1224-19 NY Times Crossword 24 Dec 19, Tuesday

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

Today’s Reveal Answer: Barbershop Quartet

There is a QUARTET of themed answers, each ending a word associated with a BARBERSHOP:

  • 54A With 63-Across, singing group … or a hint to the ends of the answers to the four starred clues : BARBERSHOP
  • 63A See 54-Across : … QUARTET
  • 15A *Bologna, e.g. : COLD CUT
  • 18A *Device for holding papers together : BINDER CLIP
  • 32A *Carpenter’s decorative molding : WINDOW TRIM
  • 43A *Abundant harvest : BUMPER CROP

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

Bill’s time: 6m 00s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

7 Old cornball variety show with Buck Owens : HEE HAW

The variety show “Hee Haw” aired on CBS from 1969-1971, and then had a 20-year run in syndication. The show was built around country music, although the format was inspired by “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In”.

Buck Owens was a very successful country star, along with his backing band, the Buckaroos. Owens had 21 number one hits in the country music charts, but never had a record that successfully crossed over to the popular charts. From 1968 to 1986, Owens was the co-host of the TV show “Hee Haw”.

13 “The Misanthrope” playwright : MOLIERE

“Molière” was the stage name of French actor and playwright Jean-Baptiste Poquelin. It is amazing how well the comedies of Molière, written in the 1600s, entertain us on stage today. Among his best-known plays are “The Misanthrope”, “The School for Wives” and “Tartuffe or the Hypocrite”.

Misanthropy is a dislike of humans in general. The term comes from the Greek “misos” meaning “hatred” and “anthropos” meaning “man, human being”.

15 *Bologna, e.g. : COLD CUT

The deli meat known as “baloney”, i.e. “Bologna sausage”, is an American invention. It was given the name “baloney” because it resembles Italian mortadella sausage, which originated in the city of Bologna in northern Italy.

16 Of a ring-shaped part of the iris : AREOLAR

An areola (sometimes “areole”) in anatomy is a small ring of color, as in the areola surrounding the nipple, and the areola surrounding the pupil of the eye. “Areola” (plural “areolae”) comes from Latin, meaning “small open space”, and is a diminutive of the Latin word “area”, meaning “open space”.

22 Alternative to café : THE

In French, a “tasse” (cup) might contain perhaps “thé” (tea) or “café” (coffee).

23 Larsson who wrote the “Millennium” trilogy : STIEG

Stieg Larsson was a Swedish journalist and writer. Indeed, one of the main characters in his “Millennium” series of novels is a journalist as well. The first two titles in the series are “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “The Girl Who Played with Fire”. The last of the three titles in the Millennium series is “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”, which was the most-sold book in the US in 2010. All of the books in the series were published after Larsson’s death. He passed away from a heart attack while climbing several flights of stairs, when he was just 50 years old.

26 Capp and Capone : ALS

Al Capp was a cartoonist from New Haven, Connecticut who is best remembered for cartoon strip “Li’l Abner”. Capp created “Li’l Abner” in 1934 and drew it himself until 1977. Capp passed away two years after “Li’l Abner” was retired.

When Al Capone was a young man, he worked as a bouncer in nightclubs and saloons. He was working the door of a Brooklyn night spot one evening when he apparently insulted a woman, sparking off a fight with her brother. In the tussle, Capone’s face was slashed three times. Capone wasn’t too proud of the incident, nor the “Scarface” moniker that he was given as a result. He always hid the scars as best he could when being photographed, and was also fond of telling people that the scars were from old war wounds.

36 Co. in the Dow Jones index since 1979 : IBM

Tech giant IBM was founded as the Tabulating Machine Company in 1896. The company changed its name to the Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation (CTR) in 1911 and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1916. The name “International Business Machines” (IBM) was given first to the company’s Canadian subsidiary, and then to its South American subsidiary. In 1924, it was decided to adopt the International Business Machines name for the whole company. Good choice …

Dow Jones & Company was founded as a publishing house in 1882 by three newspaper reporters, Charles Dow, Edward Jones and Charles Bergstresser. Today, the company’s most famous publication has to be “The Wall Street Journal”. In 1884, Charles Dow started reporting the average dollar value of the stock of eleven companies, an index which spawned a whole host of metrics that carry the Dow Jones name to this day. The most famous of these metrics is the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), also known as “the Dow 30” or simply “the Dow”.

