0110-19 NY Times Crossword 10 Jan 19, Thursday

Constructed by: Jeff Slutzky & Derek Bowman
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Tor … Ah!

Today’s themed answers are common phrases with the suffix -TOR inserted:

  • 68A. Sacred text … or your reaction upon figuring out this puzzle’s theme? : TORAH or TOR … AH!
  • 21A. Kidnapper who gets arrested? : CAPTOR IN HAND (from “cap in hand”)
  • 29A. Win a one-on-one game against a Toronto hoops player? : BEAT THE RAPTOR (from “beat the rap”)
  • 45A. “I don’t want this house after all”? : KEEP IT, REALTOR (from “keep it real”)
  • 55A. Synagogue singer with hokey humor? : CANTOR OF CORN (from “can of corn”)

Bill’s time: 8m 07s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Italian scooter : VESPA

Vespa is a brand of motor scooter that was originally made in Italy (and now all over the world) by Piaggio. “Vespa” is Italian for “wasp”.

16. Big name in cosmetics : AVON

In 1886, a young man called David McConnell was selling books door-to-door. To enhance his sales numbers he was giving out free perfume to the ladies of the houses that he visited. Seeing as his perfume was more popular than his books, he founded the California Perfume Company in New York City and started manufacturing and selling across the country. The company name was changed to Avon in 1939, and the famous “Avon Calling” marketing campaign was launched in 1954.

17. Another nickname for the Governator : ARNIE

The body-builder, actor and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger was born in Graz in Austria, the son of the local police chief. Schwarzenegger’s family name translates into the more prosaic “black plough man”. In his bodybuilding days, he was often referred to as the Austrian Oak. When he was Governor of California he was called “the Governator”, a play on his role in the “The Terminator” series of movies.

18. Bass group? : NSYNC

NSYNC was a boy band from Orlando, Florida that was formed in 1995. The name of the group came from a comment by the mother of band member Justin Timberlake, who said the boys voices sounded “in sync”. But, it’s also true that the letters of the name NSYNC are the last letters of the given names of the five band members:

  • Justin Timberlake
  • Chris Kirkpatrick
  • Joey Fatone
  • Lance “Lansten” Bass
  • JC Chasez

20. Prize that comes with 9 million kronor : NOBEL

Alfred Nobel was a Swedish chemist and businessman. Nobel is famous for the invention of dynamite during his lifetime, as well as for instituting the Nobel Prizes by providing the necessary funds in his will.

24. Page listing : URL

An Internet address (like NYXCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) is more correctly called a Uniform Resource Locators (URL).

26. Soccer player Hamm : MIA

Mia Hamm is a retired American soccer player, a forward who played on the US national team that won the FIFA women’s World Cup in 1991. Hamm has scored 158 international goals, more than other player in the world, male or female. Amazingly, Hamm was born with a clubfoot, and so had to wear corrective shoes when she was growing up.

27. Measure of purity : KARAT

A karat (also “carat”, the spelling outside of North America) is a measure of the purity of gold alloys, with 24-karat representing pure gold.

29. Win a one-on-one game against a Toronto hoops player? : BEAT THE RAPTOR (from “beat the rap”)

The Raptors are the NBA basketball team based in Toronto, Ontario.

A rap sheet is a criminal record. “Rap” is a slang term dating back to the 1700s that means “blame, responsibility” as in “to take the rap”, “bad rap” and “to beat the rap”. This usage morphed into “rap sheet” in the early 1900s.

38. Spiffy top : POLO

René Lacoste was a French tennis player who went into the clothing business, and came up with a more comfortable shirt that players could use. This became known as a “tennis shirt”. When it was adopted for use in the sport of polo, the shirts also became known as “polo shirts”. The “golf shirt” is basically the same thing.

A spiff is a well-dressed man.

44. Playwright Sean who wrote “The Plough and the Stars” : O’CASEY

Seán O’Casey was an Irish playwright noted for his works exploring the plight of the working class in Dublin. O’Casey’s most famous works are “Juno and the Paycock” and “The Plough and the Stars”.

45. “I don’t want this house after all”? : KEEP IT, REALTOR (from “keep it real”)

“Real estate agent” is a general, generic term. “Realtor” is the name given to a member of the trade association known as the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The NAR has gone so far as the trademark the term “Realtor” in the US.

48. Japanese box meal : BENTO

A bento is a single-person meal that is eaten quite commonly in Japan. A bento can be purchased as a take-out meal, or it may be packed at home. A bento is usually sold as a “bento box”.

