0119-19 NY Times Crossword 19 Jan 19, Saturday

Constructed by: Erik Agard & Paolo Pasco
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 10m 38s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

16. They’re down in the mouth : UVULAE

The uvula is that conical fleshy projection hanging down at the back of the soft palate. The uvula plays an important role in human speech, particularly in the making of “guttural” sounds. The Latin word for “grape” is “uva”, so “uvula” is a “little grape”.

20. King of the stage : LEAR

Shakespeare was inspired to write his famous drama “King Lear” by the legend of “Leir of Britain”, the story of a mythological Celtic king.

22. Third of a dozen? : ZEE

The third letter in the word “dozen” is a letter Z (zee).

24. Combat sport, for short : MMA

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full-contact combat sport in which competitors use a variety of techniques from a variety of traditional combat sports and martial arts.

29. Actress Jessica : BIEL

Jessica Biel is an actress who was known by television audiences Mary Camden on “7th Heaven”. Biel’s first film role was playing Peter Fonda’s granddaughter in “Ulee’s Gold”. Biel married singer and actor Justin Timberlake in 2012.

34. “Becoming” someone? : MICHELLE OBAMA

“Becoming” is a 2018 autobiographical memoir by former First Lady Michelle Obama.

36. G.O.P. grp. : RNC

National leadership of the Republican Party is provided by the Republican National Committee (RNC). Only one chairperson of the RNC has been elected to the office of US president, and that was George H. W. Bush.

38. Dict. abbr. : OBS

Obsolete (obs.)

39. Sch. in Ames : ISU

Iowa State University of Science and Technology (ISU) is located in Ames, Iowa. Among many other notable milestones, ISU created the country’s first school of veterinary medicine, in 1879. The sports teams of ISU are known as the Cyclones.

40. Start of a cry that ends “bah!” : SIS …

“Sis boom bah” is apparently a popular cheer in American high schools and colleges (I didn’t know that!). The term was also used by Johnny Carson when he was playing the character Carnac the Magnificent.

41. Hypocritical grp. at Harper Valley Junior High, in song : PTA

“Harper Valley PTA” is a country song that was a hit for Jeannie C. Riley in 1968. The song tells of a widowed mother of a teenage girl who is labelled by the daughter’s school’s PTA as scandalous, primarily for wearing a short hemline. The hit song was parlayed into successful 1978 comedy film starring Barbara Eden (of “I Dream of Jeannie”). The movie was successful enough to spawn a TV series, with Barbara Eden again taking the lead. But, the sitcom just made it through two seasons before being pulled from the schedules.

45. Bugs of a sort, for short : VWS

“VW” stands for “Volkswagen”, which translates from German into “people’s car”. The original Volkswagen design was the Beetle and was built under a directive from Adolf Hitler, who wanted a cheap car built that ordinary people could afford to purchase. He awarded the contract to engineer Ferdinand Porsche, whose name (paradoxically) would forever be associated with high performance, expensive cars. The Beetle was the official name of the VW model released in North America, but it was usually referred to as a “Bug” here in the US, and a “Beetle” elsewhere in the world.

46. What one of the five Olympic rings stands for : ASIA

The symbol of the Olympic Games consists of five interlocking rings, with each ring representing one of the five continents involved in the Olympics. The five continents are Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania and America (North and South combined). The symbol was designed in 1912, adopted in 1914, and introduced at the 1920 Games.

48. Musical title that’s 19-Across spelled backward : AIDA

The rock musical “Aida” is based on Giuseppe Verdi’s original opera. It premiered in 1998 and is still performed today. Music is by Elton John and lyrics are by Tim Rice.

