0216-19 NY Times Crossword 16 Feb 19, Saturday

Constructed by: Andrew Kingsley & John Lieb
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Bill’s time: 11m 40s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Old-fashioned group of people : THE AMISH

The Amish are members of a group of Christian churches, and a subgroup of the Mennonite churches. The Amish church originated in Switzerland and Alsace in 1693 when it was founded by Jakob Ammann. It was Ammann who gave the name to the Amish people. Many Amish people came to Pennsylvania in the 18th century.

15 Having an uninterrupted series of steps : SCALAR

In physics, a “scalar” is a one-dimensional quantity, whereas a “vector” has two dimensions. For example, speed is a scalar. On the other hand, velocity is a vector as it is defined by both speed and direction.

17 Kite grippers : TALONS

A talon is a claw of a bird of prey. The term “talon” ultimately derives from “talus”, the Latin word for “ankle”.

Kites are birds of prey that feed mainly on carrion.

18 Peso : Cuba :: ___ : Korea : WON

The Korean Won, the Chinese Yuan, and the Japanese Yen (all of which are Asian currencies) take their names from the Chinese written character that represents “round shape”.

Cuba is the only country in the world that has two official currencies. The Cuban peso (CUP) is referred to as the “national currency”. Government workers are paid in CUPs, and CUPs can be used to pay for government-provided services and price-controlled items such as fruit and vegetables. There is also the Cuban convertible peso (CUC) that was introduced in 1994, when its value was pegged to the US dollar. Most products available in stores are imported, and have to be purchased with CUCs. Cubans with access to CUCs, like hotel workers interfacing with tourists, they tend to have better lifestyles than government workers in general.

19 Être, across the Pyrenees : SER

The Pyrénées is a mountain range that runs along the border between Spain and France. Nestled between the two countries, high in the mountains, is the lovely country of Andorra, an old haunt of my family during skiing season …

26 Like the characters on “Lost” : MAROONED

In the TV show “Lost”, the plane that crashed was operated by Oceanic Airlines. The fictional airline Oceanic Airlines or Oceanic Airways turns up a lot on the big and small screen. Try to spot Oceanic in the movies “Executive Decision” and “For Love of the Game”, and in episodes of the TV shows “Castle”, “Chuck”, “Flipper”, “The Goldbergs” and “The X-Files”.

28 Kitchen gadget brand : OXO

The OXO line of kitchen utensils and housewares is designed to be ergonomically superior to the average household tools. The intended user of OXO products is someone who doesn’t have the normal range of motion or strength in the hands e.g. someone suffering from arthritis.

32 Bullish figure? : MINOTAUR

In the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, Theseus sailed to the island of Crete in order to convince the Minotaur to stop devouring young boys and girls who were sent into the Minotaur’s lair, the Labyrinth. Soon after Theseus landed on Crete, he fell in love with Ariadne, the daughter of Minos, the King of Crete. Ariadne gave Theseus a ball of string that he unraveled as he ventured deep into the Labyrinth. He found the Minotaur and slayed him, and then followed the unraveled string back to the entrance of the Labyrinth, and into the arms of Ariadne.

34 New Age keyboardist : YANNI

Yanni is a remarkable Greek musician who is very successful in the world of New Age music. What I find so remarkable is that he is a self-taught musician. Yanni was born Yiannis Chryssomallis in Kalamata, Greece and moved to the US in 1972 to attend the University of Minnesota.

35 Third character to appear in “Macbeth” : CEE

The third character in the word “Macbeth” is a letter C (cee).

36 Painted Desert sights : MESAS

The Painted Desert in Arizona is a beautiful badlands area noted for colorful rock formations. The name was given way back in 1540 by the Spanish, who called it “El Desierto Pintado”.

37 New Age composer : BRIAN ENO

Brian Eno is a musician, composer and record producer from England who first achieved fame as the synthesizer player with Roxy Music. As a producer, Eno has worked with David Bowie, Devo, Talking Heads and U2.

