0720-22 NY Times Crossword 20 Jul 22, Wednesday

Constructed by: Josh Kindler
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): A New English Accent?

Themed answers are common phrases written as they might sound when spoken with a Boston accent:

  • 17A Jokes at Massachusetts General Hospital? : DOC COMEDY (from “dark comedy”)
  • 28A Late to a Harvard Lampoon meeting? : MISSING THE MOCK (from “missing the mark”)
  • 44A Invitation at Beantown fish markets? : PICK A COD, ANY COD (from “pick a card, any card”)
  • 58A Unexpectedly high interest rate for a borrower from a Boston bank? : LOAN SHOCK (from “loan shark”)

Bill’s time: 15m 06s!

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Alternative to manicotti : ZITI

Cylindrical pasta is known in general as “penne”, and there are many variants. For example, ziti is a particularly large and long tube with square-cut ends. “Penne” is the plural of “penna”, the Italian for “feather, quill”.

5 Fountain offering : MALT

Walgreens claims to have introduced the malted milkshake, back in 1922.

9 Poem with about 16,000 lines : ILIAD

“Iliad” is an epic poem by the Greek poet Homer that tells the story of the ten-year siege of “Ilium” (i.e. “Troy”) during the Trojan war. “The Odyssey”, also attributed to Homer, is sometimes described as a sequel to “Iliad”.

15 Service with surge pricing : UBER

The rideshare service Uber takes its name from the English colloquial word “uber” meaning “super, topmost”, which in turn comes from the German “über” meaning “above”.

19 Grads, now : ALUMS

An alumnus (plural “alumni”) is a graduate or former student of a school or college. The female form is “alumna” (plural “alumnae”). The term comes into English from Latin, in which an alumnus is a foster-son or pupil. “Alum” is an informal term used for either an alumna or alumnus.

21 Doing some mess hall duty, in army lingo : ON KP

The initialism “KP” is US military slang that stands for either “kitchen police” or “kitchen patrol”.

23 Sch. with the most Pac-12 football championships : USC

The University of Southern California (USC) is a private school in Los Angeles. Apart from its excellent academic record, USC is known for the success of its athletic program. USC Trojans have won more Olympic medals than the students of any other university in the world. The USC marching band is very famous as well, and is known as the “Spirit of Troy”. The band has performed with many celebrities, and is the only college band to have two platinum records.

25 ___ jure (by the law itself: Lat.) : IPSO

“Ipso jure” is Latin for “by operation of law”. I am informed by a blog reader that the term refers to a legal consequence that takes place without the need for a beneficiary to take action. In other words, the law simply applies. The example given is what happens to a property held in joint tenancy when one person dies. The title passes to the living person, without that person having to do anything . It simply passes “by operation of law”, “ipso jure”.

28 Late to a Harvard Lampoon meeting? : MISSING THE MOCK (from “missing the mark”)

“National Lampoon” was a humor magazine first published in 1970. “National Lampoon” was founded as a spin-off to Harvard University’s undergraduate magazine “Harvard Lampoon”. The latter is still going strong, but “National Lampoon” ceased publication in 1998.

32 Hubs of activity : LOCI

“Locus” (plural “loci”) is Latin for “place”, and is used in English with the same meaning. The term can also be used to describe a center of power or activity. In mathematics, a locus is a set of points that satisfy some property. For example, a locus might be a straight line, part of a line, a surface, or perhaps a curve.

33 Catherine of “Home Alone” : O’HARA

Catherine O’Hara is an actress and comedian from Toronto, Ontario. One of O’Hara’s more famous film roles is Kevin’s mother in the Christmas classic “Home Alone”. She also plays a lead character in the excellent sitcom “Schitt’s Creek” alongside Eugen Levy.

“Home Alone” is a 1990 film starring Macaulay Culkin that has become a Christmas classic. Culkin was nominated for a Best Actor Golden Globe for his performance, becoming the youngest actor ever to be so honored.

