1023-20 NY Times Crossword 23 Oct 20, Friday

Constructed by: Robyn Weintraub
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 12m 04s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 Only character with the same name in both “Rent” and “La Bohème” : MIMI

The musical “Rent” by Jonathan Larson is based on the Puccini opera “La bohème”. “Rent” tells the story of struggling artists and musicians living in the Lower East Side of New York, and is set against the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic. We saw “Rent” on Broadway quite a few years ago and were very disappointed …

Giacomo Puccini’s 1896 opera “La bohème” tells of a love affair between a poor poet named Rodolfo, and an even poorer seamstress named Mimi. There isn’t a happy ending …

10 Some urgent messages, in brief : APBS

An All Points Bulletin (APB) is a broadcast from one US law enforcement agency to another.

15 What’s before after, at the end? : EVER …

Ever after

16 Kaplan course subj. : LSAT

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

Kaplan Inc. was founded in 1938 by Stanley Kaplan, who started out tutoring students for the New York State Regents Exam in the basement of his parents’ home in Brooklyn. He opened up locations for tuition around the country, and in 1984 sold the company to the Washington Post. Revenue for Kaplan was over 2½ billion dollars in 2009.

20 Most promising slate of candidates : SHORT LIST

In an election, a slate is a group of candidates running on a common platform.

22 Dark half : YIN

The yin and yang can be illustrated using many different metaphors. In one, as the sun shines on a mountain, the side in the shade is the yin and the side in the light is the yang. The yin is also regarded as the feminine side, and the yang the masculine. The yin can also be associated with the moon, while the yang is associated with the sun.

26 Jobs at Apple, once : CEO

Steve Jobs certainly was a business icon in Silicon Valley. I don’t think it is too surprising to learn that the brilliant Jobs didn’t even finish his college education, dropping out of Reed College in Oregon after only one semester. Steve Jobs co-founded Apple in 1976, but in 1985 he was basically fired from his own company during the computer sales slump in the mid-eighties. Jobs then founded NeXT Computer, a company focused on supplying workstations to the higher education and business markets. Apple purchased NeXT in 1996, and that’s how Jobs found himself back with his original company.

27 Prom night worry : ACNE

A prom is a formal dance held upon graduation from high school (we call them “formals” over in Ireland). The term “prom” is short for “promenade”, the name given to a type of dance or ball.

34 Batting equipment? : FAKE EYELASHES

At least as far back as the 1800s, the term “batting” was used in falconry to describe the fluttering of a hawk’s wings while on a perch or a fist, as if the bird intended to fly away. The usage of “batting” extended to the fluttering of a human’s eyelids, giving us the expressions “batting an eye” and “batting an eyelid”.

35 Cost-of-living fig. : CPI

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures changes in the price of services and goods purchased by households. The United States CPI fell in 2009, for the first time since 1955. That’s how bad the 2009 recession was …

37 The season opener? : ‘TIS …

The music for the Christmas song “Deck the Halls” is a traditional Welsh tune that dates back to the 16th century. The same tune was used by Mozart for a violin and piano duet. The lyrics with which we are familiar (other than the “f-la-la”) are American in origin, and were recorded in the 19th century.

“’Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la la la la la!”

38 Author who was a childhood friend of Harper Lee : CAPOTE

Nelle Harper Lee was an author from Monroeville, Alabama. For many years, Lee had only one published novel to her name, i.e. “To Kill a Mockingbird”. That contribution to the world of literature was enough to earn her the Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Pulitzer Prize. Harper Lee was a close friend of fellow author Truman Capote who was the inspiration for the character named “Dill” in her novel. Lee was all over the news in 2015 as she had published a second novel, titled “Go Set a Watchman”. The experts seem to be agreeing that “Go Set a Watchman” is actually the first draft of “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Lee passed away less than a year after “Go Set a Watchman” hit the stores.

40 Filch : COP

“Filch” is a slang word meaning for “steal”. One suggestion is that the term derives from the German “filzen” meaning “comb through”.

51 Highland slope : BRAE

“Brae” is a lowland Scots word for the slope or brow of a hill.

