1212-19 NY Times Crossword 12 Dec 19, Thursday

Constructed by: Alex Eaton-Salners
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Atomic Numbers

Two-letters answer in the grid ae the two-letter symbols for elements in the Periodic Table. The corresponding clue numbers are the atomic numbers for those elements:

  • 34A What this puzzle’s two-letter answers correspond with, given their locations in the grid : ATOMIC NUMBERS
  • 20A See 34-Across : Ca (calcium)
  • 22A See 34-Across : Ti (titanium)
  • 50A See 34-Across : Sn (tin)
  • 54A See 34-Across : Xe (xenon)
  • 3D See 34-Across : Li (lithium)
  • 10D See 34-Across : Ne (neon)
  • 60D See 34-Across : Nd (neodymium)
  • 62D See 34-Across : Sm (samarium)

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

Bill’s time: 10m 51s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Last name of two of the friends on “Friends” : GELLER

Courteney Cox played Monica Geller on the incredibly successful sitcom “Friends”. Before “Friends” she played the girlfriend of Michael J. Fox’s character on “Family Ties” for a couple of years in the late eighties. Her role in “Friends” was her biggest success, no question, when she and her fellow female co-stars became the highest paid TV actresses ever, earning a million dollars per episode.

Ross Geller is the character on “Friends” played by David Schwimmer. The role was actually written with Schwimmer in mind, and so Ross was the first of the “Friends” to be cast.

7 January birthstone : GARNET

Garnets are silicate minerals that comes in many colors. However, the color that we call “garnet” is a dark red.

13 Northern ___ Islands, U.S. commonwealth : MARIANA

The “Marianas” is a familiar name for the Mariana Islands that lie in the Pacific Ocean south of Japan and north of New Guinea. The “Mariana” Trench (note there is no “s” on the end of Mariana) is the lowest elevation on the surface of the Earth’s crust. The Mariana Trench takes its name from the Islands, as it lies just to the east of the Marianas.

There are sixteen US territories in all, but only five of them are inhabited:

  • Puerto Rico
  • Guam
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • US Virgin Islands
  • American Samoa

Examples of US territories with no permanent or native inhabitants are Wake Island and Midway Islands.

17 Staple of the Burning Man festival : BONFIRE

Burning Man is an annual festival that is held in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, although the first such gathering was held in 1986 on Baker Beach near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The name of the festival comes from the burning of a wooden effigy of “the man”.

19 Brief address : URL

An Internet address (like NYXCrossword.com and LAXCrossword.com) is more correctly called a Uniform Resource Locator (URL).

20 See 34-Across : Ca (calcium)

The name of the element calcium comes from the Latin “calcis” meaning “lime”. “Quicklime” and “burnt lime” are common names for calcium oxide.

21 Contemporaries of the Sadducees : ESSENES

The Essenes were a Jewish religious group who are most noted these days perhaps as the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

22 See 34-Across : Ti (titanium)

The chemical element titanium is a silver-colored metal. Discovered in 1791 by British clergyman and mineralogist William Gregor, the element is named for the Titans of Greek mythology. Titanium has the highest tensile strength to density ratio of any metallic element, so it is strong and yet relatively light. As a result, titanium and titanium alloys are used extensively in aircraft and spacecraft.

23 Prime business : ETAIL

Amazon Prime is a membership service that Amazon introduced in 2005.

26 Russian fighter jet : MIG

The Russian fighter jets that we know as “MiGs” are so called because they were designed by the Mikoyan-and-Gurevich Design Bureau, and MiG is an acronym for “Mikoyan-and-Gurevich” in Russian.

30 Drudge : SERF

A serf was a member of the lowest feudal class, someone attached to land owned by a lord. “Serf” comes from the Latin “servus”, meaning “slave”.

