1206-19 NY Times Crossword 6 Dec 19, Friday

Constructed by: Andrew J. Ries
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 16m 27s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

27 Source of illegal ivory, informally : HIPPO

The hard, white material called ivory has mainly been sourced from the tusks of elephants, although it can also be collected from the walrus, hippopotamus, killer whale, wart hog and others. The word “ivory” comes into English via Latin from the ancient Egyptian word for “elephant”.

32 Cash ___ (restaurant caveat) : ONLY

A caveat is a warning or a qualification. “Caveat” is the Latin for “let him beware”.

33 New World songbird : VIREO

Vireos are pretty little birds native to the New World. Vireos’ wings and bodies are mostly grey, but their heads and throats are often a lovely olive green.

36 Power cord? : SINEW

“Sinew” is another name for “tendon”. Tendons are bands of collagen that connect muscle to bone. Tendons are similar to ligaments and fasciae, which are also connective tissue made out of collagen, but ligaments join bone to bone, and fasciae connect muscle to muscle. We also use the term “sinew” to mean muscular power.

41 Something made for one’s idols? : TOTEM

“Totem” is a word used to describe any entity that watches over a group of people. As such, totems are usually the subjects of worship. Totem poles are really misnamed, as they are not intended to represent figures to be worshiped, but rather are heraldic in nature often celebrating the legends or notable events in the history of a tribe.

42 Ancient : HOARY

The Old English word “har” meant “gray, venerable, old”, and came into English as “hoar” (and later “hoary”) with the same meaning. The term “hoar-frost” dates back to the 13th century, and reflects the similarity of the white feathers of frost to the gray/white of an old man’s beard.

43 Abbr. for an open slot : TBA

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

52 Some kaffiyeh wearers : SAUDIS

The kaffiyeh is a traditional headdress worn by Arab men and some Kurds. The kaffiyeh is fashioned from a square scarf usually made from cotton. The headdress takes its name from the city of Kufa. Although it has been worn for over a century, the kaffiyeh gained prominence when it was adopted by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

54 Company with a purple-and-green asterisk in its logo : E*TRADE

E*Trade is mainly an online discount brokerage. It was founded in 1982 in Palo Alto, California, and I used to drive by its headquarters almost every day. The company is now run out of New York City. E*Trade used to produce those famous Super Bowl ads with the talking babies staring into a webcam.

55 National tree of India : BANYAN

The banyan is a fig that germinates in cracks and crevices of a host tree and then sends roots down towards the ground. The roots that head down the the host give rise to a familiar name for the banyan, namely the strangler fig. The banyan tree is the national tree of India.

56 Clean, as a lab coat? : DEFLEA

The Labrador (Lab) breed of dog has been around at least since 1814, and the chocolate Labrador appeared over a century later in the 1930s. The name “Labrador Retriever” is simply a reference to the breed’s origin and behavior. Labs originally “retrieved” from the “Labrador Sea”.

Down

2 Pipe cleaner brand : DRANO

To clean out drains we might buy Crystal Drano, which is sodium hydroxide (lye) mixed with sodium nitrate, sodium chloride (table salt) and aluminum. The contents of Drano work in concert to clear the clog. The lye reacts with any fats creating soap which may be enough to break up the clog. Also, the finely-divided aluminum reacts with the lye generating hydrogen gas that churns the mixture. Any hair or fibers are cut by the sharp edges of the nitrate and chloride crystals. Having said all that, I find that boiling water poured down the drain quite often does the job …

5 It flows from the Cottian Alps to the Adriatic : RIVER PO

The Po flows right across northern Italy, and is the longest river in the country. The largest city on the Po is Turin.

7 Lillian of silent films : GISH

Lillian Gish is most famous for her performances on the silent screen, although she acted in films in a career that lasted from 1912 to 1987, over 75 years. Gish’s most famous role was Elsie in D. W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation”, released in 1915.

9 Prayer book : MISSAL

Missals came into being in medieval times and were used primarily by priests and ministers. A missal is a book containing all the texts necessary for the celebration of Mass through the liturgical year. Nowadays missals are used by the congregation and not just by the celebrants. The term “missal” comes from the Latin for “Mass book”.

10 Nutritional fig. : RDA

Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) were introduced during WWII, and were replaced by Recommended Daily Intakes (RDIs) in 1997.

