0615-19 NY Times Crossword 15 Jun 19, Saturday

Constructed by: Ryan McCarty
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

Read on, or jump to …
… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 12m 20s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9 Possible poker payments : CHITS

A chit is a note or a short letter. The term tends to be used these days in the sense of an amount owed (as in a poker game). The word used to be “chitty”, which is now obsolete but was closer to the original Hindi term. I feel a tad obsolete myself because when we are at school we would be excused class if we had a “chitty”.

14 Lead role in “Rent” : MIMI

The musical “Rent” by Jonathan Larson is based on the Puccini opera “La bohème”. “Rent” tells the story of struggling artists and musicians living in the Lower East Side of New York, and is set against the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic. We saw “Rent” on Broadway quite a few years ago and were very disappointed …

“La bohème” by Giacomo Puccini is the second-most frequently performed opera in the US (after “Madama Butterfly”, also by Puccini). The lead female role in the piece is Mimì, a seamstress.

17 “Rocky IV” rival who makes a reappearance in “Creed II” : IVAN DRAGO

Dolph Lundgren is an actor and martial artist from Sweden. Lundgren’s debut role was a small one, acting as a KGB henchman in the James Bond movie “A View to a Kill”. His big break was starring opposite Sylvester Stallone in “Rocky IV”, playing a scary Russian boxer named Ivan Drago.

23 School 43-Across : PTA
(23-Across, for one: Abbr. : ORG)

Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)

24 Home of the Basilica di San Francesco : ASSISI

St. Francis founded the Franciscan religious order in Assisi in 1208. He died in 1226, and was declared a saint just two years later in 1228. Construction of the Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi started immediately after the canonization, and finished 25 years later. The Basilica is now a United Nations World Heritage Site.

25 Astronomical rarity : BLUE MOON

As there is a full moon once every four weeks, approximately monthly, there are usually twelve full moons in any given year. However, every 2-3 years, depending on the phase of the moon at the beginning of the calendar year, there may be a thirteenth full moon. The “extra” full moon is called a “blue moon”, although no one seems to really know why the term “blue” is used, as far as I can tell. Which of the thirteen full moons that is designated as the blue moon varies depending on tradition. My favorite definition is from the Farmer’s Almanac. It states that as each of the seasons normally has three full moons (one for each calendar month), then the season with four full moons is designated as “special”, then the third (and not the fourth) full moon in that “special” season is the blue moon. Complicated, huh?

30 Something rain might change, in brief : ETD

Estimated time of departure (ETD)

32 Sweet treat since 1924 : BIT-O-HONEY

Bit-O-Honey is a candy bar consisting of pieces of almond in a honey-flavored taffy. Bit-O-Honey has been around since 1924.

33 Called to see, in a way : FACETIMED

FaceTime is an Apple video-telephony application. I guess it’s similar to Skype. Personally, I gave up on Skype and am now a loyal user of Google Hangouts and Google Duo …

34 Set (on) : SIC

“Sic ’em” is an attack order given to a dog, one instructing the animal to growl, bark or even bite. The term dates back to the 1830s, with “sic” being a variation of “seek”.

37 Whittlers’ tools : PENKNIVES

Quills have been used as writing implements since the 6th century. Historically, goose, swan and turkey feathers have been the quills of choice. A bird’s feather is well suited for writing, as the hollow shaft acts as a reservoir for ink which then flows to the tip due to capillary action. Choice of feather is important. Right-handed writers are best served by feathers from the left wing, as the feather curves away from the palm of the hand when writing. The tip of the quill is sharpened using a “quill knife”. This quill knife is the ancestor of what we know today as a “penknife”.

38 One of 309 in the National Mall : ACRE

The National Mall is a park in downtown Washington, D.C. The National Mall is home to several museums that are part of the Smithsonian, as well as the National Gallery of Art.

42 World of Warcraft creature : ORC

Orcs are mythical humanoid creatures that appear in the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien. Since Tolkien’s use of orcs, they have also been featured in other fantasy fiction as well as in fantasy video games.

World of Warcraft is an online role-playing game. My son informs me that the game is not that great. Like I would know …

45 Program on a Billy Blanks DVD : TAE BO

Tae Bo isn’t an ancient martial art, even though it perhaps sounds like one. The discipline was developed as a form of aerobic exercise in the 1990s by taekwondo expert Billy Blanks who gave it the name Tae Bo, a melding of “taekwondo” and “boxing”.

50 Brewery fixture : OAST

An oast is a kiln used for drying hops as part of the brewing process. Such a structure might also be called an “oast house” or “hop kiln”. The term “oast” can also apply to a kiln used to dry tobacco.

51 Substance made from seaweed : AGAR

Agar (also “agar-agar”) is a jelly extracted from seaweed that has many uses. Agar is found in Japanese desserts, and can also be used as a food thickener or even as a laxative. In the world of science, it is the most common medium used for growing bacteria in Petri dishes.

