0908-21 NY Times Crossword 8 Sep 21, Wednesday

Constructed by: Lee Taylor
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill) Hurry Up!

Themed answers are phrases meaning “Hurry up!”, and clued with reference to an apparently relevant professional:

  • 16A “Hurry up!” to a batter? : ON THE DOUBLE!
  • 24A “Hurry up!” to a dancer? : SHAKE A LEG!
  • 50A “Hurry up!” to a zombie? : LOOK ALIVE!
  • 62A “Hurry up!” to an omelet chef? : GET CRACKING!
  • 2D “Hurry up!” to a nitrous oxide user? : HIT THE GAS!
  • 35D “Hurry up!” to a server? : I’M WAITING!

Bill’s time: 8m 06s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Chinese provincial capital more than two miles above sea level : LHASA

Lhasa is the capital city of Tibet, with the name “Lhasa” translating as “place of the gods”. However, Lhasa used to be called Rasa, a name that translates into the less auspicious “goat’s place”. Lhasa was also once called the “Forbidden City” due to its inaccessible location high in the Himalayas and a traditional hostility exhibited by residents to outsiders. The “forbidden” nature of the city has been reinforced since the Chinese took over Tibet in the early 1950s as it has been difficult for foreigners to get permission to visit Lhasa.

6 Japanese national sport : SUMO

Sumo is a sport that is practiced professionally only in Japan, the country of its origin. There is an international federation of sumo wrestling now, and one of the organization’s aims is to have the sport accepted as an Olympic event.

10 Red felt hat with a tassel : FEZ

A fez is a red, cylindrical hat worn mainly in North Africa, and by Shriners here in the US. The fez used to be a very popular hat across the Ottoman Empire. The etymology of “fez” is unclear, although it might have something to do with the Moroccan city named Fez.

13 TV’s “Marvelous Mrs.” : MAISEL

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is a comedy drama TV show set in the late fifties and early sixties. The title character, played by Rachel Brosnahan, is a New York housewife who opts for a career as a standup comedian.

14 ___ glass (translucent ornamental material) : OPAL

Milk glass is a glass with a milky white color. It is produced by adding opacifiers to the molten glass, particles that make the glass opaque. Milk glass was first made in 16th-century Venice, with the range of colors available not limited to white. For much of the 19th century, milk glass was referred to as “opal glass”.

19 Unit commonly following “40,” “60,” “75” and “100” : … WATT

James Watt was a Scottish inventor. He figured prominently in the Industrial Revolution in Britain, largely due to the improvements he made to the fledgling steam engine. The SI unit of power is called the watt, and was named in his honor.

20 Add to 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.

21 Roman who said “After I’m dead I’d rather people ask why I have no monument than why I have one” : CATO

Cato the Elder was a Roman statesman, known historically as “the elder” in order to distinguish him from his great-grandson, Cato the Younger. Cato the Elder’s ultimate position within Roman society was that of Censor, making him responsible for maintaining the census, and for supervising public morality.

22 Play ___ with (make trouble for) : HOB

To play hob is to make mischief, to play the clown. “Hob” is short for “hobgoblin”.

27 Lobbed weapon : GRENADE

Our word “grenade”, used for a small explosive missile, came via French from the word for the pomegranate fruit. The name reflects the similarity between the seed-filled fruit and the powder-filled, fragmentation bomb.

31 Semi : RIG

A “semi” is a “semi-trailer truck”. The vehicle is so called because it consists of a tractor and a half-trailer. The half-trailer is so called because it only has wheels on the back end, with the front supported by the tractor.

32 Singer Ora : RITA

Rita Ora is a British singer who was born Rita Sahatçiu in Pristina, Yugoslavia to Albanian parents. The family name “Sahatçiu” comes from a Turkish word meaning “watchmaker”. Rita’s parents changed their name to make it easier to pronounce. So, the family name morphed from “watchmaker” to “time”, which is “ora” in Albanian.

