0911-19 NY Times Crossword 11 Sep 19, Wednesday

Constructed by: Ned White
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): X in Y

Themed clues are common phrases in the format X in Y. The element Y is the themed answer, and the element X is spelled out within that answer in using circle letters:
17A Bird in the hand? : (HERON in) HIRED PERSON
24A Snake in the grass? : (ADDER in) CATTLE FODDER
38A Come up in the world? : (ARISE in) MARS, FOR INSTANCE
50A Throw in the towel? : (PASS in) SPA ACCESSORY
61A Ace in the hole? : (PRO in) PERFORATION

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

Bill’s time: 7m 47s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Piquant garnishes : ZESTS

Something that is piquant is pleasantly sharp in taste and zesty. “Piquant” is the French word for “prickly”.

15 Unseen title character in a classic play : GODOT

“Waiting for Godot” is a play by novelist and playwright Samuel Beckett that premiered in 1953. Irishman Beckett actually wrote the piece in French, under the title “En attendant Godot”. He then translated the play into English himself.

19 Headstone letters : RIP

Rest in peace (RIP)

20 R&B singer with the 2006 hit “So Sick” : NE-YO

“Ne-Yo” is the stage name of R&B singer Shaffer Chimere Smith.

30 Bourbon and Beale: Abbr. : STS

When New Orleans was founded by the French, the House of Bourbon was ruling France. Bourbon Street was named in its honor.

Beale Street in downtown Memphis, Tennessee is a major tourist attraction. In 1977, by act of Congress, the street was officially declared the “Home of the Blues” due to its long association with the musical genre. Apparently “Beale” is the name of some forgotten military hero.

31 Time off, informally : R AND R

Rest and relaxation/recuperation/recreation (R&R, “R‘n’R”)

32 English architect Jones : INIGO

Inigo Jones was a British architect, and a native of London. The most famous of Jones’ designs is probably London’s Covent Garden Square.

35 Head Stone? : MICK

Sir Mick Jagger met up with Keith Richards at school when Jagger was only 7-years-old. They were to become one of the most successful songwriting duos of all time, rivaling Lennon and McCartney (some say!).

38 Come up in the world? : (ARISE in) MARS, FOR INSTANCE

The surface of the planet Mars has a very high iron oxide content, so Mars is red because it is rusty!

42 Proofreader’s “leave it in” : STET

“Stet” is a Latin word meaning “let it stand”. In editorial work, the typesetter is instructed to disregard any change previously marked by writing the word “stet” and then underscoring that change with a line of dots or dashes.

43 Omicrons’ predecessors : XIS

The Greek letter xi, despite the name, is not the precursor of our letter X. Our X comes from the Greek letter chi.

49 1960s campus org. : SDS

Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was an activist group in the sixties. The SDS organized the largest student strike in the history of the United States on 26 April 1968, with about a million students staying away from class that day. The “Students for a Democratic Society” name was revived in 2006 with the foundation of a new US-based student organization with left wing beliefs. Today’s SDS was founded by a pair of high school students from Greenwich Village, New York.

64 One of three figures carved on Georgia’s Stone Mountain : LEE

Robert E. Lee was perhaps the most famous southern officer in the Civil War. Lee was a somewhat reluctant participant in the war in that he opposed the secession of his home state of Virginia from the Union. At the beginning of the war, President Lincoln invited Lee to take command of the whole Union Army but he declined, choosing instead to stay loyal to his home state. During the Civil War, Lee’s men referred to him affectionately as “Marse Robert”, with “marse” being slang for “master”.

Stone Mountain is a granite dome in Georgia that has a circumference of over 5 miles in length. Famously, the dome has a massive bas relief structure of the three Confederate leaders of the Civil War: President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee and General Stonewall Jackson, each mounted on their favorite horse. The carving surface is 3 acres in area, making it the largest bas relief sculpture in the world.

66 Lewis who sang the theme for “Avatar” : LEONA

Leona Lewis rocketed to fame after winning the British TV show called “The X Factor” (the show that spawned the UK’s “Pop Idol” and America’s “American Idol”).

67 Acid : LSD

LSD (known colloquially as “acid”) is lysergic acid diethylamide. A Swiss chemist named Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD in 1938 in a research project looking for medically efficacious ergot alkaloids. It wasn’t until some five years later when Hofmann ingested some of the drug accidentally that its psychedelic properties were discovered. Trippy, man …

68 Mortimer ___, dummy voiced by Edgar Bergen : SNERD

Ventriloquist Edgar Bergen’s most famous character was Charlie McCarthy, but Bergen also worked with Mortimer Snerd.

