0718-22 NY Times Crossword 18 Jul 22, Monday

Constructed by: Phoebe Gordon
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Xs + Ys

Themed answers are common phrases in the format “Xs and Ys” preceded by a preposition:

  • 17A In a state of confusion, as in math class? : AT SIXES AND SEVENS
  • 40A Very rapidly, as in a ballet studio? : BY LEAPS AND BOUNDS
  • 63A In suspense, as in a tailor shop? : ON PINS AND NEEDLES

Bill’s time: 5m 38s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

16 Skin-soothing succulent : ALOE

Succulent plants are those with thickened stems and/or leaves that have evolved to retain water. As such, succulents are often found where the climate is particularly dry. The term “succulent” comes from the Latin “sucus” meaning “juice, sap”.

17 In a state of confusion, as in math class? : AT SIXES AND SEVENS

To be at sixes and sevens is to be in disarray, in a state of confusion. It is an old idiom, dating back to the 14th century. Back then, to be on six and seven was a reference to a dice game in which throwing a six or seven put one’s entire fortune at risk. Over time, the inference was that someone must be very confused to risk everything on a throw of six or seven in a game of dice.

20 Maya Angelou, for one : POET

Maya Angelou was an African-American author and poet. Angelou recited her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at the inauguration of President Clinton in 1983. Here are some words of wisdom from the great lady:

I work very hard, and I play very hard. I’m grateful for life. And I live it – I believe life loves the liver of it. I live it.

21 Like many toothpaste flavors : MINTY

The first toothpaste in a tube was introduced by Johnson & Johnson, in 1889. Back then, toothpaste tubes were made from tin, zinc or lead.

23 “Cheerio!” : TA-TA!

An Englishman might say “ta-ta” or “cheerio” instead of “goodbye”. Well, supposedly so!

25 Sounds before “Black sheep, have you any wool?” : BAAS

The old English nursery rhyme “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” is usually sung as:

Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes, sir, yes, sir,
Three bags full;
One for the master,
And one for the dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane.

The tune that accompanies the rhyme is a variant of the French melody “Ah! Vous dirai-je, Maman”, which we know best in English as the tune for “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.

27 French Impressionist Degas : EDGAR

Edgar Degas was a French artist who was famous for both his paintings and his sculptures. Some of Degas’ most beautiful works feature female ballet dancers, and others depict women bathing.

30 Low points : NADIRS

The nadir is the direction pointing immediately below a particular location (through to the other side of the Earth for example). The opposite direction, that pointing immediately above, is called the zenith. We use the terms “nadir” and “zenith” figuratively to mean the low and high points in a person’s fortunes.

33 West Coast summer hours, in brief : PDT

Pacific Daylight Time (PDT)

36 You might hit them near traffic lights : BRAKES

The first traffic lights date back to 1868 when they were installed outside the Houses of Parliament in London. They resembled the signals already in use for trains, with semaphore arms and red and green gas lamps for nighttime use. That first system was operated manually, by a policeman at the base. Sadly, one police officer was killed just one year after the light’s installation, when the gas system exploded.

38 Spiritual guide : GURU

“Guru” is a Hindi word meaning “teacher” or “priest”.

39 ___ mia (Italian term of endearment) : CARA

“Cara mia” is Italian for “my beloved” or “my dear”.

44 Redding who sang “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” : OTIS

“(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” is a song that Otis Redding started composing in 1967 while sitting on a houseboat in Sausalito, on San Francisco Bay. Redding finished the song soon after, with the help of co-writer Steve Cooper. “The Dock of the Bay” was released in January of 1968, just one month after Redding was killed in a plane crash. The song became the first posthumous single to reach number in the US charts. As an aside, Janis Joplin’s recording of “Me and Bobby McGee” achieved the same feat in 1971.

45 Electrical unit : AMPERE

The unit of electric current is the ampere, which is abbreviated correctly to “A” rather than “amp”. It is named after French physicist André-Marie Ampère, one of the main scientists responsible for the discovery of electromagnetism.

46 Prefix with functional : DYS-

The prefix “dys-” comes from the Greek for “bad”. Examples of the use of the prefix would be: dyslexia (bad + word), dyspepsia (bad + digested).

49 Jet or Shark, in sports lingo : NHLER

Winnipeg’s professional hockey team is the Winnipeg Jets. The team was founded as the Atlanta Thrashers in 1999 and relocated to Winnipeg in 2011. The new team name was chosen in honor of the Manitoba city’s former professional hockey team called the Jets, a franchise that was founded in 1972 but relocated to become the Phoenix Coyotes in 1996.

