1107-19 NY Times Crossword 7 Nov 19, Thursday

Constructed by: Joe DiPietro
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Five of Diamonds

Today’s grid includes five sets of circled letters arranged in a diamond-shape. Each set of letters spells out a particular diamond, when read in a counter-clockwise direction. Those diamonds are:

  • FAUX diamond
  • HOPE diamond
  • BASEBALL diamond
  • NEIL Diamond
  • LEGS Diamond

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

Bill’s time: 14m 31s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

8 Singled or doubled : GOT A HIT

That would be baseball.

16 Character voiced by Samuel L. Jackson in “The Incredibles” : FROZONE

“The Incredibles” is a 2004 animated feature from Pixar, and not a great movie if you ask me. But asking me probably isn’t a good idea, as the film won two Oscars …

17 Stimpy, on “The Ren & Stimpy Show” : MANX CAT

I’ve seen Manx cats by the dozen on their native island. They’re found all over the Isle of Man (hence the name “Manx”) that is located in the middle of the Irish Sea. Manx cats have just a stub of a tail, and hence are called “stubbins” by the locals.

“The Ren & Stimpy Show” is an animated television show created by Canadian animator John Kricfalusi, and which ran on Nickelodeon from 1991 to 1996. The title characters are Marland “Ren” Höek, a scrawny Chihuahua, and Stimpson J. Cat, a rotund Manx cat. Not my cup of tea …

18 Tako, on a sushi menu : OCTOPUS

The name “octopus” comes from the Greek for “eight-footed”. The most common plural used is “octopuses”, although the Greek plural form “octopodes” is also quite correct. The plural “octopi” isn’t really correct as the inference is that “octopus” is like a second-declension Latin noun, which it isn’t. That said, dictionaries are now citing “octopi” as an acceptable plural. Language does evolve, even though it drives me crazy …

20 One born on a kibbutz : SABRA

Jewish people born in the State of Israel, or the historical region of israel, are known as Sabras. “Sabra” is actually the name of the prickly pear, the thorny desert cactus. Apparently the name “Sabra” is used because someone born in the region is said to be tough on the outside and sweet on the inside, just like a prickly pear.

A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel. Kibbutzim were traditionally agriculture-based, but now are often centered around high-tech and other industrial enterprises. The first kibbutz was established in 1909 in Palestine under Ottoman rule. This kibbutz is called Degania, which now is in northern Israel.

22 Senate majority leader between Dole and Daschle : LOTT

Trent Lott is a political figure who first went to Washington to work as an administrative assistant to Representative William M. Colmer, from Mississippi. After four years working for Colmer, Lott ran for the House seat that Colmer was to leave vacant on his retirement. Colmer endorsed Lott in that election, even though Colmer was a Democrat and Lott ran as a Republican. Lott won the race very handily, launching a 35-year career representing his home state of Mississippi in both the House and the Senate. Lott eventually ran into trouble for remarks he made that were interpreted as being racially motivated, and ended up resigning in 2007.

23 Pittance : SOU

A sou is an old French coin. We use the term “sou” to mean “an almost worthless amount”.

A pittance is a small amount, often a living allowance or remuneration. The term “pittance” came into English from Old French, and is basically an amount given out of a sense of “pity”.

25 First-magnitude star in Cygnus : DENEB

Deneb is the brightest star in the constellation Cygnus, the Swan. The name “Deneb” comes from the Arabic word “dhaneb” meaning “tail”, as it lies at the tail of the swan.

26 College city on I-35 : AMES

The Iowa city of Ames was founded as a stop on the Cedar Rapids and Missouri Railroad in 1864. It was named for US Congressman Oakes Ames from the state of Massachusetts in honor of the role that Ames played in the building of the transcontinental railroad.

Iowa State University of Science and Technology (ISU) is located in Ames, Iowa. Among many other notable milestones, ISU created the country’s first school of veterinary medicine, in 1879. The sports teams of ISU are known as the Cyclones.

28 Mutated gene : ALLELE

A gene is a section of a chromosome that is responsible for a particular characteristic in an organism. For example, one gene may determine eye color and another balding pattern. We have two copies of each gene, one from each of our parents, with each copy known as an allele.