53 Rocker David Lee ___ : ROTH

Van Halen is a heavy metal band formed in Pasadena, California back in 1972. Brothers Eddie and Alex Van Halen originally called the band Mammoth, changing the name to Van Halen in 1974 when they found out there was another Mammoth playing the circuit. Early on, the brothers were renting a sound system from David Lee Roth, and they decided to save some money by bringing him into the band and saving on the rental fee!

54 City near Tesla Gigafactory 1 : RENO

Reno, Nevada was named in honor of Major General Jesse Lee Reno, a Union officer killed in the Civil War. The city has a famous “Reno Arch”, a structure that stands over the main street. The arch was erected in 1926 to promote an exposition planned for the following year. After the expo, the city council decided to keep the arch and held a competition to decide what wording should be displayed, and the winner was “The Biggest Little City in the World”.

Tesla Motors was founded in 2003 as a manufacturer of electric vehicles based in Palo Alto, California. Tesla is noted for producing the first electric sports car, called the Tesla Roadster. The company followed the sports car with a luxury sedan, the Model S. The Model S was the world’s best selling plug-in electric vehicle of 2015. Tesla Motors shortened its name to Tesla in early 2017.

Down

7 Boot brand since the 1970s : UGG

Uggs are sheepskin boots that were first produced in Australia and New Zealand. The original Uggs have sheepskin fleece on the inside for comfort and insulation, with a tanned leather surface on the outside for durability. “Ugg” is a generic term Down Under, although it’s a brand name here in the US.

9 Wine-colored : CLARET RED

Clairet is a dark rosé wine. Although it is uncommon today, clairet used to be the most common wine produced in the Bordeaux region of France. For centuries now, English consumers have used the derivative term “claret” to describe any red wine from Bordeaux.

10 Agcy. that oversees Ginnie Mae : HUD

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has its roots in the “Great Society” program of President Lyndon Johnson. HUD’s mission is to address the housing needs of the citizenry at the national level. HUD can provide mortgage insurance to help people become homeowners and also provide rental subsidies to lower-income families. HUD also is responsible for enforcement of Federal Fair Housing laws.

“Ginnie Mae” is the familiar nickname for the Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA), a government-owned corporation created in 1968 with the objective of promoting home ownership. The “Ginnie Mae” nickname is derived from the GNMA abbreviation.

11 Fruity summer treats : ICE POPS

The term “ice pop” has largely been supplanted in the US by “popsicle”, as the Popsicle brand of ice pop became so popular. We still use “ice pop” in Ireland, and in the UK the same thing is called an “ice lolly”, and in Australia it’s an “ice block”.

13 Great red dragon, in Revelation : SATAN

Satan is the bringer of evil and temptation in the Abrahamic religions. The name “Satan” is Hebrew for “adversary”.

18 Burn, in slang : DIS

“Dis” (also “diss”) is a slang term meaning “insult” that originated in the eighties. It is a shortened form of “disrespect” or “dismiss”.

26 Word in the translation of “e pluribus unum” : MANY

From 1776, “E pluribus unum” was the unofficial motto of the United States. The phrase translates from Latin as “Out of many, one”. It was pushed aside in 1956 when an Act of Congress designated “In God We Trust” as the country’s official motto. “In God We Trust” had appeared on US coins since 1864, but was only introduced on paper currency in 1957.

31 Quarantine locales : SICKROOMS

The original use of our word “quarantine”, back in the 1500s, was as a legal term. A quarantine was the 40 days in which a widow had the legal right to reside in her dead husband’s house.

34 Skinflint : SCROOGE

The classic 1843 novella “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens has left us with a few famous phrases and words. Firstly, it led to popular use of the phrase “Merry Christmas”, and secondly it gave us the word “scrooge” to describe a miserly person. And thirdly, everyone knows that Ebenezer Scrooge uttered the words “Bah! Humbug!”.

A skinflint is a miser. The term arose as slang around 1700, to describe a person who “skin a flint” in order to save or make money.

35 Grueling kind of race : IRONMAN

An Ironman Triathlon is a race involving a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a marathon run of just over 26 miles. The idea for the race came out of a debate between some runners in the 1977 Oahu Perimeter Relay. They were questioning whether runners, swimmers or bikers were the most fit athletes. The debaters decided to combine three local events to determine the answer, inviting athletes from all three disciplines. The events that were mimicked to come up with the first triathlon were the Waikiki Roughwater swim (2.4 miles), the Around-Oahu Bike Race (115 miles) and the Honolulu Marathon (26.2 miles). The idea was that whoever finishes first would be called “the Iron Man”. The first triathlon was run in 1978, with fifteen starters and only twelve finishers. The race format is used all over the world now, but the Hawaiian Ironman is the event that everyone wants to win.

36 Brain-wave-amplifying device in “X-Men” : CEREBRO

In the “X-Men” universe, Cerebro is a device that can amplify the brainwaves of a user with telepathic capabilities. Cerebro is routinely used to distinguish between mutants and humans.