The San Jose Sharks hockey team play their home games at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, a venue that we locals call “the Shark Tank”.

50 Afrikaans speaker : BOER

“Boer” is the Dutch and Afrikaans word for “farmer”, a word that was used to describe the Dutch-speaking people who settled parts of South Africa during the 1700s.

Afrikaans is a language spoken mainly in South Africa that was introduced there by Dutch settlers in the 18th century. The original settlers were mainly from South Holland, so Afrikaans evolved from the Dutch vernacular that they spoke.

51 Muse of history : CLIO

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)

53 Capital on the Nile : CAIRO

Cairo is the capital city of Egypt. It is nicknamed “The City of a Thousand Minarets” because of its impressive skyline replete with Islamic architecture. The name “Cairo” is a European corruption of the city’s original name in Arabic, “Al-Qahira”.

Depending on definition, the Nile is regarded generally as the longest river on the planet. The Nile forms from two major tributaries, the White Nile and the Blue Nile, which join together near Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. From Khartoum the Nile flows north, traveling almost entirely through desert making it central to life for those living along its length.

67 Harriet’s hubby on old TV : OZZIE

“The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” originally ran from 1952 to 1966, and has been running continuously in syndication ever since. It still holds the record for the longest-running, non-animated sitcom ever seen on US television.

68 Fulfiller of three wishes, in folklore : GENIE

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 …

Down

2 Vocal range for Adele and Cher : ALTO

“Adele” is the stage name of English singer Adele Adkins. Adele’s debut album is “19”, named after the age she was during the album’s production. Her second album was even more successful than the first. Called “21”, the second album was released three years after the first, when Adele was three years older. Her third studio album “25”, released in 2015, broke the first-week sales records in both the UK and the US. “30” followed in 2021.

“Cher” is the stage name used by singer and actress Cherilyn Sarkisian. Formerly one half of husband-wife duo Sonny & Cher, she is often referred to as the Goddess of Pop. In her acting career, Cher was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar of 1984 for her performance in “Silkwood”. She went further in 1988 and won the season’s Best Actress Oscar for playing Loretta Castorini in “Moonstruck”.

3 Valentine’s Day flower : ROSE

Saint Valentine’s Day was introduced by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD to honor various martyrs with the name Valentine. However, the saint’s day was dropped by the Roman Catholic church in 1969, by Pope Paul VI. Try telling that to Hallmark though …

4 Messy slapstick reactions : SPIT TAKES

The comic maneuver in which someone spits out a drink in response to a joke or a surprising statement, that’s called a “spit take”.

Slapstick is a physical form of comedy or horseplay. Back in the late 19th century, the term “slapstick” described a device made from two sticks loosely fastened together, which could be “slapped” together to create a sound effect offstage. The sound effect augmented the audience reaction when a clown or actor was given a slap on stage.

5 Put a jinx on : HEX

“Hexen” is a German word meaning “to practice witchcraft”. The use of the word “hex” in English started with the Pennsylvania Dutch in the early 1800s.

A jinx is a charm or a spell. The word “jinx” comes from an older word “jyng” from the 17th-century. A “jyng” was a wryneck, a type of bird much used in witchcraft.

7 “___ It Fun” (hit song by Paramore) : AIN’T

Paramore is a rock band that formed in 2004 in Franklin, Tennessee.

8 2017 coming-of-age film that received nominations for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress : LADY BIRD

“Lady Bird” is a 2017 coming-of-age movie starring Saoirse Ronan in the title role, a high school senior who has a strained relationship with her mother (played by Laurie Metcalf). Roman and Metcalf earned themselves Oscar nominations for their performances.

18 Certain first responder, for short : EMT

Emergency medical technician (EMT)

26 Island off the coast of Venezuela : ARUBA

Aruba is one of the so-called ABC islands located off the northern coast of Venezuela. “ABC Islands” is a name given to the three westernmost islands of the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean. The nickname comes from the first letters of the island names: Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. All three of the ABC islands are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

28 With deadpan delivery : DRYLY

The term “deadpan”, slang for “impassive expression”, comes from “dead” (expressionless) and “pan” (slang for “face”).

29 Annoys no end : GALLS

Today, we use the verb “to gall” to mean “to vex, irritate”. This is a figurative usage of the same verb that arose mid-1400s, when it meant “to make sore by chafing”. Back then, a gall was a sore on the skin caused by rubbing or chafing.

