1218-19 NY Times Crossword 18 Dec 19, Wednesday

Constructed by: Margaret Saine
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme (according to Bill): In Summary …

Themed answers are a musing that is restated in a shorter form as “EDITING IS AN ART”, which is defined by the circled letters in those themed answers:

  • 17A Start of a long-winded musing from an author : EDITING A DRAFT OF …
  • 35A Musing, part 2 : … WRITING WELL IS
  • 53A End of the musing, which could simply have been the shaded squares : … SURELY AN ART FORM

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

Bill’s time: 8m 24s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

5 High in the Andes : ALTO

In Spanish, the summit of a mountain is “alto” (high).

14 Muscle car engine : HEMI

“Hemi” is short for “hemisphere”, and is the name given to an internal combustion engine with hemispherical combustion chambers. Chrysler is famous for using hemi engines in many of its models.

20 Oregon Ducks’ home : EUGENE

Eugene is the second-largest city in Oregon (after Portland). The city is named for its founder, Eugene Franklin Skinner. Skinner arrived in the area in 1846, after which the settlement he established was called Skinner’s Mudhole. The name was changed to Eugene City in 1852, which was shortened to Eugene in 1889.

The sports teams of the University of Oregon are known as the Oregon Ducks. The big rivals to the Ducks are the Oregon State Beavers, a rivalry that has been dubbed “the Civil War”. The two schools’ football teams play a game every year for the Platypus Trophy.

21 – – – – – .-. … . : MORSE

Samuel Morse came up with the forerunner to modern Morse code for use on the electric telegraph, of which he was the co-inventor. Morse code uses a series of dots and dashes to represent letters and numbers. The most common letters are assigned the simplest code elements e.g. E is represented by one dot, and T is represented by one dash. When words are spelled aloud in Morse code, a dot is pronounced as “dit”, and a dash is pronounced as “dah”.

The word “Morse” is written as “–/—/.-./…/.” in Morse code.

25 Ones calling the shots, for short? : RNS

A registered nurse (RN) might administer an intravenous drip (IV).

29 Rimes of country music : LEANN

LeAnn Rimes has been a country music star since she was 13 years old. In 2008 she disclosed publicly that she suffered from the autoimmune disease psoriasis. She has been active since then in raising money to fight the disease and helping fund cancer research as well. So, not only did Rimes win three Grammy Awards in 1997, she also won a 2009 Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Country Music.

31 Public walkway : PASEO

A paseo is a slow stroll or walk taken outdoors. The term “paseo” comes from the Spanish “pasear” meaning “to take a stroll”.

41 ___ bear : PANDA

The giant panda is a bear, and so has the digestive system of a carnivore. However, the panda lives exclusively on bamboo, even though its gut is relatively poorly adapted to extract nutrients from plants per se. The panda relies on microbes in its gut to digest cellulose, and consumes 20-30 pounds of bamboo each day to gain enough nourishment.

42 Animated picture file : GIF

A bitmap is an image file format used to store digital images. Basically, each pixel in a bitmap file is stored as a “bit” of information, hence the name “bitmap”. In 1987, CompuServe introduced a new type of image file called the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF). A GIF image takes the same information as a bitmap and then compresses it, resulting in a smaller file size. However, during compression the image may lose some resolution. The GIF format also handles short video clips, usually animations.

46 Julie Andrews or Helen Mirren : DAME

The title “Dame” in the British system of honors is the female equivalent to “Sir”, as used to address a knight. In days of old, the wife of a knight was given the title of Dame. Since the 17th century, the wife of a knight has been called “Lady”. So now, anyone with the title of Dame has earned the honor in her own right and not through marriage.

Actress and singer Julie Andrews was made a dame in 2000 by Queen Elizabeth II. The most famous roles played by Andrews were probably the leads in “Mary Poppins” (1964) and “The Sound of Music” (1965). More recently she has had a recurring role in “The Princess Diaries” (2001) and the film’s 2004 sequel. A favorite Julie Andrews film of mine is a comedy drama set in WWII called “The Americanization of Emily”, which was released in 1964.

Helen Mirren, one of my favorite English actresses, has played three different queens on film and television. She played Queen Elizabeth II on the 2006 film “The Queen”, the title role in the TV drama “Elizabeth I”, and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the wife of the title character in the 1994 film “The Madness of King George”. Mirren won the “Triple Crown of Acting” for playing:

  • Queen Elizabeth II in “The Queen” (winning Best Actress Oscar)
  • Queen Elizabeth II in “The Audience” (winning Best Actress in a Play Tony)
  • Detective Jane Tennison in “Prime Suspect” (winning Outstanding Lead Actress Emmy)

47 Harry’s foil in Harry Potter : DRACO

Draco Malfoy is one of the regular “bad guys” in the “Harry Potter” stories. Malfoy is one of Potter’s fellow students, the one who sneers a lot. Draco’s father is Lucius Malfoy, a character who becomes more and more relevant as the storyline in the series of books progresses.

57 Appropriate : USURP

To usurp is to seize and hold by force. The term “usurp” comes to us from Latin via French, from “usus” (a use) and “rapere” (to seize).

