0121-19 NY Times Crossword 21 Jan 19, Monday

Constructed by: Sean Biggins
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Civil Rights

Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr Day, themed answers each end with the family name of a person who championed CIVIL RIGHTS:

  • 57A. Cause championed by the figures named at the ends of 16-, 22- and 47-Across : CIVIL RIGHTS
  • 16A. Regal : FIT FOR A KING (giving “Martin Luther King, Jr.)
  • 22A. Yosemite and Yellowstone : NATIONAL PARKS (giving “Rosa Parks”)
  • 47A. Something promised in a court oath : THE WHOLE TRUTH (giving “Sojourner Truth”)

Bill’s time: 5m 34s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Turkish bigwig : PASHA

A pasha was a high-ranking official in the Ottoman Empire, and was roughly equivalent to the English rank of lord.

6. Norway’s capital : OSLO

Oslo, the capital of Norway, is an ancient city that was founded around 1048. The medieval city was destroyed by fire in 1624 and was rebuilt by the Danish-Norwegian king Christian IV and renamed to Christiana. In 1877 there was an official change of the spelling of the city’s name to “Kristiana”, and then more recently in 1925 the name was restored to the original Oslo. Things have almost gone full circle and now the center of Oslo, the area that would have been contained by the original medieval walls, has apparently been renamed to Christiana.

10. Luke, to Darth Vader (“Star Wars” spoiler) : SON

Darth Vader is (to me) the most colorful antagonist in the “Star Wars” universe. Born as Anakin Skywalker, he was corrupted by the Emperor Palpatine, and turned to “the Dark Side”. In the original films, Darth Vader was portrayed by English bodybuilder David Prowse, and voiced by actor James Earl Jones. Jones asked that he go uncredited for the first two “Star Wars” films, feeling that his contributions were insufficient to warrant recognition. I disagree …

14. Bounce, as off a billiard cushion : CAROM

A carom is a ricochet, the bouncing of some projectile off a surface. Carom has come to mean the banking of a billiard ball, the bouncing of the ball off the side of the table.

15. Israeli gun : UZI

The first Uzi submachine gun was designed in the late 1940s by Major Uziel “Uzi” Gal of the Israel Defense Forces, who gave his name to the gun.

16. Regal : FIT FOR A KING (giving “Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a US Federal holiday taking place on the third Monday of each year. It celebrates the birthday of Dr. King, and was signed into law by President Reagan in 1983, and first observed in 1986. However, some states resisted naming the holiday MLK Day, and gave it alternative names (like “Civil Rights Day”). It was officially celebrated as MLK Day in all 50 states from the year 2000 onwards.

18. Bellum’s opposite : PAX

In Latin, the opposite to “bellum” (war) is “pax” (peace).

19. “___ Te Ching” : TAO

Lao Tse (also “Lao-Tzu”) was a central figure in the development of the religion/philosophy of Taoism. Tradition holds that Lao-Tzu wrote the “Tao Te Ching”, a classical Chinese text that is fundamental to the philosophy of Taoism.

20. Brother of Cain : ABEL

The story of Cain and Abel not only appears in the Christian and Hebrew Bibles, it also features in the Qur’an. In the Muslim account the brothers are named Qabil and Habil.

22. Yosemite and Yellowstone : NATIONAL PARKS (giving “Rosa Parks”)

President Abraham Lincoln passed a bill in 1864 creating the Yosemite Grant, which was the first piece of federal legislature that set aside park land for preservation and public use. The Yosemite Grant paved the way for the creation of Yellowstone as the nation’s first national park in 1872. Yosemite was made a national park in 1890.

Rosa Parks was one of a few brave women in days gone by who refused to give up their seats on a bus to white women. It was the stand taken by Rosa Parks on December 1, 1955 that sparked the Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott. President Clinton presented Ms. Parks with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996. When she died in 2005, Rosa Parks became the first ever woman to have her body lie in honor in the US Capitol Rotunda.

