0711-24 NY Times Crossword 11 Jul 24, Thursday

Constructed by: Mat Shelden
Edited by: Joel Fagliano

Today’s Reveal Answer: Bump in the Road

Themed answers each include two side-by-side letters in the middle of “RO-AD”. Those two letters BUMP up in the row above in the grid:

  • 33A Minor setback … or a hint to entering 16-, 24-, 44- and 52-Across : BUMP IN THE ROAD
  • 16A 2011 Margaret Thatcher biopic : THE IRON LADY
  • 24A Defensive boxing strategy : ROPE-A-DOPE
  • 44A Saint Petersburg, once : PETROGRAD
  • 52A Musicians of the Middle Ages : TROUBADOURS

Bill’s time: 11m 55s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 “Dukes” : FISTS

“Dukes” is a slang term meaning “fists, hands”. The route taken by “dukes” to become fists seems very tortuous, but might just be true. The term “fork” was slang for “hand” for centuries (and gives rise to “fork out” meaning “hand over”). The slang term “fork” is expressed in Cockney rhyming slang as “Duke of York”, which is shortened to “duke”. As I said, tortuous …

16 2011 Margaret Thatcher biopic : THE IRON LADY

“The Iron Lady” is a 2011 biopic about Margaret Thatcher, former British Prime Minister. The marvelous Meryl Streep does a wonderful job playing the title role. I had great expectations for this film and found that it didn’t quite deliver, despite a great cast.

18 Petrol purchase : LITRE

Petrol is the same thing as gasoline. “Petrol” comes into English via French from the Latin “petroleum”, itself derived from “petra” meaning “rock” and “oleum” meaning “oil”.

20 Brown, e.g. : IVY

Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island is one of the eight Ivy League schools. Brown has been around a long time, founded in 1764, years before America declared independence from England. The university took the name of Brown in 1804 after one Nicholas Brown, Jr. gave a substantial gift to the school. The school’s athletic teams are known as the Brown Bears, and their mascot is Bruno.

21 Katniss’s partner in “The Hunger Games” : PEETA

“The Hunger Games” is a 2008 novel by Suzanne Collins, and the first in a series of titles that also includes “Catching Fire” (2009) and “Mockingjay” (2010). “The Hunger Games” was adapted into a very successful movie released in 2012, with the sequels following soon after. Amazon.com reports more sales of “The Hunger Games” series books than even the “Harry Potter” series.

Katniss Everdeen is a protagonist in “The Hunger Games” trilogy by Suzanne Collins. The character’s name is taken from the edible plant called katniss. On the big screen, Everdeen is played by actress Jennifer Lawrence.

24 Defensive boxing strategy : ROPE-A-DOPE

The Rumble in the Jungle was the celebrated 1974 fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman that took place in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). The fight was set in Zaire because of financial arrangements between promoter Don King and Zaire’s President Mobutu Seko. Ali coined the term “rope-a-dope” to describe his incredibly successful strategy in the contest. From the second round onwards, Ali adopted a protected stance on the ropes letting Foreman pound him with blows to the body and head, with Ali using his arms to dissipate the power of the punches. He kept this up until the eighth round, and then opened up and downed the exhausted Foreman with a left-right combination. I hate boxing but I have to say, that was an interesting fight …

27 Norton’s “Fight Club” co-star : PITT

Brad Pitt’s first major role was the cowboy hitchhiker in the 1991’s “Thelma & Louise”. Pitt’s life offscreen garners as much attention as his work onscreen, it seems. The tabloids revel in the series of high-profile relationships in which he has been involved. He was engaged to Gwyneth Paltrow for a while, married to Jennifer Aniston and then to Angelina Jolie.

“Fight Club” is a 1996 novel by Chuck Palahniuk about an insomniac who uses an underground fighting club as psychotherapy for his sleeping disorder. Palahniuk’s novel was adapted into a famous 1999 movie starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton.

28 Place for a peel : SPA

A chemical peel is a technique used to improve the look and feel of the skin. It involves using a chemical to deliberately injure the outermost layer of the skin. The damaged skin dies and peels off, revealing regenerated skin below.

38 Apr. addressee : IRS

April 15th wasn’t always Tax Day in the US. The deadline for returns was March 1st from 1913-18, when it was moved to March 15th. Tax Day has been April 15th since 1955.

39 Tests for college seniors, for short : GRES

Passing the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is usually a requirement for entry into graduate school here in the US.

44 Saint Petersburg, once : PETROGRAD

St. Petersburg in Russia is an absolutely beautiful city to visit. The city was renamed to Petrograd in 1914, Leningrad in 1924 and back to St. Petersburg in 1991.

48 What bass guitars have that double basses do not : FRETS

A fret is a metal strip embedded in the neck of a stringed instrument, a guitar perhaps. The fingers press on the frets, shortening a string and hence changing the note played. The note increases by one semitone as a finger shortens a string by one fret.

