0117-19 NY Times Crossword 17 Jan 19, Thursday

Constructed by: Ross Trudeau
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: The Looking Glass

We have a LOOKING GLASS going down the center of the grid. Answers to the right of the LOOKING GLASS are written in reverse. Also, answers that straddle THE LOOKING GLASS are palindromes:

  • 7D. What Alice goes through to find “Jabberwocky” printed backward : THE LOOKING GLASS

Bill’s time: 10m 57s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

7. Slim amphibian : NEWT

Newts wouldn’t be my favorite animals. They are found all over the world living on land or in water depending on the species, but always associated with water even if it is only for breeding. Newts metamorphose through three distinct developmental stages during their lives. They start off as larvae in water, fertilized eggs that often cling to aquatic plants. The eggs hatch into tadpoles, the first developmental form of the newt. After living some months as tadpoles swimming around in the water, they undergo another metamorphosis, sprouting legs and replacing their external gills with lungs. At this juvenile stage they are known as efts, and leave the water to live on land. A more gradual transition takes place then, as the eft takes on the lizard-like appearance of the adult newt.

11. Genre for Jay-Z and Master P : RAP

Jay-Z, as well as being a successful and very rich rap artist, is married to singer Beyoncé. Jay-Z was born Shawn Corey Carter in Brooklyn, New York. As Carter was growing up, he was nicknamed “Jazzy”, a reference to his interest in music. “Jazzy” evolved into the stage name “Jay-Z”. Jay-Z and Beyoncé have a daughter named Blue Ivy Carter, and twins named Rumi and Sir Carter.

Master P is the stage name for rapper Percy Miller. As well as rapping, Miller knows his way around a basketball court. He had a player’s contract with two professional basketball teams, although he never actually played a regular game.

14. Relative of a llama : ALPACA

Alpacas are like small llamas, but unlike llamas were never beasts of burden. Alpacas were bred specifically for the fleece. As such, there are no known wild alpacas these days, even in their native Peru.

The wool from a llama is much softer than that from a sheep, and it is also free from lanolin.

23. Many a Clint Eastwood role : ANTIHERO

An “antihero”, perhaps in a movie or novel, is the “hero” of the piece, but someone who doesn’t exhibit the qualities associated traditionally with a hero, such as bravery or moral fortitude.

The actor and director Clint Eastwood is a native of San Francisco, California. As many of us perhaps remember, Eastwood’s big break was playing the supporting role of Rowdy Yates in the TV show “Rawhide” in the late fifties and early sixties. He then became the face of the spaghetti western genre of movie in the sixties, most notably in the classic “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. In later years Eastwood has branched out into directing and producing with remarkable success. And of course in the late eighties he also served as mayor of his hometown, Carmel-by-the-Sea.

25. Bay of ___, body separating Spain and France : BISCAY

The Bay of Biscay is the large gulf that sits north of Spain and west of France. The bay is named after the Spanish province of Biscay located in Basque country.

27. Chick of jazz : COREA

Chick Corea is an American jazz pianist. Corea is noted for his work in the area of jazz fusion, as well as for his promotion of Scientology.

28. Plea at sea : SOS

The combination of three dots – three dashes – three dots, is a Morse signal first introduced by the German government as a standard distress call in 1905. The sequence is remembered as the letters SOS (three dots – pause – three dashes – pause – three dots), although in the emergency signal there is no pause between the dots and dashes, so SOS is in effect only a mnemonic. Similarly, the phrases “Save Our Souls” and “Save Our Ship” are also mnemonics, introduced after the “SOS” signal was adopted.

31. “The Simpsons” clown : KRUSTY

Krusty the Clown is a character on the TV show “The Simpsons”, one voiced by Dan Castellaneta. Krusty has a sidekick named Sideshow Mel, a character also voiced by Castellaneta.

33. Brexit land : THE UK

The UK held a referendum in June 2016 in which 52% of voters chose to leave the European Union (EU). The term “Brexit” was used for the vote, a portmanteau of “Britain” and “exit”. The vote has led to some debate about the future of the UK. The Scottish electorate voted for the UK to stay in the EU, and so that revived speculation about Scotland leaving the UK. There has also some discussion about Northern Ireland’s future in the UK, as the Northern Irish electorate also voted to stay in the EU.

