1226-19 NY Times Crossword 26 Dec 19, Thursday

Constructed by: Trenton Charlson
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Reveal Answer: Bowling

Themed answers each include a rebus square. The rebus symbols are /, X and XXX, which indicate SPARE, STRIKE and TURKEY, as used in BOWLING notation:

  • 62A Sport that is the key to interpreting the answers to 21-, 40- and 56-Across : BOWLING
  • 21A “I’ve heard everything I need to hear” : / (SPARE) ME THE DETAILS
  • 40A Find an ideal compromise : X (STRIKE) THE RIGHT BALANCE
  • 56A Classic tune often played by ice cream trucks : XXX (TURKEY) IN THE STRAW

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

Bill’s time: 12m 22s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

4 It’s not much work : ERG

An erg is a unit of mechanical work or energy. It is a small unit, with one joule comprising 10 million ergs. it has been suggested that an erg is about the amount of energy required for a mosquito to take off. The term comes from “ergon”, the Greek word for work.

10 Average name : DOW

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”.

13 Talk show medium : AM RADIO

The radio spectrum is divided into bands based on frequency. “High band” is composed of relatively high frequency values, and “low band” is composed of frequencies that are relatively low. FM radio falls into the band called Very High Frequency (VHF). Television signals use frequencies even higher than VHF, frequencies in the Ultra High Frequency band (UHF). AM radio uses lower frequencies that fall into the relatively low bands of Low, Medium and High Frequency (LF, MF, and HF).

15 Quite an accomplishment : COUP

A coup d’état (often just “coup”) is the sudden overthrow of a government, and comes from the French for “stroke of state”. The Swiss-German word “putsch” is sometimes used instead of “coup”, with “Putsch” translating literally as “sudden blow”. We also use the abbreviated “coup” to mean “sudden, brilliant and successful act”.

17 Señora Perón : EVA

Eva Perón was the second wife of President Juan Perón who was in office from 1946 to 1955. The Argentine First Lady was known affectionately by the people as “Evita”, the Spanish language diminutive of “Eva”. “Evita” is also the title of a tremendously successful musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice that is based on the life of Eva Perón.

18 Secret headquarters for Bruce Wayne : BATCAVE

Wayne Manor is the home of Bruce Wayne, the alter-ego of Batman. It is a huge manor that lies just outside Gotham City. Looking after the house is the Wayne family servant, Alfred. Beneath the grounds of the manor is an extensive cave system where Bruce Wayne put together his Batcave. Access to the cave is via a staircase behind a hidden door. The door is opened by moving the hands of a non-functioning grandfather clock to 10:47, the time at which Wayne’s parents were murdered. It is the murder of his parents that sets Bruce off on his journey of crime fighting.

21 “I’ve heard everything I need to hear” : / (SPARE) ME THE DETAILS

In bowling, a spare is recorded on a score sheet with a forward slash mark.

25 Moon of Saturn named for a Titaness : RHEA

Rhea is the second-largest of Saturn’s moons, and the ninth-largest of all the moons in our solar system. The moon is named after the Titan Rhea from Greek mythology. Unlike our moon, Rhea might have an atmosphere of sorts, and even rings.

27 Black-and-white predators : ORCAS

The taxonomic name for the killer whale is “Orcinus orca”. The use of the name “orca”, rather than “killer whale”, is becoming more and more common. The Latin word “Orcinus” means “belonging to Orcus”, with Orcus being the name for the Kingdom of the Dead.

29 Martin ___, “London Fields” novelist : AMIS

I suppose the successful English novelist Martin Amis must have writing in his blood. He is the son of the respected author Kingsley Amis, a Booker Prize winner. Martin Amis’s best-known novels comprise his so-called “London Trilogy” consisting of “Money” (1984), “London Fields” (1989) and “The Information” (1995).

32 Comic strip title character who is Beetle Bailey’s sister : LOIS

“Hi and Lois” is a comic strip that first appeared in 1954 and is still running today. The strip was created by Mort Walker (also known for “Beetle Bailey”) and was originally illustrated by Dik Browne (also known for “Hägar the Horrible”). The title characters Hi and Lois Flagstone first appeared in “Beetle Bailey”. Lois is Beetle’s sister, and the characters occasionally show up in each other’s strip.

