0924-19 NY Times Crossword 24 Sep 19, Tuesday

Constructed by: John Guzzetta
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Greek Cross

Themed answers contain GREEK letters as hidden words that, in three instances, CROSS each other in the grid:

  • 51A Religious symbol resembling a plus sign … or a hint to the three groups of shaded squares in this puzzle : GREEK CROSS
  • 18A Project’s windup : FINAL PHASE (hiding “alpha”)
  • 36A It’s “read” during a reprimand : RIOT ACT (hiding “iota”)
  • 39A About half of a regular-season schedule : HOME GAMES (hiding “omega”)
  • 5D What jars with fireflies need : AIRHOLES (hiding “rho”)
  • 14D Playground game with teams : FREEZE TAG (hiding “zeta”)
  • 24D Accepting bribes : ON THE TAKE (hiding “theta”)

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

Bill’s time: 6m 13s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Shelter grp. : SPCA

Unlike most developed countries, the US has no umbrella organization with the goal of preventing cruelty to animals. Instead there are independent organizations set up all over the nation using the name SPCA. Having said that, there is an organization called the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) that was originally intended to operate across the country, but really it now focuses its efforts in New York City.

5 Taj Mahal city : AGRA

Agra is a medieval city on the banks of the river Yamuna in India. Agra was also the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1556 to 1658. The city is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

  • The Taj Mahal: the famous mausoleum built in memory of Mumtaz Mahal.
  • Agra Fort: the site where the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond was seized.
  • Fatehpur Sikri: a historic city that’s home to well-preserved Mughal architecture.

12 With 50-Down, home of Goodyear : AKRON, …

For much of the 1800s, the Ohio city of Akron was the fastest-growing city in the country, feeding off the industrial boom of that era. The city was founded in 1825 and its location, along the Ohio and Erie canal connecting Lake Erie with the Ohio River, helped to fuel Akron’s growth. Akron sits at the highest point of the canal and the name “Akron” comes from the Greek word meaning “summit”. Indeed, Akron is the county seat of Summit County. The city earned the moniker “Rubber Capital of the World” for most of the 20th century, as it was home to four major tire companies: Goodrich, Goodyear, Firestone and General Tire.

The Goodyear tire company was founded in 1898. The company was named for Charles Goodyear, the man who invented vulcanized rubber in 1839. Despite the Goodyear name, Charles Goodyear himself had no connection with the company. Sadly, he never really reaped a financial reward for his inventions.

13 Modern-day Persia : IRAN

Before 1935, the country we know today as Iran was referred to as Persia by the Western world. The official name of the country since the Iranian Revolution of 1979 is the “Islamic Republic of Iran”.

14 Kismet : FATE

“Kismet” is a Turkish word, meaning “fate, fortune, lot”.

15 Protective garments worn for dental X-rays : LEAD APRONS

X-rays were first studied comprehensively by the German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen (also “Roentgen”), and it was he who gave the name “X-rays” to this particular type of radiation. Paradoxically, in Röntgen’s native language of German, X-rays are routinely referred to as “Röntgen rays”. In 1901, Röntgen’s work on X-rays won him the first Nobel Prize in Physics that was ever awarded.

17 Let the host know : RSVP

“RSVP” stands for “répondez s’il vous plaît”, which is French for “answer, please”.

20 India ___ : INK

The black ink known as “India ink” was actually developed in China. The carbon pigment used to give the dark color was imported from India, hence the name.

21 Not stereo : MONO

Monophonic sound (“mono”) is sound reproduced using just one audio channel, which is usually played out of just one speaker. Stereophonic sound is reproduced using two audio channels, with the sound from each channel played out of two different speakers. The pair of stereo speakers are usually positioned apart from each other so that sound appears to come from between the two. Quadraphonic sound (4.0 surround sound) uses four audio channels with the sound played back through four speakers that are often positioned at the corners of the room in which one is listening.

22 Hefty lexical ref. : OED

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines a lot of words (wds.).

23 Competitor of Petro-Canada : ESSO

The brand name Esso has its roots in the old Standard Oil company as it uses the initial letters of “Standard” and “Oil” (ESS-O). The Esso brand was replaced by Exxon in the US, but ESSO is still used in many other countries.

Petro-Canada started out life as a government-owned corporation in 1976. Petro-Canada is now a brand name of Suncor Energy.