30 Investment inits. : IRA

Individual retirement account (IRA)

31 Rastafari messiah : SELASSIE

Emperor Haile Selassie I ruled Ethiopia until he was removed from power in a revolution in 1974. Selassie died in 1975 under suspicious circumstances and it is widely believed that he was assassinated.

I must admit that I don’t really know much about Rastafarianism. I do know that a “Rasta”, such as Bob Marley, is a follower of the movement. Some say that Rastafarianism is a religion, some not. I also know that it involves the worship of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia.

33 Walter ___, 1950s-’70s Dodgers manager : ALSTON

Walter “Smokey” Alston was the very successful manager of the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers from 1954 to 1976. Alston was not very successful as a player. He played as first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals but only for one season and in only one game, in 1936. Alston had only one at bat and he struck out, on three pitches.

44 Country music’s ___ Young Band : ELI

The Eli Young Band is a country group from Texas founded by Mike Eli and James Young when they were roommates in the University of North Texas.

45 100 céntimos : PESETA

The peseta is the former currency of Spain, and the de facto currency of Spain’s neighbor, the Principality of Andorra. The peseta was replaced by the euro in 2002.

48 Pitching no-nos : BALKS

To balk is to stop and refuse to go on. It’s not just a baseball term …

53 Gas giant : MOBIL

Mobil was founded as part of the the breakup of Standard Oil in 1911. The company was originally called Socony (Standard Oil Company of New York). Socony merged with Magnolia Petroleum Company in the thirties and adopted Magnolia’s Pegasus emblem, and it has been used ever since. Mobil merged with Exxon in 1999 but the Mobil brand and Pegasus are alive and well.

55 “Happy Days” character played by Marion Ross, informally : MRS C

In the great sitcom “Happy Days”, the Fonz liked to address Richie Cunningham’s mother as “Mrs. C”. In turn, Mrs. Marion Cunningham addressed the Fonz as “Arthur”.

56 Gets a six-pack, say : TONES UP

The abdominal muscles (abs) are more correctly referred to as the rectus abdominis muscles. They might be referred to as a “six-pack”, or even a “ten-pack”, in a person who has developed the muscles and who has low body fat. In my case, more like a keg …

60 George’s mother on “Seinfeld” : ESTELLE

In “Seinfeld”, Jerry’s friend George was the son of Frank and Estelle Costanza. George was portrayed by Jason Alexander, and the character was loosely based on the show’s co-creator Larry David. The character’s name came from Jerry Seinfeld’s real-life friend Mike Costanza. George’s parents were played by the great Jerry Stiller and Estelle Harris.

Down

1 Drinks in flutes : MIMOSAS

Where I come from, the cocktail known in North America as a mimosa is called a buck’s fizz, with the latter named for Buck’s Club in London where it was introduced in 1921. The mimosa came along a few years later, apparently first being served in the Paris Ritz. If you want to make a mimosa, it’s a 50-50 mix of champagne and orange juice, and it is very tasty …

The narrow bowl of a champagne flute is preferred over the wide bowl of a champagne coupe as the smaller surface area of the wine helps retain its carbonation.

2 Former Indiana arena that hosted four Final Fours : RCA DOME

The RCA Dome was probably better known as the Hoosier dome, home to the Indianapolis Colts from 1984-2007. It was torn down in 2008, but the inflated roof was put to good use afterwards. The material was re-purposed by local artisans, creating wallets, messenger bags etc. These can still be purchased, with proceeds going to charity.

In the NCAA Division I Basketball Championship, the teams remaining at various stages of the tournament are known as:

  • The “Sweet Sixteen” (the regional semi-finalists)
  • The “Elite Eight” (the regional finalists)
  • The “Final Four” (the national semi-finalists)

3 Big fantasy sports betting site : FANDUEL

DraftKings and FanDuel are companies offering fantasy sports games and leagues.

4 Rock band with the 1988 #1 hit “Need You Tonight” : INXS

INXS (pronounced “in excess”) was a rock band from Australia. The band formed in 1977 in Sydney as the Farriss Brothers, as three of the original lineups were indeed brothers.

5 Onetime British band whose name consists of letters suggesting “bliss” : XTC

XTC were a band from Swindon in the UK whose most famous hits were “Making Plans for Nigel” from 1979, and “Senses Working Overtime” from 1982.