34 Wish granters : GENIES

The “genie” in the bottle takes his or her name from “djinn”. “Djinns” were various spirits considered lesser than angels, with people exhibiting unsavory characteristics said to be possessed by djinn. When the book “The Thousand and One Nights” was translated into French, the word “djinn” was transformed into the existing word “génie”, because of the similarity in sound and the related spiritual meaning. This “génie” from the Arabian tale became confused with the Latin-derived “genius”, a guardian spirit thought to be assigned to each person at birth. Purely as a result of that mistranslation the word genie has come to mean the “djinn” that pops out of the bottle. A little hard to follow, I know, but still quite interesting …

38 Hoppy brew : 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.

41 Med. scan : MRI

An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine uses powerful magnetic fields to generate its images so there is no exposure to ionizing radiation (such as X-rays). We used MRI equipment in our chemistry labs at school, way back in the days when the technology was still called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging (NMRI). Apparently the marketing folks didn’t like the term “nuclear” because of its association with atomic bombs, so now it’s just called MRI.

42 Green cars : TESLAS

Tesla Motors was founded in 2003 as a manufacturer of electric vehicles based in Palo Alto, California. Tesla is noted for producing the first electric sports car, called the Tesla Roadster. The company followed the sports car with a luxury sedan, the Model S. The Model S was the world’s best selling plug-in electric vehicle of 2015. Tesla Motors shortened its name to Tesla in early 2017.

44 Vulcan mind ___ : MELD

Mr. Spock was the first to show us the Vulcan mind meld, in the original “Star Trek” series. Vulcans have the ability to meld with the minds of other Vulcans, and indeed humans, in order to see what’s “going on” in the other individual’s mind.

45 Take home the gold : WIN

In the Ancient Olympic Games, the winner of an event was awarded an olive wreath. When the games were revived in 1896, the winners were originally given a silver medal and an olive branch, with runners-up receiving a bronze medal and a laurel branch. The tradition of giving gold, silver and bronze medals began at the 1904 Summer Olympic Games held in St. Louis, Missouri.

48 Tiny purchase at a haberdashery : TIE TACK

I used to wear a tie pin (or “tie tack, tie tac”) in place of a tie clip many moons ago, but it just left little holes in my expensive silk ties!

Back in the 14th century, a haberdasher was a dealer in small wares. By the late 1800s, the term had evolved to mean a purveyor of menswear, and in particular was associated with the sale of hats.

50 “Hurry up!” to a zombie? : LOOK ALIVE!

A zombie is a corpse that has been brought back to life by some mystical means. Our modern use of the term largely stems from the undead creatures featured in the 1968 horror movie called “Night of the Living Dead”. Now that film I haven’t seen, and probably never will …

55 Bengay target : ACHE

Bengay is sold as a painkilling heat rub, to relieve aching muscles. It was developed in France by a Dr. Jules Bengue (hence the name), and was first sold in America way back in 1898.

56 Cowardly ___ : LION

The Cowardly Lion in L. Frank Baum’s “Land of Oz” books was portrayed by Bert Lahr in the celebrated 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz”. The costume that Lahr wore in the film was made from real lion fur, and weighed a whopping 60 pounds.

58 R&B great Redding : OTIS

Otis Redding is often referred to as the “King of Soul”, and what a voice he had. Like so many of the greats in the world of popular music it seems, Redding was killed in a plane crash, in 1967 when he was just 26 years old. Just three days earlier he had recorded what was to be his biggest hit, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”.

61 Word that rhymes with its exact opposite : YEA

“Yea” rhymes with “nay”.

66 Chills and fever : AGUE

An ague is a fever, one usually associated with malaria.

67 Small piano : SPINET

“Spinet” is the name given to a smaller version of keyboard instruments, such as a small harpsichord, piano or organ. Spinets are still made today, as cheaper versions of full-size instruments.

68 Important messenger : RNA

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is an essential catalyst in the manufacture of proteins in the body. The genetic code in DNA determines the sequence of amino acids that make up each protein. That sequence is read in DNA by messenger RNA, and amino acids are delivered for protein manufacture in the correct sequence by transfer RNA. The amino acids are then formed into proteins by ribosomal RNA.

Down

1 Actress Condor of “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” : LANA

Actress Lana Condor played Lara Jean “LJ” Song-Covey in the “To All the Boys” series of teenage romance films. Condor was born Tran Dong Lan in Vietnam, but grew up in the US as the adopted daughter of a Chicago couple. Condor has been partnered since 2015 with actor Anthony De La Torre, who played young Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”.

2 “Hurry up!” to a nitrous oxide user? : HIT THE GAS!

“Laughing gas” is a common name for nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is used as an anesthetic, particularly by dentists. It is also used in motor racing to increase the power output of engines. Laughing gas was first synthesized by the English chemist Joseph Priestley, but it was Humphry Davy who discovered its potential as an anesthetic. Once it was realized that the gas could give the patient a fit of the giggles, “laughing gas parties” became common among those who could afford them.

