0123-19 NY Times Crossword 23 Jan 19, Wednesday

Constructed by: Amanda Chung & Karl Ni
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Gender-Neutral

Themed answers are common phrases in which an -ress suffix has been changed to -er:

  • 56A. Like 20-, 28- and 45-Across vis-à-vis the female-sounding phrases they’re based on? : GENDER-NEUTRAL
  • 20A. Maternity ward worker who counts each day’s births? : DELIVERY ADDER (from “delivery address”)
  • 28A. Dairy item thrown in a food fight? : FLYING BUTTER (from “flying buttress”)
  • 45A. Dynamite? : BLOW-UP MATTER (from “blow-up mattress”)

Bill’s time: 8m 56s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9. Airbnb alternative : HOTEL

Airbnb is a website-based service that matches people wanting to rent out short-term living quarters to people seeking accommodation.

14. Miller ___ : LITE

The first light beer was produced by Chicago’s Meister Brau brewery in the sixties. Miller took over Meister Brau, reformulated the light beer using the same process and became the first of the big breweries to come out with a light beer, “Lite Beer from Miller” introduced in 1973. There really wasn’t a serious competitor to Miller Lite until Anheuser-Busch finally came up with a process and a product in 1982 that they called Bud Light.

15. One nabbed by the fuzz : PERP

Perpetrator (perp)

“Fuzz” is a corruption of “force” as in “police force”.

17. Trotter’s course : OVAL

In harness racing, the horses race using one of two specific gaits, i.e. trotting or pacing.

18. Marquee performer : STAR

A marquee is a large sign that is placed over the entrance to a theater. The marquee usually displays the names of the film or play currently showing, as well as the principal actors performing.

19. Shot down : NIXED

The use of “nix” as a verb, meaning “to shoot down”, dates back to the early 1900s. Before that “nix” was just a noun meaning “nothing”. “Nix” comes from the German “nichts”, which also means “nothing”.

23. First pope to be called “the Great” : ST LEO

The first pope named Leo is now known as Pope Saint Leo the Great. Leo I is famous for meeting with the feared Attila the Hun and persuading him to turn back his invading force that was threatening to overrun Western Europe.

25. Noncollegiate fraternity member : ELK

The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) was founded in 1868, and is a social club that has about a million members today. It started out as a group of men getting together in a “club” in order to get around the legal opening hours of taverns in New York City. The club took on a new role as it started to look out for poor families of members who passed away. The club now accepts African Americans as members (since the seventies) and women (since the nineties), but atheists still aren’t welcome. The list of US presidents that have been members of the BPOE includes Presidents Eisenhower, Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Ford.

35. Navy rank below lt. junior grade : ENS

Ensign is (usually) the most junior rank of commissioned officer in the armed forces. The name comes from the tradition that the junior officer would be given the task of carrying the ensign flag.

36. Fry up : SAUTE

“Sauté” is a French word. The literal translation from the French is “jumped” or “bounced”, a reference to the tossing of food while cooking it in a frying pan.

40. Dined on humble pie : ATE CROW

The phrase “eat crow”, an alternative to “eat humble pie”, perhaps refers to the fact that cooked crow may be edible, but is not a great food choice.

The phrase “humble pie” derives from a medieval meat dish called “umble pie”. The filling in umble pie usually contained the offal (heart, liver, lungs and kidneys) of deer. The name “umble” came from the French “nomble” meaning “deer’s innards”.

42. One selling a Super Bowl spot, say : AD REP

The Super Bowl is used for high-profile advertising because of the high viewership numbers. For example, Super Bowl XLIX (2015) had an average audience of 114 million viewers, making it the most-watched American TV program in history.

43. MSNBC competitor : CNN

CNN (Cable News Network) was launched in 1980 by the Turner Broadcasting System, and was the first television channel in the world to provide news coverage 24 hours a day.

