Top Line

Search by Date

DD MMM YY or MMDD-YY

Search by Puzzle Number

e.g. 1225-09, 0704-10, 1025-10 etc.

Daily Solution by Email

Enter your email address

0720-17 New York Times Crossword Answers 20 Jul 17, Thursday





QuickLinks:
Solution to today's crossword in the New York Times
Solution to today's SYNDICATED New York Times crossword in all other publications
Solution to today's New York Times crossword found online at the Seattle Times website
Jump to a complete list of today's clues and answers

CROSSWORD CONSTRUCTOR: Randolph Ross
THEME: Sounds Like What? How? Who?
Today’s themed answers start with words that sound like “what”, “how”, and “who”.
17A. James is keeping me from getting a steam engine patent? : WATT’S THE PROBLEM (sounds like “what’s the problem?”)
35A. Hockey, to Gordie? : HOWE’S BUSINESS (sounds like “how’s business?)
56A. A former leader of China gave his shar-peis some exercise? : HU LET THE DOGS OUT (sounds like “Who Let the Dogs Out?”)
BILL BUTLER’S COMPLETION TIME: 9m 11s
ANSWERS I MISSED: 0

Today's Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
Across

1. Hitchcock film with Laurence Olivier : REBECCA
“Rebecca” is a fabulous film from 1940, the first Hollywood movie for director Alfred Hitchcock , and winner of a Best Picture Oscar. The story is adapted from Daphne du Maurier’s novel of the same name, and stars Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. I don’t normally like movies or books with Gothic themes, but I highly recommend this one.

Alfred Hitchcock was an English film director from Leytonstone, just outside London. A very good friend of mine is a close friend of one of his granddaughters, and met “Hitch” many times in her youth. She tells a very nice story of sitting in a restaurant with the family when someone came over to the table to say “hi”. That was Jimmy Stewart …

Laurence Olivier had to be one of the most respected actors to come out of England in the 20th century. He had tremendous impact on stage and screen, and was never short of work on either side of the Atlantic. While working in the British film industry just before WWII, Olivier met actress Vivien Leigh. The two were already married, but started an affair. Olivier travelled to Hollywood as he was cast as Heathcliff in "Wuthering Heights", which gave him his big break in Hollywood. Leigh followed Olivier and found herself cast as Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone with the Wind". The couple took Hollywood by storm, and eventually unraveled their prior marriages so that they could wed in 1940.

17. James is keeping me from getting a steam engine patent? : WATT’S THE PROBLEM (sounds like “what’s the problem?”)
James Watt was a Scottish inventor. He figured prominently in the Industrial Revolution in Britain, largely due to the improvements he made to the fledgling steam engine. The SI unit of power is called the watt, named in his honor.

24. Big Ten powerhouse, for short : OSU
Ohio State University (OSU) was founded back in 1870 as the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. The athletic teams of OSU are called the Buckeyes, named after the state tree of Ohio. In turn the buckeye tree gets its name from the appearance of its fruit, a dark nut with a light patch thought to resemble a "buck's eye".

The Big Ten is the nation's oldest Division I college athletic conference and today is comprised of not ten, but twelve colleges mainly located in the Midwest. The conference 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 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, and even when the University of Nebraska-Lincoln joined in 2011 as the twelfth team.

25. Edward VII, familiarly : BERTIE
Edward VII ascended to the British throne following the death of Queen Victoria, his mother. Due to the exceptionally long reign of Victoria, “Bertie” became king at the advanced age of 59 years. Edward VII ruled for only nine years, from 1901 until his death in 1910.

26. Presidential ex : MARLA
Marla Maples was the second wife of Donald Trump. Maples and Trump dated secretly for a couple of years while Trump was still married to his first wife Ivana. When Ivana discovered the affair, she filed for divorce, and eventually Donald and Marla married. It was Trump’s turn to file for divorce several years later after the National Enquirer outed Marla for having an affair with a Florida bodyguard.

29. Half-days, for short : AMS
The 12-hour clock has been around a long time, and was even used in sundial format in Ancient Egypt. Our use of AM and PM dates back to Roman times, with AM standing for Ante Meridiem (before noon) and PM standing for Post Meridiem (after noon). However, the Romans originally used the AM concept a little differently, by counting backwards from noon. So, 2AM to the Romans would be two hours before noon, or 10AM as we would call it today.

30. Real downers : OPIATES
Opiates are the narcotic alkaloids found in the opium poppy plant, although some synthetic versions and derivatives of the same alkaloids are also called opiates. To produce opiates, the latex sap of the opium poppy is collected and processed. The naturally-occurring drugs of morphine and codeine can both be extracted from the sap. Some synthesis is required to make derivative drugs like heroin and oxycodone.