3 Actor Kutcher : ASHTON

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.

5 Actor Alan : ALDA

Alan Alda has had a great television career, most notably as a lead actor in “M*A*S*H”. He was born Alphonso D’Abruzzo in the Bronx, New York City. Alda won his first Emmy in 1972, for playing surgeon Hawkeye Pierce on “M*A*S*H”. He also won an Emmy in 2006 for his portrayal of Presidential candidate Senator Arnold Vinick in “The West Wing”. When it comes to the big screen, my favorite of Alda’s movies is the 1978 romantic comedy “Same Time, Next Year” in which he starred opposite Ellen Burstyn.

6 ___ Sudan (U.N. member since 2011) : SOUTH

South Sudan is an African country that gained her independence in 2011, after a split with Sudan. Sadly, the new nation has been ravaged by a civil war since 2013.

9 Exclamation with an accent : OLE!

In Spain, one might hear a shout of “olé!” in “un estadio” (a stadium).

12 Experience of space flight, informally : ZERO G

The force of gravity (g-force) that we all feel is referred to as “one G”. As gravity is an accelerating force, acceleration is measured relative to that force of gravity. So, if we are sitting in a vehicle that accelerates at 3G, then we are experiencing a force that is three times that which we feel from the gravitational pull of the earth. Zero G is weightlessness that is experienced when in space, and outside the influence of the earth’s gravity.

21 French city where William the Conqueror is buried : 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.

23 First lady before Hillary : BARBARA

Barbara Bush (nee Pierce) was the wife of President George H. W. Bush. The couple met at a Christmas dance in Andover, Massachusetts when Barbara was 16 years old. They married four years later in 1945 while the future president was home on leave from the US Navy. George Bush was a torpedo bomber pilot who flew 58 combat missions during WWII.

Apparently, Hillary Rodham decided as young as nine years old that she was going to use her name “Rodham” if she were to marry. When Bill Clinton campaigned to become the Democratic candidate for Governor of Arkansas in 1978, his opponent made Rodham’s use of her “maiden” name an issue. The assertion was that Clinton was “married to an ardent feminist, Hillary Rodham, who will certainly be the first First Lady of Arkansas to keep her maiden name.” Clinton won the primary, and the gubernatorial election. When Clinton sought the same office in 1982, Hillary’s use of the Rodham name was still perceived as an issue. That’s when she decided to make a pragmatic choice and change her name to Hillary Rodham Clinton. By the time she decided to run for US president, she was using the name “Hillary Clinton”, and that’s how her name appeared on the primary ballot.

25 Rwanda’s capital : KIGALI

Kigali is the capital of the African nation of Rwanda, and is located in the center of the country. That location led to the city being picked as the capital in 1962, over the traditional capital of Nyanza. The choice was made on the occasion of Rwanda’s independence from Belgium. Kigali was the center of the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, in which half a million to one million Rwandans were killed. That was perhaps 20% of the country’s total population wiped out in the space of four months.

26 Corrected : EMENDED

The verb “to amend” means “to change for the better, put right, alter by adding”. The related verb “to emend” is used more rarely, and mainly in reference to the editing of professional writing. Both terms are derived from the Latin “emendare” meaning “to remove fault”.The verb “to amend” means “to change for the better, put right, alter by adding”. The related verb “to emend” is used more rarely, and mainly in reference to the editing of professional writing. Both terms are derived from the Latin “emendare” meaning “to remove fault”.

28 Yellow, as a banana : RIPE

The banana is actually a berry, botanically speaking. And, bananas don’t really grow on trees. The “trunk” of the banana plant is in fact a pseudostem. The pseudostem is a false stem comprising rolled bases of leaves, and it can grow to 2 or 3 meters tall.

29 Pump option : DIESEL

Rudolf Diesel was a German engineer, and the inventor of the diesel engine. Diesel died under mysterious circumstances, having disappeared from a passenger vessel sailing from Antwerp to London. Whether death was due to an accident, suicide or murder is the subject of much speculation.

36 “Spamalot” writer Idle : ERIC

Eric Idle is one of the founding members of the Monty Python team. Idle was very much the musician of the bunch, and is an accomplished guitarist. If you’ve seen the Monty Python film “The Life of Brian”, you might remember the closing number “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”. It was sung by Idle, and was indeed written by him. That song made it to number 3 in the UK charts in 1991.