35 “Uncle” in chess : I RESIGN

To say uncle is to submit or yield. This peculiarly American use of “uncle” dates back to the early 1900s, but nobody seems to know how “uncle!” came to mean “stop!”

38 Part of a botanical garden : FERNERY

Ferns are unlike mosses in that they have xylem and phloem, making them vascular plants. They also have stems, leaves and roots, but they do not have seeds and flowers, and reproduce using spores. Spores differ from seeds in that they have very little stored food.

40 X-ray alternative : MRI

An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine uses powerful magnetic fields to generate images that can be used by medical professionals to diagnose injury and disease.

41 After-dinner drink : DECAF

The first successful process for removing caffeine from coffee involved steaming the beans in salt water, and then extracting the caffeine using benzene (a potent carcinogen) as a solvent. Coffee processed this way was sold as Sanka here in the US. There are other processes used these days, and let’s hope they are safer …

44 Invitation at Beantown fish markets? : PICK A COD, ANY COD (from “pick a card, any card”)

In the days of sail, the natural trade routes across the Atlantic involved a lot of ships arriving in Boston directly from the West Indies. One of the main cargoes carried by these vessels coming from the West Indies was molasses. An abundance of cheap molasses led to an abundance of baked beans in the port city, and all those baked beans gave rise to Boston’s nickname “Beantown”.

48 Oracle : SEER

In ancient Greece and Rome, an oracle was someone believed to be inspired by the gods to give wise counsel. The word “oracle” derives from the Latin “orare” meaning “to speak”, which is the same root for our word “orator”. One of the most important oracles of ancient Greece was Pythia, the high priestess to Apollo at Delphi.

49 Autobahn units: Abbr. : KMS

Kilometer (km)

50 Abu Dhabi’s land: Abbr. : UAE

Abu Dhabi is one of the seven Emirates that make up the federation known as the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The two largest members of the UAE (geographically) are Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the only two of the seven members that have veto power over UAE policy. Before 1971, the UAE was a British Protectorate, a collection of sheikdoms. The sheikdoms entered into a maritime truce with Britain in 1835, after which they became known as the Trucial States, derived from the word “truce”.

51 Buffoon : BOZO

The unsavory word “bozo” describes a person with a low IQ, and someone who is usually quite muscular. The term has been used since the early 1900s, and possibly comes from the Spanish “bozal” that was used to describe someone who spoke Spanish poorly.

A buffoon is a clown or jester, although the word “buffoon” tends to be used more figuratively to describe someone foolish and ridiculous. The term comes from the Italian “buffa” meaning “joke”.

56 Certain Arabian Peninsula resident : OMANI

The Arabian Peninsula is shaped like a boot, with the Sultanate of Oman occupying the toe of that boot.

61 Herky-jerky dance, with “the” : … ROBOT

When the Jackson 5 performed the 1974 song “Dancing Machine” on television, Michael Jackson showed off his Robot dance technique. Since then, the Robot has become extremely popular as a street dance, with performing artists making robotic moves to popular songs.

63 ___ O’s (breakfast cereal) : OREO

Oreo O’s cereal was made by Post from 1998 to 2007. The pieces of cereal were basically O-shaped (like Cheerios) but chocolate-flavored, dark brown in color and with white sprinkles on them. Oh, and lots of sugar.

Down

1 General ___, “Superman” villain : ZOD

General Zod is a supervillain and enemy of Superman of DC Comics. Zod is from Krypton, Superman’s home planet, so the two have many of the same superpowers. Zod appeared in the movies “Superman” and “Superman II”, and was played by English actor Terence Stamp.

2 Alibaba and Grubhub had them in 2014, for short : IPOS

Alibaba.com is the largest online business-to-business trading website for small businesses. Basically, Alibaba facilitates the buying and selling of goods between manufacturers and retailers.

5 Center of Bollywood : MUMBAI

Mumbai is the most populous city in India, and the second-most populous city in the world (after Shanghai). The name of the city was changed from Bombay to Mumbai in 1995.

“Bollywood” is the informal name given to the huge film industry based in Mumbai in India. The term “Bollywood” is a melding of “Bombay” (the former name of Mumbai), and “Hollywood”.