35. Hockey, to Gordie? : HOWE’S BUSINESS (sounds like “how’s business?)
Gordie Howe is a retired Canadian hockey player. Regarded as one of the game's greatest players, Howe is sometimes referred to as "Mr Hockey". He is the only hockey player to have competed in the NHL for five decades (from the forties through the eighties), and holds the NHL record for most games and most seasons played.

39. Nation whose flag has a black eagle on a solid red background : ALBANIA
The Republic of Albania is a country in the Balkans in southeastern Europe. Albania was made a communist state after WWII but became independent again with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990. Albania has been a member of NATO since 2009, and was accepted as an official candidate to join the European Union in 2014. The nation’s capital and largest city is Tirana.

40. Middle name of Sean Lennon : ONO
Sean Lennon is the only child of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Sean’s godfather is Elton John. Sean is a musician and composer, and has a band called the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger.

41. Low island : CAY
A “key” (also “cay”) is a low offshore island, as in the Florida Keys. Our term in English comes from the Spanish “cayo” meaning “shoal, reef”.

42. Cheating meeting? : TRYST
In its most general sense, a tryst is a meeting at an agreed time and place. More usually we consider a tryst to be a prearranged meeting between lovers. The term comes from the Old French “triste”, a waiting place designated when hunting. Further, a tryst taking place at lunchtime is sometimes referred to as a nooner.

46. Over-the-counter cold remedy : CONTAC
Contac is a GlaxoSmithKline product with the active ingredient pseudoephedrine. Pseudoephedrine is a drug with decongestant properties, although it is also a stimulant. Personally, I'd go with hot tea and lemon ...

48. Brest friend : AMI
Brest is a port city in northwest France, and is the second largest military port in the country. Brest was an important base for German U-boats during WWII when France was occupied by the Nazis. Brest is the most westerly city in the whole country.

52. Calvin who may have designs on you : KLEIN
Calvin Klein is an American fashion designer who was born in the Bronx in New York City. Klein's biography, entitled "Obsession", is named for one the most famous brands in his line of fragrances.

53. Place for French lessons : ECOLE
In French, one might learn “une leçon” (a lesson) in an “école” (school).

56. A former leader of China gave his shar-peis some exercise? : HU LET THE DOGS OUT (sounds like “Who Let the Dogs Out?”)
Hu Jintao was paramount leader of China from 2002 to 2012. In China, the term "paramount leader" has been used since the days of Mao Zedong to describe the person who holds several leadership offices concurrently. The paramount leaders have been:
  1. Mao Zedong (1949 - 1976)
  2. Hua Guofeng (1976 - 1978)
  3. Deng Xiaoping (1978 - 1992)
  4. Jiang Zemin (1992 - 2004)
  5. Hu Jintao (2004 - 2012)
  6. Xi Jinping (2012 - )

Down
1. Nuke, maybe : REWARM
One might rewarm a meal by nuking it, zapping it in the microwave.

2. Challenging bet : EXACTA
To win a bet called an exacta (also called a “perfecta”), the person betting must name the horses that finish first and second, and in the exact order. The related bet called the trifecta requires naming of the first, second and third-place finishers in the right order.

4. Setting for an O's game : EDT
Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

The Baltimore Orioles (the “O’s”) are one of the eight charter teams of MLB’s American League, so the franchise dates back to 1901. Prior to 1901, the team has roots in the Minor League Milwaukee Brewers, and indeed entered the American League as the Brewers. In 1902 the Brewers moved to St. Louis and became the Browns. The team didn’t fare well in St. Louis, so when it finally relocated to Baltimore in the early fifties the team changed its name completely, to the Baltimore Orioles. The owners so badly wanted a fresh start that they traded 17 old Browns players with the New York Yankees. The trade didn’t help the team’s performance on the field in those early days, but it did help distance the new team from its past.

7. Fictional swordsman : ATHOS
Alexandre Dumas’ “Three Musketeers” are Athos, Porthos and Aramis, although the hero of the novel is their young protégé is D’Artagnan. A musketeer was an infantry soldier who was equipped with a musket. Funnily enough, the three “musketeers” really don’t use their muskets, and are better known for prowess with their swords.

8. AOL and MSN : ISPS
An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is just what the name indicates, a company that provides its customers with access to the Internet. One way that ISPs differentiate themselves from each other is in the way in which end users are connected to the ISP’s network. So, there are cable ISPs, DSL ISPs, dial-up ISPs and satellite ISPs.

9. "Car Talk" carrier : NPR
National Public Radio (now just called “NPR”) was established in 1970 after President Johnson signed into law the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. The station’s first broadcast took place in April of 1971, and was coverage of the US Senate hearings on the Vietnam War. The intent of the act was to provide funding for radio and television broadcasting that wasn’t simply driven by profit. As a longtime fan of the state-funded BBC in the UK, I’d have to agree with that intent …

"Car Talk" is a very entertaining radio show aired on NPR at weekends. The show is hosted by brothers Tom and Ray Magliozzi (aka “Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers”). The hosts spend most of their airtime giving advice on automotive repair, and do a lot of kidding around as well. Click and Clack retired in 2012, so today’s broadcasts are repeats. Tom Magliozzi passed away in 2014.