53 Some are traditional, in brief : IRAS

Individual retirement account (IRA)

54 Steel (oneself) : GIRD

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”.

Down

1 Mark : PATSY

The etymology of the word “patsy” meaning “fall guy” isn’t really understood. One colorful theory suggests that the term comes from an 1890s vaudeville character named Patsy Bolivar. Patsy always got the blame when something went wrong.

2 Japanese beer brand : ASAHI

Asahi is a Japanese beer, and the name of the brewery that produces it. “Asahi” is Japanese for “morning sun”. Asahi introduced a “dry beer” in 1987, igniting a craze that rocketed the brewery to the number one spot in terms of beer production in Japan, with Sapporo close behind.

3 Camera mentioned in Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome” (not a Kodak!) : NIKON

The Japanese company Nikon was founded in 1917 with the merger of three manufacturers of various optical devices. After the merger, Nikon’s main output was lenses (including the first lenses for Canon cameras, before Canon made its own). During the war, Nikon sales grew rapidly as the company focused on (pun!) equipment for the military including periscopes and bomb sights.

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel performed together as “Simon & Garfunkel”, as I am sure we all know. The friends started singing together way back in the fifties when they were still in school together. The name of their act black then was “Tom & Jerry”.

4 River of Germany : EDER

The Eder is a river in Germany, and a tributary of the Fulda River. The Eder has a dam near the small town of Waldeck which holds water in the large Edersee reservoir. This was one of the dams that was attacked by the RAF during WWII with the famous Barnes Wallis bouncing bombs. It was destroyed in the Dam Busters raid in 1943, but rebuilt the same year.

7 Singer/actor who narrated 1964’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” : IVES

As well as being an actor, Burl Ives was a folk singer, which was his original calling. Stemming from his life in Hollywood, Ives had a distressing experience with the House Un-American Activities Committee. He avoided being blacklisted by cooperating to some level with McCarthy and his team. This cooperation created a rift between him and Pete Seeger in particular, as Seeger was a fellow singer whom he “discussed” with the committee.

The song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was written by Johnny Marks, and was based on the story created by Marks’ brother-in-law Robert L. May.

11 Autoimmune condition with itchy skin : PSORIASIS

An autoimmune disease is one in which there is an immune response not against an invading pathogen, but rather against a normal body part. Examples of autoimmune diseases are lupus, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.

12 Use of a cushion or a backboard : BANK SHOT

In games like pool and billiards, a “bank shot” is one in which the object ball is bounced off one or more cushions prior to being pocketed.

13 Anne or Jeanne: Abbr. : STE

“Sainte” (ste.) is French for “saint”, when referring to a “femme” (woman).

18 B+ or A- : BLOOD TYPE

Here is an approximate distribution of blood types across the US population:

  • O-positive: 38 percent
  • O-negative: 7 percent
  • A-positive: 34 percent
  • A-negative: 6 percent
  • B-positive: 9 percent
  • B-negative: 2 percent
  • AB-positive: 3 percent
  • AB-negative: 1 percent

27 Pieces of pomegranate : ARILS

The casing surrounding many seeds is called the aril, and it may be quite fleshy. This fruit-like characteristic makes it desirable as a food and hence aids in the dispersion of the seeds.

The name of the fruit called a “pomegranate” comes from the Latin “pomum” meaning “apple” and “granatum” meaning “seeded”.

28 Nightclub of song, familiarly : COPA

The Copacabana of the 1978 Barry Manilow song is the Copacabana nightclub in New York City (which is also the subject of the Frank Sinatra song “Meet Me at the Copa”). The Copa opened in 1940 and is still going today, although it is struggling. The club had to move due to impending construction and is now “sharing” a location with the Columbus 72 nightclub.

His name was Rico
He wore a diamond
He was escorted to his chair, he saw Lola dancing there
And when she finished, he called her over
But Rico went a bit to far
Tony sailed across the bar
And then the punches flew and chairs were smashed in two
There was blood and a single gun shot
But just who shot who?

30 Resource with content in 300+ languages : WIKIPEDIA

Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia, and is the most-used reference site on the Internet. The site was launched by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger in 2001. I, for one, am very grateful …

31 ___ school : PREP

A “preppy” is a student or graduate of a preparatory school. Such a school is designed to prepare students for college, and is often private with expensive fees.

