0707-22 NY Times Crossword 7 Jul 22, Thursday

Constructed by: Philip Wolfe
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): “Dualing”

Themed answers each include a repeated word. The repetition is a literal representation of a pair of words in a common phrase:

  • 17A 1967 James Bond film : YOU ONLY LIVE LIVE (“You Only Live Twice”)
  • 38A Randomized clinical trial : BLIND BLIND STUDY (double-blind study)
  • 61A One who’s maybe too virtuous : GOODY SHOES SHOES (goody two-shoes)

Bill’s time: 8m 08s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Opening in a magic act : ABRA-

The incantation “abracadabra” has a long history. It was used as far back as the 2nd century AD in ancient Rome when the word was prescribed by a physician to be worn on an amulet to help his emperor recover from disease. “Abracadabra” is Aramaic, and roughly translates as “I will create as I speak”.

5 Some nasty repartee : BARBS

Repartee is conversation that includes witty remarks. “Repartee” comes from the French “repartie” meaning “answering thrust”, originally a fencing term.

16 ___ of mandamus : WRIT

A writ is an order issued by some formal body (these days, usually a court) with the order being in “written” form. Warrants and subpoenas are examples of writs.

17 1967 James Bond film : YOU ONLY LIVE LIVE (“You Only Live Twice”)

The character James Bond was the creation of writer Ian Fleming. Fleming “stole” the James Bond name from an American ornithologist. The number “007” was “stolen” from the real-life, 16th-century English spy named John Dee. Dee would sign his reports to Queen Elizabeth I with a stylized “007” to indicate that the reports were for “her eyes only”. There’s an entertaining miniseries that aired on BBC America called “Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond” that details Ian Fleming’s military career, and draws some nice parallels between Fleming’s experiences and aspirations and those of his hero James Bond. Recommended …

21 Locale for a talking snake : EDEN

In the Christian tradition, the “fall of man” took place in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve succumbed to the temptation of eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This went against the bidding of God, and was at the urging of the serpent. As a result, Adam and Eve were banished from Eden to prevent them from becoming immortal by eating from the tree of life. The first humans had transitioned from a state of innocent obedience to a state of guilty disobedience.

22 Pro who calls the shots? : VET

“Vet” is an abbreviation for “veterinarian”, a professional who treats animals for disease and injury. The word “veterinary” comes from the Latin “veterinae” meaning “working animals, beasts of burden”.

24 Sister of Thalia and Urania : ERATO

In Greek mythology, the muses are the goddesses who inspire the creation of literature and the arts. The number of muses is a subject of debate at times, but the most popular view is that there are nine:

  • Calliope (epic poetry)
  • Clio (history)
  • Erato (lyric poetry)
  • Euterpe (music)
  • Melpomene (tragedy)
  • Polyhymnia (choral poetry)
  • Terpsichore (dance)
  • Thalia (comedy)
  • Urania (astronomy)

32 Apt word hidden in “Cleopatra’s prop” : ASP

The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.

35 Kentucky ___ (sister race of the Kentucky Derby) : OAKS

The Kentucky Oaks is a race that is held on the Friday before the Kentucky Derby. Both races are limited to three-year-old thoroughbreds, but the Oaks is also limited to fillies.

The first Kentucky Derby took place in 1875, and was a race modeled on the Epsom Derby in England and the Grand Prix de Paris (now called the “Prix de l‘Arc de Triomphe”). As such, the Kentucky Derby was run over 1½ miles, although in 1896 this was shortened to 1¼ miles. The winning horse is presented with a very elaborate blanket made of red roses, and so the Derby is nicknamed “Run for the Roses”. The race is held on the first Saturday in May each year, and is limited to 3-year-old horses.

37 Fly-fisher’s catch : TROUT

The steelhead and rainbow trout are actually the same species. The difference is that rainbow trout spend almost their whole lives in freshwater. Steelheads spend much of their lives in estuaries or open ocean, returning to freshwater to spawn.

38 Randomized clinical trial : BLIND BLIND STUDY (double-blind study)

In the scientific procedure called a single-blind trial, the subjects do not know whether or not they are in the test group or the control group, but the researcher does. In a double-blind trial, neither the subjects nor the researcher know who is in the test and control groups, until the study is completed.

