0209-19 NY Times Crossword 9 Feb 19, Saturday

Constructed by: Ryan McCarty
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 20m 35s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1. Hospital attachment : ID BRACELET

Identity document (ID)

15. Novel opinion? : BOOK REVIEW

Our word “novel”, used for a lengthy work of fiction, comes from the Latin “novella” meaning “new things”.

17. Servant to Queen Amidala : ARTOO-DETOO

Artoo’s proper name is R2-D2. R2-D2 is the smaller of the two famous droids from the “Star Wars” movies. British actor Kenny Baker, who stood just 3 ft 8 ins tall, was the man inside the R2-D2 droid for the first six of the “Star Wars” movies.

19. Its PAC is the Political Victory Fund : NRA

National Rifle Association (NRA)

A political action committee (PAC) is a private group that works to influence the outcome of a particular election or group of elections. Any group becomes a PAC by law when it receives or spends more than $1,000 for the purpose of influencing the outcome of an election. In 2010 the Supreme Court ruled that PACS that did not make direct contributions to candidates or parties could accept unlimited contributions. These “independent, expenditure-only committees” are commonly referred to as “super PACs”.

21. Gossipy schoolmate on “The Facts of Life” : TOOTIE

The actress Kim Fields is best known for playing Tootie Ramsey in the sitcom “The Facts of Life”, and Regine Hunter on “Living Single”.

The sitcom “The Facts of Life” originally aired from 1979 until 1988. It was a spin-off of the equally successful show “Diff’rent Strokes”. Charlotte Rae was the main actress common to both shows. Rae played Edna Garrett, who was a housekeeper on “Diff’rent Strokes” and a dormitory housemother on “The Facts of Life”.

27. “The Entertainer,” for one : RAG

Ragtime music was at the height of it popularity in the early 1900s. It takes its name from its characteristic “ragged” rhythms. The most famous ragtime composer was Scott Joplin, who had a big hit with his “Maple Leaf Rag” when it was published in 1899. He followed that up with a string of hits, including the “Pine Apple Rag” (sic). Ragtime fell out of favor about 1917 when the public turned to jazz. It had a resurgence in the forties when jazz musicians started to include ragtime tunes in their repertoires. But it was the 1973 movie “The Sting” that brought the true revival, as the hit soundtrack included numerous ragtime tunes by Scott Joplin, including the celebrated “The Entertainer” originally published in 1902.

28. Lid bump : STYE

A stye is a bacterial infection of the sebaceous glands at the base of the eyelashes, and is also known as a hordeolum.

29. Taking a stab at? : BAYONETING

A bayonet is a blade that is attached to the muzzle end of a rifle. It’s thought that the term “bayonet” derives from the French city of Bayonne in Gascony, where perhaps bayonets were first made.

32. Six-pack : SCULPTED ABS

The abdominal muscles (abs) are more correctly referred to as the rectus abdominis muscles. They might be referred to as a “six-pack” in a person who has developed the muscles and who has low body fat. In my case, more like a keg …

35. Some preparations for the Olympics : TORCH RELAYS

A flame is used as the symbol for the Olympic Games in commemoration of the theft of fire for humanity by Prometheus from Zeus in Greek mythology. The symbolic flame was introduced to the Modern Olympics in the 1928 Summer Games in Amsterdam. The tradition of the Olympic torch relay started out as political theater devised and funded by Nazi Germany for the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin.

37. Statue in Piccadilly Circus : EROS

London’s Piccadilly Circus is a major road junction in the West End of London. The junction is at one end of the thoroughfare called Piccadilly, hence the first part of the name. The junction’s shape is roughly circular, hence the use of “circus”, a Latin word meaning “circle”. Famously, there is a statue of Eros at the center of the junction.

41. Former publishing nickname : 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.

48. Carrier seen in “The Aviator” : TWA

Trans World Airlines (TWA) was a big carrier in the US, but was perhaps even more recognized for its extensive presence in Europe and the Middle East. For many years, especially after the collapse of Pan Am and TWA’s purchase by Howard Hughes, TWA was considered the unofficial flag carrier for the US. The company started in 1930, the product of a forced merger of Transcontinental Air Transport and Western Air Express. The Transcontinental and Western Air that resulted (the original meaning of the initialism “TWA”) was what the Postmaster General wanted, a bigger airline to which the Postal Service could award airmail contracts.

“The Aviator” is a great 2004 film, and a biographical piece about much of the life of aviation pioneer Howard Hughes. Leonardo DiCaprio plays the title role, with Cate Blanchett playing a very credible Katharine Hepburn, Hughes’ lover with whom he lived for quite some time. Blanchett won a very much deserved Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance. Alan Alda received an Oscar nomination as a supporting actor, playing Senator Owen Brewster, a thorn in the side for Howard Hughes.

49. Orange ball : FIVE

In the game of pool, the 5-ball is a solid orange.

One side (player) in a game of pool uses the “solid” balls, the other the “stripes”.

