1106-19 NY Times Crossword 6 Nov 19, Wednesday

Constructed by: Ross Trudeau
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Triplex

Themed answers each include “XXX”:

  • 38A Three-screen cinema … or a hint to 17-, 26-, 46- and 61-Across : TRIPLEX or TRIPLE-X
  • 17A Raciest classification : XXX RATING
  • 26A Hip-hop artist with the 2006 hit “Ms. New Booty” : BUBBA SPARXXX
  • 46A Contest in which the Cowboys beat the Steelers 27-17 : SUPER BOWL XXX
  • 61A Article of clothing at the very end of the rack : XXXL SHIRT

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

Bill’s time: 9m 23s

Bill’s errors: 2

  • BUBBA SPARXXX (Bubba Aparxxx)
  • SIR (air!!!)

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9 Spelunking spots : CAVES

“Spelunking” is an American term for recreational caving, although the word has Latin roots (“spelunca” is the Latin for “cave”). The term originated in the 1940s in New England when it was adopted by a group of men who explored caves in the area.

14 Toilette water : EAU

“Eau de toilette” (toilet water) is a diluted perfume. A French person when dressing is said to be attending to his or her “toilette”.

15 Dynamited, maybe : RAZED

To raze (“rase”, in UK English) is to level to the ground. I’ve always thought it a little quirky that “raise”, a homophone of “raze”, means “build up”.

19 One that “eats, shoots and leaves,” in a classic joke : PANDA

Taxonomic classification of the giant panda has been a subject of great debate for years, the main question being whether it belongs to the bear or raccoon family. The accepted opinion these days, based on molecular studies, seems to be that the panda is in fact a true bear.

20 Group overthrown by Zeus : TITANS

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.

21 Marvel hero with multiple M.I.T. degrees : IRON MAN

Iron Man is another comic book superheroes, this one created by Stan Lee for Marvel Comics. The character is the alter ego of Tony Stark, and has become very famous in recent years since the appearance of the 2008 action movie “Iron Man” starring Robert Downey, Jr. in the title role. Iron Man’s love interest, Pepper Potts, is routinely played by Gwyneth Paltrow in the same series of films.

23 “Star Wars” nickname : ANI

Anakin “Ani” Skywalker is the principal character in the first six of the “Star Wars” movies. His progress chronologically through the series of films is:

  • Episode I: Anakin is a 9-year-old slave boy who earns the promise of Jedi training by young Obi-Wan Kenobi.
  • Episode II: Anakin is 18-years-old and goes on a murdering rampage to avenge the killing of his mother.
  • Episode III: Anakin is 21-years-old and a Jedi knight, but he turns to the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader. His wife Padme gives birth to twins, Luke and Leia Skywalker.
  • Episode IV: Darth Vader, comes into conflict with his children, Luke Skywalker and the Princess Leia.
  • Episode V: Darth Vader attempts to coax his son Luke over to the dark side, and reveals to Luke that he is his father.
  • Episode VI: Luke learns that Leia is his sister, and takes on the task of bringing Darth Vader back from the Dark Side in order to save the Galaxy. Vader saves his son from the Emperor’s evil grip, dying in the process, but his spirit ends up alongside the spirits of Yoda and Obi-Wan. They all live happily ever after …

24 One of a ZZ Top duo? : ZEE

The letter named “zed” has been around since about 1400, and derives from the Greek letter zeta. The spelling and pronunciation “zee”, used in America today, first popped up in the 1670s. The spelling and pronunciation “zed” is still used in Britain and Ireland.

In the blues rock band ZZ Top, the hairy guitar players are Billy F. Gibbons and Dusty Hill. The relatively clean-shaven drummer is, wait for it … Frank Beard.

32 AOL, for one, in brief : ISP

AOL was a leading Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the 1980s and 1990s. The company does still provide dial-up access to the Internet for some subscribers, but most users now access AOL using faster, non-AOL ISPs.

42 Puccini title heroine : TOSCA

Unlike so many operas, Giacomo Puccini’s “Tosca” was a big hit right from day one, when it was first performed in 1900 at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome. Currently, “Tosca” is the eighth-most performed opera in America.

45 Austin ___ (Tennessee university) : PEAY

Austin Peay was Governor of Tennessee from 1923 until 1927. It was Governor Peay who signed into law the Butler Act, which prevented public schools from teaching the Theory of Evolution. It was the Butler Act that precipitated the Scopes Monkey Trial.

50 Shark attractant : CHUM

The word “chum” meaning “fish bait”, is perhaps derived from the Scottish word “chum” meaning food.

53 Loop trains : ELS

Elevated railroad (El)

The historic commercial center of Chicago is known as the Loop. One theory is that the “loop” got its name from the cable loops in the city’s old cable car system. An alternative theory is that term only arose with the construction of the elevated railway “loop” that forms the hub of the city’s “L” system.

55 Danish cheese : HAVARTI

Havarti cheese was invented in the mid-1800s by farmer Hanne Nielson. He chose “Havarti” from the name of his farm, Havarthigaard, located in the neighborhood of Øverød, north of Copenhagen.