69 Shutterbug’s setting : F-STOP

Varying the f-stop in a lens varies how big the lens opening (the aperture) is when a photograph is taken. Smaller apertures (higher f-stop values) admit less light, but result in a greater depth of field (more of the photograph is in focus).

A shutterbug is an enthusiastic amateur photographer, someone who likes to hear the click of that shutter, someone like me …

Down

1 Former CNN anchor Paula : ZAHN

Paula Zahn has worked as a journalist and news anchor with ABC, NBC, Fox News and CNN. She is currently the host of a true crime show on the Discovery Channel called “On the Case with Paula Zahn”. Outside of her work on television, Zahn is an accomplished cellist and has even played at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops Orchestra.

2 “Night” memoirist Wiesel : ELIE

Elie Wiesel was a holocaust survivor, and is best known for his book “Night” that tells of his experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. He was also the first recipient of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Award, which was later renamed the Elie Wiesel Award in his honor.

4 2000s Fox drama set in Newport Beach : THE OC

“The O.C.” is a teen drama that aired for four seasons on Fox finishing up in 2007. I never watched it, but I understand that it is set in Newport Beach in Southern California.

5 Elegiac : SAD

“Elegiac” is the adjective coming from “elegy”, a mournful poem or funeral song also known as a dirge.

8 Cards at a club, say : IDS

Identity document (ID)

10 When a nautical day begins : AT NOON

On board a seagoing vessel, there is a system of watches that defines which specific compliment of the crew is on duty. Most of the watches last for four hours (the exception are the two dog watches, that last for two hours each). During each watch, the ship’s bell is sounded every 30 minutes, starting with “one bell” thirty minutes into the watch, and finishing with eight bells that signals the end of the watch.

11 Screwdrivers, e.g. : HARD DRINKS

The cocktail called a screwdriver is a mix of fresh orange juice with vodka. Apparently the drink originated with a group of engineers in the late forties who used to spike small cans of orange juice with vodka, and then stir it in with their screwdrivers.

13 One handy with a lariat : ROPER

Our word “lariat” comes from the Spanish “la reater” meaning “the rope”.

26 Home of the Blarney Stone : ERIN

Blarney is a town in County Cork in the south of Ireland. Blarney is home to Blarney Castle, and inside the castle is the legendary Blarney Stone. “Kissing the Blarney Stone” is a ritual engaged in by many, many tourists (indeed, I’ve done it myself!), but it’s not a simple process. The stone is embedded in the wall of the castle, and in order to kiss it you have to sit on the edge of the parapet and lean way backwards so that your head is some two feet below your body. There is a staff member there to help you and make sure you don’t fall. The Blarney Stone has been labelled as the world’s most unhygienic tourist attraction! But once you’ve kissed it, supposedly you are endowed with the “gift of the gab”, the ability to talk eloquently and perhaps deceptively without offending. The term “blarney” has come to mean flattering and deceptive talk.

36 Included in an email chain : CC’ED

I wonder do the kids of today know that “cc” stands for carbon copy, and do they have any idea what a carbon copy was? Do you remember how messy carbon paper was to handle? A kind blog reader pointed out to me a while back that the abbreviation has evolved and taken on the meaning “courtesy copy” in our modern world.

37 Converse competitor : KEDS

Keds is a brand of athletic shoe first introduced in 1916 by US Rubber. The shoe was originally marketed as a rubber-soled, canvas-topped sneaker. Keds celebrated the company’s centennial with a “Ladies First Since 1916” campaign that focuses on female empowerment.

39 Big name in stain removal : OXICLEAN

OxiClean is a bleaching agent and cleaner that was famously marketed using infomercials that featured the late Billy Mays.

47 Onetime pop star Donny : OSMOND

Former teen idol Donny Osmond was a member of the Osmond Brothers singing group that appeared for years on the “The Andy Williams Show”. At the height of his solo career, Donny teamed up with his younger sister Marie Osmond in their own variety show called “Donny & Marie”. The pair have been working together ever since and have been appearing at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas since 2008.

48 Neo-___ (film genre) : NOIR

The expression “film noir” has French origins, but only in that it was coined by a French critic in describing a style of Hollywood film. The term, meaning “black film” in French, was first used by Nino Frank in 1946. Film noir often applies to a movie with a melodramatic plot and a private eye or detective at its center. Good examples would be “The Big Sleep” and “D.O.A”.

