Satyrs' looks / MON 7-4-2016 / FedEx competitor / Instigation / Drug used to treat Parkinson's / N.B.A. Hall-of-Famer Thomas / Helpful theorem, in math
Monday, July 4, 2016
OH MY GOSH I'M SO EXCITED!!!! TODAY IS ONE OF THE BEST DAYS OF THE YEAR - ANNABEL MONDAY!!!!!!!! Oh, and I guess it's Independence Day or something.
Constructor: Jill Denny and Jeff Chen
Relative difficulty: Hard (for me! :0 )
THEME: FOURTH OF JULY — The first word of each theme answer spelled out JULY. Since it's a four-letter word, each letter was one-fourth of July!
- J EDGAR HOOVER (20A: Longtime FBI chief)
- UHAUL RENTAL (26A: Van for moving day, maybe)
- L DOPA (36A: Drug used to treat Parkinson's)
- Y CHROMOSOME (42A: Male characteristic [yikes])
- FOURTH OF JULY (49A: Holiday suggested by the starts of 20-, 26-, 36- and 42-Across, literally)
Word of the Day: DHL (21D: FedEx competitor) —
DHL Express is a division of the German logistics company Deutsche Post DHL providing international express mailservices. Deutsche Post DHL is the world's largest logistics company operating around the world, particularly in sea and air mail.Originally founded in 1969 to deliver documents between San Francisco and Honolulu, the company expanded its service throughout the world by the late 1970s. The company was primarily interested in offshore and inter-continental deliveries, but the success of FedEx prompted their own intra-US expansion starting in 1983. DHL expanded to countries that could not be served by any other delivery service, including Cuba, the Soviet Union, Eastern Bloc, Iraq, Iran, China, Vietnam and North Korea.
Whoof, so much of this fill involved me mistaking answers for different ones! I had UPS for DHL, TONY for OBIE, VOWS for IDOS, and, um, something else for TRIO. (In my defense, the clue was misleading!!) There were also a few curveballs - I have to admit, I didn't know what a LEMMA was. That's humanities majoring for ya. Also, since when do satyrs have LEERS? I thought their "looks" were....GOATY. Yes, I thought GOATY was the answer to a clue in the New York Times crossword puzzle. You are welcome. You know, because they have goats for their lower halves...I thought it made sense!!
So...the elephant in the room. The Y CHROMOSOME is not a "male characteristic," and suggesting otherwise is dehumanizing to both trans men and trans women (as well as nonbinary people with Y chromosomes). I came up with some alternates on the fly: "smaller than X," "the X's counterpart," or pretty much anything other than a clue that implies that only men - and all men - have Y chromosomes. And the fact is, this is indicative of a bigger problem with the NYT puzzle. This clue comes only three days after the LOLITAS clue, which Rex wrote about here and here. Plus, honestly, I've seen plenty of slightly-racist clues in earlier puzzles but wasn't sure whether to write about them or not (it's easier to just babble about college life). The NYT crossword writes need to be more careful about using casually intolerant language in their puzzles.
Maybe you don't think this is that big of a deal, and that's fair, you're entitled to your opinion. And yet. North Carolina keeping people from something as necessary as using the bathroom in public is rooted in the concept that the Y chromosome is a male characteristic. The length of Wikipedia's list of unlawfully killed transgender people is rooted in the concept that the Y chromosome is a male characteristic. The high suicide rate of trans teens is rooted in the concept that the Y chromosome is a male characteristic. Language matters, especially the language of such a highly read newspaper. And it matters even if this was an innocent mistake.
Back to lighter subjects!
- NAP (28D: Short snooze) — Who's the best at napping? Cats. And who is the cutest napping cat? Obviously my cat!
|His name is Valentine and I love him. Also, his eyes are open in this picture.|
- INK (56D: Newspaper coverage, informally) — About half an hour after finishing the puzzle, this clue hit me. Newspaper coverage. Newspapers are covered with ink. Now I have to scroll up and replay that Homer Simpson "I get jokes" clip!!
- ICEES (33D: Slushy drinnk with a polar bear mascot) — Oh no, not another sweet food that I have a strong opinion abou- Slurpees are way better and nobody can tell me otherwise! Cherry with Coca-Cola is the best.
- KOPS (63A: Keystone ___ of early film) — Can you believe I had never seen a Keystone Kops comedy? Obviously I had to change that right away.
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