Down

1 Cheap and inauthentic : CHEESY

“Cheesy” can mean “of poor quality”. The term’s usage dates back to the late 1800s when it evolved from the Urdu “chiz” meaning “thing”. “Chiz” was used to describe a big thing, something important, and our word “cheesy” is an ironic derivative from that sense.

2 Catchword in waste management : REDUCE

The so called “waste hierarchy” can be restated as the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. The preferences are in order:

  1. Reduce consumption
  2. Reuse manufactured products
  3. Recycle raw materials

3 Some Spanish friends : AMIGAS

In Spanish, an “amigo” is a male friend, and an “amiga” is a female friend.

13 Call, as a game : REF

Back in the early 17th century, a referee was someone who examined patent applications. We started using the same term for a person presiding over a sporting event in the 1820s. “Referee” is a derivative of the verb “to refer”, and literally describes someone who has the authority to make a decision by “referring to” a book, archive etc.

23 Common street name : MAIN

The most common street name in the US is “Second Street”. “First Street” comes in only at number three, and this is because many cities and towns forego the use of “First” and instead go with “Main” or something more historical in nature. The spooky “Elm Street” appears on the list at number fifteen.

24 Illustration for an ill tourist? : ANAGRAM

Yep, “illustration” is an anagram of “ill tourist”.

Here are some of my favorite anagrams:

  • “Dormitory” and “dirty room”
  • “Elvis” and “lives”
  • “The eyes” and “they see”
  • “Eleven plus two” and “twelve plus one”

26 Storied Prohibition agent : NESS

Eliot Ness was the Treasury agent charged with the task of bringing down the notorious Chicago gangster Al Capone. When Ness took on the job in 1930, Chicago law-enforcement agents were renowned for being corrupt, for being on the take. Ness handpicked 50 prohibition agents who he thought he could rely on, later reducing the group to a cadre of 15 and ultimately just 11 trusted men. That group of 11 earned the nickname “The Untouchables”, the agents who couldn’t be bought.

The 18th Amendment to the US Constitution was a great victory for the temperance movement (the “dry” movement), and in 1919 ushered in the Prohibition era. Highly unpopular (with the “wet” movement), Prohibition was repealed in 1933 by the 21st Amendment.

27 Word before sauce or milk : SOY …

What are known as soybeans here in the US are called “soya beans” in most other English-speaking countries. So, I drink soy milk here in America, but when I am over in Ireland I drink “soya milk”.

30 Heroine of Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King” : ENID

“Idylls of the King” is a cycle of twelve poems by Alfred, Lord Tennyson that retells the tale of King Arthur. One of the “idylls” is the story of Geraint and Enid. This story is told in two parts: “The Marriage of Geraint” and “Geraint and Enid”. Tennyson’s Enid gave her name to the city of Enid, Oklahoma.

31 Like the pattern on Minnie Mouse’s dress : POLKA DOT

A polka dot pattern is one featuring an array of filled circles, usually of the same size and color. There doesn’t seem to be any connection between the name of the pattern and the polka dance, other than both the dance and the pattern gaining popularity around the same time, in the late nineteenth century.

Minnie and Mickey Mouse were both introduced to the world in 1928. Minnie was originally known as Minerva, and sometimes still is.

35 East Coast 7-Eleven competitor : WAWA

Wawa is an East Coast chain of gas stations and convenience stores. Back in the late 1800s, Wawa was the name of a dairy farm operation that delivered milk to homes. When consumers started buying milk in grocery stores in the 1960s, the owners of Wawa shifted their focus and opened up the Wawa Food Market as an outlet for the milk from the dairy operation. Those early food markets developed into the chain of Wawa convenience stores.

36 Jack Nicklaus, in 19 major golf championships : RUNNER-UP

Jack Nicklaus is a professional golfer from Columbus, Ohio. Nicknamed “the Golden Bear”, Nicklaus holds the record for winning the most major championships (18). Tiger Woods is in second place, having won 14 to date.

37 Chalice filler : WINE

A chalice is large drinking cup. The term “chalice” comes from the Latin word “calix” meaning “cup”. A chalice is often used for drinking during ceremonies. One notable example is the Holy Chalice of the Christian tradition, in which Jesus served wine to his apostles at the Last Supper.

42 Aplenty : GALORE

Our word “galore”, meaning “in great numbers”, comes from the Irish phrase “go leór” that translates as “sufficiently, enough”.

43 Rapid breakup of a frozen stream in the spring : ICE RUN

An ice run is the initial breaking up of river ice during the first thaw after winter.

46 Like most craft projects, in brief : DIY

Back in Ireland, we don’t have “hardware stores” as such, but rather “DIY centres” (and that’s the spelling of “centres”). “DIY” is an initialism standing for “do-it-yourself”.

51 Natural barrier that Hannibal surmounted : ALPS

Hannibal was a military commander from Ancient Carthage. Hannibal lived during a time of great conflict between Carthage and the Roman Republic, as the Romans worked to extend their influence over the Mediterranean region. Famously, Hannibal took on Rome on their own territory by marching his army, including his war elephants, over the Alps into Italy. His forces occupied much of Italy for 15 years.

