0102-19 NY Times Crossword 2 Jan 19, Wednesday

Constructed by: Jacob Stulberg
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Forks

Themed answers come in pairs that share the first few letters, and then fork away from each other in the grid:

  • 16A. *Fish fork : SHARK/SHAD
  • 17A. *Cocktail fork : MARGARITA/MARTINI
  • 38A. *Salad fork : GREEK/GREEN
  • 59A. *Dessert fork : CHERRY PIE/CHEESECAKE
  • 62A. *Fruit fork : PEACH/PEAR

Bill’s time: 8m 29s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

14. Actor Morales of “The Brink” : ESAI

The actor Esai Morales is best known in the world of film for the 1987 movie “La Bamba”, which depicted the life of Ritchie Valens and his half-brother Bob Morales (played by Esai). On the small screen, Morales plays Lt. Tony Rodriguez on “NYPD Blue” and Joseph Adama on “Caprica”.

“The Brink” is a TV comedy that ran for just one season, starting in 2015. The show stars Tim Robbins and Jack Black, and centers on a geopolitical crisis in Pakistan.

16. *Fish fork : SHARK/SHAD

The shad is also known as the river herring. The eggs (roe) of the female shad are prized as a delicacy in the Eastern US.

17. *Cocktail fork : MARGARITA/MARTINI

No one seems to know for sure who first created the cocktail known as a margarita. The most plausible and oft-quoted is that it was invented in 1941 in Ensenada, Mexico. The barman mixed the drink for an important visitor, the daughter of the German ambassador. The daughter’s name was Margarita Henkel, and she lent her name to the new drink. The basic recipe for a margarita is a mixture of tequila, orange-flavored liqueur (like Cointreau) and lime juice.

The term “martini” probably takes it name from the “Martini & Rossi” brand of dry vermouth, although no one seems to be completely sure. What is clear is that despite the Martini name originating in Italy, the martini drink originated in the US. The original martini was made with gin and sweet vermouth, but someone specifying a “dry” martini was given gin and dry vermouth. Nowadays we use dry vermouth for all martinis and the term “dry” has become a reference to how little vermouth is included in the drink. Famously, Noël Coward liked his drink very dry and said that a perfect martini is made by “filling a glass with gin then waving it in the general direction of Italy”. The German-American journalist and satirist H. L. Mencken referred to the martini as “the only American invention as perfect as a sonnet”.

19. Vice president who became ambassador to Japan : MONDALE

Walter Mondale served as US Vice president under President Jimmy Carter. Mondale was also the Democratic candidate defeated by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, losing in the biggest landslide in the country’s history. Mondale only won electoral votes in his home state of Minnesota and in the District of Columbia.

22. It ends rather spookily: Abbr. : OCT

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”.

26. Often-prewritten news article, for short : OBIT

Our word “obituary” comes from the Latin “obituaris”. The Latin term was used for “record of the death of a person”, although the literal meaning is “pertaining to death”.

30. Wide-eyed sort : NAIF

A naïf is someone who is naive, as “naïf” is the French word for “naive”.

37. Leslie in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame : LISA

Lisa Leslie is a former professional basketball player who played in the WNBA with the Los Angeles Sparks. Leslie is rather tall, and was the first player to dunk the ball in a WNBA game.

42. Loos : WCS

When I was growing up in Ireland, a bathroom was a room that had a bath and no toilet. The separate room with the commode was called the toilet or sometimes the W.C. (the water closet). Apparently the term “closet” was used because in the 1800s when homeowners started installing toilets indoors they often displaced clothes and linens in a closet, as a closet was the right size to take the commode.

46. ___ Village (Manhattan neighborhood) : EAST

The East Village is a neighborhood of Manhattan lying between Broadway and the East River, extending from 14th Street in the northeast to Houston Street in the southwest. The area was known simply as the northern part of the Lower East Side until the 1960s, when the moniker “East Village” was applied in an effort to distinguish it from the Lower East Side and its less desirable reputation. The name chosen leveraged the established image of the neighboring Greenwich Village as Manhattan’s Bohemian capital.

47. Russia, once : TSARDOM

The last ruler of Imperial Russia was Tsar Nicholas II (of the House of Romanov). Famously, the Tsar and his family were murdered in 1918 in the basement of a house in Yekaterinburg, Russia by members of the Bolshevik secret police. The Tsar’s youngest daughter was 16-year-old Anastasia and rumors of her escape have persisted for years. The rumors grew with the help of numerous women who claimed to be Anastasia. In 2009, DNA testing finally proved that the remains of all of the Tsar’s immediate family, including Anastasia, have been found and identified.

