes its name from the Island Carib people. The Island Caribs are an American Indian people that live in the Lesser Antilles islands, part of the West Indies.

8 1995 gangster comedy with John Travolta and Rene Russo : GET SHORTY

“Get Shorty” is a 1995 crime-comedy with a great cast that includes John Travolta, Gene Hackman, Rene Russo and Danny DeVito. That said, the storyline is a little too zany for me so I didn’t really enjoy it …

Actor, dancer and singer John Travolta got his first break playing student Vinnie Barbarino in the sitcom “Welcome Back, Kotter” in the seventies. While still on the TV show, Travolta showed off his dancing skills on two fabulous musical films: “Saturday Night Fever” (1977) and “Grease” (1978). His career then took a bit of a dip, before resurging again with his role in the 1994 Quentin Tarantino blockbuster “Pulp Fiction”.

The talented actress Rene Russo is a native of Burbank, California. Russo went to high school (with actor/director Ron Howard), but dropped out in tenth grade. At seventeen, she was given the opportunity to train as a model and within a very short time appeared on the cover of “Vogue”. As her modelling jobs slowed down in her early thirties, Russo made a career change and studied theater and acting.

11 Woman in a Sherlock Holmes story : IRENE ADLER

The character Irene Adler only appears in one of the many Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In the story “A Scandal in Bohemia”, Holmes expresses remarkable admiration for Adler as a woman and as a foe. As a result, derivative works in the Holmes genre often feature Adler as something of a romantic interest for Sherlock.

13 Snakes in hieroglyphics : ASPS

The prefix “hiero-” comes from the Greek word “hieros” meaning sacred or holy. The classic use of the prefix is in the term “hieroglyphics” (meaning “sacred carving”), the writing system that uses symbols and pictures.

23 The Notorious ___ (late jurist’s nickname) : RBG

The 2015 book “Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg” was co-written by Shana Knizhnik and Iris Carmon. Knizhnik had previously authored a “Notorious R.B.G” blog. The moniker “Notorious RBG” is reminiscent of the name of rap star the Notorious B.I.G.

30 Dec. 31 celebration : NYE

The famous New Year’s Eve (NYE) ball-dropping tradition in Times Square started on January 1st 1908. The original ball was lit with one hundred 25-watt light bulbs and was dropped at one second after midnight. A fifth version of the ball was introduced in 2008 for the centennial anniversary of the ceremony. The 2008 ball was built by Waterford Crystal and was lit by 9,567 LED bulbs that consumed the same amount of power as ten electric toasters. The current ball was used for the first time in 2009, and is double the size of the 2008 ball at 12 feet in diameter. The ball now sits atop Times Square year round, so you can go see it next time you are in town.

32 Biz biggies : CEOS

Chief executive officer (CEO)

37 Rami with a Best Actor Oscar : MALEK

Actor Rami Malek’s big break came with the leading role in the television series “Mr. Robot”. In 2018, Malik gave an Oscar-winning performance playing Freddie Mercury in the hit biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody”. That marked the first time that an actor of Egyptian descent won an Academy Award for Best Actor.

38 Actress Messing of “Will & Grace” : DEBRA

Debra Messing is most famous for playing Grace on the television series “Will & Grace”.

I’ve always thought the real stars of “Will & Grace” were not the title characters, but rather the supporting characters Jack (played by Sean Hayes) and Karen (played by Megan Mullally).

46 Some Carnaval dances : SAMBAS

The samba is a Brazilian dance that is very much symbolic of the festival of Carnival. Like so much culture around the world, the samba has its roots in Africa, as the dance is derived from dances performed by former slaves who migrated into urban Rio de Janeiro in the late 1800s. The exact roots of the name “samba” seem to have been lost in the mists of time. However, my favorite explanation is that it comes from an African Kikongo word “semba” which means “a blow struck with the belly button”. We don’t seem to have a need for such a word in English …

The celebration of Carnival comes right before the Lenten period in some Christian traditions. It is thought that Carnival perhaps arose from the need to “eat and drink up” any excess food and drink before the beginning of Lent.

