1021-20 NY Times Crossword 21 Oct 20, Wednesday

Constructed by: Dory Mintz
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: First Cities

Themed answers each sound like common phrases, and start with the name of a foreign city:

  • 17A Ways to cross a river in Switzerland? : BERN BRIDGES (sounds like “burn bridges”)
  • 28A First showing at a film festival in France? : CANNES OPENER (sounds like “can opener”)
  • 44A Census taker in India? : DELHI COUNTER (sounds like “deli counter”)
  • 58A Police dragnet in South Korea? : SEOUL SEARCH (sounds like “soul-search”)

Bill’s time: 8m 32s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Bellyache : BEEF

A beef is a complaint or a grievance. It’s not quite clear how “beef” came to have this meaning, but one suggestion is that it derives from the habit of soldiers at the end of the 1800s complaining about the quality or availability of beef in their rations.

11 “We ___ loudest when we ___ to ourselves”: Eric Hoffer : LIE

Eric Hoffer was a philosopher from the Bronx in New York, and the author of the much respected 1951 book “The True Believer”. The book examines the rise of totalitarian governments, such as those of Adolf Hitler in Germany and Joseph Stalin in Russia, and discusses how such regimes may have arisen and prospered in societies.

14 Taj Mahal city : AGRA

The most famous mausoleum in the world has to be the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. The Taj Mahal was built after the death of the fourth wife of Shah Jahan, Mumtaz Mahal (hence the name of the mausoleum). The poor woman died in childbirth delivering the couple’s 14th child. When Shah Jahan himself passed away 35 years later, he was buried beside his wife Mumtaz, in the Taj Mahal.

16 Halloween time: Abbr. : OCT

All Saints’ Day is November 1st each year. The day before All Saints’ Day is All Hallows’ Eve, better known by the Scottish term “Halloween”.

17 Ways to cross a river in Switzerland? : BERN BRIDGES (sounds like “burn bridges”)

Bern (sometimes “Berne”, especially in French) is the capital city of Switzerland. The official language of the city is German, but the language most spoken in Bern is a dialect known as Bernese German.

20 Old Glory’s land, for short : US OF A

The person who coined the phrase “Old Glory” with reference to the American flag was Captain William Driver, a shipmaster from Salem, Massachusetts. As Driver was leaving on an 1831 voyage aboard the brig Charles Doggett, he unfurled the American flag that he had just been given by a group of friends. As the flag caught the breeze, he uttered the words, “Old Glory!”. That’s the story anyway. On that same voyage, Charles Doggett rescued the famous mutineers of the HMS Bounty, after he encountered them on Pitcairn Island.

21 Funny Brooks : MEL

Mel Brooks’ real name is Melvin Kaminsky. Brooks is one of very few entertainers (there are only ten) who have won the “Showbiz Award Grand Slam” i.e. an Oscar, Tony, Grammy and Emmy. He is in good company, as the list also includes the likes of Richard Rogers, Sir John Gielgud, Marvin Hamlisch and Audrey Hepburn.

22 Prop for Mr. Peanut : CANE

Planters is the company with the Mr. Peanut icon. Mr. Peanut was the invention of a first-grader named Antonio Gentile, a young man who won a design contest in 1916. A remarkable achievement, I’d say …

23 Crow, e.g. : TRIBE

The Crow Nation historically lived in the Yellowstone River valley in Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota. Most of the Crow people today live on a reservation south of Billings, Montana.

28 First showing at a film festival in France? : CANNES OPENER (sounds like “can opener”)

Cannes is a city on the French Riviera that is noted as host of the Cannes Film Festival. The decision to host an annual film festival was adopted by the city just before WWII. However, the festival had to wait for the end of the war for its launch in 1946.

31 Co. that merged into Verizon : GTE

GTE was a rival to AT&T, the largest of the independent competitors to the Bell System. GTE merged with Bell Atlantic in 2000 to form the company that we know today as Verizon. Verizon made some high-profile acquisitions over the years, including MCI in 2005 and AOL in 2015.

