1207-19 NY Times Crossword 7 Dec 19, Saturday

Constructed by: Kevin G. Der & Erik Agard
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 66m 17s!!

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Shaken thumb, in American Sign Language : TEN

It’s really quite unfortunate that American Sign Language (ASL) and British Sign Language (BSL) are very different, and someone who has learned to sign in one cannot understand someone signing in the other.

4 The “dark” in a Dark and Stormy, perhaps : JAMAICAN RUM

Rum was first distilled by slaves on the sugarcane plantations of the Caribbean in the 1800s, with the tradition being that the very first production came from Barbados.

17 Onomatopoeic cry : EEK!

Onomatopoeia is the naming of something by vocally imitating the sound associated with it. Examples of onomatopoeia are chirp, clash, click and hiccups.

22 ___ Geo : NAT

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

28 Language from which “Saskatchewan” comes : CREE

The Cree are one of the largest groups of Native Americans on the continent. In the US, most of the Cree nation live in Montana on a reservation shared with the Ojibwe people. In Canada, most of the Cree live in Manitoba.

The Canadian province of Saskatchewan (Sask.) takes its name from the Saskatchewan River. The river in turn takes its name from the Cree name, which translates as “swift flowing river”. The capital of Saskatchewan is Regina, although the biggest city in the province is Saskatoon.

32 Word with big or goat : … CHEESE

The phrase “the big cheese” doesn’t have its roots in the word “cheese” at all. The original phrase was “the real cheese” meaning “the real thing”, and was used way back in the late 1800s. “Chiz” is a Persian and Hindi word meaning “thing”, and it’s not hard to see how the expression “the real chiz” morphed into “the real cheese”. In early-20th century America, instead of a “real cheese”, the most influential person in a group was labeled as “the big cheese”.

40 E.U. alliance : G-SIX

The G6 are the six most populous states in the European Union (EU), i.e. Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Poland.

42 Setting for a plastered cast? : WRAP PARTY

When shooting of a film is concluded the movie is said to wrap, and everyone heads to the wrap party. There is one story that “wrap” is actually an acronym for “wind, reel and print”, a reference to the transition of the filming process into post-production. But, this explanation is disputed.

44 Start of some juice portmanteaus : CRAN-

When early European settlers came across red berries growing in the bogs of the northern part of America, they felt that the plant’s flower and stem resembled the head and bill of a crane. As such, they called the plant “craneberry”, which later evolved into “cranberry”.

47 Tom’s partner : HEN

A male turkey is called a “tom”, taking its name from a “tomcat”. The inference is that like a tomcat, the male turkey is relatively wild and undomesticated, sexually promiscuous and frequently gets into fights. A female turkey is called a “hen”.

49 Manila Pact grp. : SEATO

The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) was set up in 1954 as a defense organization with the mission to block communist influence growing in Southeast Asia. The driving force behind the organization’s creation was President Eisenhower’s Secretary of State, John Dulles. The list of SEATO members included Australia, France, the Philippines, the UK and the US. The organization was never really considered effective and it fell apart in 1977 largely due to a lack of interest by the members.

53 Device sold with a remote : WII

“Wiimote” is an alternative name for the Wii Remote, the controller for the Nintendo Wii gaming console.

54 Patchwork? : BETA RELEASE

In the world of software development, the first tested issue of a new program is usually called the alpha version. Expected to have a lot of bugs that need to be fixed, the alpha release is usually distributed to a small number of testers. After reported bugs have been eliminated, the refined version is called a beta and is released to a wider audience, but with the program clearly labeled as “beta”. The users generally check functionality and report further bugs that are encountered. The beta version feeds into a release candidate, the version that is tested just prior to the software being sold into the market, hopefully bug-free.

Down

1 À la mode : TRES CHIC

“Très chic” is a French term meaning “very stylish”.

In French, “à la mode” simply means “fashionable”. In America, the term has also come to describe a way of serving pie. Pie served à la mode includes a dollop of cream or ice cream, or as I recall from my time living in Upstate New York, with a wedge of cheddar cheese.

2 Sticking points for vampires : EYETEETH

The canine teeth of a mammal are also called the eyeteeth or cuspids. The name “canine” is used because these particular teeth are very prominent in dogs. The prefix “eye-” is used because in humans the eyeteeth are located in the upper jaw, directly below the eyes.

