1211-19 NY Times Crossword 11 Dec 19, Wednesday

Constructed by: Jake Halperin
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Then and Now

Themed answers each include two hidden words. In each case, those words are the past and present tenses of the same verb:

  • 62A Phrase in an article on grown-up child stars, perhaps … or a hint to this puzzle’s shaded squares : THEN AND NOW
  • 17A Australian wind instrument : DIDGERIDOO (hiding “did” and “do”)
  • 24A Decorative garden element : WATER FEATURE (hiding “ate” and “eat”)
  • 37A Petulant : WASPISH (hiding “was” and “is”)
  • 51A “Grease” song with onomatopoeic lyrics : WE GO TOGETHER (hiding “got” and “get”)

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

Bill’s time: 9m 00s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 “America” begins and ends with this : SCHWA

A schwa is an unstressed and toneless vowel found in a number of languages including English. Examples from our language are the “a” in “about”, the “e” in “taken” and the “i” in pencil.

Amerigo Vespucci was an Italian explorer. Vespucci was the man who established that the landmass discovered by Christopher Columbus was not the eastern coast of Asia, but rather was a “New World”. The newly-discovered supercontinent was named “America”, coming from the Latin version of Vespucci’s first name “Amerigo”.

14 Mother of Castor and Pollux : LEDA

In Greek mythology, Leda was the beautiful Queen of Sparta who was seduced by Zeus when he took the form of a swan. Leda produced two eggs from the union. One egg hatched into Clytemnestra and the beautiful Helen of Troy, over whom was fought the Trojan War. The other egg hatched into the twins Castor and Pollux. Castor and Pollux had different fathers according to the myth. Pollux was the son of Zeus and was immortal, while Castor was the son of Leda’s earthly husband, and so he was a mortal. In the world of the arts, William Butler Yeats wrote a famous sonnet called “Leda and the Swan” in 1924, and Peter Paul Rubens made a copy of a now-lost painting called “Leda and the Swan” by Michelangelo.

15 Rigel’s constellation : ORION

According to Greek mythology, Orion was a giant hunter who was placed in the night sky by Zeus, the king of the gods. Orion is very recognizable as a constellation, especially with the three bright stars known as “Orion’s Belt”. The brightest star in the sky, Sirius, is said to be Orion’s hunting dog, and this star sits at Orion’s “foot”.

Rigel is the sixth brightest star in the night sky, and the brightest star in the constellation of Orion. If you can imagine the stars in Orion laid out, Rigel is at his left foot. The name “Rigel” is an abbreviated version of the Arabic term for “Left Foot of the Central One”.

16 Tolstoy heroine : ANNA

I have to admit to not having read Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina”, but I did see the excellent 1977 British television adaptation starring Nicola Pagett. I also saw the 2012 film adaptation with a screenplay by Tom Stoppard and found that to be far from excellent, awful in fact. I am no Stoppard fan …

17 Australian wind instrument : DIDGERIDOO (hiding “did” and “do”)

The didgeridoo is a wind instrument that was developed in northern Australia over a thousand years ago by the indigenous people. Despite the instrument’s origins, the name “didgeridoo” is not aboriginal, and is thought perhaps to be onomatopoetic and imitative of the sound made.

21 Pinochle plays : MELDS

Pinochle is a card game that was developed from the 19th-century French game called bezique.

27 Build up charges : RUN A TAB

When we run a “tab” at a bar, we are running a “tabulation”, a listing of what we owe. Such a use of “tab” is American slang that originated in the 1880s.

35 Dot follower : COM

The .com 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)

42 Map abbr. before 1991 : SSR

The former Soviet Union (officially “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics”, i.e. USSR) was created in 1922, not long after the Russian Revolution of 1917 that overthrew the Tsar. Geographically, the new Soviet Union was roughly equivalent to the old Russian Empire, and comprised fifteen Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs).

44 Garment in Gujarat : SARI

The item of clothing called a “sari” (also “saree”) is a strip of cloth, as one might imagine, unusual perhaps in that is unstitched along the whole of its length. The strip of cloth can range from four to nine meters long (that’s a lot of material!). The sari is usually wrapped around the waist, then draped over the shoulder leaving the midriff bare. I must say, it can be a beautiful item of clothing.

Gujarat is the westernmost state of India. One of Gujarat’s most notable son’s was Mahatma Gandhi, who led the independence movement against British colonial rule.

46 Word of greeting or farewell : SHALOM

“Shalom” is a Hebrew word meaning “peace” that is also used to mean “hello” and “goodbye”.

