1211-18 NY Times Crossword 11 Dec 18, Tuesday

Constructed by: Amanda Chung and Karl Ni
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Compost Bin

Themed answers each start with an item that might be found in a COMPOST BIN:

  • 50A. Place for kitchen scraps, such as those starting 16-, 24-, 32- and 44-Across : COMPOST BIN
  • 16A. Combat trauma : SHELL SHOCK
  • 24A. Leave quickly, as from a parking spot : PEEL OUT
  • 32A. Baseball field maintainers : GROUNDS CREW
  • 44A. Casino V.I.P. : PIT BOSS

Bill’s time: 5m 38s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10. ___-relief : BAS

In bas-relief, an image projects just a little above the background, as in perhaps a head depicted on a coin.

13. Folk singer Mitchell : JONI

Joni Mitchell is a Canadian singer and songwriter from Fort MacLeod in Alberta. Mitchell is perhaps best known for her recordings “Big Yellow Taxi” and “Woodstock”.

14. Heart chambers : ATRIA

The heart has four chambers. The two upper chambers (the atria) accept deoxygenated blood from the body and oxygenated blood from the lungs. The atria squeeze the blood into the two lower chambers of the heart (the ventricles), “priming” the pump, as it were. One ventricle pumps deoxygenated blood to the lungs, and the other pumps oxygenated blood to the rest of the body.

15. Accessory for Sherlock Holmes : PIPE

According to author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, his character Sherlock Holmes was based on a Dr. Joseph Bell for whom Doyle worked in Edinburgh. That said, Bell actually wrote a letter to Doyle in which he said “you are yourself Sherlock Holmes and well you know it”.

18. Real estate measurement : AREA

In the world of law, there are two main classes of property: personal property and real property. Personal property is basically movable property. Real property is immovable, such as land or buildings and related assets.

21. Exam monitor : PROCTOR

A proctor is a supervisor, and especially a person overseeing a school examination or a dormitory. The word “proctor” originated in the late 1500s, and is a contraction of the word “procurator”, the name given to an official agent of a church.

26. Comedian who said “In America, anyone can become president. That’s the problem” : CARLIN

George Carlin was a stand-up comic famous for pushing the envelope of comedy in the broadcast media. Despite all the controversies surrounding his act, his passing in 2008 occasioned major tributes by networks and fellow entertainers alike.

28. Zilch : NIL

We use the term “zilch” to mean “nothing”. Our current usage evolved in the sixties, before which the term was used to describe “meaningless speech”. There was a comic character called Mr. Zilch in the 1930s in “Ballyhoo” magazine. Mr. Zilch’s name probably came from the American college slang “Joe Zilch” that was used in the early 1900s for “an insignificant person”.

29. Dutch painter Jan : STEEN

Jan Steen was a painter from the Netherlands who was active in the Dutch Golden Age, the 17th century. Steen’s most famous work is probably “The Feast of Saint Nicholas”, which we can see at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

30. Indian wedding garb : SARI

The item of clothing called a “sari” (also “saree”) is a strip of cloth, as one might imagine, unusual perhaps in that is unstitched along the whole of its length. The strip of cloth can range from four to nine meters long (that’s a lot of material!). The sari is usually wrapped around the waist, then draped over the shoulder leaving the midriff bare. I must say, it can be a beautiful item of clothing.

31. “Great” boy detective : NATE

The “Nate the Great” series of children’s novels was written (mainly) by Marjorie Sharmat. Nate is like a young Sherlock Holmes, with a dog for a sidekick called Sludge. Some of the books have been adapted for television.

35. Run ___ : AMOK

The phrase “to run amok” (sometimes “to run amuck”) has been around since the 1670s and is derived from the Malay word for “attacking furiously”, “amuk”. The word “amok” was also used as a noun to describe Malay natives who were “frenzied”. Given Malaya’s troubled history, the natives probably had good reason for that frenzy …

41. Sweeping movie shot : PAN

To “pan” a camera is to move in such a way as to create a “panoramic” effect, to sweep from one side of a scene to another.