51 Disney toon originally called Dippy Dawg : GOOFY

Disney’s Goofy first appeared as Dippy Dawg in 1932. Goofy became famous for his “How to …” series of cartoons in the 1940s which dealt with everything from snow skiing to sleeping, and from football to riding a horse. Goofy’s last theatrical appearance was in a 2007 work called “How to Hook Up Your Home Theater”.

52 Musicians of the Middle Ages : TROUBADOURS

A troubadour was a composer and musician of the Middle Ages whose works dealt mainly with chivalry and courtly love. Troubadours were usually men, and a female troubadour would have been called a trobairitz, a lovely word …

55 Rolls-___ : ROYCE

Henry Royce founded the Rolls-Royce company in 1904 with his partner, Charles Rolls. Royce died at 70 years of age in 1933. His last words were, reportedly, “I wish I had spent more time in the office …”

Charles Rolls founded the Rolls-Royce auto manufacturing company along with his partner Henry Royce in 1906. Sadly, Rolls died just a few years later in a plane crash. Rolls was a pioneering aviator. He became the first Briton to die in a powered aircraft crash when the tail of his plane broke off during a flying display.

59 Duke, but not duchess: Abbr. : SCH

Duke University was founded in 1838 as Brown’s Schoolhouse. The school was renamed to Trinity College in 1859, and to this day the town where the college was located back then is known as Trinity, in honor of the school. The school was moved in 1892 to Durham, North Carolina in part due to generous donations from the wealthy tobacco industrialist Washington Duke. Duke’s donation required that the school open its doors to women, placing them on an equal footing with men. Trinity’s name was changed to Duke in 1924 in recognition of the generosity of the Duke family. Duke’s athletic teams are known as the Blue Devils.

Down

1 Kind of projection : ASTRAL

An astral projection is an out-of-body experience. It is often associated with incidents of near-death and describes the phenomenon of the astral body leaving the physical body and traveling around the astral plane.

3 Court figure, for short : STENOG

Stenography is the process of writing in shorthand. The term comes from the Greek “steno” (narrow) and “graphe” (writing). A stenographer might be a court reporter, or a person provided captions accompanying a live television broadcast.

4 Trade from which John Jacob Astor made his fortune : FUR

John Jacob Astor was the patriarch of the famous American Astor dynasty. He was the country’s first multi-millionaire, making his fortune in the trade of fur, real estate and opium. In today’s terms, it has been calculated that by the time of his death he has accumulated a fortune big enough to make him the fourth wealthiest man in American history (in the company of the likes of Andrew Carnegie, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Bill Gates, Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller).

5 How latkes are cooked : IN OIL

A latke is a delicious potato pancake (I’m Irish, so anything made with potatoes is delicious, to be honest).

6 Some Balkan natives : SLAVS

The Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe is usually referred to as “the Balkans”. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains located in present-day Bulgaria and Serbia. “Balkan” is Bulgarian for “mountain”.

21 Like bonsai trees : POTTED

The term “bonsai” is used more correctly to describe the Japanese art of growing carefully shaped trees in containers, although it has come to be used as the name for all miniature trees in pots. “Bonsai” translates literally as “tray planting”.

23 Off-kilter : ALOP

To be “off-kilter” is to be off-balance, not aligned. To be “out of kilter” is to be out of order, not in good condition.

24 Sunak of British politics : RISHI

Conservative politician Rishi Sunak was born to parents of Indian descent, and became the UK’s first British-Asian prime minister in 2022. He was only 42 years of age when he moved into Number 10, making him the youngest prime minister since 1812. Sunak studied at Stanford University, where he met his future wife Akshata Murty. Murty is an Indian heiress, and a very rich woman.

27 Pockets for falafel : PITAS

Falafel is a ball of ground chickpeas or fava beans that has been deep fried and served in pita bread. I love chickpeas, but falafel is often too dry for me …

31 When rights may be restricted : ON RED

If you’re sitting behind a car that doesn’t make a right on red, it may just be a rental car driven by someone from Europe. Speaking as someone who learned to drive over there, I must admit I held up a few people at red lights when I first visited this country. That’s because in Europe we aren’t allowed to make any move past a red light, unless there is an accompanying green arrow. So, if you’re driving overseas, take care …

32 Staple of classical Greek architecture : PORTICO

“Portico” is an Italian word that describes a porch or roofed walkway leading to the entrance of a building.

34 Certain calligraphy mark : UPSTROKE

Calligraphy is the art of fine handwriting. The term “calligraphy” comes from the Greek “kallos” meaning “beauty” and “graphein” meaning “to write”.

39 April Fools’ Day declaration : GOT YA!

April Fools’ Day is celebrated on April 1st in the Western world. In the US (and Ireland) one can make practical jokes all day long if one wants, but in the UK there is a noon deadline. Anyone pranking after midday is called an “April Fool”.

41 Intense aversions : ODIUMS

Odium is a strong dislike or aversion. The term “odium” is Latin in origin and relates to the Latin word “odi” meaning “I hate”.

45 Some mortgage loans, in brief : REFIS

Our word “mortgage” comes from the Old French “mort gaige” which translated as “dead pledge”. Such an arrangement was so called because the “pledge” to repay “dies” when the debt is cleared.