54. Sheet : FLOE

An ice floe is a sheet of ice that has separated from an ice field and is floating freely on the ocean.

55. Bit in some Japanese soup : UDON NOODLE

Udon noodles are made from wheat-flour and are very popular in Japanese cuisines such as tempura.

56. Manor occupant of yore : SERF

A serf was a member of the lowest feudal class, someone attached to land owned by a lord. “Serf” comes from the Latin “servus”, meaning “slave”.

57. Best Play and Best Moment : ESPY AWARDS

The ESPY Awards are a creation of the ESPN sports television network. One difference with similarly named awards in the entertainment industry is that ESPY winners are chosen solely based on viewer votes.

Down

1. Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, casually : IBANKS

Investment bank (“ibank”)

2. Dickens’s “Little ___” : DORRIT

“Little Dorrit” is a novel by Charles Dickens. It is a satirical work that takes potshots at the government and society of the day.

4. Fox rival, once : RKO

The RKO Pictures studio was formed when RCA (RADIO Corporation of America) bought the KEITH-Albee-ORPHEUM theaters (and Joe Kennedy’s Film Booking Offices of America). The RKO initialism then comes from the words “Radio”, “Keith” and “Orpheum”.

William Fox founded the Fox Film Corporation in 1915 to produce motion pictures. Fox lost control of his company soon after the Wall Street Crash of 1929. The new owners of Fox merged the company with Twentieth Century Pictures in 1935, forming 20th Century Fox.

9. Abbr. in a job posting : EEO

“Equal Employment Opportunity” (EEO) is a term that has been around since 1964 when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was set up by the Civil Rights Act. Title VII of the Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin or religion.

12. Polemic : DIATRIBE

A diatribe is a bitter discourse. The term comes from the Greek “diatribein” meaning “to wear away”.

“Polemic” can also be spelled “polemical”. Either way, the term describes something controversial. The word came into English from the Greek “polemos” meaning “war”.

13. Team with the longest active World Series drought (as of 2018) : INDIANS

The Cleveland baseball franchise started out in 1869 as the Forest Citys named after Forest City, the nickname for Cleveland. After a number of transitions, in 1914 the team took on the name “Indians”. The media came up with name “Indians” after being asked for suggestions by the team owners. “Indians” was inspired by the successful Boston team of the day, the Boston Braves.

14. Chinese snack with marblelike patterns on the outside : TEA EGG

The Chinese dish known as a tea egg is made by boiling an egg in water, cracking the shell, and then reboiling the egg in tea or a spiced sauce. Often sold as a snack food, the tea egg is also called a “marble egg”, referring to the marbled appearance of the cracked shell after boiling in a colored liquid.

24. Much of Chile : DESERT

The land of Chile has a very distinctive shape. It is a narrow strip that runs up the west coast of South America. The average width of the country is only a little over 100 miles, and yet its length is about 2,700 miles. Chile is touted as the longest country in the world, although I am not so sure what that means exactly. I mean, Russia extends about 4,800 miles from east-to west, so maybe “longest” implies long in the north-south direction?

25. Tree pictured in van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” : CYPRESS

“The Starry Night” is a Van Gogh masterpiece depicting what the artist could see from the window of his room in a sanitarium near the village of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. I am somewhat ashamed to note that one reason I know this painting so well is that I put together a 2,000-piece jigsaw puzzle depicting “The Starry Night” not that long ago …

26. Patchy pattern : MOTTLE

Something described as motley is mottled, is marked with different-colored spots. The term probably comes from the Old English word “mot” meaning “speck”. We can use the term “motley” figuratively to mean “diverse, heterogeneous”.

29. Amateurish : BUSH LEAGUE

“Bush league” is baseball slang for “minor league” or “unprofessional”. The idea is that a minor league team might be based in “the sticks” or “the bushes”, in a small town.

30. Competitors of Grand Ams : ALEROS

The Oldsmobile Alero was the last car made made by General Motors under the Oldsmobile brand. It was produced from 1999 to 2004.

The Pontiac Grand Am was introduced in 1972. Aptly enough, the Grand Am was built in Pontiac, Michigan.

35. Setting for an Agatha Christie mystery : THE NILE

Agatha Christie wrote a very successful crime novel called “Death on the Nile” that was first published in 1937. That novel had started off life as a play that was was never performed, one that Christie called “Moon on the Nile”. Christie then adapted the novel back into a play again calling it “Murder on the Nile”, which opened in London in 1946.

39. Lucky Rabbit’s name in early Disney films : OSWALD

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit is a character created by Walt Disney in the 1920s, and the first animated character to appear in their own series. Oswald made his first appearance in 1927, whereas Mickey Mouse first hit screens a year later. Oswald is now back in the limelight after showing up as a major character in a 2010 Disney video game called “Epic Mickey”.

45. Sound barrier? : REEF

The Great Barrier Reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia. It is a system of almost three thousand individual reefs, and is the largest such system on the planet. The Great Barrier Reef is also the only living thing on Earth that can be seen from outer space.

