0820-21 NY Times Crossword 20 Aug 21, Friday

Constructed by: Randolph Ross
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme None

Bill’s time: 15m 16s (gradually learning to use the online solving app)

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 Kind of infection : STAPH

Staphylococcus is a genus of bacteria. Under a microscope it can be seen that the individual bacteria form into clusters like bunches of grapes. “Staphylococcus” comes from the Greek word meaning “bunch of grapes”.

18 Joe Louis in Detroit, for one : ARENA

Joe Louis Arena in downtown Detroit is known locally as “the Joe”. The Joe is home to the Detroit Red Wings hockey team. It is named for famed boxer Joe Louis, who grew up in Detroit.

20 Executive check : VETO POWER

The verb “veto” comes directly from Latin and means “I forbid”. The term was used by tribunes of ancient Rome to indicate that they opposed measures passed by the Senate.

24 Cowboys’ headgear : HELMETS

The Dallas Cowboys play in the National Football Conference (NFC) of the NFL. The Cowboys are famous for a lengthy streak of 20 consecutive winning seasons, from 1966 to 1985. They are the highest-valued sports franchise in the country. The only team in the world that’s worth more money is the UK’s Manchester United soccer team.

25 Who said “The greatest victory is that which requires no battle” : SUN TZU

“The Art of War(fare)” is an ancient military text that is attributed to a high-ranking Chinese general called Sun Tzu. I’ve even seen the principles in Sun Tzu’s book applied to modern business.

33 Passing stat: Abbr. : ATT

In football, one statistic (stat) used to track the performance of a quarterback (QB) is attempts (ATT).

34 Border county of New York or Pennsylvania : TIOGA

Tioga County, New York is part of the Binghamton Metropolitan Statistical Area. “Tioga” is a Native-American word meaning “at the forks”.

36 Ear-related prefix : OTO-

Otology is a branch of medicine dealing with the ear. The prefix “oto-” means “pertaining to the ear”.

40 Provider of inside info? : CT SCANNER

A CT (or “CAT”) scan produces (via computer manipulation) a three-dimensional image of the inside of an object, usually the human body. It does so by taking a series of two dimensional x-ray images while rotating the camera around the patient. The issue with CT scans is that they use x-rays. High doses of radiation can be harmful, causing damage that is cumulative over time.

46 “Saving Private Ryan” or “Apocalypse Now” : WAR EPIC

“Saving Private Ryan” is an epic 1998 movie directed by Steven Spielberg, a real “must see”. The D-Day invasion scenes were shot over a two-month period on the southeast coast of Ireland.

The epic war drama “Apocalypse Now” was released in 1979 and starred Martin Sheen as Captain Willard and Marlon Brando as Colonel Kurtz. The premise of the film is that both Willard and Kurtz are special ops officers, with Willard sent into the jungle to assassinate Kurtz who has “gone rogue”. The film is notorious for the trouble that director Francis Ford Coppola had completing the shoot. Brando turned up on set grossly overweight (as a special ops guy!), and poor Martin Sheen had a heart attack during filming.

47 Martin who directed “Norma Rae” : RITT

Martin Ritt is best remembered as a television and movie director. During the bad old days of the “Red Scare”, Ritt was working in television until he found himself on a blacklist for supposed support of Communist causes. He turned to the theater for work until the Red Scare had run its course, and then moved into the world of film. Some of his best known movies are “Hud”, “The Great White Hope” and “Norma Rae”.

“Norma Rae” is a 1979 movie starring Sally Field as Norma Rae Webster in a tale of union activities in a textile factory in Alabama. The film is based on the true story of Crystal Lee Sutton told in a 1975 book called “Crystal Lee, a Woman of Inheritance”.

48 Superhero misidentification : IT’S A PLANE!

Here’s a famous line from the “Superman” television show from the fifties:

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. it’s Superman!

50 Sickens with sweetness : CLOYS

To cloy is to cause distaste by oversupplying something that would otherwise be pleasant, especially something with a sweet taste.

55 Kowtowed (to) : TOADIED UP

A toady is someone who is very servile, and somewhat of a parasite. Derived from “toad-eater” the term originally applied to the assistant of a quack, a seller of useless potions that had no actual benefit to health. The toady would eat an apparently poisonous toad in front of an audience, so that the charlatan could “cure” him or her with one of the potions for sale.

To kowtow is to show servile deference. “Kowtow” comes from the Chinese “k’o-t’ou” which is the name for the custom of kneeling and touching the forehead to the ground in a gesture of respect. The Chinese term literally translates as “knock the head”.