46 Channel guides? : BUOYS

A buoy is a floating device with many, many uses. The term “buoy” still provides the most difficult pronunciation challenge to me, as a native Irishman living in the US. I still find myself saying “boy” and “boyed” instead of “boo-ee” and “boo-eed” …

47 Counting devices of old : ABACI

The abacus (plural “abaci”) was used as a counting frame long before man had invented a numbering system. It is a remarkable invention, particularly when one notes that abaci are still widely used today across Africa and Asia.

51 Hyena’s prey : GNU

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

Hyenas have the reputation of being cowardly scavengers. That said, the spotted hyena that lives in Sub-Saharan Africa actually kills about 95% of its food and a pack of spotted hyenas are capable of driving off leopards or lionesses before they can consume their kill.

53 Groundhog’s home : DEN

The woodchuck is also known as the groundhog, and is one in a group of large ground squirrels called marmots. Repeat after me:

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 They’re made in the kitchen and not at the gym, it’s said : ABS
4 “Dukes” : FISTS
9 Prepare for a shot : POSE
13 Determined : SET
14 Totally in the dark? : UNLIT
15 Disapproving sound : CLUCK
16 2011 Margaret Thatcher biopic : THE IRON LADY
18 Petrol purchase : LITRE
19 Go on and on, maybe : RANT
20 Brown, e.g. : IVY
21 Katniss’s partner in “The Hunger Games” : PEETA
22 Professions : AVOWALS
24 Defensive boxing strategy : ROPE-A-DOPE
26 Within bounds : LEGAL
27 Norton’s “Fight Club” co-star : PITT
28 Place for a peel : SPA
29 Player one? : SOLOIST
32 Equal : PEER
33 Minor setback … or a hint to entering 16-, 24-, 44- and 52-Across : BUMP IN THE ROAD
36 Bad thing to be caught on : TAPE
37 Hairstylist, at times : BRAIDER
38 Apr. addressee : IRS
39 Tests for college seniors, for short : GRES
40 Q: “Why don’t scientists trust ___?” A: “Because they make up everything!” : ATOMS
44 Saint Petersburg, once : PETROGRAD
46 “Yeah, don’t do that” : BAD IDEA
48 What bass guitars have that double basses do not : FRETS
49 Ice cream container : TUB
50 It has its limits : CITY
51 Disney toon originally called Dippy Dawg : GOOFY
52 Musicians of the Middle Ages : TROUBADOURS
54 Samsung competitor : NOKIA
55 Rolls-___ : ROYCE
56 Italian possessive : MIA
57 Western tribe : UTES
58 Tennis announcer’s cry : IT’S IN!
59 Duke, but not duchess: Abbr. : SCH

Down

1 Kind of projection : ASTRAL
2 Parent’s demand : BEHAVE
3 Court figure, for short : STENOG
4 Trade from which John Jacob Astor made his fortune : FUR
5 How latkes are cooked : IN OIL
6 Some Balkan natives : SLAVS
7 Not messy : TIDY
8 Total mess : STY
9 Worked steadily at : PLIED
10 Living off the land? : OUT TO SEA
11 Got rid of : SCRAPPED
12 Scratch (out) : EKE
15 It can help you get a grip : CLEAT
17 *sheepishly raises hand* : *IT WAS ME*
21 Like bonsai trees : POTTED
23 Off-kilter : ALOP
24 Sunak of British politics : RISHI
25 Meaning of the prefix “oto-” : EAR
27 Pockets for falafel : PITAS
30 Some fall babies : LIBRAS
31 When rights may be restricted : ON RED
32 Staple of classical Greek architecture : PORTICO
33 How many people walk along the beach : BAREFOOT
34 Certain calligraphy mark : UPSTROKE
35 Interpretation : READ
36 Farthermost point : TIP
39 April Fools’ Day declaration : GOT YA!
41 Intense aversions : ODIUMS
42 Standard for evaluation : METRIC
43 Opens up to a doctor, in a way : SAYS “AH”
45 Some mortgage loans, in brief : REFIS
46 Channel guides? : BUOYS
47 Counting devices of old : ABACI
49 Bring (out) : TROT
51 Hyena’s prey : GNU
52 Prefix with athlete : TRI-
53 Groundhog’s home : DEN

4 thoughts on “0711-24 NY Times Crossword 11 Jul 24, Thursday”

  1. Well, that was a chore. I got the gimmick right away with THEIRONLADY. Got all the bumps in the road. It was the little acrosses and downs that did me in. 25:33!

  2. 16:10, no errors. I also understood the gimmick early on, but I misstepped in the lower left, with LENINGRAD in place of PETROGRAD for quite a while. But, again … AWTEW … 🙂.

  3. 25:03, no errors. Similar experience to Steve, my ‘aha’ moment came with ROPE-A-DOPE, but other clues were deliberately obscure or misleading. For example, COLUMNS seemed to be a good fit for 32D before PORTICO.

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