0124-19 NY Times Crossword 24 Jan 19, Thursday

Constructed by: Stu Ockman
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Oo! Oo!

Themed answers each contain two occurrences of the letter pairing OO:

  • 17A. One stuck abroad? : VOODOO DOLL
  • 26A. Risk-free : FOOLPROOF
  • 41A. “I’m out” : TOO RICH FOR MY BLOOD
  • 50A. Ottoman : FOOTSTOOL
  • 66A. Adoring looks seen 10 times in this puzzle’s grid : GOO-GOO EYES

Bill’s time: 12m 06s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. First U.S. color TVs : RCAS

During WWI, the US government actively discouraged the loss of certain technologies to other countries, including allies. The developing wireless technologies were considered to be particularly important by the army and navy. The government prevented the General Electric Company from selling equipment to the British Marconi Company, and instead facilitated the purchase by GE of the American Marconi subsidiary. This purchase led to GE forming the Radio Corporation of America that we know today as RCA.

8. Believers in oneness : BAHA’IS

The Baha’i Faith is relatively new in the scheme of things, and was founded in Persia in the 1800s. One of the tenets of the religion is that messengers have come from God over time, including Abraham, the Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, and most recently Bahá’u’lláh who founded the Baha’i Faith. Baha’i scripture specifies some particular architectural requirement for houses of worship, including that the building have nine-sided, circular shape. It is also specified that there be no pictures, statues or images displayed within a temple.

14. “Spamalot” lyricist : ERIC IDLE

Eric Idle is one of the founding members of the Monty Python team. Idle was very much the musician of the bunch, and is an accomplished guitarist. If you’ve seen the Monty Python film “The Life of Brian”, you might remember the closing number “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”. It was sung by Idle, and was indeed written by him. That song made it to number 3 in the UK charts in 1991.

The hit musical “Spamalot” is a show derived from the 1974 movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”. In typical Monty Python style, the action starts just before the curtain goes up with an announcement recorded by the great John Cleese:

(You can) let your cell phones and pagers ring willy-nilly … (but) be aware there are heavily armed knights on stage that may drag you on stage and impale you.

16. Post-flood locale : ARARAT

Mount Ararat is in Turkey. Ararat is a snow-capped, dormant volcano with two peaks. The higher of the two, Greater Ararat, is the tallest peak in the country. Ararat takes its name from a legendary Armenian hero called Ara the Beautiful (or Ara the Handsome). According to the Book of Genesis, Noah’s ark landed on Mount Ararat as the Great Flood subsided.

17. One stuck abroad? : VOODOO DOLL

Voodoo is a religion that originated the French slave colony of Saint-Domingue on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola.

18. Frame of reference : SCHEMA

A schema is an outline or a model. The plural of “schema” is “schemata” and the adjectival form is “schematic”.

19. Professor to Harry Potter : SNAPE

Severus Snape is a character in the Harry Potter novels. He was played by the wonderful Alan Rickman on the big screen.

20. Follower of “My country” : ‘TIS

The patriotic song “America” is also known by its first line, “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”. The song was written by Samuel Francis Smith in 1831, and was the de facto national anthem of the country until “The Star-Spangled Banner” was declared the official anthem in 1931. The melody of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” is identical with the British national anthem, “God Save the Queen”.

My country, ’tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From ev’ry mountainside
Let freedom ring!

22. Raiding grp. : ATF

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is today part of the Department of Justice (DOJ). The ATF has its roots in the Department of Treasury dating back to 1886 when it was known as the Bureau of Prohibition. “Explosives” was added to the ATF’s name when the bureau was moved under the Department of Justice (DOJ) as part of the reorganization called for in the Homeland Security Act of 2002.

37. British record label : DECCA

Decca Records started out in 1929 as a British record label. The US branch of Decca was opened up in 1934, but the UK and US entities went their separate ways starting in WWII. Famously, Decca turned down a chance to record the Beatles in 1962 taking the position “Guitar groups are on the way out”. That said, Decca did sign the Rolling Stones.