42 Surgical tool with an acronymic name : LASER

The term “laser” is an acronym standing for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation”. It has been pointed out that a more precise name for laser technology is “light oscillation by stimulated emission of radiation”, but the resulting acronym isn’t quite so appealing, namely “loser”.

43 Langston Hughes poem : I, TOO …

Langston Hughes was a poet active in the Harlem Renaissance, and someone who helped develop the literary form known as “jazz poetry”. His poem “I, Too, Sing America” was published in 1925.

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
Then.

Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed–

I, too, am America.

44 Census datum : SEX

The original census was taken during the days of the Roman Republic, and was a reckoning of all adult males who were fit for military service. The first US Census was taken in 1790, and was conducted by federal marshals.

45 Hosts : EMCEES

The term “emcee” comes from “MC”, an initialism used for a Master or Mistress of Ceremonies.

47 Ferret look-alike : STOAT

The stoat has dark brown fur in the summer, and white fur in the winter. Sometimes the term “ermine” is used for the animal during the winter when the fur is white. Ermine skins have long been prized by royalty and are often used for white trim on ceremonial robes.

56 Chicago trains : ELS

The Chicago “L” is the second largest rapid transit system in the US, with the New York City Subway being the largest. The “L” is also the second oldest, again with the New York City Subway system having the honor of being around the longest. Note that the official nickname for the system is the “L” (originally short for “elevated railroad”), although the term “El” is also in common use (especially in crosswords as “ELS”). The L is managed by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA).

58 “Do the ___” : MATH

Here’s another term that catches me out all the time, having done my schooling on the other side of the Atlantic. The term “mathematics” is shortened to “math” in the US, but to “maths” in Britain and Ireland.

61 One who’s maybe too virtuous : GOODY SHOES SHOES (goody two-shoes)

The expression “goody two-shoes” is used for someone who is virtuous, but in a smug way. The term comes from a nursery tale published in 1765 called “The History of Goody Two-Shoes”. Goody Two-Shoes is the heroine of the tale, and actually isn’t smug at all. Instead, she is a Cinderella-like character in a retelling of the Cinderella story.

66 Northern terminus of I-79 : ERIE

Interstate 79 runs from Charleston, West Virginia in the south to Erie, Pennsylvania in the north.

67 Crocheter’s purchase : YARN

Crochet is a process of making a fabric using a hooked needle. “Crochet” is a French word meaning “hook”.

Down

1 Hell, to Dante : ABYSS

In Dante’s “Inferno”, Hell is represented as nine circles of suffering. The nine circles of Hell are:

  1. Limbo
  2. Lust
  3. Gluttony
  4. Greed
  5. Anger
  6. Heresy
  7. Violence
  8. Fraud
  9. Treachery

5 Actor Thornton : BILLY BOB

I’ve always thought that the actor Billy Bob Thornton really knows how to give an understated performance, and he does it really well. Thornton came to the public eye as actor and screenwriter for the 1996 movie “Slingblade”. He won an Academy Award for screenwriting for that film. Thornton has been married five times in all, most famously to the actress Angelina Jolie.

10 Fly-by-night? : OWL

Much of an owl’s diet consists of small mammals. As a result, humans have used owls for centuries to control rodent populations, usually by placing a nest box for owls on a property. Despite the fact that owls and humans live together in relative harmony, owls have been known to attack humans from time to time. Celebrated English bird photographer Eric Hosking lost an eye when attacked by a tawny owl that he was trying to photograph. Hosking wrote a 1970 autobiography with the wry title “An Eye for a Bird”.

13 Put back in : STET

“Stet” is a Latin word meaning “let it stand”. In editorial work, the typesetter is instructed to disregard any change previously marked by writing the word “stet” and then underscoring that change with a line of dots or dashes.

18 Part of the body covered by a mullet : NAPE

A mullet haircut is one that is short at the front and sides, and is long in the back.

25 ___ reform (political issue) : TORT

“Tort” is a French word meaning “mischief, injury or wrong”. In common law, a tort is a civil wrong that results in the injured party suffering loss or harm, and the injuring party having a legal liability. Tort law differs from criminal law in that torts may result from negligence and not just intentional actions. Also, tort lawsuits may be decided on a preponderance of evidence, without the need of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

27 Anklebones : TALI

The collection of seven bones in the foot just below the ankle are known collectively as the tarsus. One of those bones is the talus (plural “tali”), more commonly called “ankle bone”. The talus is the lower part of the ankle joint and articulates with the lower ends of the tibia and fibula in the lower leg.

