1205-19 NY Times Crossword 5 Dec 19, Thursday

Constructed by: Neville Fogarty
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): Over/Under Letter

Themed answers each start with a circled letter from the line above. That letter is OVER the rest of the answer:

  • 20A Power players : MOVERS AND SHAKERS (M over S AND SHAKERS)
  • 30A Any member of the United Nations : SOVEREIGN STATE (S over EIGN STATE)
  • 49A Wooden crossings that provide protection from the weather : COVERED BRIDGES (C over ED BRIDGES)
  • 58A The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, for one : GOVERNMENT AGENCY (G over NMENT AGENCY)

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

Bill’s time: 14m 55s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 TV show with three stars : MASH

“M*A*S*H” has only three stars (three asterisks, that is). These asterisks first appeared on the poster for the 1970 movie, but they were omitted in the opening titles. The TV series went on to use the asterisks from the poster.

9 Kind of knife : BOWIE

A Bowie knife is a fixed-blade knife that was made famous by Colonel Jim Bowie in the early 1800s. A Bowie knife is one that comes with a sheath and has a crossguard at the end of the hilt. It also has a clip point, meaning that the forward third of the blade appears to be “clipped off”, leaving a sharp point.

14 Treat with the identical color scheme as this puzzle : OREO

If you take a close look at the embossed design on the front and back of an Oreo cookie, you’ll spot the main elements of the Nabisco logo. Those elements are an oval with a cross on top, a cross with two bars. Usually the company name “Nabisco” is inside the oval, but for the cookie it’s the brand name “Oreo”. The current embossed design was introduced in 1952.

16 ___ Kane, longtime “All My Children” role : ERICA

“All My Children” was the first daytime soap opera to debut in the seventies. Star of the show was Susan Lucci who played Erica Kane. The show was cancelled in 2011 after being on the air for 41 years.

18 Subject of a Better Business Bureau investigation : SCAM

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a private concern (nope, it is not a government agency) that was founded in 1912. It operates like a franchise, with local BBB’s managed independently while operating to a “corporate” set of guidelines.

19 Neighbor on TV’s “Bewitched” : ABNER

The delightful sitcom “Bewitched” originally ran on ABC from 1964 to 1972. The lead character in the show is Samantha Stephens, played by the lovely Elizabeth Montgomery. Elizabeth was the daughter of Hollywood star Robert Montgomery.

23 Former Federal Reserve chairman Bernanke : BEN

Ben Bernanke was Chairman of the Federal Reserve for two terms, after being nominated by President George W. Bush in 2006 and renominated by President Barack Obama. It was Bernanke who was in charge of the Fed during the financial crisis of the late-2000s.

25 Where crafty people may be found online? : ETSY

Etsy.com is an e-commerce website where you can buy and sell the kind of items that you might find at a craft fair.

27 Rap, so to speak : BLAME

A rap sheet is a criminal record. “Rap” is a slang term dating back to the 1700s that means “blame, responsibility” as in “to take the rap”, “bad rap” and “to beat the rap”. This usage morphed into “rap sheet” in the early 1900s.

30 Any member of the United Nations : SOVEREIGN STATE (S over EIGN STATE)

The United Nations was established right after the end of WWII, and was a replacement for the ineffective League of Nations that had been formed after the end of WWI. The US was at the forefront of the founding of the United Nations, led by President Franklin Roosevelt just prior to the start of WWII. The UN’s headquarters is in international territory in New York. There are three regional UN headquarters, also located in international territory, in Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi.

37 Place to go in London : LOO

It has been suggested that the British term “loo”, meaning “toilet”, comes from “Waterloo” (water closet … water-loo), but no one seems to know for sure. Another suggestion is that the term comes from the card game of “lanterloo”, in which the pot was called the loo!

38 Early operating system : UNIX

Unix is a computer operating system that was developed at Bell Labs in 1969. The initial name for the project was Uniplexed Information and Computing Service (Unics), and this evolved over time into “Unix”.

40 New York’s Daily News, e.g. : TABLOID

“Tabloid” is the trademarked name (owned by Burroughs Wellcome) for a “small tablet of medicine”, a name that goes back to 1884. The word “tabloid” had entered into general use to mean a compressed form of anything, and by the early 1900s was used in “tabloid journalism”, which described newspapers that had short, condensed articles and stories printed on smaller sheets of paper.

43 Kimono accessory : OBI

The sash worn as part of traditional Japanese dress is known as an obi. The obi can be tied at the back in what is called a butterfly knot. The term “obi” is also used for the thick cotton belts that are an essential part of the outfits worn by practitioners of many martial arts. The color of the martial arts obi signifies the wearer’s skill level.