44. Unlikely source of a Top 40 song : OPERA

The Latin for “work” is “opus”, with the plural being “opera”. We sometimes also use the plural “opuses” in English.

45. Popular Greek dish : MOUSSAKA

Moussaka is a delicious dish from the Balkans that uses eggplant or potato as a base. The dish often includes ground meat, particularly lamb.

49. On the blue side, for short : DEM

On political maps, red states are usually Republican and blue states usually Democrat. The designation of red and blue states is a very recent concept, only introduced in the 2000 presidential election by TV journalist, the late Tim Russert. In retrospect, the choice of colors is surprising, as in other democracies around the world red is usually used to describe left-leaning socialist parties (the reds under the bed!), and blue is used for conservative right-wing parties. In election cycles, swing/battleground states are often depicted in purple.

50. Ottoman : FOOTSTOOL

The piece of furniture known as an ottoman can be a couch, usually one with a head but no back or sides. Here in the US, the term more commonly applies to a padded and upholstered seat or bench that can also be used as a footrest. The original ottoman couch came from the Ottoman Empire, hence the name.

53. ___ beetle : STAG

Stag beetles are so called as the males of the species have large mandibles that resemble the antlers of stags.

56. Clay, after conversion : ALI

The boxer Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. was born in 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky. Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali when he converted to Islam in 1964. Who can forget Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic flame for the 1996 games in Atlanta?

57. Call to reserve? : LET

Would that be tennis?

59. Calrissian of “Star Wars” : LANDO

The character Lando Calrissian was played by actor Billy Dee Williams in two of the “Star Wars” movies.

69. Curfew, maybe : ELEVEN

Our word “curfew” comes from an Old French word meaning “cover fire”. In medieval days a bell would ring in the evenings as a signal to bank the hearths in preparation for sleeping. The intent was to prevent uncontrolled fires starting from fireplaces that were not tended during the night.

70. Lickety-split : IN A FLASH

“Lickety-split” is the latest in a line of terms that come from the word “lick”, which was used in the sense of a “fast sprint in a race” back in the early 1800s. From “lick” there evolved “licketie”, “lickety-click”, “lickety-cut” and finally “lickety-split”, all just colorful ways to say “fast”.

73. Branch of Islam : 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.

Down

3. Work whose title character is buried alive : AIDA

“Aida” is a famous opera by Giuseppe Verdi that is based on a scenario written by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette. Mariette also designed the costumes and stages for the opening performance. The opera was first staged in 1871 in an opera house in Cairo. In the storyline, Aida is an Ethiopian princess brought into Egypt as a slave. Radames is an Egyptian commander who falls in love with her, and then complications arise!

8. Instrument that opens Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” : BASSOON

Our modern bassoon first appeared in the 1800s and has had a place in the concert orchestra ever since.

The composer Igor Stravinsky’s most famous works were completed relatively early in his career, when he was quite young. His three ballets “The Firebird”, “Petrushka” and “The Rite of Spring” were published in 1910-1913, when Stravinsky was in his early thirties.

9. Homer’s path : ARC

That would be baseball.

15. “Bonne ___!” : IDEE

“Bonne idée” is French for “good idea”.

25. Where photosynthesis occurs : LEAF

Photosynthesis is the process used by plants (mainly) in which light energy is harnessed to convert carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrate molecules. Fortunately for those of us who enjoy breathing, oxygen is released as a waste product of photosynthesis.

28. Commoners : PLEBS

In ancient Rome, the patricians were the members of the families in the ruling classes. Those Romans who were not patricians by birth were known as plebs.

33. Grabs (onto) : GLOMS

“Glom” is a slang term meaning “steal”, although it can also be used to mean “latch onto” when used as “glom onto”. The term probably comes from the Scots word “glam” meaning “to snatch at”.

39. Sam of R&B : COOKE

Sam Cooke was a soul singer from Clarksdale, Mississippi. Cooke is considered by many to have been one of the founders of the soul genre. Cooke’s impressive list of hits includes “You Send Me”, Chain Gang” and “Twistin’ the Night Away”. Cooke was only 33 years old when he died. He was shot after a drunken brawl by a motel manager in what was deemed by the courts to be a justifiable homicide.

