1128-19 NY Times Crossword 28 Nov 19, Thursday

Constructed by: Timothy Polin
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Ring of Fire

Some of the themed answers are in a RING at the center of the grid. Each needs the word FIRE added at the start to make sense. Also, there are a couple of “RING OF FIRE” answers included to add some additional “heat” to the puzzle:

  • 59A 17-Across hit … or a hint to four connected answers in this puzzle : RING OF FIRE
  • 27A Candies that make your mouth burn : FIREBALLS
  • 47A Performance with twirling torches : FIRE DANCE
  • 27D Agitator seeking radical change : FIREBRAND
  • 28D Big name in tires : FIRESTONE
  • 17A The Man in Black : JOHNNY CASH
  • 11D With 40-Down, Oscar-nominated player of 17-Across : JOAQUIN …
  • 40D See 11-Down : … PHOENIX

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

5 Nursery display : FLORA

The fauna is the animal life of a particular region, and the flora is that region’s plant life. The term “fauna” comes from the Roman goddess of earth and fertility who was called Fauna. Flora was the Roman goddess of plants, flowers and fertility.

10 California city whose name sounds like a surprised two-word greeting : OJAI

“Ojai” sounds like “Oh, hi!”

14 Film pooch : TOTO

Toto is Dorothy’s dog in the film “The Wizard of Oz”, and in the original book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum. Toto was played in the movie by a dog called Terry, but Terry’s name was soon changed to Toto in real life due to the success of the film.

17 The Man in Black : JOHNNY CASH

I must admit that I am not a big country music fan, but who doesn’t love Johnny Cash? The man had such a unique voice, and indeed unique songs. I think that his biopic, “Walk the Line”, is very cool, as is the title song itself. Recorded back in 1956, “Walk the Line” is relatively creative for “popular” music. The basic rhythm of the song emulates the sound of a freight train, the “boom-chicka-boom” sound. Cash’s guitar has a unique tone to it as it plays this rhythm, achieved by threading a piece of paper between the guitar strings giving the rhythm a bit of a “buzz”. Above the rhythm line, each of the five verses is sung in different keys. You can actually hear Cash hum a note signifying the key change at the start of each verse. With all these modulations, the final verse is sung a full octave lower than the first. A remarkable tune …

23 Tropical squawker : MACAW

Macaws are beautifully colored birds native to Central and South America that are actually a type of parrot. Most species of macaws are now endangered, with several having become extinct in recent decades. The main threats are deforestation and illegal trapping and trafficking of exotic birds.

24 ___ milk : SOY

What are known as soybeans here in the US are called “soya beans” in most other English-speaking countries. So, I drink soy milk here in America, but when I am over in Ireland I drink “soya milk”.

25 Inits. before some presidents’ names : USS …

The abbreviation “USS” stands for “United States Ship”. The practice of naming US Navy vessels in a standard format didn’t start until 1907, when President Theodore Roosevelt issued an executive order that addressed the issue.

26 GPS calculation, for short : ETA

Estimated time of arrival (ETA)

A global positioning system (GPS) is known as a satellite navigation system (Sat Nav) in Britain and Ireland.

29 Baked dish often served with tomato sauce : ZITI

Cylindrical pasta is known in general as “penne”, and there are many variants. For example, ziti is a particularly large and long tube with square-cut ends. “Penne” is the plural of “penna”, the Italian for “feather, quill”.

37 “I met her in a club down in old ___” (“Lola” lyric) : SOHO

The area of London called Soho had a very poor reputation for most of the 20th century as it was home to the city’s red light district. Soho went through a transformation in recent decades, and has been a very fashionable neighborhood since the 1980s.

“Lola” is a fabulous song that was written by Ray Davies and released by the Kinks back in 1970. Inspired by a real life incident, the lyrics tell of young man who met a young “lady” in a club, danced with her, and then discovered “she” was actually a transvestite. The storyline isn’t very traditional, but the music is superb.

