1027-20 NY Times Crossword 27 Oct 20, Tuesday

Constructed by: Luci Bresette & David Steinberg
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Restricted Letters

Themed answers use only letters found in an apt phrase:

  • 15A Apt phrase that uses just the letters of U.S. CAPITOL : POLITICS AS USUAL
  • 25A Apt phrase that uses just the letters of UNEARTHS : TREASURE HUNTER
  • 42A Apt phrase that uses just the letters of GRAND TIME : GETTING MARRIED
  • 56A Apt phrase that uses just the letters of MASTERING : TRAINING SEMINAR

Bill’s time: 5m 03s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Hershey’s foiled confection : KISS

The Hershey Company produces over 80 million chocolate Kisses each day, and has been making them since 1907.

12 Chaotic way to run : AMOK

The phrase “to run amok” (sometimes “to run amuck”) has been around since the 1670s and is derived from the Malay word for “attacking furiously”, “amuk”. The word “amok” was also used as a noun to describe Malay natives who were “frenzied”. Given Malaya’s troubled history, the natives probably had a good reason for that frenzy …

13 Dolphins’ home : MIAMI

The Miami Dolphins football team was founded in 1966 by politician Joe Robbie and comedian Danny Thomas.

15 Apt phrase that uses just the letters of U.S. CAPITOL : POLITICS AS USUAL

A capitol is a building in which a legislature meets. Such buildings are often constructed with an impressive dome. The term “capitol” is a reference to the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, the most important temple in ancient Rome, and which sat on top of Capitoline Hill.

18 Declaration made with a card in hand : UNO!

In my youth I remember being taught a great card game by a German acquaintance of mine, a game called Mau Mau. Years later I discovered that UNO is basically the same game, but played with a purpose-printed deck instead of the regular deck of playing cards that’s used for Mau Mau. I hear that Mau Mau is derived from the game called Crazy Eights.

19 Diameter of a quarter, roughly : INCH

The American quarter is a little unusual in the world of decimal currency, if you think about it. Most currencies have a “20-cent” coin, which is easier to work with mathematically. The US went for the quarter in deference to the practice of dividing Spanish Milled Dollars into eight wedge-shaped “bits”. That’s also why the quarter is sometimes referred to as “two bits”. We’ve been using the adjective “two-bit” to mean “cheap, tawdry” at least since 1929. State quarters were introduced in 1999.

20 Mrs. Doubtfire, for one : NANNY

The 1993 comedy “Mrs. Doubtfire” is based on a 1987 novel called “Madame Doubtfire” by Anne Fine. The movie is set and was filmed in San Francisco. The title role is played by Robin Williams, who spent most of the movie dressed as the female Mrs. Doubtfire. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the movie won the Oscar for Best Makeup.

21 Madre’s hermana : TIA

In Spanish, the “hermana” (sister) of your “madre” (mother) is your “tia” (aunt).

23 “My Sister’s Keeper” author Picoult : JODI

“My Sister’s Keeper” is a 2004 novel by JOdi Picoult that was made into a 2009 movie of the same name. The novel addresses the thorny issue of a 13-year-old girl who fights for her right not to have to donate a kidney to her sister, who is dying from leukemia. The title derives from the words spoken by Cain in the Bible, “I know not: am I my brother’s keeper”.

33 “Selma” director DuVernay : AVA

“Selma” is a 2014 film about the Selma-to-Montgomery marches of 1965. Directed by Ava DuVernay, the movie stars David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson.

36 Some sausages, informally : BRATS

A bratwurst (sometimes “brat” in the US) is a German sausage. The name comes from “brät-” meaning “finely chopped meat”, and “Wurst” meaning “sausage”.

38 Help with a holdup : ABET

The word “abet” comes into English from the Old French “abeter” meaning “to bait” or “to harass with dogs” (literally “to make bite”). This sense of encouraging something bad to happen morphed into our modern usage of “abet” meaning to aid or encourage someone in a crime.

41 FedEx alternative : DHL

Back in the sixties, Larry Hillblom was making pocket money as a Berkeley law student by doing courier runs between San Francisco and Los Angeles. After law school, Hillblom decided to parlay his experience into his own business and set up a courier service flying bills of lading ahead of freight from San Francisco to Honolulu. He brought in two buddies, Adrian Dalsey and Robert Lynn, as partners and the three were soon hopping on and off commercial flights and gradually making more and more money. And DHL was born … D (for Dalsey) H (for Hillblom) L (for Lynn). DHL was acquired by Germany’s Deutsche Post in 2002.

47 Torah holders : ARKS

The Torah ark is found in a synagogue, and is the ornamental container in which the Torah scrolls are stored. The word “Torah” best translates as “teaching” or “law”, I am told.