12 Celebration in Ho Chi Minh City : TET

The full name for the New Year holiday in Vietnam is “Tet Nguyen Dan” meaning “Feast of the First Morning”, with the reference being to the arrival of the season of spring. Tet usually falls on the same day as Chinese New Year.

Hanoi (“Hà Nội” in Vietnamese) was the capital of North Vietnam, and Saigon the capital of South Vietnam. After the Vietnam War, Hanoi was made capital of the reunified state. Saigon, the larger metropolis, was renamed to Ho Chi Minh City. Hanoi is located in the delta of the Red River, and is just over 50 miles from the Gulf of Tonkin in the South China Sea.

18 Actor whose roles have included both a fictional and a real-life U.S. president : MARTIN SHEEN

Martin Sheen is the stage name of actor Ramón Estévez. Despite all of his great performances, Sheen has never even been nominated for an Academy Award. Isn’t that something? I thought he was outstanding in his starring role in television’s “The West Wing”.

In the excellent television show “The West Wing”, President Jed Bartlet is played by Martin Sheen. Sheen also played real-life President John F. Kennedy in the miniseries “Kennedy: Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy”.

23 Exercise done on a bench : ETUDE

That would be a piano bench.

An étude is a short instrumental composition that is usually quite hard to play and is intended to help the performer master a particular technique. “Étude” is the French word for “study”. Études are commonly performed on the piano.

24 Bishops’ gathering : SYNOD

The word “synod” comes from the Greek word for assembly, or meeting. A synod is a church council, usually one in the Christian faith.

26 Ring result, for short : TKO

Technical knockout (TKO)

34 Super Bowl LIII loser : RAM

The Los Angeles Rams are the only franchise to have won NFL championships in three different cities, i.e. Cleveland (1945), Los Angeles (1951) and St. Louis (1999). The Rams were based in Cleveland from 1936 to 1945, in Los Angeles from 1946 to 1994, in St. Louis from 1995 to 2015, and returned to Los Angeles in 2016.

36 Island near Krakatoa : SUMATRA

Sumatra is a very large island in western Indonesia. It is the sixth largest island in the world and home to 22% of the country’s population.

Krakatoa is an island located between Java and Sumatra in Indonesia. Famously, the volcano on the island erupted in 1883 causing the death of over 36,000 people, who mainly perished in the resulting tsunamis. It is thought that the sound of the explosive eruption was the loudest sound in modern history.

43 Ebbing and flowing, say : TIDAL

Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon on the oceans. At neap tide, the smaller gravitational effect of the sun cancels out some of the moon’s effect. At spring tide, the sun and the moon’s gravitational forces act in concert causing more extreme movement of the oceans.

44 Queen’s “We Will Rock You” vis-à-vis “We Are the Champions” : B-SIDE

Queen is an English rock band that formed back in 1970. With the help of lead singer Freddie Mercury (now deceased), Queen has a long list of great hits, including “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions”. “Bohemian Rhapsody” spent a total of nine weeks at number one in the UK. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is also the title of an outstanding 2018 biographical film about the band.

49 ___ Hill (San Francisco neighborhood) : NOB

Nob Hill is a very elevated and central location in the city of San Francisco. Because of its views of the surrounding city and environs, Nob Hill became a desirable place to live for the wealthy in the 1800s. The area is still one of San Francisco’s most affluent neighborhoods and is home to upscale hotels as well as the magnificent Grace Cathedral. The name “Nob Hill” comes from the slang term for someone who is well-to-do, a “nob”.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Samsung-versus-Apple and others : AD WARS
7 Regular at a fitness center : GYM RAT
13 Returns : PROFIT
14 Gather dust : LIE IDLE
15 Containing neither meat nor dairy : PAREVE
16 Dietary claim on some potato chip bags : LESS SALT
17 “Here’s one for you, smarty-pants” : ANSWER ME THIS
19 Something cast in cleromancy : LOT
20 Not just sit there : REACT
21 Breaks, in a way : TAMES
25 Rugged class : SPORT UTILITY
27 Source of illegal ivory, informally : HIPPO
30 Puts to bed, with “in” : TUCKS
31 One with a habit : NUN
32 Cash ___ (restaurant caveat) : ONLY
33 New World songbird : VIREO
34 Overhaul : REDO
35 Feminine suffix in Spanish names : -ITA
36 Power cord? : SINEW
37 Cut (down) : PARED
38 Take the more difficult path, metaphorically : SWIM UPSTREAM
41 Something made for one’s idols? : TOTEM
42 Ancient : HOARY
43 Abbr. for an open slot : TBA
46 Dressing room attendant : MAKEUP ARTIST
49 “Don’t mention it” : NO BOTHER
52 Some kaffiyeh wearers : SAUDIS
53 Went past : OVERRAN
54 Company with a purple-and-green asterisk in its logo : E*TRADE
55 National tree of India : BANYAN
56 Clean, as a lab coat? : DEFLEA