42. Some deer : ROES

Roe deer are found mainly in Europe. They would be the deer shown on television and in movies when Robin Hood was out hunting in Sherwood Forest.

43. Closet-y smell : MUST

Something described as “musty” has a stale or moldy odor. The term derives from an obsolete word “moisty”, as in “moist”.

47. Freon, for one : COOLANT

Freon is a DuPont trade name for a group of compounds used as a refrigerant and also as a propellant in aerosols. Freon is used in the compressors of air conditioners as a vital component in the air-cooling mechanism. Freon used to contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which had a devastating effect on the Earth’s ozone layer. Use of CFCs is now banned, or at least severely restricted.

48. Sierra Nevada product : ALE

The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is powered almost exclusively by solar energy, and even has a charging station for electric vehicles at its brewery. The company also uses the cooking oil from its restaurant as biodiesel for its delivery trucks. Discarded yeast is used to make ethanol fuel, and spent grain is used as food for livestock. For its efforts to preserve the environment, Sierra Nevada won the EPA’s “Green Business of the Year” award for 2010.

51. “C’est magnifique!” : OO LA LA!

“C’est magnifique!” is French for “It is magnificent!”

52. Competitor of Citizen : TIMEX

The Timex Group, the manufacturer of watches, evolved from the Waterbury Clock Company that was founded in 1854 in Waterbury, Connecticut. The company achieved tremendous success in the early sixties largely due to an innovative marketing campaign. Advertisements featured the memorable tagline “Timex – Takes a licking and keeps on ticking”. In 1962, one out of every three watches sold in the US was a Timex.

54. Standoffish : ALOOF

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 …?

55. Iona College athletes : GAELS

Iona College is a Roman Catholic school run by Christian Brothers in New Rochelle, New York. The school’s sports teams are called the Iona Gaels, and the team mascot goes by the name Killian.

58. Cry after a hectic week : TGIF!

“Thank God It’s Friday” (TGIF) is a relatively new expression that apparently originated in Akron, Ohio. It was a catchphrase used first by disk jockey Jerry Healy of WAKR in the early seventies. That said, one blog reader wrote me to say that he had been using the phrase in the fifties.

61. South Asian living abroad : DESI

People from the Indian subcontinent might refer to themselves as “desi”.

62. Org. for some inspectors : OSHA

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created in 1970 during the Nixon administration. OSHA regulates workplaces in the private sector and regulates just one government agency, namely the US Postal Service.

64. ___ Air, carrier to Taiwan : EVA

EVA Airlines is an international airline based Taipei, Taiwan that was founded in 1989. The intended name for the company was Evergreen Airways, but this was changed to EVA to avoid a potential conflict with another business.

65. Supporting letter, informally : REC

Recommendation (rec.)

67. A Chaplin : OONA

Oona Chaplin is an actress from Madrid in Spain. Chaplin is getting a lot of airtime these days as she plays Talisa Maegyr on HBO’s hit fantasy series “Game of Thrones”. Oona is the granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin, and is named for her maternal grandmother Oona O’Neill, the daughter of playwright Eugene O’Neill.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. First U.S. color TVs : RCAS
5. Shooter’s need : AIM
8. Believers in oneness : BAHA’IS
14. “Spamalot” lyricist : ERIC IDLE
16. Post-flood locale : ARARAT
17. One stuck abroad? : VOODOO DOLL
18. Frame of reference : SCHEMA
19. Professor to Harry Potter : SNAPE
20. Follower of “My country” : ‘TIS
22. Raiding grp. : ATF
23. It can make an impression in correspondence : SEAL
26. Risk-free : FOOLPROOF
29. Lacking a mate : ODD
32. Fit for a queen : REGINAL
34. Key : CRITICAL
37. British record label : DECCA
41. “I’m out” : TOO RICH FOR MY BLOOD
44. Unlikely source of a Top 40 song : OPERA
45. Popular Greek dish : MOUSSAKA
46. Surrounds : ENCASES
49. On the blue side, for short : DEM
50. Ottoman : FOOTSTOOL
53. ___ beetle : STAG
56. Clay, after conversion : ALI
57. Call to reserve? : LET
59. Calrissian of “Star Wars” : LANDO
63. Traffic enforcement device : CAMERA
66. Adoring looks seen 10 times in this puzzle’s grid : GOO-GOO EYES
69. Curfew, maybe : ELEVEN
70. Lickety-split : IN A FLASH
71. Revenue-raising measure : TAX ACT
72. “Neato!” : FAB!
73. Branch of Islam : SHIA

