0101-19 NY Times Crossword 1 Jan 19, Tuesday

Constructed by: Gary Cee
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Passable

Happy New Year, everybody!. Themed answers each start with something that is PASSABLE, can be PASSED:

  • 61A. Barely adequate … or what the starts of 17-, 26-, 37- and 50-Across are : PASSABLE
  • 17A. Three goals in a single game : HAT TRICK (giving “pass the hat”)
  • 26A. Its lyrics tell of unrequited love : TORCH SONG (giving “pass the torch”)
  • 37A. Music staff notation : TIME SIGNATURE (giving “pass the time”)
  • 50A. Reason to get braces : BUCK TEETH (giving “pass the buck”)

Bill’s time: 5m 52s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. First victim of sibling rivalry : ABEL

The story of Cain and Abel not only appears in the Christian and Hebrew Bibles, it also features in the Qur’an. In the Muslim account the brothers are named Qabil and Habil.

5. ___ Newton (cookie) : FIG

The Fig Newton cookie is based on what is actually a very old recipe that dates back to Ancient Egypt. Whereas we grew up with “Fig Rolls” in Ireland, here in America the brand name “Fig Newton” was used, as the cookies were originally produced in Newton, Massachusetts.

16. “Now!” : PRONTO!

The Spanish and Italian (and now English) word “pronto” is derived from the Latin “promptus” meaning “ready, quick”.

17. Three goals in a single game : HAT TRICK (giving “pass the hat”)

A hat trick is the scoring of three goals by the same player in a game of say, soccer or hockey.

19. Leap day baby, astrologically : PISCES

The astrological sign of the zodiac called Pisces is named for the Pisces constellation. “Pisces” is the Latin word for “fish”, in the plural (singular “piscis”).

In terms of our Julian calendar, the Earth takes almost exactly 365¼ days to orbit the sun. For convenience, we use 365 days to define most of our years. We add an extra day at the end of every fourth February in order to sync our civil calendar with the astronomical calendar. Our contemporary leap day is February because of tradition dating back to Roman times. The early Roman calendar started in March and ended in December, leaving much of the winter as a monthless period. When a later Roman calendar introduced a 365-day year, along with the new months of January and February, the leap day was placed right before the start of the year in March.

20. Darth Vader’s nickname as a boy : ANI

Anakin “Ani” Skywalker is the principal character in the first six of the “Star Wars” movies. His progress chronologically through the series of films is:

  • Episode I: Anakin is a 9-year-old slave boy who earns the promise of Jedi training by young Obi-Wan Kenobi.
  • Episode II: Anakin is 18-years-old and goes on a murdering rampage to avenge the killing of his mother.
  • Episode III: Anakin is 21-years-old and a Jedi knight, but he turns to the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader. His wife Padme gives birth to twins, Luke and Leia Skywalker.
  • Episode IV: Darth Vader, comes into conflict with his children, Luke Skywalker and the Princess Leia.
  • Episode V: Darth Vader attempts to coax his son Luke over to the dark side, and reveals to Luke that he is his father.
  • Episode VI: Luke learns that Leia is his sister, and takes on the task of bringing Darth Vader back from the Dark Side in order to save the Galaxy. Vader saves his son from the Emperor’s evil grip, dying in the process, but his spirit ends up alongside the spirits of Yoda and Obi-Wan. They all live happily ever after …

24. Blood fluid : SERUM

Blood serum (plural “sera”) is the clear, yellowish part of blood i.e. that part which is neither a blood cell or a clotting factor. Included in blood serum are antibodies, the proteins that are central to our immune system. Blood serum from animals that have immunity to some disease can be transferred to another individual, hence providing that second individual with some level of immunity. Blood serum used to pass on immunity can be called “antiserum”.

26. Its lyrics tell of unrequited love : TORCH SONG (giving “pass the torch”)

A sentimental love song can be referred to as a “torch song”. The term derives from the expression “to carry a torch for someone” meaning to keep aflame the light of love, despite the feeling not being returned by the other party.

34. Turkey ___ king : A LA

A dish prepared “a la king” (usually chicken or turkey), is food prepared in a cream sauce, with mushrooms, pimentos, green peppers and sherry.

