0709-24 NY Times Crossword 9 Jul 24, Tuesday

Constructed by: Gary Larson & Amy Ensz
Edited by: Joel Fagliano

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Or Is It … Er …?

Themed answers are common phrases in the format “x OR y”, changed to “xER y”:

  • 17A Sting operation at a senior center? : BOOMER BUST (from “boom or bust”)
  • 26A Mission for an F-16? : FIGHTER FLIGHT (from “fight or flight”)
  • 45A Powdered wigs, petticoats, etc.? : FORMER FASHION (from “form or fashion”)
  • 61A Quarterback’s interception? : PASSER FAIL (from “pass or fail”)

Bill’s time: 9m 43s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 Big shindig : BASH

“Shindig” is such a lovely word, I think. It describes a party that usually includes some dancing. Although its origin isn’t really clear, the term perhaps comes from “shinty”, a Scottish game that’s similar to field hockey.

14 Thrice-repeated words in one of Gertrude Stein’s truisms : A ROSE

“Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose” is a line from a poem called “Sacred Emily” that was written by Gertrude Stein. In the poem, Rose is actually a person. In later writings Stein used the phrase “a rose is a rose is a rose” to mean “things are what they are”.

15 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.

16 Kind of sax : ALTO

The saxophone was invented by Belgian musician Adolphe Sax, hence the name. Sax developed lip cancer at one point in his life, and one has to wonder if his affliction was related to his saxophone playing (I am sure not!). I had the privilege of visiting Sax’s grave in the Cemetery of Montmartre in Paris a few years ago.

17 Sting operation at a senior center? : BOOMER BUST (from “boom or bust”)

A baby boomer is someone who was born in the post-WWII baby boom. The rate of births had been falling fairly steadily in the US at least since 1900, but this trend was sharply reversed in 1946 after WWII. The higher birth rate continued until 1964, when it returned to pre-war levels. Since then the birth rate has continued to decline, although at a slower pace. The period between 1946 and 1964 is often defined as the “baby boom”.

19 English playwright Coward : NOEL

Noël Coward was the most flamboyant of personalities. A playwright, composer and actor, Coward worked in a remarkable range of genres. He wrote the wonderfully airy play “Blithe Spirit”, as well as the Oscar-winning WWII naval drama “In Which We Serve”. A couple of his more famous songs, many of which he performed himself in cabaret, are “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” and “London Pride”.

20 Stone of “Poor Things” : EMMA

Actress Emma Stone is from Scottsdale, Arizona. Shereally came to prominence with her performance in the 2010 high school movie called “Easy A”, and won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in the 2016 movie “La La Land”. Now one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood, Stone values her privacy and works hard to maintain a low profile. Good for her, I say …

“Poor Things” is a 2023 big-screen adaptation of a 1992 novel of the same name by Alasdair Gray. It is set in Victorian London, with Emma Stone playing the lead, Bella Baxter. Baxter has the body of an adult woman, but the mind of a fetus whose brain was transplanted into the adult woman. This one sounds very, very trippy …

21 Mountain range along much of the France/Italy border : ALPS

There are eight Alpine countries:

  • Austria
  • Slovenia
  • France
  • Switzerland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Germany
  • Monaco
  • Italy

26 Mission for an F-16? : FIGHTER FLIGHT (from “fight or flight”)

The F-16 is a supersonic fighter aircraft that has been in service since 1978. Officially known as the Fighting Falcon, pilots and crew routinely refer to the F-16 as the Viper. As of 2015, there have been more F-16s in military service around the world than any other fixed-wing fighter aircraft.

33 Doomed from the start, for short : DOA

Dead on arrival (DOA)

38 High bar at the circus : TRAPEZE

The circus act known as the “trapeze” is so called because the shape defined by the crossbar, ropes and ceiling of the tent is a “trapezium”.

41 Base card in solitaire : ACE

I think that a single-player card game is usually called “Solitaire” in the US whereas we use the name “Patience” back in Ireland.

51 Like some flushes and screw-ups : ROYAL

The poker hand called a royal flush is the highest-ranking hand possible. It consists of a run of 10, jack, queen, king and ace, with all in the same suit.