30 “Yo, ___!” : DUDE

Our term “dude” arose as slang in New York City in the 1880s, when it was used to describe a fastidious man. In the early 1900s, the term was extended to mean “city slickers”, easterners who vacationed in the West. The first use of the term “dude ranch” was recorded in 1921.

31 River on which Greek deities swore their oaths : STYX

The River Styx of Greek mythology was the river that formed the boundary between the Earth and the Underworld (or “Hades”). The souls of the newly dead had to cross the River Styx in a ferry boat piloted by Charon. Traditionally, a coin would be placed in the mouths of the dead “to pay the ferryman”.

33 Event for poets : SLAM

A poetry slam is a competition in which poets read their own work (usually), with winners being chosen by members of the audience. Apparently the first poetry slam took place in Chicago in 1984. Now there is a National Poetry Slam that takes place each year, with representatives from the US, Canada and France.

40 Very handsome, as a beau : DREAMY

A beau (plural “beaux”) is the boyfriend of a belle, a young lady. “Beau” and “belle” are the masculine and feminine forms of the French word for “handsome, beautiful”.

41 Stupid, incompetent ones : DOOFUSES

“Doofus” (also “dufus”) is student slang that has been around since the sixties. Apparently the word is a variant of the equally unattractive term “doo-doo”.

48 “The Sound of Music” backdrop : ALPS

“The Sound of Music” is a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that was made into a celebrated movie in 1965 starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The musical is based on “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers”, a memoir by Maria von Trapp. The von Trapp family ended up in Stowe, Vermont after the war. One family descended from the Vermont von Trapps lives in the same town in which I used to live in California.

49 Gave 10% : TITHED

Traditionally, a tithe is a payment of one tenth of a person’s annual income and is usually given to a church. Tithing is a practice taught in many traditions, and according to a 2002 survey, about 3% of American adults donate 10% or more of their income to a church.

51 Prefix with centric : ETHNO-

To be ethnocentric is to believe in the superiority of one’s own race, or to have an obsessive concern with race.

53 Many a Cook Islander : MAORI

The Cook Islands is a grouping of 15 small islands in the South Pacific that is an associated state with New Zealand. Under this arrangement, New Zealand is responsible for the defense of the Cook Islands and represents them on the world stage. Cook Islanders are citizens of New Zealand, but they are also Cook Island nationals. The Cook Islands have their own democratically elected parliament and are self-governed.

56 Like most French toast and challah : EGGY

The dish made from bread soaked in milk with beaten eggs and then fried is usually called French toast in the US, but it also goes by the names German toast and Spanish toast. In France, the dish is known as “pain perdu”, which translates as “lost bread”. This name is a reference to the fact that “lost” or “stale” bread can be reclaimed by dipping it in a mixture of milk and eggs and then frying it.

Challah is a special braided bread that is eaten by Ashkenazi Jews on the Sabbath. The bread is served to commemorate the manna that fell from the heavens as the Israelites wandered around the desert after the Exodus from Egypt.

57 “Damn Yankees” vixen : LOLA

“Whatever Lola Wants” is a song from the musical “Damn Yankees”. “Damn Yankees” is actually yet another version of the classic German legend of “Faust”, set in Washington, D.C. in the fifties. The show was written by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, a production that turned out to be a very successful follow-up to their prior hit, “The Pajama Game”. The future was looking really rosy for Adler and Ross but, sadly, Jerry Ross died from obstructive lung disease only a few weeks after “Damn Yankees” opened on Broadway in 1955. He was just 29 years old.

59 11 or 12, say, but not 13 : HOUR

The 12-hour clock has been around a long time, and was even used in sundial format in ancient Egypt. Our use of AM and PM dates back to Roman times, with AM standing for Ante Meridiem (before noon) and PM standing for Post Meridiem (after noon). However, the Romans originally used the AM concept a little differently, by counting backwards from noon. So, 2AM to the Romans would be two hours before noon, or 10AM as we would call it today.

