0214-19 NY Times Crossword 14 Feb 19, Thursday

Constructed by: John E. Bennett & Jeff Chen
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Out of Order Signs

Themed clues are anagrams of common SIGNS seen while driving:

  • 36A Some bathroom postings … or what the clues to 16-, 21-, 46- and 59-Across are? : OUT OF ORDER SIGNS
  • 16A NOTED TENOR : DO NOT ENTER
  • 21A SIMPLE DIET : SPEED LIMIT
  • 46A GET SPEARED : STEEP GRADE
  • 59A DOOR DECALS : ROAD CLOSED

Bill’s time: 11m 45s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Flip (out) : WIG

The idea behind the expression “to wig out”, meaning “to go crazy”, is that there is so much going on in your brain that it might “lift your hair/wig”.

4 Dandy neckwear : ASCOTS

An Ascot is a horrible-looking (I think!), wide tie that narrows at the neck, which these days is only really worn at weddings. The tie takes its name from the Royal Ascot horse race at which punters still turn up in formal wear at Ascot Racecourse in England.

10 “___ NewsHour” : PBS

“NewsHour” is the evening news program broadcast daily by PBS. The show started out as “The MacNeil/Lehrer Report” in 1975, and transitioned into the hour-long program “The NewsHour” in 1983. That transition made “NewsHour” the nation’s first hour-long nightly news broadcast.

13 Opera that famously ends with the line “La commedia è finita!” : I PAGLIACCI

“Pagliacci” (“ Clowns” in English) is an opera by Ruggero Leoncavallo that premiered in 1892 in Milan. Included in the opera is one of the most famous arias of all time, “Vesti la giubba” (“put on the costume”).

17 “Dark Angel” star Jessica : ALBA

Actress Jessica Alba got her big break when she was cast in the Fox science fiction show “Dark Angel”. Alba had a tough life growing up as she spent a lot of time in hospital and so found it difficult to develop friendships. As a youngster she twice had a collapsed lung, frequently caught pneumonia, suffered from asthma, had a ruptured appendix and a tonsillar cyst. On top of all that, Alba acknowledges that she suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder as a child.

“Dark Angel” is a sci-fi series that ran from 2000 to 2002, and gave the star Jessica Alba her big break as an actress. Alba plays a genetically-enhanced super-soldier in post-apocalyptic Seattle. The show is a creation of celebrated producer and director James Cameron.

19 Kickstarter figure : GOAL

Kickstarter.com is an increasingly popular “crowdfunding” website. Kickstarter is a contemporary version of the traditional model in which artists sought out patrons from among their audiences to fund their work. The website brings together individuals willing to fund projects, usually in exchange for some reward from the artist.

24 “Dallas Buyers Club” Oscar winner : LETO

Jared Leto is an actor and musician. In the world of music, Leto is the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the rock band 30 Seconds to Mars. In the film world, one of his most critically acclaimed role was that of a heroin addict in “Requiem for a Dream”. He also appeared in “American Psycho”, “Panic Room” and “Lord of War”. Leto won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for portraying a transgender woman in 2013’s “Dallas Buyers Club”.

“Dallas Buyers Club” is a 2013 film that tells the real-life story of AIDS patient Ron Woodroof. Woodroof smuggled unapproved AIDS drugs across the US border into Texas in opposition to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The movie won the Best Actor Oscar for Matthew McConaughey and Best Supporting Actor for Jared Leto.

30 One of the five founding nations of the Iroquois Confederacy : ONEIDA

The Iroquois Confederacy was also known as the Five Nations and was comprised of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca nations.

35 Fat remover, for short : LIPO

Liposuction (lipo) dates back to the 1920s when it was developed by a surgeon in France. However, the procedure quickly lost favor when a French model developed gangrene after surgery. As a result, it wasn’t until the mid-seventies that modern liposuction took off, after being popularized by two Italian-American surgeons in Rome.

51 Dune transport : CAMEL

Perhaps the most distinctive feature of a camel is the large deposit of fatty tissue on its back. The dromedary is the most common camel, and has two humps of fatty tissue on its back. The Bactrian camel has two humps, and makes up just 6% of the world’s camel population. Those fatty humps are useful if no food or water is available, as fat can be broken down into water and energy.

53 Verve : ELAN

Our word “élan” was imported from French, in which language the word has a similar meaning to ours, i.e “style, flair”.

63 Show with noted alumni, for short : SNL

“Saturday Night Live” (SNL)

65 Off-roader, in brief : ATV

All-terrain vehicle (ATV)

Down

1 Out of the strike zone, in a way : WIDE

That would be baseball.