37 Museum-funding org. : NEA

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is an agency funded by the federal government that offers support and financing for artistic projects. The NEA was created by an Act of Congress in 1965. Between 1965 and 2008, the NEA awarded over $4 billion to the arts, with Congress authorizing around $170 million annually through the eighties and much of the nineties. That funding was cut to less than $100 million in the late nineties due to pressure from conservatives concerned about the use of funds, but it is now back over the $150 million mark. I wonder how long that will last though …

38 N.Y.C. museum, with “the” : MET

New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (“the Met”) was founded in 1870 by a group of private citizens. The current museum is huge, with 2 million square feet of floor space.

40 Genetic “messenger” : RNA

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is an essential catalyst in the manufacture of proteins in the body. The genetic code in DNA determines the sequence of amino acids that make up each protein. That sequence is read in DNA by messenger RNA, and amino acids are delivered for protein manufacture in the correct sequence by transfer RNA. The amino acids are then formed into proteins by ribosomal RNA.

41 Personal manner : MIEN

One’s mien is one’s bearing or manner. “Mien” shares the same etymological root as our word “demeanor”.

47 “One more thing …,” in a text : BTW …

By the way (BTW)

51 On the briny : AT SEA

The briny is the sea, with “brine” meaning “salty water”. The term “briny” was originally used for “tears”.

54 With 63-Across, singing group … or a hint to the ends of the answers to the four starred clues : BARBERSHOP …
(63A See 54-Across : … QUARTET)

Barbershop music is played in the a cappella style, meaning that it is unaccompanied vocal music. Barbershop music originated in the African-American communities in the South, as gospel quartets often gathered in neighborhood barber shops to sing together.

58 Española, por ejemplo : ISLA

The island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean, shared between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, is known in Spanish as “La Española”.

62 Ballplayers with birds on their caps : ORIOLES

The Baltimore Orioles (also, the O’s, the Birds”) are one of the eight charter teams of MLB’s American League, so the franchise dates back to 1901. Prior to 1901, the team has roots in the Minor League Milwaukee Brewers, and indeed entered the American League as the Brewers. In 1902 the Brewers moved to St. Louis and became the Browns. The team didn’t fare well in St. Louis, so when it finally relocated to Baltimore in the early fifties the team changed its name completely, to the Baltimore Orioles. The owners so badly wanted a fresh start that they traded 17 old Browns players with the New York Yankees. The trade didn’t help the team’s performance on the field in those early days, but it did help distance the new team from its past.

65 David Bowie song whose title subject is “waiting in the sky” : STARMAN

“Starman” is a fabulous song released by David Bowie in 1972 on the famous album “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”.

David Bowie was the stage name of English singer David Jones. Bowie adopted the alter ego Ziggy Stardust during his glam rock phase in the 1970s. Sadly, Bowie passed away from liver cancer in early 2016.

67 Book that might include “Silent Night” : HYMNAL

The beautiful Christmas carol “Silent Night” was first performed in Austria in 1818. The words were written by a priest, Father Joseph Mohr, and the melody by an Austrian headmaster, Franz Xaver Gruber. The carol was in German and called “Stille Nacht”. The English translation that we use today was provided to us in 1859 by an American bishop, John Freeman Young from Florida.

Down

2 Lady ___ (nickname in jazz) : ELLA

Ella Fitzgerald, the “First Lady of Song”, had a hard and tough upbringing. She was raised by her mother alone in Yonkers, New York. Her mother died while Ella was still a schoolgirl, and around that time the young girl became less interested in her education. She fell in with a bad crowd, even working as a lookout for a bordello and as a Mafia numbers runner. She ended up in reform school, from which she escaped, and found herself homeless and living on the streets for a while. Somehow Fitzgerald managed to get herself a spot singing in the Apollo Theater in Harlem. From there her career took off and as they say, the rest is history.

5 Dutch-speaking Caribbean vacation spot : ARUBA

Aruba is one of the so-called ABC Islands located off the northern coast of Venezuela. “ABC Islands” is a name given to the three westernmost islands of the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean. The nickname comes from the first letters of the island names: Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. All three of the ABC Islands are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

6 Hairy Himalayans : YETIS

The yeti, also known as the abominable snowman, is a beast of legend. “Yeti” is a Tibetan term, and the beast is fabled to live in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet. Our equivalent legend in North America is that of Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch. The study of animals whose existence have not yet been substantiated is called cryptozoology, and a cryptid is a creature or plant that isn’t recognized by the scientific community, but the existence of which has been suggested.

9 Of a historic period : EPOCHAL

Geological time is divided into a number of units of varying lengths. These are, starting from the largest:

  • supereon
  • eon (also “aeon”)
  • era
  • period
  • epoch
  • age

10 “Monster’s Ball” Oscar winner : HALLE BERRY

Actress Halle Berry was the first African-American woman to win a Best Actress Oscar, which she received for her performance in the 2001 movie “Monster’s Ball”. Berry also won a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress in 2005 for playing the title role in “Catwoman”, and she very graciously accepted that award in person. Good for her!