6 You can get two for a sawbuck : ABES

The US five-dollar bill is often called an “Abe”, as President Abraham Lincoln’s portrait is on the front. An Abe is also referred to as a “fin”, a term that has been used for a five-pound note in Britain since 1868.

“Sawbuck” is slang for “10-dollar bill”. The term was applied to the bill as the Roman numeral X (which used to appear on the reverse) resembles the end of a sawhorse.

9 Nobelist Pavlov : IVAN

Ivan Pavlov was studying gastric function in dogs in the 1890s when he observed that his subject dogs started to salivate before he even presented food to them. This “psychic secretion”, as he called it, interested him so much that he changed the direction of his research and studied the reactions of dogs to various stimuli that were associated with the presentation of food. Famously, he discovered that a dog could be conditioned to respond as though he was about to be fed, just by sensing some stimulus that he had come to associate with food. This might be a bell ringing, an electric shock (poor dog!) or perhaps the waving of a hand. Nowadays we might describe someone as “Pavlov’s Dog” if that person responds just the way he/she has been conditioned to respond, rather than applying critical thinking.

10 Rapper with the double-platinum album “Hard Core” : LIL’ KIM

“Lil’ Kim” is the stage name of rap artist Kimberly Denise Jones from Brooklyn, New York. Lil’ Kim spent a year in jail in 2005 for lying to a jury in a case about a shooting.

13 “___ Rheingold” (Wagner opera) : DAS

“Das Rheingold” is an 1869 opera by Richard Wagner, and is the first of four works that comprise his famous “Ring Cycle”.

18 “Animal Farm” pronoun : OURS

“Animal Farm” is a 1945 novella written by George Orwell, a satire of life in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin. Orwell had trouble getting his novel published in his homeland of the UK during WWII, as anti-Soviet literature wasn’t a good thing to publish while the UK and USSR were on the same side of a World War. In fact, one publisher who was willing to distribute the book changed his mind after being warned off by the British Ministry of Information. Given his experiences, I find it interesting that Orwell should write “Nineteen Eighty-Four” a few years later, and introduce the world to Big Brother.

21 Earthy tone : OCHRE

Ocher is a light, yellowish-brown color, although variations of the pigment are possible such as red ocher and purple ocher. “Ocher” is usually spelled “ochre” on the other side of the pond.

24 Scottish island home to Fingal’s Cave : STAFFA

Staffa is an island in the Inner Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland. It became famous in the late 1700s when English naturalist Sir Joseph Banks visited and described the island’s beauty. Banks named a magnificent sea cavern on the island “Fingal’s Cave”, after the hero of an epic poem by Scot’s poet James McPherson.

28 “Tuesdays With ___,” Mitch Albom best seller : MORRIE

“Tuesdays with Morrie” is a novel by Mitch Albom, first published in 1997. The story is a work of nonfiction, telling the tale of sociologist Morrie Schwartz and his students, one of whom is the author Mitch Albom. Albom has frequent visits with his old professor when he discovers that Morrie is dying from ALS.

29 1990 #1 rap hit that ends “too cold, too cold” : ICE ICE BABY

“Ice Ice Baby” is a 1990 song released by rap artist Vanilla Ice. What’s unusual about “Ice Ice Baby” is that it’s a rap song this oldster will actually listen to sometimes. Admittedly, that’s because it features a bassline lifted directly from the 1981 song “Under Pressure” by Queen. And, the lifting of the bassline led to quite a bit of controversy and a lawsuit.

30 Corporal or sarge : NONCOM

An NCO or “noncom” is a non-commissioned officer in the armed forces. Usually, such an officer is one who has earned his or her rank by promotion through the enlisted ranks. A good example would be a sergeant major (sgt. maj.).

36 ___ Lupino, first woman to direct a classic noir film : IDA

Actress Ida Lupino was also a successful director, in the days when women weren’t very welcome behind the camera. She had already directed four “women’s” shorts when she stepped in to direct the 1953 drama “The Hitch-Hiker”, taking over when the original director became ill. “The Hitch-Hiker” was the first film noir movie to be directed by a woman, and somewhat of a breakthrough for women in the industry.

