1220-19 NY Times Crossword 20 Dec 19, Friday

Constructed by: Zhouqin Burnikel
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 15m 04s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

10 Hindu love god : KAMA

Kama is the Hindu god of love. He is portrayed as a youth bearing a bow and arrows, much like Eros and Cupid. Kama lends his name to the “Kama Sutra”.

14 Grand Prix site : MONACO

The Principality of Monaco is on the Mediterranean coast, and is otherwise surrounded by France, even though it is just under 10 miles from the Italian border. Monaco is the world’s most densely populated country, and the world’s second smallest country (the smallest being Vatican City). The principality has been very prosperous since the late 1800s, with the economy given a tremendous boost with the opening of several gambling casinos.

Even though the term is used in many competitions, I think that we most associate “Grand Prix” with the series of Formula One motor races. These Formula One Grand Prix races trace their roots back to organized automobile road races from one French town to the next that date back to 1894. “Grand Prix” translates from French as “grand, big prize.”

15 Boost at the gym : ENERGY BAR

Our word “gymnasium” comes from the Greek “gymnasion” meaning “public place where exercise is taken”. The Greek term comes from “gymnos” meaning “naked”, as that physical training was usually done unclothed in ancient Greece.

18 Actress whose full name can be made from the letters of DO RE MI : DEMI MOORE

Demi Moore was born Demetria Guynes and took the name Demi Moore when she married her first husband, Freddy Moore. Moore’s second husband was Bruce Willis. She changed her name to Demi Guynes Kutcher a few years after marrying her third husband, Ashton Kutcher. But, Kutcher and Moore split in 2013.

20 ___ Jahan, leader who commissioned the Taj Mahal : SHAH

The most famous mausoleum in the world has to be the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. The Taj Mahal was built after the death of the fourth wife of Shah Jahan, Mumtaz Mahal (hence the name of the mausoleum). The poor woman died in childbirth delivering the couple’s 14th child. When Shah Jahan himself passed away 35 years later, he was buried beside his wife Mumtaz, in the Taj Mahal.

23 Part of a dash : CAR STEREO

Back in the 1800s, “dashboard” was the name given to a board placed at the front of a carriage to stop mud from “dashing” against the passengers in the carriage, mud that was kicked up by the hoofs of the horses. Quite interesting …

29 Boomsticks? : TNT

“TNT” is an abbreviation for “trinitrotoluene”. Trinitrotoluene was first produced in 1863 by the German chemist Joseph Wilbrand, who developed it for use as a yellow dye. TNT is relatively difficult to detonate so it was on the market as a dye for some years before its more explosive properties were discovered.

31 Largest steel producer in the U.S. : NUCOR

Nucor Corporation is the largest producer of steel in the US, bigger even than US Steel. Despite its size, Nucor doesn’t own one blast furnace. Instead, Nucor’s business was built on recycling steel using electric arc furnaces.

34 Kind of football played indoors : ARENA

Arena Football is played indoors, on a smaller field than American (and Canadian) football. The sport was invented in 1981, and the Arena Football League (AFL) was around from 1987 till 2008. There’s a new AFL in business now, which started playing games in 2010.

35 Greek “Mother of the Gods” : RHEA

In Greek mythology, Rhea was one of the Titans. She was the sister and husband of Cronus, and together they had six children, the last of which was Zeus. Cronus swallowed all of his children as soon as they were born, except for Zeus, who Rhea managed to hide from her husband.

36 Inedible kind of orange : OSAGE

The Osage orange is also known as the horse apple, and is a deciduous tree native to North America. The wood of the tree was prized by Native Americans, particularly the Osage nation, who used it to make bows. The Osage Orange was also called “bois d’arc” (meaning “bow-wood”) by early French settlers, a reference to the local usage. This French name was corrupted into “bodark” and “bodarc”, another name for the same tree.

39 Column in a baseball box score : RUNS

In baseball, the line square is a summary set of statistics for the game. It is seen at every baseball stadium, and includes the number of runs scored by each team per innings, as well as the total number of hits and errors. The more comprehensive box score includes the line score, but also shows the individual performance of each player.

40 Sportscaster Jim : NANTZ

Jim Nantz is a sportscaster who started working for CBS Sports in the 1990s.