47 Some Chevrolet S.U.V.s : TAHOES

The Chevrolet Blazer SUV was renamed as the Tahoe. And, the GMC Yukon is basically the same car. All very confusing …

49 “It is to ___” : LAUGH

Apparently the phrase “It is to laugh” comes as a direct translation of the French “C’est à rire”. Johnny Carson became fond of saying “It is to laugh” on “The Tonight Show”, using it to mean “That’s funny”.

50 Actress Lisa : BONET

Lisa Bonet is an actress best known for playing one of the daughters on the “The Cosby Show”. Bonet was married for a few years to the singer Lenny Kravitz, with whom she eloped in 1987. She changed her name to Lilakoi Moon in 1992, but still uses “Lisa Bonet” as her stage name.

51 San ___ Obispo, Calif. : LUIS

The city of San Luis Obispo is one of the oldest communities in California. The name “San Luis Obispo” translates as “Saint Louis, the Bishop of Toulouse”. In 1990, San Luis Obispo was the first municipality in the world to ban smoking in all indoor public areas.

52 It comes out of a pen, either with or without its first letter : OINK!

That would be “oink” or “ink”.

53 ___ Wolfe, armchair detective : NERO

Nero Wolfe is a fictional detective and the hero of many stories published by author Rex Stout. There are 33 Nero Wolfe novels for us to read, and 39 short stories. There are also movie adaptations of two of the novels: “Meet Nero Wolfe” (1936) which features a young Rita Hayworth, and “The League of Frightened Men” (1937). One of Wolfe’s endearing traits is his love of good food and beer, so he is a pretty rotund character.

56 U.F.C. sport : MMA

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full-contact combat sport in which competitors use a variety of techniques from a variety of traditional combat sports and martial arts.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “___ a rough night”: Macbeth : ‘TWAS
5 Miss on TV : PIGGY
10 Falafel bread : PITA
14 Black-tie affair, maybe : GALA
15 ___ Jackson Jr., “Straight Outta Compton” star : O’SHEA
16 God whose name is an apt anagram of “rose” : EROS
17 “___ pass” : IT’LL
18 Schemes : PLOTS
19 Sign on for another tour : RE-UP
20 Kind of position : FETAL
22 Beast of burden : ASS
23 Bands at weddings : RINGS
24 Was a passenger : RODE
25 To the ___ degree : NTH
26 “Ugh!” : BLEH!
27 Cpl. or sgt. : NCO
28 Something to take and “make it better,” in the Beatles’ “Hey Jude” : SAD SONG
31 Duke’s N.C.A.A. div. : ACC
33 Cockpit measurement: Abbr. : ALT
34 Architect Frank : GEHRY
35 Beats by ___ (audio brand) : DRE
36 Hide ___ hair : NOR
37 Not awarded by accident, say : MERITED
39 London lav : LOO
40 Honda division : ACURA
42 Invasive plant? : SPY
43 Celebrity gossip show with an exclamation point in its title : E! NEWS
45 Falls (over) : KEELS
47 Car mentioned in the Beach Boys’ “Fun, Fun, Fun” : T-BIRD
48 Bluish hue : TEAL
50 Place to count sheep? : BARN
51 Cry while doing a stunt … or a hint to 2-, 7- and 12-Down : LOOK, MA,NO HANDS!
56 California’s ___ Woods : MUIR
57 “Good job!,” south of the border : BUENO!
58 Classic Monopoly token : IRON
60 Item on a hotel pillow : MINT
61 Match : AGREE
62 Simplicity : EASE
63 Requests : ASKS
64 Attempts in basketball and target practice : SHOTS
65 Put away : STOW

