1231-18 NY Times Crossword 31 Dec 18, Monday

Constructed by: Brian Thomas
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Ozone

Themed answers are phrases that include the letter string “OOO”:

  • 65A. Another name for O3 (as appropriate to 17-, 25-, 44- and 58-Across?) : OZONE
  • 17A. “You young people go ahead!” : I’M TOO OLD FOR THIS!
  • 25A. Lack in energy : HAVE NO OOMPH
  • 44A. Force to exit, as a performer : BOO OFF STAGE
  • 58A. Traffic reporter’s comment : IT’S A ZOO OUT THERE

Bill’s time: 5m 20s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Exchange after a lecture, informally : Q AND A

Question and answer (Q&A)

6. Room just under the roof : ATTIC

An attic or loft is a room or space located below the roof of a building. The term “attic” is a shortened form of “attic story”, the uppermost story or level of a house. This term “attic story” originally applied to a low, decorative level built on top of the uppermost story behind a building’s decorative facade. This use of decoration at the top of buildings was common in ancient Greece, and was particularly important in the Attica style. That Attica style was so called because it originated in the historical region of Attica that encompassed the city of Athens. And that’s how our attics are linked to ancient Greece.

14. Base just before home base : THIRD

That would be baseball.

19. Country between Ecuador and Bolivia : PERU

Peru’s name comes from the word “Biru”. Back in the early 1500s, Biru was a ruler living near the Bay of San Miguel in Panama. The territory over which Biru ruled was the furthest land south in the Americas known to Europeans at that time. The Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro was the first European to move south of Biru’s empire and the land that he found was designated “Peru”, a derivative of “Biru”.

“Ecuador” is the Spanish word for “equator”, which gives the country its name.

Bolivia is a landlocked country in South America, bordered by Brazil, Paraguay, Chile, Peru and Argentina. The land now occupied by Bolivia was originally part of the Inca Empire. The country declared independence from Spain in 1809, which led to 16 years of war. When the Republic was finally named, “Bolivia” was chosen in honor of the Venezuelan-born revolutionary leader, Simón Bolívar.

21. Lowest workers : PEONS

A peon is a lowly worker who has no real control over his/her working conditions. The word “peon” comes into English from Spanish, in which language it has the same meaning.

22. G.I.’s ID : DOG TAG

The identification tags worn by soldiers are often called “dog tags”, simply because they do resemble tags worn by dogs. US military personnel are required to wear dog tags when in the field. Each soldier wears either two tags or a special tag that breaks easily into two identical pieces. The idea is that if a soldier is killed then one half can be removed for notification and the remaining half stays with the body. Each tag contains basics such as name and ID number, medical information like blood type, and possibly a religious preference.

24. “That’s so funny,” in a text : LOL

Laugh out loud (LOL)

38. Punk offshoot : EMO

The emo musical genre originated in Washington D.C. in the 80s, and takes its name from “emotional hardcore”. “Emo” is also the name given to the associated subculture. Not my cup of tea …

42. Cairo’s land : EGYPT

Cairo is the capital city of Egypt. It is nicknamed “The City of a Thousand Minarets” because of its impressive skyline replete with Islamic architecture. The name “Cairo” is a European corruption of the city’s original name in Arabic, “Al-Qahira”.

47. Hosp. trauma centers : ERS

Emergency room (ER)

48. Broadway’s ___ O’Neill Theater : EUGENE

The Eugene O’Neill Theater in the Broadway Theater District of New York City was opened in 1925. The venue was known as the Coronet from 1945 to 1959, and at one time was owned by playwright Neil Simon.

The playwright Eugene O’Neill was born in a New York City hotel room in what is now called Times Square, in 1888. That building no longer exists and there is a Starbucks on the site today, but you can go take a look at the commemorative plaque at the Northeast corner of 43rd and Broadway. O’Neill died in 1953, in room 401 of the Sheraton Hotel on Bay State Road in Boston. His last words were, “I knew it. I knew it. Born in a hotel room, and God damn it, died in a hotel room.” Eugene O’Neill won a Pulitzer for his play “Anna Christie”.

51. Puppeteer Lewis : SHARI

Shari Lewis was the original puppeteer behind the PBS children’s show “Lamb Chop”. After Shari Lewis died in 1998, her daughter Mallory took over the role of puppeteer on the show.

