0130-24 NY Times Crossword 30 Jan 24, Tuesday

Constructed by: Freddie Cheng
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Think Tanks

If we THINK “TANKS”, we come up with alternative clues for the themed answers:

  • 63A Bodies of advisory experts … or, when reinterpreted as an imperative, a hint to 17-, 24-, 38- and 52-Across : THINK TANKS … or THINK “TANKS”
  • 17A Is sound in principle : HOLDS WATER
  • 24A Weaponry on wheels : COMBAT VEHICLE
  • 38A Plummets precipitously : DROPS LIKE A STONE
  • 52A Garment that may have spaghetti straps : SLEEVELESS TOP

Bill’s time: 6m 42s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Fitzgerald with nine recordings in the Grammy Hall of Fame : ELLA

Ella Fitzgerald, the “First Lady of Song”, made her real stage debut at the Apollo Theater in Harlem on Amatuer Night when she was just 17 years old. She had intended to perform a dance routine, but decided to sing instead after seeing a superior dance act. She won the Amatuer Night competition.

9 “At Last” singer James : ETTA

The 1942 song “At Last” was written for the 1941 musical film “Sun Valley Serenade” in which it is performed by Glenn Miller and his orchestra. Etta James recorded a version of “At Last” in 1960, after which it became her signature song.

13 Toss-up at a football game? : COIN

The two sides of a coin are known as the “obverse” and the “reverse”. The obverse is commonly referred to as “heads”, as it often depicts someone’s head. The reverse is commonly called “tails”, as it is the opposite of “heads”.

14 Manga genre involving giant robots : MECHA

The term “mecha” was coined in Japan to describe both fictional and real-life giant robots that are controlled by humans. Even though the term originated in Japan, it is a shortening of an English loanword, “mechanical”.

20 Poker variant that, despite its name, did not originate in Nebraska : OMAHA

Omaha is a poker card game similar to Texas hold ‘em. The two games differ in that there are four initial hole cards per player in Omaha, as opposed to just two in Texas hold ’em. And in Omaha, each player’s hand is made up of exactly three cards from the board and exactly two of the player’s own cards.

23 Turner in a historic rebellion : NAT

Nat Turner was a slave in Virginia who led a slave rebellion in 1831 that led to the deaths of over a hundred people. Half of the casualties were white,and half were black. The 55 white deaths took place on the day of the rebellion as a growing mob of slaves traveled from house-to-house freeing fellow slaves but also killing any white people they came across; men, women and children. The rebellion was suppressed within two days by a white militia. Slaves involved in the rebellion were tried for insurrection and related crimes, and a total of 56 blacks were executed on suspicion of involvement in the uprising. In the aftermath, life for slaves became even more difficult as any freedoms that they had earned were largely curtailed.

24 Weaponry on wheels : COMBAT VEHICLE

During WWI, First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill formed the Landship Committee to oversee development of armored fighting vehicles. The vehicles in development were referred to using the codeword “tank” for secrecy. Within a few months, the committee was renamed to the “Tank Supply Committee”. The codeword eventually became the overt name for the weapon.

35 Sound coming from a bay? : NEIGH

Bay is a reddish-brown color. The term “bay” usually describes the coat of a horse, or a horse with a coat of such a color.

38 Plummets precipitously : DROPS LIKE A STONE

To plummet is to plunge downwards. The verb comes from the noun “plummet”, which is an alternative name for a plumb bob. A plumb bob is a weight that is suspended from a string so as to provide a vertical reference line.

43 Singer Washington with three recordings in the Grammy Hall of Fame : DINAH

“Dinah Washington” was the stage name of the blues and jazz singer Ruth Lee Jones. When she was once performing at the celebrated London Palladium, she announced (with Queen Elizabeth II sitting in the Royal Box), “There is but one Heaven, one Hell, one queen, and your Elizabeth is an impostor.” That would have created a bit of a stir …

46 Doolittle of “My Fair Lady” : ELIZA

Eliza Doolittle is Professor Henry Higgins’ speech student in George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion”. “Pygmalion” was adapted by Lerner and Loewe to become the Broadway musical “My Fair Lady”. The musical spun off the wonderful 1964 film of the same name starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison. To cockney Eliza Doolittle, Professor Henry Higgins was “‘Enry ‘Iggins”.

49 Bourbon order specification : NEAT

Bourbon is a whiskey made here in North America, with the primary ingredient being corn. Production of the whiskey has for centuries been associated with Bourbon County in Kentucky, which gave its name to the drink.