32 Actress Kirsten of “Spider-Man” : DUNST

Kirsten Dunst is a Hollywood actress from Point Pleasant, New Jersey. She is perhaps best known for playing the love interest and female lead in the “Spider-Man” series of movies opposite Tobey Maguire. Personally, my favorite Dunst films are “Wimbledon” and “Marie Antoinette”. Dunst is a dual citizen of the US and Germany, as her father is from Hamburg.

34 Rapper who co-founded Beats Electronics : DR DRE

Beats Electronics is a company that was co-founded by rapper Dr. Dre. Apple bought Beats for $3 billion in 2014, which is the largest acquisition in Apple’s history.

35 Weapon that delivers a shock : TASER

Victor Appleton wrote a novel for young adults called “Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle”. The company that developed the TASER electroshock weapon partly named its product as a homage to the novel. The acronym “TASER” stands for “Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle”.

37 Mushroom’s reproductive cell : SPORE

A mushroom isn’t a complete living organism per se but rather is one part of a fungus, and is the fruiting body that is responsible for distributing reproductive spores. The mushroom generally has three main components: the stipe (or “stem”), the pileus (or “cap”) and the lamellae (or “gills”) under the cap which distribute the spores.

47 Mob henchman, maybe : GOON

The term “goon” was coined by American humorist Frederick J. Allen in a 1921 “Harper’s” piece titled “The Goon and His Style”. The article defines a good as “a person with a heavy touch” someone lacking “a playful mind”. The term was popularized in the “Thimble Theater” comic strips featuring Popeye. The first use of “goon” to describe a hired thug was in 1938, with reference to strikebreakers.

52 Ingredient in soapmaking : LYE

Soap is basically made by adding a strong alkali (like lye) to a fat (like olive oil or palm oil). The fats break down in the basic solution in a process called saponification. The crude soap is extracted from the mixture, washed, purified and finished in molds.

53 What Santa gives naughty children : COAL

Apparently, the tradition of putting coal in the Christmas stocking of a poorly-behaved child comes simply from the proximity of the stocking (hanging on the fireplace) to a source of coal!

55 Once-popular Apple music player : IPOD

The iPod is Apple’s signature line of portable media players. The iPod first hit the market in 2001 with a hard drive-based device, now known as the iPod Classic. Later models all use flash memory, allowing a smaller form factor. The smallest of the flash-based models is the iPod Shuffle, which was introduced in 2005.

58 Norse god played in film by Anthony Hopkins : ODIN

The marvelous actor Anthony Hopkins got his big break in movies playing Richard the Lionheart in the 1968 historical drama “The Lion in Winter”. Hopkins hails from the south coast of Wales, and was encouraged in his early career by fellow Welshman Richard Burton, whom he met when he was a teenager. I’d say that Hopkins’ best-known film role was Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs”.

60 Bone that parallels the radius : ULNA

The radius and ulna are bones in the forearm. If you hold the palm of your hand up in front of you, the radius is the bone on the “thumb-side” of the arm, and the ulna is the bone on the “pinky-side”.

61 Hawaiian wreaths : LEIS

“Lei” is a Hawaiian word meaning “garland, wreath”, although in more general terms a lei is any series of objects strung together as an adornment for the body.

62 What a Swiss army knife has lots of : USES

Swiss Army knives are multi-tools made by the Swiss company Victorinox. The device was first produced in 1891 when Victorinox’s predecessor company was awarded the contract to supply the knife to the Swiss Army. The name “Swiss Army knife” was actually an American invention as it was the term used by American GIs during and after WWII as an alternative to pronouncing the more difficult German “Schweizer Offiziersmesser” (Swiss Officer Knife).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Overly strict : HARSH
6 Black-tie affair : GALA
10 Playfully make fun of : RAZZ
14 Run away to get hitched : ELOPE
15 Opera solos : ARIAS
16 Skin-soothing succulent : ALOE
17 In a state of confusion, as in math class? : AT SIXES AND SEVENS
20 Maya Angelou, for one : POET
21 Like many toothpaste flavors : MINTY
22 Tripmeter button : RESET
23 “Cheerio!” : TA-TA!
25 Sounds before “Black sheep, have you any wool?” : BAAS
27 French Impressionist Degas : EDGAR
30 Low points : NADIRS
33 West Coast summer hours, in brief : PDT
36 You might hit them near traffic lights : BRAKES
38 Spiritual guide : GURU
39 ___ mia (Italian term of endearment) : CARA
40 Very rapidly, as in a ballet studio? : BY LEAPS AND BOUNDS
43 Building extensions : ELLS
44 Redding who sang “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” : OTIS
45 Electrical unit : AMPERE
46 Prefix with functional : DYS-
47 Sources of academic funding : GRANTS
49 Jet or Shark, in sports lingo : NHLER
50 Afrikaans speaker : BOER
51 Muse of history : CLIO
53 Capital on the Nile : CAIRO
56 Like melted chocolate : GOOEY
59 Nickname for Louise : LULU
63 In suspense, as in a tailor shop? : ON PINS AND NEEDLES
66 It’s hardly any matter at all : ATOM
67 Harriet’s hubby on old TV : OZZIE
68 Fulfiller of three wishes, in folklore : GENIE
69 Jar heads? : LIDS
70 “How’ve you ___?” : BEEN
71 What mowers mow : GRASS