2 Product whose introduction was music to people’s ears? : IPOD

The iPod is Apple’s signature line of portable media players. The iPod first hit the market in 2001 with a hard drive-based device, now known as the iPod Classic. Later models all use flash memory, allowing a smaller form factor. The smallest of the flash-based models is the iPod Shuffle, which was introduced in 2005.

4 Abbr. in a cockpit : ALT

Altitude (alt.)

5 The Alamo had a famous one : SIEGE

Our word “siege” comes from a 13th century word for a “seat”. The military usage derives from the concept of a besieging force “sitting down” outside a fortress until it falls.

The famous Alamo in San Antonio, Texas was originally known as Mission San Antonio de Valero. The mission was founded in 1718 and was the first mission established in the city. The Battle of the Alamo took place in 1836, a thirteen-day siege by the Mexican Army led by President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Only two people defending the Alamo Mission survived the onslaught. One month later, the Texian army got its revenge by attacking and defeating the Mexican Army in the Battle of San Jacinto. During the surprise attack on Santa Anna’s camp, many of the Texian soldiers were heard to cry “Remember the Alamo!”.

7 The planets, e.g. : OCTAD

There are several mnemonics used to remember the planets and the order in which they are found in the Solar System. One example is “My Very Easy Method Just Shows Us Nine Planets”, but that doesn’t really work since Pluto was relegated from “planethood”. The most oft-quoted mnemonic for the eight planets is “My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nachos”. Given the relegation of Pluto, I kind of like “Many Very Educated Men Just Screwed Up Nature”.

8 Immune system defender : T CELL

T cells are a group of white blood cells that are essential components of the body’s immune system. T cells are so called because they mature in the thymus, a specialized organ found in the chest.

9 ___ Toby, character in “Twelfth Night” : SIR

Sir Toby Belch is a much loved character in William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night”.

William Shakespeare wrote his comedy “Twelfth Night” as a Christmas entertainment (Twelfth Night being the end of the Christmas season). The play’s protagonist is a young woman named Viola. The plot calls for Viola to dress as eunuch named Cesario who goes into the service of Duke Orsino. Orsino has Cesario go to Duchess Olivia to express his love for her. But Olivia falls for Cesario, Cesario (Viola) falls for Orsino, and hilarity ensues …

10 Part of a stove : PILOT LIGHT

A pilot light is a small gas flame, one using a relatively small amount of fuel that remains lit as an ignition source for larger gas burners.

15 Milli ___ (1980s-’90s pop duo) : VANILLI

Milli Vanilli famously won a Grammy and had it revoked when it was discovered that they didn’t even provide the lead vocals for the award-winning recording, and just lip-synced when performing on stage.

20 “Methinks,” in texts : IMO

In my opinion (IMO)

24 When repeated, a classic of garage rock : LOUIE

“Louie Louie” is an R&B song that was most famously a hit for the Kingsmen in 1963. The Kingsmen were accused of deliberately slurring words in the song that were describing the sexual act. There was even a 31-month investigation by the FBI, after which it was concluded that the accusation was unfounded.

27 Nighttime woe : APNEA

Sleep apnea (“apnoea” in British English) can be caused by an obstruction in the airways, possibly due to obesity or enlarged tonsils.

33 Court oath affirmation : I DO

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)?

47 State flower of Indiana : PEONY

The flowering plant called a peony is named for Paean, the mythical physician to the Greek gods.

49 Heaviest of the noble gases : RADON

The noble gases (also “rare gases”) are those elements over on the extreme right of the Periodic Table. Because of their “full” complement of electrons, noble gases are very unreactive. The six noble gases that occur naturally are helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon and radon.

50 Pepper used in mole sauce : ANCHO

An ancho is a dried poblano pepper that is used in Mexican cuisine. The poblano is a mild chili.

55 On the briny : ASEA

The briny is the sea, with “brine” meaning “salty water”. The term “briny” was originally used for “tears”.

57 LG product : HDTV

LG is a very large South Korean manufacturer of electronics, chemicals and telecom products. The company used to be known as Lucky-Goldstar, whence the initialism “LG”.

59 “Spare” part : RIB

Spareribs are so called because “spare” can indicate the absence of fat.

