0708-24 NY Times Crossword 8 Jul 24, Monday

Constructed by: Daniel Bodily & Andrea Carla Michaels
Edited by: Joel Fagliano

Today’s Reveal Answer: What a Racket!

Themed answers each end with a synonym of “RACKET”:

  • 60A “Boy, is that loud!” … or a hint to the ends of 17-, 25-, 38- and 49-Across : WHAT A RACKET!
  • 17A Decorator’s suggestion : COLOR SCHEME
  • 25A Gathering for superhero fans : COMIC-CON
  • 38A Kickflip or heelflip, for example : SKATEBOARD TRICK
  • 49A Hazard near a hive : BEESTING

Bill’s time: 5m 27s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 Comedian Poundstone : PAULA

Paula Poundstone is a stand-up comedian who grew up in Sudbury, Massachusetts. She is a regular panelist on the NPR weekly news quiz show “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me”. I had the privilege of seeing Poundstone performing in local theaters several times over the years, and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

11 “Eureka!” or “Ouch!” : CRY

“Eureka” translates from Greek as “I have found it”. The word is usually associated with Archimedes, uttered as he stepped into his bath one day. His discovery was that the volume of water that was displaced was equal to that of the object (presumably his foot) that had been submerged. He used this fact to determine volume (and density) of a crown, something he needed in order to determine if it was made of pure gold or was a forgery.

14 Farewell, in France : ADIEU

“Adieu” is French for “goodbye, farewell”, from “à Dieu” meaning “to God” The plural of “adieu” is “adieux”.

19 Actress Thurman of “Pulp Fiction” : UMA

Uma Thurman started her working career as a fashion model, at the age of 15. She appeared in her first movies at 17, with her most acclaimed early role being Cécile de Volanges in 1988’s “Dangerous Liaisons”. Thurman’s career really took off when she played the gangster’s moll Mia in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” in 1994. My favorite of all Thurman’s movies is “The Truth About Cats & Dogs”, a less acclaimed romcom released in 1996. She took a few years off from acting from 1998 until 2002 following the birth of her first child. It was Tarantino who relaunched her career, giving her the lead in the “Kill Bill” films.

I’m not a big fan of director Quentin Tarantino, nor his work. His movies are too violent for me, and the size of his ego just turns me right off. Having said that, I think “Pulp Fiction” is a remarkable film. If you can look past the violence, it’s really well written. And what a legacy it has. John Travolta’s career was on the rocks and he did the film for practically no money, and it turned out to be a re-launch for him. Uma Thurman became a top celebrity overnight from her role. Even Bruce Willis got some good out of it, putting an end to a string of poorly-received performances.

21 Currency of Mexico : PESO

The peso is used in many Spanish-speaking countries around the world. The coin originated in Spain where the word “peso” means “weight”. The original peso was what we know in English as a “piece of eight”, a silver coin of a specific weight that had a nominal value of eight “reales”.

24 Garment that usually clasps in the back : BRA

The first modern bra was invented by a New York socialite named Mary Phelps Jacob in 1913. Jacob was looking for a more comfortable and fashionable alternative to the corsets that were then commonly worn, and she fashioned a bra using two handkerchiefs and some ribbon. She later patented her invention, which she called the “Backless Brassiere.”

25 Gathering for superhero fans : COMIC-CON

San Diego’s Comic-Con was founded in 1970 as the Golden State Comic Book Convention. Held over four days each summer, I hear it is the largest show in North America.

28 Calf-length slacks : CAPRIS

Capri pants first became popular on the island of Capri, apparently. They were invented in Europe in 1948, but only became stylish in the US in the sixties. Mary Tyler Moore often wore Capri pants on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and to some extent she sparked a fashion trend. After a lull in the seventies and eighties there was a resurgence in sales after Uma Thurman wore them (and danced in them) in “Pulp Fiction”.

31 Capital city of Western Australia : PERTH

Perth is the capital city of Western Australia. Perth earned itself the nickname of “City of Light” in 1962 as virtually all the town’s lights were turned on at full power when astronaut John Glenn passed overhead in earth orbit in Friendship 7, so that he could see the city below. The city gave a repeat performance for Glenn in 1998 when he passed overhead in the Space Shuttle in 1998.