35. Address in a browser, for short : URL

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

38. Ending with neutr- or Filip- : -INO

Neutrinos are small subatomic particles that do not carry an electric charge. The term “neutrino” is Italian for “small neutral one”, and was coined by physicist Enrico Fermi in 1932. There are three types of neutrino: electron neutrinos, muon neutrinos and tau neutrinos.

When the Spanish explorer Ruy Lopez de Villalobos discovered the islands of Leyte and Samar, he called them Felipinas, after King Philip II of Spain. Eventually, the name was used for the whole archipelago, becoming what we now call in English, the Philippines.

39. “The View,” for one : TALK SHOW

“The View” is a talk show that was created by Barbara Walters and Bill Geddie in 1997. The show features a panel of five women as co-hosts.

42. Flower in a pond : LOTUS

The roots of the lotus plant penetrate into the bed of a lake or river, while the leaves float on the water’s surface. This behavior led to the use of the lotus as a symbol in the Buddhist tradition, as a symbol of purity of the body, speech and mind. The idea is that the lotus flower represents the pure body, speech and mind floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire.

47. Something promised in a court oath : THE WHOLE TRUTH (giving “Sojourner Truth”)

Do you solemnly (swear/affirm) that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, (so help you God/under pains and penalties of perjury)?

51. Hot-rod engine, informally : HEMI

“Hemi” is short for “hemisphere”, and is the name given to an internal combustion engine with hemispherical combustion chambers. Chrysler is famous for using Hemi engines in many of its models.

A hot rod is an American car that has been modified for speed by installing a larger than normal engine. A street rod is generally a more comfortable type of hot rod, with the emphasis less on the engine and more on custom paint jobs and interiors. By definition, a street rod must be based on an automobile design that originated prior to 1949.

56. “A Nightmare on ___ Street” : ELM

“A Nightmare on Elm Street” is a Wes Craven slasher-horror film that was released in 1984. As I don’t do “slasher” or “horror”, I was surprised to learn that Johnny Depp was in the movie, making his feature film debut.

64. Many Ph.D. candidates : TAS

Teaching assistant (TA)

65. Fish trying to find Nemo in “Finding Nemo” : DORY

“Finding Nemo” is a 2003 animated blockbuster from Pixar. The film was the winner of the Oscar that year for Best Animated Feature. Believe it or not, “Finding Nemo” is the best-selling DVD of all time and, until 2010’s “Toy Story 3”, it was the highest-grossing, G-rated movie at the box office.

Down

3. Roman Catholic-affiliated university in New Jersey : SETON HALL

Seton Hall is a private, Roman Catholic college in South Orange, New Jersey. The most famous of their sports programs is men’s basketball, played by the Seton Hall Pirates.

4. Playboy founder, for short : HEF

Hugh Hefner (often called “Hef”) was from Chicago. His first publishing job was in the military, where he worked as a writer for a US Army newspaper from 1944-46. He went to college after his military service and then worked as a copywriter for “Esquire” magazine. He left “Esquire” to found his own publication that he called “Playboy”, which first hit the newsstands in 1953. “Playboy” has been around ever since.

7. Country once known as Ceylon : SRI LANKA

The island nation of Sri Lanka lies off the southeast coast of India. The name “Sri Lanka” translates from Sanskrit into English as “venerable island”. Before 1970, Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon, a name given to the country during British rule.

8. Actor Chaney of “The Phantom of the Opera” : LON

Lon Chaney, Sr. played a lot of crazed-looking characters in the days of silent movies. He did much of his own make-up work, developing the grotesque appearances that became his trademark, and earning himself the nickname “the man of a thousand faces”. Most famous were his portrayals of the title characters in the films “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1923) and “The Phantom of the Opera” (1925).

9. Texter’s “Holy cow!” : OMG!

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

11. Missouri’s ___ Mountains : OZARK

The Ozark Mountains aren’t really mountains geographically speaking, and so the Ozarks are better described by the alternate name, the Ozark Plateau. It’s not really certain how the Ozarks got their name, but my favorite theory is that “Ozarks” is the phonetic spelling of “aux Arks”, short for “of Arkansas” in French.

12. Puts the kibosh on : NIXES

A kibosh is something that constrains or checks. “Kibosh” looks like a Yiddish word but it isn’t, and is more likely English slang from the early 1800s.’