54. ___ Fein (Irish political party) : SINN

Sinn Féin is a political party in Ireland, largely representing the Catholic community in Northern Ireland, although representation in the Republic of Ireland has increased in recent years. It is led by Gerry Adams, and has the stated aim of uniting Ireland north and south. Sinn Féin is Irish for “we ourselves”. It is currently the second largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

61. Plant-eating dino with spikes on its back : STEGOSAUR

The stegosaur was a very large, plant-eating dinosaur that grew to a length of up to 40 feet. Stegosaurs relied on spikes and plates of “armor” on the back and tail for defense.

63. Hoppy brew, for short : IPA

India pale ale (IPA) is a style of beer that originated in England. The beer was originally intended for transportation from England to India, hence the name.

65. Another name for O3 (as appropriate to 17-, 25-, 44- and 58-Across?) : OZONE

Ozone gets its name from the Greek word “ozein” meaning “to smell”. It was given this name as ozone’s formation during lightning storms was detected by the gas’s distinctive smell. Famously, there is a relatively high concentration of the gas in the “ozone layer” in the Earth’s stratosphere. This ozone layer provides a vital function for animal life on the planet as it absorbs most of the sun’s UV radiation. A molecule of ozone is made up of three oxygen atoms (O3), whereas a “normal” oxygen (O2) has just two atoms.

Down

1. Brand of swabs : Q-TIP

Cotton swabs were originally marketed under the name “Baby Gays”. This was changed in 1926 to “Q-Tips”, with the Q standing for “quality”.

2. Man’s name related to the name of Islam’s founder : AHMED

The name “Ahmad” (or “Ahmed”) is believed by some to be an alternative given name for the prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam.

3. Lead-in to glycerin : NITRO-

Nitroglycerin (also known as “nitro”) is a very unstable, oily, colorless liquid. It is usually used as the explosive ingredient in a stabilized product like dynamite or cordite. Nitroglycerin is also used medically, as a vasodilator. Right after it hits the bloodstream, nitroglycerin causes the blood vessels to dilate so that the heart has less work to do. I had occasion to take it a couple of times, and boy, what a speedy and fundamental effect it has …

5. “Much ___ About Nothing” : ADO

“Much Ado About Nothing” is a play by William Shakespeare, and a favorite of mine. It is a comedic tale of two pairs of lovers with lots of mistaken identities and double meanings. I once saw it performed in the fabulous Globe Theatre in London … by an all-female cast. Such a performance was somewhat ironic, given that in Shakespeare’s day the practice was to use an all-male cast.

12. Ares : Greek :: ___ : Norse : ODIN

In Norse mythology, Odin was the chief of the gods. He is usually depicted as having one eye, reflecting the story of how he gave one of his eyes in exchange for wisdom.

13. Loch ___ monster : NESS

The Loch Ness monster has been talked about for centuries, but modern interest started in 1933 when a spate of sightings was reported. Those sightings don’t seem to have stopped, with photographs really sparking the imagination.

16. Patron of sailors : ST ELMO

Saint Elmo is the patron saint of sailors. More formally referred to as Erasmus of Formia, St. Elmo is perhaps venerated by sailors as tradition tells us that he continued preaching despite the ground beside him being struck by a thunderbolt. Sailors started to pray to him when in danger of storms and lightning. He lends his name to the electrostatic weather phenomenon (often seen at sea) known as St. Elmo’s fire. The “fire” is actually a plasma discharge caused by air ionizing at the end of a pointed object (like the mast of a ship), something often observed during electrical storms.

18. Kingly name in Norway : OLAV

Of the many kings of Norway named Olaf/Olav (and there have been five), Olaf II is perhaps the most celebrated, as he was canonized and made patron saint of the country. Olaf II was king from 1015 to 1028 and was known as “Olaf the Big” (or “Olaf the Fat”) during his reign. Today he is more commonly referred to as “Olaf the Holy”. After Olaf died he was given the title of “Rex Perpetuus Norvegiae”, which is Latin for “Norway’s Eternal King”.

23. ___ Bo (exercise system) : TAE

Tae Bo isn’t an ancient martial art, even though it perhaps sounds like one. The discipline was developed as a form of aerobic exercise in the 1990s by taekwondo expert Billy Blanks who gave it the name Tae Bo, a melding of “taekwondo” and “boxing”.