41 50 Cent’s “___ Control” : OUTTA

Rap star 50 Cent’s real name is Curtis James Jackson III, and is from South Jamaica in Queens, New York. 50 Cent had a rough life starting out, first dealing drugs at the age of 12. He dropped his illegal activities to pursue a rap career, but still fell victim to an assailant who pumped nine bullets into him. The alleged shooter was himself shot three weeks later, and died. 50 Cent’s alleged attacker was a bodyguard and close friend of Mike Tyson.

42 Johnson’s predecessor as British P.M. : MAY

Theresa May won a leadership election to become UK prime minister in 2016, following the resignation of David Cameron immediately after the nation decided to withdraw from the EU (“Brexit”). As such, May became only the second female prime minister in the UK, after Margaret Thatcher.

45 “X-Men” film spinoff starring Hugh Jackman : LOGAN

“Logan” is a 2017 movie that is the tenth (yes, tenth) installment of the “X-Men” series of films. It is also the third movie to center on the character Wolverine (aka “Logan”), who is played by Hugh Jackman. This one was very, very successful at the box office. Anyone interested in a retro-style “Logan” might want to look for the black-and-white version of the film that’s available under the title “Logan Noir”.

Australian actor Hugh Jackman is most famous perhaps for his recurring role as Wolverine in the “X-Men” series of films, but as I don’t really “do” superhero movies, I like him best from the romantic comedy “Kate & Leopold” and the epic “Australia”. Jackman also garnered praise for his portrayal of Jean Valjean in “Les Misérables”.

The X-Men are a team of superheroes created by Stan Lee for Marvel Comics. Nowadays, the X-Men are perhaps best known as the subject of a series of movies, with Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine and Patrick Stewart playing Professor Xavier (or simply “Professor X”). Some very respected actors have also played the villains whom the X-Men have to battle. For example, the enemy called Magneto is portrayed by veteran Shakespearean actor Sir Ian McKellen.

51 University near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains : FURMAN

Furman University is a private school located in Travelers Rest, just north of Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1825 by the South Carolina Baptist Convention as the Furman Academy and Theological Institution.

53 “Whip It” band : DEVO

Devo is a band from Akron, Ohio formed back in 1973. The band’s biggest hit is “Whip It” released in 1980. Devo have a gimmick: the wearing of red, terraced plastic hats that are referred to as “energy domes”. Why? I have no idea …

55 In direct competition : MANO A MANO

“Mano a mano” is Spanish for “hand-to-hand”, and is used in English to mean “face-to-face”.

57 Home of the South by Southwest festival : AUSTIN

Austin is the capital of the state of Texas. When the area was chosen to be the capital of the Republic of Texas, it was known as Waterloo. The name was changed in honor of Stephen F. Austin, a native of Virginia who was raised in Missouri and led the first successful colonization of Texas.

South by Southwest, also known as “SXSW”, is an annual festival that has been taking place in Austin, Texas since 1987. SXSW is a melded event, combining a music festival, a film festival and an interactive festival.

63 Best Play and others : ESPYS

The ESPY Awards are a creation of the ESPN sports television network. One difference with similarly named awards in the entertainment industry is that ESPY winners are chosen solely based on viewer votes.

Down

1 “Crime and Punishment” heroine : SONYA

“Crime and Punishment” is one of the two most famous novels by Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky, the other being “The Brothers Karamazov”.

3 This is the way : TAO

The name of the Chinese character “tao” translates as “path”, but the concept of Taoism signifies the true nature of the world.

5 Snacks : NOSHES

Our word “nosh” has been around since the late fifties, when it was imported from the Yiddish word “nashn” meaning “to nibble”. We use “nosh” as a noun that means “snack”, or as a verb meaning “to eat between meals”.

6 Nervous witnesses in mystery novels, often : RED HERRINGS

The exact origin of the term “red herring”, meaning “something that misleads”, isn’t known. The most common explanation for the use of the phrase is that kippers (strong-smelling smoked herrings) were used to by fugitives to distract bloodhounds who were on their trail. Kippers become red-colored during the smoking process, and are no longer “white herrings”.

7 “Blastoff!” preceder : ONE

Three, two, one, blast off!

8 Left side, informally : DEMS

The modern-day Democratic Party was founded in 1828 when supporters of Andrew Jackson broke away from the former Democratic-Republican Party during the presidency of John Quincy Adams. That date makes the Democratic Party the oldest voter-based political party in the world. Andrew Jackson became the first Democratic US president, in 1829.

The concept of left-right politics started in France during the French Revolution. When members of France’s National Assembly convened in 1789, supporters of the King sat to the President’s right, and supporters of the revolution to the President’s left. The political terms “left” and “right” were then coined in the local media and have been used ever since.