The hit musical “Spamalot” is a show derived from the 1974 movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”. In typical Monty Python style, the action starts just before the curtain goes up with an announcement recorded by the great John Cleese:

(You can) let your cell phones and pagers ring willy-nilly … (but) be aware there are heavily armed knights on stage that may drag you on stage and impale you.

40 Power source for the first Green Lantern : METEOR

The Green Lantern is a comic book superhero who has had a number of alter egos through the life of the character. The Green Lantern is a member of the Justice League of America superhero team. Other members of the League include Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.

47 Clog with sediment : SILT UP

Today, we mostly think of silt as a deposit of sediment in a river. Back in the mid-1400s, silt was sediment deposited by seawater. It is thought that the word “silt” is related to “salt”, as found in seawater.

52 “Gone With the Wind” name : O’HARA

Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel “Gone with the Wind” earned the author a Pulitzer in 1937. Mitchell started writing the book in 1926 as a way to pass the time while she was recuperating from injuries sustained in a car crash. The title comes from a poem by English writer Ernest Dowson:

I have forgot much, Cynara! gone with the wind,
Flung roses, roses riotously with the throng,
Dancing, to put thy pale, lost lilies out of mind…

57 Poet Ogden : NASH

Poet Ogden Nash is well known for his light and humorous verse. Try this one for size:

The one-L lama,
He’s a priest.
The two-L llama,
He’s a beast.
And I would bet
A silk pajama
There isn’t any
Three-L lllama.

60 Rank above cpl. : SGT

Sergeant (sgt.) is a rank above corporal (cpl.).

62 “Mind the ___” (London tube sign) : GAP

“Mind the gap” is a very famous announcement made in several stations on the London Underground. The announcement is needed as there can be a large gap between the doorways of trains and the platform. This gap arises because the platforms of some stations are quite curved, while the train cars are of course straight.

The official name of the London “Underground” rail network is a little deceptive, as over half of the track system-wide is actually “over ground”, with the underground sections reserved for the central areas. It is the oldest subway system in the world, having opened in 1863. It was also the first system to use electric rolling stock, in 1890. “The Tube”, as it is known by Londoners, isn’t the longest subway system in the world though. That honor belongs to the Shanghai Metro. My personal favorite part of the Tube is the Tube map! It is a marvel of design …

64 Figurehead? : CPA

Certified public accountant (CPA)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Chinese provincial capital more than two miles above sea level : LHASA
6 Japanese national sport : SUMO
10 Red felt hat with a tassel : FEZ
13 TV’s “Marvelous Mrs.” : MAISEL
14 ___ glass (translucent ornamental material) : OPAL
15 The “A” of 38-Across : ALE
16 “Hurry up!” to a batter? : ON THE DOUBLE!
18 Sticky stuff : TAR
19 Unit commonly following “40,” “60,” “75” and “100” : … WATT
20 Add to the kitty : ANTE
21 Roman who said “After I’m dead I’d rather people ask why I have no monument than why I have one” : CATO
22 Play ___ with (make trouble for) : HOB
24 “Hurry up!” to a dancer? : SHAKE A LEG!
27 Lobbed weapon : GRENADE
30 “Put your pencils down!” : TIME!
31 Semi : RIG
32 Singer Ora : RITA
34 Wish granters : GENIES
38 Hoppy brew : IPA
39 Person giving someone a ring : BEST MAN
41 Med. scan : MRI
42 Green cars : TESLAS
44 Vulcan mind ___ : MELD
45 Take home the gold : WIN
46 Angers : IRES
48 Tiny purchase at a haberdashery : TIE TACK
50 “Hurry up!” to a zombie? : LOOK ALIVE!
54 “What ___ care?” : DO I
55 Bengay target : ACHE
56 Cowardly ___ : LION
58 R&B great Redding : OTIS
61 Word that rhymes with its exact opposite : YEA
62 “Hurry up!” to an omelet chef? : GET CRACKING!
65 Common piercing site : EAR
66 Chills and fever : AGUE
67 Small piano : SPINET
68 Important messenger : RNA
69 Daddy-o : POPS
70 Dangles : HANGS