35 ___ Conventions : GENEVA

The Geneva Conventions are four treaties aimed at protecting the victims of armed conflict. The first of these treaties was signed in 1864 by the major European powers at the urging of relief activist Henri Dunant. Dunant also established the Red Cross in 1863, an organization that is specifically called out in the First Geneva Convention as an agency that is allowed to provide protection and relief for wounded and sick soldiers. The first treaty was significantly updated and expanded in 1906, 1929 and 1949.

39 Chinese dynasty circa A.D. 250 : WEI

There were two Wei dynasties in Chinese history. The Cao Wei (220-265) existed during the Three Kingdoms period, and the Northern Wei (386-534) that existed during the Southern and Northern dynasties period.

40 Actress Brie of “Mad Men” : ALISON

Alison Brie is an actress best known for playing Trudy Campbell, the wife of Pete Campbell on the TV drama “Mad Men”.

42 Colorful fish : KOI

Koi are fish that are also known as Japanese carp. Koi have been bred for decorative purposes and there are now some very brightly colored examples found in Japanese water gardens.

43 Creator of sketches, in brief : SNL

“Saturday Night Live” (SNL)

44 Census taker in India? : DELHI COUNTER (sounds like “deli counter”)

New Delhi is the capital city of India. New Delhi resides within the National Capital Territory of Delhi (otherwise known as the metropolis of Delhi). New Delhi and Delhi, therefore, are two different things.

The original census was taken during the days of the Roman Republic, and was a reckoning of all adult males who were fit for military service. The first US Census was taken in 1790, and was conducted by federal marshals.

48 Like Barack Obama’s presidency : TWO-TERM

President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, becoming the fourth US president to be so honored. He is the only one of the four to have been awarded the prize during his first year of office. The Nobel committee gave the award citing President Obama’s work towards a new climate in international relations, particularly in reaching out to the Muslim world.

49 Loads : SLEWS

Our usage of “slew” to mean “large number” has nothing to do with the verb “to slew” meaning “to turn, skid”. The noun “slew” came into English in the early 1800s from the Irish word “sluagh” meaning “host, crowd, multitude”.

52 Denny’s competitor : IHOP

The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) was founded back in 1958. IHOP was originally intended to be called IHOE, the International House of Eggs, but that name didn’t do too well in marketing tests.

Denny’s was the first restaurant I ate at on my initial visit to the US many moons ago. I thought I was in heaven. I’ve changed my opinion a little since then! Denny’s is famous for being “always open” (almost), something that blew my mind as a visitor from Ireland back in 1980. Denny’s was founded in 1953 in Lakewood, California, and originally went by the name “Denny’s Donuts”. The enduring Grand Slam breakfast has been on the menu since 1977.

53 Mensa stats : IQS

Although it is correct these days to say that the abbreviation IQ stands for “intelligence quotient”, the term was actually coined by German psychologist William Stern, and so is actually an abbreviation for the German “Intelligenz-Quotient”.

If you ever learned Latin, “mensa” was probably taught to you in lesson one as it’s the word commonly used as an example of a first declension noun. Mensa means “table”. The Mensa organization, for folks with high IQs, was set up in Oxford, England back in 1946. To become a member, you have to have an IQ that is in the top 2% of the population.

55 Urban sitting spot : STOOP

A stoop is a raised platform at the door of a house. “Stoop” came into American and Canadian English in the mid-1700s from the Dutch “stoep” meaning “flight of steps”.

58 Police dragnet in South Korea? : SEOUL SEARCH (sounds like “soul-search”)

Seoul is the capital city of South Korea. The Seoul National Capital Area is home to over 25 million people and is the second largest metropolitan area in the world, second only to Tokyo, Japan.

62 How café may be served : AU LAIT

“Café au lait” (coffee with milk) is usually strong drip coffee to which one adds steamed milk. Well, that’s the way we tend to make it here in the US.

63 “If you’re asking me,” in textspeak : IMHO

In my humble opinion (IMHO)

64 W-2 fig. : SSN

Form W-2 is provided by US employers to their employees by January 31 each year. The form reports wages paid to the employees, as well as taxes withheld.

