1031-20 NY Times Crossword 31 Oct 20, Saturday

Constructed by: Stella Zawistowski
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 14m 32s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • RAMI (Remi!)
  • CARAPACE (carepace)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

11 Disney villain based on King Claudius : SCAR

In the 1994 movie “The Lion King”, the protagonist is Simba, a lion cub born to Mufasa and Sarabi. The main antagonist is Scar, Simba’s uncle and Mufasa’s brother. Simba is voiced by Matthew Broderick, and Scar is voiced by Jeremy Irons. “Simba” is Swahili for “lion, king, strong”.

In William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, Hamlet’s nemesis is King Claudius, his father’s brother. It’s felt that Shakespeare chose the name “Claudius” as in those days the Roman Emperor Claudius was considered to be the archetype of an evil ruler.

15 ´, in French : ACCENT AIGU

In French, accents over the letter E can be acute (é, “accent aigu”) or grave (è, “accent grave”).

16 Site of an early miracle : CANA

According to the Christian Bible, Cana is the place where Jesus performed his first public miracle. Jesus was attending a wedding feast with his mother when the party ran out of wine. Jesus turned water into wine, wine subsequently deemed to be the best served at the feast.

17 Dance craze during the Roaring Twenties : CHARLESTON

The Charleston developed as a dance in African-American communities, but is more closely associated today with the flappers of the 1920s.

The 1920s are often called the Roaring Twenties, a period of dynamic change across all aspects of life. Things were finally returning to normal after WWI, jazz became popular, some women “broke the mold” by becoming “flappers”, and Art Deco flourished. The whole decade came to a tragic end with the Wall Street Crash of 1929, followed by the Great Depression.

19 Pioneering band in nu metal : KORN

Korn is an alternative metal band from Bakersfield, California. The band’s name is derived from a fan suggestion of “Corn”. The suggested name was considered too bland and so was prettied up to Korn, with the letter “r” capitalized and written backwards.

21 Actor Malek : RAMI

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.

22 Onetime trade org. : EEC

The European Economic Community (EEC) was also known as the Common Market. The EEC was a NAFTA-like structure that was eventually absorbed into today’s European Union (EU).

23 Hiss at a Congressional hearing : ALGER

Alger Hiss was a US government official involved in the establishment of the United Nations. Hiss was accused of being a spy in testimony to the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) in 1948. Hiss vigorously denied and fought the accusation but eventually served over three years in jail on related charges. The consensus seems to be that Hiss was indeed a spy, but there may be new evidence available when the HUAC’s papers are unsealed in 2026.

25 Food from a bar : TAPAS

“Tapa” is the Spanish word for “lid”, and there is no clear rationale for why this word came to be used for an appetizer. There are lots of explanations cited, all of which seem to involve the temporary covering of one’s glass of wine with a plate or item of food to either preserve the wine or give one extra space at the table.

28 Post-marathon treatment, maybe : ICE BATH

The marathon commemorates the legendary messenger-run by Pheidippides from the site of the Battle of Marathon back to Athens, and is run over 26 miles and 385 yards. The first modern Olympic marathon races were run over a distance that approximated the length of the modern-day Marathon-Athens highway, although the actual length of the race varied from games to games. For the 1908 Olympics in London, a course starting at Windsor Castle and ending in front of the Royal Box at White City Stadium was defined. That course was 26 miles and 385 yards, the standard length now used at all Olympic Games. Organizers of subsequent games continued to vary the length of the race, until a decision was made in 1921 to adopt the distance used in London in 1908.

31 Product that becomes an item to which it’s applied after shifting the last letter one spot down in the alphabet : PAM

PAM cooking oil was introduced in 1961 by Leon Rubin and Arthur Meyerhoff. The name “PAM” is an acronym … standing for “Product of Arthur Meyerhoff”. Who’d a thunk it …?

38 ___ minute (cooked to order) : A LA

The phrase “in the style of” can be translated as “alla” in Italian and “à la” in French.