10. Paid, as a bill : FOOTED
To foot the bill is pay it, to pay the total at the “foot” of the bill.

14. Member of Ronald Reagan's cabinet : ED MEESE
Ed Meese was born in Oakland, California just down the road here and spent 24 years in the office of the Treasurer of Alameda County, the county in which I live. After military service, Meese earned himself a law degree at UC Berkeley. Later, as chief of staff for President Reagan, he was instrumental in a famous decision to crack down on student protesters at Berkeley which resulted in one protester dying and a two-week occupation of the city by the California National Guard.

18. It'll never get off the ground : EMU
The large flightless birds called emus make sounds by manipulating inflatable necks sacs. The sac is about a foot long, has a thin wall and allows the bird to emit a booming sound. The type of sound emitted is the easiest way to differentiate between male and female emus.

28. Big butte : MESA
“What’s the difference between a butte and a mesa?” Both are hills with flat tops, but a mesa has a top that is wider than it is tall. A butte is a much narrower formation, taller than it is wide.

31. Shorthand system inventor Pitman : ISAAC
Pitman shorthand is a system developed by Sir Isaac Pitman that he started to promote in 1837. Pitman shorthand is the most popular shorthand system in the UK. Here in North America, Pitman is the second most popular system, having been displaced by Gregg shorthand.

35. Southernmost major U.S. city : HONOLULU
The most southerly state in the US is Hawaii, and the most northerly is Alaska. Alaska is also the most westerly state, and believe it or not, it is also the most easterly state. That’s because Alaska’s Aleutian Islands stretch across the 180-degree of longitude into the Eastern Hemisphere.

36. How a flamingo may stand : ON ONE LEG
The name “flamingo” comes from the Greek word for “purple wing”. The flamingo’s pink or reddish color comes from the bird’s diet, and in particular the pigments ingested from animal and plant sources.

37. Coll. hoops competition : NIT
National Invitation Tournament (NIT)

38. Old school dance : SOCK HOP
Sock hops were high school dances typically held in the school gym or cafeteria. The term "sock hop" originated because the dancers were often required to remove their shoes to protect the varnished floor in the gym.

43. Louts : YAHOOS
Yahoos were brutish creatures introduced by Irish author Jonathan Swift in “Gulliver’s Travels”. Their savage, slovenly ways gave rise of the use of “yahoo” in English to describe a lout or Neanderthal.

45. Fly over the Equator : TSETSE
Tsetse flies live on the blood of vertebrate mammals. The name “tsetse” comes from Tswana, a language of southern Africa, and translates simply as “fly”. Tsetse flies are famous for being carriers of the disease known as “sleeping sickness”. Sleeping sickness is caused by a parasite which is passed onto humans when the tsetse fly bites into human skin tissue. If one considers all the diseases transmitted by the insect, then the tsetse fly is responsible for a staggering quarter of a million deaths each year.

49. Cable ___ : MODEM
A modem is a device that is used to facilitate the transmission of a digital signal over an analog line. At one end of the line a modem is used to “modulate” an analog carrier signal to encode the the digital information, and at the other end a modem is used to “demodulate” the analog carrier signal and so reproduce the original digital information. This modulation-demodulation gives the device its name: a MOdulator-DEModulator, or “modem”.

50. Massey of old movies : ILONA
Ilona Massey was a Hollywood actress, a native of Budapest in Hungary. Given her cultural background and the period at which she hit the big screen, Massey was marketed by the studios as “the new Dietrich”.

53. Jennifer of "Pride and Prejudice," 1995 : EHLE
Jennifer Ehle is a favorite actress of mine, an American actress who is noted for playing English characters. Most famously, Ehle played Elizabeth Bennett opposite Colin Firth’s D’Arcy in the fabulous 1995 BBC production of “Pride and Prejudice”. Ehle and Firth began a romantic relationship during the filming of the Jane Austen novel. Years later, the couple worked together again, for the film “The King’s Speech”.

54. Like custard : EGGY
Our word “custard” evolved from the Middle French “croustade” meaning “meat or fruit pie” (with a “crust”). Over time the letter R fell away leading to “custard”, possibly due to the influence of the other food item “mustard”.

57. Sequel to "Angela's Ashes" : ‘TIS
“‘Tis” was Frank McCourt’s sequel to “Angela’s Ashes”, the story of his life growing up in Ireland. Frank McCourt passed away in 2009.

