1228-19 NY Times Crossword 28 Dec 19, Saturday

Constructed by: Robyn Weintraub
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: None

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

Bill’s time: 19m 12s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

1 Where hands go in the Time Warp dance : HIPS

“The Time Warp” is a song and dance from the 1973 rock musical “The Rocky Horror Show” (filmed as “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” in 1975).

5 Baker’s units: Abbr. : TSPS

Teaspoon (tsp.)

9 Bronze Age chronicle : ILIAD

“Iliad” is an epic poem by the Greek poet Homer that tells the story of the ten-year siege of “Ilium” (i.e. “Troy”) during the Trojan war. “The Odyssey”, also attributed to Homer, is sometimes described as a sequel to “Iliad”.

Ancient societies can be classified by the “three-age system”, which depends on the prevalence of materials used to make tools. The three ages are:

  • The Stone Age
  • The Bronze Age
  • The Iron Age

The actual dates defined by each age depend on the society, as the timing of the transition from the use of one material to another varied around the globe.

14 Number of sides on a PARE road sign : OCHO

In Spanish, a “PARE” (STOP) sign has “ocho” (eight) sides.

16 Character in “Monsters, Inc.” : COMMA

The animated feature “Monsters, Inc.” was released in 2001, and was Pixar’s fourth full-length movie. It’s about cute monsters, and that’s all I know other than that the voice cast included the likes of John Goodman, Billy Crystal and Steve Buscemi.

17 Myanmar neighbor : LAOS

The official name for the country of Laos is the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. In the Lao language, the country’s name is “Meuang Lao”. The French ruled Laos as part of French Indochina, having united three separate Lao kingdoms. As there was a plural of “Lao” entities united into one, the French added the “S” and so today we tend to use “Laos” instead of “Lao”.

The Republic of the Union of Myanmar is the official name of the Asian country that some nations still recognize as the Union of Burma.

22 Former Soviet naval base : ODESSA

The city of Odessa (also “Odesa”) in Ukraine was founded relatively recently, in 1794 by Catherine the Great. The city was originally meant to be called Odessos after an ancient Greek city believed to have been located nearby. Catherine liked the way the locals pronounced the name as “Odessa” and so went with the less Greek-sounding name.

23 Letters that often precede a Ph.D. : GRE

Passing the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is usually a requirement for entry into graduate school here in the US.

31 Doe, perhaps : ALIAS

Though the English court system does not use the term today, “John Doe” first appeared as the “name of a person unknown” in England in 1659, along with the similar “Richard Roe”. An unknown female is referred to as “JaneDoe ”, and the equivalent to Richard Roe is Jane Roe (as in Roe v. Wade, for example). Variants of “John Doe” used outside of the courts are “Joe Blow” and “John Q. Public”.

36 Censure of a senator : ET TU?

It was Shakespeare who popularized the words “Et tu, Brute?” (meaning “And you, Brutus?”). They appear in his play “Julius Caesar”, although the phrase had been around long before he penned his drama. It’s not known what Julius Caesar actually said in real life (if anything at all) as he was assassinated on the steps of the Senate in Rome.

39 One of the five rivers of 56-Across : LETHE
(56A See 39-Across : HADES)

The Lethe is one of the five rivers of Hades in Greek mythology. All the souls who drank from the river Lethe experienced complete forgetfulness. The Greek word “lethe” means “oblivion, forgetfulness”.

41 They can get you into the Taj Mahal : RUPEES

The rupee is a unit of currency used in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan. The term “rupee” comes from the Sanskrit word “rupya”, which once meant “stamped, impressed” and then “coin”.

“Mahal” is the Urdu word for “palace”, as in “Taj Mahal” meaning “crown of palaces”. The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum holding the body of Mumtaz Mahal, the third wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The name “Mumtaz Mahal” translates as “the chosen one of the palace”.

44 Vets, e.g.: Abbr. : DRS

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”.

45 User of the “I Ching” : ORACLE

The “I Ching” is an ancient Chinese text dating back to the 2nd millennium BC. The text deals with aspects of cosmology and divination, and perhaps served as a guide for making predictions of the future. The statements in the “I Ching” consist of 64 hexagrams, sets of six lines composed in horizontal stacks.

52 Like triple fudge brownies : RICH

Apparently, the first brownies were created for the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The recipe was developed by a pastry chef at the city’s Palmer House Hotel. The idea was to produce a cake-like dessert that was small enough and dainty enough to be eaten by ladies as part of a boxed lunch.

54 Last word in the first verse of “Old Mother Hubbard” : … NONE

The English nursery rhyme “Old Mother Hubbard” was first printed in 1805:

Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard,
To give the poor dog a bone;
When she came there,
The cupboard was bare,
And so the poor dog had none.

