1023-19 NY Times Crossword 23 Oct 19, Wednesday

Constructed by: Jennifer Nutt
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): ???

Themed answers relate to Pliny the Elder and his witnessing of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD:

  • 20A Famous erupter of A.D. 79 : MOUNT VESUVIUS
  • 28A With 41- and 48-Across, what 56-Across declared while approaching the eruption of 20-Across : FORTUNE …
  • 41A See 28-Across : … FAVORS …
  • 48A See 28-Across : … THE BOLD
  • 56A Roman writer who came to a bad end by 20-Across : PLINY THE ELDER

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

Bill’s time: 6m 50s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Jitter juice : JAVA

Back in 1850, the name “java” was given to a type of coffee grown on the island of Java, and the usage of the term spread from then.

5 Postlarval : PUPAL

A pupa is a stage in the life of some insects. All four stages are embryo, larva, pupa and imago. Pupae can look like little dolls, hence the name. “Pupa” is the Latin for “doll”.

10 Many a phone call from one’s own area code, nowadays : SPAM

Grrr …

15 Speed skater Ohno : APOLO

Speed-skater Apolo Ohno has won more Winter Olympics medals than any other American. Ohno also did a great job winning the 2007 season of television’s “Dancing with the Stars”.

16 Lineup at the polls : SLATE

In an election, a slate is a group of candidates running on a common platform.

17 Legendary source of large footprints : YETI

The yeti, also known as the abominable snowman, is a beast of legend. “Yeti” is a Tibetan term, and the beast is fabled to live in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet. Our equivalent legend in North America is that of Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch. The study of animals whose existence have not yet been substantiated is called cryptozoology, and a cryptid is a creature or plant that isn’t recognized by the scientific community, but the existence of which has been suggested.

19 Prey of Arctic wolves : HARES

Even though the Arctic wolf is a subspecies of grey wolf, it is white in color, having adapted to its environment.

20 Famous erupter of A.D. 79 : MOUNT VESUVIUS

Mount Vesuvius is on the Bay of Naples, just over five miles from the city of Naples. The most famous of the volcano’s eruptions took place in AD 79, the one which destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Today, Vesuvius is considered to be one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, largely because it is at the center of the most densely populated volcanic region in the world, with 3 million people living nearby.

23 Petite Grande : ARIANA

Ariana Grande is a singer and actress from Boca Raton, Florida. Grande plays the role of Cat Valentine on the sitcom “Victorious” that aired for four season on Nickelodeon. Grande’s singing career took off with the release of the 2011 album “Victorious: Music from the Hit TV Show”.

26 Broadcaster of the X Games : ESPN

The X Games are annual events, with a Summer X Games held every year as well as a Winter X Games. It’s very much a commercial venture, with all aspects controlled by the TV station ESPN. The games focus on extreme action sports, like skateboarding and freestyle motocross in the summer and various extreme snowboarding events in the winter.

32 Cricket segments : OVERS

In the sport of cricket, an over is a collection of six deliveries of the ball from one end of the pitch by one bowler to the batter at the other end of the pitch. After each over, the bowler changes and deliveries come from the opposite end.

40 City SE of Plumas National Forest : 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”.

42 ___ Cassady, traveling companion of Jack Kerouac : NEAL

Neal Cassady was a member of the Beat Generation, the group of post-WWII writers who became prominent in the 1950s. Cassady was the inspiration for the character Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac’s novel “On the Road”.

44 Judas’s question : IS IT I?

At the Last Supper, Jesus told his apostles that one of them would betray him that day. According to the Gospel of Matthew:

And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?

50 Cabinet title: Abbr. : SEC

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.

53 Speaker of a language that has both Cyrillic and Latin alphabets : SERB

Serbs are an ethnic group native to the Balkans in southeastern Europe. Although Serbs exist as a minority group in many countries in the region, they are the majority ethnic group in Serbia, in Montenegro and in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

56 Roman writer who came to a bad end by 20-Across : PLINY THE ELDER

Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger were important figures in Ancient Rome. Pliny the Elder was a scientist and historian, the author of “Naturalis Historia”, commonly referred to as “Pliny’s Natural History”. Pliny died in the year 79 AD in an attempt to rescue friends during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Pliny the Younger was the nephew and adopted son of Pliny the Elder. Pliny the Younger was a noted Roman statesman, orator and writer.