52 Garment that may have spaghetti straps : SLEEVELESS TOP

“Tank top” is another one of those terms that always catches me out, as it has a different meaning on each side of the Atlantic. In the US, a tank top is a sleeveless shirt, something we would call a “vest” back in Ireland (and the US “vest” is what we call a “waistcoat”). A tank top in Ireland is a sleeveless sweater, which further adds to the confusion. The name “tank top” is derived from “tank suit”, an old name for a woman’s one-piece bathing suit. The use of “tank” for the bathing suit came from “swimming tank”, an obsolete term used in the 1920s for a swimming pool.

63 Bodies of advisory experts … or, when reinterpreted as an imperative, a hint to 17-, 24-, 38- and 52-Across : THINK TANKS … or THINK “TANKS”

A think tank is a research institute. The use of the term “think tank” dates back to 1959, and apparently was first used to describe the Center for Behavioral Sciences in Palo Alto, California.

67 Witch trials town : SALEM

The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings held in 1692 and 1693 in colonial Massachusetts, most famously in Salem. As a result of mass hysteria, twenty people were convicted of practicing witchcraft and were executed. The events were deemed to be a terrible injustice almost immediately. As early as 1696, there was a legal ruling by the Massachusetts General Court that referred to the outcome of the trials as a tragedy. In 2001, the Massachusetts legislature officially exonerated all of those convicted.

68 Termite-resistant hardwood : TEAK

Termites are insects that are somewhat unique in that they can digest cellulose (as can ruminants such as cattle). Because of this diet, they cause a lot of trouble for human populations by feeding on wood in man-made structures.

69 Gumbo or goulash : STEW

Gumbo is a type of stew or soup that originated in Louisiana. The primary ingredient can be meat or fish, but to be true gumbo it must include the “holy trinity” of vegetables, namely celery, bell peppers and onion. Okra used to be a requirement but this is no longer the case. Okra gave the dish its name as the vernacular word for the African vegetable is “okingumbo”, from the Bantu language spoken by many of the slaves brought to America.

Goulash is a soup or stew that is seasoned with spices, especially paprika. It is a national dish of Hungary, and the term “goulash” comes from the Hungarian word “gulyás”, which actually translates as “herdsman”. The original goulash was a meat dish prepared by herdsmen.

Down

3 Shade close to lavender : LILAC

The ornamental flowering plant known as lilac is native to the Balkans, and is a member of the olive family. The name “lilac” comes from the Persian word “lilaq,” which means “flower.”

5 X Series carmaker : BMW

The initialism “BMW” stands for “Bayerische Motoren Werke”, which translates into Bavarian Motor Works. BMW was making aircraft engines during WWI, but had to cease that activity according to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. The company then started making motorcycles, and moved into automobile production starting in 1928. BMW moved back into aircraft engine manufacturing during the build-up of the Luftwaffe prior to WWII.

6 Stephen of “The Crying Game” : REA

Stephen Rea is an actor from Belfast, Northern Ireland. His most successful role was Fergus in 1992’s “The Crying Game”, for which performance he was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar. In “The Crying Game”, Fergus was a member of the IRA. In real life, Rea was married to IRA bomber and hunger striker Dolours Price at the time he made the movie.

“The Crying Game” is a fascinating film that made quite a splash when it was released in 1992. Although it was set in Ireland and the UK, it didn’t do well in cinemas in either country yet made a lot of money over here in the US. I think the politics of the movie were a bit raw for Irish and UK audiences back then. It’s an unusual plot, blending Irish political issues with some raw sexuality questions.

8 Put aside for a while : SHELVE

These “tabling” and “shelving” idioms drive me crazy, because they are often misused. If a topic is shelved, it is set aside. If a topic is tabled, it is brought “off the shelf” and put “on the table” for discussion. I know that language evolves, but I think that it should at least make sense …

27 Rapper/actor on “Law & Order: SVU” : 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.

36 Ungulate found backward in “ungulate” : GNU

The gnu is also known as the wildebeest, and is an antelope native to Africa. “Wildebeest” is a Dutch word meaning “wild beast”.

Ungulates are hoofed animals. “Ungulate” comes from the Latin “ungula” meaning “hoof” or “claw”, which in turn comes from “unguis” meaning “nail”.

40 Hindu god of destruction : SHIVA

Shiva (also “Siva”) is one of the major deities of the Hindu tradition, and is known as the destroyer of evil and the transformer. Shiva is also part of the Hindu trinity known as the Trimurti, along with Brahma and Vishnu.