Down

1 Untidy pile : HEAP
2 Vocal range for Adele and Cher : ALTO
3 Valentine’s Day flower : ROSE
4 Messy slapstick reactions : SPIT TAKES
5 Put a jinx on : HEX
6 Nickname for a mother’s mother, maybe : GRAN
7 “___ It Fun” (hit song by Paramore) : AIN’T
8 2017 coming-of-age film that received nominations for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress : LADY BIRD
9 Wild donkey : ASS
10 Wild parties : RAVES
11 Pub pours : ALES
12 Region : ZONE
13 Citrus shaving : ZEST
15 ___ Americans (about 6% of the U.S. population) : ASIAN
18 Certain first responder, for short : EMT
19 Notable periods : ERAS
24 Region : AREA
26 Island off the coast of Venezuela : ARUBA
27 Receded, as the tide : EBBED
28 With deadpan delivery : DRYLY
29 Annoys no end : GALLS
31 Time and time ___ : AGAIN
32 Actress Kirsten of “Spider-Man” : DUNST
33 Comic strip unit : PANEL
34 Rapper who co-founded Beats Electronics : DR DRE
35 Weapon that delivers a shock : TASER
37 Mushroom’s reproductive cell : SPORE
39 Modern convenience at many movie theaters : CUP HOLDER
41 Look at the night sky : STARGAZE
42 Lead-in to present or potent : OMNI-
47 Mob henchman, maybe : GOON
48 Part of an act : SCENE
50 Parts of hats that are tipped : BRIMS
52 Ingredient in soapmaking : LYE
53 What Santa gives naughty children : COAL
54 Opposed to : ANTI
55 Once-popular Apple music player : IPOD
57 11, in France : ONZE
58 Norse god played in film by Anthony Hopkins : ODIN
60 Bone that parallels the radius : ULNA
61 Hawaiian wreaths : LEIS
62 What a Swiss army knife has lots of : USES
64 Cry uncontrollably : SOB
65 Shape of an intellectual’s head, it’s said : EGG

10 thoughts on “0718-22 NY Times Crossword 18 Jul 22, Monday”

  1. As promised yesterday, I emailed this to Will Shortz:

    Today’s NYT crossword was delightfully complex, but it raised an issue that I and others have discussed in the past. When rebuses are an integral part of the solution to a puzzle, this question often arises: what is the NYT crossword app going to accept this time? It’s very frustrating to have solved an entire puzzle, know exactly how the rebuses work, and then spend more time trying to get the app to acknowledge your success than you spent on the puzzle itself. Would it be possible to formulate a helpful set of general guidelines and publicize them (perhaps in the “Wordplay” column and/or in the app itself)?

    And he replied:

    Thanks, Dave. I’ll pass this comment along.

    So … I await further developments … 😜.

    BTW: my respect for that puzzle increased after I fully understood the nature of the card game it was based on. As Jeff said, I have a personal “Puzzle Hall Of Fame” and that one definitely deserved a place in it.

    1. Very nice, Dave…succinct, respectful, fair and generative…thank you for passing it along for us.

  2. 12:24, no errors. I appreciate Bill’s explanations. Have never heard the expression AT SIXES AND SEVENS.

  3. 10:50. I struggled way too much for a Monday. I had a memorial service for my late wife last week and its affected my brain.

    1. Sending sincere condolences and a big virtual hug from afar, Alaska Steve…please be nice to yourself🥹

  4. 7:01. I’d never heard of AT SIXES AND SEVENS either. The fact it came as the first theme answer slowed my uptake..

    Are there any toothpastes that are not MINTY?

    Alaska Steve – What MaryInRealTime said. My sincere condolences as well.

    Best –

  5. 8:52, on the road this week so solving as time permits. Just finished Thursday’s and this one, still have Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday to go! This is what happens when I drive 600 miles instead of flying!!

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