0111-19 NY Times Crossword 11 Jan 19, Friday

Constructed by: Jim Horne & Jeff Chen
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 12m 24s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10. Send a bunch of messages to, say : SPAM

The term “spam”, used for unwanted email, is taken from a “Monty Python” sketch. In the sketch (which I’ve seen) the dialog is taken over by the word Spam, a play on the glut of canned meat in the markets of Britain after WWII. So “spam” is used for the glut of emails that takes over online communication. I can just imagine nerdy Internet types (like me) adopting something from a “Monty Python” sketch to describe an online phenomenon …

16. Slanted writing : OP-ED COLUMN

“Op-ed” is an abbreviation for “opposite the editorial page”. Op-eds started in “The New York Evening World” in 1921 when the page opposite the editorials was used for articles written by a named guest writer, someone independent of the editorial board.

17. Creature with a 17-month gestation period : ORCA

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.

20. Many P.S.A.T. takers, for short : SOPHS

The term “sophomore” has been used for a student in the second year of university since the 1680’s. The original meaning of the word was “arguer”. The term has Greek roots, from two Greek words that have been artificially combined in English. The Greek “sophos” means “wise”, and “moros” means “foolish”.

Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT)

21. That’s a wrap! : 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.

24. Aloof : DISTANT

I suppose one might guess from the “feel” of the word “aloof” that is has nautical roots. Originally “aloof” meant “to windward” and was the opposite of “alee”. A helmsman might be instructed to stay aloof, to steer the boat into the weather to keep a distance from a lee-shore. It is from this sense of maintaining a distance that aloof came to mean “distant” in terms of personality. Interesting, huh …?

28. Something shared by churchgoers : PEW

A pew is a bench in a church, one usually with a high back. The original pews were raised and sometimes enclosed seats in the church used by women and important men or families. “Pew” comes from the Old French “puie” meaning “balcony, elevation”.

29. Layer of dark green eggs : EMU

Emu eggs are very large, with a thick shell that is dark-green in color. One emu egg weighs about the same as a dozen chicken eggs.

33. One quick to pass judgment : SNOB

Back in the 1780s, a snob was a shoemaker or a shoemaker’s apprentice. By the end of the 18th century the word “snob” was being used by students at Cambridge University in England to refer to all local merchants and people of the town. The term evolved to mean one who copies those who are his or her social superior (and not in a good way). From there it wasn’t a big leap for “snob” to include anyone who emphasized their superior social standing and not just those who aspired to rank. Nowadays a snob is anyone who looks down on those considered to be of inferior standing.

36. Put on : LADE

The verb “to lade” meaning “to load” comes from an Old English word “hladan”. “Lade” also used to mean “draw water” and indeed gave us our word “ladle”. So “lade” and “ladle” are close cousins.

40. Checker of vitals, for short : EMT

Emergency medical technician (EMT)

42. 23andMe service : DNA TEST

23andMe was the first company to offer direct-to-consumer genetic testing, doing so in 2007. Initially, 23andMe offered a test that determined a subject’s predisposition to a list of specific genetic traits, including baldness and blindness. The company now offers a cost-effective ancestry DNA test as well.

46. Like Chianti : RED

Chianti is a red wine from the Chianti region of central Tuscany in Italy. Historically, Chianti was stored in a characteristically bulbous bottle wrapped in a straw basket. However, the pragmatists have won the day and regular wine bottles tend to be used nowadays.

54. About : IN RE

The term “in re” is Latin, and is derived from “in” (in) and “res” (thing, matter). “In re” literally means “in the matter”, and is used to mean “in regard to” or “in the matter of”.

55. Character in “All’s Well That Ends Well” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” : APOSTROPHE

“All’s Well That Ends Well” is a play by William Shakespeare, one with elements of both tragedy and comedy. As such, “All’s Well That Ends Well” is classified as one of Shakespeare’s “problem plays”, plays that cannot be neatly classified as either tragedy or comedy.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is one of William Shakespeare’s comedies. An interesting characteristic of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is that it features a play-within-a-play. The cast of characters includes an troupe of six actors called the Mechanicals who perform a play called “Pyramus and Thisbe”.