60 ___ Wallace, “Ben-Hur” author : LEW

The celebrated 1959 Charlton Heston movie “Ben-Hur” is a dramatization of a book published in 1880 by Lew Wallace titled “Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ”. The 1959 epic film won a record 11 Academy Awards, a feat that has been equaled since then but has never been beaten. The other winners of 11 Oscars are “Titanic” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the Rings”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Flip (out) : WIG
4 Dandy neckwear : ASCOTS
10 “___ NewsHour” : PBS
13 Opera that famously ends with the line “La commedia è finita!” : I PAGLIACCI
15 Potion container : VIAL
16 NOTED TENOR : DO NOT ENTER
17 “Dark Angel” star Jessica : ALBA
18 Advantage : EDGE
19 Kickstarter figure : GOAL
20 Desk tray labels : IN-OUT
21 SIMPLE DIET : SPEED LIMIT
24 “Dallas Buyers Club” Oscar winner : LETO
26 Apprehend : COLLAR
29 Something checked on a questionnaire : BOX
30 One of the five founding nations of the Iroquois Confederacy : ONEIDA
35 Fat remover, for short : LIPO
36 Some bathroom postings … or what the clues to 16-, 21-, 46- and 59-Across are? : OUT OF ORDER SIGNS
39 Not stuffy : AIRY
40 Mason’s tool : TROWEL
41 “Watch it!” : HEY!
42 Puzzle : TEASER
44 Part of the Spanish conjugation of “to be” : ESTA
46 GET SPEARED : STEEP GRADE
51 Dune transport : CAMEL
53 Verve : ELAN
54 First car to offer seatbelts (1950) : NASH
58 Ilhan ___, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress : OMAR
59 DOOR DECALS : ROAD CLOSED
61 Goes from liquid to solid, say : GELS
62 Babbling : INCOHERENT
63 Show with noted alumni, for short : SNL
64 “See ya!” : BYE NOW!
65 Off-roader, in brief : ATV

Down

1 Out of the strike zone, in a way : WIDE
2 Product whose introduction was music to people’s ears? : IPOD
3 Group of friends : GANG
4 Abbr. in a cockpit : ALT
5 The Alamo had a famous one : SIEGE
6 “Can you ___?” (classic cologne catchphrase) : CANOE
7 The planets, e.g. : OCTAD
8 Immune system defender : T CELL
9 ___ Toby, character in “Twelfth Night” : SIR
10 Part of a stove : PILOT LIGHT
11 Pakistani restaurant owner on “Seinfeld” : BABU
12 Blind spot? : SLAT
14 “Whither ___ thou?”: John 16:5 : GOEST
15 Milli ___ (1980s-’90s pop duo) : VANILLI
20 “Methinks,” in texts : IMO
22 [It’s gone!] : POOF!
23 Words of empathy : I CARE
24 When repeated, a classic of garage rock : LOUIE
25 Teeny-tiny : EXTRA SMALL
27 Nighttime woe : APNEA
28 Like the dawn sky : ROSY
29 Lead-in to load or lift : BOAT-
31 Our: Fr. : NOTRE
32 Overthrow, e.g. : ERR
33 Court oath affirmation : I DO
34 Morning coat : DEW
37 ___ Rockefeller : OYSTERS
38 Where to see two runners side by side : SLED
43 Serpentine swimmer : EEL
45 What to call un hombre : SENOR
47 State flower of Indiana : PEONY
48 Candied : GLACE
49 Heaviest of the noble gases : RADON
50 Pepper used in mole sauce : ANCHO
51 Teeth not connected to jaws : COGS
52 “And how!” : AMEN!
55 On the briny : ASEA
56 Elated : SENT
57 LG product : HDTV
59 “Spare” part : RIB
60 ___ Wallace, “Ben-Hur” author : LEW

17 thoughts on “0214-19 NY Times Crossword 14 Feb 19, Thursday”

  1. I took much longer than you guys! Got the theme but I’m really bad at scrambled words. Also didn’t cross my mind that 4a was plural so stuck with cravat for a while. Better than my usual Thursday. 😁

  2. 43:10 no errors. I spent a lot of time on the upper middle,I had no clue what I Pagliacci was and do not enter wouldn’t come to me.
    As usual Mr Chen teams up with another constructor and egos fly.

  3. Well I am amazed at 9 minute times. It seems to me there is a certain amount of time required to read, process and enter the information. I’ve timed these puzzles and find it takes about 8-10 minutes just to WRITE the letters into the boxes.
    So I am at a loss to understand. Can we hear from the folks who use pencil and paper and not electronic devices?
    At any rate, I always enjoy the Thusday puzzle and am pleased to finish in under an hour.
    I Attack the key clue first and was happy to uncover “ out of order signs” went on to the various signs and then used crosses and anagram analysis to solve the main theme. Hung up on NW corner. Finally realized Pagliacci preceded by an I. Must be the Italian form. The fill was not so bad.
    So I enjoyed it, working at a pedestrian pencil and paper rate.
    Is there not too much competition in this world already?
    Lets create, not compete.
    The natural world competes for literal survival. Must this desire for oneupmanship pervade all art?
    Like Brando and Scott I too am sick of Oscars.