39 Protective wear around shellfish, maybe : BIB

The word “bib” comes from the Latin “bibere” meaning “to drink”, as does our word “imbibe”. So, maybe a bib is less about spilling the food, and more about soaking up the booze …

44 Form of graffiti : AEROSOL

Strictly speaking, the term “aerosol” defines a suspension of either liquid droplets or solid particles in a gas. A good example of an aerosol is smoke. We tend to use the “aerosol” to describe what comes out of a spray can, even though the liquid droplets usually fall out of the gas and don’t stay suspended.

“Graffiti” is the plural of “graffito”, and is the Italian for “scribbling”. The word was first used to describe ancient inscriptions on the walls in the ruins of Pompeii.

55 Coup target : ETAT

A coup d’état (often just “coup”) is the sudden overthrow of a government, and comes from the French for “stroke of state”. The Swiss-German word “putsch” is sometimes used instead of “coup”, with “Putsch” translating literally as “sudden blow”. We also use the abbreviated “coup” to mean “sudden, brilliant and successful act”.

59 Battle of the Hedgerows locale : ST LO

Saint-Lô is a town in Normandy that was occupied by Germany in 1940. Saint-Lo stood at a strategic crossroads and so there was intense fighting there during the Normandy invasion of 1944. After a prolonged bombardment, very little of the town was left standing.

Down

3 Like hen’s teeth : SCARCE

Something might be described as scarcer than hen’s teeth, as hens don’t have teeth at all!

4 Soarer by the shore : TERN

Terns are seabirds that are found all over the world. The Arctic Tern makes a very long-distance migration. One Arctic Tern that was tagged as a chick in Great Britain in the summer of 1982, was spotted in Melbourne, Australia just three months later. The bird had traveled over 14,000 miles in over those three months, an average of about 150 miles a day. Remarkable …

5 It’s noted for its alums : SNL

“Saturday Night Live” (SNL)

6 “Les Nuits d’___” (Berlioz work) : ETE

Hector Berlioz was a French composer active in the Romantic period. Berlioz’s most famous work is probably his “Symphonie fantastique”.

7 Layered fare : LASAGNA

“Lasagna” was originally the name of a cooking pot, but the term came to mean a dish that was cooked in it. “Lasagna” also became the name of the flat noodle used in the dish. If you order lasagna on the other side of the Atlantic, you’ll notice the “lasagne” spelling, the plural of “lasagna”. The plural is used as there is more than one layer of pasta in the dish.

8 Petrol unit : LITRE

Petrol is the same thing as gasoline. “Petrol” comes via French from the Latin “petroleum”, itself derived from “petra” meaning “rock” and “oleum” meaning “oil”.

10 Pantyhose problems : RUNS

A snag is a pull or a tear in a fabric. A snag, particularly in stockings, might lead to a run. And on the other side of the Atlantic, a “run” is called a “ladder”.

11 Insect depicted in hieroglyphics : SCARAB

Scarabs were amulets in ancient Egypt. Scarabs were modelled on the dung beetle, as it was viewed as a symbol of the cycle of life.

12 Terrapin topper : CARAPACE

The terrapin is a species of turtle found in swamps in the east and south of the United States.

14 Sources of crunch for a salad : RADISHES

Radishes are edible root vegetables that are commonly grown for use in salads. Gardeners also use radishes as companion plants as the odor given off can deter pests such as aphids, ants and cucumber beetles.

23 Things on the small slide? : AMOEBAS

An ameba (also “amoeba”) is a single-celled microorganism. The name comes from the Greek “amoibe”, meaning change. The name is quite apt, as the cell changes shape readily as the ameba moves, eats and reproduces.

25 Crispy order at a Japanese restaurant : TEMPURA

Tempura is a style of Japanese cuisine that features seafood, meat and vegetables that have been deep-fried in batter. The use of batter in fried foods was introduced into Japan by the Portuguese in the late 1500s.

27 Abbr. in a sports injury report : ACL

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four major ligaments that support the knee.

