0725-22 NY Times Crossword 25 Jul 22, Monday

Constructed by: Michael T. Buerke
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: Going Somewhere?

Themed answers include a vowel progression with a twist. Each includes the letter sequence “PR” followed by the sound of a vowel’s name, progressing through A, E, I, O and U as we descend the grid:

  • 17A Eagles, falcons, hawks, etc. : BIRDS OF PREY (PR + A-sound)
  • 24A Major Formula 1 race : GRAND PRIX (PR + E-sound)
  • 39A “Sorry for being so nosy!” : I DIDN’T MEAN TO PRY (PR + I-sound)
  • 49A Instructor with a racket : TENNIS PRO (PR + O-sound)
  • 61A Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Shipping News” and “Brokeback Mountain” : ANNIE PROULX (PR + U-sound)

Bill’s time: 5m 29s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Dip for tortilla chips : SALSA

“Salsa” is simply Spanish for “sauce”.

6 What pasta and potatoes have a lot of : CARBS

Only relatively small amounts of carbohydrate can be stored by the human body, but those stores are important. The actual storage molecule is a starch-like polysaccharide called glycogen, which is found mainly in the liver and muscles. Glycogen is a quick source of energy when required by the body. Most of the body’s energy is stored in the form of fat, a more compact substance that is mobilized less rapidly. Endurance athletes often eat meals high in carbohydrates (carbo-loading) a few hours before an event, so that their body’s glycogen is at optimum levels.

11 Rap lead-in to Jon or Wayne : LIL …

“Lil’” is a short form of the word “little”. There are a whole slew of rappers named “Lil’ something”, such as Lil Wayne, Lil’ J, and Lil’ Kim.

14 Like a home crowd on a walk-off hit : AROAR

That would be baseball.

16 Singer Yoko : ONO

Yoko Ono was born in 1933 in Tokyo into a prosperous Japanese family, and is actually a descendant of one of the emperors of Japan. Yoko’s father moved around the world for work, and she lived the first few years of her life in San Francisco. The family returned to Japan, before moving on to New York, Hanoi and back to Japan just before WWII, in time to live through the great firebombing of Tokyo in 1945. Immediately after the war the family was far from prosperous. While Yoko’s father was being held in a prison camp in Vietnam, her mother had to resort to begging and bartering to feed her children. When her father was repatriated, life started to return to normal and Yoko was able to attend university. She was the first woman to be accepted into the philosophy program of Gakushuin University.

19 Bathroom scale units: Abbr. : LBS

The unit of mass that we know today as a pound is descended from the old Roman unit of weight known as a “libra”. That “libra” connection is why we abbreviate “pound” to “lb”. The name “pound” comes from the Latin “pondo” meaning “weight”. Our term “ounce” (abbreviated to “oz.”) comes from the Latin “uncia”, which was 1/12 of a Roman “libra”.

20 Marijuana, in old slang : REEFER

Marijuana cigarettes have been known as reefers since the twenties. It is thought that the term “reefers” comes from either the Mexican Spanish for a drug addict (“grifo”), or from its resemblance to a rolled sail, i.e. a sail that has been “reefed”.

21 ___ Guofeng, successor to Mao : HUA

In China, the term “paramount leader” has been used since the days of Mao Zedong to describe the person who holds several leadership offices concurrently. The paramount leaders have been:

  1. Mao Zedong (1949 – 1976)
  2. Hua Guofeng (1976 – 1978)
  3. Deng Xiaoping (1978 – 1992)
  4. Jiang Zemin (1992 – 2004)
  5. Hu Jintao (2004 – 2012)
  6. Xi Jinping (2012 – )

23 “Let It Go” singer in “Frozen” : ELSA

“Let It Go” is an incredibly successful song from the Disney animated film “Frozen” released in 2013. It was performed in the movie by Idina Menzel, who also was the voice actor for the character Elsa. “Let It Go” is one of the very few Disney songs to make it into the Billboard Top Ten.

24 Major Formula 1 race : GRAND PRIX (PR + E-sound)

Even though the term is used in many competitions, I think that we most associate “Grand Prix” with the series of Formula One motor races. These Formula One Grand Prix races trace their roots back to organized automobile road races from one French town to the next that date back to 1894. “Grand Prix” translates from French as “grand, big prize.”