66 “___ Eyes” (1975 Eagles hit) : LYIN’

The Eagles song “Lyin’ Eyes” was recorded in 1975. Written by band members Don Henley and Glenn Frey, the lyrics were inspired by a meeting between a man and a woman the composers witnessed in Dan Tana’s Bar & Restaurant in Los Angeles. Henley and Frey imagined a scenario of secret love, and “Lyin’ Eyes” was born.

You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you’d realize
There ain’t no way to hide your lyin’ eyes

Down

1 Hindu title of respect : BABU

“Babu” is a Hindu word used in South Asia as a sign of respect to men. It can be used to mean “boss” or “father”.

4 Some derivative stories, colloquially : FANFIC

Fan fiction (also “fanfic”) is fiction created by fans of an original work that uses characters from that original work.

5 Brew with hipster cred : PBR

Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) is the most recognizable brand of beer from the Pabst Brewing Company. There appears to be some dispute over whether or not Pabst beer ever won a “blue ribbon” prize, but the company claims that it did so at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The beer was originally called Pabst Best Select, and then just Pabst Select. With the renaming to Blue Ribbon, the beer was sold with an actual blue ribbon tied around the neck of the bottle until it was dropped in 1916 and incorporated into the label.

8 Cone-shaped corn snacks : BUGLES

Bugles corn chips are fried in coconut oil, making them high in saturated fat relative to other fried snack foods. That’s not a good thing …

18 Cake with rum : BABA

Rum baba (also “baba au rhum” in French) is a small yeast cake saturated in rum, and sometimes filled with whipped cream. Rum baba is derived from the recipe for the tall “babka” yeast cake that was introduced to the world by the Polish communities. The Polish words “baba” and “babka” mean “old woman” or “grandmother” in English. I guess someone must have thought that all grandmothers were saturated in rum!

22 Battle of Normandy city : CAEN

Caen, on the River Orne, lies in the Calvados department of France in the northwest of the country. Caen is famous for the WWII Battle of Caen that left the town practically destroyed. Caen is also the burial place of Norman King William I of England, also known as William the Conqueror after his victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

27 Dueling sword : EPEE

The sword known as an épée has a three-sided blade. The épée is similar to a foil and sabre, although the foil and saber have rectangular cross-sections.The sword known as an épée has a three-sided blade. The épée is similar to a foil and sabre, although the foil and saber have rectangular cross-sections.

32 Some fund-raisers : TELETHONS

The world’s first telethon took place in 1949. It was a 16-hour fundraiser hosted by Milton Berle that raised over a million dollars for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. The term “telethon”, a portmanteau of “television” and “marathon”, was coined in the news media the day after the event. One of the most famous annual telethons was the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon, which raised funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association for over twenty years, from 1966 until 2010.

33 1975 hit by the Electric Light Orchestra : EVIL WOMAN

The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) recorded the song “Evil Woman” in 1975. “Evil Woman” was written by the band’s lead vocalist Jeff Lynne, in just thirty minutes!

37 “Just ___” (Nike slogan) : DO IT

The Nike slogan “Just Do It” was created in an advertising meeting in 1988. Apparently the phrase was inspired by the last words of infamous criminal Gary Gilmore. Gilmore faced execution by the state of Utah in 1977, and when asked if he had any last words he simply replied, “Let’s do it”. A few minutes later, Gilmore was executed by a firing squad.

42 Small citrus fruit : KUMQUAT

The kumquat tree bears fruit that looks like a small orange, about the size of an olive. The rind of a kumquat is sweet, and the center sour, so often it is only the rind that is eaten.

45 Baltimore athlete : ORIOLE

The Baltimore Orioles (also the O’s, the Birds) are one of the eight charter teams of MLB’s American League, so the franchise dates back to 1901. Prior to 1901, the team had roots in the Minor League Milwaukee Brewers, and indeed entered the American League as the Brewers. In 1902 the Brewers moved to St. Louis and became the Browns. The team didn’t fare well in St. Louis, so when it finally relocated to Baltimore in the early fifties the team changed its name completely, to the Baltimore Orioles. The owners so badly wanted a fresh start that they traded 17 old Browns players with the New York Yankees. The trade didn’t help the team’s performance on the field in those early days, but it did help distance the new team from its past.