34 Titular children’s song lyric after “Et la tête!” : ALOUETTE

The French-Canadian children’s song starts with, “Alouette, gentille alouette …” “Alouette” is the French word for a bird, the “lark”. The song is actually pretty gruesome, even though it was used to teach children the names of body parts. The origin of the song lies in the French colonists penchant for eating larks, which they considered to be game birds. So in the song, the singer tells the lark that he/she will pluck off one-by-one the lark’s head, nose, eyes, wings and tail.

37 Ending with Angel : -ENO

An Angeleno is someone who lives in Los Angeles.

40 Dweller in the Himalayas : BHUTANI

Bhutan is a landlocked country in South Asia. It is located high up in the Eastern Himalayas between China to the north and India to the south, east and west. Bhutan has been a constitutional monarchy since 2008, and has been ranked by “Businessweek” as the “happiest” country in Asia.

41 Course for many a high schooler, in brief : SAT PREP

Today, the standardized test for admission to colleges is known as the SAT Reasoning Test, but it used to be called the Scholastic Aptitude Test and Scholastic Assessment Test, which led to the abbreviation “SAT”.

43 Who allegedly said “No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country” : PATTON

General George Patton was a notorious leader of US forces during WWII. He was also quite the athlete in his day. Patton placed fifth in the modern pentathlon at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm. Most famously, he was given command of the US Third Army in 1944. That army had resounding success, liberating more territory in less time than any other army in the history of the world. Patton barely survived the war. He was killed in a car accident outside Mannheim in Germany in December of 1945.

45 Lissome : SVELTE

“Svelte” comes into English from Latin, via the Italian “svelto” meaning “stretched out”. Something or someone described as svelte would be slender and graceful.

“Lissome” is such a lovely word, I think. It applies to something that is easily bent and supple. The term is a variation of “lithesome”.

46 A bunch : OODLES

It’s thought that the term “oodles”, meaning “a lot”, comes from “kit and caboodle”.

47 Overseas insurance giant : LLOYD’S

Lloyd’s of London isn’t actually an insurance company, but rather is a market where members can get together to spread the risk associated with policies that have been underwritten.

50 European city where the first carbonated beverage was invented : LEEDS

I went to school for a while not far from Leeds in West Yorkshire in the north of England. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, Leeds was a major center for the production and trading of wool, and then with the onset of mechanization it became a natural hub for manufacture of textiles. These days Leeds is noted as a shopping destination and so has been dubbed “the Knightsbridge of the North”.

53 Move quickly, as a cloud : SCUD

To scud is a move swiftly as if propelled forward. The term is often used with reference to clouds, scudding across the sky.

54 Narrow inlets : RIAS

A drowned valley might be called a ria or a fjord, and both are formed as sea levels rise. A ria is a drowned valley created by river erosion, and a fjord is a drowned valley created by glaciation.

58 Timecard entries: Abbr. : HRS

Hour (hr.)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Standout work : BESTSELLER
11 Disney villain based on King Claudius : SCAR
15 ´, in French : ACCENT AIGU
16 Site of an early miracle : CANA
17 Dance craze during the Roaring Twenties : CHARLESTON
18 Lacking in excitement : ARID
19 Pioneering band in nu metal : KORN
20 Dark ___ : ARTS
21 Actor Malek : RAMI
22 Onetime trade org. : EEC
23 Hiss at a Congressional hearing : ALGER
25 Food from a bar : TAPAS
26 “Yeah, you wish!” : DREAM ON!
28 Post-marathon treatment, maybe : ICE BATH
30 It’s a thing in Mexico : COSA
31 Product that becomes an item to which it’s applied after shifting the last letter one spot down in the alphabet : PAM
32 Part of Comedy Central’s logo : CEE
33 Heavy hitter? : MALLET
36 Jets : SPEEDS
38 ___ minute (cooked to order) : A LA
39 Protective wear around shellfish, maybe : BIB
41 Wow, just wow : STUN
42 Route for pulling a boat : TOWPATH
44 Form of graffiti : AEROSOL
48 Choices for sushi chefs : TUNAS
49 Hyper- : ULTRA
51 A to B, say: Abbr. : VOL
52 Break : REST
53 A to B, say : STEP
54 Edit menu option : REDO
55 Coup target : ETAT
56 Cheese from Wales, not southeastern Pennsylvania : CAERPHILLY
59 Battle of the Hedgerows locale : ST LO
60 Deserving more credit : UNDERRATED
61 Acknowledged : SEEN
62 Strip of ownership : DISPOSSESS