Down

1. Guns : REVS
2. Sing sentimentally : CROON
3. Work whose title character is buried alive : AIDA
4. Equipment in an ice cream shop : SCOOPS
5. Rabblement : ADO
6. In a bad way : ILL
7. Annual spring occurrence : MELT
8. Instrument that opens Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” : BASSOON
9. Homer’s path : ARC
10. “I bet!” : HAH!
11. To the stern : AREAR
12. “Same here!” : I AM TOO!
13. Several lines of music? : STAFF
15. “Bonne ___!” : IDEE
21. “___ ever …” : IF I
24. Playfully roguish : ARCH
25. Where photosynthesis occurs : LEAF
27. ___-slipper (flower) : LADY’S
28. Commoners : PLEBS
29. Eight: Prefix : OCTO-
30. Wilt : DROOP
31. Superserious : DIRE
33. Grabs (onto) : GLOMS
35. Ones pumped up for a race? : TIRES
36. “That’s beyond me” : I CAN’T
38. Dressed : CLAD
39. Sam of R&B : COOKE
40. Not know from ___ (be clueless about) : ADAM
42. Some deer : ROES
43. Closet-y smell : MUST
47. Freon, for one : COOLANT
48. Sierra Nevada product : ALE
50. Side : FACET
51. “C’est magnifique!” : OO LA LA!
52. Competitor of Citizen : TIMEX
54. Standoffish : ALOOF
55. Iona College athletes : GAELS
58. Cry after a hectic week : TGIF!
60. When doubled, a taunt : NYAH
61. South Asian living abroad : DESI
62. Org. for some inspectors : OSHA
64. ___ Air, carrier to Taiwan : EVA
65. Supporting letter, informally : REC
67. A Chaplin : OONA
68. Gossip : GAB

10 thoughts on “0124-19 NY Times Crossword 24 Jan 19, Thursday”

  1. No errors. Croon gave me the theme right away but this puzzle definitely had some devious clueing. Had never heard REGINAL before.

  2. 47:05 no errors (just lucky) . I always look for a rebus puzzle from the NYT on Thursdays . Had to refer to “my notes” for several answers.

  3. @eurekajoe-

    If you’ve ever noticed the crests of the recent queens of England, VR was for Victoria Regina and ER is for Elizabeth
    Regina. I half suspect Regina is Latin for queen and Rex for king.

  4. Very surprised I solved this evil little Tricky Thursday grid. CR (OO)N for 2D suggested itself to me early, and when SC(OO)PS turned up nearby, I got the theme early. Still, there were any number of slippery entries to ferret out.

    I don’t think Bill’s take at the puzzle’s theme is very apt. “OO! OO!” is what a hand-raising child student says when (s)he is eager to answer a teacher’s question. “Goo-Goo Eyes” (IMO, the proper name for this puzzle) are adoring looks. But since that’s also literally a fill, maybe “OO! OO! I got a crush on you” might be more appropriate.

  5. Enjoyed the puzzle except for the SE corner. One-square miss — an N instead of a D at the LANDO/DESI cross. (Yes, I know, one miss=two errors.)

  6. Ugh – several misses for me, but I was tickled with the clue for 57 across.

    Reserve, LET… re – serve!

    So glad Bill is back with this wonderful site. Really missed him!

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