45. Dynamite? : BLOW-UP MATTER (from “blow-up mattress”)

The explosive called dynamite contains nitroglycerin as its active component. Dynamite also contains diatomaceous earth and sodium carbonate that absorb the nitroglycerin. The absorbed nitroglycerin is far less sensitive to mechanical shock, making it easier to transport and to handle. Famously, dynamite was invented by Alfred Nobel, the man who used his fortune to institute the Nobel Prizes.

50. Thesaurus offering: Abbr. : SYN

Synonym (syn.)

The first person to use the term “thesaurus” to mean a “collection of words arranged according to sense” was Roget in 1852, when he used it for the title of his most famous work. Up to that point in time, a thesaurus was basically an encyclopedia. Before being used with reference to books, a thesaurus was a storehouse or treasury, coming from the Latin “thesaurus” meaning “treasury, treasure”.

52. Lava below the surface : MAGMA

Magma is the molten material below the Earth’s surface. When magma cools, it forms igneous rock. “Magma” is a Greek term used for a thick ointment.

62. Cat with no tail : MANX

I’ve seen Manx cats by the dozen on their native island. They’re found all over the Isle of Man (hence the name “Manx”) that is located in the middle of the Irish Sea. Manx cats have just a stub of a tail, and hence are called “stubbins” by the locals.

63. Latin music great Puente : TITO

After serving in the navy in WWII for three years, musician Tito Puente studied at Juilliard, where he got a great grounding in conducting, orchestration and theory. Puente parlayed this education into a career in Latin Jazz and Mambo. He was known as “El Rey” as well as “The King of Latin Music”.

65. ___ bowl (trendy healthful food) : ACAI

Açaí (pronounced “ass-aye-ee”) is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.

66. Last word said just before opening the eyes : AMEN

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. Parts of volcanoes : VENTS

Our word “volcano” comes from “Vulcano”, the name of a volcanic island off the coast of Italy. The island’s name comes from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire. The Romans believed that the island of Vulcano was the chimney of the forge belonging to the god Vulcan. The Romans also believed that the eruptions on Mount Etna in Sicily were caused by Vulcan getting angry and working his forge so hard that sparks and smoke flew out of the top of the volcano.

69. Where a bell is rung M-F at 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. : NYSE

New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

Down

4. Agnostic’s lack : BELIEF

An agnostic is someone who thinks it is impossible to know if there is a God, or perhaps more loosely, someone who is skeptical about the existence of a God.

5. Place to pray : APSE

The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally, apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.

7. Boxful for a kindergartner : CRAYONS

We use the word “crayon” for a stick of colored wax used for drawing. The term was imported in the 16th century from French, in which language it means “pencil”.

“Kindergarten” is a German term, one translating as “children’s garden”. The term was coined by the German education authority Friedrich Fröbel in 1837, when he used it as the name for his play and activity institute that he created for young children to use before they headed off to school. His thought was that children should be nourished educationally, like plants in a garden.

11. Annual filing : TAX RETURN

April 15th wasn’t always Tax Day in the US. The deadline for returns was March 1st from 1913-18, when it was moved to March 15th. Tax Day has been April 15th since 1955.

22. Girl entering society, in brief : DEB

“Deb” is short for “debutante”, which translates from French as “beginner” when referring to a female.

27. Group organizing a Mardi Gras parade : KREWE

“Krewe” is the name given to the organization responsible for putting on parades and balls during Carnival celebrations, the most famous being the krewe that pulls together Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

31. Sea-___ (Washington airport) : TAC

Sea-Tac Airport (SEA) is more fully known as Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Sea-Tac is the main hub for Alaska Airlines.

