1120-19 NY Times Crossword 20 Nov 19, Wednesday

Constructed by: Erik Agard
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Talking in Circles

Themed answers include letters IN CIRCLES at either end. Those circled letters spell out synonyms of TALK:

  • 14D Argue repetitively … with a hint to this puzzle’s theme : TALK IN CIRCLES
  • 12A Take the risk : CHANCE IT (giving “CHAT”)
  • 23A 2018 blockbuster film based on a Marvel comic : BLACK PANTHER (giving “BLATHER”)
  • 31A Time for a trip to Cabo San Lucas or Miami Beach : SPRING BREAK (giving “SPEAK”)
  • 46A Bring about : ORCHESTRATE (giving “ORATE”)
  • 51A Sturdier alternative to a cardboard box : PLASTIC CRATE (giving “PRATE”)
  • 66A Long fish with a row of barbs : SPINY EEL (giving “SPIEL”)

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

Bill’s time: 9m 25s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Univ. entrance exam : ACT

ACT is an abbreviation for American College Testing. The ACT is an entrance exam used by many universities. It has four sections, English, Reading, Math and Science, and an optional 30-minute essay.

4 Scores worth six pts. : TDS

Touchdown (TD)

17 Spanish greeting : COMO ESTA?

“Cómo estas?” is Spanish for “how are you?”

19 “Fiddler on the Roof” star : TOPOL

Chaim Topol (usually called just “Topol”) is an actor from Tel Aviv in Israel. I well remember Topol for his marvelous portrayal of Tevye in the original West End performance of “Fiddler on the Roof” in the sixties. He later reprised the role in the 1971 movie of the show, and then again in a 1990 Broadway revival. Famously, Topol also played good guy Milos Columbo in the James Bond movie “For Your Eyes Only”.

The enduring musical “Fiddler on the Roof” is based on a collection of stories by Sholem Aleichem about Tevye, a milkman living in Tsarist Russia. The musical version of the tales first opened on Broadway in 1964. “Fiddler on the Roof” had such a long run that it became the first musical to reach 3,000 performances.

22 ___ Fridays : TGI

T.G.I. Fridays is an American restaurant chain that was founded in 1965 in New York City. Today there are over a thousand T.G.I. Friday’s restaurants in over 50 countries. I think that Fridays has always been particularly successful overseas. I used to visit one a lot with my family when we lived in the Philippines, and I believe the most successful Fridays restaurant anywhere in the world is the one in Haymarket Leicester Square in London in the UK.

31 Time for a trip to Cabo San Lucas or Miami Beach : SPRING BREAK (giving “SPEAK”)

Cabo San Lucas is a major tourist destination at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula in Mexico. “Cabo” is sometimes referred to as the “Fort Lauderdale of Mexico”.

The coastal city of Miami Beach sits on a string of islands on the Florida coast, separated from Miami proper by Biscayne Bay. Miami Beach is home to the Art Deco Historic District, which is home to the largest collection of Art Deco architecture in the world.

35 High-level math, informally : CALC

The Latin word “calculus” was originally used for a reckoning or an account, and originally applied to a pebble that was used to maintain a count. The Latin word came from the Greek for a pebble, “khalix”.

37 Attraction in Bay Lake, Fla. : EPCOT

EPCOT Center (now just called “Epcot”) is the theme park beside Walt Disney World in Florida. EPCOT is an acronym standing for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, and is a representation of the future as envisioned by Walt Disney. Walt Disney actually wanted to build a living community for 20,000 residents at EPCOT, but he passed away without that vision being realized.

44 “___ Believer” : I’M A

“I’m a Believer” was a big hit for the Monkees in 1966. The Monkees recording of “I’m a Believer” is a cover version. The song was written and originally recorded by Neil Diamond.

50 Baseball stat that’s better when it’s lower : ERA

Earned run average (ERA)

54 ___-de-sac : CUL

Even though “cul-de-sac” can indeed mean “bottom of the bag” in French, the term cul-de-sac is of English origin (the use of “cul” in French is actually quite rude). The term was introduced in aristocratic circles at a time when it was considered very fashionable to speak French. Dead-end streets in France are usually signposted with just a symbol and no accompanying words, but if words are included they are “voie sans issue”, meaning “way without exit”.

55 German philosopher Georg : HEGEL

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German philosopher, and one of the founders of the German idealism movement. “Idealism”, in the context of the movement, was the principle that objects did not have properties in themselves, but rather that an object’s properties depended on the person perceiving the object.