Western Australia is the largest of the nation’s six states. It is also the second-largest of any of the world’s subnational governing bodies, second only to Russia’s Sakha Republic. Western Australia is over 50% larger than the state of Alaska, and almost 4 times the size of Texas.

35 “___ Te Ching” : TAO

Lao Tse (also “Lao-Tzu”, “Laozi”) was a central figure in the development of the religion/philosophy of Taoism. Tradition holds that Lao-Tzu wrote the “Tao Te Ching”, a classical Chinese text that is fundamental to the philosophy of Taoism.

38 Kickflip or heelflip, for example : SKATEBOARD TRICK

The activity of skateboarding emerged in California in the fifties. Enthusiasts made their own boards, by attaching roller skates to boards. Back then, skateboarding was referred to as “sidewalk surfing”.

43 Taj Mahal’s city : AGRA

The Taj Mahal in Agra, India is a magnificent marble mausoleum. It was built in the mid-17th century by the fifth Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died while giving birth to her 14th child in 1631. When Shah Jahan himself died in 1666, he was buried in the Taj Mahal, alongside his wife.

44 Father of Bart, Lisa and Maggie : HOMER

“The Simpsons” is one of the most successful programs produced by the Fox Broadcasting Company. Homer Simpson’s catchphrase is “D’oh!”, which became such a famous exclamation that it has been included in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) since 2001. “D’oh!” can be translated as “I should have thought of that!”

45 Say “cheese” for the 48-Across : SMILE

Photographers often instruct us to say “cheese” to elicit a smile-like expression. Even Japanese photographers use the word “cheese” to achieve the same effect. Bulgarians use the word “zele” meaning “cabbage”. The Chinese say “eggplant”, the Danish “orange”, the Iranians “apple” and many Latin Americans say “whiskey”.

48 Shutterbug’s device : CAMERA

A shutterbug is an enthusiastic amateur photographer, someone who likes to hear the click of that shutter, someone like me …

49 Hazard near a hive : BEESTING

A beehive is a structure specially built to house a colony of bees. A bee colony that houses itself naturally is found in a nest.

53 Pants that are often blue : JEANS

The French phrase “bleu de Gênes” (blue of Genoa) gives us our word “jeans”.

64 City that’s home to Copacabana Beach, familiarly : RIO

Copacabana is a neighborhood in the city of Rio de Janeiro that is home to a famous (and much-used) beach. The neighborhood is named for a chapel there, dedicated to the Virgen de Copacabana (Our Lady of Copacabana). The Virgen de Copacabana is the patron saint of Bolivia, with the original Copacabana being a Bolivian town located on the southeastern shore of Lake Titicaca.

67 “Jeopardy!” host Jennings : KEN

On the game show “Jeopardy!”, Ken Jennings holds the record for longest winning streak, winning 74 episodes in a row, and amassing over $2.5 million. Brad Rutter holds the record for the highest winnings in cash and prizes overall, and has won over $5 million. The record holder for lifetime winnings by a woman is held by Larissa Kelly, who brought home over $650,000.

Down

2 Skunk’s defense : ODOR

Skunks have anal scent glands that can be used as defensive weapons. The glands produce sulfur-containing chemicals that have a really awful smell and that can irritate the eyes and skin.

3 Flower in an Easter bouquet : LILY

The Easter lily has distinctive trumpet-shaped, white flowers. The plant gets its name from its use as a symbol in Christian traditions, symbolizing the resurrection of Christ at Easter.

7 Created 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 Hasty escape : LAM

To be on the lam is to be in flight, to have escaped from prison. “On the lam” is American slang that originated at the end of the 19th century. The word “lam” also means “beat” or “thrash”, as in “lambaste”. So “on the lam” might derive from the phrase “to beat it, scram”.

12 Titular Shakespearean teenager : ROMEO

In Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, it is explicitly stated that Juliet is 13 years of age, and the assumption is that Romeo is perhaps a little older.