11 Black-purple fruit from a palm tree : ACAI

Açaí (pronounced “ass-aye-ee”) is a palm tree native to Central and South America. The fruit has become very popular in recent years and its juice is a very fashionable addition to juice mixes and smoothies.

12 Cincinnati radio station of bygone TV : WKRP

The sitcom “WKRP in Cincinnati” was produced by MTM, the production company established by Mary Tyler Moore and her husband for the “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”. “WKRP” was a successful enough show when it originally aired, but then became a blockbuster in syndication. It became MTM’s most-watched program, even outstripping the original “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”.

13 Director of 2000’s “Charlie’s Angels,” to film fans : MCG

Film director Joseph McGinty Nichol is known simply as “McG”. The nickname “McG” was given to him by his mother, to avoid confusion with his uncle and grandfather who also were named Joseph. McG directed the 2000 film “Charlie’s Angels” and the 2003 sequel “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle”.

21 “Ghostbusters” character ___ Spengler : EGON

Egon Spengler is one of the lead characters in the films “Ghostbusters” and “Ghostbusters II”. Spengler was played by Harold Ramis.

24 Bone paralleling the fibula : TIBIA

The tibia is the shin bone, and is the larger of the two bones right below the knee. It is the strongest weight-bearing bone in the human body. “Tibia” is the Roman name for a Greek flute and it is thought that the shin bone was given the same name because flutes were often fashioned out of the shin bones of animals.

25 Epitaph words : IN MEMORIAM

“In memoriam” is a Latin phrase that we use in English to mean “in memory of” when referring to a person that is deceased.

Our word “epitaph” ultimately comes from the Greek “epitaphion”, which translates as “funeral oration”.

28 Hook’s sidekick : SMEE

In J. M. Barrie’s play and novel about Peter Pan, Smee is one of Captain Hook’s pirates and is his Hook’s bosun and right-hand man. Smee is described by Barrie as being “Irish” and “a man who stabbed without offence”. Nice guy! Captain Hook and Smee sail on a pirate ship called the Jolly Roger.

30 Lakeside rental : CANOE

The boat known as a canoe takes its name from the Carib word “kenu” meaning “dugout”. It was Christopher Columbus who brought “kenu” into Spanish as “canoa”, which evolved into our English “canoe”.

33 Spud ___, 5’7″ N.B.A. star who famously won a Slam Dunk Contest : WEBB

Spud Webb is a retired NBA point guard. In 1986, Webb won the NBA’s annual Slam Dunk Contest, despite being one of the shortest players in the league (at only 5’ 7”).

In basketball, a player makes a slam dunk by jumping up and powering the ball downward into the basket with his or her hands over the rim. The term “slam dunk” was coined by Chick Hearn, an announcer for the L.A. Lakers. The NBA even holds an annual Slam Dunk Contest.

42 “Glory to the ___ king” (carol line) : NEWBORN

“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” is one of my favorite Christmas carols. It was written in 1739 by Charles Wesley, although he scored it as a very slow and somber tune. A number of musicians modified the music over the years (including Felix Mendelssohn) giving us the more uplifting air that we know today.

50 2014 movie about Dr. King : SELMA

“Selma” is a 2014 film about the Selma to Montgomery marches of 1965. Directed by Ava DuVernay, the movie stars David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson.

52 Brimless chef’s hat : TOQUE

A toque was a brimless style of hat that was very fashionable in Europe in the 13th to 16th centuries. Nowadays we associate toques with chefs, as it is the name given to a chef’s hat (called a “toque blanche” in French, a “white hat”). A chef’s toque is quite interesting. Many toques have exactly 100 pleats, often said to signify the number of ways that an egg can be cooked.

53 Liveliness : SPUNK

We’ve been using the word “spunk” to mean “pluck, courage” since the late 1700s. Prior to that it was a Scottish word meaning “spark”, a word that we absorbed into English.

54 Brit’s “Baloney!” : BOSH!

Our word “bosh” meaning “nonsense” came into English via a well-defined route. It was first used in the novel “Ayesha, the Maid of Kars” written by J. J. Morier in 1905, and is a Turkish word that literally translates as “empty”.

57 Target of an ID thief : SSN

Social Security number (SSN)

60 Impose, as a tax : LEVY

A levy is a tax. The term “levy” comes from Old French in which “levée” means “raising”. So a levy is a tax that has been “raised” (in the sense of “collected”, not “increased”).