35. A, in Munich : EIN

Munich is the capital of the German state of Bavaria, and is the third largest city in the country (after Berlin and Hamburg). The city is called “München” in German, a term that derives from the Old German word for “by the monks’ place”, which is a reference to the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city in 1158.

37. Music staff notation : TIME SIGNATURE (giving “pass the time”)

The most common time signature used for Western popular music is 4/4. I guess that’s why said time signature is known as “common time”.

42. ___-Caps : SNO

Sno-Caps are a brand of candy usually only available in movie theaters. Sno-caps have been around since the 1920s, would you believe?

43. Calligrapher’s tool : PEN

Calligraphy is the art of fine handwriting. The term “calligraphy” comes from the Greek “kallos” meaning “beauty” and “graphein” meaning “to write”.

44. League that used a red, white and blue ball, for short : ABA

The American Basketball Association (ABA) merged with the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1976. The ABA used a ball with the colors red, white and blue. The NBA uses a more traditional orange ball.

45. Greed or gluttony : SIN

The cardinal sins of Christian ethics are also known as the seven deadly sins. The seven deadly sins are:

  • Wrath
  • Greed
  • Sloth
  • Pride
  • Lust
  • Envy
  • Gluttony

50. Reason to get braces : BUCK TEETH (giving “pass the buck”)

The phrase “passing the buck” supposedly comes from poker. The marker that indicates whose turn it is to deal is called the buck, and it is passed from player to player. Over time, the phrase came to mean the passing of responsibility (or usually blame). President Harry S. Truman popularized the derivative phrase “the buck stops here” by placing a sign bearing those words on his desk in the Oval Office. President Truman had received the sign as a gift from a prison warden who was also an enthusiastic poker player.

55. Ranee’s wrap : SAREE

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.

A ranee (also “rani”) is an Indian queen or princess, and the female equivalent of a raja.

57. What’s shaped at the gym, informally : BOD

Our word “gymnasium” comes from the Greek “gymnasion” meaning “public place where exercise is taken”. The Greek term comes from “gymnos” meaning “naked”, as that physical training was usually done unclothed in ancient Greece.

58. Literary last words : EPILOG

Our word “epilog” (also “epilogue”) applies to an addition at the end of a play or other literary work. The term ultimately comes from the Greek “epi-” signifying “in addition”, and “logos” meaning “speech”.

64. Slithering killer : ASP

The asp is a venomous snake found in the Nile region of Africa. It is so venomous that the asp was used in ancient Egypt and Greece as a means of execution. Cleopatra observed such executions noting that the venom brought on sleepiness without any painful spasms. When the great queen opted to commit suicide, the asp was therefore her chosen method.

67. Short of money : SHY

To be shy is to be short, lacking. This use of “shy” originated as gambling slang meaning “owe money to the pot”.

68. Couple that might be snapped by paparazzi : ITEM

The title of the celebrated 1960 Federico Fellini film “La Dolce Vita” translates from Italian as “The Good Life”. There is a character in the film called Paparazzo who is a news photographer. It is this character who gives us our word “Paparazzi”, a term used for photographers who make careers out of taking candid shots of celebrities.

Down

4. Call from a chair umpire : LET

That would be tennis.

5. Chocolate kiss wrap : FOIL

The Hershey Company produces over 80 million chocolate Kisses each day, and has been making them since 1907.

7. Gordon ___, lead role in “Wall Street” : GEKKO

“Wall Street” is a very entertaining 1987 film from Oliver Stone starring Charlie Sheen as an up and coming stockbroker, and Michael Douglas as an amoral corporate raider named Gordon Gekko. Douglas’ portrayal of Gekko earned him a Best Actor Oscar, and deservedly so, I’d say …

13. Beehive and bouffant : DOS

That distinctive beehive hairstyle is also called a B-52, because the round, beehive-shape also resembles the bulbous nose of a B-52 bomber! The style originated in 1958, and is credited to Margaret Vinci Heldt, the owner of a hair salon in downtown Chicago. I’m not a fan of the beehive, but I do have to say that Audrey Hepburn carried it off in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, as did Dusty Springfield in her heyday.

“Bouffant” is a French word meaning “puffed out” that we’ve imported into English. Apparently, the first use of “bouffant” with reference to a hairstyle dates back to 1955.