57 Aunt in “Oklahoma!” : ELLER

“Oklahoma!” was the first musical written by the great duo Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. The storyline comes from a 1931 stage play called “Green Grow the Lilacs”.

Down

1 Hope at the Oscars, e.g. : HOST

I remember my first non-business visit to Los Angeles. I was a typical tourist and bought a map showing the homes of the stars and drove around Beverly Hills absorbing all the glitz. At one point I drove past a Rolls Royce that was stopped in oncoming traffic, waiting to make a left turn. The window was down, and the driver was puffing away on a big cigar. It was none other than Bob Hope. Seeing him there right beside me; that was a big thrill …

3 A’s, but not B’s or C’s : TEAM

The Oakland Athletics (OAK) baseball franchise was founded back in 1901 as the Philadelphia Athletics. The team became the Kansas City Athletics in 1955 and moved to Oakland in 1968. Today, the Athletics are usually referred to as “the A’s”.

6 Sticky sandwich, for short : PBJ

Peanut butter and jelly (PB&J or PBJ)

8 Salad veggie : CUKE

Apparently scientists have shown that the inside of a cucumber (“cuke” for short) growing in a field can be up to twenty degrees cooler than the surrounding air. That’s something that was believed by farmers as early as the 1730s, at which time the phrase “cool as a cucumber” was coined.

10 Big box store that sells boxes : STAPLES

Staples is an office supply chain store based in Framingham, Massachusetts. Some of the company’s stores have a Staples EasyTech department that provides computer repair and upgrade services.

11 Blood clots : THROMBI

A blood clot is a very necessary response to an injury and is intended to prevent bleeding. Also called a thrombus (plural “thrombi”), the clot comprises aggregated blood platelets trapped in a mesh made from fibrin, a fibrous protein. If a thrombus forms in a healthy blood vessel, restricting blood flow, that condition is known as thrombosis.

21 Ref. work that took more than 70 years to complete : OED

Work started on what was to become the first “Oxford English Dictionary” (OED) in 1857. Several interim versions of the dictionary were published in the coming years with the first full version appearing, in ten bound volumes, in 1928. The second edition of the OED appeared in 1989 and is made up of twenty volumes. The OED was first published in electronic form in 1988 and went online in 2000. Given the modern use of computers, the publishing house responsible feels that there will never be a third print version of the famous dictionary.

23 Ravel’s “Gaspard de la ___” : NUIT

“Gaspard de la nuit” is a suite of three solo piano pieces written in 1908 by French composer Maurice Ravel. The final “Scarbo” movement of the work is considered to be one of the hardest pieces to play in the whole piano repertoire.

Maurice Ravel was a great French composer of the Romantic Era. Ravel’s most famous piece of music by far is his “Bolero”, the success of which he found somewhat irksome as he considered it a trivial work. Personally though, I love the minimalism and simplicity …

32 Excel command : SORT

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program included in the Microsoft Office suite of applications. Microsoft’s first spreadsheet program was introduced back in 1982 and called Multiplan. Multiplan’s popularity waned due to the success of the competing product Lotus 1-2-3. Microsoft then introduced Excel, initially just for the Macintosh. When Excel was extended to Windows, Lotus was slow to respond and Microsoft took over the market.

49 City at one end of Lake Pontchartrain, for short : NOLA

The city of New Orleans, Louisiana has the nickname “The Big Easy”. This name might come from the early 1900s when musicians found it relatively “easy” to find work there. The city is also known by the acronym NOLA, standing for New Orleans (NO), Louisiana (LA).

51 They can be Sapphic : ODES

Sappho was an Ancient Greek poet born on the Greek island of Lesbos. Sappho was much admired for her work, although very little of it survives today. She was renowned for writing erotic and romantic verse that dealt with the love of women as well as men. It was because of this poetry that the word “lesbian” (someone from Lesbos) is used to describe a gay woman.