58. Mr., abroad : SRI
“Sri” is a title of respect for a male in India.

Return to top of page

For the sake of completion, here is a full listing of all the answers:
Across
1. Hitchcock film with Laurence Olivier : REBECCA
8. Exaggerate : INFLATE
15. Edited, in a way : EXED OUT
16. Wound up : SPOOLED
17. James is keeping me from getting a steam engine patent? : WATT’S THE PROBLEM (sounds like “what’s the problem?”)
19. Make a scene : ACT
20. Itsy-bitsy bits : ATOMS
21. Discrimination : TASTE
22. Some delivery drivers' plans: Abbr. : RTES
24. Big Ten powerhouse, for short : OSU
25. Edward VII, familiarly : BERTIE
26. Presidential ex : MARLA
28. Out of one's head : MAD
29. Half-days, for short : AMS
30. Real downers : OPIATES
34. Genealogist's work : TREE
35. Hockey, to Gordie? : HOWE’S BUSINESS (sounds like “how’s business?)
38. Princes, e.g. : SONS
39. Nation whose flag has a black eagle on a solid red background : ALBANIA
40. Middle name of Sean Lennon : ONO
41. Low island : CAY
42. Cheating meeting? : TRYST
46. Over-the-counter cold remedy : CONTAC
48. Brest friend : AMI
51. Drains : SAPS
52. Calvin who may have designs on you : KLEIN
53. Place for French lessons : ECOLE
55. One making a row? : HOE
56. A former leader of China gave his shar-peis some exercise? : HU LET THE DOGS OUT (sounds like “Who Let the Dogs Out?”)
59. Extract of beef fat : OLEO OIL
60. Fascinate : ENGROSS
61. What's turned up on someone's face? : PUG NOSE
62. Request from the curious : MAY I SEE?

Down
1. Nuke, maybe : REWARM
2. Challenging bet : EXACTA
3. Outdo : BETTER
4. Setting for an O's game : EDT
5. Mexican thing : COSA
6. Screenplay directive : CUT TO
7. Fictional swordsman : ATHOS
8. AOL and MSN : ISPS
9. "Car Talk" carrier : NPR
10. Paid, as a bill : FOOTED
11. Lung-related : LOBAR
12. Top pros : ALL-STARS
13. Driving schedule? : TEE TIMES
14. Member of Ronald Reagan's cabinet : ED MEESE
18. It'll never get off the ground : EMU
23. Impedes : SLOWS
25. It holds water : BASIN
27. Copier : APE
28. Big butte : MESA
31. Shorthand system inventor Pitman : ISAAC
32. Well : ABLY
33. It may have a ring to it : TUB
34. Reaction to sad news : TEARS
35. Southernmost major U.S. city : HONOLULU
36. How a flamingo may stand : ON ONE LEG
37. Coll. hoops competition : NIT
38. Old school dance : SOCK HOP
41. Response to a discouraging comment : CAN TOO!
43. Louts : YAHOOS
44. Frequent co-signatory : SPOUSE
45. Fly over the Equator : TSETSE
47. Attach, in a way : TIE ON
48. Big heart? : ACE
49. Cable ___ : MODEM
50. Massey of old movies : ILONA
53. Jennifer of "Pride and Prejudice," 1995 : EHLE
54. Like custard : EGGY
57. Sequel to "Angela's Ashes" : ‘TIS
58. Mr., abroad : SRI


Return to top of page

2 comments :

Dave Kennison said...

15:57, no errors. Wasn't sure of the "I" and "L" in OLEO OIL, TIS, and EHLE, but those guesses turned out to be correct.

Jeff said...

I had the same guesses as Dave and also survived them. Great piece of trivia about Alaska being the most easterly and westerly state in the U.S. Can't believe I hadn't heard that before.

Best

Adsense Wide Skyscraper

About This Blog

This is the simplest of blogs.

I do the New York Times puzzle online every evening, the night before it is published in the paper. Then, I "Google & Wiki" the references that puzzle me, or that I find of interest. I post my findings, along with the solution, as soon as I am done, usually well before the newsprint version becomes available.

About Me

The name's William Ernest Butler, but please call me Bill. I grew up in Ireland, but now live out here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am retired, from technology businesses that took our family all over the world.

I try to answer all emails, so please feel free to email me at bill@paxient.com.

Crosswords and My Dad

I worked on my first crossword puzzle when I was about 6-years-old, sitting on my Dad's knee. He let me "help" him with his puzzle almost every day as I was growing up. Over the years, Dad passed on to me his addiction to crosswords. Now in my early 50s, I work on my Irish Times and New York Times puzzles every day. I'm no longer sitting on my Dad's knee, but I feel that he is there with me, looking over my shoulder.

This blog is dedicated to my Dad, who passed away at the beginning of this month.

Bill
January 29, 2009

Blog Archive