48 “Nothing fools you better than the ___ you tell yourself”: Teller : LIE

The illusionist Teller, of Penn & Teller, was born Raymond Teller in Philadelphia, although has legally changed his name so simply “Teller”. Teller decided not to speak during his performances way back in his youth. He was doing magic at college fraternity parties and discovered that by remaining silent the potentially rowdy audience focused on his act and refrained from throwing beer at him!

49 Candy heart sentiment : LUV

The forerunner to Sweethearts candy was introduced in 1866, with the famous sayings written on the candy tailored for use at weddings. One of the original expressions was, “Married in pink, he will take a drink”. The original candy was a lot bigger, to fit all those words! The smaller, heart-shaped candy hit the shelves in 1901. We’ve been able to buy Sweethearts with the words “Text me” since 2010.

54 Disney queen of Arendelle : ELSA

“Frozen” is a 2013 animated feature from Walt Disney Studios that is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Snow Queen”. The film is all about the exploits of Princess Anna, the younger sister of Elsa, Snow Queen of Arendelle. Spoiler alert: Prince Hans of the Southern Isles seems to be a good guy for most of the film, but turns out to be a baddie in the end. And, a snowman named Olaf provides some comic relief.

60 ___ at windmills (fight imaginary foes) : TILT

The phrase “tilting at windmills” means “attacking imaginary enemies”. The idiom comes from an episode in the novel “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes, in which the hero of the piece charges at windmills that he imagines are giants.

61 Some Winter Olympics rides : LUGES

A luge is a small sled used by one or two people, on which one lies face up and feet first. The luge can be compared to the skeleton, a sled for only one person and on which the rider lies face down and goes down the hill head-first. Yikes!

63 Sleep disrupter in a fairy tale : PEA

“The Princess and the Pea” is a fairy tale from the pen of Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. The essence of the story is that a prince’s mother tests the royal blood of an apparent princess by placing a pea under a pile of mattresses on which the young girl sleeps. The girl complains of a restless night, demonstrating a physical sensitivity that can only be attributed to a princess. And they all lived happily ever after …

65 Feed the kitty : ANTE

The pot in a card game has been referred to as “the kitty” since the 1880s. It’s not certain how the name “kitty” evolved but possibly it comes from “kit”, the necessary equipment for the game.

Down

1 Broken down for good : KAPUT

“Kaput” is a familiar term meaning “incapacitated, destroyed”, and comes to us from French (via German). The original word “capot” means “not having won a single trick” in the French card game Piquet.

5 Machu ___ (Inca citadel) : PICCHU

Machu Picchu is known as “The Lost City of the Incas”, and it can be visited on a mountain ridge in Peru, 50 miles northwest of the city of Cuzco in the southeast of the country. The name Machu Picchu means “old peak”. The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu originates about 50 miles from Cusco on the Urubamba River in Peru. It can take travelers about 5 days to trek the full length of the trail, passing through many Incan ruins before reaching the Sun Gate on Machu Picchu mountain. The trail was becoming greatly overused, forcing the Peruvian government to limit the number of people on the trail each day to 500. Book early …

A citadel is a fortress built to protect a town or a city. Both the words “city” and “citadel” come from the Latin word “civis” meaning “citizen”.

6 Mascara target : LASH

Variants of mascara have been around a long time, and certainly there was a similar substance in use in ancient Egypt. “Mascara” is a Spanish word meaning “stain, mask”.

7 Thurman of “Gattaca” : UMA

Uma Thurman started her working career as a fashion model, at the age of 15. She appeared in her first movies at 17, with her most acclaimed early role being Cécile de Volanges in 1988’s “Dangerous Liaisons”. Thurman’s career really took off when she played the gangster’s moll Mia in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” in 1994. My favorite of all Thurman’s movies is “The Truth About Cats & Dogs”, a less acclaimed romcom released in 1996. She took a few years off from acting from 1998 until 2002 following the birth of her first child. It was Tarantino who relaunched her career, giving her the lead in the “Kill Bill” films.

“Gattaca” is a science fiction movie starring Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman that was released in 1997. Set in the not-too-distant future, the film describes a society in which potential children are preselected so that they inherit the most desirable traits from their parents. The title “Gattaca” is the space agency featured in the storyline. I saw this one relatively recently, and found it very absorbing …

8 “___ boom bah!” : SIS

Apparently, “Sis boom bah” is a popular cheer in American high schools and colleges (I didn’t know that!). The term was also used by Johnny Carson when he was playing the character Carnac the Magnificent.