52 Capital of South Korea : SEOUL

Seoul is the capital city of South Korea. The Seoul National Capital Area is home to over 25 million people and is the second largest metropolitan area in the world, second only to Tokyo, Japan.

55 House of ___, ruling family of the Mideast : SAUD

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest Arab country in the Middle East and is the world’s largest oil producer, home to the world’s largest oil reserves. The Saudi dynasty started in central Arabia in 1744 when the secular leader Muhammad ibn Saud joined forces with the Islamic scholar and Imam, Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab. At the time, Saud was a ruler of a town near Riyadh and he was determined to bring “true” Islam to the Arabian peninsula. Since 1744 the fortunes of the Saud family have risen and fallen, but it is that same family who rules what we know today as Saudi Arabia.

65 Official language of India : HINDI

Hindi is one of the two official languages of India, along with English. It was the fourth most-spoken first language in the world (after Mandarin, Spanish and English) in 2018.

66 Instrument for Orpheus : LYRE

Orpheus is a figure from Greek mythology very often associated with poetry, singing, music and the lyre in particular. In ancient Greece there was even an Orphic cult that in effect adopted the poetry ascribed to Orpheus as central to the cult’s belief system. The adjectives “Orphic” and “Orphean” describe things pertaining to Orpheus, and because of his romantic, musical bent, the term has come to describe anything melodious or enchanting. One of the more famous stories about Orpheus describes his attempts to rescue his wife Eurydice from the underworld.

Down

1 Nickname for George Herman Ruth : BABE

Baseball legend George Herman Ruth, Jr. had several nicknames, the best known being “Babe”. He was also called “the Bambino” and “the Sultan of Swat”.

2 Busy “season” for limo drivers : PROM

A prom is a formal dance held upon graduation from high school (we call them “formals” over in Ireland). The term “prom” is short for “promenade”, the name given to a type of dance or ball.

The word “limousine” derives from the name of the French city of Limoges. The area around Limoges is called the Limousin, and it gave its name to a cloak hood worn by local shepherds. In early motor cars, a driver would sit outside in the weather while the passengers would sit in the covered compartment. The driver would often wear a limousin-style protective hood, giving rise to that type of transportation being called a “limousine”. Well, that’s how the story goes …

3 Weaving machine : LOOM

There are many types of loom used to weave cloth, but they all hold parallel threads in tension in one direction, while allowing the interweaving of threads in the perpendicular direction. The threads held under tension are the warp threads, and the “woven” threads are the “weft” threads.

4 Many a role in “Jarhead” : US MARINE

Marines are called jarheads because of their high and tight regulation haircuts, at least that’s the story I read …

6 One of two for the Ten Commandments : TABLET

In the Christian and Jewish traditions, the Ten Commandments are a set of principles relating to worship and ethics that the faithful should observe. Also known as the Decalogue, the Book of Exodus describes the revelation of the principles by God to Moses on Mount Sanai. Also according to Exodus, the Ten Commandments were inscribed by the finger of God onto a pair of stone tablets that were kept in a chest known as the Ark of the Covenant.

8 ___ America : MISS

The oldest beauty pageant still operating in the US is the Miss America contest. The Miss America pageant started out as a marketing ploy in the early twenties to attract tourists to the Atlantic City boardwalk after Labor Day. Today, contestants must be between 17 and 24 years of age. Before those limits were introduced, Marian Bergeron won the 1933 title at only 15 years of age.

10 Vietnamese sandwich : BANH MI

The French introduced the baguette into Vietnam in the days the country was a French colony. Today, a single-serving baguette is known in Vietnam as “bánh mì” (meaning “wheat bread”). The term has been extended, particularly here in the US, to describe a Vietnamese sandwich.

24 Breakfast brand with a “Thick & Fluffy” variety : EGGO

Eggo is a line of frozen waffles and related products made by Kellogg’s. When they were introduced in the 1930s, the name “Eggo” was chosen to promote the “egginess” of the batter. “Eggo” replaced “Froffles”, the original name chosen by melding “frozen” and “waffles”.

31 Count played by Jim Carrey in “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” : OLAF

“Lemony Snicket” is a pen name used by Daniel Handler, a novelist from San Francisco, California. Snicket also appears as the narrator of his books, including the best known of the works: “A Series of Unfortunate Events”. Count Olaf is the antagonist in “A Series of Unfortunate Events”.