Down

1 Horrify, in Hampshire : APPAL
2 Pipe cleaner brand : DRANO
3 Drub : WORST
4 Some : A FEW
5 It flows from the Cottian Alps to the Adriatic : RIVER PO
6 Lead-in to -scope : STEREO-
7 Lillian of silent films : GISH
8 Firm affirmation : YES IT IS
9 Prayer book : MISSAL
10 Nutritional fig. : RDA
11 ___ set : ALL
12 Celebration in Ho Chi Minh City : TET
14 Low-carb sandwich : LETTUCE WRAP
16 Series of visits to colleges, maybe : LECTURE TOUR
18 Actor whose roles have included both a fictional and a real-life U.S. president : MARTIN SHEEN
22 Person in a rush : MINER
23 Exercise done on a bench : ETUDE
24 Bishops’ gathering : SYNOD
25 One who bugs another person? : SPY
26 Ring result, for short : TKO
27 Raise : HOIST
28 Halved, perhaps : IN TWO
29 Interweave, as hair : PLAIT
33 Kind of pass : VIP
34 Super Bowl LIII loser : RAM
36 Island near Krakatoa : SUMATRA
37 Wage : PAY RATE
39 Answer to the riddle “I form in an instant and last a lifetime. What am I?” : MEMORY
40 Rubbed out : ERASED
43 Ebbing and flowing, say : TIDAL
44 Queen’s “We Will Rock You” vis-à-vis “We Are the Champions” : B-SIDE
45 Totally lost : AT SEA
47 Sadiq ___, London mayor beginning in 2016 : KHAN
48 Neighborhood : TURF
49 ___ Hill (San Francisco neighborhood) : NOB
50 Eggs Florentine, once? : OVA
51 Son of, in Hebrew names : BEN

16 thoughts on “1206-19 NY Times Crossword 6 Dec 19, Friday”

  1. Good morning!
    Just found your page…
    quite witty!
    A brief query, if I may, concerning 22 DOWN in the puzzle…
    The clue, “Person in a rush” with answer, MINER.
    Could you please help me understand this clue/answer?
    Thank you in advance for your assistance.

  2. 45:13* All these years of seeing “pareve” on various food packaging and now I know what it means……AFTER a DNF and looking up the answer…

    1. Most of us think of “worst” as the superlative of “bad” (bad, worse, worst). But it can also be a verb meaning “to get the better of” or “to defeat.” “Drub” has the same “to defeat thoroughly” meaning. So we could say, “LSU will worst Clemson in the title game.” 😉

  3. After an hour I gave up….I had everything but the NW corner….a collection of off the wall clues all in one spot, not like that hasn’t happened before.

  4. One letter; missed the V in PAREVE/RIVEPRO, guessed S. Other than that, fairly typical Friday. Got MINER via crosses but didn’t understand until I read the explanation above. Giving myself a “Duh.”

  5. Meant to say RIVERPO above. How did I need to guess (wrongly) at the V? My mind’s eye wanted to solve 5-down as a single word, that word being a river unfamiliar to me. Once I saw it as two words, RIVER PO, I gave myself another “Duh.”

  6. 26:49, 3 errors: 1D APPA(W); 3D WORSE; 19A (W)O(E). Totally unfamiliar with the word ‘cleromancy’, learned something new. Also found it curious that, in the context of this puzzles’ definitions, WORST and ‘best’ are synonyms.

  7. BruceB, I agree – I have seen and used the term bested, but not worst.

    One error…21A I had “TIMES”
    When I was a kid we would always call “time” if we needed a break in a game.

    The north west corner was difficult. It nearly worsted me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.