1210-19 NY Times Crossword 10 Dec 19, Tuesday

Constructed by: Eric Berlin
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): At the Big Brawl …

Themed clues are similar, and describe certain professionals “at the big brawl”. Themed answers are common phrases associated with a brawl:

  • 16A At the big brawl, the jazz musician … : … CAME OUT SWINGING
  • 36A At the big brawl, the hairstylist … : … BOBBED AND WEAVED
  • 55A At the big brawl, the king and queen … : … PUT UP THEIR DUKES

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

Bill’s time: 5m 58s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9 Recessed area in a church : APSE

The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally, apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.

19 “___ Possible,” 2000s kids’ TV show : KIM

“Kim Possible” is an animated Disney TV series for kids that originally ran from 2002 until 2007. The title character is a teenage crimefighter, with a partner named Ron Stoppable.

20 Jimmy of the Daily Planet : OLSEN

In the “Superman” stories, Jimmy Olsen is a cub photographer who works on the “Daily Planet” newspaper with Clark Kent and Lois Lane.

21 Chicago transports : ELS

The Chicago “L” is the second largest rapid transit system in the US, with the New York City Subway being the largest. The “L” is also the second oldest, again with the New York City Subway system having the honor of being around the longest. Note that the official nickname for the system is the “L” (originally short for “elevated railroad”), although the term “El” is also in common use (especially in crosswords as “ELS”). The L is managed by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA).

28 Battleship letters : 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.

In the days of sail, a naval fleet of ships often formed a “line of battle” in the vessels formed up end to end. The advantage of such a formation was that all vessels could fire a battery of cannon along the full length of the ship. Vessels deemed powerful enough to join the line of battle became known as “ships of the line”, or “line of battle ships”. The term “line of battle ship” shortened over time to become our modern word “battleship”. The main feature of a contemporary battleship is a battery of large caliber guns.

29 Bottom, to a Brit : ARSE

Well, the word “arse” would never make it into a crossword in Britain and Ireland, as it would be considered too rude. I have a similar reaction to the word “shag” as in “The Spy Who Shagged Me”. The film would never have been released with that name in the UK.

30 Born, abroad : NEE

“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”. The term “née” is mainly used in English when referring to a married woman’s birth name, assuming that she has adopted her husbands name, e.g. Michelle Obama née Robinson, and Melania Trump née Knavs.

31 Savory quality, as from MSG : UMAMI

Umami is one of the five basic tastes, along with sweet, sour, bitter and salty. “Umami” is a Japanese word used to describe “a pleasant savory taste”. Umami was proposed as a basic taste in 1908, but it wasn’t until 1985 that the scientific community finally accepted it as such.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of a naturally-occurring,non-essential amino acid called glutamic acid. It is used widely as a flavor enhancer, particularly in many Asian cuisines. Whether or not it is harmful seems to be still under debate. I say that something produced in a test tube shouldn’t be in our food …

34 Sports org. that sets eligibility requirements : NCAA

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) dates back to the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. When his son broke his nose playing football at Harvard, President Roosevelt turned his attention to the number of serious injuries and even deaths occurring in college sports. He instigated meetings between the major educational institutions, leading to the formation of the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS) in 1906, which was given the remit of regulating college sports. The IAAUS became the NCAA in 1910. The NCAA has been headquartered in Indianapolis since 1999.

36 At the big brawl, the hairstylist … : … BOBBED AND WEAVED

A bob cut is a short hairstyle in which the hair is cut straight around the head, at about the line of the jaw. Back in the 1570s, “bob” was the name given to a horse’s tail that was cut short, and about a century later it was being used to describe short hair on humans. The style became very popular with women in the early 1900s (as worn by actress Clara Bow, for example), with the fashion dying out in the thirties. The style reemerged in the sixties around the time the Beatles introduced their “mop tops”, with Vidal Sassoon leading the way in styling women’s hair in a bob cut again. Personally, I like it …

39 Its symbol resembles a C with two lines across the center : EURO

The euro sign (€) looks like a letter C, but with two horizontal lines drawn across the middle. Inspiration for the design comes from the Greek letter epsilon.