14. Early North American explorer John : CABOT

Giovanni Caboto (known in English as “John Cabot”) was an Italian explorer. Cabot is believed to have been the first European to visit North America since the Vikings landed here in the 11th century. Many say that he landed in Newfoundland in 1497.

17. Bug spray from S.C. Johnson : RAID

Raid insecticide has been killing bugs since 1956.

21. Podcaster Maron : MARC

Stand-up comedian Marc Maron has been hosting the podcast “WTF with Marc Maron” since 2009. The online show features interviews with comedians and celebrities. The list of interviewees is pretty impressive, and includes Conan O’Brien, Robin Williams and even President Barack Obama.

24. “___ the season …” : ‘TIS

The music for the Christmas song “Deck the Halls” is a traditional Welsh tune that dates back to the 16th century. The same tune was used by Mozart for a violin and piano duet. The lyrics with which we are familiar (other than the “f-la-la”) are American in origin, and were recorded in 19th century.

“’Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la la la la!”

25. Green building certification, for short : LEED

LEED is a green building certification program. The acronym stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

28. Actor Michael of “Juno” : CERA

Michael Cera is a Canadian actor who played great characters on the TV show “Arrested Development”, and in the 2007 comedy-drama “Juno”. Cera is also quite the musician. He released an indie folk album titled “True That” in 2014.

“Juno” is a great comedy-drama released in 2007 that tells the story of a spunky teenager who is faced with an unplanned pregnancy. The title character is played by Ellen Page, with Michael Cera playing the father of her child. The film won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. The relatively low-budget movie earned back its initial budget in the first day of its full release to the public. Low-budget blockbuster; my kind of movie …

33. “E pluribus ___” : UNUM

From 1776, “E pluribus unum” was the unofficial motto of the United States. The phrase translates from Latin as “Out of many, one”. It was pushed aside in 1956 when an Act of Congress designated “In God We Trust” as the country’s official motto. “In God We Trust” had appeared on US coins since 1864, but was only introduced on paper currency in 1957.

36. One of the Huxtable kids on 1980s-’90s TV : THEO

Malcolm-Jamal Warner was the child actor who played Theo Huxtable on “The Cosby Show”. You can see the grown-up Warner today, playing Dr. Alex Reed on the BET sitcom “Reed Between the Lines”.

37. Australian winner of 11 Grand Slam tournaments : ROD LAVER

Rod Laver is a former professional tennis champion, from Australia. Laver won all four Grand Slam singles titles in 1962, and at that time he wasn’t even a professional player. He won all four titles again in 1969, no longer an amateur, becoming the only tennis player to have achieved the feat twice. Not surprisingly, Laver was the world’s number one for seven consecutive years, from 1964 to 1970. After he retired, Laver suffered a stroke during an interview with ESPN in 1998, but by all accounts he has made an excellent recovery.

40. Native New Zealander : KIWI

Unlike many nicknames for people of a particular country, the name “Kiwi” for a New Zealander isn’t offensive at all. The term comes from the flightless bird called the kiwi, which is endemic to New Zealand and is the country’s national symbol. “Kiwi” is a Maori word, and the plural (when referring to the bird) is simply “kiwi”. However, when you have two or more New Zealanders with you, they are Kiwis (note the “s”, and indeed the capital “K”!).

42. Funny Costello : LOU

Lou Costello was half of the Abbott & Costello double act. One tragic and terrible event in Lou Costello’s life was the death of his baby son, Lou Costello, Jr. Lou was at NBC studios one night for his regular broadcast when he received word that the 11-month-old baby had somehow drowned in the family swimming pool. With the words, “Wherever he is tonight, I want him to hear me”, he made the scheduled broadcast in front of a live and unsuspecting audience.

43. Openly gay : OUT

Back in the 1950s, to come “out of the closet” was to admit to being an alcoholic. By the seventies, the phrase mainly referred to gay people shrugging off secrecy about their sexual orientation.