6 Alternatives to Krogers and Safeways : IGAS

The initialism “IGA” stands for “Independent Grocers Alliance”, and is a chain of supermarkets that extends right around the world. IGA’s headquarters is in Chicago. The company uses the slogan “Hometown Proud Supermarkets”.

8 Something everyone on earth experiences : G-FORCE

The force of gravity (g-force) that we all feel is referred to as “one G”. As gravity is a actually an accelerating force, acceleration is measured relative to that force of gravity. So, if we are sitting in a vehicle that accelerates at 3G, then we are experiencing a force that is three times that which we feel from the gravitational pull of the earth. Zero G is weightlessness that is experienced when in space, and outside the influence of the earth’s gravity.

9 Swimmer with big calves : ORCA

The taxonomic name for the killer whale is “Orcinus orca”. The use of the name “orca”, rather than “killer whale”, is becoming more and more common. The Latin word “Orcinus” means “belonging to Orcus”, with Orcus being the name for the Kingdom of the Dead.

13 Still being developed : IN UTERO

“In utero” is a Latin term meaning “in the uterus”. The Latin “uterus” (plural “uteri”) translates as both “womb” and “belly”. The Latin word comes from the Greek “hystera” that also means “womb”, which gives us the words “hysterectomy”, and “hysterical”.

14 Détente issue : TEST BAN

“Détente” is a French word meaning “loosening, reduction in tension” and in general it is used to describe the easing of strained relations in a political situation. In particular, the policy of détente came to be associated with the improved relations between the US and the Soviet Union in the seventies.

29 ___ Ingalls Wilder, author of “Little House on the Prairie” : LAURA

Laura Ingalls Wilder was an author from Pepin, Wisconsin who is best remembered for her “Little House” series of children’s novels. The series was based on her own childhood in a pioneer family that moved from Wisconsin to Kansas and back again.

34 Whole bunch : SLEW

Our usage of “slew” to mean “large number” has nothing to do with the verb “to slew” meaning “to turn, skid”. The noun “slew” came into English in the early 1800s from the Irish word “sluagh” meaning “host, crowd, multitude”.

36 Spicy finger food : HOT WINGS

There are a few stories about how Buffalo wings were first developed, most of them related to the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. If you’re looking for Buffalo wings on a menu in Buffalo, you’ll note that in and around the city they’re just referred to as “wings”.

39 Character in “Friends” : SILENT I

The letter I in the word “friends” is a silent letter I.

40 Hall-of-Fame coach Ewbank : WEEB

Weeb Ewbank was a football coach mostly known for coaching the Baltimore Colts and the New York Jets in the fifties, sixties and seventies. He won two NFL championships with the Colts (1958, 1959), and one AFL championship with the Jets (1968).

42 A Bobbsey twin : FLOSSIE

The “Bobbsey Twins” series of children’s novels was first written by Edward Stratemeyer in 1904. Stratemeyer used the pseudonym Laura Lee Hope, as did subsequent authors who wrote 72 books in the series between 1904 and 1979. The title characters are two sets of fraternal twins, one called Bert and Nan (who are 12) and the other called Flossie and Freddie (who are 6).

46 Online buster of myths : SNOPES

Snopes.com is the place to go if you want to check the validity or history of an urban legend or Internet rumor. The site was launched in 1995 by Californians Barbara and David Mikkelson.

54 100 kurus : LIRA

The currency of Turkey is the Turkish lira, which is divided into 100 kuruş. In 1927, the Turkish lira replaced the Ottoman lira, which had been in use since 1844.

55 Actress Suvari : MENA

Mena Suvari’s most famous role to date is probably “the beauty” in the 1999 movie “American Beauty”. She played the teenage girl with whom the Kevin Spacey character becomes infatuated. Suvari also plays Heather in the “American Pie” films.