40 Drink that can cause brain freeze : ICEE

Slush Puppie and ICEE are brands of frozen, slushy drinks. Ostensibly competing brands, ICEE company now owns the Slush Puppie brand.

42 Waze suggestion: Abbr. : RTE

Waze is a navigation app that is similar to Google Maps and Apple Maps. Waze was developed in Israel, and was acquired by Google in 2013.

43 Condition treated with Ritalin, for short : ADHD

The “official” name for the condition we sometimes still refer to as “attention deficit disorder” (ADD) is “attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder” (ADHD).

Ritalin is a trade name for the drug methylphenidate that is used for treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy. Methylphenidate has a similar structure and similar properties to the drug cocaine, although it is less potent.

44 Ryder Cup org. : PGA

The Ryder Cup trophy was donated to the sport of golf by Samuel Ryder, an English entrepreneur. Ryder made his money selling garden seeds in small packets. He only took up golf when he was in his fifties but became quite the enthusiast and eventually donated the trophy in 1927, when it was valued at 100 guineas. The Ryder Cup is a biennial tournament played between teams from the US and Europe.

45 Freebie in a hotel bathroom : SHAMPOO

Back in the 1760s, the verb “to shampoo” was an Anglo-Indian word meaning “to massage”. A century later we started to shampoo our hair.

51 ___ Tomé and Príncipe : SAO

The Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe is an island nation off the west coast of Africa comprising mainly two islands: São Tomé and Príncipe. São Tomé and Príncipe is located in the Gulf of Guinea, off the coast of Gabon. It was colonized by Portugal after POrtuguese explorers discovered the islands in the 15th century. After gaining independence in 1975, São Tomé and Príncipe became the smallest Portuguese-speaking country in the world.

55 At the big brawl, the king and queen … : … PUT UP THEIR DUKES

“Dukes” is a slang term meaning “fists, hands”. The route taken by “dukes” to become fists seems very tortuous, but might just be true. The term “fork” was slang for “hand” for centuries (and gives rise to “fork out” meaning “hand over”). The slang term “fork” is expressed in Cockney rhyming slang as “Duke of York”, which is shortened to “duke”. As I said, tortuous …

59 Yankee nickname until 2016 : A-ROD

Baseball player Alex Rodriguez, nicknamed “A-Rod”, broke a lot of records in his career, albeit under a shroud of controversy due to his use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs. When he signed a 10-year contract with the Texas Rangers for $252 million in 2000, it was the most lucrative contract in sports history. In 2007, Rodriguez signed an even more lucrative 10-year contract with the New York Yankees, worth $275 million. Rodriguez retired in 2016.

60 Book that people take an oath on : BIBLE

The Bible is the best-selling book of all time, with annual sales running at about 100 million copies.

62 Mrs. : WIFE

“Mr.” is an abbreviation for “mister”, and “Mrs.” is an abbreviation for “mistress”.

Down

1 Lizard in insurance ads : GECKO

The Gecko is the “spokes-lizard” for GEICO. When the Gecko was introduced in 1999, he was voiced by actor Kelsey Grammer of “Cheers” and “Frasier” fame. Since then, the Gecko has been voiced by British radio presenter Dave Kelly and most recently by actor Jake Wood, who plays Max Branning on the British soap opera “EastEnders”.

2 At full speed : AMAIN

“Amain” is an old term meaning “at great speed” or “of great strength”.

10 Subject of the saying “Leaves of three, let it be” : POISON IVY

Two of the plants that are most painful to humans are poison oak and poison ivy. Poison oak is mainly found west of the Rocky Mountains, and poison ivy to the east.

11 Father and Holy Ghost go-between : SON

In the Christian tradition, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit/Holy Ghost are three persons in one divine being, the Holy Trinity.