51 “Grease” song with onomatopoeic lyrics : WE GO TOGETHER (hiding “got” and “get”)

“Grease” was, and still is, a very successful stage musical with a blockbuster film version released in 1978. The movie stars John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Travolta wasn’t the first choice for the lead role. It was first offered to Henry Winkler of “Happy Days” fame in which he played “the Fonz”. Winkler turned down the role for fear of being typecast as a leather-clad fifties “hood”.

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

55 Ltr. accompaniers : ENCLS

An envelope (env.) might contain an enclosure (encl.).

60 ___ Blanc, highest of the Alps : MONT

Mont Blanc is the highest peak in the Alps. The name “Mont Blanc” translates from French into “white mountain”. The mountain lies on the border between France and Italy, and it has been generally accepted for decades that the summit lies within French territory. However, there have been official claims that the summit does in fact fall within the borders of Italy.

65 Pandemonium : HAVOC

Havoc is a great damage or destruction. The term “havoc” comes from the Anglo-French phrase “crier havok”, which was an order given in the late 1500s to soldiers, instructing them to seize plunder.

The word “pandemonium” was coined in 1667 by John Milton in his epic poem “Paradise Lost”. It is the name he invented for the capital of Hell, “the High Capital, of Satan and his Peers”.

66 Dungeons & Dragons figure : OGRE

Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is a complex role-playing game (RPG) introduced in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules Incorporated (TSR). Dungeons & Dragons was probably the first of the modern role-playing games to be developed, and the most successful. It is still played by lots of people today, including my youngest son …

67 Locale of Charon’s ferry : STYX

The River Styx of Greek mythology was the river that formed the boundary between the Earth and the Underworld (or “Hades”). The souls of the newly dead had to cross the River Styx in a ferry boat piloted by Charon. Traditionally, a coin would be placed in the mouths of the dead “to pay the ferryman”.

Down

1 Brand of shoes and handbags : ALDO

ALDO is a chain of shoe stores that was founded in Montreal in 1972 by Moroccan-born Canadian Aldo Bensadoun. Bensadoun is the son of a retailer of shoes in Morocco and France, and the grandchild of a cobbler. A man with shoe leather in his blood …

5 Frat.’s counterpart : SOR

A sorority (sor.) is the female counterpart to a fraternity (frat.).

6 Mafia don, for one : CRIME BOSS

Apparently, “Cosa Nostra” is the real name for the Italian Mafia. “Cosa Nostra” translates as “our thing” or “this thing of ours”. The term first became public in the US when the FBI managed to turn some members of the American Mafia. The Italian authorities established that “Cosa Nostra” was also used in Sicily when they penetrated the Sicilian Mafia in the 1980s. The term “mafia” seems to be just a literary invention that has become popular with the public.

8 Penner of the line “Language is wine upon the lips” : WOOLF

Virginia Woolf was an English author who was active in the period between the two World Wars. Woolf’s most famous novels were “Mrs. Dalloway”, “To the Lighthouse” and “Orlando”. She also wrote a long essay entitled “A Room of One’s Own” in which she states “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

9 Some terminals : ANODES

A battery is a device that converts chemical energy into electric energy. A simple battery is made up of three parts: a cathode, an anode and a liquid electrolyte. Ions from the electrolyte react chemically with the material in the anode producing a compound and releasing electrons. At the same time, the electrolyte reacts with the material in the cathode, absorbing electrons and producing a different chemical compound. In this way, there is a buildup of electrons at the anode and a deficit of electrons at the cathode. When a connection (wire, say) is made between the cathode and anode, electrons flow through the resulting circuit from the anode to cathode in an attempt to rectify the electron imbalance.

10 Brand of cooking spray : PAM

PAM cooking oil was introduced in 1961 by Leon Rubin and Arthur Meyerhoff. The name “PAM” is an acronym … standing for “Product of Arthur Meyerhoff”. Who’d a thunk it …?

12 Unabridged : ENTIRE

The words “abridge” and “abbreviate” both come from the same Latin root “abbreviare”, meaning to “make short”.

13 “Das Lied von der Erde” composer : MAHLER

I’m still trying to keep an open mind when it comes to the music of Gustav Mahler, but I find it hard to appreciate. Mahler was an Austrian composer who was active in the late-Romantic period. During his own lifetime, he was most notable as a conductor, and his compositions gained in popularity only after his death in 1911. Mahler’s music was banned as “degenerate” during the Nazi Era, as Mahler was Jewish.

18 “L’___ c’est moi” (declaration of Louis XIV) : ETAT

“L’État, c’est moi” is a French phrase, supposedly spoken by Louis XIV on his deathbed. It translates to “I am the State”, and would appear to mean that Louis considered himself to be “above his station” as it were. However, many dispute the quotation, and argue that Louis actually said on his deathbed that even though he was dying, the State would live on.