49. Group of traffic cops, for short? : ATF

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is today part of the Department of Justice (DOJ). The ATF has its roots in the Department of Treasury dating back to 1886 when it was known as the Bureau of Prohibition. “Explosives” was added to the ATF’s name when the bureau was moved under the Department of Justice (DOJ) as part of the reorganization called for in the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

50. ___ economy : GIG

Musicians use “gig” to describe a job, a performance. The term originated in the early 1900s in the world of jazz. The derivative phrase “gig economy” applies to a relatively recent phenomenon where workers find themselves jumping from temporary job to temporary job, from gig to gig.

55. Synagogue singer with hokey humor? : CANTOR OF CORN (from “can of corn”)

“Canto” is the Latin word for “singer”. In some religious traditions, a “cantor” is the person assigned to lead the singing of ecclesiastical music.

59. Pizazz : OOMPH

Pizazz (also “pizzazz”) is energy, vitality. There’s a kind of cool thing about the “pizzazz” spelling, namely that it is the only 7-letter word in English that cannot be played in Scrabble. You can get close by using the Z-tile with the two blank tiles to get to three of the required four Zs, but there’s no way to get to the fourth Z.

62. Eastern European capital : SOFIA

Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria. Natives pronounce the name “Sofia” with the emphasis on the “o”, while the rest of us tend to stress the “i”. Bulgarians do agree with us though when it comes to the girl’s name “Sofia”, then they stress the “i” like we do!

63. Hoffman who wrote “Steal This Book” : ABBIE

Abbie Hoffman was the founder of the “Yippies”, an activist group that had violent clashes with the police during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Hoffman, along with six other defendants, were eventually brought up on charges related to the protests and became known collectively as the “Chicago Seven”.

65. Church chorus : AMENS

The word “amen” translates as “so be it”. “Amen” is said to be of Hebrew origin, but it is also likely to be influenced by Aramaic and Arabic.

67. River whose name comes entirely from the last eight letters of the alphabet : STYX

The River Styx of Greek mythology was the river that formed the boundary between the Earth and the Underworld (or “Hades”). The souls of the newly dead had to cross the River Styx in a ferry boat piloted by Charon. Traditionally, a coin would be placed in the mouths of the dead “to pay the ferryman”.

68. Sacred text … or your reaction upon figuring out this puzzle’s theme? : TORAH or TOR … AH!

The word “Torah” best translates as “teaching”, I am told.

Down

1. Oklahoma’s ___ Air Force Base : VANCE

Vance Air Force Base is located just a few miles south of Enid, Oklahoma. The main mission of the base is to train pilots for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. Vance AFB is named after a Medal of Honor recipient from WWII, Leon Robert Vance, Jr.

3. FaceTime alternative : SKYPE

The main feature of the Skype application when introduced was that it allows voice communication to take place over the Internet (aka VoIP). Skype has other features such as video conferencing and instant messaging, but the application made its name from voice communication. Skype was founded by two Scandinavian entrepreneurs and the software necessary was developed by a team of engineers in Estonia. The development project was originally called “Sky peer-to-peer” so the first commercial name for the application was “Skyper”. This had to be shortened to “Skype” because the skyper.com domain name was already in use.

6. Mustang catcher : LARIAT

Our word “lariat” comes from the Spanish “la reater” meaning “the rope”.

A mustang is a free-roaming horse, and a descendent from a once-domesticated animal. The English term comes from the Spanish “mesteño“ meaning “stray livestock animal”.

8. Dark kind of look : GOTH

The goth subculture developed from the gothic rock scene in the early eighties, and is a derivative of the punk music movement. It started in England and spread to many countries around the globe. The term “goth” comes from the Eastern Germanic tribe called the Goths.

10. Oh, what an actress! : SANDRA

The Canadian actress Sandra Oh is very much associated these days with the role of Dr. Cristina Yang on “Grey’s Anatomy”. However, my favorite of Oh’s performances are in the movies “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “Sideways”.

12. Things in the backs of Macs : ON BUTTONS

Macintosh (also “Mac”) is a line of computers from Apple Inc. The first Mac was introduced in 1984, and I remember someone showing me one at work in those early days of personal computing. There was a piece of white plastic connected to the main computer by a cord, and I was amazed when the guy showed me that it controlled where the cursor was on the screen. My colleague told me that this lump of plastic was called “a mouse” …

14. What bears do in the market : SELL

The terms “bull market” and “bear market” come from the way in which each animal attacks. A bull thrusts his horns upwards (an “up” market), whereas a bear swipes with his paws downward (a “down” market).