12 Hosp. readout : EKG

An EKG measures the electrical activity in the heart. Back in my homeland of Ireland, an EKG is known as an ECG (for electrocardiogram). We use the German name in the US, Elektrokardiogramm, giving us EKG. Apparently the abbreviation EKG is preferred, as ECG might be confused (if poorly handwritten, I guess) with EEG, the abbreviation for an electroencephalogram.

18 Actress Campbell of the “Scream” series : NEVE

Neve Campbell is a Canadian actress whose big break in the movies came with the “Scream” horror film series, in which she had a leading role. I don’t do horror films, so I haven’t seen any of the “Scream” movies. Nor have I seen the TV series “Party of Five” that launched the acting careers of both Campbell and Jennifer Love Hewitt in the nineties.

23 ___ jumbo : MUMBO

“Mumbo jumbo” means big and empty talk, and is a term that we’ve been using since the late 1800s. Supposedly the term comes from a Mandingo word for an idol that was worshipped by some tribes in Africa.

25 Middle of Caesar’s boast : … I SAW …

The oft-quoted statement “Veni, vidi, vici” (“I came, I saw, I conquered”) is believed by many to have been written by Julius Caesar. The words date back to 47 BCE and refer to the short war between Rome and Pharnaces II of Pontus.

29 Benefiting from benzoyl peroxide, say : ACNED

Benzoyl peroxide is used as an acne treatment, as well as for dyeing hair, for whitening teeth and in the preparation of flour.

31 Alternatives to taxis : UBERS

Transportation network company Uber was founded in 2009 as “UberCab”. The company name was changed to “Uber” in 2011. The name change was largely driven by complaints from taxi operators in San Francisco.

34 Dippable snack item : NACHO CHIP

The dish known as “nachos” was supposedly created by the maître d’ at a restaurant called the Victory Club in the city of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico. The name of the maître d’ was Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya.

35 Plotting group : CABAL

A cabal is a small group of plotters acting in secret, perhaps scheming against a government or an individual.

37 Aeneas’ love : DIDO

Dido was the founder of Carthage, and the city’s first queen. Some sources use the name “Elissa” for the same person.

38 Went two under par on a hole : EAGLED

The following terms are routinely used in golf for scores relative to par:

  • Bogey: one over par
  • Par
  • Birdie: one under par
  • Eagle: two under par
  • Albatross (also “double eagle”): three under par
  • Condor: four under par

No one has ever recorded a condor during a professional tournament.

44 California baseballer : PADRE

The San Diego Padres baseball team was founded in 1969, and immediately joined the ranks of Major League Baseball as an expansion team. The Padres took their name from a Minor League team that had been in the city since 1936. The name is Spanish for “fathers” and is a reference to the Franciscan Friars from Spain who founded San Diego in 1769.

46 Title role for Bea Arthur : MAUDE

The seventies sitcom “Maude” stars Bea Arthur as the title character Maude Findlay. “Maude” is a spin-off of “All in the Family”, as Findlay is a cousin of Edith Bunker.

53 Singer McEntire : REBA

Reba McEntire is a country music singer and television actress. McEntire starred in her own sitcom called “Reba” that aired on the WB and the CW cable channels from 2001 to 2007.

55 What you might get offered if you say “Shake!” : PAW

Woof …

56 Mentalist Geller : URI

Uri Geller’s most famous performance was perhaps his uncomfortable failure on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson in 1973. Carson “hijacked” Geller on live television by providing him with spoons to bend and watches to start, none of which had been available to Geller before the show aired. Clever!

