1031-22 NY Times Crossword 31 Oct 22, Monday

Constructed by: Emily Carroll
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Ghostwriter

Happy Halloween, everyone! Themed answers might be described as things penned by a GHOSTWRITER, in a punny kind of way:

  • 59A Hired pen … or, punnily, the author of 20-, 36- and 43-Across? : GHOSTWRITER
  • 20A Punctuation marks indicating irony : SCARE QUOTES
  • 36A Binges on bad news, in modern slang : DOOMSCROLLS
  • 43A Mail that cannot be delivered or returned : DEAD LETTERS

Bill’s time: 7m 11s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Viral internet joke, like “Grumpy Cat” : MEME

“Grumpy Cat” was the nickname of a well-known cat on the Internet named Tardar Sauce. She had an underbite that caused her face to always appear “grumpy”. The brother of her owner posted a picture of the cat on Reddit one day in 2012, and folks started using the photo in parodies. By 2020, Grumpy Cat was an Internet meme, with over 8 million likes on Facebook. She even starred in her own movie, “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever”, which was released in 2014.

14 Bar ___ (lawyer’s hurdle) : EXAM

The legal profession is referred to as “the bar”. The term arose in medieval times when European courtrooms were divided into two with “barring” furniture, basically a wooden rail that separated the public from the participants in the trial.

15 “Game of Thrones” servant : HODOR

“A Game of Thrones” is the first novel in the series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin titled “A Song of Ice and Fire”. That first novel’s title gives its name to “Game of Thrones”, the incredibly popular HBO television series that uses the storyline from the whole series of books.

16 Cover in blacktop, say : PAVE

The asphalt surface on roads (or basketball courts) is more properly called asphaltic concrete because asphalt itself (also known as “bitumen”) is just a sticky black liquid that comes from crude petroleum. Asphalt is used as a binder with aggregate to form asphaltic concrete.

17 Pixar’s “Finding ___” : NEMO

“Finding Nemo” is a 2003 animated blockbuster from Pixar. The film was the winner of the Oscar that year for Best Animated Feature. Believe it or not, “Finding Nemo” is the best-selling DVD of all time and, until 2010’s “Toy Story 3”, it was the highest-grossing, G-rated movie at the box office.

18 Friend of Porthos and Aramis in “The Three Musketeers” : ATHOS

Alexandre Dumas’ “Three Musketeers” are Athos, Porthos and Aramis, although the hero of the novel is the trio’s young protégé D’Artagnan. A musketeer was an infantry soldier who was equipped with a musket. Funnily enough, the three “musketeers” really don’t use their muskets, and are better known for prowess with their swords.

19 Diva’s delivery : ARIA

The term “diva” comes to us from Latin via Italian. It is the feminine form of “divus” meaning “divine one”. The word is used in Italy to mean “goddess” or “fine lady”, and especially is applied to the prima donna in an opera. We often use the term to describe a singer with a big ego.

20 Punctuation marks indicating irony : SCARE QUOTES

I must admit, I probably overuse scare quotes in this blog. Scare quotes are quotation marks placed around a word or phrase implying a non-standard usage. Yes, a “non-standard” usage …

23 Common email attachment type : PDF

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format introduced by Adobe Systems in 1993. PDF documents can be shared between users and read using many different applications and platforms, making them more universally accessible than documents saved by one particular program.

25 Alternatives to Macs : PCS

The original IBM Personal Computer is model number 5150, which was introduced to the world on August 12, 1981. The term “personal computer” was already in use, but the success of the IBM 5150 led to the term “PC” being used for all computer products compatible with the IBM platform.

26 Golf peg : TEE

A tee is a small device on which, say, a golf ball is placed before striking it. The term “tee” comes from the Scottish “teaz”, which described little heaps of sand used to elevate a golf ball for the purpose of getting a clean hit with a club.

28 Shampoo brand with a “sassy” name : PERT

Back in the 1760s, the verb “to shampoo” was an Anglo-Indian word meaning “to massage”. A century later we started to shampoo our hair.

33 “Moonlight” actor Mahershala : ALI

Mahershala Ali is an actor and sometime rapper. Among the more memorable roles Ali has had are lobbyist Remy Danton in TV’s “House of Cards”, and Colonel Boggs in “The Hunger Games” series of movies. He also won Best Supporting Actor Oscars for playing Juan in the 2016 drama “Moonlight”, and Dr. Don Shirley in 2018’s “Green Book”.