18 Blue expanses on maps : SEAS

The phrase “the seven seas” has been used for centuries by many different peoples. The actual definition of what constitutes the collection of seven has varied depending on the period and the culture. Nowadays we consider the seven largest bodies of water as the seven seas, namely:

  • The North Pacific Ocean
  • The South Pacific Ocean
  • The North Atlantic Ocean
  • The South Atlantic Ocean
  • The Indian Ocean
  • The Southern Ocean
  • The Arctic Ocean

26 Puccini’s “La Rondine” or “Turandot” : OPERA

Giacomo Puccini was an Italian composer who was famous for his operas that are so often performed all over the world. Included in the list of his works are “La bohème”, “Tosca”, “Madama Butterfly” and “Turandot”. Puccini died in Brussels, Belgium in 1924 having suffered from throat cancer. An audience attending a performance of “La bohème” in Rome heard of the composer’s death in the middle of the performance. At the news, the opera was stopped, and the orchestra instead played Chopin’s “Funeral March”.

29 Synagogue chests : ARKS

The Torah ark is found in a synagogue, and is the ornamental container in which the Torah scrolls are stored. The word “Torah” best translates as “teaching” or “law”. The Torah ark is referred to as the “Aron Kodesh” in Hebrew, meaning “Holy Ark”.

33 Actor Seth of “Superbad” : ROGEN

“Superbad” is a comedy movie released in 2007. The script for the film was written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Rogen and Goldberg started work on the script when they were just thirteen years old, with the first draft being completed by the time they were fifteen.

34 Mr. Potato Head attachment : EAR

Mr. Potato Head (now just “Potato Head”) is an enduring and popular toy that has been around since its invention by George Lerner in 1949. In its original form, the toy was a collection of eyes, ears, and other facial features that were designed to be stuck into a real potato. Mr. Potato Head also has the distinction of being the first toy ever to be advertised on television.

37 Vegetable in Creole cuisine : OKRA

Here in North America, we tend to associate Creole cuisine with Louisiana. However, the term “Creole cuisine” applies to several areas of the world, areas within the reach of the French, Portuguese and Spanish colonial empires. One definition of Creole culture refers to peoples of European origin, born in the New World, and who have integrated with local cultures. As a result, we encounter a variety of Creole-named cuisines beyond Louisiana, in places like Cuba, Brazil, Peru, Jamaica, Réunion and Cape Verde. All the variations share a leaning towards spiciness, the use of simpler techniques in preparing the food (stewing, frying, etc.), and the use of local products in traditional European dishes.

39 “___ Ha’i” (“South Pacific” song) : BALI

The song “Bali Ha’i” is from the musical “South Pacific” by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Bali Ha’i is the name of a volcanic island that neighbors the island on which the story takes place. The matriarch of Bali Ha’i is a character named Bloody Mary, and it is Bloody Mary who sings the song in the musical.

40 Where things can be bought with baht : THAILAND

The baht is the currency of Thailand. One baht is subdivided into 100 satang.

46 Yahoo competitor : MSN

Jerry Yang and David Filo called their company “Yahoo!” for two reasons. Firstly, a Yahoo is a rude unsophisticated brute from Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels”. Secondly, Yahoo stands for “Yet another Hierarchical Officious Oracle”.

49 One-named singer from Iceland : BJORK

Björk is a rather eccentric singer-songwriter from Iceland who is a big hit in the UK in particular. Björk is the daughter of a nationally-recognized union leader in her home country.

56 Fuzzy part of a kiwi : SKIN

What we call kiwifruit today (and sometimes just “kiwi”) used to be called a Chinese gooseberry. Marketing folks in the fifties decided to call it a “melonette”, and then New Zealand producers adopted the name “kiwifruit”.

58 Salt Lake City collegians : UTES

The Runnin’ Utes are the basketball team of the University of Utah. The team was given the nickname the Runnin’ Redskins back when Jack Gardner was the head coach from 1953 to 1971. The “Runnin’” part of the name was chosen because Gardner was famous for playing quick offenses. The “Redskins” name was later dropped in favor of the less controversial “Utes”.