32 Holder of a collateral loan : LIENEE

A lien is the right that one has to retain or secure someone’s property until a debt is paid. When an individual takes out a car loan, for example, the lending bank is usually a lien holder. The bank releases the lien on the car when the loan is paid in full.

36 It’s “read” during a reprimand : RIOT ACT (hiding “iota”)

The Riot Act was a British law that was in force from 1715 to 1967. According to the Riot Act, government entities could declare any gathering of twelve or more people “unlawful”. Our expression “read the Riot Act to” is derived from the requirement for the authorities to read out the Riot Act proclamation to an unlawful assembly before the Act could be enforced.

37 Fowl with a showy mate : PEAHEN

The female peafowl, the peahen, has very dull plumage compared to the extravagant display on the tail of the peacock.

38 Temporary tattoo dye : HENNA

Henna has been used for centuries as a dye, for leather and wool as well as hair and skin. In modern days, henna is often used for temporary tattoos.

46 Galleria display : ARTE

In Italy, one can see “arte” (art) in a “galleria” (gallery).

49 Capital of Qatar : DOHA

Doha is the capital city of the Persian Gulf state of Qatar. The name “Doha” translates from Arabic as “the big tree”.

57 Spanish liqueur : ANIS

Anis is a Spanish liqueur, equivalent to what’s called anisette in other countries (in France, for example). It has a licorice taste as it is produced by distilling the seeds of the anis plant. Like all anis-type drinks, it is usually mixed with water and turns a milky white color when the water is added.

59 Thor, to Odin : SON

In Norse mythology, Thor was the son of Odin. Thor wielded a mighty hammer and was the god of thunder, lightning and storms. Our contemporary word “Thursday” comes from “Thor’s Day”.

60 Cabinet position: Abbr. : SECY

In the Westminster system, the Cabinet is a group of sitting politicians chosen by the Prime Minister to head up government departments and also to participate collectively in major governmental decisions in all areas. In the US system, the Cabinet is made up not of sitting politicians, but rather of non-legislative individuals who are considered to have expertise in a particular area. The Cabinet members in the US system tend to have more of an advisory role outside of their own departments.

61 Kirk ___, first actor to play Superman on the big screen : ALYN

Kirk Alyn was the actor who played the title role in the first ever “Superman” movie, way back in 1948. Alyn reprised the role in a 1950 sequel called “Atom Man V. Superman”.

Down

2 April 1 activities : PRANKS

April Fools’ Day is celebrated on April 1st in the Western world. In the US (and Ireland) one can make practical jokes all day long if one wants. But in the UK there is a noon deadline. Anyone pranking after midday is called an “April Fool”.

3 End of a concerto : CODA

In music, a coda is primarily a passage that brings a movement to a conclusion. “Coda” is Italian for “tail”.

A concerto is a musical work that is usually composed of three movements, and is often written for a solo instrument accompanied by an orchestra.

4 Fussy to excess : ANAL

The use of the word “anal” to mean “stiffly conventional” is an abbreviated form of “anal-retentive”, a term derived from Freudian psychology. Regardless, I’m not a big fan of the term …

5 What jars with fireflies need : AIRHOLES (hiding “rho”)

Some living organisms are able to produce light, a phenomenon known as “bioluminescence”. A famous example on land is the firefly, with its glowing tail. There are many marine animals, such as jellyfish, that emit light. The frequently observed bioluminescence on the surface of the sea is usually caused by plankton. This phenomenon may be referred to as “sea fire”.

8 Addie’s husband in “As I Lay Dying” : ANSE

“As I Lay Dying” is a novel by William Faulkner first published in 1930. The book has an unusual structure, with stream of consciousness writing throughout. There is one whole chapter that I’d like to quote here:

My mother is a fish.

That’s a five-word chapter …

9 Annual parade locale since 1890 : PASADENA

Pasadena, California is famous for hosting the annual Rose Bowl football game, as well as the related Tournament of Roses Parade. The name “Pasadena” was chosen somewhat arbitrarily. A missionary in Michigan supplied a list of translations of the names “Crown of the Valley”, “Key of the Valley” etc, in the Chippewa language when the locals were choosing a name. All of the translations ended in “pasadena” meaning “of the valley”. The word was liked, so it was picked.