26. Highest digits in sudoku : NINES

Number puzzles similar to our modern-day Sudoku first appeared in French newspapers in the late 1800s. The format that we use today was created by Howard Garns, a 74-year-old freelance puzzle constructor from Connersville, Indiana and first published in 1979. The format was introduced in Japan in 1984 and given the title of “Sūji wa dokushin ni kagiru”, which translates to “the digits are limited to one occurrence”. The rather elaborate Japanese title was eventually shortened to Sudoku. No doubt many of you are fans of Sudoku puzzles. I know I am …

27. “Holy cow!,” in a text : OMG!

“OMG” is text-speak for “Oh My Gosh!” “Oh My Goodness!” or any other G-words you might care to use …

28. Quarry : PREY

We’ve been using the noun “quarry” to mean “anything chased in a hunt” since the early 17th century. The term derives from the earlier term “”quirre”, which were the entrails of a deer that were given to dogs as a reward after a successful kill.

29. Plant supplying burlap fiber : HEMP

Hemp is a hardy, fast-growing plant that has many uses mainly due to the strength of the fibers in the plant’s stalks. Hemp is used to make rope, paper and textiles. There is a variety of hemp that is grown to make drugs, most famously cannabis.

Burlap, also called “hessian”, is a coarse woven fabric made from fibers taken from jute, sisal or hemp plants.

31. Spirited horse : ARAB

The Arab (also “Arabian”) breed of horse takes its name from its original home, the Arabian Peninsula. Like any animal that humans have over-bred, the horse falls prey to genetic diseases, some of which are fatal and some of which require the horse to be euthanized.

37. Poodle’s sound : ARF!

The standard poodle breed of dog is considered to be the second most intelligent breed, after the border collie. The name “poodle” comes from a Low German word meaning “to splash about”, reflecting the original use of the breed as a water retriever.

40. Scoundrel, in British slang : TOE RAG

The original toe rag, back in the 1800s, was cloth that convicts and tramps wrapped around their feet in place of socks. The term “toe rag” came to be rather rude slang for a person viewed with contempt.

42. Urge (on) : EGG

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”.

45. Professor’s goal, one day : TENURE

A job in a university that is described as “tenure-track” is one that can lead to a tenured position. A tenured position is a “job for life”. A person with tenure can only be dismissed for cause.

46. ___ Jemima : AUNT

The Aunt Jemima brand name was taken from an old vaudeville song called “Old Aunt Jemima”. The whole Aunt Jemima image has been surrounded by controversy for many years, understandably …

49. Mexican president Enrique Peña ___ : NIETO

Enrique Peña Nieto became President of Mexico in 2012. President Nieto quickly struggled with a plummeting approval rating, initially due to a sluggish economy and a weakened Mexican Peso.

50. Company in a 2001-02 business scandal : ENRON

After all the trials following the exposure of fraud at Enron, several of the key players ended up in jail. Andrew Fastow was the Chief Financial Officer. He plea-bargained and received ten years without parole, and became the key witness in the trials of others. Even Fastow’s wife was involved and she was sentenced to one year for helping her husband hide money. Jeffrey Skilling (ex-CEO) was sentenced to 24 years and 4 months. Kenneth Lay (CEO) died in 2006 after he had been found guilty but before he could be sentenced. The accounting firm Arthur Andersen was found guilty of obstruction of justice for shredding thousands of pertinent documents and deleting emails and files (a decision that the Supreme Court later overturned on a technicality). But still, Arthur Andersen collapsed under the weight of the scandal and 85,000 people lost their jobs (despite only a handful being directly involved with Enron).

52. Web address starter : HTTP

“http” are the first letters in many Internet links. “http” stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. More secure and “safer” websites (like this one!) use links starting with “https”, which stands for “http secure”).

55. Notes from players who can’t pay : IOUS

I owe you (IOU)

57. Bit of inheritance? : GENE

A gene is a section of a chromosome that is responsible for a particular characteristic in an organism. For example, one gene may determine eye color and another balding pattern. We have two copies of each gene, one from each of our parents, with each copy known as an allele.

