1114-19 NY Times Crossword 14 Nov 19, Thursday

Constructed by: Alex Eaton-Salners
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: French Open

Themed answers are common phrases in which the OPENING word has been translated into FRENCH:

  • 60A Big clay court event … or a hint to the answers to 17-, 26-, 40- and 52-Across : FRENCH OPEN
  • 17A Invitation to connect on social media : AMI REQUEST (“friend” request)
  • 26A Sport requiring a tow : EAU SKIING (“water” skiing)
  • 40A Short-term employer of counselors : ETE CAMP (“summer” camp)
  • 52A “By all means!” : OUI INDEED! (“yes” indeed)

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

Bill’s time: 9m 59s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Tiny nuisance : GNAT

Gnats are attracted to the smell of rotting food, and vinegar. Simple homemade traps that use vinegar are often constructed to attract and kill gnats.

5 “The ___ Witch Project” : BLAIR

“The Blair Witch Project” is a 1999 horror film with an unusual twist in terms of structure. It’s about three young filmmakers who hike into the Black Hills in Maryland looking for the legendary Blair Witch. The three disappear, with only the disturbing footage they recorded being left behind. It is this “real footage” that is used to make the film.

14 Olympic sport discontinued after 1936 : POLO

The sport of polo originated in Iran, possibly before the 5th century BC. Polo was used back them primarily as a training exercise for cavalry units.

16 “Aladdin” character named after a literary villain : IAGO

In the 1992 Disney feature “Aladdin”, there is a parrot called Iago. Iago is voiced by the comic Gilbert Gottfried.

19 Steffi on the court : GRAF

Steffi Graf is a former World No. 1 professional tennis player from Germany. Graf won 22 Grand Slam singles titles, which is more than any other man or woman other than Margaret Court. She is married to another former World No. 1, namely Andre Agassi.

20 War vet’s affliction, for short : PTSD

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

23 Musician’s better half? : SIDE A

That would be side A of a record.

29 Unlike Bryn Mawr College : COED

Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania is a women’s liberal arts school that was founded in 1885. Bryn Mawr was the first women’s university in the nation to offer graduate education through to a PhD. While the undergraduate program is open only to females, the school opened up the postgraduate program to males in 1931.

30 Potentially offensive : UN-PC

To be un-PC is to be politically incorrect, not be politically correct (PC).

39 Conniption : FIT

A conniption, or more commonly a conniption fit, is a bout of violent anger or panic.

43 Network monitoring agcy. : FCC

TV broadcasting is monitored by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC has been around since 1934, when it replaced the Federal Radio Commission.

44 First name in fragrances : COCO

Chanel No. 5 is a perfume that was released by Coco Chanel back in 1921. Chanel had an affinity for the number “5”, and always presented her dress collection on May 5th (the fifth day of the fifth month). When she was presented a selection of experimental scents as potential choices for the first perfume to bear the Chanel name, she chose the sample in the fifth vial. Chanel instructed that the “sample number 5” should keep its name, asserting that it would bring the scent good luck.

45 Nocturnal lemur native to Madagascar : AYE-AYE

The aye-aye is a lemur that is native to Madagascar. It is the largest nocturnal primate in the world, and has an unusual way of feeding. The aye-aye taps on trees to find grubs, rather like a woodpecker. Having located its meal, it then uses its rodent-like teeth to gnaw into the wood and uses a specially-adapted long and narrow middle finger to pull out the grubs.

Madagascar is a large island country lying off the southeast coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. The main island of Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world (after Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo).

47 Fuel economy org. : EPA

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

49 Reviews, collectively: Abbr. : CRIT

Criticism (crit.)

51 Caustic compounds : LYES

What we call “lye” is usually sodium hydroxide, although historically the term “lye” was used for potassium hydroxide. Lye has many uses, including to cure several foodstuffs. Lye can make olives less bitter, for example. The chemical is also found in canned mandarin oranges, pretzels and Japanese ramen noodles. More concentrated grades of lye are used to clear drains and clean ovens. Scary …

55 Grammy winner Elliott : MISSY

Melissa “Missy” Elliott is a rap artist who was childhood friends of fellow rapper Timbaland.

60 Big clay court event … or a hint to the answers to 17-, 26-, 40- and 52-Across : FRENCH OPEN

There are four different surfaces used for playing tennis competitively:

  • Clay courts (used for the French Open)
  • Hard courts (used for the US Open and the Australian Open)
  • Grass courts (used for Wimbledon)
  • Carpet courts

68 Flag : TIRE

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”.

69 Muppet trio the Oinker Sisters, e.g. : PIGS

Jim Henson’s ensemble of puppets known as the Muppets made their debut on the TV show “Sam and Friends” in the 1950s. Some Muppets started appearing in 1969 on “Sesame Street”, and then the troupe were given “The Muppet Show” in 1976. And today, there’s no sign of their popularity waning.