3 2000s rock singer with the hit albums “Hell-On” and “Middle Cyclone” : NEKO CASE

Neko Case is an American singer-songwriter who is best known as a solo artist as well as a member of the indie rock group from Canada called the New Pornographers.

4 The tunes “The Blarney Pilgrim” and “The Lark in the Morning,” e.g. : JIGS

The jig is a dance most associated with Ireland and Scotland. In traditional Irish dancing, the jig is second in popularity only to the reel. The most famous Irish jig is probably “The Irish Washerwoman”. I may not dance a jig, but I sure do know the tune of “The Irish Washerwoman” …

5 “Te ___” : AMO

“I love you” translates into “te amo” in Spanish, and into “je t’aime” in French.

11 Alt’s opposite : NEU

In German, the opposite of “alt” (old) is “neu” (new).

24 Philatelist’s collection : PANES

Stamp collectors (philatelists) might purchase a whole pane of stamps.

Philately is the practice of collecting postage stamps. The term “philately” was coined (in French, as “philatélie) in 1864 by French collector Georges Herpin. He came up with it from the Greek “phil-” meaning “loving” and “ateleia” meaning “exemption from tax”. Apparently “exemption from tax” was the closest thing Herpin could find to “postage stamp”.

27 Yanks’ rivals : BOSOX

The Boston Red Sox (Bosox) are one of the most successful Major League Baseball teams and so command a large attendance, but only when on the road. The relatively small capacity of Boston’s Fenway Park, the team’s home since 1912, has dictated that every game the Red Sox has played there has been a sell-out since May of 2003. I recently had the pleasure of touring Fenway Park. It’s quite a place …

36 Energy regulators in the body : THYROIDS

The thyroid gland is found in the neck, just below the Adam’s apple. The gland produces several thyroid hormones, some of which control the rate at which the body uses energy i.e. the body’s rate of metabolism.

40 Opera heroine who slays a witch : GRETEL

Engelbert Humperdinck was a composer from Germany whose best known work is his opera “Hansel und Gretel”. “Hansel und Gretel” was the first opera that New York’s Metropolitan Opera transmitted live on radio, back in 1931.

41 Holy places : SANCTA

A “sanctum” (plural “sancta”) is a private place where one can hide away without fear of intrusion. I love my sanctum …

45 What loafers lack : LACES

The loafer slip-on shoe dates back to 1939. “Loafer” was originally a brand name introduced by Fortnum and Mason’s store in London. The derivative term “penny loafer” arose in the late fifties or early sixties, although the exact etymology seems unclear.

48 Salon job : PERM

“Perm” is the common name given to a permanent wave, a chemical or thermal treatment of hair to produce waves or curls.

49 Topic in education policy : STEM

The acronym “STEM” stands for the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. An alternative acronym with a similar meaning is MINT, standing for mathematics, information sciences, natural sciences and technology.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Shaken thumb, in American Sign Language : TEN
4 The “dark” in a Dark and Stormy, perhaps : JAMAICAN RUM
15 Schwarzbrot or Vollkornbrot loaf : RYE
16 Post-match report : I MET SOMEONE
17 Onomatopoeic cry : EEK!
18 How a security guard might say goodbye? : GOTTA BOUNCE!
19 Puts away : STOWS
21 Subjects of some relative clauses? : HEIRS
22 ___ Geo : NAT
23 Reduplicative girl’s name : CECE
24 Mascot of the W.N.B.A.’s Mystics, e.g. : PANDA
25 Most actors don’t hold real ones, informally : CIGS
26 Do loops? : HEADBANDS
28 Language from which “Saskatchewan” comes : CREE
29 Part of an announcer’s home run call : IT’S GONE!
30 Exhibit a male gaze, perhaps : OGLE
32 Word with big or goat : … CHEESE
33 Light on packaging : LOW-FAT
37 Biblical verb with “thou” : … DOST
39 League leader, informally : COMMISH
40 E.U. alliance : G-SIX
42 Setting for a plastered cast? : WRAP PARTY
44 Start of some juice portmanteaus : CRAN-
45 Makeup experts? : LIARS
46 Bender : TEAR
47 Tom’s partner : HEN
48 Opposite of calm : PANIC
49 Manila Pact grp. : SEATO
50 “I can confirm” : IT CHECKS OUT
53 Device sold with a remote : WII
54 Patchwork? : BETA RELEASE
55 What’s more : AND
56 Barrier to entry : ALARM SYSTEM
57 “May I help you?” : YES?