58 News letters : UPI

Founded in 1958, United Press International (UPI) used to be one of the biggest news agencies in the world, sending out news by wire to the major newspapers. UPI ran into trouble with the change in media formats at the end of the twentieth century and lost many of its clients as the afternoon newspapers shut down due to the advent of television news. UPI, which once employed thousands, still exists today but with just a fraction of that workforce.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Go ___ over : GAGA
5 Appends : ADDS
9 Recessed area in a church : APSE
13 Radiate : EMIT
14 Dishonest sort : CROOK
15 Recessed area in a kitchen : NOOK
16 At the big brawl, the jazz musician … : … CAME OUT SWINGING
19 “___ Possible,” 2000s kids’ TV show : KIM
20 Jimmy of the Daily Planet : OLSEN
21 Chicago transports : ELS
22 In dire need of fuel : ON EMPTY
24 Radiate : GIVE OFF
28 Battleship letters : USS
29 Bottom, to a Brit : ARSE
30 Born, abroad : NEE
31 Savory quality, as from MSG : UMAMI
34 Sports org. that sets eligibility requirements : NCAA
35 Refer to : CITE
36 At the big brawl, the hairstylist … : … BOBBED AND WEAVED
39 Its symbol resembles a C with two lines across the center : EURO
40 Drink that can cause brain freeze : ICEE
41 Bottomless hole : ABYSS
42 Waze suggestion: Abbr. : RTE
43 Condition treated with Ritalin, for short : ADHD
44 Ryder Cup org. : PGA
45 Freebie in a hotel bathroom : SHAMPOO
47 Ship’s stabilizer : BALLAST
51 ___ Tomé and Príncipe : SAO
52 In need of refinement : CRUDE
54 Place where customers wear robes : SPA
55 At the big brawl, the king and queen … : … PUT UP THEIR DUKES
59 Yankee nickname until 2016 : A-ROD
60 Book that people take an oath on : BIBLE
61 Bombard, as with snowballs : PELT
62 Mrs. : WIFE
63 Small argument : SPAT
64 Without purpose : IDLY

Down

1 Lizard in insurance ads : GECKO
2 At full speed : AMAIN
3 “That’s mine!” : GIMME!
4 Gorged on : ATE
5 Pretentious : ARTSY
6 Two tablets or five milliliters, say : DOSE
7 Reduce in status : DOWNGRADE
8 Sporting item that may be waxed : SKI
9 Geometry class measure : ANGLE
10 Subject of the saying “Leaves of three, let it be” : POISON IVY
11 Father and Holy Ghost go-between : SON
12 Hosp. readout : EKG
14 Fanatical groups : CULTS
17 “My bad!” : OOPSIE!
18 Actress Campbell of the “Scream” series : NEVE
23 ___ jumbo : MUMBO
25 Middle of Caesar’s boast : … I SAW …
26 Big bashes : FETES
27 Scrollable features of Facebook and Twitter : FEEDS
29 Benefiting from benzoyl peroxide, say : ACNED
31 Alternatives to taxis : UBERS
32 Sass, with “off” : MOUTH
33 Informed about : ABREAST OF
34 Dippable snack item : NACHO CHIP
35 Plotting group : CABAL
37 Aeneas’ love : DIDO
38 Went two under par on a hole : EAGLED
43 Each : A POP
44 California baseballer : PADRE
46 Title role for Bea Arthur : MAUDE
47 Muscly : BUILT
48 Didn’t demand : ASKED
49 Period of time : SPELL
50 “Mmm!” : TASTY!
53 Singer McEntire : REBA
55 What you might get offered if you say “Shake!” : PAW
56 Mentalist Geller : URI
57 “The Last O.G.” network : TBS
58 News letters : UPI

8 thoughts on “1210-19 NY Times Crossword 10 Dec 19, Tuesday”

  1. No errors.

    It always amazes me how constructors can (in this case) find three theme expressions that all mean about the same thing, can fit them sensibly into similar clues, and have them all have the same number of letters, and have that same number of letters be exactly 15 and exactly what is needed to stretch across a standard crossword grid.

    What are the odds of that happening?

    Amazing!

  2. 9:19, no errors. Enjoyed the theme, and actually used it to speed up solving the puzzle.

    56D: the cleverness on the Johnny Carson show was orchestrated by ‘The Amazing Randi’. An illusionist himself, he made a career debunking performers, such as URI Geller and Peter Popoff, who claimed to actually have supernatural powers.

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