70 Host of Fox’s “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” : TYSON

“Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” is a 2014 science documentary TV show presented by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. The series is a follow-on to the famous 1980 show “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage” that was presented by Carl Sagan.

Down

1 0.0 – 4.0 : GPA

Grade point average (GPA)

2 Recognition for an actor, informally : NOM

Nomination (nom.)

3 “Aladdin” alter ego : ALI

In Disney’s version of the “Aladdin” story, released in 1992, the street urchin Aladdin uses one of three wishes to become a prince, so that he can get near to the Princess Jasmine, with whom he has become besotted. With the genie’s help, Aladdin takes on the persona of “Prince Ali of Ababwa”.

4 Destroyer destroyer : TORPEDO

The naval weapon called a torpedo is named for the group of electric rays of the genus “Torpedo”. The name of the fish comes from the verb “torpere”, Latin for “to be stiffened, paralyzed”, which is what happens to someone who steps on an electric ray.

5 Backyard gatherings, for short : BBQS

It is believed that our word “barbecue” (BBQ) comes from the Taíno people of the Caribbean in whose language “barbacoa” means “sacred fire pit”.

9 Indian flatbreads : ROTIS

In an Indian restaurant, naan bread is very popular. Roti is an unleavened cousin of naan.

13 Introduction to geometry? : SOFT G

The first letter in the word “geometry” is a soft letter G (gee).

18 LAX listing : ETA

Los Angeles International Airport is the sixth busiest airport in the world in terms of passenger traffic, and the busiest here on the West Coast of the US. The airport was opened in 1930 as Mines Field and was renamed to Los Angeles Airport in 1941. On the airport property is the iconic white structure that resembles a flying saucer. This is called the Theme Building and I believe it is mainly used as a restaurant and observation deck for the public. The airport used to be identified by the letters “LA”, but when the aviation industry went to a three-letter standard for airport identification, this was changed to “LAX”. Apparently, the “X” has no significant meaning.

24 Column style : IONIC

The Ionic was one of the three classical orders of architecture, the others being the Doric and Corinthian. An Ionic column is relatively ornate. It usually has grooves running up and down its length and at the top there is a “scroll” design called a “volute”. The scroll motif makes Ionic columns popular for the design of academic buildings. The term “Ionic” means “pertaining to Ionia”, with Ionia being an ancient territory that is located in modern-day Turkey.

25 Certain legislative limit : DEBT CEILING

Historically speaking, increases in the US national debt expressed as a percentage of the gross domestic product are really dependent on only two major factors: either war or recession. So, we should just avoid both of those things …

27 Fig. that might earn you some credits : AP SCORE

The Advanced Placement (AP) program offers college-level courses to kids who are still in high school. After being tested at the end of an AP course, successful students receive credits that count towards a college degree.

28 11-time N.C.A.A. basketball champs : UCLA

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) gets more applications from potential students than any other university in the country. UCLA also has more students enrolled than any other university in the state.

30 “Woe ___ them …” : UNTO

Here is a verse from the Bible’s Book of Isaiah:

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

33 Take back : RECANT

Our term “to recant”, meaning “to retract, take back” comes directly from the Latin “recantare”, which has the same meaning. In turn, “recantare” derives from “re-” (back) and “cantare” (to chant).

35 Latin 101 word : AMAT

“Amo, amas, amat” translates from Latin as “I love, you love, he/she/it loves”.

38 Frost bit? : POESY

“Poesy” is an alternative name for poetry, and is often used to mean the “art of poetry”.

The wonderful poet Robert Frost was a native of San Francisco, but lived most of life in New England. He also spent a few years in England, just before WWI. Frost was well recognized for his work during his lifetime, and received four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. He was also Vermont’s first Poet Laureate, a position that he held from 1961 until his death in 1963.

41 Behold, to Brutus : ECCE

The most famous man with the name “Brutus” in ancient Rome was Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger. It was this Brutus that Julius Caesar turned to when he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate. William Shakespeare immortalized Brutus by featuring him in his play, “Julius Caesar”, and giving his victim the line “Et tu, Brute?”

46 Film director with a co-starring role in “Inglourious Basterds” : ELI ROTH

Eli Roth is one of a group of directors of horror movies known quite graphically as “The Splat Pack”. I can’t stand “splat” movies and avoid them as best I can. Roth is also famous for playing Donny Donowitz in the Quentin Tarantino movie “Inglourious Basterds”, a good film I thought, if you close your eyes during the gruesome bits.

48 Key holders : PIANOS

The traditional materials used for the manufacture of piano keys were ebony (black) and ivory (white). Ebony is still used, but now for both white and black keys. The white keys are made by covering ebony with white plastic.