35 Winter D.C. setting : EST

Eastern Standard Time (EST)

38 Do some underground exploring : SPELUNK

“Spelunking” is an American term for recreational caving, although the word has Latin roots (“spelunca” is the Latin for “cave”). The term originated in the 1940s in New England when it was adopted by a group of men who explored caves in the area.

40 Find an ideal compromise : X (STRIKE) THE RIGHT BALANCE

In bowling, a strike is recorded with a large letter X.

43 Transitional zone between two biomes : ECOTONE

I tend to think of “biome” as another word for “ecosystem”.

44 Early Cuzco resident : INCA

Cusco (also “Cuzco”) is a city in the southeast of Peru. Historically, Cusco was the historic capital of the Inca Empire, and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

46 End notes : CODA

In music, a coda is primarily a passage that brings a movement to a conclusion. “Coda” is Italian for “tail”.

47 Highland tongue : ERSE

There are actually three Erse languages: Irish, Manx (spoken on the Isle of Man) and Scots Gaelic. In their own tongues, these would be “Gaeilge” (in Ireland), “Gaelg” (on the Isle of Man) and “Gaidhlig” (in Scotland).

49 Aunt ___ of “Oklahoma!” : ELLER

“Oklahoma!” was the first musical written by the great duo Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. The storyline comes from a 1931 stage play called “Green Grow the Lilacs”.

51 Estadio exclamation : OLE!

In Spain, one might hear a shout of “ole!” in “un estadio” (a stadium).

53 Pie hole : TRAP

The term “pie hole” meaning “mouth” has been in use since the early 1980s. It is a variation of the older term “cake hole” that originated with the British armed forces during WWII. “Cake hole” is still used in the British Isles, with “pie hole” largely limited to North America.

55 Places where people may have the knives out for you, in brief : ORS

Surgery (surg.) is usually performed in an operating room (OR).

56 Classic tune often played by ice cream trucks : XXX (TURKEY) IN THE STRAW

There is a suggestion that the use of the term “turkey” to describe three strikes in a row in bowling arose in the late 1700s. Playing conditions back them made it very difficult to bowl one strike, never mind three. Also, prizes awarded were often items of food. A values prize, particularly around Thanksgiving, was a turkey, and it was awarded for bowling three strikes in a row.

70 Waitress at Mel’s Diner : FLO

Florence Jean “Flo” Castleberry was a waitress in the sitcom “Alice” which aired on CBS in the 70s and 80s. Flo got her own sitcom (called “Flo”) which had a brief run in the early 80s. I saw a few episodes of “Alice”, but that’s about it. Flo was played by Polly Holliday.

The sitcom “Alice” is set in Mel’s Diner, which is supposedly frequented by locals and truckers on the outskirts of Phoenix. There is a real Mel’s Diner in Phoenix, and the restaurant’s sign is used in the opening credits. The real-world Mel’s was called “Chris’ Diner”, but the owner agreed to a temporary change in name for the purposes of the show. But, “Chris” never came back, and “Mel’s” is still serving customers today.

71 Magic 8 Ball response : YES

The Magic 8 Ball is a toy, and supposedly a fortune-telling device, introduced by Mattel in 1946. There are 20 answers that the Magic 8 Ball can provide, including:

  • Without a doubt
  • Ask again later
  • My sources say no
  • Outlook not so good
  • Signs point to yes

72 Prefix with -phyte : NEO-

A neophyte is a recent convert to a particular doctrine or practice.

Down

1 Snarky remark : JAB

“Snark” is a term that was coined by Lewis Carroll in his fabulous 1876 nonsense poem “The Hunting of the Snark”. Somehow, the term “snarky” came to mean “irritable, short-tempered” in the early 1900s, and from there “snark” became “sarcastic rhetoric” at the beginning of the 21st century.

2 Residents’ org. : AMA

American Medical Association (AMA)

3 Muscleman with a mohawk : MR T

Mr. T’s real name is Laurence Tero Tureaud. Mr. T is famous for many things, including the wearing of excessive amounts of jewelry. He started this habit when he was working as a bouncer, wearing jewelry items that had been left behind by customers at a nightclub so that the items might be recognized and claimed. It was also as a bouncer that he adopted the name Mr. T. His catch phrase comes from the movie “Rocky III”. In the film, before he goes up against Rocky Balboa, Mr. T says, “No, I don’t hate Balboa, but I pity the fool”. He parlayed that line into quite a bit of success. He had a reality TV show called “I Pity the Fool”, and produced a motivational video called “Be Somebody … or Be Somebody’s Fool!”.