“Moonlight” is a 2016 semi-autobiographical film based on an unpublished play by Tarell Alvin McCraney titled “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue”. “Moonlight” won the season’s Best Picture Oscar, thus becoming the first film to do so with an all-black cast, and the first with an LGBT storyline.

41 Michelangelo sculpture whose name means “compassion” : PIETA

The Pietà is a representation of the Virgin Mary holding in her arms the dead body of her son Jesus. The most famous Pietà is undoubtedly the sculpted rendition by Michelangelo that is located in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. That particular sculpture is thought to be the only work that Michelangelo signed. In some depictions of the Pietà, Mary and her son are surrounded by other figures from the New Testament. Such depictions are known as Lamentations.

43 Mail that cannot be delivered or returned : DEAD LETTERS

Dead letter mail is undeliverable, cannot be delivered to the addressee nor returned to the sender. Here in the US, once a letter has been deemed undeliverable, postal workers are permitted to violate the principle of secrecy of correspondence in an attempt to track down the letter’s origin or destination.

47 Helios, in Greek myth : SUN GOD

Helios was the god of the Sun in Greek mythology, and is the reason that we use the prefix “helio-” to mean “sun”. He was the brother of Selene, the goddess of the moon, and Eos, the goddess of the dawn. Helios drove his chariot of the sun across the sky during the day, returning to the East at night by traveling through the ocean. The Roman equivalent to Helios was Sol.

48 Chest muscles, for short : PECS

“Pecs” is the familiar name for the chest muscle, which is more correctly known as the pectoralis major muscle. “Pectus” is the Latin word for “breast, chest”.

50 Japanese currency : YEN

The Japanese yen is the third-most traded currency in the world, after the US dollar and the euro.

51 One shells out for it at Shell : GAS

Royal Dutch Shell is the fourth largest company in the world in terms of revenue (Walmart is the largest) and is headquartered in the Hague, in the Netherlands. The company was formed in 1907 with the merger of the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company and Shell Transport and Trading company of the UK. The two companies merged in order to compete globally with the biggest US oil company of the day, John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil. Shell Oil Company is a US-based subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell that is headquartered in Houston, Texas.

53 Peabody or Pulitzer : AWARD

The Peabody Awards have been presented annually since 1941 to individuals and organizations for excellence in broadcasting. They are named for businessman and philanthropist George Foster Peabody, who provided the funds to establish the awards program.

Pulitzer Prizes are awarded annually for achievements in journalism, literature and musical composition. The prize was established back in 1917 by the Hungarian-American newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer. Pulitzer left money in his will for the prize, and for its administration by Columbia University.

57 Instagram upload, informally : PIC

Instagram (often abbreviated to “Insta”) is a photo-sharing application, one that is extremely popular. Instagram started in San Francisco in 2010. Facebook purchased Instagram two years later, paying $1 billion. The billion-dollar Instagram company had just 13 employees at the time of the sale …

64 Like a pirouetting ballet dancer : ON TOE

We took our word “pirouette” directly from French, in which language it has the same meaning, i.e. a rotation in dancing. “Pirouette” is also the French word for “spinning top”.

66 Zap, as a cornea : LASE

LASIK surgery uses a laser to reshape the cornea of the eye to improve vision. The LASIK acronym stands for “laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis”.

The cornea is the transparent part of the eye in the front, and the part that covers the iris and the pupil. Even though the cornea is not part of the eye’s lens, it acts as a lens. In fact, the cornea does most of the work focusing light coming in through the eye. It is, in effect, a fixed-focus lens passing on light to the variable-focus lens that is inside the eye.

67 Stuck-up sort : SNOOT

“Snoot” is a variant of “snout”, and is a word that originated in Scotland. The idea is that someone who is snooty, or “snouty”, tends to look down his or her nose at the rest of the world.

68 Cupid’s Greek counterpart : EROS

The name of Eros, the Greek god of love, gives rise to our word “erotic” meaning “arousing sexual desire”. Eros was referred to in Latin as both “Amor” (meaning “love”) and “Cupid” (meaning “desire”).

70 Nobles outranking viscounts : EARLS

In Britain, there are five ranks of peers. They are duke, marquess, earl, viscount and baron, in descending order.