53 Taste that’s not sweet, sour, bitter or salty : UMAMI

Umami is one of the five basic tastes, along with sweet, sour, bitter and salty. “Umami” is a Japanese word used to describe “a pleasant savory taste”. Umami was proposed as a basic taste in 1908, but it wasn’t until 1985 that the scientific community finally accepted it as such.

58 Use a QR code for, say : SCAN

A QR Code (for “Quick Response Code”) is a two-dimensional barcode that is favored over UPC barcodes as it can read more quickly and can store much more information. The QR Code comprises black squares within a square grid on a white background.

61 Marina del ___, Calif. : REY

Marina del Rey is a coastal community in California located within the borders of the City of Los Angeles. Marina del Rey is home to the world’s largest harbor for small craft, with a capacity for 5,300 boats.

62 Down-to-earth types, in brief? : ETS

Extraterrestrial (ET)

63 Epitome of easiness : PIE

The idiom “as easy as pie” is used to describe something that is simple to do. It appears that the reference here is to the simplicity of eating pie, rather than making a pie.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Tiny nuisance : GNAT
5 “The ___ Witch Project” : BLAIR
10 Complimentary robe providers : SPAS
14 Olympic sport discontinued after 1936 : POLO
15 Greet respectfully : BOW TO
16 “Aladdin” character named after a literary villain : IAGO
17 Invitation to connect on social media : AMI REQUEST (“friend” request)
19 Steffi on the court : GRAF
20 War vet’s affliction, for short : PTSD
21 “So true, huh?” : ISN’T IT?
23 Musician’s better half? : SIDE A
26 Sport requiring a tow : EAU SKIING (“water” skiing)
29 Unlike Bryn Mawr College : COED
30 Potentially offensive : UN-PC
31 Roadside establishment : INN
32 Not yet delivered : UNBORN
34 Bad-mouth : SLAM
36 ___ year : GAP
39 Conniption : FIT
40 Short-term employer of counselors : ETE CAMP (“summer” camp)
42 The person in question? : WHO?
43 Network monitoring agcy. : FCC
44 First name in fragrances : COCO
45 Nocturnal lemur native to Madagascar : AYE-AYE
47 Fuel economy org. : EPA
49 Reviews, collectively: Abbr. : CRIT
51 Caustic compounds : LYES
52 “By all means!” : OUI INDEED! (“yes” indeed)
55 Grammy winner Elliott : MISSY
56 Words said in a rush : I’M LATE
57 Manipulative sort : USER
59 Reclined : LAIN
60 Big clay court event … or a hint to the answers to 17-, 26-, 40- and 52-Across : FRENCH OPEN
66 “Let me think … hmm, I don’t think so” : UM, NO
67 Anthem alternative : AETNA
68 Flag : TIRE
69 Muppet trio the Oinker Sisters, e.g. : PIGS
70 Host of Fox’s “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” : TYSON
71 Range output : HEAT

Down

1 0.0 – 4.0 : GPA
2 Recognition for an actor, informally : NOM
3 “Aladdin” alter ego : ALI
4 Destroyer destroyer : TORPEDO
5 Backyard gatherings, for short : BBQS
6 Turn up, as the volume : LOUDEN
7 Astonishment : AWE
8 “___ a date!” : IT’S
9 Indian flatbreads : ROTIS
10 Register : SIGN IN
11 Splitting up : PARTING WAYS
12 Delighted toddler’s demand : AGAIN!
13 Introduction to geometry? : SOFT G
18 LAX listing : ETA
22 Revealing, in a way : SKIMPY
23 Shoe blemish : SCUFF
24 Column style : IONIC
25 Certain legislative limit : DEBT CEILING
27 Fig. that might earn you some credits : AP SCORE
28 11-time N.C.A.A. basketball champs : UCLA
30 “Woe ___ them …” : UNTO
33 Take back : RECANT
35 Latin 101 word : AMAT
37 “I remember now” : AH YES
38 Frost bit? : POESY
41 Behold, to Brutus : ECCE
46 Film director with a co-starring role in “Inglourious Basterds” : ELI ROTH
48 Key holders : PIANOS
50 Verbal shrug : I DUNNO
52 Prepare for a bodybuilding competition : OIL UP
53 Taste that’s not sweet, sour, bitter or salty : UMAMI
54 Trim, as a T-bone : DEFAT
55 Uninspired : MEH
58 Use a QR code for, say : SCAN
61 Marina del ___, Calif. : REY
62 Down-to-earth types, in brief? : ETS
63 Epitome of easiness : PIE
64 Long stretch : ERA
65 Take home : NET

2 thoughts on “1114-19 NY Times Crossword 14 Nov 19, Thursday”

  1. 13:40. What little French I know is mostly crosswordese-French so I survived this one.

    I’ve now seen UMAMI about a hundred times in crosswords, but I still don’t really know what it is. I can relate to and identify bitter, sour, sweet, and salty. But for the life of me I can’t figure out what UMAMI is.

    Best –

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