22. Watergate hearings chair Sam : ERVIN

Sam Ervin was a Democratic Senator from North Carolina from 1954 until 1974. Senator Ervin worked on two notable committees during his term. On one he helped bring down Senator Joseph McCarthy in 1954, and on the other he helped investigate the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon.

25. Savory taste : UMAMI

Umami is one of the five basic tastes, along with sweet, sour, bitter and salty. “Umami” is a Japanese word used to describe “a pleasant savory taste”. Umami was proposed as a basic taste in 1908, but it wasn’t until 1985 that the scientific community finally accepted it as such.

27. Cocktail hour nosh : CANAPE

A canapé is a finger food, something small enough to eat in just one bite. In French, “canapé” is actually the word for a couch or a sofa. The name was given to the snack as the original canapés were savories served on toasted or stale bread that supposedly resembled a tiny couch.

28. Number of batters in a lineup : NINE

That would be baseball.

31. Famous collie of radio, TV and film : LASSIE

The canine character Lassie is the creation of Eric Knight, an author who wrote a short story that he expanded into a novel called “Lassie Come Home” published in 1940. “Lassie Come Home” was turned into a movie three years later, the first of a very successful franchise. The original Lassie (a female) was played by a dog called Pal, a male dog. In fact, all of the dogs that played Lassie over the years were males, because they looked better on camera, retaining a thick coat even during the summer months.

37. Popular perfume : TABU

Tabu is a whole line of cosmetics and perfumes produced by the House of Dana. The company’s brand names were purchased by a Florida company called Dana Classic Fragrances in 1999.

39. Hammond ___, writer of “The Wreck of the Mary Deare” : INNES

Hammond Innes was an English author who mainly wrote thrillers, of which several have been made into films. The most famous of his novels is probably “The Wreck of the Mary Deare”, which was first published in 1956. It was made into a successful movie of the same name in 1959 starring Gary Cooper and Charlton Heston.

41. Vehicle with a meter : CAB

We call cabs “taxis”, a word derived from “taximeter cabs” that were introduced in London in 1907. A taximeter was an automated meter designed to record distance travelled and fare to be charged. The term “taximeter” evolved from “taxameter”, with “taxa” being Latin for “tax, charge”.

45. Moe, Larry or Curly : STOOGE

If you’ve seen a few of the films starring “The Three Stooges” you might have noticed that the line up changed over the years. The original trio was made up of Moe and Shemp Howard (two brothers) and Larry Fine (a good friend of the Howards). This line up was usually known as “Moe, Larry and Shemp”. Then Curly Howard replaced his brother when Shemp quit the act, creating the most famous trio, “Moe, Larry And Curly”. Shemp returned when Curly had a debilitating stroke in 1946, and Shemp stayed with the troupe until he died in 1955. Shemp was replaced by Joe Besser, and then “Curly-Joe” DeRita. When Larry Fine had a stroke in 1970, it effectively marked the end of the act.

47. Tolkien creature : HOBBIT

“The Hobbit, or There and Back Again” is a children’s fantasy novel by J. R. R. Tolkien that was popular from the time of its first publication in 1937. Included in the early awards for “The Hobbit” was a prize for best juvenile fiction from “The New York Herald Tribune”. Tolkien adapted his succeeding novel “The Lord of the Rings” to incorporate elements in “The Hobbit”, so that the two tales are very much related.

51. Nuts containing caffeine : KOLAS

The nut of the kola tree has a bitter taste, and is loaded with caffeine. Despite the taste, the nut is habitually chewed in some cultures, especially in West Africa where the tree is commonly found in the rainforest. Here in the US we best know the kola nut as a flavoring used in cola drinks.

52. Spanish food served on small plates : TAPAS

“Tapa” is the Spanish word for “lid”, and there is no clear rationale for why this word came to be used for an appetizer. There are lots of explanations cited, all of which seem to involve the temporary covering of one’s glass of wine with a plate or item of food to either preserve the wine or give one extra space at the table.

56. Athletic award : ESPY

The ESPY Awards are a creation of the ESPN sports television network. One difference with similarly named awards in the entertainment industry is that ESPY winners are chosen solely based on viewer votes.

58. Hard-to-explain skill, for short : ESP

Extrasensory perception (ESP)

59. Tee box sign info : PAR

In the game of golf, a “tee” is the wooden or plastic peg on which one can place a ball when “teeing off”. Also, the “teeing ground” (sometimes “tee” or “tee box”) is the area at the beginning of the hole from which the first stroke is taken, from where one tees off.