40 Job for an investment bank, for short : IPO

An initial public offering (IPO) is the very first offer of stock for sale by a company on the open market. In other words, an IPO marks the first time that a company is traded on a public exchange. Companies have an IPO to raise capital to expand (usually).

41 Some modern discounts : GROUPONS

Groupon is a deal-of-the-day website that was started in 2008. The concept behind the business is illustrated by the company name, a portmanteau of “group coupon”. Each day a discount coupon is offered to website members who sign up knowing that the coupon requires a minimum number of “takers” in order for it to be valid. If too few buyers sign up, then the coupon is void. When sufficient buyers sign up the coupon is honored, and the retailer benefits from the large volume of business generated. Groupon was very successful for a couple of years and predictions were made that the company would reach $1 billion in sales faster than any other company in history. That forecast changed dramatically, and the CEO was ousted in February 2013.

43 “State Fair” director Walter : LANG

“State Fair” is a musical film by Rodgers and Hammerstein that was released in 1945. The “fair” in the storyline is the Iowa State Fair, in Des Moines.

45 Fifth-century scourge : ATTILA

In his day, Attila the Hun was the most feared enemy of the Roman Empire, until he died in 453 AD. Attila was the leader of the Hunnic Empire of central Europe and was famous for invading much of the continent. However, he never directly attacked Rome.

52 Vamp’s wear : BOA

A vamp (short for “vampire”) is a seductive woman. The term was first used in reference to the sultry performance of actress Theda Bara in the 1915 film “A Fool There Was”. The movie’s title is a quotation from Rudyard Kipling’s 1897 poem “The Vampire”. Bara’s role was positioned as a “vampire”, a woman out to seduce a man, launching the use of “vamp” as an alternative term for “femme fatale”.

54 The American Film Institute named its soundtrack the greatest film score of all time : STAR WARS

The American Film Institute (AFI) was founded in 1967 by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). One of the AFI’s more visible programs is the “100 Year Series”, including lists of Best Movies in several categories and a list of the Best Movie Quotes in 100 years of movie-making.

57 Bob’s relative : PIXIE CUT

The pixie cut is a hairstyle that is relatively short at the back and sides compared to the top. Famous examples of women wearing the cut are Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday”, Twiggy for much of the 1960s, Goldie Hawn on “Laugh-In” and Halle Berry in the Bond film “Die Another Day”.

A bob cut is a short hairstyle in which the hair is cut straight around the head, at about the line of the jaw. Back in the 1570s, “bob” was the name given to a horse’s tail that was cut short, and about a century later it was being used to describe short hair on humans. The style became very popular with women in the early 1900s (as worn by actress Clara Bow, for example), with the fashion dying out in the thirties. The style reemerged in the sixties around the time the Beatles introduced their “mop tops”, with Vidal Sassoon leading the way in styling women’s hair in a bob cut again. Personally, I like it …

58 Wikipedia’s globe and such : LOGOS

Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia, and the most-used reference site on the Internet. It was launched by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger in 2001. I, for one, am very grateful …

Down

3 Some prep school wear : ETONS

An Eton jacket is usually black in color, cut square at the hips and has wide lapels. It is named for the design of jacket that is worn by the younger students at Eton College just outside London.

4 Subject of the 2004 autobiography “The Soul of a Butterfly” : ALI

Muhammad Ali first used his famous catchphrase “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee” before his world title fight against Sonny Liston in 1964. Back then Ali still went by his birth name of Cassius Clay.

7 Buffet burner : STERNO

Sterno is a jellied alcohol that usually comes in a can. The can is opened and the contents burn very easily and persistently. The brand name “Sterno” comes from the original manufacturer, S. Sternau & Co. of Brooklyn, New York.

10 Some lunar effects : HALOS

The Greek word “halos” is the name given to the ring of light around the sun or moon, which gives us our word “halo” that is used for a radiant light depicted above the head of a saintly person.