63 Around figure?: Abbr. : EST

Estimate (est.)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Opening in a magic act : ABRA-
5 Some nasty repartee : BARBS
10 Does a hit on : OFFS
14 Bread: Ger. : BROT
15 Accustom : INURE
16 ___ of mandamus : WRIT
17 1967 James Bond film : YOU ONLY LIVE LIVE (“You Only Live Twice”)
20 Yawn, for wanting guests to leave : SIGNAL
21 Locale for a talking snake : EDEN
22 Pro who calls the shots? : VET
23 Ready to retire, say : SLEEPY
24 Sister of Thalia and Urania : ERATO
26 Bankruptcy cause : DEBTS
29 Takes to task : SCOLDS
32 Apt word hidden in “Cleopatra’s prop” : ASP
35 Kentucky ___ (sister race of the Kentucky Derby) : OAKS
37 Fly-fisher’s catch : TROUT
38 Randomized clinical trial : BLIND BLIND STUDY (double-blind study)
42 Surgical tool with an acronymic name : LASER
43 Langston Hughes poem : I, TOO …
44 Census datum : SEX
45 Hosts : EMCEES
47 Ferret look-alike : STOAT
50 Something politicians and professors do : ORATE
52 Weak, as an excuse : FLIMSY
56 Chicago trains : ELS
58 “Do the ___” : MATH
60 Comprehension : UPTAKE
61 One who’s maybe too virtuous : GOODY SHOES SHOES (goody two-shoes)
64 Stick : GLUE
65 Occupied : IN USE
66 Northern terminus of I-79 : ERIE
67 Crocheter’s purchase : YARN
68 Does a prewash task : SORTS
69 Rackets : DINS

Down

1 Hell, to Dante : ABYSS
2 Oven option : BROIL
3 It might make you blush : ROUGE
4 Made amends (for) : ATONED
5 Actor Thornton : BILLY BOB
6 Lead-in to how or hoo : ANY-
7 Straight line : RULE
8 Ring bearer : BRIDE
9 Cuts off : SEVERS
10 Fly-by-night? : OWL
11 Not serious : FRIVOLOUS
12 Quitting time, for many : FIVE
13 Put back in : STET
18 Part of the body covered by a mullet : NAPE
19 Passes : ENACTS
25 ___ reform (political issue) : TORT
27 Anklebones : TALI
28 Some amateur theater productions : SKITS
30 “Yo, ___!” : DUDE
31 River on which Greek deities swore their oaths : STYX
32 Meeting all the job requirements : ABLE
33 Event for poets : SLAM
34 Peruvian cocktail : PISCO SOUR
36 Impertinent one : SNOT
39 Not once, in poems : NE’ER
40 Very handsome, as a beau : DREAMY
41 Stupid, incompetent ones : DOOFUSES
46 Balance : STASIS
48 “The Sound of Music” backdrop : ALPS
49 Gave 10% : TITHED
51 Prefix with centric : ETHNO-
53 Many a Cook Islander : MAORI
54 Tangle : SKEIN
55 Hoped-for responses to proposals : YESES
56 Like most French toast and challah : EGGY
57 “Damn Yankees” vixen : LOLA
59 11 or 12, say, but not 13 : HOUR
62 Retreat : DEN
63 Around figure?: Abbr. : EST

10 thoughts on “0707-22 NY Times Crossword 7 Jul 22, Thursday”

  1. 11:04. Pretty straightforward by Thursday standards. This was more like a really good Wednesday. Got the theme with the BLIND BLIND sequence. The rest of the puzzle was pretty easy after that.

    Best –

  2. 22:40, no errors. Wasted a lot of time looking for a rebus in the theme entries. My rebus theory was supported when I entered BAT in 10D before OWL. Guessing HELIO in 61D before ETHNO didn’t help.
    Learned that a ‘WRIT of mandamus’ is: “A writ or order of mandamus is an extraordinary court order because it is made without the benefit of full judicial process, or before a case has concluded. It may be issued by a court at any time that it is appropriate, but it is usually issued in a case that has already begun.”

  3. 32:13, only issue was first trying to fit “Golden” in where “goody” was supposed to go, figured that out then carried on in my usual slow self.

  4. 19 minutes. No errors etc. Zipped through this one, particularly after I picked up on the theme in 17 across. Not as difficult as most Thursdays.

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