43. Hank of “The Simpsons” : AZARIA

Hank Azaria is one of my favorite American actors, and is someone who I think can really expertly portray a vast array of characters. I can’t stand “The Simpsons” mind you, a show to which Azaria is inextricably linked, but if you look at his role in “The Birdcage” as a flamboyant gay houseboy, and his role in “Shattered Glass” as a stoic magazine editor, you’ll get a taste for Azaria’s extensive range.

44. Casino V.I.P. : PIT BOSS

The pit is part of a casino that usually holds the tables for craps, blackjack and roulette, and perhaps some other games. The tables are arranged around the pit, with players on the outside and dealers on the inside. The area is supervised by a pit manager (often “pit boss”).

46. Larghissimo, among all musical tempos : SLOWEST

Largo is an instruction to play a piece of music with a very slow tempo. “Largo” is an Italian word meaning “broadly”. The instruction “larghetto” means “play broadly”, and “Larghissimo” means “play very, very slowly”.

47. “The Smartest Guys in the Room” company : ENRON

“The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron” is a 2003 book by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind, two writers working for “Fortune” magazine. The book was used as the basis for a 2005 documentary “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room”.

48. Tony winner McDonald : AUDRA

Audra McDonald is an actress and singer best known for her work on the stage. McDonald has won six competitive Tony Awards, which is more than any other actor. She is also the only person to have won Tony Awards in all four categories: featured actress in a play, leading actress in a play, featured actress in a musical, and leading actress in a musical.

49. ___ Clooney, lawyer often seen in tabloids : AMAL

Amal Alamuddin married celebrated Hollywood actor George Clooney in 2014. Alamuddin was born in Beirut, Lebanon and moved with her family to London when she was a toddler. She is a lawyer specializing in international law, with one of her more renowned clients being the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange.

56. Farewell in France : ADIEU

“Adieu” is the French for “goodbye, farewell”, from “à Dieu” meaning “to God”. The plural of “adieu” is “adieux”.

57. DVR pioneer : TIVO

TiVo was introduced in 1999 and was the world’s first commercially successful Digital Video Recorder (DVR).

58. Weekly show broadcast from Rockefeller Center, for short : SNL

“Saturday Night Live” (SNL)

60. Goulash, e.g. : STEW

Goulash is a soup or stew that is seasoned with spices, especially paprika. It is a national dish of Hungary, and the term “goulash” comes from the Hungarian word “gulyás”, which actually translates as “herdsman”. The original goulash was a meat dish prepared by herdsman.

Down

1. Sleepover attire, briefly : PJS

Our word “pajamas” (sometimes “PJs” or “jammies”) comes to us from the Indian subcontinent, where “pai jamahs” were loose fitting pants tied at the waist and worn at night by locals and ultimately by the Europeans living there. And “pajamas” is another of those words that I had to learn to spell differently when I came to America. On the other side of the Atlantic, the spelling is “pyjamas”.

7. Egg on : PROD

The verb “to edge” has been used to mean to incite, to urge on, from the 16th century. Somewhere along the way “edge” was mistakenly replaced with “egg”, giving us our term “to egg on” meaning “to goad”.

8. Disposable lighter brand : BIC

Société Bic is a French company, based in Clichy in France. The first product the company produced, more than fifty years ago, was the Bic Cristal ballpoint pen that is still produced today. Bic also makes other disposable products such as lighters and razors.

9. Himalayan beast : YAK

The English word “yak” is an Anglicized version of the Tibetan name for the male of the species. Yak milk is much prized in the Tibetan culture. It is made into cheese and butter, and the butter is used to make a tea that is consumed in great volume by Tibetans. The butter is also used as a fuel in lamps, and during festivals the butter is even sculpted into religious icons.

10. Goldie Hawn comedy or Leonard Cohen documentary : BIRD ON A WIRE

“Bird on a Wire” is a fun film released in 1990, starring Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn. The movie title comes from the Leonard Cohen song “Bird on the Wire”.