Here is another example of a difference in terminology on either side of the Atlantic. What we call the Mohawk hairstyle in the US is known as a Mohican in Britain and Ireland. The Mohawk hairstyle is named after the Mohawk nation, who wore their hair in the same fashion. The Mohawk style has been around for a long time elsewhere in the world. There was a well-preserved male body found in a bog near Dublin in Ireland in 2003. The body is about 2,000 years old, and has the Mohawk haircut.

4 Eponymous Dutch town : EDAM

Edam cheese takes its name from the Dutch town of Edam in North Holland. The cheese is famous for its coating of red paraffin wax, a layer of protection that helps Edam travel well and prevents spoiling. You might occasionally come across an Edam cheese that is coated in black wax. The black color indicates that the underlying cheese has been aged for a minimum of 17 weeks.

5 Subject of several Georges Seurat paintings : RIVER SEINE

Georges Seurat was a French Post-Impressionist. His most famous work is “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte – 1884”, a work in the pointillist style that can be viewed in the Art Institute of Chicago. If you’ve seen the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, it features quite prominently in a wonderful, wonderful scene shot at the gallery. The painting features ordinary people enjoying a day at a park, and is the inspiration for the 1984 musical by Stephen Sondheim called “Sunday in the Park with George”.

8 Part of a parka : HOOD

A parka is a hooded jacket that is often lined with fur, and that is worn in cold weather. The original parka was a pullover design, but nowadays it is usually zipped at the front. “Parka” is the Russian name for the garment, and it was absorbed into English in the late 1700s via the Aleut language.

9 Winter season : YULE

Yule celebrations coincide with Christmas, and the words “Christmas” and “Yule” (often “Yuletide”) have become synonymous in much of the world. However, Yule was originally a pagan festival celebrated by Germanic peoples. The name “Yule” comes from the Old Norse word “jol” that was used to describe the festival.

14 Rock group from Sydney : AC/DC

The Heavy Metal band known as AC/DC was formed by two brothers Malcolm and Angus Young in Australia. The group is usually called “Acca Dacca” down under.

Sydney is the most populous city in Australia. People from Sydney are known as “Sydneysiders”.

16 Vets’ charges : PETS

A veterinarian (vet) is a professional who treat animals for disease and injury. The word “veterinary” comes from the Latin “veterinae” meaning “working animals, beasts of burden”.

20 Dish seasoned with saffron : PAELLA

Paella is sometimes referred to as the Spanish national dish, but not by Spaniards. In Spain, paella is regarded as a typical regional dish from Valencia.

The crocus (plural “croci”) is a plant genus in the iris family. The term “crocus” ultimately derives from the Sanskrit word for “saffron”. Saffron spice comes from Crocus sativus, the “saffron crocus”.

23 Bulk-purchase retailer : COSTCO

Costco is the largest warehouse club in the US, and the second largest retailer in the world (after Wal-Mart). Apparently Costco is also the largest retailer of wine in the whole world. The company was founded in 1983 in Kirkland, Washington. Kirkland Signature is Costco’s store brand, and you can even buy Kirkland Signature wine.

30 Some library catalog info, for short : ISBN

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) was invented by one Gordon Foster who was a professor at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. The code was originally developed for booksellers, so that they had a unique number (and now a barcode) for each publication.

31 Magellan, e.g. : SPACE PROBE

The Magellan spacecraft was launched by NASA in 1989 with the mission to map the surface of Venus. The probe was launched from the Space Shuttle Atlantis, making it the first interplanetary craft to use a Space Shuttle to exit the Earth’s atmosphere.

34 Surfboard stabilizer : SKEG

A skeg is an extension to the keel of a boat, and is located towards the stern. “Skeg” is also the name for the fin on the underside of a surfboard that is positioned towards the rear.

37 Golden ___ : AGER

A golden ager is a senior citizen.