31 Former African capital of 13+ million : LAGOS

Lagos is a port and the biggest city in Nigeria. Lagos used to be the country’s capital, until it was replaced in that role in 1991 by Abuja, a city built for just for this purpose. Lagos is also the most populous city in the whole of Africa (followed by Cairo in Egypt).

34 What this puzzle’s two-letter answers correspond with, given their locations in the grid : ATOMIC NUMBERS

The atomic number (at. no.) of an element is also called the proton number, and is the number of protons found in the nucleus of each atom of the element.

37 Under the table : DRUNK

Or … how not to work on a crossword.

39 Shouted “Encore!,” say : BEGGED FOR MORE

“Encore” is French for “again, one more time”, and is a shout that an audience member will make here in North America to request perhaps another song. But, the term is not used this way in France. Rather, the audience will shout “Bis!”, which is the Italian for “twice!”

42 Bowed, to a cellist : ARCO

“Arco” is a musical direction instructing a string player to return to normal bowing technique after a passage played using some other technique (perhaps pizzicato).

43 Cow : DAUNT

The verb “to cow” means to intimidate, to scare. The exact etymology of the term seems unclear.

44 Movie pizzeria destroyed in a riot : SAL’S

“Do the Right Thing” is a Spike Lee movie that was released in 1989. Much of the action in the film is centered on a local pizzeria called “Sal’s” owned by Italian-American Salvatore Frangione (played by Danny Aiello).

46 Like the “Step in Time” singers in “Mary Poppins” : SOOTY

The “Mary Poppins” series of children’s novels were written by Australian-born English writer and actress P. L. Travers. Mary Poppins is a magical children’s nanny with a best friend Bert. In the famous 1964 musical film adaptation of the Mary Poppins stories, Poppins is played by Julie Andrews and Bert is played Dick Van Dyke.

48 Underwire ___ : BRA

The word “brassière” is French in origin, but it isn’t the word that the French use for a “bra”. In France, what we call a bra is known as a “soutien-gorge”, translating to “held under the neck”. The word “brassière” is indeed used in France but there it describes a baby’s undershirt, a lifebelt or a harness. “Brassière” comes from the Old French word for an “arm protector” in a military uniform (“bras” is the French for “arm”). Later “brassière” came to mean “breastplate” and from there the word was used for a type of woman’s corset. The word jumped into English around 1900.

49 Sonja on the ice : HENIE

Sonja Henie was a World and Olympic Champion figure skater from Oslo, Norway who competed in the days when “amateur” sports stars were not paid. Henie made up for her lack of income from competing by developing a career in Hollywood. She was one of the highest-paid film stars at the height of her movie career.

50 See 34-Across : Sn (tin)

The Latin word for tin is “stannum”, and so tin’s atomic symbol is “Sn”. One of the ores used as a source of tin is “stannite”.

54 See 34-Across : Xe (xenon)

The element Xenon was the first of the noble gases to be made into a compound, which was somewhat remarkable in that the noble gases were thought by many to be completely inert, unreactive.

55 Key near the tilde : ESC

The tilde diacritical mark (~) is very much associated with the Spanish language. We use the name “tilde” in English, taking that name from Spanish. Confusingly, the word “tilde” in Spanish is used more generally to mean “accent mark, diacritic”, of which a “~” is just one. What we call a “tilde” in English is usually referred to as a “virgulilla” or “tilde de la eñe” in Spanish.

57 Some garden blooms : PANSIES

The pansy is a garden flower that takes its name from the French word “pensée” meaning “thought”. This name was chosen as the flower was often used as a symbol of remembrance. The petals of pansies have dark blotches that often appear to form the outline of a face.

61 Stick-up artist? : MAESTRO

“Maestro” is often used to address a musical conductor. “Maestro” (plural “maestri”) is the Italian word for “master, teacher”. The plural in English is usually “maestros”.

