0219-19 NY Times Crossword 19 Feb 19, Tuesday

Constructed by: David Alfred Bywaters
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: To Be … Or Not … To Be

The first pair of themed clues are common phrases in which one B has been replaced by two Bs. In the second pair of themed clues, two Bs have been replaced by one B. Two Bs or not two Bs, that is the question:

  • 38A With 39- and 40-Across, classic Shakespearean question phonetically suggested by 17-, 23-, 47- and 59-Across : TO BE …
  • 39A See 38-Across : … OR NOT …
  • 40A See 38-Across : … TO BE
  • 17A One who’s taking a polar vortex pretty hard? : COLD SOBBER (from “cold sober”)
  • 23A One who cheats on a weight-reduction plan? : DIETARY FIBBER (from “dietary fiber”)
  • 47A Heyday of taxis in Beijing? : CHINESE CAB AGE (from “Chinese cabbage”)
  • 59A Defense against a charge of public nudity? : WE WAS ROBED (from “we was robbed”)

Bill’s time: 7m 16s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

17 One who’s taking a polar vortex pretty hard? : COLD SOBBER (from “cold sober”)

The polar vortices are two persistent cyclones that are found over the Earth’s poles, one over the Arctic and one over the Antarctic. It is within the southern polar vortex that we now have a hole in the ozone layer, but there is also depletion of ozone taking place in the northern polar vortex.

27 Marital abbr. that’s rarely spelled out : MRS

Mr. is an abbreviation for “mister”, and Mrs. is an abbreviation for “mistress”.

28 Like a shoppe, perhaps : OLDE

The word “olde” wasn’t actually used much earlier than the 1920s. “Olde” was introduced to give a quaint antique feel to brand names, shop names etc. as in “Ye Olde Shoppe”.

32 Painter of a maja both “desnuda” and “vestida” : GOYA

María Cayetana de Silva was the 13th Duchess of Alba. She was a favorite subject of the Spanish painter Francisco Goya. The duchess is the subject in the famous portraits known as “La maja desnuda” (The Nude Maja) and “La maja vestida” (The Clothed Maja). “Maja” translates from Spanish as “beautiful lady”.

38 With 39- and 40-Across, classic Shakespearean question phonetically suggested by 17-, 23-, 47- and 59-Across : TO BE …

39 See 38-Across : … OR NOT …

40 See 38-Across : … TO BE

There has been centuries of debate about how one interprets Hamlet’s soliloquy that begins “To be or not to be …”. My favorite opinion is that Hamlet is weighing up the pros and cons of suicide (“to not be”).

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous fortune;
Or to take Armes against a Sea of troubles …

41 Catchall abbr. : MISC

Out terms “miscellany” and “miscellaneous” ultimately come from the Latin verb “miscere” meaning “to mix”.

43 Prometheus or Epimetheus : TITAN

The Titans were a group of twelve older deities in Greek mythology, the twelve children of the primordial Gaia and Uranus, Mother Earth and Father Sky. In the celebrated Battle of the Titans, they were overthrown by the Olympians, who were twelve younger gods. We use the term “titan” figuratively to describe a powerful person, someone with great influence.

54 He loves, she loves, or it loves: Lat. : AMAT

“Amo, amas, amat” translates from Latin as “I love, you love, he/she/it loves”.

64 Socially disengaged : 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 …?

Down

1 Lucrative South American crop : COCA

The coca plant is native to South America and is similar in appearance to a blackthorn bush. Coca leaves have been chewed by humans for centuries, perhaps even as far back as 3,000 years ago. Chewing the leaves apparently produces a pleasurable numb sensation in the mouth and a pleasant taste. The most famous alkaloid in the leaf is cocaine, but this wasn’t extracted in its pure form until the mid-1800s. The extracted cocaine was used in a medicines and tonics and other beverages.

6 Deadly snake : COBRA

“Cobra” is the name given to a group of snakes, some of which are in different animal families. The term is reserved for those snakes that can expand their neck ribs to create a hood. The name “cobra” is an abbreviated form of “cobra de capello” which translates from Portuguese as “snake with hood”.

7 Insect-preserving resin : AMBER

Amber’s technical name is “resinite”, reflecting its composition and formation. Amber starts out life as soft sticky tree resin but then under high temperature and pressure from overlying layers of soil, it fossilizes. The sticky resin can trap organisms or other plant matter, and this material can sometimes remain virtually intact inside the amber fossil giving us a unique gift from the past.