27 “Cold, hard” stuff : CASH

Our word “cash” comes from the Middle French “caisse” meaning “money box”.

29 Betty ___ (classic cartoon character) : BOOP

Betty Boop made her first appearance on the screen in 1930, in a cartoon called “Dizzy Dishes”. Her character was modeled on the It-girl, the sexy Clara Bow of movie fame. Back then Betty Boop was a sexy poodle and it wasn’t until 1932 that she morphed into completely human form. Betty was quite the risqué figure, but her vampish ways only lasted a few years. When the Production Code of 1934 came into force, Betty started to dress more modestly and toned down her behavior.

30 Himalayan land : TIBET

Tibet is a plateau region that is part of China, and is located northeast of the Himalayas. Tibet declared its independence from China in 1913, but fell back under Chinese control after the Invasion of Tibet in 1951. The Tibetan leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, fled the country during the 1959 Tibetan Rebellion. Since then, he has led the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala, India.

33 Legendary Himalayan creatures : YETIS

The yeti, also known as the abominable snowman, is a beast of legend. “Yeti” is a Tibetan term, and the beast is fabled to live in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet. Our equivalent legend in North America is that of Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch. The study of animals whose existence have not yet been substantiated is called cryptozoology, and a cryptid is a creature or plant that isn’t recognized by the scientific community, but the existence of which has been suggested.

36 Bizarre : ODD

“Bizarre” is a French word, one with the same meaning in French as English. However, back in the 16th century, “bizarre” used to mean “handsome, brave” in French. I guess that’s what my wife means when she refers to me as “bizarre” …

47 Unit of farmland : ACRE

At one time, an acre was defined as the amount of land a yoke of oxen could plow in a day. Then, an acre was more precisely defined as a strip of land “one furrow long” (i.e. one furlong) and one chain wide. The length of one furlong was equal to 10 chains, or 40 rods. An area of one furlong times 10 rods was one rood.

56 ___ Lee (frozen dessert brand) : SARA

In 1935, businessman Charles Lubin bought a chain of three bakeries in Chicago called Community Bake Shops, and soon expanded the operation into seven stores. Lubin introduced a cream cheesecake that he named after his daughter who was only 8-years-old at the time, Sara Lee Lubin. The cheesecake was a hit and he renamed the bakeries to Kitchen of Sara Lee. The business was bought out by Consolidated Foods in 1956, but the brand name Sara Lee persists to this day, as does Ms. Sara Lee herself who now goes by the name Sara Lee Schupf.

58 Isle ___, national park in Lake Superior : ROYALE

Isle Royale in Michigan is the largest island in Lake Superior. The main island, along with over 400 smaller surrounding islands, is now part of Isle Royale National Park.

61 Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Shipping News” and “Brokeback Mountain” : ANNIE PROULX (PR + U-sound)

Author Annie Proulx’s second novel, “The Shipping News”, won her a Pulitzer and was adapted into a 2001 movie of the same name. Her 1997 short story “Brokeback Mountain” also made it to the big screen, as a 2005 film also with the same name.

64 ___ Ventura, former governor of Minnesota : JESSE

Jesse Ventura is a former professional wrestler turned state governor. When Ventura retired from wrestling he ran for mayor in the city of Brooklyn Park in Minnesota, and won the race by beating the 25-year incumbent. In 1998, Ventura built on his 4-year experience as a mayor and won the race for Governor of the state, beating out candidates representing the two big parties in a major upset.

Down

1 Buffalo hockey player : SABRE

The Buffalo Sabres joined the National Hockey League in the 1970-71 season. The team took the name “Sabres” as the result of a fan contest.

2 Disney mermaid’s name : ARIEL

In the 1989 Disney animated film “The Little Mermaid”, the title character is given the name “Ariel”. In the original fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen that dates back to 1836, the Little Mermaid is given no name at all. There is a famous statue of the unnamed Little Mermaid sitting in Copenhagen Harbor, in Andersen’s homeland of Denmark.