39. Kwik-E-Mart storekeeper : APU

The fictional Kwik-E-Mart store is operated by Apu Nahasapeemapetilon on “The Simpsons” TV show. Apu is married to Manjula, and the couple have eight children. The convenience store owner doesn’t seem to be making much use of his Ph.D in computer science that he earned in the US. Apu’s undergraduate degree is from Caltech (the Calcutta Technical Institute), where he graduated top of his class of seven million students …

41. Cable airer of N.B.A. games : TNT

TNT stands for Turner Network Television. The TNT cable channel made a big splash in the eighties when it started to broadcast old MGM movies that had been “colorized”, not something that was a big hit with the public. In recent years, the TNT programming lineup is touted with the tagline “We Know Drama”, and includes shows like “Judging Amy”, “ER” and “Cold Case”.

43. Monaco Grand Prix, e.g. : CAR RACE

The Principality of Monaco is on the Mediterranean coast, and is otherwise surrounded by France, even though it is just under 10 miles from the Italian border. Monaco is the world’s most densely populated country, and the world’s second smallest country (the smallest being Vatican City). The principality has been very prosperous since the late 1800s, with the economy given a tremendous boost with the opening of several gambling casinos.

Even though the term is used in many competitions, I think that we most associate “Grand Prix” with the series of Formula One motor races. These Formula One Grand Prix races trace their roots back to organized automobile road races from one French town to the next that date back to 1894. “Grand Prix” translates from French as “grand, big prize.”

46. Successful defender, in academia : PHD

\“Ph.D.” is an abbreviation for “philosophiae doctor”, Latin for “teacher of philosophy”. Often, candidates for a PhD already hold a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, so a PhD might be considered a “third degree”.

48. Land-bound bird : EMU

The large flightless birds called emus make sounds by manipulating inflatable neck-sacs. The sac is about a foot long, has a thin wall and allows the bird to emit a booming sound. The type of sound emitted is the easiest way to differentiate between male and female emus.

49. Wicker material : RATTAN

Rattan is the name of a large number of species of palms, all of which look less like trees and more like vines. The woody stems are used for making cane furniture.

60. Washroom, informally : LAV

Our word “lavatory” (sometimes “lav”) originally referred to a washbasin, and comes from the Latin “lavatorium”, a place for washing. In the 1600s, “lavatory” came to mean a washroom, and in the 1920s a toilet.

61. Homophone of “you” that shares no letters with it : EWE

Homophones are words that are pronounced in the same way (e.g., ere, air, err and heir). Homonyms are a subset of homophones, and are words that have the same spelling and the same pronunciation but different meanings, for example, skate (a fish) and skate (worn on the foot).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Grouch : CRAB
5. Some lines drawn with protractors : ARCS
9. Airbnb alternative : HOTEL
14. Miller ___ : LITE
15. One nabbed by the fuzz : PERP
16. With eyes open : AWAKE
17. Trotter’s course : OVAL
18. Marquee performer : STAR
19. Shot down : NIXED
20. Maternity ward worker who counts each day’s births? : DELIVERY ADDER (from “delivery address”)
23. First pope to be called “the Great” : ST LEO
24. Great : A-ONE
25. Noncollegiate fraternity member : ELK
28. Dairy item thrown in a food fight? : FLYING BUTTER (from “flying buttress”)
32. Snake’s warning : SSS!
35. Navy rank below lt. junior grade : ENS
36. Fry up : SAUTE
37. Quick rests : CATNAPS
40. Dined on humble pie : ATE CROW
42. One selling a Super Bowl spot, say : AD REP
43. MSNBC competitor : CNN
44. Tampa-to-Jacksonville dir. : NNE
45. Dynamite? : BLOW-UP MATTER (from “blow-up mattress”)
50. Thesaurus offering: Abbr. : SYN
51. “___ we go again …” : HERE
52. Lava below the surface : MAGMA
56. Like 20-, 28- and 45-Across vis-à-vis the female-sounding phrases they’re based on? : GENDER-NEUTRAL
60. “___ at ’em!” : LEMME
62. Cat with no tail : MANX
63. Latin music great Puente : TITO
64. Look forward to : AWAIT
65. ___ bowl (trendy healthful food) : ACAI
66. Last word said just before opening the eyes : AMEN
67. Parts of volcanoes : VENTS
68. Foe of Russia, with “the” : WEST
69. Where a bell is rung M-F at 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. : NYSE