9 Fabricated, as a yarn : SPUN

The phrase “to spin a yarn”, meaning “to tell a tall tale”, originated in the early 1800s with seamen. The idea was that sailors would tell stories to each other while engaged in mindless work such as twisting yarn.

14 Lightning Bolt : USAIN

Usain Bolt is a Jamaican sprinter who won the 100m and 200m race gold medals in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games. Back in Jamaica, Bolt was really into cricket, and probably would have been a very successful fast bowler had he not hit the track instead.

16 Like some pools : TIDAL

A tidal pool (also “rock pool”) is a pool of seawater that is left along a rocky coastline after an ebb tide.

24 Units of electrical resistance : OHMS

The unit of electrical resistance is the ohm (with the symbol omega) named after German physicist Georg Simon Ohm. Ohm was the guy who established experimentally that the amount of current flowing through a circuit is directly proportional to the voltage applied, (V=IR) a relationship that every school kid knows as Ohm’s Law.

27 The sea, to Neptune : REALM

Neptune was a Roman god, of both the sea and of freshwater. He was sometimes known as “Neptunus Equester” as he was also the god of horses and patron of horse-racing.

28 Cloth napkins and such : TABLE LINEN

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.

29 She lost paradise in “Paradise Lost” : EVE

“Paradise Lost” is an epic poem written by Englishman John Milton. It is indeed an epic work, published originally in ten volumes with over ten thousand lines of verse. The “paradise” that is “lost” is the Garden of Eden, from which Adam and Eve were expelled by God in the “Fall of Man”.

30 2020 Chinese zodiac animal : RAT
34 2019 Chinese zodiac animal : PIG

The Chinese Zodiac is a scheme that relates each year to the attributes of a particular animal in a 12-year cycle. So, the Chinese Zodiac has one sign for each of twelve years, whereas the Western Zodiac has one sign for each of the twelve months.

38 Sashimi tuna : AHI

Yellowfin and bigeye tuna are usually marketed as “ahi”, the Hawaiian name. They are both big fish, with yellowfish tuna often weighing over 300 pounds, and bigeye tuna getting up to 400 pounds.

Sashimi is thinly sliced raw fish, although it can also be raw meat. The word “sashimi” translates literally as “pierced body”, which may be a reference to the practice of sticking the tail and fin to sliced fish to identify it.

40 Singer in Homer’s “Odyssey” : SIREN

In Greek mythology, the Sirens were seductive bird-women who lured men to their deaths with their song. When Odysseus sailed closed to the island home of the Sirens he wanted to hear their voices, but in safety. He had his men plug their ears with beeswax and then ordered them to tie him to the mast and not to free him until they were safe. On hearing their song Odysseus begged to be let loose, but the sailors just tightened his bonds and the whole crew sailed away unharmed. We sometimes use the term “siren” today to describe a seductively charming woman.

46 10-time N.B.A. All-Star Kevin : DURANT

Kevin Durant is a professional basketball player who started his career in the NBA with the Seattle Supersonics, and relocated with the team to Oklahoma City where they became the Thunder. You might come across Durant on the big screen as well, as he starred in the children’s film “Thunderstruck” in 2012.

51 Link letters : HTTP

“http” are the first letters in many Internet links. “http” stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. More secure and “safer” websites (like this one!) use links starting with “https”, which stands for “http secure”).

52 Buffalo’s lake : ERIE

Buffalo is the second-most populous city in the state of New York. The city takes its name from Buffalo Creek that runs through the metropolis (although the waterway is called Buffalo River within the city). The source of the name Buffalo Creek is the subject of much speculation, but one thing is clear, there were never any bison in the area.

53 Character voiced by Beyoncé in 2019’s “The Lion King” : NALA

In “The Lion King”, Nala is a lioness and the childhood friend of Simba. By the end of the story, Nala and Simba become wedded. “The Lion King” is inspired by William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, with Simba representing the title character, and Nala representing Hamlet’s love interest Ophelia.

54 Pop-up breakfast brand : EGGO

Eggo is a line of frozen waffles and related products made by Kellogg’s. When they were introduced in the 1930s, the name “Eggo” was chosen to promote the “egginess” of the batter. “Eggo” replaced “Froffles”, the original name chosen by melding “frozen” and “waffles”.

58 Resident of a cloister : NUN

Cloisters are usually such beautifully peaceful areas. They are found as part of religious buildings in particular. Cloisters are rectangular open spaces surrounded by covered walkways that are attached to other structures. The use of the term “cloister” has evolved to also describe a monastery or convent, and “cloistered” is used figuratively to mean “sheltered from the outside world”.