5 Backside, as the Brits call it : ARSE

Well, the word “arse” would never make it into a crossword on the other side of the pond, as it would be considered too rude. I have a similar reaction to the word “shag” as in “The Spy Who Shagged Me”. The film would never have been released with that title in the UK.

6 Half-___ (coffee order) : CAF

Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant that is found in several plants. The chemical serves as a natural pesticide by paralyzing and killing certain insects that would otherwise feed on the plant. Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug that is consumed by humans across the world.

11 They’re for suckers : LOLLIPOPS

A lollipop is a piece of candy on a stick. The name “lollipop” surfaced in 1908, and was taken from a prominent race horse of the day named Lolly Pop.

22 Dude : BRO

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.

25 What Prancer and Dancer do that Rudolph and Vixen don’t? : RHYME

We get the names for Santa’s reindeer from the famous 1823 poem called “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, although we’ve modified a couple of the names over the years. The full list is:

  • Dasher
  • Dancer
  • Prancer
  • Vixen
  • Comet
  • Cupid
  • Donder (originally “Dunder”, and now often “Donner”)
  • Blitzen (originally “Blixem”)

Rudolph was added to the list by retailer Montgomery Ward, would you believe? The store commissioned Robert L. May to create a booklet that could be handed out to children around Christmas in 1939, and May introduced us to a new friend for Santa, namely Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

28 When the sun is highest in the sky : AT NOON

Our word “noon”, meaning “midday”, comes from the Latin “nona hora” that translates as “ninth hour”. Back in ancient Rome, the “ninth hour” was three in the afternoon. Over the centuries, traditions such as church prayers and “midday” meals shifted from 3 p.m. to 12 p.m., and so “noon” became understood as 12 noon.

35 Early Mongol invader of Europe : TATAR

Tatars (sometimes “Tartars”) are an ethnic group of people who mainly reside in Russia (a population of about 5 1/2 million). One of the more famous people with a Tatar heritage was Hollywood actor Charles Bronson. Bronson’s real name was Charles Buchinsky.

The Mongols are an ethnic group found today in modern Mongolia, in China and in Russia.

37 1990s R&B group ___ Hill : DRU

Dru Hill is an R&B singing group from Baltimore, Maryland. Dru Hill was formed in 1992, and is still going strong today. The name “Dru Hill” comes from Druid Hill Park which is found on the west side of Baltimore.

40 Compartmentalized evening meal : TV DINNER

The term “TV dinner”, which describes a prepackaged frozen meal, was actually a trademark for C. A. Swanson & Sons back in 1953. Swanson’s original prepackaged meal was sold as “TV Brand Frozen Dinner” and came in an aluminum tray so that it could be heated in an oven. Swanson stopped using the name in 1962, and now “TV dinner” is a generic term.

46 Genetic 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.

49 California border lake : TAHOE

Lake Tahoe (often referred to simply as “Tahoe”) is up in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and is located right on the border between California and Nevada. It is the largest alpine lake in the country, and the largest lake in general behind the five Great Lakes. Tahoe is also the second deepest lake, with only the beautiful Crater Lake in Oregon being deeper. Given its location, there are tall casinos that sit right on the shore on the Nevada side of the state line where gambling is legal.

51 Difficult thing to maintain under pressure : POISE

Back in the early 1400s, “poise” meant “quality of being heavy”. We’ve been using the term to mean “steadiness, composure” since the mid-1600s, in the sense of being equally “weighted” on either side.

53 Summa cum ___ (“with highest praise”) : LAUDE

When an academic degree is awarded, a level of distinction can be noted depending on the degree of success achieved by the student. There are three types of honor, each with a Latin name:

  • cum laude: meaning “with honor” (literally “with praise”)
  • magna cum laude: meaning “with great honor”
  • summa cum laude: meaning “with highest honor”

55 Puts a spell on : HEXES

“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.