32 Puerto ___ : RICO

Puerto Rico (PR) is located in the northeastern Caribbean (in the Atlantic Ocean), east of the Dominican Republic. The name “Puerto Rico” is Spanish for “rich port”. The locals often call their island Borinquen, the Spanish form of “Boriken”, the original name used by the natives.

36 Jock’s counterpart : NERD

The term “jockstrap” supposedly arose in the late 1800s, as a contraction of the term “jockey strap”. A jockey strap was an undergarment designed for messengers and deliverymen who rode bicycles for many hours a day. The original American “jockstrap” was the “Bike Jockey Strap” that was introduced to the market in 1874. It is from the term “jockstrap” that we get “jock”, a word describing a stereotypical athletic type.

37 Christmas movie starring Will Ferrell : ELF

“Elf” is a comedy movie that was released for the 2003 Christmas season. It was directed by Jon Favreau and stars Will Ferrell in the title role, with James Caan supporting and Ed Asner playing Santa Claus. It’s all about one of Santa’s elves who finds out he is human and goes to meet his father in New York City. The film was adapted into a stage musical that premiered on Broadway during the Christmas season of 2010.

Will Ferrell is a comedian and comic actor from Irvine, California who got his big break as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) in the mid-nineties. While appearing on SNL, Ferrell was noted for several impersonations, including President George W. Bush, Neil Diamond, James Lipton, Ted Kennedy and Janet Reno.

39 Capital of Samoa : APIA

Apia is the capital city, and the only city, of the Pacific island-nation of Samoa. The harbor of Apia is famous for a very foolish incident in 1889 involving seven naval vessels from Germany, the US and Britain. A typhoon was approaching so the safest thing to do was to head for open water away from land, but no nation would move its ships for fear of losing face in front of others. Six of the ships were lost in the typhoon as a result and 200 American and German sailors perished. The British cruiser HMS Calliope barely managed to escape from the harbor and rode out the storm safely. Apia is also known as the home of writer Robert Louis Stevenson, for the last four years of his life.

40 Like Stephen King and Isaac Asimov : PROLIFIC

Stephen King is a remarkably successful author. He has sold well over 350 million copies of his books, with many of them made into hit movies. I’ve tried reading two or three of the novels, and didn’t get too far. I really don’t do horror …

Isaac Asimov was a wonderful science fiction writer, and a professor of biochemistry. He was a favorite author as I was growing up and I must admit that some hero worship on my part led me to study and work as a biochemist for a short while early in my career. My favorite of his works is the collection of short stories called “I, Robot”, although Asimov’s most famous work is probably his “Foundation” trilogy of novels. Asimov wrote three autobiographies, the last of which was called “I, Asimov”, which was published in 1994, two years after his death.

43 Body of water north of Siberia : KARA SEA

The Kara Sea is an arm of the Arctic Ocean located north of Siberia. The sea takes its name from the Kara River, and the river in turn takes its name from a Nenets word meaning “hummocked ice”. According to the Russian government, the Kara Sea is home to a substantial cache of nuclear waste dumped by the former Soviet Union authorities. The waste comprises at least six nuclear submarine reactors and ten nuclear power plant reactors, most of which had suffered some kind of accident.

46 Hairstylist’s foam : MOUSSE

Our word “mousse” is an Old French term meaning “froth”.

48 Three sheets to the wind : SOUSED

A sheet is the rope that is used to control a sail on a sailing vessel. The expression “three sheets to the wind” meaning “drunk” dates back to the early 1800s. It likely derives from the notion that a sailboat with three sails, and with all three sheets slipped out of control, would behave like someone who was drunk, and vice versa.

49 Jekyll’s counterpart : HYDE

Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” was published in 1886. There are many tales surrounding the writing of the story, including that the author wrote the basic tale in just three to six days, and spent a few weeks simply refining it. Allegedly, Stevenson’s use of cocaine stimulated his creative juices during those few days of writing.

52 Worm’s habitat : SOIL

The most common species of earthworm found worldwide is Lumbricus terrestris, often referred to in Europe as the common earthworm and in North America as the nightcrawler.