45. Island with a lagoon : ATOLL

An atoll is a coral island that is shaped in a ring and enclosing a lagoon. There is still some debate as to how an atoll forms, but a theory proposed by Charles Darwin while on his famous voyage aboard HMS Beagle still holds sway. Basically an atoll was once a volcanic island that had subsided and fallen into the sea. The coastline of the island is home to coral growth which persists even as the island continues to subside internal to the circling coral reef.

A lagoon is a shallow body of water, usually separated from the sea by sandbar or reef. The term comes from the Italian “laguna”, the word for a pond or lake. The original “laguna” is the “Laguna Veneta”, the enclosed bay in the Adriatic Sea on which Venice is located. In 1769, Captain Cook was the first to apply the word “lagoon” to the body of water inside a South Seas atoll.

49. More than 60 awards for “Saturday Night Live” : EMMYS

NBC first aired a form of “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) in 1975 under the title “NBC’s Saturday Night”. The show was actually created to give Johnny Carson some time off from “The Tonight Show”. Back then “The Tonight Show” had a weekend episode, and Carson convinced NBC to pull the Saturday or Sunday recordings off the air and hold them for subsequent weeknights in which Carson needed a break. NBC turned to Lorne Michaels and asked him to put together a variety show to fill the vacant slot, and he came up with what we now call “Saturday Night Live”.

50. One of the Brontë sisters : EMILY

In terms of age, Emily Brontë was the middle of the three Brontë sisters, younger than Charlotte and older than Anne. Emily was a poet and a novelist, and is best remembered for her only novel, “Wuthering Heights”. Emily died very young, at 30 years old. She never recovered from a severe cold that she caught at the funeral service of Branwell Brontë, her only brother. The cold developed into tuberculosis, for which she eschewed medical attention. She passed away after three months of illness.

54. ___-Alt-Del : CTRL

Ctrl-Alt-Delete is a keyboard command on IBM PC compatible systems used for a soft reboot, or more recently to bring up the task manager in the Windows operating system. Bill Gates tells us that the command was originally just a device to be used during development and was never meant to “go live”. He once said that “Ctrl+Alt+Delete” was a mistake, and that he would have preferred a dedicated key on the keyboard that carried out the same function.

55. Start of “The Star-Spangled Banner” : O SAY

“The Star-Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key was adopted as the US national anthem in 1931. The song had been used officially by the US Navy since 1889, and was played when raising the flag.

59. Word before “a bird,” “a plane” and “Superman!” : IT’S …

Here’s a famous line from the “Superman” television show from the fifties:

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. it’s Superman!

60. Baseball’s Hodges : GIL

Gil Hodges was a professional baseball player and manager. Perhaps Hodges’ most celebrated achievement was managing the New York Mets team (the “Miracle Mets”) that won the 1969 World Series. Hodges died from a heart attack just a few years later in 1972, when he was only 48 years old.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Turkish bigwig : PASHA
6. Norway’s capital : OSLO
10. Luke, to Darth Vader (“Star Wars” spoiler) : SON
13. Released from bondage : FREED
14. Bounce, as off a billiard cushion : CAROM
15. Israeli gun : UZI
16. Regal : FIT FOR A KING (giving “Martin Luther King, Jr.)
18. Bellum’s opposite : PAX
19. “___ Te Ching” : TAO
20. Brother of Cain : ABEL
21. Nothing more than : MERE
22. Yosemite and Yellowstone : NATIONAL PARKS (giving “Rosa Parks”)
27. Mike who was a three-time N.L. M.V.P. with the Phillies : SCHMIDT
29. Close : NEAR
30. Big piles : HEAPS
31. Make a quick drawing of : SKETCH UP
35. Address in a browser, for short : URL
36. What a bald tire lacks : TREAD
38. Ending with neutr- or Filip- : -INO
39. “The View,” for one : TALK SHOW
42. Flower in a pond : LOTUS
44. Finished, as a cake : ICED
45. Heading on a personal bio : ABOUT ME
47. Something promised in a court oath : THE WHOLE TRUTH (giving “Sojourner Truth”)
51. Hot-rod engine, informally : HEMI
52. Love, in Latin : AMOR
53. Prefix with friendly : ECO-
56. “A Nightmare on ___ Street” : ELM
57. Cause championed by the figures named at the ends of 16-, 22- and 47-Across : CIVIL RIGHTS
61. Travel on Alaska or Hawaiian : FLY
62. ___ Beckham Jr., three-time Pro Bowler for the New York Giants : ODELL
63. Pageant crown : TIARA
64. Many Ph.D. candidates : TAS
65. Fish trying to find Nemo in “Finding Nemo” : DORY
66. In a foxy way : SLYLY