57 Brit’s gasoline : PETROL

Petrol is the same thing as gasoline. “Petrol” comes via French from the Latin “petroleum”, itself derived from “petra” meaning “rock” and “oleum” meaning “oil”.

64 Word before light or study : PILOT …

A pilot light is a small gas flame, one using a relatively small amount of fuel that remains lit as an ignition source for larger gas burners.

69 Start to succeed? : ESS

The letter S (ess) starts the word “succeed”).

Down

3 1980s-’90s sitcom family : HUXTABLES

That would be “The Cosby Show”.

4 Skulls : CRANIA

The human skull is made up of two parts: the cranium (which encloses the brain) and the mandible (or “jawbone”).

6 ___ Gal (eponymous gun designer) : UZI

The first Uzi submachine gun was designed in the late 1940s by Major Uziel “Uzi” Gal of the Israel Defense Forces, who gave his name to the gun.

9 Mafia head : CAPO

More properly called a caporegime, a capo is a high-ranking member of the Mafia (Cosa Nostra).

10 ___ Sánchez Vicario of the International Tennis Hall of Fame : ARANTXA

Arantxa Sánchez Vicario is a former World No. 1 tennis player from Barcelona, Spain. Vicario earned about 60 million dollars over her career, and yet in 2012 she found herself struggling and is in debt. Reportedly her parents “lost” all of their daughter’s money.

11 Mobile payment service owned by PayPal : VENMO

Venmo is a smartphone payment app that is now owned by PayPal. The first version of the product was introduced in 2009 by two entrepreneurs who had met as freshman students at the University of Pennsylvania. They sold the company in 2012 for over $26 million, and then PayPal acquired it the following year for a whopping $800 million. I wonder do PayPal ever buy blogs …

13 Set of seven Asian countries, informally : STANS

The suffix “-stan” in many place names is Persian for “place of”.

22 Dinosaur in “Toy Story” : REX

In the excellent Pixar film “Toy Story”, Rex is a tyrannosaurus, and a pretty clumsy one at that. He is voiced by actor Wallace Shawn, whose name is perhaps less familiar than his face. Shawn played the neighbor on “The Cosby Show” as well as many, many other supporting characters on TV and the big screen.

24 Mosquito killers : ZAPPERS

“Mosquito” is the Spanish for “little fly”. The female mosquito actually has to have a “blood meal” before she is able to lay her eggs. Mosquitoes are sometimes referred to as “skeeters”.

27 Excel command : UNDO

Microsoft Excel is the spreadsheet program included in the Microsoft Office suite of applications. Microsoft’s first spreadsheet program was introduced back in 1982 and called Multiplan. Multiplan’s popularity waned due to the success of the competing product Lotus 1-2-3. Microsoft then introduced Excel, initially just for the Macintosh. When Excel was extended to Windows, Lotus was slow to respond and Microsoft took over the market.

29 Chi follower : PSI

Psi is the 23rd and penultimate letter of the Greek alphabet, and the one that looks a bit like a trident or a pitchfork.

30 Affectionate sign-off : XOX

In the sequence letter sequence “XOX”, the X represents a kiss, and the O a hug. “OOO” is a string of hugs, and “XXX” a string of kisses. Hugs and kisses …

36 River of Hades : STYX

The River Styx of Greek mythology was the river that formed the boundary between the Earth and the Underworld (or “Hades”). The souls of the newly dead had to cross the River Styx in a ferry boat piloted by Charon. Traditionally, a coin would be placed in the mouths of the dead “to pay the ferryman”.

38 Sigma follower : TAU

Tau is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet, and the letter which gave rise to our Roman “T”. Both the letters tau (T) and chi (X) have long been symbolically associated with the cross.

40 Brian of ambient music : ENO

Brian Eno was one of the pioneers of the ambient genre of music. Eno composed an album in 1978 called “Ambient 1: Music for Airports”, which was the first in a series of four albums with an ambient theme. Eno named the tracks, somewhat inventively, 1/1, 2/1, 2/1 and 2/2.

43 Student with coding homework, for short : CS MAJOR

Computer science (CS)

45 Sylvia who wrote “The Bell Jar” : PLATH

Sylvia Plath was a poet from Boston, Massachusetts who lived much of her life in the UK where she married fellow poet Ted Hughes. The couple had a tumultuous relationship, and Plath had a long battle with depression. Plath wrote just one novel, called “The Bell Jar”, which is semi-autobiographical. It describes the main character’s descent into mental illness. Plath herself lost her battle with depression in 1963, committing suicide at the age of 30 years, and just one month after “The Bell Jar” was published.

48 Magic potion : ELIXIR

An elixir is a solution of alcohol and water that is used to deliver a medicine. The term “elixir” can also be used to mean a medicine that has the power to cure all ills.

50 Togs for a cowboy : CHAPS

Chaps are leather leggings that are worn when riding a horse. The purpose of the garment is provide protection for the legs when riding through bushy terrain, perhaps a heavy thicket. The name “chaps” comes from the Spanish name for the leggings, which is “chaparejos” or “chaparreras”. The Spanish term comes from chaparro, a Spanish word that can be used for a low-growing thicket.