9 Paper size: Abbr. : LTR

Our paper sizes here in North America don’t conform with the standards in the rest of the world. ISO standard sizes used elsewhere were chosen so that the ratio of width to length is usually one to the square root of two. This mathematical relationship means that when you cut a piece of paper in two each half preserves the aspect ratio of the original, which can be useful in making reduced or enlarged copies of documents. Our standard size of “letter” (ltr., 8.5 x 11 inches) was determined in 1980 by the Reagan administration to be the official paper size for the US government. Prior to this, the “legal” size (8.5 x 14 inches) had been the standard, since 1921.

10 Blustery bullying : BROWBEATING

To be browbeaten is to be bullied, to be intimidated by someone exhibiting a stern manner. So, the “brow” of the bully “beats” down the victim by giving a stern look.

13 Joint enjoyer : TOKER

“Toke” is a slang term for a puff on a marijuana cigarette, or on a pipe containing the drug.

29 Producer of the Jacksons? : ATM

The twenty-dollar bill is called a “Jackson” as it bears the portrait of President Andrew Jackson on the front side of the bill. Jackson’s image replaced that of President Grover Cleveland in 1928, and there doesn’t seem to be any record documenting just why that change was made. Over one-fifth of all notes printed today are 20-dollar bills, and the average life of a Jackson is a little over 2 years, after which it is replaced due to wear.

31 Midriff muscles, for short : 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 …

33 Province between Man. and Que. : ONT

The Canadian province of Ontario takes its name from the Great Lake. In turn, Lake Ontario’s name is thought to be derived from “Ontari:io”, a Huron word meaning “great lake”. Ontario is home to the nation’s capital of Ottawa as well as Toronto, Canada’s most populous city (and the capital of the province).

36 Lawyers’ org. : ABA

The American Bar Association (ABA) was founded back in 1878 and is a voluntary association for lawyers and law students. The ABA focuses on setting academic standards for law schools and setting ethical codes for the profession.

37 Hankering : YEN

The word “yen”, meaning “urge”, has been around in English since the very early 1900s. It comes from the earlier word “yin” imported from Chinese, which was used in English to describe an intense craving for opium.

46 Many corp. hirees have them : MBAS

The world’s first Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree was offered by Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, in 1908.

57 Some email attachments, for short : PDFS

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format introduced by Adobe Systems in 1993. PDF documents can be shared between users and read using many different applications, making them more universally accessible than documents saved by one particular program.

61 Rock-___ (classic jukebox brand) : OLA

“Rock-Ola” was a jukebox brand name. Rock-Ola basically shared the market with Wurlitzer in the heyday of the jukebox. Rock-Ola is still making jukeboxes, and now caters to the “nostalgia market”, producing authentic looking players but using digital recordings and touch-screens for better sound and ease of use.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Attire like a movie vampire : CAPED
6 Summon : CALL
10 Unruly kid : BRAT
14 Equine : horses :: ___ : sheep : OVINE
15 Leave out : OMIT
16 Second chance : REDO
17 One who’s taking a polar vortex pretty hard? : COLD SOBBER (from “cold sober”)
19 “Ah, now I see” : OH, OK
20 Wonder : AWE
21 “Whatever you say” : SURE
22 Conscious : AWARE
23 One who cheats on a weight-reduction plan? : DIETARY FIBBER (from “dietary fiber”)
27 Marital abbr. that’s rarely spelled out : MRS
28 Like a shoppe, perhaps : OLDE
29 Turn from a book into a movie, say : ADAPT
32 Painter of a maja both “desnuda” and “vestida” : GOYA
34 “There will come ___ …” : A DAY
38 With 39- and 40-Across, classic Shakespearean question phonetically suggested by 17-, 23-, 47- and 59-Across : TO BE …
39 See 38-Across : … OR NOT …
40 See 38-Across : … TO BE
41 Catchall abbr. : MISC
42 Cats’ catches : RATS
43 Prometheus or Epimetheus : TITAN
44 Not new : USED
46 “All ___ are created equal” : MEN
47 Heyday of taxis in Beijing? : CHINESE CAB AGE (from “Chinese cabbage”)
53 D.J.’s version of a song : REMIX
54 He loves, she loves, or it loves: Lat. : AMAT
55 Place for a baby : LAP
58 Too : ALSO
59 Defense against a charge of public nudity? : WE WAS ROBED (from “we was robbed”)
62 Cordon ___ : BLEU
63 Is indebted to : OWES
64 Socially disengaged : ALOOF
65 Drunkards : SOTS
66 Joins : WEDS
67 They might precede “Well, we must be going” : YAWNS