Down

1 “The freakin’ weekend is here!” : TGIF!
2 Something the ancient Egyptians used for keeping time : WATER CLOCK
3 “Regrettably, that’s the case” : ALL TOO TRUE
4 Leaves for dinner? : SALAD
5 Soda : POP
6 Caribbean natives, e.g. : ISLANDERS
7 Vessel found drifting without a crew : GHOST SHIP
8 1995 gangster comedy with John Travolta and Rene Russo : GET SHORTY
9 “___ queen!” (“Fabulous!”) : YAS
10 Jeopardy : PERIL
11 Woman in a Sherlock Holmes story : IRENE ADLER
12 Audience unlikely to applaud : TOUGH CROWD
13 Snakes in hieroglyphics : ASPS
21 French article : LES
23 The Notorious ___ (late jurist’s nickname) : RBG
27 Mom’s mom : NANA
29 It’s “only a number” to the young at heart : AGE
30 Dec. 31 celebration : NYE
32 Biz biggies : CEOS
37 Rami with a Best Actor Oscar : MALEK
38 Actress Messing of “Will & Grace” : DEBRA
41 “Says who?” and others : RETORTS
44 Fools : NINNIES
46 Some Carnaval dances : SAMBAS
47 Some Chevrolet S.U.V.s : TAHOES
49 “It is to ___” : LAUGH
50 Actress Lisa : BONET
51 San ___ Obispo, Calif. : LUIS
52 It comes out of a pen, either with or without its first letter : OINK!
53 ___ Wolfe, armchair detective : NERO
54 “Curses!” : DRAT!
55 Meh : SO-SO
56 U.F.C. sport : MMA
59 Unopened, say : NEW

15 thoughts on “1007-20 NY Times Crossword 7 Oct 20, Wednesday”

  1. 6:32 Not sure what happened here that I got it all so quickly. Fastest Weds. I have logged. Had never heard of a WATER CLOCK, but got it by crosses, and apparently easily. Maybe it was a water clock that logged my time!

  2. I used to comment here most days back when it was usually just me, Jeff, and Dave. Now I don’t do the puzzle until late afternoon so I don’t bother to comment since I assume everyone has moved on. Nice to see some new names.

    Today I solved in the morning and maybe that’s why I set a new personal best for Wednesday of 5:45. Some days everything falls into place. I think the grid construction also helped me have a fast time. The long downs moved me down the left side first which meant I had the starts of many of the crosses early and made it easier to fill them in quickly.

    I also wanted to put a plug in for the Boswords fall league. It started on Monday and runs for 9 weeks. You have until Thursday to complete the puzzle so you can participate if you can’t be online every Monday at 9. More info at their website. (I’m not affiliated with Boswords, just a participant)

    1. Marc –

      Good to see you. Don’t worry about the timing of your posts. Most of us peek back here throughout the day. On top of that, 5 weeks hence we tend to check back here and see what the guys who get the NYT crossword in syndication have to say about it. Don’t be such a stranger.

      Best –

  3. 9:38 Had “rough crowd” instead of “tough..” Finally noticed that “pira” bread just made no sense….

  4. 8:10. This one seemed to flow better than yesterday’s or Monday’s puzzles although my times were all similar. I had a little hiccup at the nexus of IRENa/BLaH, but I finally tried the “E” and got my congratulatory music.

    I saw a few forms of a WATER CLOCK online. Most were just a vessel of some kind with a hole. As the water escaped, they marked time as notches on the side of the vessel. Apparently they didn’t take into consideration a drop in pressure as the water level dropped so they were inaccurate. There’s also the type where they used an entire boat in the same manner. I guess that was the Rolex of WATER CLOCKS…

    Best –

  5. 8:38, no errors. Immediately guessing WATER CLOCK, IRENE _____, and TOUGH CROWD got me onto a good start. Filling left and right sides before the center section. YAS, O’SHEA and GEHRY were complete unknowns.

  6. Nicely constructed puzzle from Ross Trudeau. Enjoyed it. Got everything right but it was slow going for me. I got those three Downs in the theme easily so that helped a lot. The LOOK MA NO HANDS was the last thing to fall into place.

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