71 Seven “deadly” things : SINS

The cardinal sins of Christian ethics are also known as the seven deadly sins. The seven sins are:

  • Wrath
  • Greed
  • Sloth
  • Pride
  • Lust
  • Envy
  • Gluttony

Down

1 The brainy bunch? : MENSA

Mensa is a high-IQ society that was founded in Oxford, England in 1946. The founders were two lawyers: Australian Roland Berrill and Englishman Lancelot Ware. Apparently, the elitist founders were unhappy with the development of Mensa, given that most members came from the working and lower classes.

3 The ___ & the Papas : MAMAS

The folk group called the Magic Circle renamed itself to the Mamas and the Papas in the early sixties. Sadly, the Mamas and the Papas weren’t a happy bunch, always fighting over who was getting credit for songs and whose voice was getting mixed out of recordings, so they split up, twice. While they were together though, they wrote and recorded some great songs, songs which really do epitomize the sound of the sixties. “Monday, Monday” was written by John Phillips, one of “the Papas”, and it was to become the only number one hit for the group. Here’s a shocker … when it hit number one in 1966, it was the first time that a group made up of both sexes topped the American charts!

5 N.B.A. great O’Neal, to fans : SHAQ

Retired basketball player Shaquille O’Neal now appears regularly as an analyst on the NBA TV show “Inside the NBA”. Shaq has quite a career in the entertainment world. His first rap album, called “Shaq Diesel”, went platinum. He also starred in two of his own reality shows: “Shaq’s Big Challenge” and “Shaq Vs.”

7 For a specific purpose, as a committee : AD HOC

The Latin phrase “ad hoc” means “for this purpose”. An ad hoc committee, for example, is formed for a specific purpose and disbanded after making its final report.

9 Gaelic dialect : ERSE

There are actually three Erse languages: Irish, Manx (spoken on the Isle of Man) and Scots Gaelic. In their own tongues, these would be “Gaeilge” (in Ireland), “Gaelg” (on the Isle of Man) and “Gaidhlig” (in Scotland).

11 “To Kill a Mockingbird” novelist : HARPER LEE

Nelle Harper Lee was an author from Monroeville, Alabama. For many years, Lee had only one published novel to her name, i.e. “To Kill a Mockingbird”. That contribution to the world of literature was enough to earn her the Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Pulitzer Prize. Harper Lee was a close friend of fellow author Truman Capote who was the inspiration for the character named “Dill” in her novel. Lee was all over the news in 2015 as she had published a second novel, titled “Go Set a Watchman”. The experts seem to be agreeing that “Go Set a Watchman” is actually the first draft of “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Lee passed away less than a year after “Go Set a Watchman” hit the stores.

12 Roman poet who wrote “Love will enter cloaked in friendship’s name” : OVID

The Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso is known today simply as Ovid. Ovid is usually listed alongside the two other great Roman poets: Horace and Virgil. Although he was immensely popular during his own lifetime, Ovid spent the last ten years of his life in exile. He fell foul of Emperor Augustus and so was banished to Tomis, an island in the Black Sea. What led to this disfavor seems to have been lost in the mists of time.

13 Like most Gallaudet University students : DEAF

Gallaudet University is a private school in Washington, D.C. that is focused on the education of the deaf and hard of hearing. Gallaudet was founded in 1864 and is officially a bilingual institution, with classes held in both English and American sign language (ASL).

22 Sight on the Hollywood Walk of Fame : STAR

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a series of sidewalks taking up 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and 3 blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood. The Walk of Fame is an ever-changing monument dedicated to those who have achieved greatness in the entertainment industry, both in front of and behind the camera. The first stars installed in the sidewalk were a group of eight, officially laid in 1960. That group consisted of:

  • Joanne Woodward (actor)
  • Olive Borden (actor)
  • Ronald Colman (actor)
  • Louise Fazenda (actor)
  • Preston Foster (actor)
  • Burt Lancaster (actor)
  • Edward Sedgwick (director)
  • Ernest Torrence (actor)

29 Lassoed : ROPED

Our English word “lasso” comes from the Spanish “lazo”, and ultimately from the Latin “laqueum” meaning “noose, snare”.

30 Words of empathy : I CARE

“Sympathy” and “empathy” are related but different terms. A person exhibiting sympathy acknowledges another person’s emotional distress. A person exhibiting empathy also acknowledges distress, but understands the emotions felt as they have had a similar experience, or can at least put themselves in the shoes of the person affected.