Down

1. Thickheaded sorts : CLODS
2. Stud on a pair of jeans : RIVET
3. In the slightest : AT ALL
4. Agnostic’s lack : BELIEF
5. Place to pray : APSE
6. Prepares for a second career, say : RETRAINS
7. Boxful for a kindergartner : CRAYONS
8. Activated, as a trap : SPRANG
9. Unit of measurement for a horse’s height equivalent to four inches : HAND
10. Scraped knee, in totspeak : OWIE
11. Annual filing : TAX RETURN
12. Barely win, with “out” : EKE …
13. Commanded : LED
21. Radio dial: Abbr. : VOL
22. Girl entering society, in brief : DEB
26. Pretend : LET ON
27. Group organizing a Mardi Gras parade : KREWE
29. “Sure is!” : YEP!
30. Operate : USE
31. Sea-___ (Washington airport) : TAC
32. Coverings of cuts : SCABS
33. “Alas …” : SADLY …
34. Dictator : STRONGMAN
38. Unopened : NEW
39. Kwik-E-Mart storekeeper : APU
40. Cell tower equipment : ANTENNAS
41. Cable airer of N.B.A. games : TNT
43. Monaco Grand Prix, e.g. : CAR RACE
46. Successful defender, in academia : PHD
47. Granny, in the South : MEE-MAW
48. Land-bound bird : EMU
49. Wicker material : RATTAN
53. In need of a good scrubbing : GRIMY
54. Ones to share a pint with : MATES
55. Without company : ALONE
57. Give off : EMIT
58. Trawlers’ equipment : NETS
59. On-ramp’s opposite : EXIT
60. Washroom, informally : LAV
61. Homophone of “you” that shares no letters with it : EWE

20 thoughts on “0123-19 NY Times Crossword 23 Jan 19, Wednesday”

  1. 15:29. Took me about half the puzzle to catch on to the theme. I’ve been to enough Carnaval and Mardi Gras celebrations that I should know KREWE, but I didn’t before this puzzle.

    Best –

  2. Picking nits here, Bill should have left err out of his explanation for 61D. While error is pronounced “airer”, err
    is pronounced “ur”. I know people say “to (air) is human”, but the dictionary disagrees. Look it up.

    1. @Hiding—-I think that Bill was only using two pairs of examples and not attempting to say that all four words sound the same. That is, he was only saying that “ere” and “err” sound the same and that “air” and “heir” sound the same. Bill would be correct if this is indeed what he meant to say. Admittedly, the commas in his sentence could be placed better.

        1. We also need to keep in mind that Bill is Irish. Especially on something like this, he may have a different way of pronunciation that comes natural to him.

          1. I see your point, but I’m not Irish (well, I did have some Irish ancestors) and I would certainly give “air”, “ere”, and “heir” exactly the same pronunciation. I might pronounce “err” the same way or not, depending on … I’m not sure what … whim?

            According to that site I found, the “er” pronunciation of it is kind of a British thing; I don’t know what that might imply for Bill.

  3. I thought I nailed this easy Wednesday. Looking over my two/ four errors, I could have pondered them more rather than the stretch I took. And getting the Theme would have helped.

    DELIVERY IDDER ( a person who IDs stuff). First had SPRUNG, but forced my self to SPRING even though wrong tense.

    ATEN / GRITY (first had dirty).

    Close your eyes and count to TEN. So the last word would be A TEN.

    I know, I know. I can hear it now. REALLY!!!

  4. I also just recently recovered this site after weeks of disappointment. I hadn’t realized before how much Bill’s blog adds to the fun of solving. Welcome back, Bill!

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