49. 2016 or 2028 : YEAR OF THE MONKEY

The 12-year cycle in the Chinese calendar uses the following animals in order:

  • Rat
  • Ox
  • Tiger
  • Rabbit
  • Dragon
  • Snake
  • Horse
  • Goat
  • Monkey
  • Rooster
  • Dog
  • Pig

54. Original name of Mount Rainier : TACOMA

Mount Rainier is an active volcano in the state of Washington in the Cascade Mountain Range. Native Americans first called the peak “Tacoma” meaning “mother of waters”. When Captain George Vancouver discovered Puget Sound in 1792, he named the peak in honor of his friend Rear Admiral Peter Rainier. There have been movements to change the name back to Tacoma, but these seem to have petered out (pun!).

56. Sauce brand : ORTEGA

The Ortega food manufacturing company has been around for about 150 years. It was founded by Maria Concepcion Jacinta Dominguez Ortega, known affectionately as Mama Ortega within the company.

Down

1. 8 on the Mohs hardness scale : TOPAZ

Topaz is a semiprecious stone made from silicate containing aluminum and fluorine. Topaz is the state gemstone of Utah, and the rare blue topaz is the state gemstone of Texas.

The Mohs scale of mineral hardness was developed in 1812 by Friedrich Mohs. Basically Mohs took minerals and scratched them with other minerals. In this way he was able to determine which minerals were hardest (most scratch resistant) and which softest.

2. One of two poles : ANODE

A battery is a device that converts chemical energy into electric energy. A simple battery is made up of three parts: a cathode, an anode and a liquid electrolyte. Ions from the electrolyte react chemically with the material in the anode producing a compound and releasing electrons. At the same time, the electrolyte reacts with the material in the cathode, absorbing electrons and producing a different chemical compound. In this way, there is a buildup of electrons at the anode and a deficit of electrons at the cathode. When a connection (wire, say) is made between the cathode and anode, electrons flow through the resulting circuit from the anode to cathode in an attempt to rectify the electron imbalance.

3. Olympic swimming gold medalist Ledecky : KATIE

Katie Ledecky is a swimmer who won her first Olympic gold medal at just 15 years of age, in the 800-meter freestyle. In 2016, Ledecky also became the youngest person to make “Time” magazine’s “Time 100” annual list of most influential people in the American world. Katie’s uncle is Jon Ledecky, owner of the New York Islanders hockey team.

4. Idris of “The Dark Tower” : ELBA

English actor Idris Elba is probably best known in North America for playing the drug lord Stringer Bell in the marvelous HBO drama series “The Wire”, and the title character in the 2013 film “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”. Off the screen, Elba occasionally appears as a disk jockey using the name “DJ Big Driis”.

7. Key : ISLET

A “key” (also “cay”) is a low offshore island, as in the Florida Keys. Our term in English comes from the Spanish “cayo” meaning “shoal, reef”.

8. Much of the population of Iran : SHIA

The Islamic sects of Sunni and Shia Muslims differ in the belief of who should have taken over leadership of the Muslim faithful after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. Followers of the Sunni tradition agree with the decision that the Prophet Muhammad’s confidante Abu Bakr was the right choice to become the first Caliph of the Islamic nation. Followers of the Shia tradition believe that leadership should have stayed within the Prophet Muhammad’s own family, and favoured the Prophet’s son-in-law Ali.

9. Something to chew on : CUD

Animals that “chew the cud” are called ruminants. Ruminants eat vegetable matter but cannot extract any nutritional value from cellulose without the help of microbes in the gut. Ruminants collect roughage in the first part of the alimentary canal, allowing microbes to work on it. The partially digested material (the cud) is regurgitated into the mouth so that the ruminant can chew the food more completely exposing more surface area for microbes to do their work.

13. Traditional drink with sedative and euphoriant properties : KAVA KAVA

Kava is a plant found in the western Pacific. Its roots are used to make an intoxicating drink also called kava, which acts as a sedative.

18. Traditional symbols of royalty : ERMINES

The stoat has dark brown fur in the summer, and white fur in the winter. Sometimes the term “ermine” is used for the animal during the winter when the fur is white. Ermine skins have long been prized by royalty and are often used for white trim on ceremonial robes.