22. “The Last Jedi” director Johnson : RIAN

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is a 2017 movie from the “Star Wars” film franchise, and the second installment of the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy. The title character is Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill. Ah, but is Luke in fact the “last Jedi”?

23. Not a single : NARY

The adjective “nary” means “not one”, as in “nary a soul”.

29. Galoot : BIG APE

“Galoot” is an insulting term describing an awkward or boorish man, an ape. “Galoot” comes from the nautical world, where it was originally what a sailor might call a soldier or marine.

31. ___ yoga : HATHA

Hatha yoga is a yoga system developed in 15th century India. Traditional Hatha yoga is a more “complete” practice than often encountered in the west, involving not just exercise but also meditation and relaxation. “Hatha” is a Sanskrit word meaning “force”.

32. Like some shoppes : OLDE

The word “olde” wasn’t actually used much earlier than the 1920s. “Olde” was introduced to give a quaint antique feel to brand names, shop names etc. as in “Ye Olde Shoppe”.

34. Billiards need : RACK

The name of the game billiards comes from the French word “billiard” that originally described the wooden cue stick. The Old French “bille” translates as “stick of wood”.

35. It’s a relief : ALOE

Aloe vera is a succulent plant that grows in relatively dry climates. The plants leaves are full of biologically-active compounds that have been studied extensively. Aloe vera has been used for centuries in herbal medicine, mainly for topical treatment of wounds.

40. Margaret Thatcher, e.g., in her later years : BARONESS

Margaret Thatcher served as Prime Minister of the UK from 1979 to 1990, making her the longest serving leader of the country in the 20th century, and the first woman to hold the office. Thatcher’s nickname in the press was the “Iron Lady”, a moniker bestowed on her by a Soviet journalist. The “Iron Lady” was born Margaret Hilda Roberts, the daughter of a grocer. She studied chemistry at Oxford University and worked for a while as a research chemist.

43. James who sang at the opening of the 1984 Summer Olympics : ETTA

“Etta James” was the stage name of celebrated blues and soul singer Jamesetta Hawkins. James’ most famous recording was her 1960 hit “At Last”, which made it into the pop charts. James performed “At Last” at the age of 71 in 2009 on the reality show “Dancing with the Stars”, which was to be her final television appearance. She passed away in 2012.

44. “Beetle Bailey” dog : OTTO

Sgt. Snorkel (“Sarge”) is Beetle Bailey’s nemesis in the cartoon strip that bears his name. Snorkel has a dog called Otto that he dresses up to look just like himself. Otto started off as a regular dog, but artist Mort Walker decide to draw him more like his owner, and soon Otto became a big hit.

47. Need to speak : LARYNX

The voice box or larynx is where pitch and volume of sound are manipulated when we talk. The structure called the Adam’s apple that protrudes from the human neck is formed by the thyroid cartilage that surrounds the larynx. The Adam’s apple of males tends to increase in size during puberty, so the feature tended to be associated more with males in days gone by, perhaps leading to the name “Adam’s” apple. A doctor specializing in treating the larynx is a laryngologist.

51. Skater Slutskaya : IRINA

Irina Slutskaya is a retired Russian figure skater. Slutskaya won the World Figure Skating Championships twice, in 2002 and 2005.

53. Mr. with a “Wild Ride” at Disneyland : TOAD

Mr. Toad is one of the main characters in the children’s novel “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame. A. A. Milne (of “Winnie-the-Pooh” fame) wrote several plays based on “The Wind in the Willows”, the first of which is “Toad of Toad Hall”. And, Mr Toad’s Wild Ride was (it’s gone now!) one of the original rides at Disneyland when the park opened in 1955.

54. Drifter : HOBO

No one seems to know for sure how the term “hobo” originated, although there are lots of colorful theories. My favorite is that “hobo” comes from the first letters in the words “ho-meward bo-und”, but it doesn’t seem very plausible. A kind blog reader tells me that according to Click and Clack from PBS’s “Car Talk” (a great source!), “hobo” comes from “hoe boy”. Hoe boys were young men with hoes looking for work after the Civil War. Hobos differed from “tramps” and “bums”, in that “bums” refused to work, “tramps” worked when they had to, while “hobos” traveled in search of work.

56. Savoir-faire : TACT

“Savoir-faire” is a French term that literally means “to know (how) to do”. There’s a similar term in French that we haven’t absorbed into English, “savoir-vivre” meaning “to know how to live”. Savoir-vivre describes the ability to acquit oneself well in the world, in society.