Down

1 Acis’s lover in “Metamorphoses” : GALATEA

“The Metamorphoses” is a narrative poem by the Roman poet Ovid that deals with a lofty subject. It describes the history of the world from creation until the “present day”, that is Ovid’s “present day”, the era of Julius Caesar. A lot of the storyline makes use of Greek mythology (rather than Roman).

3 See 34-Across : Li (lithium)

Lithium (Li) compounds are often used as medication for psychiatric disorders, including bipolar disorder. Charles Leiper Grigg introduced a drink containing the mood stabilizer lithium citrate in 1929 using the name “Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda”. We call that drink 7Up today, although the lithium citrate was removed as an ingredient in 1948.

5 Biblical figure born to a 105-year-old father : ENOS

According to the Book of Mormon, Enos was a son of Jacob, and the author of the Book of Enos.

9 Like Harvard Yard, in a Boston accent : R-LESS

The Boston accent is noted for its broad letter A, and dropping of the letter R.

Harvard Yard is a large grassy area at the very center of Harvard University.

10 See 34-Across : Ne (neon)

Neon was discovered in 1898 by two British chemists Sir William Ramsay and Morris Travers. They chilled a sample of air, turning it into a liquid. They then warmed that liquid and separated out the gases that boiled off. Along with nitrogen, oxygen and argon (already known), the pair of scientists discovered two new gases. The first they called “krypton” and the second “neon”. “Krypton” is Greek for “the hidden one” and “neon” is Greek for “new”.

11 Part of a professor’s email address : EDU

The .edu 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)

13 Spiked clubs : MACES

A mace is a relatively simple weapon in essence. It is a heavy weight on the end of a handle that is used to deliver powerful blows on an opponent’s body.

24 Style of the Waldorf Astoria : ART DECO

The Waldorf=Astoria hotel (note the double hyphen) is named for the famous Astor family of New York that was so successful in business. The first Astors to arrive in the US immigrated from Walldorf in Germany. Two members of the family eventually built hotels in the city, one called the Waldorf (opened in 1893) and the other the Astoria (opened in 1897), with the pair operating next door to each other in competition. The hotels were eventually joined into one, creating the world’s largest hotel of the day. The original Waldorf=Astoria was demolished (the Empire State Building occupies that space now). The current hotel is an Art Deco landmark in the city that opened in 1931.

28 Storied El Capitan climbing route : THE NOSE

El Capitan is a stunning vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park in California. The top of El Capitan has been used as the take-off point for many BASE jumps, parachute jumps made by diving off the top of the rock face. The National Park Service put a stop to the practise in 1999. Soon afterwards, a BASE jumper made an illegal jump to protest the ban. She died …

29 Southwest acquisition of 2011 : AIRTRAN

AirTran Airways was a budget airline that has its principal hub in Atlanta. The company was founded in 1993 as ValuJet Airlines. AirTran had been owned by Southwest Airlines since 2010 and was fully integrated into the parent company in 2014, when the AirTran brand was shelved.

35 Make faces : MUG

The verb “to mug” means to make an exaggerated facial expression. The term comes from mugs used to drink beer (called Toby mugs) that are made in the shape of heads with grotesque expressions. “Mug” can also be a noun meaning “face”.

39 Charles of “The Great Escape” : BRONSON

Actor Charles Bronson was was born Charels Buchinsky. He worked in the coal mines of the Allegheny Mountains in Pennsylvania, starting from the age of 10 years. He left the mines in 1943 to enlist in the US Air Force, served as an aerial gunner, and was awarded a Purple Heart for wounds he received in combat mission against the Japanese home islands. When his acting career took off, Bronson mainly got tough-guy roles in films such as “The Magnificent Seven”, “The Great Escape”, “Battle of the Bulge”, “The Dirty Dozen” and (most famously) the “Death Wish” series. Bronson was married for many years to English actress Jill Ireland, until her death in 1990.