37 Commercial mascot whose name sounds like that of its company : GECKO

Gecko is the “spokes-lizard” for GEICO. When Gecko was introduced in 1999, he was voiced by actor Kelsey Grammer of “Cheers” and “Frasier” fame. Since then, Gecko has been voiced by British radio presenter Dave Kelly and most recently by actor Jake Wood, who plays Max Branning on the British soap opera “EastEnders”.

39 Comment after a swish : NICE SHOT

A swish shot is a basketball shot that goes through the hoop without touching the rim or the backboard, and you can hear that “swish” as it just passes through the net, so they tell me …

42 Podcast interruptions : ADS

A podcast is basically an audio or video media file that is made available for download. The name comes from the acronym “POD” meaning “playable on demand”, and “cast” from “broadcasting”. So, basically a podcast is a broadcast that one can play on demand, simply by downloading and opening the podcast file.

45 King of the Titans, in Greek mythology : KRONOS

In Greek mythology, Cronus (also “Kronos”) was one of the Titans. Cronus overthrew his father Uranus and took over rule of the Titans. Eventually, Cronus was ousted by his own son Zeus. The Roman equivalent of Cronus was the deity Saturn.

52 Popular comic strip about a 17-year-old high school student : ZITS

“Zits” is a popular cartoon strip written by Jerry Scott and illustrated by Jim Borgman. The strip debuted in 1997, and features a teenage boy called Jeremy Duncan as the main character.

54 What often includes a chairlift? : HORA

The hora is a circle dance that originated in the Balkans. It was brought to Israel by Romanian settlers, and is often performed to traditional, Israeli folk songs. The hora (also “horah”) is a regular sight at Jewish weddings. Sometimes the honoree at an event is raised on a chair during the dance.

55 “Law & Order: SVU” co-star : ICE-T

Rapper Ice-T must be tired of having his name come up as an answer in crossword puzzles (I know I am!). Born Tracy Marrow, Ice-T has been interested in acting for decades and made his film debut in the 1984 movie about breakdancing called “Breakin’”. He has also played Detective Fin Tutuola in the TV show “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” since the year 2000.

56 British pop star Rita : ORA

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.

57 Soprano’s group? : MOB

“The Sopranos” is an outstanding television drama made by HBO that is a story about Italian-American mobsters in New Jersey. “The Sopranos” is regularly cited as one of the best TV series of all time. It’s “must see TV” …

58 ___ Wallace, author of “Ben-Hur” : LEW

Lew Wallace was a general for the Union Army during the Civil War, and was also an author. He wrote a very successful and celebrated book called “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ”, first published in 1880, that was made into a 1959 movie starring Charlton Heston.

59 Nail polish brand with the color “Espresso Your Inner Self” : OPI

Opi (originally “Odontorium Products Inc.”) is a manufacturer of nail polish based in North Hollywood, California. One of Opi’s marketing coups was the introduction of a line of Legally Blonde 2 polishes, which featured in the film.