55 “Put Your Head on My Shoulder” singer, 1959 : ANKA

“Put Your Head on My Shoulder” is a song written and recorded by Paul Anka in 1959. The song was famously covered by the Lettermen in 1968.

57 Help in a small way? : ASST

Assistant (asst.)

Down

3 Gave much less than 100% : PHONED IT IN

A person who does a job while expending minimal effort is said to “phone it in”.

7 Fancy spread : PATE

Pâté is a rich spreadable paste made from a mixture of ground meat and fat, to which various vegetables, herbs and spices may be added. The most famous version of the paste is pâté de foie gras, which is made from the fattened livers of geese (“foie gras” means “fat liver” in French).

8 Historic barrier breaker, for short : SST

Supersonic transports (SSTs) like the Concorde broke Mach 1, the speed of sound. As a plane flies through the air, it creates pressure waves in front (and behind) rather like the bow and stern waves of a boat. These pressure waves travel at the speed of sound, so as an aircraft itself accelerates towards the speed of sound it catches up with the pressure waves until they cannot “get out of the way”. When the aircraft reaches the speed of sound, the compressed waves merge into one single shock wave, creating a sonic boom.

9 Ingredient in a John Daly cocktail : ICED TEA

John Daly is a golfer with the nickname “Long John”, as he really knows how to get distance off the tee. He has the reputation of a wild man on the circuit, and perhaps that’s why he has a drink named after him. A “John Daly” is the same as the non-alcoholic “Arnold Palmer”, made with lemonade and iced tea, but the “Daly” has vodka added.

12 Baking entrepreneur Wally : AMOS

Wally Amos was a talent agent, one who was in the habit of taking home-baked cookies with him as an enticement to get celebrities to see him. He was urged by friends to open a cookie store (the cookies were that delicious, I guess) and this he did in Los Angeles in 1975 using the name “Famous Amos”. The store was a smash hit and he was able build on the success by introducing his cookies into supermarkets. The brand was eventually purchased, making Wally a rich man, and Famous Amos cookies are still flying off the shelf. Wally Amos also became an energetic literacy advocate. He hosted 30 TV programs in 1987 entitled “Learn to Read” that provided reading instruction targeted at adults.

19 Like a binge watcher, say : HOOKED

I’m a big fan of binge-watching, the practice of watching perhaps two or three (even four!) episodes of a show in a row. My wife and I will often deliberately avoid watching a recommended show live, and instead wait until the whole series has been released online. I’m not a big fan of “tune in next week …”

21 Uncommon notes : TWOS

The US two-dollar bill features a portrait of Thomas Jefferson. The bill was introduced in 1862, and withdrawn in 1966. It was reintroduced in 1976, and is still legal tender. That said, there are relatively few two-dollar bills in circulation. Some people even hold that possession of a two-dollar bill is bad luck.

25 Roald Dahl title character : JAMES

“James and the Giant Peach” is a 1961 children’s novel by British author Roald Dahl. The title character is a young orphan who enters into a surreal world inside a huge, magical peach.

35 Annexed land of 2014 : CRIMEA

Crimea is a peninsula jutting out into the Black Sea that is almost completely surrounded by water. It is connected to the Ukrainian mainland to the north by the Isthmus of Perekop, and is separated from the nearby Russian region of Kuban by the narrow (less than 10 miles) Kerch Strait. Crimea has been occupied by foreign powers many times over the centuries, and now control of the region is disputed by Ukraine and Russia.

38 Speeds through the Downs, say : GALLOPS

Churchill Downs is a thoroughbred racetrack located in Louisville, Kentucky that is famous for hosting the Kentucky Derby each year. The track is named for John and Henry Churchill who once owned the land on which the course was built.

39 Verdant : LUSH

Back in the late 1500s, “verdant” simply meant “green”, but we now tend to use the term to mean “green and lush with vegetation”. “Viridis” is the Latin for “green”.

41 Autumn shade : RUSSET

Russet is a color made from an equal mixture of pure orange and pure purple. The term comes from the French adjective “rousset” meaning “reddish”.

45 Texting alternative? : OTOH

On the other hand (OTOH)

46 Woman’s name that becomes another woman’s name if you switch the first and third letters : RONA

“Rona” becomes “Nora” by switching the first and third letters.