22 Nickname for Louis Armstrong : SATCH

Louis Armstrong was born in New Orleans in 1900. Armstrong had a poor upbringing, and only stayed in school until he was 11 years old. The exact origin of Louis’s nickname “Satchmo” seems to be a little unclear. One story is that he used to dance for pennies in New Orleans as a youngster and would hide those pennies in his mouth away from the other kids. For this he earned the nickname “satchel mouth”, which was shortened to “Satchmo”.

25 Fiesta finger food : TAPA

“Tapa” is the Spanish word for “lid”, and there is no clear rationale for why this word came to be used for an appetizer. There are lots of explanations cited, all of which seem to involve the temporary covering of one’s glass of wine with a plate or item of food to either preserve the wine or give one extra space at the table.

26 Confucian path to enlightenment : TAO

The sayings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius (anglicized from “K’ung Fu-Tse”) are collected in a work called “The Analects” or “Linyu”. It wasn’t Confucius who wrote down his thoughts though, but rather his pupils, some 40 or so years after his death in 479 BC.

27 Ingredient in a Bahama Mama : RUM

If you’d care to try the drink called a Bahama mama, one recipe is:

  • 1 part rum
  • 1 part coconut rum
  • 1 part grenadine
  • 2 parts orange juice
  • 2 parts pineapple juice

28 Its members are represented by stars : USA

Legend has it that Betsy Ross made the first American flag for General George Washington. However, this story only surfaced during the centennial celebrations of 1876, and although Betsy Ross was indeed one of several flag makers in Philadelphia in the days of George Washington, sadly there’s no definitive evidence that Ross provided that first Stars and Stripes.

33 Cost-controlling W.W. II org. : OPA

President Franklin D. Roosevelt set up the Office of Price Administration (OPA) during WWII, with the intent of stabilizing prices and rents during the emergency.

38 Wielders of the dark side of the Force : SITH

The Sith are characters in the “Star Wars” universe who use the “dark side” of “the Force”, and as such are the antithesis of the Jedi Knights. Members of the Sith use the title “Darth” before their name, as in Darth Vader. The last made of the six “Star Wars” movies is called “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith”.

45 Carnival fare on a stick : CORN DOG

The hot dog on a stick (corn dog) dates back at least to 1947, and probably earlier. The name corn dog comes from the corn batter around the hot dog, and its resemblance on the stick to an ear of corn.

47 Billy : HE- GOAT

Male goats are bucks or billies, although castrated males are known as wethers. Female goats are does or nannies, and young goats are referred to as kids.

52 Onetime instant-messaging app : GCHAT

“Gchat” was a name commonly used for the Google Talk instant messaging (IM) service. Google Talk offered both text and voice communication as well as a plugin that allowed video chat. All of this functionality was replaced with the Google Hangouts service, and more recently with Google Duo.

53 École attendee : ELEVE

The French word “élève” can be translated as “pupil, student”.

57 Female role in “Young Frankenstein” : INGA

I am not really a big fan of movies by Mel Brooks, but “Young Frankenstein” is the exception. I think the cast has a lot to do with me liking the film, as it includes Gene Wilder (Dr. Frankenstein), Teri Garr (Inga), Marty Feldman (Igor) and Gene Hackman (Harold, the blind man).

61 It borders Mex. : TEX

The single star on the state flag of Texas is a reminder of the “lone star” on the 1836 National Standard of Texas. The single gold star on a blue background symbolizes Texas as an independent republic and its struggle for independence from Mexico.

63 Window boxes, for short : ACS

Air conditioner (AC)

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Swear : AVOW
5 “America” begins and ends with this : SCHWA
10 Greeting card text, often : POEM
14 Mother of Castor and Pollux : LEDA
15 Rigel’s constellation : ORION
16 Tolstoy heroine : ANNA
17 Australian wind instrument : DIDGERIDOO (hiding “did” and “do”)
19 Old story : MYTH
20 Commencement : ONSET
21 Pinochle plays : MELDS
23 It may be checked at a station : OIL
24 Decorative garden element : WATER FEATURE (hiding “ate” and “eat”)
27 Build up charges : RUN A TAB
30 Impolite onlooker : STARER
31 ___ interface : USER
32 [Like magic!] : [POOF!]
35 Dot follower : COM
36 Cavernous opening : MAW
37 Petulant : WASPISH (hiding “was” and “is”)
39 Sound of a penny dropping? : AHA!
42 Map abbr. before 1991 : SSR
44 Garment in Gujarat : SARI
45 “Rats!” : CRUD!
46 Word of greeting or farewell : SHALOM
49 Gently boosted, as someone’s ego : STROKED
51 “Grease” song with onomatopoeic lyrics : WE GO TOGETHER (hiding “got” and “get”)
54 Figure on some greeting cards : AGE
55 Ltr. accompaniers : ENCLS
56 How seafood may be shipped : IN ICE
60 ___ Blanc, highest of the Alps : MONT
62 Phrase in an article on grown-up child stars, perhaps … or a hint to this puzzle’s shaded squares : THEN AND NOW
64 Clip : PACE
65 Pandemonium : HAVOC
66 Dungeons & Dragons figure : OGRE
67 Locale of Charon’s ferry : STYX
68 Worries : STEWS
69 Travels (about) : GADS