38 Excoriates : RIPS INTO

To excoriate is to abrade or chafe. “Excoriate” also means “strongly denounce” something or someone.

42 Sarge, e.g. : NONCOM

An NCO or “noncom” is a non-commissioned officer in the armed forces. Usually, such an officer is one who has earned his or her rank by promotion through the enlisted ranks. A good example would be a sergeant major (sgt. maj.).

49 Santa ___ : ANA

Santa Ana is the county seat of Orange County, California and takes its name from the Santa Ana River that runs through the city.

50 Top suit : CEO

Chief executive officer (CEO)

51 Cable TV’s Nat ___ : GEO

The National Geographic Channel (Nat Geo) is jointly owned by Fox and the National Geographic Society, and was launched in 2001.

57 Popular nasal spray : AFRIN

Afrin is a nasal spray made by Bayer that has oxymetazoline as an active ingredient. Oxymetazoline is a topical decongestant.

59 17-Across hit … or a hint to four connected answers in this puzzle : RING OF FIRE

The country classic “Ring of Fire” was written by Merle Kilgore and June Carter. The first recording of the song was made by June Carter’s sister Anita, in 1963. The second recording was a little more successful. It was a recording made by June Carter’s husband … Johnny Cash.

61 Dark blue : ANIL

“Anil” is another name for the indigo plant, as well as the name of the blue indigo dye that is obtained from it. The color of anil is relatively close to navy blue. The main coloring agent in indigo dye is a crystalline powder called indigotin.

Down

1 Place that’s orange on a Monopoly board : ST JAMES

The street names in the original US version of the board game Monopoly are locations in or around Atlantic City, New Jersey.

4 Chocolatier of children’s literature : WONKA

Willy Wonka is the lead character in the 1964 novel by Roald Dahl called “Charlie & the Chocolate Factory”. Willy Wonka has been portrayed on the big screen twice. Gene Wilder was a fabulous Wonka in the 1971 version titled “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”, and Johnny Depp played him in the Tim Burton movie from 2005 called “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. I’m not too fond of Tim Burton movies, so I haven’t seen that one …

6 The house of Felipe VI? : LA CASA

Felipe VI became King of Spain in 2014 when his father, King Juan Carlos I, abdicated. Felipe is quite the competitive sailor, and comes from a sailing family. He was a member of the Spanish sailing team in 1992 Olympics held in Barcelona. His father and sister also sailed for Spain’s Olympic sailing team.

10 First saint of the Russian Orthodox Church : OLGA

Saint Olga of Kiev was a ruler of the medieval state of Rus (located in Eastern Europe) from 945 – 963 AD. By all accounts, Olga was a brutal woman in the early days of her reign. She came to power after her husband Igor’s assassination and ruled as regent, acting for their son. She carried out terrible acts of vengeance on those responsible for her husband’s death. Later in her rule, she converted to Christianity. She was eventually proclaimed a saint for her efforts to spread the Christian religion in Rus.

The Eastern Orthodox Church is the second-largest of Christian religious tradition in the world, after Roman Catholicism. Many Orthodox churches identify themselves along national lines, such as Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox and Serbian Orthodox, etc.

11 With 40-Down, Oscar-nominated player of 17-Across : JOAQUIN …
(40D See 11-Down : … PHOENIX)

Actor Joaquin Phoenix is the brother of actress Summer Phoenix and of the late River Phoenix, who was also an actor.

12 Chilean dictator Pinochet : AUGUSTO

Augusto Pinochet was dictator of Chile between 1973 and 1990. He came to power in a coup (backed by the US) that overthrew the democratically elected socialist government led by President Salvador Allende. Pinochet’s reign led to the execution of thousands, and the internment and torture of tens of thousands.

27 Agitator seeking radical change : FIREBRAND

A firebrand is a piece of burning wood that is used to kindle a fire. In a figurative sense, a firebrand is an agitator, someone who kindles passions.

28 Big name in tires : FIRESTONE

Firestone is a tire company that was founded by Harvey Firestone in 1900. The Firestone company took off when it was selected by Henry Ford as the supplier of tires for his Model T.