9 Country with hundreds of islands in the Red Sea : ERITREA

Eritrea is a country located in the Horn of Africa, and surrounded by Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti and the Red Sea. Some scientists believe that the area now known as Eritrea was the departure point for anatomically modern humans who first left Africa to populate the rest of the world.

10 Former world capital whose name means “capital city” : KYOTO

The city of Kyoto was once the capital of Japan, and in fact the name “Kyoto” means “capital city” in Japanese. Kyoto is sometimes referred to as the City of Ten Thousand Shrines.

12 Total mess : MARE’S NEST

The term “mare’s nest” has two meanings these days. More commonly it refers to a confused mess, although this usage is really an error, confusion with the idiom “rat’s nest”, which has that meaning. The correct usage of “mare’s nest”, dating back to the 16th century, is to describe a hoax, a promising discovery that turns out to be next to nothing.

13 What “r” might signify : ARE

That would be text-speak …

14 Singer Anthony : MARC

“Marc Anthony” is the stage name of Marco Antonio Muñiz, a Puerto Rican-American singer. Anthony’s first wife was Dayanara Torres, a former Miss Universe from Puerto Rico. His second wife was quite famous too: singer and actress Jennifer Lopez. He divorced from the latter in 2014.

16 Online service introduced in 2004 : GMAIL

Gmail is a free webmail service provided by Google, and my favorite of the free email services. Gmail made a big splash when it was introduced because it offered a whopping 1GB of storage whereas other services offered a measly 2-4MB on average.

21 Frequent subject of headlines in The Onion : AREA MAN

Area Man is a persona used by the satirical newspaper “The Onion” in articles that are written in the style of local news. Area Man is a generic individual, like Bay Area man, Dallas man, Peoria man, etc.

28 Site for some celebratory dances : END ZONE

That would be football.

38 Features on topographic maps : CONTOURS

A topographic map is one that illustrates land relief, the vertical and horizontal dimensions of the terrain. Typically, this is done using contour lines that show the steepness of slopes.

43 Kendrick of rap : LAMAR

Kendrick Lamar is a hip-hop singer from Compton, California. Lamar’s full name is Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, with the singer’s given name honoring Motown artist Eddie Kendricks. Notably, his 2017 album “Damn” won a Pulitzer Prize for Music, becoming the first non-classical or non-jazz album to do so.

46 Pirates’ potables : GROGS

Edward Vernon was a naval officer with the nickname “Old Grog”. In 1740, Vernon ordered that the daily ration of rum for his sailors should be watered down, in order to reduce discipline problems caused by drunkenness. The diluted rum was sweetened with sugar, and lemon or lime added to help preserve it on long voyages. This recipe, found to reduce scurvy among sailors (because of the citrus) spread throughout the Royal Navy, and “grog” was born. As an aside, George Washington’s older half-brother named the famous Washington Mount Vernon Plantation in honor of Edward Vernon. We use the derivative term “groggy” to mean “unsteady on the feet”, as if under the influence of “grog”.

48 1970s first lady : BETTY

Betty Ford was the First Lady and wife of President Gerald Ford, who was in office from 1973 to 1974. Betty Ford was forced to face her alcoholism and addiction to painkillers when her family staged an intervention in 1978. She managed to recover and then famously co-founded the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California which treats victims of chemical dependency.

49 Elite eight : IVIES

The term “Ivy League” originally defined an athletic conference, but now it is used to describe a group of schools of higher education that are associated with both a long tradition and academic excellence. The eight Ivy League Schools are: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale.

52 Early illustrator of Uncle Sam : NAST

Thomas Nast was an American caricaturist and cartoonist. Nast was the creator of the Republican Party elephant, the Democratic Party donkey, Uncle Sam and the image of the plump and jocular Santa Claus that we use today.

The Uncle Sam personification of the United States was first used during the War of 1812. The “Uncle Sam” term was so widely accepted that even the Germans used it during WWII, choosing the code word “Samland” for “America” in intelligence communiques.