“The Great Escape” is a 1944 nonfiction book by Paul Brickhill that recounts the story of a mass escape from Stalag Luft III in Germany. Brickhill was actually a participant in the breakout. Famously, the book was adapted into a very successful 1963 movie starring Steve McQueen and Richard Attenborough.

41 Magic potions : ELIXIRS

An elixir is a solution of alcohol and water that is used to deliver a medicine. The term “elixir” can also be used to mean a medicine that has the power to cure all ills.

49 Book preceding Joel : HOSEA

Hosea was one of the Twelve Prophets of the Hebrew Bible. The Twelve Prophets are also known as the Minor Prophets of the Old Testament in the Christian Bible.

53 Notary public’s need : SEAL

A notary public is a public officer licensed to perform specific legal actions in non-contentious legal matters. The main duties are to administer oaths, take affidavits and witness the execution of documents.

56 Dove bar? : COO

Taxonomically, doves and pigeons are the only members of the order Columbidae. The terms “dove” and “pigeon” are often used interchangeably. Scientifically speaking, dove species tend to be smaller that pigeon species. Colloquially though, many refer to doves as the white or nearly white species in the family.

60 See 34-Across : Nd (neodymium)

The chemical element neodymium has the atomic number 60 and the symbol “Nd”. Classified as a rare-earth element, it is a silvery metal that oxidizes and tarnishes very easily in air. One use of neodymium is to make powerful permanent magnets, when combined in an alloy with iron and boron. Neodymium magnets are used in microphones, loudspeakers, in-ear headphones and computer hard disks, where strong magnets with low mass and small volume are required.

62 See 34-Across : Sm (samarium)

Samarium is a rare earth element, and has the symbol Sm. Samarium was discovered in 1879 in the mineral samarskite, from which the element’s name was taken. The mineral was named for Russian mine official Colonel Vasili Samarsky-Bykhovets. When Samarium was named, it became the first element ever to be named after a person, albeit indirectly.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Last name of two of the friends on “Friends” : GELLER
7 January birthstone : GARNET
13 Northern ___ Islands, U.S. commonwealth : MARIANA
14 Lubricated : OILED UP
16 ___ manière de (in the manner of: Fr.) : A LA
17 Staple of the Burning Man festival : BONFIRE
19 Brief address : URL
20 See 34-Across : Ca (calcium)
21 Contemporaries of the Sadducees : ESSENES
22 See 34-Across : Ti (titanium)
23 Prime business : ETAIL
26 Russian fighter jet : MIG
27 Past the sell-by date, say : STALE
30 Drudge : SERF
31 Former African capital of 13+ million : LAGOS
33 Got a move on : HIED
34 What this puzzle’s two-letter answers correspond with, given their locations in the grid : ATOMIC NUMBERS
37 Under the table : DRUNK
38 Dig : TAUNT
39 Shouted “Encore!,” say : BEGGED FOR MORE
42 Bowed, to a cellist : ARCO
43 Cow : DAUNT
44 Movie pizzeria destroyed in a riot : SAL’S
46 Like the “Step in Time” singers in “Mary Poppins” : SOOTY
48 Underwire ___ : BRA
49 Sonja on the ice : HENIE
50 See 34-Across : Sn (tin)
51 Insistent comeback : I WILL SO!
54 See 34-Across : Xe (xenon)
55 Key near the tilde : ESC
57 Some garden blooms : PANSIES
58 On : LIT
59 Next available : SOONEST
61 Stick-up artist? : MAESTRO
63 Acknowledges nonverbally : NODS TO
64 Fingers : BLAMES