33 Fairy tale patriarch : PAPA BEAR

The story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” was first recorded in 1837 in England, although the narrative was around before it was actually written down. The original fairy tale was rather gruesome, but successive versions became more family-oriented. The character that eventually became Goldilocks was originally an elderly woman, and the three “nameless” bears became Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear.

34 Grp. that watches TV : FCC

TV broadcasting is monitored by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC has been around since 1934, when it replaced the Federal Radio Commission.

42 Ashton Kutcher’s role on “That ’70s Show” : KELSO

Ashton Kutcher played the character Michael Kelso on Fox’s “That ‘70s Show”. Kelso was Kutcher’s breakthrough acting role. Kutcher then starred in the sitcom “Two and a Half Men”, replacing the “disgraced” Charlie Sheen. In 2009, Kutcher became the first user on Twitter to get over 1 million followers. I wasn’t one of them …

43 Longtime senator Specter : ARLEN

Arlen Specter was the US Senator for Pennsylvania, famous for switching from the Republican to the Democratic Party in 2009. In 2010 he lost the Democratic primary and his seat went to Pat Toomey, a Republican. Spector developed a reputation for himself of being hard to work with over the years, earning the nickname “Snarlin’ Arlen”.

45 Who asks “What can I help you with?” : SIRI

Siri is a software application that works with Apple’s iOS operating system. “Siri” is an acronym standing for Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface. Voice-over artist Susan Bennett revealed herself as the female American voice of Siri a few years ago. The British version of Siri is called Daniel, and the Australian version is called Karen. Also, “Siri” is a Norwegian name meaning “beautiful woman who leads you to victory”, and was the name the developer had chosen for his first child.

46 Former Bulgarian monarch : TSAR

The term “czar” (also “tsar”) is a Slavic word that was first used as a title by Simeon I of Bulgaria in 913 AD. “Czar” is derived from the word “caesar”, which was synonymous with “emperor” at that time. We tend to use the “czar” spelling, as opposed to “tsar”, when we describe a person today with great power or authority, e.g. “Drug Czar”.

47 Omaha relative : OTOE

The Otoe (also “Oto”) Native American tribe originated in the Great Lakes region as part of the Winnebago or Siouan tribes. The group that would become the Otoe broke away from the Winnebago and migrated southwestward, ending up in the Great Plains. In the plains the Otoe adopted a semi-nomadic lifestyle dependent on the horse, with the American bison becoming central to their diet.

48 Tech sch. in upstate N.Y. : RPI

The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is a private school in Troy, New York. The university is named after its founder Stephen Van Rensselaer who set up the school in 1824. The goal of RPI has always been the “application of science to the common purposes of life”, an objective set by the founder. Given that, the name for the school’s sports teams is quite apt: the Engineers.

49 Initials of the person who said “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you” : 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 Cable news lineup : PANEL
6 Only character with the same name in both “Rent” and “La Bohème” : MIMI
10 Some urgent messages, in brief : APBS
14 Dramatic device : ASIDE
15 What’s before after, at the end? : EVER
16 Kaplan course subj. : LSAT
17 “That’s enough for now” : TAKE A BREAK
19 Singular : LONE
20 Most promising slate of candidates : SHORT LIST
21 Decision spot : FORK
22 Dark half : YIN
23 Sexy : HOT
24 One who might have a brush with fame? : ARTIST
26 Jobs at Apple, once : CEO
27 Prom night worry : ACNE
29 Puzzle solver’s cry : AHA!
30 Legal pad alternative : WORD PROCESSOR
33 Lightly lined apparel : PINSTRIPE SUIT
34 Batting equipment? : FAKE EYELASHES
35 Cost-of-living fig. : CPI
36 Array on a screen : APPS
37 The season opener? : ‘TIS …
38 Author who was a childhood friend of Harper Lee : CAPOTE
40 Filch : COP
41 Melissa Jefferson ___ Lizzo : AKA
44 Spots for bulbs : BEDS
45 Celebrity’s influence : STAR POWER
48 Overhaul : REDO
49 Goes in 100% : RISKS IT ALL
50 Single piece of underwear, paradoxically : PAIR
51 Highland slope : BRAE
52 Background distraction : NOISE
53 Some are traditional, in brief : IRAS
54 Steel (oneself) : GIRD
55 Mount : GET ON