13 Workup sites, briefly : ERS

Emergency room (ER)

20 One who might say “You wish!” : GENIE

The “genie” in the bottle takes his or her name from “djinn”. “Djinns” were various spirits considered lesser than angels, with people exhibiting unsavory characteristics said to be possessed by djinn. When the book “The Thousand and One Nights” was translated into French, the word “djinn” was transformed into the existing word “génie”, because of the similarity in sound and the related spiritual meaning. This “génie” from the Arabian tale became confused with the Latin-derived “genius”, a guardian spirit thought to be assigned to each person at birth. Purely as a result of that mistranslation the word genie has come to mean the “djinn” that pops out of the bottle. A little hard to follow, I know, but still quite interesting …

26 U.S. poet laureate ___ Van Duyn : MONA

Mona Van Duyn was a poet from Waterloo, Iowa. Van Duyn won the National Book Award in 1971, the Pulitzer Prize in 1991, and served as US Poet Laureate from 1992 to 1993.

29 Rebellious “Downton Abbey” daughter : SYBIL

In the incredibly successful period drama “Downton Abbey”, the patriarch of the family living at Downton is Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham or Lord Grantham. The character is played by Hugh Bonneville. Lord Grantham married American Cora Levinson (played by Elizabeth McGovern). Lord and Lady Grantham had three daughters, and no son. The lack of a male heir implied that the Grantham estate would pass to a male cousin, and out of the immediate family. The Grantham daughters are Lady Mary (played by Michelle Dockery), Lady Edith (played by Laura Carmichael) and Lady Sybil (played by Jessica Brown Findlay). Lady Sybil had the audacity to marry the family chauffeur, who was an Irish nationalist. The shame of it all …

30 Italian hors d’oeuvre : CARPACCIO

Carpaccio can be meat or fish. It is sliced very thinly, or may be pounded until it is thin, and then served raw. Carpaccio is a relatively contemporary dish, first served in 1950 to a countess in Venice, Italy. The lady informed the restaurant owner that her doctor had advised her to eat only raw meat, so she was served thin slices of uncooked beef in a mustard sauce. The owner of the restaurant thought that the colors of the dish reminded him of paintings by Vittore Carpaccio, so he gave it the name “Carpaccio”. So the story goes anyway …

31 What Homer used to propose to Marge : ONION RING

“The Simpsons” is one of the most successful programs produced by the Fox Broadcasting Company. Homer Simpson’s catchphrase is “D’oh!”, which became such a famous exclamation that it has been included in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) since 2001. “D’oh!” can be translated as “I should have thought of that!”

33 People on the case, for short : TECS

“Tec” is a slang term for a private detective, a private investigator (PI).

35 Benjamin : C-NOTE

Benjamin Franklin is featured on one side of the hundred-dollar bill (also called a “C-spot, C-note, benjamin”), and Philadelphia’s Independence Hall on the other side. There is a famous error in the image of Independence Hall. If you look closely at the clock face at the top of the building you can see that the “four” is written in Roman numerals as “IV”. However, on the actual clock on Independence Hall, the “four” is denoted by “IIII”, which has been the convention for clock faces for centuries.

39 Medieval weapon : POLEAXE

A poleaxe (also “poleax”) is a medieval weapon. As one might expect, it is an axe on a pole. The pole could be anything from 4 to 8 feet in length.

42 Ovary’s place, botanically : PISTIL

The stamen is the male reproductive organ of a flower. The part of the stamen known as the anther sits on a stalk called the filament that carries the pollen. The pollen is picked up by insects, especially bees, who then transfer pollen from flower to flower. The pistil is the female reproductive organ, and it accepts the pollen.

44 Insurance mascot with an accent : GECKO

The Gecko is the “spokes-lizard” for GEICO. When the Gecko was introduced in 1999, he was voiced by actor Kelsey Grammer of “Cheers” and “Frasier” fame. Since then, the Gecko has been voiced by British radio presenter Dave Kelly and most recently by actor Jake Wood, who plays Max Branning on the British soap opera “EastEnders”.