61 Dog-___ : EARED

The folded-down corner of the page of a book, a temporary placeholder, is known as a “dog-ear”. I suppose that’s because it looks like the ear of a dog …

70 Vacuum inventor James : DYSON

Dyson vacuum cleaners do not use a bag to collect dust. James Dyson invented the first vacuum cleaner to use cyclonic separation in 1979, frustrated at the poor performance of his regular vacuum cleaner. As Dyson cleaners do not use bags, they don’t have to deal with collection bags that are blocked with fine dust particles, even after emptying. Cyclonic separation uses high speed spinning of the dust-containing air so that the dust particles are thrown out of the airflow into a collection bin. We have a Dyson now, and should have bought it years ago …

Down

2 Certain early “astronaut” : APE

Enos was a chimpanzee that was launched into Earth orbit in 1961 by NASA on a Mercury Atlas 4 rocket. Enos’s flight was a rehearsal for the first orbital flight made by an American, astronaut John Glenn. Enos returned from his mission safely, but died the following year from dysentery.

3 Do background checks on : VET

The verb “to vet” comes from the term “veterinarian”. The idea is that to vet something is to subject it to careful examination, like a veterinarian checking out an animal.

4 The T. rex in “Jurassic Park” and others : ANIMATRONS

The Tyrannosaurus rex (usually written “T. rex”) was a spectacular looking dinosaur. “Tyrannosaurus” comes from the Greek words “tyrannos” (tyrant) and “sauros” (lizard) and “rex” the Latin for “king”. They were big beasts, measuring 42 feet long and 13 feet tall at the hips, and weighing 7.5 tons.

“Jurassic Park” is a 1990 novel by Michael Crichton that was adapted into a hugely successful movie by Steven Spielberg in 1993. One of the main premises of the novel is that dinosaur DNA could be harvested from mosquitoes trapped in amber (fossilized tree resin), the DNA coming from the dinosaur blood consumed by the mosquitoes. The dinosaur DNA is then sequenced and used to create clones of the original beasts. Apparently, that’s a clever idea, but not very practical …

5 From New Guinea : PAPUAN

Papua New Guinea is a country occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea (the western side of the island is part of Indonesia).

7 Wine specialty of the Douro Valley : PORT

Portugal’s city of Oporto (“Porto” in Portuguese) gave its name to port wine in the late 1600s. Oporto was the seaport through which most of the region’s fortified red wine was exported.

8 Naproxen brand : ALEVE

Aleve is a brand name used for the anti-inflammatory drug Naproxen sodium.

9 Flag : LOSE SPIRIT

Our verb “to flag” meaning “to tire” was originally used in the sense of something flapping about lazily in the wind. From this it came to mean “to go limp, droop”, and then “to tire”.

10 Many a person once trapped behind the Iron Curtain : SLAV

The Slavic peoples are in the majority in communities covering over half of Europe. This large ethnic group is traditionally broken down into three smaller groups:

  • the West Slavic (including Czechs and Poles)
  • the East Slavic (including Russians and Ukrainians)
  • the South Slavic (including Bulgarians, Croats and Serbs)

The term “Iron Curtain” was first used in the context of Soviet influence over Eastern Europe in a speech made by Winston Churchill in 1946. He made that address in the US, at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri.

11 Home of Chanel and Cartier : PARIS

The House of Chanel has its origin in a millinery shop in Paris that Gabrielle “CoCo” Chanel opened in 1909. The shop was on the ground floor of the home of socialite Étienne Balsan, of whom Chanel was his mistress. Using her connection to Balsan, Chanel met many women who lived extravagant lifestyles in Paris in those pre-war years, and hence was able to establish her reputation as a hatmaker. Chanel built on that reputation, and within a few years opened her first dress shop in Paris.

Cartier is a manufacturer of jewelry and watches based in Paris that has had a long association with royalty and the very rich. According to King Edward VII, Cartier is “the jeweller of kings and the king of jewellers” (note the English spelling of “jeweller”!).

25 Adler who outwitted Sherlock Holmes : IRENE

The character Irene Adler only appears in one of the many Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In the story “A Scandal in Bohemia”, Holmes expresses remarkable admiration for Adler as a woman and as a foe. As a result, derivative works in the Holmes genre often feature Adler as something of a romantic interest for Sherlock.