Down

1 Mark : PATSY
2 Japanese beer brand : ASAHI
3 Camera mentioned in Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome” (not a Kodak!) : NIKON
4 River of Germany : EDER
5 Upgrade at a dealership : LEATHER SEATS
6 Warrant : MERIT
7 Singer/actor who narrated 1964’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” : IVES
8 Gist : MEAT
9 Put out : IRK
10 Divvy up : ALLOT
11 Autoimmune condition with itchy skin : PSORIASIS
12 Use of a cushion or a backboard : BANK SHOT
13 Anne or Jeanne: Abbr. : STE
18 B+ or A- : BLOOD TYPE
21 E-tail perk : FREE SHIPPING
24 Tree toppers : ANCESTORS
25 Pine product : TAR
26 Pine product : CONE
27 Pieces of pomegranate : ARILS
28 Nightclub of song, familiarly : COPA
30 Resource with content in 300+ languages : WIKIPEDIA
31 ___ school : PREP
32 Seeks judgment, in a way : SUES
33 Fairy tale patriarch : PAPA BEAR
34 Grp. that watches TV : FCC
39 Some may linger : ODORS
40 Encrusted : CAKED
41 Be in store : AWAIT
42 Ashton Kutcher’s role on “That ’70s Show” : KELSO
43 Longtime senator Specter : ARLEN
45 Who asks “What can I help you with?” : SIRI
46 Former Bulgarian monarch : TSAR
47 Omaha relative : OTOE
48 Tech sch. in upstate N.Y. : RPI
49 Initials of the person who said “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you” : RBG

14 thoughts on “1023-20 NY Times Crossword 23 Oct 20, Friday”

  1. 16:36, no errors. Spent several minutes in the upper right, where I initially had SPLIT instead of ALLOT … and was duly … well … puzzled … 😜.

  2. 11:18 Sometimes everything falls into place quickly and that’s what happened today. I was able to get a few of the longer answers with little or no crosses and go from there. Overall I thought the puzzle was great. I like Robyn Weintraub’s work.

  3. 19:23 I got very little on the first pass thru the accrosses. The downs helped a bit and just kept chipping away at it. End time was faster than it felt.

  4. 21:28. Like @Ron, I didn’t get much on the first pass. I ended up solving from the bottom up (again!) Great clues for 33A and 34A.

  5. 15:07. Things sort of clicked for me with this puzzle. Maybe it’s because I did it first thing in the morning rather than my usual late night bleary-eyed efforts. Lesson learned? Probably not.

    Wild guess got me the “K” at the KELSO/AKA nexus was the last to fall. It was the only thing that sounded right.

    Best –

  6. 32:34 got all but the NW corner before I went to bed with the Giants up 21-10. Woke up this morning and the Eagles won 22-21(how’d that happen?) somehow “bank shot” happened and I finished from there…

  7. No errors, luckily. Guessed on a couple but crosses confirmed it. Had RYE for 22A for long time until none of the crosses worked.
    Ref: 7D, Anyone remember the movie “Big Country” with Gregory Peck, Chuck Connors and Burl Ives? What a movie.. Old Burl plays a bit of a mean cuss.. All American Chuck Connors plays the weasel.. what a different role for “The Rifleman”!!!!!

  8. Had a good time watching the columns and rows fill-out only to get hung up for a bit in the north west. Only needed a couple of squares so ran them through the alphabet until I came up with ASIDE which made sense and completed 2D and 4D. Saw “good guy” Chuck Connors play a real meanie on an episode of Gunsmoke a few days ago. Mark would be shocked!

  9. 47:22 no errors…I was ready to call it a DNF but suddenly it fell into place…I had Deans list for 20A and that really slowed me down in theNW corner.
    Stay safe😀

  10. 17:52, no errors. Felt like the setter pulled me through this grid, in spite of my ignorance. Just enough hand holds, here and there, to get a clean fill.

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