Down

1 Lucrative South American crop : COCA
2 Own up to : AVOW
3 Heaped : PILED
4 Player close to a linebacker : END
5 “Life is short — eat ___ first” : DESSERT
6 Deadly snake : COBRA
7 Insect-preserving resin : AMBER
8 Recline : LIE
9 Paper size: Abbr. : LTR
10 Blustery bullying : BROWBEATING
11 Fix up, as a building : REHAB
12 Idolize : ADORE
13 Joint enjoyer : TOKER
18 Possibilities for escape : OUTS
22 Word after first or foreign : … AID
24 Lacking money : IMPECUNIOUS
25 Goes back and forth quickly : YO-YOS
26 Down a half step, say : FLAT
29 Producer of the Jacksons? : ATM
30 “Is that true about me?” : DO I?
31 Midriff muscles, for short : ABS
32 A+ or B- : GRADE
33 Province between Man. and Que. : ONT
35 Part of a web address : DOT
36 Lawyers’ org. : ABA
37 Hankering : YEN
39 Valuable rocks : ORES
43 Carrier of a steaming pot and cups : TEA TRAY
45 Subtext of many an innuendo : SEX
46 Many corp. hirees have them : MBAS
47 Grouches : CRABS
48 Stereotypical cry into a canyon : HELLO!
49 “No more for me” : I’M SET
50 Sounded like a crow : CAWED
51 Collect : AMASS
52 Something a rude person uses in a crowd : ELBOW
56 Long, long time : AEON
57 Some email attachments, for short : PDFS
59 “Holy smokes!” : WOW!
60 Lamb’s mother : EWE
61 Rock-___ (classic jukebox brand) : OLA

17 thoughts on “0219-19 NY Times Crossword 19 Feb 19, Tuesday”

  1. 7:38, no errors. I tried to post this earlier, and that post seems to have disappeared, so I’m trying again from a different machine.

    In any case, as I said before: Thank you, Bill, for your heroic efforts on what appears to be a difficult problem … it’s much appreciated!

  2. @Connie (02-13)
    With the way Bill’s blogs work, most people tend to look at the current day (syndie or real), and typically don’t read too far back. There’s no comment list or way to tell when someone has commented, so the odds of older posts getting read are pretty slim (my posts on the syndies when I get them are dust pretty much to what most see on here). That said, to get to your comments:

    >I don’t understand “psi”answered “letter after ‘x’.

    If you look at the Greek alphabet, the letter CHI is written as what we would know as an X. The letter after CHI is PSI.

    >I also don’t understand the Answer “step” as The answer to “flight park.”

    A collection of steps is a “flight”, as a flight of stairs. If you park yourself on a flight of stairs, you are on a step.

  3. I totally screwed up on Misc which made made that section crazy. Yikes. I’m not usually stumped by a Tuesday. Theme was pretty cute.

  4. 31:40 with one error (toper for toker) never heard of toker.
    I don’t recall seeing a puzzle from this constructor before and if this is his idea of a Tuesday puzzle then I hope I don’t see him again.

  5. No Errors. 3 ink overs. Looked up “Impecunious” before I claimed my victoty. Struggled for a long time on “Dietar____ber”

    Also had a hard time grammatically with “we was” but “teatray” saved the day and I final got the 2b or not 2b theme. Very clever in hind sight.

  6. No errors. A few tough spots but nothing that I could not work through. I got the theme very early. I didn’t have the letters yet but the clue itself gave it away. What else would be the “Classic Shakespearean question”? All in all, I really liked this puzzle.

  7. 13:20, no errors. Agree with previous posters who felt this was not ‘Tuesday difficult’. IMPECUNIOUS is not a Tuesday word, however I am grateful for the vocabulary boost. Thought that the theme was being inconsistently applied until I saw Bill’s explanation. The 2B clues being entered above the quote, the not 2B clues below. Clever.

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