59 Sheep : OVINES

The Latin word for “sheep” is “ovis”, giving us the adjective “ovine” meaning “like a sheep”.

62 Latin American pastry : EMPANADA

An empanada is a dish made by folding pastry around cooked meat and vegetables. To me an empanada looks very similar to a dish I grew up with called a Cornish pasty.

67 Boston airport : LOGAN

Boston’s Logan Airport is named after General Edward Lawrence Logan, a military officer from South Boston who fought in the Spanish-American War.

69 Actress Ortiz : ANA

Ana Ortiz played the title character’s older sister in the TV series “Ugly Betty”.

Down

1 No. at an insurance agency : ACCT

Account (acct.)

3 Press (down) : TAMP

To tamp is to pack down tightly by tapping. “Tamp” was originally used specifically to describe the action of packing down sand or dirt around an explosive prior to detonation.

4 Immune system protectors : T CELLS

T cells are a group of white blood cells that are essential components of the body’s immune system. T cells are so called because they mature in the thymus, a specialized organ found in the chest.

7 Shape of a lightning bolt : ZIGZAG

The word “thunder” precedes the word “lightning” in the phrase “thunder and lightning”. However, thunder comes after lighting in reality, at least to the observer. The observer sees the flash of lightning and then seconds later hears the crash of thunder. That’s because light travels faster than sound.

8 Composer Brian : ENO

Brian Eno is a musician, composer and record producer from England who first achieved fame as the synthesizer player with Roxy Music. As a producer, Eno has worked with David Bowie, Devo, Talking Heads and U2.

10 Follow directions : TOE THE LINE

The idiomatic expression “to toe the line” means “to obey”. The etymology of the phrase is disputed, although it is likely to come from the Royal Navy. Barefooted sailors were required to stand to attention for inspection lined up along the seams for the wooden deck, hence “toeing the line”.

11 Laurence Olivier, notably : STAGE ACTOR

Laurence Olivier had to be one of the most respected actors to come out of England in the 20th century. He had tremendous impact on stage and screen, and was never short of work on either side of the Atlantic. While working in the British film industry just before WWII, Olivier met actress Vivien Leigh. The two were already married, but started an affair. Olivier travelled to Hollywood as he was cast as Heathcliff in “Wuthering Heights”, which gave him his big break in Hollywood. Leigh followed Olivier and found herself cast as Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind”. The couple took Hollywood by storm, and eventually unraveled their prior marriages so that they could wed in 1940.

13 Tyro, in modern parlance : NOOB

“Noob” is a not-so-nice slang term for a “newbie”, and often refers to someone who is new to an online community.

A tyro (also “tiro”) is a beginner or a novice. “Tyro” comes into English from Latin, in which language “tiro” means “recruit”.

16 Self-satisfied smile : SMIRK

The Old English word “smearcian” means “to smile”, and gave us our verb “to smirk”, meaning “to smile in a self-satisfied manner”.

21 Old TV channel that aired “Moesha” : UPN

The United Paramount Network (UPN) was a TV channel that launched in 1995, and shut down in 2006. Some of UPN’s programming was moved to the CW channel at the time of UPN’s demise.

“Moesha” is a sitcom that originally aired in the late nineties starring singer Brandy Norwood in the title role, a high school student in LA. “Moesha” may be a sitcom, but it had a reputation for dealing with very real social issues such as teen pregnancy, race relations, and infidelity.

24 Church part that sounds like what you might have on your smartphone : APSE

“Apse” sounds like “apps”.

26 “This Is Us” network : NBC

The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) has had a number of different logos in its history, including the famous peacock with which we are familiar today. The first peacock logo was introduced in the early days of color television and was designed to illustrate how wonderful color television would be, so go buy one! (NBC was owned by RCA, and so had a vested interest in sales of color television sets).

28 What fills un lac : EAU

In French, a “lac” (lake) is a body of “eau” (water).

33 Bygone leaders : SHAHS

The last Shah of Iran was Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, who was overthrown in the revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. The post-revolution government sought the extradition of the Shah back to Iran while he was in the United States seeking medical care (he had cancer). His prolonged stay in the United States, recovering from surgery, caused some unrest back in Iran and resentment towards the United States. Some say that this resentment precipitated the storming of the US Embassy in Tehran and the resulting hostage crisis.