The lovely Japanese kimono is a garment worn by men, women and children. The word “kimono” translates simply as “thing to wear”, with “ki” meaning “wear” and “mono” meaning “thing”.

44 “Toodles” : CIAO

“Ciao” is Italian for “‘bye”. “Arrivederci” is more formal, and translates as “goodbye”.

53 Product of the Kellogg Company : EGGO

Eggo is a line of frozen waffles and related products made by Kellogg’s. When they were introduced in the 1930s, the name “Eggo” was chosen to promote the “egginess” of the batter. “Eggo” replaced “Froffles”, the original name chosen by melding “frozen” and “waffles”.

The Kellogg Company was founded in 1906 by Will Keith Kellogg as the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company. Will established the enterprise while working with his brother John Harvey Kellogg at his Battle Creek Sanitarium. The brothers created corn flakes as a health food for patients at the sanitarium.

56 Internet company that helped launch TMZ : AOL

TMZ.com is a celebrity gossip website launched in 2005. “TMZ” stands for “thirty-mile zone”, a reference to the “studio zone” in Los Angeles. The studio zone is circular in shape with a 30-mile radius centered on the intersection of West Beverly Boulevard and North La Cienega Boulevard.

58 The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, for one : GOVERNMENT AGENCY (G over NMENT AGENCY)

The Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite towards the end of 1957 in a development that shocked the establishment in the US. Within months, President Eisenhower created the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, now DARPA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The Space Race had begun …

64 Celebrated husky : BALTO

The 1925 serum run to Nome took place in order to save the inhabitants of Nome and environs from a developing diphtheria epidemic. The run comprised a dog sled relay across Alaska, and required 20 mushers and 150 sled dogs to travel the 674 miles in just 5½ days. The lead sled dog on the final leg into Nome was named Balto. The dog became quite the celebrity as a result of the run, and there is a statue of Balto in Central Park in New York City.

71 Nappy material : SUEDE

Suede is leather made from the underside of an animal’s skin, usually the skin from a lamb. As such it is very soft, although not as durable as leather made from the exterior skin. The soft leather was, and is still used for making gloves. Back in 1859 these gloves were called “gants de Suede” in France, or “gloves of Sweden”. So, the name “suede” comes from the French word for Sweden.

72 Sizable vessels : ARKS

According to the Bible’s Book of Genesis, Noah was instructed to build his ark 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. That’s about 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high.

Down

1 May honorees : MOMS

Note the official punctuation in “Mother’s Day”, even though one might think it should be “Mothers’ Day”. President Wilson and Anna Jarvis, who created the tradition, specifically wanted Mother’s Day to honor the mothers within each family and not just “mothers” in general, so they went with the “Mother’s Day” punctuation.

3 Penn name : SEAN

Actor Sean Penn is a two-time Oscar winner, for his roles in “Mystic River” released in 2003 and “Milk” released in 2008. Penn’s celebrity on screen is only matched with his fame off the screen. Apart from his “big name” marriages to singer Madonna and actress Robin Wright, Penn is also well known for political and social activism. He perhaps inherited some of his political views from his father, actor and director Leo Penn. As an actor, Leo refused to “name names” in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee and so was blacklisted in Hollywood and had to move into directing to put bread on the table. In later years as a director he gave his son Sean his first acting role, in a 1974 episode of “Little House on the Prairie”.

5 Host Tyler of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” : AISHA

Aisha Tyler is an actor and comedian who was a co-host on “The Talk” for several years starting in 2011. She began hosting the reboot of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” in 2013.

6 Media protector introduced in the ’80s : CD CASE

It seems that the derivation of the term “jewel case” (CD box) is unclear. One suggestion is that initial prototypes weren’t very successful, so when a workable design was found it was dubbed the “jewel” case.

7 Deck chair material : TEAK

Teak is a hardwood tree in the mint family, commonly found in monsoon forests of Asia. Teak’s tight grain and high oil content make it very suitable for constructing outdoor furniture, where weather resistance is valued. For the same reason, teak is the wood of choice for wooden decks on boats.

10 Sphere of power : ORB

An orb and cross (“globus cruciger”) has been used as a Christian symbol of authority since Medieval times. The cross sits atop the globe, indicating Christ’s authority over the world. When the orb is held in the hand of a king or queen, this indicates the authority invested in the earthly ruler.

21 Winter weather forecast : SLEET

Apparently, “sleet” is a term used to describe two different weather conditions. One is a shower of ice pellets that are smaller than hail, and the second is a mixture of rain and snow, with the snow melting as it falls.