46. Big Apple’s “bravest,” briefly : FDNY

New York City Fire Department (FDNY)

47. Actress Headey of “Game of Thrones” : LENA

English actress Lena Headey is best known for playing Cersei Lannister on the fantasy series “Game of Thrones”. Although a British citizen, Headey was actually born Bermuda, where her father was stationed as a police officer.

51. Has too much, for short : ODS

Overdose (OD)

52. ___-eared : LOP

A creature that is lop-eared has bent or drooping ears, like a rabbit or many breeds of dog.

53. Stole from a drag show? : BOA

The etymology of the term “drag”, as used in the transvestite world, seems to be unclear. It perhaps relates to the tendency of a transvestite’s skirts to drag along the ground in days of old (although why they just didn’t hitch up their skirts is beyond me!).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Hospital attachment : ID BRACELET
11. Get in the last word? : EDIT
15. Novel opinion? : BOOK REVIEW
16. Small square : NINE
17. Servant to Queen Amidala : ARTOO-DETOO
18. Bit of baby babbling : DADA
19. Its PAC is the Political Victory Fund : NRA
20. Some couples : MEN
21. Gossipy schoolmate on “The Facts of Life” : TOOTIE
23. “Ish” : KINDA
25. “You’re killin’ me!” : C’MON!
27. “The Entertainer,” for one : RAG
28. Lid bump : STYE
29. Taking a stab at? : BAYONETING
32. Six-pack : SCULPTED ABS
34. It takes the cake : DESSERT CASE
35. Some preparations for the Olympics : TORCH RELAYS
36. “That guy’s pathetic!” : WHAT A LOSER!
37. Statue in Piccadilly Circus : EROS
41. Former publishing nickname : HEF
42. Off : LESS
43. Fiercely criticize : BLAST
44. How plots are measured : IN AREA
46. Leave in a hurry : FLY
48. Carrier seen in “The Aviator” : TWA
49. Orange ball : FIVE
50. Top prize at the Berlin International Film Festival : GOLDEN BEAR
54. Sheet : FLOE
55. Bit in some Japanese soup : UDON NOODLE
56. Manor occupant of yore : SERF
57. Best Play and Best Moment : ESPY AWARDS

Down

1. Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, casually : IBANKS
2. Dickens’s “Little ___” : DORRIT
3. Field of flowers : BOTANY
4. Fox rival, once : RKO
5. Something picked up at a coffee shop : AROMA
6. Give way : CEDE
7. Flush : EVEN
8. Hammered : LIT
9. Abbr. in a job posting : EEO
10. Popular 1950s vehicle making a comeback in the 2010s : TWO-TONE CAR
11. Prefix with spore or sperm : ENDO-
12. Polemic : DIATRIBE
13. Team with the longest active World Series drought (as of 2018) : INDIANS
14. Chinese snack with marblelike patterns on the outside : TEA EGG
22. Sometime : ONE DAY
24. Much of Chile : DESERT
25. Tree pictured in van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” : CYPRESS
26. Patchy pattern : MOTTLE
29. Amateurish : BUSH LEAGUE
30. Competitors of Grand Ams : ALEROS
31. Part of a cornstalk : TASSEL
33. Beginner’s piano exercise : C-SCALE
34. Help out : DO A FAVOR
35. Setting for an Agatha Christie mystery : THE NILE
36. Swings and misses : WHIFFS
38. Adult, say : RATED-R
39. Lucky Rabbit’s name in early Disney films : OSWALD
40. Can hardly believe what one sees, say : STARES
43. To this point : BY NOW
45. Sound barrier? : REEF
46. Big Apple’s “bravest,” briefly : FDNY
47. Actress Headey of “Game of Thrones” : LENA
51. Has too much, for short : ODS
52. ___-eared : LOP
53. Stole from a drag show? : BOA

11 thoughts on “0209-19 NY Times Crossword 9 Feb 19, Saturday”

  1. 44:21, no errors. Enjoyable, but as slow as molasses in January (or some such down-home, old-timey, colorful phrase); no part of this came easily. But, as I’ve said before, AWTEW!

  2. Got back on track after stubborn struggles on Thursday and Friday.
    Found today’s cluing cryptic, but fair. Took eight cups, but got’er done.

  3. 33:05, no errors. Very satisfying challenge if you could complete this, very frustrating if you couldn’t. Agree with the two Dave’s, nothing in the grid came easily; very vague and deliberately misleading clues; but once each section filled in, the correct answers became obvious. Happy to finish, ecstatic to finish with no errors.

  4. Crikey, that was a brain melter. Finally, FINALLY filled all correctly, but I stared forrrevvverrrr at 49A answer “FIVE”??? Orange ball???
    What the…
    Doh! Got it!!!
    Good grief – wifey and I play pool every stinking night.

  5. Worked about an hour yesterday and was lost. Put it down, slept, and came back today fresh and finished in 15 more minutes. A tough one. They key was giving up on CHISELEDABS and figuring out it was SCULPTEDABS.

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