29 National park NE of Las Vegas : ZION

To me, the most spectacular feature of southwestern Utah’s Zion National Park is the magnificent Zion Canyon. The canyon cuts through red Navajo sandstone and truly is a beautiful sight.

34 “Ray Donovan” channel, briefly : SHO

“Ray Donovan” is a very successful Showtime crime drama series starring Liev Schreiber in the title role. Donovan is a law firm’s “fixer” who helps out the rich and famous clients.

36 Bachelor contingent at a cotillion : STAG LINE

“Cotillion” is an American term that we’ve been using since about 1900 for a formal ball. In France, a cotillion was a type of dance, with the term deriving from an Old French word for a petticoat. I guess the cotillion dance was one in which the lady would flash her petticoats as she did a twirl!

38 Nascar enthusiast, e.g. : RACE FAN

National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR)

39 Dessert drink made with frozen grapes : ICE WINE

Ice wine is a sweet dessert wine that is produced using grapes that have frozen on the vine. The grapes must be harvested very quickly and pressed in a cold environment while still frozen. Because it is only the water in the grapes that freezes, the juice from the pressing is more highly concentrated, containing more sugar and other dissolved solids. Most of the world supply of ice wine comes from Canada and Germany.

41 College town WSW of Albany : ONEONTA

The city of Oneonta in Upstate New York grew from a hamlet called “Milfordville” that started to develop around 1800. The name was changed to Oneonta in 1832, when it was incorporated as a village within the surrounding town of Oneonta. The city is home to the State University of New York at Oneonta (SUNY Oneonta) that started out as a normal school and a teacher’s college in 1889.

New York’s state capital of Albany was founded as a Dutch trading post called Fort Nassau in 1614. The English took over the settlement in 1664 and called it Albany, naming it after the future King of England James II, whose title at the time was the Duke of Albany. It became the capital of New York State in 1797.

43 Hack job? : CAB RIDE

Hackney is a location in London, and it probably gave its name to a “hackney”, an ordinary type of horse around 1300. By 1700 a “hackney” was a person hired to do routine work, and “hackneyed” meant “kept for hire”, and then “stale, uninteresting”. This morphed into a hackney carriage, a carriage or car for hire, and into “hack”, a slang term for a taxi driver or cab.

44 Club that few golfers carry : ONE-IRON

The golf club known as the 1-iron is the lowest lofted of all the irons. However, golfer big hitter John Daly owned a 0-iron that was specially made for him by Wilson.

45 Theme in “Hamlet” : MADNESS

The full title of William Shakespeare’s play that we tend to call “Hamlet” is “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”. It is the most performed of all Shakespeare’s plays and it is also his longest, the only one of his works comprising over 4,000 lines. That’s about a 4-hour sitting in a theater …

48 Cantankerous sort : CODGER

“Geezer”, “codger” and “coot” are all not-so-nice terms meaning “old man”.

52 Org. for W.W. II Hurricane pilots : RAF

The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the oldest independent air force in the world (i.e. the first air force to become independent of army or navy forces). The RAF was formed during WWI on 1 April 1918, a composite of two earlier forces, the Royal Flying Corps (part of the Army) and the Royal Naval Air Service. The RAF’s “finest hour” was the Battle of Britain, when the vastly outnumbered British fighters fought off the might of the Luftwaffe causing Hitler to delay his plan to cross the English Channel. This outcome prompted Winston Churchill to utter the memorable words

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

53 Slaughterhouse scraps : OFFAL

The internal organs and entrails of a butchered animal are referred to collectively as “offal”. Examples of dishes that make use of offal would be sausages, foie gras, sweetbreads and haggis. The term is a melding of the words “off” and “fall”, and dates back to the 14th century. The idea is that offal is what “falls off” a butcher’s block.