57. Anthem starter : O SAY …

“O say can you see by the dawn’s early light” is the opening line of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key. The song was adopted as the US national anthem in 1931, although it had been used officially by the US Navy since 1889, played when raising the flag.

58. Italy’s Lake ___ : COMO

Lake Como is a glacial lake in Lombardy in Italy. Lake Como has long been a retreat for the rich and famous. Lakeside homes there are owned by the likes of Madonna, George Clooney, Gianni Versace, Sylvester Stallone and Richard Branson.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Italian scooter : VESPA
6. Endurance : LEGS
10. Glimpses : SPOTS
15. Like a necktie near the end of a long workday, maybe : ASKEW
16. Big name in cosmetics : AVON
17. Another nickname for the Governator : ARNIE
18. Bass group? : NSYNC
19. Give stars to : RATE
20. Prize that comes with 9 million kronor : NOBEL
21. Kidnapper who gets arrested? : CAPTOR IN HAND (from “cap in hand”)
24. Page listing : URL
25. Once-over : EYE
26. Soccer player Hamm : MIA
27. Measure of purity : KARAT
29. Win a one-on-one game against a Toronto hoops player? : BEAT THE RAPTOR (from “beat the rap”)
34. Army allowance : RATION
37. Gun-shy : WARY
38. Spiffy top : POLO
39. Even up : ALIGN
40. Partner of pieces : BITS
41. Elates : SENDS
42. Long time out? : COMA
43. Not altogether : EACH
44. Playwright Sean who wrote “The Plough and the Stars” : O’CASEY
45. “I don’t want this house after all”? : KEEP IT, REALTOR (from “keep it real”)
48. Japanese box meal : BENTO
49. Group of traffic cops, for short? : ATF
50. ___ economy : GIG
53. E’en if : THO
55. Synagogue singer with hokey humor? : CANTOR OF CORN (from “can of corn”)
59. Pizazz : OOMPH
61. “No problem at all!” : EASY!
62. Eastern European capital : SOFIA
63. Hoffman who wrote “Steal This Book” : ABBIE
64. What photocopiers do : SCAN
65. Church chorus : AMENS
66. Gave a pill, say : DOSED
67. River whose name comes entirely from the last eight letters of the alphabet : STYX
68. Sacred text … or your reaction upon figuring out this puzzle’s theme? : TORAH or TOR … AH!

Down

1. Oklahoma’s ___ Air Force Base : VANCE
2. Attempt : ESSAY
3. FaceTime alternative : SKYPE
4. Confined, with “up” : PENT
5. “You’ve got to be kidding me!” : AW, COME ON!
6. Mustang catcher : LARIAT
7. “Dear ___ Hansen” (2017 Tony winner) : EVAN
8. Dark kind of look : GOTH
9. Some court wear : SNEAKERS
10. Oh, what an actress! : SANDRA
11. Tennis ___ : PRO
12. Things in the backs of Macs : ON BUTTONS
13. Theater seating info : TIER
14. What bears do in the market : SELL
22. “The Last Jedi” director Johnson : RIAN
23. Not a single : NARY
28. Show up : APPEAR
29. Galoot : BIG APE
30. Prudent way to think : TWICE
31. ___ yoga : HATHA
32. Like some shoppes : OLDE
33. Optimistic : ROSY
34. Billiards need : RACK
35. It’s a relief : ALOE
36. Ticking dangers : TIME BOMBS
40. Margaret Thatcher, e.g., in her later years : BARONESS
41. Derides : SCOFFS AT
43. James who sang at the opening of the 1984 Summer Olympics : ETTA
44. “Beetle Bailey” dog : OTTO
46. Crept (along) : INCHED
47. Need to speak : LARYNX
50. Many an intern : GOFER
51. Skater Slutskaya : IRINA
52. Grind, in a way : GNASH
53. Mr. with a “Wild Ride” at Disneyland : TOAD
54. Drifter : HOBO
56. Savoir-faire : TACT
57. Anthem starter : O SAY …
58. Italy’s Lake ___ : COMO
60. Pizza delivery : PIE

3 thoughts on “0110-19 NY Times Crossword 10 Jan 19, Thursday”

  1. I was about to say “This is, however, a Friday puzzle so it was especially easy”, when I realized that the “Comments” link from today’s Friday puzzle links to yesterday’s Thursday puzzle. Obviously some of the links are messed up.

    Oddly, my time was 12:05 for Friday’s puzzle which was also easy.

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