39 Carrier that offers only kosher meals : EL AL

El Al Israel Airlines is the flag carrier of Israel. The term “el al” translates from Hebrew as “to the skies”. The company started operations in 1948, with a flight from Geneva to Tel Aviv. Famously, El Al only operates six days a week, not flying on the Sabbath.

48 Something no single speaker provides : STEREO

Monophonic sound (“mono”) is sound reproduced using just one audio channel, which is usually played out of just one speaker. Stereophonic sound is reproduced using two audio channels, with the sound from each channel played out of two different speakers. The pair of stereo speakers are usually positioned apart from each other so that sound appears to come from between the two. Quadraphonic sound (4.0 surround sound) uses four audio channels with the sound played back through four speakers that are often positioned at the corners of the room in which one is listening.

52 Certain B.S. holder: Abbr. : ENGR

Engineer (engr.)

56 Letter in the NATO alphabet : X-RAY

The NATO phonetic alphabet is also called the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) phonetic alphabet. It goes Alfa, Bravo, Charlie … X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.

58 “What a long week!” : TGIF!

“Thank God It’s Friday” (TGIF) is a relatively new expression that apparently originated in Akron, Ohio. It was a catchphrase used first by disk jockey Jerry Healy of WAKR in the early seventies. That said, one blog reader wrote me to say that he had been using the phrase in the fifties.

59 “___ is other people”: Sartre : HELL

“Huis Clos” means “behind closed doors” in French. It is the title of Jean-Paul Sartre’s one-act play that we in the English-speaking world would better recognize as “No Exit”. The play features four characters who are trapped in a room that they discover is actually located in Hell. One of the characters is Estelle Rigault, a society woman who married her husband for her money, and then has an affair that results in a child whom she murders. Heavy stuff! “No Exit” is the source for one of Sartre’s most famous quotations, “Hell is other people”, meaning that Hell isn’t found in torture or physical punishment, but in the torment inflicted by others.

63 Swimming gold medalist Thorpe : IAN

Ian Thorpe is a retired competitive swimmer from Australia. Thorpe won five Olympic gold medals, and earned himself the nickname “The Thorpedo”.

64 Columbus-to-Cleveland dir. : NNE

The city of Columbus, Ohio is a “purpose-built” state capital. The state legislature selected the location for Ohio’s new capital in 1812, choosing dense forest land with no significant settlement, largely due to its strategic location in the center of the state. The name was chosen in honor of the explorer Christopher Columbus.

Cleveland, Ohio was named after the man who led the team that surveyed the area prior to the founding of the city. General Moses Cleaveland did his work in 1796 and then left Ohio, never to return again.

65 Old Pontiac with a V8 engine : GTO

The Pontiac GTO was produced by GM from 1964 to 1974, and again by a GM subsidiary in Australia from 2004 to 2006. The original GTO’s design is credited to Pontiac chief engineer at the time John DeLorean, who later founded the DeLorean Motor Company.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Bind : JAM
4 It’s not much work : ERG
7 Short : SHY
10 Average name : DOW
13 Talk show medium : AM RADIO
15 Quite an accomplishment : COUP
17 Señora Perón : EVA
18 Secret headquarters for Bruce Wayne : BATCAVE
19 Not be oneself? : ROLE-PLAY
21 “I’ve heard everything I need to hear” : SPARE ME THE DETAILS
23 Relative of a haddock : COD
25 Moon of Saturn named for a Titaness : RHEA
26 Instant : SEC
27 Black-and-white predators : ORCAS
29 Martin ___, “London Fields” novelist : AMIS
32 Comic strip title character who is Beetle Bailey’s sister : LOIS
35 Winter D.C. setting : EST
36 Quite an accomplishment : FEAT
38 Do some underground exploring : SPELUNK
40 Find an ideal compromise : STRIKE THE RIGHT BALANCE
43 Transitional zone between two biomes : ECOTONE
44 Early Cuzco resident : INCA
45 Pull : TUG
46 End notes : CODA
47 Highland tongue : ERSE
49 Aunt ___ of “Oklahoma!” : ELLER
51 Estadio exclamation : OLE!
53 Pie hole : TRAP
55 Places where people may have the knives out for you, in brief : ORS
56 Classic tune often played by ice cream trucks : TURKEY IN THE STRAW
61 Adjust : REJIGGER
62 Sport that is the key to interpreting the answers to 21-, 40- and 56-Across : BOWLING
66 Consist of : ARE
67 Get to : RILE
68 Temporarily inactive : ABEYANT
69 “That really hurt!” : YOW!
70 Waitress at Mel’s Diner : FLO
71 Magic 8 Ball response : YES
72 Prefix with -phyte : NEO-