60 Wallops : KOS

Knockout (KO)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Alternative to manicotti : ZITI
5 Fountain offering : MALT
9 Poem with about 16,000 lines : ILIAD
14 U.S. ___ : OPEN
15 Service with surge pricing : UBER
16 There might be a good one on top of a mountain : VISTA
17 Jokes at Massachusetts General Hospital? : DOC COMEDY (from “dark comedy”)
19 Grads, now : ALUMS
20 Some natural fences : SHRUBS
21 Doing some mess hall duty, in army lingo : ON KP
22 Apt name for a financial planner? : IRA
23 Sch. with the most Pac-12 football championships : USC
25 ___ jure (by the law itself: Lat.) : IPSO
28 Late to a Harvard Lampoon meeting? : MISSING THE MOCK (from “missing the mark”)
32 Hubs of activity : LOCI
33 Catherine of “Home Alone” : O’HARA
34 ___ story : SOB
35 “Uncle” in chess : I RESIGN
38 Part of a botanical garden : FERNERY
40 X-ray alternative : MRI
41 After-dinner drink : DECAF
43 “Noted” : I SEE
44 Invitation at Beantown fish markets? : PICK A COD, ANY COD (from “pick a card, any card”)
48 Oracle : SEER
49 Autobahn units: Abbr. : KMS
50 Abu Dhabi’s land: Abbr. : UAE
51 Buffoon : BOZO
53 Waves, perhaps : SAYS HI
56 Certain Arabian Peninsula resident : OMANI
58 Unexpectedly high interest rate for a borrower from a Boston bank? : LOAN SHOCK (from “loan shark”)
61 Herky-jerky dance, with “the” : … ROBOT
62 Beyond great : EPIC
63 ___ O’s (breakfast cereal) : OREO
64 Chasm : ABYSS
65 Bit of chicanery : WILE
66 Some body art, informally : TATS

Down

1 General ___, “Superman” villain : ZOD
2 Alibaba and Grubhub had them in 2014, for short : IPOS
3 Big field for start-ups, informally : TECH
4 Facing ruin, say : IN CRISIS
5 Center of Bollywood : MUMBAI
6 You can get two for a sawbuck : ABES
7 Spearheaded : LED
8 Don’t give up, say : TRY
9 Nobelist Pavlov : IVAN
10 Rapper with the double-platinum album “Hard Core” : LIL’ KIM
11 “Sounds about right” : I SUPPOSE SO
12 Convenience often promoted in store windows : ATM
13 “___ Rheingold” (Wagner opera) : DAS
18 “Animal Farm” pronoun : OURS
21 Earthy tone : OCHRE
23 [groan] : [UGH]
24 Scottish island home to Fingal’s Cave : STAFFA
26 Got the point? : SCORED
27 “Well, see you later then!” : OK, BYE!
28 “Tuesdays With ___,” Mitch Albom best seller : MORRIE
29 1990 #1 rap hit that ends “too cold, too cold” : ICE ICE BABY
30 Corporal or sarge : NONCOM
31 Body part that “pops” : EAR
32 Hobbles : LIMPS
36 ___ Lupino, first woman to direct a classic noir film : IDA
37 Commercial mascot whose name sounds like that of its company : GECKO
39 Comment after a swish : NICE SHOT
42 Podcast interruptions : ADS
45 King of the Titans, in Greek mythology : KRONOS
46 Subtlety : NUANCE
47 Cries of glee : YAYS
52 Popular comic strip about a 17-year-old high school student : ZITS
53 It’s rigged! : SAIL
54 What often includes a chairlift? : HORA
55 “Law & Order: SVU” co-star : ICE-T
56 British pop star Rita : ORA
57 Soprano’s group? : MOB
58 ___ Wallace, author of “Ben-Hur” : LEW
59 Nail polish brand with the color “Espresso Your Inner Self” : OPI
60 Wallops : KOS

9 thoughts on “0720-22 NY Times Crossword 20 Jul 22, Wednesday”

  1. I don’t usually comment on the early-week puzzles, but I found the cluing really difficult on this one. 9:43.

  2. 17:27. Cluing and answers were difficult. Otherwise an easy puzzle…
    Biggest issue was the ROBOT/ORA/ZITS nexus.

    After 10 hours on airplanes in the last 48 hours, I’m taking off today…so to speak. I’d wonder about doing something outside, but it’s supposed to get close to 115 degrees here today.

    Best –

  3. 21:33, no errors. Agree that the clueing was difficult. Unfamiliar with STAFFA, FERNERY, MORRIE. Thought the 1D General was ZOG. The theme was entertaining and useful for making sense of the answers.

  4. 22:24…app gave me the snail today…what a brat🤣

    Love “PICK A COD ANY COD”

    Stay cool, folks!

    1. P.S. it might’ve been an old Beetle Bailey comic I read ages ago but it joked “K.P.” = Keep Peeling😊

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