59 Many a craft brew, briefly : IPA

India pale ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Hershey’s foiled confection : KISS
5 Grade upgrade : PLUS
9 ___-mo : SLO
12 Chaotic way to run : AMOK
13 Dolphins’ home : MIAMI
14 Hip to, as the latest news : UPON
15 Apt phrase that uses just the letters of U.S. CAPITOL : POLITICS AS USUAL
18 Declaration made with a card in hand : UNO!
19 Diameter of a quarter, roughly : INCH
20 Mrs. Doubtfire, for one : NANNY
21 Madre’s hermana : TIA
22 “Obvs!” : DUH!
23 “My Sister’s Keeper” author Picoult : JODI
25 Apt phrase that uses just the letters of UNEARTHS : TREASURE HUNTER
31 Phone no. : TEL
32 “___ & Roy” (children’s TV series) : ESME
33 “Selma” director DuVernay : AVA
34 Sand castle shaper : PAIL
36 Some sausages, informally : BRATS
38 Help with a holdup : ABET
39 Where ___ at : IT’S
40 Breeze (through) : SAIL
41 FedEx alternative : DHL
42 Apt phrase that uses just the letters of GRAND TIME : GETTING MARRIED
47 Torah holders : ARKS
48 “Nothing fools you better than the ___ you tell yourself”: Teller : LIE
49 Candy heart sentiment : LUV
51 Beginning to a logical conclusion : HENCE …
54 Disney queen of Arendelle : ELSA
55 Angry state : IRE
56 Apt phrase that uses just the letters of MASTERING : TRAINING SEMINAR
60 ___ at windmills (fight imaginary foes) : TILT
61 Some Winter Olympics rides : LUGES
62 Things you might open with a click : PENS
63 Sleep disrupter in a fairy tale : PEA
64 Hitch, say : KNOT
65 Feed the kitty : ANTE

Down

1 Broken down for good : KAPUT
2 “Consider that done!” : I’M ON IT!
3 One who plays alone : SOLO ARTIST
4 One of a cross-country pair : SKI
5 Machu ___ (Inca citadel) : PICCHU
6 Mascara target : LASH
7 Thurman of “Gattaca” : UMA
8 “___ boom bah!” : SIS
9 Fabricated, as a yarn : SPUN
10 College debt component : LOAN
11 Word before child or human : ONLY …
13 Grade downgrade : MINUS
14 Lightning Bolt : USAIN
16 Like some pools : TIDAL
17 Not warranted : UNDUE
23 Kid : JEST
24 Units of electrical resistance : OHMS
26 Sinuous fish : EEL
27 The sea, to Neptune : REALM
28 Cloth napkins and such : TABLE LINEN
29 She lost paradise in “Paradise Lost” : EVE
30 2020 Chinese zodiac animal : RAT
34 2019 Chinese zodiac animal : PIG
35 Had a little something : ATE
36 Safe space? : BANK
37 Fixes, as an outcome : RIGS
38 Sashimi tuna : AHI
40 Singer in Homer’s “Odyssey” : SIREN
41 Lofty aspiration : DREAM
43 Implied but not expressed : TACIT
44 “Ready!” : ALL SET!
45 Climbs : RISES
46 10-time N.B.A. All-Star Kevin : DURANT
50 Poetry : VERSE
51 Link letters : HTTP
52 Buffalo’s lake : ERIE
53 Character voiced by Beyoncé in 2019’s “The Lion King” : NALA
54 Pop-up breakfast brand : EGGO
57 Kind : ILK
58 Resident of a cloister : NUN
59 Many a craft brew, briefly : IPA

10 thoughts on “1027-20 NY Times Crossword 27 Oct 20, Tuesday”

  1. 7:04 No issues.

    From what I remember when Gattaca came out – the letters in it G,A,T,C are in reference to the components of our DNA sequencing – Guanine, Adenine, Thymine, and Cytosine. Hence the “opportunity” to pick designer offspring.

  2. Another slow day. Still going backwards. 12:50 after spending a few minutes looking for a fat finger error. On the plus side, interesting theme.

  3. 10:29. Obviously I was slowed a bit by…ok I really don’t have a reason. Maybe I was psyched out when I saw David Steinberg’s name? Maybe my disdain for anagrams is to blame too.

    It is odd how we use a 25 cent piece as currency. To illustrate how smart I was as a kid, I always thought that quarter past the hour meant 25 minutes past the hour. For the record, I did take a normal sized bus to school…

    Ron – Nice info on “Gattaca”. That never occurred to me. I saw the movie years ago. I found it a little depressing for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was you entire lot in life being determined before you’re even conceived. Then again, maybe this way I could have avoided the whole 25 minutes past the hour thing.

    Best –

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