35. Govt. ID : SSN

Social Security number (SSN)

36. E.M.T., at times : REVIVER

Emergency medical technician (EMT)

41. One interred in Red Square : LENIN

I made it to Russia only once in my life, and it was a memorable trip. I saw all the sites in and around Red Square in Moscow, but couldn’t get in to visit Lenin’s Tomb. It was closed for renovations …

42. Line on a weather map : ISOBAR

An isobar is a line on a weather map connecting points of equal barometric pressure.

44. Sated for now, with “over” : TIDED

Something is said “to tide one over” if it (often money) will see one through a rough patch. The idea behind the expression is that a swelling tide can carry you over an obstacle without effort on your part, as perhaps a reserve fund might keep the lenders from your door. The use of “tide” in this sense might come from some famous lines spoken by Brutus in “Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare

There is a Tide in the affairs of men,
Which taken at the Flood, leads on to Fortune

47. “Thelma & Louise” studio : MGM

“Thelma & Louise” is a thought-provoking movie, and one that is very entertaining. It was directed by Ridley Scott in 1991, and stars two fabulous leads in Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon. You’ll also spot Brad Pitt onscreen in his first significant movie role.

52. Attends without a date : GOES STAG

Back where I come from, bachelor parties are called stag parties, and bachelorette parties are known as hen parties.

54. Toboggan, e.g. : SLED

“Toboggan” came into English from the French Canadian “tabagane”, the name for a long sled with a flat bottom. The French Canadian word is probably from the Algonquian word for a sled, “tobakun”,

55. Yugoslav-American tennis great : SELES

Monica Seles has a Hungarian name as she was born to Hungarian parents in former Yugoslavia. Seles was the World No. 1 professional tennis player in 1991 and 1992 before being forced from the sport when she was stabbed by a spectator at a match in 1993. She did return to the game two years later, but never achieved the same level of success.

57. ___ Major : URSA

The constellation Ursa Major (Latin for “Larger Bear”) is often just called “the Big Dipper” because of its resemblance to a ladle or dipper. Ursa Major also resembles a plow, and that’s what we usually call the same constellation back in Ireland, “the Plough”.

58. Question that might be answered “Muy bien, y usted?” : COMO ESTA?

“Cómo está?” is Spanish for “how are you, how’s it going?”

60. Belgian brew, familiarly : STELLA

The Belgian beer Stella Artois is named for the brewer Sebastianus Artois. Artois was the master brewer at the Den Hoorn Brewery in Leuven, Belgium in the early 1700s. The Den Hoorn Brewery has been around at least since 1366 … yes, 1366!

62. Movie franchise that set a record opening weekend gross in 2018 ($640 million) : AVENGERS

The Avengers are a team of superheroes in the Marvel Comics universe. The original lineup, which dates back to 1963, consisted of Ant-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and the Wasp. Soon after their formation, the Avengers rescued Captain America trapped in ice, and thereafter he joined the team. There is a 2012 movie called “The Avengers” that features Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk and Thor.

64. Neighbor of Homer : NED

Ned Flanders lives next door to Homer on TV’s “The Simpsons”. Ned is voiced by actor Harry Shearer and has been around since the very first episode aired in 1989.

Down

4. Counts : TALLIES

Back in the mid-1600s, a tally was a stick marked with notches that tracked how much one owed or had paid. The term “tally” came from the Latin “talea” meaning “stick, rod”. The act of “scoring” the stick with notches gave rise to our word “score” for the number in a tally.

6. Matisse’s “La ___” : DANSE

“La Danse” is large painting by Henri Matisse completed 1910 that depicts five dancing figures. I had the privilege of seeing the work in the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia quite a few years ago.

Henri Matisse was a French artist renowned for his contribution to modern art. In his early career, Matisse was classed as a “fauve”, one of the group of artists known as the “wild beasts” who emphasized strong color over realism in their works. He was a lifelong friend of Pablo Picasso, and the two were considered to be good-natured rivals so their works are often compared. One major difference between their individual portfolios is that Picasso tended to paint from his imagination, whereas Matisse tended to use nature as his inspiration.

7. What Alice goes through to find “Jabberwocky” printed backward : THE LOOKING GLASS

Lewis Carroll wrote “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” in 1865, and the sequel called “Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There” in 1871. Because in the second adventure Alice went through a looking glass, the themes were deliberately chosen to be mirror images of the themes in “Wonderland”. Whereas “Wonderland” begins indoors, is set in summer, and uses playing card imagery, “Looking Glass” begins out of doors, is set in winter and uses images from the game of chess.