Down

1 À la mode : TRES CHIC
2 Sticking points for vampires : EYETEETH
3 2000s rock singer with the hit albums “Hell-On” and “Middle Cyclone” : NEKO CASE
4 The tunes “The Blarney Pilgrim” and “The Lark in the Morning,” e.g. : JIGS
5 “Te ___” : AMO
6 Dairy farm product : METHANE
7 Not miss : ATTEND
8 Unhelpful follower of “because” : … I SAID SO
9 Yoga pose similar to Upward-Facing Dog : COBRA
10 Nigerian novelist Tutuola : AMOS
11 Alt’s opposite : NEU
12 Name that’s the title of a 1964 4 Seasons hit : RONNIE
13 Disbar? : UNCAGE
14 Some sporting events : MEETS
20 Placed tightly : WEDGED IN
24 Philatelist’s collection : PANES
25 Other hand : CREWMATE
27 Yanks’ rivals : BOSOX
28 Really hit one’s stride? : CLOMP
31 Messy food servings : GLOPS
34 “Go ahead, ask” : FIRE AWAY
35 Rarest naturally occurring element in the earth’s crust : ASTATINE
36 Energy regulators in the body : THYROIDS
38 Like stars in one’s eyes : TWINKLY
39 Old-fashioned attire for a motorist : CAR COAT
40 Opera heroine who slays a witch : GRETEL
41 Holy places : SANCTA
43 Good news for the office staff : RAISES
44 Japanese city on Tokyo Bay : CHIBA
45 What loafers lack : LACES
48 Salon job : PERM
49 Topic in education policy : STEM
51 Sarcastic syllable : HAR
52 Mixed-___ : USE

21 thoughts on “1207-19 NY Times Crossword 7 Dec 19, Saturday”

  1. DNF. Sometimes I zig when the puzzle maker zags, and that was today. Never could get a handle on more than a few answers here and there (stows, I said so, dost, glops, etc.), and finally gave up in frustration. HATS OFF to those who worked this one today!

  2. DNF after 52 minutes. Only incursions into the southwest corner were IT CHECKS OUT and ALARM SYSTEM. The remaining boxes of 40D, 41D and 44D were blanks. Kudos to those who finished this. I share the frustration of those who didn’t.

  3. Going in you have to expect a struggle with an Agard puzzle and this one was no exception. Great clues with oblique hints (post-match report, other hand, setting for a plastered cast,…). Not sure if I finished it or it finished me.

  4. This is about as hard a puzzle as I can handle! I finished with no errors but it took the first half of the niners-vikings game and then some. Phew.

    1. I got it about 2/3 done this afternoon, then went to the Ravens game, drank a bunch of beers, spent an hour in the casino near the stadium where we had parked and won a few hundred bucks while waiting for traffic to die down some, and when I got home at 1:30 AM I was able to approach the remainder (basically the north 1/3) with a fresh, albeit slightly inebriated, mind. One of the tougher ones lately, felt good about finishing it.

  5. Finished it but took a long time with a break in between.

    Can someone explain to me why a security guard, specifically, would say “gotta bounce”. I’m familiar with the expression “gotta bounce” which basically means “I gotta go” or “I’m leaving” but I am missing why it would be something a security guard would say.

      1. Ahhh, thanks!!! I had an image of a night watchman or building security guard in my head, not a bouncer at all. So I just couldn’t make the connection.

        But you are obviously correct.

  6. I’m far from an expert, but improving with each puzzle. This one was the hardest by far for me. Only got about 25% then I had to throw in the towel. Maybe a couple of drinks would have helped me too.

  7. Thanks to A Nonny Muss for explaining BOUNCER – I got it, but I didn’t get it. I also missed “CHIBA” because GETARELEASE seemed to make as much sense as the rest of this very difficult puzzle.

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