29 David Lynch’s first feature film : ERASERHEAD

Director David Lynch started work on “Eraserhead” early in his career, and it is very much “his” film as he wrote, produced and directed it. It took him a while to get it finished as funding was hard to come by. He used funds from an American Film Institute grant, as well as financing from family and friends, including actress Sissy Spacek.

34 Prefix with fauna : AVI-

“Avifauna” is the collective name for birds of a specific region. An older term for the same thing is “ornis”, which has the same root as “ornithology”.

35 Nonhuman Twitter account : BOT

A bot is a computer program that is designed to imitate human behavior. It might crawl around the Web doing searches for example, or it might participate in discussions in chat rooms by giving pre-programmed responses. It might also act as a competitor in a computer game.

37 Title with a tilde : SENOR

The tilde diacritical mark (~) is very much associated with the Spanish language. We use the name “tilde” in English, taking that name from Spanish. Confusingly, the word “tilde” in Spanish is used more generally to mean “accent mark, diacritic”, of which a “~” is just one. What we call a “tilde” in English is usually referred to as a “virgulilla” or “tilde de la eñe” in Spanish.

38 Top scout : EAGLE

The rank of Eagle Scout was introduced by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in 1911. A candidate for Eagle Scout must have first earned a minimum of 21 merit badges, and demonstrate leadership skills and embrace Scout Spirit. Prior to 1911, the highest rank attainable in the BSA was Wolf Scout.

39 Luges, e.g. : SLEDS

A luge is a small sled used by one or two people, on which one lies face up and feet first. The luge can be compared to the skeleton, a sled for only one person and on which the rider lies face down and goes down the hill head-first. Yikes!

41 Serving of sole : FILET

A fillet is a boneless cut of meat or fish. The term “fillet” comes from the Old French “filet” meaning “small thread, filament”. Apparently, we applied the term to food because the piece of fish or meat was tied up with string after it was boned. Here in the US, we tend to use the French spelling “filet”.

51 Author Ferrante : ELENA

Elena Ferrante is an Italian author, best known for her 4-part series known as the “Neapolitan Novels”. What is very interesting about “Ferrante” is that the moniker is a pseudonym, and no one seems to know the author’s real name. There is some speculation that “Elena” is in fact a man.

59 Locking block : LEGO

Lego produces some wonderful specialized sets with which you can build models of celebrated structures, including:

  • The Statue of Liberty (2,882 pieces)
  • The Sydney Opera House (2,989 pieces)
  • The Eiffel Tower (3,428 pieces)
  • Tower Bridge (4,295 pieces)
  • The Taj Mahal (5,922 pieces)

63 Letters in front of an alias : AKA

Also known as (aka)

64 State of Japan : ZEN

Zen is a Buddhist school that developed its own tradition in China back in the 7th century AD. Zen is a Japanese spelling of the Chinese word “chan”, which in turn derives from the Sanskrit word “dhyana” meaning “meditation”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Jitter juice : JAVA
5 Postlarval : PUPAL
10 Many a phone call from one’s own area code, nowadays : SPAM
14 Start, as an investigation : OPEN
15 Speed skater Ohno : APOLO
16 Lineup at the polls : SLATE
17 Legendary source of large footprints : YETI
18 Targets of some facial cleansers : PORES
19 Prey of Arctic wolves : HARES
20 Famous erupter of A.D. 79 : MOUNT VESUVIUS
23 Petite Grande : ARIANA
26 Broadcaster of the X Games : ESPN
27 One with a handler : SPY
28 With 41- and 48-Across, what 56-Across declared while approaching the eruption of 20-Across : FORTUNE …
30 Short shot : PUTT
32 Cricket segments : OVERS
33 Like a superfan : RABID
36 What WD-40 has a lot of : USES
40 City SE of Plumas National Forest : RENO
41 See 28-Across : … FAVORS …
42 ___ Cassady, traveling companion of Jack Kerouac : NEAL
43 Paradise : EDEN
44 Judas’s question : IS IT I?
45 1 to 10, say : RANGE
46 Markdown : SALE
48 See 28-Across : … THE BOLD
50 Cabinet title: Abbr. : SEC
53 Speaker of a language that has both Cyrillic and Latin alphabets : SERB
55 Habituates : INURES
56 Roman writer who came to a bad end by 20-Across : PLINY THE ELDER
60 Knot again : RETIE
61 Dog-___ : EARED
62 Largest city of Palestine : GAZA
66 Ham-handed : INEPT
67 Maxim : ADAGE
68 Grinds (out) : EKES
69 Wanders aimlessly : GADS
70 Vacuum inventor James : DYSON
71 Horizontal line on a chessboard : RANK