46 If-___ (computer programming statement) : ELSE

In the world of computer programming, an “if-then-else” construct is a type of conditional statement. The idea is that IF a particular condition is met THEN a particular action is executed. The additional ELSE statement can be used to define an alternative action.

51 2014 Winter Olympics locale : SOCHI

Sochi is a city in the west of Russian on the Black Sea coast. It is the largest resort city in the whole country. Sochi is going through a busy phase in its life. It hosted the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, the Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix in 2014, and served as host for some games of the 2018 World Cup in soccer.

52 “___ in the Morning” (bygone radio show) : IMUS

Don Imus’s syndicated radio show “Imus in the Morning” used to broadcast from New York City. Imus has been described as a “shock jock”, a disc jockey who deliberately uses provocative language and humor that many would find offensive . I’m not a big fan of shock jocks …

59 Home of most of the members of NATO: Abbr. : EUR

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an international military alliance that was established in 1949. NATO headquarters was initially set up in London, moved to Paris in 1952, and then to Brussels 1967.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Bellyache : BEEF
5 What many people have for public speaking : PHOBIA
11 “We ___ loudest when we ___ to ourselves”: Eric Hoffer : LIE
14 Taj Mahal city : AGRA
15 College in Manhattan : BARUCH
16 Halloween time: Abbr. : OCT
17 Ways to cross a river in Switzerland? : BERN BRIDGES (sounds like “burn bridges”)
19 Big expense for some city dwellers : CAR
20 Old Glory’s land, for short : US OF A
21 Funny Brooks : MEL
22 Prop for Mr. Peanut : CANE
23 Crow, e.g. : TRIBE
25 Fixed a mistake at a card table : REDEALT
28 First showing at a film festival in France? : CANNES OPENER (sounds like “can opener”)
31 Co. that merged into Verizon : GTE
34 Owned : HAD
35 ___ Conventions : GENEVA
36 Supercharge, as an engine : REV
37 Lightly touch, as with a handkerchief : DAB
38 Wyoming-to-Missouri dir. : ESE
39 Chinese dynasty circa A.D. 250 : WEI
40 Actress Brie of “Mad Men” : ALISON
42 Colorful fish : KOI
43 Creator of sketches, in brief : SNL
44 Census taker in India? : DELHI COUNTER (sounds like “deli counter”)
48 Like Barack Obama’s presidency : TWO-TERM
49 Loads : SLEWS
52 Denny’s competitor : IHOP
53 Mensa stats : IQS
55 Urban sitting spot : STOOP
57 Classic tattoo word : MOM
58 Police dragnet in South Korea? : SEOUL SEARCH (sounds like “soul-search”)
61 Spanish article : UNA
62 How café may be served : AU LAIT
63 “If you’re asking me,” in textspeak : IMHO
64 W-2 fig. : SSN
65 Fairly : PRETTY
66 “___ Eyes” (1975 Eagles hit) : LYIN’