38 Actor Dorsey of TV’s “Queen Sugar” : OMAR

“Queen Sugar” is a TV drama that is based on a 2014 novel of the same name by Natalie Baszile. It’s all about three estranged siblings who reunite to save their family’s failing sugarcane farm in Louisiana.

41 Abbr. meaning “We’ll fill this slot in later” : TBA

Something not yet on the schedule (“sked” or “sched.”) is to be advised/announced (TBA).

43 Wimbledon call : LET!

The Wimbledon Championships of tennis are held at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club located in Wimbledon, a district of London. The Wimbledon Championships started in 1877, and have been played on grass since day one.

46 Nonfiction film with a point of view, in brief : OP-DOC

Opinion documentary (op-doc)

47 Sends after : SICS ON

To sic on is to let at or set on. The verb “to sic on” comes from the attack command given to a dog “sic ‘em”.

48 Lone Star State sch. : TCU

Texas Christian University (TCU) is a private school in Fort Worth, Texas. TCU used to be called AddRan Male & Female, named after an AddRan Clark, the son of Addison Clark who died at the age of 3-years-old from diphtheria. Poor young AddRan was named after his father and his brother, Addison and Randolph.

The single star on the state flag of Texas is a reminder of the “lone star” on the 1836 National Standard of Texas. The single gold star on a blue background symbolizes Texas as an independent republic and its struggle for independence from Mexico.

49 Gas that’s a man’s name + E : ETHANE

Ethane is the second largest component of natural gas after methane. Ethane’s main use is in the production of ethylene, a compound that is widely used in the chemical industry.

Ethan + E = ethane

52 “___, meeny …” : EENY

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
Catch the tiger/monkey/baby by the toe.
If it hollers/screams let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, you are it!

56 Greek earth goddess : GAEA

The Greek goddess personifying the earth was Gaea (also “Gaia”, and meaning “land” or “earth” in Greek). The Roman equivalent goddess was Terra Mater, “Mother Earth”.

57 Biblical paradise : EDEN

According to the Book of Genesis, Adam and Eve lived in a garden “in” Eden, with Eden being geographically located by reference to four rivers, including the Tigris and the Euphrates. Some scholars hypothesize that Eden was located in Mesopotamia, which encompasses much of modern-day Iraq.

58 In ___ land : LA-LA

“La-la land” is a euphemism for a state of unconsciousness or a dreamworld.

61 Athenian vowel : ETA

Eta is the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet, and is a forerunner of our Latin character “H”. Originally denoting a consonant, eta was used as a long vowel in Ancient Greek.

Athens is the capital city of Greece and is one of the world’s oldest cities, with a history that goes back around 3,400 years. In its heyday, Classical Athens was a remarkable center for the arts and philosophical debate, and was home to Plato and Aristotle. Athens is often called “the cradle of Western civilization” and “the birthplace of democracy”. The city was named for the Greek goddess Athena.

63 Dashboard stat: Abbr. : MPH

Back in the 1800s, “dashboard” was the name given to a board placed at the front of a carriage to stop mud from “dashing” against the passengers in the carriage, mud that was kicked up by the hoofs of the horses. Quite interesting …

64 Chart shape : PIE

A pie chart can also be referred to as a circle graph. It is often stated that Florence Nightingale invented the pie chart. While this is not in fact true, she is due credit for popularizing it, and for developing the pie chart variation known as the polar area diagram. The earliest known pie chart appears in a book published in 1801 by Scottish engineer William Playfair.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Univ. entrance exam : ACT
4 Scores worth six pts. : TDS
7 Grates, as a lemon : ZESTS
12 Take the risk : CHANCE IT (giving “CHAT”)
15 Pricey bars : INGOTS
17 Spanish greeting : COMO ESTA?
18 Stadium cheer : GO TEAM!
19 “Fiddler on the Roof” star : TOPOL
20 Light: Sp. : LUZ
22 ___ Fridays : TGI
23 2018 blockbuster film based on a Marvel comic : BLACK PANTHER (giving “BLATHER”)
28 “TMI!” : EWW!
31 Time for a trip to Cabo San Lucas or Miami Beach : SPRING BREAK (giving “SPEAK”)
32 Oohs’ counterparts : AAHS
34 III, to Jr., say : SON
35 High-level math, informally : CALC
36 Its license plates say “Life Elevated” : UTAH
37 Attraction in Bay Lake, Fla. : EPCOT
40 Hand, informally : MITT
42 Latin list ender : ET AL
44 “___ Believer” : I’M A
45 Wine ___ : SNOB
46 Bring about : ORCHESTRATE (giving “ORATE”)
50 Baseball stat that’s better when it’s lower : ERA
51 Sturdier alternative to a cardboard box : PLASTIC CRATE (giving “PRATE”)
53 Lair : DEN
54 ___-de-sac : CUL
55 German philosopher Georg : HEGEL
59 Sheep : OVINES
62 Latin American pastry : EMPANADA
65 Give ownership of : CEDE TO
66 Long fish with a row of barbs : SPINY EEL (giving “SPIEL”)
67 Boston airport : LOGAN
68 Ticklee’s syllable : HEE
69 Actress Ortiz : ANA

