0809-22 NY Times Crossword 9 Aug 22, Tuesday

Constructed by: Bruce Haight
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Sling It in the Middle

We have some grid art today, a slingshot in the middle of the grid. Themed answers refer to the story of DAVID battling with GOLIATH:

  • 17A One known for living large and getting stoned? : GOLIATH
  • 56A Classic underdog : DAVID
  • 20D Biblical site for the battle depicted in this puzzle : VALLEY OF ELAH
  • 22D Hebrew Bible text with the story depicted in this puzzle : BOOK OF SAMUEL

Bill’s time: 10m 23s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

12 ___ Today : USA

The title of the widest circulation of any American newspaper is an honor competed for by “The Wall Street Journal”, “The New York Times” and “USA Today”, with each paper selling about 2 million copies each day (including online subscribers). “USA Today” was launched in 1982.

17A One known for living large and getting stoned? : GOLIATH
56A Classic underdog : DAVID
20D Biblical site for the battle depicted in this puzzle : VALLEY OF ELAH

In the story of David and Goliath, the Israelites and the Philistines faced each other in battle at the Valley of Elah. Goliath was the warrior champion of the Philistines and each day he challenged the Israelites to send out their champion to decide the battle in a one-on-one fight. No one was courageous enough to accept the challenge until young David agreed to face the mighty Goliath. David felled the giant soldier with a stone from his sling.

18 Monkey business? : ZOO

The world’s first zoo opened in Britain in 1820. Now known as “London Zoo”, the facility was referred to back then as the “Gardens and Menagerie of the Zoological Society of London”. The term “zoo” is a shortening of “zoological”.

23 Espresso diluted with hot water : AMERICANO

A caffè Americano is espresso to which hot water is added, bringing the coffee to a similar strength as drip coffee. Caffè Italiano is a similar drink, but a little stronger, with a 1:1 ratio of espresso to hot water.

25 La ____ (neighborhood of San Diego) : JOLLA

The name of the city of La Jolla is often said to be a corruption of the Spanish “La Joya” meaning “The Jewel”, giving rise to the city’s nickname “Jewel City”. Scholars dispute this etymology, but it makes for good marketing.

33 1st-yr. law students : ONE LS

“One L” is a name used in general for first-year law students, especially those attending Harvard.

34 Forensic TV franchise : CSI

The “CSI” TV show franchise uses hits from the Who as theme music:

  • “Who Are You” … “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”
  • “Baba O’Riley” … “CSI: New York”
  • “Won’t Get Fooled Again” … “CSI: Miami”
  • “I Can See for Miles” … “CSI: Cyber”

Something described as forensic is connected with a court of law, or with public discussion or debate. The term comes from the Latin “forensis” meaning “of a forum, of a place of assembly”. We mainly use the word today to mean “pertaining to legal trials” as in “forensic medicine” and “forensic science”.

38 High-calorie dessert : TORTE

A torte is a type of cake made primarily with eggs, sugar and ground nuts (but no flour).

39 April Fools’ exclamation : 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”.

46 Own (up) : FESS

The term “fess” is most often seen as part of the phrasal verb “to fess up” meaning “to admit to something”. “Fess” is simply a shortened form of “confess”.

47 Tolstoy’s Karenina : ANNA

I have to admit to not having read Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina”, but I did see the excellent 1977 British television adaptation starring Nicola Pagett. I also saw the 2012 film adaptation with a screenplay by Tom Stoppard and found that to be far from excellent, awful in fact. I am no Stoppard fan …

48 Neighbors to keep up with : JONESES

The phrase “keep up with the Joneses”, meaning “want the best and the most expensive things”, was popularized by the comic strip called “Keep up with the Joneses” that first appeared in American newspapers in 1913. The eponymous “Jones” family never appeared in person in the strip, but were referred to constantly,

55 Russia’s ___ Mountains : URAL

The eastern side of the Ural Mountains in Russia and Kazakhstan is generally regarded as the natural divide between the continents of Europe and Asia.

58 Big Ten addition announced in 2022 : UCLA

The Bruins are the athletic teams representing the University of California, Los Angeles. When the school was founded in 1919, as the Southern Branch of the University of California, the nickname “Cubs” was used by the football team. The “Cubs” name was chosen as the school was regarded as the younger partner of the California Bears in the existing University of California, Berkeley. That name was changed to “Grizzlies” in 1923, and finally to Bruins in 1926.

The Big Ten is the nation’s oldest Division I college athletic conference. It was founded in 1896, and earned the name “Big Nine” in 1899 when Iowa and Indiana joined to bring the number of teams in the conference to nine. The conference name was changed to the Big Ten after Michigan rejoined in 1917. Right after WWII, the University of Chicago dropped out so the conference became known as the Big Nine again until 1949. The official designation of “Big Ten” was adopted in 1987 when the conference (once again with a complement of ten teams) registered as a not-for-profit corporation. It was decided to keep the official name of Big Ten when Penn State joined in 1990 bringing the number of schools to the level of eleven. The number of schools in the conference continues to evolve, but that “Big Ten” moniker persists.