61 1977 Steely Dan album with a palindromic title : AJA

Steely Dan’s heyday was in the seventies when they toured for a couple of years, although the group mainly focused on studio work. The band was formed in 1972 and broke up in 1981. The core of the band reunited in 1993, and is still performing today despite the passing of founding member Walter Becker in 2017. Steely Dan’s best-selling album is “Aja” (pronounced like “Asia”), which was released in 1977.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Dip for tortilla chips : SALSA
6 What pasta and potatoes have a lot of : CARBS
11 Rap lead-in to Jon or Wayne : LIL …
14 Like a home crowd on a walk-off hit : AROAR
15 Phone notification : ALERT
16 Singer Yoko : ONO
17 Eagles, falcons, hawks, etc. : BIRDS OF PREY (PR + A-sound)
19 Bathroom scale units: Abbr. : LBS
20 Marijuana, in old slang : REEFER
21 ___ Guofeng, successor to Mao : HUA
22 Splotch of ink : BLOT
23 “Let It Go” singer in “Frozen” : ELSA
24 Major Formula 1 race : GRAND PRIX (PR + E-sound)
27 “Cold, hard” stuff : CASH
29 Betty ___ (classic cartoon character) : BOOP
30 Himalayan land : TIBET
33 Legendary Himalayan creatures : YETIS
36 Bizarre : ODD
39 “Sorry for being so nosy!” : I DIDN’T MEAN TO PRY (PR + I-sound)
42 Central pile of chips, in poker : POT
43 Plain as day : OVERT
44 Follow as a result : ENSUE
45 Trampled (on) : TROD
47 Unit of farmland : ACRE
49 Instructor with a racket : TENNIS PRO (PR + O-sound)
52 Boring : BLAH
56 ___ Lee (frozen dessert brand) : SARA
57 Prefix with liberal or conservative : NEO-
58 Isle ___, national park in Lake Superior : ROYALE
60 Most common English word : THE
61 Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Shipping News” and “Brokeback Mountain” : ANNIE PROULX (PR + U-sound)
63 Long, long time : EON
64 ___ Ventura, former governor of Minnesota : JESSE
65 Nonmainstream, as rock music : INDIE
66 Married : WED
67 Spinning dizzily, quaintly : AREEL
68 Most high schoolers, agewise : TEENS

Down

1 Buffalo hockey player : SABRE
2 Disney mermaid’s name : ARIEL
3 Like early PC graphics : LO-RES
4 Looking like this: ☹️ : SAD FACED
5 Backside, as the Brits call it : ARSE
6 Half-___ (coffee order) : CAF
7 First Greek letter : ALPHA
8 Show again, as a show : RERUN
9 Place to store a loaf : BREAD BIN
10 Pig’s digs : STY
11 They’re for suckers : LOLLIPOPS
12 Locale for new emails : INBOX
13 In need of directions : LOST
18 Assns. : ORGS
22 Dude : BRO
25 What Prancer and Dancer do that Rudolph and Vixen don’t? : RHYME
26 Wall hanging in a kid’s room : POSTER
28 When the sun is highest in the sky : AT NOON
30 Detective’s lead : TIP
31 Words at the altar : I DO
32 Final, unhappy outcome : BITTER END
34 Eternally, to a poet : E’ER
35 Early Mongol invader of Europe : TATAR
37 1990s R&B group ___ Hill : DRU
38 Work on, as a summer camp T-shirt : DYE
40 Compartmentalized evening meal : TV DINNER
41 Individually : ONE BY ONE
46 Genetic messenger : RNA
48 Big business: Abbr. : CORP
49 California border lake : TAHOE
50 Touch, taste or smell : SENSE
51 Difficult thing to maintain under pressure : POISE
53 Summa cum ___ (“with highest praise”) : LAUDE
54 Daring poker bet : ALL IN
55 Puts a spell on : HEXES
56 Hearty bowlful : STEW
59 “Pics ___ didn’t happen!” : OR IT
61 1977 Steely Dan album with a palindromic title : AJA
62 Slippery fish : EEL

2 thoughts on “0725-22 NY Times Crossword 25 Jul 22, Monday”

  1. 7:54. Zero thought about the theme until I came here.

    I got bogged down in the SE. Had olDIE before INDIE which caused a slowdown. BREADBox before BREAD BIN as well.

    We’ve seen an awful lot of ARSE of late. Cryptozoology rears its head again, but I don’t have the energy this morning to make fun of it.

    If caffeine is a natural pesticide, I should never get a bug bite the rest of my life…

    Best –

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