31 Pizazz : ELAN

Pizazz (also “pizzazz”) is energy, vitality. There’s a kind of cool thing about the “pizzazz” spelling, namely that it is the only 7-letter word in English that cannot be played in Scrabble. You can get close by using the Z-tile with the two blank tiles to get to three of the required four Zs, but there’s no way to get to the fourth Z.

32 Founded: Abbr. : ESTD

Established (“est.” or “estd.”)

34 “In ___ of gifts …” (line on an invitation) : LIEU

As one might imagine perhaps, “in lieu” came into English from the Old French word “lieu” meaning “place”, which in turn is derived from the Latin “locum” that also means “place”. So, “in lieu” translates as “in place of”.

45 Surgical souvenir : SCAR

A souvenir is a memento, a token of remembrance. We imported “souvenir” from French, in which language it has the same meaning. The term comes from the Latin “subvenire” meaning “to come to mind”, or literally “to come up”.

49 ___ right (shows interest on Tinder) : SWIPES

Many apps on phones are now using “swipe right” and “swipe left” actions to indicate “like” and dislike”. I suppose Tinder is the most famous “swipe right/swipe left” app in use today.

51 “Never ___ Give You Up” (Rick Astley tune) : GONNA

Rick Astley is an English singer best known for his 1987 worldwide hit “Never Gonna Give You Up”. He retired in 1993 but became a huge hit on the Internet in 2007 when a YouTube video of “Never Gonna Give You Up” was chosen by tricksters as a link (labeled as something else) that was sent around the world so that the clip was seen by millions online. The phenomenon was given the name “Rickrolling”. With all the new exposure that the song received Astley made a whopping $12 in royalties from YouTube. Yep, 12 whole dollars.

52 Actress Mary of “The Maltese Falcon” : ASTOR

Mary Astor was an American actress who is best remembered perhaps for playing Brigid O’Shaughnessy in 1941’s “The Maltese Falcon” opposite Humphrey Bogart. As well as being an Oscar-winning actress, Mary Astor was also the author of five novels and a best-selling autobiography.

The classic detective novel “The Maltese Falcon” was written by Dashiell Hammett and first published in 1930. The main character is Sam Spade, a character played by Humphrey Bogart in the third movie adaptation of the book, a film of the same name and released in 1941.

54 Video game company behind Centipede : ATARI

Centipede is an arcade game from Atari (it is my favorite!). The game was designed by Ed Logg and Dona Bailey, with Bailey being one of the few female game designers back then (it was released in 1980). Perhaps due to her influence, Centipede was the first arcade game to garner a significant female following.

55 Scout’s mission, in brief : RECON

A reconnaissance (recon) is a preliminary survey carried out to gather information. The term “reconnaissance” came into English in the early 19th century from French, from which language it translates literally as “recognition”.

56 Cover in bandages or vinaigrette, say : DRESS

A vinaigrette is a mixture of oil with an acid such as vinegar or lemon juice. A traditional mixture of 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar forms a stable emulsion that is commonly used as a salad dressing. The term “vinaigrette” is a diminutive form of the French word “vinaigre” (meaning “vinegar”). Back in the 1800s, such a mixture was referred to as “French dressing”, a term that has evolved to describe a creamy dressing in contemporary American cuisine.

58 Supersized movie format : IMAX

The IMAX Corporation, which is behind the IMAX film format, is a Canadian company. The impetus for developing the system came after Expo ’67 in Montreal. Back then large format screenings were accomplished using multiple projectors with multiple screens, with images basically stitched together. The team behind the IMAX technology set out to simplify things, and developed a single-camera, single-projector system.

60 Nylons : HOSE

The word “hose” meaning “covering for the leg” has the same roots as the contemporary German word “Hose” meaning “trousers, pants”.

The polymer known as “nylon” was developed by Dupont in the 1930s. The first application for the new product was as bristles in toothbrushes, in 1938. The second application became more famous. The first stockings made from nylon were produced in 1940, and since then stockings have been known as “nylons”. The polymer was developed as a replacement for silk, which was in short supply during WWII.