46 Early counters : ABACI

The abacus (plural “abaci”) was used as a counting frame long before man had invented a numbering system. It is a remarkable invention, particularly when one notes that abaci are still widely used today across Africa and Asia.

50 Sierra Nevadas and others : ALES

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.

54 Cover letters for certain applications? : SPF

In theory, the sun protection factor (SPF) is a calibrated measure of the effectiveness of a sunscreen in protecting the skin from harmful UV rays. The idea is that if you wear a lotion with say SPF 20, then it takes 20 times as much UV radiation to cause the skin to burn than it would take without protection. I say just stay out of the sun …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Old-fashioned group of people : THE AMISH
9 You may train to get in it : SHAPE
14 Another moniker for the Empire City of the South : HOTLANTA
15 Having an uninterrupted series of steps : SCALAR
16 Chosen : ANOINTED
17 Kite grippers : TALONS
18 Peso : Cuba :: ___ : Korea : WON
19 Être, across the Pyrenees : SER
20 Predecessors of Transformers : GOBOTS
21 Yearbook sect. : SRS
22 Scratch : CANCEL
24 Lose sleep (over) : STEW
26 Like the characters on “Lost” : MAROONED
28 Kitchen gadget brand : OXO
29 Couple seen on Raisin Bran boxes : SCOOPS
32 Bullish figure? : MINOTAUR
34 New Age keyboardist : YANNI
35 Third character to appear in “Macbeth” : CEE
36 Painted Desert sights : MESAS
37 New Age composer : BRIAN ENO
39 It may be made into spears : PICKLE
40 Job for an investment bank, for short : IPO
41 Some modern discounts : GROUPONS
43 “State Fair” director Walter : LANG
45 Fifth-century scourge : ATTILA
46 Tailward : AFT
49 Ridge : CREASE
51 81-card game : SET
52 Vamp’s wear : BOA
53 It points sharply down : ICICLE
54 The American Film Institute named its soundtrack the greatest film score of all time : STAR WARS
56 United : LINKED
57 Bob’s relative : PIXIE CUT
58 Wikipedia’s globe and such : LOGOS
59 Alternative to a 9-to-5 work schedule : FLEXTIME

Down

1 Warms : THAWS
2 “Your” follower : … HONOR
3 Some prep school wear : ETONS
4 Subject of the 2004 autobiography “The Soul of a Butterfly” : ALI
5 One use for hair clippers, in modern lingo : MANSCAPING
6 How many Oscar acceptance speeches are delivered : IN TEARS
7 Buffet burner : STERNO
8 Fooled : HAD
9 Part of a natural repair process : SCAB
10 Some lunar effects : HALOS
11 No small favor : A LOT TO ASK
12 Potentially attracted to anyone : PANSEXUAL
13 Workup sites, briefly : ERS
15 Like some kisses : STOLEN
20 One who might say “You wish!” : GENIE
23 Appear in print : COME OUT
25 Poorer : WORSE
26 U.S. poet laureate ___ Van Duyn : MONA
27 Whipper snapper? : DOMINATRIX
29 Rebellious “Downton Abbey” daughter : SYBIL
30 Italian hors d’oeuvre : CARPACCIO
31 What Homer used to propose to Marge : ONION RING
33 People on the case, for short : TECS
35 Benjamin : C-NOTE
38 Like an amnesiac’s memories : ERASED
39 Medieval weapon : POLEAXE
42 Ovary’s place, botanically : PISTIL
44 Insurance mascot with an accent : GECKO
46 Early counters : ABACI
47 Comments section, often : FORUM
48 “The enemy of creativeness,” per Picasso : TASTE
50 Sierra Nevadas and others : ALES
53 Poorly : ILL
54 Cover letters for certain applications? : SPF
55 Like some kisses : WET

20 thoughts on “0216-19 NY Times Crossword 16 Feb 19, Saturday”

    1. The posts above were made five weeks ago, when Bill was called away on an emergency trip to Ireland, Murphy’s Law took effect, and something went badly wrong with the blog for a few days. My posts were disappearing and I was trying to diagnose whether the problem was on my end or Bill’s. If I could have deleted the duplicate posts, I would have (and I’m terribly sorry that you were so dreadfully inconvenienced … 😳).