The verb “to tog up”, meaning “to dress up”, comes from the Latin “toga” describing the garment worn in ancient Rome. “Tog” can be also be used as an informal word for a coat or a cloak. Back in Ireland, togs are what we call swimming shorts.

52 Throat dangler : UVULA

The uvula is that conical fleshy projection hanging down at the back of the soft palate. The uvula plays an important role in human speech, particularly in the making of “guttural” sounds. The Latin word for “grape” is “uva”, so “uvula” is a “little grape”.

57 Movement that’s French for “bent” : PLIE

The French word for “bent” is “plié”. In the ballet move known as a plié, the knees are bent. A “demi-plié” is a similar move, but with less bending of the knees.

59 Bygone Fords : LTDS

There has been a lot of speculation about what the abbreviation “LTD” stands for in the car model known as “Ford LTD”. Many say it is an initialism standing for “Luxury Trim Decor”, and others say that it is short for “limited”. Although the car was produced in Australia with the initialism meaning “Lincoln Type Design”, it seems that “LTD” was originally chosen as just three meaningless letters that sound well together.

62 Nero’s 91 : XCI

Nero was Emperor of Rome from 54 to 68 CE, and towards the end of his reign participated in the Olympic Games in the year 67. The Roman leader raced in a ten-horse chariot, of which he lost control and nearly perished after being thrown from the vehicle. Acting and singing were Olympic events back then, and Nero also took part in those competitions. By all accounts, Nero performed badly in every event in which he vied, and yet somehow still managed to win Olympic crowns that he paraded around Rome on his return from Greece.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Unspecified series ender : NTH
4 Unrefined barrelful : CRUDE
9 Spelunking spots : CAVES
14 Toilette water : EAU
15 Dynamited, maybe : RAZED
16 “___ we a pair?” : AREN’T
17 Raciest classification : XXX RATING
19 One that “eats, shoots and leaves,” in a classic joke : PANDA
20 Group overthrown by Zeus : TITANS
21 Marvel hero with multiple M.I.T. degrees : IRON MAN
23 “Star Wars” nickname : ANI
24 One of a ZZ Top duo? : ZEE
25 Preschoolers : TOTS
26 Hip-hop artist with the 2006 hit “Ms. New Booty” : BUBBA SPARXXX
31 Members ___ : ONLY
32 AOL, for one, in brief : ISP
33 Vows : OATHS
37 Charles Kingsley’s “___ to the North-East Wind” : ODE
38 Three-screen cinema … or a hint to 17-, 26-, 46- and 61-Across : TRIPLEX or TRIPLE-X
41 Going viral, say : HOT
42 Puccini title heroine : TOSCA
44 Lo-o-ong stretch : EON
45 Austin ___ (Tennessee university) : PEAY
46 Contest in which the Cowboys beat the Steelers 27-17 : SUPER BOWL XXX
50 Shark attractant : CHUM
53 Loop trains : ELS
54 Genre for 26-Across : RAP
55 Danish cheese : HAVARTI
57 Brit’s gasoline : PETROL
60 Capital of Nigeria : ABUJA
61 Article of clothing at the very end of the rack : XXXL SHIRT
64 Word before light or study : PILOT …
65 Seal the deal : ICE IT
66 24-Across, in London : ZED
67 Rubberneck : STARE
68 Tilt-a-Whirl and bumper cars : RIDES
69 Start to succeed? : ESS

Down

1 Deli counter call : NEXT!
2 Curbside call : TAXI
3 1980s-’90s sitcom family : HUXTABLES
4 Skulls : CRANIA
5 “Dang it!” : RATS!
6 ___ Gal (eponymous gun designer) : UZI
7 Fox’s home : DEN
8 More out there, as humor : EDGIER
9 Mafia head : CAPO
10 ___ Sánchez Vicario of the International Tennis Hall of Fame : ARANTXA
11 Mobile payment service owned by PayPal : VENMO
12 Conclude by : END AT
13 Set of seven Asian countries, informally : STANS
18 Explained quickly to get an O.K. : RAN BY
22 Dinosaur in “Toy Story” : REX
24 Mosquito killers : ZAPPERS
26 Kick out : BOOT
27 Excel command : UNDO
28 Common base word : SIR
29 Chi follower : PSI
30 Affectionate sign-off : XOX
34 Award that encourages technological development to benefit humanity : THE X PRIZE
35 Elaborate deception : HOAX
36 River of Hades : STYX
38 Sigma follower : TAU
39 Softball toss : LOB
40 Brian of ambient music : ENO
43 Student with coding homework, for short : CS MAJOR
45 Sylvia who wrote “The Bell Jar” : PLATH
47 Something a zoo animal isn’t : PET
48 Magic potion : ELIXIR
49 Seizes by force : WRESTS
50 Togs for a cowboy : CHAPS
51 Good thing to break, maybe : HABIT
52 Throat dangler : UVULA
56 Assign stars to, say : RATE
57 Movement that’s French for “bent” : PLIE
58 Unrefined cartfuls : ORES
59 Bygone Fords : LTDS
62 Nero’s 91 : XCI
63 Struck (out) : XED