63 Octubre o noviembre : MES

In Spanish, there are quite a few “dias” (days) in a “mes” (month).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Viral internet joke, like “Grumpy Cat” : MEME
5 Trap : SNARE
10 Protected, as a horse’s hooves : SHOD
14 Bar ___ (lawyer’s hurdle) : EXAM
15 “Game of Thrones” servant : HODOR
16 Cover in blacktop, say : PAVE
17 Pixar’s “Finding ___” : NEMO
18 Friend of Porthos and Aramis in “The Three Musketeers” : ATHOS
19 Diva’s delivery : ARIA
20 Punctuation marks indicating irony : SCARE QUOTES
23 Common email attachment type : PDF
24 Evaluate, as ore : ASSAY
25 Alternatives to Macs : PCS
26 Golf peg : TEE
28 Shampoo brand with a “sassy” name : PERT
30 “Amen!” : I AGREE!
33 “Moonlight” actor Mahershala : ALI
36 Binges on bad news, in modern slang : DOOMSCROLLS
39 Wine and ___ : DINE
41 Michelangelo sculpture whose name means “compassion” : PIETA
42 Chair or bench : SEAT
43 Mail that cannot be delivered or returned : DEAD LETTERS
46 Come to a close : END
47 Helios, in Greek myth : SUN GOD
48 Chest muscles, for short : PECS
50 Japanese currency : YEN
51 One shells out for it at Shell : GAS
53 Peabody or Pulitzer : AWARD
57 Instagram upload, informally : PIC
59 Hired pen … or, punnily, the author of 20-, 36- and 43-Across? : GHOSTWRITER
62 Muslim prayer leader : IMAM
64 Like a pirouetting ballet dancer : ON TOE
65 Walk back and forth : PACE
66 Zap, as a cornea : LASE
67 Stuck-up sort : SNOOT
68 Cupid’s Greek counterpart : EROS
69 Former flames : EXES
70 Nobles outranking viscounts : EARLS
71 Seven “deadly” things : SINS

Down

1 The brainy bunch? : MENSA
2 V.I.P.s at the top of an org chart : EXECS
3 The ___ & the Papas : MAMAS
4 Hybrid hip-hop genre : EMO RAP
5 N.B.A. great O’Neal, to fans : SHAQ
6 Unable to handle the task : NOT UP TO IT
7 For a specific purpose, as a committee : AD HOC
8 Cheers (for) : ROOTS
9 Gaelic dialect : ERSE
10 Place for a facial : SPA
11 “To Kill a Mockingbird” novelist : HARPER LEE
12 Roman poet who wrote “Love will enter cloaked in friendship’s name” : OVID
13 Like most Gallaudet University students : DEAF
21 Sized up visually : EYED
22 Sight on the Hollywood Walk of Fame : STAR
27 Bigheaded people have big ones : EGOS
29 Lassoed : ROPED
30 Words of empathy : I CARE
31 Pizazz : ELAN
32 Founded: Abbr. : ESTD
33 Sums : ADDS
34 “In ___ of gifts …” (line on an invitation) : LIEU
35 “Be that as it may …” : IN ANY CASE …
37 Connected with : MET
38 Small child’s convenience for reaching a sink : STEP STOOL
40 Slight advantage : EDGE
44 Yearn (for) : LONG
45 Surgical souvenir : SCAR
49 ___ right (shows interest on Tinder) : SWIPES
51 “Never ___ Give You Up” (Rick Astley tune) : GONNA
52 Actress Mary of “The Maltese Falcon” : ASTOR
54 Video game company behind Centipede : ATARI
55 Scout’s mission, in brief : RECON
56 Cover in bandages or vinaigrette, say : DRESS
57 Heap : PILE
58 Supersized movie format : IMAX
60 Nylons : HOSE
61 Moistens : WETS
63 Octubre o noviembre : MES

4 thoughts on “1031-22 NY Times Crossword 31 Oct 22, Monday”

  1. 5:45. It’s Monday and it’s Halloween – a double whammy. I’m the Scrooge equivalent when it comes to Halloween. Not sure why. I’m just always glad when it’s over.

    I never knew the term SCARE QUOTES but obviously know what they are. I always thought they were grammatically incorrect, but everything I could find simply says they shouldn’t be overused and are not recommended. But if they are technically grammatically correct, why would they be frowned upon?

    Also didn’t know the term DEAD LETTER. I guess that’s post office lingo.

    Best –

  2. 7:55 another Monday that makes me feel competent at crosswords, a feeling which is demolished at the end of the week.

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