56. Bespectacled canine of comics : DOGBERT

Dogbert is a character in the Scott Adams comic strip “Dilbert”. Dogbert celebrates his birthday on June 8, which also happens to be the birthday of Scott Adams himself. Dilbert bumps up against a character called Catbert quite a lot. Catbert is the “evil director of human resources” at Dilbert’s place of work.

63. Haberdasher’s array : TIES

Back in the 14th century, a haberdasher was a dealer in small wares. By the late 1800s, the term had evolved to mean a purveyor of menswear, and in particular was associated with the sale of hats.

65. TV’s Don Draper, for one : ADMAN

Jon Hamm lived the life of a struggling actor for quite some time before he hit gold with the starring role in the AMC drama “Mad Men”. He plays the main character, advertising executive (and man about town), Don Draper.

67. Fictional boy who rafted down the Mississippi : FINN

In Mark Twain’s novel “Huckleberry Finn”, much of the storyline is taken up with Huck’s adventures with the slave Jim as they raft down the Mississippi River. By making the journey, the pair hope to find freedom from slavery for Jim and freedom from his vagrant drunkard father for Huck.

68. Big brand of petrol : ESSO

The brand name Esso has its roots in the old Standard Oil company as it uses the initial letters of “Standard” and “Oil” (ESS-O). The Esso brand was replaced by Exxon in the US, but ESSO is still used in many other countries.

“Petrol” is the chiefly British-English term used for gasoline. “Petrol” comes via French from the Latin “petroleum”, itself derived from “petra” meaning “rock” and “oleum” meaning “oil”.

Down

1. ___ Beach, Calif. : PISMO

Pismo Beach is a California city located just 15 miles south of San Luis Obispo. The name “Pismo” comes from a Native American word “pismu” meaning “tar”, a reference to tar springs that are located in nearby Price Canyon. The tar was used by the locals to caulk their canoes.

2. Makeshift : AD HOC

The Latin phrase “ad hoc” means “for this purpose”. An ad hoc committee, for example, is formed for a specific purpose and is disbanded after making its final report.

4. Kosher bakery no-no : LARD

Fat, when extracted from the carcass of an animal, is called suet. Untreated suet decomposes at room temperature quite easily so it has to be rendered or purified to make it stable. Rendered fat from pigs is what we call lard. Rendered beef or mutton fat is known as tallow.

5. They might go viral : MEMES

A meme (short for “mineme”) is a cultural practice or idea that is passed on verbally or by repetition from one person to another. The term lends itself very well to the online world where links, emails, files etc. are so easily propagated.

6. “Mr. Robot” network : USA

“Mr. Robot” is an engaging drama series about an anxious and clinically depressed computer hacker. Said hacker joins an anarchic group of hackers known as “Mr. Robot” who are intent on taking down the largest conglomerate in the world. I binge-watched the first two series, and really enjoyed the experience …

8. What Buddha is said to have meditated under : FIG TREE

Gautama Buddha was the sage on whose teachings the Buddhist tradition was founded. It is generally believed that the Buddha was born as Siddhartha Gautama in Kapilavastu in present-day Nepal, in about 563 BCE.

11. “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” : EGAD!

Remember the catchphrase made famous by the cartoon character Snagglepuss, “Heavens to Murgatroyd!”? Snagglepuss stole that line from a 1944 movie called, “Meet the People” in which it was first uttered by none other than Bert Lahr, the actor who played the cowardly lion in “The Wizard of Oz”.

18. The Cards, on scoreboards : ARI

The Arizona Cardinals were founded in 1898 as the Chicago Cardinals. That makes the Cardinals the oldest, continuously-run professional football team in the whole country.

20. 1980s-’90s N.F.L. great Ronnie : LOTT

Ronnie Lott is a former NFL footballer who played most of his professional career with the San Francisco 49ers. After Lott retired, he co-founded the investment firm HRJ Capital with Harris Barton and Joe Montana (the H and J in “HRJ”). HRJ was in business for nine years but collapsed in 2009.

25. Relatives of puffins : AUKS

Auks are penguin-like sea birds that live in colder northern waters including the Arctic. Like penguins, auks are great swimmers, but unlike penguins, auks can fly.

27. Relatives of kingfishers : BEE-EATERS

Bee-eaters are small colorful birds that feed on flying insects, mainly bees and wasps. The bee-eater catches its prey in its bill and then hits and rubs the bee or wasp on a hard surface until the stinger is dislodged, then it partakes of its meal.