Down

1. Dismissive sound : PFFT!
2. Opera solo : ARIA
3. Roman Catholic-affiliated university in New Jersey : SETON HALL
4. Playboy founder, for short : HEF
5. Ruckus : ADO
6. Like bourbon barrels : OAKEN
7. Country once known as Ceylon : SRI LANKA
8. Actor Chaney of “The Phantom of the Opera” : LON
9. Texter’s “Holy cow!” : OMG!
10. “Terrific!” : SUPER!
11. Missouri’s ___ Mountains : OZARK
12. Puts the kibosh on : NIXES
14. Early North American explorer John : CABOT
17. Bug spray from S.C. Johnson : RAID
21. Podcaster Maron : MARC
23. Box on a concert stage : AMP
24. “___ the season …” : ‘TIS
25. Green building certification, for short : LEED
26. Bit of butter : PAT
27. Close : SHUT
28. Actor Michael of “Juno” : CERA
31. Stitch : SEW
32. Go to bed, informally : HIT THE HAY
33. “E pluribus ___” : UNUM
34. Prepare for a photo : POSE
36. One of the Huxtable kids on 1980s-’90s TV : THEO
37. Australian winner of 11 Grand Slam tournaments : ROD LAVER
40. Native New Zealander : KIWI
41. U.S.C. or U.C.L.A.: Abbr. : SCH
42. Funny Costello : LOU
43. Openly gay : OUT
45. Island with a lagoon : ATOLL
46. “It’s c-c-cold!” : BRRR!
47. Pilferage : THEFT
48. Very, slangily : HELLA
49. More than 60 awards for “Saturday Night Live” : EMMYS
50. One of the Brontë sisters : EMILY
54. ___-Alt-Del : CTRL
55. Start of “The Star-Spangled Banner” : O SAY
57. Fish caught off the New England coast : COD
58. Wedding affirmation : I DO
59. Word before “a bird,” “a plane” and “Superman!” : IT’S …
60. Baseball’s Hodges : GIL

11 thoughts on “0121-19 NY Times Crossword 21 Jan 19, Monday”

  1. 10:52 after finding and fixing an embarassing error: I wasn’t paying sufficient attention and ended up with “TAI Te Ching” and “SETIN HALL”. Geez …

  2. 9:02. I’d never heard of Sojourner Truth, but I just looked her up. Interesting woman. Slave, turned free, turned abolitionist and is listed in the Smithsonian magazine’s 100 Most Significant Americans of All Time. Embarrassed I didn’t know anything about her.

    Best –

  3. Too many proper names in crosses that I had to guess. Thought I made it through until the far south.

    ODALE, LAVAR, ATOLE.

    I think if I would have noticed that ATOLL was misspelled, I would have got familiar sounding ODELL

    ROD LAVER would have still been a quess.

    Loved the theme and saw it right away. Mostly very easy.

  4. No errors. I too was thrown by all the proper names but crosses helped get them all. The etymology of the word ATOLL has always puzzled me so today I looked it up. It turns out that it was coined by none other than Charles Darwin. Darwin took it from the language of the Maldives Islands.

  5. 9:36, no errors. Seemed a bit harder than the usual Monday speed test. As a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, in the 1950’s, GIL Hodges was one of my favorite ball players (right behind Duke Snyder).

    1. Gil Hodges was the best mgr. the Mets ever had. Died much too young. I grew up near the Polo Grounds and hated the Brooklyn Bums. But the Dodgers did have great hitters. I cut school and saw Bobby Thomson make my season.

      The Golden age of baseball; never to be seen again.

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