Down

1 Hindu title of respect : BABU
2 Expel : EGEST
3 Misspeaking, e.g. : ERROR
4 Some derivative stories, colloquially : FANFIC
5 Brew with hipster cred : PBR
6 American pop-rock band composed of three sisters : HAIM
7 Said “I’ll have …” : ORDERED
8 Cone-shaped corn snacks : BUGLES
9 Swelling reducer : ICE
10 Sounds of satisfaction : AHS
11 Broadcast often seen at 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. : LOCAL NEWS
12 “That is too much for me” : I CAN’T EVEN
13 To be: Fr. : ETRE
18 Cake with rum : BABA
22 Battle of Normandy city : CAEN
24 Increase, as resolution : ENHANCE
26 Watches Bowser, say : DOG-SITS
27 Dueling sword : EPEE
29 Catch : NAB
30 Skate park feature : RAIL
31 Many a May or June honoree : GRAD
32 Some fund-raisers : TELETHONS
33 1975 hit by the Electric Light Orchestra : EVIL WOMAN
37 “Just ___” (Nike slogan) : DO IT
38 Very long time : EON
41 Union workplace : SHOP
42 Small citrus fruit : KUMQUAT
45 Baltimore athlete : ORIOLE
46 If-___ (computer programming statement) : ELSE
47 Wholesale’s opposite : RETAIL
50 Like a bad apple : WORMY
51 2014 Winter Olympics locale : SOCHI
52 “___ in the Morning” (bygone radio show) : IMUS
54 Narrow opening : SLIT
56 Sound: Prefix : PHON-
58 Gradually weaken : SAP
59 Home of most of the members of NATO: Abbr. : EUR
60 Total mess : STY

19 thoughts on “1021-20 NY Times Crossword 21 Oct 20, Wednesday”

  1. 9:46 I thought the themers were slightly amusing and most of this not too hard. I’ve never heard of HAIM and wasn’t sure about BABU so I had a little trouble in the NW. I have heard of Baruch College. I grew up in NYC which is definitely an asset given the number of clues about NYC neighborhoods, subway lines, etc.

    1. I was at concert about 2 years ago (remember concerts??) and HAIM, whom I had never heard of at the time, was one of the opening acts. They were quite good.

  2. 20:28 Why? I’d never heard of “fanfic” so I fixated on it being wrong, only to find my mistake was “car” instead of “cab”….sigh…

  3. 16:01 I was done in about 10 minutes except for the NW corner, similar to @Marc. The only thing I knew there was AGRA and I stared blankly for a couple minutes. Finally looked closer at the theme, got BERN to help me fill in corner. I kept thinking of “crow” as either the bird, or boasting – not as the tribe. Then had to search a couple minutes more to get the chime as I had 30D as RAMP vs. RAIL.

    Also unfamiliar with BABU and BABA. I think of BABA only in reference to Ali Baba.

  4. A little better today. 16:20, no errors. Same as others, NW was last to fall. Tough to get traction. Worked from the bottom up.

  5. 17:53. Like Marc, the NW caused me the most trouble. Remembered BABA from past puzzles, but BABU, FANFIC were new. Didn’t know HAIM or BARUCH so I started a vowel run, and got it with an A on the first try and got the congratulatory music.

    The rest of the puzzle was pretty straightforward although WORMY took me a minute.

    Best –

  6. 27:46 with one error in ,you guessed it, a foreign word.
    If you or anyone you know has ever said “fanfic” in your life please raise your hand.
    Didn’t like this one from the start.👎
    Stay safe😀

  7. Never heard of HAIM, FANFIC or Baruch and CANNESOPENER was a bit of a stretch so I give this puzzle a D minus. I got it but did not enjoy it.

  8. No errors, but I too got hung up in the north west for a bit and needed cross help for HAIM and BARUCH. Anyone else have an issue with REV for 36A?

  9. Not a bad puzzle, but since when is supercharging (force-inducting via an added turbine) an engine the same as revving it (applying throttle to attain high rpm)? Bad clue.

    1. Tough clue. I have heard of term ‘rev up an engine’ by adding components to increase performance. Mirriam-Webster gives this as the 3rd definition: “3: to make more active or effective —used with up”.

  10. Dave/Jim –

    I didn’t even notice that 5 weeks ago when I did this puzzle. I’m actually inclined to agree with both of you. But I saw the Webster’s definition of rev, and it’s so generic – “to operate at an increased speed of revolution” – that I guess the clue is defensible.

    The gray area of crosswords, I suppose.

    Best –

  11. 15:21, no errors. Same issues as others with BABU, HAIM, BARUCH; just learning experiences. Had A KNACK for 5A, before PHOBIA (which describes me much better); 30D RAMP before RAIL. As much as I dislike foreign words, today 13D ETRE was my first entry.

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