41 Galactic time spans : EONS

Geologic time is divided into a number of units of varying lengths. These are, starting from the largest:

  • supereon
  • eon (also “aeon”)
  • era
  • period
  • epoch
  • age

48 They may come with big waves in Waikiki : ALOHAS

Waikiki is a neighborhood of Honolulu that is home to the famous Waikiki Beach. The name “Waikiki” means “spouting fresh water” in Hawaiian.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Fitzgerald with nine recordings in the Grammy Hall of Fame : ELLA
5 Frat dudes : BROS
9 “At Last” singer James : ETTA
13 Toss-up at a football game? : COIN
14 Manga genre involving giant robots : MECHA
16 ___ well done (good work) : A JOB
17 Is sound in principle : HOLDS WATER
19 Yellowfin or albacore : TUNA
20 Poker variant that, despite its name, did not originate in Nebraska : OMAHA
21 Stately trees : ELMS
23 Turner in a historic rebellion : NAT
24 Weaponry on wheels : COMBAT VEHICLE
28 Gradually withdraw (from) : WEAN
29 Pronouncement : EDICT
30 Div. in the N.H.L.’s Eastern Conference : ATL
33 “___ a date!” : IT’S
35 Sound coming from a bay? : NEIGH
38 Plummets precipitously : DROPS LIKE A STONE
43 Singer Washington with three recordings in the Grammy Hall of Fame : DINAH
44 Cry after being shocked : YOW!
45 Woman with a habit : NUN
46 Doolittle of “My Fair Lady” : ELIZA
49 Bourbon order specification : NEAT
52 Garment that may have spaghetti straps : SLEEVELESS TOP
56 Lead-in to pod : PEA …
57 From : AS OF
58 Simpleton : IDIOT
61 What might be found in nesting boxes : EGGS
63 Bodies of advisory experts … or, when reinterpreted as an imperative, a hint to 17-, 24-, 38- and 52-Across : THINK TANKS … or THINK “TANKS”
66 Sly trick : WILE
67 Witch trials town : SALEM
68 Termite-resistant hardwood : TEAK
69 Gumbo or goulash : STEW
70 Solidifies : SETS
71 “Scooping since 1928” brand : EDY’S

Down

1 Fading repetition : ECHO
2 Weaving machine : LOOM
3 Shade close to lavender : LILAC
4 “That’s for sure!” : AND HOW!
5 X Series carmaker : BMW
6 Stephen of “The Crying Game” : REA
7 Four duos : OCTET
8 Put aside for a while : SHELVE
9 Gobble : EAT
10 Three-way road layout : T-JUNCTION
11 Not musically dissonant, say : TONAL
12 Lessen : ABATE
15 Packing heat : ARMED
18 “Ditto” : SAME
22 Padded parts in soccer : SHINS
25 Something a person in jail might make : BAIL
26 Not for : ANTI
27 Rapper/actor on “Law & Order: SVU” : ICE-T
30 Make sense, with “up” : ADD …
31 Lead-in to -pod : TRI-
32 High-flying metaphor for independence : LONE EAGLE
34 ___-high : SKY
36 Ungulate found backward in “ungulate” : GNU
37 Layer of 61-Across : HEN
39 Washed out : PALE
40 Hindu god of destruction : SHIVA
41 Galactic time spans : EONS
42 Really impresses : AWES
47 Citrus peel scrapings : ZESTS
48 They may come with big waves in Waikiki : ALOHAS
50 “Look ___ this way …” : AT IT
51 Until now : TO DATE
52 Gushes : SPEWS
53 On the up and up : LEGIT
54 Taxpaying option : E-FILE
55 Yearned (for) : PINED
59 What a check mark may signify : OKAY
60 Disapproving tongue clicks : TSKS
62 Work with thread : SEW
64 Souvenir for a basketball team : NET
65 E.U. distance units : KMS

8 thoughts on “0130-24 NY Times Crossword 30 Jan 24, Tuesday”

  1. 8:08, no errors. Last night, when I tried to use the NYT crossword app on my iPad, it told me that I had been “unsubscribed”. So I went to the main NYT web site, where I was still treated as “subscribed” and ended up doing the puzzle there, but it was a bit awkward, as the solver behaved differently. Then, I went back to the app on my iPad and muddled about until things seemed to have returned to normal. Disconcerting … 😳.

  2. 11:06. Had to think more than I’d hoped in order to finish this. My attention was a bit divided. Still hard for a Tuesday IMO.

    First puzzle I can remember with both ELLA and ETTA in it. But no OREO??

    I didn’t know TEAK was termite resistant. I’ve had some TEAK furniture outside for about 10 years. Still going strong.

    Best –

    1. Think of the value of something like the stock market ‘dropping like a stone’, we would say it was ‘tanking’.

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