Down

1 Acis’s lover in “Metamorphoses” : GALATEA
2 Period of note : ERA
3 See 34-Across : Li (lithium)
4 Tag : LABEL
5 Biblical figure born to a 105-year-old father : ENOS
6 Unexpectedly came face to face with : RAN SMACK-DAB INTO
7 Putting one’s reputation at risk : GOING OUT ON A LIMB
8 Moneyed suffix : -AIRE
9 Like Harvard Yard, in a Boston accent : R-LESS
10 See 34-Across : Ne (neon)
11 Part of a professor’s email address : EDU
12 Animals symbolizing the universe in Chinese culture : TURTLES
13 Spiked clubs : MACES
15 Pursued, as a trade : PLIED
18 Pretend : FEIGN
24 Style of the Waldorf Astoria : ART DECO
25 Weak excuse : I FORGOT
28 Storied El Capitan climbing route : THE NOSE
29 Southwest acquisition of 2011 : AIRTRAN
31 Furrowed : LINED
32 Sting : SMART
35 Make faces : MUG
36 Ski ___ : BUM
39 Charles of “The Great Escape” : BRONSON
40 Rolls up, as a sail : FURLS
41 Magic potions : ELIXIRS
42 Dipsticks : ASSES
45 Manage : SEE TO
47 “Holy cannoli!” : YIPES!
49 Book preceding Joel : HOSEA
52 Were, biblically : WAST
53 Notary public’s need : SEAL
56 Dove bar? : COO
58 4G ___ (standard for mobile devices) : LTE
60 See 34-Across : Nd (neodymium)
62 See 34-Across : Sm (samarium)

14 thoughts on “1212-19 NY Times Crossword 12 Dec 19, Thursday”

  1. 43:48 Once I filled in “atomic number”, the themed clues were easy, in spite of my pathetic time. Misspelled “Geller”(have never seen ‘Friends’), “egads” instead of “yipes”…..oh well…

  2. 25:18. I first thought the reveal might be arabicNUMBERS, but that made no sense in terms of the theme answers. Finally aha-ed myself to ATOMIC. The theme would have been easier if the chemicals were more common ones – then again you couldn’t have used a 1-letter chemical symbol either.

    Didn’t know MUG came from beer mugs. Interesting.

    Best –

  3. I knew I was in trouble when 1-Across asked about “Friends.” Never saw a complete episode; couldn’t handle Joey’s(?) contrived stupidity. That, coupled with 1-Down, left me with a couple of blanks. Interesting construction, though.

  4. 15:12, no errors. Vaguely remember some of the more important elements and their atomic numbers, but, generally, above neon (10) I’m pretty much lost. The clue for 34A in the syndicated version is: “What the arrowed clues point to, for their respective answers.” However, there are no arrowed clues, the theme clues all just say “See 34-Across”. Very nicely symmetrical grid.

    1. Yes, how come there is such a big difference between the online version and the printed version? (The phrase “arrowed clues” in the newspaper had me looking to the four “arrow”-ish black squares for a hint . . .)

  5. Only one letter wrong. I had 20-Across as CU for copper which was a nice try. Did not know the Greek name at all. One square wrong? I’ll settle for that!

  6. Oh come on. Was I the only one who dug out a copy of the atomic number chart to fill in the blanks. Took chemistry but never committed the elements to memory…that’s what the big chart on the wall was for.

  7. FWIW, the print Seattle Times syndicated puzzle had the correct clue (What this puzzle’s two letter answers…).

    That said, knowing the theme didn’t help me much – most of them were still just random 2 letter “words”. I guessed wrong on the “GALETEA” (2 down) and “SETTO” (45 down) crosses.

  8. As soon as I got the GARNET and OILEDUP, I had an aha! North East and quickly filled in the NW, SE and SW. Then I noticed there were more of them. So…wrong!

    I lived in Pacific Beach CA (San Diego) on GARNET street. Most of the streets running east and west are named after gems/stones.

    Until today, I always thought that garnet was a green gem. Hmm.

  9. I want to compliment Alex on his construction. Clever. Fun. Doable…
    I admit to five look-ups but got the rest. Thanks!!

  10. 17:56, 3 errors. Bad idea for a theme, period, especially since something obviously was lost in translation somewhere for this to make the remotest bit of sense.

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