25. Where writing is believed to have been invented : MESOPOTAMIA

Mesopotamia was the land that lay between two rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, that flow through modern-day Iraq. The name “Mesopotamia” means “between the rivers”.

26. Chinese e-commerce giant : ALIBABA

Alibaba.com is the largest online business-to-business trading website for small businesses. Basically, Alibaba facilitates the buying and selling of goods between manufacturers and retailers.

33. Tic ___ (mints) : TACS

Tic Tacs aren’t American candies (as I always mistakenly believed). Tic Tacs are made by the Italian company Ferrero, and were introduced in 1969.

43. Words of explanation : ID EST

“Id est” is Latin for “that is”, and is often abbreviated to “i.e.” when used in English.

47. Persian word from which “chess” comes : SHAH

It is believed that the game of chess originated in northwest India. It evolved from a 6th-century game called “chaturanga”, a Sanskrit word meaning “four divisions”. These four (military) divisions were represented in the game:

  • Infantry (now “pawns”)
  • Cavalry (now “knights”)
  • Elephants (now “bishops”)
  • Chariots (now “rooks”)

50. Landmark 1970s Supreme Court case, informally : ROE

Roe v. Wade was decided in a US District Court in Texas in 1970, and reached the Supreme Court on appeal. The basic decision by the Supreme Court was that a woman’s constitutional right to privacy applied to an abortion, but that this right had to be balanced with a state’s interest in protecting an unborn child and a mother’s health. The Court further defined that the state’s interest became stronger with each trimester of a pregnancy. So, in the first trimester the woman’s right to privacy outweighed any state interest. In the second trimester the state’s interest in maternal health was deemed to be strong enough to allow state regulation of abortion for the sake of the mother. In the third trimester the viability of the fetus dictated that the state’s interest in the unborn child came into play, so states could regulate or prohibit abortions, except in cases where the mother’s life was in danger. I’m no lawyer, but that’s my understanding of the initial Supreme Court decision …

51. “4 real?!?” : OMG!

“OMG” is text-speak for “Oh My Gosh!” “Oh My Goodness!” or any other G-words you might care to use …

52. Org. concerned with traffic : FAA

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was set up in 1958 (as the Federal Aviation Agency). The agency was established at that particular time largely in response to an increasing number of midair collisions. The worst of these disasters had taken place two years earlier over the Grand Canyon, a crash between two commercial passenger airplanes that resulted in 128 fatalities.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Leafleter’s cry : TAKE THIS!
9. Betrays a scratchy throat : CROAKS
15. Under tight control : ON A LEASH
16. They’re down in the mouth : UVULAE
17. Fat burner? : POT-BELLIED STOVE
19. Three-syllable woman’s name meaning “gift” : ADIA
20. King of the stage : LEAR
21. “Not feeling it” : NAH
22. Third of a dozen? : ZEE
23. Freckle, e.g. : DOT
24. Combat sport, for short : MMA
27. Squeeze (out) : EKE
28. Task on a summer to-do list : MOW
29. Actress Jessica : BIEL
30. Coat under feathers : TAR
31. What most online passwords are : CASE SENSITIVE
34. “Becoming” someone? : MICHELLE OBAMA
35. Mine field? : PERSONAL SPACE
36. G.O.P. grp. : RNC
37. Jar filler : TIPS
38. Dict. abbr. : OBS
39. Sch. in Ames : ISU
40. Start of a cry that ends “bah!” : SIS …
41. Hypocritical grp. at Harper Valley Junior High, in song : PTA
42. Spot for some piercings : LIP
45. Bugs of a sort, for short : VWS
46. What one of the five Olympic rings stands for : ASIA
48. Musical title that’s 19-Across spelled backward : AIDA
49. 2016 or 2028 : YEAR OF THE MONKEY
54. Original name of Mount Rainier : TACOMA
55. Chemistry exam? : ACID TEST
56. Sauce brand : ORTEGA
57. Left for : HEADED TO