Down

1 No. at an insurance agency : ACCT
2 When repeated, a toy train : CHOO
3 Press (down) : TAMP
4 Immune system protectors : T CELLS
5 Bleu ___ Causses (French cheese) : DES
6 Command before “Shake!” : SIT!
7 Shape of a lightning bolt : ZIGZAG
8 Composer Brian : ENO
9 Police dept. member : SGT
10 Follow directions : TOE THE LINE
11 Laurence Olivier, notably : STAGE ACTOR
13 Tyro, in modern parlance : NOOB
14 Argue repetitively … with a hint to this puzzle’s theme : TALK IN CIRCLES
16 Self-satisfied smile : SMIRK
21 Old TV channel that aired “Moesha” : UPN
24 Church part that sounds like what you might have on your smartphone : APSE
25 Wheat or soybeans : CROP
26 “This Is Us” network : NBC
27 Cable cars : TRAMS
28 What fills un lac : EAU
29 What rises and falls in a lake : WATER LEVEL
30 Question from a helpful person (or a helpless one) : WHAT CAN I DO?
33 Bygone leaders : SHAHS
38 Actor Dorsey of TV’s “Queen Sugar” : OMAR
39 Line out the door? : TA-TA
41 Abbr. meaning “We’ll fill this slot in later” : TBA
43 Wimbledon call : LET!
46 Nonfiction film with a point of view, in brief : OP-DOC
47 Sends after : SICS ON
48 Lone Star State sch. : TCU
49 Gas that’s a man’s name + E : ETHANE
52 “___, meeny …” : EENY
56 Greek earth goddess : GAEA
57 Biblical paradise : EDEN
58 In ___ land : LA-LA
60 Below zero: Abbr. : NEG
61 Athenian vowel : ETA
63 Dashboard stat: Abbr. : MPH
64 Chart shape : PIE

12 thoughts on “1120-19 NY Times Crossword 20 Nov 19, Wednesday”

  1. 14:13 One of these days my lack of desire to see the recent barrage of superhero movies and sequels is going to come back to haunt me on the NYTC…

  2. 10:33. I actually used BLATHER in order to get BLACK PANTHER. I don’t even remember the movie coming out. Not a tough solve by Agard standards.

    Best –

  3. 38:30 with 3 errors….again all the foreign words and weird abbrs ……maybe it’s just me then again it is Eric Agard.
    MERRY CHRISTMAS

  4. Merry Christmas, Bill, and thank you for all the help you give me when I can’t figure out some of those puzzles. The definitions you give are extra special and only you can supply those difficult ones. Have a wonderful New Year, as well.

  5. One (two?) error/s. Couldn’t come up with the G in HEGEL/GAEA.
    Need to brush up on my German philosophers and Greek goddesses.
    Merry Christmas from the not-so-cold-today Minnesota.

  6. This would have been Agard-tough but for the circles and easy crosses. EMPANADA and GAEA (var. Gaia) could have been harder to dig out. Liked Bill’s succinct summary of one of Hegel’s most basic tenets.

  7. 11:11, two errors: TOP(E)L; NO(E)B. Knew both answers, just spelled TOPOL wrong, and didn’t catch the misspelling of NOOB. The hazard of pencil/paper solving.

    Happy Holidays to all. And to echo others ‘Thank you @Bill’ for giving us this forum.

  8. No Errors / Hours and hours. Picked it up again Thursday and finished in a couple hours.

    I’ve been away from this site for awhile and glad to see that it is still here.

  9. @Anonymous. Yes I’m fine. Just couldn’t spend the time as the later-in-the-week puzzles are impossible (usually) for me to finish.

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