59. The Buckeyes of the Big Ten, for short : OSU

Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus 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”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Exchange after a lecture, informally : Q AND A
6. Room just under the roof : ATTIC
11. Sweetheart : HON
14. Base just before home base : THIRD
15. Postponed for later consideration : LAID ASIDE
17. “You young people go ahead!” : I’M TOO OLD FOR THIS!
19. Country between Ecuador and Bolivia : PERU
20. Part of a tree or a book : LEAF
21. Lowest workers : PEONS
22. G.I.’s ID : DOG TAG
24. “That’s so funny,” in a text : LOL
25. Lack in energy : HAVE NO OOMPH
30. Dull, as a finish : MATTE
33. Begged earnestly : IMPLORED
35. Make a goof : ERR
36. Free-___ (like some chickens) : RANGE
38. Punk offshoot : EMO
39. “Don’t leave this spot” : WAIT HERE
42. Cairo’s land : EGYPT
44. Force to exit, as a performer : BOO OFF STAGE
47. Hosp. trauma centers : ERS
48. Broadway’s ___ O’Neill Theater : EUGENE
51. Puppeteer Lewis : SHARI
54. ___ Fein (Irish political party) : SINN
56. Either side of an airplane : WING
58. Traffic reporter’s comment : IT’S A ZOO OUT THERE
61. Plant-eating dino with spikes on its back : STEGOSAUR
62. Discover almost by chance, as a solution : HIT ON
63. Hoppy brew, for short : IPA
64. Helper in an operating room : NURSE
65. Another name for O3 (as appropriate to 17-, 25-, 44- and 58-Across?) : OZONE

Down

1. Brand of swabs : Q-TIP
2. Man’s name related to the name of Islam’s founder : AHMED
3. Lead-in to glycerin : NITRO-
4. Prolonged dry spell : DROUGHT
5. “Much ___ About Nothing” : ADO
6. Assert without proof : ALLEGE
7. Cry of triumph : TADA!
8. Spat : TIFF
9. Last words before being pronounced husband and wife : I DO
10. Not drive by oneself to work : CARPOOL
11. Cheery greeting : HI-HO!
12. Ares : Greek :: ___ : Norse : ODIN
13. Loch ___ monster : NESS
16. Patron of sailors : ST ELMO
18. Kingly name in Norway : OLAV
23. ___ Bo (exercise system) : TAE
24. Make great strides? : LOPE
26. Highest digits in sudoku : NINES
27. “Holy cow!,” in a text : OMG!
28. Quarry : PREY
29. Plant supplying burlap fiber : HEMP
30. Kitten’s sound : MEW
31. Spirited horse : ARAB
32. Sextet halved : TRIO
34. “i” or “j” topper : DOT
36. Dictionaries, almanacs, etc., in brief : REFS
37. Poodle’s sound : ARF!
40. Scoundrel, in British slang : TOE RAG
41. What a setting sun dips below : HORIZON
42. Urge (on) : EGG
43. “Who’da thunk it?!” : GEE WHIZ!
45. Professor’s goal, one day : TENURE
46. ___ Jemima : AUNT
49. Mexican president Enrique Peña ___ : NIETO
50. Company in a 2001-02 business scandal : ENRON
51. Enthusiastic assent in Mexico : SI SI!
52. Web address starter : HTTP
53. On the waves : ASEA
54. Fly high : SOAR
55. Notes from players who can’t pay : IOUS
57. Bit of inheritance? : GENE
59. The Buckeyes of the Big Ten, for short : OSU
60. However, briefly : THO’

9 thoughts on “1231-18 NY Times Crossword 31 Dec 18, Monday”

  1. 7:33, no errors except for a typo caused by fumble-fingering the virtual keyboard on my iPad Mini – one of those incidents that makes me think I ought to go back to doing the NYT puzzles on paper, the way I do all the rest of them. (17A may apply! 🤪.)

    A nice Monday puzzle, anyway …

  2. 7:41. I think if I called someone a TOERAG, they’d have no idea what I was saying…

    I’ll ditto Bill in MN’s sentiment.

    Best –

  3. I missed on two letters for a total of three errors. I misspelled HORIZON as “horizen”. Ugh. Also I did not know either the dinosaur’s name or the British slang for scoundrel. I guessed “toe rat”. I am sure that I will learn from my mistakes.

      1. @Steve, as I remember it, that was the one that had the plane and CONTRAILS. I did give it a try but gave up after about 30 minutes. Thursday is my challenge level so I will always make an attempt at them. Making the decision to throw in the towel is also a part of crossword strategy. I often think that I am not going to finish a puzzle and then surprise myself with a successful finish. But in the case of last Thursday I can look back and see that I made the right decision. There was just no way I could have ever completed it so I am glad that I did not waste the time trying.

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