55 It goes with the flow : SILT

Today, we mostly think of silt as a deposit of sediment in a river. Back in the mid-1400s, silt was sediment deposited by seawater. It is thought that word “silt” is related to “salt”, as found in seawater.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Be agitated : STEW
5 Nursery display : FLORA
10 California city whose name sounds like a surprised two-word greeting : OJAI
14 Film pooch : TOTO
15 Supermarket checkout choices : LANES
16 Oaf : LOUT
17 The Man in Black : JOHNNY CASH
19 Comedy bits : GAGS
20 Difficult to differentiate : ALIKE
21 Decidedly not lowbrow : ARTY
22 Light blue : AQUA
23 Tropical squawker : MACAW
24 ___ milk : SOY
25 Inits. before some presidents’ names : USS …
26 GPS calculation, for short : ETA
27 Candies that make your mouth burn : FIREBALLS
29 Baked dish often served with tomato sauce : ZITI
30 Merchant : SELLER
33 Reveals to, as a secret : LETS IN ON
35 “We gave it a shot” : ALAS
37 “I met her in a club down in old ___” (“Lola” lyric) : SOHO
38 Excoriates : RIPS INTO
42 Sarge, e.g. : NONCOM
46 Feel the burn : ACHE
47 Performance with twirling torches : FIRE DANCE
49 Santa ___ : ANA
50 Top suit : CEO
51 Cable TV’s Nat ___ : GEO
52 Like many monks : ROBED
54 ___ milk : EWES’
56 Oaf : CLOD
57 Popular nasal spray : AFRIN
58 Done: Fr. : FINI
59 17-Across hit … or a hint to four connected answers in this puzzle : RING OF FIRE
61 Dark blue : ANIL
62 Threw in a chip, say : ANTED
63 Fusses : ADOS
64 On deck : NEXT
65 Common wizard feature : BEARD
66 What keeps things in focus? : LENS

Down

1 Place that’s orange on a Monopoly board : ST JAMES
2 “Missed your chance!” : TOO LATE!
3 Fair : ETHICAL
4 Chocolatier of children’s literature : WONKA
5 Cool-looking, in slang : FLY
6 The house of Felipe VI? : LA CASA
7 Hot, hot, hot! : ON A ROLL
8 Gives a makeover : RESTYLES
9 Visibly aghast : ASHY
10 First saint of the Russian Orthodox Church : OLGA
11 With 40-Down, Oscar-nominated player of 17-Across : JOAQUIN …
12 Chilean dictator Pinochet : AUGUSTO
13 Moralizer’s comment : IT’S A SIN
18 Inexperienced : NEW
27 Agitator seeking radical change : FIREBRAND
28 Big name in tires : FIRESTONE
29 National park NE of Las Vegas : ZION
31 Zap, in a way : LASE
32 Clockmaker ___ Terry : ELI
34 “Ray Donovan” channel, briefly : SHO
36 Bachelor contingent at a cotillion : STAG LINE
38 Nascar enthusiast, e.g. : RACE FAN
39 Dessert drink made with frozen grapes : ICE WINE
40 See 11-Down : … PHOENIX
41 College town WSW of Albany : ONEONTA
43 Hack job? : CAB RIDE
44 Club that few golfers carry : ONE-IRON
45 Theme in “Hamlet” : MADNESS
48 Cantankerous sort : CODGER
52 Org. for W.W. II Hurricane pilots : RAF
53 Slaughterhouse scraps : OFFAL
55 It goes with the flow : SILT
56 Cantankerous sort : CRAB
60 Curious : ODD

4 thoughts on “1128-19 NY Times Crossword 28 Nov 19, Thursday”

  1. 25:50. Been to ONO, California, never heard of Ojai until now, and I’m sure I would have mispronounced it.

    Nice pun, Rick, I’ve never looked at “soy milk” and now I can’t not see it that way!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. 25:25. I got JOHNN to begin 17A and thought it was someone named JOHN N…. I thought 11D was Jacques somebody and I knew nothing of the actors nor the movie. It took me a while to get it all straightened out. I made this one much tougher than it really was.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all, or Happy New Year to the syndicated group when they get this puzzle…

    Best –

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