22 “Luncheon of the Boating Party” artist : RENOIR

Pierre-Auguste Renoir was a French painter who was very much at the forefront of the Impressionist Movement. Renoir was a prolific artist, with several thousand works attributed to him. The largest collection of Renoirs is actually in the United States. You can see 181 of his paintings at the Barnes Foundation just outside Philadelphia.

The Renoir painting “Le Déjeuner des Canotiers” is also known in English as “Luncheon of the Boating Party”. It can be seen in the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C.

26 “Rugrats” dad : STU

“Rugrats” is a cartoon show that aired on Nickelodeon from 1991 to 2004. The show spawned a series of movies, starting with 1998’s “The Rugrats Movie”.

29 Classic poem that begins “It was many and many a year ago / In a kingdom by the sea” : ANNABEL LEE

“Annabel Lee” was the last complete poem written by Edgar Allan Poe. The opening lines are:

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;

The closing lines are:

And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea—
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

33 Roman river : TIBER

The Tiber is the principal river in Italy in that it runs through the capital of Rome. It is also the third longest river in the country.

41 Programmer’s problem : BUG

Back in 1947, famed computer programmer Grace Hopper noticed some colleagues fixing a piece of equipment by removing a dead moth from a relay. She remarked that they were “debugging” the system, and so Hopper has been given credit for popularizing the term “bug” in the context of computing.

45 Dot follower, online : ORG

The .org domain was one of the six original generic top-level domains specified. The complete original list is:

  • .com (commercial enterprise)
  • .net (entity involved in network infrastructure e.g. an ISP)
  • .mil (US military)
  • .org (not-for-profit organization)
  • .gov (US federal government entity)
  • .edu (college-level educational institution)

48 Needing neatening : UNKEMPT

The word “unkempt” means “disheveled, not well-combed”. It derives from the Old English word “cemban” meaning “to comb”. The opposite to the more common “unkempt” is … “kempt”.

51 Comic’s “thing” : SHTICK

A shtick is a routine, a bit, a piece of entertainment. It comes from the Yiddish “shtick”, which has the same meaning and derives from the Middle High German word “stücke”, the word for “piece”.

55 Hall’s singing partner : OATES

Daryl Hall & John Oates are a pop music duo who were most successful in the late seventies and early eighties. They had six number one hits, including the 1982 release “Maneater”.

57 Island with a royal palace : OAHU

The ‘Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu is unique within this country. It is the only royal palace in the US that was used as an official residence by a reigning monarch. The Kingdom of Hawaii was overthrown in 1893 so the palace was used by successive governments even after Hawaii was awarded statehood in 1959. The palace has been a public museum since 1978.

59 Poet ___ St. Vincent Millay : EDNA

Edna St. Vincent Millay was an American poet and playwright, and the third woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (in 1923 for “The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver”). Millay was noted not only for her work, but also for the open arrangement that she and her husband had in their marriage. Millay took many lovers, including the poet George Dillon, for whom she wrote a number of sonnets.

61 Leader who succeeded his adoptive father : NERO

Nero was Emperor of Rome from 54 to 68 CE, and he had quite the family life. When he was just 16-years-old Nero married his step-sister Claudia Octavia. He also had his mother and step-brother executed.

I find Claudius to be the most fascinating of all the Roman Emperors. Claudius had a lot going against him as he walked with a limp and was slightly deaf. He was put in office by the Praetorian Guard (the emperor’s bodyguards) after Caligula was assassinated. Claudius had very little political experience and yet proved to be very forward-thinking and capable.

62 Sorghum, e.g. : CROP

Sorghum is a species of grass that is cultivated for its grain which is edible. Sorghum is also known as durra or jowari.