The first Rose Parade was staged in 1890 on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, California. The initial parades were organized by the Pasadena Valley Hunt Club, whose members wanted to highlight the mild winter weather in the area. The initial parades did not feature flowers, but these were added to underscore the favorable climate. It was the inclusion of the flowers that gave rise to the name “Tournament of Roses”. The first Rose Bowl football game was played in 1902.

10 Rugged four-wheelers, for short : ATVS

All-terrain vehicle (ATV)

12 Title role for Michael Caine or Jude Law : ALFIE

There have been two versions of the movie “Alfie”. The original, and for my money the best, was made in 1966 with Michael Caine. The remake came out in 2004 and stars Jude Law in the title role. The theme song was performed by Cher in the 1966 movie, but it was Dionne Warwick’s cover version from 1967 that was the most successful in the charts.

16 Pollutant concentration meas. : PPM

Parts per million (ppm)

26 Lena of “Havana” : OLIN

Lena Olin is a Swedish actress, and clearly someone who had acting in her blood. Her mother was the actress Britta Holmberg and her father the actor and director Stig Olin. Olin had a very successful career in Sweden, often working with the great Ingmar Bergman. Olin’s breakthrough international and English-speaking role was playing opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” released in 1988. Way back in 1974, the lovely Miss Olin was crowned Miss Scandinavia in a beauty pageant for Nordic women held in Helsinki, Finland. Olin’s most famous performance was in “Chocolat” released in 2000, and then she won an Emmy in 2003 for Best Supporting Actress in the TV show “Alias”.

27 Jiffy : SEC

“Jiff” or “jiffy”, meaning “short time, instant” is thought originally to be thieves’ slang for “lightning”.

28 Vietnamese holiday : TET

The full name for the New Year holiday in Vietnam is “Tet Nguyen Dan” meaning “Feast of the First Morning”, with the reference being to the arrival of the season of spring. Tet usually falls on the same day as Chinese New Year.

Vietnam is the country with the 13th-largest population in the word. It covers all of the eastern coast of the Indochinese Peninsula in Southeast Asia.

30 Mournful poem : ELEGY

Perhaps the most famous elegy in the English language is that written by Thomas Gray, which he completed in 1750. His “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” is the source of many oft-quoted phrases, including:

  • Celestial fire
  • Far from the Madding Crowd
  • Kindred spirit

31 With 52-Down, passage to the heart : VENA …
(52D See 31-Down : … CAVA)

The superior vena cava is a large vein carrying deoxygenated blood from the upper part of the body to the right atrium of the heart. The inferior vena cava does the same thing for the lower part of the body.

33 Letters on a speedometer : MPH

Miles per hour (mph)

34 Naval petty officer: Abbr. : YEO

In the US Navy, a yeoman is tasked with administrative and clerical work. In fact, the position of yeoman is the oldest rating in the navy. You’ll also see a lot of yeomen in the background on “Star Trek”.

35 What a shofar is typically made from : RAM’S HORN

A shofar is a musical instrument used in Jewish rituals. It is a relatively simple instrument, made from an animal’s (usually a ram) horn.

47 Heart chart, briefly : EKG

An EKG measures the electrical activity in the heart. Back in my homeland of Ireland, an EKG is known as an ECG (for electrocardiogram). We use the German name in the US, Elektrokardiogramm, giving us EKG. Apparently the abbreviation EKG is preferred as ECG might be confused (if poorly handwritten, I guess) with EEG, the abbreviation for an electroencephalogram.

51 College application figs. : GPAS

Grade point average (GPA)

53 Currency on the Arabian Peninsula : RIAL

The rial is the currency of Oman (as well as Yemen, Iran, Cambodia and Tunisia). Generally, there are 1,000 baisa in a rial.