57. Viking king of note : 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”.

58. NASA’s InSight probe, for one : MARS LANDER

NASA’s InSight mission is a robotic lander that made it Mars in late 2018. The acronym InSight stands for “Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport”, which reflects the use of the lander as a geophysical monitoring station.

59. Org. that rings a bell : NYSE

The roots of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) go back to 1792 when a group of 24 stock brokers set up the New York Stock & Exchange Board. They did so in an agreement signed under a buttonwood tree outside 68 Wall Street. That document became known as the Buttonwood Agreement. Today, the NYSE is located in National Historic Landmark building with the address 11 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City.

Down

1. Crime boss : CAPO

More properly called a caporegime, a capo is a high-ranking member of the Mafia (Cosa Nostra).

4. “Exit full screen” button : ESC

The escape key (Esc) was originally used to control computer peripherals. It was a key that allowed the computer operator to stop what the peripheral was doing (cancel a print job, for example). Nowadays the escape key is used for all sorts of things, especially in gaming programs.

9. Kyoto cash : YEN

The Korean Won, the Chinese Yuan, and the Japanese Yen (all of which are Asian currencies) take their names from the Chinese written character that represents “round shape”.

The city of Kyoto was once the capital of Japan, and in fact the name “Kyoto” means “capital city” in Japanese. Kyoto is sometimes referred to as the City of Ten Thousand Shrines.

10. Skedaddle : SCOOT

“Skedaddle” is a slang term meaning “run away” that dates back to the Civil War.

11. #2 on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time” : PURPLE HAZE

“Purple Haze” is a 1967 song written and recorded by Jimi Hendrix that has been described as a “psychedelic drug song of the sixties”. In fact, the term “purple haze” came to refer to LSD. Hendrix denied any relation of the lyrics to drugs at all.

12. Pioneer in hydrostatics : ARCHIMEDES

Archimedes of Syracuse was a mathematician and scientist in ancient Greece. He contributed in many areas of physics, astronomy and mathematics, but is perhaps best known by us mere mortals for developing Archimedes’ principle. His discovery was that the upward buoyant force that is exerted on a body immersed in a fluid, whether fully or partially submerged, is equal to the weight of the fluid that the body displaces. The story is that Archimedes came up with principle while stepping in or out of a bath, and famously uttered “Eureka!”, meaning “I have found it!”.

13. Many an aspiring exec, academically : MBA STUDENT

The world’s first Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree was offered by Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, in 1908.

21. Card holding? : BAT

The St. Louis Cardinals were originally called the “Brown Stockings”, changing their name to the “Perfectos” in 1899. That obviously didn’t go down well with the locals, as the owners changed it one year later to the Cardinals.

27. Big brass : TUBA

The tuba is the lowest-pitched of all the brass instruments, and one of the most recent additions to the modern symphony orchestra (usually there is just one tuba included in an orchestral line-up). “Tuba” is the Latin word for “trumpet, horn”. Oom-pah-pah …

31. Acting as : QUA

“Qua” is a preposition meaning “in the capacity of”. “Qua” is a form of the Latin word for “who”.

35. Brilliantly colored gemstone : FIRE OPAL

Fire opals are almost transparent, unlike other opals that are richly iridescent. Although almost transparent, fire opals usually have a warm yellow, orange or red color. The most famous fire opals are also called Mexican fire opals, and come from the state of Querétaro in north-central Mexico.

38. Film ___ : NOIR

The expression “film noir” has French origins, but only in that it was coined by a French critic in describing a style of Hollywood film. The term, meaning “black film” in French, was first used by Nino Frank in 1946. Film noir often applies to a movie with a melodramatic plot and a private eye or detective at its center. Good examples would be “The Big Sleep” and “D.O.A”.

39. Stereotypical teller of a groan-worthy joke : DAD

I tell dad jokes all the time, just to annoy the kids …

  • I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. It’s impossible to put down!
  • If you see a robbery at an Apple Store does that make you an iWitness?
  • A termite walks into a bar and asks, “Is the bar tender here?”
  • Two guys walk into a bar, the third one ducks.
  • What’s the best part about living in Switzerland? I don’t know, but the flag is a big plus.

43. Company that makes Coffee-mate : NESTLE

Coffee-mate is a non-dairy creamer made by Nestlé. I think that the term “non-dairy creamer” is quite misleading. Such products don’t contain any lactose, but they often do contain casein, which is a protein that comes from milk.