28. India ___ : INK

The black ink known as “India ink” was actually developed in the China. The carbon pigment used to give the dark color was imported from India, hence the name.

33. They can be saturated : FATS

Saturated fats (“bad” fats) differ from unsaturated fats (“good” fats) chemically in that saturated fats have chains of fatty acids that are relatively straight, allowing individual molecules to pack closely together. This close packing largely explains why saturated fats are solid at room temperature. Unsaturated fatty acids on the other hand have “kinks” in the chains of their fatty acids, so that they cannot pack together closely. Unsaturated fats are generally liquid at room temperature. Food manufacturers have learned that humans get sick by consuming saturated fats (i.e. fats from animal sources). So, they market “healthy” vegetable fats (naturally unsaturated and liquid at room temperature) that they have magically transformed in solid fats (like vegetable spreads). All they did was saturate the healthy fats, so that now it solidifies at room temperature, and in your arteries. There should be a law …

34. Pride parade letters : LGBT

The first gay pride parades were held all on the same weekend in 1970, in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

39. Big name in laptops : ACER

Acer is a Taiwanese company that I visited a couple of times when I was in the electronics business. I was very impressed back then with the company’s dedication to quality, although I have heard that things haven’t gone so well in recent years …

40. Fashion accessory that may be six feet long : BOA

Boa constrictors are members of the Boidae family of snakes, all of which are non-venomous. Interestingly, the female boa is always larger than the male.

49. Ancient arts venue : ODEON

In Ancient Greece an odeon (also “odeum”) was like a small theater, with “odeon” literally meaning a “building for musical competition”. Odea were used in both Greece and Rome for entertainments such as musical shows and poetry readings.

51. Black-and-white mammals : ORCAS

The taxonomic name for the killer whale is “Orcinus orca”. The use of the name “orca”, rather than “killer whale”, is becoming more and more common. The Latin word “Orcinus” means “belonging to Orcus”, with Orcus being the name for the Kingdom of the Dead.

53. Security guard’s viewing, for short : CCTV

Closed-circuit television (CCTV)

54. River originating in Pittsburgh : OHIO

The Ohio River forms in Pittsburgh where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers meet. It empties into the Mississippi near the city of Cairo, Illinois.

57. Figure on a résumé, in brief : GPA

Grade point average (GPA)

A résumé is a summary of a person’s job experience and education and is used as a tool by a job seeker. In many countries, a résumé is equivalent to a curriculum vitae. “Résumé” is the French word for “summary”.

58. Monk known as “The Father of English History” : BEDE

The Venerable Bede was a monk in the north of England in the eighth century AD. Saint Bede is mainly known as an author and scholar, publisher of “The Ecclesiastical History of the English People”. In his writings, Bede struggled with the two common ways of referring to dates at that time. Bede turned to the anno domini dating method that had been devised by Dionysius Exiguus in 525. Bede’s writings of circa 730 were extremely influential and helped popularize the the “anno domini” method.

60. Upsilon follower : PHI

Phi is the 21st letter of the Greek alphabet.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Gloomy atmosphere : PALL
5. Mess up : MUFF
9. Subject of some youth sports fraud : AGE
12. What inventions start as : IDEAS
14. Actor Morales of “The Brink” : ESAI
15. Toot one’s own horn : BRAG
16. *Fish fork : SHARK/SHAD
17. *Cocktail fork : MARGARITA/MARTINI
19. Vice president who became ambassador to Japan : MONDALE
21. Swapped : TRADED
22. It ends rather spookily: Abbr. : OCT
23. Last ruler of the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway : OSCAR II
26. Often-prewritten news article, for short : OBIT
29. Regret : RUE
30. Wide-eyed sort : NAIF
34. Unrealized : LATENT
36. Draw (out) : EKE
37. Leslie in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame : LISA
38. *Salad fork : GREEK/GREEN
39. Flashlight inserts, perhaps : AAS
40. Soldier’s topper : BERET
41. Well, in old Rome : BENE
42. Loos : WCS
43. Some rock coverings : MOSSES
44. “Bye!” : TA-TA!
45. Wide shoe spec : EEE
46. ___ Village (Manhattan neighborhood) : EAST
47. Russia, once : TSARDOM
50. Preschool group? : ROE
53. Estate sharer : COHEIR
56. Bespectacled canine of comics : DOGBERT
59. *Dessert fork : CHERRY PIE/CHEESECAKE
62. *Fruit fork : PEACH/PEAR
63. Haberdasher’s array : TIES
64. “Yikes!” : OH NO!
65. TV’s Don Draper, for one : ADMAN
66. Abbr. on a remote : VOL
67. Fictional boy who rafted down the Mississippi : FINN
68. Big brand of petrol : ESSO