Down

1 Brand of shoes and handbags : ALDO
2 Target for a phlebotomist : VEIN
3 Racetrack ratio : ODDS
4 Engage in conflict : WAGE WAR
5 Frat.’s counterpart : SOR
6 Mafia don, for one : CRIME BOSS
7 One who’s not “it” : HIDER
8 Penner of the line “Language is wine upon the lips” : WOOLF
9 Some terminals : ANODES
10 Brand of cooking spray : PAM
11 Line heard from the starting line : ON YOUR MARK
12 Unabridged : ENTIRE
13 “Das Lied von der Erde” composer : MAHLER
18 “L’___ c’est moi” (declaration of Louis XIV) : ETAT
22 Nickname for Louis Armstrong : SATCH
25 Fiesta finger food : TAPA
26 Confucian path to enlightenment : TAO
27 Ingredient in a Bahama Mama : RUM
28 Its members are represented by stars : USA
29 Reuters or Bloomberg : NEWS AGENCY
33 Cost-controlling W.W. II org. : OPA
34 Winter milestone : FIRST SNOW
37 Put pen to paper : WROTE
38 Wielders of the dark side of the Force : SITH
40 Tint : HUE
41 Contribute : ADD
43 ___-mo : SLO
45 Carnival fare on a stick : CORN DOG
46 Overwhelms : SWAMPS
47 Billy : HE- GOAT
48 Their days are numbered : MONTHS
50 Steed stopper : REIN
52 Onetime instant-messaging app : GCHAT
53 École attendee : ELEVE
57 Female role in “Young Frankenstein” : INGA
58 Thin rope : CORD
59 Members of a flock : EWES
61 It borders Mex. : TEX
63 Window boxes, for short : ACS

15 thoughts on “1211-19 NY Times Crossword 11 Dec 19, Wednesday”

  1. 24:44. Tough Wednesday. Theme wasn’t that difficult, but I took way too much time before realizing it. I saw SATCH (?) rather than “Satchmo” and thought there must be a rebus or something.

    Best –

  2. Anonymous, in the old days when the penny arcade was a new and popular amusement, one would insert a penny and occasionally the machine was not activated because the mechanism did not allow the penny to drop. The term “the penny dropped“ refers to the delight one felt when the amusement or game was finally activated. The term morphed to mean “Aha, I finally got it!”

  3. I always thought “Satch” and “Satchmo” were short forms of the
    nickname “Satchel Mouth” which was applied to Louis Armstrong due
    to his extremely wide mouth. There is also a song from the 20’s called
    “Dippermouth Blues” which is usually attributed to Lil Hardin
    Armstrong – his wife for a time. They played together in King Oliver’s band in the 20’s in Chicago.

  4. No errors. Thoroughly enjoyable.

    I question the classifying of the “Grease” song WE GO TOGETHER as true onomatopoeia. Onomatopoeia is a spoken word that mimics the natural sound of something being described. “Meow” for the sound of a cat or “tick tock” for the sound of a clock.

    The words of “We Go Together” are just nonsensical syllables that do not mean anything and are not taken from anything. I’m not criticizing the song, of course. I’m just saying that that is not onomatopoeia.

  5. The 51A clue did not say the title was onomatopetic, rather the lyrics were. Think “rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong” or “shoo-bop sha wadda wadda yippity boom de boom
    Chang chang changitty chang sha-bop”.

    1. Agreed, Anonymous. I was indeed talking about the song’s lyrics and not about it’s title. True onomatopoeia must represent an actual sound made by something. The words from the song may accidentally sort of sound like something but it is not intentional. The missing element is the “intent” to represent another sound.

  6. The “hidden” past and present tenses were clearly marked in shaded squares in my paper. That helped a lot. Yet it took time making sense of them and getting the revealer

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