Down

1 Patronized : BACKED
2 Parrot, in a way : ECHOER
3 Like hen’s teeth : SCARCE
4 Soarer by the shore : TERN
5 It’s noted for its alums : SNL
6 “Les Nuits d’___” (Berlioz work) : ETE
7 Layered fare : LASAGNA
8 Petrol unit : LITRE
9 Activity of self-interest : EGO TRIP
10 Pantyhose problems : RUNS
11 Insect depicted in hieroglyphics : SCARAB
12 Terrapin topper : CARAPACE
13 Bubbly : ANIMATED
14 Sources of crunch for a salad : RADISHES
23 Things on the small slide? : AMOEBAS
24 Came unhinged : LOST IT
25 Crispy order at a Japanese restaurant : TEMPURA
27 Abbr. in a sports injury report : ACL
29 Office chair feature : CASTER
33 Something fit for a king or queen : MATTRESS
34 Titular children’s song lyric after “Et la tête!” : ALOUETTE
35 One way to get rid of things : LAWN SALE
37 Ending with Angel : -ENO
40 Dweller in the Himalayas : BHUTANI
41 Course for many a high schooler, in brief : SAT PREP
43 Who allegedly said “No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country” : PATTON
45 Lissome : SVELTE
46 A bunch : OODLES
47 Overseas insurance giant : LLOYD’S
50 European city where the first carbonated beverage was invented : LEEDS
53 Move quickly, as a cloud : SCUD
54 Narrow inlets : RIAS
57 Crackerjack : PRO
58 Timecard entries: Abbr. : HRS

13 thoughts on “1031-20 NY Times Crossword 31 Oct 20, Saturday”

  1. 25:38 Struggled with a few entries in the bottom half. Had ACE before PRO, and COL before VOL. Then unfamiliar with CAERPHILLY, so it took a bit to sort out that whole section. Then had FORTRESS before MATTRESS (every king or queen wants a FORTRESS, right?) and ROWPATH. Also unfamiliar with AIGU. Just know the accent grave.

  2. 14:57, no errors. AIGU?! Really?! (I’ve never heard of that.) But I must have heard of CAERPHILLY somewhere, sometime (maybe in a past life 😜), because I got it pretty quickly. Good puzzle.

  3. 27:21. Another situation where I think yesterday’s and today’s puzzles were switched at birth. This seemed more Friday-like and yesterday’s more Saturday-like.

    Indeed – AIGU? That whole area was a problem, but getting BESTSELLER saved the day. In the end I had to do yet another alphabet run to get the “C” at CARAPACE/SCAR.

    I know I’ve been doing too many of these things when I get TERN just from the “R”.

    That Patton quote comes from the opening monologue in the movie “Patton” – one of my all time favorites.

    Best –

  4. Had REMI instead of RAMI for my only error(s) as I couldn’t quite come to terms with 12-D. Typical and difficult Saturday offering. Would have been nice to crack this nut.

  5. 1:14:20 no errors…saved by the crosses again…I’m still waiting for the first puzzle all in Russian and it could be soon judging by this one.
    Stay safe😀

  6. 36:46, no errors. Slow and deliberate solve today. Very challenging puzzle for me. Probably spent the last 16 minutes, or so, in the NW section. I am familiar with ACCENT AIGU, but my lizard brain spells it ‘AGUE’. ‘Soarer by the shore’ is usually ERNE or TERN, just couldn’t figure out which. Looking back the filled section, made me wonder why I had so much difficulty. Good puzzle.

  7. Can someone please explain 51A “vol” for “A to B”? Got it by crosses, but it doesn’t make sense to me….

  8. An hour or so. NAILED IT!!!! It is a rare occurrence when Bill has a mistake and I don’t. I seldom ace a Saturday N.Y. Times crossword puzzle. I’ll get there.

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