52 Log time : YULE

A Yule log is a large log made from a very hard wood that is burned as part of the Christmas celebration. There is also a cake called a Yule log that is served at Christmas, especially in French-speaking parts of the world. The cake is made from a sponge that is rolled up to resemble a wooden Yule log.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Everyone’s talking about them : HOT TOPICS
10 Kind of infection : STAPH
15 Water color : OCEAN BLUE
16 See 22-Across : THREE
17 Routine part of a routine : STALE JOKE
18 Joe Louis in Detroit, for one : ARENA
19 Controls : TAMES
20 Executive check : VETO POWER
22 16-Across squared : NINE
24 Cowboys’ headgear : HELMETS
25 Who said “The greatest victory is that which requires no battle” : SUN-TZU
28 Short accompanying article : SIDEBAR
29 Near : CLOSE IN ON
31 Surname of father-and-son N.B.A. coaches Paul and Stephen : SILAS
33 Passing stat: Abbr. : ATT
34 Border county of New York or Pennsylvania : TIOGA
36 Ear-related prefix : OTO-
37 More widespread : RIFER
40 Provider of inside info? : CT SCANNER
43 Natalie of “Today” : MORALES
45 Like best friends : TRUEST
46 “Saving Private Ryan” or “Apocalypse Now” : WAR EPIC
47 Martin who directed “Norma Rae” : RITT
48 Superhero misidentification : IT’S A PLANE!
50 Sickens with sweetness : CLOYS
54 Apt surname for a librarian : READE
55 Kowtowed (to) : TOADIED UP
57 Aunt in “Oklahoma!” : ELLER
58 Patronizing types : CLIENTELE
59 Certain textile workers : DYERS
60 Took control of : HARNESSED

Down

1 Hope at the Oscars, e.g. : HOST
2 Half of hexadeca- : OCTA-
3 A’s, but not B’s or C’s : TEAM
4 Singing and dancing, say : TALENTS
5 Descriptor for most scarves, but not gloves : ONE-SIZE
6 Sticky sandwich, for short : PBJ
7 Words before “New York” and “Paris,” in song titles : I LOVE …
8 Salad veggie : CUKE
9 Hallucinate : SEE THINGS
10 Big box store that sells boxes : STAPLES
11 Blood clots : THROMBI
12 Question of humanity that has never been answered : ARE WE ALONE?
13 Gets through : PENETRATES
14 Gets word : HEARS
21 Ref. work that took more than 70 years to complete : OED
23 Ravel’s “Gaspard de la ___” : NUIT
25 ___ for life : SCAR
26 In the end : ULTIMATELY
27 Off the market : NOT FOR SALE
28 Covers with chimney grime : SOOTS
30 Compliment to an outfielder : NICE CATCH!
32 Excel command : SORT
35 Dramatic beginning : ACT I
38 Travel item for bookworms : E-READER
39 Rick Ross, Roddy Ricch and Rakim : RAPPERS
41 French film festival fare : ART CINE
42 Snacks for squirrels : NUTLETS
44 Short, for short : LIL’
46 Maybe too alert : WIRED
47 Syndicate, in a way : RE-AIR
49 City at one end of Lake Pontchartrain, for short : NOLA
51 They can be Sapphic : ODES
52 Log time : YULE
53 Catalyzed, with “up” : SPED …
56 Cubby hole? : DEN

12 thoughts on “0820-21 NY Times Crossword 20 Aug 21, Friday”

  1. 15:02. I zipped through the top half but got bogged down in the bottom with a bunch of incorrect answers. Good challenge, and a nice grid.

  2. 27:53 I started with a VIRAL vs. STAPH infection and it went downhill from there. But figuring out THREE and NINE helped me zip thru the NE corner after that. Also struggled with the bottom half, especially the SE. And in the NW I couldn’t figure out 3D until the very end. Kept thinking of A TEAM, B Team, etc. so it seemed like it couldn’t be TEAM. Unfamiliar with SUNTZU and it seemed like an odd combination of letters, so that was a struggle getting the crossing down entries as well.

  3. 16:48, no errors. Not much to say about it except that, after I got the “SUN” of “SUN-TZU”, my crossword lizard brain made me fill in “SUNUNU” and it took me a while to realize that crossword lizard brains aren’t always acting in your best interest … 😳.

  4. 15:19. Amazing how much better my mind works when it’s awake.

    Seeing TIOGA meaning “at the forks” reminds me that a city in Nevada by the name of Calnevari just sold for $8 million. Calnevari, of course, being Cal-Nev-Ari – at the nexus of California, Nevada, and Arizona. I have no idea why someone bought it, however.

    Best –

  5. NW and SE corners got me. ARTCINE an NUTLETS in the SE corner.
    CUKE and I never got to HOTTOPICS.. I couldn’t finish it …

    1. nut·let (nŭt′lĭt)
      n.
      1. A small nut.
      2. The stone or pit of certain fruits such as the peach or cherry.
      American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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