Down

1 Actress Condor of “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” : LANA
2 “Hurry up!” to a nitrous oxide user? : HIT THE GAS!
3 Actor Kutcher : ASHTON
4 “Get it?” : SEE?
5 Actor Alan : ALDA
6 ___ Sudan (U.N. member since 2011) : SOUTH
7 Buoyant : UPBEAT
8 Bad beginning? : MAL-
9 Exclamation with an accent : OLE!
10 Ruinous, as some flaws : FATAL
11 Send to heaven : ELATE
12 Experience of space flight, informally : ZERO G
13 Cut (down) : MOW
17 Beginnings : ONSETS
21 French city where William the Conqueror is buried : CAEN
23 First lady before Hillary : BARBARA
25 Rwanda’s capital : KIGALI
26 Corrected : EMENDED
27 Toughness : GRIT
28 Yellow, as a banana : RIPE
29 Pump option : DIESEL
33 Device that usually has a touchscreen, for short : ATM
35 “Hurry up!” to a server? : I’M WAITING!
36 “Spamalot” writer Idle : ERIC
37 What some ships and hearts do : SINK
40 Power source for the first Green Lantern : METEOR
43 Thumbs-up icon meaning : LIKE
47 Clog with sediment : SILT UP
49 Gave shelter to : TOOK IN
50 Crust, mantle or inner core, for the earth : LAYER
51 Body resting in bed? : OCEAN
52 “Gone With the Wind” name : O’HARA
53 Nasty habits : VICES
57 Poet Ogden : NASH
59 Chemical suffixes : -INES
60 Rank above cpl. : SGT
62 “Mind the ___” (London tube sign) : GAP
63 Swollen head : EGO
64 Figurehead? : CPA

10 thoughts on “0908-21 NY Times Crossword 8 Sep 21, Wednesday”

  1. 6:35, no errors.

    @Jeff (from yesterday) … “14er” is a short-hand way of saying “14-thousand-foot peak”, of which Colorado has 50-some (58 by my count – the exact number depends on just how one defines a “peak”). In my heyday, I hiked/climbed them all (most of them at least twice). My favorite was Longs Peak, on which I could do slightly technical routes without using a rope, thereby escaping the hordes of “peak-baggers”. (These days, there are so many of them that the activity has lost a lot of its appeal for me. In fact, toward the end of my real climbing days, except for Longs Peak I was mostly doing 13ers, which were much less crowded.)

    1. Congrats – that’s quite an accomplishment! One of the things climbers in WA want to put on their résumé is Washington’s 100 highest – some of which are quite technical and also quite difficult to get to (20 mile approach, e.g.). The lowest of those is about 8340 ft. I’ve done about 28 of them, but I’ve climbed all five of the volcanoes multiple times. Tallest I’ve ever climbed is Aconcagua (22,841 ft.), back in 1999, when I was obviously much younger and fitter than now.

      1. @Ron …

        You are by far the more accomplished mountaineer. Most of my Colorado mountain climbs were done alone (against the conventional wisdom, I know) and I stuck to relatively easy routes (no more than brief sections of 5.4 rock climbing and/or easy ice/snow).

        I did try Mount Rainier once, with a group, and we failed. I was a relative novice and was unwilling to continue up the route that the leader had chosen (saying that he didn’t wish to be stuck on a “cattle route”), so I backed out and went down with two others. The leader was unhappy with me. The ones that continued nearly met with disaster and then had to retreat as well. On the way down, I talked with a park ranger who told me that the route we were on had been in dangerous condition for weeks and that my decision had been a wise one. A year or so later, the leader was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. After that, I mostly climbed alone and made decisions for myself.

        I did do a trekker’s peak in Nepal (on which I could easily have thrown a snowball up to 20,000 feet 😜) and Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, each with a group.

        And now … I’m old … 😳😜.

  2. 10:08 with an error that led to a couple of others. I had LITTLE GAS (as in give it a little gas) rather than HIT THE GAS. Was thinking LLASA was correct rather than LHASA as well as LOB before HOB, which I obviously didn’t know. Quite an elaborate error for something that actually makes sense.

    The quote from CATO is a great one. People might ask why there’s not monument to me after I’m gone. Unfortunately, there will be plenty of answers….

    Nonny – from yesterday, I looked up a 14er. I thought it was a group of 14 peaks to climb in CO. Then I saw there are 58 of them so …uh..no. I guess it’s peaks above 14k feet. Wouldn’t a helicopter be easier?

    Best –

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