63 Dove’s sound : COO

Taxonomically, doves and pigeons are the only members of the order Columbidae. The terms “dove” and “pigeon” are often used interchangeably. Scientifically speaking, dove species tend to be smaller than pigeon species. Colloquially though, many refer to doves as the white or nearly white species in the family.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Surveys of public opinion : POLLS
6 Comedian Poundstone : PAULA
11 “Eureka!” or “Ouch!” : CRY
14 Farewell, in France : ADIEU
15 “My guess is …” : I’D SAY …
16 Fishy topping : ROE
17 Decorator’s suggestion : COLOR SCHEME
19 Actress Thurman of “Pulp Fiction” : UMA
20 “You’ll never know until you ___!” : TRY
21 Currency of Mexico : PESO
22 More levelheaded : SANER
24 Garment that usually clasps in the back : BRA
25 Gathering for superhero fans : COMIC-CON
28 Calf-length slacks : CAPRIS
31 Capital city of Western Australia : PERTH
32 Carpet calculations : AREAS
33 Fishing rod attachment : REEL
35 “___ Te Ching” : TAO
38 Kickflip or heelflip, for example : SKATEBOARD TRICK
42 Tongue-clicking sound : TSK!
43 Taj Mahal’s city : AGRA
44 Father of Bart, Lisa and Maggie : HOMER
45 Say “cheese” for the 48-Across : SMILE
48 Shutterbug’s device : CAMERA
49 Hazard near a hive : BEESTING
52 Oomph : ZIP
53 Pants that are often blue : JEANS
54 Kind of exam that would be apt in dental school? : ORAL
56 Nickname consisting of the 19th–21st letters of the alphabet : STU
59 Surgery sites, for short : ORS
60 “Boy, is that loud!” … or a hint to the ends of 17-, 25-, 38- and 49-Across : WHAT A RACKET!
64 City that’s home to Copacabana Beach, familiarly : RIO
65 Tax cheat’s dread : AUDIT
66 Commotion : NOISE
67 “Jeopardy!” host Jennings : KEN
68 Takes five : RESTS
69 No-nos : DON’TS

Down

1 International treaty : PACT
2 Skunk’s defense : ODOR
3 Flower in an Easter bouquet : LILY
4 August baby, perhaps : LEO
5 Word yelled in unison by party guests : SURPRISE!
6 Photos : PICS
7 Created for a specific purpose, as a committee : AD HOC
8 “Oh, what’s the ___?” : USE
9 Hasty escape : LAM
10 “Yes, cap’n!” : AYE, SIR!
11 Do-or-die moment : CRUNCH TIME
12 Titular Shakespearean teenager : ROMEO
13 Hanker (for) : YEARN
18 Blue expanses on maps : SEAS
23 Do something : ACT
24 Kid with an attitude : BRAT
26 Puccini’s “La Rondine” or “Turandot” : OPERA
27 Fuse together : MELD
28 Who’s who in a movie : CAST
29 Synagogue chests : ARKS
30 Busiest time to travel : PEAK SEASON
33 Actor Seth of “Superbad” : ROGEN
34 Mr. Potato Head attachment : EAR
36 Laptop brand : ACER
37 Vegetable in Creole cuisine : OKRA
39 “___ Ha’i” (“South Pacific” song) : BALI
40 Where things can be bought with baht : THAILAND
41 Easy victory : ROMP
46 Yahoo competitor : MSN
47 Fighting words : IT’S WAR!
48 White House policy chief : CZAR
49 One-named singer from Iceland : BJORK
50 Almost too coincidental : EERIE
51 “OK, understood” : GOT IT
55 “Phooey!” : RATS!
56 Fuzzy part of a kiwi : SKIN
57 Put through the paces : TEST
58 Salt Lake City collegians : UTES
61 Shade : HUE
62 What cover the outfield walls of many baseball stadiums : ADS
63 Dove’s sound : COO

3 thoughts on “0708-24 NY Times Crossword 8 Jul 24, Monday”

  1. 7:47, no errors. Showing my age, guessed IVY before ADS in 62D. Also by calling Dave Nick yesterday. 😒

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