  4. Lurker here but decided to let Joe know there are other amateurs here.
    I use pen on my my morning paper so these old eyes can relax while I trudge along. Google is helpful if I’m stuck but only look up short words or acronyms so I am forced to really ponder the obtuse answers (except Ipagliacci!). I never keep track of time and sip my coffee and eat breakfast while completing (or cursing at) the daily puzzle. Mondays-Thursdays are passable, Fridays and Saturdays are impossible and Sundays are fun because my husband and I work on it together.
    I am amazed by those who can complete these in minimum times and without error but this is my game not anyone else’s.
    Best part is when I learn a new word and can incorporate it in my daily language. Just some thoughts from the other corner of the room.

  5. 12:56, no errors. I am a pencil and paper solver. Although my efforts are timed, to me these puzzles are a relaxing challenge; speed is not of the essence. I have gotten into the 6 minute range on Mondays and Tuesdays. My times are posted because: a) Bill posts his times; b) it gives me a reason to post something, every day, and c) it’s my belief that they give a ‘common man’ alternative to Bill’s exceptional efforts.

  6. I do the puzzle using pen and paper and, like Bruce, I don’t view it as a competition (except, maybe, with myself). If I do a puzzle in a “competitive” time, it is probably because I have been doing crossword puzzles since about 1951 and the NYT, regularly, since October, 1970. There are people who could do this puzzle in 2 or 3 minutes. As I type this, a bunch of them are gathering in Stamford, Connecticut, for this year’s ACPT (American Crossword Puzzle Tournament). Does it bother me that those people are 3 or 4 times as fast as I am? Not at all. That’s the nature of life, isn’t it? … 😜.

    For info about the ACPT, use the following link:

    https://www.crosswordtournament.com

    1. Oops! My aging gray cells slipped a cog. I did this puzzle using my iPad mini, rather than pen and paper. (For various reasons, I do the NYT puzzle on my mini and everything else on paper.) In any case, as I’ve explained here before (ad nauseam), the mini offers me no advantages in speed or accuracy (in fact, it’s kind of a nuisance to solve a puzzle with it), but, over the last four years, I’ve made my peace with it, I can take it anywhere, and it provides access to all the NYT puzzles of the Will Shortz era, so if I’m in London or Paris, with no access to a printer, and I take a notion to do a NYT puzzle from 1998, I can do it.

      And the ACPT participants do work on paper, so I stand behind what I said above. The fact that it takes me a certain amount of time to do a puzzle doesn’t mean that it will take everyone else that long.

  7. No errors. Yea!

    A few of the posters have already mentioned the “I” before PAGLIACCI but I have yet to understand it. I even googled this but came up with nothing. So far as I can tell the name of the opera is PAGLIACCI without the letter “I” preceding it. Also I found that “I” alone has no meaning in Italian.

    Can anyone enlighten me? What is the meaning of the “I” before the title PAGLIACCI?

  8. No errors about 18 minutes. I don’t usually time myself because if I focus on that I don’t enjoy the puzzle as much. This time I noted when I started and then put it out of my head and took my time. I use paper and pencil, have been doing the NYT about 5 years, and can usually finish them with 0 to a few errors. One of my favorite activities. One thing I don’t understand is the need to criticize the constructors who, in my opinion, do an amazing job day in and day out with very few disappointing results. Just because it may be difficult for a solver doesn’t mean egos are involved or it is a bad puzzle.

  9. @Dale-

    My understanding is that the original title was Il Pagliacco,
    (The Clown), but a star in the early production wanted the title changed to the plural (The Clowns) to deflect too much attention from the character Canio. I guess I is the plural article.

    1. Thank you so much, JHR. You are correct that “I” is the plural form of “Il” in Italian. I did find the reference in a discussion of articles used in Italian once you had tipped me off as to what to look for. And you are further correct that it would significantly change the title to The Clowns. It’s so nice to know about this. Thanks again.

  10. Made it through this one in orderly fashion from top to bottom, pen on paper. No speed-solving and no errors. Helped initially to focus on the down entries to better expose the across anagrams. Enjoyed it.

  11. I’m a pen and paper guy. I don’t care how long it takes me. These things take my mind of all the other stuff in life. Peace.

  12. 26:33, no errors. Pen and paper. I usually do everything else much faster, but unfortunately in a way you have to have a Crosswordese-English dictionary in hand in your mind to complete the NYT quickly and it is something I definitely do not have. As for the whole “time” debate, I wrote my thoughts here, as this question seems to keep coming up.

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