Down

1 Good cheer : JOY
2 Certain early “astronaut” : APE
3 Do background checks on : VET
4 The T. rex in “Jurassic Park” and others : ANIMATRONS
5 From New Guinea : PAPUAN
6 “___ reflection …” : UPON
7 Wine specialty of the Douro Valley : PORT
8 Naproxen brand : ALEVE
9 Flag : LOSE SPIRIT
10 Many a person once trapped behind the Iron Curtain : SLAV
11 Home of Chanel and Cartier : PARIS
12 Fell for : ATE UP
13 Complicated, as a breakup : MESSY
16 Move to the side : SHUNT
21 Burden : ONUS
22 ___ MacKenzie, beer mascot of the 1980s : SPUDS
23 Erenow : AFORE
24 Wandered aimlessly : ROVED
25 Adler who outwitted Sherlock Holmes : IRENE
29 David Lynch’s first feature film : ERASERHEAD
31 Fishy sandwich : TUNA BURGER
34 Prefix with fauna : AVI-
35 Nonhuman Twitter account : BOT
37 Title with a tilde : SENOR
38 Top scout : EAGLE
39 Luges, e.g. : SLEDS
41 Serving of sole : FILET
45 ___ Caovilla (brand of high-end women’s shoes) : RENE
47 So far : AS YET
49 Like Easter eggs : HIDDEN
50 Shoot : SPRIG
51 Author Ferrante : ELENA
52 Gave credit to : CITED
54 Small, round and shiny : BEADY
57 Barely defeats : NIPS
58 Chapters in history : ERAS
59 Locking block : LEGO
63 Letters in front of an alias : AKA
64 State of Japan : ZEN
65 “Fire away!” : ASK!

7 thoughts on “1023-19 NY Times Crossword 23 Oct 19, Wednesday”

  1. 20:06. One square off. I had ANIMATiONS/OVEiS (??). Didn’t recognized the quote so this pretty much solved as a themeless for me. I bought a Dyson a little over a year ago. Agree with Bill – I should have bought one years ago.

    Best –

  2. 40:22 with the same error….animatIon for animatRon….to go through a puzzle like this one with one clue referring to another and another and another only to come up one letter off with a stupid word like animatron which the spell checker doesn’t even accept STINKS
    GO RAVENS …end of rant…happy thanksgiving to all

  3. No errors. Fairly difficult. Had to call on some cerebral depth to get this one.

    This quote was pretty much new to me. I googled it and realized that surely I must have run across it many times but just never took particular note of it. It is prominently used in many contexts.

    Pliny the Elder did not coin the phrase. He was only repeating it. The irony here is that “Fortune” did not favor Pliny as he recklessly lost his life charging into the eruption attempting to save a friend. Pliny the Younger was with him at the time, did not participate in the rescue, and lived to tell of Pliny the Elder’s words.

    There is a lot to think about in FORTUNE FAVORS THE BOLD.

  4. I must have been in sync with Jennifer Nutt as this one came easy. About 12 minutes and no errors. The saying would make a good slogan for the 2 great beers named after Pliny and his son!

  5. 17:13, no errors. Felt more like a Friday puzzle. Surprised to learn that they used an animatronic T-Rex in the Jurassic Park movie. Thought it was all CGI; fortunately I remembered the animatronic T-Rex in the Jurassic Park ride at Universal Studios; thought that was the reference. Also surprised to find out that the first movie was shot on Kauai when hurricane Iniki hit the island; my wife and I visited the island two weeks before Iniki, so apparently we were on the island when the movie was being shot there, and didn’t realize it.

  6. Eurekajo — Love the association of Fortune favors the bold and the 2 beers — as in “hold my beer” as you go charging into a volcano!

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