Down

1. ___ Beach, Calif. : PISMO
2. Makeshift : AD HOC
3. Makeshift shelter : LEAN-TO TENT
4. Kosher bakery no-no : LARD
5. They might go viral : MEMES
6. “Mr. Robot” network : USA
7. Partner of wide : FAR
8. What Buddha is said to have meditated under : FIG TREE
9. Barren : ARID
10. Boarding pass datum : GATE
11. “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” : EGAD!
13. Genre of the band Less Than Jake : SKA
15. Idiotic : BRAINLESS
18. The Cards, on scoreboards : ARI
20. 1980s-’90s N.F.L. great Ronnie : LOTT
24. Like envelope flaps : CREASED
25. Relatives of puffins : AUKS
27. Relatives of kingfishers : BEE-EATERS
28. India ___ : INK
31. Wind tunnel currents : AIRSTREAMS
32. “Got it!” : I SEE!
33. They can be saturated : FATS
34. Pride parade letters : LGBT
35. Rest ___ : AREA
39. Big name in laptops : ACER
40. Fashion accessory that may be six feet long : BOA
42. No longer interested in : WEARY OF
43. An assistant might take one : MEMO
48. Follower of yes or no in the military : … SIR
49. Ancient arts venue : ODEON
51. Black-and-white mammals : ORCAS
52. Prefix with musicology : ETHNO-
53. Security guard’s viewing, for short : CCTV
54. River originating in Pittsburgh : OHIO
55. Shoe part : HEEL
57. Figure on a résumé, in brief : GPA
58. Monk known as “The Father of English History” : BEDE
60. Upsilon follower : PHI
61. Stop on a trip : INN

13 thoughts on “0102-19 NY Times Crossword 2 Jan 19, Wednesday”

  1. 11:03, no errors. I figured out the theme after I was done; during the solve (on my iPad Mini), the squares shown here with circles were instead in gray and the way in which theme entries were being highlighted made it difficult to keep track of the gray, so I just ignored the whole issue until the end. A minor nit, to be sure, but (to anyone responsible for the decision who happens to be lurking on Bill’s blog) I do think that using the circles would have worked better.

    A fun solve, in any case … 😜

  2. 21:18. I got the theme at the MARGARITA/MARTINI fork and it helped me. I thought the fill was tougher than normal. Really liked the theme today.

    In the NYT software on my laptop, they used gray squares. It was a little difficult to discern them when they were all highlighted so I had to keep moving the cursor to see the grayed out squares so I could utilize the theme. Agree circles would have been easier to work with, but I survived nevertheless.

    Best –

  3. Solved the puzzle, didn’t get the theme until I read your posts/responses. Some day I’ll be able to play with the big kids:-)

  4. Stupidly obscure? C’mon. I thought the construction was clever, and maybe that’s not complimentary enough. Especially liked ROE for Preschool Group. Good fun for a Wednesday.

  5. 17:53, no errors. Even though I had the MARTINI/MARGARITA fork filled in, the theme didn’t make sense to me until I filled CHEESECAKE/CHERRYPIE. I was then able to fill the remaining 3 forks based on the theme. This must have been a challenge to construct.

  6. I had one letter wrong at the BENE/BEE-EATER cross. I thought that BENE was correct for the Latin but I just could not make sense of such a big long string of vowels for the bird’s name. Bill’s blog finally cleared it up for me in that there is a hyphen in the word. I was unaware that there is such a bird as a BEE-EATER but it was educational for me to learn how interesting they are from Bill’s comment.

    BTW, my newspaper used gray squares and I had no problem utilizing the “forks”. Overall, I thought this was an excellent puzzle in every way. Keep them coming, Jacob Stulberg!

  7. No complaints that the “Cheesecake” fork actually rads “Cheesecakei” because of one of the I’s in Martini?

    It didn’t really cause a problem, but just doesn’t seem right to me…

    It took me a while to figure how “ROE” related to the 50-A clue.

  8. I was wondering if anyone knows what happened to Dimepiece Los Angeles celebrity streetwear brand? I am having trouble to proceed to the checkout on Dimepiecela site. I have read in Elle that they were acquired by a UK hedge fund for $50 million. I’ve just bought the Meditate Yoga Bag from Ebay and absolutely love it xox

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