49. Cartoon pal of the monkey Boots : DORA

“Dora the Explorer” is a cartoon series shown on Nickelodeon. Part of Dora’s remit is to introduce the show’s young viewers to some Spanish words and phrases.

51. Prom coif : UPDO

A coif is a hairdo. The term “coif” comes from an old French term “coife” describing a skull-cap that was worn under a helmet back in the late 13th century.

53. “I’m with ___” : HER

So am I.

55. Product from Fender : AMP

The company that made Fender electric guitars was founded in Fullerton, California in 1946 by Leo Fender.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Afraid of getting shot : CAMERA-SHY
10. Send a bunch of messages to, say : SPAM
14. Sob stories : TALES OF WOE
15. Keep in check : CURB
16. Slanted writing : OP-ED COLUMN
17. Creature with a 17-month gestation period : ORCA
18. Eject : TOSS
19. “The way I see it …” : TO ME …
20. Many P.S.A.T. takers, for short : SOPHS
21. That’s a wrap! : BOA
22. Drew attention to : SPOTLIT
24. Aloof : DISTANT
28. Something shared by churchgoers : PEW
29. Layer of dark green eggs : EMU
30. It gets typed : INPUT
31. Rapidly cooled, as metal : QUENCHED
33. One quick to pass judgment : SNOB
34. Music style associated with George Clinton, informally : P-FUNK
36. Put on : LADE
37. “There is no literature and art without ___”: Thomas Pynchon : PARANOIA
39. Dirty or daily follower : … DOZEN
40. Checker of vitals, for short : EMT
41. ___ Lady (Virgin Mary’s title) : OUR
42. 23andMe service : DNA TEST
44. Breather : RESPITE
46. Like Chianti : RED
47. Clearheaded : SOBER
48. Works toward one’s passion? : ODES
50. Effuse : GUSH
54. About : IN RE
55. Character in “All’s Well That Ends Well” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” : APOSTROPHE
57. Viking king of note : OLAV
58. NASA’s InSight probe, for one : MARS LANDER
59. Org. that rings a bell : NYSE
60. Acted omnipotent : PLAYED GOD

Down

1. Crime boss : CAPO
2. Public house options : ALES
3. Contents of some childproof containers, for short : MEDS
4. “Exit full screen” button : ESC
5. Cheer for : ROOT ON
6. Financially O.K. : AFLOAT
7. Like some Olympic races : SWUM
8. Folksy : HOMESPUN
9. Kyoto cash : YEN
10. Skedaddle : SCOOT
11. #2 on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time” : PURPLE HAZE
12. Pioneer in hydrostatics : ARCHIMEDES
13. Many an aspiring exec, academically : MBA STUDENT
14. Young ‘un : TOT
20. Planted : SOWN
21. Card holding? : BAT
23. Something you shouldn’t do around Christmas : PEEK
24. Scattering of things : DISPERSION
25. Theoretically, but not actually : IN NAME ONLY
26. Supports for some athletes : SPORTS BRAS
27. Big brass : TUBA
31. Acting as : QUA
32. Curdle : CLOT
34. Something you shouldn’t do around Christmas : POUT
35. Brilliantly colored gemstone : FIRE OPAL
38. Film ___ : NOIR
39. Stereotypical teller of a groan-worthy joke : DAD
42. Black-tie : DRESSY
43. Company that makes Coffee-mate : NESTLE
45. Cause of irritation : PEEVE
49. Cartoon pal of the monkey Boots : DORA
50. Bit of percussion : GONG
51. Prom coif : UPDO
52. Take off : SHED
53. “I’m with ___” : HER
55. Product from Fender : AMP
56. “Sick, dude!” : RAD!

3 thoughts on “0111-19 NY Times Crossword 11 Jan 19, Friday”

  1. 18:19, no errors. Relatively easy, though I made a few missteps along the way to a solution.

    Had a hard time finding today’s blog, as there was no link from yesterday’s blog to it (so I guess the transition is still a work in progress).

  2. I think I just demonstrated that the same spam filter that is keeping me from posting a second link on the LAT blog is keeping me from posting one here. Let’s see if I can post this without the link …

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