I remember watching the ditsy Goldie Hawn character on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In”. Hawn used to give great performances on the show, convincing everyone that she was the stereotypical dumb blonde. Well, what a great career she was to carve out for herself!

I’ve never been a big fan of the music of Canadian singer Leonard Cohen (don’t all yell at me at the same time!). That said, his 1984 song “Hallelujah” is superb, and I particularly like the version recorded by Jeff Buckley in 1994.

11. Hairy Halloween costume : APE SUIT

All Saints’ Day is November 1st each year. The day before All Saints’ Day is All Hallows’ Eve, better known by the Scottish term “Halloween”.

12. Where Boeing was founded : SEATTLE

The Boeing Company was founded in Seattle in 1916 by aviation pioneer William Boeing, with the enterprise’s first name being “Pacific Aero Products Co.” Boeing had worked in the timber industry and set up his aircraft company in the Pacific Northwest to take advantage of the local supply of spruce wood.

17. Like Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz : LATINO

Marco Rubio became the junior US Senator for Florida in 2011. Famously, Rubio ran for the Republican nomination for president in the 2016 race, losing out to future president Donald Trump.

US Senator Ted Cruz served as Solicitor General for the state of Texas before heading to Washington. Cruz was appointed Solicitor General in 2003 at the age of 32, making him the youngest Solicitor General in the country. Famously, Cruz is an opponent of the Affordable Care Act and made a speech in 2013 in the US Senate on the subject that lasted for 21 hours and 19 minutes. It was the fourth longest speech in the history of the Senate.

20. N.Y.C. museum, with “the” : MET

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (“the Met”) was founded in 1870 by a group of private citizens. The current museum is huge, with 2 million square feet of floor space.

21. Mac competitors : PCS

The original IBM Personal Computer is model number 5150, which was introduced to the world on August 12, 1981. The term “personal computer” was already in use, but the success of the IBM 5150 led to the term “PC” being used for all computer products compatible with the IBM platform.

23. Path for Western settlers : OREGON TRAIL

The Oregon Trail was established by fur trappers and traders as early as 1811. The first migrant wagon train traveled the route in 1836, starting off in Independence, Missouri and going as far as Fort Hall, Idaho. In the coming years, the trail was extended for wagons as far as the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

25. Guitar legend Clapton : ERIC

Can you believe that the great Eric Clapton only had one chart-topper in the US? In 1974, Clapton released a cover version of the Bob Marley classic “I Shot the Sheriff” and ended up selling more copies of that song than Bob Marley did himself. Clapton is the only person to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times: once as a member of the Yardbirds, once as a member of the supergroup Cream, and once as a solo artist.

33. E.T. vehicles : UFOS

One might speculate that an unidentified flying object (UFO) is flown by an extraterrestrial (ET).

34. Bathroom items that might be confiscated by the T.S.A. : RAZORS

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the agency that employs the good folks who check passengers and baggage at airports.

39. Fleur-de-___ : LIS

“Lys” (sometimes “lis”) is the French word for “lily” as in “fleur-de-lys”, the heraldic symbol often associated with the French monarchy.

43. “Brave New World” author Huxley : ALDOUS

Aldous Huxley was a writer from England whose best-known work is the novel “Brave New World”. Huxley was noted for his interest in parapsychology and mysticism, as well as for his promotion of the idea of taking psychedelic drugs “in a search for enlightenment”. Famously, Huxley died on November 22nd, 1963, the same day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

53. “___ Got You Under My Skin” : I’VE

“I’ve Got You Under My Skin” is a 1936 Cole Porter song that first appeared in the musical film “Born to Dance”. The song went on to become a big hit for the Four Seasons, and then a signature song for Frank Sinatra.