59 Facebook’s parent company : META

Facebook, Inc. changed its name to Meta Platforms, Inc. in 2021 as part of a rebranding exercise.

62 Luxurious : POSH

No one really knows the etymology of the word “posh”. The popular myth that “posh” is actually an acronym standing for “port out, starboard home” is completely untrue, and is a story that can actually be traced back to the 1968 movie “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”. The myth is that wealthy British passengers traveling to and from India would book cabins on the port side for the outward journey and the starboard side for the home journey. This trick was supposedly designed to keep their cabins out of the direct sunlight.

63 Missouri River tributary : OSAGE

Much of the Osage River in Missouri is now taken up by two large reservoirs created behind two dams that provide power for St. Louis and the surrounding area. The two reservoirs are the Truman Reservoir and the Lake of the Ozarks.

Down

1 Kind of wrestling : SUMO

Sumo is a sport that is practiced professionally only in Japan, the country of its origin. There is an international federation of sumo wrestling now, and one of the organization’s aims is to have the sport accepted as an Olympic event.

2 Twin in Genesis : ESAU

Esau was the grandson of Abraham and the twin brother of Jacob, the founder of the Israelites. When Esau was born to Isaac and Rebekah, the event was described with “Now the first came forth, red all over like a hairy garment”. Esau is portrayed later in life as being very different from his brother Jacob, as a hunter and someone who loves the outdoor life.

3 Blemish, so to speak : WART

A wart is a small eruption on the skin caused by a localized viral infection. Apparently, the most successful treatment is topical use of salicylic acid, with a cure rate of 75%. I think it’s best to try to avoid getting them …

4 Govt. security : T-NOTE

A Treasury note (T-note) is a government debt that matures in 1-10 years. A T-note has a coupon (interest) payment made every six months. The T-note is purchased at a discount to face value, and at the date of maturity can be redeemed at that face value. A Treasury bill (T-bill) is a similar financial vehicle, but it matures in one year or less, and a T-bond matures in 20-30 years.

6 Rapa ___ (Easter Island) : NUI

“Rapa Nui” is the Polynesian name for what we are more likely to call “Easter Island”. The European name was coined by the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, who came across the island on Easter Sunday in the year 1722. Chilean-owned Easter Island is inhabited and is a location that is remarkably distant from neighboring civilization. The nearest inhabited island is Pitcairn Island, which is almost 1300 miles away.

7 Scrooge’s clerk : CRATCHIT

Bob Cratchit is the underpaid clerk who works for Ebeneezer Scrooge in the Charles Dickens story “A Christmas Carol”.

9 Tool that’s a homophone of 9-Across : ADZE
[9A Premium subscriptions often remove them : ADS]

An adze (also “adz”) is similar to an ax, but is different in that the blade of an adze is set at right angles to the tool’s shaft. An ax blade is set in line with the shaft.

10 Big name in French fashion : DIOR

Fashion designer Christian Dior showed off his first collection in 1947, to great acclaim. The editor-in-chief of “Harper’s Bazaar” remarked, “it’s such a new look!” as there was a clear contrast with the austere designs that dominated the war years. The remark resulted in the collection being labeled forever as the “New Look”.

14 Hoovervilles during the Great Depression, e.g. : SHANTY TOWNS

Shanty towns that were built by homeless people during the Great Depression were often called “Hoovervilles”. The name was a reference to President Herbert Hoover who was blamed by many for the onset of the Depression. The term itself was coined by Charles Michelson, the Democratic National Committee’s publicity chief.

Our word “shanty” is used for a rough cabin. It comes from the Canadian French word “chantier”, which is a “lumberjack’s headquarters”.

25 Argentine writer ___ Luis Borges : JORGE

Jorge Luis Borges was an Argentine writer and poet from Buenos Aires. By the time Borges was in his early thirties, he was published many times. However, he had not achieved sufficient success to support himself as a writer, and so started a career as a public lecturer. Around this time, Borges garnered more attention through his speaking, but also started to lose his sight. He was to become completely blind in his late fifties. It has been suggested that this progressive blindness gave him a particularly unique writing style, one that was to bring him a lot of celebrity and respect. One of Borges’ more famous quotations is, “I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library”.

26 Guacamole ingredient : ONION

Guacamole is one of my favorite dishes. It is prepared by mashing avocados and perhaps adding the likes of tomato, onion and lime juice. The guacamole recipe dates back as early as the 16th century, to the time of the Aztecs. “Guacamole” translates as “avocado sauce”.

27 Certain flat screen, in brief : LED TV

A light-emitting diode (LED) is a specialized form of semiconductor that when switched on releases photons (light). LEDs were used in early digital watches, and are getting more and more popular even though their use in electronic equipment is fading away. LEDs are used as replacements for the much less-efficient tungsten light bulbs. I replaced all of my tungsten Xmas lights a few years ago and saved a lot on my electricity bill.