8. Baylor’s home : WACO

Remember Ken Starr of Whitewater fame? He was President of Baylor University in Waco, Texas from 2010 to 2016.

10. Home of the Tisch Sch. of the Arts : NYU

New York University (NYU) is comprised of fifteen schools, one of which it the Tisch School of the Arts. The Tisch is famous for its acting program, with notable alumni such as Debra Messing, Christopher Guest and Josh Radnor.

12. Epic that opens “Of arms and the man I sing …” : AENEID

Aeneas was a Trojan hero of myth who traveled to Italy and became the ancestor of all Romans. Aeneas’s story is told in Virgil’s epic poem “The Aeneid”.

“Arma” is the Latin for “arms, weapons”. One famous use of the term is in the first words of Virgil’s “The Aeneid”. “Arma virumque cano …” translates as “I sing of arms and of a man …” This quotation inspired the title George Bernard Shaw used for his play “Arms and the Man”.

13. Geometric diamonds : RHOMBI

“Rhomb” is an alternative name for a rhombus (plural “rhombi”), a 4-sided figure with sides of equal length and angles at the corners that aren’t right angles. So, that would make a rhombus a “diamond” shape.

16. Meme feline : LOLCAT

A lolcat is an image of a cat with a humorous message superimposed in text. Such images have been around since the late 1800s, but the term “lolcat” only surfaced in 2006 as the phenomenon was sweeping across the Internet. “Lolcat” is a melding of the acronym for “laugh out loud” (LOL) and “cat”.

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.

21. Hosp. areas : ORS

One might find a medical doctor (MD) in an operating room (OR).

26. Hindu retreats : ASHRAMS

“Ashram” is a term used in the Hindu tradition to describe a place of spiritual retreat, one that is typically located in a remote location conducive to spiritual instruction and meditation.

29. Aspen or Tahoe : SUV

“SUV” is an initialism standing for “sports utility vehicle”, and is a term that was introduced by our marketing friends. Using the phrase “sports utility vehicle” was a very clever way to get us to pay a lot of money for what was essentially a station wagon on a truck chassis, or at least it was back then.

32. Urge : YEN

The word “yen”, meaning “urge”, has been around in English since the very early 1900s. It comes from the earlier word “yin” imported from Chinese, which was used in English to describe an intense craving for opium.

43. Volcanic rocks : BASALTS

Basalt is a volcanic rock that is created when lava cools rapidly at the earth’s surface.

44. Native of Florence, e.g. : TUSCAN

Tuscany is a beautiful region of central Italy, the capital of which is the city of Florence. Tuscany is considered to be the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, centered around Florence. It was home to great artistic icons such as Dante, Botticelli, Michelangelo, da Vinci, Galileo and Puccini.

Florence is the capital city of the Tuscany region in Italy. Something from or related to Florence is described as “Florentine”. The city is known as “Firenze” in Italian.

48. Ending with Fannie or Ginnie : … MAE

The Federal National Mortgage Association is commonly called “Fannie Mae”, a play on the initialism FNMA. Fannie Mae was founded in during the Great Depression as part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal.

Ginnie Mae is the familiar nickname for the Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA), a government-owned corporation created in 1968 with the objective of promoting home ownership. The “Ginnie Mae” nickname is derived from the GNMA abbreviation.

51. County in England or New Jersey : ESSEX

Essex is a county in England that is referred to as one of the “home counties”. The home counties are those that surround the city of London, outside of London itself. “Home county” is not an official designation but has been in popular use since the 1800s. The list of home counties usually comprises Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Surrey, and Sussex.

Essex County, New Jersey is actually in the New York Metropolitan Area. The county seat is Newark.

53. Leaders before 41-Across : TSARS
(41A. One interred in Red Square : LENIN)

The year 1917 saw two revolutions in Russia, with the pair collectively called “the Russian Revolution”. As a result of the February Revolution that centered on Petrograd, the last Emperor of Russia (Tsar Nicholas II) abdicated and members of the Imperial parliament took control of the country, forming the Russian Provisional Government. The Provisional Government was itself overthrown in the October Revolution, which was led by Vladimir Lenin and the Bolshevik party.