55 No. that’s converted for electric cars : MPG

Miles per gallon (mpg)

56 Org. that shares its HQ with Cyber Command : NSA

US Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) is located in Fort Meade, Maryland, a home it shares with the National Security Agency. USCYBERCOM has the mission to ensure the US has freedom of action in cyberspace and to deny such freedom to US adversaries.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Event for which participants may take the floor : SIT-IN
6 Pestered persistently : RODE
10 Hindu love god : KAMA
14 Grand Prix site : MONACO
15 Boost at the gym : ENERGY BAR
17 Bugs : ANNOYS
18 Actress whose full name can be made from the letters of DO RE MI : DEMI MOORE
19 Alternative to white : RYE
20 ___ Jahan, leader who commissioned the Taj Mahal : SHAH
22 This might be a bust : STATUE
23 Part of a dash : CAR STEREO
26 Hoots : RIOTS
27 Treatment that reduces wrinkles : LASER PEEL
29 Boomsticks? : TNT
31 Largest steel producer in the U.S. : NUCOR
34 Kind of football played indoors : ARENA
35 Greek “Mother of the Gods” : RHEA
36 Inedible kind of orange : OSAGE
37 Look after : MIND
38 Hardly try anymore : COAST
39 Column in a baseball box score : RUNS
40 Sportscaster Jim : NANTZ
41 50 Cent’s “___ Control” : OUTTA
42 Johnson’s predecessor as British P.M. : MAY
43 Some ranch cattle : LONGHORNS
45 “X-Men” film spinoff starring Hugh Jackman : LOGAN
47 Congressional campaign : SENATE BID
51 University near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains : FURMAN
53 “Whip It” band : DEVO
54 1/2 vis-à-vis 1/3, say : EVE
55 In direct competition : MANO A MANO
57 Home of the South by Southwest festival : AUSTIN
59 Big canned soup brand : PROGRESSO
60 Irritates, with “on” : GRATES
61 Tricks : GETS
62 Critic’s award : STAR
63 Best Play and others : ESPYS

Down

1 “Crime and Punishment” heroine : SONYA
2 Private : INNER
3 This is the way : TAO
4 Hostile look : ICY STARE
5 Snacks : NOSHES
6 Nervous witnesses in mystery novels, often : RED HERRINGS
7 “Blastoff!” preceder : ONE
8 Left side, informally : DEMS
9 Country with hundreds of islands in the Red Sea : ERITREA
10 Former world capital whose name means “capital city” : KYOTO
11 “Ah, yes, I’d been meaning to tell you …” : ABOUT THAT …
12 Total mess : MARE’S NEST
13 What “r” might signify : ARE
14 Singer Anthony : MARC
16 Online service introduced in 2004 : GMAIL
21 Frequent subject of headlines in The Onion : AREA MAN
24 Difficult journeys : SLOGS
25 “Let me in!” : OPEN THE DOOR!
28 Site for some celebratory dances : END ZONE
30 Bye line? : TA-TA
31 Nothing special, with “the” : NORM
32 Nothing special, with “the” : USUAL FARE
33 “Really, now? Really!?” : CAN YOU NOT?!
35 Electrify : ROUSE
38 Features on topographic maps : CONTOURS
40 Walk-ons, often : NO-NAMES
43 Kendrick of rap : LAMAR
44 Absolutely destroy : RAVAGE
46 Pirates’ potables : GROGS
48 1970s first lady : BETTY
49 Elite eight : IVIES
50 Homes in the woods : DENS
52 Early illustrator of Uncle Sam : NAST
55 No. that’s converted for electric cars : MPG
56 Org. that shares its HQ with Cyber Command : NSA
58 Drain : SAP

15 thoughts on “1220-19 NY Times Crossword 20 Dec 19, Friday”

  1. 32:14 Anybody from my neck of New York State knows the opposite of “white” is “red”….as in hot dogs. We also have the best chicken wings….

  2. 30:59. Some really clever cluing in this one. I wonder if CC thought up the clue for DEMI MOORE or if she had read that somewhere? For 48D I kept thinking they were trying to say “Patty” (as in Pat Nixon) until BETTY finally dawned on me.

    Best –

  3. Found the cluing to be just “off kilter” enough to make this an enjoyable challenge. No errors, making up for my frustrating
    one-letter miss yesterday.

  4. 1:07:11 with no errors but several references to “my notes” from previous puzzles….I never heard of Nucor even though it is the biggest steel co. in the U.S…..A tough Friday

  5. 34:33, no errors. Same challenges as previous posters. A minor suggestion to Bill’s explanation of 46D GROGS. Alcohol was added to the supplies of fresh water to kill bacterial/fungal growth. Rum was eventually the additive of choice because of its high alcohol content, compared to beer or wine. So less of it had to be carried on board ship. Lemon, lime and sugar were added as flavorings; not preservatives. I also learned something new, that pirates equivalent of grog was called bumbo, which added nutmeg to mix.

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