    2. And, @Anonymous … It’s nice to know that you haven’t died there, under the bridge, since you were last heard from … 😜.

  1. Bill’s explanation of 19 Across is informative but explains neither the clue nor the answer. Can someone elaborate?

  2. @Brian…. Etre is French for “to be”…ser is Spanish for “to be”
    1 hour and 7 min. And amazingly no errors
    35 across threw me but arrived at cee via crosses ,I think the clue should have a question mark .

  3. No theme? Totally impossible for me. Also several clues missing from our paper: 56a, 57a, 59a and 20d. Frustrating. Ugh. Tomorrow is another day…

  4. No errors after a couple of gaffes yesterday. I remembered HOTLANTA from an Allman Bros. song of that title. Good Saturday.

  5. 24:39, no errors. It’s a good day for me when everything falls into place at the end, and all makes sense. Fell into a few of the setters’ pitfalls: 12D NONBINARY before PANSEXUAL; and some sort of TRAINER before DOMINATRIX in 27D. Avoided others: GEICO vs GECKO in 44D; PLAGUE vs ATTILA in 45A.

  6. 15A “Having an uninterrupted series of steps”: SCALAR. For what it’s worth, my original thought for this was ANALOG, thinking that the setter was referring to a smooth increase or decrease. But I discovered, today, that the origin of the word is latin ‘scalaris’ meaning stairs/ladder; so the concept of a stepped increase rather than a smooth increase is valid. Regarding Bill’s definition, a SCALAR (in physics) is dimensionless; it has a value, but is not assigned a dimension. A vector can have 1, 2, 3, 4 (essentially unlimited number of) dimensions. Think of a jet flying at 500 mph, that is its (scalar) speed, but we have no idea of its direction. Now imagine a vector arrow (whose length represents 500 mph) extending from the jet, showing its direction. On a 3 dimensional graph, the projection of this arrow onto the x-axis could tell us its velocity in east/west direction (first dimension); projection onto the y-axis its velocity in the north/south direction (second dimension); projection onto the z-axis its gain/loss in altitude (third dimension).

  7. Needed a couple of look-ups to get started and to finish this solid and otherwise enjoyable Saturday. Last letter in was the S in the MANSCAPING/SER crossing. Amused by the former and learned a bit of Spanish from the latter.

  8. @anonymous — It’s about time to lay off Dave Kennison. He can handle it, but he doesn’t deserve your harassment. You are just pissing into the wind.

  9. No errors which makes yesterday a dim memory. About 30 minutes. Enjoyable once I synced up with the constructors’ evil minds!

  10. This one took a long, long time for me, but it was worth it, as I learned a lot. No errors, but lots of lucky crosses here.

    I cannot believe how lost and upset I was when Bills crossword site went missing a couple of months ago. Dave Kennison, THANK YOU!!!

    Bill, love you brother – you ARE the man!

  11. 29A — I don’t eat Raisin Bran (or any cereal, usually), so I didn’t know “SCOOPS.” I assume these are literal “scoops” (as in handfuls of ceral or such) and not some cartoon character or the like I (also) didn’t know?

    Two letter errors: the “C” in “SCOOPS” and the “P” in “IPO” (40A) which I had as “ILO” thinking the “job” was that of an International Loan Officer (assuming there is such a title, I dunno).

    Right half was a snap; left top took some heavy lifting; left bottom (as noted above) was my downfall. But a fun, challenging puzzle.

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