Down

1. 8 on the Mohs hardness scale : TOPAZ
2. One of two poles : ANODE
3. Olympic swimming gold medalist Ledecky : KATIE
4. Idris of “The Dark Tower” : ELBA
5. Get ready to swing, with “up” : TEE
6. Film with the tagline “The nightmare isn’t over!” : HALLOWEEN II
7. Key : ISLET
8. Much of the population of Iran : SHIA
9. Something to chew on : CUD
10. Parts of some caravans, for short : RVS
11. “Scram!” : OUT
12. Stretch for relaxation : ALONE TIME
13. Traditional drink with sedative and euphoriant properties : KAVA KAVA
14. “Listen up!” : SEE HERE!
18. Traditional symbols of royalty : ERMINES
23. Participate in a speed round? : DO SHOTS
25. Where writing is believed to have been invented : MESOPOTAMIA
26. Chinese e-commerce giant : ALIBABA
28. Many editorial workstations : MACS
29. School sounds : BELLS
31. Stilted performance, perhaps? : CIRCUS ACT
32. Tries to smack : SLAPS AT
33. Tic ___ (mints) : TACS
34. Suits and such : MENSWEAR
35. In on : PRIVY TO
41. King or queen : PIECE
42. Was high on : LIKED
43. Words of explanation : ID EST
44. Check words : PAY TO …
47. Persian word from which “chess” comes : SHAH
48. Deal preceder : ANTE
50. Landmark 1970s Supreme Court case, informally : ROE
51. “4 real?!?” : OMG!
52. Org. concerned with traffic : FAA
53. Quizzical : ODD

13 thoughts on “0119-19 NY Times Crossword 19 Jan 19, Saturday”

  1. 18:45, no errors. Not as difficult as I had feared, given the names of the constructors, and a fun puzzle.

  2. I just found this new blog — was missing the old one very much. Was able to find the syndicated Dec. 15 puzzle, which ran in my paper today, but there was no comments section available there. May we hope for that to be fixed? Love you!

  3. 40:01. I could just pretend it was 2 seconds faster and put 39:59, but why bother….This is one of those puzzles that challenged me and perplexed me at times, but once I finished and looked back at it, it didn’t seem all that difficult. Couldn’t figure out OBS until the blog.

    I believe the exact usage of “SIS boom bah” by Johnny Carson was “What sound does it make when a sheep explodes?”…

    Best –

  4. Struggled a bit but finally broke through. Typical fun Saturday.
    Nice to see the blog back. I find it to be the most user-friendly of the lot.

  5. I always enjoy the 15 letter words. I tackle them first. They appear to be daunting, but with the inclusion of a few key down words the answer will suddenly leap out and -bang-you have filled up bunch of spaces. The infill usually hold me up.

  6. Enjoyed today’s puzzle. I’m guessing Sis Boom Bah is not used by this (or my) generations high schoolers or collegians. Think it’s more of a 30s and 40s era thing.

  7. 38:08, no errors. Completely out of synch with the setters today, and the broad, vague clueing didn’t help, either. That said, the answers became obvious once they were filled in. Good challenging puzzle.

    Initially entered TAHOMA in 54A. Not sure if TACOMA was the anglicized version of Tahoma, or if it was just one of many alternate versions, typical of native names. If you come to Washington, you will find many more features named Tahoma than Tacoma.

    In one of my more adventurous moods, I drank a cup of Kava kava offered to me by a local, at a roadside foodstand on the north shore of Oahu. Apparently, did not drink enough to get sedated or intoxicated. Looking and tasting somewhat like dirty dishwater, it wasn’t unpleasant, but I found no need to have another cup.

  8. A lot better and more fun than yesterday’s, but I suppose I’d say that about any Saturday finish. Would like to see more like this.

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