54 G.I. entertainers : USO

The United Service Organization (USO) was founded in 1941 at the request of President Franklin D. Roosevelt “to handle the on-leave recreation of the men in the armed forces”. A USO tour is undertaken by a troupe of entertainers, many of whom are big-name celebrities. A USO tour usually includes troop locations in combat zones.

56 High/low card : ACE

In the card game blackjack, an ace has the point value of one or eleven. When one of the two cards dealt to a player is an ace, the hand is called “soft”. This means that the player cannot go bust by taking another card, as the ace can be revalued at “one” if necessary in order to stay under 21.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 One walking sideways : CRAB
5 High in the Andes : ALTO
9 Crew team member : ROWER
14 Muscle car engine : HEMI
15 Like most dorms nowadays : CO-ED
16 Old enough : OF AGE
17 Start of a long-winded musing from an author : EDITING A DRAFT OF …
20 Oregon Ducks’ home : EUGENE
21 – – – – – .-. … . : MORSE
22 Beginner’s knitting project : SCARF
23 Polite term of address : MA’AM
25 Ones calling the shots, for short? : RNS
28 “By all means” : YES
29 Rimes of country music : LEANN
31 Public walkway : PASEO
33 Craze : MANIA
34 Down-home and unpretentious : FOLKSY
35 Musing, part 2 : … WRITING WELL IS …
38 Precipitated : CAUSED
39 ___-dink : RINKY
40 Had the rights to : OWNED
41 ___ bear : PANDA
42 Animated picture file : GIF
45 Outlaw : BAN
46 Julie Andrews or Helen Mirren : DAME
47 Harry’s foil in Harry Potter : DRACO
49 Modern marketing tool : EMAIL
52 It may be gas- or oil-fired : BOILER
53 End of the musing, which could simply have been the shaded squares : … SURELY AN ART FORM
57 Appropriate : USURP
58 Word before sauce or truck : TACO …
59 “___ story” : TRUE
60 Wastes time feeling sad : MOPES
61 Unrealistic part of many statues : EYES
62 Wire or cable : SEND

Down

1 Cheap and inauthentic : CHEESY
2 Catchword in waste management : REDUCE
3 Some Spanish friends : AMIGAS
4 Dangerous dog : BITER
5 Undesirable marks? : ACNE
6 Fuel for a fire : LOG
7 Hot cupful : TEA
8 One who’s “out” : ODD MAN
9 Crowd noise : ROAR
10 Does a hit on : OFFS
11 Article of equipment akin to a wakeboard : WATERSKI
12 “S.N.L.” cast member Nwodim : EGO
13 Call, as a game : REF
18 Blown up : INFLATED
19 ___-com : ROM
23 Common street name : MAIN
24 Illustration for an ill tourist? : ANAGRAM
26 Storied Prohibition agent : NESS
27 Word before sauce or milk : SOY
30 Heroine of Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King” : ENID
31 Like the pattern on Minnie Mouse’s dress : POLKA DOT
32 Confederate : ALLY
33 ___ en place (putting in place: Fr.) : MISE
34 ___ for oneself : FEND
35 East Coast 7-Eleven competitor : WAWA
36 Jack Nicklaus, in 19 major golf championships : RUNNER-UP
37 Chalice filler : WINE
38 Corn on the ___ : COB
41 Appreciation of taste : PALATE
42 Aplenty : GALORE
43 Rapid breakup of a frozen stream in the spring : ICE RUN
44 Gave shape to : FORMED
46 Like most craft projects, in brief : DIY
48 Breaks in relations : RIFTS
50 ___ mortals : MERE
51 Natural barrier that Hannibal surmounted : ALPS
52 Frat members : BROS
53 It all adds up to this : SUM
54 G.I. entertainers : USO
55 Dissenting vote : NAY
56 High/low card : ACE

7 thoughts on “1218-19 NY Times Crossword 18 Dec 19, Wednesday”

  1. 22;27. Tripped all over myself finishing this one. 24D type clues get me every time. Someday I’ll learn….maybe. The wording of the musing itself is awkward. I feel like I’m missing something.

    Best –

    1. The wording of the musing itself IS awkward and in need of a good edit…hence the clear, concise shortened version in circled letters.

  2. Add me to those not realizing that Illustration is an anagram of Ill tourist. Actually I also had several other answers today that I had no knowledge of and yet got them correctly thanks only to crosses.

    Not living on the East Coast, WAWA seemed very odd to me. Googled it and found that it actually has a very distinguished origin going all the way back to the Ojibwe language. Cool.

    Nice challenge. No errors.

  3. 14:15, no errors. With many similar letters, I assumed that 24D must be an ANAGRAM, didn’t bother to confirm it. I thought that the theme was a clever illustration of the concept. However, to take the theme one step further, AN ART should have been two separate words.

  4. The theme seems skewed but works if WRITING WELL is accepted as the title of the book, “On Writing Well”, by the late William Zinsser.
    That said, I liked and enjoyed this puzzle, including the ANAGRAM.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.