Down

1 Snarky remark : JAB
2 Residents’ org. : AMA
3 Muscleman with a mohawk : MR T
4 Eponymous Dutch town : EDAM
5 Subject of several Georges Seurat paintings : RIVER SEINE
6 Doth proceed : GOETH
7 Horror movie staple : SCREAM
8 Part of a parka : HOOD
9 Winter season : YULE
10 Place for cold cuts : DELI COUNTER
11 Like skating rinks, typically : OVAL
12 Manners : WAYS
14 Rock group from Sydney : AC/DC
16 Vets’ charges : PETS
20 Dish seasoned with saffron : PAELLA
22 Uncultivated tract : HEATH
23 Bulk-purchase retailer : COSTCO
24 One who closely adheres to the Torah : ORTHODOX JEW
28 Picked locks? : AFRO
30 Some library catalog info, for short : ISBN
31 Magellan, e.g. : SPACE PROBE
33 Runs up, as expenses : INCURS
34 Surfboard stabilizer : SKEG
35 Higher-up : EXEC
37 Golden ___ : AGER
39 Carrier that offers only kosher meals : EL AL
41 Bibliographer’s phrase of inclusion : ET ALII
42 Levels : TIERS
48 Something no single speaker provides : STEREO
50 Menial : LOWLY
52 Certain B.S. holder: Abbr. : ENGR
54 Cornered : AT BAY
56 Letter in the NATO alphabet : X-RAY
57 Prefix with -phyte : XERO-
58 “What a long week!” : TGIF!
59 “___ is other people”: Sartre : HELL
60 Commands respect from : AWES
63 Swimming gold medalist Thorpe : IAN
64 Columbus-to-Cleveland dir. : NNE
65 Old Pontiac with a V8 engine : GTO

12 thoughts on “1226-19 NY Times Crossword 26 Dec 19, Thursday”

  1. Worked from Sunday’s up to Thursday’s while on various legs of flights to Houston. Thanks to Angus Young and Bon Scott, I wasn’t concerned about the entering the “/“ in the AC/DC answer…thanks to my lousy bowling prowess, I figured out the spare/strike/Turkey answers. Took 42:34, but that included forgetting to shut off the puzzle during a landing…gotta watch the landing!

  2. 31:48. I should have gone after the reveal first. I saw AC DC, but didn’t know how the square inbetween was going to fit in until I saw the reveal. I really rolled my eyes when I got this theme. It was really striking….

    ISBN is one of those initialisms like ATM or PIN. People say ATM machine, PIN number or ISBN number….Ugh

    Best –

  3. 34:14 with one error…I had Esbn for Isbn….I was practically raised in a bowling alley so for once the theme actually helped me.

  4. AMOS/OSBN: Stymied by the “one letter mystery cross.” ECOTONE made no sense to me but got it via crosses. Fun theme; got a good grin at XXX = Turkey.

  5. 21:05, no errors. This puzzle forced me to go into the dusty recesses of my old brain. Fortunately I vaguely recalled ISBN, otherwise AMES or AMOS would have worked equally well for me in 29A. Have not heard the word REJIGGER in decades.

  6. No errors. Not too difficult. Definitely made things easier to get the revealer first. I did not know the term TURKEY as applied to bowling. Probably because I never ever came anywhere even close to three strikes in a row. Altogether, very enjoyable puzzle today.

  7. Lots of fun with this one…until wanting dormANT instead of ABEYANT… even though the A, B, E, and Y crosses were virtually shouting at me to write over the d, o, r, and m. Dumb!

  8. To hold at bay or to keep at bay means to fend off, to prevent something from affecting you or to prevent something from approaching you, to maintain a distance. Not cornered!
    Mr. Charlson uses too much screen time on the Bowling channel.

    1. But “to be at bay”, according to Google (and other sources) means “forced to confront one’s attackers or pursuers; cornered”.

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