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Offset, as costs : DEFRAY
7 Old cornball variety show with Buck Owens : HEE HAW
13 “The Misanthrope” playwright : MOLIERE
14 Beer buy : SIX-PACK
15 *Bologna, e.g. : COLD CUT
16 Of a ring-shaped part of the iris : AREOLAR
17 Commencement celebrant, in brief : GRAD
18 *Device for holding papers together : BINDER CLIP
20 Renter’s contract : LEASE
22 Alternative to café : THE
23 Larsson who wrote the “Millennium” trilogy : STIEG
26 Capp and Capone : ALS
29 First things you learn : ABCS
32 *Carpenter’s decorative molding : WINDOW TRIM
35 Low in fat : LEAN
36 Co. in the Dow Jones index since 1979 : IBM
37 Museum-funding org. : NEA
38 N.Y.C. museum, with “the” : MET
40 Genetic “messenger” : RNA
41 Personal manner : MIEN
43 *Abundant harvest : BUMPER CROP
46 Common bar order, with “the” : … SAME
47 “One more thing …,” in a text : BTW …
48 Hesitant assent : UH, YES
49 Yelps of pain : OWS
51 On the briny : AT SEA
54 With 63-Across, singing group … or a hint to the ends of the answers to the four starred clues : BARBERSHOP …
58 Española, por ejemplo : ISLA
62 Ballplayers with birds on their caps : ORIOLES
63 See 54-Across : … QUARTET
65 David Bowie song whose title subject is “waiting in the sky” : STARMAN
66 Take apart, as a tapestry : UNWEAVE
67 Book that might include “Silent Night” : HYMNAL
68 Managed, somehow : EKED BY

Down

1 Way in or out : DOOR
2 Lady ___ (nickname in jazz) : ELLA
3 Played at a hoedown, perhaps : FIDDLED
4 ___ hall (place to play) : REC
5 Dutch-speaking Caribbean vacation spot : ARUBA
6 Hairy Himalayans : YETIS
7 Bring on board : HIRE
8 Bring to bear, as pressure : EXERT
9 Of a historic period : EPOCHAL
10 “Monster’s Ball” Oscar winner : HALLE BERRY
11 Black-purple fruit from a palm tree : ACAI
12 Cincinnati radio station of bygone TV : WKRP
13 Director of 2000’s “Charlie’s Angels,” to film fans : MCG
14 In need of cheering up : SAD
19 At hand : NEAR
21 “Ghostbusters” character ___ Spengler : EGON
23 Does the crawl, say : SWIMS
24 Bone paralleling the fibula : TIBIA
25 Epitaph words : IN MEMORIAM
27 Compensate for a sprained ankle, say : LIMP
28 Hook’s sidekick : SMEE
30 Lakeside rental : CANOE
31 Loses one’s cool : SNAPS
33 Spud ___, 5’7″ N.B.A. star who famously won a Slam Dunk Contest : WEBB
34 Lacking slack : TAUT
39 Factual : TRUE
42 “Glory to the ___ king” (carol line) : NEWBORN
44 Air kiss sound : [MWAH!]
45 Oversaw, as a committee : CHAIRED
50 2014 movie about Dr. King : SELMA
52 Brimless chef’s hat : TOQUE
53 Liveliness : SPUNK
54 Brit’s “Baloney!” : BOSH!
55 Pseudocultured : ARTY
56 Not staged : REAL
57 Target of an ID thief : SSN
59 Wild guess : STAB
60 Impose, as a tax : LEVY
61 Cleaned the dishes? : ATE
64 Feeling of wonder : AWE

8 thoughts on “1224-19 NY Times Crossword 24 Dec 19, Tuesday”

  1. 10:29. Not one of my better efforts for a Tuesday. I got stuck on the MCG/MOLIERE cross as well as the STIEG/EGON cross. There’s always tomorrow’s puzzle.

    Best –

  2. 10:00, no errors. Totally unfamiliar with MCG, but vaguely familiar with MOLIERE, slightly educated guess here. STIEG entered entirely by crosses, fortunate to remember the odd name EGON from Ghostbusters. I’m still peeved by the use of foreign clues in an English language puzzle. The setter couldn’t think of any other clue for the entry ‘THE’ ?!?

  3. 16 across is dubious at best. Areolar is the name of connective tissue in the body. It has nothing to do with color or small spaces
    Areolar connective tissue holds organs in place and attaches epithelial tissue to other underlying tissues. So says Wikipedia!

  4. George — per Webster’s — areola = “a small area between things or about something; esp. a colored ring….” — so ok?

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