61. Big name in denim : LEE

The Lee company that is famous for making jeans was formed in 1889 by one Henry David Lee in Salina, Kansas.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Made jokes : JESTED
7. Slim amphibian : NEWT
11. Genre for Jay-Z and Master P : RAP
14. Relative of a llama : ALPACA
15. “Damn right!” : HELL YEAH!
17. Carnegie ___ : MELLON
18. Two tablespoons : ONE OUNCE
19. Shovel’s go-with : PAIL
20. Performances with no accompaniment : SOLOS
22. Mostly bygone airline amenity : MEAL
23. Many a Clint Eastwood role : ANTIHERO
25. Bay of ___, body separating Spain and France : BISCAY
27. Chick of jazz : COREA
28. Plea at sea : SOS
30. Jumping-off points? : IDEAS
31. “The Simpsons” clown : KRUSTY
33. Brexit land : THE UK
35. Govt. ID : SSN
36. E.M.T., at times : REVIVER
38. Dict. listing : DEF
41. One interred in Red Square : LENIN
42. Line on a weather map : ISOBAR
44. Sated for now, with “over” : TIDED
47. “Thelma & Louise” studio : MGM
49. “Scat!” : SCRAM!
50. Disquiet : UNEASE
52. Attends without a date : GOES STAG
54. Toboggan, e.g. : SLED
55. Yugoslav-American tennis great : SELES
57. ___ Major : URSA
58. Question that might be answered “Muy bien, y usted?” : COMO ESTA?
60. Belgian brew, familiarly : STELLA
62. Movie franchise that set a record opening weekend gross in 2018 ($640 million) : AVENGERS
63. Be visibly precarious : TEETER
64. Neighbor of Homer : NED
65. Dumb ___ (oafs) : OXES
66. Feels : SENSE

Down

1. Fills to the gills : JAM-PACKS
2. Some Nellies and Noras, formally : ELEANORS
3. Printing of a magazine with two different covers, e.g. : SPLIT RUN
4. Counts : TALLIES
5. Green prefix : ECO-
6. Matisse’s “La ___” : DANSE
7. What Alice goes through to find “Jabberwocky” printed backward : THE LOOKING GLASS
8. Baylor’s home : WACO
9. Quite wee : EENSY
10. Home of the Tisch Sch. of the Arts : NYU
11. “The magic word” : PLEASE
12. Epic that opens “Of arms and the man I sing …” : AENEID
13. Geometric diamonds : RHOMBI
16. Meme feline : LOLCAT
21. Hosp. areas : ORS
24. Animosities : HATREDS
26. Hindu retreats : ASHRAMS
29. Aspen or Tahoe : SUV
32. Urge : YEN
34. Always, to a bard : E’ER
37. Pep : VIM
38. Prognosticated : FORESEEN
39. One taken by the arm : ESCORTEE
40. Grosses out : DISGUSTS
41. Entice : LEAD ON
43. Volcanic rocks : BASALTS
44. Native of Florence, e.g. : TUSCAN
45. Head over heels : IN LOVE
46. Judged : DEEMED
48. Ending with Fannie or Ginnie : … MAE
51. County in England or New Jersey : ESSEX
53. Leaders before 41-Across : TSARS
56. French “to be” : ETRE
59. Maniacal leader? : EGO-
61. Big name in denim : LEE

11 thoughts on “0117-19 NY Times Crossword 17 Jan 19, Thursday”

  1. 18:48, no errors. It took me a long time to figure out the gimmick (after which things went a lot better 😜).

  2. Didnt get it…have never seen this type before. Of course all my answers worked when put in backwards but didn’t see the gimmick. Oh well, lesson learned so moving on…

  3. Got The Looking Glass right away. Next came the mirror images. I sensed the backward answers because of the hint that Jabberwocky was printed backwards. Goes stag confirmed at least answers touching the mirror were spelled backwards. But I couldn’t get the rest of them; not even the easy ones. I toyed with Please and Rap, but was too stuborn and Senses started out the same both ways. I only got a few down answers in tne east, so no help there either. Came here to finish. Not unusual for me. But REALLY enjoyed this one from the beginning!

  4. 26:07, 5 errors: J(O)S(H)ED; (O)LE(I)NORS; SPL(C)T RUN; (H)AL(K)IES;
    P(I)(C)(K). Spent so much attention to the right side of the puzzle, completely blew the upper left corner.

  5. @Sandra (from 2/20): your assessment of ET’S was spot on. Humans on Pandora would have been EP’S (extra-Pandorials). The discussion board is one the reasons I like this blog.

  6. How about a heads-up when you have a puzzle with the answers backwards? I struggled and struggled and now that I know, I’m rather angry.

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