53 Rowdy ___, lead role on TV’s “Rawhide” : YATES

“Rawhide” was on the air from 1959-65. The most famous cast member was Clint Eastwood who played Rowdy Yates. The list of guest stars was also impressive. It included Mary Astor, Frankie Avalon, Charles Bronson, and even Frankie Laine. Laine sang the theme song, which was composed by Russian Dimitri Tiomkin.

58 Part of MSG : MONO-

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of a naturally-occurring,non-essential amino acid called glutamic acid. It is used widely as a flavor enhancer, particularly in many Asian cuisines. Whether or not it is harmful seems to be still under debate. I say that something produced in a test tube shouldn’t be in our food …

63 Visitor from the planet Melmac : ALF

“ALF” is a sitcom that aired in the late eighties. The title character is a hand-puppet, and supposedly an alien named Gordon Shumway from the planet Melmac. The alien crash-landed into the house of amateur radio enthusiast Willie Tanner. Tanner renamed the intruder “ALF”, standing for “alien life form”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Piquant garnishes : ZESTS
6 Female friend, to Felipe : AMIGA
11 Guffaw syllable : HAR
14 Top dog : ALPHA
15 Unseen title character in a classic play : GODOT
16 Previously : AGO
17 Bird in the hand? : (HERON in) HIRED PERSON
19 Headstone letters : RIP
20 R&B singer with the 2006 hit “So Sick” : NE-YO
21 ___ vez (once: Sp.) : UNA
22 Art often of marginal quality? : DOODLE
24 Snake in the grass? : (ADDER in) CATTLE FODDER
27 Rarer than rare : RAW
30 Bourbon and Beale: Abbr. : STS
31 Time off, informally : R AND R
32 English architect Jones : INIGO
34 Grab a stool, say : SIT
35 Head Stone? : MICK
38 Come up in the world? : (ARISE in) MARS, FOR INSTANCE
42 Proofreader’s “leave it in” : STET
43 Omicrons’ predecessors : XIS
44 Signed : INKED
45 “___ ever occurred to you …?” : HAS IT
47 Inseparable : ONE
49 1960s campus org. : SDS
50 Throw in the towel? : (PASS in) SPA ACCESSORY
54 Die-hard fan’s cry : MY IDOL!
55 Question of introspection : AM I?
56 Provides pieces for : ARMS
60 Fumble or stumble : ERR
61 Ace in the hole? : (PRO in) PERFORATION
64 One of three figures carved on Georgia’s Stone Mountain : LEE
65 Gone from the plate : EATEN
66 Lewis who sang the theme for “Avatar” : LEONA
67 Acid : LSD
68 Mortimer ___, dummy voiced by Edgar Bergen : SNERD
69 Shutterbug’s setting : F-STOP

Down

1 Former CNN anchor Paula : ZAHN
2 “Night” memoirist Wiesel : ELIE
3 Nimble, especially for one’s age : SPRY
4 2000s Fox drama set in Newport Beach : THE OC
5 Elegiac : SAD
6 Transportation safety workers, e.g. : AGENTS
7 Fable’s end : MORAL
8 Cards at a club, say : IDS
9 Olive oil and fish oil are high in them : GOOD FATS
10 When a nautical day begins : AT NOON
11 Screwdrivers, e.g. : HARD DRINKS
12 Like gymnasts : AGILE
13 One handy with a lariat : ROPER
18 When repeated, a club game? : PUTT
23 One who’s “out” : ODD MAN
25 Starting on : AS OF
26 Home of the Blarney Stone : ERIN
27 What some eyeglasses lack : RIMS
28 Basic subj. for a surgeon : ANAT
29 Like some terriers : WIREHAIRED
33 Upscale Swiss ski resort : GSTAAD
34 Palindromic nickname : SIS
36 Included in an email chain : CC’ED
37 Converse competitor : KEDS
39 Big name in stain removal : OXICLEAN
40 Baptism, e.g. : RITE
41 Stadium ticket specification : TIER
46 Checks (out) : SCOPES
47 Onetime pop star Donny : OSMOND
48 Neo-___ (film genre) : NOIR
50 Stink : SMELL
51 Some funeral arrangements : PYRES
52 Not so risky : SAFER
53 Rowdy ___, lead role on TV’s “Rawhide” : YATES
57 Real scream : RIOT
58 Part of MSG : MONO-
59 Cinch : SNAP
62 Hwy. : RTE
63 Visitor from the planet Melmac : ALF

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