65 “How I Met Your Mother” narrator : TED

“How I Met Your Mother” is a sitcom that CBS has been airing since 2005. The main character is Ted Mosby, played by Josh Radnor. Mosby is also the narrator for the show looking back from the year 2030 (the live action is set in the present). As narrator, the older Mosby character is voiced by Bob Saget.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 TV show with three stars : MASH
5 Talent show entries : ACTS
9 Kind of knife : BOWIE
14 Treat with the identical color scheme as this puzzle : OREO
15 Brainstorming result : IDEA
16 ___ Kane, longtime “All My Children” role : ERICA
17 Deli stock : MEAT
18 Subject of a Better Business Bureau investigation : SCAM
19 Neighbor on TV’s “Bewitched” : ABNER
20 Power players : MOVERS AND SHAKERS (M over S AND SHAKERS)
23 Former Federal Reserve chairman Bernanke : BEN
24 “Oh, were it not so” : ALAS
25 Where crafty people may be found online? : ETSY
27 Rap, so to speak : BLAME
30 Any member of the United Nations : SOVEREIGN STATE (S over EIGN STATE)
35 Staircase decoration : RUNNER
37 Place to go in London : LOO
38 Early operating system : UNIX
39 Brunch vessel : URN
40 New York’s Daily News, e.g. : TABLOID
43 Kimono accessory : OBI
44 “Toodles” : CIAO
46 Pencil that’s been much used : NUB
47 Shakes awake : ROUSES
49 Wooden crossings that provide protection from the weather : COVERED BRIDGES (C over ED BRIDGES)
52 Chemically nonreactive : INERT
53 Product of the Kellogg Company : EGGO
54 Traffic signal? : HONK
56 Internet company that helped launch TMZ : AOL
58 The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, for one : GOVERNMENT AGENCY (G over NMENT AGENCY)
64 Celebrated husky : BALTO
66 “Get to work!” : DO IT!
67 Just : MERE
68 Holiday season feeling : CHEER
69 “Good job!” : NICE!
70 Front end : PROW
71 Nappy material : SUEDE
72 Sizable vessels : ARKS
73 One-ups : TOPS

Down

1 May honorees : MOMS
2 Specialty : AREA
3 Penn name : SEAN
4 “HOOO-whee!” : HOT DAMN!
5 Host Tyler of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” : AISHA
6 Media protector introduced in the ’80s : CD CASE
7 Deck chair material : TEAK
8 “Me too!” : SAME!
9 Wild bunch : BEASTS
10 Sphere of power : ORB
11 Edge out the competition : WIN BY A NOSE
12 Relative of a Slurpee : ICEE
13 Bring home : EARN
21 Winter weather forecast : SLEET
22 “Luncheon of the Boating Party” artist : RENOIR
26 “Rugrats” dad : STU
27 Robert the ___, much-storied king of Scotland : BRUCE
28 Leaving nothing to the imagination : LURID
29 Classic poem that begins “It was many and many a year ago / In a kingdom by the sea” : ANNABEL LEE
31 “You don’t say!” : I’LL BE!
32 Sticky stuff : GOO
33 Roman river : TIBER
34 Be : EXIST
36 Hit-or-miss : RANDOM
41 Programmer’s problem : BUG
42 Taking care of : DOING
45 Dot follower, online : ORG
48 Needing neatening : UNKEMPT
50 Slight, in a way : IGNORE
51 Comic’s “thing” : SHTICK
55 Hall’s singing partner : OATES
56 Subject of a book that goes from apple to zebra : ABCS
57 Island with a royal palace : OAHU
59 Poet ___ St. Vincent Millay : EDNA
60 Like some detective fiction : NOIR
61 Leader who succeeded his adoptive father : NERO
62 Sorghum, e.g. : CROP
63 Trees whose name sounds like letters of the alphabet : YEWS
65 “How I Met Your Mother” narrator : TED

14 thoughts on “1205-19 NY Times Crossword 5 Dec 19, Thursday”

  1. Is there an actually theme hinted in the actual NYT newspaper because my paper doesn’t give one. Some of these ‘themes’ are pretty lame.

  2. Steve, think of suede as fabric having a nap (all the fibers go in one direction). If you rub suede one way, the fibers stand up; if you rub it the other way, they lie flat. Therefore, suede is “nappy.” Cue the groans and eye rolls!

  3. No errors, but found it to be a bit awkward, like I was tripping over my own two feet most of the way. There’s a pun there, I guess.

  4. I had three squares wrong. It started with the incorrect HOT DATE for the correct HOT DAMN. Two other words consequently were also wrong.

    I had the entire puzzle worked (albeit with mistakes) and had to look a long time for the theme. I finally figured it out but wasn’t particularly impressed with it. Ho-hum.

    All things considered, not a bad showing for me today.

  5. 26:09, 2 errors: 14A O(N)E O; 2D A(N)EA. Had the idea that ‘black and white’ would be ‘one something’ (similar to one D), and ONEO/ANEA were just two more words in this puzzle I haven’t heard of.

    I prefer today’s ‘theme’ challenge to those of previous the days. Solving the riddle behind the entries was necessary (for me) to complete the grid.

  6. Well, I know with the circled letters there had to be a clue. But couldn’t figure it out. Sometimes these puzzles are just too cute…or I’m just getting too old. Thank goodness for Bill to uncover the mysteries.

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