43 Makeup of Joan Didion’s “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” : ESSAYS

Joan Didion is a journalist and author who was profiled in the Netflix documentary “The Center Will Not Hold”. She won a Pulitzer for her autobiographical work “The Year of Magical Thinking”, which book she used as the basis for a stage play of the same name. The book focuses on the year following the death of her husband, while the play also encompasses the subsequent death of her daughter.

44 Wrong thing to say when you’re actually lying? : LAYING

There is often confusion between the verbs “to lie” and “to lay”. The latter is a transitive verb, and so needs an object. So we can’t “lay down”, we must “lie down”. But, we can “lay out” a plan.

48 Van Halen song that starts “I get up, and nothin’ gets me down” : JUMP

Van Halen is a heavy metal band formed in Pasadena, California back in 1972. Brothers Eddie and Alex Van Halen originally called the band Mammoth, changing the name to Van Halen in 1974 when they found out there was another Mammoth playing the circuit. Early on, the brothers were renting a sound system from David Lee Roth, and they decided to save some money by bringing him into the band and saving on the rental fee!

49 Cookie in cookies ‘n cream ice cream : OREO

Apparently, Oreo Ice Cream flavors were introduced relatively recently, in 2010.

50 Washington M.L.B.ers : NATS

If you attend a Washington Nationals baseball game, held in Nationals Park, you’ll see the Presidents Race in the middle of the fourth innings. Individuals dressed like six former US presidents, each sporting a large and cartoonish head, participate in the race. The runners in the footrace are:

  • George (Washington)
  • Abe (Lincoln)
  • Tom (Jefferson)
  • Teddy (Roosevelt)
  • Bill (Taft)
  • Calvin (Coolidge)
  • Herbie (Hoover)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Put in stitches : SEW
4 Medicinal liquid : TINCT
9 Premium subscriptions often remove them : ADS
12 ___ Today : USA
13 Stands the test of time : ENDURES
15 Party bowlful : DIP
16 Blemish : MAR
17 One known for living large and getting stoned? : GOLIATH
18 Monkey business? : ZOO
19 Defeat by a show of hands, say : OUTVOTE
21 Tony ___, tennis champ of the 1950s : TRABERT
23 Espresso diluted with hot water : AMERICANO
25 La ____ (neighborhood of San Diego) : JOLLA
28 Sorta : ISH
29 Works and works and works : TOILS
33 1st-yr. law students : ONE LS
34 Forensic TV franchise : CSI
35 “Catch my drift?” : Y’KNOW?
36 Carnival offerings : RIDES
37 What “C” faucets are in Italy, confusingly : HOT
38 High-calorie dessert : TORTE
39 April Fools’ exclamation : GOT YA!
40 Serviceable : OF USE
41 Fashionable, in France : EN VOGUE
44 Issue for a punter or field goal kicker : LOW SNAP
46 Own (up) : FESS
47 Tolstoy’s Karenina : ANNA
48 Neighbors to keep up with : JONESES
51 Polite assent : YES, MA’AM
55 Russia’s ___ Mountains : URAL
56 Classic underdog : DAVID
58 Big Ten addition announced in 2022 : UCLA
59 Facebook’s parent company : META
60 Lace work? : TYING
61 Give off : EMIT
62 Luxurious : POSH
63 Missouri River tributary : OSAGE
64 “Sure … why not!” : LET’S!

Down

1 Kind of wrestling : SUMO
2 Twin in Genesis : ESAU
3 Blemish, so to speak : WART
4 Govt. security : T-NOTE
5 Wealthy nonworkers : IDLE RICH
6 Rapa ___ (Easter Island) : NUI
7 Scrooge’s clerk : CRATCHIT
8 Four: Prefix : TETRA-
9 Tool that’s a homophone of 9-Across : ADZE
10 Big name in French fashion : DIOR
11 Catch sight of : SPOT
13 Flatters in order to boost self-esteem : EGO-MASSAGES
14 Hoovervilles during the Great Depression, e.g. : SHANTY TOWNS
20 Biblical site for the battle depicted in this puzzle : VALLEY OF ELAH
22 Hebrew Bible text with the story depicted in this puzzle : BOOK OF SAMUEL
24 “This ___ unfair!” : IS SO
25 Argentine writer ___ Luis Borges : JORGE
26 Guacamole ingredient : ONION
27 Certain flat screen, in brief : LED TV
30 Ramp taken by a skier : INRUN
31 Many, informally : LOTSA
32 Win every game of a series : SWEEP
42 Familiar with : USED TO
43 Makeup of Joan Didion’s “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” : ESSAYS
44 Wrong thing to say when you’re actually lying? : LAYING
45 Anxious : ON EDGE
48 Van Halen song that starts “I get up, and nothin’ gets me down” : JUMP
49 Cookie in cookies ‘n cream ice cream : OREO
50 Washington M.L.B.ers : NATS
52 Pinnacle : ACME
53 Touched down : ALIT
54 Yoga class accessories : MATS
57 Routing word : VIA