55 Margarita garnish : SALT

No one seems to know for sure who first created the margarita cocktail. The most plausible and oft-quoted is that it was invented in 1941 in Ensenada, Mexico. The barman mixed the drink for an important visitor, the daughter of the German ambassador. The daughter’s name was Margarita Henkel, and she lent her name to the new drink. The basic recipe for a margarita is a mixture of tequila, orange-flavored liqueur (like Cointreau) and lime juice.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Average grade for a 3.3 G.P.A. : B-PLUS
6 Office sub : TEMP
10 Big shindig : BASH
14 Thrice-repeated words in one of Gertrude Stein’s truisms : A ROSE
15 Diva’s delivery : ARIA
16 Kind of sax : ALTO
17 Sting operation at a senior center? : BOOMER BUST (from “boom or bust”)
19 English playwright Coward : NOEL
20 Stone of “Poor Things” : EMMA
21 Mountain range along much of the France/Italy border : ALPS
22 Uniting idea : THEME
23 Button on the back of many appliances : RESET
25 Intention : AIM
26 Mission for an F-16? : FIGHTER FLIGHT (from “fight or flight”)
31 Circular gasket : O-RING
33 Doomed from the start, for short : DOA
34 “Go team!” : RAH!
35 What the first call to a receptionist might come in on : LINE ONE
38 High bar at the circus : TRAPEZE
41 Base card in solitaire : ACE
42 Prey for a mountain lion : ELK
44 Tidy one’s feathers : PREEN
45 Powdered wigs, petticoats, etc.? : FORMER FASHION (from “form or fashion”)
50 Worn, maybe : OLD
51 Like some flushes and screw-ups : ROYAL
52 Capital of South Korea : SEOUL
55 House of ___, ruling family of the Mideast : SAUD
56 SEP and Roth, for two : IRAS
60 Long things for a long shot : ODDS
61 Quarterback’s interception? : PASSER FAIL (from “pass or fail”)
63 Altar avowals : I DOS
64 Delight : GLEE
65 Official language of India : HINDI
66 Instrument for Orpheus : LYRE
67 The smallest bit : A TAD
68 Ensemble of eight : OCTET

Down

1 Nickname for George Herman Ruth : BABE
2 Busy “season” for limo drivers : PROM
3 Weaving machine : LOOM
4 Many a role in “Jarhead” : US MARINE
5 “What you ___ is what you get” : SEE
6 One of two for the Ten Commandments : TABLET
7 Blew one’s top : ERUPTED
8 ___ America : MISS
9 Unit of butter : PAT
10 Vietnamese sandwich : BANH MI
11 Common ingredient in after-sun gel : ALOE
12 Hold back, as the tide : STEM
13 Bad thing to be in, in poker … or good thing to be in, in golf : HOLE
18 Impulsive : RASH
22 “Shop ___ you drop!” : ‘TIL
24 Breakfast brand with a “Thick & Fluffy” variety : EGGO
25 Way, way off : AFAR
26 Of higher quality : FINER
27 Go bad : ROT
28 Like a newbie : GREEN
29 State of confusion : HAZE
30 After that : THEN
31 Count played by Jim Carrey in “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” : OLAF
32 Puerto ___ : RICO
36 Jock’s counterpart : NERD
37 Christmas movie starring Will Ferrell : ELF
39 Capital of Samoa : APIA
40 Like Stephen King and Isaac Asimov : PROLIFIC
43 Body of water north of Siberia : KARA SEA
46 Hairstylist’s foam : MOUSSE
47 Right-angled bend : ELL
48 Three sheets to the wind : SOUSED
49 Jekyll’s counterpart : HYDE
52 Worm’s habitat : SOIL
53 Small whirlpool : EDDY
54 Reason to say “Pee-yew!” : ODOR
55 Margarita garnish : SALT
57 Something to go off on : RANT
58 Senate helper : AIDE
59 Narrow opening : SLIT
61 Competitor of LIV Golf : PGA
62 Greek “P” : RHO

3 thoughts on “0709-24 NY Times Crossword 9 Jul 24, Tuesday”

  1. 10:10, no errors. Got a bit tangled by entering 8D MESO-America, 15A AREA and 21A ALPO didn’t look wrong…until I read the clues. Only 20 seconds behind Bill made me feel better about my Tuesday time.

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