38 Martial arts hold that forces submission : ARMBAR

Martial arts are various fighting traditions and systems used in combat or simply to promote physical well-being. The term “martial” ultimately derives from Latin and means “Arts of Mars”, a reference to Mars, the Roman god of war.

41 Like some verbs: Abbr. : IRR

Irregular (“irr.” or “irreg.”)

48 Mostly monosyllabic language : LAO

Lao, the language of Laos, does not use spaces between words (or periods!), although this is apparently changing. Spaces are used between sentences and clauses.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 “A pity” : ALAS
5 Holier-than-thou : SMUG
9 Possible poker payments : CHITS
14 Lead role in “Rent” : MIMI
15 Boxed up, say : TO GO
16 California’s Santa ___ Range : LUCIA
17 “Rocky IV” rival who makes a reappearance in “Creed II” : IVAN DRAGO
19 Crack : ADEPT
20 Like the love story in 2013’s “Blue Is the Warmest Color” : LESBIAN
21 What might precede a bite : GRR!
23 School 43-Across : PTA
24 Home of the Basilica di San Francesco : ASSISI
25 Astronomical rarity : BLUE MOON
27 Digital native, often : TEEN
28 Time-consuming environmental procedures : GREEN TAPE
30 Something rain might change, in brief : ETD
31 Squeezes (into) : SHOEHORNS
32 Sweet treat since 1924 : BIT-O-HONEY
33 Called to see, in a way : FACETIMED
34 Set (on) : SIC
37 Whittlers’ tools : PENKNIVES
38 One of 309 in the National Mall : ACRE
39 Tissue affliction common during the Civil War : GANGRENE
40 Reflect : MIRROR
42 World of Warcraft creature : ORC
43 23-Across, for one: Abbr. : ORG
44 Mood influencer : HORMONE
45 Program on a Billy Blanks DVD : TAE BO
47 Protest item that leaves a powdery mess : FLOUR BOMB
49 In a pickle or in a jam : IDIOM
50 Brewery fixture : OAST
51 Substance made from seaweed : AGAR
52 Is disposed (to) : TENDS
53 Rocker David Lee ___ : ROTH
54 City near Tesla Gigafactory 1 : RENO

Down

1 Question following a holdup : AM I LATE?
2 What a band plays at a concert : LIVE SET
3 Stocked up : AMASSED
4 Penalty box, in hockey lingo : SIN BIN
5 Hair care item : STRAIGHTENER
6 Say “Not this again!,” say : MOAN
7 Boot brand since the 1970s : UGG
8 Voice-activated smart speaker introduced in 2016 : GOOGLE HOME
9 Wine-colored : CLARET RED
10 Agcy. that oversees Ginnie Mae : HUD
11 Fruity summer treats : ICE POPS
12 Creep, perhaps : TIPTOE
13 Great red dragon, in Revelation : SATAN
18 Burn, in slang : DIS
22 Go on disparagingly : RUN ONE’S MOUTH
25 Home sweet home? : BEEHIVE
26 Word in the translation of “e pluribus unum” : MANY
29 Backing : ROOTING FOR
31 Quarantine locales : SICKROOMS
32 [Just like that!] : BANG!
33 Corral : FENCE IN
34 Skinflint : SCROOGE
35 Grueling kind of race : IRONMAN
36 Brain-wave-amplifying device in “X-Men” : CEREBRO
37 It’s one thing after another : PARADE
38 Martial arts hold that forces submission : ARMBAR
39 “Understood” : GOT IT
41 Like some verbs: Abbr. : IRR
44 Website need : HOST
46 Figure, briefly : BOD
48 Mostly monosyllabic language : LAO

7 thoughts on “0615-19 NY Times Crossword 15 Jun 19, Saturday”

  1. One of my initial entries was SNAP for 32 down which complicated matters later on. After a bit that became BANG and the flood gates opened except for some head scratching in the north west, not being too familiar with the Rocky movies or Rent. Got those with crosses and Bob’s your uncle. No errors, lotsa coffee.

  2. Got about 30% of this one…..terrible puzzle and terrible clues IMO….clues like 23A and 43A should be banned , again IMO

  3. 19:18, no errors. Tough to get traction today. Worked this grid from the bottom up. Similar to @Dave: not familiar with Rent; lost interest after the first “Rocky”. Not a hockey fan.

    Having played World of Warcraft for several years, I can say that game can be played on many levels. A lot of people would be surprised at the high percentage of players who are young professionals, parents and retirees. Our guild and raid group consisted of players in London, Vancouver Canada, Seattle, San Diego, Denver, Detroit, Tampa and Caracas Venezuela. We had a front row seat as our two Venezuelans graduated from law school, and started to set up a practice. Then Chavez ‘socialized’ the country. The cost to played the game skyrocketed for them, the amount of money spent on ‘foreign’ purchases was limited by their government, and their internet access became costly and intermittent. We, sadly, lost contact with them several years ago.

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