48 Firm leaders, for short : CEOS

Chief executive officer (CEO)

51 Body builder? : DNA

DNA was first isolated in 1869 by Swiss physician and biologist Friedrich Miescher. The molecular structure of DNA was identified in 1953, by the American and British team of James Watson and Francis Crick.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Where hands go in the Time Warp dance : HIPS
5 Baker’s units: Abbr. : TSPS
9 Bronze Age chronicle : ILIAD
14 Number of sides on a PARE road sign : OCHO
15 Springs for vacation trips : SPAS
16 Character in “Monsters, Inc.” : COMMA
17 Myanmar neighbor : LAOS
18 Was completely satisfying : HIT THE SPOT
20 Forewarned : ON NOTICE
22 Former Soviet naval base : ODESSA
23 Letters that often precede a Ph.D. : GRE
24 Like some humor : WRY
25 Tiny amounts : JOTS
26 More than just in : RED-HOT
28 Finds a way : MAKES DO
31 Doe, perhaps : ALIAS
32 Went too : CAME ALONG
34 Some framing supplies : MATS
35 Like some fruits and ice sheets : CORED
36 Censure of a senator : ET TU?
37 Old sports cars named for a fish : STINGRAYS
39 One of the five rivers of 56-Across : LETHE
40 Involves : ENTAILS
41 They can get you into the Taj Mahal : RUPEES
42 Form of relief : ALMS
43 Coach : BUS
44 Vets, e.g.: Abbr. : DRS
45 User of the “I Ching” : ORACLE
48 Liquidity concern : CASH FLOW
50 Less efficient washers : TOP-LOADERS
52 Like triple fudge brownies : RICH
53 Outdo : ONE-UP
54 Last word in the first verse of “Old Mother Hubbard” : … NONE
55 “Put Your Head on My Shoulder” singer, 1959 : ANKA
56 See 39-Across : HADES
57 Help in a small way? : ASST
58 Try : TEST

Down

1 Things seen that aren’t there : HOLOGRAMS
2 “You and me both” : I CAN RELATE
3 Gave much less than 100% : PHONED IT IN
4 Nothing to write home about : SO-SO
5 No-no at a fancy restaurant : T-SHIRT
6 Menu caution : SPICY
7 Fancy spread : PATE
8 Historic barrier breaker, for short : SST
9 Ingredient in a John Daly cocktail : ICED TEA
10 Worries around the clock, perhaps : LOSES SLEEP
11 Bratlings : IMPS
12 Baking entrepreneur Wally : AMOS
13 ___ plan : DATA
19 Like a binge watcher, say : HOOKED
21 Uncommon notes : TWOS
25 Roald Dahl title character : JAMES
27 Is thick : HASN’T A CLUE
28 St. ___ College (school name in Indiana, Maryland and California) : MARY’S
29 Incomplete part of a contract : DOTTED LINE
30 Not neat : ON THE ROCKS
32 Fill for a grill : COALS
33 Juicy news alert : GUESS WHAT
35 Annexed land of 2014 : CRIMEA
38 Speeds through the Downs, say : GALLOPS
39 Verdant : LUSH
41 Autumn shade : RUSSET
43 They’re raised on farms : BARNS
45 Texting alternative? : OTOH
46 Woman’s name that becomes another woman’s name if you switch the first and third letters : RONA
47 Mirrored : APED
48 Firm leaders, for short : CEOS
49 Rush home? : FRAT
51 Body builder? : DNA

13 thoughts on “1228-19 NY Times Crossword 28 Dec 19, Saturday”

  1. 17:41, no errors. Good puzzle. Loved the clue for 16A; why do I always fall for that trick, no matter how many times I’ve seen it before? … 😜

  2. And … Bill … no biggy, but … if you get a chance to look at it … the NYX blog for 12/15/2019 is missing a comment section.

  3. 28:42. I remember that same clue as it pertained to “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” a couple of months ago. The clue was “characters in…” and the answer was COMMAS. Ouch. I got it this time.

    Best –

  4. A Nonny and Jeff stole my thunder; I was going to say the same about 16-A. Clever trap but I’ve seen it many times before. Good puzzle; no errors and a clean Friday and Saturday after going 0 fer 2 last week.

  5. 19:16, no errors. Felt in sync with the setter, in spite of a couple curveballs. 14A in Mexico the sign says ALTO.

    For all you syndicatees: tomorrow may all your groundhogs be shadowless.

  6. Enjoyable puzzle, lower left was the last few boxes we needed a little help on. When we saw OTOH for texting alternative, we went huh? When we read the solution, we then went DUH, of course! A good challenge for a Sunday morning.

  7. Once again amazed that the one clue I don’t get, you don’t even mention.
    Rush home? Frat
    ????????????????????????????? OK Googled it. Never heard of it.

  8. Sometimes it’s easier if you’re just ignorant. When I was finished I just figured there must be a character in the movie named “Comma”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.