The Arabian Peninsula (also “Arabia”) is part of Western Asia that is located just north-east of Africa. The peninsula is bordered to the west by the Red Sea, to the northeast by the Persian Gulf, and to the southeast by the Indian Ocean. Most of the Arabian Peninsula is taken up by Saudi Arabia, but also included are Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen. And, it’s the largest peninsula in the world, covering about 1¼ million square miles.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Shelter grp. : SPCA
5 Taj Mahal city : AGRA
9 Rabbit’s foot : PAW
12 With 50-Down, home of Goodyear : AKRON
13 Modern-day Persia : IRAN
14 Kismet : FATE
15 Protective garments worn for dental X-rays : LEAD APRONS
17 Let the host know : RSVP
18 Project’s windup : FINAL PHASE (hiding “alpha”)
19 90° on a compass : EAST
20 India ___ : INK
21 Not stereo : MONO
22 Hefty lexical ref. : OED
23 Competitor of Petro-Canada : ESSO
25 Grated food flavorer used in baking : LEMON ZEST
29 “Not on your life!” : NEVER!
32 Holder of a collateral loan : LIENEE
33 Aromatic shrubs yielding an essential oil : MYRTLES
36 It’s “read” during a reprimand : RIOT ACT (hiding “iota”)
37 Fowl with a showy mate : PEAHEN
38 Temporary tattoo dye : HENNA
39 About half of a regular-season schedule : HOME GAMES (hiding “omega”)
41 Gold-coated : GILT
45 Snorters’ quarters : STY
46 Galleria display : ARTE
48 It’s fixed when it’s flat : FEE
49 Capital of Qatar : DOHA
51 Religious symbol resembling a plus sign … or a hint to the three groups of shaded squares in this puzzle : GREEK CROSS
54 “That makes sense now” : OH, OK
55 Set in direct opposition to : PIT AGAINST
56 It’s fixed when it’s flat : TIRE
57 Spanish liqueur : ANIS
58 Hollows between hills : VALES
59 Thor, to Odin : SON
60 Cabinet position: Abbr. : SECY
61 Kirk ___, first actor to play Superman on the big screen : ALYN

Down

1 Balls of yarn : SKEINS
2 April 1 activities : PRANKS
3 End of a concerto : CODA
4 Fussy to excess : ANAL
5 What jars with fireflies need : AIRHOLES (hiding “rho”)
6 “I started a boat-building business in my attic … Now sails are going through the roof,” e.g. : GROANER
7 Price of freedom : RANSOM
8 Addie’s husband in “As I Lay Dying” : ANSE
9 Annual parade locale since 1890 : PASADENA
10 Rugged four-wheelers, for short : ATVS
11 Openly mourned : WEPT
12 Title role for Michael Caine or Jude Law : ALFIE
14 Playground game with teams : FREEZE TAG (hiding “zeta”)
16 Pollutant concentration meas. : PPM
22 Burger topper : ONION
24 Accepting bribes : ON THE TAKE (hiding “theta”)
26 Lena of “Havana” : OLIN
27 Jiffy : SEC
28 Vietnamese holiday : TET
30 Mournful poem : ELEGY
31 With 52-Down, passage to the heart : VENA …
33 Letters on a speedometer : MPH
34 Naval petty officer: Abbr. : YEO
35 What a shofar is typically made from : RAM’S HORN
36 Be worry-free : REST EASY
38 One at risk of excommunication : HERETIC
40 Leatherneck : MARINE
42 “Wouldn’t that be nice!” : IF ONLY!
43 Mitigate : LESSEN
44 Trials and tribulations : TESTS
47 Heart chart, briefly : EKG
49 They might be connected by children … or detectives : DOTS
50 See 12-Across : OHIO
51 College application figs. : GPAS
52 See 31-Down : … CAVA
53 Currency on the Arabian Peninsula : RIAL

8 thoughts on “0924-19 NY Times Crossword 24 Sep 19, Tuesday”

  1. 11:18, no errors, even caught the theme prior to finishing. Played FREEZE TAG as a kid; although I don’t remember ever playing a team version. It was simply a game of tag, where someone could become untaggable if they remained perfectly motionless (whether the person qualified as motionless was based upon group consensus).

  2. Nice puzzle. Good for a Tuesday. Couldn’t lazily do this one. Had to keep my mind on what I was doing.

    I was just pondering the construction a little. I think Mr. Guzzetta must have first looked for some potential crosses derived from the Greek alphabet. Once he had chosen three of them he placed them into the puzzle at the strategic points. He then had to build some words around them. No easy task. Finally, he was nice enough to give us a revealer at 51-Across.

    I guess that I am doing some reverse engineering. Not that I would ever be interested in constructing crosswords. No way.

  3. 9:02, 1 error.

    @Dale Stewart
    That would have been how it would have worked to create this grid. Start with your theme material, then put in fill around it.

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