59 Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse player, for short : CAV

The Cavaliers are the professional basketball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavs joined the NBA as an expansion team in 1970.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Handy guy : MR FIXIT
8 Singled or doubled : GOT A HIT
15 Words declining an invitation : I CAN’T GO
16 Character voiced by Samuel L. Jackson in “The Incredibles” : FROZONE
17 Stimpy, on “The Ren & Stimpy Show” : MANX CAT
18 Tako, on a sushi menu : OCTOPUS
19 9 to 5, e.g. : ODDS
20 One born on a kibbutz : SABRA
22 Senate majority leader between Dole and Daschle : LOTT
23 Pittance : SOU
24 Sealing wax ingredient : LAC
25 First-magnitude star in Cygnus : DENEB
26 College city on I-35 : AMES
28 Mutated gene : ALLELE
30 Investment inits. : IRA
31 Rastafari messiah : SELASSIE
33 Walter ___, 1950s-’70s Dodgers manager : ALSTON
35 One tapped for a stage show? : SHOE
36 Prow’s place : HULL
37 Enter quickly : DASH IN
40 In poorer financial shape, say : WORSE OFF
44 Country music’s ___ Young Band : ELI
45 100 céntimos : PESETA
47 Trick : WILE
48 Pitching no-nos : BALKS
50 Ad word often written with an exclamation point : NEW!
51 Park place? : LOT
52 “Can I get an ___?” : AMEN
53 Gas giant : MOBIL
55 “Happy Days” character played by Marion Ross, informally : MRS C
56 Gets a six-pack, say : TONES UP
58 Kind of kind : NICEISH
60 George’s mother on “Seinfeld” : ESTELLE
61 Family nickname : GRANNIE
62 Agreed : SAID YES
63 Criticized severely : SAVAGED

Down

1 Drinks in flutes : MIMOSAS
2 Former Indiana arena that hosted four Final Fours : RCA DOME
3 Big fantasy sports betting site : FANDUEL
4 Rock band with the 1988 #1 hit “Need You Tonight” : INXS
5 Onetime British band whose name consists of letters suggesting “bliss” : XTC
6 Alternatives to Krogers and Safeways : IGAS
7 Blatant falsehood : TOTAL LIE
8 Something everyone on earth experiences : G-FORCE
9 Swimmer with big calves : ORCA
10 Squirt : TOT
11 Nitrogen compound : AZOLE
12 “Get going already!” : HOP ON IT!
13 Still being developed : IN UTERO
14 Détente issue : TEST BAN
21 Bundle up : BALE
25 Wooded valleys : DELLS
27 Military band : SASH
28 United : AS ONE
29 ___ Ingalls Wilder, author of “Little House on the Prairie” : LAURA
32 They can be used as icebreakers : SHIPS
34 Whole bunch : SLEW
36 Spicy finger food : HOT WINGS
37 Highlights of some political campaigns : DEBATES
38 Colorado city on the Rio Grande : ALAMOSA
39 Character in “Friends” : SILENT I
40 Hall-of-Fame coach Ewbank : WEEB
41 Engine part that distributes lubrication evenly : OIL RING
42 A Bobbsey twin : FLOSSIE
43 Sold for : FETCHED
46 Online buster of myths : SNOPES
49 Weak-___ : KNEED
53 Half-assed sort? : MULE
54 100 kurus : LIRA
55 Actress Suvari : MENA
57 Roguish : SLY
59 Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse player, for short : CAV

6 thoughts on “1107-19 NY Times Crossword 7 Nov 19, Thursday”

  1. 18:54. No errors. After I finished, I spent a couple more minutes working out the theme, and I’m a little surprised there was no “revealer” for it.

  2. Since there are no themes daily (save Sunday), I completed the puzzle and was at a loss as to the circled letters. I got “faux,” “hope,” and “legs,” but didn’t correlate those letters with an image of a “diamond,” to my shame; ergo “neil” and “baseball.”

    Kudos to you, and next time I find random circled letters, I’ll concentrate more carefully. Again, I must figure out what the circled letters suggest.

    Thanks for the challenge.

  3. 35:23. This whole puzzle felt like proper names. I had to cheat and look up a few. Noticed FAUX and HOPE in the circles, but I didn’t pay attention after that. I too was surprised there was no reveal. May as well have been a themeless for me.

    I did this puzzle late – after the Friday and Saturday’s puzzles. For me, this was the toughest of the week.

    Best –

  4. Really did not think I would finish as I couldn’t grasp the theme which is usually what saves me! Ended up WNE but I wouldn’t say I exactly sped through it.

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