62. Cable news host Velshi : ALI

Ali Velshi is a television journalist from Canada who joined MSNBC in 2016, after having worked with CNN and Al Jazeera America.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. First victim of sibling rivalry : ABEL
5. ___ Newton (cookie) : FIG
8. Somewhere across the ocean : ABROAD
14. Transmitter of freckles or blond hair : GENE
15. “You’re ___ to talk!” : ONE
16. “Now!” : PRONTO!
17. Three goals in a single game : HAT TRICK (giving “pass the hat”)
19. Leap day baby, astrologically : PISCES
20. Darth Vader’s nickname as a boy : ANI
21. Similar : ALIKE
23. “Hmm, I don’t know” : GEE
24. Blood fluid : SERUM
26. Its lyrics tell of unrequited love : TORCH SONG (giving “pass the torch”)
30. Shiver from fear : TREMBLE
32. Big tub : VAT
33. By way of : VIA
34. Turkey ___ king : A LA
35. A, in Munich : EIN
36. Telescope part : LENS
37. Music staff notation : TIME SIGNATURE (giving “pass the time”)
41. Child’s plea : CAN I?
42. ___-Caps : SNO
43. Calligrapher’s tool : PEN
44. League that used a red, white and blue ball, for short : ABA
45. Greed or gluttony : SIN
46. Someone who likes to see many raised hands : TEACHER
50. Reason to get braces : BUCK TEETH (giving “pass the buck”)
53. Push : SHOVE
54. ___ close to call : TOO
55. Ranee’s wrap : SAREE
57. What’s shaped at the gym, informally : BOD
58. Literary last words : EPILOG
61. Barely adequate … or what the starts of 17-, 26-, 37- and 50-Across are : PASSABLE
63. Wild : SAVAGE
64. Slithering killer : ASP
65. “___ a little!” : LIVE
66. Car radio button : PRESET
67. Short of money : SHY
68. Couple that might be snapped by paparazzi : ITEM

Down

1. Horror-struck : AGHAST
2. Pitch to the head, informally : BEANER
3. Total : ENTIRE
4. Call from a chair umpire : LET
5. Chocolate kiss wrap : FOIL
6. Provoke : INCITE
7. Gordon ___, lead role in “Wall Street” : GEKKO
8. Mobile device download : APP
9. Smart : BRIGHT
10. Things to stop and smell : ROSES
11. Quick appraisal : ONCE-OVER
12. Caught a bite : ATE
13. Beehive and bouffant : DOS
18. Go off on tangents : RAMBLE
22. Watergate hearings chair Sam : ERVIN
25. Savory taste : UMAMI
27. Cocktail hour nosh : CANAPE
28. Number of batters in a lineup : NINE
29. Neither a liquid nor a solid : GAS
31. Famous collie of radio, TV and film : LASSIE
35. Inflated self-image : EGO
36. Break in the workday : LUNCH
37. Popular perfume : TABU
38. Out of commission : INACTIVE
39. Hammond ___, writer of “The Wreck of the Mary Deare” : INNES
40. Kids : TEASES
41. Vehicle with a meter : CAB
45. Moe, Larry or Curly : STOOGE
46. Defeat decisively : THRASH
47. Tolkien creature : HOBBIT
48. Develop gradually : EVOLVE
49. Cash in : REDEEM
51. Nuts containing caffeine : KOLAS
52. Spanish food served on small plates : TAPAS
56. Athletic award : ESPY
58. Hard-to-explain skill, for short : ESP
59. Tee box sign info : PAR
60. “I ___ it!” : GET
62. Cable news host Velshi : ALI

7 thoughts on “0101-19 NY Times Crossword 1 Jan 19, Tuesday”

  1. 8:31, no errors. Okay start to the New Year, given that I was having problems with my internet connection last night (as I was trying to do this one).

  2. 10:33. Good theme and a nice way to start the New Year. So Happy New Years all…and Happy New Years + 5 weeks for the syndicated solvers to come.

    Best –

  3. No errors, no problems. I especially liked the theme. After finishing the grid I looked back at the theme words and wondered what could they all have in common. It was a clever reveal when I came to realize that they are all things that can be “passed”. This was a most enjoyable puzzle from Gary Cee.

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