54. Parent’s order : NOW!

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. [It’s gone!] : POOF!
5. Visit on a whim : POP BY
10. ___-relief : BAS
13. Folk singer Mitchell : JONI
14. Heart chambers : ATRIA
15. Accessory for Sherlock Holmes : PIPE
16. Combat trauma : SHELL SHOCK
18. Real estate measurement : AREA
19. Made more bearable : EASED
20. Center : MIDST
21. Exam monitor : PROCTOR
24. Leave quickly, as from a parking spot : PEEL OUT
26. Comedian who said “In America, anyone can become president. That’s the problem” : CARLIN
27. Offended : HURT
28. Zilch : NIL
29. Dutch painter Jan : STEEN
30. Indian wedding garb : SARI
31. “Great” boy detective : NATE
32. Baseball field maintainers : GROUNDS CREW
35. Run ___ : AMOK
37. What the Roman goddess Fortuna controls : FATE
38. Nimble : AGILE
41. Sweeping movie shot : PAN
42. Restaurant order specification : TO GO
43. Hank of “The Simpsons” : AZARIA
44. Casino V.I.P. : PIT BOSS
46. Larghissimo, among all musical tempos : SLOWEST
47. “The Smartest Guys in the Room” company : ENRON
48. Tony winner McDonald : AUDRA
49. ___ Clooney, lawyer often seen in tabloids : AMAL
50. Place for kitchen scraps, such as those starting 16-, 24-, 32- and 44-Across : COMPOST BIN
55. Apt rhyme for “invade” : RAID
56. Farewell in France : ADIEU
57. DVR pioneer : TIVO
58. Weekly show broadcast from Rockefeller Center, for short : SNL
59. Jury members : PEERS
60. Goulash, e.g. : STEW

Down

1. Sleepover attire, briefly : PJS
2. “Impressive!” : OOH!
3. x’s positive value in the equation 2x = 4x^2 – 2 : ONE
4. Low-level law firm employee : FILE CLERK
5. Forgo : PASS ON
6. Questionnaire choice : OTHER
7. Egg on : PROD
8. Disposable lighter brand : BIC
9. Himalayan beast : YAK
10. Goldie Hawn comedy or Leonard Cohen documentary : BIRD ON A WIRE
11. Hairy Halloween costume : APE SUIT
12. Where Boeing was founded : SEATTLE
15. Water holder for a farm animal : PAIL
17. Like Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz : LATINO
20. N.Y.C. museum, with “the” : MET
21. Mac competitors : PCS
22. Snitch : RAT
23. Path for Western settlers : OREGON TRAIL
24. Prize money : PURSE
25. Guitar legend Clapton : ERIC
27. Couldn’t say no : HAD TO
30. Slight problems : SNAGS
31. Units of power saved, in modern lingo : NEGAWATTS
33. E.T. vehicles : UFOS
34. Bathroom items that might be confiscated by the T.S.A. : RAZORS
35. Materializes : APPEARS
36. Go-to guy : MAIN MAN
39. Fleur-de-___ : LIS
40. Break bread : EAT
42. Boatload : TON
43. “Brave New World” author Huxley : ALDOUS
45. Audacious : BOLD
46. “Terrific!” : SUPER!
48. Female friend in France : AMIE
50. Upper limit : CAP
51. Words of praise : ODE
52. Fell for a joke : BIT
53. “___ Got You Under My Skin” : I’VE
54. Parent’s emphatic order : NOW!

8 thoughts on “1211-18 NY Times Crossword 11 Dec 18, Tuesday”

  1. 8:37, no errors. Paused for a bit over “POP BY”, a less familiar bit of slang than ”DROP BY” or “STOP BY” (though I often hear “POP IN”). For a bit, because it was the first “P” that was missing, I thought a rebus might be required. But, once more … AWTEW … 😜

  2. 8:30, no errors. 31D: although it seems reasonable that some hipster would coin a cool new phrase for energy savings, I have not heard the expression NEGAWATT either. Would a savings of a million watts be a ‘meganegawatt’?

  3. No errors but it required a good helping of concentration in order to finish. Did not use the theme revealer but it was nice to know that it was there if I had needed to call upon it. I had all of the same issues that the above posters have already mentioned. NEGAWATT, POP BY, and NATE (the great) were the outliers.

  4. Yep, had to be NATE instead of mate, giving us NEGAWATTS, good for the environment and a cute name. Enjoyed the puzzle.

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